AI Washing Is Lazy

No lie, I must receive twenty sales calls a week for companies claiming to offer the staffing AI solution that will, “change the game” or “revolutionize the industry” or even “eliminate the need for recruiters. Sometimes I play along and ask for more information or even take time for a quick demo. I will admit, there are some pretty slick solutions coming to market that could potentially drive efficiency, accuracy and improved client and contractor experience. But for every piece of technology, I see that makes me stop, look, think and maybe even decide to evaluate there are twenty times the number that I laugh at and quickly dismiss the companies as AI Washers!

“AI washing” refers to the practice of companies or individuals making exaggerated or misleading claims about their use of artificial intelligence (AI) in their products or services, often for marketing or publicity purposes. This can include companies claiming to use AI when they are only using basic algorithms or statistical models, or making promises about the capabilities of their products that go beyond what is currently possible with AI technology.

The term “AI washing” is similar to other technology-related buzzwords, such as “greenwashing” (exaggerating the environmental benefits of a product) or “cloud washing” (exaggerating the extent to which a product uses cloud computing).

AI washing can be harmful because it can mislead customers and investors into thinking that a product or service is more sophisticated or capable than it actually is, which can lead to disappointment, wasted resources, or even harm. It can also undermine trust in AI as a field by promoting unrealistic expectations and obscuring the genuine achievements of companies that are using AI effectively.

Wait, you mean a chat bot, is not AI? A search bar that maps job opening, location and job seeker is not AI? It’s laughable but also irresponsible and just plain lazy. Hopefully the shrewd buyer can see through the hype and vet the real disrupters from those drafting off yet another technology movement. In the meantime, to the actual technologist who are developing, innovating and disrupting stay true to your mission and know the cream will and always does eventually rise to the top.

The Silicon Valley Bank Collapse: Why Startups Need to Leverage Contingent Talent Now More Than Ever.

The collapse of Silicon Valley Bank has sent shockwaves throughout the startup community. With down round valuations and full-time layoffs becoming the norm, it’s more important than ever for startup companies to find ways to develop, support, and sell their products while operating on a lean budget.

Traditionally, startups would shirk at the idea of contractors, preferring to hire full time technical and creative talent and ideally those with pristine pedigree from other well-established companies. As of Monday, this operating model may not be realistic as venture firms tighten funding and, in some cases, become more involved, or at least aware of their investments.

Labor costs are typically the single largest cost center for any company, startup, global enterprise, and everything in between. One-way startups can reduce burn rates while still building, supporting, and selling products and services is by leveraging contractors, instead of relying solely on full-time employees. For the uninitiated startup founders, below are some benefits of using contractors and how startups can effectively manage them to ensure success.

Benefits of Using Contractors

⬤ Cost-Effective: One of the most significant benefits of using contractors is the cost savings. Unlike full-time employees, contractors are not entitled to benefits such as health insurance, retirement plans, or paid time off. This allows startups to save a considerable amount of money on labor costs.

⬤ Flexibility: Contractors offer startups the flexibility to scale their workforce up or down as needed. This is particularly useful for startups that are just starting out and may not have a clear idea of how many employees they will need in the future or if they need to pull back on resources due to delays in funding or even down rounds. The “try before you buy” model provides the opportunity to evaluate talent in your real-world environment versus via resume, interview, code challenges and references.

⬤ Access to Top Talent: By leveraging contractors, startups can tap into a vast pool of talent. Contractors are often experts in their field and have a wealth of experience that can be invaluable to startups looking to develop new products or services.

⬤ Reduced Legal and Benefits Management: Hiring full-time employees comes with a host of legal and benefit obligations, such as complying with labor laws and providing competitive benefits. By using contractors, startups can avoid many of these legal obligations as they are now managed by the staffing provider who serves as the employee of record.

The recent report by staffing firm Robert Half, found that more than half of US companies plan to add jobs in the first half of 2023 and two-thirds of those polled will leverage contract talent. This is not only a positive sign for the overall U.S. job market, but the fact that companies are increasingly turning to contract workers to meet their staffing needs also indicates a shift towards more flexible and cost-effective solutions in the workforce.

The startup world has changed overnight, those companies that adapt, stay nimble by responding to the new market conditions will prevail while those who continue to run the “old’ playbook may fall behind or even fail.

Eating our own dog food

At Ursus, Inc, we believe in eating our own dog food. We understand the importance of providing our clients the best technical, creative, professional talent possible to enable their digital initiatives. That’s why our clients choose to partner with us! By using external recruiters to find talent, our clients can focus on their core business.

Similarly, finding great talent is not only crucial for our clients, but it is also critical for our own success. That is why we use external recruiters to find sales talent the same way Ursus clients leverage Ursus to find great technical and creative talent. In other words, we eat our own dog food or drink our own champagne, pick your preferred metaphor.

An effective recruitment process is rigorous, and we hold our external recruiter partners to the same high standards that we have for our internal process. We want to ensure that the candidates they present to us are the best of the best. Could we source sales candidates ourselves? Afterall, recruiting is our business! While we are always searching and sourcing on our own, there are three key reasons why we look for help from a handful of great partners.

1) Subject matter expertise: Our team is comprised of technical, creative, and business professional recruiters. Identifying, screening and deep dive vetting is just different. We partner with staffing sales subject matter experts the same way a client looks to us for a data scientist or a UI Visual Designer.

2) Candidate depth and breath: Our partners, who specialize in staffing sales candidates have significantly wider and deeper and deeper reach than we ever could generate on our own.

3) Time: When a recruiting process is done correctly, it takes time; sourcing and outreach, resume review, screening, and screening again, candidate presentation, reference checks, continued feedback to client and candidate, and close…the great candidates have options. How well does your external recruiter represent your culture, your mission, and your goals?

Fortunately, our sales and recruiting partners check all the boxes above which helps us scale and grow faster. By using external recruiters to find sales talent, we can focus on our core business while still finding the best talent available. It is a strategy that has worked for us and one that we will continue to use in the future. Dogfood never tasted so good!