May 2021 While some of us Gen Xers and Boomers are still trying to navigate the ever-evolving apps and digital platforms being developed at expeditious rates, three high school juniors are blazing their own paths in the 21st century, having developed an employment recruitment software that may revolutionize the way that recruiters seek the best candidates for their companies. Meet a Future Fortune 500 Team Zionsville resident Isaiah “Izzy” Branam is a junior at Zionsville Community High School (ZCHS). Branam and his fellow team members, Krishna Thiru and Emma Hamilton—both juniors at Brebeuf Jesuit Preparatory School—have created an employment recruitment software dubbed Foundational Interview Analytics (FIA) with an 85% success rate that relies on artificial intelligence (AI) using complex algorithms. Branam explained that FIA “aids talent acquisition teams in the hiring process by using predictive machine learning algorithms to rate, rank and sort applicants in terms of predicted job fit.” The trio’s innovation led them to winning first place at Innovate WithIN, an entrepreneurship competition, on April 30. And the team is preparing to compete against other teams at the state-level competition on June 19. The three young entrepreneurs plan on launching their beta test in July. Branam—a natural salesman—founded his first business in the 7th grade. “I’ve been founding little businesses since the 7th grade, but I’ve always been that kid selling candy, chips and sunglasses on the playground,” Branam shared. “Getting into e-commerce and digital marketing was really exciting for me because I got to take all of this passion for business and wanting to be an entrepreneur and start creating a network of other entrepreneurs and like-minded people. I’m really excited to work on this project—it’s kind of the next progression in my journey.” Participating in two sports, developing FIA and managing life as juniors in high school, both Thiru and Hamilton are mastering the art of the life/work balance. “I do cross-country and track, which takes up a lot of my time,” Thiru shared. “I do enjoy it because I have a great team, and when I’m not with my team, I’m with my team. All of these pieces of knowledge that each of us has from the activities that we do outside of our daily lives has allowed us to come together and build FIA. I’ve learned a lot from building an investment portfolio—my dad really got me into investing—and from starting a music production company. I learned that revenue growth is the first thing you want to look for in a company and things like that.” Hamilton plays varsity soccer and tennis. When she’s not assisting with the development of FIA, she is also her school’s junior class president. “I took an entrepreneurship class as an elective because when I’m an adult, I would really like to be an entrepreneur and do something with a business degree. I also enjoy building investment portfolios. This is actually the first big business project that I’ve done. I really like being a part of this group and have learned so much from Izzy and Krishna. It’s been a really cool and fun experience.” The FIA team has partnered with coders from Carmel High School to assist in the development of the back end of their software. Introducing the “AI Assistant to Human Resources” “We take the data of an existing workforce, and take everything from their education, experience, personality traits and psychological sciences of each employee of the existing workforce and run them through this machine-learning program to determine the ‘best’ employees,” Branam explained. “The algorithms can be incredibly long and complex.” Hamilton added, “The term ‘best employee’ is very subjective because the best employee for one company is not necessarily going to be the best employee for another. One of the main reasons we decided to go down this path with the AI software is because too often in business—and there’s been a lot of research on this over the last five years—employers tend to hire people that look and sound more like the interviewer, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that you’re going to work best together.” The team has met with talent acquisition teams from some of Indiana’s largest companies,such as Cummins, Cook Medical Group, Rolls Royce and Purdue University, to identify “pain points” in their hiring processes. Thiru emphasized that FIA eliminates the unconscious or conscious bias, ultimately creating a more equitable application process for potential new hires. “We talked with the talent acquisitions lady at Cook Medical , and she was excited that not only would it cut down on the time needed to sort out applicants, but companies like Cook are trying to remove the bias from the system,” Thiru stated. “And she was excited about the objectiveness and how it removes the bias in the system.” Branam concluded, “Hiring hasn’t seen innovation in the way that maybe marketing has. There’s recruitment software out there that we will absolutely compete with, but you probably can’t name any of them. We’re hitting three birds with one stone. We’re helping companies be more efficient, more effective and more equitable.” Interested in participating in FIA’s beta testing or becoming an investor in FIA? Visit the website at fiarecruit.com.