What’s Wrong with HR Tech?

Episode Title: Plan, Integrate, Automate

Last year over 18 billion dollars were infused into HR tech, yet only 40% of senior HR leaders say they have a digital transformation plan in place for their businesses. According to Chad Sowash, the issue isn’t the tech, it’s the planning and integration. Chad is an HR legend, especially in recruitment, and is currently co-host of “Chad and The Cheese,” HR’s most dangerous podcast. In this episode of Geeks, Geezers, Googlization, Chad joins hosts Ira Wolfe and Jason Cochran to explore why so many HR leaders are stuck in the dark ages when it comes to their tech stack.

Along the way you’ll learn:

Finding peers and experts to guide your digital transformation is vital.

Automation can radically impact the effectiveness and efficiency of your business.

Don’t be afraid of emerging practices that go against long-accepted best practices.

Who Is Chad Sowash?

Chad Sowash has been in HR tech over the last 20+ years. His recruitment journey started when a recruiter directed him to apply with “onlinecareercenter.com,” later known as “Monster.com.” This means Sowash has been involved with HR Tech since the beginning. Later working with Recruit Military as a Chief Experience Officer and Randstad, building a veteran hiring program. These experiences shaped what is now his outspoken, straight-shooting brand as co-host of the popular “The Chad and Cheese Show.” The podcast started in March of 2017 and just recently recorded their 800th episode. His HRTech-focused podcast highlights an industry that saw $18 million billion invest in the last year, up from just $5 million 2 years ago.

Additional Resources:

What does HR Tech Need to Change and Improve?
Sowash pulls no punches when he says that throwing lots of money at exciting ideas does not guarantee the HR technology is better, or even needed. Sowash says, “HR needs to help themselves … stop using technology as a band-aid to fix bad processes.” Ignore the human aspect of HR, and the problems will continue and worsen. Sowash recommends that companies start with a clean slate and focus on the experience of all the stakeholders: recruiters, jobseekers and employees.
The Process to Revamp HR

The first step to revamp HR is to look for peers in other companies who have had success in influencing a company’s approach to HR. Sowash singles out Amy Butchko, Director of Talent Acquisition Solutions at SAIC, who demonstrated how her HR solution would positively impact the bottom line. The next step in revamping HR is to analyze its “core-talent platforms.”

Is HR Using Too Many Solutions?

“There is a lot of noise,” Sowash says when it comes to HR technology. The current HR “tech stack” creates redundancy, adds layers, and adds cost. Co-host Jason Cochran added that often times using multiple HR Tech platforms confuses staff and makes their jobs harder. Sowash goes one step further, “a bad and complex Tech Stack” will deter top recruiters from working with your company. What HR technology is being used is now a key question many recruiters ask before applying and accepting new jobs.

Does HR Become Part of the Blockchain?
In the same way that cloud computing didn’t kill HR tech, blockchain will not blow up HR Tech, according to Sowash. That doesn’t mean it can be ignore. Sowash does believe it will be embedded in the technology HR uses in the future. The need to encrypt information may drive its adoption but “it will be a part of the process, nothing special.”
What Are Key Roles HR Tech is Playing Today?
A key role technology plays in HR industry is in sourcing candidates. Sowash makes it clear the recruiters have so much high level work to do, they shouldn’t have to worry about finding candidates. Technology can also help scale communication with candidates and move them through the screening and hiring process faster. He admits that many HR and jobseekers don’t robotic-like communication, but acknowledges the huge role it plays in relieving recruiters’ stress.
Will HR Be Operating in the Metaverse?
Will the MetaVerse ever play a role in HR Tech? The question crossed Sowash’s mind but he does not see widespreach adoption any time soon.
Why Does Corporate America Have it Backwards?
Host Ira S Wolfe introduced a clip of Simon Sinek where he talked about how many companies get rewards and recognition wrong. Sowash respondes, “Corporate America has got it backwards,” meaning companies don’t focus on fluidity and team work. Through his years in the military, Sowash recognized the need for camaraderie, teamwork, and fluidity. What he sees in his civilian work is a lot of selfishness. Co-workers not protecting the backs of team workers. He rarely even hears the word “camraderie” uttered. Corporate America does not reward or recognize the people who work with and inspire others. Instead all the attention is on the bottom line, not the people who help others do the heavy lifting. Wolfe confirmed:”if you’re loyal but not the revenue performer, you get discarded.”

Lightning Round: What Don’t I Know?

Q: “What is your word of the year?”

A: “Vaccinate”

Q: “For recruiters looking at abilities to develop which is the most important grit, resilience, growth mindset or unlearning.” 

A: “Grit is always it.” 

Q:. “The best advice you ever got but ignored.” 

A:  “Buy Apple” 

Q: “What’s your favorite podcast?”

A: “Pitchfork Economics… its taking about economics in reverse you would think a billionaire would love trickle down economics but this is actually just blowing that all to pieces. It’s more about the people before they pick up the pitchforks. What should we do to fix our society?” 

Q: “What is your favorite source for non-HR news?” 

A:  “I love listening to just a variety of podcasts and The New York Times and TheWashington Post… we know that we get our best information from those professionals who dedicated their lives to great research and doing great work.”


[02:09] - What’s changing in HR tech and recruiting?

[05:41] - First steps in transforming your HR tech stack

[10:18] - Don’t hook a horse to a Ferrari

[19:36] - Performance and Trust

[24:42] - Ira and Jason’s Takeaways