The founder and CEO of job search engine Lensa, Gergo Vari is on a mission; he wants to revolutionise the job search process not just for companies, but for individuals too. Vari has always had an inclination towards entrepreneurship from a young age, and has, over the years, gained valuable experience through founding, funding, and exiting successful start-ups. In 2001, Vari founded and launched Profession.hu, Hungary’s leading recruitment platform. In just four years, it reached an extraordinary market share of 75 per cent. When SanomaMedia bought the company in 2005, the transaction was the largest of its kind in Hungary at the time. Vari’s passion for start-ups led him to found and head e-Ventures, and later, in 2008, to the launch and sale of AffilateMedia, Network.hu, and Replise. These ventures opened his eyes to the need for recruiting and human resources technology that puts people first. It was inevitable that this journey would lead him to hire, which in turn led to the realisation that the current hiring process and career development approach are flawed. It inspired Lensa, a start-up offering a technological solution to this career marketplace crisis. “I have always had a passion for entrepreneurship and the concept of creating one’s own job. One of my endeavours was co-founding Hungary’s initial online job board, Profession.hu, driven by dissatisfaction with existing job search solutions, which resulted in a significant exit. This experience has motivated me to continue innovating within the job and recruitment industry,” says Vari.
First things first. How is ChatGPT changing the hiring landscape?
There are two ways that we see ChatGPT emerging as a revolutionary technology in the recruitment field. Firstly, through improved candidate screening, where ChatGPT can help automate the initial screening of job applications. What manual work fails to accomplish, is the screening of multiple candidates’ applications in large departments, and hiring for different positions. By implementing natural language processing (NLP) to analyse resumes, cover letters, and other application materials, recruiters and hiring managers save a lot of time and effort, allowing them to focus on the most promising candidates. The latter is the improvement of predictive analytics. By analysing large amounts of data on job openings, candidate profiles, and hiring outcomes, ChatGPT can help identify patterns and trends that can inform hiring decisions. This can lead to more effective hiring strategies and better hiring outcomes.
Doesn’t AI take all the humanity out of HR, leaving organisations with people who are the result of an algorithm but do not necessarily fit into the company culture?
It’s important to note that AI and automation tools like ChatGPT are designed to augment human decision-making, not replace it entirely. While ChatGPT can help identify top candidates and streamline the hiring process, it cannot make final hiring decisions or replace the critical role that human judgment and intuition play in assessing whether a candidate is a good fit for a company’s culture. We will always need a human touch in complex structures of decision-making.
What are some potential future developments or advancements you visualise for Lensa and the broader HR tech industry?
As HR tech platforms collect more data on job seekers and hiring outcomes, we can expect to see more data-driven decision-making in the hiring process. This may include using predictive analytics to identify top candidates and improve the accuracy of hiring decisions. In Lensa’s case, we use match-making processes in order to help allocate someone’s skills with the right requirements provided by a recruiter. When it comes to millions of jobs and thousands of employers, match-making is a valuable tool in the HR industry to make the most of one’s data.
How do you address challenges or potential concerns with using AI and machine learning in the job search and recruitment process?
The use of AI and machine learning in recruitment can be opaque and difficult to understand. Candidates and employers may not know how decisions are being made, which can erode trust in the recruitment process. The way we try to address these issues is by using diverse and representative data sets to train our AI and machine learning algorithms to minimise the risk of perpetuating biases. On top of that, we have a dedicated quality assurance team that ensures the accuracy and reliability of our algorithms and data sets. This helps job seekers and employers better understand and trust the recruitment process we’re providing. In the future, AI will finally come into its own as a universal tool for navigating your career and building a work life that you love. It will be used not only to serve up jobs or weed out candidates, but proactively by job seekers themselves to find, get, and most importantly, build their best career.
In what ways do you promote the use of AI and machine learning in HR tech beyond Lensa, such as through industry partnerships and thought leadership?
I contribute to numerous media outlets, serve on the executive boards of several respected business organisations, and regularly share with my following and network about how Lensa is using AI to make a positive impact on job search and the recruitment landscape.
How does Lensa use AI and machine learning to revolutionize job search and recruitment?
Lensa uses AI and machine learning algorithms to match job seekers with job openings based on their skills and experience, as well as providing insights and recommendations to employers regarding candidate suitability and recruitment strategies. This makes the job search and recruitment process more efficient and effective for both job seekers and employers. After all, traditional hiring processes can be expensive and time-consuming.
What makes Lensa’s approach to job matching unique compared to other job search platforms?
Our matching technology utilises millions of data points to connect job seekers with job opportunities that are the most suitable for their goals, skills, and work preferences across the US. Additionally, we prioritise emphasising company culture and promoting transparency in the workplace as we believe this benefits both employers and employees alike.
As a start-up, you must have faced development and scaling challenges. How have you addressed them?
As the new kid on the block, entering a gigantic market, we were met with a dozen obstacles. First, we’re aware of the flaws in the world of recruitment and job search. It is outdated and everyone is trying to find what’s best. Our main challenge was to create a system that would eliminate these obstacles and create a match-making system that can help recruiters and job seekers alike. This was no easy task, especially implementing an AI system that can satisfy both parties. Through a lot of experimentation and AB testing, we felt ever closer to creating a seamless job search engine that helped address the flaws we came to discover in the first place and compete with giants like LinkedIn, Glassdoor or Indeed.
What impact do you hope Lensa will have on the job search and recruitment industry in the next five to 10 years?
Agility and precision when it comes to job search. We’re hoping to eliminate as much delay as possible for recruiters and job seekers. Finding the right job for the right skills is a challenge. However, we’re hoping to reduce the time spent looking for a job, so that millions of people can get back in the job market as soon as possible.
Can you share any success stories or notable examples on how you have helped job seekers find the right job and employers find the right talent?
We have multiple cases where Lensa was helpful to a lot of job seekers. For reference, we have one of the highest review scores on Trustpilot, with a 4.1 score and by reading them, we’re happy to play a major role in people’s lives. Based on what we’ve observed, we put a lot of emphasis on customer satisfaction with prompt support and agile service. When it comes to job seekers, our core focus is to help them get back on their feet in the job market as soon as possible and therefore provide them with detailed job categories and opportunities that match their needs.
What do you see as the biggest opportunities and challenges facing the HR tech industry today?
One of the biggest opportunities in the HR tech industry today is the increasing demand for technology solutions that can streamline HR processes and make them more efficient. This includes automation of routine tasks, data analytics, and AI-powered recruitment tools. Another opportunity is the potential for HR tech to improve the employee experience by providing personalized development opportunities and enhancing communication between employees and employers. However, the HR tech industry also faces challenges such as concerns around data privacy and security, as well as the need to ensure that technology solutions are inclusive and do not perpetuate bias or discrimination. Additionally, there is a need for HR tech providers to keep up with rapidly evolving technology and ensure that their solutions remain relevant and effective in an ever-changing business landscape.
Africa is having a difficult time with employment. What advice would you give to job seekers who are struggling in their search?
Be proactive in every aspect of your job search and career path. Technology like ours is a tool that can match you with opportunities you would otherwise never be aware of. But only you can decide which is the right one. To choose wisely, you need to understand your goals, strengths, and your preferred work style. Then: make your move!
What about aspiring HR tech entrepreneurs who want to make a positive impact in the job search and recruitment industry? Any words of advice?
I would highly recommend starting by understanding the needs of job seekers and employers. This way, you can develop solutions that address their pain points and create value. Keep up with the latest trends and advancements in HR tech, including automation, AI, and machine learning. Build a diverse team that brings a variety of skills and perspectives to the table. Finally, prioritize data privacy and security, and always strive for inclusivity and fairness in your solutions. By following these tips, you can increase your chances of success and make a positive impact in the HR industry.
Can you share any exciting updates or developments that Lensa has in store for the near future?
We are about to launch a product that will be directly available to employers, and we are confident that it will have a similar transformative impact on the recruitment industry as our previous efforts had on job search. Keep an eye out for updates!