Robert Half CTO drills down on key features and AI technology in award-winning mobile app

For the second consecutive year, Robert Half mobile app has won a Gold Stevie in the Professional Services category for Mobile Sites and Apps at the 19th International Business Awards. James Johnson, executive vice president and chief technology officer (CTO) of the California-based recruitment agency, sat down with ITWC to discuss the award-winning features, AI-powered matching technology and roadmap of the application.

Features, time tracking and push notifications

After taking down its first marketing mobile app from the App Store in 2014, the company spearheaded the development of a second mobile app, launched in 2019, aimed at expanding the avenues of engagement with its candidate population, and simplifying the job search process. Candidates can search for jobs without an account or profile and if they create one, they are matched with the best opportunities based on their requirements.

The ‘hook’, however, Johnson said, lies in the app’s time tracking tool, allowing the company’s own contractors to record their work hours, get paid and obtain their T4s using the app. “We have today more people using the app to record time than any other way”, he said. The company also updated its legacy payroll system, adding APIs to ensure connectivity via the app offered the rapid response time expected of a modern mobile app.

The app’s push notifications, which let candidates know if they are being considered for a position, have also been key to their success, Johnson said, in closing “the gray area in interactions we have with candidates”.

AI matching technology

Johnson said that the company worked to iteratively develop and improve their AI matching technology for the last seven years. He explained that there are three AI engines behind this matching technology:

  1. Fit, matching the candidates’ past experiences and skills against the job requirements and to similar successful candidates previously placed by the company, resulting in a ‘double match’.
  2. Engagement, determining how active the candidate is on their entire ecosystem (app, website, and partner platforms).
  3. Progress, evaluating how far candidates are making it through the job search process; whether, for example, they talked to a client, have been interviewed or signed paperwork.

Additionally, the company abstains from capturing demographic data, writing styles or people’s education (for example, where they went to school) and developed a proprietary natural processing language (NLP) that allows them to “to take someone’s resume apart, remove the context, focusing instead on words or groups of words, and by doing that also remove bias”. 


In 2023, the company plans to implement the following features in the app:

  • Onboarding documents in the application to make it easier for candidates to start the job
  • Chat, in app messaging, and a chat bot to facilitate interactions
  • A mechanism to determine users’ time zones to provide them with more targeted guidance 
  • Features to engage, retain, and help candidates move from assignment to assignment
  • Badges representing the skills candidates offer

“The combination of a simple user experience combined with both powerful job search and job matching capabilities, that’s the thing that really stands out, ” concluded Johnson. He added that the company is very proud and has “only just begun”.

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Ashee Pamma
Ashee Pamma
Ashee is a writer for ITWC. She completed her degree in Communication and Media Studies at Carleton University in Ottawa. She hopes to become a columnist after further studies in Journalism. You can email her at [email protected]

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