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Death Match Europe: CandidateID's Adam Gordon

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. 3, Adam Gordon CEO of CandidateID.

Enjoy this Uncommon exclusive.


INTRO: Welcome to Death Match Europe Part three of four. This Chad & Cheese Death Match episode features Adam Gordon, CEO of Candidate.ID. Death Match took place at TAtech on May 9th in Lisbon, Portugal at 5:00PM with a room full of Tatech practitioners. The bar was open and Chat & Cheese snark was a flowing. Enjoy this special edition, Death Match, from Europe after a quick word from our sponsor.

Chad: Dude, we're always talking about cool, new, tech, but it's hard for hiring companies to change. I mean, adoptions a bitch.

Cheese: Yep.

Chad: New tech can get them to qualified candidates so much faster.

Cheese: I know man, but recruiters already have their routine in place and nobody wants to jump into another platform especially when it's expensive and also requires hours maybe days of training.

Chad: Exactly. But that's where Uncommon's new service comes into play. Uncommon pairs expert recruiters with in-house kick ass technology.

Cheese: All right. Interesting, Interesting. It sounds like Uncommon understands the problem of change.

Chad: That's why they hand select veteran recruiters, train them on this kick ass technology that has access to over 100 million active profiles.

Cheese: Yeah, yeah, but I bet they're expensive and I bet it requires some kind of annual commitment or contract, right?

Chad: No, man. Uncommon is not an agency, they don't require a contract, any contingencies. All they do, they charge one flat fee per project. Saving, I don't know, anywhere from 50 to 80 percent on each hirer versus the average agency cut.

Cheese: Oh snap. Companies could save big stacks of paper especially if they're rapidly scaling and need hires today.

Chad: Yep. And all you have to do is reach out to Teg and the Uncommon crew at That's

Cheese: Change doesn't have to be a pain, if you're using Uncommon.

Announcer: [music] All right, Lisbons.

Chad: I need a beer.

Music: Ladies and gentlemen please would you bring your attention to me.

Chad: Hello everybody, hopefully, hopefully everybody have drinks. I mean, the bar is open. Hopefully, you're there, hopefully, you're on your second one or third at this point. Who's ever seen the Chad & Cheese Death Match? Anyone, anyone? All right. Excellent. So this it-

Cheese: Bad ass, right?

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

Cheese: What happened to the last Death Match winner?

Chad: They were acquired. [crosstalk 00:02:57]Yeah. Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Cheese: Big money. So there's big money and potential winnings-

Chad: You have mic right there.

Cheese: Oh there's a mic, okay.

Chad: There's a mic. Yeah. So today we have four, count them, four start-ups coming up to Death Match. They're going to have an opportunity to have a two minute pitch, no demos, no robots. Okay? 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 & A, okay?

Chad: He's the reason why we're wearing these silly things, they actually feel kind of good. We have Adam Gordon [music] from Candidate.ID... Bring it.

Cheese: All right. Aside from being really disappointed you didn't pick the Bay City Rollers to come in to, are you ready?

Adam Gordon: I'm ready.

Cheese: Two minutes starting now.

Adam Gordon: When the world's biggest pharmaceutical company told me that 70 percent of the people that they hired through LinkedIn were already on Twilio at the point that they reengaged with them unbeknown to the recruiter, I thought that sounded crazy. So I asked some other multinational employers if they had this same scenario. And they said, "Yes." So I knew we needed to fix it.

Adam Gordon: Fast forward three years and our customers our hiring 50 percent more people per recruiter. I'm Adam Gordon, I'm Co-Founder and CEO at Candidate.ID. Candidate.ID allows employers and agencies to distribute content to its candidate database through email, text message, and social media. Crucially, it tracks every interaction with your content when you open an email, when you open a text message, when you click a link on a social media message, or other social media posts. When a candidate clicks a link through a landing page on a career site or a corporate website. It's tracking all of this activity and each touch point awards points based on a balanced scorecard.

Adam Gordon: The benefits of doing this, number one, you reduce your time to shortlist by 50 percent. Number two, you know what each candidates done, what their history is been, therefore, recruiters know what to say to them when pick up the phone. Number three, because Candidate.ID is learning what each person's behavior is and what therefore they like in terms of content each person's getting a personalized experience. Number four, from a source of hirer perspective you've got very, very detailed tracking.

Adam Gordon: Number five, from a GDPR perspective you can show legitimate interest as the legal basis of processing because you know what each candidates been doing and they have a relationship with you. There's 23 of us based in Glasgow and London. We work with... some companies I might tell you when I get some questions.[applause]

Tanya: Hi Adam, I heard you say earlier about long term nurturing. What is the scalability of long term nurturing? As a business, how do you measure the effectiveness? What if that lead does not turn into a conversion for me so... Are you helping businesses focus on specific metrics? Or are you encouraging long term nurturing with the hopes that this turns into a possible conversion?

Adam Gordon: So a few different questions in there. Well, a few different answers for that question.

Tanya: I know, I know.

Adam Gordon: So the first thing is, yeah absolutely. If somebody has been inactive for a period of time they come out the database and you start nurturing them. So if they haven't done anything for 12 months, they are automatically encrypted or deleted. And what that means is that automatic GDPR compliance. So the only people that should be within your talent pipelines on Candidate.ID are people who have been displaying some kind of interest even if its only that they been opening occasional emails to do with noncareer related things.

Adam Gordon: So in terms of scalability, with automation scalability is infinite. You can put a million people into your talent pipeline on Candidate.ID and Candidate.ID knows what each person is going to respond to based on that person's behavior. So completely scalable.

Tanya: How do you weigh the generational gaps or the difference between blue-collar work or specialized professional skilled candidates that are coming through your pipeline?

Adam Gordon: So Candidate.ID is absolutely most effective in what we would crudely call the white-collar area where candidates are not acting like consumers. And they're not making decisions on Diet Coke. They're making decisions on a much more considered purchase kind of basis. So those people that are really, really hard to move, you've got to do a lot of long term kind of... or maybe medium and long term nurturing with. That's the people who Candidate.ID is most effective in terms of shifting. The first aspect of the question was to do with waiting generational-

Tanya: Or is there a generational difference?

Adam Gordon: No, there's no generational differences, but if I've got a talent pipeline for software engineers and there's people who are in their twenties and there's people who are in their fifties in here it doesn't make any difference because it's all about the individual's behavior. It's highly personalized. If I'm responding to content about skills in a video format through email and you're responding to content about industry insights in an infographic format through text message, you and I get different behaviors. Our age doesn't make any difference. It's automated, so highly, highly scalable.

Cheese: You recently announced an infusion of investment capital. What are you currently doing with that capital? And what do you intend to do with that in the future to grow the company?

Adam Gordon: So we don't intend to do anything with that in the future to grow the company because we're spending it all now. We spent it on accelerating our product road map-

Cheese: You get points deducted for snark, by the way.

Chad: No.-

Cheese: No, we don't.-

Chad: -Points added on.

Adam Gordon: We have... We've spent it on accelerating our product road map. So we've created a CRM, which will be available for free to anybody who wants free recruitment CRM as of July. And... And the second thing that we spent it on is building a sales team. Up until now we haven't had one. In order to generate our Fortune 500 customers like IQVIA and IBM and and companies like that.

Chad: So you're spending money on a CRM and I've heard you say in passing that CRMs are shitte.

Adam Gordon: What?

Chad: So why... Why, why-

Adam Gordon: That's paraphrasing. I definitely didn't say that.

Chad: Why, why spend money on something like that?-

Cheese: He has a witness.

Chad: Yeah. Why have... Why spend money on something like a CRM if you believe that it's actually not the answer and that you have other areas-

Adam Gordon: Well, there's two reason for that. The first is because it's... We're... By giving a free recruitment CRM away we're actually proving what value we would give to a recruitment CRM. Okay? Zero dollars, zero Euros, zero pounds, zero yen. And also because to be quite frank you would not put Candidate.ID straight on top of success factors or straight on top of a work day. There is a functionality gap there.

Adam Gordon: So recruiters probably would not live within Candidate.ID if we didn't have that functionality. Bill Berman told us we need to become a CRM three years ago. We told him to go that way and not come back. So we've got a bit of a roundabout way of doing it, but it's free.

Tanya: Just so I understand, how do you differentiate yourself from a CRM, an ATS? What is that extra value because I want to hear it out loud that you feel that you bring to the market that can't be accomplished using an ATS or a CRM.

Adam Gordon: So I believe that's a very, very easy question to answer, a CRM is a system of record which stores information and enables workflow. Candidate.ID is a system of engagement which actively on an automated basis nurtures a talent pipeline and shows recruiters which people are cold, warm and hire ready. You cannot do that in a CRM.

Isabelle: What is your monetization model? Are you doing it per hire or per engagement?

Adam Gordon: Candidate.ID is available on a SAS basis. It's monthly fees. We're one of the few businesses in our industry that are transparent about that. We have a light version, which is 1,500 pounds a month. There's a mid-tier version between 50,000 of up to 50,000 candidates, 3,500 pounds a month. And then between 50,000 and 200,000 candidates it's 5,500 pounds per month. Above 200,000 candidates, we go for whiskies, or a walk on the beach and we agree with the prices together.

Cheese: I appreciate the desire to nurture the candidates that are A, B level candidates. But inevitably, there are Ds and Fs. So how do you count for the candidates that companies don't want to keep in touch with?

Adam Gordon: Really straight forward, the recruiter would then disable them from receiving ongoing communication. Or just simply delete them out of Candidate.ID. So there's a bit of manual work there, if somebody is rejected under a silver medalist and they were brilliant, but they didn't quite get the job they stay in Candidate.ID. If they turn up for the interview and they're drunk, they probably get removed from Candidate.ID. That's a bit of manual work.

Cheese: So why would you dis... Dis a drunk candidate? Why would they be... I'm kidding. Go head, Chad.

Chad: So does Candidate.ID have an active and passive methodology to be able to pull candidates in, so being able to blast jobs maybe programmatically, to be able to pull candidates in as well as a dipping into the applicant tracking system or perspectively the CRM that a company already has?

Adam Gordon: Most organizations would import their candidate database from the ATS in the first instance. And that would be the first... Candidate database they have within Candidate.ID. And then from there anything they're sharing on social media or on their career site or anything like that, any high value content might need unlocking through a form. So the candidate would fill in their name and email address in order to access that high value content and to agree that they're happy to receive future communication from that organization.

Chad: So quick question, just follow up. With... With all that information are you providing that in a deep integration into the ATS or their system of record so that they don't have to jump from system, to system, to system.

Adam Gordon: Interestingly, Candidate.ID for the bigger organizations the FITSI 100, Fortune 500 type of organizations, they're not doing any kind of integration at all because Candidate.ID is getting run by a special sourcing team or a recruitment marketing team. For more of a mid-tier sized organization they could do a light touch connection whereby each candidate's engagement score sits on their profile at the ATS. Or it could be a full bidirectional sync where the information is going in each way in... Not real-time, but 10 minute intervals.

Tanya: Okay, I'm going to ask you as a... From a candidate's point of view, I can clearly see the value in your organization. If I am in your pipeline, what is Candidate.ID do to me? How are you tracking me? How are you communicating with me? How often are you communicating with me? And are you going to get to the point of being annoying?

Adam Gordon: Candidate.ID's entirely anonymous to you. You do not know it exists. It appears to come from PepsiCo, that's the first thing. Second thing is based on your behavior, that then determines what the cadence of communication is going to be to you. So if you're looking at content about skills and that's it, then you might get something every 10 days. Whereas, if you're deep into the career site you might get something every three days until you get to the application phase.

Adam Gordon: So highly personalized. And there's a lot of advice that we've got a team of experts in our business who can provide alot of advice to organizations around the tactics for this because there's a... There's a elegant way of doing it which really works. And there's a crass way of doing it which is really going to piss people off.

Isabelle: So piggybacking off of that, you're collecting a lot of data on when the drop off points are when candidates stop engaging. Do you consult your clients on maybe best practices on how they can improve their strategy if you start seeing issues? Or that their candidates are not following that nurturing process?

Adam Gordon: Yeah absolutely. We have a customer success team for people in that team. They're highly experienced in talent nurture and customers can phone them up anytime or send them an email and say, "This isn't really working very well. How can I make this better?" And we'll advise on things as simple as the subject heading of your emails isn't good enough and needs to be more compelling. So yeah absolutely, we provide... We've got a lot of expertise in our business. It's probably, actually the number one right now, the number one US-P we have. Is we're... We're a center of excellence for talent pipeline nurture.

Cheese: What's the greatest threat to your business and what's the highest hurdle?

Adam Gordon: The greatest threat is Chinese copycats. Come on, that's a joke. The greatest threat quite honestly is... It... I don't know. It probably is bigger talent acquisition technologies looking at what we're doing and going, "Yeah, we can copy that quite easily." And they might be able to do that, but what they'll find very difficult is the know-how within our business because as I said we've created a center of excellence for how you do this. And what's the highest hurdle? I mean, the highest hurdle probably is internationalization for our business, so.

Adam Gordon: Our customers are probably 40 percent USA businesses, 40 percent UK, 20 percent elsewhere. Almost all of that has gone in through London. We've done London, London, London nowhere else. So all of our American customers have been in London first and then in the USA. Internationalizing is going to be a real challenge because the way they do these things in Germany is very, very different to the way they do things in here, in the UK.

Adam Gordon: Sorry. And the USA is just an absolutely huge market that there's a million different ways of getting it wrong. So there's far more snakes than there are ladders. And so we need to be very, very careful about how we approach that.

Chad: Who's your biggest target when it comes to clients? Because obviously staffing is looking to be more efficient, but also Fortune 500 really sucks at this. Who's your... Who's your biggest target right now from a priority standpoint?

Adam Gordon: SRP businesses. And the reason for that is because we firmly believe they have the right teams, the right knowledge, they're tech savvy, their recruitment marketing savvy, they're sourcing savvy, and they've got lots of customers.

Cheese: Who are you currently partnered with on the RPSI?

Adam Gordon: Sure. IBM, Capital, PeopleScope. A couple of others, but that's three pretty decent sized ones.

Tanya: What markets are you currently available in? What are your plans to replicate your product or your services in other languages in other markets? And do you have plans of... Of globalizing your service?

Adam Gordon: We're available in every market that uses the version of the World Wide Web that probably everybody in this room uses. So we cannot access North Korea's intranet and that's probably not a market for us. Pretty much anywhere else including Japan, we've just started. So it doesn't even matter if they use roman numeral, if you use a different kind of language format, that's fine. The user interface is available... So nurturing candidates in any language is absolutely achievable and straight forward.

Adam Gordon: The user interface is only in English; however, by the end of the year there will be other languages that will be available within. And our plans are absolutely to be an international organization.

Chad: Give it up for Adam Gordon, people.

Adam Gordon: Thanks very much.

Ema: Hi, I'm Ema. Thanks for listening to my dad. The Chad and his buddy, Cheese. This has been the Chad & Cheese podcast. Be sure to subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you don't miss a single show. Be sure to check out our sponsors because their money goes to my college fund. For more, visit

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