Drum roll please!!!
Today Steven Rothberg from CollegeRecruiter.com joins the boys to talk Google Search API business case and two (2) NEW FEATURES dropped by Google into the Talent Cloud Solution job search API today.
Thanks TALROO.com w/ a blank check for keeping you in the know.
Enjoy this Talroo exclusive
PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION sponsored by:
Disability Solutions helps companies find talent in the largest minority community in the world – people with disabilities.
Chad: Hey Joel.
Joel: What up?
Chad: Would you say that companies find it hard to attract the right candidates to apply for their jobs?
Joel: Well, Jobs to Careers thought so.
Chad: Jobs to careers? You mean Talroo.
Chad: Yeah. Talroo. T-A-L-R-O-O.
Joel: What is that, like a cross between talent and a kangaroo?
Chad: No. It's a cross between talent and recruiting. But Talroo is focused on predicting, optimizing and delivering talent directly to your email or ATS.
Joel: Ah-ha. Okay. So it's totally data driven talent attraction, which means the Talroo platform enables recruiters to reach the right talent at the right time and at the right price.
Chad: Okay. That was weirdly intuitive, but yes. Guess what the best part is.
Joel: Let me take a shot here. You only pay for the candidates Talroo delivers.
Chad: Holy shit. Okay, so you've heard this before. If you're out there listening in podcast land and you are attracting the wrong candidates, and we know you are, or you feel like you're in a recruiting hamster wheel and there's just nowhere to go, you can go to talroo.com/attract. Again that's talroo.com/attract. And learn how Talroo can get you better candidates for less cash.
Joel: Or just go to chadcheese.com and click on the Talroo logo. I'm all about the simple.
Chad: You are a simple man.
Announcer: Hide you 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.
Joel: (singing) Welcome to The Chad and Cheese Podcast, everyone. We have a special guest with us today. I can't believe it took this long to get this cat on the show. Steven Rothberg, founder of College Recruiter. Steven, welcome to the show, coming at us from the Great White North, the state of 10,000 lakes, Minnesota.
Steven: How are you? As they say here.
Joel: You. Oh, yeah. Oh, yeah. Tell them what you said when you first got on the call with us before we hit record.
Steven: About the race?
Joel: No. Heidi, Heidi, or something.
Steven: Or howdy, howdy.
Joel: Howdy, howdy. We took a trip back to 1952.
Steven: 1952, I had already graduated from college. I was well into my career. There we go.
Joel: There it is. Very nice. Kiss your waitresses, everybody.
Chad: Yeah. He'll be here all week.
Joel: Steven is here with a big announcement from Google Cloud API.
Chad: Not yet, not yet, not yet. Don't do it yet.
Joel: Is that what they're calling it though? Because they change the name every week. It's still Google Cloud API, Google Job.
Steven: Google Cloud Talent Solutions.
Chad: There it is.
Joel: Oh, wow. Okay. I'm glad I asked. A big announcement, but before that, Steven has been using the search API, I guess since it was launched, or really soon thereafter. And you have had quite a bit of experience with it. So we want to know about your take on it, how it's benefited your organization, how it's improved search, what exact it is. For people who don't know, tell us about it.
Chad: Wait a second, before we get there though, because everybody listening, we've been talking about why Google, or why use somebody else. Right? The whole Trojan horse thing, and I think that's a good ... Right out of the gate, it's like Steven, why did you choose to go the Google route first? And then I definitely want to talk about stats. But why did College Recruiter, after years, hell, probably over a decade, of having your own tech and all that other fun stuff, why did you choose to get on the
Steven: Yeah. Quite simply, it dates back to I think it was roughly June 2017, where Google announced what's now called Google Hire, their ATS, Google for Jobs, which is the search that happens when you go to on Google. And then also what's now called Google Talent, Cloud Talent Solutions. All those announcements kind of all happened right around the same time. And when we looked at the cost of providing our own search, the building it, the maintaining it, for a pretty small organization, or even a large organization, it's like we're never going to be better at search than Google. Right?
Steven: Our customers on the employers' side, not a single one of them is going to ever say, "We're going to post this job, or these thousands jobs, to College Recruiter because they've got great search." Right? They're coming to us to help them hire people. How we do that, they don't really care about. So we felt that we could actually save money and get better results if we partnered with Google and used their API for search to basically replace the search on our homepage and on the interior pages with their technology. So the data, the jobs themselves are coming from our employers, from our database, but the actual search technology, the algorithms, that's coming from Google.
Joel: And what were some immediate benefits that you saw?
Steven: We were an alpha partner. We were one of the first sites to sign with them. We launched during the beta phase a little over a year ago in January 2018. One of the first benefits that we saw prior to the launch that quite frankly really surprised me was that we were dealing with people. It wasn't just like a tech support email address, and here's the API and go figure it out. They were actual real live people that were accountable, that were our primary points of contact at Google. And that's continued to today. I'm amazed that an organization like that has managed to make this a personal experience on the development side, on the customer service side.
Steven: That's really important to us, to know that if we have an issue, if we have a suggestion, that we know who to reach out to, and that they respond intelligently and promptly. We don't just get back a copy and paste template like we do with some vendors, or some former vendors, I should say. Another big benefit that we saw immediately upon going live was a reduction in the number of hours that we're spending on maintaining and developing our own search. So we reduced the number of developer hours by about 50%, five zero.
Chad: Now is that in house, or did you have a vendor for that?
Steven: We were doing it in house, so we had in house developers, several of them, that depending upon the issue, one person might work on it. Another person might work on it. But on a combined basis, about 50% less developer staff time. I also just found out this morning from our customer service team that we went from having an average of about two job seekers a week emailing us or calling us to question the results. Why am I seeing these results? I can't figure out how to run a good search, that type of stuff. And since we went live, we've had one.
Chad: For 14 months, and not to mention, that's two week of people that are actually so frustrated that they're taking the time to email you. That's not even really pulling in all the people who didn't even have the time. They just ejected because they had a bad experience.
Steven: Right. Absolutely. If you come to a job search site, and you run a search and you get back results that they don't make sense to you, you're going to say, "Screw it."
Joel: this I'm going home.
Steven: And I'm going to go over to some other site. And they should. There's lots of choice. If we're not delivering a good experience right away, then they should be done with us. And they should move on.
Chad: Are they also driving the email notifications? You know, obviously the email notifications historically have driven a ton of traffic to pretty much any job board or job site that's out there. But they're all predicated on obviously Boolean, which was incredibly frustrating because it just didn't work as well. Are you using that to drive the search behind email notifications to ensure that the individuals who are getting those emails are getting more relevant jobs as well?
Steven: We're not. But we're doing something pretty similar to what you're thinking. We've actually been, shamefully on us, we've been without a good job match alert email product for the better part of the last year. And believe me, it's a glaring weakness on our end. It's about to be fixed. We're about to go live with a sort of combination job match alert email with content from our blog, YouTube channel, et cetera, sort of wrapped into a weekly e-newsletter. The technology that we're going to be using comes from another vendor that's going to use AI to determine the correct jobs, the correct non job content to send to you based upon your geographic location.
Steven: Also, you’re on site search history and behavior, and your behavior in opening the emails and which jobs you click on. It will essentially learn who you are and what you do, quite similar to when you go to Amazon and you search on a tent. And it comes back and it says, "People who searched on this also searched on these things, tent poles, canteens," and then every once in a while, you'll get something really weird like the floor mats for your car. It's like, what the hell does that have to do with a tent? Well, if you've ever gone camping in the rain, you know that you need that. And so Amazon sometimes will come up with some bizarre recommendations on the surface, but then when you think about it a little bit more, they make sense.
Steven: One of the reasons that we chose not to use the Google Cloud Talent Solutions for the email product is the cost. Every single day that you send one of those emails to every single candidate, that would be a search, and you pay per search. So we decided to go this other route that it's a flat fee per month. What we are using Google Cloud Talent Solutions for that is somewhat similar to what you're thinking are push notifications, browser push notifications. When you come to our site and you say, "Allow, yes I want to get a push notification when there's a new job or blog article that might be of interest to me," then we use CTS, Cloud Talent Solutions, to identify the job to send to you. And so each one of those is a search.
Joel: Steven, I'm curious. Did you find the speed of searches improve greatly? And what did you see in regards to maybe the number of page views on the site? Were people engaged for a longer time period because you were using Google's improved search engine?
Steven: Yeah. The speed, I don't have those numbers at my fingertips. I guess the way I can answer that is that our search was lightning fast before we went over to Google, so any speed improvement I think would not have been noticeable to the user. We rebuilt our site about four years ago. And the benchmark that we used was Indeed. If a job seeker could go to Indeed and run a search and get their 10,422 matches and that took so many milliseconds, that was the bar that we set for our development team. And they exceeded that, so if it's fast enough for Indeed's audience, it's fast enough for ours. Even if we are faster, I don't think that there's been a benefit there to the user. But the results have far surpassed our expectations.
Chad: Let's talk about that. Let's talk about the stats. Let's talk about the results. As you take a look at-
Joel: He was until you interrupted him.
Chad: No, no, no. I want him to actually get into stats, real stats. For all those that are out there, yeah, get into the stats. Obviously, speed wasn't something that you noticed, which is awesome. But what did you notice? Give us hard numbers on time on the site, or whatever it might be.
Steven: Yeah. Google asked us to pull together some numbers for a case study that they just published. If you want, I can get the URL now or later for people who want to sort of get more details. There were four primary numbers that we looked at. One was the time on site. How long does the average visitor spend on College Recruiter now as compared to prior to January 2018 when we went live? The answer to that is 5% longer time. Now that doesn't sound like a lot. When I saw that it's like, well, that's nice. That's not great. But what that's led to is 25% more searches.
Chad: Yeah. That is very nice.
Joel: That's great.
Steven: And that's led to 20% more what we call job detail views. That's somebody who goes from running a search to the job search results page, the page that shows you the 10 results, clicking on one of those jobs, to then read the full job description on our site. We're getting 20% more of those.
Chad: Because they're finding exactly what they're looking for versus before when they were frustrated as hell, and they just ejected.
Steven: Bingo. Right? You run a search, and now the 10 results that come back to you, rather than maybe one or two being a good fit, now it's probably seven or eight. And so if you get seven or eight good matches, you're going to click on at least one of them. And what that's also led to is that the quality of the people, the match, is greatly improved. 242% increase in our KPI, in our key performance indicator, which are what we call apply clicks. How many people read a posting on our site and then click the apply button to go over to the employers ATS to apply? That's up 242%.
Chad: Say that again. What is up 200 and what?
Chad: Holy shit.
Steven: I think that when we first got a good handle on what this Cloud Talent Solutions product was and the benefits to the customer, to the job board, or the ATS, I think Tarquin Clark, who I know you guys know very well, he delivered a presentation at the job gate, North American Job Board Summit in June, I think it was 2017. Might have been July, but it was right around that time when they were rolling out these products. And Career Builder was a very early adopter. Career Builder, I think their equivalent number, a year, almost two years ago, I think it was something like 17% increase. It was something like that, which is huge. I mean, just for turning on a piece of technology, that's a huge lift. 242%, when we saw that, we almost dropped a load in our pants.
Joel: Are customers happier and paying you more money?
Steven: Yeah. Absolutely. Something that's happened in parallel, not because of Google, but it's definitely made it a lot easier for us, is that two years ago we were almost exclusively a duration based site, meaning that employers would pay to run a job or 1000 jobs for 30 days. Or they might sign a six month contract, or 12 month contract, and what they paid was fixed. Now almost all of our customers are performance based. Virtually all of them pay per click. When we're sending 242% more clicks to employers, then that revenue goes up by 242%.
Chad: Now there's your business case, kids.
Joel: You're saving money and you're making more money.
Steven: Yeah. And the other thing that-
Joel: I bet Faith, your wife, likes that. Right?
Steven: Oh, yeah. My wife, who's also our CEO, so as our kids put it, we've got the right boss at home, and we've got the right boss at work. There we go. Thank you. Thanks very much. I'm here until Thursday. The developer time saving to, and to a lesser extent, the customer service time saving, that allowed us to complete that migration from duration to performance based far faster because we had an extra 10 hours or so of developer time a month to spend on migrating our technology. And also, then we had more customer service time to spend migrating our customers. So all of that, which has just been really, really critical to our success, happened a lot faster because we didn't have to worry about the search.
Chad: Well, not to mention your expertise is not in search.
Joel: What is your expertise again, Steven?
Steven: The thing that I'm the best at, and I should get a T-shirt for this, I think it was Joel's idea, is being a social media whore.
Chad: Oh, okay. There's nothing wrong with that, especially these days. Okay. I'm getting antsy. I'm getting antsy. Can we start talking about announcements now? Can we do that?
Joel: In the news.
Steven: There are two big announcements that our friends over at Google gave me permission to kind of allow the announcements to come on The Chad and Cheese Podcast, which I'm sure you guys are happy about. One of them is actually live.
Joel: I love that they send a surrogate on the show.
Steven: They decided that they wanted the news to take the precedent over the speaker, and so they looked for a speaker that nobody would care about. One of the features is live now, and I actually just found out about it a day or two ago. As you might recall, I think it was last summer, Google just sort of announced. Hey, by the way, Johnson and Johnson, Career Builder, any site using Cloud Talent Solutions, College Recruiter, if you go to this site and you type in the military code for the occupation in the military, you're going to automatically see the equivalent civilian code. And it's been pretty good. From what I've heard from people-
Chad: Nah. Let's not get into that.
Steven: Yeah. There were some problems. But there are definitely some codes, like for a mechanic in the military is going to line up very well on the civilian side. But that was a feature that Google just rolled out. And it was surprise to its customers, surprise, this is live. Nice, new benefit. You're not paying anything for it, anything extra for it. They just did that with language support. For a long time, you've been able to go to a webpage that might be in Spanish. And Google will pop up a message, if you're using Chrome at least, and basically say, "Do you want to see this in English?" And you can say, "Yes." And you can say, "Always translate pages," or whatever.
Steven: Well, that's great if your first language is Spanish and you're on a job detail page, the page that has the whole job description. You can then understand what that position is like, the requirements, et cetera. But to get to the job detail page to begin with, you have to be able to run a search on a site like ours in English because the postings are in English. If Spanish is your first language and English is your second language, therefore you're bilingual, therefore you're a candidate that most employers salivate over, you can't find their job posting on College Recruiter because you probably don't have enough of a command of the English language, or you might not, in order to put in the correct keywords, especially if it's Boolean and your search is dumb like ours was before using Google.
Steven: Now I was just shown this yesterday by Google. If you go to College Recruiter or any of the other CTS sites, and you type in a word like ventas, Spanish for sales, and then put in your location and hit search, all of the sales positions, all of the relevant sales positions on College Recruiter will come up, even if they do not include the word ventas. About 10% of students in elementary, middle school, high school, et cetera, are ELLs, or English Language Learners, meaning that their first language is not English. Almost all of those are going to be bilingual. Some of them are going to have stronger English skills than other. But if your first language is Croatian, or Japanese, or Spanish, you're going to feel comfortable using that language to run a job search.
Steven: Now if you're fluent in English, you'll probably just run a search in English. But if you're not fluent, if you're merely bilingual, then typing in keywords in your primary language is going to lead you to better results. That's going to be the preferred way of searching. And I think that this is going to be a real door opener for candidates who are otherwise extremely well qualified. Think of a part-time retail job in a city like Los Angeles or San Antonio, where there's such a large population of people who barely speak English. Now if a bank can hire a teller, who has very strong Spanish language skills, to work at their branch in Los Angeles, that's great for the bank. It's great for the candidate. It's great for the customer.
Joel: Just visually for me, in your search box I put in a Spanish word. And the results will still be in English. It won't auto translate the results for me. But it will sync up those keywords to what the English equivalent is. Am I visualizing that correctly, or does it-
Steven: That's exactly right. But now picture yourself as somebody whose first language is Spanish. And so you've set your Chrome browser to default to Spanish. If you were to run that same search again, you would get a little popup from Chrome saying, "This page looks like it's in English. Would you like me to translate this to Spanish?"
Joel: So it syncs up.
Steven: Then you say, "Yes." Yep. And then that's not anything to do with Cloud Talent Solutions. That's not anything to do with College Recruiter. That's kind of another group over at Google, the Google Translate team.
Joel: Have you, from a user's perspective, added in your search window Spanish search available, or whatever the Spanish equivalent of that would be? Have you let users know that they can search in other languages?
Steven: We found out about it yesterday. I'm an activator. We've got some developers that are even more so. They get a shit ton of stuff done every day. But we're not that fast.
Joel: Are you planning any sort of marketing campaign to, let's say Spanish speaking prospects?
Steven: I kind of feel like I should be paying a consulting fee to Joel.
Chad: Everybody listening to this podcast should just send us blank checks. Yes. That's the way it should work. Let's talk about number two, commute search.
Steven: There have been a few job boards that have done a bit of a mash up, where they've sort of mixed in Google's commute search so that candidates can say, "Oh, okay. I see this job. And I can see the location of it." Employers rarely include a street address or even a zip code with their posting. So the best you usually have is the employer name, city, and state. I think it's all about that there are way too many highly qualified candidates out there in this economy. And so we just really want to keep those people away because there's no other rational reason for it. Hashtag sarcasm. That's three now I think. I think I should have little check marks going.
Steven: What we are going live with, and the other big announcement that is coming through the podcast is enhanced commute search. So now when you go to College Recruiter and you run that search, alongside the search results, that here are the 10 jobs that match your interests, you're going to see a map. And that map will have a pin for each one of those 10 locations. And you can then change your search defaults. And you can say, "Here's my address." It might be where your apartment is. It might be the location of your last class of the day. Show me only the jobs that are within, say, a 10 minute walk, or a 30 minute bicycle ride. And then the search results will update and the pins will update.
Steven: And so you can then forget about having to look at 100 different retail jobs to figure out which ones are within a 10 minutes walk, and instead, Google will show that to you. One of the things that most job boards do very, very well if they have any kind of commute search option, is distance. They'll say that the distance between your location and this job's location is a mile. Well, if you're in downtown San Francisco at 5:00 PM, it takes you about 45 minutes to go a mile in a car [crosstalk 00:27:52], if you're lucky and if you've got Dirty Harry beside you.
Steven: At 9:00 PM, you can get from downtown San Francisco over the Bay Bridge into Oakland in that same amount of time. It really is irrelevant to most job seekers what the distance is between them and the employer. What they want to know is: How long will it take me to get there by walking, by bicycle, by public transportation, by car at the day and time that I'm going to be working?
Chad: That's really hard though because, I mean for years, companies, they never had their physical location in their actual job posting itself. And you need data to be able to go by that. And what we used to do was, we would do city center. And that's all we could do because we didn't have any additional information with regard to location. Are you seeing Google attributing locations and trying to kind of fuzzy math it? Or are companies actually starting to push that data into their jobs so that you can better understand what a commute would look like?
Steven: No and no. I do think that more and more employers, as they become aware of this issue, will start to include street address or at least a freaking zip code into their postings. Today, some employers are doing that. Most are not. Yeah.
Chad: You're such an asshole.
Steven: Google does a very good job of identifying an employer's location, or a shop's location, just by putting in the name of the company and the city and state. And then just through Google Maps, you can get that data. What we're doing, Mike Willbanks, who's our vice president of product development, is doing this. He's basically working on an enhancement to our implementation of commute search, so that when we do not have the street address and/or zip code, he's basically looking that up in a fully automated way of course, looking that up on Google Maps, grabbing the address and zip code, and then feeding it over to commute search. So we're building that behind the scenes.
Steven: Remember early in the conversation when I told that there are real people at Google, and they really listen to our suggestions? This is one of the suggestions we've made. I don't know if there's been any kind of a positive feedback from them, a commitment that, hey, give us a month or two, and you'll see that feature. But knowing the people who were working on Cloud Talent Solutions and how they interact well with other groups at Google, I have to believe that this is coming. That's just me.
Joel: I know when I think about geolocation and geo targeting, I think of mobile. Is it your understanding that this will also be available for say, laptops that have a GPS within it? And what kind of user numbers do you have, mobile versus sort of traditional desktop or laptop?
Steven: Yeah. Our site can identify your location if you're on mobile. And then we use that data, or if you're just on a desktop through your wifi network, we can see where you are. We then use that for your default location. If you're on your mobile, we're going to default to wherever your mobile is. In terms of mobile users, when we relaunched our site about four years ago, we went from a typical site, which was the best word to describe it would've been horrifying on a mobile, to responsive design, which is not perfect. But it's a quantum leap forward, or was a quantum leap forward. The percentage of our mobile users went from 15% to 55%. And we didn't see drop off in desktop users. The desktop users, that was more or less flat, so the people who were using our site using laptops and desktops, they kept using our site. What was different was that rather than somebody coming to our site on a mobile, seeing how awful it was, and bailing and never coming back again, and probably telling 5000 of their closest friends, "For God's sake, do not go to College Recruiter on mobile," now they can come to our site and they can have a decent experience.
Joel: Are you still seeing growth in mobile or has it kind of plateaued?
Steven: It plateaued. Yeah. We've been at that 50% to 55% number for several years now. One of the big problems with mobile is that last mile problem. They can come to our site. They can run a search. They can register. They can upload a resume through LinkedIn or whatever, or if they're on certain phones and they can easily store a file. I think Android phones are supposed to be pretty easy with that, iPhones, it's pretty terrible. But they can do all of that on a mobile. But as soon as they hit that apply button and they go over to the ATS, for most employers, again, they've done a really, really good job of making it as difficult as possible for people to apply.
Steven: A lot of employers will sort of poo poo that and say, "Oh, we have that button right there. Apply with LinkedIn. Only 1.5% of young adults 15 to, I think it's 34 years of age, so basically gen Z and gen Y, use LinkedIn on a monthly basis. If they're not even using LinkedIn on a monthly basis, that's only 1.5% of them, the likelihood of those people using LinkedIn to apply to a job on your ATS is really, really low.
Joel: Well, Steven, we appreciate your time. We know you're a busy guy. You heard the announcement here first kids. Steven, for those who want to know more about you and/or your company, where should they go?
Steven: Yeah. No sweat. Collegerecruiter.com is our domain. Feel free to email me. Steven, S-T-E-V-E-N at collegerecruiter.com. Anybody who wants to read the case study from Google, they can go to www2.CollegeRecruiter.com/GoogleCaseStudy.
Chad: Beautiful. Fair enough.
Joel: The Google train keeps on trucking.
Chad: Love it.
Joel: Chad, we out.
Chad: We out.
Tristen: Hi. I'm Tristen. Thanks for listening to my step dad, Chad, and his goofy friend, Cheese. You've been listening to The Chad and Cheese Podcast. Make sure you subscribe on iTunes, Google Play, or wherever you get your podcasts, so you don't miss out on all the knowledge dropping that's happening up in here. They made me say that. The most important part is to check out our sponsors because I need new track spikes, you know, the expensive shiny gold pair that are extra because, well, I'm extra. For more, visit chadcheese.com.