You've Been Wonged. Starring Mason Wong

Mason Wong, is a VETERAN of recruiting and currently responsible for Lyft's applicant tracking system to support their recruitment team. Mason has his finger on the pulse of the Recruiting community and shares those views with Chad & Cheese at Jobvite's Recruiting Nation LIVE!

PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by Disability Solutions is your RPO partner for the disability community, from source to hire.

Chad : Here's another hot podcast, recorded live, from San Francisco at Jobvite's Recruiter Nation Live. We had a chance to catch up with leaders in the recruiting space, so, we turned on the mics and got a Lyft. 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 & Cheese Podcast.

Joel: Welcome, long time listener, first time interview, Mason Wong, to the show.

Joel: Mason Wong, everyone.

Chad : Live from Recruiter Nation Live, by Jobvite. Yes. Well, our live audience is very subdued at the moment, otherwise they would give you a standing ovation. Mason, welcome to the podcast. Give us the elevator pitch on you, for those who don't know who you are.

Mason: Well, thanks Joel and Chad. It's actually a bit surreal to be here. So, thanks a lot.

Chad : You bet, man.

Mason: The elevator pitch. So, today I am the recruiting system administrator at Lyft. I'm responsible for the applicant tracking system, supporting our recruiting team-

Chad : A little know ride-sharing company, out there, that many of our listeners


Mason: My background is actually in recruiting. I started as a tech recruiter, I did some college recruiting, I was the head of recruiting for a number of software companies in the Bay area. And about seven years ago I started an independent consulting practice focused on helping Jobvite customers, because I had been an already, a repeat customer of Jobvite. So, I was doing a lot of reconfiguration, custom training, implementations. So, I got really very, very involved hands on, as a practitioner of applicant tracking system.

Chad : Now, was Lyft a Jobvite client before you joined? Or did you transfer them over to-

Mason: Yeah, it's an interesting story. Many years ago, like a lot of tech companies, Lyft was a Jobvite customer. Then they switched to Lever, and then they switched to Greenhouse.

Chad : That's a lot of switching.

Mason: It's a lot of switching.

Joel: That's a lot of switching.

Mason: And then they hired me.

Chad : Hello.

Mason: And the interesting thing is that, they gave me a shot at taking care of the applicant tracking system without me ever having touched Greenhouse before.

Chad : Was this something you volunteered to do? Or did you... Because I can't imagine somebody wanting to do.

Mason: So, as I've mentioned, my consulting practice was already focused on applicant tracking systems, so I kind of have an interest in it, and it happened to be very Jobvite flavored. But a recruiter gave me a call, and I was just coming off of a consulting project, didn't have any leads at the moment, and they said, would you like to take care of Lyft systems? And I said, let's talk. And when it turned out to be a great learning opportunity from a stance of, of course, learning Greenhouse, and also becoming part of a larger recruiting organization, and it's just a fast growing, popular tech brand, it seemed like a good deal. So, I joined. I've been there six months.

Chad : I'm assuming you weren't in an Uber when they called you for the job.

Mason: No.

Joel: If not, he jumped the hell out.

Mason: No.

Chad : Excuse me. Pull over real quick. And I'm out.

Chad : So, you've been doing this for a long time, the recruiting game. I'm curious. Let's start out with your big picture, what you see happening now, what's interesting, what has legs, what's going to disappear in the next, four or five years. What's your overall macro view of recruiting technology?

Joel: Life according to Mason.

Mason: Wow. Well, I mean, we could go back to where my recruiting career started way back in the 90s, and obviously the technology was different. But a lot of the fundamentals are basically the same, in terms of the challenge of finding candidates, courting them, getting them to call back, and show up for the interview, you've still got to assess them and all of that. All of those fundamentals are the same. Managing recruiters, and influencing hiring managers, all of that is still fundamentally the same.

Mason: Obviously the technology is different, the reach is different, the social media is different. So, we have a bit of a different landscape. The economy, of course, is different. Especially in tech hiring, is very, very competitive right now. Of course, there's questions with the global economy, but at least today, US tech hiring, hotter than ever. Thinking back to the .com talent wars of the late 90s, it's crazier than that back then.

Joel: So, back then, the only way that you could get to somebody faster was to dial faster, right?

Mason: Yeah, absolutely. I mean, besides the dialing, we were still, we were doing things like YouthNet job postings.

Chad : Oh, yeah, yeah, yeah.

Mason: The early versions of online career center, and all of that.

Joel: Don't forget the Porsche Boxster signing bonuses that you were giving.

Mason: Well, Joel, that was because of your Cheesehead days, right? We were talking about that.

Joel: I never got a Boxster, though.

Chad : Yeah. You got to talk about it though.

Joel: Good times.

Chad : So, today's entirely different, because-

Joel: When you mentioned callback, has that changed to text back?

Mason: Well, from what I hear, obviously, text recruiting is an emerging practice, and it clearly has nice high response rates. In terms of the companies that I've either consulted with or work with, I haven't seen it be a widespread practice yet. But, that's not to say it's worth pursuing, so.

Chad : So, why not, though? I mean, if you're seeing that kind of, high level of interaction and engagement, why wouldn't every company jump on this bandwagon?

Joel: Is it just a time thing? It's just going to take some time?

Mason: It takes time for practices to change. And it's one of the key challenges of my role is change management as we adjust processes, adjust systems. So, to switch to a practice of doing more text recruiting, I'm sure plenty of recruiters that are around where I work, they are texting their candidates. I'm sure that's already happening. But in terms of, like, centralizing it onto a managed platform, that's a change in practice, and I don't know how soon that would happen. Someday it would.

Joel: And you recently did a survey of recruiters.

Mason: Yeah.

Joel: I don't know if you want to talk about that or not, but you have some pretty cool insight on what in aggregate recruiters are interested in. And more interestingly, maybe what they don't care about.

Mason: So, I did launch an internal survey of the recruiting team at Lyft.

Chad : And how big is the team?

Joel: It was pretty big.

Mason: About 300 folks.

Chad : 300 folks.

Mason: Yeah.

Chad : Jesus!

Mason: So, we're recruiting to support a corporate organization of over 5,000 employees, and that's separate from the 2 million drivers that are involved with Lyft. The survey was to, in in my role of taking care of the applicant tracking system, I wanted to get a sentiment of how the recruiters are using the system. And one of the questions we posed was, What other kind of recruiting tools should we be researching to have an opportunity for integration? And just overall what are your interests? And I guess it's a reflection also of, what are the pain points?

Mason: And I categorize a bunch of different tools, possibilities. And interestingly, the recruiting team, number-one answer was sourcing tools. So, and that could be reflective of, it's a challenging market to just source candidates, so, they just want help from a tech tool standpoint. But amongst other possible tools that were listed, it beat out, scheduling automation, it beat out candidate discovery from database. And on the bottom of the list, I know you're alluding to this, was the interest in chatbots.

Joel: The basement.

Mason: Yeah. Chatbots, very little interest from that team.

Chad : They didn't give two shits about chatbots.

Mason: No.

Joel: Now that wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that chatbots might put them out of a job, does it?

Mason: Absolutely. Disintermediation, right?

Chad : Yeah.

Mason: It's unlikely-

Joel: It's like a truck driver not caring about driverless trucks.

Mason: To an extent. I mean, obviously there are automated trucks happening now, right? But, I mean, recruiters... Joel, you didn't ask me, but my opinion is recruiters are not at risk of being displaced for a very long time.

Chad : Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. Tasks. The menial tasks, the repetitive tasks, the scheduling, some of the sourcing pieces, I mean, all of that, that takes a lot of time, can be done better by machine or process, RPA, or whatever it is, right? But, that doesn't take the entire job away, right?

Mason: That's correct. That's corr