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AI’s Future in Talent Acquisition from a Rainy Scottish Beach

In this episode, Chad and Cheese, joined by Matt Alder, brave the typical Scottish weather from the comfort of a van parked on North Berwick Beach. The appalling weather and fog set the scene for a hilariously insightful discussion on the future of talent acquisition. Expect plenty of snark as they navigate topics like AI’s inevitable takeover, the rapid pace of tech evolution, and why you should never trust two American whiskey fans with a 14th-century spiral staircase.


They also humorously lament the state of recruitment tech, with Joel dreaming of a pub on the infamous Bass Rock (spoiler: there isn’t one), and Chad promising topless glass legions that never materialize. Enjoy laughs and sharp predictions on AI’s impact, the commoditization of ATSs, and how small companies might leapfrog industry giants by embracing new tech faster.


Tune in for a rollercoaster of insights and laughs, all served with a side of Scottish rain. Don’t miss this unique blend of tech talk and travel tales from HR’s most irreverent voices.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION


Podcast Intro: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HRs most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman 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.


[music]


Matt Alder: Okay. So we had to give the castle a skip on the grounds of appalling weather, fog obliterating the views, and also two American whiskey fans, who I'm not quite sure I would trust with a 14th century spiral staircase.


Joel: It is on a ledge, correct? It is on a ledge cliff.


Chad: Okay. There are two of us. I think there's one that you would trust with that.


Joel: Oh, come on. Come on now.


Matt Alder: So we are now, I'm now introducing...


Joel: That thing survived, how many? Three?


[laughter]


Matt Alder: Hundreds of years. Hundred hundreds of years.


Joel: It'll survive me.


Chad: It's not about that thing. It's about you surviving it. Yes.


Joel: Okay. My bad. It'll survive me. Just not the other way around.


Chad: I need you around for a few more years.


[laughter]


Joel: We're now, I'm now introducing everyone to the traditional British summertime activity, but it can be done outside of summer, of going to a beach in the rain and sit in your car looking out the window, so.


Chad: I was promised glass legions that are topless and I don't see any anywhere.


Matt Alder: It's just the wrong temperature.


Joel: And Asian with Canada goose jackets.


Matt Alder: Puffy coats, yes. It's a mix. So yeah, so we're in North Berwick, which is where I live. I can't believe I brought you both to my hometown. I'm still quite scared.


Joel: It's be beautiful.


Matt Alder: It is. It is.


Joel: It is beautiful.


Chad: Now we can definitely track you down.


Matt Alder: Absolutely. And we are staring at the beach and the weather is typically Scottish, I would say.


Chad: Yes.


Matt Alder: Typically Scottish, so it was raining.


Joel: I didn't rain could go in that many different directions.


Matt Alder: Yeah.


Chad: At one time.


Joel: Up, down and side to side all at the same time.


Matt Alder: That's why we have this amazing van, and we're not sitting on the beach trying to do this podcast.


Chad: I can barely see like this humongous rock that looks like it goes up at least like, I don't know, let's say...


Joel: It looks like a Star Wars, like Luke Skywalker lives on that thing.


Matt Alder: 100 meters.


Chad: 100 meters at least. I mean, maybe three, and shit, that's a pretty big...


Joel: Pretty big with the metric system.


Chad: Holy shit.


Joel: Confusing all the American listeners.


Chad: We've got to. We've got to.


Matt Alder: For the benefit of people who can't see the rock, and we can't see it very well, particularly...


Joel: No, no.


Matt Alder: It's the Bass Rock in the Firth of Forth. Very famous. It has a prison on it. And it's the home to the biggest European gannet colony in the world. So it's covered in gannets.


Joel: What? Oh, birds.


Matt Alder: Birds, yeah.


Chad: Oh, birds.


Matt Alder: Covered in birds. So, if you could see it, it's actually completely white at this time of year because of all the birds nesting on it. Like hundreds of thousands of them. And you can take a boat trip out there and hope that you're not in the line of fire when the birds flying out of there.


Joel: Is there a pub out there? Can I get a drink?


Matt Alder: There's no pub out there. There's no pub out there.


Joel: No pub. Well...


Chad: Well, then why go out?


Joel: No much of a selling point there with my money.


Chad: Why go out?


Matt Alder: We'll stay here. We'll stay here.


Chad: Seems ridiculous.


Matt Alder: Yeah, exactly. So the distillery, which we finally escaped from, although I think if we'd stayed there any longer, you two would probably work in there.


Chad: Escaped?


Joel: Escape may be a strong word.


Chad: I was dragged out of that fucking place.


Joel: Yeah, that's right, dragged out.


Chad: Jesus.


Joel: Against our will, yeah.


Chad: Yeah. I was crying, "Helen, save me. John."


Joel: John and I were setting up bunk beds. We were gonna practice our karate in the front yard between grams.


Matt Alder: Exactly. Exactly. And we were talking about Tru Glasgow, which obviously was yesterday. Tomorrow we've got Tru Edinburgh, if we manage to make it out of North Berwick.


Joel: Yeah, we will.


Chad: That I hope so.


Matt Alder: Yeah, which I'm sure we will.


Joel: Yeah, we have a good guide.


Matt Alder: I'm gonna shut the window a little bit 'cause the rain is coming, it's coming in.


Joel: You got to push the button. There we go.


Chad: Nobody likes a wet mat. Nobody likes a wet mat. Yeah.


Matt Alder: So I'm interested in terms of what we could talk about, because the view is impeded here. We can just see fog, and it's quite ironic because I brought you here for the views. But one of the things we talked about yesterday was what the future looks like for talent acquisition and how far we can see into the future. So I thought it'd be good to talk about that, seeing here where we can't even see into the next road basically, so.


Chad: All I can smell is Cheeseman's fucking smoky ass.


Joel: I smell like I swallowed a fireplace.


[laughter]


Chad: Exactly. Matt and I were in the front seats and we're like, is that fucking Cheeseman breathing?


Joel: Like a musty castle fireplace.


Matt Alder: Oh my God, help me. Save me. Save me.


Joel: Vlagy and Parlor's fireplace.


Chad: Does he have peat coming out of his ass? What's going on?


Matt Alder: He does. But, so...


Joel: Such hate.


Matt Alder: We've all been in this space for a long time. We've seen lots of things. We've seen lots of things happen. We've seen lots of cycles. We've seen technologies come and go and all that sort of stuff. What's gonna happen now? Can we predict the future? We've got this AI thing going on, we've got all kinds of disruption around talent acquisition and recruit work and things like that. What's gonna happen next? Can we tell?


Joel: Well, most of us are trying to learn how to spell AI before we're actually trying to figure out what the future holds. And sorry to be the bearer of bad news, but we really don't quite know what's going to happen. Now, that said, I feel like there is agreement with most people that there will be fewer recruiting jobs, particularly around things like scheduling, sourcing, basic interviewing. That's very AI susceptible. However, there will be new jobs like we spoke about previously. So there will be new jobs that don't even exist today that will come about in the future. But unfortunately, for me, there is no crystal ball. We really don't quite know. Chad is more enlightened than I am. Maybe he has a better answer and a better crystal ball than I do.


Chad: All I have to say is I have no fucking clue. But at the end of the day, this is the most exciting time we've ever had in this space.


Joel: Yeah, that's a good point.


Chad: Even back in the days where, like when you and I, Joel, were doing this and Matt was doing this very, very early, it was exciting because it was new territory. We have not stopped new territory. We might have had a little slow down here and there, but we're getting ready to go into a time when the tech velocity is just increasingly chaotic and crazy and fast. So it's gonna make it fun, but it's also going to make it incredibly disruptive. I think we can kind of like view different areas of which we know where the disruption's gonna happen first, and that's gonna happen definitely on the high volume side of the house, and then it's gonna start to make its way into other positions. I think it's funny because a lot of companies are talking about, well, you can use these different large language models and you can choose and they can help you out. But really what's happening is you're training the large language models for tomorrow. So as we're talking about these technologies, whether it's AI, whatever the hell you wanna call, it doesn't matter, we're training the future, whether we like it or not. And we just have to be ready for that. But it's just exciting for me.


Joel: Yeah, what's amazing to me is when you and I, Chad and I started the podcast seven years ago, we were actually concerned that we would be able to do a weekly show on enough news...


Chad: Didn't think... Yeah.


Joel: In our industry. Well, holy hell, there's more news than we can shake a stick at. That wasn't the case back in the day 20, 25 years ago. You had a few job boards that mattered. You had a few ATS things. Vertical search was a big deal. Social media. I mean, I'm humbled and I feel bad for the consumer who has to try to meddle through this when we live it every day and have a hard time keeping up with all the changes that are happening on a global level...


Matt Alder: It's noisy.


Joel: On a quicker level, and it's incredibly challenging. But we're always talking about something, which makes for a good podcast.


Matt Alder: And do you think the industry has the right mindset moving forward?


Chad: No.


Matt Alder: Because...


[laughter]


Matt Alder: Whoa! Oh my god. Total table collapse.


Chad: You got to put that right there.


Matt Alder: Yeah. Yeah. Yeah.


Chad: Is everything good?


Matt Alder: Yeah, yeah. No, it's fine.


Chad: Okay.


Joel: Well done. Well done, lads.


Matt Alder: The gods of something intervened there.


Joel: The mystery van has taken a hit.


Chad: You're not gonna get the best of us, Scotland. Okay.


Matt Alder: So, do you think that the industry's got the right mindset? Because it struck me, particularly yesterday in some of the conversations, when we talk about AI, we tend to talk about AI as it is right now. So people look at some of the shortcomings of chatGPT and the things it can't do, and they look at that and say, that'll never do my job. But actually this is about thinking about where AI is gonna be in six months time, in 12 months time. And I think if you look at some of the, not even predictions actually, look at the technology they're building, it's kind of a different level. So do you think people's heads in the right space for the change that's happening?


Chad: Talent acquisition has never been on the bleeding edge of technology in the first place, but then you take a look at like the American mindset where we think quarter by quarter, and we can't think that way strategically. And then also, process methodology ways moving forward because, again, tech is moving way too fast. It's learning too fast. And if you like scoff at chatGPT, because it doesn't give you something that's perfect today, write something, and I guarantee you your shit's not perfect either, right? I mean, it's just, it's evolving so quickly. I think we're naive to think that if we can't be using these platforms to literally augment a large piece of the work that we do. Hopefully TA understands that. I'm not sure that they do.


Matt Alder: And I think also, there's this whole thing about, is it gonna take jobs? What's gonna happen? And I think, again, someone pointed out in the the event yesterday, it's already taking jobs. So copywriter jobs in recruitment marketing.


Joel: Yeah, sure.


Matt Alder: People who, not the kind of the really high end creative stuff is still there, but the things where people are just writing kind of rewriting job posts and making them a little bit better and all that sort of stuff, that's definitely gone to AI. So it's already starting.


Chad: It's blended into our platforms, like our podcasting platforms, like Riverside, where it will take the transcript, it will then go ahead and augment into a synopsis and provide, I mean, just so much data...


Joel: Yeah. No need for a videographer or...


Chad: Automatically. Yeah.


Joel: Yeah, copywriter.


Chad: It's ridiculous.


Joel: We're old enough to appreciate history, and when Google gained prominence, there were people who understood SEO and understood how to leverage it as an advertising platform. And then it just became ubiquitous and we moved on from that. And then we had social media and people learned like, oh, I can source on Twitter and I know how to use AltaVista to find a needle in a haystack and that PHP developer that no one else can. And today I feel like we're in a place where people really know chatGPT or some of the tools really well, and we'll probably see a phase where companies will leverage that in a degree that we've never seen before. And it will just become a ubiquitous tool and we'll move on to the next thing. But the people who really understand it, as we've seen in the past, are the people who are gonna thrive in the future. So if you're not learning, understanding, playing with the tools, the software out that can help you do your job better, you're gonna be left behind and you're gonna be doing something else in five years.


Chad: But Matt, okay, so let's say, let's go back to those days and take a look at Boolean. In Boolean, you could create a spreadsheet of Boolean strings that you could share and they would be good for years. Right? That's not what's gonna happen with prompt engineering, which is literally the new Boolean in engineering.


Matt Alder: Yeah, exactly.


Chad: The new Boolean strings, right? So, I mean, we can't do business like we used to.


Matt Alder: I agree, and I think that prompt engineering as we now know it, just won't be a thing. Because all of this AI is just being baked into everything that we do. And I think one of, again, questions someone raised yesterday was, well, what about the employers who can't afford to invest in AI? And I think the answer to that is like, it's just there. It's gonna be in all the tools that you already use.


Chad: Well, and that's the thing that it... And again, we can't think of the way that we used to do business. And yes, you had to pay X amount to be able to use Salesforce or HubSpot or what have you, and there were enterprise licenses. This is all gonna be transactional, and AI is gonna be a part of all these different models and it's gonna be affordable. And that's the biggest issue. I really believe that a lot of these major organizations who do not embrace AI or they don't embrace these different large language models, you're gonna see smaller companies do it much faster, 'cause there's low risk.


Matt Alder: Agreed. Agreed.


Chad: They're much more nimble. It's gonna be much cheaper for them because, from a transactional standpoint, it's not gonna cost as much, and they're gonna be able to just literally leapfrog companies quickly. We saw OpenAI leapfrog Google. Nobody knew who OpenAI was.


Matt Alder: Yeah, exactly. Exactly.


Chad: I think that's like the first company we're going to see do that in this segment.


Joel: And I'm interested to see the leapfrog that OpenAI, the jumping, the leapfrog that they did there. You and I both advise a lot of startups, and there are two primary hurdles for startups selling their products. One is the noise. There's just so many products. How do I make sense of any of them? Do I really buy? Like, what do I need to use? And cutting through that clutter is incredibly difficult. The second thing, I think, which would surprise a lot of people, is that there's a fear factor that if I buy your product, I'm gonna be out of a job in 12 months. So I'm not gonna buy your product, which is very counterintuitive to advancing humanity and these services. So to your point that it's gonna be the startup that says, yeah, we don't care about that. Like, we're gonna buy these products. Do we see further leapfrogging of established businesses in our space because they have customer bases that are too... They push back too much on new technologies.


Joel: Risk takers.


Chad: I think a lot of people would be surprised that risk has a lot to do with a lack of adoption with some of these services and solutions.


Matt Alder: So I have a final question for you because we need to leave to get back to Edinburgh soon. So make a prediction for me. So if we were having this conversation again in three years time, we were doing another tour of Scotland in another van, what would we be talking about then? How much is it gonna change in the next three years?


Joel: Cheeseman smells like a fireplace again. I think that might be what we're talking about.


Matt Alder: There are things that never change. There are things that never change.


Chad: That's never gonna change. That's never gonna change.


Joel: I think the speed at which change is happening is probably gonna get faster, believe it or not. I mean, I think all the companies that have become unicorns over the past five years are companies that were supposed to go IPO or public recently, are gonna, I don't wanna say fade away, but those promising futures are going to go by the wayside for a lot of them. I think ATSs are being commoditized. I think a lot of the platforms are being commoditized where maybe there's a few that really matter on a global level. And the tools that we use, maybe our tools that everybody uses in every profession, and we're talking less about businesses that focus specifically on recruiting and just focus on all the businesses and all the tools that everyone has and how they use them to recruit better and be better employers.


Chad: Yeah, I think the last thing you talked about is convergence. So convergence of all of these different platforms that can actually provide better process methodologies, process efficiencies, those types of things. So we're gonna see a lot of companies who have not been in the recruitment space get into the recruitment space and they're gonna do it faster, they're gonna do it better, and there's just gonna be convergence. Instead of having these point solutions that are nothing but recruitment oriented, we're gonna see ones that actually just go ahead and span different industries.


Matt Alder: Perfect. Thank you very much.


Podcast Outro: Well, thank you for listening to, what's it called? The podcast, the Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting, they talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of shout outs of people you don't even know. And yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about Cheese. Not one cheddar, blue, nacho, pepper jack, Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Anywho, be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, that way you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it, visit www.chadcheese.com. Just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. It's so weird. We out.


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