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Best of 2021 - Chad's Picks

The Chad and Cheese have been podcasting since March of 2017 and have published nearly 800 episodes! During that time they have never pulled together a "Best of The Chad and Cheese" compilation, which highlights conversations, topics, and their deeply sarcastic opinions.

That's just absurd,

... an oversight,

... and something which needed to be rectified.

(Drumroll please)

Welcome to the very first "Best of The Chad and Cheese". In this episode, Chad picks his top 5 excerpts from interviews in 2021. These conversational segments are merely a sampling of the syrupy sweet podcasting snarky goodness which embodies the 120+ episodes The Chad and Cheese has published in 2021 alone.

Kick back, relax and stay tuned for Joel's picks!


Disability Solutions helps companies strengthen their workforce and broaden their market reach by hiring talent in the disability community.

INTRO (1s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheeseman 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 (31s):

Hey, this is Chad. Welcome to my top five picks of 2021. This is actually the very first best of Chad and Cheese podcast we have ever pulled together. So with this podcast episode, I wanted to curate and stitch together moments in time. That would be incredibly valuable to talent, acquisition leaders and vendors alike. We're starting off the top five of 2021 with an excerpt from a podcast entitled Burn, Build, Rinse and Repeat with JCK that dropped just in August. This excerpt highlights something that I cannot beat my drum loud enough about, and that is the symbiotic relationship TA should have with marketing.

Chad (1m 15s):

It's not just about ownership of an employment brand, rather it's about holistic impact on revenues through getting the best candidates. But in this case, we're just going to nail down the basics as Jenny Cotie Kangas, AKA JCK director, digital experience and talent acquisition at Regis Corp talks about some of the foundational advantages about building such a partnership with marketing, and she kindly shares a fail/slash learning moment as well. Enjoy.

Joel (1m 49s):

Do you work internally with marketing or your agency, is that something you're doing now or thinking about?

Jenny (1m 55s):

Oh, a hundred percent. So if you don't, if anybody listening to this doesn't work closely with your marketing internally, y'all go start right now, because they should be your best friend and figure out a way to work with them.

Chad (2m 9s):

Amen sister.

Joel (2m 9s):

That's awesome.

Jenny (2m 9s):

Yeah. I just, you know, when we're looking at what converts and multi-source attribution and telling stories with numbers, our marketing counterparts have done that for a lot longer than we have. And we can learn a lot from them. I mean, one of my really good friends, Mike Lewis, he owns a company that essentially it's customer journey optimization and tells you what's converting and what's what touches are going to convert versus others. And it's like you guys, and he's taught me pretty much all that I know, a lot about this space and it's allowed me to, to play a lot faster and kind of the recruiting world. But like at the end of the day, you need those collaborations because you know, you guys play for the same team.

Jenny (2m 55s):

It's the name of the front, not the team in the back. And so I work very closely with our internal marketing teams. We've gone through a lot of changes. We had a pretty significant restructuring kind of here recently and now marketing sits very differently, but I'm very, very, very thankful to our internal marketing, marketing, friends.

Joel (3m 37s):

Any success stories you can share?

Jenny (3m 38s):

One of our first initial conversations was really just about like, okay, well, we're planning on putting additional content in one of these channels. And I looked at the channel mix and they said, yeah, LinkedIn's not on there and that's a problem. And they had said, like, well, what do you mean stylists aren't on LinkedIn? I said, yep, check your design bias there because stylists are on LinkedIn. And also like, it's free to storytell on there. I'm talking about like traditional, just storytelling. And that's the first place that we should be leveraging before, like the last. And so just that conversation, I think really, really helped too. So they went back and re-strategized and we're working with some outside agencies to help us build out what that storytelling piece looks like. But, that was a really, really good start. I learned my lesson to check with marketing versus, here's a fun story working with one of our vendors who is putting together a video at the technology about we've built. So I brought franchisees to the table last. I was originally brought in to solve a tech problem. And when I came in and started to look into like, what's the problem? I first asked, like, what's going on here? Instead of just like hitting the gates running and came to find the technology, we have this broken, but there was underlying issues if we weren't handling recruiting right. And if we didn't get that right on the front end of our experience, or at least calibrate the problem that like, Hey, y'all recruiting is important if you want to have like somebody to serve your customers.

Jenny (4m 26s):

When in search while I was fixing the technology, went in search of technology to start to build, to meet our needs. And so brought our franchisees to the table to build that because ultimately I can guess, but I probably will get it wrong.

Jenny (5m 10s):

And so over the last nine months, we've essentially sharpened the critical tech. And we went to make a video for that technology because it's essentially like Alexa for recruiting and conceptually people just can't understand it or wrap their head around it. And so we had to make a video. I got the franchisee that was local to the table. I got the franchise consultant in the mix like here, I thought I was stepping and checking all the boxes. I did not connect with marketing first, which was a terrible, terrible choice because on the flip side I sent the video which was done and it was amazing to my marketing leader. And she said, I'm going to send you an email. I've got a couple pieces of feedback. And I'm like, oh crap, I get the email.

Jenny (5m 50s):

And it's like a page long of like this piece of collateral is three years old. This pieces of collateral is five years old. Don't show that because we don't, we don't offer that product line anymore. Like all of this stuff. And I was like, I turned to my CPO and I said, lesson learned when we film anything, we are checking with marketing first and then second and then third, and then we're going to film something.

Chad (6m 21s):


Joel (6m 21s):

It's commercial time.

Chad (6m 22s):

It's show time. Okay. So after this next podcast aired, we experienced a ton of engagement from listeners who personally reached out to us and said, these are our people. The podcast is entitled Move Fast. Break Shit. Burn Out and dropped in March. Tracey Lovejoy and Shannon Lucas joined us to talk about their crazy awesome book, Move Fast. Break Shit. Burn Out. And this segment hones in on how we, as leaders identify and empower those diamond in the rough employees, AKA catalysts, instead of thrusting them into frustration and burnout.

Chad (7m 4s):

Enjoy. So in most cases, when you feel like you are moving at light speed, you see a lot of shit that's happening around you, you see the dots and you're connecting the dots. But most of the people that you're actually talking with and dealing with on a daily basis, they can't even see the dots, let alone connect them. Right? So what we're saying is those individuals and I've had that feeling my entire life. Those individuals really can burn out fast, but they also have issues because it's hard to work within a team when they can't even understand what you're talking about a lot of times.

Chad (7m 46s):

Cause it's hard to articulate what's going on in your brain. How, as a leader, how do you identify that? And how do you help that individual? Because the last thing you want to lose is an individual like that. Even though they're not fitting in, what do you do? How does that work?

Shannon (8m 1s):

I mean, the identification, as I mentioned earlier, when people are reading the book, as people start to understand, you know, the highlight of what it means to be a catalyst, their brain sort of naturally goes to those people in their life because they do stand up, they show up differently. We often get called, you know, get named monikers like troublemaker or disruptor and not always in a positive sense, especially if we're not self-aware to Tracey's point. You know, part of the point of the book is to give the catalyst themselves the skills to be less disruptive, which doesn't mean stopping change. It just means doing it in a way that brings other people along more effectively.

Shannon (8m 41s):

So it's not hard to identify them. We work with organizations like we can have surveys and self-identification tools, et cetera. One thing that Tracey and I talked a lot about early on when we started this work is, do we want to be the labelers of catalysts or do we let catalyst sort of lean in and name themselves? And we came pretty heavily down on that second one. Like if the word cat, even if you all the attributes fit you, if being a catalyst doesn't resonate with you, then that's fine. And then I think there's a great question there about, you know, as a leader, how do we support them? Obviously myself as a leader, I was a catalyst and so I had to surround myself with people who could translate, you know, that had catalytic capabilities, but could also help me bring the rest of the organization along.

Shannon (9m 22s):

And so intentionality is a word that we use a lot in all of this work is like, how can the catalyst be more intentional about the work that they're doing, but also how can the leaders intentionally support them, making sure that they're not spread thin chasing all of the new shiny projects or opportunities, but helping them to prioritize, giving them the surroundings and removing some of the barriers that might, you know, get in their way. And I think one of the key things from that perspective is psychological safety. You know, once organizations recognize that they have these VUCA ready people, they will send them on these heroes missions, okay, go out into the world and figure out what we need to do next.

Shannon (10m 3s):

And by definition, that's usually some kind of divergent thinking from the way the organization currently operates. So they go out, they do their vision quest and they come back, hopefully they can now clearly articulate their vision, but it could cause such cognitive dissonance for how the organization operates that either the idea gets attacked or the catalyst themselves gets attacked. So it's really then incumbent on the leader to help create a space of psychological safety, to have healthy conversations about which pieces of that they're going to move forward with or not.

Chad (10m 33s):

Yeah and if they're truly catalysts, then if their idea gets attacked, they're being attacked.

Shannon (10m 38s):

That's what it feels like a hundred percent. It's almost a physical connection to that idea. That's right. But it's interesting because catalysts generally not, not universally, but generally don't go in with an agenda. You know, when they get brought into the organization or the team, or if they're entrepreneurs, they're really just sensing, like, what's the next thing that needs to unfold here as the dots are connecting, as they're doing the sense-making. It's not like it's their horse in the race until they're convinced and have the data, you know, that that is the right thing to do and we can be arrogant about that. Let's let's own that we can be arrogant, that we can see the absolute right path to go down.

Chad (11m 12s):


Shannon (11m 12s):

But I think it's important for people to remember that, you know, we're usually just in service of whatever positive change we think needs to come next.

Chad (11m 24s):

But it's so frustrating when nobody wants to come along for the ride.

Shannon (11m 31s):

It's so frustrating. So very frustrating.

Tracey (11m 34s):


Joel (11m 34s):

It's commercial time.

Chad (11m 35s):

It's show time. Okay. So this next excerpt comes from an episode called Win Friends & Influence Budget. And was number two of a five-part series we dropped earlier in September with Amy Butchko. Now I know that TA leaders are probably tired of hearing me talk about building a business case. Too bad, understanding your worth to the organization and being able to articulate that worth is where we've fallen short for decades. But you got to know, I do it with love as this will bring you a bigger voice in the organization and also give you an opportunity to leverage more budget. Case in point, this next segment with catalyst Amy Butchko, director of talent acquisition solutions for SAIC, Amy went to one of the strongest positions in the organization, the Chief Revenue Officer in this next segment is a great example of how catalysts break down a problem and connect the dots to a solution.

Chad (12m 38s):

Enjoy. In getting this done. You went to the CRO, were you looking to try to win friends and influence people for more budgets? What was that whole, what was the reasoning behind that? Other than to show them that one of the reasons why we have issues getting people in the door is because of this piece of shit tech that we have. Why did you do it?

Amy (13m 1s):

To increase candidate flow and improve candidate experience?

Chad (13m 6s):

So was that budget though, were you trying to win budget from them and show them how bad this thing was?

Amy (13m 13s):

I was. I was also trying to get them to understand that they were making an investment in something that was terrible.

Chad (13m 20s):


Amy (13m 20s):

And you know, so like you're spending money over here and this is not a little amount of money. Like it's a lot, it's hundreds of thousands of dollars, no matter what you buy, in this environment, once you get to the enterprise level, right? So you're, you're talking about big bucks and you're going to have to spend these big bucks to make, you know, to get a compliance system you're going to have to get, you know, you're going to have to do it. So what we were looking to do is say, okay, if you're going to spend this money, we think we can help the company do this more efficiently. We think we can help you do it more effectively. And we think that we can make a lot of impact with getting a lot more candidates through the door.

Amy (14m 4s):

I used to at the time I was a department of one. So that's also changed a lot because my department is much larger now, but you know, as a department of one, you know, I would get these messages. Why am I not getting any candidates? Why am I not getting applicants? And you know, I would just feel like the pressure, just, you know, like the constricting around my neck. And I mean, like, I don't know, you know, I go into the system and I'd be like, wow, well, you know, the system, blah, blah, blah. And, you know, and the jobs didn't get posted and nobody can find it. And you know, and there's no answer. And the vendor is like, has been acquired three times and we don't know where they are.

Amy (14m 47s):

So, you know, so it became like this whole just swirl of bad customer service, of things going wrong at the wrong time and still making an investment that was far disproportionate. And then also on the other side. So remember when you're trying to get applicants, you can, you know, one of the answers is to throw money at it, right. You buy them,

Chad (15m 8s):

That's what companies do and have been doing for decades. And then they throw money at them and then they push them into a shitty process. And those people, they don't finish, or they just keep applying over and over and over. So you've, you've pretty much paid for that candidate, like six times over.

Amy (15m 28s):

Yeah, it's a leaky vessel. Right. And so what we were trying, what the pitch was was that we can fix this leaky vessel if we find the right system. And once we patch up this leaky vessel, you know, one of the other things that's that's happened, that's a very tangible outcome that I didn't know about. I mean, I knew we were going to be able to, you know, plug the holes and get more applicants into the bucket. I knew that. What I didn't know is that, you know, we were going to be able to quadruple our applicant flow and not really increase our advertising budget at all.

Chad (16m 6s):

Amazing right?

Amy (16m 6s):

That's been static for years, like my whole tenure. Yep. We'll just keep doing the same thing that's working for us, you know, and now we're able to be a lot more strategic because we know that, you know, when folks are coming to us as applicants, we know that they're going to have a reasonable experience getting in the door. Now what we're working on and where you actually put people through some training this year with the talent board to help us with trying to improve our candidate experience from apply for work. You know, so we're working on that stuff, but that's not system stuff. That's a lot of people's stuff along with the system stuff. But when you go back and look at the system stuff, the return on investment has been so clear that, you know, now the COO one of the cool things is that when somebody from my team or I goes to one of our partners around the corporation, we have a fair amount of credibility, you know, because nobody's looking at talent acquisition going, why can't you bring us candidates?

Amy (17m 6s):

And, you know, because even though candidates are, you know, it is still a tie. It is now a very tight market. People are looking for work. And if you are looking for work and you're interested in us as an enterprise, you know, we're going to get you into our process.

Chad (17m 27s):

Listeners know that I am so damned sick and tired of hearing companies talk about diversity, equity and inclusion without demonstrating hiring outcomes, being transparent about their workforce composition, without showing diverse employees, climbing the ladder through promotion and numbers around retention of underrepresented populations, not to mention fucking vendors are constantly slapping new acronyms on platforms like they're the damned magic bullet or something. Well, this excerpt comes from a little episode called Inclusive AAF with Jackie Clayton, who is now the VP of talent, acquisition and DEI at Textio.

Chad (18m 11s):

Needless to say, Jackie cuts through the bullshit and talks pointedly about the real DEI barriers and how TA needs to open its eyes. Enjoy.

Jackie (18m 19s):

And so if we can make it easier to find diverse talent, then we can incorporate more diverse talent.

Chad (18m 27s):

Yep. But Jackie, I'm just not convinced that corporate America really wants to be diverse.

Jackie (18m 32s):

They don't!

Chad (18m 33s):

I mean, do they really want to be equitable? I mean, seriously, we put whitey on the moon in 1969, but we can't figure this shit out. So for me, you take a look at the DEI training segment, right? It's like a $9 billion industry. It's fucking enormous, but we don't see outcomes coming from that, from the hiring, retention, promotion, any of that stuff. So, I mean, I don't personally believe corporate America wants to be diverse. So that seems like an uphill battle for you, even though it's the cool thing. It's the cool thing. I don't believe that's what they want. Do you?

Jackie (19m 10s):

No, they don't. And the reason that I say that is because we're able to find the talent so quickly. So what's the problem. So I don't understand why there's still an issue. And that's what we started looking into. Well, I started looking into years ago, what's going into it and that's, what's so interesting. I think about like, when we talk about the podcast, inclusive AI, like we look at some of these issues, like what's really the barrier?

Chad (19m 36s):


Jackie (19m 37s):

And I think that diversity and inclusion, all the people that are participating in it, one of the challenges is you get this nice to have a dream from your C-level executives. Right?

Chad (19m 48s):


Jackie (19m 48s):

But they didn't even talk to talent acquisition at all to see if it's possible.

Chad (19m 53s):

Because they never do.

Jackie (19m 55s):

For example, there's a place that is not nowhere near Texas, but their CEOs that they were going to increase by 30% of people of color, but they only have 5% in the city. 5% people of color.

Chad (20m 5s):


Jackie (20m 6s):

So how are you going to do that? Where are these people coming from and what are you going to do? I mean, even more, we've already seen the gap when human resources went from nurturing personnel to protecting organizations and taking the human out. But they take the human out in diversity and inclusion because it becomes like, they look at these like people as, as items, you know, as widgets, instead of understanding what goes into it. So I think we will want to, but they just don't understand what it takes. It's like, you know what to expect when you're expecting or whatever. Like we all have kids, right. And then you read the book and you're like, oh, is that going to happen? You're like, yeah.

Joel (20m 45s):

There's no conspiracy here to say, oh, you know what? We're going to tell everyone we're going to up it by 30% and hope that no one checks us on that. You think it's more like, they just don't know. They say what they think is the right thing. But they don't really think about logistically, how are we going to do this?

Jackie (21m 3s):

That's right.

Chad (21m 4s):

Which means they're not serious.

Jackie (21m 6s):

Because they don't, they'll say that they want to have diverse talent. But what they don't say is we need to evenly distribute the power around our organization. Right?

Chad (21m 15s):


Jackie (21m 15s):

Or they'll say, oh, we're diverse because we have 50% female. But if you look at what they pay out in salaries, I bet you, that's not 50% male/females. Right? Yeah.

Joel (21m 28s):

Such a cynic.

Chad (21m 29s):

So, so why it's hard not to be a cynic because these companies aren't transparent.

Joel (21m 33s):


Chad (21m 33s):

They don't actually show their workforce composition number one, right. They don't show their pay equity. They don't show any of that stuff and they can do it in large groups. They don't have to do it in a person by person basis. They're not being transparent with the market itself. And that it should be step one.

Jackie (21m 52s):

That absolutely has to be step one. And I should say, I should back up and say, I think that people want it, but they don't want everything else that comes along with it. It's one of those we have to slow down in order to speed up.

Chad (22m 7s):

What comes with it though?

Jackie (22m 10s):

You have to to admit your shortcomings, your failures, you know, you implemented maybe a company culture that wasn't the best, you know, and it takes away especially understanding that you're going to bring in conflict at the very beginning because people don't think the way you do.

Joel (22m 30s):

It's commercial time.

Chad (22m 31s):

It's Showtime. I'm ending this episode with a crazy story from a podcast that dropped in February titled To Check or Not To Check? So we hear some pretty amazing stories off mic with our guests in the green room, but the best on mic story hands down goes to Kim Jones, senior director, enterprise talent strategy and instructor at UC Irvine. And no, this is not a True Crime crossover. And there is a learning objective. I promise. Enjoy.

Kim (23m 1s):

First of all, I would tell you, I appreciate the education that I've had, but nothing prepared me for how humble you have to be knowing that you stand in judgment of whether or not someone will get hired. I have taken that very seriously when I worked for Raytheon in particular, especially for the polar services program, 20,000 people apply for 1400 jobs. It was normal that in a hiring season, I'd have 100 background checks that came back with some type of discrepancy that I had to consider, a lot of which were criminal offenses, lewd and lascivious act against a child under the age of 14, where a guy did prison time was paroled, violated his parole and had to go back and finish his prison time.

Kim (23m 46s):

And in the question, have you been convicted of a crime? He said, no. And when I spoke with him, he said, he didn't remember going to prison. I would remember that. And the fact that he answered no. So this risk that we are risk adverse or risk mitigation, you have to take that very seriously. One of the situations I shared with Chad is a gentleman that I actually worked at the South Pole, who, you know, leaders later killed his wife.

Joel (24m 19s):

Did you say the South Pole?

Kim (24m 23s):

The south pole. When I worked for Raytheon.

Joel (24m 26s):

Like literally the South Pole?

Kim (24m 27s):

I completed a six week deployment to Antarctica and I worked there enough to go to the South Pole for three days.

Joel (24m 33s):

That's awesome.

Kim (25m 12s):

And so the science lab manager, like I said, some years later killed his wife because he was in a relationship with a new person. She was coming to see him and he did not want the girlfriend to know about his wife and he killed her. The wife's family sued the previous employer saying that they would have never met. And so there was this allegation of negligent hiring because he had a previous conviction for a pretty serious felony. And what they found was he had transferred from one contractor to this new organization that was a contractor and they didn't do a background check, and if they had the offense that he had been convicted of would have precluded him from employment.

Chad (25m 18s):

And you worked with this dude at one time.

Kim (25m 20s):

I sat next to him during a recruiting event. And then I met with him while I was at South Pole, because he had some questions about what we were doing with the hiring process to hire technicians for, I think he managed the science lab. So I will honestly tell you, I was creeped out after the story surfaced. And I'm like, I remember sitting next to Al Baker with his, you know, silver, gray hair braided back in a ponytail. The fact that you killed your wife and wrapped her body in a tarp, because you didn't want her to know about your new girlfriend. And then also knowing that he had a previous felony conviction.

Kim (26m 2s):

And if a background check at been performed, that scenario would have been avoided.

Chad (26m 8s):

So this type of story is exactly what Joel's talking about, that this happens. And this is grotesque. It is gruesome. It is incredibly horrible, but that then sets a precedent for high levels of risk mitigation and directly impacts back to my story, individuals who can't manufacture dry wall in an area where they can't find people for these positions. They can't find people, but they don't want people with felonies. So there's this overreaction that happens that everybody could perspectively be, you know, a serial, Antarctic killer.

Chad (26m 47s):

So how do we manage this?

Kim (26m 55s):

It's rooted in good decision making and good policy. This can't just be a knee jerk reaction. Organizations, your C-suite has to have trust in your HR leadership team to create policies that support responsible hiring and employment. It's not a clinical if one plus one, two, you need a solid infrastructure around how do we collect information and how do we evaluate it? And that process for evaluation has to be done with a great degree of common sense and some wisdom. So to your point, if I need to hire people to hang dry wall, do I automatically reject every person with a felony? Or do you rely on having a really good HR person who understands how to evaluate, how to have conversations with people?

Kim (27m 40s):

I will tell you to a certain extent, this spirit of discernment, you know, when somebody is lying to you about whether or not they're truly remorseful, I've had had every version of a story. I've had a guy tell me who had been convicted of domestic violence. You know, I won't fight anybody at work cause I only fight my wife.

Chad (28m 3s):

Oh my God.

Kim (28m 22s):

So it is this balance of good policy and good HR professionals. If you don't have both, you are typically, you may be an organization who does not manage this well, but you have to have good policy and good HR leaders. The combination of the two is critical.

Chad (28m 24s):

Was that not crazy or what? Okay. So I hope you've enjoyed my top five picks of 2021. Now, remember these were just excerpts of much longer conversations, not to mention we've published 43 interviews in 2021 alone. So go to or wherever you listen to podcast and binge it up. Needless to say, 2022 is going to be one hell of a year. So continue to tune in as we dig for more golden moments like these. thanks again to all of those who have taken the time to join us on the show.

Chad (29m 5s):

And thank you for joining us on the ride listeners near and far. Sowash out.

OUTRO (29m 50s):

Thank you for listening to, what's it called? The podcast with Chad, the Cheese. Brilliant. They talk about recruiting. They talk about technology, but most of all, they talk about nothing. Just a lot of Shout Outs of people, you don't even know and yet you're listening. It's incredible. And not one word about cheese, not one cheddar, blue, nacho, pepper jack, Swiss. So many cheeses and not one word. So weird. Any hoo be sure to subscribe today on iTunes, Spotify, Google play, or wherever you listen to your podcasts, that way you won't miss an episode. And while you're at it, visit just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. Is so weird. We out.

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