Strategic Improvements in Talent Acquisition

Episode 23 – Andrew Lewis, Worldly

Worldly stands as a pioneering force in facilitating sustainable business practices through its innovative solutions. With a focus on social responsibility, Worldly provides invaluable insights and tools to help businesses navigate the complexities of sustainable development. 

By harnessing the power of data-driven decision-making, businesses can leverage Worldly’s solutions to align their operations with global standards, driving positive environmental and social impact while also ensuring long-term profitability and resilience in the face of evolving market demands.

Worldly believes that businesses leading change today will dominate future markets. They provide powerful supply chain intelligence to equip forward-thinking brands and manufacturers, enabling them to take transformative actions in how products are produced, marketed, purchased, used, and recycled.

Data-driven decisions are a guiding force in Worldly’s talent acquisition strategy as well. With a lean team and a vast global market to serve, efficiency and effectiveness in hiring are crucial.

This episode of The Speed to Hire Show features Andrew Lewis, Head of Talent Acquisition at Worldly.

Key Takeaways

  • [12:40] Balance remote work challenges with global engagement opportunities – As companies navigate the complexities of remote work, they can leverage the opportunity to foster global engagement, allowing employees to connect across borders, cultures, and time zones, thereby enriching collaboration and innovation.
  • [16:41] Ensure hiring success with clear alignment and AI-enhanced intake processes –  By implementing AI-enhanced intake processes and ensuring clear alignment between hiring goals and organizational objectives, companies can streamline recruitment efforts, improve candidate selection, and ultimately achieve hiring success while minimizing biases and maximizing efficiency.
  • [27:11] Analyze hiring data for team-specific insights to improve recruitment – By analyzing hiring data, organizations can gain valuable team-specific insights, enabling them to tailor recruitment strategies, identify areas for improvement, and optimize hiring processes to better align with the unique needs and dynamics of each team within the company.
  • [34:48] Influence candidates and hiring managers for better recruitment outcomes – By leveraging data-driven insights and effective communication strategies, recruiters can effectively influence both candidates and hiring managers, fostering better alignment of expectations, enhancing candidate experience, and ultimately achieving improved recruitment outcomes that benefit all stakeholders involved.

Video Transcript

JOSH TOLAN: Hey, guys. For today’s episode, I am joined by Andrew Lewis, the head of talent at Worldley.

 We had a bit of a technical difficulty in getting the recording started, hence this introduction.

But from here, I will kick it over to Andrew to tell us a little bit about himself. Andrew, let’s start with you know, just telling me a little bit about yourself.

ANDREW LEWIS: Yeah. So, my name is Andrew Lewis. I am the head of talent acquisition at an organization called Worldley.

You know, I guess a quick career summary. I have been in the talent acquisition recruitment space for, over eight years now. Started, like, most people on the agency side, and kind of stumbled my way into the industry, actually have a degree in precise physiology and the original plan coming out of college was to get into physical therapy. I was having, some difficulty coming out of college to find a job that you know, even paid a living wage.

And so I had kind of gotten fed up in my job search and was like, you know what? I have five years of professional experience. I’ve worked in banking my whole time in college. Let me go see what’s out there and what I can maybe, consider, you know, as I pivot.

And, I happened to be managing a gym at that time, and I had a former employee who actually joined a staffing agency. And so I had been talking with her and she’s like, hey, you know what? You’d be perfect for this. Let me let me go set up an interview, with our team.

Had no idea what recruiting was, or what staffing was. Couldn’t even explain it to my family.

But went and took the interview and, just saw the culture, saw the camaraderie, and, you know, I didn’t know anything about the role, but I was like, yeah, this looks like a fun environment. Let me jump in So ended up accepting a role with Arrow Tech, one of the largest staffing firms, in the US and, I guess, international as well.

And basically just got thrown into our national accounts recruitment team, which basically in short means we were recruiting for some of the biggest companies in the US. That had the lowest margins, had the lowest paying roles, and basically all the jobs that no one wanted to work on. But we did it, and I was in the trenches, you know, filling these roles and really just learned what recruitment was. You know, obviously, it started with the on the agency side and third-party recruitment.

But just understood how to, like, actually recruit, go and find people how to, you know, build a candidate profile and, like, and, a value proposition and sell folks on opportunities. And, so did that for just under a year and then was given the opportunity to pivot an in-house joined a Fortune 500 transportation company, and did regional recruitment for them for almost for about forty years.

From there, I’ll give you kind of just the walk-through of, you know, what it’s looked like from that point. I’ve done some executive search in the logistics and freight into I’ve ran a staffing agency. I started a franchise location for a staffing agency here in Scottsdale and built that to just under two million in revenue in eighteen months.

And then from there, made the decision to pivot into tech. And wanted to really build out talent acquisition operations in the tech space. And I’ve really found kind of a nice pocket for myself in the tech startup world building out talent acquisition engines and handling things beyond just direct recruitment. 

So doing things like employer branding, deI strategy, you know, building out, tech-enabled, you know, systems for us to be able to leverage and speed up our process so that we’re not only more effective, but we’re more efficient as well. So that’s, that’s me in a nutshell. Have a pretty well-rounded background in recruitment. And honestly, have a lot of expectations for both sides, both in-house and out, and agency recruitment.

I think we need both, in different contexts. So, yeah.

JOSH TOLAN: For sure. Yeah. And I think your experience particularly early in your career when you’re recruiting for some of is really tough-to-fill roles. Like you said, the roles that nobody wants to hire for.

ANDREW LEWIS: You know, I find that when talent acquisition leaders start, in that type of environment, earlier in their career. It really helps them build some discipline and build processes and strategies that they’re able to leverage later in their career when they’re, you know, working maybe some more desirable roles or at they’re at a, you know, Upstart tech company that people are excited about working at. 

But because you’re rooted in some of those principles that you learned when it was like, Hey, I gotta be really good at recruiting if I wanna you know, attract people for this position I’m recruiting for. It probably makes your job, you know, a lot easier now in the sense that you’ve built you know, that foundation for the way that you approach recruiting. Does that make sense to you?

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. Absolutely. There’s a certain level of scrappiness and grit that I think, recruiters need to have no matter how sexy of a company you work for or how awesome your roles are that you feel like are easy to fill.

ANDREW LEWIS: You know, there’s gonna be those periods where you know whether the market changes and there’s not a ton of inbound applicants coming in or you’re working on a very hard-to-fill niche role you’re gonna have to buckle down, right?

And you’re gonna have to go and know how to go find people, you know, uncover rocks and opportunities and you know, be able to really create a strong and compelling value proposition to someone, to be able to, you know, show them and clearly demonstrate why opportunity at hand is is a great career move for them. 

So I attribute a lot of that to the agency background where, you know, we had to cold call. We had to go through our database and find people who maybe we hadn’t even engaged within three years, but just say, Hey, how are you doing? Is there a potential to kind of show you this opportunity and what it could bring to your career? And that kind of experience is invaluable. 

And I found I found that it creates a certain, certain mentality, I think, within recruiters that maybe you don’t have if you’re coming from more of the HR side or something like that.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. I mean, it definitely probably makes you more, you know, proactive. Right? And, you know, you brought up the market in mark certain market conditions.

And I think sometimes, you know, in organizations hiring kind of follows whatever the conditions are, but I think the reality is if you build that foundation in a really tough environment and you really, really learn about, you know, what makes a team good at hiring no matter what the market conditions look like in the future, you’re prepared to handle them. 

And even when the market conditions are really good, you’re also still proactive where you’re not just relying on those market conditions to drive applicants or, you know, make the job look really active. You’ve got a lot of other things going for you from your past that you’re able to apply, and so probably serves a big competitive advantage for you, and then the teams that you work on.

And speaking of the teams you work on, so you’re at Worldly, now, can you tell me a little bit about the company?

ANDREW LEWIS: Absolutely. So Worldly, we’re, a B2B SaaS company, you know, if ever to give it a general kind of definition. But more so than that, we’re a sustainability insights platform serving, consumer-good brands. And essentially what we’re helping these companies do is gain, you know, visibility into their supply chain.

From end to end so they can see what their true impact is. There’s a lot of really interesting and crazy in some capacities regulation and policy that is in the market now where companies now have to be, you know, reporting on this type of data And so it’s very mission-critical what we’re doing. But we’re essentially just trying to create a platform where these brands can go in and really measure everything that’s happening in the supply chain. So we’re also working heavily with their vendors and their manufacturers, and their suppliers to be able to understand what’s happening and where improvements can be made.

You know, we are a fully global and distributed organization, which is a really awesome thing for us, you know, being able to tackle a global problem.

Like supply chain and sustainability issues. But it’s, you know, we’re really focused on, you know, kind of solving this big problem in the market or at least, you know, leading the way as we try to solve it.

And, our company has been around for five years now. We’ve gone through some changes durations, but, fortunate to be, you know, partnered with some of the smartest people that I’ve ever met with or met or worked with and, you know, being able to kind of collaborate and, rally around this strong mission is a huge value for me.

JOSH TOLAN: That’s great. And so you’ve been there for almost two years at this point based on what I could see on your LinkedIn. When you joined the company, obviously, it was, you know, still a really young company, only a few years old at that point. So when you came on board, were there specific challenges or specific objectives that were laid out for you, and was that a reason for you to join? And what were those objectives when you came on board?

ANDREW LEWIS: Yes. Absolutely. And that actually was a big factor in me joining, Worldly.

You know, keep in mind at the time when I joined, the market was completely flipped for talent acquisition folks. So there were plenty of opportunities around at that time. But, you know, for me, I was tasked with coming in and building out a talent acquisition function that didn’t really exist at that point, which included, you know, integrating an ATS and being able to kind of train and develop our hiring managers and our hiring teams on the workflows required.

You know, that that included enablement, creating resources, interview guides, things like that for our hiring team to leverage and use providing trainings on, you know, what the expectations were and, you know, how to use utilize these resources to drive good hiring decisions and good decision making.

Also, you know, partnering with our marketing team to really build out the idea of a recruitment marketing or, an employer branding strategy you know, we’ve redesigned our career site a couple of times, added new things in. We’re always kind of testing. We, redid and and have played around with our, you know, our format for our job descriptions, really trying to create the most compelling, document for, you know, candidates coming in. How do we capture their attention in the first, like, two to three seconds?

Right? And and, allow them to gain more interest in our opportunity. We’ve played around with, you know, the nurture process for candidates that are in our funnel. You know, and, you know, how do we keep them better engaged and better educated as they move through the process?

We don’t want them to necessarily be waiting in limbo. When they’re, you know, waiting to be scheduled for their next interview, there’s educational documents that that we can send them. There’s resources we can send them to look into and research our company more. So there’s a wide variety of things that, I was tasked with building.

And, you know, some of it was my ideation. Some of it was, you know, partnership with our executive team and what they saw as necessary.

But that actually played a big factor in my decision, you know, to join the team. I see myself as a builder. I’m somebody who likes to be creative in the talent acquisition and recruitment process. I like strategy, but I’m also a strong operator.

And so I was able to kinda come in and marry the two. And, you know, really just get creative, try things, measure them, manage them. Do they work? Do they not work?

And if they don’t, let’s pivot and try something else.

JOSH TOLAN: That’s great. And what’s the makeup of the talent acquisition team? Is it just you or do you have other people on on the squad?

ANDREW LEWIS: Yeah. Currently, just me. We’ve kind of gotten through some waves last year or actually 2022 and early part of 2023, we had a small team. We do also have a kind of a deck or a bench, I would say, of fractional, recruiters and, agency recruiters that will bring in and leverage for key situations.

But that’s a big problem I’m actually working to solve right now. Maybe not a problem, but it’s a big thing I’m trying to solve for is creating a very tech-enabled. And, an efficient system for a one-person talent acquisition function. 

How do we, bring in the right tools and have the right resources at hand so that one person isn’t tied up, you know, just evaluating resumes that are coming in, but are able to be freed up to do some of that outbound strategy, right, or some of that recruitment marketing or some of these other key projects that the team needs?

So that’s a thing that I’m always working to solve for, but it’s definitely something that’s front of mind for me.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. I mean, that makes a lot of sense, and that’s what I’ve been seeing a lot in today’s market is, you know, whether it’s a solo, solo person team or just a lean talent acquisition team in general. You know, supporting a decent number of hiring managers, obviously, that creates a lot of, you know, challenges.

I’d be curious from your perspective, you guys, like you mentioned, you’re a globally distributed company.

Does that present, you know, specific challenges being remote and being a one-person team and porting, hiring managers that potentially are all over the world?

ANDREW LEWIS: For sure. I don’t know that it’s really a problem that everyone’s distributed, but I think the remote aspect is interesting. I think it creates its own kind of layer of challenges. Right? 

Namely that you can’t go and tap someone’s office door and say, Hey, I need some feedback or, let’s meet real quick and get clear on something requires a lot more coordination. And honestly, it requires the person on the other side to be willing to, you know, hop on that call or make time, for that as a priority.

So I think it does present its own unique challenges. On the flip side of that, I would say it also creates a lot of opportunity from the candidate side and the interview side. Right? We’re able to meet with candidates from all over the world.

You know, whether or not you’re a fan of Zoom or not, it’s you know, basically how our culture is built. And it allows for us to be a lot more, you know, kind of creative and give a lot more opportunity to meet with folks rather than having to have people drive into the office, right, and meet with someone in person. 

And then, you know, in those rare situations where we do feel it’s important to meet with someone before we hire them in person, you know, then we have to coordinate in-person meetings and, you know, whether it’s at their location or somewhere in the middle or things like that, which I think is a really interesting, you know, thing that I haven’t had a ton of experience of or with outside of Worldly.

But for the most part, I think the remote, the remote thing, it is a bit of a challenge. It presents its own kind of unique things that you have to work through. But I still see it as a massive opportunity. And, a massive, thing that we can leverage.

Right? I mean, it’s a huge selling point still for a lot of candidates. And, we’ve been able to see Worldly grow as a company as a fully remote organization. It’s not that we switched to fully remote during the pandemic.

We’ve always been built that way. So it’s allowed us to get really thoughtful about, you know, how do we build a truly remote culture where people can thrive and develop in their career.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. And in some ways, it almost, you know, instills some better practices in the way that you have to build out talent acquisition strategy and your collaboration with hiring managers. 

Like, to your point, if you’re in person, sure, you could go and knock on somebody’s door and know, interrupt them from whatever they’re doing at that moment and ask for feedback or nudge them along. But, you know, that might not be the best thing either, right, and the best way to collaborate. And so what this forces you to do is think about, you know, how can we enable that through the tech or the ATS we use.

How can we enable it through a better process and tighter communication and managing expectations with hiring managers upfront? How do we enforce it with the data that we present about the hiring process is being run?

So we can enforce the things that we wanna do and show hiring managers what’s working and not working. So you know, some of what we may perceive is shortcomings because we’re fully distributed at this point too. Like, we’ve got some offices, but pretty much everybody’s all over the world. And we had to shift, like, during the pandemic, we used to be an in-office company. And so you know, it’s just required us to put a lot more time and attention into process transparency around process.

And, like, measuring does the process actually work? And that was one of the things I really wanna talk to you about because I saw One of your LinkedIn posts. I think the quote was to create clarity so you can enable consistency.

You know, from a lot of conversations I’d had with other talent acquisition leaders, I’ve heard about, you know, there’s so many different potential points of failure within, the hiring process. And the points of failure are really, like, compounded and really exposed when you don’t have a tight process and you’re not doing things consistently.

So, you know, what have you done? Especially, you know, being a one-person team and supporting a bunch of different managers. What have you done to really drive consistent processes and hold hiring managers accountable? Or I guess work with them better on ensuring you both stay accountable towards running that type of process.

ANDREW LEWIS: Yeah. Well, let me start by saying, I think a great process starts with that clarity and alignment. And that was really kind of the point of that line.

You know, the biggest problems that I’ve ever run into are you know, I guess the most common problems I’ve ever run into or bottlenecks in the hiring process always come back to misalignment somehow between recruitment and in the hiring team. 

And maybe it’s not even just between talent acquisition and the hiring team. Maybe it’s just the hiring managers at every step of the interview process. Right? Maybe they’re they’re not clear on what they’re looking for or what needs to be assessed And so I think a great process starts with making sure that everybody is on the same page. 

And that sounds very common sense. But what I’m learning and what I’ve learned over time is that, you know, even just…you might think you do a great job in your kickoff call or your intake meeting with the hiring manager. But what you realize as you get into the interview process is, oh, there are other people outside of just this direct hiring manager that are influencing the decision-making. Right? 

Or, you know, maybe something isn’t addressed fully, and it’s now coming to bear in this process. And it’s become much more relevant than I thought it would be. And so what I’m trying to do consistently, and I think this is an ever-evolving process. But look at how do we really button up our intake and, our kickoff call to make sure that, you know, we’re really truly clear on the candidate profile that we’re going after.

And that starts with, you know, what I’m looking at now, and what I’m really trying to leverage now is AI. To help, you know, kind of create, these, these resources that I can bring to the intake meeting rather than saying, hey, we’ll create the job description after, you know, we do our intake meeting and we, you know, talk about what we’re looking for. 

Instead of saying, hey, let me create this… let me use AI to generate a really good job description for this role that obviously we can tweak and, you know, we can adjust after we meet and understand where the nuances are. But I can bring this at least to the conversation, and we can just make sure that, hey, is this the general realm of what we’re looking for or are we way off here? Right?

The other thing you can do there is, you know, is use AI to kind of custom generate some questions, right, on what whether it’s in the screening process or it’s the hiring manager interview, but to say, hey, look, you know, based off of the profile that I’m seeing from, you know, this job description, these are the kind of questions I would like to probably ask. Am I am I on the right track here? Are we assessing for the right things? Or do we need to make adjustments?

And are we completely missing the mark? A lot of times, I found that in intake meetings and kickoff calls, we are, you know, kind of just data collecting. Right? We’re under we’re just hearing the hiring manager spew from their head, what they’re thinking about.

And but we’re not really formalizing, you know, the things that we’re gonna be screening for or what the process is gonna look like or what the job description requires And when we do that, you know, you may you may be a really strong recruiter, but, you know, the the chances of you, missing key information or information falling through the cracks.

You know, it becomes higher, the risk of that. So what I’m trying to solve for now is how do we do everything on our end to really button up this process early on so that we can limit the amount of, changes or pivots that need to happen mid-process because we forgot something, or we didn’t spend enough time talking about one thing that actually became a really critical part of the process. So I think it all starts there. You start with clarity.

You start with alignment. And when you do that, your process becomes much easier to build because everybody now is on the same page. Right? Everybody understands what their role is and what they’re assessing for and what they need to what data they need to collect, and then how to report on it, you know, or make sure making sure that everybody is enabled to submit that feedback in the ATS or if you’re not using your ATS and you wanna do it on a Google form or something, that’s fine.

Just make sure that everybody’s clear on where this data is gonna be collected. And how, you know, how everybody should be playing their part. So that’s my philosophy around it. You know, there’s a lot that goes into that, but If you can start with clarity and alignment, then everything else really becomes easier.

JOSH TOLAN: Yep. And I love you know, it almost sounds like your kickoff is more of a workshop where you’re coming at a table something, whether it’s something you create or something, you know, use AI for inspiration for.

ANDREW LEWIS: Yeah. Right. It’s like the hardest thing to do sometimes for hiring managers is to start putting pen to paper. And so when you just give people a blank slate, it’s really hard to take it the ball rolling, and you can just waste a ton of time, like you said, just talking out loud, but not making really any progress towards clarity. And then often what happens is that becomes the kickoff. And then it’s like, okay, everybody.

Let’s go, now we’ll go break away. Now we’ll go craft the job to subscription. I’ll send it over to you to review you. And, like, all this work kind of happens after the kickoff.

And then nobody really regroups again to make sure are we really clear? So I think it becomes kind of like a game of telephone where If you don’t create a lot of clarity early on, then everything’s kind of the message is diluted when you start working asynchrony and just pushing paper back and forth about, how you’re gonna run things, what the job description looks like, etcetera. So I like that you’re taking a more active approach.

JOSH TOLAN: And it gets the hiring manager right in the mindset of. Is this am I am I close? Am I not? What do we need to change? It gets them in a working mode mindset versus, you know, coming in and, and saying, tell me what you got.

ANDREW LEWIS: Yeah. I think the mindset change for me, honestly, Josh, was moving away from being an order taker to thinking more as a strategic advisor, right? I strongly encourage every recruiter, whether you’re in a leadership position or not, to position yourself and enable yourself as a strategic advisor to the business. And you can do that by coming to these meetings, you know, and coming to these first conversations with hiring managers prepared.

Right? Do some research do a quick, like, analysis of the talent market. Bring a hit list of top candidates that you’ve kind of sourced already and be like, hey, do these profiles look like the type of people we wanna go after? Here’s what the market is bearing out.

You know, here is a compensation standpoint. If you can even get into this side of things, here’s what I’m hearing about what’s going on in the market right now. So, you know, it’s just a different way of looking at your role. Right?

It’s not okay. I’m gonna sit here and just wait for hiring teams or my hiring manager to kinda give me the instructions, and then I’ll be this good soldier and go and find the right person and try not to make any waves. It’s like, no, we need to come prepared as an adviser. We’re the ones who are experts in hiring talent acquisition and you know, our industry really.

And a lot of times hiring managers, they have this, you know, kind of big view of what they need out of the role, but they have time formalizing that into a clear and actionable process. And that’s where we come in. And so I think if we can shift our mindset from, I’m gonna just wait for the hiring team to bring this to me too. No.

I’m gonna be the one to bring it to the hiring team, and then we’ll work on it together and create something together that works.

JOSHT TOLAN: It makes a ton of sense. And I think, especially, you know, as we started talking about a little bit earlier, in today’s market, with these lean talent acquisition teams, you need your hiring managers to be an active participant in the hiring process. And not somebody that’s just throwing things over the fence, to the talent acquisition team to then take and figure out. 

You know, at the end of the day, you, as a talent acquisition team, you’re gonna get from your hiring managers what you subsidize. In the sense that if you’re allowing them to just, like, spew information at you and then you take it and kind of, you know, work in a black box and try and figure everything out on your own, to, like you said, not make any waves.

You’re not gonna have a very engaged hiring manager in the process, and they’re not gonna be able to see you as the strategic advisor that you are. And so I think by creating the dynamic of, hey, we’re not gonna be an order taker. We’re gonna come to the table with something actionable that we’re gonna work with you with work with you on. We’re gonna define what the hiring process is like, and we’re gonna work with you at every single step to be a steward and to empower you to ultimately get the person that you need for your team.

You know, that’s truly how you’re gonna build that, like, symbiotic relationship with hiring managers versus, like you mentioned, the order taker type of managers are just pushing everything over. You’re having a hard time tracking the things you need down from them.

And that’s just that’s just not a recipe for success. I see it a lot like you know, this happens, I think, in organizations too with marketing.

In all, you know, a lot of departments, trying to make marketing an order taker where it’s like, oh, we need a piece of content, or, oh, we need this. Like, just kick it over to marketing. Let them write something. And if marketing just does everything that every team sends over them to ask or asks of them, the other teams don’t learn to think strategically about what can we get done ourselves, and that actually helps the company move faster because otherwise, you’re just creating you know, bottlenecks with the marketing team. So I think it’s a similar thing where as a talent acquisition team, you have to empower hiring managers to be an active participant to think more strategically.

You have to ask them the right questions, to make sure that you’re getting clarity on what they’re looking for and not just take everything at face value.

And I think those are the types of disciplines that you need in order to really make you know, the process truly collaborative and set yourself up for success because at the end of the day, if you’re a one-person team, you’re a three-person team, and you’re supporting, dozens and dozens of hiring managers, you need them. You really need them as an active participant in order for the hiring process to work. Agree.

And so, you know, from your perspective, I know, you know, just reading some of the content that you post out on LinkedIn, you’re very data-driven. You’re looking at a lot of different metrics. How are you using the data that you’re collecting throughout the hiring process? And when you’re recapping hiring processes, to help hiring managers see, you know, what are we doing well? What can we be doing better? And see the impact of the things that you guys are working on. Together.

ANDREW LEWIS: I love this question. You know, and this is an area in full transparency that I’m always trying to get better in. You know, there’s I know a lot of folks in rec ops that are, you know, they’re all about the data and the metrics and they can, you know, put together these complex KPI dashboards you know, in a startup, it’s I don’t think it necessarily needs to be at that level. 

I think what you need to do is find actual data and metrics that tell a story and are relevant to the business. And so, you know, I’m always looking to create a very kind of straightforward dashboard of metrics that you know, again tie into the story of where we’re trying to go as an organization.

You know, things like time to fill, which are very common in the talent acquisition space. I actually don’t like that as an individual recruitment metric, or an individual talent acquisition metric because I think there are so many factors that influence that number. What I do like that metric for is to be able to dig into it and look at the time to fill or the time to hire on each team. 

And to be able to say, Hey, Okay. This team over here is well within our time to fill Metrc. Right? They’re, you know, much more efficient.

You look at your pipeline metrics and you look at how long each candidate is spending in each stage of the interview process. It’s very balanced. It’s very even when you go over to this team, they’re well above what our core metric is from a time-to-fill standpoint. If you look at their pipeline, they have candidates hanging out in the first interview process, you know, for six weeks.

Right? And then, you know, it’s there’s this long gap between when they’re moved to the next stage. And then you can really see and pinpoint where the potential bottlenecks are. It’s not necessarily just looking at the metric from an organizational standpoint, but from a team standpoint to be able to understand, okay, where are the opportunities for us is there training or, you know, develop learning and development that we can offer to that team, to make sure that they’re, you know, clear on what needs to be improved.

You know, and I’m a strong believer in, you know, especially if you’re hiring on a consistent basis, getting together with your hiring teams on whether it’s quarterly, monthly, whatever it may be and not just to say, hey, what’s upcoming? What do you need, but to say, hey, let’s take a look at your metrics, your team’s metrics for the last, you know, ninety days or six months. And see, you know, how you guys ranked against what our core metrics are. What are some things that we can be doing better, to, you know, drive more efficient processes and you know, also drive higher quality on the on the hire side?

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. Totally. And I like the point to bring up because you ask a lot of people what metrics are you looking at, and everybody will say time to hire time to fill, which, like you mentioned, is a great metric to look at But at the end of the day, that’s the outcome of your process. 

It really doesn’t tell you what’s happening within your process other than, like you mentioned, you can compare you know, time to fill for one team or one role versus another and see, you know, where you’re doing better, where you’re doing worse, but ultimately it just tells you what you need to inspect further.

And that’s really for me, you know, I personally like to look at the time per stage because that’s what you just mentioned. You see, oh, well, yeah, our time to hire is being dragged out because people are sitting in the first interview around for six weeks or whatever it is. It’s like, okay, we have to do something about that. And that’s where you’re then able to address those bottlenecks.

And in some cases, you might find out which it seems like you guys are already doing because you mentioned it earlier in the call, you might find out, like, we’ve compressed this one stage as much as we possibly can. Like, how can we make it can we make it better? Most people might say like, oh, well, we can’t. We can’t make it any shorter.

And that might be the case. You can’t really shrink whatever that time is between the stage. But there are things you can do between those stages to make it better. And it sounds like you guys are doing that by like, hey. Okay. Maybe we can’t shrink the time here. We can do is we can send them a piece of educational content content to bridge the gap from this stage to the next, and that adds value. And it answers questions they have, and provides clarity to the candidate, and tells them what’s next.

And so, like, it’s not always just about, like, reduce time, reduce time, reduce time, because at a certain point, there’s diminishing earns and, you know, you’re only able to move so fast when you’ve gotta coordinate with different people. And so then it becomes about how do we add value to the stage of the process. So I love that you guys are doing that already. 

What are some of those, you know, pieces of content you guys are inserting throughout the hiring process? Like, what would a good example be?

ANDREW LEWIS: Yeah. I think just sharing, you know, more information on, you know, our backstory as a company, more information on our product We’re in a very, what I would call, like, complex industry, not only just from the technology standpoint, but from the sustainability standpoint. Most people don’t understand what sustainability is what that looks like and how it’s measured. And so a lot of times, I mean, there’s a pretty big learning curve joining the company you know, from just learning the technology and, you know, the standard things that you would need to learn when you come into a company.

But then also if you’re not coming from sustainability or you don’t have a background in it, a pretty big learning curve, right? To understand what we’re actually trying to solve for and what the market looks like. So, you know, a lot of times what I try to do is send out information on, you know, more about who we are, what we’re about, even a little bit of information on our values. And then, yeah, just more information on the product updates on what we’re currently working on.

You know, and then also just, I think the other piece of this, and even if you don’t have I don’t think every communication touch point needs to have like a link to an article or a video or something. I think just being good at like consistently following up. So setting weekly cadences, you know, even if you don’t have an update for a candidate, just touch point and say, hey, you know, I don’t have a, I don’t have an update for you quite honestly, but not I haven’t forgotten about you. I just want you to know and be updated on where we’re at in the process.

Like, that that goes so far for so many people because it’s like, hey, you know, the worst part of the interview process for a lot of candidates is that limbo phase when you’re, you know, whether it’s you applied, haven’t heard back. Or you interviewed and you’re waiting for feedback. Right? Like just sitting there, you’re not knowing is worse than knowing.

That there’s no update. So for me, my perspective is It doesn’t always need to be informational and educational.

It can just be, hey, I see you. You’re still there. Haven’t forgotten about you. We just don’t have an update quite yet. And I think that that goes a lot further than people actually think.

JOSH TOLAN: Totally. And it gives you a competitive advantage. And I think That is really coming from your operator background, like you mentioned in the beginning of the call. You know, I think when you’re able to break things down and look at every step of the process and look at, like, how can we keep layering things on that are gonna separate us, from everybody else? 

And it might be the smallest thing And that one small thing isn’t gonna make all the difference. But when you layer these things on top of each other and you’re like, methodically doing this quarter over quarter and improving your process, improving your communication, improving, clarity with hiring managers. All those things add up over time.

And I think not enough teams are proactively doing that. So it’s good to hear that you’re connecting with the team you know, quarterly at a minimum and just reviewing, like, what what can we be doing better? And then actioning those things out. I think that’s that’s really important.

And, you know, the other thing I saw on LinkedIn, and forgive me, I did a little bit of a deep dive because I just enjoy your content so much. You put so much good stuff out there.

One of the things I saw you posted a video about, I think it was pretty recently, but it was talking about one of the biggest challenges for talent acquisition teams. And the thing you were specifically talking about was influencing others in the hiring process.

Can you expand a little bit on that? For the audience. And like, what do you mean by that?

ANDREW LEWIS: Yeah. I mean, I think it looks differently.

You know, when you when you think about the full kind of recruitment process. But I think influencing means, you know, one from a candidate standpoint, you know, preparing and educating candidates as they enter your process.

You know, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make them drink is the old saying. And so you can have a candidate that checks all the boxes – And, you know, on paper looks great and you meet with them and, you know, maybe they even have good energy in that first call. And you see the clear fit with the role.

But as you prep them and, you know, kind of, work with them, you know, to get prepared for the interview process you can’t control essentially what they do when they enter that that interview. Right? And you’ve you I’ve had plenty of great candidates who did well in the first stage. They checked all the boxes. You present them.

You present them to the team. The team likes them, and then they meet with them. And they they completely bomb the interview. Right? And so that’s a challenge. The other, I think the other aspect of it is from, you know, kind of the company side.

Influencing and working with, with hiring managers, making sure that they’re prepared, that they’re enabled, that, you know, they’re clear on what the market is showing you know, and being able to kinda sell them as well on candidates and, and, you know, to look at things a little bit more abstractly than just saying, Hey, you know, and this is something I’m a big proponent of. 

I don’t want hiring managers just making evaluations or assessments based on a person’s resume. Because her resume just tells one piece of the story. And so I wanna make sure that we’re, you know, as we enter an interview process or a recruitment process that were able to, you know, look at the resume as a resource. 

Yes. But also once we’ve had the chance to meet with them, dissect that information and get the full picture of what their previous roles were, and their story and their journey to get them to to where they are.

So really just helping kind of influence hiring managers to get out of these norms or these biases that they have, right, or these, I guess, bad bad behaviors that they’ve learned over the course of their career, you know, recruiting in companies or helping with recruiting in companies that weren’t doing things equitably, or in the right way. So I think influence is, it’s a very key part of being a, really great strategic recruiter and especially a recruitment leader. To be able to influence both sides. Now, are we gonna ever have full control over what other people are doing?

No, that’s the hardest part of recruiting and hiring. But what we can do is look for those gaps and those opportunities and try to fill them, right, and be trying to, like, do everything in our power. And that was really the point of my post is, you know, a lot of times recruiters and talent acquisition folks will become very comfortable with saying, well, here’s my metrics. Here’s what I’ve done. Now, I don’t care what the hiring managers do.

Like, if it fails or it bombs, it’s not on me. You know, I’m covering I’ve got my butt covered. And I’m encouraging us to take a step further and take more ownership over that to say, yes, it may not have been something that wasn’t oversight by you But what could we have done better to prevent that in the future? What is the learning here? What is the the thing that we can be doing to improve?

You know, because again, if you don’t try to solve these problems, they don’t go away. In fact, they compound, right? And they become issues over time. Especially if you’re in a startup where, you know, you might be starting here, but over time you would expect the company to grow and your your hiring is gonna scale. And so your problems scale at that point if you don’t solve them.

JOSH TOLAN: Yep. And I think the key there and we’ve talked about a lot of this call, really, what it comes down the theme is control the controllables. Right? And I think a lot of folks maybe think there’s more that’s out of their control than actually is.

And so, you know, like we just discussed, you know, talking about all the different points of failure in the hiring process and talking about how you can look for all the bottlenecks in your process. And what are the things you can do, and maybe you can’t shorten the step, but you can add a touchpoint here, like breaking all those things down and layering them on top of each other that will all compound in a good way just as ignoring them and saying, you know what? I can’t do anything about it. Will compound in a bad way.

And ultimately, like you mentioned, some of it self-reflection, some of it, you know, as a talent act leader, you gotta look yourself in the mirror and say, what could I have done better, you know, throughout this process to have, you know, empower the hiring manager better, or prepare the candidate better, or whatever it is – So there’s some of that internal, you know, reflection. 

But then there’s also, you know, learning from your candidates and learning from your hiring managers and having those discussions and gathering that feedback and then advice. Because at the end of the day, like, your candidates, your hiring managers, they will tell you what you — they need to do things better, but you gotta ask.

And you’ve gotta dig in. And you’ve gotta be proactive about it. And they’ll they’ll give you the answers. And then it’s up to you to execute.

And, you know, at the end of the day, as a talent acquisition leader. That’s what your role is. You’re a steward in the process. You’ve gotta be strategic. And if you wanna be looked at as strategic in the business, it takes, you know, that level of, proactiveness to make it happen.

ANDREW LEWIS: That’s a great point. And honestly, that’s a big driver for the type of content that I share because I — my personal perspective, I’m not gonna say I’m right necessarily in this perspective, but this is just what I’ve perceived is a lot of talent acquisition folks, you know, we’ve learned how to you know, do the kind of core recruitment functions. We’ve learned how the process looks. We know how to use an ATS at a baseline level.

And we’ve become very comfortable with doing the same thing over and over again and not looking for continuous improvement.

And what I’m challenging, you know, my community with is we need to think the complete opposite of that. We need to not be comfortable with you know, okay, great. We’re meeting our metrics. We are filling these roles.

That doesn’t necessarily equal, you know, the best amount of success that we can achieve from a talent acquisition standpoint. And I think more folks need to be thinking about this, especially as we start talking about technology entering the market, AI playing a role in the recruitment process. I think companies over time are gonna lean heavily on tech-enabled systems to, you know, be able to do more with less. And so recruiters really need to be dialed in on what are we doing?

What’s the value that we’re providing? What’s the clear business case that we can share with the organization as to what we’re doing and how it’s providing value? And so I think yeah. I just think that talent acquisition folks need to shift their thinking a little bit and be little more honest with themselves, and with the market to say, what we’re doing isn’t a hundred percent effective.

Like, there’s a lot of things we can be doing better.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. And what works today might not work tomorrow as well. Right? And so if you’re not constantly looking for ways to improve or take things to the next level, Sure. Maybe things seem to be going fine now, but six, twelve months from now, especially the way tech is moving with dramatic shifts and just the macroeconomic environment, you know, things can change very, very quickly. 

And if you’re not doing things to constantly progress very quickly, you can find yourself behind. And then when your organization needs to ramp up recruiting and hire people, that ultimately is gonna be the key driver of success for the business, You know, if you’re getting outpaced by competing employers, you know, puts it puts you, the talent acquisition team, and the company in a tough spot.


JOSH TOLAN: Cool. Well, Andrew, this has been awesome. I really appreciate the time. You know, I’m so happy we were able to connect. Like I said, I’ve been keeping up with all of your content on LinkedIn and, just can’t say enough how much I believe in everything you’re saying, it’s like, you’re just preaching, preaching to the choir here. So, really appreciate everything you do, and thanks so much for joining me. And everybody who listens to us is going to love all the insight you provided.

ANDREW LEWIS: Thanks for the invite, Josh.

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