The Hireserve User Group has been running for over ten years. During that time, we’ve seen the event evolve from a small room of just seven clients, to a day joined by over seventy customers, partners and industry specialists.

But aside from the difference in attendee count, what’s changed since the very first User Group? And what inspired those initial meetings to take place?

To understand more I spoke to JP Cross, Assistant Systems Accountant at Solent University. Ten years ago, JP suggested we hold an event for customers to come together and exchange challenges and solutions, network, and meet the Hireserve team – the very first Hireserve User Group. Today, he still attends the annual event.

Hi JP! Could you set the scene – why did you first suggest that Hireserve run a User Group?

I’d worked with other software suppliers who had run User Groups in the past, and they were always a really useful and collaborative initiative.

At first, it was really a communications channel for the users of Hireserve ATS (then, iCams) to collaborate ideas and share knowledge and solutions, and also for the users and the Hireserve team to communicate and work together. There were always a lot of ideas thrown around, and if you wanted something new in the system, it helped you understand if others wanted it as well.

Hireserve was a lot smaller then, so through these meetings, we could help the team steer its development with the input of other customers too. It helped Hireserve understand what the customer really wants, rather than what they thought a customer would want.

Which is certainly something we still focus on today. What was that first meeting like?

I think RNLI hosted the very first meeting! It was very busy, well attended, and productive. Lots of ideas were put forward as to how best to run the User Group and how it would work.

From then, we set up a sharing point – an online space where we could keep the momentum going.

That space has also evolved over the years – now called the Hireserve Hub, it’s the first port of call for all things Hireserve ATS for many customers. Looking back to those first meetings, did you imagine the Hireserve User Group would continue for 10 more years?

I certainly hoped it would! The User Group has since changed and evolved, but I think that both Hireserve and their customers still appreciate being part of the User Group.

Over that 10 years, the world of recruitment technology has also grown and transformed. What have been the key changes in this area from your perspective?

There have been many incremental developments, so looking back it’s changed a lot! Back then it was only just becoming the norm to have recruitment software. Now, if you can’t apply online, it’s a real barrier! Websites must be responsive to mobile and tablets, and people expect the process to be seamless and intuitive.

Data security and privacy has also changed a lot, and with the GDPR coming into force in 2018, it’s more important than ever to have a secure and robust solution to meet data security needs.

Hireserve ATS has certainly evolved over those 10 years, although its core functionality and company values are still recognisable to this day.

Absolutely – those values are so important to us, and we strive to maintain them. Finally, if you could pick any element of recruitment software that you would say is ‘number 1’ on a recruiter’s wishlist, what would it be?

A useful, intuitive and seamless user experience, in both back-office and front-office.

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Following our interview, JP attended our most recent Hireserve User Group, held in March 2019. I got back in touch with him to ask what he thought of this year’s User Group and how it had changed since the very first meetings…

Hello again JP, and thank you for joining us at this year’s Hireserve User Group! How much has the Hireserve User Group changed since those first meetings ten years ago?

A lot – it’s a much bigger event for one thing! It has come a long way from a dozen of us in a meeting room. The original purpose of the event was to bring customers together, with yourselves, to improve everyone’s experience of the product. The event definitely still achieves this.

Would you recommend attending a Hireserve User Group to other customers?

Absolutely I would. It’s a great opportunity to put names to faces and meet the support team for one thing, as well as to see what’s on the horizon in terms of product development. It was also a learning experience with two entertaining and informative speakers.

The other aspect, of course, is to network with other Hireserve ATS users. You get to meet people from other institutions in your sector, share problem solving tips and exchange ideas about how solutions have been implemented.

Thank you JP, we hope to see you again at our next Hireserve User Group!