The Power of Efficiency: Indeed’s Innovative Hiring Automation Tools With John Fox of Indeed

Have you ever wondered how to make the hiring process more efficient and effective? Look no further. William Tincup sits down with John Fox, an expert in innovative hiring automation tools from Indeed. Together, they delve into the power of efficiency and how Indeed’s cutting-edge tools are revolutionizing the way companies hire.

Throughout the conversation, John shares insights on Indeed’s approach to automation and how it drives efficiency in the hiring process. He explains that the goal is to free up recruiters and hiring managers to spend more time with candidates, ultimately leading to better hiring decisions.

But where do the ideas for these tools come from? William asks John about the process of prioritizing and developing new features. John reveals that feedback from customers, sales representatives, and user research plays a crucial role. Additionally, Indeed keeps an eye on emerging technologies and industry trends to stay ahead of the curve. By listening to their customers and envisioning the future of hiring, Indeed is constantly evolving and improving their tools.

This chat offers a deep dive into the power of efficiency and how Indeed’s innovative hiring automation tools are transforming the hiring process.

Listening Time: 26 minutes

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John Fox
VP of Product Indeed Follow

The Power of Efficiency: Indeed’s Innovative Hiring Automation Tools With John Fox of Indeed

William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the Recruiting Daily podcast. Today, we have John Fox on from Indeed, and our topic is the power of efficient. Indeed’s innovative hiring automation tools. So this is going to be a lot of fun. We’ve covered Indeed a lot on RecruitingDaily. And so I can’t wait to kind of talk to John about all these, the tools, toolkit, if I want to say.

And so John, why don’t you do us a favor and introduce

John Fox: yourself. Awesome. [00:01:00] Well, William, great to meet you. And, uh, you know, thanks for having me on the podcast today. Um, uh, so I lead our, within our employer team, I lead our growth and innovation group. Um, so we, we do a lot of thinking around, uh, automation. A lot of that, you know, certainly is driving efficiency.

Um, a lot of thinking around, you know, interoperability and, and a lot of those. Those various components, um, really as we think about just how do we, how do we help make hiring just simpler, faster, more human, um, across the board? Um, so I’ve been at Indeed for just about seven years now based out of our New York office and, uh, and yeah, looking forward to the conversation.

Oh, that’s

William Tincup: fantastic. So how did you first get tasked with this? Were you hired, was it seven years ago you were hired to do this? Or has it just been through the years? The, uh, Indeed’s kind of moved you around and then you found this little niche of, okay, we need to be thinking ahead and building things that people that maybe they’re requesting or maybe they’re [00:02:00] not requesting, but we know that they need.

John Fox: Yeah, it’s certainly a great question. Um, so I originally came to Indeed, um, to build, uh, our product commercialization group, which is really, really thinking about, um, how do we take various different products to market? And, and how can we, you know, continue to grow? Like what’s, what’s the product offering that we think about?

And, and like really over time, uh, You know, basically had said a couple of years ago, Hey, we really need to really double down when we think about just interoperability and what are the various different integrations that we’re building across the, the employer ecosystem, uh, you know, there’s various stats out there that talk about, you know, Just how many different HR tools are in various employers tech stacks, right?

It can go north of, I think, you know, 24, 25 different tools. And, uh, and so certainly recognizing that that is, is a really important thing. And certainly as a pain point that we’ve heard from, you know, many employers over the years too. And so that was, um, kind of pivoted [00:03:00] into, you know, building that group, which then kind of expanded into, um, the role that I’m in now.

And so certainly not. Responsible for everything that is, you know, automation or efficiency building. Like we have a lot of great stuff across many different groups at Indeed. Um, but certainly, you know, we see, uh, uh, you know, a lot of that, um, today as we’re thinking about just what both, what are we building within our group?

Um, but then also across, uh, the rest of the ecosystem to, you know, kind of improve the hiring process for employers and job seekers alike.

William Tincup: So, so where do you get the ideas? I mean, you know, with the tools that kind of come to market that, you know, you need to kind of build, is it, is it looking at the market?

Is it, is it talking to your customers? Is it where, where, where do the ideas, cause you can’t build it all. I mean, not in one day, of course, you know, you’re going to have to kind of prioritize and deprioritize and do that type of stuff. So like, where does the, uh, where does the list come from and then how do you prioritize it?

John Fox: Yeah, [00:04:00] it’s a great question. And I think is always something that we are, um, you know, looking to improve upon as well. But I think at a high level, how we think about it is, um, we certainly want to hear from our customers, um, from our sales reps, our CS reps, like people that are spending Thank you. Night and day, you know, with those, uh, you know, with our job seekers, right?

With the employers, the people that are making the hires. Um, and so I think certainly a lot of feedback, um, that we get there. We certainly encourage a lot of our product managers to be spending, uh, as much time as they can with, uh, you know, with employers as well. So that’s certainly one, one big bucket is just like, what is the feedback?

What are we hearing, um, from employers? And certainly, you know, on the job seeker side of the world too. Um, you know, we want to. hear from from our job seekers as well. But so, you know, specifically thinking about my world, so there’s a lot of kind of employer feedback that we get. There’s a lot of user research that we do as well.

And so kind of a different way of getting that feedback in from [00:05:00] employers. And then I’d say probably the third big bucket is also just looking at, like, where do we think the world is moving? Like, what are new technologies that are coming out there that enable us to do, uh, you know, perhaps different things than we’ve done before?

Um, and so, you know, I think there’s always a, kind of the great Henry Ford quote, I think that’s, you know, probably made its rounds, and I probably won’t quote it perfectly, but, you know, if you ask people, uh, they wouldn’t have,

And, uh, I think there’s a good mix of, uh, listening to our customers, but also really trying to, um, you know, push things forward as well and kind of envision what could the future look like. Yeah. They’re, they’re thinking

William Tincup: about themselves, rightfully so. They’re thinking if, you know, they’re thinking about themselves and how they become more efficient.

And so it’s through the lens of what they know, their experience and their brand, et cetera. And so that’s. Limiting, and so you’re right, it [00:06:00] would, it would be, uh, a faster, uh, horse drawn carriage, uh, and, and also probably even worse than that, it would be personalized to them and their specific needs, whatever they may be, it’s hirely, or, uh, you know, more, more gig workers or whatever, like it would be a different bit.

Um, you know, y’all sit at a really interesting kind of a, a, kind of a crossroads of three different streets of quality, speed, and personalization. So I could see efficiency being, for a lot of recruiters at least, the hiring managers being, okay, how do I solve for the algebra? How do I solve for speed? Okay, that’s one thing.

How do I solve for quality? Another thing, maybe, maybe tied together, maybe not. And how do I solve for personalization? And, um, and, and that might be in conjunction with these other two or not. So like where, when you think of efficient, when you talk to folks and the tools that you’ve built, which, which I want to get into, where, where’s the, where’s the push?

Is it, is it one of those is leading the other two [00:07:00] around, or is it all three being pushed at the same time?

John Fox: Well, I think when we, perhaps when we think about it, kind of one, one of our guiding things, especially when it comes to like automation and efficiency is really. We’d love to have recruiters and hiring managers be able to spend more time with the candidates, right?

We know there’s a lot of, um, it’s a lot of just administrative stuff, frankly, that they get pulled into. Um, there’s certainly a lot of time that they’re, they’re spending on also really important things around, you know, qualifying the candidates and, you know, who should they. be spending their time with.

Um, but I think a lot of the, the capabilities that, um, you know, we, we’ve built thus far are really around how can we kind of free up that recruiter to be able to spend more time with those job seekers? Um, you know, and certainly that becomes a really critical part of, uh, you know, both Figuring out, are they the right fit for that, um, for that role that they’re evaluating for?

But then also there’s, there’s also an aspect of, you know, if they are the right fit, like helping [00:08:00] to, uh, to talk to them about the role and have them hopefully make that decision to, to join their company and join that role. Um, those, those are things that I think are more difficult to automate, uh, if at all.

And so I think there’s a lot of things, you know, further upstream when we think about, you know, scheduling and, uh, you know, can you be thoughtful with. You know, screener questions and other evaluative tools. In order to, uh, you know, get the candidate through the process faster. And, you know, we also hear from job seekers.

They’re appreciative of these things too because oftentimes they apply and then they’re like, okay, what’s next? They never hear back. Yeah. And so there’s a lot of, uh, a lot of positive signals that we get both from, from job seekers and employers when it comes to kind of the value that. These different automating, uh, components can bring, um, certainly kind of allowing that, that, uh, employer to be freed up or that recruiter to be freed up.

You know what I

William Tincup: love about this, John, is it’s, it’s, uh, it’s allowing the humans to be more human. Yes. [00:09:00] Uh, and, and, uh, with the eye towards a better candidate experience or candidate journey. So candidates, and again, we, we talk a lot and it’s, it’s good that we do talk about candidate experience, but y’all are, y’all are solving for the recruiter journey, the hiring manager journey and the candidate journey.

And so giving those human beings, be it candidates or, uh, hiring managers, recruiters, whatever they may be, giving them more time to be human is a better experience for all peer, all parties involved. So I love that. I love that. But we need to talk about tools because. You know, innovative hiring automation tools is actually a part of the title.

So we should probably talk about some of the tools y’all, y’all have built. So what, take us through some of the things that y’all built and, uh, we’ll kind of, we’ll, we’ll just kind of see what you got here.

John Fox: Yeah, yeah, certainly. And, you know, I think, William, you wrote a great article, I think, a couple weeks ago, um, I think about some of these too, um, so certainly a great place to learn more about it, but kind of maybe the first two that I think about is like direct to interview [00:10:00] and direct to message, um, really allowing employers to kind of set up some pre configuration so that when someone applies, um, they can go through various steps and just automatically schedule that interview with You know, with the recruiter, with the hiring manager, and, you know, really what we see is that this helps drive a significant larger volume of, you know, of interviews.

Um, and certainly we recognize, hey, maybe volume isn’t exactly what you want to go after. And so certainly various different ways that you can set criteria and, you know, screener questions and those types of things to make sure that you’re getting the, um. You know, the qualified applications that you’re looking for, for those roles.

Um, but I think we see, you know, on the order of, you know, 10 times more interviews, uh, you know, on Indeed when you’re using that direct to interview technology. Um, and then in a similar vein, also, uh, we also offer something called direct to message. And so, maybe the, the right thing isn’t to, uh, set up the [00:11:00] interview right away, But we also know that when job seekers have that kind of almost immediate message back to them, there are significantly higher likelihood to kind of progress in your process.

You know, kind of getting away from what we think about as like a black hole process, right? You apply and then you as a job see you’re here, nothing. So those are probably the first two that we think about. And that’s, you know, within our, our hosted job offering, you know, anyone that’s posting a job on Indeed essentially has those various different capabilities.

Um, the next one that I’d, I’d kind of pivot into, you know, All within sort of the same, uh, kind of, uh, you know, umbrella, but this one a little bit more focused on higher volume hiring. And so hiring events, you know, indeed hiring events as, as the product, um, you know, it’s something that we launched a couple of years ago and has really seen, uh, you know, some really nice growth.

Uh, lots of employers starting to [00:12:00] adopt this hiring event format that hadn’t previously thought about it. And, you know, both the ability to interview virtually, but also to use this if you have, you know, in person, uh, you know, large scale hiring events as well. And I think what’s interesting here is we’ve, you know, in addition to screener questions and kind of, uh, various different front end evaluative tools, we’ve also experimented with pulling in things like In employers third party assessment tool that they might use or the ability to, um, uh, you know, to look at various different credentials.

And, you know, does, does this nurse have this, you know, specific license, um, kind of all throughout that process. And then certainly. Being able to schedule that interview, um, and then be able to facilitate that interview, whether that is, uh, in person or virtually as well. And so, really what we hear and a lot of the takeaways we hear from employers is just, you know, it’s so great that I get to just come onto the computer or come [00:13:00] into this event and just have A whole bunch of qualified, um, applicants be there right in front of me for me to go talk to, right?

I didn’t have to worry about scheduling and looking at all the various different other tools that was just taken care of for me. And, you know, I then got to, um, you know, to basically show up to that event. I love

William Tincup: that. And that’s great for candidates too, because again, they know that employers are going to be there.

And then they can then, you know, put their best foot forward and, and it’s, you know, again, it’s fit at that point. How are y’all, how are y’all conceptualizing kind of the, the moment of attention that candidates have? Cause, you know, they, they, they look at a job ad and they’re like, all right, that’s cool.

That’s cool. That’s cool. Let’s apply. And then that’s their, that’s the, that’s the attention span, right? They, they found something they liked, they searched, they scrolled, they found something they liked, they applied. How, that half life of their attention, how do, how do we, you know, and again, tools wise, how are [00:14:00] we thinking about how employers can best leverage that moment of attention that they get?

Yeah, I

John Fox: think it’s a great question and, um, I like how you put it at that moment of attention. Um, I think there’s, there’s a few different aspects to it. I think one is, it’s really important, I think, as an employer to really care about, like, what is your employer brand? Um, right? Like, we, we partner a lot with our sister company, Glassdoor, to help employers tell their story about, you know, who is their, like, what is their employer brand?

And so, like, why should I, when I’m applying to that company? Like, how does, I don’t know, John’s Hardware Store differentiate from the other places that maybe I’m applying to? And so, I think that’s one part of it, is like, It’s more than just the job, but it’s the company that I’m working at that I’m doing that job with, right?

And a lot of times we see that people stay at the job because of the people and the culture and those sorts of things, which is usually difficult to convey just in a job posting. Um, and so I think [00:15:00] that’s maybe the first thing that we encourage people to think about is, let’s just make sure we get that, that out there, right?

There’s some of that that comes into kind of the job card, if you will, that comes up on Indeed. Um, but certainly great for us to think about. And there’s some, some other capabilities that you have within like the hiring events lobby, if you will, to kind of tell your story more, um, as job seekers are waiting to, you know, to move in.

But I think also in like the days leading up to an event, I think the other thing that, um, you know, we try to help employers with is you have to remind people to show up, right? You have to, and then we also want to make sure that we’re, um, we’re helping the job seeker get set up for success, right? So, you know, we try to do is to say, Hey, this is an interview that you probably should be in a suit and tie.

This is an interview where you can go in jeans, you know, so just like some of the little things where if you don’t know the company. You know, we, we try to just give you some of those tips or here’s where parking [00:16:00] is, or, you know, just some of those, those different things to help make them, uh, as successful as possible.

And so,

William Tincup: John, is that on both? Cause that’s marketing. I mean, not more, it’s not marketing in the traditional sense, but it’s, it’s on both. It seems like it’s on both sides. It’s reminding the hiring manager, the recruiter to make sure that they, you know, invite, et cetera. And it’s also kind of making sure that the candidate has success.

So it seems like you’re helping both parties. Have the most successful event that they could possibly have.

John Fox: Yeah, I think that’s, it’s exactly right. Uh, you know, I think indeed overall, like we think about how do we help people get jobs, right? That’s kind of our guiding mission, what we think about every day when, when we wake up.

And certainly the employer is a big part of that, right? They’re the ones that are offering the job. And so we certainly want to make sure that, um, Both sides are set up for success, uh, you know, just in that process overall.

William Tincup: I love that. Okay, so we talked about hiring events. Do you have other tools that you, uh, [00:17:00] that’s three, right?

John Fox: Yeah, and so I think the last one that I’d highlight, and this one’s a little bit earlier on, but I think is, is kind of, um, uh, you know, great for us to think about is, um, what we call Indeed Hire. And so, this is really pairing our recruiting automation technology with a team of dedicated hiring specialists.

Um, really to kind of deliver the hires more so, um, to the employers. So it’s a little bit more of like, let us do it for you, type of approach. Um, but we’ll partner with some employers in various different, um, depths of their hiring process. But like, throughout that, we’re also helping to guide the employers to say, You know, as, you know, here are the places that we’re seeing drop off in your current process.

Here are things that we could add to your process or automation that we might have to help you to, um, you know, to address whatever those, those issues might be. And so it really is kind of a longer term partnership that we’re trying to drop. with those employers. Um, [00:18:00] but it’s also, you know, we also kind of think about it internally as like a lab of sorts for, uh, a bunch of great new ideas that then eventually kind of make their way to some of more of the mainstream, uh, products that we have across Indeed as well.

Well, I

William Tincup: like how you said, these are, these are where you’re having drop offs. It’s like in the e commerce world, that’s a, what’s a card abandonment. So they’re getting, they’re getting to this place, but they’re falling out. Why don’t we put a team of experts in here and, you know, let’s find out what that is and let’s move them to the next place.

Uh, that seems like to me, especially, you know, for some customers just seems like, hey, if they’re getting to a certain point and they’re falling out, there’s a reason. Yeah. And it may, it might be that we don’t have enough recruiters to really pay attention to ’em and kind of move ’em forward. So we need some help.

We need staff augmentation. We need, we need something. I don’t know what it is, but we need something. Uh, I love that. I love that. I, I actually love that I can see clients. Especially folks [00:19:00] that don’t, they don’t, uh, either see themselves as recruiting as core to their business, you know, across the world, people look at recruiting differently and, uh, the UK, like the RPO market or staffing market, that’s, it’s huge because a lot of companies come, came up and did build corporate recruiting.

Because we’re like, yeah, there’s people that are better at that than us. Like, we don’t need to build that. There’s, there’s, there’s firms that do that for us. And here in America, we, we went the opposite way. We built corporate recruiting, start sourcing and stuff like that. So, I love that y’all have that option.

And again, you’re using it. In a really, really great way. As, as, as not just as a think tank, but also as kind of skunk works to say, how are y’all, what, what are you learning to then it’s a lab, so you’re providing a great service for your clients. They’re winning, and you’re also getting some inside information of like, okay, how does this actually work and how should it work?

So you’re getting other ideas. [00:20:00] Um, when you, when you were talking about the first two, uh, tools, I thought about something and it’s really crazy, but I’m sure you’ve been asked this before. If someone’s on a job ad. Let’s say, uh, I work for John Deere, we’ll just pick a random company. So I work for John Deere and someone’s on my job ad and they hit apply and I want to chat with them.

So I know, I know this isn’t, this isn’t revolutionary. I’m sure someone’s already asked you about this, but like how, how hard would that be? For them to have a more, you know, it’s almost like a seamless relationship. Like they applied, boom, now you’re chatting, now you’re chatting with somebody either at Indeed representing, in that case, John Deere, or someone at John Deere as a recruiter, maybe even, uh, someone in sourcing that’s then taking them through the paces.

Like, is that, am I crazy? Yeah. I

John Fox: mean, it [00:21:00] is, it is definitely something we have looked at many different times. I can envision like some of the, you know, the UX mock ups that we have looked at where there’s like a little green light that would come on next to the job ad if someone was available.

William Tincup: Oh my God, that’d be so

John Fox: cool.

Um, I mean, there, there’s so many really interesting, like, just.

Um, and you know, there’s, there’s a lot of stuff that we’ve looked at, even in, um, you know, being able to apply via various different methods, right? Like tackling, you know, and so forth. And so there’s a lot of stuff that, um, you know, we’re constantly testing and iterating on. Um, and so certainly I think.

You know, as we look forward, like messaging and communication, I think is certainly a really important component. If I recall correctly, like some of the testing we did around just like on demand messaging was really around making sure that there was someone on the other side [00:22:00] for the employer to know.

And so, you know, I think If I, if I guess, you know, five years into the future, I would assume you probably have something like that. Right. Um, but, uh, you know, I think it’s, it’s a really great idea. Um, you know, cause like, as I was saying before, when a job seeker applies and they get a response within the first couple of hours, like the likelihood that that leads to a hire is greater.

It’s something like within four hours of the application, they’re like 95 percent to lead to a hire or something like that. Huge number like that, um, and so certainly something that, you know, I would assume will continue to, to work on and improve and try to perfect that. It seems like

William Tincup: as you, if you, if you know, and again, I love the green, the green light because with, with, with, with the folks that you’re doing with the clients that you work with in DeepWar, I think again, if they’re there, like again, if they’re not there, you know, it’s like Slack.

If they’re not there, it doesn’t really help, but if they’re there. [00:23:00] I can see that, you know, I could see that really that time, because as I’ve studied the hourly market, it isn’t always the people that pay the most that get the candidate. It’s uh, at least in the ways that I’ve studied, you are sitting on a much better day than I am, but in the ways that I’ve studied, it’s the, it’s the people that respond first.

Yeah. Generally speaking in the hourly market, a corporate market might be different, but in the hourly market, it’s like, if you, you, if you respond and you say, Hey, thank you so much, text. Uh, you know, let’s set up a call or come by, whatever the bid is, like, thank you. We appreciate the application or the, uh, the, the, the, the interest.

Come by. We’re interested in you. Let’s go. It, it, it’s not as much, I mean, it is about money, fair, always going to be about money on some levels, but, but sometimes with, with certain audiences, it’s just how fast

John Fox: did you get back with them? Yeah, I think oftentimes as long as the money is, is like there, it’s not like a significant [00:24:00] Delta.

You know, a lot of it comes back to like, who’s the company, um, you know, so like, can I picture myself at that company? Are they fast? Which I think in a lot of job seekers eyes, if you respond quickly, like you’re interested in them. Right. And I want to work for a company that’s interested in me. And, and so there, there’s a lot of these things that go hand in hand, but you know, we also see employers that have like multiple pages in their apply process, a bunch of drop off and job seekers.

Yeah. On the whole are not as interested. We also know like the time of day in which you’re okay to interview them also matters. Well,

William Tincup: so I, I will do it off offline, but there’s this, there’s this part in the movie Magnolia with Tom Cruise where he’s being interviewed. And, uh, the interviewer asked, like, what are you thinking?

And he’s sitting back and he’s like, I’m quietly judging you. And, and I think candidates, especially Gen Z, they judge companies based on their hiring [00:25:00] by, based on their hiring process. So those that get fa get back to them fast, well they got their stuff together. If, if, you know what I’m saying, like, if it’s 19 pages, that’s a boomer deal.

Yeah, can’t, can’t, like, like, yeah, can’t, you obviously don’t know anything about our generation. Like, I think that they’re ju no, I don’t have any data to support this, John, so. It’s just one man’s opinion.

John Fox: Well, I’ll tell you, like, what we do know is If you are a job seeker, but you’re also a consumer of that company’s goods, whatever it is that they sell, we do know that that job seeker, like draws opinions of that company based on how that hiring process went, right?

You as an employer, but also as a brand, right, that you’re selling something, uh, you may lose customers because the hiring process was so poor. You know, and so like it’s, you’re, you’re always creating, uh, you know, this perception out there in the market. And that’s, you know, it’s really why [00:26:00] we say like employer brand matters, your process matters, how you treat job seekers matter.

Um, and you know, so it all, it all kind of comes back together.

William Tincup: John, this has been wonderful. Thank you so much for carving out time for us in the audience.

John Fox: Yeah. Anytime, William. Happy to, uh, happy to chat. Thanks for having me. Uh, great conversation.

William Tincup: Thanks to you. And thanks for our audience. And until next time.

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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