CareerBuilder acquires Textkernel to bolster job-finding tools with AI

*Original article published by Kyle Wiggers · Date Jan. 23, 2019. 6:00 am ET


AI-driven talent recruitment tools are fast becoming a dime a dozen, which is hardly surprising. In theory, they offer employers far greater insight into candidates’ personalities, histories, and experience than cover letters and resumes alone ever could. Startups like Eightfold and Vervoe tap machine learning algorithms to assess would-be employees’ skills, while ZipRecruiter and Indeed use them to match businesses with job seekers they might otherwise pass over.

Chicago-based CareerBuilder is no different in this respect. The 25-year-old company has a specialized team of more than 200 data scientists, engineers, and specialists focusing on AI. Today, as part of what the company is calling an “additional investment,” it has announced the acquisition of Textkernel, a Netherlands-based startup developing AI-driven sourcing, lead generation, and labor market statistics analysis tools.


“In our nearly 25 years of experience, we’ve learned that recruiters speak one language and candidates speak another. We are building and implementing technologies that close this gap for both sides of our marketplace and improve every stage of the hiring process,” said CareerBuilder CEO Irina Novoselsky. “The acquisition of Textkernel and deeper investment in AI is a part of our overarching strategy to create the most advanced solutions for our customers. And our combined data science, R&D, and product development teams are already fast at work to create the next-generation technology and tools that bring qualified candidates to jobs faster and easier, even in a tight employment market, like the one we’re in now.”

Textkernel, which was founded in 2001 and employs about 120 people, began as a commercial research and development spinoff with a focus on natural language processing and machine learning at the Universities of Tilburg, Antwerp, and Amsterdam. It offers a multilingual resume parser and semantic search tools for software vendors, job boards, market research outfits, and temporary staffing agencies, and its clients include the likes of Monster, Manpower, Bosch, and Bullhorn.

CareerBuilder, which was a Textkernel customer prior to today’s buyout, says it’ll tap the company’s AI technologies to “enhance performance” for both sides of its marketplace. It’s already using Textkernel’s Deep Learning Matcher and Learning To Rank algorithms for Talent Discovery, a talent acquisition sourcing platform that enables users to find matches for jobs by identifying patterns in skills, geography, experience, and employment history.

The forthcoming Talent Discovery companion app, which was originally announced in September 2018, will leverage data collected from the more than 2.3 million listings in CareerBuilder’s database to generate job descriptions and to surface candidates who are most likely to respond to offers, based on various signals. It’ll join the other AI-forward offerings in the company’s growing portfolio, including a tool announced late last year that lets job seekers automatically apply to openings with targeted employers by submitting a CV.

“The average HR technology and service stack consists of 20 vendors with many different integration points that are all disconnected. We are dedicated to streamlining and modernizing this cumbersome, inefficient process by delivering world-class AI-powered solutions that solve real problems and have a measurable impact for our customers,” said Humair Ghauri, chief product officer at CareerBuilder. “We were an early adopter of AI technology five years ago — and fully integrating Textkernel’s industry-leading technology is a natural next step in our commitment to giving our customers the ability to hire the best talent faster and work more efficiently.”

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Albert Loyola

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