In this Nexxt exclusive, in partnership with TAtech, Chad and Cheese bring industry veteran Susan Vitale, CMO at iCIMS, on to discuss iCIMS’ recent job seeker survey, and any other timely topic they want. Included is a deep dive into employment branding issues.
In their recent report, iCIMS discovered that Glassdoor reviews have a tremendous impact on recruitment. For instance, nearly half of Millennials surveyed said they’ve turned down a job offer because of poor reviews. Other findings are discussed too.
Also highlighted in the survey is the importance of mobile and the impact social media and peer referrals have on the modern job seeker. The podcast also goes into questions of ATS platforms and whether it’s better to build a recruitment technology yourself or provide a platform similar to the iPhone’s AppStore where third party vendors can provide services.
It’s a great interview, providing entertainment and education in equal parts. Would you expect anything different from Chad & Cheese? I mean, c’mon now. This podcast is sponsored exclusively by Nexxt. Checkout their product Text2Hire, and access an exclusive Chad & Cheese discount by clicking here.
Chad: This the Chad and Cheese Podcast brought to you in partnership with TAtech. TAtech the association for talent acquisition solutions. Visit TAtech.org.
Intro: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You're listening to HR's most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman are here to punch the recruiting industry right where it hurts. Complete with breaking news, brash opinion and loads of snark. Buckle up, boys and girls. It's time for the Chad and Cheese Podcast.
Joel: Hey, what's up everybody? This is Joel Cheesman of the Chad and Cheese Podcast. Today we're doing a special deep dive into a variety of topics. And our special guest today is Susan Vitale of iCims, popular ATS provider. Susan, how are you?
Susan: Hi, I'm doing great, thank you. And I've got to say, I've heard that intro music many times before, but hearing it when you're a guest just makes it a little more special.
Chad: Little special.
Joel: It does, right. It's like hearing Springsteen live. We'll do kind of Jersey theme today since iCims is in New Jersey.
Joel: The annoying laugh is my cohort Chad. Chad, how you doing?
Chad: Well, hello. Excellent.
Joel: All right. iCims did a survey recently where they talked about at least three main things. We'll probably dive into other topics as well. So, Susan has a safe word. If Chad and I hear it we will switch topics immediately. So, if that happens, you know why.
Joel: Yeah, Bridgegate, Chris Christie, Springsteen. Yeah, she'll say something and we'll change topics.
Joel: Speaking of topics. Which one do we want to start with?
Chad: Come on, Susan. Pick one.
Joel: Come on, Jersey. You're supposed to have attitude and spunk.
Susan: Sorry. I think we should start off talking a little bit about the branding and the referral side of things.
Joel: Okay, cool. So what did you find in your report?
Susan: We found that ... in some respects it's no surprise, but I think the numbers were the surprising piece here ... that employee reviews actually matter tremendously to working Americans. And actually about half have actually declined a job offer primarily because of the negative online employer reviews out there.
Susan: Yeah, 47%.
Joel: That's Millennials, right?
Susan: 47% are Millennials. Nearly one in three full-time working Americans.
Joel: Yes. And it's like 92% look at reviews before applying to a job? Or part of their job process?
Joel: So, it's safe to say that transparency is not going anywhere?
Susan: No, it is not and I'm pretty happy about that given it's one of the core competencies at iCims. We hire quite a bit so we think it's really important.
Susan: But I think, we talk about one in three full-time working Americans, about half of Millennials. But actually more workers in management positions versus nonmanagement positions have declined a job offer for the reviews themselves. So this is not just a generational thing.
Joel: Do you have any sense for how many people don't even apply to a job because of bad reviews?
Susan: We do. Hold on. Let me ...
Chad: That's going through research.
Joel: My point is like for so long with reviews, employers that I've talked to have historically put their head in the sand.
Joel: If it's out of sight, it's out of mind. If my CEO doesn't bring it up, then it doesn't matter. It's just sort of anecdotal and sort of ignorant. And the fact that you guys are actually putting metrics around what reviews mean, it's going to start building context and importance around, "Holy crap. We should actually care about what our reviews are because if we're actually losing out on people because they're not even applying to our job. Forget the fact that we're interviewing and then they're going to Indeed, Glassdoor, kununu, or any of the other dozen review sites out there."
Joel: This is a real impact on recruiting, right?
Chad: Okay, so, real quick and let's dive into that. But there's a much larger impact because these people are consumers as well. So if I actually bought products from this company and then I want to go and I want to work there and I go take a look at some of the reviews that the employees have put in, that could perspectively turn me off as a consumer. So, this isn't just losing great talent, which is obviously a big issue. But it's also losing perspective revenue.
Susan: Yeah, absolutely. I think that piece is not just tied to the employee reviews. We've seen some stats outside of this research that showed that consumers were far less likely to purchase products from a hiring organization if they did not have a good or positive candidate experience. And certainly employee reviews are part of that. But that's also anything from is it a mobile-friendly apply process? Is it a miserably long apply process? Is it 508 compliant?
Susan: When we talk about candidate experience, it's far more than is it a sexy, flashy, pretty career site. There's a much more holistic view of candidate experience that can absolutely hurt top line revenue.
Joel: Do you have examples of any companies that are doing a really good job through that process?
Susan: We do. It really depends on which component we look at. To be honest, I don't think anyone is completely nailing it. But when we look at a couple of examples. Advantage Solutions is a client of ours who does a really nice job of making the process really short and to the point. They ask just a couple of questions and then they do a lot of Drip followups.
Susan: Another client of iCims does a really nice job of being really transparent ... there's that word again ... throughout the entire process letting candidates know what the workflow looks, what those stages look like.
Susan: Two of those clients come to mind right off the top of my head.
Chad: So, in some cases, what I've been able to see, and I'm sure what you've seen over the years, is that on the surface you see all these companies who are using new technologies or new recruitment marketing platforms to be able to make the first layer of engagement really sexy and really awesome. But then you get into the actual application process and the interviewing process and then it all goes to hell. Because the process is horrible.
Susan: Exactly, it all falls apart.
Chad: Yeah, it's horrible. And they're using 1990's, early 2000's process methodologies and they're jamming those methodologies into advanced technologies.
Susan: Yeah. I think the process is dated and many times, quite frankly, the technology is dated. That they might use something from an ERP or an HCM module that was thrown in as part of a larger package.
Susan: Maybe they try and put something pretty as a wrapper around it, but it's a really superficial lay on. And it's not necessarily solving the true problem around candidate experience.
Chad: So, jumping around a little bit. Let's jump back to employer brand. Those are some pretty telling numbers with regard to 50% of the people won't even go through with the application.
Chad: What else do you have in that segment that just pops out at you?
Joel: I want to hear some generation Z data. Just kidding. We said that for the first time on our show this week. Generation Z.
Susan: Well, I forgot what the term is for those that are in that bucket of Millennials that are little too old to be Millennials. Do you know how many posts I saw of people in my peer group that were circulating that because they felt so special to be called not a Millennial but not Gen X. I'm like this is the problem you guys.
Chad: You can tell you're a Gen X'er when you actually are genuinely pissed at those kinds of discussions.
Joel: We're just angry about everything.
Susan: Yes, I haven't heard Gen Z but ... Well, that's part of the style, right?
Joel: What do you see or what do you recommend for companies in terms of improving employment brand? We have crappy reviews or we have some reviews that are negative. Companies that come to you about that issue, what are you sort of advising them or telling them at this point?
Susan: Well, iCims doesn't necessarily offer technology to support with the employee reviews particularly. We do partner with a number of companies that help in that area.
Susan: The first is actually pay attention and curate them. You mentioned earlier that some people don't really care. Out of sight, out of mind. But actually a lot of the organizations I speak with, the CEO's are all over employee review sites.
Susan: They get the notifications, it makes them have a good day or a bad day. And that's something that I would strongly encourage people to curate. But also, take a minute before responding to some of them because they can be a bit personal and it's hard to not take them personally. But, obviously, responding to them and having employer accounts on some of those sites, I think, is important so that you can have a voice in the discussion.
Susan: If there are reviews worth noting, absolutely include them on the career site. Having these different desperate destinations I think can be a pretty crappy candidate experience. So if someone's able to connect directly between Google and the career site and see reviews and not have a bunch of middle men, I think that's a fantastic step I the right direction.
Joel: Do you think that they should show the negatives as much as the positives? Or do you recommend only the positives?
Susan: I don't recommend just the positives. I think that's BS. But I do think that there are certainly some negative reviews that you can tell are not really the right ones to share. As an example, some people might complain about our organization that we're changing all the time. And that is a very valid concern for a lot of employees or prospects. But for others that's part of the gig. So I would absolutely share that one. I think it shows the kind of environment you're going to walk into.
Susan: But other ones that are a little bit more personal or clearly it's a one-off, I don't necessarily think you need to broadcast.
Chad: Yeah, I think the first one talks about transparency. And you want to be transparent about the change and what to be ready for before you actually hit the ground.
Chad: It's really funny that the very first thing that you said was companies, talent acquisition, they need to pay attention. So, how many companies, I guess I would say, that you interact with ... percentage wise. Just kind of throwing a number out there. ... would you say aren't really paying attention. And they just really don't care. They just kind of think it will go away?
Susan: At least half.
Susan: Yeah, I really do. I think they would blame it on things like, "We don't have the team to do that. We don't have the time to do that. Or the resource." But the reality is I think some of them just don't want to know because then they'd have to take action.
Joel: My guess is they wouldn't care but it's that CEO that you mention that goes into the office and says, "Have you guys seen this stuff?" And if it wasn't for the CEO's a lot more companies, I think, would not look or care about their reviews.
Susan: Yeah, it's polarizing.
Chad: And once it starts to impact the bottom line. Again, we're talking about customers. And we don't look as candidates as customers. I just wish we'd stop calling them candidates, and just start calling them customers so that we treat them better. Because at the end of the day, whether you're a consumer brand or not, there's an impact on your brand.
Susan: Yeah, it was interesting. I forgot who mentioned this at a conference maybe two years ago. Someone was talking about this very thing and it said, "We struggle to disposition our candidates and say, 'I'm sorry. You're not good enough to work here but you are good enough to buy our crap.'" And I thought that was a really interesting way of like, "Yeah, how do you balance that?"
Susan: But that's really how we should all be looking at it. Certainly if you're in a consumer facing world more than anyone else.
Chad: Yeah, no question.
Joel: Susan, how important is the sort of corporate site for branding versus exterior sites like Glassdoor and Indeed? Is it even worth putting a lot of money and energy into your corporate site when people are probably just going to go look for the real nitty-gritty on external sites?
Susan: I think it absolutely matters. When we took a look at the data within this research, it had shown that employer reviews are the most important bit of content. But that's followed by the content on the corporate website itself and the company materials, whether that's publications or products or what have you.
Susan: And actually even to that end, when candidates are doing research, they're looking at social media sites. But sites like Glassdoor were actually number three. Linkedin and Facebook were number one and number two. Specifically for social sites.
Chad: So, when we start talking about the candidate experience, we're talking about reviews. There's all these different ways that we have to engage, be transparent with customers. I'm going to start saying it. With customers.
Joel: You're going to confuse everybody.
Chad: What about the engagement, the outreach, the ability to actually have conversations with them? Our Nexxt obviously is a sponsor of this podcast. And we just did a webinar about text-to-hire and being able to actually reach out via text. The average open rate, it blew me away. It's like over 97%.
Joel: It is 97%. And 15% reply within an hour of getting that message.
Chad: So, again, if you're looking to, just from a recruiters standpoint, from a talent acquisition standpoint, have those one on one conversations with top talent, with customers, instant communication. It's what we do everyday anyway. It's simple, it's smart, it's easy. Not to mention there's a desktop application that your recruiters can use.
Chad: You guys can go out to Nexxt.com.
Joel: Two X's.
Chad: Two X's. N-E-X-X-T.com
Joel: Don't triple X it.
Susan: I'm glad you said it.
Chad: N-E-X-X-T.com/chadandcheese25. Joel shut up. I'm trying to get the URL in here.
Joel: Chad, I'm texting right now.
Chad: Nexxt.com/chadand ... spell out the and. A-N-D ... cheese25. There we go. Good stuff. But, again, that's a good piece of engagement that we have to focus on. Is how do we reach out and touch these consumers, these customers.
Joel: Susan said she would actually say something nice about Nexxt because they're a trusted iCims partners.
Susan: They are indeed. Yes, I like Nexxt quite a bit. They're a great partner. We have about a couple hundred partners in our marketplace and Nexxt being one of them. Because frankly things have gotten so complex within recruiting through the way you talk to them on text or otherwise, to have you advertise those jobs, to how you screen applicants that we have an entire ecosystem of partners that we integrate with make that a little bit easier.
Chad: That is pretty cool.
Joel: Can we take a left turn real quick?
Joel: The ecosystem, the app stuff that you mention, Susan, to me is really interesting. And we had Howie Schwartz on Firing Squad this week from Crowded.
Joel: So, he has his product and Lever, a competitor of yours, has a similar sort of dig up the grave of past candidates product. And Howie's opinion is ATS's will not in the future, successful ones, won't make it themselves because they don't have the bandwidth, the development power, et cetera. That it's the ecosystem in the app store that's going to power innovation with the ATS market.
Joel: Can you talk about that? Do you agree with it? Not so much? What are your thoughts?
Susan: Yeah, I do. I think that's why we don't think an ATS is enough. To be totally honest, back in 2012 we saw a ton of consolidation in the market ... you guys were around for that ... where talent management providers and ERP's were gobbling up recruiting providers. And at that time, everybody was saying, "You need to be able to do everything in talent management." And at that time even iCims had started building out technology to support what we call post hire. And right around that time, very shortly thereafter, despite some success, we said, "We have to double down on recruiting or we're not going to be very good at."
Susan: But if you just have an ATS module, absolutely that's not enough. I think Madeline Laurano just put out some research a few days ago that said that almost verbatim. So, I don't really consider iCims an ATS provider in and of itself. We really look at an entire talent acquisition ecosystem and try to be the unified hub for all of that. Some of that is through our own products and some through an ecosystem.
Chad: So, it's choice. You're looking at choice.
Joel: It's a platform.
Susan: 1000%. I don't think anybody who provides a technology platform that has to worry about globalization, scale, security, compliance, configurability is also going be bleeding edge on everything. It would be almost impossible.
Susan: So, allowing customers to choose those different spokes of that hub and centralize all of that with a provider they really trust, with a great reputation, et cetera is really what we're all about. But if one provider doesn't work and you want to swap someone else in, absolutely. That's part of the flexibility that a provider like iCims is here for.
Joel: Chad, I think we got Susan on the record saying Lever sucks.
Susan: That is not at all true. And I'm sick of your crap. Both of you.
Joel: So, she's saying Microsoft sucks and now Lever.
Chad: Yep. I think I have actual Tweets where she says at least some of that stuff.
Joel: Can you clear that up real quickly, Susan?
Susan: Both of you are worse than the Real Housewives of New Jersey in trying to stir up drama because I actually think very highly of Lever. And I actually think extremely highly of Microsoft because they're a client of ours and I'm really proud of the fact that they are.
Chad: Bridgegate, Bridgegate.
Joel: Moving on.
Susan: You guys. It must be a sad day for you that this is the entertainment you have is trying to get me to be your pawn.
Chad: What? Not ever. That would never be. It's just fun.
Joel: Moving on.
Chad: We were talking about social. You guys have some great surveys on the social side of these house, social and the mobile side?
Susan: We do. Indeed. Yeah. Sorry, I'm just laughing now.
Susan: Yeah, so the research also extended to social to mobile, I think especially as we see what things Google brings to the market mobile becomes that much more important because people start with searches. And, so, we're really proud of the work that we're doing with Google as it relates to searching on career sites, et cetera.
: Essentially, when did we see. Why is mobile important? For one thing, 70% of the workers that we surveyed have looked for a new job while they're on the clock.
Susan: That's actually 83% when it's Millennials.
Chad: Oh, yeah.
Joel: Yeah. Susan, what are you seeing in terms of the importance of search engines like Google? Is more traffic coming through? Less? About the same? Because with more social stuff and more tools I think the opinion might be that Google is less important. What are you guys seeing in terms of inbound traffic? Because I know you guys are also partnered with the Google for Jobs initiative. So you guys are probably seeing some really interesting data in terms of what Google's delivering.
Susan: We are. We're really proud to be able to work with Google on two different sides of the initiative. On the search side as well as the Google for Jobs initiative.
Susan: Following the launch, we did see a bit of a redistribution of traffic. Certainly more coming in from Google and a drop off from sources other than Google. I do think it'll take some time to normalize and see if that really sticks or if that was just a bit of a bump. But I'd be really surprised if it didn't remain in that distribution.
Susan: So, we think it's fantastic. I think there are a lot of middle men who were able to make a lot of money for a period of time. And it's not necessarily the most experienced.
Joel: Oh, now you're going after the middle men. Okay.
Susan: Oh, knock it off.
Chad: Okay, we're talking about this two components. And I think this is a great conversation. We're talking about the API. We're talking about the job search and the API. And seeing iCims start to utilize Google Search within your platform. Tell me how's that going? How's it received? Are clients just ecstatic? What's going on with that?
Susan: Yeah, so, the end of September we announced our participation in Google's Cloud Jobs API program. So we are the first provider in recruitment software invited to participate, which we thought was fantastic. They had sighted that it was really around iCims innovation in space, our attention to recruiting specifically in our scale.
Susan: And so, customers are really excited. I think that employers in general are excited but still need a lot more information. So we're looking to introduce some search technology to our career sites for candidates. As well as a couple of other things that are still being examined really at this point to work with Google.
Susan: So, I think it's a fantastic opportunity. It's something that we would likely allow as an option. Not everybody would necessarily want it so we like to give choices and that's the intention.
Chad: I like the choices. I just don't know why. Other than perspective upcharge because there are API calls that are there. But I don't know why a client wouldn't say, "Oh, yeah. I don't want the best search engine. I want the jalopy in the corner." It makes no sense to me. But choice is nice.
Chad: So, back to the Google for Jobs side of the house. This is also incredibly exciting because we believe, we hope, that Google will start to provide more preference to jobs that are coming directly from corporate career sites. So, jobs that you're pumping from iCims into Google for Jobs, we're hoping that they see those and weight them as originals. Because that's what they are.
Susan: Yeah. You and me both. I think the original source makes a lot of sense.
Joel: Is that what you're seeing? Are you seeing any kind of clues to that happening at this point?
Susan: Not necessarily. But I can't yet say if that's a weighting thing or otherwise because we're seeing other recruiting software vendors not necessarily be prioritized who are not really doubling down in this arena. So I don't think it's that simple.
Susan: iCims actually built a team just for this so it's something we're really committed to. So, our boosts might be more so around that than anything else.
Chad: I think for Google it is simple from the standpoint of their supposed to hate duplication, first off. If I know that company ABC is coming from iCims that is specifically jobs that are coming from their applicant tracking system for their system of record. Anything else that has that companies name on it automatically gets batted away because it's a duplicate, or it's old, or it's spam.
Chad: So, I wouldn't make any excuses for Google. They'd better tighten their shit up.
Joel: Yeah. Hey Susan. Facebook also getting into the game. They recently partnered with the likes of ZipRecruiter, JobScore, a few others. Are you guys doing anything with them that you can talk about? What are your thoughts about sort of, "Hey, you post your job on iCims, we're going to automatically put it onto Facebook." Are clients asking for that? What are you sort of Facebook thoughts?
Susan: We're in conversations with Facebook now. There's not too much I can share at this point. But overall, I'm supportive. I think it makes a ton of sense industry wide. To be honest, we originally got a lot of the Facebook questions right around 2011, 2012. And we were able to address that from an acquisitions iCims made ... a company called Job Magic ... at the time.
Susan: This is obviously a bit of a different initiative so I wouldn't say the overall industry is well versed enough to know to ask for it. But it makes a heck of a lot of sense as far as I'm concerned so I'm supportive.
Joel: So, it's your sense that more and more ATS's will be partnering with Facebook to distribute jobs onto their platform?
Susan: It makes sense. For reasons that I'm not yet aware of why somebody wouldn't.
Chad: Yeah. So getting rid of those middle men.
Joel: So, when is the Snapchat job distribution happening?
Susan: All three of us love Snap. Well, you know what, one of our conversations when we had been talking about Snapchat, I think Chad had mentioned, taking a picture of a resume and being able to upload it. So a step away from Snap but not that far. And actually iCims supports that. So we're able to do that today, which I think is great. But over all, Snap, I'm not sure yet.
Chad: Told you, Joel. Told iCims would be on that shit.
Susan: Well, again, we're not bleeding edge and I'm in that subgroup of Millennials. So maybe it's just my point of view though.
Chad: Oh, now you're a subgroup of Millennials.
Joel: Apparently they can't sell enough spectacles so they're going on deep discounts. So everybody's going to be Snapping on their glasses real soon. Just wait.
Joel: All right. Let's get back to the survey. What else do you want to highlight on that, Susan?
Susan: The other piece I guess worth noting here is around referrals, which we've obviously talked about before. But about 20% of those that we talked with said that they were dissatisfied with the employee referral program. So, I do think employee referrals aren't going away. We've never really seen that fade. So that's worth noting, too.
Joel: Do you have any good examples of good solutions for that? Because Chad and I, and probably you as well, have seen these guys ... Jobster, H3, even Indeed now with their crowd whatever product. It seems totally logical that you should have like, "Hey, share this job with your network and if someone applies and gets a job, we'll pay you $5000." Why doesn't that model work?
Susan: I think for a few reasons. One is that people don't always know what their network can do and if they're a good fit for the job or not. Unless they actually work with someone who did that job before, it's really hard to know that my friend from middle school is good for this job that I'm connected with on some other social site. So, I think that's part of the problem.
Susan: The other is that it's still a pain in the ass to submit employee referrals through most recruiting technology and process. Everyone wants referrals but they don't necessarily put the process and systems in place to make it easy for the actual people who need to go through it.
Susan: And then the final piece, is that sometimes when you submit referrals the process and experience for those candidates is really crappy. And they don't want to put their friends through that.
Chad: Yeah. Not to mention, we call this "The Friends of Bob" issue where we're talking about trying to create diversity and diverse talent pools. Well, if you're continually hiring Bob and Bob's friends, they're more than likely going to look like Bob or Brenda. So it doesn't quite provide the diversity that you're going to want from an organization.
Chad: Yeah, it works.
Susan: It does if you have a diverse employee population and they all participate equally. If you over index on Bob, then no.
Chad: When does that ever happen?
Susan: Right. No, I agree.
Joel: You don't want a company of Chad's. That's for sure.
Chad: Hanging Chad, pregnant Chad.
Susan: Oh, God.