Storytelling About HiringBranch With Stéphane Rivard
What if you could streamline your high-volume hiring process and reduce bad hires by over 90%? Join our conversation with Stéphane Rivard, co-founder and CEO of HiringBranch, as we unveil the secrets to their innovative platform that’s changing the game in high-volume recruitment.
Discover how HiringBranch’s unique AI assessment evaluates candidates’ competencies like language skills, communication, and soft skills, providing an engaging experience for candidates and allowing companies to make job offers within 24 hours! We also dive into the importance of soft skills in hiring and discuss how their platform clones top performers while reducing bias. Get ready to learn how investing in the right candidates leads to better performance and loyalty with Hiring Branch!
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Show length: 20 minutes
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Stephane Rivard is the Co-founder and CEO of HiringBranch and a lifelong entrepreneur. In his spare time, Stephane likes to play chess, run, ski, mountain bike, sail or participate in any outdoor adventure.Follow
Storytelling About HiringBranch With Stéphane Rivard
William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case podcast. Today we have Stefan on from hiring branch who will be learning about the business case or the use case for how customers and prospects, what they make for purchasing hiring branch, or working with hiring branch. Stefan would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself?
And hiring branch.
Stephane Rivard: Sure. Thank you for having me on the con the podcast today. Excited to be here. Yeah. So my name is Stefan. I’m the co-founder and c e o of Hiring Branch. And what we do at Hiring Branch is that we’ve created a [00:01:00] a platform that is used for high volume hiring and what we evaluate, the, this assessment is quite unique.
We evaluate the competencies of that candidate. And what we mean by competencies, we’re talking about their language skills, we’re talking about their communication or soft skills or people skills and employability skills. And we do this for customer facing roles where these people are, the face of the company and the way they communicate and talk to your customer is extremely important.
And we use AI to evaluate how well they do that. And after a while, our customers tell us that the platform is so accurate that they stop interviewing or re rethink interviews and put the interview at the end of the process, like an operational interview before they go into production. Yeah, we didn’t coin that term.
No interview hiring, but this is what we’re doing now using an
William Tincup: assessment. The AS assessment itself, is that more like a survey or more like a simulation? Tell us a little bit about how you [00:02:00] get that data around competencies. Yeah, I
Stephane Rivard: think that’s, and that’s a great question. The assessment is actually an experience.
It’s like a candidate experience. What we do is that, We take that candidate through an assessment that takes anywhere from 20 to 45 minutes depending of where they are geographically around the world, and they actually get to have to answer to customer calls or which can be actually spoken calls.
So they listen to a call. For example, if you’re in a telco space a typical question you may be asked is, a customer calls in and says, I just bought this new smartphone, and the internet doesn’t work, and the candidate would then have to respond to that question. Everything is open-ended, and they would have to first of all, identify what the question is and then articulate an answer that sort of makes sense.
And what we evaluate in that process is how well that candidate can understand the questions, can understand the customer, and we also evaluate how well they can articulate and be understood by the customer. And we do this for [00:03:00] both the spoken skills and we do this for written skills, which is chat and email.
William Tincup: that. So there’s two I got 90 questions, but let’s just start with the first couple of ’em. So one does the. Does the candidate get a copy or some type of version of the results of their assessment? A b, you’ve seen this and I know, this, speed is such a crazy thing now for both the candidates and the employers, right?
Candidates wanna move fast, 20 to 40 minutes. That’s an investment of time. So what do you see as, it’s gonna create friction, right? Anything you put in the process creates a little bit of friction. But how do you see kinda navigating the things that both candidates want? And employers want.
Stephane Rivard: Yeah I think that’s, that’s, that is a concern of a lot of these projects that we worked in. The recruiters are concerned about losing these candidates because adding another step. And the reality of what happens is that the companies that we work with, these clients, they realize [00:04:00] that if they make this as the first step and probably the most important step in the hiring process, That it actually reduces friction.
So I’ll give you an example. We have a customer that they do premium fundraising. So they don’t charge commissions on the amount of money they raise. They have a large contact center. These are sales specific skills or fundraising skills. So where. We know which skills after benchmarking their current employees, what they do is that they post the actual link to the assessment as the first step.
So they can do this on Indeed or any of the job boards. They do the assessments, the recruiters immediately see the scores. So there’s really no time lag. They’re available literally a second after the candidate. Oh, cool. Yeah. Correct. Yeah. And then they will offer them a job on the spot. So you’re talking about their positioning jobs within 24 hours, then they’ll put ’em a training and to actually start work is conditional on them passing the training which lasts about, five days.
And at that point. And
William Tincup: do they [00:05:00] commu, in your experience, do they communicate that to the candidates? Listen, this is real simple. We’re gonna assess you to make sure that you’re a good fit. Then we’re going to train you and you’re going to either pass or fail that, and then we’re gonna hire you. Then you’re gonna start.
That’s right. So this moves fast. Do they communicate that, or do you help them
Stephane Rivard: communicate that? Yeah, they communicate that as part of their hiring process. And they know. And then at the end of all this, then once they pass all these tests, then they’ll start looking at their cvs. And they’ll look at the, they’ll do an, they’ll do an operational interview just before they go into
William Tincup: production.
Yeah. Any industry. You said hourly, so that can be a lot of the same customer facing. Is there any industries that you are kinda more focused on right now?
Stephane Rivard: Yeah. We work with, the, one of the largest online retail company in the world. So we do these sales roles, investigator roles for fraud. We also do customer support roles and in the verticals it could be from Telco all the way to health insurance. And we’re now starting to work in [00:06:00] finance. Oh, cool. Yeah so it’s really about, from all the research that we’ve done and, we’re looking at, Harvard Business Review and the Carnegie they did a research and they said that, the success successful job candidates is based on 15% hard skills.
And 85% is soft skills. So what we’re doing is really rethinking this whole hiring process and putting those soft skills at the forefront while of course, making sure that, they still have the employability attention to detail all within one assessment instead of using multiple assessments.
William Tincup: So I love that you said it’s out. They can put it way out in the front of the funnel. Yeah. To just filter, filter in, filter out, et cetera. I’m assuming with hourly, this is mobile first. But I don’t, I need to ask that. Is the technology built for for the phone, tablet,
Stephane Rivard: et cetera? Correct. Yeah. We have about, a large percentage of our candidates are using mobile phones, the tablets, it’s, device agnostic.
And even for some of our customers, we have proc train built in, depending where you are. [00:07:00] And it’s really simple, like you just log in with a link, there’s no installation required, and you have an authentic, experience of what that actual job looks like, which is also an important part of the platform.
William Tincup: Yeah, that’s the, basically here’s, a job description’s flat yeah. And to one dimensional, if you will, but explaining here’s what happens after the job or in the job itself. Can you see their house? Because it’s, if they opt out there, that’s great. No one likes to hear that, but it’s no, I’d rather opt, opt out there than, two weeks into the job.
Stephane Rivard: Exactly. Yeah. And I think, one of our, one of our larger customers, they say that this candidate experience helped them reduce the bad hire rates by over 90%. So that’s someone that they have to let go because they can’t communicate or understand customers within 90 to 120 days. Like we really cut that rate by 90%.
So it it’s fascinating by giving this candidate a quick way to apply, to figure out if there’s a good job fit, to give them a feel of the job. And, these customer support or these sales roles are not easy. It’s [00:08:00] not meant for everybody. Talking to customers can be difficult, especially a difficult customer.
And part of our process, you’ll actually have to deal with those types of
William Tincup: calls. Yeah. I’ve I worked in retail coming up and I still remember being yelled at by a customer for the price of broccoli being wrong. Like that was a real thing that actually happened. And and she.
Pointed in my chest, like she, not hit me, but she put her finger in my chest and she’s it’s mislabeled. It’s supposed to be 11 cents a pound and this, that, and the other. I’m like, I don’t put a price. I have no idea. That’s life.
Stephane Rivard: That’s life. Yeah, I know. I was at the supermarket yesterday and I, when I’m alone, I always try to sneak in a bag of chips and the bag of chip was six bucks.
And that was the price I wanted to scream at somebody, but,
William Tincup: They’d better be, they better be really good
Stephane Rivard: chips, be really good chips. Yeah. This was standard chips. I didn’t, I walked away, I think I’ve [00:09:00] cured my chip chip fixation.
William Tincup: So when you started a hiring branch, you started with a thesis, right? So you wanted to solve a problem. And the problem is.
Obviously candidates, they want to have a better understanding of the job that they’re about to apply to employers, recruiters in particular, they wanna deal with more qualified candidates so that they’re not wasting time on folks that aren’t qualified. How is, as you go through the process and you work with more and more customers, has the thesis changed or have you added other things to the thesis?
Stephane Rivard: Yeah. I, it all started like we’ve been in linguistics and, cultural training and customer service training for about 20 years. And one of our customers who hires in high volume. So you have to think of these cus these companies that can, hire 20 or 30,000 people a year and they were doing the manual process and they really wanted to automate this.
So that’s how it started. And. And we were using the same approach as our linguistic and training package. So it’s it’s a merger of all these ideas [00:10:00] plus artificial intelligence. And I guess as time go, went on, is that it? It was the accuracy of the tool, of this approach of, because, we benchmark existing employees, we figure out from our people skills framer what soft skills are key, and then we apply that.
So it’s you’re taking your existing. Employees that really are top performers and you’re cloning them with this AI tool. So this was not something we set out to resolve. And the other thing is like really replacing or rethinking interviews. We wanted to give our customers a better way to evaluate.
We weren’t really thinking about recruiter ISTs hiring, like what they’re talking about now. So all these things happened because of, just really being, really scientifically based and really metric driven hiring that came out of it.
William Tincup: So let’s switch to some of the buy side stuff.
Favorite part of the demo, your favorite part when you can get to show people’s technology. What’s, what is that?
Stephane Rivard: I think that the favorite part of what we do is the results that we [00:11:00] get. The platform runs a candid through the experience, but it’s what happens after. It’s how the AI really can eliminate bias from the hiring process.
HR teams say that 85 to 95% of your hiring is based on gut. We’re adding science to them. We’re helping ’em make decisions. Global players may have centers around the US may have centers around the world. They have performance metrics from around, they know how well they’re performing, and now we’re giving them the hiring metrics that are very granular and they can figure out, aha, we have a hiring problem here.
We have a performance problem here. They can go back to the hiring data and specifically see what’s happening so they can assist those recruiters say, look, we’re looking at someone who has much better. Fluency and they need to build Rapaport much, they need to have those skills. So you have to help find those can candidates that can be fed into, and again, back to the favorite part is really the results.
Our customers typically report, like first call resolutions that have increased revenues that have increased. One company found top [00:12:00] performers using our approach. That’s someone who becomes at a first quartile of their performance reports within 90 days. With our platform. They had never seen that from the existence of the company.
It typically takes a year. So using this really, focused approach to hiring, they can find top performers much quicker. So it’s really the results. It’s not the hiring results. When we talk about, we can hire someone within, we reduced your hiring time for 38 to five days. This is not this is not a metric we tracked cuz it’s immediate.
It’s really the employee performance that we measure that’s really, the most gratifying for me.
William Tincup: And the retention of those, the top performers, right? So how do they just, we can even just do it anecdotally, but how do they tie, the technology, the competency, being able to do all this to those people that are top performers check.
So that’s performance. And then into retention, like into engagement and retention. Like retaining consumer, you can hire ’em and they could be top performers. But if you don’t retain them, [00:13:00] then I mean it’s, you still got their performance while they’re there, but you want to, you wanna ultimately retain those folks.
So how have you seen customers tie that
Stephane Rivard: together? Yeah, so I, I think it’s a, multifaceted answer that’s just, retention is never easy, especially, we work with, clients in India, Philippines, where employees will jump when they get a raise. Yeah. So this is a different, this, we don’t resolve that problem, but w will, retention is really, first of all, making sure the candidate knows what the job entails, right?
Back to our large, fortune 500 customer. We reduced that that issue by 90%. So right there, you’re weeding out people who are not a good fit for the job by giving them that great candidate experience. And they typically stay, typically stay longer. The other thing is that, We’re also finding candidates that you typically would not look at, and they may be completely inexperienced.
And from the data that we have is that if you pick out the right skills, these employees or maybe their first job in, in this kind of role will [00:14:00] stay longer than someone who’s been jumping around. So these are the things that we’re helping you find. There was a study that came out again from Harvard Business for you.
There are 27 million hidden workers in North America. And what they mean by hidden work is that someone who has not worked in 10 years or five years, that their CV would never pass. Any CV screening tool or a recruiter that we use and we find the skills. An example if they gave in their article was someone who is a housewife who raised a bunch of kids.
You can guarantee that person has great soft skills and can do a really good job at talking to people, but nobody would ever hire them because of their cv.
William Tincup: Yeah, you finish your thought. I’m sorry.
Stephane Rivard: Yeah, no, but that’s, sort of part of the problem of retention. Trying to find candidates who, who are new to the industry, they tend to be more loyal from the studies that we’ve done.
And you can also train ’em and they’ll perform
William Tincup: better. They don’t like the inve. They’re loyal. They like the investment. You’ve put some investment into ’em. They might be a little raw. We’re all raw, at certain points. Questions that [00:15:00] buyers should ask. Hiring branch. So if you could script it with prospects and say, these are the 10 questions you should be asking us, or not 10, what are the what should they be asking you?
Stephane Rivard: Typically some of our clients use a variety of different assessments or your language assessments and what we like to ask them is, first of all, have you ever correlated your, the soft skills required for the job and measured and see how it affects performance? That’s typically the first question, to ask what skills are making you successful? So they may have an idea, but we can actually quantify it with numbers. That’s a really important task. And the other one is like, how do you apply this consistently, especially for high volume jobs. We have customers who have 30, 40, 50 recruiters, and as there’s a lot of bias that gets introduced to hiring.
How do you eliminate that bias? And by using ai, as as a first step, you are standardizing your approach at a local level, but also globally, you know that you’re hiring the same [00:16:00] kind of the skills that you need regardless of where they’re from. So bias is another really important factor that we really move the needle on.
But those are things. And then the other thing, how do you improve, revenues, how do you improve these metrics? Using this really, focused approach really helps you move the needle on those things.
William Tincup: Do they ask you about two things? Do they ask you about the science around the your particular assessment?
And do they ask you about ethical AI or responsible ai, whatever you wanna call that? Do they do you find yourself, or do you want to an, you’re not, do you want to answer those questions, but do you think it’s important for them to ask those questions?
Stephane Rivard: Definitely, like ethical AI is extremely important.
We have we have an AI governance paper, a research paper that really talks about that how there’s no bias in the tool and it’s constantly being challenged. So I think that’s a really important thing. And this part of what also makes us extremely proud is that we’re giving opportunities to people who had never gotten an opportunity in the first place just by making sure that they have the right skills to do the job.[00:17:00]
William Tincup: Love it. So last thing is a success story. Without brand names, without, none of that stuff. Yeah. But just someone that maybe even was a little skeptical. Yeah. And then took a chance and then all of a sudden, boom. Tell us a little bit
Stephane Rivard: about that. Yeah. We had we had, so I, I’ll tell you this one story.
We have this company, it’s this smaller one. It’s not one of our larger clients. The recruiting director was very concerned about using this tool. They have hiring quotas. They’re high volume. And he thought that if we in introduce an assessment of the platform, this would reduce the number of candidates for their job.
Eventually, we’d convince ’em to give this a shot. They were able not only to be, keep their hiring quotas, but they increased the number of candidates. So this was probably the most interesting thing from everywhere that we deploy this tool. Everyone’s so concerned about, we’re gonna have less candidates, we’re introducing this assessment.
But by reducing the number of steps and making it as at the front candidates [00:18:00] feel that this is an unbiased way to get a job, and we’re seeing more. So that’s probably, and then we also improve all kinds of different metrics. But really, changing the way they hire, reducing the number of time, having more candidates and having more candidates with the skills they need right.
Is probably the most interesting. And we see this from all our clients after a while.
William Tincup: We fell in love with volume, the idea of volume. 20,000 people applied to our job. Yeah. That’s. That’s great, but if 20,000 people aren’t competent then it’s to big giants. So what, yeah. So it’s almost like you have to retrain recruiters to think what matters Is the quality of candidates coming through the pipeline, not the number.
Stephane Rivard: Yeah, exactly. We’re talking to a customer now, they get 25,000 applicants a month. And their team can only process about four to 500 CS.
William Tincup: So that’s which again, you don’t, those might be great. Or you might be missing all the talent, the, all the really super talented people that have the [00:19:00] competencies. Again, it could be great or it could be not like, but it’s left to chance, which should
Stephane Rivard: be. Exactly. Yeah. I think, there’s another key piece of data.
They say that I forget where it spun, but recruiters all from HC Mag, they’re saying that H R D sag, they’re saying that 71% of managers think they missed a key hire. Oh yeah, inefficient processes and 90% did not meet their hiring quotas. Like it’s very difficult to go through all those cvs. We were talking to other co company.
They hire 25,000 people a year. They get a million, million people out apply for jobs. It’s not
William Tincup: possible. No. And again, with technology where it is today it’s, it, it can be possible like the number million candidates that shouldn’t be daunting to us with where technology is today.
We’re just not using it yet, or in the appropriate fashion. Stefan, I love what you built. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast.
Stephane Rivard: Yeah. Thanks for having us on our Yeah, thanks for having us. It’s [00:20:00] great. Yeah, we really enjoyed it
William Tincup: and thanks for everyone listening until next time.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.