Veronica Jenkins shares how her firm, Hive Talent Acquisition Firm, handles managing the expectations of clients when dealing with a multigenerational workforce and debunking preconceived notions. She also discusses how she uses ENGAGE to make her job easier and more efficient.
Episode 9 Complete Transcription:
Derek: Hey, Recruiting Maniacs! It’s Derek Zeller back with another exciting podcast for you to listen to. Our 30 minutes are always entertaining, and today’s guest is Veronica Jenkins, from Hive Talent Acquisition firm located in Atlanta, Georgia and coincidentally, an ENGAGE Talent customer. So we're going to chat a little bit about Veronica and what she's looking for, what she's doing. Was it yesterday, Veronica, that was your one year anniversary for the company?
Veronica: It is today actually.
Derek: It is today?
Veronica: So it is our hiveanniversary. Yes.
Derek: Hiveanniversary? I love word play. That’s awesome.
Derek: Let’s get started. We only have 30 minutes. Go by a lot faster than you think it does. So tell me a little bit about Hive and you’re the CEO and owner.
Veronica: I am the co-founder in Global Talent here at Hive Talent Acquisition Firm. And we are a three-part business. So we are one part staffing. We are one part HR solutions where we come in and consult with companies that really don't have any clue what to do with their human resources needs and where to go with that, and then we also have a third part of our company, which is our newest part. It’s called the Swarm Society and it is dedicated to the coolest, newest, and brightest part of the workforce, which is interns. We've got three things going on pretty much every day, but we love it all, keeps us busy, and we couldn’t be more thrilled.
Derek: That's awesome. I love it. I’ve done the intern route a while ago.
Derek: That last position, we’ve dealt pretty heavily with interns. So that’s really cool. I love it. I asked this question for a lot of people. Great culture fit or great candidate? In other words, they’re really good at what they do, but they don't really fit the culture of the company. Is that it or how do you handle something like that?
Veronica: No, we don't really have a preference. I think we tailor our preference off our client’s preference. But I find here recently, depending on the vertical that a culture fit actually means more to our clientele that we work with, so we are doing a lot in the civil engineering space and that requires a lot of dedication to being a value adding team member. So the culture fit is very important to the client that we serve in that space as well as the scope of it. So we actually have to do, not to sound cliché, but we actually have to do the hard work of finding those actual purple swirls for all of our clients in that space.
Derek: It’s a standard thing that's in this industry for the last 20 years and I love it.
Derek: Are you doing more sourcing or are you posting jobs? What is your daily routine in the end looking for candidates?
Veronica: You know, we do it all. We network for candidates. We actually post jobs, not only on your traditional job boards, but some of those non-traditional networking sites that also recruit candidates. We post jobs on twitter. We also have very close relationships with a lot of colleges and universities, so we go to their alumni association meetings, we post on their Handshake account. We do it all, we reach out directly to career services. A lot of career services department with the colleges and universities are not really keen on that third party recruitment, so we reach out directly to them, and formulate those relationships first so they know who we are, what our intentions are and go from there. So we do quite a bit when it comes to locating and finding that talent and we will go above and beyond. If that means we go to a nine o’clock networking event, we will be in the building to make those connections.
Derek: Very smart. I know you're an ENGAGE Talent customer. How are you using ENGAGE then?
Veronica: I love ENGAGE. Let me just say that. The thing that we use ENGAGE the most for is to really find those hard to find candidate, those hard to reach candidate, might I add, in the engineering field. Originally, when we were looking at ENGAGE as a tool and a source for us, it was kind of along the thought process that we might not find that type of talent within ENGAGE. And we were very pleasantly surprised when we did locate quite a few of traffic signal engineers and structural engineers because those type of candidates don't typically put their resumes out there. They're very keen on making the face to face connections. They're not so into using job boards of any type. They don't typically update their Linkedin profile, so we were kind of skeptical. But we've made some wonderful connections. As a matter of fact, we made a C-Level placement with ENGAGE or through ENGAGE with a candidate that we found there in a whole another state and we were very pleasantly surprised with that connection because when you looked at the profile, you might think, oh, they're not going respond to us. They actually did and not only did they respond, they actually used our Calendly link to set up a private chat, which is also kind of unheard of, so we were very happy about that.
Derek: That’s awesome.
Derek: So ENGAGE Talent is generating some pretty awesome response rates for you then.
Veronica: It is, it is. These positions, not to be boasting about it, are very high-level engineering positions in the civil engineering field. So to find those types of niche candidates in your system, we were very excited about that. Very excited.
Derek: Really cool. So you would say the ROI or return on investment is actually pretty high for you then with ENGAGE Talent?
Veronica: Yes, I would definitely say that. Yes, and not only are we able to find candidates that we have a requisition for at that time, we're also able to kind of pipeline on the back end. So we have clients that we know are going to go dormant from time to time with requisition needs or have urgent needs at that point. For example, during this time, we're going through holiday seasons, we don't have a lot of clients that are looking to hire immediately, but we know what their schedules are like, what their cycles are like, that they're going to need some staff coming in February or March of next year. So we've already begun the outreach to the candidates and building that pipeline with some of the candidates within ENGAGE. And kind of reaching out to them and having those initial conversations to find out what they may be looking for in another opportunity so that when our clients come back to us in the new year, we can say, hey, we've already got a pipeline established, let’s reach out to these candidates that we've been keeping warm and see what's going on with them and present them at that time.
Derek: Wow, that’s really smart. That’s true pipelining then.
Veronica: It really is.
Derek: People say there’s no such thing. I think what you’re doing is what pipelining is. Finding people that aren't necessarily looking at the moment, but because of the way ENGAGE kind of gauges where candidates is. If they’re kind of on the fence and like you said, you're going into November, December, most people aren't going to start looking for a new job at this point in time. They might as well wait it out through January, several areas traditionally when bonuses are paid out for a lot of companies, especially companies in stocks, stocks are vested and so on and so forth. So keeping those people, finding those right candidates is the hardest part. Right? And then engaging them is the second part. Now you know what I mean? You can find them, but engaging with them and letting them know what's going on based upon information that you're getting is huge and I love what you guys are doing. That's really, really cool. In fact, I actually wouldn't mind talking to you further offline about it and maybe put together a little poster or something that. That's really interesting.
Derek: So what I'm gathering from this is that engagement and screens matter, right? And having that information as to why you're contacting them, or why you would think they'd be interested is pretty key, right?
Veronica: Oh, absolutely. Absolutely, and I will go so far as to say, we have an intern that is transitioning into a recruiting role with us when she graduates next summer. She actually reaches out to candidates via ENGAGE as well. She likes to use the prompt you all have built into the system to guide her with her outreach emails and they've been phenomenal for her. It's really helped her build her confidence on reaching out to candidates and building that pipeline as well. So I just think that it's invaluable to have that information there for her to use and to learn from as well. So it's not only a tool for building a pipeline, it's also become one of our training tools for her.
Derek: I can’t believe that you just said that because I’ve been saying that since I started with ENGAGE a long time ago when I came on as an advisor to the advisory board. It's not real difficult to go get a person who wants, who's interested in getting into the recruiting or HR field, and have them come in as an intern and use ENGAGE Talent and they become like the ENGAGE Talent lawyer, like they're the gurus or the person that everybody goes to and they say, I need this and boom, they're on it. And finding you the right people and telling you and using those emails, reaching out, setting it up, handling and teeing up the ball and getting it ready and then knocking it out of the park. And it's so cool.
Derek: You guys are doing that because that’s what makes a better recruiter too. I have always said that any recruiter, in my opinion, worth their salt has gone through agency recruiting because it's a different animal. It's a different style of recruiting then when you work for corporate because not only are you representing clients but you're not part of the client that you're representing. And there are some people that are like, I just want to talk to the recruiter that works at ABC Company and say I'm your end. They’re talking to me and I’m talking to you and putting you guys together. So that's really cool. Awesome. So what do you see now? This market is crazy, right? And it's just like the lowest unemployment rate in the history of my recruiting career. There's more jobs than there are people, it seems like. What are you seeing from an agency standpoint as in challenges in recruiting today for yourself?
Veronica: Honestly, the main challenge that I’m seeing is two-fold. So you're dealing with multigenerational workforces. It can be within any type of vertical you can put your finger on, right? You pick a vertical, any vertical and it’s going to be the case. So in dealing with multigenerational workforces with our clients coming to us with these open positions, they already come with these preconceived notions, right? They already tell us, this is how much I want to pay. This is the type of candidate I want. Then they start down the whole path that I don't want to work with millennials because XYZ or I don't want to work with this and I don't want to work with that, and we're like, wait, hold on. Let’s debunk some of these preconceived notions that you have because number one, how did you come up with this pay rate?
Again, another way that we use ENGAGE because we're able to actually pull that data and show them if you're looking for someone with this many years of experience and you're wanting to pay them a certain dollar amount and you're already coming to us because you have a talent retention issue or attrition as we call in the industry. Allow us to educate you on how you may want to adjust those expectations, right? You may want to take a look at what someone in the same position is earning XYZ, vertical and maybe adjust that thought process. Additionally, when it comes to working with a multigenerational workforce instead of maybe badmouthing a certain subset of your workforce, think about the positive and the added value they bring to your team, right, and so what we do here at Hive is have that multifaceted conversation with our clientele and that actually allows us to use ENGAGE in a different way versus just building a pipeline as a tool for us. We’re able to educate our clients and they actually walk away feeling better about our process in general knowing that they can come to us as a subject matter expert, in the human resources field, especially as it pertains to hiring. They're much happier. So to answer your question, the challenge is educating the client and making sure that they have a well rounded approach to this hiring process instead of just looking at it one way and going about it from there. And then also from the candidates perspective, most candidates are looking to leave, for one of the three following reasons. Benefits, pay or company stability. So we feel better about delivering our candidate to a client that we've already had that multifaceted conversation with in the beginning and explained to them this is what you need to look forward in an ideal candidate and we're going to the candidate and saying, well, this is the employer that's looking to hire you and this is their company culture and this is what they bring to the table so that it makes a better match in the end for both parties
Derek: That’s awesome. It’s a very good approach. One of the things that I’ve been hearing through Twitter, and Facebook groups, LinkedIn groups, I do a lot of monitoring in those areas and one of the things that have been more and more is candidate ghosting. I used to call that Casper but nobody under 30 knows who Casper is anymore. So it's hard to explain Casper the friendly ghost and they're just looking at me, like what? But I'm like, nevermind. Have you been seeing that?
Veronica: I will share an experience with you. I had a position with a client of mine and they were looking for sales people. And just to make this a short story, I’ve contacted a candidate that was just stellar. Her LinkedIn was great, her resume was even better. I was very impressed with her skill set and I knew she would be an epic person for this particular client. And I submitted her resume on a Monday and let her know I would follow up with her by the end of the week and on Wednesday she reached out to me and was furious because I had not yet followed up with her. And she went on and she proceeded to use nasty language. Everything she had in her repertoire tells me she does not appreciate being treated like a number. And the only thing that kept going through my mind while she was ranting and raving at me was the fact that I know for a fact that she’s been ghosted by not one, not two but several recruiters in her past otherwise she wouldn't have this type of reaction. So I deal with that from a lot of clients and candidates as well. You'd be surprised how many clients say, I'm not sure if I want to deal with a third-party recruiting service. We signed a contract with someone and they forget all about us until we reach out to them. It shouldn't be that way. Also with the candidates, you know, they come to me and say, yeah, I'm interested in this position that you emailed me about and I'm interested in speaking with you, but how do I know you're not going to treat me like a number like everyone else has in the past. I’m not really keen on recruiters. I deal with it from both sides.
Derek: That’s interesting. I think a lot of the people I’ve been talking to have been mostly corporate account recruiters, things like that. It's an interesting third party if you will, coming in and working for the clients, getting ghosted by you, talking about candidates that had been ghosted. So now they're kind of like, maybe they feel that, hey, that's just the way it goes. You know, I'm working with a recruiter and so that's how I got treated. So that's how you play the game when you don't have a playbook per say, and then all of a sudden people are like, you took me off guard on that one. That's very fascinating to me.
Veronica: You’d be surprised.
Derek: Yeah, you don’t think about it that way, right? It’s something I've always preached, but I never looked at it from that angle as I've always said, it's not about you as the recruiter, it's about the candidate and is this going to be a good fit for the candidate as much as it's going to be a good fit for the client. When I was a third party recruiter, I always interviewed face to face, any person that I was going to represent and I got some pushback every once in a while on that and they said, the reason why I do this is because it's my name to my client that's going in and if you're not 100 percent up enough for me, then I'm going to have a kind of a hard time representing you to my client. You know, I am in a way, your representative. When I brought that up to somebody, it was an older candidate who was very, very, very, very smart. He said he was some of the best interpretation he ever had. So he goes, I'd be happy to come down and meet with you and I told him don't dress up for me. You don't have to wear the suit, save the suit for the interview, that I'm going to try to get you that. Just come down, let's just have a quick cup of coffee and get to know each other a little bit. And I'd hit the train, you hit the preferences and things like that to make sure we're all on the same page. But I remember getting ghosted by a candidate who actually got the job. Got the job, it was supposed to start the following Monday. I did the requisite phone call and email, just checking in and saying, hey, congratulations. Once again this, I'll fire it up for you. This is a contract to hire. So let's put our best foot forward. Wear a shirt and tie on the first day. if they tell you, you don't need to after that, that's fine. Or just take the tie off if they tell you to, but always put your best foot forward. So on, so forth. And let’s say 10:15. I'm on the phone with another candidate or client, I can remember which one it was and one of my account managers walks over and it's just staring at me and I'm like, okay. So I wrapped up my phone call real quick and I'm like, what's going on? Why are we staring at me? This is a little creepy and he's like, look, your guy didn't show up, and I'm like, what do you mean? That guy didn't show up? And they're like, he just didn't show. He's a no show for work and I called him. I called him and went straight to voicemail, send an email saying, is everything okay? I'm hoping, you know you're not in the hospital or something, are you sick? I immediately go with something happened because they were so excited about this job and to this day I have no idea what happened. I really don't. I almost got to the point my boss had to stop me. I got to the point where I'm like, I'm just gonna go over to this guy's house.
Yeah. He was one of the rare instances where I didn't physically get to meet them. And then from that point forward I said I'm never representing somebody that I haven't physically met face to face. And then you get into corporate. Same thing except that with corporate I would spend 15 minutes at the end of the interview letting them tell me how things went for them. What did they like, what they didn't like, how did the interview go from their standpoint. I've had a lot of candidates like, nobody's ever done that before and that's I think actually really important.
Veronica: That’s so interesting.
Derek: Yeah, it's closing them as well. I'm like, wow, great. So you had a great time, you had a great experience. You really love the management team, you love the team It's great to know. Let's just run around and double check again on the numbers, this is what we've talked about from a starting salary, if I can get you that. Are we in? Are we done? And once again, when were you looking at the start date? Was there any holidays coming up? Vacation? So on so forth. Very much making it about them and my close ratio is almost close to 100 percent, because that's what I was like. I didn't call him up and say, hey, would you be interested in this in this salary, I already know all that. So it made it so much easier.
Veronica: It’s so interesting that you said that Derek. We do the same thing.
Derek: I can tell you do. But this has been great. So everybody that’s out there, if you're listening and if you're in a client based situation, now are you just in Atlanta or are you in the state of Georgia? Are you international?
Veronica: Great question. We actually are able to service and take care of any of our clients internationally. I speak Spanish and conversational Portuguese. I'm Italian and my business partner, Dana speaks French fluently as well. So we are available.
Derek: We used to call it a triple threat. Now you’re a quad million threat. That's fantastic.
Veronica: We try to be. We can take care of anyone that needs us.
Derek: I love it, freaking fantastic. Well, ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls and the occasional cat that hits the wrong buttons on computers. Thanks for listening. This has been a great conservation I had with Veronica Jenkins from Hive Talent Acquisition firm in Atlanta. I think we've learned a little bit about each other and it's pretty awesome. Check out ENGAGETalent.com. That's where the podcast obviously is, so you'll probably hear. If not, check us out. Veronica says that we're awesome. And so therefore I think Veronica is awesome. Maybe I’ll get to talk with her sometime and thanks for being on. You got anything else for us Veronica?
Veronica: No, everyone, make it a great day. Be great and make someone smile.
Derek: Thanks again Veronica. Recruiting Maniacs, get back to recruiting.
Veronica: Thanks Derek.