Sanjoe Tom Jose
Sanjoe Jose is the Chief Executive Officer at Talview. He is a serial entrepreneur with ventures in Enterprise SaaS and Consumer Internet domains. Previously, he has worked with MNCs like National Instruments and L&T. He is an Engineer and MBA from IIT Bombay. He is passionate about using AI to solve enterprise business problems.Follow Follow
Welcome back to The RecruitingDaily Podcast. Today we welcome Sanjoe Jose, CEO at Talview, to discuss hiring at scale while in a labor shortage economy.
Sanjoe Tom Jose is a well-known thought leader in the HR Tech space. He founded Talview in 2017 and remains passionate about building tech that helps organizations create more efficient and effective talent management strategies, including AI-powered behavioral insights and the world’s first cognitive proctoring platform.
Talview was established with a mission to give every person a chance at equal footing academically and professionally using AI-powered solutions for hiring and assessments. The company launched with “Instahiring,” addressing time-to-hire as a key metric that affects human resources and talent acquisition success. Soon after, they began offering remote and live proctoring solutions that ensured integrity through the hiring process.
A few things we cover today: How do we hire at scale in a candidate-driven market? What is an ideal, easy and frictionless application process? In that regard, what advice would Sanjoe give to recruiters to create a “frictionless” application process?
There’s more, of course! Please leave your thoughts in the comments.
Listening Time: 30 minutes
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This is RecruitingDaily’s recruiting live podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week, we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down, so that your three year old can understand it. Makes sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup. You are listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today, we have Sanjoe from Talview. We have a wonderful topic we’re going to explore, hiring at scale while in a labor shortage. Which a lot people feeling that pain right now, and I can’t wait to get into it with Sanjoe. Why don’t we start with introductions? Sanjoe, would you do us a favor, the audience in favor, even me a favor, introduce both yourself and Talview.
Definitely. Happy to be here, William, always a pleasure to talk to you. I’m Sanjoe, one of the co-founders and also the CEO of Talview. I’ve been in the HR tech space for close to a decade now, and I’m based in Bay Area, California. At Talview we are focused on building the world’s first AI based talent measurement platform, where our focus is to build both an orchestration and an intelligence layer for how talent measurement happens, especially in the views and assessments across the talent life cycle. And we’ve today worked with close to 100 plus customers, mostly large enterprises in industries like retail, call centers, financial services, and also customers in the certification space. That’s a broad overview of what we do, and look forward to this conversation.
Do we have some recent news coming out of Talview?
Yeah, we’re very excited that we’ve recently completed a series B funding. This was a $15 million round led by [Elysis 00:02:17] Capital, a Silicon Valley based fund. This is a major milestone for us in terms of our go-to-market expansion, where we have very aggressive plans to go after some of the largest enterprises across the globe in our target segments over the next 24 months.
That’s awesome. Well, first of all, congratulations. Raising money is not easy at all. Again, congratulations for you, your customers and your future customers, because I can’t wait to see what else you all build. Sanjoe, I’ll start off with last night, I was ordering pizza for my sons, and it was just Domino’s, and it wouldn’t go through, I couldn’t figure it out. I kept thinking I’d done something wrong, and the three closest stores to my house couldn’t deliver, because they didn’t have delivery people. We figured it out, I went to a store and picked it up, but the point is, is like the shortage with the scarcity in foodservice. You all deal with retail, which is contiguous, it’s real. I mean, I felt it just last night.
I know your customers are feeling it, so let’s talk about hiring at scale when people need to hire a lot of folks. I had a good friend of mine that had to hire a thousand engineers in a quarter. That’s a lot. How do you do that in right now what is a candidate driven market? What will be in the foreseeable future a candidate driven market where there’s, I believe a little over 10 million jobs that are open. How do you start breaking down that conversation when you talk to your customers and prospects?
Yeah. This is a first time since we started Talview, I think we are seeing this extreme situation where most of our customers, or probably all of our customers are not able to attract enough talent. This is irrespective of industry it’s like you mentioned. Whether it’s retail, whether it’s professional services or tech and tech enabled industries. I’ll just code something which a customer, a senior leader in one of the retail organization told me last week. They’re all focused on removing even the last grain of sand in the gear when it comes to hiring process, so how they can make the candidate experience as seamless, as smooth as possible so that there is no friction whatsoever. The moment they’re able to identify a candidate who shows even an iota of interest, they just want to ensure that they’re going all out to snap them up.
That’s what the industry is going through. I think it’s not something which is going to last forever, but it definitely something which all of our customers need a solution for right now. We’ve been fortunate to help many of them do that, given our focus from day one has been to build a candidate experience which is as seamless as possible. I think the way when we look at customers, there are two sets of customers today, broadly out there, especially in our world where we are primarily focused on high volume hiring. On one end we have, like you mentioned, Domino’s, the quick service restaurants, a lot of grocery chains, a lot of them who are … today they’re in a situation where they don’t have the luxury of probably putting a lot of filtering, or a lot of checks and balances before they onboard somebody.
They are basically focused on how they can create an omnichannel experience, whether the candidate is on SMS, they are on WhatsApp, Telegram, whichever platform they are on. On the web, video, wherever, they’re able to create a seamless, single channel experience for them to apply, and if required, speak to somebody and get an offer. The second set is customers who are hiring more professional employees. People who their skills need to be validated, because without their validated skills they cannot perform this job. Earlier they used to do let’s say three rounds, four rounds of interviews, or assessments, or different combination of these, but now they’re trying to figure out how they can reduce that number of steps. How can they get more done with a lesser number of steps.
Because if they don’t hire them fast enough, their competition is going to hire those candidates. Very different scenarios, but the problem and kind of the solution, which both segments are going for is similar. It’s all about removing friction from the hiring process of the candidate experience.
I love that you focused on the ease to apply and reducing friction, because this could easily … we could make this a debate or a discussion about increasing pay and perks, right? And just making it a game, if you will, of how do we just pay more and give them more perks and pay for college, all that other stuff. Which I think those things are important, but a by and large, we’ll start with where you started with, with ease of apply. We’ll deal with that high volume. Mobile first, obviously is going to be really important for a lot of these industries, is making sure they have a great mobile experience. Again, not a million different things that they have to type into.
Why don’t you, instead of me explaining it to the audience, why don’t you take us into it? When you say ease to apply and reducing friction, what do you mean by that?
Yeah. I think you broadly touched upon some of the key aspects. Mobile is very critical, especially. Even if the person is not on the internet, they’re primarily using text based or call based applications. The ability for the candidate to apply via text, respond to questions via text, and even maybe agree to an offer via text. [crosstalk 00:09:13]-
Just real quick. When they’re responding via text, are you thinking about conversational AI in terms of responding to that? Or is that something in the future you think is important where they have a simple question, you have a simple answer, et cetera, and they do it like that? Or is that real human beings that are answering those texts?
That’s actually the second aspect, so essentially when I was talking about text, it could be either of those. It could be a recruiter on the other side, but it could also be a conversational AI on the other side. That’s where the second aspect becomes relevant 24/7, no matter what time the candidate is reaching out to you, whether it’s they saw an ad or they got a message, they got a message in a common group which they were part of. That moment when the candidate is sending you a text, or coming to your website, or going to your social media page, you want to be able to capture the details of those candidate, engage with them if possible, validate them, and if everything goes well, even give an offer.
That’s today possible only if … unfortunately you can’t have recruiters to do that 24/7, they can only do sequential tasks, and they can mostly operate 9:00 to 5:00. That’s where conversational AI has been used by a lot of employers, especially in the last few months, to ensure that there is real time response. Anytime a candidate is showing interest, you’re immediately engaging them and taking them to the next step.
Well, that gets to speed, which is something you kind of hit on is that the candidates are faster than we are. It’s something that we saw in ’19 and at the beginning of ’20 and we’re back right at it right now. Technology obviously is key, but also process and mindset. The recruiting team has to want to be faster on some level, and then processes underneath all of that stuff has to work faster, so that the idea that you say, “Hey, listen, it’s 24/7.” It’s Sunday at 3:00 in the morning, and they’re interested in your job, somebody’s got to respond and answer their question and engage with them. Any other advice that you have for folks to reduce friction out of that process?
I think the other key aspect is most often the drop offs. There are specific stages within the process where drop offs happen. One particular stage, which we have seen the most problematic for employers to address is the stage at which the candidate has to make a decision on accepting of this is a company I want to work for. The challenge with conversation AI, challenge with text or even tools like asynchronous video interviews, or audio interviews, and all of that is you are only collecting information from the candidate and you are not communicating anything back to them. In a traditional scenario, you always had one step towards the end of the process where either a recruiter is speaking to the candidate, or the candidate is walking into one of your locations. It could be a store, it could be your office.
Then they’re connecting with somebody and they’re making that connection, and they feel comfortable to saying yes to an offer. In this scenario that’s really not possible, so one thing which we have seen is very effective is to design and curate the experience in such a way that the candidate feels empowered and comfortable to make that decision that they’re able to … They feel that they know enough about the company. The culture is right. They’re going to be taken care of, and those things have to be proactively communicated. You spoke about one way to attract candidates is to offer them better perks, better benefits, but at the same time, the challenge is how do you communicate all of these to the candidate?
Almost every employer out there is announcing different perks, different offers, but how do you ensure that the candidate understands how what you’re offering is going to benefit them, and how what you’re offering is better than somebody else out there. Whether it’s your better work culture, whether it’s your better package, whether it’s your better benefits. I think that communication, proactive communication throughout the process, creating that … leading the candidate to a situation where they’re comfortable saying yes to you vis-a-vis somebody else, that becomes super important.
I love that you got to offer, because I was talking to a friend of mine the other day, and they’re in retail. They were talking about how it’s significantly changed. You make an offer, they say yes. In his situation, half of those that said yes, show up, that’s the first day. Then there’s a drop off to the second day, and I think his was like 30 something percent, but it’s a significant drop off just after you make the offer and they say yes.
One of the things that people need to understand just about this talent market right now is, even if you get to a yes, even if you’ve gotten to the wonderful stage of offer and you’ve explained everything and they say yes, it still doesn’t ensure. Again, we’re dealing with high volume and mostly hourly jobs, it still doesn’t ensure that they’re going to up.
The offer stage, and I love how when you were talking about that I was like, “How do you make that really personal? And how do you make that about them, and questions that they have?” And making sure that … because you’re mitigating a risk, so it’s like, you want them to show up. Yeah, there might be a level of attrition that goes through that, but how do you close that as much as possible? I’m sure you’ve had customers that have come to you, and prospects that have come to you and saying, “Hey, we’re at the offer level stage, and we’re still having problem. What can we do there?” What’s your best advice outside of engaging them with clarification communication? Do you have any other tricks or tips?
Yeah. One of the things which we have seen customers doing very effectively is you’re bringing in all this technology, you’re bringing in the efficiency automation. What that does is it’s freeing up your recruiters now to do things where they can add the most amount of value, and that’s really connecting with those individual candidates who have already said yes, or maybe who have been given an offer. Engage them and build that in way, the social agreement, which then makes it a lot more … it becomes a lot more, I would say, socially difficult situation, for lack of better word for the candidate to back out. Many times the employer who is able to … given the nature of high volume hiring which is happening in the industry right now, the employers who are able to establish that personal connect to the candidates at some stage in the process.
I think the most efficient way to do that is at the final stage, is able to address this to some extent, but I think like you rightly said, it goes beyond the offer acceptance. It’s also onboarding, it’s also day one. I think as much as everybody’s investing in sourcing and creating the experience during the hiring process, I think they also need to ensure that day one experience is as good as possible, to ensure that there is lesser drop off. Because the market is such where candidates are getting calls left, right, center from different employers, and they are getting better … everybody comes up with new packages. I was speaking to someone recently when I was at a restaurant and they were talking about the fact that they couldn’t even decipher the offer details.
Like how do I even compare, because there are so many aspects of the benefits which is not clear to me. Even if the employer was making an effort to make the package look as attractive as possible, but in that effort, I think things are not being communicated clearly, or we are coming up with packages which is too difficult for a prospective candidate to understand.
Yeah. It’s interesting, because benefits at that point becomes an arms race, and then you get to a point where one retailer has let’s just say 300 benefits, the other one has 350. It’s not necessarily about more, it’s about the ones that those candidates care the most about. Then communicating those that they care the most about, hell, you might not need 350, you might just need two that they care the most about. Again, making that simple stuff. But I want to touch on … there’s two things that I love of that you said. One is with all of this great technology that’s happening with automation, you’re essentially giving recruiters some time back to their schedules, so that they can then go deeper.
Especially at that offer stage, make it more personal, create a better experience, not just a better experience, but get back to that contract, that social contract. I think one of the things that I would advise and I want your take on it is, making sure that you follow how they want the communication. Because I’ve seen where you get to the offer stage, and we’re calling them, but they don’t really want calls. Or we’re texting them, and they don’t really want to text, they want to talk on the phone. Whatever the bid is, it’s we need to match them and meet them where they are, rather than force our own, because if we have the time at that stage to engage, we need to engage in the way that they want us to engage. Right?
Absolutely. In fact, that’s one of the … even before this current situation, that’s one of the things which we’ve seen across customers. I think the certain sect of recruiters are used to certain mode of communication. They prefer real time, they prefer calls. But especially when you’re hiring the younger generation, many of them, they do not prefer synchronous communication. They don’t want to talk to you, they want to [crosstalk 00:20:40] text messages. They want to … There was a scenario, so early on when we launched our video of interview surveys, so we had two flavors to the video interview surveys. The first one was just like a two-way conversation, just like a Zoom call, but with all the capabilities which enable employers to seamlessly integrate with the applicant track system and capture recordings, and feedback forms, and all that.
The second was asynchronous video interview where the questions are predefined and candidate could record their response as and when they get time. Early on, we saw that there were a lot of candidate feedback where candidates were not … not everybody was comfort affordable with the asynchronous mode of doing interviews, but as years went by, and if I look at the candidate feedback which comes in, especially in the last few months. I think that the generation, or the new candidate pool is preferring the asynchronous mode of communication. They’re already using that mode of communication to interact with their friends, they’re sending audio messages, video messages, they’re posting video messages in social media, they’re sending messages to each other.
I think the current generation prefers asynchronous interactions a lot more than we used to do I think when we were at that age.
Yeah. I’m squarely gen X, and I prefer actually text and email to calls, but you know, something for another day. I want to take an ask if prospects and customers are asking you about the pre-apply process. Because one of the things we’ve talked about is that how do we streamline the application process. Okay, so they get to your job, or they find it in some way or another in advertising, and then they find it. Then what do you do? How fast can you get them into your system and then get a response to them et cetera? Like okay so I feel good about that, is there anything that can be done before that happens that can be streamlined?
Definitely. I think we’ve seen customers in again two different buckets in that particular situation. We have customers who’ve have not cared about collecting the resumes or the database of candidates they have interacted with in the past, so they don’t basically have anything to go back to. Or they have outdated databases, which they have not managed to update. For those customers then it is all about how do they use the best sourcing channels to get to the right candidates. But then there are also customers who have been using applicant tracking systems or CRMs, and they’ve built a good repository of candidates. And they’ve also, in some cases they have used tools to update it, but in both cases, what we have seen is because of the pressure at which they’re operating right now, many times they’ve not relied on their …
I would say they have not put their best foot forward when it comes to engaging candidates who are not currently in their talent pipeline, somebody who hasn’t applied. Maybe they will apply if you are top of the mind for them by constant communication, maybe they will. The chances of accepting your application will increase if you are top of the mind through your constant communication. That’s something I think a lot more companies need to focus on today, they don’t. While there are CRM applications and some of those other capabilities out there, we have rarely come across customers who have utilized those capabilities efficiently, because they’re always torn between what’s here and now, and what’s required for the future.
Right. It’s interesting. It’s hard to cut you off, Sanjoe. They’re firefighting, right?
So it’s the next fire, and instead of … I was explaining to my sons the difference between reactive and proactive. The proactive communication that you’re speaking of is, okay, how do you build both a talent pool or talent community, et cetera, and then personalized, experiences for people that aren’t interested yet? That might even be just customers, and they might not even be interested in a job, but you’re personalizing content, personalizing the experience. And when they apply, they already have a really good feel for you, your company, your values, all that stuff. But then the clock, I think rightfully so back to the topic, the clock starts, and as fast as you can make that the best.
Last thing before we go out is, without maybe names, of course, just a customer of yours, or even somebody not a customer, but you see that just does this really well. That’s really, really doing this well, and why do you think that is?
I think there are many customers in different stages of their evolution of how they’ve adopted the modern hiring practices. One particular customer that we’ve seen, and this is Best Buy, they’re one of our customers. We have seen the way they have recently revamped their entire hiring process. This is a company who takes pride in the quality of resources they have within their stores, because customer experience is of paramount importance to them. At the same time, they’re also going through a similar issue where they need to attract as many candidates as possible, given the shortage of candidate supply within the market. Often what we have seen is when companies digitize their hiring process, they just take what’s already offline and then just put the same offline process, but now on an online platform.
But I think in spite of being a large company, they’ve revamped their entire hiring process to make it as seamless and efficient, and leverage all the advantages which digitization can offer when they re looked at their hiring process. I think that’s the one thing which I believe … and many customers when we’re in discussions with we are working with they’re all going through this. Given the amount of changes we have seen with the start of the pandemic, and now with this current market situation, almost every company is re-looking at their process. Seeing where they can improve candidate experience, see how they can digitize the entire process so there is no location dependency. See how they can streamline, make the process more efficient.
But I think the difference, the real difference is when customers are able to take a step back, understand and appreciate the differences between doing something offline without automation, and doing it online with automation. And ensure that you create your own processes, which leverage the best of what the new platforms have to offer, rather than replicating what you have done before.
I love that. It reminds me of years ago, Ikea, I think it was in Australia, but Ikea would put a job application inside every package, every shelf, or whatever the box was that you buy at Ikea. They’d put basically an application to join Ikea’s team inside that as instructions on how to do it, how to join a talent community. What you were talking about reminds me of how we don’t leverage our own customers, like Best Buy is a great example of that. I’m a customer at Best Buy. Again, how do we leverage our own employees? How do we leverage our own customers? Maybe not for them, but for people they know.
I love that. I love everything. Brother, we’ve run out of time and of course you and I could talk forever. Thank you so much for your time today, Sanjoe, I know you’re busy. Especially with the new funding, you’re probably a little bit busier. Congrats on that as well, again, and just thanks for coming on the podcast.
Thank you, it’s always a pleasure to talk to you, and have a great rest of the day.
Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Until next time.
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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.