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Interview: Jobalign CEO, Doug Johnson -- NEXXT EXCLUSIVE

The Chad and Cheese sit down with Doug Johnson, CEO of Jobalign, to talk HIGH VOLUME HIRING.

Why? Because it's hard shit and as Doug says "There's a bunch of pain for employers in the high-volume arena."

So I guess it's time for THE PAIN TRAIN!

Chad: This, The Chad & Cheese Podcast brought to you in partnership with TA tech. TA tech, the association for talent acquisition solutions. Visit

Chad: Okay, Joel, quick question.

Joel: Yep.

Chad: What happens when your phone vibrates, or your texting alert goes off?

Joel: Dude, I pretty much check it immediately. I bet everyone listening is reaching to check their phones right now.

Chad: Yeah, I know. I call it our Pavlovian dog reflex of text messaging.

Joel: Yeah, that's probably why text messaging has a fricking 97% open rate-

Chad: What?!

Joel: Crazy high candidate response rate within the first hour alone.

Chad: Which, are all great reasons why The Chad & Cheese Podcast love text to hire from Nexxt.

Joel: Love it!

Chad: Yep. That's right. Nexxt, with the double X, not the triple X.

Joel: So, if you're in talent acquisition. You want true engagement and great ROI, that stands for return on investment, folks. And, because this is The Chad & Cheese Podcast, you can try your first text to hire campaign for just 25% off. Boom!

Chad: Wow! So how do you get ths discount, you're asking yourself right now.

Joel: Tell them, Chad.

Chad: It's very simple. You go to, and you click of the Nexxt logo in the sponsor area.

Joel: Easy.

Chad: No long URL to remember.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: Just go where you know, and Nexxt, with two X's.

Announcer: 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 & Cheese Podcast.

Joel: [00:00:00] Doug Johnson definitely not a made up name is a CEO of Jobalign Doug welcome to the podcast.

Doug: [00:00:09] Thank you very much.

Chad: [00:00:09] We're here at SHRM Talent don't forget about that.

Joel: [00:00:10] We're here at SHRM Talent who fascinatingly let us come and do this podcast. And we haven't really broken much. We're still allowing us to set up shop.

Chad: [00:00:22] So far

Joel: [00:00:24] Doug, a lot of our listeners don't know Jobalign couldn't spell it if they were you know in a spelling bee like give them the elevator pitch of what you do.

Doug: [00:00:32] All right well if you are hiring hourly candidates you have pain today and we are there to solve that pain and take the pain away. Hourly candidates. So you know the workers who are landscaping and cleaning the rooms and maid services the warehouseman those people are the people that we address that we connect with and align with employers.

Joel: [00:00:59] Clever I see what you did there. These folks don't have resumes right. That's sort of your sweet spot. How do you know that you're with no work experience. Me as My first job is there site is your site for them.

Doug: [00:01:11] So we really bridge the gap between these employers who are hiring high volumes. You know one of our biggest customers literally is hiring over 10,000 workers a month on our platform.

Chad: [00:01:24] A month!

Doug: [00:01:24] A month. Right. So we're producing for them...

Joel: [00:01:28] Chad gets really excited when we're talking high volume hiring.. So he's chomping at the bit

Chad: [00:01:32] Yea, this is hard stuff.

Doug: [00:01:34] And we're super proud of the fact that we literally our Jobalign is putting to work roughly 20,000 people a month. So we're proud of that. So we feel like we're doing something good you know for that worker but at the same time solving a problem for the employer because the employer's ability to reach in this marketplace those those workers those job seekers is so difficult. So our technology just bridges that gap.

Chad: [00:02:01] So bridging how do you how do you get candidates so do you have programmatic outreach do you use their database the company's database. Because generally made a music site as well. How do how do you get those candidates.

Doug: [00:02:14] Yes yes yes. So everything is quite directly. I mean first of all we have a network millions of candidates and we present those. So you know that's that's able ready to work. Candidates at the same time we work with all job boards. We sit between if you will the the job board world and the ATSI. So we communicate and we disperse and distribute rather to job boards 100 job boards and then pull that talent along with the talent from your career page because in any other organic know texting technologies that we present to employers that they'll use to source candidates and then put them to our superintelligent apply process.

Joel: [00:02:59] Some super fascinated by the space and part of it is driven on the fact that I did a story about snag a job recently who is rebranding. They're essentially going for an Uber for hourly model where the platform you sign up for hey I want to do shifts in multiple restaurants the company brings in multiple people for a shift and then they're gone and snag handles the payments so you know the Craigslist I assume still works for a lot of companies like just post a job you have job boards and indeed you have you guys. Then you have the shift gate the snag a job like where are we going to end up in 10 years with the hourly workforce. How are they going to find jobs.

Doug: [00:03:40] I think I think both apply. I think that there's there's some markets far go back to the employer and the worker and their needs. There are especially in the restaurant hospitality space that shift solution that snacks to mix. Thomas says there are other places where a full time or rather a a a 40 hour week hourly worker makes a lot of sense in the janitorial space services space. That's not necessarily. So I think that that both will exist coexist in that world. I think what's Snga's done makes a lot of sense.

Chad: [00:04:19] So more like is a strategy to these types of positions and some work better. Yeah I enjoy the quote unquote Uber kind of app versus really the traditional more. I would say hyper automated platform like you guys are trying to pull together.

Doug: [00:04:34] Exactly. Exactly. And so my my strong belief is that you're going to end up with both experiences.

Joel: [00:04:43] You see a lot of big players getting into the employment space that didn't really play in it before. You see Microsoft that linked and you see Google when we talk. We talk about a lot and you see Facebook as well. Do you see any of them being a more major player in the Aurelie space than others. Or do you think they're not even interested.

Doug: [00:05:00] I don't think they have their eye on it. Yeah. Fortunately I don't think there's. I think there's a tremendous opportunity. But I don't think right now that that's being addressed. I think we talking about a lot about Facebook being in the sort of the pole position like every company has a Facebook page and posting jobs is pretty organic and then having candidates come through there and the messaging system but how that shakes out. Yeah I agree with that.

Chad: [00:05:24] So when a candidate applies say they do that I'm assuming through their mobile phone what's kind of the time frame between somebody actually getting in touch with them and how would that actually happen on the employer side. So we've got candidates come in. What's that. What does the platform do. What. What sets it apart from everything else out there.

Doug: [00:05:43] So first everything that we've done has been designed for rolling out. So literally AB testing the you know the text saying to apply for smarter process is done in a fashion that we can do when we're looking at the advent of abandonment rate right now this is a dirty little secret. The endowment rate in the hourly world of applicants leaving the process at avocations 80 percent on average. So whatever you're spending...

Joel: [00:06:14] So does that mean from the time that they start applying to a company to finishing 80 percent don't finish . D

Doug: [00:06:20] Don't finish.

Joel: [00:06:20] Really fascinating.

Chad: [00:06:22] It's what I call ejection rate

Doug: [00:06:25] Abandonment has two this there's the data. You know again we've got millions of points of data that look at two places where there's a minimum occurs. The first is just enough in the processing of the application.

Doug: [00:06:37] So what we've designed is a what we call smart application that is largely text based but it has this very quick design template structure for particular jobs in particular markets. Then we take that data and we push it into a resume format because the recruiter wants to look at a resume that's how they work knowing the answers worked so well represent that to them on our platform weren't there 80 hours and then put a canot what we call Candidate Messenger. But it's a texting tool right up against that resume. So when the candidate comes in we'll give you a quick story. National Retailer launched our product last week. We were training the senior director nationally just to show this woman how it was going to work. She posted a job within three minutes a candidate happened to pop to the window. Now we were just in the process of explaining how the system kind of she'll tell. All right.

Chad: [00:07:41] Kinda show and tell.

Doug: [00:07:42] I'm telling the candidate pops in are our account management person Chris says. We'll go ahead and this text just text the candidate

Chad: [00:07:51] And they're doing this and you do this through your platform which is really what it is.

Doug: [00:07:57] So she says Hey Charlie appreciate you sending in your resume by the way. We only. We only present qualified candidates so unqualified candidates we screen out based upon knock questions like you because of all the conventions she's qualified and texts the person and says hey would you like to get on the phone? So they say up within five minutes interview and she sat back in her chair and said like wow that's that's the power. So everything. I mean start everything designed for hourly engineer for hourly scale.

Chad: [00:08:32] So we start talking about things like that and my brain starts going haywire because you you take a look at the types of candidate flow that comes in for some of those positions. And you know is there the prospect of automated replies going out?

Doug: [00:08:48] Sure absolutely so based upon you know the position and how you want to communicate with deploying your recruiting pool of talent and the availability of them we need to be able to respond you know the fashion with that candidate and keep them warm. So we do a ton of it. Another interesting thing there is there is the difference between good texting and bad texting. So is remarkable. So if you if you have a candidate that pops in and in our model we know we by the way it's an important thing to note that we have a model where are our product is is fee based based upon the applicants. Right. So you only pay per applicant. Our motivation is completely together to you successfully.

Chad: [00:09:49] We're talking about qualifed.

Doug: [00:09:50] All right. All right. So you don't pay us anything but for qualified applicants. So you know we are studying constantly how to improve this process because it's in our best interest as well. That was my point.

Chad: [00:10:02] Serve qualified candidates get paid off qualified candidates.

Doug: [00:10:05] Exactly. So the you know we're we're constantly looking at you know into those that test texting dialogue to see what are the right responses. Right and we can you know we measure the time of response to see. So interestingly the more bot like you sound the the unfortunate reality is that that is if you can smells that they abandon.

Chad: [00:10:33] Really?

Doug: [00:10:33] Yeah but if you're if you're warm and you're in human need to real in your authentic people will continue to engage. And so we're studying that now you know where that's kind of on the front burner.

Joel: [00:10:43] So carrying on with the automation robotic message omlet I'm going to bring it from another angle. It's pretty clear to me from you know eating out and just things in my regular life that there's an extreme shortage of talent for people who are willing to work at restaurants and grocery stores etc. and it seems to me like robots inevitably will take on a lot of the duties of cooking food serving food...

Chad: [00:11:12] Flippy... Flippy!

Joel: [00:11:13] Flippy... We talk about what to be like what what's your sort of insight on that based on your work at Jobalign.

Doug: [00:11:21] I don't think there's any question that that's an inevitability. We from our perspective however you know we serve the customer whether out today. We keep a keen eye on what the future's going to hold. But the reality is today that restaurant needs you know the pain that our customer feels today that is look am I going to ship. I've got to cover. You know I've got a room that needs to be cleaned. I've got some food that needs to be cooked and I'm in business myself turn my utilities off. I'm not in business. If they're not working so that's the pain that we're really dealing with today.

Doug: [00:12:03] Not withstanding what's going to happen because really you know we're our eyes are on it today but our solution addresses the pain that they feel today.

Chad: [00:12:11] Well why couldn't why couldn't this platform also be adapted to engineers. Or any. I mean because it's its process methodology and it's its engagement. So I would assume that your outreach obviously would have to change dramatically. But other than that I mean it's really just the core of the process that happens and the engagement piece right?

Doug: [00:12:31] So one of the pieces that we really value is that network that multi-million population network of hourly workers. And we. Yes. OK. OK. Yes. Yes you're right that it could it could for a variety of purposes but but there's 77 million workers in the U.S. and underserved today. Now employers are in pain and so we don't don't cook too many don't see that Italian restaurant that cooks you know Chinese and American and Thai at the same time because it's not going to do well. We are nailing that part of the puzzle right. We're about trying to make sure that we solve the pain of hourly hiring.

Chad: [00:13:15] So you are focused focused focused on...

Joel: [00:13:17] Nothing wrong with that.

Chad: [00:13:17] No.. on the in the room with no way. And that's one of the things that we hear and I'm glad that I appreciate the candor on that. One of the things that we hear is Well yeah well we'll look to grow and oh yeah that's a great idea which we should definitely do that. And to understand what the opportunity is and to be able to go after that opportunity especially in that market because again it's not it's not a small opportunity at all. And you have. What percentage of that today. Right.

Doug: [00:13:45] Totally. And the other part of it is that our company and every employee in our company has a very real desire to help that hourly worker. And it's not it's not just talk it's the culture of who we are a part of how we were founded was around this notion we want to do well of the company but we want to do good at the same time that we can build something that hits close to 20,000 people who work last month. Dang that's you know that that's important. So it's important work..

Joel: [00:14:18] In the fields

Chad: [00:14:20] In the fields that's some impact right their. Look at him he's tearing up a little bit.

Joel: [00:14:24] It seems to me like you're on the forefront of a younger and in many cases younger audience...

Doug: [00:14:33] Not me personally.

Joel: [00:14:33] Nobody at this table personally. And so this is such a sweet view more than a lot of people in this industry see you know trends that are before they're mainstream so you probably saw Snapchat being used by your audience before snapchat came in. So what what technologies do you see coming up that we should be paying attention to. We have voice assistance we have we are wearables like what are you saying.

Doug: [00:15:01] I'm not sure about wearables. I mean I think that the profound technology you already mentioned which is just the name of the company that you take AI you take what's happening in being able to really understand how to predict behavior. And then you look at what's going happen with the whole robotics industry and the change there. That the combination of those pieces are going to be radically change the game. But I don't think it's going to happen today. So again...

Chad: [00:15:40] There's a huge need now.

Doug: [00:15:41] Yeah we you know your thought leaders in this space we have to stay ahead but at the same time the need is so profound. This hourly market has been underserved and bridging that gap of that need the job seeker helping them find a job that's 20 minutes closer to home. So they can pick up their child after day care and helkping that employer who truly has you know it's like utilities going in the building you know that's that's important work.

Chad: [00:16:17] So do you work with like big like Marriott like big HQ Marriott or do you work you know from hotel to hotel or I mean how does it actually work from my clients standpoint.

Doug: [00:16:28] In that particular vertical that we have a number of hotel rooms that are manageing 9o to 150 hotel projects and there's a whole industry that's fascinating. So but they have Marriott Hotels in Courtyard hotels right. That is very much a target market of ours. You know we so in the verticals where you can imagine those 77 million people working we are serving those verticals.

Joel: [00:16:56] Are you global. Or just strictly just the U.S.. Do you have plans to go global. I assume that's a wholw ball where you have huge plans to take over the world at some point.

Doug: [00:17:08] So right now we're just we're just focusing on this.

Joel: [00:17:11] How does your how does your pricing work and I assume you make money in a traditional sense.

Doug: [00:17:16] So we. So today you're probably spending outside of your in HR and the recruiting side of H.R. you're probably spending 30 40 percent of your money on sourcing. So probably 10 15 percent on technology. There's a big spend there that we will reduce that sourcing spends materially because we're just more efficient. We charge on a per applicant so there's no contract we make we make it easy for each person to buy our product because we don't ask them to sign long term contract and give us fifty thousand dollars up front so it is actually pay as you go pay for performance pay by candidate. So it's. And the price is what you are going to spend insourcing anyway. You're just going to get four times a throughput. So that's the that's the promise. And then we just try to you know try in a few markets straighten a couple of hotels targeted to the restaurants.

Chad: [00:18:25] So when you get so many applicants does the system automatically shut down is there like a threshold ninety five applicants. And I guess I'm going to pay for all five of those applicants right. So there's a threshold for that.

Doug: [00:18:36] Right. Then the risk on our side is that we have to go and get those out again. And they have to be qualified. Yeah right. So. So we work with you in design and designing with that template looks like making sure that we want to pay for qualified applicants so we take a little bit of a loss.

Chad: [00:18:52] Right.

Doug: [00:18:52] If we are sourcing intelligently so one of the one of the other pieces of technology that we've built is really how to be brilliant at sourcing a janitorial job in Memphis Tennessee versus New York City. What job were to go to this Craigslist let's work here. So we're constantly looking at and managing this spend against jobs to get that get that qualified talent.

Joel: [00:19:17] So how do you market to the job seeker and which was the market or the most effective.

Doug: [00:19:22] So there's a couple of different. There's a couple that just click collateral of the hold up cameras and audio. So it's a test. So it depends on your brand whether or not you have natural draw to your brand and if you do there's a lot of what we call organic traffic that we can optimize that we charge pennies because we're going to take that and put it into our system.

Chad: [00:19:56] And if your brand sucks you're going to pay some money.

Doug: [00:19:58] If there is nobody coming to yout career page.

Joel: [00:19:58] Or it's not well known. I t doesn't have to suck.

Doug: [00:20:04] Thank you. Thank you for helping me.

Joel: [00:20:07] No problem.

Doug: [00:20:08] So if you're not well along and you don't have any organic traffic then you're going to rely on us to source that of course is going to be based on our best efforts around job boards and the like.

Joel: [00:20:22] So you basically customize a marketing program each month.

Doug: [00:20:27] And they come in these kinds come in with you knowledge, their experience some here. They know that you know there's a there's a very large business in the auto space that will be launching a texting platform because they have a lot of a lot of brick and mortar stores. So text jobs to this number will be considered an organic play because they have to walk into their door but we text into our platform and creating opportunities you know that is really inexpensive but a super smart thing for them to do is that they have that presence. Right. So many cities in America. So if you didn't have that then. So we design again we just decided based upon them.

Joel: [00:21:24] Well for listeners who want to learn more about jobalign and maybe sign up where would they go to learn more.

Doug: [00:21:29] Well of course they come to spelled J-O-B-A-L-I-G-N DOT com job and have ability to connect with us there.

Joel: [00:21:41] Thanks for your time today Doug.

Doug: [00:21:42] Thank you guys.

Chad: [00:21:43] Thanks Doug.

Chad: Okay, okay. Before we go. Remember, when I asked you about the whole reflex and check your text messages thing?

Joel: Yeah, you know all about reflexes. And, then I brilliantly tied it to text messages 97% open rate, then I elegantly tied it to a better experience for your candidates. Don't laugh, Chad, I can be elegant.

Chad: Whatever, man. I know it's redundant. You already heard about text to hire, but you're still not using text to hire from Nexxt.

Joel: What?!

Chad: I know, man.

Joel: Come on, man.

Chad: Since advertising takes repetition to soak in, I just thought I'd remind you again, this was all by elegant design. It's all about text to hire, and it's all about Nexxt.

Joel: And, elegant design. So, go to, click on the Nexxt logo, and get 25 ... yeah, I said 25% off your first text to hire campaign.

Chad: Whoo!

Joel: Engage better. Use text to hire from Nexxt. Two X's.

Chad: Boo-yah!

Chad: Thanks to our partners at TA tech. The Association for Talent Acquisition solutions. Remember to visit

Chad: This has been The Chad & Cheese Podcast. Subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you don't miss a single show. And, be sure to check out our sponsors because they make it all possible. For more visit Oh, yeah, you're welcome.

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