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Death Match Europe: Mya Systems' Eric LaBadie

Four companies entered the ring to duke it out for European supremacy at TAtech in Lisbon for The Chad & Cheese Podcast. Here's contestant No. 1, Mya, the popular chatbot solution.

Enjoy this Talroo exclusive.​


Chad: Welcome to Deathmatch Europe, Part One of Four. This Chad and Cheese Deathmatch episode features Eric LaBadie, SVP of Mya Systems. Deathmatch took place at TA Tech on May 9th in Lisbon, Portugal at 5:00 with a room full of TA Tech practitioners. The bar was open and Chad and Cheese snark was flowing. Enjoy this special edition Deathmatch from Europe after a quick word from our sponsor.

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Talroo: Don't be a bilge sucking scalawag. Avast, use Talroo to hire better.

Chad: Alright Lisbon.

Chad: Hello, everybody. Hopefully everybody had drinks. Hopefully you're there. Hopefully you're on your second one or third at this point. Who's ever seen the Chad and Cheese Deathmatch? Anyone? Anyone? All right. Excellent. So this is-

Joel: Badass, right.

Chad: ... not first for some of you. What about Firing Squad? Anybody listen to Firing Squad? All right, all right. So today-

Joel: We got rid of the last Deathmatch winner.

Chad: They were acquired.

Joel: Big ones.

Chad: Yeah. Yeah.

Joel: They earn big money in potential winnings, not by us.

Chad: Do you have a mic? You have a mic right there.

Joel: Oh, there's mic.

Chad: There's a mic, yeah. So today we have four, count them, four startups coming up to death match. They're going to have an opportunity to have a two minute pitch, no Demos, no robots. They're going to come up, they're going to pitch two minutes. Then with the balance of the 15 minutes that they have, we're going to belt the hell out of them with Q and. A. At the end of their 15 minutes they are off. We're going to give them the hook, come up. Next one comes on. So we've got four, and then at the end, we're going to go have some probably Irish whiskey and see actually who wins, and you'll have to be here tomorrow morning to find out.

Joel: 9:00 AM we announced the winner, right?

Chad: Yep. 9:00 AM

Joel: 9:00 AM. Get your asses out of bed.

Chad: Not to say that we're going to do these 9:00 [crosstalk 00:03:17] more.

Joel: And that includes me.

Chad: Yeah, yeah. My wife is not happy about getting up that early. So that being said, are we ready with our first contestant?

Joel: Julie? July [Sowash 00:03:32]. Are we ready? Are we ready? We're super ready.

Chad: She's super ready, okay.

Joel: Do we have the music cued up?

Chad: So the first contestant from Mya Systems, Eric LaBadie. Bring it.

Joel: That man.

Chad: There he is.

Joel: They all chose their own music, by the way.

Chad: They all chose their own music. I actually gave them really shitty music and said if you don't pick your own music, then this is what you're going to walk out to. Eric was the last is like, now I'm going to stick with the 80s and do Duran Duran.

Eric: Yeah, yes.

Eric: So, get ready. Have a timer are ready? As a candidate, how many of you enjoy being misunderstood. Is that fun? Is that fun? How about just being generally ignored. Or having to restrict your answers to yes/no or multiple choice. The answer? No one.

Eric: Conversations matter in recruiting, and quality matters. And here at Mya, our mission is to improve the recruiting process to delight both candidates and also to boost recruiter productivity. AI is fundamental to everything that we do at Mya. We are an end to end AI recruiting platform, which means that we're automating steps throughout the recruiting process and, that includes everything from being able to engage with your candidates outbound. So sending a text message to your phone to engage a passive candidate to welcoming candidates into your career side so that a candidate is welcomed. We help navigate them to the right spot. We can screen them seamlessly and we can even welcome them to their first day on the job.

Eric: Now 85% of candidates find themselves in the black hole, and they don't have to be in that situation. We can help with automation and with quality of conversation. 90% of recruiters will tell you they don't have enough time in the day to complete all of their tasks, but with automation we can address that. We can free up their time so they can do more. And we're working at scale with both medium to large companies, from Adecco, to Hayes to L'Oreal, to be able to deliver tremendous efficiencies across many different platforms and integrating into their ATS in CRM environments.

Joel: That's time.

Chad: Starting the Q and A. We're going to start off with Tanya for a start.

Tanya: Hi.

Eric: Hi.

Tanya: I normally don't need a microphone. You know, I actually, I've been in sessions today where Ai, chat bots, all that was being discussed, and my question to you is how scalable is, for example, using a chat bot? How can you replicate that throughout different types of sectors, job necessities, or skills necessities, because I can't imagine it would be much easier to be able to employ this type of technology when you're hiring in bulk for basic skillsets? But when you're really looking to personalize and find that right candidate that has an extremely set of difficult skillsets for technology roles or medical roles, or engineering roles, how are you scaling your operation to be able to encompass all the different types of demand in recruiting right now?

Eric: Yeah, so half of our clients today are using Mya for the IT roles and professional roles that require a higher level of Ai. fidelity. The other half are very much doing blue collar or high volume roles where Mya's had 15,000,000 conversations where we are moving candidates through a process that leverages a lot of the machine learning that we do so that we've established what's important to an IT person, for example. What is the terminology that they use so that we can engage them and we can move them through a process? And we provide tools to the recruiters so that they can build conversations based on templates that we've already developed, which include hundreds of what we call blueprints or conversational templates, so that candidates find it very easy to engage with Mya.

Tanya: So we've all been in a position where something didn't translate so well into text. How are you using Mya to really gauge emotion or personality or anything like that that might gauge culture fit, for instance?

Eric: Yeah, so within Mya, everything we do, the heart of what we do, is conversation. And we have teams of computational linguists that deeply understand the meaning of words and the importance of how conversations are put together. And so, through machine learning, we're able to establish patterns of behavior. We're able to then identify when someone is happy about a conversation, or they want to take the conversation a different way. And it's really the benefit of having so much volume of data. We've been doing this since 2016, and so we have this tremendous advantage of having access to a knowledge base of data that helps inform Mya and the flow of those conversations.

Joel: The chat bot competitive landscape is, well, competitive. How do you guys differentiate yourself from the AllyOs, the Olivias all the others?

Eric: Yeah, so people sometimes ask us, are you a chat bot? And we say yes, but most chat bots are really about improving maybe a workflow or adding some productivity, but they lack candidate experience, they lack personality. And with Mya we have really engineered Mya to be able to engage with candidates, to make them feel comfortable, to encourage them to share insights. And that's a big differentiator for us in the market. We lead the industry in that area. And what it translates into is business results. We get a doubling of the number of completion rates of candidates going through the process, and it's a direct result of being able to deliver a really robust AI experience.

Chad: So where is your core competency with Mya today? There's so much that chat bots, or really engagement engines, can do, right? Where is your core competency today? Where are companies generally finding their sweet spot with Mya right now?

Eric: So today, we do a ton in sourcing. We activate passive candidates at scale. Our other core is around being able to screen and engage. This idea of having a continuous engagement throughout the candidate journey, that's seamless. What I mean by that is if I'm a candidate and I show up to a career site, I may have some questions, Mya can help navigate them, and then instead of ending the conversation Mya can say, "Hey, would you like to apply? Okay, let's take you through a conversation, we'll screen you, and we'll schedule you right there. And so it's an end to end process, and that's where we're getting so much traction in the market and seeing a lot of success.

Tanya: Do you take into account generational gaps? So for example, I go to a career site, I get introduced to Mya, and then Mya starts interacting with me and I'm assuming Mya's going to follow me, she's going to remind me, she's going to nurture me, she's going to try to get me to really be interested in whether it be that organization or that type of job that I was looking for. A 20-year-old or 25-year-old does not interact with technology the same way that a 45-year-old or a 50-year-old does. Have you taken into account the generational gaps? How do you plan on scaling your business so that it's not just targeting millennials and tech-ready generation, and is able to encompass the journey for the full demographic of people that are looking for jobs?

Eric: Yeah. I got you. It's a good question. And, candidly, we didn't know how different demographics would respond to Mya. This is really the pioneer in AI recruiting. We started engaging with different parts of organizations, different professionals, different age groups. And that includes both millennials but also engaging with folks that are retired. And so actually there's a company that does nothing but hire retired citizens that that really had a lot of questions about whether they would chat with AI. And what the data shares with us and tells us is that, in fact, we are seeing a universal engagement across any age group. And part of the validation of that is if you just look at the people that do text messaging. It's any age group, it's any demographic. It's just a universal thing. And so because people are so comfortable with it, and because our guiding principle is about engaging with candidates in a way that makes them feel comfortable, on a platform they feel comfortable with, and on their time, we're seeing, again, universal engagement levels, at any demographic level.

Tanya: How do you determine whether a candidate is active and interested, or if they're off the market? And how long are these conversations typically lasting?

Eric: Yeah, it's a great question. A lot of people have these massive CRM databases of candidates and they don't usually know exactly what's going on with those candidates, they age very quickly. And so for us, we use a part of our solution called Outreach to be able to use conversation through text or through WhatsApp app or other communication methods, to be able to check in with those folks with a personalized message, that says, "Hi, this is Mya, calling in behalf of your company. We'd love to just check in and see if you have a moment to chat." And then we ask some questions about where are you in your current career? And because Mya can handle complex conversations that are nonlinear, meaning someone may overshare.

Eric: When you're dealing with someone in text, they're not just going to say yes or no; they may tell you their life story. And it's incumbent upon our solution to be able to understand what's being said, to parse out those unique entities so that we can respond appropriately, and then bring that information back into your CRM so that, hey, this population of people, they're open and interested, and they're on the job market, and happy to engage with you. And we can even move them right into scheduling.

Isabelle: Mya's taking quite a bit of money and investment capital. I don't know the exact number, around 60 70 million?

Eric: No, no.

Isabelle: How much?

Eric: Half that.

Isabelle: Half that, okay. 30, 40.

Chad: 38.

Isabelle: 38, okay. Still a lot of money. What are you doing with that capital now, and what sort of enhancements are you building today that we'll be talking about a year from now?

Eric: Yeah, so we have really been pouring the capitol into R&D, to enhance our innovation and to expand the breadth of our capabilities. And so I think one of the questions earlier about what's the difference between us and some of the competitors, I think one of the differences that there's a market that is spending a lot of energy and awareness and marketing, and for us, we like to let Mya do the speaking. And so not only are we improving the quality of how Mya communicates, but we're also increasing the different ways that Mya can engage and support that candidate. Whether that's supporting your referral process for an onboarding, or it's having Mya speaking in multiple different languages at a quality level that exceeds what you'd get in a machine translation to build the confidence and rapport with those candidates.

Eric: And then building out, of course, all of our support services, which includes our professional services team, which is very involved in each deployment that we do. So we take a pretty different approach in that we're all about a very tailored workflow that matches your organization and makes the most out of what you've already invested in. So we're not disrupting your work flow. We're not asking you to suddenly do all texts to apply, or taking you out of something that you've invested in heavily in your brand. But instead we want to compliment that and make that better.

Chad: So Eric, so some of your competitors have actually deeply integrated deep partnerships with CRMs, applicant tracking systems, to be able to obviously have a megaphone to more companies. Can you give us some examples of those types of partnerships that you currently have with some pretty big platforms?

Eric: Yeah, sure. I mean it spans, sorry, the different markets, whether it's agency markets or enterprise. So we've done really integrations with some of the largest players, and that includes firms like Taleo, like Avature. We've got a deep partnership with Bullhorn. We work seamlessly with these so that we have a deep API integration, to be able to not only be able to pull information, to inform the conversations, but to push that information. And we're really proud of some of those relationships, particularly the one with Workday. So Workday actually put out a pretty comprehensive review of all the products in the market, so multiple iterations, RFIDs, multiple meetings, and came to the consensus that Mya best reflected or aligned with their brand and their goals. And so they selected us as part of their preferred emerging partner program.

Tanya: It goes a little bit on, on what you were saying before, but how does Mya differentiate between an active and a passive job seeker, and what have you put into place in order to optimize the conversion? Obviously it's a different journey for someone that is a passive job seeker to an active. So I'm assuming that your metric of success is to get that job seeker to hire, but have you optimized to be able to see what happens in the journey from passive to active?

Eric: Yeah, one of the themes that we learned is that if someone is a passive candidate, they're not going to have the patience to answer 20 questions. And so think of it a lot like a recruiter's cold call where you've got a brief moment of time to be able to capture their interest, to add some value, and to get them to share some information. And ideally, the information that they share is enough to help us qualify if we want to have them in for an interview. Or whatever the next step might be. Now an active candidate, obviously, is quite a bit different in that that person, they came to your site, they've expressed an interest. One of the first thing we might want to do is let's get their contact information through Earning, and let's have a very goal-oriented approach so that we are each step of the way helping this person find the right role, and to apply.

Chad: And thank you very much. Eric LaBadie.

Eric: Thank you.

Chad: Mya Systems.

Chad: This has been the Chad and Cheese Podcast. Subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcast, so you don't miss a single show. And be sure to check out our sponsors, because they make it all possible. For more, visit Oh yeah, you're welcome.

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