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Like a Rolling Stepstone, All Xings Must Pass


If rubbernecking pertained to podcasts, this one might be at the top of the list. It's just one car crash after another, and you'll find it hard to look away as you figuratively drive by. Whether it's Stepstone stepping in it, again, or Xing thinking the job board business is a good pivot from its failed attempt at taking on LinkedIn, we have you covered. Appetite for destruction not quenched? Then how about an all-Sell round of Buy-or-Sell, that'll have you in stitches. In fact, it got so bad, it turned into a commercial for one of House of HR's businesses. Gotta love Lieven for always talking us off the ledge. Call your therapist, or grab a beer, at least, and tune in now.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:


[music]


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 and Cheese Podcast.


[music]


Joel Cheesman: Oh, yeah, just three guys waiting around for next year's October Fest. You are listening to the Chad and Cheese Podcast Does Europe. I'm your co-host, Joel Bonaparte Cheesman.


Chad Sowash: This is Chad Marble Arch Sowash.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: And today I'm just Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze. [laughter]


Joel Cheesman: And on this episode, Stepstone goes moonwalking, XING goes job boarding and a little buy or sell. Let's do this.


Chad Sowash: Yeah.


Joel Cheesman: What's up, gents?


Chad Sowash: Where has Lieven been?


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: Busy. Is busy a place?


Joel Cheesman: I love it. He's happy hour in Belgium. He's got the Belgian beer. He's looking laidback. He's in the all-black Euro uniform. I love it.


[laughter]


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: It's navy blue. It's not black. Navy blue.


Joel Cheesman: It's midnight. It's midnight is what it is.


Chad Sowash: He's gone full-Lieven on us.


[laughter]


Intro: He's gone full-Lieven on us.


[laughter]


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: I know my camera died and that's probably... Well, never mind. But the sound's still okay, so that's important.


[laughter]


Joel Cheesman: Oh my God. [laughter]


Chad Sowash: Let's hit the shoutouts...


SFX: Shoutout.


[overlapping conversation]


Chad Sowash: Let's hit the shoutouts. My first shoutout foes to competition. That's right. Lisbon-based Aptoide, an alternative Android app store, announced on Thursday that it has secured €8.5 million in a funding round from Digital Turbine. Aptoide aims to expand its presence in the US markets.


[music]


Chad Sowash: When you allow competition to flourish, you get better products unlike Apple.


[laughter]


Joel Cheesman: Yeah. Android's so bad it has to have some competition. [laughter] That's what's going on with that, my friend. That's what's going on. Alright, so my shoutout, can I interest either of you two in a $12,000 bottle of Scotch?


SFX Welcome to all things Scottish. Our slogan is, "If it's no Scottish, it's crap!"


Chad Sowash: If you're buying.


Joel Cheesman: Alright. So news this week, a hidden stash of scotch whiskey discovered in a 13th century Scottish castle dating back to 1833...


Chad Sowash: Wow.


Joel Cheesman: Is set to be auctioned. The two dozen bottles of the historic scotch will be available for bidding between November 24th and December 4th and are expected to fetch around $12,000 each. While it's not confirmed where the whiskey was distilled or if it's even a single malt, it's preservation in a dark, cool cellar environment over the past two centuries has kept it in good condition. The exact number of bottles has not been disclosed, but it needs to be above 80 proof to be legally labeled as scotch. Despite the tasting notes, the allure of this 200-year-old scotch lies in its historical significance, making it a must-have for whiskey enthusiasts.


Chad Sowash: Must-have.


Joel Cheesman: Let's go in on a few bottles, boys. Let's go in on a few bottles.


Chad Sowash: Yeah, you get the first one. [laughter]


Joel Cheesman: You should see the pictures of these things. It's like the cobweb, it looks like motor oil in the bottle. Yeah, it's gotta be good. It's gotta be good stuff.


SFX: Welcome to all things Scottish. Our slogan is, "If it's not Scottish, it's crap!"


Joel Cheesman: Alright, Lieven, man in the dark, what you got?


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: Okay. My shoutout goes to Work ID and that's ID, like identity, not like a great idea, even though it's a great idea, by the way. It's a platform which was launched by Federgon and that's the National Staffing Agency. No, it's the Federation of the Belgian Staffing Industry, something like that. But basically, the whole idea is for once our competitors, we also have competitors, and House of HR work together to realize something we thought the government should have been doing for a long time, basically launching a platform where all those people who are actively looking for a job can put their information on and then they can decide who they want to share that information with. So it's not only personal information, but also like your driver's license, your identity card, all the stuff you need to send copies every time you apply.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: And now just... You own the data. You say, "I'm going to adopt this or that." And with one push on the button, you say, "I'm going to send this to House of HR. I'm going to send it to Adecco." Of course, not to Randstad, but maybe to Manpower or something like that. So the candidate is in charge and whenever you want to, you can make changes and you decide when to share what. And if you stop sharing, you can. You won't be bothered again by those agencies once you have a job. So it's a great idea and it will save people looking for a job lots of time. And for once, it was nice working with our competitors.


[laughter]


Chad Sowash: It's CV wallet for Belgium.


[laughter]


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: Yeah. It's something like an easy apply, but launched by the staffing industry. That's cool.


Chad Sowash: Oh yeah. But it houses all of, I mean literally, a person's information and it's theirs. They have it. So literally, it's like a CV wallet. Yeah. No, that's awesome.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: It's a CV wallet indeed.


Chad Sowash: Yeah.


Joel Cheesman: House of HR doing some housing. I love it.


SFX: Alright, alright, alright.


[laughter]


Joel Cheesman: Almost as good as Chad going to London...


Chad Sowash: I was gonna say, I'm already in Europe, Jesus.


Joel Cheesman: Next month. Yeah, I know you.


Chad Sowash: Yeah, yeah.


Joel Cheesman: Is London still Europe?


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: Yeah.


Chad Sowash: TAtech Europe, baby. December 4th through the 6th, Kirstie Kelly and I will be MC-ing the show. Alex Chukovski will be presenting his latest findings on Google for Jobs. Hung Lee will be performing a Brainfood Live session. And Adam Gordon, Matt, that British guy, Alder, the lovely Julie Sowash, Andre Wade, and a host of other smart people will be taking the stage. If you don't have tickets and you're already in London, for fuck's sake people, what are you waiting for? Go to chadcheese.com/events, register today.


Joel Cheesman: Did someone say Hung Lee?


SFX: What are you doing, Stepbro?


[laughter]


Joel Cheesman: This thing is going off the rails fast. That's fast. Let's...


[music]

Chad Sowash: Topics!


Joel Cheesman: Alright. Germany-based job board operator, Stepstone is laying off approximately 215 employees, which amounts to about 5% of its 4,200 strong workforce. The company's CEO Sebastian Dettmers explained that the move is aimed at centralizing functions, optimizing operations and increasing overall efficiency. The affected areas and countries were not specified. Stepstone owned by Axel Springer generated about €1 billion in revenue in 2022 and the company operates in 30 countries under various brand names and is considering an initial public offering, or what the kids call IPO for Stepstone, pending market conditions, of course. Chad, times are tough for job boards. What are your thoughts on the layoffs at Stepstone?


Chad Sowash: Yeah. I mean, on this week's show we talked about Indeed's latest market troubles. They're really a global force, right? Stepstone, not so much. I mean, they're mainly only prominent in Germany, correct me if I'm wrong. But Stepstone has more of a single prominence, which means the market lends itself to greater instability. This doesn't surprise me. Now, let's get into Sebastian's letter. In the letter that he sent to employees. CEO Sebastian Dettmers said many areas of the company had become "too complex and inefficient". Okay, my question is, who the fuck's fault is that? All that says to me is that during the time when it was good, Sebastian allowed the organization to become bloated.


Chad Sowash: Now they're closing an entire office in Sweden and that's more than head count. So it's interesting. It doesn't surprise me, but it's just funny how they kinda like try to weave the narrative around inefficiencies. It's like, dude, you were the fucking CEO when all those inefficiencies were happening. So that means you mismanaged the organization and 215 people had to be let go.


SFX?: 60% of the time, it works, every time.


[laughter]


Joel Cheesman: You mentioned, I think last week's podcast, and we talked about sort of a lot of job boards and industry players that released quarterly earnings and where things were going, and Indeed's parent company, Recruit Holdings said something very interesting. They said one of the reasons for the down earnings was, "evolving labor market". I talked about the four horsemen of the apocalypse for job sites and I think it goes for Stepstone as well. And those four apocalypse horsemen are, one, Google and LinkedIn. LinkedIn I think is right behind Stepstone in terms of market share in Germany. Google, obviously, we've seen it's a race to the bottom. Google's gonna commoditize job postings. And Google for Jobs isn't quite what it is in Europe than it is in America, but it is a sign of things to come for Europe. And I think Stepstone is at least seeing some of that.


Joel Cheesman: I think automation is the second horseman. We're seeing obviously robots, whether it be software or actual robots taking jobs. And companies are certainly skeptical about what the workforce will look like in the future. Europe is no exception. AI, I mentioned interview with Elon Musk talking about a future where there are actually no jobs whatsoever. You gotta start taking some of that rhetoric into consideration. And the fourth one is the gig economy in Europe, we've talked maybe even more than we have in America in terms of a very diverse set of solutions that people can make money in the gig economy. All that spells insecurity, instability for job boards. And I think that we're seeing that with Stepstone. Now, the good news for them, they own a little thing called Appcast, which is arguably part of the future programmatic advertising.


Joel Cheesman: They current... They recently bought Bayard Advertising, creating AppcastOne. So to me, the better play for Stepstone, particularly if they're going public, is in the Appcast brand, not the Stepstone brand. I doubt they'll do that. But in terms of a global brand, Appcast has a better shot at making waves than Stepstone. So the IPO will be very interesting what market they go on. Is it the German market? Do they go for the American market? Those are obviously different questions. But look, times are tough for job boards. They're not gonna get any easier based on the four horsemen that I outlined. Stepstone is not immune from what's going on and they're gonna have layoffs. I doubt this is the only one. This is only 5% of their workforce. I think more is coming. More pain is coming for Stepstone employees.


Chad Sowash: Pain.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: Pain. Maybe they're going to automate the firing procedure to make it more efficient in the coming years.


Chad Sowash: Sure. Sounds German. Yeah.


Joel Cheesman: They could sell it. They could sell it as a solution. Tell their customers.


Chad Sowash: We've seen Appcast do incredible things in the US, but penetration isn't the greatest in Europe and the rest of the world. What do you think the long term is for that?


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: Now you're going to start promoting Appcast just when I signed with... I didn't actually sign, but I made an agreement with VONQ to work with them. And now suddenly it's all Appcast. No, no, no, we're going to work with VONQ.


Joel Cheesman: Well, no, Appcast just happens to be connected to Stepstone. There are other programmatic solutions.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: I know, I know, I know. First, got back to Stepstone. When I read the whole article, I taught for the first time in years, Stepstone is actually helping to solve our structural employee scarcity by putting their own people on the market, which is really nice of them.


[laughter]


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: I can imagine cost-cutting is something they really needed and that's what they do right now and it might save them some time, but they're heading the same way Monster went. And...


Chad Sowash: Yes.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: You can buy some time by cutting those costs, but if you just... They're going to buy or they're going to invest in AI, they said. So they have an outdated business model. What are they going to do? Are they going to install a vacancy writer? Are they going to use some kind of a GPT-based matching engine? The same system will still be outdated. I mean, they have a job board when Indeed and Google for Jobs are playing. They just have a credit-based system which was pretty neat 20 years ago. So I don't think Stepstone has... The model they have right now, they will be able to save it, I don't think so. But as you say with Appcast, maybe if they're going that way, they might. But then like you said, firing only 5% of the people is just the beginning, I fear. They'll need a totally different team to do something like that.


Joel Cheesman: And oddly, we have two Europeans on the show and only one American. You guys... We hear a lot over here about the German economy that they're in recession, that times aren't great in Germany. Can you guys speak to... So what you're seeing in Europe in regards to the German economy?


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: They're having hard a time since they are the biggest economy in Europe. So for example, for Belgium, it's a problem because they used to export a lot to Germany. And if things are going to slow down in Germany, the Belgians will feel it also. So it's a chain reaction. Also, Germany is having big problems with their cars and they're a major car manufacturer. The big luxury brands are German. They still are. Tesla, for example, is hurting them big time. And the fun part is they even opened a big factory in Germany. So Tesla is now a German manufacturer, but I don't think Mercedes and BMW liked it. So our German economy is going down and I think it will last very... I mean, a recession normally takes 12-18 months to recover. So we need 12-18 months to recover from a... I'm not sure if we see anything getting better real soon, maybe summer next year, something like that. But what is it now? 5% decrease, something like that. It's not the biggest recession, but it's one.


Joel Cheesman: So I'm guessing that if they go IPO, none of us will be buying shares in Stepstone. [laughter]


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: No.


Chad Sowash: Yeah. There's no way in hell. I mean, they bought some halfways decent tech. Obviously, they bought Appcast. But there's also Mya systems, right? It's almost like they're not creating products to be able to address what the market needs, to be able to get individuals engaged, candidates engaged better. 'Cause right now you need to be able to get the candidates engaged on the top of the funnel so that you can find out if they're actually fricking qualified for the jobs that they're applying for. Right? I mean, I just think there's some great services they could put in place to be able to really increase their value quotient. And I mean, that's the big key that we just saw from the AIM group that Indeed has overtaken Stepstone and overall traffic. So, this is not just a downward trend, I think for them, that they can easily come back from. It's gonna be hard. But they've got a lot of firepower. The question is, can they use it? I just don't know if they know how to use the weapons they have.


Joel Cheesman: I think Lieven made a great point is they're Monster 2.0. And unless they make some of these big bets, they're gonna go down the same road that Monster has in Europe and elsewhere that they do business. So to me, that was very prescient that he said that. So Mya, that was... I fricking forgot that they acquired Mya.


Chad Sowash: Yeah.


Joel Cheesman: And this is what we do. They haven't done jack as far as I can tell with that technology. And I don't even think that AppcastOne has integrated Mya technology. 'Cause it's a perfect funnel to say like, "We'll get the jobs posted. We'll put people in the funnel. We'll pre-screen them with conversational AI." That makes sense to me.


Chad Sowash: Yeah.


Joel Cheesman: And maybe it will eventually happen, but it seems really disparate right now.


Chad Sowash: They pushed it off to Total Jobs in the UK. I mean, it's...


Joel Cheesman: Yeah.


Chad Sowash: It's just really weird. They've got all of these... They've got some pretty damn good weapons that it just seems like they don't know how to use them.


Joel Cheesman: We'll be right back. Alright guys, second verse, same as the first, almost. Sticking with Germany, XING, the Hamburg-based professional social network recently announced a pivot to a job board model. The revamped homepage allows users to search for job offerings using various filters and settings while integrated anonymized Kununu employee reviews provide insights into companies. Passive job seekers with complete profiles can be found and contacted by 20,000 recruiters and active members with regularly updated profiles can apply to positions using an integrated CV generator. Currently, XING has approximately 22 million users and 1.4 million job ads. Both XING and Kununu are owned by New Work SE, a publicly-traded company in Germany. Chad, your thoughts on the XING news? And that's XING with an X for everyone in the US.


Chad Sowash: Who the fuck thought this was a good idea? I mean, Indeed switched from a job search engine into a job board and Recruit Holdings recently reported that Indeed's job posting revenues were down by what? 50%? Wasn't it 50% [laughter]


Joel Cheesman: Yeah.


Chad Sowash: So why in the hell would XING switch from a LinkedIn-like social media platform into a job board? I mean, LinkedIn has a job board component within the actual platform, so to me, this defies all fucking logic. Linkedin is a professional social network, which means it's more of a lifestyle platform, while job boards like XING is now are only used when you're looking for a job.


FX?: That escalated quickly.


Chad Sowash: You've officially lessened the need for me to use your platform on a daily basis, which dramatically lessens the products and services that XING can advertise or even develop and sell to the market. So who is making these fucking decisions? [laughter]


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: They had to do something, so why not that?


[laughter]


Chad Sowash: Yeah. Let's just go ahead and constrain the revenue opportunities that we have.


Joel Cheesman: I mean, they should have just become a dating site if it was like you had to do something.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: With webcam models. That's an idea.


[laughter]


Joel Cheesman: I gotta... I'm gonna go. This is a deep cut by me and if...


Chad Sowash: Oh my God.


Joel Cheesman: And if you're new to the industry, just fast-forward a little bit. But the deep cut here is Jobster's Jason Goldberg, I don't even know if you know this, Chad, so after Jobster, he created a company called Social Median. It was kind of a dig-ish bookmark social thing.


Chad Sowash: Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah.


Joel Cheesman: XING bought it...


Chad Sowash: Oh, Jesus.


Joel Cheesman: In 2008.


Chad Sowash: Oh, suckers.


Joel Cheesman: And Jason Goldberg was the Chief Product Officer at XING for the year of 2008. He sold his company to XING for $7.5 million. Anyway, that's my deep cut on XING.


Chad Sowash: Wow!


Joel Cheesman: I don't know when we'll talk about him...


Chad Sowash: Good one. Good one.


Joel Cheesman: Again. So they were founded in 2003, basically when LinkedIn was founded. They were LinkedIn alternative to Europe. I think they wanted to be the LinkedIn of Europe. Of course, LinkedIn became the LinkedIn of Europe and social media... And XING became this sort of like, "What the hell are we?" They've had job postings I think for a long time. So it's like, "If we can't compete with LinkedIn, we might as well have job postings." But I think they're fourth behind Indeed, Stepstone, LinkedIn, some of those that we talk about, in Europe.


Joel Cheesman: So they're like sort of middle of the pack for job postings. This is a Hail Mary, basically. I mean, they're a publicly traded company. The stock year-to-date is down 50%. So shareholders are like, "You guys better do fucking something or the stock's going to zero." So it's like, "What's the shortest bridge for us to start making some money? Well, job postings. We have people here. We have some people that have posted jobs. Let's just be a job board and roll with it." But this is a Hail Mary. This is a stinker. This is hot garbage. This is going nowhere.


Chad Sowash: Yes.


Joel Cheesman: This is just a big, big pile of shit. This thing's been around since 2003. It's a zombie company. They're gonna squeeze it for as much profit as they can, hopefully sell it at some point for some sort of profit. But this is, yeah, clearance rack at TJ Maxx type stuff. XING is going nowhere, baby. Close it up. Last person out, turn off the lights at XING. Bring back Jason Goldberg. That's a better strategy. [laughter]


Chad Sowash: Oh God, don't do that. Jesus.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: I mean, LinkedIn recently announced they have one billion users right now. I think one or two weeks ago, they said at one billion. And even my German colleagues which are pretty conservative, even they don't use XING anymore. They also made the switch to LinkedIn. So Germany was like the last stronghold for XING and they held on pretty long. But there was one other site in Germany, not XING... Oh, sorry. In Poland. And I keep forgetting the name because it's kind of complicated if you don't speak Polish to remember. They never really were into LinkedIn as well and I think they also surrendered now. So it's a lost cause. But you said they're trying to make some money out of it or maybe try to sell it, but who would buy it? I mean, if you buy something like that, you must at least have something to do with the recruitment business. And if you have something to do with recruitment business, you won't buy it.


Joel Cheesman: Have Rica walk in with her platinum card and just buy the thing and just throw House of HR jobs on or something.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: She has...


SFX: Winning.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: She has a policy about buying...


Joel Cheesman: Garbage? [laughter]


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: The best in class. So she would be buying LinkedIn, I think.


Joel Cheesman: Oh my God.


Chad Sowash: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.


Joel Cheesman: If they're not a stronghold in Germany, it's over.


Chad Sowash: Now.


Joel Cheesman: At least be a German LinkedIn and be really good at German stuff.


Chad Sowash: In the press release, they're talking it up. They're saying that, "Hey look, this is gonna be great... "


Joel Cheesman: Oh yeah.


Chad Sowash: "Because we've got 22... " Was it 22 million users? "We have 22 million users that we are literally going to fucking bombard with staffing companies."


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: They'll be happy.


Chad Sowash: They're gonna lose. They're gonna lose their subscribers left and right. They're already not using the platform. Now they're going to go into the platform. So you're gonna start to see their usage go up. It's only so that they can delete their shit and get the hell out.


Joel Cheesman: So moving on from the Dumb and Dumber portion of the show. Let's go to our Buy or Sell portion of the show. You know how it works, guys. We talk about three companies, startups that have recently gotten funding. I'll read a summary and each of us buys or sells that company. Are you ready to play Buy or Sell? First up, we have Empion. The Berlin-based company has raised €6 million in a seed funding round. They offer an automated headhunting solution using AI and cultural matching to connect talent with companies based on skills and cultural fit. The company previously raised €2.4 million in a pre-seed round. It has clients like Personio in their portfolio. Chad, are you a buy or sell on Empion?


Chad Sowash: So €2.4 million in a pre-seed round, and then you get €6 million in a seed round? That's pretty legit cash and that's impressive. I'm really interested in the large language models and how we start to use large language models, but when I saw they were using matching for skills and, wait for it, culture fit, it just smells like there's too much bias in the air in this machine. So it's a sell for me. You drop the bias and I might be a buy next time, but cultural fit, a match for... Are you fucking kidding me? No.


Joel Cheesman: Oh, that's a sell for Empion. Okay. So a little side note, the founders look like they belong in your favorite new indie band and not like running a startup. And literally guys, the company page, everyone is in a black shirt. It's like Sprockets on steroids, this company. But that's...


Chad Sowash: They've all gone Lieven.


Joel Cheesman: That's a side note for... Yeah, it's like very... It's so German, it's ridiculous. It's like, "Everybody, put on the black shirts and grease back the hair and whatever." So anyway... But they have PhDs. They're... I'm sure they're incredibly intelligent. I kid a little bit, but yeah, they look like your favorite indie band, not your favorite startup. So they're in this no man's land of they wanna be sort of scientific and technical and they wanna be kind of job board-y. And when you go to the site, that's what it feels like. But then they want you to fill out a test. So it's not search for a job. It's like take the test. Well, there's nothing I love more than taking a test when I go to a website, right? Let's see, TikTok, bug fights, or take a test on this site that I've never heard of. So unless they're gonna drop all these millions on, I don't know, I guess, Bundesliga advertising in Germany or whatever, however it's pronounced...


Chad Sowash: Bundesliga, yes.


Joel Cheesman: I don't see much of an opportunity to get into customers or candidates. It doesn't seem like a software that you can plug into an ATS or integrate it into something that people are using to apply. So for me, it's just like in this no man's land of expecting job seekers to do this lengthy test, but we're not quite a SaaS business. So for me, I'm very confused. Although I wanna listen to some indie music when I go to the site. For me, it also... It's gotta be a sell for me. But I'd love to have the founders on Firing Squad if they're out there listening.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: I wanted to look into their pricing structure. So I went to the site and I saw they had some kind of a chatbot. And in these large language model times, I love chatbots, so I gave them a chance. And I couldn't actually type anything. I had to make a choice first. "What is your question about?" And I had four options. So I found pricing questions. Okay, made sense. I clicked pricing questions. And then it said, okay, another drop down menu, "How many employees do you have?" So I chose over 2,000. And then I immediately got an answer, "Great. I will connect you with one of our sales specialists. What is your email?" And then I gave up. I mean, they claim to have AI and they have a chatbot which just asked my email when I want to know what the pricing structure is. So no, if this is the way they work, then definitely sell.


SFX: Doesn't anyone notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills.


Chad Sowash: That feels like this entire episode thus far, Joel.


Joel Cheesman: Yeah, that's three sells. Dumb and Dumber and one sell. Let's see if the show gets any better. Alright, let's go to our next contestant, Netherlands-based Swipe4Work. And that's the number four in Swipe4Work, guys. They've secured €400,000 in funding. They plan to use the funds to enhance its product, integrate AI applications and expand the platform all across the Netherlands. The app, which connects employees and employers based on skills, personality and interests, eliminates the need for CVs and traditional cover letters. They claim around 10,000 downloads and aim to cover the entire country in the future. And here's the kicker, guys. They're looking to introduce visual elements in job listings such as company videos. Wooh! Chad, are you a buy or sell on Swipe, the number four, and Work?


Chad Sowash: I agree with, I think the name is Niek Huizenga, the investment manager at G-Force who says, "In these times of staff shortages, the traditional job platforms are simply not good enough." And I totally agree. But downloading an app for job search is just fucking stupid. Job search isn't a lifestyle activity. I don't do it every day. I don't need it on my phone. Unless you make it more sticky, you make a part of the process, that's great, but I have to download an app to use this thing. It's a sell.


SFX: Boo!


Joel Cheesman: So I've met quite a few Dutch folk in doing this show, Chad, and they always strike me as some of the most sort of thoughtful, intelligent, polite people that I've met. They're kind of like the Canadian of... The Canada of Germany. They're kind of a nicer, humbler...


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: Dutch people? I think you're getting them mixed up with Belgian people.


Joel Cheesman: I'm trying to be nice before I kill the guy. But they're thoughtful people, from what I've experienced. Can we agree on that, Lieven, or no? Lieven borders the Netherlands and they've probably been at war for a thousand years. So they don't necessarily like each other.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: Flemish people are like the polite, introvert version of Dutch people. Dutch people aren't polite. You can say a lot of Dutch people, but they're not polite. They're very, how do you say it, noisy, very noisy, always when they enter a room, everyone will have seen they entered. No, they're not polite. But I love them. I love Dutch people, but... We have plenty of Dutch colleagues.


Joel Cheesman: Alright. Enough with the Netherlands commentary. Let's get to the company. Alright. The name sucks. Dude, any name that has like a number in it sucks. Anything that's associated with swipe is dating now. So if you try to throw that into a work site, forget about it. I gotta download some shit to get to this. That's so 2010. Come on. Innovation is now videos in job postings? Come on, man. I know Europe's behind the times, but that's innovation? I just...


SFX: Doesn't anyone notice this? I feel like I'm taking crazy pills!


Joel Cheesman: Granted, they've only gotten €400,000. So it's a small bet at this point. There may be a feature somewhere down the line.


Chad Sowash: They can fail fast.


Joel Cheesman: Yeah, they can fail fast and go drink some Heineken and hang out on the waterfront.


Chad Sowash: Yeah.


Joel Cheesman: But this is a sell for me as well. Lieven?


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: No, they can't go back to being noisy. No, no, no, no. No, it's a sell for me as well. I'm not going to talk about it.


[laughter]


Joel Cheesman: He's not talking about it. That means crickets. That means a big sell rating, everybody. Alright, let's get to the last company in this train wreck of a podcast.


Joel: Slinger.


Joel Cheesman: UK-based Slinger is your favorite new heavy metal band. No, it's a startup in our space. They raised £500,000 in pre-seed funding. Slinger is a hospitality employment platform that aims to replace traditional CVs, where have we heard that before, with videos, where did we hear that before, and creatively written submissions. Job seekers are vetted in advance and shifts claimed on the platform are instantly secured. The funding round was led by Google for Startups Black Founders Fund, as well as some other Slinger plans to use the investment to expand the team and focus on mentorship, upskilling, interview preparation and work experience solutions. That's a mouthful. Chad, are you a mouthful on a buy or sell rating for Slinger?


Chad Sowash: I'm gonna re-quote something that you said. "Slinger replaces outdated CVs with, with videos and creatively written submissions." In a world of better technology...


Joel Cheesman: In a world...


Chad Sowash: Verifications, simulations and automated processes, we don't need candidates for hospitality jobs to provide creatively written submissions. We need to ensure that people can actually do the goddamn job. So replacing a resume with a subjective and biased filled process is not the answer. This is a sell. Let's just get over it. This is a fucking sell.


Joel Cheesman: So I wax poetic about the Dutch people I know. I won't go into the Brits that I've met...


Chad Sowash: Thank God.


Joel Cheesman: In the past five years or so. But I was expecting a little bit more than video integration in this stuff. I struggled with this one more than the other two because it does have the automated, the instant shifts. I like the diversity play. I like that Google got behind this company, which means there's something there. Again, it's a small bet. It's £500,000, which means Google's probably just got that in the couch cushions and they wanna throw it around to some businesses that fill their need, fill the prerequisites for them. This is a squirt gun in a gunfight. This is a big nothing burger. This is innovation dressed up as your favorite royal. I don't know. But this has been a real disappointing segment for Europe in Buy or Sell. I hope that you guys step it up in 2024 'cause this for me is the hat trick of sales for Slinger. Although I want a t-shirt and it better be like heavy metal-influenced. Lieven, save us from this disaster.


Chad Sowash: Or a porn site.


Joel Cheesman: They can sell Slinger domain to XING, and then XING can be a dating site called Slinger. There you go. I fixed everybody's problem.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: Their domain is Slingerstaff. That's the one, right? Slingerstaff.com. 'Cause I looked for Slinger and I found 150 sites, but not one of them was into recruitment. So I think I found them, Slingerstaff.


SFX: Oops. Winning.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: You said something, Chad, I thought was interesting before about, you don't want something installed in your phone for a job because you hope you're not going to look very long for a job and then you won't need it anymore. So you don't need to install an app. And maybe it is the case with hospitality jobs because in many cases, it's something you do next to your real job. It's like helping out you on the weekends at a festival or something. Hospitality. And then an app might be nice to just find something to do during weekends, which is basically what NOWJOBS is doing and doing very well. So if you need an app for hospitality work, then you download NOWJOBS and you'll be very happy. There's no way you'll need Slingerstaff.


[laughter]


Chad Sowash: This turned into a commercial for NOWJOBS.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: This is a commercial for NOWJOBS without any shame. If you need something, you'll use NOWJOBS. You won't be using Slingerstaff, which makes it totally ridiculous for me to buy it. So I won't. I will sell.


Joel Cheesman: Sell Slinger, buy NOWJOBS, everybody. [laughter]


SFX: Alright, alright, alright.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: That's the whole idea.


[music]


Joel Cheesman: That is another episode of the Chad and Cheese Podcast Does Europe. We out.


Chad Sowash: We out.


Lieven Van Nieuwenhuyze: We out.


Outro: Thank you for listening to... What's it called? A podcast. The Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology. But most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of shoutouts of people you don't even know and yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese. Not one. Cheddar, blue, nacho. Pepper Jack, Swiss. There's so many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Anywho, be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. That way, you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it, visit www.chadcheese.com. Just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. It's so weird. We out.

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