Curated Intel from the Talent Tech Industry
October 3-10, 2022:
• Setting a date for talent acquisition: $3B scheduling “startup” Calendly acquires Prelude;
• Throwing down the gauntlet: Cambridge researchers claim AI can’t correct bias in hiring;
• Raising a river of cash: Texting-based solution Workstream bags $60M in Series B funding;
• Focusing on quality: Talent market report says a majority of recruiters want better hires;
• Expanding into TA: Humaans raises $15M to add onboarding to its HR tech stack solution.
• Eliminating the fear and spotlighting the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence. That’s what the TAtech Leadership Summit on Applications of Recruiting AI for Enterprise Employers is all about. If your product uses machine learning or any other form of AI, this is one event you should not miss. So, join us on October 25 at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL USA.
Calendly acquires Prelude to drive into the recruitment sector
Calendly, the scheduling startup that landed with a splash last year when it raised a huge round out of nowhere at a $3 billion+ valuation, has made a name for itself for tools that are used by more than 10 million people to book appointments, arrange meetings and plan any event that involves two or more people making time for each other. Standing in the long shadow of Google, Microsoft and other giants that want to be the go-to platform for work and leisure life planning, now Calendly is making a move to step up its own pace. The company has acquired Prelude, a specialist in automating scheduling and organization around to job recruitment. Calendly is profitable, and this is its first acquisition. Prior to the deal, Prelude — which originally launched under the less elusive name “Interview Schedule” — had raised just $2.4 million, from investors that included Sam and Jack Altman, Fuel Capital, Elad Gil and more. Financial terms of this deal are not being disclosed, but Prelude says that it has “hundreds” of customers, including One Media, Duolingo, Cloudflare and Samsara.
Claims AI can boost workplace diversity are 'spurious and dangerous'
Recent years have seen the emergence of AI tools marketed as an answer to lack of diversity in the workforce, from use of chatbots and CV scrapers to line up prospective candidates, through to analysis software for video interviews. Those behind the technology claim it cancels out human biases against gender and ethnicity during recruitment, instead using algorithms that read vocabulary, speech patterns and even facial micro-expressions to assess huge pools of job applicants for the right personality type and "culture fit". However, in a new report published in Philosophy and Technology, researchers from Cambridge's Center for Gender Studies argue these claims make some uses of AI in hiring little better than an "automated pseudoscience" reminiscent of physiognomy or phrenology: the discredited beliefs that personality can be deduced from facial features and skull shape. They say it is a dangerous example of "technosolutionism": turning to technology to provide quick fixes for deep-rooted discrimination issues that require investment and changes to company culture.
Workstream, Which Makes Texting-Based Hiring Tools, Raises An Additional $60 Million
Just as the VC market began dipping downwards six months ago, HR software startup Workstream experienced a breakthrough. Its hiring tools, which are designed for hourly workers and are powered by text messaging, had steadily attracted business from franchise owners of fast food chains like McDonald’s and Popeyes. But when customers like Ace Hardware, Jiffy Lube, UPS began using the platform to manage their hiring processes, Workstream’s investors took notice. Now, Workstream has raised an additional $60 million in fresh capital to help it expand to even more industries that employ hourly workers. The five-year-old San Francisco-based startup announced the fundraise Thursday and is calling it an “extension” to the $48 million Series B round it raised in August 2021. Existing investor GGV Capital led the new financing, with participation from other previous backers including Bond Capital, Coatue, CRV and Founders Fund. The capital came with a valuation uptick to $500 million from $375 million a year ago, even as extension rounds at increased valuations became more rare amid the market downturn.
Most recruiters say increasing quality of hire is now a top priority
A new report shares the chief worries of talent acquisition professionals—and they are worried. In its first Quarterly Insights Report, Staying the Course In a Challenging Labor Market, talent acquisition provider Employ reports that 63% of respondents say new hires leave in the first 90 days after starting a new job and another 63% said their current hiring volume is greater than last year’s volume. The drive to hire outstanding candidates is at the top of their minds as well. An estimated 62% of respondents said their top recruiting priority is improving their “quality of hire.” What it means for HR leaders and recruiters? Job seekers still control today’s job market and are demanding more from their employers, according to Employ’s report, which was compiled from employer and job seeker activity across the vendor’s 18,000 customers. “While the latest Bureau of Labor Statistics Jobs Openings and Labor Turnover report shows that the jobs market is starting to cool off, there are still signs of a tight labor market, and recruiters will continue to face challenges,” said Allie Kelly, chief marketing officer of Employ.
Humaans raises $15M to simplify HR tasks like onboarding
The role of HR professionals grew in scope during the pandemic as companies were forced to navigate major workplace changes, like working from home. Unsurprisingly, those professionals have had some of the highest burnout rates over the past two years, particularly as HR departments remain under-resourced. According to an August survey from Workvivo, an employee collaboration app, 95% of HR workers say that they’ve felt overwhelmed in the last six months while 73% felt under-valued by their employers. Part of the reason HR work today is so demanding is the lack of effective tools to help accomplish aspects of the job, according to Giovanni Luperti. He’s the CEO of Humaans, an HR tech startup that lets organizations build a customizable HR stack that manages employee documents, data, payroll, contracts and other components of “people ops.” “Our goal is to allow companies to operate with the flexibility, connectivity and tools that work best for them instead of forcing a one-size-fits-all approach to people operations and company building processes that are evolving every day,” he told TechCrunch in an email interview. “HR teams need more effective processes and integrated systems to proactively help modern organizations support their workforce. We built Humaans to … bring the full HR stack together and automate processes such as onboarding, offboarding, and more to streamline workflows.”
Making the Power & Promise of AI a Mainstream Application
Eliminating the fear and spotlighting the capabilities of Artificial Intelligence. That’s what the TAtech Leadership Summit on Applications of Recruiting AI for Enterprise Employers is all about. If your product uses machine learning or any other form of AI, this is one event you should not miss. So, join us on October 25 at the University of Chicago Graduate School of Business in Chicago, IL USA. This unique one-day event is specifically designed to promote connections among busy corporate and industry leaders. Its program provides a deep dive into an array of AI applications with plenty of time left over for senior-level peer-to-peer interaction. That makes it the perfect venue for building your brand and generating sales leads. Sponsorships are still available, but going fast so contact TAtech CEO Peter Weddle (firstname.lastname@example.org) right away!