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Interview with Joel Passen of Newton Software

March 11, 2010 Leave a comment
Joel Passen is the co-founder and VP of marketing at Newton Software, an innovative recruiting software and applicant tracking company that is changing the way we recruit.  He shed some light on his product, how it’s different from everything else in the recruiting software space, and how applicant tracking is constantly an evolving field.

[Guru] Joel, thanks for agreeing to the interview.

[Joel] The honor is mine. I read your tweets.

[Guru] You guys claim to have the easiest to use applicant tracking software. Easy-to-use – I hear this all the time. What makes Newton any different?

[Joel] Frankly, most vendors can’t really explain what makes their software easy-to-use. We can. Newton is easy-to-use because it has recruiting DNA built in. This is particularly evident when you look at Newton’s workflow. It’s flexible and is designed to work the way that recruiting works.  So, from day one, our customers get an application that is smart and understands what they are trying to do. This smart, flexible workflow also allows us to enable critical features like automatically tracking EEO and OFCCP data, sending thank you letters to every candidate and providing real-time analytics.

With Newton, on day one, you get a login, get your job listings online, do a short walk-through with one of our product specialists and that’s it- you’re ready to go. Giving Newton to hiring manages is simple too. And, it takes just minutes to get them entirely set up. Tell them to hit the green button if they like someone and the red button if they don’t. They love it and they use it which makes life easier for recruiters.

[Guru] So, you can activate Newton in a day?

To us, easy-to-use translates to easy to activate – easy to get started. We don’t require customers to wade through paperwork or sign their first born away to get started. And, even better, it doesn’t take much training at all to get started with Newton. Recruiters are up and running in an hour and training a hiring manager takes a matter of minutes. We activate 95% of our customers, soup to nuts in less than 24 hours. And, activating Newton is 100% free – no activation or implementation fees. Oh, and we don’t charge for support either.

[Guru] Ok, so what do you charge for?

(laugh) We have tiered pricing plans at Newton and charge for only staffing users. Hiring managers, interviewers, executives and HR stakeholders are all considered general users and we encourage companies to create as many general users as they want for free. And, we never require long-term contracts. Newton is a month to month service, pay as you go. This forces us to earn our customers’ business every month and holds us accountable. We’re forced to provide a stable platform and to continually strive to make Newton better, to be innovative, to listen. We have a saying here: “We design software that we’d want to use and we sell it the way we’d want to buy it.”

[Guru] With this type of model, how do you make money? How do you compete?

Well, my simple answer is that we charge people to use our software Guru. And, we have quite a few customers so we’re doing really well. But, I know what you’re really asking – how can we survive? Listen, we’re pioneering a trend that’s taking place not just in the applicant tracking space but in the software industry as a whole. With the availability of common platforms and open source tools combined with pure internet distribution models, delivering software is getting more efficient every day. Simply put, it’s gotten cheaper to offer better technology and we’ve built our company and business model reflect the times. Plus, we don’t have the baggage that our competitors have, the debt, the huge teams to support, the fancy offices, the tradeshow booths. We don’t need to charge exorbitant prices or charge for training implementation or any of that peripheral stuff that makes buyers weary.

[Guru] What do these new models mean for the recruiting software space?

Well, for the buyers of applicant tracking software, these new trends are great. There’s finally some innovation in the market. It means that software is getting better and less expensive at the same time. Buyers like that. It’s a buyer’s market and it will remain this way.

As for the vendors, this means that they are going to have to find ways to adapt. The competition is going to continue to increase as new vendors come on line offering innovative technology delivered in more economical ways. It’s going to get harder before it gets easier for vendors that aren’t prepared to adapt to the new software economy.

[Guru] So what’s next for Newton Software? Are you guys heading into Talent Management or the HRIS space?

Well, as you know, we just released Newton RPO, a version of Newton designed for recruitment outsourcers. We’ve actually had customers using this edition since 2008 but just recently started to market it. We’re comfortable in the recruiting software space. We know recruiting and there are other opportunities in this space.  Otherwise, we have a full product roadmap for scheduled for Newton for the rest of the year consisting of some really killer new features that continue to focus on improving and simplifying recruiting. Beyond that, we have some plans for a new product that we’re not talking about at the moment. You’ll have to stay tuned.

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What is Modern Software?

March 1, 2010 Leave a comment

You’ve probably heard the term ‘modern’ used to describe a number of software product launches.  Other adjectives that are often inserted in place of ‘modern’ are ‘cutting-edge,’ ‘disruptive’ and ‘high-tech’ to name a few.

A hypothetical example :  “Sport Counter Inc. breaks new ground by releasing a cutting-edge software suite, a disruptive technology that will change the way people count the calories they intake and burn.” Sounds pretty great, huh?

So is all that hype simply the product of marketing departments making the use of their college vocabularies?  Well, the short answer is “yes.” This poses a bit of a problem for the general populous at large:  If every software or technology  is trumpeted as ‘modern’ than how are we supposed to know what’s  good and what isn’t?  Sure, every aware consumer needs to do their homework and find out what the meat behind the marketing is, but it also helps to lay out some ground rules.

So here are a few ground rules on what a business or consumer user should be looking for in their  ‘modern software’ “:

1.  Modern Software is online

At this point, all software should be working online in some shape or form.   If a software is called ‘modern’ but requires a hard-disk installation, it is definitely a misuse of the word.    New technology can work ‘in the cloud’ and pull data from a number of resources which makes accessibility easy whether on-the-go, at home or in the office.

2.  Modern Software promotes collaboration

Enough with software that runs in a cave and forces us to work in a cave.  Today is an age of social networking:  tweeting, greeting, buzzing, waving, and pretty much any other action you can think of that lets people share data with one another.  Whether your modern software is a business or consumer tool, it should make the most of the new collective mindset:  collaboration is king.

3.  Modern Software makes us work LESS

Sure, you can find some new software with a billion bells and whistles – features for everything you could ever imagine to ‘make your experience better.’  The one question that should be important to you is : does it make things easier? (especially for business software users)  Modern Software makes you do less, for more.  Modern Software solves a problem by making a goal or task easier or more efficient.

4.  Modern Software gives you feedback

Not only do we not want to be working in a cave, we also don’t want to be working in a vacuum with no feedback whatsoever. The old way of doing things is pushing forward towards a goal without analyzing the data along the way. The new way of doing things should be to use precise collected data to adapt and solve a problem. Your modern software should have an analytics feature that allows you to examine everything you’ve been doing and make it better the next time around.

5.  Modern Software is Easy

Unless you are flying satellites (which should be easy as well), Modern Software should be quite intuitive.    Especially for corporate software users, it makes sense if someone can be trained to use a software suite in a minimal amount of time.  The longer it takes for someone to figure out a piece of software, the harder it will be to repeat the training process.

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