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Home Depot Cracks The Code

What do Home Depot, New York City, and LinkedIn have in common? They're all topics of discussion on this episode of The Chad & Cheese Podcast Does Recruitment Marketing with Julie Calli, President at Specifically, Home Depot has cracked the code (maybe) on how to develop more laborers while increasing the number of loyal customers to their business, New York City is putting employers' feet to the fire when it comes to using A.I. in recruitment and LinkedIn has published it's Global Talent Trends report. We dig into each accordingly. Enjoy.


Disability Solutions helps support and educate your workforce through disability awareness and inclusion training.

INTRO (0s):

Hide your kids! Lock the doors! You're listening to HR’s most dangerous podcast. Chad Sowash and Joel Cheesman 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 (21s):

Oh, yeah. Adidas says it plans to release more Yeezys just under its own branding. Sweet. I can still wear my 10 fifties guilt free. Hi kids you are listening to the Chad and Cheese podcast, does Recruitment Marketing. I'm your co-host, Joel "college dropout" Cheesman.

Chad (41s):

This is Chad "afternoon delight" Sowash.

Julie (43s):

This is Julie "rocking my new Chad and Cheese shirt" Calli.

Chad (47s):


Joel (48s):

Yes. And on this episode, we put the Ho, ho, ho in Home Depot. Man versus machine in New York City. And LinkedIn's got trends. Let's do this.

Chad (1m 2s):

Well, that's a sexy T-shirt right there, let me tell you.

Joel (1m 5s):


Julie (1m 6s):

Isn't it great?

Joel (1m 7s):

She looks so comfy. She looks so comfy.

Julie (1m 9s):

I love it.

Joel (1m 11s):

It's like the Snuggie from back in the day. That's how she looks. Likes she's rocking a Snuggie on the Lazy Boy.

Chad (1m 18s):

Ooh, we could actually come out with those. That'd be cool.

Joel (1m 21s):

No, no, no, no. Don't do it.

Chad (1m 25s):

Chad and Cheese Snuggies for Winter.

Joel (1m 26s):

No, sir. Negatory.

Julie (1m 30s):

It's a blanket with sleeves.

Chad (1m 32s):

Oh, man.

Joel (1m 34s):

Remember the family ones where it had like multiple, oh God.

Chad (1m 38s):

That was pretty bad. That would be awesome though. Talk about great marketing.

Joel (1m 42s):

Speaking of marketing, I once met the owner, the founder of Jeggings. Do you remember jeggings? They were like jeans, but leggings.

Chad (1m 49s):

Yeah. Yeah.

Joel (1m 49s):

And his secret to success was late night TV advertising, which is super cheap. And he knew that if he just did this and paid, you know, a little bit in marketing, that the media would pick it up, which they did. And he said those late night 2:00 AM advertisements led to, you know, the Today Show and all this media. So anyway, random. But yeah, the founder of Jeggings I met once.

Julie (2m 15s):

Should we take that tip into recruitment marketing and start doing 2:00 AM cheap commercial advertising.

Joel (2m 21s):

There's an HR tech vendor out there that's getting some knowledge that will be advertising late night during Maury Povich reruns. I'm sure.

Chad (2m 31s):

Maury Povich.

Joel (2m 32s):

Is Maury still on? Oh God,

Chad (2m 34s):

I don't know. That's where I think, like the DNA tests just exploded. The daddy tests.

Joel (2m 42s):


Chad (2m 42s):

They just exploded. Nobody knew they even existed until then. They thought they still had to kill rabbits.

Joel (2m 48s):

DNA exploding everywhere. Exploding everywhere. Who knew?

Chad (2m 53s):

That could be our new slogan.

Joel (2m 54s):

Speaking of exploding, should we get to some shoutouts?

Chad (2m 58s):

For the show? Let's do it. Let's do, let's do it.

Joel (3m 0s):

And speaking of exploding everywhere, my shoutout goes to women. Yes. Oh, nobody relates to women more than me. So giving them a shout out makes perfect sense. So we're all aware there's a serious shortage in truck drivers, right? Well, like most things, men fuck up. Women are here to fix all our shit. That's right. Women are helping to close the driver shortage here in America. The number of women employed in the trucking industry hit 1.6 million in October. That's a record since the BLS started tracking the numbers back in 1990.

Chad (3m 33s):


Joel (3m 33s):

Women share of the trucking industry workforce is now at an all-time high of nearly 18% of trucking jobs. Also a shout out to more women, the women of Crocs. Yes. Chad's favorite footwear maker. He typically wears them with starched white socks, by the way, has women to thank for its strengthening employment brand. This is from Forbes since implementing, its come as you are strategy five years ago, by the way, that's more than 15 years after Kurt Cobain saying, Come As You are women now make up 67% of its global workforce with half of their executive team identifying as women.

Joel (4m 13s):

Another side note about Crocs, 50% of US employees identify as people of color, with black and Hispanic workers representing 19% and 24% of its US workforce. Put on those Crocs and wear them with pride. Shout out to women, trucking and Crocs.

Chad (4m 32s):

Nothing turns me off more than a woman wearing Crocs.

Joel (4m 36s):

Crocs and mom jeans are the absolute boner killer of all time.

Julie (4m 41s):

But what about driving a truck?

Joel (4m 44s):

Oh, now we're talking.

Chad (4m 45s):

That's different. She's got her own place.

Joel (4m 47s):

A girl in a Jeep Wrangler is super hot, by the way.

Chad (4m 51s):

Oh, not just a truck. They've got, you know, the little sleeper in the back too.

Joel (4m 55s):

As long as there's a monkey in the passenger seat named BJ.

Chad (4m 59s):

That's BJ and the Bear, that's what I'm talking about. All right. Enough of this. My shout out's going to go to AI generated portraits. Okay. Is this not the creepiest shit that you've ever seen? I don't know where it's like on all of my social feeds. All I see are these, these ai, I guess AI generated portraits of people pushing them out themselves. Oh, yeah.

Joel (5m 24s):

Astronauts, rock stars.

Chad (5m 26s):

Does anybody know what this is about? How did this even start? Julie, this is a marketing coup because they are everywhere, kinda like Chad and Cheese t-shirts. But how, how in the hell this is thing working?

Joel (5m 38s):

Which will never be AI generated, by the way.

Chad (5m 40s):

I don't know.

Julie (5m 41s):

Well, you know, in a population of people who take selfies, they're looking for a way to level up all that content. And this is a incredible creative way to see yourself done in different forms of art, in different forms of expression. But there's been some backlash on this because when you go into it, you identify male, female or other, and if you identify as female, it sexualizes all the images that it generates.

Chad (6m 8s):

How so? Does it put you like in boudoir photos?

Joel (6m 11s):

Or would it turn Chad into a woman?

Julie (6m 13s):

So I would employ those who have subscribed to this service to try doing another submission, but submit it as a different gender and see what it does to your photos.

Chad (6m 24s):


Joel (6m 24s):

By the way, how long before we start seeing companies about us webpages with AI generated portraits of the CEO and the CFO? You know, it's coming. Everybody, everybody. You know, it's coming everybody.

Chad (6m 36s):

Not in France though, because you don't have to have fun in France. Okay, let's just talk about that.

Julie (6m 42s):

No fun for the French?

Joel (6m 43s):

France. The no fun country.

Chad (6m 47s):

Anyway, shout out Julie?

Julie (6m 48s):

Oh, I wanna give a shout out to Volodymyr Zelenskyy, the president of Ukraine.

Joel (6m 57s):

Bless you.

Julie (6m 57s):

He just was declared Times person of the year. Truthfully, I'm so glad for that, because what a phenomenal leader. He has been just a perfect example of how to lead people by being directly involved, by communicating constantly, by leading with purpose. Oh my goodness. He's just been such an incredible demonstration of being a good leader, and I'm so glad to see him take man of the year.

Joel (7m 23s):

Yeah. Not bad for a two bit actor at one point. I don't know if you've seen some of his Ukrainian television footage, but it's quite entertaining. You wouldn't expect him to be Winston Churchill 2.0. That's for sure.

Chad (7m 35s):

I tell you, crisis brings out character, my friends, and you don't really know a person until you put 'em under a little pressure. And I tell you what, this guy, he's turned into fucking Superman is what he's turned into. And, I gotta give it to his wife as well. I mean, they are getting out as much as possible. Obviously he's staying in, you know, in in Ukraine doing his thing, making sure that they all know that he's on the battlefield with them. And she is out from a diplomatic standpoint. She's all over the place. And I mean, it's the smartest duo I think I've seen in a very long time.

Joel (8m 11s):

I don't need a ride. I need bullets.

Chad (8m 17s):


Joel (8m 18s):

All right. We had a lot going on at Julie. Let's talk about Home Depot, shall we? So you penned an article entitled Home Depot launches, virtual Career Marketplace for Skilled Trades People. Home Depot recently launched its Path to Pro Network, a job seeker forum that aims to connect skilled workers and employers through the platform. Workers can post their credentials and examples of prior work to generate interest from potential customers and businesses. The program also offers a free training program for those interested in pursuing and growing a career in the skilled trades and prepares them for their first job.

Joel (8m 58s):

Chad and I touched on this story on our weekly show, but like most shows, we go about an inch deep. You went way deeper on this, the roots of this problem. Go way back. Tell us about the article.

Julie (9m 9s):

No, I had to write a whole article on this because I am, first of all, this strategy is genius and I absolutely wanted to recognize Home Depot for that.

Joel (9m 20s):


Julie (9m 20s):

The other is that this is a significant example of there's a problem and there's an opportunity for brands to step in and be the solution. We are running short on trades people, skilled trades people, and there's a lot of reasons for that. But just like any homeowner knows, you know, in the world, you need someone to come fix something within your home. You're gonna struggle to get good quality work done, because we're short on people to do that. The businesses that actually serve are struggling to get talent. Doing trade work is actually a skill we run on those services, our heating, our air conditioning, you know, all kinds of work that's done on our vehicles that transport everything that we have.

Julie (10m 9s):

We absolutely depend on trades people to keep our lives functioning and we have a significant shortage of them. That's actually gonna hurt Home Depot's bottom line, if they have less tradespeople, they're gonna have less sales. So how do they fix that? They need to make sure there is the gap in tradespeople is being filled. Now that isn't just about, you know, let's connect people to jobs, where they're really doing an outstanding job here is they're also connecting people to free training. You know, in a world where we have, I'd say in the past, we've told people, you won't be successful in life unless you go to college. Right? Like, I know that I grew up in a generation where I was told that repeatedly, the only way you're gonna get a great job is if you go to college.

Julie (10m 56s):

And that was, I believe, built on a foundation that the only way to get an education was to pay for it. But I was also of a generation where information became very accessible. And the internet that you could educate yourself simply by going out and seeking out the information that was out there. This is creating an opportunity for people to connect, to learn real skills where there's a real market need for that. And Home Depot has just put themselves right in the center of that entire ecospace for tradespeople. The training, the finding the job, the finding a place, you know, to be an apprentice, to get that skill and that learning. And then of course, they have all of the supplies needed to do the actual job.

Julie (11m 42s):

It's genius.

Chad (11m 43s):

Yeah. Joel and I were on the cusp of vocational schools in high schools. I know we had a vocational school in our high school that actually was being flushed out again because everybody was told at that point that you needed to go to college. And, I mean, my cousins, I mean, pretty much my entire family were carpenters, electricians, plumbers, and that's just what we had in very blue collar, Mansfield, Ohio. But then what happened? You started yanking that funding out of the actual schools. And then today it's harder then hell to find a plumber. Luckily, I live next door to one. I can go over a knock on the door and hope he has some time for me.

Joel (12m 26s):


Chad (12m 27s):

But other than that, man, it's not easy. This from Home Depot standpoint is incredibly smart, as you'd said, because you've got construction clients that need talent because without talent, they can't accept jobs. If they can't accept jobs, they can't spend money on materials, if they can't spend money on materials. Home depot's not making money.

Joel (12m 48s):


Chad (12m 48s):

Yeah. That's where it comes down to. Right? So it's incredibly smart for them. And then if they can just connect more of these individuals with training, it just makes sense. You know, the training schools, not to mention unions. I mean, we need to have a more robust training program that, again, is infused in our schools.

Joel (13m 12s):

One of the things I found really interesting in the article, Julie, was the no Child Left Behind legislation from 2002 and how that moved so much money into STEM, which is a good thing, but it took away money from the programs that we're talking about. And I think that, you know, Chad and I have talked about my local high school down in, you know, southern Indiana. It's sponsored by auto parts store, right? Like, literally the store sign is on the school teaching people how to repair cars and things like that. So this marriage of commercialization and education, I think has been necessary partly because of government decisions to take away money from these programs into other things.

Joel (13m 57s):

The other thing that I found really interesting was the amount of boomers that I think we take for granted that have been doing a lot of these jobs. Oh man, in the past, they're retiring at a rate of 2.2 million in the US every year. One question I did have for you guys is, you know, the amount of mentorship programs, whether it be, you know, VR headsets that can teach you how to, you know, change a rotator whatever of a break pad or, you know, are those gonna re be able to replace the education? Can we deal with technology? Can we do it with mentorship programs? Is there a place for those in this issue? Yeah.

Julie (14m 33s):

You know, on your, can those do it yourself videos, like replace, well, there's a foundational knowledge you need to do with anything. Right. And, you know, and then you apply your epoxy, right. But epoxy's actually a very dangerous thing to work with if you don't know how to use it. So if you don't have the foundational knowledge of how to use it and you simply want you to do it or yourself.

Joel (14m 54s):


Julie (14m 54s):

And oh, it just looks like this sticky little liquid, it's like blue. Yeah. That can also, you know, take the flesh off your, your hand if you're not careful. So there's a foundational knowledge that needs to happen in trades, but then yes, just like anything else, we build a foundational knowledge, but then we can learn a lot ourselves. We will have to constantly upskill and look for new knowledge no matter what trade you're in, because everything in the world is evolving so quickly. And as the internet of things becomes involved with everything, there is a greater level of knowledge that'll need to be had to interact with things as well as information and skill they'll have to be acquired to stay ahead of that.

Joel (15m 37s):

I think that's a great point because it's this, the trades are one of those things where you can't just see a video or read some code and then sort of tinker around on your laptop to figure it out. Like, you can't work with a toilet unless you actually touch a toilet and unscrew things and and whatnot. So it's a unique problem with the trades where you actually have to have someone show you or have the actual physical thing there for you to learn it. So I think we can't just Coursera, we can't just LinkedIn learning our way to more tradespeople in this country. There has to be mentorship programs and apprenticeships.

Julie (16m 14s):

Yeah. And your, your point on boomers, I mean, so many of them are retiring so quickly, that's missed opportunity for all of the people who could be learning from them right now.

Chad (16m 24s):

Oh yes.

Julie (16m 25s):

Because, you know, there's an absolute truth in, you know, you pay someone $200 an hour to come in and, you know, do some work on your house in trades. A very experienced person's gonna walk in point right at the problem and get it done within an hour. But someone who's not is gonna turn into a six hour job as they're trying to figure it out and, you know, yeah. Navigate through things cuz they just don't have the experience to act on it and, and solution it as quickly.

Chad (16m 50s):

Yeah. There's still a lot of Xers that were in those trades, although we don't have the population that the boomers do, so to be able to fill that gap, there's just no way in hell that's gonna happen. Now, from a branding standpoint and a brand loyalty standpoint, think of how an individual actually, you know, how loyal they are to a Home Depot if they actually go through a matching and, or a training program. I'm not saying it's a training program by Home Depot, but I mean, if you, if you take a company like Home Depot and they know they need this segment to grow, they might a actually make a little bit more formalized actions in being able to drive some of these training programs.

Chad (17m 39s):

This might be the first step of a few more steps.

Julie (17m 42s):

Yeah. I actually hope this catches on in other areas where we have significant talent gaps, you know, and just spending more money on advertising or building really cool TikTok videos is not going to solve the to talent problem.

Chad (17m 57s):

No. There's the reason why a company can't do this, just like Home Depot is. I mean, and again, you know, my daughter found a training program at the local hospital and they trained her up and now she's, you know, a lab tech, she's a phlebotomist. So I mean those, they're out there. The problem is access and discoverability.

Julie (18m 20s):

Yeah, I totally agree. And how can we? We have such a huge supply of fresh, young minds coming into the workforce that are just confused. They're confused by, do I go to college? You know, do I, you know, drive for Uber? What do I do with my life? And how can we present more opportunities to them? Because I just don't think that we're educating them in all of the ways that they can be successful in their future, in their life. We're still giving them traditional paths into the future of work, which is not the same.

Chad (18m 59s):

Round peg square hole.

Joel (19m 2s):

All I know is, thank God IKEA acquired Task Rabbit. Otherwise I'd be that retiree sitting on the floor without furniture. We'll be right back. Man versus machine. Wow. You got medieval on this title. Julie, from recruitment marketing entitled Man versus Machine: New York City law attempts to eliminate bias in artificial intelligence. Well, we talked recently about transparency and pay. Well more New York City talk, everybody and New York City law will soon require businesses to conduct audits, designed to assess biases in all AI-driven systems that are used for recruitment, marketing and hiring.

Joel (19m 44s):

Under the new law scheduled to take effect on January of 23, the hiring company will be liable for potential biases and subject to fines for violations. Nearly one in four organizations now make use of some form of automation, ai, or both to support their HR activities. Regulators have begun to take notice and seek to ensure that companies don't accidentally introduce the potential for further bias through AI technologies. Julie, you go on to talk about examples of bias. Tell us more about this article.

Julie (20m 17s):

Oh, I have so much I wanna say here and yet like so little is known, I'll start with AI and research that's been done has proven that there is bias in AI.

Joel (20m 32s):

Amazon, there's a cut. Sorry.

Julie (20m 36s):

But they're not alone. So there is research that proves that AI can have bias and some of that is because a lot of visual AI has not yet been mature enough to accept that there are different kinds of people that look different. So there's some that are associated with that. That's the visual. And the other is that a lot of AI has learned based on data that we already have.

Chad (21m 1s):

Biased data.

Julie (21m 2s):

And that data is based on humans and the work that they have done, which has included bias. So we've taught AI to be biased. So there is legitimate reason for us to raise eyebrows to AI and say, Hey, you know, we need to make sure it we're accountable for what we're building here to not progress the future of recruitment into continuing on with bias. We want to use technology to eliminate that, not carry it on. So there's reason for that, but there's also one in four companies is using some form of AI in the recruitment process.

Julie (21m 42s):

So it's, there's an adaption taking place. So it's real that AI is in recruitment marketing and 67% of all HR leaders believe it's going to improve the experience. So people believe it, in ai, people are using it, but there's also this fact that it can have these problems. So this is all the truth. So how do we make sure, right? The best way to make change is to mandate things. But this is also where this gets a little dangerous. There are people making these mandates that are not fully educated on how it's used throughout the industry. How are we going to instruct people to do these types of audits? So that's where we arrive today.

Julie (22m 23s):

We have good intentions for there to be a mandate in New York that all AI is audited. Okay, so how do you conduct that audit? Who conducts that audit? What does that audit in include? What? There's no information. So although it's a wonderful act to mandate that we don't wanna see bias in AI and you must review on audit all your systems, you know, within a few weeks. That's great, that's commendable. But with no instructions and no details and no information or path of how to do that, this is going to be a problem and it has everyone scratching their heads. I gave a talk last week at TA Tech and I spoke on this and you know, who I was addressing in that audience were the people who build this technology, the people who create this tech for this space.

Julie (23m 16s):

And what I had said to them is, you know, accountability is the end of the process. First it begins with ownership and we own that technology. We're the ones building it, we're the ones buying it, we're the ones using it. So we have to be responsible. Our actions, the ones that we take, need to be responsible. So we shouldn't be waiting for the government to tell us what we should be doing here. We should be being proactive in saying, what AI do I have? What does it touch? What decisions does it make? How does it come to those decisions? And then I wanna look at those outcomes to make sure I don't see that there's any bias happening.

Julie (23m 56s):

AI is going to be transformational for us and that's fantastic, but that is not gonna just happen at the flick of a switch. So I've lots to say on this, but truth, what do you do by January 1st? I don't know. There's really not a lot of information on how to conduct these audits.

Chad (24m 11s):

Well, there isn't a standard or real governing body that's gonna enforce it anyway. So to think that this is an end solution that's going to go into place on January 1st, it's fool's gold. Okay, so let's just go there first, what we're doing is, is we're actually jerking a knot in the industry's tail saying, Hey, get ready for this. This is coming. Think about it from this standpoint, from a government standpoint, it went into effect on January 1st, 2023. If I come to your place of work in 2024 and we by then have some sort of a standard in place, you better have it ready and audited. Okay? So for everybody to say, well we don't even know, I totally get that.

Chad (24m 51s):

But I agree, we need to be able to look at third parties to do the audits. Not doing these bullshit internal audits ourselves, calling our shit ethical ai, which nobody fucking understands what that even means. So I, I agree a hundred percent, but this is nothing more than a get ready signal for the rest of the industry to get their shit together to start working with and an opportunity for some companies who already do audits today to be able to take some of those older standards that they have around bias, because those laws haven't changed.

Julie (25m 26s):


Chad (25m 26s):

They haven't changed, they're still enforced. So if you use the older laws to be able to start to look at audits for now, have a nice day kids quit bitching and moaning, just get into work.