Meet inploi — The Company Building the Hiring Infrastructure for the Global Economy

By David Thompson

Oct 25, 2023 09:48 PM EDT

inploi co-founder & CEO Matt de la Hey (left) with co-founder & CTPO Alex Hanson-Smith(inploi co-founder & CEO Matt de la Hey (left) with co-founder & CTPO Alex Hanson-Smith) (Credit: Getty Image)

We spoke to Matt de la Hey, co-founder and CEO of inploi, the UK-based candidate experience platform.

What does inploi do differently from other start-ups in human capital management (HCM) / HR tech?

inploi is focused specifically on helping customers to deliver a world-class candidate experience. Our software overhauls the 'front end' of the hiring journey. We help brands reach their candidate audiences by optimizing the experience of finding and applying for a job. We make the process as accessible and frictionless as possible while also helping brands to analyze and improve their conversion rates. Our SaaS platform is designed to integrate with enterprise Applicant Tracking Systems (ATSs), helping HR teams maximize their utility and effectiveness. We are a first mover at the forefront of this market.

Which industries does inploi consider most ripe for disruption when it comes to talent attraction?

Everyone! Seriously though, the entire economy needs to overhaul how people access and apply for job opportunities. The importance of a cutting-edge user experience is taken for granted (nearly) everywhere else. But for some reason, the 'candidate experience' has been left behind, which is absurd.

In the short term, however, we're focussing our go-to-market activity on sectors that hire large volumes of people on an ongoing basis, like hospitality, travel and tourism, retail, healthcare, construction and logistics, etc. These sectors typically have relatively high levels of labor turnover and need to be able to scale their candidate attraction up and down with agility.

To do that effectively, companies have to address three areas of their talent attraction and hiring: how they reach (the right) audiences, what they say to them/ how they portray themselves, and the experience of interacting with a brand's digital real estate once they're interested. They are often using legacy technology to try and achieve these outcomes, which it just cannot do in this labor market, which is where inploi comes in!

You've previously alluded to 'a great reset' in the jobs market. How would you describe this?

The post-pandemic global economy has not behaved how economic orthodoxy suggests it should have. The labor market has behaved in equally curious and unpredictable ways. One indisputable thing, however, is that it has become really hard for employers to find the people they are looking for to fill their job vacancies and operate at full capacity.

The 'Great Reset' is a phrase coined to try and make sense of myriad factors that have caused that—some important trends representing both opportunities we're leaning into and challenges we're working to overcome. These include an aging workforce across the West, long-term ill who have left the labor market, an influx of Gen-Z workers who have fundamentally different values and expectations of the workplace, and an economy whose skills requirement is moving beneath our feet.

The pace of this change is remarkable, and a lot of companies have been left behind. Those who lean in and make necessary changes to their approach, however, are the ones who will get ahead. We see this as an opportunity to reimagine and rebuild the jobs market with more agile technology, better fit for purpose, and foster accessibility and inclusivity.

Why is inploi targeting US expansion?

Expanding into the US is a strategically important goal for inploi. The US economy is vast, with a high concentration of large enterprises with high volume hiring needs. They speak English, and while incredibly diverse, it is a homogeneous market. We also think it is under (poorly)-served when it comes to enterprise HR technology. It is, therefore, an obvious market in which to deploy the inploi platform.

The US labor market is also historically tight—in fact, both the UK and the US now have more job openings to fill than available workers.

Why is this? And what are the similarities and differences between the US and UK markets?

In both markets, a combination of supply shocks—amplified by the political and demographic trends—are leading to structural and persistent labor shortages.  Companies in sectors with high volume and ongoing hiring needs most acutely feel this. Increased competition for workers has resulted in a growing cost per hire on the one hand and a huge opportunity cost of unfilled positions on the other.

According to the UK's Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development, 47% of employers have hard-to-fill vacancies, while 60% report that talent has become harder to find. The picture is similar in the US. According to data from the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, approximately 45% of employers in the U.S. reported experiencing difficulties in finding qualified talent to fill job vacancies. Additionally, the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) has reported that a significant percentage of small business owners struggled to find qualified workers for their job openings.

A key difference—it probably goes without saying—is just how massive the US economy is. The scale there is just something else. The labor market is also a lot more fluid. Our product is well prepared for that sort of environment, though, and we're mega excited by it.

We're also favorably positioned to enter the market through some existing clients who already have a presence there.

What technologies are most vital to improving the hiring process?

Right now, most HR/talent acquisition/people teams do not have the right technology to reach and attract the people they need. They're trying to eat soup with a fork—or taking a sword to a gunfight. They're using the approaches and tools of the past to try and solve new challenges in a different context.

That starts with how and where they are trying to reach people using outdated distribution methods to target legacy audiences. These issues are compounded by clunky candidate experiences and friction-full application processes that destroy conversion rates and the return on talent acquisition investment. Perhaps most importantly, limited data and analytics mean that companies have very little insight into what is working/ where they need to improve.

To do that effectively, at a very high level, companies need a tool for programmatic (rules-based) job distribution, sponsoring jobs on a pay-for-performance basis, sponsored social media campaign capabilities, a conversion-optimized front end, careers pages and application processes that deliver an ultra-smooth candidate experience, and comprehensive, objective performance analytics that tracks it all.  And then they need an ATS (applicant tracking software)!

Who stands to benefit the most from improved hiring infrastructure?

Improved hiring infrastructure will impact the entire labor market, making the economy more efficient and productive. Research from the World Economic Forum highlights that efficient matching of talent to jobs could boost global GDP by $11.5 trillion by 2025. But behind those numbers are real people doing one of the most fundamental things in life—looking for and finding employment. Improved—easier to use and more accessible—hiring infrastructure makes that a more fulfilling and easy-to-execute task. On the flip side, employers benefit from cost savings, reduced labor turnover, and get access to a more diverse talent pool. Ultimately, society gains as more efficient hiring processes lead to lower unemployment rates and stronger economic growth.

Where do you see the company in 10 years?

Having found product market fit and tasted profitability, we have spent the last months working very hard to build our go-to-market function and lay the foundations to support rapid scale.

Cutting to the chase, we're on a mission to build the hiring infrastructure for the global economy. In 10 years, inploi will be a truly global business at the forefront of innovation in HCM technology. See you there!

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