At the iCIMS analyst day last month, the boys sat down with Erik Kostelnik, founder and CEO at TextRecruit, a recent acquisition by iCIMS. If you've never heard Erik, you're in for a treat. We talk CareerBuilder, Dice, chatbots, competing with Slack and much more. Michael Wilczak, SVP, Strategy & Corporate Development at iCIMS also joined in.
Enjoy this NEXXT exclusive.
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Announcer: This, The Chad and Cheese Podcast, brought to you in partnership with TA Tech. TA Tech, the association for talent acquisition solutions. Visit tatech.org.
Chad: Okay Joel quick question.
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 to text messaging.
Joel: Yeah that's probably why text messaging has a freaking 97% open rate.
Joel: Crazy high candidate response rate within the first hour alone.
Chad: Which are all great reasons why the Chad and Cheese Podcast love Text2Hire from Nexxt.
Joel: Yeah. Love it.
Chad: Yep, that's right. Nexxt with the double X, not the triple X.
Joel: Booomchakabowow.. 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 and Cheese podcast, you can try your first text to hire campaign for just 25% off, boom.
Chad: How do you get this discount? You're asking yourself right now.
Joel: Tell them Chad.
Chad: It's very simple, you go to chadcheese.com, and you click on the Nexxt logo in the sponsor area, using the long URL to remember. Just go where you know, chadcheese.com, and Nexxt, with two x's.
Announcer: Hide your kids, lock the doors, you're listening to HR's most dangers podcast. Chad Sowash, and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting agency right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinions, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chase and Cheese podcast.
Joel: All right, we're recording correct?
Chad: Yeah it's what that red light is for. Go ahead.
Joel: What's up everybody it's Joel Cheesman here with Chad. We are at the iCIMS Influence Conference in beautiful, historic New Jersey.
Joel: Joining here is Erik Kostelnik- I said that wrong. Kostelnik?
Erik: Kostelnik. It's alright, I've only known you for 3 years.
Joel: Co-founder and CEO of Text Recruit, recent acquisition of I-Sims. Also, Mike Wilczak -
Mike: You got it. Nailed it.
Joel: He's SVP of Erik as well as strategy. We're late in the day, we're a couple beers in, we wanted to get these guys together and talk about some things.
Joel: Erik, for those who don't know Text Recruit, not many of our listeners don't know you-
Joel: But give them the quick elevator pitch on what you guys do.
Erik: Yeah, it's a candidate and employee engagement platform that leverages chat, text message, and AI to help you hire better people faster.
Joel: It's that easy. And the name pretty much says it all. Text Recruit.
Chad: Yeah, Message Recruit would be good as well.
Erik: That was a little long. That was a little long yeah, it's alright.
Erik: You gotta write the ad before you sell the product or or build the product.
Mike: You gotta buy the URL, right? I mean that sort of determines the naming.
Erik: Unbelievable that was open. I still can't-
Chad: No shit?
Erik: Yeah dude.
Chad: Did you go to GoDaddy?
Erik: Of course I did. No joke-
Chad: No shit.
Erik: I hosted Text Recruit on GoDaddy for the first 3 years. It was only until we got like some money and were like, "Well maybe this is not the right way to do it". I built this site on WordPress. Personally. So everything that you see on our site is all the stuff that I built.
Erik: Original branding, original content, all that stuff.
Joel: It's not as janky anymore.
Erik: It's not as janky, I actually hired a professional to do it now. So yeah. Anyway.
Joel: Erik one of the things I thought was interesting was you have a whole suite of products and I think people think of the Text Recruit messaging component. But talk about the two or three other products that you guys offer.
Erik: What we did when we started was, we figured out, "Hey, how can we take all these text messages that are happening out there and make them centralized and more professional and compliment?". And we just naturally rolled into leveraging text message for attraction of candidates. Cheesecake Factory was using us in storefronts and on their Craigslist ads, and so we created a product called Text Apply, which helps on the front of the funnel there.
Erik: We also found that companies were looking at, this is funny, but they were on our website and they would say, "Hey, what's that chat function that is on your website?" And it was just a lark. It was just intercom or, and they were like, "Well I want that on my career site". I'm like, "Well, why can't just make that for you?" And that became job chat, it's now Live Chat.
Erik: And the Text HR side of things, it just was natural to progress into the onboarding experience and helping these candidates get onboarded as they become employees, since that became Text HR.
Erik: As we moved down the funnel, UPS came to us and said, "Hey, can you help us managing all communications for our entire temporary workforce for the seasonal hiring, not just to get them onboard, but actually to build software to help engage them through this whole entire season, so we don't have to issue everybody phones", and it ended up being Text Reach. So we still to this day leverage that platform for those guys.
Erik: Obviously, this sweeter products we didn't think it was gonna be this, we thought it was gonna be Text Recruit, but part of our core values has always been, much like iCIMS, it's always listen to customer, and we're customer founded and customer driven. And ultimately that lead us to these additional revenue channels and value for customers.
Joel: If the customer will pay for it, we'll build.
Erik: I'm a salesman, so I'll build you what you need, I'll sell it to you.
Chad: So Mike, how do you figure into this whole thing? You always keeping the reins on Erik? You let him- what's going on here?
Mike: I don't know if there's keeping any reins on Erik!
Chad: He doesn't have flip flops on right now.
Erik: No, they made me wear shoes.
Mike: You look very professional today, even with the boutonniere.
Mike: He looks like he's going to the prom after this.
Mike: I lead the strategy and acquisition Text Recruit from the iCIMS side, so part of my role is to incubate that and make sure that it's successful coming out of the gate with us. Then once we've got a great comfort level, just make it a part of our normal business. So we're in that phase right now, and it's been fantastic over the last 9 months to see this company continue to grow.
Chad: It's your job to sit and watch. Is that what it is? To watch kind of the incubation period? Really you were helping along the road of, "Hey, this is what you need to do to be able to get seen by us", I mean, what's all-
Mike: Yeah, it's a bit of a story there. I think I met Erik probably four and half, five years ago now. I had just joined iCIMS, I didn't come from this space. I really didn't know much about HR Tech. Pat Crest has a great SaaS conference every year in Vail, Colorado-
Erik: It's Key Bank now, but yeah.
Mike: Key Bank yeah. So I went out there and they put together a number of meetings for me. Kind of '30 minute Speed Dating pitch an idea to another company' kind of thing. And Erik and Jedd came in with a PowerPoint deck talking about how they were gonna kill this category and I thought, "Wow, that's an amazing feature!".
Mike: We've got to be doing this, right? Every ATS-
Joel: What year was this?
Mike: 2014. Every recruiting software company has to be doing this, right? I found out we weren't. My guy says to Erik, he says, "Look, it's a really interesting capability but you've got to broaden it. You've got to get more of a platform, more of portfolio of products, not just this one component", and man, over the last four years we've just seen him broaden the product portfolio, we've seen him add a lot of our customers to his customer base.
Mike: So when we were looking at this deal, we took it to the board and the board literally said, "This is the most logical acquisition we've ever seen".
Chad: Now you simplified, but you cheated a little bit, right? Text Recruit was
integrated into iCIMS, you sort of saw the growth in the numbers.
Joel: That's the incubation period.
Chad: You need a little bit about what you were getting into correct?
Mike: Yeah, totally right? So, at the same time that Erik was building his business, we were building our platform strategy, which was enabling other companies building products to plug into us and to integrate with us, right? He had the foresight to say, "Look, if we're going to go build this product that works with ATS providers and CRM tools, that we should build it to their specifications and via their platform".
Mike: I think that greased a lot of the sellability of the product of our customer base. So we started holding them up, "Hey, this is what a great product integration looks like". So we were able to see the two big hurdles to M&A in software is, 'How does that product work with yours' and 'Will your customers buy it?'. We were able to see both of those things. It's been fantastic.
Chad: So tell us the Dice story.
Erik: I had just gotten off of the identified acquisition, right? That was another big tile. SVP of monetization and sales strategy for Identified, which funny enough, became Work Days acquisition and became their shitty ATS now. That's kind of what it's became.
Erik: So, fast forward, I was able to get out of that situation and say, "Okay, what do I want to do? I have this idea" and I pitched my buddy on it, Ryan Chad, he's my co-founder and he said, "I think we can do this, I think I can sell this".
Erik: So he built the product and we got customers going. Then it was like, "Hey, let's be agnostic, let's actually go to all our contacts all over this ecosphere", and part of that was going to Job Boards. I'm an ex Career Builder guy and learned a lot there and learned that, "Look, these are the types of job boards that we should look at working with", so Dice happened to be right down the street in San Jose and walked down to- got the train. I was living in San Francisco, got off the train, went to 225 Santa Clara, walked upstairs, beautiful 11th floor in downtown Santa Clara, or downtown San Jose on Santa Clara street.
Erik: Go into this big board room and all the executive staff are from Dice is there and I start pitching. I start pitching Text Recruit and capabilities and how we can change the way that they're engaging with all their candidates and their massive databases and create drip marketing.
Chad: So it's a room full of people just-
Erik: Yeah, all the executives, all of them. 'Cause they were like, "What is going on with this?", 'cause we were gaining traction already. It was really interesting because I left the meeting feeling like, "Oh man, I feel like I killed that, right. This is great and it's another engagement platform, we're gonna manage all text communication for Dice, it's gonna be massive". And I got an email like a week later, "Hey we just don't think it's going to be right for us. We don't think it's going to be very professional to text and communicate for jobs".
Erik: I was like, "Wow. Okay". Total miss, whatever, I move on. Fast forward four years, we just took over the Dice space in downtown San Jose, so-
Chad: Life's like that man.
Erik: It's amazing how things kind of come back around and you know, things change and new companies have to evolve. I think that's a big learning- and one of the key reasons why we chose iCIMS candidly, was that you gotta hook your horse to something and someone. We knew that there's going to be a lot of challenges along the way in building up a really big company. We built a pretty big company, but not like a multi-billion dollar company. Which is what all VC's want, right?
Erik: To build a multi-billion dollar company, you have to have a little bit more than what just Text Recruit was. So I was real about that. But we knew iCIMS was changing the way that they had been doing business. And it wasn't just a 15 year old company, it actually was something that was becoming a new way of doing business in the HR space and Unify was part of that. But also the way these guys were looking at strategy and how to build this company out. Obviously it's worked for them and it worked for us, so I think it's good stuff.
Chad: So I have your one sheet here of your material and what you guys do. And I'm reading Text HR, communicate with employees over text message and live chat at scale and Text Reach, manage projects and coordinate with your employees over text message.
Chad: That sounds a lot to me like Slack. Am I off base there or not?
Erik: You're not. That was the vision for Text Reach. I'd say like, if we didn't go through this acquisition, we'd be probably doubling down on Text Reach right now. We believe that Text Reach, candidly, is a competitor of Slack on the white collar or hourly work forces that don't have smart phones or don't have access to corporate email address].
Erik: So generally, when you have Slack, you have corporate email addresses that you send out invites to, and then you have your Slack that happens.
Erik: But in the blue collar workforces, all of our customer based, those out of the hourly workforces, you don't have the ability to send out corporate emails. You can't invite them to corporate chat functions because it just doesn't work for those. Companies like Crew and some of these other systems that are trying to be Slack for the hourly, I just didn't believe it was gonna work because everybody communicates via text.
Erik: So if I can do the same thing that we did for recruiting, and put it into a managers hands to communicate with it's existing employees and group texts without sharing personal data of the employees as well as the manager, that could become a very big company.
Erik: That's what our VC's originally saw within that application and that's why they were gonna be willing to give us $15 millions if we didn't get acquired because we were gonna build that out. That's kind of the thing, you take this strategy, you take what you think is right for the time, and ultimately iCIMS did a good job by positioning itself in what we could do together.
Chad: I'm gonna do a quick re-direct. So you guys, talking about this product, you can actually get sentiment. Employee sentiment, so at that point, you know if they're happy, sad, all that other- and we were talking last night, kind of laughing about Glint saying how much money and just the other disbelief in Mike's eyes last night at dinner.
Mike: I still believe.
Chad: So what do you think about that? $400-500 million on Glint.
Mike: I hadn't heard that number before so that seems like a massive amount of value.
Mike: Especially for a CEO who said he built it for the good of humanity. I almost felt like he needed to give it away after all of that.
Chad: He probably felt like he was giving it away.
Erik: How much money did he take on?
Mike: I think it's a recognition of the fact that Length is trying to broaden it's tam. It's trying to get into something beyond talent acquisition and start looking at more of the talent engagement side. I'm sure it makes sense for them, I'm sure they've got a whole thesis around how they're going to take that product and get $400-500 million worth of value out of it.
Chad: So I won't ask you to tell me the next companies that you're gonna acquire, but what are- Mike, what are some of the segments or overall, themes that iCIMS going to be looking at getting into in the next two, three, five years?
Mike: That's a great question, right? We just did this round with Vista and I think the output of that is to step on the gas. We've built what we think is the category killer in talent acquisition software. How do then take this platform that we've built, that has scale in a market that has an incredible amount of data and now turn that loose to create something that's incredibly more valuable?
Mike: For us, it's not getting out of talent acquisition. It's doubling down on talent acquisition. What we're looking at is things that we must more up-funnel and enable our customers to really leverage our product, not just to manage workflow, but to actually do sourcing.
Mike: That ability to connect candidates and to connect candidates to hiring companies and to make those matches is really interesting to us. We think we have unique data that enables us to do that in a way that's completely different than the way companies are doing it today.
Chad: So iCIMS has changed, I mean really, the outlook. Wasn't an acquisition kind of a focus before? You have put your foot on the pedal, especially with Vista money. So why? Why the change? What did you see- what was happening in the market that made pretty much the executive team, everybody say, "We've got to do shit differently?".
Mike: I think it's just a matter of life cycle. When we were a smaller company, we were focused on how do we grow and do it at a manageable pace. Things fell into place the last couple of years that have given us more confidence in the ability to do M&A. You need scale in a market because you have to be able to afford to go buy something new. Our valuation, because of our growth, gives us that ability to write a check. Our cashflow provides us with a lot of cash that we can use in order to deploy to do M&A. I think this recognition that there's so much innovation that's happening in this space that we don't have to build everything ourselves.
Mike: That was the whole thesis around the ecosystem model. Let the ecosystem build things, see what's working, see what our customers are buying and then use our ability to fund a deal to step in and acquire the leadership categories.
Chad: A question for both of you- there's been a lot of change in the ATS talent management space here. You've seen nuts like LinkedIn getting into the HS game, of course we talk about Google Hire quite a bit on the show, you see smaller players, enterprise players, there's just a lot going on. And you guys sort of seem, not necessarily in the middle, but you definitely don't play in the small, the bottom tier. You see these big companies, not only LinkedIn and Microsoft and Facebook and Google, but I could throw in potentially Sales Force, I could throw in Amazon. Where is iCIMS place and maybe the same tier of ATS or talent management system? Where do you guys fit into the new ecosystem going forward?
Erik: You talking about from a positioning in the market, what segments of the market we're focused on or how do we see ourselves positioning with Amazon and LinkedIn and Google and everyone getting in the space.
Chad: So if I'm a customer, what does the customer look like that you think will choose iCIMS versus a Smart Recruiter or Job Score or someone's that gonna choose LinkedIn?
Erik: Yeah totally. I think at our core, we are a company that tries to focus on simplifying the complexity of recruiting, right? If you're a company who has very basic requirements, you hire one persona, you don't hire a lot of people per year, you're probably not our best customer. But if you hire lots of different types of roles, from lots of different sources, lots of different hiring types, like hourly and professional and those kinds of things, then there's a lot of complexity around that. You can't source all of your candidates from one place, you can't manage them through the workflow the same way. That's where we fit. Our tools are really designed to simplify the complexity of the recruiting workflow, to simplify the complexity of engaging and managing candidates, to simplify the complexity of finding candidates. Honestly, to simplify the complexity of plugging all of these other peripheral tools that companies are using.
Erik: The way that we fit in the market is also that we are that system of record. People view our product as that first system that they put in and that becomes your hub and everything else then plugs in to that hub. One core workflow tool, one data repository, one
analytics engine that you're using for your hiring process.
Mike: What he said.
Chad: Erik, messaging is hot. It's the number one activity on mobile devices. Obviously mobile is hot. I'm curious your perspective on, there's got to be something next. What is next? Is it voice? Is it-
Erik: Next for me or next for the industry?
Chad: Industry or the world at large.
Erik: The world at large.
Chad: Something like voice messaging?
Erik: No, I mean-
Erik: I think what you're going to find is that there's not going to be anything created, unfortunately. It's all in front of us. So everything that is the future is already built. It's really the question of, how do you take what is already built and optimize it for specific problems? And how do you create solutions for, with existing technology for existing problems?
Erik: The problems have been identified within the HR world, it's finding candidates, getting them into the system, getting them through a hiring cycle, hiring them, onboarding them, and then keeping them.
Erik: If we know all the problems that happen within those, then all you have to think about is, how do you build solutions that will optimize each part of that funnel. Ultimately, you have the lowest first run yield that you could possibly get, the highest first run yield you could possibly get.
Erik: There's a couple of things that you can use to do that. You can use products that will help you automate systems and maybe that's automating the way, taking a chat bot and making it something that is a voice. Or maybe it's creating an interview process that leverages all of the AI components to help understand 'is this person lying or not?', or what type of communication are they having? What are the sentiments that's going on?
Erik: Or you just take something- this is way out there but- something like quantum computing, which I was at TechCrunch and I saw the Watson Cubist computer. If you start processing all these things faster, and you put problems into these Quantum computers that actually can solve problems at a exponential rate from existing computing power, then it becomes really crazy. Then all you have to do is the same exact base time that you currently have but then you put it in something like a Quantum computer and out puts, you're going to get an exponential out put on it.
Erik: That's like, super heady, and way in the future and I doubt that it's going to come to HR first. We're going to have that in sales and marketing first, my guess is.
Chad: HR can't spell programmatic.
Erik: Right, right. Programmatic is a big thing for us and our industry, but it takes a while to catch up. I think the net of it is, I believe there's still a lot of disruption with existing technologies out there. I think there's a lot that AI can do and machine learning. I think matching is broken, which I think probably is a significant problem that no one can solve. I think that's probably next-
Chad: You think so?
Erik: I mean, I think matching candidates is really hard when you have horrible data, which anybody that says they have great data in their ATS is lying. Nobody has great data. Everybody tries to bypass the application process. They do that with Text Recruit. Its not
like the data's getting better, it's gonna get worse.
Chad: We're seeing problems though, like Google is building a models on the job-
Erik: And Amazon is doing models too.
Chad: Exactly. Everyone is building models so you keep building these ontologies because we know that job descriptions are always gonna suck, and that resumes are always gonna suck. So, really focusing on the job titles and the company, the type of company, along with the actual resume and the type of job that that individual actually did. And trying to make the match there as opposed to all the fluff and bullshit that's in, or not in the job description or resume.
Chad: You don't think really?
Erik: I don't know, because then it's easy to gain. If you're a candidate then you're just gaming the system and then like, where's the cross-referencing on it. I think there's a lot of holes in there from both sides. I think there's a lot of holes, when we talk about bias and the matching technology based on what you think it is.
Erik: Also, what candidates- candidates are humans, they are filled with holes. How do you figure that out and connect the two and you have two processes that are really hard. Application and showing interesting in something and a labor force that's massive and then technology from the company's side of matching these jobs, which is really hard.
Erik: I think it's a really hard problem and I don't think there's enough money into it right now. What do you think about it Mike? It's-
Mike: I think there's always that disruption curve where things get incredibly hyped and everybody's talking about it. You're good at HR tech and everybody's an AI company and-
Chad: AI and blockchain-
Mike: Yeah, right. Everybody's going to be Quantum computing in about four years by the way. You're going to go to HR tech and be like, "Erik was right! There's Quantum computing everywhere here!".
Mike: The marketing organizations get out in front of that and create a lot of that hype. But then it does go into that trough of disillusionment. Then from there, it gets incrementally better over time and people start to understand how to adopt this stuff, so I think there is going to be continued disruption, but I think it's going to be micro-disruptions, I don't think it's this big bang kind of change that we're going to see in the market.
Chad: So on the startup side, Mike. If I'm a startup and I'm listening to this, what kind of advice can you give me? Kind of the same kind of advice you might've given Erik.
Mike: So maybe two things. To Erik's credit, what he tapped into was that he recognized that there was a need in the market that was not fulfilled. You made the comment earlier of, "Hey let's go build something", and then who pays for it, right? There are a lot of things that people can build, but there aren't a lot of things that people will pay for.
Mike: So find that thing that somebody's willing to actually pay for and build around that. Put that into the market, the market will tell you if it's good or not. Then you can get better from there and you can evolve your product from there.
Mike: That's the key to software development, right? It's not getting to the market with the best product, it's getting to the market with the product and then making it better over time.
Mike: I think the other piece of it, and we've seen it in our business, it's just been religious devotion to focus. You can't be good at everything, and the more things you try to be good at, the less you're good at anything. So, when you're starting out, you don't have sales resources, you don't have product development resources.
Mike: We started off as a Saas business by design because we could only afford to spend money on building one thing. We couldn't customize it for everybody, right? We can only afford to market for one thing. So that's my advice- pick a category where you think people would value it and pay money for it. Then stay focused on that until you get to enough scale where you can start broadening out from there.
Chad: Erik, you have some pretty strong opinions on the future of my-
Erik: I don't know what you're talking about. I don't know what you're talking about.
Erik: Love all those guys by the way. I'm a big Ale fan, a big Erin fan, I don't know the founder of AllyO, but I'm sure we'd be buddies.
Erik: They all know my position on it right, I've been on panels with them and talked about how-
Chad: The listeners don't.
Erik: Okay, so. There is, like Mike said, there's a massive hype cycle happening right now. It's like lemmings jumping off a cliff in VC land. It's really hard to find good companies right now as a VC. They are giving, they are trying so damn hard because there's so much money out there by the way, when there's tons of money and not so much supply, it just becomes a market for these guys that are traditional founders that have had raises before or incredibly successful exits as employees to establish themselves as the next best thing and raise as much capital as they want.
Erik: Now, Aaron at Paradox hasn't done that yet, but it feels like he's gearing up based on the size of the booth and everything we saw at HR Tech. The reality is, I think that they're going to have to pivot to do something else. And I think that they are smart enough to think about doing that now. That is creating something other than just being a chat bot for recruiting and replacing the whole entire recruitment piece of the biz. Like, doing all of recruitment is pretty much impossible at this point. You're always going to have human intervention in there.
Erik: As a company, you don't want a robot hiring your whole entire workforce. As a CEO, you'd be like, "Are you fucking crazy? Absolutely not! Absolutely not, I want to hire my own people". Right? So I think there's a disillusionment of that piece.
Erik: I think there's going to be four winners within AI. It's going to be commoditized, it's already commoditized because I use it with IBM. So IBM, Google, Amazon, and-
Erik: Microsoft, thank you. I always forget them. It's been a long day.
Erik: So those four are, and that's a big maybe, but those four a really gonna be the key plug-ins if you want to build a chat bot or if you want to match technology or do NLP. They go and plug it in to all your data and come up with insights, it's all commoditized and you're gonna do it based on API call. That's available today- you want to go build a chat bot, go do it.
Erik: You also want to go build a little testing platform, that's fine, but you want to do everything together, that's a platform. Live Chat, text, chat bot, integration, communication, platform, automation and marketing- all that stuff is very important to have as a platform. That's why we've succeeded.
Erik: I find it really difficult for them to be as successful as they need to be to have a good exit with raising that much capital. I have a hard time believing they're gonna get there with what their current product set is.
Mike: I'm convinced there's a mathematical equation where you can take the amount of money raised, divided by the square foot of the booth at HR Tech, equals company longevity, right?
Erik: Yes! That honestly might be fun to run. What's the size- we've always done 10x10. And we're in like a startup little area. We were in a startup little area until last year. That never meant anything to us. Honestly, the companies that wanted to see us, came and saw us.
Chad: Playing devil's advocate-
Chad: I could come back and say, "Oh, text messaging, I can go get a Twilio account and set up some basic text messaging platform dashboard for people". I obviously know you believe it's a product versus a-
Chad: Feature. But tell the audience why that is. Why is text messaging a stand alone product?
Erik: If you want to go build a little texting component, or use Google Voice, like Google Voice is a great entry point into texting. If you want to use Google Voice and then just test out texting professionally, that is a key thing. And then Twilio too, you can build a little Twiio application too.
Erik: The problem that you have is that when you want to have two-way
communication, you want to have more than two-way communication, so campaign based communication, you want to put AI on that, you want to ingrate automation to it, and then you want to be able to track across all your recruiters and share communication within the applicant tracking system. In addition to doing live chat and all these other functions that gotta be connected.
Erik: Short quote codes, tracking candidates, all this stuff that we've done. It's really hard to build that successfully and make it easy to explain and have have companies buy into it and see the value. We heard Laurel today, all three of those, St. Jude, Hertz, and Advanced Solutions all text recruit customers. All iCIMS customers. They all use it completely differently.
Erik: I wish everybody would use it like Laurel. That was incredible listening how she, I didn't even know that man.
Chad: Those are best practices that you can start to kind of roll out in messaging, right?
Erik: Yeah, and that's the best thing you can get out of these customer events and analyst events. You learn stuff about your company that you never would've heard from your customer base.
Erik: That's something we heard about, the Glass Door thing was crazy. I was like, we actually impacted their overall rating on Glass Door. I think that's a great little add-on for Glass Door. Like, "Hey, Glass Door, we should probably partner".
Chad: A little background, a little context, for all your talent acquisition professionals out there, you need think harder about how you use a lot of these tools because there are some really good fucking ways you can do it.
Chad: That was Hertz, what that Hertz?
Erik: That was Advantage.
Chad: That was Advantage.
Chad: Okay, last question is for both of you, I'm going to start with Erik though. Me being an old Monster guy, I kind of watch what Monster does and it pisses me off because I get so frustrated to watch their movements. You're an old Career Builder guy, so you've got to be frustrated as hell when they come out with stupid shit like augmented reality and so, tell me what the hell's going on over there?
Erik: I don't want to create that many enemies in this- I love Career Builder, let me just preface this. I will never say a bad thing about CB outside of they've made some poor decisions along the past.
Erik: I will tell you that training system and the people I met there were absolutely incredible.
Chad: So its sales training system?
Erik: Sales training system, leadership training- that's where I cut my teeth in leadership. I will say nothing but great things about that company and their, at the time, executive staff.
Erik: I had a good experience there, it lead me to where I am today. There certainly has been a shift, here's the difference. Apollo is a much difference PE company than Vista.
Chad: Oh yeah.
Erik: And you can already tell that. And Career Builder is a much different company than Accent. There's two directions that you're going in there and there's two types of PE companies. The one that Career Builder is involved with right now, is absolutely one that's a turnaround. They're gonna try hardest to- Number 1, catch a hype cycle because they want to become cool again, and it's kind of like a dude in his 40's, like wearing earrings, or doing something like going to 20-year old clubs. You look at him and it's kind of sad. I don't know, it's a little bit sad, you want them to turn around, be like, "Dude, it's never gonna work, I'm sorry", you gotta figure out what's better for you.
Erik: When they release something that is obviously part of hype cycle, there's really no value within the marketplace, outside of just like, "Look what I can do", then it's a little sad.
Chad: So, Mike, not a being Career Builder guy, but still, looking at the industry, what the hell are they doing over there?
Mike: Yeah! So I don't want to speak about any one company, maybe I'll just bring it up to a higher level. For me, I think that lore of being out front and competing on product innovation is what a lot of companies try to do and they mature and want to repurpose themselves.
Chad: So do you think AR is that though?
Mike: No, I can't imagine that that's gonna change the game for them specifically. Companies need to decide what they want to compete on, right? It's easy to say, "We're gonna compete on product innovation", but it's hard to actually do it really well and do things that customers value.
Mike: Obviously iCIMS, our secret sauce is operational excellence. Ideas are cheap, execution is really expensive.
Chad: Yeah, that's the hard part.
Mike: And that's the hard part.
Erik: You never know, it could be amazing, they could kill it with this because they just have a badass sales force. They could go out there and sell the thing and it's all churn. It's all gonna churn. They might be able to show results and that's any business, that is a hype cycle business.
Chad: They have good product though. Talent discovery, that's not a shitty product-
Erik: No totally.
Chad: Right? But they're not pushing it! That's the thing, so anyway.
Mike: That's it, focus. Find the things that your customers really value, figure how you operationalize around that and focus there.
Erik: Dude they make a lot of money and they got a lot of smart people at that organization. They gotta be looking at something that we can't look at. I think the same thing with Monster, Monster has really interesting leadership, they've upgraded from a leadership perspective.
Chad: Oh yeah.
Erik: They're gonna have to make sure that they make some good moves within the market for this to all work out for them as well.
Chad: You have to hope that that legacy anchor doesn't drag them down.
Chad: Okay guys, Mike, Erik, appreciate you taking the time.
Erik: Thanks guys.
Mike: Appreciate it.
Erik: Take care.
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