Startup navigates the art and science of interviewing

Doug Leonard, Clovers CEO

Clovers, a human resources tech startup headquartered in Nashville has launched an interview intelligence platform that uses human and conversational intelligence to speed up hiring, uncover bias, and put the right people in the right roles. The platform includes interview guidance, real-time feedback for interviewers, and post-interview coaching to support education and drive behavioral change.

We spoke with Doug Leonard, Clovers’ CEO, about the company and why its tech is important.

When did Clovers launch?

Leonard: We started last year in December. We got funding in February of this year.

Why is now a good time to roll out a solution like yours?

Leonard: In the course of the last 18 months during the pandemic, everything changed. Fewer people are traveling to the office and flying coast to coast to have face-to-face meetings. A good portion of the workforce is video conferencing with tools like Microsoft Teams, Zoom, and Webex.

Then there was the “great resignation.” People are changing jobs. They’re looking at their lives and asking, Do I really want to commute into San Francisco every day? Do I want to spend 10 hours a week in a car? The pandemic has changed more than video interviewing. It’s changed people’s behaviors and what they want. Places like Nashville are getting such an influx of talent from the coasts.

What does your platform bring to an interview?

Leonard: We offer a better interview experience that is fair. It really helps evaluate the right things, not whether this person looks and feels and sounds like the interviewer. People tend to hire people who have had experiences similar to them. I feel like that’s one of the big reasons why we ended up getting this large investment—it was pretty clear that we can really help move the needle on diversity and equity inclusion. This is an opportunity for us to help companies find people based on their skills and competencies, not a gut feeling.

How is this done?

Leonard: First, we ensure that questions are focused on skills and competencies by providing industrial and organizational psychology—approved questions and standardized ratings for feedback. Let’s say there are three interviews. From those, we create what we call a “Clovers Reel”—like “best of” clips that can be shared with the team. So now we have about three hours of interviews, all recorded, all transcribed. All the data is right there. All of that is integrated with the organization’s applicant tracking systems, calendars and video conference software like Zoom, Microsoft Teams, and Webex. Lastly, an organization can use the actual interviews to train employees and uncover bias in the hiring process.

What’s up next for the platform?

Leonard: We’re looking at ways to incorporate AI into the mix, specifically for compliance reasons. Interviewers sometimes ask innocuous questions which might inadvertently create a bias. Let’s say I’m interviewing someone here in Nashville. And I ask the person if they went to Father Ryan’s high school game. All of a sudden, you find out that person went to a Catholic High School and you start talking about Catholicism. That’s not relevant to the job and could get the interviewer in trouble.

Compliance is important to HR. We keep people in compliance but we also want to make you more diverse and inclusive.

What are some of the advantages of being headquartered in Nashville?

Leonard: Nashville is a great place to be because it offers the combination of an exceptional talent pool and a central location for reaching out to clients and prospects in the South, Northeast, and Midwest. We look forward to further growing our presence in the region for many years to come.