HR Tech Interview with Lori Ellsworth, Chief Product Officer at Employ

Journey into Tech

Hi, Lori, welcome to the Interview Series. Please tell us about your journey in the HR technology industry and how this industry has transformed in the post-covid era.

Throughout my career, I’ve spent 20 years in the professional services space as well as in human capital management before I was offered the opportunity to join Employ. As a product professional and a longtime user of HR technology, this was truly exciting for me because of the challenges and advancements this industry has faced, particularly over the last three to five years.

Covid really accelerated the digital transformation of recruiting and hiring. While many industries faced major challenges in wake of the pandemic, others flourished and those hiring teams quickly needed access to tools like remote screening, advanced automation, and improved candidate sourcing. HR departments were suddenly requiring technology to perform their recruiting duties, and it’s been exciting to see this function shift into a strategic partner within an organization in driving growth.

Post-Covid, many talent acquisition teams have access to a global theater of talent. Most companies are at least hybrid, if not fully remote, and can go far and wide to find people that are a best fit for a position now. However, more creativity is needed to simulate in-person hiring experiences, and that’s where HR technology can help.

What is Employ and how does it fit into a modern CHRO’s HR technology stack?

Employ empowers organizations to overcome their greatest recruiting and talent acquisition challenges through purpose-built, intelligent technologies and services across our JazzHR, Lever, Jobvite, and NXTThing RPO brands. Each of our brands are supported by world-class support and implementation, along with dozens of integrations to industry leading HCM solutions.  Today, the company serves more than 18,000 customers across industries and is rapidly growing to meet our customer’s needs.

What makes Employ’s offerings unique, is each of our products are flexible to meet the needs of the CHRO and are scalable and customizable based on the complexity of their organization, the needs of their team, and business objectives. As a top talent acquisition solution provider, we operate at the forefront of the HR technology stack as a critical function to connect people with the right position.

Recommended: HR Tech Interview with Kim Sullivan, Chief Human Resources Officer at Sitecore

What types of problems do you solve for your customers? Could you take us through your platform and its core features?

Our solutions at Employ assist our customers with overcoming their greatest talent acquisition challenges. First, we help them find, attract, and convert great talent for the right roles in the growing job market. Employ also can help drive collaboration, efficiency, and scale hiring process for all types of businesses, no matter what stage of growth they are in. And because the technology is backed by data-driven insights, we can help talent acquisition teams have a deeper understanding of their internal processes, leading to greater improvements in their overall talent operations.

The core features across our brands’ solutions include:

  • Purpose-built Applicant Tracking Systems (ATS) to support from small-to-medium sized businesses to enterprise level organizations, across many verticals with different types of hiring needs.
  • Recruitment Marketing & Candidate Relationship Management (CRM) capabilities to source, attract, and nurture potential candidates.
  • Intelligent automation to match candidates to jobs and drive the hiring process more efficiently.
  • Data-driven insights across all aspects of the talent acquisition lifecycle for robust reporting and ROI tracking.

Generative AI and similar technologies have completely taken over all major discussions in terms of investments and budgeting this year. Could you highlight how these AI capabilities could revolutionize HR Technology?

Talent acquisition teams shouldn’t use AI just for the sake of using AI – they need to identify opportunities to use this technology for the highest and most strategic return. For example, when we think about the talent acquisition process, it’s important to consider what can improve for the candidate. If there’s an opportunity to enhance this experience and add automation to manual processes or use data to make more informed decisions in the recruiting process, talent acquisition teams should be open to these changes.

Some automated processes to be on the lookout for include candidate matching for faster and more accurate role filling, autogenerated written communications, such as job descriptions and offer letters, using AI to find bias in communications, and resume parsing. For the better candidate experiences, AI can personalize the candidate’s journey, develop personalized content, and provide multilingual experiences. AI has also revolutionized upskilling in the workforce, by identifying internal mobility opportunities with internal talent who may have the foundation to adopt existing skills to new areas.

Recommended: HR Tech Interview with Steve Black, Co-Founder & Chief Strategy Officer at Topia

How do you prepare for the AI-led disruptions?

It’s important to remember to crawl, walk, then run with AI. Talent acquisition teams need to identify the highest return opportunities in this disruption and should interrogate outcomes, ask questions, and adjust the strategy of this technology as they go. The most important questions to ask are, “Where can we improve the candidate experience?” followed by, “Now, what can we automate?”

AI provides the decisions and automation extracts the value, so identifying where talent acquisition teams can gain value via automation is a perfect place for AI to generate automated decisions and content.

How are AI journeys influencing business operations related to hiring, recruitment and talent development in an organization?

AI will never replace recruiters, but with manual work eliminated, they can focus on the human elements of their job, such as relationship building with candidates. For example, recruiters could utilize a tool like our Zero-Click Intelligent Sourcing to find better fits for roles faster. The tool leverages an AI algorithm that accesses a wealth of candidate information, so the recruiter doesn’t have to. Recruiters are loving that they can use AI to reduce admin time on tasks like writing job descriptions and outreach emails.

Additionally in a skill-obsessed world, the ability to understand the similarity and transferability of seemingly different skills to human recruiters and interviewers is invaluable. Not only is AI combatting “skillification” but is mitigating bias in doing so, helping talent acquisition teams fill roles faster and more equitably.

What are your predictions on the future of HR technology platforms for talent management?

Today’s AI is disruptive as it significantly improves and reduces the cost to implement core HR tech competencies like finding and nurturing talent. Companies that react and adopt generative AI today will find themselves increasingly competing against generative AI first companies. Those who adopt generative AI will have a small advantage over new entrants in terms of existing integrations.

Talent acquisition solutions will continue to be a critical component of a broader HR technology strategy, since hiring and retaining the right people is fundamental to business success, regardless of vertical or size of company. Organizations will continue to look to these solutions to help them differentiate themselves in the market. Deeper integration with other HR technologies will continue to be critical to drive efficiency, keep one source of the truth, and leverage data to drive better decisions.

Recommended: HR Tech Interview with Satish Gannu, Chief Technology Officer at Korn Ferry Digital

Lighter notes:

  • Burn the midnight candle or soak in the sun? Burn the midnight candle
  • Coffee, or Tea? Coffee
  • Your favorite Employ feature you want everyone to try out? Candidate texting
  • First memorable experience in your career as a technology leader? Hearing a customer articulate the value of our software has delivered to the business in their own words.
  • One thing you remember about your employee (s): They are people with lives outside work!

Thank you, Lori ! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.

[To participate in our interview series, please write to us at

Lori Ellsworth is the Chief Product Officer at Employ. Lori has been delivering customer value for over 30 years in product strategy and management.

Prior to taking on her role at Employ, Lori served as Senior Vice President of Product at Lever and as has held product leadership positions at FinancialForce, Compuware Corporation, and Speedware. Lori earned her MBA at the Schulich School of Business York University in Toronto, as well as a Bachelor of Mathematics from the University of Waterloo.


Employ LogoEmploy Inc. empowers organizations of all sizes to overcome their greatest recruiting and talent acquisition challenges. Offering a combination of purpose-built, intelligent technologies, services, and industry expertise, Employ provides SMB to global enterprises with a single solution for recruiting and growing a diverse workforce. Through its JazzHR, Lever, Jobvite, and NXTThing RPObrands, Employ serves more than 18,000 customers across industries.