Firefishhead922x200In recruitment, we have become used to technology that performs at least some of the tasks we need, and then trying to match that solution with other technology we might use, to fill the gaps. In an industry which once relied entirely on paper based systems, we have always been keen to use tech solutions to automate mundane tasks, and thereby leave individual recruiters free to focus on the skills which set them apart from their competitors. We have used technology to guide otherwise average recruiters to be as effective and as efficient as the very best, by following prescribed processes, prompting them to perform essential tasks, and reminding them to do key jobs, when they need to be done. Recruiters can grow to love and loathe these systems at the same time. Often maverick in nature, many recruiters seek to game these systems, in order to get the most out, for the least amount of input.

Recruitment technology firms have often had to wrestle with this dilemma; ultimately delivering a fairly rigid system which follows a strict and logical process, whilst marketing it as infinitely configurable and customisable. It is fashionable to say the “We’re different” tag, which all recruitment agencies use to describe themselves, is a fallacy, when in fact they’re all the same. The truth is that there are so many variables from individual recruiters, to agency owners, clients, candidates, market sectors, locations etc etc that it’s almost impossible to specify a definitively correct process for every situation. What is undeniably true, is that a non-recruiter would find it virtually impossible to design a recruitment CRM that feels right to an experienced practitioner in our industry.

Recruitment technology providers have another fundamental problem, which often masquerades as a competitive advantage. Legacy products are the greatest drag on any tech provider, from Microsoft and Apple, right through to recruitment CRM and website developers. Gauging the extent to which older customers will accept (and pay for) new developments and platforms is very difficult. Supporting older products, whilst designing to attract new clients is not easy, and really holds back suppliers who aren’t then free to develop new technology from scratch.

Firefishmob147x275Having researched this sector recently, I can wholeheartedly recommend Firefish Software as meeting these essential requirements more closely than any other provider. Firstly, and crucially, Firefish is the product of one of Scotland’s most successful recruiters in recent years. Before establishing her own IT recruitment firm, Wendy McDougall, was the top biller at Melville Craig/ Hudson, so knows precisely what is required for both frontline recruiters, their managers and agency owners.  On first using the Firefish product, it is immediately apparent that this has been designed from the ground-up by someone with an intimate knowledge of the professional recruitment industry.

Discarding the baggage of legacy CRM products, Firefish starts with the logical premise that the storefront of a modern recruitment agency is their website itself. Moreover, that your website must be an integral part of your CRM, and the central medium to attracting and communicating with candidates. Firefish learned early on that by doing so, and opening the doors to ongoing direct communication makes a significant difference to the activity and engagement levels with registered jobseekers. If you imagine a typical agency might have a database of say 30,000 candidates registered over a 5 year period. Of that 30k, only 20% could be described as active, engaged with the agency and open to job opportunities. Firefish can now demonstrate that their system can directly lead to the development of a distinctly active and engaged talent pool of over 70% of that same database.

If you take the view, and I do, that everything leads back to your own recruitment database, then it makes sense that this is done directly via your own website. All activities external to your own site are therefore channels through which your targeted candidates will travel. This includes all advertising on job boards, social media platforms, trade magazine job boards, job alerts and email campaigns. By using the short customised URL for every vacancy for all external activity, you ensure that candidates register and apply directly into your recruitment CRM, where their information is immediately parsed, categorised and matched to any outstanding vacancies.  For applications and client correspondence received by email, Firefish provide a genius Outlook plugin, which couldn’t be simpler to use.

FirefishCandPortal149x282As is virtually obligatory nowadays, the Firefish CRM and website solution is entirely mobile friendly, and displays perfectly on all mobile devices; not only resizing the content, but adapting the nature of the content, depending on the device used. Mobile Apply via Google+ will also shortly be available to candidates who cannot upload a CV from their mobile phone. It’s reassuring to know that I would still have complete control of the design and content of my website, which is securely hosted by Firefish.  Aside from your own personalised pages and functions, each website has a Candidate and Client Portal. Both providing direct access to the CRM; enabling candidates to access to their profiles, all job applications, and job alerts. Employers also have access to campaigns being run on their behalf, candidates submitted, CV’s and interview schedules.

On my assessment, Firefish is best suited to recruitment agencies from start-up to c.100 recruiters.  As an agency owner, I am especially impressed with the recruiter management, monitoring and tracking tools that are essential to anyone supervising the activities of multiple recruiters in multiple locations. Whilst payroll is not included within Firefish, this solution is well suited to permanent and professional contractor recruitment.

The full feature list is much too long to detail here, but the key Firefish components include:

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Integrate Your Current Website or Build a New Website
Mobile Recruitment Websites
Search Engine Optimisation
Social Sharing Buttons
Shortened URLs for Social


Recruiter Tools

Recruiter-Friendly CMS
Bulk Email
Social Recruiting
Intelligent Matching
Talent Banks
Contract Management
Client CRM
Spec Out CVs
Diary and To Do List
Marketing Lists


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Recruiter Management

ATS & Recruitment Workflow
Dynamic Candidate/Client Categories
Sales Planning
Sales Management
Lead Generation
Flexible User Management
Instant Reports / Bespoke Reports
Sales Projections


Candidate Tools

Candidate Portal
Custom Candidate Registration
Job Alerts
Client Tools
Employer Portal
Employer Branding


Stephen O'Donnell is a lifelong recruiter, internet enthusiast, fadgadget and peripatetic writer.

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