Does hyper-growth seem scary, unattainable, and destined for disaster? Well, today we are joined by Head of TA Lisa Hyder to tell us how she manages to successfully achieve hyper-growth within Hopscotch Health. While drawing on her 15 years of experience, Lisa tells us about her personally developed recruitment tactics, her holistic and strategic approach to talent, and why she believes in the power of having a whole company lending a hand in the hiring process. From interviews, reviewing resumes, and jotting notes, to personally messaging candidates, Lisa tells us how (and why) we need to create and use a thorough interview, recruitment, and vetting process to ensure our companies are destined for success. Plus, we hear all about Lisa’s love for Excel spreadsheets and how she optimizes them to use for just about everything!
[0:00:06.1] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to Me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the frontline’s modern recruitment.
[0:00:12.8] FEMALE: We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions, where are they willing to take risks, and what it looks like when they fail.
[0:00:22.7] RS: No holds barred, completely off-the-cuff interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs, and everyone in between.
[0:00:31.1] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.
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[0:00:53.0] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson and you’re about to hear the best in the biz, Talk Talent to Me.
[0:00:59.4] RS: Joining me today on Talk Talent to Me is the head of talent acquisition over at Hopscotch Health, Lisa Hyder. Lisa, welcome to the podcast. How are you today?
[0:01:10.2] LH: Good, really good. I’m really excited to be on the program today, so thanks for inviting me.
[0:01:14.7] RS: Yeah, pleased to have you because you have this awesome, hyper-growth that you are sort of navigating through over at Hopscotch Health, which I always love talking about that because it’s just like, fun but very frantic time. Is that how you view it, fun but frantic?
[0:01:27.5] LH: Oh my gosh, you know it but it’s addicting, that’s what I like to say because there’s so much work to do and you know, everyone kind of preaches work life balance but it’s so exciting. The team that I’m working with are so energizing and there’s a lot of work to be done and I’m just living it all the time but I love it. It’s really, really fun.
[0:01:49.0] RS: Have you done the hyper-growth thing in previous roles?
[0:01:52.6] LH: Yes, I have. I actually came from the physical therapy space and I spent 15 years there working for another startup. This was a practice that was in the mid-Atlantic region, started at one clinic and I came onboard when we were at just two clinics and with any small startup, everyone had to have like an all-hands call, everyone had to do whatever we needed to do to get it done.
My risk areas of responsibility were like operations, marketing, human resources was just handed to me because nobody else really wanted it, recruiting, and from there, we were able to grow to 60 clinics and our charge was like, we’re going to build and grow and build and grow. When we were 60 clinics, we got a private equity investment and I was charged for the, our De Novo Growth and was able to add 40 more De Novo’s to our platform.
That’s where recruiting really became top of mind and our CEO is like, “You know what? We need to have a recruiting department” and all along, recruiting, I had a hand in it. We tried giving a recruiter under HR but just my philosophy and approach to recruiting being sales and marketing and just really part of our growth, our CEO was like, “You know what? You go ahead and handle our talent acquisition department.”
So anyways, I went over and created a talent acquisition department, and grew it to support our own growth because again, we were charged with this hyper-growth, and we needed people to support that growth.
[0:03:22.9] RS: Yeah, of course. Quick point of order, what is a De Novo?
[0:03:26.3] LH: A De Novo is a brand-new clinic.
[0:03:28.4] RS: Okay, got it.
[0:03:29.3] LH: So it’s a clinic that we build from scratch.
[0:03:31.4] RS: Okay, got it. So, you got your feet wet with hyper-growth there, just in time, learning to grow this team, right? Because you had kind of been in charge of it, “All right, Lisa’s the woman for the job, we will have her lead up our new recruiting department.” You’re in a similar situation now, the second time around at Hopscotch Health, what are you doing differently?
[0:03:50.1] LH: I really don’t think I am doing anything differently. I’m taking my lessons learned and trying to apply them to this position. The difference between Hopscotch and my previous company is, that everybody has a stake in recruiting, and everybody really understands the importance of it. I feel like I have a lot of support, everyone wants the recruiting function to be able to support our hyper-growth.
But again I’m taking a look at what I did in the past and what was successful in the past, so different processes. At my previous company, we didn’t have any TS. I had a spreadsheet on fire. Here, I joined Hopscotch, they already have the ATS setup. So that was really good for me to come in and just set up our processes, is that way. Having an interview plan and just a process of recruiting just based on my successes at my previous company, knowing to have that lined up, and written down, I’m applying that here as well.
I don’t, I really think I’m trying to take my lessons learned and apply it to where I am right now.
[0:04:51.3] RS: Got it and it’s such a blessing to have a team that has already bought into recruiting. Was that part of the culture when you arrived at Hopscotch Health or did you have to push that rock uphill?
[0:05:02.9] LH: It is a recruiting TA culture and I love it because everyone is excited to lend a hand when we need it. When I came on board, I was the first official head of talent acquisition. I ended up hiring a physician recruiter about a month ago but still, there is so much work to be done as far as our process and as far as interviewing candidates and the amount of candidate traction we’re getting from our ads and just word on the street.
Everyone from our CEO to our strategic ops team is lending a hand interviewing, reviewing resumes, making sure that we’re jotting our notes, and reference checks. So even though, it may only be two of us right now in the recruiting department, the whole entire Hopscotch team has its hand in recruiting.
[0:05:48.2] RS: I’m sure there are people listening out there thinking, “It must be nice” when they hear that that’s sort of the state of things over there. Was that apparent from the interview process when you yourself signing up? Because if you could hone in on that reality of a company, that feels like you would be a huge green flag.
[0:06:06.3] LH: Yeah, what I really like about the Hopscotch interview process is we really make thorough, and we vet our candidates but it’s two-sided. We want to understand our candidates, what they’re looking for, if they are in line with our mission, what their experience has been, and what they can bring to the table but at the same time, we want to make sure that candidate is the right fit for us.
So we take them through a thorough interview process that concludes a phone screen, a second screen, a third screen, depending upon whether it’s a corporate position or not, is there going to be like a case study just so people know what they’re in for. Even for my recruiters that I’m interviewing for, we have a case study or I call them scenarios where I have the recruiting candidate. I provide a series of questions and they present back to us.
So not only can understand their skillset and how they’re going to fit into our team but is this what they want to do? Like, I give them a typical day in the life, and is this what they want to do because we want candidates who are going to stay long-term. So understanding that we need to be efficient and speedy because candidates have other job options and I definitely don’t, you know, we don’t want to lose people but at the same time, it’s a very careful vetted interview process to make sure it’s a win-win situation and everyone’s in it for the long haul.
[0:07:26.6] RS: Could you give an example of one of those scenarios you’d hand out?
[0:07:31.5] LH: For my recruiter?
[0:07:32.4] RS: Yeah.
[0:07:32.8] LH: Okay, social recruiting. So I think that’s really big right now, is how does a candidate capitalize on social media. So I’ll give them a scenario, a hard to fill position as an example, like a physician in the rural area of western North Carolina. So how are they going to build their pipeline and how will they use social media, if that’s one of the tactics that we decipher the use.
[0:07:56.5] RS: That’s probably really hard because I can’t imagine there’s that many rural North Carolina physicians on TikTok for example.
[0:08:04.4] LH: You’ll be surprised, you will, you will be surprised.
[0:08:07.4] RS: What is a good answer to that sounds like? Because you always want to hear, “Well, I would go on LinkedIn and I would send some in mails” like you probably want them to be a little more thoughtful than that, right?
[0:08:16.9] LH: Absolutely. I mean, I don’t really want it necessarily hear at LinkedIn, just what you’re saying and posting and sending an in mail. I actually want to hear if they do send an in mail, like, what’s the result? Are you getting response? What’s your response graded, how often are you pinging your candidates again?
I want to hear creativity as well so if you are telling me you’re going to use TikTok, how are you being creative but also, how did that bring a result, like, did you get a hire from that? And I actually did use that in an example a couple of weeks ago and a particular candidate works for a chiropractor and a chiropractic company.
So it was really interesting how she said they use the sound of cracking in their TikTok videos and they were able to hire an assistant, she told me like a chiropractic assistant because that was the right demographic.
[0:09:04.1] RS: Cool.
[0:09:04.4] LH: So I’m looking for creativity and results.
[0:09:06.9] RS: This is winking at this challenge, I guess I’ll call it, more aptly a reality that’s a good recruiter is also a good marketer, they’re being cast as these content creators, they’re like, how do we harvest engagements, stoke engagements, social. It is not a traditional skillset for recruiter to have but more and more, it feels like table stakes.
[0:09:26.2] LH: I completely agree and my philosophy for talent and recruiting is very holistic and strategic. For me, talent is marketing, it’s business development, it’s HR, it’s sales. So having the skillset of using a variety of methods, of sales methods, of your talking points, using social media, that’s really important to me and I think makes a really, really strong recruiter.
[0:09:55.2] RS: Yeah, definitely but it’s also like, if you have all these functions boiled into one, how are you meant to learn this? Like, you could theoretically like do some webinars and learn how to X ray, search and how to write Boolean strings and how to you know, write a compelling email but so much of this is just outside the general purview of what I would call a career development especially compared to like, software engineering or even marketing, you know?
There’s all these, like e-courses you can take in building landing pages and tracking URLs and paid search and all the stuff, right? I don’t see that for recruiters. How are they meant to uplevel and develop themselves besides listen to podcasts?
[0:10:33.8] LH: Yeah, well, I think a lot of what we do also is just trial and error and partnerships. So in particular at my previous company, we worked hand-in-hand with the marketing team and we would come up like, if we were doing social post, we would come up with a social message and run it by our marketing team and see what they thought. A lot of it is just testing or borrowing and seeing what our competitors are doing.
I mean, that’s the other thing, we look at their social posts to see like, what’s catching our eye, what’s resonating with us but I agree, there’s so much to learn and so much to stay on top of that taking a course or attending a conference and taking those social media, social – I actually attended a social recruiting conference but there is a lot to keep up on.
[0:11:20.7] RS: Yeah, definitely. I want to keep going in this hyper-growth stuff because I feel like there’s more meat on that bone but maybe first, could we put some numbers on it? Like, what does hyper growth mean, the size of the company, and what are the growth goals are?
[0:11:33.3] LH: Well, okay. So I started, just to give you an idea, I started four months ago. This week is my four-month anniversary, I was employee number 12. We’re now at number 45, I think this week. So four months later, 45.
[0:11:46.0] RS: Four X.
[0:11:46.8] LH: And I have a list of people starting in the next couple of weeks and open jobs up there on our job board.
[0:11:53.5] RS: Amazing. So you 4X the company in the last four months and then how many open roles are you looking to fill?
[0:12:00.5] LH: So right now, we have about 20 posted but as we grow, our care model and I can back up and talk a little bit about Hopscotch and our philosophy but our care model is what dictates our growth. So Hopscotch, our mission is to transform healthcare in rural areas and we do that by delivering an advanced primary care model, something called value-based primary care.
With that, we are creating more resources both for the provider and for the patient, and when I say more resources, that comes in the form of people. So we have an interdisciplinary team, so not only is it the doctor at the office but we are adding community health workers. We’re adding an additional doctor, we’re adding a nurse care manager. We’re adding something called the clinical information specialist, who is the person that gathers the charts and so a lot of the chart gathering and back-end stuff will be done before the patient gets to see the doctor.
Adding this interdisciplinary care team is adding to our headcount. Also the corporate support and at the corporate level. So as we grow, we need corporate positions to support that growth. As part of our hiring plan, we have a marketing director position as an example, we have IT roles to support IT. I actually have another recruiter position open to support recruiting growth. So, we have a master plan, an annual hiring plan but at the same time, our growth and as we open new clinics and hire new clinics and implement that care model, that dictates our headcount as well.
[0:13:39.4] RS: Got it. So you mentioned there is an ATS already in place, that was a little bit of a lucky break maybe but where do you inject process? Because you probably can afford to just take your foot off the gas from the process of sourcing, interviewing, meeting with hiring managers, all this stuff. At what point can you or should you take your foot off that gas pedal and be like, “Okay, we need to formalize our interview process. We need to go slow so that we can go faster later.”
[0:14:08.5] LH: This is something that I have been trying to deal with and manage this week. I mean, it’s go time and I would say the train has left the track, right? So we are hiring, hiring, yet we have these processes –
[0:14:17.9] RS: I say that once an episode.
[0:14:20.3] LH: Yeah, so here is a perfect example is opening up a rec. So everyone has been emailing me, “We need to open this job.” I get Word doc, we need to open this job. So at the beginning of this week, we’re finally like, “You know what? We have to have an opening for rec process.” So we just created a form and we’re going to test it and hopefully launch it on Friday and it’s all the fields that we need in our ATS for the recruiter to open up that rec.
So now, there’s going to be a written process of your hiring manager. We need to open up a position instead of email it, you’re going to fill out this form, these are the fields, these are the things we know, the pay, it’s hours in a specific clinic that we could post and then once that is submitted, the recruiter is going to be able to post the job. We are implementing an approval process now. Let us shoot that back to the hiring managers, these is everything we need.
Then the job will go live but that is going to save us, just what you are talking about, like slowing down like looking through emails instead of like, “Okay, I know that they requested this rec, let me look at an email” we have a master spreadsheet and so there’d be a lot more process-oriented so things aren’t getting lost and the expectations are met from the hiring managers that their jobs are posted.
So that is just one example of how we’re trying to really capitalize or catch up and codify things so that we could move faster as you say.
[0:15:41.0] RS: I’m glad to hear you still have on-fire spreadsheets even though you have added an ATS and I don’t think you ever get away from that really as a professional if you care about tracking data and being organized. I mean, I have one spreadsheet that controls a lot of my organization and activity and probably some savvy person will bundle it and will try and make a product around it and sell it to me but I just think that’s just the reality of a digital job.
[0:16:08.3] LH: Oh and I live and die by all of our candidate tracker spreadsheet and this spreadsheet and that spreadsheet and in fact, I just found out that there is like on ESPN, there was an Excel challenge. I don’t know if you saw that, there is some competition for a group holding on itself so.
[0:16:24.5] RS: An ESPN ADO show. That’s amazing, yeah, they put it on ESPN ADO show and it’s like who can be the most organized. That’s so funny, that’s like a sport now.
[0:16:33.8] LH: It’s a sport, it is like watching E-sports like you have, you know, you are just sitting there watching it on Twitch I guess like, are they going to make that spreadsheet? What formula are they using? So it would have to be very, very basic to be a part of that.
[0:16:45.9] RS: Yeah, did you watch it? I want to meet the people who watch that. I’m like, “Hell yeah, we’re having our Excel champions watch party on Friday night like pay-per-view.”
[0:16:54.9] LH: I know, I’ll send it to you. It was great, I watched a tiny bit of it.
[0:16:58.9] RS: That’s funny, it’s like if you got that good at Excel that means you probably use it all day, and then how could you do it afterward, I would want to know.
[0:17:06.3] LH: Yeah, well, it means money. I guess you could figure it out, right? In the title.
[0:17:09.8] RS: That’s true. Yeah, if you didn’t learn Excel to become organized but rather to engage with and dominate other Excel users on the Excel field of battle, then I guess I understand it. So you have like a candidate tracker, where else are you deploying spreadsheets? For the people out there who maybe don’t have the luxury of just like investing in a new tool every time they find a sufficiently advanced spreadsheet, what else are you tracking?
[0:17:34.0] LH: Okay, so we have our candidate tracker and that’s again because it’s an all team effort. So we have everyone working on different jobs all sharing this one spreadsheet of where our candidates are in the process. Are they at the preliminary screen, the second screen? Are they ready for in-person interview? We have an onboarding spreadsheet that hopefully will take to a system pretty soon but that is the check list of, “Okay, this candidate, when are they starting? Did they do their background check?”
You know, all the various onboarding steps. I have our action plan or sourcing plan template on a spreadsheet, so this way when we’re recruiting particular positions we know what kind of, you know, what we’ve done, what job sites has the position been posted. I actually have it broken out into different tactical group things. So I have job posts, events, educational institutions that we’re networking with, conferences.
So social media, outreach, so I think when my recruiters that are new when I show them this template they get a little bit nervous but then afterwards, everyone lives and dies by the action spreadsheet because we know where we’re, we’re tracking everything.
[0:18:43.8] RS: Yeah, they’re always intimidating the first time you look at it but you have to spend time hammering on it and then it’s just natural.
[0:18:49.6] LH: As long as I could figure out how to sort it like sort by process, sort by title, sorting is big for me.
[0:18:55.6] RS: Yeah, definitely. I keep making the comment that a lot of tech startups are just replacements for a sufficiently advanced spreadsheet. You yourself have lots of sufficiently advanced spreadsheets. So do you have some HR tech investments on the radar? What sort of tools are you looking at that you might add to the process in the near future?
[0:19:14.6] LH: So like I mentioned before, Hopscotch and my senior leadership team is really, really supportive of the tools that we need and support any kind of innovation, anything that will help us be more efficient in our hiring practices. I already came on board with our ATS and I was able to implement some of the integrations that we needed and without hesitation, they’re like, “Whatever it is you need.”
So one was the texting feature, so there was an integration on our ATS that allows us to text candidates and instead of doing it from our phone, it’s an overlay right there on the candidate profile and anyone can jump in and see the text messages and it’s just been really, really efficient and candidates are so much more responsive to texting or email. So that’s one tool that I was able to get implemented pretty quickly.
Just other integrations on our ATS, DocuSign, I mean just something as simple as that. We’re now having our offer letter signed via DocuSign, that was very supportive and we were able to implement that quickly, our background check. So really pretty much any tool or innovation that we need within budget, right? Within reason, Hopscotch has been really supportive of.
[0:20:24.7] RS: The texting candidates, I feel like needs to be way more widespread. I don’t know why more people aren’t using it because one, a lot of it is automated and I assume it’s like reminders for interviews or, “Hey, your next interview is with so and so” what is the messaging going out?
[0:20:38.8] LH: So I actually like my text messages to have that human touch. So I don’t really use templates for my text messages. So if a candidate applies, if you send that email, “Thanks for your resume. Please let me know when you’re available” a lot of times, candidates aren’t checking their emails anymore.
So I’ll just send a really quick text message, “Hey, it’s Lisa with Hopscotch. Thank you for your interest” or you know, “We got your resume. When can we set up a time to talk?” or I’ll say, “Hey, check your email” I put some options and people will text back right away. So I use that as more of a personal human touch communication tool rather than use templates.
[0:21:18.1] RS: Got it. The personal touch obviously matters but it’s better to compete with someone’s messages app than it is their email inbox like think of what else is in for example, your own email inbox, maybe yours I fantastically organized Lisa but I think the average person is like, “Oh, here’s an update on the job that I applied for” nestled in between like a million newsletters from people asking for political donations and that flower shop I bought from one time.
I am still on their list and peloton and all of these sub-stacks and it’s just like it’s just noise, right? So that’s kind of what you are competing with and I think the email has more of an air of formality to what you sign in email still. You don’t sign a text message for example, so like hit people where they live, which is on their phones, come on.
[0:22:02.1] LH: Right, I agree with that and there’s just more formality then we have the metrics to show 99% response rate from your text message or it took them two minutes to reply back to your text message. So it is such a – it is a more efficient tool and it’s just easier for people to respond. It sounds funny because it is still a tool, you still have your phone but it is like a relationship builder I guess.
[0:22:25.4] RS: It is, yeah.
[0:22:26.3] LH: People are less formal than by email. In any communication I have, I consider that part of the interview process as well. So it allows me to see like how responsive they are, just their personality as well, they’re texting.
[0:22:41.9] RS: Yeah, definitely and think of how much you check your text versus emails.
[0:22:41.9] LH: Or constant.
[0:22:48.4] RS: Constant, yeah and a candidate gets a text from you and they’re out to lunch with their friend and like, “Oh my gosh, I just got a text from the head of TA. Looks like I am moving forward” that creates a little bit of a moment and by the way, then your text is nestled between their partner and their mom in their inbox. It’s like what association do you think that they now put on you? I guess depending on their relationship with their mom and you.
[0:23:07.6] LH: I do have to tell you though, depending on the position, I am very cautious. If it is like I am recruiting right now for the market president role and I feel like they’re on their phone for business purposes and so I am a little bit more cautious. I just say, “Hey, it’s Lisa with Hopscotch. I sent you an email, I was wondering when we can talk” because I don’t want to be like, “Oh, thanks for applying for the job.”
So I kind of use my discretion when I am texting people just in case they’re using it for work purposes. I don’t want them to get caught if they are doing it discreetly, you know, job hunting discretely.
[0:23:37.2] RS: But it’s also about the audience, yeah, the meaning of communication is how it’s received. So bear that in mind folks.
[0:23:42.4] LH: Yeah, okay.
[0:23:45.0] RS: Well Lisa, we’re creeping up on optimal podcast length here but before I let you go, can I just ask you to give some advice to the folks out there listening who want to wind up in a role like yours where they are perhaps head of TA at an exciting growing company.
[0:23:58.7] LH: That’s a really good question. So I think for someone who is just maybe starting out as a talent acquisition specialist or kind of in the middle of the road, I think having the philosophy of talent and recruiting as a strategic partner in a strategic position in an organization is really important. I think having a sales background, understanding business development, and understanding HR.
So just that functional expertise of how a company operates, I think there are personal attributes to having a role like this and growing into a role like this. So networking, just really having great relationships with people is another way. I don’t know, I feel like I kind of ended up in this position by default, so you can’t really plan sometimes on this. So if it happens to you and someone decides, “Hey, you’re going to head up recruiting now” really just own it.
It is such a fun, fun job. I love it, you get to talk to everybody in the company, you are that first base that’s for me and my advice would be just kept on looking ahead and gathering all of your experiences and if it happens, if you apply to a job where someone tasks it to you, it is a great opportunity, a great, great career opportunity.
[0:25:12.3] RS: Lisa, this has been a delight chatting with you. So thank you so much for being here.
[0:25:16.6] LH: Great, thanks so much. I appreciate it.
[END OF INTERVIEW]
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