Shifting Away From Soucing Quotas

Alex LebovicHead of Talent, Caffeine

Alex explains how shuffling up the interview cycle has resulted in a far better close rate, as well as her team’s approach of shifting away from a sourcing quota in the interest of having fewer, but more meaningful, candidate interactions.

Episode Transcript

00:00 Rob Stevenson: Hello everyone, and welcome back to your fav recruiting show. It is I, Rob Stevenson back in action from my rag-tag recording studio at Hired HQ in San Francisco, California. And today I have got the goods for you all, but first let me introduce the show to all you newbies out there, here’s all you need to know about the old pod. Every week, I will be bringing in my favorite people in the recruitment space directors of recruitment, Heads of talent and VPs of HR, other titles, you name it. I’ll get them in here and they’re all going to do primarily one thing.


00:35 RS: Talk Talent To Me. And this week I have joining me, Alex Lebovic, the Head of Talent over at Caffeine and Alex shared with me all about how she represented the talent function at their last board meeting, what board members care about and the signals they clue in on.

00:53 RS: She also has a really interesting take on how companies don’t have a talent discovery problem so much as a matching problem, and how recruiters need to be made very intimately aware of the needs of their team, so that they can find people who are uniquely suited for the teams and no surprise, this results in better outreach better response rate and more efficient sourcing across the board. She’s also taking a real careful look at her funnel metrics, and moving things around in the hiring process to see how that affects things downstream. For example, Caffeine conducts some technical assessment at the phone screen stage, how about that? What does it look like and how does it affect the rest of the process? Well, you’ll just have to listen to find out. So buckle up, strap yourselves in, and without further transport-based euphemisms for making yourself ready, I give you the Head of Talent at Caffeine, Alex Lebovic.


02:31 RS: Ladies and gentlemen, Alex Lebovic is in the building. Alex, how are we?

02:34 Alex Lebovic: I’m good, thanks Rob, how are you?

02:36 RS: Doing really well, excited to be here with you in this rainy dreary San Francisco day.

02:41 AL: Oh you know, that’s the way it goes here sometimes.

02:43 RS: Yeah, I’m actually excited I’m gonna go buy a really fabulous English gentleman swagger style umbrella, that’s what’s going on in my personal life today.

02:51 AL: You need one with the crook, and like a…

02:53 RS: Exactly, yeah, like Singing in the Rain, style just really over the top.

02:57 AL: Perfect opportunity.

02:58 RS: Yeah exactly, for the two weeks a year it rains here.

03:01 AL: Yeah, well yeah, you can use it in the fog, protection from the fog maybe.

03:05 RS: Oh yeah, or from the sun. It’s a little…

03:07 AL: There you go. That’s probably better.

03:09 RS: I do have very fair skin.

03:10 AL: Yeah.

03:11 RS: Well, thanks for coming in, this is gonna be a great episode, I think I’m gonna end it there, the end of the umbrella discussion. No, we should talk about recruiting at some juncture here.

03:18 AL: Not just about the weather.

03:19 RS: Yeah, I suppose.

03:20 AL: Alright, well.

03:21 RS: You are the head of talent over at Caffeine.

03:24 AL: I am.

03:25 RS: I’m gonna try a new thing where I have people explain what their companies do, because I haven’t done that yet. And it feels like an egregious oversight.

03:32 AL: Well, we have a fun one for you because we’re inventing a new category, right?

03:36 RS: Oh great.

03:36 AL: So what we are doing at Caffeine is actually what we’re calling social broadcasting. There’s obviously like a bunch of other people and companies that are involved in live streaming in a bunch of different ways, what we really wanna make sure that people are having is the best possible experience around that, and for us, that means building a strong, positive inclusive community around a lot of different kinds of content and that people are able to interact with each other in real time. So, our systems really do allow people to actually participate in people’s games or participate in people’s communications and discussions around what they’re actually watching and playing.

04:11 RS: Got it. So is that the differentiation between a twitch or a YouTube or something like that? You’re more community-focused?

04:18 AL: We are more heavily community-focused. The other thing though is the real time. So for us, that means that we have 200 milliseconds of latency in our video and chats systems. If you see somebody playing Fortnite and they’ve missed a backpack or something you can actually tell them to turn left and pick it up and they can do it in real time.

04:34 RS: I love that you can feedback like backseat Fortnite drivers.

04:37 AL: Yeah, there you go.

04:38 RS: That’s so fun. Cool, so you are the head of talent over there.

04:41 AL: I am.

04:42 RS: And you are on the heels of a board meeting and I was excited to hear that you as a talent person got a seat at the table at a board meeting, ’cause that seems like it’s obvious to me and all of our listeners because we understand recruitment, but seeing someone unique doesn’t happen.

04:58 AL: Yeah, I mean for us, we’re really lucky with our board, so we’ve got Ben Horowitz from Andreessen Horowitz, we have John Lilly from Greylock. And for us, both of those guys have operated companies, and so they really have great insight into what we need to be doing and how we… And helping us think through problems, and so, having the opportunity, even in the board meeting setting to go in there and actually have a discussion around the strategies that we need to do, and maybe things that we should be thinking about helps us avoid blind spots, helps us avoid those unforced error.

05:27 RS: What were some of the things you had prepared metrics-wise, or talent insight-wise for the board meeting?

05:32 AL: Yeah, one of the things that we have spent a lot of time thinking about is how do we improve our conversion rates inside of our funnel? And we were able to look at that data over the last year with the board and get insights from them around places that we might need to tweak a really interesting insight actually, came out of looking at the conversion rate from our onsite to offer, and talking with the board and kind of thinking about the other things that we were doing, we actually in order to improve that went to the top of the funnel, basically, and actually changed our phone screen pretty substantially and we ended up getting about 10 or 12 points on our conversion rate from on-site to offer.

06:08 RS: No kidding, you wouldn’t think that it was a previous stage that was affecting the offer stage. How did you figure out that it was… You need to tweak phone screen.

06:17 AL: So we were able to look at the interview data and see where people were falling down, and we just moved those places farther up into the funnel. The amazing part about it really was the efficiency that we were able to get back for our engineering team, right, you think about the hours that you put in and how expensive those hours can be and how those take away from the product development or the community development that we wanna be doing, and being able to roll those back into time that they could spend it was extraordinarily valuable for all of us.

06:41 RS: So, was it about having a higher bar for the on-site or having a more technical assessment up front, how did you tweak it?

06:49 AL: So we were able to move our technical assessment a little further up. So we moved actually into doing a paired coding session during our phone screen. It actually did a couple of things. The first thing that it did is it allowed us to make sure that people were at a technical competence that was suitable for our team. The second thing is, we actually gave them the opportunity to work with our engineers, on even though a small problem. So they were able to get comfortable with the communication and think about if this was actually the right place for them to be as well.

07:17 RS: Got it. So there was… If you move that technical assessment forward to the phone screen, what does that allow more time for at the on-site?

07:25 AL: So we spend a lot more time on the on-site thinking about the way people problem solve, rather than just the nuts and bolts of technicality. So for us, that was an important thing because we’re really working in a space where there’s not a lot of defined characteristics, and so we wanted to give a lot of time in the on-site to make sure that people… We understood how they made decisions, and how they were gonna solve problems, and how they were to communicate with the team.

07:47 RS: That element there, the problem solving ability, was that responsible for the drop-off from on-site to offer stage?

07:54 AL: That was the biggest problem that we saw, so we were seeing… Interestingly we were seeing people fall down in the technical components of our interview, so we start each interview day with a 90 minute shared paired coding assessment. We actually send candidates the question in advance, it has changed zero about our conversion or ability to pass that question by the way.

08:16 RS: Interesting.

08:17 AL: And then we were able to spend, once that was established, spend good time with them thinking about how we could go through system design questions and suss out the signal that we needed from there.

08:28 RS: So if them receiving the question in advance hasn’t changed anything, should you still do it?

08:33 AL: It’s amazing what that has done for candidate experience.

08:35 RS: Da, right.

08:36 AL: And it’s also a much better way to assess somebody’s thinking. An engineer is never gonna get a pop quiz in real life.

08:44 AL: Yes.

08:45 AL: Right. We want people that feel free to go solve the problem in the way that is best for them.

08:50 RS: Right.

08:51 AL: And that means for a lot of people, maybe they wanna Google something, maybe they wanna spend some time thinking about it, maybe they wanna architect their answer in a way that makes more sense than they would do if they had to do it sitting there with somebody staring at them.

09:02 RS: Yeah, that’s so unlike what actual work is, and it’s been interviewing to date it. If you can’t figure this out, what with me breathing down your neck with previous knowledge then you can’t do it. No, most of my job is Googling how to do things I don’t know how to do.

09:16 AL: That’s honestly the interview is [09:18] ____ should really be using Stack Overflow and Google, not doing technical assessments.

09:22 RS: Yeah, no exactly. I’ve got my computer tilted away from you, so you can’t see my how-to interview recruiters tab open here on Google, but allowing them that ability… Let me figure it out, let’s figure it out together in an actual scenario that they would encounter in the workplace.

09:37 AL: Yeah, and so, really giving people that time and if they come in and they’re not able to do it then, either they haven’t spent time thinking about the problem, or they really just can’t do it. And we’ve picked that question, because we feel like it accurately represents work that they would be doing at Caffeine.

09:53 RS: Right.

09:55 AL: And they vary based on the engineering role that somebody might be coming in for, but we do wanna make sure that one, the candidate has insight and what they would actually be working on. Secondly, that we’re able to simulate an environment that’s kind of real. And then from there, we’re able to make a decision.

10:09 RS: Yeah, absolutely. That’s a rather nuanced thing you were able to clue in on, was this kind of assessment is responsible for the drop off in progression because it seems to me that would be reliant on maybe ATS feedback, it’s not like a thing in a spreadsheet like yes, no. How were you able to figure out that was the squeaky wheel?

10:34 AL: So luckily for us, we were able to implement some of, what I like to think of as good habits early. Our company is still small. We went through these cycles when our engineering team was still at about 10 people, and we were able to get the time from them to look at what they were actually looking for. So we then were able to take that into how we were looking at people broadly, and making sure that they spiked on a couple of things that were important to us. But it was really based on pure play conversations and actually having an open dialogue and not thinking about feelings being hurt, assuming good intent around all of the feedback that you got, which is sometimes challenging. We had a good open environment.

11:16 RS: So you mean having those open dialogues with interviewers?

11:20 AL: Yeah, so our engineering team basically as they were interviewing would come out of an interview when we were testing a question, and they would say that totally didn’t work.

11:27 RS: Great.

11:27 AL: And they were the ones that were coming up with the questions in a lot of ways. So having them be comfortable saying, “This is an experiment. Let’s try it for this time, let’s try it over a couple of candidates, if you’re not getting the signal, we’ll just tell the candidate that we need more information.” Being honest with the candidate about what we were doing too. We had a couple of people come in for first time loops and we actually have told them that, “We’re testing a new question today, we’d welcome your feedback on it as well.”

11:51 RS: Yeah.

11:51 AL: So having both the interviewer and the interviewee, give us feedback on a question, and understanding if they thought it was a fair test from both sides, was actually really valuable for us.

12:00 RS: Yeah, definitely and it strikes me, you should be doing that anyway. It was usually in the debrief call when you follow up after an on-site, recruiters will ask, “How do you think that went?” And that’s kind of an opportunity for them to be, “Well, I feel I could have done better. I don’t feel like that question really accurately assessed my ability in this way.”

12:20 AL: Yeah, I think that’s true, but I think part of the problem that we all have as recruiters, is taking that information that you get from those debriefs and making it actionable.

12:28 RS: Right.

12:29 AL: Right. So thinking about how you can position yourself or position your team to be able to roll that information back in to make things better, and that could be a really, really hard thing to do if you don’t have an open dialogue with your interviewers.

12:42 RS: So does that look like having the debrief meeting with the team, is there a regular or take a meta look at our process, how do you make sure that this process continues, so you’re always getting feedback and refining the process?

12:53 AL: Yeah, one of the things that has been successful for us is, one, we’re lucky that we have people that have no problem sharing their opinions.

13:00 RS: Great, yeah.

13:01 AL: I think it’s a lot of engineers, sometimes will be very open with you about what they think.

13:05 RS: Yep, yep they’re sticking they’re heads into rooms, “Oh are we sharing our opinion in here? I love sharing my opinion.”

13:09 AL: Yeah, exactly. But the other thing that we set was the expectation that we were gonna do something about it. I think even if you look at any function, the biggest problem is people saying that they’re gonna do something, and then not doing it.

13:20 RS: Right.

13:20 AL: So making sure that the recruiting team was the one that was accountable and was doing whatever they said they were gonna do, actually lent us a lot of credibility, so people were more open about that and continued giving us feedback. We wanted to make the debriefs a safe place to share those things, but we also wanted to make sure that the debriefs weren’t getting repetitive, right? So we kind of set the expectation of like, if the decision was very polarizing one way or the other; so if everybody was a hard “No” or everybody was like, “Yes. Oh my gosh, let’s go.” We actually don’t spend a lot of time, debriefing. It’s all of that middle ground is where I ask them for their time. Where you’re seeing we do scores on one to four, we’re actually spending a lot of time thinking about those people and we all have these candidates ’cause this is where 80% of your candidate end of landing, that are like, “They seemed okay,” or “I could be swayed,” or like that, that’s the feedback that we actually spent more time on because the signal wasn’t crisp enough for anybody to make a decision.

14:20 RS: Right. Is that the most frustrating thing, the “I could be swayed”?

14:24 AL: Oh, I hate that. I totally hate that.

14:26 RS: ‘Cause it is not an opinion, right? It’s not like a yes or no?

14:29 AL: It’s not a yes or no. It’s actually one of the reasons that we do one through four, or why most people do one through four.

14:33 RS: So you can’t pick a middle?

14:33 AL: You have to make a binary decision.

14:35 RS: Great.

14:37 AL: My problem now of course is that people will make a binary decision and then in their written feedback having…

14:41 RS: They qualify it. Yeah, exactly.

14:43 AL: Yeah, yeah.

14:44 RS: Tell me if this is annoying. Usually I’ll do a feedback, and I will be like “I am a no for these reasons.” And then in the debrief be like, “If someone can tell me that they address that in their interview, then I’m a yes.” Is that fair?

15:00 AL: I think that’s fair, but I think that that might indicate that you guys are not looking at all of the things that you need to account for. So what I mean there is like having crisp areas of focus within each interview has mitigated that, where you decide, for example, like these eight or 10 things are the things that you wanna walk away from your day with, right?

15:21 RS: Right.

15:21 AL: That’s the information that you need.

15:23 RS: So yeah, my feedback should be, “Did they pass my part of the interview, which is this area?”

15:27 AL: Yes.

15:27 RS: And so I can’t be like, “No, they didn’t”. And then rely on someone else to have gotten a better or a different signal somewhere else.

15:34 AL: Right. That shouldn’t sway your decision, right? Or that shouldn’t sway your interviewers decision, because they should have a set of criteria with some sort of grading rubric. It’s hard for us too, right? We’re early and spending time thinking about what a good answer looks like or the shades of gray on what a good answer looks like, is really, really hard.

15:52 RS: Right.

15:53 AL: And so… But if each interviewer stays in their lane, and then the hiring manager is able to… And I do not suggest you go to a hiring committee. But if you’re hiring manager is then looking at the course of that feedback, and then able to use that information to educate their decision about whether or not they wanna take responsibility for a hire, it becomes a pretty powerful thing.

16:14 RS: What do you mean by hiring committee? Like a democratic, “We’re voting yes, no, on this person?”

16:20 AL: I’ve seen some companies, like some larger companies, for example, like the people that are making the hiring decisions aren’t necessarily the interviewers. And I think that at a company of our size that makes no sense whatsoever, and I think it makes the interview experience sometimes impersonal for the interviewee. And also makes it a little bit harder to make sure that nobody is kind of like gaming their feedback, right? Which you wanna make sure they’re comfortable as being honest as they can.

16:46 RS: Right, right, of course. That’s very helpful. That’s good interview feedback, feedback. You’ve been taking trivia.

16:52 AL: Super meta, super meta.

16:52 RS: Yeah, exactly. No, you’ve been taking care of me. We talked about my umbrella needs, we talked about my interview skills, I’m coming away with this with a lot of actionable insights.

17:00 AL: There you go. There you go.

17:01 RS: Which is what we’re trying to do here, right?

17:03 AL: Yeah, most of the time.

17:05 RS: So wait, hold on, we started by talking about the board meeting and how they were able to clue in on things that… Small areas that had a lot of impact elsewhere in the process. One of them being the phone screen. Sorry, one of them being the on-site to offer being low, or being off. Can you think of any other examples of things they were able to clue in on?

17:36 AL: My really great experience with the board, frankly, has been that they’ve been very generous in kind of how they teach things and I don’t know if that’s exactly the right word, but they have so much more operational experience and it stretches over hundreds of companies. And so they might ask me to look at a detail because they understand the connection to what is happening that I might not immediately see. And so, being able to work with them on these kind of single point problems that end up having such far-reaching effects, is really kind of been the great value of having those folks with us.

18:11 RS: Right.

18:11 AL: One of the other things that they actually pointed out to me that was really, really valuable was looking specifically at ways that we could affect decline reasons, and feeding all of those things back into the process. So if you’re getting most of your declines because of comp, like is that a surmountable problem or is that something that you need to figure out who you’re bringing in? Do you need to address that sooner? Are you losing people because of commute? Are you getting people over excited? You know, those kinds of things are really kind of where they were able to lend some insight.

18:39 RS: Did that still happen on the phone screens? Some of those candidate motivations, because you had the tech assessment happening there, was there still time to be like, “Would this represent a extension to your commute? Is this really what you want in a role?” Are you still doing assessing motivations at that stage, too?

18:56 AL: That’s actually something that we rolled into our recruiter screens. So for us, every candidate that’s coming in spends some time talking to a recruiter, either over coffee or via phone. Then they move into a phone screen, which for our non-technical roles, is behavioral. For our technical roles, is a technical screen or a functional screen, rather, and then into on-site, right? The recruiters actually were able to think about how they were qualifying people on multiple levels and really think about how they were being disciplined in how they phone screen people. ‘Cause it’s a fine line between, you want people that you’re sourcing, right? ‘Cause we’re early, most of our hires are coming from sourcing.

19:32 RS: Right.

19:32 AL: Those are hard-fought battle, right?

19:34 RS: Yeah.

19:34 AL: You want those people and you want them to do well. But being pretty rigorous and disciplined about how they were assessing people and that included the motivations.

19:44 RS: Right, right. And so did that help you kind of shift from the sourcing quota to hiring quota where it was, because they’re hard-fought battles, fight less of them and win them?

19:54 AL: Yeah, we were able to think about like… Very broadly, thinking about the funnel metrics, kind of where we needed to be on our sourcing numbers in order to get the hires. The great part about that, it was actually able to connect recruiters back into what the actions of their job needs to be. So thinking about how they can take high leverage actions rather than just sending out 500 cold emails, right? So thinking about how they were able to create value for their candidates and value for their company, actually, from the first emails that they were sending. And so, that’s kind of what we ended up taking from that.

20:25 RS: Gotcha. Makes sense. Wait when you say like, “Alright, we’re gonna be more focused in our sourcing and focus more on a hiring quota,” does that just re-incentivize recruiters and does it push them to focus on a different sort of candidate? What does that look like?

20:39 AL: It makes them focus on how you actually problem-solve, right? And the problem that you’re trying to solve is to get your team more resources to build your product, right? And so, what that ends up translating into is that you sort of realize there’s a fallacy around this idea of the top 10% coming, that everybody’s hiring the top 10%.

20:55 RS: Right.

20:56 AL: And for that reason, you need to have recruiters that think about what is gonna be the best match or the best add to your particular team, and empowering them to make those decisions and think about how they’re incorporating that back into their sourcing. So from some of the feedback that we were able to get from our onsite interviews, we were able to triangulate around a couple of characteristics that are non-technical recruiters, right? Could suss out in a phone screen or even looking at somebody’s profile; optimizing for backgrounds, for example, one of our values is entrepreneurship, right? So being entrepreneurial, maybe that means they started their own company, maybe that means that they’ve got something else going on, that was that people could find extra signals in to make sure that they were taking the highest leverage actions.

21:39 RS: Got it. And that probably also requires them to have a really intimate working knowledge of team needs and products you’re trying to ship and goals of individual teams. So they can say, “Hey, here’s someone that may not be getting inundated with hundreds of in-mail requests. Doesn’t mean they’re not a perfect fit for us. We have this very specific need. Why would we want someone who invented Ruby on Rails when we could get someone who is just very specifically focused on our immediate team need?” Which seems obvious, when you put it that way, but like you say, there’s a fallacy of like, “Oh we can’t lower the bar. We’re only gonna hire the best of the best and if we have to go up against the instituted tech firms, we will.” But you’re saying that’s not the approach your taking?

22:20 AL: That’s not the approach that we’ve taken. And I think it’s very easy for a recruiter that is maybe far removed from the business or the team that you’re recruiting for, to not feel like they can seek out that information.

22:33 RS: Right.

22:33 AL: And then it becomes a very easy crush to say, “Well, I’m just gonna start sourcing out of Google,” or “I’m just gonna start sourcing out of Facebook.” Because they got through those technical interviews, right? So you know as a recruiter that they would probably get through your interview.

22:45 RS: Is borrowing their process.

22:47 AL: Borrowing their process.

22:48 RS: And like social proof. Yeah.

22:48 AL: Yeah, and like validating your own, right? In some way, ’cause you’re hiring those same people.

22:53 RS: Sure.

22:54 AL: And we’ve hired people out of great big companies. We’ve also hired people out of two-person shops. And your recruiter has to understand the motivation around why you’re hiring an individual person. Like, “What is this position gonna be doing? How does that interact with the rest of the team?” Because then they can use those signals, assuming they’re close enough to your interviewers, to actually roll that back in to how they’re taking their actions.

23:18 RS: Yes. And it has those ripples throughout the whole process. If they have that grasp of the need, then that will work into their messaging to that candidate in the first place. And it won’t look like a stock LinkedIn in-mail because it’s not… And the candidate will think, “Oh here’s a recruiter who actually knows what they’re talking about. This conversation is worth my time because it’s intimate to my own personal skills.”

23:44 AL: Yeah, exactly. And why… Well, then you have to worry about your recruiters getting emotionally invested in people, right?

23:49 RS: Right.

23:49 AL: You have to think about the pitch not starting once you’re able to get somebody on the phone, but your pitch is actually starting in your sourcing email.

23:54 RS: Yeah.

23:55 AL: You’re able to contextualize what their experience is going to bring to the company and how the company is gonna reward that. So, a really great example of this might be somebody who’s working… Like a few years ago, right? Somebody that have been working on distributed systems was primarily working in something like Hadoop. If you were able to say “Listen, you’re gonna come and you’re gonna be able to work on real-time systems, ’cause this is an extension of what you’ve been doing, but your previous experience is gonna be relevant and valuable but you’re gonna keep pushing and learning and solving different problems.” Then you’re able from the first email to say, “I understand your experience. We have something really great for you and I understand what you wanna do”.

24:32 RS: Yes. And if you’re gonna present the role as if it is an opportunity, prove why it’s an opportunity. It’s not an opportunity unless it is exciting to someone and can advance their career in some such in some sort of way. And so, understanding what that would look like for them is really powerful.

24:49 AL: Particularly, if you’re asking them to come a start-up with like half of their salary or something, right? Which is no joke sometimes now, right?

24:55 RS: Right.

24:55 AL: There’s got to be another motivator for people rather than just financial outcomes.

25:00 RS: Yes. So we’ve shifted from sourcing to hiring quota; more focused on matching people as opposed to just top of the funnel, lots and lots of more messages, more outreach, eventually we’ll get our numbers. Have you seen the fruits of that labor?

25:16 AL: Yeah, so actually, we’ve had a pretty good year, right? As we have kind of accelerated hiring through the last 12 months. We’ve gained probably 10 or 12 percentage points on each one of our conversions to make sure that we’re actually hitting those things. It’s actually an interesting thing now that we wanna make sure that we’re staying in kind of like a 50%-60% conversion to make sure that we are still asking appropriate questions of the role, we’re still vetting people thoroughly enough. And so, we’ve now been focused on “How do you optimize around those things?” But it’s really gotten pretty interesting to see.

25:53 RS: How do you optimize around those things?

25:55 AL: Well, I think it’s all just getting the feedback and continuing to roll things back in.

26:00 RS: Got it.

26:00 AL: And deciding what your target is, right? And part of that is talking to people that have seen companies grow before and lending your own experience to those things, knowing that when you hire too fast, you don’t always get all of the signal at you need from each individual that you’re bringing in. Particularly, for us, because we’re early, that is incredibly important that we have a high confidence.

26:26 AL: The opposite end of that, of course, is like, if you get too far ahead of your skis, you end up either over-hiring or you’re hiring the wrong people. And there’s… Even though I talk about efficiency and recruiting funnels being of primary importance, you don’t wanna force attrition because of a wonky recruiting process.

26:41 RS: Right. Or just to hit some recruiting goal, right?

26:43 AL: Yeah, exactly.

26:45 RS: When it comes to knowing the needs of the team really well, I’m trying to think in terms of how that can scale. Would it make sense to have recruiters embedded in teams and like “You are gonna recruit for the specific team”? Maybe I’m not giving them enough credit, can they work with a lot of different teams and have that knowledge of different areas of the business? Is that the expectation you think of recruiters now?

27:09 AL: I think recruiters need to understand what the ultimate goals are, right? They need to understand the blueprint of a growing company and understand how their actions impact that. A lot of… I think the thing that people get frustrated is on operational teams, is that they don’t understand how their impact fits into things; particularly, if you’re telling somebody that they have to send 300 emails a week or they’re not doing their job.

27:31 RS: Which is a recipe for someone burning out and quitting and hating their job, by the way.

27:34 AL: Exactly. Which, how many people stay in recruiting for years and years, right? It’s not very many.

27:39 RS: Right, right.

27:39 AL: So I think people do have to understand that. I think the companies that I have seen embed recruiters into their teams, the challenge with that, is that processes end up piecemeal. And so, you have one team that’s hiring in a very, very different way than you might have another team hiring and that’s not good overall for how your company is gonna grow. It might be okay for that team for a little while because they’re getting a ton of attention and they’re getting what they need, but you’re not looking overall the values of the cultural components that are consistent across your organization.

28:10 RS: Yes. And this is just another example of how recruiters ought to be the strategic business partners and understand all the arms of the business so that they can deliver the best product, which I guess is, in this case, is people; as candidates and hires that are gonna stick around and do a good job and help the business meet its goals. And then the other side of the funnel, they are strategic career counselors, right? Being able to look at someone’s profile and background and have a conversation with them and say, “This does represent a big opportunity for you,” or “You know what, I think we’re a good fit for you. Like great chatting with you. Let’s stay in touch.” But, you know.

28:47 AL: See, you don’t need me. You could have just done this whole podcast. You got this nailed.

28:50 RS: I think the audience likes to break up my voice a little bit.

28:53 AL: Yeah. Okay, there you go.

28:54 RS: I can’t just put “Rob Stevenson talks to himself,” as the title.

28:58 AL: I think there’s probably worse podcasts out there but… Yeah. But I really think that that’s the case, is that people are motivated by success and are motivated, hopefully, by shared success. If you’re thinking about the impact that you’re having on a business, that’s really, at a growing company, should be what you’re ultimately thinking about, right? How you can think about all of the things that you’re all doing together to hopefully build something really, really special and something really great.

29:25 RS: Yes. Love that. Well, I don’t know if we’re gonna happen upon better bookends than that, Alex. So I think we should probably wrap up here. We’re about optimal podcast length. So, at this juncture, I’d just like to say thank you so much for being here. We have to have you back in. This was a blast and…

29:42 AL: Thanks for having me, Rob, this was great.

29:44 RS: Yeah, absolutely. Thank you, Alex. And to all you out there in podcast land, thank you once more for tuning in. I’ve been Rob Stevenson, Alex Lebovic has been Alex Lebovic and you’ve all been amazing, talented, wonderful recruiting darlings. Have a spectacular week and happy hunting.


30:08 RS: Talk Down 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.