RecTech Hype Cycle w/ Nathan Perrott


DON'T BELIEVE THE HYPE!! No, seriously Nathan Perrott AIA's VP of Digital Marketing & Employer Brand talks BS vs. reality.

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Chad: It's the hype cycle.

Joel: Let's get ready to rumble. It's the San Diego aircraft carrier outside my window edition of this Nexxt exclusive. Special guest today guys. He's British, so there may be some translation needed. Nathan Perrott, VP Digital Marketing Solutions at AIA worldwide. Nathan, cheers and welcome.

Chad: Woohoo!

Nathan: Thanks for having me on, guys.

Joel: So many of our listeners don't know who the hell you are. Give us the 140 to 280 character introduction to you and your company.

Nathan: Thanks. So yeah, I work with clients to help them with their employer brand across digital marketing and technology in recruitment space, focusing largely in TA technologies. I work for AIA. We're a global leader in talent acquisition technologies, and we leverage our talent brute tech, our creative and our strategy to enhance clients' employer brands, basically, and try and redefine how employers and candidates are connecting.

Chad: Excellent man. So we're in today because you and I have been talking for a little while about this rec tech hype site.

Joel: Don't believe the hype.

Chad: Believe the Rec Tech Hype Cycle. What the hell is a Rec Tech

Hype Cycle?

Nathan: Yeah, so it started in 2015, and we kind of identified a huge surge in the amount of recruitment technologies starting to pop up. And we were inspired by Gartner's hype cycles and they do a lot of the HR emerging tech type things. But we wanted to focus purely on recruitment technology and help our clients cut through the BS really. And that started by helping them understand the landscape of what's out there, and seeing all these different technologies in recruitment.

Nathan: So, we tried to map it out and used Gartner's hype cycle as a way of doing that. So it's got these five stages of hype, essentially. You've got the first stage, which is the innovation trigger, where everyone's getting really excited about the types of tech that's out there. You have things like chat bots and AI on there for a couple of years.

Chad: I call that the bright and shining stage.

Nathan: Everyone's getting excited about how recruitment's going to revolutionize and then nothing ends up changing. Then you get the peak of inflated expectations stage, which is where the only people really talking about it are the companies that invested in it or the VCs that have invested.

Chad: Yeah, yeah. I call that the bullshit overfloweth stage.

Nathan: Nice.

Joel: Yeah, it starts to stink a little bit.

Nathan: That's right. Then you get the trough of disillusionment, where either the tech's failed and it ends up in that, or sometimes it can pop in there and jump back onto the innovation trigger as the tech maybe gets repurposed, or the type of technology gets pivoted, so QR codes being used as a call to action were in there for a bit before Snapchat reinvented them and the like.

Chad: That's the vaporware attained stage. That's what I call it.

Nathan: If we were doing a brand one for this, for the text one.

Joel: Tinder profile pic wasn't quite as good as the real you.

Nathan: That's exactly it. There's a few tech vendors in there I reckon. And then you hit this slope of enlightenment stage, which is where the technology starts to prove ROI in certain use cases. And what we've started to see over the last few years is that part of the cycle starting to get quite long and quite busy, particularly as new technologies are arising, or the type of technology that we identified previously is split out into slightly more niche uses.

Chad: That's the getting your shit together stage. Go ahead.

Nathan: And then you've got the plateau of productivity, which is okay, it's hit mass market adoption. It's proven its case. And most organizations are using it to attract talent in some way. Now, when we first started this, obviously it was only our point of view to start with, and that section was bit bigger than we thought. But as we started to crowdsource opinion and get clients and other tech vendors insight, that actually shrunk.

Nathan: To be honest, even you've got applicant tracking systems on there, but arguably they're doing the job these days. And I think that's kind of the point of this hype cycle, is that not only is there a lot of stuff out there, not only can you not realistically afford to or integrate all of these things together, but there are some things on here that everybody's using that isn't actually fulfilling what it should be. And that's why other band aids are being put on some of these solutions.

Chad: So that number five stage I have is buyer's remorse stage, and we'll cover that. Don't worry about that. But the big question I have is, who in the community is making recruitment tech landscape complex? Because that's what it is. People can't understand what the hell is going on. So, who's actually making it complex? Is it the vendors? Is it the employers not knowing what the hell they should be looking for research wise? Who's at fault here?

Nathan: Yeah, I think it's a combination of factors. I think the job of the recruiter, the talent acquisition professional, the HR generalists, whoever you're talking to, that job has changed somewhat in the last few years to become part technology advisor, or at least assessor, and IT, obviously, are getting much more involved in the procurement process nowadays for HR tech.

Nathan: And then you've got the technology vendors themselves who are probably making this the most confusing because they're talking about things that their tech does, when in most cases, that's not necessarily the case. And it's caught in between the sales and marketing fluff. There's a huge amount of investment in sales and marketing, particularly from the startup side of things nowadays. A lot of that money that they're raising is going into sales and marketing, rather than product development.

Nathan: I commented on this after Unleashed London, recently, when I talked to a few clients who had used some of the vendors there, and some of the prospects, and even some of the tech vendors themselves, who are saying how they've raised some money and what it's going to be used for. It kind of concerned me a bit, because I think the landscape's becoming much more homogenous, ironically, as each tech company tries to diversify more and more, to get more of the landscape, and try and become this one stop shop. One platform if you like. I know you guys have a view on that, the same that I do, which is there isn't going to be a single vendor that provides all of these solutions, and you kind of have to pick what's important to you and understand what's going to make the biggest difference to your talent acquisition strategy before you go and buy any tech that claims to be the silver bullet.

Joel: Well, don't go telling Microsoft and Google that there's not gonna be one solution. But I'd like to switch gears a little bit, because we have listeners who can't see the actual sort of curve and where things are on this, so I want to give some context to what we're talking about on your hype cycle.

Joel: And I was also reminded by a Seth Godin book, for the readers of Seth Godin out there, a book called The Dip, which is a bit like the hype cycle as well. But just for the listeners out there, some context, you have, at the early stages, sort of going up the initial slope, things like quantum computing, smart spaces, augmented analytics. I mean this is early, early stuff that even we've never talked about on the show, probably.

Joel: As you go up there, up the curve, you're looking at virtual reality stuff, you're looking at 360 video, voice activated job search, your voice assistants, and then as the curve goes down, you have at the beginning of, I guess the third stage, where things are sort of starting to be proven. You have chatbots, you have your autonomous stuff, your interactive video. You're moving up the chart here a little bit with social messaging apps, onboarding platforms. And then, as we go into the stuff has sort of been proven, you're looking at SMS messaging, you're looking at an ATSs, you're looking at paper click. Things like that. So, I wanted to give some context to our listeners about where things are right now on your bell curve.

Joel: My question, however, the thing that stood out glaringly to me was, you have QR codes and chatbots side by side. To me, QR codes, unless this is a European thing, QR codes to me are off the chart. They shouldn't be on the curve. And chatbots, to me, are on the elevated, going up the hype curve, to have already fallen and then working it's way up there. So, what are your thoughts on the QR code, where you put them, and where was the thought process in terms of putting chatbots at sort of the down slope and going up the proven curve?

Nathan: Yeah. Let me start with QR codes, because I think that's a fairly quick one. QR codes is like a reentry fee. That was on the trough of disillusionment for a couple of years. And then we started to use them and see them be used a lot with Snapchats specifically, for engaging with early years audiences, early careers audiences.

Nathan: But in China, QR codes are hugely used for WeChat and for engaging out there. And obviously that's a huge audience. So, we think there's potential there in those situations. But I think they were misused. We've seen posters on the Underground here in London with QR codes, and of course you can't use them if you've got no Internet access. In those days, there was no internet access

Nathan: So, it's like a lot of these things. The technology is not necessarily bad. It just gets misused. And that takes me into chatbots, where I tend to call them shatbots, Shit Chat bots.

Joel: Damn it, why didn't we come up with that, Chad?

Nathan: There are a lot of chatbots, particularly in the UK. They're not even chatbots. Some of them are decision tree based. So, the user's selecting a load of menu options, if you like. They're just sort of replacing website, or poor website navigation and hierarchy. Even the chatbots that you do engage with, where some of these startups are saying, "Oh yeah, brilliant. We've now got a chat bot because someone's released some open source code that we can use. We have a chat bot, everybody. Chuck one of these on your career site."

Nathan: They're just not creating a good candidate experience. The

brand is being impacted by a negative candidate experience, and we're very passionate about making sure that chatbots do the job that they're intended for. Now there's a whole range of use. And chatbots is probably the wrong word actually. Maybe it should just be bots now, because there are different ways that you can use that technology, whether it's in candidate engagement, whether it's in candidate concierge to help them through the application process, whether it's job discovery or FAQs. There's a whole multi-use of bots. That alone could probably have its own cycle.

Nathan: But the impact of making sure that you create a great brand experience to positively impact on your employer brand through those things, is very hard to do. You have to have structured data, you have to have lots of it, you have to give the