[PODCAST] Recruitment Marketing Benchmark Report Analysis with Joe Matar, Josh Zywien, and Ryan Drummond

Jun 13, 2019 - Joe Matar

In this episode, Joe Matar, Director of Marketing at Brazen, Josh Zywien, CMO at Smashfly, and Ryan Drummond, Founder and CEO of The Athlete Book, break down Smashfly's 2019 Recruitment Marketing Benchmark report. Plus, learn about the recent integration between Brazen and Smashfly, and details on the upcoming TransformHR conference.

Full Transcript

Ryan Drummond:

Joining me, not in studio but on the phone, are two guests who are guaranteed to deliver insight and perspective on your recruitment strategy. My first guest is the VP of marketing at SmashFly Technologies, Josh Zywien. SmashFly is an enterprise recruitment marketing platform that empowers their clients to master the art and science of attracting and hiring the right people.

Ryan Drummond:

Rounding out this talent acquisition trifecta conversation is the director of marketing at Brazen Technologies, Joe Matar. Brazen's conversational recruiting platform gives the world's top employers a way to succeed in the new candidate driven labor market, by giving recruiters a variety of chat based recruitment tools. Like QuickChat, chatbots, virtual chat events.

Ryan Drummond:

I will say in full disclosure, The Athlete Book is a client of Brazen's. The reason why is that we were looking for a platform that would easily connect college athletes to employers through virtual chat events, and Brazen was the solution that made sense. When you really think about it, having a chat based virtual event that sits on top of a technology like a SmashFly does make a lot of sense when you're looking to bring talent pools into your CRM.

The Recruiting Chatbot Revolution ad

Ryan Drummond:

Josh and Joe, thank-you for listening to that long introduction, and welcome to the show.

Joe Matar:

Yeah, thanks for having us, Ryan.

Josh Zywien:

Yeah, appreciate it.

Ryan Drummond:

Josh, first off, how do you feel to be here?

Josh Zywien:

It's great. I don't know that I can fulfill the promises you made about delivering really brilliant insights, but I'll try to do my best.

Ryan Drummond:

Well Josh and Joe, I understand the timing is ideal. As I heard through the grapevine that SmashFly and Brazen have recently completed an integration. Joe, why don't you kick us off by telling us a little bit about what that integration involves?

Joe Matar:

Yeah, really excited about the recent integration with SmashFly. We actually had a few of our customers that also are using SmashFly, and we're really pushing to integrate the data. We can get into this later in the episode. But ultimately, it ties back to a lot of what we're going to talk about. Which is, how do we continue to engage our candidates? Our job seekers? Our applicants? Beyond a virtual event, for example.

Joe Matar:

If one of our clients, an employer is using a virtual event to engage candidates with their recruiters, they need a way to continue that conversation. It just made sense to pass that data off to SmashFly, an awesome recruitment marketing platform that can continue to nurture those leads. Yeah, really excited about launching this.

Josh Zywien:

Yeah, same. The only thing I'll add to that, Ryan, real quick. Our motivation has always been to be really good at what we're supposed to be good at, or what our customers expect us to be good at. We try not to be all things to all buyers. Frankly, Brazen's going to be much better at the conversational recruiting aspect of things than we ever will be. There are situations where we can really deliver some mutual value.

Josh Zywien:

I think we try not to be stubborn there. When there are companies like Brazen that are willing to work with us and make it easy for our customers, it just makes a ton of sense. There's a lot of visibility in their recruiting workflow, and I think it makes things better for everybody. That's been our mentality, and we're excited there to have that partnership.

Ryan Drummond:

It sounds as though Brazen can be the top of funnel, the door into SmashFly. Then the clients that are using SmashFly can continue to manage that relationship over the long tail. Is that correct?

Josh Zywien:

Yeah.

Joe Matar:

Yeah, I think that's a fair statement.

Josh Zywien:

Yeah, I agree.

Ryan Drummond:

Great.

Josh Zywien:

There's a lot of things that happen. I think candidate engagement, if you limit it to a few channels. People think about SMS and email. But there's really this huge ecosystem where engagement happens, and these interactions happen. What we're trying to create, and I think what Brazen allows us to do for these joint customers that Joe mentioned, is create more of that visibility. So that when a recruiter goes in to SmashFly and they're looking at a contact record, they have real visibility into all these different micro-interactions. They have the context then to be able to followup with candidates with really relevant messaging from there.

Josh Zywien:

As opposed to, if you lack that visibility and you've got these different interactions happening in different pockets, and you don't really see that. Then sometimes you have conflicting messaging. Or contradictory messaging going out to candidates. It really hurts the experience.

Ryan Drummond:

Yeah. You know, this is actually solving a very current pain point for me. Right now I have a client, I'm not going to mention the name. But it's a very large Fortune 500 that wants to do a virtual online hiring event with The Athlete Book. Again, we're using Brazen. But the question of how to pass the data, and they're a SmashFly client. I didn't know that this, until two minutes before this podcast, this integration was in place. They're going to be happy to hear that there's a solution now to patch in the data. What we were trying to figure out the past few weeks, so that's great.

Joe Matar:

That's awesome. They'll be pleasantly surprised. I don't want to digress too far. But I'll just add one more thing. Ryan, you mentioned that this recruiting process looks like a funnel. I would argue that that model is even breaking down. Where it's maybe more of a matrix. Or the candidate or the job seeker is at the center of this model.

Joe Matar:

Interactions are just happening all the time. We're trying to track the candidates' behavior as they are deciding upon where they want to work next. I think that that workflow that Josh alluded to in pulling all that data together just helps paint a better picture of each job seeker. Each candidate. Each applicant, and allows recruiter to be smarter about who they're going to target with whatever communication channel they have access to.

Ryan Drummond:

You know, I mean I think what you just said there is going to get at the center and the core theme of this podcast. One of the things that we wanted to talk about was a white paper that SmashFly produced. Every year here's a white paper that really grabs ahold of my attention, and just consumes my thoughts and strategy on how I could help my clients. Really for the past two years, it's been the recruitment marketing benchmark report that SmashFly has put out. I'm really excited that we have you guys on there.

Ryan Drummond:

Josh, if you could. The report was based off of this A through F grading scale that compares a given company's, "Marketing maturity model". Can you break that down and just explain the basis of the grading for this report?

Josh Zywien:

Yeah, for sure. Really what we wanted to try and do in this report, we started, I think this is the fourth year that we've published it. But four years ago, recruitment marketing really wasn't a thing. I remember joining SmashFly and going to conferences. You would mention the words, "Recruitment marketing", and people's eyes would glaze over. They'd look at you like you had two heads.

Josh Zywien:

Thankfully that's changed a lot. But we wanted to have some ability to benchmark this maturity or this adoption of recruitment marketing over time. The A to F model made a lot of sense, because you could group these companies in buckets. In a way that made some sense relative to their maturity. Then we could evaluate that over time. The real goal here is to measure adoption of, not just recruitment marketing, but specific tactics within recruitment marketing, and seeing how the industry's evolving.

Josh Zywien:

What that's allowed us to do is really see, we label the As and Bs as the high performers, the high adopters of recruitment marketing practices and technology. These behaviors that drive candidate engagement. What we were kind of hoping to see, and what we have seen frankly, is some increase in those As and Bs. Those higher performers, those high adopters of recruitment marketing over time as they've invested in technology and people and processes and all this stuff.

Josh Zywien:

We've seen those As and Bs go up, and the number of Fs and Ds, which really would be the companies not doing anything with recruitment marketing, we've seen those go down a little bit.

Josh Zywien:

I'm sure we'll get into this. The somewhat disappointing thing is, I don't see the growth happening rapidly there. I think it's been a little bit slow to kind of occur, so we're seeing -

Ryan Drummond:

Well I think ... Sorry, go ahead. Go ahead and complete that thought.

Josh Zywien:

No, go right ahead.

Ryan Drummond:

Well I was going to say, and what I think you were getting towards. The most glaring message that the report shared is that the Fortune 500 investment in candidate recruitment marketing platforms like SmashFly has doubled since 2016, right? Joe, you talked about this in a recent blog. In 2016, 22 percent of the Fortune 500s had invested in this candidate recruitment marketing technology. Meaning that CRM, it sits outside of your applicant tracking system.

Ryan Drummond:

Great, right? Because that's the Fortune 500s saying, "We're moving past, 'Apply now'. You either apply and you're in our ecosystem, or you don't apply and we may never talk to you". 22 percent in 2016. Doubled to 44 percent today, which you guys had in your report. I think the sad, I don't want to say sad. But maybe the disappointing point is that only five percent of those companies that have invested in this technology are actually pumping content into their talent community. Into their marketing platforms, like a SmashFly.

Josh Zywien:

Yeah, exactly. It's a real paradox.

Ryan Drummond:

So Josh, what are the 95 percent missing?

Josh Zywien:

This is the paradox that I think is, I think it'll change in the next year or two here. But the really confusing thing is, a lot of companies have invested in employer brand. This umbrella of employer brand. They've developed these beautiful career sites, and on the career sites they have their content segmented. They might have landing pages set up for a veteran hiring initiative, or some sort of hub where they have employee stories and videos. It's all great content.

Josh Zywien:

The miss on that is, they don't then repurpose it for nurture, or continuing candidate engagement. There's this presumption that candidates will just magically come directly to the career site. They'll engage with the content there, and it'll be so compelling that they then decide to go through that miserable 40 minute application process.

Josh Zywien:

I think you know, and Ryan, you're a practitioner. That just doesn't happen. It happens very rarely. There's a longer term relationship that has to be built, and credibility that has to be developed. You have to give these, especially in the job market we're in today, you have to give really talented people a very compelling reason to go through that application process. They're not going to just show up to your site and apply. No matter how much you streamline it and make it simpler.

Josh Zywien:

Then that kind of gets to the other issue here. Which is, there's been a lot of focus and investment placed on simplifying the application process. Which might be viewed as a good thing. The challenge there is, you then create, if you make it too simple to apply, you then create this massive flow of applications into a system, the ATS, that isn't great from a candidate engagement or disposition perspective. In fact, it's quite the opposite.

Josh Zywien:

You get a ton of these applicants into the system. Recruiters can't disposition or engage or properly message to those candidates that spend the time to apply. So you end up with this black hole where communication goes to die. I think it creates this bad experience. There's this enormous opportunity, I think, to better leverage talent networks or talent communities to actually engage these people, and add value to candidates over time. To give rather than take.

Josh Zywien:

Again, if you do that long enough and you're consistent enough with it, and you actually are patient and invest in it, I can say from a marketing perspective, and I know Joe can probably speak to this, this is the whole concept with lead nurturing, relationship building. There's a long tail there that pays off in the long term. But you've got to be consistent. You've got to invest, and you've got to be willing to give and be a little bit unselfish. I just don't know that our industry is quite there yet. Or even if they have the mentality or they appreciate that approach, they haven't quite been given the resources from the company to support that concept.

Ryan Drummond:

Joe, your thoughts?

Joe Matar:

Yeah. I mean I think there's so much to unpack there. I agree with everything that Josh just said. If I go all the way back to the original stat or metric, Ryan, that you brought up. About how there has been this growth in recruitment marketing technology. But the adoption or the level of maturity on using that technology isn't there yet.

Joe Matar:

I think it's just, it's going to break very soon. If we look at marketing technology as any kind of beacon for how recruitment marketing technology matures. I remember a time, and Josh, you probably do too. Where it as like everyone thought that they could just buy something like a HubSpot or a Marketo. That it was going to solve all of our problems.

Joe Matar:

I literally remember people buying, I worked at an agency and we were a Hub Spot partner. But marketers buying this technology and coming to our agency and being like, "Joe. Why isn't this technology working?". It's like, "Because you're missing the point here. This is just the framework. There's layers upon layers that you need to add on top in order to actually see value from the technology".

Joe Matar:

Now it's not that complicated. But I think it's first this culture shift or mentality shift, in understanding that the technology isn't just going to magically do what I want it to do.

Joe Matar:

Then I love your point on giving more than you take. At first you said something about how, "You have to give job seekers, you have to give candidates a compelling message". But yeah, I think it is simpler than even just a compelling message. It's just, give to them without expecting anything in return. Again, I think that's a shift in the way that recruiters or talent acquisition professionals engage in this market. Because it is more of a long term play. That's really really hard, especially in this environment, where your organization demands you to fill jobs right now.

Joe Matar:

I get it. It's tough. But there is so much noise out there. If you want to be a signal in that noise, it does require a long term investment in giving. It might go beyond just the employee stories. Or that hub that you have on your career site. It might have to go even further up the funnel. Just providing content to job seekers that might not even apply for your jobs for a couple years down the road. Yeah, a huge shift that needs to happen.

Ryan Drummond:

You know, Elise says it right off, in basically the first paragraph of the report. Which I couldn't agree more with. You have your recruitment team that you've already had traditionally, that's doing the dispositioning of candidates. That's handling the interviews. That's doing the onboarding. But she wrote back in 2015, that still stands true today. Is that including that, you also when you bring on this type of a technology investment, you really want to have the supporting cast that can be a marketing manager, a content strategist, a digital marketer.

Ryan Drummond:

Because if you don't have those in place, you're most likely not going to be generating the compelling content from the recruiting team. Because they're busy working with the candidates that have flooded into their funnel. When we think about what our strategy is, you have to ... The Athlete Book's trying to help employers create compelling employer brand videos. At our events actually, literally miking up our recruiters at the booth, and having video production crews there so that they can start to produce that.

Ryan Drummond:

But I get the sense, especially from the Fortune 500s, that there's this feeling of being scared from a liability perspective. To just being cautious on, anything that gets put out there from a content perspective has to run through legal. That to me says, "These medium to small size businesses that may be a little bit more flexible in the compliance compartment have wide open space here to take advantage of putting out really good content if they invest in that type of a strategy". Because they're not held back by the same kind of compliance concerns as the larger Fortune 500 companies.

Ryan Drummond:

I mean, Josh, what do you think about that?

Josh Zywien:

I totally agree. I think sometimes, I mentioned this in another podcast talking about this report. But we haven't done a formal audit or research into non Fortune 500 companies. But what we do with our sales reps is, we've created a calculator or score card, where they can run a calculation or a report on any company not in the Fortune 500. They basically use the same methodology that we use to score the Fortune 500. But then they can create these custom reports for a smaller employer, that maybe has 1000 employees.

Josh Zywien:

What we find typically is that those companies are more advanced than the Fortune 500s, despite being much smaller and having much less access to budget. For exactly I think the reasons that you described. They can move quicker. There's fewer layers of management. There's less approval required, and they can just do it. They just kind of run with it, you know? They see a problem and they fix it.

Josh Zywien:

As opposed to, sometimes in a bigger company, you can have someone who's in charge of the employer brand or in charge of recruitment marketing. You could have this really innovative TA leader. They can want to do all of the right things. But they just aren't empowered to do it. It has to be incredibly frustrating for them.

Josh Zywien:

I know, Elise kind of mentioned this in the report. I know Kyle Lagunas from IDC also mentioned it. This is not a condemnation of recruiters or TA teams. We're not saying that they're dumb, and that everything that they're doing is a reflection on their lack of understanding this stuff. I think when I talk to ... I'm sure, Joe, you could probably share the same experience. When I talk to TA leaders, I'm always impressed by how forward thinking they are, and how well they understand the concepts that we're covering here.

Josh Zywien:

A lot of times it's just red tape. Or it's lack of resources. They can't hire teams to manage their recruitment marketing platform and CRM. They don't have the time or the money to build out these robust nurture tracks for specific job families. Sometimes they know what they need to do, but they can't do it. I think you're exactly right that it's, a lot of times, just the corporate structure.

Josh Zywien:

You come from big companies, so I'm sure you understand this better than anybody. It's just, you know what you need to do. You just can't really do it.

Ryan Drummond:

Joe, what are your thoughts in terms of looking at what Brazen offers? Can Brazen offer an avenue to help the lower rated Ds and Fs improve their content strategy? If so, how?

Joe Matar:

Yeah, I mean so let me just real quick respond to the science thing.

Ryan Drummond:

Yeah, go for it.

Joe Matar:

I think that Josh brings up another great point too. Which is that TA teams get what they need to do with this technology, but they are understaffed, or they don't have the resources to implement these full on recruitment marketing projects. One thing I would suggest, and I know it's something that I did early on when I had marketing technology at my fingertips, but not a team to really manage marketing automation. You have to prove it on a smaller scale to leadership in order to get that investment.

Joe Matar:

When I just look at, if I were in recruiting, it's not that hard to reach out to a list of job seekers that have not yet applied, and show that by building a relationship. Sending them emails, sending them LinkedIn messages, on a small scale. I'm not talking about tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands or leads here. But proving out that by over time nurturing these individuals, that there were some micro-conversions along the way.

Joe Matar:

I was able to, by nurturing this group of software engineers that work at Facebook, currently employed at Facebook, trying to get them to come work for my organization. Over a six month period I sent them content about the industry. I sent them a couple videos. Some messages on LinkedIn. That this cohort, I was able to convert a couple of them into leads for my organization. I think that that can be a really compelling story, right? That's a way I think that teams can start to incrementally find the resources that they need to do this well.

Joe Matar:

Then in response to -

Ryan Drummond:

Before you answer that second part of the question, while you were talking, I remembered something that you actually did, Joe. With your marketing techniques, on how to actually capture that data. You created, I believe it was a video content on a new feature. But you teased it, and then it was gated. Right? To see the rest of it, they are in exchange giving their contact information.

Ryan Drummond:

Because at some point, you have to have that kind of exchange so that you can continue on the relationship. Otherwise you're not able to convert that buying traffic.

Joe Matar:

Yeah, for sure. It's tough to figure out, "How much should I be giving away? At what point is someone willing to actually give up their contact information?". It's a delicate balance. But some balance there of the giving is the way to do it.

Ryan Drummond:

That's why registering for events makes so much sense, and having an event based model in place is good. Kind of a constant feeder to get them into the talent network community.

Joe Matar:

Yeah, exactly. I mean, virtual chat events are, it's a giving. It's an option beyond the, "Apply now", right? It's saying, "Look. We have our recruiters. We have our hiring managers available to chat with you. Ask us anything. We can talk about our organization". That's compelling. That's, giving that compelling offer to a candidate in the form of these virtual chat events can be really powerful for getting those registrations, and collecting those leads.

Ryan Drummond:

Josh, in the report towards the back there, there's a section on what the A graded companies are doing differently. One of the things that they said that you guys have on there is, "As set expectations and tell stories cross-channel". Can you unpack that a little bit, and maybe even share a good use case of what you're referring to there?

Josh Zywien:

Yeah, for sure. I always use Nestle Purina as a hallmark example for us. But there are other companies, like Intel and IBM. Nestle is not a Fortune 500 company technically. I think it's, I forget why they don't qualify. But it's just the criteria that Fortune 500 uses.

Josh Zywien:

But what they do is, when you join their talent network or you engage with them somehow, they outline exactly how they're going to communicate with you. What they do is, they create really targeted pipelines. Instead of having a general talent network, where every single candidate goes in and receives the same message, they create segmented talent networks. Where when you opt into the talent network on the sales page, for example, if you're a sales person looking for new sales opportunities, and you opt into the talent network on the sales section of their career site.

Josh Zywien:

You're then only going to get messaging from them, whether it's SMS or it's email or it's an event invitation or whatever. It's going to be targeted to sales, so they'll only share employee stories from sales reps. They'll share tips on how to develop your sales career. Tips to prepare for an interview with a sales leader. It's really targeting the message to the audience that you're trying to convert, or you're trying to engage, and then actually delivering on what you promise.

Josh Zywien:

Again, when you opt into a talent network, I don't fill out a ton of forms. But when I do, I expect that company to engage me. I'm giving them permission to do so. When they don't, it's kind of a bummer, and it reflects poorly on the brand in my opinion.

Josh Zywien:

What those As and Bs do really well is, they say they're going to communicate with you. They actually do. They deliver really compelling content that's relevant to the audience. I think just going to that section of the report that you're talking about, it's pretty stark when you look at what the As and Bs do, relative to the Cs, Ds, and Fs. I mean, the delta is massive.

Josh Zywien:

Something like 80 percent of As and Bs have employee stories, and they share those stories with the talent network. The stat that you shared earlier about content, sharing content other than jobs, the As and Bs I think ... Let me find the stat here. But I believe it's something crazy like, 75 percent of As and Bs are sending that content. Versus three percent for Cs, Ds, and Fs.

Josh Zywien:

The high performers are doing this stuff. To Joe's point earlier about that long tail of just really being committed to his and being consistent, it's going to pay off for those brands in the long term. It just is. Those candidates are going to know those brands. When they do decide to make a career change, or they are thinking about where they're going to take their career, the first brands they're going to think of are the ones that have consistently delivered them some sort of value over the course of six months or a year, two years, or whatever. That have been okay with the fact that they might not convert right away. I think Joe is spot on that -

Ryan Drummond:

Well and that's the important, that you're paralleling that with your campus strategy so that you're getting a younger demographic also in. So that you have a longer tail on the long tail, as to say.

Josh Zywien:

Yeah.

Ryan Drummond:

I forgot the question I was going to ask you, right off the top of that. Joe, go ahead if you had something.

Joe Matar:

Yeah, I agree.

Josh Zywien:

I'll add this. I don't think we dug in enough to Joe's comment about the transactional mindset too. I think there's a ton of pressure on these recruiting teams. I talked to one recruiter at a conference once who told me they were managing 40 recs at one time. That those recs typically on average, they had been open for anywhere from three to six months.

Josh Zywien:

You've got 40 recs that you're managing that have been open for three to six months, and the pressure on that recruiter to fill those jobs at any cost is massive. What that creates is this transactional mindset, where you're like, "Nurture sounds wonderful, and this commitment to this long term strategy sounds great. But I'm going to get fired if I don't fill these jobs. So I've got to do it one way or another".

Josh Zywien:

It just, it creates this loop of bad behavior. That even if somebody knows that they should be doing something differently, they're not incentivized to do it by the company.

Ryan Drummond:

You may see 250 candidates assigned to one rec, that have applied to that one rec.

Josh Zywien:

Right.

Ryan Drummond:

I do remember the question I was going to ask you. Your clients that are coming in and thinking about the As and the Bs. When somebody ... It sounds like there's job families set up, so they're going to see tailored content based off of the job family that the candidate or passive candidate entered into their community, expressed interest in. Are these As and Bs, and does SmashFly allow for that content to be pre setup sequenced? How much are you seeing the As using sequenced content versus intermittent broadcasts to that community?

Josh Zywien:

Yeah, I mean 100 percent. This is the value of a platform like ours. There are tools. If you're recruiting on a small scale and you don't really have a huge database, and you don't have many open jobs, a lot of this stuff can be done manually. You can set up basic workflow. But if you're an employer with 20,000 employees and 1500 or 2000 open jobs every single year, that gets complex really quickly.

Josh Zywien:

This is where the automation comes into play. Not only can you set up those drip campaigns and that nurture workflow. You can set rules and intelligent automation around that. You can say, "Within this specific pipeline and this nurture track, if candidate A exhibits this behavior, then change the communication and send them this", instead of what you would send candidate B who hasn't taken that action.

Josh Zywien:

For example, if a candidate is opening an email and engaging with a piece of content, what you don't want to do is then treat them the same as somebody who's not engaging. The message has to be different to then convert those inactive candidates, versus the ones that are hyperactive and super engaged. The real value of SmashFly is that automation, and that workflow that can be set up.

Josh Zywien:

Then on the contact or candidate levels, so if you're a sourcer or recruiter in a system, and you are sourcing from that database and you find a really interesting candidate. It's good to find an interesting candidate who meets the qualifications for the rec you're trying to fill. It's even better when you can look at that candidate's history with your brand. If you can see that they engaged with XYZ email campaign, and they were looking at specific jobs on the career site. They watched a video on your data science page. That then gives the recruiter some context to reach out.

Josh Zywien:

Just like in sales and marketing. Joe I'm sure develops a ton of leads for his sales team. When he passes those leads over, the provides context. What's the history with this campaign? If Joe was at an event and ran into a target prospect, he doesn't just go back to his sales reps and say, "I met this prospect at an event. You should follow up". He says, "I met this prospect at this event. This is what they told me about their business. This is what they're struggling with. This is the technology they're using. Use that in your followup".

Josh Zywien:

I think recruiters can use that same level of intelligence when they're trying to convert. Especially for really hard to fill roles. It just makes the outreach a lot more interesting and unique. When you're dealing with passive candidates, that can be a real differentiator.

Joe Matar:

Which again I think, all the way back to what we announced here at the beginning. The integration between Brazen and SmashFly. That's just another great data point, and actually a very engaged candidate data point. That is being passed from Brazen to SmashFly. Showing that this candidate registered for an event, attended the event, talked to a recruiter. A recruiter assessed or gave some sort of score to that candidate.

Joe Matar:

That information is passed on to SmashFly, and could trigger a very, probably bottom level funnel type of email campaign. Like, "Look, we need to nurture this candidate. We need to push really hard to convert to an applicant. Convert to an actual interview". Versus the candidate that registered for an invent, that actually didn't attend. Okay, well now we might have to put on our long term thinking cap or mentality, and nurture them.

Joe Matar:

Maybe we need to invite them back to another event that we're having. Or maybe we need to send them some more content about data science. Because not only do we see that they were registered for an event for data scientists. They viewed a page on our website, watching a video about a data scientist that works for us.

Joe Matar:

That is just painting such a beautiful picture, and gives the recruiter so much more power and so much more information to target that message.

Ryan Drummond:

Just slightly shifting topics. Last fall we had a series of online hiring events, again courtesy of, through Brazen. After the events, I sent an email out to the 7000 college coaches in our network. I said to them, "If your athletes are interested in seeing the jobs that are still open from the companies that were represented at the events, they can get it through this lead magnet", which was a PDF. "They can get it through messenger".

Ryan Drummond:

This comes around to the personalization tactics that you have in the SmashFly report. The amazing thing to me was, 189 athletes actually downloaded that. Now that's not the amazing part. The amazing part was what would happen when I engaged with that 189 via messenger. Thinking about chat bots onto your site, which right now, the As are at 12 percent.

Ryan Drummond:

My guess, and if you're smart money on how you want to increase conversion into your talent network, I'd say invest in chat bot strategy. Because what ended up happening was, and you compare this to email rates, 100 percent of the people that I reached out to via messenger opened my message. 100 percent. 63 percent responded.

Ryan Drummond:

If you compare that to email strategies where you're looking at, at best 20 percent open rate, with one to four percent click through. That's not even replied response, which sometimes can be difficult on an email responding. Looking into that chat bot strategy does make sense in terms of increasing conversion. I'm teeing this up perfectly for you, Joe. Because I understand that you guys had released some new features in the chat bot on your career page site. Can you tell us a little bit about that?

Joe Matar:

Yeah. Within the last year we have released, our bread and butter has always been the virtual hiring events. But at the core of the virtual hiring events, it was chat technology. It was online, getting recruiters and candidates to chat during a scheduled event time. We said, "Look. We can take that and really expand it to the career site. That technology to the job recs". It allows recruiters to be there right now for those really hard to find candidates that do demand employers, or the recruiters at the employer, to be there to answer questions.

Joe Matar:

So we have an FAQ bot that we recently launched. Or to engage with them human to human. Because again, job seekers do demand that there be a human on the other end. They want to talk with people. Not forms. Not applications. Not technology. We've really pushed our technology, and created these opportunities. Because of what job seekers and candidates demand from employers.

Ryan Drummond:

Josh, and we're wrapping up this podcast right now. You guys have recently done an integration with Google Cloud. Can you tell me a little bit about what you guys are doing there, and what employers need to know about the new opportunity there?

Josh Zywien:

Yeah, for sure. We're certainly not the first to integrate with Google, and other vendors have. But I think for us it's less about being exclusive, and more about, "Can we create a better experience for our clients, and for their job seekers?". For anyone who doesn't know what Google Cloud Talent Solutions are and what they offer, one of the products they offer is what used to be called Cloud Job Discovery. They now call it Job Search. But it's an AI and machine learning driven job search.

Josh Zywien:

There are a lot of companies that throw around, "AI", and, "Machine learning". I think Google is one of the few that can get away with it, and it's legit. But the whole idea there is, they contextualize the search. If you think about how you search on Google, you don't go to Google and throw in a boolean string.

Josh Zywien:

You type in, "I want to find a Mexican restaurant that's highly rated, in Detroit, Michigan". It's going to give you really relevant results based on that. You can misspell things and it's still going to get it right. You can throw some complex search strings together, and it's still going to figure out what you wanted. It really kind of decodes the intent of your search. They apply that to job seekers as well.

Josh Zywien:

If you think about how job seekers search, no one's going in and searching for, "Sales engineer two", as a job title. It just doesn't happen that way. They're going to go in. They're going to search, "Sales engineering jobs in Atlanta". If you do that with typical career site job search, the keyword matching breaks. Typically what happens is, they don't get any results. Or they get irrelevant results.

Josh Zywien:

What Google is able to do is parse out the components of that search, and understand what the intent of the seeker is. Then they can also understand, if you type in, "Solution consultant", that's in a lot of companies the same as, "Sales engineer". Google knows that, and so they're going to return jobs that don't just say, "Solution consultant". They're also going to return sales engineering jobs. Or somebody that might be a product manager. Something that's relevant to the skills that person has.

Josh Zywien:

What it does for the employer, outside of making it a much better candidate experience because it's going to deliver really relevant results, for the employer that increases conversion and exposure to jobs. Instead of someone just getting the jobs back that match their keywords, they're getting kind of a wide mix of things that might fit their skills. That's one piece of it.

Josh Zywien:

The second piece is, and probably the bigger piece, and this is where we were the launch partner for this. Google's commute based search. What they've found, and I think we probably all experience this a little bit. But people are starting to move back into major cities. The suburb life is kind of going away a little bit, and this is coming from a guy who lives in the suburbs of Detroit. But those major metropolitan areas are increasing in population again.

Josh Zywien:

A lot of times when we think about work, and we know remote work and work from home is much more popular, and the gig economy is a real thing. People care about their commute. Nobody wants to spend an hour in the car each way every single day, going to their job. Some people like to walk to work. They like to take the bike, or they take public transit.

Josh Zywien:

When people want to search for jobs, they want to factor in that commute. How they get to work. What Google's done is, they allow candidates to search via Google Maps, jobs that are within a certain distance and time from their home. They can type in their address, and they can say, "I want to bike to work. I want it to only take me 20 minutes", and then only return jobs that are within those parameters. Then Google can return jobs that, at peak traffic times and in a commute pattern that somebody would take if they're biking, they only return jobs that fit that person's mode of transportation.

Josh Zywien:

It's a really interesting way, and I think it's the first kind of exploration for Google, in terms of making this whole thing a little bit more inclusive and accessible. Because if you think about somebody who has to commute to work and is in a wheelchair, their challenges are unique. I used to live in Boston, but not all train stations are accessible to folks with disabilities, or people that are in a wheelchair.

Josh Zywien:

I know the Google team is starting to think about that. "What does that look like, and how can we deliver search results based on folks that have those sorts of challenges?". I think what we're most excited about is just having the power of Google and their technology team behind search, and allowing them to power that for our customers.

Josh Zywien:

Going back to the beginning of our conversation, we don't try to be everything to everyone, and we can recognize when one company's going to be far better at something than we ever will be. When it comes to search, there's nobody in the world that's better than Google, so why try and swim against that current, you know?

Ryan Drummond:

Josh, you have a minute before your next call. June 19th through the 21st, you guys are having a little shindig. What's going on here?

Josh Zywien:

Yeah, so it's our Transform conference that we host every year. We hosted it virtually the last two years, but we're bringing it back live this year. It's going to be in Boston, right downtown. June 19th to the 21st, as you said. Transform is not a user conference. We do get a lot of customers that are there. But it's very thought leadership focused. The whole mission or purpose of the event is to get practitioners together, and have it be a peer to peer brainstorming session.

Josh Zywien:

Where practitioners are leading these sessions, and it's really focused on actionable ideas. Not these aspirational, head in the clouds, pie in the sky types of ideas that companies may never be able to implement. But actual use cases and case studies of how a company approached this whole recruitment marketing thing. That's what excites me.

Josh Zywien:

Any practitioner that comes, the one promise we make is that you'll walk away with things that your team can implement the next week. As opposed to things that you might have to spend a year planning for, or getting budget for. We really try and deliver things that a company can use to change their business tomorrow. We're really excited about it.

Ryan Drummond:

That's Transform 2019. I'm on the website now. What is this really cool video? It looks like from people that are going to the event, that they've left a video. It's kind of in the chat bot corner of the page. What is that?

Josh Zywien:

Yeah, so this is a good, I'm sure [Allie Khan 00:45:40] will love me for this. But it's a company called Altru Labs. What they do is, they're also a technology provider in the HR tech space. But what they do is, they provide technology, where if you envision kind of the same use case, you can take this little widget and drop it on your career site. Then you can have employees record videos about why they enjoy working at the company, what their day to day jobs look like, all that kind of thing.

Josh Zywien:

Altru is sponsoring Transform. What they allowed us to do is use their technology for the Transform use case. Where instead of employees, we're having the speakers talk about why they're coming to Transform. What are they most excited about? What are they going to talk about?

Josh Zywien:

Then we're also going to expand that to people that are attending the conference. Followup after the conference. Why did attendees come to Transform? What did they enjoy most about it? But it puts, instead of us telling you why Transform is awesome, it puts it in the hands of the people that are actually coming. Making an argument for why they're going to be there and what they're going to get out of it.

Ryan Drummond:

Very cool. Joe, any thoughts that you'd like to leave us on?

Joe Matar:

Yeah. Number one, definitely go attend SmashFly's conference this June. I would say additionally, if you're looking for that information or the talent acquisition advice that you can apply today, I also have a weekly interview series that I do with actual practitioners. Just in the last three or four weeks, I've done interviews with leaders from Dell. From Nike. From Harmon International. From BASF. Just really getting the insights from the people that are living and breathing this stuff every single day.

Joe Matar:

We talk about topics ranging from recruitment marketing, to employer branding, to how you get the most out of Glass Door. There's really no limit to the conversations that we're having. It's really just what's top of mind for these leaders. Make sure that you're following Joe Matar on LinkedIn and Twitter.

Ryan Drummond:

Guys, I really appreciate your time. Josh, let the good people that you're running late to that call know, tell them we apologize. But we had to capture the insights from you and Joe. I don't know, Josh, did I interrupt you? Were you about to say one last thing?

Josh Zywien:

Well yeah, I was going to say I'm late to every single meeting, so it's no big deal. Joe's experienced that a few times here. But no, the only thing I was going to say is, Joe gave a nice promotion of Transform here. But honestly, I'm a huge fan of what he's doing. Just from his own kind of thought leadership and content perspective. There's really, I'm not great at being on video and I get really shy on video. Joe's phenomenal with it. Some of the stuff you're putting out, Joe, is top notch, so keep it up.

Joe Matar:

I appreciate that, Josh.

Ryan Drummond:

I couldn't agree more. Don't stop, Joe, because I love the weekly drops. Don't forget, everybody. Let's all hire college athletes into our organization. If you want to do that, come to theathletebook.com. Thank-you for listening to Talent Acquisitions, a channel off of the Well Played podcast. Gentleman, thank-you so much. We will talk soon. I hope this is something that we do more. Let's do more of this, okay?

Joe Matar:

I'd love to.

Josh Zywien:

I'm in. Yeah, for sure.

Ryan Drummond:

Take care, guys. Have a good one.

Joe Matar:

Thanks, guys.

Ryan Drummond:

All right.

Josh Zywien:

Thank-you, guys.

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