Sourcing School by RecruitingDaily

AI in Recruitment: A Threat or a Companion? With Matthew Weidmann and Joss Leufrancois

October 27, 2023 Brian Fink, Ryan Leary, and Shally Steckerl
Sourcing School by RecruitingDaily
AI in Recruitment: A Threat or a Companion? With Matthew Weidmann and Joss Leufrancois
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Dive into the AI-driven evolution of talent acquisition. Matthew Weidmann, Director at Criteria, and Joss Leufrancois, CEO of Visage, break down why AI adoption in HR is lagging—despite its buzz. Concerned about being sidelined? We'll map out the potential fallout.

No panic necessary; humans are irreplaceable. AI is here to amplify, not substitute. Engage with us in this insightful dialogue and rethink your talent strategies. Sharp, concise, revolutionary. Join the conversation.

Special mini series recorded with Oleeo at HR Tech 2023 with hosts Ryan Leary, Brian Fink, and Shally Steckerl


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Brian Fink:

Hey everybody, welcome back to day two. This is the start of something special at HR Tech in Las Vegas. I'm Brian Fink, he's Ryan Leary and we are in the Talent Acquisition Content Lounge powered by the team at Ole-Ole-Ole-Ole-O. We're excited to be joined by two CEOs not one, but two CEOs, two different companies, two different organizations. They're going to tell us a little bit about what they're seeing out in the landscape as it pertains to all things talent acquisition. As we're talking about all things talent acquisition, I got to turn it over and immediately say to Ryan Ryan, you look super dapper this morning. Oh dapper, did you get 12 hours of sleep?

Ryan Leary:

No, no, I did not.

Brian Fink:

Did you? No, I did not get 12 hours of sleep. I am running on the Bubba-powered Starbucks of 20 ounces.

Ryan Leary:

It says Bubba.

Brian Fink:

It says Bubba. For those of you who are new to the show, my nickname is Bubba.

Ryan Leary:

For those of you who are repeat offenders let's clarify that it's not my nickname for him. No, that it's not my nickname. That is Starbucks' nickname.

Brian Fink:

Yeah yeah, so to get things started, we have Matt from Criteria, who's here with us today. We've got Joss. I'm sorry, I don't know why. I'm mad at you. We've got Joss that's here from Criteria today, and CEO number one. Ceo number two We've got the polo playing the polo playing Zero. Number two We've got Joss from Visage. Welcome to the program, gentlemen, how are you, how is your HR tech going? It's going well. Yeah, thanks for having me Lean in just a little bit, because we want the good people to hear what you've got to say, Joss how are things going?

Joss Leufrancois:

Yeah, thanks for having me. I haven't had 12 hours of sleep either.

Ryan Leary:

You had a 12 hour flight.

Joss Leufrancois:

No, not even you know. Only three hours flight back to Austin.

Brian Fink:

Well, that's not good, don't complain. We've got Austin and LA in the house. Joss, real quick to kind of kick us off, now that I'm not calling you Matt. Matt, tell us about Criteria. Matt, tell us about Criteria. What are you? Give us a 30,000 foot view? Who are you? What are you doing? What's the problem that you're trying to solve?

Matthew Weidmann:

Yeah, so Criteria is what we call a talent success company. So we have a suite of tools that basically help companies make better hiring decisions and better talent decisions. So the core of the product is assessments and we also have interviewing tools structured interviewing, video interviewing and also some post hire tools for team building.

Brian Fink:

Oh, I like that post hire part, because I get really concerned that there's one culture that is persistent in the recruiting process and we over index on that and then a candidate gets in an organization and they're like this is not what I was told, this is yeah. So I like that Over to my friend here Joss, what is going on? What is? What is FASAGE? What's a 30,000 foot view on that?

Joss Leufrancois:

one, yeah, visage. So candidate sourcing. We've got two products VISAGE, which is a product for a large enterprise. We help automate the candidate sourcing process. So, instead of looking at resumes one by one, spend your life on LinkedIn, you can automate it with us. And HopWorld that's our brand new product AI native generative AI product, where you can involve your hiring managers in the hiring process and they can speak to a recruiter co-pilot.

Brian Fink:

I like that word. I like co-pilot a lot because when I think of generative AI, I think of it as a little robot that sits on my shoulder like a parrot Ryan. It's been used a lot.

Ryan Leary:

I'm making, I'm writing this as a Star Wars reference.

Brian Fink:

Ryan.

Ryan Leary:

Oh, it is a parrot. No, never mind.

Brian Fink:

You're not picking up on this. Oh my gosh, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, if you're just joining the program, ryan Leary has no recollection of the movie Star Wars.

Ryan Leary:

No recollection. I haven't seen it, neither has Joss.

Joss Leufrancois:

Josh, you've not seen it yet.

Matthew Weidmann:

I have seen it many times. Okay, fantastic.

Brian Fink:

All right, okay, so.

Ryan Leary:

We're at the change name again, Okay so real quick.

Brian Fink:

The question I'd ask is that both of you brought up AI and you used it in the context of empowering talent acquisition as a co-pilot. How is this impacting the space today and also, how is it impacting the candidate experience? Who wants to take that first?

Matthew Weidmann:

I can start Okay no. So it's interesting, Like it's obviously a huge theme of the conference, like every booth has something connected to AI and if you were to just come here, I think you would conclude that like everyone is using it everywhere. We just released like an annual research report that we do with. We call it the hiring benchmark study and actually, in terms of the HR people we surveyed, only 12% admit to using it in their talent acquisition process. It's kind of like this weird. Are they afraid To tell the truth? I know, like the to tell the truth, the number struck me is really low and it's just like when you come here it's kind of, you know, you get the impression that everyone's using it. So I think we're still at like an early stage of adoption, but there's a lot of excitement around it and a lot of, you know, sort of wait and see as well. I think so.

Brian Fink:

Do you think that the recruiters who don't adopt AI are going to be left behind?

Matthew Weidmann:

Yeah, I mean, I think there's like at the top of the funnel, and I'm sure you can speak to this there's some really interesting and relatively uncontroversial uses of AI to just make things more efficient. So I think that's like undoubtedly a trend. We play more in the area of, like, candidate selection and employee selection, and that's an area where, because of you know, it's highly regulated, there's a little more caution around some of the uses. So we're taking a measured approach. We definitely incorporated it into our product, but we're being really deliberate about that. There's, you know, new regulations out of New York City around the last month, nyc 144,? yep, exactly so. So we're adopting it a ton internally to make our teams more efficient and we're thinking, you know carefully, about how to do it in the customer-facing side.

Brian Fink:

Okay, so about the customer-facing side, I'm going to use that as a tip-off to you my friend. What's going on in that space?

Joss Leufrancois:

Yeah, I think you know the buzzword. Generative AI is omnipresent and, I agree with Josh, it's 12% of companies using it, but it's about to revolutionize everything. I think this is going to be a game changer and, to answer your question, how it's going to change what recruiters do, what we do in talent acquisition, I think it's going to make you know the top of the funnel, what you know, this part of sourcing, selection, engagement more automated, so we are going to be able to focus on more the you know interview parts and employer brand and so on. So it's real game changer. And, to answer your question, if you are a recruiter today and your specialty or what you pride yourself to do well is looking at resumes, matching them with job and so on, I think you're going to need to use AI to do that much more and do that at 10x rate.

Ryan Leary:

Curious for the clients that you all work with and both of you, outside of the obvious interview, scheduling things like that. Where do you see AI in current form giving the most impact inside the process?

Joss Leufrancois:

I think one of the good use cases I've seen in Genetic AI. The effective art is to widen the talent pool as humans or with the legacy technology. When you match candidates to job, it's pretty much keywords or it's limited to the major.

Brian Fink:

I hate keyword matching. I really like I You're a keyword wringo. No, I use it, I use it, but I don't think that that should be the sole variable that you should use.

Joss Leufrancois:

So, as an example, in our platform, hopward say there is a candidate that is put forward and you, as the hiring manager, say why did you put forward this candidate? They don't have this skill. The AI will be able to respond to you and say hey, whilst the resume doesn't state that they've worked with this framework and therefore they have this competence or it's something they can transfer. And that's something that is going to be very hard for a recruiter to do unless they are specialized in that field, and they are not many.

Brian Fink:

Java is to Java is to JavaScript, is ham is to hamburger.

Joss Leufrancois:

Right, and they will never make the confusion, as you know, whereas you know that's the oldest joke in recruiting, Just similar to Ron Rich Mendes was on yesterday.

Brian Fink:

Oh, from Hierologic.

Ryan Leary:

Yeah, same idea. They do the voice, the AI, through voice interview, but they're able to then make the connection between different skill sets and what the soft skill would be for the recruiter as a delivery to the hiring manager.

Joss Leufrancois:

Same idea. So widening the talent pool. You know it means more diversity in your career process. It means that not only the people that put all the right things, that brag on their resume gonna get on the top of the pile. So I think it's a great opportunity.

Brian Fink:

Yep, so we're talking about bragging on the resume for a second. Is there any? Is there any Like? I think that the blockchain is gonna be huge in recruiting. When blockchain 2.0 comes around, right Is it'll be able to validate in real time whether a person has done what they say they've done. Are you seeing any type of conflation or inflation inside of resumes for candidates in this competitive job market?

Matthew Weidmann:

Yeah, I mean. So we're not big fans of resumes, period criteria. I think they're so ubiquitous they're not going away. But our issue with you know I share a lot of your skepticism about keyword matching. It's a fundamentally backward looking thing, right. But what you get from resumes, you get some sense of the person's educational pedigree and their work history, right, and both of those things are actually like there's a lot of research that shows their kind of weak signals in terms of predicting outcomes. So you talk about opening up the pipeline at the top of the funnel. I think in this labor market where we're in a multi-decade labor shortage type situation, we absolutely need to do that. And so the question is what's the best way to do that? A lot of our tools are kind of measuring, trying to sort of create like a multi-dimensional model of a candidate, like what skills do they have, what attributes do they have, and you can use that not only to inform a hiring decision but then post hire as well from a talent mobility perspective. You know, you get a really good sort of map or model of a person and what they might be able to do in the future.

Brian Fink:

That switch just flipped in my head as you were talking about the modality right? Is this information kept with the recruiters that you shared with the hiring managers so that they don't just make a great hiring decision, they make a great, if you will, retention as the new recruiting, that they make a great retention decision as well?

Matthew Weidmann:

Yeah, and that's top of mind, especially in enterprise. I think, right, like talent mobility and growth and development are maybe a little bit less important for smaller businesses just because they don't have the scale to really make talent mobility a real thing. Right, can't do much with talent mobility if you have like three job openings at any point, but if you have hundreds it's really powerful.

Brian Fink:

Sure sure About talent mobility. What are you? That I feel was a buzzword at the beginning of the year? All right, and we were having a conversation about how everybody was talking about AI at this conference. Is there anybody that you've seen or heard from or voice we need to have on the podcast that is really an authority on talent mobility, because I think that retention is important and you are clearly speaking that language and I can understand the ROI that would be delivered on it. Is there anybody that comes to mind that we need to?

Ryan Leary:

tap into for talent mobility. Who's doing good? Who's a good use case here?

Joss Leufrancois:

I think, if you talk to Marcus, who is the head of TA and technology at Innovation at Siemens AG, this is something that they have been working on for many, many years. They are a huge company and they've been looking for technology and processes to improve, and I think that's a very hard problem to solve. The first hurdle is the fact that when you hire someone in your team, you don't want this person to go and work with a colleague of yours for the next 18 months or two years. But that's not what's happening in the open market. You can grab a job and grab another job in six months, or you are competing not against your colleagues, but against the open market.

Brian Fink:

But when people are taking a new job every six months, have they really made an impact on the business? Because we're talking about tooling that helps ensure, through the interview process and the recruiting process and the onboarding process, that they're impactful in the business. Is somebody actually impactful within the? Definitely, I'm seeing shaking heads.

Joss Leufrancois:

No, yeah, and that's the. I've seen one company that does it super well in Europe. It's called Schlumberger. They are in the oil service business and they pride themselves of changing people, of rotating their people every two years. So it means you could work in their duty model.

Ryan Leary:

Yeah, that's right, you work in nature for two years.

Joss Leufrancois:

You work in operation for two years and that has created the lowest attrition model there is. It's very hard to replicate. It's part of their DNA, so that's my so far.

Matthew Weidmann:

Yeah, it's interesting. I'm not sure if this is where you were going with your question, but I do think like there's the amount of buzz around talent mobility actually is a little ahead of what, how it's being productized. You know how companies are going after it, so I definitely share that. We have a woman on our board named Anna Retio who used to head up like TA at Salesforce and she was at SoFi and she's now at Uber and she joined our board a few years ago and at that point I had like barely heard of talent mobility and she's a big proponent of it. You have to be sort of at enterprises of that scale to really care about it, I think. And there's definitely companies that are using it a ton like vendors in their marketing, but in terms of like where the products are, I do think they're lagging behind the buzz a little bit. And there's also it's like hard to sort of estimate what the TAM is for talent mobility. Right, it's so far. It's tiny compared to talent acquisition more broadly, I think. So people are raising a lot of money off it. I'm not sure that they're selling a ton of things that like directly address it.

Brian Fink:

Well, they're selling a lot of it, but is it? Is it generating ROI for the business right? Is it impactful?

Ryan Leary:

yeah, I think I mean over the years. I think it's the same as a lot of these tools that have a diversity module, but the company does nothing with it. Right, they bring it in, they have diversity sourcing or something to that effect, but there's no program around it, and I think we touched on this yesterday.

Brian Fink:

We did. We touched on the belonging piece because, like I'm big on that.

Ryan Leary:

Right, right, but there's no program around it. Therefore, it's just a module. I'm doing these three things. We're good, we check the box, but it doesn't go any further than that. I think mobility is the same in the same category.

Matthew Weidmann:

Yeah, there's a little bit of shelf wary kind of still, I think yeah.

Brian Fink:

Okay, so the second part of the question, that we opened this can of worms with.

Ryan Leary:

There's a second part.

Brian Fink:

Yeah, there was For 200,. We will take candidate experience.

Joss Leufrancois:

We do yeah, so I asked that.

Brian Fink:

Who wants to explain? I mean, is AI gonna make candidate experience that much better? Is it gonna make it stickier? What are your thoughts on that? I think there are pro.

Joss Leufrancois:

In one way you could think that GenO TV AI is gonna make the asymmetry of information matching candidates and job more effectively, opening up opportunities to people that didn't have all the right things and breaking on their resume and so on. So that's kind of the promise. The other part is timely answers on your application. Perhaps, as opposed to wait for a human to review your resume and say reject. Six months later you could potentially be have a response in minutes for hourly jobs or days for professional job.

Brian Fink:

Now wait, wait, under NYC 144, though you can't, a machine cannot auto-reject, it cannot make a decision based on that.

Joss Leufrancois:

That's right but the machine can help you with a system of flags, decide much quicker or whatever a candidate, and so you'll have to verify for sure it's gonna highlight JavaScript experience, mongodb and so on, and then you make your human judgment based on a summary. That's very easy to grasp.

Matthew Weidmann:

The key thing in the bias law right is like and this is the way we think about it is that you can use data-driven tools, including AI, to inform a decision, to make a better decision. You probably shouldn't be outsourcing the actual decision to an algorithm, right? So, as long as there's sort of some human involvement and I think the place that the law kind of misses the mark that I'm concerned about is like it's regulating the use of AI in hiring, but the existing like the status quo is full of bias right, and so it's like, okay, we're trying to fix a real problem here, and the fix can have some issues if you do it wrong.

Ryan Leary:

Even with the recommendations there's going to be issues right.

Joss Leufrancois:

I want to piggyback on what you said. Like the industry as a whole, especially in large companies, is worried that these systems are going to introduce bias. And you're right bias is everywhere in the system the process right now and it's human-based bias and I think it's going to be very important to educate the talent-election leaders so they can see actually that could remove a lot of the biases, especially in the early stages of the process, and remove perhaps you know when we're talking about a human needs to review this thing remove the demographic data out of this decision. Just look at, you know, the skills, the resume.

Matthew Weidmann:

Remove where they went to college if that's going to influence and you know, and on the candidate experience side, yes, we have candidate experience like. I think overall like and we've done a survey on this like on the candidate side, there's generally like a pretty positive sentiment towards some of the like uncontroversial uses of AI like you're talking about, like the top of the funnel, getting a response quicker, getting you know, not being ghosted as much when you submit your resume into the ATS abyss, you know, and candidates are like all for that. I think when you get to some of the use cases where the candidate has no idea how the AI is being used and it's more black box, then you get into some more skepticism about it and a creepiness factor. But at the top of the funnel, if it means they get responses quicker, they get scheduled for an interview quicker, I think it's like the sentiment there is very positive for candidates.

Joss Leufrancois:

The counterpart for that and the counterargument is JNAI is going to make it very easy to customize your resume to positions and do that scale. So we already have an issue of influx of applicants, huge amount that we need to go through. Systems can help. What if anybody can customize their resume to that specific job?

Ryan Leary:

How do we, how do you ask?

Joss Leufrancois:

Yeah, you could do.

Brian Fink:

We've always massaged the resume but it was a manual process. Now you can do it in seconds. No, but the thing is is I would want to hire that person who is a great prompt engineer who can automate some of their work away right, it's like hacking mentality Until they get on your team.

Ryan Leary:

I like that hacking mentality, a modality.

Brian Fink:

I like that. I'm going to steal that phrase.

Ryan Leary:

I think there's a fine line though, right, I mean like you want to hire someone who knows how to use the technology, but if they get in they're full of shit.

Brian Fink:

Wait a minute, wait a minute, wait a minute. Hold on a second. Are we all? Speak for yourself? Sorry, you don't know that. No, no, no, I agree with that, we, okay, all right, I was going to call you out on that.

Ryan Leary:

I always go back to. There is a and I got to look at this stuff so I always talk about it but I forget the guy's name. He, I think he, was a Yahoo employee that outsourced his entire development job overseas. Do you remember this story? Like he'd created yeah, he outs and he worked there for years but he outsourced the entire thing to contractors, managed the entire and handed it to work and did the whole thing and he got fired. But that's pretty creative.

Joss Leufrancois:

Have you heard about the? On Reddit? You've got the overworked category whereby, actually, software engineers that are on contracts or on job, they have five jobs, they are running, they are working for five different companies and, of course, they use Generative AI to do a lot of their work. They can code five times as fast and, at the end of the day, the employers are happy not firing them for performance issues. So I wonder what that means, how you should feel about that.

Ryan Leary:

I'm okay with people having multiple jobs. Okay, I don't. I mean now, even if you pay for their full time. And Well, if you're paying, I mean if you're paying them for their skill right. So kind of like, if you're getting your kitchen done or plumbing done in the house, you want the plumber with two years of experience that's 50 bucks or the 20 year who's gonna get it done in.

Brian Fink:

Yeah, but I don't want the roof or fixing my plumbing. Well, exactly, okay.

Ryan Leary:

Yeah, it is interesting.

Brian Fink:

I love that we're all laughing about that. I'm like that was the dumbest thing I could have said on this program and everybody's like it's true.

Ryan Leary:

No, but it's true, but I don't know. I've learned we redid a kitchen remodel. This was a couple years back pay with the skills worth. We skipped out on a couple of things and I'm paying for it now, but the majority of it was done right. We paid the top dollar for most of it until we got to a spot. We don't need that Actually.

Brian Fink:

I wanna pay for the developer, completely turn away from that. And I wanna go back to the development question about developers who are working multiple jobs. Are they working multiple jobs because they can or because they're not challenged in their existing role? Oh, that's a good question.

Ryan Leary:

I think it's because they can't and want money.

Joss Leufrancois:

I think both, as in they can get away with minimum war and not be noticed if they don't go the extra mile and they can, and they are not. Go and reddit there's an entire playbook on how to do that and not being caught. This is like you've got people making a software engineer 1.5 million dollars a year.

Brian Fink:

I read this on Medium.

Matthew Weidmann:

I read this on Medium, all the time. It's funny because in a remote environment like we try to judge people on outputs and not, but if I found out that one of my team members was working five jobs, I'm not sure I would like that theoretical focus on outputs.

Brian Fink:

I know I would be cool with that. I wanna sit down with them and ask them how are you doing this and what's your burnout look like, right?

Ryan Leary:

Yeah, exactly, can you stop them? I think it's the next question, I think it's a mathematical question.

Brian Fink:

Right, like you know most organizations, you both are CEOs. I'm sure that you have people who are on paperwork that says, hey, anything that is a work conflict. We need to know about it in advance. We need to have a conversation up front.

Joss Leufrancois:

Yeah, so, but how you enforce that is pretty hard.

Ryan Leary:

That's, is it enforceable?

Joss Leufrancois:

It's a question, and by the way, it's not only software developer recruiters, contract recruiters. There's a lot of recruiters out there. I think Fink does that. No, I do not. You have like five?

Brian Fink:

How many invoices do you send them out? I'm super busy. Shots fired, shots fired.

Ryan Leary:

Yeah, so how would Mac, if you take it?

Brian Fink:

If they're developers. Oh, it's a, I think it's a non-starter. It's a non-negotiable I mean when you think about what we do to secure the internet and to keep families and individuals safe across the web. We want you all in. We want you fully committed to what we're doing.

Ryan Leary:

That was convincing. I know, Dude. That's why I love it. I'm all in.

Brian Fink:

No, that's what I love about what we do Like if I can get pitchy for a second is that you know at Mac, if you, we're there to make sure that the things that go bump in the night don't bump you offline in the middle of the night, that they don't steal your data they don't steal your information that we keep you safe, and I'm just blessed that I get to do great work with great people.

Ryan Leary:

They're still paying, you don't worry.

Brian Fink:

I know they are, you know.

Ryan Leary:

Well, guys, this has been fantastic, thank you Glad we got you both on.

Brian Fink:

I think we should arm wrestle for the title of CTO.

Matthew Weidmann:

Oh Well, we'll see you next time. Bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye, bye.

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