What business does Little Big Job's parent company Lorenz and Hamilton operate in?
Ludovic Bourg: Historically, we are a human resources consulting firm positioned in the senior management and executive segment. Our main business is centred on three main activities: headhunting and recruitment consulting for key talents, transition management and senior executive outplacement. Over the years, we have developed key positions particularly in terms of recruiting staff specialising in information systems and data. We are also the market leader in France in working with executives via our subsidiary Dirigeants et Partenaires.
How have new technologies impacted your various activities?
L.B.: The emergence of technologies related to mass data processing has impacted primarily sourcing, i.e. the research phase. The strong growth of professional social media has partially lifted the veil on companies organizational structures, but just one part. Data analysis shows that more than two-thirds of professional profiles on social media contain on average fewer than 300 characters, equal to just 50 words. Searching for keywords in empty profiles is like hoping to find a pearl in the ocean with a net. To summarise, with inefficient search tools and recruiters who are not easily "mobilized" during these time-consuming sourcing phases, companies are struggling to find the rare gems. It was therefore necessary to implement a technology able to reconcile recruiters' expectations and working habits, with the true nature of applicants data.
Did this premise form the basis for the creation of Little Big Job?
L.B.: Yes, it became essential to develop a software tool, an artificial intelligence capable of analysing automatically all professional digital data left online by applicants on social media, job sites/forums, directories etc. Where recruiters previously needed weeks, algorithms now make it possible to preselect the best management profiles in just a few seconds and for example to interact with them in order to assess their interest in a role. To design this revolutionary tool, our research teams have been working with a Canadian company specialising in Natural Language Processing (NLP) since 2013 in order to develop a solution capable of interpreting - in both English and French - applicants' public professional digital data available on the internet. The Little Big Job solution has been on the market in France and Canada since 2016 and in the form of subscriptions available to both companies and recruitment firms.
Is there not a risk of cannibalising your own business?
L.B.: On the contrary. As a user of the tool, we have been able to increase our responsiveness and offer our clients a higher level of diversity in the profiles put forward. This is one of the very positive effects of sourcing assisted by artificial intelligence. This gets rid of all human elements in preselection and AI finds inaccessible profiles for a recruiter in the huge mass of information now online.
What are the next steps?
L.B.: At the same time as developing the solution in France and Canada, our roll-out plan is to market Little Big Job in the English-speaking and then French-speaking markets for which our models are operational. We will shortly be opening offices in London and on the East Coast of the United States.
Why did you approach Crédit Mutuel Equity for help?
L.B.: We needed to consolidate our financing capacity in order to step up our rate of development, whether by means of acquisitions in our "traditional" activities or conquering new markets with Little Big Job. Although their financial offering was clearly a factor in our decision, it is this investor's philosophy that made the difference: Crédit Mutuel Equity (formerly CM-CIC Investissement) invests its own capital and really works with the company director, beyond the financial deal.
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