Storytelling about Resume Sieve with Michael Yinger
Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 96. This week we have storytelling about Resume Sieve with Michael Yinger. During this episode, Michael and I talk about how practitioners make the business case or the use case for purchasing Resume Sieve.
Michael is the CEO & Co-Founder of Resume Sieve and an expert in all things talent acquisition and anything surrounding an HR tech startup. His passion for creating a fluid hiring process, tech that works, and business model that supports small-to-midsize businesses really comes through during the podcast.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think.
Show length: 33 minutes
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Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you’re listening to The Use Case Podcast.
Today we have Michael on from Resume Sieve, and we’re going to be talking about his company. So I’m really excited to kind of learn a little bit about what he’s got going on, and we’re going to jump right into it.
So Michael, would you do us a favor? Introduce both you—you know, people would love to get to know you—and your company.
Sure. Thank you. Appreciate the opportunity and good to chat with you.
Michael Yinger. I’m the CEO of Resume Sieve, and I’ve been here for just over a year in this role. I’ve got about 20 years talent acquisition experience, mostly in the outsourcing space. I was head of sales and product management at PeopleScout. And before that, I was head of client delivery at Aon Hewitt. And before that, I was at Randstad Source Right for a number of years, primarily in technology and implementation. So, I’ve been around the space in a number of different roles for quite some time. Again, primarily in the both the RPO and the MSP world.
Resume Sieve is an idea that grew out of a homegrown application. A couple of our founders had a staffing company, particularly IT staffing, and their recruiters were drowning in resumes. Just the amount of time it took to go through them and whatnot. So they created an application to really facilitate the evaluation process, standardize it, streamline it, and take time out of the recruiting process, the drudgery time, right, of going through resumes.
They sold the company about three years ago and decided to commercialize the product and asked me to come aboard and help them with that process. And that’s what we’ve been about for the last little over a year.
We took the application and ended up completely building it from scratch. So it’s a purpose-built application, modern technology and all the rest, with the focus on impacting primarily the small to midsize companies, those that really struggle for a lack of technology, mostly because either it’s too complicated or they can’t afford it. And yet, they still need some help with productivity.
And so our first product is the Sieve. The company is Resume Sieve, but the first product is the Sieve, and the focus of the Sieve is allowing the user to quickly load the resumes and then evaluate them on a rank ordered basis against a set of criteria that they get to determine, prioritization that they get to determine, rank weighting that they get to determine.
So it’s, you know, we put the control around the evaluation process in the hands of the user. So that’s that, there you go. There’s, there’s the three-minute version of who we are and what we do.
I love that. So for the companies that are down market, that, you know, they’re not sitting on, you know, a couple of 100 licenses of LinkedIn and LinkedIn Recruiter and things like that, what’s primarily their source of getting resumes in and then evaluating?
Sure. What we’re finding is where the resumes are coming from, are certainly— Indeed is a big source, and, you know, what they’ve done to make themselves visible in the market. LinkedIn is another source. Facebook has become a very significant source. And then there’s, you know, just ads.
In my previous role for some demographics, we were actually using Craigslist and Zip Recruiter, you know it, as a source of resume. So there. And then there’s, you know, there’s the traditional just “email them to me” kind of thing that some of the smaller companies are doing. Or, you know, just hand walking in.
And the beauty of our tool is we don’t really care where it comes from, you know, as long as you’ve got an electronic copy of the resume, you can upload it.
And then the value is once they upload it, you know, it’s— I say, parse. That’s not the right way of thinking of it, I guess.
Yes, it is.
It is? Okay.
Yeah, yeah, yeah. The idea is to be part of the upload process. It, one, it saves a copy because we refer back to the copy. But then we do parse the resume against the skills database that is growing literally every time resumes parse.
At the moment, there’s 85,000 skills in the database. There are job skills like Java, or, you know, accounting or something like that. And then there’s the soft skills, but— And then there’s also behavioral skills all within that database. And so we’re looking for those on the resume when we parse it.
How do you right now conceptualize? Can contiguous skills or, you know— I’m saying, like, the things that are next to the things that they might know. And Java’s a great example. So they might know Java, but you also know that if they know Java, they have a pretty good understanding of this, this and this. And they might have some transferable skills to something else. How do you, to the lay person—you know this from just your experience—to the lay person, they might not make that, they might not be able to connect those dots?
Yeah, so one of the things that’s going on inside the taxonomy is ontology. And I’m probably using those words wrong, but, you know, I’ll explain it so the word itself doesn’t matter so much.
Taxonomy is the list of all the criteria. The ontology is the logical groupings. And so it’s not only the contiguous ones, but also, you know, somebody could say, Java Beans or Java or j2ee. All those things relate to having experience with Java.
And the same thing is true in other skills, in nursing and whatnot. So it’s not just the exact keywords. It’s similar. It’s words that are similar. I mean, how many different ways are there to say customer service? Customer success, client success, client service. All those things pull the results in.
The subtlety. I like the subtlety that you were talking about, and that is something that we’re continuing to work on, which is, you know, can you pair in a sense? It’s almost like pairing skills, although as you used the word contiguous, which I like. It’s things that you would use together.
Now one way to do that is you can search for both things because the nature of the criteria selection is it’s functionally a Boolean search of ands: and this, and this, and this. And so, you know, you could say, this—I use this example not because I particularly understand it, but because it’s been used on me—that you could have Fences and Python and Kubernetes. And all those things are different. But you might find somebody, you might find a need, particularly at a higher-level person, right, who can consolidate all those skills. And so you could look for all those.
Yeah, you could make them required, which is, of course, a higher bar to pass. Or you could simply have them as preferred, in which case if they’re present, that’s good. If they’re not, then then that’s okay, too.
So, so okay, so on the search side, again, the people that are doing the hiring side, how do you help them in that search part? So like, I get what, when, when they’re bringing the resumes and how it’s kind of set up for them to be successful, but are there prompts? Do you have an upload, like the position description or the rec? Or like, how do you get them to be able to search the database to be able to find the best matches, if you will?
Sure. So there’s a couple of subtleties to that, and I’ll break it down. And at one level, we’ve uploaded the resumes, is simple. Drag and drop, you know, regular open process, whatever. And we’re working on some others like ingesting by email or creating an online folder that you just drop all your stuff into.
We also do the same thing with the job description. So you can bring the job description, and we will parse the job description for you. And obviously, it is parsing the job description, specifically against the database, so it’s a very high probability of match where a match is available.
And then, in terms of usage, there are a couple of things that are going on. We’re new, right? We’ve had the product in the market for about six weeks. And so we’re very hands on at this point. And so if, you know, somebody signs up, we try not to inundate them, but we do give them how-tos. We give them access to videos, to a fairly extensive guide, quick, quick help guide. And then we’re also building a number of pilots where we will handhold somebody through the process.
We recognize that that a certain amount of what we do. To us the tools are intuitive; we’ve been working with it for so long. And there really is some subtlety that you can get into from how you build your search and what you’re looking for and the questions that you ask. And some of that comes with experience. But as we document those cases, we’re making those available to the user either through the help or through the guides.
One of the things that we’re going to add here in the next couple of weeks, for example, is, the first time you land on the application, there’ll be a video carousel that has five different videos that you can choose to watch. Here’s how you create a job. Here’s how you upload resumes. Here’s how you run a Sieve. You know, whatever the case may be, just making it easier and easier for the user to go through the experience.
So what do you, I mean, you know, dealing with classifications— You’ve dealt with HR and recruiting technology for, you know, a long time. Do y’all consider yourselves right now an ATS? Or something like a light ATS for the SMBs?
It’s not, you know, we’re not an ATS. Let me say that right up front. It’s not our intention to be an ATS. We compliment the ATS, particularly where most ATSs, although there are some that are that are starting to change their operating model, most ATSs don’t really rank the candidates.
There are some rudimentary rankings that they do based on prescreening questions or something like that. Some of them, not at all.
Right. No, it’s a repository.
Yeah, that’s exactly right. And so it really is intended to help those kinds of situations. The other sort of ancillary use case that you might recognize is, as you’re uploading your resumes, over time you’re building a repository of resumes. Doesn’t that sound an awful lot like a CRM? Well, we’re not exactly a CRM, but its CRM-like functionality.
Let’s say that you’re in a space where today, I mean, literally, here we are June 1, and some people are really having trouble finding candidates for their jobs. Well, have you ever considered your own staff? Maybe the skill that you need, the resource that you need, is somewhere internal to your company.
I was talking to a head of marketing for a significant multinational engineering firm. And what he was saying to me is, we struggle all the time just finding people internally who have the skill to know the difference between a left-hand turn and right-hand turn widget; I’m not making that up. He said, you can tell us? I said it, as long as you can put your people in the system, you can go search your own people.
This is this is something that, you know, even in the companies that I’ve worked at it— I did consulting before I did talent acquisition, and one of the hardest things was for us to keep track of our people.
Who had what skill? Where were they? Very simple use case just to have all your people complete a standard resume and load it into the system. And now you can search your own people.
Yeah. And then you can even— Some companies would be able to then even prioritize and tag those and be able to put their own employees above, before even the record of talent.
Absolutely. Yeah. And then you then you’ve got internal mobility opportunities.
Yeah. Which is, you know, as you well know, no one’s done a great job of internal mobility. However, I think there’s just a lot of predictions right now about how there’s going to be a lot of movement post pandemic, and it’s going to be, you know, it’s going to be very important.
Critical. critical to companies.
Critical to get really good at it really fast. What do you see it in the hourly versus salaried market? Versus, you know, as you look at it through your lens.
Yeah. So there definitely is a distinction there in the hourly market. You’ve got the velocity of turnover, right? And so certainly, the people go stale sooner, and it doesn’t mean that you can’t benefit from having a repository of people. One of our advisors came up with an interesting term. He called it the donut of despair, which is to say resumes that are more than three months old, particularly in the hourly space, are probably no good.
But resumes that are resumes that are 15 months old? That’s where people are starting to think about looking somewhere else.
So it’s that, you know, that ability to go back to the older resumes. You know, people been there 15 months, maybe going on 18 months. And you know, maybe they’re thinking about leaving. And so you can then go after those kinds of folks. So it’s a little bit different search for the hourly space.
Actually, for the salaried space, what starts to happen is the skills start to change, right? You start to get into more of the behavioral skills or the soft skills. And, you know, whether or not those are present on the resume, you know that there’s no question. It’s, you know, how effective is a resume?
I worked on a startup maybe 15 years ago that, you know, we were chasing the idea that everybody was going to be evaluated based on skills. You know, and there was going to be a standard profile for everybody. Well, yeah, but no. It hasn’t taken off. Resumes are still a pretty common vehicle for people to be evaluated by.
And, you know, I just, I think of my own, for example, my own resume and my LinkedIn profile. I had them professionally done, and I maintain them. And my resume has 10 times the information on it that my LinkedIn profile does. Yeah.
That’s funny. Huh. Well, and LinkedIn, you know, years ago, they tried the thing with skills, and even endorsements, and you know. Umm…ish.
Yeah, right. It’s, I mean, I love the concept of assessments and pre assessing people, you know? If I put my hiring manager hat on. Yeah. And do I really trust someone else’s assessment? I mean, wouldn’t that, you know— How was it administered? And how was it proctored? And what kind of questions did they ask that, you know, are they the questions that matter to me?
Yeah that’s right. That’s exactly right. Let me ask—
That’s a valuable tool that you got to use in a different way.
Let me ask about kind of the way you’ve seen talent acquisition work over the last year and a half. How do you think it’s going to impact the, you know, both Resume Sieve, and also kind of the future of hiring? You know, remote work from home? Candidates?
You can now apply to jobs anywhere in the world, at least, especially if you’re a knowledge worker, you can apply to jobs anywhere in the world. That’s great. Now those recruiters can recruit from anywhere in the world. That’s great.
Yeah. Yep, yeah.
What’s been the impact that you’ve seen or that you think’s coming right around the corner for us?
Well, I think there are two things that are literally right around the corner. I’ve posted a couple articles on this in the last couple of weeks.
The first is, the worker has more choices, they have more opportunities, and it doesn’t involve packing their family up and moving somewhere else. And so that gives them, you know, more confidence, a better sense of being in the market. And it may drive more candidates into the market, you know.
We still haven’t come back to the same level of market participation. For example, the last stats I saw said market participation was it at 61% versus 64%, round numbers, of course, pre-pandemic. So there’s still several million people who have not come back into the market. A lot of reasons for that. And part of it is, you know, where’s the job, and, you know, have my kids going back to school, and so forth. So there’s that aspect.
Then the other aspect that I think is really going to impact, as you touched on, is there is anywhere, depending on which study you look at, anywhere from 25 to 40% pent-up demand just to leave and find another job.
And we certainly saw this in 2008, 2009, right? As people hung on to their jobs through the financial downturn, and then the market started to improve, there was a lot of job hopping. There were people who just said, “Okay, it’s time for me to go. I’ll go find something else.”
I think the difference this time, is what you just touched on with the possibility, not the guarantee, but the possibility, of more flexible working arrangements. One of the interesting things that seem to be under the numbers is that a lot of those people who say that they’re going to go find another job are going to do so without finding it first. That, you know, they’re just going to leap and then find something that suits them. So it’s, I think it’s going to be a different kind of job search. And it just makes evaluating the people that you are getting all that much more critical. And being able to do it in an organized fashion.
Let me just share one little anecdote with you. We were talking to a TA lead for a company that hires tele nurses. She was looking for a recruiter. She put an ad out. Now this is early in the pandemic. She got 700 applicants in 36 hours. Great. She cut it off. They—
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It’s just more difficult for people to get through that. And then you say, well, I’ve got all these, you know, I’ve got all these new applicants. In an applicant tracking system, you can search your database, but you can’t consolidate the applicants you’ve got with the candidates that you had from before.
With our system, you can. You can. You can mix and match applicants and candidates. Sure, you have to do something different about the candidate, right? You have to go out and actually talk to him. There are some things. But how do you evaluate them in comparison? How do you evaluate the resumes that you got six months ago with the ones you got yesterday? That’s not easy with an ATS.
No, it’s not. Unless there’s some type of aging process, which I haven’t seen a whole lot of that.
A couple things real quick. One is, so three questions left. One is the change for talent acquisition. We talked about how candidates are going to change and how they already are changing? What’s that pressure on TA? You know, folks that hire recruiters and hiring managers? Is it finding the talent faster? Is it responding to them quicker? Like what, again, those are two.
But what do you think that they’re going to have to change about their business?
Well, so let’s talk about just talent acquisition in general. I was on a webinar today that one of the, I want to say it was RPOA, was putting on, and they were talking about something that has been in place for two or three months, which is there not many recruiters out there.
It’s, it’s hard to find people to be recruiters right now, because they’ve found other jobs or something else. And so one of the things that’s going to have, that is likely going to have to change, is the pressure on recruiters. Because the one thing that hasn’t gone away is the need to work quickly through the candidate base.
You know, that was certainly in place prior to the pandemic, and it is coming back with a vengeance. You’ve got to get to people quickly, you’ve got to get to people in an organized way. And if you’ve got less recruiters, people are. We think, you know, it’s our go-to market strategy, that people are going to be looking for tools to help them do that so they can keep up with the pace of things when they can’t just go out and buy a bunch of recruiters.
Right, right. Because you—
That’s going to be an interesting challenge.
At one point, you could just throw people at it and say, okay, everybody’s got 20 recs now. Everybody’s got 30 recs. We’ll just hire another Sally or Jim. And now you can just kind of throw people out. You’re not going to be able to throw people at it as is. I don’t think you’re going to be able to throw people at it at the same pace that we have before.
No. No you’re not. No. I talked to a head of TA for an Australian firm last night, and she’s got six openings. And you know, she’s literally talking to an RPO about temporarily filling her openings because she just can’t find recruiting staff to do it for her.
Well, and you know because you’ve worked on that side of the business, RPOs are also going to struggle.
Oh, they are. They are.
Yeah, so it’s not just corporate. So that the audience understands, corporates are having a difficult, difficult time finding recruiters, sourcers and the like. But also, so are our source staffing firms and RPOs.
And so it’s something that happens when you have a recession or something like what we had. People get out of the industry. It’s just the same, like when the mortgage crisis happened, a lot of people that were mortgage brokers? They got out; they just didn’t come back.
Yep. And, and this time around the two industries that I hear it the most are the staffing industry, but that’s almost always the case. Right? Because, you know, those people get cut first, and so they have to find something else. So they do.
The other one that’s been pretty interesting is hospitality. Those people, you know— One of the articles I saw just recently was, you know, they were interviewing somebody, and so, just as an anecdote, saying, “Well, you know, I was making three bucks an hour plus tips as a server. Now, I’m making 17 bucks an hour in an Amazon warehouse.”
Yeah, yeah, yeah.
I know what my hours are going to be. I know what my benefits are going to be. I know what my salary is going to be.
Yeah, yeah. I can see that, too. And again, the business model for restaurants and hospitality has also changed. There’s been some improvements. I mean, some things that came, you know, I’d say some silver linings that happened from COVID.
Let me ask you because I know people will want to know two things. One is, if, and you’re not positioning yourself as an ATS, it’s more of a how do you make your ATS better? Something that’s in front of or that works in conjunction with? So, and I know we’re new to market, so I get that. What are your plans for integrations with ATSs?
Yeah, sure. Yeah, and the question comes up all the time.
So what we’re doing now is, for one thing, the first question is, which ATS? I mean, pick one of, you know, 100, 200, maybe the 300 ATSs worldwide, right? So what we’re— We’ve done a couple of different spikes, which is a technical term that I’ve learned, which means to test it. And so we’re, we’re doing it more on an on-demand basis.
And so, you know, we’ve looked at iCIMS, and we’re talking with the iCIMS folks. We’re looking at Zoho. We’re talking with the Zoho folks. That what, another approach is simply to say, well, yeah, let’s just bulk upload your resumes, and that way, you’ve got your, your whole database. And then you can add them incrementally as time comes. And, definitely, there is pressure at certain, you know, once you reach a certain threshold, right?
Where is it that people really begin using an ATS? You know, at what point, you know, is somebody using ZipRecruiter full time, you know, for example. And so, there, there are tools which facilitate this, and the newer ATSs, particularly the ones that are geared towards this, the midsize businesses, are easier to work with.
I did, we did some preliminary work looking at Zoho, for example. I’m not, you know, pushing Zoho particularly, it just happens to be one we’ve worked on. But there’s 600 articles in their help system related to APIs and how to integrate with them. You know, so they know that this is their way to go forward.
You know, we’ve had talks with some of the mid-market ATSs about just doing the full-on integration, and then we become a tool that’s offered to their customer base as part of their toolset. So there are different ways to handle that, and, and our approach is really, at the moment, we’re handling it on a case-by-case basis to see where the demand really pushes us.
You know, we had a conversation with a sales engineer for Taleo, and she thought this was the greatest thing in the world. And she sells the Taleo mid-market product and says that, you know, our system can’t do this, can we integrate? Well—
Uh, yes, we can!
Well, we can! Somebody go have a conversation with Larry Ellison and convince him.
I love it.
There are those kinds of, I mean, we’re a small player, right? And—
Who’s going to want to invest the time and the money? We’ve got to demonstrate ourselves. We’ve got to prove ourselves. And so that’s why we’re approaching this on a case-by-case basis, because, you know, if we get a couple of customers of a particular system that we’ve gone through, then we can have a conversation with the underlying system and say, hey, look, you know, co-marketing. You know?
Well and it’s also the best way to, I mean, one of the better ways to grow through your integrations is based on your customers. So if your customers are using, you know, iCIMS, and you wake up, and you have them, then it’s an easy call to the partners at iCIMS to just say, “Hey, listen, we have 10 customers together, let’s make it easy for them. And we don’t do the same things, nor do we want to. So let’s figure out a way to work together.”
Financial model. Last question. And you don’t need to get out all the Xs and Os or dollars and cents. Just, how do y’all, financial-model wise, what’s your philosophy?
Yeah, so our approach is individual licenses, on a two-figure kind of basis, you know, being competitive from a price perspective with the other kind of SAS tools that are out there to the individual.
And then small businesses. We’re in the process of testing a multiuser capability so that you can share, you know, a small company. And so that’ll have, also have, a price point, although it’ll be a lower per user kind of price point because you’ve got multi users.
You’re buying in bulk. Yeah.
Yeah, that’s exactly right. And then, of course, if we do strike a deal with a large company, we would look at some sort of licensing arrangement, much as you would do with any other semi-custom software package.
But it’s, you know, we’ve got the ability to take a credit card and, you know, charge on a monthly basis or charge on an annual basis. That kind of stuff. Making it as easy as possible.
I will say, just as a small plug, not that this isn’t a big plug for us, we don’t take your credit card upfront. I was about to sign up for a trial for a company. I won’t say too much about them because it’s not my intention to embarrass them. But they say they’ve got a new spin on the email. And I went through the application process, and I got down to the end and they said, “Okay, last thing, we want to schedule a 30-minute onboarding.” I thought well, okay, that’s a little scary. And we want your credit card. We won’t charge you, but we want your credit card.
Well, no, thank you.
I’m not going to give you my credit card. You know, I didn’t try it.
Especially at the last minute like that. That’s a bait and switch deal.
Oh yeah. Yeah.
If you want somebody’s credit card, you start with the information. Like, hey, listen, we need to make sure that we’re both serious about this. So yeah, like, that’s just bush league.
Our approach is we give you time to try it. If you need some more time to try it, we’ll give you some more time to try it. But you know, we built the application such that we can extend people who asked for it. At the point that you’re ready to make a commitment, then we’ll ask you for the credit card.
That’s smart. That’s smart.
I mean that’s just, you know, it’s just it. Not to mention the fact that, do you really want that information floating around if you’re not going to use it?
You know what I like about that is this is where the market in which you serve, this is how they’re accustomed to buying. So you’re not trying to force some business model or financial model onto them. And that seems, you know, that’s just not a great fit for them.
You’re basically saying, “Hey, listen, this is how you buy things already. Try it, take a look at it, see what you like about it, then we’ll go from there. But let’s, let’s not assume that we’ll go from there.” I love that. Very smart.
Michael, I could talk to you all day. I appreciate that. I love what you’re doing. And I wish you all the success in the world. And we’ll have you on again because I just want to see how things progress over time.
I’d love to participate and appreciate the opportunity to tell our story, and, you know, there’s a level of passion that—yeah, sometimes I think that word is overused—and yet with the team that we’ve got, they’re just very passionate about having an impact and helping people just be, you know, have an easier time of it. And then there’s something to that.
Yeah. On both sides. On both sides, right? You want the candidate to have an easier go at it.
Hiring shouldn’t be, you know, rocket science, although I think sometimes we church it up to be that way.
But I really liked the idea of if we could just make things easier on all sides: hiring managers, recruiters, and candidates.
Anyhow, thank you again, Michael. I appreciate you, and I appreciate everyone that listens to the Use Case Podcast.
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.