DEATH MATCH: Grand Champion -- Canvas' CEO Aman Brar
Canvas recently faced a panel of four judges at TAtech in New Orleans for Chad & Cheese’s Death Match competition, pitting four start-ups against each other. They were cool under pressure and came out victorious.
Listen now to see how it went down.
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:
Announcer: Welcome to Death Match part four of four. The grand champion installment. This Chad and Cheese Death Match episode features Aman Brar, CEO of Canvas, and his grand-champion death match effort. Death match took place at TA Tech on September 27 in New Orleans at 9:00 AM in the morning, with a room full of TA Tech practitioners. Loaded with mimosas, bloody marys, beer, and Chad and Cheese snark. Enjoy after a word from our sponsor.
Chad: Dude, I just got off the phone with Teg.
Joel: Teg, Teg. Oh yeah, over at Uncommon.
Chad: Dude, do you know another Teg? Anyway, Uncommon just opened up their resume Database of one hundred million candidates to recruiters for free.
Joel: Wow, wait what?
Chad: Yeah, Uncommon's releasing their new database matching tech in beta before the end of the year, and they want to show it off to recruiters for free.
Joel: All right, let me get this straight. Recruiters can sign up for Uncommon's beta, post their jobs into the system. The system then matches only qualified candidates from Uncommon's database of a hundred million candidates, and this is all for free?
Chad: I know dude. For two weeks for free. But only during the month of October.
Joel: Dude, Uncommon has some of the best matching tech in the industry. That will be like cheating for recruiters.
Chad: I know. Uncommon uses the qualifications in the job description to automatically source, screen, and deliver candidates that meet all requirements. It's pretty freaking dope.
Joel: Did you just say dope?
Chad: Here's how you register. Go to Uncommon.co, click on the join beta button, and for all you Chad and Cheese listeners, if you use the promo code chad cheese, you will get extended by a full week. That's three weeks in the Uncommon beta for three weeks free.
Joel: I'm sorry, did you really say dope?
Chad: Dude, shut up. Tell your recruiter buddies. Uncommon.co, join beta, chad cheese, three weeks, it's dope.
Announcer: Hide your kids, lock the doors, you're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, flash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.
Chad: All right, make sure you have that drink in hand. Anybody who wants a beer, if you would rather have a beer, we have beer up here at the judge's stage.
Peter: Good morning everyone. You can tell there's very few things that would bring a crowd like this out at 9:00 AM after a night on the town in New Orleans. So, props to our good friends Chad and Cheese. Without further ado, here's Chad and the death match.
Chad: Hello. Good morning, good morning. So today we're going to do our very first death match, okay? So hopefully everything goes off without a hitch. If you listen to the podcast, we do firing squad. This is kind of like an iteration. What's going to happen is we have four contestants. They're going to have two minutes to pitch. No power point presentations, they're going free falling. Okay? So no power point presentations, they're going to do a two minute pitch and then after that, the balance of their time, their 15 minutes is going to be Q&A by our American Idol judging panel. That being said, after all four are complete, that will be pretty the contestant version, the judges will go make the determination who is the grand champion, and we will announce that at lunch.
Chad: So, Julie? I'm looking for my handler. Here we go. First to stage. We have Canvas, we've got the CEO Aman Brar, watch out, they're coming. He's slinging, he's slinging. Yes. Boom. Very nice. Making it rain.
Chad: So Aman, you a little nervous?
Aman: Extremely nervous.
Chad: Joel, we don't usually get to see him in person, he's always yeah. So now.
Aman: I thought Joel was a woman.
Chad: Don't start the 15 minutes yet. Yeah, crazy. Are we ready? Are you ready?
Aman: What's up people? I love all of you. So, if your room was haunted last night, if you wanted the Ghostbusters there, you would text them. You would not call them. Trust me. Faster response time. Tonight, ladies and gentlemen, when you're on Tinder, when you're on Bumble, trying to get your swerve on, you are not setting up your date via phone screen, are you? You're not phone screening your dates. So listen, the world had changed. It's changed inside the company, it's changed outside the company, and it's time that we adapt. Canvas, 15 months ago launched the worlds first text based interviewing platform, and we've had just an incredible year. We've got great fortune 500 clients, we brought a lot of innovation to the space. Watson picked up the first phone call 140 years ago, and recruiters have kind of been running with that for over a century, so we think it's time that we adapt. Email is going by the wayside, and we really need to think about channels more broadly.
Aman: What really separates us is keeping the human at the center of the conversation. And having Canvas bot coach you and make you smarter every day. We've brought a lot of innovation to the table. The first to have an integration divided by snapchat to snap kit, before their launch. The first to have resume vision, so you can text a picture of your resume right to our platform and to build your profile with machine vision. And we can de-identify a transcript or a resume through the click of a button, leveraging machine learning, to help with diversity and inclusion. I'll tell you today, we're going from cruise control to auto pilot, and it's an incremental journey, and we're going to be honest with our clients about what the power of machine learning can do each and every day. But we're going to keep ramping it up. So thanks so much, and I hope you'll treat yourself to Canvas. Cheers.
Joel: Thank you Aman. Good job. That pitch was tight. I'm going to hit you with the first question.
Aman: Do it.
Joel: Some of your competitors - the audience will know - Text Recruit, few of the others who was just recently acquired by iCims. You recently did a deal with JobVite. My question is, I consider texting a feature more than a product, something that everyone will have, they'll get their Twilio account on, they'll add this as a feature. Do you agree, disagree, and if you believe it's a product, how are you going to keep a mode up to remain a product?
Aman: Yeah. So I think text is a feature, right? I think it's about the depth, automation of conversation, conversation management, insides matching, all those kinds of those that really make Canvas a platform. But everyone who's going to consider a buy, build or partnership strategy when it comes to texting. The real question is how do companies like Exact Target, Mailchimp and others stand on their own? It wasn't about deploying, it's simple email. It was about the automation around email, about marketing automation, about those pieces. So I think when you say is text a feature? The answer is yes? Is communication a platform? The answer is yes as well. So I think we're really, really focused on building a diverse platform.
Faith: Great pitch. My question for you has to do with the legality of texting. It's a number of years ago now, but Simon & Schuster was held liable for almost 90 million dollars because their vendor didn't fully comply with TCPA. And I am wondering what liability does Canvas have if your customers have not dotted all their I's and crossed all their T's?
Aman: Yeah. It's a great question. So, a little bit of background. Me and three of my company-workers were at a text based startup over a decade ago called Cha Cha, so we've got a lot of text based experience. And TCPA is something that's front and center for us. So listen, don't start selling mountain bikes with Canvas or Text Recruit or Allyo or anything else, right? So what we need to do is make sure you've got proper compliance built into the platform, make sure you've got very clear opt out opportunities, make sure it's really clear who's addressing and why you're addressing them. And from our perspective, we're not list loading, it's an organic conversation from the applicant that submitted, from the recruiter back to the candidate. Right? In that sense we're not asking for permission to call their mobile phone today, right? But if they said "Don't call me again." We wouldn't call them again. In that same regard, as long as that platform has the technology to manage compliance, which we do, we'll keep that front and center.
Deb: My question to you is do you have a client that you can share a real life case study, and explain how your service has actually increased ROI or helped with efficiencies?
Aman: Yeah. We actually have no clients. Super weird. So yeah, we closed dozens of-
Deb: I hate it when that happens.
Aman: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. You guys have found me out. So listen, a recent example, we actually had a hospital call and say "Listen, this has been so good for our employment brand, we'd like to publish our own press release about the use of Canvas, and actually share our data with what's happening." Community Health Network, with their three billion dollar hospital group just published out on Canvas. They started leveraging Canvas in May, reached out to 2,000 candidates with an 83% response rate. Their average time to screen is something like four minutes. Their show up rates are twice as high. It's essentially made every other channel that they use irrelevant. They've 4X, 5X their revenue with us in six months. Right? I think those dollars through an organization that runs on efficiency, don't start flowing your direction unless you're really having a great impact.
Chad: Excellent. So I know that many companies are already saying "Well, my recruiters already use text. They've got their own phone, they've been doing this, they've been doing it for years. Why do we need to consolidate on a platform?"
Aman: Yeah, it's a great question. So the same way that people would email marketing before, you know, marketing platforms, right? At the end of the day, you want an enterprise grade platform to let you manage those conversations, let you manage compliance, let you manage regulation. And look, when that recruiter leaves your company, that candidate data no longer leaves with the recruiter, right? So that's a really, really important fact. When Salesforce bought Exact Target, little known secret, and this is what we're kind of all about is interaction models capture a lot more data than process models. Exact Target had something like three times the data per client that Salesforce had per client. Right? So you want that data living with the company, with the enterprise repository, and that's what we're helping enable.
Joel: Messaging is becoming a wide spectrum if you will. Some people prefer Facebook, some people prefer WhatsApp, particularly globally. You guys are strictly text right now. Are there plans to go on to multiple platforms or not? And if not, why?
Aman: Yeah. I would say the brand says it all, right? So you don't see text in our brand, you don't see bot in our brand. At the end of the day we're building a compelling, durable brand that's going to live with recruiters needs over time. So we have things in our lab that are addressing all of these bits. You can imagine that, the API capabilities with texting are a lot more advanced because it's a seasoned technology. So companies like WhatsApp and Facebook are still kind of working through how they're going to partner, what's going to be available, what's not going to be available. I think you could very easily imagine us without saying to much, in lots of channels.
Faith: So you were saying that the conversations are between both the candidate and the recruiter. They're not automated in any way?
Aman: They are automated.
Aman: We've got everything from "Do you want to drive their car by yourself, and stick to a nice Sunday drive? Or do you want to have a fully automated conversation, or a partially automated conversation?" So you can do an entire screen leveraging Canvas bot on the front end. But I think what really sets us apart is that Canvas bot is giving you recommendations while you're in the conversations. for example, if you text me and say "Hey, can you tell be a little bit about your benefits?" We're going to actually tee up that response for you with the right document, right in Canvas. You click a button and it sends. But it's keeping the recruiter in that case in control, right? So you can do that with all kinds of different inserts and mediums. So it's teeing up answers to the recruiter, but not forcing them. But if you use Canvas bot on fully automation mode, then yes, that interaction is managed, and grammar analysis, sentiment analysis, and all kinds of analysis behind the scenes.
Deb: Can you tell me also, is your platform tied into a CRM or what's managing the applicants and their resumes and all that?
Aman: Yeah. We can certainly handle resumes through our resume vision technology. But we're really proud to say that we've integrated really effectively with the ecosystem. We have something like 14 different ATS integrations in last 12 months. We've got the majority of the market share in the space, and we're collaborating very effectively with lots of ATS. So you can manage those text conversations with candidates right from your ATS, and also separately. So the way we look at is day to day messaging you can do from your ATS, but all the power tools and automation driven tools kind of exist in Canvas, but there's a nice interplay between the two.
Deb: So when you're talking about some of the automated messaging, is it kind of a blanket approach where all of the conversation is the same across the board, or can it be segmented per audience?
Aman: Yeah. So we can segment per audience, and the thing to think about is Canvas is essentially a headless application, right? So the beauty of the application, of the UX experience kind of meets the recruiter where they are with software, right? Extensions, mobile apps, android apps, iPad apps, and a desktop experience. But from a candidate perspective, we want to meet them where they are. Right? So whether that's text or these other channels that Joel alluded to. And then you can certainly segment, so you might think about handling a conversation with Snap, based off a Snap ad differently than the screen process that you might take with someone that directly saw your job placement and engaged with you through your website.
Chad: Looking through from an implementation standpoint, you're looking at having all these SOP's all these different FAQ's and what not that a company has, and you have to get all this uploaded into the platform, trying to get more of a broad base approach. How long does implementation take?
Aman: The long pole is typically recruiter training, right? So our implementation is very white glove. All the initial onboarding, we manage. So even though it is fully self service, we take the initial documentation and we build out your initial questions library. We build your Canvas bot capabilities. And then from there you can tweak it on your own. In general, a client, even with an integration is up and running within two weeks. But the long poles is the training. So if you have 40 recruiters, it may take a couple of sessions to get through those training sessions for all 40.
Joel: I'm always interested in what's next. What is next for you guys?
Aman: Yeah, I don't know if I'm ready to reveal right now. We just think about this, for 140 years recruiters have been making phone calls. Think about how much data has been lost, right? Like basically trillions of bits of data every day have been lost between a candidate and recruiter conversations. So we really fundamentally interested in channels in the broadest sense possible when it comes to communication.
Faith: Sorry, I'm passing out beers up here. So my question is you gave us some statistics about the effectiveness, and you said there's an 83% percent response rate with the candidate. Can you give us more information about it further down the chain and what's resulted in hiring and saving time in candidate experience? Which I really think is important.
Aman: Yup. Yes, absolutely. So you think about ... Let's look at a show up rate as being indicative of an outcome from a candidate experience. Taking two clients, Forward Air, Eclipse, Advantage, where literally from pre-Canvas post-Canvas, because of their scheduling message that go out to remind them of their interview that morning, it automatically has built in the directions to their campus, where they just click it, opens up, and now they know where they're going, right? So you can manage that experience from the screen, manage logistics all the way to day of. Even a post 30 check in, "How's everything going?" I know that in both those cases, they took their show up rate from like 30% to 80% by thinking about the relationship and staying on top of their candidates through Canvas. From a times savings perspective, one of our recent times study, I think it's the team of four recruiters saves about $2,300.00 a year leveraging our screening capability.
Deb: Okay, I work for an agency. We represent 100's of clients and we are constantly putting ideas in front of our customers all the time. It gets to the point our clients are a little overwhelmed. If you had to sum up why we should put you in front of our customer instead of one of your competitors, give me three reasons.
Aman: One is I'd say I think we pride ourselves on our brand promise and honesty. I was working with Bell Labs and machine learning, and natural language processing about 15 years ago. I'm really up to speed on what's possible today, leveraging the best in machine learning and cloud computing. So we don't oversell. So I think that's number one. We have a reputation for that. We're winning deals where the first time around, the client got over sold on whatever bot of the day was going to do, right? And what we're saying is "Yeah, a bot can do a lot, but a bot with a human can do a lot more, and so let us show you how we think about it." We're really focused on making the recruiter more effective through Canvas bot coaching them. I think that brand promise has really lived up well.
Aman: Two, I think we've got the best user experience end to end tied in with our integration. And third, we're really the only company that's effectively sharing our conversational data back to the ATS. So if you're thinking about one recruiter seated in a recruiter console, knowing that our data is actually flowing bilaterally, in that API integration is really meaningful versus one set of data sitting in system A and the other set of data sitting in system B.
Joel: Aman, lastly, how can our audience find out more about you?
Aman: Yeah. Check us out on Twitter at gocanvasHQ and gocanvas.io, my minds telling me no but my body, my body keeps telling me yes Joel.
Aman: Thank you. Thank you.
Chad: Aman Brar everyone. CEO of Canvas.
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