Startup Review: ENGAGE Talent

ENGAGE leverages AI to predict people’s job security and likelihood to change jobs based on publicly available information. The Company wants to solve a relatively difficult data and artificial intelligence challenge: predicting people’s job security and likelihood to change jobs based on their professional background, career progression, and events impacting their companies and industries. The first application of this science is to enable recruiters to conduct market research, identify talent pools to target, and build a pipeline of passive candidates who are more likely to engage in a job change discussion.

The Company’s science is based on three decades of validated academic and industry research of the events that lead to turnover. It relies on long-term studies of career progression and the market forces impacting engagement and attrition.

The Company won't stop at identifying those candidates with high likelihood to change jobs. The Company’s AI models use millions of data points to identify attributes that would be attractive to the candidate in a new opportunity. ENGAGE develops an engagement profile that recruiters use to approach candidates with targeted and tailored messaging.

With the right message at the right time, ENGAGE customers have significantly improved response rates, focused on candidates with higher likelihood to be interested, and improved their total time-to-hire. Although Engage is a science and data company leveraging the most advanced machine learning and AI technologies, the results of the Company’s pioneering work are very human: it connects people who may not be secure in their jobs with potentially better opportunities.

Below is an overview of the tools that are  provided to customers of ENGAGE:

·      Comprehensive Candidate Profiles: Including experience, contacts, predictive availability scoring, company insights and market compensation.

·      Actionable Sourcing Intelligence: Daily alerts of changes impacting your passive candidates and their availability likelihood.

·      Powerful Candidate Mining: Define position requirements as broad or as narrow as you need including boolean searches on titles, education, target companies, predictive job security measures, and many more.

·      Always Be Sourcing!: Take ENGAGE to where you work with the browser Extension. Find candidates and companies insights as you browse websites.

·      Flexible Integration and Workflow Management: Integrate ENGAGE with your CRM, ATS, or Contact Management systems. Over 100 integrations supported out of the box including complex multi-step workflows.

·      Collaborate and Manage: Recruit as a team!  Powerful team collaboration tools and insightful management dashboards.

The Company also has specialized products for certain industries, such as Healthcare, IT, Engineering, and Financial Services, as well as an executive search. They promote these products through three steps:

1.     Right Candidates: source from over 100 million passive candidates or utilize predictive candidates.

2.     Right Message: AI generated personalized messaging to significantly increase candidate response rates.

3.     Right Time: know when a candidate is likely ready for a new opportunity.



Recruiting can be a guessing game — when will a passive (currently-employed) candidate be ready to jump into a new opportunity and what will it take them to do so? It can quickly become a game of darts, throwing until something sticks.

Competition for talent is especially high in industries that require specific skills. The current job market has more open jobs in these industries than qualified applicants. The most recent Top Echelon State of the Industry Report surveyed its customer base to find the most challenging industries to make placements in. These industries include: Information technology (18.3%), Engineering (11.4%), Healthcare (11%), Manufacturing/Industrial (10.6%), Sales/Marketing (8.1%), Accounting/Finance (8.1%).

With time-to-hire being the most important measure of success and talent shortage being the biggest hurdle for recruiters, both point to overall constriction within labor markets. This singular factor is making candidate identification a more difficult and time-consuming aspect of a recruiter’s life. By having to cull through large pools of potential candidates to identify a smaller target a recruiter can miss out on candidates who are ready to engage.

Relying on sourced resume data alone provides no indication of a candidate’s level of engagement in seeking a new role or insight into the pain points a candidate is facing within their current role. ENGAGE provides key data and insights on candidates that allow the recruiter to review a more targeted pool and the ability to craft messages that resonate personally.

Most recruiters today have the capabilities to use technological tools to their advantage but lack the ability to effectively crunch the data. Glen Cathey, SVP of Talent Acquisition Strategy and Innovation at Kforce, states: “Human capital data can be leveraged to identify and hire more great people more quickly… but the vast majority of companies have yet to fully embrace data as a strategic asset in talent acquisition”. Recruiters today need to be able to use data to make better decisions and improve their processes.

Another general issue with recruitment of potential talent is the inherent risk that if they are looking at a recruiter’s opportunity, they are probably also looking around at other companies. It happens all the time where a Company recruits someone and gives them the offer and then that offer is rejected because the candidate accepts an offer elsewhere. There is a lack of transparency in the process that can affect the ROI of recruiters and time spent looking for talent. There is also significant risk in recruiting someone who has already been looking around for an opportunity.


Market Size

SIA (Staffing Industry Analysts) continues to predict that the US staffing market will grow modestly in 2017 and 2018, with 3% growth in total staffing revenue forecasted per year. As such, it is projected that the US staffing market will reach $145 billion in total revenue in 2018. The temporary staffing market is ~$122.1 billion and the place & search market is ~$18.2 billion.

The global healthcare staffing market size was valued at USD 27.3 billion in 2016 with a CAGR of 5.4%. Increasing geriatric population, geographical penetration of players through partnerships, and increase in awareness about the benefits of contract staffing are likely to drive growth. According to WHO, there was a shortage of 7.2 million healthcare workers globally in 2013 and it is anticipated that this shortage will reach 12.9 million by 2035. Hence, increasing shortage of skilled staff coupled with the rising demand for healthcare services is likely to increase the market growth in coming years.

The Company is targeting industries that have traditionally high turnover and high recruitment needs on an on-going basis. As a result, it is easy to see the generally sticky nature of this subscription model to be even more so. This blog does not have access to what the pricing structure of the Company’s products are. However, seeing as how a lot of these industries are fairly fragmented, especially healthcare and hospitals, it is safe to assume that there is a huge revenue growth potential within this space.



The Company has raised $3 million from investors across the country including Revolution’s Rise of the Rest Seed Fund and Midwestern-based Refinery Ventures and Grand Ventures. Amongst their plans for the funding is a new office in Atlanta to expand their marketing and sales efforts. Prior to this, ENGAGE had raised about $3 million from mostly South Carolina-based investors.



·      Joseph Hanna (Founder & CEO): Joe founded ENGAGE in 2015 leveraging his long experience in enterprise applications, predictive analytics, and building technology businesses. He previously held executive positions with both Fortune 500 companies as well as startups. Joe holds a B.Sc. in Software Engineering from Alexandria University and an MBA from Duke University where he was named a Fuqua Scholar.

·      Derek Zeller (Head of Solutions): Derek Zeller draws from over 20 years in the recruiting industry. He has first hand experience sourcing and recruiting for many skill sets including Technology, Finance, Healthcare, and Sales. He is one of the most influential thought leaders in the space and is a widely followed blogger by both agency and in-house recruiters. Derek specializes in using out-of-the-box tactics and strategies to identify and engage talent, he has had significant experience in building referral and social media programs, technology evaluation, and the development of sourcing, employment branding, and military and college recruiting strategies.

·      Christy Whitehead, PhD (VP of Data Science): Christy is the VP of Data Science and Machine Learning. She leads the data management and science behind ENGAGE's predictive algorithms and machine learning models. Christy holds a PhD in Economics from Clemson University and has focused her career on employment and labor economics. Her previous experiences include key data science roles with PeopleMatter (acquired by Snag A Job) and Equifax.  Christy is a frequent speaker in HR Analytics and machine learning conferences. She is also an active member of the Federal Reserve Roundtable. 



Peter G Schmidt