Status Go: Ep. 231 – The Evolution of Attracting and Retaining Talent | Avetis Antaplyan


In the latest episode of “Status Go,” host Jeff Ton dives into the captivating world of talent acquisition in the tech industry with guest Avetis Antaplyan, a technology recruiting expert. Antaplyan’s journey from coaching kids to managing 18 schools and eventually starting his own recruitment firm, Higher Clout, provides valuable insights into attracting and retaining top tech talent.

Amidst the ever-evolving tech landscape, Antaplyan highlights the challenges organizations face in recruiting specialized talent within limited timeframes. The shift to remote work due to the pandemic has further complicated matters, with some companies favoring remote employees while others require on-site presence. He also sheds light on the shrinking salary bands and the difficulty of convincing candidates to accept lower compensation packages.

Antaplyan emphasizes the importance of stability, a compelling company story, and a clear roadmap to attract and retain great talent. He emphasizes the need for companies to analyze and improve their hiring processes, eliminating clunky HR procedures and making decisive decisions quickly. Networking and personal connections play a crucial role in recruiting quality candidates who may not be actively job searching.

With his extensive experience working with companies such as Tinder, Hulu, and Sony PlayStation, Antaplyan offers valuable advice on building engineering teams and navigating the tech talent storm. He explains how his firm not only provides staffing solutions but also temporary technical expertise for projects that don’t require full-time staff.

The episode also delves into the growing significance of artificial intelligence (AI) in the tech industry. Antaplyan believes that companies should first focus on understanding their processes before incorporating AI. While acknowledging the potential job losses due to AI advancements, he also asserts that new opportunities will arise, urging tech professionals to adapt and evolve.

Antaplyan concludes by underlining the importance of maintaining a people-centric approach while integrating AI into businesses. With his firm’s commitment to injecting AI without jeopardizing jobs, he sets an example for leveraging technology while valuing human talent.

Join Jeff Ton and Avetis Antaplyan in this enlightening episode of “Status Go,” as they navigate the ever-changing tech recruitment landscape and explore strategies to attract and retain top talent in the tech industry. Whether you’re a tech enthusiast or an HR professional seeking insights into talent acquisition, this episode will provide valuable perspectives and strategies for success in the evolving world of technology.

About Avetis Antaplyan

Avetis is a dynamic CEO, visionary leader, and a Go-Giver with an undeniable track record in the Technology Recruiting and Consulting space. He is an award-winning entrepreneur, advisor, and investor and as the driving force behind HIRECLOUT, a premier Global Tech Recruiting and Consulting company and an Inc. 5000 Fastest-Growing company, Avetis continues to shape the future with innovation and generosity. His relentless pursuit of excellence and commitment to giving back make him a true inspiration to all. Join him on a journey of growth and success that leaves a positive impact on businesses worldwide.

Episode Highlights

[00:00:00]: It’s About the Clients

[00:00:25]: The Evolution of Hiring

[00:01:48]: Avetis Antaplyan’s Career Journey

[00:08:45]: Guardian of Organization Purpose

[00:10:51]: Recruiting AND Consulting

[00:15:17]: The State of Hiring

[00:20:22]: Flexibility to Stability

[00:21:56]: The Biggest Challenge in Hiring

[00:24:30]: Streamlining the Process

[00:28:00]: The Tech Leaders Playbook

[00:29:12]: Turn About is Fair Play

[00:32:30]: Call to Action

[00:35:05]: Thank you and Close


Episode Transcript

Avetis Antaplyan [00:00:00]:

It’s not about what we offer. It’s about what the client needs. So, for example, I’ve had clients that have said, hey, I need to hire three engineers. Well, what do you need? Well, I need an ETL guy, I need an API person. I need so on and so forth. And selfishly, I’m like, this is great, this is easy. But when I started asking questions, I realized you don’t have a plan.

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:00:25]:

Technology is transforming how we think, how we lead, and how we win from InterVision. This is Status Go, the show, helping IT leaders move beyond the status quo, master their craft, and propel their IT vision.

Jeff Ton [00:00:42]:

Attracting and retaining talent is something we have talked about on Status Go. It is always top of mind for CIOs and IT leaders. It is something that seems to change almost on a daily basis. So many things can impact your ability to attract talent—many things outside your control. Likewise, many things outside your control can impact your ability to retain talent. Today, we are going to look at these challenges from the perspective of three external forces. The Pandemic and its aftermath, remote work and the return to the office, and artificial intelligence and its impact on the workforce.

Joining me today is Avetis Antaplyan, the CEO of Hirecloud, a tech recruiting and consulting firm out of LA. Welcome to the show, Avetis.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:01:39]:

Thank you, sir. Glad to be here. You were nice enough to be on my show, and we’re brilliant. And so, this is the only way I can pay it back for now.

Jeff Ton [00:01:48]:

Well, it is awesome. And for our listeners, Avetis has a great podcast, and we just finished recording an episode for him just a few minutes ago. So, Avetis, at some point, I want you to share a little bit more about your podcast with our listeners, too. But let’s start with your background. You are involved in a lot of different things today but talk to us about that journey. How did you get to be doing what you’re doing today? And then tell us what you are up to today.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:02:18]:

That was great. Thank you. I’m happy to. Just like everyone else, I was in high school, I went to college, and I studied business. And I went off to work in a kind of a coaching position, teaching kids, elementary and middle school kids and high school kids to play sports. It was a dream job. I literally went to school in shorts, right? And I played sports all day. I mean, it was literally a dream job.

And unfortunately, I had to give that up because I had to go and follow my dream of being a businessman. And while I was a coach, I became a leader in the coaching kind of realm. I ended up managing 18 schools and their coaches. So, even within that, I had to become a leader. I know your show is all about leadership, and you and I talked about leadership.

And then I went off to become an assistant director at Kaplan, and then I became a center director, and then I became a senior director of the Northwest Coast operations. Had a good time there. But with the kind of recession looming in 2007 and eight, the company kept shifting things, and I was frustrated. The position that I was being groomed to, which was a VP role, was eliminated. And it was eliminated without much conversation with me. So, I said, so that means I’ve got to go. And they were like, absolutely not. We’ve got plans. And I said, come on. I was never part of these conversations. It means you don’t value me as much as you think, and so on and so forth. I decided to move on.

I gave them 90 day notice, which is unheard of. During that time frame, I was just interviewing with other executive search firms, and basically, what ended up happening is I realized, man, I’m going to have to go from one corporate job with politics to another corporate job with politics. I don’t know if I want to do this. So last minute, I rejected a bunch of offers for great executive roles to go join a company called the Mitchell Group, which is a small technology recruiting firm headed up by a gentleman named Jeff. Great guy.

His business was highly successful and then had struggled for the last two or three years. He was really struggling. He said you’re a business guy. I need you to come and help me rebuild my business. I said let’s do it. And things were going great. I was going to bring all my Kaplan staff over. And then the 2008 recession happened. Literally, lights were turned off. I’ve never seen anything like it. So, I said, oh wow, that’s interesting. And then my wife told me, hey, good news. We’re having a baby. I was like, great, congratulations.

Jeff Ton [00:04:55]:

But oh no.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:04:56]:

Oh my God. So I left a cushy job with great income to join a startup who’s struggling in a recession and we’re having a baby. Wonderful. Biggest blessing ever, right? Because my daughter had basically burned the ship, right? Burned the boats. I can’t go back. I have to look forward and we’re going to struggle like hell. We’re going to survive and then thrive. So we survived the recession, so on and so forth, helped the company grow, became an owner in that company, part owner, so on and so forth.

Eventually I wanted to do my own thing. I wanted my own company. And my partner, great guy, would say, hey, do you need more equity? We can make that work. I was like, no, this is your baby. I want my own baby. And he goes, well, let me join you in your baby, right? And this is the kind of guy he is, no bullshit, wonderful guy, and said, you sure? He’s like, yeah. And I said, well, why not? Here’s a guy that got me into the business. He’s a guy that I learned from. He’s good, he’s tried, trust him.

And we created Hirecloud in I think, 2015 ish right then and there we took one of our employees, who’s still with us till this day, asked her to move from Arizona to LA. We started this thing; we opened a new office and boom. And we went through lots of ups and downs, a lot of small incremental growth, really tiny growth, frustrating growth. 5-3-8-2-0. And finally, two years ago, 2021, we made it for 2022, but made INC 5000 fastest growing companies, I think.

Jeff Ton [00:06:29]:

Oh, wow, congrats.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:06:30]:

Thank you very much. We grew 235% and then we made well, it’s not public yet, but maybe by the time you published this, we made the list again for 2022. It’s 2023, but it’s for 2022 numbers. It’s pretty exciting. I don’t know the percentage of growth, I don’t know where we were listed. We’ll find out in a few days. But really exciting to see that type of growth. We were a LA regional player. We did Southern California, then opened up Bay Area, New York, and then eventually became national firm and said during COVID there’s no such thing as regional. We don’t need boots.

Jeff Ton [00:07:06]:

Yeah, exactly.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:07:07]:

So why do we need to do anything? And so, we’re headquartered in LA. We do work nationally, and we have staff globally. So, we have teams in little European country called Armenia, in India, in Colombia, and Brazil. But our headquarters is in Los Angeles, and 99% of our business is in the United States. The 1% is for favor. So if a client says, hey, we really need some help, we’re hiring in South America, sure, we’re hiring in Europe, sure we’ll do it just as a courtesy and because we have teams in those regions. But most of our business here is in the US. So that’s the long and short of it.

Jeff Ton [00:07:46]:

That’s awesome.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:07:47]:

On top of all this crazy madness and my beautiful family, I am also an advisor to many tech startups, and I’m an investor in many of these startups, a board member to several companies. I’m a real estate investor, so I’ve got my hands full.

Jeff Ton [00:08:03]:

Do you sleep anytime? Do you sleep?

Avetis Antaplyan [00:08:06]:

I actually sleep like a baby, which is really great. I don’t know how I find the ability to sleep, but I live a great life. And so I sleep from eleven to seven, wake up, go to the gym, and do it all over again.

Jeff Ton [00:08:19]:

There you go.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:08:21]:

So, for me, it’s fun. It is a lot. My days are very scrunched in, so I don’t necessarily work 15 hours a day like people would imagine. I work eight to 10 hours a day, but really, it’s 10 hours of just nonstop, which is going, that’s it. But then, when I get home, hopefully, I’m only focused on my family. And that’s kind of where I leave it.

Jeff Ton [00:08:45]:

Well, I have a couple of questions about Hirecloud, and then I want to get to what we want to talk about today, which is attracting and retaining talent in broad strokes. I was just looking at LinkedIn, and I love this phrase and I’d love you to comment on it. “Guardian of organization purpose.”

Avetis Antaplyan [00:09:06]:


Jeff Ton [00:09:08]:

What does that mean to you, and what does that mean to your clients?

Avetis Antaplyan [00:09:11]:

I love that…it’s actually more about internal. Right? When you were on my show, we talked about having a vision, having a mission, having values, and not just being focused on the financials. And that’s exactly what that means. I am the guardian of our company’s mission, vision, and values, and it’s my responsibility. So, if this company fails to accomplish its goals or fails to take care of its employees, or fails to take care of its clients, it’s my fault. I’m the guardian of this. Right?

And so I’m big on those things, too. I talked about look, the truth is, I’m a business guy. I’m an entrepreneur. I do care about my bottom line. I do care about EBITDA. I do care about all those things. But I don’t care about it more than I care about my employees or than my family, or care about it more than a lot of my clients. And frankly, my employees don’t care about my EBITDA, right? Maybe they care because if we grow, it gives them opportunities. But really, what’s in it for them?

What is our vision, and what is our mission? And that’s what this is about. They care about things that make an impact in this world. We’re a for-profit company. It’s not like we’re going to pretend we’re saving lives. We’re not saving lives. Right. But everything we do, I tie it back to what is the client’s vision and mission. No one cares that we hire engineers or CTOs or CIOs or VPs. What they care about is the impact that those people will have on those businesses. So that’s what that phrase meant for me.

Jeff Ton [00:10:51]:

I love that, that you put it out there. Right? It’s the buck stops with you, with the organization. The other thing I wanted to ask about is recruiting and consulting. I’m not sure how it is in LA, but I’m in Indianapolis, and typically, those are different organizations, different companies. You brought them together. How did that come about?

Avetis Antaplyan [00:11:15]:

It’s a good question, Jeff.

So, our recruiting business is basically where we hire for our clients. And we might hire five a month, we might hire 30 in a year. We might hire one one time. But basically, companies like Tinder, Hulu, OpenTable, Sony PlayStation, Panasonic, these incredible companies, we’re blessed to have them as clients. And what we do for them is we build their engineering teams, including AI, now, right? We’ve been for a few years, but machine learning, robotics, data science, all of that stuff, we build those teams including IT and infrastructure and all that. That’s the recruiting piece of the game, where we understand what they’re trying to accomplish, what bottlenecks they have. We hire the type of folks that are going to remove those bottlenecks.

On the flip side, some of these companies might have a project that they don’t need full-time staff for, so they might be building a portal for their customers, log in and blah, blah, blah, blah. Maybe it’s not a core product. So where can we bring in our team of technical people to give them a temporary, basically, solution? Right? So that could be as simple as honestly, it could just be one or two individuals that tap into Jeff’s team and, hey, I just need someone to do some of the data engineering data pipelining. I need a data engineer for nine months. Hey, I need a UI guy to build out the UI for this SaaS platform. It could be simple as that. It could be no, you’re going to bring in your team and you are going to build the software. Like, for example, right now, we’re going to be working with a client that’s trying to automate and introduce some robotics into his solutions, his warehouse management solutions. I would be bringing in my own team through either partner companies or people I already have. So that’s kind of how I look at it. Right? Because the piece of it is just staff augmentation piece of it is we would actually build the software with the folks that we have.

Jeff Ton [00:13:19]:

Yeah, I like that because it sounds similar to when you were describing some of your global work. You’ve done it because your client has asked what you’re doing is filling a client need with these resources.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:13:33]:

Well, Jeff, can I give you a quick story on

Jeff Ton [00:13:34]:

yeah, absolutely, absolutely.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:13:37]:

It’s not about what we offer. It’s about what the client needs. So, for example, I’ve had clients that have said, hey, I need to hire three engineers. Well, what do you need? Well, I need an ETL guy. I need an API person. I need so on and so forth. And selfishly, I’m like, this is great. This is easy.

Jeff Ton [00:13:52]:

Yeah. Three spots, right?

Avetis Antaplyan [00:13:55]:

Three revenue pieces. But when I started asking questions, I realized, you don’t have a plan. You don’t know what you think you need. These three types of people, I don’t know if that’s the case, so sure, I can make money doing this, but long term, you might look up a year and say, I just spent this much money on fees. Plus, these three employees, or four employees at the end, I don’t have a product. So, I said, no. I said, you need something different.

Now I’ve introduced and I’ve done this all the time I’ve introduced a team of folks that are going to go in and they’re going to productize. We’re going to actually do a product roadmap. We’re going to do things that it’s a lot longer and harder for me to do. And because I’m going to be using partner companies, I might not even make the same type of income. Doesn’t matter. Doesn’t matter. Those people remember what I did and long-term ramification of their success.

I’ve done this with six different companies, and some of them have actually exited because of the software that we built. Instead of me saying, sure, I’ll hire three .Net developers for you to do what you don’t have products a mess. You’re not ready for someone to come in and just augment your work. So that’s where it came from. It’s not about us. It’s about what the client needs. And if it’s not what we offer, then we’re going to walk away. There’s no point. So many different ways.

Jeff Ton [00:15:17]:

That is such a great approach. And to our listeners. You might check out the episode with Joel Russell of eimagine. Joel kind of takes the same approach. He’s got a small boutique organization here in Indianapolis, not quite so small anymore, but he tells kind of that same story of putting the people first, putting the client first, and the revenue, the revenue will follow.

Avetis, I’d love your thoughts on the state of hiring, the state of recruiting. A lot of our listeners are in corporate IT; one of the things I hear from them and others in corporate IT is attracting and retaining talent is at the top of their priority list all the time. They can’t find good people. So, what’s your view from your seat as CEO of Hirecloud of the hiring market right now?

Avetis Antaplyan [00:16:18]:

Since 2011, it’s been a hiring boom, right? You can’t hire enough people. And that’s how we grew over the years. Last two years prior to the current kind of state we’re in, you literally couldn’t hire fast enough. I had to turn down business because of the amount of how quickly I had to provide the high quality of service. I couldn’t.

What’s happened since May to September of last year is I’ve seen a drop in the need. However, it’s temporary. And so, with the kind of pseudo recession we’re in, the unrecognized recession we’re in, I mean, you know, tech is the first one in a recession, the first one out. I believe we’ve been in a recession since May of 2022. That’s what I felt. So obviously it’s affected our business. But what I’ve noticed is companies had over-hired, and they had over-hired and overpaid for a lot of the staff they had.

But really, if you come down to it, is they had hired the wrong people. They had gone into a bidding war to hire as many people as possible to compete so that others didn’t have these engineers. And I think, if I could be honest, I think people got really spoiled. Right? Work from home. I come and go as I please. So, a lot of folks had multiple jobs. They really were not working. Let’s just be honest with you, right? What ended up happening is there was a massive dump in talent.

And so, the first reaction was the leaders, the fangs are laying off, right? Which means I should too so then other people are laid off. Well, they’re doing a hiring freeze, then I should, too. The problem is work still has to get done. And if you want to win, if you want to grow, if you want to take advantage, you do the opposite of what everyone does, not what everyone does. To me, if you’re following Google and Facebook is like, if I’m a basketball player and I’m five nine and I’m doing what Shaq does, I’m developing my game based on Shaq’s game, and I don’t physicality that, Shaq does. So, it’s hilarious. Right?

So you do you so that’s kind of what I saw. Now the reaction is, well, we don’t need a recruiting firm, right? Why would we need a recruiting firm? There’s all these great people applying to jobs, right? I hate to tell you I’m going to offend a few people. There’s not a lot of great people looking for jobs. And if there are, there are. By the way, I personally know some amazing engineers that are looking, they’re looking for a very small window of time. They are rarely applying online to jobs. They’re doing it through their network and people like myself, and they’re going to get multiple offers and they’re going to get snagged up, right?

So, what ended up happening is if companies aren’t doing well, they’re laying off a lot of people. If a product wasn’t working, they might get rid of a whole team. But minus those two categories, I think what people did is mostly there’s some amazing folks that were laid off that are terrific. They’re mostly laying off folks that are underperformers or weren’t quite good value based on the salary level and how they’re performing.

So again, I say this on a general rule. There are some amazing people I personally know that are available. I’m shocked. And they get multiple offers. So the now is you still have to move fast to get great talent and you have to be very good about giving them compelling story. Why should they work for you? Because guess what? They’re in good. They are getting two to three offers. So you think I got you, you’re unemployed? No, not at all. Because I’m going to interview, I’m going to interview really well. I’m great. I’m going to get multiple offers. I’m going to choose the company that’s giving me what I need. And what I need is changed flexibility. The number one thing people needed now, number one thing, is stability. People really need to understand your roadmap.

Jeff Ton [00:20:22]:

So, you’ve seen that shift from flexibility to stability very quickly.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:20:26]:

Now, the flexibility is still important, and I see a big kind of clash between what companies want and what candidates want and sometimes need. So, candidates want flexibility here. I’ve been working from home remotely for two years, and some of them are just because I want to…for flexibility. Some of them moved out of LA. I’ve got one gentleman, he’s amazing. Moved from LA. To Reading, California. I don’t know if you know where Redding is, but there’s nothing, yeah, Northern California nowhere near, nowhere near any tech company. So this is not an individual that can say, all right, I need a job. I’m going to commute a little bit. There is nowhere to commute.

Jeff Ton [00:21:08]:

There’s no commute.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:21:10]:

His need is real. Like, he has to commute. He’s got two young children, so on and so forth. What companies need is I need people butts in seats again, at least two, three, four days a week. This is the shift that I see as a major battle. Right? Why do you need me in the office? Well, because we’re not getting the production that we need from people. That’s not true. People are more productive. Never. Not necessarily. Not necessarily true. This is what I’m seeing. This is the biggest gap, as if a year ago, if you were unemployed, didn’t matter. You had access to every company in the country now, right? Yeah. I need you to be in an office two, three, four days a week. You basically have to be 30, 40 minutes away. So that’s what I think the biggest bottleneck right now is.

Jeff Ton [00:21:56]:

What’s the biggest challenge that you hear from your customers when they’re trying to fill roles? You may be working with CIOs, CTOs. What’s the biggest challenge that they’re expressing to you?

Avetis Antaplyan [00:22:08]:

There’s two big challenges. I think this remote thing is the biggest one. They’re digital, so if they are okay with the remote, I have a lot of clients that stuck to that model. Then they have an advantage now because they’re recruiting nationally while everyone else shifted to a, oh, no, I need people in Los Angeles or Irvine.

I have a client right now. It’s a great company. What they’re asking for is so niche and so tight, and they’re asking for people within a very short, small window, and it’s very challenging. That is the biggest challenge. Finding people not only are available and in the location fit salary, bands that have shrunken all of a sudden that’s interesting. Are willing and able to come into the office. That’s really challenging. I mean, we went from I have access to 5 million tech professionals in the United States. It might be more, it might be 1020 to, oh, no, I’m fishing in a small pond now all of a sudden, and most of those people are employed. So that’s a massive challenge that everyone’s facing. We’re facing that’s an opportunity, obviously, for us, but it’s challenging that and also, people have been so overpaid for so long that no longer makes sense. We have a four-year engineer making $180,000, and they should have only earning 150. Well, good luck convincing someone that they should make less.

Jeff Ton [00:23:34]:

Right. That’s not going to happen. And I know here in the Midwest, we struggle. When the pandemic hit, and we went to remote work, we could hire from the West Coast, but also the West Coast could hire from us, right? From our resources here, and pay a higher salary than we were paying, but still less than what you would pay on the coast. And now, with this pull back to the office. You’ve got the talent. The engineers that are stuck, it’s the guy that you were just talking about. I was making 180. Well, in the office in Indianapolis might be 110.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:24:16]:

Exactly. Right.

Jeff Ton [00:24:18]:

That’s a heck of a cut. Absolutely.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:24:24]:

To LA. They’re staying in Indianapolis, and they’re earning 170. Good luck finding another position in that


Jeff Ton [00:24:30]:

Yeah, it’s not going to happen. It just isn’t. So, you’re going to have to find somebody that’s open to the remote work at probably a lower salary because the demand is down. How do you help your clients balance long hiring cycles? It seems like hiring talent, your company has this process where they’ve got to interview, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah. Are you running into that as a third-party recruiter where your candidates are having to go through multiple iterations of interviewing, or are you able to short-circuit some of that?

Avetis Antaplyan [00:25:09]:

Our job is to try to short circuit that because if you’re not efficient, it’s not even about our lack of patience. You’re not going to get great people.

Jeff Ton [00:25:19]:


Avetis Antaplyan [00:25:20]:

Same thing with salaries. Right. If you’re paying less, I don’t care about the fact that it means less income for our company. It means that you’re not going to hire anyone. And if you do, it’s temporary. You’re going to get the person that needs the job that has to take that job. But they’re not going to be happy, so they’re not going to give you their all, and they’re going to leave in six months to a year when the market changes.

And so, I almost can’t allow that because then it’s my brand and my reputation. So, if our company is known for its retention-driven process and our engineers stay 2.3 times longer than industry average, well, what happens when we shortcut what you’re supposed to do and all of a sudden, your people leave in seven months? Yeah, you said people stay a lot longer. They only stayed seven months. It’s a disaster. You’re underpaying by 30%. You’re asking for something that doesn’t exist. And the argument is, what are you talking about? We get good people applying. Like, okay, let me know how that turns out.

Jeff Ton [00:26:15]:


Avetis Antaplyan [00:26:17]:

The interview process is incredibly important. You don’t need 60 days to vet someone out. You don’t need eight interviews. But you don’t need to rush either just because I say so or a candidate says so. You need to have a nice, well-thought-out process and don’t rush. Be decisive. But be very selective. And all that means is if I send you a candidate, be decisive whether you want to interview the candidate or not.

Jeff Ton [00:26:47]:

Yeah, because you’ve done some vetting already.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:26:50]:

Of course. We put people through multiple interviews before they get to you. So, we have about a 90% submittal-to-interview ratio, which means if I send someone, you’re going to interview them. That’s fine. Decide quickly, then decide after the phone interview if you want to take them to the next step or not.

Then from that step, decide if you want to hire them or not. Still, you are in charge of that process. But be decisive and be as fast as possible without rushing. We recommend two to three steps. So, phone interview and maybe one small panel and a big panel or an in person, and that’s it. References, take care of references. We’ll take care of background checks. We’ll do everything to make sure we confirm your decision one way or the other.

But you got to be decisive, right? It’s okay to be right or wrong. It’s not okay to not know, right? You just sit around and well, we want to see more people. You should know what you need and want, and if that person is not it, please pass on the candidate. If they’re good, hire them. Don’t waste time because someone else will. Putting people through 60 days of interviews is a waste of their time and yours.

Jeff Ton [00:28:00]:

You’re never going to get…you’re just not going to get the talent. Yeah.

Well, as we mentioned earlier, I was just a guest on your podcast, and I want to turn the tables on you and ask you a question that you asked me. But before I do that, could you tell our listeners a little bit about your podcast?

Avetis Antaplyan [00:28:19]:

Sure, happy to. So, the podcast is called The Tech Leaders Playbook. It’s focused on folks that are in the industry. They don’t necessarily have to be technical, but these are people that are entrepreneurs, that are leaders, and they have staff, and they manage technical people. I’ve had some really interesting guests. I’ve had NBA coaches on there. I’ve had great people like yourself. I had Cormac, the CTO of Open Table, and I like to bring in different types of folks to give people a different flavor.

What can you learn from an NBA coach? You can learn leadership, you can learn how to build relationships with your players so you can be hard on them. So that’s how I took this show is I have to interview people I like and I have to interview people that I enjoyed listening to. And hopefully our folks feel that with the chemistry that I have with my guests, awesome.

Jeff Ton [00:29:12]:

And to our listeners, it is an awesome show. As I was preparing to be a guest, I listened to several episodes. I’m going to have to find the one on the coach because that was not one that I listened to, but it is a great show. Avetis does a wonderful job as a host.

So, on your show, you asked me about ten years from now, what’s the impact of AI? So, I’m going to turn the tables on you and say, okay, AI, generative AI, these large language models, ten years. What’s the impact on It talent? On tech talent?

Avetis Antaplyan [00:29:50]:

That’s a really good question. Like you said.

Jeff Ton [00:29:53]:

Well, you asked it. It should be.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:29:56]:

I didn’t think about the answer. For me, any expert that I talk to, and I myself, I think we’re kidding ourselves if we think we know what’s going to happen in ten years or even five years. I see a small impact already where every company is kind of in FOMO mode, that they feel like they need to inject AI or they’re going to miss out, and they’re going to die. Right?

So, I see a little bit of that, and sometimes I just ask two, three simple questions, and they can’t answer it because there’s no real great plan on what they’re trying to achieve. They just want to be able to say, I have AI. Really? A lot of the AI is not real AI. It’s either automation or it’s some kind of wrapper on top of Chat GPT or something like that.

And the same thing goes when I’m talking to startups that want me to invest in them. I ask, where’s the AI? And they don’t have an answer. And I’m almost like, don’t look. It sounds like you’ve got some form of mindset of where AI could plug in, but you’re not an AI company right now, so let’s really think about what you are, and if it means you’re a company that automates something great, well, that’s incredibly needed.

What I see is just like anything else. I see certain engineers will become dinosaurs, right? They’re not going to evolve. They’re not going to be willing to learn. They’re going to die off. Their skill set will no longer be needed. Some of them will adjust and move on to those things. I believe jobs will absolutely be lost. Absolutely will be lost. We have a client right now that’s trying to eliminate software developers right through. We’ll see what they do with that.

But more opportunities will be created just like anything else. Like any industrial change in manufacturing and farming and all that stuff. I think the key is we have to be open-minded. I don’t think AI will kill us; it’s our lack of understanding and ability to use it that will kill us as employees. For myself, I continue to be a people-driven organization, but I am absolutely injecting AI, looking into injecting AI into my company. But I’m going to do it in a fashion where it doesn’t risk anyone’s job. And I do it in a fashion where it does not eliminate what we’re all about, which is the people-driven people.

Jeff Ton [00:32:30]:

Yeah, I love that you’re taking that kind of pragmatic approach to it. And even in your investing, you ask those same questions. Because I think it’s similar to what was going on several years ago when all the hype was digital transformation, and if you weren’t doing it, you were a dinosaur, and you’d die off and go away. And now we’ve got the same thing going on with AI.

So, thanks for letting me turn the tables there.

So, we are out of time! You and I, we’ve been talking now for an hour and a half, counting your show, which has been awesome. It’s flown by.

As I warned you, we are all about action here on Status Go. And so, I’d like to ask you this final question. What are one or two things that our listeners should go do tomorrow because they listen to our conversation today?

Avetis Antaplyan [00:33:28]:

Great question. I think what people need to do is they need to rethink their strategy about hiring. Again, I’m here because I’m a hiring expert. That’s kind of what I want to leave people off with is what are you trying to achieve?

Jeff Ton [00:33:43]:


Avetis Antaplyan [00:33:44]:

And what type of people do you need to achieve that with, and what part of your process is getting in the way of that? Right? Is it a clunky HR process? And it’s just something that you’re used to, and so you just think it’s normal that three HR people have to interview someone before it ever gets to you? Get rid of that process. Get rid of people. Is it you? Are you the bottleneck so busy by the time it’ll take two weeks for you to do a phone interview with me, get rid of yourself as a part of the process, inject other people into it. That can eliminate those bottlenecks that you’ve created, or someone’s created on your behalf. That’s stopping you from hiring great people.

And stop posting and praying when you post. And lots of people apply, and you think, this is it. It’s not right. Again, rarely do great people apply to jobs. They’re typically buried in excellence in where they work, or they have such a great network that they can plug in. I’ve got an engineer that texted me, you’ve placed me three times now, and all three jobs have been great. I want to work with you exclusively. You’re not getting that guy. You’re not getting that guy, not applying the jobs. He has no interest. He’s got a great severance package. He can wait as long as he wants until I find him his dream job. So, just know what you’re getting. Right?

Jeff Ton [00:35:05]:

I like that. To really analyze your process, remove the bottlenecks, and stop posting and praying, I think, was the phrase you used. That’s great.

Avetis, thank you so much for joining us on Status Go. I’m glad we connected. I enjoyed being on your show, and I’ve really enjoyed having you on our show. And I know our listeners have!

Avetis Antaplyan [00:35:31]:

Great, Jeff. Thank you, sir, for having me. I can’t wait to see you in your awesome Leadership summit or whatever, the big one. And I’ll see you at one of your CIO dinners.

Jeff Ton [00:35:42]:

Awesome. Would love to have you, Avetis. Thank you so much.

Avetis Antaplyan [00:35:46]:

Take care.

Jeff Ton [00:35:47]:

Have a question or want to learn more? Visit The show notes will provide links and contact information. This is Jeff Ton for Avetis Antaplyan. Thank you very much for listening.

Voice Over – Ben Miller [00:36:07]:

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