FIRING SQUAD: Maia, Sam Fitzroy
Sam Fitzroy isn't new to the Recruitment Tech industry, but his new platform is... Maia - no, not that Mya, the chatbot - brings its game to the Firing Squad. With a founder who cut his teeth at Indeed, Jobcase and The Muse, it's bound to get interesting.
Will Sam's experience be enough to get him through the Firing Squad?
You'll have to listen to find out.
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Announcer: Like Shark Tank, then you'll love firing squad, Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to put the recruiting industry's bravest, Ballsiest and baddest startups through the gauntlet to see if they've got what it takes to make it out alive. Dig a foxhole and duck for cover kids, The Chad and Cheese podcast is taking it to a whole
Joel: Let's do this man. It's been a long time.
Chad: I'm so ready.
Joel: We got such a sucker today. I can't believe it. Special guest
today from Maia Labs, Sam Fitzroy. Sam, welcome to the show.
Sam: Thank you guys.
Joel: Good. He's still there.
Sam: I'm excited to be here.
Joel: He's still there. [crosstalk 00:01:46] Sam was a little nervous to be on the show. Sam, are the nerves still there or they're gone?
Sam: I mean, we'll see what happens. But...
Chad: You can't blame the nerve, Sam. You can't blame the nerves.
Sam: I'm here.
Joel: All right, Sam. First question is an easy one. Okay. Give us a little bit about you and then we'll get into the product a little bit after that?
Sam: All right. Well, so I guess the most relevant thing about me for the podcast. I've been working in HR tech for 12 years long time. I started out back in Indeed when it was a small...
Chad: Such an asshole.
Sam: I'd some history with Chad there which is kind of funny. We can talk about that.
Chad: I don't even remember it by the way.
Sam: So I was there for 12 years. I did ATS partnerships, if you can imagine that like every day just calling up ATSs, trying to get them to do product integrations with Indeed. So I spent a long time there. I was there for eight years. I left, I went to The Muse. I was with the Muse for a couple years. And then after that, I went out and I did a little contracting and then decided to start Maia.
Sam: So I've been working on this for, thinking about it for last the year really had a product in field for maybe six months. And that's my quick background. I live in New York. I just got married in October.
Sam: Life is good.
Joel: Well, it is up until now. Chad, why don't you give Sam the rundown on the rules of firing squad.
Chad: All right. For Sam and the listeners this is very simple. Sam, you're going to get a two minute pitch for Maia. At the end of two minutes, you will hear that bell. Then Joe and I will hit you with some rapid fire Q and A. If your answers start rambling, Joel is going to hit you with the crickets and we will move along. It's also your signal to tighten your shit up. At the end of Q and A you will receive one of three grades, either big applause, which means you killed it. Golf clap, you're not quite there yet buddy. Tighten your game up and the firing squad.
Announcer: Ye be poo without Talroo.
Joel: You don't want to hear that.
Chad: The firing squad is not what you want. So that's the firing squad. Joel, is the timer.
Joel: The timer is ready. Sam, are you ready?
Sam: Ready to rock.
Chad: Do it.
Joel: All right. Give us two minutes. Starting.
Sam: All right. So employers all over the world and especially here in the US spend a ton of time and money marketing themselves to make hires, yet 92% of people who land on their job pages don't apply. It's crazy drop off, and it leads to a ton of wasted job advertising spend and just, missed opportunities to make great hires. And then what's worse, is that the traffic these employers are paying for are converts to hire at a super low rate, like less than 2% of applicants from most major job boards get hired.
Sam: So let's talk about the people who don't apply. There's a lot of reasons people don't apply. Sometimes they're just early in their search. They're doing a lot of research, checking out where they might be the best fit. They're not out there spraying and praying job applications. They're choosy. Some of these people are really into your company, they want to apply, but there's no job. Or you have an awesome candidate, they found a job, they get to apply by the hit the nightmare apply process and they bail out.
Sam: So today, the people who don't apply or just don't have time, don't have an effective way to show interest and stay connected with an employer. So that's why I built Maia. Maia is a platform built to engage passive talent that employers are currently losing. So we have exit intent capture forms. They capture job seekers as they're exiting job pages. When they sign up, we sync the data with the employer, and then they start receiving helpful content on a regular basis to keep them engaged.
Sam: Maia handles all that automatically. Employers can also send their own content or direct messages through our platform. Candidates also receive relevant jobs from other companies, not just the company where they signed up. So unlike other products in the market, Maia puts the candidate first. By doing that and sending truly helpful content, we're able to deliver good results for employers.
Sam: So we're super early. We have a handful of customers, we're growing. Its pay for performance and easily connects into a company's existing ATS or CRM. And if you want to learn more, you can check out maialabs.com. That's M-A-I-A-L-A-B-S.com, or email me, sam@maialabs.
Chad: At least he's been listening to the show and he actually got the fucking URL in this time.
Sam: I'm I the first one who did that?
Joel: I gave him a little bit of leeway on that one, but then he started with like sub heads and more story, so nice try, Sam. Nice try. Chad, get him.
Chad: There's a lot to dig into here. First and foremost, your automated engagement program delivers helpful content and keeps passive talent engaged. What kind of content are you talking about? Because one of the biggest issues companies have, or they feel like they have is that, I can't create my own fuck. I don't have time to create content, I don't have people to create content.
Chad: So what content will Maia provide?
Sam: So we have writers who are writing unique content on a daily basis. So it's today it's pretty high level generic career advice content. So it ranges. It can be like interview tips, resume tips. So it can be like, if you're looking for a job, that kind of content we also do kind of like content that's totally unrelated to jobs, just things that people who are professionals might be into, like, why reading books is good for you and how that can affect you professionally. So we have writers it's a range of content, and we include jobs and then career advice articles.
Chad: So it's all your writer's content? It's not writers that or articles that are sourced externally?
Sam: It's a mix. So we have at the top of our email, because it's today's email program, its content from our writers. And at the bottom, we include articles that are related to the topic that we wrote about.
Joel: Can I start with the name from my stand point?
Joel: Okay, a lot of our members and listeners will know that Maia equals chatbot.
Chad: Maia system.
Joel: So a major hurdle that I see in your business is the fact that you're named after a burgeoning company in the space that's already called Maya that's already easier to spell in M-Y-A, than M-A-I-A. So are you guys going to change the name? You're going to stick with it? Like what's up?
Sam: I mean, we're definitely not changing. We're going to stick with it. I guess it's a hurdle, maybe. But we haven't really faced the hurdle. It's actually kind of been an advantage for us. So, we're getting people who might think we're the chatbot in some cases. So it's helped in a lot of cases to get some attention, maybe not the right way. But the reason that we picked the name Maia is because it has meaning for what we're doing. So it means courage and growth. And so Maia is really two sides, but we really focus on like the consumer side job seekers. So, the name has meaning for job seekers who are signing up or passive talent.
Chad: Maia was also the daughter of Atlas.
Joel: All right. So quick answer to that question. I'm not sold. But anyway...
Sam: Looks like you did research, Chad.
Joel: So you mentioned that people who sign up through your system will get email jobs from other companies. Did I hear that right?
Sam: That's right.
Joel: Why in the hell would I use your service if I know that you're going to send jobs to the people that were on my site that aren't my company?
Sam: Exactly. I think the problem that I see is that employers I believe that it's their candidate and that they own job seekers. And I think that's just the fundamentally wrong approach. And when employers take that approach and they have been, they treat job seekers like they own them.
Chad: Like shit.
Sam: well, what ends up happening is, if they send any content at all, it's self-serving, it's only about them, it's self-promotional and is generally not helpful. So when you think about like, the people who are not applying, they're signing up because they're not ready for some reason. And so to just send them job alerts from your own company over and over and over again, and not any other helpful content, is just not helpful.
Sam: So the reason we do it is because, it's good for job seekers, it makes the email more valuable, it makes them more likely to open it and stay engaged, and actually leads to more clicks on the employers job because we highlight them at the very top with branding. But we do it just because it's good for job seekers and it's a better experience.
Joel: For the record, I'm okay with the original content, just not job things from other companies.
Chad: So remember AllianceQ and Jobfox?
Sam: I remember Jobfox.
Chad: Okay. So their models in some way were predicated on this sharing model as well. So I mean, back in that time it couldn't be adopted. There were like a handful of companies who actually thought that it would actually help them to be able to be in a pool per se, because that's what you're creating. You're creating this pool of job seekers that everybody is really sharing and sharing content back and forth.
Chad: So from our standpoint and from yours, from what you've seen thus far, what's been the major, has that been a major hurdle for you guys to be able to say, look, this job seeker, this candidate, this user or customer is not yours. But yet you're paying me a fee. Have you seen any pushback on that?
Sam: I mean, early on there was major pushback against it, but I think instead of just kind of like putting it in, like hiding from that and kind of making that smaller part of pitch, we've just brought it front and center and it's like almost the main part of the pitch is that, we really focus on doing what's right for the job seeker and what's truly helpful for them. And by doing that, it leads to better results.
Sam: And we've been able to win over employers and convince them that look, what's been going on in the industry is not right, like sending self serving stuff is just not helpful. You don't get strong performance out of your talent networks if you're using them at all. And by just doing and giving job seekers and passive talent what they want, like helpful content, you'll get better results. So we've had employers try it, like come in, see the results you get and then make a decision if you want to move forward. So that's kind of how we've been approaching it. Like let's let the data speak for
Chad: So in this market, and we've got a very tight job market, I think it's easier to sell that to clients because they're like, shit, I'll try anything and this does sounds, different than anything we've probably ever done. But when the market starts to loosen up a little bit, don't you feel like it's going to be harder to sell because at that point, employers they get a little chip on their shoulder, and now they have a little power back in their pocket?
Sam: Maybe. But when the market reverses, companies are also going to be advertising more to get talent, in some of their hard to fill roles. And so there's a certain efficiency that Maia brings if you look at it with your job advertising. So if you're running a lot of job ads on Indeed or Zip, you're measuring a cost per applicant, you're measuring cost per hire, by capturing the people who you're normally losing, you reduce all those costs. So I think that, that will become more important when the market reverses.
Joel: To me I think, I saw your presentation in Nashville and one of the things that really sort of appealed to me was when you start really looking at the math around that dollars and cents, and how much you're really spending per click or applicant is one thing to look at, but how much are you actually losing because those people, you paying for people to go to your site, but you're not capturing them. So to me that was a powerful message in your sales pitch.
Joel: Now we get a lot of companies on firing squad that sort of dance on the line between product and feature. And one of the things that concerns me about Maia is that it feels a lot like a feature. Some of our listeners might remember Jobs to Careers, or Jobs to Web, sorry.
Joel: That would create career sites and then they would create sort of a business card form for people to fill out if they didn't want to put in their whole resume. Like do are you concerned that, ATSs can just productize our feature, put this as a feature that's sort of included as opposed to something that's a product? Or will you be evolving this product into more of a product instead of a feature in the future?
Sam: It's definitely very future like today. So I can't argue against that. But I'm definitely not worried about ATSs or recruitment marketing platforms, or any other software provider in this space, doing anything similar, because they're in the market of building tools to sell to employers. And then it's up to the employer to go ahead and use that tool. We're doing it totally differently.
Sam: We don't offer a tool, we offer a product that delivers results. It's a pay for performance product. So we focus on job seekers number one, like all product decisions are made first for candidates and job seekers. And I don't think anyone else in the industry like ATSs or other platforms have that approach at all. They build for the employer. So I'm not worried about those platforms. But it is featured like today and we're definitely going to evolve it. I mean, the product is super simple right now. But it could grow for sure into, we might even be able to offer some of the software that those platforms offer for free. And so we'd be excited to do that.
Chad: So I see that Maia also pulls in job history not provided by the candidate. Pretty Big Brother ish. Where are you finding the job history at?
Sam: So we use like, we pay for that through third party data services. So we're not like building our own scrapers or anything like that. So, I guess whoever we're buying it from is on the hook. But it's not a lie. It's just job history. It's like basically their job titles and companies, their career history.
Joel: All right, Sam. So I kind of in a way asked you to talk about future features. You kind of danced around that a little bit. Is that something you're willing and able to talk about? And I'd also like to know a little bit about your sales plan going forward. What you're doing now and we'll be doing in the future as well as maybe your marketing plan.
Chad: Good God. One question at a time for God sake.
Sam: I know it's a lot. All right. So let me tackle the product stuff. Right now we're actually head down on building integrations into ATAs and CRMs. So our clients want the candidate data synced directly into their own platform. So we build into the API, we send the kind of data in. So that's currently like something we're working on. In the future, and what we actually already have this product.
Sam: In addition to all the automated content and remarketing that we do, we are going to allow employees to send their own content and direct messages. So that product is live today, but it's really simple. So that is kind of another step beyond our initial product. Like you can contact these candidates by text, by email. You can set up campaigns of your own, but again, like we don't charge for that software. It just comes with Maia.
Sam: But it's an early product. So I think we're going to get more into that, build that out. And then also on the content side, today the content is fairly generic. We really want to verticalize that. So if you're someone in healthcare and you sign up, you probably are not interested in the same content that someone in retail might want. So we really want to verticalize the content, make it really personalized. And I think that's another big push we want to make sometime soon.
Chad: So it looks like you're into scheduling as well. So schedule interviews and also syncing with calendars. Now, is that a plugin? Is it done through a partnership or did you guys build it yourself?
Sam: No, it's a plugin that does that. It's super light.
Chad: Okay. On the chatbot side, we talked about Maia, but now I'm going to talk about chatbots as a whole because they are on fucking fire. So chatbots can easily engage candidates when they land on a job description or anywhere on the website. Why would I choose forms instead of a chatbot that can obviously engage as well? It's a different type of engagement, a form engagement versus, kind of like a fake, could be a human or could be AI engagement. Why would I choose your form of Maia versus a chatbot form?
Sam: Well, you don't have to. There is no choice. So it's a completely, we're targeting a completely different audience. In fact, you won't see Maia's forums until you go to leave the page. So our forums are exit intent. So on desktop, your cursor moves off the screen, our form opens up. So you only see it after you've decided, I don't want to apply and I'm not interested in chatting with the chatbot.
Sam: So after you said no to those two options, then you would see Maia, and on mobile we use a timeout. So we're like a chatbot is getting somebody who actually wants to engage at that point, and chatbots today only talk about jobs. So they're really trying to engage active job seekers. We're trying to get to the people who don't want to apply.
Chad: Can I do that with a chatbot though? Can I use the same type of timing or what have you to engage an individual in the same kind of way that you guys are doing it? Because just because the way chatbots are being used right now, it doesn't mean that there's not a function to be able to do that.
Sam: Sure. I mean, they could evolve.
Chad: It doesn't seem like much of an evolution. I mean, it seems like more of really just a point in time of what they want to be able to do. And what you're bringing to the table is look, before they exit, show them a form. What I'm saying is, look, before they exit, hit them with the chatbot.
Sam: You could, but I think like a chatbot is trying to have you stay there and engage with it at that moment in time. And I think a lot of people just are not ready to do that. Like they're leaving the page for some reason. And, there's a reason they're not ready to take an action at that moment in time.
Joel: Let's talk about a different competition. So I agree with Chad that the chatbot is potential competitor and definitely a threat. But I also want to talk about from the marketing side of things. So you have, for marketers out there things like OptinMonster and there are other services that will do this from a marketing standpoint and integrate with, GetResponse or AWeber or Mailchimp or whatever. What do you think your product brings to the table that may be a marketing solution that does, very similar things, would choose you over something like a marketing tool?
Sam: I think, ours is plug and play, there's no setup, and also all the re-engagement is done automatically. So OptinMonster is awesome. Actually, we base some of our exit forms off of what they do. Great company. But they handle just the capturing of the candidate. So I think the re-engagement piece, keeping it career focused and our team of writers makes it unique. So it's kind of like both sides. Like, and we don't sell them separately. It's like you don't just get the exit forms. It's the exit plus the automated re-engagement.
Chad: Got you. So from the partnership side of the house. I see that you are engaged with great people iCIMS, Jobvite, Greenhouse. Now that's from a tech standpoint and we're talking about the, obviously the integrations to make sure they have that two way API happening. But what about from a revenue standpoint. Do you have any partnerships to be able to help you get more of a distributed kind of like a sales message out there?
Sam: Yes. I mean, so I think that ATSs are a great partnership path. Obviously, I know them from my previous experience. And so we're working on one right now, that should be launching in the next two to three months. So that'll be super exciting. But I think ATS for sure, potentially even career site platforms that don't offer their own native talent network solution, those could be good partner opportunities. So definitely, I mean, we're so small that we really need partnerships. So, we're excited to try to find, partnership opportunities to hit and reach employers.
Joel: Sam, let's talk about pricing models. What can someone expect to pay using Maia?
Sam: All right, so it's all pay for performance. So we don't charge like a setup fee, there's no annual fee. So the pricing, I mean, right now, it's early. So we're still trying to figure out pricing, but we charge $2 per sign up. So every time a candidate signs up, it's a $2 charge. We don't charge for any of the remarketing or the re-engagement or the applicants who come back from that.
Sam: I think down the line, we'd love to tie the pricing closer to the ultimate result, which is hires. But it will always be pay for performance. We really believe that you should tie pricing to the results that an employer gets, not to the cost of your product or something like that. So it's pay for performance. Companies can set a monthly cap. We do trial pricing to test it out.
Joel: I love how there's so much of an echo of indeed with your product.
Sam: I'm brain washed. It's in the DNA.
Joel: It's all about the job seeker.
Chad: So my last question with regard to vision. What do you see? Do you see as this is a long term build grow a platform out of this? Are you looking to actually do what you're doing incredibly well and flip for acquisition?
Joel: Definitely thinking long term. But, I'm also so focused on the now. I try not to get too caught up in the long term vision because, it's hard enough as it is to start this off bootstrapped. So I'm like, very short term right now. I just trying to like execute on product and make the product work really, really well. But, long term vision. I think that there's just so much bloat, so many kind of crappy products out there for employers, that maybe they're good products for employers, but they don't lead to good experiences for candidates.
Joel: And so I think that's the real longterm opportunity. I think that's a big opportunity. The experience today on an average company career site is terrible. There's a ton of friction and ton of barriers. So I think the long term vision is to help employers deliver really, really strong candidate experiences. I know that sounds kind of vague, but there are not good kind of experiences today. So I think like, developing more tools to let employers engage in an effective way that's actually helpful and not self serving, that's kind of the vision.
Joel: Let's get to the grading, shall we?
Sam: Oh boy. Here we go.
Joel: Oh crap.
Chad: I get to go first.
Chad: Okay, Sam.
Joel: So needy.
Chad: I know. I want to go see Avengers. Sam, I think your background gives you an edge and any possible way we can engage candidates in thoughtful ways is a step forward. No question. Your product does use the keep it simple, stupid methodology which every product should adopt. And I also appreciate the pay for performance piece. I agree with you there. I personally think you have a short runway until chatbot engagement platforms find their fetes and they start ripping up the market.
Chad: I mean, they're already hot as it is. But I don't believe they understand all the different ways that they can actually be a part of bigger platforms. So education and control is key here. Will employers be cool with you sharing their candidates across networks? I'm a huge fan of that. But in general, these types of initiatives have failed miserably. So here's my advice first and foremost.
Chad: Deeply integrate with some of those partners that you're talking about, those ATSs, those CRMs and demonstrate your ability to provide results quickly and at scale, then you have a chance. If it were anybody else coming to the mic with this platform and this vision, I would probably hit them with a firing squad. But because you have such deep knowledge in the industry, I'm giving you a golf clap.
Sam: All right. Thank you, Chad. Love it.
Joel: Now it's my turn. I'll echo most of what, well, really all of what Chad said. I do have a special place in my heart for companies that have experience, and your history with Indeed, Jobcase, The Muse is obviously a big plus, and we find success with those kinds of companies, I think more so than those that have no experience at all coming into the space. I do think that it's sort of risky or foolish to share jobs from other companies with clients.
Joel: I just I'm not a big fan of that. I do like your pricing model. I like your attitude around, job seeker first. I do worry a lot about the chatbot competition, but I also worry about the companies that sort of get your when you register, and then from registering they know that you've looked for certain jobs or you've been to the site. A lot of listeners will know that they've been to, ZipRecruiter or Glassdoor.
Joel: And once you just go to the site, you start getting job alerts from searches that you've done, which is really annoying. But it's also similar to kind of the model that you're doing, except the fact that it's automated and not a manual process from requiring someone to do that. Ultimately I think, you're doing a lot of good things. I think some companies will adopt this. I think you'll integrate really well and people will use it.
Joel: We didn't really talk a lot about your final mission with the company. If it's to flip it and get rich, is it get money and go really, really big as a software solutions. So we probably should have talked about that but we didn't. But ultimately, I'm going to give it the golf clap-
Sam: All right.
Joel: ... as well. I think you're off to a good start. You're really early days in this. But I think your experience, know how and probably connections in the business will pay dividends going forward. And, you may need to pivot a couple times, but I think you'll find success.
Chad: There it is.
Joel: And that's it. [crosstalk 00:29:17]
Sam: Well, I didn't get shot, so that's great. Survival.
Joel: Very well.
Sam: Happy I came on.
Joel: Very good. Well, before we go again, where can someone find out more about you?
Sam: They can go to maialabs.com, M-A-I-A-L-A-B-S.com, or email me, email@example.com.
Joel: We out.
Chad: We out.
Announcer: This has been the firing squad. Be sure to subscribe to the Chad and Cheese podcast so you don't miss an episode. And if you're a startup who wants to face the firing squad, contact the boys at chadcheese.com today. That's, www.C-H-A-D-C-H-E-E-S-E.com.
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