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Indeed Mirage & Business Blockers

Live from UNLEASH America in the Workhuman booth, Julia Levy, industry veteran, superfan of the podcast and former head of global talent acquisition at CommScope, join the boys for conference takeaways, the current state of recruiting and how organizations can best adapt to change in a world that, let’s face it, has gone a bit nutso. Indeed mirage products, LinkedIn just doesn't care, and Talent Acquisition trying to remove business and budget blockers.


Chad: Live from the Workhuman booth at UNLEASH America in Vegas this year, Joel and I were able to sit down with some great practitioners and industry voices. Sit back and enjoy this exclusive episode, powered by our friends over at Workhuman. Answer the human need to be recognized, developed, and celebrated at

S?: Hide your kids. Lock the doors. You are 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: We are back live from UNLEASH America in beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Workhuman booth.

Chad: Workhuman.

Joel: And joining us today is Julia Levy.


Joel: Longtime fan of the show...

Chad: There it is.

Joel: Industry icon and great taste in eyewear, although people listening won't see that.

Chad: Yeah. Daughter of Eugene Levy. Nobody knew that.


Chad: Nobody knew that.

Joel: And heir to the Levi's jean...


Joel: Throne as well.

Julia Levy: I don't have the eyebrows though.


Chad: Yes, the Levy eyebrows. That's a good one. Yeah. How is Dan doing, by the way? That's my question.

Julia Levy: I love him.

Chad: Yeah, he's pretty amazing. He's pretty amazing.

Joel: We're joking, right? She's not really into that.

Chad: More of Schitt's Creek. Yes. More of Schitt's Creek.

Julia Levy: No relation.

Joel: Yeah. Lot of Levy's out there, by the way.

Chad: Yes.

Joel: So what's catching your eye here at the show? What's got you calling bullshit? What's got you impressed? Who...

Julia Levy: Well, I had an interesting conversation around a long historical player that...

Joel: Is she gonna name names or not?

Chad: I hope so.

Joel: Jeez.

Chad: Go ahead.

Julia Levy: About Indeed.

Chad: Oh.

Joel: Oh. There it is.

Chad: Finally.

Joel: There it is. [laughter]

Julia Levy: And just the person I was talking to was saying how innovative and forward-thinking they are.


Julia Levy: And I'm not... I mean...

Chad: I think, some people can buy into some bullshit. I'm gonna tell you right now.

Joel: And she checked her watch to see if it was 2008, then she just didn't...


Joel: Didn't pay attention.

Julia Levy: Listen, there was a time where they were in a past life my number one source of talent.

Chad: Yeah.

Julia Levy: I don't know if I'd use the word "innovative," like some of the other dinosaurs that...


Julia Levy: Are around.

Chad: Monster, CareerBuilder. Here's a question though, because we also heard from another HR practitioner, very tongue in cheek, about an analyst writing up Indeed and saying that, "Oh my God, do you believe what was actually being said?" And my response was very simple, we forget history very, very quickly, and when you take a look at a brand like Indeed, you've gotta remember who they are. And unfortunately, a lot of analysts in our space paint this bright rainbow fuzzy picture of the future, but yet they don't call upon the past. And so to me, whoever you were talking to, whether they were an analyst or not an analyst, they're either, number one, vying for more cash from a big player, or they just don't know what history is.

Julia Levy: I like where they're going in concept around the pay for application, but a lot of the challenge is in the execution of things like that.

Chad: That has to be all on their system. Right?

Joel: And why are you excited about that direction?

Julia Levy: Pay-for-click on a lot of the programmatic campaigns and things like that, you're not getting to cost of application as easily at times, or just how do you tell that quality? Is it pay for interview? Maybe it's not app and you're moving it a little forward to interview. But I think getting at that quality of app, maybe, I haven't solved that one yet.

Joel: So, would you agree that Google has more engineers than Indeed does?


Joel: Would you agree that Google has more PhDs than Indeed does?


Julia Levy: Yes. Google has many more than...

Joel: Okay. Google, and arguably more wisdom, has remained pretty steadfast with a pay-per-click model. Are they doing it for innovation purposes or are they doing it...

Julia Levy: It's a money grab.

Joel: Or are they doing it because programmatic is kicking their ass and other competitors. To me, that's more about what they are doing than they're innovative.

Chad: And also, they had to separate themselves from Google because if Google is CPC and Indeed is CPC, who's gonna win that fucking fight? No one, right?

Joel: No Indeed rep wants to have the conversation of "Why should I use you when Google is 20% cheaper on the clicks?"

Julia Levy: Yeah.

Joel: "So let's create some uncertainty about our pricing model and our business because we're not pay-per-click anymore, we're this."

Julia Levy: Well, and there's this backroom group of people that are deciding...

Joel: Say more about this backroom of people.


Julia Levy: I forget what they called the team. I know...

Chad: She didn't say backdoor, she said backroom...

Joel: The shadowy...


Chad: She said backroom.

Joel: The shadowy depths of Indeed.

Julia Levy: Shadowy figure.


Julia Levy: Like who prices what job and what location?

Joel: Ooh, the algo.

Julia Levy: And then...

Chad: Well, the search quality team is what they called them.

Julia Levy: Yes. But isn't that the same...

Joel: Is that the backroom? The search quality team?

Julia Levy: Isn't that the same team that, five years ago, was telling you that you couldn't have a form on the front-end of your...

Chad: You shouldn't be registering because it's bad for user experience, but yet today, kids, what is Indeed doing though? They're forcing you to register on their fucking site. Yes.

Joel: Oh, man.

Chad: So again, there are all these things. If we take a look at history, and then we take a look at what they're trying to do, and you take a look at the market as Joel has illustrated, especially with programmatic vendors and Google for jobs coming in to finally, to market. They're in alpha, gonna be in hopefully beta soon. It's a weird game for them right now.

Joel: It's an ugly storm on the horizon, Julia.

Julia Levy: But even, I'm excited to be here at UNLEASH to see a lot of the tech that's here because I just looked at some data, I'll use one of the other big players in our space, LinkedIn.

Chad: Yeah.

Julia Levy: And I just looked at our data for last year and we spent a lot of money with that provider, and certain aspects of it do well. Their most expensive aspect, which is the LinkedIn Recruiter seats, we spent a lot of money, have a lot of recruiters, and we got a very small amount of hires from that piece of the pie.

Joel: Ohh.

Chad: What about usage? Do you look at usage data as well?

Julia Levy: We look at usage monthly...

Chad: Are you getting good usage?

Julia Levy: Some of our recruiters are super-empower users, and others are not as good. But if you try and take LinkedIn Recruiter away from a recruiter...

Joel: Pitchforks and fire.

Julia Levy: Yes. And I've tried using other tools in the past but the user experience of them, the adoption wasn't simple, it was very complex, so no one would leave LinkedIn. But that's the baby that everyone knows and loves and wants to hold on to from a recruiter in a seat trying to find talent.

Joel: Is LinkedIn even here?

Julia Levy: I don't believe so.

Chad: I haven't seen them. I haven't seen them.

Joel: At least Indeed's here. I give them credit for showing up. LinkedIn is like, [chuckle] "We don't need your silly expo."


Joel: "We're LinkedIn."


Chad: "We don't need to be at shows."

Joel: "We're the heroin drip. Just try to say goodbye to us." What other vendors, trends, are you interested in, are you seeing?

Julia Levy: A lot of conversation around data, from a competitive land, external labor market perspective, also the internal data and how you can see who your applicants are, who your passive candidates are, in your CRM or whatever tools you have, and being able to show the full environment of your internal talent, your applicants and candidates, prospects, and then what's in the labor market; and then how do you serve that up to hiring managers and business leaders to have that seat at the table, helping them workforce plan, look at location strategies, plan for the future.

Chad: Why don't we have those tools to also take a look at our candidate database to ensure that we don't continue to buy the same candidates over and over and over? We've spent hundreds of millions of dollars buying the same candidates over and over and over. And yet, if we were in marketing, which is one of the reasons why marketing might look at us and scoff, because they'd get fired if they did this shit. We have leads who were silver medalists, bronze medalists, so on and so forth, but we never go back into our database to re-engage them or even try to engage them again. Keep them warm at least. Why don't you do that?

Julia Levy: That goes back to talent acquisition teams while some CHROs and even CEOs and CFOs might say, "Talent is the most important secret sauce of our company." But then they don't invest into the talent acquisition team. If you have a talent acquisition team and you set it up similarly to a sales function. You should have marketing people on your talent acquisition team, because recruiters are not marketers. Some of them might be good at aspects of it, but you need lead generation and that competitive intelligence, you need an operations team, you need sourcers. And so most TA functions that a lot of the companies I've been at don't have the deep pockets to staff up a talent organization in a way that's gonna have that marketing and be able to really focus on lead generation. There are technologies, I think, that are getting closer to getting there, but I haven't seen anything yet. Although I haven't finished walking the floor to see if there's anything out there that could automate a lot of that with the help of some marketing pros and the right TA team structure to be able to be a business enabler.

Joel: Are you seeing a corporate environment that's embracing marketers more? Are there more marketing teams talking to the recruiting teams? Or is there still a great divide from your point of view?

Julia Levy: It's a mix. It's been a pretty great divide I've been at, some employers where marketing was a big blocker to talent attraction, and wanted to...

Joel: Say more about that. Like budgetarily or strategically?

Chad: "You're not on brand. You can't do this. You can't do that."

Julia Levy: Like if you use one bullet point in the wrong place...

Joel: It's trash.

Julia Levy: It's no good. Yeah. So meticulous about the brand that it was impossible to...

Chad: Do business.

Julia Levy: Do any business. They wanted the recruitment brand to be as polished and professional and slick as the business brand.

Joel: But are they helping that, or are they just saying, "That's wrong"?

Julia Levy: That's wrong.

Joel: So why not help them do it right, as opposed to just be this gatekeeper that says "Nope, that doesn't pass"?

Julia Levy: Yeah.

Joel: That seems like a real miss to me.

Chad: I wanna put this at the feet of TA leadership, because if they were telling a better story, they're using business numbers, all of this could be a part of the conversation, right, being able to create this operational excellence that touches all these different areas. But we don't do that. Isn't that on us?

Julia Levy: There's a piece of it that is on us. I think you do have to go to them and then say, "Let's pilot this idea," in this controlled group, there's trust that you have to build, and sometimes it comes faster and other times you have to go inch by inch in order to build that trust with them. So in past lives, that's what I've... When I've encountered those blockers, that's what I've tried to do is, it's gonna take me a lot longer to get from A to B. But when you think of the talent marketplace that we're in now, that's really disruptive to going to market to find good talent, when you've got a marketing team that's not helping you get and solve that problem.

Chad: So, what about having the conversation with the marketing team about how putting these blockers in makes it much harder for them personally? 'Cause if you make it, the pain personal, then it's a different conversation, "I can't get you the best talent, the fastest, because of all of this stupid shit you're making me do."

Julia Levy: Yeah. I think that in some organizations, they might not be reasonable. And I've encountered that in a past life. But then, I've gone to other places where marketing's like, "Do whatever you need to do and let us know how we can support you."

Chad: So what happens when you stop filling their roles? Seriously, if they're gonna put those blockers in there and you stop filling their roles...

Julia Levy: Easier said than done. [chuckle]

Chad: Well, I get that. I get that to some extent, though. But when they are putting the obstacles, and you're like, "Hey, look, if these obstacles weren't here, it'd be much easier for me." I almost feel like we literally, as an industry, have no spine to be able to make those types of moves. What do you think about that? You're a practitioner, you've had to stiffen your spine, but you've also had to be incredibly diplomatic.

Julia Levy: Yes.

Chad: To get to a position that you're in, you have to be majorly good at diplomacy.

Julia Levy: There is definitely some diplomacy that has to happen, and sometimes you're a little more successful than others with it. I would love, at times, to be able to call BS on people in the way that I really would want to.


Julia Levy: And, I wanna keep my job, so...

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: What role does the CEO have in this equation? Because you mentioned our most valued resource. And every CEO in the world goes on stages and says, "Our people... "

Chad: Blah, blah, blah, blah, blah.

Joel: "Are our most valued resource, but they don't walk the walk."

Chad: No.

Julia Levy: Yeah.

Joel: "They talk the talk." What role does a CEO play in making this happen between marketing and TA?

Julia Levy: It's not just marketing and TA, but I think you need an engaged CHRO. If there is a CMO, you need them to be able to talk. And then I think it's bringing the talent acquisition business case in front of the CEO. Now, sometimes TA can have a seat at that table, other times you have to go through the CHRO for that. But the CEO has a lot of accountability there. But I think that sometimes those business priorities change on a dime, and they have to manage that.

Joel: So you need a degree in geopolitical diplomacy, it sounds like...


Joel: To do this job. Good luck, everybody.

Chad: Well, as a negotiator as well, I think. I think a hostage negotiator, that's what we need more, hostage negotiators in our space because then we might actually get some shit done.

Joel: There's an app for that, I'm sure.


Joel: There's an app for that, I'm sure. Julia, thanks for stopping by. It's always a pleasure. For our listeners that want to connect with you, where would you send them?

Julia Levy: or @RecruitingJulia.

Joel: Love it, love it.

Julia Levy: Thanks, guys.

Chad: Excellent.

Joel: Another one in the can, Chad. One more podcast to happy hour. We out.

Chad: We out.

S?: Wow, look at you. You made it through an entire episode of the Chad and Cheese Podcast. Or maybe you cheated and fast-forwarded to the end. Either way, there's no doubt you wish you had that time back. Valuable time you could have used to buy a nutritious meal at Taco Bell. Enjoy a pour of your favorite whiskey. Or just watch big booty Latinas and bug fights on TikTok. No, you hung out with these two chuckleheads instead. Now go take a shower and wash off all the guilt. But save some soap, because you'll be back. Like an awful train wreck, you can't look away. And like Chad's favorite Western, you can't quit them either. We out.


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