BubbleHR shakes up traditional recruitment with video tech | #TechTalk

Derek O'Rourke 11.04.2018

Alex Desjardins, of BubbleHR, speaks in this Tech Talk Toronto about creating authentic, engaging, real recruitment experiences using mobile video tech.

Hi! Welcome to this week’s Tech Talk. We’re here with Alex Desjardins from BubbleHR.

To start us off Alex, why don’t you tell us a little bit about what BubbleHR is?

Alex: BubbleHR is an intelligence recruitment system that will allow employers to utilise their mobile video from within the office to capture in-the-moment content in order to provide a virtual review of what it’s like to work at that company, but more specifically the people inside that company.

How did it come about? What was the reason.

Alex: Good question. Initially it was started about three years ago. I was in my first year of university. I went to school in Sudbury, which is a place there isn't a lot to do, so I had a lot of time on my hands to really indulge deep into the landscape of social media and what was happening in tech.

That led me to understand some of the problems that were happening, some of the trends that were arising, and from that we really wanted to solve the problem of how we could quantify people’s skills, along with hard skills, and how we could really match people in the workplace.

What we did was start of by conceptualising a social networking platform that would enrich the way professionals interacted online. That would primarily be through audio and video. You’d be having in-depth conversations, debates, similar to what you see on LinkedIn now, with the one-way video, but it was more of an in-depth conversation.

That would allow you to convey your skills and abilities, your knowledge which would then allow you to showcase yourself to recruiters and companies and they could do the exact opposite.

From there, what we realised was that instead of trying to augment the type of content we’re using to showcase ourselves, such us the resume, we realised that a lot of the problems that were facing corporate recruitment were actually being caused by the systems themselves - the processes or the assessments. What we realised from that is that we need to make a pivot and then come at it from a different angle and build an actual recruitment system.

What we’ve done is basically created a four-step process that goes from sourcing to onboarding that really leverages that whole video aspect. Really trying to allow both parties, the employer and the candidate, to go more into depth and keep each other more informed prior to getting to the interview.

Derek: Essentially all of your clients will stick to your four-step processes. There’s no deviation from that? It obviously gives more clarity. It’s like a project management from the very get-go, you know when everything’s going to get done and who’s going to do it, right?

Can you tell us a bit more about the video side of things and how that comes into play with the recruitment process?

Alex: It’s very important that we enforce the whole idea of mobile video in the workplace and why this can benefit as opposed to the traditional professional production that companies were normally using.

When we looked at how we can bridge the gap emotionally from candidates and employers we started to look at how we can really communicate effectively and showcase authenticity. The whole point of the recruitment process is to get the candidates to trust you. By presenting a professional production, that may show people in the office acting, it’s creating an artificial perception which [in] a lot of cases can harm a company in the recruitment process.

The whole idea behind using mobile video is to capture things in the office that would happen whether you’re videotaping or not. You’re capturing the things that are real, that are in the moment. When people outside the company get to see this, it’s a feeling of human sincerity. You’re getting to create that trust within the process. That’s really the main benefit of mobile video and why we're pushing it so hard.

Derek: That’s really interesting. Not to say that people aren't being sincere when they’re going through a process like that. It’s certainly, people get a little bit salesy. People want to promote themselves to the employer and vice-versa, they want to make their company look good. It takes that element out. That's pretty cool actually.

You see trends coming into the recruitment industry, the video aspect. There’s artificial intelligence now as well becoming a big part of everyday life in recruitment. What do you see in the future of the recruitment industry?

Alex: The future of the recruitment industry comes with a lot of things. It comes with the ability to showcase what it really going on. It also comes with the ability increase and improve the way that we understand cultural fit and the way people fit into the workplace. 

What we’re seeing now is utilising artificial intelligence, or algorithms per se, to look inside the company before we even go outside of the company. What we’re looking for is potential weaknesses from within a team of people based on what makes a team effective, how people behave in a group and this is all tied to psychology. What we’re really looking for is the dynamic of a team and how people are interacting so that we can find people outside of the organisation that may have skills that are missing in this team. We’re not just looking for the best person, we’re not just looking for the best performer, we’re looking for the person who will bring new energy go the team rather than someone you may already have on your squad.

Derek: I always revert back to sports when I think of things like this. If you’re missing a certain type of player on your team, you don’t get another player that you already have right? Just because they’re a good player. You get the player you need. Makes a lot of sense actually, pretty good.

We’re seeing so many emerging technologies, happening over the last few years, what’s the coolest thing you’ve seen in the last year?

Alex: I’m a big believer in video and expressing rich messages, so into the future, and what I’ve seen in the last year and hasn’t really peaked yet. Virtual reality is a really interesting technology to me and how we can actually implement that into recruitment and showcasing an environment and the way people are interacting.

I think this is the be all and end all of offering that immersive experience with mobile video. I think that in the future virtual reality is definitely something that will be quite an important aspect of how we showcase what it’s like to work in an company.

Derek: Even in the local market it seems to have taken a big stride over the last couple of years. I remember when I first encountered virtual reality it was all about gaming, having a virtual reality type of experience, but we’re seeing it come into every walk of life. Kind of scary but pretty cool.

AlexThe hype on it is just starting to kind of trickle down now. I think everyone is getting over the hype around it but now it’s starting to make more of an realistic impact. People are starting to understand what the real implications are. 

Besides virtual reality and how it’s affecting video and things like that, is there anything else that you see coming up over the next few years that you think will be the next big thing in technology?

I think obviously the way that we go about measuring people with the algorithms in terms of seeping inside of the organisation. I really foresee that being a major, major trend coming up in recruitment. I’m seeing a lot of the competitors in the space right now starting to adopt that method. I think algorithms in general will continue to have more of an effect. I think that’ll be continuous over time.

Derek: I like how that all ties back into recruitment specifically. It’s interesting to see how it all unfolds. Obviously I hope it doesn’t take my job away from me! But exciting changes for sure.

With all that in mind, what does the future look like for BubbleHR?

Alex: In the next few years what we’d really like to do is take on some really innovative clients, some companies that are really innovating the tech space, that have a really unique culture to showcase and we’d like them to adopt this mode of video strategy.

And then into the future what we’d really like to do is build a fully digital representation of the office space, what people are doing so people can step inside in real time and experience what is happening. That is the future and what we see as the big picture of BubbleHR.

What annoys you most about the recruitment process as it is today?

Alex: Number one is that it’s too dry. There’s no emotion. There’s no really, truly...

Derek: I don’t know. If a deal does go in or goes out there’s a lot of emotion in our office sometimes!

Alex: I’m talking about before you meet, and before you actually get to the end person interview. Right now, with the job postings, the things that we’re using to describe what’s in our environment is really just not the way it should be. We should be showing, and not telling. Instead of talking about the list of perks and benefits we should be showing the benefits of what it’s like to work here. We should be showing the personality, the energy in the office and that’s really the way that we’re going to overcome that. It’s the dryness right now that annoys me the most.

Derek: It’s a good point. I look at a lot of job descriptions online and you see it’s so factual, ‘We’re looking for this. You have to have this, this and this. If you have it, get in touch.’ It’s so inhumane. It’s so impersonal. I’m personally not a fan of that kind of job description. I do realise you’ve got to get something out there but you say it’s going to counteract that somewhat?

Getting back to the hiring and what you guys are doing, what do you guys look for when you’re hiring?

Alex: I’d say the main thing we’re looking for is empathy. We’re looking for people who understand other people. [Who] have the ability to put themselves in situations to feel what other people may feel like in certain situations, and when it comes to recruitment it’s all about understanding what the other person is feeling and how can you adopt effectively.

Essentially the main thing we’re looking for is empathy and kind of how it trickles down from that, a lot [of that is] based on communication, how you interact with people and portray your messages effectively. A lot of it is hard skills, what you can actually produce when it comes to engineering, data science and all that stuff. What have you done? Have you worked on similar projects? Do you have the passion, the interest in what we’re working on to come in here and make a real difference?

What kind of people? Do you see a trend in the background, education or work experience in the kind of people you look for?

Alex: Yeah, totally. I think a variation of different experiences across the board can show that someone has the ability to work in a bunch of different environments, on a bunch of different projects. And the array of those experiences is really what catches my eye in terms of seeing how someone may have some real value to bring to the team. They have different points of view to be able to take from within those bags of experiences that they’ve had, which is then going to be of values in those team meetings or when were working on projects.

Derek: I’m expecting now that you’ll have a list of people that watch this show knocking on your door now looking for a job now!

It’s fascinating to hear that take on the traditional recruitment model and how you’re using technology to plug the gaps. If you’re looking for more information on what BubbleHR doing here’s Alex’s contact details:

Absolutely, thanks for having me.

Thanks so much Alex.

Derek O'Rourke's picture
Manager | Software Development Recruitment, Toronto
dorourke@morganmckinley.ca