Getting Value From Reference Calls

Erica EbingerRecruiting Lead

Niantic’s Erica Ebinger shares her thoughts on how references should be about getting context as opposed to further evaluating the candidate. Rob wonders if we should do them at all.

Episode Transcript

00:00 Rob Stevenson: Hello friends, it is I, your humble host, Rob Stevenson, once again, broadcasting from the cozy, cozy, most salubrious confines of Hired HQ in San Francisco, California. What does Hired do, Rob? I’m not going to tell you. This isn’t about that, you see. This is about giving you that sweet, sweet honest, no strings attached, recruiting content, and I am as ever absolutely thrilled to be doing so. So welcome back to another classic installment of your favorite recruiting podcast. If this is your first time joining us, here’s all you need to know. Every week, I will be bringing in one of my favorite people in the recruitment space, directors of recruitment, Heads of talent, VPs of HR, recruiting leads in this particular incident, and they are going to do primarily one thing…


00:46 RS: Talk Talent To Me. Today, on TTTM, a little return to normalcy after last week’s panel episode. Did you guys like that? ‘Cause I have like 11 more recordings I could share, but I don’t wanna just keep smacking you over the head with them if they’re not doing it for you, let me know. Anyway, today in the pod, I have with me the Recruiting Lead over at Niantic, Erica Ebinger. And Erica has some unique hiring challenges. She is hiring across the United States, as well as London and Tokyo. And that sort of multicultural hiring has her wondering whether she’s supposed to kiss, bow, or shake hands when it comes to candidates. And one way that cultural hiring difference manifests is in references. Some cultures do references at the beginning of the interview process, some do it at the end, and some not at all. And Erica has some thoughts on the matter. So, we unpack when is the best time to do references? Do they have any value in terms of evaluating people, and if they don’t, can you still get value out of them? Should you do them at all? And what about back channel? All this and more coming up after our newly truncated intro music. So please, give a warm Talk Talent To Me welcome to Niantic’s Recruiting Lead, Erica Ebinger.


02:12 RS: Erica Ebinger from Niantic is in the building. Erica, how are we?

02:15 Erica Ebinger: I’m good. How are you?

02:16 RS: I’m really well.

02:17 EE: A little wet.


02:17 RS: Sorry, a little wet, yeah, it’s a soggy, rainy, day here. And you scuttled over here on foot.

02:22 EE: Walked… Yeah, I did, but it was 18 minutes.

02:26 RS: Good for you. [chuckle] I mean, the show must go on, and so…

02:28 EE: Right.

02:28 RS: I mean, I sacrificed very little to be here today, but you really put it on the line out there, so I appreciate it.

02:32 EE: Yeah, I was excited, I love Hired, I love talking to you guys. I mean, I love… I’ve had really nice people from Hired working with me that I’m happy to chat with you about stuff.

02:42 RS: Good, [chuckle] no, I appreciate it, I’m so glad to hear that. And I am sorry that we couldn’t include your dog on this affair.

02:49 EE: Oh yeah, it’s okay.

02:50 RS: It’s a… We have a dog-friendly office, but there are some insurance things that have to take place before they’re allowed entrance. What’s your dog’s name?

02:57 EE: Her name is Maeby.

02:58 RS: Maeby?

02:58 EE: Yeah, have you ever watched Arrested Development?

03:00 RS: As in Arrested Development, yeah, of course, I love that.

03:02 EE: She’s our recruiting dog at Niantic. She actually is totally fine, she was ready to go home at the end of the day, been a long day for her, long work day.

03:07 RS: Oh, yeah. A lot of meetings, a lot of…

03:10 EE: Yeah, a lot of meetings, lying down. She had a piece of pork for lunch, so.


03:14 RS: Uff, that’ll wear you out.


03:15 EE: Yeah, it will.

03:15 RS: I was actually… When you asked if it was okay if you brought her, I had this brief moment, just was this brief vision where I was like, I could set up a microphone, and just be like, “What do you think of that, Maeby?”

03:23 EE: Yeah, she doesn’t speak a whole lot, but she might give you… She actually has one eye, so she might give you a one side eye for…

03:29 RS: A little side eye [chuckle] or a wink, depending on your philosophical bend.


03:31 EE: Yeah, wink, yeah, exactly. [laughter] She’s a little winky dog.

03:35 RS: I love that. She sounds adorable and I love to talk about her for the next 45 minutes…

03:38 EE: I know.

03:39 RS: But at some point here, Erica, we should probably talk about recruitment right?

03:42 EE: Yeah, sounds great.

03:43 RS: So, I think most of my listeners will be familiar with your company Niantic from Pokemon GO, but I’m sure more goes on between those four walls than just that. Do you wanna kinda give us the high-level overview of the company?

03:56 EE: Yeah, absolutely, so yeah, Niantic is mostly known for Pokemon GO. We actually… We started out at Google, we were part of the Google Maps and Earth team before branching out and focusing on location-based games. So, similar to Google, we have a platform which is basically that grid you see, wherever… Depending on where you are, and then, we just run games on top of it. So, the first game that we launched, Ingress has actually a pretty big cult following, much different than Pokemon GO and the success of that got us our contract with TCPI and Nintendo and we are working on… Then we launched Pokemon GO and that kind of blew us up, so…

04:31 RS: Right, right.

04:32 EE: Since then, we’ve announced a Harry Potter game that’s coming out this year.

04:35 RS: Love it.

04:36 EE: So… And then internally, we announced some other games, which are actually much different than the games that we’ve announced. And then, we did also announce that we’re going to allow third-party developers to develop on our platform…

04:48 RS: Great.

04:48 EE: So we’ll be hosting other people’s games, and we’re just trying to diversify and get people outdoors mainly, and playing with each other and… It’s really fun. If you were to tell me I was gonna work with the Pokemon GO company, when it came out, I wouldn’t have believed you. I was a huge fan.

05:03 RS: Yeah.

05:03 EE: I play… Like, I remember when it was on Reddit, like, “Oh, they’re coming out with this game where you catch Pokemon.” And then it came out [chuckle] and I loved it. And I feel really lucky that I get to work there now. We play all the time, like, when we have time, so it’s really fun and I’m excited about the other products that we’re gonna launch.

05:21 RS: You mentioned that you sometimes have people Pokemon GO players come into the office uninvited.

05:29 EE: Yes. Oh, we… I mean, people are really interested in giving their feedback [laughter] and wanting to tell us like…

05:33 RS: Of course.

05:35 EE: What they like and dislike, and so we have had people kind of sneak in or try to get in but are…

05:41 RS: Do they think that’s where all the Pokemon are, like, what are they trying to accomplish?

05:43 EE: You know, I’m not sure. I know we have a lot of people that are like, “If I interview, can I catch more Pokemon?” [chuckle] We’re, buy a lot [05:49] ____ a PokeStop, so we don’t really need to give you more… [chuckle] Any more Pokemon.

05:53 RS: Right.

05:53 EE: But people are quite passionate about this game. I had not realized.

05:56 RS: Yeah, yeah.

05:58 EE: And so, I get a lot of feedback and… We’re trying to make it as fun as possible, so.

06:03 RS: Right.

06:04 EE: And we are located in a really nice spot, we actually sit in the Ferry Building, so it’s beautiful.

06:10 RS: Love it.

06:11 EE: But it is hard to get in. So, [chuckle] sorry, you… Maybe you can apply [chuckle] and then get in that way.

06:16 RS: Yeah. Right. Get an invitation for interview [laughter] before you show up unannounced.

06:21 EE: Exactly, yeah.


06:22 RS: So speaking of, what are some of the roles you’re looking to fill right now?

06:25 EE: Yeah, so I help hire for engineering, so we are actively hiring pretty much all backend roles across a few different locations. We’re lucky enough to have a few different locations at Niantic, Bellevue, San Francisco, Sunnyvale, Los Angeles, Tokyo, London, and Hamburg, Germany.

06:40 RS: Goodness.

06:41 EE: And then, for my team in particular, we’re hiring recruiter and a sourcer in our Sunnyvale office. So, if there’s anyone interested, please check out our jobs posting. We’re a pretty… It feels like a startup, ’cause we’re so spread out, but we have about 420 people at Niantic, but because we’re all spread out, it runs like a smaller company when you’re with your team.

07:04 RS: Right, right.

07:05 EE: So, it’s really fun, very fast paced. I love it. [chuckle] I don’t plan on leaving any time soon.

07:10 RS: Great. So, are you hiring across all those different locations?

07:13 EE: We are. All of them, yeah. So, the biggest international team is Tokyo right now, and then we’ll be bumping up London, and then, pretty much our entire engineering team sits all on the West Coast.

07:23 RS: Got it.

07:24 EE: So, most roles are available at least in the Bay Area and Bellevue, but you could check out our website. We have quite a few different roles, including product and marketing, along with recruiting and engineering.

07:37 RS: The bigger footprints are in Tokyo and London, right?

07:40 EE: Yeah. So, we’re… The teams internationally are quite small. They’re teams of 20 people or less, but we’ll be doing more hiring out there, which is exciting. So, that’s kind of where I’ve been learning most recently. I had not done any international hiring until working here, really. Yeah, I think I did… I helped a little when I worked at my old job, but this is a lot more, kind of bigger, like, scope of hiring out there. So, it’s been very interesting. I’m trying not to be… I’m learning. I’m trying to take it all in, because it has been a learning experience for every step that we’ve done here.

08:16 RS: Right, right. What are some of the international hiring differences, when you think about how you engage or hire people here, versus Japan, versus UK?

08:23 EE: Yeah. So, right now, for… I mean, specifically for the one thing that kind of pops in my mind is references. Tokyo doesn’t do those. And I just found out, in London, they can do them in the beginning of the interview process.

08:40 RS: Okay.

08:41 EE: Which could be a little nuanced for our specific roles. We have kind of specific teams out there currently in London, it’s mainly our AR team, and in our Tokyo office, we have artists, as well as engineers out there. But I had found out that Tokyo… It is not custom to do any references, while in London, you’re expected to provide references, generally, pretty much upfront throughout the interview process.

09:09 RS: So, London references beforehand…

09:12 EE: Yeah.

09:13 RS: United States, after, and…

09:15 EE: Yeah, tail end.

09:16 RS: Tail end. Tokyo not at all, Japan not at all.

09:19 EE: None at all, none at all.

09:21 RS: Who’s doing it right?


09:24 EE: I like Tokyo’s, personally.

09:26 RS: None at all?

09:27 EE: And not because I… ‘Cause I conduct references for all of the hires [09:31] ____, and not because it’s time consuming [chuckle] or anything. I just… I don’t know how I… Personally, I think references are good. I think they give you some signal, but I don’t think they’re… I don’t think they are the reason you should make a hire or not.

09:47 RS: Right.

09:48 EE: Yeah.

09:49 RS: Because it doesn’t really trust in your process, right? It’s sort of an external person, if… Barring something outlandish that this person tells you, it shouldn’t really factor into your analysis, right?

10:01 EE: Yeah, I mean, you’re asking… Like, if I was interviewing, I’d ask my friends, people that I trust, to talk about me, and their view is gonna be subjective, [chuckle] like, they’re friends of mine. So I think a lot of people feel the same way. I mean, of course, you’re gonna get some signal whatsoever, but most often than not, most references are positive.

10:26 RS: Yeah.

10:27 EE: And I don’t know… I think maybe people wanna do it just to confirm where people work and things like that, but I don’t think that it should hold so much weight to the hiring process. And lucky enough for Niantic, it does hold some weight, but the main reason we do it is to better understand how we could ramp someone up or make them successful coming in. So, kind of like one of the main questions we ask is, “If this person was to join a new team like Niantic, how can we help them be successful?” And so, that’s kind of like the thesis of the question that every manager or mentor will get, if this person accepts and joins our company.

11:08 RS: Right. So, it’s not so much analysis as it is… Or sorry. It’s not so much evaluation as it is just context.

11:17 EE: Yeah, yeah, yes, exactly. I think that’s perfectly put. I think, to me, seldomly are you going to get something way newer or different from that conversation than you had throughout the interview process with someone.

11:34 RS: Right.

11:35 EE: So, it just seems kind of like a little bit of an extra step to… I think it’s kind of just like a process. [chuckle] To me, it just seems a little bit of an antiquated process.

11:48 RS: It’s like a legacy thing that…


11:49 EE: Yeah.

11:50 RS: Someone who had never hired before was like, “Eh, should we call for… Should we call this person that worked with them before and use their opinion?”

11:57 EE: Or people were doing it because they were on the fence about someone. But it generally… To me, it’s like, you just need a second opinion of someone that already likes this person, I don’t… Like, to confirm the yes…

12:06 RS: Right.

12:07 EE: Seems kind of like eh…

12:08 RS: That’s the thing, it’s only gonna… Like, if they picked smart, which you… They’re only gonna put someone… They’re only gonna give you the name of someone who’s gonna speak well of them, then you’re only gonna get good feedback.

12:20 EE: Hopefully, yeah.

12:21 RS: And so, it’s just gonna reinforce the decision you’ve already made, because typically, in the United States, anyway, if you’re making the reference call, usually that’s like the last thing. It’s like, “Alright, well, pending references.”

12:32 EE: Exactly, yeah. So, for even us, we try… I try to bust them out. I’m doing some right now, I have some tomorrow. There’s someone that was in process who got me them right away, and I did them all in a day. They were fabulous references, as I expected.

12:45 RS: Naturally, yeah.

12:45 EE: This person did very well in the interview process, I didn’t expect anything else, and it’s like, “Oh, I’m happy to talk to them. I’m gonna give the all these notes to our hiring team,” but did we… We already knew that person was gonna be great. [chuckle]

13:01 RS: Right, no, I agree with you, so, there is an opportunity on the reference call to accomplish something, even if it’s not an evaluation or it’s not evaluation. So, but you did say that you think the Japanese are doing it correctly, where it has no place at all. So, would you say… Would you rather have the reference check and just use it as an opportunity to gather insight on how you can best… This person can best succeed at your company, or would you rather just get rid of the whole thing?

13:30 EE: That’s a good question.

13:32 RS: Think of all that time you’d get back, Erica.


13:33 EE: I know, so much time. I like to know a little bit about the candidates, generally, for me to know a little bit what makes them tick, but I am never getting any seriously new information. So overall, I would probably say I like the Japanese version a little bit better.

13:57 RS: Okay. So well, so if it is a legacy process then you’re kind of it was like, “Alright, we kinda have to do. We have to check this box. We might as well get the most out of it,” right?

14:09 EE: Mm-hmm.

14:10 RS: But maybe there’s an opportunity to say, “You know what, we don’t need to do this.”

14:13 EE: Yeah. Well, to me, if you’re someone’s very strong overall or if you’re like, “This person is great. I think they’re gonna be a great fit,” why do you need those references right then?

14:21 RS: Exactly.

14:22 EE: So maybe they can be used for a second opinion or like, “Hey, I think this person might need some sort of ramp up.” Maybe we can ask them a little bit more about what they did to ramp that person up. And that’s usually how I frame that now, too, like, “Oh, what did you do?” If you were their manager, “How did it work? Was it easy?” Or a little bit more on aligned with that, and maybe we can just focus more on that. But yeah, I don’t and this is not, this is just my personal opinion, I don’t necessarily think they give me a lot of more new information about the candidate that we already know.

14:55 RS: Okay. So reference checks for evaluative… Evaluative, is that a word?

15:01 EE: I think so.

15:01 RS: I’m a marketer. I can invent words.

15:03 EE: I do too. Sometimes.

15:04 RS: For evaluative purposes, no good. For context purposes and figuring out if someone… What the context is, help them succeed is good. Maybe it’s legacy, maybe we don’t need them at all. Where do you land on back channel references?

15:22 EE: I don’t really like back channel. Back channel references to me seem not very nice for lack of a better term, I think back channel references are you’re not being very… You’re not being fully…

15:40 RS: Transparent?

15:41 EE: Yeah, exactly, with what you’re trying to get. To me, it seems a little shady.

15:46 RS: Yeah.

15:47 EE: That you’re trying to get some negative feedback on someone. I know people do it.

15:55 RS: It’s like, “What’s the dirt,” right?

15:56 EE: Yeah. To me, It’s just like I’d rather be… I think I was telling you this earlier, I’d rather be upfront and honest with someone. I think the best recruiters that I worked with were and I think that they try to be as just honest.

16:08 RS: Yeah.

16:08 EE: I’m not trying to mislead anyone. I’m not trying to go behind someone. I’m not gonna say, “We know something about you that you didn’t know we asked.” Oh, and especially, if that ever came back to them.

16:17 RS: Right.

16:17 EE: If they ever were like, “Oh, yeah. Someone called me about you.”

16:20 RS: Yeah.

16:21 EE: “And I talked to them.” I just… To me, it just doesn’t seem… It does not seem like the person or the company I would like to be represented of.

16:31 RS: Yeah.

16:33 EE: So yeah, not a big fan.

16:35 RS: I tend to agree with you. I think the argument probably goes something like, the argument for it probably goes something like, “Well, when you have a reference someone gives you, they’re gonna be overwhelmingly positive.” So a back channel person, someone who they didn’t select but may have worked with them before, they might have a more subjective view or they’re less likely just be overwhelmingly positive because they know what’s… They’ve been prepped for this. But one, I mean that outs the candidate. The job search can be a private, sort of delicate process and you choose very carefully who you tell that you’re looking for a new job and hopefully, no one would be so brazen as to do a back channel reference with someone at their current company, but that could happen. Even if it doesn’t, you never know who’s talking.

17:24 EE: Yeah.

17:24 RS: You never know, who knows who and who’s like, “Oh, yeah. This person who I kinda worked with before, I know their current boss.”

17:30 EE: Yeah.

17:31 RS: And now I’m like “Hey, you have a flight risk on your hands. This person now you’ve completely blown up their spot,” right?

17:36 EE: Yeah. Well, even as a recruiter, and I bet other people have had to deal with this. You’ve talked to two people at the same company, I would never say like, “Oh, I’m talking to your colleague.” Or something like that, right?

17:44 RS: Right. Yeah, yeah.

17:45 EE: Even as a recruiter, it’s kind of the same thing.

17:47 RS: Yeah.

17:48 EE: Okay. Maybe there’s something going on with your company or something like that, but I’m not going… I need to be very… I need to not be over-sharing information about different things because I don’t know everyone’s situation and it’s the same thing. I don’t wanna out people exactly. It’s their choice to interview, it’s their choice to provide references, it’s their choice to present themselves in a specific way that there is really no need for me to try and get someone else’s subjective opinion on them again.

18:19 RS: And you have to be a little elusive with the candidate at that point, too, right?

18:22 EE: Right, and you’re lying?

18:22 RS: Because you want to… You’re lying to them and a best case by omission, right?

18:27 EE: Yeah.

18:28 RS: Just by… You wanna keep them up to date on where they are in the process like, “Hey, so and so really loved meeting you. We’re gonna call your references and a bunch of people you didn’t tell us about it.” You’re not gonna tell them that’s going on. And so then, they’re out of the loop, then they are also at a point where… Maybe they accidentally ran over that person’s cat in the parking lot. And that person has a vendetta against them. I don’t know, extreme example, but it’s the same thing as the listed reference which is it’s not giving your own process enough credit, right?

19:03 EE: Agreed, yeah.

19:03 RS: Just say we can make a decision inside this building. We have the skills to evaluate this person accurately. We don’t need some random jamoke from company, whatever, to give us the insight we need.

19:14 EE: Yeah, and I have done negative references, full-on references of people or gotten negative back channel references and we’ve kind of glossed over them before. I’ve had friends of friends say that they know that person and stuff and this was never solicited by me or something like that, but had given this feedback and we were like, “Okay.” There are other references, we’re fine. So for us, it’s more about just being kind of upfront with how they’re sharing and if they can do the job regardless, again, I think it’s just not very… It’s not very nice. [chuckle] For lack… I don’t know what else to say, it’s just not very nice.

19:57 RS: What about for as a character testimony? Say they were like a misogynist or something, their references aren’t gonna tell you that. Probably wouldn’t come out in your interview process. Are there times when it’s good to get someone who’s unattached to the process to chime in?

20:16 EE: I kinda think that you should be trying to get that out of the interview process.

20:20 RS: You can still screen for that?

20:20 EE: I think so.

20:21 RS: Okay.

20:21 EE: Like, my company takes into account how they treat us and coordinators.

20:25 RS: Yeah.

20:26 EE: ‘Cause I think people do treat… Like engineers, in particular, can sometimes treat the people coordinating their interviews, and the HR team much different than…

20:34 RS: Of course.

20:35 EE: Like the CTO and stuff like that. So, any time I see a red flag, I put in my feedback.

20:40 RS: Yeah.

20:41 EE: So, I mean, I’m interviewing anyone all the time. Like, basically throughout the process how they’re responding to me, like, via email, on the phone, anything. I’m generally giving some feedback at some point, so to me, like, sure, you can take into that account, but I hope as a recruiter, you’re doing that too and actually feel a little bit empowered to give you a feedback. I’m lucky enough that at Niantic they do, they’re like, “Oh, this person… ” Like, I had seen… Been on threads of someone being very short to the coordination team, and I was like, “Oh absolutely not.”

21:13 RS: Yeah.

21:13 EE: I flagged it and they’re like, “No, no, we’re not working with someone that’s gonna treat someone else in a different team poorly.” So, I know I didn’t really answer the question but…


21:23 RS: No, that’s a fair question.

21:24 EE: That to me, I think that recruiters should… Like, even though if you’re not an engineer, you should be interviewing the person the way you know how to throughout the process, so.

21:30 RS: Yes. Yeah, no, you answered it, because you said that you’d even screen for that. Again, you don’t need some random person outside of the… To figure that out.

21:41 EE: Yeah, and someone can be really unhappy at their job and be quiet or be short or curt or something like that, and I’m not saying that they should, but the way that they could be very unhappy with stuff that’s happening at work and that’s why they are interviewing and trying to leave.

21:57 RS: Yeah.

21:57 EE: So, I know people that have come in and then their product manager or someone was pregnant and left a couple of months after, and they’re like, “Ah, I came into a mess, and then they probably wouldn’t give that person a great reference.” It’s like, well I mean that’s life, like, [chuckle] what are you gonna do?”

22:16 RS: Yeah. Yeah.

22:18 EE: You have to be a little bit subjective of maybe that person didn’t plan that to leave.

22:22 RS: Right. Right. This is good though, I think… So the answer is that with references, you should think, “Are we getting anything out of this reference that we couldn’t get on our own?” And…

22:32 EE: Yes.

22:34 RS: Maybe in some cases, that is the case, but it doesn’t mean that it has to continue being the case, right? You can be like, “Okay, yeah, we’re not screening for the way they treated our office manager when they came in or the way they treated the security guy, the front desk, whatever it is, where there are all these signals that we can take into account that we’re not and that we… ” But we can and we don’t have to rely on someone else to get them.

22:58 EE: Right, absolutely. And it takes some time. Our company… I’ve been at companies before that have… We’ve hired people that were like, “Oh man, I wish we, wish we caught these things,” or…

23:12 RS: Can you give an example without outing anyone?

23:14 EE: Yeah, like, people that were… That tended to maybe build up their resume, or the work that they did without really kind of getting down to it, and I’ve worked with people that have joined the team and had a lot of specs and things like that, but didn’t really perform and that’s okay, but we didn’t really know how to make them perform a little bit better. It could have been the company at hand too, having some issues with that and getting ramped up and adjusting, but could have been a little bit more like, “Maybe we should have dug deeper in those things.” I’ve also worked with people that their communication styles, not as friendly or as… You know, like to me, you should treat people the way… And I mean, I’m not always nice, of course, but if I’m not going to be nice maybe I’ll just be quiet.

24:10 RS: Yeah.

24:10 EE: Or if I’m having a rough day, maybe I will just have my headphones on rather than telling someone they need to help me right then and now, and getting things done. So, sometimes you can’t always like… Or maybe the recruiter didn’t feel confident to bring that up to the hiring team.

24:33 RS: Right.

24:34 EE: Like, to me, I think that’s actually sometimes what happens.

24:37 RS: Okay.

24:38 EE: I’ve seen it maybe as a woman, or just like an impostor syndrome of being like, “Oh, that’s what you guys want? And guys being [laughter] like the [24:45] ____ term. Okay, that’s fine,” without being like, maybe…

24:51 RS: Are you sure that’s what you want?


24:52 EE: Yeah, like being like, “Oh, that person was kind of a jerk to me.”

24:54 RS: Yeah, yeah.

24:55 EE: Or like, “Oh, that person was very dismissive and talked down to me pretty regularly. And I think that recruiters can also take into account how they are being treated, and again, like I said, Niantic does… Like, I’ve brought it up to meetings and been like, “This person was kind of rude, wasn’t very friendly, like, giving me a hard time about things and changing things last minute and” been like, “I don’t necessarily think they’re gonna be the best fit,” and they’re like, “Okay, they’re not then.”

25:25 RS: Right. And so, that can take place in terms of educating your own team, your recruiters to be like, “Hey, you should speak up in these cases.”

25:32 EE: Yeah.

25:32 RS: Like, you should be working with this hiring manager. It’s possible you wrote this job description or you helped them write this job description, you helped them figure out what it is they wanted, and you can chime in, and please pipe up and speak out if you are noticing something that they are…

25:47 EE: I do put a little bit of the onus on the engineering team, I know it can be… For me, I was very green, and wanted to be agreeable a lot of the time.

25:58 RS: Right.

25:58 EE: And recruiting you wanna make hires, you wanna close people and that… But when you’re working in-house and things like that, some of the people you hire affects how you work. [chuckle] Like, it’s gonna affect regardless if they’re not specifically working with you or just peripherally working with your team, you have to deal with them too. So you might as well say something. So, I was lucky enough to… I have a team there that I feel confident to bring those things up, and they are very responsive back, or “oh, noted,” like anyone else, or maybe we can talk to them about it. And they have. We’re pretty transparent about… We saw what you said…

26:43 RS: Yeah.

26:44 EE: To the coordinator, and that’s not really how we want…

26:46 RS: Yeah.

26:47 EE: To talk to people here.

26:48 RS: So there is an opportunity to coach recruiters and the hiring teams to look out for these kind of things, but then, also, in the event where you point at someone and you’re like, “Ooh, I wish we had caught this,” then that’s why keeping great documentation in your ETS is so important…

27:06 EE: Yes.

27:06 RS: Because then you can look back and be like, was there anything in this interview that is indicative of this?

27:11 EE: Mm-hmm.

27:12 RS: ‘Cause next time someone exhibits that, now we know to dig more, now we know to push.

27:16 EE: Yeah, I think that’s good. And we work… I work at a startup, so we are trying to actively hire… And I’m saying these are very one-off things of when I worked in the past, oh, they just didn’t communicate well, like they’re clashing with people and stuff like that. That is sometimes hard to weed out even if the person’s doing a really good job at the job.

27:36 RS: Yeah.

27:36 EE: So, again, the thing I wanna say is, if you’re a recruiter for a job that you’ve never really done, usually that’s what we are, we’re people in between, read into them. Your job is to see what people like and dislike and what they would like to join and what they don’t want to join and if they are a good fit. You’re the liaison in between. So if you think they’re not gonna be a fit, you should definitely say it.

28:03 RS: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Well, Erica, we are creeping up on optimal podcast length here.

28:08 EE: Is it?

28:09 RS: Yeah.

28:09 EE: What’s optimal podcast length?

28:11 RS: The length of the average American commute, I’d say.


28:15 EE: Which is what? I don’t know.

28:16 RS: Or the average American time on treadmill, I don’t know.

28:18 EE: Okay.

28:19 RS: How long does it take to clean your kitchen?

28:22 EE: I guess, I don’t know. In San Francisco, most people have small kitchens, so maybe.

28:25 RS: That’s true. You’re the first person to call me out on that.

28:28 EE: To ask you that?

28:28 RS: I say it like every other episode.

28:30 EE: Yeah, it’s like, oh, is it? I don’t know. I listen to a lot of different podcasts from lengths of like 20 minutes to two hours, so I don’t know.

28:37 RS: Right. One of my favorites is like four hours long.

28:39 EE: Four hours?

28:40 RS: Yeah. It’s not Joe Rogan, disclaimer.

28:42 EE: It’s not Joe… Well, my fiance, he listens to Joe Budden, which is like two-hour podcasts.

28:50 RS: Uh-huh.

28:50 EE: We go to Sacramento a lot, and it was like the whole ride the other day. I was like, oh my God.

28:55 RS: Here we go again with this Budden character.

28:56 EE: Yeah, I’ll let him listen to it. He usually, he gets to listen to his one on the way up and I get to listen to one on the way back.

29:01 RS: That’s fair. That’s modern romance. I like that.

29:03 EE: Yeah, it is modern romance.

29:05 RS: That’s love. Well, now you have a new podcast for your rotation.

29:09 EE: Yeah, exactly, I can’t wait, I’m so excited.

29:12 RS: And I’m excited for everyone to hear this episode, because this was a lot of fun. Erica, you’re wonderful.

29:17 EE: Thanks.

29:17 RS: Thank you so much for being with me here.

29:18 EE: It was really fun.

29:19 RS: And to all of you out there in podcast land, that just about does it for us here at Hired HQ. You’ve all been amazing, wonderful, talented recruiting darlings. I’ve been Rob Stevenson. Erica Ebinger has been Erica Ebinger. Have a spectacular week, and happy hunting.


29:42 RS: Talk Talent to Me is brought to you by Hired, a double opt-in global marketplace connecting the best-fit active talent to the most exciting recruiting organizations. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find your next great hire, head to, and we’ll get started.