Burn, Build, Rinse & Repeat w/ JCK

When Indeed goes from $33-per to $300-per-applicant it's time to burn it down, build up something new, and then look to the future to rinse and repeat.

Seriously, can imagine discovering your cost-per-applicant on Indeed has gone from $33-per to $300-per-applicant. Well, that's just what happened to Jenny Cotie Kangas, director of digital experience and TA at Regis Corp. The boys dig into Jenny's story, her interactions with Indeed, and what she's done since to right the ship going forward. It's a cautionary tale every employer should know, so listen up!

After burning it to the ground you'll want to build your talent systems back with the best matching software in the industry. Sovren, AI so powerful it's scary. Scary good :)


Disability Solutions is your sourcing and recruiting partner for people with disabilities.

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.

Joel (20s):

Oh yeah. What's up everybody. It's your favorite podcast? The Chad and Cheese podcast. This is your co-host Joel Cheeseman joined as always by my faithful sidekick Chad Sowash today. We're super geeked to talk a little bit at Indeed stuff with Jenny Cotie Kangas. She's the director of digital experience and talent acquisition at Regis Corp. Jenny, welcome to the show.

Jenny (49s):

Thank you so much for having me. I hope you guys are having a great day so far.

Joel (54s):

You're so Minnesotan, so polite. I love it. Before we get into the nitty gritty, what do our listeners need to know about you?

Jenny (1m 1s):

My name's Jenny, people locally call me JCK.

Joel (1m 4s):

Love it.

Jenny (1m 5s):

And I am the director of digital experience and talent acquisition for a company called Regis Corporation. And we own a lot of salons.

Joel (1m 15s):

Chad's been to all of them. Obviously.

Jenny (1m 17s):

You've been to all of them, all 60 brands? That's impressive. That's impressive.

Joel (1m 21s):

He has lot of hair to deal with.

Chad (1m 23s):

Sure. Got to make sure I get the right the right shave. Right? It's not as easy as everybody thinks it is, so. Okay. So digital experience. What does that even mean? What do you cover? I don't even know what it is. So what are you accountable for? What are you responsible for? What what's all the fun stuff?

Jenny (1m 39s):

All the fun stuff. I work in an industry that's talent acquisition, super critical. I don't know the last time that you went to go get your hair cut, that you had a robot cut your hair, but we haven't figured out how to do that yet. And until we do a talent acquisition is critically important because ultimately when a customer walks through the doors, we want to make sure we've got somebody to cut their hair or to perform a service. And so as a result, talent acquisition is super, super important. And I work in a world where I've got a mixture of a couple of smaller amount of corporate salons, but a lot of franchises. And so what I do for a living, I always joke I'm a Marvel nerd.

Jenny (2m 20s):

So I apologize in advance, but I always say I maintain Ironman suit. So when Ironman needs a new guided missile system, I go and get it. And then I make sure that once I put it in the rest of the suit still fits. And so ultimately what I do is I build technology that helps people be able to take on recruiting the right way so that they can have sales and revenue and profitability.

Chad (2m 46s):

Those missiles are probably what you would call recruitment marketing, which have gone fucking crazy lately. So you give me some background around how you're actually dealing with recruitment marketing as a part of the digital experience.

Jenny (3m 2s):

Absolutely yep. So we're seeing a really big shift out there in the market. There was a movement going away from that passive I'm going to post a job and somebody is going to apply, into this more like active you got to go actually hunt for people. And so as I dug into this role and took on the global talent acquisition, I started digging into the analytics and I was a bit of a nerd. And so I always want to see, you know, what's converting, is something converting more than others? What's leading to our success for where we're at today. When I looked at the data, the data was really, really, really concerning. One of those data points that I was calling out was I had a cost per apply, which is something that, you know, we see a lot in our space, but the cost per apply down from $33 to over $300.

Joel (3m 52s):


Jenny (3m 53s):


Chad (3m 55s):

We're talking for hairstylists? We're talking about corporate positions? What was that?

Jenny (3m 60s):

We're talking about a hairstylist. We're talking on a cost per apply on Indeed for a hairstylist.

Chad (4m 7s):


Joel (4m 7s):

Not someone with just a flowbe Chad, a real professional.

Jenny (4m 11s):

Okay. Well ideally a real professional, but I don't even have analytics to tell you if that's the case. But anyway, so when I looked at that, I was like, gosh, I haven't been this close to recruitment marketing. I've been to this point, but something doesn't seem right here. And so I reached out to Deb Andrychuk over now at Lowe's and shot her a message on a Sunday. It was just like, Hey, haven't been as close to recruitment marketing. I know costs have gone up, but this seems a little bit outside of the standard deviation of that? Is this right? And her response was to call me directly and say, what the hell are you doing?

Chad (4m 45s):

And for those who don't know, and you've been in the corner for years in the fetal position, Deb, Andrychuk has been in this industry for 20 plus years, agency experience. She's now at Lowe's. I mean, she, she has the chops, so I'm sorry. Go ahead. JCK

Jenny (5m 1s):

She has the right. Yeah. It's for anybody who does not know that, you should know her because she is the person that when you see something really weird, you want to have in your circle to be able to say, Hey, is this normal or not? And then she calls you directly and says, what the hell are you doing? And so I was very thankful to Deb for that because essentially she checked, you know, my hypothesis something's up here. And so I turned around to Indeed and I had a new, a new contact there, his name's Ryan Short, God bless him. He's amazing anybody at Indeed, who's listening. Ryan Short needs a raise cause he's phenomenal. He has to put up with me.

Joel (5m 39s):

They all listen.

Jenny (5m 40s):

There you go. There you go. And so poor Ryan got me on the other side of the table and I essentially said, something's not right with my account. We're a bit of a unicorn. We've got 60 plus brands. Something's not working right, because these numbers just, something's weird. Can you just dig into this? And so we talked about that. I said, I really want you to take this beginner's mindset approach and look at this from a white slate. What's going on? And then I want you to do like a QBR and report it to me. And so he did that, put together this awesome deck and great presentation and gets all the way to the end of it and says, all right, Jen, what do you think? And I said, well, I really appreciate you taking all the time to go through that.

Jenny (6m 22s):

But I only care about slide 11. And he said, what? Like, what's on slide 11? So he quickly flips back and it's on market share. And so this slide in particular was telling me that the market share. So the available candidates that I had out there, the available stylists that were on, Indeed, it had shrunk by half.

Chad (6m 41s):

Did they know why?

Jenny (6m 43s):

They didn't know why. Yep. And so this, these are the questions that I started to ask them, like, why, why have you lost 50% of the market share? Like, why aren't you trying to get those people back? Cause we call that targeted recapture. Right? And he's like, you know what? I don't know. I'm going to have to research this. So I was like totally, okay, come back, let me know, you know, how are you getting these people back onto your platform? And so they came back and he had kind of the mixture of the blueprint of what they could do. So if you're not on your profile, I'm going to send you a message and you know, those little feeler messages that you get. And I said, that's awesome. But do you ever break that out by persona? And so really guys, what I was trying to figure out is like, if I target stylists, right?

Chad (7m 27s):


Jenny (7m 28s):

And now this channel, which is one of my primary channels of conversion. So where I get people, if they have lost market share. So now it's like, let's say for easy numbers, I had a hundred candidates out there in a bucket and today I have 50, right. It's going to cost me a heck of a lot more money to get those 50 candidates. And they're probably a lot less likely to convert to because Great Clips since Work Clips and everybody else is going to try to get them as well. And so what I wanted them to do was essentially, Hey, you've got the data, it's your data. You've got the people who were on your platform before, if something falls outside of the standard deviation in terms of market share, I want you to contact them, that stylist candidate and ask them to go and update their resume or update their Indeed platform.

Jenny (8m 18s):

And so Ryan, God bless him, went back and essentially said, we've got this client and she kind of has a really good idea and can we consider doing this? And they said, no.

Chad (8m 29s):


Jenny (8m 29s):

And so then I was, yeah. Cause you know, like we like success, not doing the same thing all the time, but I dunno, maybe that's just the recruiting thing.

Chad (8m 40s):

It's not your fault they lost 50% market share, but they want you to continue to do business with them. And their whole business rationale is, well, there are less stylists or you're going to have to pay us more. It's not my fault that you guys shrunk your pool.

Jenny (8m 54s):

Well, I think it's a piece that people don't necessarily think of, like, especially in the recruitment marketing world, if I'm looking at the mix of different channels that I'm putting dollars into, right. If I don't have insight into how many of my specific, like target market are on those channels, it's the equivalent of throwing spaghetti at a wall. Right? Because like what I said to Ryan was, if you guys don't have a plan to recapture those stylists, this is not the right channel for me to market in, because ultimately like if there's no strategy, losers have goals, winners have systems, right? So like if there's no strategy to get this back, I'm probably like, this isn't a place where I should be spending my money.

Chad (9m 36s):

Yes, yeah, no question. So what, I mean, has there been a response? I mean, we've seen this new cost per apply, start model, start to?

Jenny (9m 48s):


Chad (9m 49s):

Yeah, the Cpatch, the thing that you wear at night to get to sleep. No. So, I mean, is this kind of like toward more of a model that makes more sense to you? Or is this just another way to throw spaghetti at the wall?

Joel (10m 1s):

Yeah. And do you have a theory as to why they wouldn't do that?

Jenny (10m 4s):

Yeah, we do. I have a theory. I think Indeed is an awesome organization, but they sometimes have a tendency when it comes to innovation or ideas to not be able to bring an idea forward and to activate on it. And so if you don't have like a feedback loop for that, it's going to be harder to move forward. And I think this is a different way of looking at some of the historical ways we've done recruitment marketing and it's free. Right guys, like what I'm talking about is it's their data. It's leveraging the same AI that they're using. It's just instead of doing it, Hey, you've been off of our website for this long. I want to put one more layer in there that says you are a target persona.

Jenny (10m 48s):

So target group of people like a stylist or a CNA or a vet tech, and we've lost a bunch of people. So now I'm going to go out to all of you all and have you, you know, update your profiles. It's just adding another layer on there in terms of what we're going after. I think this is where we get into this historical kind of, we've always done it this way, mentality that doesn't really help us in war for talent. So I'm hoping, you know, somebody will see this and think let's just kind of look at it differently.

Joel (11m 15s):

Bureaucratic red tape is kind of what you think is going on there. Maybe just it's too big. Things happen too slowly. And this was an idea that just wasn't gonna be accepted.

Jenny (11m 26s):

Yeah. I don't know. It seems like if you've got an idea on the table that doesn't cost you any money and it can make you a lot of money. Why wouldn't you?

Joel (11m 34s):

I want to be fair to Indeed, because you are, you're a big, you're a big organization and I think it sounds like you had an agency helping you with the marketing of these positions. Like Indeed, obviously I'm going to assume wasn't the only platform that you were marketing these jobs.

Jenny (11m 48s):


Joel (11m 48s):

And if that's the case, was Indeed an outlier with all the other sort of cost per applications. Talk about that.

Chad (11m 55s):

Did everybody else go up 10 times the rate?

Jenny (11m 59s):

No, no, they didn't. It was just Indeed, but that actually went back to our recruitment marketing provider. There was some rules in the logic that we're not bouncing to the next channel they were kind of staying on Indeed. So those numbers, when there wasn't a ceiling kind of went off the charts and so been working with them to get that under control too, because that's important as well. But they were the main one where our costs had gone up just absolutely dramatically.

Joel (12m 29s):

So was that a programmatic kind of glitch?

Jenny (12m 31s):

It was a programming glitch for my programmatic provider. Correct.

Joel (12m 36s):

Okay, okay. That can be corrected, but that's something that people should be looking out for.

Jenny (12m 41s):

They can, that's where we, like, you know, when we're leveraging artificial intelligence, you know, to, to director of strategy, we usually want to put that before the humans so that it can give us some insights versus having the human direct, the strategy because humans tend to have bias. So it's just a different way of looking at it.

Joel (12m 59s):

In a perfect world if the programmatic algo corrects itself, you shouldn't have these problems with Indeed going forward.

Jenny (13m 6s):