The initial response was overwhelming: 200 firms and 2,156 applicants applied in the first year alone.
It was an encouraging reaction from an industry with nearly no Black representation—but there was a problem.
Without an applicant tracking system (ATS), every single one of those 2,156 applicants had to be tracked manually on an Excel spreadsheet.
Today, the organization has grown their mission 100x to become 10,000 Black Interns (also known as 10KBI). We recently caught up with Programme Director Esther Odejimi-Uzokwe to ask what it’s been like working with Pinpoint to keep on top of their exponential growth.
It’s not an exaggeration to say that there wouldn’t be a team if we still had to do the work manually. Last year, 2,500 applications was an absolute nightmare. This year, we got 11,000 and it’s been absolutely manageable. That would have been impossible without Pinpoint.
Read on to learn how 10KBI used Pinpoint to create a bespoke applicant tracking system. Within just a few months, they’ve been able to handle more than four times their original applicant volume and quickly see the metrics they need to move their mission forward.
Applicant tracking across 700+ firms
When they started looking for an ATS, 10KBI had a unique problem. Most employers are tracking applicants for positions within their own organization, so they only have to worry about adoption and access for internal team members.
But 10KBI’s situation is different. Because they’re fielding applications for thousands of internships across more than 700 partner firms, each participating firm needed its own access to track and update candidate info. On top of that, 10KBI needed a bird’s-eye view of the entire applicant and partner firm pool, from high-level stats to each individual’s status. And they needed a bespoke dashboard with live data showing the percentage of interns hired in different sectors as well as other stats to reflect how well they’re performing against their core mission.
If you’ve ever struggled to drive the adoption of new software within your organization, imagine trying to do it at over 700 different ones.
This was the challenge 10KBI faced when they decided to implement an ATS. Excel spreadsheets were unsustainable, but plug-and-play SaaS platforms weren’t going to work, either. They didn’t just need an applicant tracking software. They needed a partner.
From unsustainable to unstoppable
10KBI’s mission grew out of an unlikely source: a dinner party that never was. Back in 2020, the organization’s founders wanted to host a dinner for Black investment managers in London. They were shocked and disturbed to discover that, in a city with 3,000 investment portfolio managers, only about 13 of them were Black. It was hardly enough people to fill a small room, much less a networking dinner.
The underrepresentation of Black people in an industry that controlled the city’s capital was deeply troubling, so they decided to do something about it, and 100 Black Interns was born. The concept took hold in a big way, and with over 700 firms in 24 different sectors onboard, the problem of tracking applicants was frankly a refreshing one to have.
“Thanks to Pinpoint,” Esther told us, “each individual firm now has a streamlined way to navigate their unique workstreams.” She and her colleagues can see where each of this year’s 10,000 applicants are in the application process, and interns can be reallocated and kept in the loop with no trouble.
The overall onboarding process was a bit painful, Esther admits, because they had to find a way to import thousands of rows of manually logged data into Pinpoint’s automated platform. But having a partner made the process much easier. “Pinpoint’s team was incredibly helpful,” Esther told us. “They came up with a way to make the process as easy as it could be.”
“The Pinpoint team has gone above and beyond for us and essentially become an extension of our team in many ways. I honestly can’t think of anything I’d change, because we’ve got such a great working relationship.”
Flexibility and functionality for everyone
Unsurprisingly, the hardest thing about implementing an ATS has been driving adoption with 10KBI’s hundreds of partner firms. “Simply making sure each firm logs in to complete their required actions has been a challenge,” says Esther.
But after just six weeks of running the program, less than 100 firms had yet to review their candidates—a huge win for their first year at this scale.
As you might imagine, any one firm has its own processes and ways of working. 10KBI needed a solution that could facilitate hundreds of unique requests—each without impacting the others. On top of that, Esther has over 1,000 stakeholders using Pinpoint after just a few weeks. All of 10KBI’s core team use Pinpoint daily—including top leadership, who log in to view key metrics on how many applicants are in the system and where they’ve been placed. And most participating firms have granted access to more than one user, so it was a big rollout with lots of moving parts.
So far, feedback has been overwhelmingly positive. “It was almost like a blessing and a curse,” Esther told us. After two rounds of beta testing with some of their most engaged firms, 10KBI’s partners “loved Pinpoint so much that they were impatient about getting full access.”
“They love the breadth of functionality and how malleable the system is,” Esther explains. “It is literally as easy as speaking to the Pinpoint team to get help.”
“I was genuinely surprised at how much resource we have in Pinpoint,” Esther said. “It’s so much more than the product itself. The support, the live chat, the overall comprehensive nature of the resource has been a very pleasant surprise to me.”
After all, she points out, it’s one thing for a SaaS product to talk up their great customer support. But it’s another thing entirely to onboard 700+ firms without a hitch because they’re all getting the support they need directly from Pinpoint, without having to go knocking on Esther’s (virtual) door.
“Pinpoint has been absolutely central to our program,” Esther told us. “It’s streamlined the entire recruitment process.”
We’re thrilled to play even a small part in furthering 10KBI’s mission, and can’t wait to see what the sleeker, more streamlined recruitment process will do for future applicants.
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