For more than a decade, Anessa has led the strategic People and Talent functions at more than 75 companies around the world through her own company, Fike + Co. As CPO or Head of Talent for dozens of those organizations, she has helped them scale in times of high growth, pivot during business model changes and fix, nurture and expand on great workplaces for all human beings. Anessa is currently working with NPR as Interim Head of Talent to reimagine what Talent looks like for the organization
On today’s TAKEOVER episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks to Anessa from Fike + Co about her session at Greenhouse Open.
Some Conversation Highlights:
The hardest part for me in scaling is keeping a good pulse on your culture. Because for me, I want to make sure that the good things that are in your culture that you want to keep are preserved during that time and emboldened during that time. And what happens to a lot of organizations that scale really rapidly is they lose sight of that. They lose sight and lose track of where the pulse of their culture is. And it’s a really hard thing because as you’re growing and as you’re bringing in a ton of people, you also want to retain those people. You don’t want to just keep having them turn over, which makes your talent team just have more work to do.
So, it’s that balance of bringing in great people that are going to not be cultural fits, but be cultural additions and making sure your culture is where it needs to be. Making sure you’re keeping a pulse on it, making sure you’re taking care of people during that transition in that high growth period and bringing in good people to add to it along the way as well. And I think there’s a holistic view that a lot of talent teams don’t really get to see, even if they want to see on different sides of that when you’re going through high growth.
Listening time: 41 minutes
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Music: This is Recruiting Daily’s Recruiting Live Podcast, where we look at the strategies behind the world’s best talent acquisition teams. We talk recruiting, sourcing, and talent acquisition. Each week we take one overcomplicated topic and break it down so that your three year old can understand it. Make sense? Are you ready to take your game to the next level? You’re at the right spot. You’re now entering the mind of a hustler. Here’s your host, William Tincup
William Tincup: Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you’re listening to The Recruiting Daily Podcast today we have Anessa on and we’re talking about her session at Greenhouse Open, but we’re going to be talking about a lot of things. So I can’t wait to talk with her, let’s just do some introductions first, Anessa, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and your company?
Anessa Fike: Absolutely. And thank you for having me on today, William. I’ve a fan for a long time, so I’m super excited to be here with you today. And so my name is Anessa Fike and I started my company Fike + Co, it’ll be nine years this year, ago. And during those nine years, we have worked with over 80 companies globally in terms of people ops, HR leadership and talent leadership. And really spanning the gamut from very early stage startups, all the way to larger corporations with tens of thousands of people. And our niche, if you will, is really those growing startups when they’re in high growth mode, when they’re receiving funding, when they’re series A through D, pre-IPO, post-IPO, mergers and acquisitions. But we really love the type of company who is around 200, 300, 400 people and going to a 1000 or so. That’s actually our favorite time.
And what we really do is we approach people operations and talent leadership in a fractional way. We come in during those pivotal times or transitional times in a company. Sometimes we’re even the first chief people officer in the door, sometimes it’s coming in to completely reimagine talent, which is what I’m doing right now at NPR. 50 year old media nonprofit company and coming in as serving as their current interim head of talent acquisition to completely reimagine what the function means for them. So all of those fund different projects that we do on a fractional basis and a little more, just before I started Fike + Co, I actually fell into HR. I’m a former journalist, so what I went to college for was a newspaper reporter and journalist. And then I fell into HR and talent like most people do typically and went to work at The Motley Fool in Alexandria, Virginia, and was promoted up to global recruiting director.
So, when I came into The Motley Fool there were around 75 people and then when I left a few years later, I think 325 is where we were when I left. So really seeing such a great cultural dynamic from The Motley Fool and understanding what that means to create a great place for people to come and thrive, no matter their background, no matter their gender ethnicity or where they’re coming from in life and their skillset. Just having a great place for people to come in and thrive. So that’s a little about me and where I came from and what I’ve been doing the last couple of years.
William Tincup: So, a few things, one is home on stage at Erie House early 2000s. No, it’s 2008 and I’m doing this bit, I get off stage this guy walks up to me and he says, “William, I need your advice.” I said, “Okay yeah, for sure, absolutely. 100%. He goes, “I need to hire 10,000 people.”
Anessa Fike: Mm, 10,000?
William Tincup: I’m like, “Okay, all right.” It’s a medical device play and, and he needs to hire 10,000 people. He goes, “I don’t even know where to start.” I said, “Well, here’s where I would start, go look at the companies that have scaled that fast and go hire somebody that’s already done it. Because they’ll at least be able to cut out some of the mistakes that you might make. So go hire either through a consultant or directly go hire people that have already done it and scaled.” And he was like, “Do you know anybody?” I’m like, “I know the VP of talent acquisition at Cisco. And they went through a lot of growth. It’d be a great person to talk to.” So, I love that part of your business is actually helping people scale. What’s the hardest part of scale? Is it process? Is it finding the talent?
Anessa Fike: Yeah, that’s a good question.
William Tincup: What’s the hardest part of scale for you?
Anessa Fike: Well, for us, because we look at talent a little more holistically than I think a lot of people do. The hardest part for me in scaling is keeping a good pulse on your culture. Because for me, I want to make sure that the good things that are in your culture that you want to keep are preserved during that time and emboldened during that time. And what happens to a lot of organizations that scale really rapidly is they lose sight of that. They lose sight and lose track of where the pulse of their culture is. And it’s a really hard thing because as you’re growing and as you’re bringing in a ton of people, you also want to retain those people. You don’t want to just keep having them turn over, which makes your talent team just have more work to do.
So, it’s that balance of bringing in great people that are going to not be cultural fits, but be cultural additions and making sure your culture is where it needs to be. Making sure you’re keeping a pulse on it, making sure you’re taking care of people during that transition in that high growth period and bringing in good people to add to it along the way as well. And I think there’s a holistic view that a lot of talent teams don’t really get to see, even if they want to see on different sides of that when you’re going through high growth. And I think it’s really pivotal, it’s actually what makes really great companies a whole lot better at scaling than those that aren’t very good at scaling. Because they put all their attention in just one area instead of across multiple areas and really looking across the holistic view of the culture.
So for me, it’s the culture piece. The second piece is getting the right systems in place. Shout out to Greenhouse. I know we’re talking about Greenhouse Open today, but shout out to Greenhouse because the system really doesn’t make a difference. If you have a system that’s working against your talent team during eras of high growth and your talent team could have a bunch of super manual non-automated things that are taking up their time. They’re not able to be strategic. They’re not able to think holistically about what they’re doing, they have to be manually in the system.
Meanwhile, if you have a system that’s working for your team, right, instead of against it, that’s easier. It’s very automated. You are putting your thoughts and your emphasis and your energy into the right place, which is creating human dynamics and a great candidate experience, as opposed to doing the admin task on the backside. So I think cultural pieces are a big piece of that. Looking more holistically across what’s happening at the company and with retaining employees and that growth time as well, and then systems really play a big part.
William Tincup: So culture, there’s two parts to that I want to ask about. One is, who owns culture?
Anessa Fike: Yeah good question.
William Tincup: Which, is a really loaded question.
Anessa Fike: Loaded question. Yeah.
William Tincup: And then also what you’ve seen over the last two and a half years of how culture has… In your mind, is it different, similar, same? What’s different about culture just as we’ve been through the two and a half years of hell.
Anessa Fike: Yeah, pandemic.
William Tincup: Yes.
Anessa Fike: I’ll tackle the first question first. Who owns culture? It is a really interesting question to ask an answer nowadays. And I think it used to feel like a burden on the chief people officer, the people team, the talent teams to bear that burden almost entirely, to own the culture. And that was never okay. It was never one team’s job, it was never one executive’s job but I do feel like those teams particularly felt the burden of taking almost the entirety of that on themselves. And for me, it has changed a little for the better in that dynamic, whether it was the pandemic or other pieces that added to that. But over the last few years, what I think we’ve seen is that organizations are starting to understand that it’s not just one executive’s job.
It’s not just one department or two departments jobs. It’s, it’s the job of everyone. It’s the job of creating a place where people feel like they can thrive and where they can be accepted and where they belong and that is everyone’s job. Everyone plays a part in creating a great culture and if it’s a toxic culture, everyone should be held accountable for that and work towards making it a better culture. So for me, everyone owns a piece of that. It does need to be really important and the importance needs to come from the executive team, if you don’t see that no one else will believe it’s important. So the executive team, the CEO, the COO, everyone on the executive team has to understand how important culture is to the organization and really authentically be bought in and showcase their buy in through the rest of the organization.
But it is on every person. Because culture, it’s the behaviors and the ways that we talk to each other that showcase how we are in an organization. And what that means is that even small behaviors, how you’re interacting with people in a meeting, how you’re talking to people, those are all part of the culture. Everyone has a part in that. So I think right now everyone owns that. And there are experts and guiding lights in that cultural piece, which are your chief people officer and your talent executives, as well as all of your other executives. But use that expertise to go in the right direction if you hit a blip or if you need some help, but really it’s everyone’s burden to carry, to make the culture a really great place.
Now, on the other side of that, I know you also asked about has the culture changed over the last few years with the pandemic. And I think it has, I think that previous to COVID happening, we still saw a lot of organizations that we worked with and then those that I had friends that worked with and we knew in the space, that some executives had to feel like they were buttoned up all the time. They could never show a weakness, vulnerability was not a good thing and I think what the pandemic has taught us is that everyone’s human. We all have stuff going on, we all have kids, dogs walking in the background of our Zoom videos. We have doorbells ringing during Zoom interviews. We’ve got things going off during Zoom times and that’s okay.
We are all human, we don’t all have to have it together all the time. We don’t all have to be buttoned up all the time. And I think what it has done is really leveled the playing field for a lot of people because of being able to be more authentic and I think that’s a good thing. I think in business, we were going a little more towards being robots than we should have been. And I think a silver lining of the pandemic a bit is that it pulled us back to say, “No, we’re all human. We’re all going through this together and it’s okay. It’s okay to be human, it’s okay to show vulnerability. It’s okay to not be perfect all the time.”
And that actually emboldens a culture, when you have that. When you have executives that feel like they’re just people, as opposed to somebody you put on this pedestal that actually makes your culture better. And it’s makes you feel like the executives are more caring and you care more for them and they care more for you. That’s a good thing. So what I’m actually seeing is that nice change and the silver lining since we’ve had the pandemic over the last few years, because it has led to more authenticity and more showcasing of vulnerability.
William Tincup: I love that. So one of the things that you said early on especially with startups that you work with. What’s your sense of startups that start with a great fundamental understanding of talent? They get talent early and as you know, some of them get it at 100 employees, some of them get it 1000 employees. They’re going to eventually get to a point where they understand talent, it’s just a question of when, but I wanted to get just your take on it. How soon is should that seed be planted?
Anessa Fike: Oh gosh. As soon as possible. We all work today in businesses full of people. I don’t know of a business out there that doesn’t have a person in it. And the assets of your business are the people and to understand the dynamic of people and how important it is to your business is something that a lot of people, like you mentioned, still don’t understand. So as early as you can plant that seed, the better. Because if you have great talent and you have to spend less time on turnover, less time on going out there and finding people to replace the people that left you, that’s time that you can spend on the people in the door. That’s time that you can spend on each other, on your product, on your business, on your revenue.
So all of those things around the business, all of those departments actually are better when you have better talent. Now, I also strongly believe that you get what you pay for. If you are really trying to scrape by and pay your talent the minimum that they can possibly be paid, they’re going to realize that you’re not paying them their worth and they’re going to go someplace else. And then you’re going to have a reputation of, “That place doesn’t pay for great people.” And then what’s going to happen is you’re no longer going to get great people. And then your business is going to suffer. So paying for great talent, paying people what they’re worth, paying people for their expertise and then letting them use that expertise to make your business better. I think the worst thing too of what a lot of startups try to do is they bring a lot of great people in and they’re like, “You’re, you’re original, you’re unique.”
And then they come in and they say, “Okay, now do this thing that we’ve asked you to do and asked all 200 other people to do in the exact same way.” Which takes away the uniqueness in the originality, instead of letting them use that and add that, to be additive to the culture. So the sooner that a startup can really realize that talent can be a game changer, talent can give you more revenue sooner if you do it right, talent can be a profit center it doesn’t need to be a cost center, the better you’re going to be. Not only just with your business, but with everyone else internally in your organization as well.
William Tincup: So, sometimes I feel like I have the same conversations with different people. So one of the conversations I’m having with a lot of folks, probably for the last month or so, is the shift in candidates expectations. That’s so stark, it’s a grand canyon of expectations that are different. And the way I model it for people, candidates think in hours, minutes, and seconds and recruiters, corporate or otherwise, think in months, weeks, and days. And so you have this polarity of, “Oh, that sounds great. Love you. Everything looks great. Give us three days and then we’ll get back to you.” And then the candidates hearing that inside and thinking to themselves “Three days, what’s wrong with your process? What’s so broken in your process that it takes you three days to make a decision?
Anessa Fike: And three days is even short.
William Tincup: For corporate folks, three days, that’s normal.
Anessa Fike: Yeah.
William Tincup: So, I feel like I’ve had that conversation probably 100 times. What do you feel like for you and your people that you’re helping? What do you feel like you’ve said more than 10 times.
Anessa Fike: Probably lots of things. I think that a lot of talent teams and a lot of companies make recruiting more difficult than it needs to be. They add red tape, they add bureaucracy, they add steps and it’s not needed. For me, I always tell people the longer the process takes you, the more inadequate you seem from a candidate’s perspective. So if you have them meet 25 people, if you have them go through our project, if you take three months, all of those things just signify to the candidate that you don’t know what you’re doing. And if you are very descriptive in what you’re looking for from the outset, your team is on board, they know what they’re asking, they meet three people. You have those questions ready for those people and the team is aligned and you can make a decision in within a week and give them an offer in that same week, that candidate is going to think, “Man, these people are on it, they know what they’re doing. They understand talent, they understand what I can bring to the table and they brought me in quickly.”
That loyalty factor, that understanding of how great talent can be and allowing them to showcase what they need to showcase in a process without drawing it out is wonderful. And it’s something that today’s talent, today’s candidates, really want. They don’t want to take forever in a process, they don’t want to do a project for you, they don’t want to do free work. They want to be able to talk to people about what you are doing in companies and ask you real questions and get real answers. And so I think that the quickest that you can make it while also having that balance of making sure the candidate gets all the information they need from you as well is key.
Another thing that I always say is recruiting is a 50/50 relationship and that’s something where a lot of businesses get it wrong. They make recruiting 80/20. We’re going to take up about 80% of your time to ask you a bunch of questions, but we’re only going to give you about 20% to ask us questions. And that’s an imbalance of power and that’s not a good human relationship. What other human relationship works if it’s not 50/50 or close to it? Not very many. And so, why do we think, from a talent perspective, that continuing down this 80/20 path is going to be great for us, it’s not. Try to make it as 50/50 as you can, 50% them asking you questions, 50% you asking them questions and being really cognizant of their time, them, being cognizant of your time, it’s a 50/50 relationship along the way. And I think that’s something that a lot of recruiters, a lot of talent teams and a lot of businesses really don’t get from that perspective. But it means a lot to the candidates.
William Tincup: I love everything you’ve said. And I love when recruiters start there with a candidate, they start with the expectation. It’s like, “Listen, we’re both trying to figure our match here. We’re both in the same business in the sense of, “you’re trying to figure out is this my next greatest adventure?” And we’re trying to figure out the same thing. Are you a part of the team is going to be the next various adventure? So we’re both trying to figure out the same thing and we might figure it out differently. But ask questions and we’ll ask questions. We’ll just talk, we’ll give you as much information so you can make a decision and the same will be true for us.” I love recruiters that just start, they frame it up in a way that just goes…
I think it’s freeing actually for them, but also for the candidates who just at any given point go, “Hey, I have a quick question.” And it could take you off on a direction but that’s important to them.
Anessa Fike: Absolutely.
William Tincup: If it’s important to them, it’s important to you. You’re doing a session at Greenhouse Open.
Anessa Fike: Yes.
William Tincup: Tell us a little about the bit that you’re doing.
Anessa Fike: Yeah. So our panel session is going to be on Tuesday, which is the first day of Greenhouse Open. And it’s going to be about working smarter so, what the best recruiters do to win. And we’re going to have some amazing people on that panel. We actually just had our kickoff get together call yesterday to introduce each other. So we’re going to have the director of recruiting from SeatGeek on there and the VP of talent acquisition at Blockfi and some others as well. But really just diving into what is it that sets great recruiters apart today. What do great recruiters do to win? And how do you work smart? And one thing that I know we chatted just briefly about, I think we’ll touch on in the panel is, just how do we get really efficient?
How do we make sure people are efficient and working smart? How do we think outside the box? How do we break out of the corporate talent box that everyone seems to be stuck and throw it completely out the window and start over because, post pandemic still in COVID, we are very much in a supply demand piece when it comes to talent. We don’t have the supply of talent and we have an overwhelming demand and that’s not going to change for a few years. I think there’s a lot of businesses out there that think things will go back in six months and it’ll come back to where we were in 12 months or whatever that looks like, but it really won’t. We have a lot of baby boomers that have left the workforce early and retired early.
We have a ton of millennials that have left to become entrepreneurs and same with gen Z. Gen Z does not want, they don’t really want nine to five jobs anymore. They want to do their own things. And we’ve had more than a million people die from COVID that are never going to return to the workforce. So, that supply piece is not going to fix itself for many years. We are going to be in this talent market for many years. And so, when I talk to people about that, it’s like, “Okay, we’re not going to just plan for the next six months. You need to plan for the next three to five years.” Because that’s where we’re going to be in this talent market solely for that time being.
And so from that perspective we’ll go over a lot of those dynamics, how different recruiters work with different things, what little tips and tricks we have, what works for us, some really great case studies, some really great winning stories and accomplishments. So, I think we’re going to give the audience a lot of great takeaways from that panel and not just fluff takeaways, but real takeaways you could use to go in and try with your teams.
William Tincup: I love that. So with winning, how do you measure winning? Charlie Sheen’s winning.
Anessa Fike: Yeah, love that.
William Tincup: Love that. What’s the best, when you think about winning, what is that? Is it time to fill? Is it quality of hire? And those are lame things to look at, but what is winning versus not winning as well?
Anessa Fike: I try to look at it from a higher level view of than just time to fill or quality of hire. I think those do play a part in it, but for me, winning means for an organization when talent becomes your game changer, you’re winning. And what I mean by that is your company cannot thrive without its talent function. They see how great the talent is that the talent team is bringing in the door, because that talent is then doing great things for the business and for the team members and for everyone inside the business, culturally. And that for me is when the switch flips and that’s when talent becomes a game changer and a profit center, as opposed to a cost center. If you were one of those talent teams that is really just taking orders, you’re rec takers, you’re taking orders and you’re filling them. You’re not going to ever be a game changer. You’re not ever going to switch to a profit center.
You’ve got to raise yourself up from that. You’ve got to be able to fill those recs, but also provide the much needed strategic support for the rest of the organization to get ahead. To create great talent pipelines, to create a great help, create a great culture for those people to be retained in and just making that a more holistic approach to ingraining how talent can be such a beneficial piece for your organization. And I think even more for that, what I consider winning is when everyone and your organization feels like they’re well equipped to recruit for people in your organization.
So if you have hiring managers that are out there constantly looking and they’re delivering a great candidate experience, that’s winning. If you have people that are saying, “Oh, I want my friends to come and work here. It’s a really great place to work, but we have really talented people and I want to bring people into what we have going on because it’s so great,” that’s winning. So there’s a lot of different dynamics too, I see, of what winning means. But it’s almost that shift from order taker to strategic force within the organization.
William Tincup: I love that. Yeah, because at that point, you’re not a recruiter. When someone asks you what your industry is, it’s not the recruiting industry, it’s actually the business. It’s the industry or whatever business that you’re in.
Anessa Fike: Absolutely.
William Tincup: It becomes different. And to get to strategic, as you mentioned earlier, you have to become efficient, which means you have to cut out any waste and waste can come in a lot of different forms. So it can be technology waste where you’re spending time with tools that you shouldn’t, or they’re just not aligned in the way that they should be. It could be process, it could be some different faulty process. I heard something recently and really, it didn’t shock me, but it did shock me. And I was talking to a technical recruiter and I’m like, I’m currently recruiting DevOps and we’re going back and forth on it. And she says, “You can’t have a fifth interview.” I said, “What? She goes, “If you’re talking to a DevOps, especially a senior, and they ask you the process and you explain the process, if it has a fifth step they’re out.”
Anessa Fike: I agree with that.
William Tincup: I’m like, “What?” She’s like, “We’ve had to condense all of our steps into less than four because four is off a letter.” So, we’ve had to condense everything down which is good in some regards, because it does squeeze out some of that inefficiency. But it’s also pretty scary for a lot of folks on the recruiting and HR side. When you think about efficiency, some of the quick hits that people can… Obviously you’re going to tease out during your session, but do you think of it as, “I can easily squeeze out some technology and efficiency?”
Anessa Fike: Yeah. Definitely technology is there, as much as you can squeeze that out and actually create a single source of truth. Having Greenhouse be such a great functionality of software to be a single source of truth for everything in recruiting is great. Because every time you have to click out of Greenhouse and click into Google Drive, Google Docs, Google Sheets, that’s inefficient. Every time you have to click back from Google Sheets to Greenhouse, that’s inefficient. And so by keeping everything in one place, it makes it really efficient. You’ll hear me say, Greenhouse is my favorite ATS. And it’s very easy to see why, because it has such great functionality and such great intuition and built into the experience. It’s actually why I’ve implemented it I feel like at more than a dozen places at this point, more than a dozen clients. And that’s actually what we’re doing at NPR is we’re taking an ATS that was working against the talent team and moving to Greenhouse.
And so that’s a big piece of it. That’s a big piece of the efficiency piece. The other piece around efficiency is just the tips and tricks that I always try to look for is what is there that doesn’t need to be there? What’s there that’s making someone comfortable in your org? For what reason? Why are they uncomfortable to begin with? And can you have a discussion with them around why they need this step? Because if it’s around making someone comfortable or uncomfortable for instance, I’ve been with organizations that require four approvals just to post a job, that can take a week and a half. Meanwhile competitors are out there starting and finishing and offering their candidates in that same time. It took you just to post the job. And so why is something there?
What is it there for? What’s the reasoning behind it? Can we get to a conversation to figure out why do we have that hang up, that roadblock, that challenge, that piece of red tape and bureaucracy in place? So I think all those pieces asking the question, being a talent team that asks questions and pushes back a little on, “Well, this is how we always did it.” Because I am a profound believer. And if you tell me it is the way we have always done it, I’m going to immediately look to change it.
William Tincup: That thing is hot. What?
Anessa Fike: Yeah. We’ve always done it this way and why have we always done it this way? Tell me. So I think it’s just asking the questions, pushing back on things that don’t need to be there. And what I always like to say is sometimes that makes way for humans to interact. If you get rid of the stuff you don’t need, it gives the opportunity to give you more time to actually understand the human being you’re bringing into the organization and that’s a beautiful thing.
William Tincup: You’ve said a phrase twice, works with recruiters as opposed to works against recruiters. I love that from a technology perspective, not just in the ATS, from sourcing all the way to onboarding through the whole talent acquisition cycle and even into HR. Again, job’s hard enough, just doing the job. Let’s just not even deal with supply and demand and all the other stuff that’s going on, just the job. The job’s tough. Now, adding in the burden of things that make your job harder, that’s just painful. That’s also a recent folks choose a job. I don’t think people really fully understand this bid when you recruit.
A recruiter, they’re looking at your talents, your tech stack, they’re asking questions, especially senior folks. They’re asking, I’ve had people that have bowed out of gigs because of the tech stack. “I’m not going to take a job there because of that tech. Are you willing to change it?” “No.” “Okay well, cool. Later.” Because the job’s hard enough. Let me ask you a question about not just the ATS from a recruiter perspective, but from a hiring manager and a candidate perspective. What have you seen so far in their expectations of an ATS?
Anessa Fike: Yeah, it’s funny because we just went through this at NPR where we are rebuilding the team and switching systems. And it’s amazing when you say we’re going to implement Greenhouse when the faces is light up. “Oh, okay, good.” That’s the response.
William Tincup: “Finally, something modern.”
Anessa Fike: Like, “Okay, yes. Thank you. Love Greenhouse, so excited.” It can be a game changer if you say to me I’ve got Taleo, not to put Taleo down, but I’ve used Taleo before. I’ve got Taleo, I’ve got this, I’ve got that. “Great, that’s fine…”
William Tincup: “No, I’ll got to figure it out.’
Anessa Fike: Yeah, “I’ll figure it out.”
William Tincup: They’re gritting their teeth as they’re saying that.
Anessa Fike: If I have to. And so I liken it, it’s funny because I liken it, I’ve I’ve had to do this and having conversations with the teams at NPR most recently around just how much of a game changer a great ATS can be. And the way that I’ve likened it is taking it, is taking a super archaic ATS is like having a cement wheel and then going to Greenhouse is like a red Ferrari. And just the difference in having one cement wheel that you just invented and then having a red Ferrari, just imagine the difference in your business from that. And for me, that’s how I liken a super archaic ATS to Greenhouse.
William Tincup: I love that.
Anessa Fike: We actually did the timing of the old ATS and how long each task took each recruiter in a week to do. And then we actually went through it and did it in Greenhouse as well. Would you believe that for every recruiter, every single week moving to Greenhouse will save 30 hours per week per recruiter by moving to Greenhouse.
William Tincup: Wow.
Anessa Fike: Isn’t that crazy?
William Tincup: Gives you your time back.
Anessa Fike: How inefficient? So I think just those dynamics of understanding how systems and how ATSs can work for your team instead of working against your team. And utilizing that as a competitive advantage because it is in today’s world, it absolutely can be a competitive advantage to have Greenhouse or a great ATS over one that just is really not anything more than a SharePoint Drive full of resumes.
William Tincup: So last question, that’s about your session again, your panel. I don’t want you to give away the secret sauce, bu you’ve been in a lot of sessions. You’ve been an attendee and been in the room when people have dropped knowledge on you. What’s your favorite, if you can remember, your favorite bit of knowledge or something you picked up from somebody you’re like, “I’m going to use that immediately?” Later this afternoon.
Anessa Fike: That’s a good one.
William Tincup: Well, I’ll tell you mine when you’re thinking about it.
Anessa Fike: Okay, go ahead.
William Tincup: And it was, it was actually Bill Boorman, one of Bill Boorman’s bits and it was around collaboration and collaborating with hiring managers in job descriptions. And it was just a throwaway comment for him when he was doing a, doing his bit. He was just like, “Listen, the best form of job descriptions that you can see, it isn’t the final product, the thing that gets posted on Indeed or the career site etc. It’s actually the collaboration between two or three people that say, “What is this unique platypus-unicorn thing that we’re building?” And it’s all of those inputs. He goes, “It isn’t the word document or the Google document that gets sent over to you. That’s not interesting. It’s the interesting part is the collaboration.” And the moment he said it, it clicked for me.
And in fact years later I was on stage and I was doing a bit on job descriptions. And literally, I started off the bit, I’m like, “Okay so, who here has, has gotten an email from a hiring manager that has an attached job description?” Of course, it’s a room for recruiters so everybody raises their hand. I say, “Okay so, what do you do with that email?” And everybody’s throwing out different answers. I’m like, “Yeah okay, so here’s my best advice, delete that email. The moment that it hits your inbox, delete it and then call them or slack them or whatever. And then go, I’d love to collaborate with you on this position and start with a blank document.” And, and that was inspired from a throwaway comment from Bill. Tossed it away and didn’t even think about it, but it really unlocked something for me.
Anessa Fike: Yeah. I think that’s great. I think it’s been a really long time. I’ll actually take this a bit of a different direction than you probably met for me to take it with the question, but I’ll go with it. So I was actually sitting at a Sherm conference about 10, 12 years ago and I remember something that clicked for me, but in the opposite way where I was enraged by it.
William Tincup: That’s perfect.
Anessa Fike: They said, who in the room and millennials we were like still the generation that everyone loved to put down. Who are the millennials in the audience and aren’t they the worst and this and that. And I’m like, “Hey, I’m sitting here and I’m here to learn, but this isn’t okay.” And what I realized at that moment, as I walked out of that particular Sherm session was know your audience. And so they didn’t say it, that’s what I thought as I was enraged and walking out of the session, know your audience. And that can be true so much for talent, know your audience. Know what they want, know where they are, know what they want to talk about, know what they’re looking for in their next role, know what challenges they want to work on, know what they hate to do, know your audience. And as a talent professional, if you don’t know your audience you’ll miss nine times out of 10.
William Tincup: That’s exactly what I wanted to hear, not the bit, but what you learned. And it’s so important to gauge, understand and then know thy audience so wonderful way to wrap up. Anessa, thank you so much for carving out time in your day to be on the podcast.
Anessa Fike: Yes. Thank you, William. This has been wonderful.
William Tincup: And thanks for everyone listening to The Recruiting Daily Podcast, until next time.
William is the President & Editor-at-Large of RecruitingDaily. At the intersection of HR and technology, he’s a writer, speaker, advisor, consultant, investor, storyteller & teacher. He's been writing about HR and Recruiting related issues for longer than he cares to disclose. William serves on the Board of Advisors / Board of Directors for 20+ HR technology startups. William is a graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham with a BA in Art History. He also earned an MA in American Indian Studies from the University of Arizona and an MBA from Case Western Reserve University.