Insights

Exclusive - icrunchdata President Ron Emery Talks Artificial Intelligence and Job Search

Ron Emery is the President of icrunchdata. He has leads brand and product development, including online operations and digital media strategy. His mission is to thoughtfully connect the human side of data, while driving the company's innovative vision and growth.

icrunchdata Insights speaks with business leaders about their careers in data, what they are focusing on in their current roles and what their interests are outside of data. Today, Ron shares more details about last week's launch of the new icrunchdata job posting platform powered by artificial intelligence.

Ron, this is the first time we've interviewed you. Let's start with the latest news...

How does the job search platform work for users?

The platform uses advanced natural language processing and real-time AI technology to match job seekers to jobs based on skills, qualifications, preferences and numerous other attributes contained within a user’s profile. The more complete and thoughtful the profile, the better the matching technology will work. It’s rather intuitive and refreshing.

Historically, job seekers would have to manually search endless jobs, but our system gives you the short list. In addition, employers are more attentive to the applications on our platform due to the same matching technology working unilaterally.

So do job seekers use this platform differently than they use other job boards?

Yes, job seekers will use our platform differently. Our system is focused less around search and more around ‘you’ if that makes sense. The AI system gets to know you. And it makes job match recommendations and ranks them for you. It’s quite impressive to experience. It takes some mental adjustment in that job seekers won’t see thousands of jobs to choose from. But that’s due to the fact that our AI has already eliminated them and provided the short list based on how well it’s learned who you are.

What inspired you to leverage new technology for job search?

Traditional job search is broken. The approach has erroneously become about massive aggregation rather than quality. Most job boards rely on low quality volume which appeals to the ego, but it is fleeting and ineffective. With these legacy platforms, the user bail-out is a staggering rate of 80-85%. With icrunchdata’s new AI platform, the heavy lifting is done for you, so you can narrow your efforts on the short list of jobs that are a mutual match. Job seekers will really love our new approach.

Did you face any challenges bringing this to life?

For many years, we’ve been underwhelmed with traditional job search. Even the big job aggregators only offer the value of volume. Job seekers are looking for the ‘right’ job for them, and employers are looking to make key hires. A high-volume approach has no place in that, rather its high-quality that matters. So it’s been a challenge to re-invent a legacy way of thinking. Our new platform will take some education and adjusted expectations. That takes time, so the challenge will be remaining patient for the data and tech marketplace to absorb and understand it.

How rapidly do you expect AI to be adopted in talent acquisition?

As with most industries, legacy systems and thinking will delay the adoption of innovation. We’re proud to be leading the way with our approach and technology. The job search industry is long overdue for re-invention. We are excited to be the first to offer a lightweight product experience and really cool way to find jobs in the data science and technology space.

How do job seekers maximize their success when filling in applications?

It’s important to fill out your profile thoughtfully and completely. Preferences, skills and qualifications are learned by the system. You can add skills that you don’t see listed, and in general, can really build your profile out in creative ways. Users can also upload several versions of their resume which is a benefit, too.

Is there a simple fact you wish more people understood about the job search industry?

I wish the job search community – even beyond the data and tech space – would understand that the legacy approach is broken. Searching millions of jobs to find the right one or sorting through the abyss of resumes is extremely inefficient. Digital saturation is running rampant too, both in our professional and personal lives. The job search industry needs an enormous makeover, and we’re trying to do our part.

What led you to working in this field?

My career roots reside in executive recruitment and staffing, coupled with experience from a very interesting era with DoubleClick as they were being acquired by Google. When I started icrunchdata, it was always with the notion of making a difference in the job market. Making it better, making it easier. I tend to be an intuitive type person and could always see opportunity in this space. It’s the perfect culmination of my background, passion and insight. I absolutely love where I’m at and grateful to be the steward of this brand and interesting niche space.

Describe the most defining moment of your career so far.

Well, I don’t reflect on achievements too often, quite honestly. Rather, I’m always striving to grow as a person and professional. But in the past year, I’ve experienced more growth in my skill-sets than ever before. I’m a self-taught web developer and have been growing my expertise in product development, UX and other facets of design. I’m proud of being in the trenches and the knowledge I’ve acquired. I’m never satisfied nor stagnant for long, so who knows what will come next, but I’m grateful for the opportunity to make a difference in the tech space.

What gets you most excited about where data science, analytics and big data are heading?

Despite the buzz around this segment of the technology industry, we are only at the dawn of it. Data science will permeate every capillary of the economy and our lives in remarkable ways in the coming decade, and it will far surpass our lifetimes. I’m inspired to focus on the human side of data. I don’t consider icrunchdata a tech company per se, but rather a company that offers the conduit for people to make connections, to elevate their careers and to grow.

Describe the future of the data marketplace in one word.

Staggering

Do you think there are any downsides of our digital, data-driven world?

Funny you should ask — yes, I sure do. I think in many ways we’ve compromised emotional connection and intimacy in our relationships. I have no footprint in social media for my personal life. The data-driven world lends itself better for business, in my opinion. Our personal relationships and what I call ‘digital isolation’ is the trade-off. Hence, my professional focus is still on the human side of things.

Is there a motto you live by?

I love Nike’s motto – Just do it. That's always resonated the most with me.

Is there something most people don’t know about you?

I love fly fishing. I used to live in Colorado and could see moving back someday. I really enjoy the outdoors, and there’s something magical that happens when you stand knee-deep in Rocky Mountain water to delicately present a weightless fly. It's quite peaceful and grounding.

If you could tell a younger version of yourself one thing, what would you say?

Trust yourself and have faith in the unknown. Our free will is best utilized by simply trusting our creator and higher power, along with our earthly instincts to guide us. The earlier in life we learn this, the better. I wish I could teach my younger self about this.

Thanks for the opportunity to speak with you, Anna. I'm excited about the future of our company and making an impact in the data science and tech industry.

It's been a treat interviewing you. Thanks again, Ron.

Article published by Anna Hill
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