Derek Zeller sits down with Ira Wolfe, industry vet and author of “Recruiting in the Age of Googlization” to talk shop and modern recruiting. Ira also shares his thoughts on the how Blockchain will affect the recruiting process in the next couple of years.
Episode 10 Complete Transcription:
MMR Episode #9 Transcription
Derek: Hey Recruiting Maniacs, it’s Derek Zeller. Back for another helping of cool podcast-ness, with my new friend, Mr. Ira Wolfe. Ira, how are you man?
Ira: I'm doing wonderful Derek. It's been a good day. A busy day. Got In late last night from a conference out in Texas and jumped right back into it.
Derek: You do a lot of public speaking.
Ira: I have been. Just somebody said today, you know that you really loved it. The book must be doing great and, but I, I never at this stage, not I can't say at this stage in my life for the last 20 years I really did not want to be a road warrior, you know, if I did one or two a month, that was great. But I've done like 15 or 16 different presentations in the last six weeks and they seem to be all lined up. Like if I get one then like three people want me on the next consecutive days.
So. But it's been good. I've met a lot of good people. Well I'm sure we'll be talking about some of the things I've learned and seen out on the, on the road, you know, talking with companies. But it's been good, but yeah, I'm spending way too much out on the road and not for fun stuff. Not that it’s not fun but kind of not on beaches and cruises.
Derek: Yeah. It's quick, quick stops in different hotels and never really getting your burning. Yeah.
Ira: Three cities, two countries in 48 hours is pushing it.
Derek: That is pushing it. So the book is “Recruiting in the Age of Googlization.” Tell me a little bit about the book.
Ira: Thanks. Yeah. It came out last year and I probably, when I look back, it probably wrote it for about two years and I never actually ever sit down and think about writing a book. It's usually I write a lot of articles, do a lot of videos, do a lot of podcasts, a lot of interviews, and then one day I say I'm going to let me put it all together.
But the “Recruiting in the Age of Googlization” was kind of an evolution of another book. I wrote “Geeks, Geezers and Googlization” in 2008, 2009 and it was due for an update. You know, we were talking about millennials in that book. It listed all of the generations, it’s about the four generations, the baby boomers, Gen x, millennials, and I really trashed them and I bashed them and did everything else everybody else did to millennials at that point. And uh, you know, I said, hey, they grew up and it's, you know, let's talk about generation z. and when I went to the book, the Googlization part, which was talking about how technology was changing, every generation, I realized that I didn't even talk about the iPad or tablets at that point. And I thought, how did I miss it? And then I looked up and the iPad wasn't brought to the market until 2010.
So I said, I got to bring this book, uh, you know, I got to bring the context back to it and you know, I'm fascinated by technology and change. And I did a TEDTalk two years ago and it was about change and exponential change how fast things are moving. And so the book really became, Recruiting in the Age of Googlization, really became more about Googlization, you know, and then the backstop was, okay, here's the world we live in today or here's what the future of work will look like. And within that context this is how companies are going to have to recruit. So the first half of the book is all about change and technology and you know, Ai and 3D printing and give lots of examples there. And then the part of is, okay, now that we know this is what the world looks like, what's the process for recruiting in that. And even though it's out less than a year, I probably could write two or three other ones because as you and I were talking about right before the we started a record. There's just everyday something changes every, every single day.
Derek: Yeah, that's true. That's true. Like the thing with Google Hire, I’ve seen some press releases and things like that. I like the fact that it's in the inbox, so you never have to leave your inbox. That’s a big thing for me, I like, I live in my inbox predominantly even more than I do in their applicant tracking system. It was interesting to see and most people don't know that the indexing, how google indexes things. And now with Indeed, coming into Google Hire and starting to get further into the recruiting world with products. You were telling me that Google doesn't highly index the Indeed jobs anymore.
Ira: Yeah, no, absolutely. So here's, here's the deal. Close to 75 percent. In fact that I saw last night a new statistics. I'm trying to drill down the source, but you know, roughly three out of four people who are searching for a job really start their search on Google. They don't necessarily open pick up their phone or their smart phone or go to their desktop and go directly to Indeed. They just go to Google search and again, Google search dominates it. Well, about a 15 months ago, Google released Google for Jobs search and it's a, it's a specialized search within Google. And so if, if you have a job posting and it shows up in Google search or it used to show up in Google search now and it needs to show up in Google for Jobs. And Google for Jobs has specific criteria, how it gets there. One of the two ways that you can get there is through what they call a third party integrator, which would be Monster, CareerBuilder, Facebook, LinkedIn, Ziprecruiter, and many of the ATS systems. So if you're using one of those, your jobs will show up in Google for Jobs. Now there's, there's a couple of caveats there. We can go down that rabbit hole if you want, but in order to address your question about Indeed.
Indeed's jobs are not included in Google for Jobs. So for companies that rely, I won't say exclusively but predominantly on Indeed for advertising their jobs and their jobs are not showing up in the Google for Jobs search, which is a problem if three out of four job seekers start their search in Google, but employers are relying on Indeed and Indeed jobs don't show up in Google in Google search engine, you know, this is a pretty huge gap with job seeker behavior of how it's getting done. And as soon as they say, it's amazing. You know, I, I used to get offended when everybody in the middle of a presentation used to reach down and pull out their smartphone and now I realize what to do and they're checking to see if their jobs show up. And inevitably somebody will say we can't find our jobs. How do we get them there?
And, and um, you know, I'm not, you know, some of them are talking to small companies are HR generalists, but you know, a lot of people come up after me. I, the presentation I did Tuesday, I would probably say I got 20 or 30 business cards of people saying, Hey, can I call you? And these were, they've had, you know, VP, director of HR, talent acquisition, they didn't realize what was going on so and so that's different from Google for Hire. But within that is not only do companies have to figure out how to get their jobs listed in Google for Jobs, but then you also want them to rank high because Google in the Google for Jobs listing, it will show the top three jobs in which is where you want to be. And then if you click on it, it'll open up 100 more jobs, but you want to make sure that you're listed even in the top hundred.
And now you're into search engine optimization. So here we are, you and I were talking about recruiting and all I've been talking about with search engine optimization and a lot of web techie, geeky stuff. And that just blows the mind of, of HR and recruiters. In fact, I start my presentation now, I say, there's two things I want to tell everybody. One is i’ll guarantee them that they're not gonna like what I have to say, and I’ll guarantee them that they're going to leave with information they didn't know, nor have they heard anywhere else and both statements are true.
Derek: Interesting. I didn't know for years that I've been in this business. One of the things that one of the. There's always the fun little catchphrase: there’s a lid for every pot. Well, one of the favorites. It always seems to be from these are like post and pray and then now we have what we call sourcing or sourcers that has been resurrected from just general recruiting for these people are the types of folks or like information gatherer speaker now that you're using now we have tools to find emails and phone numbers. You know this is this whole. Yeah, ENGAGE Talent does all that for you through predictive analytics, eliminate the possibility of them actively been looking for a job, but not necessarily maybe being out on it on a google search or doing an MBA. Maybe if I see something that really catches my eye. From a sourcing standpoint though know people are getting are getting phone calls, targeted emails. What is your thoughts on sourcing somebody other than that may or may not be looking for example on a Google or Indeed?
Ira: I guess the terminology that we use, that's the passive candidate. Someone who is in a job, but maybe you know, if they get called, they might take your call if it sounds interesting or if they're having a bad day at work type thing. But I mean the model that certainly what ENGAGE does, you know, is looking for even changes within the culture that, you know, today I'm comfortable but my VP just announced that he's leaving or the company may be acquired or merged so they're going to purchase another company.
I mean there’s a billion changes why things happen and does that change my willingness to look for another position? And I think that the concept and I think the way things are going in, and frankly I don't want to offend anybody who happens to be, you know, out of work at the moment when I say this, but most people, the majority of people that companies are looking to hire already have a job. And so even if you know, nobody likes the word poaching and headhunting and all that stuff, but you know, frankly, as most people that a company wants to hire already have a job and the reason they'll switch may be, you know, more money, more respect, more learning opportunity, more career opportunity, better benefits or some simple things like shorter commute, you know. So whatever it is, you know that data is important. And I think sourcing has gone beyond, Hey, let's have this huge funnel.
And have a message, whether you are using Indeed CareerBuilder, social media, whatever it is, let's let everybody know that we have a job opening. I don't know, a lot of people don't respond to that, especially people above that associate hourly level. But you know, there's a lot of people who would be willing to either leave their job or considered leaving their job for the right opportunity. And how do you, how do you reach them? Sourcing’s got much more sophisticated, complex, still based on the same principles as before. But it's not just a matter of making a lot of dials and having a big Rolodex.
Derek: Yeah, I totally agree. I think it's concept too of like how you actually engage with the candidates themselves. You know, you get spam emails saying, Hey, you know your name and in parentheses or something like that, you know, we thought you might be interested. Well why would you think that I would be interested in a job? They never actually tell you why they think that, you know what I mean? That's kind of why I like ENGAGE, they tell you why the reasoning behind it. Everybody’s talking about Ai, machine learning is going to replace recruiters has always been sitting out there and kind of the in the multiverse, if you will, of things that are going to disrupt recruiting. Blockchain is becoming slowly a conversation I'm hearing about. It used to be once in a while, then it started coming up, once or twice a week. Now it’s practically almost every day now. You and I were talking a little bit about offline on blockchain. What are your thoughts for blockchain in recruiting and how would it be successful or how would you use it?
Ira: Yeah, I mean it's a great question and as I told you before we went on, if there's an area of technology that I, I feel I'm really stretching my abilities. It's probably understanding blockchain.
I understand enough to really, really be dangerous and you know, for awhile it's like, well, you know, if somebody, you, if you asked that question to me a year ago, I'd say I have no idea because to me blockchain was about bitcoin and bitcoin was about, you know, replacing currency. And you know, and it is. I mean it's part of that, but as I understand it and the way that I've learned to explain it in, and I've asked a couple people who are really knowledgeable about and they go, yeah, that's, you know, that's a rough explanation of it, but it's true. Right now we're concerned with our privacy and all that information and, and part of it it's because it's all built on old technology. I mean it's still built on the same structure. It's built on an internet backbone and it's just been, you know, thanks to Google a collection of all the information has been compiled in one place, so everything is out there and if you learn how to hack a code, break into a computer, you can get there.
So what's the protection? Well everybody put these firewalls up and the, you know, the software programs to prevent hackers from getting in, but that doesn't give us any control that says throw all our personal information into this big giant pot and we'll protect it for you. And you know, obviously that's not working out real well. But what happens if is us as individuals, we were able to control the release of that information. Who got to see it. And you know, again, this is a very, very rough description, but if there's a sentence and it's made up of words or a paragraph and that describes who we are and it gave all our personal information in there. But what if it was distributed over the Internet, you know, or the blockchain software. It's distributed by nodes that every node that was out there held only one digit.
So even like in the word, you know, in my Ira, you know, “I” is in one place, “R” is in another, and “A” is in another. Those independent letters don't mean anything, but we as an individual own a code and that single code allows us to control how those are combined and who gets to see what. And it sounds really complicated, but apparently from what I understand, it won't be when, when it gets rolling. So we take all our financials, we take all our personal information, we take all our conversations, our emails, our passwords, everything else, everything is still up in the Internet, but we have this personalized code that we're able to determine that I'm willing to release that to a recruiter or I'm willing to release that to my healthcare provider or to my bank. That changes the conversation because now every individual has the ability to protect their information and choose how it's released.
So you know, you and I briefly talked about about this example that I always give when people say, well, I'm so concerned about this. I hate devices. I think you described yourself as, you know, wearing the tin foil around so –
Derek: Yeah, it’s a tin foil hat.
Ira: Yeah and that's all valid. I mean, uh, you know, I'm, I'm certainly concerned with how a lot of the information gets out there, you know my information as well. But I also liked the benefit of having it out there that hopefully someday people are, you know, there's going to be cures for cancer and Alzheimer's and Parkinson's, you know, things that I hope I never get. But I know family members and friends who have, who have had it, who are been afflicted with it. If someone could say, you know, based on your spending habits, your exercise patterns, the foods you eat, how many miles you’ve traveled, the address you live on, the community you live in, it's all this stuff that we'd never didn't necessarily put it together.
But because it's all out there, there's Ai is able to detect that I'm more susceptible and if I make these three minor changes in my life, I could prevent myself from getting this disease or slowing it down. And I'd say, wow, I'd love to have that. I mean, before I get sick or before I develop a chronic disease, I can literally make changes along the way and everybody always says they're willing to give up some of their privacy in order to do that. But right now it's all or none. I mean we either give up all our privacy, or we give up none. And if we give up none, which may be impossible anymore, there's serious consequences that we may not like and if we give it all up, there's consequences too. But there seems to be benefits coming from that. Blockchain tends to be our personal protector when it, you know, I can't say it's certainly sophisticated now, but when it becomes readily available to everybody and you know, when the delivery system and everybody figured that out and understand that and will come there, I think it's going to come and finance. I think finance, it's going to come first. It has already been there a bit quaint. And it's going to come in healthcare. Healthcare records will definitely be under blockchain in the next few years there's no question about it.
Derek: So instead of using HIPPA or on top of HIPPA?
Ira: Well it's going to be how you enforce HIPPA. Right now HIPPA’s not enforced at all because you walk into a doctor's office and they say, sign in, you know, in fact there is no HIPPA. HIPPA took away the low hanging fruit. Let's not be stupid about it. Let's not throw out all the paper records into the trashcan in the back, but it still gets done.
Derek: Yeah. Hmm. Interesting. Interesting.
Ira: I mean they, you know, we both been around long enough that there was a paper world and there was no technology and it's like, you know, we'll all be digital and be no paper. Well, the more technologies out there, the more paper we use. People still print things and healthcare is notorious for doing that. Uh, you go in and I mean, even the labels, I mean, you go and you get blood drawn and they print out labels. Those labels have all our information on it and things like that.
Derek: Right. You don’t think about things like that. I think we're going to get to a certain degree where you're just getting comfortable and that's just the way it is.
Ira: I can log in. I mean I can log in right now. I haven't had a blood test and a couple of weeks, but I, I can log in right now and look at all my records for the last six or seven years since I moved into the area and pull them up so they're under a secure site and you know, there's pdfs I can download but I download them and put them in my records occasionally to carry to the doctor. Sometimes the doctor doesn't have them available, but as soon as I do that, I break the code. I mean I, you know, I, I left it there, I put it on my desk. What if somebody broke in? What have other people download them?
So it's secure, but only to a degree and it's only a secure until a hacker breaks into the healthcare system that I use and now all of a sudden they have that information and there are holes all over the place because insurance companies have access to my information. So they already created a gateway into there. But I have no control to say, well I don't want that insurance company to get my information or I don't want that doctor to see my information. So blockchain is going to change all that. And so going back to what we're talking about with recruiting, you know right now is, you know, everybody says, well, if you want to get a job, you know, make sure you're on LinkedIn, have a good account, make sure your resume's current. We're sending things back and forth. You know, HR recruiting is horrible because everybody says, well, what about emailing your resume or even uploading a pdf?
Well, that information's not secure when you do that. So blockchain will allow us to encode it, encrypted, put it up there and the only people that are going to be able to see it are the people that we allow to see it. So I think the direction that it's moving is it, it's not going to necessarily make it easier to recruit, but maybe job seekers will be more readily willing to share the information that they have because they know it's not going to be out there floating around. So I don't know how soon. I mean I've heard estimates from 2020 to 2050, so I think there's a lot of work to be done but it's definitely going to continue to be disrupted. But you're definitely going to hear more about. I think as soon as you hear blockchain is being utilized in healthcare, then it's, I think it's just around the corner till it's gonna change the way companies control their employee data.
Derek: Yeah cause everything boils down to that? How the employer is taking care of your data just as much access to it as well.
Ira: Oh yeah. Well think of all the information they have. I mean employers still have filing cabinets with paper files in them, you know, you have your applications, they email resumes and credentials from one person to an, you know, from, you know, to the hiring manager, you know, that's not all very secure and not that there's, you know, there shouldn't be personal information on there such as social security, but you know, all you need is your name, address, your past couple employers. Your other information and Ai starts putting all the pieces together and sooner or later you know, there is an algorithm that will figure out who you are, where you bank, how much money you have in your bank account and any chronic diseases you've got. So they're able to put it all together. So those processes are really broken. I mean, I don't know. I'm out here to, you know, you probably have like triple layer tinfoil on your head by now. You’re in a full coat of armor, right?
Derek: Yeah. No doubt.
Ira: But the system, as much as we think that it's protected, it's really not. So I looked toward technology to help make that better. Hopefully I'll be, you know, be alive and active and when it happened. So yeah, I think blockchain is, is certainly way over the top. You know, I'm struggling, you know, as in yesterday when I start talking about things like SEO, you know, search engine optimization of job postings. Now we're talking about blockchain, you know, and we're talking about how artificial intelligence is going to affect recruitment. You know, that's, that's going to come before blockchain, but that's only gonna make the reason to have blockchain that much more important because the more Ai gets involved, the better companies get at hiring the right people, retaining the right people, even improving their wellness, you know, work life balance.
I mean almost anything that you can think of Ai is going to offer a lot of benefits, but it also means that there's a huge invasion of privacy with that. And you know, I have a new talk that I gave. I just did it a couple of weeks ago at a conference and everybody loves the title when it was, How to keep the “H” in HR, you know, and it's beyond, you know, what I had discussion just an hour or so ago on, on my podcast and talking about the me too movement and sexual harassment and sexual assault in the workplace. It's beyond that. I mean it's, what's the ethical issues just because we can do all these things including blockchain, just because we can do it, should we be doing it and nobody in our space, in our industry, is really talking about that, you know, you hear people talk about the ethics of it and how it's going to be used and oh yeah, we guarantee, you know, we protect your privacy. We have good servers, we do this, we do that, but it's, it really is. It's pretty weak. It's scratching the surface. It's the best we got, but there's really not a lot of serious conversation of, you know, again, what can be done and what should be done.
Derek: Yeah that’s always been a dilemma for many things. That's pretty crazy, but it really is kind of boiled down to it
Ira: At this point, it's happening faster than I can even keep up with it. And not that I, I should be the marker out there, the benchmark, but when I talk to friends, relatives, companies, businesses, colleagues, you know, I'm, I'm usually the person they go, So what's new this week? And I'm falling way behind. I mean I, it just difficult to keep up with things as it is so that then there's a lot of, you know, then he hears a fears out there. It's like, oh, I would never have Alexa. You know, I never use Siri. I don't even have a smartphone. Well the problem is then you get left behind if you're not utilizing that. Which leads to the other conversation. In addition to talking about like when I talk about why people have to be figure out how to get listed on Google for Jobs. Not that that's the end all and be all, but the process involves a couple of things that are going to be critically important because in the next 18 months they're anticipating that 50 percent of all search will originate by voice.
So whether you're using Siri, Google Home, Cortana, Alexa, even getting a job. I mean, take me back to what we started our conversation with. We've been all over the board. You know that, what's going to stop me from or, or job seeker from saying, Hey Alexa, thinking about changing my job, which company could you recommend that pays more than $75,000 a year? My commute time is going to be less than 15 minutes for an engineer? And it's going to come back and give you a suggestion because it, it's been listening to you at home and it know all about you. And it says, oh, we got, there's three companies, but I think, you know, I think this one would be best because it's got benefits because you have a newborn child or you know, you're almost 50 years old. Whatever it might be. It's going to know everything about.
Make a recommendation where should go based on the benefits that some company offer. So from an employer standpoint, how are you going to be that one company that shows up in the voice search as a result? And it's way different than it is today. Today is: Oh, let's make sure we have the title used a couple of key words, do a couple of Meta descriptions, do a couple images, throw a video on there. I mean it's all the search engine optimization stuff, but what happens when its voice and here's the next part, and I know I shared this and I said it changes every day. So Monday I walked out of I think of the airport or somewhere and you know, I opened my emails getting off the plane and I see this thing about Google's new releases. And if you remember a couple months ago, Google Duplex came in.
That's where you talk to Google Home and it called to make a reservation or an appointment for them, I think in a beauty shop or a massage or something like that, or at a restaurant. That you say, hey, I'd like to, you know, Google, can you please call my favorite restaurant and make a reservation for four of us at 7:00? And it did that. What happens when the job seekers says, Hey, I'm looking for my job, and it goes, hey, I'm interested Google, can you call and see if you can get me an appointment or see what the process is? And the device actually does all the work for you and submits your resume. It actually may call, make the appointment for you for an interview. What's the employer going to do? I mean now they literally may not be talking to a person. They may be talking to the robot making appointments for submitting the resumes for the job seeker on their behalf. Vice versa is, it could be the other way around. The employers that are sophisticated enough, you may be interviewed by a Bot, do that by a chat bot now and that's all, you know. We're not talking 2050. I mean we're talking 2020.
Derek: Wow. Ira it was great talking to you, man. I'm pretty sure we can go on -
Ira: Yeah, we’re scratching the surface here now.
Derek: I know we could, we could talk for hours.
Ira: But I appreciate the opportunity.
Derek: We’ll have to have you back on again.
Ira: Yeah. If you talk to me, I so say I've given back to back presentations and people say, well I heard you yesterday. I go, come back. It'll be different today. And oftentimes there's always something that's going to be different.
Derek: That's true.
Ira: Hey, I appreciate the opportunity. Thanks. You guys are doing a great job. I love your platform and have a good day.
Derek: Thank you. Take care.