Madeleine Nguyen from TalentDrop and David Moise Discuss: Is it the “Great Resignation” or the “Great Reassessment “? We also talk about talent diversity, how companies are branding themselves to attract talent and the high demand for technical people.
— Contents of this Video—
00:00 – Intro
0:56 – recruiting as an Open Marketplace
1:40 – “Great Resignation” or “Great Reassessment“?
2:40 – Do I like this work that I am doing?
3:35 – Power in the hands of the Technical Worker
4:18 – Crazy demand for Technology People
4:52 – More Flexibility at Work
5:29 – Transparency in the Recruiting Process
8:00 – What companies can do to Brand themselves to attract talent
9:40 – Better Job Descriptions
10:49 – What to start & stop doing to attract technical talent
Today I am joined by Maddie Nguyen of Talent Drop. She knows a lot about what’s going on in the technical talent market and for software companies and other technology companies. And she is located in California. So Maddie, can you just maybe to give a quick introduction? I know that you’re the co founder and President of Talentrop. Just one quick minute about what you do and tell us. Yeah. Thanks for having me, David. It’s so nice to be on. So I’m coming off about eight years of experience, actually, as a recruiter in tech for companies like Instacart, Snapchat, Uber, Facebook. So some of the big, shiny consumer brands out there and then a lot of startups, too. So I’ve seen a lot. A lot is changing right now, too. So it’s a really interesting time for talent. And so we’ve made actually at Talent Drop. We’re basically trying to turn recruiting into an open marketplace. So to us, it sort of didn’t really make sense anymore to do it the old way, which is kind of like, sort of mass email marketing, essentially, or even cold calling sort of the way that marketing works in the 90s. And now we like to go through networks to get signal on who’s good, who’s available, get people paid for the work that they’re doing. That’s really valuable. And so companies post bounties for a job that they need. And then anybody can refer somebody. And if they successfully hire their referral, they’re eligible for the bounty. That’s pretty much how it works. Great. We’re going to talk a little bit more about Town Drop. But first, my big question for you, I know you like this. Is it the great resignation or the great reassessment? Yes. I love this because I think people are understandably panicking about everybody seemingly quitting. And that’s a very like me perspective, I think. And I’m sure I would feel the same way about half my workforce where all of a sudden like, wait, I don’t like this job, but they’re not really like leaving tech or even leaving their professions. It’s more so like, how do I restructure employment in a way that I actually can benefit more from now. And that might mean different kind of employment terms. I work for myself. I work part time for you now. I’m a contractor and I’m a consultant now. I work from a different location. Now I set the pay, I decide my projects instead of the sort of old employment by old. I mean, like, two years old where you’re sort of just picking between corporate job A and corporate job B. And so there’s just a lot more options for people. And I think the pandemic really just helped people have time to sit around and say, what do I actually care about? Do I like this job? Do I like this work that I’m doing? Do I like my title? Do I like my page? Do I like my house, my clothes, my friends, everything. So we just reevaluated all of this stuff with all of our time alone in our apartments on Zoom and especially for tech workers, where it is more flexible than if you’re in healthcare, retail or something that you can’t do. You have to go in person for I think it’s more flexible. And so with also just the amount of capital going into the market, it’s easier to start companies. It’s easier to get set up with tools that you need work for yourself. So a lot of that is causing people to kind of say, like, I think I still want to do this, but in a different capacity. So they have more opportunities and it’s harder to close these people into traditional jobs. This puts a lot of power in the hands of the technical worker, the software developer, the cybersecurity consultant, all that what’s driving these people. Do you think that they’re actually realizing how much power that they have in the marketplace right now, or do companies realize that it’s a very candidate driven market? I think they are starting to certainly. And I think to some extent, in tech, it was already kind of like this. And I can really only speak to tech. But I think other sectors are probably like, oh, gosh. Now all of a sudden, I can’t hire the hourly line cooks that I used to be able to hire pretty easily. So it might be different for a couple of others. Whereas in tech, there’s always been a crazy demand for technical talent, like just engineers, anybody going into tech and even other sectors, I think felt like they were losing employees to tech companies. So we would at Snap, for example, recruit a lot from Fortune 500 or entertainment or media things that were sort of related. So tech has kind of, like, benefited from that a little bit. So it’s not wildly different. But I think they’re more so realizing, oh, there’s different, like, the market is moving really a lot faster. And candidates are demanding things that in order to get them to want to come work for me, I have to give them. And so that’s things like increased transparency, better pay flexibility on where they work or even what hours they work. So I think it’s definitely an adjustment because it’s big changes that companies are kind of struggling with, altering how their entire culture has worked for the last five or ten years. But it’s definitely, I think pushing some things to really come front and center in terms of how employment actually works. So yes and no, I guess. Okay. And you mentioned transparency. How can we get better transparency just in the recruiting process? And how much are you seeing candidates looking for that? Oh, my gosh. It’s such a big one. And it kind of was before, but especially after a lot of the sort of, like, social and political things that were happening in 2020. People really are starting to ask what actually goes into these employment practices. How do these hires get made? How do these fires get made? What goes into determining my compensation package? I actually have no idea. And I think we always wondered those things or they always wondered those things. And it’s just more so now that people get to actually say, I really want to know this information upfront or otherwise. I’m not interested in your company. And so for in demand talent, you pretty much have to be giving them the information that they want. I mean, what is the process look like? What can I expect? What can I expect in terms of evaluation, not just in interview, but on the job. I think we’re sort of also thinking longer term about there’s recruiting. But then there’s the entire end to end employment lifecycle, which is I always kind of break into four stages, find attract, higher retain. So not just like recruit. And then there’s HR, but more so, like, is this the right job for this person? Are they retaining for a long time? Did we actually make them the right offer? And so a lot of that, frankly, I think companies have not been pressed to think through. And so they’re sort of like, oh, just give this person this offer and see what happens or we’ll sort of lowball them. And if they don’t negotiate great. And if they do fine, that’s definitely been proven to disadvantage underrepresented talent. So a lot of that is I think people are just realizing, like, oh, I actually now have more leverage to ask for things that I want. And I want to know feedback. And I want to know what went into this defining my dollar value as a person. And, like, things like that that are really important to candidates and not so much just companies saying, like, we’re so great come work for us because we have distraction or because we raised from this fancy PC, but more so, like, real things that people care about on a day to day basis. Just now you mentioned the companies talking about many companies are used to saying, We’re so great come work for us. But now, since there’s so much competition for that technical town and the number of It software jobs expected to double in ten years and 500,000 open jobs, companies need to do better things about branding themselves to attract that talent. What do you think or what are you seeing companies doing to brand themselves to attract that talent? And what do you think that’s worked? Yeah. One analogy I like because it’s easy for people to understand. And this industry has already kind of gone through. This is marketing. And so you’ve seen. So maybe we would throw up on a Billboard something in the 90s that’s just like, Please buy my product. I don’t know who is seeing it. I don’t know who cares about it. And now we have really crazy, like borderline creepy ad targeting and stuff. I think recruiting is going to go through the same thing, which is sort of this idea around what’s the sort of right way to tell our story to the right people and reach the right people instead of just sitting back and spamming with the same message over and over again. And the more kind of decentralized the Internet comes, I think, becomes the more important that will be, which is people just care about different things. And so you just can’t really approach people with the same message, kind of like it worked before. There’s also, just, like you said, more companies. And so even ten years ago, it was a little bit easier to stand out as like a hot startup that can take all the talent from Fang that doesn’t want to be in a big company wheel. But now there are so many startups. There are so many companies offering different things, and we still kind of just post the same job description format that we’ve heard a lot of feedback, even on talent drop from both sides from candidates and bounty hunters saying, I honestly can’t tell these companies apart. I don’t know where to refer to these people. And then some companies saying, now I feel like I sound like a robot. I sound like everybody else. And part of that is because when we go to write job descriptions, we literally copy and paste from each other. So I think there’s a new way to format, like, what’s my story as a founder? What’s my story as a company, what’s my personality profile as a company and not just like, here’s the blurb of the thing that we do for a customer, but really like, yeah, like, sort of who are we? I guess, which is kind of cheesy, but it’s true. And people want to know. And we may have seen that with sort of like, DTC marketing, like on Instagram. For example, a lot of small companies are really pushing, like, founder stories. I created this product because of the problem I had. I was a mom. I couldn’t find this and that kind of thing. It’s looking like consumers are really caring about and they will buy products based on these stories. I think it’ll be the same thing for startups. Okay. And that kind of leads into things that you’d like to see companies start doing or stop doing when they’re bringing in their technical talent. And you mentioned one of them. Share the good story. Give people a reason that they want to work there, give them an opportunity just to be part of something. What else would you add on to that? Yes. I love that anything that sort of like it’s not so much about you make it about them is going to help. And I would love to see companies approach candidates with that mindset, which is like, here’s why you should spend your time considering my place of employment over other people instead of like, we’re so great. And we’re going to have you jump through these 10 million Hoops as part of our process. And we have a really high bar. And these are all the things that we’re going to jump on you once you get here, which is often I think what we’ve heard people kind of receive as a message when we give them job descriptions and interview assignments and things like that. So I think a little bit more flipped on. How is this actually a benefit to this person? Do you pay? Well, do they get more flexibility? Is it a product they really care about? Are they impacting something, whatever it is, that would be great. I think the other thing, too, is this sort of, like obsession with the perfect hire that we have in tech needs to go away. And so that keeps people from hiring. It keeps people from they’re sort of like unintentionally blocking themselves off from some talent opportunities. And I get it because it’s very hard to actually vet people. But that’s something I think I see some companies doing really well is sort of being more open minded to the type of background that can actually perform the job well instead of a sort of narrow set of. Well, I’ve always hired people from Harvard, so I’m going to keep doing that. So I think that would be like a great change, too. Okay. Great. All right. And talent drop. Who should go look at talent drop? What’s different about you guys? Yeah, anyone hiring, but we mostly work with tech startups and actually, especially people who were very well networked in the talent profession. So if you’re hiring recruiters, we can help you or HR people, we can help you with all of that. And then basically, you just go on the company side, you propose a bound to you tell us what job you need to help with. You tell us how much it’s worth to you that you will pay the person to how much you’ll pay someone for this hire, and then we go and market that on the other side of our marketplace. And that’s also for anybody to be. If you’re networked with someone who you think is a fit for any of these jobs, you’re totally open to refer folks. But we also have specific sort of guilds that we’re calling them. Like, for example, we have a recruiting Guild, and so you can join it. If you’re a recruiter and you get sort of, like, early access to submit your referrals first and get the bounties earlier than others. Sounds great. Well, thank you very much for your time today. I appreciate Shade. It has some great information that a lot of companies who are out there looking for technical talent, they can use this and appreciate your time. Thank you so much, David. All right. Bye.