Meet the Toronto startup aiming to become ‘the Uber of talent acquisition’

It’s no secret that hiring practices are ripe for digital disruption.

No less an authority than CareerBuilder has found that more than half of HR managers expect their jobs to incorporate artificial intelligence (AI) over the next five years, while LinkedIn, perhaps the tech industry’s greatest gift to recruiters and HR managers alike, has posted numerous articles outlining why, for instance, unstructured interviews and reference checks are less than likely to help managers identify top candidates.

Meanwhile, those who require empirical evidence are invited to pore over talent management expert John Sullivan’s research, which found that 46 per cent of all new hires fail within 18 months.

Curasion Inc. believes it has the answer.

The Toronto-based startup, which is on a mission to reinvent the talent acquisition process by applying Uber Technologies Inc.’s “gig economy” model to enterprise hiring and recruitment, has been nominated for ITWC’s Digital Transformation Awards, which are being held on June 14 in Toronto.

Though nominations for this year are now closed, we’re covering every nominee that we’ve received in ahead of the big event.

“Talent acquisition continues to play a critical role in the ability of Canadian businesses to compete in the global marketplace,” Andrew Dillane, the company’s chief product officer, writes in Curasion’s nomination form. “But this process is both expensive and attenuated, affecting the ability of many organizations to maintain existing operations, expand production, enter new markets, ramp up new projects, and, in the case of technology, ensure timely innovation and product commercialization.”

Like Uber and Airbnb, which Dillane frequently compares it to, Curasion’s business model involves connecting eager customers – in this case, Fortune 500 companies – with a ready pool of independent talent that is paid on a per-contract basis. Employers enter a temporary position they need filled, and Curasion offers a pool of, according to its website, “top-tier, in-demand independent professionals” to select from, the position automatically matched to the skills, experience, and availability of potential candidates.

“The Curasion solution has been designed to address the challenges of traditional staffing methodologies; namely, cost, speed, and candidate quality,” Dillane writes, noting that company’s goal is to “make the current approach to talent acquisition less costly and more effective.”

Unlike traditional staffing agencies, which largely depend on static databases to help employers with positions that are often filled at the last minute, Curasion emphasizes its pre-curated talent, Dillane writes, leveraging both past and present employees to create wide-ranging, cost-effective talent networks that can be tapped as needed whenever employers require specific skills or competencies.

Simply put, its powerful search engine allows organizations to narrow their search so they are only viewing candidates who meet specific skill levels and profile ratings, or who have demonstrated their ability to meet similar responsibilities in the past.

“It’s a concept designed to simplify the hiring process and reduce costs, while expanding the reach of the client organization,” Dillane writes. “Curasion’s technology helps organizations build their own talent pools, hire via self-service, and redeploy talent, which significantly reduces the need to engage costly professional recruiters.”

In fact, an enterprise that employs 5000 contractors every year can expect to cut their talent acquisition fees in half by switching to Curasion, saving between $91 and $110 million, he writes.

Altogether, Curasion’s journey has taken approximately two years from concept to execution, Dillane writes: The company officially launched with its first customer, consulting firm Deloitte Canada, in March – and the company’s initial feedback suggests that implementing Curasion has exceeded expectations.

“The first dozen hires through the platform have resulted in an average time-to-hire of [between] four [and] six days, versus [between] four [and] six weeks – a savings of $20,000 per hire – and zero fall-offs,” he writes. “The potential is savings of an estimated $8 million in costs within the first three years of operation.”

And with 17 more customers in the pipeline, the company is only starting to prove what’s possible with an online platform, Dillane writes.

For those who would like to hear Deloitte’s assessment from the horse’s mouth, Dillane’s application also quotes consulting partner Stephen Resar as saying, “If the results from our pilot are any indication, [Curasion] has the potential to be a game changer in the acquisition of talent not only for Deloitte, but for the industry as a whole.”

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Jim Love, Chief Content Officer, IT World Canada

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Eric Emin Wood
Eric Emin Wood
Former editor of turned consultant with public relations firm Porter Novelli. When not writing for the tech industry enjoys photography, movies, travelling, the Oxford comma, and will talk your ear off about animation if you give him an opening.

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