The Hub – Findings from Q1

Written by Thomas Sveum

on April 20, 2023

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5 min read

We acquired The Hub from Danske Bank in December 2022 and the first quarter of 2023 was spent transitioning the ownership and learning more about the service. Now, in Q2, we are fully in charge and the first few months as the new owner has taught us some very interesting things we want to share with you!

The Layoffs in Tech and Its Implications on the Nordic Startup Scene

The recruitment market was in the middle of a rapid change when we signed the deal to acquire The Hub. Total jobs volume steadily started dropping mid Q3, while the number of applications submitted through the platform was ever-increasing. What we were seeing was basically the effect of the recent wave of layoffs in tech, which eventually trickled over to the wider startup ecosystem . From December 2022 through February 2023, as the graph below illustrates, we were experiencing a 32.52% decrease in jobs published YoY, and a whopping 70.19% increase in applications submitted. For unique engaged startups and talent on the platform, the discrepancy was even greater.

Q1 23 solidified what was quickly becoming a recruiters market and although the jobs volume has seen an upward shift in March, compared to a year ago, job posters are still getting 3-4 times as many applicants per job on average right now. In March, a new record for application quantity on The Hub in a single month was reached with 30k+ applications submitted by more than 15k candidates. This is a massive change and we have used this insight when developing the first range of new products for The Hub. Early data shows that we are clearly onto something…

Pro Job Posts are Driving 3.2x More Applications

The first product we drastically improved was the Boost option. The Hub had free listings and an alternative Boost option that basically meant a simple LinkedIn ad on top of the free listing. This Boost product led to 25% more applicants on average per listed job at 3.500-4.500 kr… Not very impressive in our opinion, so we did a complete overhaul of the product and launched our own version with a clear goal of creating a remarkable difference between the free and paid tier. By optimizing our targeting, adapting a stunning new marketing design template and extending the promotion to also include Meta advertising, we’re finally seeing the distinct difference that we’re looking for. Data from the first batch of 20+ Pro job posts shows that you get 5-8x more visibility on the platform and on average each job listing generates 3.2x the number of applications. The results were actually better than we anticipated and our ambition now is to make Pro job posts the new default option for startups who are serious about recruitment. The best part is that we’ve achieved this striking upgrade without increasing the price. 

From Post to Successful Hire in Less than Four Weeks

In addition to the Pro job post we are also experimenting with a more advanced product, creatively labeled Headhunter job posts. With this product we are delivering a highly unique, light headhunter service, leveraging our database of 320.000 startup-ready talents, low-touch employer branding and data-driven advertising to attract top talent. Operating with no-cure, no-pay terms, we aspire to challenge traditional headhunting with a much simpler and cheaper recruitment service. We are currently testing this with 25+ amazing growth startups from all over the Nordics and we will come back with our findings when the learnings are in. What we can say for sure at this point is that startups seem highly interested in the service and that headhunters fear their crazy margins and high salaries. Best of all, it seems to be working, as some of our clients have already successfully hired, including engineering roles that are typically hard to fill. In fact, using Headhunter job posts, companies from diffferent Nordic countries have been able to hire Senior Software Engineers and Mobile Developers in less than four weeks – a feat we are truly proud of and excited about.

To be continued . . .

To sum up the learnings and changes from the first months – we feel like we have taken over a recruiting service in the most interesting period for recruiting in a decade and we feel that we have been able to respond with product changes fit for a matured recruiters market and strained startup budgets. We’re still very much in the “early days” and we are humbly learning as we try to find the best course for The Hub going forward. For now, thank you for the reception we have gotten so far and for all the feedback we have been receiving from eager members of the community. We truly appreciate it. You can rest assured that we are working very hard to create the best recruitment service for pre-seed to post-IPO startups in the Nordics.

Photo by Žofia Žiaková - The Hub team

Back with more soon:)

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