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Comprehensive Understanding is the Key to Intelligent Tools

By: | August 16, 2018 • 3 min read
Emerging Intelligence columnist John Sumser is the principal analyst at HRExaminer. He researches the impact of data, analytics, AI and associated ethical issues on the workplace. John works with vendors and HR departments to identify problems, define solutions and clarify the narrative. He recently spoke at the HR Tech Conference, when HRExaminer’s Second Annual Index of Intelligent Software in HR was published, and is slated to speak at the HR Festival Asia in Singapore, May 8 through 9. He can be emailed at [email protected]

A significant number of the startups offering intelligent tools for HR technology have no expertise in the problems that they claim to solve. Their services are pulled together by data scientists and software designers who have never actually had the problem the products address. While this is not a kiss of death, it is worth exploring as part of any buying decision.

What perspective and understanding are needed to design HR technology solutions? On one hand, if you have never had the problem, it may be difficult to see that the issue is more complex or different than it appears. On the other, experienced people tend to bring their blinders to problem solving or get lost in the weeds; it’s possible to know too much about an area to actually improve it.

Depending on the problem itself, either approach may be right. If you are hoping for dramatic innovation, pick the novices. If you want forward progress with the current problems, pick an expert. Powerful process breakthroughs usually come from solution providers who don’t know what they don’t know.


It’s worth noting that there aren’t many roles that give an individual a comprehensive view of an entire HR silo. In general, HR reflects the company and its circumstances. It’s rare to find a company trying to execute a general HR theory and mission. This is particularly true in recruiting, where the local labor market, specific roles being filled and the volume of recruiting make powerful differences in what approach makes sense. How you fill 7,500 call-center seats is very different than how you hire 2,500 software developers.

Still, the absence of a comprehensive understanding that matches the buyer’s environment is an essential consideration when using intelligent software. Be wary of tools that fix little problems. And be especially wary of tools that seem to be looking for problems to fix. It’s too easy to end up with unintended consequences or software that does things that don’t matter.

I’ll be covering both an introduction to AI in HR tech and how to evaluate vendors of intelligent software in two different sessions at this year’s HR Tech Conference in September.

It’s refreshing to find a company that is as concerned about understanding and solving customer problems as they are with building software.

Beamery is committed to expanding their comprehensive view of recruitment marketing and delivering that knowledge to the industry. The London-based startup is built around product development, marketing and customer success.

When its’ workers don’t know or don’t know enough, they learn by teaching, creating comprehensive content that they distribute to the industry. Their manuals on GDPR and recruitment marketing are comprehensive and useful. The Recruiting University offers the sort of training that fills a 30-year gap. It’s all done in the spirit of reciprocity. Rather than bombarding their ‘lead funnel’ with spam, they know that users appreciate the value and will remember them when the time comes.

This same reciprocity and comprehensive understanding are at the core of the Beamery product offering.

Beamery is a tool for automating the flow of data, email and other communications between a company and its labor market. The system enables triggers, filters and actions in an environment designed to account for almost any imaginable scenario.

It is essentially a complete toolkit for recruitment marketing automation. It’s not AI, but you can fuel the automation with tools that learn. The goal is the delivery of compelling experiences for each candidate (or potential candidate) who interacts with the company.


The most important part of implementing Beamery is building the foundational data organization and structure. This looks like detailed definitions of personas for the various roles at a company. Once the foundation is in place, the system is flexible enough to add all the necessary complexity. Tagging and tracking can be automated simply and efficiently.

Because it’s one framework, process visibility comes easily. Implementing GDPR-compliant workflows is built in. The tool can be configured to tag, filter, respond, move forward, reject and screen on a case-by-case basis while retaining system-level sensibilities.

Its value is much larger than just automation of recruitment marketing. The system is designed to deliver powerful, positive experiences for both recruiters and candidates through thoughtful design, ease of use and outcome-directed processes.

Beamery is also comprehensive. Because the company literally writes the book on fundamental topics, the company has the breadth necessary to deliver a real foundation for intelligent tools to be built on top of it.

Reciprocity is baked in to the Beamery solution. By practicing what they teach, they learned how to build a tool that gives all players in the process solid levels of respect.

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