Global Head of Talent Sourcing and People Analytics Shally Steckerl

Shally SteckerlGlobal Head of Talent Sourcing and People Analytics

In this episode, Shally tells us about his new position at LTK, how it’s changed the way he looks at money, why we need to try to find talent-sourcing tools other than LinkedIn, the importance of balancing application friction, and how to optimize the applications coming in (especially when it’s free to apply).

Episode Transcript

Rob Stevenson 0:05
Welcome to talk talent to me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines of modern recruitment.

Speaker 2 0:12
We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions where they’re willing to take risks and what it looks like when they

Rob Stevenson 0:21
fail, no holds barred completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment VPs of global talent, CHR rows, and everyone in between.

Speaker 3 0:31
Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

Speaker 4 0:39
Talent Acquisition. It’s a fantastic career, you are trusted by the organization, you get to work with the C suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between and everybody knows you.

Rob Stevenson 0:52
I’m your host, Rob Stevenson. And you’re about to hear the best in the biz. talk down to me. Hello, hello, all of you. Wonderful, talented recruiting sorcerers, directors of talent, HR folks, whatever your talent related title is. I’m glad you’re tuning in once more to another episode of talk down to me. And I have a very special guest for you today. If you don’t know who he is, that would surprise me. You really should know all about Challis staccato at this point. He is the founder of the sourcing Institute. Right now. He is the global head of talent sourcing and people analytics over at LT K. Challis stuck URL is here with me Shelly Welcome. How are you today?

Shally Steckerl 1:30
Hey, man doing great. Yeah, thanks for having me on the show. Appreciate it.

Rob Stevenson 1:34
Yeah, so glad to have you, you and I have podcasted once or twice before, we’ve worked on some other content in the battle days at various other startups and various other gigs. So I’m really, really glad to have you back on, man, it’s good to see you. How have you been been a

Shally Steckerl 1:48
while, lots of change, lots stayed the same. But things go on, I definitely feel a lot older.

Rob Stevenson 1:53
Yeah, me too. Me too. That’s how recruiting is it’s like a river always different, always the same. And I’m excited to hear the parts of it that are a little different. First of all, is that you have this roll over at LTK. You’ve been there about a year and a half. Now, it’s kind of new for you. Because you’ve mostly worked at larger companies, you kind of come in and advise the Talent Team on a high level. Now you’re running the whole department over there. So I’d be curious to hear how you got to this role and how you knew it was the right move for you.

Shally Steckerl 2:18
Going way back to more than 25 years ago, I got into recruiting in the staffing firm side of things, staffing partners, you know, the vendors, right. And that’s all I knew about the industry, cut my teeth there, and quickly realized that what I was, I didn’t know, I was inventing. But what I was developing and inventing was this whole method of internet recruiting or internet sourcing, there were only a few people that were doing it and I just kind of took to it like a duck and water. And eventually, within a few years decided, you know, I could be making much more money if I did my own thing. So I had my own business, my wife and I started our own business. And did that for a long time. As part of the business, I worked with advisor or consulted with large companies, you know, Google, Microsoft, Coca Cola. So you’re right, it was a vast majority of it were either large enterprises, or very rapidly growing companies like Google when I started was only 3000 people, but it was accelerating really quickly. So I had my own company and I was used to being my own boss, then things changed a little bit with the economy and benefits and the cost of living and all that. So I ended up deciding to hire someone to run the company and got a square job. So that I went to a company that was a very large financial services firm stayed there for five years, went to a consulting firm, where I was a senior partner, and realized that wasn’t really a good fit. For me, I used to be a consultant before my business was consulting. And so I knew what that was like. But becoming a partner in a consulting firm, where there’s 11 other partners, it’s a completely different story. And it was a little bit too halfway between the two worlds, right, you’ve got on the one side, you’ve got the enterprise corporate role. And on the other side, you’ve got the business ownership where you’re the boss and you know, you have the nightmares of not being able to meet payroll, and all the other things that you have when you’re when you’re the boss, but being a partner at a consulting firm, you would think had some of the best of both however, for me, it just wasn’t a good fit. So I decided to go back into corporate and a friend of mine that I’ve been in touch with and who was very influential in my mid career, recruited me and welcomed me into this company LTK which some people might know as rewardstyle. So here instead of my typical consulting role, where people are hiring me for my expertise, or the enterprise role that I was used to doing at you know, places like Microsoft and Fiserv where I had a very structured role and defined and everything this opportunity as a head of the entire function actually two functions it’s it’s people analytics as well as down sourcing. So I run all the technology And I’m kind of like the Uber geek of things plus the sourcing team, and all the data analysis. So establishing a function is very different than both of the other roles. I didn’t think it was going to be this different. But it’s difficult in a couple of big ways. For example, when I had my own business, I do have a budget, that is, you know, the money that’s allocated, but I actually work on the budget with the CFO. So that whole process of p&l budgeting is new to me, I used to run my own p&l called my company, right, and it was like the entire p&l, but I wasn’t a part of a bigger company in a p&l setting. When I was at the enterprises, I had a department and we were allocated our budget, it’s like, here’s the money that you have to spend, period and destroy, there’s no negotiating or anything. So this is new in that I’m actually in the process of selecting vendors negotiating contracts, I get to set the budget. So there’s that part of it, which is new. And there’s also the part of it, that is, when you’re in charge of something like strategy, that can be very different than your typical role that’s focused on execution. A lot of folks don’t really understand, or they think they understand the difference, but they understand strategy as actually operations. What they call strategy is really operations. You have strategy, operations, and tactics. They’re three different parts of business. And people sometimes confuse them. The tactics is the day to day, how do we do things? The operations is the boots on the ground, getting things done, think about the way your car operates. That’s the car running, it’s the mechanics of it. The tactics would be more like any modifications you do your car or tweaks that you do you know, maybe what type of gasoline you use, how fast you drive, how aggressively you drive, those are tactics, right? And then strategy is more about where are you going to, that’s the big picture. So when my job became all about strategy, and not as a consultant, I have to be very careful with what I choose to do. As a consultant, I can go into an organization, I’m getting paid by the organization to give them 150 ideas, they’re paying for my expertise, they’re paying for my strategy, they want to tell me their strategy and see if it’s sound, see if I can poke any holes in it, they want to get my advice on it, recommendations, and they’re paying for all that. So they’re not going to say no to a strategy. But when you’re the head of a department, and you’re the only one in charge of strategy for this business, in that in that company, you can’t come up with 150 ideas, because they’re going to ask you what which one you want to do. So not only do you have to come up with the strategy, but you also have to decide which one, back it up, and then go ahead and execute on it. So becomes a lot more challenging to pick the right one. And there’s a lot more at stake. Because when I was an advisor, I would be able to give my clients five strategies, and then they would pick one, I could recommend, here’s my top strategy that I recommend. And you know, here’s the plan for it. But ultimately, it was their decision, I never was never there long enough to live with the decision that they made. Because within the year I be, you know, onto another project here, whatever decisions I make are going to impact the entire organization. So it’s a whole lot more responsibility, and a different kind of stress, a different kind of anxiety. I’m not saying it’s good, bad, better or worse. It’s just different. You know, when you have your own business, the stress and the anxiety is the can I meet my payroll? I need more clients, you know, how do we expand the business? How do we hire people, there’s all the ownership problems. And when you have an enterprise job, the stress is basically doing the job, the requirements that people put on you and being able to do a good job. But this is different. It’s a little bit of both. But it’s also ultimately if you sit on your rear and don’t really come up with a good plan, nothing happens. Nobody’s going to point fingers at you. But it’s your job. To do that. It’s your job to figure out what risks to take. So it’s a little bit unnerving. To narrow down all the choices and kind of, I want to say put your eggs in one basket, which you’re supposed to not do. But at this level, I find that I have to maybe have one or two baskets, I can’t have distractions. And so that’s been a hard lesson for me to learn is to really drill down on one or two, three, or maybe three maximum things that I really can can deliver on at the same time that I’m also keeping an eye on what’s going to happen next year. So I’m already thinking about two years ahead. I’m already thinking about three years ahead, like I would as a consultant, but I can’t tell anybody about that. I got nobody to talk to about that. Because if I do, they get confused because they’re like, well, is that what you want to do now? No, no, no, no, I’m just thinking about what we’re going to do next year. And so I have to find other ways to have like a sounding board and it’s been challenging because they can’t share what I’m thinking with people as to the organization.

Rob Stevenson 10:00
So I can’t be your sounding board. Right now chalet, oh, you’re telling me,

Shally Steckerl 10:04
You can be my sounding board for thought experiments, but not for what to do with

Rob Stevenson 10:08
this job not for being decisive. Right. Not for setting strategy,

Shally Steckerl 10:11
not for being just That’s right. But I definitely I still do everything that I did before as a consultant in the in industry, quote unquote, expert, I still play with things. I still like Chat GPT, I still take an hour or two a day to push the limits and the boundaries and see what can be done with something. But I don’t bring it to the client as an idea, because the client in this case, doesn’t want an idea. They want a fully executed plan or a plan that can be fully executed, I should say.

Rob Stevenson 10:40
I’m glad you mentioned chat GPT not because I want to necessarily talk about it so much. But just because you’re a tinkerer, right, you were a bullying expert, you are finding ways to surface folks you have invented so many of the tactics in sourcing that are now just sort of table stakes. And I worry, I worry about your Shelly, I worry you, you don’t get to kind of roll your sleeves up as much and tinker in your role. Is that the case? Or do you still get to scratch that itch,

Shally Steckerl 11:05
I tinker in a different level, I tinker not at the day to day operational level, I have a team that do that. And I can live vicariously through them. But one thing I’ve learned is that this is my team, I hired them to do the job. And I didn’t hire them so that I can teach them how to do the job. So I have to be careful not to jump in and take the reins and say, Hey, let me show you how to do it. That’s a risk that I think sometimes managers especially middle level managers, get caught up in the jumping and do it for them kind of trap. So I’ve learned to not do that. I’ve learned to wait until they say I have a problem, how can we solve it, and then I go into problem solving mode. So I still do get to tinker with it. But I also get to tinker with these other things. Like for example, take LinkedIn, there are some very positive things about LinkedIn as far as being a source for talent. But there are also some kind of hidden dangers and hidden traps that I didn’t really need to think about before. Like, for example, recently, it’s been pretty apparent that the volume of and I’ve confirmed this with our with our LinkedIn reps, that the volume of applicants has gone up. And what they’re saying is that on their end, what they’re seeing is there’s a lot more activity, there’s more people clicking on jobs. But the interesting thing about it is that the volume of people has gone significantly up. So it’s more people clicking on jobs, but compared to the per capita, click per job per person, it’s gone down. So just to give an idea, to use an example of numbers, it used to be that 100, people would be looking for jobs, and 50 of them would be clicking on jobs a day. Now, it’s like 10,000, people are looking for jobs. But it’s not 5000 people clicking on them, it’s more like 1000 people. So there’s a lot more people, but a lot less clicking. And what I’m noticing is this, this is what they’re saying overall, I just in general. But what I’m noticing is that there’s more indiscriminate clicking, we get the same person applying for dozens of jobs and easy apply doesn’t seem to really be as much of a good idea anymore, because we have too many applicants. And too quickly, like we’ll push the job and we’ll have 1000 applicants within the day. Which means now we have a quite frankly too many people to look at. I mean, you know, a recruiter can’t look at 1000 people in one day. So you have massive bulk rejections and things like that. So now we have this fire hose of candidates. And a lot of that has been wasted. I almost want to go back to less, it’s like less is more. So when I was frontline recruiting, I’d be like, Bring it on, man, the more leads the better, right? But now that I’m thinking about big picture strategy, my recruiters don’t care that they have 1000 applicants, they’re happy, because like I was, hey, let’s bring it on. Yeah, no more candidates better. But what I’m looking at it is I’m spending all this money on a tool where only a quarter of 1% of the people are getting hired. Well, there are other tools where I’m spending less than getting more hires per capita. So I need to think about that imbalance it and try to improve the conversion of quality from LinkedIn with essentially decreasing the volume. And that’s a big picture thing that involves everything from the templates that your jobs used to an example of something that was very tied to go that identified our benefits were not being picked up by LinkedIn. So when our jobs say medical, dental, vision, all that on LinkedIn, if people went to the filter where they search for jobs, and they checked the box that must have medical benefits, our jobs were eliminated because they weren’t being picked up. Well, that means that people that are looking for benefits, which I don’t even know how many what percentage of that because linked isn’t going to tell me exactly what that is. But whatever that number is those people who were looking for jobs with benefits and check that box didn’t see our jobs, which could explain why There was a lot more volume of candidates and a lot less quality because maybe it was more people indiscriminately clicking on jobs without really kind of diving in deeper, the ones that are diving in deeper or looking for benefits and stuff like that. So something like that, you make a change, and then all of a sudden you see that quality needle go up. That impacts the entire organization that impacts recruiters, hiring managers, the amount of money that we spend, etc. So, think about that times every tool, the ATS, the CRM, indeed, job advertising, all of the different aspects of recruiting, start to come under the microscope and come under question, are they a good return on investment, and you look at those from a very different perspective than when you’re a recruiter, as a recruiter day to day you want all the money to spend on all the tools, because you don’t know what’s going to work. But when it’s your budget, and the difference is, well, okay, we either buy this tool, or we hire another resource that you can’t have both, then you really start to look at what you’re spending your money on, you know, in a different way.

Rob Stevenson 16:02
Yeah, of course, the example of the ease of application is interesting, because it sounds like I feel like over the last few years on hearing folks talk about how important it is to reduce friction in the application process. Remove the cover letter, remove asking people for things that they probably put in their resume, make it mobile first, all these things great, but as you say, then the floodgates open. And so should we really be reducing friction? Or should we only be reducing friction for the people who are good, fits for the role. But the problem as you say, once you reduce friction, you’ve reduced it for everyone. And if you’re a job seeker, you’re like, you know, to hell with it, I’ll apply to this job, why not? It’s free for me to click that button,

Shally Steckerl 16:43
there’s a balance, there really needs to be a balance, you want to reduce friction so that you’re not making it inordinately awkward and difficult to apply. But you also don’t want to reduce friction to the point where people can indiscriminately apply. So there’s that fine balance?

Rob Stevenson 16:59
How do you talk someone out of applying to a job, it’s easy to apply to when it’s free for them to apply? Right? Even if like, Yeah, I’m not a good fit for this role, I probably won’t get up and hey, shoot your shot, you know, buy a ticket win the lotto, why not?

Shally Steckerl 17:10
So there’s a number of ways you do that. One of them is to advertise much more selectively. So you could use for example, programmatic advertising, that would then spend your advertising dollars on destinations that are producing the outcome that you want. So rather than looking for the outcome to be indiscriminate number of applications, which is what we used to look at number of applications. Now we need to measure the source based on what I do, which may be a few years ahead of its time, is measure the source based on the percentage of interviews that it generates. So if source A has 100 applicants, but produced five interviews, and Source B has 10 applicants, but also produced five interviews, Source B is producing higher quality per capita. So I need to look at that, right. So one way is to measure the outcomes as opposed to measure the activity, the activity would be clicks and applies, that’s really not relevant anymore, the outcome would be an interview, or perhaps there are other outcomes downstream that you’d be interested in. At the very least, though, you should be looking at which ones are making it to the interview, because that’s a pretty darn good indicator, if a hiring manager would like to meet somebody that the candidates are fairly high quality, right. So looking at the sources, and the outcome of interviews is one. And by the way, that’s where programmatic advertising can help. If you’re large enough to be able to afford that, and you have more than, you know, 50 open rates at a time, then you probably shouldn’t be doing that, because programmatic advertising will direct your ads to the destinations where your desired outcome or greater. So you might have fewer applications, but you’ll have more quality per application. Another way is to improve the readability of your jobs. And by that, I mean there could be a number of ways that you can make them more gender neutral, you can make them more interesting, more appealing the structure and the order of things, and how much information is on them. So making them shorter, but without removing some of the interest and still having your company brand and what your company’s mission and vision is still have that be shown. But yet, not with a bunch of text and not these big long lists of bullet points. So reducing that to its essence, and having in there very clearly. Things like hey, if you’re interested in this kind of job, you landed in the right place, this is the kind of job for people like this. So if this is you look at the identification. If you are someone who does this, this and this, this is the job. Okay, good. Check that then you have a little bit about what’s exciting about the job then you have the requirements that you have to have in order to qualify the qualifications for the job. And then you have the nice to haves So somebody can read that and go, Okay, I’m in the right place. Oh, I’m excited about this job. All right, I know what I’m supposed to be able to do in order to do this job. And I check those boxes. And then here are some things that make me a better candidate than the competitors, because I have some of the nice to haves that are here and you have it in that order. And then you have the benefits that are unique, that are offered by your company that are not table stakes, right? Like medical, dental vision is great, we need to check that box. But in our case, we want to also express that there’s multiple options FSA, and HSA, things like that. All of that needs to be succinctly visible on the page. And then you have people that are looking at the job and able to determine whether or not it’s a fit for them. So they might actually opt out by looking at the minimum qualifications. Or they might opt out because of the mission and they don’t align with it. So you’ve got the placement of the jobs, the distribution of the jobs, the measuring of the outcomes, then you’ve got the actual construction of the advertising themselves. Another way is the brand, it’s possible that you have a high volume of applicants, because people are just looking at the job and they have no idea what your company does. Part of that can be answered by having a employment branding campaign, where more people become aware of what your company does. And therefore there’s less reason for them to have to determine that from the job posting itself. They can focus on reading the job requirements to see if they’re a fit. So there’s a number of ways that you can do that.

Rob Stevenson 21:28
When you are evaluating the best sources, you mentioned that you’d like to compare which source lead to the most amount of interviews, the percentage of interviews, Yep, yeah. And it sounds like this signal is okay. The hiring manager wants to meet with them. That’s a pretty good sign that it’s a quality candidate. I’m just curious about you draw the line there, as opposed to oh, we gave this person an offer, or oh, this person became a hire. Why is it that interview accepted? Hiring manager wants to meet them? Why is that kind of the part of the funnel you operate on?

Shally Steckerl 21:59
It’s a good question. So traditionally, what it’s been is the number of clicks and the number of applies. So that’s been where it’s been measured. Nobody’s measured beyond that. Right? It was very challenging to even get to that point, because a lot of ATS is, and job boards, were really not able to tell you where the candidates were coming from. And even today, the source of applicant is really sorely misrepresented. So if you look at your inbound candidates, and you are measuring the number of people that apply from a source, your ATS has to have enough of a sophisticated mechanism to be able to track precisely where they came from, so that you can tell where they came from LinkedIn. It wasn’t that long ago, where we didn’t even know we had to literally ask people, Hey, how did you hear about the job? So the evolution from literally asking candidates who were basically randomly picking something from a list, and they were picking whatever was popular at the time, if monster had an ad in the Superbowl, they were picking a monster, you know, you could almost see the changes. Because they don’t care. A candidate doesn’t care where they saw the job. They just want to complete the application. So it was terribly, horribly inaccurate. Now at least we have that tracking. But I’m thinking that that tracking isn’t good enough, because just knowing how they got here doesn’t really tell me anything about quality. Once again, it’s just how many people applied. So the question is why the interview as opposed to why not go further down? From the applicant tracking system? Now I know exactly where they came from. It can tell me that they came from indeed or LinkedIn or even a specific campaign or even a specific recruiter. Right? It tells me that exactly. But where things tend to no longer depend on our ability to attract people is beyond the interview. Once we get someone to the point where they’ve agreed to meet with the hiring manager, and when the hiring manager has agreed to meet with that person. Even if that meeting doesn’t take place. That is still a positive indicator of quality. Even if for some reason the interview is canceled. The candidate ghosts us or backs out or accepts another offer before we have a chance to interview or we cancel for whatever we there’s a myriad reasons why that happens. But the fact that we agreed to that is the first point where we can measure really measure quality before that we can’t measure quality because all we know is that they applied. Unless you want to look at every resume, we don’t really know. So the fact that they pass that gate is at least an indicator of quality. But anything beyond the interview is now kind of out of our control. It’s really out of the control of the recruiter in general, because the hiring manager is the one that conducts the interviews recruiters may do interviewing as well. We do phone screens, in many cases face to face interviews, but the recruiter doesn’t do an interview for the purposes of deciding whether or not to hire them. The recruiters interview is another gate. It’s a decision whether or not this candidate moves forward. We can say no if the candidate isn’t what we wanted, or if we’re not what the candidate wanted. That stops they are, but we really can’t say let’s hire this person without the hiring manager approval. So we can’t control what happens after the interview if the interview occurs. That to me is the quality measure, not whether or not the interview is passed or failed. If the interviews failed, I still think that that was the win. If the interview didn’t happen, it’s still a win because it shows quality. If we look at the other side of it, what’s coming out the end of the funnel, which is the number of offers, as you suggested, now, we’re looking at the quality of the entire process, not just the source of the applicants, but also the interview experience, also, our compensation, also our employment brand, also our hiring managers competencies as an interviewer, and background check, and market conditions and all these other things that don’t really need to be tied to that source. So you would be crediting a source for an offer when really there’s more to the offer than the source. But there’s not much more to the interview than the source. I mean, the interview kind of came from that source.

Rob Stevenson 25:58
Well put, I asked because that metric is often presented as source of hire, and you’re more looking at it as source of interview, basically, source of hiring manager interview. And that makes sense for evaluating a channel. But when you think of the big picture of getting offers, right, like anything after the interview is sort of out of talents, hands,

Shally Steckerl 26:16
to a certain degree, I mean, we can also do a better job of coaching people on the interview and coaching, well, we can have a hand in it. So it’s not out of our hands, but it’s definitely not well within our span of control.

Rob Stevenson 26:27
Right, right. That’s what I was getting at is that while it’s technically out of your hands, if the hire doesn’t happen, you still suffer, you may even get blamed, right? And you’re back to square one, even if like okay, well the channel was great, we got them to the hiring manager interview. That’s all we can really do. But now you’re back to the drawing board trying to find another person, you can’t move on to the next role until you’ve closed that other one. So this is a separate question, then the source of hire slash source of hiring manager interview metric, how much responsibility or talents to take for those things after the interview, even if a lot of it’s out of your hands, but knowing that it does affect your ability to do your job?

Shally Steckerl 27:01
Well, it’s a partnership. So how much responsibility, I think maybe we need to start with what are all the different components that are responsible for hire. So if the recruiter is a component, and the hiring manager is a component, there’s also other pieces, there’s, there’s of course, the company’s brand and reputation. It is well known that some candidates will take a lesser paying job because it’s a better brand company. There are also other things like for example, somebody might take the same pay as their current job, because this opportunity offers them a faster path to their career objectives, or a better job title, or more span of control or less travel or better benefits, there’s a lot of different things. So I would say that we need to be careful that it’s not just recruiting. And it’s not just the hiring manager, recruiting could be doing the absolute best job they possibly can. The hiring managers could be consummate interviewers with a very good track record. And still the company isn’t able to make a hire, because the company has benefits aren’t up to par, or because of market conditions. So there’s more to it than just that. There are aspects that the recruiting sourcing team can affect the outcome of the interview by, for example, increasing the quality of inbound applicants. And you measure that by the number of interviews per offer. So if you have average hiring manager, interviews, five people to make one offer, and you improve that or decrease it to four interviews per offer, you are pushing the needle, you’re making an impact in the quality of candidate, the hiring manager has more time to spend on fewer candidates, because there’s better candidates right by one fewer candidate. So there’s a there’s an opportunity there for the recruiting team and the sourcing team both to actually impact the quality, then there’s the preparation of the candidate for the interview, having a conversation with the candidate and prepping them for what’s about to happen. This can be done virtually this can be done via email, it can be done, there’s there’s many ways to do it. And then there’s a preparation of the hiring manager, not just with preparing them for the interview with this candidate, but also preparing them as an interviewer. And that can be hrs responsibility. Or it can just simply be the hiring manager taking it upon themselves to improve their interviewing skill. So that recruiter can have an impact, the hiring manager can have an impact, but neither the recruiter nor the hiring manager are going to be able to have an impact on the compensation more than likely that’s going to come from a different department, or the benefits, which again, comes from a different department or competitors. Here’s a very good example. There was a time when Fang companies, you know, the Facebook alphabet, you know, Google Netflix companies, were offering exorbitantly large salaries to software engineers that were perhaps let’s just call it what it is inflated out of market proportions. And as a result, one of the things that we’re looking at now are software engineers that were making more much more money than they can make right now because companies that are paying normal ranges aren’t going to compete with them anymore. And they don’t need to because those companies are now laying everybody off. So these artificially elevated salaries, when that was happening, and you were a medium sized company who couldn’t afford to do triple the pay, you can’t control that, you have to find people that are willing to take the job because of the opportunity, the benefits, the culture, you know, all these other reasons, but you weren’t gonna be able to just simply offer more money, you can’t affect the interview to offer ratio, when people are asking for three times what you’re willing to pay. Right? And by the way, what’s reasonable? Like, I’m not even saying what you, you know, a reasonable salary might be 100,000, and people were asking for to 300,000.

Rob Stevenson 30:38
So what we’re talking about here is that what a recruiter and our talent team, what their gold on, is often different than what affects their ability to do their job well. And so in the case where they might lose on comp, you know, they’ve not made a hire through no fault of their own, you can’t compete with reacts to comp, right? But take it even further down a candidate’s trajectory at your company. What about if their boss is just a terrible boss, and they quit or they’re fired, you know, and now here’s something you had zero control over your back filling the role again. So my what I’m getting at is, all these things affect a recruiters ability to do their job well, but they don’t have control over. But you know, a savvy recruiter might be thinking, look, I’m going to try and create partnerships, I’m going to try and have influence, post hire, and all these other parts of the talent lifecycle so that I can do my job. Well, do you see this as a problem that recruiting teams are golden measured in one area, but their ability to do their job is influenced by things beyond their control?

Shally Steckerl 31:36
Several other areas? Yeah, that’s right. I see what you’re saying. I think measuring a recruiting team based on number of hires is absolutely ridiculous. I think it’s been done that way. Because people just wanted a simple solution. And it kind of carries over from other places where if you have manufacturing, you can measure someone based on the number of widgets they produce. If you have sales, you can measure someone based on the revenue that they bring in and things like that. But if you think about what our outcome is, our outcome isn’t the higher our outcome, is it let’s step back a little bit. The hire is not the outcome, the hire is the activity. Why are we hiring people? The activity is the hiring itself. The interviewing is an activity the hiring is an activity. Why are we hiring, it’s because there are jobs that need to get done. And in order for those jobs to get done, we need people in there. So I think what we should be measuring our recruiting teams on is the staffing rate, or the percentage of jobs that are filled based on the percentage that are available. So if your organization, and you can take this by month or by quarter, let’s just say by quarter, right? In q1, we have an objective to hire 50 people. It’s not whether or not we hire 50 people, but it’s whether or not we actually get to that 50. That’s what I’m looking at. If we are short of the 50. And we hired 49 people and we go back to the CEO, we say hey, we hired 49 people, the CEO is gonna say, Yeah, you didn’t meet the target. So why are we looking at the number of hires by we’re gonna give them a pat in the back and reward them for doing that job well done would be to hire 50 people. So filling the jobs, the fill rate, the staffing rate, I think, is really what should be looked at. Another reason why number of hires, I think, is a ridiculous measure is because tracing back to the economic incentive, the rule of economic incentive, is you’re gonna do what you’re gonna get the most reward for. In other words, you’re gonna take the easiest path, they’re the easiest, fastest, whatever I mean, we it’s human nature to, if I’m gonna get the brass ring, I’m going to do as little as I can, I’m going to expend as little effort as I can to get the brass ring. The balance is I need to expend enough effort to get it but not too much to where I can’t do it again, some other time, right? So I don’t want to only be able to do it once. So the economic instead of hiring, if you’re telling your recruiters that you’re measured based on the number of hires that you produce, well, obviously they’re going to try and fill the easiest jobs first. And you see this time and time again, critical wrecks go unfilled. Why do organizations still have desperately open critical roles when they have an entire team of recruiters, and they hire more recruiters because they think that’s going to be the problem, but then they tell those recruiters, we’re gonna measure you based on the number of hires. Okay, sure. So in that case, what I’m gonna do is I’m going to basically work on the easiest wrecks that I can, because then I can meet my quota. I’m going to hit singles all day. Yep, absolutely. You don’t have to look very far to another completely unrelated industry, to see the impact that economic incentive has. If you are in the agriculture business. My wife is from Maine, we visit bean almost every summer we like to go every summer but almost every summer. There are a lot of apple orchards in Maine. invite some of my wife’s family members were in the apple orchard business before they retired. An apple orchard in the apples become available for his for cider, for a very short period of time, too much more, and they’re too ripe, or, you know, they fall off the tree or whatever. So there’s a short window, when you are hiring people to pick apples, you don’t pay them by the hour, you pay them by the bushel of apples, it’s by the outcome, right? So if you had an apple orchard, and if I paid you rob by the hour, you’re going to take as long as you could possibly take, because that means you get paid more hours. Because if I give you an extra bushel, I don’t see another dime. Right? If you work faster, you get paid less. Yeah. So if you finish early, your reward is less pay. But if you’re getting paid by the bushel, and by the way, you also get docked if you have bad bushels. So like, you want to do it fast enough to where you do it really fast, but not too fast, where you’re ruining the product, and you turn in more bushels, you get paid more. So take that into the conversation that we’re having. If I’m gonna get paid by the hour, I’m just going to work as many hours as I possibly can. If I’m going to get paid by the candidate that I plays, I’m going to place the easiest candidate first. Both of those are not right, what we need to look at is a way to measure the criticality of the hire a way to measure hires that you’re assigned to work on, you can’t just sit there and not work on a wreck, that’s really difficult, just because there are other easier wrecks. So this reward system where we’re measuring just the number of hires alone, I’m not saying that you shouldn’t measure the number of hires, I’m saying number of hires is a factor, just like number of interviews is a factor. But also, what I’m looking at is not just the number of interviews, but the number of interviews in relation to the job. And in relation to overtime. If our team is improving, then this quarter, we had five interviews per hire, and next quarter, we should have four interviews per hire, because that’ll signify that we’ve made improvement. So I’m looking at the interviews per hire. Now, take that measure, for example, interviews per hire is a industrial grade metric. It applies to any industry, in any country, in any language anywhere in the world. Because quite simply, it doesn’t matter how many interviews or how many hires or how many hiring managers or how many recruiters, the number of interviews per hire is something that you can always compare in any job. And if you can say, well, it takes me three interviews per hire, versus it takes another company five interviews per hire, you’re clearly saving time and money.

Rob Stevenson 37:31
Yeah, but are you right? Now, when you compare it to business outcomes, that’s not guaranteed?

Shally Steckerl 37:35
Very good point. So if I’m doing three interviews per hire, and getting 100% staffing rate, and the other companies doing five interviews for hire and getting 100% staffing rate, the business outcome is the same. Now I can start looking at the quality of the process, which I think is what you were getting at

Rob Stevenson 37:49
is that how you would measure folks then quality the process or quality of the actual like, what is the success of the individual in the role,

Shally Steckerl 37:57
I measure based on the accept rate or the take rate. So what percentage of my submitted candidates to hiring managers are accepted, and I have a threshold, it’s not 100%, it’s much lower, it’s 70, to 75%. So if seven out of 10 people I sent to the hiring manager are accepted for interview, then that’s my target. And then once we have that target, if we’re consistently hitting that target, then I can look at how many interviews per hire because I’d like to work on reducing the interviews per hire and still getting the same hire. The next thing would be time how fast to present those four or five candidates

Rob Stevenson 38:32
is 70 to 75%, for hiring manager accepting it, is that the target because you don’t want recruiters acting as the gatekeeper like you don’t want to be 100%, because then they will be a little more selective. You want them to do some wiggle room, why is it 70%? About 100,

Shally Steckerl 38:47
I think 7075, maybe even 80 is a really good target. And so if I say 70, and somebody gets to 80, I’m gonna applaud them, right. That’s a good achievement. But I don’t think 100 is good for another reason. And that’s because I belong to the full plate club. Let me explain what that means. The way I was raised, and I think other people can identify with this, at the dinner table, if you cleaned your plate, if you ate everything off your plate, they would put more food on it, grandma would put more food on it, that meant that you were still hungry. So to me, 100% is a clean plate, if the hiring manager is grabbing everything. If they’re accepting everybody I send them. That means they want more, I’m not fulfilling them. So I want the hiring manager to be able to leave some on the plate, I want them to, as you said, be a little bit more selective and feel like, Hey, I could pass on a couple or one or two. What if it’s five interviews for hire, we’re really only talking about maybe one candidate here. So what I don’t want is to stress out over the 100% accuracy because that’s a really hard standard to maintain. And it also means that sometimes we don’t make the mistakes that we need to make, right. A recruiter that’s looking at 100% Take rate might hold back on By candidate that may be a little bit too expensive, because they think the hiring managers going to reject it. But what if you send it anyway? And the hiring manager goes, we’re willing to flex on this, we have a little bit more budget or whatever. You wouldn’t know that if you were subscribing to the 100%. Take rate.

Rob Stevenson 40:13
That makes sense. Grandma, no more mashed potatoes recruiter no more candidates. I’m full. Right? This is, right. Yeah,

Shally Steckerl 40:20
I’ve got a 567 Whatever that I need. Exactly. And, by the way, thanks for sending me 10. These three I really don’t like. And that’s okay. Recruiters should keep them for another rep. Because that doesn’t mean the hiring managers say no for the entire company. One of the questions that I asked when hiring manager rejects a candidate is this no for you or no for the company. If the hiring manager is a trusted resource in the organization and knows the culture really well, and they’re saying no to the candidate for the company, then in that case, I tell the candidate, we don’t have anything for you. But if they say no for this job, that means that there may be other opportunities, even with that hiring manager that there might be a better fit and so I keep the candidate warm. I’d like to know that and so that’s why I asked that. And that’s a difference between Hey, this is a quality candidate they’re just not a match for this versus this is not a candidate that fits what we do. It’s not a match for us.

Rob Stevenson 41:08
Yeah, yeah. The potatoes aren’t bad I’m just don’t eat any more potatoes. Yeah, maybe my sibling was potatoes. Yeah, surely I don’t think we’re gonna find a better or certainly more folksy way to finish off this episode than your your full play club. But that really illustrated it for me that’s why I kept going back to do the reiterate it but this has been a blast, man. These 45 minutes flew by. I could definitely stand out here more but we have candidates to fill in strategies outline and pods to cast

Shally Steckerl 41:33
and I got some french fries to go get.

Rob Stevenson 41:36
So I’m gonna let you go Shelly, thank you so much for being here. This has been a blast. I really appreciate it chatting with you.

Shally Steckerl 41:40
My pleasure. Thank you.

Rob Stevenson 41:44
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