FIRING SQUAD: Applichat's Adam Chambers

Is it a chatbot? Is it a Facebook advertising platform? Is it bound for global domination? Well, let's not get carried away here, but Applichat brings its goods to the Firing Squad. To say Chad & Cheese are split on this one would be an understatement. Opinions clash on this episode for sure.

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Intro: Like Shark Tank? Then you'll love Firing Squad. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to put their 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. Chad and Cheese podcast is taking it to a whole other level.

Joel: Oh yeah. Firing squad is back. Mark Cuban ain't got shit on us.

Chad: That's right, bitches.

Joel: What's up, Chad?

Chad: What's up, Cheese?

Joel: I feel like it's been a while. My gun's a little rusty.

Chad: It sounds like a personal problem.

Joel: I did have my vasectomy recently.

Chad: My shit's all oiled up and ready to go.

Joel: You're all lubricated. Nice. Nice. I've got to get that going. All right, on today's Firing Squad, please welcome everybody, Apple iChat, or I mean Applichat, or I mean apply chat. We'll get to that later, but Adam Chamber from startup Applichat, I'll go with that, is here straight out of Belfast, calling in from Mexico. Adam, welcome to the show.

Adam: Hola, chicos. Good to be here. Thank you.

Joel: What the fuck did you just say?

Adam: You don't want to know.

Joel: You fecker.

Adam: Fecker.

Joel: I was going to ask Adam what his favorite Irish whiskey was, but from his LinkedIn profile he looks about 13 so I won't ask.

Chad: Which means he's been drinking for about 10 years.

Joel: That's why he's in Mexico.

Adam: Daintily poised on 10 emoji cushions right now.

Joel: Yeah, that's right. Baby bottle. That's what he had growing up in Belfast. No. Welcome to the show, Adam.

Adam: Thank you very much. It's good to be here. I've been listening profusely. Perhaps too much.

Joel: Long time listener, first time start up on the show. So Adam, give us a little bit about you, which I'm guessing is about two years of professionalism. And then Chad will describe the rules to you. And then we'll get into it.

Adam: Sweet. Okay. So, hi, my name's Adam. I'm 22 years old. I left university with thinning hair and big ambitions, but I couldn't find a girlfriend and I didn't really fit in back at home. So I decided to start a business and move to Mexico. So I'm here, single, bilingual, ready to mingle with some HR podcasters. Yeah, marketing's always interested me for about 10 years since I was selling virtual football card in school. Now I'm applying the skills I've learned over that time to make recruitment less stressful, because life's too short for wasting time on boring hiring processes.

Joel: You are living the gen Z dream basically. I'm a little bit jealous,

got to know. All right.

Adam: What gen are you?

Joel: I'm a gen X-er as this chat. A little known fact about us is we are a day apart. He is one day older than me officially.

Adam: Okay. Older and wiser.

Joel: Yeah, so you would have been born in what year? My math is not good.

Adam: 1997.

Joel: '97 very nice. All right, Chad. Well for being on the firing squad, tell him what he's about to win.

Chad: All right, Adam, you will have two minutes to pitch Applichat. At the end of those two minutes, you will hear the bell. Then Joel and I will hit you with rapid fire Q and A. If your answers start to suck or they ramble or they've just taken too long Joel's going to hit here with the crickets. This is your signal to tighten up your game. At the end of Q and A you will receive one of these three. Either a big applause, get that bank account ready. Golf clap, you're getting there, but you can do much better. Or, this is what you don't want, the firing squad, hit the bricks, close up shop, pull out the drawing board because that shit needs to go home. That's the firing squad.

Joel: Grab a Corona, get a siesta and reevaluate things.

Chad: That's right. Are you ready?

Joel: Any questions?

Adam: Yeah. What sort of guns are you using?

Chad: Those are M240s.

Adam: I see you brought it. Okay.

Joel: Do you know your guns? What, were you in the IRA or something? What?

Adam: No, I was a bomb maker. Anyway, let's go. All right.

Joel: You guys are so quick. All right. Are you ready to pitch your product?

Adam: Absolutely.

Joel: All right. In three, two...

Adam: Okay, I'm on Instagram every day, know the job boards and LinkedIn combined, but finding and hiring them has been historically difficult for recruiters. Successful odds require experience and budget per targeting leads to hoards of unqualified applicants. And crucially, many recruiters aren't aware that 98% of Facebook's ad revenue comes from mobile clicks. Making people leave the platform. If you're a normal mobile optimized career site turns otherwise interested talent away to the next cut picture. This raises cost per application and it loses you revenue and opportunity on the world's largest pool of passive candidates.

Adam: That's where Applichat comes in. We help high volume recruiters source automatically pre-screen and allocate candidates directly to their ATS. Our solution uses Facebook ads and Messenger to provide a seamless conversational application without disrupting your charge workflow. So I'm going to talk about the process now. Number one, we set up six creative ads which provoke the engagement, which Facebook's algorithm favors. Rather than saying we're hiring, all ads must focus on the audience's peons and tell their own story. Number two, all the clickers are introduced to the role of Messenger while simultaneously being pre-screened by the talking job ad.

Adam: The chat bot messaging and follow ups makes it impossible for basically unqualified people to waste time on applying. And it sends automated follow ups to the 90% who usually don't apply immediately. If they are qualified, they can then make an application through Messenger. They can book an interview straight into recruiters' calendars or be sent to a prefilled application form. It all takes place on the same interface where people are used to informal emotional interactions such as love, joy, longing, desire, the reasons people change jobs.

Adam: So our best results have seen 70 HR staff free to do more productive work, 50% drop in cost per hire, and a decrease in interview no show by 40%. And since launching six months ago I've learned a lot, and we've been working really hard for handle full of clients based in the Philippines.

Joel: Thank you, Adam.

Chad: Thank you, Adam.

Joel: For our listeners, where can they find out more?

Adam: So if you want to find out more, go to and you could get a 1,000 phones, $1 referral bonus.

Joel: And spell that for our listeners.

Adam: A-P-P-L-I dot C-H-A-T forward slash cheese.

Joel: Right on, Chad. Get him.

Chad: Giving them the cheese. So I heard something in there around anti ghosting magic. Tell me a little bit about your anti ghosting magic. We've heard it from other chat platforms, but what makes yours different and why? Was it 40% that you were cutting on the no show rate? Tell us a little bit about that.

Adam: Yeah, so because we're using Facebook Messenger, people are always in the inbox. And compared to email, it's about four times the open rate. So to decrease that interview no show we just sent every couple of days or so updates, help, and advice about the interview. So instead of kind of forgetting about it or disregarding it, people are constantly being checked in with, being made to feel that they were valued and that they should actually go to the interview. So yeah, it's quite make people happy and what actually do-

Chad: So the platform is predicated on Facebook Messenger only, is that correct?

Adam: Yeah. So right now it's focusing just on Facebook Messenger, just to keep things kind of hyper focused, kind of use that as a springboard in the future to expand into text.

Chad: Okay. So what differentiates you from the other bigger players that do Facebook already, but they also branch out and they do SMS, they do WhatsApp, they do all these other social messaging mediums? What differentiates you and why should a company come to you over them?

Adam: So the major differentiator is we run the ads for recruiters. Recruitment job ads on Facebook have the lowest click through rate of any category and 50% less than real estate. And the problem is just recruiters don't know how to do it. They don't know what the algorithm favors and they post stuff which doesn't get promoted by Facebook ahead of more engaging advertisements. So where other platforms simply make the chat bot, we take a bit of the sourcing burden on Facebook and actually manage your ad campaign for you.

Chad: So I feel weird that a gen Z is relying so much on Facebook for their business. I feel like I'm talking to an old gen X-er like us. Do you feel like you're putting too much into Facebook? Don't you fear that from a demographic standpoint younger people aren't using Facebook? And is that a major threat to what you're doing?

Adam: So I think younger people still definitely are using Facebook, especially Facebook Messenger. A while back at university, everyone was deleting it to focus on their studies, then they went and redownloaded it a week later. But they still have Messenger because they want to talk to their friends and they're not going to delete their friends from their lives. I'm kind of focusing in a lot on the Philippines especially, and there about 90% of internet users have Facebook. Their largest is the 25 year olds generation Z demographic. So I mean it is definitely a risk using Facebook as the center of the business and I've been told that by other people, but for now I'm kind of happy to use that as a launch pad because it's such a big opportunity and no one's really focusing on providing sourcing solutions on it either.

Chad: You mentioned a lot of countries, are you targeting a certain geographical area? Is it something for everyone? Marketing wise, what's sort of the focus for you?

Adam: Yeah, so the focus at the moment is the Philippines. It's kind of the candidate reason and the market reason. So Philippines, we spend more time online than any other nationality. As I said, they've got a national average age of 25 compared to 30 in the USA. Because more than 90% of the internet users are on Facebook it's a big opportunity to start streamlining the recruitment process of all the outsourcing companies in the Philippines. So the outsourcing industry is like call centers, customer service, and they're expected to need to hire a million people in the next five years. And they have a massive problem of pre-screening. So everyone wants to apply to these jobs because they're so well paying and above the national average. So I kind of see myself as coming in and raising the amount of people who are actually successful from applying there.

Chad: And what percent speak Gaelic?

Adam: Well I don't even speak Gaelic, so I couldn't tell you.

Chad: So are you focusing on staffing companies as your core client? I mean, who is your target in the Philippines? If you're looking to go after companies, are they companies? Are they recruiters? Who's the product actually for? Who are you trying to sell to?

Adam: So the industry is called BPO, which stands for business process sourcing. Essentially Americans are paying the Philippines to do some of their kind of less skilled jobs, unskilled jobs, but they just want cheaper labor. So the industry is worth several billion dollars and it's kind of on top by companies like mine which provides chat bot solutions. So it's really those BPOs. And the good thing is they're not so risk averse as I find staffing companies in the UK to be. So they've been founded by American - Australian entrepreneurs here just going into a new market and they're kind of more open to taking advantages to stuff like this.

Chad: Instead of going straight to the middleman, which is the BPO, why not start hitting the RPOs in the US who aren't as risk averse as they are in the UK or the EU? Why don't you start going after the big pile of money? Because this is where the money's at. Obviously you can go to the Philippines, and obviously they've got a great penetration rate for Facebook, but is that where the money is? And is that where the longterm strategy should be for you to be able to help an already outprocessing type of strategy versus going straight to where the money is in the first place?

Adam: Yeah. That's a really good point, actually. The way I saw it was it was so well received whenever I went to Philippine and companies and the EP was in the Philippines that this would be a really good kind of testing ground because there's going to be so many applicants going for these roles. So it's more of a low hanging fruit for me, the American RPO market. That is on the roadmap when the company grows a little bit. But yeah, it was just sort of a matter of low hanging fruit to be honest with you.

Chad: So what about this building of ads? Obviously recruiters can't do ads. They're, not marketing professionals to try to train them up to do this. It's just not what they're built to do. And in most cases it's not why they got into the job in the first place. So from my understanding, it sounds like you actually build ads. How many ads do you build per job and how is that facilitated in Facebook?

Adam: So as I said, we start out with six ads, and the point of that is to find which one works the best. So the three different combinations of images and text and then three different audiences. We would go onto their Facebook ads manager, create those, connect them to the chat bot, and then after a few days or so we'd cut the two worst performers. After another few days we cut the two worst four performers, until we have the best performing ads. And this is where it's really different from programmatic where you've maybe only just put one ad up. On Facebook you really want to be testing to find out what your audience is and what your message is. That's what we focus on. So we take off the testing burden.