While the current economic climate means that there may be fewer job vacancies around, finding the right candidates is still a big challenge for companies all over the world. This is particularly true for SMEs, who are not only having to compete with bigger companies for the same potential employees, but don’t have enough internal resources for a dedicated recruitment function. As any employer will confirm, the whole recruitment process takes time and effort: advertising, screening, interviewing, plus all the back-end administration involved.

That dilemma could be history, thanks to the launch of a new start-up called Zartis, which provides companies with a cloud-based recruitment ‘engine’ to make the whole recruitment process extremely easy and affordable. Features such as mobile-friendly job application are also designed to make the process easy and appealing for job candidates.

Based in Ireland, BizSpark member Zartis is the latest venture from John Dennehy, who previously founded HR Locker, a cloud-based virtual human resources function for SMEs. John is a good example of the current generation of entrepreneurs who are combining great business ideas with cloud technology to do something truly ‘disruptive’ in an established market.

“Cloud does two things for us,” says John, “It means we don’t have to build our own infrastructure, so we have lower costs and faster time to market, worldwide, which can make a huge difference to the success of a start-up. Second, it means we can scale to meet demand: if our customers increase 100 per cent in the next month, no problem. We’ve been on Azure since its early days and it’s now very fast.”

Zartis is already putting cloud’s scalability to the test. Within just a few weeks of the service being launched back in October, 1000 companies signed up, all through word of mouth. New companies are signing up at a rate of around 100 per week and that figure is growing. And Zartis isn’t just attracting small businesses: subsidiaries of large organisations like Lufthansa are also signing up.

“The feedback we’re getting is that customers love the fact they can create a recruitment function in just a few minutes, which can be embedded on their own website and integrate with Twitter and Facebook. They can see who has applied for what job and manage the whole recruitment process through Zartis.” The most basic level is free, with scaling charges to match different companies’ needs and support for 13 languages.

Zartis has some heavyweight investors on board, including SOS Ventures’ Sean O’Sullivan (Netflix, Guitar Heroes) and Bill Liao, the founder of Xing and a further funding round is planned for 2012. As a startup already generating revenue despite less being a year old, a thriving customer base and a business case that – thanks to cloud – can go global fast, Zartis is definitely ‘one to watch’. And it is also proof that while 2012 is going to be a tough year, there is still room for innovation in a challenging economy.