Fireside chat with William Tincup & Andres Blank of Fetcher
I met Andres and Fetcher in early 2019. He and his passion to make recruiting easier for everyone left an edible mark on me. Of course, we talked ad nauseum about automation and AI but what I came away from the first meeting with Andres was he was a winner and if for nothing else, he would will Fetcher into being an industry powerhouse. And, so far, he’s done just that.
Andres is the co-founder and CEO of Fetcher. He has a passion for creating companies that optimize processes and enhance daily operations. Previously he was the founder and COO of Pixable, a consumer mobile company with over 5 Million users, which sold to Singtel for $30M in less than 3 years from starting the company
Andres started Pixable while he was pursuing his MBA at MIT. Before moving to Boston, Andres started three companies in Venezuela, the first one, a site for college students at the age of 18, and the last one, a lumber trader and exporter with over 30 employees and $1M in revenue at the age of 24. Through these business ventures, Andres has seen firsthand the positive impact that a strong workforce has on a company, along with the many challenges that hiring efficiently and effectively brings.
This ultimately led him to start the recruiting automation platform, Fetcher.
I think you’ll like Andres and Fetcher. Moreover, I hope you follow his work and enjoy the interview. Let’s get this party started.
How has recruiting changed in the last 3-6 months?
When we first started Fetcher, the economy was booming, fewer people were actively searching for new roles, and sourcing was a necessity in order to hire the best talent for the company. In the past 3-6 months, we have seen hiring come to a standstill, and then slowly begin to regenerate… but differently than before.
As companies look to protect their growth and/or revenue, leaders are investing more in the front office and less in the back office, where recruiting lives. This has led to many recruiting teams facing furloughs and layoffs. But with the economy beginning to reopen and businesses continuing to grow, teams are now faced with more responsibilities, more strategic initiatives, and fewer colleagues to help.
Due to this, we have seen there is more open-mindedness to research and invest in automation tools. Allowing smaller teams to continue to produce at higher levels without getting burnt out or bogged down with the more repetitive, top of funnel tasks.
We are in unprecedented times, so it’s hard to know if the changes we’re seeing right now are reversible or here to stay, but the changes we’ve seen to date have emphasized the need for teams to be agile, efficient, and strategic… All without losing the basics of sourcing, emailing, interviewing, and more. It’s a lot!
Given all these changes, what’s keeping you up at night these days?
The recruiting industry was quickly impacted by COVID earlier this year, and Fetcher was no exception. In a startup, growth is what fuels your business and keeps you alive. When the world shut down, hiring paused and every HR Tech investment was reevaluated by companies.
Fetcher immediately felt this impact, and with growth at a standstill, we had to slow down and take time to understand how the future of recruiting might change after this pandemic, and how Fetcher can be a product that companies need, both in an economic boom or bust.
Even though things are starting to recover, we have to be mindful that hiring is more unpredictable than it has been in the past, and Fetcher must adapt to the changes and provide companies with technology that makes their recruiting processes more streamlined, manageable remotely, and effective for the long-term.
What’s your short term (>3 years) vision for Fetcher?
Recruiters have always been known to use 10-15 different tools to find candidates. This not only leads to burn out and frustration but also to overspending and messy analytics. Our vision is to reduce the number of tools to less than 5, by providing one, full-service platform.
Recruiters are stretch thin, so consolidating tools for prospecting, outreach, and analytics will give them time back in their day and fewer tabs open in their browsers! Our goal is to be the go-to place for all top of funnel tasks: ranking inbound applicants, manually sourcing with just one-click, automated outreach to drive interest, automated calendar bookings to push interviews directly onto hiring managers’ calendars, and robust analytics to predict which positions have empty pipelines and thus enabling automated sourcing to fill those pipelines efficiently.
What’s your long-term (<3 years) vision for Fetcher?
At the end of the day, recruiters choose this career because they have a passion for helping and connecting with others. Not for sifting through resumes, LinkedIn profiles, and email inboxes. Recruiters should be spending all of their time interacting with colleagues to understand the needs of the company and with as many qualified candidates as possible to always hire the best person for the job.
Our long-term vision is to remove all the repetitive processes that don’t add value to what a recruiter wants to do, which is to build the best company, culture, and diverse teams around. We want to get recruiters back to doing what they love and what they are truly talented at — and that’s forming connections, breaking down barriers, and helping companies grow with the best, most diverse, and talented teams around them.
What has been your experience in helping companies hire diverse teams?
We are grateful to be a part of this conversation. The first thing to note is that diversity isn’t just race, ethnicity, or gender. Diversity also stems from backgrounds, experiences, education, etc. Our goal at Fetcher is to help drive diversity at companies by reducing unconscious bias via automation.
By automating top of funnel tasks like sourcing and outreach, you have the opportunity to broaden your searches to create the space for diverse hires. Rather than limiting searches based on very specific diversity filters, our goal is to work with companies to broaden the scope and thus bring in more diverse candidates through the breadth of searches.
For example, one of our clients is a self-driving car company. They were looking to hire another engineer for their team, which was currently all individuals from top engineering schools throughout the country. We worked with them to broaden the scope of their search and allow for more diverse applicants. Through this broadening of qualifiers, the company actually hired a self-made engineer who had only a high school degree but had a strong promotional track at another auto company.
While there was initial hesitation in interviewing and hiring, it ended up being one of their best hires to date. Not only did this individual show great knowledge throughout the interview process, but they also are one of the hardest working employees because of their motivation and loyalty, as they are grateful to the company for taking a risk on them.
You’ll know Fetcher has reached its full potential when?
When our clients never complain about a qualified, diverse, and robust pipeline! It’s true – our goal is to ensure that all open roles have interested candidates ready to go, leading to faster hiring times, candidates that are more satisfied with the recruiting process, and recruiters who are able to achieve their goals without burning out.
What advice do you give leaders regarding evaluating technology?
Test, work with your team to adapt, and don’t be scared! First and foremost, never get complacent. Dedicate time every 6 months to reevaluate your current tools and research what is new in the market. Watch how your team utilizes your current toolkit, and understand where the gaps are and what can be optimized.
From there, work with your team to identify tools in the market that could help with these gaps, or even better, tools that could streamline more processes and lead to a smaller toolkit altogether.
From there, test new tools. Make this part of your team’s goals so that adoption occurs, and ensure that they see these new tools in the right light. As we move towards a more automated world, end users are often scared of a tool that replaces what they do. We often hear worries that the tool won’t do it as well as them.
But at the end of the day, the goal is to have your employees doing more critical, strategic initiatives vs. the repetitive tasks that automation can cover. Yes, they might be able to do it better, but it’s not the best use of their time or the best way for them to provide value to the company.
New technology should work for your team, give them more flexibility, and provide a more analytical view of what’s working and what’s not, allowing for faster optimization.