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Gerry Tales 2 (Electric Boogaloo)

Gerry Tales with industry icon Gerry Crispin was off-the-chain, and this is Part II of our interview all-things-recruiting. Enjoy, get smarter and show exclusive sponsor Uncommon some love.


Chad: Welcome to volume two of Gerry Tales. Gerry Crispin is a living, breathing, recruiting history podcast. 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 of the recruitment industry. This is the second in our Gerry Crispin series. Enjoy, after a word from our sponsor.

Chad: Dude, we're always talking about cool new tech, but it's hard for hiring companies to change. I mean, adoption's a bitch.

Joel: Yup.

Chad: New tech can get them to qualified candidates so much faster.

Joel: I don't know, man. But recruiters already have their routine in place and nobody wants to jump into another platform. Especially when it's expensive and also requires hours, maybe days, of training.

Chad: Exactly, but that's where Uncommon's new service comes into play. Uncommon pairs expert recruiters with in-house, kick-ass technology.

Joel: All right, interesting, interesting. It sounds like Uncommon understands the problem of change.

Chad: That's why they hand-select veteran recruiters, train them on this kick-ass technology, that has access to over 100 million active profiles.

Joel: Yeah, yeah. But I bet they're expensive and I bet it require some kind of annual commitment or contract, right?

Chad: No, man. Uncommon is not an agency, they don't require a contract, any contingencies. All they do, they charge one flat fee, per project. Saving, I don't know, anywhere from 50 to 80% on each hire. Versus the average agency cut.

Joel: Oh, snap. Companies could save big stacks of paper. Especially if they're rapidly scaling and need hires today.

Chad: Yep. And all you have to do is reach out to TAG and the Uncommon Crew at That's

Joel: Change doesn't have to be a pain, if you're using Uncommon.

Announcer: Hide your kids, lock the doors. You're listening to HRs 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 Funcast.

Joel: What do you remember from that first Superbowl with the HotJobs and Monster? Do you remember anything about that period, that stuck out?

Gerry: Oh, sure. I mean, the Monster ad was probably the most extraordinary thing we've ever seen, in our space of recruiting. No one had ever spent that kind of money to get visibility. And what it created was a recognition that there was going to be a major shift from the $10 billion that was being spent on print-recruitment advertising, to basically shifting all of that. All that money was going to move, and it had. In 2000, it hit 10 billion. In 2001, it moved from 10 billion to five and today it's no more than a billion.

Chad: Here's the funny part, Gerry. There was another job site, that actually ran ads, that nobody remembers.

Gerry: Which one are your-

Chad: HotJobs.

Gerry: Oh, HotJobs, yeah. So, HotJobs was going to be bought by Monster, if you recall.

Chad: Yeah, but not just then. Coming out of the gate, so this was January of '99, when launched. In late January, early February, I can't remember exactly when it was, that's when we did the ad. But HotJobs also did an ad, and so did Victoria's Secrets. They had all these online properties that were finally doing ads and all of them, all of them went... I mean, they couldn't handle the traffic. The only one that could handle the traffic was Monster. So nobody remembers that HotJobs ran ads, or Victoria's Secrets or what have you. All their shit couldn't even take the traffic. So yeah, I mean it was... Now their ads [crosstalk 00:04:30].

Gerry: Well Monster was out there, significantly, before. So they had, obviously, a heads up, in terms of visibility. And then, obviously, the HotJobs managed for awhile. I don't know if you remember, but it wasn't long after when HotJobs originally sold... Right. But originally sold to Monster. And the US government sued Monster as a monopoly, to prevent them from buying HotJobs. I don't know if you realize that.

Joel: I don't remember that.

Chad: Yeah, I don't remember that at all. [crosstalk 00:05:08] what year?

Gerry: Well that was... I'd have to go back and look, to be honest with you. But it was in the early 2000's.

Joel: Okay.

Gerry: So 2000, 2001, something like that. I wrote a screed post, that this is the stupidest thing I'd ever heard in my life. I was then called by Monster's lawyer defending their ability to buy HotJobs.

Joel: Yeah.

Gerry: And as a result of that, the lawyer said, "We want you," Mark and I, "to go to DC and be our expert witness, when we meet to defend that we should be able to buy HotJobs." And I said, "Okay." And they said, "How much would you want?" And I said, "Well, 3000 an hour." I just pulled that out of the ceiling.

Chad: The ether.

Gerry: The ether, and he laughed and he said, "I don't make 3000 an hour."

Chad: That's your fault.

Gerry: I said, "How much do you make?" He said, "300 an hour." And I said, "Okay, I'll take 300 an hour from the time I leave my home, till the time I return. And

Mark will do the same." And he agreed to that.

Gerry: Now when I said 3000 an hour, I meant for the two hours that we might be in the meeting in DC.

Joel: Yup.

Gerry: So they paid us for three freaking days, 600 an hour. It was the best deal I had ever made. And we spent a total of two hours in DC, in a big conference room with a board room where you could put 50 people around a table. There were like 10 people from Monster, and Mark and I, and there were like 30 people on the other side who represented the government. And Mark and I spoke for maybe 15 minutes, and that was it. And they won.

Joel: Was it just like, "Here's our book of 3000 Job Boards."?

Gerry: Yeah. And they won-

Joel: "See you later."

Gerry: ... and so, Monster won. But then Yahoo! bought HotJobs.

Joel: Yeah.

Gerry: Actually, you know who was part of that was Dan Finnigan, who just left-

Chad: Jobvite, yup.

Gerry: ... Jobvite.

Joel: You know, you could argue that HotJobs' Superbowl ad was way better investment than Monster's. Because HotJobs spend almost all their money on that Superbowl ad, but it put them immediately [crosstalk 00:08:06] into the same... But about from a brand awareness-

Chad: That's an interesting argument.

Joel: ... from a brand awareness standpoint, they immediately became the number two job board.

Gerry: Agreed.

Chad: Yeah, but here's What happened from HotJobs' standpoint. HotJobs didn't take money from staffing companies, they only took money from direct employers.

Gerry: Yup.

Chad: 75% of Monster's revenues, when we launched in January of '99, were what? Staffing companies. So I had friends that worked at HotJobs and I used to give them shit all the time. Because we were raking in the fucking cash from staffing companies and HotJobs were turning them away. Where do you think they went? To me.

Joel: I'm not arguing the revenue question, I'm just arguing... Like the first time I heard about HotJobs was at the the Sherman Minneapolis in 1998. They had a 10x10 booth and they were a punchline. And by '99 they had a Superbowl ad and they were the number two player in the job [crosstalk 00:09:05] space.

Chad: And they crashed.

Joel: No. And then they got bought.

Chad: And then they crashed.

Joel: And then they went public and made a ton. They made a... It's Dick Johnson, right, was the founder?

Chad: Yeah, it was Dick.

Gerry: Yeah.

Joel: He's a rich man. I mean, you can argue all you want, but the dice they rolled, he scored on that one. In my opinion.

Gerry: That's a good point. It's a very good point. Interesting. If you think about how far back that is, and still, we're talking about-

Joel: 20 years ago.

Gerry: ... it's 20 years ago. And you come forward and I'm shocked, not shocked, I am amazed at how much money has been spent in the first four months or five months in 2019, investing in job boards. [crosstalk 00:09:58] it's amazing how much money is being put into job boards today.

Chad: But they're not spending that on tech though, Gerry, what are they spending that on? They're spending it on the database of people that are... They're spending it on the data. It's kind of like LinkedIn, right? What do you spend that much money on? You spend it on the fucking data that they have, the people. I mean, all that data, what can you do-

Joel: Over the opportunity.

Chad: Yeah. What can you do, from a technology standpoint, to be able to take this old, crusty job board shit and actually create something that can leverage that data. Right? And make it into something that's worth a shit in 2019, right? Or 2020, or what have you. But I mean, it's all about data right now. I believe, it's not about the technology. Because shit, Google's the one who has the technology that's powering stuff.

Gerry: Yup.

Joel: And Gerry's a big proponent of privacy. And if the data is so valuable and the privacy issue comes to light, which we think it all will, how much is the data worth if it's not voluntarily given by-

Gerry: Right.

Joel: ... the private citizen.

Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Gerry: I think we have the technology now to be able to, literally, ask permission over every data point.

Chad: Yeah.

Gerry: But no one's holding anyone accountable to do that. Except, I mean the closest obviously is GDPR. But we have not, in many countries, gotten to the level where we would accept that the data about me that exists anywhere is owned by me.

Chad: Well, in California, that's going to happen next year because the stricter laws, stricter than GDPR, is going into effect in California. And then you have CEOs like Colin Day who are saying, "Look, we're switching the whole entire 'paradigm' to more of a focus on the actual candidate. It's their data." And they're talking about creating these profiles.

Joel: Passport.

Chad: Yeah. The passport, that is controlled by the candidate. So, I believe the only way that we can actually move this industry is to have leaders, like a Colin Day, say, "This is what we're doing because it's the right thing to do." And then, for all those other assholes who aren't going to change, have the Federal Government do the right thing for the people and actually regulate it. So, it's going to happen. Not to mention, we're talking about a pod that dropped today, about 13.7 million individuals who had their data in Ladders, had all their shit free-and-open on a fricking AWS Cloud system.

Gerry: Wow.

Chad: I mean, it's like, "What the fuck is going on here?" I mean, Cenedella is not new to this shit. Right?

Gerry: Cenedella was at HotJobs.

Chad: Yeah, he's not new to this shit. Right? How do you fuck that up?

Gerry: Well, a lot of easy ways. He-

Chad: Apparently.

Gerry: He's not the only one out there. The fact of the matter is, it's just how we treat the other side. And fundamentally, until it's recognized that candidates have significantly more power and they need to recognize it themselves. So it's not just employers, it's candidates need to step up to make better decisions or want to make better decisions about their own careers. And I think that's coming as well. The recognition that there's a lot more questions that they might want to ask, before they start making good, solid job and career decisions.

Chad: Right.

Gerry: And I do think, again, that that's coming. When that starts to converge, then I think we're going to see a lot more quality choices between employers and candidates. Because you'll have both sides making quality decisions, as opposed to trying to figure out how to get one side to make that decision. To me, that's always been a serious problem. Is that the transparency is always been on the side of the candidate. I, as the candidate, have to share every relationship I've ever had, professionally.

Chad: Yup, souring-

Gerry: Why it went well or bad.

Chad: Yeah.

Gerry: And on the other side I can't ask you, the hiring manager, "Tell me about everybody who's ever worked for you, in this job, and where they are now. Before I decide whether I want to work for you. And tell me about the quality of the team that you've got and where they're going, these are the folks that I've got to work with." So until we start getting more transparent about that, and most companies are not willing to do that. I mean, we struggle with figuring out how to ask the damn salary question. Why would that be a problem? You don't ask the salary question. You tell people what your compensation approach is and that your, for example, here is the band-

Chad: Right.

Gerry: ... and 85% of all the people we hire come within this range. And that's kind of what you've got to negotiate with.

Chad: Well to get to pay transparency in the first place, you're going to have to go there. And again, this is one of the, which pisses me off, some companies have actually taken the step to be more transparent in pay. Most of them, they're covering their eyes and they're covering their ears, and just hoping that it goes away. It's not going to go away. Federal Government's going to step in.

Gerry: But we now have data.

Joel: Not just our government, but you've got Glassdoor, PayScale. I mean, all kinds of sites ask for salary.

Gerry: Well, and increasingly, they're algorithms will put ahead those who do share that information. Clearly Google has been leading, in terms of that. But Talent Board, last year, asked the question of candidates. How they were or if they were asked salary, and if so, how were they asked? And we could correlate their ratings to pieces of that question. So for example, companies that shared information about salary before asking anything, were rated higher by those candidates.

Joel: Sure.

Chad: Yeah.

Gerry: Companies that asked the salary question and refused to answer the question about salary were rated lowest.

Joel: So you mean transparency was a positive?

Gerry: This was a duh.

Joel: Yeah.

Gerry: But the point is, if candidate experience is going to impact you and we can demonstrate that it does, then obviously this is an issue that should be a no-brainer. In terms of, at least, at the worst, you should be asking for salary expectations. But that didn't give you much of an advantage, to be honest, over asking salary.

Chad: Keep an eye and ear out for more Gerry Tales, coming soon. So watch out.

Kristin: Hi, I'm Kristin. Thanks for listening to my stepdad, The Chad and his goofy friend Cheese. You've been listening to The Chad and Cheese Podcast. Make sure you subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts so you don't miss out on all the knowledge dropping that's happening up in here.

Kristin: They made me say that.

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