April 6, 2020


My name is Jason Rennie. I’m a proud employee of Eightfold.ai.

I want to share a story with you about how the Covid-19 pandemic has impacted someone very close to me.

My brother was laid off last week. I’d like to use this space to discuss some of the challenges that he’s experiencing, and how the work we are doing at Eightfold.ai can help him and so many others in similar situations.

Eric is a 20+ year veteran of the food services industry. His most recent employer was a large hotel franchise located within a mile of a major international airport.

Let that sink in for a minute.

Three variables that represent the most hard-hit verticals: Travel, Lodging, and Restaurants! Three weeks ago, he was running a kitchen staff of 50 people. Today he’s wondering how he is going to make his car payment.

His resume spans 20+ years and includes a variety of employers, titles, and responsibilities. Under normal circumstances, he’d be able to find a new job in short order (pun intended). However, his prospects today are rather bleak; the restaurants in his area are either closed or only offering takeout. Suffice to say, none are looking to hire any new staff.

His most recent titles have been Executive Chef, Sous-Chef, and Catering Chef. In Eric’s mind, his only option is to file for unemployment. Foodservice, his area of expertise, is almost completely shut down and with that so are his options … or are they?

Like so many others, my brother is having difficulty understanding how his skills are transferable to other roles. He’s struggling to understand how his experiences can help position him for a new role or industry. He’s wrestling with his own self-doubt, trying desperately to predict the future and what’s next for him.

I did a quick scan of his resume and I see things like:

  • Launched new menu and trained employees
  • Responsible for all staff scheduling
  • Responsible for daily ordering and inventory
  • Manage high volume, multi-outlet concept producing $12 million in annual sales
  • Routinely deliver food and labor costs under budget
  • Responsible for implementing and maintaining systems such as payroll tracking, food safety training, and employee development.

Probably not much different than what you’d expect to see from a person in this sort of role.

Rather than spinning his wheels looking for another job like the one he just lost, that he knows isn’t available anywhere at the moment, perhaps it’s time to rethink this situation. I’d like to help Eric, and everyone else who finds themselves in this situation, better understand the skills that they possess and how those skills can position them for their next role.

Eightfold is in a unique position to help not only my brother, but many workers whose livelihoods have been impacted by the pandemic.

I won’t go into the details (you can read them here), but Eightfold has created a Talent Intelligence Platform built with more than 1 billion profiles and career trajectories. We deploy deep learning neural networks to continually develop and learn about the relationships and adjacencies of one skill to another, one competency to another.

In short, we understand whether someone has the potential to succeed at a job. We can instantly match them to the right job. We can show them why it’s the right job, and we can do this at scale for anyone.

With the understanding that my brother has documented experience with training, scheduling, inventory, budgets, and payroll, I can infer that he might also have experience with, or be able to learn, operations, invoicing, logistics, vendor management, and purchasing to list a few other careers.

Combining this knowledge with the career trajectories of others with similar skills, I can begin to make predictions about other roles that my brother will likely be successful at, even roles he’s completely unaware of.

Until now, our solutions have been geared toward helping companies solve some of their most pressing challenges related to talent acquisition, internal mobility, and diversity, and we will still do that, but in light of the current environment, we’ve decided that it’s time to lend our expertise to help solve unemployment.

These are unprecedented times, as we are all well aware. Many of our friends, family members, co-workers, and clients have been impacted by the crisis caused by COVID-19. We know many employers had to make tough, unavoidable, employment decisions.

To help millions of people like my brother, we are introducing the Eightfold Talent Exchange, a service for employers as well as job seekers. It’s an easy-to-use solution that is rooted in AI and Deep Learning that goes far beyond keyword matching. Job seekers can upload their resume or quickly create a profile of work history, skills, and hobbies. The Eightfold technology will suggest skills that may be missing from the profile. Then Eightfold will match the job seeker to available positions that match their current skills, as well as positions where new skills could easily be learned.

This initiative is central to our driving mission: “To find the right career for everyone in the world”.

Whether you’re a recruiter, a hiring manager, a business leader, a software developer, a bank teller or a chef, like my brother, Eightfold can help you. Launching this platform is both absolutely necessary and absolutely the right thing to do.

Check back soon to see what’s next for Eric!
#talentexchange #solvingemployment #whatsnextforyou #finderichisnextjob