Downtime with Pat Welch

Photo: Jason E. Kaplan
Pat Welch, founder of Boly:Welch

The founder and CEO of staffing firm Boly:Welch relaxes with a game of mah-jongg and poker on a rainy day.

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What I am reading

Toni Morrison’s Beloved (for the second time) and Malcom Gladwell’s Talking to Strangers. I’ve also been listening to books — I’ve really been enjoying my Audible account, especially when I’m walking.

Must-have gadget

My iPhone; no close second.

What I am watching

Friday night is movie night at my house. I host six of my oldest friends and my 92-year-old mother. We are eclectic in our choices, from documentaries to classics to new releases.

I am addicted to MSNBC and CNN but check in on Fox News to see what the alternative facts are. I watch some HBO and Showtime series religiously, like Homeland, Ray Donovan and Billions.

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What I do outside of work

Time with my three grandchildren trumps everything. Otherwise, in the summer I’m outdoorsy; I have renewed my love for whitewater rafting and learned to fly-fish. In the winter I’m indoorsy; I play mah-jongg with the girls and play poker with the boys (most of whom are professionals — they keep me humble).

Favorite place to vacation

Somewhere I’ve never been before. I take the same eclectic approach to vacations as I do to reading and film. I enjoy vacations at ocean resorts as much as an educational excursion.

I try to get away three or four times a year, and always try to explore at least one brand-new place. This year I’m going to Burning Man for the first time. Last year I rafted the Middle Fork of the Salmon and the Rogue on separate five-day trips.

Fondest memory growing up

The 10 summers I spent at camp on Lake Charlevoix in Michigan. I started off as the youngest camper at age 7 and eventually became a counselor at 17. I made some of my strongest friendships and learned to love the outdoors, living and working collaboratively, which has informed everything I’ve done in my life since then.

The biggest disruptor coming to the staffing sector

People say the biggest disruptor will be artificial intelligence — the ZipRecruiters and keywords and algorithms that will match people with jobs. I think automation will be a key disruptor, but I don’t think automation is a panacea or a replacement for recruiters or the work that we do.

I see automation as improving a lot of the industry — we’ll be able to do so much more with tracking where we meet people; follow-up and outreach will become more sophisticated, and we will be able to respond to 100% of applicants.

Still, I don’t think the human touch will ever be replaced. If anything, experienced, intuitive human recruiters are more important than ever to help people navigate an increasingly fractured and overloaded hiring process.

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