Interview with Karen Azulai about the HR Tech Scene Response to COVID19

COVID19 has struck the world and also the global economy. But what does that mean for HR and HR Technology as their journey towards The Future of Work was just getting started?

Looking for answers, it was our luck to interview Karen Azulai, Co-founder of

How does COVID 19 crisis impact the business reality of the HR Tech Startups you know?

There are two sides here: On one hand, the temporary freeze everyone experienced, and some are still experiencing.

Startups that were on the verge of getting funded, the process stopped. Some experienced Business transactions that came to a halt.

But on the other hand, it opened a whole world of new opportunities!

Do you consider the Corona-crisis to be a threat for all HR Tech Startups?

Absolutely not! I think this will be the golden hour for HR Tech startups. It will take some time but COVID 19 did more for digitalization than anything else.

Talking about AI and exponential growth of technologies was hard for HRs to understand. Now they know what exponential **feels like** – the exponential growth of Corona cases and how it grew in a nonlinear way. Experiencing it, I believe, was more educational than any other presentation out there.

I've been promoting awareness to HR Tech for 3 years and COVID 19 did this in a heart beat…

Do you expect HR and Business in general to use this situation to redesign work and accelerate their digitization process? If yes, what will be on top of their agenda?

Yes, I expect that to happen. Definitely. But not immediately.

HRs are now overwhelmed. You can't just inundate them with new platforms, tools and automatization. TMI. When I watch them operate these days, what I see is linear thinking.

One problem at a time.

"Ok, so I need to communicate with my employee? What do I use. Oh and how do I know how he/she fares emotionally? I need a tool to check that. Oh and I need to recruit but how do I do that and assess my potential candidates remotely? Is there a tool for that?..."

Step by step. Slowly slowly…

What should HR Tech Startups do in this situation to safeguard and/or boost their business?

Now is the time that they need to get out there in every possible way and explain their added value for remote work. Hit the nail on the head. The majority of HRs were reluctant to try solutions, now they need to start evaluating them.

When all this is over, will the World of Work;

a) turn back to "normal"

b) switch focus towards a Big Reset (keep the good, loose the bad)

c) Reboot and shift gear towards the future of work?

All of the above 😊

You will find businesses reacting differently, depending on their motivation and the quality of leadership.

What is your crucial tip of survival for any HR Tech Startup, with or without this crisis?

As I am not a startup myself, I would not dare to presume I know how it feels to be them during this crisis.

But as HR tech evangelist I would say – It's crucial now, more than ever to understand and listen to the lingo that HRs are using and to speak their language. Don't presume to know what their problems are – listen to them. They have a whole set of new challenges to deal with.


Karen Azulai

Karen is a multi-disciplinarian, innovative, visionary professional who operates at the intersection of talent sourcing, recruitment and HR technologies (HR Tech). Karen is a leading voice both in the international talent sourcing community as well as in the global HR Tech community. She is routinely invited to speak and keynote in European conferences, panels and webinars on the topics of HR Tech, Future of Recruitment and more. Her voice is bold, passionate, authentic and non-conformist. She co-leads the Israeli HR Tech founder's community, co-founded, mentor at Israel's first HR Tech accelerator (AKT), speak at Castling-Vet, Israel's vet officers exponential Innovation program and serves as a judge in HR Tech startup competitions and hackathons. Karen also delivers advanced sourcing and HR tech trainings in situ and remote.