Shane Bernstein
Founder & CEO Rolebot

When Shane entered the staffing industry 17 years ago, he never imagined he’d one day be revolutionizing it. As a modern-day pioneer of the passive talent space, he founded Rolebot in 2018. The World’s 1st and only AI-powered Job Board for Passive Talent surfaces over 75% of the skilled workforce— those who never apply, but are eager to pursue new opportunities. The platform allows companies to skip the tireless research and courting so they can begin the recruitment process at the initial interview stage.

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On today’s episode of the RecruitingDaily Podcast, William Tincup speaks to Shane from Rolebot about The Great Resignation, ahem, it’s more like The Great Desperation.

Some Conversation Highlights:

Tune in for the full conversation.

When it comes to The Great Resignation, you could have the best technology in the world, you still wouldn’t get results. LinkedIn recruiter is the best kind of do-it-yourself a technology, but you’re only… That tool is only as good as the user to be able to identify, not to get stuck in analysis paralysis, which is what a lot of early stage or entry level recruitment professionals get stuck in.

You can learn all of those things. To me, it’s about the hustle of the work ethic. So what I would do is look at my team, figure out who can evolve into a sales role, bring in either a head of talent who understands these KPIs or look maybe more towards the sales direction.

Try to find someone who manages a well oil machine on the sales side, and bring them in, and put that same oil machine on the recruitment side. I think you’ll see a significant change. Commission is part of that. Although you don’t have to, it could be a bonus system. In-house recruiters get paid really well, I think, in general. So I think as long as you have KPIs and you have goals-

Listening time: 27 minutes

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Music: (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 are listening to RecruitingDaily Podcast. Today we have Shane on from Rolebot, and our topic today is, The Great Resignation. Ahem, It’s more like The Great Desperation. So Shane and I are friends, and this is going to be fun, it’s going to be fast, and I can’t wait to get into it. But before we do, let’s do some introductions. Shane, would you do us a favor and introduce yourself and Rolebot?

Shane Bernstein: (01:02)
Of course. My name is Shane Bernstein, founder and CEO of Rolebot. We are the world’s first and only AI powered job board for passive talent. What does that mean? Exactly? We serve the other 75% of the skilled workforce, the ones that never apply for a job

William Tincup: (01:16)
Done. Boom. Sounds like you’ve been fundraising, because you got your pitch down. It’s like bam, bam, bam, bam, bam. I love that. I love it.

Shane Bernstein: (01:24)
Fundraising never ends in the start up world.

William Tincup: (01:26)
No, it’s a hamster wheel. That’s what they don’t tell you.

Shane Bernstein: (01:27)
Yeah.

William Tincup: (01:28)
It’s a hamster wheel. It never stops. You’re, “Oh, no, I got my [inaudible 00:01:31] round.” It’s like, no, it just keeps going.

Shane Bernstein: (01:33)
You’re always selling, always [inaudible 00:01:35].

William Tincup: (01:35)
Always, always. And you know what? That’s not a bad thing. Because you literally just got through your description and it’s like in a tweet. And it’s just super, super simple for folks to understand. So let’s start off with desperation. This thing has been absolutely… Whatever PR firm came up with the title great resignation, they should immediately be fired. Because it’s incorrectly branded.

Shane Bernstein: (02:07)
Absolutely.

William Tincup: (02:07)
Let’s start there.

Shane Bernstein: (02:09)
Absolutely. This is the biggest butchered word or expression out there. The great resignation only exists for low wage workforce. The unfortunate factor is that every company in corporate America out there has taken this narrative and leveraged it as the great resignation, when in fact it’s really a poor excuse for letting their leadership know and the powers to be at their company know that they can’t seem to backfill roles like they used to.

Shane Bernstein: (02:41)
They can’t seem to fill roles like they used to and they blame it on this great resignation, when in fact it is purely great desperation. The great resignation is still happening, but it’s not from corporate white collar workforce. It’s from low wage workers, hospitality, restaurant, medical services, those types of roles. And unfortunately, you continue to see it over and over and over again.

William Tincup: (03:08)
So this is an excuse, and we’ll talk hourly in the high volume, we’ll split the baby. And we’ll say, okay, “Over in this world there are companies obviously during the pandemic that were absolutely affected. And there are companies on both sides that thrived and there are companies that obviously didn’t thrive.” So you had all of those spikes, but your $15 hour person is making the decision, “Yeah, I don’t want to do that.” And so that’s a different bit than what you hear in a popular media about the VP of marketing somehow coming to some career crisis of-

Shane Bernstein: (03:53)
This is true.

William Tincup: (03:54)
… some type of moral dilemma of, “Should I work or not?” Yeah, no, that’s not happening. But what I love about your take on this, is this is just camouflage for poor process, poor technology, poor collaboration, and it’s basically excuse making.

Shane Bernstein: (04:16)
Yeah, poor adoption, poor progression, really. There’s companies out there and there’s a number of individuals out there that are progressive people in general, progressive company. They hear new things, they see smoke signals, and they make changes, and they start to adapt. But then there’s everyone else, let’s call it the 99%, that just wait. And COVID, this pandemic was a tipping point. And this tipping point, after the fact, when we all stopped hiring or we laid off because of COVID for whatever reason, and then it came back all the same time, the fact of the matter is we just weren’t prepared to hire in the new way, in which it is.

Shane Bernstein: (04:54)
In which people aren’t applying for jobs. And we’re putting out our… We’re using our same tools that we’ve always had, people aren’t applying, and we’re not getting what we used to get. The general overview is nothing has changed in corporate America. People have always left their jobs. People always leave their jobs the end of the year, they start their new jobs. They wait for their bonuses. Nothing has changed yet, we keep hearing the narrative.

Shane Bernstein: (05:24)
And the low wage workforce, these folks aren’t leaving their jobs and not coming back. They’re just finding other jobs. There’s a lot of call center jobs, the move to remote work because of the pandemic. They’re moving home. They’re staying at home, jumping into call centers, doing work at home work for the… Stay at home work for the same amount of money. If not more.

William Tincup: (05:44)
Or more, yeah.

Shane Bernstein: (05:44)
They don’t have to show up. They don’t have to take these crazy shifts. They don’t have to stand on their feet all day. They don’t have to take abuse from in-your-face customers at a restaurant or at a front desk at a hotel. They’ve decided, “Hey, look, why don’t we just stay home, make the same amount of money or more, have a career path, and that’s it?”

William Tincup: (06:02)
So the folks that are trying to do things the same way, let’s pick that apart for a second. And some of that’s just LinkedIn recruiter, right? So the InMails and kind of the same approach that worked, ish worked in 2019, the candidates have shifted in your mindset of what they’re willing to tolerate and what they’re willing to accept and what they’re willing to…. Well, it gets them excited, right? So they’ve changed, the recruiters, sourcers, hiring managers, they haven’t.

Shane Bernstein: (06:38)
Correct, correct. That’s right. So there’s a myriad of things, but this pandemic brought… Everyone stopped hiring. Everyone started hiring at the same time again, post pandemic, I call it post pandemic economy. Everyone started hiring at the same time. The white collar workforce, over 75% is passive, which is what we share at Rolebot. They’re not applying. Traditional job board postings have been dying for years, but with this whole remote thing where the pandemic essentially forced the global workforce and global companies to work from remote, this is an extra element on top of this whole ecosystem that we’re in that makes it much harder.

Shane Bernstein: (07:19)
Now, you can hire people from anywhere. So companies that used to compete against three or four companies for the same talent are now competing against everyone in across the world for that same talent. Posting jobs traditionally, because it’s much easier, float a little bit easier, much easier to land people. Now, people aren’t applying to jobs, people have to be sold. You have to pursue someone to get someone to join your company. They’re not just going to show up.

Shane Bernstein: (07:44)
And that’s a trend that’s going the opposite way. So if you’re expecting someone, you say you have all these benefits, perks. Everyone wants to work here. You have the world against you pursuing the talent that you traditionally think that you have an opportunity to get. So to me, this is really a deer in headlights moment where you wake up, and unfortunately this is happening to all of us at the same time, and you haven’t made any changes. You haven’t brought in new tools. You haven’t brought in…

Shane Bernstein: (08:13)
Haven’t trained your workforce, your recruitment teams, your talent acquisition teams to pursue talent. You’re very reactive, which should be much… Your reactive in-house recruitment teams should be much more proactive. They should be much more like a sales team versus a traditional receive, be reactive team. Putting KPIs in place. All of these things matter.. And we come back from pandemic and we’re the same, right? And the candidate pool is completely different. They have to be pursued. So this is the moment of what do we have to do? We’ve got to figure this out.

William Tincup: (08:48)
Well, let’s talk a little bit about some of the new skills, because you did touch on some of them. What do you think, if you were building the perfect recruiter today? Because you have a staffing background and you’ve kind of run the game and you’ve seen and worked with a lot of recruiters. So you’ve kind of seen a bunch of models. If you were building one from scratch right now, what skills would they have?

Shane Bernstein: (09:12)
So recruiters, to me, traditionally, you have recruiters that have… Maybe they graduate college, they get a recruiter title. And frankly I’ve trained some recruiters in three to six months that were better than some folks that have been in the business for 20 years. A recruiter, you can slash a title on and receive resumes. Anyone can do that, right? A resume comes in, you review it, you get better at the lingo. And you can talk the talk, but it’s really being proactive. It’s a sales role. I look at recruiters as sales people. You have to sell, you have to be a hustler. You have to be ambitious. You have to go out and get people and convince them to come and talk to you.

Shane Bernstein: (09:54)
That’s that’s really the skillset. That’s the experience I like. Oftentimes, recruiters have been recruiting too long, the wrong way. Not because it’s their fault or because they’ve been trained probably not the right way. That’s where I see most of the issue is really these teams and these departments and these companies have just trained people the wrong way for so many years that there aren’t a lot of well trained recruiters out there to be effective, doing outbound recruitment.

Shane Bernstein: (10:20)
It differs a little bit from a staffing agency that’s much more of an outbound business, because in staffing you only make money if you close deals versus in house recruitment, you make the same amount of money from the day you start. So it’s a very different dichotomy, but to me, it’s sales. So I teach everyone coming in the door, “You’ve got to sell. You’ve got to go after what you want. You’ve got to hone in on what you want.” I wouldn’t use job boards right now, to be honest.

Shane Bernstein: (10:50)
Now, it’s different for low wage workforce, unskilled workforce, for some of the types of roles that we mentioned before, hospitality, restaurants, warehouse, merchandise. The job board’s is still very much, I think a big part of that ecosystem, but for the white collar workforce, it’s just not effective anymore. And you get a much higher return investment if you pursue versus be reactive and wait. It’s going to be few and far between.

William Tincup: (11:20)
So we’ve spent a decade talking about employer brand and career pages and all the stuff that we should have there to attract talent. And one of the things that you’re rocking people’s world about is yeah, well, that’s great, but you still got to go out and sell. You’ve got to still go out and go get those folks to then come back and consume that content, if they’re even going to consume that content. So where do you fall right now on your thoughts around employer branding?

Shane Bernstein: (11:58)
Well, employer branding, I think, is critical. The question is, what narrative are you using to sell talent? Because I think for so long, we’ve been selling about our companies and about how… Whether we’re making money, whatever the company does, right? But I think candidates, the town pool in general, their focus has shifted. Candidates care about what’s in it for them. It’s no longer what’s in it for the company, why is the company so great? In fact, candidates don’t even stay at companies very long. One to two years on average, certain professions a little bit longer, but on the average about one to two years.

Shane Bernstein: (12:33)
So you have to change their… You have to sell someone on getting them interested in joining you for one to two years, knowing that they’re probably going to leave at that point. And if you keep them longer, that’s just gravy. That’s fantastic. So I’m encouraging people to sell mission. I’m encouraging people to sell what’s in it for the candidate. How do they benefit? The benefits all being equal, pay for the most part being equal, unless it’s some publicly traded company with huge stock options. Outside of that, it’s pretty comparable.

Shane Bernstein: (13:05)
Impact they’re going to make on the job. Impact their role is going to make. What their growth opportunity is. It’s really what’s in it for them is the general notion of when I look at employer brand, that’s what you have to sell. It’s the team, it’s the person they’ll be learning from. It’s the person they’ll be reporting to. It’s the teammates they’ll be working with. That’s the sell. I think right now, we’re all selling macro and candidates care about the micro.

William Tincup: (13:31)
Right, right.

Shane Bernstein: (13:33)
So to me, that’s where the sell has to change. And maybe it’s not a company thing, maybe individual teams, or maybe there’s ways to break down individual teams and sell those for specific roles.

William Tincup: (13:44)
So did we get fat and lazy because we felt like we were entitled to 20,000 candidates applying for a job?

Shane Bernstein: (13:53)
We may have. I think at one point it was easy.

William Tincup: (13:57)
Yeah.

Shane Bernstein: (13:59)
We had newspapers that had the classified section that updated with technology to the job boards, but times have changed and how long can you stay on the same technology and get the same result. Now, it’s different. There’s more roles than there are people. And so with that creates kind of the opposite effect where you have to pursue because they’re not coming in anymore.

William Tincup: (14:23)
What’s interesting is, I think even some of the brands we would’ve said two or three years ago, Facebook, Google, maybe Uber, there’s probably 20 or 30 brands that are like that, that they don’t have a talent attraction problem. They’ve got a filtering and screening and they’ve got a different issue and clearly, because they’ve got more candidates than they can handle. But I’ve talked to those firms in over the last couple months, and they’re also not struggling.

William Tincup: (14:55)
I wouldn’t when to use that language, but it’s not as easy as it once was for those brands as well. So, there was kind of a real stark disparity between kind of the firms in Silicon Valley or Manhattan that were just kind of the it, or LA or something like that. Just the it, you just wanted it on your resume. You wanted it on your LinkedIn profile, whatever. And I don’t see that as much now. What do you see?

Shane Bernstein: (15:30)
Yeah. I see that too. The large companies, the Googles, the Amazons of the world of Facebooks, they have trouble just like everyone else. I think the remote aspect of post pandemic has created that.

William Tincup: (15:41)
Yes.

Shane Bernstein: (15:42)
And I also see, to your point, the loyalty’s not as there as much. Brand is important, but people are less… Yes, google’s great to have on your resume. Yes, Facebook, some of those companies. It is, but maybe it isn’t at the same time because now it’s like, “Hey, I just want to get into a good company. I want to learn. Having Facebook doesn’t make me smarter than having a company I’ve never heard of on my resume.” And I think that’s what people are seeing. So they’d rather just work. The work life part has come into it, right?

William Tincup: (16:13)
Right.

Shane Bernstein: (16:13)
Like, “Why do I have to move across town to work, or the across country to work here when I can work somewhere else? They’re giving me a great learning opportunity. They’re giving me an opportunity to learn from this person who file patents or whatever their expertise is, whatever their experience is. They’ve been in this business forever.” The company sell only goes so far.

William Tincup: (16:34)
Right.

Shane Bernstein: (16:34)
I think when push comes to shove, it’s about the micro ecosystem that you will be working in.

William Tincup: (16:41)
Yeah.

Shane Bernstein: (16:41)
Right? And people you will be working with.

William Tincup: (16:43)
And those experiences, those tangible experiences that they’re going to offer up. They’ve got to do a better job of rendering and selling those experiences, the ecosystem, the mentors. It’s all of those, your coworkers, here’s the team, all of those things. But it’s sales. It’s selling those things rather than rendering it on a careers page or in a job description and going, “Okay, job’s done.”

Shane Bernstein: (17:08)
And on top of that, William, I think the remote work atmosphere has also… You have a much higher advantage, especially a bigger company like the ones we just discussed when you have people on site, right? They can see it. They can feel it.

William Tincup: (17:26)
Oh, that’s a good point.

Shane Bernstein: (17:27)
The colors, the high ceilings, the cement floors, the coffee being delivered, the [inaudible 00:17:31].

William Tincup: (17:31)
Swags bag, yeah.

Shane Bernstein: (17:32)
They see it. When you’re ever remote, people are removed from that. So they don’t see it. They’re not in it every day. They don’t feel it. They almost lose that effect. So companies have to do more.

William Tincup: (17:44)
Yeah.

Shane Bernstein: (17:45)
Those companies can’t take advantage of that anymore. Especially those companies. Those are the more, in my opinion, more the progressive companies that are actually allowing… Not all of them, but some of them are allowing for remote, they’re going to lose their advantage very quickly because of that.

William Tincup: (17:58)
Yeah. Because what used to be one of their competitive advantages was the really, really awesome office that the bean bag chairs and all of that cool stuff, again, massages and catered lunches and stuff like that. Well if you’re living in Wyoming, that luster is not there ,it’s job.

Shane Bernstein: (18:20)
Exactly.

William Tincup: (18:21)
It was a job before. Let’s not get it twisted. It was a job before, but it was fun. It’s interesting that you tackled kind of something that I’ve wanted to tackle for a while, and it’s localization versus globalization. And there used to be, pre-pandemic, back in my day, there was this idea of employer of choice. The best places to work, great places to work. And it was all regionalized. Is it Dallas had one, [inaudible 00:18:53] has one, Chicago has one, every city has this little, best places to work stuff. And it’s like the talent doesn’t… Now the talent doesn’t behave like that because commute, at least, in my opinion has become a curse word.

Shane Bernstein: (19:11)
Yeah. I agree.

William Tincup: (19:12)
So what are you seeing? Again, you’re looking at global talent and you’re basically saying, “Okay, now the good news is you can get talent that’s in Paris. The bad news is so can everyone else.”

Shane Bernstein: (19:27)
Exactly.

William Tincup: (19:29)
Yeah.

Shane Bernstein: (19:29)
Go ahead.

William Tincup: (19:30)
The global talent, that’s a huge opportunity, I think, to take advantage of, and there’s great talent everywhere. From a diversity standpoint as well, I think it’s wonderful. Rolebot takes advantage of that as well. I think a lot of folks, while they have the opportunity. The larger companies have capabilities to do that. They also have been doing that for years, they’ve had offices overseas or near shore to be able to do that. But the opportunities there, I think there’s still a fear level of going outside your borders, outside of your comfort zone to try to capture talent.

William Tincup: (20:02)
But there’s a lot of amazing talent outside of where we traditionally look. And I think companies should take more advantage of it. I look at the best place to work. Yes, I agree with you. It used to mean something, used to be some validity to it. Now to me, it’s white noise. It’s like every company is the best place to work. Every publications have these awards and I almost compare it, I always have a comparison to these things. You’re in a beach town and you drive down the beach and every sign on every restaurant says, “Best burger on the beach, or world’s best burger.” And it’s like at some level, everyone’s-

William Tincup: (20:43)
Best tacos.

Shane Bernstein: (20:44)
… down the strip has the world’s best burger. Then what truly is the world’s best burger, and is that just hearsay? It’s just marketing, right? I try to get away from that. If every company in your city is the best place to work-

William Tincup: (21:01)
Then knowing-

Shane Bernstein: (21:01)
… what’s the best place to work?

William Tincup: (21:03)
Yeah. There is no best place to work.

Shane Bernstein: (21:05)
So, hang on.

William Tincup: (21:06)
Let’s give it executives something hopeful as we close this out because you and I are simpatico on this. And so how do they write the ship? And this is for HR, talented executives, et cetera. How do they… Okay, they recognize, “Okay, we’ve got to… We can’t do the same things and expect a different result.” So what hope do they have and what would you start with like, “Okay, take this.

William Tincup: (21:43)
Take your commission structure or, or your salary structure and add commissions, and that’ll create what it creates in sales and in staffing, is it’ll create a culture of closing. And then, oh, by the way, let’s do some sales coaching. Let’s actually hire sales coaches and go through that.” And that’s maybe the wrong advice, but what do you think that we can give them is advice to kind of ride the ship and get out of the desperation?

Shane Bernstein: (22:13)
Yeah, totally. Putting in commission doesn’t… You don’t get instant salespeople, but that is a step in the right direction. I would say first, really look at your recruitment team and your internal teams to figure out. So technology’s one aspect, management is another aspect, and then the team that you have in place. I would look at the team I have in place and figure out if we can move them to a sales rep. Frankly, I would look at a… To run a recruitment team, I would look for more of a salesperson because recruitment…

Shane Bernstein: (22:49)
Most of these in-house teams are just mismanaged and they’re mismanaged because they weren’t trained properly from the beginning. So the folks that start as a town associate or recruiter, move up to manager, director, VP, head, so on, so forth, and they’ve always just learned the wrong way. So they don’t have KPIs. It’s like, fill these roles. There’s no how many contacts we should be hitting one day, how many contacts we should be talking to.

William Tincup: (23:15)
Sales metrics?

Shane Bernstein: (23:16)
Yeah, sales metrics. So I would look at our teams. Frankly, most companies have more people than they need because these days we’re just hiring sourcers, recruiters just to… We almost feel like if we hire them, if we have another body in the chair, we can increase the number of talent coming in. And that’s just not the case, because some are effective and some are not. And at the end of the day, if they’re not managed properly, whether you have 100 people in your department or 10, you’re not going to get results.

Shane Bernstein: (23:44)
You could have the best technology in the world, you still wouldn’t get results. LinkedIn recruiter is the best kind of do-it-yourself a technology, but you’re only… That tool is only as good as the user to be able to identify, not to get stuck in analysis paralysis, which is what a lot of early stage or entry level recruitment professionals get stuck in. You can learn all of those things. To me, it’s about the hustle of the work ethic. So what I would do is look at my team, figure out who can evolve into a sales role, bring in either a head of talent who understands these KPIs or look maybe more towards the sales direction.

Shane Bernstein: (24:21)
Try to find someone who manages a well oil machine on the sales side, and bring them in, and put that same oil machine on the recruitment side. I think you’ll see a significant change. Commission is part of that. Although you don’t have to, it could be a bonus system. In-house recruiters get paid really well, I think, in general. So I think as long as you have KPIs and you have goals-

William Tincup: (24:45)
It’s almost like, “Let’s go get sales people and teach them recruiting, the new way of recruiting.”

Shane Bernstein: (24:51)
What is recruiting? It’s you’re not going out and touching customers and buyers, you’re going out and touching candidates, but the sell is similar.

William Tincup: (24:58)
Yeah.

Shane Bernstein: (24:58)
Like, “I’d like you to talk to me.” The cool part is you’re offering them something, right?

William Tincup: (25:04)
Right.

Shane Bernstein: (25:04)
So in a traditional sales, you want someone to give you money. In this case, you’re offering someone to someone that you would hopefully eventually start to pay, but you still have to sell them.

William Tincup: (25:14)
That’s right.

Shane Bernstein: (25:16)
Because remember candidates don’t have… Candidates don’t need companies today at all.

William Tincup: (25:19)
Nope.

Shane Bernstein: (25:19)
There’s more than ample opportunity out there. They get multiple offers. We all see it. We all experience, [inaudible 00:25:26].

William Tincup: (25:26)
You’re competing with them also wanting to start their own business or be an entrepreneur or go back to school. You’ve got all kinds of things. Shane, this has been absolutely fantastic. Thank you so much for the topic and for the wisdom. It’s been awesome.

Shane Bernstein: (25:44)
My pleasure. I appreciate the opportunity to share insights, and happy to share anything in the future. So [inaudible 00:25:51].

William Tincup: (25:50)
Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the RecruitingDaily Podcast, until next time.

Music: (25:56)
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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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