Harver, an Amsterdam-based AI-powered HR technology platform announced last week that it has raised €7.1 million in Series A funding. Insight Venture Partners led the round. The proceeds will help the predictive analytics company to expand globally. With the latest round, the startup’s total funding reached €10 million. The fast-growing startup boasts some of the world’s leading companies such as Zappos, Netflix, Casper, and Booking.com as its customers.
Employee screening with Harver
Harver makes the job of a recruiter easier by predicting which applicants will perform best on the job, thus eliminating the need to have lengthy and often ineffective rounds of employee screening and selection. Since the company is up to disrupting an industry that has until now relied on a recruiter’s judgment only, we decided to reach out to Barend Raaff, CEO Harver and have him interviewed for Silicon Canals.
Give us a little background on Harver and the inspiration behind the product?
The CEO of Arvato Bertelsmann recently joined that company and told me she was shocked by the attrition numbers of the contact centers. People left the company just as fast as they came in. The turnover due to underperforming and employee unhappiness was considered normal in the industry, but with her fresh view, she wanted to change this. Prior to Harver, I founded and ran a digital innovation company and we worked with and had HR companies as customers. As a result, we knew a thing or two about recruitment and decided to take on the challenge. That’s where it started.
Prior to Harver, I founded and ran a digital innovation company and we worked with and had HR companies as customers. As a result, we knew a thing or two about recruitment and decided to take on the challenge. That’s where it started.
How and when did you get started with Harver? Who else is behind Harver’s launch?
We started Harver with a small group of founders and some initial seed capital. The first year was all about experimenting what could work, but after the successes from Arvato, we decided to scale.
Can you please provide an overview of Harver’s solution, the technology behind it and what do you mean by ‘modular’?
The Harver TalentPitch is an online application experience for job applicants. When an applicant hits the ‘Apply’ button, he or she is not asked to fill in a form or mail a resume. Instead, we take the applicant through an experience where we do two important things. First, we give the applicant a realistic job preview, so he or she learns a lot more about where they are applying. We use videos and gamification modules to do this. Second, and equally important, while the applicant goes through the modules, while the applicant is going through the modules we measure the specific KPIs that are predictive for on the job success. Based on these KPIs, an algorithm predicts the likelihood of the job applicant’s success in the job. If an applicant scores below a benchmark KPI, the TalentPitch system will reject the candidate and send a personal report so the candidate gets insights and feedback into the reasons why they were not a good fit for the role.
First, we give the applicant a realistic job preview, so he or she learns a lot more about where they are applying. We use videos and gamification modules to do this. Second, and equally important, while the applicant goes through the modules, while the applicant is going through the modules we measure the specific KPIs that are predictive for on the job success. Based on these KPIs, an algorithm predicts the likelihood of the job applicant’s success in the job. If an applicant scores below a benchmark KPI, the TalentPitch system will reject the candidate and send a personal report so the candidate gets insights and feedback into the reasons why they were not a good fit for the role.
If the candidate is hired, the hiring company can provide us with on the job results of the new employee. This data is used to continuously improve the Harver algorithm.
Can you elaborate on Harver’s Talent analytics vision?
Harver believes that data helps you to make better decisions in almost every aspect of your life. Nowadays if you are ill and don’t know what you have, you first search on Google to see what it might be – and then you call the doctor. We believe that the use of data will improve the quality of the entire recruitment process. It will change the entire way we match talent to jobs. It’s our mission to be on the forefront of this change and become the global router for talent.
So what ideas and results Harver is contributing to that vision?
We have nearly 100% client retention and for all our clients we impact the applicant happiness and hiring decision. We are currently connecting our selection algorithm to sourcing partners. By doing so our data can support recruiters when they need additional applicants, and for example, want to advertise on Facebook. Our data can be used to let Facebook’s algorithms know what campaign delivers the best candidates – thus impacting the ROI on talent sourcing.
Our data can be used to let Facebook’s algorithms know what campaign delivers the best candidates – thus impacting the ROI on talent sourcing.How did Harver manage growth and what factors contributed
How did Harver manage growth and what factors contributed to the product’s commendable growth?
We worked on a tight budget and what helped tremendously were the stories of our clients. They won HR prizes with our solution or published results. This helped to spread the word. We are now at a stage due to the funding from Insight Venture Partners, that we can scale our sales and marketing organization globally.
What does your primary target market look like in terms of company size, verticals, and job types?
We started in customer service, and as of today, we are also largely present in retail and hospitality. Our system can be used for any job, as long as there is data. By offering industry-specific data benchmarks, the system can also work for smaller companies. Logically, we have the most impact for clients with large volume.
Your product is being used by some of the biggest companies in the world that are at the cutting edge of their niche. What business problems they typically face before they realize the need for a platform like Harver?
Mostly these companies have tremendous growth ambition. It is really simple: for company success, you need to attract and retain employees with the best chance for success in their roles. So you need to hire the best people — period. That’s where Harver comes in.
Do customers have to tailor Harver as per their own organization as I assume that knockout scenarios, personality demands, and intelligence testing are subjective to the organization’s KPIs? If so, how do you assist them in the adoption journey?
Our system is modular so we can decide per company what modules we use. It’s like Lego bricks connecting together. The data structure beneath the Lego bricks is always the same. We support the clients in setting up their first TalentPitch and creating the initial benchmark by modeling the masters. Their current employees create the first bar, but soon after the first hires take place the benchmark can be optimized.What do customers need to get ‘Harver-ready’?
What do customers need to get ‘Harver-ready’?
The wish to recruit the best people and be open for innovation. You need to dare to look beyond the way recruitment has worked for the last 100 years, with resumes and job descriptions. From a technical perspective we keep it simple, we can connect to almost any ATS or other enterprise solution.
I understand the need for ‘People analytics’ for large organizations as a lot has been said and written about the subject. Do you think Harver is a better solution for applicants as well and why?
YES! Especially in low entry jobs applicants the application process for applicants is a black box and dead end street. You apply based on a job description that’s always positive and generic. After applying, you either hear nothing or get a standard email with no clear explanation of why you were not selected for the job.
We give applicants a realistic job preview so they can make a conscious decision if they want the job, and if they are rejected they get a personal report with insights in reason of the decision. We also now point the applicant to other positions that are more suitable. So the application process is not a dead end street but takes the job candidate to the next crossroad of their career journey.
What are Harver’s current and future priorities as an organization, especially having closed the latest funding round?
We will invest heavily in our product, making it available for any company in a “Do-It-Yourself”, SaaS manner, but most importantly, making it smarter by connecting it to other parts of the applicant journey where we can collect or provide data for better decisions.
We will also expand our U.S. operation because we believe there is a huge opportunity for us in that market.What advice would you give to applicants who use your software to apply for jobs as this might be a new experience for them (transitioning from face-to-face interviews to software-based application)?
What advice would you give to applicants using Harver to apply for jobs?
Enjoy it and use it to make up your own mind as well. You have to strive to find the ‘perfect job’, not just ‘a job’.