Opening.io using AI to transform recruitment

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Job-hunting frustration leads to Azure-powered solution

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21 December 2018 | 0

Founded in 2015, Opening.io has created an artificial intelligence (AI) powered candidate search and match solution for the talent industry. Opening.io can compile a candidate shortlist for a job opening from a database of millions of CVs within one second.

The technology can also instantly match candidates to open roles, rank candidates against an ideal set of qualifications and experience (be it within a job description or against another candidate profile), deliver salary market data, and find the right candidate for the right role even where there appears to be a mismatch between the CV and the job description.

The company was created from the frustrations felt by its founders, Andreea Wade and Adrian Mihai, and their friends and family when it came to job hunting.

“The applicant tracking systems used by recruitment agencies and HR departments in large organisations are essentially black holes,” Wade explains. “If you work in a recruitment company, you spend three months a year just looking at CVs. The issue here, within the context of the so-called war for talent, is the time to hire as well as candidate satisfaction. Does it take two weeks, two months or even longer? People don’t know what’s in their existing databases or even what they should be looking for.”

The key to Opening.io’s offering is the way it understands CVs and job postings: linguistic algorithms identify patterns within the structure and phrasing of the postings and CVs.

The data is either supplied by the client electronically or captured from hard copy using Microsoft’s Optical Character Recognition (OCR). “We tried other OCR software offerings and found Microsoft’s AI offering the most accurate.”

Opening.io’s deep learning engine analyses the skills and knowledge of every applicant, searches for additional candidate information on the Web, and ultimately matches them against a job description, a similar candidate or a pool of candidates. The algorithms understand concepts over keywords, so the software doesn’t have to search for a specific word, it knows the meaning behind it and find matches regardless of how it is written in the CV.

A map has no language after all.
This makes the solution completely language agnostic. “We organise data in a high dimensional space”, says Wade. “It looks like the night sky with clusters and constellations of stars. Sales and marketing skills will be in the same cluster as PR and business development skills, for example. If you are looking for a job in healthcare, it won’t be near the sales and marketing cluster. The skills will always be in the same place regardless of language. You can match them to a job once you know where you are pointing.”

The company is gearing up to announce a world first in cross lingual matching. Opening.io is using Microsoft’s machine translation engine to power their language agnostic capabilities.

The platform runs in the cloud, Microsoft Azure being particularly suited to large employers and recruitment firms. “If you have a few million CVs on file and have new job openings all the time, how do you find candidates for all of them?” Wade asks. “With intelligent automated technology like ours recruiters can put the job description in the system and their robot assistant will look for matches. Even if a candidate doesn’t have all the attributes the system can infer ones they probably have but didn’t think relevant enough to include on their CV. Very quickly they’ll have a shortlist of candidates to call.”

Reducing time to hire
When a candidate CV arrives, it will identify the open roles for which they are most suited, requiring minimal effort on the part of the recruiter.

It can also assist with challenging positions. “Some job titles, like sales executive, are very broad and job descriptions are not very precise. Our system understands the context in which the job description has been written and can pinpoint meaningful matches by allowing the user to bias their search towards the job specifications and away from the actual job title thus making room for transferable skills to be taken into account.”

Retention rates can also be boosted by using the Opening.io platform. “HR departments can look at the skills profiles of employees,” Wade explains. “For example, if an employee is a 65% match for a more senior role, they can then can be approached with an offer of a course or training programme to help them acquire the necessary skills to advance their career. Many organisations don’t know who the passive candidates for open roles are. This saves time and money on external recruitment and keeps existing employees happy.”

Another service to employers and recruitment agencies is the creation of ‘super profiles’. These are based on the CVs of people who have been hired using the system. The most in demand roles and the best previous hires are used to develop super profiles. Every time a CV comes in to the system matching a super profile an alert is generated. “This allows an employer to get in touch and say we want you, we have a job for you. It’s an alert preventing organisations from missing out on the best candidates.”

Candidates too can benefit from the Opening.ie platform. “A mid-level software tester was offered a role for €35,000 but found out from us that the market rate for his level was €50,000. Within two weeks had an offer of a role at €52,000,” Wade points out.

The company has grown to employ seven people with further growth plans for 2019. “When we started the whole piece was about educating the market”, says Wade. “We had to explain what the technology was doing and give potential customers use cases that they could understand. We are using Microsoft Translator to give us the ability to match in any language, that’s part of our global expansion plan. We are already seeing demand from Germany, Austria and Switzerland as well as other European countries.”

“Opening.io is at the cutting edge of AI innovation,” said Paul Shanahan, cloud and AI business group lead, Microsoft Ireland. “It is an example of an Irish company supported by Microsoft, who has the ability to compete on a global level and bring something new and much needed change to a well-established sector.”

This article is sponsored by Microsoft



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