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Hosts Stacey Harris and John Sumser discuss important news and topics in recruiting and HR technology. Listen live every Thursday or catch up on full episodes with transcriptions here.

HR Tech Weekly

Episode: 236
Air Date: September 26, 2019


Join John Sumser at this year’s HRTech conference



Important: Our transcripts at HRExaminer are AI-powered (and fairly accurate) but there are still instances where the robots get confused (or extremely confused) and make errors. Please expect some inaccuracies as you read through the text of this conversation and let us know if you find something wrong and we’ll get it fixed right away. Thank you for your understanding.

John Sumser
Stacey Harris


[00:00:15] John Sumser Good morning, and welcome to HR Tech Weekly One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. Hi Stacey back from Hawaii?
[00:00:22] Stacey Harris: [00:00:22] I am good morning, John. Yes, I am back in North Carolina. But in the week preparing now after my very short, but very nice trip to see my son in Hawaii. I am preparing for our big HR technology conference event next week both you and I have lunch is of our two big report next week.
[00:00:39] That’s what I’ve been doing all week. And you’ve been home as well. Right? You’re not traveling this week. You’re doing the same thing but in the polishing touches on your efforts, right?
[00:00:46] John Sumser: [00:00:46] Yeah. Yeah, something like that or or sweating out the deadlines. Are we closer
[00:00:53] Stacey Harris: [00:00:53] to the answer?
[00:00:58] John Sumser: [00:00:58] But it doesn’t capture the bloodshot eyes part of it.
[00:01:02] Stacey Harris: [00:01:02] So it’s 2 a.m. In the morning trying to figure out you know, which typos. Are you going to focus on versus not? Yeah.
[00:01:11] John Sumser: [00:01:11] Yeah, but my report is is it’s in production. I saw a draft a draft finish copy of it the other day. I should see the whole thing maybe tomorrow.
[00:01:23] And I’m doing three different presentations are these architect and looking forward to seeing lots of Old Friends? Could be a
[00:01:30] Stacey Harris: [00:01:30] busy week three presentations on next week John just as
[00:01:34] John Sumser: [00:01:34] well. So it’s cool. It’s actually very cool. The first one is an orientation to the coverage and and I do this every year.
[00:01:42] It’s what is HR Tech. What are we doing here? And there are this year there are a hundred and forty five different sections that you could go to. And if you look at the calendar very closely. There are six open hours of session time. So you can see, you know, five six seven percent of the sessions that are there and you have to choose and there are I think 475 vendors of the vendor for including 72 in the startup Pavilion.
[00:02:16] And guess what? You can’t talk to them. All right. So the orientation is about helping people deal with the volume of opportunity and make rational strategic choices about what to do and along the way there’s a teeny bit of talk about Ai and the current trends in side of the industry so that you get a sense of what you’re seeing out of the show for so it’s that’s the first one the second one is.
[00:02:44] An intro to AI which is where we talk about what we learned in this year’s study and report. So Basics basics of a RI and then what’s it really look like today? And then the last one I love doing this one. It’s a showcase and we pick for vendors who represent the extremes of what’s possible with with AI and they are so if you imagine there’s a there’s a matrix and.
[00:03:13] Matrix the vertical axis is focus. So it goes from sweets to point Solutions and the horizontal axis is data and it goes from monitoring the manager and we have somebody at each one of the corners of that of that thing. So at the top we’ve got Ultimate Software where they’re sweet and they’re AI everywhere tool.
[00:03:36] At the monitoring and we’ve got teen Corp, which is a trouble spot mapping tool for looking at communications and getting problems before they turn into problems at the bottom. We’ve got Shaker International and their virtual job tryouts and Big Data project and at the far end we’ve got troop Talent, which is a data management operation that also does some tricks.
[00:04:03] And so those are the extremes of what’s possible and the session has each one of those companies doing a very short demo followed by some Hardball questions for me and then and then as a group we’re going to take on the topic for the last 10 minutes of the hour, so. That’s
[00:04:21] Stacey Harris: [00:04:21] a conversation. Yeah, no.
[00:04:23] No that will be a full week of talking about what’s happening in the industry as a whole. So very exciting. So people should definitely sign up for it. If they haven’t already in the various sessions like and then on top of it, I think you said you have 20 second review right? Demos. I know I’ve got I think II had counted yet.
[00:04:40] But after you start telling me how many you had I think I’m in a range of. 25 or 27 right now. I have to actually go back and get the number but we’re at similar numbers as far as the number of demos mine. I try and keep to half an hour. It’s kind of like speed dating stating on HR technology vendor space for for most of us.
[00:05:01] John Sumser: [00:05:01] I had to say no a lot more this year than I’ve had to in the past and and so is so there are a bunch of companies that I’m going to talk to after the conference and that’s that’s largely because getting to know somebody for the first time in that setting is challenging for me. I think I think you might you might feel the same about it.
[00:05:22] And so HR Tech really extends into October November with the follow on conversations that you can’t get to. Because there’s only so much really
[00:05:32] Stacey Harris: [00:05:32] go around last year because I spread out a lot of my demos and a lot of them. We want to get in front of doing the the survey remapping work that we do every year when we were when we serve rethinking any questions we want to change.
[00:05:43] So I usually end up last year’s having additional briefings that came out of sort of not getting them into HR check all the way into March of last year. I’ll probably do the same thing again this year. It’s it I think to your point. It’s really hard to know though. No, you’re seeing so many faces.
[00:05:58] And so many people at these events that if you meet them for the first time at this event, it’s hard to remember what they’re talking about and the topics where there were this now we tend to find that it spends a little bit more time value If you’re sort of talking to someone who you already know.
[00:06:13] Getting a better sense of where they’re at. And then getting a little bit more time on a virtual demo usually about an hour instead of the half hour that we only give everyone at HR tax. Oh, yeah. It is a whirlwind. There is no doubt about it. So what we’ll be doing our special no post HR technology conference radio show that Friday instead of our regular Thursday next week.
[00:06:32] So everyone should sort of prepare and listen if you want an update on what’s happening at HR. Check Joe and I will do it. I think it’s Friday morning I same time but will be on the floor next week, right?
[00:06:41] John Sumser: [00:06:41] That’s right. Yeah, I have it at nine. It’s an hour later.
[00:06:45] Stacey Harris: [00:06:45] All right. Okay. There you go night and morning Friday the for listening you’ll hear about all the exciting things that have happened at the HR technology conference.
[00:06:53] If you were not able to attend and all the updates that will share with you. It’s also been a busy week for just the technology front this week John and some of it better than others. I always like to look at the in the various announcements. Every year new products that are being officially unveiled at a tear Tech this year.
[00:07:11] It looks like it should be about 80 new products will probably will talk a little bit about some of those next week. But we also have some Investments that came out this week some pretty big Investments. We I don’t know if we’ll spend a little time talking about each of them but Checker fuels platform got a hundred and sixty million dollar investment from tiro price this week I have wow, that’s that’s when you make your Investments we’ve taken this year.
[00:07:33] They are a background checking service platform tool technology. Depending on what you want to call it and talk a little bit about they’re planning to do with that CD PQ invest fifty three million in not sure if I’m saying this correct New View new boot and euv. Oh, oh, they are job site out of the Canadian market and that’s a pretty big chunk of change for a job site at this point, but it’s still we’re still seeing Investments there.
[00:07:54] And then in the Latin American Market ravello, raise 15 million series B to help companies source and screen again knowledge workers to another sort of job board type of organization, but focused in the state of. South America Latin America market, so lots of investment still happening this week.
[00:08:11] But we also I think have a couple of topics that probably are of a bigger interest into the bigger HR technology conversation Microsoft starting a new data dignity team to help control their personal data. This is being headed up by the ctOS office Chief technology. And this really, you know is interesting part of I think their data privacy, but it’s also part of their sort of Ethics conversation.
[00:08:35] But day to dignity. This is the first time I’ve heard that particular term use I’d be interested in your thoughts on whether that just another name for the same thing or not. We’re also seeing that Google won a fight did week to restrict the right to be forgotten ruling to the EU search engines only.
[00:08:50] I’m not exactly sure what that means. There’s some details in here that have deal with sort of where various things begin and end is. As the European market, but that was the first time we’re seeing lots of GDP are lawsuits and conversations taking place against Google. This is one of the first wins they’ve had in that base.
[00:09:07] That’s probably worth it mentioning. At the same time Google continuing to struggle had a contractor a group of of Technology contractors in Pittsburgh boat to unionize and we’ve seen you in ization of the other Tech basis, but this one I thought was sort of interesting because it was contract workers in a Google environment.
[00:09:24] So probably at worth a conversation talk about, you know, are we starting to see this group up in the technology space or is this just a matter of. Sort of where the location was at and the type of organization they’re dealing with and if we have a little bit of time there was a huge story this week in Fast Company that I thought was quite interesting first time.
[00:09:40] I’d seen an organization sort of do a big write-up on the peo professional employer organization. Noting that it’s one of the fastest-growing business models in the market and we’ve only talked a lot about that area much and so it’s worth having a mention because they do a lot of not only sort of just hiring and all of the details for very small.
[00:10:00] For their HR environment. Also a lot of the technology decisions is very small companies to so lots of very interesting stuff going on even though we’re heading into probably the busiest HR Tech week of the year next week. So what do you think Jenny of these topics of.
[00:10:12] John Sumser: [00:10:12] Oh the hell are they all are I think that a hundred and sixty million dollars of investment going into Checker.
[00:10:22] This is a background checking company. It’s just cleaning company and
[00:10:28] Stacey Harris: [00:10:28] you’re not speechless on this one, right,
[00:10:33] John Sumser: [00:10:33] you know. It’d be really interesting to understand what they’re doing with that kind of money and it’s legitimate and it’s legitimate investors and they’ve already raised a hundred fifty million dollar shows three hundred million dollars. Into a background checking company. This is not the same as background checking in the past and I don’t know anything at all about chapter, but I’m just sort of gobsmacked by the idea of that a background checking company would be worth a couple of billion dollars, which is what the investment means.
[00:11:11] And they claim to be reducing bias in the hiring process. Oh, oh here’s this is a good one. They continue they will continuously monitor you after you’ve been hired to make sure that you’re still a good woman while you’re on the job. That’s interesting. Well,
[00:11:29] Stacey Harris: [00:11:29] this it too and so one of the things you’ll notice is that they check or talk to you about estimating 68 million contingent workers in the us alone.
[00:11:36] They do a lot of work in contingent workforces and my bet is that some of this investment is coming out of the gig economy conversations Ubers the lift the grub hubs all that kind of stuff because they’re getting hit right now for not keeping up on maintaining background check on people who are driving people around or managing to bring food to your house.
[00:11:58] Whatever it might be right. Don’t know for sure, but I’m but I’m wondering if that’s part of it the other thing that they noted in here as part of their where they’re planning on investing. This is to improve what they’re saying accuracy and fairness while creating their new product which again I think goes back to the bias comment.
[00:12:13] They made here and developing new international capability is that align with expansion plans of their customers operating globally again, I think that it goes to two. Gig worker model that excessive bending around the world in multiple areas. I’m interested in wondering how this kind of continuous background checking fits in with the what we just talked about with Google was gdpr and the European Union’s requirements about data privacy and owning your own data.
[00:12:39] Does that mean you own your own data from the background check or as well, right? I
[00:12:44] John Sumser: [00:12:44] think it should I think that must be part of the thing this merits some phone calls. I’m just so surprised by this.
[00:12:57] Stacey Harris: [00:12:57] Well, I think we’ll probably be hearing more about it. Maybe it’s worth a stop by the booth of Checker at HR Tech. This week’s opportunity to dig in a little bit and just see what they’re planning on spending their hundred sixty million on top of the other hundred fifty million. They’ve already received and the next few weeks.
[00:13:14] Yep. Are you surprised that we’re continuing to see investment in job boards being both the CDP q and the investment in Nevada or Nevada? Oh, I’m not sure if I’m saying that correctly and ravello. To be sourcing and job or is this just going to continue to be a place where we’ll see you Investments That Again probably the same standard.
[00:13:31] Thank you. See another
[00:13:32] John Sumser: [00:13:32] one like the idea that the job board is dead. And another vital part of business is silliness, right? If you walk into the heart of my little town I live in an agricultural town of 10,000 people and. In the heart of town, there are cork bulletin boards tucked in grocery stores and in the entryway to restaurants and stuff like that where the locals go and this cork bulletin boards are full of 3×5 index cards that have people looking for work and people looking for people to do work.
[00:14:09] That’s the original job board and there have been job boards like that in town for as long as there have been people in town. And the thing is that there’s no company who’s good enough, you know, if the if the local Japanese Fashion Boutique wants to hire to sales people. You’re not going to know who they are.
[00:14:33] You know what you’re not going to know they’re so they need some central place to go. And that’s the function of job boards. And Google is interesting because it accumulates all these jobs in indeed is interesting because they accumulate all these jobs but they’ve got this overwhelming factor that inhibits their utility, right?
[00:14:53] Yeah. It’s like there’s a volume jobs you can have in your database and after that volume of jobs, it gets harder and harder for somebody who’s looking for work to use. Yeah,
[00:15:04] Stacey Harris: [00:15:04] and this is a space where Niche players and Niche players in particular regions or Industries or type of work is actually be a better way to look for something right then massive open-ended sort of job board that has everything and everybody in it.
[00:15:18] Right? I
[00:15:19] John Sumser: [00:15:19] think that the global economy can probably sustained 75,000 job boards because of exactly that job boards are. Dr. Hart the intersection of region industry and size of business or something like that. And so there are 75,000 niches like that around the fire.
[00:15:42] Stacey Harris: [00:15:42] And there’s always going to be a neat is if I get to the bigger database that I’ll have a broader View and that might make sense for someone who’s interested in traveling across the country are changing Industries or changing jobs.
[00:15:52] And but I think you know if that gets back to what the job Seekers looking for not so much to some extent. I think every company would love to have a single job or that they would sit supposed to but that’s not the way the world works and it’s the job Seekers that you’re really trying to find in this particular Arena.
[00:16:07] That’s your wealth of information basically.
[00:16:10] John Sumser: [00:16:10] Yep. So investments in job boards investments in background checking and screening in Latin America is the next one same topic
[00:16:21] Stacey Harris: [00:16:21] 50 million series B same thing Regional job mark. Probably the bigger conversation this week if we can get into it. Is this interesting component that I read from Microsoft about the new data dignity team that could help users control their personal data.
[00:16:38] So Microsoft has supposedly Staffing up a perspex of had no comment on this article. So and this is the only place I ever heard of it is one or more long time zone Source multiple contents and topics and conversations, you know and figure out the best points on each of them this one I had heard anybody anyplace else, but I had it was well worth having a conversation about the did you team is hoesley and.
[00:16:56] Tio’s office and it could help users control their own personal data ultimately to the point of buying and selling it now Microsoft is laughing this team up team is researching ways to give users more control of their personal data and they’re thinking about it as how they might enable them to buy and sell it to a third party entities.
[00:17:14] So this is a whole new concept and we knew have talked about the value of personal data, right the importance of that and how HR organizations eventually could get to a point where they could on some level possibly. Take access of their employee data and sell it at an aggregate level obviously not an individual level.
[00:17:31] Nobody that I know of is doing that at this point, but I think that’s sort of what Microsoft is coming up with here at some level or at least starting to talk about a tan. It consumer level and probably an enterprise-level. What do you think about
[00:17:42] John Sumser: [00:17:42] this? This is a very clever long way to avoid saying blockchain.
[00:17:51] Right. There’s there are so many little projects and some of them include work with people. I really enjoy trying to figure out how to get people’s credentials into a single database, right? And so so right underneath this day to dignity thing. Is data accuracy, right? So this is actually frosting on the cake of a hundred and sixty million dollars going into a background
[00:18:18] Stacey Harris: [00:18:18] checking account.
[00:18:19] It is an accident.
[00:18:21] John Sumser: [00:18:21] Right, that’s what this is. And so the question is can they do it right? I’d be tempted to say remember last week. We talked about the high Q lawsuit that LinkedIn lost at the Appellate level. I think they’ll take it to the Supreme Court, but this is like Plan B for LinkedIn.
[00:18:40] Right. Remember LinkedIn, it’s all about Jaron Lanier. Who is this? Amazing Visionary dreadlocks 60 year old who thinks all sorts of crazy stuff, but it’s his play to have control over LinkedIn because LinkedIn would obviously form the foundation. And so what Microsoft is doing here is they’re saying oh after all of these years of selling people’s data on LinkedIn, maybe we’re going to give him a slice of the money.
[00:19:09] Stacey Harris: [00:19:09] Or maybe it will be a way for us to actually control the data scraping by giving them act as and now actually making this a so so, you know, it’s funny when I think about oil and gas or any kind of product where you know, you used to make money off the product itself and then all of a sudden what really started making you money was giving people the tool to get the product themselves and use it themselves, right and my sense of this.
[00:19:33] Is that Microsoft going down the road of well then. We are going to get to a situation where every individual is going to understand the value of their own data. So we can’t keep just using their data for free because they’re going to stop giving it to us for free. But what we can do is create the tool that they can use to decide who they want to give their data to and charge them for that value the ability to be able.
[00:19:55] Do that in a single platform. That’s my sense of this and you’re right blockchain if they specifically have that they’re calling the private testing as of January. There’s the new personal Data Bank which puts users in control of all the data collected about them. So this isn’t about having access to free – about having access to the to the banking location for it, right?
[00:20:11] John Sumser: [00:20:11] Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, and I think it’s delightfully arrogant for Microsoft to say that they can control all of the data that users. Give me. Isn’t that marvelous? Like okay, we’re going to go back to the 90s when all there was was Microsoft and you had to go through us to get things done. And we’re going to come up with a new way for you to have to go to ask if think
[00:20:34] Stacey Harris: [00:20:34] that
[00:20:35] John Sumser: [00:20:35] yeah.
[00:20:35] Yeah. I remember back in the day with Microsoft was a big deal.
[00:20:41] Stacey Harris: [00:20:41] When our next floor was the only browser you can
[00:20:44] John Sumser: [00:20:44] see these are the Pharisees of an old company. You know, there’s there’s there’s a problem here. But my sense is it’s going to solve very differently. Have you seen that you you have an iPhone?
[00:20:56] Yeah,
[00:20:57] Stacey Harris: [00:20:57] I do. Yeah, that is that is my there’s a
[00:21:00] John Sumser: [00:21:00] switch in the new iPhone operating system that allows you to send every phone call that you don’t recognize the color the voice mail. So if they’re not in your contacts, you just click this one switch and it all goes to voicemail. They are blocked from ringing your phone.
[00:21:18] That kind of yeah. Yeah, it’s cool little dangerous because it means you can’t talk to anybody who’s not in your bubble. But but that’s the beginning of control the beginning of control is saying no, Right. And so the funny thing about this idea of day to take that is it doesn’t begin with saying no because we’re saying yes to Microsoft and the truth is if you want to control your personal information, it starts to saying now and apple is enabling that Google has enabled a little of that in their voice product, but I think saying no will be the next thing.
[00:21:56] And the sing after that might be discretion in saying yes, but it’s not a we go from saying yes all the time to saying yes, but you got to talk to my broker Microsoft first
[00:22:06] Stacey Harris: [00:22:06] and that’s the broker comes up is probably the better analogy for it. It definitely feels like that’s the direction that Microsoft is trying to go and I would agree.
[00:22:15] I think that the first step has to be getting control of your data would you think goes to may be the last conversation today? Which is this European Union when I guess you call that for GU? Google winning the fight to restrict the right to be forgotten ruling in the EU search engine. I was trying to make sure that I sort of understood this but the ruling I guess is based off of actually some rulings that were done back in 2014 about how people can be delisted on web pages and companies that goes back to things that go boom, you know, sir before they gdpr law was with into place but the idea here it looks like is that Google and Europe has the ability to basically not abide by the.
[00:22:58] To be forgotten role when it’s outside of the EU search engines. So this to me sounds like it’s the start of regional privacy standard and Regional technology, maybe even right to be required to hold up to the GDP. Our laws. Am I reading that correct? Or is that incorrect? I
[00:23:15] John Sumser: [00:23:15] don’t know the where the way I read.
[00:23:16] This one is the French overreached and said. Under French law if somebody in France as to be forgotten, you have to forget them in all countries of the world and Google should know we have to forget them in France. We don’t have to forget the you you’re not the boss of me everywhere else. And so it’s a win for Google but it’s not a big win for Google because it doesn’t say you don’t have to forget them in France.
[00:23:49] It says the Google Google is on the side of the devil’s here because they’re saying if you want control of your personal data and your French you need to be able to understand where else in Google’s bunch of stuff. You are registered because. They have weasel their way into having country specific search engines that are not governable by a specific countries law.
[00:24:14] Yeah, isn’t
[00:24:16] Stacey Harris: [00:24:16] that exactly is this about where the servers are located which I don’t think is the answer there. But it but it seems to be there is a bit about where the data is located or is this about the software being used and where that software is originating from? Right? So there’s two places where you can house data and where it can be streamed from and through right and I don’t know that I have an answer on that based off of reading this.
[00:24:38] It seems very very hard to undo because a browser is a browser is a browser. Observe if you’re using it, but I guess there are Regional locations where the data is kept, correct? Well,
[00:24:48] John Sumser: [00:24:48] I think there are sort of regional access point. So when we go to Singapore and Google stuff in Singapore it Google’s local stuff and Singapore.
[00:24:57] Yeah, right and the domain I don’t know where the server is but the domain is constrained to Singapore. And so what they’re saying is if there’s something you want removed from Google and your French and you can you can send a note to Google doc French people that France. We’ll take care of it. But that doesn’t do you any good
[00:25:20] Stacey Harris: [00:25:20] if you
[00:25:22] John Sumser: [00:25:22] Googled out Singapore,
[00:25:25] Stacey Harris: [00:25:25] that’s right,
[00:25:26] John Sumser: [00:25:26] right.
[00:25:27] So what Google has done here is made it impossible for people to keep their data private. So this is the opposite of what Microsoft is trying to do and both of them are probably the efforts of older companies to try to deal with something that’s not, you know, be what they.
[00:25:44] Stacey Harris: [00:25:44] Yeah, the the new generation of data ownership will be the conversation.
[00:25:50] I think that everybody will be talking about and every time he’s got to figure out how to deal with that. But I guess we’ll be getting more of that. It’ll be interesting to see how the company is that HR check are handling these conversations this week. And yeah, well we’ll get a chance to hopefully meet some people who listen to the show are on the lower neck me.
[00:26:04] And if anybody has any comments or questions about the radio show or anything that we talked about. Stop us as we’re running through the halls of the HR technology conference. We’re happy to have a chance. So it’s been a good week John and looking forward to seeing you in person next
[00:26:17] John Sumser: [00:26:17] week. Yeah, I’ll wave to you as we fly by
[00:26:20] Stacey Harris: [00:26:20] next week.
[00:26:23] John Sumser: [00:26:23] Okay, so thanks for tuning in and thanks for doing this Stacey. It’s always a treat, another great conversation. You’ve been listening to HR Tech Weekly One Step Closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser. We’ll see you back here next week. Bye. Bye now,
[00:26:52] Stacey Harris: [00:26:52] Thank you. Bye.

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