Humanly CEO Prem Kumar. (Humanly Photo)

The COVID-19 crisis is changing the way companies recruit new employees — and Seattle startup Humanly is hoping to ride the trend with its HR technology.

Humanly has raised $800,000 from investors including TMD Ventures, a venture firm led by DocuSign co-founder Tom Gonser, Gusto CFO Mike Dinsdale, and Kinetica CFO Dean Neese. HR veterans from Amazon and Microsoft also invested.

Humanly’s AI technology helps companies screen job candidates, schedule interviews, run reference checks, and more. The idea is to reduce the time it takes to find talent and provide a better experience for potential new employees.

GeekWire spotlighted Humanly in February as the startup was going through the Y Combinator program. The business world has certainly shifted since then due to the global pandemic.

Many companies pulled back on hiring and slashed recruiting positions. Humanly’s data shows 40% of recruiters at Bay Area companies being furloughed or let go since the COVID-19 crisis.

For companies still looking to fill positions, budgets are tight as they manage an influx of job applications with thousands of laid off workers seeking new employment.

“Companies are turning to automation like never before,” said Humanly CEO Prem Kumar.

Humanly uses progressive profiling, similar to a marketing tool, as a way to quickly understand a candidate’s intent and background. Its chatbot helps manage conversations at the “top of funnel” before a human steps in to complete the hiring process.

In addition to the pandemic-related changes to hiring, there’s also growing demand for anti-racist and more inclusive hiring practices, Kumar said. Humanly’s tech can help remove bias by hiding a candidate’s name, gender, years of experience, and more.

We believe screening should not be about screening candidates out, but about screening great candidates in,” Kumar said.

Former longtime Microsoft HR exec Lisa Brummel is one of Humanly’s advisors.

“I’m really excited for Humanly and their growth as they are showing how technology can work hand in hand with people, which is very much in line with the future of hiring and future of work.” Brummel said in a statement.

Other Seattle-area startups using tech to improve the talent acquisition process include Karat, a technical interview platform, and Textio, which helps companies write better job listings.

Humanly is based in both Seattle and Sacramento, Calif.

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