Your Job Description Sucks! w/ Elena Valentine, CEO of SkillScout

July 27, 2018

Video is HUGE! Employer Brand is HUGE! Candidate Experience is HUGE! No surprise there. But how does it impact employment? Chad sits down with Elena Valentine, CEO and co-founder at Skill Scout to find out. "STORY TELLING IS DOPE!" - Elena

 

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PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION 

 

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Chad:                  All right. Hey, it's Chad and we're here with Elena. Elena Valentine. We're here with Valentine from skill scout's. Tell us a little bit about yourself. Uh, what, what are you doing here? We're in Nashville by the way, for recruit con.

 

Elena:                  I was here giving a very hands on and interactive workshop with a couple of hundred attendees that were here and helping them communicate their jobs through video, legitimately using their smartphones. So took them on quite a wild hour and a half ride. I'm all over this hotel following one of the employees here at Hilton and then outside, uh, capturing some behind the scenes of Nashville life.

 

Chad:                  So it took him outside of the actual presentation area, the room and did, did blr know about this? Did they know that you're going to take them on a hike?

 

Elena:                  Very much so, yes, I knew that this was, am.  Yeah. Well No, I mean because you kind of have to prepare for organized chaos, right? Um, so I didn't want to surprise them and certainly wanted to get permission from Hilton for us to do this. So I've been coordinating with the Hilton HR team, helping them, helping them identify the right person that we could use as our video star for our demo and hands on practice.

 

Chad:                  So when it came down to demo and hands on practice, where did you see most of the eyes kind of perk up?

 

Elena:                  I think a couple of things. I think one, seeing how powerful it is to just have very simple conversation with your employee about what it's like to work at your organization. Things standing out about Carl Vins a career trajectory and what hospitality in this career has meant to him. So certainly some of the talking points, but definitely some of the key takeaways is we are doing their functions.  Was people seeing how easy this can really be for one seeings

 

Chad:                  So does that not blow your mind though? I mean seriously, because it. It seems like people want to make things so much more complex than what they really are and if they just simplify the, it'll just come organically.

 

Elena:                  Very much so. I mean, I think what they have to realize is, look, these are some incredible technology that our pockets, she's holding it.

 

Chad:                  She's holding her, her... 

 

Elena:                  Holding my Google Pixel, holding my phone. Oh, pixel closes. It was the best camera on the market at the time. That's why I got it. But, you know, we're taking videos and photos of our kids, of our dogs have, you know, odd, odd photos of Joel Cheesman doing ax throwing, right? Like, and so we're, we're trying to

 

Chad:                  In sandals by the way.

 

Elena:                  Yes, smart is that we're all, we all are, you know, our videographers in our own right, our amateur videographers and so the idea that, you know, we can push this into the professional workplace, um, and give people some structure, some guidance and some quite frankly some confidence around how to do that is really the aim. The idea at the end of the day is that my just cause is to empower HR to be chief human storytellers of their business and give them an approach. Um, and, and the, and the tools to be able to do that, to see video is just as much of a tool that they can pick up something as any other tools that they have.

 

Chad:                  Do you think they get that though? I mean because really it doesn't seem like hr or talent acquisition understands that they do have to be good at telling stories. They do have to be good at providing a great candidate experience. It just, it's, it, to me it seems more surgical where it's very sterile and it doesn't seem like they, they understand what this whole journey is about for a candidate.

 

Elena:                  Yeah, I mean I feel like it has everything to do with trying to take away a lot of the traditional hr seen as this very highly regulated, highly compliant, very serious industry. And the truth is yes, this is a very serious, like we're dealing with very serious issues, right? And in some of what we do has to be taken very seriously, but at the same time, a lot of what we're doing is human to human connection and human to human connection is not compliant or filled with legalese is about having empathetic conversations. And storytelling is such a huge part of that. I think a lot of it is seeing that their role is so much more elevated than what it is.

 

Chad:                  Right

 

Elena:                  Once I tell recruiters, you tell stories every day, right? They're like, yeah, you know, we're, we're telling stories about how we're so passionate and why have you been here for so long.  And so I was like, well, you should start seeing yourself as that, that really hr and the recruiting industry itself, they are the gatekeepers of workplace stories. Um, and we need to empower this industry to see themselves as that. But that's part of their job description. 

 

Chad:                  And stop being so goddamn afraid of everything.

 

Elena:                  Yeah, no, for sure. Um, you know, certainly I think if we think about kind of what we've done around video and storytelling, I think some of it is around the culture of their marketing and the business brand, that company, which I think is often what causes the fear and the disconnect because there is an absolute difference between your marketing brand and your talent. Brand. Candidates don't want to be sold to, right? They don't want the most interesting man in the world, but they want is the realities.

 

Chad:                  Is that true though?  I mean seriously, because brands are brands. I mean have you seen Soda Stream new, uh, their, their new campaign where they actually wrap their products and their, I mean because they're proud of their products and that's who they are and they're selling their product and they're selling their brand to their candidates because they also know that the candidates are what?

 

Elena:                  Their best employee?

 

Chad:                  Their customer and their, they actually buy their shit, right?

 

Elena:                  Yes.

 

Chad:                  So I mean I'm not, I don't totally believe that you need to separate it as much as, as we see out there.

 

Elena:                  I mean, in, in some cultures, some company cultures are going to be very different. Um, there's some companies I can easily do that much more seamlessly. Um, but I think that there are some companies that say and other highly regulated industries like banking and others, there's this more kind of buttoned up brand that they have to have versus what candidates really want to hear, which is like, don't tell me the sunshine and rainbows.  Like, tell me why people will quit, what are the challenges? Also tell me how I can grow.

 

Chad:                  They will see it on review sites. They'll see it on glass door or they'll see it on Fairy God boss. Oh yeah. This is such a transparent time in our lives. Why do we believe the sterility or what have you is actually going to work.

 

Elena:                  We don't, but it is safe and it doesn't offend so much. So despite the fact that it doesn't excite, it's also not going to get people in trouble to.

 

Chad:                  Or interested...

 

Elena:                  Yeah, for sure. But I think if we're looking at, at the end of the day, we are looking at recruitment goals, right? But we're also looking at, from the ego point of, you know, is this, is a recruiter going to make me look more awesome or less awesome and if I take a step into the unknown, this completely fails,

 

Chad:                  Yes,

 

Elena:                  I am not going to look very good.

 

Chad:                  Yeah. And there is something to say about failure and learning on the path to being successful versus...

 

Elena:                  I don't believe that is a part of the culture of HR. It's not part of it.

 

Chad:                  That is why we still, I mean we're still five to 10 years in some cases behind the rest of major industries like advertising, right? Anything that we do seems to technology wise, process wise, be behind everybody else because her for some reason wants to ball up in a corner in the fetal position and hope that they don't get in trouble as opposed to try to shake things up.

 

Elena:                  Yea, it's always been a reactive industry in the traditional reactive industry, not necessarily one that's been proactive.

 

Chad:                  So storytelling.

 

Elena:                  Yeah, it's dope. I live for what I live for.

 

Chad:                  So that being said, skill scout on the clock, 30 seconds. Tell me about skill scout. What's what, what's going on?

 

Elena:                  We are a media company that aims to help companies large and small communicate their jobs and company culture on video is a way to attract and retain talent. We do that in a myriad of different ways. Um, but really overall high level mission is, is what I had said. We are here to empower her to be chief human storytellers of their business and see video as part of their creative toolkit to do.

 

Chad:                  Okay. Okay. Let me read your shirt real quick. Okay. She's got this awesome shirt. It says your job post is as boring as this tee shirt and it's in black and white.  So instead of being. And this is again, this is, this is a great t shirt, although it's very hr because it should say your job description sucks, but really, I mean what do you guys do to actually help companies better understand that their job descriptions suck, that they might lean heavy on the male side versus female side? I mean, what do you do to help out with that? Because to be quite frank, we have job descriptions that are 10 plus years old that had been tweaked here and there because of what's happening in the market. How do you help them?

 

Elena:                  Yeah, I mean I think part of it is seeing the reality of where this generation is heading and where technology is going.

 

Chad:                  Where the hell is it heading?

 

Elena:                  Well, it's certainly I'm going to be more 3D than it has been 2D. I mean I think. I think it's this, you know, idea one is let's just get down to the science. We are visual learners. We retained 65 percent of what we see in here versus what we read. Our brains dedicated majority to processing visual, so it's an. It's an how we learn point blank, but it's also seeing that we need to start doing is helping to mystify what requirements are like giving candidates this opportunity to self screen in a to self screen out and we started really based on this mission that you cannot be what you cannot see. We started this company because we were working with young people primarily who had records, some who had never left their neighborhoods, who lacked access and exposure to jobs and job descriptions.

 

Elena:                  Don't show it. A job is like.

 

Chad:                  And socioeconomic boundaries are real.

 

Elena:                  Very much so and so. When we took a step back, what we realized was that there was a power in story and a power and video to celebrate to the world of work and to give these young people a new way to understand what these careers could really be right. That they could see themselves in these roles because the job posts, unless you're the googles and the facebooks of the world, is often the first impression that a candidate will have of your company and so the idea that you can arm them with more information with enthusiasm that they can see themselves in this company became ever more important given the populations that we had initially started with and are inspired by. 

 

Chad:                  And to be able to put more emphasis on. That. Research shows that the career portion of a website is either the number one or number two most visited viewed, so if there's a story to be told,

 

Elena:                  it's on that page.

 

Chad:                  Should be within, should be within that ecosystem of the career site itself, right. Not just a page. Yeah. It needs to suck you in, but it needs to be within that ecosystem of engagement.

 

Elena:                  Absolutely. Because, and this is kind of like a Duh. People work for people, not companies yet.

 

Joel:                   It's commercial time

 

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Chad:                  It's showtime!

 

Chad:                  We're in the, we're in the people business, right?

 

Elena:                  Correct. Yeah. But we often very forget about that in terms of how we communicate it. Right. You know, so when we started, we built this business on the shoulder to small to midsize manufacturers who certainly know how to make great products. Many of them actually have some great cultures, right? They just don't share that, right? Like there's, there's never been this, this pull for them to reflect and think about not just what you make, but why you make who you make it with and that those are the kinds of, um, kind of tentacles that we should be celebrating. Especially for thinking about attracting the next generation of talent

 

Chad:                  And that matters to somebody who's coming to spend their, most of their, their day in a place, right? The things that matter are the things that you should talk about the, you know, four bullets or the, the, the actual job description itself that you have now that is incredibly sterile and it's bland and it's boring as hell and it sucks. That's where we should really spend more time to be able to tell our story. Don't get too crazy. Right? But tell the story and also reevaluate what your basic qualifications are because in some cases, I mean, they're trumped up and we see a bachelor's degree is thrown on just about everything nowadays. And uh, it's, it's horrible. So how does skill scout help tell me what your typical client looks like and what their biggest need is?

 

Elena:                  Yeah.  So there's three reasons primarily why companies will come to us. It's really run the gamut in terms of large and small, which we can talk about. Sure. Um, one is, you have companies are saying, look, we have evergreen roles that we're always going to hire for it and we just want to be more efficient in how we do that. We still want to stand out from all the other types of roles. Yeah, we just want to stand out from all the other welding positions that might be out there and want to be known as the employer of choice. So let's put in some resources to differentiating what we do. That's one. The second is I have a hard to fill role. So you think, I mean, when we started manufacturing the tool and die maker in all of these other, um, you know, be it from c suite or just others where it's like, look, this job is just gone unfilled. We're throwing spaghetti at the wall. All right. Okay. Were you, you, you know, you just, yeah, you have a feel my hand let, let's just do it. The third is this is a role that candidates just misunderstand, right? That a job description just doesn't do it justice. We're getting just either a high turnover or candidates who are coming in thinking it was one thing and it's not, and we need a new way to arm our candidates and understanding what this role is.

 

Chad:                  Right. So how do you help them? Because that is a big problem. Just taking a look at trend to read through a job description and I fall asleep first.

 

Elena:                  Absolutely.

 

Chad:                  How do you, how do you help there?

 

Elena:                  So we're a media company. There's two ways that we help companies. We can be a full scale media production company, we are working with them. I'm kind of with our tried and true process of what it means to create a realistic job preview or a company overview and we just kind of produced that with a talent lens. That's one. Um, but on the second end, which is what we had done today was I'm kind of a diy video offering, if you will. So imagine the baking analogy, you know, we're here to give HR the plan, the kit, the tools they capture the right ingredients. And they submitted to us for editing is a way to just make storytelling more scalable and more affordable. So think about like we're training them to be workplace video sous chefs, but we're still the chefs.

 

Chad:                  It'a like phone video, just any kind of video and the video, just like this big pile of video and then you guys are like, okay, now we get to put together this, this, story.

 

Elena:                  So you know, what we're doing with diy video is taking probably some of the hardest pieces of video that scares people. What is the plan like, how the hell do I start and what do I need to like make this not look like the Blair Witch Project? Yeah. And also like I'm not an editor, I don't have time to learn a new software, nor nor am I afraid of it. Um, but I don't know like what I need to do to craft that right story, but we can't. But we can teach them is like, look, you are the experts of your workplace. You have the employees there. Let's help you capture what you should capture and still leave it to us, your storytelling partners.

 

Elena:                  Um, to help you with that, um, and there's, you know, certainly different reasons why companies would go to one or the other. Certainly some of it is budget. Oftentimes there's companies that are asking us to come in to do both, to create art. Here's some foundational videos that we want, but hey, at any point we also want to just tell our own stories or you know, maybe the role has evolved and we want to continue to take that forward because oftentimes what really scares people about full scale media, one is it feeling like it's too precious, like I've paid thousands of dollars for this ...

 

Chad:                  What if that if that person leaves, what if they leave? They can't use the videos. 

 

Elena:                  They can't use the video anymore. That's a big one. Um, oftentimes other reason why some companies will come to us is even though they have very high powered marketing teams, HR is the redheaded stepchild.  So it's like as soon as a big business initiative comes forward, anything that HR needed to do on training, on recruiting story gets kicked to the curb. Yeah. Um, and so, you know, they often have a lot of kind of hr coming, you know, with their tail between their legs, like, Oh man, like we did try working with marketing. Oh, but they've put us on hold now for the next two years. Like that doesn't help us in our world is moving too fast for us to make that work.

 

Chad:                  Right. So how do you guys, how do you parse this thing out? So if I come to you on and I say, hey look, I want to throw just a bunch of our mobile videos that you are just a big Cornucopia of media, I want to throw your way. 

 

Elena:                  I love that Cornucopia of media for sure.  Um, well certainly we would have a, a very pretty hard understanding of, of what their goals were.

 

Chad:    End product.

 

Chad:    Yeah. Before like, oh, I'm seeing these random classes. So what Bob doing in the bathroom. I don't understand this one. Yeah, we do it.

 

Elena:     We do everything based by credit. So kinda have a, a typical kind of an initial setup cost of all right, let's get your location or your department set up. Um, we have a production planning call, we give you a kit, kind of get everything in line, and that initial set of costs also includes your first video and then you pay based on credit after that. So a thousand dollars per video credit for most videos, maybe a more complex video, like a company overview might be two credits or kind of accustomed video or training videos. 

 

Chad:                  It's my video right?

 

Elena:                  It's your video HR you own the raw footage.  What you're paying for is to have an edited video returned back to you that you can share however and wherever you'd like. And so this was the big insight for us in what's very important is we are here to be pure hr content partners, period. We don't have a subscription or a platform that we are hiding your content behind it to say we're here to be, you know, you're a great storytelling partners, have these videos, use them on Insta, use them on snapchat, use them on facebook, use them on your career page. Whatever you want is how you should use it. And the recurring for us, right? The part of the relationship that continues is that, um, we can make this kind of a seamless relationship both in its affordability but also that lucky, you know, we now have built this just a massive library of content for you and we can continue to help you with that moving forward and making it something that can be scalable and affordable.

 

Elena:                  So we have a lot of companies internationally who have say hundreds, thousands of locations who often are like, everything is always us centric. Why? Because you know, that's where all our full scale is and we don't, we can't afford to have a full scale go to Japan and go to Germany and go to Italy when quite frankly these other countries and in colleagues or are yearning for more localized recruitment content. And so this is kind of certainly been a solution for some companies on what that could look like.

 

Chad:                  So last question in your lens, how you see it, right? How do you see Google for Jobs impacting the market?

 

Elena:                  Yeah, I mean I think what Google for jobs is doing is going to aggregate, quite frankly, you know, kind of nearly every job board, you know, everything together. It's becoming the primary search engine. Um, and so I think that's going to be a key market.  Um, I think what we're also seeing is that what Google for jobs will continue to do is once again move into the direction where it's no longer about posting and praying. I mean now you know, you are just going to get candidates that will passively be receiving roles based on what their, um, you know, interest or their experience with based on algorithm. But the key thing will always be that content is king, right? So at the end of the day, when they receive 80 jobs for being a shoe designer, they're still gonna want to figure out what is it like to be a shoe designer at Nike versus being a shoe designer to Adidas when that's where the power of story really comes into play to help them make those decisions. At the time of application.

 

Chad:                  And I think we're past content is king. I think right now Google is actually dictating that experiences king.

 

Elena:                  Absolutely.

 

Chad:                  You heard it here first, by the way, so I mean you guys are in the right business, I believe at this point where everybody's scrambling. How am I going to get my jobs out there? It's not just about getting the jobs out there, it's about getting that content out there, making sure that it is a more of an experience because of job seekers take more time on your site and they're not ejecting. As soon as they get their, Google's going to see that I'm going to get better rankings. You're going to get better traffic and if you're not already selling this, I'm going to send you an invoice for consultant. Just kidding. But I mean seriously. Right? So when it goes past this, what's the other. I mean we just saw indeed buy glass door recruit buy glass door. What are some of the other big impactful things you believe are going to happen  in the industry?

 

Elena:                  Yeah, if I can take a bit of a different perspective. Yeah. I'm quite frankly, in terms of even how we have navigated our most authentic path to this as so much of HR tech is about automation and the robots will now take over the experience of this and you know, everyone will do this and there's something to be said that I am proudly a media company, not a tech company, which means that there will always be a level of service and a level of human to human connection that is important here and what I see happening is that we've gone so far to the other end of the chat bots and the AI that what people will realize is we are tribes people on instinct and what we want is not a network of 6,000 or your 6,000 opportunities. We want that network of a three right in those top six. And so I think that, you know, to your point what you said, that what will win out will be those that are thinking about experience and thinking about how we are really making more human to human. One on one connections in a world. That I think continues to push us to think that we are biologically. Otherwise that might be a little too abstract, but that's, that's Kinda how I see it.

 

Chad:                  Well,  I appreciate you taking the time out. I know you were busy here in Nashville doing all your guest tours and stuff. Lane of Valentine skill scout or can they find you

 

Elena:                  Everywhere except facebook? Yeah. Elena@skillscout.com and got our website, got everything, you know, Google us and you'll find us.

 

Chad:                  Check them out. Skill scout again, you know we're talking about more than just getting jobs out there. We're talking about experience and it's going to matter and it does matter and  WE OUT!.

 

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