Jenni Stone: Hey, everybody I’m Jenni Stone and you’re listening to Season 7, Episode 14 of HR Rescue. If this is your first time listening, welcome. The HR Rescue podcast provides business owners, new HR professionals, and HR Department of One with solutions and guidance on some of the most common HR issues. You can find us at hr-rescue.com. Come back often and feel free to add the podcast to your favorite RSS feed or iTunes. All links are in the show notes. Now, let’s get into todays episode.
As a direct result of the COVID-19 nation-wide lockdowns, telework has become the norm and workflow has been disrupted. Distance–the new necessity. And this has expanded to include the need for virtual recruitment tools when travel is no longer an option, and social distancing is the new norm.
Organizations who are committed to hiring the best talent and building a diverse workforce, should be considering candidate experience and how to make the recruitment process more accessible to all variations of candidates – including those with disabilities.
In 2019, the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics reported 19.3 percent of persons with a disability were employed. In contrast, the employment-population ratio for persons without a disability was 66.3 percent., and many of those who are unemployed face a number of different barriers when it comes to securing a new role.
One of the issues is a lack of relevant assistive technology.
Today we’ll be talking with Becky Copeland from VTC Secure about SOLVES HIRES, a fully accessible Video, Voice, and Real-Time Text Communications Platform designed specifically for recruiting, AND gives your organization the ability to add on and provide Speech to Text for the Hard of Hearing, an interpreter for the Deaf or live translation of 120 languages/dialects.
Becky’s professional journey has been a unique mix of corporate and community related experiences across a wide range of healthcare, medical, educational, marketing and technology services. She started VTCSecure in August 2015 and as CEO manages all aspects of operations, including administration, HR, Finance and Marketing as well as managing technical development and sprints. She also enjoys working directly with new customers working together to set up new accessible services.
Her advocacy for the Deaf community has led her to actively collaborate with both profit and non-profits organizations in her career. Becky’s extensive portfolio in this field has includes organizing educational and outreach events, building an interactive online presence, developing and managing appropriate programs for patients, and procuring funding and other resources, for the deaf and hard of hearing communities.
Jenni: So that's a lot, welcome, Becky!
Becky: Thank you! Thank you for having me. There was a very extensive bio there. I appreciate it.
Jenni: It's very hard to trim down BIOS these days because I want to make sure everybody knows everything about you for sure. So now that I've given a little overview of this of Solves Hires and a little overview of you were just going to jump right into some questions.
Jenni: So start off with, I know that there's a lot of video interviewing platforms out there, and that's not what we're talking about here. This is something completely different. So what makes SOLVES HIRES different than what's out there now.
Becky: I think the big thing that makes it different is because why we developed it and how we developed it. Were a company that actually builds technology for people with disabilities. So that's the arena that we came from. We originally built SOLVES HIRES for some of our partners where the only thing they do is help provide people with disabilities, jobs.
Becky: So we built an online live career fair specifically for those customers. In doing that, once COVID hits travel has stopped. You know people around trying to hire back at an extremely large rate, we realized that SOLVES HIRES could be used not only to help you know all of those people who are being underserved and under hired, who have disabilities, but it can be used by companies as a one stop shop. They can do all their hiring from one platform.
Jenni: OK, that's pretty awesome. So let's talk about affordability. I mean, I know the first thing that I thought about when I saw this, one of the issues is with these types of platforms and products is often the cost, usually requires a business to either spend a good deal money on licensing, software or it's you know, pay per user, or worse yet, you know per interview and sometimes those can be really costly. So how is it different with SOLVES HIRES?
Becky: So the big difference that we were just talking about is it we're an online or on demand live career fair. It's not scheduled. Anybody can use it. You're not scheduling ahead of time using Skype or Zoom or FaceTime. You're creating a 4 hour, 8 hour, couple of day window that anyone can call in. Pick what company, pick what job, they're interested in and get queue to wait for the next representative that can assist them.
Becky: Because of that, we're completely scalable. You can have two agents on and 5 positions, and 200 people call in. You can have 20 companies, 100 HR reps, and thousands of people call in and it is all using the same technology. It's very scalable because we're all just doing it on one server, that allows us to customize and cut the price down. I don't care how many users are going to call, I don't care how many jobs you're going to do, I'm going to charge you based on the length of time that you need the server, and I'm going to charge you based on the amount of agents that you need to log in to take those calls. And because of that it becomes very affordable because I can either strip it down or build it up, depending on what your needs are.
Jenni: OK, in the career fair kind of structure, I'm assuming that oftentimes there's more than one company, so there may be one large career fair and I, as a user or an applicant looking for a job, would come in and say, “oh, I want to apply for HR Shield”. Let me click this button and then I get put into the queue and I can do that by any device. Meaning like mobile or iPad or whatever?
Becky: Yeah, it's one of the things that make us different is you can do several companies, like you said, can all join together to do 1 fair, one company can do a fair just for them with just a multitude of jobs. And you can connect via web on anything computer, tablet, iPhone. You don't have to download anything. It just is a video call directly from your browser.
Jenni: OK, that's pretty easy to use.
Becky: It is!
Jenni: So we know, of course, that candidates with disabilities have different needs when it comes to communication. So how does SOLVES HIRES comply with the Americans with Disabilities Act when applicants actually request accommodations?
Becky: That is a great question. So again, because we're trying to replace “in person”, you know large conference center career fairs, we provide all of those accessibilities that place would have to require for the ADA, and we're able to do it on video.
Becky: Some examples are we can do speech to text for the hard of hearing so we can transcribe everything that the agent says so that someone who is hard of hearing can be able to read along.
Becky: We can also add in a sign language interpreter, so if someone's deaf wants to interview for the job, we can actually bring a remote interpreter in. You know, in the interview via video.
Becky: We have chat capabilities for people who have speech impairments. And also the really cool thing about our web phone is it works with all screen readers. I don't know if you familiar with those, but if you're blind, there's several screen readers out there that kind of read everything on the web page. Lot of web phones because it's just like an installation on the web browser doesn't work. Ours, all of the buttons work with a screen reader, so if you're blind, you can go through the IVBR, pick the job that you need, and be able to access it very easily.
Becky: As well, if you just have some visual impairments, we can, the web phone can be customized for dark background colors, light background colors. You know black with yellow writing, so anyone who also has some visual impairments can set their web phone so that they can see everything accurately.
Jenni: OK now when you mentioned the, for instance, a sign language interpreter, are these folks just on standby when you have a career fair? How does that work? Let's say I get an applicant. Now I need one like you know ASAP in real time. How does that work?
Becky: Yeah, they're basically on standby. Depending on the company, you know, do they want to provide that? Some companies already have a contract with an interpreting agency. I can use any interpreters. It doesn't have to be somebody we use. I can have them log in and be on standby as well, so that's exactly what happens. A deaf person calls in an when they connect to the HR recruiter, we know that and we just add in the interpreter so you see the three screens
Jenni: OK, and this is probably something that would be really good just to even partner with organizations like Abilities you just be able to put on career fairs for these untapped resources really is what this is an opportunity to be able to interview them, so that's fantastic.
Jenni: So what are some other features? I mean, you've obviously touched on quite a few today. What are some other features that people might want to know about that are available with this product?
Becky: Sure, there's a couple things, the first thing I'll say is it's encrypted. That's a question we get a lot. It's encrypted, end to end, everything is private. We do have the ability to record the interview, so if you want to record all the interviews to be able to watch them later. That is a little bit of an extra cost, just because that's a lot of extra, you know, storage and memory, but we can record them. We can do, like I said, pretty much anything of the some of the stuff that's already out there. You can have pre scheduled questions and just record their answers. If people are waiting for a long time and they you know the career fair ends and they never got to talk to somebody, we can have them leave a brief message about themselves with their information.
Becky: So there's lots of, you know a lot of the things that you can already do, we can incorporate into here and then there's, like said, the addition of recording of the live fairs that you can also do to share later.
Jenni: So with the recording you spoke to the encryption and the security piece. How long are we able to access those after a career fair?
Becky: I typically keep them up for about a week. It just depends on a lot of groups actually have like their own Google Drive or SharePoint and their own secure server and a lot of times they'll just ask me to transfer all of that data and the video recordings onto their own server and then that way it's theirs, they can access it and keep it as long as they want.
Jenni: OK, now I know that you spoke to being able to add in or have either on standby, so what about an interpreter as it relates to language. So if I get to Spanish speaking, can you do that as well? Is that something that we can have?
Becky: Yep, so we can do using AI, we can do speech to text that would translate like if you know the recruiter speaks English and the other person speak Spanish, we can take everything that they say and send it to each other via text. And then we also contract with several VRI agencies that do spoken languages. So if you're in a community that you know you're going to have a high volume of people who don't speak the same language, we can either have that included where you can have access to an interpreter, or because everything is on demand and we're doing queuing, we do something called skills based routing. So if you have an agent who speaks Spanish, let's say for example, we can set up in the call flow to ask the person do you speak a different language, and if they click one of the languages that you have an agent available, who knows, we can actually directly route them to the agent that speaks Spanish as well, so that gives you two different options to make sure that the interviewee is able to be understood correctly.
Jenni: OK, that's awesome. So are we able to actually brand this? I mean, is this something that you can brand and put your logos all over? Let's say it's just my career fair. I'm not with anyone else, it's just my company that's putting this on. Can I brand it, can I even like for instance add sponsors as part of that, what does that look like?
Becky: Yeah, and that is a great question and that is the beauty of video because it's video and the person that's waiting, you know they're picking, it's not just an audio phone tree, it's a video phone tree. So the person is seeing images and videos throughout the entire process. You can put your logo. You can have a sponsors page. You can have your sponsors information. The web phone itself, there's a spot that you can brand it with your logo and your name if you want. So even the web phone is branded, it completely is up to how much you know the company really wants to invest in that kind of branding and logo colors.
Jenni: And that would be like even video too? So let's say while they're waiting in queue, I want them to watch a video about the culture of our organization or something they could. These are kind of ancillary things. These aren't necessarily part of your package like these are like little upgrades and things that you would do correct? It's not really…you kind of customized. Each client based on what their needs are.
Becky: I do, you know, images are always included, you know it's an image with, you know, pick 1 for this job pick 2 for this job and then you know we you're still while you're waiting you have video screen time. We can show them pictures, images, interview tips, about the company. And then again if they wanted, you know, if they want to create, you know they have a media department or marketing department and they want to create videos for us just to install that would be included 'cause there's nothing else on our part. If you wanted us to create videos for you and that would again be an extra add-on. But it's something that we offer for those who want it, but not necessarily force it on people so that we can keep the cost low.
Jenni: Gotcha. OK, so where can our listeners find information about SOLVES HIRES? Or how can they connect with you?
Becky: Perfect! I would say first go to our website which is www.vtcsecure.com, there's a whole page on SOLVES HIRES, my information is there that you can email me directly. You can also find us on Facebook, and you can find VTCSecure an myself on LinkedIn, and that's probably one of the quickest ways to get involved, and then I would be happy to schedule a demo, show you what it looks like, and discuss options for people that are interested.
Jenni: Awesome, well, thank you very much for your time today. Becky have really enjoyed learning more about the product has, you know obviously, I think that we're in a time in the world where this is going to be definitely a tool that's going to be used, and I'm definitely a champion for those underserved communities that unfortunately don't have the same types of accesses. It can be very challenging, and again, I strongly believe this is an untapped resource, and giving them the opportunity to be able to apply for and truly be able to submit candidacy for a position you know in the easiest way possible, I think it's fantastic, so any other last words for our listeners before we end today's podcast?
Becky: No, I appreciate your time. Like I said, it's really about getting that underserved market served. And like I said for a lot of companies they don't have the time or the resources to only focus on hiring with disabilities. So we really want this to be a well “don't just do it for them,” you should, but for everybody you know we could do all your hiring and now we were, besides just doing the hiring in general, now you're also making your general hiring accessible, and that's really what the goal is to get everybody included.
Jenni: Right, absolutely. And I think that not being able to well, you can't even find a location to hold a career fair, let alone, you know, just the cost associated with making them, you know, socially, distanced in the masks and all of the other safety things that are coming into play. This really allows an opportunity for a company to just, you know, get out there and do it, and then also just to maybe join forces with other organizations. And you know, and put on a career fair is fantastic, so.
Jenni: And just for our listeners, so I mean Becky will show it to you for free. You know it's not like you know you're going to sign up for anything or be locked into anything or anything like those just reaching out and saying, hey, let me see what this product looks like, and I know that I think what's really great is also just really that you are able to customize and work with each client to create what's going to be best for them so they don't have to buy, and I think, again, that's one of the problems is I have to buy this whole package when I only these four components of it.
Becky: Exactly, exactly.
Jenni: Alright, well, thank you very much, Becky, and we hope that everyone enjoyed today's podcast. We hope you enjoyed today’s podcast. Please subscribe so you never miss an episode of HR Rescue! The opinions expressed in this program do not represent legal advice, nor should they necessarily be taken as the views of HR Shield or its employees.
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