At the start of 2018 I took on a project to create a simple applicant tracking system for recruiters. Recruitment software is a fairly competitive market but most the solutions out there are geared towards large companies with big budgets. As a result a lot of the available software is charged at around £100 per user.

The goal of GrowRecruit was a lot smaller. Create something that would be affordable for independent recruiters to use.

GrowRecruit website


When creating any product it is important to do extensive research. I started by looking at competitor analysis to look at what features I would need to be able to create a competing offer.

I also reached out to lots of recruiters on LinkedIn to find out what problems they had and what features they needed.

It is important to know who you are selling to so you can target your marketing and product around that group. I used the Alexa tool to find out demographics about my target market. This revealed that my target market was Female, Age 25-34, Caucasian, No Children with average income around $30-60K.

Obviously you should always take these results with a pinch of salt but it did seem to match my own experience with recruiters and other people had noticed this phenomenon too.

Using Alexa you can also find other websites frequented by your target market. For high flying females this mostly consisted of luxury clothing and jewellery brands whose main colours are mostly black with a signature colour.

I originally went with the following colour palette for this site:


I later changed the primary colour from #77D1DD to #6BBCC7 as it provided a much better contrast and was better for call to actions as it stood out more against white or black.


Logo Design

GrowRecruit wasn't the first name I came up with for this SaaS business. I originally came up with RecruiterToolkit. It described what the product did but not only was it too long the branding wouldn't have gone with the target market.

After settling on GrowRecruit it was much easier to brand. I used the "Grow" aspect of the name and based the logo design around a tree.

Inspired by many famous logos such as the Apple logo, I used the Golden Ratio to come up with a design.

GrowRecruit logo sketches

These are the sketches I came up with. The whole tree image is made up from two circles with 1 circle 1.618 times bigger than the other.

It took me a while to come up with the right mixture of lines. These were all sketched out in my notebook with pencil and then went over in pen.

Once I had come up with a final design I moved over to Photoshop and created a vector based logo that I could use. I wanted a vector logo so that I could scale it up and down without any loss of quality.

I dropped the circles at the ends of the lines and made all the lines thicker for the final logo. Overall I am really pleased with how it came out.

GrowRecruit final logo

Building the Product

As a trained software developer building the product is the easy and fun bit. This was the feature set I set to build and each with it's own challenges.

  • Mult-User Login: one of the big selling points is that each plan comes with unlimited users. So multi-user login was a must.
  • Chrome Extension: no-one wants to write candidates in by hand so a Chrome Extension that could read contact details from a website was a must. I will write another post covering how I did this in the future.
  • Drag and Drop Custom Pipelines: there needs to be a way of keeping track of where candidates are in the recruitment process. The easiest way to do this is with a trello style board.
  • Public Career Site: companies need a way to advertise jobs and have candidates automatically imported into the system.
  • Email Integration: most of recruiters job is done with either LinkedIn or email. For those using Gmail I integrated with the Gmail API to read and send emails.
  • Notes: whether the team is reviewing a candidate or just writing up notes about the interview collaborative notes were needed.
  • GDPR Compliance: if you are gathering peoples details you need to comply with GDPR. This includes giving candidates a way of opting out and recruiters a way of filtering candidates who have rejected or granted consent.
  • Payment Processing: at the end of the day a product is much use if it doesn't make any money. I integrated with Chargebee which is hooked up with Stripe for recurring payments.

Tech Stack

The product consists of the following parts:

  • Frontend: I wrote this using Vue.js which loads completely on the client. This is then hosted in an Amazon S3 bucket and set up with Route 53 and Cloudfront. With this set up the frontend costs me less than $0.05 a month to run.
  • Backend API: The API is written in C# .Net Core and is hosted inside a Docker container and runs using Elastic Beanstalk. I went down the managed route as I haven't got the time to manage my own servers.
  • Database: I used a MySQL Aurora RDS database to store most of the data. However, any uploaded files are stored in a private S3 bucket.
  • Backend Tasks: For matching and downloading emails from the Gmail API. I have a .Net Core console app running every minute or so. I will probabaly look at switching this to a lambda function in the future.
  • Chrome Extension: The chrome extension brings up a sidebar when clicked that reads data from the page and allows you to add more before importing them into the database. This is essentially a seperate page on the frontend that is accessed via an iframe that is injected into the page.

The Final Product

I am very pleased with how the final product turned out. The following screenshots outline the main features as outlined above.





Candidate Screen

Candidate Screen

Gmail Integration

GMail Integration

Job Pipeline

Job Pipeline

Chrome Extension

Chrome Extension

Marketing Website

For the marketing website I wanted something modern, responsive and blazingly fast. I used a the static site generator Gatsby.Js and Bulma to cover the responsive side.

If you are a developer and you haven't used gatsby before I would highly recommend it. You can build your whole blog out in React. This blog is made with Gatsby.Js and Bulma too.

For the home page I sketched the whole thing out on my iPad Pro using Noteability.

Home Page Sketch

I liked the idea of using some isometric drawings but it was getting too time consuming to produce them and I couldn't afford a graphic designer. I decided to let the product speak for itself and used screenshots instead.

Final HomePage