Talent acquisition is one of the significant challenges that companies across all the major domains face. Even if the right candidate is hired, retaining them is another challenge that companies have to deal with. Companies are now exploring new-age technologies such as AI to deal with this crisis. And, to facilitate these intelligent solutions are startups such as Eightfold, which claims to be the industry’s first talent intelligence platform built for enterprises to address talent acquisition and management holistically.
Founded by Ashutosh Garg and Varun Kacholia who have extensive experience in building AI programs in large technology companies, wanted to apply the experiences learnt in AI into talent acquisition. That’s how Eightfold AI was born to use AI to provide the best career to everyone. The team currently has 200 employees with a strong tech team.
Analytics India Magazine got in touch with Vinodh Kumar Ravindranath, Head of Artificial Intelligence at Eightfold.ai to understand more about their AI game for talent acquisition and how they stand different from other players.
“It is the first talent intelligence platform that large companies have for the whole employee lifecycle starting from screening to layoff avoidance,” he said.
AI To Make The Recruitment Game Strong
Vinodh shared that they take information from the profiles of over a billion people, compiled from hundreds of public data sources. They use this information to go beyond what is in a resume to build out a complete look at someone’s capabilities and experience. He believes that AI can help candidates see what capabilities they have to match up to certain jobs, and identify the best job for them.
“Ultimately, our goal is to provide everyone the best possible career, one based on potential, not on pedigree, or who you know,” he said.
While other talent intelligence platforms help candidates find the right job for them, Eightfold stands different in their approach to consider the whole lifecycle of an employee.
“We focus on capabilities that candidates have, and what capabilities are needed to do a job. Then we apply that approach throughout the talent-management process – from screening to interview and helping them grow in their career,” explained Vinodh.
AI-based Platform Is Transforming The HR Processes
As organisations are rethinking and transforming every aspect of their talent management, Eightfold is ensuring that their technology can help them enable that. “Instead of going out to temporary/contingent work agencies, they can first look at their own employees’ capabilities. Instead of laying people off, they can first see through AI what matches are available internally,” shared Vinodh. Sharing a use case, he said that one major bank, amidst a mass layoff, increased its internal talent redeployment from 19% to 58%.
He further explained that instead of just talking about diversity, they are anonymising candidate’s information to provide equal opportunities to everyone. He claims that their solutions have helped achieve results such as almost 20 per cent more female hiring than before in organisations.
“Instead of interviewing with haphazard or subjective questions, we use AI to confirm what capabilities each job candidate has that actually relate to the open role,” he said. “We are decreasing the importance of resumes, job interviews, and job descriptions. We’re making it, so companies don’t need to spend as much money on temp companies, on headhunters, and on job boards,” he added.
How Does AI Work Here
Vinodh shared that firstly, AI helps to move beyond the long-standing over-reliance on resumes. “AI can have a sense of our capabilities, even if we didn’t list them on our resumes, bios, or LinkedIn profiles,” he said.
Let’s say a company is looking to hire someone. The company wants someone who has certain capabilities, but the candidate has not listed it despite having that capability. AI can determine that it’s highly likely that a certain person, based on where they’ve worked, when, and in what role, has that capability, even if it’s unsaid.
Secondly, AI can help understand the differences between candidates, even if they have the same title. Let’s say three people have all worked as product managers. One of them worked at Google, another BP, and the third, Airbus. AI knows with a high degree of certainty that the person from BP had certain types of capabilities that the Google and Airbus people did not or vice versa.
Thirdly, AI can help companies hire for potential. AI helps in understanding a person’s capabilities required for job as well as move people internally.
Fourth is internal mobility. Most of the time, employees find new challenges externally, not internally. It is often unclear in an organisation of tens or even hundreds of thousands of employees how an employee might move internally. This is particularly true when the potential match is less evident or crosses organisational lines. Artificial intelligence can help employees break down their experience into capabilities, and see what internal roles are available that match the need for those capabilities.
And finally, there’s the potential to avoid layoffs. The unique ability of AI to match people with opportunities at scale is especially important for avoiding layoffs.
Eightfold uses some of the cutting-edge algorithms in the field of AI / ML to model the data around people’s careers. These include some of the latest advances in neural network architectures such as transformers and sophisticated language modelling techniques like BERT. “We have also built some really cool data infrastructure both in terms of the database layers as well as the compute infrastructure given the large volume of data we handle,” said Vinodh.
Vinodh shared that they are growing at a fast rate, working with banks to healthcare to airlines to governments. “We’re hiring. We’re aggressive. We are using this current economic slowdown to work harder, launch more features, and improve every part of our end-to-end platform,” he said.
On a concluding note, Vinodh also shared the startup’s plan to grow internationally, in more languages, in more countries, and help more people achieve the best careers in the world.