AiThority Interview with Abakar Saidov, CEO at Beamery
Hi Abakar, please tell us about your journey in technology and how you started at Beamery. What inspired you to start into the HR Technology realm?
Beamery was started in my parents’ garage with my brother Sultan and our friend Michael. No funding, no salary — just our savings. We’d all seen our very talented friends flounder in to find fitting careers. And, we’d all been at Goldman Sachs together and saw how the company built an employer brand and network that facilitated amazing talent recruitment. We didn’t see this process, system, and culture being supported by technology platforms the same way you see with Marketing and Sales teams, or IT functions. We thought, why not?
Now, Beamery helps many of the world’s biggest employers solve their hardest talent challenges. To date, we’ve raised over $40 million in funding, expanded our customer base across more than 80 countries, and are seeing user adoption rates at triple that of competitive solutions. But we’re only just getting started. The vast majority of companies are using legacy talent acquisition tools, making it very difficult for Talent Acquisition teams to implement strategic, unified, and innovative processes required to acquire dynamic workers – that can grow and evolve with their employers’ businesses.
As a talent technology company, and one that is growing very quickly, we are also drinking our own champagne in hiring. It has been amazing to see the diverse yet apt talent we’ve been able to bring aboard, and certainly a privilege to see our own team grow and develop during this journey.
There is so much noise around talent management platforms getting proliferated by AI, Automation and CRM benchmarks? How did you manage to skirt these challenges and create a world-class Talent OS?
We started building Beamery by challenging ourselves to re-imagine the recruiting status quo. We don’t just want to make a better version of what is there today, we want to invent tomorrow. What if we didn’t need to post jobs on job boards anymore? What if the time to hire could be reduced to 1 day? What would need to be true for that to happen? How would the modern enterprise approach this – at scale, globally?
We believe that AI won’t replace recruiters, but recruiters who embrace AI will replace those who don’t. We use AI and CRM benchmarks to our advantage, to create a Talent OS that works better for the client, and the job seekers – improving their experience and outcomes as well. One of the big themes we’re focusing on at Beamery is maintaining humanity throughout the job seeker’s process.
You currently serve customers in the Technology, Retail, Healthcare and other emerging businesses. Which segment of your customers has benefited the most? Which new markets and industries are you targeting in 2020?
Our customers are in a position where making talent a core competency gives them a strategic advantage. This means that, at a base level, you are treating your potential and current employees like you treat your customers. To do this, the talent organization needs to transform to look like the customer organization. That’s what we do for our customers with our Talent Operating System (TOS) — we help them attract, engage and retain talent. We provide the core systems like Talent CRM and Talent Marketing and the underlying data architecture that enable our customers to move from a reactive recruiting model to a proactive one.
We have customers that range from the world’s leading tech firms to those in very traditional industries – like Manufacturing, Construction, Real estate, etc. There isn’t one segment that is gaining the most from using our TOS, but rather those companies that are disrupting the most – entire industries and markets, and themselves. These are the companies that are looking for dynamic talent where there are no uniform job titles or degrees that match the job requirements. They are the companies that need to lean into their employer brand and company mission to inspire people who might not typically “see” themselves at that company to consider joining. That’s a need across industries these days when disruption is the norm.
Tell us more about your interaction with Workday and Grab. How have these companies integrated Beamery into their Enterprise setup?
Workday is a customer, an investor and a strategic partner of ours. We share a common mission – to help global enterprises acquire their greatest assets: their people. Talent acquisition cannot be a tactical function. It is an area of strategic value for organizations. This is why now, more than ever, choosing the right technology stack is critical. The integration between Beamery and Workday means that joint customers can now manage a seamless and integrated end-to-end recruiting processes – from proactive sourcing and engagement, through to hire and beyond.
Grab, a Singapore-based technology company offering ride-hailing transport services, food delivery, and payment solutions, has a huge impact using Beamery – 150,000+ new prospects in the talent database, with a 50 percent increase of engagement and 40 percent increase in recruiter productivity. They are growing aggressively in a dynamic market, and scaling fast. They wanted to develop a more personalized experience for candidates while taking more control over the end-to-end recruiting process. This way, they could be more proactive in engaging and nurturing candidates for open roles.
Tell us more about the Product Development team at Beamery? What kind of skills and abilities does one need to be part of your technical team?
Our Product team is our Product! And they have made hundreds that our customers love. When you’re just starting out, as a startup, your values are the people you hire.
And Beamery’s Product Managers are curious, authentic, busy, customer-centric, smart people who have strong opinions that are loosely held. They argue passionately and move on when the evidence supports another tack. I know you might have been looking for certifications or coding credentials, and a lot of our people are stacked with these, but the more important things are what I said here.
What opportunities and challenges does your Product team work with on a daily basis?
As with other business technology markets before us – IT, Marketing, etc. – we are now at a stage where consolidation is necessary. The ATS market is already headed there, with only three companies covering 60 percent of Fortune 500 companies, and all three offering powerful integrations with multiple recruiting tools. Talent leaders who want to compete for the best-of-the-best understand that they need to redesign their operating model to be less siloed, include specialists from multiple departments, and look toward new technologies that can create a cohesive stack.
Technology, however, is not enough to reshape organizational structures or upskill recruiters. To stay competitive, our Product team works to constantly evaluate what helps them deliver the most value to the rest of the business and enable their teams to prioritize it. Often this includes new forms of reporting and integrations we hadn’t considered until a customer helped us understand the deeper value.
What are your comments on the role of AI -Machine Learning and RPA in the HR Tech industry?
If you are operating at scale, AI and Automation are a must. There is too much data for talent acquisition teams to filter through, correlate, keep up-to-date, and analyze for trends, anomalies, and opportunities. Without these tools, we are burning out our best recruiters.
Beamery uses Machine Learning algorithms to determine which prospects are most interested in working for a given employer, and in what capacity, as well as advise recruiters on the best ways of spending their time and the most relevant candidates to focus on.
Integrating this functionality with the core Talent CRM allows employers to evaluate data from email, social media, and other recruiting tools and create a 360-degree view of each candidate relationship, and get the information they need to make smarter recruiting hiring decisions.
What are your predictions for 2020-2024? How do you prepare for these disruptions?
The use of AI in HR is very much needed, however, it will only be successful if the practitioners leveraging it have a better understanding of how it works. Currently, the term AI is thrown around rather widely, and even true AI in HR tends to be something of a black box.
HR teams need to understand and themselves be able to explain where the data comes from. They need visibility into how it is being used and what is being done to eliminate bias. So, it is up to vendors supplying AI or AI-enabled tools to be transparent and help educate the wider industry.
I’d expect to see a bigger push toward open-standards, transparency requirements and, while AI use-cases will grow, we might see the term less as tools without true AI capabilities will go away or at the very least stop using that language.
The Crystal Gaze
What digital technology start-ups and labs are you keenly following?
I’m enamored with Robotics. Growing up reading H.G. Wells, Jules Verne and Isaac Asimov, the ideas of machines in our future has been a question of when not if. That future seems just around the corner.
I’m not talking AI necessarily, or even just HR, but machines as extensions of ourselves. Bionic organs, assistants for disabled or elderly, self-driving cars… it seems possible in the next decade or two. Maybe sooner even. Two startups in this space that I am watching include Roam Robotics, for lightweight, low-cost exoskeletons, and Zipline, which provides drone delivery for critical medical supplies globally.
What other emerging technologies within your industry are you interested in?
Talent is much more of a constraint to business initiatives today than it was a few years ago for a number of factors. Companies are competing fiercely for the same talent, the mean vacancy duration in the US is on the rise, and candidates have more access to job information, and are less constrained by geography or language.
It’s only natural that CEOs would be more worried about obtaining the right talent to execute on their vision than about any other internal business issue. I think that AI will continue to dominate the HR tech space, and more companies should hop on board.
Tag the one person in the industry whose answers to these questions you would love to read:
Donna Morris, Chief People Officer at Walmart.
Thank you, Abakar! That was fun and hope to see you back on AiThority soon.
Abakar Saidov is Co-Founder and CEO of Beamery, the leading Talent Operating System. Saidov has been a Mandarin interpreter, a pilot and M16 applicant, a financial analyst at Goldman Sachs and Francisco Partners, and the founder of multiple startups – including Beamery.
He leads Beamery’s mission to transform talent recruitment by empowering companies to deliver better candidate experiences at scale.
Beamery’s Talent Operating System allows enterprises to attract, engage, and retain top talent, and manage the entire talent journey on one unified platform. Beamery’s mission is to help the world’s best companies acquire their greatest assets: their people. Founded in 2014, Beamery is trusted by the world’s most innovative global organizations to treat their candidates like customers. Beamery has offices in London, Austin, and San Francisco.