Bullhorn Rumble

Joel is on the record calling Bullhorn's Marketplace "bullshit". Enter Nina Eigerman, SVP Alliances & Biz Dev from Bullhorn who joins this episode to enlighten Joel and feed him his own words.

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SFX: 00:43 Hide your kids, lock the doors, you're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Chad Sowash: 00:59 Time for a 99 [00:01:07.24] Inaudible] baby.

Joel Cheesman: 01:17 Oh yeah. You want to get nuts? Let's get nuts.

Chad Sowash: 01:17 I'm going to dance.

Joel Cheeseman: 01:18 I'm going to dance. You're listening to the Chad and Cheese Podcast, HR's most dangerous. I'm your co-host Joel Cheesman.

Chad Sowash: 01:26 And I am Chad Sowash.

Joel Cheesman: 01:28 And we are pleasantly joined today by Nina, 99 loof balloons, Eigerman.

Chad Sowash: 01:34 That's right.

Joel Cheesman: 01:35 VP of alliances and business development at-

Chad Sowash: 01:41 Bullhorn.

Joel Cheeseman: 01:44 Listeners may remember a while back I referred to Bullhorn and their paid to play marketplace as bullshit.

Chad Sowash: 01:49 What?

Joel Cheesman: 01:49 So Bullhorn's credit, they said, "Hold the phone, we're going to get Nina, the pit bull, Eigerman, on a podcast with you to tell you how you got it wrong."

Chad Sowash: 01:58 Yeah.

Joel Cheesman: 01:58 So Nina, welcome to the podcast. And more than that, thanks for having the balls to come on the podcast to tell us where we got it wrong.

Chad Sowash: 02:09 Big applaud.

Nina: 02:10 Really happy to be here, and thanks for having me.

Joel Cheesman: 02:12 She's so nice. I can't do this.

Chad Sowash: 02:16 After all of the bullshit calling. Yes. But before we jump into that, first off, I would like to say, thanks for coming on, because as we do here at the Chad Cheese Podcast, we love to have companies on to be able to add more color and more information around our opinion/in some cases, bad research, Joel Cheesman.

Joel Cheesman: 02:40 And we love to rumble. Nina-

Chad Sowash: 02:44 Tell us about you.

Nina: 02:44 Sure. Happy. I am the VP of alliances and business development at Bullhorn, which means that I'm responsible for our marketplace and all of our partnership programs. I've been in the staffing industry for almost 20 years, done everything from working a desk to being out on assignment. I

joined Bullhorn after a brief stint as an investment banker and a longer stint as a consultant. So I have a pretty broad view of the ecosystem and I have a fondness for the staffing industry in general.

Joel Cheesman: 03:21 And as we learned, you like to steal your kids' headphones-

Nina: 03:26 I do.

Joel Cheesman: 03:26 When you're doing podcast interviews because they have way better equipment than you do.

Nina: 03:29 They do it. It's definitely one of the advantages of having children, there's always some electronics around the house that you can pick up.

Joel Cheesman: 03:37 Chad and I both appreciate. We'll get into the marketplace for a second, but I'm curious, the podcast goes live, I think even the title was like, Bullhorn is Bullshit. When you heard the podcast and our comments, what was your initial thought? Did you guys want a pipe bomb our houses? What exactly was the response there internally?

Chad Sowash: 03:59 How would you go to pipe bombing?

Nina: 04:01 No, no pipe bombing. I'm familiar with you guys, I know the style. It wasn't totally shocking to me that you would use the very obvious Bullhorn line, which we've heard before. But, I really wanted to come on because I felt that you really missed the point of the Bullhorn marketplace, which is that we love entrepreneurs and we love the ecosystem and we really want to foster innovation for recruiters and for staffing firms in general. And for you to say that the Bullhorn marketplace wasn't good for entrepreneurs, I was just like, wait, they haven't heard what we do. They don't know about how we spend time with companies and really help them to learn about staffing and recruiting and the ways in which staffing and recruiting are fundamentally different from Corp HR. Because we see a ton of entrepreneurs who come in, they have something that they either developed in Corp HR or that they've started to to sell into Corp HR and then they think, "Oh well we can just bring this over to the staffing and recruiting industry," and they don't have any of the right examples. They don't have the right value proposition. They don't understand the difference of the economics, the fundamental ways in which the staffing firm operates. And we spend time with them, help them get good examples, help them change the language of their marketing material so that it's more applicable for staffing and recruiting and really do a ton to help them.

Chad Sowash: 05:28 Nina, I get all that, and that's all warm and fuzzy and I love that stuff, but this was all really based around Joel's thought process of joining a marketplace shouldn't cost them anything. To be able to ensure that there's a low barrier of entry so that they can get their tech in front of these staffing companies, I think that was really the base of where Joel was coming from.

Joel Cheesman: 05:55 Yeah. And to add color, it wasn't you're anti-entrepreneurial, I think it was an anti-startup sentiment, that these companies don't have the money and you guys still aren't on record as to how much it costs to get in the marketplace. So I'd like to dig into that a little bit. But I don't think there's a sentiment that you guys are anti-entrepreneurial, I just have a problem with the toll that some of the ATS's and platforms are charging startups to get on the field.

Nina: 06:23 Well, I think you're cutting it fine to say that we're not anti-entrepreneurial, but we're anti-startup. I think that we're really trying to make sure that there is a low barrier.

Joel Cheesman: 06:34 They're the same to you?

Nina: 06:34 They're kind of the same to me.

Joel Cheesman: 06:35 Okay.

Nina: 06:35 We really help those startups, and I think the numbers speak for themselves that we've grown. We started the developer program, which is our entry level program for partners to start to develop on the Bullhorn platform, and we started that program maybe two and a half years ago and we now have over 70 companies that are in the developer program. And it is a very low barrier to entry. I'm not going to lay out all of the economics of the entire marketplace program for you, but I will let you know that ... I will tell you that the entry point for the developer program is a $5,000 annual fee. And to be honest, if you're not willing to invest $5,000 into developing for the staffing and recruiting industry and working on the Bullhorn platform, you probably aren't really committed to being in staffing and recruiting.

Chad Sowash: 07:29 Ouch.

Nina: 07:29 For that 5,000 you're getting time with the alliances team, you're getting a sandbox, you're getting access to developer documentation. You're getting your own API key. You're getting your

ability to really develop against the Bullhorn platform. And as I said, I think the numbers speak for themselves. It's pretty popular.

Chad Sowash: 07:45 Yeah. I think that was pretty much my stance when we were talking about this. From a cost standpoint, there are resources that are allocated for a marketplace, and to be able to charge for that, there has to be some kind of barrier to entry to an extent, to be able to demonstrate commitment. Because if it's free, and you'll see with some of the apps that are out there today, if it's free, then anybody can just throw an app in there. Right? So getting to to the actual marketplace strategy itself, okay, there is a barrier to entry, it is $5,000. What is the actual marketplace major strategy right now with startups? Is it to be able to provide a different types of tech and resources to your current clients or is there something else behind it? Because we know, and talking to the other applicant tracking systems, they're using marketplaces for different reasons.

Nina: 08:39 The real thing is, that we don't ever want to be a barrier for innovation. What we see is that every staffing firm is different and they really need to be able to tailor their solution, their technology stack to fit what they're trying to do. And Bullhorn as a platform enables them to have all that technology plugged into a single system and have access to that in a single pane of glass, as we like to say. Having all of your technology integrated is really great for the staffing firm and we don't ever want to stand in the way of the staffing firm being able to do that. So we have a very open policy and we talk to every company that applies to be part of the marketplace. We'll spend half an hour walking through a demo with them, understanding what they're trying to do. And as long as they're really a viable company as opposed to just a guy with an idea, they can join the developer program and be on track to be part of the marketplace. And then the criteria for moving from that entry level developer program into being a full marketplace partner has to do with the market acceptance. It's all about how many Bullhorn customers are using your technology. It's not about whether I think that it's a great technology and it's a brilliant idea, I've certainly been wrong before, it's really about whether our customers are buying it and adopting it. And if we have 10, 15 customers using the technology, then that technology can move on to be part of the marketplace.

Joel Cheesman: 10:10 And then at that point, you start talking about M&A. Right?

Nina: 10:14 Well, I think, I was talking to someone, one of my colleagues in the office, Vinda Souzaand she's like, it's not the only way that we do M&A, we have acquired a lot of companies that are more at part of the marketplace, but she was like, "Well, it's the same reason that you date people at work," right? It's proximity. We know these companies really well. You look at a company like Herefish, we've been working with these guys for a long time and [00:10:40.09] Crosstalk] seen the popularity among our customer base and seen the benefit that our customers have from working with that technology. And so, it was a natural acquisition

Chad Sowash: 10:50 Does the likelihood go up if you're in the market place for M&A, for those startups or does it even matter?

Nina: 10:57 I don't think it really matters that much. It's not really a criteria for entering the marketplace and it wouldn't be a reason that I would cite to someone that they should join the marketplace. I think the value of the marketplace stands on its own. And when you think about the access that these startups have to 11,000 customers who are in the staffing and recruiting industry, and being able to leverage our sales team to go out and talk to folks, I think it's really beneficial for them to be part of the ecosystem. And that should be enough of a reason.

Joel Cheesman: 11:36 We're not going to agree on this, and that's totally fine. I think for you to say five grand is no big deal is a little bit of hubris. I think there are plenty of startups that five grand is a big deal, even though they'd like to develop on the platform. I also think it's a challenge to say, "Okay, how many ATS's hiring platforms, whatever are there?" And if each one is five grand, then that quickly adds up to a lot of money for a lot of startups. So we're obviously not going to agree on whether five is a lot or not, or if they're not willing to spend five, then they're not serious about their business. I don't think we're going to agree on that, personally. I can look at, Apple is $99 a year to develop on their platform. Google is free. Slack is free. iCIMS is now free. I could go on and on. I think it's just a business decision that you guys have made to say, "We're going to make money on our platform and this is the fee to play on our platform." Yes?

Nina: 12:34 Yeah. I often will use the analogy about planned economy versus a market economy. I personally believe in a market economy and I think we need to deliver enough value to these companies to have it be worthy to them to spend the $5,000. And I want to feel like we're on the hook to do that. Free is not a good price point to create an economic exchange.

Chad Sowash: 13:02 The sustainability behind that, obviously isn't very easy, unless again, you're using this as a litmus test for M&A.

Nina: 13:13 It's not a litmus test for M&A, but it is a litmus test for the staffing industry, that sometimes people will say, "Well, I want to be on every ATS out there. I want to be part of every ecosystem." And they haven't really thought about the difference between Bullhorn and a Corp HR system, and the fact that we really are an end to end staffing platform and that it's really designed for the staffing and recruiting industry. And that piece of it, I want them to pause and think for a moment about whether this is something that's worth it, and then I want to be able to help them to have the resources to be able to help them really tailor their solution.

Joel Cheesman: 13:55 And there's also thinking creatively around, Apple takes 30% of everything you make on their platform, that's bought through their platform. There are creative ways to be accessible and yet make money on your end without having the hurdles that maybe you currently have.

Nina: 14:11 30% seems like a lot to me.

Joel Cheesman: 14:13 But if it's free to get on, and you only give you money if you make money, that's just a barrier that you could take down for startups and companies. Yes?

Chad Sowash: 14:21 The heroin drip.

Nina: 14:23 I think that that would not be in the economic best interest of the startups to do it that way, personally. But I'd rather match the value that we're delivering to the cost that's incurred, rather than having it be like, it's going to be free up front, but we're looking to stick it to you at the back end. I'd rather have it be like, we're going to charge you upfront because all of our costs are at that rate. We're spending time with you, we're validating the integration, we're making sure that this all works. We'll provide the sandbox, and at the back end, it's not going to be a 30%.