Stephen Shefsky, Co-Founder and CEO at tilr talks about the significance of advanced algorithm to remove hiring bias and enhanced matching features of the technology
1. Tell us about your role at tilr?
My role as the CEO is to lead the company and our very talented team at tilr. In order to build a great company, you must build a great team. It is my job to find the best talent and cultivate a cohesive and productive environment by supporting each employee in any way that I can. The aim is to have every team member approach each task with enthusiasm, curiosity, and high energy.
One way I try to accomplish this is by providing as many training opportunities as possible. I want each member of our team, no matter how senior, to be excited by the fact that there is always room at tilr for professional growth.
Another role of a CEO in any company is to spend time thinking about and planning for the future. I am constantly focusing on and altering tilr’s business designs and processes. This ensures that tilr is not only in the best condition to reach its short, medium and long term goals in terms of providing solutions for the workforce marketplace, but that we have additional capacity to consider the ways in which the industry may evolve over time.
2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
The journey into talent acquisition and talent management started in 1989 when I began publishing The Employment Press with my brother, in the tristate area of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut.
In 1992-93 we introduced a digital version of our recruitment advertising newspaper, The Employment Press, on Prodigy. Additionally, we developed a resume database with keyword search technology for our client companies who were advertising both online and in print (once again in NY, NJ and CT).
Fast forward to 2015 and the digital marketplace had greatly evolved. So, my fellow Co-Founders and I thought about what the Employment Press had done in the 90’s and how we could build a recruitment technology that was more efficient and equitable for the job seeker and less expensive for the company. We thought about what had changed and how we could improve upon the way workers find jobs and companies find talent.
We decided to begin by focusing on the gig economy and hourly workers based on an algorithm to match workers’ skills with employment opportunities, rather than resumes and key word search technology.
Today we continue to match on skills, but we have also expanded into the full-time employment market, and in addition to our marketplace solution, we have developed unique ‘skill mapping’ technology. We feel our technology sets us apart from other talent acquisition/talent management platforms in a very distinct way.
3. How do you think technology is changing the HR Sector?
It’s changing everything! Today, enterprise clients are using technologies such as Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS), which makes the job of the HR department a lot easier by providing more relevant data on workers. Today’s technology also allows for an immediate hiring and onboarding of talent. tilr’s app is aimed at optimizing these advancements.
Our mission statement is to “automate the recruitment process by using skills to connect companies with job seekers, enhancing workers’ lives and companies’ bottom lines.”
tilr’s marketplace platform is exponentially faster for hiring managers. Before tilr, companies would have to post the position on job boards, wait for resumes to come in, and then scan the resumes of those job-seekers that the company wishes to interview. tilr not only creates the optimal match of job-seeker to employer using skills, but allows for initial interviews and the ability to immediately hire and onboard new talent right from the app.
We’ve also given HR departments applications to make sure that they know where their employees’ skills reside. The human resources of a company are displayed on a dashboard that shows several key performance indicators (KPIs) that are important to measure the company’s overall performance, and health.
We are always looking to streamline the process to make the acquisition of human resources more efficient, equitable, and unbiased. Technology is the best way to do that.
4. How is digitization empowering the recruitment processes?
Technology can remove bias by matching on skills as opposed to key word searches on resume databases.
When matching solely on skills, companies don’t know who is behind those skills. Therefore, they don’t know the applicant’s age, gender, race, or background. When a company matches, it doesn’t know anything about the applicant other than the fact that he or she possesses the skills required to do the job with a high degree of certainty.
Bias can always come into play later, but you’ve cleared the first hurdle where job seekers may have been rooted out by conscious or subconscious bias in the past. This in turn empowers a job-seeker, who otherwise may not have previously gotten in the door.
5. What is the role played by algorithms to remove hiring bias?
The algorithm plays the biggest part in removing hiring bias. As I previously stated, an algorithm matching on skills alone means that a company has no idea who is behind the skills, just that the applicant has the necessary skills to fill the vacant position.
6. What is the impact of matching technology on hiring the right skills?
We understand that it’s not just about bringing to companies the applicants who have the right skills. Otherwise, they could literally receive thousands of matches!
Our algorithm utilizes the ‘tilr Matching Index’ (tMI), which takes into account not only the job-seeker’s skills, but also the types of skills they possess, and several other variables such as their location and commute preferences.
This way, companies only receive matches with applicants who are not only the most qualified but also the most likely to seriously consider taking the position.
7. In what way can companies redeploy their existing talent, during tough times such as these?
When a company has this kind of knowledge of their internal HR skills, they can quickly figure out what skills each employee possesses, and which of those skills may be transferable within the organization. This is paramount when looking to hire and deciding whether that hire should be internal or external. This information is also important knowledge when a company is looking to let people go.
During COVID-19, many thousands of business have closed permanently while other businesses may no longer need a physical office. Therefore, the ability to have workers able to perform their jobs remotely is itself a skill in today’s world. The ability to hire and onboard virtually is also extremely valuable.
Interaction, collaboration, and communication are the new skills workers must have as their companies are forced to use their human resources remotely.
8. How can upskilling talent lead to higher retention rates?
When an employee completes a course, or earns new certifications, s/he becomes more valuable to the organization. Additionally, that employee not only has increased their earnings potential, but will have a greater sense of inclusion and purpose within the company.
People want to work at companies where they know there is always potential for growth. Companies that provide upskilling opportunities demonstrate to their employees that they care about them, and have well defined paths for advancement. This ultimately leads to a better standard of living for the employee and a better bottom-line for the company.
9. How does your solution help in finding skill gaps?
Our skill mapping technology provides a visual of where a company’s skills physically reside. These dashboards also indicate what skills can be transferable and where there may be skill gaps. A city, county, or state government can also look at the bigger picture and say, “okay within this county we know there are an abundance of jobs that are not being taken, and that is an indication that there’s a skills gap within that community.”
We firmly believe in this product’s ability to not only identify skill gaps, but also provide solutions for filling them. tilr is offering to skill map organizations for free for up to one year when they subscribe to our skill matching marketplace. We are also offering free skill mapping to local and state governments to help them understand their human resources, and where they have skill gaps, in order to better manage their workforce.
10. How do you prepare for an AI-centric World?
You prepare by constantly innovating! Every tilr product maintains a capacity for continuous improvement through machine learning and the seamless integration of new technology.
11. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent times?
We continue to fine tune and innovate to make our algorithm more efficient and offer even better matches.
Later this month, we will announce some of the new features currently in development. Our recent partnership with Trainup.com gives tilr users the ability to upskill for free or at a specially discounted rate without leaving the tilr app.
We are working on finalizing similar strategic partnerships that will offer win-win solutions for all parties involved, but for now we prefer to keep these partnerships and the forthcoming features close to the vest!
12. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
To build a great company, you need to build a great team. I simply hire people smarter than me and help them the best way I can.
13. What movie inspires you the most?
It may be cliché but it’s easy to be inspired by sports movies like Rudy, Hoosiers and Seabiscuit. I think motivation can be gleaned from all kinds of movies when you find a particular scene or character that resonates with you.
14. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, we won’t mind having a look at some of the pictures?
15. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
All my applications are used to inform me of what I need to know in order to operate my businesses.
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