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HRTech Edge Interview with Pete Lamson, CEO, Employ

Pete Lamson serves as Chief Executive Officer of Employ Inc. He is responsible for strategic direction across the JazzHR, Lever, Jobvite, and NXTThing brands, aggregate performance of Employ, and day-to-day business operations. Pete is a results-oriented executive with more than 30 years of strategic leadership experience and a metrics-driven approach to accelerated revenue. He previously served as CEO of JazzHR and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.
More about Pete Lamson:

empowers organizations of all sizes to overcome their greatest recruiting and talent acquisition challenges. Offering a combination of purpose-built, intelligent technologies, services, and industry expertise, Employ provides SMB to global enterprises with a single solution for recruiting and growing a diverse workforce. JazzHR, Lever, Jobvite, and NXTThing RPO brands, Employ serves more than 21,000 customers across industries. For more information, visit

Hi Pete, it’s great to have you here! We’re curious to know what motivated you to take on the role of CEO at Employ Inc. and your vision for the company moving forward.

Thanks for having me! While I’ve spent more than 30 years in leadership roles at high-growth and B2B technology companies, my journey toward becoming the CEO of Employ Inc. really started in 2015 when I joined JazzHR as CEO.

That was a transformative period for the HR tech market, and it became clear that the future for recruitment solutions was an integrated one. There was no player in the market that offered solutions that could seamlessly transition alongside companies as their needs and structures changed. By 2021, JazzHR had grown from a relative newcomer to an industry leader, and we initiated a strategic merger with two leaders in their respective fields: Jobvite and NXTThing RPO. The three brands came together, eventually becoming Employ, with Lever joining the fold later in 2022.

The idea behind Employ’s formation—that integration and technology would unlock the future of recruiting tech—remains the driving force within Employ and its brands.

How do you ensure a seamless integration among the different brands and products under Employ Inc., namely JazzHR, Lever, Jobvite, and NXTThing RPO, to provide your customers with a unified and comprehensive recruitment & talent acquisition solution?

Businesses evolve and grow. Their needs change over time, and that means the solutions and services they need also change. With JazzHR, Lever, Jobvite, and NXTThing RPO all under the Employ umbrella, we’re able to serve various industries across small, mid-size, and enterprise —and that means we can offer our users a long-term partnership with products that scale alongside their businesses.

To support this continuity, we tailor our product solutions to the business’s unique needs and can pull from our extensive experience and capabilities as we do it. This helps us ensure that the organization gets exactly what it needs to identify and engage the right talent in the short-and long-term. Though each of our brands is designed to solve recruiting challenges for a specific segment, the shared enterprise allows us to tailor hiring features to the needs of the market—like we did with Jobvite’s text-based recruitment solution, for example. The underlying technology remains the same, regardless of the platform a company chooses to use, but the execution and user experience is adjusted to meet their specific needs.

When our clients need to scale up or down, they no longer have to find a new vendor or change systems. When they need to find highly specialized talent—like nurses, for example—we have the services to support those hiring efforts. When they need seasonal workers to accommodate the holiday rush, we’re ready to help there too. In short, our clients can stay with Employ throughout their hiring journey, for the long-term. That means no reintegration, no redeployment, and no need for data transfers or reconciliation.

How do you leverage AI and data-driven insights to enhance your recruiting solutions and customer experience?

It’s cliché, but AI is poised to transform every aspect of our lives. Our recent Recruiter Nation survey found that 58% of recruiters are using AI to augment their efforts, with the vast majority of those respondents saying they use it frequently. Its value to the field cannot be understated.

That said, as businesses continue to explore the technology’s benefits, it’s important to remember that AI shouldn’t be viewed as an all-encompassing solution. It must be used to solve specific business problems rather than as a flashy new feature to draw attention. That’s something our product and engineering teams are keeping in mind as we figure out the best ways to use AI to drive results.

Currently, we use AI both internally and externally to optimize our processes and offer clients automation capabilities that streamline theirs. We’re primarily focused on the promise of predictive analytics and data processing to help clients accurately expedite the more tedious and administrative parts of recruiting.

For example, Jobvite’s Zero Click Intelligent Sourcing uses AI to automate sourcing efforts upon a job requisition’s opening. It uses the listing to identify top prospects already in the organization’s CRM to funnel qualified candidates to recruiters for outreach. We also offer AI-powered chatbots to streamline communication with candidates and machine learning to help teams make sense of their results and refine strategies to drive success.

Another example would be Lever’s Intelligent Recommendations. It uses a proprietary algorithm to resurface past candidates so you can source them for new and open roles. The algorithm takes into consideration a weighted combination of different criteria, including but not limited to feedback form scores, notes, archive reasons, previous job postings, stage progression (i.e., how far they got in your recruitment process), referrals, and origins.

We’ve found these have helped our customers identify cost-saving opportunities and open wider talent pools. Expanding the candidate pool by considering talent with different backgrounds and skills is a must in today’s fast-moving world. Additionally, these tools have significantly boosted recruiter productivity by 30% and led to higher conversions/engagement.

Thoughtfully leveraging AI tools like the above will continue to help organizations uplevel recruiting strategies and offer a more modern approach to hiring.

How do you balance incorporating innovation and customer feedback while developing and optimizing your products/services?

We always start with a customer need and work backwards, rather than beginning with technology and working outward. We’re guided by the understanding that technology is a tool—not a cure all. It’s only valuable when used in the appropriate setting.

Because of this approach, communication plays a pivotal role. Our support and engineering teams must maintain a continuous dialogue with customers and help them understand the opportunities and limitations of each potential solution. On the other hand, the challenges customers raise shape future solutions. This approach not only drives innovation but also ensures that customer feedback remains an integral part of the product development and optimization journey.

What are some of the biggest challenges and opportunities in the HR technology market, especially in the post-pandemic era?

Working in B2B tech is interesting, because—and, of course, this is a generalization, but—ultimately, you’re your own customer. Deciding how to develop new tools is equal parts “what do our customers wish they could solve for?” and “what do we wish could solve for ourselves?” We face the same challenges and opportunities that our clients do. We’re all operating in the same labor market and economic environment.

In today’s labor market, companies encounter significant recruiting challenges, primarily due to a talent shortage and economic uncertainty. Time-to-fill and conversion rates are slowing due to an ongoing skills gap, especially related to emerging tech, and that’s true in virtually every industry. The average time-to-fill is now 47.5 days, according to our Recruiter Nation findings. What’s different in B2B tech is that it’s both an opportunity and a challenge because we can help solve these problems, but we also need to find ways around these issues—like reskilling to fill skills gaps, for example—if are to do that.

Another significant challenge businesses currently face is market saturation. This leads to a lot of noise and misconceptions around what different tools do—and that’s true for both B2B tech vendors and those seeking their services. The rapidly evolving technological environment and quickly shifting workforce demographics have resulted in a lot of buzzwords and promises about the future of work floating around.

Businesses looking for solutions feel overwhelmed by the options, and businesses looking to make a name in B2B tech feel pressure to keep up with the latest trends. I’d caution these companies to slow down, take the time to cut through the noise, and resist the temptation to jump on the bandwagon. Organizations on both sides of this equation should make sure that they’re only investing in features and capabilities that serve both their near- and long-term objectives.

What are some of the skills and competencies that you look for when hiring talent for your team?

We value all types of workers at Employ. Everyone has unique talents to bring to the table, so lacking a specific quality should never be a dealbreaker. Furthermore, with technology changing the way we work so rapidly, all workers are likely to have to learn new skills sooner or later. Really, it boils down to two questions: “Can they learn?” and “Do they want to learn?”

Technical skills can be taught fairly easily, provided that the aptitude is there. Things like empathy, curiosity, agility, and drive are often more difficult to cultivate. I think employers across sectors are realizing that and reevaluating their processes for that reason.

How do you foster the DE&I culture at Employ Inc. and across your customer base?

One of the things I love most about my role is that I get to help encourage equity not only at Employ but within our customers’ businesses. By offering robust, integrated hiring tools, we help companies build diverse teams and make their workforce more inclusive by highlighting conscious and unconscious biases in recruiting so they can overcome them. Our tools also help companies develop more diverse talent pipelines.

Internally, we view DE&I as both a moral and business imperative. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it makes businesses better. Studies have proven time and again that diversity and inclusion only make companies more productive, successful, and innovative, and our own experiences echo those findings. Employ has always seen the value in inclusion and equity, and we’re proud of what we have built so far. However, we recognize that there is always more work that can be done.

Like a lot of organizations, we are working to elevate our strategies for supporting workers from all backgrounds. We’re in the process of integrating DE&I leadership responsibilities into our HR function, so the two are inextricably linked at the most foundational level of people management. As our DE&I program continues to evolve and grow, we’re focused on finding ways to involve employees in the process and expand our definition of what it means to champion inclusion. We’re proud of what we have built thus far and look forward to the continued progression of our diversity, equity, and inclusion efforts throughout our organization.

Can you share some best practices and tips for HR leaders and practitioners who want to streamline their talent acquisition activities and hire top-tier talent?

Certainly. I’d advise leaders looking to improve their outcomes to consider the following:

  • Centralized data drives insight and saves time.AI is great for administrative tasks, like scheduling interviews, managing data, and identifying trends, freeing up teams’ time for more nuanced, human-centric interactions with candidates. With 61% of Recruiter Nation respondents saying they expect to spend more time recruiting in 2024, companies that turn their interactions into data will have an advantage. Not only will it save them time, but it can guide more strategic decisions by offering feeding analytics tools to highlight patterns.



  • Flexibility is key. The landscape is constantly evolving, so recruiters must continuously evaluate their tools and processes to ensure they remain aligned with their objectives. As an organization grows or as hiring needs change, leaders and teams must adapt strategies and technologies accordingly.



  • Outcomes are everything. When looking for tech solutions to support your goals, start with the possible outcome and work backward. That’s how we develop our software capabilities, and it’s how leaders should make decisions about their investments. Technology is not one-size-fits-all, so what works for one company may not work for you. Make sure you orient your search around desired capabilities or goals instead of tools or technologies.



  • There’s no substitute for communication. It’s always important for leaders to make space for communication and discussions, but with the challenges today’s recruiters face and the rapidly changing needs of clients, it’s critical that doors stay open, and recruiters feel supported both by their colleagues, managers, and organization leaders.



  • Vendors can be partners. A good B2B tech vendor takes their partners’ feedback to heart. They can also be a resource when issues or questions arise. Engaging with vendors to discuss pain points and capability needs can help you discover new ways to use the tools you already have and lead to new features that address your biggest obstacles.