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Putting The Power Of Precise Recruiting Technology In The Hands Of Candidates And Recruiters.

Podcast interview with Brin McCagg, President of OneWire

Brin McCagg, President OneWireBrin McCagg

"We believe that a company's greatest asset is its people, and our matching technology makes it easier than ever for employers to fill their opportunities by connecting with the most qualified people."

"Recruit Smarter. Get OneWired! Attract, hire and develop the right talent on a single platform." That's what it says right here on the home page of, in big letters, too.

This is Peter Clayton with an Online Strategy Channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio. Joining me today in New York is the co-founder and president of OneWire, Brin McCagg. I had the good fortune to meet Brin at the recent SourceCon Conference at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta.

Brin McCagg TotalPicture Interview Transcript

Welcome to TotalPicture Radio, the podcast for career advancement, leadership development, business trends and innovation. We produced broadcast quality interviews that will link your company to your customers, prospects, employees, and passive candidates. Working with press credentials, TotalPicture Radio covers many leadership, HR, and recruiting conferences and events throughout the year. Through our unique highly targeted podcast interviews, TotalPicture Radio can extend the conference, continue the conversation, provide valuable content and information for our sponsors.

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That's what it says right here on the homepage of and big letters too.

Joining me today in New York is the co-founder and president of OneWire, Brin McCagg. I had the good fortune to meet Brin at the recent SourceCon Conference at the Georgia Aquarium in Atlanta, Georgia.

Brin, welcome to TotalPicture Radio.

Brin: Thanks Peter. It's good to be here and yes, that was a quite an impressive aquarium in Atlanta.

Peter: Sit there and eat lunch and watch Beluga whales, you don't see that very often.

Brin: That was pretty neat.

Peter: Before we talk about OneWire, tell us a little bit about your perception from the SourceCon Conference, what were your some of your takeaways.

Brin: This was the first year we went to SourceCon. I wasn't familiar with the conference, but I estimated there's about 250 people there. We went down definitely to network and present our single platform recruiting solution, and it was a great conference for us. We had three people there. We definitely had lots of lively discussions, kind of nonstop from dawn to dusk. There were a lot of recruiters there, a lot of senior people within the HR department, so for us it was a very good sort of intimate conference, nonstop. Literally from breakfast to drinks after dinner, we were kind of interacting so it was a good two days, very good two days.

Peter: Great. OneWire headline: recruit smarter, get One Wired, attract hire and develop the right talent on the single platform. Can you unpack this for us? What does this all mean?

Brin: The traditional recruiting model obviously has been challenged. There are sort of antiquated systems by which firms source candidates, sort through them and then administer the recruiting process, and they build lots of databases and systems aren't integrated and most people would say that their recruiting process could be more efficient and cost less and find better matches and reduce the time. That's our goal is to improve all of those metrics.

What we've developed is a single platform cloud-based SaaS application where firms can come in and they can do their sourcing on one application and candidates come in and they build their profiles and they build one profile, which they can use to manage their career for life and stay connected to that company but also to other companies. And those firms, internal recruiters can administer sort of every step of the recruiting process but they can also administer CRM work (candidate relationship management) staying in touch with candidates that are in the ecosystem. They can also, as candidates are hired, start to build a real talent pipeline that's internal to their firm and again, use that same platform and the same structured search criteria to find internal people for redeployment and referral.

The idea is to provide a streamlined single instance application that eliminates a lot of applications and one candidate database that they're working off of that's highly searchable.

Peter: I think that's really interesting because when I go to these conferences and I talk to HR and recruiting professionals, the point of paying for most to these folks is all the disparate systems that they have to deal with out there. Nothing is in one bucket, so to speak, and everybody seems to be running things off of their own silos on Excel spreadsheets.

Brin: That's exactly right. People have ATS's, which nobody is really happy with, they buy candidate relationship management tools (CRM tools) to fill in some of the feature gaps and develop pipelines. They try with talent mobility tools and talent management tools, and all these systems just are unintegrated and lead to a lot of frustration and inefficiency.

Peter: Let's go back to your homepage for just a second. You have two doors, door #1 is for employers and door #2 is for candidates. Let's go in door #1, tell me a little bit what I'll see when I go into door #1, the employer door.

Brin: It is truly a two-sided application so we are really in a sense working to please both sides of the equation and provide better matches and a more efficient process. In door #1, the firm side, firms can come in, they can set up all of their recruiters in an HR department and sort of very efficiently source candidates, sort them and administer every step of the recruiting process and since it's a single platform those recruiters, there's a deep level of collaboration. Recruiters can have visibility to what their peers are doing. They can really measure their results against their peers and also industry averages, things like time to hire, cost to hire, sources of candidates and also turnover metrics - all in one platform. So it provides a lot of efficiency and reduction of time and cost for the recruiter.

On the candidate side, the candidates come in to the ecosystem and they find out about OneWire really through the way jobs are distributed. Firms use the OneWire platform to distribute jobs out to job boards, networking sites, campuses, headhunters, any method you would normally get candidates you can push those jobs out from the OneWire platform. The candidates find those jobs, apply in, but they're applying into the OneWire ecosystem. A couple of unique things.

One, we give them a number of tools to port their LinkedIn profile or upload a résumé and the data is parsed. But we ask them a lot more questions about their background and about their preferences; anything you could tell a headhunter, you could tell the OneWire site, which all becomes searchable criteria. This becomes a powerful and ongoing career management tool for the candidates. So when they come in, they're not just applying to one firm. They can build their profile and they set their preferences where they want to go, what firms they want to connect with and they have a tool now to help them confidentially manage their career for life.

Peter: And this is totally free for the candidate?

Brin: It's totally free for the candidates and we just charge the firms an annual enterprise license fee per year per user.

Peter: I just had the benefit of seeing a demo going through both the candidate and the employer side. One thing I thought that was really interesting, there's a button in there for internal candidates, so I'm assuming that you're looking for your employer clients to actually encourage their employees to use OneWire as a way of managing their careers internally because as you said it's so granular. You can put in there what languages you know, if you're in an IT or high tech position, every language you know, every computer code you know can go into this thing. It's really robust.

Brin: Yeah. There's definitely a very precise set of search criteria that allows recruiters to match up with relevant candidates and eliminate a lot of noise very quickly. And as they hire candidates those candidates again, they keep their profile and the candidate is always in control of their profile. Once they're hired, they automatically go into the private ecosystem with that company and also the companies can invite their employees that have already been hired into the private OneWire ecosystem for the benefit of that company and increasingly that company can use that pool and target that pool for targeted search, for redeployments, and to administer a cash bounty program if they do for referrals. That's one of the big transformations that OneWire provides is over time, it really changes the composition of where you get your candidates from because increasingly you're getting them from the overall OneWire database and increasingly you're getting them from your own employees as more and more of them have profiles on OneWire. That becomes really one of the biggest benefits because you start to de-emphasize some of the more inefficient, costly time-consuming sources of candidates like headhunters, and start to really get those better fits and better matches and reduce the time and all that with internal candidates and other candidates in the OneWire ecosystem.

Peter: I think that's a really important point that you make because we both know that when you look at the statistics of source of hire, at least 30 percent in most companies are internal hires. So the more they have their own employees within this OneWire database and have those participating within OneWire, it seems to make it much more efficient.

Brin: Yeah, it does. It definitely does make it much more efficient for both the candidates and the firms, which is important. We're trying to provide efficiency on both sides of the equation and eliminate a lot of noise and a lot of the back and forth.

Peter: Speaking about headhunters, your partner in starting OneWire was an executive search person. Correct? Tell us a little bit about the startup of OneWire, how long you've been in business and sort of the genesis of this whole thing.

Brin: I started my career in finance and then this is my third. I left that fairly early on and this is my third startup. I've been friends with my partners, Skiddy von Stade for over 20 years. For about 18 years, he was in the executive recruiting business and about three years ago, he came to me with the initial idea here of starting this application. In close collaboration with some of his top clients, including firms like Goldman Sachs and others, we went down and really whiteboarded what we thought was a better recruiting resolution and launched it and went about starting to build it, sort of launched the application about two years ago. It's never done, so it's evolving very quickly and we still are building a lot of critical features within the application and it's getting better and better. So we've had a great run and are expecting good things.

Peter: What about funding, where have you gotten your money for this startup?

Brin: We were sort of lucky enough to go out and get a unique source of funding due to some contacts we had in the industry and because we were sort of calling upon top executives and top financial firms. We were able to raise $32 million of seed capital from a 101 individuals...

Peter: That's a nice number, 101. You could write a book with that.

Brin: The 101 Dalmatians and 101 investors... and they all are top executives at top firms. They are name brand people that took a look at this and thought it was really a very compelling story and decided to put a little bit of money individually. We were well-funded and funded by a very intelligent and supportive and helpful group of folks.

Peter: I'm imagining that when you started this a lot of the focus initially was in financial services and Wall Street types of jobs. Is that correct?

Brin: Yes it is. Due to our contacts in finance and Skiddy's prior headhunting firm was focused on the financial services sector and obviously our location in New York, finance was naturally the first industry we went after for better or worse. I say that because we've now got over 200 clients using the application in various levels, so that's great. But finance is a challenging industry to sell into for a number of reasons. (1) The big firms have lots of compliance issues and are very slow to move, (2) the hedge funds and private equity firms are very used to the very high touch services of headhunters, and (3) we've obviously been in cyclical downturn. The last couple of years have been a very tough time for finance, which has been mostly in contracting, but despite that, we've made some good progress, certainly built a brand and gotten a lot of feedback on the application.

We are now at this moment aggressively expanding into other verticals and going to go into every industry as quickly as possible and sort of go methodically industry by industry, starting with the most closely related industries of insurance, consulting, accounting, technology but then very quickly just expanding into other verticals. Our application definitely has a universal appeal.

Peter: I'm going to return to your homepage one more time because there's another large graphic on your page, which links to a January 2010 Business Week article with the headline, "America's Most Promising Startups", and that article has a bunch of statistics in there and of course those are from 2010. I would love for you to update some of these numbers for us. Now you just mentioned that you have around 200 clients now, back in 2010 it was 100 client companies, and the article references 50,000 perspective employee profiles. How many employee profiles do you have at this point?

Brin: We now have over quarter of million candidates or profiles on the site that are candidate maintained, and those candidates have all come in due to firm side sourcing activity and yes, we have over 200 firms as customers. We've made some very good progress and continue to grow quite nicely.

Peter: In January of this year, you announced the vendor management system. Can you explain what that is all about.

Brin: In building out an end-to-end solutions, there's lots of features and functionality needed and vendor management was one of them. Our clients are looking to use this as the HR system of record need all applicants coming into the firm in one system for reporting reasons, for OFCCP compliance reasons and other reasons. We took it upon ourselves to go design and build in close collaboration with our customers a vendor management piece so that a recruiter or set of recruiters can invite their headhunters, whichever ones they're using, to contribute résumés or profiles into the workflow of a project. We launched that and we think it's absolutely the best of breed in terms of its workflow and features and functionality, and I'm very excited about that new application.

Peter: Are you looking to disintermediate the ATS's out there and the job boards?

Brin: Job boards or a source of candidates, so we do have a job distribution function that allows the recruiters that are using our application to post market jobs to LinkedIn and Monster and CareerBuilders and pretty much every job board that's out there on an ala carte basis. That's great, that's great synergy, so to speak. But there is some disintermediation over time as firm use the application, more and more candidates are on OneWire.

In terms of the applicant tracking system, yes we are definitely a full ATS, so firms do not need a traditional ATS, which we think has some fundamental flaws in our application. We are looking to replace that and become the HR system of record where they would source from a lot of great sources and then administer them through to the OneWire ecosystem all the way up through on-boarding and hiring.

Peter: When we were both down in Atlanta at SourceCon, it was announced that Oracle had bought Taleo, and we're seeing so much consolidation in the space, in the HRIS space particularly, in December SAP bought SuccessFactors and then they turned right around bought Jobs2Web. Do you think that there's going to be more of this kind of consolidation in the industry?

Brin: The two big ERP companies obviously made their play and brought in to the ATS space and for the Fortunes sort of 500, that's probably a good move for them. Those big companies are focused on the Fortune sort of 500, Fortune 1000. I do think they'll be a continued consolidation as people are looking for less and less vendors and sort of more comprehensive solution suites, but I do think it presents some very unique opportunities for us because as Oracle has focused on integrating PeopleSoft and probably focused predominantly on their enterprise side of their business, the business edition, I would imagine is going to get somewhat orphaned which is their product for the smaller market, for the mid market and that's our sweet spot.

We're looking to penetrate the market after sort of the Fortune 1000 and from sort of 1000 to 10,000. We think we have a unique solution and unique value proposition. So with those companies sort of tied up at the big end of the market, I think this is a really good opportunity for us.

Peter: What are some of your projections this year? You're sort of like a canary in the coalmine, so to speak, because with what you're doing you're able to track how many job reqs are coming into your system, what kind of activity is going on with candidates and offers. Are you seeing an uptick?

Brin: We're sort of a canary in the coalmine, but I would only caution that because we have about 200 firms, we're only seeing a small slice of the US economy. Historically, we have been mostly focused in the financial sector. So we're not sort of a broad spectrum yet, although we're getting into those other verticals.

From our current clients, we are seeing some growth, particularly in back office positions, compliance positions and IT positions. IT is definitely a hot growth area. We're also seeing quite a bit of growth in the wealth management and money management side of the business. In the financial vertical, we're seeing that. We're definitely seeing at the conferences and with companies we're having initial conversations with in some of the other industry verticals, they're hiring at a pretty descent levels.

I think hiring is ... I certainly wouldn't want to declare a victory and that we're in a robust recovery but I think the worse days are sort of behind us, at least for the non-financial sectors. I think there might still be some trouble ahead in some of the traditional corporate finance and other trading areas just because those firms are suffering from more and more regulations, which are going to limit their growth.

Peter: If I'm a candidate and I'm interested in going on to OneWire and in putting my information and as you mentioned, I can control the privacy of that and who gets to see that. Am I able to see what companies are part of the OneWire network?

Brin: Yes, there are sort of two ways you can do that. There is a way you can go on and look for the future jobs on OneWire and scroll through and search and there's sort of very powerful set of search criteria to find jobs and match up and then you can go express interest and you can see who the perspective employer is under that scenario. But it's not really designed to be a traditional job board where you go out instead of search, it's more of a matchmaking site. The more powerful and beneficial tool is for you to build a very detailed profile, let the technology do the work because based on your background experience and your preferences of where you want to work and what you want to do, the search criteria will match you or match jobs to your profile and you'll see those matches like you would on a dating site essentially, and you can express interest and try to work to connect with those recruiters.

Peter: Another interesting feature I saw when I saw your demo is as a candidate I can put in if I'm actively looking for a new position or If I'm a passive candidate and I'm really not interested but just kind of testing the waters out there, which I think is a pretty interesting feature.

Brin: There's so much noise out there and so many sites and so much information going back and forth, we're really approaching this from a different attack. We want a site that's precise, confidential, controlled and list the results because we want people to respond. Response rates we want to be high. Our goal there is to give the candidates a very powerful set of recruiting tools like they would if they had a really good headhunter, where they can tell that site where they want to work, what they want to do in total confidentiality and they can set specific companies they want to work at, they can indicate companies they do not want to connect with and those rules all become powerful search filters to help a candidate and a firm appropriately match.

Peter: One last question for you, is there anything I haven't asked you that you think is important for the audience to know about OneWire or what you are planning to do in the near future with your product?

Brin: We've spent a lot of time in the last two years working with mostly financial customers being a source of candidates where they have effectively come in and sourced candidates and sorted them while we've been building out a very powerful set of CRM and applicant tracking and mobility tools. Some of these firms are increasingly using us as an end-to-end solution. Those tools now are largely complete and we are actively and currently rolling those out to not only our current clients but also across multiple industries. I think in many ways we're just now coming out into the market with our full vision and our full application, so we're extremely excited about 2012 and 2013 as we start to present our application to the marketplace.

Peter: Great. Brin, thank you so much for speaking with me today on TotalPicture Radio.

Brin: Good. Thank you, Peter. I really appreciate the time.

Brin McCagg is the co-founder and president of You'll find this interview along with resource links in the Online Strategy channel of TotalPicture Radio's new completely redesigned and mobile optimized website at Visit our site for a complete transcript of our podcast with Brin and while there, please sign up for our newsletter. Follow me on Twitter @peterclayton and join our growing TotalPicture Radio Facebook community. Remember, you can always subscribe to TotalPicture Radio on iTunes. Thanks for listening.

Brin McCagg Biography
Brin McCagg has more than 20 years of entrepreneurial executive management experience. Between 2003 and 2007 Brin served on an Executive team managing the turnaround of two companies owed by the private equity firms ABS Capital Partners and Monitor Clipper Partners. From 1998 to 2001, Brin founded and served as Chief Executive Officer of TradeOut Inc., an internet based liquidator of excess business inventory. TradeOut was funded and partnered with GE, Goldman Sachs, eBay and Chase Bank. The company filed to go public in 2000 but was ultimately sold. In 1991 Brin co-founded and managed Full Circle, Inc, a hazardous waste recycling company, and served as President. In 1995 he was promoted to Chief Executive Officer when the company merged with Environmental Technologies, Inc., a NASDAQ listed company, which he managed through mid 1997. Brin started his career as an investment banker at Drexel Burnham Lambert. Brin received his MBA from The Wharton School.

About OneWire
OneWire puts the full power of the most innovative recruiting technology in the hands of candidates and recruiters. Its comprehensive, cloud-based platform and proprietary matching technology can be used across the enterprise or as a single point solution to deliver sourcing, candidate relationship management, applicant tracking, vendor management, and talent management. Hundreds of companies and thousands of candidates rely on OneWire as their single destination for the top candidates and top jobs. Get OneWired by visiting today.

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.


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