Sachit Kamat, Eightfold’s Chief Product Officer, is at the forefront of designing products that bring the power of AI to the entire employee lifecycle. Recruitment Tech spoke to Kamat about Eightfold’s growth and the way it’s transforming the industry for an in-depth video interview.
Eliminating bias with AI and talent intelligence
In 2016, Ashutosh Garg and Varun Kacholia set out to build a holistic platform wherein they could eliminate biases out of recruiting hiring, professional development and advancement. With roughly 80 patents and more than 6,000 citations, the two former Google and Facebook scientists are widely respected for their work within the field of search and artificial intelligence. They could have taken their extensive knowledge and experience about building AI programs to any place in the world — but they opted for talent acquisition. And that’s howwas born.
“We are a company that has foundationally invented this category of a talent intelligence platform”, Sachit Kamat, chief product officer at Eightfold, told Recruitment Tech in an in-depth interview. “What we have done is combined all of the data that exists about people in internal systems like applicant tracking systems, human resource information systems, and combine that with the data that exists about people on the public web. We have effectively created these incredibly deep profiles of people that allow a bunch of applications to be built on top of it.”
Covering the entire talent journey
Eightfold has been most commonly used for talent acquisition. Among its users: Morgan Stanley, Coca-Cola and Ericsson. But just how far does Eightfold’s solution go? “It’s all about the ability to find the right talent for any open position at a company using the power of the AI that we have invented”, Kamat said. “In addition, we’ve also created talent management on top of this platform, which is all about internal mobility, as well as making people better at what they do on an everyday basis.”
“It’s all about the ability to find the right talent for any open position at a company using the power of the AI that we have invented.”
“We’ve also built a solution that puts the right contractors with the right opportunities with a care and flex solution. And then lastly, we have also a better solution for the workforce exchange, which is all about making sure we connect job seekers with the opportunities that exist for them in specific regions. An example of this would be for New York State, which is a client of ours, which is all about putting people that are looking for work within the state with the right opportunities that exist for them within New York.”
Right candidate, right recruiter, right time
“The simplest way to think about us is that we’re trying to put the right candidate in front of the right recruiter at the right time from the perspective of the company. And then from the candidates perspective, we’re putting the right job in front of the right candidate at the right time. And a lot of this is based on the matching technology and the AI that we have built homegrown at Eightfold, which was invented by Google and Facebook scientists that founded the company.”
“We’re trying to put the right candidate in front of the right recruiter at the right time.”
“Foundationally, AI is about creating algorithms that use data to make better decisions”, Kamat added. “And so when you think about it, a job seeker that traditionally would look for jobs, ten years ago, they would use keywords to search for jobs. And that required the job seeker to actually know quite a bit about what is out there for them. Using the right keyword to find the right opportunities. And what you would typically see is a situation where you would actually miss out on a lot of opportunities out there.”
According to Kamat, those opportunities aren’t just limited to candidates. It helps recruiters too. “The way that AI works is that it uses that data based on who you are and the types of roles that other people like you have found in the past, to actually predict what may be out there for you as an individual. And effectively suggests all of the right roles for you so that you don’t have to do the thinking right in terms of what are the right keywords that you should be searching with. And then if you put yourself in the shoes of the recruiter, it solves the exact same problem. But from the reverse side, in the past recruiters would be trained on how to figure out the right keywords for the right opportunity, right to find the right candidates. Now they don’t have to do that anymore.”
‘We’re ensuring that algorithms do not introduce bias’
As a company, Eightfold has seen tremendous growth over the course of the past couple of years — resulting in a full unicorn status as an HR tech company. At the basis of it all is artificial intelligence, which is still subject to a fair amount of criticism worldwide. While the European Union is still discussing its exact approach on the subject — the United States has seen laws being introduced whereby AI-based tools have to be audited for bias in 2023.
“This is a very quickly evolving feature”, Kamat said. “There’s a lot of compliance coming in with a lot of regulation changes that are happening. As a company that has focused on this base for a number of years and is for the rest along relative to everybody else. We have actually taken a lot of controls and steps to test algorithms in terms of protected classes and categories. All to understand what the implications of the algorithm are. We’re comparing it to what the outcomes are that it is driving for various protected classes, and ensuring that the algorithms do not introduce any new bias into the system.”
“If at any time we see a change to the algorithm that is resulting in an increase in bias, that algorithm never ends up making it to production.”
“so we constantly test the types of factors that the algorithm is taking to make these decisions. And effectively evaluate that in terms of the actual inferences that the algorithms are making. If at any time we see a change to the algorithm that is resulting in an increase in bias, that algorithm never ends up making it to production. And in the hands of our customers, it gets stopped right there at the development process. We have a number of controls that we have put in place before something actually makes it live towards in the hands of our customers.”
Serving recruiters with data
A lot of what Eightfold does revolves around a simple subject: the recruiter. “There’s a huge focus on making sure that recruiters can be much more efficient at the way that they source talent”, Kamat said. “The way that they manage talent and the way that they effectively translate that into hires within the company. So the focus is on the automation and other capabilities that we provide, so that recruiters can be much more efficient on the talent management side. Our focus really has been about going from an internal mobility use case towards how do we make the individual much more successful within the current role that they occupy.”
“The focus is on the automation and other capabilities that we provide, so that recruiters can be much more efficient on the talent management side.”
“So it’s really about upskilling and making sure that they have the right skills to be successful in their current roles. And so a huge focus of our work that is really on that side of the house. But in addition to that, we are also about making sure that the company has the right data so they can make the right investments. Whether it is hiring talent from the outside or growing the talent from the inside, that they have the right data so they can make those decisions. All of those factors are available to them, in addition to also being flexible in terms of the hiring that they’re doing in terms of our flex solution.”
Transforming the industry with technology
While Eightfold has steadily grown into a household name within the world of recruitment technology — Kamat sees the transformation as an iterative process. “I’d say that we are the further along in this industry about making humans much more effective at what they do, using the power of the data and the power of AI. Historically, the trust on technologies like this in this industry has been low. And so making that transformation happen obviously comes with a lot of change management, a lot of transformation work, which is what we’ve been undertaking with many of our customers.”