S4 E50 | eXpert Tease: Aaron Matos talks to his younger self about recruiting automation

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Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:45
Alright, welcome to CXR’s eXpert Tease. I’m Chris Hoyt president of CareerXroads and I’m bringing to you a new fast paced delivery of hot topics with industry leaders, and experts. Each week, we’re actually hosting a guest who will share with us lessons they’ve learned their biggest victories or failures, or walk us through step by step how to actually accomplish something challenging within our space. Now, the kicker is that these are just a 15 minute talk a teaser with an expert in the field of the topic of choice. Now, each of the discussions has a focus on topics or subjects that were voted on by industry leaders via a CXR survey that was conducted earlier in the year now, these were areas that multinational recruitment leader said were big concerns for them, moving forward into 2021, those covered DE&I, ethics, automation, college recruiting budget challenges, etc, etc. So we’d encourage everyone to add questions to the chat area of our live broadcast throughout the talk. And at the end of the segment, we’ll take a question or two if we’ve got the time. And then we’ll move the rest of the conversation online to talent talks open and public exchanging you’ll find that @www.cxr.works/talenttalks. So I am pleased to address excuse me today’s topic of recruiting and automation with none other than Aaron Matos. Now, Aaron is the CEO of Paradox.ai. And essentially, they deliver an AI assistant that helps recruiting teams by automating things like lead gen screening, scheduling, and I think even applicant q&a. Paradox has been around since 2016. But Aaron, I think you and I go all the way back to your days of when you were founding or when you found it. And you were running jogging comm in like 2000. Yeah,

Aaron Matos, Paradox 2:46
Yep. It’s been a while.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:47
Yeah, well, thank you for taking the time to be our guest on this expertise. The topic, of course, is recruiting automation, and more specifically, what you have learned about automation and yourself really, since taking to task automation with industry. So the question, I guess that just comes down to what big takeaways you’ve actually learned, what would you tell your younger self about recruiting automation and AI? If you could go back to 2015? Before Paradox.

Aaron Matos, Paradox 3:16
That’s awesome. Thanks, Chris. Thanks, Gerry, Shannon, Barb, everyone for for having us here. Um, I’ve been in the space a long time. And I think I think that question, I have to go back to my, what my younger self was and who, who I was and what drove me. And the interesting thing is, I’m a practitioner at heart and got into I got into HR because I was working full time through college and got my degree in HR, because I always felt if you got the people thing, right, you could build great teams. And so I just got obsessed with this team thing and recruiting, recruiting and training and coming my passion. Because if you got that stuff, right, you could build great organizations. And I think early in my career, when I when we launched jobbing in 2000, I thought it was late to the internet, obviously not late to the internet. It felt like it at the time, we grew that business tremendously. But I’ve always been kind of committed to this idea of first, it’s all about great people, like the people come first. And it was also always passionate about what I like to call the art of recruiting. And so I didn’t want technology to really get in the I’ll call it get in the way of the art which to me The art is, you know, Gerry determining that Shannon’s the right person for the team. And and all that goes into that because I’ve always just thought that there’s so much nuance that goes into that when you’re a great recruiter who understands the company and the the culture of teams inside of culture of organizations and so old Aaron, I run that I remember a time when I said we’re never going to build AI because it was a very well called black box and there was a lot of, you know, weird decision making that came out of it and I hated it. I I didn’t want to be able to say no to a group of people that I didn’t understand why we were doing that. And AI was doing that. And so we kind of had this line of like no AI. And there was always there’s, there’s a moment and it was in 15 or 16, that I kind of called my pebble in the shoe moment, where I walked into one of our clients, and there was like 40 recruiters on a floor, all with headsets on but all staring at their computers. And I swear to God, you could have dropped in a pen and only thing you heard was typing. And it was one of those moments where like, we’ve lost it, we’ve lost what the art of recruiting is, because we’re just busy moving people forward in our ATS system. And it just became this moment where the ATS has become not the solution to the piles of resumes, but it’s become the problem that we’re living in. And, and we started thinking about it differently. And that’s kind of where the conversations and AI came from. And today, people are sometimes referring to automation, we’ve always called it assisted intelligence. So like, the number one thing I go back and tell myself is, you know, don’t be afraid that there is this opportunity that the technology can free us up. And actually, I think this is what we call the Paradox, I think the paradox that AI will allow us to spend more time with people. And so what we’re really trying to do, when we’re looking at automation today, my old self was wrong was we can, we can take out a lot of the we call it BS, the boring stuff, you can hope you can call it whatever you want. But we want to take that stuff out of the process. So we as recruiters, and as hiring managers can spend more time with people. So I think that part I had wrong for the first decade of my career. And now I’ve kind of if you adopt the technology in the right way, or look at it in the right way can really, I think make your organization more transparent, build a better candidate experience? And that’s, that’s the number one thing for sure.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:57
So from a from a practitioner standpoint, I mean, are you are you talking about actually increasing through automation, increasing engagement with with some level of automation on the front end, but ultimately, increasing engagement with real life recruiters on the back end.

Aaron Matos, Paradox 7:12
I mean, that’s the goal. I mean, there’s there’s we think of the world in in I’ll call it two types of categories. There’s the high volume, I’ll call it recruiterless environment where a manager is doing the hiring, and there isn’t a recruiter in the process. And then there’s the high value, corporate side, which is a recruiter who’s driving this. And they both really have different problems that today’s or yesterday’s technology is trying to solve in the same way. So what we’re trying to do is, is help the candidate through the engagement process, help that hiring manager automate pieces that allow for, you know, ultimately, the human decision making to come through in a quicker way, but just make it no one in the last 10 years has said wow, the application processes is wonderful. I mean, these are these are paned processes that we’ve created. And there’s a lot behind that, that we can’t even fit into the 15 minute discussion. But we’re trying to make that easier, then we’re trying to help the recruiters, it seems simple but answering questions, we’ve got clients, we answer over 50 or 60,000 questions a week for, we’ve got we’ve been able to speed up interview process from doing the chase process where recruiting coordinators trying to coordinate with these three managers and this hiring manager in this candidate, we’ve been able to get that down to automation can take care of that in minutes, rather than hours or days. and stuff like that really ends up shortening the time to hire and I think you know, I have a, I have this crazy dream. And I don’t know how long it’s going to take me to fulfill this. But I have a dream, which is their disposition, a time of interest. I think when a candidate is able to raise their hand, we’re able to tell them, okay, here’s what’s happening next. And, you know, I would do that if you know, one of our lenses is, what would we do if a recruiter did the work? Like if we actually did shake everybody’s hand we did engage them? We would learn about them quickly. We tell them what was next. Well, today with the AI software, we’re getting closer to that vision. And in some places, we’re actually able to do it.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:16
What’s fascinating, is there any area of the recruiting process that, you know, you’ve been exposed to over all of your experience in the space that you feel absolutely cannot be automated?

Aaron Matos, Paradox 9:31
I mean, ultimately, I think the interview process is one that I think it’s really weird to automate. I think that, you know, there’s a lot of for the last 20 years, there’s been this blackbox stuff of, hey, we’ll you know, shortlist and pick out the three best people for this job. And it is I just think it’s so much more complicated that this isn’t dating, than the nuance of that is just so, so complicated. So, you know, I don’t want to automate that. You know, we’ve seen automate, hire an offer processes, I think that can happen. I also think there’s nothing better than reaching out and saying someone, congratulations, we’re so excited for you to join our company. I mean, the number one thing that outside of love, the number one thing that people can do is give their time for work. So, you know, there’s a really interesting line between automation, and actually providing true engagement and care for the candidate. And, and what we’re trying to do is, I think, balance that live but take out, you know, we constantly preach about this idea of we can take out 80% of the busy work or that the process and actually free that up, we just think we can we can build better, more respectful processes.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 10:40
Yeah, well, that sort of begs a question. I mean, what what would you recommend Aaron, to a TA leader, who’s just now looking to learn more about automation, and how they should maybe be thinking about automation as it pertains to recruiting for the organization? Not from a, what vendor should I go look at? Or what solutions Should I try to slam in? But where where does a leader start? Who doesn’t even doesn’t even really have their head wrapped around? What can be automated and what can be?

Aaron Matos, Paradox 11:07
Yeah, great question. I think some of the mistakes we’ve seen as people who are just trying to slap the automation label on everything, and they think automation is the goal. And that’s not the automation isn’t the goal. The reality is, I think you should start with why you’re doing what you’re doing, which, which does go all the way back to I’m trying to hire great people to have my, my company be more competitive. And then I’m trying to build a better process. So first, we always break it back into, okay, what’s the first why, then we we get into what we’ll call segments, which is trying to to group different jobs, or processes or candidates in different ways. I’ve always been driven nuts on if I go to a career site, and I’m an executive, or I’m in production, or I’m in sales or an engineering, I have the same choose your own adventure story. I think that’s crazy, I think we should be able to learn who these people are, we should put them through different different types of processes, because a different job is going to require a different type of automation, because we’re going to have different handoffs. So second is set the segmentation. And then third, we just we want to look at what you really want to automate what you don’t. And honestly, that’s a lot of discussion, I don’t think there’s a blank canvas that every company should be doing the same thing. There’s high value high, you know, low skill roles, there’s, there’s high volume high school where there’s required certifications, that requires a different type of handoff. And so it’s bad, it’s balancing all those things. And I think the other big thing I’ve learned three years ago, we were, you know, going into global enterprises and saying, like, we should change this, and I’ll tip it on its head. And I’ve learned that you can’t you mean, you can’t do that in a global enterprise with the crazy tech stack. So we have learned that it’s okay to walk before you run. And you got to have a big vision. And then you have to have a path on how you get from here to there. Because the change management and all this. This is about people process and technology all coming together. It’s not like I can slap a system on and say, okay, it’s better, that you’ve got to change how people how people do work. And we you know, I remember years ago, you and I talking about this that AT&T, you know, people change their jobs from working on, I think it was you can was story working on on lines to now becoming technology. And so the jobs of recruiters of talent acquisition are going to continue to morph. And you got to have a plan of how you’re going to do that. That I think is a long term plan for sure.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:39
Yeah, it’s a skill set change for sure. Right. It’s an evolution of the roles across across the board. So we’ve got we got time for one question. And it comes in from Brian Hirsch. And Brian is asking, does anybody have any tips on advising candidates on how they can leverage that technology to their benefit? So the big I guess that will just boil that down to what would be the one big element of automation you recommend to any recruiter as the one big takeaway, one big thing that they should get out of automation

Aaron Matos, Paradox 14:07
For the recruiter for the candidate for the recruiter. I mean, for the recruiter. I think, I’ll call back two years ago, I used to think or three years ago, I used to think that our scheduling assistant was going to scare recruiting coordinators because it does their job. I’ve learned that’s completely not true. For the most part, what it does is it does a portion it does a task of the job. And it allows them to do all this other stuff. So they’ve actually been able to add more value in their roles by eliminating the lower value work. And so I think the number one tip would be have, because technology has always change the way work gets done. So my number one tip is is look at it as a friend and look at how you can use these tools to help you build a better process a better candidate engagement and and stuff. At the end of the day ultimately hire great people that helps your organization to compete and build great teams. that’s ultimately what this is trying to do.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:08
I love it. You’re augmenting you’re not replacing.

Aaron Matos, Paradox 15:10
Absolutely. Absolutely.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:12
Aaron, I want to thank you again for your time and sharing those insights with us. We really appreciate you man.

Aaron Matos, Paradox 15:16
Thanks. Appreciate the time and now this is quick.

Chris Hoyt 15:19
Yep, you got it. Hey, everybody. Just a reminder next week, October 15. We’re bringing in Steven Rothberg. He is the founder of college recruiter comm he’s going to share with us his top recommendations around how to successfully engage college candidates in a time of recruiting during a pandemic when live events for college recruiting are on the outs. Until then we hope to see everybody online@www.cxr.works/talent talks

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