The Race to ROI in HR Tech

Employee Engagement, Human Capital Management, Insights

October 2019 — By Margaret Cobb


The 2019 HR Technology Conference in Las Vegas highlighted the importance of advances in technology, particularly with Artificial Intelligence (“AI”) across the employee experience spectrum, especially within talent acquisition.  The driving question: how are companies implementing this technology and what results are they seeing?

Generally, it seems that companies are still experimenting with how to make the most of AI functionality.  According to a recent survey by MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group, nine out of 10 executives agree AI represents a business opportunity; however, seven out of 10 report little to no impact from AI, so far.1  Companies most successful in capturing value from AI have integrated it within overall business strategies and established cross-functional collaboration.

In the talent acquisition space, which spans candidate sourcing; interviewing; pre-hire assessments and candidate engagement, software providers are leveraging AI to optimize processes and predict trends.  Josh Bersin has called recruiting the biggest AI market within HR, crediting its growth to 10 years of job expansion.

In a previously published note, we highlighted the increased appetite of investors for AI applications in HR Tech.  Notably, AllyO’s  AI-powered employee and candidate communication platform recently raised $45mm led by Sapphire Ventures, Scale Venture Partners and Square 1 Bank.   Other examples of the rapid changes underway in HR Tech are outlined below.

 We’ve also seen AI applied to three other key areas within talent acquisition:

Job Marketing

Expanding the reach and accessibility of open positions

Jibe, a cloud-based recruiting platform, leverages Google Talent Cloud Solution and machine learning to deliver search results to candidates on branded career sites it develops for customers.  In June, iCims acquired Jibe from financial sponsors Vista Equity Partners and Susquehanna Growth Equity.

In advance of the HR Tech Conference, recruiting solutions provider CareerBuilder released its AI job posting tool to predict a job posting’s attractiveness to candidates.  The module recommends ways to improve attractiveness and auto-populates gender- and tone-neutral language.

Candidate Sourcing:

Mining candidate databases and often re-engaging past job prospects

Entelo uses AI to source and qualify candidates based on recruiters’ open job criteria.  The platform also sends outreach to candidates and once a candidate is engaged, a recruiter is notified to progress the conversation.  In August, Entelo announced the acquisition of ConveyIQ, a candidate communication platform, in conjunction with its Series D financing.

Eightfold delivers candidate recommendations to recruiters through its job matching engine driven by machine learning.  Candidates also receive a list of best-fit roles based on skills assessments from resume and profile parsing.  Eightfold has raised over $50mm in venture capital investment with the latest round led by Lightspeed Venture Partners, Foundation Capital and IVP.

Pre-Employment Screening:

Evaluating candidates for specific capabilities and traits

AI powers Harver’s candidate assessments, bridging the sourcing and onboarding phases of talent acquisition.  Assessments range from cultural fit and cognitive ability to personality and multi-tasking.  The Company raised its Series B round of $15mm led by Insight Partners in July.

TalView leverages video analytics and machine learning to facilitate candidate assessments and streamline the hiring process.  TalView raised $7mm in a Series A round in May.

What’s Next?

We expect to see further investment in AI-enabled talent acquisition as organizations continue to implement solutions and begin to derive increasingly more valuable insights.  Although still emerging, AI is changing the way corporations approach the hiring process.

1Ransbotham, Sam, et al. “Winning With AI: Pioneers Combine Strategy, Organizational Behavior, and Technology.” Artificial Intelligence Global Executive Study and Research Report, MIT Sloan Management Review and Boston Consulting Group, 15 Oct. 2019, https://sloanreview.mit.edu/projects/winning-with-ai/.