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Data Sheet—Monday, June 13, 2016

June 13, 2016, 12:56 PM UTC

How long would it take your company to replace someone who moves on to another position? A few weeks? A few months? The answer is somewhere in between. Depending on your organization’s recruiting requirements, it could easily take close to four weeks—far longer if job skills tests, personality assessments, and multiple reference checks are part of the process, according to 2015 data from job-posting site Glassdoor. To shrink that timeframe, more recruiters are employing cyber-assistants that streamline hiring.

The latest evidence to emerge this month: Four top Wall Street firms—Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley, Citigroup, and UBS Group—are testing artificial intelligence software that helps them glean insights into how job candidates rate in areas such as their ability to work with a team, persevere during tough on-the-job negotiations, or identify potential new business opportunities. Sometimes, the software acts as a screening mechanism meant to prioritize who humans interview in the first place, using algorithms to mine resumes and job applications for evidence of certain qualities.

One big place where technology is playing a much larger role centers on gathering references, which are notoriously difficult to coax out of people via telephone calls for a variety of reasons, including legal concerns. Two companies reinventing the process using software are SkillSurvey, a 14-year-old organization that works with more than 1,400 recruiting departments, including the ones for Chili’s Grill & Bar and McDonald’s, and OutMatch, which sells talent management services to companies including American Airlines, Hyatt, and Walt Disney Co.

The most obvious benefit of this software is that companies are usually able to gather more information about who they’re interviewing—that’s because the responses are anonymized, so certain revelations can’t (in theory) be tracked back to one person. Learning Care Group, which runs more than 900 child care centers across the United States, usually sees participation rates from around 80% of invited references using OutMatch, according to Michele Hanson, director of talent acquisition for the 17,000-employee company.

As a result, Hanson’s team can gather an average of 3.7 references per candidate, often within one day. (It doesn’t use the software for every position, at least not yet.) For perspective, if often takes at least three days for the traditional process to play out—that’s if a recruiter connects in the first place. Equally important, recruiters can use information gathered from references to personalize face-to-face or phone interviews, including questions specific to a certain candidate. “People share information that they would never tell you on the phone,” Hanson said.

OutMatch CEO Greg Moran said many of his customers are using his company’s reference-check software to overhaul their recruiting process. In some cases, they are fielding references for promising candidates before an interview even takes place. Increasingly, that data is used to develop questions at the beginning of the process, which can help companies winnow their list of candidates quicker than otherwise possible. “It can drive a high-quality interview, even by someone who might not be a well-qualified interviewer,” he said. And later, that same information might be used to prioritize the training someone receives after they accept a job offer.

Heather Clancy is a contributing editor at Fortune. Reach her via email.

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LinkedIn’s ‘re-founding moment’: Microsoft will buy it for $26.2 billion. The software giant is offering $196 per share for the social network in an all-cash transaction expected to close by the end of the year. Microsoft has vowed to run LinkedIn, which has approximately 433 million members, as an independent company. Jeff Weiner will keep his post as CEO. He described the deal as a “re-founding moment” for LinkedIn, which announced its intention to focus more narrowly several months ago. The company’s stock has been hammered this year, and the offer represents a huge premium over its $131.08 closing price last Friday. (Fortune)

No IPO for Blue Coat; it's selling to Symantec instead. Just two weeks after filing papers for an initial public offering, the cybersecurity company opted for the $4.5 billion takeover offer. Blue Coat sells software for blocking potentially dangerous websites, while Symantec made its name in antivirus software. The latter has been looking for a new chief executive, and Blue Coat CEO Greg Clark will take over that role after the transaction is completed, probably by October. (Fortune, Wall Street Journal)

On the other hand, Twilio could go public within a month. The cloud communications software company plans to sell 10 million shares of its stock at a price of $10 to $12 per share. A price in the middle of that range would give it a market capitalization of approximately $1.07 billion, which is slightly more than the valuation Twilio was given during its last venture capital infusion. (Fortune)

Qualcomm will hold onto more iPhone business than thought. While Intel will supply some of the mobile chips for Apple's next generation, it didn't steal as much business from Qualcomm as expected, reports Bloomberg. Apparently, Intel's contracts will cover iPhones sold by AT&T and in some international markets. Qualcomm will still supply chips for Apple iPhones sold by Verizon and into China. (Fortune)

Japanese messaging firm plans mammoth public offering. Line officially announced its intention to offer shares on both the New York and Tokyo stock exchanges, probably in mid-July. It could raise more than $1 billion. Line is ranked at the seventh most widely used messaging app worldwide, with 218 million monthly active users. (Reuters)

Amazon may have music streaming service in the works. The e-commerce giant is negotiating licenses for an offering that would compete with Apple Music and Spotify, reports Reuters. The service, which will probably be priced around $9.99 per month, could be launched by late summer. (Reuters)

Uber backer backs Uber rival. Didi Chuxing, which is the ride-sharing service's biggest competitor in China, has raised another $600 million. The money comes from China Life Insurance, the country’s largest state-owned commercial insurance conglomerate and an investor in Uber’s Chinese business. The infusion is part of a much bigger round that could reach $3.5 billion. (Fortune)

Could Silicon Valley get its own stock exchange? Eric Ries, author of "The Lean Startup," has advocated the idea of creating a new, “long-term” stock exchange that would better reward long-term strategies over quarterly results. Bloomberg reports that Ries has now assembled more than 20 advisers and backers for the idea, which he is also discussing with the Securities and Exchange Commission. (Bloomberg)

AT&T and Verizon are still in contention for Yahoo. The two telecommunications giants made it to the final round of the ongoing auction for the Internet company's core assets in search, advertising, and media, reports Reuters. It also looks like the consortium led by Quicken Loans founder Dan Gilbert, and backed by Berkshire Hathaway Chairman Warren Buffett, will be invited to submit another bid. Yahoo hopes to complete the process by July. (Reuters)


Every company is a technology company. You probably don’t think of Henry Schein as a technology company. In fact, you probably don’t think of Henry Schein at all. At No. 268 on the ­Fortune 500, it is one of the least known names on the list, in the most mundane of businesses—wholesaling supplies to dentists. Compared with an Apple, Amazon, or Alphabet, the 84-year-old Long Island company is about as cool as a root canal.

But Henry Schein has managed to place itself at the center of a technological revolution. It has turned its dull-as-mouthwash catalog business into the leading platform for digital dentistry, and increasingly for other medical practices. In doing so, it has made big money for shareholders. Since its IPO in 1995, Henry Schein has provided an annualized return to shareholders of 16%—one of the best long-term performances on the latest Fortune 500 list and far above Berkshire Hathaway’s over the same period.

Herein, as you’ll see, lies a lesson (or several), writes Fortune Editor Alan Murray, in his behind-the-scenes feature on how Henry Schein managed its transformation. In today’s economy almost every big company, even one selling dental drills, is on a journey of digital transformation. Cloud and mobile computing, ubiquitous sensors producing endless streams of data, and ever more intelligent algorithms have created the potential to transform nearly every aspect of nearly every business. Getting ahead in the digital journey can lead to outsize success, as the Henry Schein story illustrates. Falling behind, in a race with winner-take-most dynamics, can cause fatal disruption. (Fortune)


Inside PayPal's big plans to keep innovating by Jeremy Quittner

Why I couldn't let the sexist 'lady CFO' comment about Ruth Porat slide by Danielle Ginach

Bluetooth is about to get some big improvements by David Meyer

Cycle Computing nets investment to advance high-performance computing by Barb Darrow

Notarize wants to turn your iPhone into a notary by Leena Rao

IBM and American Diabetes Association want to transform the future of diabetes by Laura Lorenzetti

Solar is going to get ridiculously cheap by Katie Fehrenbacher

How electric vehicles can boost new markets by Mark A. Barteau

Gawker files for bankruptcy by Jeff John Roberts

HBO's 'Silicon Valley' tackles public relations and reputation management by Kia Kokalitcheva


9-year-old girl is Apple confab's youngest attendee. Fledgling developer Anvitha Vijay has already created two Apple iOS apps, both of them focused on helping children learn. (Fortune)

This edition of Data Sheet was curated by Heather Clancy.