Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 226. Today we have Nick from Honeit about the use case or business case for why his customers use Honeit.

Honeit automatically records, transcribes and parses interview questions and answers from live phone calls and video conversations.

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

Thanks, William

Show length: 24 minutes

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Nick Livingston
CEO Honeit

Nick enjoys helping companies recruit, hire and scale in hyper-competitive talent markets.


Music: 00:02 Welcome to Recruiting Daily’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: 00:25 Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you are listening to the Use Case podcast. Today, we have Nick on from Honeit. We’ll be learning about the business case, or the use case, that his prospects and customers use to purchase Honeit.

So, let’s do some introductions. Nick, I’ve known you forever, but maybe the audience hasn’t, or doesn’t know you as well as I do. So, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and Honeit?

Nick Livingston: 00:50 Thanks, William. Sure thing. My name is Nick Livingston, one of the co-founders of Honeit. I got into recruiting in New York city. I went to a recruiting firm looking for a job. They hired me there, and I’ve enjoyed technical recruiting and talent acquisition ever since. I actually moved to New York to get into the music business. I wanted to be a talent scout in the music business, and then when I got the job at MTV as a recruiting manager, and then recruiting director, I thought kind of the worlds aligned, and full circle.

So, had a great run there, and then went deeper. I went and worked at a HR technology company. Moved in-house. Led talent acquisition teams in San Francisco in the Bay Area. And then ultimately kind of fumbled across this problem that I think most recruiters have, which is conversations are important, but there hasn’t been a great way to capture all this great information from a phone screen, and make it easy to capture, search, and share that with clients. So, that’s where we came up with Honeit.

William Tincup: 01:48 Well, let’s dig into the phone screen. So, obviously people are doing phone screens right now, and you and I have talked about this offline, about kind of seeing Honeit more as collaboration software, because you can now… One person can do something, but others can then see it, and then make notes, et cetera. But why don’t we go backwards, and just take people into what’s best practices in phone screens today?

Nick Livingston: 02:20 Yeah. I mean, I think originally the whole recruiting and TA function was built to give time back to hiring managers and hiring manager’s entire teams. That’s giving time and money back to the line of business, right? That’s essentially where this kind of function came in.

And I think we do a lot of that in our day to day, but I think the phone screen, it’s that opportunity where a lot of things happen during that fall, right? We’re answering questions from great candidates. We’re pitching them on the company or job. We’re listening. We’re explaining. Right? We’re asking them questions.

And I think if we took a step back and looked at the profession pretty honestly, though, I’ve been a technical recruiter for 15 years, and I’m not asking very technical questions on those calls. Right? We’ve got finance recruiters who aren’t going very deep on the initial phone screen, right? We’ve got scientific or medical recruiters who are just scratching the surface, really. Right?

But if we were equipped with the key scientific or technical questions to ask, we could very well ask those technical questions. But then what? The challenge becomes, how do we capture and share the answers from those conversations? And that’s where Honeit comes in, right? So, you can now create a highly technical phone interview guide for a recruiter to ask key questions, and the system will automatically index and parse those key answers that can be shared with others.

William Tincup: 03:49 So, let’s deal with some… Well, we’ll start with workflow. So, a candidate has applied to a job. So, we’ve got them now in the ATS, and there’s probably some screening and assessing and testing, depending on the job and all of that stuff. And where Honeit is on the screen side, is you’re attached… I’m assuming you’re integrated with ATSs.

Nick Livingston: 04:18 Yeah. And we focus on three steps. So, scheduling automation. How do you get candidates on your calendar, easily? Conversation intelligence. How do you capture all the great information from a phone call or video call? And then that submission piece. Submission piece, right? How do you present candidates in seconds, and really show your work, and then make it easy for hiring managers to kind of understand the aha, right, about that candidate.

So yeah, we integrate with a number of ATSs. Lever, Locks, Smart Recruiters, Greenhouse. And it’s just a scheduling link. So, we’ve seen, with COVID and remote hiring and interviewing, a lot of recruiters have been kind of piecing together their stack, right? We might be using Calendly to schedule. We might be using the telephone or Zoom or a VoIP system to actually talk to someone. We might be overlaying it with some sort of transcription tool, right? To index it.

But then we still have this problem of like, “Okay, I just had a great conversation. How do I make it clear to the hiring manager that this candidate’s amazing?” Right? And so, that submission piece, and the submittal has always been kind of a disconnect.

So, Honeit, if you take all of that into kind of one simple, easy to use tool, it’s just a Honeit scheduling link that you paste into your workflow. So, that can be in an InMail or an email, or in a template in your ATS. That automates scheduling, right? The conversation happens.

All that data is captured, and then through our integrations, all of that conversation or interview intelligence is automatically exported into the ATS, right? That includes the transcript, the questions, the transcripts of the answers, the notes, the skill tags. This kind of new, rich interview intelligence data set. It’s really great for search, and it’s really great for sourcers to be able to kind of rediscover and search those great phone screens or video calls.

William Tincup: 06:08 So, with all three of those, obviously Honeit’s all three of those things. The question for me is, what do they fall in love with first? Because they’re going to fall in love with all three. I get that. But what do you see when you show people Honeit for the first time, and they see that you kind of nail all three of those. What’s eye opening for them?

Nick Livingston: 06:35 You know, it’s funny. Some of our most avid Honeit customers are folks who’ve been in recruiting for 30 or 40 years, and they say they recognize the importance of conversations, but they are just sick and tired of scribing notes, and furiously typing during a call, rather than just making that connection with someone. So, first is just like, “Oh my gosh. You mean I don’t have to type notes anymore? Wow. Oh my gosh. I can lean back, relax. I can enjoy the calls.”

The second thing that kind of blows people’s minds is the ability of what used to take 30 or 40 minutes to write up a candidate, to try to explain why you think the candidate’s great, and for someone else to understand it, that goes from 30 or 40 minutes to 10 seconds. After a Honeit call, you click a link, and you can Slack that link to a busy hiring manager. Say, “Hey, just spoke with William. He’s amazing. Listen to answer number two.”

William Tincup: 07:34 I love this. And you know what I love about it, is it mirrors what candidates want today, is a consumerized kind of experience, but also a fast experience. So, one of the things that you’ve unlocked for me, and a candidate experience is speed. If this doesn’t have to take as long as it’s historically taken. What feedback have y’all got, in terms of what candidates expect in terms of response rates, and what corporates and folks… what they view is kind of normal?

Nick Livingston: 08:11 Candidates love it, because they still get to talk to someone.

William Tincup: 08:14 Right.

Nick Livingston: 08:15 Right? There’s been so many tools over the last 10 years in this space, that have kind of pushed us towards one way tools, or chat bots, to try to say, “Oh, save time. You don’t have to talk to people. Send them a link. They’ll interview themselves.” Like, “What?”

Maybe for certain skill sets, where you’ve got a filtering issue, right? You post a job, you get 400 applicants. You can’t talk to every one of them. I get it. But in kind of the professional recruitment world, where you post a job and you don’t get any qualified inbounds, and you’re actively sourcing and doing outreach, right? You definitely need to talk to those people, and they need to be sold and have great conversations.

So, I think one thing we’re just seeing, and COVID might have reminded us this, is that human conversations and the human element is an important part of recruiting and hiring, right? We can automate scheduling. We can automate some submittals. We can do some of that, but we can’t remove the conversation.

And that interviews, especially in candidate driven markets, candidates are interviewing you. Candidates are interviewing your recruiter. If you’re a recruiter is not competent and confident and articulate and well spoken and can pitch the job, they’re not an A player, and that company must not hire A players. So, top candidate’s going to look elsewhere.

William Tincup: 09:22 Yeah. It’s interesting. They’re assessing and judging your process, and your tech stack, and your ability to respond to them in the way that they want to respond, whether it’s text or email or explain their process, et cetera. The candidates… It’s really interesting, because I think a lot of this comes down to kind of the consumerization of technology and our space.

And the way that candidates look at, hey, listen, I order a pizza, and I understand where the pizza is. I know Kathy’s actually preparing my pizza right now. Why don’t I know what’s going on with my application? Or why don’t I know where I’m at in the hiring process? Why is there mystery and voodoo around the hiring process?

Nick Livingston: 10:13 Yeah. The interview experience was already very kind of complex and inefficient, right?

William Tincup: 10:18 Right.

Nick Livingston: 10:19 It takes seven separate conversations with seven separate people. The same questions were asked. We know it. Hey, what have you been working on? Right? And here, you talk about candidate experience, but you’re putting this candidate through this unstructured process of repetitive conversations for seven people to try to agree, because we’ve all heard different things, and there’s no data captured.

We’re trying to say, “Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa.” If you equip the recruiter with the seven technical questions, or industry specific questions, or domain experienced questions, they can ask those technical questions, hang up the phone, and share a link with five stakeholders, who each can hear three minutes of highlights from that call, hear those technical answers, that domain knowledge, that communication style, and say, “Wow. William’s amazing. He sure does know recruiting. Maybe we don’t each need four 45 minute calls to agree that the SVP should talk to this person and sell it.”

William Tincup: 11:18 I love it. So, let’s do some buying side questions, because you’ve bought technology as well.

Nick Livingston: 11:25 Yeah.

William Tincup: 11:25 And so, the questions that you love… Because one of the things that we try to unlock with this podcast is what’s out there, what’s available, and how to buy. And so, questions that practitioners… Even if you could go back to your former self, when you’re at MTV. What questions should people be asking Honeit?

Nick Livingston: 11:46 Great question. I mean the kind of surface level topics that are always the first and second question is, well, what about consent? Right? What about recording interviews? Right? And I’d say, “We fundamentally think interview conversations or business conversations.” Right?

William Tincup: 12:04 Right.

Nick Livingston: 12:05 And we’ve been recording business conversations for 30 or 40 years in different functions. Support calls have been recorded for quality control and training purposes for decades, right? Sales conversations. Companies like Gong and Chorus and other tools, they’re recording sales conversations. Why? To help sales people understand how to sell, how to pitch, how to listen, how to get better. Right?

And those have been recorded for five to 10 years. We think applying that simply to phone screens, video calls, interview conversations is a real step forward. Why? Because interviews are no longer a black box.

So, the first obstacle is just to kind of get over this idea of like, “Well, what if candidates don’t want to be recorded?” And we answer that. We say, “That’s not the case.” Hundreds of thousands of calls, millions of interview minutes in our system, and we’ve only heard a few cases where candidates actually go, “Huh?” It’s because they’re used to being recorded. When they call their bank, they call their support… You know.

William Tincup: 13:03 This call may be monitored.

Nick Livingston: 13:06 So, that’s always the first question, and we remind them that dual consent is built in. Both parties know calls will be recorded. There’s all these GDPR features we have built in for our European and global customers. So, we kind of address that.

The second base is integration, and I think the way we address that is we say, “Honeit is just a link.” Right? Just like you’d paste a Calendly link into your workflow, you paste a Honeit link into your workflow.

William Tincup: 13:31 Love it. So, along with the buying questions that we should be asking, what are some of the success stories, without brand names, by the way, without brands or company names, but things that… Because you’re a founder, co-founder. You created this technology for a reason. I think I remember very early on, you and I talking, and so, there’s a real passion. You could have created anything. You could have created any type of technology, but you created something because you passionately felt that there was a problem here, and there is.

So, what are some of your customers that’ve used Honeit, that have gone on and done some really, really cool things with Honeit, that maybe you didn’t foresee, or maybe you did? And again, without names. Just the stories themselves are really interesting.

Nick Livingston: 14:25 Yeah. Sounds great. And I think what people quickly realize when they see the tool, or we actually talk to them through the tool, is that they realize this is a… It’s a solution built for recruiters by recruiters, and it’s ultimately, we want to improve the recruiter experience. And we think that if we improve the recruiter experience, we’ll improve the candidate experience, and then the hiring manager experience in one shot.

William Tincup: 14:48 Right.

Nick Livingston: 14:49 What do we mean by that? Well, a big insurance company has been using Honeit. We worked with them on a case study you can find on our website, but we’ve got these… And they were very good about kind of breaking this down into not HR ROI, but business ROI for us. It was eye opening. They said in the first six weeks using Honeit, they saved over $300,000. And they could [inaudible 00:15:15]. Six weeks. And that’s just eight seats. They probably spent 600 bucks for that 300K savings.

William Tincup: 15:26 Wow. That’s fantastic. Give us some more stories.

Nick Livingston: 15:31 Yeah. I mean, where does that come from? Well, instead of scheduling calls, scribbling notes, typing writeups, no. You’re just talking and submitting. Talking and submitting.

William Tincup: 15:39 Right, right.

Nick Livingston: 15:39 And then similarly, when a hiring manager hears a few highlights, they were able to remove that next phone screen for the hiring manager, which is a… If you could give hiring managers back 40 minutes of their day, ROI gets really interesting, really quickly. Right? So, if you can actually turn that six step interview process into a three step interview process, wow.

William Tincup: 16:01 Well, and in some positions, candidates are driving some of that change.

Nick Livingston: 16:06 Sure, sure.

William Tincup: 16:07 Because I’m really… Yeah. Go on.

Nick Livingston: 16:09 Not for every role. And again, if you’re having good structured conversations, I would argue, yes. There’s definitely times where you do want multiple people to meet a candidate.

But they were able to see these kind of incredible gains, and because the recruiters were more productive, they didn’t have to work with agencies for more searches, right? The recruiters had more bandwidth to handle more recs and talk to more candidates, because they weren’t doing the tedious stuff. So, I think that’s where that particular case study comes from.

Another case study we put together was with a great agency we worked with in Atlanta. I guess I won’t say a name there either, but they came up with, maybe the firm was founded by great recruiters, but then training and upscaling recruiters or teaching people recruiting, that can be very difficult. How do you clone yourself, if you’re a great recruiter?

And we worked on a case study with them, and it was all about how do you train and recruit and get new recruiters up to speed quickly? Well, they were able to hire candidates, right out of college, who were personable, well spoken, had great people skills. They were able to create these call guides in Honeit for all the different technical roles that they worked on. Dot net developers, react developers, project managers, product managers, et cetera. And those new recruiters could jump on the phone, ask those key technical questions, sell the job, answer questions, do all the stuff we do, and they were submitting candidates in two weeks.

William Tincup: 17:32 Oh wow.

Nick Livingston: 17:33 So, the ramp. Imagine the ramp, when you build a stack that helps a recruiter get on the phone, talk to people better, ask key questions, and submit in seconds. Recruiter productivity and onboarding was off the charts. So, that’s another one that jumps out to me.

Another customer testimonial, again, going back to folks who’ve been doing this for a while, and have been picking up the phone with their head tilted, and typing for 30 years, to be able to finally sit back. So, we’ve got folks who know what they’re doing to say, “Honeit’s the best recruiting innovation since the telephone.” Which of all the innovation and tools we see in sourcing and CRMs and ATSs and email sequencing and such, it’s like, yeah, let’s go back to the basics. What is it? It’s a recruiter and their telephone. We always joke about that.

William Tincup: 18:27 I love this. So, stupid question alert, or dumb question alert from my point of view is… Two dumb questions. So, handle these as you can. One is around what you see in terms of questions that you’re getting asked around standardizing or structuring questions in the screening process. That’s on one level. I want to kind of get your take on that bit. And the other dumb question alert is, are you getting asked by customers and even prospects around DEI?

Nick Livingston: 19:07 Yeah. I mean, I think both those questions are very correlated and connected, right? Like a structured interview process or a structured candidate screening process is a more fair candidate screening process. So, yeah, we’ve got a couple of things there.

So in Honeit, there’s those call guides we talked about, where you can create those structured call guides by rec, by project, by client, et cetera. And now you can share those call guides across your team.

So, let’s say you need to interview 500 people in three days. Well, you create a Honeit project. You brand it, right? You’ve got a scheduling link for that project. You blast it to the 2000 people who expressed interest in the opportunity. And now you evenly distribute those calls across the seven recruiters. But now you know that each of those seven recruiters is going to be asking those key six questions, right? That keeps the process fair and consistent.

Now, second, I would say, we’re phone interview technology at heart. We fundamentally believe phone screens and phone conversations are not only more convenient and more fair, but they reduce bias. As soon as you start to talk about video conversations and video using this, we start to introduce bias. So, while we do offer video calls built in to the system, we are kind of phone interview first.

And it ties very nicely to a fair, consistent candidate screening process. And then after the call, we’ve got blind candidate previews. So, you can remove the name, the photo, the resume, and just share those three highlights to say, “This is what the candidate we spoke with knows about topic X.” And it doesn’t matter where they went to school or what they look like. It’s what they know about a topic.

William Tincup: 20:46 Right. So, are there any weird biases in phones and phone screening that we should be aware of?

Nick Livingston: 20:54 Actually, I mean, I think phone conversations are where you actually get the best answers.

William Tincup: 21:02 Right.

Nick Livingston: 21:02 Because people aren’t worried about what they look… Just like now. We’re doing audio. We turned off video, so we can actually let loose, and just think about what we’re saying. Right? Similarly, phone interviews kind of take that edge off a candidate having to look or be prepared, or worried about what’s on the wall behind them. All of that kind of stuff.

Yeah. I mean, so, I think phone is just easier, and it’s actually more fair. I can’t think of any biases. Phone is also just more universal, right?

William Tincup: 21:32 Right.

Nick Livingston: 21:32 For candidates that don’t have video laptops with cameras built in and things like that. You are kind of limiting your audience then, of who can easily take a video call and step out, take a video call.

William Tincup: 21:44 Right. Yeah. I think the only thing that came to mind, and this was 100 years ago, is I ran into some candidates that were terrified of interviews. Not phone interviews, but terrified of interviews, because of their language. And English was a second language for them. And I didn’t even know this existed, but this was a bit, right? And so, they were just terrified of just going to the interview. We got the interview.

Nick Livingston: 22:16 Oh my gosh. You’ll love this, William. I mean, think about, if you look at recruiters as kind of the middle person, right?

William Tincup: 22:23 Right, right. Yeah.

Nick Livingston: 22:23 Between hiring and… Yeah.

William Tincup: 22:24 The second [inaudible 00:22:26]. They’re in between both worlds.

Nick Livingston: 22:27 Yeah. The hiring manager tells me about this job. I’m now trying to communicate this downstream to candidates. Similarly, candidate says something I don’t know, and I’m trying to communicate that back up to… So, we’ve seen some really interesting applications on Honeit where, imagine a recruiter on the telephone talking to a Java engineer. Can ask a few tough Java questions and say, “Hey, but for this particular answer, feel free to answer in your native language.”

William Tincup: 22:50 Oh, cool.

Nick Livingston: 22:52 Because we’re only sharing the soundbites, I’m no longer that bottleneck.

William Tincup: 22:57 Sure.

Nick Livingston: 22:57 It’s no longer interpretation or opinion anyway. If the hiring manager speaks the same language, wow. I mean, I speak some Spanish, but if I had to interview in Spanish, I would definitely not get the job.

William Tincup: 23:07 Right. No. Nor would I. Well, again, that’s fantastic, because you’ve opened it up to them, and just said, “Hey, listen. Speak as you want to speak. We’re going to make sure it’s recorded, and get it in the hands of the people that are going to make the decision.”

And again, I think it’s just wonderful. I love what you’ve done. Last question I have is your favorite part of the Honeit demo.

Nick Livingston: 23:36 So, we talk. We kind of get to this point where they understand how Honeit works for phone screens-

William Tincup: 23:40 Right.

Nick Livingston: 23:41 … and submitting faster and delighting clients. Simplifying the interview process. And then we pause, and I always love to say, “Now-”

William Tincup: 23:49 But wait. But wait, there’s but wait.

Nick Livingston: 23:51 Wait, there’s more. I was like, “What do you think the most important conversation in recruiting is?”

William Tincup: 23:56 Hmm.

Nick Livingston: 23:59 And we always kind of ask that question, and most folks go, “Well, that intake or kickoff call.” I say, “Exactly. What is that?” And they’re like, “That’s an interview too.”

William Tincup: 24:11 There it is.

Nick Livingston: 24:12 That’s an interview too. Yep. When you ask a hiring manager, “Hey, talk to me about why this role’s open?” Boom. That’s a great answer. When you say, “Dear hiring manager. Talk to me about what’s most exciting about this particular product role.” Boom. Opening up a new territory, build a new thing. Blah blah. There’s usually a really great answer behind every great question, but again, recruiters have not been equipped with a tool to make it easy to capture, search, and share those key insights.

William Tincup: 24:36 Right.

Nick Livingston: 24:36 So, after an intake call in Honeit, you have a video call or a phone call with a new hiring manager. You can hang up the phone, and create an audible job preview in seconds. This is a link that you can include in your outbound sourcing campaigns or InMails to past candidates that maybe include the job description, but it also includes a few highlights from that intake call.

William Tincup: 24:58 That’s right.

Nick Livingston: 24:59 Now that candidate who’s busy and passive and not actively looking can hear that motivating hiring manager pitch the job in their own words, and say, “Yeah, I’ll schedule a call to the recruiter to learn more.”

William Tincup: 25:10 Oh, I love that. I love that on so many levels, because again, it’s hearing it from that first person, from the hiring manager. Oh.

Nick Livingston: 25:16 First person. There’s a place for us as recruiters. There’s an importance to our role. But being this interpreter or translator, when we only have scribble notes and opinion-

William Tincup: 25:30 Right.

Nick Livingston: 25:32 … just is so limiting. So, again, turning an intake call into something that you can excite your recruiters and source, and everybody’s aligned, and even share that with the interview panelists, so that they know what the hiring manager’s looking for, and there’s no misinterpretation on what a hiring manager wants internally. Boom. These job previews are great for that.

And then similarly, you go one step further. How do you attract the best and brightest? Well, you got to showcase your best and brightest. And back to some DEI applications, if you want to attract diverse candidates, showcase diverse hiring managers.

William Tincup: 26:06 Yep. Because people want to see people like them in the hiring process. This is true of everybody. I mean, they want to experience… If it’s gen Z, they want to experience gen Z in the hiring process.

Nick Livingston: 26:17 I mean, we talk about, let’s post salaries. Okay. That’s a nudge for it, and there’s a lot of great reasons to put salaries in job descriptions. But I would say, what else? We’ve also been hiding who’s the hiring manager.

William Tincup: 26:31 Oh, 100%. 100%.

Nick Livingston: 26:34 Transparency is just, it’s so helpful, and candidates are starting to see through, and the tricks that have worked in the past just don’t work. It’s trust and transparency, through and through.

William Tincup: 26:44 Drops mic, walks off stage. Nick, thank you so much for your time today, and thank you for coming on the Use Case podcast.

Nick Livingston: 26:51 William, my pleasure. Great catching up.

William Tincup: 26:53 Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case podcast. Until next time.

Music: 26:59 You’ve been listening to Recruiting Daily’s Use Case podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform, and hit us up at recruitingdaily.com.

The Use Case Podcast

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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