Today, 70% of companies use automated applicant-tracking systems to find and hire talent. That process is hardly perfect. Algorithms used to screen applicants often exclude qualified candidates, whether by placing undue weight on terms that male applicants are more likely to use, like leader, or by perpetuating racial biases.
Nancy Xu, 25, believes that doesn’t have to be the default. The Bay Area–based founder and CEO of Moonhub, Xu wants to harness AI to connect companies with top talent—while creating a more equitable hiring process along the way. “My goal is to build a good AI whose purpose is to give people opportunity and agency … while powering humanity’s most important initiatives with the right talent,” says Xu, who began working on the project as a Ph.D. student at Stanford’s AI Lab.
Hiring managers can ask Moonhub’s AI agent to find candidates for a role and see a list of options in minutes. Users can then ask follow-up questions to further narrow the search based on specific needs—whether that be surfacing candidates with different levels of experience or proficiency in a specific skill. Along the way, the tool encourages hiring teams to build diversity into their process by helping to brainstorm ways to find more diverse candidates and flagging potentially biased searches. “Chatting with Moonhub is like talking to an expert-level recruiter that also happens to know every person, every company, every website, and every recruiting strategy in the world,” says Xu.
Moonhub is used by more than 100 companies globally ranging from NGOs to technology and finance startups. Launched in June 2022, the company had revenues above $1 million in its first year and announced a $4.4 million seed round earlier this year. (Investors in Moonhub include TIME co-chairs and owners Marc and Lynne Benioff.) This fall, the company plans to launch its “base tier,” a stand-alone AI recruiter that users can operate without human support.
Xu understands the fears that AI will eliminate many jobs. But it can also sync people with the work they want to do. “In five years, AI will coordinate the vast majority of our economy,” Xu says. “In a world where AI disrupts every profession, Moonhub’s mission is to build AI that gives people access to opportunity.”
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