Ray Swatzell

February 2, 2021

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“Discussion leads to discovery. Discovery leads to action. Action leads to rewards.”

In today’s episode, Chris talks to Ray Swatzell – Executive Managing Director of Talent Marketing Optimization.  Ray is a senior Talent Acquisition leader with enterprise and multi-site experience.  He achieves “win the war on talent” success stories by hiring the best, filling in knowledge gaps, progressive recruiting design, system integrations, automation, and modern recruiting innovations! Today, they discuss how to stoplight your job reqs, marketing in recruiting (hint, its not good), value props and much more!

For more information, contact Ray Swatzell on LinkedIn.

TRANSCRIPT

Chris Nichols:
I am so thrilled to have my friend Ray Swatzell on the podcast today. Ray’s background has always been highly fascinating to me, as he is the only person that I know to successfully transition from being a weatherman, to a talent attraction expert. But in all seriousness, Ray spent 22 years in the United States Navy and Marine Corps serving the country. Upon enlisting in the Navy as a weather observer, he eventually became an expert meteorologist – spending three years with the Department of Defense in the western Pacific, notably with the Alternate Joint Typhoon Warning Center in Japan, so he has seen all the storms. Upon returning to civilian life, Ray joined the largest provider in the US of senior living services, Brookdale Senior Living. Initially, he was a corporate recruiter and systems manager before later becoming their Director of Talent, Recruiting and Systems. Later, he joined Corizon Health as a Manager of Talent Acquisition and Operations. And today, he is the Executive Managing Director of Talent Marketing Optimization Advisor. Welcome, Ray, thank you for being on the show. How have you been?

Ray Swatzell:
I’ve been good. Thank you. I’m appreciative of being here today. And I hope we can pass some tips along to others that will help them in their recruiting.

Chris:
Absolutely. I’d ask you how the weather is today. But I don’t want the podcast to be taken over with that.

Ray:
Well, normally, I just ask my wife, and she lets me know.

Chris:
So, we’ve got a lot to cover. And you have some really interesting thoughts, I really enjoy your LinkedIn profile. And just the kind of things that you are talking about there, because in my mind, it’s truly revolutionary in the talent field. Because we’re so surface level, when we talk about talent, attraction, and acquisition, and what we’re doing to modernize recruitment processes, which is a big part of what you’re doing. I know, you have the Six Pillars of Modern Recruiting Success, which I don’t even know if we’re going to be able to get to today. There’s so much to talk about. But first, I want to talk about something that I think everybody can at least understand on the very surface level. So, whether you’re a CEO, CFO or you’re a recruiter or you’re a VP of HR, you understand the idea of stoplight reporting. At some point in your career, you’ve probably come across it, you know, red, yellow, green, and what that looks like. So, can you talk about how you have utilized stoplight reporting in recruiting? Because, I think it’s a little bit different probably than what people would expect.

Ray:
Certainly. I think that, in the military, for example, if we wanted to go to an operation, we use the red, yellow, green, based on weather. So, if things were a go, you’d say, give him a green light, yellow light will caution of course, red light, we wouldn’t go because of the weather. A little bit – that’s where it came from – the foundation. But in recruiting, it is more about understanding the challenges of a particular opening or position. What was the difficulty? So, and when I say difficulty: in the market availability, the business in itself, it was high demand and hard to find that particular location. So, there’s cost involved in recruiting, and we talk about recruiting, and so you have different what I call “multi channels” in recruiting that some are free, some cost you more money. So, to simplify it for hiring managers and recruiters to kind of get them on the same page, if you have a position open in a particular market: is it a red market, yellow market or green market? So basically, what that means is, if it’s a green market, your recruiting difficulty is not there. It’s really going to be a good market and fairly easy – you’re going to get a lot of applicants. And so, the cost is going to be somewhat lower. And of course, as you go to yellow and red, that difficulty, and usually the cost with that is associated with that. Oh, and addition to that, there’s also usually that term that most of our hiring managers we’ve got to go through and get funding because it’s the expense that you’re going to have to spend on for that position is gonna go up as well. So, if you can simplify that and go, “Hmm. Green market- not gonna cost me much, probably going to have a lot of candidates. Yellow market more money, more time and longer to recruit.”

Chris:
So, I love that. Because I think that most people think about stoplight reporting on more of the reactive side of “Hey, you know, stoplight reporting on the number of days that the position has been open”, right? Like we might look at it from that end, but you’re talking about taking it all the way to the front where the job req gets created and immediately saying, “Is this green, yellow or red” and basically signifying based upon information that you have previously, you have some metrics that you have outlined that, then determine whether it’s a green market, yellow market, red market. So, for our listeners, give us a few things that they should be looking at, if they wanted to build their own stoplight report for req creation.

Ray:
Certainly. The first place you start is your data. You have a lot of data in your recruitment systems, and in some of your data you may not have any reporting (depends on your capabilities). But part of that is looking at, if you look at a particular job. And if you’re using job codes out of your, your human relations, human resource system, it’ll tell you, you know, different job code numbers, those type of things. So, you want to kind of drill it down to look at, you know, what is working within this particular market. So if I had this job code I’m getting, you know, it took me X number of days to fill it, it cost me x, you know, X amount of money, and what’s working, what’s not working. So if you had, when I go look at these markets, I look at a number of things and see if it is the same, you could look at all your channels that you’ve been recruiting for, and see what kind of traffic you get from it. And so, in that you’ll kind of know what works, what doesn’t work. But if you’re looking at a market and go hmm, we get one candidate and we get 0000 from all these different channels. And the days are open this, you can you come up with your own formulas, what you can classify as red market, yellow market and green market. For me, it’s a lot about, you know, the position itself, and whether I can actually fill that position in a timely manner. And so, if, for example, you can go even further than the Red Yellow Green market, there’s a term I use called Day One Sourcing. So, if you have a red market –  red market, could be a difficult market and may cost you more. But if you’re experienced that is looking at all your different channels, for example, you’re recruiting a nurse practitioner, it may be that the only way you can get a nurse practitioner within that market. So, you look at that job in, in Dallas, Texas, for example. It may be that that’s considered a red market and day one sourcing, so there’s an extra spending put on it. But again, it’s a difficulty in which you have recruiting. So, if you’re communicating to a hiring manager, or your reporting, you know, you know that if I have you know, 20 reqs for recruiter right, you can actually somewhat know what the workload is. So, if someone has a lot of red markets, that means they’re having much more difficulty, much more challenges, that takes more time they have to get on the phone more with cold calling, emailing, marketing, all those different things. So, the workload is different. But as a talent acquisition – Director of Talent Acquisition, you might measure effectiveness of recruiters on average time to fill, which in this particular case would not be fair for someone…

Chris:
Right.

Ray:
…having a lot a large workload in red markets.

Chris:
So, there’s some benchmarking that needs to take place early on. And I think that organizations get stuck in – there’s three to five different benchmarks that I think we hone in on and we like we say, time to fill quality of hire, you know, vacancy rate.  Gosh, I miss probably missing a couple there. But those are cost per hire. Right? Those are things that we get –  we hone in on. But when we start thinking about recruiting, it’s – you start comparing apples and oranges, right? Because what works even in a particular market for, say, a forklift driver in Atlanta, Georgia is different for a CDL driver in New York City. And that’s different for an RN in Boise, Idaho. Right? And how do we get? What’s the first step? I guess for our listeners, if they wanted to start evaluating this information? Say they’ve got some information? How do I start benchmarking data to say, you know, what is green for time to fill versus yellow versus red? Because there’s not a lot of great information. You know, if you go Google, you get some really, you know, poor information about what it should be. So, if I’m looking at myself as a self-evaluation, self-awareness tactic, what should I be doing, kind of as a surface level response to trying to figure out how I get better at talent acquisition.

Ray:
It’s where you get you get a geeky guy with data. And the geeky guy with data looks at all the data for you as the first step, or you have some data governance – that is optimal, maybe your big picture (that’s much harder to get to). And what I mean by that is that there’s consistency in the data and some of the noise removed. Otherwise, you start looking at some of the basic data you have, and the basic data may have, you know, that you had this many candidates from Monster you had this many candidates from Careerbuilder. And you know what, which one to hire, for from where and you know, what the timeline and when they applied, and how average time to fill, you have those numbers. And you look at that, and you can get a general overview of what is the marketing landscape. In other words, what’s working, what’s not working, you can do some things and even with Indeed, to give you an example, is if you’re getting high rate of applicant applies. You might – but you’re also doing, maybe you’re doing sponsored jobs and stuff, are you – then are you wasting money, spending money you shouldn’t be spending – those types of things look at. So, without knowing well how effective those markets are, and what they’re what they do, you can do some things, there’s some things you can do in regards to Google. You can use Google Trends. And, you know, for Monsters particular market, believe it or not, type in Monster.com. And it will give you breakdowns of what works in what market. So, it’s a combination of lots of different data points, and you take those data points together, and then you analyze them. And you come out with a with a rating for a job and a particular market based on that data and those benchmarks. And that’s something that you can work with, with your company, or you can kind of do it on your own. It’s much more difficult, but it gives you at least – you want that benchmark to where you want to start. And then you measure, you can start some measurements and refine it, you might be – may be, you may be off a little bit, initially do it. But over time, you get very good at it. And so, the first thing is taking that first step and moving toward it. And so that helps you become very efficient in recruiting because if you look at it from an example of a systems in red, yellow, green markets, you know, average time to fill, it may give you your you know, you may have a different recruiter, and a different recruiter may some recruiters may automatically start cold calling or start sourcing right away, and they have a better, a better time to fill. But if you’re looking at it holistically, and looking at everything, you kind of get some insights of what that should look like. And then that gives you at least some benchmarks. And why is the benchmark Red, Yellow Green markets important? Its expectations.  You get everybody on the same page at the same time. So if everybody agrees, and has a good insight of what type of difficulties in this market is, and what the average time to fill is, and those types of things, they also know that it’s going to take a little longer, and it’s going to cost a little bit more in some cases. And at least those – those agreements are reached. And so, the phone isn’t ringing. What have you done for me today? Because they know that they gotta give you a little bit of time, because the difficulty or –  is there and they understand that they understand the cost.

Chris:
Setting expectations.

Ray :
Yes.

Chris:
That’s where I think we often miss the mark in in recruiting up front, because number one, you and I both work in healthcare, and everybody in the world knows that it’s hard to hire nurses. But it’s easier to hire nurses that maybe do this specific task versus a more advanced tactic. Right. So, an ICU nurse versus a med surg nurse, what’s the difference in recruiting that, right? And understanding your population,  the number of people in that market that have that skill set. And that goes the same with you know, I mentioned CDL drivers earlier, right, you know, people that are over the road truckers versus you know, you know, here in Nashville, maybe they’re delivering building products, but they stopped having CDL license.  And understanding the personas behind that which I plan to talk about a little bit later because I’m a big fan of personas. Transitioning a bit from stoplight reporting, another one of your interesting thoughts in the recruitment world is around the “quality of apply” – that’s right, “quality of apply”. We talk “quality of hire” all the time, which is quite humorous, because it seems that no one has a standard for what “quality of hire” is. I’m starting to think that we need to bring some accountants in and get us some gap principles. Because there’s no way to compare company to company or even market to market, right? So, we can’t even measure quality of hire effectively at most companies. How on earth can we measure “quality of apply”, right?

Ray:
Quality of Apply is something that the field is kind of missing from a lot of companies and a lot of systems but it’s an easy one. It’s a good place to start. When you look at it, think of it as qualified. Alright, how do you determine that an applicant is qualified. And that’s, that’s a decision you make with your recruitment system, or your talent acquisition team. And you –  maybe your determination is someone who’s qualified, who’s been at least at a minimum phone screen, or their resume has been screened. And it’s been forwarded at that point. If that’s when they become a qualified applicant, or qualified, if you would, that gives you some indications of the type, and quality of the applicants that are coming to your site from a particular channel. And where those qualified applicants are coming from. It’s important to you because of how much money you’re spending. And so, if you’re not measuring quality of your apply, you don’t know what you’re getting for it. But you might get 100 applies from one marketing channel, and you got zero qualified candidates. You only got five from this other marketing channel, but three of them were qualified. So, which is your best resource? You may be spending a lot more money, depending on how you’ve advertised-  if you’re doing – especially if you’re doing a cost per apply.  There’s been a lot more money on the side where you’re not really getting the type of candidate you want. The other thing is, from that important of a qualified applicant is it tells you where you’re spending your dollars wisely or not. So just what I mentioned a little bit about, and so you can redirect dollars, where you’re not getting what you need, or it’s a bad market, or for that particular channel. One of the biggest things is a misconception in regards to marketing channels is that if I, if I got a number of qualified candidates in this market, then if I advertised using that same channel in a different market, then it’s got to work because it was green in this market means that, for example, we won’t pick on Indeed much but Indeed, it worked great. And but Indeed, has bad markets just like any other job.

Chris:
Absolutely. We see that a lot. I mean, you think like Monster and Zip Recruiter, and Indeed, in my opinion, a lot of companies get tied into and they’re like, oh, we’re gonna use Indeed. And that’s great. But you have to understand that not every market has bought into Indeed. It’s really strange, even in the United States, they you think, oh, a country – Indeed’s the biggest supplier, but in reality, you start to dive into – there are certain markets where a Monster, a Zip Recruiter get far more traffic. And it could be by particular job types, right? Like, some jobs might perform better over here, and then different over here. So that’s a lot to manage, right? So most TA departments that simply come across that, you know, there’s a, maybe a VP of TA, maybe not, there’s a Director of TA, maybe not, how does somebody start to look at, at something like quality of apply and provide some realistic measurements on that, you know, thinking about all the different tools that are out there? Like, no one does that. So how do I how do I start to implement it and what value add is that?

Ray:
Well, you can do some manual ones, I mean, this is worse advice I can give you but it’s where you might start, you may start with reports, exporting out of your, of your recruitment system into Excel and have some Excel guru look at it. Basically, then you are going to have some certain types of data you’re going to have, you know what submitted, who was who is green, those type of things, then you got to know what source they came from. So, you can do some analytics on your own. My advice is somehow get your, your recruitment system to do it for you, and part of their reporting things. And so, it’s automated. So, you’re not spending your precious time when you should be recruiting, actually doing a lot of reporting, trying to figure out the data. But it helps you in regards to that quality of applies –  knowing, you know, what am I getting. And then there’s something that we’ll talk about – is something that I talk about is, is think big, you know, words, think big, start small, move fast. Well, this is one of those things, you start small, what your big picture may be eventually, you’re going to automate these things and those types of things if you are moving forward. So, when you look at that quality of apply, or whatever, your big picture may be that later your goal is to build campaigns. When I say marketing campaigns, and then you have strategies tied to your recruiting, and those strategies are based on what’s worked in the past, and what’s not, it’s also based upon what channels have worked, and not necessarily on the number of applies, but the quality of applies. So where am I getting my resources and how /where I need to spend those dollars. So, the little picture start small move fast is basically the quality of apply – the quality of apply helps you move to that big picture. And that big picture is knowing how to build those campaigns. And so, then your number of days open, your cost per hire, and all those numbers begin to go down and your efficiency begins to go up. So that’s why it’s important to think about.

Chris:
So, your recommendation is, you know, say, say I’m a big sales-oriented organization. So, the majority of my, every company seems to have on the operation side, like there’s, there’s a main driver of some kind of talent, right? So, in healthcare, you look at nurses in, you know, in manufacturing, you might look at maintenance techs, or in logistics, its forklift drivers. So, you kind of have that big group. And you say, okay, sales reps in Indianapolis, let me go target that. Let’s look at this small subset. And lets perfect what we’re trying to figure out here, based upon sales reps in Indiana because it’s a big enough sample size, right? Say I’m hiring, you know, X number of people a year, it’s got to be big enough. What would you consider big enough? What’s a decent quantity for somebody to start with to kind of look at and feel like they get some good data from it?

Ray:
From the data in regards to the…

Chris:
…to be able to evaluate that market, for example.

Ray:
I think, well, you can …. one, the position you can evaluate any market based on this supply and demand. And different sources give you resources of that. I think I would take a look at it a little differently in regards to what you do. Where you go with red, we talked a little bit red, yellow, green markets.  And then we talked about quality of apply. All these little pieces actually fit together when you think about it, because it’s what you’re trying to determine is where do I spend my – most of my time, and the time is effective time. And so, if you look at it, so if you have red markets, right? And you have markets that are critical types of positions, whatever you call revenue generating, or they’re lost productivity, whatever term you want to give, but what are those positions that are important to me as a company. And you determine that, you determined your marketing, right, and availability, and whether the red, yellow, green. And then I mentioned something about the big picture – talking about campaigns, right. So if you have, depending on whether you’re a mid pack or large pack type of company, if you have 100 different positions, or recruiting 300 jobs, or 1000 jobs that are larger companies, you don’t want to have a campaign set up for every email, have the capacity to have a campaign set up for every job that you have open, and campaign strategy. But if you, but if you know, which jobs are critical to you, and which jobs are red, that’s, that gives you a place to at least start right. And then you can take that to a number that is, let’s say you get it down to 30 of jobs you’ve identified that you want to build day one campaigns for. And now you’re collecting data – you’ve collected the quality of hire, you collected what type of markets are, you’re collecting it. So now you’re starting to take that data, bring it in, and strategize where you should be focusing your time. So, if I have a nurse, or director of nursing position in Fort Worth, and there’s high competition for that, that’s where you start your that may be your first start for your campaign. And when you do campaigns, it’s totally different. You got to have data to tell you what to do day one, right? So that you don’t get where you’re 30 days into your recruiting process to say, “Oh my gosh, we should have spent $1,000 for this ad or this targeting and for this on day one, not day. 30.”  Because you’ve already lost 30 days. So that’s what a lot of this is getting you to is it building that roadmap and thinking to do things at the beginning? Not when they become critical.

Chris:
Not retroactively right? Or reactively. 30 days in, and you realize, “Oh man, this job’s hard to fill.” So, before we go to our break here, a couple of things that I think are key takeaways for folks. Number one, you’ve got to define – in order to do any of the things we’ve talked about before – stoplight reporting and quality of apply, you’ve got to start defining some major steps in the recruitment process. So, whatever it is that you’re measuring, you’ve got to define those and ensure that the measurements are correct in your applicant tracking system are consistent. Yes, consistency is key when we’re trying to figure out what we do with the data, right. So, like, for me whenever we talk about sales at endevis and we say, you know what is a prospect versus a lead because that can be so interchangeable in sales and marketing. So, what we said was, “A prospect – that’s somebody that we want to do business with who hasn’t shown a mutual interest in us yet”, right? Whereas a lead is somebody that somehow or some way, that particular contact has shown an interest in having a conversation with one of our business development folks, one of our client solutions people. So that’s how we define prospect to lead. I think there’s a, there’s a lot to be said about that, you and I have the same philosophy that recruiting and sales are a lot alike, right. And so, a candidate’s not just a candidate. And I think that we often look at that and say, a candidate is, you know no matter where they’re at in the process, they’re a candidate, they might be a prospective candidate, then they’re a candidate lead and kind of defining what that is, and where those definitions and kind of deadlines or whatnot are in that process, I think are really important. So moral of the story: you’ve got, if you’re not, if you don’t have any definitions, if you don’t have a little index of terms, right? Would you agree that you need to start sitting down and going through those?

Ray:
Yeah, you do. I think, again, the part of it is, the most important piece here is, is start measuring the right data. And the key I just said is start. And you don’t have to just start small. But you know, quality of hire may… or qualified hire or sorry, “qualified apply” may be the part – the place you start, and as you began to get a little bit more experience, and then data, then you expand a little bit further. The biggest challenge for most companies is measuring the right data to provide them the right actionable insights. And if you’re measuring things, or just vanity types of ….like, you got 100 applies for this job. And I’m guilty of that as anyone. I’ve looked at my applicant tracking system, “Oh, my gosh, I got all these applies.” But you know, but I made it so easy for people to apply or candidates to apply that yeah, my numbers went up. But it doesn’t mean that was effective.  And so just keep that in mind is my best advice I give you because it really, at the end of the day, you’re trying to find the best candidate to hire for your company to move your company forward. And the only way you can do that is by having the what it takes to recruit that candidate and reach them and reach them in an effective manner and communicate. And so, they communicate in the way they want to be communicated. And that’s the first step. And then of course, all the rest of that is candidate experience and other things you talk about in regards to recruiting. But again, you have to start, you have to start somewhere.

Chris:
Absolutely. And with that we will be right back.

And we’re back on the Talent Tide Podcast with Ray Swatzell. So, Ray, in that first segment, you talked a lot about marketing and marketing campaigns. And to be honest, I gotta think that you’ve probably just scared all the talent acquisition folks and  HR folks away from the podcast. So, if you’re still listening, thank you for being here. So, Ray, marketing campaigns and recruiting. Number one, how did a meteorologist learn about marketing? I might need that information offline. But talk to me about what is recruitment marketing? And how, how is it different from, you know, talent acquisition, like what is recruitment marketing?

Ray:
When you think about – when you think about marketing, some of the roadblocks we have a little bit as recruiting is marketing. It’s just that we use a different language. And sometimes when you talk to a marketer or a marketer talks to a recruiter, you’re kind of on the same page. But really, you are just using different language of it.  If you think about it, you go to apply I talked about that being as acquisition, in marketing. And really, they’re the same thing, right. And so, it’s just learning to have a communication or conversation with your marketing to kind of understand some things. Marketing is more of is reaching the audience but telling them the story that connects to them. That’s the first step.  You got to put together your message, then present your message. And then it’s got to make a connection to the person on the other end. And then it’s got to – that messaging has to stimulate some type of reaction, but the positive reaction you’re looking for is to consider your company. So, when you think about that, in recruiting, and we talk about campaigns and marketing, that’s the switch that I talk a lot about as far as moving recruiting to marketing.  Because it really is it’s just we got to improve it and change the language. And when we change the language and the approach and the thought process of the recruiter to more of a marketing mentality, or we even, you know, we dovetail, to me some of the things I recommended was do is you bring someone in from marketing or Head of Marketing becomes a Head of Recruiting. That’s, you know, got you thinking differently. But I think about it is because when you talk about campaigns is that if you’re trying to connect with a nurse and RN to care about your company, and you present them with a job description that is four pages long, because HR says, here’s our requirements. And this is what we had, you know, what we require from you. And then we put a lot of nice to have, and those types of must haves and I don’t know about you, but must have scares me. And yeah, and so, and that is not making that connection. So the question you’re asking and trying to answer in marketing is, there’s one thing that communication basis that what is it that that nurse or RN or that salesperson, or that care associate, needs to hear or wants to hear from you? And that’s, that’s the first challenge. And the challenge of that is like, you know, you’ll hear where some communications include salaries, some do not, you get in a whole different conversation, you probably have a whole new podcast just talking about that information. And so, I think that it’s, it’s trying to make that connection in marketing, and then have them do an action. So that’s the communication piece. So think –  rethinking about recruiting, in communications, and making a connection, because it’s your relationship building, it’s about branding, all those things come into play, that you may not think about as much, but you’re trying to get those. That’s the first step. But now, I’ve got this all nice, neat package. And I’ve worked with marketing, and we’ve got a great, I think it’s gonna connect and resonate. There’s all this measurement and all the other things you do in marketing, to see what worked, what didn’t work, those types of things we’ve talked about, but how do I get that package of information in front of that nurse Diane.  And that’s, that’s the part where it comes into more of marketing campaigns and marketing channels, and those type of things because you fought through that. And as things as simple as red, yellow, green markets help you understand how, what is the complexity of what you need to do, to present that package that messaging to Diane, and it’s going to connect with Diane, who can then consider coming to work for your company? That’s right. And that’s marketing.

Chris:
Yeah, I like to think of the difference between marketing and sales, if you take that verbiage to the recruiting world. Sourcing and recruiting is kind of how we kind of define it internally at endevis. You know, the top of the funnel is your marketing, your sourcing, the bottom of your funnel is your recruiting your selling. You do what it takes to –  because you can get people in the funnel, but what triggers –  because you can have a response to an action to the response, right? So that that all is there. And then what takes that person, once they engage with you from being a prospective candidate lead to a full-blown candidate that you’re presenting to a hiring manager because that – there is a difference. And I think that, earlier we talked about quality of apply also comes into play, because you look at, you know, if we’ll take like a customer service rep or an admin assistant,  if you throw an ad on, say Craigslist, and Indeed, you’re gonna get hundreds of applicants for that. Right?

Ray:
And you gave ’em Easy Apply, too.

Chris:
Yeah, you give ’em Easy Apply. Next thing, you know, you’ve got 400 applications. And what you realize is that maybe where you spent your money wasn’t, maybe you didn’t have to spend any money, number one. But number two, you’ve realized that, you know what, none of the applicants that we got from Craigslist, were worth it. So  why would we do that again, in that market for that job? Or why would we do that on Indeed, again, for that job, or whatever? And so, I think that’s where the marketing piece comes in the analytical side of recruiting. So, what about if we talk about what’s missing? Like how do we get that marketing mindset into the talent –  I like to call it talent attraction – kind of splitting attraction versus acquisition, in my mind is marketing and sales there. So how do we – how do we bring more of that attracting mindset into what is typically a very traditional approach of recruiting, which is like a one to one relationship? So how do we bring that one to many to one to one, and emerge those thoughts?

Ray:
I think probably what I talk about a lot is I talk about the changes in recruiting and changes in technologies and those things. And I think that one of the things is pushing the change and we talk about –  I talk about language of recruiting changing it more to marketing language. The same goes with systems and you think about – you think about intake conversations you have with a hiring manager and we talked a little bit about setting expectations and those type of things, my recommendation is that’s where you start. You start with automations of your intake. And what I mean by automations of your intake is, is that you have data and connections, your system. Now you may be, or these things take you further, but you have a goal that you want to reach. So think of it this way, if you have you determined, you have red markets, right, yellow markets, green markets, you have revenue producing jobs who have, what the cost is per day that that job being open, you’ve come up with those things, you put them into your intake, average time to fill is x, these channels work, those types of things, all that data becomes part of your intake, but it’s automated. So, think of systems, I’m probably going a little further than you that some of you may be thinking, but for me, it’s more about you already have all this information. And as soon as the job is open, now we’ll get you to dream a little bit because I like to dream a lot is that as soon as that job opens, maybe even on your systems, you’ve determined who the hiring team was. And as soon as that rep goes live, the intake information that’s needed for all parties, and on that hiring team get the same messaging. And the same messaging tells them as a red market, it takes an average of 60 days to fulfill it, you may have to talk a little bit about sourcing day one, it may be determined that the sourcing day one job, and then you began to understand and so when the conversation sets up for those campaigns, that data is there too. So that sets up your strategy for your campaign and everybody’s on the same page. That’s the pie in the sky, that hope system sometimes someday go to…

Chris:
That would be amazing.

Ray:
But today, there’s – well, we can do it. The capability –  we just haven’t done it.

Chris:
It’s a workflow, right. And that is something that I think is sales and marketing have kind of brought the idea of automated workflows, you know, you think about like the HubSpots of the world, the Pardots of the world they’ve gotten really good at marketing workflows. And we’re just now starting to scratch the surface of that in in talent acquisition and in recruiting. And so, I’m fascinated with what your thoughts are, though, on how we get –  how do we modernize the applicant tracking system? Because it – most applicant tracking systems don’t play all that well with, in my opinion, with CRM and marketing systems, when it comes to workflows and information data? Maybe – I’m maybe I’m crazy. What are your thoughts on that?

Ray:
It’s difficult. I mean, it’s not easy. I mean there’s things, you know, there’s API’s, which I won’t talk much about it, but Application Process Interface and those type of things. But that’s more techie, because I am a little bit of techie.

Chris:
But what you’re saying is you can build…

Ray:
You can build it.

Chris:
…build a bridge between…

Ray:
You can. You can go out – there are service providers.  There is Swoop Talent is one that you go out and it actually takes all your systems and puts it together. I think the first place to start is a data governance. I talk about that a lot. That’s one of the priorities. So, what I mean by that is that now you began to make agreements, on what is measured and how its measured, like

Chris:
definitions…

Ray:
…and turnover and what is turnover? What is, you know, those type of things. And if you’ve determined those definitions, everybody’s on the same page, those definitions, then it becomes more of a data governance to your systems and processes. So, if you’re, we talked a little about your intake, if you’re – if you’ve got a data governance, and you put your systems together, think about it this way. And we talked about putting together a campaign, but what if your data is interfaced into your ATS so certain data automatically goes to that. So, if I generate a req, and it says that for this opening in this particular market, it was filled, the turnover is turned over three times in the last year. That’s part of your intake report that everybody gets. And so, it may be that it’s an indicator that there’s something else going on. So, if I recruited and did all this spend all this money I’m not, I’m not going after the right problem, there’s a different problem, because I have a high turnover. Right? And so, is this the job turnover? So begins more conversations, but without the data, you don’t know that there’s a problem. Unless someone presents it or you know, you have an intake and someone says, “Well, we keep turning this position over.” You want to automate that, so that the recruiters don’t have to go through that and the hiring managers, and so the conversation is totally different, if you know you have a problem at the local level.

Chris:
One of my biggest frustrations in recruiting is opinions. There’s a lot of opinions in recruiting and not a whole lot of data. So, let’s transition here, a little bit to profitability and recruiting. And that’s going to also scare some HR people –  talking numbers and we’ve already scared him to death with data. When we think about profitability, I’m thinking about what is –  on the operation side, because so many times operations leads recruiting, the hiring managers get to dictate certain things that maybe they shouldn’t be dictating. So how can recruiting take a mindset around how the business runs to a hiring manager to make a business case for why certain things should be done and why things need to operate in a certain manner. So, you know, off air, we talked about revenue loss, revenue maximization, things of that nature. So, can you just start kind of elaborating a little bit on your thoughts around that whole concept?

Ray:
Yeah, it goes back to – we talked a little about the data and this is the thing that a lot of companies struggle with. Again, I’ll keep reiterating – start small, move fast. You gotta start somewhere. The secret is starting. And you look at it from a perspective of impact. It’s much more if you’re presenting to the C-Suite or your –  to the hiring managers or whoever you’re presenting information to, if you have good data, and what I mean by good data, is data that’s been agreed upon. So let’s say that you have a certain job codes and everybody’s talking those same job codes for that particular job title and you put into there and you come up for your work that you put out to do, is to come up with some dollar value.

And that may – is agreed upon. So, everybody knows what the dollar value is. So, there’s not all jobs that generate revenue, but they have an impact on a company when they’re open. And what is that impact? And once you come to those numbers – you take that if it’s a revenue generating job, you take that number and its tied to those particular job codes. So then what you began to do is, you’re able to provide numbers that provoke an understanding of, “Man, we’re losing a lot of money” or this is costing us a thousand dollars a week for this position to be open. It then becomes much more tangible to people to kind of understand the impact on the company, and, you know, how to do our work and as far as a system to do that. It’s fairly easy.

You decide what those –  what those formulas are for calculating it and you program them into your applicant tracking system and we talked about intake automation. Then it’s part of the intake automation is that dollar value is included in that so that everybody knows every day that job is open. This is the cost to the company, whether it’s productivity cost or revenue cost.

Chris:
Right – which I love: productivity costs, revenue costs. I mean, I think if you’re a VP of talent, you know at a medium size or larger organization, a director of TA or even you know, a VP of HR that has to oversee talent, depending on what your structure is, if you want to – backing up – a lot of people talk about wanting to get HR and talent a seat at the table, what better way to get a seat at the table, than walking to your CEO and CFO and saying, “We want to start measuring – we want to work with you to come up with the cost that, you know, we lose out on every day because we don’t have a certain person in the seat.” So, that way we can now go to Operations. Because, that’s always the big fight –  operations always thinks that they’re closest to the problem. They know what’s going on. And then you have the CFO yelling at them and saying, “Hey, you’ve got to cut cost here –  you got to cut costs there.” But in reality, we all need to be working together across silos to come up with these metrics that help us understand the value of each of our employees. Because every CEO says our people our most important asset.  Except, we have some really terrible measurements for how we go about saying they’re an asset. Right? We’re not very good at it. And if you’re in talent management/ talent acquisition, you’ve got to, you’ve got to find a way to elevate yourself to having strategic conversations about financials, rather than just talking about the touchy-feely people aspect of it, even the marketing side, like you’ve got to be able to talk data and numbers. It’s 2020.  2021 is coming very quickly. Thank goodness 2021 is coming. Anything will be better. So, if we’re gonna make it better, let’s start talking data, numbers, finances, financials, dollar bills. Like, that’s…that’s the future of talent acquisition, right Ray?

Ray:
It is and I think if you think about it, is that what you’re trying to do is know where to put your efforts. So, if you’re looking from a talent acquisition leadership role and you have a shortage of recruiters and you have a number of openings. Where are you going to put your most of your resources to and then if you also think about it is that you know it – as most talent acquisition professionals can tell you –  is that you go to hiring managers depending on how your system is set up. You need – you know, you’re allocated this amount of money for that job. Well,  I’m sorry, but if you go look at the position it maybe you’re allocating X number of dollars for that position, but to recruit for that position is three times that amount. And if you can justify that amount based upon the revenues lost every day, it’s a much easier sale to go back to operations and say I need to spend you know, $2,000 to do some retargeting and just pick a role.

But if you take that same approach for a position that didn’t generate revenue, you weren’t quite effective because you just spent a lot of money that didn’t really help the company much. It’s being able to show what you’re providing to the company and being making sure you’re focused on the right positions at the right time. And all too often, we don’t know – we’re doing a guessing game and that causes a little bit of irritation in operations. Because they’re looking at the dollars and working some out.  And then you’re they feel like you’re moving slow in a position because it’s been open forty days, but you hadn’t –  didn’t tell them that normally that role takes 60-120 days to fill.

Chris:
Sure.

Ray:
If they know that expectation, and you fill it earlier than that, they’re happy. Yes, but if you don’t, you know, and don’t give them any information – within two weeks they’ll probably call on you wanting to know why…

Chris:
We always expect the worst. Right?

Ray:
Right. Exactly.

Chris:
Humans. We suck.

(laugh)

Ray, this has been fantastic today. Thanks again for joining the Talent Tide Podcast. Obviously as an expert in the talent field, how can people find you? How can they connect with you if they want to learn more or if they have questions about trying to get data governance or all these just terribly sounding things to work in their organization? Where can they find you to ask questions?

Ray:
Well, they can reach me through LinkedIn. They can message me or – we can connect that way. And I can provide a phone number. I’m passionate about recruiting and if you call me or want to kind of question, be – just be prepared is best advice I can give you. I talk a lot about it. But I, my role or my goals, if you will, are to help, I mean, it’s to get you thinking a little differently, and you could do the same to me.

These discussions lead to discovery. And discovery leads to action. And action leads to reward. So that’s where we are. And that’s where I’d like to help you.

Chris:
Awesome. So, Ray, I will put your LinkedIn URL in the show notes so people can find that, and they can connect with you and also throw your email in there. And if your phone number you’d like it to go in there as well. I’ll do that! So awesome. Thanks. Again Ray.

That’s all for this episode of the Talent Tide Podcast. Please remember to subscribe to us, wherever you listen, including: Spotify, Apple, Podbean, Google Podcasts –  and really just anywhere out there that that you listen, you can find us.

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Until next time, this is Chris Nichols – GO WIN THE DAY!