HR Tech Weekly Logo

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: 253
Air Date: February 13, 2020





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


John Sumser 0:14
Good morning and welcome to HR Tech Weekly one step closer with Stacey Harris and John Sumser and Stacey, you’re in my neighborhood. 

Stacey Harris 0:22
I am in your neighborhood I’m here in the Bay Area I was at the SmartRecruiter conference and visiting a client here in this area so I am enjoying your balmy mid spring, I guess, weather here in this area. So, thank you for no rain it is nice to get away from the rain and it’s not quite as cold as home right now. So I appreciate it. And how about you, your home right now too as well John?

John Sumser 0:43
I am home right now too. Tell me about the SmartRecruiter show.

Stacey Harris 0:48
Well, that’s really good. You know, I hadn’t been to SmartRecruiter conference before. I was surprised by how big it was about 1200 people plus some vendor supporters everything there at the conference. First time I had an opportunity and I met your And the team a bit before but it was nice to hear them walk through their strategy for what they’re doing a smart workers I can remember boy, I mean you probably remember to like the early days when I had it was Maxine who was someone we had known from the industry had briefed me on the idea of this smart recruiter organization where they were going to hold together a bunch of different vendors in the recruiting space and basically provide almost the free version of an ATF at that point in time right to connect all of it, they’ve now turned into a full blown full out recruiting and marketing technology for recruiting purposes. And I was impressed because they’ve really improved both the vision of the product which is ensuring that it makes the recruiting process almost seamless, but also provides enough configuration capabilities for doing different regions in different localities. They have 34 languages, tools translated into over 4000 buyers, not all of them are implemented. I’m not sure how many of them followed a paid and non paid by them that but over 200 features were shipped last week. It was a pretty good event. They taught one of The big things they talked about this upcoming is that they’re going to be looking at adding onboarding, which puts them in a lot more of the wheelhouse that we track because we truly track recruiting technologies. But when we look at talent management solutions, you have to have at least two sort of application areas from a particular vendor in the series leader survey, and so that not many organizations are able to get someone to buy two module areas when they’re focused on recruiting that they can get onboarding to grow rapidly, that would put them in a much bigger, broader space. So yeah, good stuff. You have much experience working with the SmartRecruiter teams?

John Sumser 2:29
Well I’ve been in and around SmartRecruiter from the beginning, I remember when they were a scrappy little group of 10 or 12 in a kind of a warehouse, the industrial space of a building that was about to be condemned. Yeah, there was a great startup Jerome is a pretty interesting entrepreneur who’s already had a hit the of God What was the name was like Mr. Ted, a European applicant tracking system that he sold the stepping stone and that ultimately became Blue mouse, which I think I read somewhere that somebody bought the dead carcass of all of that the last couple years, the roof was spunky, the idea that they would go for being a free tool to an enterprise tool. I imagined that still fairly ambitious, it’s one thing to get a bunch of recruiters in Silicon Valley and another thing to get a tool that is good for recruiting anywhere in the world. I think they’re pretty, sort of Silicon Valley centric.

Stacey Harris 3:30
No doubt that the technology buyers are probably some of their biggest groups. They disadvantage you on a 15 year loan goes this year, and there were thousand buyers and over 80% of them are over 1000 employees, which depends on how you look at small, medium and large, but that’s a good number to gauge some of that and they spent a lot of time talking about which I thought was sort of interesting measuring HR and recruiting success, you know, and go to a lot of these recruiting events and they definitely talked about metrics like the the higher and improving the strategic focus of the The recruiting role this a role model book and they had a whole framework they rolled out for measuring the recruiting process, not from the Jess was the recruiting process more efficient. But was it successful, they included a new thing they’re calling a net hiring score, I’m sure you’ve seen things like this that included a 90 day post hiring survey, also percent of jobs filled on time versus just speed to hire or time to hire, which focus it on. Wendy knew that filled and then the percent of the hiring cost that they were calling that the hiring velocity 30 the other one, and then the new percent of hiring costs, they were talking about percent of new hire compensation spent on recruiting those specific employees. So throwing out calculations and metrics again, I don’t spend as much time in the recruiting space, I think, as many others including yourself. So I don’t know how new that is or not, but it was a good conversation to have in that room.

John Sumser 4:46
Well, I’ll tell you the idea of that recruiting quality needs to be measured. That’s great. The idea that what you can find out at 90 days is important may not be so great, but the statistic is that percentage of hiring decisions are understood as regrettable by month 18. And the idea that it’s one of the things that separates recruiting from the rest of HR is recruiters think they’ve done their job in about 90 days, and the organization has to live with the results of their work or as long as the person stays there. 90 days for a while interesting probably doesn’t really tell you the truth about the effectiveness of this hiring team

Stacey Harris 5:27
I think that was a lot of the conversation this week. Right? How do you assess quality? Right, and I’ve heard this in multiple and then you have to start somewhere, I think, is one of the things that we’ve been talking about, even in other metric areas of the HR function, if we don’t measure anything will never mention measure. Like what if you don’t measure, measure something you’ll never met? measure anything, right, that kind of a conversation.

John Sumser 5:50
Well, I hear you, but the other side of that is once you start measuring things, it’s quite difficult to improve the measurement because, you know, so I tell you I’m gonna move me you’re in quality. And here’s the score. And you start working to that. And then they come along six months later and say up. We’ve moved the line. Now, here’s the number, right. But that doesn’t work. And so the idea that you have to start measuring somewhere is how you excuse sloppy work, as far as I’m concerned. Because

Stacey Harris 6:22
I’m not exactly sure about that, because measurement is a bit of art as well in science, right? So I think you have to have to give some sense of understanding where you should figure out where that starting line is, but I get what you’re saying. But I do understand that they have to holding the measurements too close to the vest can cause a lot of problems as people know.

John Sumser 6:39
So let’s, let’s make it a little bit more tangible. So let’s say you’ve got a tool that will tell you whether or not the tires you bought are good. The tires have 100,000 mile warranty on them and you measure the tires at 10,000 miles and you say oh, they’re good. That doesn’t really tell you anything about The average failure rate of the tires around 50,000 miles and it gives you a false sense of security if you’re measuring something precisely or superficially and deciding that everything’s okay because you’ve done that. And so with something as important as the quality of the people that you’re adding to the organization is shallow measure is worth no measure at all. As far as I know, the whole recruiting function is oriented around speed. And you know, the truth about speed is that speed is that you got speed, you got cost and you got quality. And any good project manager, notice you can have two of those three, you can’t have all three. And so when you focus on speed, you’re throwing either cost or quality into the toilet. And so that’s the entire recruiting profession is focused on the wrong metrics and responsible For the quality problem, new organization, and they have a hard time learning that.

Stacey Harris 8:05
I’ll agree with you on that one. But I do think there’s a, you know, your analogy of a tire and then the metrics as to when I think there’s, there are steps along the way where you need to identify when things could be in jeopardy, right and waiting to 18 months to figure out the quality. I don’t think that would actually I mean, it really where that may be where you know, for sure that things are going downhill. There’s a lot of other places where things could be coming to a head. And so I think the quality of higher conversation is is much more of a overtime process versus a single point, right?

John Sumser 8:35
So, you’re agreeing with me then, I like that! Very good for you to be agreeable this morning. Because I said, Yeah, 90 days is not right. And now you’re saying yeah, you haven’t mentioned this over time, which is exactly right.

Stacey Harris 8:49
Which mean you gotta start at 90 days to get your baseline right.

John Sumser 8:54
Well you gotta start measuring over time and see where the right poin to measure is it’s unlikely that 90 days is right. Okay, well enough of that.

Stacey Harris 9:10
Definitely a good week for me to be arguing, right. We’ve been we’ve been in good conversation, but

John Sumser 9:17
Cova gave a view of the roadmap, what was some of the roadmap? You know, I went to the class with the Dahlia several years ago. She’s an amazing player.

Stacey Harris 9:27
Yes, we were talking and I had to put her down because, you know, we see so few. And we do see a lot of females in the HR tech space, right, a lot on the product marketing side, a lot on the, you know, in the services delivery side, not as many as I would like to see in the development side. And I was blown away not only by sort of how she understood her product and the vision, but also how interested she was in sort of making sure that product was connected to a bigger picture around data and the flow of the technology. So it wasn’t a feature. function the conversation that she gave us she gave us sort of how the things were all interconnected which I don’t often get oftentimes we get this feature this feature this feature right so the associated with generally impressive.

John Sumser 10:10
Her boss was…I’m just just looking for this, Rebecca Carr was her boss for many years Rebecca Carr is another powerful women in the industry who often goes unrecognized.

Stacey Harris 10:24
Rebecca was there but I think they’ve also put a new CTO now who Natalia is reporting to and she’s another female I did know her as well. She came from someone else in the industry. So they did announce someone else and I apologize I don’t have her name in front of me. But yeah, I was impressed I will say with with the number of women at senior leadership levels there and that organization which again, you do see more women in this HR tech space than not in some cases, you know, in other technology environments, but usually it’s on other sides, the housing them and development being them and faces were real strategic. Rebecca heart was there as well.

John Sumser 11:00
Cool. So what else we got here a couple of personnel things walk me gets a new CFO because they’re headed towards an IPO. Remember the but we talked about it before the show. So tell me a little bit about WalkMe.

Stacey Harris 11:13
WalkMe is an organization I ran into them four, maybe even more, six years ago now at the time they were small organization that was developing a tool that basically sat on top of all of your applications and provided sort of a pretty quick you know, if I’m struggling now, I need a walkthrough of the environment. It’s basically they call themselves an adoption tool. But if anybody remembers the old on premise implementation days, there was a lot of tools that were being designed to do stimulated work environments to try and give you like a video view of you know, how you would walk through the applications will last me took that I think, to a whole new level, a couple others in the market that are doing this similar thing, that’s great, but I think walk me it’s gotten the most attention because they’ve spent an enormous amount of time focusing not on just the walking through my product and they sit on top of things like workday, in ultimate in the vectors, right. But they also provided sort of a connection to watching sometimes how people were doing and noting it when they were doing something wrong in a certain place. So it really was a more thoughtful approach. I think it did take some monitoring of the work environment, but it did help from a learning perspective for people who were you know, if you go into a system once a year and have to do something that’s business critical, this kind of tools and valuable and that kind of an effort along with notes and communications around where and how things have changed and so they’ve really expanded what they offer and been in connection to a lot of probably more than 50 or 60% of the industry products that are enterprise wide and our environment here now, and they’re getting ready to go out for IPO sounds like and they hired a new CFO Andrew Casey and Andrew is coming from ServiceNow and currently it looks like he’s gonna be joining walk me in March but he’s currently the service now sales and service had and so sounds like they were getting ready to expand and do a lot more in the space and bringing industry experts in to do it. So yeah, OK.

John Sumser 13:08
Okay. And then Visier picked up a hot shot Sales officer, is Visier, putting pedal to the metal and trying to do new things.

Stacey Harris 13:16
I think they are they’ve got a new analyst relations person that just reached out to us. Really nice professional who’s been in the market and other spaces. So I think they’re starting to try and figure out how they move from the mall tool technology that’s primarily focused on just the biggest enterprises and analytics. I mean, staff is one of the that which is where they get the chief sales officer from is one of the most well known analytics tools in the research space that you can find from a company that’s actually out in the area where I’m at in the Raleigh Durham. So yeah, I think this is showing that they’re ready to take a step maybe into being more than just a tool for just the top 100 organizations that they’re trying to make come a much bigger, maybe more mid market solution over time.

John Sumser 14:00
I wonder if this suggests that they’re looking to be something more than people analytics, because you know, our marketplace is really unique. And what it takes to be good at sales in HR tech is not the same as what it takes to be good at sales and other technical industries. And so the idea that somebody who’s good at sales for analytics in general might be good at sales in HR analytics. I think that’s pretty hypothetical. I’ve seen a lot of failure when people try to bring a hard shot to go outside just because the learning curve is so steep and the demographics of the buyer are so different. So it sounds like when you replace the sales officer replace the sales officer because there’s some sort of hiccup in the sales process. And you want to try to go in a new direction. So it sounds like something Something big is changing at Visier.

Stacey Harris 14:50
They have a quote here, you know, as we scale into mainstream of analytics market, we look forward to benefiting from next leadership place there might be an end Green, what you’re talking about that maybe they’re looking to build beyond the HR space, and this would be definitely a good I mean, at that point, you’re going to need a different type of expertise.

John Sumser 15:09
Well, you know, now a people analytics tool that users people analytics as the foundation for understanding other more conventional aspects of the organization like operations or finance, that’s actually kind of an awesome idea. So if you’re listening Visier, I’d love to hear about that.

Stacey Harris 15:27
I think that’s worth a conversation definitely to see if they’re going to be expanding into other areas.

John Sumser 15:32
Yeah. And then to really it is going to hire 2000 Canadians in the next year. I think it’s time to move to Canada. I’ve been thinking that anyhow.

Stacey Harris 15:43
I had a conversation at dinner last night, but a similar thread to get an influx of HR technology professionals. 2000 positions in Canada, that’s a lot so isn’t it and one within the next Yours consider giving themselves some time it is. But do you already mentioned you some big announcements like this? Is this normal? Gianna? I’m trying to remember.

John Sumser 16:07
No, no, but I’m sensing a, you know, Ceridian was a very focused startup style organization with the challenge of merging de force technology with the old service bureau stuff. And they got that, right. They went public, as soon as they went public, they got real stiff about how they were talking about things. And my guess is that they lost visibility in the marketplace, and they’re on a new charm offensive in general. So you guess that there’s been a me orientation of how marketing works, and they are busy now talking about all the good news because their stock is doing very well. So I think you should expect to see more stuff like this from Ceridian.

Stacey Harris 16:52
And that is the next piece we’ve got is the announcement, almost back to back was the relationship between 30 and iCims. So iCims is announcing that they have an integration partnership with Ceridian. Which in and of itself, you know, we see a lot of integration partnerships. But this one’s a little bit interesting because I think is really from a sheer numbers perspective and enterprise perspective, the number one point solution in the recruiting space, at least in the enterprise level, I would say from a well known and branding for them to create a partnerships really and really emphasizes one I think how much I Sims is trying to connect with broader audiences, but also how much Ceridian is trying to sort of expand their base as well.

John Sumser 17:30
Well that’s interesting because Ceridian has a recruiting product. And so it’s not clear to me from the announcement whether this is this is two people saying that this is a thing or this is an iCims announcement. And it’s another indicator of how important the partnership ecosystem is becoming everywhere and how important it is to have clear measured repeatable onboarding in the partnership ecosystem.

Stacey Harris 17:56
Yeah. It was a big conversation this week with a sorry recruiter, they have like 600 organizations in their marketplace that they have. One of the questions that came up is how often are those partner updated, assessed for their feasibility and their connections, their links? And I think that’s a real valid conversation, a lot of these marketplaces and a lot of these partnerships, there’s an announcement, there’s no Well, we have them, oh, we have a logo on our website. But then idea of how closely connected they are, how well they’re being curated. I think it’s a quality conversation as well sometimes, right?

John Sumser 18:29
You know there’s a range, right? There’s a complete range here. Ultimate software has this amazing ecosystem where anybody who is in the ecosystem is in a reciprocal relationship with ultimate, they don’t let just anybody in. And then at the other extreme, there are companies that have kind of open API’s and anybody, anybody can integrate with them because the API is there and you can claim integration once you can exchange data. And so it seems to me that written contract revenue guarantees maintenance of the agreement and there’s a whole bunch of factors that you got to have in place for the ecosystem to actually flourish. And one of the things you might have to talk about a little bit is how to build a map of the quality of ecosystems of what it takes to make the work because partnership you range from a press release to something that looks like Siamese twins.

Stacey Harris 19:25
That’s very, very good point. Yes. And and it is the one of the number one complaints in the Sierra-Cedar survey is integration and partnerships is it’s a struggle for organizations that it out well. We also have a little bit of news out of Europe this week. I don’t know that a lot of people here in the days only knows of st works, but st works one of the larger European payroll and HR providers, and they announced this week that it’s acquiring point logic HR, which is another London based major supplier innovative reward management solutions and consulting services. You know, I guess I was interesting work maybe mentioning them because we haven’t talked a lot about the European money. aspray and for Wilder, they were really hot, lots of stuff that’s going on. And we’re still seeing a lot of big investment in job boards in that space and a lot of investment into the gig economy working, which is a new thing over there. But we are also starting to see some consolidation, because there’s so many point solutions on a country by country region by region basis out there. Do you think it’s a state that we should be watching a little bit more jobs? Or, you know, is this a statement just gonna follow what’s happening in the US over time?

John Sumser 20:25
I don’t have any idea. It’s a really good question. And I just don’t know, but there is a flood of investor money has created clutter in the marketplace. But clutter in the marketplace means that people are getting better quality work out of their vendors. And the vendors are starting to be a niche here spot. So the question is, can all of these vendors figure out how to hold on to a niche and make money and if they can figure out how to hold on to a niche and make money up, that they’ll become part of something bigger, which leads me to the last piece which is workforce large Who bought engaged talent in the fall has started to release an annual benchmark report on workforce management. And this thing is amazing. You see, workforce logic is workforce llg iq and they use data science and external information to predict retention by industries. Total retention by industry, the likelihood that people are going to leave on a month to month basis by industry, the kinds of jobs where people are most likely to respond to a offer of a new job. And it turns out that recruiting is the most likely job to respond to an offer. And then the last thing which I really like is they have a ranking by city of places where people are most likely to respond positively to a job offer. And this parallels something that I saw yesterday which is the city’s people are most interested in leaving itself. So San Francisco is on the top of this list of places where if you call somebody there, but it’s like they do accept a call about a job. So anyhow, it’s an interesting benchmarking kind of publication that shows you the power of predictive technology based on large, large data Marvels.

Stacey Harris 22:19
And I think this is a thing we’re seeing more and more that vendors using from an individual film level to work logic in insights into an organization’s workforce and whether or not they will day or leave, correct. That’s a big part of what they offer, as a service provided there sure, flipping that, and saying at an aggregate level, here’s some insights about regions and industries and state. And that’s powerful because it is the data that’s making it possible for them to get to the individual level. But at the enterprise level, just knowing that San Francisco is a difficult place that you are much more likely to have your employees poached from that environment doesn’t make it a little bit more interesting maybe to find some talent in Oklahoma where it might not be quite as likely, right?

John Sumser 22:58
Yes, that’s exactly right. So the other thing about this report that I find really interesting is out of 10 pages, there’s an entire page devoted to ethics. And that’s pretty awesome, given nine pages of data at one page discussion of ethics. That’s a pretty hefty ratio. And I hope it indicates that we’re going to see more of it.

Stacey Harris 23:21
Well, we won’t have time to talk about it today. But that actually leads into maybe conversation we can start off with maybe next week, which is Google relaunching? not exactly sure. It’s probably worth you taking a look at it and see if it’s something that’s worth some conversation. But Google researchers released on its framework this week to close AI accountability gap and the audit framework is about assessing your AI efforts and whether or not they are ethical, ready to be launched, have any concerns you should think about could have any challenges or bugs. So to your point, we often don’t get a lot of conversation about whether or not what’s being released has been audited or tested or reviewed. Right?

John Sumser 23:58
Right. We’ll talk about that next week it’s perfect.


So, great conversation. We crammed a lot in today.

Stacey Harris 24:05
We did, yeah, but it was a good conversation. It’s every once in a while, john, it’s nice for me to actually agree on something and be on the opposite side on other things it gives the audience a chance to maybe root for one or the other.

John Sumser 24:16
Yeah, or think for themselves. Yeah, imagine that.

That’s the best part about a good disagreement in this sort of context is it creates the opportunity for people to think. So, thanks for doing this Stacey as usual,. And thanks everybody for listening in. This has been HR Tech Weekly, One Step Closer With Stacey Harris and John Sumser. And we will see you back here next week. Bye. Bye now.

Stacey Harris 24:19
There you go.

Thanks everyone. Bye.

Read previous post:
Predictions Everywhere – 9 Trends that are Shaping AI and Intelligent Tools in HR Tech

“Humans are not good at making decisions. And yet, the proliferation of intelligent tools will give every decision-maker at every...