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Gerry Tales from Unleash

To know industry icon Gerry Crispin is to love Gerry Crispin. And if you missed our Gerry Tales series, do yourself a favor and check it out at Then come back for an after-hours interview with Gerry live from Unleash in Las Vegas. It's a walk down Memory Lane, a breath of fresh air for our times, and a sobering forecast of where things might be going.


Podcast Intro: 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: Oh yeah, what's up everybody? We are live from the DaXter booth at UNLEASH in Las Vegas. This is the Chad and Cheese Podcast. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheeseman, joined as always, Chad Sowash is here.

Chad: Hello. Hello, hello.

Joel: And we are just privileged to have Gerry Crispin, co-founder of CareerXroads, industry expert and world of work icon. My beard worships his. Gerry Crispin, welcome to HR's most dangerous podcast.

Chad: After all the shit he just gave you, he's like, icon, he's like, you should have solved the off-camera stuff that was happening.

Gerry Crispin: Yeah, it's a pleasure to be here.

Joel: It's been a while. You were on the show, I think, pre-pandemic.

Gerry Crispin: I was on the show.

Joel: When we were trying to be a serious podcast.

Chad: No, we did a whole series. We did a Gerry series.

Joel: Gerry Tales.

Chad: We did Gerry Tales. Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: Yeah, yeah. So I got stories.


Chad: I got stories. I got stories.

Joel: So Gerry, some of our listeners don't know who you are.

Gerry Crispin: Who are they?

Joel: Give them, some are too young and weren't around in the industry. Give us the Twitter bio about you. We'll let you go a little longer because you've earned it.

Gerry Crispin: Oh, no, but I don't. I just nurture a community of talent acquisition leaders from large companies who are committed to helping each other.

Joel: Say more about that. You have an organization that does... Facilitates this.

Gerry Crispin: I have an organization that I don't have to run. So I have somebody who does all the heavy lifting. He's the president.

Joel: Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: And Chris does a fabulous job in building a platform that helps people who are in talent acquisition, in leadership roles, engage one another. Benchmark, understand what's going on.

Chad: Chris is taking the baton, though. Let's talk about why you...

Gerry Crispin: Chris has taken...

Chad: Exactly. Exactly. Why you started and then how you grew it up to this point where somebody needs to take over. That's a great legacy, right?

Joel: And please mention the days where you wrote a book on all the job boards that are out there.


Chad: We're going back, so let's do it.

Gerry Crispin: Well, it started with actually Mark and I were helping a group of talent acquisition leaders and CHROs who were out of work find jobs. It was a group that met every Saturday morning at 7:00 AM, every other Saturday morning.

Chad: At 7:00 AM?

Gerry Crispin: 7:00 AM.

Joel: They had to be committed.

Chad: Holy shit.

Gerry Crispin: They had to be committed. They had to share fully what they were interviewing on, which some were reluctant because it's competitive. Somebody's going to call up and say, "Hey, don't take him, take me."

Joel: Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: So you have this starting this group, typically about 30 or 40 people in the Princeton area who are doing this. And I enjoyed trying to help them. It was a pay it forward. I was working with Shaker Advertising at the time. And many of these folks, after they got a job, obviously are trying to rethink how they recruit.

Chad: Oh, yeah.

Gerry Crispin: And it might be that, hey, you need a new advertising agency. So, you know, there's an advantage there as well.

Chad: Right.

Gerry Crispin: But Mark and I were doing that. And then we said, you know, this weird shit has happening with this thing called the internet and there's this OCC, what the hell is that, and there's this Career Mosaic...

Joel: You better say E-span.


Chad: E-span,

Joel: There you go.

Gerry Crispin: And then there's E-span and then there's... So you have these nascent job boards starting up and none of the people in the room knew anything about them.

Chad: Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: And so we're collecting data on all of that and I'm putting it into a little computer, Pentium 286.

Chad: Manual entry.

Joel: Is that gerbil still alive that was powering that then?

Gerry Crispin: No. No, no.

Joel: I think it's powering my Wi-Fi at home.

Gerry Crispin: So we're doing all of that and then somebody sends me, I start getting involved with SHRM, and SHRM sends me a note that says, "Hey, you've been elected to give a talk at the 1996 Chicago SHRM Annual Conference. And your subject is HR and the internet."

Chad: Hello.

Joel: They told you the topic?

Gerry Crispin: They basically said, we'd like you to do that because no one knows anything about it and because no one's ever done a topic on HR and the internet at our annual conference.

Chad: Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: So I said, shit, why not? Okay, I can do that. So I put together a deck of all these different kinds of things, but then they sent me a note in January that said, "If you have a book, we'll promote it."

Joel: Oh, the book.

Gerry Crispin: And I looked at Mark...

Chad: If you have a book, we'll promote it.

Gerry Crispin: And Mark...

Chad: Hint, hint.

Gerry Crispin: Mark and I looked at each other and said, "Oh, that's what we could do together," because he was a contract recruiter, I'm working at Shaker. We're going, a book? We have hundreds because we have almost all of the job boards that exist right now in our computer and we got little notes about them.

Joel: So it was a four-page novella that you passed out.

Gerry Crispin: 160 pages.

Joel: Oh, God.

Gerry Crispin: So we... I had a floppy disc. We went and learned how to do a book.

Joel: Yeah. I mean, you had to get a publisher back then.

Gerry Crispin: No, no.

Joel: Oh, no? Okay.

Chad: There was self-publishing back then?

Gerry Crispin: Oh, I sent a two page letter to three publishers. All of them drove to my New Jersey address with Shaker to explain to us how wonderful this idea is of writing a book about internet resources for job seekers and they wanted to partner with us. And then we learned...

Chad: Partner.

Gerry Crispin: Partner. And partner turned out to be a 40-page document that basically said they own everything forever and everything I will ever do from that point on, and I will get 5% of the profits...

Joel: How generous.

Chad: What a deal.

Gerry Crispin: Determined by them after they've decided how much all of this cost. Mark and I looked at each other and we said, what, are you kidding me? We're going to do this ourselves. We're going to have to learn how to write a book. So we printed out on a floppy disk. He went to Chicago to a convention of bookmakers or something. So he learned all the list of what to do. And we basically printed out or had a printer print out from a floppy disk onto 160 pages...

Joel: Is this a trip to Kinko's?

Gerry Crispin: All this shit. We had an artist put a front on it.

Joel: An artist.

Gerry Crispin: We figured out how to put the indicias in all of the other stuff that you did. We said, what should we charge? Oh, let's charge $14.95. Why? Who knows? We just thought...

Chad: Who knows.


Gerry Crispin: Who knows.

Chad: Sounded good.

Gerry Crispin: So $14.95. Then I call SHRM and I say, we got a book. It's coming out. It's being printed right now and we're going to make it in time. How many books do you want us to send to the bookstore in Chicago? He says 50.

Chad: 50?

Gerry Crispin: 50. And we had coughed up enough money to make 5,000 copies at, I think it was $1.69 per copy.

Chad: Oh, that's good margin.

Joel: It's great margin.

Chad: That's great margin.

Gerry Crispin: So we sent two cases, so 100 books. We sent them to the room we were going to be in. We sent them 50, so we knew there was 150 anyhow. We were ready to hawk it like crazy. We go to SHRM. They want me to do two sessions now, 1,000 people in each session.

Chad: Hello.

Joel: Okay.

Gerry Crispin: 1,000 and the projector, as you can imagine, was way bigger than this table. I mean, it was a monster thing.

Chad: And you have 150 books.

Gerry Crispin: I had 150 books.

Chad: That's it? [laughter] Scarcity sells.

Joel: Yes, it does.

Gerry Crispin: SHRM was willing to sell the book, even if they didn't have it in front of them.

Chad: Really?

Gerry Crispin: They sold 5,000 books in an hour and a half.

Chad: Wow.

Joel: And you're an author now. Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: And he and I looked at each other, we said, holy shit. So we thought we were behind in this internet thing. It'd be over before we got there, you know? So we sell 5,000 books at $14.95, and we have to give SHRM half.

Chad: Okay.

Gerry Crispin: So we have half.

Chad: That's still a good margin.

Gerry Crispin: I'm fine.

Chad: Still a good margin.

Gerry Crispin: I'm fine. We did three editions, sold out three editions. In the first book, because you asked for the story, you're getting it.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: We're getting it.

Gerry Crispin: In the first book, we said, listen, if you give us your email, I just had this spark of an idea. If you give us your email, we promise to send you an update about this book every month for the rest of our lives.


Chad: Hello newsletter.

Joel: That's a hard promise to keep.

Chad: Hello newsletter.

Gerry Crispin: I had... In two years, we had 50,000 emails.

Joel: Oh my gosh.

Gerry Crispin: In 1998, going into 1999, we sent a note in December of 1998 saying, we have this new thing. Our book, new book, the 1999 version is coming out. We have this thing where you can go on our website and you can give us 20 bucks, because now it's 20 bucks.

Chad: Oh, yeah.

Gerry Crispin: And we'll take that money and you will get one of the first copies coming off of the press of the new book with, now we've got 400 or I don't know what we had.

Joel: You're like a Beatles fan club by this point.


Gerry Crispin: We had 5,000 offers in the first couple of hours.

Chad: Damn.

Gerry Crispin: 5,000...

Joel: Good grief.

Gerry Crispin: Money coming in and we hadn't paid the printer yet. So we've paid for the book, we're making money like crazy. But think about this for a moment. This is why Mark Mehler kind of burned out.


Joel: Kind of.

Gerry Crispin: Kind of burned out. Every three months a truck would come to his driveway.

Joel: With money.

Gerry Crispin: No.

Joel: Books.

Chad: It was pretty much the books.

Gerry Crispin: Yes, books.

Chad: Yes, yes.

Gerry Crispin: And he'd fill his entire garage, floor to ceiling, with cases of books.

Chad: You need to listen because this is what's going to happen with T-shirts.

Joel: T-shirts. Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: Books. And he would go around to every neighborhood kid under 15 and hire them to come and help him. He had these printer things that you would print out the label.

Joel: Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: You had to put the information in. Then you had to print out the damn label. Then you had to stick it on the envelope. Then you had to put that in the book in there. And then you had to put the stamps on. And I'm not doing any of this shit. So, and then you had to put them in a car and then take them to the US Post Office. So we're selling books like crazy. I think we sold over eight years and eight editions, I think we sold north of 300,000.

Joel: Whoo. People don't appreciate, this is before blogs, this is before podcasts. This is before really any of this was ever available.

Gerry Crispin: No, it's a book. It's paper...

Joel: My CEO at Job Options, Michael Forrest, who you know, he had a vision of we need to get in Gerry's book because you had some that got like badges for some. I don't remember what the badges were. It was like a top...

Gerry Crispin: Top 50. Yeah, top 50.

Joel: So we have to get in the top 50. So we did everything that we could. Barb Reese, who now works for you, was my boss. She probably did a lot of that stuff.

Gerry Crispin: Yep.

Joel: And once we got in, we ordered hundreds of these things.

Gerry Crispin: Yep.

Joel: We sent them out to all the prospects, and we had a big sticker that says, Job Options Top 50 Site. That was our content marketing strategy. That was our direct marketing strategy, your book.

Gerry Crispin: I love it. I will tell you that even to this, in the last two months, I've been on calls, Zoom calls where somebody who is a mature TA leader has been around for a long while, 20 some odd years, will smile at something and suddenly pick up a book off to the side and show her her copy from 1998 or '99.

Chad: She had that holstered. She was ready. She was ready...

Joel: I still have mine. I still have mine somewhere.

Gerry Crispin: It started, it really informed us of what we were looking at. It helped us to better understand what the technology piece was. Now, the one good and smart thing I did was I didn't have to become an expert in all of the tools and everything else that was going on. But what I did start doing in 1998-99 was going to different folks who were emerging in the field, like John Sullivan, like a John Sumser, and asking them, Rothberg, a bunch of these characters, and asking them to write a two or three-page article about some aspect of how you could better write a resume with all of those things digitally and what you should be looking for to do that. Or what should you be doing if you're doing IT versus this? Or how to deal with high volume? Or whatever it might be that seemed to be the hot topic at the moment. And so we had 30 different articles, some for the job seeker and some for the employer, that were tips on what to do. And in those days, there wasn't a manual for how to use the internet.

Chad: No.

Gerry Crispin: We were coming up with it. I mean, we were building the plane in flight, for God's sake.

Chad: Exactly.

Joel: People would fax job descriptions to then be typeset into a computer.

Chad: Yes. We had admin that did that all the time. Not just jobs, but also resumes.

Joel: Resumes.

Gerry Crispin: And investors would call us and say, we want to talk to you about something. And Mark would go...

Chad: The internet?

Gerry Crispin: Here's the price. Sit for one hour and you'd have to give us a check on the way in.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: And then we were doing some stuff for employers from a consulting point of view about how they could do better with getting their job board, their career pages. So we did that. And then we realized, to end this, in 2003, our last book, we realized that we were obsolete, that we now have reasonable search engines that could tell you something about what are the military job boards, what are the government job boards...

Chad: In seconds. Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: That kind of thing. And we realized this is silly, we're not dealing with that. What is the gap?

Chad: Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: And it was at that moment that we realized that a lot of conferences, like this one, there were hundreds of people coming and giving talks. But in those days because the internet was still somewhat mysterious, the lawyers and PR people in most of these employer companies wouldn't let you talk about the real data. So every conference had somebody getting up saying, we solved this, we got 10% reduction in whatever, but no, I can't tell you exactly what we did because I'm not allowed. I mean, I'm exaggerating a little bit, but it was pretty much like that. We said, oh, we need a place where people can safely talk to each other about this.

Joel: Safe place.

Gerry Crispin: This is stupid. You know, there's nothing proprietary about this, about how to find somebody. We should be uplifting the, whatever, what we're all doing. We don't have to tell people what our strategy is as a business to dominate, but we should be sharing how we change the way in which we share our knowledge about how to hire people in a way that everybody benefits, the employer, the candidate, the recruiter, et cetera. So we should be calling out what works, what doesn't work. And that was the start of our community of the colloquium and the rest of career crossroads. That was the shift.

Chad: So fast forward, 25 years, today.

Joel: It's so fun to walk down memory lane with you.

Chad: It is. It is. But the contrast to me is so fun, right? So back then it was exciting. It was innovative. It was fast moving. It was nuts, right? Because everybody was implementing new shit and we were a part of that, right? That was so cool. But that still pales in comparison to the shit that's happening today, right?

Gerry Crispin: I see what is happening today as equivalent to the confusion and chaos and hype and bullshit going on in the late '90s about the internet kind of thing and in relation to talent acquisition. I mean, think about the millions of dollars that Monster spent at the end of the '90s for...

Chad: Oh, yeah.

Gerry Crispin: Those those things just blew up. You mean to tell me we're spending millions of dollars on a Super Bowl to tell people about how to get a job. I mean, that's incredible that we're getting that kind of visibility in our profession, in our industry.

Chad: Yeah. One of the best days of my life by the way.

Joel: The Super Bowl ad? Are you being sarcastic?

Chad: No.

Joel: Did the servers go down?

Chad: No, not ours. Ours didn't go down but sales went through the fucking roof baby.

Joel: Through the roof. Yeah, I can imagine.

Chad: At that point, all I had to do was when I made a call, said, "Hey, this is Chad from Monster." That was it. I didn't have to explain anything.

Joel: They're like, where do I send the blank check?

Chad: Exactly.

Gerry Crispin: Yeah. Exactly. And now, we have the same level of hype, chaos, and craziness around how AI is going to change the rest of the fucking world. And fundamentally, there are... There's just enough truth in the possibilities that some of that can happen. It's just not going to happen as fast as everybody else thinks.

Joel: I'mma tell you a little story about you. You may or may not remember this.

Chad: About a man named Gerry.

Joel: So let's call the first wave 1.0 job boards or jobs online, resumes online. Web 2, as you remember, was the social media stuff. You had Jobster come in, Indeed with vertical search.

Gerry Crispin: That was about 2003-05, it was just starting.

Joel: So that's when I was sort of getting my feet wet in the media side of it. And then around 2010, you hit a period of like big data, machine learning. And I remember I was with you and John Sumser. And I said, "Wow, these new companies are really exciting." And I remember you sort of just, eh, and I said, "These are really cool companies, they're using mobile and they're doing all these things." And you said, "Yeah, there's a wave of new companies. It's pretty exciting. And they will wash away and a new wave of startups will come along and the cycle will continue on and on." I was too young at the time to appreciate your comments, but I'm old enough now that I'm on that level that a lot of this is, we've been here before, we'll be okay. There'll be some that are left over. There'll be a lot of consolidation. I assume you see the same scenario playing out.

Gerry Crispin: Absolutely. We see it here today, the last couple of days, there's a lot of effort to increase efficiency in terms of what one does. It's only gonna be an increase in productivity if we're doing the right thing, and that's part of the problem. If you're making something that doesn't work really well more efficient, you're just making something that doesn't work really well more, you know what I mean?

Chad: Well, if you're pushing people faster to the black hole, who gives a shit?


Gerry Crispin: Yeah, I know. I know. And there's some of that. And part of it is because some of the new stuff, they don't do enough due diligence in terms of what really works. I had, and I won't say his name, but I had somebody that interviewed me in the last couple of days who's the head of a company who comes in from outside of our space.

Joel: He so wants to name names right now.

Chad: Say it Gerry, say it.

Joel: He's dropping enough hints.

Gerry Crispin: He said, what is it that I'm not seeing that I should be doing or looking forward to, for, because he was doing a lot of things to try to meet with clients, meet with other people, learn more about what's going on. I said, the only thing I can offer to you as someone who's never recruited and is in a key position, is stand behind a recruiter in your best... Go to your client, best client, ask to go just stand in the trench with a recruiter, a good recruiter, and watch that good recruiter who's got 25, 26, 35 open recs, try to find people on one side, engage them on another, set up interviews on another and so on, and look at how many dashboards they have. Look at how their technology is either not integrated and/or not working, but not working faster. And I said, when you start looking at what people, each stakeholder has to do and go through, I said, and talk to some of the candidates that are never, ever, ever. I said, 90% of all of the openings that are applied to, those candidates hear nothing. There's 10% that they're doing some good candidate experience. God bless.

Chad: Yeah. Sure.

Gerry Crispin: But if you get nine out of 10 telling you nothing, what are you gonna think about...

Chad: That's normal.

Gerry Crispin: What are you gonna think about recruiting as a profession and an industry? I said, I would like to leave this industry knowing that we are liked by the public better than politicians, and we're really struggling at the same level at this point.

Joel: And it's not like politicians are crushing it.

Gerry Crispin: But my measure is how the stakeholders perceive this profession and this industry.

Chad: Well, that's on us, though.

Gerry Crispin: Not whether or not the vendor thinks that he is solving a problem.

Joel: Legacy is important to you. Legacy at this time is...

Gerry Crispin: Not for me, but for us. All of us. I take pride in being part of this profession. You do too.

Chad: Sure.

Gerry Crispin: You're living with the fact that you've spent your entire life and career doing these kinds of things. And I would like to think that some of those people out there who are benefiting by that, by getting a damn job, a good job, appreciate that. And we still have a ways to go. I need another 75 years.

Chad: But talk about... I mean, that is our responsibility to be able to ensure that we understand the business numbers so that we can actually create great discussion points, business cases and narratives that get us at the big kids table, right? We have not done that successfully. There are the 10%, and if we're lucky, it's 10% who are actually doing that today. I mean, your colloquiums, everything that you do is really predicated on doing more of that.

Gerry Crispin: That's it. That's the only reason why I'm still in it. I wouldn't be in it for any other reason. I could have retired 10 years ago, so there's only one. This is more fun than playing golf every week, every day of the week. So I have a lot more fun, I have a lot more patience around it because Chris Hoyt is great at what he does, and he does all of the heavy lifting in terms of making CareerXroads a good business that adds value to our members, so that's key.

Gerry Crispin: But it's within that community that there's a spark of what you want in terms of people who are stepping up and changing things a little bit in kind. I think the next few years is gonna see some bigger changes than we have seen in a while. So I'm kind of optimistic, even though there's so much hype about all of this crap with AI, I do think the potential is also there as people kind of figure out how to read between the lines and change things a little bit in kind.

Joel: 'Cause there is a lot of fear, uncertainty and doubt in the recruiting profession.

Gerry Crispin: It's, yeah, without a doubt.

Joel: A lot of layoffs in the last 12, 18 months. What's your take on the future of recruiting? Like, more with fewer, is it like, what are... And you talk to a ton of companies, what are they talking about in terms of bringing recruiting back?

Gerry Crispin: It's definitely gonna be more with fewer because the cost issue is going to, at least for the near term, be there, and I think leaders of companies are aware of that and they want to be able to push the lever. They're putting their finger on the weight of that. And I think it's frustrating a lot of recruiters and recruiting leaders, but I don't think it's gonna change. I think leaders are gonna have more requirements in terms of fixing the shit that's wasting time, money, and effort.

Gerry Crispin: And when you have to move between different dashboards, you're wasting time. So when you look at the systems that we have in place, they've got to become more efficient, more automated in a variety of ways, and we're definitely not there yet, and we'll, so we'll be behind. I think we're gonna have to focus in on things like what can we do at the top of the funnel to automate more there so that when it gets to a point where there's enough good stuff, we can use more humans or apply more time from humans to get that piece of it done.

Chad: Yes.

Gerry Crispin: We're gonna have to use assessments that we've been reluctant to use in the past because assessments are transparency and transparency has to be defended.

Chad: Depending on the assessment though, right? There's some mumbo jumbo shit out there.

Gerry Crispin: Let's assume we do the right thing and do the right things scientifically in making the assessment work be predictive. It's gotta be face valid...

Chad: Performance-driven.

Gerry Crispin: It's currently valid, it's gotta be performance-driven and predictive, but the fact of the matter is interviews are never going to be a reliable method to make a decision. At the very best academics have shown over and over again that you get no more than a 2% or 3% edge by doing a perfect set of interviews. But then when you complicate it by saying, oh, how many people have to do an interview, and how reliable are all those people in doing the same kind of approach? And if they have to do that over and over and over again, really, it doesn't work.

Chad: It doesn't make sense.

Gerry Crispin: We need to eliminate interviews at, especially at top of the funnel from recruiters and hiring managers. That interview should be a way to collect good data rather than the resume. And if we had a AI auto, whatever, that was kind, could speak 25 languages or 55 languages, could do this, ask the same questions of every single candidate, and let's say there's 500 candidates, it should be able to do that with all of those candidates in a very short period of time, collect the data that could be used in a consistent, reliable fashion and tell the candidate, listen, this is a fairer process.

Gerry Crispin: I'm not human, but I'm fairer than any human at this stage of the game because I'm collecting data from every single person, including you. And since I'm collecting all the data from each person the same way, it's a fairer way when I decide with a human who's going to go forward, but I'm gonna come back and I'm happy to defend why you aren't going forward and help you think about what you could be doing to be more competitive in the future, or what other jobs you should be competing for that you would be better off in getting. I'm telling you, we could create a fairer process if we start tackling some of these problems. Is anybody doing that? No.

Chad: I think there are though, because...

Gerry Crispin: There are. We're close.

Chad: And it's not the entire like swath of requisitions that are open, but UPS has talked about, we're just talking to Matt and they're getting to hire in 22 minutes. We were talking to, you know, at Paradox and they were talking about clients getting to hire in 13 minutes. So this is happening. And again...

Gerry Crispin: At a certain level.

Chad: Yeah, yeah.

Gerry Crispin: High volume.

Chad: Well, not all. Some are actually starting to actually boost past that, and that's because they're starting to use some of those assessments, the performance based assessments, but yeah, I think we're getting there. The problem is we have the leaders that are up here and they're the cream of the crop, they're 2% maybe, and everybody else scratching their heads saying, what do we do? Oh no, that's too risky. What do you tell those people who are... That it's too risky?

Gerry Crispin: I'd say it's time that generation turn over.

Chad: Yeah. Go home.

Gerry Crispin: Yeah, go home.

Chad: Yeah, fire yourself.

Gerry Crispin: I think, so it's...

Joel: There's a beach with your name on it.

Gerry Crispin: It's two issues. Leaders who are afraid to take on some of the tough issues that we're dealing with, they need to be replaced long term and they're not going to... That's not going to happen generationally unless we have a new sense of leaders at the TA and at the CHRO level who are willing to confront them with the kind of data that demonstrates that their point of view is not workable, not workable for the future. And that it's going to impact the performance of that company probably in the long term or certainly in the long term, and maybe even in the short term. And I'm convinced that if I were that young person doing that, I would be doing that.

Chad: Oh, hell yeah.

Gerry Crispin: Because I knew how I acted when I was at Johnson and Johnson and other companies, but I also know that I probably would get fired, at least once.


Chad: It's worth it then.

Joel: We've talked about efficiency and sort of moving fast. Curious your thoughts on the state of DEI. We've seen a lot of companies fire heads of DEI programs of companies, but we also see companies that are embracing it and benefiting from it. What's your take on the state of DE&I?

Gerry Crispin: I wrote an article on that. I think part of it is directly related to the Supreme Court decision that was misinterpreted when it focused in on Harvard and UNC in terms of affirmative action. And the problem is that Harvard and UNC were basically trying to have a diverse freshman class. So there's nobody in the freshman class, you're starting from scratch. And if you're starting from scratch, you need to have a yardstick for what that diversity should look like. And if you're starting with zero, it should look a little bit like our country. So if you put your finger on the weighting of race, for example, to about 18%, which is the percentage of Black folks in the United States, you would be fine according to what the Supreme Court actually wrote.

Gerry Crispin: The reason why the Supreme Court acted the way they did is because Harvard didn't have that, nor did UNC. And so the impact was that other underrepresented classes were now squeezed because of more waiting in one or more of the underrepresented groups. And so you need to have an understanding of what the underrepresentation is in our society and in your company in order to build a good strategic plan, a yardstick, if you will, for what we're going to do in order to have a more equitable, if you will, from an opportunity point of view, company in terms of our hiring.

Gerry Crispin: So I believe that that misunderstanding of what the Supreme Court did, from my reading and from my discussions with some of the lawyers who also have been spending time on this, is that we're gonna have to start thinking more dramatically about the kind of data that exists out there. So 4.7 million people started the 9th grade this year. 86% of them went into public school. About 7%, 8% went into private school and the rest were in like homeschool kind of thing. On the public school side, if we took a random sample of 100,000 of just that group, they look like America. I mean, 9th grade kids, right?

Chad: Yeah, they need them in private and charters. Yeah.

Gerry Crispin: So they look like us. But now, if you took a random sample, but obviously they're in different places in different types of schools, there are... So I'll give you a quick, just a quick sense of this. Something like 87% of the public school kids will graduate from high school. 98% of the private school kids will graduate from high school. Close to 75% of the high school kids are White. 45% of the public school kids are White.

Chad: That's an aggregate, US?

Gerry Crispin: And I'm getting this from the National Association of Educational Diversity something, something. I can give you the source. So I spent several hours on this. So think about what starts to happen from 9th grade on. Two-thirds of the kids who graduate from high school will go to college. About two thirds of those who go to college will graduate. We're down to about 30,000 out of the 100,000 now. So first of all, we lost 70,000 people who are gonna graduate from college after six years. That's interesting because obviously we're trying to get away from just saying college degree in terms of what their potential is, but that's another piece of that.

Gerry Crispin: Of the 30,000, 2000 will be engineers. Of the 2000 engineers, 480 will be mechanical engineers. So of the 100,000 people starting 9th grade, there's 480 mechanical engineers. And the reason I go this way is because you don't hire engineers. You hire a mechanical engineer, you hire a high speed packaging engineer, whatever it is. Of the 480 engineers are mechanical engineers, 65 are women, 28 are Latina, Latino, 20 are Black. Now, I'm not making judgements on anything 'cause there's a lot of choice in here. But somewhere along the line, there's opportunity and there's outcomes.

Gerry Crispin: And we as a society, but also we as employers, need to start looking at where we intervene in that sequence from 9th grade to college and beyond in terms of how we're providing more opportunity to increase the pool that gives us what we're looking for in the long run. And I look at companies like Wegmans, for example, that spend an enormous amount of money in hiring interns in high school who are at risk for graduating, and give them jobs at Wegmans after school, and mentors to help them understand the importance of graduating. And their outcome is significantly changing the percentages of at risk kids who graduate from high school, who then get sponsorship and work and everything else.

Chad: Well, they understand their responsibility to the community, right? Most companies do not give two shits about their responsibility. They care about shareholder value and they don't care about any of that, this shit that we're talking about right now. How are we going to get that to change? Is it just gonna be the only way that you can actually compete?

Gerry Crispin: It's a change in society. What is the choice that you're making in terms of where you wanna work? And part of it is we've got a new generation of folks who are coming in, which I encourage and engage in, in terms of them say how important it is for them to work for a company that has some connection to the community, some willingness to do that, and that they personally are willing to make commitments like that as well. That's kind of how our country got to where it is in a positive way, and I think we need to refine that as well. So I don't think it's something I can do or you can do individually.

Chad: No.

Gerry Crispin: But I do think it's something we all have to do collectively. I know that was a big rant, but, what the hell. It's been fun.

Joel: I'll let you out on this one, Gerry. We're here at the UNLEASH Conference. You've been to a ton of conferences.

Gerry Crispin: Yep.

Joel: Anything at this one stand out to you? Any memorable experiences or takeaways?

Gerry Crispin: There was a professor, I think, early on in the first day who was talking about AI...

Chad: Wharton? Yeah, Wharton.

Gerry Crispin: But was actually doing it at the same time he was talking about it. And he probably is, I hope they recorded it and show that, because that would be the one thing that I would look at over and over again. So there's that. I think, as I said, there's an awful lot of efficiency. I don't see an awful lot of things that are changing the game here. I see a lot of things that are trying to make whatever it is you think you're doing a little bit better.

Gerry Crispin: And I think it's important to realize that those of us who have spent time looking at this for hours and hours and hours, that there's a lot of people who are looking at it for the first time, and they're just about to figure it out. And so people are coming here with different levels of expertise and I think it's great, but I do think the quality of the attendees here is quite high, and hopefully they're taking back something that they can use.

Joel: And thanks to you, the level of quality in our interviews has gone up on this show. That is Gerry Gandalf Crispin, everybody. We're live from the DaXtra booth at the UNLEASH Conference in Vegas. Gerry, for those who wanna connect with you or the organization, where do you send them?

Gerry Crispin: If you Google my name, you can spell Gerry with a G, you can find me. Gerry Crispin. C-R-I-S-P-I-N.

Chad: He'll be in the Airstream.


Joel: And how many hats do you own?

Gerry Crispin: Probably 30 or 40, but I own 10 quality hats. So there's only 50 hatmakers left in the United States for men. One is in Cave Creek. It's called Watson Hats, and it's in Phoenix. And the other one is in Santa Fe. And if anybody wants to go buy those hats, it's great, but it's not cheap either.

Joel: Yeah, tell 'em Gerry sent you...

Gerry Crispin: Yeah, exactly.

Joel: For the deep, deep discount.

Chad: Discount code Gerry with a G.

Joel: G. That's another one in the can, Chad. Thanks Gerry. We out.

Chad: We out.

Podcast Outro: Thank you for listening to, what's it called, the podcast, the 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. Anywho, 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. It is so weird. We out.


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