Shiny Objects Kill Recruitment w/ Tom Becker

We welcome Tom Becker, EVP of Recruiting Ops at The Judge Group to The Chad & Cheese Bad Ass Series. That's right Tom is one 6Sigma black belt wearin' mutha that you don't want to foll with -- or at least his process.

Tom breaks down how some companies are killing the "recruiting game" and others are mere spectators in the cheap seats.

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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 and Cheese podcast.

Chad: Yep

Joel: Ah yeah, welcome back to the Chad and Cheese bad ass series. Today, we have Tom Becker, executive VP of recruiting operations; should be executive VP of badassery, from the Judge Group. Everybody say hi to Tom.

Chad: Hi, Tom. Dude, how much coffee did you have this morning, holy cow.

Joel: I have been up since 3:30, I have had like three pots, so just roll with this shit.

Chad: Slow your roll, son.

Joel: So, Tom, are you out there? You didn't move did you?

Tom: I did not, I did not, hey guys, how you doing? Thanks for having me.

Chad: Hey, you're in Carolina, man. Have you been digging out snow all week or what?

Tom: Yeah, well we have. What's funny, was a lot of snow; I went to the airport yesterday, I'm actually in Philly today and lot's of snow by the airport but no snow where we are. You guys will get a chuckle out of this, they actually had a two hour delay over nothing. So, all the schools were delayed for no reason.

Chad: I mean, you guys don't really have any snow removal equipment though, do


Tom: Yeah, that's true, I guess.

Joel: I mean, that's kind of hard, right. I mean, it's like "yeah, we're gonna try to throw the dice here because if we say school's on and it does snow, yeah; we're pretty fucked, because there's no way we can get this stuff off the road.

Tom: Well, it's the ice that's really scary. I'm from Boston, originally, so we're used to driving with a half foot of snow, right. So we're used to it, but I don't think anybody's used to it in Charlotte, and I've been there for about 13 years, so...

Chad: It's all those angry, Southern mothers that have to send their kids to school with a little ice on the ground.

Joel: So, some background about you; tell us about you, just some quick stuff about your Bank of America days and what brought you to being EVP, mad scientist of tech shit at Judge.

Chad: Who are you and why are you here?

Tom: I actually started with a company out of Boston, it was called Keene, as a sourcer.

Chad: Ahhh...

Tom: I'm of the old school and this predates the job boards, which I know you guys love. It predates that and I actually started as a cold calling recruiter. My job was with all the receptionists and I don't think my kind exists anymore.

Chad: No.

Tom: That's where I started, I started with that. Back then, we were actually experimenting with some technology, so, it's been something I've been interested in my whole career. We were using, like, you know, "can we do events where people can sign up, and we can do online screening, before it was a thing. It was actually a lot of fun.

Tom: Anyway, I got recruited from there to go Bank of America and I just had so much fun there. What I did, was I led a sourcing team, when I was there. Then eventually I led all employment branding and also the sourcing for the company. The thing that I got the bug was the 6Sigma bug. I went from partial nerd to complete nerd at Bank of America.

Tom: Because it really made me feel like, "Oh, my God, there's so much more to recruiting, there's more to process, there's more to how do you manage performance and got my green belt there and my black belt and sort of went on from there.

Tom: Then I went back to Comsus, so I went back into the industry. It was sort of like Michael Coreleone, it just kept pulling me back in.

Tom: Once you got the bite for IT staffing or recruiting, you love it and you miss it; so I went back. I brought all this really cool stuff that I learned at the bank, there.

Tom: Honestly, guys, we just crushed it. Then we got bought by that little company out of Milwaukee, called Manpower Group.

Chad: So, were you one of the original boolean geeks, like Shalley groupies back in the mid-aughts? Were you one of those guys?

Tom: You know, it's funny, because I was always the kids standing against the wall. I don't think I was one of the cool kids with that group.

Joel: Wait a minute, did you put Shalley in the cool kid group?

Tom: I did, I'm sorry. I'm saying, I was always a boolean guy. I loved the boolean strings, I'm probably more of a Cathy, I believe semantics is the key. Once I started realizing that I'm like, "I'm not looking back, I'm not creating these little box". I just sort of left that whole school of thought.

Joel: We talked a little bit yesterday and one of the things that you said made me all warm inside. You said, "boolean's dead".

Tom: Yep.

Joel: Tell me a little bit about that.

Tom: I've been able to conduct; and we talked a little bit about this yesterday; I did a few lean assessments. I did about four in my career, principally around IT staffing or IT recruiting. What I did was, we looked and we...Do you guys remember the time and motion studies, you guys know what they are? You sit there and clock recruiter activity?

Joel: Yeah.

Tom: It's brutal. Right?

Chad: Horrible.

Tom: Horrible, it's painful.

Joel: Yes.

Tom: What I found, though, is; if you watch a recruiter, if you sit a recruiter for three days. Day one, they lie to you and they tell you what they're gonna do, right? Nothing that they do, they do, they're just trying to show you that they follow protocol. Day two , they start to forget you're there, by day three they really do what they do, right?

Tom: You get to spot all the inefficiencies and things like that. What I learned is that about 66% of a recruiter's activity is non value-added. In other words, they spend a lot of time in busy work. Fifty percent of that is sourcing, so it's all centered around endless job board searching and making these perfect algorithms. When we watch the recruiters try to make these perfect algorithms, these perfect boolean strings, it's a complete waste of their time.

Joel: Uh huh.

Tom: Right, that's where they waste their time. If you could find a way to automate that, I think that's where semantic comes in. I think semantic, if you have a good process and you're able to deliver or serve up good candidates. You're giving them back, literally two or three hours every day. I think that's why I went over to that school of thought.

Chad: For those that don't know, define semantic search, for me.

Tom: It semantically pulls out; I know you can't use a definition to give a definition, but it pulls out all of the words and it creates the meaning around those words. For example, it knows if it's programmer, programming; it's able to pull all those things. If it's Oracle, 8i, all the different versions of Oracle. It pulls all those things in the semantics out of the resume, out of the job description and it creates a much cleaner search that's able to take into account, all the other aspects, or all the semantics of what's in the resume and what's in the job description.

Tom: It goes a lot deeper and broader.

Chad: Chad and I, on the show, talk a lot about start-ups and vendors that are sort of trying to solve the puzzle of the automated sourcing tool.