Ashutosh Garg on AI in Recruitment

 Ashutosh Garg

Co-founder and CEO, Eightfold

In this article of Leader Stories, we have Ashutosh Garg, Co-founder &  CEO of Eightfold, sharing his thoughts on AI in recruitment. Ashutosh an IIT Delhi graduate started Eightfold with his Co-founder Varun Kacholia three years ago.  Ashutosh says, there was no  specific incident that prompted them to get into this business, but rather an observation that both him and his co-founder Varun Kacholia had independently. Ashutosh was the co-founder of BloomReach, and Varun was the leader of the Newsfeed team at Facebook. 

For the people who seek jobs or work at enterprises that use Eightfold, there are several important benefits. They will be able to take jobs that match their skills and goals, and they can be confident that their candidacy is considered without bias. With their platform, they can manage their career progression by understanding how they can advance in their company and into alternate career paths. For companies, there are also many benefits. companies can hire faster, and are able to attract more of the highly qualified people they need. They reduce their costs to hire as well. Companies are retaining their high-value employees longer and seeing meaningful increases in the diversity of their employee base. In conclusion, Ashutosh & his team  are solving employment. Deep learning AI, applied thoughtfully and at scale, is the critical technology that enables companies to offer a more human, more encouraging, more consumer-like experience to people.

Common mistakes in hiring

Ashutosh shares one common mistakes seen in hiring which is that their customers already know many, many qualified people they could hire for jobs. As a rule of thumb, a company knows about 200 people for each employee—these are the prior applicants, previously recruited talent, alumni, and many others. This means a company with 10,000 employees probably has a database of two million people who already know the company, and probably think highly of the company. Despite this, many companies will start a recruiting process by going to source new passive candidates. But there are those two million people already available to be recruited! Why not start with them? Why not focus on enabling the recruitment of these two million people, especially when the passive sourcing will often simply bring in people who the company already knows? By not thinking about this, companies are making their recruitment process far more slow and expensive than it needs to be. 

With Eightfold, the first source of candidates is this existing talent network, and the customers can recruit for up to 90% of their positions without any sourcing of passive candidates. Ashutosh shares a story that he likes about this process. One of their customers had a young woman interview for a college internship. They really liked her, but she ended up as the silver medalist and was not selected. Three years later, this company has Eightfold. The profile for this previous intern candidate was rediscovered and automatically updated by Eightfold’s technology. Now she is a strong performer in the full-time workforce, and Eightfold found new skills that she had gained. His customer found she was a strong match to a newly opened full-time role that would represent a promotion for her and reached out to see if she would be interested. The candidate was interested and very pleased to be contacted with a personal invitation to apply. When companies say, “We’ll contact you when a role matching your qualifications is available,” how many really do it? Eightfold customers do. This woman, now a front-line manager, has worked for their customer for six months

Eightfold for all

There is no strict rule defining how a company with Eightfold uses  technology based on the size of the company. That said, there is a trend. The startup companies  they work with are scaling and hiring fast. Their use case is typically to find and hire top candidates as fast as possible, and Eightfold delivers this outcome for them. Often they have tried many tools, and once they have Eightfold they will shut off at least three underperforming tools. For larger enterprises, more often they are thinking of talent transformation and internal mobility. They wish to keep the people they have and help them grow their careers so that their work becomes more valuable to the company. So, many of these companies use Eightfold’s technology to create internal job marketplaces and mentorship platforms and to guide strategic planning around the workforce. 

Personalized job hosting

In a few years, any company that fails to offer a personalized and fast way to apply for a job simply will no longer attract candidates, Ashutosh claims. Today’s workforce has grown up with mobile devices, and they expect a “consumer-like” experience in their workplace applications as well. Hiring is no different.

Equal Opportunity Algorithm

Ashutosh believes there are many ways in which their company is different. One of the differences that he’s most proud of is their approach to preventing bias. They deploy a design called Equal Opportunity Algorithms that ensures that AI recommendations never consider a person’s age, gender, or race. This way of designing their AI helps their customers to hire more great people in underrepresented groups and gives them the confidence that every individual is being fairly considered based on their skills and experiences, and not based on their age, gender, or race. He says, he is not aware of other companies that have this approach to designing products that stop bias.

Author – Nandu Krishna

Strategic Partnership Lead at Xobin