Strategic Thinking for Recruiting Automation Strategies with Evan Herman

In this interview, Evan Herman and Jonathan Duarte, CEO of GoHire, discuss recruiting automation strategies and the approaches to talent acquisition technology, discussing process definition, team involvement, and effective utilization of existing tools.

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  2. Recruiting Automation Topics:

  3. 1. Talent Acquisition Technology and Process: Evan Herman emphasizes the importance of identifying the actual problems in talent acquisition before selecting technological solutions. He advises against starting with a solution (like sourcing tools or ATS) without understanding the underlying issues.

  4. 2. Effective Utilization of Existing Technology:

  5. A significant point of discussion is the underutilization of talent acquisition technology. Herman cites a statistic (77% underutilization) and stresses the need for companies to leverage their existing technology effectively before seeking new tools.

  6. 3. Vendor Selection and Implementation: The interview covers the critical aspects of choosing the right vendors for talent acquisition technology. Herman highlights the importance of involving the team in the selection process and ensuring that vendors understand the specific needs and workflows of the company.

  7. 4. Role of Human Resources in Tech Adoption:

  8. Herman discusses the challenges HR teams face in adopting new technologies. He points out that having the right technology is not sufficient; having the right personnel with the necessary skills and mindset is crucial for successful adoption.

  9. 5. Process Optimization and Automation:

  10. Jonathan Duarte and Evan Herman discuss the importance of having a well-defined process in place for talent acquisition. They emphasize that technology should aid in automating and enhancing these processes, rather than being seen as a standalone solution. Herman also touches upon the concept of mimicking the strategies of top performers in recruitment to optimize processes.


Recruiting Automation Strategies – Full Interview Transcript:

[00:00:00] Jonathan Duarte: All right. Hey, everyone. Welcome. We’ve got Evan Herman back for round two because there was just way too much to talk about. If you haven’t met Evan before, Evan has we’ve met, I think, when was it, when did you say it was? 2008 or?

[00:00:14] Evan Herman: 2015, eight years

[00:00:16] Jonathan Duarte: ago. All right, 2015 at an HR Tech and SHRM conference, I think that’s what it was in Vegas or something like that, right?

[00:00:22] Evan Herman: Talent Acquisition Tech before HR Tech in Vegas, 2015.

[00:00:26] Jonathan Duarte: Awesome. And Evan has been a full cycle recruiter, a sourcer and is now doing consulting with companies on choosing the right tools, implementations, and finding out, what actually works.

[00:00:41] Jonathan Duarte: So anything else that I missed in there, Evan, or anything else you want to for an intro?

[00:00:45] Evan Herman: No, you hit the nail on the head. I I do have a name for that service, by the way, on the vendor matching and selection. I call it TAP Intro. Which stands for Talent Acquisition Partner. Think of me as an extension of your team, your Talent [00:01:00] Acquisition Partner, to help you troubleshoot and ultimately to the extent that a tool might help solve your problems, match, match your problem with the right tool solution.

[00:01:10] Jonathan Duarte: Got it. Awesome. Alright I’m a big process guy. And I like to say this, in, in my company you can’t be effective at automation unless you have a process that can be automated, right? So one of the things in this, why this topic is so important to me and having you on is we all know, and I think it, I think you mentioned before, what was it, the stat you said about software HR?

[00:01:40] Evan Herman: Yeah, the the stat comes from, I believe Josh Burson, which I must give credit to the great Farrah Reeves, who is now at Phenom as a product manager the presentation at HR. com and Phoenix, and 77%, according to, I believe, Josh Burson Phenom. [00:02:00] Of talent acquisition spend is not used or is at least not used to its full

[00:02:05] Jonathan Duarte: capability.

[00:02:06] Jonathan Duarte: Yep. Got it. Got it. All right. And that’s what we want to dive into here is like in the current market today everyone’s being forced to get tight budgets, do more with less and not really adding to the stack so much as often. Realigning it or making sure we’re doing the right things with the right tools and then if there’s subscription models and their annual reviews of the contracts are up or whatnot, then do we stay in or do we go out?

[00:02:37] Jonathan Duarte: Alright, so when, as people are HR and TA leaders are asking these kind of questions or they’re being thrown another problem to solve, what are some of the three or four things that a company should be thinking about? In their process, when they come to you, what are you seeing that works and what do you see that doesn’t work when they first come to you?[00:03:00]

[00:03:00] Evan Herman: Sure, the, the first problem that I see out there is companies thinking of a solution first rather than identifying the problem they have. They’re like Evan as you asked to me in round one They ask in the same way. Evan, what are the best sourcing tools? It’s hold on.

[00:03:18] Evan Herman: Yeah.

[00:03:19] Jonathan Duarte: What’s the best ATS?

[00:03:20] Evan Herman: Exactly. Yeah. Do you even have a sourcing problem or is your solution are you able to use that solution? Do you have the human personnel to be able to, even if I did find the right technical solution for you to actually adopt it, or do you want to be part of that 77 percent statistic that doesn’t use the tech that they’re buying?

[00:03:43] Evan Herman: Yeah, got

[00:03:44] Jonathan Duarte: it. And so that’s the prep, and that’s the prep the side of knowing what your outcome is but being able to clearly identify it. I know this is not easy for people who, it’s just not their normal process to do this type of stuff, but you [00:04:00] have to say, okay, just define to Evan what your process is or how many people you have on your team and what your budget is, then not to be exact numbers, but ideally like what you’re trying to solve and who’s on your team to do it and what your stack is now, like your tech, your technical stuff, what do you have and what you don’t have.

[00:04:23] Jonathan Duarte: Is there anything else you would add into that?

[00:04:26] Evan Herman: Yeah. First off I want to prevent the great William Tinkup from coming after you. You said TechStack, and he’s part of a big campaign. For those that don’t know Will Tinkup he’s a great guy to look up. He says that we need to stop saying the term TechStack, and I think I tend to agree.

[00:04:44] Evan Herman: He has his own term for it. I, with my financial services background, tend to say think in terms of tech portfolio. They all tie into each other rather than being separate. That’s part of the problem. When you think of things as separate, when they’re actually [00:05:00] all tied into solving your talent acquisition needs and problems, it’s part of a portfolio and they need to be balanced out, not seen in isolation.

[00:05:10] Jonathan Duarte: Yeah, not in a, in what we would say is a stack, like they’re all sitting on top of each other, because in a lot of cases, depending on your use case, depending on the type of hiring you’re doing and you’re probably doing multiples, you may not be using half of those tools in say hourly high volume, but you may be using those in the other part of the business, which is the corporate hiring.

[00:05:28] Jonathan Duarte: So they’re not all sitting on top of each other, but they have a specific purpose for the actual flow of that process of recruiting, depending on what that flow is.

[00:05:38] Evan Herman: And you bring on an excellent second point. Okay, now you’ve identified the problem, rather than the solution first. And now, in this respect, vendor selection is no different than recruiting and human and talent selection.

[00:05:52] Evan Herman: You, do you go outside? Or do you have the right person, the right [00:06:00] solution, sitting right there? Look at your existing tech portfolio, traditionally called your tech stack. Do you already have the solution in your existing tech portfolio, and do you need a new tool? More often than not, probably not.

[00:06:15] Evan Herman: You’re probably not leveraging your existing solutions enough. And

[00:06:18] Jonathan Duarte: it may be that you have, I’m theorizing, but I think this is where you’re going because I see it and hear about it all the time. You’ve got individuals in your company who may be on your team in your HR team or in your recruiting team that are great early adopters and then you have other people on your team that are late adopters from of technology and both may be using the software that you have To its limited capacity, and maybe the the [00:07:00] early adopter is just stifled because they’re not getting the training, but maybe your ATS already does what you needed to do, but they just need to get trained or given the opportunity to do it.

[00:07:12] Jonathan Duarte: So that’s in that same realm, right? Look inside what you got today and your resources, your people, not just the software. That sound about right?

[00:07:20] Evan Herman: Exactly. Yeah. Look what you already have. And then it’s not just a matter of what you just said, of even if you do have the right tech, do you have the right people?

[00:07:32] Evan Herman: Do you have the right personnel? Do you have the right headcount?

[00:07:37] Evan Herman: Actually adopt the existing or new tools that you choose to purchase. And then do, then even if you do have the right headcount, the right personnel on paper, do they actually have the right skill set, the right mindset? Do they have the availability to to get onboarded with the new tool and actually adopt it to its full capability that, that you’re purchasing it [00:08:00] for?

[00:08:00] Evan Herman: There’s just a lot of factors other than just a tool being the best technologically wise technically wise the best tool. There’s other fact, a lot of other factors to consider. And

[00:08:10] Jonathan Duarte: we talked about this in the green room too. So if someone was going to call you and say, hey, what’s the best sourcing tool we talked about before?

[00:08:17] Jonathan Duarte: And yeah, and we joked about too You always see these posts on things. What’s the best ATS? What that basically tells me is you’re, you don’t know what your problem is first, because if you can’t isolate or you can’t. It’s a question that basically begs the question, why aren’t you defining what your problem is first?

[00:08:42] Jonathan Duarte: And then saying what’s the best solution to solve that problem. Sound about right?

[00:08:48] Evan Herman: Exactly. Yeah, you gotta start thinking and looking internally first.

[00:08:54] Evan Herman: It’s who says you need a new ATS? And you’re just, instead of asking what is the [00:09:00] solution first, you’re, you need to understand what is my problem first. Yeah. Yeah. What is my real problem? Oh yeah, maybe you don’t have an ATS problem. Maybe more often than not these days, you’re stuck with workday.

[00:09:13] Evan Herman: So no matter what, even if the ATS is the problem, which it probably is. If you have workday, you’re stuck with it. Finance calls the shots, workday is practically free. You’re stuck with it, so you’ve got to find a workaround.

[00:09:25] Jonathan Duarte: Yeah I would say Workday isn’t free, but Workday recruiting solutions are, a nominal cost.

[00:09:32] Jonathan Duarte: But they, the problem is they cost a whole bunch of extra resources because they don’t do what many companies seem to do. In many terms. Alright let me ask you, so what are the biggest problems that you see when people come to you and start looking for, say, software say as we talked about in our last show, we talked about sourcing tools.

[00:09:54] Jonathan Duarte: What we’re, we identify the problem and then we start saying, okay, let’s look at [00:10:00] software, but there’s another side of that whole thing, which is the actual implementation. So what and we talked about it in the green room where we said, what if, do you have the team to implement it?

[00:10:15] Jonathan Duarte: And we talked a little bit about, do you have the right people like the sourcing team? Do you have somebody who’s a sourcer? What if, what are other things that are happening in that process to say you buy something? To make sure the right person is using it. And is that the vent, the right vendor for you?

[00:10:36] Jonathan Duarte: So you speak to that a little bit about some of those problems that you’ve

[00:10:38] Evan Herman: seen. Yeah. And that respect tool selection and software purchase is no different than the dating world that.

[00:10:48] Evan Herman: It’s why out of all the people seemingly undifferentiated, they seem so similar. You can watch the demos a million times. You can go to their websites and you still like, how is SeqOut [00:11:00] different from HireEasy, different from ProvenBase, different from BetterLeap. It can be difficult to manage.

[00:11:05] Evan Herman: And then. Yeah, understanding, you gotta, it’s a team effort to go after your original question on, making sure it truly is the right team and are you ready for it. Don’t, I’ve been on the other end of a tool being imposed upon me and my colleagues. You gotta, Include your team before you purchase.

[00:11:27] Evan Herman: Get, and not just here’s your seat, you allow your vendor, they’re your partner, okay? They’re not, it, don’t make this transactional. During the trial period, let them get acquainted with your team. Let that get down and dirty. Let them learn at the desk, individual recruiter and individual recruiting desk level.

[00:11:49] Evan Herman: What’s your problems? How can we help? Here’s how we believe our tool can help you. And if that happens you’ll have real buy in from your recruiters. If you [00:12:00] truly are evaluating the right solution or you’ll prove that it’s not going to solve your problems. It’s not the right tool. You save face, you save a bunch of money and either way you win.

[00:12:13] Jonathan Duarte: Wow. That’s really interesting. Cause I’ve actually never heard. Many people talk about like the way you did. I have my own, like a, an example of when I was built, when I, early on at GoHire I implemented our solution with one of our clients. And Mike said to me, he goes, John, we’ve implemented, everything’s great and it’s software, right?

[00:12:37] Jonathan Duarte: So you have to figure out how it works in the process. And then he said, so let me tell you the process, because I think when we figured out the process, we’re using the tool a different way than you built it, but what we’re doing is so [00:13:00] incredibly better than anything that we’ve even thought of, that I want you to build it, and that’s what we did.

[00:13:08] Jonathan Duarte: It was having that relationship. And listening to what the concerns were. This is after sale and understanding how they were using it and what they needed it to do, not what we just built. That was, a technologist talking to a client to figure that out totally separate from the use case you had, which was if I’m going to go sell and there’s going to be five people buying sourcing software on the team, your recommendation to the TA leader or HR team, however, whatever leadership looks like is.

[00:13:39] Jonathan Duarte: Is that company in a pilot type of solution or in the resourcing and understanding what vendors are out there, how detailed are they going to get that team, the sales team to understand your workflow process, right?

[00:13:55] Evan Herman: Yeah. And in most cases, yeah, in most cases that I observe [00:14:00] remember I’m this practice of mine is new.

[00:14:03] Evan Herman: So most times when I’m getting involved, I’m coming to diagnose a problem. They’re not happy.

[00:14:10] Evan Herman: It may be their own fault, it may be the vendor’s, but either way, I’m coming ex post facto after the purchase. And yeah, in most cases the sales team was not doing that. In most cases, they’ve only been a tech salesman, maybe not even specifically in HR at all or talent acquisition, let alone being an actual recruiter in almost no cases.

[00:14:31] Evan Herman: And so they can’t, they don’t understand and can’t possibly understand what is going on at the individual recruiter desk level. on the front lines in the so called War for

[00:14:40] Jonathan Duarte: Terror. Okay. All right. This is great. But they need to. Yeah. And here’s what I would propose. And and I’ve been in this industry 28 years and I’ve never never heard people talk about it this way.

[00:14:52] Jonathan Duarte: I know. And I also do recognize that HR consultants are often paid to help in this model to [00:15:00] understand the use cases and the process. And I’m, my brain’s all about the process now. It’s all about if we’re going to buy or build software, but it doesn’t get used and then who cares? It didn’t solve an actual problem.

[00:15:12] Jonathan Duarte: And that problem is not just, Hey, I need. The problem is the process. The software is a tool that helps the process. And the process is, we have to go find them, we’ve got to engage them, we’ve got to get them through, sell them, get them through interviewing. So there’s multiple steps that happen along that process.

[00:15:37] Jonathan Duarte: And software should be able to help to automate that process. Yeah, you need

[00:15:44] Evan Herman: to you hit the nail on the head because if you think of your problem as I need five engineers, now you’re just thinking in terms of a short term solution and a transactional solution, not anything repeatable and certainly not anything long term.

[00:15:59] Evan Herman: Let’s say, [00:16:00] for example, you got a let’s say it’s a large enterprise, so they have a team of ten Engineering recruiters. Okay. Yep. And each one needs to fight using your example. They need to hire five. All right. So now you got your top gun. He figured out a way to use this new tool and it solved the problem with him.

[00:16:19] Evan Herman: What good does it do? If the tool only did it in one way at one time with that one recruiter, you need to find a way to streamline that. Record it, develop it into a formal process and spread that to the other nine recruiters on that 10 person team. Yeah,

[00:16:37] Jonathan Duarte: this is so so great Evan.

[00:16:39] Evan Herman: So they can fill their five slots using the new best practices.

[00:16:43] Jonathan Duarte: Yeah, this is I think the biggest I want to say it’s a weakness from my side is seeing it from a Vendor as a technologist, because I think we, maybe it was in the green room, maybe in the last call we talked about, but I talk about this all the time, is you cannot automate [00:17:00] something that you haven’t written down.

[00:17:04] Jonathan Duarte: If you don’t have a workflow, and TA, we’re not process people so much. We’re people, right? This is actually an organizational process. It’s workflow process automation. And if you can say, oh, hey, look, Evan did a great job. He was able to hire five people with this tool.

[00:17:23] Jonathan Duarte: Why don’t you sit down and just interview Evan on a phone with the Zoom, or on Teams, or on Slack, and just say, Evan, would you just screen share and just walk through everything you just did, but, maybe we have to do it a couple times.

[00:17:40] Evan Herman: But yeah, you hit the nail on the head also with most automation, most AI, you get a, at the end of the day, AI and automation is simple math, it’s math and then in math, you have an issue.

[00:17:52] Evan Herman: I don’t want to dork it up too much. And it’s really outside my expertise. But I do know for my finance days, there’s a reversion to the mean problem. [00:18:00] All right. Most automation, most AI mimics Your median result, your good enough result. But as I always say in recruiting, good enough is not actually good enough.

[00:18:14] Evan Herman: You want to repeat your top recruiter, your top gun. You don’t want to recruit your middle recruiter. You, that you’re good enough does the minimally good job. You want, you should try and be mimicking the best recruiters out there.

[00:18:29] Jonathan Duarte: Yeah. Yeah. And that kind of. That’s the thing to me that is so important in this whole thing is that, the average lifespan I think of a recruiter right now is 18 months at a company, more or less, right?

[00:18:42] Jonathan Duarte: And declining. Yeah. And that means unless you, the TA leader, has a systematized process, your process is walking in and [00:19:00] leaving 18 months, every 18 months. That’s it. You don’t have a process. You have software that you think is filling a process, but as Josh Bershin is saying, if 75 percent of your HR tech spend is being wasted, or your HR spend I don’t know exactly what the quote was about, but if it’s being wasted, my guess is because it’s and I see it all the time and, we all have subscriptions to like Netflix or something else, or Max, or something that we don’t use on a personal level, for streaming, and now we’re paying more than cable, if we went through and cleaned that stuff out, maybe we would be back at a cheaper level.

[00:19:33] Jonathan Duarte: But the It’s that if we know the process, if we know we can say Evan is a star and he’s, this is this process that’s working, then document it, own it, and then the next hire you’re doing for recruiting is, could Evan follow this process? Maybe you don’t need a superstar, maybe you need someone who can actually follow what Evan did.

[00:19:57] Jonathan Duarte: And that’s your process. Exactly.

[00:19:59] Evan Herman: Or,[00:20:00] let’s be realistic. Odds are, you’re not going to turn that like under performer into your top performer, your top gun guy that you’re trying to repeat, but let’s say they move from to put a number on it and a percentage, with 100 being like.

[00:20:14] Evan Herman: Let’s say they’re that 40 percent recruiter, and just a little improvement, they could be in 50 percent is minimally viable. They’re, they’re good enough.

[00:20:22] Jonathan Duarte: That’s a 20 percent gain on their

[00:20:24] Evan Herman: performance. If they gain just 10 percent of your top gun that you’re

[00:20:29] Jonathan Duarte: still winning.

[00:20:30] Jonathan Duarte: That’s a 20 percent improvement because if they were at 20, if they’re a 40, right? And you get them to 50. That’s a 25%. 25%. 25 percent gain, right? Yeah that’s the interesting thing. And maybe it’s process size. And that’s what, I know we’ll talk about it a different time, but one of my other big things is a term that’s coming out now is more of, and it’s been around a while, but, I don’t think it, I think it’s coming new breed now as a, a talent operations person.

[00:20:57] Jonathan Duarte: And I don’t think everyone needs a talent operations, [00:21:00] depending on your size that’s full time. Someone who knows your tech stack, someone who can get stuff done. But on a fractional size, I think you’re doing that too, Evan is without putting words in your mouth is saying, Hey, you’ve got, this, a player, and then you’ve got these other players.

[00:21:19] Jonathan Duarte: But what’s your process? And if you don’t have the process, that’s where a talent operations person would help build that process. And they don’t have to be a full time employee. They can just come in, they can interview your team, they can look at your stack, see what they’re actually using in it, and then just say what would be the best case for the company, and then lay out a plan.

[00:21:41] Jonathan Duarte: And then maybe it’s a maintenance plan ongoingly with Evan or whatnot to solve it and to get the, analytics working, to get the software working, to make it, so you’re getting the best use of your money. Maybe that’s the solution that we’re going to see more and more of. I’m in the mindset that’s probably what we’re going to see, but I don’t know for [00:22:00] sure.

[00:22:01] Evan Herman: No, you hit the nail on the head. It’s, they get companies and talent acquisition leaders and their finance

[00:22:10] Evan Herman: and tech partners need to rethink purchasing technology for talent acquisition specifically. When it comes to tech purchase for talent acquisition, your process is your outcome. iT’s not just about process versus outcome.

[00:22:26] Evan Herman: Outcomes. You’re probably, you should pursue it so that your best in breed process is the outcome. Yeah.

[00:22:34] Jonathan Duarte: Awesome. Awesome. Hey, I’ll leave it there. I know we’ve gone for a little while. How does everyone, how will what’s the best way for people to find you, Evan? Sure.

[00:22:43] Evan Herman: First best way is connect with me on LinkedIn, or if you’re already connected to me, reach out to me directly

[00:22:48] Evan Herman: there. Like any recruiter, I’m on there all day, every day. Otherwise email me at Hermanomics is [00:23:00] spelled without the E in my last name. That’s H R M A N O M I C S.

[00:23:06] Jonathan Duarte: com. All right. Awesome. Thanks so much for your time, , Evan.


[00:23:09] Jonathan Duarte: Thanks again, and we’ll talk to you guys all later. Thanks.