Jason Putnam
Chief Revenue Officer Plum

A proven and experienced industry leader, Putnam most recently served as Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Enterprise Business Unit at PandoLogic. During his tenure, Putnam increased PandoLogic's new business pipeline by 6X and received a Globee® from the esteemed Golden Bridge Business and Innovation Awards. Prior to this, Putnam was Chief Revenue Officer at BountyJobs, a third-party recruiting platform for collaboration between employers and search firms. Earlier in his career, he held strategic sales and business development titles at Noesis Financing (acquired by LeaseQ), MFG.com, Oodle (acquired by QVC), Jobfox (acquired by Doostang) and KnowledgeStorm (acquired by TechTarget).

On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks with Jason Putnam on from Plum about how to stop treating your recruiters like secretaries, and not to offend any of the secretaries or secretaries associations that might be out there listening.

Some Conversation Highlights:

It’s interesting that we’re juxtaposing this against secretaries because you think of historic, the way that we think of secretaries, it’s part and parcel the serving class. These come in and take a dictation. You’re here to serve the person that you work for and you’re essentially an order taker.

Even if you don’t agree with it, and the reason I use that word, again, you summarized a great way of why I picked that word, and the other reason I picked it is, again, looking historically through the lens of TVs and shows like that, is you don’t really have a voice, right? It’s much more important to be seen and not heard. And there’s nothing more important to the success of a company than the people who are in the company, and the front lines of that are talent acquisition and talent management, and talent management, that should have been solved years ago. I think it’s way easier to solve than talent acquisition. And now it’s become important, talent management has, in succession plan and leadership development and upscaling all the stuff we talk about. But even though it’s important at a macro level where people are talking about it, it still lacks budget, it still lacks power, it still lacks influence, and it lacks exposure at the business level because multiple reasons.

But talent, acquisition and talent management have not done a great job, in aggregate, but also individual as a leadership level, tying their metrics, because I think they’re tracking the wrong things, but tying their metrics back to business metrics and what a business cares about. So a business, a company is not a person. A company is an entity. And frankly, that company just cares about, “Am I producing enough widgets to make a Y outcome? Am I doing enough this to make that?” It’s not about people because it’s an entity. People within a company care about it. So when you have somebody running talent acquisition in HR, they have not put themself in a position to be strategic. They’re much more to tactical administrative, and then they’re speaking the wrong language. So if they do get a chance to go talk to somebody who’s a CFO or a CEO or VP of sales or whatever, they’re talking about things, it’s literally a different language.

 

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Tune in for the full conversation.

Listening time: 31 minutes

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Music:   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:   Ladies and gentlemen, we have a returned guess today, and I’m very, very excited. Thank you for listening to The RecruitingDaily Podcast. We have Jason on from Plum. He’s been on several times, actually, and we have a wonderful, wonderful topic to explore today. It’s stop treating your recruiters like secretaries, and not to offend any of the secretaries or secretaries associations that might be out there listening, however, we’re just going to dig into this. Jason, how are you doing and introduce yourself, of course, and introduce Plum.

Jason Putnam:   Hey William, how are you? Thanks for having me back.

William Tincup:   A hundred percent.

Jason Putnam:   Yeah, so I don’t know, this is probably the third time I’ve been here. My name’s Jason Putnam. I’m the Chief Revenue Officer at Plum. I think last time I was on here, I was at PandoLogic. So been at Plum, oh, probably 45 or 50 days. Loving it. But again, thanks for having me.

William Tincup:   A hundred percent, a hundred percent. Okay. Let’s start with unpacking the treatment of recruiters like secretaries. So let’s start at the beginning. Why is this happening, how is it happening, and how do we change it?

Jason Putnam:   Great question. And I don’t want to use any trigger words here, but I think, really, the only way to get people’s attention is to trigger people to some extent, but this is all opinion. I’m not representing a company, but we have an epidemic and we’re trying to treat it with Band-Aids, duct tape, revisionist history, and excuses, is my opinion. And if we look at it through the current macroeconomic lens that we live in, the post-COVID, what we’re all calling The Great Resignation, that’s a symptom of a systemic problem that is really driven by bad decisions and lack of innovation that has been going on for decades.

William Tincup:   Right. So we’ve allowed ourselves to wallow in the status quo and just stay there and not innovate. In fact, I was talking to a company the other day, and they’re in a innovating in a space that just hasn’t been innovated in. And I’m like, “This category of software has been waiting, literally waiting to be innovated.” So it’s almost like you get fat and lazy, or fat, happy, and lazy, and then you just stop innovating.

Jason Putnam:   I think we talked about this on the last one. I think there’s a level of fear there. Inherently, when you look at HR in broad terms, I know we’re going to talk about talent acquisition, but it used to be all about enabling and protecting humans, the human part of HR, and at best, right now, it’s really a 50/50 split, and it’s more about protecting the company than the people within it. And what that ends up leading to is those people who are in HR, by nature … We’ll put recruiters aside for a second.

William Tincup:   Right.

Jason Putnam:   Internal recruiters. Those people by nature tend to be more risk adverse, tend to not be early-on adopters or even fast followers. And what ends up happening is because you’re in this protective zone, you tend to work in the business every day, administratively and tactically, as opposed to on the business strategically, and then when you take that a little further, the talent acquisition for most companies, which is part of HR, and I can make the argument why it shouldn’t be at some companies, but it really takes that that Luddite approach to solving things. And at best, that group, innovation is a five degree change, right? So if I’m going north, I’m going to go five degrees different, where it really needs to be 180 degrees different doing it today. And all The Great Resignation of the post-COVID world that we live in today, it’s just bringing it to the surface more. It’s shining a really bright light on something that has been going on for a very, very long time.

William Tincup:   Yeah. And it’s interesting that we’re juxtaposing this against secretaries because you think of historic, the way that we think of secretaries, it’s part and parcel the serving class. These come in and take a dictation. You’re here to serve the person that you work for, and you’re essentially an order taker. You do whatever the boss at that point tells you to do. Done. There are some-

Jason Putnam:   Even if you don’t agree with it, and the reason I use that word, again, you summarized a great way of why I picked that word, and the other reason I picked it is, again, looking historically through the lens of TVs and shows like that, is you don’t really have a voice, right? It’s much more important to be seen and not heard. And there’s nothing more important to the success of a company than the people who are in the company, and the front lines of that are talent acquisition and talent management, and talent management, that should have been solved years ago. I think it’s way easier to solve than talent acquisition. And now it’s become important, talent management has, in succession plan and leadership development and upscaling all the stuff we talk about. But even though it’s important at a macro level where people are talking about it, it still lacks budget, it still lacks power, it still lacks influence, and it lacks exposure at the business level because multiple reasons.

But talent, acquisition and talent management have not done a great job, in aggregate, but also individual as a leadership level, tying their metrics, because I think they’re tracking the wrong things, but tying their metrics back to business metrics and what a business cares about. So a business, a company is not a person. A company is an entity. And frankly, that company just cares about, “Am I producing enough widgets to make a Y outcome? Am I doing enough this to make that?” It’s not about people because it’s an entity. People within a company care about it. So when you have somebody running talent acquisition in HR, they have not put themself in a position to be strategic. They’re much more to tactical administrative, and then they’re speaking the wrong language. So if they do get a chance to go talk to somebody who’s a CFO or a CEO or VP of sales or whatever, they’re talking about things, it’s literally a different language.

Those people don’t care about time-to-hire. They care about the outcome of time-to-hire. They don’t care about the quality of hire. They care about the outcome of that quality of the hire. “Hey, if I hire people three weeks faster who are going to be MRI techs, that’s going to be X, Y, Z revenue to the hospital.” That’s what the business cares about. But because they’re not talking about it that way, they’re not getting the resonance they want that way, and when you don’t get the resonance you want, you tuck your tail between your and you go back and keep focusing on what you’re doing, as opposed to having that big voice saying, “You’re not listening to me. What language should I be speaking to make you listen to me?”

William Tincup:   I love that. I love that. So it’s now I want to unravel, okay, not just how did we get here, but at this particular juncture in history, who’s to blame? Hard to point at one, but is it hiring managers and executives not respecting what recruiters do, or is it recruiters not respecting what they do, themselves?

Jason Putnam:   I think it’s a great question, William. I think it’s a combination of fear and lack of communication, which by the way, is probably why every relationship in the world fails.

William Tincup:   Right.

Jason Putnam:   This is no different. These are just humans dealing with humans, right? So there’s thousands of open internal recruiter roles. So let’s diagnose a little bit before we place blame. So why is that? Let’s stop making excuses about it. Right? There was one point, I know Shannon [Pritchett 00:   08:   22] put that out there, that there was more open internal recruiter roles than there were nurse roles. Why is that?

William Tincup:   Yeah.

Jason Putnam:   And one of the excuses, and we can say excuse, but this is what people point to, and it’s a real thing, but it’s not the reason, is some of those people stayed home, and proportionally speaking, there’s a lot more females in that role than males, and kids were homeschooled, and those people either went on and found different jobs or they stayed home and they made it work. Another reason could be, and I’ve seen this very, very, very firsthand in the BountyJobs days is when markets are really good, meaning there’s supply and demand like we have today, a lot of internal recruiters, who are salespeople by nature, the really good ones, go back out and become independent or work for bigger firms as headhunters because they can make more money, and then when the market softens, they go back internal.

I think that’s a bit of what’s happening as well. But to me, and what the rant was about, is that HR and talent acquisition organizations, again, are focused on being administrative. So if you have this very big personality as a hiring manager and you go in, and this may work one of two ways, you say, “I need five Java developers. I need to interview them next week, and I’m willing to pay 75,000 dollars,” is it that person’s fault? Maybe. But what if that person doesn’t know that that is not a reasonable or even possible task, but what ends up happening is the person who’s doing that intake with a hiring manager doesn’t push back.

They don’t say, “Hey, I have a software platform, or I have data, or I have market dynamics,” that say, “Hey, by the way, there’s only three people within a geographic distance who has that, and the market is paying those people 150,000. So do you want no candidates, or do you want to change your expectations?” So to me, this is really the communication part of it. But then it’s really, and I’ll pause here for a minute to get your feedback, but it’s also the structure of the talent acquisition organization that historically is the problem.

William Tincup:   Right. Right. So I’ve done two presentations in the last year or so and gotten in hot water on both. One was around job descriptions, and essentially, the bit in short form was, yeah, when a hiring manager sends you a job description, delete the email, set up a meeting, and build it together.

Jason Putnam:   Yep.

William Tincup:   So just open up a Google Doc or whatever, and literally build, “Okay, what is important? What’s the most important of these important things? What’s critical? What are you willing to deal with? What are you willing to not deal with?” et cetera, et cetera, et cetera. Whatever you sent me, it might be there, but chances are it isn’t. So I’m just going to delete that, and now we have a collaboration. And I got in hot water because a lot of recruiters would actually say, “Well, that’s just not realistic. It’s not feasible.” I’m like, “Well, it’s not realistic. It’s not feasible because you you’re not pushing back,” which of course got me into more hot water.

But anyway, the other one was around offer letters. I did the exact same bit, but I said, “Okay, offer letters you build with candidates. You don’t send them an offer letter. You literally build the offer letter with them on Zoom,” with them in of them and say, “Okay, what’s important to you? Let’s build this together.” Now, if what we’ve built here, if this is … It’s a sales technique, right?

Jason Putnam:   Of course.

William Tincup:   Right. “So if what we see here, if I can get this approved by the hiring manager, I’m going to send it to you. You’ll sign. Yeah?” This is what we do with proposals. There’s nothing new here.

Jason Putnam:   [crosstalk 00:   12:   01]

William Tincup:   Yeah. This is no nothing new here. But literally, I got feedback from the audience, on that, like, “Well, that’s just not realistic. It’s not realistic to do that.” I’m like, “It’s not realistic because you’re not thinking of the candidate is who you should be advocating for.” And offer letters, just like proposals, shouldn’t be a surprise. There’s nothing surprising that should be ever in a proposal that lands on someone’s desk or in their email. There’s no surprises. You’ve already walked through all of the stuff. If you’re a great salesperson, you’ve already done all the objection/response stuff. You know how they’re going to respond.

Jason Putnam:   I’m going to go in a slightly different direction than I planned because I think you took us there, which is a great way to go. So think of the term talent acquisition. And whether you look at it in LinkedIn or Stories or whatever you want to look at, everyone focuses on the first part of that, the talent part, and very few people focus on the acquisition part. So if you look at what I do professionally, successfully for a living, my focus is around acquisition. So what does acquisition mean? I’ll ask you, William, what does acquisition mean in your term, right, from a sales perspective?

William Tincup:   Well, it’s the entire funnel, right? So it’s all the way out from finding prospects and then bringing them through a process of understanding their needs, listening, active listening, and then making sure that you align what their objectives are with what the solution is, and then taking them through all the objection/response stuff, the universe of knows, and making sure that everything is settled, then you put a proposal in front of them that they’re completely comfortable with, and then there’s a close, which is different skills, different things need to happen there. But then it’s the acquisition. You’ve brought in a customer, you’ve converted a prospect that might or might not have known you, to someone that now is a part of your family

Jason Putnam:   Agree 100%. And that’s what I do as a career. And everybody you ask is going to have some version of what you said as their answer. So whether they’re the CEO or they run sales, or even the CHRO, they’re going to be able to describe some version of that.

William Tincup:   Right.

Jason Putnam:   Very few are going to be able to describe what talent acquisition is. So let’s take a-

William Tincup:   Oh, 100%.

Jason Putnam:   Let’s take a step back from that. So as I come into companies, Plum being one of them, and I say, “How do you build a great acquisition team?” which is identifying your ICP, building great marketing campaigns, doing lead gen, making sure you have the right people, selling the right products, right processes, all the way through client success. That’s it. So then have to talk about, as you’re building that machine, what does good look like? What are the common mistakes? What are the metrics that are important? What is the most important thing? All those questions that you would ask. And if you build that perfect machine, you can easily determine, from a planning perspective, what the outcome of the bottom of that funnel will look like.

William Tincup:   Right.

Jason Putnam:   So then, if you have somebody in my position or VP of sales or whatever, where we’re talking at the executive level with CEOs, you then start trying to optimize that. So, “Hey, as I’m building a funnel, do I have the right people who are doing it? Okay, great.” Hey, if I ask you, William, if you could build the perfect sales organization, what percent of the time do your sales people speak to prospects?

William Tincup:   And each thing you optimize, like a supply chain operator, would you supply … You’re optimizing technology process and people, or you’re optimizing, three dimensionally, you’re optimizing a lot of things. So how your team is structured. Okay, you’re optimizing for that. It’s not a one-and-done. Just because you’ve optimized it doesn’t mean it-

Jason Putnam:   Right. You can always get better.

William Tincup:   You can always get better. So again, you look at that in technology, same thing. You build the plumbing of a system and stack of technology that enables marketing and sales, and you’re constantly thinking about, “Okay, what else could we be using, or what else in the systems that we’re already using, features maybe that we haven’t turned on that we can turn on that would actually be helpful?” And either speed, quality, or price in any of those areas, it helps us get there faster, it helps us get to a higher quality outcome, or it drives cost down. If it does any of those three things or a combination thereof, fantastic. And that’s why-

Jason Putnam:   In the dream world, it does all of them.

William Tincup:   In the dream world, it does all.

Jason Putnam:   Which is not always-

William Tincup:   Right.

Jason Putnam:   You can’t always have cheap, faster, good. But-

William Tincup:   Right.

Jason Putnam:   If I were to say, “Hey, the perfect sales organization, my best people are going to talk to customers 40 hours a week, if they’re working 40 hours a week,” now is that truly possible? Probably not, but that’s what you should strive for. So we then hire people whose hard skills, and their soft skills, match up to speak to customers and get the desired outcome that we want. And then as we’re looking at that as an organization, we start making sure that we’re hiring the right people who can have those conversations, and then we’re clearing any obstacles that are in their way from equaling 40 hours.

William Tincup:   That’s reducing [crosstalk 00:   17:   24].

Jason Putnam:   And we’re implementing-

William Tincup:   Yeah.

Jason Putnam:   Yeah. We’re implementing tools and processes and software to make sure that anything that’s slowing them down or getting in their way is eliminated or mitigated so they can speak to more customers. Now, if you look at their soft skills, and I’m making this up, but a typical salesperson, they’re going to be good at communication, they’re going to be really good at persuasion, they’re going to be good at a lot of these. And potentially where they may suffer a little bit, where it’s not their inherent skill that they’re born with, maybe let’s say conflict resolution or adaptation or any of those skills.

So now I’ve put these people in the role. I’ve hired them. I’ve put all these tools around them to make them the fastest, best at their job. And the best recruiters in the world have very, very similar skills as the best salespeople in the world. Ultimately, you’re bringing in people who can do acquisition at the highest level. Here’s the difference. As I’ve spoken to a lot of people who are the best recruiters I know and asked them, prior to this podcast we’re doing, 75 to 80% of their time is spent on administrative tests.

William Tincup:   That’s right.

Jason Putnam:   So what does that mean? Well, I’ve got to spend hours getting the job description ready. I’ve got to float it past the hiring managers all the time. It takes me X amount of hours just to vet the list of potential candidates, right? I’m screening people out who I should be screening people in. I’ve got to log all this. I’ve got to sit in meetings. I’ve got to do all this. So then you take somebody who has the hard skills to be a really, really amazing salesperson to do acquisition, in this case, it’s talent, which is people, which is the most important thing we have, and you’re turning them into an administrative function where you want them to be seen, not heard, and just do what I say, and we wonder why they’re leaving.

They’re leaving because two things. Number one, they can go get another job where they can be salespeople. But number two, they’re not fulfilled in their role because you’re turning them into an administrative automaton where all the things that make them who they are and successful, both hard and soft skills, they don’t get to use. And then we wonder why we’re not competitive against other companies, and I won’t name companies, but there are some who have built … They have their VP of sales running talent acquisition, and they’re looking at the exact same metrics for client acquisition as they are for talent acquisition. And guess what? They’re kicking the crap out of other companies, even in the current economic situation.

William Tincup:   That’s right. It’s interesting. It’s what we sell versus what we deliver. And this is the metaphor of secretaries being order takers. And again, if the order is not right, and what I mean by not right, is we haven’t aligned on the competencies and skills and gotten that right. Do we really want these people to be on the phone 40 hours? And we’re going to do the hard work to then make that happen. Then what we sell is that, and what we deliver is that experience. If we align what we sell and what we deliver, then, yeah, you will have attrition. You’ll always have attrition, but you’re going to have less attrition and you’re going to have less attrition due to people just not doing the job that they didn’t sign up for. “It felt like a bait and switch. You told me that the job was this. I really like that. I’m pretty good at those things, and then when I got in, after onboarding the job, that job is not here. That job has become something completely different, and I’m not good at that job.”

Jason Putnam:   Right. And when you’re not good at something, there’s only two reasons people aren’t good at a job and it’s they can’t do it, or they won’t do it. There’s no other reason. And can’t isn’t always their fault, right? It could be company. It could be environment. It could be they don’t have the tools. But a lot of times it comes across, when somebody can’t do it, like they won’t do it. And then they throw their hands up and they move on because they’re not fulfilled in that particular role. And we talk about fault. People in that role have to look in the mirror to some extent, but the company also has to look in the mirror to some extent as well because what ends up happening is if, as a sales leader, if I went to a budget committee and said, “I need this thing,” and that thing, whatever that thing is, is going to either cut my time to close in half, generate 2X more leads or YX more customer, I can make that justification, and I have the seat at the table to say, “I want it,” and the answer is going to be yes.

With talent acquisition or HR, depending on how high up you go in the organization, they are not equipped to do that. They don’t have a seat at the table. They’re used to being administrative and not strategic. So they’re just going in saying, “Well, I kind of need this.” “Well, we don’t have budget for that.” “Okay.” Or “I kind of need this because it’s going to reduce our time-to-hire by three days.” I don’t care about time-to-hire. I care about time to revenue if I’m running a business. So they’re not making that argument, but the business leaders aren’t going back in going, “Where can we also optimize this, and what do you need for me that are not getting?”

So it’s this dysfunctional lack of communication relationship, just like in real life, where if people just sat down in a room, put egos aside, put the internal jockeying for position aside, and just had a normal communication about what’s really important, I think we would get to the bottom of this. But it’s this trench warfare where one side is really winning and the other side’s hunkering down, or vice versa, or we’re just at this stalemate where nobody’s talking. But there are so many tools out there.

I’ll use PandoLogic as a great example, right? Oh, it was so innovative, and programmatic is amazing, and why isn’t everybody doing programmatic? And it took off in the HR tech space and in the TA space. It’s been around in marketing for 25 years. Every company is using it. And it was revolutionary in the last few years when it came to talent acquisition. That is the exact thing we’re talking about. This could have been changed decades ago, just like everything else in this space. But nobody’s willing to, because they’re working in the business, and again, not looking at it holistically as working on business. They’re not bringing the use case in the language that the business is used to making decisions on to the table. And they’re hunkering down and just being so protective of their role, whereas think about what would happen to a TA leader if they completely did a 180 and the outcomes for the business were also 180 on the positive. That’s a career trophy that you’re never going to get by just hunkering down.

William Tincup:   That’s right. I mean, you can refine your tactics so much, but if you’re stuck in administrative, you’re not going to be working on the business, and working on the business is always far superior. It’s interesting that you mention sitting down, putting egos aside, putting titles and all that fiefdom and stuff aside. It’s interesting to then, I had a call earlier and the guy was explaining, came in to this meeting and sales was on one side of the room and marketing was on the other side of the room, conference room. And it’s just like they’re already pitted against each other. There’s already an “us versus them” mentality. And he forced them to switch. He forced them to enter every other seat type deal so that wasn’t just the case in the room, and it changed the dynamic, just the way that they were sitting just in the room, like, “Okay, everyone on the sales team, you can’t sit next to each other. You’ve got to sit next to a marketing person. All right. And let’s do that.”

And it changed the dynamic. And it also, what I like about that is people gave up their ego for a moment, and we all have healthy egos, but they gave up their ego to then think, “Okay, how could I do this differently?” Or “How could I talk about this differently? You’re saying this. What I’m hearing you say is this, which I don’t care about, and here’s why I don’t care about it.” It’s not enough to just say, “Yeah, I don’t care about that.” That’s not enough for business leaders. They’ve actually got to do the harder part of going, “And here’s why that’s not important,” or “Here’s why this is important.” And it’s also important for the recruiters and HR leaders to then say, “Okay, I might be using the wrong words. Here’s the outcomes of a decision that will make [inaudible 00:   25:   57] people process and technology. And do you care about those outcomes? If so, here’s the requisite budget or here’s the things that we need to then get to the outcomes.” So it’s almost like the telephone game.

Jason Putnam:   Of course.

William Tincup:   Right? The longer the telephone game, the longer it gets distorted. But I think, and I want to get your take on this, COVID sped a bunch of stuff up, and a lot of things are already going in a direction, COVID sped some of that stuff up, good and bad. Do you think COVID has forced or will force business leaders and recruitment leaders and our HR leaders to get together and sort some of this out? Do you think it’ll help, or do you think it’ll just drive folks further away?

Jason Putnam:   So let’s take your boardroom as an example, and sales and marketing. And I think this is the way I think I can answer it. So as somebody who’s done both, everyone who has, even if you’re not in sales or marketing, but you’ve been in business, you’ve heard this following statement, and this is where the rift comes from between those two groups:    “I just need more leads if I’m running sales,” and what marketing says is, “I just need you to close more customers,” right? Neither of those are actually the problem.

William Tincup:   Right.

Jason Putnam:   But it’s the blame game, and why it’s important to me to run both in my role or have a partner, like I had at Pando [inaudible 00:   27:   30], who’s amazing. Day one, when I got there, it was like peanut butter and jelly, and we were just like, “We made it work.” So I know what excellent looks like, and I know what bad looks like. It’s the same. Now take that same statement, and you’re a hiring manager, what do you tell somebody who’s a recruiter? “I just need more candidates.” That’s actually not what you need.

William Tincup:   That’s right.

Jason Putnam:   Ideally, what everyone needs, if talent acquisition was perfect, just like if sales was perfect, I want one candidate who can do the job, both from a hard skills, soft skills, who will be fulfilled in the job, who will be a great cultural fit, who will put everything great on Glassdoor, who will fool all their friends, who will hit all the production numbers and will work here the rest of their life. That’s actually what you want. So if we know that’s what you want, that may take 100 candidates, it may take one candidate, but you don’t just need more candidates. You need something different than that. So being able to have everyone communicate is really the problem.

Now, to answer your question, do I think COVID is going to change it? I think it did change it from that aspect of sales and marketing. I think it is driving decisions in talent acquisition, but I think it’s driving the wrong ones. And I’ll give you an example. So if I am a CEO of a company, or a COO or a CFO, I’m controlling budget, and I’m like, “Crap, we’re losing people. I know talent management and talent acquisition aren’t talking, but I don’t really know that much about talent management and talent acquisition outside of the numbers they give me that I don’t care about.” So then my leader who I trust, who’s running either of those or both of those, comes to me and goes, “Yeah, I can solve your problem if …” You know what I’m going to say. “… I have a new ATS.” “Oh, is that all you need? Great. It’s 150 grand. Hey, it’s a lot, but let’s go ahead and do it.”

William Tincup:   Yeah. Technology will solve all your problems.

Jason Putnam:   Right. But it’s the wrong technology.

William Tincup:   Yeah.

Jason Putnam:   Not that people shouldn’t get a new ATS, but what you’re doing is you’re just making the problem you have worse and more visible, as opposed to solving the systemic problem of, we’re speaking the wrong language. We’re not actually solving the real problem, and we’re competing for talent. We’re competing for water. Everyone’s turning the spigots on. Water supply is getting low and the price is going up, but all the water is falling out of the bucket through this huge hole, and nobody’s trying to solve it. So really, what the problems are is, “How do I do this total talent solution where every person, whether they’re a candidate or they’re an employee, how can I take their hard skills and the inherent skills that they’re born with and maximize their performance for me as an organization to  drive their results, but also of fulfill them in the role, even if it’s a lateral move or we move them out?”

The key here is this interesting match of, “I’m doing the job. I feel very fulfilled in the job because it matches my hard skills and my soft skills,” but also the results of that are going to be exponentially higher for the organization. But we’re trying to solve this in just a numbers way where nobody’s talking, everyone’s just going different places, and we’re saying, “I need a new ATS,” or “I need a talent management piece of software that’s going to solve all my problems.” It’s not. If I want to lose weight, getting a scale is a piece of the problem, but if I eat McDonald’s three days a week, a piece of technology doesn’t make me lose weight. It just measures how bad I’m actually doing.

William Tincup:   I love it. Drops mic, walks off stage. Jason, this was wonderful, as I thought it would be when we came up with the topic. Thank you so much for carving out time for us and the audience.

Jason Putnam:   Oh, likewise, man. I love it.

William Tincup:   And thanks for everyone listening to The RecruitingDaily Podcast. Until next time.

Music:   You’ve been listening to The Recruiting Live Podcast by RecruitingDaily. Check out the latest industry podcast, webinars, articles, and news at recruitingdaily.com.

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

Authors
William Tincup

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.


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