On today’s episode of SHRM Live, Alison Daley speaks with William Tincup about the importance of tech recruiter training. Above all, if you can’t understand geeks how can you recruit geeks? Recruiters are constantly in a tough position where they’re hiring for a job they don’t understand.
Alison wants recruiters to get the training they deserve. There’s a reason recruiters are the most desired technical position nowadays. When it comes down to it, burnout is a very real thing. It’s up to the hiring team to make sure recruiters feel confident in their hiring decisions.
Highlights about tech recruiter training:
At the end of the day if you’re operating in an industry where you don’t speak the language, you got to shine at all times while feeling perpetually awkward. There’s a reason we have a 40% attrition rate in this industry. We are focused on enabling recruiters to feel confident in the industries they operate in.
Our training model, which is called the alignment framework, is a communication bridge. If we can understand the rich story of the candidate, then we can share that rich story to the hiring team. Ultimately, recruiters deserve more. We deserve more training, more support, more recognition.
Listening time: 16 minutes
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Thanks for tuning in to this special SHRM episode of The RecruitingDaily Podcast. SHRM Talent converges top talent from across the HR and Recruiting space. Luckily, William Tincup is lifting up the curtain to blessed you with some insight from these industry titans.
Alison Daley is the owner of Recruiting Innovation, an online tech training platform. Consequently, she is an industry expert on translating tech language. If you’re having frustratingly low recruiting conversion rates, consider reaching out to her! Skimping on tech recruiter training might cost you in the long run.
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This is Recruiting Daily’s Recruiting Live podcast. Live from SHRM talent. Real talk about talent acquisition, recruiting, sourcing, and hiring. Are you in talent acquisition then listen up because we’re about to blow your mind. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
William Tincup: (00:26)
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to Recruiting Daily podcast. Today, we have Alison on from Recruiting Innovation. And we’ll be talking a little bit about her company, her session here at [inaudible 00:00:37], and also what she’s learned in the first two years of the pandemic in particular. So let’s just jump right into it. Alison, thank you for being on the show. Please introduce yourself and Recruiting Innovation.
Alison Daley: (00:51)
Yep. Thank you. And thanks for having me. My name’s Alison Daley. I am the founder and CEO of Recruiting Innovation. Recruiting Innovation is the comprehensive online tech recruiter training platform. So we are focused on helping recruiters, talent professionals, and sales professionals learn to talk tech with confidence and ease. And we have a proprietary training model that leverages user experience methodology to give talent professionals a toolkit for actually having systematic, consistent conversations with our technical hiring managers and candidates. And then we leverage that training model.
Alison Daley: (01:28)
We partner with technologists as instructors, and then we basically help facilitate their subject matter expertise into this model design specifically for recruiters need to know to be better tech recruiters. So with our tech recruiter certification, you hear directly from front end, backend DevOps engineers, plus product management and UX design. And so we’re really helping to level up the confidence, the skills, the joy of recruiting, because at the end of the day, if you’re operating in an industry, you don’t speak the language and you got to get on the phones and get on the emails and shine at all times while feeling perpetually awkward, there’s a reason we have a 40% attrition rate in this industry. So we are focused on enabling recruiters to feel confident in the industries they operate in.
William Tincup: (02:16)
I love that. I love it on so many levels because tech, most engineers let’s say, that they can sniff out from a mile away. They know if you don’t know, you’re about to say full stack developer and that’s about all, then they’ll know it. And it creates a barrier to having a great conversation, because really, as a recruiter, you’re just trying to show them an opportunity. If not them, maybe somebody they know here’s an opportunity. And if you can’t talk to them about something that they care about, it’s hard to build that bond or that trust.
Alison Daley: (02:55)
100%. And as talent professionals, communication is our key commodity. And if we don’t speak the language of tech, then we are doomed to stay at the surface level for all of our interactions. It renders us mute, when we know we should ask a deeper question because we’re not getting what we need. And it renders us ineffective basically. And there’s reasons that developers write blog posts about how awful tech recruiters are. It’s like they feel like they have to throw out the baby with the bath water and I can’t blame them. And at the end of the day, that impetus is like, I call myself the accidental recruiter. I’ve fall into the industry four times. I picked it three times. My last iteration was at a high growth startup 10 years in and I basically just hit a wall. I burnt out. And decided that I needed to change.
Alison Daley: (03:47)
And so I actually took my people skills and curiosity and moved into user research and I became a user experience researcher, did a bootcamp, got a job, and quickly realized that our counterparts on the UX team, within the software development process that have a methodology for systematizing talking to end users and translating their stories back to the team, “Aha” moment of what if I could take this toolkit, bring it back into recruiting, especially in tech where we literally do not speak the language and this would provide us with not only a roadmap for what these folks do and how, but it gives us the Dakota Ring to actually ask good questions and fill out that roadmap. So we with not only our hiring managers, we can get a good understanding of the rec and the role and the expectations so that (a) we go looking for the right person the first time.
Alison Daley: (04:36)
But (b) when we go approach these candidates, we position it correctly. We can answer their questions. We can draw them in because we have to pull, we can’t be pushing in this market. We have to pull folks in and then vice versa. But the candidate learning about their role, asking good questions in story form, the way the model works is like, “I might not, at the end of the interview, know fully what a distributed build system is.” But I know 70% of the story that they told me, and more importantly, the hiring manager will understand a hundred percent of it. And so we go from literally the only value we can offer is confirming they’re not a monster and that they’re [inaudible 00:05:15]. That’s literally what every tech recruiter is able to do. Barely. And then we focus on selling the company, but not the job because we don’t get the job either.
Alison Daley: (05:24)
And then we turn around to being able to say, “This is of the projects they’ve worked on. Here’s who they’ve collaborated with. Here’s how they made their decisions. Here’s what the end product was and their own journey through that process.” And so it’s like, I call our training model, which is called the alignment framework, a communication bridge. If we get a rich story of the open rec to then share it with a candidate, and then we get a rich story of that candidate to bring it back to the hiring team. And ultimately, it’s just like recruiters deserve, we deserve more, we deserve more training, more support, more recognition. And I feel like we’re in a moment now with this industry where we are getting our comeuppance finally. And the demand for recruiters is now exceeds the demand for software engineers for the first time in the history of ever.
William Tincup: (06:09)
Just had an event a month ago, 5,500 people at it, and it was on recruiting recruiters.
Alison Daley: (06:14)
So it’s a thing. I think it was the Washington Post or the New York Times that said that the hardest role to recruit for, recruiters. And so we, as an industry, I feel like where software development was 10 years ago when they suddenly looked up and realized, “Holy cow, the market has succeeded. What the resources are? We cannot rely on CS degrees. We need some boot camps. We need some help.” And so that’s what we’re trying to do with Recruiting Innovation has become the online training and enablement partner to take very green people through the recruiting process and tech recruiting, or even enabling the recruiters that you have that maybe didn’t have to do tech, but need to now and upskill them so that you can retain your folks.
William Tincup: (07:02)
And even folks that’ve been doing tech for 10 years. Doesn’t matter. They’ve been faking a lot of those conversations.
Alison Daley: (07:11)
Right. And it’s like driving at home in the dark. You can only see so far in front of you, but you get home that way. And so similar, I built this course and I worked with these technologists and I was learning so much from them. And that’s the thing is, the way that we use our model with our training is that these instructors are very approachable. Everything that’s quite technical is all oriented to our audience. So it’s not too far into how a database calls a server but it’s more about just giving you an orientation to the landscape and the different types of professionals and in a safe environment because although I appreciated it when I was on the tech team or tech recruiting to be told, “Well, just go sit with a front-end engineer for an hour.”
Alison Daley: (07:55)
And it’s like, “I’ve never met a front-end engineer that speaks recruiter.” And I don’t speak front-end. And I appreciate that I have that opportunity because agency folks don’t even get that. But that was part of the process for me was, when I figured out this toolkit and I was like, “Is anyone else out here solving this problem yet that we all know is a problem?” And it shockingly no. And so it was like, if not now, when? And if not me, who? And I never expected to be an entrepreneur, but six months in, I could feel my wings just spread. And it made sense why I had never quite fit in any of the jobs more than what I was hired for, because it wasn’t the right spot for me, but now I’m back in recruiting super [inaudible 00:08:45] on what I’m doing and we’re having so much fun.
William Tincup: (08:47)
But you’re helping recruiters, which is even more rewarding,
Alison Daley: (08:51)
Big time. And then the whole idea of feed Amanda fish. And so it’s like, we’re not just giving you some one off-training you won’t retain, we’re literally teaching you to a toolkit that lives in software development to system entice talking to people. And so we’re really enabling folks and it’s just so powerful and it’s awesome. I’m a big fan of recruiters and we deserve every bit of support and encouragement especially right now.
William Tincup: (09:18)
Especially right now. So tell me a little bit about your session.
Alison Daley: (09:26)
So the session was aptly called “Tech Speak for the HR Suite”. And really talking about how, as talent professionals, whether you are a CHRO in an executive meeting or an HR business partner working on headcount planning with your dev managers or a tech recruiter, getting a new wreck. If we don’t truly understand how software is developed, what the key roles are in that process and then how to engage with these technologists in their language, we are doomed to ride the surface level and take what we are given and not drive the conversation and not go a layer deeper. And we all know that they’ve got their own gigs. They’re not trying to decipher for us, it’s our job to get what we need. And so in this session, I actually opened it up with sharing how I burnt out on tech recruiting and went to start a new life only one year into my UX role to quit it and come back to recruiting to help save it, nothing less than total transformation expected.
Alison Daley: (10:34)
But then to teach them the model that we use, not only in like, what is the workflow of the software development life cycle? The research, design, build, test, deploy flow. And then how do we ask questions throughout each of those stages to learn more about the candidate or learn more about the open rec? And so people loved it. It was very quiet, which either means I’m doing awful or people are super into it. So I was assured later they really liked it. We had a lot of great conversations after, and I think you can just see people light up where it’s like I feel like this thing is so simple, but for anyone that’s just done something because of the way you do it. And then you have someone repeat back to you, it’s like, “Oh, that crystallizes. Oh, that makes sense.” And so that’s been really fun and it was a pretty good turnout. Had a good time.
William Tincup: (11:27)
Then the buyer for the solution is TA/HR training a mix of all the above?
Alison Daley: (11:36)
Yep. So we do really well with anyone on the recruiting function, brand new seasoned pivoting. And then we also have a little truncated version or you’re on the staffing side or you have account management person where then they’re client facing. So one of the modules is how to get a proper wreck from the hiring manager and then translate that back to your team. So we do a lot of work with medium to large size tech companies, but then staffing is a really big sector for us.
William Tincup: (12:12)
That’s fantastic. First of all, all of it’s fantastic and helping recruiters understand and again, getting giving them the toolkit to then be able to… you don’t need to be a software engineer. In fact, no one’s trying to make you a software engineer. You should being able to have a competent conversation one because they can have one with a recruiter. If a recruiter’s trying to recruit another recruiter, man, it’s so easy. It’s not easy to recruit them. It’s easy to have a conversation and relate and it’s hard with tech, but I love what you build. Tell us a little bit about the last two years of the pandemic and really what I’m focusing on is what you’ve learned about yourself or about the company or about the solution or whatever, but just what you have learned over these last two years.
Alison Daley: (13:03)
I think like many people, I definitely had some form of death and rebirth process, for sure. When the shelter at home in place kicked in here in Denver, it was pretty early. It was a day or two ahead of the national stay at home shelter in place. And I was working out of my garage, which if I’m candid is where some of my vices stay. So it was just coping a lot. But what I really learned through the process was what my values are, what my priorities are. It was a bit of a difficult time for us because we also moved house from a home that my partner had for 10 years. We moved from one city to another and free getting our bearings. And sometimes I think that through transformation and we’re all in some form of death and rebirth honestly like a thousand times per lifetime, honestly that through the darkest days, there’s a correlation to how we can rise from it.
Alison Daley: (14:17)
And so, we in this now, I’m going to get a little meta, but in our very yang society, active accomplishments, don’t let yourself cry. Try harder. That I think COVID has really forced upon us, the yin energy, where we couldn’t just run to the store or take our kids to the four activities per week that they have like slow down, slow down and look around. And are you happy? Are you content? Are you supported? Are you loved? Are you loving? Are you supporting? And I think that’s a silver lining of this is that as a society, we’re transforming. We’ve got these computers in our hands. We’ve got way more media than our brain can even be capable of processing. We’re in very tumultuous times. Look out the window. I could list seven of them for you. I don’t need to. And I think it’s inviting us to go inward.
Alison Daley: (15:22)
Last year January, I had the darkest period and it was just before the light. And now 12 months later, I’m completely on the other side of it. My business is on the other side of it. My spirit is on the other side of it. And I’m grateful for so many things. I’m really grateful that my family’s been quite safe and protected and we haven’t lost anyone. And my heart’s ache for those that have, and if anything, it’s teaching us that, and then to add in the external turmoils that people are realizing that they have a lot more power and that they don’t have to just suffer in silence and more power to everybody. My biggest hope for everyone is that they do what they need to find what they want even if that means it’s not going to work out for us to work together or what have you. If there’s a renewed humanity, almost.
William Tincup: (16:22)
Be the best version of you.
Alison Daley: (16:23)
Yep. Exactly. And if I can help you and get that direction, awesome. And in the meantime, I’ll do the same for me.
William Tincup: (16:30)
That’s wonderful. Alison, thank you so much for coming on the show.
Alison Daley: (16:34)
Thank you so much for having me. I really enjoyed it. Thank you.
William Tincup: (16:36)
Great. And thanks for everyone listening to the Recruiting Daily podcast until next time.
Speaker 1: (16:42)
You’ve been listening to the Recruiting Live podcast by Recruiting Daily. Check out the latest industry podcast, webinars, articles, and [email protected].
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.