Business challenge

As ZX Ventures grew, it needed a scalable and engaging way to educate candidates about its organization’s culture and career opportunities to help them decide if the company was the right fit.


ZX Ventures deployed Watson Candidate Assistant to deliver a more innovative and engaging experience for job seekers while helping the recruiting staff increase their capacity to reach more candidates.


Added 50 working days of recruitment effort

during the first seven months the Watson solution was online

Engages over 600 applicants a month in natural conversation

and fields five times more questions than a human recruiter

Delivers an innovative and interactive candidate experience

to attract more candidates that fit with the company culture

Business challenge story

A new company and culture

Four years ago, Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s biggest brewing company, launched ZX Ventures as its new growth and innovation arm. Designed to seed, launch and grow new businesses, ZX Ventures was an unusual hybrid — part venture capitalist, part business accelerator and part business operator with a unique, startup-style work culture all its own.

Early on, ZX Ventures realized that communicating its distinctive culture to potential job candidates in an efficient, genuine way could be one of its most challenging new business projects.

“We needed to reach more people and educate them about who we are early in the recruitment process so they could decide if it’s the right fit,” says Kristina Deighan, Global Manager of Talent Attraction at ZX Ventures. “We wanted to find an innovative solution that was engaging and candidate-centric.”

For a solution, ZX Ventures turned to Uncubed, a New York-based talent marketing and recruitment firm that helps startups and established companies build employer brands, attract digital talent and deliver an innovative candidate experience.

Uncubed recognized that ZX Ventures needed to do more than provide static, FAQ-style information to job-seekers, especially if it wanted to express itself as an innovative, digitally-savvy employer. Uncubed proposed a new online recruitment platform that was interactive, intuitive and based on the transformative power of Watson AI technology.

We needed to communicate our culture and authentically tell our story to more people. The Watson solution was a mechanism designed to deliver that.

Kristina Deighan, Global Manager of Talent Attraction, ZX Ventures

Transformation story

Serving the recruiter and the candidate

Watson Candidate Assistant is an AI and cognitive talent management platform that answers job seeker questions and provides relevant answers in natural, conversational language.   

Watson Candidate Assistant uses IBM Watson Natural Language Understanding technology to gather concepts, skills and keywords from resumes and job descriptions to provide the best job matches for individual applicants. The solution also includes a chatbot to enable applicants to engage in a conversation with Watson as if they were talking to a recruiter. Applicants are no longer just scrolling down the screen for information but interacting with a virtual recruiter in real time.

Working with the ZX Ventures talent attraction team, Uncubed reviewed the application process and taught the Watson Candidate Assistant solution how to understand and respond to the intent of over 60 applicant requests and inquiry topics.

To enhance candidate interaction with the Watson Candidate Assistant platform, Uncubed also integrated video content into the experience. Custom-produced videos, surfaced by Watson, present online job seekers with visual context about who ZX Ventures is, what the company does, and what “culture” truly means.

“Adding video to the Watson Candidate Assistant helps with the ‘show’ in addition to the ‘tell’ story,” says Deighan. “Delivering video content in a chat experience imitates a more natural conversation than text alone does. The candidate not only gets a response to their question, they get meta information that text alone can’t convey. For example, they might see a video in response to, ‘What are successful traits of candidates?’ and in 60 seconds they’ll also see key elements of our culture in the background: people dressed informally, senior leaders sitting next to more junior team members and a workspace without offices because we believe in transparency and minimizing hierarchy.”

IBM Watson is synonymous with augmented intelligence and cognitive. And if we’re going to choose a partner in this space, it’s going to be with Watson.

Chris Johnson, Chief Executive Officer, IBM Business Partner Uncubed

Results story

Onboarding begins at recruitment

Within a month after going online, the Watson Candidate Assistant solution began producing significant benefits. The chatbot managed a volume of questions five times greater than human recruiters could handle, and it continues engaging over 600 applicants in dialogue every month. 

In addition to maintaining the Watson Candidate Assistant platform and producing video content, Uncubed also provides ZX Ventures with customized analytics. A performance dashboard constantly updates how many candidate sessions are being hosted, how long interactions last and which topics receive the most attention.

Uncubed’s analytics tools scrutinize the content and intent of these questions and develop insights to refine how the Watson Candidate Assistant solution engages with applicants. Insights into applicant questions also help ZX Ventures customize recruiting strategies based on who is asking the questions and where they are coming from.

Recruiters see that candidates coming through the Watson experience are better prepared. They know more about ZX Ventures and are a more natural fit for the positions and roles for which they are hired.

“If you can elevate a candidate’s understanding of a company, then hopefully the most relevant candidates are going to be more attracted to the brand,” says Tarek Pertew, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Uncubed. “The point of the Watson Candidate Assistant chatbot is that we can better educate the candidate on what it means to work at ZX Ventures using AI. The result of that is more relevant applicants, better-informed candidates and ultimately, happier employees.”

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ZX Ventures

Established in 2015, ZX Ventures is the global growth and innovation group within Anheuser-Busch InBev, the world’s largest brewer. Headquartered in New York City, with operations around the world, ZX Ventures invests in and develops new products and businesses. The ZX Ventures workforce of over 1,500 team members includes futurists, entrepreneurs, designers, engineers, brewers, builders, e-commerce experts, marketers and data scientists.

About Uncubed

Founded in 2012, IBM Business Partner Uncubed helps startups and Fortune 1000 companies build employer brands, connect with digital talent and deliver an innovative candidate experience. Solutions include a talent network, tailored video content, the IBM Watson Candidate Assistant experience and analytics. Uncubed also helps hiring managers recruit elite university students from diverse backgrounds. Headquartered in New York City, Uncubed hosts an annual, professionally accredited HR conference that focuses on strategies and technologies designed to attract and retain talent.

Take the next step

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