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Discipline is Key

Live from UNLEASH America in the Workhuman booth, Shannon Pritchett, head of marketing and community at HireEZ, joins the boys for a conversation covering the state of sourcing, how HireEZ is embracing ChatGPT and other AI technologies around recruiting and how disruption is set to be business as usual throughout our industry.

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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.

Joel: Here we go, kids. We are live at the UNLEASH America Conference in Las Vegas, Nevada from the Work Human Booth. And we are just giddy that Shannon Pritchett, head of Marketing and Community at hireEZ has joined us today. Shannon, welcome to the podcast.

Shannon Pritchett: Thank you.

Chad: You've got your comfy shoes on too.

Shannon Pritchett: Yes. And for the record, I didn't pay for this.

Joel: She just had knee surgery, so of course she's comfy.


Shannon Pritchett: I know. I just had knee surgery two weeks ago and I'm starting the conference in Air Force 1s or stomping in my Air Force 1s.

Chad: Well, I love it.

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah.

Joel: Nothing wrong with Air Force 1s.

Chad: What did you have done to the knee?

Shannon Pritchett: Okay. So I thought I was a runner. If you go to my Twitter profile, it'll say, "Pretend runner."

Chad: Yes.

Shannon Pritchett: Yes. But actually I am a runner, 'Cause like I run, I'm slow.


Joel: Are we talking marathons? Are we talking minis? What are we talking about?

Shannon Pritchett: I did a marathon once and I learned something with that marathon. Right?

Joel: And what did you learn? Yeah.

Shannon Pritchett: Never to do it again.

Chad: Yeah.

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah. No. So I...

Chad: You know a guy died during... They named...

Shannon Pritchett: Lots of guys died doing marathons. Yeah. A part of me died.


Shannon Pritchett: My knee died. No, it's a... I wasn't running a marathon. I just, I hurt it running and it turns out I tore my meniscus.

Chad: Ah.

Shannon Pritchett: And then I developed a bunch of cysts on my ACL.

Chad: Ouch.

Shannon Pritchett: So they went in there and removed it and...

Joel: Oh. Yikes.

Chad: That's a pretty... I had my meniscus cleaned out and literally I walked out of the hospital. They...

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah, that's what I did too. Yes.

Chad: They took me to the edge. In a little, in a little wheelchair. And they stopped. And I'm like, can you gonna take me to the car? They're like, "You're good" [laughter]

Shannon Pritchett: It's amazing. Yes. No. So, okay. So I had it on the day of SourceCon in Dallas. And then I was, I was home by like 10:00 AM, I pitch black the room, turn on the sound machine, put on my eye mask, some Marvin Gaye, some earplugs.

Chad: Oh, yeah.

Shannon Pritchett: That all makes sense. But I'm trying to set the stage here. And then my mom comes to the door like two hours later and she's like, "Your friends are here." I was like, "I don't have any friends mom." And she's thinking I'm still on medicated. And she's like, "No, no, no, your friend... " I was like, "Oh, SourceCon." I got up to go to the door and it was like, Dean DeCosta, Steve Levy, Ronnie Ratcher, those guys. And I was like, "Oh, I can walk. It's a miracle." But that was like two hours after surgery. So everyone's like, "How are you here after knee surgery?" I'm like, "I have a damn good surgeon."

Joel: So, what's this current state of SourceCon these days? I haven't been in a while.

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah. The community kind of fell apart during the pandemic. Yeah, live events was their focus. I'll tell you what, they have a new editor named Meg. She's amazing. I really think she's gonna bring it back to life. But I think they kind of lost their focus a little bit. But I'm excited to see the spark back. So hopefully, it revives itself and I think it will.

Chad: Cool.

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah.

Joel: So you presented today?

Shannon Pritchett: Yes. Yes.

Joel: Tell us about what you discussed.

Shannon Pritchett: No, that I did pay for, but...


Shannon Pritchett: So we had a product announcement, and so the main message, I had a couple of main messages. One, sourcing is dead.

Joel: Let's put a pin in that.

Shannon Pritchett: As we're talking about the revitalization of SourceCon.

Chad: We'll go back to that. Carry on. Carry on.

Shannon Pritchett: Second. Everyone hates outbound recruiting. The category we created. Okay.

Chad: Everybody hates doing it.

Shannon Pritchett: Hates doing it.

Chad: Yes, yes.

Shannon Pritchett: Yes. TA leaders love it.


Shannon Pritchett: And as you know, we were the first to do this 'cause I'm in marketing.

Chad: They love cracking the whip to make people do shit that they don't like doing.

Shannon Pritchett: Exactly.

Chad: Yes.

Shannon Pritchett: Well, I have this analogy. Okay.

Chad: Okay.

Shannon Pritchett: So Joel, you just woke up, you need some coffee? I'm gonna give you a cup of coffee.

Joel: Yep.

Shannon Pritchett: Or, you know you're not really gonna like this shitty cup of coffee I'm giving you, I can cuss on Chad and Cheese. Right? I've heard your podcast before.

Joel: Oh, you can do that.

Chad: Fuck. Yes.

Shannon Pritchett: Yes. Okay. Thank you. Or you can wait two months for that cup of coffee and you can go get the best damn cup of coffee you want, but you have to wait two months. What are you gonna choose?

Joel: Coffee now.

Shannon Pritchett: Coffee now.

Joel: Yep.

Shannon Pritchett: Right. That's inbound versus outbound. Sometimes the best one takes a little longer to get, it's a little harder to get and you have to go without that for awhile.

Joel: And there's a reason for that. There's a reason for that.

Shannon Pritchett: There's a reason. Yes. So that's where we come in. We're trying to make that whole process easy. So that recruiters can actually concentrate on things that they gave up a million years ago. Like talking to people, engaging people. So setting expectations, all that stuff. So that's the problem with outbound recruiting it's like, recruiters don't like to do it, but we're trying to make it easy for them. We are on our way there, not there yet. And our latest announcement with GPT integration, really helps that.

Joel: Look at her lead the witness. I love it. She must be in marketing.


Shannon Pritchett: I know. So what we do with this is, we are the first...

Chad: She is the witness. She's leading herself.

Joel: She's like raising canes that's like, "Yes. If you try our new vet sauce and salad." Yeah.


Shannon Pritchett: Welcome to the Shannon Pritchett podcast.

Joel: Yes.


Shannon Pritchett: Are you Shannon?

Joel: Carry on please.

Shannon Pritchett: So with this integration is once you've you identified candidates and you go to the engagement stage in our product, we have all the nurture sequence emails already pre-constructed based on the job description. So you have three options. One, roll with the automation. Two, my recommendation, customize it, personalize it a little bit. Or three, just scratch it and write it your own. But it takes an hour to write an email as we are learning... A good email and recruiters just don't have that time. Nor was anyone trained on how to write an email.

Chad: That's the biggest point is that they're not trained to be marketers, to be able to get that nice, easy, concise message. Bulleted or whatever it might be. Yeah. So we expect everybody to be fucking experts.

Shannon Pritchett: Yes.

Chad: To do all this shit and we are just not.

Joel: Yeah.

Shannon Pritchett: I pay someone a lot of money to do email marketing for us, and she's amazing. But there's an art that goes into that, A/B testing, analytics, multiple systems that she's in. Different buyer stages, awareness campaigns like announcements. There's a... The amount of work this one person does on my team, it's... She's probably underpaid, but the recruiters don't have that, right?

Chad: No.

Shannon Pritchett: But marketing does.

Chad: No. Yeah. So how did you integrate ChatGPT? How is that actually useful for these recruiters? Is it writing messages?

Joel: And were you the first?

Shannon Pritchett: We were the first.

Chad: Oh, [laughter] that's leading the witness.


Shannon Pritchett: The first.

Joel: 'ause we've got about 12 press releases...

Chad: Facts.

Joel: That say they're the first.


Joel: We wanna clear this up right now.

Shannon Pritchett: By the way...

Chad: We wanna clear this up.


Shannon Pritchett: You forgot to announce this at the beginning of the podcast, but anytime you hear the word first, you have to take a drink. So, yes.


Chad: We have bourbon. Unfortunately, we're not allowed to open it in this fucking place.

Joel: Yeah. Vegas is a very...

Shannon Pritchett: As everyone walks around with champagne.

Joel: Vegas is so conservative. We can't just bust out some makers.

Chad: Let me...

Shannon Pritchett: I purchased it from Caesars.

Chad: Let me take this gummy. Yeah.

Shannon Pritchett: I got this in your gift shop. [laughter] Yeah. Light a joint, fine, do not open that tequila.

Chad: Yeah, don't do that.

Joel: Don't you do that?

Shannon Pritchett: No. So, okay. First off, I work with smart people, I'm not an AI engineer, obviously. So we've been actually working on this integration for a while. GPT was completely new to me when it came out this year. I wasn't following the trends but our team has been working for years on it. And so with the latest GPT-3 announcement that finally made our version ready, we refined it to use recruiter specific language that made sense. So for example, you cannot go into ChatGPT, type out, "can you write this email for a candidate?" And then they will be completely different. So that's the difference between the two. So is there one GPT better than the other? Maybe. But as long as they're different, that's exactly what we need. Right? We can't have the same script over and over and over again, that's actually my biggest fear.

Joel: Just to be clear, this was not integrating ChatGPT. This is a little bit of homemade stuff that you guys came up with on your own.

Shannon Pritchett: Using their technology.

Joel: It's been years in development. Because some people say like, well ChatGPT came out in November, how could it be years? This is your own little secret sauce if you will.

Chad: Secret sauce.

Shannon Pritchett: Well, see again, if we had like really smart people here, they'd tell you, oh, it's actually just different iterations and versions and stuff like that they kind of were tweaking and customizing.

Joel: So, they've been using... They've been dealing with OpenAI.

Shannon Pritchett: OpenAI, refining it.

Joel: During this...

Shannon Pritchett: Yes. Thank you for that buzzword 'cause...

Joel: There it is.

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah. Now that we talk about tequila and Maker's Mark, that's where my mind is going.


Chad: Shot, shot, shot [laughter]

Joel: So, you speak...


Joel: You speak fast. I wanna go over this again. So I'm using hireEZ to source candidates. I can click a button that will then start communicating messages via email, texts.

Shannon Pritchett: Don't have text yet.

Joel: Email. Okay. Email.

Shannon Pritchett: It's coming.

Joel: And not InMail, just email.


Shannon Pritchett: Not InMail at all.

Joel: Right? Okay.

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah.

Joel: Via Email. And these are all automated. So, "Hey, how you doing?" And if there's a reply, then another automated message goes out.

Shannon Pritchett: No.

Joel: No. What? No, just the initial connection.

Shannon Pritchett: Once there's a reply, and not another office reply, an actual reply, then the sequence stops and you start engaging with them.

Chad: Gotcha.

Shannon Pritchett: So how the whole product works, by the way, you just upload a job description. The AI takes over immediately. You can refine it with our filters and stuff like that. You select which candidates you want, our machine starts learning from you, right?

Joel: Yep.

Shannon Pritchett: Then once you've identified candidates and you put them into a project, you move that over to the engagement side, you should be synced to your email box.

Shannon Pritchett: Yep.

Joel: So everything's running from your Email. So it's not like an in email where you copy and paste, go candidate after candidate after candidate, you know?

Joel: Yep.

Shannon Pritchett: Hi Chad. I'm not Chad, I'm Joel but thank you. Right? No, everything is customized already for, and then once the sequence breaks and they respond, and then it's you engaging the candidate. So what the candidate sees is a well sequenced email with the greatest language they've ever seen in their entire lives.

Chad: The most magnificent prose that they've ever seen.

Shannon Pritchett: Yes, I know. And they know.

Joel: First.

Shannon Pritchett: Like this was the first.

Joel: The first [laughter]

Shannon Pritchett: No. And so it stops from there. So the candidate has no idea, no idea.

Chad: If they don't reply, another little tickle will go out.

Shannon Pritchett: As many sequences as you wanna set.

Chad: Okay.

Shannon Pritchett: So, but if you do like 30, then you're kind of a stalker.

Chad: Kind of a douche if you're doing 30.

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah. A douche [laughter]

Joel: So how long is it gonna take for you guys to go down funnel to start doing this for individuals who have already applied? Because we have a black hole issue.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: And that's a recruiter problem because the recruiters don't have enough time, so therefore, how do we aid the recruiters not just on the front end, but also starting to go through the funnel. And if you have the tech, why the hell not?

Shannon Pritchett: It's not in the roadmap yet. We're still concentrating on top of the funnel but we eventually want to start evolving into that space over time. But right where we're headed in the roadmap is more automation, more better reporting. Hopefully, text message capabilities. So that's what we'd like to concentrate on within the next six months. But yeah, that's more of an inbound tactic and we just really wanna stick with the category we created outbound.

Joel: Did she say, hopefully SMS? She's usually so confident.

Shannon Pritchett: I know.

Joel: I just, I'm surprised to hear hopefully.

Shannon Pritchett: There's so much compliance and rules with text messaging. It's like...

Joel: There are.

Shannon Pritchett: And to be honest, I don't think our database, and I'm speaking like a CTO now is... We need more phone numbers to see the success.

Chad: Well, you need to start asking for them.

Shannon Pritchett: Exactly. We don't wanna... We don't want people paying for it, not like you would pay for it or anything like that until we're absolutely certain it's gonna work. So I think we have a few ways to go from R&D point of view on text messaging, but we're definitely working on it.

Joel: Okay. So that was a trap you didn't fall into because I am sick and tired of companies, startups who aren't disciplined and they try to open up the TAM term whenever they can.

Shannon Pritchett: Yes.

Joel: And you guys, you just pretty much said that, no, we're not doing that. We're focusing...

Shannon Pritchett: Well, we've learned the hard way [laughter]

Joel: Well, yeah. We are going to be experts in our space. And the only way you can do that is focus and discipline.

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah. And everything else, that's what partnerships and integrations are for.

Joel: Yes.

Shannon Pritchett: And so to us, if like we can concentrate on a couple of features to make the automation more better, what partners can we bring on to help us with the other things that are gonna improve the experience of using our product? So.

Chad: More better.

Shannon Pritchett: First.

Joel: So the trend would go the opposite way on that. We're seeing conversational AI companies become ATSs. We're seeing people becoming, maybe something they shouldn't be, which I love. Does that trend help you guys? Do more customers expect you to be that? Like do people say, can't you just be my ATS and my onboarding solution and everything else?

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah, we do get a lot of that. I had a whole hour conversation with someone...

Chad: It's a trap.

Shannon Pritchett: It is a trap, about that today. And first off, it is easy to develop an ATS and a CRM. It's very... The technology is not that difficult. Right? But do we really wanna go play in those fields? No. First off, I don't think we have the money. And second, like there's a lot of resources that go into that that we just typically don't have.

Chad: Oh. Got it.

Shannon Pritchett: So that's why we wanna stay in our lane. We didn't create this category to expand into other ones. And where I think we need to get better at is the better... We have integrations with just about every ATS, those can still be improved. So I'd rather have us focus on deeper integrations, more two-way integrations. Better API data as opposed to like, oh, let's just do it ourselves.

Joel: Yeah.

Shannon Pritchett: So we're still in that, we need to prove ourselves concept in the market, in my opinion. So.

Joel: How do you deal with global customers? The language, obviously gets more complicated. How do you guys handle that?

Shannon Pritchett: We definitely... So a lot of our customers are global, right? 'cause we're an enterprise product now. But we work best in English speaking countries by far. So we do have a lot of international candidates that do use ours, that know English. But our product is not catered to specific countries where... For example China. You know what I mean? You don't see a Chinese company using our product. So, well, we have one, but...


Joel: And why is that? Is there a reason? Is it privacy or.

Shannon Pritchett: No. We're 100% GDPR compliant. We have governance in all the places where we need it. We have...

Joel: But why go out of the US which is a huge pile of fucking cash.


Shannon Pritchett: That's it.

Joel: You don't need to.

Shannon Pritchett: We don't have the sales force to be honest, we don't. We have Salesforce, but we don't have the sales.

Joel: Right.

Chad: Personnel focus and discipline again.

Shannon Pritchett: Yes.

Shannon Pritchett: So, yeah. So, 85% of our revenue does come from within the US. And then I'd like to start looking at potentially moving or expanding to the UK to see how we can do with that country before we take on the rest of the globe. So we entertain companies that come to us, not a problem, but to me, our data needs to get better. And those countries and our other capabilities, like for example, does the UK audience care about the African American filter on our product? No. Are we gonna take that out for them? Not yet. So yeah, that's why we're focused predominantly on the US right now. But global teams do use our product in various countries. We know where we shine and we don't shine.

Joel: So You mentioned something that might hopefully be in the future, SMS. What window into the future product roadmap can you take us on right now?

Shannon Pritchett: So what we're working on is the ability for the recruiter to get back to the basics. Having like a normal conversation with a candidate. So we want to have more AI. Like our mission is outbound recruiting made easy. The vision is jobs to find people, right? So when you get laid off, jobs should come to you, right? Not you are out there looking for jobs, that's our vision. So everything is focused on that and focus on making it easy, right? Easy is definitely our roadmap. And so if we can add in more automation, so a recruiter is displacing candidates in the ATS and having those more quality conversations, that's our roadmap for the next six months. And so if things happen the way they're supposed to happen, hoping next time we sit down at a big event like HR Tech, we can have more exciting conversations. But again, we are just trying to free up as much time for recruiters as possible.

Chad: So here at UNLEASH, a lot of big names, a lot of small names.

Shannon Pritchett: Yes.

Chad: What's exciting you the most about what you're seeing at a show like this?

Joel: You've been to a few of these, right? [laughter]

Shannon Pritchett: I like these. You know I actually really, really... There's a lot of vendors I've never heard of here. It's like very HR heavy. That was sort of shocking to me. And looking at the attendee list, it's all CHROs. And a lot of head of TAs, our booth has been popping.

Chad: Which has been pretty awesome, right?

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah. I think, to be honest, I don't know if they even have a booth. We were just talking about them TaTio.

Chad: They have a...

Shannon Pritchett: Stand?

Chad: A startup booth.

Shannon Pritchett: A startup booth, okay. I met them at HR Transform, I love what they do, I really like that. So for example, Stan Ralph down in Perth, Australia. He used to use... When he worked for a coal mining company out of Africa, He used to use augmented reality to put the coal miners in those scenarios, they knew what they were getting into.

Chad: Was that a CareerBuilder product? I can't remember.

Shannon Pritchett: No, I don't think so.

Chad: I'm just kidding. I'm just kidding.

Shannon Pritchett: Okay.


Shannon Pritchett: I was like, I'm intrigued, tell me more.

Joel: It's a good thing coal mining is a growth industry. They got the wind at their back baby.


Shannon Pritchett: But no, it actually increased retention rates. So like all the candidates who went through the simulation none of them turned over. So the fact that what they're doing is providing that simulation, I think is so beneficial. And I'm like, that's a company I wanna partner with. You know what I mean? If you can put those scenarios in there from a high volume standpoint, like no one wants to like, "Oh, here's your scenario, here's your Zoom meetings, here's your... " [laughter] But when you're interacting with like dangerous equipment, heavy machinery, customers, I think that's so innovative. And I love these Israeli companies.

Joel: Oh.

Chad: And I'd like to say, as an advisor, I would like you to integrate with them.

Shannon Pritchett: Okay. [laughter]? Yes. Yeah.

Joel: Shannon Pritchett, everybody.

Chad: Yes. Yes.

Joel: Shannon, thanks for joining us. For our listeners who want to connect with you, where would you send them?

Shannon Pritchett: Well, first.


Joel: Here comes the marketer.

Shannon Pritchett: I just want people to like drink. Just connect with me, find me on LinkedIn. That's it.

Joel: Find me on LinkedIn.

Shannon Pritchett: That's it.

Joel: I love it.

Shannon Pritchett: Yeah.

Joel: And as well. I'll do the marketing for you. Chad, that is a day, that is a wrap.

Chad: Now we have parties.

Joel: That's right. We out.

Chad: 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 forward it to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back. Valuable time you could've 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 train wreck, you can't look away. And like Chad's favorite Western, you can't quit them either. We out.


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