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Does Your Brand Suck? Unleash LIVE!

Conferences are fun when Chad & Cheese take the stage. And they're twice as fun when big brands and influential voices join the boys on stage.

That's just what happened at Unleash in Paris last week when Brandy Ellis of Smashfly, Chris Wray of Sainsbury's and Adam Yearsley of Red Bull joined the fun. Hint: There were disagreements. And loads of knowledge droppin'.

Enjoy this Smashfly exclusive.


Disability Solutions partners with our clients to build best-in-class inclusion programs and reach qualified, talented individuals with disabilities of every skill, education, and experience level.

Chad: This Chad & Cheese cult brand podcast is supported by SmashFly, recruiting technology built for the talent lifecycle and big believers in building relationships with brands, not jobs. Let SmashFly help tell your story and keep relationships at the heart of your CRM.

Intro: 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 on for the Chad & Cheese podcast.

Lars: All of you, if you can find it on any podcast hosting tool you want I definitely recommend. It's fun. It's entertaining. It's lively. And it's going to challenge the way you think about the field. And that's what we want at a podcast. But I'd love to introduce the host of the chatting cheese podcast, Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman, and they're going to bring out their panel. Let's give them a warm welcome to the influencer stage. Sir. Have fun.

Joel: Should we bring out the folks while we're dealing with technical issues?

Chad: Yeah, go ahead.

Joel: Brandy, why don't you to come up? Brandy from SmashFly. Big round of applause for Brandy. Chris from Sainsbury's, everybody. Big round of applause. And Adam from Red Bull may have run away. He didn't want to be on... Oh, there he is. Okay. Adam from Red Bull. He has wings, everybody [crosstalk 00:01:33].

Chad: All right. Yeah. Technical issues, screw it. Okay. If you haven't listened to the Chad & Cheese podcast before, just so you know, this is an adult setting. They're going to be explicit, possibly F bombs dropping. We're dumb Americans. We do this shit, right?

Joel: Not safe for work is what this is.

Chad: Yes. So luckily-

Joel: Feel free to leave. Our feelings won't be hurt.

Chad: We have actually conned Red Bull, Sainsbury's, and SmashFly on stage to talk about brand today and candidate experience-

Joel: And we're sitting on bookings so they can't escape.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: We've got them.

Chad: Yes. And we have people in the audience that will stop them as well. We're going to start off first with the introductions. We're going to do that with Adam from Red Bull. So give us a Twitter version, who you are, what you do, why are you on stage.

Joel: Elevator pitch.

Adam: Adam Yearsley, global head of talent management at Red Bull. I do people.

Chad: I love that.

Joel: How much Red Bull are you on right now?

Adam: I'm actually tired so [crosstalk 00:02:29]-

Joel: Oh, you're tired? Okay. But you do come down off Red Bull eventually. Good to know. Brandy.

Brandy: I feel like that's kind of a bad representation of brand, right? You're supposed to be not tired.

Joel: Yeah, "I'm never tired."

Adam: I'm just human.

Brandy: Hi, guys. Brandy Ellis from SmashFly. I lead the recruitment marketing function there and previously I was a practitioner for about 18 years. We're going to stop counting right about there.

Joel: You were six years old.

Brandy: What?

Joel: You were six years old.

Brandy: Absolutely yes. I was six years old when I started. But no, I've come up through candidate experience and recruiting and all of the things. So very glad to see all of the mix of people here in the room because I think we've got a good group.

Chris: Hi, my name is Chris Wray. I'm head of recruitment strategy for Sainsbury's. I look after 60 work streams for the business and one of these work streams is brand and attraction.

Joel: Excellent. So I know, Chad, you have something you want to start off with.

Chad: Hell yeah.

Joel: Something Adam wrote.

Chad: So Adam wrote this awesome idea/article that you actually put into play where you partnered with marketing. Believe it or not, marketing you can do this.

Joel: It can happen.

Chad: So I want to learn and want these guys to hear more about the partnership of becoming a force multiplier with marketing.

Adam: Yeah. I'm a organizational psychologist by trade. So a lot of what I do is work out how to influence behavior. And at Red Bull we have a marketing department. Guess what they do? Influence behavior.

Chad: Give you wings.

Adam: Yeah, they give you wings but they do it on scale. So a lot of the techniques marketing is using to influence behavior to get people to buy products we also need to use to get people to use our products and get people engaged with our products. But probably taking three steps back, the first learning I really got from my marketing people was consumer centered design. Design-

Chad: Whoa, whoa, whoa. Say that again.

Adam: Consumer centered design.

Chad: When candidates or what also.

Adam: Right. But that's the point. They're consumers-

Chad: Yeah, I know. But I don't think in talent acquisition we get that shit.

Adam: No-

Chad: We think candidates are candidates and they're our customers. But carry on. Carry on.

Adam: Good. No, I think we do. I think people get it.

Adam: People I don't think they're aware of what you can really do with employee brand within the company. I think we sort of go, "Oh, well I'm going to create something and then I'll send it to my marketing department, see if they like it." Get your marketing department in and co-create with them something. And often marketing is really interested because around employee brand they've got more space to maneuver than they do around the company brand a lot of the time because normally it's quite a wide space. So normally you can get marketing in with you it's-

Chad: They have more influence. They have more influence. They have more


Adam: They do. They have more money.

Chad: They have more dollars.

Adam: Always more money.

Joel: More money.

Adam: Yeah. And then if you can convince them that your EVP play is actually a marketing play then you can take some of their money.

Joel: Does the Red Bull gives you wings work on the employment side as well? Do you guys sort of into each other?

Adam: Yeah, yeah. Gives you wings. Get up in the morning, man. That's….

Joel: So if I go to your career site am I going to see a career at Red Bull gives you wings? Do you carry over that same message?

Adam: Yeah, yeah we do.

Joel: Good.

Adam: It's also an internal message in terms of how we run and drive our people. So if you're not doing people development it's against the brand.

Chad: Jump in Chris.

Chris: So I think there's two points. You say people get it. I honestly don't think businesses actually get candidates king. I still think companies think they're better than the candidate. Also we talk about marketing and EHR and who's better to influence. Actually no. Marketing turn up with data, HR turn up with a presentation, which all looks fluffy. You need to turn up with data. And I think that's the reason why marketing are seen as respected at the table because they understand the data.

Joel: And what kind of data does marketing want to see to care?

Chris: They actually get a benchmark. They understand their click through rates. They understand what paid search is. Like trying to educate the business about paid search, I did it the other day to some senior leaders and used the analogy as see paid search as everyone knows park, they choose a theme park, it's fast tracked at a theme park. It's getting you to the top of the results, it's getting you there quick. And it's that education base and the storytelling I think marketing are great at. I just think sometimes HR colleagues, I'm not saying Sainbury's because we're great, could say it without getting fired, but I just think they just don't understand it. And I think is also is we don't pick the right agency sometimes.

Chad: So isn't that one of the reasons why we're not at the big kid's table?

Chris: We still can't even get an ATS right? And that's been around for 20, 30 years.

Chad: I mean, we try to make things more complex and we're not speaking the business speak. To be at the C suite table, to actually have a business conversation you're talking about marketing has data and that HR has all the fluffy shit. The reason why marketing gets the money is because they have the data to be able to demonstrate that they are actually impacting the bottom line.

Chris: Unless -

Chad: Who thinks at NTA we don't impact the bottom line on the consumer side? Who believes that they don't impact the bottom line? Yeah, exactly. We do. Why aren't we talking about that shit?

Chris: Let's use example. Would you wait 45 minutes for your Uber? No, you would not wait 45 minutes for Uber. But let's put a candidate through 45 minutes of shit and the hiring manager is never going to use it. I just think it's an absolute disgrace.

Brandy: I totally agree. However, Uber has set the expectation that they're going to be there immediately. Talent acquisition-

Joel: I like Amazon better. If it took 45 minutes to buy something you never would.

Chris: They started doing taxis?

Brandy: Whatever product. We already have an expectation of it's going to be here immediately, then it better be there immediately. Unfortunately, we've set the expectation with a lot of people and applicants and candidates or even employees today that the process sucks. They know it sucks, and they're willing to go through the

pain to fill out our applications. And that's bad.

Adam: Well, not in this market. They're not. I mean, the great candidates that are out there today who already have jobs will not go through 45 minutes of bullshit to be able to apply for a job, which is why you're losing them in the first place.

Chris: I think someone said it the best to me, and this is the best analogy. Most application forms are like Game Of Thrones. It's not the best person that actually gets the job. It's the person that actually lasted through the application. So I [crosstalk 00:08:55]-

Chad: Survive the winter.

Chris: Survive. That's what it is.

Joel: How surprised were your marketing departments when they learned how many profiles, resumes, data points were in your ATS?

Chris: So marketing don't actually get involved in any of our attraction. We have-

Joel: And how many resumes are in your ATS?

Chris: So if we look at we get about 500000 applications from our retail perspective at Sainsbury's.

Brandy: Is that annually?

Chris: Annually.

Joel: And do you think your marketing department would be interested in 500,000 potential customers?

Chris: They would do.

Joel: Yeah. That might be a conversation you want to have. Have you had that conversation?

Adam: We're in Europe. So we have a thing called GDPR.

Joel: GDPR.

Adam: It's like we care about -

Joel: There's the wet blanket overall.

Adam: I get the Americans to hear like, "Yeah, great. We'll grab the data." No, no, no, no... In Europe where we're a little bit more sensitive to data. Look, I think there's a starting point and the starting point is to take a lot of the things I think we all know really seriously. So just really look at what you already know. You know that it's your candidate experience is your recruiting flow. So really take a candidate view from that and just re-look at what [crosstalk 00:09:47]-

Joel: You know what though? I'm going to push back a little bit. Okay? So there's really nothing in your process that says if I apply to Red Bull that I don't get an email after saying, "Thanks for applying. Here's a 25% or whatever discount on your next purchase of Red Bull," which I assume you don't do, but you could. And GDPR does not affect that action whatsoever.

Adam: No, 100%. But what we do is we come back to and say, "Well would you like to find out more about yourself and your strengths and how you could develop and grow? If you want to work with us, you're going to need to do that." And then we give you a free psychological assessment with a 20 page report. So we do that.

Chris: And how many people uptake that?

Joel: Well, that sounds sexy.

Chad: I just want a Red Bull hat, man. Just send me a Red Bull hat.

Joel: Because when I think Red Bull I think psychological assessment.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: Give me something I can put some vodka in and have a good time.

Brandy: Question on that though, so I get my 20 page psychological assessment and somewhere along the way it says, "You're not right in the head to work here at Red Bull."

Chad: Well, it's good to know that now.

Joel: Here's your coupon.

Brandy: I know, but how do you deliver that message? Because that's where companies fall off the ledge every single time is it doesn't matter if you give them a 20 page assessment or just a quick email delivering that message. Is the tough news. How do you do that?

Adam: Well, I think that's exactly the point that I made with my marketing department. I said, "Look, wouldn't it be great if we could add some value to those people, whether they get a job or not?" And we said, "Well, let's help them uncover their story." And so they can use that for the next job or the next interview. They can talk more succinctly about their strengths, about how they can develop and how they can grow. So-

Joel: This is sort of for both of you. You guys have applications. Majority of people do not get a job at your companies. Are you doing anything to keep them warm, communicating with them on a regular basis as marketing and [crosstalk 00:11:47]-

Chad: Nurture.

Joel: Yeah, nurturing farming.

Chris: We're trying a lot of products at the moment and we're putting in a couple of SJTs, but also we're doing new app based at the moment. The app gives the candidates... we're bypassing Taleo. I'm not a big fan of Taleo and I'm just an awful ATS.

Chad: Who's a fan of Taleo? Yeah, one person. And they work for Taleo just so you know.

Chris: And it's interesting. We give the candidate an option. So I'm always candidates choice because I want choice when I go on to any website. So this instead of doing a CV sift we took the CV away and we've asked the candidate for three pieces of information. Quick, easy, let's get to the point. We give them two tests, critical mind thinking and a coding challenge. It's multiple choice. They get to pick it. Each question is

40 seconds. Inside 21 minutes they get a response saying they've pass/fail.

Chad: How long does that take though?

Chris: Straight away. It's instant.

Chad: So how long does the actual assessment-

Chris: End to end, 21 minutes. And that's your application as well. What we did do and what we're monitoring at the moment is we give the candidate choice to speak to a recruiter and we give the candidate choice to whether they want to discover about us. We had 100 downloads-

Joel: When you say speak to recruiters is that a human being?

Chris: Yes, speak to a recruiter, have a chat, automatic input.

Joel: That's crazy.

Chris: Here's a list of times, anytime you want to book in Monday to Friday. We're at 100 downloads in our first week. One person has picked to speak to a recruiter.

Joel: But they'll text them.

Chris: No. They don't even want to speak to... They just want to literally get to the next stage of assessment. So that starting us just understand is candidates just want convenience until actually they come through. And I'm reading loads of reports is brand loyalty doesn't happen until 60 days after into business. A lot of Gartner is starting to say that, Mercer is starting to say that, is candidates have got choice these days and if we don't realize that you're going to be left behind.

Chad: Well, that's the experience though, right? You're talking about the experiences now, but it carries on. It's not something that just happens in that moment. It happens in the moment, but it also carries on, which goes back to the whole nurturing conversation.

Joel: Brandy, you probably have an opinion on nurturing candidates, don't you?

Brandy: I do. I have a lot of opinions on nurturing. I'm not going to talk about the company that I worked for necessarily but-

Chad: When you were a level three.

Brandy: I was with IBM. I've been with-

Chad: I knew that.

Brandy: ... large organizations and-

Chad: Small companies.

Brandy: ... small companies, we never had a nurturing program. It was moment in time, fill out the application, whether it's 20 minutes or however long the psychological assessment take. But it's moment in time. That's what we're looking at. And today the conversation is shifting to that candidate's life cycle of a job. I mean, people are averaged in the workforce 40 years, unfortunately. And so they're going to come back to us.

Chad: They're not qualified today but they might be qualified tomorrow.

Brandy: Correct.

Chad: I think we're working too much in this segment in time as opposed to filling pipelines because we're going to have to fill these positions next year, the year after that, so on and so forth. And if we piss these people off not only they're not going to buy our product but they're not going to come fucking work for us.

Brandy: No, it's absolutely true. And you reduce the amount of workforce that you have access to. So the worst the experience the people go through it and then the available talent becomes talent scarcity even more because they don't want to work for your brand and they're not going to deal with your brand, both as a consumer and as a candidate. So the people you can recruit go down.

Adam: Yeah. There's a lot of companies here selling artificial intelligence, machine learning, and black box algorithms that'll magically match people to jobs.

Chad: Does that work? Well-

Joel: I don't think you can have a booth here unless less AI is somewhere.

Adam: I know. I know.

Chad: That's a checkbox.

Adam: Does it work? Well, I haven't seen it work with the sort of accuracy that I'd put my job on it. I haven't gone up to an AI yet and said, "Show me what my perfect job would be and have it spit back global head of talent management." Now, it could be I'm in the wrong job. I don't know. Let's see.

Chad: Take that assessment and you'll find out.

Adam: Right. But, I mean, even take five steps back from AI look at how you market the jobs. Look at how you position yourself as a company. Take a marketing approach to consumer segmentation. The people applying for jobs in your retail section at Sainbury's are radically different to the people that apply for jobs in marketing. Yes, you have a brand, but don't assume that that brand goes beyond everything. Different sorts of people go for different jobs. We know that. So segment based on that and then get your marketing group in and say, "Let's build a map of who that person is," and create that person and then say, "Now, how do I market to them? What does the job ad need to look like? What sort of words are going to trigger their attraction and where can we place that ad?" And it's just taking what we already do, I think, in recruiting three steps further, and then you end up with individual ads for different jobs, which makes sense [crosstalk 00:16:47].

Chad: So here's the question. Those are the people that you're targeting, but there are a ton of candidates that aren't going to be qualified for your job, and yet they could perspectively buy your brand and you still want to have that great brand loyalty with them. How do you still ensure that this person is never going to have a job perspectively within your brand, but yet you still have to give them a great experience? How do you focus on that too? Because I think we focus on talent acquisition and brand management on, okay, I've got to go find that perfect candidate. Well, that's great. But what about all those candidates who are silver medalist, bronze medalist, and ones who won't even ever work at your organization but yet could buy your product?

Joel: And also do you think about people who come to the site, don't see a job for them and then leave the site? There are ways to capture those folks, whether it be retargeting, advertising, or hey a pop up that says, "Hey, don't leave yet. We may not have a job for you but give us your information. We'll keep you updated on opportunities."

Adam: The candidate experience thing is exactly as you described it. So we have a tiered... so depending on how much interaction we've had, how much investment you've given to us depends on how much investment we give back to you. So if you're phone interviewed then we'll post you four cans of Red Bull and a nice note. So it depends. It's all gradual and it's graduated. And as I said, everyone touching us from a recruiting side gets a free psychological assessment with a 19 page report. So it's a beginning. It depends on what level. But each [crosstalk 00:18:19]-

Chris: Have you tracked what's candidate satisfaction? Do they actually read it? What feedback have you had regarding that report?

Adam: I've never asked them because we just look at social media, because what they do is they share it and they talk about it on social media.

Chris: What's your engagement in social... What percentage would it sit at or-

Adam: Yeah. About 40% of the people that do it share it.

Chris: Wow!

Adam: Yeah. It's okay.

Joel: What's the percentage of positive versus negative?

Adam: Negative is really, really small. Yeah. I went to SHL just a minute ago. So expect some negative feedback coming.

Chad: If you hang on our show you'll get a few negatives.

Adam: Great, great, great. But no, really it's people want to share the experiences and it's such an open playing field because so few companies are giving positive candidate experiences to a no response. So when you do it, it stands out so much that candidates share. And what do they do? They talk about your company in a positive way. "Oh, my God." You've got word of mouth marketing. Oh my God, that's exactly [crosstalk 00:19:15]-

Joel: But are you doing either a direct tracking or sort of passive of how much referral traffic you're getting from... I'm sharing this on Twitter, so all the Twitter traffic that comes in I assume that's been increasing over the years as you've done this as well.

Adam: Yeah. More on the professional for platforms like LinkedIn and Xing in the Germanic world than Twitter. Twitter is a little bit different platform for us.

Chris: And is that test used as a sifting or does the hiring manager give feedback? So you do it at the front end of the process. I come in and interview you. Is your managers giving feedback or -

Adam: Yeah, absolutely. Yeah, yeah. We still very much rely on hiring managers. The candidates are imperfect. The hiring managers are imperfect, and somewhere in between we find beauty and love.

Brandy: So this is the one time when my inner recruiter... because I spent a lot of years recruiting. Recruiters used to have such a bad rep, and for that reason the hiring managers are equally as bad, if not worse. And so a lot of the best in breed companies that I'm seeing now are starting both recruiter education programs and hiring manager programs, how do you speak to the candidates, how do you get their mind around that experience itself. And one of my clients, actually CBS, I don't know that you guys have them here, they're just a US based company, but a very, very large pharmacy brand. They have over 4 million contacts in their talent community just alone. They get something like three million applications a year. It's absolutely insane. And if you think about they only hire about 130000 every year that's like 2.8 million thanks but no thanks.

Brandy: And what they've started doing is putting the candidate experience survey throughout the recruiting process. So anytime you send an automatic letter out of the system it has a link to tell us what you think. And they've gotten several comments, and one of them stood out to me so much, especially for this panel, and it said, "I feel like your company actually cares. Thank you. I'm going to buy more products," verbatim in the survey.

Chad: Yeah. And how does that impact do you think the line of business, and do you talk to the line of business? Because we impact product. We impact customers. I mean, are we doing that?

Chris: So we did a rough estimate. So we worked out in Sainsbury's retail from a 10% candidate experience. We looked at our average number of applicatio