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'Match-making' for employers as tech entrepreneur launches recruitment app with global ambitions

Scottish technology entrepreneur Mike Hughes is this month (October) launching a new venture which he predicts will revolutionise the world of recruitment, especially for businesses with small numbers of staff.

After nearly two years of intensive development and testing, he is unveiling Hiire, (correct) an app-based recruitment solution which matches job-seekers to employers by mobile phone in the style of an internet dating site.

It has already been adopted by more than 50 employers, predominantly in the hospitality industry in Scotland, and has established a database of more than 1000 candidates.

Hughes, the former COO of Sword Group, a £100 million company employing 1000 people, predicts that Hiire will grow to 20 million users by 2022 and achieve a value of £95 million.

He said: "Hiire will be successful because it is designed to remove the frustration and the time-wasting within the recruitment process and ensure that employers can easily source people who are ideally suited to the vacancy."

Hiire is being backed by Scottish Enterprise's High Growth Start-Up Unit, which helps create future Scottish-based global companies. The unit supports enterprises which commercialise potentially disruptive intellectual assets and display the potential to achieve revenues of £5 million in five years.

Hughes is predicting turnover of £1.4 million in year two rising to £17.2 million in year five. He is now actively encouraging investment funding.

In a career spanning more than 30 years, Hughes has run businesses from start-up to lucrative disposal. He helped grow Graham Technology into a global business employing 400 and then became CEO of ciboodle, its successor company.

His vision is to build scalable technology businesses based in Scotland which, he says, has the right mix of local talent and business infrastructure. Hiire, he says, will achieve international acceptance because it effectively automates one of the most time-consuming and costly processes for busy managers and business owners.

The app works on a percentage match scoring system. For instance, if an employer is looking for someone local, then a candidate who lives close by will score highly; if a particular language skill is essential, fluent speakers will gain a high mark; if two year's experience is required, less experience will be marked down

Hughes said: "Owners of small businesses, typically with fewer than 10 employees, can be inundated with CVs from people who do not have the relevant skills and it takes valuable time to wade through them all.

"Hiire filters candidates and presents the most suitable, with the highest matching score. This allows employers to interview people whom they are confident are likely to be a good match for the business."

The system also creates a database of suitable candidates and, if an employer is let down by, for instance, someone not turning up for work, he or she can immediately contact a potential replacement.

The immediate focus for Hiire is on building market share. To that end, employers are initially being offered the service free, though small charges may subsequently be introduced. Early adopters are also being given gold and silver partner status.

An intensive marketing campaign is now under way aimed at small businesses in the retail, hospitality and healthcare sectors in Scotland. Hiire will then expand first into the wider UK and then internationally.