This Actually Is Sounding Like the Uber of Recruiting

Many in the talent-acquisition field have joked about the number of times some startup has claimed to be either the “Uber of recruiting” or the “eHarmony of recruiting.”

Well, there’s one company you haven’t heard of until now, working quietly behind the scenes, that actually sounds more like an Uber of recruiting than anything at least I’ve ever heard.

Talenya is its name, and its front-end website isn’t anything to write home about. But it’s worth keeping your eyes on where this thing goes.

The company is headed by Gal Almog, who you may remember as the founder and CEO of the highly successful RealMatch. (Funnily enough, I think RealMatch said it was the eHarmony of recruiting at one point.)

Anyhow, with Talenya, what happens is that non recruiters (kind of like the non-taxi-drivers driving us around for Lyft and Uber) become recruiters. They are subject matter experts who agree to spend at least 50 percent of their work time on Talenya.

Those experts spend a couple of weeks learning the recruiting ropes online, and then often a couple of days in person. It’s easier to train people to recruit than to make recruiters experts in a subject, Almog says.

They get access to the Talenya system, with some hand-holding since they’re new at this. A job description goes into the system; then, based on the hiring manager’s feedback about what the actual job requirements are, the system updates its search tags. The recruiter selects five matching profiles from a list of candidates the system found. The employer gets a link to view these profiles and to provide feedback. The search is further refined.

Talenya delivers for the recruiter a list of candidates, which it ranks in two ways. The first is a job-match score. The second is a predictability score, indicating whether the candidate might be willing make a move. This latter score takes into account things like whether the company’s going through layoffs, its stock is going down, or it issued a press release with negative guidance.

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The newfound recruiter then screens the candidates — perhaps a couple dozen of them — and sends the hiring manager the finalists – perhaps three to five. They’re supposed to do that in 10 days.

The system sounds more potentially disruptive to third-party recruiters than to tech vendors. In other words, it’s not a product like Entelo or HiringSolved that corporate recruiters would use for its technology; the Talenya subject matter experts-turned-recruiters use Talenya as their back end.

Almog raves about Talenya’s technology, saying that it can find people who, for example, may not have a LinkedIn profile and do not have what he calls an “obvious footprint.” They may have, however, attended a Meetup, for example, and can be found that way.

Talenya is expanding out from New York, Silicon Valley, soon Boston, particularly focused on technology, finance, and pharma, as well as on companies that have employees in the U.S. and Israel, where Almog is from. The potential Israel connection includes a long list of tech companies, like HP.

It has 35 recruiters now, he says, 20 in the U.S., doubling each quarter. After an angel round that included Manpower, a few million dollars combined are now coming in from Gal Ventures (Gal means wave in Hebrew; the VC firm isn’t related to Gal Almog) as well as from lool (Hebrew for “hatchery”).


11 Comments on “This Actually Is Sounding Like the Uber of Recruiting

  1. I don’t think that senior recruiters who provide strong value-add need to fear, just the outfits that hire newbies or RPOs to source resumes from job boards and toss them over the fence for 20% fees.

    1. I always tell people if they want to pay 20%, they’re overpaying. Someone will send over excess candidates for 10%.

      1. Thanks, Jim. I say this as someone who has worked as a contract recruiter for many years, and not as a contingency/retained recruiter:
        When you use a contingency/retained recruiter, you should use them for exceptional needs, and be prepared to pay for excellence- a lot more than 20%. At the same time, much contingency work could be well-handled by paying an offshore $50/search or an offshore RPO for $800-$1200/mo. Talenya, etc. would be in this market, IMHO, and not the 30% reetained-fee market.

  2. Interesting – I guess we’ll find out if subject matter knowledge is difficult, while recruiting is easy.

    Sounds like a good gimmick, but what is the value of a subject matter expert’s time? If they’re truly an SME, do you really want them recruiting? And if you get too many of them, won’t they cut the rates?

    Uber works because 1) there is a surplus of cars caused by an auto-financing bubble and 2) the 2009 Cash for Clunkers legislation pulled old cars off the road (can’t use an old car for Uber). It’s already struggling from a glut of drivers in the market, driving down prices, and they’re trying to dash to autonomous vehicles before the whole edifice crashes.

    We’ve tried this version of staffing before, but without the tech. Agencies have hired SME’s or paid them to vet candidates. Many former tech people tried to start an agency, and failed.

    After you’ve gone through the low hanging fruit, it turns out the business model for recruiting services is substantially different than most people think.

    All of that – but it will probably still work – for a bit. As Keith points out, the barrier for entry is so low right now, that many “recruiters” can be displaced.

    As long as we all understand what’s going on here. This is just a clever way to cut the costs of full-time employees by segmenting another part of the recruiting stack. The same thing that happened with Sourcing will happen with this. If you’re good, why in the world would you take their comparatively low payments instead of becoming a full-time headhunter?

    1. I agree with much of what you’re saying (except I can’t figure out if Cash for Clunkers really has that much to do with Uber) but one thing to consider is that a lot of good people are parents, often but not always mothers, who leave the full-time workforce. That’s not a reflection on whether they are “truly an SME” and whether “you’re good.” In fact, Talenya is thinking of this group as a ripe one for potential SMEs-turned-recruiters.

      1. That could be a very profitable niche. I know someone who does that just for references. This kind of work would be right down her alley (she was a Recruiting Director).

        I don’t think it threatens recruiting. Maybe it’s the Lyft for Recruiting.

        {Cash for Clunkers took some 700,000 cars off the road, driving up the cost of acquiring an old car. This, with the near zero interest rates, made leasing a cheaper option for many Americans. New car, not that expensive (but no trade-in value). This glut of new cars, found its use in Uber, and will continue to do so until that bubble bursts, leaving less new cars driven by people who can make extra money on them.}

  3. If they can crack this nut, more power to them. There have been quite a few companies trying to take a whack a this over the years. I even tried with a startup about a year and a half ago. Customer adoption was a big challenge. They wanted control over the who is representing their brand and the message. Also, the freelance recruiters were all competing in the same channels and they weren’t very good. Plus, they were very high maintenance. The good recruiters we getting paid enough and were busy enough to not want to bother. The Uber-ized solution needs to be 99% automated. Unfortunately, there are too many variables and subjectiveness in recruiting, making turning it into an automated, self-service platform almost impossible. That said, it is an interesting and complex problem in desperate need of a solution.

  4. Todd – see Entelo’s press release this week on its new product called Envoy. Similar concept, except that it uses AI to find and match candidates and automates the manual processes of a recruiter. It is more like the self-driving Uber of recruiting.

    1. Mike my friend i believe the whole point of the article was that Talenya here uses Ai to match candidates and automate the process, and if you read carefully you will notice that Talenya even creates a prediction score whether the candidate will be willing to switch jobs (filter by two scores). Impressive.

  5. Todd, thanks for the coverage. Your article stirred an interesting discussion, mostly among recruiters. There were doubts about whether Subject Matter Experts (SME) could become great recruiters (just in the last 24 hours we were approached by over 70 fantastic people who read the article and were interested in becoming Talent Expert at Talenya). The key to our vision is the combination between technology and domain expertise on a unified platform for collaboration. Everyone agrees that the current process is broken and highly inefficient. Talenya believes that 70% of the process can be automated with technology.

    However, 30% will always remain subject to human interaction. Companies don’t care about how they find great talent. If you focus recruiters on these 30% and give them jobs and candidates to work on, you can cut down time-to-hire by 50%. If you use SME, you can improve the quality of the hires as well. This is a win/win because employers can deal now with only one vendor (Talenya) and benefit from a crowd of SME for each domain, all working on the same platform and representing a single brand.

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