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Recruiter Nation LIVE: David Draper

It's Recruiter Nation LIVE Chad & Cheese style of course.

We chat with a lot of recruitment solution makers, but it's great to connect with the actual buyers and users whenever possible. Jobvite's Recruiter Nation Live event, which recently went down in San Francisco, was a great time to sit down with some practitioners and get the nitty-gritty on what's getting them hyped about the future of TA tech. Enjoy.

Enjoy this Jobvite Exclusive with David Draper, Director of Talent Acquisition with Lewis Group of Companies.


Chad: During our time in San Francisco at Jobvite’s Recruiter Nation Live. We had a chance to catch up with leaders in the Talent Acquisition Space, so we turned on the mics. Enjoy.

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 not even be-

Joel: There's been two, just the tip jokes in the last 30 minutes. Like that's a good sign for a great conference.

Chad: Well that was because we were talking to Mason from Lyft.

Joel: Everything goes south when you're talking to Mason.

David: Everything is about tips.

Chad: I had for everything when I'm sorry.

Joel: I'm sure he loves that you put Lift in there when you're referencing tip jokes.

Chad: Tips, Yeah.

Joel: Well they do have a tip system, so you could-

Chad: that was when I was talking about that's why I went with Lyft originally over Uber because of the tips and that's where you have the... Yeah, I'm a tip guy.

Joel: Chad's a tip guy.

Chad: I'm a tip guy.

Joel: Not the whole, just the tip.

David: Just the tip Yes.

Joel: David did you know you're on a not safe for work.

David: I did.

Joel: Podcast you jumped on. Okay, good. Well let's introduce David.

David: Yes.

Joel: David don Draper. I'm sure that changed your life when mad men became famous.

David: I'm the handsome one of the two of them.

Chad: Yeah no, that's what I was going to say. Yeah. So David Draper the better looking of the Draper's. Yes, and you're with whom and what the hell do you do


David: I'm the Director of Talent Acquisition at the Lewis Group of Companies, which is a very large real estate development company, property management company in Southern California.

Chad: Okay, okay. Yeah. So, so how long have you been at Lewis Group?

David: I've been at Lewis for 16 years.

Chad: 16 Years.

David: When they hired me, they had no recruiting presence in the company. There were only two people in human resources.

Chad: How big is the company?

David: About 700 employees.

Chad: Okay.

David: In our section of Southern California, there's really nobody in our league that does what we do.

Chad: Oh gotcha, okay.

Joel: And we are here at the Job by Recruiter Nation Live Conference. So I'm assuming your a job by client as well. Tell us about That.

David: We are a job by client. We have been for about five years. This is my second recruiter nation live. I'm very happy with the product. When I joined the company that I'm with, we had a... First of all, when I first joined them, we had no ATS at all. We were putting ads... The company was putting ads in the paper, you know-

Joel: Oh my God. 5 years ago.

David: Craigslist, flyers. This is 16 years ago and-

Joel: Not five years ago.

David: Not five years ago. Immediately we got hooked up with Monster, CareerBuilder, all the usual suspects, but pretty soon it was time to pick an ATS.

Joel: Yep.

David: At the time we had another ATS, which will remain nameless-

Joel: Boo, come on David.

David: But it was... It starts with a Ceridian and ends with a Ceridian.

Joel: Rhymes with Meridian.

David: But I investigated a handful and faraway Jobvite was doing some really cool progressive stuff, specifically in the ease of application, the referral piece -

Joel: And what year was this?

David: Five years ago, so they had-

Joel: Okay, five years ago.

David: 2013, so a little bit more than five years ago. And yeah, it's been a big hit. My recruiting team is not that big. Currently we're three at our largest we were five, but three is a good number for us for what we do and what we need to fill.

Chad: From a director standpoint, when you're looking at systems, and you're looking at pretty much what's happening out there today, cause there's so much noise, all the startups, all the AI, all the RPA, all the acronyms and shit. What does it boil down to for you? What matters most for all of those systems? They can have all the bright and shiny shit, but what really, what brass tacks for you?

David: Yeah. I think when you're in recruiting, you got to look at what works for the company you're employed by, the jobs you want to fill, the type of candidate you're attracting. For Louis, what really works is the candidate experience and connecting that to the culture, and then over that is the brand. Where we are in Southern California, we're in a marketplace of Southern California where we're the leader, and a lot of people on the street know our company. They're probably going to rent a Lewis Apartment. They might shop at a Lewis Shopping Center. So we-

Chad: That's a brand people know.

David: Yeah. Okay. We got to make sure that experience is good when we're putting candidates through the whole process. Because as I like to say, if a candidate has a great experience with recruiting, they're probably going to rent a Lewis apartment. And if someone has a creative experience renting an apartment, they're probably going to apply for a Lewis job. It's all connected. The candidate is the customer, the customer's a candidate.

Chad: So how long did it take you to actually arrive at that? Because most of HR and recruiting, they haven't made that connection just yet. That your brand overall does transform into whether that candidates are looking for product or-

David: Sure.

Joel: And is that communicated with your marketing team? Like are you in close communications with them?

David: Yeah. Well, to answer your question about where it started, it started with a friendship.

Chad: Okay.

David: When I joined Louis, when I hired a guy who was our social, I forget what his title was, Automated Marketing Specialist.

Chad: Social media dude.

David: When we hired him, he was all about revenue marketing. That's it, revenue marketing, but he and I-

Chad: Is he in re-gen kind of stuff?

David: Yep. Re-generation.

Chad: Gotcha.

David: He and I connected over coffee and beer, throwing ideas around.

David: And we realized-

Joel: That it was either a long meeting or a real interesting meeting.

David: Especially the the beer meetings. But you know, a lot of those ideas come after the second beer, we always joke. And we had some really cool ideas of how to take marketing into recruiting, how it's really all the same thing.

David: And I'll never forget, we went to a LinkedIn conference way back when, probably about seven years ago and it was really cool because everyone at that conference was telling us, "You're the only company here, you're the only recruiter who brought your marketing guy." And it was really exciting to know that we were, we were touching on something that the big guys were just starting with or knew about. And here we are, a little real estate development company in Southern California and we're on the right track. And it all again, goes to the culture of the company. It's a great company. The family's been doing it since the 1950s they're very well known. And so when you start with that in TA, when you have a trusted brand, I think that's gold. If you can take that, wrap yourself around, it turn into a process into content and lead generation. That's where we were and that's what we did.

Chad: Well in those words, if you go to a CEO, CFO, COO and you say lead generation, and it's coming out of recruiting, that will get their attention. Because it means that it's actually impacting their bottom line right?

David: Absolutely.

Chad: So what was T tell me a little bit about that process when you took it up. The, I mean, did you have that conversation? Did you start having different narrative with the C-suite? How'd that work?

David: Well, to a certain extent, we, at the very beginning, we kind of just did it. Because luckily the C-suite at our company is, I can, no, I can't put this any other way. They're just cool. They, they like to hire good people, and they kind of let them do what they do.

Chad: Do their thing, yeah.

David: They might not understand a little piece, but when it starts working though, you know, call you in and go, what are you doing and why are you doing it and tell me about it.

David: And those conversations were always positive with our head of marketing, with the owners, with the VP of asset management, they were always very positive. So luckily I had that culture, that management that let me kind of do what you do. And I think to your point, if you're in the C-suite, you obviously want to hire great people, let great people do it, let them do it. Of course talk about it with them, have them report on it, but if you're a company that likes to say you hire fantastic people, let them do their work.

Joel: Earlier this year, Jobvite raises $200 million, they buy three companies, starting to integrate those, get a new CEO. You as a customer, What were your feelings when you first heard about the acquisition and what have you seen since then with using the product that has been sort of a exciting?

David: Well we have very... Right off the bat was Canvas job via text. That was something really early on that my friend in marketing, we really knew. The unemployment rate was going down, candidates were wanting more out of the experience, a recession was in our rear view mirror, and then of course me personally I hate answering the phone and I hate checking my email but I love text. And so I knew that that was an ex... That's the next step. And so we very quickly signed up with Canvas and that has been I think a game changer for us to be that ahead of the curve, to be able to talk to candidates quickly in real time, in minutes or less, to have them fill out our application, do our online assessments, set up those interviews and have that connection all the way through past day one.

Chad: So is it anti ghosting magic? Did you see... Have you seen the ghosting happening because the of the job market and is it really anti ghosting magic?

David: I've seen the ghosting, we've all been frustrated by it, and absolutely I think job via text absolutely helps with that. Particularly during the interview process. And particularly when they can communicate, not with just with the, with the recruiting team, but the managers of they could potentially be working with.

Joel: So I'm assuming you see a lot of new products, vendors getting phone calls, devoting their product. What are some things that you've seen in the last say six months that has you excited in terms of technology?

David: Well, I think programmatic advertising of course, again, taking that marketing space and putting it into TA. I think the use of chatbots is really interesting. Probably not right for our company. I don't... we're not a company that hires thousands and thousands of people every year, but I can see where that would be exciting and keep that communication flowing both from that first touch point with the person interacting with some of your content all the way past, past day one. So it's those two things.

David: So something really cool that we did, is we had candidates who are applying through our website or careers website, which is a very low cost source. We had an opt in page where we said to the candidate, you know, candidate would click on apply here now and then they would go to an opt in page and they could learn about deals for apartments, deals for single family homes, deals for shopping searches, basically local deals.

David: And we had an 80% opt in rate, and we now turn those candidates into marketing leads and then we could send them content and information about products. And we actually in one year turned, we had 16 leases of apartments from candidates who were turned into marketing leads, which is, it's basically revenue.

Chad: Yeah. No, it is. It's not basically revenue. It is revenue.

David: It is. And that I think is a pretty exciting concept to look at candidates as a potentially marketing leads for products. It's the same concept of candidates or customers. You do the same thing when you're shopping on a company's website and when you're shopping on Amazon, you're putting in your information, you're not thinking twice about it.

Chad: It's a holistic experience. It's not just a career experience. It's not just a buying experience. You could go to Amazon and who knows, maybe look for jobs or something like that. Right. While you're buying a book or what have you. But in this case, what did the C-suite say? Or what did the boss say when you said, "Hey look, this is what's happening and this is what we did."

David: We're looking more into it right now. But they were pretty... It was an eyebrow raiser and it was interesting, tell me more. We're in that tell me more phase. But it all goes to what I believe in, and what you guys believe and what I think smart progressive people in our space think, should know is that experience is the same. If a candidate is going to buy your product, they probably are going to apply for a job, and if they hear something negative about your company, they're probably not going to apply for a job. I mean, you might be wanting to go apply for a job at a company, but when you read an article that they're dumping chemicals in the river, suddenly you're not going to buy their product and you're not going to apply for their job.

Chad: So what do you say to those purists that are out there that really believe that there has to be separation between church and state, between sales marketing, and employment brand marketing. What do you say to those people? Cause they're out there and they, and they talk this separation all the time.

David: I say why? Well I think that. Why be so firmly in place when I bet you're probably not firmly in place on many of the things you do.

Chad: Especially when it's good for the overall business and obviously good for the, I mean this is an opt in thing. You're not making them-

David: correct.

Chad: Take care of your deals or what have you. This is something that's an opt in kind of scenario.

David: Correct, and if you're a company that believes you have a positive brand, why not use that and be honest about it. Don't, don't fake it. I think candidates, and you know, people will know that-

Chad: Sniff that shit out. Oh Yeah.

Joel: You mentioned earlier that you are a talent agent. I'm wondering if there's a funny Hollywood type talent agent story that you have.

David: Yes. Before joining Lewis, I was with Robert Half International and then way before that I was with a talent agency in Beverly Hills. We weren't a William Morris here or a CAA, but we were about a B plus boutique agency.

Chad: Still, beautiful people, I mean come on.

Joel: Okay.

David: Oh, it was a lot of beautiful people. I always say we tended to make people stars, and then they would leave, you know, they'd get on a cool pilot that took off or they get the movie and then they'd say they thank you, they go to William Morris.

Joel: See where the mid market of talent agencies till they moved to New York or LA to play sports.

David: Couple stories I always tell is we had Salma Hayek. We would just come up from Mexico. And we got her in a few television shows, a couple on HBO. She would always come in the office. She was super cool, super friendly. She treated her career like a business. Really took it seriously. So I wasn't surprised that she took off, but she left us right before Dusk Till Dawn From Dusk Till Dawn, which of course everyone listening to this should watch if you haven't already. And then my funny story-

Joel: That was a Tarantino one wasn't it?

David: Tarantino yeah.

Joel: I don't know if he wrote it... I don't think he directed it but he wrote it, I believe.

David: Robert Regus directed it, but he wrote it. Cool story was actually... Tarantino we got... He was at Sundance Film Festival with Reservoir Dogs, and so at that same time he had all these screenplays out there that everyone was trying to get on board with. So it was cool reading all of his screenplays before they became movies or before they even got picked up. That was kind of neat. My other funny story is that I put an actor on a recurring guest star role on a little sitcom called the Ellen DeGeneres Show.

Chad: Oh no. Really?

David: Yes. And to support my actor, I would go to the tapings. Since it was a new show the tapings would go really late, till like 11, midnight, cause everyone was really nervous. And so we would always go out, go get a pizza or some beers, and so we would hang out with the cast. And everyone was really cool and Ellen wasn't... She was just a stand up comedian who hit it on a show, and I had a big crush on her and I thought I was getting places like chitchatting with her.

Chad: On Ellen, with Ellen?

David: Yes. I mean-

Joel: Little did you know.

David: Of course.

Chad: And then he's watching, he's watching the show and he's like, wait a minute, what just happened?

David: This was before she came out, and she was super chill and really personable and down to earth. And this was, I mean, this wasn't like her and I in a room, this was just groups in groups of people. but I remember having this little [crosstalk 00:16:45].

Chad: You thought she was into you.

David: Crush on her and I thought, Hey, do I have a chance?

Chad: She's totally, and she's totally into me. Yeah.

Joel: So you're saying there is a chance.

David: But I do remember she was really nice and friendly and then all that, just what a young actress comedian who's kind of at the hit it big or potentially could hit it big.

Joel: or at least now, you know, it wasn't you.

David: It wasn't me. It wasn't me at least that time.

Chad: So last, last question. If a vendor wants to be able to get your attention, how do they get your attention?

David: That's a really good question. I think, [crosstalk 00:17:21] yeah, there is. I do get a lot of emails and a lot of calls and everybody's great. They just want to work, and they just want to get their product out there, but I would say to a vendor is do a little bit of homework on the company you're trying to sell it to. And you know, something that could work for the Geico, and the Netflix's of the world, is not going to work for the majority of companies out there. Because the majority of companies are thousand people or less. So look... Call them up or just look at their space out there on social or on the web, and gear your sales pitch to them.

David: To say, "Hey, you know, you might not be our Chatbot customer, but you are a customer for this other piece that we do." And I think that would be an easy kind of in that a sales person or a rep could do.

Joel: can I squeeze in one more? So you're, you're in the real estate development business, and you guys are sort of on the front lines of the economy and what's going on. Do you see any cracks in the economy based on what you're seeing in the home development business or the real estate development?

David: I'm in TA, but I interact with all of the major players, development VPs and they're all great men and women. What I see out there right now is probably single family homes are going to level out, quiet down.

David: That might kind of slow down, but what I hear and see is apartments are red hot, and they probably won't stop being red hot. And I think they're going to change, you know, amenity heavy, more upscale, more and more upscale and then moving out into the suburban areas. But I think it goes to that demographic of who wants a place to sleep and a place with a roof over the head. It's completely different than the idea of my parents had, and our parents had. Now it's, you know like we were talking earlier about people not buying cars anymore. I don't know if people are going to think of where they live as that longterm thing anymore.

Joel: But you're still optimistic on the economy at this point?

David: Yeah, I would say I think we're going to see a dip in 2020, I do. That's my personal view. I don't think we're going to get anything-

Joel: Hope the floor's not going to fall out from under us.

David: Hopefully it's now the 2008, no one wants that, but I think we're going to see a dip, and I hopefully you see home prices be a bit more reasonable for everybody. But I think we're going to see higher and higher rents and not just in the major urban areas.

Joel: Well, David, thanks for sitting down with us today. For anyone who wants to know more about you or your company, where would you send them?

David: Well, the best place is our website, and of course I'm on LinkedIn, David Draper, and then on Twitter we're @LewisRecruits.

Chad: Excellent. Thanks man.

Joel: We out.

Chad: We out.

Chad: This has been the Chad and to youth podcast. Subscribe on iTunes, Google Play or wherever you get your podcasts, so you don't miss a single show. And be sure to check out our sponsors because they make it all possible for more visit Oh yeah, you're welcome.

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