Are you involved in the hiring of dozens or even hundreds of employees a year? If so, you'll know that the typical sourcing tools, tactics, and strategies just don't scale. This podcast features news, tips, case studies, and interviews with the world's leading experts about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to high-volume hiring.
Welcome to the High Volume Hiring Podcast. I'm Steven Rothberg, the founder of Job Search, site College recruiter. We believe that every student in recent grad deserves a great career. This podcast features news tips, case studies, and interviews with the world's leading experts about the good, the bad, ammy ugly when it comes to high volume hiring. Thanks for joining us. Today's guest is Jessica Fiesta George Talent acquisition leader, recruiting strategist and host of the Jess Get Hired podcast, the number 10 recruiting podcast in 2021 and 2022. Jess, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me. Happy New Year.
Happy New Year to you as well, and hopefully to, hopefully to all of our listeners as well. And for the listeners who might not know that much about you or what you do how about if you take a minute to, to fill them in on who the heck Jess is, and maybe a little bit about your podcast too.
Okay. Oh, shameless plugs. Okay. I love it. So Steven, it's great to connect with you again. I had you on my podcast just get hired which was episode 31. We talked about career fairs. But as you set me up, I do host my own podcast just get hired, so play on my name, but it's a podcast for job seekers and business professionals that are looking to step up their game and level up their opportunities. But the job that pays me and why I'd love to do what I do <laugh> I have about 15 plus plus years of talent acquisition and recruiting experience. And I'm currently the head of talent acquisition for Atlantic Street Capital Advisors, which is a consulting company for the PE firm, Atlantic Street Capital. And I am fractional head of TA for about three or four different companies. So I manage all aspects of recruiting, onboarding, talent attraction talent retention, and just all things that have to do with hiring people
<Laugh>. Awesome. That's great. And I, I, I love your podcast because you do such a great job in sharing your experiences. Dispelling myths, confirming facts from the other side of the table, right? It's one thing to talk to your friends who have been through a hiring process, and it's even better to talk to, say like a career counselor, career coach, somebody like that. But if you're struggling with what kind of a job to look for, how to look for it, I, I can't imagine there being any better person to talk to than the kind of person that you're gonna be talking to. You know, somebody in talent acquisition who can say things like, you know what, no. You know, a resume for somebody like you should be this, this long, and these are the kinds of words that you should be using, and that's really great content, but if you phrased it this way, it's gonna have a much better impact. And, and those are the sorts of lessons that, that, you know, you're sharing every minute. If we can turn our attention to Atlantic Street Capital Advisors. Question for you. Tell me about the largest hiring project that you've managed.
Well actually it was not at Atlantic Street Capital Advisors. We have several organizations that do large volume hiring, and we'll probably get into some of that hopefully later. They have their own internal teams but the largest hiring project that I've ever managed was my previous role before I came to work on this side of the Atlantic Street Capital Advisory team was with a company that shall not be named, you can find it on LinkedIn and figured out where I worked, but it was the largest startup in Miami. They took parking lots and they turned them into like thriving hubs of the community by placing ghost kitchens and retail delivery units so they can get foods and goods and services to people within that neighborhood within minutes. So the project was called Project 1200, so that's 1200 delivery drivers and kitchen staff that we had to hire within 30 days across 25 ish markets.
And we had to do this, it was early 2021 when the world was starting to open back up after the pandemic. And we were getting stimulus money if you were unemployed, and then we were getting extra money from the government. So there really wasn't a lot of like people who were too eager to jump on and, and get a job, especially working, you know, like a minimum wage type of position. So it was pretty, it was a pretty large task to get 1200 people within 30 days. Did we make it? Eh, we got close, but, you know, 1200 I think is kind of setting everyone up for failure, to be honest with you, to have those expectations. But that was the goal and we were working towards that. And luckily I had a whole team of people and pretty much an unlimited budget to do it. So I think, you know, having that really you know, that was one of the biggest definitely that I've had to manage recently.
So those are relatively low paid jobs, right? Highly transferable skills. Some people might call that like a low skilled kind of a job. It's, it's the jobs don't require a higher education degree, et cetera. Right. So what kinds of, what kinds of tools, what kinds of strategies did you use to to, to come close to that goal? <Laugh> not quite hit that goal, but come close to that goal.
Well, when I was asked to kind kind of project lead this, you know, definitely being able to have resources and a team behind you, especially having the budget, you know, many times we are faced with not having enough budget to put behind advertising or behind events. So, you know, a lot of it we partnered across different departments. You know, marketing was like one of my best friends cuz I really needed our marketing team to take a look at how we're advertising casting a wider net and how do we reach more people with our ads? How do we broaden our paid advertising? We did everything from putting billboards near bus stops to radio ads, to print ads and billboards you know, using SEO and search engine optimization and how do we get to be on the top of the Google list whenever people are typing in jobs near me or if they're looking for line cook or driver.
You know, how do we beat the Ubers of the world or the door dashes and then how do we, you know kind of be top when it comes to being on the search. And then you know, broadening our message. So executing different messaging whether that was text or billboard or print or audio, online, social media. And then really looking at the team that we had. So I was fortunate enough to have 25 different launchers that was 25 different people in these markets who were kind of like my project leads in those areas. I was able to utilize our call center operations. So we took kind of a data dump of all of the candidates that applied within our a t s and through capturing different data for them to just call and invite these people to come on site and meet with our hiring leaders.
And then of course we had a team of HR business partners cuz it was also, if we brought people on, we had to onboard them as well. So having that challenge of training them and getting them in the system. And then, you know, I had such a great team of about eight to 10 recruiters who were focused and heads down and trying to, you know, make phone calls and inviting people and doing phone screens. So we did a lot of different things from bonuses and revamping how we, you know, interview people and how we set ourselves up to be the best place to work or you know, a place that people were kind of curious about because it was a kind of a startup and we didn't have a name that people would recognize. So I think it was all, it all worked harmoniously together with different departments, but, you know, we were able to get pretty close to our goal. And, you know, it's pretty exciting to see
Super innovative. That's awesome. A couple big takeaways and, and, and then we can get, get onto the next, the, the next one that I really wanna ask you about. O one big takeaway was, was your partnering with marketing you know, those of us in, in the TA world, whether we work on literally in TA or in a solution provider, like, like the company I'm at college recruiter, a lot of people will talk about working with marketing and it's traditionally been a real struggle, but I, I can't think of any organization out there right now that's doing a lot of high volume hiring successfully that doesn't have a good relationship, a strong relationship with marketing.
Oh yeah. You have to have that. Absolutely. I mean, they're gonna be the ones who are the experts when it comes to, you know, placing ads and search engine optimization, how, and how to message your brand perfectly to where it, you know, makes sense to the audience.
Yeah. Yeah. And, and cr creating a, that the branding and the collateral that's complimentary that you can piggyback on their efforts, they can piggyback on yours is it's a rising tide lifts all ships ki kind of strategy. Exactly. And the other thing, my words, not yours, but the tactics you use, the strategies he used, it was kind of a, it reminds me of, of the energy argument. It's, it's an all of the above strategy. Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>, right? Absolutely. It's not absolutely just advertising on indeed as good as that is, it's not just that, it's not just seo, it's not just billboards, it's not just, you know, signage at bus stops, et cetera. It's, it's like all hands on deck
<Laugh>. Yeah, it's grassroots marketing. Like exactly like, I mean, I remember we were passing out flyers, you know, we had, I mean, people putting things up at churches and like Panera Bread and, you know, different billboards that you can find or, or anyone who actually another thing now kind of remembered something we actually went to Covid stations, like where they were doing testing and just handing out flyers to people who were standing in line. So we had to think outside of the box and get really creative because of the goals that we had. I mean, that was a big task to hire that many people in such a short amount of time. We had to think of every little place where people were actually gonna be
Yeah, they exactly. You, you gotta go where the candidates are. If, if you're hiring a lot of truck drivers go to truck stops, I, if you're hiring a lot of people who live in the neighborhood, then you gotta go to the neighborhood, you know, to the churches, to the coffee shops, to the, to the covid testing sites. That's not one that I would've thought, I would've thought, oh, if they're lined up at a COVID testing site, there's a good chance they have covid, but,
And they were wearing
Masks after two weeks from now <laugh>. Yeah. But it a week, you know, even if they did in a week and a half or two weeks, you know, the vast majority of them would've been fine. And then actually they had some decent immunity probably. So those, those actually would've been awesome people to, to hire <laugh>. The other question is, you know, when, when, when you and the portfolio companies for Atlantic Street are doing a lot of high volume hiring, one of the, one of the issues that I've heard from TA leaders is it's really hard to prevent burnout on the recruiting staff and from people getting discouraged by these sort of monumental numbers that, that they have to hit. What are some ideas that you have to to prevent that, to keep your teams motivated when they have a lot of open racks? I
Think a lot of people kind of mimic their leader too. So if you're, if you're looking a little stressed, then you're gonna feel that you're also feeling the burnout as well. So I always make sure that I have a positive attitude when I come on. I mean, I, all of the teams are remote. And then in the event that I do get to meet them in person, you know, I'm always making sure I'm on my A game. But I am not the type of leader who just like, here's a bunch of recs. You go handle it. Let's get it done, let's get 'em filled. I like to roll up my sleeves too and show them that I still also know how to recruit. I don't just manage. So we recruit together and I come from staffing agency background where we had that bullpen approach.
So whenever we have some, you know, hard to fill positions or if we get like a big volume of positions, we all come together and I kind of make it a fun thing. We get online, I create games like, how many people can we call, how many emails can we get just within an hour? I mean, we don't spend all day, it's just one hour. We put our heads down, we work together as a team. And we try to make it fun so that, you know, they know that they're not alone working on this wreck just cuz you got assigned it, you know, everyone's like, oh gosh, you know, here comes some more, you know, when am I gonna get that done when I've got 10 more to do? So, you know, we kind of come together, we make fun of, you know, we do kind of like a online party, so to speak.
And we just see what we can do in an hour and everyone gets the work done. But, you know, just making sure you set the expectation for everyone, letting them know where you're coming from, you know, what you are anticipating the goals to be. And then just checking in with them individually I think is important. You know, I always have a, a weekly team meeting, you know where we get everyone together, but I also check in on them throughout the day, you know, even though we're not in the office setting, you know, popping in on their DM and just, you know, Hey, how's it going? Or what did you have for lunch? And you know, just trying to stay connected because we're in this remote world. You've got to know how to manage people remotely and I think just letting them feel like they're still in an office where they can come to you at any time I think is really important.
We'll be back right after this break. Welcome back to the high volume hiring podcast.
You know, one thing that we did we've, we've, we've all been remote since 1997, so covid, you know, making the rest of the knowledge based world remotely f remote working remotely for, for a couple of years. That was just not anything that was difficult for us to adapt to cuz we had been so good at that for so long. But one of the things that we shared with a lot of our customers, vendors, partners, was that checking in with individuals on a daily basis and really understanding too that, that individuals have individual needs. And, you know, Jess might really like to have a conversation about what she had for lunch. I might actually prefer to have somebody check on me or talk to me about what the score in the game was, you know, yesterday. Right, exactly. It's not right, it's not as a manager, I think it's, it's important to remember that you've gotta talk to each of your people a little bit differently and what motivates an extrovert is going to be really difficult for an introvert for example.
So well I think we have time for, for for one more question. And I, what I'd love, one of the reasons I really wanted to have you on as a guest was that you know, Atlantic Street Capital Advisors has a bunch of different portfolio companies. And I would imagine that the hiring at each of those organizations is similar in some ways and very different in others. Some of them probably are recruiting a lot of, you know, software engineers or salespeople and others might be recruiting a lot of retail workers or call center people. So, you know, from your experience in your role, including the, the fractional TA work that you do for some of them, what, give us some examples of sort of what looks different I, for, for the organizations that are doing a lot of hiring of say, software engineers versus more traditional high volume call center hospitality, retail. How, how do those differ?
So I mean, it, you have to kinda look at every business differently cuz all the processes are not the same. But some of the approaches that we have to kind of help the portfolio companies is instead of them going out and using temp agencies when they start panicking, cuz it's like, oh, we've got to hurry up and hire. We need, we need some temps or we need to get more people in. Is to leverage our team to help them with the hiring. So a lot of the, the companies that do have the high volume hiring needs we're now at the place where we've been able to incorporate their own internal staff. So, you know, I think one of the things that's an advantage of being a PE backed company is that you can leverage our team, which is a huge cost savings, then outsourcing your recruitment process or going to attempt agency or, you know, what have you.
So for executive level recruiting, when we have different needs at the, you know, VP or C level we have our own executive recruiters that kind of focus on that. I have my own team that also helps in tandem with these other companies when it comes to their high volume goals. So we have everything from retail warehouse, call center, medical device is huge. We have a huge need right now for field service engineers throughout different companies. And also the great thing too about knowing the different recruitment needs for each company is when I see candidates or if we know of candidates that applied or worked for one organization, there could be some way to transition them to be a candidate for other portfolio companies. So sure. Yeah. So that's the one advantage that I feel like all of our companies have is that we have visibility to everyone else's requisitions. So whenever I know one company is hiring for, you know, a certain engineer or IT type of positions, we have a great candidate that doesn't live within that market they're trying to hire for. But I know a company that of ours that is, I can easily introduce that candidate to the right recruiter. So it kind of works in that way.
Yeah. And on the TA side, you're, you're much more likely to get very candid feedback. She's really great at this, this, and this. Keep her away from that. <Laugh>, it reminds me of years ago when I worked at, at, at Honeywell, which was a big conglomerate at the time and fairly decentralized with the different business units. There might be a candidate or somebody, a longtime employee in the aerospace division who wa who wanted to move across the country. No aerospace division there, but there was a commercial buildings unit there, you know, and it's like, heck yes. You know, sad to see you go, but it's wonderful that you're staying in the family so, so to speak. Exactly. And awesome. Well Jess, thank, thank you so much for sharing some of your insights. For listeners who wanna contact you how would you like them to do that?
Well you can always find me on LinkedIn. I'm, I always have that tab in my background, <laugh>, so you can search by my full name Jessica Fiesta George, but jessica hired.com is my website. And then I'm trying to boost up my Instagram for 2023. So you can find Jess get hired on Instagram.
Awesome. And, and as we say in the, the podcast world, subscribe early and subscribe often. <Laugh>. Thank you. Yes, happy New year again.
Thank you so much.
Thanks for joining us today on the High Volume Hiring podcast. I'm your host, Stephen Rothberg of job search site college recruiter. Each year we help more than 12 million candidates find great new jobs. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and other employers who hire at scale and advertise their jobs with us. You can reach me at [email protected]. The high volume hiring podcast is a co-production of Evergreen Podcasts and College Recruiter. Please subscribe for free on your favorite app, review it five stars are always nice, and recommend it to a couple of people you know who want to learn more about how best to hire at scale. Cheers.