In this episode, we talk with Mark Rini, Account Executive at PeopleFluent, about the reasons your candidates are ghosting you: because your candidate experience sucks.

Here’s how to fix it.

Listening Time: 29 minutes

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Mark Rini
Account Executive PeopleFluent Follow

Music: School’s in session. This is Recruiting Daily’s Sourcing School Podcast. Real talk about recruiting, sourcing, and cyber sleuthing. Hot takes on sourcing tools, recruiting tech, and anything we want to talk about. With no filter. It’s time to level up and put your sourcing pants on. Here’s your dudes, Ryan Leary and Brian Fink.

Brian Fink: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and-

Ryan Leary: [Crosstalk 00:00:38] out.

Brian Fink: Yeah, [crosstalk 00:00:39].

Ryan Leary: In and out.

Brian Fink: Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, friends of all ages. It’s the Ryan and Brian show. Aka, otherwise known as sourcing school hosted by Ryan Leary and Brian Fink. And today, we are joined by the one and only Mark Rini, who is coming to us live to talk to us about all things candidate experience, especially in a market where people get ghosted. If you are making, or if you are wondering if you’re turning into the right podcast, because I didn’t start singing.

Ryan Leary: Fink.

Brian Fink: Sing.

Ryan Leary: I want to hear a rap

Brian Fink: Sing for the moment. Live for the tunes. I don’t. Do you want me to keep?

Ryan Leary: No, I want-

Brian Fink: Ryan wants me to rap.

Ryan Leary: I want you to rap with Mark’s name and candidate experience in the sentence or in the song. Go for it.

Brian Fink: I don’t even think the Beastie Boys, the hype masters of rhyme could do. I mean, they do from here to Gardena. I mean like it’s, I don’t know if I could put Mark.

Ryan Leary: Oh, man. Fink [crosstalk 00:01:44].

Brian Fink: On your marks, get set, get ready. Let’s go. Candidate experience is for you. Yo. There you go. There’s a rap.

Ryan Leary: There you go. We got it, there you go. We’re fresh off HRTX. Two very, very long, exciting days. Your feet hurt.

Brian Fink: My feet hurt from it. Yeah.

Ryan Leary: From sitting all day. I mean, explain this to me. And now you invite me to Atlanta to get foot massages. I like the idea. I’m not going to lie.

Brian Fink: All right. Mark, real quick. To catch Mark, our guest, up. Ryan and I were having a conversation. Previously, he asked me what I did because everybody who turned into HRTX yesterday knows that I had been solo dad for the week. Is I took myself for a 90 minute foot massage at a place called Treat Your Feet here in Atlanta, Georgia. It is awesome. I told Ryan the next time he comes in that he will have to go to Treat Your Feet. Mark, I encourage you to come to Treat Your Feet as well with us. I don’t know when the next-

Ryan Leary: [crosstalk 00:02:46].

Brian Fink: Great. Great. I don’t know when the next conference is going to be. I don’t know when HRTX is going to be. The only thing that I think is on the radar right now is like SHRM Talent, which is like-

Ryan Leary: Yeah, we’ve got SHRM. SHRM Talent is on the 10th of April. Well, no, I think it’s the 11th. I’m going out there on 10th. We’re going to be out there. Then we got HRTX in August. We’ll be live. We’re going to be I think San Francisco.

Brian Fink: Oh, I think you just let the cat out the bag. Were people supposed to know that?

Ryan Leary: Yeah, yeah, yeah. That’s fine. I think in San Francisco is the plan. And then we’ve got November, which is New York work. I mean, we could find a foot massage place in a lot of places, but I’m thinking we might have to sleep in Atlanta to get some Starbucks, foot massages and just eat a steak.

Brian Fink: Well, about eating a steak, Ryan and Mark, you’re more than welcome to come out with us, is that last time that we had HRTX in San Francisco, Shally Steckerl and I, who by the way, if you’re listening, I don’t know when this is going to run. Shally has a huge event coming up on April 1st. That is going to be magic or magical. I don’t understand-

Ryan Leary: [crosstalk 00:03:55] something or other.

Brian Fink: Yeah, I do not understand it, but I know that I want to be there for it. Okay. I’m done with that. Shally and I went for steak in San Francisco. That is no surprise to anybody. If you know me and Shally, we also had some bourbon that was included. Speaking of bourbon, we did a podcast a few weeks ago where everybody was drinking. Mark, do you have a drink?

Mark Rini: Oh, I only have H2O right now.

Brian Fink: Okay.

Ryan Leary: I’ve got that in coffee. What do you got?

Brian Fink: All I’ve got is water. All I’ve got is water.

Ryan Leary: Well, there we go. There we go. It’s early today. We’re not smarting.

Mark Rini: It’s a healthy day.

Ryan Leary: Yeah. I feel like we got to leave the bourbon in the morning to Chad and Cheese. Maybe we need to give it to them.

Brian Fink: Excellent. Well, so I about excellence. One of the things that we said that we wanted to talk about today was really change management and what so many people are going through as they are going from a resource that may have existed four or five years ago for them and worked really, really well. Or that they’re going into the new generation of software solution that is going to help accentuate the candidate experience. Mark, what are you and your team of people fluent doing to accentuate that candidate experience while at the same time running this big change management strategy?

Mark Rini: Absolutely. Yeah. Thanks for having me guys. I’m a solution consultant in my current role. And what that really means is I worked with people who might be looking for a new ATS or end-to-end recruiting platform. Or I might work with existing customers on bringing them to this latest version we have.

I mentioned as we were kicking off the call, a lot of change management along with that. There’s a lot of these businesses we’ve been working with for five, 10, even 15 years. Over that time, they have built some real complex processes in their hiring workflow. And it’s my job to capture those workflows, all those processes and essentially, show it to them in the new version of our product.

And where we’re getting to, with a lot of those conversations, speaking with these HR directors, definitely heads of recruiting. Sometimes, they can’t even explain to me how a process has blown up to the point of where it is when they bring it to me. I think what I’ve really been doing the last few months with a lot of these, especially the larger companies we wore work with is, “Hey, how can we actually nuke this and start from scratch?” Go back to basics, thinking about just, what is point A to point B for your candidate?

Your recruiters, they’re trying to talk to those candidates or engage them or disqualify them as quickly as possible is our belief. We’re just trying to find that speed for the recruiter, but it ends up really helping improve the candidate experience, if we can just, “Hey, do we need this weighty assessment?”

Brian Fink: True that.

Mark Rini: Even in the application, do we even need everyone to list out all their experiences if we have the capability to just parse their resume? These are really valid questions some companies just haven’t asked themselves in a long time.

Ryan Leary: Mark, I got a question for you. Candidate experience, I mean, a lot of companies actually, I think they’re getting pretty good. I mean, I think you gave some examples previously. A lot of companies are getting really good with the candidate experience. But actually pre-call, you were talking about how they made it more shitty. You follow Ghosting on Twitter.

Brian Fink: I do. I follow Ghosting on Twitter and they’re 500 tweets to wake up to. Go for it, Ryan. I don’t want to hijack [crosstalk 00:08:00].

Ryan Leary: I just want to know. I mean, I feel like this is a really over-

PART 1 OF 4 ENDS [00:08:04]

Ryan Leary: I just want to know… I feel like this is a really overcomplicated area in talent acquisition, I mean, just make the candidates happy. So you’re working with these companies all the time. What do you do to help them make it less complex?

Mark Rini: Well, essentially try to start from ground zero and bring them some best practices. And essentially we’re going to look at each of these best practice areas, share with you what current customers are doing. But really try to help them focus in on just anything that’s not of value to the candidate. So that’s really where we’ll push people. It’s really a negotiation, it’s a partnership. We’re a trusted resource for them. But I think for me, the way I’m getting them to simplify some of their processes is again, is it a value for the candidate? Like, what is this going to improve about their experience, interviewing with us? Are we actually capturing information we’re going to use in our conversations with them? Is it something relevant to this specific role? So I think that’s really where we start is, how can we make your processes more or role specific? And that could be complicated, but it turns out if you’re not trying to apply one methodology across all these unique roles and positions, it can be a lot more straightforward to just, for each and every role, each and every position you’re hiring for, let’s just do the bare minimum there.

Brian Fink: Talk to me about how technology shortens that gap for a second, because I think that so many times people use technology either as an excuse or they don’t use it at all. So how is technology supposed to shorten that gap?

Mark Rini: Yeah. And I think actually a good example where I think technology… People will sometimes confuse this and end up over complicating it, is something even from sourcing perspective, is reaching out to, casting a really wide net, hundreds of candidates.

Brian Fink: Too any people. Too many people.

Mark Rini: And the messaging’s very generic. And a lot of this I have found comes back to… I was in sales for some time and it’s the same thought, where people are just being told more is better and we’re tracking volume. They’ve got a dashboard of how many emails they’ve sent. But I think we’re forgetting what the end goal is, which is to actually have a real conversation with that candidate. Another example would be right in the application process again. Why are you having them go through six different pages, if it turns out this hiring manager for this role, is really only looking for two key skills or a couple key questions they really want answered. So I think ways we can, on the flip side of that, improve the candidate experience, definitely a very specific thing we always introduce to customers if they’re not using it, is something like candidate self scheduling. So letting them, you’ve probably [crosstalk 00:11:36] seen this, booking meetings. So, there’s back and forth. Anything that cuts down on that day-to-day chaos for the recruiter, we found it also equally improves the candidate experience, is really my belief.

Brian Fink: Hey. Mark [crosstalk 00:11:53]

Ryan Leary: Go ahead.

Brian Fink: No, and I just was going to talk about that day-to-day chaos, is that one of the things that a lot of recruiters reach out to me about is, they asked me, “How do I manage my desk?” Do recruiters know how to manage their desk?

Mark Rini: That’s an interesting question. I think, definitely we try to help them with things like task management. But recruiters, I don’t think they want to have necessarily a dashboard that helps them complete tasks from one to the next. They want something that’s actually going to declutter things in their mind like, “Help me so I don’t have to remember 30 different things about this candidate or find their information in five different places. When I’m emailing that candidate, how can I have all the information I need right in front of me? Can I use some templating from what we’ve built, but still make the message personalized in a very short amount of time.” Those are all things we’re thinking about for helping the recruiter.

Ryan Leary: Mark. So all right, let’s push this forward. I know we’re talking candidate experience, but I think there’s also a story to be told with employee engagement as well. They bring them on board… And I know you guys cover this and I know you don’t want this to be a pitch, but walk the audience through marketplaces. I mean, there’s so many [crosstalk 00:13:34] products out there that are running marketplaces now. Some of them are doing fantastic, others, I just think they suck. But I’m curious, so what’s your, sorry, what’s your take on it? I mean, so project marketplaces, internal mobility, career pathing, can [crosstalk 00:13:53] we do something special, I think internally for employees?

Mark Rini: Yeah. I agree with that. And I think, the different software players looking at marketplaces right now, they’re all taking their own angle. So some really have attached it to talent management or performance management. Others are really thinking about it in skills. And there’s a real pitch for HR leaders to build this skills database around their employees. We really look at the talent marketplace from a career development perspective and an internal mobility perspective. So we can ultimately serve your internal talent, different recommendations that are actually active recs, open jobs from your ATS.

But we try to show people, “Hey, before you even get to that point, there could be a lot of cultural change management within your organization, enabling something like that.” So what we can do first is even just serve up different career recommendations to the employee, get them just exploring within your organization. While they’re getting pinged with notifications from LinkedIn about all their external opportunities, we can actually show them how they can grow. So really the way we approach the marketplace, whether it’s just in a career they’re exploring, an open job, a project, there would also be a mentorship opportunity. It’s all centered around your career aspirations or the skills you want to develop, and that really drives everything we serve those employees.

Ryan Leary: All right. I got to change topics for a second because-

Brian Fink: Oh, you got to change topics? Oh, [crosstalk 00:15:46] look, we’re about to change up everybody. Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls.

Ryan Leary: As we’re talking about all this, we were talking, I sent you a little message. We need do a live show. We need to get back in person. I’m thinking May. Let’s do May 19.

PART 2 OF 4 ENDS [00:16:04]

Ryan Leary: I’m thinking May. Let’s do May 19th. We’ll do that.

Brian Fink: We can’t do May 19th.

Ryan Leary: Why can’t we do May 19th?

Brian Fink: Because there’s an event going on in Colorado that I think Batman is the MC for, called… Coming up. So, I’ve committed to be there to support the bat.

Ryan Leary: Oh, well, that’s not nice. Well, then let’s pick another day. All right, back to you, Mark.

Mark Rini: Good try, I guess.

Ryan Leary: I should have said no.

Brian Fink: Yeah, I know. It was like [inaudible 00:16:41]. Like, “Yeah, we can do that.” I was like, “Why don’t we do Cinco de Mayo in LA?” I don’t know.

Ryan Leary: Cinco de Mayo is our anniversary. 5/5/06 is my wedding anniversary.

Brian Fink: Oh, okay. All right.

Ryan Leary: So, big plans this year. I don’t know what they are, but we’ll figure it out. Well, first, we have the birthday in three days, so we got to do that first. So, any birthday recommendations is good. Sorry, Mark, back to you. What were you saying? No, I love what you guys are doing over there, and just the idea… It brings back awful memories of my time at IBM when we didn’t… I guess maybe they had a platform, it’s bluepages or something like that. And they tried this thing, and I think it was probably an internal homegrown system because we had SharePoint and we had this bluepages stuff. And I mean, the idea was always good, it’s just it fell on its face. It never materialized. And I just wonder if maybe I would’ve enjoyed it more if it was there and if I’d still be there. Yeah.

Mark Rini: Again, an awful lot of people that come to me with things they’re doing in SharePoint are Excel today.

Brian Fink: Excel, Google Docs.

Mark Rini: And there’s been so much thought into these talent management, employee engagement, internal mobility type initiatives, but the experience for the employees, in reality, is a spreadsheet. So, absolutely, I think sometimes, again, let’s just think about what the end goal is. For me, it’s taken their eyeballs away from… In this conversation, away from external opportunities and back to internally, how can I grow my career here?

Brian Fink: Let’s talk about that because I think that’s probably the… Mark, I think that’s probably the overlooked topic of the year; is what are we doing to retain talent and make sure that there is that upward mobility in organization. I think that BLS data, which Mark Wolford and Twitter provides me, gives me insights and his take on it all the time, shows that we’re really going to be at a talent deficit for the next three years. How do we retain talent, not just how do we go after new talent or source new talent?

Mark Rini: Yeah. For me, again, it starts with just letting your employees know there is a place for me to grow in the organization. And I think also finding ways to let them know that, in 2022, their internal path doesn’t have to be linear, it doesn’t have to follow any kind of logical timeline. I think really, the way this also plays to your advantage, from the HR perspective… Someone like me, I actually moved from a sales role into more of this product role. And I think the advantage of enabling that type of move in your organization, we can really stop thinking just so laterally and start thinking about what are the skill gaps we have today, and look at our internal talent, really make them feel valued for those skills they might have, but we didn’t know about, so giving them a place to capture skills right.

And then, “Hey, we didn’t know Mark knew some code and has done some product design work, so hey, let’s try him out in this kind of opportunity to grow those skills a little more, and we can see what type of projects he’ll be able to take on next.” So, really just before I get to a point of, “Hey, I kind of feel like this is a dead-end, there’s this position above me, I don’t even know if I’m that interested in it.” And meanwhile, there’s like six recruiters in my inbox on LinkedIn today.

Brian Fink: Of course.

Ryan Leary: So, question here then. So, tell me what… Because you’re very close to the marketplace, in terms of clients using this platform or others. It doesn’t really matter. We’re curious to get your intake. What are you seeing out there in terms of what are companies doing to manage potential in the organization? And you touched on it, but I’m curious there, and I had some conversations this week around the potential. And really curious to see what you guys are doing there, what you’re personally seeing in the marketplace, how are companies managing employees’ potential, who don’t recognize what they’re doing? And if they’re leveraging technology to do that, how’s the platform helping them to do that?

Mark Rini: Yeah. I think there’s a few different things we can do. Certainly, I think anyone we’re trying to identify as high potential… First, we might be helping companies figure out how they go about making that identification, making sure it’s not too subjective, making sure if we’re really going to position someone as high potential and put them into some initiatives, like a leadership development group, we want to first make sure that’s probably been calibrated on, there’s more than just their manager feels that strongly about them. But then I kind of just alluded to it, we really push very strongly in the direction of development, but there could be different types of development. It could be a leadership development initiative, or as I said, it could be much more skills or project-oriented, where we’re really going to try to expose you to new experiences or new people, mentors, project teams.

So, I think it’s right away if we do have a high potential group. It’s, again, letting them know there’s a place to develop here and giving them a prescriptive path forward. And then from there, I think just what else are you doing in your talent journey to reflect supporting high potential employees? So, obviously, compensation, kind of a hot topic right now, with everything going on in the market. So, we can think about it in terms of succession planning. So, those high potentials, what might they be able to do as a future leader in the organization? But we can also think of it in terms of, maybe we actually want to have some type of employee recognition program. If people maybe were getting feedback that they don’t feel recognized, certainly, we could put our best foot forward, whether it’s a merit increase [inaudible 00:23:55], giving them project opportunities, but ultimately, we also need a place to capture their feedback.

PART 3 OF 4 ENDS [00:24:04]

Mark Rini: We also need a place to capture their feedback. Right? So things like engagement surveys, recognition programs. We can also try to get a better pulse, not just high potential employees and what they’re thinking about the company, but everyone in general. So yeah, I think that’s the last point, giving those high potential employees, making sure they have a voice to be heard. Sometimes they really want a seat at the table if they do recognize that they’re of value to the organization. Again, making them feel heard.

Brian Fink: About making them feel heard, Chris Tuff, who’s a friend and who’s in Atlanta, he is the bestselling author of the millennial whisperer. He talks about the fact that millennials have made a different impression in the marketplace, but that they’re really looking for mentorship, not management. I tee this question up and say in a world where we’re hyper-competitive for compensation and to throw money at a problem, is there another solution that we can be offering to individuals such as that mentorship? What does that look like?

Mark Rini: Yeah, I think we can do some fun things. Again, just to assign people recognition points, and then they can use those points for different things. Now, some of it’s not that exciting, you might just have a company that based on positive feedback they’re receiving on projects and things like that, maybe they can earn some gift cards with those points they’ve received. That’s a simple thing to do. But what I’ve seen is some organizations do is take that a step forward and they’ll actually use those points to redeem things really unique with their company, like an outing with the CEO. What’s another one I’ve seen, I mean, company swag.

Brian Fink: An outing with the CEO. I like that.

Mark Rini: Yeah.

Brian Fink: I think that’s important. I think that that founder-led organizations that really resonates with the troops and with it’s holders, that’s powerful. All right. So here we go. We’re almost at time here. Mark, there’s a fun little question that Ryan likes to ask and I’ve been taking it away from him lately, I’m going to let Ryan ask the question about if there were three or four things that you need to leave us with today, what would they be? I’m going to let Ryan ask that question. I’m sorry, Ryan. I don’t want to steal your thunder.

Ryan: Well, Mark, if there were three or four things that you could leave us with today, what would they be?

Mark Rini: Absolutely.

Ryan: Did I do good?

Brian Fink: I’m getting better at this. I’m getting better at this, I’m sharing.

Mark Rini: Yeah.

Ryan: He’s stumped. See, he doesn’t know the answer. He stumped him. He doesn’t have three of four things.

Mark Rini: No, I would definitely say, first and foremost, remove any non-value adding steps for your candidates and your recruiting workflow. I’d say that’s absolutely number one for me. Might be cheating for number two, but same for your recruiters, right? What is not a value for your recruiters or what are your recruiters or hiring managers not using in your workflows today?

Brian Fink: I like that.

Mark Rini: How recently have you asked for that feedback from your hiring team?

Ryan: So basically, you’re saying remove the incredibly stupid and non-meaningful steps from the recruiters process.

Mark Rini: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Because they’re probably going to be the ones that tick off your candidates as well.

Ryan: Yeah.

Mark Rini: And then just think about, if you’re going to be adopting new technology, really look for something that’s going to give candidates modern experiences again. Right? So maybe not prioritizing their ability to create a login and check the status of their application. Let’s just find a way where they’re going to be notified of each step in the process automatically. And there’s nothing the candidate has to ever do, there’s nothing the recruiter has to ever do. Right? So think about again, if you’re starting from scratch with a new technology or if you’re going to be looking at a new one for the first time in a while, just try to come to it from a zero-based train of thought. Right? How can we think of this from the ground up?

Brian Fink: Well, I think that’s a great way to end today’s conversation with Mark, from the team over at PeopleFluent. Mark, thanks for making time for us. I hope you’ll have a killer weekend. Ryan, I hope that you’ll get out on the boat and you’ll get to do some fishing. I’m Brian Fink, he’s Ryan Leary, we hope you had fun with us today. We’ll see you again soon. Thank you.

Music You’ve been listening to The Recruiting live podcast by RecruitingDaily, check out the latest industry podcast, webinars, articles, and news at

Sourcing School Podcast

Brian Fink

As a Talent Acquisition Partner at McAfee, Brian Fink enjoys bringing people together to solve complex problems, build great products, and get things done. In his recent book, Talk Tech to Me, Fink takes on the stress and strain of complex technology concepts and simplifies them for the modern recruiter to help you find, engage, and partner with professionals.

Ryan Leary

Ryan Leary helps create the processes, ideas and innovation that drives RecruitingDaily. He’s our in-house expert for anything related to sourcing, tools or technology. A lead generation and brand buzz building machine, he has built superior funnel systems for some of the industries top HR Tech and Recruitment brands. He is a veteran to the online community and a partner here at RecruitingDaily.


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