Having pushed well beyond recruiting, the firm outgrew its moniker and on February 28 became Vurv, a name that the company’s management says is derived from the word verve, which means "a creative energy, talent, passion." The new name better describes the company and its products, says Kevin Marasco, Vurv’s vice president of marketing.
The Jacksonville, Florida-based company recently formed a partnership with assessment specialist the Devine Group and acquired InScope, which focused on job competencies. In December the company said that it sold a set of software products targeted at small businesses. All told, the actions reveal a company focused on large customers and determined to offer a wide variety of workforce management applications.
Founded a decade ago, Vurv now offers software for tasks including recruitment, performance management and compensation.
The firm is taking one of two roads available to the smaller makers of hiring software systems, says Katherine Jones, former analyst with research firm Aberdeen Group. Given the similarity among these systems, Jones says, these providers have to offer either a deeper set of hiring-specific features or broaden their range of talent management applications. Taleo has taken the depth route with its ability to handle contingent, hourly and professional workers, Jones says, while Vurv has opted for breadth. InScope amounts to "another arrow in the proverbial quiver" for Vurv, she says.
With InScope came its "library" of some 1,700 competencies and more than 39,000 behavioral indicators. These are descriptions of skills, knowledge and traits that are important to different jobs. Companies can measure people against these standards to guide both hiring and promotion decisions.
The Devine Group, meanwhile, assesses people with questions designed to determine behavioral traits. Vurv said it will integrate Devine’s technology into its recruitment and performance management applications.
Behavioral assessments can benefit companies with large numbers of hires, in particular, by prioritizing candidates who show promise in areas such as customer service, says Jim Holincheck, analyst with research firm Gartner. Holincheck says that competency content and assessments together are more and more vital to companies as they face possible bidding wars over scarce workers.
"It’s important to understand what talent you really need, and characteristics of that talent, so you’re spending your money on the right resource," he says.
Recruiting software products, sometimes called applicant tracking systems, have been criticized for being difficult to use and for poor performance. In recent years, the field has been shrinking through consolidation. Kenexa, for example, swallowed Webhire in January.
Recruiting technology also has drawn the attention of the big guns in HR technology—SAP and Oracle. Vurv remains a fraction of the size of those giants, with about 360 employees. But it boasts about 300 large business customers, and its revenue doubled for the year ended January 31, 2005, marketing VP Marasco says.