Gerry Crispin is an industry treasure and a virtual encyclopedia for anyone who wants to take a look back at how things used to be, as well as getting an historical perspective on the present and the future.
Chad & Cheese chatted with Gerry and it turned into a conversation that lasted well over an hour (too much for our listeners to digest in one sitting). We've chopped it up, and this is the first in a series of what we're calling Gerry Tales ... like Fairy Tales ... get it?
Enjoy this Nexxt exclusive.
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:
Chad: Gerry Crispin is a literal walking volume of recruiting history. Joel and I had an opportunity to sit down with Gerry for over an hour and a half to talk history, now, and future state. This is only the first in our Gerry Crispin series. Welcome to Gerry Tales. Enjoy, after a word from our sponsor.
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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: It's Gerry motherfucking Crispin.
Joel: Friday afternoon with Gerry.
Chad: Come on now. Gerry, what's up?
Gerry: I like that intro. I think that's a fabulous one.
Joel: He's probably never heard it before. This is his first podcast.
Gerry: It is. It's close to my first podcast.
Chad: Gerry, I think you should actually make it. You're a standard in the industry, so therefore, from now on, you should ensure that whenever you are going to present or anything like that, and they're introducing you, it has to be "Give it up for Gerry motherfucking Crispin."
Gerry: I love that. I would like that, actually.
Joel: I agree.
Gerry: That would be kinda neat.
Joel: That's perfect for HR, because they don't like to play it safe at all.
Gerry: This is not a podcast who plays it safe for any ...
Joel: No, no. That's why you're on, Gerry, because you don't play by the rules.
Gerry: I don't care about the rules anymore, I'm beyond them.
Joel: I'm getting to that, too. Jumping out of planes and shit.
Chad: Going to Birmingham.
Joel: So, a lot of our listeners, believe it or not, don't know you, the name, whatever, so I know you've done this a million times, but give us sort of the elevator pitch on you and then we'll get to the good stuff.
Gerry: And the fact is, most people don't know most people. Just ... It's just the reality of it all. I will tell you that, next month, I will have graduated from college 50 years. So that will be the kind of cool thing about that. And I will you that every single year, from the time I graduated, I was in some form of recruiting. I was in career services, as a way of getting through graduate school. And most recently, in my last 20, 23 years with CareerXroads, we've kind of pivoted a couple times, but the reality is I support a community of talent acquisition leaders who hire probably between two and three million people a year. And really focus in on my passion, which is what is community? How do you really help each other succeed? Not only for yourself, but making commitments to other people as well.
Joel: When did you send your first email, and when did you buy your first domain name?
Gerry: Oh, cool. That is cool. My first domain name that I bought was
Gerry: Dot org. Yes.
Gerry: Which I then turned over to them. My second, and my first dot com, was shaker.com, which I then turned over to Shaker.
Chad: Our travel sponsors, by the way.
Joel: Yes. Let's hear it for Shaker Recruitment Marketing.
Gerry: I had an epiphany in about '93, something in that order, '93, '94. Things were just beginning to heat up, in effect, and I went to my college, Stevens Institute of Technology, and had acquired them, if you will, as a client. I was very proud of the fact that my alma mater was now a client. And one of my friends who still was there was the head of the library. And I went over to the library to tell him that, "I'm now a client ... You're now a client, da da da." And he was in his office, and he was turned away from his desk, and he was pounding on this little old-fashioned Pentium 286, or something like that.
Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Gerry: And he goes, "Just a second, Gerry." And then he turns around and I said, "Well, what were you up to?" He says, "I need a new research librarian, so I'm hiring a research librarian." I said, "Oh, cool!" I said, "That fits my news. You are now my client. I will be able to get the req from your HR department, and I'll help put together an ad, and get it into the newspaper." And he goes, "Oh. I don't think so." I said, "What? What do you mean? Why not?" He says, "Well, I just put that ... I just was typing into a Usenet group, and I sent it into this one that research librarians use." I said, "I don't even know what a Usenet group is." And just then, his six minute fax machine began clacking, and after a few lines, you could see that it was a resume being sent in.
Chad: What year was this? What year was this?
Gerry: This was 1993.
Joel: And a fax machine, boys and girls, is ...
Gerry: Yes. And a light bulb went on in my head, and I -
Joel: That's about right.
Gerry: Said, "Oh, shit." I said, "That's a loss to the New York Times this Sunday."
Gerry: And my commissions are gone from that, you know? And I'm going, "Holy shit. What would happen if everybody did stuff like that?"
Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Gerry: So that was my first epiphany, and then you know Ward Crispin, right?
Gerry: Well, Ward Crispin was a bulletin board guy, back in that day. And somebody gave me his name, and I called him up and said, "How do I get on this thing called the internet?" And he was actually helpful in finding the two addresses in New Jersey where I could, publicly, connect to the internet with my ...
Joel: You just had a local ISP.
Gerry: Yeah, local ISP. You had to have these rubber cups that you stuck on the edge, end of a phone, and it screeds back and forth in order to be able to do anything, and obviously that was the beginning of that shit.
Joel: So you weren't surprised by '97ish, when the job board revolution
started. What do you remember about that time?
Gerry: I was writing books by then.
Joel: Yeah. Yeah, for those who don't know. Gerry wrote books. These things with paper and a binding and -
Gerry: I made a living selling paper books about the internet, for God's sake.