AI just a ‘tool,’ Professionals trust human recruiters more: Korn Ferry

AI just a ‘tool,’ Professionals trust human recruiters more: Korn Ferry

Although big data and artificial intelligence continue to transform the recruiting industry, professionals have less trust in AI than in human recruiters, according to a survey released today by a new survey by executive search firm Korn Ferry International Inc. (NYSE: KFY).

While nearly three quarters of those surveyed, 72%, said AI should be used during the recruitment process, more than two-thirds, 68%, said it wouldn’t be fair if AI alone chose who should be interviewed without the input of a human recruiter.

Forty-one percent said they feel uncomfortable dealing with AI instead of a human recruiter as part of the process; 76% said they trust AI less than a person to guide the job search process.

“AI, when coupled with machine learning, is an incredibly strong tool in the journey to source and select the most qualified candidates, but it’s just that, a ‘tool,’” said Matt Heckler, general manager of global client platform solutions at Korn Ferry. “The best recruiters use big data and AI to free time by automating tasks such as sourcing. This gives the recruiter more time to focus on what matters: creating and filling roles that help organizations fulfill their strategic agenda.”

The professionals surveyed reported the top benefit of working with a recruiter is the ability to build strong relationships. While 90% of respondents said technology cannot replace the human interaction required to recruit effectively.

Respondents did cite benefits of using AI in the recruiting process. When asked what they value most from AI being used in recruiting, 30% said it makes the process go faster; and a quarter believe it helps take bias out of the equation.

“As AI continues to become part of our everyday lives, we can expect to see an increase in the adoption and integration of this emerging technology to help talent acquisition professionals be even more efficient and effective,” Heckler said. “From freeing up time for strategic thought and relationship building to helping talent acquisition professionals better understand their markets, the intelligent use of technology provides an exciting path for the recruiter of the future.”

The survey was conducted in late May 2018 and included 431 professionals across a range of industries.


Credit: Korn Ferry and SIA

Internal Controls: Reducing Theft and Fraud

Internal Controls: Reducing Theft and Fraud

Fraud and Trust

The thought of employee theft and fraud within a company can be daunting and stressful- especially within a small business full of trusted and hard-working employees. It can be difficult to walk the line between making your employees feel trusted and ensuring that your business is being run honestly and without unnecessary profit loss.

It is also stressful to realize that fraud often occurs because those employees are so well trusted. Examples of possible theft include:

  • A payroll employee paying a non-existent or a termed employee and taking the money
  • An office manager or assistant buying supplies from a non-existent company and paying themselves
  • Bookkeeping errors in small amounts that go unnoticed over time
  • Stealing office supplies

Some forms of theft or fraud feel less serious than others. Someone taking a pack of post-its or a small mistake in the books here and there seems like something to overlook. That is why it’s often missed, and that is why Internal Controls are just that much more important.

Taking Control

Internal Controls are methods in which you can monitor and take control of your business and profits and minimize loss. There are many ways to utilize them and cater them to your specific needs and business model.

Much of the responsibility to implement these controls falls to the business owner. It is critical that the owner have a hand in every part of the business. If an employee knows that the owner is knowledgeable and active in the work they are doing, it will effectively minimize the chance that the employee will have an opportunity to commit fraud.

Cash Flow

It is important to know how much money you are making, and how much money you should be making. Look at your profits from the year before and now, and calculate what you should be making months in advance. If there are discrepancies, get with your accountant and find out why.  A discrepancy does not always mean fraud and does not mean that you should inherently distrust your employees. It is simply important to have control over the finances.

Task Delegation and Shared Responsibility

A business can’t run effectively without delegating tasks to employees. However, having a single task, such as payroll, known only to one specific person is a dangerous thing. It is easier to commit theft if no one knows the ins and outs of what you are doing. A remedy for this is to cross-train your employees and to make vacation mandatory. Have another employee do their job while they are out. This gives you an opportunity to see if things are being done differently, or to see if a mistake is caught by the second employee.
It can also be beneficial to split up financial tasks- for example, accounts receivable and accounts payable. No one person should have complete control over the intake and outtake of cash flow.

Other Internal Control Examples

  • Cameras can easily discourage petty theft
  • Background checks on new employees can show any criminal history or bad credit
  • Strong software security reduces financial fraud
  • Perform scheduled and unscheduled audits
  • Take notice of employees living beyond their means

Don’t let the notion of small business and a trusted community keep you from putting Internal Controls to use. Take control of your company and be a part of every facet of it. Be active and vigilant.

You should trust your employees- and with several Internal Controls put in to place, you can do so more freely.

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How To Handle The Doubt-Filled Depths of Employment Gaps

How To Handle The Doubt-Filled Depths of Employment Gaps

Moore’s Law states that computer processing speed doubles every 18 months, a good indication of how fast technology jobs change too. For a job seeker who has employment gaps of more than two years then the odds increase that their skill set may be outdated. However, the way people work is also changing. More people freelance, volunteer, and pursue online education in lieu of traditional 9-5 jobs that can be harder to represent on a resume. When encountering a potential great employee with resume gaps the first important step is to assess what caused them and what they did in between work.

1) Was It Elective?

Highly qualified candidates often take time off to raise families or care for older relatives. Traditional gender-role thinking sees this applying predominately to mothers but a survey done by the Pew Research Group in 2014 showed that around 2 million fathers stay home to care for their children, with a noted increase in the number of fathers with college degrees doing so. Prompt an applicant to discuss how they spent their time away from work and you’ll learn more about their personal character. Attributes like loyalty, dedication, and modern thinking are just a few of the qualities that can be read through an employment gap of this type.

2) Was It Forced?

An alternate reason for an employment gap is the result of firings, downsizing, or quitting. Being laid off from a position or choosing to leave after a year or two is a lot more common in today’s economy. Having an applicant explain to you their work history is important for a different reason though. It’s an awkward situation for an applicant to answer why they left a job or to acknowledge why they were dismissed. This is the chance to analyze a potential employee’s soft skills in communication, problem management, and leadership. Do they have the maturity not to trash their former employer, or the tact to represent their experience as an opportunistic move? Hire someone who knows how to find golden prospects amidst a problem.

3) Was It A “Sabbatical”?

Sabbatical sounds prestigious but if it’s on an applicant’s resume be cautious. Ask the applicant to see the project or independent research they were working on during this period. They should respond with how they learned something of unique value to enhance this position. With seven days a week to have at your disposal you could easily learn new languages, computer programs, or travel the world and gain international insight. This would be an appropriate opening to ask about any contract work they may have done as well. If an individual performed freelance work while on sabbatical it means they know how to budget their time, and manage an agenda, even when on “vacation.”

No matter for which reason an applicant has gaps in their resume it’s best to assess what they have to show for their time outside the office. Volunteering their skills to a local organization demonstrates their active interest in working and contributing to a larger community’s success. Additionally free, online courses like Coursera or the Khan Academy allow candidates to pursue continued education to bring new tools to a position.

The Ripe, Old Age of Great Employees

The Ripe, Old Age of Great Employees

Since  the economic downturn, most of us know at least one person who lost their job and is hunting for their next position. One of the hardest transitions is for our aged 50+ workforces who are thrown back into interview sweats after being an extended spectator to the game. Newcomers take the field, equipped with advanced technology skills and a willingness to take any position, and career veterans are suddenly sidelined.

If your business has ever hesitated when mulling over the resume of an older applicant, here’s five reasons why you should jump at the chance to build a multi-generational team:

1) Retention Rate
They are dedicated to the idea of growing with a business, not merely through it. New graduates are ready to fill open positions but you will also see them ready to vacate just as often. Penelope Trunk, co-founder of Quistic, an educational career-management business, stated that workers in their 20’s to 30’s today spend on average one to three years at a job to build their resume before moving on. Older employees tend to carry a different mindset and will offer a greater return on a hiring investment.

2) Accumulated Wisdom
It seems like a simple concept but with a 25+ year work history, these veterans are bringing with them a great resource of their successes AND their failures. The latter is particularly important as it will show your business what pitfalls to avoid and how to bounce back from challenges.

3) Greater Flexibility
They’ve matured through their career and felt the growing pains that younger employees may not yet understand as being crucial to improved business. Stephen Bastian, business consultant and expert on leadership and managing employees, explained that besides acquiring technical abilities, your veterans have perfected the soft skills like communication, abilities to handle stress, and confidence to collaborate with management, that support the fundamentals of any project They will also be more likely to be flexible in their compensation with former insurance and savings plans put in place.

4) An Extended Network
Their list of contacts, business relationships, and friends in the field will be well developed with their career record. In a study conducted during the recession by The Center on Aging and Work at Boston College, 46.3% of employer s interviewed said that their older employees have stronger professional and client networks compared to their younger workers. Therefore, a potential client that your business has been looking to connect with might be a former business partner of theirs.

5) A Fresh Perspective 
When trying to cut new ground and stay modern, an older employee can actually revitalize your business by providing a different perspective. Vintage fashions and trends always make a comeback and you will definitely profit from an employee who is familiar with traditional business models and how to apply them anew.

Thriving businesses today with multi-generational teams see the potential for more creative and innovative ideas being produced and a greater diversity of strengths available at the table. Skills can be learned but experience can’t be bought.


Does your holiday shopping list include job candidates?

Does your holiday shopping list include job candidates?

Contrary to popular belief, the holidays can be the most wonderful time of the year to find talent.  Likewise, it is also a great time to be job hunting.  November and December are the best months for networking.  With all the holiday parties and charitable events going on, the opportunity to meet people is endless.  The best part of seizing the networking opportunity at holiday soirees is that you typically see people as they truly are because their professional guard is down as they are enjoying the spirit of the season.

Businesses and organizations also like to ring in the New Year with new budgets and a year-end assessment of hiring needs, opening opportunities for qualified candidates.  The competition to find top quality talent is low during the holidays as recruiting professionals and hiring managers take time off for travel and family.  This is a great time to attract and engage the best talent available.

For the job seeker, your likelihood of reaching a decision maker within an organization also increases the two weeks around Christmas.  Although it is true this is a popular time of year for people to take time off, there are still a number of leaders holding down the fort.  Things also tend to quiet down in the office during this time of year, allowing the opportunity for longer conversations and the likelihood of someone having the time to respond to your call or email with fewer distractions.

One way to take advantage of the annual holiday charitable event is to invite qualified job candidates to participate.  Whether your office has volunteered to stuff food pantry boxes or collect Toys for Tots, charitable events require leaders, team players and positive attitudes.  What better way to test your candidates’ abilities?  It’s also a great opportunity for job seekers to volunteer their skills and enthusiasm.

The holidays offer a wonderful time for self-reflection.  Take this time to reevaluate your brand image to attract the right candidate or employer. Review your social media strategy, marketing strategy, personal resume or resumes on file.  Update any new skills, experiences or accomplishments.  Hiring managers must remember that they are being interviewed and evaluated just as much by the potential candidates.

With all this in mind, make that list, check it twice and find out who’s been naughty or nice, so that you can enjoy the most prosperous New Year!

From all of us at Software Resources, we wish you a very Happy Holiday and Joyful New Year!


Building Great Founding Teams

Building Great Founding Teams

Source: Steve Blank

“That he which hath no stomach to this fight, let him depart…We few, we happy few, we band of brothers.”

William Shakespeare, Henry V

There’s been a lot written about the individual characteristics of what makes a great founder, but a lot less about what makes a great founding team and how that’s different from a greatfounding CEO.

I think we’ve been imprecise in defining three different roles. In doing so we’ve failed to help founders understand what it takes to build a great founding team.

Here are my definitions.

Founders – The Idea

A Founder is the one with the original idea, scientific discovery, technical breakthrough, insight, problem description, passion, etc. A founder typically recruits co-founders and then becomes part of the founding team involved in day-to-day company operations. (However, in some industries such as life sciences, founders may be tenured professors who are not going to give up their faculty positions, so they often become the head of a startup’s scientific advisory board, but aren’t part of the founding team.)

A couple of caveats about founders with “ideas.” It’s important to differentiate between ideas that have been or can be patented and ideas thought up late night in a dorm-room. One of the hardest concepts for my students to grasp is that “an idea is not a company.” The reality is that in most cases, without the company to commercialize it, the idea is worthless (except to a patent troll.)

Even if they become part of the founding team, it’s not a given that the founder, having come up with the idea has a “guaranteed” leadership role (CEO or VP) in the new company. For some entrepreneurs this idea that the founder is not necessarily the CEO, is a surprise. When I hear, “What do you mean I’m not CEO? It’s my idea!” I get nervous that the founder is clueless about what makes the founding CEO special, and what else it actually takes to build a company. (Read on to see the difference in the roles.)

Founding Team – The Rock on Which to Build the Company

The founding team includes the founder and a few other co-founders with complementary skills to the founder. This is the group who will build the company. Its goal is to take the original idea and search for a repeatable and scalable business model– first by finding product/market fit, then by testing all the parts of the business model (pricing, channel, acquisition/activation, partners, costs, etc.)

In web/mobile startups the canonical view is the founding team consists of a hacker, a hustler, and a designer. In other domains, the skill sets differ, but the key idea is that you want a team with complementary skills.

There’s no magic number about the “right” number of founders for a founding team, but two to four seems to be the sweet spot. One of the biggest mistakes in assembling a founding team is not thinking through the need for skills but instead settling for who’s around. The two tests of whether someone belongs on a founding team are: “Do we have a company without them?” and, “Can we find someone else just like them?” If both answers are no, you’ve identified a co-founder. If any of the answers are “Yes,” then hire them a bit later as an early employee.

Key attributes of an entrepreneur on a founding team are passion, determination, resilience, tenacity, agility and curiosity. It helps if the team has had a history of working together, but what is essential is mutual respect. And what is critical is trust. You need to be able to trust your co-founders to perform, to do what they say they will, and to have your back.

Most startups that fail over team issues fail because co-founders hadn’t dated first, (spent time together in a Startup Weekend, worked together in an incubator, etc.) but instead jumped into bed to start a company.

Everyone has ideas. It’s the courage, passion and tenacity of the founding team that turn ideas into businesses.

Founding CEO – Reality Distortion Field and Comfort in Chaos

Idealistic founders trying to run a venture with collective leadership, without a single person in charge, find that’s the fastest way to go out of business. Speed, tempo and fearless decision-making are a startups strategic advantage. More often than not, conditions on the ground will change so rapidly that the need for immediate decisions overwhelms a collective decision process.<

The founding team CEO is the first among equals in the founding team. Ironically they are almost never the most intelligent or technically astute person on the team. What sets them apart from the rest of the team is that they can project a fearless reality distortion field that they use to recruit, fund raise, pivot and position the company. They are the ultimate true believers in the company and have the vision, passion and skill to communicate why this seemingly crazy idea will work and change the world.

In addition, the founding CEO thrives operating in chaos and uncertainty. They deal with the daily crisis of product development and acquiring early customers. And as the reality of product development and customer input collide, the facts change so rapidly that the original well-thought-out product plan becomes irrelevant. While the rest of the team is focused on their specific jobs, the founding CEO is trying to solve a complicated equation where almost all the variables are unknown – unknown customers, unknown features that will make those customers buy, unknown pricing, unknown demand creation activities that will get them into your sales channel, etc.

They’re biased for action and they don’t wait around for someone else to tell them what to do. Great founding CEOs live for these moments.

Figure Out Who You Are

Many founding teams fail because they’ve never had the conversation about founder, founding team and founding CEO. Spend the time and take stock of who’s on the journey with you.

Lessons Learned

  • Founder, Founding team, Founding CEO all have word “founder” in them but have different roles
  • Founder has the initial idea. May or may not be on the founding team or have a leadership role
  • Founding team – complementary skills – builds the company
  • Founding CEO – reality distortion field and comfort in chaos – leads the company by


Authored by Steve Blank

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