HR Tech start-ups to watch October 2017

Bas van de Haterd Op 29 oktober 2017
Gem. leestijd 7 min 208x gelezen
Deel dit artikel:
HR Tech start-ups to watch October 2017

As always after an HR Tech event (or Unleash as it’s called from now on) it’s time for the overview of all the HR tech that is being developed around the world. Just like I wrote these articles after the event in March, October 2016March 2016 and November 2015.

This year it was an exciting year full of potentially really far out crazy things in the world of recruitment. Read on to be amazed.

Robot Vera

One of the most amazing promises I heard was made by Robot Vera. A Russian start-up that says they do the following thing:

  • An intake of your vacancy
  • Select the right CV databases from job boards
  • Calls the candidates that match your requirements
  • Gives you a list of the candidates that are actually interested

So yes, you are reading this correct. This robot isn’t a chatbot, it actually calls the candidates, saying, hey, my name is Robot Vera and I see your resume is on careerbuilder and I might have a job for you.

They say they did over 500.000 calls already, resulting in 500 job interviews that were scheduled. In Russia, in Russian.

Currently, they are looking at other countries, but I’ve tested the robot (so can you, it’s on the site for testing) and it’s English is very poor. It did not understand a single one of my questions, next to the strong Russian accent it has that makes me want to hang up right away.

Robot Vera has great promise I think, totally automating the sourcing process. It works 100 times faster than any human can, they promise a list of candidates in half an hour and it does the work most recruiters don’t like to do: call and be rejected. It gives transcripts of the entire call.

However, there are two major issues. First: it needs to speak more languages and speak them well, very well. Second I wonder how people will react to being called by a robot. Will curiosity win and make a conversation? Or will they feel you are not taking them seriously by having a robot call them and hang up? I do believe this is the future, I did not believe it was possible already, the question is how fast will it be accepted?

VCV Recruiting Bots

Another Russian start-up, but with their HQ in San Fransisco, is VCV Recruiting Bots. VCV does the same as Robot Vera, but more. They have three bots.

The sourcing bot searches CV’s based on your profile. Than chats with these people or calls them. I have not been able to test their phone service (since Dutch phone numbers are not allowed on their website) so I can’t speak to the quality of it.

The second part of their robot is the interview. They have a similar product as Intervyo (I wrote about in November 2016) or actually more like Hirevue. Intervyo lets candidates talk to an AI, VCV gives you the chance to de pre-scripted interviews. So you determine the questions and you get the answers, but during the video interview, the candidate gets tested on microexpressions and tone to build a complete psychometric profile.

Contrary to Robot Vera they have an impressive list of clients, including L’Oreal, PwC, Danone and Bosch for example. Once again the question remains, will people talk to a bot? They say yes without a doubt since they only recruit people that posted their resume online, the bar is much lower mentally, these people are looking for a job.

Pocket Recruiter

Staying with the sourcing start-ups Pocket Recruiter is one to watch. Their promise is very simple. Give us your vacancy, we’ll extract a profile from that and build it into a search profile using the very best booleans. We then select from the found profiles, in either your own existing databases (you ATS is probably underused for sourcing) or external databases like Linkedin, Monster and Careerbuilder and give you back a list of potential profiles you can call. Of course by selecting the right profiles, the search gets better.

Unlike Robot Vera or VCV they don’t call people and see if they are available, but like I said, I’m unsure how people would react to being called by a robot and how well the robots work on speech. What they do that I like is they start with your vacancy and let you edit that profile. It’s that simple.

I like their product, although their interface needs improvement.

Van Hack

Van hack is a really interesting jobboard meets e-learning meets recruiting agency for IT developers looking to relocate. What they do is they have IT professionals from all over the world that are willing to move to a different country do all kinds of testing and learning. So they teach them English for free, but this gives them the possibility to know the level of English every candidate has. They also let them do all kind of IT tests so they know the actual quality of the development skills as well. When you have a vacancy that’s open for relocation talent, they let people apply, but… they do the first selection for you. So you don’t get 100 people that think they are a good fit, they look at the quality of English as well as the quality of development skills and then give you 3 to 5 resumes.

The only downside is they do this on a recruitment agency fee. So you pay a percentage of the new salary. It’s not a cheap way to hire, but you will get in good candidates. I hope they will make a cheaper model where you might get more candidates in that you need to select yourself, but for a lot lower price.

Phenom People

Not a real start-up, but I didn’t know them up until now and I like what they do. Phenom People is a CMS that specifically caters to corporate recruitmentsites. They try to give you the same experience you get at an E-Commerce website in the world of jobs. So the website understands who you are if you come back and gives you the vacancies you looked at before. It will adjust product offerings (vacancies) to your search behaviour and so on. Basically, it has all the ingredients to build a decent recruitment website, something I’m of course very passionate about running Digitaal-Werven. They’ve even managed to make the application process a lot better, no matter what ATS you use. So you can have a decent search and an acceptable application process that looks and feels the same as your site no matter what ATS you are using.

I like them, but I would recommend using an advertising agency that helps you modify the website. Corporate careersites need to have visual elements and give you a feeling of the company. Most don’t do so now, so Phenom people will improve those, but to really make a difference, you need to really put some effort in how you present your vacancies and the content you provide a jobseeker.


Talentswot is best described as an assessment tool chatbot. I like their positioning. What they do is they let your candidates have their first interview with a chatbot. So you do not have to decline a lot of resumes even though the resume has little predictive value (think for example trainees), you can simply do an interview with all of them via an AI chatbot. Based on their answers you get two things:

  1. A personality profile based on their choice of words and sentences. How you say things says a lot about you and you can build a personality profile on that. TalentSwot used IBM’s Watson for this.
  2. The actual answers for you to review. You only need to review the ones whose personality fits your profile the best.

So basically, they help you improve your recruitment process by giving everybody an interview and extracting more and better data from that interview.

Where I think they can improve is that right now they give the hiring manager the chance to pick the character traits he or she thinks make the difference in a job. I question if a hiring manager actually knows those traits. I would love for them to build a back-end where you can validate against current (and past) employees and the ratings they had.


Brainsfirst is a Dutch start-up I spoke to about a year ago, but their demo wasn’t ready yet back then. Now it is and they have a really impressive assessment test. They come from the world of professional athletes and mainly soccer teams. Their tests are used to see if young soccer players have the mental ability to grow into real stars. One of their clients is Dutch soccer team AZ, who has been known the past few years for letting talent after talent make their debut in the Dutch premier league.

They test both the cognitive as well as psychometric qualities of a potential employee and give you stats on the capabilities. If necessary, and yes this does sound futuristic, they can have your candidate play the game with an EEG cap (electrodes) on his head to see the actual brain activity while performing the tasks so you know if he or she has potential to grow by looking at how much of the brain capacity is being used while getting to the level they are at already.

I love testing and I think it makes way for a 100% bias free recruiting (this sure does) meaning more genuine talent will be selected. Their method, however, takes over 30 minutes and I fear that’s too much for an average applicant. When I spoke to them about this they told me this was the only scientifically sound way to test it and I can respect that. I still hope their tool will become less demanding so it will not weed out the talent because of the demands make upfront. You would want all people applying to take the test, not take this test in phase 2 or phase 3 of the application process after you might not have invited really great talents already.


The last tool has nothing to do with recruitment but is one to mention anyway because of its eas, simplicity and practical use. It’s called performetric and they are from Portugal. What it does is that it measures real-time mental fatigue by the way you are typing on your laptop and using your Typepad. It simply looks at the way you are typing and working and compares this to the way you do for example early in the morning or after lunch. It looks at patterns and sees you becoming fatigue. It then warns you that it might be good to take a short break, grab a cup of coffee or take a five-minute walk.

It can also help companies by identifying what departments have the most mental fatigue over a longer period of time. This can be very usefull management information so management can help the department from having burn out.

I can’t wait untill they have a freelance tool availible, I’m their first customer for sure.

Deel dit artikel:

Premium partners Bekijk alle partners