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How An AI Platform Is Matching Employees And Opportunities

How An AI Platform Is Matching Employees And Opportunities

Instead of relying on data-driven signals of past accomplishments, Eightfold.ai is using AI to discover the innate capabilities of people and matching them to new opportunities in their own companies.

Bottom Line: Eightfold.ai’s innovative approach of combining their own AI and virtual hackathons to create and launch new additions to their Project Marketplace rapidly is a model enterprises need to consider emulating.

Eightfold.ai was founded with the mission that there is a right career for everyone in the world. Since its founding in 2016, Eightfold.ai’s Talent Intelligence Platform continues to see rapid global growth, attracting customers across four continents and 25 countries, supporting 15 languages with users in 110 countries. Their Talent Intelligence Platform is built to assist enterprises with Talent Acquisition and Management holistically.

What’s noteworthy about Eightfold.ai’s approach is how they have successfully created a platform that aggregates all available data on people across an enterprise – from applicants to alumni – to create a comprehensive Talent Network. Instead of relying on data-driven signals of past accomplishments, Eightfold.ai is using AI to discover the innate capabilities of people and matching them to new opportunities in their own companies. Eightfold’s AI and machine learning algorithms are continuously learning from enterprise and individual performance to better predict role, performance and career options for employees based on capabilities.

How Eightfold Sets A Quick Pace Innovating Their Marketplace

Recently Eightfold.ai announced Project Marketplace, an AI-based solution for enterprises that align employees seeking new opportunities and companies’ need to reskill and upskill their employees with capabilities that line up well with new business imperatives. Eightfold wanted to provide employees with opportunities to gain new skills through experiential learning, network with their colleagues, join project teams and also attain the satisfaction of helping flatten the unemployment curve outside. Project Marketplace helps employers find hidden talent, improve retention strategies and gain new knowledge of who has specific capabilities and skills. The following is a screen from the Marketplace that provides employees the flexibility of browsing all projects their unique capabilities qualify them for:

How An AI Platform Is Matching Employees And Opportunities

Employees select a project of interest and are immediately shown how strong of a match they are with the open position. Eightfold provides insights into relevant skills that an employee already has, why they are a strong match and the rest of the project team members – often a carrot in itself. Keeping focused on expanding employee’s capabilities, Eightfold also provides guidance of which skills an employee will learn. The following is an example of what an open project positions looks like:

How An AI Platform Is Matching Employees And Opportunities

How An AI Platform Is Matching Employees And Opportunities

Employee applicants can also view all the projects they currently have open from the My Projects view shown below:

How An AI Platform Is Matching Employees And Opportunities

Project Marketplace is the win/win every employee has yearned for as they start to feel less challenged in their current position and start looking for a new one, often outside their companies. I recently spoke with Ashutosh Garg, CEO and Co-Founder and Kamal Ahluwalia, Eightfold’s President, to see how they successfully ran a virtual hackathon across three continents to keep the Marketplace platform fresh with new features and responsive to the market.

How to Run A Virtual Hackathon

Starting with the hackathon, Eightfold relied on its own Talent Intelligence Platform to define the teams across all three continents, based on their employees’ combined mix of capabilities. Ashutosh, Kamal and the senior management team defined three goals of the hackathon:

  1. Solve problems customers are asking about with solutions that are not on the roadmap yet.
  2. Accelerate time to value for customers with new approaches no one has thought of before.
  3. Find new features and unique strengths that further strengthen the company’s mission of finding the right career for everyone in the world.

It’s fascinating to see how AI, cybersecurity and revenue management software companies continue to innovate at a fast pace delivering complex apps with everyone being remote. I asked Ashutosh how he and his management team approached the challenge of having a hackathon spanning three continents deliver results. Here’s what I learned from our discussion and these lessons are directly applicable to any virtual hackathon today:

  1. Define the hackathon’s purpose clearly and link it to the company mission, explaining what’s at stake for customers, employees and the millions of people looking for work today – all served by the Talent Intelligence Platform broadening its base of features.
  2. Realize that what you are building during the hackathon will help set some employees free from stagnating skills allowing them to be more employable with their new capabilities.
  3. The hackathon is a chance to master new skills through experiential learning, further strengthening their capabilities as well. And often learning from some of the experts in the company by joining their teams.
  4. Reward risk-taking and new innovative ideas that initially appear to be edge cases, but can potentially be game changers for customers.

I’ve been interviewing CEOs from startups to established enterprise software companies about how they kept innovation alive during the lockdown. CEOs have mentioned agile development, extensive use of Slack channels and daily virtual stand-ups. Ashutosh Garg is the only one to mention how putting intrinsic motivation into practice, along with these core techniques, binds hackathon teams together fast. Dan Pink’s classic TED Talk, The Puzzle of Motivation, explains intrinsic motivators briefly and it’s clear they have implications on a hackathon succeeding or not.

Measuring Results Of the Hackathon

Within a weekend, Project Marketplace revealed several new rock stars amongst the Eightfold hackathon teams. Instead of doing side projects for people who had time on their hands, this Hackathon was about making Eightfold’s everyday projects better and faster. Their best Engineers and Services team members took a step back, re-looked at the current approaches and competed with each other to find better and innovative ways. And they all voted for the most popular projects and solutions – ultimate reward in gaining the respect of your peers. As well as the most “prolific coder” for those who couldn’t resist working on multiple teams.

Conclusion

Remote work is creating daunting challenges for individuals at home as well as for companies. Business models need to change and innovation cannot take a back seat while most companies have employees working from home for the foreseeable future. Running a hackathon during a global lockdown and making it deliver valuable new insights and features that benefit customers now is achievable as Eightfold’s track record shows. Project marketplace may prove to be a useful ally for employees and companies looking to stay true to their mission and help each other grow – even in a pandemic. This will create better job security, a culture of continuous learning, loyalty and more jobs. AI will change how we look at our work – and this is a great example of inspiring innovation.

 

Remote Recruiting In A Post COVID-19 World

Remote Recruiting In A Post COVID-19 World

Bottom Line: Virtual career fairs and events, fully-remote recruiting, more personalized career paths, and greater insights into candidate experiences are quickly becoming the new normal in a post-COVID-19 world.

The COVID-19 pandemic is quickly changing how every organization is attracting, recruiting, and retaining employees on their virtual teams, making remote work the new normal. Recruiting systems, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), and talent management systems were designed for one-on-one personal interactions, not virtual ones. Legacy Human Resource Management (HRM) systems are already showing signs of not being able to scale and meet the challenges of the brave, new post-COVID-19 world. The majority of legacy systems are built for transaction scale and can’t see candidate potential. Closing the gaps between legacy talent management systems and new virtual event recruiting and AI-based talent management platforms are changing that by putting candidate potential at the center of their architectures.

Closing The Virtual Event Recruiting Gap Needs To Happen First

Many organizations during this time of year prioritize recruiting the best and brightest college seniors they can attract during in-person interviews on campus. That’s no longer an option today. College recruiters are resorting to individual Skype or Zoom sessions with candidates while attempting to keep track of interviews the best they can with Excel, Google Sheets, and e-mail. Recruiters trying to recruit for mid-level and senior positions are under increasing pressure from hiring managers to arrange interviews with the highest quality candidates possible.

Seeing an opportunity to help organizations find, engage, and recruit using online events, Eightfold.ai has created and launched Virtual Event Recruiting. Eightfold.ai is best-known for its Talent Intelligence Platform™, the first AI-powered solution and most effective way for companies to identify promising candidates, reach diversity hiring goals, retain top performers, and engage talent. Eightfold.ai’s recent webinar How To Hold Virtual Recruiting Events is worth checking out if you’re interested in how Virtual Event Recruiting is evolving..

What Does Success Look Like In Virtual Event Recruiting?

The table stakes for any Virtual Event Recruiting solution need include support for students just starting their careers, veterans, return-to-work mothers, and experienced professionals. For a solution to be effective, it also needs to enable companies and job seekers to connect, giving companies greater scale than is possible for physical recruiting events. Ideally, any virtual event recruiting system needs to provide the following:

  • The ability to upload resume books and use AI to find the highest quality matches for open positions in real-time. Machine learning algorithms excel at pattern matching and can save recruiters thousands of hours of drudgery by immediately seeing the highest quality matches for open positions.
  • Provide a planning center that also serves a company’s specific talent community and provide tools to grow it by tailoring events to their specific interests while seeking the best-qualified candidates for open positions. Creating, launching, and tracking recruiting campaigns from the same dashboard that tracks invitations, registrations, and open positions being filled gives recruiters the end-to-end visibility they need to succeed with a virtual event. It’s important to have Assessments included in every virtual event to measure candidates’ experiences and see what’s going well and which areas need to improve. The following is an example of what Eightfold’s planning center looks like:

Remote Recruiting In a Post COVID-19 World

  • Rely on AI to match high-potential candidates with the best possible virtual events to increase opt-in and participation rates. For a virtual event recruiting solution to be effective, high-potential candidates need to be matched with positions they will most excel in. A first step to making this happen is using AI to understand every candidate’s strengths and inviting them to the virtual events that will help them the most in choosing the best position given their potential.

Remote Recruiting In a Post COVID-19 World

  • Guide candidates to the positions that best match their existing capabilities and future potential. Instead of relying on keyword matching from resumes alone, virtual event recruiting applications need to suggest those positions high-potential candidates have the greatest potential to excel at. Using AI to combine all available data on a candidate, so their existing capabilities and future potential are taken into account is key to making more successful hires. Integrating job recommendations with virtual event recruiting is a must-have for any organization looking to add staff in 2020 and beyond.

Remote Recruiting In a Post COVID-19 World

  • After the virtual event, all potential candidates for an open position need to be stacked-ranked so recruiters can prioritize who they contact. By providing personalization at scale to every candidate by providing them recommendations for the positions they are the strongest match for, recruiters will find following-up is easier to accomplish than cold-calling a candidate found on LinkedIn, for example. Stack ranking needs to include members of the existing talent community and organization is cultivating as well. An excellent example of how this could work is shown below:

Remote Recruiting In a Post COVID-19 World

Conclusion

University campuses need to consider partnering with Eightfold.ai to make it easier for their graduating students to find best available careers, perhaps across a much broader range of companies than ever visited any individual campus. And there is no reason this paradigm can’t be applied to other job fairs and recruiting events like Grace Hopper.

Improving event virtual recruiting needs to be the priority recruiters and HR professionals take action on first to stay competitive from a talent management standpoint. Organizations that will win the war for talent in this new remote, distributed workforce era are already looking at how to excel at virtual recruiting. Having a talent intelligence platform that can provide end-to-end visibility and personalization at scale is the future of talent management.

 

What’s Next For You? How AI Is Transforming Talent Management

Bottom Line: Taking on the talent crisis with greater intelligence and insight, delivering a consistently excellent candidate experience, and making diversity and inclusion a part of their DNA differentiates growing businesses who are attracting and retaining employees. The book What’s Next For You? by Ashutosh Garg, CEO and Co-Founder and Kamal Ahluwalia, President of eightfold.ai provide valuable insights and a data-driven roadmap of how AI is helping to solve the talent crisis for any business.

The Talent Crisis Is Real

  • 78% of CEOs and Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) say talent programs are important, with 56% say their current programs are ineffective.
  • 83% of employees want a new job yet only 53% want to leave for a new company.
  • 57% of employees say diversity and inclusion initiatives aren’t working, and 40% say their companies lack qualified diverse talent.
  • Nearly 50% of an organizations’ top talent will leave their jobs in the first two years of being hired.
  • 28% of open positions today won’t be filled in the next 12 months.

The above findings are just a sample of the depth of data-driven content and roadmap the book What’s Next For You? delivers. Co-authors Ashutosh Garg’s and Kamal Ahluwalia’s expertise in applying AI and machine learning to talent management problems with a strong data-first mindset is evident throughout the book. What makes the book noteworthy is how the authors write from the heart first with empathy for applicants and hiring managers, supporting key points with data. The empathetic, data-driven tone of the book makes the talent crisis relatable while also illustrating how AI can help any business make better talent management decisions.

“Businesses are having to adapt to technology changes and changes in customer expectations roughly every 10 years – a timeframe that is continuing to shrink. As a result, business leaders need to really focus on rethinking their business strategy and the associated talent strategy, so they have the organizational capability to transform and capitalize on the inevitable technology shifts,” writes John Thompson, Venture Partner, Lightspeed Venture Partners and Chairman of the Board at Microsoft in the forward.

The book cites talent management researchers and experts who say “our current knowledge base has a half-life of about two years, and the speed of technology is outperforming us as humans because of what it can do quickly and effectively“ (p.64). John Thompson’s observations in the forward that the time available for adapting to change is shrinking is a unifying thread that ties this book together. One of the most convincing is the fact that using today’s Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) and hiring processes prone to biases, there’s a 30% chance a new hire will not make it through their first year. If the new hire is a cloud computing professional, this equates to a median salary of $146,350 and taking best-case 46 days to find their replacement. The cost and time loss of losing just one recruited cloud computing professional can derail a project for months. It will cost at least $219,000 or more to replace just that one engineer. Any manager who has lost a new hire within a year can relate to how real the talent crisis is and how urgent it is to solve it.

The Half-Life Of Skills Is Shrinking Fast

The most compelling chapter of the book illustrates how today’s talent crisis can be solved by taking an AI-enabled approach to every aspect of talent management. Chapter 4, The Half-Life Of Skills Is Shrinking Fast, delves into how AI can find candidates who can unlearn old concepts, and quickly master new ones. The book calls out this attribute of any potential new hire as being essential for them to adapt.  Using higher quality data than is available in traditional ATS systems, the authors illustrate how AI-based systems can be used for evaluating both the potential and experiences of applicants to match them with positions they will excel in. The authors make a convincing argument that AI can increase the probability of new candidate success. They cite a well-known Leadership IQ statistic of 46% of all new employee hires failing to adapt within 18 months, and the Harvard Business Review study finding between 40% to 60% of new upper management hires fail within 18 months. The authors contend that even Leonardo Da Vinci, one of the primary architects of the Renaissance, would have trouble finding work using a traditional resume entered into an ATS system today because his exceptional capabilities and potential would have never been discovered. When our existing process of recruiting is based on practices over 500 years old, as this copy of Leonardo Da Vinci’s resume illustrates, it’s time to put AI to work matching peoples’ potential with unique position requirements.

When Employees Achieve Their Potential, Companies Do Too   

Attracting the highest potential employees possible and retaining them is the cornerstone of any digital business’ growth strategy today and in the future. The book addresses the roadblocks companies face in attaining that goal, with bias being one of the strongest. “For example, McKinsey & Co., a top consulting agency, studied over 1,000 companies across 12 countries and found that firms in the top quartile of gender diversity were a fifth more likely to have above-average profits than those in the bottom quartile,” (p. 105). Further, “diverse executive boards generate better financial returns, and gender-diverse teams are more creative, more productive and more confident.” (p. 105).

In conclusion, consider this book a roadmap of how hiring and talent management can change for the better based on AI. The authors successfully illustrate how combining talent, personalization at scale, and machine learning can help employees achieve their potential, enabling companies to achieve theirs in the process.

Using Machine Learning To Find Employees Who Can Scale With Your Business

  • Eightfold’s analysis of hiring data has found the half-life of technical, marketable skills is 5 to 7 years, making the ability to unlearn and learn new concepts essential for career survival.
  • Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) don’t capture applicants’ drive and intensity to unlearn and learn or their innate capabilities for growth.
  • Artificial Intelligence (AI) and machine learning are proving adept at discovering candidates’ innate capabilities to unlearn, learn and reinvent themselves throughout their careers.

Hiring managers in search of qualified job candidates who can scale with and contribute to their growing businesses are facing a crisis today. They’re not finding the right or in many cases, any candidates at all using resumes alone, Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) or online job recruitment sites designed for employers’ convenience first and candidates last. These outmoded approaches to recruiting aren’t designed to find those candidates with the strongest capabilities. Add to this dynamic the fact that machine learning is making resumes obsolete by enabling employers to find candidates with precisely the right balance of capabilities needed and its unbiased data-driven approach selecting candidates works. Resumes, job recruitment sites and ATS platforms force hiring managers to bet on the probability they make a great hire instead of being completely certain they are by basing their decisions on solid data.

Playing The Probability Hiring Game Versus Making Data-Driven Decisions

Many hiring managers and HR recruiters are playing the probability hiring game. It’s betting that the new hire chosen using imprecise methods will work out. And like any bet, it gets expensive quickly when a wrong choice is made. There’s a 30% chance the new hire will make it through one year, and if they don’t, it will cost at least 1.5 times their salary to replace them. When the median salary for a cloud computing professional is $146,350, and it takes the best case 46 days to find them, the cost and time loss of losing just one recruited cloud computing professional can derail a project for months. It will cost at least $219,000 or more to replace just that one engineer. The average size of an engineering team is ten people so only three will remain in 12 months. These are the high costs of playing the probability hiring game, fueled by unconscious and conscious biases and systems that game recruiters into believing they are making progress when they’re automating mediocre or worse decisions. Hiring managers will have better luck betting in Las Vegas or playing Powerball than hiring the best possible candidate if they rely on systems that only deliver a marginal probability of success at best.

Betting on solid data and personalization at scale, on the other hand, delivers real results. Real data slices through the probabilities and is the best equalizer there is at eradicating conscious and unconscious biases from hiring decisions. Hiring managers, HR recruiters, directors and Chief Human Resource Officers (CHROs) vow they are strong believers in diversity. Many are abandoning the probability hiring game for AI- and machine learning-based approaches to talent management that strip away any extraneous data that could lead to bias-driven hiring decisions. Now candidates get evaluated on their capabilities and innate strengths and how strong a match they are to ideal candidates for specific roles.

A Data-Driven Approach To Finding Employees Who Can Scale

Personalization at scale is more than just a recruiting strategy; it’s a talent management strategy intended to flex across the longevity of every employees’ tenure. Attaining personalization at scale is essential if any growing business is going to succeed in attracting, acquiring and growing talent that can support their growth goals and strategies. Eightfold’s approach makes it possible to scale personalized responses to specific candidates in a company’s candidate community while defining the ideal candidate for each open position. Personalization at scale has succeeded in helping companies find the right person to the right role at the right time and, for the first time, personalize every phase of recruitment, retention and talent management at scale.

Eightfold is pioneering the use of a self-updating corporate candidate database. Profiles in the system are now continually updated using external data gathering, without applicants reapplying or submitting updated profiles. The taxonomies supported in the corporate candidate database make it possible for hiring managers to define the optimal set of capabilities, innate skills, and strengths they need to fill open positions.

Lessons Learned at PARC
Russell Williams, former Vice President of Human Resources at PARC, says the best strategy he has found is to define the ideal attributes of high performers and look to match those profiles with potential candidates. “We’re finding that there are many more attributes that define a successful employee in our most in-demand positions including data scientist that are evident from just reviewing a resume and with AI, I want to do it at scale,” Russell said. Ashutosh Garg, Eightfold founder, added: “that’s one of the greatest paradoxes that HR departments face, which is the need to know the contextual intelligence of a given candidate far beyond what a resume and existing recruiting systems can provide.”  One of the most valuable lessons learned from PARC is that it’s possible to find the find candidates who excel at unlearning, learning, defining and diligently pursuing their learning roadmaps that lead to reinventing their skills, strengths, and marketability.

Conclusion

Machine learning algorithms capable of completing millions of pattern matching comparisons per second provides valuable new insights, enabling companies to find those who excel at reinventing themselves. The most valuable employees who can scale any business see themselves as learning entrepreneurs and have an inner drive to master new knowledge and skills. And that select group of candidates is the catalyst most often responsible for making the greatest contributions to a company’s growth.

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