Our Talent Platform: The RiviApps Suite

In case you missed it: We believe that full-stack business is the future of recruiting. That’s why we’ve been hard at work creating a tech platform that serves all three spokes in the recruiting wheel--recruiters, companies and talent. The RiviApps suite is a unique and cohesive system that engages all three parties while providing real-time transparency into the recruiting process, thus reducing friction and increasing efficiency. Tying all of these things together provides a true end-to-end experience that benefits everyone.

For one, companies can interact with the recruiter in real-time as the hiring process moves forward. They can also check in on the status of the hiring process at any time and will get the same metrics view of project performance as the recruiter. This transparency into every point in the funnel allows companies and recruiters to monitor progress together and address challenges accordingly, thereby making the entire process more efficient. Additionally, they’ll be able to evaluate candidates based on different criteria and be able to assess potential matches by changing the weighting of various priorities. Ultimately, companies can also choose the level of recruiter help desired, which lets them operate within varying pricing parameters.

On the talent side, people are going to find the recruiting process much less time-consuming. They won’t be constantly contacted by recruiters; rather, they’ll be served only relevant deals, which will get better over time as the app learns their preferences. They can also choose their level of engagement with both companies and recruiters--they have the option to interact directly with companies if desired. Recruiters will act more as career advisors, as the majority of matching (and “pitching”) will be handled by the technology. Plus, the platform will play host to a community of like-minded individuals, as well as valuable resources for both active and passive candidates, such as advice on resume building, how to conduct yourself in an interview and what types of roles make the most sense based on a desired career path.

With RiviApps suite, the recruiter role is vastly different than what we’ve become used to in the traditional approach. There’s always going to be a human element in decision making, but we think recruiter focus should be on the relationship, engagement and negotiating side of equation. We want recruiters to be able to spend more time on these high-value elements, versus time-sucking tasks like scheduling meetings and sifting through profiles trying to find people--technology can handle those things just fine. Now, recruiters can spend their time meeting with people and developing relationships, which allows them to assess intangible factors that enable better company/talent matches. Their role in this “new world order” is much more about consulting. That’s a critical part of the process that only a human can do, and there’s no reason for it to change.

We’re using the machine to augment and amplify what the recruiter does best. A human can only match across maybe a dozen or so jobs; with a machine, it's infinite. And technology can take in more variables to optimize matches based on preferences. Additionally, tech provides blanket of transparency across all three parties that helps them all make better decisions faster. It’s a true human + machine approach: The human element improves machine, and vice versa. That’s the differentiation between Rivi and the rest.

To Scale or Not To Scale: Why We Needed a Matching Algorithm

Talk to nearly any recruiter and they’ll tell you that a large part of their successes come from match-making performed in their head. Throughout a recruiter’s career, they can expect to interact with thousands of candidates while simultaneously managing a multitude of clients. From the continual churn alone, effective recruiters will learn to identify key attributes and indicators that best inform client-candidate matching--but it will take the average tenured recruiter at least a year to perfect this craft, and it’s a laborious process for even experienced recruiters.

In our quest for full-stack recruiting, this isn’t good enough. In order to scale, we are utilizing the power of our technology to drive the preliminary matching process. Through Sutro we are collecting data, feeding our scoring algorithms, and then generating suggested matches via our matching algorithms. Sutro is optimizing much of the manual burden (and minimizing recruiter bias) from the process by suggesting matches based on candidate and client attributes, and then presenting them to the recruiters for review. Instead of arduously creating perceived matches, our recruiters are now verifying and approving data-backed matches. So not only can new recruiters catch on quickly, but seasoned ones can work even more efficiently.

Sutro’s matching algorithms allow us to get to a conversation much more quickly around specific candidates who might be the best fit--not just a fit. Expediting this process on the recruiter’s end naturally segues to improved speed and efficiency around closing a search. For example, more than half of the candidates who get hired for a role are identified by a Riviera recruiter in a month or less. By reducing the time upfront making “the find,” we can focus more time advising both the client and candidate during the discovery and validation process that each party goes through. Considering the demand for talented leaders in current market conditions, we’re seeing that the bulk of a project’s timeframe is attributed to the steps in the process beyond identifying a strong candidate. However, through matching, recruiters are empowered to take more of a consultative and advisory role than a search and find role.

Since the adoption of our internally developed technology, we are seeing metrics across the recruiting funnel that indicate early success at a greater scale. Through enhanced sourcing capabilities, we are able to tactically reach more people. With greater reach, better curation abilities through scoring and matching, and more transparency through the sharing of data, we are able to present more qualified candidates than ever before. Even at this scale, we're maintaining record completion rates--despite a 40% increase in volume of searches over the past 3 years.

Sutro provides firm-wide transparency and interaction of matching between clients and candidates. Eventually, the platform will offer tools that offer similar transparency to clients and candidates. And of course, none of this would be possible without our dedicated team of engineers.

Sutro's Algorithms and the Beauty of Scoring

Data today is becoming increasingly valuable in practically all consumable shapes and forms--and the world of recruiting is no exception. For Riviera, we use Sutro as our own powerful data aggregation platform, continually collecting and classifying data from external and internal databases. The data empowers our recruiters to make better matching decisions by presenting real-time, data-driven profile insights. But aggregation is only part of the story. As inbound data is repeatedly fed to Sutro, our powerful algorithms are digesting it all and feeding back useful findings to our team.

Utilizing the algorithms initially developed by our friends at eAlchemy, we’ve put together a workflow where candidate and company profiles in our system are automatically scored against sets of distinctive scales. We utilize a variety of other algorithms that score based on activities and trends, and as we obtain more data, we’re refining and building new algorithms.

While this may seem trivial at first glance, these algorithms incorporate meticulous methodologies using each data point collected to score individualized profiles at a macro level. This is hugely important because all of this information used to be compiled manually on a case-by-case basis; now, we are automating some of the most labor-intensive pieces of the sourcing process. The time saved by our recruiters is then spent curating candidate profiles and contributing a level of insight that a machine simply can’t.

One of the most important factors in our scoring efforts is the interactions we capture throughout the recruiting life cycle. Information that cannot be gleaned through analyzing online profiles and company databases is gathered through direct communication between recruiters, candidates and companies. As such, our goal is to capture every encounter we have with both companies and candidates so that they can be incorporated into our profile scoring.

The benefit of scoring is twofold. First, it allows us to quickly identify standout candidates, regardless of specific role. We also use it as a filtering mechanism for specific roles. Using these scores, we can sort query results based on different factors. For example, if a client requires their next leader to have been involved in a company that achieved a specific outcome (e.g. IPO), we can instantly narrow the candidates down to those who have been involved in those types of outcomes at prior companies. If demonstrated ability to scale teams is another key criteria, we can also filter based on that dynamic.

Because we’ve incorporated the lift from our algorithmic scoring formulas into Sutro, we have seen increased leverage in our business, which has led to better service and experiences for our customers. This has been substantiated by the feedback we are seeing from the customer base. Now, our recruiters are spending more time interacting with clients and candidates rather than simply searching through profiles and manually matching based on what they might think is best. This also provides the benefit of allowing all recruiters and--by extension--all clients and candidates to benefit from the data that we are aggregating and assessing. And of course, our scoring algorithms are a critical component in our matching algorithm, which is the final technology-based step in finding the best fit between clients and candidates.

Using Data to Drive the Industry Forward

While coming to the decision to develop Sutro in-house, we discovered the inherent limitations with 3rd party ATS systems. They’re limited in the data they collect, they remain heavily focused on the resume, they do not effectively aggregate internal and external data, and most importantly, they don’t do anything other than act as a repository of the data for use exclusively by the recruiter.

Sutro puts us on the path to address all of these limitations. We are already using it to aggregate our internally gathered as well as web-based and paid databases for companies and candidates. We are using algorithms to provide insights from that data aggregation, and creating a level of transparency that simply was not available with a 3rd party ATS. All of this allows us to work towards the best possible matches between clients and candidates.

To keep our internal data robust, Sutro captures every single activity and interaction as well as individual user data for all the companies and candidates we interact with. We spend significant time and effort working on how we categorize and classify our internally collected data to ensure it is appropriately factored into our scoring algorithms. And we’re constantly working on making this data as accessible to recruiters as possible to allow them to make the most relevant recommendations possible to our customers.

Like many others, we also collect data from external sources, one of the most well-known being LinkedIn. LinkedIn is a great networking tool, but in terms of recruiting, it is primarily a resume surrogate. There is no doubt that it is becoming the definitive source of employment history, essentially replacing the resume. However, when it comes to employment matching, LinkedIn doesn’t really know that much about anyone, whether it’s the company or the people. It provides a way to make introductions, but it doesn’t have the ability to assess or match people with jobs in a meaningful way. It merely provides the raw data, which requires further analysis to be valuable.

At Rivi, we’re not just using LinkedIn--it’s just one spoke in the wheel to be truly intelligent in search and matching. Everyone has a presence on the web, so we’ve created efficient ways to collect data from both free and paid sources. This is important because each dataset provides different information. For instance, one source may provide data on skillsets or attributes of a candidate, while a company research resource such as CB Insights offers a way for us to assess and make judgments on companies. This is all then meshed with our proprietary data to provide our recruiters with the insights to make great matches.

This aggregation and blending of data from internal input and external sources is an essential factor for us to reach our goal of providing a true end-to-end experience.

Build vs. Buy: Why we developed Sutro in-house

Last week, we gave you a glimpse of Sutro 4, the internally-developed technology that is helping us get one step closer to full-stack recruiting. Of course, Riviera isn’t unique in our use of software to manage the recruiting process--nearly every recruiting firm, and many companies, has some sort of internal database, which for the most part consists of some form of 3rd party applicant tracking system (ATS). What is unique is our decision to develop and build our own software platform.

This decision wasn’t driven by lack of options. There is no shortage of 3rd party ATS systems, and we reviewed and assessed many of them. In addition, there have been a variety of data-aggregation tools emerging in the marketplace. Companies like Gild, Entelo, Hired, and many more have all been putting forth powerful point solutions to evolve how people recruit talent. Rather, we realized that none of these options captured the whole recruiting picture.

Some tools are designed around only the recruiter experience. Since recruiters are the primary user, these solutions often aim to provide an intuitive solution that makes their day to day easier. The software in this case is optimized to provide a recruiter with a means to an end: make a single placement and then move on. Lather, rinse, repeat. There are also companies tackling the candidate side of the equation by empowering them with choice over their career options. By making it easier for candidates to self-select what they want to do and where they want to work, they’re introducing a revised inbound and on-demand approach to hiring.

As we evaluated the various tools and wrestled with the “build vs. buy” paradigm, we observed a somewhat consistent theme that led us to where we are today. Many of these solutions seemed to be one party-centric and weren’t addressing all the players: the recruiters, the candidates and the clients. Successful recruiting engagements are comprised of a harmonious balance between all three parties, and we couldn’t seem to find an all-encompassing solution.

This made our decision clear. We needed to build a tool that considered the implications of the full-stack recruiting experience. The ideal solution needed to address how to make recruiters smarter and more efficient; how to help candidates make better informed decisions; and how to provide the best matches to clients. At the same time, it needed to deliver full transparency, streamline the decision-making process, and help us deliver the best service and experience. And these were the seeds that sprouted Sutro.

Sutro 4: The First Step Toward the Future of Recruiting

In case you missed it, we’ve declared that full-stack business is the future of recruiting. One of the key components in this type of business is internally developed technology that supports the people, systems and processes surrounding it. Here at Rivi, this consists of a vision where we fundamentally change the experience of our three key end-users through enhanced technology: our recruiters, our clients, and our candidates. Solving first for our own recruiters, we’ve developed Sutro 4.0, an internal data aggregation platform that allows us to better engage with our clients and candidates. Getting to this point didn’t happen overnight – it has been an evolution, and there are more steps ahead.

As our vision began to manifest throughout the company, we were more frequently running into the limitations of the out-of-the-box applicant tracking system (ATS) that we had employed for years. We had a deep understanding of how we could deliver a better recruiting experience to our customers, but were lacking in tools to do so; our infrastructure needed to be changed which lead us to our early iterations of Sutro. When we initially started working on Sutro, we brought on a third-party development shop, eAlchemy, who were instrumental in getting the platform off the ground.

This decision was relatively straightforward as with many new initiatives: while we had domain expertise, we did not have the internal development resources to move forward on the project.  Since we felt it was important to move quickly into the build, we didn’t want to put a hiring effort in front of the initial development. While this may seem somewhat counterintuitive to a recruiting agency, it was the best way to move quickly toward our core focus of ensuring we moved away from our third-party ATS and put the building blocks in place for our vision.

Now, we’re no longer building on top of a third-party app. Instead, we’ve developed our own internal software. Like any software development effort, there were a number of challenges in meeting the requirements of our internal users, the recruiters. We benefitted significantly from all their input and patience as we moved through this major endeavor; what we expect to be a definitive turning point in the evolution of Riviera. Since our launch of Sutro, we have continued to make down payments through additional feature functionality as we pursue our broader goal of changing the recruiting experience.

There’s a huge opportunity to improve the recruiting business, and a big piece of that revolves around technology. Developing that technology in house is one of the steps necessary to move recruiting into the future. Sutro is just one our critical tools allowing us to get to the next level of service; its unique aggregation and presentation of data and insights helps the recruiter make the best possible matches, which ultimately delivers a better experience to clients and candidates alike.