It’s no secret that just about everything is going digital. As it does, companies across industries — banking, defense, retail, healthcare — are looking to hire tech workers in order to keep up.
To find the best tech talent, some hiring managers might be tempted to turn to tried-and-true LinkedIn, but when it comes to hiring those with advanced tech qualifications, some say LinkedIn falls short.
“LinkedIn is notoriously known for having very sparse profiles on tech candidates,” said Bala Vishwanath, growth advisor at Bellevue-based startup SeekOut. Led by former Microsoftees Anoop Gupta and Aravind Bala, SeekOut aims to fill the gaps left by LinkedIn and create an easy-to-use platform through which recruiters and managers can hire intelligently.
To mine the kind of information that SeekOut generates, recruiters now would have to visit LinkedIn for a candidate’s basic information, then visit GitHub — where developers are more likely to have submitted specific details of their work — and then go to multiple other locations to find research papers and patents that the candidate may be associated with.
It’s not a realistic task for a recruiter to stitch all these components together for each potential new hire, Vishwanath said, so SeekOut does it for them.
“We provide what we call a whole-person profile by aggregating data from all of these different sources,” Vishwanath said. “Candidates are then given a score using a star system so that recruiters can easily determine who their top candidates are.”
SeekOut doesn’t stop there, though. The startup, founded in September 2015 as Nextio before pivoting to SeekOut almost two years ago, also focuses on diversity-based tech hiring by way of advanced power filters.
“Our machine learning AI-based search enables you to search for women, African Americans, and veterans,” Vishwanath said. “Diversity and inclusion are big initiatives in any company today, and for SeekOut, this ability to help with diversity-based tech hiring is something that really makes us stand out.”
What’s more, the platform has a blind-hiring mode, which recruiters or hiring managers can turn on to do away with unconscious biases. When this mode is in action, candidates’ names are shortened to their initials, and their photos are replaced with an image of an animal. Here, candidates are judged solely on their comprehensive qualifications as compiled by SeekOut.
With these tools, companies can easily home in on standout candidates — these people appear at the top of a long list presented by SeekOut, thanks to their top scores. Other filters can be applied for location, qualifications, and past and current companies. Favorites can be added to campaigns, where others involved in the hiring process can see profiles, leave comments, and add tags. The software also enables personalized emails to go out to these selected favorites and sends follow-up messages if someone doesn’t respond.
To boot, not everyone on each project needs to be a SeekOut customer, making effective collaboration among recruiters and hiring managers streamlined and easy to achieve.
“You can have a license as a recruiter, but to share a project with a hiring manager doesn’t require them to buy the software,” Vishwanath said.
Pricing for a SeekOut license ranges from $999 to $10,000 per year. The sweet spot, Vishwanath said, is $4,990, where clients can have direct access to a candidate’s actual code, use diversity sourcing and blind-hiring mode, and apply filters based on proven tech expertise.
For Vishwanath, what makes the company stand out goes back to its
solid foundation as the brainchild of Gupta and Bala.
“Gupta reported to Bill Gates, so to say that he is technical is to say the least,” he said. “And Bala worked on the Bing search engine at Microsoft. We have some very deep talent behind us, so our AI machine learning is extremely advanced. We can deliver on our promises — they’re not just buzzwords.”
And SeekOut’s purpose, beyond improving and diversifying the tech hiring process, is to pair companies with the highest-quality tech talent — those candidates who, like SeekOut, also will be able to deliver on their promises.
“Looking at the whole person is important in hiring, especially as you recognize that the world is going digital, and companies need quality tech talent to begin with,” Vishwanath said. “It’s very competitive, so we shouldn’t just depend on what people say in a résumé, but rather expose what (they) have actually done by collecting evidence of it from different platforms. That makes all the difference when you’re looking for real quality.”