Results From The iCIMS Class of 2023 Report With Laura Coccaro

Ready to get ahead in the recruitment game? Brace yourselves as Laura Coccaro, the CPO at iCIMS, dishes out the secrets uncovered in the iCIMS Class of 2023 Report. We’re learning why the newest batch of graduates are all about stability, speed, and authenticity in their job hunt. We’re learning how they’re challenging companies to step up their game. Get ready to understand the changing expectations around career development and internal mobility and learn to navigate these demands from the fresh talent pool.

Hold tight as we dive deeper with Laura, where we reveal strategies to rev up your hiring process. Unveil the magic of technology in recruitment and the importance of maintaining a robust relationship between the hiring manager and the recruiter. We’re also putting transparency in compensation under the spotlight – a crucial aspect for today’s discerning job candidates.

With authenticity now a crucial currency in the job market, we’re exploring how companies can rise to the occasion and meet these high standards. So, strap in and get set for a journey into the future of recruitment!

Listening Time: 27 minutes

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Laura Coccaro

Be human. Be real. Own it. Have fun and do as much good as possible.

That’s our mantra at iCIMS. As chief people officer, I live by that statement every day in building our dedicated team worldwide and cultivating an inclusive workplace environment and culture, while having some fun along the way!


Results From The 2023 Workforce Report With Laura Coccaro of iCIMS

William Tincup: [00:00:00] Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tinkup and you are listening to the Recruiting Daily Podcast. Today we have Laura on from iCIMS and our topic today is results from their 2023 workforce report. They do this report every year and every year we go through the results. I’m always shocked about some things.

Let’s do introductions first. Laura, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and iCIMS.

Laura Coccaro: Absolutely. Thanks so much for having me. It’s great to be here. And thanks, everyone, for joining. My name is Laura Carl. I’m the chief people officer at iCIMS. I’ve had the absolute honor of working here for seven plus [00:01:00] years.

Our main mission is to support massive brands to hire and grow their teams. And we are, I’m really privileged to be able to do that iCIMS team as the chief people officer. Any

William Tincup: added pressure of being a CHRO at an HR tech company? I don’t know if it’s

Laura Coccaro: added pressure, but I think it’s added fun. It’s pretty cool.

William Tincup: You get to use the product too. It’s R and D. Obviously the product people have all that stuff covered, but you get to use the product and see things firsthand.

Laura Coccaro: That’s right. We’re so lucky. We we have a great relationship with our product team.

We’re customer zero as we like to call it, which is pretty cool. So I think it’s cool stuff. I, that’s what brought me here and keeps me here. It’s cool to work in a place that values talent so much and what we do.

William Tincup: Yeah. So first of all, let’s just the workforce report, how many years have we done the workforce report?


Laura Coccaro: so this is our class of 2023 report. We’ve done it eight years [00:02:00] running. This is our eighth iteration on it every year. There’s something new and exciting to your point that we learned from our incoming incoming entrance to the workforce.

William Tincup: So let’s go high level. And what are, what is, it’s when you put a survey together, when you put a report together like this, you always go in with a thesis, an idea of what you might see, and then there’s always something that’s that’s, that comes out of left field and there’s always something that kind of validates, yeah, we thought it was tracking that way.

So give us kind of the high level of what, when you got the results back, what did you see? Yeah, you

Laura Coccaro: know what’s really interesting about this report in particular is that this is the first wave of 21st century babies to hit the workforce, right? So that’s number one. And number two, this class in particular started college and then had the pandemic hit.

So the majority of their college experience was living through a global pandemic. And so high level, what we saw from this group, which is pretty interesting is that [00:03:00] they’re not taking any chances. They want stability in terms of what they’re looking for post graduation. They’re looking for companies that That have longevity that demonstrate a commitment to their people where they see themselves having career advancement.

They’re not interested in companies that are announcing layoffs. We actually saw them more than 50% of them said that news of layoffs in a company would be make them less interested in applying. So one is stability. The second one is that they want a job, but they want it fast. So they actually expect this process to take three weeks.

And we know that HR pros expect that it’s going to take twice that they’re looking for speed and they also, want to be sure that there’s authenticity across the board that companies are walking their talk as it relates to things around mental health, DEI a commitment to people, a commitment to their broader teams thinking more broadly than just Hey, here’s a job for the next couple [00:04:00] of years.

William Tincup: Let’s go through all of those. So what’s interesting about stability for me is, and this is, I’m squarely Gen X, so I’ll say it like that. There’s no such thing as stability. Again, a company might appear. Stable they’re on the, they’re on the NASDAQ and, they’re growing great trajectory, et cetera but that doesn’t mean they’re stable as startup again, go to the opposite end of the spectrum, a startup that doesn’t have funding, doesn’t look stable.

But, you never know, like what is stability? So how do, I know that you probably didn’t dig into this part, but how do they define stability?

Laura Coccaro: Yeah. It’s a great point, William. I think that’s, I think they’re looking for a place where it’s, honestly, what we’re hearing from this group is that they want it to be.

For the long haul. They’re not interested in jumping around, which we’ve seen, there’s this notion typically of college graduates that they’re [00:05:00] looking, their parents generation was at the same place for 30 years. They don’t want to do that. They want, new and different every couple of years.

We’re actually seeing this group say, No, I’m willing to stay with the place for a long time. It does matter to me how long I’m there. And I think that’s what we’re seeing in terms of how they define that stability.

William Tincup: Interesting. And that’s also tied to career development that they see a clear path after the initial job which makes sense.

I actually millennials were one of the first groups to, to the, then say the what’s next question during the interview process. This is great. What’s next, which is fantastic because it forced a lot of HR leaders and. Recruiters to then start talking about it. What is next? It’s not just about filling the hole.

So Do if, first of all that’s great that they are thinking about internal mobility and thinking about like what’s next, are they thinking about a trajectory or are they thinking about having options? Like what’s the definition of internal mobility [00:06:00] for them?

Laura Coccaro: Yeah, it’s the way that we’re seeing it play out is more around opportunities for one career advancement.

So where they perceive that and that, as you and I know that could be defined in a couple of different ways, right? That’s whether, we’re investing in you to grow or add to your skill set. And what we’re hearing is that it’s an investment. They want to see an investment in their training in their growth, recognizing that they may not have all of the skills that they need today or for what they want to do next.

They’re looking to employers to say, prove to me, show me that you’re investing in your employees and that you have a variety of different paths available.

William Tincup: I like that. Now, how does the recruiter, how do they pack? How do you, how should they pack it? Let’s we’ll just go that route. How should they package that to candidates?

Laura Coccaro: It’s so interesting. What we’re finding is that most of the time the. Really interesting stories that come through via either video testimonials or career sites in showcasing that [00:07:00] out of the gate. About your, yourself as an employer, so meaningful. They’re spending a lot of time looking and saying, what, what is, they’re looking for sections on career sites around career growth, internal mobility, career advancement, investment in learning and development.

And then they want to see it in action. And so some of the ways, one testimonials, we have video from employees who are talking about their own personal career experiences, growth, mobility at the organization. And then arming recruiters with those examples, right? Some insights into when people started in this role in our organization, where did they go and what did that look like?

Those are really powerful examples that we can provide right out of the gate and having these conversations.

William Tincup: All the more importance of the career sites being more dynamic than we’ve thought about them in the past. So I liked that a lot actually. So then the next thing was speed more of a kind of a consumer model and this tracks for me especially in the hourly market, but I think even in the professional market as well, [00:08:00] it’s, they, when you text someone, you get a text back.

You email someone, you get an email back. You DM somebody, you get a DM back. They’re, the consumer technology is basically bled over into what candidates believe. And, I don’t, they’re not wrong. And, oh, by the way, they’re the talent, so they’re gonna, they’re gonna do whatever they’re going to do.

How do we re… How do we rewire ourselves or rethink our entire hiring process based on response time or based on speed? Yeah,

Laura Coccaro: You’re so right. They’re expecting that consumer like experience through the job application process, right? We’ve talked about this certainly for the past few years.

But for me, it’s about managing expectations and communication. At the onset, being really clear about what the process is going to look like, how long you expect it to take, what the interview process is going to look like, just really being transparent about the communication touch points that candidates should expect, but I don’t think it can [00:09:00] stop there, right?

It’s this element of, from the second that they apply, they want to know that somebody is acknowledging their application, you That they understand where they are in the process and then throughout that. So we think about this through to your point, text engagement, right? Those quick updates that you can send via text marketing automation, right?

We there’s this ability to now within isms in particular to set up campaigns. That can be targeted with specific content that can be dynamic that can help, keep a candidate informed and interested as they’re going through the process, you can layer in video there, which is also, really cool.

And it allows for as the process is unfolding to think a bit more deliberately about those touch points between recruiter updates and interviews.

William Tincup: Oh, I love that. So how do we know if we’re getting that right? Is there is there a way to to understand because there’s a drop off point for talent, right?

If we’re not, if we’re not fast enough, they drop out of the process and they just move [00:10:00] on. I think someone talked about it in terms of application amnesia where they apply. And then by the time we get back to them, they’ve forgotten that they’ve applied to our job. So that’s a funny bit but like how do we know like internally with our process and with our team, how do we know that we’re getting it right?

Or we’re tracking in the right direction.

Laura Coccaro: I think some of that is measuring those touch points, right? How long did it take from application to initial outreach, right? What’s that screening process? And what we heard from this class, William, is that they expect the whole thing from application to offer to take three weeks.

So forget about application to I hear from a recruiter, like if it’s three weeks that, it takes you to get back to them, you absolutely, that’s it, you’ve lost them because that they expected to have gone through, three interviews and gotten the offer by that. And so it really is about thinking through those in, those SLAs that we as [00:11:00] recruitment teams as TA leaders, we can hold ourselves accountable to, to say no, we, we think we should be thinking about that initial outreach, say within, 48 to 72 hours, and we should be thinking about providing updates, within 24 hours and managing that expectation.

I’m throwing those out, right? This has got to work for your organization. It’s got to work for but setting those touch points. To be really clear on, okay, we know they, that it’s going to take us twice as long than they would like. How are we making sure we’re being as responsive as

William Tincup: possible?

Who do you think, and again, outside of iCIMs just more thinking about the market, who’s going to have the most difficulty with this change? Is it more on the recruiter side or is it, is HR comp or is it hiring managers? Like, where do you think is the choke? Cause there’s always a choke point, right?

Where do you think the choke point on this particular change around speed is going to be?

Laura Coccaro: I think you know, I’m always going to have empathy for our recruitment teams who, are doing more with [00:12:00] less, especially right now. And they’re seeing, we’re seeing higher applicant volume across the board.

Because one, people want to keep their options open, and two, we know that there are people who have been recently let off and the volume is high. And their ability to leverage tools to get through the noise, to get to the valid candidates, that’s pressure. To then be able to turn around and say, okay, now who are the candidates I’m going to go reach out to?

So that’s the first pressure point. If you ask me it’s the recruiters being able to sift through and get to the right people for the, for their roles.

William Tincup: And is that just real quick before, before you answer, is that a question of screening and knockout questions and things like that?

Like whenever I hear on the front end of the funnel, that there’s so much volume. It hearkens back to a time. Then, okay, then they should have less volume not less applicants, but they should be dealing with less qualified people. Meaning we should put behavioral assessments or whatever we believe is important.

I don’t, I, it doesn’t really matter, but the idea is we put that stuff further out in the funnel to [00:13:00] knock people out or knock people in, however you want to look at that, but then they deal with less, they’re all qualified at that point, because I think some of that is. Especially way out in the far front of the funnel is noise.

Yeah. There’s people just applying to a thousand jobs a day and they don’t even care, et cetera. So like it’s spray and pray the opposite way. So if that’s the case for recruiters, does that, is that kind of incumbent on them to then say, okay, we should be dealing with more qualified people and thusly let’s re let’s reorganize our process around this job, around all of our jobs to then put more things out in the front.

So that we are only interacting with people who are most qualified.

Laura Coccaro: Yeah, absolutely. There’s no question that recruitment teams should be putting their tech to work, right? Whether it’s, knockout questions or screening questions or It’s to your point, any assessments that an organization deems warranted to be able to do that, but then as you go through that funnel and you start to narrow it even [00:14:00] further, there’s now is the time where there’s so much that we can be leveraging in terms of, job match and skill match and, exciting things around AI that you can pull through even as you’re getting out, filtering through the noise to your point where you can say, Okay.

Okay, now let’s get really deliberate about some of the skills matching that can exist for my role and while I’m at it Let’s cultivate some talent pools, right? So so this is definitely a time to be putting the tech stack to work

William Tincup: And then you were finished. I interrupted You’re finishing your answer.

Laura Coccaro: Oh, yeah, and then I was just gonna say listen, there’s always this element of hiring managers have day jobs and that need for speed in terms of process. It’s getting out ahead of that. That’s a strong partnership that’s required in order to say to the business and our hiring managers. Hey, these candidates in particular are going to expect a faster turnaround.

So we’ve got to work together to remove the roadblocks to get this done.

William Tincup: It’s almost the way I see that playing out with the hiring manager recruiter relationship in particular [00:15:00] is when a hiring manager says, Hey, I need to hire then that’s the perfect time to say, okay, this is a three week process.

So are you on, so you say, are you busy? Are you taking a vacation? You say you want to hire, which is cool, done deal. But the candidates, if once we start this, it’s going to be a sprint. And if you can’t sign up for the sprint, then don’t open the job. You think that procurers can be that, and that’s not forceful, but that’s just, again, it’s explaining how the audience is, or the market has changed, how candidates have changed.

And again, if you’re going to go on a two week vacation after we open up the rec, we’re already out of the game.

Laura Coccaro: That’s right. That’s right. That’s the talent advisor, capability that is, is really the recruitment role that exists. The market has been so dynamic that it is a really important part of the recruiter role to partner with the business and say, here’s what this [00:16:00] market looks like right now.

So let’s make sure that we’re fully informed as we’re going out and thinking about this job and knowing it’s important to you and to the organization. I love that.

William Tincup: How does HR deal with all this speed, like I’m doing, I’ve done a bunch of stuff with comp professionals in the past and it’s, and if, and things move relatively slowly and not super slow, but things don’t change as much, things are slow over there.

No, now we’re talking about getting offer letters out and those offers letters being somewhat in line with, what comp has said is either market or above market, et cetera. So like, how do we, how do you, especially as an HR professional, how do you think we need to interact with this recognition that.

Candidates have changed. Now they expect this.

Laura Coccaro: Yeah. The way that we think about that across my talent leadership team, and I know a lot of organizations are doing the same, is that sort of pre work needs to happen either before we’re [00:17:00] even opening a job rec or Within the first couple of days, right?

Where, and this is a role that recruiters are also being asked to play. You’ve got to go make sure and say, okay, what, how do we have this job, graded in terms of compensation? Because by the way, transparency around this is also really important to this. This generation.

So we got to get it right in terms of making ourselves competitive. So how are we? How are we comping this? What would the ideal range look like having that data as we’re opening the wreck makes it so much easier to get the offer out because we’ve all aligned on this is the range. This is where you know, in many cases right now, especially macro environment.

This is where the budget is. This is what we think it should look like. So everyone can act with speed. I think the other thing that I’m really proud of. My team in particular for doing is our, it’s a constant feedback loop where our team is out in the market and they may see a gap. They’re going right to our comp team, right?[00:18:00]

This isn’t working. So we’ve got to recalibrate here. We got to, go look at different data. We’ve got to go and get different, Insights so we can move with speed. And that’s a constant

William Tincup: partnership. There’s two things that kind of come to mind as you were talking about it.

It’s okay, this is actually something we should be talking with the board about. In terms of, how customers change, candidates have changed. This is significant. Like they were even during the pandemic and post or pre pandemic, they deal with whatever we had.

If the process was fast, great. But if it was slow, if they really wanted the job, they’d just go through it. But now there’s more of a, what it’s since, at least for me is they’re just unwilling, no matter, even if they love the company to go through a process that just, it’s like, it’s almost if you’re not fast and you don’t get it, then you don’t get me kind of thing.

So it’s like talking to the board, talking to the executives and then proliferating the organization to understand that, hey, our customer candidate has changed and that’s fine. We will adapt [00:19:00] and change with them. So I like that I like that idea. I know it’s, I know it’s harder than the way that you and I are talking about it.

It’s not like we could have pixie dust and if it just changes. But I also think this is great data and a great thing for iCIMS to be talking about with our customers. Because you’re a technology company, you can enable a bunch of this stuff to be more to fee faster.

Like I get that, but getting them to understand why being faster and having data to then back that up.

Laura Coccaro: Absolutely. Yeah. And that’s what, we’re finding is that. Because there’s such a wide net that this group in particular is casting, their willingness to maybe take something that comes sooner is real.

William Tincup: Yeah. I’ve seen that in the hourly market for a little while where it’s the fastest to respond wins. That’s been going on for about two years now where, and again, hourly market. So if it’s a pizza, it’s a pizza shop or Verizon or whatever, it doesn’t really matter because hourly is hourly to, to the candidate and [00:20:00] who’s the fastest that can respond to them.

They apply on their mobile. They, they hit a QR code, they fill in some data. Who’s the fastest that gets back to now that bleeding over into the corporate market is really fascinating. Scary, terrifying, but fascinating. Nonetheless the third part was around authenticity. And someone said this to me the other day, and we were talking about employee referrals and he said, what I’m seeing is a shift in employee referrals where you’re not referring the, you’re not referring them to a job or to a hiring manager or to a recruiter.

You’re referring someone to a. Company. And it’s, again, getting back to your kind of point about authenticity, how do you how do you market authentic authenticity? Like, how do you get ’em to feel like you actually are authentic? Like, how does that, how do you, I’m so jaded, , I’m just gonna put cards on, like, how do you, again, how do you, it’s almost like I get people want that.

Yeah, I understand why you would want that because [00:21:00] why would you want something that’s the opposite of that, right? But how do you prove that you’re authentic? Yeah,

Laura Coccaro: This is so maybe I’ll take this in Maybe two ways that I think about it because we were talking about career sites just a little while ago and you know a lot of companies that’s that first impression, right?

Where they’re putting a lot of stuff out about what, who they are as an organization and what they believe. And, especially things around DEI or around their total rewards or what it’s like to work at an organization. And for a little while, the market was moving so fast that. I’m not saying that candidates were taking that on face value, but I’m not sure that there was the same level of scrutiny, right?

And now what we’re finding is that candidates are saying, okay, that’s great. Thanks for that level of information. But now I’m going to go and I’m going to look at, your social pages. I’m going to go look at your leadership page to make sure that, do you have a diverse leadership team?

The people that I meet in my interview process. Are they all embodying what you’re talking about, whether [00:22:00] or not they’re a diverse interview slate, or whether or not they’re talking about the culture in the way that you’re articulating it? So they’re going to hold you accountable through that whole process in a way that, we may not have seen.

So there, those video testimonials are super important. We talked about that a little bit. That is a way to highlight. Some true real employees and what they’re experiencing, but then it pulls through all the way to, offer an onboard to where, the this generation, this group of graduates, they’re also saying yes, compensation is important, but show me that you value me as a whole person, right?

Talk to me about And mental health support. Talk to me about how you’re going to potentially invest in my future via the 401k or financial advisory services or other things. They’re going to be weighing all of this and they’re going to be asking those more detailed questions than I think we’ve seen from, previous graduates.

Over the past few years,

William Tincup: It’s almost like we should ask them, what [00:23:00] is your definition? Let’s just assume that the candidates care about it and ask them, what do you, how do you want to see this realized? Like, how do if your definition of authenticity is what our values are listed on any about us page, and you want to see that those things are your actions.

You want to see that we live our values. Is that authenticity? I think we, there’s a kind of an interesting. Now, knowing that the audience cares about that, great, I think there’s a moment where we, now we can use that and say, okay listen, it’s very subjective. So what do you, what are you looking for so that we make sure that you see that and, or don’t see that.

And again, if that’s something that’s important to you, then let’s talk through it and talk through the definition and see if we can then put you in situations where you can see that and experience those

Laura Coccaro: things. I love that. And the 1 thing that really resonates as you’re talking about that is, I love the fact that we had that conversation, but then, wow, how is it?

How important is it that [00:24:00] throughout when we think about hiring managers, when we think about the various touch points. We’ve all gotta be listening to that. And showcasing it in a way that makes sense for us. Cause the worst thing too is if you put something up and then somebody’s not living that or reiterating that.

That, to me, that’s the total definition of inauthentic.

William Tincup: The thing is I was talking something about this yesterday. It’s like none of us are perfect. And companies are not perfect, right? Cause they’re, they’re just the assemblage of humans. So nobody’s perfect.

So like living your values, even if you live your values, 90% of the time, 98% of the time, there’s going to be times when you deviate or, accidents happen. Like that happens. We’re human. Yeah, we’re human. Like I, I again getting back to authenticity. It’s Hey, I would actually ask them to define it and then go, Hey, listen, cool.

Got it. I can definitely show you some of those things, by the way, we’re not perfect. So if you find something [00:25:00] that’s counter to that, let’s talk through it. Okay, I think there’s a, again, there’s a dialogue box there. Again, if it’s important to a candidate, great.

Let’s verify, trust but verify. Let’s verify that it’s really important to them and then expand the definition. But I think in expanding the definition we have a wonderful opportunity to go, oh, by the way. If you Google us and you find out that our former CEO was arrested for fraud, you know what?

That’s a part of who we are. That happened. Like that’s, that happened. There was an action that took place. There was legal action. He’s in jail. Done. If that’s going to be the reason you don’t apply, okay, look, we’re again, we’re human. But again, cause if people are looking for perfect companies they’re not good.

They don’t exist.

Laura Coccaro: No, you’re right. You’re right. And I, it’s gotta be, it’s gotta be transparent and candid to your point.

William Tincup: It’s the the thing about values is what’s fascinating to me is [00:26:00] most of the values that we state on corporate values are aspirational.

They’re not, we don’t we try, we’re trying to be there. When we say integrity, yes, of course, we’re trying to have integrity in our decisions, but you know what? There’s times when we doubt. So not only are we human, but there’s times where we know that we’re going outside of our values. Is there anything, last thing, because these are all wonderful things.

Is there any, is there anything that shocked you? Is there anything that kind of came out of left field in this report for you?

Laura Coccaro: No, I think we covered a lot of what we saw that nothing that was. It’s really shocking. I think it just validated, a lot of our suspicions.

William Tincup: That’s good and we can get this in the hands of all the iCIMS customers.

So that’s wonderful. This has been wonderful. Thank you so much for coming on the podcast and talking with us about this. Thanks so much for having me. Alrighty. Thanks for listening until next time. [00:27:00]

The RecruitingDaily Podcast

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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