With the economy in tatters and the Internet continuing to dissolve geographic barriers, recruiting has grown into a significant burden for the average small to medium sized business (SMB). These resource-constrained companies are the least equipped to sort through the volumes of mostly unqualified applications typically submitted for each position and have until now been poorly served by the ill-fitting software tools available in the market.

Ovation Technologies launched today to provide mobile- and cloud-based social recruiting tools specifically for SMBs, with the goal of reducing the time and cost of finding the right employee for a given position. The Web and mobile apps are available for download in the Google Apps Marketplace, the Google Play store, and the iOS and Mac App Stores, as well as on the company’s website.

“Most small businesses don’t have full-time recruiters or even an HR department and find finding and hiring employees to be a daunting and distracting task,” says CEO and co-founder Pete VanSon. “We’re giving them a competitive advantage to find, perform background checks and bring onboard the best talent as quickly as possible at an affordable price.”

Ovation views SMBs as companies with less than 500 total employees, although its average customer is expected to have less than 20 employees. These businesses regularly find themselves spammed by Craigslist or Monster.com applicants and facing an unnecessarilly daunting task.

The goal of the 100 percent cloud-hosted Ovation platform is to eliminate all hardware and maintenance costs while removing much of the non-value add work typically required within the recruiting process. The company’s initial target markets are the hospitality sector, due to the high rates of turnover, and the IT and healthcare sectors, due to their enormous demand.

The Ovation platform uses social networks, job boards, and referrals to locate and then rank job candidates. This ranking is done not through “resume parsing,” or rogue keyword matching, but rather by having applicants answer custom questions around required skills. Employer can easily develop a job listing, post it to popular social platforms — Craigslist, Indeed, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook — and review ranked candidates. Ovation integrates with Gmail, Google calendar, and contacts to streamline communications and scheduling.

Employers pay a monthly subscription fee — from $39 to list three job openings — with no fee fluctuation based on number of users or applicants. The system also offers digital background checks at a cost of $20 per screen and electronic delivery of new hire paperwork (W-2, I-9, employee handbook, etc.) at $5 per employee. Optional Driver’s license verification is available for $7.50.

With this structure, an employer can bring aboard a new hire for $30 to $40. Compare this to existing software solutions targeting large enterprises which can cost several to tens of thousands of dollars, and the value proposition becomes immediately clear.

Ovation was founded by experts in both HR and enterprise software. VanSon is the former founder of professional employer organization DecisionHR, which was sold to First Advantage Corporation in 2006. His co-founder and President Karen Droz is a former HR executive for PepsiCo, Arthur Andersen, and AT&T.

Co-founder and CFO John Lamson is a CPA and former CFO and EVP of First Advantage Corporation while co-founder and non-executive director Gerry Hogan is the former president and CEO of the Home Shopping Network (HSN) and president of Turner Entertainment Networks. This team of industry veterans has bootstrapped the project to date and has no immediate plans to raise outside financing.

The company’s technical development is handled by enterprise mobile and software development consultancy and Ovation investor AgileThought. According to VanSon, AgileThought, which was founded out of the ashes of Arthur Andersen by Ovation co-founder and Chairman John Wagner, means that Ovation operates as “an agile startup with 100 developers at the ready.” Typically, the company utilizes five to eight developers concurrently and has a total of 20 other employees.

“SMBs should be able to have the same quality business tools as the largest companies do. It is just a matter of time before the economies derived from cloud computing and software-as-a-service provide those tools,” says VanSon. “Ovation was designed as [the] HR expert in the cloud, to organize and execute the hiring process, so businesses can connect with candidates anytime, anywhere and get back to the business of serving customers.”

[Image courtesy of Ovation]