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Recruiting with Grit and Wit with Michael Goldberg

Dive into the irreverent world of talent acquisition with Michael Goldberg, the Senior Director of TA and Sourcing at US Renal Care, on The Chad and Cheese Podcast. Recorded live from TA Week, this episode is not your typical HR talk. Michael, with over two decades in the recruiting game, shares his unfiltered take on balancing tech and human touch in the industry. Expect a mix of hard-hitting insights, candid anecdotes, and a good dose of humor as Michael talks about transforming decent recruiters into exceptional ones, all while navigating the AI-dominated future of hiring. From snarky remarks to deep dives into the soul of recruiting, this episode is a rollercoaster ride through the highs and lows of talent acquisition. Tune in for an episode that's as much about laughs as it is about learning.


Intro: 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.


[music]


Joel: Oh, yeah. What's up, everybody? It's Marshall Mathers' favorite podcast, aka The Chad and Cheese Podcast. I'm your co-host, Joel Cheeseman. Joined, as always, the Thelma to my Louise, Chad Sowash...


Chad: Yes.


Joel: Is in the house. And we are recording live from TA Week, the Qualified Booth, and we are with Michael

Goldberg, Senior Director of TA and Sourcing...


Chad: Where?


Joel: At US Anal Care. Did I get that right?


[overlapping conversation]


Michael Goldberg: No. Still not right. It is US Renal Care.


Joel: Renal Care.


Chad: Renal Care.


Michael Goldberg: Renal care.


Joel: Renal, anal. Okay.


Michael Goldberg: Well, there's a difference.


Chad: Joel projects a lot. Let's just... Let's say that. [chuckle]


Joel: I'm stuck in dark places, let's put it that way. Let's put it that way.


[overlapping conversation]


Michael Goldberg: Yeah, that's all right. That's all right. No. US Renal Care, it's, in the scheme of things, the third largest set of dialysis clinics. We're a billion-dollar company.

Chad: Wow.



Joel: I get it. You're saving lives, and I'm an asshole for making a joke. I get it. I get it. I get it.

[overlapping conversation]

Chad: Yes. Yeah. Everybody knows that anyway. That's why they listen. [chuckle]

Michael Goldberg: My grandfather died of diabetes four days after my parents got married.

[overlapping conversation]

Joel: Oh here we go, just stick the knife in.

Michael Goldberg: No, it's called the Jewish guilt trip.

Joel: Oh, okay.

[laughter]

Michael Goldberg: That's what that was.

Joel: Let's pivot off the guilt trips for a second.

[overlapping conversation]

Michael Goldberg: Yes, sir.

Joel: Michael, some of our listeners don't know you.

Chad: What?

Michael Goldberg: No.

Joel: Give them the elevator pitch.

Michael Goldberg: All right. So my name is Michael Goldberg, and I've been in the recruiting space for, let's just say, 20-plus years, 10 years of HR behind that.

Joel: Hello.

Michael Goldberg: And my goal is to go into organizations, either mostly full-time, but I've also done contract where I go in and I turn non-producers into producers. I find technology for companies to make them better, faster, more productive. And then finally, I measure. I do a lot of data analytics for the companies that I've done, that I've worked for. And so, yeah, so I believe I bring a lot of tools to the table. And you guys always share great stuff on your podcast. I'm not saying that just to kiss up...

[overlapping conversation]

Joel: Aw.

Chad: Aw.

Joel: Say more.

Chad: I love this.

[overlapping conversation]

Michael Goldberg: Yes. No, it's true. It's true. You guys make it real. Besides animal, you guys make it more real 'cause it's, you know, it's animal.

Chad: Is he still... Is he still alive?

[overlapping conversation]

Joel: I'll take it. I'll take it.

[overlapping conversation]

Michael Goldberg: He is.

Chad: Is he still doing some...

[overlapping conversation]

Michael Goldberg: Oh, no, no. Yeah.

Chad: Really?

Michael Goldberg: In Toronto.

Joel: Not incarcerated yet.

Michael Goldberg: Not yet.

[overlapping conversation]

Chad: I didn't know that. I've no clue. I've no clue.

Michael Goldberg: No, he's in Toronto.

Chad: So what brings you to TA Week? Is this your first TA Week? How many times have you been here?

Michael Goldberg: This is my first time live in San Diego.

Chad: Okay.

Michael Goldberg: And I just finished up my keynote speaker about how to go from being a good recruiter to a great recruiter, and not relying on AI to do your job for you, but what you need to be doing productively: Being curious, being gritty, knowing your business, knowing the financial acumen of your business, being able to talk that business. And then finally, manage your X with a sense of urgency, and quit giving up so easily just because you can't find them on Indeed or LinkedIn.

Chad: [laughter] Well, pretty soon, they're gonna get kicked off LinkedIn 'cause it's gonna be too damn expensive. Now, quick question though. Because you're talking about using technology to not get lazy but to do your job more super enhanced...

Michael Goldberg: Effectively. I think productivity is probably the better word, right? So that's what AI does for me, is it helps me to get the thinking of ideas. And then there's something, I don't know if you guys have tried this out, but I strongly recommend it. I'm not getting paid to say this, but it's called EQBuddy. It's new. Do y'all know Marcus Sawyer? He's in the recruiting space, was a sourcer, lives in California. He created an AI tool just for recruiting...

Chad: Yeah?

Michael Goldberg: And I'm starting to play around with it. It actually produces some pretty good information.

Chad: So question, 'cause everybody's talking about or at least we've had people talk about, recruiter's jobs gonna be gone.

Michael Goldberg: No.

Chad: This is all gonna be... This is gonna be processed out. Everything's gonna be done through, not just AI, but through better processes, technology, and so on and so forth. What say you, Michael Goldberg?

Michael Goldberg: AI will not replace people.

Chad: Okay.

Michael Goldberg: AI is a tool to help recruiters and recruiting leaders and social, I guess employer brand folks, be more productive and to cut out some of the, "Let me reinvent the wheel," right? Because that's what everybody says. "Well, I wanna come up with the best thing."

Chad: Yeah.

Michael Goldberg: And so they're gonna try to use AI to give them the information and make them look like a superstar. And I say, people can see through that B-S. What you shouldn't be using it for, and I have a feeling that people are using it for, is to make human decisions; to decide on candidates, putting the resume in, two resumes and say, pick the better candidate.

Chad: But we've had platforms out there that have done that for years. We've had applicant tracking systems that have scoring. This is before the "AI revolution" that's been happening, right? So this isn't new, Michael. We've been trying to...

[overlapping conversation]

Michael Goldberg: No, it's not.

Chad: We've been trying to do this shit for years. So what makes this different? Because, again, we've been ranking candidates wrong or right for years. How is this any different?

Michael Goldberg: It's different in that, again, it's about productivity. And I think it's able to pull information faster, where back in the day when we were... We'd put A or B or C, or no or yes or no. We'd write those on, not on the resumes, but somewhere...

Chad: Yeah.

Michael Goldberg: Where you knew who to pick. Does that mean, what? 10 years ago, 15 years ago? Now AI is, I think you leave resumes out of it and it's just, "Hey, give me the latest BLS stats from XYZ. If I need to compare something to my data, if I need a national... And that's what I think it's for. It just, to me, it brings it up faster, but you have to... You take the data for what it is. And I still think there's just some human brain work that you have to do. We can't...

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Let me push back on that a little bit.

[overlapping conversation]

Michael Goldberg: Yeah, please.

Joel: Because I buy into the statement of, "AI won't take your job, but someone who understands AI will take your job." Layoffs are happening. Companies are doing more with less. And if we have more robo-recruiters, if you will, cyborg recruiters...

[laughter]

Joel: Don't we need less recruiters? I understand the recruiting profession will be around, but don't you need less of them? Or are we gonna bring back all the unemployed recruiters back to recruiting?

Michael Goldberg: I'm worried for the people that are looking right now, because you're right. I think that there will be some form of robo- some tool invented.

[overlapping conversation]

Joel: Augmented recruiter.

Michael Goldberg: Yeah.

Joel: Yeah.

Michael Goldberg: Whatever it is, right?

Chad: Oh, they're out there already. There are platforms out there now that are talking about being able to at least cut the recruiter job around 80%.

Michael Goldberg: Well, we're here in the Qualify Booth, or humanly or whatever... You're able to ask quite online questions by using your phone.

Chad: Yeah.

Michael Goldberg: And to me, yes, that replaces things, but to me, what I don't think is gonna go away is the conversations that recruiters need to have with candidates to get specific questions. Because I know of an interesting thing that I'm not gonna talk about who, where somebody did an interview and it was an AI chatbot.

Chad: Yeah.

Michael Goldberg: The candidate was the AI chatbot.

Joel: Yeah.

Chad: [chuckle] Yeah. Oh, yeah.

[overlapping conversation]

Michael Goldberg: And was able to hack into the system, record the system.

Chad: Yes. Yeah. It's gonna happen on both sides.

Michael Goldberg: Yes. There will be less recruiters doing the work...

Joel: Okay.

Michael Goldberg: But I still believe that the good ones that are... The ones that are working, and no disrespect to the people that aren't working, but AI will take those retail jobs, fast food jobs, nurses, social workers, dieticians, which are in our world, IT people, I don't think it will replace those people. I think it's, you're better off using a bot to help you recruit where you always... For Christmas or holiday time recruiting, I think that's where it's gonna flourish.

Joel: Okay. So the cream will rise in your future. And if you're just some hack taking notes and...

[laughter]

Joel: Phone calls, your life is short in this profession.

Michael Goldberg: I believe so.

Joel: Is that a good summary? Okay.

Michael Goldberg: That's a great summary.

Chad: So in today's landscape where you're talking about building great recruiters, what is that number one priority that a great recruiter needs to focus on? On tasks or whatever it is, what do they need to focus on first?

Michael Goldberg: Tangibly?

Chad: Yes.

Michael Goldberg: To me, in my world, what I always try to do is, I want my recruiters working on the positions that have been open the longest and there is still a need to recruit. 'Cause we ask, we'll say, "Hey, do you still... " The recruiter will say, "Do you still need the job?" Yes, we do. So if I see a position that is more than 60 days old, I'm on my recruiters saying, "This is a priority. You need to fill at least half of them." I did that two weeks ago where I've got... I had a couple of people that had 11, 12 positions that have been open on average of 120-plus days. One of my recruiters, shout-out, Natasha, filled eight of those 11 jobs in two weeks, because she knew what she had to do. She made it a priority. She went out and sourced. She used her curiosity to build search strings and bring people in. She didn't wait around for them to apply. And that's the other thing. If there are recruiters that are still waiting for people to apply, no...

[laughter]

Michael Goldberg: It's not gonna be around anymore.

Joel: And that's not good for job boards.

Michael Goldberg: No, it's not.

Joel: Okay. Okay.

Michael Goldberg: No it is not.

Joel: So let's talk about sourcing for a second.

[overlapping conversation]

Chad: Depends on where they're sourcing. They could be sourcing from job boards.

Michael Goldberg: Indeed.

Chad: They could be sourcing from...

Joel: I see what you did there with the Indeed comment.

Chad: LinkedIn...

Michael Goldberg: You like that?

[laughter]

Chad: Leading the witness.

Joel: Let's talk about sourcing real quick. LinkedIn, by all accounts, is putting a stranglehold, a walled garden, a huge moat to kill the competition, funnel people into its platform sort of exclusively. They're redacting certain things now. It's becoming harder to source. And my contention is, the freaks and geeks of the sourcing world back in '05, right? The Shelly's, the Steve...

[laughter]

Michael Goldberg: I remember. Yeah, yeah.

Joel: You know the group I'm talking about. They were sort of pushed in the background when all the sourcing tools came out: The hire tools, the HiringSolved. Now that LinkedIn has sufficiently strangled those businesses to death, are we gonna see a rise of the sourcing? You said Boolean strings, which kind of...

[laughter]

Michael Goldberg: It's old school.

Joel: It caught my attention. Are we gonna go back to the future with sourcing, and the freaks and geeks are gonna kind of take over that world again?

Michael Goldberg: That's a great question. I don't know. I think there's a possibility of that, but there's still a lot of information out there. There's still so many tools out there, that you don't have to rely on LinkedIn...

Chad: But we do.

Joel: Certain do.

Michael Goldberg: Do you know what Steve Levy calls it? It's the OxyContin for recruiters.

Chad: No, I totally get it. I totally get it.

[overlapping conversation]

Michael Goldberg: It's terrible, terrible reference.

Chad: It's a heroin drip. I mean...

[overlapping conversation]

Michael Goldberg: It is totally a drip.

Chad: Yes.

Michael Goldberg: And so I think it, you will have... It'll force recruiters and sourcers to start picking up the phone more...

Joel: Yeah.

Michael Goldberg: And try it once... 'Cause now that we can find that contact information, I know LinkedIn's gonna allegedly squeeze out the fact that they're not gonna be able to share their data or sell their... They're not gonna work with SeekOut or hireEZ.

Chad: Yeah.

Joel: Yeah.

Michael Goldberg: They'll be somebody else that comes around and work around and says, "Let me pull more information from different sources other than LinkedIn." Because in my world, LinkedIn...

Joel: Well, there's no incentive to launch a company that does that. It's gonna be the individual rogue, smart recruiter...

Michael Goldberg: That knows how to...

Joel: That does it themselves. No one's gonna launch another SeekOut anytime soon.

Michael Goldberg: No.

Joel: No one's gonna launch another competitor because they've seen what happens.

Michael Goldberg: True, true.

Joel: It's gonna be the individual that's smart enough to figure out how to leverage Google or leverage these new search engines or ChatGPT or whatever to get to the best candidates. Yes?

Michael Goldberg: Well, yeah. And you look at... What is Microsoft's new GPT? I think it's connected to ChatGPT but...

Joel: Copilot or?

Michael Goldberg: Copilot.

Chad: Copilot.

Michael Goldberg: Yeah, have y'all played around with that? It's actually kind of cool. I'm just starting to get it. But Bing, like someone said, add Bing to your phone...

Joel: Yeah?

Michael Goldberg: And you can get more information on Bing than you can on Google with the use of Copilot, 'cause it's smarter than what ChatGPT is doing.

Joel: Yeah. And there's a new search engine, forgetting the name. Bezos just gave it a lot of money.

Chad: Oh, Cloud?

Joel: Perplexity or...

Chad: Oh, okay.

Joel: Anyway. So there will be search engines. Well, we see a resurgence in the days where Alta Vista and...

Michael Goldberg: Oh my gosh.

Joel: Ask Jeeves, and there's all these different search engines that can find people. Time will tell. But Google's gonna get a little bit of competition, I think, in the near future.

Michael Goldberg: Absolutely. Here's my thing. Indeed and LinkedIn, they're finite sets of information. You can find twice as much information by just going to Bing, going to this new Bezos thing, which I have never heard of but I will definitely take a look at it. But also start looking at ChatGPT, the dropdown, and it gives you all these different choices, you can do Copilot creation, you can do SEO generation, the whole nine yards. That's what we need to be using AI for to help us stand out and to help us find the right types of people. 'Cause if I can put a profile together and I know who I wanna hire, I can use something like an AI tool to help me come up with the basics. But then I gotta use this to get there, and I gotta use this...

Joel: He's pointing to his head, listeners, by the way.

Michael Goldberg: Yes. Oh, sorry. I thought we were on camera.

Joel: Oh, we're on all the mediums, baby. We're on everything.

Michael Goldberg: I'm pointing to my head. But use your brain and use your heart. Because you have to give a shit. You have to care. And that's the one thing that I think is missing from recruiters these days. It's just like, "All right, I'm gonna go fill positions. That's it." Now, I'm old school so I can say that. But I don't mind picking up the phone. I don't use LinkedIn to do my sourcing. I use hireEZ, obviously 'cause we have the tool and I wanna be an example for my team to use it. They're not using it enough. They need to before that lemon is squeezed.

Chad: Yes. Well, but it's gonna get squeezed.

Michael Goldberg: Big time.

Chad: It's gonna get squeezed.

[overlapping conversation]

Michael Goldberg: We just don't know the timing of it.

Chad: Right. So, back to LinkedIn. This is very anti-competitive practice from a company that's owned by Microsoft. Right? Who is...

Michael Goldberg: It's a total monopoly.

Chad: The last organization that was hit by antitrust, right?

Michael Goldberg: Right.

Chad: So, I guess the question is, as a company not another vendor... 'Cause SeekOut, they have reasons, right? As a company, a hiring company, what would your words be to LinkedIn at this point? 'Cause you spend money on it.

Michael Goldberg: I do. Don't do what you're threatening to do. It's not good for business. It's a pure monopoly. You'll have the antitrust law people all over you. I just think LinkedIn is shooting themselves basically in the chest.

Chad: Do you think other practitioners will actually step up and say the exact same thing? Because over the years, we've seen this stupid shit happen left and right. During HighQ, the actual case against HighQ, nobody wanted to be made public, that they were behind HighQ. Right? Now we're here because of that case. And LinkedIn winning. Right?

Michael Goldberg: Right.

Chad: Are we finally going to get HR practitioners to get out of the goddamn corner and stand up and start to say, "This is wrong, this is bullshit?"

Michael Goldberg: Absolutely. It's interesting, I was talking with Jerry Christman. I don't know if he's coming by, but he's getting through career crossroads. He's getting a set of, I think he said 30, right? 30 TA leaders. And he's talking to them next week about this very thing because they're all freaking out. I'm not freaking out because it hadn't happened yet. There's nothing I can do. But you know what? We're gonna have to be better at what we do in order to get over that hump. So what I would just implore LinkedIn is, don't do that to everybody because everybody's on OxyContin and they rely on your tool and you'll still... Yes, you can make more money. Maybe you're trying to get to four to six trillion dollars. But Jesus, how much money do you really need?

Joel: How many yachts can you ski behind?

[laughter]

Michael Goldberg: Thank you very much.

Joel: Michael, I want to go... I love your comment about the heart. And I think so many recruiters rely on technology and it's a churn and burn game. You also probably know that we're very popular with the young people, Michael.

[laughter]

Michael Goldberg: Not me. I'm a grandpa.

Joel: And I think a lot of young recruiters are so tech-focused and not heart-focused, which is based on your comment. What advice would you give a young recruiter coming up to not just focus on tech, but the heart? Why is that important?

Michael Goldberg: The heart is important because the heart shows that you care. So like I mentioned in my presentation, I started with Marriott making 6.50 an hour, right? And it taught me to have heart to care for people, to take care of people. 'Cause I didn't want my name on a Commack card going like, "What did you do, Goldberg?" Hell, I was even... Because I went out of the way for somebody that... I worked in Bethesda at the Marriott near the Mormon church. It's the only Marriott that Bill Marriott and his family owns on Pooks Hill Road. Go visit it. It's an old as hell hotel. This pastor of the Mormon church comes in. He says, "I was just in a terrible accident," but I sent him... I had a heart and I sent him cookies, 'cause they don't drink. So I sent him cookies, and I sent them some flowers, to him and his family, and I said, "I hope tomorrow is better." He put this nice Jewish young man into his sermon in front of the entire Mormon church. It's because I care.

Michael Goldberg: And I think if you care about the people you're recruiting, and you're not crapping on candidate experience, and you're checking in with them and you're communicating with your hiring managers, that's your heart saying, "I really care about what I do every day." The technology, again, it's just a tool and it makes your job easier. But I don't think recruiting is as easy as everybody thinks it is. How many times have you all, have people, young folks come up to you and said, "Huh, what do you think? Should I get into recruiting?" I'm like, "Not if you don't have the heart for it." 'Cause you're gonna be beaten up. It's the most thankless job. God damn, I love waking up every day, and there is nothing that gives me pure emotional satisfaction that when I offer a job to somebody...

Chad: Yeah.

Michael Goldberg: They hearing their voice of joy...

Chad: Yeah.

Michael Goldberg: That's my caffeine. I drink coffee, but that's my caffeine every time.

Chad: There it is, kids. We're talking about have a heart, for God's sakes. And he is talking to you, Cheesman. This is Michael Goldberg. Michael, if somebody wants to connect with you, where would you send them?

Michael Goldberg: I would send them...

Chad: To LinkedIn.

Michael Goldberg: I would.

[laughter]

Michael Goldberg: But since you won't be able to find me on LinkedIn, you can connect with me on Facebook.

Joel: Since he's been canceled.

[laughter]

Michael Goldberg: Since I've been canceled. The best way is to reach out michael.goldberg@usrenalcare.com. Feel free to email me, any folks looking. I don't know of any jobs, but I'm happy to help you network. Happy to help you think about what you want to do next because...

Chad: A man with a heart, kids.

Michael Goldberg: A man with a heart.

[overlapping conversation]

Joel: A man who cares, who works for US Renal Care.

Michael Goldberg: There we go, Cheesman. Nice job, my man.

[overlapping conversation]

Joel: Oh, the irony. Chad, that is another one in the can. We are live from TA Week in the Qualify Booth.

Michael Goldberg: Thank you.

Joel: We out.

Chad: We out.

Outro: Well, thank you for listening to, what's it called? The podcast with Chad, with 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. Anyhoo, 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 www.chadcheese.com. Just don't expect to find any recipes for grilled cheese. It's so weird. We out.


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