Innotrieve's artificial intelligence-powered Referral Link leads the way in job recruitment

By: Steve Tuesday June 17, 2014 0 comments Tags: Amanda Ericson, Doug Hay, Fort Collins, Innotrieve, Jerry Thurber, Kara Yarnot, Lisa Husby, Referral Link, Steve Minton


By Steve Porter


Innotrieve logoFORT COLLINS - For Amanda Ericson, director of talent at the Denver-based Spitfire Group, finding the right people to fill positions at the custom software company is never an easy proposition.

"It's very hard to find our people," Ericson says. "We really do stay close to Colorado and the Front Range when we hire. We have a lot of need for specifically talented people in a fairly small real estate area."

For Ericson, turning to Fort Collins-based Innotrieve and its "Referral Link" artificial-intelligence-powered software was the right move.

"I think the tool is outstanding," she says. "I haven't seen anything else like it."

Innotrieve, founded by Jerry Thurber and Steve Minton in 2013, specializes in helping companies find the very best job candidates for their open positions.

Thurber, a veteran HR product innovator, says Innotrieve is positioning itself at the center of a transformation in how companies recruit the people they need to be successful.

"The world is radically changing the way job seekers and those who hire them interact with each other," he said.

"We are basically recruiting the same we did a century ago, but now it's really changing and I see Innotrieve at the center of that hurricane."

The artificial intelligence technology Innotrieve employs was developed by co-founder Steve Minton in his California-based laboratory. Minton said artificial intelligence - and tapping into social media information - can make a recruiter's life more efficient and rewarding.

"Today, the (recruiting) process is pretty haphazard," he says. "You might get a large pool of candidates to respond to a post but with a lot of variation in the quality of those candidates.

"Artificial intelligence can really help match up the candidates with the requirements of the job."

Minton said much of the artificial intelligence technology developed by Innotrieve is based on years of research in the field by the National Science Foundation and DARPA, the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency.

Minton said Innotrieve's artificial intelligence goes far beyond simple resume keyword matching when searching for job candidates.

For example, Minton said a simple keyword search for a "software engineer" might miss someone who has the same or better skills but who may describe herself as a "lead test engineer" or a "quality manager."

But with Innotrieve's artificial intelligence, social media-based technology, proprietary algorithms can sort out similar job titles, skill sets, and whether the job title given is simply a step in the ladder of someone's career.

And most important: Locate the exact person for whom the recruiter is looking.

"If you're looking for a software engineer, our tool doesn't just look for a software engineer," says Doug Hay, Innotrieve's marketing chief. "It finds alternate job titles whose skill set matches the skill set of a software engineer. Your perfect candidate will be found even when they don't have the title of software engineer."

"What artificial intelligence allows us to do is, in essence, put the human mind on top of the search," adds Thurber. "How would the human mind find things that a simple search algorithm couldn't?"

Lisa Husby, operations coordinator at Fort Collins-based Spirae, said she likes Innotrieve's Referral Link tool, which combs through employee social media contacts to see if one of those contacts might fit the open position.

Husby said Spirae's employees embraced the concept, knowing they might be helping their company hire friends or former coworkers with whom they would enjoy working.

"It was rolled out to our organization in March, and we had about 50 percent of the organization that signed up immediately after the presentation," Husby says. "We had quite a few matches that I was able to review and we're still processing those matches.

"It's definitely helped us think outside the box of traditional hiring methods."

Husby said the technology also helps pinpoint a candidate who not only has the technical skills but who can also "fit in" better in the workplace.

"It's important that somebody is a great cultural fit -not just a technical fit - especially for a small business," she says.

Kara Yarnot, a nationally known HR consultant, thought leader and owner of Virginia-based Meritage Talent Solutions, said Innotrieve's focus on artificial intelligence technology and mining social media data is the wave of the future for job recruiting.

"There's definitely a significant transformation going on in recruitment today from the social media perspective," Yarnot says. "What we're starting to see now is companies can gain a lot of information from their employees' social media profiles."

And that's exactly what Innotrieve's Referral Link is doing, Yarnot says.

"Referral Link really pushes the boundaries of what science can do," she said. "I think that's the direction a lot of the more forward-thinking recruiters are going."

Yarnot said competition for the best employees has never been more fierce, and Innotrieve's Referral Link helps employers get a leg up on the competition.

"They're really homing in on the biggest challenge in recruiting, which is finding those really scarce skills," she says. "I think it's incredibly important for companies to use the best tools out there for those pivotal positions that can move a company forward."

Spitfire's Ericson said she's sold on Innotrieve's Referral Link tool. "I've never been put on the wrong track with what I've put into it," she says. "It's maximizing my time, that's for sure.

"This is the first tool I've seen using something like social media to help with the process.

"It's just cool."

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