TechHR Interview with James Hawley, Founder and CEO of NextPath

Written by nextpathcp

On February 27, 2020

Leading staffing firms for over two decades, James Hawley has gained immense experience along the path. He also co-founded one of the largest IT staffing companies in the U.S., and now serves as the CEO of Nextpath.

Catch a glimpse as he shares his learnings and expertise in this interview with TecHR Series.


Hello James! Please tell us about your experience in the staffing and recruiting industry so far, especially your biggest entrepreneurial takeaways from being a co-founder at your previous recruitment firm to launching the current one- NextPath.

I’ve been lucky to have experienced small companies as well as working for billion-dollar organizations and what is consistent across them all is staffing is all about the quality of your people.  Recruitment doesn’t have anything proprietary about it but what sets a company apart is it’s people that service clients and candidates each day. Your front line team is your brand, good or bad, that will be what the market perceives you to be. So a key take away for leadership in our industry is, focus on those team members as your most critical piece of your business….because each of them matters more than any amount you’ll spend in marketing to build your brand.

What according to you are some of the biggest flaws in recruitment within the B2B/Tech marketplace today? How would you advise teams to optimize their HR Technology Stack to address them?

Throughout my 20 years, there hasn’t been a shortage of predictions on how technology would ultimately replace recruiters.  I’m happy to say business is still booming for us, recruiters! First, we were going to be replaced by the online job boards and today it’s talk that AI will be it.  The reality is more and more recruitment agencies start every day with the demand for hiring recruiters as high as I have ever seen showing that the role of recruitment is more complex than plugging data into an app.  It’s about finding a hybrid of blending people with technology for optimal outcomes. There are many incredible tools that exist in the market including new ones each day and as a leader, you want to find the best tech stack that can take repetitive processes off your teams’ plate to focus on high-value activities of working with candidates directly.  The ability to leverage your recruiters to spend far more time communicating directly with sought after candidates the better your talent acquisition engine will perform. It will become a true competitive advantage for your organization to attract the best talent versus your competitors.

Given the evolving Martech/Salestech space and evolving skills requirements for these roles and similar associated roles in B2B, what are your top tips of advice for teams/organizations specific to these roles- what are the changing dynamics that should now be taken into account when filtering/ acquiring talent for these roles today? 

It comes down to a choice to build or buy really. Do you want to acquire proven talent for immediate impact which requires financing to do or find strong talent with core skill sets you can train?  Each path can work but takes a commitment to make happen. The best setups I’ve seen are the organizations that spend for a key resource then build around them.  It tends to be the most cost-effective but gets the results in the Martech/Salestech space.

What are some of the most under-utilized capabilities of HR Tech that you wish companies would optimize more or extract more value from?

There are a couple of areas I see companies miss on with their HR tech.  The first is social media. Candidates want to understand the culture of a company and what it’s like without relying on rehearsed talking points on a website.  Most companies have either no social presence or one that is over-engineered by HQ. Transparency is key and so authentic content from the voices of your team members can speak to a candidate and will draw the like-minded ones you want to you.  Second is a frictionless application process for a candidate. There are strong tools that focus on a great experience for a candidate with excellent communication in order to keep people apprised of their candidacy with a company. We still see too many companies as black holes where candidates tell us they don’t even get an acknowledgment that someone in the organization is reviewing their credentials.  Thirdly is a strong ATS with automation build in. NextPath, for example, has an excellent software that allows us to continually stay in communication with candidates which builds a stronger experience. That draws the best candidates to us which in turn we can provide access to our clients to tap a better pool of qualified people.  

Check out the full article by Abhishek Upadhyay at TechHR at: https://www.techrseries.com/interviews/techr-interview-with-james-hawley-founder-and-ceo-of-nextpath/

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