You all are sleeping on Paradox.ai!

One of the biggest developments in HR technology in the last decade was the advent of high-volume hiring technology. I’m a huge fan of this technology because it seems obvious, yet traditional ATSs and large HCM recruiting modules never went down this path to develop something for hiring low-skill/no-skill workers. The expectation was that these hourly workers would jump through the same hoops we make salaried workers jump through, and they’d like it.

The leader in this space is Paradox.ai. When they launched using machine learning with their chat-to-apply and on-demand interview scheduling, it was groundbreaking. For the first time, we actually had technology built specifically for low-skill/no-skill hiring that was fast, efficient, and reduced cost per hire. It was a technology that seemingly allowed everyone an equal chance, or at least many more, to make it through the hiring pipeline than we saw from traditional hiring practices.

While they still use conversational AI automation for hiring, they have also launched their next-gen generative AI chat, which literally blew me away. Paradox is way out in front when it comes to using generative AI in a safe, ethical way that delivers an advanced candidate experience. Paradox found an architecture that I think will blow most legal teams away in terms of how it protects both the brand and the candidate.

Here’s the thing: you don’t really even know what Paradox is today!

Paradox has quickly evolved into a full-feature hiring suite for all of your hiring, not just high-volume hiring. Don’t get me wrong, it still kicks ass on high-volume hiring. Here’s all that they have right now:

  • Conversational Career Site
  • Conversational CRM
  • Conversational ATS
  • Contextual Q&A
  • Video Interviewing
  • Conversational Interview Scheduling
  • Conversational Events (Career Fairs, Campus, etc.)
  • Employee Chat Assistant (think hourly worker has an HR need during a shift or after hours)
  • They also have fully built-out integrations with Workday, SAP, and Oracle.

I hesitate to call Paradox an ATS because they’ve taken what we thought an ATS or hiring process was and completely flipped it upside down. In this new world of AI, Paradox has discovered a new way, dare I say a better way, to hire people. The companies I know who are using it are seeing measurable positive results, and the candidate experience is also very high.

It’s like we’ve had this wheel in hiring for decades. Everyone had a wheel. The wheel worked fine. It was way better to have a wheel than not have a wheel. Then Paradox came around and said we can reinvent the wheel! And they actually did it. They built a better mousetrap.

I spoke to a Fortune 200 TA leader recently who said this about Paradox: “Tim, it just works!” When was the last time you were able to say that about your hiring technology?

I recommend Paradox so much that I tease I should be on their sales team, but that’s how much I think what they are doing is the right thing. If I were running an enterprise TA function, I would buy and implement Paradox. In fact, I wouldn’t even take the job unless I had assurances I could do that. They are a game changer for our industry, and everyone else is currently playing catch-up.

So, what are the negatives?

I see two for TA leaders:

1. It’s expensive. They can charge a lot because it works. From the shops using it, I know the ROI is high. You probably need to make 1,000+ hires a year to even consider using them to get the value.

2. To get full maximum value it will supplant your ATS or Recruiting module, and that can be a hard sell to your CFO, CIO, and CHRO. But it’s worth the fight.

In ten years of covering TA Technology, I’ve never found a better, more complete hiring tool. I don’t know what else to tell you.

Go demo and give them the discount code: “Tim’s a Fanboy”! Just kidding, they didn’t give me a code.

Should Companies Pay for Interviews?

It’s Re-Run Friday! This post originally ran in May 2014.

Would You Pay A Candidate To Interview?

Last week I got my ass handed to me for daring to consider that those who interview with a company, should pay for interview feedback.  Not just normal interview feedback, like thanks, but no thanks, but something really good and developmental.  Most people think that idea is bad.  Interview feedback should be free.  It’s not that I really want to charge people who interview a fee to get feedback, it’s just I think we could do so much better in terms of candidate experience, but we have to get out of our current mindset to shake things up a bit.

This all leads me to the next idea (hat tip to Orrin Konheim @okonhOwp) what if companies paid interviewees for their time?

Cool, right!?

We’ve built this entire industry on shared value.  Organizations have jobs, candidates want jobs, let’s all do this for free.  What happens when the equation isn’t equal?  What if candidates didn’t want your jobs?  Could you get more people to come out an interview if you paid them?  How much would it be worth?  It’s a really cool concept to play around with, if we can get out of our box for a bit.

Let’s say you’re having a really, really hard time getting Software Developer candidates to even consider your jobs and your organization.  It’s a super tough market, and you just don’t have a sexy brand.  You also don’t have the time to build a sexy brand, you need the talent now!  How much would it take to entice great candidates to give you an hour?  $100? $500? $1,000?  What if I told you I could have your CIO interviewing 5 top Software Developers tomorrow for 5 hours for $5,000?  Would you do it?

I hear the backlash of questions and concerns already forming in your head!

– People would just take the money, but not really want the job!

– How would you know these people were serious?

– Why would you pay to have someone interview when others will for free?

– Did you get hit on your head as a child?

– This might be the dumbest idea since your idea last week.

When we think about really having a great candidate experience, shouldn’t compensation be a apart of the conversation.  For most interviews you’re asking someone to take time off work, losing salary, time off, putting themselves at risk of their employer finding out, etc.  At the very least, you would think that we might offer up some kind of compensation for their time.  I’m not talking about interview expenses, but real cold hard cash, we appreciate your time and value it!

If you started paying candidates to interview, do you think you would get and have better or worse interviews?

When you put value to something, i.e., an interview, people tend to treat it as such.  Now that interview that they might go, might not go, becomes something they have to prepare for, because, well, someone is paying me to do this.  To interview.  I’m guessing if you paid your candidates to interview, you would get a higher level of candidate, and have a higher level of success in hiring.  It’s just a theory, wish I had the recruiting budget to test it out!

Staying True to Your Game

The saying “Stay true to the game” pops up all the time. It’s been around in sports and pop culture for ages. Basketball especially! (Side note: who do you have winning tonight?) Anyway, I feel like I keep hearing it more and more.

“The game” stands for your thing, whether it’s sales, accounting, basketball, you name it. For me, it’s recruiting. Whether third-party, corporate, or RPO, we’re all in the same boat.

Being true to recruiting is kind of subjective. What does it even mean?

If you zoom out from recruiting and think about staying true to something you’re passionate about, how do you do it? How do you make sure it’s a priority? What do you do to show you’re committed?

This way of thinking sets the stage for understanding what it means to stay true to recruiting.

Recruiting is my thing. To keep it real, I stick to a few key things:

  1. I soak up as much recruitment info as I can.
  2. I connect with top-notch recruiters.
  3. I swap stories and tips with fellow recruiters.
  4. I’m always looking for ways to improve my skills.
  5. I know that staying loyal to recruiting is a choice I make.

Staying true to recruiting means always aiming higher, personally and professionally.

Sure, it’s not always easy, but it’s about staying true to the game.

So, here’s the deal this Monday. Share what your thing is in the comments below. Then, let us know how you’re staying true to it this week. Go for it.

LinkedIn’s 2024 Future of Recruiting Report #FutureOfRecruiting @LinkedInTalentSolutions

This week, LinkedIn released its latest Future of Recruiting Report, and as always, it was packed with great data for TA pros and leaders. LinkedIn has an absolute treasure trove of recruiting data, so this is always one of the reports I can’t wait to dig into.

What were their predictions?

  1. AI will supercharge recruiting.

This isn’t surprising as AI is on everyone’s mind across the entire enterprise. AI is changing work, and it will change how we recruit talent. Interestingly, we are still in the early days, so while it’s the #1 prediction, there still isn’t a lot of meat on this bone around how. That’s really the billion-dollar question everyone in TA is working to answer, including LinkedIn, which will have a giant advantage because of their parent, Microsoft, and Microsoft’s massive investment into OpenAI, which is out in the lead on GenAI. Stay tuned. I’m very interested in seeing what the LinkedIn product team is working on!

2. Recruiting will help build the skills-based workforce of the future.

This kind of gives you a bit of an answer to the first prediction. If recruiting is going to change, LinkedIn believes skills will be the answer to what recruiters will be shifting to in the future. Skills are definitely evolving, but it’s another massive understanding for organizations. Also, it’s just about skills. We still must consider the whole person and their fit into the culture. Just because someone has the skills to do the job doesn’t mean they’ll succeed at the job or within your unique culture. It’s still a work in progress.

3. Quality of Hire is top of the recruiting agenda.

As it has been for two decades! And yet, we still do not have an industry standard to measure QoH, nor do most organizations actually use it as a measure of success. Nor is it actually a recruiting metric! Here is where I think LinkedIn could espouse a measure and even build it for the industry. Currently, CrossChq is the closest to making this a reality within their product and consistently delivering a QoH metric that is reliable to the business (Editor’s note: CrossChq isn’t paying me – neither is LinkedIn – which seems like an opportunity!). The reality is that QoH can be a fantastic measure of success around talent for an organization, but you actually have to do it!

4. Agility will be a must-have for recruiting teams.

Again, see number 1. As the great Ferris Bueller once said, “The world moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.” Agility in TA means we need to stop guessing and be more data-driven in our decision-making. This means you have to stop using archaic measures like Time to Fill to understand talent acquisition.

5. Recruiting teams will advocate for flex work policies.

And higher wages. And better benefits. And managers that don’t suck. In the future, recruiters will advocate for anything and everything that will help them attract the best talent.

6. Attracting GenZ will require a new playbook.

Yes! And that playbook is as follows (Tim’s words, not LinkedIn!):

  • Good pay and benefits for the work
  • A chance to learn and grow within their role
  • An organization that cares about them
  • A manager and leaders they can trust
  • To be treated like an adult around work and life.

Okay, so maybe it’s not a totally new playbook…

You might look at the six predictions and think, “these could have been the same last year, and the year before” and you probably wouldn’t be wrong. Also, they might be the same next year. That’s what happens when you have a major technology shift happening. It’s hard to predict. But, these are six strong strategy pillars for TA leaders to build around for the years to come.

Go download the report – there’s a massive amount of arts and charts, and data in it!

HR and Recruiting: The Unspoken Rules

Some unsaid rules guide us through HR. They’re not really hard and fast rules, just practical tips that we’ve learned along the way. Let’s break them down:

  1. Stay away from personal questions in interviews.
  2. Keep reference checks simple – just confirm dates of employment.
  3. Guard employee files like they’re top-secret.
  4. If it’s important, put it in a policy.
  5. Take every accusation seriously and look into it.
  6. “Mutual decision to leave” usually means otherwise.
  7. Measurement gets things done.
  8. Be careful about setting precedents.
  9. Expect things to go haywire on day 2 of your vacation.
  10. A candidate hasn’t really accepted the job until they show up to work on Day 1.
  11. If it’s on the ‘roadmap’ of your HR or Recruiting technology vendor, it means it’s not actually built and might never be built.
  12. Employees tattling on others probably have their own issues.
  13. Employee harassment stories are rarely simple.
  14. Open enrollment meetings need cookies.

We love our rules in HR! Ironically, I love the profession so much because I’m a low-rules kind of person. The reality is, in my couple decades of HR and recruiting work there really has only been one Rule of Thumb that has been the same at every organization I’ve worked in. Big and small. Public and private. Across all industries…

– Things change.

This basic principle reminds us that flexibility is crucial in the ever-shifting HR landscape. What’s your go-to rule in HR and recruiting?

The Good Ole Inbox Zero Metric

This holiday season, I’m stepping away from my usual writing to bring you some of the top-read posts from 2023. Enjoy!

Inbox Zero as a Measure of Performance for Talent Acquisition!

I have a new #1 question I get asked by Talent Acquisition Leaders! My old number one question was, “Which ATS should we be using?” That stood the test of time for almost a decade! But I now have a new number one.

“How should we be measuring success in Talent Acquisition?”

That question comes in a lot of versions:

  • What is the best metric in recruiting?
  • What do you use to measure the productivity of your recruiters?
  • How do you show your organization that TA is doing its job?
  • What are the metrics you use to measure TA?

I like using “Measures of Success” terminology primarily because of how I want to live my life. I never want our metrics, analytics, and data to be used as a hammer to obtain performance. I want to hire people who want to be successful in what they decide to do in life. Once they make that decision, I want to treat them like adults and help them obtain that success. I use data to help them track outcomes and measures of success to lead them on this journey.

Does that sound like a load of B.S. hustle culture or what?! LOL!

But, honestly, I genuinely believe in this philosophy, even though it’s sometimes hard to follow.

If a recruiter wants to be successful, I know there is a specific set of measures that will help them be successful if they follow the process, use the technology, and are diligent in their follow-up. They don’t have to work over 40 hours per week. They just have to work the 40 hours they work.

Every company could have a varied set of metrics that will make them successful. Most will have some similarities, but the actual numbers within the measures will be uniquely yours.

Inbox Zero is a measure a few TA Teams are using as a measure of success.

First off, I don’t necessarily believe that “Inbox Zero” has a high correlation to TA Team or Individual success, but herein lies the problem with measuring the success of TA teams today. The measures most of us use, suck! Time to fill = awful, zero correlation, you should be fired as a leader. (Editor’s note: Okay, Tim, breathe in, we know you’ll die on this hill.)

I find about 90% of TA Leaders work to build measures of success that look good without really having any real impact on actual recruiting success in their organization. That hurts, I know, but it’s true. Inbox Zero is just another sexy attempt at measuring sh*t with little accountability to success, but you can actually measure it, so it must be important. (sarcasm alert)

Just because you “can” measure it, doesn’t mean you “should” measure it.

Okay, what the hell is “Inbox Zero”?

It’s basically what it sounds like.

As a recruiting measure, some brilliant TA lead believes if every recruiter ended their day with zero emails in their inbox, they must be more successful than someone who didn’t end their day with email in their inbox.

There is some science behind inbox zero, although not a measure of recruiting success, just life success. It was developed in 2006, and here are the tenets of this email management strategy:

  • Some messages are more equal than others. On any given day, only a handful of emails are important and timely. Stop treating every email “like a Christmas present that must be savored.”
  • Your time is priceless and wildly limited. Few people have time to respond to every email they receive or even read them in detail. Accept that your workload exceeds your resources and slavishly guard your time.
  • Less can be so much more. Quit thinking that one-line email responses are rude — you’re not helping anyone by sending wordy responses. When it comes to email, economy is key, at least for most messages.
  • Lose the guilt. Out-of-control email is bad enough. Don’t make it worse by beating yourself up because of your overflowing inbox. Forget the guilt and just get busy cleaning up the mess.
  • Lying to yourself doesn’t empty an inbox. Learn to be honest and realistic about your true priorities and time expectations, while developing a “baseline gut check on what you really intend to do about any given message.”

The reality is we are addicted to data that we can measure that is clean. We love “time to fill” because we can accurately measure it. We like things like Inbox Zero because we can accurately measure it. We can show the business the black-and-white numbers we are confident in. No matter if they actually matter or not!

Inbox Zero is a time management strategy. The hope is if you can manage your inbox well, you’ll be a better recruiter. It’s a hope. That is all it is. It’s not a measure of success for talent acquisition. That being said, I need to manage my inbox better!

Posted on  by Tim Sackett

The Quest for Simplicity!

Ever wondered why HR Departments insist on tangled processes? Truth is, we all crave simplicity. But peek into our organizations and complexity rules the roost. The harder we try to simplify, the messier it gets. Surprisingly, the culprit’s closer than you think—it’s you. Yes, YOU. Yup, making things complicated? It’s kind of your thing. Go ahead and pick up that red pencil in the photo and circle “Complicate” instead, you know you want to!

Harvard Business Review dropped some knowledge bombs:

“There are several deep psychological reasons why stopping activities are so hard to do in organizations. First, while people complain about being too busy, they also take a certain amount of satisfaction and pride in being needed at all hours of the day and night. In other words, being busy is a status symbol. In fact a few years ago we asked senior managers in a research organization — all of whom were complaining about being too busy — to voluntarily give up one or two of their committee assignments. Nobody took the bait because being on numerous committees was a source of prestige.

Managers also hesitate to stop things because they don’t want to admit that they are doing low-value or unnecessary work. Particularly at a time of layoffs, high unemployment, and a focus on cost reduction, managers want to believe (and convince others) that what they are doing is absolutely critical and can’t possibly be stopped. So while it’s somewhat easier to identify unnecessary activities that others are doing, it’s risky to volunteer that my own activities aren’t adding value. After all, if I stop doing them, then what would I do?”


Ron Ashkenas. “Why Organizations Are Afraid to Simplify.” March 28, 2013. Harvard Business Review. https://hbr.org/2013/03/why-organizations-are-so-afraid-to-simplify

Turns out, people love complaining about being swamped, but secretly, they enjoy it. Being busy is like a gold star.

Managers cling to tasks like lifelines. Admitting something they do is low-value or unnecessary? Terrifying. Especially when job cuts loom large. They’d rather sell the idea that what they do is crucial, even if it isn’t.

Here’s the kicker: you can break this cycle. How? Reward people for axing pointless work. Right now, we hail the overworked, perpetually busy folks like heroes. But let’s not forget the silent achievers—the ones who nail it in half the time. Somewhere down the line, ‘working smarter’ morphed into ‘work smarter and longer.’ Truth is, most folks can’t work smarter, so they pile on hours and glorify every task as vital.

Cracking the Code

In the world of recruiting, most conversations I’ve heard come in coded language. Understanding the true meaning behind these terms can be both revealing and enlightening. Let’s decode a few together:

1. “Offer Pending”

  • What it implies: “I’m preparing to extend an offer.”
  • What it means: “I’m uncertain about the candidate’s willingness to accept, or they haven’t responded yet.”

2. “Professional References”

  • What it implies: “Previous supervisors providing insights about your work.”
  • What it means: “References like your parent’s friend or your old coach don’t cut it. My boss wants your previous boss to tell us how great you are versus your priest telling us how great you are.”

3. “Market Offer

  • What it implies: “Salary based on local industry standards.”
  • What it means: “We didn’t anticipate market changes; here’s what we can afford based on projections from a couple of years ago.”

4. “Excellent Benefits Package

  • What it implies: “Comprehensive benefits covered by us.”
  • What it means: “Similar benefits to others, but ‘Excellent Benefits’ definitely sounds more appealing.”

5. “An “A” Candidate

  • What it implies: “Top-tier talent with impeccable credentials.”
  • What it means: “This is the best person (and only person) we could find to accept your marginal pay rate, crappy location, and iffy company culture.”

6. “Niche Recruiter

  • What it implies: “Specialized in specific skills or industries.”
  • What it means: “You think you need someone who specifically recruits only for what you are looking for. The reality is a great recruiter can find you whoever you need regardless of skill/industry, but it makes you feel better if we tell you we have that specific niche.  So, YES, we are “niche.”

This recruiting jargon effectively masks reality and creates a culture of polite misdirection. We “dance” with each other and tell each other what we want to hear – and we leave with this wonderful false sense of security that everything is fine. Yet, when crucial decisions are at stake, transparency does matter. When in doubt – Speak the truth.

Iron Bowl 2023 Recap from a Non-Invested Fan!

If you read this blog regularly, you know my best friend Kris Dunn, and he’s an Auburn University fan. I’m a Michigan State fan. And like best friends do, we support each other in our fandom and sometimes in our misery of fandom.

Thanksgiving weekend each year is a big rivalry week in college football. You’ve got a lot of big games: UofM vs. Ohio State, Washington vs. Washington State, Florida vs. Florida State, etc. Arguably, the biggest one is Auburn vs. Alabama, which they’ve titled the Iron Bowl!

So, when Kris offered me to come down for a game, I, of course, had to go see the Iron Bowl! You know what they say? Throw out the records. This is a backyard brawl, brother vs. brother. These teams know each other like family, and it’s about bragging rights for the rest of the year.

I grew up in Big Ten country and have lived through every single UofM vs. MSU game since I was old enough to remember. For years, “we” (MSU) got destroyed by UofM. For most of my life, that was the case. Then we hired the right coach, and we went on a pretty good decade run. Kris and I like to believe that MSU and Auburn are similar. We have these big rivals with national brands, Michigan and Alabama, so you’re almost always going to be the underdog. But being the underdog has some amazing celebrations when you finally win one.

I won’t bore you with details of a game that has already happened. Long story short, like every classic memorable football game, Alabama won on a miracle play when it looked like all was lost, and Auburn got their hearts broken. I was there to see the entire devastatingly amazing thing.

Thoughts from a Big Ten Guy in SEC country for the biggest rivalry in college football:

  • Folks in the SEC take football more seriously than up north. That’s a fact. I will not argue. I’ve seen it firsthand. They get to the games earlier. They are way more engaged throughout. They don’t leave early.
  • The SEC pre-game stuff made me feel like I was in a cult. They have dudes with microphones leading cheers 20 minutes before kickoff, and it’s unlike anything you see in the Big Ten or Pac12. The entire stadium is doing these old-time 1940s type Raw-Raw-We-Kick’em-In-The-Knee type cheers. It’s funny and amazing all at the same time.
  • The Auburn Eagle flying out at pre-game is something every single college football fan has to see. It’s America at its finest, and if terrorists saw this in person, they would understand why America can never be defeated. You pair this with three F-15 fighter jets flying overhead, and you just want to wrap yourself in the flag and stand a post!
  • Alabama’s band had 30 women twirling guns. GUNS! AMERICA! You can’t make this up. Thirty women wearing bathing suits, in stripper boots, and twirling guns! It made me want to go vote!
  • If I’m running a football stadium in the Big Ten, ACC, Pac12, etc. I am sending my stadium entertainment team to watch SEC games in person. They do it differently. They do it better. I’ve never been to a better stadium environment than the Iron Bowl at Auburn.
  • I love college sports because I think you have more of a chance to see amazing things happen, I.E., Upsets. The joy and pain you see in upsets can’t be replicated. I got to witness that, in a way, fans of those teams will talk about for a decade until the next amazing thing happens. Ten years ago, for the record, the Kick 6 happened, which snatched the win out of Alabama’s fans’ hands with one second, and Auburn got the big win. For a decade, Auburn has been able to warm themselves on cold nights thinking about that one memory. Now, it’s Alabama’s turn. The hard part for Auburn fans to swallow is that it seems like Alabama has an embarrassment of riches, and they don’t deserve this moment. I kind of agree! The underdog deserves this moment!
  • These are 18-22-year-old kids playing a game they love with hopes of going on to professional football. Less than 1% will. So, at the end of the night, when the lights go off, and crowds go home, these are still just young men playing a game and trying everything in their might to win. For themselves, their coaches, their school, and their fans. I have to remember this sometimes. For how badly I want my team to win, those kids playing the game want it a million more times than I do. They are the ones putting in the work. So, my heart breaks for the Auburn players.
  • Alabama coach Nick Saban said it best after the game. Basically, if you play the game long enough, you’re going to experience some amazing things and some heartbreaking things. That’s part of playing the game. That night, he got to be on the positive side of that experience, but he’s also been on the other side. The bad times make the good times all that better.

Thank you for allowing me to indulge you with something non-recruiting or HR-related. Although, there’s a lot of learning from the greatest things we experience in our lives that I’ll definitely take with me!

Life’s Tough, But It Evens Out

In the realm of motivational quotes, one has continually stuck with me: “It’s hard, but it’s fair.” An older football coach used it to fire up his players, but it speaks volumes about life today.

The coach’s son, Toler Jr., eloquently defines the meaning of the phrase:

“It’s about sacrifice. It means that if you work hard, at the end of the day, fairness aligns with your efforts. It’s about investing time and readiness for the opportunities.”

We all think our parents are hard on us growing up.  I recall stories I tell to my own sons of my Dad waking me up on a Saturday morning at 7am, after I was out to late the night before, and ‘making’ me help him with something, like chopping wood or cleaning the garage out.  He didn’t really need my help, he was trying to teach me a lesson about choices.  If I chose to stay out late at night, it was going to suck getting up early to go to school.  He shared with me stories of his father doing the same thing – one night my Dad had gotten home late, so late, he didn’t even go to bed, just started a pot of coffee and waited for my grandfather to get up, figuring that was easier than getting a couple of hours of sleep and then hearing it from my grandfather the rest of the day.

In my role as an HR professional, I witness this every day in the workforce. There are those who consistently dedicate themselves without expecting special treatment. Others will put in the minimum, then expect a cookie. It’s a tough life lesson for those folks. Often, they depart, perceiving unfair treatment, and move between jobs, slowly learning the importance of effort and time investment. In my three decades in HR, genuine hard workers rarely face injustice. Occasionally, undeserving individuals might receive promotions, but the hard workers usually secure the better end of the deal.

As a parent, I hope I can teach my sons this lesson: Life is inherently challenging, but commitment and hard work pave the path to fairness.