Recruiting Brainfood - Issue 335
South Africa, SVB, and fascinating legal cases that actually make sense at the second pass
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Big shout out first of all to brainfooder Samantha-Leigh Hayward for putting on the fantastic Recruiters Unite event this past Thursday. It’s incredibly difficult to put on an in-person event, and I deeply admire anyone who takes the risk. Sam did that and more - superb event with a great community here in South Africa. Do it again, next year 👊. Btw, if you didn’t know, The Big List of Events to Attend in 2023 is updated every week, so make sure you bookmark that page and turn up to at least some of these.
The big news that is going to wash over the tech ecosystem from tomorrow is the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank last Friday. The knock on effect on tens of thousands of tech startups who may now may struggle to access their cash deposits could be massive without decisive state intervention. It’s going to impact us in recruiting I am afraid so if you feel that you might benefit from having a conversation with alternative employers, make sure to join the Brainfood Talent Community. I’ll be writing about this in Open Kitchen segment of TWIR tomorrow, so subscribe here if you want to get my commentary on it.
Finally, thanks to Vanessa Raath, Jane Moors, Eugène van den Hemel, Rob Walker, Joey NK Koksal, Kevin Green, Dave Hazelhurst, Melissa Thomas, Colin Donnery, Todd Raphael, Oonagh Clarke, Tim Sanchez, Pavi Iyer, Florencia Carballeira and Daniela Felleti for your public support on all things brainfood this week - essential for keeping this show on the road. Scores updated on the Brainfood Hall of Fame.
Can you help? Share this newsletter with a friend in industry or as a update on LinkedIn. Cheers!
What do Brainfooders Think?
Even spread of the views across a number of these mega trends that impact our industry. I think we’ll end up doing some Brainfood Lives on most of these, especially on demographic decline which is probably a larger contributor to candidate shortage than we might now realise - if anyone knows anyone who is a demography expert, let me know…
Thanks for all those who voted, these pulse polls are interesting for me and I will find a way to feed it into the work we do in the community. Make sure you make it to the end of the newsletter for today’s vote.
Brainfood Live On Air - Ep197 - Hiring in South Africa in 2023
The aforementioned Sam will be turning up to this event, as will a host of recruiters and HR professionals who do their work in South Africa. Such a unique history with unique challenges, how is recruiting done in this country, what challenges need to be overcome and how can hiring in South Africa teach the rest of the industry, especially on DEIB? We’re on Friday 17th March 2pm GMT - register here
1. Hired 2023 State of Software Engineers
Hired’s key innovation of tracking placements made by rewarding successful candidates with a cash bonus if they sent a copy of their offer back to the platform gave it an inadvertent advantage in compensation intelligence few platforms have ever matched. That they parlayed this intelligence into these fantastic annual reports is part of the reason why they have become an industry must read.
2. How to Protect Your Career From a ChatGPT Future
Unusual post which lists a number of jobs which are in the ChatGPT firing line, tests a typical job function with a sample ChatGPT prompt and then provides a verdict on how screwed you are based on the outputs 🤣. Thankfully, it also provides some recommendations on how to avoid ‘tech disintermediation’ - most usually by moving up with empathy value chain. Good read (spoiler alert: recruiters are in the list)
3. Silicon Valley Bank
According to Pitchbook data, there maybe as many as 65,000 US tech startups which bank with the suddenly insolvent Silicon Valley Bank. By Monday, many of these may not be able to pay their staff with the miserly $250K of their deposit that is under guarantee. An extinction level event for a generation of startups according to Y Combinator CEO Garry Tan. This is not only a US problem, as SVB has a significant global footprint impacting tech startup ecosystems from UK to China - all in all, a disastrous second order effect of US Federal Reserve interest rate rise policy. Good thread and explainer here. For us in tech recruiting, it can only mean more tech layoffs, hiring freezes, unpaid bills and startup failures. Brainfooder Lars Schmidt with this excellent collection of resources to use for those affected.
4. Power & Weirdness: How to Use Bing AI
Ethan Molick has been a must follow on Twitter on for a long while now, and his SubStack is equally worthy of the follow. Here he is doing a deep dive in Bing AI, which he categorically states is superior to ChatGPT, primarily because it combines generated content with retrieved content. Need to really fire up my moribund Microsoft account and get into this. Also need to do a Brainfood Live on this topic.
5. Uncle Dennis' Life Expectancy is Less than the Average. That's Why He Wants his Pension Early
Fascinating legal case in Australia, where a plaintiff is making the case that pensions should be variable based on life expectancy. Sounds radical at first, but it doesn’t take long for it to make sense, particularly in the area of gender - men die sooner, yet in many countries must retire later, so spend a far greater portion of their lives at work vs retired. Hard to know where this one will end up, but its brainfood for sure.
6. Should We Automate the CEO?
Another provocation which quickly begins to make sense when we think about it. After all, what does a CEO do other than synthesising information and making decisions based on risk vs reward? Seems like something which could indeed be automated which this cheeky post makes more than a decent case for the idea. Seems like at least one company has done it, and nearly a year in, NetDragon Websoft tis outperforming the market with it’s AI CEO. Heretical yet intriguing read.
7. Workday Sued over its AI job Screening tool, Candidate Claims Discrimination
Another fascinating legal case, this time with implications for all recruitment technology companies involved with processing job applications. The case here is based on multiple instances of employers rejecting a candidate, who discovered that many of them were using Workday as an ATS, leading to his claim that there was bias baked into the software. This is the inevitable end game of the popular yet erroneous narrative that ATS’s screen out candidates. Thanks to brainfooder Adam Gordon for the share in the online community
8. The Circuit City Grift
Hilarious introduction to the ‘Circuit City Grift’ by TikToker Alex Pearlman who realises from Elon Musk’s most recent public exchange with a former employee that Twitter actually no longer has a functioning HR department. I’m sure its a skit for laughs rather than an actual recommendation but it does get you thinking what you should do when a company loses it’s employee records…
9. LinkedIn Collaboration Articles
Fascinating innovation from LinkedIn, which leverages both GAI and the power of the network. Here’s how it works: AI generates a post and then selected experts are given the opportunity to ‘add a comment’ to the piece via an insert. Exactly how these experts are selected I don’t know, but I can certainly see that many people will do it. I’ve been invited on an article on ‘passive candidates’ so I am going to contribute to test how this works and document the findings when I’ve done it. GAI + human commentators - is this going to become the dominant formula of how content gets produced? LinkedIn might be able to amp it enough to make it mainstream. H/T to brainfooder Donna Svei for the share.
10. Dropping the SAT Requirement Is a Luxury Belief
Big changes in the US college system, with leading universities beginning to drop standardised assessments in an effort to remove bias and improve diversity of the student population. Critics are pouring in, especially as legacy admissions remain in place, with this piece by Rob Henderson an exemplar of the category. The debate seamlessly transplants into recruiting - hire best person for the job (irrespective of demography) or does the make up of the existing workforce influence who should hired? This used to be straight forward decision, but no longer.
11. Talking Talent with Hung Lee
Delighted to appear in this in this interview series with brainfooder Perry Timms. 45 minute chat with a very smart fellow and one of the good guys in the business to boot. We mainly talk about this newsletter and the community around it, so get your brainfood origin story here. Available on Spotify but the money was spent on second camera so you might as well watch the Youtube here!
12. Silicon Valley Bank Implodes: Startup Contagion
1 hour worth of doomer prognosis on the SVB implosion. It’s worth paying attention to for multiple reasons - it does outline the potential risks of the collapse of Silicon Valley Bank and the wider implications if the contagion is not stopped immediately. We should know the importance of stopping contagions as close to source as possible by now…
13. How ChatGPT and generative AI will disrupt recruitment, Hung Lee.
If you’re not tired of my chat, you will have a chance to exhaust your patience with one more - this time with brainfooder Robin Choy, who hosts an excellent interview podcast series. We narrow focus in our Generative AI in this conversation, talk about its use and ab-use cases and make recommendations for recruiters who have yet to give it a go. Have a listen
I’m still in the Western Cape and really enjoying my time over here. Even though the remaining days are going to be pretty work heavy, it’s no stress to do that work whilst listening the surf on the beach literally metres away. I’m here until Tuesday and back in London for Wednesday and I hope to bring the weather with me.
This week’s poll is on SVB and how impactful the collapse has been on the brainfood community. At least 50% of us are in tech recruiting, the majority of whom in tech startup. I’m not sure how significant our exposure is so lets have your votes and see where we’re at.
Have a great week everybody
PS: how bad do you think SVB collapse might get - leave a comment, lets start a conversation thread on this
Thanks for sharing Matt, good read!
So the interest rates going up were the main catalyst for the downfall but there was a sentence there - "Startups were burning through cash at 2x the rate they used to."
Wondering about that part and why it happened as, if I got it right, this was an unrelated occurence 🧐
This was a really good read on the various levels of impact of SVB comparing it to hurricane levels: https://open.substack.com/pub/cjgustafson/p/svbs-bank-run-contagion?r=2hj58&utm_medium=ios&utm_campaign=post