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If you think this is just another podcast, think again. We are the heart and soul of crucial conversations focused on helping you reimagine your tomorrow and exploring the convergence of people, technology and business. Geeks Geezers Googlization is hosted by Ira S Wolfe.

Nov 1, 2018

Is AI something that could be utilized in the recruitment process without eliminating the need for the human element in HR? This week, Keith and I cover this topic during a great conversation with our guest, Robby Gulri, CMO of Engage Talent, an AI-assisted recruitment support company.

With the recruitment process going through a technology metamorphosis, AI has found its place in the echelon of the biggest players and change makers in business tech.

Robby describes Engage Talent as “Recruitment Science”,  in which they “map the relationships between people, roles, companies, and dynamic markets using purely external data.”

When working with clients, the Engage Talent process is positioned on what Robbie calls the “Legs to the Stool”.

  • Talent identification: There needs to be the realization that sometimes a person and a company are just not a good fit. Now, this isn’t necessarily the individual or the company’s fault. Engage Talent believes that this improper pairing can be avoided by identifying potential candidates’ personal and professional interests to see how these interests and skills align with the open position. In short, Engage seeks to pair recruiters with candidates that have the statistical possibility of becoming long-term, effective, and content employees.
  • After providing the recruiter with candidates who meet the above criteria, the Engage team shows their client how to use this information to pique the interest of said potential candidates. With this information, they create custom, personalized messages catered to the individuals, instead of just sending them those cookie cutter emails that we all receive and usually discard without a moment’s glance.
  • All of this information is married through the system that is Engage Talent’s AI algorithm.

Now, for our listeners wary of AI and are currently picturing a robot apocalypse or the augmentation of human activity, Robby takes the time to stress how the human element in HR is essential, and it can not and should not be replaced. “AI is simply a way to gain a ‘leg up’ in the recruitment process by narrowing down the funnel that potential hires come through”.

With the insights that Engage Talent’s AI algorithm provides, recruiters are able to focus their energy on the 100 or so people that would, or do actually care about the opportunity. So, instead of spreading their net out over the masses and holding their breath to see what they pull in, they are able to target specific candidates whom they already know are right for the job and have a keen interest in the possibility of acquiring it.

Keith, Robby, and I also go on to reiterate that far too often, recruitment and HR departments are left behind when it comes to new tech. It seems that the cause of this problem usually lies at the top of the company pyramid with the “check writers”... aka senior management.

This is a fact I find quite surprising considering that in a recent poll, 50% of senior management execs say that talent is their #1 issue and finding the right people to react with the dynamic nature of their business is a struggle. Yet, those are the same leaders resistant to making tech changes (such as the use of AI).

Why is there such a resistance to tech upgrades that significantly help recruiters and HR departments in their mission to essentially keep the “lifeblood” of a corporate entity warm?

There are a few reasons for this resistance. Reasons such as a sole focus on profit generation and the market, coupled with the non-realization of the tech that is currently available or how to use it.

So, how exactly does Engage’s AI work?

To put it simply, Engage focuses not just on today, but on what’s going to happen tomorrow.

For example, news of a merger, an acquisition, or leadership change runs through Engage Talent’s AI. This information is then paired with potential candidates who are suddenly reeling from the business “shock” that comes with the above changes. These previously content employees are all of the sudden curious as to what else is out there for them and are now open to a recruitment conversation.

Engage’s AI captures data from available public information, such as the New York Times, public domain data, and individuals’ public profiles and records. It then runs this data through their algorithm, which gives them the information needed to give prediction models to recruiters.

This explaining of Engage Talent’s data collection, of course, led me to ask what the feedback has been on the use of this tech.

Well, Robby states, “At first, there is usually this ‘deer in the headlights’ look, but after we explain how we aggregate the data to not only find the right candidates, but also show how their competition’s processes are working, their reception grows.”

Overall, it seems that once the time has been taken to explain to CFO’s and CEO’s how Engage Talent’s algorithm is a science-based tool and not a human replacement, they realize how useful, essential, and ultimately profit-generating the use of AI is in the recruitment process.

Of course, with new tech concerns will always come. The need to safeguard such data is key to helping AI succeed in this field, protecting it from non-ethical use and ensuring that it continues to flow through the proper channels. Robby’s team is dedicated to such safeguarding.

That being said, I agree with his closing statement - “In terms of AI and recruitment technology, my feelings are nothing but jazz and excitement.”

If you’d like to read more about Engage Talent or talk to Robbie, you can contact him at,