Storytelling about with Arran Stewart

Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 177. This week we have storytelling about with Arran Stewart.

During this episode, Arran Stewart and I are talking we’re going to talk about the business case, use case, or cost benefit analysis, however you want to phrase it for why people, why their prospects and customers choose

Arran is the Chief Vision Officer and Founder of is a data-driven, automated staffing platform.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.

GEM Recruiting AI

Thanks, William

Show length: 28 minutes

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Arran Stewart
Founder and CVO

Arran Stewart is a driving force towards the future of work. The way that the future workforce will react with the hiring process will be very different.

Hiring is a journey, not transactional. The focus on the War on Talent has created a high churn, low loyalty labor force. The real war is not attraction but retention.

With the use of AI, ML, Blockchain, SaaS and BaaS, Arran looks to reinvent the 'process' and deliver a new way of hiring. Unlocking the value of data to make better hiring decisions through validation and prediction.

Arran is a global keynote speaker, thought leader in HR, TA and Staffing Tech, with a passion towards implementations of Blockchain, AI and ML within hiring industry.

Arran's work has been published in everything from Forbes to Bloomberg. He is a contributor for NASDAQ.


Music:    Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens, or should happen when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better, as we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment and HR tech, that’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William Tincup:    Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case podcast. Today we have Arran on from and we’re going to talk about the business case, use case, or cost benefit analysis, however you want to phrase it for why people, why their prospects and customers choose And so without any further ado, Arran, would you do us a favor, the audience in favor and introduce both yourself and

Arran Stewart:    Yeah. Thank you, William, and it’s a pleasure to be on the show. So yeah, my name is Arran Stewart. I’m the chief vision officer and founder of We are a data-driven, automated staffing platform. I think sometimes a common misconception because of the URL is everybody’s like, “Oh is job board. And historically prior to our acquisition of the company, it was a job board, but subsequent we have focused, its technology, artificial intelligence and user experience into workflow automation for our recruiters. We provide traditional staffing and recruitment and RPO services for our clients, but it is all underwritten and played by the technology.

Arran Stewart:    We use our technology in almost all components removing a lot of the laborious human effort from the recruitment and staffing process. The outcome typically is a better place to hire, but more relevantly it’s speed to hire, utilizing various different components of artificial intelligence. We’re able to drastically reduce the time to hire and also find the kind of, as the Americans, because obvious I’m British, the purple squirrel, so to speak. We are delighted with the results that we have for our clients. We have many, many clients utilizing for recruitment and staffing services. And for those that may pay attention to us, sort of in the media, in the press, our growth and expansion of the business has been completely through acquisition of traditional human capital staffing businesses.

William Tincup:    Two questions, and that the audience will probably have immediately is, do you consider yourself a services firm or kind of a product or a technology?

Arran Stewart:    Services firm. So we are a services firm, and I know that we are under, we have a ream of technology built within the platform, but we actually have, and this might be of interest just for people, just as market interest. We have three phases to our strategy and we are currently in phase one. So phase one is about acquiring market share, offering services and layering our technology within that process and utilizing all of the machine learning data that we capture from that process to then create a wider market technology that we will launch in phase two as a SaaS solution.

William Tincup:    That’s, and so that you will be able to license or sell yes to other staffing firms or to corporate recruiters or whoever would like to use it. They can use it, but that’ll be a SaaS product?

Arran Stewart:    That’s correct. So one of the things that we’ve noticed in the market, and I guess we spent a long time running what we called supply side machine learning to try and make our AI smarter. So, what we mean by that, for anyone that maybe is unsure is, we would monitor the behavior of job seekers within our database. And when we’d send them matches to jobs that we were looking to hire for, or sometimes wider aggregated job content as well for generating more machine learning. We would then take into account the jobs they looked at and that they clicked on as a way of refining and making the AI more accurate. But anybody who’s in, especially recruitment and staffing will know that traditionally job seekers aren’t always an accurate barometer for what they’re relevant for.

Arran Stewart:    And as I’m sure you can appreciate, William, when you start doing that in mass scale, you find yourself creating a fairly generic matching AI and AI technology through machine learning. So when we kind of realized this several years ago, we were like, “The bit we want to know is, who got hired?” Because that is truly the definitive, this resume got hired by this kind into this job. And we call it demand side machine earning. And we’re actually, with the aid of all the staffing companies we acquire their integration, absorption and utilizing our technology, we use that captive audience because we own those assets, as a way of training our AI to a point that we know it’d be sophisticated enough to stand alone as a software as a service. And we call our system always on recruiter and that will be the SaaS that we release in phase two.

William Tincup:    So currently when people are looking at you, because you have a lot of different staffing firms that you’ve required, and in different industries. So you all can kind of cover the gamut?

Arran Stewart:    Yeah, that’s correct. We have a very broad stroke of all the sectors and geographies, but we do specialize particularly in healthcare, cyber security and manufacturing, EV manufacturing.

William Tincup:    Nice, nice. So the technologies that staffing firms historically have had have kind of been front office back office, and how do you help manage the front and like a Bullhorn, we’ll just use a brand name. Does this replace something like those technologies or does it augment those technologies to make them more efficient? How does that work?

Arran Stewart:    It’s augmented. So we actually work perfectly in harmony with Bullhorn. We do work with others, but not to plug, but I would say Bullhorn is our preferred partner. So, and for obvious reasons, especially recruitment and staffing.

William Tincup:    There’s 8,000 customer that would agree with you.

Arran Stewart:    Exactly. They pretty much have the market when it comes to recruiting and staffing. And so yeah, we augment them and we kind of plug the gap between … And user experience provides a great experience for the job seeker, but it does attraction, shortlisting, matching, screening, scheduling, everything is done automaticallly. You can pull it from your VMS as well, everything automatically.

William Tincup:    Oh, nice.

Arran Stewart:    Yeah, which is really useful. And then obviously pushes everything out programmatically, and everything is kind of done, all of what we would call the first friction points for traditional human capital staffing business are done automatically. Our goal is to get the right candidate into a preliminary telephone interview with a recruiter as quickly as possible. So let the human-to-human interaction begin and kind of remove the laborious day-to-day piece of, “Well, I’ve advertised. Now, someone’s come in, now reviewing the resume. Now I send them a communication to ask screening questions. They’ve now finally responded. Now I’m asking if they’ve got any time for a potential call in a few next days or weeks.” It just happens seamlessly and it’s all done automatically. And our AI in the background is learning from every single interaction that happens.

William Tincup:    So, a question that folks will have terms of the model, do they think of this as traditional staffing? The Manpowers and the Deccos of the world, large staffing firms, or is it also kind of a blended into RPO?

Arran Stewart:    Yeah, it is blended into RPO most certainly. And to be fair, RPO is certainly a market that we’re really keen on. It’s, we sort of talk about it internally as like a digital RPO. And as much sort of workflow automation, digital RPO as possible, we have a variety of RPO clients existingly and new that are kind of now beginning to adopt our system, our technology. It’s technology and humans harmonized. I think there’s always a lot of talk around displacement, removing the recruiter, taking people out. And to be fair, I’ve been almost guilty of that myself in the past with some of my talk tracks, but when you’ve really scratched the surface of it, hiring is human. It is human, but there’s so many components of it that can be automated to make those humans in the process more effective at that role.

William Tincup:    Yeah, the low value task. I mean, you mentioned scheduling.

Arran Stewart:    Low value, yeah.

William Tincup:    It’s like we used to have schedulers, that was a full-time job, that’s what they did was schedule candidates. It’s like, okay, now, today, why do we have that? Technology can do that much more efficiently. So I love the speed. I love quality. In terms of the financial model, when folks work with you, they’re obviously, let’s say tight cyber cybersecurity, they need 40 engineers and so this is what they’d hire you to do. What’s the model, what’s the engagement model at that point?

Arran Stewart:    Yeah. So, I mean, depending on if these are contractors or if it’s permanent direct placement, they typically interact with us akin to any other normal human capital business. And the billing is according to that, or if it’s an RPO model with RPO arrangements and contracts, in the future one of the components will be certainly that if our clients feel that they can fulfill their roles with their own human capital, their own recruiters and hiring managers, the goal will be to give them a SaaS copy of our technology and be like, well, “Why not at least plug in the technology system and save yourselves, consider an amount of time utilizing your own human capital?” But today it is very much built as a traditional human capital business, as a staffing business.

William Tincup:    That’s fantastic. And so a couple things, the low value task, we touched on scheduling, let’s go through a couple of those as a part of the technology that so folks understand, okay, again, you’re not, you’re trying to get people, you’re trying to eliminate the low values so the focus, so that humans can focus on the high value, the high touch things that need to happen. So what are some of the other examples other than the scheduling?

Arran Stewart:    Yeah, so the screening questions piece is a big one. We automate the screening questions. And I think one of the things we’re very proud of as well is our feedback to job seekers. So when they apply for roles, we will immediately feedback the components that their resume is missing to make them eligible to go further within the application process. It’s a fairly unique feature, but it’s one of those ones that provides, as we all know, as a company, whenever you’re hiring people, you also put your brand out there, especially if you’re a big company.

Arran Stewart:    And if you provide a very terrible onboarding, hiring experience to a candidate, there’s a likelihood they might also be a customer or their family members might be a customer. So we focus heavily on a component, which is with the matching technology, rather than just disappearing into a black hole and being like, “Thanks for applying, sorry, you weren’t relevant, goodbye.” Or, it happens, or don’t tell you anything. You actually immediate gratification of whether or not your resume was relevant. And we tell you why it was relevant and give you all the feedback from the matching.

William Tincup:    That’s fantastic.

Arran Stewart:    Yeah, or we tell you why it wasn’t relevant. And within a degree we actually give you a sporting chance to enhance your resume. So to make it more relevant to pass through. Now, there is an element of, “Well, it could be gamified,” and yeah, that’s true, just like any candidate could go and look at the job description and gamify their resume, it’s not exactly rocket science, but we definitely try and give as much feedback to the job seeker as possible to kind of help them, coach them through the process whilst providing transparency, fluidity, and most of all, just saving time to hire.

William Tincup:    I love that. How does, and I know [inaudible 00:    12:    59], how does and work with their clients in terms of job descriptions? So can take that cybersecurity and let’s say they’re all going to be full-time FTEs and they’re not contractors, okay. And they’re going to be different levels. So junior, middle, intermediate, advanced, et cetera, how do you work with them? Do you take their job descriptions or do you build your own job descriptions?

Arran Stewart:    So, it’s a hybrid, because we still have a ream of recruitment consultants that we thankfully and gladly inherit when we acquire the businesses. These guys and girls are typically experts in what the job description should entail in order to accurately attract the right candidate. So there is a level of consultative approach. Sometimes if they’re just coming through a VMS and it’s just like, they’ve just been thrown in, as we all know, there can sometimes be a lot of, not particularly attractive job roles in there, or job description, should I say, there is an element that we may enhance those roles, just provide a little bit more color and description to kind of aid the process of attraction and also to help with the purposes of attracting a quality candidate.

William Tincup:    And so the sourcing component, obviously y’all are going to bring candidates to bear. So you’ll go out in, as in that example, a cybersecurity specialist, you’ll go out and find that talent, wherever it may be, and then get them to apply. Do they apply at, or do they-

Arran Stewart:    Right.

William Tincup:    That’s right. So they apply there and then you can take them through your process at that point?

Arran Stewart:    So they begin, so they land, so everything filters back to They land into the user experience and then they begin to run through AOR or always on recruiter or service and products. And that then takes them through the process. And our goal and ambition so this was one of the parts of our thesis was we have some outstanding talent in our business, recruiters and others within the company. But every single person within the business is likely to work, just making up at hours of like, let’s say nine till six, okay?

William Tincup:    Right.

Arran Stewart:    But from six till nine is a time when candidates want to complete their application process and not just, “Oh, I applied for the job, now I’m going to sit back and wait.” Wouldn’t it be so satisfying to apply, see that you match, answer the screening questions and schedule in with the calendar that’s linked to the recruiter, a suitable time to talk immediately. Knowing that when you go to sleep tonight, I’m looking forward to it, because we use the recruiter’s name Zara, I’m looking forward to a call with Zara tomorrow at 10:    15.

William Tincup:    Oh, that’s fantastic. And again-

Arran Stewart:    So satisfying.

William Tincup:    It’s speed and speed for the candidates. Speed and quality. You’re solving both those things, and well, you’re also getting a price in there as well, because you’re condensing all that inefficiency down. Let me ask you about buying questions in terms of those that are out there that are like, “Okay, how do you work with it? This is a different type of RPO, different type of staffing firm. It’s got its own technology that they bring to bear. They’re not just smiling and dialing or doing things in kind of the ways that we’ve done them before.” What is your favorite question? So I’m going to ask two questions. One is, what are your favorite questions that you just love when prospects ask this question? And then, what are some of the questions that drive you into a wall? What are the questions that you’d love to eliminate if you had a magic wand?

Arran Stewart:    So, one of the questions is just what you’ve asked then, which is how do we integrate if they’ve got their own sort of technology and strategy they’re doing it with it? Because without sounding, you have to be very careful when you go to a client that, if they’re coming to you with a need, it’s because they couldn’t do it themselves. So there has to be a level of acceptance that we will have to use our methods and technology because we believe that we can serve this. But so, and sometimes that can be difficult to get acceptance from the other side. And that can sometimes, always be a show stopper. But in the same breath, depending on the size of the opportunity in the contract, everything is about technical integration and partnership. You should be able to integrate with other technology platforms and be able to work with them with a level of harmony.

Arran Stewart:    And so we like to sort of look at it, that if the opportunity that presents itself is large enough, then we would like to explore avenues on how a technology integration and partnership may flourish. My favorite questions that I get are typically actually being questioned against. So there are levels of sophisticated buyers and then less sophisticated buyers. So I’m going to talk about a less sophisticated buyer. I get the, “But what’s the difference between you and ZipRecruiter or Indeed?” And I’m like, “Okay.” I’m like, and again, I relish the opportunity, because you know what, as an unsophisticated buyer or a less sophisticated buyer, because I’m an unsophisticated buyer in many, many things in my life. There’s not much I know other than like the TA and recruitment industry, that’s about it.

Arran Stewart:    But what I like to kind of push back on that is that, think of, and I know it sounds like a really crude term, but I’ll put it this way. They’re like the AutoTrader for jobs. But they’re not selling you the car, okay? AutoTrader doesn’t sell you the car, they just advertise it. And you found it and then you are going to go and deal with whoever it is that you want to buy the vehicle from. We are literally going to take you through the process. Our technology takes your candidate through the process. Our goal is to try and remove as many layers out of the digital experience for the job seeker as possible. One to reduce drop off, and two to increase speed to hire, which in essence is a greater experience for your potential candidate. It also means that you’re likely to hire people that you wouldn’t normally.

Arran Stewart:    Hot talent gets taken from the market quickly. If you are playing email and telephone tennis day after day, trying to schedule people or ask them some basic screening questions, the likelihood is you’re going to lose that talent. We take them through the process immediately, and there is a human behind it every step of the way. So, and that’s kind of, that’s typically the answer and that sort of in some respects pacifies people, I also get the whole, “Yeah, but what about LinkedIn?” And I’m like, “Yeah. I mean, again, I get it.” And LinkedIn has a real library and array of exceptionally good products that people rely on. But nonetheless, there is a component of how we fit with recruitment staffing, companies, RPO, VMSs that kind of molds it all together and utilizes tech to provide a really good seamless interim experience for the job seeker.

William Tincup:    So, a 100 years ago I owned an ad agency, and whenever a prospect would say-

Arran Stewart:    100 years.

William Tincup:    … fast, easier, cheap during a prospect call, whenever they’d say one of those words I’d stop the interviewer, I’d stop the bid. Because I knew that intellectually and emotionally they weren’t going to be a fit. Because they said those keywords, it just, “If you think what we do is fast, easy or cheap, then we’re just not going to be a fit.” I just knew it. Is there anything that you’ve already kind of keyed in on, either behaviors or words or anything like that from some of the prospects of the staffing firms that you’re just like, “Yeah, this is not a long term. This is not going to be that partnership.”

Arran Stewart:    Yeah, I think there is a level of unreal expectations and sometimes expecting that human behavior within the hiring process has changed somewhat. Because it hasn’t, right? And finding quality and finding good candidates requires a considerable amount of work, prowess and effort. And really you should be judged on the quality of the hire, not necessarily always the sort of [inaudible 00:    21:    51], “Oh, I want it cheaper.” And it’s, “Well, in essence, a good quality candidate, it’s a false economy going just for cheaper, because a great candidate will pay dividends.” So yeah, there is an element of that. There is also an other element where I will give credit where credit’s due to some clients, an element of the hiring manager is becoming wiser, more digitally wiser, which I think is good, and volume isn’t always what they’re looking for anymore now, they’re looking for … Because it used to be volume before. It was just absolutely fricking-

William Tincup:    “I want 10,000 people to apply to this job.” It’s like, “No you don’t.”

Arran Stewart:    No, you don’t. No, you don’t, you want five people. And you want to interview three and hire one.

William Tincup:    That’s right. You want the right five. So, when RPO was first kind of developing and everyone kind of the RPO model, I say it kind of as a singular, but you go from RPO shop to RPO shop and everyone kind of deploys it a little bit differently. They’re there for a while. There was a window where people would just take their heart to fill positions and send them out to RPO. First of all, is that still kind of the case? Have y’all found that that trend stopped and people were just kind of willing to outsource a lot of different roles, or are they still kind of putting a lot of the harder to fill roles out with RPOs?

Arran Stewart:    I think it’s blended. So I think there are still clients out there that are willing to kind of throw you the impossible [inaudible 00:    23:    39].

William Tincup:    Purple squirrel.

Arran Stewart:    Yeah, the purple squirrel. And then yeah, “Go and find me people in Bentonville,” [inaudible 00:    23:    48].

William Tincup:    Good luck. No, try and find me a trucker in Bentonville.

Arran Stewart:    In Bentonville. Yeah, go now I need him in seven days. It’s like, and they do. And one of the kind of key areas is that you have to provide a level of education. I think that there are … But now clients I think are also becoming more accustomed to relying on a truly integrated partner, third party to just eliminate much of their hiring needs’ headache. It’s like, “Do you know what? I can’t be bothered to have this crazy multi-vendor strategy, or this, I just would rather work with you. All the responsibility’s with you, and yes, I’ve got some really crummy roles in there and yes, I’ve got some really, I could probably fill them myself. But I can’t be bothered because it’d just be easier if you did the whole lot.”

William Tincup:    Well, it’s once you’ve proven the success, I mean, that’s the beauty of that model is once you’ve proven success to somebody, then they’re more willing to just go, “Okay, fantastic.”

Arran Stewart:    They see you as the the oracle.

William Tincup:    That’s right.

Arran Stewart:    You become the expert oracle of what it is. And as long as you deliver, then thankfully you should enjoy year after year of contracts with them and just fulfilling all of their recruitment needs.

William Tincup:    Last question, Arran, when you, obviously you all are going to acquire more and more staffing firms over time and around the world and all of that stuff, when you show the, because staffing owners were kind of, that’s an interesting breed of folks. When you show them the technology and you say, “Listen, we want to buy you, but we’re going to then supercharge you with this technology.” What’s that kind of aha moment? What do they fall in love with?

Arran Stewart:    Yeah. So, their aha moment is when they understand what that could mean applied to their recruiters. So because these guys are business owners, they are always looking for performance per desk, revenue per desk. They want as much revenue per recruiter as possible. And when you explain that, “Look, here’s a system that automates many of the low value tasks that your recruiters are doing every day right now. And also, these low value tasks can be performed 24 hours a day.” Not from, and then-

William Tincup:    Their eyes wide open.

Arran Stewart:    Oh dude, you see the eyes open and it give you an indication. One of the first staff firms we’ve bought, they’ve grown by like 240% since our acquisition.

William Tincup:    Oh my goodness.

Arran Stewart:    And they were stacked there for three years prior to acquiring, so they were same level. So, we have, and as you know, we have some very, very sophisticated recruitment experts that live in our business at the top C-suite co and president level, and we are very fortunate enough that there’s a great level of experience between all of us about how to improve efficiencies within recruitment and hiring. We’ve been fairly colorful in the industry, as I’m sure you know, we’ve done some pretty radical blockchain, ICOs and stuff like that, which sadly didn’t work out for us. But I think it’s because we’re always trying to push the envelope to try and introduce new, greater things. And I think that’s what these entrepreneurs.

William Tincup:    I’ll take a counter. I think they did work out for you in the sense of, you know what I mean? Like, “We’re going to innovate.” Okay, that thing, that’s what I think Thomas Edison’s famous quote of, “10,000 things that-

Arran Stewart:    Light bulb.

William Tincup:    Yeah, with the light bulb, it’s like, I like that y’all have tried different things and failed.

Arran Stewart:    Yeah, we’ve-

William Tincup:    Not that you failed, but-

Arran Stewart:    No, but we did fail. We failed in isolation in those particular things.

William Tincup:    Right. Right.

Arran Stewart:    At those particular project plans we failed, but actually the underlying blockchain technology, which we still use is in use. We also off the back of it have a very aggressive pattern strategy now. So yeah, so we are patenting an awful lot of the technology and methods that we do. And do you know what, William, we just, we try and push the envelope for the purposes of making it better to get a job. Our philosophy in the company and what we tell everyone that works for us and everyone outside of it, our job is to help as many people feed their families and pay their bills as possible. That’s our job. I’m going to use tech to do it.

William Tincup:    Arran drops my walks off stage. There it is. Brother, thank you so much.

Arran Stewart:    Thank you so much. I love being on the show.

William Tincup:    This was wonderful. Thanks for being on a Use Case podcast and thanks for everyone listening, until next time.

Arran Stewart:    Thank you.

Music:    You’ve been listening to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform form and hit us up at

William Tincup

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.


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