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Ep4 - Treat AI like a Puppy

Welcome back to VOICES w/ Amy Butchko SAIC's Director of Talent Acquisition Solutions. This is episode 4 or a 5 part binge-able series. You're gonna love this episode!


- The Great Resignation

- Talent Pipelines are not instant

- Where are the robots?!?

- AI is a puppy

BINGE all 5 episodes with Amy

Amy (0s):

I'm just here to tell you that none of this stuff has a toaster. You don't get it out of the box and plug it in and then get toast.

INTRO (10s):

Voices. We hear them every day. Some voices like mine are smooth and comforting, while on the other hand, the Chad and Cheese podcast is like listening to a Nickelback album, you'd rather stab yourself in the ears with an ice pick. Anyway, y'all now listening to Voices a podcast series from Chad and Cheese that features the most important and influential voices within the recruitment industry. Try not to fuck it up, boys.

Chad (44s):

Welcome back to voices with Amy Butchko SAIC's, Director of Talent Acquisition Solutions. This is episode four of a five part bingeable Netflix type of series. You're going to love this episode. Let's dig right in.

Joel (1m 0s):

Can we talk about the great resignation? Do you have any opinions on that? The trend of all these people leaving the work place?

Chad (1m 7s):

Did you hear that sigh? That Oh...

Joel (1m 11s):

I did.

Amy (1m 12s):

Oh yeah. Well, it's real. It's real. And I actually, I sat in a Gartner webcasts this past week and they were talking about how, not only are people resigning, but people are expecting up to a 10% leave. What do you, I guess that's all like a leave premium. Like if you leave your job, you can get 10% more if you just changed jobs. So, you know, the folks that I've talked to say that they think that's a conservative, like 10%, what do you mean? We're hearing some really crazy things out there in the market.

Chad (1m 53s):

A lot of the impact that we're seeing is because most companies have really not focused on internal mobility at all. They're really focused heavily on getting that new, fresh talent in the door. But once they get them in the door, they kind of atrophy and they don't see new opportunities. They don't see lateral opportunities or even an opportunity to get into, to new departments or what have you, new projects. Can you talk to that at all? Or is that something that you guys, you need to do better at as well?

Amy (2m 23s):

We do. We need to do better. We, you know, I don't think anybody's really got it nailed. I think that, what you've got right now is a combination of market forces, to the extent that you have what would be called pent up demand, right? People who probably would have left their job last year for a variety of reasons and didn't because COVID, and now you've got that, that pent up attrition. The attrition that would happen is happening. And then you got this other phenomenon where you've got people who increase their wages. They can get a different opportunity.

Amy (3m 4s):

Internal mobility is not ideal, probably in most organizations. There's lots of reasons for that. You know, whether it's, I don't want to lose Chad, because if he goes over to this other department, then I'm stuck. But you know, nobody thinks about the fact that all you have to do is go on the internet and you can find a department outside of your employer and go do that. Like, okay, if you won't let me move around, I'll move around somewhere else.

Chad (3m 30s):

Yeah. But I couldn't move around somewhere else outside of the company, which is what we see a lot of people do.

Amy (3m 36s):

So if you've got this internal mobility issue where it's, we've made it easier for people to leave than to stay, I think that's the tweet. Right. And the other thing I think you've got going on here, Chad, and I've heard you talk about this in the past is about how internal development of employees doesn't like, we would, we would rather go buy it then we would rather build it as a society. Not just where I'm not just where I work. It's, you know, I want this ready-made done. I want the person to come in. I need them with all the right experience. And I want them to fix my business. Whereas a different point of view is what would happen if we built these people ourselves?

Amy (4m 19s):

What if we invested in those folks and do it that way. And I, I have some pretty strong feelings about this. They're they're not always.

Chad (4m 28s):

Talk about it, come on. This is where you're doing right here.

Amy (4m 33s):

What, like, why do we think that you can make people out of thin air? You just can't, they don't come from thin air there's, there's a limited talent pool in most of the high demand skills right now. So why, you know, why are we not investing more?

Chad (4m 53s):

Yes. Well, and again, I don't want to, I don't want to lean too hard on this cause I always do. And I'm going to do it again. Army ROTC.

Amy (5m 3s):

I knew you were gonna say that.

Chad (5m 6s):

And I see it happening here locally with plumbers, HPAC, you get an individual, they come in, the company pays for the certification and they're on contract for three years. Right? So, and I understand, but still that's not a, you know, a top level developer and that's what we're looking at, Chad. Yeah. But that's where they start. Right?

Amy (5m 29s):


Chad (5m 30s):

We are an area of the company that thinks at a moment's notice, we don't plan for longterm and talent pipelines are not instant. They are something that you build and we are not builders.

Amy (5m 46s):

It mystifies me. I mean, you know, and in the world where I work, you know, it's, there's the technology shortage, you know, technology skill shortage in terms of being senior enough to have certain skills, you know, but that we haven't always cultivated people. Right. You know? And so there's that. The other thing that I was that I do want to say though about the cleared community is we don't do a very good job of cultivating folks with clearances either. And we honestly, we do rely heavily on military recruitment to get those clearances out of the box. But when you start getting into the super high level clearances, you don't always find them.

Amy (6m 28s):

So finding ways to, you know, and it's that intersection, right. And that's a, you know, my brain just shorted out a second ago, cause it's like, there's, there's this thing where you've got the skill bucket that's depleted and then you've got the clearance bucket. That's, you know, only going to take a certain type of person and is only going to take a few people through that process. And then when you have that intersection, you end up with a pretty scarce talent pool. So it is frustrating to work in a world where, you know, it's not just internal mobility, that's the problem. It's all types of development that needle the other look, in my opinion.

Chad (7m 12s):

But what you're talking about is clearances. In being in the military, I had a clearance for 18 years. Do you know why it's so easy to clear 18 year olds?

Amy (7m 24s):

Well, they haven't done much.

Chad (7m 26s):

They don't have a fucking background. Right? So overall, if companies, I mean, if we're talking about building our own pipelines, we need to think at the root of the situation, right? We shouldn't think of this a, well, I need a senior developer today. Well, that's your fault for not thinking about that? I don't know, 10 years ago, or five years ago start building today for tomorrow. Steal from others right now, but you've got to get something in place today.

Joel (7m 55s):

And I think that Chad's commentary is really pressant in the fact that if work from home is a thing that sticks, then the resignation is not going to be a one-time big event. It's going to be an ongoing thing that companies have to deal with because work from home as good as it is in many cases, feels like a long distance relationship. You know, you're never quite as invested with the interrelationship as when you see them every day or see them on a regular basis and they're at a distance. So do you agree that that Chad's comments are more important because this resignation issue is going to only get worse as work from home sticks?

Amy (8m 33s):

I don't know about the commitment aspect, Joel. I would. I think you're probably right, but I think it could have to do also with the fact that now most jobs have a national pool of candidates, not a local pool of candidates. So once managers kind of get a taste of, wait a minute, I can find great talent in Indiana compared to, you know, my backyard and wherever the heck I am. You know, it opens up so many different ways of thinking about things that a lot of folks just haven't done before.

Amy (9m 14s):

So I don't really know if like, I don't know if it's all going to be like, if there's going to be one, cause and one, you know, one reason, but I think the effect is definitely going to be there. So I think we agree, but maybe for different reasons.

Joel (9m 28s):

So do companies work harder to keep people or do they not care because there's a bigger pool and they can just go play shuffleboard or with all this talent, swapping spit has been a popular statement on the show recently. Like, do they want to keep them more or replace them more?

Amy (9m 45s):

I think when you look at statistically, what you hear and you know what I think we know to be, if we can accept as true, that attrition is expensive because you lose your internal knowledge, right? You lose, you lose that knowledge that's been built inside your organization. So it goes bye bye, and then you have to bring somebody else new in which has a cost associated, just the brand has the cost associated. And then you got the cost of training that person, you know, as well. And you know, one of the things that one of my former bosses talked to me about, and it stuck with me, especially around hiring recruiters.

Amy (10m 32s):

Cause recruiters lot of times, you know, we can be kind of rolling stones, right? We don't sit very long in one place. And so it's not unusual to see somebody, you know, after a couple years just, you know, pick up and move on. And you know, and my LinkedIn profile is certainly evidence of that. I mean, I've been here for almost eight years, but that's like, you know, a record. But when you look at that tenure piece, you know, what he always says, you know, you get these recruiters who have one year of experience 10 times and they think they've got 10 years of experience. And wow, when you really think about it and you start seeing how people kind of operate inside organizations, that ability to persist and do the problem solving within organizations and within jobs, whether you move up or not, right?

Amy (11m 27s):

You know, there's, you know, I don't maybe you're you want to be a recruiter forever, or maybe you want to be a sourcer forever, or maybe you want to be a manager forever? Who cares? But that ability to kind of persist, do the problem-solving, work those relationships through because you know, work is not always just, you know, peace and light, but that, I think that that's something that is another factor with that attrition problem, because you lose people with that problem solving.

Joel (11m 58s):

Yeah. Retention is a problem without work from home. Now it's an even bigger problem. And so I'm guessing what you're saying is services and solutions that help you keep employees are going to be at the forefront in the foreseeable future.

Chad (12m 13s):

But we got robots to take care of this shit though, right?

Amy (12m 16s):

All right. Well, where are the robots right now, Chad?

Chad (12m 20s):

Good question. You tell us, where are the robots? You've built your stack from ground zero, right? So in building that more efficient stack, how have robots helped and are they living up to all the hype?

Amy (12m 36s):

The robots help a lot. So we have built a stack that has, you know, a CRM layer.

Joel (12m 44s):

When you say robots, just for the listeners. What do you mean exactly?

Amy (12m 47s):

What do I mean, that's a great question. So what I think about when I'm referring to a robot is a tool, a technology tool that automates something that a human could do. You know, and in the case of the automation, that's working is things like a job distribution engine that pushes jobs out efficiently and gets, and then collects applications for workers, that's automation, right? I mean, it's very basic automation and it's automation that we've had forever, but it's also automation that's not always working that well for every company.

Amy (13m 29s):

So, when we fixed ours, we were able to plus up our applicant flow by four times, just by changing out the system and getting more efficient job distribution and, you know, a bot, an engine that does that, and then building a better mechanism to accept those applications. So that's a robot that's working really well. Other robots that we've worked with, are things like automating our referral program or doing, you know, building a chat bot, which has not yet happened yet, but will be happening soon. And those things require enormous amounts of human labor behind the scenes.

Chad (14m 11s):

Now, are you building your own, you going to a vendor and they're obviously collaborating and building it with you?

Amy (14m 17s):

The latter.

Chad (14m 17s):


Amy (14m 18s):

The latter, but I'm just here to tell you that none of this stuff is a toaster. You don't get it out of the box and plug it in and then get toast.

Chad (14m 28s):

Most companies don't understand that though.

Amy (14m 30s):

Oh my gosh. It's I didn't understand that. And when I had my first, it was a couple of years ago when somebody said, you know, well, we should get a chat bot. And I was like, well, let's talk about that. And it was a vendor and I asked to see it and I was like, well, so, so how does the robot know what to say when somebody says, tell me about your benefits. Right. So pretty simple question. And they were like, oh, well, you'll train it. I'm like, excuse me, wait a minute. Wait, what me?

Amy (15m 11s):

So the robot that you build is only as smart as you are.

Chad (15m 16s):

Yeah. And the data and the information that you can feed into it so that it can learn. It's like you said, it's not a toaster when it comes out of the box, it doesn't just automatically do what you want. It's more like a kindergartner. Right. And you have to train it to do, you know, it has to go through school.

Joel (15m 33s):

Here's your new puppy.

Amy (15m 35s):

Yeah. I, yeah, Joel kindergartener is way too sophisticated for what my experience is with this. Yeah. I would go with puppy. So it's true. I mean, you know, it's sit, no sit.

Chad (15m 51s):

Don't pee on the rug!

Amy (15m 53s):

All of those things. Yeah. That is completely, that is completely a great reference, a great analogy. And that's certainly been my experience with robots. So that's kind of where I would say the push toward automation, maybe creating more labor in the process of removing labor. So I'm kind of in the camp, you know, and I know that there's sort of a continuum of people who say that, you know, robots take jobs. I'm not sold on that. And, and we may have to agree to disagree, but how do you guys feel about that? Are robots taking the jobs or robots making the jobs.

Joel (16m 30s):

HR tech? It's not a toaster.

Amy (16m 33s):

Yeah. Yeah. Right. Look at us. We're here. Trademark.

Joel (16m 37s):

Your comment about here's what's working and here's what isn't and none of this is magic bullet stuff. I mean, I think the job distribution stuff, I think the automated sourcing and matching stuff is more toasterish. Yeah. I think like chatbots, chatbots, aren't a one size fits all thing. And I think, you know, we've talked about us on the show that look at, if chatbots were a silver bullet, we wouldn't be talking about so-and-so being acquired for an undisclosed amount of money. We would be talking about a new round of funding, you know, to the $100-150 million investment. So it's clear that there's a challenge with that sector of the economy or that sector of the business.

Joel (17m 17s):

So I think your, your point of like, look, some of it works really well, like flip a switch and things are awesome and others are like, holy shit, it's like, I have a new puppy now, what do I?

Chad (17m 27s):

Well, I think a lot of it has to do with operator error though. So much, like Amy had said most companies believe and I think a lot of this has to do with salespeople as well they make you feel like it's this magic button, but there's, there's a lot of work to implementing technology to ensure it works the way that you want it to. And you, I think you really have to look, look in the mirror and make sure that, you know, how you want the experience to work for your recruiters and your candidates and your hiring managers and so on and so forth. So if you haven't stripped all of that down to the bare bones and rebuilt it into much more efficient experience, you're just going to slam something into your old process methodology that is just going to suck and it's going to continue to suck.

Amy (18m 18s):

You know? Yes, all of that is true. And I will give it an exclamation point to the point of saying that some of my experience around technology vendors is that it's built by really smart people who never worked as recruiters.

sfx (18m 40s):


Amy (18m 41s):

Aw, thanks.

Joel (18m 41s):

You're welcome. That's all you get. You get one. Enjoy it Amy.

Amy (18m 48s):

So the really smart people, sure. But you know, the folks that can really come in that you need a Smee, you need somebody who has done the whole recruiting process, who knows the compliance aspects, who knows, you know, the kinds of things that people actually ask in the process of finding a new job. You know, those are the kinds of things that are typically missing. And what we've also found, is that when you get into, okay, so maybe you can automate a process, so you can create an engine that that collects applicants, let's say, but then once you start needing to report on it, things are also a little bit muddy.

Amy (19m 31s):

So the reporting piece of it and the data piece of it, like there is so much data to be had and so much complication with just translating that information into anything that's not a CSV file. Because when you talk to the vendors, a lot of time, all the reporting is built in. Well, what the reporting actually means is that you're going to get a CSV file and good luck sister. So, and that's what you get.

Chad (19m 59s):

Hiring companies also need to know that they are going to get shit for data, unless they really do their due diligence to understand how they're going to receive that data. Is it parsed? Is it contextualized? How do I receive this data? And how can I make sense out of it, past just being able to take it into your system? Because I agree, many companies and you hear this on the pitches, you're going to get so much information, so much rich, enriched information from the conversations that you have with job seekers or that you have with recruiters or whatever it is. It's like, okay, we've got all this quote, unquote "enriched data"

Chad (20m 39s):

how do you contextualize it? How do you actually put it in format, structured format, so that it's useful to me?

Amy (20m 48s):

Right. And it does not, there's still not a mechanism that can say, you know, this person fits this job or this job fits this person.

Chad (20m 60s):


Amy (21m 0s):

So, you know, the people aspect of that and that's where I think Chad, when you and I have spoken before, you know, talking about, you know, potentially, you know, automating recruiting, I just think that, that people still need people in recruiting. And I think there's going to be parts that we're going to be able to automate. But you know, one of the things that we've started to do is use RPA, which is Robotic Process Automation in other ways, to try to make certain processes more efficient. And what we've found is that yeah, it works. But the project that you get into that actually can get off the ground fairly quickly are the ones where the data is really clean, which is almost never.

Amy (21m 49s):

And you know, it does exist, right? So it's a subset and I got into smaller subsets, you've got the data that's really clean and that is completely predictable. It always shows up exactly the same way. And you know, and that's where, you know, so you can maybe automate a process that takes, you know, a report that, you know, that says, you know, this person was hired and then sends them a letter, right. Hired letter, hired letter. And that type of automation can work or hire email, hire email, whatever text message, you can automate that. And you know, but it's super simple. And you know, when you start looking at resumes, for example, there's no standard language.

Amy (22m 33s):

So what do we have? We have a non-standard process. So what do we have? You just broke the system. I mean, it just it's so, so you're not gonna get the same type of output that you're going to get from a human, because the human has context and the human can do that contextualization. And I don't know, you know, if you'd asked me five years ago or three years ago, you know, I would probably have been more bullish on the robots, but I've met all the robots now.

Chad (23m 5s):

Keep on bingeing the final episode with Amy is ready and available. And if you're not already subscribed, look for the Chad and Cheese, wherever you listen to podcasts and hit that subscribe or follow button.


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