SmartRecruiters Blog

Recruiting Startup of the Year Nominee:

The Hiring Success 18 countdown is getting to the point that someone, if so inclined, could start counting down in days instead of weeks. And as we approach finality on our speakers-and-sessions roster, we managed to steal some time from Marlina Kinnersley, the CEO and co-founder of, a machine-learning-based cultural alignment platform.

Meet the companies vying for the title of Recruiting Startup Of The Year (RSOTY) at Hiring Success 18, in San Francisco, March 12-14. Your vote determines which six will be flying to California to pitch their ideas to 1000+ Talent Acquisition leaders, putting them in the running for the grand prize.

One of these six will be selected by a group of C-Suite experts and industry analysts for the ultimate prize of a Gold Sponsorship to Hiring Success 19, worth $10,000, which includes a branded booth and dedicated demo-room for potential customers to interact with their product.

Marlina Kinnersley will be bringing her wares to San Francisco March 12-14 as part of the Recruiting Startup of the Year contest. And she and her team have a pretty good shot. Used by leaders to obtain actionable insights resulting in an 80% improvement in recruiting efficiency, also improved employee engagement and productivity.


Marlina also founded Culture Labx Toronto, which brings together founders, C-suiters, and culture practitioners. Marlina has over 10 years’ experience in building engaged teams across small and large sized companies, but the most relevant question to ask her today is:

What exactly does do?

Ninety percent of leaders believe that culture is important, yet 70 percent of employees are disengaged, a statistic that has not changed in decades! helps companies scale culture alongside their growth, using a data-driven approach to hire and retain high-performing, as well as diverse, teams. Candidates are ranked based on value-fit for true cultural alignment, and on culture-add for optimal efficiency, resulting in speed and accuracy for both companies and candidates. Increasing hiring efficiency by up to 80 percent, our analytics platform helps companies nurture and fortify their culture with actionable insights, as they continue to grow.

What gave you the idea for your startup?

It was a personal experience in a toxic culture, where leadership was not aligned, employees were not engaged, and there was a significant lack of trust across the organization. Their turnover was over 25 percent, and was 100 percent due to cultural misalignment. If I’d known what the culture was really like I wouldn’t have accepted the offer. That was my Eureka moment.

Of all industries to tackle, why recruiting?

With my personal experience being echoed over and over again, knowing that culture mismatch is very prevalent in today’s workforce – and also seeing a huge market opportunity – it was a perfect time to apply new technology and methodology to the problem.

How do you envision your idea changing the talent acquisition landscape?

Our mission is to inspire companies to attract, retain and build happy, diverse, and high-performing teams. We aim to be the leading platform in regards to workplace culture. To achieve this, we first need to arm recruiters with an effective way to capture their company’s cultural fingerprint. Then they can baseline candidates against workplace values, beliefs, and perspective at the beginning of the recruiting process.

What does ‘hiring success’ mean to you?

When you have diverse, high-performing teams, only then have you achieved hiring success. When teams are aligned, effective, collaborative, the proof is in the retention metrics.

What’s the true role of technology in hiring?

Technology is there to improve our lives, reduce bias while optimizing our recruiting process, and most importantly, to deliver a positive experience for our candidates. With our subsequent efficiency, we can invest our time in building meaningful relationships with talent, and spend more time in high-value work.


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