FIRING SQUAD:'s CVO Arran Stewart

An old URL with a lot of new ideas - including blockchain, paying job seekers and a credit card (yes, credit card) - but we'll see how the company does against 40 years of industry experience. Chad & Cheese run CEO Arran Stewart through the firing squad ... gotta listen to see how he does.

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Chad: Now, that is impressive. Not just Jordan's dialect, but Talroo's commitment to ensuring that companies looking for hard-to-find talent not only find the talent, they find a partner in Talroo who works hard to join and engage their community. Way to go, Talroo. This rum is for you.

Jordan: Don't be a bilge-sucking scallywag. Avast! Use Talroo to hire better.

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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 fox hole and duck for cover, kids. The Chad and Cheese podcast is taking it to a whole other level.

Joel: Oh yeah. It's been a while now. Firing Squad is back. We have one of the most elusive company's startups in the space-

Chad: Stealthy.

Joel: is with us today. Arran Stewart, who is the chief visionary officer. Puke. He must be a millennial. Arran, welcome to the show.

Arran: Hello, gents. Thank you so much for having me on the show and you are correct. I am a millennial. Yes.

Joel: I knew it. I knew it.

Chad: God damn it.

Joel: Oh, God. I know. That's just not a good thing. Arran, no one knows you that's listening. Give us a quick elevator pitch on you and then we'll get to the company.

Arran: Sure. So, my name's Arran Stewart. I'm originally from a town called Luton just north of London, but I live in Austin, Texas now. I've worked in recruiting and staffing my whole career. Previously prior to, I was actually the owner of a business that was part of Hamilton Bradshaw in the United Kingdom, which is owned by quite a famous person there called James Caan, a king of recruitment especially in the United Kingdom. Yeah, I'm kind of obsessed and love recruitment technology and, outside of that, I'm married with four beautiful children.

Joel: Nice job. Chad.

Chad: Did he say James Caan like the Hollywood actor?

Arran: Yeah, the actor. Yeah. And do you know what's so funny? The name and spelling is the same too. Yeah. Same spelling, but if you Google James Caan, there's two. There's Caan, the actor, and Caan-

Joel: KAHN!

Arran: -the businessman, he founded Alexander Mann.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: I do know them,

Arran: Yeah, he founded that and sold it for an inordinate sum of money.

Joel: So you love recruiting and you have four kids. Have you had a therapy session in the last 24 hours?

Arran: No, not yet.

Chad: This is going to be it.

Arran: I need it.

Joel: You might need your head checked. Yeah. Well, Chad's going to run down the rules for you.

Arran: Okay.

Chad: All right, Arran. You are going to have one minute to pitch Now, generally on the show startups come on, companies come on, they need the full two minutes. But when we got on the phone with Arran he said, "Fuck that. We are going to take one minute for the pitch." And at the end of the bell you know your minute is up, right. So the bell's going to start you and then obviously you have a minute to hit it. After that minute, Joel and I are going to hit you with rapid-fire Q and A. If your answers aren't concise and you start bumbling and stumbling around we're going to hit you with the crickets and tell you to tighten your shit up. At the end of Q and A we have a rating scheme here at the Chad and Cheese podcast. Big applause means you killed it, you nailed it, can't wait, we want to buy stuff.

Joel: Boats n Hoes

Chad: Yeah. Golf clap means you might be on your way, you need to tighten it up a bit. But the firing squad, that means you'd better take your boat-

Joel: Bye bye.

Chad: -and drive off shore as far as you possibly can and dump this business model into the fucking ocean.

Joel: Go back to that shitty town you're from in Scotland.

Chad: That is Firing Squad. Are you ready?

Arran: I'm ready, gents.

Chad: Excellent. Joel, hit it, man.

Joel: One minute, starting-

Arran: So, is a automated permanent-staffing platform utilizing artificial intelligence and blockchain to deliver a permanent placement candidate for only 7% of the base salary. So we're 65% cheaper than the statistical average in the United States. The fee is the most exciting part. We split it into two. We take 2% of the fee and the other 5% is given to the job-seeker as a salary signing bonus to incentivize them and congratulate them on taking their hiring into their own hands.

Arran: Because of the use of blockchain technology we're trying to create a fully autonomous platform and by using rewards and incentives we allow users to take control of their own recruitment because they're the ones with the skills, the experience, and the education. They apply for the job, they ace the interview, why on earth aren't they the person earning the lion's share of the fee? And because of that we believe we have such a unique model which will drive and change the $150-billion-dollar-a-year recruitment industry of which $26 billion is being spent on permanent staffing.

Chad: There it is.

Joel: Wow, very nice.

Chad: Very nice. One thing we didn't get though, if people want to find out more about this wonderful service, where do they go, Arran?

Arran: Very easy: it's called

Chad: That is very simple.

Joel: Which is where my first question comes in. What is the history of Because you weren't the first to own it. What's the history of it, how did you guys come upon it? What kind of check did you have to write to get the name? Talk about that.

Arran: Okay, so was founded in 2001. It was founded by a guy called [Brian Algin 00:06:27], who still works with us in the business today. It was originally a job board and had quite immense success, actually, towards around 2009, 2010. And then as time's gone on there's been increased competitiveness with Indeed's Hit Recruiter, Glassdoor, and so when we were on our acquisition trail coming here to the US we kind of heard on the grapevine through mutual connections that Brian was looking to exit the business. He'd reached the point in his career where he's been very successful and he's been one of the founding fathers of job boards in the United States. He already had offers from another major job board that we all know, but he was kind of interested in what we were looking to do for the future of recruitment. We went to see him, pitched our vision, what we're trying to achieve, and the changes we were going to make and so he agreed to exit the assets of the business to us and that completed in September 2017. Now sadly, gents, I cannot tell you-

Chad: Damn it!

Arran: -the size of the cheque that we wrote. But I can tell you [crosstalk 00:07:35] but I can tell you this, let's do some, let's do some head maths. had $60 million double opt-in registered job seekers listed on the platform. They had thousands of clients and also had a domain name called which arguably could be the most expensive domain name in the world, easily, because of obviously, talking about an industry that's pegged to be worth a trillion dollars globally by 2021-

Chad: Plus it's three letters, it's on the dot com domain.

Arran: Three letters on the dot com, at, yeah, top domain. And also it has a very high Moz ranking and domain reputation ranking because it's such a legacy domain. So there's many different factors that kick in and tick, more money, tick, more money, tick, more money.

Joel: I don't think anyone's dropped D Moz in a Firing Squad, ever. So, good for you, to bring that up. Yeah, this is. Every URL is dot I-O and dot I-I and we've sort of forgotten the whole arms race of dot coms. So this is sort of an interesting story.

Chad: Where did come from, though? It sounds like this was also a part of the deal. and I mean those are both, dot net obviously not worth as much as dot com but-

Arran: Still expensive.

Chad:'s been around for a very long time and it has a hell of lot of trust as well.

Arran: Yeah, yeah. That's exactly right. And what we've done is we've kind of split them into two because my background has always been recruitment and staffing, but specifically job boards, so we were like, "Right. Let's introduce an automated permanent staffing solution with" So is not a job board. We're a staffing agency. We operate as a staffing agency. We only get paid if you get successfully hired. All the typical things that a staffing agency does. But then is our typical job board. It's what I would call an aggregator. So we aggregate content. Jobs can be posted on us, there's resume database search, because we also own Zillion Resumes, I don't know if you're familiar with that, but we own that, too. And so all of that's kind of packaged together to offer just a traditional job board solution, aggregated solution, and then the other tier is

Chad: So, that leads me to my next question., different model than, different model than ActiveHire, different than Zillion Resumes, different than MyJobMatcher. I mean, you have so many companies that are going right now. How are you not spreading yourself too thin?

Arran: It's funny you should say that. Look at it this way: it's like they're all shop windows to one central database. You know? So they're all parts of the supply chain. So when you think, and you guys know this, I mean, everything starts in life as a click through Google, typically, looking for a job, then it turns to an aggregator, then it turns to a job board, then it might go to a staffing agency, then it ends up going to the hirer. What we've tried to do is create channels and windows that take a bite out of the cherry at every possible journey of the job-seeker's process. So, MyJobMatcher and are pretty much the same. MyJobMatcher's very much legacy, it was the business we started, but operates in exactly the same way but with a much better domain name. So we kind of shifted everything to that. ActiveHire, again, very similar. It's still there, still attracts traffic, still attracts users, but the effort's into Zillion Resumes, which is just a database resume service has then just powered the resume database servicing, and then you've got, which is staffing.

Arran: So really, we actually only have two businesses running. You've got a job board, and you've got a recruiting staffing agency.

Chad: That job board has matching in it though, too, right? I mean, the MyJobMatcher, is that another piece of technology that's different, or not?

Arran: Yeah, no. No, so it's the matching technology that powers all of the platforms. All of the platforms use the same artificial intelligence and again, they all have opportunities for machine learning points, different touch points. We like to kind of say, and I'm happy to kind of talk through this, "We're a technology business that happens to work in recruitment." And we very much are. I mean, I'm a big tech evangelist and geek and that's the key to what we believe is our innovation and success, is our technology.