Phil Strazzulla @ SelectSoftware Reviews. Pick the best tools and build a great recruiting stack.A-Players - The top startups' recipes to build teams of top performers
- 636 views
- 27 Aug 2020
Phil and his team spend hundreds of hours researching the best HR and recruiting software to build deep and unbiased buyer guides. In this episode, he tells us about how to accurately assess a new tool, what he thinks the next generation of CRM/ATS will look like and how to build business cases to push new tools.
Talent wins games, but teamwork wins championships. Welcome to eight players. But guess what? We'll tell you how to target, hire, retain and train top performers for your team. If you have those initial assumptions, which are so easy to forget and you write down your rationale for that. You can learn a lot about yourself in six months and you can get better at making these sorts of decisions because you'll remember how you thought before and the lessons learned a lot more poignantly.
I am Robin shows you at our suites and we are sourcing automation software that helps that tech companies hire the best talent at me. And follow me now on LinkedIn who want to keep an eye on this. So today, we're having a field trip, Zula from SIDIQ Software. Thanks a lot for being here today. Feel today we'll be talking about tools. Can you tell us more about Sulick software? Yeah, let's talk about tools.
Thanks for having me, Robyn. So, yeah, my name is Phil. I run a website called Selek Software Views where we try to help each other in teams to find and buy the right software through free online guides. We do a ton of research all day long on emerging software, on existing H.R. tools from everything from kind of your blocking and tackling areas to the next generation A.I. that's going to help to source diversity candidates, kind of anything that's out there, you name it, we're on top of it.
And we're just trying to help people to make the shortlist. That's right. For their company to ask the right questions on demos, get the right price, et cetera. And again, it's it's all for you. We kind of make our money through advertising. That's on our website.
OK, and what's the typical stuff that you see? Probably depends on the size of the company, right?
Yeah. Company size really is important for picking the right software tools.
So for larger organizations and it's really across geographies, across industries, even across different talent, demographics that people are targeting. I love the ethos of this podcast to hire and scale up the eight players and eight players can be two for different people if they're software developers or if they're a long haul truck drivers. And so we have this very ambitious mission of trying to help people who are doing all of these different, equally really challenging things.
OK, but I guess the tools that you will use will depend a lot on who you're trying to hire, right. Are you hiring for someone that's not highly sought after, like software engineers, or do you want to talk to larger populations? So how do you split that different buckets? And what are the different companies buckets that you see today?
Yeah, so we think about everything from the perspective of the reader, the town opposition leader, who is trying to understand for their specific organization what's going on. And the way that we frame every single article is imagine you ran into somebody who's a friend of yours at a conference and they said, hey, Phil, I'm really trying to do X, Y, Z.
I'm trying to hire people who are software engineers in Boston or remote content writers or whatever the case may be.
And you had about 15 minutes to help that person. What are all of the really actionable nuggets that you would give them in that short amount of time that you've had? And so that really informs the framework for how we think about this. And you're exactly right. People who are hiring software engineers are going to be looking at a very different recruiting process that probably starts with cold outreach, either through Twitter like you guys or LinkedIn or other sort of places.
Developers are hanging out, GitHub, stack, overflow, whatever. It's going to probably lead into some sort of tech assessment for more senior engineers. It might just be a they've been doing this for five or 10 years. For others, it might be something like a Adelita you have to rank or coding game, et cetera. And then it's going to actually get to a more normalized interview process where you're looking for fit, etc. after you do the skills tests.
And for something like sales people, it might start on LinkedIn where the sales folks are hanging out and you might just be using a typical job posting. You might not even have to reach out cold. And there's going to be other skills that are more important that are maybe better tested through something like a video interview platform with my interview or recruiter or spiric hire sort of solution and will then lead into sort of your more typical interview process.
So there's there's lots of different routes out there and there's lots of different challenges for people to tackle. And I hope and I think we're doing a good job of helping all of those different to and our leaders.
And did you see any trend recently, like new tools emerging that any company should have?
Yeah, I think there's a lot of interest. So obviously we're in this whole covered area of the world where you're looking at remote sort of hiring. So virtual career fairs are a big thing. Now, there's a company called Brazen that is really good at helping companies to run these virtual corporate affairs services. We buy from one in person. There's also a lot of companies obviously looking at video, interviewing, remote assessments, like the tech assessments that I just mentioned, companies like Filter Qualified cetera.
And then I think there's a lot of companies who are also realizing that they need to do a lot more with less. And so they're looking at these buckets of A.I. tools. And I think I can mean a lot of different things and it can help in lots of different ways. The framework that I think about A.I. is to think of it like an exoskeleton for your recruiting team. It's not a replacement. It's just going to help them do more, faster and so it can help on the sourcing side of things, screening's scheduling, onboarding, there's lots of different ways it can help.
And companies like Fetcher or Laakso or Eight Fold or Allio or So or are all kind of leading the charge when it comes to this and helping organizations to leverage this kind of decent stage of artificial intelligence to make their process much more effective.
OK, and say so you run into that friend at an event and they ask you, I tell you I need your help, I need to do X, Y, Z and, you know, ask the question what all the questions you'll be asking them. Yeah, I think the why is always the most important, because, unfortunately, what I find is that a lot of people are actually chasing the wrong things.
And maybe they were at this conference and they heard a really compelling speech about how a CRM could change the way that their recruiting process works. And they got kind of sucked into it. Or maybe they saw really good sales demo or whatever the case may be. They kind of been fixated on a given suite of technologies.
And it's important for me to understand why they want to do that, because a lot of times a CRM could be overkill. I talked to a company two weeks ago that's a 30 person company and they want to use our chat bot to source and screen candidates, and they only hire about five or 10 people a year. And that sort of technology takes so much time to set up. It's so expensive and it's really designed for high volume recruiting. And that's where you can get the R y and so for that.
Individual who sort of needs talent acquisition at that smaller company. My advice was don't pursue this H.R. Chappe thing. That's totally overkill. It's amazing for some companies, but really bad for you guys. What you should do is perhaps invest in a sourcing tool or perhaps invest in a sourcing and outsource sourcing vendor that can help just fill your funnel so that you as an individual can focus on the bottom of the funnel recruiting and screening sort of tasks.
So there are obviously a lot of players in this area where one and there's a lot of competition. How can a company separate the wheat from the chaff? How can they make sure they invest in the right tool? What's the buying process that you recommend? And do you have any recommendation on the good sourcing tools out there?
Yeah, I definitely recommend you guys as a top at all for sure.
But I think in general, what I try to do is spend a little bit of time on a company's website to understand, is this a company that can support what I want to do? And there's basically two main criteria there. One is functionality. You're probably looking for something very specific. Do they talk about that? Is it some obscure page on their website or is it the main thing that they do? Usually companies are really good at the main thing they do and not so good at the other things.
The second criteria is scale. So a lot of companies are just getting started in the technology landscape associated with software that there are many companies that are 10, 20, 30, 50 people.
And if you're at a really big company, you might want a vendor that's going to have at least a certain amount of customers and a certain amount of customer success, experience, etc. And if you're at a smaller company, that threshold might be lower, but it might still be, hey, we want a company that maybe has raised a series or has a certain amount of revenue or certain customers and maybe even a certain amount of customers that look like us in our geography.
And so you can easily look on LinkedIn to find customer or trying to find employee headcount. You can look at the website to look at logos of customers and understand what geography they're in. And it sounds kind of silly, but you can actually eliminate a lot of bad demos just by doing that quick cut.
And it's worth the two or three minutes of research because we've all been on these calls with companies and all of a sudden you're like, oh my gosh, this is a four person company in a continent that's not my continent. And I need you know, I need somebody that's at scale and in my geography. And so it's just going to be a huge waste of your time. So those are really important things.
And then when you actually reach out to a company, you're going to get an email from sales development rep, sort of that front line sales person. And they're going to want to get on the phone with you and understand, if you have the budget, if you have authority, it need your time, timeline, that band type stuff. And my recommendation there is if you're a serious buyer, I would just respond to that initial email and say, hey, I've got the budget, I want to move forward quickly.
Can we just get on a demo? Because I don't want to spend 30 minutes telling you about my company. No offense, but just kind of get down to it. And that's great for them because they probably don't want to do that call either. Their comment based on if they can set that that next call anyways. And so they're going to get that check mark and their review and it's going to save some time as well. And so there's all these little tricks that you can use to save yourself a lot of time in this process.
And the other thing that's really important to keep in mind when you go through this is to stay organized. If you can save time and stay organized and take appropriate notes that detail the must have features per vendor that are actually there are not there as well as the nice to have the pricing. And of course, how much you like the sales rep. You're going to be in really good shape at the end of the day when it comes time to sign the contract.
So you do the least.
You end up with a few names. You you make your final decision based on your interviews, the demos, the features, etc.. Any other advice? And then at the end, how'd you do do reference checks, for instance, on the software you want to use? I'll do reference checks if it's something that I'm signing an annual contract for, that I am going to take a long time to implement if it's something that I can try out. I usually don't do a reference check because it's really easy for me to understand whether or not it's going to be a good fit.
Reference checks are also really tricky because obviously your sales rep is always going to give you a customer that's say glowing things and they might have one or two things that they don't really like about it. But this is going to be a 90th percentile customer for them. And so I personally don't put a lot of stock in those. Again, if it's something that I want to be spending a very significant amount of money and time on, I'll do it anyway.
Is the best way to do this is to get on Facebook or LinkedIn or SLAPP and try to find a person who's bought this software before and get their opinions about what happened. You got to take it with a grain of salt because most people have very idiosyncratic things that happen to them or idiosyncratic needs for their organization. And so it's not going to be the be all end all. But it's another data point for you. The problem with references, again, is most times that not you're going to hear from people who are the best customers.
And that's even true if you go on review sites like Katara. Of course, these are my competitors, so I don't always have the nicest thing to say about them. But we've all been asked to write these reviews and get paid to write these reviews, and you're asked to write them when you have a very positive experience with the company. And so they end up being pretty skewed to the positive and therefore gives a lot of the signal amongst a lot of noise.
And then so you you end up getting that one software that you want to use and sometimes you don't have the money yet. You have to get your boss to give you the money. Any advice on that?
Yeah, I mean, this is always a really tricky thing.
And I think that it makes sense to have an idea of whether or not you're going to get this budget pretty early in the process. My advice is to build.
So this is again, a it depends on the situation. If it's something that is two hundred bucks a month that you can get started, you can test it out, you can prove it out, and then you can go back and say, hey, we've got two licenses, we want to get 20 licenses.
That is not as important to get that fired up front. But this is something like a new age or something. Where are you going to be spending a lot of money?
You're going to want to really early on get the buy in from your boss and then probably also people from sort of a cross-functional point of view.
It is the case in most organizations that the HRR teams are not given the money that they need. Unfortunately, it's it's kind of like insane. But companies asseri our teams to do a lot with very small budgets. And so I would try to enlist the senior person in marketing, engineering, product, et cetera, who is feeling the pain of talent acquisition, not being able to hit certain numbers and say, hey, here's what I want to do.
I want to buy X, Y, Z, here's why I want to do it. Are you on board? Awesome. Hey, can you go to be with me to the CFO and just sort of get like a check the box X amount of dollars to go do this thing so that we don't do work for two months and want to sign a contract and they say, oh, wait, you can have that money because that we've all been there on both sides of the equation.
I've been there from the fire side and at the vendor side, and it's just terrible. And so it's really important to get the buying of a senior person on the side of things as well as I usually find somebody outside of that organization as well and make sure that the person who holds the purse strings is brought in before you actually go and do all the work. The best way, of course, to get somebody bought in is to build some sort of return on investment model where you say, here's the current state of the world, here's what I want to do and here's the end state of the world.
And here's the difference in our recruiter's effectiveness and our time to fill and our cost for hire. And that is going to justify the money that need so needed to get the Buy-In.
You need to implement a tool. You implement the tool and then measure the real success. Any advice on how to do that? I guess pretty basic Google search. It oftentimes does the trick, but does it? Divinia Additional advice on that?
Yeah, I think that for me, I always like to make a model and right into the model my assumptions about what's going to happen and why I think those things are going to happen. It almost becomes like a diary entry where you're like, OK, we're going to switch to a new career website. And I think the new career website is going to increase our conversion rate of viewers traffic from five percent to 12 percent. And I think we're going to have the same out to higher ratio of those incremental seven percent of applicants.
And therefore, we're going to get X amount of applicants and Y amount of hires, and it's going to save us the amount of dollars on ad spend on third party recruiters, etc. and.
Most people don't actually do that, but when you do that, you can go back in six months and you can say, OK, what actually happened and where was I wrong? And you're always going to be wrong in these situations. It's just how long are you going to be and in which direction? Because many times you'll be pleasantly surprised that your conversion rate actually went up to 14 percent or that your CEO got better. And so the number of people that go to your website got better or the higher ratio got better or whatever the case may be.
But if you have those initial assumptions, which are so easy to forget and you write down your rationale for them, you can learn a lot about yourself in six months and you can get better at making these sorts of decisions because you'll remember how you thought before and the lessons learned a lot more poignantly. So it's almost like drafting a business plan before launching the tool and seeing then how the reality compares with the purpose of this, right?
Yeah, that's exactly right. And I think the interesting thing for me is like that sort of analysis is essential to getting capital for new projects and convincing the sea level to buy into things. But it's also a really, really amazing tool to learn about your own decision making process and where you are over or under optimistic.
I feel like there's currently a shift and more and more people saying that the saw before, or at least at the moment it's the 80s, that's the single source of truth for recruiters. And more and more people say that it should actually be the CRM that should be the single source of truth. Did you see that pattern as well? What do you have any opinion on that? Oh, yeah, I do. I think that the applicant tracking system will continue to evolve and there will be a basic aits for the masses of Samba's who just need a repository of applicants and a place to distribute jobs on job boards and just sort of your basic stuff.
And it's going to be really cheap and they're going to really compete on price and maybe customer success. And then there's going to be this next generation of applicant tracking systems that look more and more like a CRM. And they might not even call themselves a CRM. But in many ways they have that sort of functionality. And I think that that will become the source of truth for the recruiting teams at the top companies and top companies for mere defined as the biggest companies out there that need to be good because there's just so much waste if you're not.
And then the emerging companies that are one hundred people and growing at two hundred percent a year or something like that, those are the businesses that will demand to have Acra, especially as the lessons that have been learned from the top sorcerous, the top recruiters, the best teams who seem to all be in Silicon Valley or maybe 70 percent of them are in Silicon Valley.
Those people are going to disperse. And when they get to their next company, they're going to say we need to have something that's more robust than simply a place to house applicants and feedback.
What kind of features would be missing then for the next generation?
Is I think that nurturing passive candidates is a huge thing. I think that rediscovering old applicants and surfacing at the right time and keeping those people warm, basically building these talent pipelines, I think that putting reminders of ticklers on individual candidates, on different automation techniques, that people can run out of their CRM. So our recruiter doesn't have to, like, create email sequences and different tools or all of these other things. I think a database that sort of can help you to match third party candidates with your existing rack's.
I think there's just a lot of stuff that your sales and marketing team is doing right now that you can get a ton of value from. But it's really challenging because the systems are not designed for these specific use cases. And so you're having to use marketing tools or you're having to kind of patch together all of these different point solutions. I think more and more you're seeing robust software that's coming out that addresses a lot of these needs and it's being adopted, unsurprisingly.
Who do you think are the best contenders for that role today? Yeah, I mean, I think you guys have a pretty interesting suite there. Beamer is a company that comes to mind. I think House has some interesting functionality. Abitur is a really interesting company that creates sort of an infinitely customizable solution. There's things that focus on more like niche problems. So when I think about some of this stuff that maybe like a solution is more akin to there's a full lock.
So there's Gem, there's Allio, there's more. So there's a lot of interesting companies that are doing cool stuff in and around the space. And I think it'll just continue, especially as the economy recovers out of this little recession.
We're going through probably a cushion that will help a lot of professionals. Do you have a target in mind for the budgets that one single recruiter should have a couple thousand per month or X percent of their annual salary? Jovani recommendations? And that that's a really great question.
I don't know if I ever actually thought about that.
I think the off the cuff answer is, of course, it depends upon who they're going after. But I think a percentage of salary probably makes a lot of sense because I think a salary is probably a good proxy for the complication, for the given roles that they're recruiting for. Somebody is just sort of processing people to maybe do a retail or. That's not a very hard job. A tech recruiter focused on data scientists, that's really challenging and they're going to need a different set of tools.
I guess if I think about what that percentage might be, it's probably like 10 percent.
I don't know.
What do you think about that? I don't know.
That's the first time I think about the question this way. It'll be interesting when you have that budget and then you can follow this any way you want. 10 percent probably feels right, even maybe more 20 percent of your annual salary in tools. You don't have to use everything. But it's difficult to imagine that if you use 20 percent, if you have a budget where 20 percent of your annual salary is difficult to use, that you can find ways to make yourself 20 percent more efficient.
Yeah, I would like if you're let's say you're like a tech recruiter and you're making one hundred fifty K a year and it's like it would be hard for you to be worth one hundred fifty K without some tools and do that that first probably like five percent it is is almost necessary because that's like some combination of like source saying and it's probably like not an amazing sourcing tool. And then that next five percent allows you to sort of upgrade to a source told to make a really phenomenal maybe some paid media spend to do some interesting stuff.
I don't know, maybe like a vet span or something like that, maybe some boards, but. Yeah, that's a pretty cool question, actually, to think about, let's write something about that.
Yeah, let's do it now before.
And what's the what's the main advice you give to companies picking new tools?
The main advice I give is always to focus on the why behind what you're doing, because that will help you to focus on the right place within your organization. So the best Y is always something in the business is broken and we are the people side of things can fix it. And that could be an attrition problem. It could be more heads in different areas. And we need different specialties or diversity or whatever the case may be. And the Y will typically lead you down this path of partnering with somebody in the business who can help you get stuff done much faster.
It will also be due to the path of building a robust business case in our model for what you're doing, which in today's setting, if you're not building that sort of model, what you're doing probably doesn't matter.
Or what you are doing as a manager in your process needs to change drastically to incorporate that sort of thinking. Otherwise, you're not going to get the budget. You're not going to work on the stuff that matters and nobody's going to care about what you do in your organization.
Yeah, what was interesting is that you're at the same time the buyer, because you're obviously buying from the vendor at the same time trying to get the budget internally. So also building that their ROI analyses and being a sales yourself. So that's quite a complicated situation to be. Yeah, it is very complicated.
And, you know, I'm sort of like, do I build an ahli model for every single piece of software that I know of? If I spend a hundred bucks a month on like an Apple or something like that, like, I just kind of do it. But once you start to spend significant amounts of money, you need to do that sort of analysis. And you need to be a good internal champion, because if you're not, then you might even be successful in buying.
You're probably not going to be successful in politics because so much of what we do on people side of things needs to buy it from other people and organization in order to work.
That field has been the 30 minutes. I'm having a look at the software reviews right now. So everybody listening to the podcast, you should check them out. There is a lot of software categories, employer branning. It's all software, programatic job ads, interview, scheduling. So thanks a lot for sharing that expertise with us and an incident. Great. Thanks, Phil.
Yeah, thank you.
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