Spelman Johnson

Candidate Suite

Read how a Gearbox customized Candidate Suite enables consultants to do what they do best



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We have a tendency to stick with a system that works, even if it doesn’t work great… This is light years better in terms of ease.

— Margaret Holes, Spelman Johnson

The Client

Spelman Johnson is an executive search firm specializing in filling top-level positions in non-profits, colleges and universities across the United States. Organizations of varying sizes rely on Spelman Johnson to match them with the best executives in their fields, from academic deans to campus police chiefs to presidents.

The Challenge

Spelman Johnson relies heavily on its candidate application portal as a major part of its service. Without a dependable portal, candidates may experience difficulty getting into the system and will become frustrated with the application process and the overall candidate experience.

The firm had software built on Claris FileMaker that had held up well for several years but was built in such a way that after the developer of the candidate suite was no longer available, Spelman Johnson was in a bind. More and more issues started showing themselves as the software got older. They had limited ability to adapt to evolving technology, and the candidate experience became slow and cumbersome.

The situation was becoming untenable.

The Solution

Spelman Johnson contacted Gearbox consultant and founder David Nahodyl. Immediately, developers came alongside and provided the short-term fixes the recruiters needed to maintain their existing platform. The candidate suite survived, but it continued to show its age. It was time for a consultant to guide them to a sustainable path forward.

David Nahodyl recognized the challenges facing Spelman Johnson and helped the decision makers articulate their needs. Security remained of the utmost importance, while flexibility was necessary to enable access from mobile devices.

“We really did have to beef up our security,” Margaret Holes, Director of Database Administration and Technical Support, said. “We’re picky. Something out of a box wouldn’t work very well.” Together Gearbox and Spelman Johnson formed a customized plan to build a brand-new system – still running on FileMaker – that included a web app and mobile support. Once again, technology would be able to keep up with the care level Spelman Johnson was used to providing to clients and candidates.

The Results

As Spelman Johnson prepared to launch the new system, the year became increasingly busy. With the improvements to the old system and the advent of the new, issues with the candidate suite became things of the past. The new user interface is much easier to use, and the firm is poised for continued growth. With far fewer technical errors anticipated, Spelman Johnson consultants are back to putting all their energy into getting the right people in the right seats of our finest educational institutions.

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