Indeed – Making Hiring Simpler, Faster, and More Human with Maggie Hulce
On today’s show, we have Maggie Hulce on from Indeed. Maggie is Senior Vice President, GM of Enterprise at Indeed.com and we’re going to be talking about making hiring simpler, faster, and more human. We’ll break each of them down, and get her take on these needed improvements to the hiring process.
A great conversation, I could talk to Maggie for days. Tune in!
Listening time: 26 minutes
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Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you’re listening to the RecruitingDaily podcast. Today we have Maggie on from Indeed and we’re gonna be talking about making hiring simpler, faster, and more human.
I can’t wait to get to this topic, because I all three of those things I actually want to know more about, and her take. So, Maggie, A, thanks for carving out time for us, but also introduce yourself. And for those that have been living under a rock for the last decade or so, introduce Indeed.
Well, thank you so much for having me. I’m Maggie Hulce. I’m the SVP and GM of Enterprise at Indeed. I’ve been at Indeed for just over five years, and my role here is thinking about how we innovate end-to-end solutions for the world’s largest employers. Before Indeed, I spent most of my career thinking about solving problems for enterprises, both as a consultant and at Google. And Indeed, for those who don’t know us, we’re the number one job site in the world and our mission, our passion, is really all about helping people get jobs. We’ve been dedicated to that mission from the very beginning. And really what we focus on every day is how do we build the most innovative products and services to help connect jobseekers to opportunity to employers really in line with their skills, their capabilities, and their ambition, what they’re hopeful for, for their lives.
Just in terms of scale, you know, each month, we have over 250 million people using Indeed to research companies, understand what jobs are available, share their resumes, etc, across over 60 countries. And you know, we are reaching job seekers across all industries, all education levels, all years of experience. So hopefully, that gives you a sense of, you know, our scale from a job seeker perspective. From an employer perspective, we have more than 3 million employers using Indeed to find candidates, engage with them and make hires. We estimate about 10 hires are made on Indeed every minute.
I love that. And because of that much data coming through the system, you have a wonderful vista, you know, as it relates to both candidates and employers. On both sides of that. One of the things before we get into the “simpler, faster and more human.” What have you seen? And you know, more recently, in terms of how candidates are searching for jobs? Have you seen any shifts or anything that the audience should know about in terms of how candidates are approaching jobs?
Well, um, you know, I would say, certainly, over the last year, the pandemic has changed some dynamics of the labor market. Not to state the obvious. We are happy to see that now, you know, US job postings are well above the pre-pandemic baseline. So that’s exciting.
We have seen candidates looking more explicitly for remote as an option. So one of the things that we did at the start of COVID, was we made it possible for jobs to be filtered. Were they part, you know, temporarily remote, permanently remote? That’s a trend that we see continuing. But of course, you know, category by category, the job seeker behavior does differ at this moment. That’s at a high-level what I would comment on in terms of, you know, some of the job seeker trends that we’ve seen.
Do you feel like when folks post their job, job ad, job description, etc? Do you feel like they should put their philosophy around remote? And what I mean by that is, I get a lot of candidates that ask me, the question is, is this remote now? Well, shocking. Yes. It’s remote now. But will it stay remote? Or is it flexible in the future? Or is it remote forever? Do you think that they should be like, employers should think about their remote philosophy and communicate that in job ads?
You know, we’ve been trying to encourage employers to do just that. So, you know, very much so telling, giving candidates a fair sense of is this job again, sort of temporarily remote, but we will be expecting everyone to come back full time shortly. You know, we’ve also spent a lot of time engaging with employers on, you know, how do you describe clearly for job seekers.
Whether it’s in your brand content or in the job description yourself, you know, how you’re taking precautions in this moment to keep individuals safe. And, you know, we’ve seen in a lot of our research, it really does matter for candidates. You know, how employers are protecting and treating employees in this moment, you know, is getting a lot of attention from prospective candidates.
So as much as possible, conveying that reality, both in your brand content and in your job description helps ensure job seekers are fully aware of what they’re, you know, what they’re stepping into when they apply and start to engage with your teams.
What on the D&I side advice, advice that you give employers. I would assume that more people are obviously interested in D&I these days, than maybe in years past, and thank goodness for it, right? What’s the advice, what’s Indeed’s take on kind of how they coach, or how they advise folks on, you know, basically making sure that they again, kind of communicate, like, as you said, with remote, communicate that through their brand and through job descriptions?
So if we start with, you know, the very top of the funnel. When you’re trying to think about how you build awareness for your brand, and how you think about diversity and inclusion, across both, Indeed and our sister company Glassdoor. You know, we talk to employers about conveying a commitment to diversity and inclusion, you know, how that manifests within an organization. I think for a lot of candidates, it’s one thing to have it sort of as a, a bullet, if you will. It’s another thing altogether to sort of tell a story around it to help prospective candidates understand what it actually means in practice in your organization.
So that’s, that’s one element that we talk to a lot of our employers about, and that they’re very keyed into right now. And that can carry through into some of the job content on Indeed, you know, we do couple the job description content with information about companies. And so you know, as job seekers are looking at the job descriptions, they can understand more about a company, more about what, you know, what it’s like to work there.
And the choice of that content does matter for the job seekers when they’re considering how to apply. I think, you know, we’ve been talking to many organizations also, as it relates to the hiring platform, which is our, you know, our newest innovation. About how can you make your process fundamentally more automated, and along the way more fair. So as part of that effort, we’ve had a lot of conversations with organizations of late.
Where we’re talking about, okay, if you have a process that has objective criteria in the path, it’s the most important requirements for the role, objective screening or an objective assessment, and you take the candidate flow from Indeed, and, you know, sort of run it through an objective set of screening criteria, and have anyone who qualifies through that criteria, have the opportunity to have a first interview with your employer. You all of a sudden have a process that is more objective and is more fair, and take some of the subjectivity that inevitably creeps in when you have more manual resume review processes in the flow.
And that has been resonating with a lot of employers who have been thinking hard about Okay, how can I make my actual process not just my candidate sort of inflow but my actual processes more fair inside the organization?
Yeah, it’s, it’s funny because we’re all looking at either the intended or unintended biases that have crept into either our process. Or technologies. And so it’s, it’s, it’s interesting to kind of see the world evolve right in front of our eyes. I love that y’all are helping people. You know, again, can you completely eliminate bias? I’m not sure. However, we should at least try, right?
So I want to cover what’s key and on a couple things. Let’s start with simpler. So how do we, you know, the advice that you give clients and folks that you interact with, let’s just start with simpler. How do we make hiring simpler?
So, you know, as we think about the experience, again, as we started, we said both from the job seeker side and from the employer side. You start by thinking, Okay, what is the process like for job seekers today? Right now, there’s so many disconnected steps, places where they, you know, begin and apply, maybe have dropped off, because there’s handoffs between experiences. Or they step into sort of a multi-step process where they have to switch devices.
And then, of course, for more than half of job seekers, per the data that we see, they still do that process and hear nothing back. So you know, there’s a lot of room to make the process for the job seeker side simpler. If you think about it from the employer side, today, you have, you know, recruiters who have many different fragmented tools they have to navigate. We estimate, you know, as many as teens up to 24 different tools that recruiters are toggling between in their day-to-day. And that creates complexity, still a lot of manual work.
So one of the challenges that we’ve been posing is how can we fundamentally, you know, streamline and simplify what the recruiters actually need to do in the path to connecting with candidates that meet their criteria. And again, this comes back to what we’re trying to do with extending Indeed, and the candidates that come from Indeed, into a unified hiring platform that is simpler for organizations. Because it’s allowing them really for the recruiters to connect with candidates starting with the first interview.
And for job seekers, it means that there is no “apply and wait.” Because the whole, the whole experience is in one session, you’re researching the company, you’re clicking on it, you’re going straight into the screening. If you pass the screening, you go straight into an interview, maybe even having a scheduled interview, even have an interview that day. And you know exactly where you stand. If you don’t have the skills, you know it instantly, and we can suggest another job that might be a better fit for you.
So that we believe is a fundamentally simpler, faster experience. Both for the job seeker and for the employer.
I like that. I mean, I know that you all have done a really good job through the use of integrating with all the ATSs and all the other things that are out, some of those technologies that you mentioned. But this makes it, again, simpler and easier for candidates, job seekers. I need to use the Indeed language for job seekers. Because, again, they’re already in the system. There’s no disconnect. I love that.
Do you see that going further at one point, Maggie, like further into the process itself? So scheduling the interview? Okay, that’s fantastic. Then, you know, there are like 19 other steps after that? Do you feel like it’s going to continue? Or is there a demarcation where you feel like, okay, here’s where we’ll stop and then pass it over to other systems?
Well, at the moment, and, you know, with the hiring platform, we’re still, you know, early stages in engaging with employers and understanding what helps solve problems for them. And what helps solve problems for job seekers. You know, I would say there are already organizations that trust an objective assessment enough to not need to do an interview at all for certain high-volume roles, right.
And so for those employers, you’re already in a place where you could essentially automate past the interview, or into a follow-on step or it’s an automation to a contingent offer. So I think there is there is an appetite for us to continue to understand and innovate with employers, what helps deliver a great candidate experience and how can we help them make great hires, you know, as well.
And so there is some exploration of other things that we could do that would make a difference. But again, trying to keep this philosophy of we have a hiring platform that is easy to use is interoperable or compatible with other technologies, their ATS, etc. and trying to you know, keep that philosophy as we go.
I love that. I love that. You mentioned the word story early on, and I love that. And I wanted to kinda get back to that because I think some of that might get into making things simpler. When employers construct their job descriptions. Should they think about the story that they’re telling in the job description? In the sense of attract and repel. And the reason I’m asking a question is by writing a job description, you know.
You’ve probably never made this mistake, but I have. Take a carbon copy of the job description from somewhere, put it into Word, smith it a little bit, and then post it as a job. I wouldn’t recommend that to anybody listening, by the way. But if you’re telling a story, is a part of that story repelling? Like I understand the attraction side, because you want candidates to then, you know, see themselves in that role. But it’s but it is also the Do you feel like a part of that is also for candidates to not see themselves in that role?
You know, it’s such an interesting question. I think, fundamentally, it’s in the best interest of both the employer and the candidate, the prospective candidate, to get a fair sense of what is our organization really about. What will this job really be like? And to try to help both organizations get a sense of is this going to be a mutual fit or isn’t it. And I feel like a lot of companies are trying to get at that with, you know, more branded content, or more content that is helping to paint a picture of, Okay, this is what the job is really like.
And that may manifest in a video of a person who’s in the role, talking about what the day-to-day is really like. It might manifest for some companies in you know, they’re trying to give people a sense of like, Okay, this is sort of a preview of what this job actually feels like and entails. And it gives people enough information so that they can say, oh, wow, okay, that’s not for me, or, yes, this sounds like a perfect fit. So I do think when employers can give more information, and that includes structured information, like actually sharing what the job pays, which many employers still don’t do.
Thank you for saying that.
Really helps get to the mutual fit factor. But I think it’s it really is in both sides best interests to just not, I guess to say it plainly not waste each other’s time. If you’re, you know, just trying to give a very fair sense of what is this all about?
I love that. And I love that you mentioned compensation and putting being transparent about compensation just to make it easier for everybody. Faster as we as we get to that. I recognize that in December of 19, or even January of 20, candidates seemed to be faster than employers, okay, so and you probably got a take on this. But it seemed to me as I was researching and talking to people. Like candidates, by the time that we’d fall in love with them, and we’d make a decision, we’ve made the offer. They’ve already accepted a job somewhere else.
So there was a pace to candidates. And it didn’t seem like the employers had the same pace. In some of this could be the technology and process some of that other stuff that we’ve already talked about. But you know, first of all, you know, I’m just one data point, what did you see back then? And what do you see now in terms of the speed of candidates and speed of employers?
Yeah, well, certainly I do. We do see that it matters a lot on the employer side. Both you know, how much importance they place on this particular topic. And essentially, their their process, right, their process, and their technology makes a huge difference. I don’t think anybody aspires on the enterprise side to err on the employer side to be slow in responding to candidates, right, or they want to purposely create delays.
But you know, when you actually lay out all of the steps that, you know, lead up to why it takes weeks, sometimes months, depending on the role to go from one end of the process to the other. It’s a combination of a lot of things that just sort of drag the process down. And I do think job seekers, especially job seekers, who are very highly sort of capable for a particular role or position, they have choices. Yeah, they have a lot of choices.
And so we do see that employers who have processes that are designed more for speed or connecting with great candidates faster, they have an advantage. And in a competitive labor market, that advantage becomes material in terms of how quickly they can hire and this you know how cost-effectively they can hire. So again, as we think about helping solve that problem with the hiring platform, What we’ve seen with employers is, you know, we’re taking their process that’s potentially weeks and weeks down to days, you can sort of begin the process, everything’s automated to the first interview.
You’re only talking to people who have the required skills for that role. And you’ve, you’ve essentially made it so that you can connect with great people as quickly as possible. And the job seeker never was wondering, well, is this company ever going to call me back, they knew all along that they were going to have an opportunity to, to chat with you.
I love both the transparency that says, a FedEx tracker, where you’re at in the process, or where pizzas being delivered, you know, all of those types of things, I love those things. And I’ve just recently had a call this week with a Global Head of talent. And one of the things that she was telling me is, they started to put timers on decisions. That before the wasn’t there. They’re hiring a lot of data scientists, so you know, an in-demand job, and capabilities, the skills. So they basically, they’ve got it down to, hey, after the second interview, we have 48 hours to make a decision, if we’re gonna move this firm forward or not.
Basically, she was saying, we’re going to start with a clock, and we’ll adjust the clock as we need to. But I just thought was fascinating that, you know, there wasn’t a clock before. And they recognize that we’re losing out on some of that talent. They’re like, Okay, we have to move faster to get this talent.
The last part of our talk that I really want, all of these are important, but the more human, I know, it’s top of mind for a lot of people, both the candidate side, and the employer side. So what do you what are you seeing there?
Which, automation is great. I’ll agree with that. But also, you know, you want to feel like you’re interacting as a candidate, you want to feel like you’re interacting and getting out of the system, and the process what you want, what’s your take on making it more human?
So, you know, as we think, again, about how frustrating and impersonal the search, and wait and wonder process can be for job seekers. You know, we’re sort of challenging ourselves to say, how do you? How do you help these individuals feel like they know all along what’s going on, and there is a path to connect with a person. Right? That’s a very direct line. And so, again, if we now think about it, if we think about the job seeker side, we, we say, okay, in the hiring platform experience, yes, there’s automation. But there’s also you know, tailored messaging from the employer.
And there’s a very fast and direct path to having an opportunity to talk to someone in the organization and to share with them, why you’re a great fit for the role. You know, our our job seeker research all around the world suggests that really what people want is an opportunity to be seen for what they can do, and to have a chance to just tell their story. And so our thought is as we automate the steps so that job seekers and employers can connect much more quickly.
And through a virtual interview, phone interview very quickly, you give back sort of the human-ness of the connection, you know, way faster in the process. And it helps take away the sense that while this finding a job is just an impersonal, cold, I feel lost process. It doesn’t have to feel like that. It’s sort of it’s a function of the process being as sort of multi-step as it is today.
And for recruiters, I think, you know, most people who have gone into HR have an affinity for wanting to connect with people. They care about talent, they care about candidate experience, they want to connect with people. You know, I’ve heard no one say that they want to spend more time manually scheduling things, so how can we pick the manual scheduling out of the recruiters day-to-day as much as possible?
And let their day be filled with talking to potentially great candidates for their roles and helping to figure out you know, who’s the best possible set of candidates to hire? So that’s, that’s how we think about it. You know, it’s, it’s, it’s really not more complicated than that, but it’s, it’s really taking out the parts of the process that make it feel impersonal and cold. And bring it back to this is about, you know, humans connecting with humans.
And, you know, job seekers connecting with employers about opportunity and their potential, their aspirations, their skills, how can we expedite that And help make it sort of normal that it happens very quickly for jobseekers and employers.
I love that. And you’d mentioned even early on that, you know, putting video, putting personalized video about the job, about the company, about culture about all of those types of things, just making the experience more human, rather than just kind of a static, flat job description. That, you know, that’s the kind of the brand or the marketing part of it. But you’ve also treated the process and technology part of this that says. Okay, part of this making it more human is being faster, and is making it simpler.
By just doing those two things, we can get them to humans faster. So I love that. Maggie, I could talk to you for days. I know you’ve got to run but I appreciate you. And this was a lot of fun.
Well, thank you so much for having me. Great to be here with you.
Absolutely. And thanks for everyone for listening to the RecruitingDaily 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.