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A.I. Can't Replace Recruiters

Probably one of the most enjoyable podcasts you've listened to this year or ever. Yea, it's that fun and good!

They say never meet your idols. They also say don’t fall in love with new tech. OK, the latter saying is less popular, but Andreea Wade, VP of product strategy, says it, and that’s why we wanted to chat with her, live at iCIMS Inspire in San Diego. Andreea’s also a winner of Chad & Cheese’s Death Match competition - and we love her - so there was plenty of reason to hangout. Andreea is kind of a big deal when it comes to AI, has strong opinions about ChatGPT and enjoys a good convo about bias.


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.

Joel: All right, we are live from iCIMS Inspire overlooking beautiful, gorgeous...

Chad: It is fucking gorgeous. That's just Andreea.


Chad: Oh no. Oh, there it is. A little less gorgeous, we've got...

Joel: The whales you know what staring right back at us from where we are recording our podcast today.


Chad: San Diego.

Joel: Yes. Yes. Yeah. This is the Chad and Cheese Podcast. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheesman. Joined as always, the Ron Burgundy to my...

Chad: Champ.

Joel: Champ. Yes, that's good. [laughter] Chad Sowash. Today we are excited to welcome Andreea Wade, VP of Product Strategy at iCIMS. And more importantly...

Chad: Yes.

Joel: Former Death Match winner...

Chad: Death Match winner.

Joel: Of the Chad and Cheese podcast. Andreea, welcome.

Chad: In Lisbon.

Andreea: Yes.

Chad: Lisbon Death Match winner.

Andreea: I know.

Chad: That was the start of the journey.

Andreea: Yeah.

Joel: Think about who she beat.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: She beat Candidate ID. Hello, Adam.

Chad: Yeah, Adam Gordon.


Joel: She beat the recruiting robot. Hello Tengai and Elin.

Chad: And Eric from Maya.

Joel: Yes.

Chad: Yes, Eric from Maya.

Joel: We hardly knew you.

Chad: We hardly knew you and Maya was sold at a fire sale, but that's okay. It was a good time. You came out on top.

Andreea: I did.

Chad: And you got the Chad and Cheese Death Match medal...

Joel: She brought Connemara by the way. I'm not saying that that was a decision making bottle of whiskey that you brought, but it may have been.

Andreea: I did. [chuckle] But Adam brought something too.

Chad: Just so you know, I didn't get any of that.

Joel: He brought kilts.

Chad: Yeah, I didn't get any of that. So where are you housing the Chad and Cheese medal that you won?

Joel: Oh, this is good.

Andreea: It's in the office.

Joel: Yes.

Chad: It's in the office?

Andreea: And the office is all glass.

Joel: Yes.

Andreea: So everyone can see it.


Andreea: It's visible to everyone. And every time a new team member joins, I take it off the window ledge where it sits, and I go, "Hold this. It's heavy, isn't it? I won this." And then I go into a little tank and then like...

Joel: Do you ever wear it interviewing people and just see what their reaction is?


Chad: Okay, so listener, listener, you gotta understand, this is a rope gold chain with a big old medallion with our dumb cartoon heads on it that says Death Match Winner. It's big.

Andreea: It's big.

Joel: Like three inch circumference gold chain.

Chad: Andreea's about 4'5.


Andreea: Yeah.

Chad: So her wearing this, it makes it look even more immense than what it is.

Joel: Yeah, it is awesome.

Andreea: Yeah. Do you know that like I didn't get that in Portugal 'cause you guys didn't have it. So you gave it to me in Austin and I was traveling to Vegas, and I only had a hand luggage. So I had to go through security with this thing.

Joel: Did they take it out of your luggage?

Andreea: Yeah.

Joel: Awesome.


Andreea: And everyone saw it and he was like, "What is this?" [laughter] I'm like, "I'm a world champion."


Andreea: Yeah, it was hilarious.

Chad: That is the best.

Joel: That is great.

Chad: That was in Austin?

Andreea: Yeah.

Joel: In Austin, so they took it out and they like held it up.

Andreea: Yeah.

Chad: It's kinda like Lion King. [laughter]

Joel: The thing is that's on security cameras, that's archived somewhere. Yeah.


Andreea: Yeah.

Joel: That is fantastic.

Andreea: Yeah, I was like, "Long story. Yeah, I won it."

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: And I won.


Joel: And we chose wisely because not shortly thereafter, you were acquired by iCIMS. Talk about the acquisition and how that went down and what your new role is at iCIMS.

Andreea: So acquisition 2020, my current boss, Al and Mike Will Chuck was the Chief Strategy Officer and someone who worked with Mike, Chris, they come over to Dublin in January, 2020. And then we all know what happens in March, 2020. Long story short, we went through an acquisition during the pandemic where I also got COVID. And I was coughing on all the due diligence calls.

Chad: How bad was it?

Andreea: Very bad.

Joel: I didn't know that.

Chad: Was it really bad?

Andreea: Yeah, yeah.

Chad: Did you have to go in a hospital?

Andreea: No, but I had like lung pain for three months, I couldn't sit back. It was...

Chad: Like brain fog and stuff?

Andreea: Yeah, yeah. All of that.

Joel: Did you say three months?

Andreea: Yeah.

Joel: Yikes.

Andreea: Yeah. And we had neighbours signing witnessing acquisition papers because it was a lockdown and nobody else could. So I would go, "Hello neighbour, can you sign this thing?" And over the fence as well because we couldn't see each other. So it was sort of fun. Not really. But it was great at home.

Joel: It's a good thing she's so healthy like me. That's how I would've handled COVID. [laughter] So you get acquired and then how's the onboarding go? How does working with Algo, integration?

Andreea: I was just saying it to Julie there, your lovely wife Chad, that I didn't have many bosses, but Al is definitely the best boss I've ever had.

Joel: Awww.

Andreea: Yeah, I totally love Al. So yeah, onboarding was great. I have to say the experience of being acquired for us by iCIMS was great. The first nine to 12 months were on, fully on. I would have like 12 meetings a day and I would not know what my name is at the end of the thing. So it was intense. But we achieved the plan earlier than projected. Everything went fine.

Chad: Let's talk about your tech currently in the platform 'cause a lot of times what we see is we see the tech absorbed into like a bigger platform, and literally like only a fraction of a percentage of what could be used for it, it's used. Like we saw that with HireVue and with AllyO. They're like using it for like...

Joel: Well, you're looking at me while Al is demoing some of the new stuff and you're like, "Europe." Because most of the stuff has been Europe acquisitions.

Chad: Yes.

Andreea: Oh yeah.

Chad: It was Candidate ID and it was Right? So talk about how much of the technology, just the scale of the technology that they acquired and then you've actually now like grown since then.

Andreea: A lot of it. Most of it, to be honest. So when we got acquired...

Chad: Are you happy with it being a founder? Because most founders leave like within six to 12 months because they're like, "Fuck this, they're shit-canning my stuff." But you've been around for a while now.

Andreea: Oh yeah. I mean, I did take some of the months off last year.

Chad: Yeah. Well, you should after, I mean, a little sabbatical. Yeah.

Andreea: But most of the tech that we built is there. It's throughout the platform. It's in the ATS, it's in the CRM. It was in the CRM already because Jibe was our customer. So when iCIMS acquired Jibe and when iCIMS integrated Jibe into the platform, our tech was already in there so the acquisition also kind of happened that way.

Chad: Oh, yeah. Did you hear that kids? That's the recipe. Deep integrations.

Andreea: Yes.

Chad: Yes.

Andreea: Deep... I mean, 100 billion percent.

Joel: Not just the tip, Chad. You gotta go deep. [laughter]

Chad: I know, yes. Yes. [laughter] It's always the reaction you want to get out of Andreea.

Joel: Yeah, and you never get that when you're on a recording.

Chad: Just the long laugh.

Joel: Only live. Only live.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: So, you talked a lot about the risks of AI. You talked about hallucinations. You talked about garbage in, garbage out. For those who aren't here at the conference, talk about the risks of ChatGPT and other AI solutions.

Andreea: I mean, look, there are many. ChatGPT has been racist, has been making up stuff, has been inaccurate. And not just ChatGPT, right? Now, the vendors, I was on a call the other day with Amazon, they have their own version of generative AI. It's everywhere. There's a lot of open source stuff. But really, I mean, accuracy is key. So whatever you unleash it, if you unleash it as a chatbot that will tell you I don't know what, even if it makes up that the salary is not 70 grand, it's 94 grand or whatever, right?

Chad: Yeah.

Andreea: So you do need to watch out for accuracy, obviously fairness, building responsibly, ethics, all of that kind of stuff. And then there's other security, privacy and whatever concerns, who owns the data?

Chad: It has brought fanfare, right?

Andreea: Yeah.

Chad: And it's made AI, everybody's been talking about AI for years, and we've really not seen anything out of it because it's been behind the scenes.

Andreea: Yeah.

Chad: Now it's not behind the scenes anymore so everybody wants them some AI. Is that not a good thing for the industry?

Andreea: Is it a good thing? It will be eventually.

Joel: Not today.

Chad: It was like the original car. Was the car a good thing? Probably it wasn't great. No, it broke down all the goddamn time, it sucked. It was horrible.

Joel: Eventually, it'll be amazing.

Chad: But yes, it's our primary mode of transportation.

Andreea: Look, it's accessible right now, right? So everyone can play with it. I mean, I have a friend who's in the hospital right now, she's having brain surgery on Friday. So I asked ChatGPT to write a poem for her. And I was like, "My friend likes alpacas and she likes Greece and she likes... " I fed it all...

Joel: Your friend likes alpacas.


Andreea: I don't know. I just...

Joel: Was she raised... Oh, you're making it up. Okay. I thought it was a real life example.

Andreea: No, no, no. It is. It is a real life example.

Joel: Okay. Does she breed alpacas?

Andreea: No, she just likes the way they look, I don't know.

Joel: She just likes them, okay.

Andreea: So anyway, I fed this to ChatGPT. ChatGPT wrote the most beautiful poem, which I sent to her. And what a cool thing to do, right? Or you have DALL·E or you have all these things. It's accessible. You don't have to be a data scientist to play with it, to go, "Oh, my God, what this thing could do." But it's accessible by the masses, not necessarily for a task A or B, it's to play with. But when you're asking it something and you want for sure to tell you 100% the most accurate, the most whatever story, that's when things change.

Joel: Got it.

Andreea: 'Cause it's not.

Joel: Tell us about iCIMS Talent Logic.

Andreea: Yes. Well, it's not called that anymore. [chuckle]

Joel: Well, tell us about whatever Talent Logic used to be called, 'cause according to my notes, it's currently called that. So wherever I got it, LinkedIn, it's changed.

Andreea: It's changed.

Chad: Okay, so Andreea doesn't spend a lot of time on LinkedIn.

Andreea: Oh, did you get it from my profile? I must update it.

Chad: Probably.

Andreea: Yeah. So it's called Talent Cloud AI now. TCAI.

Joel: Oh, Cloud AI.

Andreea: Yeah, yeah. Talent Cloud AI.

Joel: So tell us what that is.

Andreea: That is the multitude of all AI that exists in all the iCIMS platform. So it's Talent Discovery, it's CV to CV match, it's career pathing that we're launching right now. All of that is TCAI. And you can buy it or not. You can...

Chad: If you're dumb, you don't have to buy it, but you can.

Andreea: You can turn it on in the system or not. But yeah, it's the AI across CRM, career side, ideas and so on.

Chad: My favorite AI, which I feel you guys are really leaning into and tell me if I'm wrong, is companies have not leveraged the biggest asset that they've spent money on over the years, and that is their candidate database.

Andreea: Yeah.

Chad: They spent hundreds of millions of dollars in some cases. That database is there, it's atrophying. They've got a bunch of silver medalists, bronze medalists who didn't get the job but they would be perfect for that next job maybe a week later, a month later. You guys, I want a little bit more in depth from you. You guys are actually matching against that first to surface those candidates so that companies don't have to spend that dollar again.

Andreea: Again, yeah.

Chad: Talk about that.

Andreea: That's exactly why was founded when it was. So I never worked in TA, I never worked in HR. I had no idea of any of this. Opening was built by candidates, right? Me and my co-founder, we were not really understanding why when I send my CV and I know that I am somewhat a good fit for the thing, I just disappear in this black hole and I'm gone. So from a candidate perspective, which again was the world that I knew, we built this tech to find relevance if relevance is there. And that's exactly what we did. So we built these deep learning models that go in there, mine the data that you have and surface that relevance. So that is talent discovery now and you have it in the CRM, in the ATS and so on. And that was the very first API, if you wish, that we built and the quintessential reason for even that company existing.

Chad: We usually don't see founders from outside the industry come into the industry. And it took how long for you to get acquired?

Andreea: Five years.

Chad: Did you get... Five years?

Joel: She's a snowflake.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: She's a snowflake.

Chad: Totally. I mean, that to me is amazing because you did understand the problem.

Andreea: Yeah.

Chad: And usually you can understand the problem, but you don't know how to sell it into because HR is very hard.

Andreea: Oh, we had no idea.

Chad: Yeah. Adoption-wise, all those things.

Andreea: No.

Chad: What do you think the key thing was for you as a founder to make that connection to maybe a system or a client, what do you think that was? Because you're, again, you are more like, I mean, literally like a unicorn/snowflake.

Joel: She's a Yeti surfing across the San Diego waterfront.



Andreea: Whatever a Yeti does.

Chad: I don't know what that was.


Joel: Whatever a Yeti is.

Chad: I don't know.

Joel: You're a leprechaun.

Chad: I don't think...

Joel: You're a Leprechaun surfing.

Chad: I do not think a Yeti makes that noise. But okay, we'll go with that.


Joel: Surfing the California seas.


Andreea: Okay. That image is disturbing. Look, there was a lot of trial and error, we had... We did understand the problem, but we had no idea. We knew nothing of the industry. First we were like, "Oh, we're just gonna sell this to employers," but we don't have a product. We have APIs. How are they gonna buy the API and what?

Chad: Yeah, I get you, yes.

Andreea: And then the second thing was we kept getting approached by agencies and we're like, "Oh, agencies. Oh, but we do have to, they don't really have tech people and we have to connect into their systems and we are not Accenture or something."

Chad: So you needed some type of a middleman is what I'm hearing, right?

Joel: A translator.

Andreea: We ended up in the end realizing that where our market is is vendors, other HR Tech, TA Tech companies. But it took us a minute.

Chad: That's a episode that we just had with Chris Conrad, build...

Joel: Buy or partner.

Chad: Buy or partner.

Andreea: Yeah.

Chad: And you guys went straight into that. And I think that there are so many vendors today who feel they can go direct to market. Well, you originally thought you could do.

Andreea: Yeah.

Chad: And then you're like, "No, this can't be done. It's too complex. There's no way they'll be able to adopt it, use it, integrate it. We're gonna have to do it through a partner."

Andreea: Yeah, yeah. Exactly. And again, it took us a minute to figure that out, but when we had the right people in the room, we knew when we had product people in the room and they had a business case because we were a deep integration, it wasn't just a thing that you would, I don't know, buy separately. So you had to have a business case of why would you use this third party thing and plug it into your engine and so it was definitely a learning curve because we, again, did not know the industry.

Chad: How about your partnership with Microsoft, how did that help? Did it help? Was it more a fanfare and PR or did it really help you and the team?

Andreea: It was PR to some extent. But we did get great exposure, great intros. The team in Dublin was super, super helpful to us. So they were willing to do anything and everything. They were like, "Okay, well, we can go to Europe and we'll get a bunch of HR professionals or TA professionals together and we can do these round tables and you can, I don't know, we can take you into Brussels and we can sell to government," and whatever. Everything was a lot bigger that we could...

Joel: Ooh, Brussels.

Andreea: I mean, you're open site, so these are the things that you could do.

Joel: So you were a newbie to the industry, now you're a veteran.

Andreea: Oh God.

Joel: What does recruiting look like in five years? And do we need recruiters in five years?

Andreea: Hi, we repeat it, come on.


Andreea: You're not replaced. It's like every year something is replacing, or every minute.

Chad: That is the answer I love to hear. "Oh, come on."


Andreea: Yeah, we're not replacing people and jobs.

Joel: "Come on you fucker, what are you talking about. What's wrong with you." [laughter]

Chad: "Give me my lucky charms."

Joel: "Fucker."


Andreea: Fuck off.


Joel: I got nothing.

Chad: Oh yeah. I think we can wrap.

Joel: Yeah. I think you... Unless you wanna answer that question.

Andreea: Look, it'll be more of the same but more automated. Maybe some a bit more intelligence in parts and maybe equally dumb in others.

Joel: The more things change, the more they stay the same.

Andreea: Oh yeah.

Joel: Andreea Wade, everybody.

Chad: Yes. Death Match winner.

Joel: She is the VP of Product Strategy, but more importantly, a former Chad and Cheese Death Match winner. Andreea, if our listeners wanna connect with you, where would you send them?

Andreea: Probably LinkedIn, Twitter as well. But I'm different on Twitter.

Joel: She's very active on Twitter.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: If you so choose.

Chad: You gotta get on Twitter and then follow JustforZiggy.

Andreea: Yeah. [laughter]

Chad: JustforZiggy.

Joel: That's right. Always a pleasure to talk to Andreea. And with that, Chad, another one is in the can.

Chad: We out.

Joel: There goes that surfing leprechaun. We out.


Outro: Wow, look at you, you made it through an entire episode of the Chad and Cheese Podcast. Or maybe you cheated and fast forwarded to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back. Valuable time you could have used to buy a nutritious meal at Taco Bell, enjoy a pour of your favorite whiskey or just watch big booty Latinas and bug fights on TikTok. No, you hung out with these two chuckleheads instead, now go take a shower and wash off all the guilt, but save some soap because you'll be back. Like an awful trainwreck, you can't look away. And like Chad's favorite Western, you can't quit them either. We out.


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