In this episode, we talk with Tim Visconti industry veteran and Managing Partner of PeopleLift.
Here’s what we cover:
- Fink accuses Ryan of not speaking English
- Tim talks about recruiting recruiters
- How he lost 95% of his revenue and why switching from tech recruiting to manufacturing has been the best decision he’s made in a long time.
Listening Time: 25 minutes
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Ryan Leary: How do you say water?
Brian Fink: Can you spell-
Ryan Leary: Or that water.
Brian Fink: Can you spell water for me? There’s two R’s in this word?
Ryan Leary: [inaudible 00:00:09] its water, that’s how you say it. And that’s it. I don’t get it. How else do you say it? You’d say water.
Speaker 7: School’s in session. This is RecruitingDaily, Sourcing School podcast. Real talk about recruiting, sourcing and cyber sleuthing.
Hot takes on sourcing tools, recruiting tech and anything we want to talk about.
We have no filter.
It’s time to level up and put your sourcing pants on. Here’s your dudes, Ryan Leary and Brian Fink.
Brian Fink: Hello everybody and welcome to Sourcing School with your host, Ryan Leary and Brian. I really need a cheeseburger Fink. We are excited to be here today and we are excited to be joined.
Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, by the gentleman who actually preceded me at my tear through Rent Path. We are joined by the lovely and talented, the CEO of People [inaudible 00:01:23]. Let’s give it out for Tim, everybody. What’s going on, Tim? How are you?
Ryan Leary: What’s up?
Tim Visconti: Hey, hey. Lovely and talented. You’re going right for the blush factor here, man. That’s what’s up. That’s a nice [inaudible 00:01:35] bite. Are you giving me a call after this? What’s going on here, man? I appreciate the [crosstalk 00:01:41]
Brian Fink: We’ve got Valentine’s day in the air. If plans don’t work out with Ally, I’m trying to make other moves. That’s what it is.
Tim Visconti: It’s all love here, man. It’s all love.
Happy to be here. I appreciate you having me on here.
Ryan Leary: We’ve got Fink… We’ve got you in some sort of an iPhone 12 Pro Max tunnel, in the car somewhere because you’re eating a cheeseburger. We’ve got Tim who’s channeling down on… What do you got there? What are you drinking?
Tim Visconti: Nikka Whiskey coffee. So it said, come prepared on beverage. I was like, I need to get through the rest of the day and I need to have a little jolt. So, here we go.
Ryan Leary: Yeah. And I come with water. What is that?
Tim Visconti: We’re all miss matched right here, but
Ryan Leary: I don’t even follow [inaudible 00:02:26]
Tim Visconti: Let’s make some magic.
Brian Fink: Water.
Ryan Leary: Let’s do it.
Kick it off [inaudible 00:02:34].
Brian Fink: Can you pronounce that word for me again? Water.
Ryan Leary: Water. How do you say it, water?
Brian Fink: Can you spell water? Can you spell water for me, like there’s R’s in this water?
Ryan Leary: It’s water. That’s how you say it. And that’s it. I don’t get it. How else do you say is it? You say water? What is water?
Brian Fink: Yes, I say water. Give me a water.
Ryan Leary: All right, man. Kick this thing off.
Brian Fink: All right. So, real quick, Tim. You struck out on building something that is a different model in staffing and recruiting. I want to talk about that. But before we were joking around while I was choking on my cheeseburger, we were talking about how it’s been a weird January… How it’s been a weird beginning of the year. And Ryan was like, what’s that about? So, not to steal Ryan Leary’s thunder, because my wife accuses me of stealing his thunder.
Ryan Leary: [crosstalk 00:03:29].
Brian Fink: I’m going to let Ryan lead… Yes. Okay, baby. Please continue.
Ryan Leary: I don’t have any questions. I don’t know how to talk… I don’t know how to do this.
Brian Fink: Well, okay. So, hey, we were talking about what’s made it a weird January. Tim, what’s made it a weird January?
Tim Visconti: You’re driving me right under the bus. Here we go.
So, take it macro level and then I’ll go from my own team and we can see what we’ve seen in the marketplace. So, from an emotional standpoint, people are just tired. They’re exhausted. I mean the talent acquisition space there, it doesn’t feel like there was a true break towards the end of the year because you’re running hard to hit these goals. There was an exceptional mismatch, the marketplace supply demand. We see it everywhere, right? People not coming back into work, businesses shutting down. And there was a lot of people carrying a lot of weight for that time. And the holidays don’t seem to be as refreshing as they have been for most people. I understand the slow get out of the gate, but it felt like we were trying so much harder to get the momentum back in a lot of different ways.
And our clients were feeling it. We were seeing it different ways. People were getting sick at scale. COVID spiked again for a lot of the areas and customers that we some support. So, it felt like December never really ended. It continued all the way through, up until about this past week. We see it in the macro stats too on our pages. Impressions were down, engagements were down. We were seeing a lot more of a disconnect. So, that was what we were personally seeing. I don’t know what you’ve all been experiencing your side of the house.
Brian Fink: So-
Ryan Leary: He’s going to talk again.
Brian Fink: Oh, no. Ryan. Let me let you ask a question.
Ryan Leary: I was just going to ask, where are you seeing it more? Is it on your team side? Your client side? Or is it more of a candidate thing?
Tim Visconti: I think it’s all three tiers. It’s all people. We’re just exhausted at this point. Where we see it on the client side specifically, is that they’re dealing with their employees being sick at scale. A lot of this time, very early in the year, a lot of people were out as the data shows. But when we’re looking at it from a candidate perspective, it seemed like there was this cutoff that needed to happen. And it just never really happened. We never really unplugged for the holidays. I don’t know how I would also describe it, but when I’ve asked people directly, it just felt like the holiday season was not as promised. We aren’t out of the woods yet. We’re experiencing another wave of whatever. And then the market just kept going. And from a talent perspective, the knees kept arising. Headcount openings were increasing across the board. So, we just saw people just… honestly just the reflections of entire tire workforce and the entire employer side.
Brian Fink: Tim, I want to dig in a little bit more on that. From a recruiter standpoint, I know that there’s a great recruiter shortage right now. I’m putting that in air quotes for those of you who can’t see that. How’s that affecting your team because of what you guys are doing at the scale that you’re operating at?
Tim Visconti: Sure, just like everybody else. It’s harder for us to hire amazing people. The competition is insane out there. So, our business model relies on having great recruiters on staff to be able to support the clients that we onboard. And, we’ve just seen that increase in difficulty for us. But one thing that we’ve seen is, when recruiters are trying and working as hard as they are and seeing less and less results, more burnout factors start to come in. So, on my side, my lever is how do I try to offset some of that burnout that’s happening in real time? So, it’s created more of the day to day management. And it’s something I don’t see changing at all in the near term.
Ryan Leary: And my I’ve got a question on that. I want to dig a little deeper. So, coming up in March, we’ve got HR TX virtual recruiters.
Brian Fink: Recruiting recruiters.
Ryan Leary: That’s the topic, right? So, you may have mentioned too, you’ve got to have good recruiters on hand to do that. Are you finding it hard to find good recruiters at this point in time?
Tim Visconti: Macro? Yes, it is. It is because the competition out there for these great recruiters is intense. And as you mentioned that the recruiter shortage as it can be. I think that a stat that just boggled my mind was that there are more recruiter openings and software engineer openings for the first time that I’ve seen, at least since I’ve been this space. Now that’s 15 years here. So, I think the competition for us makes it harder. At the same part is that, there’s a lot of folks that are reevaluating their life and their priorities. And some folks in these high stress, high churn functions like recruiting can be, making the choice to say, I don’t want to do this anymore. So, less supply, more demands. More difficulty for companies that are… We’re not part of the top 12 companies. We’re small companies. So, we’ve got to fight for every client, every person on our team.
Brian Fink: Tim, I want to dig in here and ask a different question. We’re talking about people reevaluating things. Do you think that… There was a New York times article yesterday about the great resignation about how it’s being overblown.
Tim Visconti: Uh-huh (affirmative).
Brian Fink: Yeah. So, take me through that for a minute. I can’t assume that you read the article, but they’re talking about that the number one source of hire in November was the fact that you had record people quitting their jobs. But at the same time it says, we had an astronomical hiring rate in December of 2021. Are people reevaluating things? Is there a great resignation?
Tim Visconti: I don’t think we fully understand what’s going on. It’s easy to put a narrative on it. And it made a lot of sense earlier in the year, because we were seeing that trend. And you saw the trend continue for four, five months consecutive. Essentially breaking records on those attrition records. I think it’s just a reevaluation, because the resignation feels like that there isn’t… They’re leaving companies without the ability to operate. At certain kinds of functions, yes. We’re seeing that in McDonald’s and Starbucks, that I’ve never seen before. The stores that you would normally think that are going to be open, that kind of level retail. But, other parts of employment are picking up. Independent contractor work. The gaps for folks providing for themselves are shrinking, through temp labor work.
So, it’s just a re-imagining and a reevaluation, versus a resignation, I think. And I think it creates… There we go! I’m being [inaudible 00:10:22] here.
Ryan Leary: Did you hear that one?
Brian Fink: Salute.
Tim Visconti: I didn’t hear it, but I saw it. That was great.
Brian Fink: There you go.
Tim Visconti: But the short of it is, is that folks have options that they’ve never had before. So, with the reevaluating of how you’re going to attract and engage this next level of workforce we’ve got to get to. And, a lot of sectors that had never had to worry about it, that were very comfortable with the seven buck an hour plus, up to 15 as it is hiring practices are having to say, wow, we’ve got to compete. What are we going to do? And, thankfully we are positioned on our business to be answering that question right now. So, short of it here, resignation feels okay. I think it is reevaluation, and people have just got to be more competitive and rethink how they’re going to attract that next wave of employment for our employers.
Brian Fink: All right. So, if you’re just joining us now, I don’t know how you fast forwarded this thing about seven minutes into it, unless you’re my wife. I love you babes.
Ryan Leary: [crosstalk 00:11:18]
Brian Fink: I had to, because she claims that I don’t let Ryan talk enough. So, I was like… It’s like, hey Ally… I’m usually giving shout outs to Mattie.
So, we’re joined by Tim Visconti who, like I said at the very beginning of the call, has a very different business model. But also Tim moved from recruiting forum for technology professionals and at the exec level, to really working on manufacturing. So, he’s seen things at a different scale, at a different myography. Tim, what made you switch from tech, which is supposed to be the hottest job in the country, to manufacturing? Where the great resignation is really hitting us in the stomach.
Tim Visconti: All right, this is where we got the drink, right? So, I’ll say salute.
Ryan Leary: This is where we [crosstalk 00:12:06].
Tim Visconti: So, the emotional story then tie it back into the practical reality. So, Brian, as you know on this… But our listeners don’t. I was having my first kid in 2020. So, she was due in June and our business was pure tech. Eye media, growth consulting, bringing a different model to the market. We were growing like crazy. And then once COVID hit, we lost 95% of our revenue in 45 days.
Ryan Leary: Wow.
Tim Visconti: So, it was a sole proprietor business that was shot into the ground, and tech sector was pausing on additional spend. We weren’t technically a staffing firm because of our different models and different everything we were bringing in. So, we were viewed as a consultant and we were pushed out. Not through own funnel, fault of our own. Just simple, hey, all capital is now being reconsidered.
We have to remember, this is when the stock market dropped all the way down to 18,000 at some point in time. It was a very scary drop off for most companies, and liquidity was important. So, we had 2000 leads in our CRM and it was, what do we do? And I’m not really the type like, hey, let’s go pack it in, quit. This is not how I’m wired. I’m all gas. So I speak with a wife who’s nine months pregnant and say, should I go get a job? Or should I run at this with everything we got? And her decision to say, I support you and go run, is why we’re here today.
So how did I go for tech, into manufacturing? Those were the only folks that were picking up. We were doing 2000 hit leads that per week in our business. We were slamming the phone slamming emails, slamming social, anybody that was buying. And we found a sector of folks that were saying, we’ve never had this problem before. We’ve always been able to rely on temp labor between 15 to 20 bucks an hour, just populating our warehouses. Populating our supply chains. Filling up our trucks as it is. That labor source was then cut, because they were told to stay home. And we found products fit for what we were doing in tech at the manufacturing level. Now how we repositioned it, how we re-marketed it is a whole different story. But we found that purely because we got crushed, and we had nothing else to do but just slammed the phone to find business. And we found some slight signal June and July 2020.
And since then, we’ve done over three and a half million revenue. We’ve added on over 15 clients on long term retainers. And we’re continuing to grow over 200% year over year, because we have solved something that we didn’t know was a problem at this scale. And I’ll go into the model here in just a second, but the Salute to the wife sir, as I call it is the most important thing. Because if she tells me to go get a job, I’m getting a job guys. Let’s go ahead and call it. Because nine months pregnant… We had no income. Again, seven grand a month in revenue from little over 80. It was miserable. So…
Ryan Leary: I know the pain man, I’m with you on that story. And that does [inaudible 00:15:04] on that one.
Tim Visconti: Salute.
Ryan Leary: Yeah. Back in, short story and then we’ll get back to… Because, I want to learn what that model is in detail, because I think there’s probably a lot of listening audience that actually needs your help on this.
Tim Visconti: Sure.
Ryan Leary: I think they need to hear it.
But I had a similar situation, 2016. IBM said, pick one. It’s RecruitingDaily, or it’s this. Called my wife. She said, go. I said, all right. Handed the laptop in and I walked… That was it. I didn’t ask twice. But, yeah man. I don’t know that I would’ve been able to make that full-time switch had it have not happened that way. So, I’m with you there. I can connect with that. But, to tell the audience, I think there’s a lot of listening audience that is going to be interested in that story and how to do this.
Tim Visconti: Sure thing. So, like Brian mentioned, I proceeded him at Rent Path. The gig that was interesting though is that, that really took this… Is I took some principles I learned at Rent Path, which was about talent marketing side and how to approach that. Now, I was able to test that scale at Hurst Media. So we had 25000 employees, 200 different business line’s unique problems. And the idea was, what if we approach the market from a marketing perspective versus a recruiting perspective. How can we increase top funnel and engagement at levels that we wanted to be able to support those different businesses, different brands, blah, blah, blah. We were trying to replicate what an RPO would do for an organization. But as we all know, that that term is a bad one in the industry.
Yeah, I think we were talking about this earlier. It’s like it gets a visceral reaction from [inaudible 00:16:45]. And I get it. I hated it too. But the mandate was, we have an insane top funnel. We have to be able to better manage this. So, how can we automate processes in streamline features? And what we’ve done is that we’ve simply just shifted the burden. We’ve shifted the perspective. We are marketers that are trying to build tremendous pipelines and experiences for talent. And translating that down to the floor level.
So, what is that practically? To a lot of tech folks, a lot of really interesting organizations of how we do this and orchestrations of the data side. The ATS side, the CRM side, the programmatic side. But then also putting that into a way that allows our recruiters to spend more time with our candidates, because we’re not having to do the insane amount asks that recruiters are asked every single day.
So, in a nutshell, what we’ve done is just flipped B to C instead of it being customer. It’s B to C the candidate. Everything we do is from a marketing lens. And, what is the result for our clients? It’s high volume pipelines for our candidates. It’s awesome experiences that don’t hate recruiters, which is nice because it’s nice to not be treated and commoditized in a negative way. But what we’ve done is, we’ve looked at the staffing model and said, hey, we can do something a little bit better. But, beyond all of that, it’s just awesome people given and doing what we do because we care. And that’s the baseline of every single thing that we do in our business.
Brian Fink: Tim, does that mean that you would rather hire a marketer to be a recruiter? Or a salesperson to be a recruiter? Because I’ve always thought, find sales people and get them to be recruiters because they’re hungry. Sense of urgency… I’m open to being wrong to this.
Tim Visconti: I think it depends on the types of functions that you’re hiring for. You have to be very direct. If you’re going to be hiring high volume, I call it forklift drivers. It’s a very different search than hiring for software engineers, or for product engineers, or product designers. They are very different post. So, our job is to hire the right persona to fit into that. Marketing skills and background are really helpful because we start at the top funnel, which is engagements, and click throughs, and likes, and comments, to be able to drive those bottom funnel activities.
But the… I call it the secret sauce here, is that my partner and his team have built in a really great onboarding program that helps us go from we have some recruiters savvy to, this is the people that speak. And that’s not an easy transition, to be direct. But for us, we’re aligning better outcomes. We’re not hiring per head, which is such an interesting concept. It’s like, what’s your cost per hire? I’m like, we don’t operate like that. We’re project based. We’re operating on, how do we increase the amount of opportunities that you are going to hire these folks at the volume we’re looking for? And the result is great people at your door.
Right. I see your face. You’re processing it. [inaudible 00:19:45]
Ryan Leary: Yeah, processing it all.
Tim Visconti: What’s going on?
Ryan Leary: I love it… I love what you’re talking about here. And I can’t help but notice off topic, all those books in your background.
Tim Visconti: Yep.
Ryan Leary: Yeah. What are some of those books? No one’s ever going to see this video. So, it probably makes no sense to end… Well, maybe we’ll post a video on this one.
Tim Visconti: That’s okay. Doesn’t matter.
Ryan Leary: Minus Fink, who’s eating cheeseburgers.
Brian Fink: IPhone Pro Max.
Ryan Leary: What are some of those books back there? What are you reading?
Tim Visconti: So, right now I’m trying to… Okay. Predictive revenue is the one I’m reading right now. Because I’m looking [crosstalk 00:20:23]
Brian Fink: Is the shit. Is the shit.
Tim Visconti: Yeah. I’m trying to figure out how the heck… Because we’ve got the market on the recruiting side down, we love it. We want to change the sales model for this. We want to be able to help bring that in. So, how do we [inaudible 00:20:35] that process. So, that’s there. But, I’m just a geek. I try to do a book a week. When I’m getting some exercise then I’ll do audio books on this end. It’s the only way that’ll help me wind out at the end of the night. So, you’ll see stuff from Simon Sinek. You’ll see Plato. You’ll see… I’ve got Brave New World right next to me. There’s a whole bunch of random things to keep the mind going, and try to add as much as I can. But for right now, it’s all, how do I scale a sales organization out to 10000 as you go.
Ryan Leary: Yeah.
Tim Visconti: Yeah.
Ryan Leary: Fink, I know you were reading some good book… And we’re going to turn us into a book club now.
Brian Fink: It’s okay. I think there should be a book club for recruiters.
Ryan Leary: So, one of my mentors and people I’ve worked with for a long time… But, Steve O’Brien recommended Growing Great Employees by Eric Anderson. You haven’t read that?
Brian Fink: [crosstalk 00:21:25].
Ryan Leary: Fantastic. I’m about halfway to through and it’s amazing. Love it.
Brian Fink: Yeah.
Tim Visconti: And I’ll be listening to this [inaudible 00:21:31]. I’ll take that. Anything you all recommend? Seriously. Especially if there’s anything on entering new markets that relying [inaudible 00:21:40], because I’m not a manufacturing expert. I was a tech guy for 14 years. That’s all I played in. So, it’s been interesting. What about you [inaudible 00:21:47]?
Brian Fink: All right. So, real quick. Batman and I are reading Culture Code.
Tim Visconti: Okay.
Brian Fink: The Culture Code, it really taps into six different types of teams. And when I say different types of teams, I’m looking at everything from Navy seals, to quote on quote, those people who are forklift drivers that are working together at an Amazon plant. So, it’s really examining the dynamics of relationships and what it means to be a culture first organization.
Tim Visconti: I’d love to read that. It’s the first slide in our deck, we lead with why? Because in the end, we’re responsible for things that you care about. These are your people. These are your interactions. These are human beings. So, I would love to be able to take a look at that.
Ryan Leary: So, Tim let’s wrap this thing up. You gave a ton of fantastic information. People are going to love listening to this episode. I think we should [crosstalk 00:22:47]
Tim Visconti: Wait a minute, wait a minute.
Brian Fink: We can’t wrap this up. We can’t wrap this up yet.
Ryan Leary: Why? What do we have to do? Are we going to sing?
Brian Fink: Okay, because… No, I’m not going to sing. I have one question that I want to ask Tim, before you go into the wrap up.
Tim, people hit me all the time with, but Brian, how do I find forklift drivers? How do I find manual labor? And I’d say, you go to Facebook because LinkedIn won’t work.
What is working?
Tim Visconti: Short of it?
Ryan Leary: Just tell him the truth, Tim. Come to me.
Tim Visconti: The secret sauce? Exactly. I was about say, is the lead in, PeopleLift.com. There you go. About to contact former role.
I will give you a direct answer. We’ve actually seen a 30% increase in forklift drivers on LinkedIn because they’re looking in multiple sources. It’s not the best source. It’s absolutely not. I think you’re absolutely on point. Go to where folks interact on their phone. Figure out where the easy ecosystems, these micro communities are, and you’ll have exceptional response rates. If you start doing the post and prey, or the omnichannel spray and pray philosophy, you’re going to get the same net result. Discover who these folks are. Spend a day in their shoes, figure out where they’re at. You’ll be able to build a compelling message. That’s better than 95% of the recruiters out there.
Ryan Leary: Got to end it there, Fink. That was pretty good.
Brian Fink: That was hot. It’s all about you. What were you…
No, I mean…
Ryan Leary: There’s no question to ask there.
Brian Fink: No, I mean Tim is right, because I was talking to a developer the other day and he said, wait a minute, are you the recruiter or the hiring manager? And I said, I’m the recruiter. And he said, well, how do you know what a prod issue is? And I’m like, I YouTubed it and watched a clip. And I know what you guys do as site reliability engineers. And he was like, that’s cool, man. That’s all good. But you’re not the hiring manager. I’m like, no, I’m just the recruiter.
Ryan Leary: Hey, that would’ve been the perfect segue way to just say I’m Batman.
Oh man. That means it’s over.
Speaker 3: You’ve been listening to the recruiting live podcast by RecruitingDaily. Check out the latest industry podcast, webinars, articles, and news at recruitingdaily.com.
In 280 characters or less, Brian Fink is a Senior Technical Sourcer at Twitter. Obsessed with all things sourcing and recruiting, Fink focuses on attracting open-source technologists who want to build the future!
Ryan Leary helps create the processes, ideas and innovation that drives RecruitingDaily. He’s our in-house expert for anything related to sourcing, tools or technology. A lead generation and brand buzz building machine, he has built superior funnel systems for some of the industries top HR Tech and Recruitment brands. He is a veteran to the online community and a partner here at RecruitingDaily.