The Futuristic Hiring Experience: With Kurt Heikkinen, Montage


Hiring the right candidates is an endlessly challenging and time-consuming task for HR personnel. Kurt Heikkinen, President and CEO of Montage talks about transforming the hiring “process” into a hiring “experience” which is engaging and more productive both for the candidate and the company. Kurt has a proven track record of leading start-up companies and large enterprises through technology product launches to serve rapidly emerging markets. During his 20-year tenure, he has held several senior positions at companies such as PeopleSoft, Inc. and Evolve, Inc.

Let’s start by introducing Montage. What is Montage and what’s its unique value proposition?

Montage is the single solution to engage, interview and hire better candidates, faster. We are an interviewing technology platform that is purpose-built to handle the complexities of large enterprise hiring, and are the only provider that can handle 100% of our clients’ hiring needs. We support any type of interview that candidates will ever do, for any job, anywhere in the world. Within our single platform, clients can schedule interviews, conduct interviews and assess candidate fit-for-hire. In addition, we deliver an experience that enhances our clients’ employer brands and meets the needs and expectations of the modern candidate.
When I talk about our unique value proposition, we implement a hiring experience for our clients that leads to three key benefits:

Faster, better hires: We help remove the burden of administrative work for recruiters, allowing them to engage and interview qualified candidates at a much faster rate. On average, our platform enables recruiters to become 30 percent more efficient, and we reduce time-to-hire by as much as two weeks.
A better candidate experience: The hiring experience is better and much more effective when it meets the needs and expectations of the modern candidate. Plus, candidates embrace interviewing technology when it serves their needs.
Smarter hiring decision making: Hiring is important, so it is crucial that the process be trusted and validated by companies. Montage helps better inform fit-for-hire decisions by eliminating risk and providing greater predictability for better hiring decisions.
What trends have you seen in recruitment technology and how specifically is Montage reacting to them?

Many of the recent trends in recruitment technology are being driven by the fact that we are living in the age of the candidate.

With the lowest unemployment levels we’ve seen in years, the candidate has more power and influence than ever before.

These candidates have certain expectations from potential employers. They expect the hiring experience to be fast, transparent and easy and match how they interact with technology in every other facet of their life. Tech companies are responding to this trend in many different ways. At Montage, our product innovations are centered around enhancing the candidate experience, accelerating the process and using AI and predictive technologies to facilitate smarter decision making among candidates and clients.

Our on-demand text and intelligent scheduling solutions are just two examples of ways you can give candidates more control in the hiring experience and use AI to assess candidates’ skills and eliminate administrative tasks. This way, recruiters can identify top talent in hours, rather than days or weeks, while our scheduling solution allows candidates to set up interviews on their own time, while cutting down on the massive amounts of time recruiters normally spend on this task.

Another trend I’m seeing more of recently are pre-hire assessments, which have been re-imagined to enhance candidate engagement and fit assessment. Adding validated, proven assessments into the hiring process can also improve success, as they allow hiring teams to make more informed decisions and make job offers at a much quicker rate earlier in the process . At Montage, these assessments are already integrated into our interviewing platform to give recruiters a more holistic view of their talent pipelines while providing candidates with the experience they expect.

How can recruiters streamline their recruitment processes using video interviewing?

The traditional hiring process was not built for speed, but fast interactions are expected by today’s candidates. Two-thirds (66%) of job seekers will only wait less than two weeks to hear back from an employer before considering the opportunity a lost cause and moving on. Video interviewing solutions, both live and on-demand, help talent acquisition teams fill their open positions faster, while also creating an easier and more convenient hiring experience that meets modern candidates’ expectations.

What advice can you offer organizations looking to deploy video interviewing tools?

First and foremost, organizations should ensure that their video interviewing solutions are purpose-built for hiring.

Purpose-built solutions adapt to the unique workflows of every position, integrate seamlessly with other recruiting technologies, cater the expectations of the modern candidate and enhance an employers’ brand and image.

In addition to the solutions’ capabilities, a thoughtful, pragmatic approach to change management and implementation is critical for organizations to realize the full potential video interviewing has to offer. Companies should ensure their technology partner brings the experience, best practices and change management framework to ensure adoption.

Do you see the role of external recruiters shrinking as recruiting technology attains more maturity?

The short answer is yes – employers’ dependency on external recruiters will decrease, since recruiting technology enables internal recruiters to be more efficient and strategic with their time . Currently, external recruiters serve a few key purposes, including helping overburdened internal talent acquisition teams reach and engage candidates. But as organizations look to solutions like video interviewing, text-based interviewing and automated scheduling solutions, internal recruiters will have more time to attract best-in-class talent.

Artificial intelligence is a buzzword in HR, and you being at the intersection of technology and HR, how do you look to Artificial intelligence, machine learning, etc.?

Artificial intelligence and predictive hiring are not yet mainstream in recruiting, but companies are looking for partners that can help them understand the best way to implement these tools to drive the greatest business benefit. A 2018 survey from Montage backs up this claim – we found that while talent acquisition leaders agree AI and predictive analytics are an accepted concept in recruiting, they remain cautious about adoption. Nearly half (46 percent) have considered using AI to automate their recruiting processes, while 51 percent say they are confident in using machine learning to inform their hiring decisions.

Another application of AI that organizations are exploring is bias reduction. On-demand video interviews, for example, can decrease interviewer bias – which is noted as a shortcoming of traditional interviews by LinkedIn’s recent report. With this technology, the process is consistent and fair, improving decision making while reducing unconscious bias.

Let’s talk a bit about employer branding. What are companies doing to stand-out? Any trends that caught your attention recently?

From improving their careers pages to rolling out workplace culture videos, leading companies have made great strides in improving their employer brands – a move that’s greatly benefited the candidate experience. As a result, these organizations are facing a new problem when it comes to branding: they’ve attracted too many candidates, and in many instances, applicants aren’t the best cultural fit. Now, we’re seeing companies take a more direct approach when it comes to gauging candidates’ cultural fit. For instance, organizations are offering candidates authentic insights into the company and position through realistic job previews, virtual job tryouts and candidate fit assessments throughout the process, which enables both candidates and recruiters to make more informed decisions.

We’re also seeing companies leverage interviewing technology to further enhance their branding and make their company look digitally mature, which is particularly important for attracting the modern candidate.

What questions are your customers asking you? How is that impacting your platform’s road map? Are there any new features or upcoming upgrades that you’re excited about and would like to give us a sneak peek into?

Our clients are asking us four major questions: How can we improve the candidate experience? How can we make smarter hiring decisions? How can we make our recruiting technology easy and simple for candidates and recruiters to use? How can we introduce AI in the recruiting process?

We’ll continue to evolve our platform as our clients’ needs change. Enhancing our clients’ candidate experience is and always will be our number one priority, and we’re always looking for ways to create even faster and easier-to-use tools for the modern applicant and recruiter.

In terms of new features, we recently added on-demand text interviewing and AI-driven chatbots to our software suite in effort to more effectively engage candidates and quickly schedule interviews.


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