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Grouch to Grinch

If you hear “CTO” and think chief technology officer, you clearly don’t work for United Airlines, where CTO now means chief trash officer. That’s right, United has employed Sesame Street’s Oscar the Grouch for their latest ad campaign. Don't worry, it’ll make sense after you listen. Additionally, Recruitics has published a great piece on ChatGPT as it pertains to recruiting and we discuss. We go from Grouch to Grinch to end the show, as we chat about Elon Musk’s recent foot-in-mouth actions that make DEI fans cringe and champions of serfdom cheer. Again, just listen, it’ll make sense.

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 & Cheese Podcast.


Joel: Oh, yeah. 70% of Twitter's top advertisers have cancelled or reduced their spending, which means more ads coming to your favorite podcasts. Hi kids, you're listening to The Chad & Cheese Podcast does recruitment marketing. I'm your co-host, Joel un-skippable Cheesman.

Chad: This is Chad GPT Sowash.

Julie Calli: This is Julie and Chad stole my middle name today, [laughter] Calli.

Joel: Oh shit. Oh no.

Julie Calli: Chad GPT.

Chad: Chad GPT. That's right.

Joel: Alright. Anyway, so on this week's show ChatGPT's benefits to recruiting starts taking shape. Oscar the Grouch gets a job, and Elon is still off the rails. Let's do this. What's up kids? How's the snowpocalypse in the Northeast, Julie?

Julie Calli: Oh, I'm enjoying it. It's March, and it's snowing. [laughter]

Joel: And you can't see her, but she is cozy. Yeah.

Julie Calli: Yes, I got my warm sweater on, I got the heat turned up, it is chilly here today.

Chad: Velveteen rabbit sweater, no just the velvet.

Joel: Yes, yes, rapper and velvet everybody, that's what... The state of Julie Calli.

Chad: Shoutout. I'll go first. My shoutout goes to Elena Valentine, Abby Cheesman, and all those crazy kids over at Skill Scout. So if you've been watching, and I know you have Julie, Skill Scout did an amazing video series for VF brands, the same brand that's the umbrella over Vans, which is a cult brand organization, and they have put out some of the slickest, smoothest, cult brand, beautiful videos for employer brand that I think I have ever seen.

Joel: Are you a shareholder? What in the world? Jeez!

Chad: No. God. I hope I get some shares off of this, Jesus.

SFX: Alright, alright, alright.

Chad: Are doing a great job, but what I'm seeing here is a huge divide in companies feeling like they have to do this. Well, we have to do these slick, really beautiful videos, or we can do these TikTok-like style videos. And personally, I think there's room for both. What do you think, Julie?

Julie Calli: Yeah. I mean, the TikTok style is very authentic, right? Usually, you got a messy bedroom in the background and it's okay, it's short. People aren't over-examining it, it's more about the human connection and the communication, but these over-styled ones where they're very structured and they're very branded, and there's a lot of opportunity to be creative with those.

Joel: Oh yes.

Julie Calli: But it's almost like stock imagery, if you see somebody, perfectly stock photo, it's like, "Oh, that doesn't look real." You just look past it. Trying to keep authentic and creativity in something that's produced, that's hard, that's really hard.

Chad: Yeah. Well, VF brands in this case, they actually had Skill Scout out, they were doing rock climbing, they were at the skate park, they did all these things with... So it wasn't stock, these are things that Skill Scout actually did with the brand, and the brand felt that that embodied them and the people that work with them, and they showcased individuals who work with them that are climbing rocks and running marathons and that kind of shit. So it was really cool, it was incredibly authentic, but it was so slick. And it was one of those things where it's just like, "Oh, maybe I should check out jobs with that company."

Julie Calli: Yeah, that's good story telling.

Joel: You had me at Cheesman frankly, after that it was all butter after that one.


Chad: Not related to Joel, by the way. Just so everybody knows.

Joel: Not whatsoever. And there's a Cheesman at Jobcase now. So they're reproducing. It's getting very crazy. It's gotta be a...

Chad: That's just sad.

Joel: It's gotta be a sign of the apocalypse. I'm gonna give a shout out to our friends at Workday. Most people have seen Workday's new ad, which premiered during the Super Bowl, but critics have been largely complimentary of the advertisement. USA Today ranked it in the top 10 of their ads, The Washington Post put it in the top five, and Ad Age ranked the ad at number six, with one expert saying, "I started with no idea what Workday does. In the end, it was fun enough for me to search what is Workday?" Little victories. The stock price, however is down 3% since the ad went live at Super Bowl. You can't win them all. But for the most part, shout out to Workday for their advertisement.

Chad: They should have used the money to actually build a recruitment system that's worth a shit, that would have been fucking awesome.

Joel: You're such a wet blanket.


Joel: Julie.

Julie Calli: Well, shout out to all of the poor people out there who are trying to manage not having their paychecks because of...

Joel: SVB.

Julie Calli: Silicon Valley Bank. I've heard some incredible stories of CEOs taking their own money to fund their own payroll at their organization, and shout out to them and all the people that are just significantly disrupted by this, I feel for all of them.

Joel: But shout out to the folk... I know Aaron Matos over at Paradox and a few other executives came to LinkedIn and said, "Hey, if you're connected to SVB and need some advice or maybe a short-term loan, hit me up." So it was cool to see the community sort of gather around potential victims of that meltdown. So shoutout to anyone on LinkedIn or in the community that help those that may have been hurt by the meltdown.

Julie Calli: Yeah.

Joel: Let's move on to ChatGPT, shall we, because we can't get enough of ChatGPT, although I don't think we've covered it extensively on this show. So let's talk about a recent article on Recruitics from Cory Kapner. He created a detailed article on how employers should begin thinking about ChatGPT. As companies turn to invest in technology to improve recruitment practices, ChatGPT is learning from conversations it has with people and uses reinforcement understanding to answer questions, write code, gather information write copy and more of the tool can be used to create job descriptions. Enhance employer branding, improve email marketing, stay ahead of trends, communicate with candidates, manage social media and create all kinds of content. Its benefits include streamlining processes and maximizing productivity. Julie, what is your take on the evolving technology that is ChatGPT?

Julie Calli: Well, first of all, I'm not surprised Cory put this article out. If you don't know Cory, he's probably one of the most huggable people in the industry, usually a line to talk to him if I ever go anywhere with him. So great job on putting this out, especially focusing towards our industry, there are so many use cases for it, and we haven't even fully discovered them all. I feel like just a few months ago it was a question of like, "Have you tried ChatGPT yet?" And now I can't go five minutes without hearing it. It's everywhere, everyone's talking about it, and I absolutely love all these conversations because I'm so curious how people are using it.

Julie Calli: There's some obvious things that we can use it for in the industry, definitely a lot of things around content, but there's even the opportunity and solutions out there now that help pick imagery for you as well, a really time-consuming thing. You write an article, now you're gonna find an image that goes with it. So this is incredible that this is gonna accelerate a lot of ability to produce content, but we're already producing so much content. So how is this going to impact people's lives? And that we have this so accessible to us now, I feel that this is gonna disrupt how we use search engines that obviously Microsoft is putting that directly into Bing for search, they're already integrating it into Microsoft Word docs, so you can produce content in that way. And colleges are even starting to approve that people can use it to write their papers as long as a certain percentage of it does not exceed.

Julie Calli: So we're adapting to having this very quickly. I can envision very quickly ATSs saying, Oh, you need to post a job, just what job is it? Automatically writes a job for you. You need to create a website. Tell us about your company, automatically produces a website for you. There's so many ways that this is gonna change how we do work right now.

Joel: So you're at the interesting nexus of practitioners and vendors, how do you see ChatGPT evolving? 'Cause when you look at sourcing for example, how do you manipulate Google and DuckDuckGo and back in the day of finding people? And then companies eventually came around like SeekOut, Hiretool, etcetera, that did the Boolean searches for you. How do you see this? Are both gonna use it in tandem, will we see the individual users first and then the companies come in? How is this gonna evolve from your perspective?

Julie Calli: I would say we're trying to create as seamless as we can experiences to the user. So if you view yourself as a user, then what do you have access to? So I see a future in which access to be able to use something like this to search all the people that are out there by skill is a license is an access, being able to search all the jobs out there using this type of intelligence is access. So people for recruitment, people for dating, Real Estate, anything that you can think of in which we use lists and that we research against that, that is gonna be elevated to us just simply asking for it.

Julie Calli: So there's lots of opportunities, not just in at job search and job journey, because people sometimes move when they look for a new job. Oh, I'm happy to go to a new location. So if you think you could string all of those things together, find me the best job for me based on my skills, find me the best manager to work with, based on the feedback that other people have given towards that type of manager, and then find me the best house for me to live in based on my criteria. It can start to really deliver entire maps of information back to you, if it has access to all of those things.

Joel: You mentioned ATSs writing job descriptions. And that would just sort of be a part of that. To me, that screams disruption, and if I'm making a short list of who's gonna be disrupted by this, like Textio comes to mind, who does job descriptions. Now, they do it...

Chad: And they're expensive.

Joel: They're very expensive. Doing it... It's a unique way, but if I'm doing a cost analysis, is it better to just use this new tool that I am paying? So what kind of disruption do you see? Any companies that come to mind like, Oh shit, they better pivot or figure it out or else this technology is really gonna be tough to maneuver around?

Julie Calli: Well, just because AI can produce content, doesn't make it good. And then if everybody's having content produced by artificial intelligence, is it all the same? So getting a really unique output is going to be important, otherwise, AI is answering the same question over and over with the same answer, and if everybody's producing that as content and calling it their own, there's gonna be a lot of duplication. So the real skill with ChatGPT is to be able to get your own unique outputs of that, giving it the prompts to get a unique output.

Joel: When you say many employers copy and paste job descriptions and just kind of bake them from the net, unique content is not unique in job descriptions.

Julie Calli: Right. But...

Chad: Well, it doesn't make it any better than. We're just regurgitating in the old same shit.

Joel: Right. We're just doing it easier.

Chad: It's garbage in, garbage out.

Julie Calli: Oh, and people do it now. They go Google or go on LinkedIn or Indeed, and they search for a job that's similar to the one they're looking for, and they copy it and then they edit it. So many of us are guilty of that, me included sometimes, but... So you do that, but then you have to make it unique to yourself. Well, that's where creativity comes into. I do think AI will get to those points of creativity, but this is often where people are bringing in creative agencies to help them identify what is my employer brand, right? What is my value proposition? Is AI going to be able to figure that out for you? I don't know. That takes a level of creativity, usually that we have humans involved with. So can it go that far? Can it write a job description? Black and white AB. Sure, but can it put in a selling value factor for a human to spark an emotion? I guess that's what we're gonna be challenging it with. So are there companies that are gonna be disrupted by this because some of their value may be diminished? Yes, I do think that that will happen, but where it will elevate out is the creative part, where AI can't be humanly creative.

Chad: You take a look at job descriptions and the expectations are very low 'cause they're garbage for the most part. And then you take a look at CVs, resumes, that kind of thing. So we start talking about matching, we still have the same problem that we had before ChatGPT. And that's we have garbage data, period. So if we want ChatGPT to work off of garbage data, then we're just gonna get... It's just a different way to get the same result. We're just gonna get garbage back in a different form, it's the same stuff. So I think from a ChatGPT standpoint, there are the coders, the content, the people that are making content, so on and so forth. I agree that there's gonna have to be some human intervention to ensure that they're getting great and quality content and not just quantity, but it's all about quality. But when it comes down to our domain-specific, being able to do all those things that you were talking about, I could see where it could prospectively talk about going to Zillow to look for homes in this area, and so on and so forth, but it is not ready, it is not even close to ready to be able to match the domain models that we have in recruiting in our vendor space.

Chad: So I'm interested to see on the general where we can use it and how we can use it, but when we start talking about... And this is where we really have to educate our industry is if you're looking for this to do something as specific as you were talking about, the expectations, no. It will not, and if it does, it's gonna spit out garbage. So just get ready for the garbage, but it'll learn, it'll learn, but it's not ready for that.

Joel: Julie, you've seen some fads come and go from Twitter jobs to QR codes to... You name it. Is this a fad to you, will we not be talking about this in a year, or if we will continue talking about it, why? Does this technology really matter, should people not think of it as a passing fad?

Julie Calli: I don't think I'd call it a fad. I think it's more that we are talking about ChatGPT, but this is really artificial intelligence and it's doing it in a textual use case. Now that's great, but it's gonna expand in every direction, it's gonna be with images, with videos, the words are just one part of it. So artificial intelligence is not gonna be a fad, it's a future for us and it's gonna become like a leg and an arm, we're not gonna look at it as a fad, it's gonna be like, "Oh yeah, and then it was introduced to our lives and nothing was the same." Just like the internet. Internet was like a big boom thing and was it, "Oh, it's gonna go away." No, no. It's gonna be here forever. It's gonna evolve, and I think that's the case. So it's not something to ignore.

Joel: So for me, there's email that made you go like, Oh shit, that's important. Search, that's important. Social media, mobile. Would you put that... Would you put this in the same buckets as sort of those innovations?

Julie Calli: Yes. I would. And I think it's actually rises above all of them.

Joel: Wow.

Julie Calli: Because the future is that we are the Jetsons and we're just yelling out into our house like toothbrush, and the toothbrush appears because your little Roomba bot went in, and got it for you and brought it to you. Legit, like the future is that we can just say things out loud, and artificial intelligence will be able to communicate with the internet of things that are in our household and turn our coffee pots on and make sure our refrigerator is running at an optimal temperature. And then communicate to Instacart that we are running out of milk and it needs to be delivered. Like everything is going to communicate with each other and we're going to have a future state where we just say things out loud and they happen for us.

Chad: Julie is describing the movie WALL-E, by the way, that's already... That's pretty much mostly the case in China now. I'm just not sure that the internet of things and that connectivity here in the US is gonna be something that is as embraced as quickly just from as privacy rolls out. The Jetsons are great, but yeah, I'd take my disconnected TV instead of a Smart TV, I'll plug in my Roku when I need it.

Joel: Are we dating ourselves with the Jetsons? I feel like the young folks...

Julie Calli: Maybe I did.

Joel: Won't know what the hell we're talking about.'

Chad: Meet George Jetson...

Julie Calli: Meet Julie Jetson, there's my call, right?

Chad: And his wife.

Joel: Yeah. When we get back, we'll talk about another historical figure from our childhood; Oscar the Grouch. Alright, kids. United Airlines has a new employee. They've launched a consumer education campaign to raise awareness of the benefits of sustainable aviation fuel, which is made from used cooking oil and agricultural waste. And to help them spread the word, Sesame Street's Oscar, the Grouch has been named as its first Chief Trash Officer. The campaign includes more than 30 pieces of original video, digital, social and out-of-home content featuring Oscar alongside real United employees. No word yet on whether Oscar will be featured in job descriptions, recruiting campaigns, or perform deep fake interviews with candidates, but it could actually be a thing. Chad, what's your take on Oscar the Grouch becoming United Airlines' newest employee?

Chad: I guess it's got a cool spin. But when they teased it the first few days, I think there was a three-day soft launch, they said nothing other than they were talking about a Chief Trash Officer and the last thing I wanna have associated with my brand is trash. There was literally... There was no understanding of, "Okay, why are we talking about this brand and trash at the same time?" Now, Oscar the Grouch, cute little guy, still in a trash can. If it would have been me, and I said right out of... When they were teasing this, I would have gone with the Cookie Monster and would have been Chief Snack Officer or something of that nature...

Joel: I like the Count.

Chad: Then... Yeah, the count.

Joel: Cheaper prices with the Count.

Julie Calli: More revenue.

Chad: And then they launched it and it made sense, so it was like, "Okay, that's cool." But still, trash, my brand, I get the end goal, but I'm still not 100% on this one.

Joel: No, no. You're a sell on Oscar the Grouch.

Chad: I'm more of the Count or Cookie Monster on this one.

Joel: Julie, what's your take on Oscar?

Julie Calli: I gotta say, chief trash officer, I've heard a lot of strange chief titles and that definitely raised my eyebrow, like, what are they talking about? So I'm with Chad. At first, I was like, "Why would any brand associate trash?"

Chad: And are you calling your CTOs trashy?

Julie Calli: Yeah, [chuckle] like, what is that?

Joel: Yeah. If I'm a CTO, I'm like, "Wait a minute."

Julie Calli: But the very question of why use trash? The answer is what the whole campaign is about, and I think that's pretty smart in questioning that, making him a representative of something that actually has value. But what really I think is incredible about this campaign is corporate social responsibility is layered in here, but in an interesting way that they're trying to use social responsibility in finding ways to convert trash into fuel and also let people invest in that. I find that really interesting. It's like, Yes, we're investing in it, but you can join us in this journey and invest in this as well. And I think that's an incredible way to build a cult brand of people who care about the planet and the future and wanna get us off of fossil fuels, can get behind a company and a cause. So this absolutely screams cult brand to me, because they're bringing it all together in this campaign.

Chad: Well, stick with me for a minute though. So instead of CTO, they could have easily teased it as CFO, Chief Fuel Officer, you wouldn't have the association with trash, you could have actually talked about it and why. The tease was, "Why the hell is Oscar the Grouch going to be the CFO?" You know what I mean? And then you lead into it and you're like, "Oh, Chief Fuel Officer," then you don't have that trash... I don't know, I just think it could have been much better.

Joel: I'd say CMO, Chief Muppet Officer would be my opinion. That is a buy from Julie Calli, by the way. Alright, I'm gonna chime in here. Who loves the environment? Millennials and Gen Z. And who does United want to recruit? Millennials and Gen Z. And who doesn't love Sesame Street? Hell, most millennials are still sitting around watching Sesame Street. So I say this is a good move in making Oscar an employee instead of a consultant or pundit, is a solid decision in my book. I hope they take this to the next extreme and put Oscar in employer-branding campaigns. ESG plus Sesame Street equals recruiting gold in my book. I also am a buy on Oscar the Grouch as CTO. Now let's go to Oscar the Grouch, to maybe the ultimate Grinch.

Joel: Elon Musk is in the news, everybody.

Julie Calli: Ooh, nice transition there.

Joel: Alright, Elon Musk...

Chad: Imagine that.

Joel: Elon Musk engaged in a Twitter dispute with a former Twitter designer who founded the design agency, Ueno, which Twitter acquired in 2021. The designer who has muscular dystrophy tweeted Musk asking if he was laid off, but Musk replied by questioning his work and disability. The two engaged in a bitter argument with Musk ultimately revealing that the designer was not fired because he wasn't working in the first place. More from Elon, he is reportedly planning to build a company town called Snailbrook where workers from his companies can live in homes rented out by the world's richest man. 35 miles from Austin, Texas, rents are expected to start at $800 per month for a two or three-bedroom home, below market rates for the area. But if you're fired, they only give you 30 days to move your shit out of town. Chad, what do you make of the current state of your boy, Elon Musk?

Chad: Imagine that, Elon coming up with this idea of a company town, [chuckle] he's going off the rails in so many different areas. I think he even offered to buy SVB, and he's just... Yeah. So, you can't take anything that he says and actually try to put it into reality until it actually happens. So the guy is obviously incredibly smart. Tesla is not a bad organization. He's putting spaceships up in space and they're landing back here at home, so very smart guy. But my God, he has gone to crazy town. And that's what they should name this instead of Snailbrook, it should be called Crazy Town.

Julie Calli: He's like a walking example of what every Chief People Officer or head of HR would say, "Don't do that. Really, don't. This is... I'd advise against this." If he had somebody hovering around him all day, they'd be like, "Don't do that, don't say that, don't... " He's a walking poster child for that, and yet, he still has an incredible following of people who view him as a cult-type leader. So, I find him to be just so different in this way. People love him, follow him, fandom him, and yet he's doing all the things that you're not supposed to do as a leader. I would never, ever advise somebody to get in a Twitter public battle with one of your employees that has a disability and challenge them about their disability. Oh my goodness! What a dangerous area that is. Yet, he did it. [chuckle] So, I just am constantly in awe and in shock of him doing things the way he just wants to do them, and he maintains a following. He has 1300 direct employees and over 110,000 impacted by all of the companies that he's invested in. So he's got a substantial amount of people that work under his leadership.

Joel: And if you're one of those people working for Tesla, SpaceX, The Boring Company, what do you think about... There's nothing good about this from an employer perspective. The last earnings call for Tesla, my man was so unfocused, sort of reading from a script, totally uninspired. And we talked about United and Oscar the Grouch, at least they stand for something that people care about. Elon is getting into the quagmire, it's like Napoleon going into Russia. There's nothing... The hubris has taken over, he's gonna get slaughtered for this. They need a CEO for Twitter so he can step away from this as soon as possible. We're talking about Glassdoor ratings and what people think about him, so this is great. So right now on Twitter, for Twitter, he has a 15% approval rating, which has to be in the top 5% of worst approval ratings for CEOs, especially at a tech company. Only 41% would recommend working at Twitter, and I think that's a cumulative ranking, it's not a dated ranking, so that includes the...

Chad: Yeah, over time.

Joel: It's probably much less than that at the moment. My favorite review that I looked at was, "Twitter 1.0 was great and amazing. Twitter 2.0 is awful and terrible." I think that pretty much sums up Elon's time at Twitter and do needs to move on as soon as he possibly can. Even the GOP and a TikTok ban can save Elon Musk in his foray into Twitter.

Chad: Yeah, I think we saw the real Elon Musk show his dirty little head during the pandemic, when he was demanding people come to work. He doesn't care about people. That's the thing, he doesn't care about people, he just knows that he needs them to build his shit until he can have robots do it. Him and Jeff Bezos are one and the same. Get the humans in there, give them the shittiest jobs they can, pay them as little as you can. And during a pandemic, if we have to force them to work, we have to force them to work, piss in garbage cans, that kind of shit. And since then, he has gone off the deep end. The whole individual with disability situation. There was a time before Trump that that would have just killed somebody's career. But we've gotten into the separate fringes on the left and on the right fringes, that there is no more sensible middle, and this is the kind of shit that happens. And he knows that, he's smart enough to know that he has to play to the fringes now as opposed to the middle, and that's exactly, unfortunately, what he's doing.

Joel: We did actually get a quote from Elon.

Joel: We out.

Chad: We out.

Julie Calli: 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 forwarded to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back, valuable 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 tuck away. And like Chad's favorite western, you can't quit them either. We out.


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