A person’s education and work history may be similar to other resumes in a pile, but Searchlight aims to improve the way companies measure someone’s soft skills to provide not only a differentiator, but a better indication of how well that person ends up being will fit into the organization. .
Kerry Wang and her twin sister, Anna Wang, saw this problem firsthand when they tried to differentiate themselves when they applied for the same job. Kerry Wang told BestFitnessBands that she felt that some of the interview processes didn’t give them enough time to fully show how different they were.
“Almost half of all hires fail within 18 months, so we were inspired to change the current talent software that labeled us the same person,” said Kerry Wang. “Right now, given ‘The Great Resignation’, not only can you hire fast, but you must hire well to win the talent war. That is difficult when there is a gap in measuring the quality of hires.”
They started Searchlight in 2018 to develop technology that uses behavioral reference data and prescriptive analytics to give employers a more 360-degree view of a potential candidate’s strengths and weaknesses that may not appear on a resume or come up in a job interview.
Armed with this data before interviews take place, companies that have used Searchlight’s new features in beta over the past 12 months have hired thousands of candidates, often with a faster process, less bias, and better retention. In fact, users saw a 45% improvement in retention, 40% faster hiring time, and hired workers stayed on average 72% longer than when hired through other approaches, Wang said.
Today, the company announced $17 million in Series A funding to expand their offerings with one-click reference and candidate assessments that take less than 15 minutes, a hiring quality dashboard for greater insight into how to improve future recruiting and a “people science engine” that links behavioral data collected prior to hiring with employee outcomes as a way to showcase hiring best practices and highlight the profiles of high performers.
The latest round of funding was led by Founders Fund with participation from Accel, Shasta, Kapor Capital, Operator Collective and a group of angel investors, including executives at companies such as Coda, Confluent and Plaid. It gives the company total funding of $20 million to date, including a $2.5 million starting round in 2019.
Talent comes in all shapes and sizes, and Searchlight is the latest to have its approach backed by venture capital. Other recruiting technology companies that recently announced funding include fractional employee marketplace Continuum, Sense, and Karat.
Wang says her company is unique in the level of data and insights it provides to users, as well as better recommendations. It is also able to show company characteristics what they should look for in candidates and it even disproves assumptions companies have about their workforce.
“You have to recognize what leads to success, and that usually depends on your gut feeling,” she added. “On the basis of soft skills, we create success profiles about what leads to retention.”
The company now works with more than 60 companies, including Udemy, Talkdesk and Zapier, and has 15 employees, up from four last year. The customer base has also more than tripled in the past year. Wang also shared that many of his customers are doubling their investment in the product after using Searchlight.
The new funding will allow the company to recruit additional people to double the size of the team next year, as well as invest in product development and its go-to marketing strategy.
As part of the investment, Founders Fund’s general partner, Keith Rabois, has joined Searchlight’s board.
Rabois said that during his 20-year career of founding, financing and leading technology companies, the common denominator was the need for good people, saying, “The team you build is the company you build.”
“Searchlight resonated with me,” he added. “I’ve been on over 15 boards and every company talks about retention and what to do to improve retention. Constantly replacing talent cannot build a good business. I was always looking to improve myself and had the data and tools to get better. Searchlight provides the best data to make those hiring decisions.”