Dina Bay, Ph.D.
Co-Founder PitchMe.co

Dina Bayasanova, PhD. is Co-Founder and CEO of the skills-based talent marketplace, PitchMe.

Prior to co-founding PitchMe, Dina spent 12 years working for O&G multinationals, including Gazprom, Enel, Zurich Investment Services, before diving into the startup world.

Today, Dina has established herself as a thought-leader in the future of the work industry, and is involved as a mentor at the Exeter Entrepreneurship society and at King’s College in London. She has done a number of speaking/workshop events, such as the Entrepreneur.com SYOB series, TEDTalk LSE.

Awards include: Rising Stars Awards 2017; Young Professional of the Year by the Energy Institute, 2017; MIT Inclusive innovation Challenge, 2019, CogX Awards 2021.

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Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 259. Today we’ll be talking to Dina from PitchMe about the use case or business case for why her customers choose PitchMe.

PitchMe helps recruiters hire faster and cut costs by automatically sourcing, updating and shortlisting candidates on their existing applicant tracking system.

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

Show length: 25 minutes 

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Announcer: 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 and recruitment in HR tech, that’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William Tincup: 00:26 Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case podcast. Today we have Dina on from PitchMe. We’ll be learning about the business case or the use case for why prospects and customers pick PitchMe. So let’s jump right into it. Dina, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and PitchMe?

Dina Bayasanova: 00:47 Absolutely. Thank you William for having me.

William Tincup: 00:51 Sure.

Dina Bayasanova: 00:51 My name is Dina. I’m a co-founder and CEO of PitchMe. It’s a skills based talent marketplace. We are based around idea that what should matter in the recruitment process are skills of candidates and not their employment and education history. So for that particular reason, we have designed a new form of professional presentation, which is called SmartMe profile. It’s a real time picture of skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience of a candidate designed in innovative way. Instead of working with application forms, resumes or tests, we are using digital sources related to each individual and convert obtained big data into measured and validated skills profiles. So we exist as a talent marketplace matching candidates to employment and education opportunities as well as we are integrating into leading HR systems.

William Tincup: 01:51 A lot of stuff to unpack there. First of all, it’s very cool. So when we talk about skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience, on one hand we’re looking at the resume and LinkedIn and we’re saying, “Okay, that’s great,” but those are kind of old fashioned and not a great way to understand all of those four things, those skills, abilities, knowledge, and experience. And so on some level the person self-identifies what those things are. And then there’s, as you said, there’s validation. Could you take us into a little bit of each one of those and how you validate?

Dina Bayasanova: 02:29 Absolutely. We are not completely saying bin CVs or bin resumes and LinkedIn profiles. We are saying that modern people and modern professionals acquire skills on a daily basis and by checking simply the history of employment or trying to tick those keyword boxes when you’re looking for right talent is not the right way because first of all, you are missing quite a lot on the personality of the candidate.

02:57 Second of all, people adjust and tailor every resume for each job. Meaning they are scrapping out what they consider irrelevant to a certain position. However, it might be very, very important if you are looking for a new fresh, non-conventional talent. So this is what we are saying, upgrade your information or upgrade the knowledge of a candidate you’re screening for a role with additional sources, which can give you a better picture of this person.

William Tincup: 03:31 I love that. Because you know what I love about when you say skill, that people are learning skills there, it’s almost like micro-skills. It’s not like you learn Java in a day, but your experience with Java, your skills in Java can change or react or whatever can change moment to moment. So it’s almost like micro-skills where you’re looking at that. I love that and I love that for people being able to search for that. So the marketplace itself is, from what I understand, it’s set up for sourcers, recruiters, hiring managers, anybody that’s looking for this type of talent. What does that look like for them? So let’s say it’s a React developer or you can give us a position I guess, but what shows up when they search?

Dina Bayasanova: 04:19 Absolutely. Employers and recruiters come directly on the marketplace. They can either upload their job descriptions, which is ready, or they can use our product job description generator, which is going to create a bespoke job description text for you. So it’s instant, you upload a position and you get results immediately.

04:42 On our marketplace there are more than 300,000 candidates who created profiles with us. So we take the overall pool of candidates and we match people and rank them based on the hard skills requirements, soft skills requirement, personality type employers are looking for. Enabling not only professional fit but also team and culture. So when employer is going to receive this instant short list and batched list of candidates, they will be able to see nothing else than the skills profile. We are trying to improve diversity and inclusivity and hiring process so our initial matching algorithm is anonymous and this is how we help employers to focus on the core, which is skills.

William Tincup: 05:34 Which is beautiful. So take us into the job description generator and also the personality type. So on one level, some folks in the US might think of the job description generator. I think Jobvite has one that’s free, but the better one is paid. And then Textio, probably most familiar with Textio in terms of Grammarly for job descriptions if you will. So take us into yours A) and then B) on the personality type, you mentioned that twice, I’m assuming that’s an assessment and if so, is that Hogan Assessment or is that one that you built yourself?

Dina Bayasanova: 06:16 Absolutely. The job description generator was a spinoff from our existing product, which is Marketplace. When we realized that 80% of the bad results that employers receive by results of the bad initially written text of the job requirements and being AI and machine learning based company, we have addressed this challenge by studying millions and millions of job descriptions from 1995 and building not the templates of text, but actually building the bespoke parts and elements of the job description required or trending now. So if you would say, “I’m looking for a React developer,” this is what you’re going to pick, the job title. The skills that you need to mention in this job description are going to be suggested by us. The requirements that you need to mention in this job description and the years of experience are going to be suggested by us. The soft skills and personality section, so what is required or what is going to be ideal candidate for the role is also going to be suggested by us. Because we have studied millions of job descriptions, we can generate you the most common or the most frequently mentioned skills and experiences that employers are mentioning when they are writing these job descriptions.

07:53 Once you have this text ready, it can be customized, you can just download it and use elsewhere or you can post positions on the platform. So that’s our job description generator.

William Tincup: 08:06 I love that.

Dina Bayasanova: 08:07 We became the product of the day in the product hunt last year, so it’s still in a high demand because I think it’s free and it’s really cool gamified thing. About the personality. This is probably the hardest part to explain that we are not competing with psychometric tests, methodologists in BTI, Big Five, Hogan you mentioned and there’s many, many more.

William Tincup: 08:36 Oh, yeah.

Dina Bayasanova: 08:37 All of those psychometric testing or behavior test analysis was done based on the assessment of candidates and interaction of candidates with tests. What we have designed, it’s pretty much a combination of big four schools, DISC and BTI, Big Five and, sorry, I forgot the five personality testing, sorry, I forgot the title of that methodology. But we had behavior scientists in the team and psychometricians who did exactly the same approach but using only big data. So using not interaction and not responses from candidates, but using these digital traits and converting those factors or that data points that we can obtain from the external sources in this personality assessment.

09:35 Technically you can give, I’m not saying 100% accurate personality and psychometric results, but you can have at least a basic understanding of where this person fits into what environment, what culture, what motivates him or her earlier than any other recruiter would do. Usually this assessment of personality is done on the third or the full stage of screening process. We introduce this into the pre-screening process, so now you can make sure that people who fit into nine to five culture are not going to be matched with startups.

William Tincup: 10:17 Love it. So the type of talent, you and I have talked a bunch about tech talent, but I don’t want to pigeonhole you there. With the 300,000 profiles that we have right now, what is it clustered around?

Dina Bayasanova: 10:35 We started focusing from digital professionals everything related to IT, creativity, marketing, design, data science and so on.

William Tincup: 10:46 So professional services or, I’m trying to think of how other people think of that as white collar jobs, professional services?

Dina Bayasanova: 10:59 Initially, yes. Now we are moving into finance. We have also done pilots with large recruitment agencies for blue collars and we have been surprised.

William Tincup: 11:14 Oh, that’s interesting.

Dina Bayasanova: 11:14 Yes, because we saw that those type of professionals are not going to have digital presence and we have been absolutely surprised by seeing that. Quite good results to be honest.

William Tincup: 11:28 Oh, that’s interesting. The term I was searching for is knowledge workers. So that’s, other than the hourly that we just talked about, you probably got most of your database or your population right now is filled with knowledge workers.

11:48 Let’s talk a little bit about the business model, not specifically, but in general, I would assume it’s free for candidates and then it’s a kind of a SaaS model for employers.

Dina Bayasanova: 12:01 Yes. We are monetizing B2B customers, so employers, recruiters. Those who are coming on the marketplace, they can purchase different credits to download candidate profiles. So technically we are selling leads of candidates on the marketplace. Those who are using PitchMe as an integration into HR, CRM or ATS systems, we are operating as a SaaS subscription.

William Tincup: 12:30 Love that. Okay, good. I just wanted to make sure, I don’t think you’re doing any internal mobility yet, but I can see this easily translating into the organization, an internal marketplace. Do you see that as well or have your customers asked you to go and help them with that part of their problem as well?

Dina Bayasanova: 12:54 I hope I’m not giving any commercial secrets away right now, but you spotted it completely right. So that upscaling and rescaling part that we do for candidates on the marketplace, which is again completely free for them is the next step to be upgraded to the internal mobility, learning development, planning and motivational planning for larger organizations working with internal employees. Not with external candidates but with internal talent. However, PitchMe is quite busy with doing new integrations and expanding to new markets, so I just don’t know when it’s going to happen in our pipeline.

William Tincup: 13:40 Well hopefully, I mean first of all, it’s one of those things, the market kind of takes… Your customers kind of take you. At one point they take you where they want you. And again, everyone’s going to solve for this and you’re solving it in talent acquisition, which is wonderful. Getting people better matches on both sides. They’re going to need to do it internal as well and so it’s just a question of when you get to it. So I get that.

14:07 Let’s do some buy side questions. Questions that when people are thinking about the skills based marketplace and matching in general, just better ways of looking at match and y’all have got a really refined way of, an elegant way of looking at match, what are questions that practitioners should ask you in terms of the differences between you and somebody else, but also the questions that you love hearing from practitioners?

Dina Bayasanova: 14:43 That’s a beautiful question because obviously taking innovative product on the market is 20% about product, 80% about execution, and taking it in the right moment of time on the market. So when we have started, maybe three years ago, the market wasn’t there yet and the questions which we have been receiving, why are you better than LinkedIn or why should I be using you instead of Indeed and so on and so forth? Where we are currently is the market is probably adjusted to this global talent pool competition to the upskilled risk skilled professionals to hiring people from non-obvious backgrounds, career shapers and so on and so forth. So what questions we see more often is quality, how do you measure the quality of the results that I’m receiving? How you ensure that you are bringing me a relevant person, even if I don’t see the relevant background or relevant education in the profile? How to ensure this person fits into my existing team and so on, as well as very technical and pragmatic questions about the unit economics of this, about how to measure results of this because when you have never done or when you have never invested into such innovation, it’s really difficult to justify this expense. So we are trying to work hand-in-hand with our employees and customers and to identify the metrics which are important for them and try to explain where PitchMe fits into their success measurements.

William Tincup: 16:32 I love that. Okay, so I’m going to ask you a demo question, but I’d like for you to answer on two levels. Your favorite part of showing people PitchMe and what you perceive or think their favorite part of seeing PitchMe is?

Dina Bayasanova: 16:49 My favorite part is also real success stories. I personally love to tell stories about how we are placing career shifters or how people who have been not considered before for the recruitment process, they have been considered after they have been presented via PitchMe. So that’s my favorite one because it gets to very personal level and everyone associates or relates to this personal stories. When we talk or when we do product validation service of our customers, they’re very skeptical before they start using it. Obviously, new products have never heard of this before and so on and so forth. So we like to see how the most skeptical people in the room, they just become brand ambassadors. This is probably the best part and this is why we do it.

William Tincup: 17:53 And when they look at the software for the first time, you’re telling them these stories, but they look at the software for the first time, they look at this skills based marketplace, what do they get excited about?

Dina Bayasanova: 18:07 They get excited about the fact that you can update and bring your database up to date instantly using external sources. They all see the big value in saving recruiters time or researchers time. And this is very easy to measure, how much time you can save and how much money you can make.

18:30 On top of this, they look into the quality or the spectrum of the results or external sources that we can enrich their resumes with and they become really intrigued when it’s a very non-obvious source such as podcast or blog or maybe even online gaming profile. This is something which recruiters have never considered before or maybe they have thought about considering it but they didn’t know how to.

19:01 And the last but not the least are the user experience because the way we designed those profiles or the way we designed the overall user experience is very user friendly. And I don’t know how many recruitment tools, even technological tools you have seen before, sometimes it all breaks into how easy is it to navigate or how easy is it to use?

William Tincup: 19:30 I love that. Just so the audience understands when we update their data, can you take data and add it to their ATS?

Dina Bayasanova: 19:36 Yes.

William Tincup: 19:39 And then obviously refresh it and bring it up to date?

Dina Bayasanova: 19:43 Absolutely. Instantly. So you don’t need to [inaudible 00:19:46] anymore, it’s just a matter of click of a button and it’s instant results.

William Tincup: 19:53 Well, what’s beautiful about that is most recruiters don’t go back into their ATS because they don’t trust the data. And this is a way of helping them trust the data because the data’s up to date.

Dina Bayasanova: 20:07 Yes. And what we say our motto is, “Don’t buy new leads, utilize the full potential of your database, which you already have.”

William Tincup: 20:16 Yep. So customer success stories, you mentioned those are the stories you love telling. Tell us a couple of those without brand names or any of that type stuff, but just some of the stories you like to tell people.

Dina Bayasanova: 20:30 I think the most recent one, it’s a big recruitment agency. Their main struggle, why they came across PitchMe was the amount of profiles they need to introduce to a customer in order to make one placement. And the second problem was the speed of getting in front of the candidate or to get in touch with a relevant candidate. So if we were to talk about the first goals, which is amount of candidates they screen in order to have one job offer, before PitchMe it was six to eight that they had to present to customer. Now it is two to three. Yes, every three profiles they submit at least to receive a job offer.

21:16 And the speed, we improved the conversion of the candidate responses for the roles they’re staffing up to 60%. Because they know a bit more, way more about this candidate, they can market their positions way better than they did before. So they’re reaching to relevant candidates in the right time. And the conversion of responses and applications increased by 60%.

William Tincup: 21:49 I love this. I want to ask you, we’ll go backwards just for a second on the product. You had mentioned soft skills and hard skills. I just wanted to make sure I got that right. And Elliott’s got that right? So as you think about, or we think about skills, is there other ways to think about that?

Dina Bayasanova: 22:09 Well, the hard skills example is something which can easily be measured. You know the programming language or do you know accounting or do you know copywriting and so on. So this is kind of professional related skill. When we talk about soft skills, it’s leadership, adaptability, flexibility and so on and so forth. When we talk about the personality part, it’s usually ideal environment or ideal work context, so what role in the team you play, what leadership style you need and so on and so forth.

William Tincup: 22:45 Love that. And last thing, do the candidates, do they note, especially post, not post-COVID, we’re technically not out of COVID yet, but are people noting hybrid, remote, on-site, their preference in terms of where they want to work?

Dina Bayasanova: 23:06 Yes, absolutely. When candidates onboard, they have to select or they have options to choose from. Do they want freelance, do they want part-time, is it hybrid model, is it fully remote and so on? And the same happens with employers, so when they post a position, they choose the same work conditions.

William Tincup: 23:27 I lied, I do have another question. What about comp? Do they self-identify what they believe they’re worth or do the employers put comp in terms of here’s what the job is worth?

Dina Bayasanova: 23:44 Oh, I think it changed a lot. Now they are focusing more on the personality and the skills which cannot be trained. So exactly the personality and soft skills rather than professional fit. Based on our interviews or based on our research of employers preferences, they say, “Okay, fine, we are going to train hard skills or professional skills, which are lacking, but if the person is the right fit into the team and the culture, we would rather take him.”

William Tincup: 24:19 That’s right. So I think first of all that you answered another question, but I’m glad you did. I was talking about comp in terms of pay, salary.

Dina Bayasanova: 24:29 Salary.

William Tincup: 24:31 So when a candidate comes into, do they self-identify what they’re worth and/or does the employer, when they post in the job description, are you asking them about salary information?

Dina Bayasanova: 24:45 Yes. Salary has to be transparent from the employers side. For candidates we do a little bit of help as well. We help with job description generator to employers, we help with a salary calculator to candidates.

William Tincup: 25:01 Oh, that’s cool.

Dina Bayasanova: 25:02 Based on their skills, location, years of experience and so on. And based on their preferences, are they looking to relocate, are they looking to stay remotely, we suggest what salary range they can compete for.

William Tincup: 25:16 Love it. This has been absolutely wonderful. Dina, thank you so much for carving out time for us.

Dina Bayasanova: 25:22 Thank you William to have me. Thank you.

William Tincup: 25:25 Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case podcast. Until next time.

Announcer: 25:31 You’ve been listening to Recruiting Daily’s Use Case podcast, be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and hit us up @recruitingdaily.com.

The Use Case Podcast

Authors
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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