Gerry Tales with industry icon Gerry Crispin was off-the-chain, and this is Part V, the last of our interview on all-things-recruiting.
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Chad: Aho! Welcome to the last, the final chapter of Gerry Tales. This is Chad Sowash, and we are happy to have Gerry Crispin, the man, the myth, the legend in this volume five of 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.
Joel: You go to a lot of conferences, and that's putting it lightly. What is your sense right now on the health of conferences? Are there too many conferences? Are attendees getting exhausted with the number of conferences, or, just like the economy, are the good times going to roll for the foreseeable future?
Gerry: Yeah, I think there's too many conferences. I really do, and I think people are starting to cut back. I think they're starting to think about it differently. I'm seeing ... Typically we see companies screwing up a little bit in terms of the end of the year. They don't cut your conference budget, but they cut your travel budget, so you've got money for the conference, but you can't get there. Well, that's not a really good excuse, so there's that.
Gerry: I think there's another issue, and that is the head of HR, the head of TA or TM, often has a budget that allows for them to do some interesting kinds of things, but they're not the ones often who should be at the conference. It should be the people who actually operationally have to do stuff, the head of TA operations, the head of TA analytics, the head of university relations, the head of ... They're the ones who, by and large, need to have the budget for them to learn or to determine that there's somebody, a team leader, who could learn and bring it back.
Gerry: Typically, if the global head, CHRO, goes to a conference that costs $5000, he or she does not come back and share everything with the people below them, and that, to me, is wrong. That five grand could've put five people in a conference, where they could come back and teach each other. Some companies, certainly I'm an advocate for that kind of approach, and I believe that peers should be doing a lot more to help each other.
Gerry: One of the things that Chris Hoyt and I are trying to do is to identify, in various geographic locations, groups of recruiters and folks who are more team leaders and directors, who we could bring together to have a meet-up, where they talk to each other about an issue, as opposed to getting an expert in, somebody who's supposed to ... You know, if you think about what experts do, they basically talk to a lot of recruiters, and then put it together in a talk. Well, you know what? If the recruiters talk to each other, they don't need to spend the money on the expert.
Gerry: Exactly, and you get more honest, transparent, open discourse about realtime issues. And then, they're more likely to engage each other online in a way that's open rather than superficial. That's our current effort to give back in some of the areas around the country. Chris just did a meet-up in Silicon Valley that one of our members, Intuit, helped to underwrite and sponsor, and basically, Chris basically got up and spent no more than 45 seconds saying, "Hi. We put this together so that you guys could have a conversation. End of speech. Go back to talking to each other." And the NPS scores on that were 100. And that's what they need. They don't need to be spoken to or taught, pitched, sold, whatever. They need to have quality conversations.
Chad: Yeah. Last question from me, Gerry, because we've had you a long time, and we appreciate it.
Joel: We appreciate it.
Chad: On the ... Yeah, we'll get him back though too. On the employer brand side of the house, we know that there are so many disjointed systems. Companies are using early 2000 process methodologies to be able to try to slam it into technologies instead of trying to rethink how they hire. They have horrible user experience. What's the most, in everything that you're viewing in the employer brands side of the house, what is the most negative? What is bringing the most negative impact to that employer's brand today?
Gerry: I think the biggest problem I see with employer branding, because certainly, the folks who are fully engaged in employer branding, want to provide quality information that attracts folks. I think the mistakes get involved in the execution more than anything else. There's an honesty that you see in just a few places, where they talk about, "Don't come here if this is what you're looking for," kind of thing, so that they can reduce the number of people who get attracted, and then focus on why you should come or why you might want to come to this organization.
Gerry: There's too much customer-related marketing, which tries to sell people ... "If you've never tried this product, you should try it." That's not how you should be focusing on your career. I think the worst I've ever seen was typically among, in the era of Monster and CareerBuilder fighting over each other, was basically the statements in those ads were, "If you had a bad day, change your job. Come to our job board and find a new job." Don't solve your problems. Go find a new job. And that kind of approach is a little bit more nuanced now when you have employers who basically are trying to attract you for whatever reason, simply because they know you have a certain, I don't know, coding capability.
Gerry: That's not a good reason to move from one company to another for an additional $10000, because you don't know what the hell's going to happen on that basis, and so I think the worst issues right now are spamming people with promises that are totally outrageous. And too often that happens with desperate recruiters in desperate times using all of the tools that they have, and just overshadowing their employment branding in ways that are not very real at all. They're cooking the books, if you will, about the kind of organization you're going to find.
Joel: The companies that you work with, how are they currently viewing or approaching the Glassdoors, the Indeed reviews, Kununu, Fairygodboss? What's their strategy around that now?
Chad: Do they give a shit?
Gerry: They do.
Joel: Is their head still in the sand?
Gerry: Oh no, no. Their head's not in the sand. The problem is how to solve it. Some of those, like Glassdoor, and so I'll ... Let me deal with that one. Glassdoor can be criticized in a lot of ways, but obviously they're visible, out there. The problem is that there's certain elements of their model that developed over the years that are not that positive. For example, if I don't spend money on Glassdoor, someone else has more capability of using my page, because it's going to be there, to advertise and compete with me. And so companies use Glassdoor, in many respects, from a defensive point of view.
Gerry: Now, they really need to be able to use Glassdoor in a way that they can collect data that they collect, not that Glassdoor collects, to determine whether or not they're getting the value that they input. Most of my members are split in terms of either being quote "all in" for any number of reasons. Or trying to find a way around it, and that's what's going on right now. They're all aware of a number of these organizations, but they need to be able to figure out how to best fit that in, or how to not use it.
Gerry: And that's true even of LinkedIn. LinkedIn is, for some companies, is a crack addict tool that prevents them from using almost anything else, because, if that's where you can put the body in the seat, you're going to use it over and over and over, until you don't know how to do anything else.
Joel: Hey, that heroin drip is nice.
Gerry: To me, it's fascinating, but the cost ... But now, at some point, a corporation looks at their costs of each of their areas and says, "Holy shit. Maybe an RPO would be better?" And the point is, do you want to find yourself in a position where you're spending so much money on all of those recruiters tools that your finance folks, without your knowledge, go and find that they could do this a lot cheaper if they got rid of all of you? Now, that doesn't mean that that's the right decision. It might mean that you did not spend the time becoming more efficient and more effective.
Chad: Yeah, and you don't want to put that in finance's hands, because they will look.
Gerry: And you should be looking at it. You should know that that's the limit of what you can do. I need to be able to demonstrate that my organization, if I'm the TA leader, my organization not only does the job, but we do it more efficiently and more productively, and we give more value to the people that we're dealing with than any other way of doing this, and this is how we fly our freak flag. If we gave it to someone else, they might do an adequate job, but will they do it with the kind of enthusiasm and engagement that we want to see shared when they come in?
Gerry: And that is an interesting set of questions. For some companies, they should be using RPO more. For other companies, they should be really thinking about how they can do the best job that they can do. And for me, my members, I only want a member who cares passionately about this subject of recruiting, who is fully impelled to improve, compelled to improve, has some thinking skills, so some critical thinking skills, and most important, is willing to share with one another, because I absolutely believe that peers and colleagues should be learning from one another before they go anywhere else.
Joel: My brain hurts a little bit. Gerry? We know you're a busy guy. We really appreciate the time.
Gerry: This was fun.
Joel: Yeah, this was fun. We need to do this again next year.
Chad: Or before. We find an event, the three of us sit down with cocktails, and then we have the same type of discussion.
Gerry: I'm in.
Joel: Because Gerry knows a thing or two about good bottles of wine. Maybe we could leverage that.
Gerry: That's true.
Chad: Excellent. We out.
Joel: We out.
Chris Walken: Thank you for listening to ... What's it called? Podcast, the Chad, the Cheese, brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology. But most of all, they talk about nothing, just a lot of shout-outs of people you don't even know. And yet you're listening. It's incredible, and not one word about cheese. Not one. Cheddar, blue, nacho, pepper jack, Swiss, so many cheeses and not one weird. So weird. Anyhoo, be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google Play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts. That way, you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it, visit www.chadcheese.com. Just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. So weird. We out.