Firing Squad: Great Recruiters' Adam Conrad

There are bad recruiters. There are good recruiters. And there are great recruiters. Founder Adam Conrad hopes his startup, Great Recruiters, will help agencies better manage recruiting teams and sorting through the best and worst performers. Better recruiters make for better candidate experiences too, so things sound pretty solid, right? Well, the Firing Squad will be the ultimate judge on whether this company is truly "great," or if it needs to be taken behind the barn and put out of its misery. Time to step-up to The Squad.

Enjoy this PandoIQ exclusive.


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Like Shark Tank? Then you'll love Firing Squad! CHAD SOWASH & JOEL CHEESEMAN are here to put the recruiting industry's bravest, ballsiest, baddest startups through the gauntlet to see if they got what it takes to make it out alive? Dig a fox hole and duck for cover kids the Chad and Cheese Podcast is taking it to a whole other level.

Joel (2m 22s):

Oh yeah. We're doing another firing squad on Monday, which is not a good thing.

Chad (2m 30s):

That's not good.

Joel (2m 31s):

Plus I'm really hung over from the Indy 500 yesterday, which was, that was a fun race. What up everybody? You are listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your cohost Joel Cheeseman joined as always by my Batman to my Robin or something, Chad Sowash. Chad what's up?

Chad (-):

Waz up?

Joel (2m 49s):

On today's Firing Squad we are featuring Adam Conrad from Great Recruiters.

Applause (2m 55s):


Chad (2m 55s):

Not, not like lousy recruiters.

Joel (2m 58s):

Not average recruiters.

Chad (2m 60s):

But good recruiters.

Joel (2m 60s):

Not Scrub Recruiters. Great recruiters Adam how are ya?

Chad (3m 5s):

There are expectations that are set right out of the gate.

Joel (3m 6s):

Yeah. You can't talk if you call yourself great.

Adam Conrad (3m 8s):

You're not great until somebody says you are in our case, it's at least 30 people with four stars. So we'll get into that. But I'm doing well. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

Joel (3m 19s):

Good deal, Adam, for, for those who don't know, you give us a little bit of a long gated tweet about who you are and then we'll get into the company.

Adam Conrad (3m 57s):

Yeah. Give you a little background. I've been in the staffing industry for about 20 years. Like many recruiters, I kind of fell into it, fell in love with it. I had managed recruitment teams was running operations for about a $40 million staffing firm. Handled their tech stack, their tech stack, I've always been an early adopter of technology and how it's going to help recruiters. And really for me, it saw the need to create more trust and transparency between candidates and recruiters and left that career in staffing to help better support the staffing industry and recruiters as a whole and launched Great Recruiters.

Joel (3m 59s):

I'm sorry. Did you say you love recruiting?

Adam Conrad (4m 1s):

I do love recruiting.

Joel (4m 6s):

Have you had a thorough head check on that one, Adam?

Adam Conrad (4m 18s):

No, we're all a little bit nuts. I mean, there's a lot of things you can choose to do, but I like people in the least we can help some people out. I mean, I know it doesn't have a great reputation, but hopefully I made it a lot better for many people out there.

Joel (4m 20s):

We knew you were a little nuts when you agreed to be on the show. Chad, tell him what he's won.

Chad (4m 23s):

Well, Adam, you are going to have two minutes to pitch Great Recruiters. That's right at the end of the two minutes, you're going to hear that bell.

Bell (-):

Ding, ding, ding

Chad (4m 32s):

Then Joel and I will hit you with rapid fire Q and A. If your answers start to ramble or you get fuckingg boring, you're going to hear the crickets.

Crickets (-):


Chad (4m 41s):

That means tighten your shit up and let's get moving at the end of Q and A, you will receive one of three grades. Number one, big applause.

Applause (4m 51s):


Joel (4m 51s):

Pack up the Brinks truck.

Chad (4m 54s):

You'll be bathing in milk and being fed grapes on a private island by the end of 2021. But seriously, that just means that you did a great job. Number two, golf clap.

Golf Clap (-):


Chad (5m 14s):

We kind of dig what you're doing, but you're not there yet. And you're probably going to be the one feeding the grapes and last but not least

FIRING SQUAD (5m 18s):

gun shots

Chad (5m 18s):

Firing Squad pack up your shit, hit the bricks, pull up that drawing board, baby, because this ain't working and there's no private island insight for you in this pile of shit. That's Firing Squad. Are you ready?

Adam Conrad (5m 31s):

Too late to back out or are we ready to go?

Joel (5m 35s):

Let's do this, in three, two?

Adam Conrad (5m 39s):

Awesome. So Great Recruiters is an experience and reputation management platform built for staffing firms and recruiters. So we help firms and recruiters go faster through real time feedback. So what I've understood in my career is even the best recruiters get swelled up by an industry's bad reputation. You simply Google recruiters are: it's evil liar, scumbag, are some of the top results. And I know as a professional recruiter, that wasn't true for many recruiters out there. And I know there's a bunch that give us a bad reputation, but I wanted to put a platform in place that allowed recruiters to capture real time feedback, help them operationally learn from that feedback from the candidates that they serve, realize where there are issues so they can resolve those quickly and also to be able to promote the hell out of when they're doing a great job.

Adam Conrad (6m 20s):

So if you think about the way people buy today, people rely on reviews and data, they don't rely on what you tell them on your website. And so we helped you curate the information from the people that you're working with to help you promote and differentiate your brand in the marketplace. And the end result for many of our clients is that we're helping to drive and elevate, empower recruiters and their sales teams. They love the feedback. They love knowing where they stand. It's helping our companies prove the quality of their services. So don't take my word for it, see what other people think about working with me.

Adam Conrad (6m 52s):

It helps increase trust and transparency. We've got some cool tools that help you to overall improve your online reputation. And ultimately we want to help you attract more talent so you can make more placements faster.

Joel (7m 2s):

And they can find out more where Adam?

Adam Conrad (7m 5s):

Gosh, that's great. Yes. You can find more at

Bell (7m 14s):

ding, ding, ding

Joel (7m 14s):

Okay. Adam, walk me through this. So I'm a candidate. Is this a digital experience? Do I get emails and fill out surveys? Do I get a pen and paper together? Walk me through how this works, nuts and bolts.

Adam Conrad (7m 32s):

So the way it works is our client staffing firms they are soliciting real time feedback from candidates. So either throughout the recruitment process, process or placements. And so they'll receive an email request, simple, just, Hey, it was great talking to you, we'd love for you to share some of your feedback, click here to provide a review. And so every recruiter gets reviewed on five key areas. Are they genuine, responsive, experienced advisors and transparent? And that information comes into a main dashboard for operational, for recruiting management, to help understand where the recruiters are stacking up.

Adam Conrad (8m 5s):

And then we have the promotional side that helps you to easily share testimonials and reviews on your website and through, out social.

Joel (8m 11s):

Now, is this automated at all? Or does the recruiter or someone managing this for a staffing firm sort of go through and like, okay, who do we need to ask for feedback, like talk through that. How manual is it? Is it automatic?

Adam Conrad (8m 24s):

Yeah, actually there's two ways. So we're, we're building out our integrations. One of our deepest integrations is with Bull Horn, as well as with eRecruiter. We have open API so people can automate that feedback. We don't want people to have to work, to get the feedback. We want them to manage it, but we make it really simple for those that don't have the integration, they can simply just quickly upload a CSV of anybody to the place or anybody that I talked to that past week. And it fires out right from the system. There's also, what's really unique is there's a URL that every recruiter that they can embed into their email signature.

Adam Conrad (8m 56s):

Really it's the open door and call for action for feedback. So any recruiter engaging with any candidates out there that candidate has the opportunity to click that link and give feedback throughout the process. So it's a nice gentle reminder for recruiters to always put their best foot forward because let's face it nobody wants to get bad reviews or bad feedback.

Joel (9m 17s):

Gotcha. And what does the competitive landscape look like for you? Are there other people doing this? Are you the only one? Like talk about that.

Adam Conrad (9m 24s):

You know, when I talk to customers who have gone out there and researched, they certainly say that we're the only one doing it the way we're doing it. And we're doing it spectacularly. I think you run into, anybody can use a survey tool to ask for feedback, right? ATS is some are collecting NPS. You could use a survey monkey. You could, you know, call somebody up and ask for feedback. But the way we do it is really centered around the individual recruiters. And I think that's really unique because we're not asking for feedback on a company.

Adam Conrad (9m 55s):

We're asking your feedback with another human being that you're working with. So from that perspective, very unique, as well as our tools that allow you to not only need to take that information internal and make good decisions, but being able to take that and promote and market that information out there to the audiences you're looking to attract.

Joel (10m 13s):


Chad (10m 14s):

Okay. So who is your target market?

Adam Conrad (10m 17s):

Yeah, our target market is we started in staffing. There's been a lot of interest in the talent acquisition. So I mean, any company that really believes in the candidate experience, wants to put position themselves kind of at the top of the market is ideal. We service across tons of different industries from executive search to labor and commercial healthcare staffing it engineering. So really it works really well depending, regardless of what industry you're in, because it's human to human, right.

Adam Conrad (10m 47s):

We're still people dealing with people. So we find that it works spectacularly well across all different verticals, but primarily our focus has been, as we launched is the staffing industry and recruiters within that industry.

Chad (11m 3s):

Okay. So talking to any top line recruiters, I mean, ones that obviously have the big names have been in this for a very long time. What's like yourself, they mostly agree that 95% of recruiters just fucking suck and they're hacking to want to be rated. And so it's like glass door companies fucking hate glass door and they feel like they have to use it. How are you going to ensure that recruiters not just use Great Recruiters, but they love Great Recruiters?

Adam Conrad (11m 52s):

Yeah. I mean, if you look at all right, you mentioned Glassdoor, right? That's the old way. That's people that are pissed off in the process that have probably not asked for their feedback on the experience. And they're looking for a way to get it off their chest. I mean, you just face it, you have a bad experience. You're looking to vent. And that's why we see that three out of four candidates who have a bad experience are going to share that. Okay. But only 10 of candidates that have a good experience are willing to share that unless they're asked. And so I think the key differentiator is we take it from that old way of just being passive, waiting, reacting, monitoring to an active approach, or you're actively soliciting that feedback. And then we, as I mentioned, bring that information in a way that allows you to promote and market those reviews and scores and really create transparency. So I don't agree that 95% of recruiters necessarily suck.

Adam Conrad (12m 22s):

I think that a lot of times recruiters get the short end of the stick. Maybe it's the hiring manager that didn't give feedback, right? I mean, a lot of times recruiters are the ones that are getting the brunt of it. And so through our platform, we want to let them know they're in control of that experience regardless of outcome. And when you know somebody's going to rate that experience, you're going to do better upfront to make sure that you're not part of that problem. And if you are, we give you the simple tools to be able to take action quickly and resolve those issues.

Chad (12m 47s):

So how do you take the recruiter out of this process through integration? So you talk about your integration with Bullhorn, which obviously pure, pure staffing play there, which is awesome. How do you ensure that the recruiter isn't the one who asked to hit the button because I could see recruiters say, Oh yeah, man, I'm sorry. I didn't, I didn't send out my reviews this week, which is why I don't have any reviews.

Adam Conrad (13m 12s):

Yup. And that's the problem we definitely want to solve. I mean, we don't want to put any extra work on the recruiter. So with our integration specifically, like for Bullhorn, we can trigger off what their existing workflow is. So recruiters are being measured on their submittals, on their interviews, on their placements. Those are the trigger points that already exist within their workflow. So we don't ask them to do any extra work. We just piggyback that process, identify what that trigger point is, and our system automatically sends that review request.

Chad (13m 40s):

OK, so what about the candidates who were not hired?

Adam Conrad (13m 46s):

Definitely. I mean, I think everybody through the process is able to provide that feedback either they're being asked for it because they've been submitted at one point or there's that OpenLink on the recruiter's email signature. So everybody really has the opportunity to share what their experience is.

Joel (14m 3s):

I wanna talk about sort of the psychology around this because...

Chad (-):

Oh shit.

Joel (14m 7s):

Why do job seekers care, right? Why would they care? And my, my sense is that they, they would give feedback in order to help themselves get the job and have a good relationship with a staffing firm. However, I also feel like they're going to skew on the positive feedback because they think negative feedback might lead to a poor relationship with the staffing firm. Am I right? Am I on track with that? Or what's been your experience with that? I assume you disagree with that, but I'm curious about it.

Adam Conrad (14m 36s):

Well, I don't disagree because we certainly have some recruiters that might need to, you know, reflect and see if this is the path that they really want to go down because the feedback isn't great. And I think what we do is digest it, bring the information on those five key areas. Did I, was I genuine understanding needs, did I follow up with you in a timely manner. Did I, you know, have experience and knowledge of your job in industry? Did I provide any advice and guidance? Was I transparent? Those are things that regardless of outcome, the recruiter can control, through communications, through updates.

Adam Conrad (15m 9s):

And so what we find is we do get a lot of positive feedback and that's not a bad thing. I think the problem is, and why there's such a negative reputation is because not enough people are asking. And so it's just those people who are upset, pissed off, that are going out there to those other anonymous review sites and they're venting. And so through Great Recruiters, we're giving everybody the opportunity to share that feedback. And we find that there's a lot more positive things that are happening than negative because we're centered on the experience with the individual, not the outcome of the search.

Joel (15m 42s):

Is feedback anonymous, or at least the perception of the feedback is anonymous or do people, or do reviewers know that there's a name on the feedback?

Adam Conrad (15m 51s):

No, I mean the reviewers know we surface it and it's many of our clients opt to ask for feedback from the recruiter's voice. So it's Adam would love your feedback or Hey, you worked with Adam, can you provide your feedback? We then have ability for them to say they want this to be public or private. So there is a belief that there's an understanding that this is positive information. This is, this is not anonymous. It's somebody specifically asking for that feedback on that experience with that individual.

Adam Conrad (16m 21s):

So there's no point in our process. It says, you know, keep this anonymous because there's enough of that. And you can't solve problems, you know, with anonymous feedback, when you get an anonymous, bad review, you spent all this time and energy trying to figure out who it is. Right? I know this person left, maybe it was them. And so much energy is wasted. And we're like, if you're willing to give feedback, then you should be willing to allow somebody to be able to intervene and resolve that issue If there is one.

Joel (16m 47s):

And I'm curious, you, you mentioned a partnership or I guess a prod product or partnership staffing referrals that you've, that you've, you've gotten into. Can you explain kind of what that is and how that benefits your clients?

Adam Conrad (17m 0s):

Yeah, definitely part of our review process. If the review is positive, we ask if you'd like to provide a referral and that was something we put in day one, just my experience as a recruiter, the number one reason you don't get referrals is you simply forget to ask. So our platform, if the review is positive, we simply say, Hey, is there anybody you'd like to recommend, to Joel? And if it's negative, we certainly don't ask that question. So we help to generate those referrals from the upfront review process. We're staffing referrals takes it on, is they'd bring in and anybody that refers, somebody becomes an ambassador to that brand.

Adam Conrad (17m 35s):

And so they're really, you know, referrals on steroid, where they're able to create these ambassadors through all the candidates that had great experiences and help manage that referral flow, drive jobs to them so essentially it's helping to make your, an extension of your own recruitment team.

Chad (17m 52s):

How does a staffing company see value from the platform? Yes, candidates are happy, but where does the ROI come from?

Adam Conrad (18m 1s):

You know, it's, I think there's two pieces of ROI. We do a ton of obviously in the, in the, the, the situation we're in right now with, with COVID and everything. Nursing has been an area where we've had a lot of focus. And so a lot of our companies in the travel nursing is they're realizing the ROI on placements from those referrals. You know, my wife being a nurse, they're not on LinkedIn, typically they have close networks. So when somebody has a great experience with a recruiter, they're going to recommend their friends. So I think from a direct ROI perspective, they see it right there.

Adam Conrad (18m 34s):

The other piece we have is every recruiter has a recruiter profile and they can use this profile in their introductions with new candidates out there in the marketplace. And we've heard more times than now that we've gone to a remote workforce you can't have that human to human interaction, that many recruiters are accustomed to. So how do you help somebody understand who you are, what people think about working with you, they can't meet you face to face. And so they're directly sharing this profile, say something like, Hey Chad, we haven't met before, but I help folks like you In fact, don't take my word for it check out what people think about working with me.

Adam Conrad (19m 8s):

And we're hearing more and more from recruiters that people are specifically telling them I'm calling you back because of your reviews. And so finding talent, isn't always the toughest thing. It's getting talent to want to call you back. And we're certainly helping to get more call backs to those recruiters.

Chad (19m 24s):

OK, that in itself is still kind of, well, it's anecdotal. And when we're talking about staffing companies staffing an RPO, this is their business. So they should be doing this better than anybody else. And generally they're focused when they're adding technology. They're focused on our, Oh, I love the whole idea of experience. I love the whole idea of getting my, my recruiters out there in the face just different ways of doing that. But at the end of the day, it all comes down to what is this going to generate from a profit standpoint to my bottom line?

Adam Conrad (20m 2s):

And we certainly see the profit standpoint from the referrals turn into placements. And then from recruiting management, simply if you're able to make faster decisions. I mean, if you think about how long it takes to find out a recruiter might not work out? What our clients are telling us is that they're making better decisions faster on the recruitment team. They're also getting the recruiters up to speed faster because they're able to share feedback on some of their best recruiters, training and development perspective. So from that, I think that's a direct ROI when you can cut down the amount of time it takes to figure out if somebody is going to work out or you're able to get a recruiter up to speed faster, better position them for candidates to want to work with them and with your firm, that's certainly an ROI that our clients are realizing today.

Adam Conrad (20m 47s):

So speaking of ROI, you have a story on your website,

Joel (20m 48s):

A company called Alpine group. I believe I'm saying that correctly, that they tout that their Google rating on their reviews went from a 2.3 to a 4.1. I'm curious if there are other stories like that and exactly how does that happen? In other words, does the staffing firm proactively say we'd really love a good, you know, we'd really love your feedback on Google or Glassdoor, or is this just by accident because there's greater engagement and feedback's happening organically and not by sort of push push campaigns.

Adam Conrad (21m 22s):

It's happening automatically through push campaigns. So as we identify people who have a positive experience, one of the use cases a client started doing, and Apline certainly adopted or was we have a positive review. Thank you. So, you know, from the negative side, what can you do to resolve those issues from a positive side? What can you do to help automate that followup? And one of the things we have is a positive review, thank you. And so after that review is completed, clients can send out an automatic email and many of those clients simply ask the question, Hey, thanks so much for your positive feedback.

Adam Conrad (21m 54s):

Would you mind sharing this on, let's say Google, or would you mind sharing this on Glass Door? So we're just trying to automate that process that normally I think firms would be doing to help solicit feedback on those third party platforms that don't make it really easy to do so.

Chad (22m 9s):

Excellent. So talk to us about partnerships, partnerships overall from integration standpoint, making this all easier for the staffing company, and then also, you know, what revenue partnerships do you have in place?

Adam Conrad (22m 23s):

Yeah, so we have several channel partnerships with marketing companies. And so if you think about it, marketing companies in the staffing industry have a tough time, really differentiating their websites. They might have a testimonial on there, but it's manufactured content because there's no a source of origination. So a lot of the tools that we have from a marketing standpoint, the marketing firms love because they're able to create things like embedded testimonials that directly link back to the company's Great Recruiter's profile, providing validity to that review feedback.

Adam Conrad (22m 56s):

The testimonials come through there. We have recruiter profiles, as I mentioned. And so a big trend that we see in a lot of firms, I think that are leading are adopting this. They're not keeping their recruiters in the back closet. They're actually using them as the tool to say, we are a recruiting firm. Our service is recruiting. Here are the recruiters you're going to work with. And through our tool, then we're able to help people be able to make decisions, which recruiters they want to work with by surfacing the reviews and their testimonials. So channel partnerships, certainly from a marketing standpoint, a ton of user generated content that they can use in their marketing efforts.

Adam Conrad (23m 32s):

And then we have partnerships with companies that are doing organizational type development, training and development. They love this tool because they're coming in and doing training and development. And if they're helping to train a recruitment team, this real time feedback really helps them to be able to pinpoint areas of improvement for specific recruiters and be able to really tailor training development programs for that individual.

Chad (23m 58s):


Adam Conrad (23m 58s):

From a technology standpoint, excited, we're doing a lot with Bullhorn, obviously here, fish by Bullhorn is, I was their second customer and love those guys and they're doing a lot around automation. So we're actually having a webinar tickets on September 16th to really talk about how you can leverage your reviews and automation to really bring talent faster into your organization, get them to call you back, get them to want to engage with you.

Chad (24m 21s):

Okay. So from a partnership standpoint, what is your focus? What's your, what's your perfect partner that you guys are focusing on right now, trying to pull in and work with?

Adam Conrad (24m 30s):

Definitely from an ATS perspective. So we can continue automating the feedback loop and then definitely from complimentary tools where they want to inject a feedback mechanism, whether it's an onboarding tool, like, you know, like an employee stream or whether it's an engagement tool like a here fish. So from a technology standpoint, we're looking at some other companies that might be working more in the gig type where it's a little bit faster transaction. And so they want that feedback piece because they don't want to just have it sitting inside internally.

Adam Conrad (25m 1s):

They want ways to be able to get that information out there easily. And I think what we're finding is a lot of people are excited about the public and promotional side of what we provide. Okay. Last one for me, what is the price? How much does this cost? What do I have to pay? How does this work? Yeah, so we have a couple of different pricing options. You know, some people just want to dip their foot in the water and just get the feedback piece. So from an automated feedback piece, it's $299 a month plus $25 per recruiter. And so that gets you the operational platform to be able to automate, get that feedback in.

Adam Conrad (25m 35s):

And then we have our marketing pro side, which allows you and unlocks the social, share the website, testimonial the company and the recruiter profiles that starts at $500 base platform fee a month and $25 a recruiter.

Joel (25m 48s):

All right. Hey, last one from me. What, what sort of the end game of the business? I don't think you guys have taken any money. Is that something in the offing what's sort of your, your mojo here?

Adam Conrad (26m 2s):

Yeah, the mojo really is to get companies that want to adopt a tool like this and to put them in the forefront of the industry as, as really the trailblazers, we are definitely looking at being able to create that marketplace, to start driving more traffic directly to those companies and reward them for the work that they're doing. So, you know, longterm, we've gone from an operational platform that helps to capture the feedback to a marketing and promotional platform that helps them get it out there. And then the next step is really to help bring the audience to our clients.

Adam Conrad (26m 36s):

Yeah. So I'm like, am I correct