CareerPlug’s Annual Year in Review: A Recap of 2023

Another year in the books means another opportunity to look back on the journey of the last 12 months. 2023 was a year of both successes and lessons at CareerPlug, as we continued to grow, change, and strive to make our product and company better. 

We expect great things in 2024, but before moving full speed ahead into the next year, let’s first reflect on the wins and milestones that made up the previous year. 

The state of hiring in 2023 

The job market has stabilized and recovered from pandemic shakeups, and the unemployment rate hit a nearly 55 year low in 2023. There are also still more open jobs than unemployed workers to fill them. 

This is favorable for employees, because it means there are a lot of options. However, for employers, it means that it’s still difficult to fill open roles. Just like the year before, 2023 saw tight competition for talent. 

Because of this, many employers had to get more creative with recruitment and retention efforts. Some trends we witnessed (and encouraged) include: skills-first hiring to increase the applicant pool, improving benefits and compensation, writing better job descriptions, and building a strong employer brand. 

Let’s take a closer look at how our clients fared with hiring in the last year, and the other ways that we supported them. 

How we helped our clients 

CareerPlug is proud to have partnered with 350 franchise brands and helped nearly 62,000 businesses this year, including the 13,845 new clients that came on board in 2023. Our team of hiring experts ensure that all of these clients feel supported by serving our clients through 39,142 interactions this year! 

We helped our clients streamline their hiring operations, so they could hire the best candidates more quickly than the competition. Our applicant tracking system helped employers in various industries post their open jobs, Fast-track their best applicants, schedule thousands of interviews, and of course – make the right hires. 

CareerPlug client stats

Sharing our hiring expertise 

As part of CareerPlug’s mission to make hiring easier, we share our hiring expertise year round. This includes conducting original research, writing articles to educate our audience of small business employers, and hosting live webinars to help educate business owners and shed light on hiring trends.

This year’s original research included two annual reports: The Candidate Experience Report and our Recruiting Metrics Report, as well as a brand new Applicant Expectations Report . This research runs the full gamut of the hiring process from job posting to hire, and provides valuable insight for both us and our clients. 

We know that other thought leaders find our content useful as well, as it’s been cited over 200 times in the last year by many other websites, including Forbes. 

Another proud moment this year was when our CEO Clint Smith published his first book, How to Hire: The Essential Guide to Recruit and Retain the Right People. This resource is the ultimate playbook for employers to help them create a great culture, attract talent, and build a winning team. 

Get a free copy of How to Hire

Claim your copy of Clint Smith’s book for expert advice and actionable tips to transform your hiring and supercharge your team’s growth!


We’re proud to be considered a leader in the space, and honored that our educational content helps so many business owners hire better. 

Product news 

We’re always making improvements to our hiring software, and 2023 was a great year for product growth. 

As an innovative way to test out new product features, we proudly launched “Labs” – an early access testing ground where clients can try out and provide feedback on upcoming releases. This helps us refine our products and make improvements based on our clients’ needs. 

Some features we’re currently testing in Labs include A.I. generated job descriptions, employee engagement and retention tools, and onboarding tools. 

Another big project this year was a new integration with ZipRecruiter that helps our clients increase visibility of their job postings. With this new sponsored jobs integration, our clients can easily promote their job on ZipRecruiter without ever leaving our software. 

We were excited to see more of our clients enjoying our new automated interview scheduling tool, Autopilot, this year. Autopilot makes it easier for candidates to self-schedule their own interviews, saves our clients time on tedious hiring tasks and allows them to make hires much faster than before. This year, we helped our clients experience 1623 “wow moments” through Autopilot – that is, having their first candidate interview appear on their calendar automatically, like magic. 

Watch the video below to learn more about Autopilot’s “wow moments”!

The CareerPlug team 

Our team continued to grow this year as well, as we brought on 15 new pluggies. Our fully remote team is now spread across 32 states. 

One way we all stay in touch during the workday is with Slack’s messaging platform. In 2023, we communicated by sending over 169,917 public channel messages. We made sure to recognize teammates that exemplified our core values via Assembly’s Employee Recognition software. There were 517 public shout-outs given by team members this year. 

We also connected through our Employee Resource Groups (ERGs). Our resource groups include:

  • Racial and Ethnic Diversity (REDi)
  • Give Back 
  • CareerPlug Advancement of Women in the Workplace (CAWW)
  • Spicy Brain Society (a neurodivergent community) 

These groups provide training and resources to employees, and regularly host social and team opportunities to support each other and their missions. This year there were 39 ERG meetings and various events like book clubs, lunch and learns, happy hours, and more. 

As always, we made personal and professional growth a priority, and each employee worked with their managers to complete “skill” and “dream” goals throughout the year. This ranged from reading books, taking courses, beginning new hobbies, and more. 

Giving back 

Giving back is a big part of CareerPlug’s mission, and every year, we prioritize monetary donations as a company. Part of this comes from employee donation matches. Our employees donated over $20,000 to their favorite charities, and that was matched 100%. 

We gave back in other ways throughout the year as well. And as we do every Christmas, we sponsored and bought gifts for 13 teens in foster care through Foster Angels of Central Texas. We also donated our time and resources through our annual Give Back Week initiative, where employees completed daily tasks like donating blood, picking up trash, and writing letters to children in the hospital. 

Looking ahead to 2024 

At CareerPlug, we believe that with the right people in the right seats, there’s no limit to how much your company can grow. We’re excited to see what the future holds for the next year for both ourselves and our clients. 

As the hiring landscape continues to change, we’ll continue to evolve as well, so that we can serve our clients, and make growing their team easier. Here’s to the year ahead!

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Steve Fowler

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Consultant Manager

Sydney Kidd

Tier 1 Manager

Nicolle Gatlin

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Aiden Kinney

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Hiring is hard, but partnering with us makes it easier. From posting jobs to scheduling interviews, CareerPlug allows you to automate certain parts of the process to improve your results and save you time.



Once you think you have found the right person, use our reference and background check resources to verify them. Then, send an electronic offer letter from CareerPlug to close the deal!



Use our prescreen questions and assessments to identify the best applicants. Then use our interview questions and scorecards to evaluate for the right things consistently.



Use our notifications and automations to be the first to respond to qualified applicants. Send texts and emails from directly from CareerPlug to convert applicants to scheduled interviews.



Use our templates to create an attractive careers page and job posting. Then promote it through our job board partners, as well as directly with your employees, customers, and social network.


Brandy Lee

Business Intelligence Manager

Eric Morales

Manager of Account Executives

Kirsten Penaloza

Director of Client Experience

Zach Garcia

Senior Manager of Operations

Tulay Solak

HR Manager

Tyler Berndsen

Manager of Partnership Account Executives

Ashley Johnson

Senior Manager of Partner Services

Originally from small town in central Texas, Ashley Johnson graduated from Texas State University in 2013 with a degree in Business Administration. She was hired by CareerPlug as a Talent Specialist in 2014, and moved up to ultimately lead the Recruitment Services team. From there, she pivoted to Implementation, and is now the Implementation Manager.

As the Implementation Manager, Ashley and 3 direct reports function as a transition between Sales and Partner Success in helping our clients get set up and established in our software. She spends her free time raising her 2 dogs, playing cornhole, and perfecting the art of charcuterie.

Kate Sensmeier

VP Marketing

Ashley Garia

Director of Product Marketing

Canaan Davis

Director of Engineering

Teresa Hall

Director of UX & Product Design

Brad Pilot

Senior Director of Sales

Leslie Chamberlain

Senior Director of Client Experience

Natalie Morgan

Senior Director of People

Andrew Robinson III

Vice President of Product and Engineering

Chris Igou

VP of Business Development

Chris accidentally started a 20-year career in franchising when he was 18 years old and took a job painting houses for College Pro Painters. That job turned into the ownership of his first franchise (a house painting franchise). While at Monmouth College in IL, he operated his business, played on the varsity football team, and studied to become a teacher.

The taste of entrepreneurship and desire to coach others led Chris deeper into franchising, working with a few franchise brands helping them grow their businesses. He lived in the Chicagoland area his entire life until recently moving his family to Austin, TX.

In his free time Chris coaches youth sports, especially youth football, and spends as much time as he can with his wife and 2 children.

Jenny Leman


Native to Texas, Jenny graduated from the University of Texas at Austin in 2004 and joined CareerPlug in 2017. She retired her first career path as a Registered Dietitian after 10 years, and has found her true belonging in business operations.

As CareerPlug’s President, Jenny leads all teams to an aligned effort toward achieving our vision. She works to build healthy and scalable internal systems to equip and empower the CareerPlug teams to bring their best for our clients. She loves contributing new ideas and rethinking the status quo. Jenny really connects with the company’s core values, but especially with our intent to “Keep Growing.”

In her non-work life, Jenny enjoys time with her family, playing drums and performing with the Austin Samba School, and finding excuses to be on the lake.

Clint Smith

Founder & CEO

Clint founded CareerPlug in 2007 with the simple idea that there was a better way to help employers connect with quality applicants. Today Clint works every day to fulfill CareerPlug’s mission: Make Hiring Easier. Leading by example, Clint loves spending his time developing new ideas and teaching others.

After graduating from the University of Florida, Clint worked in investment banking and strategic marketing; both experiences influenced the development of CareerPlug. He also spent a year away from the business world teaching 5th grade in Boulder.

Clint is passionate about helping others succeed and is involved in numerous mentoring programs. He and his wife, Sarah, are also foster parents. Clint enjoys family time, beach volleyball, and outdoor adventures.