What do you get when you combine a shit-hot technology with an established company with lots of existing customers? You get Hourly, a conversational A.I. (don't call it a chatbot) solution from Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS).
OK, they have a lot going for them, but can they survive Firing Squad? Jerry Collier, Managing Director, Product Innovation at AMS, brings his A-game, but you'll need to listen to reveal the boys' opinions.
Firing Squad is proudly powered by the programmatic powerhouse known as (((Monster Truck voice))) PandoLogic!!!
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:
Damn Programmatic is hot. Yeah, it is hot, dude. Pass me a cold PBR. Would ya? Okay. Number one, I wasn't talking about the temperature and number two PBR is a shitty beer, time to upgrade to an IP. Okay. My bad guessing you were talking about Programmatic Job Advertising being hot. Yeah. That shit is everywhere and all the kids are doing it. No man. But there's only one company that's been doing it since 2007.
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Pandologic (1m 3s):
PandoIQ provides an end-to-end programmatic job advertising platform that delivers a significant increase in job ad performance without any way, social spending to maximize the ROI on your recruitment spend. They're AI enabled algorithms use over 48 job attributes and more than 200 billion historical job performance data points to predict the optimal job advertising campaign.
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Firing Squad Intro (2m 3s):
Like Shark Tank? Then you'll love Firing Squad! CHAD SOWASH & JOEL CHEESMAN are here to put the recruiting industry's bravest, ballsiest, baddest startups through the gauntlet to see if they got what it takes to make it out alive? Dig a fox hole and duck for cover kids the Chad and Cheese Podcast is taking it to a whole other level.
Hell yeah! Independence Day is over and we've got a Brit on this episode of the firing squad. What's up everybody?
Joel (2m 37s):
I am Joel Cheesman co-host of the Chad and Cheese Podcast alongside my co-host Chad Sowash, and we are welcoming. Jerry Collier your Managing Director of Product Innovation from Alexander Mann Solutions/Hourly. Jerry, how are you?
Jerry (2m 52s):
Hey, good morning
Chad (2m 53s):
There he is, as you can tell Jerry's a Brit. So every time he speaks, all I can hear is King George starts singing. You say the price of my love.
Joel (3m 3s):
How did you celebrate the 4th of July? Jerry?
Chad (3m 5s):
He watched Hamilton!
Jerry (3m 8s):
And what a great show! What a great show?! I bet you both seen it though. You must've both seen it!
Chad (3m 14s):
Joel is the only knob that hasn't seen it. Yeah. He's yeah, he can't do it.
Joel (3m 20s):
No appeal whatsoever.
Chad (3m 21s):
That's okay. History is not history.
Joel (3m 23s):
Dancing colonials. Awesome. Sounds great.
Chad (3m 28s):
Sounds great. Okay. So Jerry is the Managing Director of product innovation at A M S aka Alexander Mann solutions. Jerry, give us a little bit about you.
Jerry (3m 39s):
Hey thanks. So my second career first 10 years was in the military. I joined AMS 24 years ago and so they lead our product division
Joel (3m 50s):
24 years? That's good.
Chad (3m 51s):
Joel (3m 53s):
What the hell is wrong with you man? 24 years.
Chad (3m 57s):
All right, Jerry. So let's, we'll just give you the format and the listeners, the format of firing squad. Jerry, you're going to have two minutes to pitch Hourly at the end of two minutes, you're going to hear the bell then Joel and I will hit you with rapid fire Q and A. If your answers start rambling or you get boring, Joel's probably going to hit you with the crickets and that is your signal to move along and tighten up your game at the end of Q and A, you will receive one of three grades.
Chad (4m 38s):
Number one, big applause. That's right. Kids. Time to cash it in, go to the bank. Money is going to start flowing. Number two, the golf clap. It's okay. Kind of like that kid at the prom, the wallflower... You could have done better.
Jerry (4m 56s):
It's very British.
Chad (4m 57s):
Joel (4m 58s):
Not what you want, after 24 years in the business, you don't want that.
Chad (5m 2s):
It never least, number three, the firing squad pack it in and close up. Shop dust off the drawing board. Big boy, because guess what? That thing sucks. You don't want that. So that's the firing squad. Are you ready? Jerry?
Jerry (5m 18s):
Chad (5m 19s):
Joel (5m 20s):
In three, two, get them Jerry,
Jerry (5m 22s):
Hey, a one group of people who've been hit disproportionately hard and these unprecedented times is the hourly paid workforce. Many we now recognize as essential workers. Our mission here at Hourly in the product division of AMS is to enable all hourly job seekers to be treated fairly as humans whether they're hired or rejected. The combination of legacy ATS and bandaid, HR tech ultimately treats your non-exempt job seeker badly leaving them and hiring managers frustrated.
Jerry (5m 53s):
I spoke with a recruiting team last month that is now only two people. Yeah. At some soon they're going to be rehiring 50 to 60,000 hourly workers into their business. They know their all processes and tech won't cut it today. Often the solution to high volume hiring is bolting a bot onto the front end of the ATS process. But at some point that bot meant to humanize the recruiting post that's just dumps the job seeker back into that legacy system and ATS configured to make you jump through hoops, upload irrelevant resumes, cover letters only to wait and often hear nothing back.
Jerry (6m 27s):
This is utter bullshit for job seekers who are often your customers too. So how do you personalize, hiring and rejection for thousands and thousands of applicants? It's actually pretty simple. You turn the hiring process on its head and you turn it into a conversation from explore to offer. Imagine being one of thousands of candidates who can chat about opportunities, work out the best role for them know they're a good fit. Schedule their interview in less than six months. And if there isn't a good role, then the job seeker is being provided personalized incentives to improve the chances of success on the next application, I will has been built from the ground up to meet customer needs for volume recruiting.
Jerry (7m 5s):
We're being guided by some of the world's largest brands and thank you to them between them they hire 1.3 million people a year. Of course, there are thousands of HR tech options to plus or over your hiring process. Crap cracks today. And for some companies that works, but our Hourly customers know their candidates and managers deserve better. Check us out at wearehourly.com
Joel (7m 31s):
Tight that's right. Quincy has trained you. Well, Jerry, very good. We are hourly. Love the name, hate the URL. What's up with that?
Jerry (7m 42s):
It's my imagination. I do. You know, I, I'm a, I'm a simple, I'm a simple man and I love calling products by what they do. I don't want to get all sort of creative. I just want to, I want a product that talks to what it does. And this is about hourly workers. It's about transforming the recruiting experience for hourly workers. Yeah.
Joel (8m 0s):
At least it's better than gocanvas.io, but it's a close second. All right. So, so my God, we have chatbots coming out of our ears. How are you guys different?
Jerry (8m 11s):
Chatbots? I think had have their moment to have that place. If your core processes in the ATS, you can put a chat bot on the front end. You could put a chat bot on the on the back end. You can make that front and back a little bit nicer, but fundamentally it's a pretty poor experience and you're not eliminating any waste you're just automating what is a not very nice experience. So what we've done is strip all of that away and said, take from the moment. Let's put the recruiter back in recruiting. If I was pitching you a job, I want to know I'm wanting to build a converse - I want to build a relationship I'd want to, I want to find out about you and want to find out what things you like.
Jerry (8m 47s):
I'd want to find out what opportunities might be of interest. And then I want to guide you all the way through the process to getting that offer and dealing with any counter there afterwards. So we've, re-imagined the whole process from that explore to offer in one application, no more bandaids, no more ads. We can do it in a very different modern way. Let's get relevant for job seekers.
Chad (9m 10s):
Jerry AMS is known throughout the world already. Why start an entirely new brand?
Jerry (9m 18s):
That's a great question. I think Quincy Valencia. I know you've had Quincy on here, queen of chat-bots and I, over the last two years, it just got more and more frustrated by not being able to solve customer's problems. You know, we talk in industry and we talk about candidate experience and we do a pretty poor job of it. Let's challenge ourselves. We do a pretty poor job of it. We don't do a great job. We rejection. We don't do a great job of hiring experience. So we pitched to set up a new business, new product business in AMS to transform that and go after that. And we got green lit by the board and here we are with our first product.
Jerry (9m 48s):
First of many, hopefully.
Chad (9m 49s):
So does this mean that you can just pretty much go and do what you want since you're not branded Hourly, but you're still under the AMS umbrella. I'm still kind of perplexed. AMS has a brand. Everybody knows it. Why did you break away? Or why are you looking to break away with an entirely new brand, new color schemes, all that stuff. I mean, that's a lot of work. The big question is why?
Jerry (10m 13s):
Well, I think the product division has been given license from a brand perspective to, to be creative, to start to move AMS on a journey, to a slightly different conversation with customers, I suppose, with, with a front end of the spear of, of potentially, you know, other changes coming without a spoiler without spoiler alert, spoiler alert.
Chad (10m 38s):
So how much of this is Karen? You said that this was built from the ground up. Why in the hell did you buy Karen?
Jerry (10m 44s):
You know, it was a great question. You know, why product and why? Now one of the challenges we had was we have a great heritage with outsourcing. We have a great heritage in consulting and helping customers sort of solve problems themselves, but we had no engineering heritage. We hadn't built software before we hadn't built product before. So we had two options, either seek great partners in the marketplace or go make an acquisition and build around that. And that's what we did closing that acquisition in June last year and welcoming in the Karen team.
Jerry (11m 17s):
And they've become our engineering group in the product division. So a great fit fit for us, culturally some great ideas and have really accelerated our, our ability to, to build and launch great products.
Chad (11m 31s):
So an aqua-hire.
Jerry (11m 32s):
Joel (11m 34s):
Jerry want to talk a little bit about the competition again? And we've had a lot of them on the show from Mya to XOR, obviously Paradox is a well known one as well. You guys are Alexander Mann. This, this feels a little bit like a side project, not going to have the kind of focus and energy that some of your competitors have. I want you to just convince me that you will have the focus and the resources behind hourly to make it competitive into the future.
Jerry (12m 2s):
Yeah. Yeah. Alright. So it's a great question. I think we are one of only two board sponsored initiatives globally. I have full support and backing from the board, the ex-co and our new investors or owners. They see the future in a much more balanced business that has outsourcing consulting and product. Our product division is not about one product, but it has multiple different products. We come, we come with the backing and the experience of a 25 year old business, four and a half thousand recruiters having recruited or around the around the world use every kind of product.
Jerry (12m 43s):
We're not an HR tech firm, just building software where recruiters who now have the capability to build smart software. And I think that's our USP
Joel (12m 51s):
And where are we in customer competency? Now a few years ago we heard the comment of, you know, people just want a chat bot, even though they don't know what the hell a chat bot is. I assume that we've evolved a little bit from that, but where are we in customer competency? And what percentage of employers do you think currently now leverage a chat bot and how much room does that leave for growth for companies like you?
Jerry (13m 13s):
I think a lot, there is a lot of discussion about chatbots and nothing. There has been adoption. I wouldn't, I wouldn't be able to put a number on that. It's just like working with recruiters. If you know, if I come to the career site and there's a chat bot there, the chat bot will say, Hey look, great, great. You want to explore this job? Let me pass you to my, my buddy who was, you know, a specialist in volume recruiting. Pass this to Hourly and we pick up the conversation. So I think, you know, you're going to see chat bots talking to each other and handing off seamlessly candidates.
Jerry (13m 44s):
So I, I just see this as a, you know, the next that we've, you know, we've had that sort of linear chatbot we've had now the more conversational chat bot starting to appear. And I think we're going to have groups of chatbots working as a team, to the benefit of the candidates and managers.
Chad (14m 0s):
Jerry Joel has a problem understanding conversational AI, can you help him understand? Can you help him understand the difference between conversational AI and just a plain old chat bot?
Jerry (14m 13s):
So let's, let's, let's start. So hourly is not a chat bot. We're a full platform that goes from explorer to offer. We have features that look like chat, and it is a conversation. If I was a recruiter pitching you, as I said before, I want to build a relationship. I want to find out what kind of opportunities, what shifts might work, what locations, what rates, what shifts don't work for you? I want to explore different roles. I want to look at your certifications if we're, you know, if you've applied for one job, but there's a, there's a forklift operator job over here that's a better bet. I want to understand that conversation because that's what I would do as a recruiter.
Jerry (14m 46s):
So conversation is about starting that process, but then keeping it going, not just they're dumping you into an ATS and the hell with that then often brings, but actually keeps that go in and says, Hey, let's, let's explore the sort of minimum requirements for this job. Let's see if you're a good match for this one. Cause if you're not, let's then divert you into a different role. Let's get you scheduled for that interview. Let's prep you for that interview. Let's prep the manager for that interview. Let's debrief you and the manager thereafter, let's get you the offer you want. And if that isn't going to be the, if you're not going to get hired, let's, let's give you a great rejection experience that says, hey, what we've learned about you is this.
Jerry (15m 25s):
So these are the things you think about when you next go through your hiring process. So let's give back as opposed to just send us an email at the end of the processes. Thanks. Hey, thanks for trying hard, but, but a better luck next time. Let's actually give back some hints and tips to the, to the, to the job seeker. So we go all the way through from that front end conversation, right at our back end and the disposition process in a S in a single uninterrupted conversation. So we're not just a chat bot where that conversational process that goes from explorer to hire.
Chad (15m 56s):
Does that make sense? It does. Now the big question is how many messaging platforms do you operate on SMS? Facebook, we chat What's app, et cetera, et cetera. How are you working today?
Jerry (16m 5s):
Yeah. Yeah. So we've, we've built mobile web and tech. First. We are now working on a number of those. You just mentioned as a, as part of our next phase, Quincy, my product manager is leading our roadmap, which includes a number of those other messaging platforms, because you're right. We want to take our conversation where the candidate wants to have the conversation. We're picking the big ones first and then starting to move out to all other channels in time. We, again, we want to make sure that we're having the conversation where the candidate or the manager wants to have that conversation.
Joel (16m 42s):
Yup. Platforms are important. And so our languages. So talk to me about, obviously English is one, but what others and what's on the roadmap.
Jerry (16m 51s):
Yep. So English and Spanish are critical first, and then we're going to be guided by our, our customers. So our roadmap has English and Spanish expansion into LatAm. And then we're going to be, you know, our first customers, they might be saying German is next and we might have to have German as the next one. So we're going to be guided very much from a, from a geographic expansion and a language need by our customers, although English and Spanish very much, very much. First,
Joel (17m 21s):
Is there a good talk to me about integrations? Do you integrate currently with ATS? Is, do you integrate with CRMs? If not, is that in the plan? What's, what's that look like?
Jerry (17m 33s):
Yep. We, we have a middleware solution for our integration. So we're able to integrate with all the big ATSs is today. ATS is, are still going to play a role. They are going to be the system of record. Often. They're going to be the system of record. We need to take a requisition. We to give that candidate's file back at the end of the process. So we need to push it somewhere. So ATS is still going to be there. I think another time I'd love to come on on the bait, this sort of future of the applicant tracking system.
Jerry (18m 3s):
And you know, me, Quincy, my team and others in the market would I think have strong views on the future of the ATS and the role of the ATS. But today we acknowledge it's still going to be important as that system of record. So integration has been critical in our work.
Chad (18m 17s):
That being said, talk to us about partners, Programmatic assessment scheduling. Cause you're not doing all of this yourself. Who, who have you partnered with? Why did you partner versus build? And then why did you build versus partner?
Jerry (18m 33s):
Great question. So we have built out really from the ground up with this only two pieces that we didn't want to build. One was the Programmatic front end, and you've covered a lot of ground on programmatic advertising. And we partnered with us with a fantastic leader in that market with Coveo. And the other piece we didn't want to build was the assessment. And we use the assessment data in four very exciting ways, but, and the part of the supports, our assessments is tree to fire and they they've built their assessment on the big five personality assessments, 50 years of proven science.
Jerry (19m 12s):
They do it in a, in a very neat way, and that has great completion rates for this marketplace. So our two key partners are Joveo on the front hand and TraderFind in the middle. Everything else is built by us.
Chad (19m 24s):
So why did you choose to build scheduling? Just because you thought it was easier than the rest of it?
Jerry (19m 30s):
You know what scheduling is the most complex? It sounds like super, super easy thing, but it is so not. And we wanted to have a consistent experience. It is, you know, how many, how many scheduling tools have running late buttons today? So if the manager's running late or the candidates running late, they press running late. And the system reschedules or shifts that shifts their appointments. We understand all of the rescheduling, parallel interviewing panel interviewing side-by-side delegate, location and manager specific options there are for interview and scheduling today.
Jerry (20m 11s):
And in order to keep that consistent exp experience and to leverage our 25 years of corporate experience, we decided we will build that because frankly, we didn't see something that was robust and comprehensive enough to partner.
Chad (20m 28s):
Talk about adoption real quick, Jerry, how are you taking this too? Because you already have a huge client base at AMS. How are you introducing this to clients? Because talent acquisition sucks at adoption. They're incredibly slow. COVID, might've hastened the pace a little bit, but how are you gaining adoption? What's your traction looking like right now? How many companies are using it?
Jerry (20m 52s):
Yep. So we have our first two activating with us presently. Very early days, we only launched eight weeks ago and we have our first two activating with us right now. And we'll share those names with you and your listeners as soon as we can. We have, again, our product advisory group have been absolutely spectacular and a number of them are working with us presently, as you say, we've got hundreds of AMS customers and we are in a, a program of exploring the use case of Hourly for those customers.
Jerry (21m 25s):
But, but candidly, you know, this opens up another, a huge market, a huge market for, for AMS that perhaps has been under-addressed so far. So strategically going back to one of your questions, which is why is this support supported within AMS? Not only is, this is an exciting opportunity for us in terms of launching products, but it also opens up another great part of the, the marketplace, which is potentially underserved today from AMS.
Joel (21m 53s):
ZD.net published a story late last year about a chatbot fatigue, if you will. And their study showed that seven out of 10 consumers were sort of, you know, going cold on, on chat bots. Do you think this is a real concern for our industry or do you not see it as a threat because people are so inspired to find a job and are so turned off by the black hole of resumes that they'll, they'll put up with chatbots for years to come?
Jerry (22m 22s):
I think a lot of chat bot experience experiences are shit, excuse my language. It's replicating poor process. It's automating a poor process. It's, you know, it's a bit gimmicky if we don't move this beyond, you know, a chat bot sitting on a career site, answering a few questions of candidate, dumping them into a horrible ATS process where they've got 12 pages of, of data that they've got to fill in and upload a resume and you know, how are we ever gonna do mobile recruiting? How are we ever going to make this a modern process? And, you know, then chat bot gets, gets thrown out because it doesn't work.
Jerry (22m 55s):
Actually what doesn't work is the process in the first place, just, don't just automate the process that doesn't work, actually cups take a step back, eliminate waste, and then automate. And that's what we've done here. So, you know, I would, I would encourage all of your listeners to take a different approach. Don't automate what is a manual process, take a step back, eliminate then automate. And I think then we have a chance, but at the moment, I'm just putting a chat bot, in dumping people into a poor ATS experience. I don't think that's a, I don't think that's a winning strategy.
Joel (23m 26s):
Do you think a few bad apples will spoil it for the ones that do it right now?
Jerry (23m 31s):
I don't think, I don't think that's the case, but I think that will be a, I think there will be a, a moment where, you know, chat bots, you know, people have a downer on chat bots, and again, there are some, some really exciting technologies out then talk about conversational AI. And I think there are some CEOs out there who I know who have huge ambitions and these guys and their businesses have these ladies, nice people in their businesses will take the lead in this market. And those, those very, very basic linear chat bot providers, those HR tech firms who, you know, to become modern, have just put a chat bot on the end of, you know, a vertical HR tech solution.
Jerry (24m 12s):
But then they, you know, they're going to be losers in this market, my personal view.
Chad (24m 16s):
So AMS is an RPO and Process outsourcing, so you own the process to an extent, does that actually help you with adoption and being able to get these better, more efficient processes in place without having to go through TA
Jerry (24m 34s):
Look, I think own is an interesting word in our market. I think there is always, and there is always from an recruitment process outsourcing or any of our contingent workforce solutions, I think contingent workforce solutions. We have, we can bespoke that process to, to a much greater degree than often we can from an RPO environments. Often we find ourselves starting with a customer's process and then influencing to change. So I, I, I do believe that we can with our customers accelerate that change curve.
Jerry (25m 11s):
And I think to your point, I think COVID, this pandemic, which is probably the worst economic and health crisis for the last 75 years is going to accelerate some of that cause people just, frankly, if they can't go back to old ways, they can't, you know, they can't hire a big recruiting teams. They can't stack technologies, you know, 10 fold up, they've got to do something different. So, you know, I, I feel this is the moment for change.
Joel (25m 39s):
All right, man, talk to me about pricing. There's nothing on the website. So a I'm guessing this is real expensive!
Jerry (25m 45s):
Yeah. We think if we think we think it's cost effective, we, we price at the moment on, on a per per offer or per hire basis for our customers. We believe it's a full service platform. So what you get is not only technology, you get LivePerson support and we think that's really important. We're working on a, on a 24/7 live person support model. We, again, you know, there's some pretty poor stuff out there. If a candidate applies six o'clock on a Saturday night, we don't want to be able to only send an email saying, Hey, thanks for that, give us a call on Monday morning at eight, 8:00 AM.
Jerry (26m 24s):
We think, that's just poor. So this is live support technology, all your assessments, all of the programmatic advertising all wrapped in it in a single cost per offer at the moment. We may turn that into, we may later turn that into a license fee model, but we believe The adoption for those, for the early customers. We aide adoption. If it's a price per offer, but on a price profit basis, cost effective though.
Chad (26m 54s):
Okay. Got that? Got that in. Okay. So here we go. Jerry, are you ready? Joel is going to a launch into a, in, into his grading. What are you going to do Joel, what are you going to do? Do know what's going on here?
Joel (27m 8s):
Okay. All right, Jerry, this is going to be pretty short and sweet. I don't think I've shot down or given a fake applause or golf clap to any chat bots and I'm not gonna do it on this one either. I mean, I think that it's pretty obvious both Chad and I are, are fans of this conversational AI, there you go. I said it technology. You have the, the established company, old, old establish employers trust you.
Joel (27m 39s):
You're going to be able to plug this thing into a lot of companies. You're also not a pioneer, which means you don't have the arrows in the back of trying to survive the new stuff. You guys can sort of stand on the shoulders of what previous chatbots have done and, and make it your own. So for me, there's so many things to go right here. We love chat bots. We love established companies with current current customer bases. I think this is a home run. You're going to be able to plug it in to just about everybody and make bank.
Joel (28m 12s):
So for me, it's an easy one. Applause big applause.
Chad (28m 18s):
Okay, well, Jerry, I gotta say this is a very incredibly bloated space. It's not just bloated. It is noisy as hell and it's not incredibly focused either. There's so many chatbots that are out there that are trying to do everything for everyone, they're not being incredibly focused and or disciplined. And you're, you're a hundred percent, right? Many of them are also doing exactly what the client wants, which is not using their expertise, which is not focused on being able to drive more effective processes, which is why RPO needs to own the process.
Chad (28m 57s):
This is the way to move, killing the black hole and driving experiences. Companies like AMS need to be sending a flare up to the rest of the industry that RPO is becoming tech. RPO needs to become tech to be able to evolve. One of the biggest reasons is that first off it's more efficient. You guys are always looking to try to not really cut heads, but make them more efficient.
Chad (29m 27s):
AMS has a large client base, which allows for built in adoption. So overall, everything that I heard, especially with the incredibly laser focus of hourly workers, I got to give a big applause.
Joel (29m 47s):
Way to go, Jerry! 24 your highlight right here, baby. Two big applause!
Jerry (29m 52s):
Guys. Look, thank you. We've we've done some awesome work. We've got so much more to do, man. We have got so much more to do. This is just the start. We are hourly.com. Watch this space. Thank you.