What is your background, and what brought you to recruiter.com.
My background is in high-growth companies, really from the operations side. I started my first mobile computing right out of college at the age of 21 in 1989. I grew that company for over a decade, and Dun and Bradstreet acquired it in 1998.
I have worked with some very large pharmaceutical companies, American Express, TD Ameritrade, and many other companies in the mobile sector. After spending a little time there, I got pulled out by another venture capital firm to come and join another start-up.
I have been involved with some high-growth companies and have had the pleasure and honor of working with some very talented people throughout the country. Most recently, I was with a payment company out in Silicon Valley that grew over a few years, and GoDaddy acquired them about a year ago for $350 million.
About three years ago, I met one of the original investors in Recruiter.com, and I was looking to get involved in something small. When I met the company, it was really a media company, including the Recruiter.com website, domain name, 3 million social media followers, and 40,000 Twitter followers. So, they had a large footprint but were really a media company. I wanted to capitalize on its presence to reinvent the overall recruiting industry, leveraging software and platform and an on-demand recruiting network. I became chairman of the board in March of 2019 and then I became CEO, at the height of the pandemic.
Since you joined, what do you think is the most significant impact you’ve had on the company?
I would say that I really gave the company a mission: to reinvent the recruiting industry. When I got involved in the company, it was yet another media company doing consulting work, etc. We have just given the company a true mission to help recruit talent faster and better.
I think that the goal of any good CEO is really to define a mission, make sure everyone’s clear on the mission, and help people execute against that mission. If a CEO is successful, it creates a lot of success for the people below him. So, I am most proud of the people we’ve assembled at the company: the management team and the company’s employees.
We have been growing quarter over quarter, we’re hitting all our numbers and all those other things are fantastic, but that doesn’t happen in a vacuum. It happens when you’re able to retain great people and make sure that everyone shares the same mission and moves in the same direction. And to me, that’s what I’m most proud of.
What does Recruiter.com do?
The reality right now is that there have been two ways to hire: you either did it yourself, or you hired someone to do it for you.
If you, did it yourself over 30 years ago, you’d put a job in the classified ads in the local paper, and people would mail in their resumes and a cover letter. Now, 30 years later, you are putting the job on ZipRecruiter, or LinkedIn, or Indeed. You are capturing and reviewing the candidates online and screening and then interviewing them, etc. So, the process really hasn’t changed, the modalities have changed.
Alternatively, if you did not have the time, you would go out and find a head-hunter. You paid the head-hunter 20 -30% of the candidate’s salary to find you the right person, and they did all the work. All they did was the same thing that you would have done on your own. They post the job, they collect the resumes, etc. So that model is really primed for reinvention.
That model was based on the fact that a person was going to stay at a company for 20 years. Now we are talking about a market where people are leaving companies faster than ever. So that whole model must change, and we are really at the epicenter of that conversation. We believe that it’s about both increasing the flow that’s coming in through our AI software tools and through on-demand recruiting.
Why is recruitment so on-demand right now?
There are three major trends going on now.
The first is a massive talent shortage in unskilled labor. Right now, there are 9 million people that are outside the labor market and 11 million open jobs. So, we don’t need more open jobs in the US- we need people to take those jobs.
The second is what we call here, the great resignation. Suddenly, you had this massive build-up of people not leaving their jobs. There is what we call a voluntary churn of around 22 to 27% in the US. Every month, people are leaving, so this is now built up, and we’re seeing this great resignation. So 4.3 million quit their jobs in August, the largest number ever.
And finally, we have what I call The Job Hopper economy – the emergence of this Job Hopper economy. This really started pre-pandemic out on the West Coast. So you would have someone who would be at three companies in 10 years. And on the West Coast in Silicon Valley, that’s like, wow, you must be really talented. You’ve been at three amazing companies in 10 years.
You’re seeing all those three things here, now – the first two being episodic, the third being systemic, which have really created this unprecedented demand. Wall Street Journal called it a surge in demand for recruiters. There’s this tremendous demand now for recruiters to help companies deal with the hiring of the less skilled labor, the non-knowledge workers, to help cut the backfill of people leaving companies and refilling those jobs, and to address this Job Hopper economy where people are coming and going at an all-time high.
Is that specifically in reference to the US and to broaden that, is that the geographical area where you focus?
We primarily focus on the US, although we do projects around the world. I think the interesting thing on a global level is this notion of “hire of work from anywhere”, which is very quickly morphing into one of the top trends of 2022. A company will say, look, I could hire from anywhere and I’ll let anyone work from anywhere, so it’s really a candidates market. In 2022, more companies will start recognizing Gee, I don’t need to have this resource sitting here on the East Coast, or the West Coast, or the Midwest, or the Southwest. I can find incredibly talented people in South Africa and why not if I don’t care about timezone, etc, why not?
Why do you say it is a candidate market?
I think it’s a true candidates market, and the reason is that I believe that every candidate today is more valuable than they were two years ago – from the chief marketing officer to the Java developer, to the person willing to walk into a restaurant – everyone today is more valuable than they were two years ago, and they recognize it. The other challenge that we’re having is that compensation is no longer the only thing people care about, which is really a post-pandemic thing. You can’t just pay more money and win people over. They want experiences, they want work-life balance, they want to work remotely – there are other things that are playing into this area now which we started to call the great reevaluation. Now, it’s the reevaluation of what is our corporate culture? What sort of employees do we want to attract to our company?
On the flip side, maybe you want to work for a company that just doesn’t care. You want to put your time in and get your job done. You don’t want anyone bothering you about boondoggles and weekends and virtual happy hour. You know, and my argument would be as a company, if that’s your priority – come work for us we’re never going to bother you, get your job done and then go spend time with your family -it’s going to have its own audience.
It’s not an either-or world and it’s always been that way. Companies are going to figure out what their priorities are and attract employees that align with those priorities. And by the way, it’s actually going to make the recruiter’s job, which is the topic of our conversation, even more interesting. Hey, recruiter, only finds me people interested in working one day in the office that have no problem doing that whatsoever. It’s going to add lots of interesting complexity.
Do you think that companies are adjusting fast enough to these changes?
No, I don’t think they’re adjusting fast enough, which is why we’re having issues and challenges. I think that the old way just doesn’t work. In the US in 2020, the average hire took 42 days and a lot of the delay was due to scheduling. We can’t spend 42 days to find someone to get them on board. If everyone could actually work wherever they want, you will lose those people. Anecdotally we’re seeing companies talk about no-shows, right? You know, I’ve scheduled five interviews and three people show up or I’ve hired two people and only one person shows up the day that we hired them because they took another job in between. It’s fascinating.
When a company signs up with recruiter.com. What does the process look like? What do they need to bring to the table and how does AI fit in?
Let’s use two examples. We have a Silicon Valley client called Agtonomy. They are an autonomous agriculture company. They need to hire 16 people within four months and the CEO and the CFO want to do all the hiring directly, they don’t want to bring on a recruiter. They don’t want to pay $400,000 to bring on 16 people but they don’t want to spend their time actually talking to people and not finding them. Our model, our philosophy really is that recruiting at the end of the day is a human conversation, I don’t care about the bot, the AI doesn’t matter. Nobody should be walking into your business without speaking to somebody, right, I don’t care whether you’re the dishwasher or the CEO, you got to talk to somebody to get in there. So what we want to do is flip the model. You shouldn’t be spending 80% of your time finding someone, and 20% of the time engaged in meaningful conversation. It should be the opposite – you should take 20% of the time to find the people and 80% of the time to have meaningful conversations to ensure that it’s a good fit. So what we do for Agtonomy is that our AI tools are finding and qualifying the people that they need and sending interested and engaged candidates directly to the CEO and the CFO. It’s working great.
We had another client, a very large advertising company that needed to hire hundreds of people very, very quickly. They came to us, and we scaled them up in a matter of 30 days to about 18 varying recruiters, all on-demand on an on-demand basis – right recruiter, right place, right time, right rate, paying them all on an hourly basis, using our AI tools as well. So we used our tools to find the candidates, gave the recruiters the people, and we did 140 hires for them inside of about 120 days. So just crazy numbers and when the project was over we scaled down. So it’s this on-demand notion of scaling up and scaling down.
We work with companies that range from, you know, tech companies looking for more people, finance companies looking for people, to large companies with, you know, very sophisticated talent acquisition professionals. We get a lot of people saying, look, I need five recruiters and I want to use them on an on-demand basis but if I like them, I’m going to want to hire them. We do that all the time.
If have a client who uses you do they have a specific agent or consultant?
Yeah, we have a very good client success team. So depending on what their requirements are, again, it really depends. It could range from implementation manager to help them out with our AI tools or artificial intelligence software, to Program Delivery Manager on the on-demand side or customer success manager that spans across all the different services that we have. We have about three different services today. And so it depends on what services the clients actually want. We scale very, very quickly. Our software tools are delivering candidates, usually within a week to the client. So it’s very exciting to watch.
Do you have any stats to back up the fact that you’re providing good candidates to these companies?
We track everything and the fact that we have a very, very low client churn is indicative of the fact that clients like the services that we’re providing. Now, keep in mind, you know, we don’t control how much the company wants to pay the candidate. Right. So there are things that we can control and things we can’t. Can we get candidates to raise their hand and be interested? Can we provide recruiters to take people through the process? There are a lot of things that we can do and we track a lot of that. We’ve also seen the global head of talent at one client leave and go to another company, and we were their first phone call at that company. So we’re seeing that repeated success. And that, to me, is very, very telling and very heartwarming.
How do you balance the use of AI with the need for personal experience?
We want to have more time available to speak to people, less time sourcing them and finding them. And that’s really what we do with our AI side, you know, is helping find people faster. We also do a lot of extended profiling in some areas. So we have databases of people who are not just our candidates who are not just a resume, but we have 30,000 video resumes. We have lots of other data in certain areas to really help that overall process. So we want to find the right person for the right project.
What can we expect to see from recruiter.com in the future?
We are a public company so I can only talk about the things that we publicly talk about – we’re going to continue to grow, we’re going to continue to deliver results to our clients, we’re going to continue to expand our clients and we’re going to continue to expand our database – we’re now over 150 million profiles in our AI-driven database. So a lot. We’re going to continue doing what we’re doing today and make it easier for our clients to engage with us. So, you know, really focused on making sure that we’re building a great company for our own employees, making sure that’s a priority and at the same time, you know, delivering on our mission of recruiting talent faster and better for our clients.
Karen has studied psychology and business management, and has spent the majority of her career in online retail focusing on people management and development in a virtual environment. In her free time, you can find her in the garden planting vegetables, practicing lawn bowling, or relaxing at home with her partner and four beautiful cats.