By Donna Loughlin

Mike Fitzsimmons knows how costly a bad hire can be for a company.

Prior to launching the cloud-based, employee-recruiting startup Crosschq, Mike had founded a pair of startups that he says suffered from a series of miscalculations when it came to staffing. He started to wonder why hiring presented such a challenge to companies and came across a startling figure: 45% of all new hires fail within the first 18 months.

“Take a second and digest that,” Mike told me during our recent conversation. “Our hiring process is undeniably broken. So I started peeking under rocks and looking at how big of a problem it actually is and it became really clear that it was worth fixing.”

The question was how to do it.

Mike didn’t come from a tech background. His startups had mostly centered around media and entertainment. Deciding to fix  how we hire our employees would have to be a software solution. So in trying to reinvent hiring, he would have to reinvent himself.

“Before, I could go to Hollywood and kind of get to anybody,” he said. “But I was a fish out of water when it came to the HR tech space. Not only did I have to get inside and learn all of the complexities that talent leaders are faced with, but I had to learn the world of tech and enterprise B2B software. It was a real reinvention for me.”

Crosschq’s mission is to better match companies and talent through what it calls “human intelligence hiring.” Essentially, the platform leverages insights collected from and converts it to data. The data is then stored in the cloud, guaranteeing privacy while allowing employers to examine candidates while minimizing bias and protecting their information.

It’s the human intelligence component that Mike believes is the difference-maker for Crosschq. Over the last decade, the talent acquisition company has doubled down on AI as a means of finding candidates to fill job openings. But hiring-by-algorithm still injected too much bias into the process.

“There’s so much talk right now about artificial intelligence,” he said. “Every business has some story about how they’re using artificial intelligence to help them get smarter and run better. Our thought was, ‘Sure, artificial intelligence is great, but how about we start leveraging humans and with an end goal of making this entire process more human. That’s the piece that has been missing and that’s what we’re solving.”

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