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Ep1 - The Struggle is Real

Hey it's Chad, it's been a minute since we've had a deep dive VOICES series and after speaking with Amy Butchko, SAIC's Director of Talent Solutions I knew a single 20-minute podcast wouldn't be enough and instead of dropping these one podcast at a time we're doing it Netflix style so you can easily discover and binge the entire series - enjoy!


- Internet Recruitment 2000

- From Rolodex to automation

- The rise of Jobs2Web?

- Why don't employers fix their shitty UX?

BINGE all 5 episodes with Amy

Voices INTRO (0s):

The struggle is real voices. We hear them every day. Some voices like mine are smooth and comforting, while on the other hand, the Chad and Cheese podcast is like listening to a Nickelback album, you'd rather stab yourself in the ears with an ice pick. Anyway, y'all now listening to Voices a podcast series from Chad and Cheese that features the most important and influential voices within the recruitment industry. Try not to fuck it up, boys.

Joel (36s):

What's up everybody? This is Joel Cheeseman of the Chad and Cheese podcast joined as always by my cohost, Chad Sowash and this is another episode of Voices. Today we're welcoming, with her resting Butchko face Amy Butchko. Here we go to the show. Amy is director of TA solutions at SAIC. Amy welcome to the show.

Amy (1m 2s):

Thanks Joel, I'm so glad to be here.

Joel (1m 4s):

May God help you.

Amy (1m 5s):

Yeah, you know, I was cautioned that you all might be a little hard on me.

Joel (1m 12s):

Come on, warned, whatever.

Chad (1m 15s):

We're sweethearts.

Joel (1m 16s):

Were so warm and fuzzy, you're on the you're on the Voices. This is the lightest of light of our shows.

Chad (1m 26s):

This is the light of natural light.

Joel (1m 28s):

No bullets, probably no booing. It's very, very well warm and fuzzy. So we know that you're director of TA solutions that SAIC what's, I SAIC stand for, by the way?

Amy (1m 39s):

Science, applications, international corporation, but it's not, that is not part of, all our identity.

Joel (1m 46s):

That's all kinds of a sexy brand. That must be fun to market. Okay. So in addition to being director of taste solutions there, what else, what else should our listeners know about you Amy?

Amy (1m 57s):

Listeners should know that I run our recruitment marketing and sourcing operations, serving an enterprise at SAIC that hires around 6,000 people a year and we are 26,000 employees. So it is a pretty large enterprise. And my group is the engine behind the marketing and the hunt for our internal, what I kind of refer to as our internal staffing agency. So it's a pretty unique job.

Joel (2m 30s):

So, which do you, which do you report to marketing or the recruiting side?

Amy (2m 35s):

That's a great question, Joel.

Joel (2m 36s):

What we do here on Voices. Great questions.

Amy (2m 38s):

Yeah. I report to the vice president of talent acquisition.

Chad (2m 42s):

When it comes to talent acquisition solutions. It sounds like you are deep in tech all the time. Is that, is that the case?

Joel (2m 49s):

Sounds like you get about a hundred calls a day from vendors.

Amy (2m 52s):

Including you, Joel.

Joel (2m 54s):

What? I don't have any idea what you're talking about.

Amy (3m 1s):

Okay. How long did we make it before I got that?

Joel (3m 4s):

That's all right. That's all right. I had plenty of fun with Butchko before the show.

Amy (3m 9s):

That's all right. Yeah. So I do get a lot of calls and I am pretty deeply steeped in technology. And it's one of my favorite things to talk about. It's actually how I found you all. I, you know, I consider you to be one of the better sources, you know, certainly from a podcast perspective, the best source of good information.

Joel (3m 32s):

Go on.

Chad (3m 32s):

Say more, say more.

Amy (3m 35s):

You know, this industry is changing really fast and I've been in it now since, you know, I started as a recruiter around the year 2000 and I grew into a consulting environment where, you know, I was working with a lot of different clients through the .com boom and then of course, that went pop. So, right. So had to kind of find a, you know, much like my short-lived journalism career, you know, that I, you know, I got my degree right, as the newspapers started going out of business. So I kind of took my curiosity and my love of technology and design and ended up as a recruiter.

Amy (4m 22s):

And so I thought what I was going to be doing was recruiting technologists for a living forever. And then what happened as you all know, is the technology started to kind of infect our jobs and we had to learn how to use that technology to stay relevant. And I felt that deeply, like I felt that viscerally as a recruiter. And so

Chad (4m 45s):

Well talk about how that happened, changed what you were doing though, right? Because you're not doing column inches anymore. And I mean, you actually were coming in when everything was really starting to pop with, you know, had had just launched in January of '99 and there was this big push to get everybody online. So I try to explain, you know, kind of like the tools and learning and how that is so much different today, or is it different today?

Joel (5m 13s):

Tell us about the difficulty of copying and pasting an ad to multiple job boards?

Amy (5m 19s):

Right? So keep in mind so I am maybe not as old as I sound, I was a junior recruiter at that time. So it was my, you know, I was receiving those tools, at that time. And so, you know, I learned, you know, so I got my Monster account, you know, I mean, all the stuff that you would, you would go and you would type in the words and find the people. But my first recruiting job was we weren't actually allowed to touch the internet because the guy that owned the staffing agency, by the way, I cried at my desk almost every day, at that agency, but he didn't believe in the internet.

Amy (6m 3s):

So, I learned.

Joel (6m 5s):

He's still in business.

Amy (6m 6s):

He's not actually. Right. So, but a lot of the, you know, I learned how to recruit from recruiters, real dyed-in-the-wool headhunters people with actual Rolodexes and fax machines on their desks. And, you know, and I learned the technology from the ground up, you know, my first job, I, you know, where I was like recruiting technical people. I was, I had to learn the difference between an Oracle DBA and an Oracle developer. And wow, that's great to know now. Right. So, you know, so, so making the transition, what, for me, Chad, wasn't really about, like, I didn't see all of this stuff happening as it was happening.

Amy (6m 50s):

What ended up happening for me was I started gravitating toward wondering things like how could I automate and get all of these names off of this job board every day and have them delivered to my desk. Right. I was trying to hack those systems to make my job easier. Once I got the job where I was allowed to use the internet, which I obviously was.

Chad (7m 14s):

You were in a staffing company. So that was what every single staffing company was trying to do. And what all the job boards and the resume databases out there were trying to fight against once it started the crawling and all that other fun stuff. Yes. It made it easier. But also that was revenue that was lost every single day by those sites.

Amy (7m 36s):

Oh my goodness. They lost so much money. I mean, cause if I can figure it out seriously, but yeah. I mean, it was the wild west, but it was, so that was so fun to be like, you know, back when you could like scrape LinkedIn with abandon, you could, you just, all of it. And now of course, you know, the web is a very different place and a lot of people have figured out how to aggregate that data and make it smarter. But I think, you know, when you look at, you know, where we were to where we are now, it's a quantum leap. If you do it like that, but there are still places where businesses are operating, like it's 2005 and you know, and that's really been where, you know, my role, especially in a government contractor where it's very, you're very risk averse.

Amy (8m 28s):

You're very cyber conscious. You know, the bad guys really are out there. I mean, we just saw this week, you know, to be topical a gas pipeline has, has created all kinds of ripples throughout our entire society because it was hacked. Right. So the, you know, the struggle is real and you know, so in my role, I am really balancing, you know, how do we find the people? How do we engage the people? Right. So, cause my job is two sides now. And that's really where I think I have a unique role is that I it's two-sided because I'm doing the marketing piece and the group that does the hunting also sits in my organization and the way that we have used technology to automate and make the attraction piece really efficient means that the folks that are sitting on the search side of the house have a real specific mandate, and the heart, you know, so they go find the real, you know, the unicorns, the people that can't be found.

Joel (9m 37s):

Yeah. So, so Amy, I appreciate that you've been in the industry for quite a while, by the way, when you said Rolodex about half our audience pushed pause, and went to go Google Rolodex. So we appreciate that curious, you just sort of outlined Rolodexes to hacking job sites.

Amy (9m 55s):


Joel (9m 55s):

And I feel like 2008 was the destruction of a lot of what happened from 2000 - 2008. And what was born out of that was social media. There was Indeed, the rise of Indeed there was the death of some, you know, monster, you know, eventual death of a lot of the job boards that we use today.

Amy (10m 14s):

My version of 2008 is wow, I'm really glad to be in government contracting because there's a lot of industries that are suffering right now. And, you know, I felt the same way in 2020. You know, it's a very resilient industry. Now from a recruiting perspective, you know, I think that if you want to take social media as its own thing, you know, and maybe the advent of the smartphone, you know, I think is, is pretty intimately connected with that. You know, it changed everything. You know, if you look at, you know, a great example of, I think a technology that was absolutely the best of its time, and we haven't really seen anything since then, that that is so singular, the advent of jobs to web, and right around that time, that product was the best you could get to do this, you know, to, to try to engage the internet and do the social sharing to the degree that was possible.

Amy (11m 13s):

But, you know, do you agree? Disagree?

Chad (11m 16s):

Yeah. I mean, Doug, Doug actually took something that Joel is very intimate when it comes to a HR SEO. That was the name of his company. He actually did this, but seeing what Doug did and how he built a platform to automate that. Yeah, it was definitely, it was definitely revolutionary for our space.

Amy (11m 38s):

It was unfortunately the company that I worked for was still using it in 2018. Right.

Joel (11m 50s):

We laugh, but the number of companies still using that was innovative in 2005 and 6.

Chad (11m 56s):


Joel (11m 56s):

Probably a lot more than we think.

Chad (11m 58s):

CareerBuilder. I mean, people are still using those. I mean, those products, right? I mean, at least those products and then also Taleo, which is pretty much on its last leg, you know.

Joel (12m 9s):

Someone's probably posting a job on right now. I promise you.

Amy (12m 16s):

Yes. Yeah. So when I look at it, edit that way, you know, trying to figure out how to modernize and take the good stuff because there's things that jobs to web did that nobody has actually done, is doing better. Still. Like there, there are certain parts about the way the web tracks, and there's also certain restrictions that we have now that we didn't have then that, you know, I kind look back and I'm like, Hmm. You know, maybe I shouldn't, you know, she complains too much? But you know, when you look at how, you know, if you want to take social, right. So you've had the systems that then could sort of automate and do more of that social stuff, but you didn't really have the reach that you have today, back in 2008, in my opinion, you know, and I, you know, there wasn't an iPhone in every pocket or an equivalent device in every pocket.

Amy (13m 10s):

Today there is. And so, you know, I think that where the transition and really getting no lift out of the things that were developed in 2008, we're just seeing it now where it's become table stakes to be relevant in the marketing aspect of this business.

Chad (13m 30s):

That everybody has, we shouldn't say everybody, there's more access, there's easier access, you would think that companies understanding that would provide a better experience. But we're still seeing the same shitty experience that we saw back in their early two thousands, where you still have to register to apply for a job. You go into a black hole. I mean, there are so many different, horrible experience points that we still have that we, that we had decades ago. And you being obviously a part of the TA solutions group, what are you guys doing to try to fix that?

Amy (14m 7s):

Good question.

Joel (14m 8s):

He's saying you're part of the shitty experience, Amy.

Chad (14m 11s):

Or not. I don't know.

Amy (14m 13s):

No, I hear you. So good question. It's, you know, I, you know, if you think my mic was running hot before, wait till you hear me now! The candidate experience is like my entire reason for existing and figuring out how to make that better, is, you know, if I stopped today, that would be one of the things that I did for the company that I worked for now, SAIC, that has made a difference. So let me tell you how this has happened. So we had jobs to web and we had this languishing system, you know, it suffered from, you know, everything from, you know, logging into a talent network, double log in to do the, apply to the Tallejo and non-responsive design, which meant that my mobile application rate was 0.0001 %.

Chad (15m 4s):


Amy (15m 6s):

True. So we ended up doing an RFP to make some replacements where those types of factors were key. You know, we were looking for, you know, a recruitment marketing platform that had a good content management system, CMS, and also a good apply flow that would get our candidates into our system faster. And so today, you know, we've gone from, you know, an apply process that took 25 minutes. No kidding. And you know, that was actually one of the ways that we were able to get rid of that old system and make the case, was I sat down with our CHRs at the time and ushered her through an apply process at our company.

Chad (15m 56s):

How'd that go?

Amy (15m 57s):

It was awful. I had to throw my outfit away and I tell people, I sweated all the way through my outfit. It was 25 minutes of watching her try to do it on a laptop. And then she'd try to do it on her mobile phone. And it was awful. That was how we got the funding to do the RFP and find a new vendor, which we have. So we did that transition in 2018 and our current system gets us, you know, less than five minute apply. There's no login.

Chad (16m 35s):


Amy (16m 35s):

Heyo! And we've been able to quadruple our applicant flow.

Joel (16m 43s):

There's people out there asking how do they do it? Give them some tips and tricks. What'd you discover on efficiencies?

Amy (16m 50s):

So efficiencies, get rid of your log-in, just, you don't need it. Most of the career site, there are leading career site applications out there, you know, and Chad, I think give you a chance to give a plug because I actually just downloaded the talent acquisition technology guide for an enterprise from it. Tell folks who that was from. I can't remember off the top of my head, but it's tremendous. Go there and look at it.

Chad (17m 16s):

Oh, you're talking about Madeline Murano's yeah, Aptitude Research. Yeah. She's she puts a great research. So you talk about the, the applicant tracking system, like the hundred and 20 page applicant tracking system research that she did. Yes. It is amazing.

Amy (17m 33s):

Yeah. But it's the ATS plus, you know, with an eye towards CRM capability.

Chad (17m 39s):

Yeah. But that's what we're starting to see though with ATSs is that they're starting to want to be the all-in-one right?

Amy (17m 45s):

You, yeah. I've got real next year, you know, is that, that can be the next time we get together.

Joel (17m 52s):

It can be today, Amy, because I think it's an important topic. I mean, there's a race to be the one platform and it sounds like you're not so into that.

Amy (18m 1s):

I am Joel, if it would work, I would be all about it.

Chad (18m 6s):

There it is.

Joel (18m 7s):

But it doesn't. And why doesn't it?

Amy (18m 10s):

One of the things Madeline said, and I will, I will echo her here and I love being able to echo a woman in tech and thank you for listening to us women in tech who have a perspective here. What she said was that each enterprise, each business has to know what they need. You have to sit with yourself first, you have to sit with your business first and once you know, what your business needs and what your candidate pool will tolerate, then you can come up with a solution and your solution might be, yep, just let me open up the box that has all of the ATS, CRM, CMS, the referral platform, the training platform, the, all of the HCM stuff in it, all of it out, just open up the box or plug it in.

Amy (19m 2s):

But in my experience, I've never worked for a business that didn't have some special needs. And so that's why I'm skeptical.

Chad OUTRO (19m 10s):

Keep on binging. Episode two with Amy is ready and available. And if you're not already subscribed, look for the Chad and Cheese, wherever you listen to podcasts and hit that subscribe or follow button.


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