Hrtech Interview with CEO and Founder, Oleeo – Charles Hipps


CEO and Founder, Oleeo, Charles Hipps talks about the significance of tech, especially analytics and ML to amplify the talent acquisition and recruitment processes.

1. Tell us about your role in Oleeo?
I am CEO and Founder of Oleeo

2. Can you tell us about your journey into this market?
I graduated from Oxford University and worked with many large- and small-sized organisations across a wide variety of industry sectors on e-Recruitment before founding Oleeo (or World Careers Network as we started out as). Some of the organisations I worked with, among many others, are Marks & Spencer, Barclays, IBM, PWC, HM Revenues & Customs and The Home Office. I established WCN (now known as Oleeo) in 1995 funding it from my previous business, Analysis & Supplies, until the floatation of WCN (Oleeo plc from June 2018) on the stock market in 2000. The company then went back to corporate privatisation in November 2019.
Prior to this, I worked for 5 years in Europe, Asia and the US as a management consultant with Booz Allen & Hamilton supporting leading global organisations in developing their business strategies.

3. How do you think technology is changing the HR Sector?

HR is a technology driven function nowadays. One that must drive automated and data-driven recruiting, empowering recruiters to support diverse and inclusive strategies at high volumes and through multiple configurable workflows.

It enables employers to make high quality and diverse hires efficiently by engaging diverse talent pools, enabling tailored employer value propositions (EVP), improving decision making, mitigating bias, reducing the administrative burden on recruiters and hiring managers, and speeding the alignment of recruiting with desired business outcomes regardless of strategy, complexity, or volume.

4. How is digitization empowering the recruitment activities?
Digitisation and automation is helping recruiters support decisive hiring manager behaviors by automatically ranking high volumes of candidates against the most meaningful decision criteria, enabling recruiters to fast-track a ranked shortlist of qualified candidates for hiring managers to focus on.
At the highest level, the process is about empowering recruiters to make the best possible hires every day, as efficiently and effectively as possible. This includes:
• Designing and configuring workflows that support diverse and inclusive recruiting strategies at scale
• Automating processes to serve up relevant content to candidates and to fast-track qualified candidates
• Streamlining administrative tasks such as interview management and gathering hiring committee feedback to identify qualified candidates more quickly
• Leveraging data throughout recruiting processes to make better, evidence-led decisions.

5. What is the significance of candidate engagement in the hiring lifecycle?
Candidate engagement is vital to successful talent acquisition. Employers must be seen to help recruiters automatically identify unqualified applicants and use bulk processes to move them into workflows that let them down easy in order to protect the original brand-customer relationship. The best candidates are often casual: they are aware of their value, have more than one offer to consider, and are snapped up fast.
Automation helps recruiters pinpoint and fast-track the highest quality candidates — while removing bias from the process — giving hiring managers more time to build relationships before competitors do.

6. How is analytics amplifying the decision making abilities of recruiters and managers?
Analytics are a huge development in talent acquisition. They help recruiters automatically root out bias during every stage of the recruiting process, from debiasing job postings to attracting more diverse candidates, to serving up more inclusive content and using intelligent selection to more fairly rank candidates on their skills and competencies. Examples include:
• Using AI and machine learning to root out bias and score candidates more fairly
• Automatically fast-tracking high-scoring candidates, visually ranked by clear decision criteria
• Automatically moving mid-scoring candidates into high-touch nurture campaigns
• Automatically identifying gaps in candidate mix to understand performance against diversity & inclusion goals
• Automatically identifying evidence of unconscious bias to focus training where it’s needed
• Automatically monitoring candidate satisfaction ratings throughout the interview and hiring process

7. Can you explain to us in detail about Oleeo Recruit?
Oleeo Recruit is our next generation ATS. It streamlines sourcing, selecting, and hiring, with data- and AI-driven automation, dynamic workflow, and bulk processing capabilities. Most customers use Oleeo for all their hiring needs and automation and bulk processing capabilities are embedded throughout the application.
To support global organisations, dynamic controls are available within the application form and application process ensuring only relevant questions and appropriate stages are utilised. Candidate scheduling clearly indicates the time zone associated with each activity and only presents relevant times to the candidate.

The internal interfaces, available to all internal stakeholders such as recruiters and hiring managers also support localisation. Recruiter interfaces can be enabled across multiple languages, with users having the ability to navigate the entire solution in multiple languages or deciding to perform specific actions across multiple languages e.g. raising a vacancy. The solution also tracks an individual’s timezone and uses this information to power the timing of issued reminders and content.

8. How would you say Oleeo’s recruiting enablement platform is different from others in the market?
Oleeo differentiators include:
• Comprehensive: From ATS to CRM to event management and more, Oleeo offers a comprehensive suite of talent acquisition solutions, on one platform.
• Configurable: Oleeo delivers an unmatched scope of capabilities with an unparalleled level of configuration.
• Automated: Oleeo has data-driven and templated automation at a scope greater than other solutions on the market, as well as unique bulk processing capabilities.
• Data-Driven: Oleeo has hardwired AI and analytics into its solutions. We believe the future of recruiting is automated and data-driven — and have predicated the development of our products on this vision.

9. How do you prepare for an AI-centric World?
Our vision at Oleeo is that the future of recruiting is data-driven and automated. Our mission is to reduce the workload on recruiting, while enabling companies to make better quality and more diverse hires.
We are focused on achieving this by delivering an end-to-end, best-of-breed solution, where analytics and the use of data and AI are native to the solution and embedded throughout.
Oleeo has long been investing in this vision, from developing automation and bulk-processing capabilities from V1 of our product (over 20 years ago), to developing and embedding specific artificial intelligence capabilities in our platform over the past 5 years.

AI, ML, analytics, and automation comprise the largest proposition of our R&D investments. Unlike our best-of-breed competitors, we have made AI core to our offering, embedded throughout vs bolted on. Unlike point solution start ups, our AI capabilities are native to our recruiting platform.
When we began investing in AI, we were ahead of the technology adoption curve, working with innovators within our customer base. We believe that AI is still pre-chasm (referring to the Goeffrey Moore, Crossing the Chasm, model for tech adoption), in the Early Majority market phase. However, with the covid19 pandemic, we believe that adoption of AI technology — that reduces workload and streamlines processes, while delivering better results — is being accelerated.

10. What are the major developments you are planning, in recent times?

Recent times have really focused on virtualisation and allowing recruiters to work remotely without losing control of their recruitment processes.

We have really focused on candidate experience and making virtual recruitment as automated but humanised as possible. This includes more integrations, easier video interviewing accessibility, text messaging offerings and even configuration to enable chatbots where feasible. Use of CRM for keep warm has also been enhanced to support the need for talent nurturing at a time when volumes are huge.

11. Can you tell us about your team and how it supports you?
Oleeo has a team of over 120 employees based globally and they really are the heart of the business. We achieve our growth thanks to their hard work and dedication and their passion really shines through in everything that we deliver. I have a great leadership team overseeing that delivery and we are lucky enough to have people spread all over the world including Italy, Canada, the USA and Vietnam!

12. What book are you currently reading?
One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest – home schooling like everyone else!

13. We have heard that you have a very joyful work culture, we won’t mind having a look at some of the pictures?
My marketing team do a great job of showing up our awesome culture on our Instagram page – be sure to take a look!

14. Can you give us a glance of the applications you use on your phone?
Right now, it has Waze, Amazon and our very own Oleeo app as my most frequently accessed! And Strava, tracking all my bike rides!

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Charles HippsCEO and Founder, Oleeo

Charles Hipps founded Oleeo 25 years ago, launching the world's first e-recruitment solution. An innovator by nature, Charles has never stopped looking for new ways to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of talent acquisition. In recent years this includes the application of AI and automation in recruiting. He sees this Recruiting Enablement as a game changer for leaders, and the future of talent acquisition.


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