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Recruiting Sucks!

There are a lot of myths floating around out there about recruiting. Contrary to popular belief, the sky really isn't falling, Chicken Little.

Not at all. Author Steve Lowisz joins the boys to talk about his new book, Recruiting Sucks ... But It Doesn't Have To, to dispel the seven most popular myths hovering around today's recruiting environment.

Enjoy this Talroo exclusive.​

Chad: Talroo is focused on predicting, optimizing, and delivering talent directly to your email or ATS.

Joel: So it's totally data-driven talent attraction which means the Talroo platform enables recruiters to reach the right talent at the right time and at the right price.

Chad: Guess what the best part is?

Joel: Let me take a shot here. You only pay for the candidates Talroo delivers.

Chad: Holy shit, okay, so you've heard this before. So if you're out there listening in Podcast Land and you are attracting the wrong candidates, and we know you are, or you feel like you're in a recruiting hamster wheel and there's just nowhere to go, right? You can go to Again, that's and learn how Talroo can get you better candidates for less cash.

Joel: Or just go to and click on the Talroo logo. I'm all about the simple.

Chad: You are a simple man.

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: Aw, yeah.

Chad: There we go.

Joel: We're back with another exclusive. What's up, people? Welcome to the Chad & Cheese Podcast, I'm Joel Cheesman.

Chad: And I am Chad Sowash.

Joel: Right on. Hey, we are blessed today to have recruiter, author, all-around good dude, I knew him from his days, or days at Qualigence, which I assume he's still CEO, Steve Lowisz. I'm saying that correctly I hope.

Chad: There's a Z at the end though.

Joel: How are you, man?

Steve: I'm doing well, guys. How are you?

Joel: Great, thanks for joining us from beautiful Detroit.

Chad: It's Lowisz not Lowis-z?

Joel: Lowis-z.

Steve: It's actually Lowisz, pretend there's a Z, no S. Take the S out.

Chad: Ah, got you.

Joel: I get a little sleepy when I look at your name. I don't know what that is.

Chad: Steve, he's always sleepy. It's not just your name.

Steve: It's all good, man.

Joel: So Steve, man, long time we've known each other. It's great to finally have you on the show. Most of our listeners have no clue who you are, so give them the elevator pitch on you and tell us why we're sitting down and chatting today.

Steve: So simple, 25 years, actually 26 years of recruiting. I started when I was 22. Do the math, you see how old I am. Still CEO of Qualigence, as well as a couple of other firms related to recruiter training and so on.

Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Steve: But I decided, and this is why we're on the phone or on the podcast, I decided last year to start writing a book, and that's what's bringing us to today. I wrote a book called Recruiting Sucks ... But It Doesn't Have To.

Chad: And that's kind of scary, right? Writing a book because you're like, "I've got a lot of shit to talk about," but then you get into it and you're like, "Oh, fuck, now I've got to finish this thing."

Joel: And is this the first book that's called Recruiting Sucks?

Steve: It is.

Joel: Wow. Good for you.

Steve: So we though it would ring true, but where the title actually came from is all the crap that I hear from people that I know that recruiting sucks, recruiting's this, recruiting's that, and I'm like, "Okay. Help me understand why." And here's the reality: it doesn't have to be that bad or viewed that bad.

Joel: Now will the followup be called Recruiting Swallows, is my question?

Steve: I don't think so. I think I'll let you guys do that one.

Chad: Yeah, that would be right down Joel's alley.

Joel: That's right. That was just so easy. Sorry.

Steve: I walked into that one.

Joel: Yeah, you did. You did.

Steve: But I'll give you guys that one.

Chad: We're talking about, and the book has some of these basic myths, right?

Steve: Yeah.

Chad: Is it really predicated on all these myths of all these people that are outside of recruiting who believe that recruiting sucks because myth one, two, three, so on and so forth?

Joel: Yeah, and are these in order of priority or-

Steve: They're not.

Joel: ... did you just randomly pick them out of a hat?

Steve: They're not. It made the book flow well with the stories, so they are random, relatively speaking. But there's six of them, but here's the thing, it's not just from people outside of our industry.

Chad: Right.

Steve: Some of this actually came from people in our industry, so I had to have some more conversation around it. That's ultimately why I wrote the book, because a lot of these younger recruiters are like, "Yeah, this is what we believe. This is what we believe. We've never been taught anything different." And that's what causing this whole idea of recruiting sucks in the first place.

Chad: Well, let's talk about that first.

Joel: It sounds like it could've been called Millennials Suck, basically.

Steve: Hey, I'm not saying it's just millennials here.

Joel: Oh, okay.

Steve: I did not make that correlation.

Joel: That's what I heard, Steve. I don't know.

Chad: Not to mention, Joel, I think Dan Pink went ahead and made sure that you understood, this is not a cohort group thing. We're going to have to get you back to therapy.

Joel: Yeah, yeah.

Chad: So let's talk about the individuals inside the community that are saying that recruiting sucks. What are some of the main myths behind why inside the community we believe recruiting sucks?

Steve: Well, from the recruiter's perspective, because there's that inside outside, right? The thing that kept coming up is it's all about LinkedIn, that's the only thing that I'm going to worry about, that's the only way I reach out to candidates, all this other crap out there just doesn't work, so I'm going to focus 100% of my time on LinkedIn. That was one of the ones that came from a plethora of recruiters, just a crap load of recruiters that were like, "That's it."

Steve: One of the other big ones that kept coming out is you know what, I'm a recruiter. I'm not responsible for quality of hire. It's the hiring manager who's responsible 100%-

Chad: Ouch.

Steve: ... for quality of hire.

Chad: Ouch.

Steve: Think about that one.

Chad: What the fu- ... I mean, yeah, somebody needs to take a ball bat to those people. What the hell?

Steve: Wait a minute, though, because this, it came as a result of one of the Facebook groups I'm in where the conversation came up. I posed the question, are recruiters responsible at all for quality of hire? And I got lambasted that, and these were all recruiters that are saying, "Are you freaking kidding me? Of course not. All I'm responsible for is putting candidates in front of the hiring manager that they hire." That's it.

Chad: Dude.

Steve: Yeah.

Chad: I mean ... Okay. So let's dig into this a little bit deeper, because this is obviously a fucking problem.

Steve: Yeah, you think?

Chad: So we really believe, as recruiters, and I'm not going to say that these are our top shelf recruiters, because they're obviously fucking not, but that we don't believe that what we put ... We don't put quality in front of the hiring manager so that the whole process goes cleaner, smoother, not to mention better retention, etc., etc.? I mean, is there not a long-term understanding here? Or do they feel it's better for them that if there is high turnover because they are giving shitty fucking candidates that they're going to have a job?

Steve: So here's the thing. I thought it initially it was going to be all coming from third-party recruiters like me, right?

Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative). Yeah.

Steve: Because you get paid if you fill the damn role, right?

Chad: Yeah.

Steve: We all know that, right?

Chad: Right, right.

Steve: But what happened was about 45% of the people that commented on it were corporate recruiters.

Chad: Oh my god.

Steve: Yeah. Think about that. So that's why I put it in the book, because it's like, guys, if you give the hiring manager and they're desperate three shitty candidates, what are they going to do? Pick the best of the three. They still got a crappy candidate that doesn't meet the bar in the first place, so how can you say you have nothing to do with quality? That's just crap.

Chad: So yeah, and not to mention if those hiring managers are getting shitty candidates in the first place, don't you think they're just going to turn around and blame recruiting?

Steve: Well, what do you think they say? Recruiting sucks, right?

Chad: Yeah.

Steve: That's the impetus of the title of the book.

Chad: Okay, okay. So in some cases, not all, I'm sure, we're creating this own shit storm for ourselves.

Steve: I would say yes for many, that we created the problem, it's now our time to fix it.

Chad: Well, let's talk about this on a strategic level now, right? So if talent acquisitions, if they know what the fuck they're doing on the director level and manager level, they will be getting feedback and they should be able to train and get the right people in those positions. So there is some blame to be had, no question, in the trenches, in the tactical discussion, but this should all be rectified by talent acquisition and the management set. Because they should know what's going on with the hiring managers and retentions, etc., etc., and know that they are a big piece of this.

Steve: Well, hold on a sec, and I agree with you, but let's think this through for a second. What are many of them, and let's just kind of the run of the mill manager director inside in a corporation, what are most of them held accountable to that they don't push back on? It still comes back to, in many instances, it's how many roles did I fill in the archaic days to fill and all this crap, even though they may have to fill it 18 times that year, they're held accountable to metrics. What are those people going to do? They're going to drive their team to deliver on the metrics that they're being held accountable for. Let's think about this.

Chad: Yes.

Steve: Because I've dug into this with TA leaders and they have the best of intentions, guys, but when it comes down to their pay and their job, what are you going to do?

Joel: So should the metrics change?

Steve: Absolutely they should change.

Joel: To what?

Chad: Goddamn straight.

Steve: Absolutely. Let's talk about now you've got some issues with it, right? But if you started looking at quality of hire, if you could measure it, sales people it's easy. They either performed or not, right? Now then you're going to hear the side of well, the manager is the reason. Okay, you got to take that into consideration-

Chad: To an extent, yes.

Steve: ... I absolutely grant you that. But that's where you got to pull an HR and so forth. But if we started measuring retention and performance, then that's assuming we understand what performance, how it's going to be measured, creates a whole different can of worms here to start talking about. But even from a recruiting perspective, we don't even think about performance of candidate, we think skills of candidate. Very, very different.

Chad: This should be a holistic discussion first and foremost, because yes, the manager does have something to do with whether that individual does perform or is retained, right? But also upfront, talent acquisition has to be responsible for performance and retention as well, because that individual might not have been a good fit and they shouldn't have been in front of the hiring managers in the first place.

Steve: Here's the thing that I found. This cracks me up as I started digging into this, and again, both corporate and agency, I'd be like, "Okay, tell me about what does this candidate have to deliver? What's the responsibility of the job? Not in terms of technical responsibilities on the job description, but what do they have to deliver in the next 90 days, 180 days?" And about 88% of the recruiters couldn't answer it aside from what was on the job description. What does that tell you?

Chad: It tells you they don't know what the fuck they're doing.

Steve: Thank you. You said it better than me, right? But so then I'm going to ask the question again. Did we create our own problem? Are people looking at us as recruiters and saying, "Recruiting sucks," is it solely their fault or did we train them years ago to view us negatively because we never delivered in the first place on what was really important to them, and that was people that actually have performance?

Chad: And we don't align with actual business metrics anyway. We don't talk about or even focus on how these candidates impact the bottom line. I mean, if we talked about the bottom line and how these individuals or the lack of individual, right, or retention of those individuals actually impacted the bottom line, then the SeaSuite-

Joel: Process center.

Chad: ... would give a fuck. They would give a fuck.

Steve: You think?

Chad: They would give a fuck, but yeah, what do we talk about? Time to fill. And then guess what? CEOs and CFOs and COOs, they pat us on the head and they go, "You guys are cute. That's a cute little stat. I don't even know what that fucking means."

Joel: I'll say.

Chad: Yeah. You're a cost center.

Steve: I love the metrics that we provide leadership overall, right? It's like well, we got it down to four candidates per hire. Okay, that's great, what does that mean to me? Right back to your point. So these days, when somebody asks me what I do, I don't even say I'm a recruiter anymore. I say, "Look, you've got three big problems: people, their performance, and profits. If you want to talk about those, let's have a conversation about how I can help." It's very different than, "Hey, I can just find somebody to fill your freaking role." Think about it.

Chad: Right.

Joel: Steve, I want to get back to the book real quick. One of my favorite myths that you have in number six is recruiters will be replaced by technology, and Chad and I discuss this topic probably every week on the show. We've interviewed sourcers that say 98% of sourcing is going to be outsourced and automated at some point. We talk to recruiters that are scared for their jobs. So talk about why this is a myth and what we can expect from the future in terms of recruiters being replaced by technology.

Steve: Let me give you some perspective on this, so when I started in the business 26 years ago, all we did was source. That was it. No recruiting. We did name generation and very, very kind of light sourcing.

Chad: Right.

Steve: Today, my research team continues to shrink, right, because the need is now let's leverage some of the technology and tools that are out there. I don't understand how that's a bad thing, because what we've done is move those sourcers into recruiter spots. But let's think about it from a recruiting perspective. What's the job of a recruiter? Our job is to work with the business to make sure that we're driving the business, right? To what you just said, let's just stop thinking about position, how many positions did I fill.

Chad: Right.

Steve: So if we take that perspective, you can't completely replace everything a recruiter does when it comes to empathy and providing guidance to the business on what they should be looking for, why they're looking for it, and understanding that in a candidate. Outreach can be done automatically. I don't have a problem with that. Assessments can be done automatically. But there's a lot more to a candidate that today, and in your lifetime and my lifetime, it ain't going to replace us. It's just not going to replace us. But it's going to automate a lot of that crap we spent a lot of time doing that doesn't create value to the business. They don't care how many hours you sourced. They care that we've got the right freaking candidates in the first place.

Chad: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:14:30].

Joel: I got to ask because we've seen an actual robot that recruits out of Sweden.

Chad: Interviews.

Joel: I've got to know your thoughts about a real-life sort of robot interviewing folks as a solution to filling seats.

Steve: So it depends on what it gives me. What's the data that it gives me after the fact, right? First of all, is it a natural conversation, can it engage in a natural conversation with somebody? And maybe at some point it can. If it gives me data, awesome, because I have to spend less time dealing with a bunch of candidates and I can focus my efforts on that three or four candidates that gets through the robot to help make the right decision for the long term of the company and the hiring leader. How's that a bad thing?

Joel: All right, score one for the robots.

Steve: I'm good with it.

Chad: Score one for the robots.

Steve: If it drives the right thing for both sides.

Joel: Yeah, exactly.

Steve: Experience is a lot. We know that.

Chad: Back to the actual business conversation, right, so if you're talking to TA leaders, are you telling them to scrap what they're doing today or to start to slowly bring in some of those real key business figures that CEOs and the SeaSuite actually give a shit about?

Steve: So it depends on the circumstance. If it's an education piece, if they've got a pretty good ... If their process of recruiting is pretty good internally, start to make the shift a little bit slower, because if you just try to do it overnight and it's not broken, sometimes the business will actually revolt, even though the end result is what they want. If it's already broken and there's already challenges, scrap it, start completely over right now. But either way, in the next couple of months, you better be able to start talking the terms of business. Quit talking about filled seats and start talking about impact on the business, revenue generated or if you keep leaving that position open, revenue lost. Customers lost.

Chad: Yes. Yes.

Steve: But we're afraid to have that conversation.

Chad: Well, and time to fill, shouldn't we, again, shouldn't we be talking about the amount of time that seat is open, first and foremost, and the prospective product or service loss or whatever it is, we've got to understand that that open seat actually equates to dollars that impact the bottom line. But also, if it's not the right person, there's going to be a shit-ton of turnover and retention also costs cash as well.

Steve: Is time to fill part of the symptom or the cause of the problem?

Chad: The symptom.

Steve: Of course it is.

Chad: Yes.

Steve: But yet we focus ... So think about what happens. Now let's take that one step lower. I'm the director of TA and I'm going to measure time to fill. I'm going to talk about quality candidate, quality candidate, quality candidate. But the thing that I'm going to hold my recruiters to is time to fill. What are they going to do?

Joel: [crosstalk 00:17:24]

Chad: They're going to fill them with whatever they can, yeah.

Steve: Exactly. It's the same thing we create. That's the problem with some agencies, when that's how they live and breathe, right, let's think about this for a second, are they going to be focused on just the quality of hire? Of course not. That's how they live. So we've got to be careful both internally and externally with some of the models that we have today. It's got to change. And if it doesn't, guess what? Recruiting continues to suck, guys.

Joel: Myth number three, one of my favorites also, is recruiters don't need to be marketers. Talk about that and then specifically, what are, say, three things that an old-school recruiter who doesn't want to be a marketer should start doing immediately?

Steve: Yeah, so the whole idea of demand generation, right, let's think about this, we've all got access to LinkedIn, we've all got access to all these other tools out there, right?

Chad: Right.

Steve: That's what we do. We love those tools. How do you differentiate yourself from everybody else that's out there? You're going to send the same spammy message or you're going to start to build credibility. Example, you go look at a corporate recruiter's LinkedIn profile. It doesn't say anything about the value that they provide to their candidates in business X. So if I'm a technology recruiter and I don't talk about building great teams of technology folks that do A, B, C, knowing how to move them from company A, whatever that is and building up my credibility as a recruiter to that industry, I've lost a real basic marketing opportunity of building a brand and that brand is me as a recruiter. Whether I'm a corporate recruiter, an agency recruiter, it makes no difference, number one.

Steve: Number two, you know what marketing automation is, right?

Chad: Right.

Joel: Yeah.

Steve: Salesforce, Pardot, HubSpot, all of these things, some are CRM, some are marketing automation. What do they do? Why do we use marketing automation?

Chad: To be able to keep the customer-

Joel: Funnel full.

Steve: Well, there's two cases.

Chad: To keep [crosstalk 00:19:13]

Joel: Keep them engaged.

Chad: To keep them warm.

Steve: You're talking about the second piece. What's the first thing marketers do with a tool like that? I send, let's say I sent out 100 emails. What does that tool allow me to do? It measures response rates. Is the message that I'm sending even resonating? So the message I used 10 years ago, if I'm a recruiter, I've got a great opportunity for you, is that resonating today? And if we're not looking at oh my gosh, I sent out 100, I got two responses, whether it's an in-mail, email, it doesn't really make a difference to me, there's a problem with your message and we don't look at it like a marketer, we look at it at what we want, not what the other person wants to hear. So start changing it and start measuring it. You can get cheap, cheap, cheap, cheap tools to see if your emails are even landing correctly, if they're even getting opened. If they're not getting opened, what happens? You get no freaking response.

Joel: Yep.

Steve: Right?

Joel: Or just move to text messaging instead of email.

Steve: Well, it's the same, so text messaging, we love it. Love it, love it, love it. But here's the problem, the same thing's happening. They're getting so inundated that if the message isn't correct even on text, you're just using another medium and screwing up that medium. That's two. The third thing is what you guys were talking about, to answer your original question, right? It's that constant nurturing or putting into the community. I'll give you a real quick example. You go to LinkedIn, you get into one of the groups for technology people or finance people, whatever it is, and you start posting a job right away and it becomes all about me.

Steve: You're sucking out of the community but you're not putting anything into the community, whether it be with valuable content or providing some level of value, right? And all you want to do is pull, pull, pull, pull, pull. Well, you know what? You're just looking like a recruiter who's not going to provide any value. You just got a job to do and that's to fill those jobs.

Chad: That's like all those in-mails that you get that are really just shit in-mails. They're like, "Hi, my name's Steve and I'd really like to sell you this, or I'd really like to get you into this position." It's like, Steve, I don't even know who the fuck you are, first and foremost. Second, get the fuck away from me, I never want to talk to you again. And then generally I kick them out of my network because that's bullshit.

Joel: For sure. The new one is connecting with people and then I feel like I'm on an email list because I start getting emails. So that's got to be automated too, which really pisses me off.

Steve: And there's nothing wrong with automation if you're sending the right message.

Joel: And if the expectation is you're going to send me messages.

Steve: Yes, that is correct. Think about who the hell you're sending messages to. Marketers think about personas. This is what interests this persona. What interests a tech guy or gal? What interests a VP of digital marketing? Send a message that's appropriate to the interests of that person and continue to provide value and you'll have a number of them coming to you before they start responding to all those other spammy mails, or emails.

Chad: And stop selling shit. Just stop. Selling. Shit. Don't sell the fucking position, don't sell the company, don't ... Just be more fucking human about the conversation. That's the thing. What would you want to hear from somebody else? If you ask yourself that, would I want to receive this email? Would I want to receive this text? That is probably where you should start.

Steve: So there's a furniture store up here, I don't know if you guys have an Art Van?

Joel: Nope.

Chad: Nope.

Steve: Okay, so we have this big furniture store here in Michigan, one of the largest in the country, but they've got this reputation, the minute you walk in the door, you got like, 10 of their sales reps coming out on the floor saying, "Well, we got this on sale, this on sale, this on sale, this on sale." And they've trained them to do that. Just think if you walk into something like that and they say, "Hey, you walked in, what are you really looking for? Is there a need that I can point you in the right direction?" It's completely different. So to sell a position that you think is cool versus finding out what inspires somebody, what drives them, you're selling something that you want, not what they want.

Chad: Exactly.

Joel: No kidding. Hey, Steve, we'll let you out on this one. Going back to myth number two as LinkedIn is the end all, be all for sourcing for recruiters I'm curious about LinkedIn was in the news this week, they're in a legal dispute with hiQ and others that want to scrape their data. We've got GDPR in Europe, we've got heightened privacy regulations in California. Does all this sort of personal privacy thing change your mind about LinkedIn, because LinkedIn may be one of the few bastions of sourcing out there? And what are just some of your overall thoughts on personal privacy in recruiting?

Steve: Well, I think if you put your information up on LinkedIn and you make it public, there's nothing personal and private about it. Let's start there, right? So if you're saying here's my profile-

Joel: And the courts seem to agree with you.

Steve: And they do, and that's why ... And I said that even before the courts agreed with me on it. If you've marked it as private, then I think there needs to be something, there's some question about the legalities of some of the scrapers that still scrape some of the private with your login, right? I think that even though you can do it, is it the right thing to do? I don't think so. Now GDPR is a little different story. Because GDPR says you can gather that information but you can't use the information unless you have their approval to actually use it. That's different. I don't see that coming here to the U.S. any time soon. That's pretty extreme. Even with what California's doing with privacy and now New York's starting to do with privacy, it still pales in comparison to GDPR rules.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: And we will see. Steve, hey, man, thanks so much for joining us today. We appreciate it.

Joel: That was awesome, man.

Chad: We had a great conversation, definitely want to have you back after you've been on the show, now you're going to sell at least another 20,000 books, but man, we appreciate it and if somebody wants to go buy the book or maybe they want to find out more about you, where would they go?

Steve: You can go to Amazon and just look up Recruiting Sucks, it pops up number one, or you can go to my website, and there's a little click on there for books that takes you to Amazon anyways.

Chad: Excellent.

Joel: Thanks, Steve.

Chad: We appreciate it.

Steve: Thanks, guys.

Chad: We out. We out.

Tristen: Hi, I'm Tristen. Thanks for listening to my step-dad, the Chad, and his goofy friend Cheese. You've been listening to the Chad & 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. They made me say that. The most important part is to check out our sponsors because I need new [track bikes 00:25:33], you know, the expensive shiny old pair that are extra because, well, I'm extra.

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