Balancing Automation & Humanity in Global Recruiting


Hans Bukow: Okay. Hello. I'm not sure if we're getting on to show up or not, but in lieu of wanting to get going and use as much of our time as possible. My name is Hans Bukow. I'm going to be introducing the rest of our panelists in a second. And before we get started right into this, let me start with a quick presentation.

Hans Bukow: Just to sort frame our topic for today. We are going to be talking about the "Balancing Act Between Automation Artificial Intelligence and Humanity in Global Recruitment" CEO eteki, and we do automated and expert interviews. And obviously, so we're right in the middle of some of this action.

Hans Bukow: Let me move on to the next slide. So basically, you know, we're going to spend a little time today talking about recruiters and their interactions with candidates and vice versa, more specifically and the balance of technology, and even the balance between the recruitment side and the candidate side, and what is obviously the crux of what the staffing industry is all about and trying to place good people with the right skills and the right jobs.

Hans Bukow: And that balancing act is really somewhat tricky. So in the process of what, especially eteki involved, but all around, as we know, we have lots and lots of candidates and we want to find the right one, you know, the infamous funnel. And along the way, we're obviously applying some technology and perhaps too much technology doesn't leave a good feeling, not enough, and you're going to be falling behind because there's such a big job to do, to try to find the right matches.

Hans Bukow: So a lot of the, where, how, when are these bots versus experts going to be applied? So specifically we're going to kind of get into and share some experiences and just to give you a little teaser here on the bottom, as a great example out there I think it's on dice about, you know, the skills that are most sought after.

Hans Bukow: And as we know very often, especially in the technology sector, but there could be lots of other sectors. You know, we think that, you know, it's putting a test and doing some things in a box and some AI that we're going to get it nailed down, but here's a perfect example of where the most in demand tech skill is project management.

Hans Bukow: And we all know that project management is quite a bit more than just the specific logical skills that we have, EQ is out as high as it gets. And when you're trying to manage a lot of people. So that's where the balancing act needs to be fully appreciated. And that's where we're going to get into, especially as we're trying to stay more human with the technology and remote learning, remote distancing remote working is coming up.

Hans Bukow: So I try to put a little grid. I'm a pictures guy. So I'd like to try to figure out what we think about this? And in reality, you know, we have two sides here. We have a candidate, really a lot about the matching and then how they match it together. We have recruiters as what we can see, you know, the recruiters they're basically, you know, working towards figuring out whether this is a good fit or not.

Hans Bukow: And they, it's what they need. They need a lot of information, a lot of data. We need to collect that and process that data and process interviews and process this information on these candidates. But we sometimes forget that's what the candidates would like as well. And now of course, candidates are being courted constantly for opportunities.

Hans Bukow: They also need it now. So very often when you might see a recruiter, you know, using this technology and if they're not completely transparent for it it may not lead to the upper right triangle here on the right a rectangle, which is, you know, finding the right fit, feeling good about it, really getting that matched really confidently.

Hans Bukow: And the more they extract the, what they need, if they're not providing as well, might see the candidates not feel so good about the relationship, about what they're trying to achieve, which is to find out the best opportunity that they can in the market. So with that, it's a setup that we're looking for, the balance between humanity and feelings, you know, essentially what people humanity are about.

Hans Bukow: And then on the other side, technology and automation, we put it obviously in the context of today's work market and opportunity market, which is globally and on all the issues that come with that as well. So that's what we're going to be talking about today. And let me introduce our panel. I'm better yet.

Hans Bukow: Let me let them introduce themselves and let's see, Adam, why don't you begin with this one.. 

Adam Lombardi: Thanks, Hans. Really appreciate it. My name is Adam Lombardi and I am Senior Director of Delivery Transformation for Kforce. I've been with for 13 and a half years or so in the first 10 years of my career were really spent within the field kind of dealing with the problems and the challenges day-to-day on the front lines from a recruiting desk.

Adam Lombardi: And then as a leadership desk, over a recruiting team and for the last three or so years, three and a half years, I've been more focused on really you know, technology evaluation, how we can apply different processes and change the way that we support the candidates and customers, and really the people in general within the market.

Adam Lombardi: And, you know, we run into these problems of automation on a regular basis and we try to solve those problems. And hopefully we'll be able to, you know, just take a little bit of time today to be able to kind of let you know what we've seen out there and how we're looking to solve the challenge that we're all facing every day.

Hans Bukow: Thanks, Adam. Jamie, why don't you help us learn a little bit more about you? 

Jamie Herbert: Thanks Hans. So I'm Jamie Herbert from CapstoneIT, my firm, as the name suggests specializes in the IT space, both staffing and solutions. I've been at the firm for just over three years now. And the scope of my responsibility does include operations inclusive of recruiting in HR prior to joining capstone, though I spent 25 years on the corporate side, 15 of those as an HR executive in super, super excited to be part of this group here today.

Jamie Herbert: Because to me I've always thought about it as being both high-tech and high-touch, and the art of this is finding the right balance. And like, many of you have been around long enough now that a high tech, not that long ago was the fax machine. So it's pretty fascinating to think how far we've come. Yeah. At the end of the day, it's really about relationships in his hands is a matrix.

Jamie Herbert: Just suggested that the all important fit in the multiple dimensions of that fit component. So glad to be here today. 

Hans Bukow: Thank you, Jamie. Denver and then we'll talk to Steve. 

Denver Brown: Great. Thank you. Hahn's and thanks for having me today. My name is Denver Brown. I'm a Vice President of client solutions here at ManpowerGroup.

Denver Brown: I lead our telecommunications and system integrator industry verticals of North America, my team and I said, what that really means is my team. And I we're re we're responsible for creating solutions for our clients that really bring together capabilities across all of our brands across the entire group that solve our client's challenges.

Denver Brown: And I'm really excited to be a part of today's panel. And I'm really even more excited about our topic because, we're going to touch on two areas that are that I, that are close to me, which one of them is technology and how we can leverage technology to help people, including our staff, the candidates we're working with and the clients we serve, but also my other passion helping people find and grow their own purpose driven careers.

Denver Brown: So, and then really, I think most importantly is how do you find the right balance between the two, which I think is a great discussion point. So excited to be here today. And thank you again for having me. I'm looking forward to this session. 

Hans Bukow: Thank you, Denver, Steve.

Hans Bukow: So looking forward to hearing from Steve.

Steve Levy: That's because I have the smallest picture on the panel. Not now that it worked. My name is Steve Lee. I'm the Manager of Technical Recruiting at We are an ethical buy now pay later post startup company global in nature based in Sydney, Australia positions are all remote in the US.

Steve Levy: I have never spent a single day on the staffing side, but I have been recruiting for 38 years. Prior to that, I was an engineer for 15 years in full disclosure. I am one of the techie advisors. As technical as I am, I know that in this case, engineers really do appreciate the high touch. The more the, you know, there, there really is an incredible balance that needs to be struck between, you know, high-tech and high-touch what we're seeing in the place.

Steve Levy: And then the communities where I live in breed all these technical communities, the balance really is moving back towards more humanity. And hence, one of my most quotable phrases from conference talks is tools that don't recruit people. And there are inherent challenges with increasing automation.

Steve Levy: There are inherent challenges with calling something AI when it's not really AI and. You know, going forward in recruiting, you know, technology is an integral part of efficiency. It's an integral part of the reliability of scalability, but we can never lose the fact that we are in fact managing people's lives and people's careers with the decisions we're helping them make.

Steve Levy: So, yeah. 

Hans Bukow: Yeah. And just to finish off my introduction, my name is Hans bukow. I've been sort of involved in, I like to call it, the workforce supply chain for about 20 some odd years. Having previously founded another company called E work very much like people are familiar with Upwork. And we too had a VMS product.

Hans Bukow: We had probably the number one brand at VMS for healthcare for quite a long time. So I get responsibility for having been involved in establishing some VMS technology in this industry back in the two thousands, early two thousands, it was still there. And now we're obviously thinking about that more and more as the technology is really, and technology obviously broadly stated. I think the latest let's say manifestation that captures everyone's mind is on machine learning and AI, since it takes a lot of data and starts helping you make decisions.

Hans Bukow: And therefore the reason it's called the AI, it's a thought that it's going to compliment and do some work. And we've seen a little pictures of bots and automation where we're going to use that probably more as a proxy for identifying how the technology, how the communication is being augmented by some of this modeling of what people say and do.

Hans Bukow: So as to complement and augment the performance that we're seeing in recruiting and recruiting really does boil down, I think lots of factors, but one of the most important one is the matching is making sure that people are pretty happy with where they're going to go relative to making their commitment, to do that job, to do that work.

Hans Bukow: And the company's also making a commitment to employees and individuals to give them the type of satisfying work or interesting work well-paid work, all the things that we hear a lot about needing adjusting in today's market. So that hits on some of the things that we promised we were going to talk about: improving work talent, matching candidate experience, I think was something that we want to also bring up because it is fair to say that pendulum has swung, you know, everybody likes to see.

Hans Bukow: The talent wars, the Rover and the talent war. That was something we all would love to say during when this was the last big wave of this. And now today's world makes that look like a small tsunami. So finally, let's sort focus on the recruiting side, being around the qualifying, the matchmaking and other technologies that we might want to see in the jet.

Hans Bukow: And I'm asked to kind of go around the horn some more here, maybe Denver, you can kick us off on what you've seen in the environment these days. You know, the type of examples that caught your eye we'll get into, you know, well-balanced or not well-balanced but what are some of the things that you guys are looking at that really really makes the point home that this is a balancing act?

Denver Brown: Yeah, I think, you know, we think about the sourcing and the matching you know, I think from our perspective and my perspective we look at technology as a way. To allow our people to really focus on the humanistic elements of what we do. Right. So I think that a big reason that we look to leverage technology is to allow our own staff to focus on some of those person to person interactions and the humanistic elements of what we do.

Denver Brown: And then you know, just some other things that from a technology perspective is that we want to meet candidates where they are. And so sometimes that means, especially as you know, technology is, has spread across every aspect of our lives and not just in our industry you know, some candidates they prefer to you know, interact at least initially maybe online or automated tools, etc, to kind of get themselves into the mix from a candidate perspective.

Denver Brown: You know, and another, guess, just some additional perspective from my point of view is that, you know, we know in our industry the talent is scarce and we're not immune to that in our industry as well. Right. So being able to leverage technology to allow our recruiters to, you know, be able to work more efficiently that's, I think that's a critical component that we've got to factor in as we make technology decisions.

Hans Bukow: Yeah. I imagine today everything kicks off online, given the pandemic. But maybe Jamie, any, anything that you've seen where it suggests, you know, candidates wanting to go beyond that, or how else do you personally engage and how you use technology perhaps to to kind of make that engagement, you know more complain, 

Jamie Herbert: Yeah, I will, I would echo what Denver shared and keep in mind.

Jamie Herbert: When I introduced myself, the first part of my title was finance, right? So I get productivity and efficiency at the same time. It's about relationships between human beings and human beings. One of my favorite expressions by the way, is meeting people where they are, which to me, the world we're in today.

Jamie Herbert: It's not a war it's an end, right? Some folks believe it or not, it's still a phone conversation that is most productive early on because the key word here is we're trying to build a connection and keep in mind the candidates. That's it that's exactly right Steve. But the candidates that we're talking to, we ought to assume that there's 15 other firms that are having similar conversations to the one that we would like to have.

Jamie Herbert: So what are you doing to differentiate? What are you doing to communicate with for impact? And I often have the conversation with our own recruiters. The movie, Jerry Maguire, you are trying to be this person's agent at the end of the day, which again, there's 14 other folks trying to do the same thing you are.

Jamie Herbert: So what is really compelling makes you unique? I tend to come right out and say it airs more on the side of the high touch relational side of the equation. Not only because of me personally in my journey, but it all comes down to your firm and what your firm views as you as your unique. And in our case, one of our uniques we believe is the employee experience, which starts at that very first interaction.

Jamie Herbert: And what about interaction due to the interaction count into that person? Are they on the fence? Are they a detractor? Are they a potential promoter that wants more? And then another one of our uniques, we call our quality pledge, which means that we need to do things differently for all of our stakeholders.

Jamie Herbert: Including that candidate that could become our employee or could become a customer at some point in time. So again, it's about getting that balance, right? 

Hans Bukow: So Steve you're recruiting you're on the firm side. Most of the time you're hearing all this staffing is recruiting candidates who have found a candidate that they're interested in.

Hans Bukow: That's maybe within their knowledge of people. And now they want to represent them to the company. So as a recruiter, representing the company, the acquirer, perhaps of those talents, how do you interact with them? I mean, how do you view that? And especially around the tech side of it, you know, which sometimes gets pretty specific to the knowledge and getting confidence and trust that, you know, people are representing things properly.

Hans Bukow: What are your views on that? 

Steve Levy: I think you hit on personally, the confidence that people are representing. People properly, as I said earlier, there's no such thing as a former engineer. I haven't, last time I coded was 2001, it was a basic C++ is a deal. Environment. So I, you know, I'm not a complete moron when it comes to understanding what coding is like, but, you know, much in the same way on the corporate side, we call LinkedIn the blue devil as an example.

Steve Levy: And back in 2015, I coined the phrase in Mali. And if you think of, I received personally some 15 to 17 inmails a day, cause I have a lot of technical terms in my profile and you know, you know, we love, you know, you'd be a perfect senior software engineer, software engineering leader, you know, and I can tell no one actually read my profile.

Steve Levy: They're just spamming things out. You know, so I, all I'm asking from the staffing world is A) don't lie, B) don't over inflate C) educate yourself a bit more about what you're trying to and who you're trying to represent. Some of my best friends, the world's recruiters. I do. I do not have this visual, you know, peristaltic reaction to being called by recruiters about, you know, representing people that doesn't bother me, but ultimately it comes, you're representing a human being.

Steve Levy: So all you have to do is represent them as human beings. If you want to do it with, you know, via technology, that's fine. If you want to call me up, that's fine. I mean, you still have to keep in mind that you're hoping to change a person's life, regardless of the approach that you take with it.

Steve Levy: So just do it in the most humane way possible. 

Hans Bukow: Yeah. I think, you know, you hit a bond, something in terms of that sincerity to get the real message across you guys have heard me to a lot of things. I don't mind bots, you know, I don't mind automated support. I just hate it when it tries to fool you that it's not, know, I think that's the one area where it kind of builds on this trust versus building on trust where if you're not transparent, of course, then, and try to misrepresent, then everything else thereafter could be similarly, you know, hell.

Hans Bukow: So it's a, it's something I think that sincerity and that representation is important. 

Steve Levy: That was the early day of Bots. And I'm not going to mention the company, but I mean, I advised them in terms of how the conversation would go and the rules that were built into it. And it's almost a game now amongst more experienced engineers.

Steve Levy: They want to see if this conversation is bought here, so they'll start, they'll throw off, you know, off putting questions in request just to see what comes back. 

Hans Bukow: Yeah. I haven't heard thrown in typos with which to sort of, you know, make it seem like the bot is more human. Right, Adam. Thanks for Supporting us there.

Hans Bukow: And I said, quietly, what do you, what are your thoughts? Your you're probably deploying more of this than any of us. So by all means, let's hear from you. 

Adam Lombardi: You know, when we look at technology, you know, within, you know, our organization, you know, we want to make sure that we're understanding the benefit to those candidates or the people that we are interacting with.

Adam Lombardi: I think so many times within, you know, the industry and I even learned from this early on, when I first started working with some of these bots was, you know, you look at that bot as maybe it's a problem-solver or it's a silver bullet. And I think early on, there was a lot of discussion and a lot of ideas around, you know, this could just speed things up and, you know, we can be in touch with more candidates where we started really realizing that relationship.

Adam Lombardi: That was really the foundation of our business that started falling by the way. So, what you really want to be able to do is when you're finding that balance, you know, you want to be able to ask yourself, is this benefiting really who were engaging with and who we're trying to help at the end of the day?

Adam Lombardi: Or are we just looking through the lens of this is our business proposition, and this is really going to help us and finding that balance between the two, because with the amount of opportunity that's out there that we're trying to support within our customer base, we do need ways to automate the process, but it's really about where we interject and inject that automation in certain parts of the funnel and certain parts of the overall journey versus just assuming at the front end of the journey before that relationship has been developed before the really value proposition has been put out there for the candidates and the people that you're working with to really start to take shape.

Adam Lombardi: So I think it's just one thing that we really start to strive towards is keeping that, that high touch and that relationship component involved. And we automate where we can aim. But not necessarily automated to just kind of take over the process. 

Jamie Herbert: Hey Hans, if I can build on Adam's point there too. And if you think about the art of what we're trying to do in recruiting and we being both on the company side and the client are on the candidate side, there are multiple dimensions to this.

Jamie Herbert: I think the thing we often think about is the role itself, right? And how can I go deep and fast? Well, the role itself to which I say, nice start, there's three other dimensions. There's the culture of our board and business, right? So culture fits in both directions. And as much as we want to say that's all a science, there's still a lot of feel and relational capital that has to be spent to do that.

Jamie Herbert: There's this thing called manager fit. All of us have seen the studies that have been going back 15 years now, people join companies and leave managers or choose to stay and give discretionary effort based on who the manager is. Again, some of that is chemistry that you're trying to get a feel for very early on in the process.

Jamie Herbert: And then another is this fourth dimension called work group fit, who are my teammates? You know, you think about some of the research that Gallup has done for years. And do I have a best friend at work? Well, well, if I'm going to, if I'm going to work at this place, is there even the potential that I have shared interests so forth with these folks?

Jamie Herbert: So at the end of the day, we've got to remember that all of the above matters, yes. Cycle time matters, cost per hire matters. How do I beat the competition for this critical talent, but there's a whole bunch of things that we're trying to assess as we go through that courting process, 

Hans Bukow: right?

Hans Bukow: Yeah. And again, that's, I think we highlighted earlier that's as with intermediaries involved, like with proxies involved because not until the later stage. So you typically see direct engagement given the fact that, you know, as we demonstrated on the funneling, there's a lot to go through and lots to sort through.

Hans Bukow: And a lot to build upon in terms of assessments, right? And obviously the beginning, a lot of the automation is being utilized to take data and a lot of criticisms, you know, on you see them all around about how we're losing candidates because the automation is too tight or it's too one dimensional, you know, diversity issues, lots of things that come into play.

Hans Bukow: But the bottom line is there is a lot of interest in trying to do these things more completely, faster at a lower price point. So, you know, obviously it begs this engineering challenge of how to bring the technology and the automation. But then also make sure that I do not overstep its use and release that information and that guidance onto somewhere that can take it to the next level as part of doing it, you know, a true process by both sides of the magic.

Hans Bukow: Anyone else from what we've seen before we move on, you know, a little bit to, you know, what are we doing, you know, about this and how will you engage with these enhancements? I know we've got representatives here that are in bigger company environments that, you know, that technology can be amortized across a larger operation.

Hans Bukow: Some, you myself included, I'm more on the entrepreneurial side where we're throwing that technology and getting it out there. So ask to, try to find, you know, increased value, increased productivity and any examples anybody want to sort of highlight something that they've seen recently or they're doing themselves that they see as a good demonstration of this balancing act between the technology and individuals.

Hans Bukow: Steve, you gotta 

Steve Levy: I'm in this case, it's a debate over how much I can say. Part of we're in the process of doing a massive ramp up in hiring notes. This does not mean you can call me and chill your people to me. We can talk at a later time but you know, we're balancing, you know, that there are inherent challenges in technical recruiting in that most people who recruit technical people are in technical.

Steve Levy: And so, oh, I recognize a word and you start putting things together. And, but you need to understand that most engineers, I sort of, like to say they live their lives at the intersection of ADHD highway and Asperger's Boulevard, and the way that we tend to interview them exacerbates. Know, issues of neurodiversity and which causes many people to just, Hey, back off, I don't like your process.

Steve Levy: And so what we're doing is incrementally introducing, you know, more assessments, you know, not E techie, like humid assessments, but at certain points in the process, just to validate the, you know, the human interpretation of what's on a resume. And again, knowing that technical people aren't inherently bad at writing resumes.

Steve Levy: And there's more information often between the lines, if you can connect the lines above and below them. So, you know, you see, in, in, in the technical forums this abject hatred for more and more technical you know, automated technical assessments. But I think we're covering.

Steve Levy: That I've made the mistake is pegging themselves more towards one side versus blending the two together, you know, and that really is a take-home lesson between, you know, in this case. It's how we find a way to blend both the automated piece and the human piece together. And, you know, you have to take your, you know, on a company by company approach to it because you know, it all depends on the people and the people you have there.

Steve Levy: Some of them want to have human interaction. Some of them want to, you'll be able to see assessments before they speak with them. So, you know, you have to take the AB test and that's what we're doing now. We're AB testing, you know, technology to see if it produces the kinds of performance and deliverables that we need as we.

Steve Levy: I know, I used a lot of words to say, not a whole lot, but I hope but I can't say certain things, but I can say things privately, if you want to contact me. Wow, 

Hans Bukow: Denver, you guys are a big organization, lots of information. I know that there's any ways that you see that are good uses of technology with which to progress the the matchmaking, the engagement, the representations you know, out there in the market these days, you know, everybody remote working, you know, there's a lot of sort of anonymity, a lot of, you know, unfortunately behavior where people are misrepresenting and, you know, all that's gone up, obviously, as we know we catch fakes on our system more than we've ever been before.

Hans Bukow: Right. So how do you find that balance between, you know, not not that, not tightening the filter too much. You know, letting some of that expression come in with this, with these algorithms and AI and machine learning. But also leave humanity, some breathing room. I mean, what can you tell us about what you guys are doing

Hans Bukow: vendor? Sorry.

Denver Brown: Yeah. I don't know if I lost you there at the end, but yeah. You just from a technology standpoint a couple of thoughts that kind of jumped out to me, you know, so a couple things. So one during the pandemic you know, early on, we had a lot of clients that, you know, were in a position where.

Denver Brown: And they had no choice, but to fertile other workers at the same time, we had other clients that were pivoting that, that needed a talent very quickly. So we leveraged technology to help that, right. You know, platforms like techs to apply for examples. One that we leveraged to just from the sheer volume right.

Denver Brown: Of what we were dealing with at the time. So that's an example, but to your point around you know, the proxy nature of an anonymity that we're seeing, especially now that everyone's working from home you know, we've been supported by you know, your organization specifically even pre pandemic back, you know, back when most folks were still going into the.

Denver Brown: But we certainly leveraged it in a ramped up you know, the use of that tool but it's but I think it's a balancing act, right? Like we've talked about here as sort of a common theme of, you know, using some of these assessments and some of these tools. But it's also not necessarily a pass or fail necessarily, right.

Denver Brown: It's, we're going to take that into conjunction with the humanistic and person to person interaction that our recruiters have, and they're able to make that judgment call. But it's another tool that they're able to either, you know, backup some of their own assessments of these candidates.

Denver Brown: Right. And take that into consideration when they're evaluating these candidates for possible fit for our clients. 

Hans Bukow: All right, Adam, I know you guys are doing quite a bit also in, you know, I mean with us, but with other technologies, and now that you've gone remote completely, and they're pretty dispersed and kind of view things.

Hans Bukow: Yeah on the internet, right? I mean, a lot of access, a lot of abilities, a lot of support technologies. Tell us how the, you know, the K forces. So it's kind of evolving. You know, I 

Adam Lombardi: Think too, we're Denver was really going right. There were a lot of customers early on in that pandemic phase that just were in dire straits.

Adam Lombardi: They needed people. Right. And then it was hard to be able to kind of scale to that point. When you look at, you know, the humanity of. You know, really kind of maximizing that at an individual desk level. It's because you're building fantastic relationships. There's a lot of trust that's been there. So what we really looked at doing was figuring out was there a way that we could automate our process to drive referrals and to drive, you know, knowledge base, a knowledge worker kind of program within relationships that we already had preexisting via you know, candidates that we had placed previously or just other relationships we had built with the that we had built throughout the throughout the industry.

Adam Lombardi: So what we wound up looking at was an automated, you know, mobile referral plan. And that was actually a way where we could scale to support many of these customers that were coming, not just for one or two needs, but tens or hundreds, because we were tapping into the networks that we already knew existed.

Adam Lombardi: And from a 24 hour around the clock kind of cycle, those relationships were already being leveraged because I was already known to these candidates or these consultants or these people that we knew within the industry. And they were, you know, helping get direct access within their networks. So it was just a connection point where the relationship and humanity is what really drove the front end of that.

Adam Lombardi: But technology helped automate it to the process to be able to build those networks out faster and be able to scale you know, across multiple skill sets and industry. 

Hans Bukow: I mean, I think that's been part of the conversation you know, especially around remote work initially with. We use the tools to kind of, still stay connected around trusts that have been built, you know, from before.

Hans Bukow: And everybody was wondering once that needs to grow and move on some companies, especially how is it going to look like when you hire employees who you only ever engaged with over the way we're doing today. And engaging with others. It's not just the recruiter who probably is much more sensitive to communications patterns, but, you know, fellow employees and everyone else that they might work with and especially large organizations across the organization when this is the best, you know, point of contact that they might have for a while, right?

Hans Bukow: And big organizations, obviously global organizations have seen this issue a lot more but it's becoming clearly a Mo more of a norm than ever before. Yeah. And 

Denver Brown: I think just to add more that you know, another thing I think that we're all sort of saying here is that we're all leveraging technology, but we're not trying to replace, we're not using technology to replace that human interaction.

Denver Brown: And in a lot of ways it's so we can get to the candidates more quickly to have those human to human interactions. I mean, that's an 

Hans Bukow: important piece to underscore. I think it's been, you know, just a simplistically identified when using the communication facility, whether it be written forms and w without necessarily being applied to the representation of an individual, right.

Hans Bukow: Mean, I'm not technology trying to fake out an individual technology, like, like what we're doing here and facilitating and trying to make it easier, scheduling technologies, you know, whatever it might be. To kind of clarify or new the engagement, you know, in a more enhanced manner, given the fact that we were not able to engage as often, you know, a person to person as we did before.

Steve Levy: Yeah. You w I think we're th there are several categories of technology of automation that, that are applicable to recruiting you know, the area you know, we talked about bots and assessments and calendar and calendaring and scheduling, and what have you, those are great.

Steve Levy: But I think generally speaking the problem that everybody has, and doesn't matter what side of the track you're on, is getting people to respond to you. The bulk of the audience here, I guarantee you does the bulk of their sourcing on LinkedIn and LinkedIn response rates are too. I mean exceptionally far down the th the people are being barraged with, within malls at an a at a pornographic rates.

Steve Levy: That's how bad it is. And, know, so the challenge that was ho how can you get to someone if you're, you know, raw rather than a fish at the same pond, with the same rod, with the same test, with the same bait at the same time as everyone else it's the sourcing technologies that are still an important part of, you know, you know, automation, you know, there are a number of platforms there's hire tool.

Steve Levy: There's a gym. There's, Intello, there's human predictions, and I can go on and on. And what those do are allow an individual at scale to obtain contact information about. And, you know, with the right, you know, then it becomes an issue of messaging and engagement and branding and rather than just the typical LinkedIn profile or the typical strategy by both sides of the track, I love your profile.

Steve Levy: You're a perfect fit. Send me your resume. When would you like to start? And, you know, you know, getting, you know, someone's personal email or their personal cell phone, so you could, you know, barrage them with texts is just as important part of the conversation as now, the assessment pieces that allow you to scale things.

Steve Levy: And I think if there's ever going to be a, the one area in recruiting, which is ripe for improvement, it is in that sourcing phase and identifying, you know, who, you know, is this person likely per likely person. You know, fill a position that there's been, I think, in, in all the areas of recruiting tech, that's the theory that's made the greatest progress so far.

Hans Bukow: What would you guys agree then? That in that end of the spectrum, that I'm recruiting has gone the way of online marketing and all the automation we've seen in online marketing is that a core sort of skill set and technology front application to get attention, to get people's, you know, pay attention to me because I've got the better opportunity.

Hans Bukow: You see a lot of application 

Steve Levy: There, that's programmatic advertising, let's SEO, it's all part of, you know, how it's targeting, targeting is vitally important. 

Hans Bukow: To to change the message, to get the engagement rates up, 

Steve Levy: You can use the technology to aid. That's the beauty of programmatic platforms you can use.

Steve Levy: You can a, B, C, D, E, F, G test all your different campaigns and sit and see which one results in the highest, you know, positive response rate. 

Hans Bukow: Yeah. We were talking about when two are coming together already inclined to look for a match, but I think Steve, in a way it's taken it upstream where before that even happens, if no one's responding to your messaging or your outreaching, you know, you're not going to be practicing how to get better at matching because there's no one to match with yet.

Hans Bukow: So, you know, maybe Jamie, the organization is sort of picking recruitment to online advertising techniques.

Jamie Herbert: So, Hans, I'm going to go broader on you. I I saved a bit, thinking that it's online marketing, it's marketing. With online being a component of it. And my concern is that everything is automated to the point that exactly what Steve said here.

Jamie Herbert: Here's this, you're a great fit. You know, it's kind of a one size fits all, which I love Steve's expression in terms of fishing in the same pond. So let's face it for the target talent that we're really trying to get after. It's a puddle in many segments, not a pond that we're fishing on. So once you get in that puddle, it's a matter of getting to know folks and what resonates with them.

Jamie Herbert: So am I starting outside in or inside out? Right. So I've got five, I've got 50, whatever the case may be. And there absolutely is a place for marketing campaigns to get to those puddles and online tools. Once you're there though, that's the intersection with humanity and the ability to relate on a human to human basis.

Jamie Herbert: And do I want to get to know you? What'd she have there's tools that can help with that. But to me, at the end of the day, the recruiter is still the secret sauce, right? At the end of that experience, that's the memory, it becomes recruiter Bob or Sally whose brand is built or shaped based on that interaction.

Hans Bukow: Yeah. Yeah, no doubt. I think we all in this industry recognize that all this is to put together these people that need to make it so that they're willing to take the next steps and to make the commitments and to actually engage. So I think we've had consistent, you know, understanding that recruiters aren't being replaced necessarily.

Hans Bukow: They get the opportunity to hone in, to focus in, to exercise more of their skill as they're making the final stages of the match happen. And it's very similar, even with eteki, you know, when we provide this expert recruiter you know, sorry, we provide the expert recruiters with experts.

Hans Bukow: That understands the technology, gives everybody a lot of confidence. That's what's being discussed in interviews are sincere, very engaging you know, really driving towards the type of trust and commitment towards making a final decision of committing. All right. So, we got a little bit of time here.

Hans Bukow: We're still in pretty good shape. Before we answer some of these questions or take a look at these questions I think the last thing is probably you know, we're all in a good position to see where it's heading a little bit more. So we've talked about, you know, things we've seen the purpose of what we're doing right now.

Hans Bukow: What about, you know, what's around the corner here? You know, we obviously don't know when this pandemic is really going to relax. Let's say we can all forecast and think about that. As it translates into the way people are working. And let's just, you know, understand that what we're doing in the staffing industry and recruiting is a form of work.

Hans Bukow: Knowing that all of that is being done on a remote basis using the technology like we're doing this conference with and that behind the scenes, we know a lot of compute power is being put in data analysis and modeling for machine learning patterns and so on and so forth. So as more of that piles on, you know, what does it turn into?

Hans Bukow: We know that there's a chronic shortage, you know, so the macro economics suggests that, you know, this might be the beginning more resignations inflation, where everyone's going to be going up, looking for, you know, 40% increases just by switching jobs, which means it's very hectic. The velocity is up.

Hans Bukow: So, so, so besides everything, just getting harder you know, what are your insights into watch out for this or prioritize this way and look for this. I don't know who wants to kick it off, but I think our audience would love to get a little bit of a crystal ball effect here. 

Steve Levy: Well, let me give a quotable.

Steve Levy: Everyone on the panel has heard it. There's a saying, if it's written in Python, it's machine learning. If it's written in AI. It's in a PowerPoint. There, there is an inordinate amount of technology out there that is being marketed as artificial intelligence. And you know, for any of you who are demoing an AI platform it's income.

Steve Levy: I believe it's vitally incumbent upon you to ask whoever is demoing it, to show me the AI, where did it come from? In most cases they're more, it's more rule-based from machine learning and algorithms that were called from, you know, experts. 

Hans Bukow: If you will inherit biases. You know, they are necessarily viewed as a positive thing either right? 

Steve Levy: But I think, you know, in terms of, you mentioned shortages and I had in an unfortunate phrase, a war for talent I'm not a big fan of military metaphors when it comes to recruiting, but I think what we're seeing and a previous, someone who I previously worked for you, look, we're looking at we looked at talent shortages and we realized they're just not out there.

Steve Levy: You take people who are in banking. Who support mainframe ACH transactions with Coldwell based systems. Well, you know, the number of people with Coldwell skills or. You know, dying faster than I can think of, but a funny metaphor. And so what savvy companies are doing is they're going into their communities and using technology to help teach people about technology.

Steve Levy: And so I can see, you know, know, the, know, Denver you know, Jamie, Adam, know, your companies you know, partnering with some of these learning and development firms to use to develop technology development platforms, to grow your own, have your own organic garden filled with, you know, lushest treats that you can place it.

Steve Levy: At companies I, if I'm in the staffing industry, I'm going to look at those types of partnerships and use technology to address the shortage by bite and frat. In fact, you know, going into underserved communities, going into, you know, people who you know, come out of jail, going to people with disabilities, neuro-diversity across the, anything, and build your own.

Steve Levy: And then, you know, using technology is going to have to be required to train the people, to place the people, to manage the people. That is I think one of the next big things.

Hans Bukow: Which have you guys seen, I mean, obviously there's dependencies on platforms with, let's say technological platforms and the companies are getting bigger.

Hans Bukow: They're putting more resources, you're kind of connecting dots there. They're creating a partnership ecosystem of other apps. Do you see that spilling over into, you know, recruitment or staffing companies that are dependent like a Bullhorn or something else that has a bunch of partners and they're interconnected, and then all of a sudden you get some efficiencies, you know, automating different parts is coming part of a platform.

Hans Bukow: How much are you guys sort of reflecting on belonging to ecosystems and the automation that is sitting between those parts and then ecosystem is that a particular trend or a way of viewing you know, an efficient way of managing, you know, we, we have all these recruiters that I'm sorry, all these experts, interviewers that are part of our system recruiters as well.

Hans Bukow: And obviously we try to create an ecosystem to kind of make it so that people appreciate how to engage with each other and make those resources available on a marketplace. So do you think these ecosystems marketplaces of technologies and the way they interconnect, know, with some inherent built in automation and capability and important strategy, you know, as a way to stay on top of the better technologies and the enhancements are being made as it as, as it's applied to your needs just thoughts on your platforms or ecosystems as a way to kind of bring more coordinated tech into the into the recruitment world.

Denver Brown: Yeah, I'll go, I'm a couple things that come up for me just as we kind of look forward to it, that we're likely going to see more cause we've, there are platforms out there that exist today that can theoretically automate a pretty good portion of the recruiting cycle. And so I think we're going to see that more in the marketplace.

Denver Brown: But I think at the same time, I think what we've got to layer into those models. Is that, you know, if a candidate chooses, right. So one thing is we've got to create the different channels, right? To allow the candidates to connect with us you know, sort of however they want. But what we've got to do is layer in the ability for those candidates.

Denver Brown: Should they start down one particular channel to, to reach out and start to connect with us on a person to person level, you know, as soon as they want to. So that's one. And then the second is you know, we were really expecting more adoption of AI in the recruiting space. And I think one opportunity that that's going to create is to address and increase diversity.

Denver Brown: And reduce inequities, right? If you think about AI, you know, all of us have these unconscious biases. And so when you think about AI, obviously that's not built into the, and that's not a part of an algorithm, so that could really help us move the needle from a diversity standpoint candidate representation etc.

Denver Brown: So those are just a couple of things as we look forward, I thought I would call out.

Hans Bukow: We're going to try to capture as many of these questions. We can figure out a way to get back to you. So some of these require us to think as well, a little about how to best respond. So if we don't get to these questions by all means, we'll keep trying.

Hans Bukow: Even if we run out of time, Sorry. 

Jamie Herbert: No, I was just going to say I like your word Hans, ecosystem? I think for some of us, we have to redefine to both Steve and Denver's point our definition of what an ecosystem is. So one of the things that has become clear to me over the last five years, I think about, I mean, if you want to take good supply chain principles down to like 12, 13 year olds.

Jamie Herbert: And I think about places where the digital divide still exists and we have underutilized sources of talent. So is there a place for technology in terms of making those connections? Absolutely. I go to a higher level though. So, tools, technology have a place in the portfolio as do capabilities. So at the end of the day, it's still an individual and owner of a staffing firm or an owner of a company or recruiter who's responsible for generating the result at the end of the day.

Jamie Herbert: So I've got to have the right tools so I can be productive. I can just, as we talked about with target marketing, I've got to be able to continue to build relationships and influence others. I've got to be able to mine data. There's a lot of different hats that we're asking folks to wear. The more that tools can help to make those connections the better off we're all going to be.

Jamie Herbert: But I love your word about the ecosystem, that there are places that we're all tapping into and places in the ecosystem that we're just starting to make eye contact with. 

Hans Bukow: Yeah. And there's a lot of you know, automation and technology that goes in making certain products work better with other products. And then as these marketplaces and app stores and ecosystems and partner portals, all these words for how to engage people that add value to that core and vice versa, you know, I might be a technology that's on someone's else's platform.

Hans Bukow: And maybe get large enough to have some people want to add their value to our platform. And these things will start to solidify more of a network ability, you know, between all the technologies, you know, and like the collaborative environment where we all work with simply to communicate, you can imagine the the bots, all working with the bots you know, with intermingled people, you complimenting them and sort of directing them and understanding how to use the information and the work that's being gathered.

Hans Bukow: And obviously it can just keep going. 

Jamie Herbert: Well, in my earlier point, Hans around looking at all four of those dimensions, including cultural fit and manager fit, there's this thing called EQ that somehow we need to do a better job of getting our arms around in this space as well.

Jamie Herbert: Right? 

Hans Bukow: Oh, absolutely. I think you know, we started with that division of where there's a bus stop and the person thinks. And the people that are going to get that understanding better are going to ultimately do better, especially in the world that we live in recruiting and staffing.

Hans Bukow: Anything that you guys, you know, we're short here about five minutes.

Hans Bukow: And like I said, I think we'll answer some of these questions. Take them a little bit further if there's anything that sticks out right away that we want to address. Otherwise, probably some closing notes. Why don't we do that? You know, how long should a recruitment relationship be? Last is a, is one here that Darren is, you know, understood of burnout and you know, we know recruiters also move on just like your banker does just like a grocery favorite checkout person does a sandwich place person, you know, people move on and things change. So the question is you know, how does this technology get married to recruiters? You know, any comments on change and how quickly, I mean, obviously things are moving faster. But if you don't stick with something long enough, then you know, it takes a little longer to recapitalize an investment up front to learn the platform.

Hans Bukow: And any thoughts and more about technology versus, you know, people in terms of longevity, Adam, why don't you give it a shot? 

Adam Lombardi: I mean, I always, you know, from my seat, you know, those relationships are 13 plus years deep at this point. Right. You know, you try to keep, allow those to maintain, you know, I think with some of the technology in terms of how we're capturing information in terms of how we're leveraging that data.

Adam Lombardi: To assess throughout the process as people maybe move on and leave, it should allow you to be able to bridge the gap within the organization that maybe that recruiter worked with previously, because we have a better understanding about who these candidates potentially are, right? Where, you know, we're hopefully not having those folks go into the black hole.

Adam Lombardi: We can allow some automation to provide some connectivity into other other recruiters that would be able to allow those relationships to continue and the support and the relationship building with, for those candidates and individuals would be able to continue. 

Hans Bukow: Sounds like you said, as long as it needs to or make sense. Well, it's a big topic. Obviously we want to tackle a big topic here. Technology is on everybody's mind expedited by the pandemic and the fact that I think most of us are knowledge workers. Online are engaging predominantly more so the way we are right here right now, and with these tools, sending information, making phone calls, but it is a lot about engaging around information and you know, and finding how it fits best in a world where eventually it needs to be confident, you know, trustworthy, engaging quickly is going to be a challenge that is again just fueled by the technology that's come out, you know, especially during these pandemic times.

Hans Bukow: And that's what we wanted to try to tackle today. You know, find a balancing act. We gave her a few examples with bots, especially in the matchmaking, in the commitment phase. And hopefully we accomplished a little bit of that today. Any final words from anyone compelling, anything that you guys want to sort of get out on this before we close shop here?

Steve Levy: My, excuse me, you know, my, my advice is always try to demo every piece of software that you have time to demo and keep in mind your workflows, the people you serve, the people you engage and, you know, make a logical determination. Is it going to help you be, you know, become 1% more efficient or is it not?

Steve Levy: And if it's something that helps you become more efficient and allows you to serve your customers and your clients and you know, your community better try it. You can always say no.

Hans Bukow: How would people vote? Are there communities out there? Willing to try more stuff than they used to before. Are they finding that they need to, do you think in general, most people are saying, yeah, what the hell, let's give this a shot? You know, we got to do something, right. It is generally still almost commensurate with the pandemic, forcing everybody to go remote work and use this technology.

Hans Bukow: Do you think people I've learned the lesson in some respects that maybe they should be a little bit more outgoing, a little bit more change oriented? You know, this industry tends to just want to listen to the clients, which they should, of course but not sometimes go beyond that, you know, or bring the client's ideas.

Hans Bukow: So is this really expedited that that innovative gene that's in our industry and recruiters or not so much, or a little bit or a lot more, I'm just curious to find out how much technology has actually changed. Things were changing beyond needing to change. 

Steve Levy: My dad's nine, my dad's 98 years old.

Steve Levy: And I taught him how to do research. And he has our family tree back to the 16 hundreds, or so there must be some 15,000 entries and it works for him and it's allowed him to, you know, become more, you know, self-supporting more know vibrant as he's gotten older and there are other things like, Steve, can you come over and help me with this phone?

Steve Levy: I don't know how to use it. So it really depends. You pick and choose the technology that works for you. 

Jamie Herbert: And it's not always so Heinz to, to me. And I've worked in other industries. It's no different than any other industry. You don't have a choice or you're dying. Right? Some of us remember the name blockbuster video, right?

Jamie Herbert: I mean, there's a whole. So you've got to push and we've got an accountability again, back to the majority of my time being on the consumer side of the staffing industry, as a differentiator, we've got an accountability to push our clients to think differently that are to be part of the value prop.

Jamie Herbert: Yup. Yup. 

Hans Bukow: Exactly. Well guys, thank you very much. Appreciate it. And I have a feeling that we might get cut off already anyway, but that's for us. Thanks for joining me. Appreciate it. Look forward to talking to you all again, and for opening up the thought process around what's possible and look forward to sending you around.

Hans Bukow: Thanks for hosting. Bye.


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Hans Bukow

Steve Levy

Jamie Herbert

Adam Lombardi

Denver Brown




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