Phenom People, a human resources (HR) platform that leverages artificial intelligence (AI) to help companies attract new talent, has raised $30 million in a series C round of funding led by WestBridge Capital, with participation from eBay founder Pierre Omidyar’s VC firm Omidyar Ventures, AXA Venture Partners, Sierra Ventures, Sigma Prime Ventures, Karlani Capital, and a fund belonging to AllianceBernstein.

Founded in 2010, Philadelphia-based Phenom People touts its “talent experience management” (TXM) platform as an all-in-one solution for companies looking to build career websites with personalized job and content recommendations, chatbots, and a content management system (CMS) for pushing fresh content to the site.

AI in recruitment

Numerous startups are leveraging AI and automation to streamline the recruitment process, including New York-based Fetcher, which crunches data to proactively headhunt new candidates; San Francisco’s Xor, which uses AI for recruitment and screening; and New York-based Pymetrics, which helps companies carry out candidate assessments through neuroscience games.

Phenom People claims some 300 clients around the world, including big-name customers such as Microsoft, which uses the Phenom People platform to power its career portal. “Microsoft is an excellent example of a leading technology organization working to revolutionize candidate experience through AI-driven experiences,” said Phenom People CEO and cofounder Mahe Bayireddi in an earlier statement. Other notable clients include Amazon-owned Audible and Whole Foods, Ford, General Motors, Hershey’s, and Philips.

With a fresh $30 million on top of the $29 million it has raised previously, Phenom People is well positioned to scale beyond its current 500-person head count and grow globally.

“Global organizations are shifting their spend from legacy singular HR tools to data-driven, intelligent talent experience platforms,” Bayireddi said. “Chief human resources officers can make an investment in a modern approach — connecting every interaction across the talent lifecycle for candidates, recruiters, employees, and management.”

How it works

Companies that integrate Phenom People’s technology can tap into AI-powered recommendations based on people’s skills, location, and interests, with natural language processing (NLP) used to surface positions by understanding what a candidate is looking for. This may involve correlating search terms with synonyms or highlighting other closely related fields. The system can also suggest job openings based on someone’s profile (e.g. if they have logged in with their LinkedIn credentials), search history, content that they click on, and more.

Alternatively, companies can adopt a more conversational approach, integrating a Phenom People chatbot that can field questions like whether a company currently has job openings in a certain locale. Phenom People launched its chatbot last January, and in the past year it has captured 20 million interactions while “getting smarter with every one,” according to Bayireddi.

“To help the chatbot learn and better personalize the talent experience, our customers feed it the information it craves, such as frequently asked questions and facts about the organization,” Bayireddi told VentureBeat.

Above: Phenom People chatbot

For talent acquisition, Phenom People’s platform matches key information from job descriptions (e.g. required skills, experience, and education) with data from candidate profiles to establish the best matches.

However, the platform isn’t purely about helping companies add new faces to their workforce — it can also be used to help internal candidates plan a career path by surfacing potential promotions, garnering job referrals from their alumni network, and more.

Above: Phenom People: “Career path discovery”

On the recruitment side, AI is instrumental in matching skills and compatibility to help determine the best candidates for a role, while recruiters can also rediscover past candidates who may have fallen marginally short.

Above: Phenom People offers AI-guided candidate insights

Big data

Bayireddi noted that his company’s AI algorithms are powered by huge datasets incorporating 3 billion events annually and include a network of 100 million candidates, 8,000 recruiters, 2 million employees, and 20 million active job openings.

“These observations are turned into 10,000 markers, which are used to develop over 360 talent signals,” Bayireddi said. “These talent signals are key to making our platform’s AI real and impactful.”

“Talent signals” are essentially micro-insights based on current market conditions in recruitment and across industries. Network activity, which refers to internal signals generated from within Phenom People’s ecosystem, is also incorporated.

Using these types of markers, Phenom People promises companies the tools to personalize career sites, make job searches more intelligent, and give recruiters deeper insights based on big data.

“This allows candidates, recruiters, employees, and management to get the information they need — whether relevant jobs, data, or quality leads — to make smarter decisions faster,” Bayireddi concluded.

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