Trust Talent Partners to Streamline Growth Hiring-Spark Hire

Episode 22 – Jamie Hichens

Hive Talent Partners is a leading-edge recruiting consulting firm best known for its innovative approaches. Hive Talent Partners leverages cutting-edge technology and data-driven insights to help organizations across various industries optimize their workforce strategies.

With a deep understanding of the evolving landscape of talent acquisition and retention, they offer bespoke solutions tailored to each client’s unique needs. Whether it’s streamlining recruitment processes or fostering leadership development, Hive Talent Partners empowers businesses to build high-performing teams poised for long-term success. 

Committed to excellence and client satisfaction, they cultivate lasting partnerships by delivering measurable results and driving continuous improvement in the ever-changing world of recruitment services.

This episode of The Speed to Hire Show features Jamie Hichens, CEO of Hive Talent Partners.

Key Takeaways

  • [5:28] Bridge gaps in early growth stages by utilizing recruitment services – you may not be growing at a rate where you require in-house recruitment however hiring is draining on your team. At this stage, external recruitment services can fill employment gaps while preventing manager and leadership burnout.
  • [7:39] Use experts to streamline hiring and focus on growth to avoid burnout – in small companies, generally, everyone wears multiple hats and the CEO often handles most of the recruiting, interviewing, and hiring decisions. Shifting to relying on recruiting experts to streamline hiring allows key stakeholders to focus on company growth and prevents burnout at the executive level.
  • [11:43] Highlight innovation and growth to attract early-stage company candidates – Emphasize your company’s commitment to innovation and trajectory of growth to entice prospective candidates from early-stage companies, showcasing the dynamic opportunities for professional development and advancement within your organization.
  • [13:47] Use calibration candidates to align expectations and refine ideal candidate profiles – Utilize calibration candidates as valuable tools to align stakeholder expectations, refine ideal candidate profiles, and ensure a comprehensive understanding of the skills and attributes required for successful hires within your organization.
  • [15:00] Highlight interest areas in recruitment messaging to attract and engage talent – Incorporate targeted interest areas into recruitment messaging to not only attract top talent but also foster genuine engagement by showcasing alignment between the organization’s mission, values, and the unique passions and aspirations of potential candidates.

Video Transcript

JOSH TOLAN: Alright. Well, Jamie, let’s get started. Thanks for joining me today. Why don’t we start by you telling the audience a little bit about yourself?

JAMIE HICHENS: Thanks, Josh. Yes, I’m Jamie Hichens. I have been recruiting for coming up on almost seventeen years, not to age myself, but I have been in a variety of capacities within recruiting, so in-house agencies. I have had my own clients and am currently back to doing that now with five talent partners.

JOSH TOLAN: That’s awesome. Yeah. And we go back many years. I think we originally met on a webinar. Maybe you were a Glassdoor at the time. I don’t know. Like, definitely pre-pandemic, like, five, six years ago or something.

So it’s so it’s good to good to reconnect and it’s great to see you start your own company. And speaking of that, would love to learn more about Hive and what you’re up to.

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. Thank you. So Started Hive Talent, in October was looking to to get back to my own clients. I had been in-house at a tech company as the head of which was great, but was really craving doing my own thing again. And just seeing the market change so much between pandemic, post-pandemic, all the layoffs within tech.

I was ready to approach it in a different way and kinda meet the market where it is now, which is very different than two years ago, five years ago, ten years ago. And so I started to hive, to serve clients in a variety of industries, but on more of a fractional model instead of the typical contingency agency model.

Personally, I was finding and hearing from other people and clients that that was a bit more of an outdated model and not really what people were looking for anymore. So I felt that, you know, I see a lot of CMOs and CTOs going fractional thought, why can’t we do that with recruiting?

And I’ve found that it’s worked very well. We’ve had a really fast ramp-up time and It’s been really fun and a wild ride and we’ve got a team, at Hive and we’re supporting a variety of industries, which is really fun. You know, historically I’ve been pretty tech-focused, but I’m learning a lot about all sorts of different industries, which is great.

JOSH TOLAN: That’s great. So you’ve already got a team. How many people are you?

Yeah. Right now, I have three recruiters working with me. I’ve worked with two in the past, and so it was fun to, to bring them back, get the gang back together, and, we’re we’re rocking and rolling.

And the way that I match the recruiters with the clients is really based on their expertise, whether it’s, you know, one of my recruiters she has a really big sales recruiting background, so I typically match her with those kinds of roles.

You know, another person has a big finance recruiting background, match him with those.

And also industries, if they’ve done something within a specific space, try to match those up because they can talk the talk.

JOSH TOLAN: Got it. And when you work with your clients, are you plugging into whatever systems are already using, or how does that process work?

JAMIE HICHENS: As often as we can. Sometimes they do have an ATS and Slack and all that. Sometimes they are working off Google Sheets and we can meet them there too. So as integrated as we can be with them. We try to be, but we can also be real scrappy and wing it and try to, put some kind of a process in place for them without maybe all the bells and whistles that they may not have yet.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. Yeah. And that’s that’s a question I had is, like, generally, you come in, like you said, and you manage a recruiter with a client, but what are what are the objectives? Is it, you know, they just need more recruiting bandwidth So they tap you guys in, or is it that plus we need process optimization? We have a lot of challenges that we’re dealing with and in that respect. It’s more of an advisory type of role.

JAMIE HICHENS: Exactly. It can be all of the above. Often the companies that are coming to us are people that typically CEOs, CEO founders that don’t have an in-house recruiting function. You know, they’ve been doing a lot of the recruiting themselves.

They don’t have the bandwidth. It’s exhausting. It’s a full-time job. So they’re looking for somebody like Hive to come in and help support them, whether they have one immediate role or maybe a couple of roles in the quarter.

You know, typically they’re not ready to quite bring on an in-house recruiter, because their volume of recruiting is hiring is not that high yet. Sometimes it is that they do have an in-house recruiting function, but those people are just their recruiters are just strapped for time. And, or maybe they’re more junior and they just need somebody some more support from, you know, maybe an exact search level. So we help out there.

Yeah. And then sometimes they need all the bells and whistles. Everything us writing the job description. Putting some process in place, giving them interview trainings, everything down to how to negotiate offers, you know, we do that for them, but we also guide them along the way. We get them real-time feedback and act as a mentor as much as possible. So we give as much as they 

JOSH TOLAN: Yep. That makes a lot of sense. And I think, to your point, that’s where it kind of, differentiates against the traditional recruiting model, which is more of, bandwidth play or go out and help us find these people, and that’s kind of it. But it seems like you guys are taking a much more holistic approach, which is great. 

Would you say a lot of your clients are in this, like, transitional phase where, like you said, they don’t maybe need, you know, dedicated in-house talent function yet but hiring starting to become consistent and you’re somewhat of that bridge between those two periods.

JAMIE HICHENS: Exactly. Exactly. Sometimes, they know, typically what I say is if you’re not gonna hire any more than maybe ten people in a year, you’re probably not ready for an in-house recruiting function. After that, probably makes sense.

So generally they’re in these – the growth stage of their company. So they are thinking, okay, I need to get these key players in place, you know, their first head of marketing, first head of sales, whatever it is. And then we help kind of build a team under that person or those people. 

And then from there, depending on their revenue and their growth, they’re ready to hire a recruiter from there. And we can help facilitate that. And I have a great network and I want all my recruiter friends to be employed right now. So I will gladly make introductions to those people as well to get them in place to take over.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. That’s great.

It almost seems like in some ways, when you guys do a really good job, your clients actually get to a point where, like, they’re ready to now start doing that in-house. It’s almost like you graduate them.

Which is which is really interesting, and I’m sure it’s really good for you because it allows you to be very focused on the types of clients that you serve knowing that, you know, that might be the case down the line.

JAMIE HICHENS: Exactly. Exactly. Yeah.

JOSH TOLAN: And generally, I know you mentioned, like, some dynamics of these organizations, but is there, like, a typical company size you guys are working with?

JAMIE HICHENS: Great question.

It has varied. I would say the typical is one – from like the CEO founder.

To, one to, let’s say, twenty is pretty is pretty standard.

We do work with larger companies too that just need more recruiting support.

But I’d say definitely more of those smaller companies who are in that growth phase that are going to probably really blow up over the next year.

JOSH TOLAN: Yep. So with those types of companies, like, right now, I mean, what’s top of mind for them? What are the big challenges that they’re facing?

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. I think a lot of times what I’m finding is the CEO slash founder is doing most of the work themselves, they’re doing the marketing.

They’re – they’re okay at it. They’ve gotten the company this far, but now they wanna hand it over to a true marketer. For example.

So, you know, the pain point of – as a founder, you wanna do everything as long as you can until you bring on resources I have found including for myself. It is better to bring on the resources earlier on so you don’t burn out so you can really rely on experts to take on, you know, the heavy lifting of the things that whether you maybe you don’t wanna do them or you’re not the expert in them. And so you can hand those off.

And then I think just time. Time is so precious. These people are spending so much time recruiting themselves trying to, you know, post jobs get through resumes, reach out to people on LinkedIn and there’s not really a set recruiting strategy because that’s not their expertise. So we come in, we take out all off their plate, all the things that just is taking so much of their time.

Things they don’t really wanna be spending their time on, and we’re only giving them the best candidates to talk to. So it actually ends up being a really quick process. You know, we placed two directors within three weeks. You know, these clients are thrilled.

They just can get on with their day, but also get on with growing their business much quicker.

JOSH TOLAN: Yep. Yeah. That makes a lot of sense. When you, like, engage a client, how do you determine where you need to start with that client, what needs to be built out first or done first?

Yeah. We have, so an initial call I’d just like to learn about the company, make sure that it’s something I feel that we could support and a good match. And then when we decide that it is, we do a more formal kickoff intake call where we are truly getting into, the business, the history, the goals, the revenue, the revenue goals, current team, pain points of hiring all of those things.

Do they have a job description? Do they need one? Let’s still look at it and probably, you know, optimize it. Do you have an ATS? Okay. Let’s see how we’re going to run this process. Is it through, you know, a candidate tracker that we’re creating?

And do you have Slack? Can we invite you to our Slack? You know, it’s kind of just trying to make everything as streamlined and seamless as possible. I’d say usually it’s more of the former where they don’t have all the tools and so we try to integrate them into ours to make it easy for them.

And sometimes they do have the tools and they’re thrilled that we want to be in the tools. You know, we wanna be in Greenhouse. We wanna get candidates in through that way. We wanna you know, push them through the process and have your team assigned to the scorecards and all that. It just keeps it easy. So we try to act as much as possible as an embedded in-house recruiter without actually being on their payroll.

JOSH TOLAN: Got it. So when you’re talking to candidates, are you essentially acting as if you’re part of the company?

JAMIE HICHENS: We’re opening that we are from Hive talent, but that we’re representing the business.

So and nobody’s balked at that yet. You know, I know agency recruiters can get a bad rep, but we, I think, we were very open and transparent about it. We also have done such due diligence and such research around the company and the client. We know them so well by the time we’re talking to candidates.

So we’re not like, oh, that we think this is the role. I don’t know if that’s what they do or, you know, we really have all the answers so they don’t feel like we’re just throwing spaghetti at the wall and seeing what sticks when we reach out to candidates. We really know the clients. We know their personality at this point.

We know exactly the kind of personality that would fit into the business. As well and and the skills that are, a top of mind for the client. Yeah.

JOSH TOLAN: It makes a lot of sense. How are you navigating You know, so with these smaller clients, let’s say a twenty-person company, the odds are pretty low that candidates know much about them, right, unless whatever reason they’re following the company. So how do you navigate that when you’re going out to recruit for a relatively unknown company? And I don’t mean that in a bad way.

It’s just this is what it is with a small company. Right? How do you make the impression on the candidate that this is a company that I should really engage with and, you know, see this process through? And, A, it’s so easy for people to apply to a gazillion jobs nowadays.

So inevitably, they’re getting, you know, a bunch of responses back. And so ultimately, candidates have to pick and choose where they spend their time. So when you’re a relatively unknown brand, like, what are some things that you can do to encourage them to continue to opt into the rest of your process?

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. Absolutely.

For us, I think it really starts with very targeted outreach messaging and really selling the opportunity.

When it’s not a brand name, not not a recognized business.

So that’s what we learned from the client early on. What can what are what are this what are the selling points, you know, between the business where it’s gone, where it’s going, who are you serving? What are your goals?

And what are the opportunities within this role? You know, are they gonna have ton of autonomy? Are they gonna run a team? Are they going to be able to build things from scratch?

That’s not for everybody, you know. Usually at these size companies, you’re really coming in and it’s kinda just you and you’re scrappy and your hands-on, even at the you know, leadership level. That doesn’t appeal to everybody, but also we understand we’re not gonna go after the FAANG company, you know, people for those roles typically because that’s just not gonna translate as well.

So we like to do, you know, as much of a deep dive into the right profiles on LinkedIn as we can to really understand like would this type of role be of interest, but also that in our targeted outreach messaging to them, highlighting the selling points, and just offering an exploratory chat.

It doesn’t have to be a formalized thing. We can figure out in five minutes if it’s of interest or not, but try to give them as much information upfront so they’re not having to do the digging themselves, their own research. Like, we will link their the Glassdoor reviews. We’ll, you know, obviously the website, like, the the the profile of you know, the employees there and, you know, any press there’s ever been or anything like that and just really try to sell them, but in a realistic way too.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. And how are you dialing into what the profile of that candidate looks like? When it’s such a a young company, there’s not a lot of historical track record on, okay, we hire this person for this role, and this is what that this is what successful person, will look like in that role just because there’s not the history. So how do you dial into that with the founders or whoever else you’re working in, on, within the business?

JAMIE HICHENS: Great question. So typically, right after we do the intake meeting where we’re really honing it on all the ideal things that come will that will come within a profile of a candidate.

Right after we’re sending them usually like a handful of calibration candidates just to ensure we’re on the right track. So client gives us feedback, very detailed feedback. Like, I like this. I don’t like this.

It would be better if they had this. So we are on the same page. We also give feedback. Like, I know you want this.

You’re probably not gonna get it. Not at this stage of your company.

Or it’s gonna cost you this much or whatever. So we it’s kind of a little bit of a back-and-forth dialogue upfront of of what is realistic and what they want and what we can get them. So they were all on the same page and they’re not expecting something that we don’t believe we can actually deliver.

JOSH TOLAN: Yep. And when you think about the messaging that you’re going out to market with and trying to attract these candidates, I think, and probably founders of a of a startup tend to maybe do this more, than others is you have this tendency. You want to, like, tell candidates all the things you wanna tell them about the company and all the reasons you think the company is so cool. Like, our I mean, we did this too.

Like, I mean, when we were reaching out to Canada, so when I was reaching out and doing our recruiting, you know, I would say all these things about the company. We have this many customers were customers are in this many countries, like, all this stuff. At the end of the day, it’s like they can’t I mean, they care, but, like, they don’t that’s not really why they’re gonna engage with you in the hiring process. And so I think, like, founders have the tendency to do that because it’s, like, it’s their baby.

It’s their company. They’re really proud of their accomplishments, and they should be And those things should certainly be highlighted at a certain point. But how do you distinguish when you’re working with clients? Like, okay.

These are the things about your company, but these are the things that candidates really care about, and how do we lean into, you know, who are the right fit for, from a candidate’s perspective?

JAMIE HICHENS: Exactly.

I think it’s again go going back to being as upfront in that outreach messaging as possible. I have one client right now where in my outreach, I tell candidates, look, you’re not gonna have a marketing budget. Are you comfortable with that? Have you dealt with that? How can you be creative coming into a small startup? And really drive some, you know, quick ROI without having much many many dollars behind it.

JOSH TOLAN: Yep.

JAMIE HICHENS: You know, I have an accounting client who our big selling point is during busy tax season, nobody works more than fifty hours a week. They just won’t let their employees work that. That is kind of unheard of, especially if people are coming from Big Four.

That’s what they wanna hear. They’re sober now. You know, they wanna come to a place that really values work-life balance. Yes, still gonna be challenged in their role, but they are appreciated as humans.

They are encouraged to take time off. They’re not encouraged to work seventy, or ninety hours a week during busy season. So it’s things like that. I think there’s specific levers, especially within specific industries that are going to be interesting to some people more than others.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. And the accountant example is great because, like, nobody else other than an accountant, that’s worked during a busy tax season really understands what that means. But it sounds like you’ve really dialed into who are the types of people that you’re trying to attract and what’s important to them. 

And I think, you know, that leads me to another question. You just mentioned a couple different types of companies, an accounting firm being one of them, You’re recruiting for all these different types of companies and therefore all these different types of roles. And I’m sure there’s people that are listening, that are in a talent acquisition seat in-house somewhere that are recruiting for a wide variety of roles as well. 

How do you really, like, get yourself in the right mindset and gather the knowledge you need and everything you need really to run a successful hiring process because, like, the mind shift and the switching between role to role can be really daunting?

So I’m just curious about how you approach that in consulting because I’m sure people could pull that into their everyday jobs.

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. Definitely. I think that’s the fun part. Historically, I’ve mostly worked within tech or like creative, agencies, but I actually love that I’m doing a little bit of everything.

You know, I’ve got yes, the the tech clients for sure. But also like the accounting firm, then we’ve got, you know, a dating site client. We’ve got, what else do we have? We have, you know, an insurance client.

We’ve got, you know, a real estate client. So I think it actually makes it super fun, and it helps me differentiate because sometimes when you have, say, multiple tech clients, you’re like, which one am I talking about right now?.

Yeah. This is fun. I’m like, okay. This is a very specifically different industry. Plus, it’s so fun.

I’m learning so much about other industries. You know, I’m doing my own research, but I’m also just asking what may seem like one zero-one questions to the client, but there happy to answer because they want me to be as well-informed as possible. 

So I’d say it’s actually sort of easier for me to differentiate when it’s a different industry, you know, that I’m talking about every day or during the day. But also it makes it really fun because I’m learning a lot and I actually learn a lot from candidates too who have obviously been well-versed in this industry for a while.

So I think it I think it’s actually a fun, a fun thing.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. I mean, at the end of the day, you just have to ask really good questions, and you have to be a really good listener yes.

To, you know, have good dialogue both with the hiring manager and also with the candidates about those types of roles. So you just mentioned a bunch of different types of clients are there patterns that you see, you know, like, certain organizational or hiring process dynamics that you see across all of these companies regardless of industry, that seem to be coming to light. Like, maybe certain problems they’re all facing or, you know, anything like that that jumps out to you?

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. I would say some industries are a little easier to recruit for than others right now.

Just because there’s a little more stability, I would say.

Although that can also create a problem because there is stability when trying to pull candidates from the company for like, I’ve been here seven years. I don’t know if I wanna take a risk to maybe come to a smaller company.

I’m set, I’m comfortable.

So it kind of varies, but I would say the common theme is especially in a smaller business, a smaller company with less employees, culture is so paramount at that stage. I mean, it’s important at every stage, but of course, especially when you’re a seven-person company.

You can’t run, you can’t hide. You’re gonna know your fellow employees very well. And so the interview process can sometimes be longer even though only seven people. It can be longer because they’re really the clients really concerned about finding that right culture fit. Because they are going to you know, be real close to that person day in and day out. So I would say that’s something that I find that clients can get tripped up on. Maybe second guessing they’re their gut feeling about somebody.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. And that makes a lot of sense. I mean, to your point, not only are you gonna be working so closely with that person if you’re a ten, twenty-person company, but every incremental hire you make just becomes such a critical piece of what becomes your company’s DNA.

When you’re at that size. Right? If you’re if you’re ten people, you hire one person. It’s like ten percent dead count lift. So I can definitely see why that’s coming up with a lot of your clients? 

And so now you mentioned that you know, that can cause the interview process to to drag out is that would you say it’s more of the decision making or would you say it’s more that, like, I want them to meet with this person and this person and this person, and it’s like the different rounds of interviews that a candidate has to go through because they wanna, like, gauge how other people in the company view that candidate.

JAMIE HICHENS: Yes. It’s a little of both. I think it’s a little analysis paralysis, like, is this the right? And So that’s where we really come in and we actually help stack rank them with our, with our opinion of who we think would actually fit best So sometimes they just need a third party to come in and say, here’s who you should hire. 

Yeah. Here’s who I think is going to be the best fit. Here’s why based on what we know about you, your business, your decision-making, who’s gonna take the biggest lift off of what you’re doing yourself.

And, yes, sometimes they do want everybody in the company to meet them, and then they want them maybe to meet them a second time. And it’s like, we try to nip that because That’s not a great candidate experience, but also if you’re not sure after the first three conversations, you know, or three interviews that they’ve had, It’s probably not the right thing.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. You kinda have your answer right there, if you’re unsure.

That’s really interesting, though. And I think every company deals with the, you know, paralysis by over-analysis, right, especially when it comes to hiring decisions. You’ve got a few finalists.

You know, maybe some people aren’t on the same page or it’s just hard to make the decision. And so, like, what advice would you give talent acquisition leaders who are a steward of the process and are working with the hiring manager? And the hiring manager is, like, waffling between a few candidates, and to your point, it’s not a good experience to drag it out. 

And if you do drag it out, the odds are kinda high that you’re gonna lose that candidate because they’re gonna go somewhere else if you extend the time to hire. So How can talent acquisition leaders help the hiring managers ultimately make that decision? Like, is there a certain framework or scorecard or, like, what type of process would you advise?

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. Well, in the intake, call, we like to understand what they think they want the interview process to look like. And then we make suggestions because we wanna have it pretty set from the get-go. Okay. They’re gonna meet after we screen them, they’re gonna meet you first, then this person, then this person, then if they go, and then this person, then they go, no, either you can combine a couple of those or are they truly a decision maker or are you just needing another opinion? Are they a stakeholder?

Why would this person, you know, you don’t want it to be five steps. Yeah. It’s just it’s too long.

At the Exec level, I get it, but it’s at the same time, like, what is the true intent for each person meeting them? And then the scorecards are very important. You, you know, what are you what is each person truly testing for? We don’t want the same everybody to have the same conversation with each candidate, that’s not gaining any new information.

Like, what are we really trying What is the CFO trying to learn about the person? What is the CEO trying to learn? And what are the peers trying to gather that is going to help them do their job better if they hire this person? So really trying to coach them whether it’s through scorecards or just interview training on how to show up and make the best use of the time and really pull out the right information from the candidate that’s gonna make a much easier decision.

JOSH TOLAN: Yep. And would you say, like, do you think that someone working in TA should maintain their own scorecard or recommendation through the process? So, like, you know, you get to the end of the process. Maybe it’s two candidates in the hiring manager.

They’ve got recommendations from everybody in the So everybody’s giving a thumbs up on both candidates and now it’s like you gotta make a decision. Do you would you advise that TA becomes like the tiebreaker in that scenario or offers up their scorecard as essentially the reason why they believe, you know, should go one direction versus the other?

JAMIE HICHENS: I think so. I think when they’re, you know, in a lock decision. I think that’s where we can really play a final decision urgent, if you will. Yeah. You know, we do debriefs with client and, you know, all the hiring manager or whoever was in the interview process. And we hear everyone’s feedback.

And then if they’re not sure we also try to, okay. Well, these are the attributes you are going for. Let’s kind of rank how, you know, one out of five this person, you know, and really actually put a little more data and metrics around it because Yeah. Can’t lie about that. That always speaks for itself.

And, I think that helps them just visually see. Okay. You’re right. Like, maybe I like this maybe I wanted to hang out with this person, you know, outside of work, but this person’s actually gonna drive what we need to get done. And sometimes they just need that neutral third party – Whether you’re in-house as a as a recruiter or external, I think recruiters act like that almost as kind of the final, you know, reminder of what we’re actually driving towards in this hire.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. Totally. And I think if you ask the right questions at that decision-making point. You can help them get to the answer.

They should get to. Right? If you circle back to the things you discussed earlier in the hiring process and you go back to what is most important? And how do these candidates stack up against what’s most important versus how they stack up against all of the scorecards combined and getting people to walk back through that you know, can probably lead them to a decision. 

And I think also, like, at the end of the day, you know, when we’re we’re human, so when we’re interviewing people and we’re filling up score cards when we’re doing things at different times of the day or a different week, depending on what’s going on, you know, like, we can be skewed depending on, like, what’s going on around us.

And so I think walking back through that with a fresh set of eyes, and talking through, you know, the interview experience about, you know, whether you’re deciding between two candidates, I think, can be really powerful exercise to ultimately gain clarity on the decision that you need to make.

JAMIE HICHENS: Absolutely. I agree.

JOSH TOLAN: Yep. And then so tell me about your interaction with like, I know, obviously, you’re working CEOs at a small company when they were handling all the hiring. But you also just talked about how in some companies, you know, they want several people, several stakeholders involved in the process.

What is your interaction like with all of the different hiring managers? Are you guys collaborating with all of them or is there a single point person? How does that work?

JAMIE HICHENS: We try to just have one to two single points. People, otherwise, there are too many cooks in the kitchen, too many opinions, too many competing priorities.

So usually One, maybe two. There should be a main point of contact who is maybe driving the process and then maybe a hiring manager. Usually, it’s the same person, but, right now, we’re working with a client and it’s two different people, but one is the point person. She’s gonna help push the rest of the people to you know, be able to, open their calendars for availability to the interviews and help drive the decision-making alongside us.

So yeah. Anything more than two, it’s too many. We really say this is not the best use of everyone’s time and If you have more than two stakeholders that really are the main decision-makers, it gets mucky. Yeah. So we try to coach them that way.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. Agreed. How do you coach the main point of contact and then to engage those other stakeholders to follow the process, do what they need to do on time, get their feedback in, open their calendars, all those things you were just talking about?

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. Well, upfront like to understand when they wanna make this higher. Of course, if the answer is always yesterday. But realistically, I like to understand You know, okay. So you have all these people you want to meet the candidate.

How realistic is it that we can fill this role in two months with all these different schedules and calendars and having to find hour-long blocks on the c suite’s calendar, that’s really challenging.

So just very upfront that the longer it takes for us to just schedule things. First of all, we’re still trying to keep a candidate engaged and interested. Second of all, you need this higher in two months. Like, we need your help to help open these calendars up or make a point with your team that this is a priority. They need to be able to move things around.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s one of the biggest challenges that every talent leader, you know, is dealing with on a daily basis is they’re working with hiring managers trying to hold them accountable, trying to get them to do all these things, to those people that are feeling a little frustrated Like, how would you what advice would you have for them to get that buy-in to the process? I know with your clients, you know, you’re giving them very clear instructions on this of what you need to do. But, like, when people are kinda out there on their own and they’re dealing with all different types of hiring manager personalities, like, what advice would you give to them?

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. As much as willing as they’re able to be, having access to calendars, like, as soon as the role kicks off is crucial.

Asking them to block a couple of hours in a week just for interviews so we know that we can use that time is so crucial.

Sometimes it’s the hiring manager, but we have to tell them, look, we’re not able to get any time. Can you nudge them? You know, sometimes we do ask for that help. And it is the it’s the hiring manager priority. So they’re usually more than willing to help. Maybe none of that person to do so. Calendly or any similar tool.

It’s also so great. I love when a hiring manager and their team each has one. Then the candidate can even schedule it themselves, and it’s not all the back and forth. That’s just so seamless. So, as much either automation, whether it’s through a calendly-like tool or as much as we can get access to people’s calendars and, ask them to block specific chunks off each week. That’s always been my best bet.

JOSH TOLAN: Yep. Make sense. Now you, like I mentioned in the beginning of the call, we met when you were at Glassdoor. You were there, I think, for a few years.

JAMIE HICHENS: Four years. Yeah.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. So obviously, you know, you know, the importance of employer branding and candidate experience. So when you onboard a new client and perhaps you see they don’t really have an employer brand or their candidate experiences out of whack like Is that a place you would start before you even start to recruit or how do you figure out, like, what the needs are there and what are some simple things we can do, to really get the ball rolling in the right direction. So you’re not just going out to market, and it’s like there’s nothing to share.

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. Exactly. That is often the case, I will say. I recently had a client, awesome guy. He, is purchasing a company.

And so I was gonna help, alright. I’m helping him hire for, a CTO and but the company is not well known at all that he’s purchasing. That is why he’s purchasing it to help make it very well known and you know, drive an insane amount of growth over the next three years, but coming in, there’s nothing. So what we have focused on is actually his background.

He recently sold another business. He’s a super amazing entrepreneur, you know, talking about his vision, his successes is really where I’ve started. People, you know, read about him. I share links.

I share his profile. I share as much information as I can about him and kind of sell him as the draw. Because also it’s really gonna be him and this other person only in the beginning. So it’s really selling kind of the kind of person and visionary he is and then from there, you know, there will be more as as the business grows.

But yeah, coming out of the gate, it’s like, I gotta sell the CEO, the founder, and what he has done in the past and what he’s planning to do here. And he’s also just a great guy. So it’s really easy for me to sell him as a person and personality.

And, people – people love hearing that too, especially when it’s gonna be just them and this person, they wanna know it’s a good person to work with, but also somebody is maybe not their first rodeo. They’ve actually done this before. They know what they’re doing. Yep. And they’ve done it successfully.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. Look. And I think the message there is you gotta work with what you got. Right? Yeah. In that scenario, like, there is nothing, you know, related to the company. So you know, you gotta get creative and think how are we gonna position this in the right way?

And so I think that’s a lesson for everybody out there in the sense that On the surface, it might not seem like there is any content. Or, hey, we need to work with marketing on this. And, like, It just seems like you won’t be able to get anything rolling, but I think if most people take a step back, they’ll realize there are things they can control. Are things that they can do right now, even if it’s scrappy and even if it’s not perfect.

The point is that you’ve at least got something that you’re leaning into. Otherwise, like, what are you saying? Right? What are you saying when you’re going out speaking to candidates?

So you’ve gotta find something to hang on to. And I think the point is there’s probably more than you think. You just have to be strategic about it. And, you know, what you lean into today doesn’t necessarily have to be what you lean into tomorrow, but, at least you’re not stagnant in waiting on other people or other departments to get something done for you.

JAMIE HICHENS: Oh, sorry. I was just gonna say one more thing. With a company or example like that, you know, I think the right person is gonna be actually be excited that there isn’t a tongue to go off of yet because they get to help drive that. 

So that’s, you know, a blank slate for you know, a new hire, a leadership level hire is like, oh, what can we make this? How can we get this out to market? How can we get the brand recognition and how can I be part of that? That’s exciting to a lot of people too.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. Absolutely. And that goes back to, like, the profile of the person that you’re trying to attract. To the organization.

And who you’re a right fit for, versus who’s a right fit for us. And I think if you approach it that way, like, your messaging can become a lot more clear.

And then you’re getting the people that are excited about maybe what you would have perceived as like a weakness.

Somebody else perceives that as an opportunity.

And so, you know, again, I think focusing more so on who are we a fit for? Who is our company for? And then trying to attract those people versus trying to figure out, like, you know, who, like, we want to bring in. Right? And that’s where companies, like, like, you said earlier, like, they might say, oh, let’s go get, like, a FAANG engineer.

It’s, like, You’re not right for that, tell you of a person at this stage in your and at stage in your company’s journey. And so it’s it’s really figuring out who you are, who you’re for, then attracting those people.

Now, you know, I guess, like I mentioned at the top of the call, you know, we haven’t we haven’t, been connected for a few years. So a lot of things have changed.

Over the last few years. I’m curious from your perspective, like, what what’s changed in the hiring market?

You know, you’re now seeing a lot of different clients but you also were working in-house before you started your business. So you’ve kinda seen it from both sides. What are some of the biggest changes that you’ve seen in the market?

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. Oh, boy. A lot.

I know AI is top of mind for a lot of people. I think that’s obviously a very interesting topic.

My personal belief, even when the idea of AI taking over jobs six years ago, is to an extent, the human experience and connection within recruiting is still incredibly valuable.

You know, I don’t if I’m gonna look for a job, I don’t wanna be necessarily just talking to a bot, you know, trying to get me interested in something. I think AI as far as automation goes and streamlining.

That’s wonderful. It’ll be very interesting to see where AI goes within this space, but I think I think a lot of recruiters are worried about it taking over their careers and I plan to have this career for the rest of my career. So I don’t plan on it taking me over. Hopefully, that doesn’t happen.

But I think, just a lot more automation in general has been amazing to watch over the last few years.

Different tools at my last company. We brought on new tools that really solve problems that if we had had these, you know, the beginning of my career, like, oh my god. What we could have done with it. But now we have it.

It’s like thank you. Somebody created this. They heard what the recruiters needed. They and the hiring managers wanted.

And it used to be a lot of like tools that would just do this or just do this. Now a lot of them are combined whether it’s you know an outreach tool where you can do you know email drip campaigns plus a sourcing tool with an ATS combined like all these different things. You know, that’s so valuable. Recruiters have to go we do so many things.

Yeah. Yes. We recruit. We look at resumes. We have phone screens, but we do all these other very interesting little things during the day that do that are so time-consuming.

So anything to streamline that is just the best, everybody, every recruiter loves that. So I’d say anything automation streamlining-wise, just allows for scale and just a better candidate experience, a better hiring experience for everybody. So that’s something I see is just experimenting with these different tools over last couple years.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. That’s great. And I’ve definitely heard the same, you know, I mean, obviously, we’re a vendor in the HR tech space, but you know, it’s been a big thing. I would say, like, over the last five to ten years, you just saw this explosion of tools you know, I would say mostly led by this proliferation of, like, ATS is building these huge marketplaces like, let’s integrate with all four hundred providers in all these different categories.

And so everybody was able to carve out a business to hook on to these marketplaces and serve a certain need.

And I think that was great, you know, for freedom of choice. In great, for competition in the HR tech space. It makes all the products better when there’s when there’s companies competing.

But I think now what we’re seeing is this big desire to consolidate tools.

And I think, you know, for one reason, obviously, every company is trying to be more efficient and do more with less that’s a given in today’s market.

But I think you know, the point that you made is is probably actually more real to recruiting. And that’s like, hey, I want to go in one system that do all these different things and deal with one vendor versus, you know, cobble all these different things together, have different point people at all these different vendors, like, I’m slammed in my day to day. The last thing I need is to be bouncing between all these different apps and all these different people when I have questions.

So it’s interesting you’re you’re seeing that too because that’s definitely something that we’ve seen on the market. One more question I wanna ask you. So you mentioned you know, the rise of automation and AI, and there’s so many tools, you know, that offer efficiency gains. How like, what would you advise to organizations that might be worried about the impact on the candidate experience when you’re using so much automation. As you mentioned, the human experience is you know, a key aspect to hiring.

So how what what would you tell companies that are concerned about that?

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. I think something that I’ve done when I’ve done demos with any tool that we are potentially considering is learning how much of the human experience is involved.

How much it feels like a candidate does have access to an actual person who cares about them during the process.

Sometimes, some tools are just way too automated and they sound robotic. Nobody wants that. That’s not a great feeling.

You just feel like another number. So I like to learn during the demo, you know, how personalized can we make this? How repeatable is that?

How does kind of have the experience, the demo from the candidate perspective. Like, how does this feel? How does this look? How does this read?

Some of them are just so, like I said, automated robotic and you’re like, it’s close. But if it felt a little more personal, that would be better.

That’s how I relate engage if it’s gonna be a good tool that wants that we should, you know, have representing us in the business.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. I think that’s a good point is really leaning into how much can you personalize it? And then if you are, you know, implementing a solution, actually doing the work to personalize it. I think a lot of folks might buy a tool, and it’s, like, very easy, you know, to unleash the spam cannon. Right? And you know, not put in the effort to personalize or humanize the experience.

So I think that’s a critical aspect of it. And then I think too, like, at the end of the day, automation and anything that’s gonna make the process move faster and smoother is also a good thing for candidates, right? Cause that means the process moves faster and smoother for them as well. 

So I think I always think it’s important too when companies are using these solutions, that they actually put that. I think that’s, like, a good message to candidates and, like, hey, here’s the solution we’re using. Here’s why we’re using it and why it benefits you. And I think not only is using the solution good for the candidate because it makes the process move faster. 

But if you can explain that to the candidate and why you’ve implemented it, the candidate’s perception of you as a brand is they look at you as like, hey, this company is trying to improve their processes. They’re on the cutting edge. They’re doing things that are thinking about me as a candidate.

And as a candidate, I like that about that company. I wanna be part of a company that thinks that way. And is doing things differently to make the process, better. So, you know, take that for what you will. I think there’s a lot of things that you can get into there.

Well, cool. You know, I guess last thing. I know I said I had one more question, but this is my last question because you have a consulting firm. And I wanna give you a shout out.

When would you say is the appropriate time for a company to consider working with a firm like you? Versus trying to do it all in house. Like, is there a certain inflection point or pain they’re feeling? And that would be a good time for them to reach out to you?

JAMIE HICHENS: Yeah. Definitely. Feel like before they get to that painful point, but they see it on the horizon. That’s a good time to reach out.

It’s not always the case because it usually takes a little pain to go, oh god. Okay. Now I need help. I know that myself building a business.

I do the same. I take one a lot and then I go, nope. Went too far. So I think, just understanding, when you wanna hire people, you know, I’d say at least give it a three-month leeway.

You know, we work really fast, but at least give yourself that time. Reach out to us.

And then let’s start having the conversation. Maybe you’re not ready to totally pull the trigger, but let’s have the conversation about what it would be like working with us.

What we’re gonna take off your plate we’re gonna make your life easier, how we’ll help streamline things for you and get the right person in place, so that you can also take even more off your plate that you’re probably taking on your.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. I think when, like, recruiting starts to become, like, if you don’t have an internal talent function and recruiting starts to become the dominant thing in your day. And as a ten to fifteen-person company, you’re unable to focus on other things that need to be strategically to drive the business forward, that becomes the time where you need to figure out a way to delegate, some world more of recruiting. I always think like it’s important for a founder or CEO to be heavily involved, and they should always be doing some form of recruiting.

But it can’t it can’t come at the expense of all the other things that you gotta do as such a as such a young company when you’re a founder and pretty much have to wear every hat within the business.

JAMIE HICHENS: Exactly. Yeah. If you’re spending more time on recruiting than you aren’t growing your business, stop. You need help. It just sits too much.

JOSH TOLAN: Yeah. At that point, hit up high.

JAMIE HICHENS: Exactly. Alright.

JOSH TOLAN: Cool. Well, Jamie, this is awesome. It was great to reconnect with you. Thank you so much for coming on. Learned a lot today from talking to you, and I know our audience too. So I appreciate it.

JAMIE HICHENS: Appreciate it. Thanks, Josh.

JOSH TOLAN: Cool!

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