We sat down with Colm O'Cuinneain, General Manager of EMEA for Greenhouse, to talk about our company’s international expansion and impact on the customers we serve. Colm has been leading the Greenhouse Dublin team, based out of our company’s first international office, since joining in August 2019.
What first brought you to Greenhouse?
I could see how Greenhouse was taking the market by storm, having a real impact on how companies hire and gaining new customers quickly. When I was asked to be interviewed for Greenhouse, what struck me was that everyone was really prepared and organized. I got to ask smart, structured questions, I got feedback at every stage and I went, wow, this is not the norm. I wanted to help other companies do this and other candidates to have the same experience. So the experience as a Greenhouse candidate essentially made me even more interested in joining the organization.
In 2020, Greenhouse received over 50 million job applications worldwide and recently passed 1 million managed applications in Ireland, just eight months after the Dublin office opened. What do you think makes Greenhouse stand out, globally?
Most companies, as they expand globally, acquire customers that look like them already. The big difference with us, as we move in-region, is that we start to broaden the types of customers that we serve – such as breweries and agritech – and, with that, we expand our ability to help even more companies become great at hiring.
We've also localized our product into numerous languages, including Spanish, German, Italian and French. We’ve also expanded our live chat to include more time zones. By offering these localized options, we’re able to reach customers where they are and help them get better at hiring that much more effectively.
When talking to prospects and customers, the first thing they say is that we’re way ahead in terms of structured hiring, which is really about making smarter more informed decisions. Another really important area is candidate experience. Greenhouse enables our customers to provide a better candidate experience every step of the way – for example, we have a candidate survey built into our product that enables our customers to hear direct feedback and improve because of it.
Our Greenhouse Hiring Maturity methodology also ensures we’re helping our customers become progressively better at hiring over time. There are no silver bullets in hiring – it’s about doing lots of foundational things very well. And if you do that, you get into a virtuous cycle where it just gets better and better, building more trust and credibility and of course more repeatable, scalable, structured processes internally. When companies build great predictability in terms of how they hire, they can achieve their business goals more effectively as a result.
How has expanding our team led to our own business growth?
We serve all of Europe, the Middle East and Africa from Dublin, as well as a considerable number of customers in APAC and India. We already had over 500 customers in Europe when I joined – our customers love working with us and get great support. But there are still practical differences when you're working across time zones and regions. Having that cultural knowledge, serving materials in local languages and providing faster response times for support all tie into that.
But there’s another element, when we're doing things like executive business reviews with customers, where local teams have a closer affinity to the market and to the unique recruitment industry demands in that marketplace. For me, that's the key difference that I see in terms of what our customers expect.
We've seen great reviews in G2 Crowd from our customers saying they’re really happy with what's happening with the Greenhouse product. Those same customers make a point to mention that it’s the people that are working alongside them in Europe who are also making the difference. That's the foundational work that we're doing and it’s great to see.
The Greenhouse brand embraces authenticity. Do you see global expansion and localized teams as representative of that value?
Oh, one hundred percent. Being authentic informs our messaging and product strategy and broadens how we look at the world. For example, the first thing that I did when I joined was visit customer listing sessions with a number of key customers of various sizes, from enterprise to mid-market and small, in every geography just to get an understanding of how everything was working for them.
In certain markets, like recently for the German market, we conducted a focus group specifically focused on our customers in that market. Again, we do this just to get our customers’ unique insights and perspectives into the world of recruiting in that region versus how we see things in the US. For example, the world of DE&I is different in each European country and has its own unique challenges. And that's something that we need to be conscious of as we scale globally.
What’s unique about the hiring process for businesses in Ireland?
It really depends on the segment those businesses are in. For example, we have a lot of customers in tech segments – and there is a real war for talent in that market. Tech companies are looking for very specific skills, whether it's engineering or people with unique language skills, because a lot of companies serve their European customer base out of Dublin. Sourcing and hiring those candidates can take a bit more time. And then you also have the challenge of large, multinational tech companies competing for talent in the same space.
What are some universal truths about hiring right now?
I think everybody realizes that to succeed in business, you need to hire good people. But some companies are more effective at this than others. At Greenhouse, we talk about the Hiring Maturity curve, where some companies are very sophisticated at hiring and others aren't. Oftentimes, people can come in and hire based on gut feelings, rather than on data and insights, which doesn’t allow for an effective or scaleable hiring process.
Additionally, candidate experience tends to vary widely from company to company. Everybody gets that it’s important, such as understanding that candidate reviews go on Glassdoor and so on, but some companies become truly great at it. Good employers tend to build and nurture relationships with candidates and prospects over the long term. That's certainly one key way in which to be able to hire successfully. The structured hiring and candidate relationship management (CRM) solutions that Greenhouse provides really help our customers do that.
What’s your best advice for a company looking to hire today?
If your company is looking to hire, whether locally or globally, the first thing you need to do is really identify what skills you're looking for and where those pools of talent are. It's also really important for you to know what your unique employer brand is offering to your current employees and to be able to articulate that in all of your hiring channels.
The key to all of this is that with the right technology, any company, regardless of business size, will be able to come across as professional and organized – even against some of the more famous multinational companies out there. There's data out there showing that more people want to work in small and medium-sized companies where they can really make a difference and find a role that’s meaningful to them.
Lastly, don’t forget that there are tons of people out there who don’t get found by companies because they haven't gone to a specific school or don’t fit into the traditional mold that companies have historically hired from. Companies that really broaden their minds and find ways of identifying those highly motivated people with potential and transferable skills will only add to their success. And there are so many ways that you can test for that potential using technology.
About Colm O'Cuinneain
Colm is the General Manager of EMEA for Greenhouse, leading expansion from our EMEA HQ in Dublin, Ireland. He brings over 20 years of tech industry experience, the last seven of which have been in the HR tech space.Along with building hyper-growth organisations, Colm is passionate about making a positive impact on both the career development of individuals he works with, and customer relationships. His personal values mirror Greenhouse’s mission, which involves unlocking the power of human potential at work.