Susan Vitale Speaks!

Susan Vitale, CMO at popular ATS iCIMS, has 15 years experience in the industry. In addition to just being one of our favorite people, she's always a great person to have on and talk shop. In this episode, Susan tells the boys about the latest iCIMS rebrand, where applicant tracking systems will be in 10 years, who's coming to their online conference, and much more.

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INTRO (1m 5s):

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 (1m 24s):

Monday, Monday, Monday, what's up everybody. This is Joel Cheeseman of the Chad and Cheese podcast as always I'm joined by my faithful cohost Chad Sowash. Chad, how are you?

Chad (1m 37s):


Joel (1m 38s):

'ello there.

Chad (1m 38s):


Joel (1m 39s):

Today, we are honored, very honored to have the illustrious.

Chad (1m 42s):

OK, that's strong.

Joel (1m 44s):

iCIMS Chief Marketing Officer, friend of the show, Susan Vitale!

Chad (1m 49s):


Applause (1m 50s):

clapping and cheers.

Joel (1m 51s):

15 year veteran. She's a little scared to be on the show today, Chad, I, I don't know why.

Chad (1m 58s):

Probably, cause you played that sound effects about 20 times. He was like, what the fuck is going on?

Joel (2m 5s):

All right, Susan, for, for those lost souls that don't know who you are, give them, give them the spiel real quick

Susan Vitale (2m 10s):

OK, Doke. Well, I'm Susan Vitale. I'm the Chief Marketing Officer with iCIMS, the Talent Cloud Company that empowers organizations to attract, engage, hire, advance, diverse winning teams. I lead our brand and growth marketing efforts. And as you mentioned, been with the company for just over 15 years now, so honored to be here and luckily to be back with you. And I mean that sincerely.

Joel (2m 34s):

Honored to be here.

Chad (2m 36s):

Let's let let's dig into that, but that past a little bit, shall we Susan? So you climbed the corporate ladder and now you're the CMO, totally get that. But let's start at the beginning. So in 2005, you graduated from Lehigh. Then you went straight to iCIMS as a marketing coordinator. Tell us that story. How did you get the gig? Who did you report to and why did you take the job in the first place? What does an applicant tracking system in 2005?

Susan Vitale (3m 3s):

It's funny. So I was in college and I got a call. My resume had been found on MonsterTrak for those of us who remember that. And I date myself. I got a call when I was a senior in college at Lehigh university, interested in chatting further about some opportunities by our then director of marketing and sales, Adam Feigenbaum. Came in and took an interview and I've been very honest with Eisenhower that I had no intentions of actually taking a job at an applicant tracking software company and have what New Jersey in a dentist office suite. It was really an opportunity to get some experience with an interview, but got to meet Adam, got to meet Collin, our founder and now chairman and really just wonderful people is as you both well know, great opportunity and both of those, the people in the opportunity have kept me here for now past 15 years,

Chad (3m 56s):

There've been a ton of changes in our industry since you've joined. Obviously what are some of the biggest changes, especially around applicant tracking?

Susan Vitale (4m 4s):

Well, I think applicant tracking is blocking and tackling, for talent acquisition or recruiting software. Nowadays. I think the pendulum continues to swing over the years of best of breed, full suite, best of breed, full suite. One of the big milestones. I think I, if I recall in our company's history is our move back in 2012 to say, we're not going to go across all things, talent management and go an inch deep mile wide. We see recruiting as critically important, it's consumer facing it's different from the rest of HR, but it's more than just applicant tracking. And that's where we really started to make some investment and put some energy behind areas like new hire onboarding and candidate relationship management, and video and social and mobile and things like that.

Susan Vitale (4m 50s):

So to me, that's been the biggest shift. Almost anybody can say they have applicant tracking software, but to have something that's really rich and, you know writing for today's global enterprise is a different story, but an ATS alone is certainly not enough. The other big thing I've mentioned is that probably since I've been in this industry, pundits will say the ATS is dead. The ATS is dying, the ATS is going away. And I've yet to see that actually. Yeah,

Joel (5m 17s):

As, as heartwarming as that trip down memory lane was, let's talk about the present and you guys have recently rebranded. So the sharp red, the italics SIMS and the i, and Ike...

Chad (5m 34s):


Joel (5m 35s):

... All that stuff like, so walk us through the why and the how of the rebrand.

Susan Vitale (5m 41s):

Well, it's been a really fulfilling experience and I mean, that it's been an exhausting experience to go through a brand refresh like this, but it's been really fun too. So probably about seven months ago or so we were thinking about where our is, was, is going and how that lined up with the industry, what the industry, where the industry was, is, and was going and felt like there was an opportunity for iCIMS to better reflect where we fit in and where we're going, and frankly, where we want to take the industry. And so there was an opportunity to say from a look and feel perspective, certainly, I mean, that's really the fun part of a lot of this, but just as importantly, if not more importantly is the story that goes alongside it and the way in which we represent our portfolio to our customers and the market overall.

Susan Vitale (6m 31s):

So we went through lots and lots of research and strategy work. It doesn't just happen overnight as I'm sure you both are well aware. So we went through a lot of strategy work related to what our employees were feeling, what customers were feeling, et cetera, and really wanted to spend a lot of time on this concept of a brand archetype. There is a wheel of brand architects out there and we landed in this creator archetype that says, we're here to create what's next. And just as importantly, we're here to enable and empower others to create what's next for their own organizations. And you can create amazing things when you have the right people on the right team at the right time. And that's sort of like the goosebumps you get when things are clicking and jiving, et cetera.

Susan Vitale (7m 14s):

So that was really the kind of the heart behind it. And then of course, we got to do some really beautiful work from a creative perspective. We did think about changing the name, but, but ISIMs has some phenomenal brand equity out there.

Joel (7m 28s):

What were some of the names that you floated out there that didn't get caught up?

Susan Vitale (7m 32s):

Oh, I'm saving all of them for when I create my own company one of these days.

Chad (7m 36s):

Good answer, good answer.

Joel (7m 39s):

Did you pay for outside help or was this all internal?

Susan Vitale (7m 43s):

We did. We worked with a number of different agencies, but also a number of our internal resources, were not just involved actually, despite working with some third party agencies, one of our in-house designers came up with our new logo. So shout out to Kevin and our entire design and creative team, including Aggie and Justine, and many, many other people that worked their ass off. And I think they did an absolute, tremendous job. And I'm so proud that their work really is setting the stage for the iSIMS of the future.

Joel (8m 13s):

Wow! Listen to you, many outside companies, you guys are just printing money there at iCIMS aren't you. So speaking of printing money, you guys have.

Susan Vitale (8m 22s):

We didn't know where it's going to go, but it's a beautiful space.

Joel (8m 25s):

Susan, just roll with it. So speaking of printing money, you guys have a conference coming up with some pretty big names, performing presenting, I don't even know what to call it when they're this big of a celebrity. Talk about that and, and how much, you know, Trevor Noah and those guys costs to actually have come to your event.

Susan Vitale (8m 44s):


Joel (8m 46s):

Cause we want them to be at our event, right Chad?

Susan Vitale (8m 50s):

Yeah. Yeah. So we do have, we have iCIMS inspire coming up. It's actually our first time doing a big ass amazing virtual conference of this size, big ass is this very specific way that we count the number of registrants and so that's the territory we are now in. So we've got thousands and thousands of incredible registrants here. The event is November 17th and 18th. It is happening live virtually, although the sessions will be available on demand as well. And you mentioned we have some awesome speakers. So we're having a keynote conversation with Mindy Kaling and Trevor Noah who have been lovely to work with. And I now feel like I can call them just by Mindy and Trevor, because we're good friends.

Joel (9m 34s):

Oh, fancy.

Susan Vitale (9m 35s):

Now, we also have Moira Forbes. We have Jason Dorsey, who knows quite a lot about in a very interesting way, all these different generations and how we can connect with and work with different generations. We have Janette Renee, who is really phenomenal in areas of wellness and self care, which I can't help as soon as I say that to look at the giant bag of gummy bears on my desk, which has been my lunch. So we need to talk with her. We have Cynthia Marshall, I don't know if either of you have heard her speak before she is freaking awesome. She is the CEO of Dallas Mavericks and has done an unbelievable job as it relates to diversity and inclusion and culture at that organization.

Susan Vitale (10m 18s):

We also have Erica Bellini, who I love! You two might remember, I was just so delighted to have her at our influence event last year. And we also have really amazing customer speakers talking about their experiences, their stories, some of which have been customers of ours for a lon