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Outside the Box: Mike Hennessy’s recruitment company helps employers ID ‘pre-applicants’

Mike Hennessy says his job-recruiting software company is a bottom-up, people-empowering place. So, when a group of engineers gets together for quarterly music jam sessions, the founder and CEO of SmashFly occasionally picks up a microphone and joins in on vocals.

The Concord-based company’s name derives from a brainstorm that combined synonyms for “breakthrough” and “achieving new heights” — not from a fly swatter. SmashFly’s aim is to take applicant tracking systems that are known and generally unloved by human resources departments and job seekers into the recruitment- marketing realm. Candidates may not even know they are applicants yet. They are “pre-applicants,” identified by their digital and social media footprint and reached through LinkedIn or other sites, until they express an interest in a particular job or company. Hennessy spoke recently with Business Journal correspondent Jerry Berger about the changes in job recruiting, SmashFly’s software and how the collapse of the aerospace industry led to a career he never envisioned while in college.