Startup Spotlight: Talentify Wants to Automate RPO
A conversation with Othamar Gama Filho about his startup firm, Talentify.
By Andrew R. McIlvaine
Companies that do lots of seasonal hiring -- large retailers, for example -- typically find themselves swamped during their busy seasons. Talentify.io founder and CEO Othamar Gama Filho thinks he can make their jobs easier. His company, which recently relocated from Brazil to Orlando, Fla., offers a product that's designed to automate the sourcing and screening of qualified candidates for hourly positions at companies that do high-volume hiring. We recently spoke to Filho about his company and how he hopes to reshape recruiting.
First, tell me a bit about your own background -- how did you get into recruiting?
I graduated from the University of Miami back in 2004. I've been in talent acquisition for about 15 years. My background was originally in marketing. I started selling behavioral assessments in Brazil, then started a recruitment-process outsourcing company called Recruiters of Brazil. We were the country's pioneers in RPO. We grew to about 50 full-time recruiters, working with large companies in Brazil, and we launched the current version of our platform back in 2015. I met with Rudy Karsan of Kenexa about a year and a half ago -- I showed him what we were doing and asked whether our product was innovative enough to come to the U.S. He said yes, it's awesome, that our mobile-first "results as a service" approach was unique and that we should make the leap, and so we did. We officially transferred our entire company to the U.S. in 2016.
Can you summarize what your company does?
Our product is designed to put high-volume recruitment on autopilot. It's a platform that sources, scores and schedules interviews for hourly positions automatically. Right now, we source for positions that are people-intensive, such as security guards, hospitality workers, events staffing -- these are companies that need people fast and have a geographically distributed need, and we make that happen automatically. Our platform bolts on top of a client's ATS and can work with any ATS out there. It automatically finds candidates, qualifies them with a job-fit score that takes into account geographic location, personality, emotional intelligence and their interest in the job -- the ones with the highest scores are invited to automatically schedule an interview. And then a couple days later, the hiring manager has a shortlist of people to interview.
Of course, this is automating tasks that many recruiters currently perform.
Yes, but our vision is that our product gives recruiters the opportunity to avoid menial tasks and spend more time talking to hiring managers, understanding their needs and helping candidates understand the employee value proposition of the company and helping candidates with onboarding -- after all, companies tend to lose a lot of candidates post-offer, but we think our platform addresses this by helping recruiters see how things can be done more efficiently and letting them spend more time with talent.
How many employees does Talentify currently have, and where does your funding come from?
We have 16 full-time people now. Sue Marks, the founder and CEO of Cielo, is one of our major investors. We also have some other big-name investors whom we aren't at liberty to name at the moment.
What distinguishes Talentify from vendors that offer similar services?
I think we took on a very bold challenge, which is to improve the entire hiring process. Right now there are many vendors that do just a piece of what we do. For example, there are companies like TextRecruit that do text recruiting, there are assessment companies, ones that do programmatic job distribution and recruitment marketing -- we do all of that. We've built everything into one solution, so right now, there is no other company that does exactly what we do. We have an exclusive agreement with Cielo, which has just released a high-volume RPO product that is based on our platform, which means we can't sell to other RPO companies but we can sell to any other company that wants our platform.
What's the hardest part about working at a startup?
The hardest part about working at a startup is credibility -- reassuring clients and investors that you'll be there tomorrow so they can invest in and believe in your product. That's the biggest hurdle any startup has to overcome. So, by having Sue Marks in our corner -- that's helped us a lot.
What's the most rewarding part of working at a startup?
The most rewarding part, for those who don't mind working 100 hours a week and losing sleep, is basically being able to create and implement a vision that you can be proud of. The downside is, of course, working 100 hours a week. Sometimes I feel I work 24 hours a day, even when I'm sleeping, because you're always thinking of what comes next, what should I do -- even when you're spending time with family, eating, working out -- it's your baby and you want to make it succeed, so it's with you everywhere you go. The hardest part is turning that off for a few hours.
What sort of long-term impact do you hope to have on recruiting?
I think that sometime soon, automation is going to happen within recruiting and we want to be a pioneer, we want to be there when it happens, we want to be a part of it.