Welcome to Death Match, North America 2020, which took place at TAtech on May 19. For all of you NOOBS who have never experienced Death Match - Death Match is a competition which pits 4 innovative, early-stage companies against one-another, only one can win and emerge with the coveted Death Match Chain of Champions.
This Chad and Cheese Death Match episode features a Canadian Bradley Clark Co-founder at RecTxt. COVID-19 might've locked us all in our homes but never fear! The home bars are always stocked, pints were flowing and Chad and Cheese questions and slurring snark was flying. Luckily Joveo's CEO, KJ, stepped in to provide a smart and sensible judging voice to this TAtech event...
Enjoy while Bradley pitches RecTxt, says sorry about 27 times, then ducks, bobs, and weaves for the balance of his 15-minutes on the virtual Death Match stage.
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:
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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: Welcome to Death Match, North America, 2020, which took place at TAtech on May 19th. Now, for all of you newbies out there who have never experienced a Death Match, Death Match is a competition which pits four innovative early start companies against one another. Only one can win and emerge with the coveted Death Match chain of champions. This Chad and Cheese Death Match episode features a Canadian, Bradley Clark, co-founder at Rectxt. COVID-19 might've locked us all in our homes but never fear, the home bars are fully stocked, pints were flowing, bourbon was flowing, and Chad and Cheese questions and slurring snark was a flying. Luckily Joveo's CEO, KJ, stepped in to provide a smart and sensible judging voice to this TAtech event. Enjoy while Bradley pitches Rectxt, says sorry about 27 times, then ducks, bobs and weaves for the balance of his 15 minutes on the virtual Death Match stage. Welcome to Death Match people.
Joel: TA May edition.
Chad: Today, from the great North, we have Bradley Cooper, that doesn't look like Bradley Cooper. You guys, that's a bait-and-switch.
Joel: I'm hung over, but that's not Bradley Cooper.
Chad: That's a bait-and-switch. We have Bradley Clark, co-founder of Rectxt. All right. Let's pump the brake smell. Let's focus on your two minutes. All right, pitter-patter, let's get at it, two minutes, Joel.
Joel: Right. Go baby, go.
Bradley: All right. In my 15 years in recruitment, communicating with candidates has never been harder. With robocalls, so much spam, calls going unanswered, emails unread, LinkedIn inbox is flooded. Candidates want to communicate on their terms and texting cuts through the noise. However, cell phones aren't the right tool, frankly they're unsafe. They're slow. They mix personal and private in the same inbox, and they lack opt-out compliance. Now there are existing recruitment tools out there for texting, but for most of us, they're too expensive. They're designed for big teams with big budgets. Once again, many of us who work for smaller companies lack the cool tech. By many of us, I mean the 200,000 recruiters who work for companies under 200 employees. This is North America alone. That's all the HR folks who communicate with candidates. So faced with the choice of using the wrong tool, our cell phones, or using software we couldn't afford, we decided to create Rectxt.
We designed the most simple to use and affordable text recruiting solution on the market, which is ideal for those smaller teams that have gone underserved. We're 75% less than our competition with unlimited texting as low as $30 a month. However, we didn't cut back on the great technology. With our clever Chrome extension, you can send one-to-one messages or one-to-many texts campaigns from any website, inside or outside your ATS. Unlike others, we have transparent pricing. We even offer month to month plans and pay as you go plans. But Rectxt isn't a magical AI automation solution chatbot or tool designed for hiring 2000 warehouse workers. What we are is a tool which is great for in demand knowledge workers and skilled labor. Perhaps you're hiring a diesel mechanic, software engineer, ER nurses. Rectxt also integrates and plays nice with multiple sourcing tools and ATSs. With no long sales process or IT required, you can start texting in minutes. Seriously. Brian, my co-founder timed himself, it took less than two minutes. To learn more, go to rectxt.com, that's R-E-C-T-X-T.com.
Bradley: What did we clock in at?
Joel: 1:57. Very nice.
Chad: You don't ask the questions, mr.
Bradley: Oh, I'm sorry.
KJ: Hi Bradley. Pretty exciting, right? The market you've cornered or you're trying to corner is a small medium segment, and I would say it's pretty smart thing to do, but it also is a pretty challenging one, right? Given the amount of investment you have to make, reach out to those hundreds of thousands of small and medium employers. How do you plan to do that and scale it?
Bradley: As far as the scaling side of it, I mean, yeah, we're still early stages. I mean, that's where we're at right now. Our product is just kind of going to market at this stage. But we figured there's so many underserved people, that this when tools here, like this between the rec and the communities were part of, in fact we're actually legitimate recruiters. We are recruiters, we are designed tool for recruiters. We're hoping that that helps kind of spark and scale this. I mean, ultimately our low cost makes it challenging because we want to provide it only as lightweight as possible and pass those savings onto our consumer. There's definitely challenges in scaling, but I think from us, it's going to be community grassroots and then continue growing up.
Chad: All right. Okay [inaudible 00:06:17.24]. Rectxt is purely SMS, is that correct?
Bradley: That's correct. SMS text, yeah.
Chad: Excellent. Excellent. The messaging space overall is bloated, Emissary, TextRecruit, Canvas, TextUs, Talkpush, AllyO, Mya. AMS just came out with their own hourly platform, which again, more I think toward where you guys are trying to flow, Paradox has got $40 million. Now, I know that you are focusing on a segment, but there's a lot of noise out there in this space because it is so popular. How do you cut through that noise?
Bradley: Yeah. I mean, there is a lot of noise there, and I think there's going to be more tools coming and tools which suit different markets and different sizes. But when we look the market, there's a lot of cool things out there, but they're out of budget. They're out of reach for most people. I mean, that's how we started this thing, we actually looked at, we want to buy a tool, we went out there and recognized that everything was over budget. We couldn't afford anything. And still to this day, when you look at this, there's big commitments, there's long demo process sales processes, tools designed for big enterprises. And they're also like, I'm not taking away from chatbots and there's really great tools out there, but people need simple, people need ... For the recruiters who are juggling a million tasks and not part of a big team, they want something which works and doesn't interrupt their workflow and they can afford. I think simplicity is really key for our segment of that market.
Chad: I totally agree with that. But the hard part, again, is there's a lot of noise, but trying to get those SMBs per se is going to be a hell of a lot harder than just going to an iCIMS or one of these big enterprises and being escorted through the door. You can't do that in that kind of scenario. How are you going to hit those SMBs effectively? Because it's like a hundred thousand billion points of light.
Bradley: Yeah, there's a ton. A big part of that is our partnerships, right? I mean, right now we're about to launch our Greenhouse integration and Crelate. Both of those are amazing ATSs, but they really catered, again, Crelate is amazing for the boutique agencies on that side of the fence. Greenhouse has the best marketplace out there for any ATS. And again, they cater that small, medium business, right? Those partnerships are going to be huge for us, and going forward, we'll continue on partnering with ATSs which are designed for that small and medium business. We're probably not going to be partnering with Workday tomorrow or iCIMS and some of these large mega ATSs, they have partners. But the smaller ones are ones where we have that niche and we can fit in, and getting to that marketplace is really going to be important for us.
Joel: Tell us about global growth, obviously with SMS, every country has their own protocols, their own setups. You guys are in North America currently. Is there a plan to grow into other countries? What kind of hurdles are you facing or are you just planning on staying in North America?
Bradley: Yeah, that's a good question. We've actually had a lot of interest from the UK. And I think the reason behind that is you see more boutique kind of smaller agencies popping up there. I think that's going to be our future in North America as well. I think post COVID, we're going to see a lot more independence, solopreneurs and boutique agencies popping up as people leave the kind of make agency world, so to speak, and go on their own. But we do have a lot of interest from the UK and that's something we're exploring. Some of the challenges is the pricing model, to be honest, like our technology as far as the pricing to be competitive and offer that in North America is doable. But when we started looking at Europe, et cetera, there's some challenges. Also you get into compliance and other things, which has been more challenging. It's our roadmap and it's something we want to explore later on, but for right now, the North American market like I said is 200,000 recruiters being underserved right now. We have a lot of work here for us before we start thinking about overseas no matter how much they want it.
KJ: What stops from a large chatbot company for that matter to launch a small out of the box solution, right? Plug and play. And then you guys can [inaudible 00:10:23.14], right? How do you address that?
Bradley: Yeah. I mean, that's also a threat for sure. I mean, there's no way to say that, hey, someone big couldn't come and release a smaller version of their product to compete with us. That's definitely something is on our ... keeps us up late at night, so to speak. But I think what separates that is the fact that we're actual, I mean, we are recruiters, we're recruiters by trade, we're doing this between the two of us, my co-founder and I, 25 years. It's not just the pricing, it's the way we designed our product, it's actually usable and simple for recruiters. And I think that simple to use interface will always separate us. People use it, I mean, we've been subject to a lot of crappy tools in recruitment through all of our careers. And so when we did this we're really purposeful in making it work the way it should work. And so I think that's one of the challenges bigger companies have, is they have a tendency to add 90 features when you only use 10%, 90% of the time. We do the opposite. We want to have 10 features, you use 90% of time and have the work rate. I think that's probably one of the big things is us, is that simplicity will always cater towards people who actually get and want to use it.
KJ: Hang onto that Bradley, simplicity and needs to use, 10 out of 90, that's one of the key.
Bradley: Thank you. Yeah. We're always trending as simple as possible, as simple as possible. What can we remove rather what can we add? And so it's served us well so far.
Chad: That's a Texas sized 10-4. Okay. We're going to get into the browser extension. This is, I mean, mainly driven off of a browser extension, right?
Bradley: That's correct. Yeah. It works as a Chrome extension. We've explored other browsers as well, but the adoption is just lower, because now that other are working on Chromium, there's Brave, the new Microsoft browser works on Chromium. But I mean, every recruiter has a million pro extension. It's just definitely the marketplace to be in. And the reason we designed it as a Chrome extension was really to, again, it's there when you need it and disappears when you don't. So no matter what website you're on, wherever you're at, you can use it and it can disappear without distracting you, whether you need to.
Chad: How is it actually integrated with these different platforms? You have the one click import and then you have the dual way, the dual import. How does that work?
Bradley: Yeah. Good question. We have what we call kind of light integration and that's a one click import. And so that works for, I think we've got about 20 different tools we work with on the sourcing side and on different ATSs. And what that allows is just a simple, click a name and that name and the candidate imports into Rectxt, and you can instantly start texting. It's a speed to text kind of feature, so to speak. And so it allows you to have those two tools work very seamless. Now the deeper integration, again, the one coming out for Crelate and Greenhouse, that syncs all the conversation history in both the extension and in the ATS as well. You've got a single point of truth in your ATS. Always think that's ideal, to have that. But to be honest, there's a lot of people whose emails aren't going to sync with their ATS. And so we want to still make it as simple as possible in case we haven't had a DB, ATS integration with you.
Chad: Got you. What about job sites like LinkedIn, Monster, Indeed. Can I go into a resume database? There might be contact information there. Can I boom, can I automatically import and start the conversation? How does that work?
Bradley: Yeah, that's exactly it. I mean, if you find a resume on Monster, you are on LinkedIn, and person has their phone number there, you can automatically import anyone there. Now for the ones that don't have import, all you have to do is type the name in, and you can import them in. You can then add them into a talent pool and those talent pools can then segment your people into different groups. That way that keeps you organized. There's likely people in the future looking, you might segment based on skillset or location or whatever you want. And then you can send that one-to-one text, or you can send the one-to-many, so you can write a campaign, and that works really well for the big other nurturing side of things.
Joel: I want to touch on privacy a little bit. In a work from home world, and Chad and I talk about this on the show quite a bit, corporations are following their employees more than ever before. So their laptops are usually corporate acquired, their phones are usually corporate acquired, and companies are spying on what people are doing on their phones. Obviously someone tying to recruiter is a bad thing and job seekers are employees, would obviously be afraid to talk to a recruiter via text knowing that their company was following maybe what was going on with their phone. Is that something that you're concerned about and how are you maybe clearing that hurdle? Also, SMS spam is always on the forefront of carriers minds. Nobody wants texting to become email, because marketers fuck everything up. What are you guys doing to sort of make sure that doesn't happen to you? So one question, two parts, I guess.
Bradley: Okay. On the privacy side of things, most people are giving their personal cell phone on their resume. They're not using a work cell phone. I mean, I think as far as the privacy side of it, as far as texting, that candidate would not be sharing typically their corporate cell phone number, I think that's pretty rare to see. If they do, that's kind of on them. I don't think there's a big concern on the privacy side for that candidate worrying about their employer. I mean, if anything else, same as our email is probably actually on the work. The personal email is probably on their work cell phone as well. So chances are, I don't think that's going to be a big deal. Now, the second part of that question was regarding sort of, again, the second part was, the two part, one was on the pricing side, second part of it was on [crosstalk 00:16:05.09].
Joel: Carriers are very conscientious of SMS not becoming email and having tons of spam. I'm curious if that's a concern with your business and how you approach that.
Bradley: I mean, I think it is on there. I mean, I think there is ... I mean, that's the benefit of texting, is the fact that it isn't becoming over spam and over utilized, and there is a personal quality to it. For us, I mean the big one is we have an opt-out tool built into this. And so that protects as far as compliance, but also if someone's feeling they're being spammed, it's a really quick click and that way they can remove themselves from any further communications there. The tool itself is really designed not to be sending, for getting and sending, like automatically just sending tons and tons of messages. And beyond that, we also have some throttling built in on the back-end. If we see some misuse, that's something which we'll jump in and say, "Hey, this was designed as a oneto-one communication tool, to improve the hiring process, not to be out there blasting gazillions of people." But in reality, the way the tool is designed, I don't think it'd be possible. You literally have to have someone doing eight hour shifts, three people a day, switching on the same account, blasting people to really get to that spam level. But we're really conscious on the way we designed that way, we want to avoid, we didn't want, we wanted ... We see text messaging as a way to enable human connection, natural place human connection. And the idea of blasting and spamming isn't what this tool is designed to use.
KJ: Do you think that there would be a trick if carriers, and this is off Joel's question, decide [inaudible 00:17:45.04] and then there is a law or something that comes out and says, "All right, the pricing for texting is 10 times higher for commercial use." What does that do to your business model?
Bradley: Yeah. I mean, obviously those are things that, again, we do think about those threats and those risks. At this stage, it hasn't happened. Hopefully that stays that way. Hopefully it continues to be relatively open communication platform. But at the same time, I mean, where messaging goes, it might change to being through WhatsApp. It might change to being other platforms as well. At this age right now, we're solely focused on SMS. But to be honest, where the people go, I mean our tool, how we can link up and send messages, that's just one medium. And then the future might explore that. I mean, who knows, right? SMS might all of a sudden get dinged and the messaging goes through the roof. And maybe we're forced to switch over to Facebook chat or WhatsApp or other kind of verticals. But at this stage we're feeling pretty safe, so fingers crossed.
Chad: So many platforms out there that are in texting. They want to help through the process as well. And that's exactly what recruiters need, right? Not to mention they also help to ensure that ghosting goes down, because they continue that connection. What is Rectxt doing to help schedule interviews, and then after the interview schedule, to be able to keep that connection so that you decrease candidate ghosting?
Bradley: Yeah, that's a good question. We have nothing baked in at this stage as far as anything on the ghosting side. However, it's actually one of the big use cases we advocate for and we see a lot of our users use, is just that simple message, that simple check-in, post-interview, how did things go? Any feedback? And then also once the candidate's accepted an offer, something we also see people using is sending quick message. I mean, whether it's a, "Hey, you just got some onboarding details in your email the next couple of days, we're excited to see you."
Joel: Thank you, Bradley.
Chad: Look for more episodes of Death Match. This Chad and Cheese podcast series devoted to lifting up startups in the recruitment technology space. Subscribe on Apple, Google Podcasts, Spotify, Pandora, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you don't miss a single show. For more, visit chadcheese.com.