Welcome to the Use Case Podcast, episode 268. Today we’ll be talking to Ryan from VIVAHR about the use case or business case for why his customers choose VIVAHR.
From recruiting to hiring, VIVAHR is the all-in-one applicant tracking system your business can count on.
Give the show a listen and please let me know what you think. Thanks, William.
Show length: 23 minutes
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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 in HR tech, that’s what we do. Here’s your host, William Tincup.
William Tincup (00:25):
Ladies and gentlemen, this is William Tincup and you are listening to the Use Case podcast. Today we have Ryan on from VIVAHR, and we’ll be learning about the business case or the use case that his customers and prospects use to purchase VIVAHR. So without any further ado, Ryan, would you do us a favor and introduce both yourself and VIVAHR?
Yeah, my pleasure. I really appreciate the chance to share a little bit more about us.
Hiring is so funny because it’s so difficult for everyone. It’s one of those common things we can all agree on, it’s very challenging process. But it was exacerbated, obviously, over the last couple of years. And having been in HR tech for about a dozen years myself and been in the digital marketing world, I built a product that made a baby out of the two, so to speak. We took my marketing background, digital marketing agency, and hiring, and creative culture marketing and trademarked the phrase to where we leverage companies’ culture to create micro landing pages at the job level. This is done through a job posting automation where we publish the jobs to about 50 different… JobWorks, Indeed, LinkedIn, Glass… All the big ones. And as candidates engage with your postings, they’re then presented a micro landing page that really emphasizes the culture, the media experience. And so the candidate then gets deeper emotional attachment to the brand, as opposed to just living through this text-only world.
William Tincup (01:59):
Well, I can tell you, because I’m a recovering marketer, I automatically love this because it speaks to, especially on the B2B side, speaks to persona-based marketing, drip campaigns, all the things that we love on the marketing side that we’re not great at as even recruitment marketers or employer branding specialists. We’re not really great at some of that stuff.
I also think something that you’ve unlocked that I really like is that you instead of giving people everything at once and asking them to swallow the entire sandwich in one bite, you get them interested in it, and then if they’re interested, you start expanding their interest and giving them more and more and more until maybe the call to action is to apply or enter into a talented community, et cetera. So do I have some of that, right?
Yeah, it’s exactly right. Yeah. You know, you find that candidates… Maybe you just ask them, look at some of these Deloitte surveys. You look at some of the analysis that they’re doing with the job market. Candidates tell you what they want. They’re looking for a great workplace culture. They’re looking for growth opportunities. They’re looking for what I refer to as the social emotional triggers.
So socially, what’s going to look good on LinkedIn on a status update, cool company doing good things. And then the emotional side of it’s like, “How is it really going to benefit me? How am I going to be uplifted by working here?”
It’s so interesting that as recruiters, as hiring managers, a lot of times you get so stuck on functional hiring, we really miss those other components. And so we really want to bring those emotions to surface as quickly as possible to create a deeper connection.
William Tincup (03:51):
Let me get your take on this in terms of workplace culture, because pre-pandemic, I think I would’ve, maybe unaided, I would’ve said the box, the headquarters, the place, that’s culture and the extension of going to ball games or hanging out or going to bars, whatever the bit was, that that’s the culture of the company. With the pandemic, I’ve probably revisited that and said, “Culture is how you treat people.”
Now, I probably had it wrong to begin with and maybe I even have it wrong now. So there’s that, but what do you see out of your customers and even your own company in terms of, how do you define workplace culture?
Well, I love this question because it exposes such a broad response base. You and I could probably have two different opinions of what organizational culture is and there’s no magic formula, but here’s what I believe it is. I believe it’s exactly, to your point, it’s how you’re treated, it’s how you treat others, it’s how you feel. It’s a sense of security and safety amongst peers in a relationship and confidence inside the organization. And you know, take all those together and there’s your culture component.
But here’s the difference maker. And this is what I found when I owned a local job board and I was working with everybody from Chase Bank, PayPal, big corporate America, all the way to Joe’s Plumbing company, super small, looking for just a couple of service techs.
What I found was they all made the same mistake, didn’t matter the size of the company: we only talked about one type of culture and that was organizational culture. PayPal has great culture and they have a lot of perks that come with that culture, but they never promoted the fact that what was the culture like at the job level? If you’re a collections agent, the culture of your day-to-day job looks a lot different than the CFO’s day-to-day culture. Those should be two different stories.
Now, the organization has the same core values across all departments, across all locations and headquarters, but the actual culture experience can differ greatly based on all those different parameters. So in seeing that, I saw that a lot of companies missed an opportunity to tell the culture story at the job level, and I think that that’s a huge recruiting advantage companies can have, is really tie that back to the individual.
William Tincup (06:39):
First of all, I love this and where you’re taking it. If you can get down to the job level, you can get down to the team level and possibly even to the hiring manager level as well, right?
Oh, absolutely. I think there should be a story. “Here’s the team you’d be working with. This requisition is for this team. Here’s a little background on some of the team members you’d be working with. Your average tenure is five and a half years. Some of the general hobbies look like this, this, and this. Here are some of their favorite shows they’re watching on HBO Max.”
Bring to life the human side of day-to-day culture, as opposed to, “We believe in playing fairly. We believe that…” Right?
William Tincup (07:20):
Those are cute. Yeah. But it’s not really connecting and I think that’s the way you differentiate.
William Tincup (07:30):
I like that. I like that a lot. I guess several questions. One is who do we work with? Who does VIVAHR work with in that spectrum, from sourcing to onboarding and HR, et cetera? Who’s your customer? I mean, there’s a user and probably the customer, maybe they’re different, maybe they’re the same, but who’s VIVAHR’s customer? Who do we work with?
Yeah, so I’m going to answer that with sharing some of the problems that we faced when bringing this product to market, a handful of years ago. We realized pretty clearly that we were more than a job board, but we weren’t a full-on HR suite. So we fall under this quasi bucket of applicant tracking system, and that’s because we published the jobs to these providers. And in order to maintain that experience all the way through with the candidate to their first culture experience on the landing pages, the nurture email sequences, it had to be all self-contained inside us as suite.
We’re under this bucket of applicant tracking system, so a lot of our customers tend to be small businesses who they’re looking for that applicant tracking system first experience publishing, automating their job postings, nurturing candidates. But then we have this second cohort of larger companies that maybe they’ve got the ADP big applicant tracking system bolt-on or the iCIMS, or they’ve got a bigger framework in place, but they tend to use VIVAHR as this talent-sourcing and initial gatekeeping, and then once the candidates get to a certain stage in their pipeline, they push them over.
So we kind of have two different cohorts, but I would say I love small business, I love small Business America, I love the moldability and the humility that comes with that, so I gravitate there myself to work with those customers. But we have pretty good range.
William Tincup (09:41):
Sometimes it’s easier for the audience to think of pre-apply, apply, post-apply, and for technologies. And so I see you squarely in pre-app apply, that’s done, got that. That’s pretty easy. But I also see you, if it’s a call to action and there’s apply, I see you at apply,
For whatever reason, I don’t see you in post-apply, or in the confusion around ATS. I see it being integrated with ATS, but maybe at the S and B level it becomes a default because they don’t have an ATS or they’re using Excel, it becomes the default ATS. Do I have some of that right?
Yeah. Yep. I think you’re right in line. And it just goes up to the degree of sophistication at the company.
We’ll bring on franchise groups and they’ll say, “You know what? We used to centralize all the hiring, so we needed a bigger, heavier ATS. But now we’re giving that assignment back to the team leads at the respective locations or the franchisors or different tiers.” So it’s nice because it can be a full applicant tracking system as well.
William Tincup (10:52):
So do you get misdiagnosed sometimes as a CRM?
Yeah, yeah. I definitely see that happen. I also see people look at us and say, “Well, we already have an ATS, why would we use you?” And I think they miss that whole marketing messaging conversion rate conversation.
William Tincup (11:15):
To me that’s the most interesting, is actually helping people with the funnel and going all the way further… Just the sales funnel and marketing funnel, it’s going all the way further out and helping them with conversions all the way through that process.
Yeah, I think the more tenured folks in recruiting and hiring definitely understand quality over quantity. Because they’ve just seen that pattern over and over again and they recognize your A players, your top five percenters in any respective industry or function, they don’t just apply to every job the first time they see it. You really have to set an impression.
William Tincup (11:59):
You already said that.
Yeah, exactly. And they’ve got options. They know they have options and so they’re kind of floating around. But you need to present something so memorable that they can’t get it out of their minds and they decide two days, three days, six months later, “That’s worth taking a stab at. Let’s apply there.”
William Tincup (12:21):
So what are you seeing as it relates to remote or hybrid work from your customers in terms of how that relates to culture?
Well, that’s the question that has yet to… We’re not going to answer it here and I don’t think we’ll answer it in…
William Tincup (12:39):
Next 10 years?
Yeah. Because, you look at companies, one of my favorite companies is Zapier and Wade, when he built this company based in San Francisco, said “Rather than me taking this huge tranche of investment capital just to fund office space, let’s go all remote and keep our capital utilization as tight as possible here.”
And gosh, what an incredible job. I don’t know how many employees they’re up to, I believe they’re over 1,000 at this point, and they’re fully remote almost from day one. And they have some of the greatest company culture, their employment surveys. You look at the awards they’re winning, incredible work that they’re doing. I think that they’re very intentional about training, they’re very intentional about leadership.
You miss, in my opinion, what I refer to as leadership osmosis in a virtual environment. If you’re in the office and your department manager just dealt with a massive blow between a peer or a customer or there’s some contentious environment, you learn how it was handled, you learn what to do or maybe what not to do, you’re absorbing through osmosis these interactions and these opportunities for self-growth.
You miss a lot of that on a Zoom. You miss a lot of that remote. Whereas I think Zapier has done a really good job, is they are very intentional about their retreats. All their employees talk about it. They’re actively, intentionally budgeting for groups to get together, fly to a destination, have interaction with each other. I think that’s really the next generation of remote is you’re going to see companies having to invest very substantially into those meaningful connection events.
William Tincup (14:34):
I love it. And you’re right, we’re not going to solve that today, but I just wanted to see what your customers are going through, and I love the Zapier story.
Let’s do some buy side stuff. What’s your favorite part of the VIVAHR demo, when you know that you’re going to get them to an aha moment.
It’s that culture marketing piece, just because it’s so unique from any other platform is. We’ll go through the basic functions of the applicant tracking system, publishing the jobs, and those are pretty stable. I mean it’s a commodity.
You could shop dozens of different tools that do similar things, but really what it comes down to is, “How do we create a memorable experience to the candidate?”
And that’s usually where we go, “Okay, now I want to have it.” That kind of a dialogue. So it’s-
William Tincup (15:27):
How fast can we stand it up?
Yes. “What does onboarding look like? Take my money.”
So those are always fun conversations to see how excited they get about visualizing them doing that with their brand.
William Tincup (15:45):
What questions should prospects be asking you in the sales process?
I’m going to go down a rabbit hole here and forgive me for this, but I’ve sat on boards with SHRM organizations and chapters and there’s really this weird dichotomy between vendors and HR practitioners.
As an HR vendor, I feel like we’re kind of looked at lesser knowledge base, right? Like, “Oh, you’re just a vendor.”
There’s this sense of discount there. The reality is I have access to tens and hundreds of thousands of data points that could give HR practitioners incredible insights into the pulse of hiring their industry. And I almost never get asked anything about that. That’s interesting to me, why vendors are not brought into those dialogues more as experts because of their lens of visibility to what’s happening, what’s not happening. I think that those would be some of the magic questions.
I would recommend folks shopping for different HR tools is when talking to the vendor, ask some questions. “What are you seeing in the marketplace? How is this comparing to what my peers are doing? What’s best practice in this environment?” I think you might be surprised that the amount of insight that could be shared.
William Tincup (17:17):
Oh, I 100% agree. For a period of my life I studied user adoption in implementations. And it’s like sitting… Especially enterprise software, sitting in the implementation side, you get to see all of what goes on that’s right, and where some of those inevitable disasters are and change management and all this stuff.
And it’s like, they don’t get utilized. A the fraction of their utilization is used by practitioners because of what you hit on. They’re not just thought of lesser, it’s almost institutionalized that they are lesser and it’s like, “Not if you think about how many installs they’ve done.”
So take an Oracle, or for a Workday, I think they have 4,500 HCM clients. That means they’ve done 4,500 implementations. That’s sitting on a lot of data of what to configure, what to customize, what to make better, how the process gets smoother, et cetera. So I think you’re absolutely right.
Two things. One is I know people are going to ask about integrations and workflow. What are you being asked by your clients? What are you being asked to integrate, you know, the hip bone connects to the leg bone, et cetera? What do you need to be integrated with?
Yeah, I think a lot of people ask us if ultimately we integrate back with their kind of HCM, HRIS payroll system. And that’s definitely been a massive push for us actually this year, is getting out our REST APIs so we can build those integrations natively, as quickly as possible. We integrate with most of the big players from a payroll perspective, but we continually have a lot more on the roadmap that we want to build out. Depending on the size of the company, even just doing a manual export and import really is not very challenging at all.
There’s becoming more of a global standard as well, as how the data is layered and designed to make it a lot easier to pass through. So it’s becoming much, much quicker of an implementation to integrate.
William Tincup (19:38):
Because you mentioned Zapier, have you used them or have you thought to use them as kind of a connector?
Yeah, we do actually. Just about every data layer in our ATS has got one element of a trigger or action on our Zapier integration. You can do a lot of damage with Zapier and I love that, so I think it was absolutely brilliant. But yeah, we do have a full integration there. So there is a fair amount of our customers that maybe still they love just a good backup spreadsheet. So they have a full on, they have Zap going to a Google Sheet and just shows them a nice table.
William Tincup (20:19):
Oh, that’s fantastic.
I love ending the podcast with customer stories, without names, without brands and any of that type stuff. But just ways that people have used VIVAHR and you’re like, “This is why I built the company.”
Yeah, I mean, I’ll tell you the vertical, I had a client, probably close to 80 employees, they’re in the trades industry and they didn’t have an HR person at this level of a company and they’ve just been really stuck on sponsoring jobs on Indeed and posting jobs on Craigslist. They didn’t realize that there’s this ability to use a third-party publisher and start generating organic traffic. They were spending close to $8,000 to $10,000 a month between all their sponsorship job openings across the different platforms.
I said, “Just trust me for two months. Drop the budget to zero. Let’s just look at organic visibility. We’re probably going to get lower quantity of candidates because we’re not forcing it in front of probably wrong qualified candidates, but instead we’re going to focus on optimizing against good quality keyword relevancy to the job titles and be discovered a little bit easier that way.”
I think that’s probably one of my favorite experiences. It’s been over a year and he’s never spent a dollar again on sponsored job ads and understands the power of just organic postings, good quality content, and really focusing on quality conversion rate optimization.
William Tincup (22:04):
It’s interesting to me because in that story, the customer, they’re going to spend about the same amount of money, I would assume, they’re just spending it differently. So instead of…
Well, in this case, he probably dropped his costs over 80% actually.
William Tincup (22:20):
Wow. Well, I was thinking about the quality content part. You’ve got to create the stickiness of that. But yeah, I mean obviously it’s a cost savings, which is great, but I think getting to a better quality hire and having a better candidate experience, as you mentioned at the very beginning, it’s like, “Hey listen, candidates… they’re going to get a better experience. If you don’t give it to them, they’re going to go somewhere else and get it from somebody else.”
William Tincup (22:49):
This has been wonderful, Ryan. I absolutely love what you’ve built and thank you so much for your time.
Hey, it’s my pleasure. Thanks for having me on.
William Tincup (22:57):
Absolutely. And thanks everyone else for listening to the Use Case podcast. Until next time.
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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.