Israel tech team grows as it drives US jobs site expansion

Israel tech team grows as it drives US jobs site expansion

ZipRecruiter, a California-based job search website, plans to double its Israel R&D operation

ZipRecruiter's Avi Golan, left, and Yaniv Shalev (Micah Dannay/The Times of Israel)
ZipRecruiter's Avi Golan, left, and Yaniv Shalev (Micah Dannay/The Times of Israel)

ZipRecruiter, the second-largest job search website in the US, is planning to double its Israeli operations by the end of the year, the head of its research and development team in Israel said in an interview with The Times of Israel.

“We’re trying to find good engineers who can provide more capacity to the company, because it’s a company that’s growing very fast,” said Avi Golan, 39, the team’s general manager.

ZipRecruiter today employs 30 workers in Israel who work on improving the website’s machine learning capabilities and managing its immense trove of user data.

ZipRecruiter Israel was set up a few years ago “to tap into the Israeli talent market,” Golan said. The group works “like a small startup within a big company,” he said, with creative ideas given the chance to be tested on a massive scale in order to move the entire organization forward.

ZipRecruiter uses algorithms to match job seekers with employers. Employers pay subscription fees while the service is free to searchers. It uses various tools to speed up the process, thus reducing the financial loss to unemployed persons and to shorthanded businesses, the company says.

The California-based company’s website operates in the US, Canada and the UK. About 6,000 new resumes are added to its database each day and an average of 9 million job postings are active at any given time.

The service bills itself as a cut above competitors such as Monster and CareerBuilder because it automates the matching process in the way that some dating sites or online advertisements do. A complex algorithm analyzes billions of data points, matching job seekers with the most relevant positions. Machine learning is used to predict what jobs are the right fit for a person’s qualifications. The more a person uses the site the better the algorithm knows them, said Golan, who studied computer programming with the Israeli army and spent six years working in software for Israeli military intelligence.

ZipRecruiter aims to deliver a minimum of five highly qualified candidates to employers within 24 hours of a job’s posting, a goal the Tel Aviv operation is developing the technology for. Automated alerts then encourage employers to take action on the candidates.

The site is designed to be a more active facilitator of the relationship between an employer and candidate than sites that only provide lists of each, said Yaniv Shalev, 40, ZipRecruiter Israel’s senior vice president of engineering. The idea is not just “to present the job seeker to the employer,” but also to focus on the whole experience of the process.

Job seekers receive alerts when their resume is looked at by an employer, and the site can identify gaps in their skills and notify them. It also looks to see if skills and experience levels overlap with industries outside the seeker’s initial search.

Alerts give job seekers a sense of how much attention their resume is attracting, and the identification of gaps in skills provides useful feedback. In general, ZipRecruiter aims to not only help people find jobs faster but to make the experience less stressful and more beneficial.

The Israeli team is constantly developing and testing new tools to improve user experience and the office fosters a creative environment where employees are encouraged to try new things. While the more than 700 employees in the US manage the company’s day-to-day operations, the team in Tel Aviv sets out strategies on how to overcome technical challenges and find new directions for the website, said Golan. To do that more effectively, they plan to employ more than 60 employees by the end of the year, he said.

As Golan and Shalev watch their team grow, they are using new forums to share their experience. A Facebook page and scheduled networking events have been established to help others in the industry make beneficial connections and share what they’re doing.

“We need to help the ecosystem to grow,” Shalev said. “Because the data is not here, the penetration from here to the US is hard, obviously. So being able to help the community and contribute back — data, knowledge, experts — I think is something this community is striving for.”

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