Live from New York, the boys recorded the weekly show at HireConf, HiringSolved's conference. In addition to covering news from Monster, Dice, Glassdoor and Under Armour, there's a riveting interview with HiringSolved co-founder and CEO Shon Burton. Enjoy, and visit sponsors Sovren, JobAdX and Canvas.
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:
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, brash opinion, and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls. It's time for the Chad & Cheese Podcast.
Chad: This week Chad and Cheese was live from New York City and HIREconf, brought to you by the wonderful people at HiringSolved. Enjoy after a word from our sponsor.
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Chad: Whew, hello New York, bring it.
Joel: Dude, you said that would feel like we were in a rock band, and it was pretty close.
Chad: It was pretty close.
Joel: It was pretty close.
Chad: Yeah, I thought, let's move in, yeah, that was good stuff.
Joel: Who knows who we are, anyone?
Chad: Who doesn't know who we are? Shame.
Joel: All right.
Joel: I'm the good cop. We have a podcast, for those of you, who don't know who we are. We cover a weekly show, where we cover the industry, who's buying, who's getting money, who's going out of business, who sucks. We cover that. We have a show called Firing Squad, what's sort of like Shark Tank for the employment industry, and we have two.
Chad: Without the millionaires.
Joel: Then we have two shows, where we dig deep into subject matter like automation and chatbots and shit like that. We will cuss during the show, so if you're offended by any of that, fuck it.
Chad: Ear muffs.
Joel: This is a live show, this will be our weekly show. I'm ready to go at it, unless anyone has any questions, we're going to launch into the show.
Chad: Questions, comments. Okay and we won't be using ear muffs, so you're just going to have to do it yourself, right, so.
Joel: All right.
Chad: Hit it.
Joel: Live from New York, it's the Chad & Cheese Podcast.
Chad: Bring it.
Joel: Yep, HR's most dangerous podcast is in the Big Apple. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman.
Chad: And I'm drunk Chad Sowash.
Joel: On this week's show, turns out everyone actually is looking for a job, every minute of every day. Under Armour is not okay with those three martini lunches, at the local strip club anymore.
Joel: And we get a few good minutes with HiringSolved's founder and CEO, Shon Burton.
Joel: Let's do it, so let's do shout outs.
Chad: Do it, okay. First and foremost, shout out for the beer, Shane Gray, everybody, Shane Gray. Came all the way from Dublin, just to be able to deliver Modelo Beer.
Joel: It's not a party if the Irishman is not here.
Chad: That is good shit, yeah.
Chad: I mean, that's obviously his first.
Joel: Modelo from the Irish guy.
Chad: Ed from Philly, stand up buddy.
Ed: I don't wanna stand up.
Joel: Yeah, no.
Chad: He's a super fan right there, bringing all the hate from Philly that you can get, we love the man.
Joel: Early on, Ed's been there for us and we're here for you Ed.
Chad: We're here for him.
Chad: He needs friends though, so.
Joel: Jo Weech. She's in the audience, there we go.
Chad: Super fan.
Joel: Super fan is here.
Chad: Love her.
Joel: Front row, no panties. No panties or bras on the stage, if you were thinking about it. Audra Knight, is on our shout out list, as well. Chris Russell. Tincup is not here, although he's on the list.
Chad: There he is.
Joel: Yeah, if you're in New York, Chris will be somewhere eating pizza or drinking.
Chad: Or both. Yeah. So Ross Henderson, gave us a shout out.
Joel: Yes, Ross Henderson of LinkedIn. And you know I love to drink the LinkedIn Kool-Aid.
Chad: You are such a stinker.
Joel: Ross Henderson, LinkedIn, super fan. He calls us an unvarnished show, in a good way, which is nice.
Chad: Yeah, yeah, in a good way. Jorge, I'm going to screw this up so badly. Albinagorta.
Joel: Is he here?
Chad: No, I don't think so.
Joel: Oh, okay, well, who cares if he says your name.
Chad: Yeah, just love. We got to give people love, who listen and show up as well. And Jackie because she said she's going to dance.
Joel: Jackie is going to dance?
Joel: Nice. Nice.
Chad: She needs to get a beer though, you need a beer to dance.
Joel: I had one, Debbie Salado.
Joel: Is she here? I threw it in.
Audience: She was here yesterday.
Joel: She was here yesterday.
Joel: All right, well shout out to her.
Chad: Sucks to be you Debbie, you're not here. Susanna Frazier, where's she at? Here somewhere. Yeah, no, she tweeted a top five recruitment podcast list out. Have you ever seen these podcast lists? Right, they're like, hey top five, this is what you should listen to. Matt O'Donnell, actually gave us a good response and said-
Joel: Wait, we weren't on the list of podcasts though.
Chad: We weren't on the list, yeah.
Joel: Like you need to add that, it's kind of, an important-
Chad: Matt said the fact that hashtag Chad Cheese isn't on the list, is a shock.
Joel: It's kind of bullshit, I don't know.
Chad: Yeah, it's bullshit.
Joel: Just saying.
Chad: John, okay this is awesome. We asked definitely to connect on LinkedIn and Facebook and tweets, you know hashtag Chad Cheese. So I got called out on LinkedIn. Jon Hedlund. Apparently I took too long, to accept his LinkedIn invitation. This was John's response, "Fucking six weeks for the Chad to accept." And that was it. That was it, so shout out to John. Yeah, Jon I'd say that I'm sorry that it took me that long but dude.
Joel: So many haters.
Chad: But I don't sit on LinkedIn, waiting for motherfuckers to send me invites. Like I just don't do that.
Joel: Recruiters have no patience, at all.
Chad: Yeah, yeah, yeah. It's not my job, I don't do that.
Joel: Ed Newman gone crazy, we'll give him a quick shout out.
Chad: Jesus Christ.
Joel: Ed Newman, a lot of you know in the industry, Phenom People. If you listen to our podcast and a lot of you do, you know that we were at iCIMS, a few weeks ago.
Chad: I'll just say right.
Joel: We're saying to their CEO, talking about destroying the middle-men of which he named Phenom, as one of those middle-men. Well, Ed Newman took, not too kindly to that comment. His so, in all fairness, Ed's take on this is, it's iCIMS, that is the middle man, they're getting crushed on the down. The smaller businesses are being serviced by Lever, Greenhouse, the big enterprises are being serviced by Workday and the Goliaths like that. And it's the ATSs like iCIMS, that are sort of stuck in the middle.
Joel: In fairness to Ed, he's been around a long time, he knows the industry. He is sort of lobbying for his, you know his folks.
Chad: Yeah, yeah.
Joel: But time will tell, exactly who wins that game and who doesn't.
Chad: Yeah, I think we've seen this, throughout the years, right? The whole cycles of the big Uber enterprise systems and then they just crash because they suck. Because they have all these things that they try to do and they don't do anything well. So, yeah. I think the middle-men, they are niche players that were born because user experience sucked, right?
Chad: But if he doesn't think that he's a middle man, he is so full of shit. I don't think that they're going away but they, he's a middle man. That's all he is.
Joel: He's a layer, I believe is what-
Chad: Yeah, a layer, which is a middle man.
Joel: ... the vernacular is.
Chad: Yeah, yeah. Colin Day says he's a middle man, I say he's a middle man.
Joel: We'll see. No, he believes that they're at least five years ahead of any other ATS, that wants to do what Phenom people does.
Joel: Any Phenom users, in the audience?
Chad: Yeah, I think that says it all guys.
Joel: Darn it.
Chad: No hands, no hands.
Joel: Any iCIMS users in the audience?
Chad: Yeah, I think that says it all Ed Newman.
Joel: iCIMS wins, okay.
Chad: No, I think somebody did raise a hand but it was very slow, it was like ah shit, I'm the only user here, damn it. Yeah, so you had one Ed, that was it. Yeah, so no, we love you Ed but dude, you're a middle man, get over it.
Joel: Let's do a Russian shout out, real quick.
Chad: Okay. Firing squad. Firing squad we just talked about. We're pleasantly surprised. Has anybody heard of these things called chatbots that are out there?
Audience: Yeah, no.
Chad: Right, yeah, no shit, right? Yeah, duh.
Joel: Who hates chatbots? Not yet, okay, give it time.
Chad: All over the place. Everybody, chatbot, chatbot, for everything there's a chatbot, right? We were getting ready to flame the hell out of this Russian chatbot. I mean literally.
Joel: The chatbot wasn't Russian. The founders of the company are Russian.
Chad: Which means it was a Russian chatbot, anyway. So anyway, we're getting ready to flame this and she comes on and she did a wonderful job. If you haven't heard, it's XOR.ai. Check out the firing squad.
Joel: X-O-R.ai, which I thought was the worst name since-
Chad: XOR, yeah.
Joel: Go Cavas.io, but.
Chad: If you're into math you know Xor, like an Xor gate and that's, she's a mathematician. So it's all kind of.
Joel: Nerd alert.
Chad: Yeah, anyway, sorry about that. Too deep, too far.
Joel: And the last one we have is The Hiring squad, crew, let's brown nose them for a second. Jeremy, Sean.
Joel: Everybody, yeah, let's hear it for The HiringSolved crew, woo.
Audience: Woo, woo.
Chad: They got suckered into bringing us on stage, yes.
Chad: Love it, love it.
Joel: All right. Let's get to the show.
Chad: Hit it.
Joel: All right. DHI.
Chad: Everybody knows DHI.
Joel: The artist known as Dice, Clearancejobs and eFinancialCareers, reported earnings, this past quarter. Dice is down again. 6% lower this year, over last year.
Joel: Not good. They have a new CEO, as most of you know. Art Zeile.
Joel: Who by the way, spoke at-
Chad: TAtech, yeah, yeah.
Joel: We begged him for an interview. He's like, "No problem." We never saw him.
Chad: He's like, "Yeah, I'll be right there."
Joel: Never saw him again.
Joel: He was gone, yeah.
Chad: He was ninja-ed out of there.
Joel: We drove him out.
Chad: He's like, fuck this, I'm not doing it.
Joel: It's not all bad news, I guess for Dice. Clearancejobs revenue was up 22% higher than the prior year.
Chad: It's not all bad news for Dice, they're down in this economy? Are you, who I mean, is anybody?
Joel: Well tech is down in this economy.
Chad: Is anybody recruiting for technology today, at all? There's a little bit, maybe.
Joel: For the listeners, 80% of the hands go up.
Chad: Are you freaking kidding me. Yeah, there's a show of hands, sorry guys.
Joel: Who uses Dice, anyone? This is the fun part of an interactive show.
Chad: There's one, two, okay.
Joel: Keep your hand up if you're happy with your Dice experience. We won't name names.
Chad: Yeah, zero, okay.
Joel: Okay, hand went down, bummer.
Chad: So this is what I'm saying, this is bullshit because in this type of an economy, these guys should be killing it. But then you take a look at Clearancejobs, Clearancejobs is killing it. So what are they doing different than what Dice is?
Joel: Well there's a need for Clearance.
Chad: There's a need for both.
Chad: There's a need for both, what are they doing different?
Joel: Well you said, what are they doing right?
Chad: What are they doing different? Because obviously they're doing something right, what are they doing?
Joel: They're one of the only brands out there, for Clearance, I think. I mean there aren't a lot of sites you think about when you need, you know Clearance folks for government and whatever positions.
Chad: Yeah, yeah.
Joel: But if you said, how do I recruit tech people, you can come up with 20 sites immediately.
Chad: It's not cool to be on Dice anymore, is it? I mean if you're-
Chris Russell: Sourcing is killing Dice.
Chad: Sourcing is killing Dice.
Joel: Sourcing is killing Dice from the cheap seats, thank you Chris Russell.
Chad: Hey yeah, Chris Russell. Chris Russell.
Chad: So I mean but it's not cool, is it cool to be in tech on-
Joel: Tech people don't want to be on a job board, right?
Chad: ... on Dice anymore, is it cool?
Joel: If you're the best tech person in the world, do you want to be on a job board called Dice?
Joel: You want to be on GitHub, showing off your shit.
Chad: Yeah, until LinkedIn screws that shit up.
Joel: Do we have anything else to say about Dice?
Joel: And DHI?
Chad: No, I'm just, they-
Joel: Come on the show.
Chad: Get your shit together Art.
Joel: Art, come on the show.
Joel: We want to talk to you. Speaking of dinosaurs in the industry, Monster has a survey out this week.
Joel: Which is a fun little survey.
Chad: Yeah and they were down too.
Joel: They found that 63% of employees.
Joel: Dream about a new job all day, every day, every minute of every day. It is true, everyone is an active candidate.
Chad: Who's the sorcerer? Good news.
Joel: Everyone is an active candidate.
Chad: Who's a recruiter? Good news, yes.
Joel: Is that all your commentary on that, that you're going to give me?
Chad: There's not much to say, I mean seriously. I mean how, what's the ... We were talking about underemployment, I think yesterday, Sean said something about it. That's one of the biggest issues that we see. I mean it, let's just say in one of my verticals that I work in, on the veteran side of the house. Yeah, employment's up but underemployment is horrible for individuals in that sector. Yeah, they have a job but they're incredibly underemployed. Yeah, I mean I'd be thinking about a new god damn job every day too, if I was
underemployed and I knew that I was qualified for something more, right?
Joel: There's a great quote for those who used to watch the Drew Carey show, The Drew Carey Show. Where he says, "Oh you hate your job, oh there's a group for that, they meet every day at the bar." Anyway. What else did the findings say?
Chad: I know.
Joel: 8% said they think about a new job on bad days, only 8%. And 3% said they couldn't imagine working a different job because they love their current job so much. That's heartwarming at 3%.
Chad: That was because they were taking a survey.
Joel: Groundswell of people.
Chad: They were taking a survey and they knew that the Google big brother was watching.
Joel: Well, you know that is like us, that'd want to talk about it.
Joel: Because we like, that kind of stuff. All right moving on to, soon to be dinosaur, Glassdoor. Few tidbits on them. Any Glassdoor users in the audience? Love the interactivity, okay quite a few.
Joel: Quite a few. If you're thinking about using Glassdoor, their 30 day trial period is ending, if it hasn't ended already. An email went out to some folks it said, "The 30 day trial is over."
Chad: More freebies.
Joel: We think that this segues nicely into Indeed, not giving away anything for free anymore. As they bought Glassdoor or at least, their company bought Glassdoor. So Glassdoor and Indeed are basically the same thing. My contention is that, Glassdoor won't be around in a few years. They're going to get hot jobbed.
Audience: Hot jobbed, hot jobbed.
Joel: The reviews will go over to Indeed.
Joel: The job postings are already in Indeed and all the candidates, which is our second news item, will also go to Indeed. So Glassdoor updated their terms and service, this week.
Chad: Well wait a minute, wait, wait, wait, time out.
Joel: All right.
Chad: Everybody knows, I mean Indeed is obviously pushing staffing off of, unless you pay. Because your jobs suck, unless you give us money. And then they don't suck anymore, right? But the thing is, from the, at least insiders that we've talked to, is that it seems like they actually make more money, they being Indeed, after they kick staffing out of their organic. Because they feel like they need it so badly, that they're willing to pay three times as much, in some cases, to be able to get that traffic back. Anybody feeling that, anyone? No names, okay good.
Chad: Being able to take a look at Glassdoor, starting to see these, kind of like these Indeed movements, into the Glassdoor space. I mean, where do you think that's actually going to go? Do you think it's going to be one brand and how quick do you think that's going to happen?
Joel: Yeah, it doesn't make sense to keep two brands alive, as is. I mean, Indeed already has upgraded their profiles for companies. They've added analytics to that, so I think it's just a matter of time before you're, you have one profile. All their views go over to Indeed, they become this huge monolithic employer review site. Until Google starts getting reviews and or LinkedIn starts having reviews as well.
Joel: But it makes no sense to have two sites, they'll bring over some talent. They'll take away any duplicitous jobs, that are with both companies. And I think Indeed is the stronger brand, anyway. It's also very telling that if you were at HR Tech, one of the glaring admissions from the show, was Glassdoor. There was no Glassdoor.
Chad: There was no Glassdoor, yeah.
Joel: At the show.
Joel: HR Tech tends to be a show that a Glassdoor would show up.
Joel: And exhibit and they weren't there, which to me was another thing like, why are we spending money when the brand isn't going to be around for much longer.
Chad: Google wasn't there, Facebook wasn't there, so I mean.
Joel: They don't need to be there.
Chad: You can read into it.
Joel: Some brands are bigger than HR Tech.
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Announcer: It's show time.
Chad: I don't know that.
Joel: Microsoft was there though, remember that?
Chad: I mean I see, yeah.
Joel: Microsoft had a 10 by 10 booth.
Chad: Microsoft had two booths, they had one glorious booth and they had this little one with two guys. It looked like in a garage band. They were like selling Dynamics 365. That's all they were there for, was Dynamics 365. Literally, it was just a regular booth, like garage band. Come on up, guy had like his shirt half tucked in and it was not Microsoft.
Joel: Which wasn't as bad as the crowded booth, which had a toilet in the booth.
Chad: Yeah that was, yeah. How did you manage that?
Joel: Yes, they had it.
Chad: Yeah, okay so.
Joel: Yeah, it was a 10 by 10, they had a toilet. It wasn't, it didn't have water. It wasn't a working toilet.
Chad: Okay so.
Joel: And some graffiti wall on the background.
Chad: Yeah, so my take on the whole merging brands, I think it's going to happen just because of the hubris of Indeed. Everybody just believes that everybody is going to come to Indeed anyways. But I don't think it makes a hell of a lot of sense because once again, you're taking two different revenue streams and they're going to smack them together. And they're going to lose in some things.
Joel: But it's also two cost centers.
Chad: Yeah, in some cases. But they're going to see one brand.
Joel: It cost money to run Glassdoor.
Chad: When you see one brand and you think that you can squeeze something out of that, and put it to something else, that's some, it's entirely different.
Joel: Okay then, okay they may not hot job it, but maybe they'll Simply Hired it, where they just put their jobs on the site. You can still go to Glassdoor, you can still use it but it's all.
Chad: You can, posting your blogs on there too.
Joel: Plus as an employer, they'd rather you go to one site.
Joel: Being Indeed and maybe they'll say, we'll cross post it to Glassdoor for an extra fee. Now in that case, they might keep Glassdoor if they're upgrading the postings.
Chad: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.
Joel: But yeah.
Chad: I think that's telling though. I mean Simply Hired is still around, I have no clue why. But Simply Hired is still around.
Joel: They're still doing surveys, interestingly enough.
Chad: And content.
Joel: Anyway, we talked about that on the last show.
Chad: Yeah, yeah, yeah.
Joel: But you can't post jobs just on Simply Hired. It's just, Indeed's feed, basically.
Chad: Okay, but it still exists.
Joel: I think Glassdoor, if it-
Chad: But it still exists, that's my point.
Joel: Yeah, okay.
Chad: That's my point.
Joel: For no reason whatsoever, in my opinion, do they exist. Let's talk about strip clubs.
Chad: Again, okay.
Joel: Because the show is dying, we need to spark it up a little bit. We don't get radio silence on the podcast, we just think everyone is still listening.
Joel: Under Armour, a little known company out in Maryland. Apparently strip clubs were an expensable thing. How many of you work at a company that you can expense strip club trips? A couple hands, I like.
Chad: Oh yeah.
Joel: Who do you work for?
Audience: A staffing company.
Joel: Under Armour, okay great, no.
Chad: Man Monster, in the early Monster days, I mean I think that was like probably 50% of the expenses back then.
Joel: You heard it here first folks.
Chad: Not mine, yeah I know. Because we had so many staffing companies, that's why. Clients.
Joel: So Under Armour has made it, they've banned strip club trips, being expensable, expendable.
Chad: Yeah, whatever.
Joel: Expensive, I don't know.
Joel: Expensive, there you go, we'll go with that. I don't have a comment, I just think that's really funny that news came out.
Chad: Well I think it's interesting that they put an email out. I mean that, okay so they had to put an email out to employees, to announce this. I mean this is not like you know, in 2000 or something like that, right? This is 2018 and this is something that they had to actually adjust to. Then and this also springboards into what happened in Google, was it last week? The protests at Google?
Joel: The walkout, yeah.
Joel: The big walkout.
Chad: I mean how do we do this in 2018? We've got Google one week, who has thousands of Googlers walking out, right? Because of some idiot, who gets a $90 million parachute, out of the company. But thousands and then the next week.
Joel: Alleged sexual harasser.
Chad: The next week.
Joel: You should probably add to that.
Chad: Alleged, whatever, he's an asshole.
Joel: Idiot is not quite descriptive enough.
Chad: Yeah, that's a good call.
Chad: But the next week, no strip clubs, the next week. Seriously?
Joel: One Googler said on the walkout.
Joel: Quote, "They told me I'm no longer allowed to talk to anybody about this issue, they recommended therapy."
Chad: They recommended therapy, yeah.
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Announcer: It's show time.
Chad: That being said.
Joel: You know who else we should take a look at, Mr. Shon Burton, CEO and founder of HiringSolved.
Joel: Come on up Shon.
Shon: But I didn't.
Joel: But we have dollar bills, just in case you change your minds.
Chad: Yeah, yeah no, we got, we got.
Joel: Jeremy, are we good on time? What do we got? The clock's running but.
Chad: Right there, yeah, no, we're good.
Joel: Oh it's counting down.
Chad: Oh yeah.
Joel: Okay, I'm quick.
Chad: That's the smart one.
Joel: Oh, we got-
Chad: So yesterday there was a fireside chat and we really talked about the real close, who is Shon. We don't care about any of that stuff. We want to know all the cool stuff about Shon. Tell us background and then let's get into the bullshit.
Joel: To me, to me Shon is sort of a reclusive CEO.
Chad: Because we don't know, yeah.
Joel: He doesn't tweet, he doesn't Instagram.
Chad: He's stealthy.
Joel: He's not snapping.
Shon: I do have a Twitter account.
Chad: You have a Twitter account?
Shon: Yeah, it's actually.
Joel: And nobody follows it, so nobody knows.
Shon: It's @Shon.
Joel: It's @Shon? Oh nice, I'm going to follow. Anybody, who follows him? No one.
Shon: Who has a four letter Twitter account, raise your hand? Nobody.
Joel: That's good.
Shon: That's right, this guy. Okay. They never do.
Joel: For me, the genesis of the company, you're not a recruiting guy. I know this is going a way back but for my benefit, I'd love to know how the company started and why? You're an idea guy, which I got from dinner. Why was it this idea that sparked you to action, to found the company?
Shon: So I am a recruiting guy.
Joel: Oh yeah?
Shon: Yeah, I mean I did a brief tour in recruiting. That's how we started the company. I was an engineer that got talked into starting a recruiting company. We talked about this on the fireside chat.
Chad: He wasn't here.
Joel: I wasn't here.
Shon: That's what I said.
Joel: And our listeners weren't there either.
Shon: Sorry, sorry everybody.
Joel: There's no toilet in here today.
Shon: Yes, so yeah. I was an engineer and I actually hated recruiters at first and then grew to love them because I learned that, I got hired at KPMG and a recruiter enlightened me that I could make more money. They're like, "You're asking for way too little money." That recruiter got me something like a $30,000 a year raise, at the tender age of 25. I loved recruiters after that. Then I went on to start my own consulting firm. The economy took a shit.
Joel: What's the timetable on this for you?
Shon: This is 2000, this is the economy took a shit in 2008. I'm selling like high end consulting services. One guy, we talked yesterday, one guy we had out at Google for $2400 an hour and he was just billing. We had a little bit of margin in that guy.
Shon: Then 2008 hit, my segue into recruiting was, we were working with Google, Apple and a couple other big companies on scalability stuff. End of 2008 hit and we just got called, one after the other, send them home. Your $2400 guy, get him out of here. Then a couple of them starting saying, we'll hire your people because we had-
Chad: How did that feel though because that had to be a moment?
Chad: I mean that had to be, that kind of had to be the moment, right?
Shon: Oh it was yeah, so this was in downtown, we had the little office in downtown San Francisco. At that same time, we had seen a PowerPoint from Sequoia, a venture capital firm. That was like, the party's over. That was the headline. It was that and then a bunch of, it felt like shit. Yeah, it felt like, well I guess we got to figure out something else to do.
Joel: So this shit's actually happening, yeah.
Shon: This shit's happening.
Shon: And like all good consulting firms, we were basically a recruiting firm in disguise.
Shon: A thinly veiled recruiting firm. So I said, hey let's do recruiting because these guys are willing to buy our people from us, so let's just make placements. And my two consulting founders didn't want to do that, so we started a recruiting company. You know I was taught recruiting by an awesome nurse recruiter, that used to recruit nurses for one of the bigger public nursing companies. So that's how I got into it. Scaled it up from three people on my couch, on unemployment, to a multi-million dollar company, within about two and a half years. Then just hit a scalability wall, so we were beating our heads against the, we couldn't grow anymore. One of our people left to go to Google and then we started HiringSolved.
Shon: Can I go now?
Chad: No, no, so we want-
Joel: Wasn't that in Phoenix though?
Joel: So how did you get from San Fran to Phoenix and that journey?
Shon: We had a little office in San Francisco, about eight recruiters there. At the time, I went out to Phoenix thinking the only way I can scale this recruiting company, at the time my best idea was, I'll go out to Phoenix where recruiters make, you know a good recruiter might make, I don't know 60 grand a year at that time. This was 2010, now. Recruiters are starting to make crazy amounts in San Francisco again, like $100 an hour is starting to go up again, 2010, 2011.
Shon: Go out to Phoenix because it's cheap. End up working out of this dusty co-working space. And found a kid walking around with no shoes on, an astrophysics degree and a head as big as the universe. We built, we started building HiringSolved. I started to think, I couldn't find any recruiters actually, I did try to find recruiters. I hosted a free recruiter training, like it got in the newspaper and everything. One person showed up, so I was sucking at that.
Joel: What was the conversation like with the bare footed astrophysicist? Like was it, we need to make a business, what should we do or I have this thing?
Joel: Like let's grab profiles and searchable?
Joel: Like what is that conversation like?
Shon: The conversation was, we had about 10,000 resumes in an open-source ATS, called CATS. Anyone know CATS?
Shon: CATS yeah.
Joel: CATS One.
Shon: PHP, yeah, CATS soon became CATS One.
Shon: So the conversation went, so I was maintaining that and had modified it a little bit. It was based on PHP. At 10,000 resumes, it was actually pretty slow to search and it sucked at search. My conversation was, hey kid, I see you're walking around without shoes on, do you think you can make this database faster? Because it, you know I had kind of topped out my skills at MySQL, at that stage. Trevor, his name's Trevor, he's a really brilliant guy and an intuitive sandbagger, so he tells me you know, "I think I can do it in about two weeks." He takes, I let him into the system, he starts looking at it. In about probably two hours, he had taken it down from a minute to search, to under one second.
Shon: I was like, "Now let's start talking about what else we could do." In the meantime, again we can't scale. We hit like 2 million, a little over 2 million in revenue. Can't hire recruiters, can't train them up fast enough. We're losing recruiters and we only worked, you know they didn't give us the easy recs, right?
Joel: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Shon: In the meantime, I'm kind of like, thinking through, how do we automate this stuff? Like what are we doing every day? I was recruiting myself, I was filling recs, you know. The work was crushing, you know the amount of work we were doing between reading resumes, which we trained heavily on, to be able to do and identify, what a person did in under 30 seconds. But reading resumes and sourcing and you know, it was just killing me.
Chad: So right there, that's where I want to shift into the actual Ladders stuff, right? You said the new Ladders survey, as you talk about reading a resume.
Shon: Mm-hmm (affirmative).
Chad: Has gone from six seconds, to was it 7.4 seconds?
Joel: Boy, it's gone up because when the recession was hitting.
Joel: You had so many more resumes, it was like how do I get through
this stack faster?
Chad: So it's faster.
Joel: So it's actually more time now, then it was but based on the recession.
Chad: Question is, I mean why is it taking that long in the first place, when you have all this technology to be able to at least, help you through that process? I guess, well here's a big question and maybe this is in the survey, maybe they're getting more qualified candidates, which is why they're taking so much longer. Because they are using, some of this technology.
Shon: So they're getting, yeah, the premise though is still that they're reading a bunch of resumes, right? Yeah, I don't know. I think from my perspective, there's a quote by William Gibson, who's one of my favorite authors and he says, "The future is already here, it's just not evenly distributed yet." Right?
Chad: Especially in HR.
Shon: In HR, yeah. No more, more than, nowhere I think in the enterprise, other than HR. When we started this business, we started saying that sales is about 10 years behind consumer. So if you think about Salesforce and its best tech. You can think about consumer is, is Apple, it's Amazon and that type of stuff. Sales about 10 years behind that. HR Tech is about 10 years behind that, when we started the business. That's what it felt like to us.
Shon: I'd say that's actually catching up, somewhat quickly on the leading edge of HR Tech, mainly due to a shit load of investment coming into it. But I think the short answer about the resume reading, you know first you have to get tools implemented that work. Then you have to actually trust them, to not duplicate the work they're already doing. A lot, we see, we're building a new version of software right now and we see the issue of trust. Some people trust the software, some people don't. It's the same barrier as, you know my wife has a Tesla, that Tesla has tried to kill us multiple times on autopilot. Would you buy a Tesla today, that didn't have a steering wheel?
Shon: No, the humans completely fucking uncomfortable with the idea that, there's no way to override this thing. So somewhere, so we're right in the place right now, in an interesting time in automation where, there's a ton of bullshit. The bullshit wave is caught up in HR Tech. So everybody is saying, "Blah, blah, blah, AI." I saw Phenom people announce today, "AI, blah, blah." That was their press release.
Shon: Everyone is saying that and there probably is some really good technology out there. HiringSolved. Somewhere. But there's also a lot of bad stuff and it's hard to tell the difference. And even the good stuff, we're not sure we trust yet. Definitely not enough to just trust it to schedule, you know go through the review process, do everything and have a guy turn up to work tomorrow or a gal, we don't trust it that much because we still need that steering wheel and it might try to kill us.
Joel: Well, will we ever? Erik Kostelnik, CEO of TextRecruit. You know he sees a day where, humans don't actually talk to each other, until there's an interview scheduled and someone shows up. Like, will we get to that point? If not, why? And if we do, how long is it going to be till we get there?
Shon: I think I read something and I think a number of us are thinking that same thing. Kevin and I were talking, we had a great conversation at dinner last night about that. Kevin, from SAP, everybody.
Shon: Then and Donna, I think we're going to get there 100%, I think we're going to get there. I think there's still going to be problems in that. Like Donna, from Lowe's was speaking here. We're working with Donna and one of the things she said to us is, "I need to hire 80,000 people in the next six months, right?"
Shon: That's a really hard task, no matter how you do it but it's a proving ground for us, to try to figure out how to get to that next phase. The cool thing about some companies is that they are under enough pressure where they're willing to take some risks. That's what's going to have to happen.
Chad: Is it on the high volume side, first though? Because I mean, there's a huge need there.
Chad: Obviously the workload is just crazy.
Shon: Yeah, easy target on the high volume side. High volume side has actually been a really hard problem for us, in automation. You know we work with Staples and it's one thing to say I want a pediatric neurologist or I want you know, some specific technology guy. But it's another thing, you know our technology was driven crazy by trying to follow what the Staples recruiters were doing, which is they would recruit a bartender. They would recruit a sales clerk, they're basically recruiting anyone that they thought wouldn't say fuck off to a customer or something. I'm not exactly sure what it was but it was hard to lock in.
Chad: So a bartender would do that by the way, just so you know.
Shon: But high volume, there's a lot of need there.
Shon: I think what Kevin and I were talking about, he needs to hire 700 developers, right? 700 engineers. If anyone is coding in the room, talk to Kevin.
Chad: That's the guy.
Shon: I think where the automation is, needs to be in different paces, right? We have another company that is very high tech, one of the leaders in AI. Undisputed in the world. They're getting 40,000 applies, a month. And this is for a high tech job, this is for like you know, very high tech specialized skill job
Chad: How do you rip through those, right?
Joel: You know, are they automating that process?
Joel: Through the funnel and how?
Shon: Well the first step is, so we're layering in automation. I think the first step, transparently is, first it's ranking and then it's, is the ranking doing the same thing the human would do? Basically think about it like, the recommendation engine has to make a prediction. The prediction is, I think this person is going to fit. Then if you guys know anything about genetic algorithms, right? Genetic algorithm has a fitness function and the fitness function is, was the prediction right? Did you do the right thing, right? Yes or no, well we know the answer because the person either got hired or got to a first stage interview or whatever. Got an offer and didn't take the job, whatever it is.
Shon: I think if you look at those, you know high volume, for us high volume is a challenge. The other scenario, the company can't mention that it's getting 40,000 highly technical applies. It's sort of the same problem though. And it's layering in that automation, trying to get it trained up to a place where, it actually is doing something similar, that makes sense to the human. Which is highly biased by the way because humans are highly biased.
Chad: Well, yeah but I mean that's the problem though, right? We take a look at the Amazon side of the house. We have to, there's got to be a place where we stop trying to learn, from humans. I mean because humans are biased, right? I think Jack Ma actually said, "My computers are smarter than any human in this room." Why are we trying to learn behaviors from humans, who we know are biased? How does that make sense?
Shon: Well, it makes perfect sense because the humans are the consumer, of that technology, right?
Shon: If you take the bias out and you let it-
Chad: But you're not going to get any females.
Shon: Yes, well if you start letting a machine make a decision for you, without bias, on nutrition say, you'll never eat another french fry, fucking throw that beer away, right now. Because you're not drinking that anymore guys. Get some soy.
Chad: No I want it because Shane got it for us.
Shon: It's a soy IV, for the rest of your life.
Shon: The machine is going to make a decision. If you let the machine make a decision, not on training but on unbiased thing or what's best for you, the human won't like it.
Chad: You won't get the sell, at the end, really?
Shon: Well you won't get the sell, they won't use the technology because they'll think. All joking aside, our real take on this, my belief on this is that, you have to show humans when they're being biased. That's the best you can do with AI. You can't take the bias out because at the end of the day, if the person shows up to work, even you automated that whole thing and then they show up for work that day, we're humans.
Shon: So we're going to smell and do the pheromone thing and size you up and be like, I don't like you, you're going home because I have that power.
Joel: Because he was stinky.
Shon: Right, so there's going to be bias somewhere.
Chad: I'd love to see the UX behind that one.
Shon: You can visualize.
Chad: You know, you're being bias, yeah.
Shon: You can visualize it, yeah. No, I mean the UX is actually, if you think about it, we're working on this right now, it's called diversity analytics.
Chad: Ah huh.
Shon: It's a product, not a product. It's a feature that plugs into what we do. But it visualizes the hiring pipeline and shows you how diversity is changing. You think you have a problem but maybe you're crushing it on the top of the funnel. Maybe you've got 50% of your job descrip pipeline is females. But if you can visualize how that flows through, at the phone screen, at the first on-site interview. At the second on-site interview, when they interview with Chad and he locks them in a room with a button under his desk and then no one comes back after that.
Chad: Nobody knows about that.
Shon: And all of a sudden diversity, female diversity dropped by 80%, after meeting with Chad.
Shon: We can start to visualize where that problem is, right? I think that becomes very powerful. All joking aside is you know, you can't take the bias out with a machine because I think the human thinks it's wrong. But what you can do with the machine, is you can show the human, yeah right, you're only hiring 22 year old white kids. I'm showing you more 22 year old white kids because that's what you want to hire. You're thumbs-upping Metallica every time, you're only going to hear Metallica.
Joel: I have a question, as we're running out of time. On privacy, obviously a huge issue. GDPR over in Europe. How is a person's data used, how is it shared? How is it scrapped from one site to another? Like these seem all like really serious issues for the employment industry because we're dealing with recruiting people and all this data is being shared around. What is your opinion on the future of that? How do services that are using profiles, sort of freely, make it not so illegal in the future, potentially, of using people's private data? Where is your place in that future?
Shon: We see it as, it's interesting, we see it as a great opportunity to build experiences that are opt-in. The good news is for us I guess, we deleted 29 million profiles, for Europe. Just to say, we didn't want to deal with it. But we already learned what we needed to learn, from a lot of that data. Now I think it ushers in a new generation, it's not going to be the job board. Like kind of what we were talking about last night. But it does give us, those of us in technology and those of us in this space, it gives us some motivation to create a new experience that is compelling enough for people to want to share their data, even when they know how we're going to use it.
Shon: If I can give you something, whether that's advisory, like if I think about the underemployed. If like, underemployment kills me because there's people that can crush these amazing jobs.
Chad: Oh yeah.
Shon: There's you know, one of the coders I know literally was working at In-N-Out. Saw my friend, my friend went up to order a burger. He had a Ruby on Rails shirt on and the In-N-Out guy, Jeremy is his name, says, "I know what that means." And the guy goes, "Why are you working at an In-N-Out?" And he hired him, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. But that's an underemployment scenario.
Shon: I think if we can build these compelling experiences with all the stuff we've learned, from all this social data. And give them to people, in terms of advisory and in terms of you know, you'll never have to not go, you'll never have to go without knowing what happened to your job application. If you can ask a bot, "Why didn't I get the job?" What's different about me, then the person that did get the job? What do I have to do to be a mechanical engineer at Tesla? I'm 10 years old, what do I need to do, to get there, right?
Shon: I think there's some cool, really compelling use cases that we can use. I think, GDPR for us and the California law, what it really does is it, it puts pressure on us to make those compelling experiences and get people opt-in, rather than just scrapping it.
Joel: Yeah, I mean to me, the headline of that was, we threw away 29 million resumes because we didn't want to deal with the law. To me, like if that law came into play in the US.
Shon: And it is.
Joel: How many solutions like yours just say, fuck it, let's do something else?
Shon: I mean our solution, thankfully we moved away from social data, as a core to our business. 85% of our revenue comes from our software running on top of customer data. So ATS, HRIS, CRM type data.
Shon: So thankfully, we wouldn't have to throw in the towel, if that happened. What we would do literally and what I think a number of you know, the good startups that have the capability would do is, we'd, you'd pivot into something like I said, that gives you the power to go out and get that opt-in. We did an experiment early this year. We knew GDPR was coming. We ran a Facebook bot. We were traditionally, really terrible in trucking and nursing, in terms of social data because you know, those people are not.
Chad: Not on as much.
Shon: They're not the same as other people on professional networks. We did that on Facebook and we got an incredible, we learned a ton. The test with J.B. Hunt in trucking. We had 20,000 truckers and an 89% engagement with the bot. They would talk to the bot. Sometimes they would call J.B. Hunt, something they're writing with J.B. Hunt. The bot wouldn't know what that meant but they were very angry, in some cases. But we learned a ton from that, that the engagement was huge.
Shon: I think there's, you know there's a lot of places we can pivot. I think that's where we're going to get because of GDPR and because of those things, we'll probably see some things that content with LinkedIn and contend you know, some more compelling experiences down the road. That's a good thing.
Chad: And that's it kids.
Joel: We're out of time. Thanks Shon.
Joel: Thanks everybody.
Chad: Thanks Shon.
Shon: All right, thank you guys.
Joel: We out.
Chad: We out.
Shon: Thank you guys, good job.
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