Rahier Rahman
CEO Turn

Rahier Rahman is the founder and CEO of Turn, an innovative HR tech company whose products are revolutionizing talent acquisition by dramatically speeding the hiring process and greatly reducing cost through autonomous data-driven sourcing and screening of the contingent and hourly workforce

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Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 254. Today we’ll be talking to Rahier from Turn about the use case or business case for why his customers choose Turn.

Turn brings together everything needed to source, screen and hire hourly workers, including targeting and engaging workers across major marketing channels.

Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think. Thanks, William

Show length: 23 minutes

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Announcer: 00:02 Welcome to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case Podcast, a show dedicated to the storytelling that happens, or should happen, when practitioners purchase technology. Each episode is designed to inspire new ways and ideas to make your business better, as we speak with the brightest minds in recruitment, and HR tech. That’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.

William Tincup: 00:26 Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the Use Case Podcast. Today, we have Rahier on, from Turn. We’ll be learning about kind of the business case, so the use case, for why prospects and customers choose Turn. So Rahier, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and Turn?

Rahier Rahman: 00:44 Yes. Hi William. Thank you for the introduction. My name is Rahier Rahman. I’m the founder and CEO of Turn. We have built an autonomous hiring solution that helps high volume employers source, screen, and hire workers, particularly hourly workers.

William Tincup: 01:01 Okay. So let’s start with the autonomous part, and break that down for folks. And then we’ll go through Short Screen, and everything else. So most of the audience is already kind of keyed in on hourly versus salary. So you’re already operating in an environment that doesn’t have as many applications, because so many of the applications are geared towards the salaried environment, and large enterprise, and stuff like that. So let’s start with autonomous. When you say that, for the average layperson, what does that mean?

Rahier Rahman: 01:34 Yeah, I’ll probably prefer to start one step back, even, if that’s helpful. I think when we look at the hourly hiring space, and we break out what we call talent acquisition, it really comes down to four areas. It comes down to how do you source talent, engage talent, select, and hire talent. And within those four categories of talent, acquisition is a myriad of patchwork of service providers, thousands of service providers. And what we historically saw that a lot of labor marketplaces and platforms would do, is stitch together their own patchwork of these service providers. And by doing that, they are still operating at the speed of all of those connections, and taking into account all of that margin and cost into it. So it becomes a slower hiring process, and a more expensive hiring process.

02:27 Now, what we did differently is, we looked at that model and we said, just being able to put together a patchwork, doesn’t make us any different than anyone else in the last 10, 15 years. And we have seen the carcasses that lined the tarmac of the space. So where the innovation in our idea was, in order to do this well, you really need to do three things well. One, we looked at the first two components of the TA space and said the sourcing and engagement space is really an opportunity for talent intelligence, and in talent intelligence, you can leverage the advancements in artificial intelligence, machine learning, that help programmatically platform be able to identify talent, where they live, at what block down to the street level, be able to understand how much people are making, what is the competitive nature of that space right now? What other jobs are these people being attracted to? What is the going rate? What is their travel commute times? All of the little data points that help inform whether one person is better suited for a job than another person.

03:40 And that really is the talent intelligence side of our platform that we built from the ground up called Advise. And that is designed to help employers understand the marketplace for their jobs that they’re trying to seeking out and who would be a good fit. The second part of the talent acquisitions ecosystem is, the selecting and hiring side. And when we look at that side, we looked at what we call Direct Sourcing. We think that is the future of the space where you don’t need to rely on staffing service solutions. You don’t need to rely on the traditional recruitment channels to find workers. Where we have the capability to leverage the talent intelligence side of our business, tie into our ready product, which helps us be able to identify the people, onboard them, screen them, do the qualifications that they need, and then be able to provide them ready-to-hire.

04:35 Now, part of that is our ready solution and our screen solution that are embedded together. And another important part of that is our proprietary candidate database that we have built from the ground up, which spans about 147 million people, working Americans in the US. And that has a lot of data that is enriched from thousands of data sources and everything is permission driven. So it’s whether you have opted in from your carrier side for your contact information, to your LinkedIn profiles, to other areas where you’ve provided consent, and we have pieced together a very powerful database there. So when you combine the two components, talent intelligence, direct sourcing, and this powerful candidate database, we have a one-stop solution that really allows employers to be able to programmatically and autonomously hire hourly workers without the need for tons of recruiters, tons of HR folks, and a patchwork of hundreds of software solutions.

William Tincup: 05:37 I love this. So market, in terms of size of company, who are we going after? What’s our target market?

Rahier Rahman: 05:47 I think for us… we have our e-commerce platform, which caters to any employer that’s looking for less than 50 hires a month. And then what we are really designed for is the high volume hire, high volume employer, which I would probably put at as someone that’s hiring anywhere between 500 to several thousand workers a month. That encompasses everything from gig economy, platform companies, to retailers like Lowe’s or General Motors, manufacturing companies, automotive. It spans almost every major industry, because one thing that we like to pride ourselves about is, talk about, raise the awareness of hourly hiring.

06:32 And pre pandemic, when I would go to the valley and talk about the hourly hiring space, very few people had a true appreciation for how important it is for this convenience culture that we have created over the last decade that we all live in today. And now when you look around, you walk down the street, and you look around at apartment buildings, property management have hourly hiring. So those companies are potential customers of ours. You look at automotive, a lot of these companies have a lot of hourly hiring. They would be potential customers of ours. Gig economy platforms, last mile delivery, logistics, transportation, hospitality, all of these spaces, even healthcare, is a major potential, customers of ours. Where you look at staffing for nurses, concierge medicine, pharmaceutical delivery, all of these areas are just ripe because they’re so dependent on the hourly workforce.

William Tincup: 07:27 First of all, I love the platform. I think-

Rahier Rahman: 07:30 Thank you.

William Tincup: 07:30 Understanding the hourly worker different than the salaried worker, the salaried worker, there’s so much written, so many webinars, so much content that’s written about what drives a salaried or professional service or knowledge worker, however you want to phrase it. But you mentioned in the talent intelligence part, you mentioned two things that I thought were really interesting. There’s many, but commute time and even compensation, because one of the things that, at least I’ve picked up on through others is, that hourly folks will move for 20 cents more an hour. Whereas you’d have to… it’d be thousands of dollars for a professional services person to even consider moving, if it’s a “lateral move”. What other things… what if we were demystifying the hourly worker, what are the things that we should be talking about and kind of informing folks about?

Rahier Rahman: 08:29 Yeah, I would say the two things that, actually probably three things, that naturally come to mind, when I think about how do you improve engagement or retention of hourly workers? I would probably say, one of the first things that are important is going to be commute time, their ability to transport themselves from one location to another to service the job. That is something that’s very undervalued, but supremely important. Second is, obviously wage. And wage. The challenge with wage. And we have found in our experience is that a lot of employers are just unaware of the competitive landscape. They understand there’s a lot of competition, but they don’t understand the impact of hourly… whether someone is pricing a job at $16 versus $17, or if 17.25 is going to get you the right conversion that you need versus 17. That Delta, a lot of employers are willing to do, that just are unaware of that it’s going to have an impact.

09:29 So that’s really where the talent intelligence of the Advise platform comes into play, where we can really help people understand that. So I would tell you, the second thing is obviously the wage difference, and wage is a hyper local issue. So when we talk about the Advise Platform, we talk about things at a street or block by block level, because if you are working for one company, three blocks, four blocks away, that could be another offering that’s slightly better, which doesn’t affect your commute time, which can help increase your salary. So things like that I think are very important to understand.

10:06 The third thing I would say that people have talked about historically, but have been poor at executing, is the benefits side of the world, where what people really want… and when we think about hourly workers is they don’t really want a gig. What they want is the ability to have a 40-hour work week that might be more flexible, that they can stitch together through multiple opportunities. And that’s really where a lot of our intelligence is going into today. So we’re trying to learn about those behaviors, learn about sector adjacencies, how people can go from say elderly care to childcare. They can go from package delivery to food delivery, etcetera… things like that. Nuanced things that can help people be able to improve their mobility. And with that figure out, are there opportunities to be able to offer services down the road that could help improve the quality of the worker and the retention of the worker?

William Tincup: 11:04 I like that, because it’s leveraging the transferable skills. It’s helping them unearth… yes, you’ve built this skill. You might not think of it as a skill, but you’ve built this skill through your experience. Oh, by the way, over here are other jobs that are hiring for that, similar to that skill with a little bit of training, you could be awesome at that. And oh, by the way, it pays 50 cents more an hour. So first of all, I love the idea of helping people, guide people, especially in the hourly workforce, because they don’t have a whole lot of career guidance. Being able to, especially in a data driven way, being able to serve things up and say, oh, by the way, these are career paths now, which happens in the salary market, but doesn’t happen in the hourly market.

Rahier Rahman: 11:54 And yeah, I’ll add to that with some high level stats that I think some people are familiar with, but it really resonates to why this is a powerful story. If every unemployed person in the country today found a job, we would still have nearly 5.4 million open jobs. So what that really helps point to is the fact that, with the early retirements and lower immigration rates, we have left ourselves a country that’s in a massive worker deficit. So when you’re in a worker deficit, one of the most important things you need to do is improve worker productivity, and you need to have the hourly workers be able to discover other opportunities and improve and maximize their productivity. That will help our country as a whole. So I consider the hourly workforce to be a foundational pillar of our economy. And I think the solutions that we are building, are helping employers be more productive on their acquisition of workers. And we want to be able to help workers be more productive in the discovery of opportunities.

William Tincup: 13:04 I love that. I’ve said this for a while, but basically if we want to fill those jobs, we just open immigration.

Rahier Rahman: 13:11 You have to do something.

William Tincup: 13:12 So it’s like, okay, well that-

Rahier Rahman: 13:15 The status quo is not going to work.

William Tincup: 13:16 No, no. It Turns out it’s not. One of the myths I wanted to get your take on is, what I’ve seen in the hourly market is retailers sometimes think that other retailers are competitors, not just for the share wallet, the customer, but for talent. And I haven’t had that experience. I’ve had the experience, especially with people at say, the age of 22 or so, maybe first jobs, etcetera, is they’ll apply to a Taco Bell. They’ll apply to McDonalds. They’ll apply to Best Buy. They’ll apply to Walmart. They’ll apply to basically any place in the mall that has a job opening. They’ll apply to everything because they don’t look at it in the same competitive way as we do for customers. First of all, you are you seeing some of the same things?

Rahier Rahman: 14:09 Yeah. I think you are touching upon an interesting idea, which is, if you believe that your workforce is truly your asset, I think what employers need to do… historically, they’ve perhaps not done as well, is you need to treat them like they’re an asset. So that means wage. Make sure their wages are competitive. Make sure you can potentially create some incentive for engagement or retention, whether that’s cash bonuses, some type of benefits, etcetera. And if it doesn’t fall on the retailer to do that, then ultimately it might go somewhere else where a platform like ours can grow into something like that and help. But I think that’s one side. From the worker side, we’ve historically found at the hourly space, there isn’t a tremendous amount of loyalty because it’s not stitched together in a way where it can create that loyalty. So you know, can move for 25 cents, 50 cents extra an hour.

15:12 So I think what the challenge inherently lies is, how can you make… at the current problem most people are talking about, is the acquisition of talent. The second side of it is the engagement of retention of talent. I think both things need to be addressed, but I don’t think there’s a single silver bullet out there right now. But I think our platform as a whole, definitely addresses the first part of the acquisition side. And we hope to grow into the second side, which is the engagement and retention.

15:42 By leveraging the data that we are learning about, where people are moving, how they are staying, what are the right amount of wages to keep people there. Once you have the data, and you can start to understand the behavioral patterns of what makes a worker more successful at a specific job, and you can layer that on, we can help mirror that for employers and say, this is a cohort of workers that are optimal for you. Let’s help find that optimal cohort again. And then by doing that, we can help improve and help reduce the cost because you’re not losing as many of your workers over time. And I think that’s a big area of our focus and our data science team’s focus.

William Tincup: 16:25 I love it. So let’s move to the buy side for just a second… questions that prospects should ask of Turn. What are great questions when you hear them from a prospect, or even customers, when you hear the question, you’re like, okay, they have the problem, they get it. Okay. Now these are wonderful questions.

Rahier Rahman: 16:48 I think what’s always very helpful is, I think most people within the buy side of our business, which would be the HR teams or the talent acquisition teams, I think what’s important to understand is at a granular level, your own cost structure. What does it truly cost you to find a productive worker? The thing I always try to remind people is, it’s not the average cost of a worker. It’s the average cost of a productive worker. So that means I’m hiring somebody… most people in the hourly space, it takes more time to hire someone than they stay at the job. That is a crazy statistic.

William Tincup: 17:33 Right.

Rahier Rahman: 17:33 And so, what people tend to say is, my cost of acquisition is X. But what they’re failing to understand is because you have so much churn, that it’s actually not X, the cost of a weighted average cost of a productive worker is magnitudes higher.

William Tincup: 17:50 That’s right.

Rahier Rahman: 17:50 And so when you have to… for us, we tend to help recalibrate a little bit of what is going into the cost structure. I’ll give you another example. It’s often very… when someone goes through the background screening side of the business, it’s not a one to one relationship. There is oftentimes… if you are background checking 10 people who are available to work, only seven are able to actually show up. So you are losing the cost of three people that you’ve already background checked. So the cost of those seven people who show up is really the 10 people’s cost. So things like that are nuanced things that a lot of employers are sometimes forgetting to factor in, which when they do realize that, it becomes this very powerful understanding that their cost structure is very high.

William Tincup: 18:46 Have you had many conversations in terms… obviously a lot of hourly is done over mobile, so we didn’t talk about it, but it’s probably at this point implicit, but speed. The reaction time in terms of when a candidate applies to something and if a company is slow to respond to that, etcetera, are you find yourself educating people as to how important speed is?

Rahier Rahman: 19:14 Absolutely. I mean, I think if we go back to the beginning of our conversation where I said the real vision for building Turn was to be able to vertically integrate all of these services and intelligence and direct sourcing. The reason you do that is speed. You control the speed, you control the cost. And therefore, we’re able to pass all of those benefits onto the employer. I’ll give you a use case for a partner, a delivery logistics platform that we helped in New York last month. They were looking to hire a number of workers in that space. They were using indeed. We went up against Indeed to help show them the benefits of it. We were able to deliver 20 times the number of workers at 95% cost reduction. So it was not even close.

William Tincup: 20:05 Yeah. That’s not a fair fight. That’s not a fair fight.

Rahier Rahman: 20:08 Not a fair fight. And part of that reason is because of our proprietary candidate database, because of our talent intelligence, and because of our ready and screen platform that vertically integrates everything together. So we’re able to move the candidate along a lot faster in the funnel than they were through Indeed or through any other services that they would use. So that is the thing that is really important. The speed is vital to hourly hiring. In fact, I would say significantly more so, than obviously in the full-time space, which is why the full-time stack, that a lot of people have retrofitted for hourly hiring, does not work.

William Tincup: 20:47 No, because it’s not built… and processes and the people, the teams collaborate, all of that’s broken.

Rahier Rahman: 20:53 And then using all the service providers.

William Tincup: 20:55 Right. There’s a brokenness because, well… and it’s interesting because speed, before this little hiccup with a recession that we’ve talked ourselves into, speed was also important in the salaried market, especially response time. We’ll just call it what it is. But with the pandemic, it’s also been highlighted in hourly, that have to be faster. You’re just not going to be able to catch them. So let me ask you your favorite part of the demo, when you get to actually show Turn to people for the first time, kind of what’s your favorite bit?

Rahier Rahman: 21:36 That’s a great question. When I think about the favorite moments, the favorite moment is probably when people say, show me stuff, right? So prove it. And when we love the idea of going up against anybody, and we put our technology stack against anyone else’s and the use case for the delivery logistics platform in New York was great, because when they did it, they said, you guys are really on to something. And they said, we’ve never seen anything like this. And when you can show all the products come together in one platform, the light bulb for the employers really go off and people are like, this is amazing. This can really help us.

22:17 And it’s not just because I believe our solution is superior to what happens in the industry, but I think it’s the associated positive social impact of that. It not only helps the employers get more people to work, and it helps identify workers that are looking for opportunities, and helps them get to jobs. So I think my favorite part is seeing the light bulb go off on employers that say, hey, I want this and I need this now. And for them to recognize that, hey, this can really help a lot of people. And seeing that the double bottom line impact, I think is something that I really appreciate as a founder of a company

William Tincup: 22:58 Rahier, this has been absolutely amazing. You’re doing great work. Thank you so much for carving out time for us.

Rahier Rahman: 23:05 I appreciate it. Thank you so much as well, William.

William Tincup: 23:07 Absolutely. And thanks for everyone listening to the Use Case Podcast. Until next time.

Recorded voice: 23:12 You’ve been listening to RecruitingDaily’s Use Case Podcast. Be sure to subscribe on your favorite platform and hit us up RecruitingDaily.com.

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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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