top of page
Indeed Wave.PNG

Drones, Architects, and Hiring

Ed Sayson is a TA leader at ARC Document Systems. Yeah, sounds kinda boring, but hold on, the company is a drone trendsetter. By employing a lot of drone jockeys (not sure what they're called officially, and driver sounds like a UPS worker), they're able to crush the competition and gain a strategic advantage. And if you think hiring for such an army is easy, think again, as Ed reveals all his tricks and tips in the exclusive interview from Jobvite's Recruiter Nation Live event from San Francisco.

Chad: Here's another selection Joel and I recorded live from San Francisco at Jobvite's Recruiter Nation Live. We had a chance to catch up with talent acquisition leaders, turn on the mics and talk drones. Hell yeah. Drones.

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: We're back, live from Recruiter Nation Live. That sounds a little redundant, doesn't it?

Chad: RNL.

Joel: RNL?

Chad: RN Live, RNL like SNL, but RNL.

Joel: Jobvite's RNL '19 coming at you with another live interview.

Chad: 2019 live review from San Francisco in the Parc 55. Parc with a C by the way, not a K.

Joel: Lovely part of town.

Chad: Yeah, I don't know how that happened. So we have Ed


Joel: Sayson?

Chad: Sayson?

Edward: Sayson.

Joel: Sayson.

Chad: Sayson. I like Sayson, but we'll go with Sayson.

Joel: Sayson's kind of cool.

Chad: It's just a last name, yeah.

Edward: It's French. It's French. Sayson is Swedish.

Chad: Okay. Swedish.

Joel: I can tell already this guy is way smarter than we are.

Chad: That doesn't take much.

Joel: I'm a little nervous.

Chad: Does not take much.

Joel: So you're with ARC.

Chad: I am. ARC Documents Solutions.

Joel: All right. For our listeners and us, what's the company do?

What do you do?

Edward: Well, first of all, let me answer your first question about what ARC is. ARC Documents Solutions is a 30-year old publicly traded company that is known now as the largest provider of wide format printing to the architects, engineering, and construction industry. We're also the largest network of drone pilots. Think of us as the Uber of drones.

Chad: Do what? You're the largest number of drone pilots?

Joel: Ed just blew my mind. He went from paper to drone pilots.

Edward: That's right.

Chad: Wow. How do you spin into something like that?

Edward: Well this is why we're talking, right?

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: He sets you up with the soft stuff and then unloads drone pilot on you.

Chad: Wow.

Edward: We serve the needs of our clients in the AEC industry. Originally, started with their needs to print information and then we started managing the print services for some of the largest AEC companies with a global footprint.

Chad: Yeah.

Edward: They're not going to run every revision of their blueprint down to the corner print stores.

Chad: Right, right, right.

Edward: So they're going to try to set up print themselves and we come in and manage it because they don't know what they're doing. And we realize that they also have needs to improve productivity. Like every time a project manager needs to go out and take pictures and measure so he can send up a project status report, we said, "Why don't you let us take care of that too?"

Edward: So we created this network of drone pilots and now we are the Uber of drones for the AEC world. That's just one of the other things that we do besides print.

Joel: What's a day in the life of a drone pilot look like?

Edward: I have no idea, because I'm not one.

Chad: I was going to say, do they sit in a conex like in Vegas?

Joel: Or in grandma's basement?

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Like unloading armies of drones throughout the world.

Edward: I imagine it's more like the Air Force drone pilots who are in between missions. They send up another drone for ARC for construction project status reports.

Chad: How many drones are we talking about here? You really have me interested now, jeez.

Chad: We're talking probably over 150,000 drone pilots.

Chad: No way!

Joel: Pilots?

Chad: Yeah, the drone pilots.

Chad: Drone pilots.

Joel: Holy shit. Is this global?

Chad: I love this shit.

Edward: Yeah, it's global.

Joel: Or is this just in the US?

Edward: Well, most of it is in the US. But it's because there was a need to shorten the way in which the project managers would have to write their status reports on the building project.

Chad: Okay, so when did the drones start to come into play and how easy is it to find drone pilots now? Other than going straight to the military and just trying to pull them as soon as they come out?

Edward: Well, the FAA has a certification program to get a drone license. It's called FAA 107. So we just go to that report and go enlist these.

Chad: Oh, so they have a list?

Edward: Yeah, there's a list of drone...

Chad: There's a list.

Edward: As long as you have a drone license, it's like truck drivers,


Chad: Yeah.

Edward: Everybody's looking for a commercial, A license or C license, and you just go get those people and say, "How'd you like to be part of that network?"

Chad: So your own network?

Joel: So you're 150,000 now, how many are you adding say in the next year or two years?

Edward: You know, I have no idea.

Joel: This is a growth industry.

Edward: It is like the Uber of drones.

Chad: Oh yeah. Holy crap.

Edward: You need a drone? Call ARC. That's just one of the things we do.

Joel: I want to hear about Ed a little bit. Because he's blown our mind with drones. Let's hear more about you and your recruiting past.

Edward: So I am now the talent acquisition leader for the company.

Chad: Okay.

Edward: I oversee all recruiting and talent acquisition. I have a 25-year track record of recruiting. I had my own executive search practice for over 10 years where I did retain searches for other private companies.

Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Edward: I've also been in-house with companies like Commerce One, which was one of the first eCommerce companies in the Bay area. I was in charge of all of their global talent acquisition. I ran recruiting and employment for the Lawrence Berkeley National Lab, where we recruited all kinds of scientists and researchers.

Joel: So unlike 90% of this room, you've actually placed a five-line newspaper ad at some point in your life?

Edward: At some point early when I said I would never do print and who am I working for now?

Joel: Right, right.

Edward: Then I've done startups. So after I sold my medical staffing business, which I thought healthcare was where you wanted to be at. I did that for six years, sold it on the peninsula and came back to the East Bay where I live and got hired by ARC two years ago and I got rid of their ATS system and brought in Jobvite.

Chad: Really? So you got rid of their applicant tracking system because it was a piece of shit. Why did you get rid of it?

Joel: What were they using before Jobvite?

Edward: Well, they were using an archaic product when I say archaic, it was probably third generation. Whereas we can consider Jobvite to be fourth generation.

Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Edward: It was just not meeting the needs of how we needed to recruit in today's economy. I was looking for a product that had marketing capabilities, CRM capabilities, and had a very easy user interface.

Edward: So I scoured the market, looked at the Gartner Magic Quadrant Report, and Jobvite was on there. And I did a shootout with a whole bunch of others and ended up selecting Jobvite.

Chad: And that was two years ago?

Edward: Two years ago, yeah.

Chad: Two years ago. So tell us, obviously the big acquisition that happened, all these new players that are a part of this. How does this affect how ARC is going to be using technology moving forward? Because it's almost like an embedded tech stacker.

Edward: I'm glad you asked because I was already in touch with all of those three companies before I read that they were acquired by Jobvite. So it just made me really happy that we are eventually going to see an integrated product that I can access from one platform.

Edward: We were already introduced to Canvas for texting, by Jobvite. When we asked for it, they said "We happen to have a product." And it was a bolt-on at the time. So we're now using that to communicate with candidates.

Edward: I was looking for an employee referral program and I was talking to RolePoint. In fact, I even got some of their swag when I read they were acquired by Jobvite.

Joel: Do you remember what the swag was?

Edward: Yeah, it was a couple of mugs, it was t-shirt that said "employee referral action hero" or something like that.

Joel: It's not often people remember the swag that they get from a vendor. So I was curious what was it?

Chad: Swag is making a comeback though.

Joel: It is making come back and we're helping drive that.

Chad: Yes, we are. We're doing our damnedest.

Edward: So swag is good because all of the vendors today are offering swag that they are asking us all to take. Otherwise they have to ship it back home.

Chad: That's right, yeah. And the only way that you're going to take it is if it's good swag.

Edward: That's right.

Chad: So all you vendors out there, get the good swag. Don't be playing with that nasty, cheap stuff.

Edward: No plastic cheap stuff, yeah.

Chad: So you've been around a long time, what are some of the most effective marketing platforms or strategies that you're currently using to engage with candidates?

Edward: Well, a lot of people in marketing have developed what's called demand generation marketing.

Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Edward: Part of that includes email content that's different that gets sent to people who have been on the website at one point or another, ads that show up whenever they type in a particular keyword on a website or on their browser. So the same thing can be applied to recruiting, because recruiting is all about selling the company. We're salespeople, so we should also have marketing to create that demand.

Edward: So when I looked at what Engage was inside Jobvite, I was thrilled. That allows us to do email drip marketing, which I use internally and externally. It also has a very robust capability for reports. Anytime I spend money, I have to show the value of that investment and Jobvite has great reporting capabilities.

Chad: So are you working with marketing at all to be able to pull all this together?

Edward: Yes I am, but when you're not on the product side, you take a back seat whenever a new priority comes in.

Chad: Right.

Edward: Let me give you an example. I went to my boss and said we need to rebrand our employee referral program. Every company says they have an employee referral program.

Chad: Right.

Edward: They'll pay for referrals, but unless you keep it alive with a personality and market it properly to your employees...

Chad: Any product, right?

Edward: Yeah.

Chad: Yeah.

Edward: So I went to marketing and I had already spoken to the CFO about it. So the CFO gave me blessing and then marketing heard that CFO wanted to do this. So they put me at the top of their priority list. They came up with a wonderful website, they came up with collateral, they came up with props.

Edward: Today, we just launched this rebranded employee referral incentive program, which I rebranded as TRIP, T-R-I-P. Talent Referral Incentive Program. It's a play on words, because at the end of the 12-month period of this new trip program...

Chad: You get to take a trip.

Edward: We have a lottery for a trip.

Joel: I'm feeling some upcoming swag of this trip promotion.

Edward: Yeah.

Chad: Yes.

Edward: So the trip is a lottery, but every time you refer a candidate to me, you get a ping pong ball with your name put into the the lottery bin.

Chad: I love it.

Edward: And we give you a $5 gift card for just giving the email as a thank you. And then once we hire your referral, you get X thousand dollars.

Chad: Excellent. So how does RolePoint actually help you with this whole process?

Edward: Well, RolePoint Was going to provide me with their website and their swag and the marketing collateral. But my marketing team already developed it so I didn't have to go to RolePoint.

Chad: Gotcha.

Edward: But the marketing team did it as a one-time effort for me for this launch.

Chad: Uh-huh (affirmative).

Edward: I don't think I'm going to have the same visibility next year, so I'm going to need something like RolePoint to keep this personality of the program going.

Joel: Are referrals your number one source of traffic and candidate?

Edward: Not today, but it should be.

Joel: What is number one?

Edward: Number one has been the career site and our job boards through JobTarget, which is another function of Jobvite.

Chad: Another vendor that's actually here, JobTarget.

Edward: That's right.

Chad: Wave at the guys at JobTarget.

Joel: What are some other sort of top ways that you're driving and engaging with candidates?

Edward: Boomerang employees. We've gone after people who have left and we've been able to bring back a couple.

Joel: So tactically, how are you doing that?

Edward: We just approach them and tell them what a great company it is today. And of course the company has done well.

Joel: Say we have drones now.

Edward: Yeah.

Joel: You might want to come back and check it out.

Chad: Yeah. Are you thinking about getting your drone pilots license? That's good shit.

Edward: No, I don't think so. I actually had at one time a private pilot's license and I don't think I could ever sit and fly a drone through a screen once you've been up in the air yourself.

Joel: Obviously we've talked about job Jobvite adding features to its platform. What are some features that you'd like to see in the next two, three years added to the platform?

Edward: I'd like to see a single platform where I don't have to go to so many things like a Chrome extension just to get the text feature. I don't have to sign on to Telemetry's platform.

Chad: So a unified platform?

Edward: A unified platform, right.

Chad: So you don't have to have all these browsers open.

Edward: That's correct.

Joel: One platform to rule them all.

Edward: That's right.

Joel: Edward, thanks for your time and sitting down with us today. For people who want to know about you or your company, where would you send them?

Edward: I'd send them to our website. It's

Joel: Thanks Edward.

Edward: Have a good one.

Joel: We out.

Chad: We out.

Announcer: This has been the Chad and Cheese 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.

Announcer: For more, visit Oh yeah, you're welcome.

bottom of page