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Talent Acquisition's Elephants

This episode is a masterclass in understanding Talent Acquisition and Talent Management business strategy through the eyes of Manjuri Sinha, Global Director of Talent Acquisition at OLX and Quincy "Queen of Chatbots" Valencia, VP and Research Director over HCM Tech at Ventana Research.

In this episode;

- 2021's Unethical Scaling and the impact

- No track of productivity metrics for Expensive Staff

- Always buying and not upskilling

- Attrition verus Upskilling and more!

Get ready to take notes...


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.


Chad Sowash: Oh yeah. Welcome to the Chad and Cheese HR's most dangerous podcast. I'm your co-host, Chad Sowash. And the substitute teacher today for Joel Cheesman is Queen of chatbots herself. That's right, kids. Give it up for Quincy Valencia.


Quincy Valencia: I'm back.

Chad Sowash: Welcome back to the show, Quincy.

Quincy Valencia: Thanks. It's been too long. It's good to be here.

Chad Sowash: Well, it has been too long. So for all of those listeners who don't know who Quincy is, give 'em a little Twitter bio.

Quincy Valencia: So I've been in this game, like you, for about 25 years, although as we already established, you're older than me. So you probably have done it a little bit longer.

Chad Sowash: Shut it.

Quincy Valencia: It's true though. Yeah. But I've been a practitioner, I've been a provider, a vendor, a product creator, and now most recently, I'm taking a seat in the analyst chair as head of the HR Tech Analyst Practice at Ventana Research. And apparently, I'm now a podcast co-host.

Chad Sowash: Exactly. So this is the first time you've been in the co-host seat, right?

Quincy Valencia: First, but not the last. Joel, better watch out, man.


Chad Sowash: So it's feeling comfy, is what I'm hearing?

Quincy Valencia: I like it so far. We'll see.

Chad Sowash: So let me tell you that this interview today is at least a year in the making. We've been working hard to get this interviewee on. She's important. She's one of those types of people. She's important. Today, I would like to introduce... Are we ready? Are you ready? Manjuri Sinha. It's right. Global Director of Talent Acquisition over at OLX. Welcome to the show. Finally. How you doing? How you feeling?

Manjuri Sinha: Great, great. Finally, super, super happy to be here, Chad. So one year in the making, so yes, finally, we landed it.

Chad Sowash: It feels like longer than the year. It could have been the pandemic fog making it seem longer. I don't know.

Manjuri Sinha: Possibly, possibly.


Chad Sowash: You said it's actually taken longer than getting some of your execs hired. [laughter]

Manjuri Sinha: Of course. Yeah. We call it the birth year of the vacancy. So if you have a year's birthday, I think that's a good time to take a call, would they keep that role open or not?


Quincy Valencia: That's funny. I'm excited to be here co-hosting today with you because I talk to vendors all day, every day, and what I really enjoy is talking to the people who are actually solving problems in the workplace. This is gonna be a fun conversation for me.

Chad Sowash: Amen. So most Americans don't know who OLX is. It's a huge brand in Europe. So if you would, give us a little Twitter bio about you, and then tell us a little bit about OLX.

Manjuri Sinha: Sure. Absolutely. About me. So I'll start with being a panda lover. Anything to do with pandas, I am a crazy fan of. So if you see me ever presenting a talk in some conference, you'll definitely find a spy panda stalking somewhere there. 20-plus years of experience in HR and TA, different roles, different industries, different countries. My passion is talent acquisition, have been working across India, lived in countries like Sweden, Czech Republic and now called Berlin and Germany home for the past nine years. I'm myself amazed that it's been nine years here. And yeah, currently, I had talent acquisition, including employer branding, all cool stuff, as well as onboarding for OLX, and I'm based in Berlin. What is OLX? So OLX is basically a classified platform, and somewhere where you can go for buying and selling secondhand cell phone, car, house, anything. A couple of the brands, front-ending brands. Probably listeners from the US would relate to our brand, which is called Webuyanycar. If you're in Portugal, then you would know OLSISH, because that's how it is pronounced in Portuguese. If you are in Poland or Romania, you definitely know the OLX brand because it is the classified platform, app that you use. Kids use for the first mobile or the first refrigerator when students shift into their first accommodation, etcetera.

Manjuri Sinha: So we are mostly in the emerging markets of the world. Eastern Europe, Latin America, India, Indonesia, these are our footprints. 30 markets all across, 10,000 plus people as an organization.

Chad Sowash: So what's your favorite kind of panda? That's the first question I wanna get into.

Manjuri Sinha: It's the mid-sized, fluffy pandas that you can probably lift and take with you. So that's an agenda in my life. I've been hunting for a job vacancy called a panda nanny.

Quincy Valencia: I was just gonna ask if you've applied for one of those, because I've seen them, and they look fabulous to me. I can do that.

Manjuri Sinha: That's my life goal. I really wanna do that one day.


Quincy Valencia: My life goal is to be an elephant keeper.

Chad Sowash: Oh, elephant keeper.

Manjuri Sinha: Oh, you should watched The Elephant Whisperers, by the way.

Quincy Valencia: I have watched it. I love it. If I don't get my hands on an elephant and come to have my own elephant sometime before I die my life will not be complete. And it's interesting because that's what the whole topic of today's conversation is, right? Elephants. Different type of elephants, but it's still an elephant. I feel right at home.

Chad Sowash: Elephants in the room. So in our long set of trying to actually get this pulled together, we had several different topics that we wanted to try to tackle. And Manjuri said, "Well, there are many elephants in the room, so why don't we just start calling them out?" That's what we do. So let's do it. Let's start with the first elephants, which you wanna call irresponsible hiring. So tell us a little bit about that.

Manjuri Sinha: Yeah, thanks, Chad. And I think good, Quincy, that you spoke about the elephants and brought us here. It's interesting that all of us are hearing a lot of advice being given to talent acquisition leaders and TA functions right now on how to shape up, how to plan your teams, how to plan ahead, etcetera, what could have been done better, etcetera, in the past months. We've also seen TA teams have been disproportionately impacted with all the layoffs which have happened in the past couple of months. However, if you take a step back, it is so interesting to see that there's been a lot of what I call as unethical scaling across 2021, all across. Right after the pandemic, we had three months when people were going slow. A lot of the tech organizations did think that there'll be an impact, so they kind of held strong. And the moment they saw that the consumers were running to online, behaviors had changed, there was more traffic online, there were more purchases being done online, people who were flocking to Netflix, Zoom was in demand because of organizations going for remote, etcetera, that's when we saw the curve coming back on like crazy. I think that phase in 2021 and 2022, as most of us know, that we've seen 2x, 3x hiring in those phases.

Manjuri Sinha: I was looking at some data today. Between 2019 to 2022, companies like Amazon, Amazon grew by 106% in their headcount. Meta grew by 103% in their headcount, Salesforce by 67% in their headcount. And this is up till 2022. We know that hiring went on crazy pretty much till the August or July of 2022 as well, so it's more than these numbers. And today when we open the tracker, we see that just from Jan today, there have been about 149,000 layoffs across these organizations. So for the lack of a better word, it's a bloodbath out there, and this has to do a lot with this whole hiring ahead of the curve, really going crazy, not thinking about, "Do we really need those 10 packs of engineers? And has there been any kind of due diligence that we've done?" When we look at the org designs, we hear today a lot of leaders talking about, "We have too many managers and too less people to do their actual things. Why do we have such a layer of managers and managers and managers?" Well, at that particular time, nobody was looking at the org design, how many managers do you need, what is your rule of a pack, what is the productivity of the team, how do you track that productivity, how is the finance team looking at, "Yes, we are getting these headcount plans coming in. What kind of productivity will they give in? What will be the cost that we're looking at?"

Manjuri Sinha: And this unethical scaling actually went ahead on other things because we have to fight the war for talent. We were looking for the same people. [laughter] All the Amazons, Metas, us, all of us were looking for the same people, we're dipping in the same pool, and we were fighting the negotiation battle on, "Let's give you 20% more, 30% more, 40% more." And what did we do? We increased the salary cost there for the organization. This was a whole tech bubble. It's not just one company standing alone and doing it, it's everybody was within this pool. And now we're seeing the domino effect. So rather than just saying, "What should the TA teams do?" I think it's also calling out these elephants and not saying, "Okay, the blame is on whom," but really looking at, "What can we do better?" Because the tables will turn again.

Quincy Valencia: So like you, I've worked in corporate TA as well. And I talked about this, and Chad, of course, I've heard it on your show. But HR and TA leaders have had that proverbial seat at the business table more than ever over the last couple of years. Everything sort of went to hell and everyone looked at HR and TA and went, "What do we do? I don't know what to do," because they'd never had it before. So we know that, but this is not a TA issue. As far as I'm concerned, this is a business issue, because TA's reacting in many cases to what business is telling them to do. "I don't care. I'll get the budget approval. Just go do it. Just go do it." Organizations are not using the technology that they do have to scale appropriately. They're using the technology to mimic and just replicate poor decision-making and poor processes that have been in place forever, and then you have the perfect storm of that with the businesses who are making promises, "We're gonna grow by so much," and they never meet it, and they're going to their TA teams and saying, "Just do it. Just hire." And TA teams are working at the behest of the business, and it's this terrible cycle, and that's where we end up. Now, there's been no planning and then not using the resources that they already have, and I'm sure you've seen that as well, or I'm assuming you've seen that as well.

Chad Sowash: So real quick, I don't agree that TA is not at fault, because first and foremost, TA needs to understand the business. And we just did a great interview with Jeff Lackey, who was at CVS, and one of the things that he did was he focused heavily on talking to the business units to be able to take a look at the "vital positions" that were opening to really see if they were impacting the bottom line, and if there was strategy for long-term growth there, or if this was just something that was felt to be a need versus not. So I think in talent acquisition, if we are more in tune with the business and we can understand it, then we can actually guide it. The problem is we have never really been at the table, a seat at the table. We finally were, so we were so excited. Then the next thing you know, we were reactionary with the rest of the business, as opposed to being the adult in the room, which we need to be. So I do agree, there were a lot pushed on us, but we need to stiffen our spine and be more business minded.

Quincy Valencia: Oh, completely. There's no question about that. What we need to do and what our colleagues and so forth need to do, I'm not saying there's a complete lack of responsibility, but I'm saying that the bottom line is the business makes those decisions and owns those decisions at the end of the day. So no matter how smart... Even Jeff, as you were saying, I'm certain that there were times where he had very strong opinions based in facts and data and he was overruled. Ultimately, it's a business decision and a business responsibility.

Manjuri Sinha: Exactly, Quincy. And thanks for laying it out, because that's exactly what I wanna say in follow-up, this elephant in the room, that when you have the TA leader at that table, listen to the TA leader. And this is exactly what a lot of CEOs and CFOs have not done in that period. I happened to be at TA leaders dinner two weeks ago and this resonated, because another very senior TA leader in Berlin shared his experience, that he tracked and saw that there were senior executive positions, almost 365, that had already been hired. Humongous cost.

Chad Sowash: Senior?

Manjuri Sinha: They have another 100 senior execs, so you can say Director, Senior Directors and above in the organization, and they have another 100 vacancies still open. So he went back to the CFO talking about the cost of hiring, plus the cost of the average salaries and actually said, "Are you sure? I think you should pause. I literally recommend you to pause." What did the CFO said? "Yeah, thanks for the information, but I think we'll go ahead." And that company has actually gone through a round of layoffs right now. So this is where we need to also put it, "Yes, TA leader should do this, they have to be chief repeating officers, they have to really, what John Vlastelica says, have those teaching moments with the leaders, but the leaders have to listen to the TA leaders as well." That's what is a key takeaway from this.

Chad Sowash: But there are no ramifications for CEOs who lay off tens of thousands of employees. That's the biggest issue.

Quincy Valencia: Yeah. They're still getting their salary and their bonuses.

Chad Sowash: Oh, they've got a golden parachute, for God's sakes. But there's still no ramification for hiring tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of individuals and then chopping because of irresponsible growth. So do we really think... Other than us being able to have a seat at the table, start speaking more to business, do we really think that this is going to change unless we start seeing heads roll at the top?

Manjuri Sinha: It will change, Chad, if we get adult leaders who have the... Okay, maybe I won't use that word, but...

Chad Sowash: I like adult leaders. No, we need this.


Manjuri Sinha: Probably. Okay, let me quote unquote. Who have probably the balls to say that, not really think about, "Am I on the chopping block next?" But say that in that round table that, "There are trade-offs you're doing. If you're planning a growth curve which looks like this on the... Looks like a platform like this, it'll cost still this much and ramifications. You remember that time. Will you sign the trade-off today for me as well?" So I think these are the adult conversations that don't happen. And Quincy said, we were so happy that, "Yes, we got the seat at the table. Let me show you we can deliver." Of course, we can deliver. At what cost? I think that's the trade-off, remembrance that we have to keep on giving to the senior leaders as well.

Quincy Valencia: The other cost that no one has mentioned too is when you hire at that pace, which of course, is unsustainable for every reason imaginable, every DE&I initiative that companies claim to have, that they have on their wall and their marketing goes straight out the window because they don't actually care of the makeup of their organization, they care that they have butts and seats. And then you start laying everybody off and then it's that group that, once again, is disproportionately let go, and then that continues the cycle as well. And to your point, when you say, "Will it change, unless it changes from the top," well, no, I don't think that it will. And I think you have to start looking at the accountability, Manjuri, who has the balls to stand up and make the stand and actually make it happen, but look at who the CEO's number two is. If you're in an organization where their right hand is the CFO, you're always gonna have a problem, because at the end of the day, no matter how forward-thinking your CFO is, if they see humans as an expense line, you're never gonna overcome it. If your right-hand person is the CHRO, then they're looking at your people as part of your go-forward strategy, and you're gonna have much more of a chance of making some of these changes that need to happen in the business.

Chad Sowash: I would say, in most cases, CFO or CRO are generally the right hand, much more than the CHRO, which is the things that we should be focusing on, right? Quick question, it's a little bit of a diversion. How much talent hoarding do you think was actually happening by some of those big organizations, keeping amazing talent away from competitors and really out of the market, doing nimble things within their organization until they were cut here recently?

Manjuri Sinha: A lot of it, a lot of it, Chad. I think we've seen the quotes from Meta ex-employees very recently. They've shared their stories of this lady who was practically doing nothing for the past eight to nine months and had a humongous salary sitting in New York. And not just on local employees, these companies have actually hired experts on H-1B visas who are today just left with 60 days to look for a job and switch. Otherwise, go back to their home countries. So they had to hoard it. And this has been a norm. We've also seen an experience in India where we were competing with companies like Meta, Amazon, Walmart, etcetera, where for each offer that we would make to the individual, literally within two days, we would have a counteroffer that comes from one of these companies. And we would... Of course, we would ask them, 'cause in India, you can ask for a candidate to literally show you that offer. So they would show that offer, and you can see that it would increase percentage by percentage, so the numbers that they were hiring at, and the kind of pace as well that they are hiring at. It was definite that they were hoarding the talent.

Chad Sowash: Wow.

Quincy Valencia: But in some cases, don't you think that's the right, smart thing to do?

Manjuri Sinha: In some cases, yes, Quincy, but not at the kind of bulk that they would do. And did they think of what if? Do you... I understand a lot of organizations have a talent pool, like the services companies have a bench, they carry a bench. They bench as a method, and they know that, "Okay, after a particular month or two, we can actually move them to another project." Here, that projection was not there. It was pegged n the growth that was supposed to come, which never came.

Quincy Valencia: Right. Right, right.

Chad Sowash: Well, let's go ahead and transition to elephant number two. That's actual justification for all of this damn hiring. So let's talk a little bit about that, Manjuri.

Manjuri Sinha: Yeah. So I think we were talking about this whole high cost of attrition. And this is now the interesting fact, that we talk about a lot of the news, a lot of the articles, Bloomberg articles, etcetera, talk about the new headcount that companies have added, but there was this one interesting article which Amazon never put a comment on. That was about the estimated cost of attrition that they said would have been around $8 billion annually. It's interesting to see how much of this hiring that happened in 2021 and 2022 was backfills. And most of the cases, they were actually higher number of backfills because yes, people were hired. Like Quincy said, when you hire fast, the things that you compromise on are diversity, equality and also that new hire engagement, and that's what was happening. Yes, people were joining, people were dropping. People were joining, people were dropping. Whether they are dropping for a 30% increase in another organization, that's a different thing to look at, but that's what was happening at that time. And this cost was humongous on organizations. When we are looking at those balance sheets today and seeing that, "Yes, we need to push up our bottom line, and that's why we need to look at our staff cost," no organization is looking at that cost of attrition.

Manjuri Sinha: I don't think any organization can literally even calculate that. Any finance department can show me today, "This is the cost of attrition for 2021." I don't think so.

Quincy Valencia: So I will tell you that in 2009, I was getting my master's degree, and one of the things that I was putting together was about the high cost of attrition. It was actually about creating a high productive workforce, but attrition was in there. And I worked with... I don't know if you're familiar with Dr. John Sullivan. He's all over the place. But he actually... And he probably doesn't remember it, but he worked with me directly to come up with a cost, a literal cost of that turnover and what it means for the business, because Finance, I said it before, they only see a cost to the business if you are in a revenue-producing role directly. Otherwise, they don't see it. And we actually worked on it and calculated the map and came out and put it in, and nobody cared then, and nobody still cares today, and it's so completely short-sighted. It boggles the mind. Because to those of us who work in this and who do this work, it's so obvious, [chuckle] and I just don't understand what is so difficult, what part of the story is not coming across. It makes me crazy.

Chad Sowash: Yeah, no, I agree 100%. And one of the things that we don't know who owns in many organizations is talent management. Who actually owns the up-skilling, the ability for internal mobility, those types of things. Is that with Talent Acquisition? Is that with HR? Who actually owns that? And how do you actually look for justifications? Well, first off, you have to understand the cost of the business. And as you'd Quincy, a lot of organizations, especially CFOs, only see you if you're a revenue driver. Well, let's go ahead and make this very simple for everybody to understand. If you don't have people, you can't ideate product. And if you don't have people, you can't develop product. If you don't have people, you can't produce. You go along. If that salesperson and that customer service person who sells it and expands wallet share doesn't have all of those individuals, then they can't actually make revenue.

Quincy Valencia: You're gonna bring me to tears here. [laughter] I've never also seen or heard or connected in my life.

Chad Sowash: It why we have you. It's why we have you. So at the end of the day, I've heard CHROs call themselves a cost center for years, and I look at them square in the face and say, "You are the living, breathing heart of every organization. There's no revenue-driving, there's no product. There's nothing without you." So at this point, once we start to breathe that in and understand it, how do we get to the point where we understand that, "Okay, there's a cost to loss," and we see this with Amazon. Who takes control of that talent management piece? Who focuses on up-skilling, internal mobility? How do we actually transform... We talk about transformation all the time. Nobody's really fucking doing it. How do we get there?

Manjuri Sinha: Yeah, Chad, we also saw that there was hardly any interest in up-skilling during this period. There was more buying of talent. Everybody went external. And that lack of up-skilling also harmed folks and not... Because if you look at the hiring demand coming in at that period, and because of all the competition, I was talking to a lot of TA leaders in my peer group, be it in the US, India, Europe. Everybody had the same deal, 70% to 75% of all open vacancies were in the senior bucket, join and run, join and run. So that's another... That's another. This, again, Quincy, also was completely contradictory to diversity because you know in... For example, in technology, a role like reliability engineering, if you are looking for our seniors, there are very few women in that bucket. So if you don't grow these women and hire them at a junior level, then how will you enable that talent? So that's a big, big loss. And that's amiss. I think a lot of... Even talent leaders need to take that accountability. I can share my example. The bit on internal mobility, I think that was initially amiss because we were running on the external bit. Last year, this was something that we prioritized, and we said, "Okay, let's not figure out who owns this. We will own this, we will launch the platform, we'll get this going, and then figure it out amongst us," kind of a thing.

Manjuri Sinha: So I think we need to pick those pieces up as well and take ownership. TA as such has evolved with a push as well in the last three years beyond the whole push of remote hiring, the whole push of, "Let's look at hypergrowth. Let's scale. Let's stop." So all these things have been very, very interesting. I think we need to look beyond just the gamut of employer branding and hiring and new hires, but go beyond, also internally, look at how we can... Look at location strategies, etcetera, and be more valuable on that aspect and take more ownership.

Quincy Valencia: So I will say that I have seen a little bit of a light at the end of the tunnel. So one of the things we do as analysts is we prognosticate about things that we assert will happen, not unlike your predictions that you do on this show every year, Chad. [laughter] I've seen the blending now of talent management and talent acquisition, which I actually think is super smart, because to me, it's a talent function. I don't really care where you get the person. I think you need to invest properly in your internal talent that you've already invested so much in and give people the opportunity to see paths down the road, potentially, whether it's the same path to run or a different one, and give them the tools to develop skills, they need to close those gaps. I think that you need to look externally, you need to make sure that you have a proper blend of mix of where your people are coming from, internal and external. And the technology vendors have really stepped up. I think they're actually ahead of the adoption rate, and I think they'll drive this, where I've seen more and more opportunity marketplaces coming, particularly from the platform players, but others that are just quite impressive in bringing in data from the external marketplace, from the internal marketplace, from the ATS, what jobs are open, what gigs might be open, projects, so you can redeploy, Manjuri, some of those people you were talking about and keep them, and then identify paths...

Quincy Valencia: One thing... I actually have something I'm publishing that's coming out here pretty soon, an analyst perspective, which is really just a, "This is what's on my mind lately," thing. But for years, there's been... Everyone has touted themselves with saying, "Here at this organization, you own your own career path," and that's bullshit. [laughter] You can't own a career path to do something when you don't even know what might be available. Unless you happen to get lucky... Especially if you're early career. Unless you happen to get lucky and somebody takes you under their wing, you have no idea what you might be able to do. And so when you have these technologies that are bringing together, "Here's what might be available," how do you get from A to point D if that's what you wanna do if we value you as an employee? And that point D is still something within our organization that we're gonna need, more valuable to us. It behooves me as the organization to provide you the employee that we value every opportunity to get where you wanna go. And the technology vendors are coming up with ways to get this done. Now it's a matter of getting organizations to adopt it on the back end, which is harder.

Manjuri Sinha: Yeah, I think we need to stop acting as airport operations department of handing over the flyers from the operations to the plane and have a sink. And talent management and talent acquisition actually should sit under one wing, because you have the moments that matter along the lead and the candidate and the employee and the alumni. You can't impact it if you do this whole Ops handling, okay, take over, hand over, take over, hand over. You lose a lot in that. And this is where platforms like Gloat, Degreed, I think they will be a game changer, and such as well that bring this insight on skill insight. We are listening about a lot about skill-based hiring, skill-based growth, etcetera, as well. This is the excellent tie-in there. It also talks about those... Many jobs. So we were talking about people hired or hoarded talent. This in a way is your bench talent. So if I am good, 60%, this is what I do, maybe 40%, I'm great with DE&I initiatives. So on that 40%, can I hone my skills to take over a role in that probably in the next one year? I'm actually building a bench strength with that skill. Not just the person or the headcount, but it's also the skills that we can count. Those are good to hoard.

Quincy Valencia: You're gonna make me cry tears of joy too. This is just [laughter] the sobbing, emotional, Hallmark Channel movie episode of the Chad and Cheese Podcast.

Chad Sowash: Exactly what we always wanted, Quincy. So let me ask you a question with regard to being able to create your own. And this is internal mobility, but it's also being able to fill those entry-level roles with individuals who have at least a subset of skills that you need. Manjuri, why aren't companies actually building talent pipelines, internally, but also externally with schools, with community colleges and those types of things and working on the curriculum to ensure that we don't have these "skills gaps?" Because that's... The gap has grown over the years, the actual skills gap. And there's a lot to be said about that. But isn't it our job as organizations to go out and start to cultivate that new crop and then get them ready to hopefully be with our company for years?

Manjuri Sinha: Yeah, absolutely, Chad. And I think I see this as a legacy of abundance. And yeah, we know we've never had a abundance of talent, this is because of the talent war, but the abundance of resources. And a lot of startups and the gig economy companies have never ever built that muscle of growing talent from really junior levels. The enablement of give back to the community and then you can take as well from the community, I think that piece has always been missing. So it's a vicious circle. When you have your VCs plugging in that money into you, they want to see the growth right away, and you want to have products and products released and shipped right away. There are some challenges. There are a lot of startups are hiring, they've also probably not hired the most grown-up tech leaders who would really like to train people also from the bottom. So availability of this, we see cash resources, which is now completely bootstrapped and there's a constraint on that, that was something that people had legacy of and they wouldn't look at this.

Manjuri Sinha: Companies that are steady today or companies that are not facing as big as a problem today, we see those examples, they have those programs. They have management development programs with colleges, they have... Even certain... Other companies, set good examples, initially, we saw Google working very closely with Udacity and having nano-degrees for data scientists and certain other players. We don't see that as much in the gig economy. It only caught up end of last year when we realized that we will not have the unlimited cash to really buy senior tech talent and we need to grow that tech talent as well. So that's where I see the... If I may say, the legacy of The Triangles of Sadness. [laughter] It's a movie that I saw recently and it really hit hard, but that's the legacy of abundance, I guess.

Chad Sowash: And this, I think, all revolves around the elephant number five, which is no strategy. It feels like we're just throwing spaghetti at the wall every time a new requisition is open. There's no strategy on how to even look internally to see if we might have a great up-and-coming star who'd be for this role. We're just automatically getting into, "Throw spaghetti at the wall and let's just hope that we've got a great candidate."

Manjuri Sinha: Absolutely, Chad. And we're talking about this whole sit at the table discussion. In 90%, to probably 95% of organizations today still, there would be a discussion between whoever is deciding, probably a CTO or a CEO or whatever level in the organization does, and the CFO. You would have the headcount plan. That headcount plan comes up and gets shipped. I'm not even calling it a workforce plan because hardly will you ever talk about skill sets, just the headcount plan, it's resourcing. So you talk about that, and that comes as an email to the TA leader saying, "Go hire." Literally, this is practically that, "Okay, go hire." And then you'd probably have a nice chat with the TA leader where you make the leader feel that their advise is being taken to account, which is absolutely not happening. This is where examples of lack of strategy. You probably have given 50 super difficult roles to be hired in a country, but you don't even have those 50 super difficult people to look for.

Quincy Valencia: You must have 15 years of chatGPT experience.

Manjuri Sinha: Yes. Absolutely. Absolutely.


Chad Sowash: I knew we were gonna fit chatGPT in here somewhere.

Quincy Valencia: We certainly weren't gonna talk about it.

Chad Sowash: I knew you would do it. [laughter]

Manjuri Sinha: Exactly. And then you would have a discussion with this leader. Then this leader will go helter-skelter, figure out how to do it, probably will tie up with an agency at an RPO, which will cost really high or need local recruiters and then take a lot of time to bring those people and relocate them, blah, blah, blah. Why not start from a location strategy, ask for that input, think about, "Okay, I need this many. Let's look at what our location strategy can be." We are sitting in a world of hybrid and remote. Why not learn from what we've learned in the last three years, drive that strategy, you look at talent, you look at cost, and also look at what Quincy was talking about, in which pockets do you have a diversity aspect as well? Can you have more neurodiverse candidates? Can you have people with disabilities in that bucket? Can you have more women in that talent, in that bucket, etcetera? But we don't see that kind of a strategy ever happening mostly.

Quincy Valencia: So you said... So some of the things we've seen over the last three years and one of the things that we've seen across the board is the amount of accountability and responsibility that's been pushed to a middle layer of management that has never had it before. And so now we're giving them the responsibility saying, "You have to accomplish these 50 things you've never had to do before," but not giving them the tools to do it, and I think some of that is what's perpetuating... I'm not gonna say what's leading to, 'cause it's always been that way, but it's perpetuating the inability of someone at that level to see potential in other people internally or in people with adjacent skills because they simply don't know how. And that's not a knock on anybody, it's just, that's not their job. You and I have been trained in how to identify talent, how to interview talent, how to look at people and look and see what they might be able to contribute. Those managers haven't. They know that they have certain goals that they have to get to by the end of the year, and as far as they know, they have to get somebody who already knows how to do all the stuff, and that's not necessarily the case. So now we've just put more on that table and they have no idea how to do it, and they are woefully ill-prepared and ill-equipped to make these decisions, so now we're making the problem [chuckle] even worse. It's difficult.

Manjuri Sinha: And that's where maybe AI can help, right?

Quincy Valencia: Absolutely. Yeah. [laughter] It is a matter of fact now that you mentioned it.


Chad Sowash: And that's another show, kids. I was actually gonna call this The Elephant Killer Series, but I don't wanna Quincy start to cry, so we're not gonna do that. [laughter] We'd like to say thank you so much, Manjuri Sinha, for coming on the show. Global Director of Talent Acquisition at OLX. So we've got a lot to talk about. We should find a stage, maybe, I don't know, come back on the podcast after another year or so and talk more about this. [laughter] But Manjuri, if somebody wants to find out more about you or they wanna connect with you, where would you send them?

Manjuri Sinha: Just go to LinkedIn. You'll find a lot of my podcast, you'll find a lot of the recorded talks from different conferences. That's where you can find me. And Chad, I'm at Unleash this year. If you're there, we're definitely catching up there.

Chad Sowash: Excellent. Excellent, excellent. Quincy, thanks for subbing in. You're a much better time than Joel Cheesman. That's all I gotta say.

Quincy Valencia: I was just gonna say, I'm no Joel, but I didn't clarify what that actually meant.


Chad Sowash: Well, another one in the can. We out.

Quincy Valencia: Out of here.

Outro: 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 and 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 trainwreck, you can't look away. And like Chad's favorite Western, you can't quit them either. We out.


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