Say Hello to the New CareerBuilder

Roy Maurer By Roy Maurer February 26, 2018
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CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson

​CareerBuilder has undergone a significant transformation over the past several years.

It went from being one of the go-to destinations for employers posting jobs and searching through resumes to a cutting-edge, HR software-as-a-service provider. It now covers every step of the hiring process from sourcing, candidate management and applicant tracking to background checks, onboarding, workforce analytics and benefits administration. And it continues to expand its scope—the company currently has a team of Ph.D.'s in machine learning who are incorporating artificial intelligence (AI) throughout the candidate-to-employee lifecycle to make the whole process smarter and faster.

CareerBuilder CEO Matt Ferguson discussed the company's metamorphosis with SHRM Online, its investments in machine learning technology and an ongoing project to help fill skills gaps for U.S. workers through short-term, competency-based education.

[SHRM members-only online discussion platform: SHRM Connect]

SHRM Online: How did changes in the recruiting and hiring landscape bring about the company's shift from job site to recruiting software company?

Ferguson: New technologies are emerging at an unprecedented rate, which means the skills companies need are evolving faster than the skills currently available in the U.S. labor force. At the same time, you have a low labor force participation rate and highly fragmented consumer audiences adding more complications. Half of companies we surveyed reported that they have open positions they can't fill because they can't find qualified candidates, creating serious implications for revenue and productivity, among other things. Extended job vacancies are literally becoming a billion-dollar problem in the U.S., and the situation is only going to grow more challenging.

The old way of doing things—the quantity model—doesn't work anymore. Today it's all about precision to drive quality. That starts with having good data that can help you design more-targeted strategies. The approach needs to be multi-faceted and mobile-optimized to build strong pipelines and keep candidates engaged over time. Everything has to be integrated and easily searched. You can't have a bunch of systems that don't talk to each other because that will create a lot of inefficiencies. You also need to automate repetitive, labor-intensive tasks wherever you can so HR managers and recruiters can spend their time on relationships. This has been our focus.

SHRM Online: What would surprise HR and recruiting professionals the most about the "new" CareerBuilder?

Ferguson: Most people know our job board, but they don't always know that we are a single-source provider of end-to-end solutions to find, hire and manage talent. More employers are consolidating vendors so they don't waste time logging in and out of systems and so they get a true 360-degree view of the effectiveness of their programs.

Most people also don't know how much we're doing with AI. Cloud-based technologies changed the game for talent acquisition and talent management, and artificial intelligence is taking it to a whole new level. Our research shows more than half of HR managers believe AI will become a regular part of HR within five years. We agree, and that is where we are making the biggest investment in our products.

When we built our Talent Discovery platform, we were able to reduce the hours and days recruiters spend on sourcing to minutes because we centralized all candidate information and used AI to power everything. Whether it's CareerBuilder's database of 150 million profiles or your ATS or talent network, you can search everything in one place.

Our AI technology understands what you type, but, more importantly, it understands what you mean. It will not only match your jobs with relevant candidates, it will also tell you which [candidates] are the most likely to respond to you based on various signals we track. The technology also lets you build campaigns to reach out to candidates and keep them engaged.

We embedded data throughout the platform. We can tell you where desired talent is located, what they expect to earn and how difficult it will be to fill your open requisition based on supply and demand ratios. You can use this up front to set expectations for hiring managers.

SHRM Online: Which macrotrends are influencing CareerBuilder's direction in the talent acquisition space going forward? 

Ferguson: The World Economic Forum is predicting that 65 percent of children who are entering primary schools today will work in jobs that don't currently exist. Research from Yale University and the University of Oxford estimates that AI will be able to drive trucks by 2027, work in retail sales by 2031 and perform surgery by 2053.

These studies speak volumes about the projected pace of technology advancement and what it means for the labor force and HR. 

The skills companies require will continue to evolve at a rapid pace, which means we need to embrace alternative methods of preparing current and future generations of workers. For CareerBuilder, it's not just about connecting employers with talent, it's about creating the talent.

We launched an initiative called RightSkill in partnership with Capella Learning Solutions in 2016. We are reskilling and upskilling workers in a variety of areas through a free, competency-based online education program and then placing them with employers. So far, more than 5,000 candidates have gone through the program.

With AI technology, we are also educating workers on the different jobs that are available to them based on their skills and interests and showing them what they could be earning if they just added one or two skills.

Whether we are helping workers acquire new skills or helping HR managers and recruiters acquire the talent they need, AI will continue to play a central role in everything we do. Our goal is to solve some of the biggest problems employers face, and AI is driving our roadmap.

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