FIRING SQUAD: Uncommon.co's CEO Teg Grenager


People on LinkedIn aren’t looking for a job and too many candidates on job boards aren’t qualified. Therein lies the heart of start-up Uncommon.co and how it hopes to break through the crowded space of recruitment technology.

The company says it uses AI technology trained on over 50 million career paths and analyzes applicant resumes for hard skills, like expertise in data science or kinesiology, by looking for factors like degrees attained or years in a role; soft skills, like creativity and entrepreneurship, are found by extrapolating skills necessary for success in past jobs.

Chad & Cheese put Teg Grenager, CEO, through the gauntlet and see if his company has what it takes to make it in the world of recruiting. The companies that put $18 million in their company recently certainly hope so.

And after listening, be sure to checkout Jobs2Careers, exclusive sponsor of the show. Jobs 2 Awesome, more like it!

PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION

Chad: Okay Joel. Before we get into Firing Squad, I have one quick question.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: Would you say that most companies find it hard to attract the right candidates to apply for their jobs?

Joel: Well, Jobs2Careers certainly thought so. That's why they created their new talent attraction platform, ODT. Yeah, you know me.

Chad: Dude. That's OPP. This is ODT. Which stands for On Demand Talent. Where data driven talent attraction is made easy. The On Demand Talent platform enables recruiters to reach the right talent at the right time at the right price.

Joel: And the best part?

Chad: What?

Joel: You only pay for what Jobs2Careers delivers.

Chad: No!

Joel: So, if you're attracting the wrong candidates, or you feel like you're on a recruiting hamster wheel, just go to Go.J2C.com/CC and learn how On Demand Talent or ODT, yeah you know me, can get you better candidates for less money.

Chad: Whoo! I'd say you just go to ChadCheese.com, click on the Jobs2Careers logo there and it's just that simple.

Joel: It is simple. Arm me with Harmony.

Announcer: Like Shark Tank? Then you'll love Firing Squad. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to put the recruiting industry's bravest, ballsiest and baddest start-ups through the gauntlet to see if they've got what it takes to make it out alive. Dig a foxhole and duck for cover kids. The Chad and Cheese podcast is taking it to a whole other level.

Joel: Alright, alright, alright. What's up everybody? Joel Cheesman here. Chad Sowash up on the other line. And welcome to Firing Squad.

Chad: Here we are.

Joel: Today, we have a very special guest. We have Teg Grenager, I believe I pronounced that last name correctly.

Chad: Butchered it.

Joel: Teg is with Uncommon.co. Utilizing a lot of AI automation, cool stuff. He's going to tell us more about it. And Chad and I are going to determine whether or not he is going to pass the Firing Squad without injury. Chad, how are you doing man?

Chad: My trigger finger is itchy dude.

Joel: I know. We talked about that. And I'm a little drunk still from Ireland. So the guns could go off today, I don't know.

Chad: Well excellent. So Teg. So what's your position there at Uncommon.co? You chief bottle washer? What's going on.

Joel: Quick intro.

Teg: Yeah, I am chief bottle washer. But I'm also chief executive officer.

Joel: Very nice. Very nice.

Chad: So, here's how it's going to go, my friend. You will have a two minute pitch. And at the end of two minutes, you'll hear the bell. Then Joel and I are going to hit you with some rapid Q&A. Now if your answers aren't concise, Joel is either going to hit you with a bell or the crickets, whatever he feels like he wants to hit you with.

Joel: I prefer the crickets, because I'm natural like that.

Chad: But they generally put him to sleep.

Chad: At the end of Q&A ... we've got a three point scoring system here my friend. You will either receive big applause, which means you exceeded expectations. The golf clap. My favorite. You're on your way, but you have a good amount of work to do. And then last but not least, you don't want to be in front of the firing squad.

Chad: That pretty much means-

Joel: Ouch.

Chad: That pretty much means you're going to pack your shit up and go home. But that's it. That's the firing squad. You're going to hear the bell. You're going to start the pitch.

Joel, it's on you man.

Joel: Teg, are you ready?

Teg: I am totally ready.

Joel: Two minutes starts now.

Teg: Alright. Thank you guys so much for having us on. So I want to tell you about Uncommon. Uncommon is a programmatic talent marketplace that makes it really easy for recruiters and hiring managers to use and benefit from programmatic recruiting technology. But no mistake, this is not a job advertising system. This is not complicated. Uncommon doesn't require any training. It's designed to be simple and intuitive for everyone to use.

Teg: With Uncommon, recruiters can imagine the perfect candidate for their position, write down the precise qualifications that meet or exceed the, sorry, the precise qualifications that they should have and then sit back and receive a stream of applicants, interested applicants that meet or exceed those qualifications. It's very simple. And we think it's the way things should be.

Teg: So put yourselves in the shoes of a recruiter who needs to source candidates. I know we've all been there. And today you have two choices. One, you can advertise the job on a bunch of job boards, in which case you have to, first of all, figure out which ones to advertise on. Then you have to pay them usually on a CPC basis and when you sit back, you get a flood of candidates who are very interested in your position, but mostly unqualified as well. And then you have to spend your time screening them to figure out who are good ones.

Teg: Or number two, you can go license an expensive database of passive candidates and write down some complicated boolean search string, in which case you get a bunch of candidates who are very qualified for your position, but not interested. So you have to spend your time of course trying to convince them that they need a new job in the first place and that they should be interested in your job at your company.

Teg: So we at Uncommon are changing all that. We provide recruiters with a stream of candidates who are both interested and qualified out of the gate. And we show you, this is my favorite part, in a side by side comparison exactly how each of those candidates stacks up against the required qualifications that you asked for. It's like a dream come true. And best of all, Uncommon has introduced a new pricing model. We charge the employers on a cost per interested and qualified applicant basis. In other words, you only pay for the interested candidates that meet or exceed those custom qualifications that you wrote down initially. This means that we're totally aligned with the recruiter's best interest.

Teg: Make sense?

Joel: Makes sense. Are you done?

Teg: Awesome. We're transforming the in ... okay.

Joel: Uncommon.co. I'll tell everybody for you. Okay.

Chad: Uncommon.co. Yeah, no, good call man. You got two minutes. I think we're giving them way too much time. Because they're just killing us.

Teg: A little nervous.

Joel: A little nervous here, I think.

Chad: I love it. He's listened to the Firing Squad before.

Teg: I don't know why, with that firing squad out there in front of me.

Chad: So, where the hell are you finding qualified candidates? You're going out from a programmatic standpoint, pushing jobs out. And how does that work from there? Just for the talent acquisition, VP or Director or Manager, whatever, who's listening right now, how does that actually work for me?

Teg: So I don't want to focus on it too much when I talk to recruiters, but of course, we do have AI and data science at the core of everything we do. That's my background, you guys might know already. So the last company that I built together with our founder, Amir Ashkenazi, was an advertising marketplace, a programmatic advertising marketplace. And we heavily leveraged AI and machine learning there as well. So we basically are using those technologies to do the things that recruiters would have to do themselves if we weren't around. And that they have to do today without Uncommon. So we figure out which job boards to post on, we figure out as the candidates come in, as the applicants come in, which ones are actually meeting the requirements and why. Show you side by side.

Teg: And we also go to other source of candidates. We have increasingly our own growing database of candidates as you can imagine. People that we're looping in and engaging over time. So we reach out to them and ask if they're interested, the ones that are qualified. And we hit third party passive databases as well.

Teg: But the whole point is that the recruiter shouldn't have to know about all that. That's like mechanical stuff that machines can be really good at. The recruiter should just focus on what kind of candidate they want to talk to and then let us know about that and we should do all that hard work for them, whether it's looking at passive databases or screening through the active ones, whatever it is.

Chad: So, it sounds a lot like Zip Recruiter. How do you differentiate yourself from Zip Recruiter?

Teg: Good point. Zip Recruiter is a great company. And I think they've obviously experienced tremendous success and growth recently. There are some really big differences. First of all, Zip Recruiter doesn't ask you in a precise way what kind of candidates you want to look for. So when you sign up with Zip Recruiter, you specify, you list the job they are looking for and you write some text in your job description, but you don't actually tell them who you would consider to be qualified. And so when they send you candidates, it's generally everybody. They sort them for you, but they generally are sending you all stripes of candidates. People that you consider qualified and lots of people that you don't.

Teg: Second of all, I think Zip Recruiter has really focused, and I think these two are actually related. I think Zip Recruiter is really focused historically on the small and medium sized market. They've generally been serving small mom and pop and other kind of local businesses with lower skilled jobs. And we're really, we serve those guys, of course, but we're really focused on skilled jobs. And we've built a system that's filled with pretty sophisticated models of skills and experience in different kinds of roles and different kinds of companies and all that kind of stuff. And that's just stuff that Zip Recruiter hasn't done yet, mostly because they haven't really had to, for the kind of customers that they've been serving.

Chad: So, you're mainly enterprise, is what I'm hearing then?

Teg: Yes. I would say that we are currently, our customers are largely, are mostly kind of large enterprise, although we also work with many staffing agencies as well. But yeah, typically I think we do best on those high skill jobs that are at a range of verticals, but still where there's really a heavy screening task that otherwise a human would have to do.

Joel: Hey Teg. I'm going to go the other direction from Zip Recruiter and I have the luxury of doing a report on you guys. We've talked previously. And I think there's a serious Intello kind of component, where you guys have 50 million, or at least when we spoke, there were 50 million or so profiles, I believe.

Teg: Yes.