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Recruiting is a prime concern for enterprises in 2021. In a survey by XpertHR, roughly one-half of responding employers plan to extend their workforce in 2021, however anticipate that hurdles will stand in the best way. A excessive quantity of low-quality candidates is stymying the seek for the best candidates, with one supply pegging the typical variety of unqualified candidates at 75%. Even amongst people who do make it via the recruiting funnel, a good portion finally change their minds — exacerbating the recruiting problem.

Towards this backdrop, Sense, an “AI-driven” expertise engagement and communications platform, immediately introduced that it raised $50 million in sequence D funding led by SoftBank. CEO Anil Dharni says that the proceeds, which deliver Sense’s complete capital to $90 million, will likely be put towards hiring and recruitment in addition to product improvement.

AI-informed recruitment

San Francisco, California-based Sense was launched in 2016 by Dharni, Alex Rosen, Pankaj Jindal, and Ram Gudavalli. Dharni is an energetic entrepreneur, having cofounded AnswerU and social gaming networks Storm8 and Funzio previous to beginning Sense. Jindal was beforehand the CEO of Akraya, an IT and advertising and marketing consulting company headquartered in Bengaluru. As for Gudavalli, he cofounded Funzio with Dharni and labored alongside him at Hi5, a social community whose father or mother firm was acquired by MeetMe in 2017 for $60 million.

“Up to now decade, we’ve seen a shift within the workforce dynamic. Candidates have extra choices and subsequently extra energy than ever earlier than … And but, recruiters and hiring groups are nonetheless caught at midnight ages in terms of creating the last word candidate expertise,” Dharni advised VentureBeat by way of electronic mail. “I need to create a world the place recruiters and expertise acquisition leaders are beloved by the candidates they serve. The underside line is, firms are struggling in an enormous technique to retain and interact with workers.”


Sense gives a slate of job candidate matching and screening providers along with a drag-and-drop recruitment marketing campaign creation software. With the platform’s providers, which sync with Workday, Greenhouse, and different current applicant monitoring methods, firms can deduplicate swimming pools of latest candidates towards current databases and ship focused follow-up messages, amongst different duties.

Sense additionally gives a shared inbox via which HR groups can handle and prioritize candidate conversations, kind and examine chats, and carry out searches by title, title, and tags. For firms providing referral applications, Sense can host a dashboard that exhibits open positions and permits workers to submit referrals and monitor the place they’re within the hiring course of. Managers can use the dashboard on the backend to handle submissions, approvals, rewards, and payouts.

Sense says that it’s developed algorithms that may mechanically set off messages and workflows based mostly on a candidate’s profile information or after they full a sure motion in a journey. The platform’s candidate electronic mail and textual content messaging function — which might ship messages to as much as a whole bunch of candidates directly — can optionally automate messages with personalised texts that reply questions, clarify advantages, and supply standing updates on hiring.

In September, Sense launched a chatbot that sources and display candidates by responding to questions when recruiters are offline. Part of the corporate’s bigger platform, the chatbot can schedule interviews and help “database reactivation” via proactive candidate outreach.


Sense says that the chatbot’s design was knowledgeable by its personal analysis, together with a latest survey it performed on methods for recruiting success. The survey, which canvassed 600 leaders at staffing companies, discovered that recruiters spend as much as 50% of their time on handbook and repetitive duties and take over 6 hours to reply to new leads, on common.

A rising market

There’s no scarcity of platforms claiming to leverage AI to expedite the hiring and recruitment course of. For instance, Xor is creating a chatbot that handles job candidate recruiting and screening processes, and Celential.ai — which focuses particularly on the software program trade — employs fashions to match candidates with open roles.

Different Sense rivals embody Wade & Wendy, Workey, and Phenom Folks, however Dharni believes there’s loads of enterprise to go round within the $19.38 billion HR options market. Sense’s clients embody groups at Amazon, Volt, PrideStaff, and Sears.

“We now have over 350 million candidate profiles throughout over 600 clients. [T]ens of hundreds of recruiters use Sense day-after-day to work together and converse with hundreds of thousands of candidates every month,” Dharni stated. “The pandemic has accelerated funding in recruitment know-how and the adoption of Sense. It has pushed firms to pulse [and] survey workers extra often to proactively perceive worker challenges and remedy them. It has [also] powered aggressive hiring and contingent hiring. On account of the pandemic, outbound communication and engagement via our platform grew 500%.”

In accordance with Alexander Mann Options, 96% of senior HR professionals consider that AI has the potential to “enormously improve” expertise acquisition — regardless of assertions by some advocates that these instruments can perpetuate bias in hiring processes. Quite a few reviews, together with the Hidden Staff: Untapped Expertise research, have raised considerations about potential bias arising from using AI in hiring.

Through electronic mail, Gartner analysis VP Helen Poitevin advised VentureBeat that there’s inherently much less threat of AI bias in “prime of the funnel” recruitment exercise like the type that Sense orchestrates. That’s to not counsel there isn’t threat — Poitevin burdened the necessity for firms like Sense (and their clients) to concentrate to the info getting used and the assumptions being in-built to the candidate-to-job-matching algorithms. However human biases usually tend to come into play with some of these options, she asserted, like biases within the language used to explain positions or the tone in outreach.

“ Sense’s web site, I see that they’re getting used to have interaction, message, handle referrals, and interact with candidates via a chatbot. That is akin to different options available on the market extra oriented to candidate relationship administration and recruitment advertising and marketing, participating with candidates,” Poitevin stated. “The danger just isn’t as excessive as when AI is getting used to rank the match of a candidate to a given job alternative … For instance, a recruiter merely being taken with a profile just isn’t thought-about a sturdy assumption in an algorithm figuring out what makes a very good match between a candidate and a job. A majority of these information and assumptions constructed into algorithms are more likely to result in biased decision-making within the hiring course of.”

Sense has 185 workers, a quantity it expects will double by the tip of 2022.


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