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Heineken HR Brewhouse: So Long and Thanks for the Memories

Adelaida Paponiu and Cristina Rotari
3 min. read

“143 applications. 106 companies. 4 real-life HR challenges. 4 winners. 3 global companies. 1 pitch day.” That’s how the first ever Heineken HR Brewhouse competition described itself, and we can tell you from first hand experience that it was exactly as exhilarating as it was made out to be. Though we didn’t wind up winning the competition in our category (congrats to SAP alongside Eightfold, Sonru & Plum on taking the crown for SuccessFactors!), we had a weekend of learning, growth, and innovation that we’ll be turning over in our minds for quite some time to come.


But what exactly was the Heineken HR Brewhouse competition, and why should you care? Well, let’s just say it was an exciting meeting-of-the-minds for makers of HR technology.   


What Was It?


Okay, maybe you want a more specific answer to that question. This year’s first ever Heineken HR Brewhouse competition was organized by Heineken in collaboration with Accenture and TheNextWeb, with the aim of driving cutting edge technological innovations within the global HR sector. Back in September, they sent out a call for applications in four categories: Recruiting for superstars, Onboarding & transitions, Employee engagement, and Wildcard. For each category, 3 companies were shortlisted to pitch their solution at the final corporate event taking place at Accenture Innovation Hub in Singapore on October 4.


Obviously, the future of recruitment technology is our main focus around here, so we were extremely excited to apply in the Recruiting for superstars category. We were even more excited to be selected as a finalist, since it meant that we would have the chance to travel to Singapore and pitch our technological innovations before senior IT and HR executives at Heineken.


Though the pitch itself was ostensibly the main draw, we also saw the competition as an exciting opportunity to connect with HR experts, venture capitalists, and corporate associates, and to share knowledge and best practices with other innovative businesses in the field. As our CEO Adrian Cernat remarked, “It’s always nice to gain recognition for the innovation and thought we’ve put into our offerings - but what’s most exciting to us is the chance to further the global conversation about how best to tackle the new and emerging challenges in the world of HR.”


What Went Down?


As finalists, we made our way to the competition in Singapore, ready to pitch our unique software solution for speeding up talent acquisition. One of the main themes of the day was global scalability—particularly in the APAC region. As such, we highlighted the global nature of our recruitment marketing automation functionality: because we’re able to automate any advertising or job channel with RPA, we can connect our users to niche websites and platforms in the country of their choice. This makes it easy to reach your ideal job candidates where they already spend their time online, leading to improved employer brand gravity, a stronger EVP, and ultimately more, better candidates. We were extremely proud to share the stage with some of the biggest and most exciting players in the industry, and when all was said and done we were really impressed by how powerful and thought-provoking the concepts described by the various contestants were.


If there was a dominant takeaway from some of the technologies on display, it was that new recruitment technology is more focused than ever before on building and strengthening connections. This means connections between candidates and recruiters, connections between companies and their employees, and connections between new hires and their teams. These are fundamentally human questions, but with predominantly technological solutions. We saw ways to leverage smartphones to improve candidate and employee engagement (we’ve been pretty vocal about the importance of mobile experiences on this blog), and platforms built to leverage AI to help recruiters better understand candidate behavior, and onboarding platforms that use technology to help new hires settle into their roles more seamlessly.  


Our pitch took place before a panel of five judges, including 4 Heineken senior executives, plus Naomi Cranswick, a publisher at Human Resources Online. Ultimately, we left the event—truly the first of its kind—feeling inspired and ready to get back to work creating tools that will help make life easier for recruiters and candidates alike.  


What’s Next?


Like we said above, we’d like to extend a heartfelt congratulations to the folks at SAP (SAP, alongside Eightfold, Sonru & Plum) for their win. We’d also like to thank Heineken and Accenture for putting all of this together and gathering so many thought leaders and industry difference-makers in the same place. We truly had a blast! And, lastly, a big shout out to all of the other participants and attendees who shared the stage and the venue with us last weekend. We met a lot of folks who were dedicated to making the world of talent acquisition smarter and more responsive, and it helped us to redouble our commitment to doing the same as we continue building out our cutting edge recruitment marketing automation platform. Reaching talented job candidates at scale, promoting your employer brand efficiently, and taking charge of the ways that applicants think of your company are all real, pressing issues that recruiters and talent management professionals have to face on a daily basis, and our goal is to help manage those challenges.


Going forward, we’ll continue to help our users manage those challenges in exactly the way that we’ve been doing: working smart, listening closely, and concentrating on what matters. So far, we’ve been able to help our clients cut their recruiting time significantly by automating the posting of job ads; we’ve helped to improve the reach of our clients’ employer brands through automation; we’ve made data-driven recruiting easier than ever by centralizing readable reports in one convenient location; and we’ve made a point of prioritizing ease of integration so that our platform fits comfortably into any HR software ecosystem. Expect more innovation like that from SmartDreamers going forward—and if there’s another chance to pitch our technology next year, we’ll be excited to have the opportunity.  

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