Business challenge

Forum Engineering Inc. needed to increase the speed and accuracy of its matching process to resolve issues in the industry from cognitive scientific approach.


Forum Engineering adopted a cognitive staffing solution that analyzes structured and unstructured data in internal candidate files to propose an optimal candidate.


83% matching improvement,

reducing the number of matching attempts from 6 times to 1 and boosting customer satisfaction

Strengthened reputation and credibility

in the staffing industry, attracting new customers in Japan

Accelerated the placement process,

helping the agency fill positions more quickly than competitors and increase market share

Business challenge story

Inefficiencies reducing accuracy

Forum Engineering fills 14,000 temporary positions every year, intent on fulfilling job requirements and keeping workers challenged. But the matchmaking process has always been slow, subjective work. Staffing specialists combed through stacks of resumes, interview notes, customer feedback and other documentation to assess candidates. In addition, because Japanese laws prevent companies from interviewing dispatched workers directly before they sign an employment agreement, Forum Engineering spent a lot of time clarifying requirements and trying to find the best fit—not only in terms of skills and experience, but also in regard to personality and performance under different conditions. But there is only so much information a human can synthesize in a short period of time. Despite their best efforts, staffing specialists frequently missed the mark, resulting in early contract termination, dissatisfied customers, and openings for competitors to steal the business. The company needed to increase the speed and accuracy of its placement services, keep up with high demand for engineers in the manufacturing industry and establish its leadership in the technical staffing industry.

Transformation story

Analysis through cognitive staffing solution

Forum Engineering launched a cognitive staffing solution that can find the right candidate for a job the first time in the staffing industry in Japan, putting the company in an unparalleled position to beat out competitors and increase market share. Built and deployed by IBM® Global Business Services® – Business Consulting Services, IBM Software Services and IBM Business Partners Data4C’s K.K., Metro Inc. and Tokyo System Research Corp., the solution uses a sophisticated matching index, weighing both quantitative and qualitative factors buried in files to find the best fit. Key to the solution’s success is its ability to dig into unstructured, “dark” data, including resumes, activity reports and interview notes, in addition to structured data such as years of experience, qualifications, tool and technology mastery, and job specifications. With advanced cognitive search and natural language processing (NLP), the system can respond to natural language queries posed by staffing specialists, proposing an optimal candidate and providing the reasoning behind the choice, showing exactly how the worker lines up with job requirements and offering a matching score. As Forum Engineering continues its cognitive journey, it plans to add speech-to-text and text-to-speech capabilities to enable staffing specialists to converse freely with the system. The company also aims to analyze worker personalities based on interview notes and customer feedback, identifying their strengths, weaknesses, preferences and behavior. Ultimately, the cognitive staffing solution will be self-learning—able to examine the growing corpus of job placement records, identify what made them succeed or fail, and apply the insights to future evaluations.

Results story

Number of matching attempts reduced

By adopting the cognitive staffing solution, Forum Engineering was able to reduce the average number of matching attempts from six to one—an improvement of 83 percent—resulting in greater customer satisfaction and worker fulfillment. The technology boosted the company’s reputation and credibility in the staffing industry, attracting new customers in Japan. It also positions the staffing agency to take advantage of a shortage of engineers in the manufacturing industry, filling positions more quickly than its competitors and earning greater market share in Japan.


As a first in the staffing industry in Japan, the cognitive solution gives Forum Engineering a powerful competitive edge as it works to fill technical positions more quickly than other staffing agencies. Cognitive computing has provided a dramatically faster, more accurate alternative to human effort in extracting critical job-matching insights from dark, unstructured data.

In the past, staffing specialists sifted through thousands of resumes, interview notes and customer feedback by hand to evaluate candidates against job requirements. The process was time-consuming and often ineffective, forcing the company to present several candidates before finding the right match. Now, the cognitive staffing solution can do the extensive research and comparison in seconds, allowing staffing specialists to spend more time on customer relationships.

The solution ingests internal unstructured data, including resumes and curricula vitae (CVs), activity reports, internal records of candidate interviews detailing their skills and interests, and customer feedback on individual workers. Internal structured data includes years of experience, qualifications, tool and technology mastery, and job specifications.

Forum Engineering Inc.

Forum Engineering Inc. is a temporary staffing agency specializing in the placement of technical and engineering contractors. The company employs 5,190 people, including 4,820 engineers and 370 administrative staff, dispatching contractors to more than 14,000 projects every year.

Solution components

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