top of page
Indeed Wave.PNG

Death Match: CloudRPO

Welcome to Death Match, Europe 2020, part two of four. This Chad and Cheese Death Match episode features Nick Gray, founder at CloudRPO. Unlike most Death Matches, this one took place online (thanks COVID-19!).

But never fear! The home bars were open which meant the pints were full and the Chad and Cheese snark was flying. Pontoon Solutions provided third judge Craig Rhodes ... and warning: that dude is a pit bull.

Enjoy this exclusive TAtech presentation, powered by Pontoon Solutions.


Chad: Welcome to Death Match Europe, digital edition. This Chad and Cheese Death Match startup contest episode features Nick Gray, founder at Digital Death Match took place during TAtech Europe Digital on April 28th with a virtual room full of TAtech practitioners. Judges, Chad and Cheese were joined by Craig Rhodes of Pontoon Solutions. Who will become Death Match Grand Champion and walk away with the Death Match Chain of Champions, you might ask? Well, you're going to have to listen. Enjoy, right after this word from our sponsor.

Joel: Hey Chad.

Chad: What's up?

Joel: Dude, all the cool kids are talking about RXO and I just have one simple question.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: What the hell is RXO?

Chad: Typical Cheese. Maybe if you'd stop dogging on millennials for two seconds, you'd learn something.

Joel: All right. Stop busting my chops and break it down.

Chad: Okay. RXO stands for recruitment experience outsourcing.

Joel: So not rotten xenophobic overlord?

Chad: No. And nobody does RXO like our buddies over at Pontoon Solutions.

Joel: Poontang Solutions.

Chad: Okay. Stop being a 13 year old for a second. Pontoon Solutions transforms the overall candidate experience and recruiter experience with cutting edge technology and optimize processes. Pontoon Solutions doesn't just lift and shift operations, they architect better ones. Your brand and people deserve to be priority one. Your talent deserves more than just being a part of the process. They deserve a great experience.

Joel: I like it. But what kind of companies need RXO?

Chad: Well, if you're a hiring company who spends way too much on recruitment agencies and maybe have weak talent pipelines or you just have a nonexistent or bad employer brand and employers need to do more than transform their current recruitment processes, they need consistent and tech driven experiences. Those companies, pretty much just about all companies out there because they suck at it, they need RXO.

Joel: Nice. And with people on the ground in over 32 countries and six delivery centers

Chad: Damn.

Joel: Pontoon Solutions strikes the perfect balance of global and local support. Dude, I'm down with RXO, where can I find out more?

Chad: Hit them up at and transform your talent acquisition strategy now.

Joel: Roger that.

Chad: Poontang.

Intro: 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: All right. Are we ready? Welcome to Death Match kids.

Joel: Whats up?

Chad: The quarantine version. That's right. Generally, you see us on stage, but this time you get an opportunity to actually see us from our glamorous home.

Joel: So pretty. So pretty. I showered today Chad, how about you?

Chad: You're asking a little bit much.

Joel: I'm sorry. TMI. My bad.

Chad: Yeah. For all those TAtech stalkers out there, welcome to Death Match. Death Match is a competition that pits for innovative, early stage companies against one another. Four enter, and only one leaves anointed as Death Match Grand Champion, with the ability to wear the Death Match Chain of Champions.

Joel: Should I go pull it out?

Chad: You should never pull it out.

Joel: I won't pull it out. It's too intimidating.

Chad: Yeah. Today you'll get the opportunity, Nick, you're going to get the opportunity to be judged by our guest judge, who is Craig Rhodes. Put your hands together kids. Right. Craig is a technology business person, partner at Pontoon Solutions.

Joel: He is a person.

Chad: Tell us a little bit about that. What is that Craig?

Craig: I get to play with tech, really. Clients come to us and we built technology for them, and I get to say who goes in on tech stuff. No pressure there.

Chad: No pressure?

Craig: No, of course.

Chad: Especially being Cloud RPO. We also have judge Cheese, that's Joel Cheesman kids. You all know him. Y'all love him. And then myself, judge Chad.

Joel: Hello.

Chad: Both of us co-host The Chad and Cheese Podcast. Here's how Death Match will work for all you newbies, Nick from, not SBOJ but Cloud RPO

Joel: We'll get to the bottom of that in a second.

Chad: You will have two minutes to pitch Cloud RPO. At the end of two minutes, you're going to hear the horn. Then Craig, Joel, and myself with it, we'll hit you with rapid fire Q and A until your 15 minutes is up. 15 minutes of fame, my friend. Be concise or you're going to be penalized. Start dancing and you'll get the bullshit button. That's exactly right.

Joel: Let's hear the bullshit button. What's it sound like?

Chad: Yeah. Sounds like

SFX: Get it prepared. Warning. Bullshit alert.

Chad: All right. All right.

Joel: You don't want that.

Chad: So any questions Nick?

Nick: No, I'm good.

Chad: Excellent. You ready, Joel?

Joel: I'm ready. Two minutes.

Chad: Let's do this.

Joel: Starting.

Nick: So, thank you for having me. As our tagline, recruiters organized suggests, Cloud RPO is a new platform which manages interaction between employers and recruiters. Cloud RPO aggregates candidates from recruiters in the same way that Rightmove in the UK or [Zulu [00:06:13.06]] in the US aggregate properties from state agents. Our proprietary algorithms allow employers to safely search data for recruiters in order to provide seamless access to the best tab. Cloud RPO is not a recruitment marketplace like Bounty in the US or Hiring Hub in the UK. Using the same property analogy, this is the equivalent of posting your property requirements and asking you state agents to send you houses. By allowing employers to search candidates from recruiters, RPO is a new concept in the recruiting space. The benefits of this platform shift are obvious. By removing the need for a preferred supplier agreement, employers gain access to a wider pool of talent whilst ensuring compliance and spend. Employers can browse details from any recruiter in a safe environment and choose whether to engage. The platform managers duplication and eliminates conflict between suppliers and cuts down on sales calls in general noise from recruiters. Candidates details are partially redacted, which provides a significant boost for hiring quality and diversity. Cloud RPO is a freemium product, it's totally free for employers. So why would recruiters engage? Recruiters have a 24/7 shop window to advertise their candidates. They can therefore concentrate more on sourcing good candidates than making spective sales calls. Data is processed by algorithms, not humans, so Cloud RPO is transparent. Recruiters can make applications in confidence. We know that employers don't really want to use recruiters to fill their roles, they'd rather that direct applicants respond to adverts who use their in-house talent team. However, the size of the recruiting dictates that they still do. Cloud RPO simply seeks to make this process as time efficient and thorough as possible. The ultimate aim is that employers can have seamless access to the best talent, easily comparing the best applicants for their roles, be they direct or from recruiters. By simplifying the dealing with recruiter space, Cloud RPO allows employees to concentrate on direct sourcing. Please visit to find out more.

Joel: That was tight.

Chad: On.

Joel: Well done.

Nick: I've been doing it for about two hours.

Joel: You read very well.

Chad: Nick's always tight. All right Craig, go get him.

Craig: So, one of the key things for me is getting people to adopt new technology, but anyone that's tried to do this, it's pain, real pain. So what can you do to help me get your technology adopted for my clients?

Nick: Well, I think the key point is that there's a lot pain in dealing with recruiters already. In terms of managing a PSL and having people that ... Because basically not every recruiter is always going to be on your PSL. So you're still going to have thousands of other companies that are calling you up asking to get on your PSL, et cetera, et cetera. So by adopting our solution, that makes the whole thing a lot simpler because it cuts a lot of time and pain out straight away therefore, it makes sense to do it. Obviously, change is difficult and you're totally right to point that out, but it makes sense to do so.

Joel: Nick, I got to ask about the name change. You knew I was going to do it.

Nick: That was quick.

Joel: Yeah. It's probably my only question

Chad: Right up front.

Joel: ... That matters. You did a Firing Squad with us a while back and you were SBOJ,

Nick: Jobs spelled backwards.

Joel: Jobs spelled backwards, which I didn't know that when we first talked, and when you clarified, that was nice. But we had fun calling you spooge and all that other good stuff. Talk through the name change. Why the name change? Why did you go with Cloud RPO?

Nick: Well, it's difficult because obviously, I think it's quite new and it's a bit of a change in the system of how people deal with recruiters totally. So I thought that we could have something that was totally random and a different name, even if it was just a cool name, which I think is kind of cool. But, the problem we've had with talking to people is like, "Well, I don't understand the name. It doesn't really make any sense." And people are getting a negative view of things before we've even talked to them about what it is or try to explain it in any way. Hence we've gone to this RPO thing because we do have a lot of ... We've added some extra stuff where we can have more of the RPO details. So, companies can be specific about the recruiters or the recruiters have to sign up to certain policies that we add to the system, et cetera, et cetera. So we can function like an RPO. Obviously, that's something we can expand in the future. And really it's a case of when we call somebody up and say, "We're cloud RPO," people are like, "Oh, okay. I know what an RPO is, but I've got no idea what SBOJ is. You might as well have turned up from Mars."

Joel: And all the kids love cloud, so the millennials are hitting this right with Cloud RPO.

Nick: Well, exactly. The logo's a little bit sort of Skype, I'm not really sure what [Crosstalk [00:11:02.18]

Joel: Yeah. You don't see clouds in any logos.

Nick: No. There's no clouds anywhere on it. We don't have a lot of clouds in the UK anyway, so we're standing here, today.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: So RPO, recruitment process outsourcing. Craig knows a little bit about this, Pontoon Solutions. And I would assume that you would be focused on trying to partner with those organizations because they're already doing that, they more than likely need your tech because of some of the obstacles that you were talking about. Who are your currently partnered with in the RPO space to be able to actually drive the adoption that Craig was talking about?

Nick: Well, as you know, we changed our name like two weeks ago to more of the RPO thing.

Chad: But you haven't changed the model though, right?

Nick: No, the technology, that's the same thing.

Chad: Right, right, right. So it's always been [Crosstalk [00:11:58.25]

Nick: But we've always created the technology in the sense that we could partner with other people, be it, whoever is. It's an original technology, we have our own algorithms that process things completely independently from what anybody else ever does. So it is a model that people could easily adopt, people could work with this however it goes, et cetera, et cetera. So it's a thing we're open to and obviously it's lovely to speak to Craig, I didn't really know that many people Pontoon anyway, there you are.

Chad: You're welcome.

Nick: And we, really it's a tech piece. We're not a company allowing people to process information they've already gotten the more efficient way, we try to make the whole sourcing piece more efficient in the first place. Which is kind of working.

Chad: You're using RPO in your name. What kind of research ... You went from jobs spelled backwards to RPO, which is an entire industry, right? What type of research did you guys do to say, RPO Just makes sense? Number one. And number two, I would automatically think that you guys were pushing on the partnership side with those RPOs to be able to help them drive a bigger EBITDA.

Nick: Yeah, certainly. Certainly, to answer number two, that's something that we're very keen to look at, see where we are, because obviously it's taken us a lot money to develop our product from a technical perspective and we're effectively getting into the place where we need to try and roll it out, get people using it, et cetera, et cetera. So yes, we're open to that. In terms of research, your answer to your first question, it's a new thing, and when we spoke to a lot of people in the industry who understood what we were doing, they're saying, "Well, it's kind of like an RPO." It's like a technical RPO rather than having a managed portal or something tha people put their stuff on and it's a smart RPO in some ways. So that's why we start to go down that direction now. Obviously I think RPOs do a lot of fabulous things and many things that we probably don't, but that doesn't mean that we couldn't integrate with them or do some of that stuff in the future.

Chad: Got you.

Craig: I have a question Nick.

Nick: Go ahead.

Craig: If you're opening up a job to basically the entire market using your technology, how do you staff every man and his dog submitting every man and his dog? That's a lot of work for the client to go through or me sat there as a recruiter going, all right, I've got 4,000 applicants today because every agency not on our PSL, is trying to get on the PSL.

Nick: Yeah, that's a really good question. And that's a growing piece as well because the more data we have through things, the more we can decide the agents that are good in certain areas and we can score them and work them, et cetera, et cetera. But also the ultimate idea is that employers search, so rather than a recruiter sending a load of staffing, which might be great or might just be totally random, an employer can search that person. So it kind of turns it on its head. In the same way, as I explained with estate agents, you don't just say, "Oh, I need a house. Send me houses." You just search for the house you want in the first place. Right?

Joel: Your service is free for employers. Talk to me about your revenue model.

Nick: Our revenue model is certainly on the perm side is effectively if you make a placement, the recruiters bill us, we bill the employer, we take 10% off and then we pay the recruiter. Effectively, we take a 10% cut of the fee, so unlike recruitment marketplaces where people have to sign up, they pay a sign on fee, et cetera, et cetera, ours is a freemium thing where they only basically ... It only cost them money when they make a successful placement.

Joel: Right. And I say there's a 90 day stay period before money exchanges hands and

Nick: Yeah. Well, we have short terms with employers. I don't know obviously, how quickly they'll pay us, but we will then pay, we guarantee the rebate as well. We guarantee the rebate, so we keep the money from the recruiter until the rebate period has passed. Effectively, we invoice the ... Depending on the terms that the employer suggests. It's like Apple, when you download something from Apple, you don't get a choice to whinge about the terms and conditions, you either do it or you don't. So in that way the employer can stipulate the terms, which means that they can play in the environment, play in the sand pit successfully, well, safely.

Chad: Going back to, again, some of the things that Craig was talking about. First and foremost, submitting, you can submit anybody and everybody, number one. Number two, how do recruiters do that? What's the current process methodology for recruiters to actually get candidates in the database?

Nick: Currently, essentially, we've got a process where we basically check the data for duplications. They add certain things. We look at about a hundred fields [Crosstalk [00:17:04.23]

Chad: But how do they get them in? You're past what I'm talking about.

Nick: Basically, they have to add them.

Chad: So it's manual?

Nick: Yes.

Chad: Okay.

Nick: Obviously, there was some elements of it which we can parse, et cetera, but a lot of the categorization has to be manual because otherwise it isn't specific enough to allow people to search. Because the data you get from searches relates to how well it's put in in first place. People don't put it in decently.

Chad: Isn't that what's parsers are for? Isn't that what parsers and your algorithms should be doing? Because you're looking at the prospect of garbage in, garbage out with human beings. So, isn't that why we're moving toward AI and machine learning to try to get rid of all that crap?

Nick: Yeah, of course. So, parsers can finalize the adding the CV bit and they can read the CV bit that people add.

Chad: Right.

Nick: It's a bit like a LinkedIn profile really, but the categorization has to be done by the recruiter. So the recruiter points out where they think this person, their skills are best done, because without doing it's a bit impossible to do.

Chad: What about managing duplicates? We talked about this on the last show. How are you currently managing duplicates? Number one. And number two, how are recruiters getting credit for the candidate? Because again, I could go back and put a two year old database in the system manually at this point, but somebody else could put better data, better candidate data in, and I win because I was first. Is that still how the system works? Or is it better, more full profile win?

Nick: The system works on a 28 day period. The first person who adds to the data, assuming that we match the data, which is based on, as I say, about a hundred fields. I'm not going to go into that because that's all proprietary stuff. Assuming that the first person would own the candidate for that 28 day period, but if they basically didn't do anything with them, they had no interviews, nothing progressed, then it is free to be moved on to a different recruiter. Which is better in the system now because what happens is people add things to like a specific portal and the data's just locked in there for six months, they're not really sure if they own it or not, et cetera, et cetera. For recruiters, this is a big step change, I think a step in the right direction.

Craig: So is ownership done in the whole incense, if one recruiter brings a candidate on, they own that candidate regardless of job clients or is it per client, per role?

Nick: It would depend on the candidate. One of the processes is that we identify if the candidate is a duplictae or been on there before, and if the person is new, then yes, you're right, they would own that person for 28 days in respect to anyone. Because obviously, the employer can reverse search, so they can look for a person who has to be attached to an agent. Now we have a whole set of rules and algorithms that govern who is it, who owns that application based on past applications, based on time served, et cetera, et cetera. So it's a big complicated system and that's [Inaudible [00:20:14.19]

Chad: And there we go.

Joel: And that's the bell Nick.

Nick: Yeah.

Joel: Thank you for being the first ever live streamed or recorded streamed Death Match participant. For those out there that want to know more about you, where do they go?

Nick: So really just It's new and we've done a beta test, and it worked really well, in fact, better than we thought it was going to. We're just at the point where we just changed the name and we're just getting things going. So, reach out and get in touch and we'll see what we can do.

Chad: Excellent.

Joel: Pretty good.

Chad: Thank you so much Nick. We out.

Joel: We out.

Nick: Thank you.

Chester: Thank you for listening to, what's it called? Podcast, with Chad and Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology. But most of all, they talk about nothing. Anyhoo, be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. We out.

bottom of page