Storytelling about Humanly with Andrew Gardner
Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 113. This week we have storytelling about Humanly with Andrew Gardner. During this episode, Andrew and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing Humanly.
Andrew is an expert in all things conversational AI and recruiting. His passion for empowering hiring teams to be better at human and automated conversations to create more equitable and efficient hiring processes really comes through during the podcast.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.
Show length: 25 minutes
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Ladies and gentlemen, this is the Use Case Podcast. You’re listening to William Tincup and we have Andrew on from Humanly. And we’re going to be talking all about his firm and learning all about what they do, and how they do it and how they go to market and all that type of stuff. So without any further ado, Andrew, would you introduce both yourself and your firm?
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me, William. So I’m Andrew Gardner, I’m co-founder and COO of Humanly. Me and my co-founders, our team, have been on an awesome journey for almost two years now. Wow, I can’t believe time flies. But really what we’re doing here at Humanly is empowering hiring teams to be better at candidate conversations that should remain human-driven while also automating ones that shouldn’t. So really focus on this very human-driven process of hiring of recruiting. Helping to save you some time in that process, while also helping you be more equitable and efficient in the process.
What I love about this is, you want to have conversations with everybody, or you want to have a communication, let’s say [inaudible 00:01:31]. You wanted communications with everybody. The obvious knows you need something to go to those folks, right?
You need to get them off the hook, and you want to create a positive candidate experience for them. And so the obvious knows there’s some communication that goes with that. Where that automation layer comes in, is it gives the recruiters back their time. What you all are focused on is candidate conversations, but really it’s having quality candidate conversations.
So take us into that.
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And, what you first brought up there, William, is actually such a good point. And especially for consumer-facing brands or companies, it’s even more highlighted. It really is a bottom-line issue. we were talking to someone at Disney about this and they were able to measure their average job applicant and benchmark that against their average consumer that went to Disney Parks. And they came to realize that their job applicants were spending significant more money at the parks than just their average visitor. And so by having this experience for all these candidates, they’re spending time, they’re spending money, just like we as salespeople spend all this money, getting these demo requests or leads. We spend the same in recruiting, getting candidates to come to the table, but then the candidate submits an application and then it might be three, four weeks till they hear anything.
And it’s an automated email that says, “Thanks, but no thanks.” And that’s your customer, that’s spending 10 times more money at your park, than your average consumer. It just makes no sense. So the idea is, can we give them a really positive experience, even for those ones that aren’t necessarily the perfect fit for the role, knowing that especially in a lot of high volume roles, they might not be a good fit today, but six months later they might be a good fit. So we’re looking at things like, “Hey, can we deliver them a coupon? With some of our restaurant partners, can we send applicants who get rejected in our chats, a coupon to come back and get free breadsticks, or whatever.” And now I’m getting crazy. But I think you understand the idea there.
Yeah. You’ve got to do something. So, no communication, complete failure. Late communication, complete failure. Generic communication could be a bit of a failure, just depends on how it’s modeled, but giving people something that’s timely and maybe even personalized to some degree, thanking them for them entering into the process. And yet, a no’s a no. A no’s not a maybe. A no’s and no. But we’re dealing with adults, by and large.
They’re okay with no. Yeah, they might have their feelings hurt initially, but you know what, they’d rather know that day or 48 hours later. They’d rather know, “Okay. All right. Well, that one didn’t work out. That’s okay. I still love them. That’s fine.”
You move on. It’s that leaving them in limbo.
It’s a candidate experience killer, is just the limbo is the enemy.
Well, and it’s the lack of transparency too. I think there’s so little in terms of what candidates really know about the process or what’s happening. And that unknown is what really makes them just frustrated, when then they finally get a no. And they were just sitting there with no idea. And so one thing we’re really striving for, in every form of interaction, every conversation we’re either automating or we’re improving, is setting the correct expectation around what it is and what it isn’t.
The last thing we want to do is have this automation or chatbot trick some person into thinking they’re talking to a human.
And they’re going to get this experience.
It’s all about setting, “Hey, look. We’re here to get to know you better. We’re here to provide more information about the hiring company and look, also save everyone time.” And in that process, you can have a really good, equitable, efficient experience for everyone, even if it’s still a no at the end. As long as you were clear with them about what to expect.
Yeah. Again, the expectations is setting and communicating and being transparent in the process, better experience for everybody, better experience for the hiring managers, recruiters, sourcers, candidates, everybody in the process. We’ve talked about the no’s, but let’s flip that to the Humanly part, where people can then go deeper and have more richer conversations with candidates. Take us into that world.
Yeah, absolutely. Yeah. It’s the hierarchy of needs. That first need is, “Hey, can we get you time back from some of these manual, whether it’s scheduling or very basic set of screening or, can we save you some time in that process?” And the next step in that is, “Look, we’ve now saved time, but how do we really move the needle when it comes to improving the quality of those interactions, of those conversations?” And that’s where Humanly boy’s, our new part of our product comes in where we have a machine learning engine that sits in on interviews. For many years there have been HR tools that are making judgments about candidates and quality of candidate and rating, and that piece. We’re actually flipping that notion on its head and really helping interviewers, which again, keep in mind, an interviewer is not always a recruiter.
It’s very rarely. Just think of all the hiring managers in the world. They probably do 80, 85% of interviews out there. So helping interviewers be better, and better understand how they’re interviewing, whether that’s consistent. I’m clearly talking over 200 words per minute, right now, which negatively impacts candidates who are English as a second language. And it honestly negatively impacts everyone. So by bringing awareness to how fast I’m talking, it’s going to make me not only a better interviewer, but it’s also going to make that conversation with a candidate so much more effective. Am I bringing up company values? Am I using bias for gender words? I tend to interrupt people because I get so excited about talking to them about what I want to talk, but that again, negatively impacts these interviews, these conversations we’re having. So we have this tool that sits on in these interviews and provides analytics and insights around what the interview is doing and how they better improve that process.
So I see the immediate benefit for recruiters and hiring managers. It’s just in real time, getting better at what you’re doing. Again, everybody has off days, right?
So there’s days where your brain’s not with you on that particular day, and you got interviews and you’re just not in it. It happens to everybody. Even the hirers, happens to you. It is what it is. So first of all, that line of helping them in real time, I think that’s just genius. It’s almost like an Apple watch or a wearable and them monitoring and then you feeding back that monitoring and saying, “Hey, you might want to think of dot, dot, dot.” Do you think that there’s a future to be able to do this for candidates as well?
Yeah. Yeah, absolutely. And we’ve actually had some really interesting discussions with some larger enterprise companies that have initiatives around diversity and helping all forms of candidates, no matter where they’re from, or helping them better understand how they interview. Are they using too many filler words, which obviously can negatively impact their process of moving forward. Are they not doing enough report building at the beginning of an interview? And that we’ve seen negatively impacts the outcome significantly of whether they move forward in the process or not. Yeah, so there’s a ton of applications or use cases there where we can begin to uncover those insights when it comes to both sides of the interview, really.
Not to impact the product roadmap in any way, shape or form. But I want to create a green room, that’s a practice room for candidates where they can just go to the site and practice. It’s an interview. And even if it’s automated, it’s giving them feedback on how they answer questions.
…it’s really interesting, fascinating.
So they can then see themselves, “Oh yeah, I am talking too fast.” Or, “I am using a bunch of buzzwords.”
Or, “I’m not using a bunch of ums in my language.” Whatever the bid is, it would just be a really cool practice area that I think would be fantastic, but anyway. Smarter people will figure that out. I don’t have to be involved in that. Let’s get to the demo, let’s deal with the sales side of things for just a moment. And let’s start with basic. When you demo or when your team demos Humanly, who should be in the room?
Yeah. Yeah. Really great question. I think there are many HR tools out there. And many of them have slightly different takes on how they go to market, how they’ve built or structured their product, whether that’s going from recruiter to recruiter and having a tool that can be picked up by one person and be successful. We very much are in the world of going to talent leadership, and doing a top down sale. We want to partner on both sides, whether it’s the automation side or whether it is the interview insight side. We want to partner with leadership and empower them from the top on down to the individual. And we’re building things into these experiences that are those transactional benefits for a recruiter.
Like the transcription, you no longer have to sit there and scramble and take notes in an interview because we’re providing you a transcript of it, and we’re delivering it into your applicant tracking system. But really, back to your question around the demos, we want to get in front of talent leaders, leaders and organizations that are doing large amounts of interviews, or have teams that are doing large amounts of interviews, and show them what those aggregate high-level insights can be. And then also better understand what their process is from there and how it can best fit into what they currently have.
Have you already figured out the, I want to say the universe of no’s, but this is more where you just know someone doesn’t get it. Have you already figured out terms or phrases or questions that they ask you or and again, not naming names of course, but you could just tell, “I’m pushing a boulder uphill, they just don’t get it.”
[crosstalk 00:12:50]. What does that sound like?
Yeah, totally. On the automation side, it’s really interesting. We’ll have a lot of these demos or conversations with people that love the idea of bringing equity and efficiency to their screening and wanting to make scheduling more efficient. But then when we, on the nuts and bolts, dig into their process, we find out they’re hiring for roles that are needle in a haystack. They’re going out and sourcing, having to scramble and use every sourcing tool under the sun to find the perfect candidate. And they just don’t have a high volume of these screenings or interviews happening. And I’d be the first to tell him, it’s like, “Look, you can love this tool as much as you want. We’re just not going to be valuable enough. Go buy a sourcing tool. Go buy an Intello, or go buy LinkedIn recruiter or something that’s going to better fit what you’re looking for on that side.”
And then the other piece is, I’ll be honest, everyone’s on this [DENI 00:13:49] journey. And what we’ve seen is, this DENI conversation has changed from years ago, being okay with, “Hey, where am I at, just measuring diverse candidates in my organization.” Or defaulting to, “Hey, I want to do something about diversity. I need more diverse candidates at the top of the funnel.” Now, we’re shifting to actually impacting later on stages in interviewing and candidate experience across the full life cycle of a candidate. And I guess what I’m getting at is, not everyone is ready for that yet, organizationally.
We talked to some people that are still at step one of that diversity journey. I’m just getting a better handle on where I’m at in my workforce on having diverse people. They’re not quite ready for a tool like this to help them better understand how they’re treating different candidates differently. So those would be two quick highlights to answer your question.
I love it. So a couple things, one is the aha moment, or what I call the aha moment, when you demo Humanly to folks, where are the points in that demo where people were, “Okay. Yeah, I get it. I get it.” And then finally, “I kind of got it before, now I get it.”
Yep. You being in HR tech, as long as you have, I think you’ll get this, but there are many tools out there that are making platform plays. Meaning, “Hey, we’re building this life-changing tool that is going to replace you needing any other tool out there.” We have a very radically different sense or perspective on that, is we want to integrate with every tool we possibly can get our hands on in the HR landscape and the HR stack. Most importantly, applicant tracking systems. The idea is we actually don’t want to be a destination for recruiters to have to sit in the Humanly tool, be the 15th or 20th HR tool that your team is using and pulling you out of the tools you’re already using.
So the aha moment for us is, “Look, us asking questions to better understand the company and how they’re hiring and what their stack is today.” And then the aha comes in when we say, “Hey, oh, you’re using SuccessFactors or you’re using Taleo. Here’s how that workflow is and how we help you get more out of the tools, the investments you already have. So, that would be the aha moment for many in it is, “Look, I want to do this. This sounds awesome. Oh, and I don’t have to change my process to do it. Wow. Okay.”
Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it. Love it. So you mentioned workflow a couple of times, and you’ve mentioned ATS in specifically. And so integration points, the customers that you already have right now, and prospects probably asked you the same questions, where in the workflow does this exist, A? And B, because you’re not a destination, you want this to be integrated into all the other things that they do. What does that look like for them?
Yeah. Great question. And really they’re slightly different workflows for different people based on the quantity of hiring or where their candidates are fine. Some companies are running paid Facebook ads on social media. And we can embed our tool within that process to help them capture, and then sync that into their applicant tracking system. For some, they’re getting massive inbound volumes. So there’s triggering conversations directly out of an applicant tracking system works. And we come in that process as well. So really the application point of Humanly, the tool, where it comes in really is a 100% dependent on where you are having these conversations. But when it comes to the conversation around what the integration’s about, we don’t want a recruiter sitting in Humanly, everything’s working in and out of your scheduling tool or your calendaring tool, whether that’s Outlook, whether that’s Google Calendar, we integrate directly on there, you don’t have to manage another separate calendar.
And then we push and read data back and forth in a two-way into your ATS. So if we have a screening conversation with someone and get someone scheduled on your Outlook, we’re also pushing the notes from our conversation directly into their candidate profile or creating them as a candidate in your SuccessFactors, as an example. The other piece is on the voice side is, we can deliver transcripts of these conversations into the notes field within your candidate profiles. And then we can even push our aggregate data into tools like Power BI and Tableau. Knowing that enterprise companies, they don’t need to sit there and have access to some Humanly dashboard. They’d rather just get their hands on the data and have us input it into Power BI, and then we can start stitching together some really powerful data sets to gain insights. So whether it’s on the ATS page chart tooling side, or whether it’s delivering data into analytics tools, that’s really our focus.
I love it. So, this is the unintended use/innovation questions. So you got clients using it, you sold it to them. The one way they’re using it, everybody’s going about their business, makes sense. And all of a sudden you wake up and they’re doing something really innovative with Humanly. Again, without naming names, of course, what does some of that look like?
Yeah. Maybe frame the question, I didn’t quite get the question.
Oh yeah. It’s always starting when we sell software, we have what we think is the four walls of the box or the application.
That’s how people are going to use it. And then all of a sudden people use it in ways that we hadn’t quite thought of, or they’ve innovated and are using it for internal mobility. I’ll give you an example, well, we were thinking that people are going to use this Net New for hiring, and all of a sudden now they’re using it for their alumni network and they’re thinking about Boomerangs.
Wow. We weren’t thinking that thought, or hadn’t really cross our minds, but yet one of our customers is doing it. Looking specifically for customer stories of where they’re innovating and using Humanly in a really innovative way.
Yeah. Yeah. Really great question. I think that’s a proverbial question. Founders and leaders at HR tech companies are always asking themselves. And one thing I will say, and then I’ll get into specifics around Humanly. But one thing I’ll say is, we’ve been in HR technology long enough at previous companies that, although this is our first time founding a company, we’ve been at HR technology companies enough where we have been pulled by customers in certain product directions. And we’ve had to make decisions and haven’t always made the right decision, which at the time, it’s a bad thing, but now reflecting back on it, it gives us a really interesting perspective on how to balance those priorities at an early stage HR tech company. So first high level, 30,000 foot view, but you’re exactly right.
We’ve used recruiting and helping to automate this wedge. And now we’re bringing Humanly voice into the equation, very focused on the interview. But there are use cases happening now where Humanly voice is being used for exit interviews. Where we’re gaining insights into an important interaction that’s happening, or stay interviews. On the automation side, how can we reengage this talent pools that aren’t necessarily raising their hand right now, but over the last six months, we knew you applied at some point, we love to get you back on the horn. And they’re just sitting there dying in your Workday ATS, and dying for someone to reach out to them and say, “Hey, are you looking for work now? Let’s get you back on the horn.” So all of these little pieces pop up and really powerful use cases come up. And it’s a matter of us, along with our customers, partnering to say, “Hey, this is what we need to prioritize. This is what’s going to make the most impact now, make the most impact in a year, and make the most impact in 10 years.”
I love that. Wow. I didn’t even think of that, stay interviews. That’s awesome. So success for Humanly, by the end of the year, that’s not too far out. What does that look like for you?
Yeah. I mean, we are just at this very exciting time. And maybe if you chatted with my wife, she wouldn’t call it quite as exciting because she feels, I worked day and night and never stopped. So we’re at this interesting point where it’s all about impact and growth for us. How do we go into the amazing partners we’ve been aligned with, and help them make a greater impact on their candidate experiences, their candidate conversations, while also going out and growing. At the end of the day, the only way to keep the lights on here, is to show growth, to make greater impact, to bring on more amazing customers. And maybe that’s my COO or owning revenue side of the business, and my other co-founders might say something slightly different. But really interesting time in our lives right now where we’re growing quickly. I hate to use the word breaking because, it’s all good things, we’re all just being stretched thin and it’s matter of, how do we make the greatest impact and grow the most?
Love that. Listen, this has been wonderful. And I can obviously talk to you forever about this. Any parting shots that you have that you want-
…to know about Humanly?
No, I just love this. I really appreciate you spending some time, and helping me open up the kimono, I guess to say, if that’s okay to say.
It is. It is.
[crosstalk 00:23:51]. On what we’re doing here at Humanly, and I think you’ll come to learn, if you were to sit down on a demo with us, we’re a bunch of straight shooters, that we’re here to make an impact and be open and honest with you. Look, there’s a lot of things that need to be solved in HR tech work, a small part of that, but we want to partner and play nice with everyone and help you improve.
I love that. I love that. Thank you so much for carving out time for us, carving out time for the audience. And thanks for being on the podcast.
Thank you so much, William.
Awesome. And thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case podcast. 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.