CV Wallet Co-Founder Richard Collins stopped by WorkTech to talk about its use of generative AI in its candidate-focused resume and verification solution with WorkTech Founder George LaRocque as part of WorkTech’s “Meet the Work Tech AI Innovators” series. CV Wallet is a candidate-focused tech that currently has three main parts: a CV/resume builder and wallet. a resume to jobs matching feature, and a personal upskilling component. Initially building out the product with a Web3 back end to provide consumers control and privacy over their PII (personally identifiable information) and data, they quickly implemented generative AI and LLMs to improve the consumer/candidate experience.
Richard discusses CV Wallet’s approach to AI with a sole focus on the consumer/candidate. He reviews the product capabilities and gives pointers for any HR leaders or HR tech providers that are considering AI in any of their workflows.
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Find the full transcript of the conversation below.
Enjoy the discussion!
Full Transcript (Transcript creation is automated, while it may be largely accurate we apologize in advance for any errors)
George LaRocque: Hey, everyone. Welcome back to work. Tech. I’m George Laroc, and we’re moving along in our Meet the Work tech AI. Innovator series. And today I’m really looking forward to this session. We’ve got Richard Collins, the co founder of CV Wallet and I enjoy talking to companies that are really pushing the boundary ease with technology and also taking a different approach to the market. I also enjoy meeting and talking to successful entrepreneurs in our space and CV Wallet fits that bill and Richard fits that bill. Richard, welcome.
Richard Collins: Hi Jos, thank you very much for having me on the show.
George LaRocque: Yeah, well it’s great to have you here. And maybe let’s start out with introductions of yourself and maybe a quick bit about CV Wallet and what it is for those that don’t know.
Richard Collins: Yeah, of course, terms of me, co founder of CV Wallet, has to say, though I suspect most people know me from Click IQ, which we sold to Indeed, which is a programmatic advertising software we sold in 2019, but a background within the industry. I did my first and it scares me when I say this, my first internet recruitment job in 1995. So started out running a job board and I’ve done everything since, but sort of serial HR tech guy now with three exits under the belt. So I thought that I had retired after the last one, but turned out I had an idea and just a bit of an itch that needed to be scratched and got bored doing nothing. So here we are again, back in the hot seat. So yeah, exciting times. Yeah.
George LaRocque: Internet recruitment. You date yourself when you say that and I say it too, and I always catch myself in that time frame taking folks onto the internet, onto the web, employers onto the web. I compare that time to this time with the emergence of AI and everything happening.
Richard Collins: I slightly disagree there. I actually think it is sort of but when I think back to those days, we saw this thing and it would take off and all of that stuff, but it took ten years. When you look at OpenAI and how 600 million downloads of chat GPT was it in however short period of time. This is crazy. The adoption curve has just been squished like nothing I’ve ever seen. So in some ways it’s the same level of excitement. But I think the adoption factor just makes it very scary and I think how simple it is to adopt some of these tools and put them into tech again. It’s just unbelievable and very exciting.
George LaRocque: Yeah, I agree completely. But I would only add that think of the benefits and opportunities for the employers even in that ten year cycle. You know, the early ones who got on board in the early two thousand s and think of the opportunities for the tech providers and this has just accelerated so much. But that’s a really good point. So let’s dig in a little bit on CV wallet and what it is and how you’re leveraging AI and what.
Richard Collins: That means, of course. Well, when we originally sort of set out with the idea of CVW, AI wasn’t even on the table, if I’m honest. We had this goal that we wanted to take this blockchain technology and Web Three technologies which seemed kind of cool at the time, and how could we apply them in a way that would improve in recruiting recruitment. And ultimately, we sort of thought that we looked at the CV particularly and thought, this thing is 400 years old, it really isn’t fit for purpose. We could apply these technology, upgrade it with the ultimate aim. That what we wanted to do was we wanted to enable skill based hiring because to us that was a real sort of as a worthy thing to do, because the things that you can achieve through that, in terms of removing bias, making it fair and more efficient, all that kind of stuff. So that’s really how we started out and we approached it. We built this sort of consumer facing native app that you can get on iOS and on Google Android, and that’s where we started from. But then along comes AI. And AI obviously changed everything because the way that we were thinking about it is, what tools can we build, what things can we give to job seekers that actually help them finding work faster, more efficiently, easier? And AI has meant that we can do so many more things that we perhaps could never do before. So, overall, CV wallet, resume wallet, it is literally that it is a consumer facing native app with as many of those tools that we can put into it. Yeah.
George LaRocque: And is it focused mainly we’ll look at it in a minute here, but is it focused mainly on building the CV? Is it credentialing and verification? Or now with AI sky’s the limit for what a candidate could have access to?
Richard Collins: Absolutely. So we break down the app itself into three main parts. First of all, there’s the CV resume piece, and that’s about obviously creating a CV, but it’s also about how you secure data. Because when we built it, we built it in a Web Three framework, so it’s effectively using decentralization. So it means that instead of a traditional approach to this, where it’s all stored centrally, waiting to be hacked, what we do is all their personal data is held securely on people’s phones and then they control when that data is given up and who is given up to. So that was kind of a really key, important thing. We also wanted to make it so that it was very easy to share your CV. We send it out to employers. We actually integrate it into the Apple Store wallet. So you can effectively it creates a QR code along with your CV, your resume, and you can add that to your Google Wallet or App Wallet, and someone can literally scan it and they will get your CV, which we think is kind of gimmicky, but it’s pretty cool, actually. So that’s the CV sound of things. The other part is around jobs, so obviously people, first thing they want to do is they want to get a job. So as with typical sort of job board functionality, the ability to save searches and to find jobs, apply for jobs, all that kind of stuff. And then the final part is around our careers hub. The careers hub is what we were thinking about is how do we maintain that relationship long term with somebody? And I think one of the reasons why we went down the native app route is that you have a very different relationship with your phone than you do with a computer. And in terms of that relationship, we thought, well, if we can build it in such a way that we have it as a long term relationship, we look at how people’s careers progress, upskilling, what assessments are taking, what they should take next, careers advice, interview advice, all that kind of stuff. So that’s the sort of third leg of the stool. So it’s building and sharing your CV, looking for work and careers advice around the careers, they’re the sort of three cores and the AI bits that we’ve taken have sort of applied to each of those intern.
George LaRocque: Wow, that’s really interesting because I really like the fact that you’re completely consumer facing. But if you think about human behavior, what we’ve learned the past couple of decades with job boards and marketplaces is it’s very transactional. So I go there when I’m getting ready to look or when I’m looking, and then I don’t come back. But with this focus on skills, and you mentioned upskilling, this gives me a reason and it gives me some value to be thinking about moving things along. I think that the technology lends itself to that skills based approach because the whole skills based approach boils everything down. It leaves the job behind as the organizational architecture for work and it brings it down to skills. So as the market’s moving in that direction, you’re giving consumers, candidates, employees, tools that are keeping in step with it. I can’t wait to take a look.
Richard Collins: That was one of the things that I think if AI hadn’t come along, we would never have gone really down the route that we have, particularly around that careers point. When we started out, it was, could we somehow upload assessments, have them verified by the assessment provider, stick it on a blockchain and then have employers discover candidates based on those assessments? It seemed like a smart plan because you see how many assessments are thrown away when people aren’t hired. So could we reuse that? Which is kind of where we started from. But what you can do with AI in a simple way you ask OpenAI for some careers advice and you know what, it’s pretty good. And if you wrap that up with a prompt along with your CV and what have you, then actually our ability to create a tool for job seekers that actually gives decent advice without taking years of trying to figure out every possible eventuality. It’s literally done in a couple of days and we think that’s fantastic. So how do we adopt that and include it so that it all wraps itself in one tool that the job seeker uses throughout their professional life?
George LaRocque: Yeah, it sounds great. Can we take a look at some bits and see what you’ve got here?
Richard Collins: Absolutely. Now we’re going to do this live.
George LaRocque: Okay.
Richard Collins: I’m going to dial in to our meeting.
George LaRocque: All right.
Richard Collins: Let me see if I can do this and then I’m going to share the screen. So you’re going to see me about a thousand times, please. You don’t want audio? No audio, or else it’s just going to be horrible. Right, all right, that works. Feedback. We’re good?
George LaRocque: Yes.
Richard Collins: Right, the next thing I’m going to do is I’m going to share my screen broadcast. This one might get a bit weird. Perfect. And then when I come out of that, there’s my screen, lots of notifications and here’s the app. Right. So far so good. Very good. So this is the app when you come to it second time and there onwards. First time you come into the app, we do some onboarding pieces because it’s not that straightforward. And one of the things that we wanted to do when we first built it, you had to manually add all this information into the app, whereas now effectively you can import it and we use CV Parsing software to import it. So in this particular instance, it’s my CV. It’s one that I’ve exported into a PDF from LinkedIn and then uploaded. So all the data is my personal data and hopefully there’s nothing too bad in there to share.
George LaRocque: Okay.
Richard Collins: In terms of the AI, so I say there’s three main areas. One is around the actual CV, the other is around the careers. And the third piece that is not live at the moment but I’ll talk about is around jobs. So they’re the sort of three core areas of the app. So when you go into the app itself, into the CV wallet, this is where we store all the information. And the first thing that we wanted to do was how can we enhance and level the playing field around CVS and particularly things like personal statements. So I know that there is a whole industry of people who write CVS and I’ll be honest, it slightly offends me. And the reason it slightly offends me is that if I’m getting a job based on how well I write my CV rather than the skills that I have, it seems somewhat unfair. And what if, I don’t know english isn’t my first language. What if, I don’t know, I’m Dyslexic or whatever it might be? Okay, that seems to me slightly unfair that people who don’t have those challenges have an advantage over me. So we started with personal statements. If I go into personal statement effectively here, it allows you to do an about me type thing. So if I click on add another version which is in the middle, just so you know. So we start with a blank piece of text. Now I have my CV in here, so I’m going to write it with the AI. Effectively, what we’ve done is we’ve got an API into OpenAI. So all the data is private and that is really important and key here. Okay, so we have what I like to call our BuzzFeed quizzes. We have to make this work for everybody. And it turns out that trying to be very scientific and clever, actually, you just need to be straightforward of thinking these things. So I’m going to type in here. What jobs are you looking for? What jobs are you looking for? I’m looking for a CEO job. What have I done? CEO. What do I do? Currently, I am a founder of Tech startup and describe myself in three words vicious, outgoing, creative. Can I spell? And then we click create has a little think about it.
George LaRocque: Right?
Richard Collins: There we go. And it literally writes you a personal statement around that which you can sort of scroll through, blah, blah, blah. And then you save it and that gets added then to your CV and you can immediately share that as part of that. So that was the first thing that we did. The second piece that we did was to apply the same sort of thing to around your work experience. If I click on my experience, you can see I’ve co founder CV wallet. So I’ll click on that and key responsibilities and achievements. I’m going to click on that. Now if I start by just deleting all of this because actually delete it all just so that you start with a blank paper. Probably should have done this earlier, but I was playing around with it must be a quicker way than this. It looks at the job title that you’re looking at and if you click right with the AI, it will write stuff for you based on what it sort of thinks you probably did doing the job that you are previously doing now. So it brings a whole load of stuff up. And then what you can also do is you can add phrases so it will then find other things and you can just literally click on it and then it will add it to the bottom. You can adapt and so on and so forth. So it just means it’s very, very quick and easy to sort of enhance your CV on that. Now there’s a big caveat here. It makes stuff up. It is Generative AI. It has decided that I have pitched and secured multi million dollar investment from venture capital funds. I have not done that, but it thinks I have. So you have to really watch it. And I think this is why we’re so keen on blending AI with blockchain, because the two things really fundamentally have to go together. And if you see down at the bottom there’s something called verify. If you actually went to that, you can upload proof of the things that you’ve done and you can verify it using third party, say we’re using blockchain technology, effectively confirmed with previous employers, or in case of education, the education provider, et cetera, et cetera. So that is all actually built into it. So that’s the CV sort of enhancement augmentation piece of what we’ve done.
George LaRocque: It’s so key that you brought up the I think they call it hallucinations, where it makes assumptions. I’ve used it to do research and it’s fantastic, but it’s actually come back. And in the research it’s told me, well, in a recent report from the World Economic Fund and then it had a bunch, I thought, oh, that’s really interesting. And I asked it for a citation to that or a link to that report and it said it was just hypothetical and it does that for all of us. So I really appreciate that call out and it’s something people need to be aware of.
Richard Collins: Yeah, and I’ll shade the next piece around the career sub as well. But I was playing with it last night, I was using Bard to try and help me do some sort of interview prep, as if I was going for an interview. And it said, based on these glass door recommendations, the culture is and it listed it all off. Okay, that’s really good. So then I did it for CV wallet, knowing that there was no glass door reviews of us, and it said the same thing. So I then went into glass door just to double check that somebody hadn’t put them on for us or whatever. And sure enough, there was nothing, absolutely nothing. So you do have to be, I think, careful with these things. Shall I go on to the second stage, which is the please do. Yeah, the career hub. So here we would this is sort of part way developed at the moment. So effectively what we wanted to do was try and provide career advice and help with finding work. So the first step was let’s put in some basic sort of advice around what sort of jobs you want to do. Again, it wraps it up with your CV and then comes up with recommendations. So I’m currently a CEO, my career aspirations, I don’t know, work time, we dream. Happy to work in the UK. Favorite subjects of school. I used this particular question because it highlights quite nicely what people were good at going back and if you didn’t enjoy school. Then you put sport or nothing at all. It doesn’t really matter. But I actually quite liked I’m a bit of an economics geek and describe myself in three words today. I’ll be creative. I actually practice thinking what I was before this interview. Because one of those things, your brain just stops when you’re actually on the trying to describe yourself.
George LaRocque: I’m familiar with that.
Richard Collins: Yeah. And then you press your button and away you go. And again, all live. Let me see how busy OpenAI is today.
George LaRocque: Also across zoom. That does it every time lately.
Richard Collins: Yeah. There is cambly a delay. It is still spinning them. This is why people record these things, not do them live. Sometimes we’ll take care of that. There we go. So up pops three examples of jobs that it considers me to be good for. We also pull back with salary expectations in local markets. And then the next step with it is effectively we’ll then be able to immediately add those to your job. So you can search for jobs and then apply for them if they’re of interest for us. You can also share it with yourself or with other people if you want to come back to it later. As I say, this is kind of part one of probably several, if I’m honest. So the next parts are we’re adding some interview helpers so that you can come up with interview questions that you’re likely to get based on the job you’re looking for and some company research as well. So you can immediately get a sort of cheat sheet of the person that you’re interviewing with. So effectively it’s all about what are the tools that we can give someone to help them look, think about their career at the highest level, go for an interview, find this specific job. And that’s the career section.
George LaRocque: Yeah. Really looking at how you’re portraying this or just seeing it, it really is like having a career assistant, job search assistant on my phone and that’s really cool.
Richard Collins: The final part is around the job. So this is what we’re currently working on. So at the moment you can save searches and pulls up results and you can see those jobs and apply for them, et cetera. What we want to be able to do is to taking into account the whole copilot duet that working with the AI next to you is how can we help people apply for roles, filling in forms, speed up that process as quickly as possible for relevant jobs. So that’s the kind of bit that we’re working on. We also are thinking very hard about what this means in terms of some of the tech that is coming out for the vendors and how we want to adopt AI according to that. But that’s effectively the app for now. Shall I log out so that we can actually have a conversation?
George LaRocque: Sure.
Richard Collins: Okay, exit this. I actually don’t know how you do this now. Here we go. Right, just drop it. No. All right, second.
George LaRocque: Okay, well, that was great. As I mentioned, the focus on the candidate is really refreshing because most really the entire market, the customer is the employer, which is not a bad thing, but the value leans that way. That’s where the revenue comes from. So it’s refreshing to see really just the only audience being factored in here is the employee or candidate.
Richard Collins: And I think for us, it’s about putting that power back into the hands of the people who own those skills. Because I think when we look at it, we’re in this world of skill shortages and yet some like 70% of people have been ghosted by employers when they apply for jobs. That balance of power isn’t right. And I think that we’re also going to see as some of this AI technology is adopted by HR tech vendors and employers, I think we’ve got some big problems coming over the horizon. You look at some of these sourcing bots, the idea that imagine if every single recruiter could automate outreach conversation with sourcing of recruits, candidates. It’s a terrifying it’s going to be spamaged. It’s terrifying. And on the other side of it, there are also tools out there where one click of a button, you can apply for 200 jobs. So you’re going to have this really weird dynamic going on. And for us, if we can sit there, protect the job seeker, put some of the power back in their hands, help them manage some of these changes that are coming, try and push back against some of the CV fraud and fake Stevie’s and Deepfake stuff as well. If we can create something that is trusted by employers and protects our users from being spammed to death by recruiters, just trying to headhunt them constantly by these automated systems, then that to us is quite important and making sure we can readdress that power situation.
George LaRocque: Yeah, 100%. And when I look at this platform in the way that you’re setting it up, integrating with or connecting to job boards and thinking about the skills, connections, post hire, this time is one where I can see a way to monetize this from this perspective. Whereas usually in the past, monetization usually leads to that leaning to the employer. And so we’re at a very different time now. And this foundational technology, it wasn’t like this five years ago, ten years ago, 20.
Richard Collins: We take the view that if we can get 100 million users of the app, we’re not going to have to worry about the actual revenue very much because we’re using a decentralized infrastructure. We’re not having to have these huge server farms out in the desert. Everything is built in a way that it’s actually far more scalable than it’s ever been before. And to work through partners in terms of to help us generate those users, to work with partners, to generate employers who can get to these users and we act as that platform in the middle that matches between the two. That’s very much the vision. And I think, as you say, probably for the first time ever, then I think there’s the opportunity to do that and actually remain very much consumer facing.
George LaRocque: Yeah, well, the whole world has consumer brands and consumer focused efforts and our market is different because of the currency of candidates and the currency of jobs. But again, I think we’re at this inflection point and the future of work, as we like to call it, we may have this opportunity. So you’ve covered really all my bases. You talked about the future, where you’re headed, you’ve talked about some things to be concerned with, but I’d love to maybe just close maybe on that point. Is there any advice, one thing that anybody looking at this technology, you can take it from the consumer’s perspective or the employer’s perspective, whatever you’d like, what would you send them away with? What should they really be thinking about as they consider this?
Richard Collins: I think any message I would have would probably be aimed at employers and HR tech vendors. And that is to think really carefully about when you’re putting this in, just because it looks and feels real, is it? And what happens not two years down the line, but five years down the line, where is this all taking to us? And I shared earlier that seen an academic research piece from Stanford University earlier today, and it was talking about how AI detection software, so effectively, if you are using software to figure out if someone sees your application is real or not, it actually leads to bias. Because these things basically think that if you are a non native speaker, you are in fact an AI. And you can apply that same sort of principle to many other characteristics. So things like that are you bringing bias in unintentionally? So be careful about doing that. And are you actually believing what you’re seeing? Because as we’ve talked about, these things just make stuff up. And this is back to the Wild West and to us. We, we see AIS of being the gunslinger and actually you need a sheriff to keep the peace. And for us that, that sheriff has to be blockchain because it’s, it’s a third party trusted technology. It’s proven all of that kind of stuff. Ignore all the crypto rubbish, okay? Just think in terms of that third party verification and credentials. And I think if you think that way and you pair that with AI, then I think it’s a really powerful tool.
George LaRocque: Wow, that’s great. And great advice, great observation there. So I want to thank you for your time and for bringing the product up live. That’s brave for any founder to do. And the fact that you’re a founder and doing it yourself, I really appreciate that as well. So thank you. Thank you so much for being here and I’m looking forward to being in touch and checking back in and seeing your progress very much.
Richard Collins: George really appreciate the opportunity. And thank you, everybody else.
George LaRocque: Yeah, thank you all for watching or listening wherever you are. And until next time.
Richard Collins: Our channel.