Welcome to the High Volume Hiring podcast. I'm Steven Rothberg, the founder of Job Search Site College recruiter at College Recruiter. We believe that every student and 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, and the ugly when it comes to high volume hiring. Thanks for joining us. Today's guest is Phil Strazulla, the founder of Select Software Reviews, which makes it easy for HR leaders to find the best vendors for a given category, highlighting their strengths and weaknesses, and providing the advice HR needs to make the right decisions. Their research is free, unbiased, and based on the opinions of hundreds of industry experts and practitioners. Phil, welcome to the show.
Thanks for having me, Steven. I appreciate it.
Cool. So before we jump in with with some questions that I have for you what didn't I tell people about Phil? Who, who are you, what what makes your boat float?
What a question. So, I guess mostly a, a finance nerd. I started investing in the stock market when I was 12 and worked as a professional investor for a hot second as a VC to an early stage software investing, but very irrationally have a desire to build stuff, and, and so did the whole entrepreneurship thing and built an HR tech startup. And the thing I loved the most about building that was just like talking to HR leaders and sharing what I learned in, in videos mostly on LinkedIn. And I thought, I wonder if I could make that a business. And it, it turns out that if you make 'em about the right stuff you can, you can monetize it. And, and tools is definitely something where people are kind of struggling. They need education and, and there's also sponsors there too. So was lucky enough to kind of do something that I, I really like to do, which is share knowledge and, and get paid for it.
Yeah, that's, that's awesome. So, so much of what these folks buy, they buy maybe once every three years, sometimes even just once a decade. And man, if you haven't looked at key pieces of software, like in ATS in 5, 6, 7 years, the research that you did 5, 6, 7 years ago, it might have been awesome. And it's just useless now. So it's great that they have places to go and see not just from their own perspective, but from from others. You know, what, what they like. I, I'm, I'm, I'm a big believer in review sites, you know, just trusting one person's opinion at some other company that maybe is somewhat similar to yours or not. It's kind of of risky. Maybe they may have a bad day and just lead you down the wrong path. So well, why don't we dive in. And the first question that I wanted to ask you is the, just the kinds of tech that you're seeing that high volume recruiters are using. Specifically what, what are you seeing out there right
Now? So it's all about decreasing time and friction. I think that whenever I think about high volume recruiting, there's a guy that I know fairly well here in Boston that runs a firm that recruits people for call centers. And he said something to me that really resonated a long time ago, which is, you know, most of the people be hiring, they're looking for a job. They're, they, and they really view jobs as commodities, commodity products. You know, this isn't wooing the software engineer over the course of three months with you know, the right employer brand and the right perks, et cetera. It's somebody who, for whatever reason, went on indeed one day and said, I need a job. I'm gonna apply for 10 roles, and I'm probably gonna take the one that gets back to me the fastest. And so a, a lot of this technology is really geared around that speed and decrease friction.
There's obviously sourcing technologies that can integrate with your Apple tracking system. I guess some of the most basic would be just sort of job distribution, getting it on the right job boards, maybe some smart job distribution, like programmatic advertising. And now we're seeing more and more tools that will allow you to inject jobs into social media in places like Instagram or Facebook or TikTok, even, as well as some direct sourcing. So perhaps some, some text recruiting, some email recruiting to relevant talent pools that might be third party talent pools that you haven't touched yet, or might be ones that you've already engaged with and they're in your applicant tracking system. And these tools are just sort of helping you mine your, your gold mind, I guess <laugh> find the gold in your mind that that already exists sort of thing. And, and so top of funnel, it's, you know, the sourcing stuff, there's definitely an assessment layer here, most of which happens over text or mobile.
And it is super basic sort of knockout questions. You know, can you work on the weekends? Can you carry 50 pounds? Are you okay to work in the United States, et cetera. And again, this is sort of, you know, contrasted maybe with a bit with the, the corporate recruiting where if you're gonna hire that software engineer, you're gonna probably have them take a coding test or you might do psychological assessments, et cetera, behavioral assessments, more in-depth skill assessments. This is really just, you know, can you do the, the basic stuff that we need you to do to, to show up on day one, and then how do we get you to that next phase? And, and that next phase might be, congrats, you're hired please, you know, fill out this paperwork and, and show up. It, it's probably gonna involve some sort of background check.
It might involve talking to somebody. But again, it's, it's how do we get that person who applies to that stage in as few minutes as, as humanly possible? Because every, you know, especially if you're shaving off days, but even down to the minute, because your competition's probably gonna be as sophisticated as as you are looking to be, it, it actually really matters because you're, you're fighting, you know, your job looks exactly like the other job for the most part to this applicant. And so how do you win? You, you be fast, you decrease the friction, you do it mobile first, and you hopefully get that person in the door very, very soon.
Yeah. Awesome. You know, a couple of times in there you really hammered away at the issue of time and for, well, for a very long time, employers that talked about time to hire or other issues of time, they weren't talking so much about the number of days between when the candidate applies and when they get an offer. When they started, their focus for a long time was on does it take 20 minutes to get through the application process? Does it take 40, does it take three? And that's important, right? In, in high volume roles. If you, if you send somebody through a 40 minute application process, you're not gonna be left with too many applicants. But what I think you're saying too, is that it's also just the number of days, and I think even said like, right, even just sort of down to the minutes, if somebody's applying to 10 different call center jobs, they're probably gonna take the first offer they get. So if you can put them through that process in a couple of days and they can start a couple of days later, you have a huge advantage over your competitors. So I, I think, correct me if I'm wrong, but that's, that's probably a lot of what you're seeing out there right now from, from the high volume hiring employers.
I think that the most sophisticated companies, that's what they're doing. And what that allows you to do is decrease your cost throughout the rest of your funnel, right? Because if, if you're spending the same amount on your job postings, if you're spending the same amount on your recruiting head staff or headcount, sorry, you, you can hire a lot more people if you have a higher conversion rate. And so I think, you know, best in class companies, they're probably gonna hire around 10% of applicants. Which is obviously, you know, massive compared to most, most corporate recruiting, which is maybe like 1% or less sort of thing. But if, if you're doing a good job, literally 10% of applicants, and that includes people you knock out through background checks, through these screening questions, et cetera, should come down and, and actually start at your company.
And yeah, the, the way you do that is time. And then also to, to your point around the time it takes to remove an apple to, to actually go through an application, I view that almost more of like a friction thing. Because, you know, 40 minutes in the, in relative to the time to fill of maybe 10 or 15 days is not that much time, but it's a lot of friction for somebody, and especially if somebody has to do it on a desktop application or, you know, they have to upload their resume, they even have to have a resume in the first place. What you really want to do is, is focus on meeting people where they are, which is on their phones. You know, inject something into their social media feed, convert them into a SMS based chat application with a bot, be transparent that it's not human, get the right information, get it into your system, get them to that next stage, whatever it may be as quickly and and seamlessly as possible.
You touched on something that I, I heard a, a little while back. I was at the Rec Buzz Amsterdam conference in September, and one of the presenters was the CEO of Sonic Jobs, which is a lot bigger in the UK than it is in the us. But what they do differently than I think any other job board is that a hundred percent of the applications happen on the Sonic Jobs website. Employers that require candidates to go over to the ATS to apply cannot advertise their jobs on, on sonic jobs, which is interesting. And they're definitely reducing their addressable market, the number of employers that they can work with, but they are creating a much better experience for the candidate. But that aside, what I thought was very insightful, and I'd like to get your feedback on this, that, that the CEO of Sonic Job said is that he views friction at times as being good, and at times as being bad, there's good friction and there's bad friction.
The bad friction in his view is the, I think that candidates should go through a 40 minute application process, because if they won't spend 40 minutes, then they're not serious. If they're, if they, if they're gonna apply too quickly, then they're not gonna be good potential applicants for us. It's unlikely that they'll be interested except an offer stay with us, whatever he said, it's, that's just a, that's an example of bad friction, creating unnecessary obstacles. On the other hand, he talked about good friction, and I think you were kind of touching on that, that if somebody is absolutely fantastic, but they're located in Norway and your company requires that person to be located in the us, you probably wanna have a knockout question. Do you, do you see, is that in, in the employers that you're talking to, the software that you're working with, is that becoming more common where they're sort of differentiating between good and bad friction, trying to increase the good, decrease the bad?
I think that probably most people aren't thinking about it in as nuanced away as this person put it, which I, I really like this framework, but it definitely is very valuable and without a doubt, bad friction is, you know, this like 40 minute apply where I upload a resume and then I, you know, retype all the information that's in my resume into an ats. It, it, the, the point about good friction actually reminds me of something that's like very unrelated, but there's a guy that I'm actually talking to in an hour who posted on Twitter, why can't you just submit a offer on Zillow directly? Why do I have to like, go through the broker and like do all this stuff? And the CEO Zillow actually responded to this tweet and was like, we actually tried that. And the problem is because it was so easy, people would just submit all these random offers and they weren't really that serious.
And a lot of 'em were low balls and the brokers were just going crazy. And, and so you need to have some sort of buy-in before somebody submits <laugh> an offer, you know, for, for a house. And I think that's the same thing here where you, you need to have the right people. And in this case, I think it's, it's really the employers being proactive and asking people the right questions to make sure that, that they are the right person. And then you might also wanna have some other layer of sort of buy-in. And that might be, you know, doing a background check. It might be having a, a phone screen with somebody, et cetera, so that you're pretty darn confident that they're actually gonna show up on that first day. And of course, there's some economic ways of, of making sure people show up and whatnot, but you don't want it to make it so easy that they can go on a website like Sonic Jobs or Deed or whatever and use their kinda and apply and bang, bang, bang and maybe get four job offers and maybe show up to one of them, if that,
Right? Yeah, the, you know, the, the ability to apply to a lot of jobs very quickly without any real thought is does create the problem that, that you say it, it leads to a lot of unqualified applications. People, it's like prey and spray is, is what is, is, is an expression I've heard for listeners who have done sales or marketing work, they'd be familiar with the expression qualified lead. And at college recruiter, one of the things that we had struggled with for years was determining if an employer came to our site and submitted a form that basically said, I'm interested in buying from you. Can I meet with a salesperson? Can I have a demo? We did a really bad job for years of figuring out who the sales people should actually be spending time with. You don't want to open up your calendar and have that calendar controlled by everybody else in the world.
You wanna have some control so that you're spending the most amount of your time with the customers or potential customers that matter the most. And if somebody's just not a good fit, a good potential customer, you're wasting your time and you're wasting theirs. So better to head that off at the beginning. We found, because we do so much work for high volume companies, we boiled it down to two questions. And the two questions are, how many people are you looking to hire? And over what period of time, none of nothing else mattered, nothing size of company where the company was located, what's your job title is, what's your budget? Is how soon you're looking to hire people. Didn't matter if we just said, how many people are you looking to hire? We would get back answers of hundreds, well, hundreds over five years is really different than hundreds over five days.
And so I think that some of those good friction questions can lead to much better qualified applicants, applicants that your recruiters will wanna spend time with. So I, I'm glad that you're seeing some of the same stuff. And, and for, for people who aren't familiar with Sonic Jobs happy to introduce you. The, their ceo, like you said feel very, very nuanced presentation, very thoughtful smart guy. And I think, I think in the US we're gonna see a lot more of them. So last question is the tech that you are reviewing, that you're getting feedback on from people that is used by high volume hiring employers, how does that differ from somewhat similar tech used by employers that maybe you're only hiring a few dozen people a year?
It's a good question. I think that for the most part, the high volume stuff, it's almost all mobile first. You're empowering usually somebody who's hiring manager to make these decisions. Cuz many times you have to make like very much like real time, like somebody's not coming in tomorrow or, you know, whatever the case may be, sort of decisions and it can't go through this whole hierarchy of talent acquisition, et cetera. And I guess, yeah, it really is just based on this paradigm of speed and a commoditized job offering, unfortunately. Which is, you know, it's kind of like a, a a te a bad thing to say and maybe you don't want to admit it, but at the end of the day, like many of these jobs are fairly commoditized and they have really high turnover, and that's just sort of the, the bottom line versus perhaps you know, a company that's hiring a couple of software engineers a year quota bearing sales reps or talent acquisition professionals or people that are gonna wanna stick around for a while, and there's different screening technologies that are gonna go more in depth. There's less focus on speed and mobile first. It's more about finding the right fit between two parties for the long term and, and a more complicated fit versus, Hey, can you do these poor things? Great, you, you got a job.
You know, I said that was the last question. I lied. There, there's, there's, there's another one. Employers that are doing high volume hiring, if, if they come to your site are, are they able to distinguish easily between say, an ATS that's really good for high volume hiring employers versus those that aren't? Is there, is there filtering or some, or is it clear in the reviews? Hey, if you're hiring thousands, this is a great tool for
You. We try to make it as easy as possible. So there are certain categories that I think are much more relevant for people doing high volume hiring, like HR chat bots, and then within something like ats, you know, we try to say, look like, you know, fountain career plug, like these are the solutions that are really designed for these, you know, retail jobs, for franchises, for high volume hiring. I hope we do a good job if we don't let me know <laugh> go on the website and say, Hey Phil, you know, you think you're doing a good job, but you need to yell at your editorial team. But we, we try to make it simple because just like, to your point, you wanna sort of qualify leads, you know, this whole like sales and marketing thing, as a professional, I wanna make sure that I'm gonna spend my time on the right stuff and I don't wanna go, you know, spend a lot of time talking to Lever about high volume hiring. It's just gonna be a waste of everybody's time. I wanna make sure that I'm spending it with the right folks.
So for for listeners who wanna learn more about you, Phil, or about select software reviews, how should they do that?
Sure, you can find me on LinkedIn Phil STR with two Zs and two Ls. I'm the only one out there. And, and there's select software reviews.com if you're looking at tools, we've got a community you can join and we even have a job board for people that are looking for, you know, their next sort of like people ops or talent acquisition role. So we got a lot of resources, I hope, I hope it's useful for you.
Oh, that's awesome. Thank you so much for joining us today on the High Volume Hiring podcast. I'm your host Steven Rothberg of job search site college recruiter. Each year we help more than 7 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 recommended to a couple of people you know who wanna learn more about how best to hire at scale. Cheers.