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Interviews kinda suck. There’s got to be a better mousetrap, right? That’s why we brought Stephane Rivard, CEO & founder at HiringBranch on the podcast. Proudly wearing a T-shirt that says “F*CK INTERVIEWS,” Stephane takes us through his plan to toss job interviews into the dustbin of history. No easy task, and Chad & Cheese are here to see if HiringBranch can actually walk-the-walk.



Chad & Cheese:


Intro: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's 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: This is another morning after hangover edition at Unleash America. Las Vegas Nevada.

Chad: How you doing, huh, huh?

Joel: Not too bad, but I'd rather be on a Lazy boy with a Parie right now than podcasting.

Chad: Parie.

Joel: Parie. That's for our guests too, is French Canadian. And by the way, that leads us to our guest today, Stephane Rivard, CEO and co-founder of HiringBranch. Stefan. Bonjour.

Stephane Rivard: Bonjour. Thank you.

Chad: Bonjour.

Stephane Rivard: Bonjour. Thank you very much for having me here. I'm excited to be here today.

Chad: Last time we saw you, we were up in a big glass ball, about 300 or 500 feet above Las Vegas. During the high roller HiringBranch event. How'd that go?

Joel: Ferris wheel 2.0?

Chad: Is that good? Is that good?

Stephane Rivard: Yeah, that was exciting. We have one in Montreal, but it's of course, it's only about half the size.

Chad: Oh, okay.

Stephane Rivard: So everything's much bigger, more fun up here.


Joel: Yes, it is. Yes, it is. Well, Stefan, what really stands out as we're talking to you and our listeners can't appreciate this. Talk about your t-shirt for a second.

Stephane Rivard: So, yeah, so, I'm wearing a T-shirt here and it says, fuck interviews. And, I wish I was clever enough to come up with it, but we didn't, I know, I didn't come up with this, our customers did. So we went out to create a platform, [chuckle]

Joel: Oh, stop it. Now wait a minute. Your customers... Okay, now carry on. Carry on. I wanna hear this. I wanna hear this. Your customers are like, fuck interviews. I get this. I can get behind it, by the way. Go ahead.

Stephane Rivard: Yeah, they didn't come out and say that, but we went out to design a platform that evaluates people's language skills, communication skills, and employability skills. And I guess after a certain amount of time, the platform was working so well that they decided to completely skip the interview. And we did this to, a customer discovery says, so how's the platform going? This is great. We don't interview anymore. So hence the T-shirts.

Chad: So you didn't even know that they were doing that.

Joel: Was that the plan?

Stephane Rivard: That wasn't in the plan.

Joel: You just wanted to be a nice enhancement to interviews. You didn't want to kill them all outright.

Stephane Rivard: Yeah, we wanted to leverage our expertise and we've been working in language training and language assessments for a long time. But and we knew that we could do more, especially adding soft skills into the mix. So yeah. So we had no plans to do this, but here we are.

Joel: How does the product typically work? I apply to a job, they give me a link, and then you go through your tests and then that went into an ATS. Like talk about how this sort of step-by-step process works with the product.

Chad: Ranking, scoring that kind of stuff.

Stephane Rivard: Yeah, so I think they nowadays that's exactly what happens. The candidates, the first thing they'll do is they'll get an invite to do the assessment. And the way that the assessment works, it gives those candidates a job preview. So they actually get to do the job. And it's geared towards any customer facing role. So you can imagine that you were.

Joel: Get to do the job how.

Chad: Like a simulation.

Stephane Rivard: It's a simulation.

Joel: Is there a VR headset involved in any of this?


Stephane Rivard: There's no VR set. No.

Joel: God damn it.

Chad: Joel just got excited.

Stephane Rivard: Oh, bloody hell no.

Joel: Oh, well.

Stephane Rivard: No VR headset, they actually interact [laughter], they actually interact with our platform. So they take mock calls. So they get to actually listen to a customer call that calls in and says, I just bought this telephone, and the internet doesn't work on it. And they're challenged to answer with their voice. They have to record, there's no correct answers, and you gotta use your best skills possible. And you do this for about 30 minutes depending on the vertical you're in.

Chad: Okay.

Stephane Rivard: And we evaluate how well you do.

Chad: So is that done by AI? Is it like transcribed? How is that scored?

Stephane Rivard: So a 100% AI. We have NLP, we have ML, we have a large tech stack that evaluates this in real time. And the interesting thing is that, why did this customers get rid of interviews? Well, it came through the correlation process. We looked at how well these new agents were performing and they were outperforming by large margin, their normal process. And what we mean by that is an increased revenue. So there's, one customer we had, they're due fundraising. So these candidates were raising 10% more money than the traditional process.

Joel: Is there video involved in any of this?

Stephane Rivard: No video.

Joel: All the video interview solutions? Are they dead? Are they worthless? Like do they have a certain piece of hiring that does work? I mean, talk about video interviewing and the future.

Stephane Rivard: Well, videoing interview, I'm not in that space and our customers, were in that...

Joel: And you're not getting into video.

Stephane Rivard: We're not, unless we can extract some interesting AI or interesting metrics out of that, it's not in our plans immediately, but the roles that we're looking at are really based around the skills, talking to people, understanding people, can you figure out what they want? How quickly figure out what they want and that's a question that makes sense. And answer that makes sense.

Joel: And are these high frequency positions usually? Okay.

Stephane Rivard: Yeah. We work mostly with high volume. So, it could be call center sales, telco, insurance, telehealth, anything that has to deal with, you want a successful customer outcome, you need great soft skills. So that's the crux of all we do.

Chad: There's a couple of really cool aspects of this, first and foremost, not being able to do or need to do an interview cuts down the hiring process time wise. And in a sales position, when you fill a position faster, that means you have somebody driving revenue faster. Do they know what actually, I mean, obviously they're getting better people. That's what they're saying. But also what's the huge benefit? Do you know monetarily that 10% was won, but you're filling roles faster, which means you have salespeople in the seat faster.

Stephane Rivard: Yeah. So we're filling these roles within 24 hours. Like literally you do the assessment.

Chad: Stop it.

Stephane Rivard: Yeah. So 24 hours you do the assessment sales roles, 24 hours. So they do the platform, the recruiter looks at a dashboard, figures out the skills that, do these match these benchmark sales that we want. Send them right away to training and job offers. So small organizations can do this within a week. Larger organizations which have a more complex training program. Could be a month. Our larger just customer takes about a month to get through the training process. And one of the challenges they have with the traditional process is that they were losing about 25 to 30% of the candidates through the training process. And our largest telco customer in Canada, they're down to like 1% or 2% because the screening process is so much more accurate. And, a lot of advantage, first of all, the candidate gets to know what kind of work they're gonna be doing. So they get to experience the actual job.

Joel: So remote is a thing, I don't know if you've heard about it here at the conference. How does... How does...

Chad: What is this you're talking about?

Joel: Remote.

Chad: Oh, okay. Okay.

Joel: How does the product evolve into different languages, different parts of the world? Do I have to use English and maybe French, depending on where you're from?

Chad: Can I hire Portugese salespeople?

Joel: Yeah, talk about language and your global footprint.

Stephane Rivard: Yeah, so we have customers that have global footprint, they operate in 30, 40 different countries. So for those customers, we've customized assessments and we support about 13 languages at the moment. But the crux of our business is still English. English represents 90% of the market.

Chad: So is it specific just sales, that's where you're niched out? It's a humongous niche, by the way, but is it sales, customer service? Where do you guys actually touching right now?

Stephane Rivard: Yeah, so right now, we're touching sales and customer service, but we have banks that are fascinated-ly. They're very interested in what we do. Imagine deploying a tech stack that can do a better job than what they're getting and increasing revenues by a few percentage points, and finding those candidates immediately. Even, I have a friend who hires all across Canada for salespeople at the financial sector, and he says, "At the end of the day, I look at CVs, I interview them, I don't know who's selling." So, we're adding science to this process.

Joel: Science?

Stephane Rivard: Science, yes.

Chad: Performance as well. Is that right?

Stephane Rivard: Performance, yeah.

Chad: So I mean it's one of those things where you can take a look at somebody's resume, you can see what they did, or at least what's on the resume, where they worked, but you really don't know what their performance looks like...

Stephane Rivard: No.

Chad: Or how they work.

Stephane Rivard: Correct.

Chad: In this case, you're providing them with the opportunity to see actionable skills.

Stephane Rivard: Correct. Yeah, so we have this framework we've designed, and each of these positions has multiple soft skills, and we can isolate those soft skills for those positions. So we've had actually candidates go in through the customer support queue, do the assessment, do phenomenally well. Then they say, "We're gonna patch you to the sales queue," and completely fail. So they come back to us, says, "Your assessment doesn't work." Well, you're supposed to tell me what level there are. You go back to the data and it's quite obvious that that candidate cannot position a product, they just can't sell, and we see this every day.

Chad: Yeah. Or they're not comfortable closing.

Joel: They're not comfortable closing.

Chad: That's the hardest part about selling. You can talk about something that you love, this product that you've drank the Kool-Aid, but trying to close somebody when you get to that obstacle, that's a switch that not every customer service person can flip.

Stephane Rivard: That's right. And we can measure that. Building rapport, active listening, fluency, the ability to know what the actual problem is, the objection is, identifying a statement, that's what the tech stack does. And trying to do that in a 10 to 50-minute interview is very difficult.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: So we're in day two here at UNLEASH, in the expo. I'm always curious to hear founders, CEOs, leadership positions give their opinion of the vendors here, the startups. You're over there in the start-up alley or nearby, what's your take on what's going on here at the conference from a vendor's perspective?

Stephane Rivard: Yeah, so from a vendor's perspective, there's a lot of interesting technology out there that, from point of view, from every single point... And I guess, when I look at it, I says, even for myself, I can imagine being a HR manager and being totally overcome, all these different separate tech stacks, and they all do solve one problem. So how do you put all those together? So that's the [laughter] over and over again. We do something that's super unique really well, it gets incredible outcomes, but if you're a large corporation, how do we fit into your tech stack?

Joel: Your take on ChatGPT and what it's gonna do to the industry?

Stephane Rivard: Oh, fuck, that's a great question. I think we're trying to raise money in that, so we're not gonna invest in to it because of ChatGPT. But I think ChatGPT, as Microsoft said, I think that human skills will still be the most important. I think that eventually we're gonna have co-pilots that's gonna guide those customer service, those sales agents around. And as Sam Altman said, I think ChatGPT is almost state of the art. We need to create new technology to accelerate what we have. So what it does, it does extremely well. We can see automation in customer service being augmented without a doubt. But at some point, you still wanna talk to a human, you still wanna be heard, and you wanna make sure that that human has good skills.

Joel: That means we'll have this podcast for a while, Chad, because people still wanna hear people, apparently. [laughter] That is Stephane Rivard, everybody, co-founder and CEO at HiringBranch. Stephane, for our listeners that wanna know more about you or the company, where would you send them?

Stephane Rivard: I would send them to All the information is there.

Joel: Bonsoir, bonjour and merci.

Stephane Rivard: Merci.

Joel: Another one in the can. We out.

Chad: We out.

Outro: Wow, look at you. You made it through an entire episode of the Chad and Chase podcast, or maybe you cheated and fast forwarded to the end. Either way, there is no doubt you wish you had that time back, viable 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 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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