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Love or Hate TestGorilla

Summer is officially here and things are really starting to heat-up in Europe. Adzuna and Textkernel just made some really interesting acquisitions. TestGorilla wants to be, um, the 800-lb. gorilla in the assessment space. And Paris-based CleverConnect has "merged" with Munich-based Talentry in what is destined to become another marriage made in heaven between France and Germany (insert sarcasm). Lieven is out sick this week, but Bas Van Haterd from the Netherlands and host of the Talent Savvy Podcast is here to fill-in.

INTRO (15s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman are here to punch the recruiting industry, right where it hurts! Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark, buckle up boys and girls, it's time for the Chad and Cheese podcast.

Joel (35s):

Oh yeah. Summer is officially here and you're invited to a barbecue that's starting at four. OLA you're listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast does Europe. I'm your cohost Joel "the temperature's about 88" Cheeseman.

Chad (51s):

And this is Chad" I'm going back to London, London, London" Sowash.

Joel (56s):

I don't think so. On this episode, Textkernel and Adzuna go shopping, France and Germany merge, and we get acquainted with an 800 pound Test Gorilla. Let's do this.

sfx (1m 9s):

Europe has a bunch of countries in it.

Chad (1m 12s):

Dude, where the fuck is Lieven?

Joel (1m 14s):

He's a little under the weather, apparently my man's not feeling very, very good. I guess, you know, filling in for me last week or last time was a little too much for the constitution. If you will.

Chad (1m 26s):

It's a lot to shoulder. Let me tell you. I mean, there's the, you wake up in the middle of the night cold sweats. I mean, so, I mean, shout out to Lieven and Jenny Cotie Kangas, AKA JCK, for running the pod with me while your ass was a way petting moose and drinking Molson in Canada.

Joel (1m 46s):

That's right, baby. The Molson goes down nicely and it's a lot stronger in Canada.

Chad (1m 51s):

I'm glad they let you back in the country.

Joel (1m 54s):

That hangover's still with me a little bit. I'm not sure how this episode is going to go, but we have a special guest.

Chad (1m 60s):

A what?!

Joel (2m 1s):

In Lieven's absence to carry both of us or at least me again through this episode, a lot of why don't we welcome Bas Van De Haterd. How do we prounounce that Bas?

Chad (2m 17s):

Van De Haterd

Joel (2m 18s):

Hotter. Hotrod.

Bas (2m 19s):

Close enough. Mates,

Joel (2m 20s):

Bas, like a boss. That's all I know.

Chad (2m 24s):

Like a Boss. Excellent. Welcome Bas. Give us a little intro, a little Twitter bio around you.

Bas (2m 33s):

Well, I've been active in this industry for about 20 years now. I've recently, last decade, specialized in the assessments. I've been running the biggest research on corporate career sites here in the Netherlands, and basically tried to get out of recruitment ages, time and time again. And it just drags me back in.

Joel (2m 58s):

Your LinkedIn profile, says professional Snoop. I assume that's not a Snoop Dogg impersonator, that says something different.

Bas (3m 7s):

No, it's an honorary title from a guy who actually recently deceased, who was always living on the edge and he went over it and I always get meddling into his business ventures and so when I was still just on the payroll, he called me a professional Snoop. And I said, I'm going to put that on my business card if I ever start out on my own. He said, you'll never have to guts for it and that's one thing you don't have to say to me.

Joel (3m 34s):

Love it. And thank you for filling in last second. Literally, we appreciate you coming on the show and helping us out with the European point of view.

Bas (3m 44s):

Well, you're welcome.

Chad (3m 45s):

Excellent. Shout outs baby!

Bas (3m 46s):

Well, my shout out is to the people in the Facebook group, Recruitment Flagstaff, which is a Dutch recruiter group for telling all their children to apply to the position of corporate career size researcher, because I had so many awesome applicants. It might help that I did a really simple assessment to assess them and I pay a 25% above minimum wage. So I'm set for the summer with six people working for me doing research.

Chad (4m 18s):

Awesome. And you did this without resumes. You did it only on assessment.

Bas (4m 23s):

Yeah. I figured out that researching a corporate career site basically means you need to be able to scan a website really fast and accurately.

Chad (4m 32s):

So, so what assessment do you use for something like that? Do you create your own? What do you use?

Bas (4m 37s):

I've actually created my own, simply because as an assessment guy, I know what I'm looking for.

Chad (4m 45s):


Bas (4m 45s):

Back in the day, this is over a decade ago. So before they started bombing Ukraine, but I hired a Russian developer. I paid him 500 quid. He built the exec, the games like I knew they would work. I tested them on my former employees. I had the good ones and the lesser ones do them. They had predictive validity and since I've done this, I haven't had a single job interview. I haven't asked for a single resume and I haven't had a single mis-hire in almost 10 years now and before I used to have at least 25% of the people were just not functioning well.

Joel (5m 23s):

And it costs you a whopping $500 bucks!

Bas (5m 26s):

And it cost me a whopping $500 bucks.

Chad (5m 31s):

Love it. I fucking love it. So quick question. How many people in that timeframe have you actually hired?

Bas (5m 36s):

40 or 50 people now?

Joel (5m 37s):

Well, first of all, $500 for all, that is a very sound investment. So if nothing else, Bas can start a financial podcast on how to build cheap businesses and get return investment. Speaking of guys that know a thing or two about building businesses, my shout out goes to Johnny Campbell.

Chad (5m 54s):

Love that guy.

Joel (5m 55s):

And his company, his Social Talent. You know, on this show and our other shows, we focus a lot on companies that have raised millions and millions of dollars, but we probably don't talk enough about businesses that, you know, bootstrap last long time grow organically and build successful companies. And Social Talent is one of those sort of well kept secrets. They provide an e-learning for recruitment. In case you haven't been paying attention, basically videos of experts, educating recruiters on how to do stuff. Anyway, co-founder Johnny Campbell and Social Talent was recently featured in Dublin's business post because they're now looking to raise up to 25 million euros in financing to fund their further growth.

Joel (6m 40s):

It's the first time they've sought funding, even though they've been around since 2010. Intel, Disney and Cisco are some of their clients and they're growing at 40% year over year and have helped train over 100,000 recruiters. We don't talk about these companies enough. So shout out to Johnny and his team at Social Talent. Well done. Well done.

Chad (7m 8s):

Love, love educational platforms that really engage almost like a Netflix style. You get great content, they've got great content. And then just turn it loose on recruiters, recruiting managers, those types. I think that's awesome. Good luck for them in that raise.

Joel (7m 23s):

And you know, they're smart because they've never asked you or me to be on one of their educational plans. So yeah, they know what they're doing.

Chad (7m 33s):

Pretty legit, pretty legit. Okay. My shout out goes to books, books, books, that's right kids. Katrina Colliers, Robot Proof Recruiter, Version II is available for pre-orde,rI that's right kids. In a world of RPA, AI, MLNOP and a ton of other scary acronyms. How can you as a recruiter evolve your skillset? Well, you gotta be a Robot Proof Recruiter. That's how also shout out to Matt, "that bridge guy," Alder and Mervin Dean and their book, Digital Talent: Find, Recruit and Retain the People your Business Needs in a World of Digital Transformation.

Chad (8m 14s):

Two books focused on pulling HR pros out of the tar pits of the early two thousands process and technology mindsets, a Robot Proof Recruiter, Version II and Digital Talent. Pre-order. Get yours today.

Joel (8m 29s):

People still read. Is that a thing still?

Chad (8m 32s):

Apparently, yeah.

Joel (8m 32s):

Don't expect the Chad and Cheese book by the way, people, unless it's a coloring book or a comic book, don't expect anything out of us.

Chad (8m 39s):

James Ellis took his Talent Chooses You, Version II, totally audio.

Joel (8m 44s):

Oh, I liked that James in your ear.

Chad (8m 48s):

That's right, baby. Go to TalentCast and you can listen to it for free.

Bas (8m 51s):

Listen to every damn episode of it.

Joel (8m 56s):

Every goddamn episode.

Chad (8m 56s):

So events! You've heard that we've got an event coming up, right?

Joel (8m 59s):

I have I'm sure Bas has to. He'll probably be where we're going.

Chad (9m 5s):

So what happened this morning Bas?

Bas (9m 8s):

Jamie posted on his own LinkedIn RecFest is sold out.

Chad (9m 14s):

That's right. Kids too bad. So sad. They're officially sold out. I hate to say, I told you so, but I warned you they were going to sell out. So if you haven't gotten tickets, you're back in the FOMO. You're back in the FOMO zone. Not cool. So we look forward to actually being onstage. It Knebworth Park RecFest all day. I'm seeing the disrupt stage. We're going to have Julie, who's "Crazy" of Crazy and the king, our buddy Stubbs. He, I don't know if you know this or not. Joel Stubbs is going to join us.

Joel (9m 45s):

Is that right? Very nice.

Chad (9m 46s):

Yep. We've got Craig and Lauren from Australia's TApod and Shelley and Serge from Canada's Recruitment Flex. They're all going to make guest appearances. You won't know when people, which is why you got to pitch a tent in the disrupt stage.

Joel (10m 3s):

And don't forget my friends, Johnny, Jack, and Jim will also be on stage. So I found to be a good time everybody.

Chad (10m 10s):

That's going to be the hardest thing for me to keep you not from being just crazy drunk.

Joel (10m 17s):

I'm a lot more entertaining, drunk and more entertaining.

Chad (10m 25s):

You think so. TOPICS!

Joel (10m 27s):

All right, let's get into some mergers and acquisitions.

Chad (10m 33s):


Joel (10m 33s):

Murder She Wrote. No Murders in the Building. No Adzuna, our podcast sponsor by the way, Adzuna, search engine for jobs in case you haven't been paying attention, has acquired GetWork a US-based job search engine. Plans for GetWork to continue operating as an independent brand are in the plans. Doug Monroe, CEO, and co-founder of Adzuna said quote "Adzuna acquiring GetWork will help us supercharge our growth in North America" end quote. Both companies will continue to operate as independent brands. Together they will index job ads for more than 50,000 employer websites. terms as usual were not disclosed, but guys, what do we think about this move from Adzuna to make some waves into the good old USA and maybe even Canada.

Bas (11m 21s):

They're not that big in the Netherlands. I've just looked up one of my old clients data and we had literally zero people coming in from them and this is quite a big client, but anybody who wants to challenge Indeed, which I think they're doing, I can only welcome that.

Chad (11m 41s):

That's good. I got a quote from Doug Monroe, the CEO of Adzuna first off, he said, "fundamentally, it's about accelerating our US growth in scale to help us create a genuine alternative to the likes of Indeed/LinkedIn." What Bas was just talking about.

Joel (11m 59s):

So I think that on a surface Adzuna needs to make waves in the US, they're making a big push, they've raised money recently to come over to the states. The company that they bought GetWork is not a juggernaut. It's not ZipRecruiter or someone that's gonna make a huge splash. Interestingly, from the past, if you're familiar with LinkUp, which I know a lot of our listeners are. And before then it was a Job Dig. They've sort of pivoted away from the job postings, which were mostly, I think, direct listings from employers and they've gotten into more of the data collection business. So to me, this sounded like they had created a GetWork as a separate brand and then LinkUp was going to be more real time, predictive job market data.

Joel (12m 48s):

So it sounds to me like GetWork was sort of an expendable asset. They made a call and found a buyer who was willing to come in and thus, you know, having GetWork. I don't know long-term if you're going to continue to see two brands operate independently, I think it makes a lot of sense for Adzuna to consolidate the GetWork brand. So in 12, 18 months, I'm guessing that we won't be talking about GetWork anymore. We'll be talking about just Adzuna

Chad (13m 16s):

What's a better brand though?

Joel (13m 18s):

Well, if you're talking to Adzuna, it's Adzuna right? Cause they have an established brand over Europe, but if

Chad (13m 23s):

I'm not, I'm talking to you, what's the best brand?

Joel (13m 28s):

Oh, you're talking to me? Like GetWork? Certainly, I think on its surface says what they do. Now it doesn't translate that well into Europe and Bas can talk about that. Does GetWork, work in Europe as a good brand? Bas what do you think?

Bas (13m 46s):

Why not? I mean, Amazon is a great brand. Has nothing to do with shipping goods or anything. Yeah, no, I actually think GetWork is better than not Adzuna because you'd have no question in how am I going to type it in. Then again, Indeed still gets most of its Traffic or used to from people typing in Google. So yeah.

Joel (14m 8s):

And Adzuna gives you a lot more wiggle room to do stuff outside of work, if you want too much, like Indeed has nothing to do with GetWork. Yeah. I know Adzuna has spent a lot of money on their brand and building it particularly in the UK. So I'd be kind of shocked. I mean, maybe it'll be a Simply Hired situation where the content is just the same and they let GetWork sort of live on its own until Google doesn't index its pages anymore. And it has no value whatsoever, which will be a very long time before they drop out of Google's index, as long as they're still around. Yeah.

Chad (14m 41s):

I find it interesting that they are looking to have two brands. I think you're right. There's going to be some type of consolidation. The question is if you bought a URL, like GetWork to single syllable words, anybody can spell and it's to me, it just makes a hell of a lot of sense that the perspectively rebrand it's kinda like a, you know, we had New VU go to It's easier. It's much easier. So I would see that transition perspectively happening.

Bas (15m 16s):

I'm really curious myself what Adzuna's plan is to battle off for now the second position in the market, because is really investing a lot in organic growth.

Joel (15m 28s):

Well, they're acquiring GetWork. That's what they're doing.

Chad (15m 32s):

Yeah. But that's more of a US strategy from a penetration standpoint. I think Bas, are you talking more of a European strategy? Okay.

Bas (15m 43s):

Yeah. Global, European. I think is really investing heavily recently, in their marketing, their brand value and really positioning themselves in Europe or especially in the Benelux countries as to challenger brand for Indeed. Adzuna is not here yet. So I'm really curious to see if there they eventually will so merge.

Chad (16m 7s):

I have to take a look at Adzuna markets because I mean, they're obviously much larger markets than the Netherlands. You've got the UK, which is where they started out. What about France and Germany? You know, how heavy are they actually focusing on penetrating those markets? That's I think my big question.

Bas (16m 29s):

The one thing I see doing really well is having local teams in every country or at least in every language area.

Chad (16m 36s):


Bas (16m 37s):

Getting it out. And I don't see Adzuna doing that. Which surprises me that the Brits would go over the ocean and tackle America first, where the Canadians are actually putting up a really good European strategy.

Joel (16m 50s):

I mean, talent, talent just got a hundred million, some dollars, right? If my memory serves correctly, but I mean, they had that, it's two companies that are looking to go public. At some point we've had stories about both of them recently looking to go, you know, IPO now Adzuna may be more UKcentric. Whereas I think talent, I think talent is going for all the marbles. I think they're, they're going for a bigger global piece of the pie and they've, they've funded. They've, they've created an arsenal to go do that. Adzuna is more to me more of an organic growth story where they've seen opportunities in the technology of the programmatic side to grow sort of organically or a little bit more slowly.

Joel (17m 31s):

So I just think it's a matter of strategies and financial backing and just the vision of is, is huge.

Chad (17m 42s):

Well, you have the difference, the difference between funding of Adzuna having right now, $17 million USD and $150 million. Right? So you have more of a bootstrapping scenario versus trying to juice with funding. Yeah.

Joel (17m 57s):

And look, we've learned from history that, you know, just having boots on the ground and all these markets isn't necessarily the best one. It's really costly.

Chad (18m 9s):

We saw that with Monster

Joel (18m 12s):

Monster. Yeah.

Bas (18m 13s):

It actually, Monster is extremely successful or was extremely successful in the Netherlands, basically because they hired the right people.

Chad (18m 20s):

Gotcha. In the Netherlands.

Bas (18m 20s):

In the Netherlands.

Joel (18m 21s):

I mean, Chad, I wouldn't be surprised. I mean, if we go through the global recession that everyone is predicting, I mean, we may be talking about layoffs at and sort of a resizing, if you will. And Adzuna may be better positioned for the longer term because they aren't spending tons of money.

Chad (18m 43s):

Yeah. Yeah. Unless the is squirreling away that $150 million worth of nuts that they have as they're waiting for the cold winter to come. That being said, staying in the Netherlands. Let's talk a little bit about our friends at Textkernel.

Joel (18m 60s):

Yeah. Speaking of nuts, Textkernel. Amsterdam based Textkernel so we know Bas knows these guys and also also a show sponsor just like Adzuna has acquired Dutch staffing app and portal specialist Akyla spelled A K Y L A. The acquisition is aimed at helping staffing agencies that are looking for automated solutions to help them in the tight labor market. But why, let me explain it when CEO, Gerard, our buddy can explain it in his own words,

Gerard (19m 34s):

By combining Akyla and Textkernel, we can also combine the back office data and the front office data for our customers more effectively. And with the capabilities of Textkernel, that creates a very interesting value proposition, which could, for instance, very positively impact redeployment KPIs by making automated smart suggestions for jobs to candidates that are on assignment one week or two weeks before they come off assignments. But next to that, there's a lot of value in the data itself we believe we can create very interesting insights for our customers to make smarter decisions.

Joel (20m 14s):

Bas. These guys are in your backyard. What are your thoughts on the move?

Bas (20m 19s):

Well, I actually, I've known them since they were with seven people on staff. I've met Gerard or Gerard as you call him.

Joel (20m 30s):


Bas (20m 30s):


Chad (20m 30s):

I don't think he goes by Jerry by now.

Joel (20m 33s):

Sorry. Sorry, Bas. Go ahead.

Bas (20m 36s):

So I've known them since they were six, seven people, I've known Gerard forever. And usually when I see applications like this being bought by something else within our industry, we know it's not going to integrate. If there's one team who can do this, it's Textkernel, they've always amazed me with technical abilities. I'm not sure if this is an offensive or defensive play, though, because my solution, which is the biggest Dutch ATS for staffing firms down here, or one of the big players they've been buying Otis, they've been buying your Own Recruit. I know Otis was very important for Textkernel to get a lot of users, a lot of clients in staffing space and having all that consolidation.

Bas (21m 25s):

Are they actually going to build their own ATS like system eventually, because they've got a lot of features in there? Are they seeing that because a few of them have either been bought by international players are not investing that much anymore, that there's room for that? Or is it a more defensive play to make sure that, they won't be squeezed out in margins by those few players that are still left in his Dutch staffing market? Because Akyla is only Dutch and a little in the Nordics.

Chad (21m 58s):

Yeah. This is a wallet share play. It's pretty simple. They are already powering back ends of many staffing organizations and they're looking for other issues, other gaps to bridge, not to mention when you start talking to these applicant tracking systems, the thing they do not want to do, is the heavy lifting, right? And Textkernel probably does the heaviest lifting when it comes to parsing, search and match, those types of things, and then you start getting into these back office system pieces! ATSs don't want to fuck with that stuff, man, especially if there's a great opportunity for somebody else to be able to do it. So I think this is a great play for Textkernel.

Chad (22m 40s):

They're looking for opportunities to, again, not just go out and get new business, but the retention in growth of wallet share for current clients. I think that's really what they're focused on.

Joel (22m 50s):

Yeah. You know, Chad, I think when we talked about Textkernel, you know, a year or so plus ago after they had the botched sorta CareerBuilder acquisition of them, and then when Main Capital entered the picture and bought the company or invested in the company, I think both of us said big things are gonna start happening at Textkernel. And soon thereafter, they acquired Sovren, which I think we both agreed was an incredible consolidation move in terms of the parsing and matching game. And I think this is another really strategic, intelligent, probably cost-effective acquisition for them. And they probably see things in this that we don't, whether it's in the talent that's there or` the technology that they have.

Joel (23m 40s):

But Textkernel is really good about making sort of really good strategic, really smart acquisitions and bets on better technology or improving their technology. Because I think people would be shocked at how much of the backend guts of systems Textkernel and Sovren together are powering.

Chad (23m 54s):

Oh yeah.

Joel (23m 54s):

And if they can continue to sort of make these, you know, efficient bets, we're going to look up one day and Main Capital's bet and Textkernel is going to be a gorilla because of what they've been able to do in the money now that they have backing them and the, and the smart people that are making these bets. I think it's really interesting to watch what they're doing. They're not just swinging for the fences they make these sort of scalpel like acquisitions and moves and I think they are incredibly impactful to their business. So for me, big applause for Textkernel and the acquisition that they're doing and using the Main Capital funding really intelligently.

Chad (24m 40s):


Joel (24m 40s):

I'm really impressed with that.

Chad (24m 42s):

Our listeners would be, they would be astounded by the amount of backends from parsing, search and match that the combination of Sovren, now owned by Textkernel and Textkernel actually do throughout the entire world. They are no question, the leader in that. Now to be able to expand the tool set for all of those customers. Yeah. I mean, again, it's working behind the scenes and just making a shit ton of cash and being smart.

Joel (25m 7s):

Yeah. We'd love to be a fly on the wall to see the big picture vision of what they're looking to do.

Bas (25m 12s):

I'm wondering if it's going to be a big picture vision of only Textkernel, because Main Capital has massive investments in Assessio as well, which is one of the bigger assessment providers who bought ELO in the Netherlands among others. As you might remember from one of your previous European shows. I'm curious to see if those two will ever be put together?

Joel (25m 38s):

You may be onto something.

Chad (25m 39s):

Only time will tell.

Joel (25m 40s):

All right, let's take a quick break and talk about Test Gorilla. What the?

sfx (25m 46s):

Europe has bunch of countries in it.

Joel (25m 48s):

All right, guys, moving on from Adzuna and Textkernel let's talk about the primate.

Chad (25m 56s):

Bas is going to love this. This is all about assessments.

Joel (25m 59s):

This is. Good point. Recruitment screening and assessment platform Test Gorilla has secured $70 million in a series A round. The new funding brings the total investment raised by Test Gorilla to $80 million. Test Gorilla services are already used by over 5,300 companies since its launch in 2020. It's platform offers companies hundreds of preemployment tests so they can tailor their search for candidates to their individual requirements. As if the world needed another assessment platform, what are our thoughts on Test Gorilla?

Bas (26m 35s):

I mean also because they've not been around that long, known them basically from the moment they were born and I love him and I don't like him. Basically, what they do is they test for knowledge and we all know that knowledge isn't skill. I mean, knowledge is required for skill, but it's not skill. And they claim they are testing for skills, but are testing for knowledge. They have knowledge test on Google analytics. They have knowledge test on Google ads. They have knowledge test on Facebook ads, on sourcing on you, name it. The way they test for that knowledge now that's really cool and really interesting because they work with a lot of independent experts. Basically, everybody can say, I want to build an assessment.

Bas (27m 16s):

I'm an expert in this. They'll check you out a bit. If you're are an expert, then you have make sure the tests are up to date. So unlike many other knowledge-based tests, their tests, aren't out of date. They keep on updating them with the most, the newest developments. Yet testing just for knowledge, which is their key thing and they have a few other tests, but those are a dime a dozen, but testing, just for knowledge, isn't testing for skills. Now is it better than actually looking at a resume and seeing that somebody was, did something with Google analytics and assuming the person knows what they're doing. Absolutely.

Bas (27m 56s):

Is it what I would like to test for? Absolutely not.

Chad (27m 60s):

Well, first and foremost, let's just say this $70 million USD, 66 million euros, in Series A. Okay. That's a pretty big fucking chunk of money. I love the renewed attacks that we're seeing on the CV. I fucking love it. Here's my question though. Are Test Gorilla assessments portable? Can I use the assessment that I just took and apply that to another company? What about companies who are not using Test Gorilla? Can I send them my Test Gorilla assessment? You probably can, but for those companies, do they even know what the fuck Test Gorilla is? My point, the biggest problem when fighting the resume, is portability.

Chad (28m 39s):

The resume is accepted everywhere. It's like trying to use the Euro in London. It just doesn't fucking work. Right? I love the idea, but unless you have a way to make these assessments more portable. It's just a gorilla beating its chest at this point.

sfx (28m 58s):

sad sound effects

Chad (28m 58s):

Which is why.

Joel (28m 59s):

Okay. You know, I'm a thing. I have a thing with names, Chad and I hate the name. I hate the name Test Gorilla. It's like you have Survey Monkey and then you're like, let's take the Survey Monkey thing and make it just Test Gorilla. So, so these guys out of the Netherlands, maybe not known for their name of companies, at least its and or something, you know,

Chad (29m 25s):

It's two names you can spell, I mean, come on.

Joel (29m 29s):

It feels very 2003 to me, when everything was like Job Fox. And anyway, all I know is this is an incredibly old industry. As we know from interviews recently that, you know, this is a World War II era based business of assessing people. And you have really old companies that frankly need to be shaken up, probably put out a business by companies that are better at technology, better at, you know, how the world works today in terms of assessing people. So from my viewpoint, it's simply look all the old guard here, I think needs to be shaken up. And I think people like whether it's Plum or other Pymetrics or whoever you like, or don't like the fact that Test Gorilla's in the game with a good amount of funding, I think is only going to push the business of assessments into a better place than where it's been for the last, you know, 75 years or so.

Joel (30m 21s):

So, from my perspective, like the more the merrier in terms of competition, these guys will go out of business. They'll acquire each other and eventually we'll have a couple players that are newer and exciting and have better science than we have today and I think that's good for employers as well as the job candidates. So I'm going to beat my chest.

Chad (30m 46s):

Imagine that.

Joel (30m 48s):

And excitement for Test Gorilla

Chad (30m 49s):

An American beating their chests?

Joel (30m 50s):

Test Gorilla nicely done, nicely done.

Chad (30m 53s):

So real quick on their website, they actually use the byline, "a crystal ball for job success". That's part of their byline to the brand. I literally use the term crystal ball technology as a negative on assessments and they believe it's a positive. So I just think that's kind of it, that's interesting. They see crystal ball, kind of magic, kind of wizardry as a positive. When you, when we look at it and it's like, yeah, no that's smoke and mirrors.

Bas (31m 22s):

No, but they don't have an HR background. They come from management consulting and that's probably why they're able to get in this much money.

Chad (31m 30s):


Bas (31m 31s):

I've actually spoken because they call it a Series A, but to be honest, they had a massive investment a couple of two years ago. If I'm not mistaken last year,

Chad (31m 42s):

Like 10, $10 million or something like that.

Bas (31m 46s):

Something like that. So normal people will call that our Series A, because they already had a seed as well. But apparently everything under a hundred million isn't Series A anymore or something,

Joel (31m 58s):

Yeah, they've raised a total of $80 million.

Bas (32m 0s):

So they already had $10 million investments. I know several people from the investment scene looking at them and they don't have the HR background. They have the sales, they have the process background. That's why they Excel at having a process. They Excel at sales. I'm really curious to see how they Excel at retention of their clients. I have no data on that. I just don't know.

Joel (32m 23s):

So if they come from that background, what's your take on their sort of long-term vision? Is it to flip this thing into a public company? Is it a sell it quickly? Cause it doesn't sound like you're bullish on these guys being a long-term solution.

Bas (32m 39s):

I think in this industry, they will be bought by a bigger player.

Joel (32m 43s):

Okay. And they probably know who that is or they probably already know the two or three companies that it could be.

Chad (32m 49s):

I'm sure they are courting. Of course, after taking this much money, you've just taken all of your options and you've pretty much pulled down about a handful now.

Bas (32m 59s):

Yeah, there are a handful of combined them. I actually also know that there are one of our lead investors is looking to invest in other startups in the scene. So wouldn't surprise me if they start combining them with scientifically better validated tools and either build a new giant because some of them have been merging or sell them to one of the major players.

Joel (33m 27s):

Maybe they'll get acquired by Test Godzilla and they can take on Test Mothra in the markets. All right. All right. Moving on from Test Gorilla, let's talk about CleverConnect and Talent Tree.

Chad (33m 45s):

France and Germany back together, baby.

Joel (33m 47s):

They called a merger, but let's be honest it's an acquisition founded in Paris in 2010, CleverConnect, which recently raised 30 million euros claims over 2,500 customers across Europe to rethink their recruitment strategy. Talent Tree founded in Munich in 2013. That's three years later if you're keeping score as a talent relationship platform, specializing in talent sourcing, candidate relationship management, recruitment events, employee referrals, and internal mobility. They've raised a total of 8 million euros. So that's 30 million for CleverConnect and 8 million for Talent Tree.

Joel (34m 28s):

Through this new partnership, CleverConnect will become a 270 employee team with strong roots in both France and Germany. Obviously, guys, thoughts on this deal?

Bas (34m 39s):

Well, let me start by saying that, if they're founded in Munich, they are technically German, but they are Bavarian, which is of course a very it's like calling a Texan, Texas, America totally different from the rest of the country. So France and Germany together, usually not a great combination to be honest, we've seen some really big companies come out, spinning out of them, but usually, culturally not compatible. And if I look at, I know CleverConnect a bit, they are active in Belgium. They've tried to enter the Dutch market, I think they have a few clients here, but not really taking it seriously.

Bas (35m 24s):

I don't see it, but I don't see the products being that successful either.

Joel (35m 30s):

Do you think this is two similar companies sort of joining to cut out a bigger market share? Do you think that there's technology or people that CleverConnect can value can benefit from like, what's your, is this just a growth strategy or something different?

Bas (35m 49s):

I don't even think they're similar companies because CleverConnect focuses on the selection part, getting people to process while Talent Tree focuses on building talent pools and keeping people engaged all the time. So I think culturally, that will be a massive problem as well. Are we talking about getting people through the process from A to B or are we recycling them and keeping them warm until we need them?

Chad (36m 12s):

You can walk and chew gum at the same time. So you can do both. I think, Talent Tree more from the UI UX scenario is more of a cosmetic layer that could prospectively be pushed over a CleverConnect. I'm not sure if these two brands last, it sounds like CleverConnect's, gonna pretty much just take over and Talent Tree is going to die. But at the end of this, it's interesting because whenever we talk to Lieven at House of HR, they're always focused on keeping the brands in tact because it keeps the heart of the organization intact. Now, when you're talking about a German and French, what happens when you rip the heart out of one of them?

Chad (36m 52s):

I just see this perspectively dying in Germany, because the French company will take over and they'll try to brand it under CleverConnect. I could be wrong, but it just, it just feels that way. Does it? It does not feel like a merger. You're right.

Bas (37m 6s):

And you're actually saying that the UX from Talent Tree is better. But the one thing I know from my conversations with CleverConnect is that they're so proud of their usability in the UX. So they will never ever throw it over Clever Connect.

Chad (37m 19s):

Yeah. They might be proud of it until they find something better, which is smart. I don't fault them for that at all. I think it's incredibly smart. Yeah.

Bas (37m 30s):

You're right. Except these are French people, so they will never, ever admit they were wrong. I'm sorry. That's a big bias here, but

Chad (37m 39s):

No, I gotcha. Yeah. I feel,

Joel (37m 43s):

Oh yeah. So Chad, you mentioned, I don't know the headline on Test Gorilla, the headline from this deal on CleverConnect says "CleverConnect and Talent Tree joined forces to become the European champion of talent acquisition solutions," a little bit of hyperbole there, so I'm not sure which side is responsible for that. But whenever I look at a deal like this.

Chad (38m 4s):


Joel (38m 4s):

Yeah probably. Whenever I look at deals like this, I look at sort of the time that these companies have been around. So 2013 for Telemetry, you're getting a little long in the tooth. You've taken $8 million, you know, time might be running out in terms of your investment and what you've gotten. You got CleverConnect, which has been around longer, but just raise 30 million euros. I'm guessing there's some growth. There's some, some opportunity. They were able to get more money in terms of let's go acquire businesses. And I think if I had to guess, I'd say Talent Tree was probably on its last legs. They made a point in the press release to talk about how big the team is, which to me says, you know, that's a founding, that's a founder who says we're selling the company.

Joel (38m 48s):

I want to take care of my people. Let's guarantee that they're going to have jobs and be part of the CleverConnect team. So to me, like to focus on how many employees the company now is, is saying like, let's take care of our people. Let's cash out for our investors and I'll stick around for a while and we'll kind of call it a day. But to me, I think Talent Tree's time had run out and a CleverConnect through them a lifeline as well as their employees.

Chad (39m 15s):

They're totally saving face from what you had said around that piece, taking care of your people. Totally get that. Love that. But also calling this a merger and then reading through the actual press release and anything that's been written about them. This is not a merger kids. It is not. So this is more of a saving face. And, I appreciate that because you've got a French company pretty much acquiring a German company. And as you said, Bas, that usually doesn't go well.

Bas (39m 54s):

I think Joel is absolutely right, which actually doesn't happen that often. But in this case, he is.

Joel (40m 1s):

What the fuck?

Chad (40m 2s):

And that is how we end this European podcast.

Joel (40m 7s):

I think we ended up with the kazoo again.

Chad (40m 10s):


sfx (40m 10s):


Chad (40m 10s):

I love this!

Joel (40m 11s):

What a Fucking episode. We out everybody.

Chad (40m 12s):

We out.

OUTRO (40m 12s):

Thank you for listening to, what's it called? The podcast with Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of Shout Outs 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. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Any hoo 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.

OUTRO (40m 54s):

And while you're at it, visit just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. Is so weird. We out.


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