top of page
Indeed Wave.PNG

DEATH MATCH: Clinch vs. Smashfly - It's a NEXXT EXCLUSIVE

Another Nexxt exclusive podcast, the boys sit down with two of the hottest TA tech companies in the vendor space.

Another Guinness fueled interview. Resident Dubliner Shane Gray - also CEO of Clinch - takes on newly minted CEO (CTO when recorded) Thom Kenney of Smashfly.

It's an engagement battle of the fittest!



Intro: This, The Chad & Cheese Podcast, brought to you in partnership with TA Tech.

TA Tech, the Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. Visit

Chad: Okay, Joel. Quick question.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: What happens when your phone vibrates or your texting alert goes off?

Joel: Dude, I pretty much check it immediately. I bet everyone listening is reaching to check their phones right now.

Chad: Yeah, I know. I call it our Pavlovian dog reflex of text messaging.

Joel: Yeah, that's probably why text messaging has a fricking 97% open rate.

Chad: What?

Joel: Crazy high candidate response rate within the first hour alone.

Chad: Which are all great reasons why The Chad & Cheese Podcast love text to hire from Nexxt.

Joel: Love it.

Chad: Yep, that's right. Nexxt, with a double X, not the triple X.

Joel: Bow-chicka-bow-wow. So, if you're in Talent Acquisition, you want true engagement and great ROI, that stands for Return on Investment folks, and because this is The Chad & Cheese Podcast, you can try your first text to hire campaign for just 25% off. Boom.

Chad: Wow. So how do you get this discount you're asking yourself right now?

Joel: Tell them, Chad.

Chad: It's very simple. You got to and you click on the Nexxt logo in the sponsor area.

Joel: Easy.

Chad: No long URL to remember.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: Just go where you know. and Nexxt. With two X's.

Announer: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls and it's time for The Chad & Cheese Podcast.

Chad: All right. Here we go, guys. We're actually doubling up on you this time. We've got Shane from Clinch. Say hi.

Shane: Hello everybody. Good evening.

Chad: And we've got Thom from the Smashfly.

Thom: HUH!

Chad: We're probably about 6 Guinness deep at this point.

Joel: Thom's never heard this show. Somehow he thinks that's protocol.

Chad: We're doing a podcast. I know. We're American. It's the podcast at the Guinness factory, and Joel has the first question.

Joel: Oh, I do. Okay. Quickly, for those who don't know Clinch or Smashfly ...

Chad: The Smashfly.

Joel: Give them the elevator pitch, we'll go with Clinch first.

Chad: 30 seconds.

Shane: I was going to say we're the cheaper version of Smashfly.

Chad: There you go. Easy.

Thom: So you may be the cheaper version of Smashfly, we're the better version of Clinch.

Chad: There you go.

Joel: This is getting fun.

Chad: I love this shit. Okay, seriously.

Shane: I think what we are, is we're trying to help our clients turn more of the top of the funnel into people they know they can potentially hire. We see a lot of people spending a lot of money in advertising, they get the people to the career site, we get them to the job, but they don't turn into hires. We're trying to help.

Chad: He's Thom, he's not Mike.

Shane: Sorry, Thom.

Joel: The mic is what's in front of you.

Thom: I can be Thom and Mike.

Joel: Yeah, talking about mike, it's all good.

Thom: So, Smashfly takes the approach of pipeline intelligence. It's the ability to

actually nurture and engage people before they even become an advocate. It creates much better outcomes when you go through the hiring process, you actually get a higher candidate. So, the ability for us to engage people early on, adds a tremendous value for customers, and it adds a tremendous value for the company long term. Better outcomes.

Chad: Better outcomes. Were you an officer in the military?

Thom: I absolutely was, and I still am. I'm actually still active.

Chad: Huh.

Thom: Huh.

Chad: And thank you for your service. That being said, it's all about candidate engagement today, right? So, Shane, first, out of the gate, what's the biggest difference between candidate engagement today than it was just a couple years ago?

Shane: I think companies are starting to realize that candidate engagement is not about a job or a complete tracking system. It's about telling that really good candidate, whose sitting in a comfortable job, but looking around for new opportunity, what's going to be an interest to them to consider their company as their next employer. It's not rehashing the job description, it's about telling that candidate what's in for them. Why should they consider literally, changing their lives for somebody else? And that takes a story.

Chad: So, Thom, different question. You're new to Smashfly, right?

Thom: I am.

Chad: You are new. So, Smashfly has really been standing still over the last 18 months to 2 years. You haven't seen anything really new ... Saw some new partnerships that popped out here recently. Why did you want to move to a company like Smashfly?

Thom: That's a question I get quite often, and the reality is, I've been trying to solve this problem for 25 years. 100's of people that I've hired, different types of ways that I've tried to engage candidates, this is a problem that has a senior exec in companies, I've been trying to solve forever. So the opportunity to mend and try to figure out how do we create that engagement, how do we create better outcomes, how do we design purposeful employment through that engagement, is something that is going to pay huge dividends for me, no matter where I am and all my friends that are trying to hire, just like I am.

Joel: What sessions today most stood out to you and, which ones were the most, biggest, smelliest pile of garbage?

Thom: Don't say my session.

Shane: I will not. I think we're pretty aligned and we're serving different segments of the market. I think, and when I hear AI, my spider sense goes up and goes, I don't use that word I use machine learning. When I hear AI, I get deeply suspicious... What I thought was kind of interesting was the large group in the room today and I think they have a real challenge on their hands, with Google in the room as well. Google is ultra top-of-the-funnel in many ways. So I think alot of those job boards, it's kind of interesting, is will they ... I think that's the question, will they have to move further down the funnel and provide more services to help their clients feel worth from their job board return, or will they ... I guess reinvent themselves in another way?

Joel: Do you believe Google's AI? Does that spark your senses as well, or do you think Google can actually pull it off?

Shane: From personal experience their AI, in a lot of cases it's really good, but like all AI, it takes training. It's imperfect until it's fully trained.

Joel: Thom?

Thom: I would agree with that. I couldn't agree more, actually. The entire concept of knowledge based AI, is really what some people miss in the long term. AI is not a a panacea. You don't go and buy AI and it magically changes your business. Every AI system, like a learning system, just like me being brand new to Smashfly ... I've got to learn about my company, about my customers, about my competitors, and I've got to adjust what I'm looking at from a roadmap, what I'm looking at from technology structure, based on what I learn. A system that just gets plopped in, that says I know have AI, much like you've had all these technology changes across time, I've now got big data, remember when big data was the big thing? Where did big data go? Well, big data is now just a part of AI, because you need the data to feed into AI. The knowledge based aspect of training artificial intelligence tools, through machine learning, through deep learning, through adaptive learning, is really what makes the difference.

Chad: So, redirect, Thom. You just had a partnership with Olivia Paradox, right?

Thom: Mm-hmm (affirmative)-

Chad: On the chat bot side of the house, and you've had one with hiring to solve as well. So is Smashfly's focus now, partnership? Or are you looking to do any acquisitions?

Thom: That's an open question for us as we look forward to the landscape. What I will say is that through integration of tools, with the Smashfly platform and the idea of bring your own partner, is something that is very appetizing to our enterprise customers. They want the ability to bring the best of breed tools. They don't necessarily want one full stop solution, so we need to be as flexible and agnostic as we possibly can to deliver the best products to the marketplace.

Chad: So, Shane, same question to you, little different. Are you looking for partners to be able to create more of a full solution so that you can focus mainly on really the core of what Clinch does?

Shane: Yes. I'll tell you why, because I think a lot of people think a chat bot is a chat. It's a messenger chat. It's a very, very powerful chat, and I think it's really a great way, whether it's your own channel or if you're managing something like Facebook, which is amazing way to reengage people. Imagine trying to get a message to anybody's phone on their lock screen because you're utilizing Facebook messenger. - that's powerful I think we see the chat bot world as channels, we will build some of the machine learning around job discovery and brand discovery, but there will be these cases where we will absolutely partner with people who are providing the most amazing experience built on and hard given training for these AI questions.

Chad: Last question.

Joel: I was gonna say thanks for your time guys. We're a little bit over.

Chad: Sweet.

Joel: Where can we find out a little more about Clinch and Smashfly?

Thom: is a great place to get all the information you need.

Shane: Likewise. We're on Thank you very much.

Joel: Thanks, guys.

Chad: Sweet.

Shane: Thank you.

Chad: Thanks, guys. Okay, okay, okay, before we go, remember when I asked you about the whole reflex and check your text messages thing?

Joel: Yeah, you know all abut reflexes. And then I brilliantly tied it to text messages 97% open rate, then I elegantly ... elegantly tied it to a better experience for your candidates. Don't laugh, Chad, I can be elegant.

Chad: Whatever, man. I know it's redundant, you already heard about text to hire, but you're still not using text to hire from Nexxt.

Joel: What?

Chad: I know, man.

Joel: Come on, man.

Chad: Since advertising takes repetition to soak in, I just thought I'd remind you again, this is all by elegant design, it's all about text to hire, and it's all about Nexxt.

Joel: And elegant design. So go to, click on the Nexxt logo and get 25 ... Yeah, I said 25% off your first text to hire campaign.

Chad: Woo!

Joel: Engage better. Use text to hire from Nexxt. 2 X's.

Chad: Boyah.

Outro: Thanks to our partners at TA Tech. The Association for Talent Acquisition Solutions. Remember to visit

bottom of page