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HRx Radio – Executive Conversations: On Friday mornings, John Sumser interviews key executives from around the industry. The conversation covers what makes the executive tick and what makes their company great.

HRx Radio – Executive Conversations

Guest: Jason Roberts, Global Head Of Technology And Analytics, Randstad Sourceright
Episode: 331
Air Date: July 12, 2019




Important: Our transcripts at HRExaminer are AI-powered (and fairly accurate) but there are still instances where the robots get confused and make errors. Please expect some inaccuracies as you read through the text of this conversation. Thank you for your understanding.

Full Transcript with timecode

00:00:13:24 – 00:00:27:20
Good morning and welcome to HRExaminer’s Executive Conversations. I’m your host John Sumser. Today we’re going to speak with Jason Roberts who’s the global head of technology and analytics for Randstad Sourceright.

00:00:27:20 – 00:00:29:09
Jason how are you doing?

00:00:29:12 – 00:00:30:28
Well John. How are you?

00:00:30:28 – 00:00:37:14
Great. Would you take a moment and introduce yourself to the audience, tell us how you got where you are?

00:00:39:22 – 00:01:14:07
Yes I will. So I’m Jason Roberts. I’m responsible for technology and analytics at Randstadt Sourceright. What that means is that for our customers that we do enterprise services for. So think of a recruitment process outsourcing or being the most service provider MSP for a customer. I provide the technology that that enables. So but that means that we roll out technology tweaks including bomb based A.I.

00:01:14:07 – 00:01:27:05
saucers and we’ve got. CRM of course and interview management tools and these scheduling tools and even visual interviewing things all that we do or to know to do customers around the world

00:01:28:13 – 00:01:42:27
So I think most people really understand that that’s the heart of the RPO business. Is this providing technical capability that you do. Do you think it’s a surprise to people.

00:01:43:01 – 00:01:55:25
You know I think it depends on the generation of Archaea so early Akio Way Back was about just looking and shifting your processes and giving to someone else they can do it cheaper than you can.

00:01:56:18 – 00:02:15:00
And in the current generation a generation three or four of Akio that we’re on now people are looking for some value add that they didn’t have in the past so they want us to bring technologies and practices and things that that allow us to be more effective at saving time and money.

00:02:15:01 – 00:02:24:12
But before when it was just strictly a cost play. Now companies are looking to torpedo those sort of efficiency play as well.

00:02:24:13 – 00:02:52:04
They find that to focus them on getting their time to fill down a number that it’s important we have one of our huge enterprise customers they hire a lot of engineering and talk for development talent and they had a goal of getting there. Their average time to fill that need to 40 and 40 Days for engineering hires is pretty hard. I like the system basis. And so they they actually hired us to do that.

00:02:52:06 – 00:03:07:15
They were their big focus was efficiency because they felt like the opportunity for those open seat with too high and they were driving different things. So they may need. We need technology to make that technology faster. It allows us to do things that feed as a local

00:03:08:18 – 00:03:18:00
That’s interesting. I just thought you know maybe I’m just old fogey but I don’t really go instantaneously. Oh RPO that means that the feet go

00:03:19:16 – 00:03:29:23
up by less than 2 percent runner status of the place. What. What else does the company do besides provide for you. So.

00:03:30:18 – 00:04:04:01
Yeah RPO. The first piece of their business and an enterprise services is actually a small percentage of what we do. We’re a large company with 25 billion ish dollars annually. And the primary focus those grandstand induction staffing so putting contract workers to work every day in North America. There’s 100000 people working for a given time. I’ve heard the statistic that we are the second largest nongovernment employer in the world.

00:04:04:03 – 00:04:13:23
Really. Yeah. Wow that’s a big complicated thing. You have a charge for 25 billion too much.

00:04:14:12 – 00:04:17:21
You know I think you’re right. Maybe I’ll work on that okay.

00:04:17:23 – 00:04:49:18
Yeah. Yeah. If we get back together with you. So you know we’ve talked about. About a guy over over the years. You know I’m studying it pretty closely disproving this massive wave. Are you to view the hundred and ten companies to get ready for this next report. I wonder you’ve been studying how technology adoption works. And so that was very complimentary doing what do we what have you been learning about technology in this study.

00:04:51:01 – 00:04:58:24
Oh man we only have a half hour here. What I’ll say is I’ve learned something about recruiter behavior. Right

00:04:58:24 – 00:05:10:22
Right. So it’s really easy to say hey we’ve brought up with a process and recruiters don’t use it because they used to. So they there may be some level of troglodyte or something like that but that’s really not the case.

00:05:10:26 – 00:05:19:13
Recruiters they make their living they reach their goals then within a company there on the agents by agency side decide tapping or recruiter.

00:05:19:18 – 00:05:50:13
The way that they make their living period is based on filling a right as quickly and efficiently as possible. There are technology shows and proves to them early on that it will be efficient then they may use it. But if it doesn’t then then they may struggle with it. And if you if it’s based on a promise like we wrestled a little bit with CRM for example your arms are tough because it’s the promise of efficiency later.

00:05:50:21 – 00:06:03:08
If you put your candidate information and now when you need them later they’ll be available to you versus having to rely on searching job boards or link then that next day to find a fresh new candidate.

00:06:03:18 – 00:06:14:12
Well they’re having to do work today with a promise of something later. And we struggled with people doing that. Other technologies like ex recruit for example we adopted really widely.

00:06:15:00 – 00:06:22:05
And we basically gave them the capability to make the candidate much faster and more efficient way.

00:06:22:07 – 00:06:53:06
They tracked down their debts best politics ever present as a as a Chrome extension and he’ll integrate into everything they do. So they adopted it really well. You like water they goes to the path of least resistance all the time. And so for example are a source or model that we ultimately rolled out and that we have active today in we there’s one where we don’t require much of a food we go in.

00:06:53:06 – 00:06:57:23
We extract the job description from from an open job.

00:06:57:23 – 00:07:30:25
We pass on those jobs and we reach out to the theater to say here’s what we’re looking forward to it looks like it was important to you. You agree. If they if they don’t respond within two days we just go and we don’t require them to do any extra work. We only find that it and we submit them in a process is very normal. Just like working with a normal source or the email. We email a candidate that has been fully matched and screened by bot and a qualified interest and available for that job.

00:07:30:27 – 00:07:56:27
It shows up in an email just like if they’re working with a source from the team or a third party recruiter might. But it’s all a driven and the way that we do it is we make it feel like the normal process that we make is something that that is giving them instant gratification gives a candidate that’s ready has already said there has been this job and meet my basic qualifications today.

00:07:57:00 – 00:08:05:02
So that’s the key to adoption for me is showing immediate value versus a promise of value down the road.

00:08:05:08 – 00:08:40:20
Technology that’s really interesting show. So not everything is gonna have immediate value. And many of the things that will ultimately improve the quality of the recruiting process to sort of the opposite. They make work harder. They break work longer. So so I can see how this view of the doubt to get to faster adoption of tools that make the current way of recruiting go faster or

00:08:42:09 – 00:09:04:07
go faster basically will be cheaper. But you know recruiting has this 50 percent failure rate. The hiring manager thinks the decision was a mistake 18 months a trade and you can’t fix up a very fast. So obviously you get stuff adopted that addresses the quality.

00:09:04:17 – 00:09:07:06
Oh that’s an existential question.

00:09:07:06 – 00:09:11:21
Oh no it isn’t. Whether or not there’s going to be a recruiting business.

00:09:11:28 – 00:09:14:28
Well not necessarily for equality.

00:09:15:15 – 00:09:34:26
And that was just down to the decision making process we we didn’t that one where we tried recruiting people without any interviews and just having a feel like that based on assessment and performance against the department because there’s actually no evidence that interviews work.

00:09:34:26 – 00:10:05:26
In fact if you look at where is the failure rate that 50 percent is based on a hiring manager making a decision following an interview. So if they have if there’s a 50 percent failure rate any in any a month then they might as well flip a coin on whether or not they hire someone. Right. It’s 50 50. There’s there’s no value in there. And then I would say. So we actually tried that one where we pull out the interview and the hiring managers just could not get their hands.

00:10:06:10 – 00:10:11:21
They lost their minds about that. We we didn’t think of adoption on a day.

00:10:11:26 – 00:10:16:14
There was a process that people aren’t willing to do. I think I think that’s one.

00:10:16:18 – 00:10:22:26
One often rely on them proving assessments that are better out there. I think in the

00:10:24:12 – 00:10:52:20
end the lower the old jobs the high volume low skill jobs in retail and even call center. Maybe even some manufacturing jobs where your requirements are things like you can lift 50 pounds in tandem with for a couple of hours for those folks the job national interview. Not at all. I think that’s just a matter of putting people into the job thing if they work out and having a negative strategy if they don’t.

00:10:53:08 – 00:11:02:03
But I think this president is probably the primary key for how you do. And we’re seeing companies start to embrace that more right now.

00:11:02:04 – 00:11:32:14
So you know we’re we’re sort of invested in them with things like time metric where we use those and half a rank is a place where our investment funding has been bad. But there are other places where we’re seeing like montages of a really interesting merger with Schaefer which is a which is in effect. And that’s really interesting they had that group on job preview. They are they have a name of course definitely.

00:11:32:15 – 00:12:03:21
So combining the physical interviewing and interview management technology with montages provides with a possible model is interesting and we’re seeing more or more like customers at that point and we’re starting to see a testament evolve past that they’ve been historically they’ve certainly been through that. I don’t think where you want to stop a million profit making an hour and a half long says something that offends me and they are take good at it.

00:12:03:21 – 00:12:16:00
Well many people once took an hour and a half. So they’ve got big things down to 10 15 minutes and in many cases. So it’s more usable at this point.

00:12:16:00 – 00:12:49:28
It’s an interesting it’s an interesting question to try following that very extremely closely. The energy seems to be directed towards making the fastest cheapest possible assessment tool. But the point about how assessment actually works is assessments don’t tell the truth about everything. Assessments are an answer to a set of questions that matter framework. The only way that that’s actually useful is if everybody in the organization speaks the same language about people.

00:12:49:28 – 00:13:10:28
All right. So the reason that. The reason that the big old fashioned assessment projects were rarified is you had to have traders on site who taught everybody how to make decisions using the assessments. And that tends to get left out of these small assessment tools. So what are the proofs part of Boko yet.

00:13:11:00 – 00:13:23:29
I’ll give you an example of a previous model and we had a and we have a master a brand well-known company that we started looking for and they gave us all their recruiting.

00:13:24:00 – 00:13:58:26
So anytime you are you’re hired for this company and the destination point for many many people you have to go through. And ultimately we were we would be the utilizes an assessment that they had already sort of decided upon when we when we sort of were in the process of taking over for them. And what we’ve learned was the assessment took an hour and we were losing three quarters of the candidates. The people that we looked at and said were good did the initial screening with them we said right on and we would put them through. That’s when we were losing half to three quarters of the candidate depending on the job that we were looking at because of that.

00:13:59:01 – 00:14:32:18
It was it was brutal made it nearly impossible to do these jobs. So I think faster is ultimately important in the decision making process. I think you’ll okay to me. I don’t. There’s there’s some training required based on that but the way that we normally see it is almost honestly a knockout but it’s a pretty heavy weighting so that the candidate to have done well in the assessment puts the top and the high managers spend more time and attention looking at those.

00:14:32:23 – 00:15:20:04
And then there’s more qualitative information inside. So there’s some things in there that are you know quantitative and we decide whether a person is going to be able to do the job. There’s also qualitative in there that the hiring managers typically use in order to sort of make their make their judgments. People close is that based on quantitative and the measures they have gone through training in the place where we’re engaged. Maybe it is just to say it’s almost like the training that you get when you look for in this survey where you say alright if there’s a person who’s a who’s a Heidi and then a balance for the person who’s a high I think those sorts of things you you learn about the assessment model.

00:15:20:05 – 00:16:19:09
There’s typically training delivered with how much the higher managers utilize. I don’t I’m not I’m not sure. But I think it’s the conundrum for us it’s a quandary that we’ll have to wrestle with over time. I’m happy to see more people using it that much because I think interviews are proving to be ineffective in this model. I mean for that matter I think the RESONATE doesn’t do a very good job for us right. So we’re mashing a lot of these things on resume based on resumé jobs. Terrible. One of our key learnings and a I when I first did a when we first took out a fully automated thing where we take a job description and do matching and get those job descriptions we had pretty poor results that the job descriptions that were coming across was so awful and we had to insert a layer of human to do a job description scrub and that’s actually our next level build is automated javascript is coming in order based on the information that we have.

00:16:19:24 – 00:16:54:14
So we those things are bad if you sit down and if you look at what a resume a job description is sort of the hopes and dreams of the hiring manager resumé is everything I want you to know about me. And then some. So we’re both you know both sides of that then puzzler is sort of lying through each others to some degree. I think you said in an interview and you hope to get the truth out of each party in order to make somebody’s decision. There’s challenges in the whole process. You look at real estate for example real estate is never a great model like this right.

00:16:54:15 – 00:17:18:17
So then recruiting where are brokers has people who need jobs less than people who have jobs and they need filled and we help as recruiters and these industry openings build real estate one where we get more verified information right. As someone who goes out and verify the infection at the holidays when they say that was the most surprising.

00:17:19:05 – 00:17:31:29
So how do we verify that there are no surprises about a job. And how do we verify it by about a person. I don’t know if we’ve come up with with that model like Inspector model or publicly yet.

00:17:32:17 – 00:17:57:08
Well I’ve seen a thousand schemes but this is an interesting question that you can’t really do justice to the fine him but premise that the entire brokerage is based on deceit is something that that makes me pretty comfortable but I tend to think that you can only get so much done in the first impression.

00:17:57:14 – 00:18:17:00
You have to have a salary I wouldn’t say that based on the scene. I think it’s based on everyone playing the best foot forward which isn’t the full the full picture necessarily. So I think everyone one no one wants to go in and lie buys and there are certainly things that everyone omit from the conversation

00:18:19:22 – 00:18:19:29

00:18:19:29 – 00:18:55:11
And I think you’re right. We could go round and round about that right. I will respectfully suggest that that what you just said is that people lie and I’m not sure that that’s true. But anyhow it doesn’t really matter because you can do all of this stuff with people. The thing about jobs of the 21st century is that they’re never going to be something that you can pin down unless it’s the kind of job that’s about we are the people right. You can get very precise about job requirements and to the extent that you can get really precise requirements it’s better to have a machine do it.

00:18:55:18 – 00:19:26:14
And so the place where recruiting is going to matter is always going to be a place where there’s fuzziness on both sides of the equation because the job isn’t going to be exactly what’s described because it’s somebody. Yes and the résumé isn’t going to be exactly relevant because it’s somebody who’s guess about somebody guess. So I’m not sure you get there with a increasing accuracy of the of the problem. There may maybe something different. I know what do you think.

00:19:27:22 – 00:19:31:01
I think you get there with increasing information.

00:19:31:04 – 00:19:39:18
For example I don’t think the resignation. There are the things that recruiters do that that machine typically don’t do.

00:19:39:19 – 00:20:10:26
So recruiters will ask what a person’s priorities are right. What what makes you want and what would make you interested in changing jobs. You get more time with your family. Do I do. Are you motivated by money or are you. Are you looking for that love gap in your career. Say that to a manager you’re only interested in director level job. Please at those sorts of questions. They asked questions about sort of hopes and dreams like where do you want to be. And in five years you can. Can this thing get you to that place.

00:20:11:09 – 00:20:21:25
What is your desired path in this world. So recruiters ask those things and good recruiters will help to align jobs to that race.

00:20:22:02 – 00:20:30:16
But profile you didn’t link things that I think has an opportunity to do that doesn’t ask about personal injury. That’s about the reality of the situation.

00:20:30:26 – 00:20:48:16
So I think that recruiters with 20 all of our matching right now is based on based on a person’s current job so I need a manager of distribution so I’m going to search for managers and distribution and whoever those resume matches with names distribution.

00:20:48:25 – 00:21:09:09
You don’t come away necessarily searching for the person whose next job is supposed to be a manager and distribution. We don’t have a way a good way of people laying out what they hope their career path is so that we can make those alignment. And I think based on the places where recruiters do a good job today better than machine and where I think machines ultimately will have to go.

00:21:09:22 – 00:21:26:20
That’s really interesting. So in your survey in your study you discovered that 65 percent of employees are giving additional training outside of work. Is that a win for employers. There is a forecast of higher turnover for everybody.

00:21:26:21 – 00:22:05:09
I think it’s a win for an employer if they can capture the interest in those people. If people are taking the initiative to better themselves say these are these are your human readable you ostensibly have first right of refusal on. Right so you have the opportunity if you can if you know that people are are gaining skills and can help them find a place to utilize the skills you get to go first and offering them something of value and a role where they can use them. Reid Hoffman what the alliance talks about sort of the idea that people stick with you for a shorter period of time now within a company and it’s as long as you can help them continue building what they want to build in themselves.

00:22:05:10 – 00:22:36:16
Right. So if you can see a person who is receiving training on Ruby development for example and you have a really open role then you have the first opportunity to go for that. I guess to my on my team Leslie who runs just think the world out. She was a recruiting manager Michelle and deep interest in reporting and analytics and had absences for it. She she started doing work in that area. We’ve paired her up with our lead data scientist. She’s picked up building people.

00:22:36:18 – 00:22:51:10
She took the point on probably our largest putting rollout for any customer that we’ve ever done. So it started with an interest and aptitude and have a conversation that we had sitting over a meal one day.

00:22:51:15 – 00:23:00:18
And she said this is really what I want to do. Okay well let’s find a way to make that happen. And she already taken some of the trainings on her own. We just opened the door for Bernie opened a

00:23:02:17 – 00:23:03:08
That’s awesome.

00:23:03:09 – 00:23:11:29
And so the survey suggests that 65 percent of employees are doing something a great deal for or important.

00:23:11:29 – 00:23:47:27
He’s thinking about how that normally works and maybe that points to a need for a change in the way. Ellen do you work right. That is the way it normally works as an employer would pay for you to take the training that they want you to pay. What that’s saying is there are people out there gathering training and ostensibly getting some sort of micro degrees or certificates or something bank. I completed this thing being an East Asian guy. I went and got certified as a project management professional earlier in my career and I immediately started looking for places place to work and apply that

00:23:48:09 – 00:24:04:02
Right. So if you have a way of capturing that for employees to raise their hands say hey look at me I just did this thing. What can I do that just right now. I think that’s great for employees. If I get ever increasingly valuable people doing work for you it’s a good deal.

00:24:04:06 – 00:24:08:24
That’s interesting so if there’s one take away from the research what would it be.

00:24:10:06 – 00:24:42:18
Well the feeling is that I don’t know if this is the one thing away from the research. We sort of go with our tech and get your stuff up upskilling. There is a an effort as it as you offer up opportunity. You can avoid the sense of onboarding you hire right. So you can avoid that that court. That’s invaluable. That we’re seeing that goes along with the people wanting to better themselves and you saying in your role long enough for them to gather that skill and apply that skill.

00:24:42:19 – 00:24:46:00
That’s what the work is we’re seeing the rise of. Right.

00:24:46:02 – 00:25:18:00
So big work is continuing to expand. You’re seeing it in a very interesting distribution where at the very bottom of the skill ladder we’re seeing a lot of gig work at the very top of the school where the highest and consulting work was to get there and then for the Middle East a little bit more getting there Your software developers right your tougher career software developer you would see less work than you would lower no skilled workers on a on the bottom.

00:25:18:06 – 00:25:34:11
So we are seeing a great deal growth and that’s helping companies be more flexible. So you’re seeing people looking gain. There’s an interest and gathering skill. And we talked about something with one of our customers.

00:25:34:21 – 00:26:03:23
I feel like any other phrase Newell Rubbermaid they had an internal gig model where you could put up short term assignments and allow people to apply to do those gigs internally as well as a rotation which sounded like a genius idea you get people involved and they know hey this is a year and a half or two and. And the goal is for somebody to achieve a specific outcome by kind of part of that.

00:26:03:23 – 00:26:07:10
There are the skills that you’ll pick up was pretty smart.

00:26:07:17 – 00:26:17:20
I thought yeah that’s awesome. So it’s been a great conversation and really appreciate you taking the time to do this. Would you mind reintroducing yourself and tell people how they are to hold your feet.

00:26:18:17 – 00:26:32:21
Yes. Jason Robert I’m with Ron for right. You can find me on just about any social media at Jazz Robert J. Or I’ll be here so you can find me on Twitter used on more on Instagram.

00:26:32:23 – 00:26:37:01
You find me there on Facebook and on LinkedIn it just drab day.

00:26:37:06 – 00:26:49:24
Already are on there you can find me there and then of course the study you were just talking about which I think is interesting is available for free. Anybody want that you can get to the talent trends report that run that course right. Dot

00:26:49:24 – 00:26:52:06
Dot com though runs on force right.

00:26:52:09 – 00:27:08:20
Altogether no hyphens or anything just want to get back home and you can get that thing and that’s the talent trends report that every year and all this year we added candidate information so we certainly always done employer talent friend.

00:27:08:24 – 00:27:20:26
And this time we asked a similar question candidate and then juxtapose those answers so provide a really interesting layer of information that I’ve enjoyed this year along the way.

00:27:21:19 – 00:27:39:25
Fantastic. Thank you for taking the time to do this. It’s been great having you on. You’ve been listening to HRExaminer’s Executive Conversations. I’m your host John Sumser. Today we’ve been speaking with Jason Roberts who’s the global head of technology and analytics for Randstad Sourceright. Thanks for tuning in. We’ll see you back here next week.


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