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Hiring Teams Are More Sophisticated than Ever. Shouldn’t Their Tools Be? An Interview with the CEO & Founder of Ashby

Hiring teams today face an ever-changing landscape amidst rapidly shifting markets, organizational needs and hiring demands. To keep up with demand while facing the challenges present in a market downturn, talent teams are turning their focus to the efficiency of their recruiting operations while navigating the expectations of a modern workforce.

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Jan 17, 2024
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Last updated on Jan 30, 2023

Hiring teams today face an ever-changing landscape amidst rapidly shifting markets, organizational needs and hiring demands. Many companies are reducing headcount across functional areas, often including reductions in talent and recruiting roles, while at the same time seeking top talent in critical areas where competition remains high.  To keep up with demand while facing the challenges present in a market downturn, talent teams are turning a focus to efficiency of their recruiting operations while navigating the expectations of a modern workforce. Recruiting teams eager to optimize their processes and win top talent in their pipeline need tools to keep up with the goals of their organization.

At PeopleTech Partners (PTP), we’ve continued to see the rise in both the need for solutions for recruiting operations as well as an increase in innovations designed to deliver efficiency focused tools that not only save  time and money, but also keep track of talent data in real time. 

PeopleTech Partners portfolio company, Ashby, provides platform that empowers talent teams to run world-class recruiting processes with actionable analytics, built-in best practices, and an all-in-one solution that removes the need for add-ons. The impact for organizations leveraging a tool like Ashby is real-time reliable data, a consistently great candidate and recruiter experience, and a single source of truth across teams.

As the PTP Growth Program lead, I partner with Founders participating in the exclusive PeopleTech quarterly Growth Program, which provides insights, feedback and evangelism in the WorkTech industry. I recently sat down with Benji Encz, CEO and Founder of Ashby, for a conversation about the integrated solution his team is designed to help companies of all sizes excel at hiring. 

Benji, What got you interested in the Talent Space?

At my previous company I transitioned into an Engineering Leadership role and spent 80% of my time recruiting. Engineering hiring was the number one priority for the business. I ended up taking on Recruiting Ops projects, even though I was on an engineering team, because we wanted access to better reporting, scheduling automation, etc. As I worked through that, I saw many limitations in existing products. Given how important hiring was to the company, I felt that the current tools didn’t meet our needs. And so I watched this space for more than two years before I considered starting Ashby. 

My Co-Founder and I talked to about 100 companies to verify that other talent teams were seeing the same issues. At that point, we were convinced that there is an excellent opportunity to build a new product from scratch to address all of the shifts in how talent teams operate today and to support them in all of their new responsibilities.

Because of those shifts, who is benefiting from Ashby now as it is described as an All-in-One recruiting platform?

In general, if you look at the last generation of ATS products, they've been around in the category for a long time. Our view is that hiring has changed - mostly in the past five years or so when talent teams have become a lot more sophisticated; recruiting operations is now a function that a lot of high-growth companies and their previous generation of tools hasn’t kept up with that change. 

And so there are a few components to that. One is that we offer powerful reporting and metrics. And we've seen talent teams care about that as they operationalize hiring more and use data to inform their processes. But we also found that over these last couple of years, many companies had to buy several point solutions and combine that with some in-house tooling to arrive at a complete offering. As we were rebuilding these products from scratch for modern talent teams, we decided to bundle a lot of functionality into a single product. That gives our customers sourcing and outreach, scheduling automation, classic ATS features, and robust reporting in a single tool. And that resonates strongly with companies that have are aiming to excel at every step of the hiring process.

You built Ashby mostly in stealth. How does it feel to offer this more broadly?

It's great. A big reason behind that strategy was that we had a pretty ambitious product vision from the beginning. We wanted to build our product for mid-market companies and be able to displace three to four different tools. That took a long time to build up. The goal was to have a powerful initial impression in the market when we launched. That has worked, and it's great to see that our patience has paid off and now we’re able to talk about the product more publicly. And we are able to continue to drive the product roadmap forward quickly because we spent so much time getting the foundation right.

How is Ashby changing the experience of recruiting within high-growth organizations?

As mentioned a bit earlier, the talent function has undergone a huge shift over the last 5-10 years. Every year has added new requirements and challenges that talent teams need to address. 

The origin of that shift is the increase in competitiveness in the talent market, which started in about 2012 with a significant increase in venture funding. Obviously, we are temporarily in a different state right now, with widespread layoffs within the tech industry. However, we’re confident that the long running trends are here to stay. Companies are putting a stronger focus on talent. Hiring and retaining top talent is challenging.

Topics like outbound recruiting & sourcing, DEI, capacity & headcount planning, data driven decision making, candidate experience and overall hiring efficiency have come into focus in the last couple of years.

In short, Ashby helps companies achieve hiring excellence, which means strong performance across all of the areas I just mentioned. Ashby was built to address all of these additional demands placed on the talent function and we had the benefit of architecting the product for this new landscape.

Operationally minded talent teams can use Ashby to bring structure to their hiring process, measure every step of it, add automation across scheduling and candidate communication, run and measure their sourcing strategy. And they can do all of that in a single product.

Could you tell me some examples of companies using Ashby?

We have organizations using us across all different stages. From early stage startups to public companies. For example, Deel started using Ashby when they had 20 employees and has now grown to over 2,000.

Since our public launch last September, many later-stage companies such as Ironclad, Fullstory, and Docker switched to us and consolidated a number of recruiting tools in the process.

What are some of the immediate benefits organizations see when they start using  Ashby?

One of the immediate improvements folks find when starting to work with Ashby is better access to their recruiting data. That in turn allows our customers to derive insights and adjust their hiring process.

Beyond that they see a lower cost of maintaining a more fragmented recruiting tech stack and onboarding team members onto it. A lot of our customers would have to train Recruiters on 3-4 different tools to get them up to speed; with Ashby new team members find everything in one place.

On a high level, customers that fully adopt Ashby are enabled to build out their processes with a “recruiting operations mindset”, bringing structure, data, and automation to their workflows,  which improves every aspect of the hiring process.

How is Ashby still changing, and what are you excited about in the future?

We pride ourselves on delivering a large amount of meaningful product updates for our customers. At the same time we’re also very agile in how we plan our roadmap and stay really close to our customers. For example, towards the end of 2022 pay transparency became an increasingly relevant topic for our customers; a few weeks later we shipped a major release to support our customers on this front and the reception has been great.

While I won’t be able to get into roadmap specifics here, I’m excited to continue delivering significant product improvements, quickly, with the help of our amazing customers and the broader TA community.

If you want to learn more about Ashby you can visit http://ashbyhq.com/. Under “Get in Touch” you’ll be able to book a time directly on our calendars to chat.

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