In early 2022, LinkedIn COO Daniel Shapero wrote that nearly 6 in 10 employees were either actively looking for a new job or beginning to consider it. This was around the peak of what got called The Great Resignation or The Great Reshuffle.
We all know why these things happened: Workers saw opportunities to raise their salaries, to develop professionally or to make room for more flexibility in their work lives.
At the same time, the Great Reshuffle upended many of the assumptions and processes that traditional recruitment models were built upon. The work tech sector is still grappling with how recruitment moves forward.
Getting the right person with the right skills into the right role has become incredibly difficult for most companies.
The four startups below are coming up with innovative ways to solve that problem.
Formerly known as PredictiveHire, Australian startup Sapia.ai announced in November it had raised $17 million in a Series A round.
Sapia.ai’s platform screens candidates by using a chatbot to conduct blind, asynchronous interviews. This helps scale candidate screening and removes some of the human bias that can trickle into the early stages of the hiring process.
“There’s a lot of mirror hiring, and it’s why there’s so many white men in start-ups,” founder and CEO Barb Hyman told The Australian Financial Review’s Yolanda Redrup in March 2022.
Hyman’s vision is that tools like Sapia.ai will do a better job of revealing all of the skills each applicant could bring to a role. “The CV is also a very poor proxy for anything. The sooner we get rid of the CV, the sooner businesses will see real talent.”
Swedish startup Adway announced a €10 million Series A round in November. Like Sapia.ai, Adway’s platform uses AI to help companies recruit at scale, but via automated social recruitment marketing.
This is where Adway’s technology overlaps with employer branding tools. Adam Said, whose firm Octopus Ventures led this funding round, tells Shalini Pathak at EdTechReview that social media have become primary channels for employer brand-building, particularly among younger workers. “Millennials and Gen Zs are further relying on social media to build trust with future employers, and the pandemic has allowed companies to embrace flexible working.”
Adway’s model for building that kind of trust consists of ensuring an employer’s social content is worth remarking on, making candidates feel that they’re getting a look behind the curtain of the company’s operations, and gamifying content to drive further engagement.
In other words, if you can make a company’s social channels worth following, those become excellent platforms for publishing vacancies. Adway’s technology automates that work.
In December, Chicago’s Hunt Club announced it had raised a $40 million Series B funding round to help grow its recruitment platform.
Hunt Club’s technology scans the networks of some 20,000 business leaders plus a pool of 7 million candidates to facilitate warm introductions and referrals.
This seems to be a particularly effective model for executive recruitment. “The leaders who drive high-growth companies forward aren’t waiting for a recruiter to reach out to them,” the company tells Hunt Scanlon Media. “They have a job and they have their pick of roles and opportunities, but a referral from a well-respected peer can make all the difference.
Even for non-executive roles, the labor market gives candidates the advantage. Hunt Club’s Amanda Price, Morgan Lichtenstein and Erika Giles write at TechCrunch that talented candidates today receive an average of 2.8 job offers, up from 1.7 job offers in 2019.
“Along with expedited timelines and competitive offers coming in from multiple bidders, candidates will turn down offers if they don’t meet criteria such as flexibility around hybrid-remote work,” they write, echoing what LinkedIn’s Daniel Shapero noted in early 2022.
In September, San Francisco’s Workstream announced it had raised $60 million to grow its hiring platform.
Workstream’s platform was built to reach a different segment of the workforce: hourly workers who aren’t in an office and might not even have a company email address. Workstream reaches those folks via text messaging rather than email.
“Front-line and deskless workers are often the most disconnected members of the global job force due to a lack of access to company-issued e-mail addresses,” TechCrunch senior reporter Natasha Mascarenhas wrote in 2021, when Workstream raised $48 million in a Series B round. “Thus, by Workstream communicating with candidates over text, it is able to give workers on the go some real-time updates.”
What Work Tech CMOs Should Consider
Together, these four startups paint a picture of how traditional recruitment is broken: Front-line workers aren’t available for recruitment outreach, top office talent are too busy to field outreach from recruiters, and old screening processes don’t do a great job of identifying a candidate’s real talents.
If you have a product that fits into companies’ hiring processes, consider taking the following next steps:
- Brainstorm the kinds of workers who aren’t seeing recruiter outreach or employer branding messages.
- Look for ways your product helps your customers get talent, not specific types of people, in the door.
- Fold that understanding into your 2023 content campaigns. These are pain points that will find resonance with HR, employer branding and recruitment audiences.
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