E358 Recruiting Community: Athena Karp, AI Trends and Liquid Talent

Get ready to take some notes because we have industry powerhouse Athena Karp, CEO & Founder of HiredScore, with us this week. Athena will be sharing insights into AI regulations, AI trends and the topic of liquid talent!

E358 Recruiting Community: Athena Karp, AI Trends and Liquid Talent

Get ready to take some notes because we have industry powerhouse Athena Karp, CEO & Founder of HiredScore, with us this week. Athena will be sharing insights into AI regulations, AI trends and the topic of liquid talent!

Chris Hoyt, CXR 
So it is it is an interesting time because a lot of people are getting back into, into traveling. And they’re doing trips now and they’re planning stuff. So Athena Do you have do you have some travel ahead of you? I

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 0:12
I just got back from Israel this weekend. I will be next in Israel with the amazing CXR Israel trek. So if you didn’t sign it, you should. Yeah, back and forth to Israel, West Coast, Texas, Florida all over. It’s, uh, the world is ready to meet again. And we are happy to see customers partners and friends from the space.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:35
I love that. Are you? Did you say you’re going to be in Texas?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 0:38
I guess I’ve been in Texas and I’ll be in Texas. Okay.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:42
Will it be Austin?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 0:43
We’ll try. We’ll try Chris.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:45
All right, well keep me up to date. I just we put another big slab of meat to do some dry aging and so I will need an excuse to cut some steaks off.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 0:53
And my vegetarian steak complements of

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:55
Yes of course your plant based steak that we will grow before you get here. I’ll eat your meat steak. It’s fun but you guys do have Israel coming up. That’s April

Gerry Crispin, CXR 1:10
it’s it’s the end of April last weekend of April and the first week of May.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:17
Very nice. That’s gonna be super exciting. Yeah, a little jealous. That’s the one I’m passing on little

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 1:23
It’s not too late. It’s not too late to sign up Chris here we have some slots.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 1:26
I just had yesterday a Pinot Noir from Israel that was given to me by Maya Huber. And and and what I’ve learned is that the Israelis drink all their good wine so they don’t export it to the United States that much. So you have to get it while you’re there.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 1:49
Boutique. It’s because they’re apparently smaller vineyards and the costs are prohibitive. Not because they don’t want to share with the world, Gerry.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 1:57
Yeah, yeah. Well, looking forward to it.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:01
Not sharing with Gerry. He’s mad about it. That’s just it.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 2:05
We’ll give him a case.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:06
We’ll get Are you ready? Are you ready to get going? Yeah. All right, we’re gonna jump in. Here we go.

CXR Announcer 2:14
Welcome to the CXR channel, our premier podcast for Talent Acquisition and Talent Management. listen in as the CXR community discusses a wide range of topics focused on attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent. We’re glad you’re here.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:44
Welcome to another edition of recruiting community. Well, your podcast here. I’m Chris Hoyt. I am the host President of CareerXroads. And I am here to just walk you through an interesting conversation that we typically will hold with interesting people. We do these at least weekly, and we broadcast live. So if you’re joining us live in the stream, we’re going to ask you to go ahead and drop a hello in the chat. Let’s make sure this thing is working. If you feel so inclined, if you’re on I think it’s on Facebook, LinkedIn, YouTube, where the live stream is happening. You can ask questions of our guests today. You can also if you’d like drop in your LinkedIn profile, do a little bit of networking, power networking, if you will. I am excited for today’s guest but but first let me pull out of the peanut gallery. There he is. Good morning, Mr. Crispin.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 3:27
And a pleasant good morning to you there.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:30
How are you today, sir?

Gerry Crispin, CXR 3:30
Fabulous. Life is good.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:33
Wonderful. Well, we’re gonna bring in our guest. There we go. Athena, Athena Karp from HiredScore. Athena, it’s good to see you.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 3:41
Great to be here.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:43
So Athena we have some stuff to talk and we try to keep these to about 20 minutes or so. But I do really want to get because we got some good topics that we’re talking about. But before we do, I’m going to ask you to give that escalator pitch to the folks who may be watching us live or who may be listening so that they know who is Athena carpe, if they have not had the pleasure of getting to know you and why should they be listening to what you have to say today?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 4:06
Sure. Well, a big supporter of CXR for many years now so proud, proud to have partnered for many years on what we started a decade ago, is how do we bring fairness and efficiency to hiring to internal talent, promotion and mobility, and increasingly to workforce planning. So we have powerful, ethical explainable, compliant by design, artificial intelligence that we’ve built, that connects people data and work data to support and enable HR transformations across the fortune 500 thing today we have over 45% of the Fortune 100 as clients in 150 countries with our AI solutions, and really proud to continue to progress How do we rethink how work gets done? And how do we rethink how talent accesses that work and bring that together in easier, more cost effective quality satisfying for both party and ethical ways?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 5:14
I love that. There is like there are just a handful of people that if I if I want to know what’s going on in the world of AI, and certainly within the space of trans transparent transactions and auditability, and just intent like within that space, it’s you, you were one of the handful of people that we sort of reach out and make sure we stay dialed into, because you’re always on it. So I have to ask you, as we jump in, like, what should TA leaders sort of be paying attention to right now in that AI space, because we’re hearing a lot about chat GPT 15, you know, different offshoots of that generic versions of that I saw something this morning from Scoble on Twitter, and he was talking about now you can go to chat, GP Ts that have personalities of historic figures, like there are these alternatives. There was a session coming up that was led by a couple of recruiting personalities saying this is how chat GPT will impact recruiting. And this is how AI is going to be set up to completely automate everything. And if we’re not already thinking about it, we’re too late. So Athena, I guess I’ll take a big breath there and ask you should should the TA leaders be panicked right now? Or like, what should they what should they know about today within AI and chat? GPT? And all of this that’s going on?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 6:29
Yeah. So I think I’ll break that into two different discussion threads, right? One is what’s happening in AI today. And two, how can and should ta leaders be thinking about? That’s a nice quote from Phil, how

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:48
For those who are listening? We threw a quote of Phil’s in the chat. He just said he worked with our expert, PepsiCo amazing tools. So we were just sharing that

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 6:55
great grateful for our customers, and our, and our kind of talent advisor leaders that that always bring us to new heights and teach us a lot. So when we think about AI, just what’s exciting about whether that’s chat GPT. I know you had a question about about Google, and what they’re doing with Bard and some of the other applications out there. It’s, it’s the ability to gain instant information with human answers, if you will, or humanized, like answers, it’s the ability to consume a lot of data and have that, you know, I think a lot of these places where it’s been inefficient, inefficient, ineffective, you know, challenging for humans to constantly keep up with the volume of work with humans to constantly understand all the different answer threads and variability of how to respond to things like, what is our company policy on x? How is that changing? What should I do in this bizarre situation? That I don’t really know what we’re supposed to do, like, in many places, I think the HR function has played the assistant to everyone in governance and policy and processes. And that’s the place where I feel we have the most opportunity for the AIS to step in, provide a consistent, real time, you know, always up to date, experience and q&a Answer set, if you will. But what what I get excited about is, what is the kind of two questions One, what is the AI unlocking in terms of our goals that in many ways, I think we have, what I’m excited that COVID has unlocked is I remember when we started HiredScore, people we’d speak to would say it takes us six to nine months to discuss changing an HR policy, even though we know we should, right. But that doesn’t mean we don’t want to and we don’t know that this is a very reactive, inefficient or unfair way of working. We just don’t have the year long discussion time to to change that. So what I think is changing is this notion of in COVID, we became agile and clients have told me it took three to six days to discuss, redefine, re implement, and train on a new policy and process. So we get you to agility, but we gained reactive agility because we were always still responding to what was urgent, what you know, kind of held us hostage in the moment that we had to solve and what I’m excited about is how do we take that agility and then make it proactive? And that’s where AI I think can say what are all these points that creates agile work today? Uh, you know, reactive work today. Oh, the business is understaffed to a point that it can’t accept new business. We have to close a hospital floor because we can’t take ambulances because we don’t have the nurses on staff or we have to close the center because we need x admins on site. You know, HR knows what the business ailments that create urgent crisis situations are. And that data sits in these cloud based systems. And that’s what I’m so excited that AI can unlock is, how do we detect and have almost, if you thought about it, like situational awareness at all time of what will downstream create HR work, let HR know. And then let them actually bring their advisory problem solving solutioning skills and resolutions to the table, but negative 30 60 90 days negative one two years in advance when they can actually change the outcome.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 10:37
But so if the devil’s advocate, right, I get excited about the speed in which we were able to move during during the pandemic, to your point, right, we saw organizations go from three, four week days to fill to two in some really radical examples where they really did that. But the minute things started to lighten up, that two became seven, again, at seven becomes 14, like we’re, are we just too dumb to take advantage of the lessons that we learn by and large, because a lot of organizations were treating that that speed as the exception, right, and we see some that are going back and adopting these old practices and not taking advantage of it. So I guess my question to you, for your opinion is, if like, by and large, is it just going to be those organizations who learned the lessons and and adapted and move forward that way that that really gets to take advantage of this new technology, and then other folks who went from, you know, three weeks to higher to two, and then back to three, the second almost like the second that they could, or they’re gonna get left in the dust.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 11:40
So actually, I think the scarcity of skills, I think, the rapid speed of business change, I think the supply demand dynamics are such, Chris that no one’s going back to the old ways. Because to go back to the old ways, you’ll have undealt with supply and demand gaps, you’ll have skill scarcity, you’ll have diversity and inclusion goals be drastically unmet. You’ll like, I think, the expectation and evolution of how we define work, who can do the work, how we widen the aperture of access, how we like, all of those things, also moved with that agility. And we opened that box for the business to be retrained on what can and should a best in class look like? I don’t think we’re going back to that plus the labor market. And the supply and demand gaps are only getting wider, not, you know, decreasing. So I’m more optimistic that we kind of went down a path that has no return to the less than ideal past we came from, I think it’s going to rather be who kind of stops here and does the minimum needed, versus who continues along on that progression path and says, Well, let’s, let’s, let’s go ahead of the next wave before, it catches us by surprise, like COVID did many of us so that, you know, we’re ready for an it’s kind of why we’re here today to talk about this liquid town and talk fluidity and, and, you know, when I think of the baby boomer retirement, it’s a great example of the workforce is losing the largest population of highest skilled talent in most organizations, seemingly at once. So

Gerry Crispin, CXR 13:42
They’ve already lost them, you know,

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:44
They’re not coming back for all these efforts to do these returnships. Great, great programs that organizations are putting in, but the boomers I think, are just kind of like, just sort of done.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 13:57
Yeah, I you know, I think you’re absolutely right, Athena, if investors who buy stock, or or invest in in, you know, new businesses, etc, are paying attention to those who are adopting what you’re talking about, versus those who have kind of recanted and said, I, you know, I want to go back to the old thing, everybody should show up 40 to 40 hours a week, you know, and come to the office all the time, whenever I say, you know, so the if we don’t, if we don’t differentiate between those who get it and those who don’t, from a monetary point of view, we won’t be taking advantage of it is what so I hope that you are right. I will be optimistic when I see changes in stock prices based on some of those kinds of things.

Unknown Speaker 14:55
You know, I think Gerry it’s both will investors have the force So to reward that kind of in advance, but I’ve never seen data that showed me rigid, inefficient structures outperform, you know, agile, efficient structures. So I think it will, in the margins itself lead to that, which, and that’s really what excites me, which is there is when we ask that compared to what and the compared to what is the past way of, you’re either a full time permanent job, or you’re a, you know, contingent talent, kind of servitude labor mindset. I don’t know how that would benefit anyone to have that polarization and that bifurcation versus the ability to say, well, Akamai, every company realizes work can be done in more fluid ways. Do we need to always define it with that strict rigid structure of a full time permanent wreck? That is the endless checklist, which increasingly is not going to be achievable, because the talent supply will not yield are endless checklists forever, and especially not at diversity population demands, and at the, you know, interest in the way we want to have them work in a rigid way. Like, I think society plus worker preferences in demand and just operating efficiencies are all the forcing mechanisms to say, how do we for every piece of work that needs to get done, break that down into what are the true options, and it’s not internal or external, it could be internal doing it permanently or internal is doing it as a project, it could be an external, doing it part time, for now could be an external working as part of a team, augmenting our workforce doing it could be role sharing, it could be a contingent that then becomes a perm if they want and then depending on face in life wants to go back to being a flexible talent. And so it’s, it’s a two sided parties have total interest in seeing this change, because of that agility and kind of achieving what people are looking for and achieving the benefits of the org to be more flexible.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 17:18
The only thing I question is in what timeframe, and whether it’s it’s, you know, next week, or next decade, or the decade after that, that we’ll see the comfort of comfortably that movement has happened. So I’m I’m optimistic in the very long term. I just don’t I think there’s a frustration issue of, we can see that it’s possible tomorrow. But but the speed with which it happens is going to be slower than we think.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 17:47
I stand by my vision that is from the future, because we’ve just we’ve just got too many organizations trying to cram back in that hole now big companies, big companies that I think are, are and I’ll steal that phrase, they’re just too big to fail. And they’re going to do what they want to do. And whether it’s just a matter of having an asshole CEO just doesn’t get it or an incredible amount of investment in property, real estate that they just can’t walk away from to show how they work. So I do, I am cautiously optimistic that we will get there but to your to your commentary, like I just don’t see it happening in in a super effective and broadly adopted way in less than 10 years.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 18:33
Got it?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 18:35
Yeah, I think there’s I think there’s a really interesting question here, which is almost it’s been marketed improperly a lot of these things like talent marketplaces that either your whole workforce is, you know, Project workers, or I think part of that Miss messaging is, it’s almost like a five 10% here or five 10% Here, 3%. Here, I think I think all of us should expect, how that shift is going to happen is going to be honestly solely based on business demand need and worker preferences, right. So if there’s an area where you can’t find the external talent to do that work, or let’s say, Jerry, we talked about the baby boomer population, I think this is a great place to say, well, we should probably expect that they’re never coming back if we don’t change the rigidity. But I know a lot of them that have said, if we could work maybe 20 hours a week. We’d love to continue to contribute meaningfully. We love our peer group. We love you know, bringing our expertise. We love having a community and so it’s almost like the greatest tragedy of all time. If we don’t take this opportunity to say you as a company want those people to continue to contribute their skill set for as long as they want. And the difference between aligning what they want and what you want, which is already aligned, is the rigidity that you’re not willing to rethink how someone can contribute meaningfully in anything that’s not a full time, you know, 45-50 hour a week job. That’s, that’s a shame. Right?

Gerry Crispin, CXR 20:18
Yeah, I’m your I’m a fan. I mean, you know, it’s, I’ve been able to do that, I do think you may, and you made the point. It’s a two sided coin here. So it’s not just what the employer needs to do, certainly, the employer needs to get it and have much more agile kinds of approaches to how they operate. But at the same time, that there’s an embracing accountability of the individual, to continue growing, to continue learning to, to be able to feel that they are making contribution beyond perhaps playing a good game of golf today. So there’s there are those kinds of issues that that have to take place as well.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 21:05
Is there is there anybody you’d call out? I think that you’ve seen that that is doing this? Well, that’s that’s making that shift aggressively.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 21:13
Yeah, so I, you know, there are companies that are just so impressive and how they’ve thought about almost this liquid talent concept that take a an innovator like Greg Muccio at Southwest Airlines, who, for years, his team, actually well, ahead of what we’re all talking about right now, I’ve said, let’s identify the best talent for the work that needs to get done irrespective of talent types, so his recruiters have access to internals, externals, perm, and flex workers for nearly for many of the opportunities that get created. So they’re already playing that talent advisory, which no champion GPT, and no AI is going to replace, which is great for all of us of saying, all right, for that role, you have open, here’s the, in each swimlane of talent type here, those potential options, here’s the speed, the cost, and here’s maybe the diversity of each lane. And then you will decide which labor type you want. But that’s being delivered to them at once in a holistic view, which I think that’s where you can actually have a chance of changing the business, the hiring managers mindset and opening the possibilities, not by saying, what type of labor Do you want, do you want this job to be filled internally? Or are you willing to have a contingent work? They’re probably going to say no, if it’s something different than what they’re used to, unless you present to them on a silver platter, here’s the several options and we understand what trade offs you’re going to ask about which is cost which is speed, which is diversity. So here’s that accompanied with each of those three to five options in each set, and now make a more informed decision based on the options that we’ve presented.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 23:01
I do think there’s a distinct play here. For the tech when we’re talking about this liquid talent concept. I think I think there really, really is, and I don’t think recruiters job go away. But I think, to your point earlier is that it has to change. Right? The roles have to absolutely change. We’ve been saying talent advisor for a long time, we had a guest on the show said they were they were already talking about in five years, the recruiters wanting to be called recruiting more than likability consultants. So, so it is kind of an interesting shift for folks to pay attention to. And I think the tech just got faster.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 23:36
Yeah, the exciting question that we’re asking more and more is with our AI with other API’s and the kind of revolutions that are happening in AI. You know, What work does that create? That is not feasible to do today? Because you don’t have a real time processing engine? Not you know, we’ve always had that discussion around, what work do we no longer need to do? And then What work does that let us focus on, but the discussion we’ve not had, and we need to start having is what work has here to been impossible to do because we don’t have situational awareness across business data across supply demand data across labor market data, to signal to things that then triggers us to come in and do work. And, you know, I think this is a great dialogue for us to start having with with, with customers with the market of and what is the skillset of a recruit a Talent Acquisition Professional, a talent advisor, professional and HR professional, to then do that new type of work that we never had to do before and how do we start getting them ready now? Because that work will come with the unlock from the AI below them?

Gerry Crispin, CXR 24:48
Yeah. It’s one of the things that that keeps hitting me as you called out the southwest and Southwest has been From its beginning, a company that was very open to different ways of looking at things and continues to do that under the current leadership, and to get get companies at that level to get to that level raises for me an interesting issue of of true transformation from an old way to a new way versus those that start off with that kind of openness. And there certainly are a lot of small companies that have grown to be very large, that have that Southwest, always was always was that way, Chris and I just had actually a breakfast with Lydia Sartain who was the original CHRO engaged in in helping to create that kind of culture. And so the kind of change efforts that are going on in major companies, I think, have to continue to evolve to get them from some of those old ways to the new ways.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 26:09
Yeah, there’s actually, there’s actually a great book from Jim McKelvey called The Innovation Stack building an unbeatable business. He was the founder of square. It’s a wonderful book, and it actually talks about, and he’s a, he’s an amazing, amazing entrepreneur, and person. And he talks about how he was able to beat Amazon, which he should have never been able to do, because he deeply focused on technology and outside of technology, even the small things of processes and changes and how his talent was trained, and how his people think and I was culture was built, such that it became a problem solution problem solution chain that was unbeatable by someone who should have won. And I think that’s a great he actually has in their example of an airline that no airline, you know, the Southwest story, the JetBlue story, the virgin story, these don’t make logical sense from a cost of capital cost of plane, the slotting the regulatory to fly. But when you put customer centricity at the center, when you put employees at the center, when you rethink the human experience, and in every single part of the business, then you can actually build a undisrupted double force of a you know, David Goliath, real competition. So I think that’s the opportunity for AI first companies, there’s a lot of companies out there that hired score has, you know, for years been asked, do we compete with people that actually we partner wonderfully with the ATS is the HCM, even the CRMs. And what we say is when, you know, when you’re built as a AI, first AI only company from the core, you make so many different decisions, and you’re kind of culture baked into that is things like everything must be explainable. You know, everything must be auditable, etc. But when we don’t have that you kind of miss out on being able to do that from the base.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 28:19
Interesting. Cool.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 28:21
Well let me ask you guys out with this. We’re talking about what we’re talking about that how passionate we are about this change. And I did put a link today.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 28:39
I will. So so he’s got two questions for you. The first one is, if you were to write a book now about what we’ve been discussing, what would you call it? What will be the title?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 28:53
Oh, such a good one. Um I think I I think it would be something I’m not a marketer. So I would do my guru marketers, and my CEO, office staff to help me think of something catchy, but the tagline would be about, you know, redefining access to the workforce, you know, really starts with rethinking who and how work can happen. And I think that it’s this beautiful, first time, we have such deep alignment between people that want more opportunities and want to experience work and do work in different ways and the chance to do types of work in different ways. And companies who have never had more financial incentive to evolve to that. And it’s this like forcing mechanism to solve something we talked so deeply about that I know you all care about from the foundation and I care about which is let’s go back to job access, it’s not just necessarily the first thing you do in that company at the base level, it’s the ability to experience new jobs and the exposure to what that means and the also exposure to other things around the work itself. And so I think this book would really be about what what are the different mechanisms that are triggering that on the talent worker side, on the human side of human capital side? And what is triggering that revolution on a corporate side? And why do we have this unique opportunity?

Gerry Crispin, CXR 30:40
Cool. And so if, if you if you now have this book, other than Chris or myself, who would you who would be the first person you give that book to?

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 30:53
Absolutely, it would go to my dad, who wrote a book. He wrote a book 40/45 years ago, called Jobs and Social Change, which was about how we have to disrupt. I don’t know, Chris, if you can find it online. They used to teach it at UPenn in a few other places. We have some yellowed copies at home now. But it’s really about how you take the most underprivileged communities in the states rethink the education, we are providing them to actually break multi generational poverty. And we do that through job access and job opportunity. So I would hope that mine would be a 50 year later version of his book, to say, you know, how do we rethink about jobs and the impact that can have on social change?

Gerry Crispin, CXR 31:48
Is okay, his last name is Karp.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 31:51
Yes. Michael Karp.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 31:53
Michael carp. All right, um, you know, I’m gonna have to look back because that’s about when I was going to graduate school. So studying that same stuff. So

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 32:03
Social change, that’s amazing.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 32:04
Oh God yes.

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 32:05
Actually, it includes two or three pages of his favorite restaurants. He ate it when he was writing the book across the US and my book would have the same thing cheap eats, the whole spectrum.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 32:24
Thank you. That’s so cool. Chris, you’re taking us out?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 32:30
Can you hear me? Can I still robot?

Gerry Crispin, CXR 32:33
Yeah, you’re you know, it’s a little bit but you know, obviously, you know, we love we love talking to you. This is a great conversation from my point of view. We can do these all day long but but we we try to do them once a week anyway. And and Chris, anything else you have to add?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 32:52
No, we’re so grateful for your time Athena. Thank you for joining us and I’ll just remind everybody upcoming guests every week and you can check that for CXR.works/podcasts that’s all

Athena Karp, Hiredscore 33:04
Always so much fun with you all.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 33:07
Don’t leave yet.

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