HireVue acquires recruiting chatbot startup AllyO

HireVue, a video interviewing vendor, has acquired AllyO, a startup that makes chatbot technology for use in high-volume hiring.

HireVue Inc., a firm that makes video interviewing and recruiting tools, has acquired AllyO, an AI recruiting chatbot vendor. The tools are complementary and share some customers.

The deal was announced Tuesday. The purchase price was not disclosed. AllyO, founded in 2016 and based in Palo Alto, Calif., raised $64 million in funding, including $45 million in 2019.

AllyO makes conversational chatbots to automate the recruiting process. The recruiting chatbots can be used to provide information about the job and hiring process as well as to conduct an initial interview.  The technology is aimed at companies that attract a lot of applicants, such as those in retail and hospitality. HireVue, based in Park City, Utah, has an interview platform that allows job applicants to submit video interviews on demand. It is also used by firms that hire in high volumes.

Kevin ParkerKevin Parker

HireVue plans to merge the firms and the teams; it wants to make product integrations available to customers quickly, said Kevin Parker, chairman and CEO of HireVue. AllyO will be part of HireVue and won't continue as a separate company.

We think the technology is quite strong, and we'll continue to invest in it.
Kevin ParkerChairman and CEO, HireVue

In its due diligence prior to the acquisition, HireVue found that AllyO's chat platform could answer more than 90% of a candidate's questions, according to Parker. "We think the technology is quite strong, and we'll continue to invest in it," he said.

AllyO competitors include Paradox Inc., a firm in Scottsdale, Ariz., that announced $40 million in new funding in May and $53 million total. Another is Mya Systems Inc. in San Francisco, which has raised more than $50 million in total funding.

The role of recruiting chatbots

Recruiting chatbots are "taking over the more mundane parts of the recruiting process," said Evelyn McMullen, an analyst at Nucleus Research. Chatbots can also provide candidates with updates on their applications, which is important. "It's much better than being ghosted," she said. 

In terms of the effectiveness of chatbot recruiting technology, "I think it does its job," McMullen said. "I don't think the expectations are very high on the part of the applicant." 

Hilton Hotels and Resorts uses AllyO's recruiting chatbots to conduct an initial assessment of call center workers. Questions might include the hours a candidate can work. If applicants meet initial requirements, they may be asked to do a video interview through HireVue.

HireVue can then analyze the candidate's responses using AI, assessing certain characteristics such as a candidate's use of vocabulary. It will rank candidates and, ultimately, speed up the recruiting timeline. 

The product category of HireVue and AllyO is "talent engagement," Parker said. These products sit on top of applicant tracking systems, such as those from Workday or iCIMS, he said. "We're interested in building out that talent engagement suite," he said. 

One thing HireVue isn't interested in building out is its use of physical office space. The firm currently has 50,000 square feet of office space, and Parker said it plans to remain largely remote in the future. "I think we got to the point where many people actually prefer it that way," he said. 

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