Sourcing School by RecruitingDaily

Pioneering AI in Conversational Recruitment with Adam Godson of Paradox

October 27, 2023 Brian Fink, Ryan Leary, and Shally Steckerl
Sourcing School by RecruitingDaily
Pioneering AI in Conversational Recruitment with Adam Godson of Paradox
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Join us on an enlightening journey through the world of AI-fueled recruiting as we catch up with Adam Godson from Paradox! Discover how their cutting-edge conversational AI is revolutionizing talent acquisition and retention for organizations all over the globe. We're discussing how quality matters in the world of chatbots, and how Paradox has pioneered a unique way to personalize the experience across all platforms. And yes, we're talking about that 'oh wow' moment that Paradox had at HR Tech!

As we traverse the fast-evolving landscapes of AI and automation in recruiting, you'll find out just how these technologies are developing soft skills for more effective candidate conversations. Stay tuned to uncover how these dynamic tools are transforming the industry and revolutionizing the ways recruiters work.

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


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Speaker 1:

All right, we're back. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, we are back.

Speaker 2:

Oh, the intro, the intro, here we go.

Speaker 1:

Listen, it's Ryan Leary, it's Olio. We are at the Content Lounge for Recruiting Daily's Sourcing School. On the floor at HR Tech, we are joined by the one and only Adam Godson from the team over at Paradox. What's going on? Hey guys, great to be with you. Thanks for having me. Well, we are glad to have you on the show because I'm excited because what Paradox is doing that is disruptive in the field. I'm not just trying to play buzzword bingo. I'm going to say another buzzword and it's going to be AI. You have been at the forefront of the AI revolution that has come and is about to claim TA, retention, HR, all those things.

Speaker 2:

Hey, my man, yeah man, it's been interesting Since 2016,. We've been shouting into the wind that conversations of the future, conversational AI, is how technology is going to look. Invisible software and getting lots of those nods. People are like, oh okay.

Speaker 1:

Sure that'll work.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, okay, crazy guy, and then they just silently walk away here you are. Here we are a little validated in that. So feeling like this has been a good year with some tailwinds on that. We've got a nice seven-year head start in doing it, which is helpful.

Speaker 3:

I think I remember when you came out at HR not came out, but like HR Tech, you had Olivia. Yeah, you had the big old booth we did. They came up and looked up what is this thing? What is that Jack? What Right Me and Olivia, what You're like, what is?

Speaker 2:

this thing, you know, sort of the first ideas of like virtual recruiter and being able to do SMS two-way and having it feel like a person, and some of those like oh wow moments, and I think some people saw that right away and they're like, oh okay, Others didn't right away. They said, okay, I'm going to take a wait and see approach In 2023, it's impossible not to see it.

Speaker 1:

All right. So I think we jumped the shark a little bit. We went to the oh wow. Maybe we need to back up and unpack this a little bit. Adam, you're with Paradox. I said that you have been killing it for the past eight years. When it comes to AI and what it means in the space, what are listeners, who Paradox is and, by way of who Paradox is, who you are and what your role has been.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, love it, appreciate that. You know, paradox is conversational AI for talent, and so we help organizations of all sizes to recruit and retain talent with conversational AI as our primary technology. So you mentioned Olivia. Our clients can name their assistant whatever they want. Olivia is sort of the default because we've got to have one, but able to have that persona to help with all the we call it BS in recruiting the boring stuff scheduling interviews, screening candidates, sending reminders, all the things that recruiters have come to know as recruiting. And the Paradox for which we're named is that by using technology, you can spend more time with people not software and actually get to why we all became recruiters and why we wanted to be in this game, which is to talk to people and to do that All right.

Speaker 1:

So, talking about talking to people, what's been the adoption from the candidate standpoint of using a chat mod? Because you know, I use mine on AT&T's wireless website to get set up with my cell phone service and what have you, but like I've never used one to apply for a job, I don't know why.

Speaker 2:

Well. So the thing with conversational AI is it has to be good. So people have used chatbots at their bank or at places, and those can be frustrating as hell if they're not good. So for us, it is about quality, and that's where the large language models have come in this year to help us improve conversational quality, make it feel like a real person, make it feel like we want people to subconsciously know that it's not real, but also for it to feel like it is, and so being able to have that high quality conversation is everything, and we see tremendous uplift from candidates, and so we've got clients like McDonald's and FedEx, aeromark that a lot in that volume space where people want to have a conversation. They don't want to go to the ATS, and the first screen that comes up is give me your login. You're like I've never been here before, and then, if you go all the way down the page to this tiny blue text, we'll say like create an account.

Speaker 1:

Why do I but?

Speaker 2:

you guys make it frictionless because so we don't do any of that. So for us it is like just talk, whether that's through voice or through text or on a website, to do chat. It is who are you and tell me about yourself, and then we'll tell you what job fits you, and then we'll collect the information we need to collect and then let's get to the next step, which is an interview or an offer as soon as possible.

Speaker 3:

The same experience across all platforms.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, multi-mode. If you answer two questions, get a phone call and then drop off, send you a text, you can jump right back in where you were.

Speaker 3:

Right, so now let's dig into how to personalize this, and we went to get super technical. I know it's not an easy conversation, but we were talking about this earlier, where some of the chatbots have gotten to be really fantastic and just having conversations. I think I used Verizon, maybe I think it was as an example.

Speaker 1:

You used Verizon as your example.

Speaker 3:

I was on there the other day and I'm chatting away. I'm like I know you're a bot and I'm having a real conversation and part of it's because it's what we do, right, and we're like, oh, let's see if it could actually handle it. You got to test the limits and I'm sitting there and I'm on the computer and my wife's sitting there because we were doing some Verizon stuff and she's like why are you doing that? And I'm like, hey, how are you today? And it actually it answers you back and it's really interesting and it's become I mean, it really has become a conversation.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that's part of the making it feel natural, like, and what we find is when you make the conversation natural, people don't have this processing where they're trying to figure out how to use it. And that is the promise of conversational AI. It is not web UI or user training, even on the manager side. It is making that as simple as possible, where the manager says can you help me schedule this interview? And in plain text, it's not navigate to this thing, log in, click the button, select this. It is everyone knows how to talk and it's up to the have smart intelligence and to intermediate that and that's the future of software. That is where this all is going, everything that we use.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so if that's where it's going as a candidate, are there any questions that like? So? I've never used Olivia, so I'm coming from this very novice part. But one question that candidates love to ask is hey, what's the pay range for this? Can Olivia answer that and negotiate and understand or not understand? She's not sentient. I didn't mean to make that happen. Okay, Olivia, if you're listening, I like you don't come for me the robo overlords, I'm a fan. Can we have that kind of degree of conversation about pay transparency with a chatbot?

Speaker 2:

Absolutely, so long as the information is there. I think I saw this week that about 50% of job postings in the US have pay information on them, and so when that information is there, we can give that information to say what does that look like from a pay standpoint? And there absolutely are more advanced use cases coming there where someday you may negotiate an offer with Olivia and think of even for a salary job to understand what your salary history is, what the company's looking for. And there are lots of good advanced AI negotiators that exist in the consumer marketplace and I think someday that'll be in talent too.

Speaker 1:

Okay, so about talent, there are a lot of different conveyors on the floor today. There are a lot of different messages that are going out. Is there anything that you're hearing that you're like super excited about that? You're like I wanna go there, I wanna learn more about it. What is that subject?

Speaker 2:

Honestly, I'm gonna stay home on this one where I think there's nothing more exciting than conversational AI in in town acquisition, where the I'm a recruiting guy through and through. I was a recruiter 20 years. I was gonna ask about that.

Speaker 1:

I was like so I want to hold that out real quick is that I talked to a lot of technologists who are going to air quotes, solve recruiting, right. That's, that's great. I'm really excited about that.

Speaker 2:

But you actually ran the desk, so what I think that's actually one thing that's that's a bit different about paradox is that we have a team of Practitioners, so Aaron made us our CEO as well. Former HR person, president, chief product officer, former HR person and so I've seen through the years lots of, I think, what Madeline Lerano Calls two guys and skinny jeans that show up and say hey, at our last start up, we had problems hiring. Now we're gonna come in this space. Our new startup is gonna solve hiring, and those companies tend to last. You know About one funding round, and so for us it was about how do we take the domain expertise and apply technology to it, rather than the opposite, and we've seen great success in listening deeply about the problem and how to solve it, rather than Saying that there's a whole bunch of tech, let's throw this at it and see what sticks. Is there a new problem that gets you Excited in the morning to yeah, okay, you're smiling, so yeah well, there are new problems every morning, but I think Employee communication is another one that we're excited about, which is you know how do we help communicate with people in that first 90 days? So we work with a lot of clients where SMS communication is the primary method. So I mentioned, like McDonald's era, mark, fedex, those kinds of folks where they have no email address. Most of them own no computer, and so it is cell phone is the primary cell phone is everything they do, sms is how they, how they know how to communicate. Whatsapp and global markets sort of same same story, but it's about how do we connect those people. How was your first day, how was your first week, how is your relationship with you, with your manager? And then being able to ask questions Like how do I get a new uniform? I'm gonna be late, can you tell the manager? So solving that.

Speaker 1:

Those are interesting questions that do come in because I I would think that they would have that relationship with their manager over SMS. But I guess it helps to have an intermediary.

Speaker 2:

Exactly, and I think some of the advanced use cases you know are gonna be interesting around. How do you help me with shift-swapping and some of the things that they can do? And you know, for us our frame is as an assistant, and so we want to be the assistant to that manager the assistant to the assistant regional manager.

Speaker 1:

That's right. That's right, okay. Thank you, dwight.

Speaker 2:

But to help to be that assistant where we can help that manager take off the parts of their job. That's suck like like trying to answer employee questions about where to get a new hat and what time they should show up to work and Things like that, where we've seen we can help deflect those questions, answer those questions and everybody's happier. The employee got an answer that they needed, the manager didn't have to personally field all that by by text message and everyone walks away with more productivity about more productivity.

Speaker 1:

I'm gonna throw you a curveball. There's been a lot of talk about a three-day work week. Like Jamie Diamond was on and he was talking about that, ai is gonna allow Us to go to three and a half days, which I'm not sure who's gonna work what half day?

Speaker 3:

It's a story for another day.

Speaker 1:

So the question that I would ask is what do you see from a shift in the work day like are we going to three? Are we going to a six-hour work day? What do you see as the result of some of this co-piloting from AI, especially in the HR and TA space?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, it's gonna be interesting in that and it's gonna take some time to evolve. I think what we see now is, you know, ta teams that are changing the work that they do. I can ask about once a week like what the recruiter is gonna do in the future as we start to automate.

Speaker 1:

They're gonna recruit.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, the answer is right there in the work is is we've come to conflate, like recruiting work as we know it, which is, frankly, a lot of clicking, a lot of Administrative work and a lot of a lot of things that are fairly tactical with recruiting work, and what recruiting work really is is convincing someone to join, and a Even the smartest assistant can't do that. That will take a person because Olivia doesn't work anywhere, and so when I'm convincing you to join, I work there and I think about the best recruiters in the world are in the military, college sports, where it's really competitive and it's an emotional connection where you're in the living rooms and you are talking to people and it is convincing you to join me, and I think that's the future of recruiting, is the great recruiters will love it. Folks that are doing lots of clicking and administrative tasks will find other places to do some of those things or jump into the world where they're convincing people to join.

Speaker 1:

All right. So as we talk about that co-piloting right and how AI is going to make that more effective and we're going to make more time, what about soft skills? How are we going to develop the soft skills of recruiters so that they can level up and have that conversation? That's a difficult conversation with a candidate.

Speaker 2:

Yeah, that is one of the challenges that AI brings, which is, in all ways, we will need more experts, but in some ways, we will automate out some of the training grounds. I think about AI co-pilots in coding, for example where oh yeah, like GitHub, yeah sure, yeah, exactly. and certainly we use tools like that to help our developers today, but it takes out some of the mundane routines or early career type of work and puts more pressure on people that have 10 years experience. But then it also creates a paradox that it's hard to get 10 years experience when a lot of the early career work is automated, and so there's a lot going to need to be solved around skills and challenge and that challenge to how do we get people to have 10 years experience when we've automated a lot of the low level work?

Speaker 1:

Okay, so you've talked a lot about shift work and, with the examples from McDonald's and from FedEx and Airmark, what about, for quote unquote, the white collar, the 21,000 people that got jobs last month? I'm referring, if you're listening, to the jobs report that said 335,000 people got jobs. Most of the jobs weren't in those shift works that were talked about earlier. But what about the 21,000, the white collar jobs? What's going on there?

Speaker 2:

Yeah, we like to find places where the assistant can be really helpful, and probably the two primary places we find that are in answering questions, and that's often an unserved market where, like, look, trying to get a question answered on a website it's very difficult. But also in interview scheduling and not just the one to one with the recruiter, but that hairy eight part panel, virtual meetings, room booking, and so we do that with clients around the world. Folks like Nestle and Pfizer and Disney, where that's the primary job that we have for their white collar roles is take that piece out. We still want the human engagement with the recruiter. We want that relationship, but that transactional work and you'll find teams of 50 recruiting coordinators that in some of these companies that just do interview scheduling and we can take a lot of that and automate that and have a better connection.

Speaker 1:

Is that a job that's going to get automated away?

Speaker 2:

I mean ultimately, yes, it should, and that's one where those people probably aren't reaching self-actualization doing that every day, and so they will find other work to do and connecting with candidates and finding that work. That is the true recruiting work, not sort of the coordination work that's oftentimes a lot of button clicking, and transactional work Like that will absolutely be automated away.

Speaker 1:

All right. So I want to wrap up here with one question that I usually ask recruiters when I have on the podcast. But you are multifaceted, you are multi-dimensional right Very complex over here. I like that. I like that. We are not an SPL, right? Wait, pumpkin spice latte? I did not mean to ask Pumpkin spice latte. We are not a PSL, we are not basic, all right. So what advice would you give to a junior recruiter who's starting their recruiter journey today, with all of these changes coming to effect?

Speaker 2:

For me, giving that advice, it is a bit of pick a path, and so I think for some people there's a really great path in technology and so learning how to be that person on the team that helps coordinate, facilitate the technology piece, and so if they've got any nerdy inclinations and like technology, like that is a path to just go hard at to be the person that is orchestrating all of that. The quote escapes me, but something like there are two jobs in the future People that tell machines what to do and people who machines tell what to do, and so being the person that can coordinate that tech stack. And then the other path is to be absolutely best in class at real recruiting, convincing people to join, building relationships. All the emotion part of this, and emotion is intentional. This is not like online shopping. There is your self-worth and there is the convincing of someone's life story and their life journey. That happens in a recruitment process, and so for me, it is picking a path and going hard at being world class at one of those two things.

Speaker 1:

Well, thank you for being world class and really kind of ask. I mean, you've raised the bar with what your software has done. It's created a better interview experience, a better canning experience and a better recruiting experience overall. Thanks for joining us today. It's been great. We're here live at HR Tech. You can hear the buzz in the background. It's me Brian, it's him Ryan, and we are powered by Olio at the Recruiting Daily Sourcing School podcast. Thank you so much 跟大家english.

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