Using AI to Turn Talent into Competitive Advantage on the hello, Human Podcast

Our podcast, hello, Human, features the leading builders, explorers, and warriors of AI. Together, we explore how they’re putting AI to work to transform enterprises and make sustainable progress on automation, privacy, business disruption, human-bot teaming, and much more. We want each episode to be intelligent and engaging, with the ultimate goal of improving your understanding of the opportunities AI can bring to your business and our world.

Episode 2 – Turning Talent into Competitive Advantage

FortressIQ | Intelligent Insights for the Modern Enterprise
Episode 2 - Turning Talent into Competitive Advantage
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In this episode, I welcomed Kamal Ahluwalia, President of Eightfold AI. The company’s Talent Intelligence Platform helps organizations retain top performers, upskill and reskill their workforce, recruit top talent, and reach diversity goals. But what makes their solution different is the use of deep learning artificial intelligence. The company’s technology scours publicly available information from around the globe to understand what people are truly capable of doing, which enables companies to then hire, promote, or reassign based on potential.

“Resumes are all backward-looking,” said Kamal. “What people are looking to do, and how we want to use our AI expertise, is to allow the hiring companies to hire for potential. What we have done with our data-driven platform is that we should be learning from all the skills and capabilities that are out there.”

As Kamal explained, the past work of any individual needs context, but also doesn’t necessarily dictate what you can or can’t do in the future. Determining that context is important, but first they need to understand what defines the context. And, even in that same context, different people have different career goals and aspirations. Eightfold’s technology works to understand all of these combinations, and adds intelligence to help reach diversity and inclusion goals, too. 

“If we keep looking for people who have already done it before, clearly, we haven’t given enough opportunities to people of diverse backgrounds and people who don’t have the same privileges we have had,” said Kamal. “This applies to pretty much every segment. The way to get out of that is to look at the whole thing holistically. Our algorithms don’t take anything into account, whether it’s sex, background, ethnicity, pedigree, any of those things when an individual is being compared to a particular job. So when we are presenting these few people who are a great fit for a role, it is only based on what they’re capable of doing.”

Eightfold’s technology further helps companies create job descriptions that eliminate bias and focus on getting the right person in the right role. But it also helps identify current employees who would fit that profile, are likely to want to make a move, are in diversity segments, and more. It all helps companies course correct as they fill open roles. 

“Our customers have improved the diversity from 18% to 33% for women,” added Kamal. “Other customers have seen a 90% reduction in time to discover and engage with underrepresented candidates. In all aspects, the number one excuse that is often used is, ‘We looked, but we couldn’t find enough capable people of diverse backgrounds’. We want to use our AI to show that no, you didn’t know how to detect the potential, and we are here to help you.”

The technology created by Eightfold works for job seekers just as well. Applicants can be shown open roles for which they’d be a great fit, whether they’ve considered them or not. And that helps them apply with confidence while increasing diversity applications. 

Kamal and I also discussed the impact of remote work on future recruiting trends. Now that companies are going to be more open to hiring remote workers, it’s going to allow them to increase the size of their talent pool. Naturally, that also increases the number of potential candidates with diverse backgrounds. 

Using AI to help improve how HR works is another area where Eightfold adds value. And a large part of HR’s job is to focus on culture, employee satisfaction and wellbeing, and more. It also helps identify a company’s internal influencers.

“More and more people are being forced to rethink their business, and there is more need for digital sales, data scientists,” Kamal explained. “People are realizing that it’s not like all these markets are littered with that talent, so let’s focus more on the employees. What we are doing with our AI platform is we provide a talent marketplace or a project marketplace where the company can post projects. The important part is how do we get some of the rockstars to participate, and how do we find the experts so that we start building this self-service environment where people want to be appreciated, they want to learn more, or they want to learn from others who are recognized in the companies as being experts?”

The need for specialized talent continues to grow, but the pace of change in the workplace and in technology seems to be in constant acceleration. The situation becomes even more complicated when you factor in the shift to more remote work. Eightfold is taking a unique approach to helping companies fill roles faster with the most qualified candidates. That’s good for everyone, and we’re excited to see how their AI will continue transforming the ways companies attract and manage talent as a competitive differentiator. 

Hear the entire conversation with Kamal on the hello, Human podcast, and learn his favorite resources for staying current on the latest technologies. Or, you can read the full podcast transcript here.

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