10 Minute Read

#6things: Mary’s Place, TheLadders, and What the FAQ?

ZOMG. It’s been a whirlwind. Paris, London, Chicago. If you’d told little Maren she’d be jetting around like this, she would have totally believed you (I’ve always been really confident). Anywho, I know your heart is crying out for my neglected #6things…so here you go, don’t forget the bonus links at the bottom.

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Climbing the corporate ladder

If there’s one thing I always tell new companies that come to me with their business model that’s “going to change the face of recruiting”, it’s that charging candidates never works and it’s really hard to turn that into a reliable revenue stream. And I stand by that. But there is one very notable exception, as Tim Sackett (@TimSackett) pointed out in Talent Product Plays (a private facebook group started by Martin Burns (@RecruiterMoe) and is growing pretty darn fast!) The Ladders (@LaddersHQ). Anyway, he asked how they were still in business and lots of folks posited theories but generally it seems they lost their way a little when trying to also charge the talent practitioner model and when former and current CEO Marc Cendella came back, the Ladders also went back to its core consumer, the high-end job seeker (I just made that up) and launched a new product recently, Ladders Resume. Good for them I suppose. I remember back in the day, they used to catch a lot of flack for the model, but it sounds like it’s working. Waiting for Nick Corcodilos to comment. (FB)

Win Some, Lose Some

Recruit Holdings (parent of Indeed) reported revenue for the full year ending March 31, 2017, of JPY 1.84 trillion (USD $16.1 BILLION), an increase of 15.8% compared with the same period last year. Their EBITDA was $2 billion.<< via Chris Russell (@ChrisRussell). However, Steven Rothberg (@StevenRothberg) points out that Indeed was just a tiny part of that and staffing is the money maker, due to research showing Indeed showed a loss in certain areas…. Whatchoo think? (FB)


Look, I am the first to pooh-pooh shameless CSR initiatives but I will tell you what, I LOVE what Amazon is doing with the planned opening of Mary’s Place, a homeless shelter to house over 200 people each night right smack in the middle of their Seattle campus. Planned opening date? 2020.

As it expands its urban HQ and hires more tech workers, Amazon has been called out for its impact on housing affordability and economic stratification in Seattle. That makes the company’s decision to build the shelter within its own headquarters “an unusual arrangement,” as The New York Times described it. The Times reported that Amazon will pay for the utilities and rent; Mary’s Place will pay its own staff as it does at the temporary space now.

It’s an awesome step. Will it cure all the ills of the world? Nah, but at least they’re doing something. (GeekWire)

Compare and Contrast

I recently wrote this. Then CB Insights came out with this. In the article, they point out the industries most affected by AI. On the list? You guessed it, HR Tech. Curiously, they only called out Restless Bandit, Beamery and Switch, leaving out Mya, which just a week later received 11.4m in funding, as reported by George Larocque (@glarocque) and Joel Cheesman (@joelcheesman) first, then like…everyone else. (CBInsights)

I am still old and late to the party

Guess who finally got the hang (kinda) of Snapchat? ME! Guess which social sharing network is being left behind by influencers for the more user-friendly Instagram stories? SNAPCHAT! Mothertrucker. What do I do with all these flower crown pictures then? Glen Cathey (@GlenCathey) pointed this out. I guess Facebook knows what it’s doing…(HighSnobiety)

An Interesting Question with a LOT of answers

John Sumser (@JohnSumser) recently asked four questions, essentially all asking about the relevant differences between a FAQs page and a chatbot. Obviously, there are a lot of similarities but the differences in the answers he received are worth noting.

Eyal Steiner (@eyalsteiner) had this to say:

Chatbots are (or at least should) be using NLP algorithms to be able to better understand your question, contextually, and then provide a solution in a more natural way….Either the developer connects certain data points (that would be the case for an internal chatbot, or task specific chatbots, life food delivery). The developer then maintains the connection and the list is subject to bizdev efforts.

The other option is an open API where developers can build third party bots or connect their data, for example: Amazon Alexa.

The result is that the answers don’t have to be maintained onsite, but whenever something changes in real life, the database is updated, and the bot instantaneously provides you with up-to-date information.

Paul Hebert (@IncentIntel) said:

Why would you have a webpage if you have a company brochure? Why have email if you have a phone?

Technology solutions typically start as a less than perfect solution/replacement. India has high percentage of cell phone because they could jump past landlines when cell tech came out.

I can see leapfrogging the web-based FAQ and going to a chat bot – especially is mobile is your customers’ primary preferred channel.

Bertrand Russell (@BertrandRusseII) chimed in:

Chat bots, unlike FAQs, actually interact with systems. For example, you can ask a bot if a hotel has rooms available and at what rate for a date range and it will answer you. You can order business cards and the bot will query an HCM system to check your title and contact details, or you can ask to see a timesheet, or even provide feedback for a colleague, and it will transact on your behalf in core systems.

David D’Souza (@dds180) made this metaphor:

They aren’t like FAQ’s. They are closer to a concierge with a language barrier and that’s new to the job. Still needs to work out the most regular queries and occasionally will need to get back to you. As with people I’d rather focus on what they can do now and in the future than how we can trip them up. I recognise that’s a choice on my part.

And Jessica Lee (@jessica_lee) had this to say regarding AI vendors in the space:

…In practice, as part of implementing AI, most ppl (sic)  find themselves in a position of having to collect a TON of info and it makes you wonder… why weren’t we making this info available before? Does it even matter if we’ve been OK not providing it all this time? I don’t think vendors selling chatbots quite get this either. I always ask… how much info will you need to get from us to power the bot. they say, oh it’s just a list of questions you probably already have documented answers for. I ask for a sample of the questions and it’s 15 pages and I begin realizing the time it would take to answer and curate is not something i can prioritize. And then I stop considering it.

A great conversation with even more tidbits from folks like Rob McIntosh (@thirstforwine), David Manaster (@dmanaster), Geoff Peterson (@GeoffPeterson), and Colin Kingsbury (@ckclearco). (FB)


I’d argue this applies to entry-level workers as well.

Why you like some writing and not other writing.

Choose your pathetic job in a fun quiz!

What this is?

Why software devs are leaving the US for Toronto (you know why…)

Real Life 70-Year-Old Intern