Juicebox (PeopleGPT): AI in recruiting

In our category "HR Tech in US" we present HR tech companies from the USA and what the European HR world can learn from them.
In this interview, I spoke with David Paffenholz. He is Founder of Juiceboxa company that offers an AI solution for recruiting.

David, you developed PeopleGPT with Juicebox to bring artificial intelligence (AI) into recruiting. - How does your approach work and what makes it special?

Imagine if you had a recruiting assistant who's read through hundreds of millions of profiles and built an understanding of each individual's experiences, skills, and interests. You can ask the assistant to help you set up searches for best-fit candidates, craft personalized messages for them, and present you with an organized list of results.

That's what PeopleGPT brings to market - today - an AI powered people search engine. You enter a description of who you're searching for, and PeopleGPT will 1) find best fit profiles across 30+ data sources, 2) write personalized outreach, and 3) export those candidates, including candidate summaries, to your ATS / CRM.

Will AI put recruiters out of work?

No, but it will transform their jobs. 

Sourcing will evolve from reviewing thousands of profiles to selecting among best-fit candidates that the AI found. Candidate relationships will become even more important, as personalized messaging becomes commonplace. Employer branding will take on increased importance, even involving role-specific branding initiatives.

Overall, more time will be spent in AI-assisted workflows, guiding software to help achieve goals. It will result in more impactful TA departments, with more attention placed on candidate experience, higher conversion rates across all funnel steps, and greater hire success rate.

How do you envision the future of your AI? Do you think beyond the recruiting sector?

We're focused on recruiting. 

That involves 1) adding more data sources into our platform, many of which have entirely untapped data on candidate skills and experiences, 2) expanding our AI features, including entirely new workflows, and 3) deepening our integrations with the 60+ ATS and CRM platforms we currently support.

You know the German and American markets. What do American tech companies do differently to German ones?

I'm more familiar with the American than the German market, but some of the key differences we've observed (purely anecdotal):

  • Active Sourcing: more commonplace across roles in the US
  • Candidate Outreach: outreach still leans towards LinkedIn or Xing in European, though there is increased willingness to try other channels (email, phone, WhatsApp)
  • Personalization: generally high personalization and strong engagement in the European market

Why did you set up in the USA? 

I first moved to the US to go to college and have stayed here since. In my mind, it's undoubtedly the best place to build a tech startup: you have a high concentration of like-minded founders, access to capital, and a large talent pool with previous startup experience. We started building PeopleGPT while going through Y Combinator, a startup accelerator in San Francisco, and it was an easy decision to stay here since.

David, thank you for the interview and your insights!


Paidwell: simplify employee compensation

In our category "HR Tech in US" we present HR tech companies from the USA and what the European HR world can learn from them.
In this interview, I spoke with Nathan Young. He is Founder of Paidwella company that simplifies employee compensation.

Nathan, you founded Paidwell, a company that aims to simplify employee compensation. How does your approach work? And why is it better than other solutions?

Our goal right now is to build the most equitable pay-for-performance compensation tools on the market. We focus on three elements to help our customers succeed - consulting to understand their needs and to design custom compensation programs that fit their needs, coaching to help our customers learn to manage compensation according to their own philosophy, and then we provide our proprietary compensation software to help them stay on track.

We don't focus on building something better for everyone - we focus on building something better for our tribe - companies that want to make decisions based on data and focus on doing things right, not just right now.

How important is employee compensation in the pay package?

Our philosophy is that pay is 1/3 of the equation in the employer/employee value proposition. It's critical, but it's insufficient by itself. We believe that the culture and lifestyle of a business make up a third of the value for employees, with career development being the final third.

Do you see any differences between the U.S. and, say, the European market in terms of employee compensation?

Yes. And there are variations by country, as well. Overall, the US is one of the best, if not the best, compensation market for tech talent in the world. However, different regions and countries have different approaches to compensation, as well as overall rewards (compensation, benefits, development, and other pieces). In some areas it's common to get bonuses, others equity - some offer base, bonus, and equity. Some regions have lower salaries with better healthcare and retirement, others emphasize higher direct cash compensation.

What can companies do better in terms of employee compensation? How should they position themselves in this area?

I think the best advice I'd give here is to think about for what you're solving and be intentional in how compensation is delivered to employees. We see a lot of companies being very reactive to the market or to whomever is asking for things right now. Instead, we recommend developing your own philosophy, know your target talent market, and then to build a talent strategy with a compensation component that is designed to attract/retain that key talent. You can never catch the market - it's better to build something fantastic and then let the market catch up to you.

How do you think technology can help in HR in the future?

I think technology is the future of HR. There are so many decisions and processes in HR that are people-dependent. We have to remember specific details and conversations, data points from multiple systems (if they're in a system at all), and organizations are made up of individual people with their own unique backgrounds, needs, and opinions. Ultimately, employees are customers too - we should know as much about our own teams as we do about our customers. I think HR will be similar to other functions like finance and marketing, where even small companies will use advanced systems to effectively manage their people operations. 

Nathan, thank you for the interview and your insights.

AccuChain: Validation of resumes and more

In our category "HR Tech in US" we present HR tech companies from the USA and what the European HR world can learn from them.
In this interview, I spoke with Maura Sparks. She is Co-Founder of AccuChain, a company that validates resumes, ensuring that written content is accurate and AI free.

Maura, at AccuChain you developed Validator, a tool to prevent misinformation in resumes. How does it work?

We have developed a cloud-based resume validation and recruitment platform using proprietary validation processes to dramatically reduce false information in resumes. A jobseeker starts by building their resume in our resume builder. The user can upload and edit an existing resume or create a resume using prompts from the platform. The resume can be fully customized and content can be easily edited. In addition, the platform allows users to upload supporting documents, credentials, diplomas, portfolios and more. Each resume claim can be validated with the platform's built-in validation system. The platform emphasizes factual information using trusted third party validators. The validator is someone familiar with each resume claim, such as: a manager, colleague, partner, client, or customer. The communication between the platform and the validator is automated by our platform. The platform's validation uses a screening technique to fake accounts and validators. Once validated, the resume can be sent to hiring managers or HR departments. The jobseeker is providing a complete online profile we call an 'Enhanced Digital Resume'. 

Why is the validation of resumes so important? And how can technology help here?

The Society for Human Resource Management (SHRM) states 46% of resumes have false information. A resume filled with over-inflated claims can easily lead to a bad hire and cost companies up to $240,000. In addition, it can negatively impact project timelines and budget. Validated resumes have the potential to become a new standard in hiring, we wanted to create a platform based on having truthful information about the applicants. The platform was also designed for HR professionals to receive applications directly from jobseekers or find top qualified candidates from the platform's dashboard tied to a job posting. Validator was designed to highlight positive validations and maintains a high level of integrity so hiring managers can have trust in their hires. Hiring decisions should be based on having truthful information about the applicants.  

What AI development is taking place at AccuChain?

AccuChain is committed to ensuring written content is accurate and AI free. We are now expanding to detect AI generated content in other written content, including manuscripts, tv and film scripts, blogs, and articles to prevent issues in copyright laws. Publishers and writers who plan to publish and monetize their written content need to protect their work by copyrighting their content and it must be written by the author and free from plagiarism. By using our AI Detection Platform, Documenta, users can authenticate their work is free from AI generated content. Using AI as a tool for productivity is useful, but using it for written content could be problematic. Much like the ruling for screenwriters in Hollywood, AI can be used to generate ideas, but not write scripts. These are useful guidelines for all written content and it is logical to think these steps will be implemented in other industries. In addition, we also have plans to add more AI to Validator to improve the validation process.

What is HYRverse? And what is your goal with it?

HYRverse is a platform we'd like to build someday. We developed a prototype and were selected to the Polygon LEAP accelerator. We developed NFT versions of each profile that acted as a resume or portfolio. Integrating NFTs with smart contracts is a future area we may pursue. Our goal would be to expand Validator to a Web3 platform and create a career network built on trust. Talent and company profiles could be validated and minted. We believe hiring should be based on merit and by allowing a user's identity to be private until hired it removes any bias. By ensuring that everything on their NFT is verified, it brings a high level of trust and minimizes bad actors. We put our web3 work on hold and are focused on Validator and Documenta right now.

Do you see the U.S. as a leader in artificial intelligence (AI)? What are you doing better than other nations?

The United States (US) is seen as the leader in Artificial Intelligence (AI) with over 4000 startups developing AI applications. In addition, the leading US AI companies have developed their own regenerative AI software including: Google's Bard, OpenAI's ChatGPT, and IBM's Watson, to name a few. In addition, many of these companies have made investments in other AI companies, most notably Microsoft's $13 billion investment in OpenAI. The US has a strong community of talent, most importantly developers, researchers and US federal government support. Innovation is revered and funding for new AI advancements continues to be strong for growth and speed in development. Competition from other countries is an opportunity for future collaboration.

What do you see as the future of recruiting?

Many aspects of the 'employee-employer' relationship are broken. Talent deserves stability, a liveable income and potential for advancement. The look of traditional full-time jobs is changing. More people will be working on projects and be hired in teams. They will have a portfolio of their past work history (traditional and project based) and validation provides a better assessment of skills and knowledge than a traditional resume that can easily contain exaggerated claims. Validation of past projects and work will become an important piece in hiring. In addition, HR departments need to focus on communication. I hear too often that applicants never hear back after applying for a position, and even more egregious after an actual interview. Some of this could be automated with AI. Post interviews, talent deserves to hear why they were passed on the position. Companies could benefit from having HR professionals respond with a few words of encouragement or suggestions.

Removing the bias and barrier in hiring is another area that is an important step to democratize recruiting and hiring. If users can keep their name, age, gender, and other personal data private that will remove any unconscious bias during the initial interview stage.

Also, downsizing can be lessened with more redeployment programs. This includes helping talent find other positions within the company by offering positions within different departments or in other teams. Talent that understands the company line of work, products, culture and team is an asset that should not be dismissed lightly. Retaining good talent saves time and money in the long run. The bottom line is talent is not dispensable and start by hiring the right people and work to retain talent with ongoing support. Loyalty and trust work both ways. 

Maura, thank you for the interview and your insights.

Underdog.io: Matching tech companies and talent

In our new category "HR Tech in US" we present HR tech companies from the USA and what the European HR world can learn from them.
In this interview, I spoke with Joshua Goldstein. He is Co-Founder of Underdog.io, a company that brings tech companies and talent together.

Joshua, you founded Underdog.io, a company that brings together tech companies and tech talent. What is special about your approach? How does it work?

Our focus has always been on quality and efficiency for both the candidates who are searching for opportunities, and the companies looking to bring on the best talent. This focus generates a better user experience, which drives everything else. In the early days, we were an email-based product, which was the most efficient way to distribute qualified candidates to exciting companies. Since we've grown, we've built software to help ensure meaningful connections with little-to-no wasted time and energy.

Is this approach applicable internationally? Do you see any differences between the US and, for example, the European tech scene?

Each market is different. The European tech ecosystem is rich with diversity, bringing with it unique challenges. But at its heart, recruitment is about people. While tools like Underdog.io have found success in the US, the principles of quality and efficiency are universal. It's just a matter of tailoring the approach to resonate with the specific audience.

What is special about US tech talent? Do they really all earn as much salary as you always hear? What is the importance of salary for tech talent in the US?

Many of the best technology companies are built in the US, which means the tech talent gets a front-row seat. They are the ones driving the innovation at scale.

With regard to salaries, it's a spectrum. FAANG and FAANG-adjacent companies have driven salaries higher. To compete, other tech companies have had to raise their compensation as well. With that said, salaries will vary depending on the location, company size, company stage, etc. Beyond salary, what we've observed is an increasing emphasis on values, growth potential, and work environment. 

What does the future of (tech) recruiting look like from your perspective?

The future of tech recruiting is all about meaningful connections. It's not just about matching a CV to a job description. It's about aligning values, culture, and visions. As the tech landscape changes, so do the skills and adaptabilities companies are looking for. It's about finding that sweet spot where a candidate's vision aligns with a company's goals. Having worked with tech candidates at Underdog.io for the last decade, I've seen firsthand the shift towards more meaningful recruitment.

How can technology help shape that future?

Technology brings scalability, insights, and personalization to the table. It can help us understand trends, predict needs, and tailor experiences for both candidates and companies. While algorithms and data play a crucial role, the human element remains irreplaceable. Platforms that can strike a balance, understanding the tech and the human side of things, are the ones that stand out.

Joshua, thank you for the interview and your insights.