On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks to Maggie from Indeed about boldness as your hiring strategy for the future of work.
Some Conversation Highlights:
I think one of the things that comes into helping employers with their hiring strategy and candidates find great matches earlier stage in the process is offering more transparency into what is it really like at an organization. So much of the wasted time and frustration in the process comes back to people feeling like the expectations were misaligned with the reality. A lot of that will relate to how much detail was or was not included in the job description, which is why employer brand as a source of candid and transparent information, both provided by the employer themselves and provided by other individuals who work at the company, can help job seekers get a much more well-rounded perspective on, okay, is this company for me based on-
And so I don’t think we should be putting judgment on those things. But I do think, again, as Indeed and Glassdoor and when it comes to hiring strategy, we absolutely believe that transparency is good for both sides because it helps people get to the, “Are we a good fit for each other?” Based on what this is really going to be like once you get in the job.
And if you get that right, it not only helps make the hiring strategy more efficient and cost effective, it also helps with retention. There’s some wild stats of how many people will turn over within the first 30 to 90 days. And I do think a lot of that is just expectations, mismanagement in the process vis-à-vis what the realities of the job were.
Listening time: 29 minutes
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Announcer: 00:00 This is RecruitingDaily’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: 00:34 Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast. Today we have Maggie on from Indeed, and our topic today is Boldness: Your Hiring Strategy for the Future of Work. Maggie’s been on before so this is a bit of a reunion, and I can’t wait to about this topic. Maggie, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and Indeed?
Maggie: 00:57 Absolutely. Well, it’s wonderful to be back with you. It’s been more than a year, so great to reconnect. I am the EVP and GM for the enterprise business at Indeed. So in my role, I lead our product UX engineering and go-to market teams focused on solutions for our large global enterprises. And that spans branding, advertising, sourcing, and automation solutions. And Indeed, for those who don’t know, is one of the world’s largest job sites. We have 250 plus million unique job seekers every month joining Indeed.
William Tincup: 01:39 Wow.
Maggie: 01:39 More than three million employers use Indeed to engage candidates and make hires. Our focus is making the hiring process for employers and job seekers simpler, faster, and more human, which I know we talked about last time.
William Tincup: 01:56 Yeah. So our topic today, Boldness: Your Hiring Strategy for the Future of Work, let’s just jump right into that. We could be talking about anything in the world, why are we talking about this?
Maggie: 02:08 Well, I think as part of the context, I want to share we have been on a journey as Indeed, transitioning from being known as a global job search site to a matching and hiring platform. We’ve been really focused on enabling employers and job seekers to connect directly on Indeed. And all of that requires us thinking really differently with employers about how they engage with Indeed and how they engage with candidates on Indeed. So I think some of that context is important for boldness and what we’ve sort of laid out there. But just as context, as we think about the journey of doing a better job, matching job seekers on Indeed, and helping employers make connections, we continue to think about how we grow our reach of job seekers around the world. I mentioned we have north of 250 million unique visitors. We now reach 93% of US online job seekers.
03:12 Since we’ve last talked, we’ve integrated our trusted media network. It now includes 160 job and media partners to continue to broaden and diversify our global reach. We continue to invest in how we understand what both employers and job seekers are solving for. So that includes, with employers, getting way more structured information in job descriptions that includes locations, salary, pay. And with job seekers, it means, of course, as we always have, watching what they do on Indeed as they search for jobs, apply to jobs, take assessments, or even do interviews on Indeed, which now we’ve had more than 3.7 million interviews on our platform. We’re also increasingly asking for their preferences. What are they solving for for their flexibility, for shifts, and for pay?
04:04 And as part of this, we are very committed, as Indeed and with our sister company Glassdoor, to continue to provide transparency into what jobs and companies are like so that we can create the best possible matches for both sides. And that includes pay transparency, a really hot topic right now. But 65% of job seekers tell us it’s the most important part of the job description. We’ve already made a lot of progress here. Already, nearly 60% of the job impressions on Indeed have salaries or are best estimates for those. So if we take that context and we think about the journey to become a hiring platform, the journey includes really three big themes to make hiring simpler, faster, more human: companies leading into automation for simplicity and speed, skill-based hiring, which also makes a huge difference with the talent you can bring in, the speed to hire, and of course also objectivity and fairness in hiring.
05:06 And then the third is really the focus on workplace well-being, coming out of COVID, and recognizing that many job seekers are looking for many different dimensions with employers than they did pre-COVID. I mean, one of the kind of amazing stats that we continue to see is, the majority of job seekers are looking to change industries. So companies really have to be thinking differently about how they look for talent, how they consider talent given so many of the candidates are really looking to make bolder changes. So that’s some of the context for why boldness, we think, is needed in this moment. Obviously it’s still a candidate-driven market and candidates really are thinking differently and behaving differently, coming out of the pandemic.
William Tincup: 05:53 So let me ask you. First question is around boldness, is I’ve kind of gotten in trouble before by saying an employer brand should both attract and repel people, meaning a gray employer brand, you should know it and you see yourself there or not. It should also, “No, that’s not for me.” I think the New York Times, well, it’s probably been two years ago, they wrote a article on Amazon’s culture being bad, being poor. And I thought that was actually kind of just shotty giant journalism because it’s like, well, it might not be right for you, but if you’re an investment banker, you’re accustomed to that culture. It’s a meritocracy base. There is no work-life balance. It’s, best idea wins. It’s all these things that’s not necessarily bad, that’s just not your cup of tea. So let ask you a question. So first of all, tear that apart, please. What do you think about employer brand right now, where it stands, and especially as it relates to the boldness that you’ve described?
Maggie: 07:04 It’s such a great question. I think one of the things that comes into helping employers with their jobs and candidates find great matches earlier stage in the process is offering more transparency into what is it really like at an organization. So much of the wasted time and frustration in the process comes back to people feeling like the expectations were misaligned with the reality. A lot of that will relate to how much detail was or was not included in the job description, which is why employer brand as a source of candid and transparent information, both provided by the employer themselves and provided by other individuals who work at the company, can help job seekers get a much more well-rounded perspective on, okay, is this company for me based on-
Maggie: 08:03 … on. Okay, is this company for me based on what I’m solving for and the type of cultures or dynamics that I like? And I think your example of what might be someone’s yuck might be somebody else’s, “Wow, this is ideal for me.”
08:18 And so I don’t think we should be putting judgment on those things. But I do think, again, as Indeed and Glassdoor, we absolutely believe that transparency is good for both sides because it helps people get to the, “Are we a good fit for each other?” Based on what this is really going to be like once you get in the job.
08:37 And if you get that right, it not only helps hiring the more efficient and cost effective, it also helps with retention. There’s some wild stats of how many people will turn over within the first 30 to 90 days. And I do think a lot of that is just expectations, mismanagement in the process vis-à-vis what the realities of the job were.
William Tincup: 08:55 A hundred percent. It’s almost like the more transparent you are, it’s a natural filter for people to either fall in love with you or to say, “Yeah, that’s not my bit, that’s not for me,” which is great.
09:08 But if there’s a lot of behavioral change and cultural change for us because we’re used to, at least historically we’re used to, the more people that apply to the job, the better.
09:18 And that’s not necessarily true. It’s the more people that see them in the match. Again, with transparency and other things, the more people that see themselves there, that’s great, but it’s not just a sure volume play.
Maggie: 09:31 Exactly.
William Tincup: 09:31 I wonder [inaudible 00:09:33]-
Maggie: 09:36 If I could add. Could I just add one other thing?
William Tincup: 09:36 Yeah, go ahead. Yeah.
Maggie: 09:38 One of the changes I think coming out of COVID was also a recognition that job seekers are not just solving for pay or commute time. There are many, many other dimensions that they care about.
09:53 This comes up I think a lot when companies talk about the next generation of workers and what drives them and what motivates them and the importance of other dimensions of purpose, sense of achievement, sense of feeling appreciated at a company.
10:11 And a lot of those intrinsics ultimately go back to happiness. And I think you and I have talked about this before with Glassdoor, we’ve worked on a work-happiness score. It’s now the largest data set of workplace, wellbeing indicators ever created.
10:28 And it’s yielded a lot of very interesting conversations with companies as they understand how are they being perceived vis-à-vis their competitors, if you will, in terms of the dimensions that employees rate them highly on or less.
10:43 And what does it mean about their cultures and their ability to both attract and retain. And there’s a lot of really interesting and I think fruitful conversations that are resulting.
William Tincup: 10:53 I’m squarely Gen X and I’m so jealous of Gen Z because I wish that I would’ve had this. I mean, it’s amazing because they’re just not willing to put up with the things that I would’ve put up with. And it’s fascinating.
11:11 I mean, I also see some of it as not generational based, that some of it is because of COVID and other things. People just get to a certain point in life where they’re just unwilling to do certain things. But really, I’m jealous. I’ll just put that out there.
11:27 As it relates to the topic, your hiring strategy, when I see strategy, I always think to myself, at least the first things I can think about is, “Okay, there’s tools, there’s processes, there’s organizational structure, people, et cetera. How much with related to the future of work, as you’re thinking about it, how much do we need to retool the way or reorganize the way that we’re thinking about our tech stack or hiring processes or even the ways we’re structured and way that we hire currently?”
Maggie: 12:03 Oh, it’s such a good question. If you look at the hiring process end-to-end and you look at the conversion rates, the drop off, and how long it still takes, you cannot really change how hiring works without taking on both process and the tools that you use.
William Tincup: 12:25 Right.
Maggie: 12:25 We can absolutely work to make upstream matching better and better. But if you are still having an apply process where 90% of people drop out, because it’s extraordinarily lengthy and complicated, and if you are still doing manual scheduling or have a very disconnected process after that, you will lose many, many talented and qualified people who were otherwise interested in your company, but won’t wait for those weeks and weeks or won’t go through the very, very challenging apply process.
12:58 And actually, I just went through this experiment myself. So I personally applied to 50 jobs to walk in the shoes of a job seeker applying across many different levels of experience and across many levels of seniority across industries and-
William Tincup: 13:17 How many did you abandon?
Maggie: 13:19 Well, because I was running an experiment, I didn’t abandon any of them.
William Tincup: 13:22 Okay, okay.
Maggie: 13:22 I forced myself to go through them, including on mobile phones where the things weren’t mobile optimized. And I thought to myself, “Oh my gosh, I totally understand.”
William Tincup: 13:31 Pinch and zoom, pinch and zoom, pinch and zoom.
Maggie: 13:32 This is madness.
William Tincup: 13:36 Yeah. Yeah. Can you imagine doing that in a car or on a subway or something?
Maggie: 13:37 Oh my gosh.
William Tincup: 13:38 Pinch and zoom. Yeah, that doesn’t [inaudible 00:13:39].
Maggie: 13:40 So I have just gone through the pain of walking the mile in the shoes of what job seekers go through in many of our hiring processes. And as an industry, we absolutely have to do better.
13:53 And this is not a new idea that we have to simplify and streamline and be better at closing the loop with candidates. My experience was that nobody got back to me. I didn’t hear back more than 40% of the time.
William Tincup: 14:10 So dumb question, alert. I know that you don’t like when I do that.
Maggie: 14:16 No, no, go ahead.
William Tincup: 14:17 So I love what y’all are doing with comp and salary in particular where you’re basically, if somebody doesn’t put comp into their job description, you’re sitting on so much compensation data, you’re basically saying, ” We believe this position should be between A and B,” which I think…
14:35 I love that just because I think it’s great for candidates to have an understanding of what their worth is. And again, that’s a way to filter, to filter out.
14:46 The dumb question is, do you see yourselves at one point doing a bit around response times, like candidates that are looking at this particular job need a response within 72 hours?
Maggie: 15:03 Well, so we have been experimenting already with badges that show responsive employers on Indeed.
William Tincup: 15:12 Right.
Maggie: 15:13 But are you asking the inverse?
William Tincup: 15:14 Yes.
Maggie: 15:14 You’re asking so job seeker responsiveness?
William Tincup: 15:18 That’s right.
Maggie: 15:19 It’s a really interesting question. I think, again, as we think about the ecosystem from both sides, and of course both sides do have the frustration of feeling like they can be ghosted.
William Tincup: 15:30 That’s right.
Maggie: 15:31 There has been debate and thinking on, if we did something like that, what might it look like? How do we think about it?
15:40 Right now it’s more focused on providing transparency to the job seekers about employer responsiveness, but certainly, it’s an idea that we’ve thought about.
William Tincup: 15:50 I’d love to have a deaf clock. I mean, we can come up with a different name, but I’d love to have… it expires. The candidates expire or the… You know what I’m saying? These candidates, you don’t move fast, you don’t get them, because I’m trying to-
William Tincup: 16:03 You don’t move fast, you don’t get them. Because I’m trying to deal with the organizational change. Like we just made it really easy by saying, “If you don’t fix your tools and your processes internally to this to where you can respond faster, you’re just not going to get that talent.”
Maggie: 16:17 Right, right.
William Tincup: 16:19 Okay? But like, we just said that, waved a magic wand, it’s now done. Problem is, as you and I both know, there’s a heavy lift there and there’s a lot of organizational change, a lot of change management that people just don’t want to go through.
Maggie: 16:33 That’s true.
William Tincup: 16:33 But if there was an artificial way that says, “These candidates expire,” then maybe they change their behavior. I don’t know if that’s true. But I’m just trying to figure out a way to change their behavior without beating them over the head.
Maggie: 16:48 Yeah, it’s a really, really interesting idea. I mean, related to that, one of the things that we continue to push the envelope on is how many ways can we enable employers to connect with great candidates on Indeed faster? So we launched video interviewing during COVID, as you know well, but we’re also innovating lots of different forms of messaging, SMS, click to call.
William Tincup: 17:16 Oh yeah.
Maggie: 17:16 So there are multiple ways and multiple forms that recruiters or hiring managers engaging on Indeed can actually connect with candidates faster. And-
William Tincup: 17:26 I see a whole future of y’all connecting to WhatsApp and Calendly and things like that, those are names of things. But the whole point is people can just go and just click into, [inaudible 00:17:37] interested, and they’re interested, and both people are interested, now let’s just exchange calendars, let’s just go, they could just, let’s make the process faster for everybody involved.
Maggie: 17:47 Exactly, exactly. And we’ve seen, I know when we talked last time, I mentioned the solution we had launched, Indeed Hiring Platform.
William Tincup: 17:55 Mm-hmm.
Maggie: 17:55 Which is ultimately about a direct-to-interview flow, employers say, ” Here’s my requirements for the role, and anyone that means that requirement can be scheduled into the following interview slots.”
William Tincup: 18:06 Yep.
Maggie: 18:06 And what that flow means is, you know, you get to interview slots that are filled with candidates that have the criteria in two days, three days on average. And if you compare that to many organizations that are still running weeks end-to-end before the interviews can actually be scheduled and all the applicants sort of dispositioned, et cetera-
William Tincup: 18:26 Quality’s gone.
Maggie: 18:27 … it’s a huge difference, right?
William Tincup: 18:30 Yeah.
Maggie: 18:30 And I think the most qualified people, I would argue, have the most choices and are the least likely to wait.
William Tincup: 18:35 That’s right.
Maggie: 18:36 So-
William Tincup: 18:36 They’ve left the building.
Maggie: 18:37 … that really matters.
William Tincup: 18:39 Oh, well, and it’s, I think I’ve told this story before, but a friend of mine who’s a front end developer, the first question he asks of a recruiter is how many steps are there in the process? And if there’s more than four, he opts out.
Maggie: 18:54 Really?
William Tincup: 18:54 Yeah. Like, that’s intense. I’m like, “Really?” He’s like, “It’s a tell. It shows me that they don’t have their process together. It shouldn’t take them that long to figure out how talented I am, or where I fit, et cetera. Like it just shouldn’t take that long.” So I’m like, “Wow.” I mean, first of all, that’s just, I’m assuming the more talented are even more frustrated by long, laborious processes and things that take time. Before we end, I wanted to get back to the things that, in terms of the future of work, because you had mentioned the three things that you see as kind of the foundational issues that are definitely a part of our future is automation, how to use automation successfully, skills-based hiring, or more objective hiring, and also wellbeing. Let’s unpack those a little bit more, if you don’t mind, as you see them play out in, both with y’all’s customers, but just what you see in traffic, and what’s important to both the candidates and the recruiters.
Maggie: 19:59 Absolutely. So I think for automation, a lot of our learning has come from our effort with Indeed Hiring Platform over the last year plus. And again, as we just talked about, the insight that says when you have a streamlined process and you can connect with your qualified shortlist faster, you can dramatically change both your time to hire and cost per hire as an organization, and we’ve seen this over and over again with now thousands and thousands of employers across industries, and it ranges from companies that are saying, “All right, I’m able to make 3000 offers in a single day,” we have multiple examples of large scale quantities of customers getting to offer in a single set of events nationally in a day-
William Tincup: 20:51 Wow.
Maggie: 20:52 … to companies realizing that they can actually completely change how they approach hiring, reduce their cost, reduce, give time back to recruiters, and still make sure the roles are being filled with very, very high quality talent. One of the most compelling stats in terms of just the efficacy of automation is what we see, for the same dollar spent on Indeed, if you put them through a flow like Indeed Hiring Platform that’s just a direct interview flow, the conversion to interview is three times better than a typical ATS process. So for the same dollar, you’re getting three times more interviews as a result, weeks faster than you did before.
William Tincup: 21:35 Wow.
Maggie: 21:35 And that’s part of the potential that gets unlocked if you’re willing to embrace a more automated process, certainly at least to get to the first interview, because many of the steps leading up to that first interview are the manual steps that really can be automated, and recruiters can be freed for the more human connections that come next.
21:54 I think the focus on skills-based hiring is really important in this moment for a couple reasons. I think one, we acknowledged earlier that you’ve got, post-COVID, many, many individuals looking to change industries. We of course know that looking for college degrees is not necessarily the best predictor of success in a role, and, by the way, the majority of US workers do not have a college degree.
William Tincup: 22:20 Right.
Maggie: 22:21 And if I say like, what’s one of the biggest topics in terms of fairness in hiring versus looking for someone that’s sort of culturally a fit, quote-unquote, which often means is the same or like us, you have many, many talented people who end up not making it through their process because they don’t meet a company sense of what is the ideal candidate. But the ideal candidate in terms of skills can be so different, and so [inaudible 00:22:50]-
William Tincup: 22:49 Well yeah, you get a hiring … Sorry to interrupt.
Maggie: 22:51 No, no, go ahead, please.
William Tincup: 22:52 You get a hiring manager and you get a recruiter and you go through a job description and both of them see two totally different things. And then you put a job description out in front of folks via Indeed, and again, it’s a wishlist, in a lot of cases, not all, but in a lot of cases it’s a wishlist, and it’s just, there’s a randomness to it. And I wanted to ask you, because you had mentioned kind of the objectiveness, we need to get to a place where we’re more objective in hiring. Is standardization a part of that, like standardization in terms of interviewing and interview questions and things like that? Do you already have that baked into what you think about it as objective?
Maggie: 23:33 I do think that standardization in interview processes can be part of the equation. Actually, that is something that we’re now testing as part of Indeed Interview.
William Tincup: 23:42 Cool.
Maggie: 23:43 The ability to add structured questions-
William Tincup: 23:44 Right.
Maggie: 23:45 … and make sure your entire panel asks all the candidates the same question the same way.
William Tincup: 23:50 Yeah, I like that.
Maggie: 23:51 And that it’s calibrated, right? It seems so basic, but so many of the interviews are still a little squishy, right? They’re … So-
William Tincup: 24:00 Well, there’s all these biases that creep in of the like me-
William Tincup: 24:03 Well, there’s all these biases that creep in, the like me bias, the last candidate bias. There’s all kinds of things that creep in. I think that the more good work you all do there, the better. Because I think what you’ll find is that people will probably fight it initially, because I want to have their own interview questions, but inherently, that creates bias. So I’m a horrible interviewer because I ask really esoteric questions like what’s your favorite-
Maggie: 24:29 Oh, is that right?
William Tincup: 24:30 Yeah, I’m horrible. But standardization would get me out of that because it’s like here’s the list, here’s the people. Now, everyone gets asked the same questions in the same cadence in the same way, they’re graded the same way, and it seems to me that there’s an objectivity to that that’s just not present in a lot of hiring.
Maggie: 24:52 Agreed. I think the same thing goes for if employers, if we all push ourselves to say, “Objectively, what are the skills that I think are most important for success in a job? How could I assess those skills?” Of course, assessments have been around for a really, really long time in the industry, but the focus on, okay, well if every candidate takes the same sort of ability to understand, how do I demonstrate that they have this capability, then there’s a more objective measure of, yeah, their aptitude in a certain dimension.
William Tincup: 25:28 I love that. Wellbeing is the third thing that you mentioned. Obviously, it’s on everyone’s mind, at least because of COVID. I’ve seen it in conversation. In fact, I had a conversation with person I didn’t even know this morning and I was telling her about medicines that I’m taking. That would’ve never happened pre-COVID, but I just felt like we were having a kind of pretty blunt conversation and it was actually really refreshing and nice. I know that it’s on the minds of, and this isn’t just generational or at least I haven’t seen it, you all are sitting on the data, you should probably tell me, but it seems to me that it’s on people’s minds just as much as comp is, just as much as diversity is, that people want to know what’s the approach, what’s the strategy, what’s the philosophy of wellbeing at this company?
Maggie: 26:21 That’s exactly right, and why it’s so important, I know as we touched on earlier, for companies to be forthright and actually promoting how they think about benefits, wellbeing, how they think about employees’ safety, how they help invest in learning and growth. Learning and career development has always been something employees care about. But when you take a step back and you say, “Okay, many, many people feel like they have to keep learning new skills to be able to be ready for the next set of jobs that come out.” How much does an employer invest in those things? A lot of job seekers are very eager to understand that.
27:01 Certainly there’s been a lot of talk also about just remote and flexible work. Are employers going to have people come back to the office zero days, one day, two day? We see 3X the number of postings on Indeed advertised as remote versus in 2019. So it’s definitely still a trend there and a job seeker expectation coming out of COVID for jobs that potentially have the ability to be done remotely, recognizing that not all do. But for those that could be done remotely, how are employers thinking about that? I definitely see employers competing on some of these dimensions as opposed to in the past maybe competing more on office environment and compensation.
William Tincup: 27:50 Right, right. What you used to think is culture. Last thing I wanted to ask you about, upcoming customer event that you all have done annually. I used to do it down in Austin. I’ve been to a couple of them. What are you looking to get out of the event? Because I mean, you’re going to be busy. I know you’re going to be doing a bunch of stuff, but what are you excited for with this particular event?
Maggie: 28:14 Well, it’s going to be amazing to see so many of our clients and partners in person for the first time in such a long time, right? We did it online during COVID, but that is not the same, as we all know. So for those who aren’t aware, we’re talking about our FutureWorks event, which is next week in New York City at Javits on October 13th. There’s a welcome party the night before on the 12th. Ryan Reynolds will be present for those who are Ryan Reynolds fans.
William Tincup: 28:46 I am.
Maggie: 28:47 Cool reason to come in person. But look, I think these events for us are opportunities to obviously talk about some of the innovation horizons for Indeed, some of the big things we’re planning for 2023, and then to allow our customers to sort of engage with our product teams on many of the demos of things that we’re working on and give us feedback and share ideas. Then of course, there’s many conversations that we get to have with our clients on trends in the industry and how we see them evolving. So I am really looking forward to it and we hope to see many folks there on October 13th.
William Tincup: 29:21 Drops mic, walks off stage. Maggie, thank you so much. This has been wonderful. You can come on the show anytime you want.
Maggie: 29:28 Oh, thank you so much. Take good care.
William Tincup: 29:31 Thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast. Until next time.
Speaker 1: 29:35 You’ve been listening to the Recruiting Live Podcast by RecruitingDaily. Check out the latest industry podcasts, webinars, articles, and news at…
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.