What Non-Tech Companies Can Do To Attract Tech Talent With Richard Cho of Gem
Our special guest for today is Richard Cho, Strategic Advisor at Gem and EVP of Talent Acquisition at Charlie Health. Brace yourself for an insightful journey into the world of tech talent acquisition in non-tech industries. Richard shares valuable insights on how to appeal to tech geeks, breaking down the tech world into three key archetypes. The conversation delves into the art of marketing your mission and challenge to these professionals. If you’ve been curious about the strategies behind attracting tech talents, this episode is your treasure trove!
Moving into the realm of mental health, this episode uncovers the magic that technology can weave into this crucial space. Richard walks us through the transformative power of digital tools and how they can empower mental health professionals, democratize access to care, and greatly reduce administrative burdens. We explore how technology is revolutionizing the mental health industry, from enabling experienced professionals to providing better access for those in need. This riveting discussion is a must-listen for all mental health advocates and anyone interested in the future of digital health. Tune in for a valuable, thought-provoking exploration of technology’s potential to address mental health challenges.
Listening Time: 24 minutes
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Senior Recruiting Executive with broad industry background. Has a passion for establishing effective recruiting strategies and employment brand for hyper-growth companies. Has a successful track record of growing companies from 100's to 1000's in a short period of time.
Specialties: Building Diverse Workforce, Hiring, Employment Branding, Recruiting Operations and Analytics, Compensation Analysis, Stock Administration, Market Analysis, Recruiting Systems (ATS, Sourcing Tools, On-boarding), RPO, ComplianceFollow
What Non-Tech Companies Can Do To Attract Tech Talent With Richard Cho of Gem
William Tincup: [00:00:00] This is William Tincup, and you’re listening to the Recruiting Daily Podcast. Today we have Richard on, and he’s an advisor to Gem, whom we all know and love. But he also has a day job, and we’ll let him talk a little bit about that. But our topic today is what non tech companies can do to attract Tech talent.
This is a question that pretty much everyone I know has, especially if they’re not in the tech or tech recruiting world. [00:01:00] Richard, would you do us a favor and do a better job introducing yourself than I did?
Richard Cho: I’d be happy to. Thanks, William. Yeah, my I have multiple jobs, it turns out. But my day job as we speak is I’m executive vice president of talent acquisition at Charlie Health.
So Charlie Health is a company is a startup, a series B startup in the mental health care space. And we really achieved the first sets of our success, not based on some fancy Technology, right? We don’t have a middle out compression. We middle out compression algorithm. We actually achieve success through a very unique way of delivering intensive outpatient programs to those that are high acuity mental health patients.
And I’m here as a part of this. Movement to really infuse the tech DNA into the [00:02:00] organization because we believe technology is going to amplify our reach and our effectiveness, especially in a environment and a cause that’s so near and dear to my heart. So that’s my day job.
And that sort of aligns to our topic today. Sure. And
William Tincup: what how was the cell internally in terms of especially, I have friends in the biomedical space and all of a sudden their TA people are like, Hey, we need to hire tech talent. And it’s, it was for some of, not all, but for some of it was like pushing a boulder uphill because they’re used to hiring all kinds of clinical staff and things like that.
And and hiring, even something as simple as a web developer, like not even that technical was still an uphill battle. What did you find when you came on board?
Richard Cho: I, it’s definitely an uphill battle. The good news is digital health has been around for, better part of a decade or two.
And so there are folks that. Are already bridging the gap between health [00:03:00] care and technology. The challenge, though, is many of the digital health care. Technologists, they are really putting a technology layer on top of how health care needs to operate. So it’s highly compliance.
Check, there’s lots of checks and rechecks because you don’t want to make a mistake. A off by one calculation error can mean a really big issue. There’s this like, when I said insert tech DNA earlier I think there’s a way. That we can move fast, experiment and certainly, ensure that we’re doing it in a compliant way so that we protect people’s medical records and not make mistakes that can have a drastic impact to the quality of service.
While, infusing this tech DNA that what we all are used to in the world of tech. So that’s a big challenge. So selling an engineer [00:04:00] who’s used to moving fast and dealing with, petabytes of data is, it’s hard, but it’s not impossible. Yeah.
William Tincup: A lot of the the.
technologists that I know are challenge oriented. So it’s the it’s again, if they’re going from Amazon to Facebook, that’s a challenge. It’s different Facebook Google, et cetera. But if they’re going from one of the, let’s say a tech company and they’re moving over to, let’s say your company, there’s a challenge.
There’s all kinds of challenges, but some of those are actually interesting to tech people. You know what I’m saying? Like it’s Hey, there’s nothing here. Like you don’t have to redo anything. There’s. Nothing’s been started, like what other kind of sales points do you think are important for people to highlight with tech?
Richard Cho: Yeah. And that’s just it. And so I look at technologists in three different archetypes. There’s one where they want to work on really big. Really hard tech problems, right? So they go to companies that have the petabytes of of [00:05:00] data and really go deep into the upper edges of limits in in, Developing whatever that might be, whether it’s a I or or deep data or any of those things.
Then the second archetype are folks that care about the mission. Also care about the. Challenge of really hard technical problems. But mission is their North Star. And then the third are individuals that are really excited about doing something that no one else has done and pioneering in a new new field.
And so we’re we’re, we attract archetypes two and three. And because, the, if I look at the first set of work here at truly health, as a, person who went to school to be an engineer, it’s not like super challenging. But what’s interesting is any idea that I’ve been lucky enough to be a part of the initial problem [00:06:00] statement wasn’t hard when you beta, can connect millions of people on a single platform to, can you store really big bits of data effortlessly?
I don’t want to say they were. Easy problems, but they didn’t have, millions, if not billions of concurrent users at the time they’re experimenting with can you is this even a proof of concept? The way that I sell these technologists in archetype two and three is. No one’s done this before.
You get to really set the foundation. And the mission is so important. It’s so important that we bring in smart technologists to tackle this problem that usually we can get them intrigued about the idea moving forward.
William Tincup: I love that you built archetypes, what we used to call in marketing personas.
So I love that you’ve built those and especially some of the ones that the number one isn’t that one’s just not going to work. Even if you try and find it’d be, yeah, you never know. Again, it [00:07:00] could work but more often than not, if you chase that person, they’re just going to continue to run for you because you’re looking for something different.
That’s right. So with the second and third archetype have you seen anything generationally or, like someone’s falls in love with the mission or they’re tied to the mission? Maybe they’ve been through something similar or they’ve got a family member that’s been through something similar and they just fall in love with the mission.
Have you seen anything that’s like demographically that’s popped out that, that kind of, that stands out for you to then recur?
Richard Cho: Yeah, so the good news is our mission speaks to those that have personal experience and those that that do not have personal experience because we’re tackling such a critical area.
To describe a little bit more about Charlie health our overall mission is to reduce or remove the ideation of suicide in the world. So these are critical, critically ill individuals that need support beyond just the emergency room and and waiting [00:08:00] for a group therapy, months later after the emergency room.
When we talk about high acuity mental illness, people get it. And we’ve, and we all have heard and read about this increase in mental health issues over the last 5 to 10 years, probably more like 5 years where it’s become less taboo to discuss it where now we have public personalities talking about their own mental health in public forums.
I would say those that have personal stories that align like myself. Certainly it’s a no brainer where we jump right in. But those that do not have that personal story they get how much of a issue this is that this is a global epidemic and that we we need to You know, apply our best minds to solve this problem.
And Charlie Health just happens to have a head start in that. I really
William Tincup: love that. I, and I was suicidal years ago. Not that long ago in [00:09:00] 2015. And so I came off ADHD medicine by not laddering, but just stopped taking it. And I was on high doses and had undiagnosed hypomania form of bipolar.
And and so I didn’t, I never had any up until that point, I’d never, I had anything that ever never had any suicidal thoughts. I would never even just never even. And then I found myself, driving around looking for someone to run into do I get it? And I tell people that I’m like, you know what?
I understand now that it’s brain chemistry and that it, that There are other reasons, obviously, that people go through that, but with my specific case, it was brain chemistry, and I had to get my brain chemistry right, but I needed help, and I needed help, and it, like you said about the waiting for group therapy or waiting for, someone to call you back or something like that Mine went from zero to me driving around in two hours.
Richard Cho: Yeah. [00:10:00] We need to live in a world where it’s just as easy for you to get support when you need it. As you can order a burger in a place that you’re, that you’ve never been and they deliver it to your door. Like. How backwards is a world where, I could be in some region. I have no idea.
And I have a hankering for a burger and I get it within, 10 minutes. I should be able to get mental health support within 10 minutes of when I need it because, because of that, so technology plays a role. I’m
William Tincup: in your, I’m in your corner and I think 30 therapy should be mandated.
So I’m on, I’m in Texas. So of course it will never happen here, but And I love my state, but I think the therapy to get your driver’s license, you should have to have so much, so many hours of therapy, just to baseline, just to see where you’re at, just to talk to somebody again, there’s so much undiagnosed things that people treat with alcohol and drugs and other types of things that like, if you just knew you wouldn’t do those things.
[00:11:00] Yeah, and I agree with you. Therapies, they should be like Starbucks. If not online, at least in the offline world, they should be so accessible that You just never have a problem. Like you can just walk into somewhere, you can roll onto a website or an app or something like that. And he’s just yeah, you can get the need you can get the need exactly like I was thinking about just in time when you were first talking about it, I was like this is going to help a whole lot of people because again, there’s that moment when they need help and they realize they need help.
Like I did, you realize you need help and it’s okay you can continue to go forward and. Continue out that, that line of thinking, or you can get help and asking for help is hard.
Richard Cho: Yeah. And you can imagine there are, different levels of of this illness. And and to your point, you’re, through your, through the professionals that supported you, you talked about.
Brain chemistry. And thank you so much for sharing your story [00:12:00] because, this is part of that the healing that needs to happen across the world is make this conversation less taboo. We should be talking about this like we had a, like a common cold, but there’s different gradations where people experience stress and anxiety every day and they, to your point, everyone should have access to therapy in that regard, where we support individuals is really in the, in this story that you shared where you’ve gone past the, I feel anxious today.
Now I have some suicidal ideation or there, there are also other types of trauma where, whether it’s folks who almost, you know or attempted overdose either intentionally or accidentally sexual trauma the story of our CEO speaks to that, like she Carter, she herself, not only has a personal tie to the mission, but she’s an example of how you can actually.
Be thriving and manage the issues that follow major trauma like that through [00:13:00] the right tools. But more importantly, and this is the point that I think you were trying to make is not only is it just in time, but you can also be in group therapy with others that have similar stories as you.
And they look like you, and they talk like you. You’re, that you’re not the one person who attempted suicide in a room with someone else who had alcohol addiction and gambling addiction. Our ability to provide support virtually gives us the opportunity to match. people with similar diagnoses so that you’re all talking about the same thing.
Yourselves in each other, and hence you have a higher probability to complete not only the program, but see that you’re not the only one who’s gone through this. And so that’s the power of Charlie Hill. I love
William Tincup: that. Now, the technical challenges that that you have in terms of, you’re in a startup this is your first rodeo.
So building all of those things up. And again, you’re [00:14:00] going after tech talent to then help you obviously build out the technical side of Charlie. With architect, with archetype two and three, first of all, you got to find them, which is sourcing, right? Which is in and of itself, a challenge that you got to message them.
You got to get them on the line. Somehow you got to communicate and then talk to them about what you’ve got going on to what. So right now, if you were to talk to, a technologist, we’ll keep it vague, but what’s the challenge that you coming out with right now? What are you talking?
Richard Cho: They don’t know about us. We have no, no real branding. And what little branding we have it’s a little sort of out of whack or not explicit towards the cohort of candidates that we’re trying to attract, right? And this is, I gotta tell you that, given the, given the topic theme when we’re thinking about industries that are, 10, 20, maybe even 30 years behind where tech is today.
Their biggest challenge is to attract technologists that that [00:15:00] have this like notion of what role technology plays. So if we look at the mental health industry, it’s not unusual for therapists to still be using. Pencil and paper in their practice and that they’re almost avoiding of, a laptop pushing buttons in a lap laptop.
So what we try to what we tried to talk about is here’s an opportunity for you to experiment in an environment Where you can bring forth new ideas in automation new ideas and AI, by the way. So our matching algorithm as we talk about when I said, when we go through our, we like to call them clients, not patients.
So when we admit clients and we have, licensed therapists that are doing this initial assessments So we’re looking at the best therapists that are that are available for that kind of support, but also what about other clients that have similar similar trauma.
Can we [00:16:00] match them together so that they can, that there’s a high level of resonance with each other? That’s done by humans today. But you could imagine in the future, we could train machine to at least suggest as opposed to a human going, doing our own decision tree, then looking at who’s available, then looking at what groups are coming because we one of the biggest goals that Carter wants us To abide by and this is the biggest differentiator for Charlie health is no one on a waitlist, no waitlist at all.
That is a hundred percent of our mission. Having a machine that pre suggests to a licensed therapist, Hey, that William could be best matched with this group. That machine could do it in milliseconds where a human has to go through, look through, schedules and all that stuff.
So to those technologists, I say this is what you can get us closer to. And once we get the foundation built out, then the sky’s the limit on the things that we can do long term with technology. And I think that’s [00:17:00] what gets archetype two and three really excited. There’s the base work you just have to get there and right.
You have the proof concept, but then once we get product market fit, then there’s like a whole world of things that we can experiment with and make this industry better.
William Tincup: Yeah. I can see building out being excited as a technologist to build a large language models that are specific. To, to Charlie and the clients that you serve in the keywords, cause like conversational AI and conversational bots, it can it’s a great way finding system, especially once it’s trained and it really understands, the needs of the clientele.
It can get people scheduled. It can get them to the right folks and get them to.
Richard Cho: I can’t build it. Yeah, exactly.
William Tincup: Someone’s got to build all that. What other types of, first of all, I love the digitalization, because some of this is digital transformation work, which is on the practitioner side. And, I’ll tell you, my pharmacologist that [00:18:00] helps me, he went, he was, he’s in his seventies, so he was total Like you said, pencil, paper, notes, folders, cabinets, the whole bit.
You can just picture this is his office. And with COVID he went to telehealth and he’s on, I think, Doxy or whatever, one of those pro platforms. And he. He won’t go back once COVID was over. He’s no, everything’s digital now. I’m good.
Richard Cho: Yeah. Yeah. I see when you talk about what’s next, there’s three things that it really can transform this industry.
The first, I want to amplify what you just said. It allows, even though this person’s, later on in life, it allows very experienced professionals like your pharmacologist to really think about continuing doing this, especially if it’s only two, three hours out of the day, they could just open up a laptop and assuming technology has caught up.
You can imagine he may want to [00:19:00] stay in business longer as opposed to thinking about, retiring because he doesn’t have to drive to a physical place and open up shop and wait for people to come in and all that. It makes things so much easier. Why wouldn’t he want to do this a little bit longer, which gives us the ability to address one of the biggest problems that people don’t realize about Support because of lack of professionals and their physical location versus where the help is needed. If you do a simple search on the Bureau of Labor Statistics and you look at where in the nation has sufficient mental health care providers. It’s really, if you’re outside of a major metropolitan area, it’s really hard for you to get support.
And you can imagine the areas that need the most support tend to be in the rural areas. So how do they get their support? The short answer is they’d have to drive, hour and a half, one, one way, hopefully get admitted right away. Like all those things are challenging.
The second thing that like [00:20:00] we’re endeavoring to change is access. And not just those that could afford it and the wealthy, but imagine those that need it the most, but they just. I suspect those are on the lower on the poverty scale, probably have zero access to therapist.
Oh, 100%. And so one of the critical things that we provide is that we accept Medicare Medicaid. So that, that’s something that we, it’s really important to Carter and the other two founders that we have access to everyone. Technology makes that work, not. Not, like we’re not doing anything other than making telehealth or digital health more accessible.
And then the third is much in the same way. And given that this is really to talent professionals much in the same way that right now, current talent professionals are mired with Administrative tasks that you just have very little time to spend with your candidates. Think about it from the aspect of the mental therapist with all the new laws that are in [00:21:00] place.
They have to, tick mark all these like steps to make sure that they’re compliant. And then Apply the therapy and then, tick mark more things to make sure that they’ve finished imagine if technology can automate a lot of those things so that really the therapist, their only focus area is to make sure that they are providing the healing support that they need to
William Tincup: just the just the transcription services that I’ve seen in telehealth are fascinating because it’s like in my doctor, he just talks.
Yeah. It takes notes and then it just puts it in the record and he’ll stop and go, okay, patient, blah, blah, blah. And, he’ll talk like a doctor but it just takes the notes and publishes it in the record. It’s he doesn’t have to write anything. He’s just has to talk. You mentioned.
Rural kind of America and also the access point, but I, I haven’t read a study on this, but I would also, I’m assuming that’s also where suicide is more taboo to talk
Richard Cho: about. Yeah. I’d
William Tincup: love to [00:22:00] have a study on that to prove. That’s just a idea, but I would love to see something that proves that.
The last question I did have for you is years ago, where people would go to find tech talent, your usual kind of GitHub stack overflow, wherever technologists kind of huddle, wherever they’re huddled together, go there. Are you finding anything, even recruiting tech talent for a while?
So are you finding any different way or a different kind of. Pools. Yeah.
Richard Cho: Yeah. Not necessarily different pools. I think they all huddle in similar areas. GitHub obviously has a very strong value proposition because they’re doing other things than looking for jobs at GitHub. So because of that’s still a good place to go.
I think what we’re missing here is our ability to really articulate our mission and inspire Technologists that want to use their skills and experiences for a mission that they really care a lot about. And really challenge those technologists [00:23:00] that, don’t, my challenge to them is don’t be, employee number 6072 doing the same thing that.
Others or even the founder of the company has already proved come to a place like Charlie health, a company that you wouldn’t naturally assume being a technology led organization and establish that for yourself. Now, right? I want to inspire those people to say wow I’ve developed these skills and I can go and help really bring forth a world where suicidal ideation is no longer a a major issue in our adolescent and young adult lives.
Let’s go build that. So be the first, the founding team as opposed to, the many thousandth at a company that’s already doing this. So
William Tincup: that’s going to speak to us and that’s going to speak to somebody that’s going to speak to one of those archetypes that sees themselves as more building a legacy and building, not just being a cog in a much larger wheel, which is, [00:24:00] again, there’s time and place for all that type of stuff, but that’s true.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this, but I know you’ve got other things to do today. So thank you so much for coming on the show.
Richard Cho: It was my pleasure. Thanks for having me on William. Absolutely. Thanks
William Tincup: for everyone listening until next time.
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.