Recruiting 9 to 5, What AI Way to Make a Living

Startup Eightfold helps companies blunt recruiting costs and employee churn.
by Scott Martin

There’s a revolving door for many jobs in the U.S., and it’s been rotating faster lately. For AI recruiting startup Eightfold, which promises lower churn and faster hiring, that spins up opportunity.

Silicon Valley-based Eightfold, which recently raised $18 million, is offering its talent management platform as U.S. unemployment has hit its lowest since the go-go era of 2000.

Stakes are high for companies seeking the best and the brightest amid a sizzling job market. Many companies — especially tech sector ones — have high churn amid much-needed positions unfilled. Eightfold says its software can slash the time it takes to hire by 40 percent.

“The most important asset in the enterprise is the people,” said Eightfold founder and CEO Ashutosh Garg.

The tech industry veteran helped steer the launch of eight product launches at Google and co-founded BloomReach to offer AI-driven retail personalization.

Tech’s Short Job Tenures

Current recruiting and retention methods are holding back people and employers, Garg says.

The problem is acute in the U.S., as on average it takes two months to fill a position at a cost of as much as $20,000. And churn is unnecessarily high, he says.

This is an escalating workforce problem. The employee tenure on average at tech companies such as Apple, Amazon, Twitter, Microsoft and Airbnb has fallen below two years, according to Paysa, a career service. [Disclosure: NVIDIA’s average tenure of employees is more than 5 years.]

The Eightfold Talent Intelligence Platform is used by companies alongside human resources management software and talent tracking systems on areas such as recruiting, retention and diversity.

Machines ‘More Than 2x Better’

Eightfold’s deep neural network was trained on millions of public profiles and continues to ingest massive helpings of data, including public profiles and info on who is getting hired.

The startup’s ongoing training of its recurrent neural networks, which are predictive by design, enables it to continually improve its inferencing capabilities.

“We use a cluster of NVIDIA GPUs to train deep models. These servers process billions of data points to understand career trajectory of people and predict what they will do next. We have over a dozen deep models powering core components of our product,” Garg said.

The platform has processed over 20 million applications, helping companies increase

response rates from candidates by eightfold (thus its name). It has helped reduce screening costs and time to hire by 90 percent.

“It’s more than two times better at matching than a human recruiter,” Garg said.

AI Matchmaker for Job Candidates

For job matching, AI is a natural fit. Job applicants and recruiters alike can upload a resume into a company’s employment listings portal powered by Eightfold’s AI. The platform shoots back in seconds the handful of jobs that are a good match for the particular candidate.

Recruiters can use the tool to search for a wider set of job candidate attributes. For example, it can be used to find star employees who move up more quickly than others in an organization. It can also find those whose GitHub follower count is higher than average, a key metric for technical recruiting.

The software can ingest data on prospects — education, career trajectory, peer rankings, etc. — to do inferencing about how good of a company fit they are for open jobs.

No, Please Don’t Go!

The software is used for retention as well. The employment tenure on average in the U.S. is 4.2 years and a mere 18 months for millennials. For retention, the software directs its inferencing capabilities at employees to determine what they might do next in their career paths.

It looks at many signals, aiming to determine questions such as: Are you likely to switch jobs? Are you an attrition risk? How engaged are you? Are peers switching roles now?

“There’s all kinds of signals that we try to connect,” Garg said. “You try to give that person another opportunity in the company to keep them from leaving.”

Diversity? Blind Screening

Eightfold offers diversity help for recruiters, too. For those seeking talent, the startup’s algorithms can assist to identify which applicants are a good match. Its diversity function also allows recruiters blind screening of candidates shown, helping to remove bias.

Customers AdRoll and DigitalOcean are among those using the startup’s diversity product.

“By bringing AI into the screening, you are able to remove all these barriers — their gender, their ethnicity and so on,” Garg said. “So many of us know how valuable it is to have diversity.”