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Build a Global Recruiting Machine Like This Top HR Executive

Build a Global Recruiting Machine Like This Top HR Executive

Brad Wilkins, Vice President of Human Resources at Altisource, joins The Growth Recruiting Podcast to showcase how their 150+ HR team produces incredible results. In this episode, you’ll learn what a well-oiled recruiting machine looks like. Brad discusses their hiring process, from end-to-end, and provides actionable tips that can be applied at organizations of all sizes.

The Growth Recruiting Podcast is available in iTunes!

Show notes

1:35 About Brad and Altisource
4:06 Incorporating startup mentalities into a global organization
6:10 Structuring a 150+ HR team
7:37 Bringing Organizational Development into the hiring process
8:57 Types of recruiting processes
10:00 Implementing specific new roles into the hiring process
11:20 Brad’s signature on job postings
13:27 Brad’s approach to organizational development
15:12 Recap of Brad’s hiring system
16:58 How organization size changes the recruiting approach
17:54 Brad’s goal to improve his hiring process
21:45 Avoiding paralysis by analysis
27:22 Increasing adoption of new processes
28:56 Using Minimum Viable Product in HR and Recruiting
30:30 Brad’s book recommendations
32:30 Brad’s advice on productivity
33:24 Brad’s HR productivity tool of choice
34:53 Brad’s daily routine
36:37 Brad’s contact information

Resources mentioned on the episode

The Startup Way by Eric Ries
The Lean Startup by Eric Ries
The Talent Delusion: Why Data, Not Intuition, Is the Key to Unlocking Human Potential
Exponential Organization
Pure Chat
Connect with Brad on LinkedIn
Altisource Careers


Josh: Today I am joined by Brad Wilkins, Vice President of Human Resources at Altisource, which is an integrated service provider and marketplace for the real estate and mortgage industries.

Before we get started, a few things to know about Brad, he was named in the Top 25 HR Executives under 40 by Workforce Magazine, and the #1 corporate recruiter in America by He has been featured speaker for Linkedin, theladders, Workforce Live TLNT and more. So, I am really excited to have Brad on the podcast today. And I know he’ll provide some awesome tips for all of you that are listening. Brad, how’s it going?

Brad: Hey Josh, it’s my pleasure. Though, the thing you didn’t tell them is that I’ve been using your platform probably almost since the beginning of your present induction. I’ve been a big fan of your guys’ work so it’s a pleasure to join the podcast.

Josh: Thank you, Brad. I appreciate the shout out there. Yeah, we go way back so I definitely know a lot about all of your great recruiting experience and I know you’ll be able to bring some awesome tips to the show today. So, I guess real quickly I gave you a little bit of an intro, but maybe you could introduce yourself a little bit more. Talk about your current role, your current company, and what you guys are up to.

Brad: Sure! So Altisource is in a really neat juxtaposition as a VP of HR, although by the time you listen to this we may have launched out our rebranding. We’re launching as “People Solutions” next year with the catchphrase that “We’re solving business problems with People Solutions.” Depending on when you listen to this, the VP of HR may not be the accurate title. The company’s really cool because we’ve got a combination of some really mature businesses that are multi-million, hundreds of millions of dollars in annual revenue serving the top 10 banks in America with their servicing needs on the mortgage side. As well as a lot of the mid-market originators in the loan space. In fact, 15% of loans across the country every year go through Altisource in some way. It’s a really mature mortgage business.

And then on our Real Estate side, we have a number of initiatives that are growth initiatives. [Those] are really incubation style. One of those being, which is a marketplace to buy and sell real estate. An online platform that has a brokerage built in that’s really in massive expansion mode. We just hired a new president about 6 months ago. And then we have another business, a real estate investment function, that’s doing a lot of things that frankly I can’t even talk about on this podcast. But by the time it comes out, you’ll get to hear about it. That’s also in major, major growth mode.

So both of those are at completely different juxtapositions than the mature businesses. And so it’s balancing out these mature along with the growing internal technology group that’s surfacing and trying to find where there are opportunities for automation, etc. We have a mature, big, global, 6,000 employees in India, almost a thousand in the Philippines, 2,000 in the United States, and then spread out through Luxembourg, Uruguay, Romania, etc. Global, fast-growing, but also stabilized, mature, businesses in a very, very interesting industry at this time in the world right now.

Josh: Wow. That’s pretty crazy. So, that’s pretty cool because it sounds like you’re pretty much in charge of the recruiting and human resources on a global enterprise scale. But also it’s almost like you guys have these startups underneath the umbrella. It’s a balancing act between recruiting, managing human resources for a company that’s new and growing like crazy and has a whole lot of people coming on board. Versus a huge, global organization.

Brad: Absolutely. In fact, one of the interesting challenges and the reason they brought me on with my background is they were going through massive hypergrowth. They were the fastest growing stock on NASDAQ two years in a row. And during that type of growth, frankly, there are a lot of things in the HR function that had been patchworked or pieces put together that we wanted to flesh out and build out into world-class systems, processes, and opportunities. And so we’ve got the startups here today but even the whole machine itself feels like a startup, that we’re getting to build up and flesh out some of these world-class things in a very modern perspective. That’s the interesting component.

The clarification on my role. My role has a unique twist to it. I am in charge of what’s kind of called “traditional” human resources with regards to the United States, Uruguay, and Europe. And then I’ve got a global responsibility for what I call talent management. That’s recruiting, learning, development, and organizational development, things of that nature. So it’s a nice juxtaposition where I’ve got a little bit of classic, traditional business partnering here and then global perspective for some of the more progressive things that we’re looking to do as well.

Josh: Yeah, that’s really interesting. That’s a lot on your plate and I know we’re going to get into a lot of that stuff here so with the company right now, globally, I think I read that it’s 9,000+ employees? How many are you guys at?

Brad: I think we’re just slightly under 7,500 , plus a large contingent of contractors and vendors, Especially in, we have over 300 real estate agents that are part of our brokerage exclusively. And so, you know, they don’t show up on the headcount report. But, yeah, a little under 7,500 currently.

Josh: And how big is your team?

Brad: Whew, uh, right now? And, uh, I haven’t counted this week yet, but we are somewhere around the range of about 150-200 people all-in, with the recruiting team actually making up a significant portion of that population.

Josh: Interesting.

Brad: Yeah we’ve got about 90 in India, about [raspberry] 40 or so in the US, eh, a little bit more I think we have about 10 new openings coming up in the beginning of the year, so we’re probably about 150. Counting Uruguay and the Philippines are a little smaller.

Josh: Wow. Wow. So what is the structure of that team like? I’m assuming there are some people that are in charge of sourcing, you’ve probably got it pretty well segmented given that you have to recruit such a large volume of people. You need these people focused on specific functions within the whole recruitment lifecycle.

Brad: Yeah, absolutely. So we’ve got kind of three recruiting populations, essentially. They’re segmented out with not too much overlap, more of a system and process overlap than a admin or leadership overlap, all rolling up into me. So obviously you’ve got the US kind of, what I’ll call “corporate” recruiting. I’ll talk about that in a second because we’re doing some really interesting things there. Then we have what’s focused on our real estate agent recruiting team. That by far is our biggest team. It’s a group that’s structured in a very traditional kind of high volume recruiting way. We’ve got a sourcing team, and then we’ve got kind of these roles that we call Regional Leads, and the sourcers are literally going out and dialing real estate agents every single day, trying to convince them to have an opportunity to join the brokerage. Then sending them up to the Regional Lead who is obviously doing much more of an organizational development-style behavioral interview, assessing them and then getting them over to a hiring manager, the managing broker, and pushing them through that way.

We’re actually doing some pretty cool things in the future where we’re pushing a lot of the assessment components of the real estate agent experience into training and development. Josh, you know I have always been a fan of capturing information around candidates during the onboarding phase, so we’re doing that here which I’ve done other places in my career a well. Instead of just relying on the recruiter and the hiring manager, continuing that data loop all the way through the entire process. That’s the agent recruiting, then we have the A-Pac corporate recruiting team as well, as well that handles India and the Philippines.

On the US corporate team, the really cool thing that we’ve done, we’ve just launched it here in the last couple months, is. If I look at where is recruiting shortchanging themselves it’s typically about the assessment of the candidate. You typically have a recruiter, whose job it is to hire people. They’ll do whatever they can to get a person on board, that’s the nature of a recruiter. And then you’ve got a hiring manager who doesn’t have time, doesn’t necessarily become an expert at behavioral interviewing. They trust their gut which means they’re bringing bias to the process, etc. It’s really a recipe for disaster at a lot of companies. You’ve got someone who’s number one bias is trying to get someone hired, and another whose bias is trying to find people that they, you know, “like” without any real data or validation behind it.

The really fun thing that we did which is very much in the spirit of some of the work I’ve done at previous companies as well but I’ve never really had the time to flesh out like I’ve gotten to do here. We have actually inserted organizational development in the middle of the interview process. So we have a new function called a Talent Partner. A Talent Partner is essentially a traditional senior recruiter. The Talent Partner’s job is to extract the requirements from the hiring manager. I look at recruiting as having four components, or four steps in its journey. Step one is where you’re reactive, a requisition comes in, and you start working on the requisition. A step below that where you’re really bad is retroactive. Where a rec comes in and it’s 90 days or more until you’re even going to pay attention to that rec. A step above that is proactive. Where you start saying, “Oh, hey we’re about to close this contract on this deal and we’re going to need ten of this role, let me start building a pipeline of talent. Let me start building a social community, whatever it may be.” So we’ve got retroactive, reactive, proactive, and the top level is cliched, but I call it partnering.

Where we’re aspirationally going in the next year, and we’ll see how it plays out, is we actually want people to call our Talent Partners, and not open up a requisition, but come with a business problem. Say, “Hey, I would like to increase efficiency on my team 10%. What’s available in this market – Let’s say Atlanta – efficiency 10% will yield me an increased pre-tax margin of $250,000. You have $250,000, go see what the market can bear.” And that might be one senior project manager to set up a PMO with two coordinators. Or three project managers, or it’s a data analyst and a medium project manager and a coordinator. There are different ways of slicing that business problem based on what is in real time availability in the marketplace.

So a Talent Partner is supposed to understand the market, and the roles, and the requirements of the business and solving business problems, not necessarily doing the requisition.

A lot of times, manager calls and “Hey, I need to open up this role.” And if you really ask them why, “Well, that’s what we had before when Bob left”. It’s like, okay Bob’s gone so I’m going to replace him with the exact same person. That may not make sense because Bob’s been here for 6 years and you haven’t looked at the structure since then. The Talent Partner then passes the requisition and key requirements on. If you look at any of our job postings, you’ll notice a few unique attributes. Anyone who’s ever worked with me, there’s some pretty distinct signatures on most of my job descriptions for the last couple companies I’ve worked at.

Number one is that there’s a maximum of four requirements. And that’s really hard for hiring managers to get into their ecosystem. You can’t tell me twenty bullets. Because with twenty bullets, two things happen: 1) either you find someone who doesn’t read the job description and they just spray and pray and apply anyway, or 2) and this is the worst one, they actually read all those twenty bullets and think, “Well, I’ve got 18 of them, but not two, I’m not going to apply to this role, I clearly don’t have the requirements they’re looking for.” I love when companies put “nice to have’s”. Nice to have is just code for “Don’t bother me if you don’t have these.” In fact, in a lot of their ATS’s completely stream out even the “Nice to have”’s that don’t meet their requirements.

A sidebar on that, I just saw a study last week that women are actually less likely to apply to a job in which they are not a 100% fit for the requirements. So we are actually getting in our own way in terms of diversity initiatives whenever you’re posting 20 bullet-long job descriptions.

The other interesting thing that I’ve focused a lot on is you’ll notice there are no degree requirements on any of our jobs except the few accounting ones where a CPA is required, or a law one where a law degree is required. For 95% of our jobs, there are no education requirements, and we try our best – though one occasionally slips through – where we don’t say years of experience required. Instead of saying 5 years of experience, well this candidate only has 4 years and 11 months, so they’re not going to cut it. “Oh, well that’s different Brad.” Well, then is 4 years and 10 months okay? “Well no, it’s about 5.” 4 years 5 months? What about if someone worked 4 years but put in 80 hours a week verus someone who worked 4 years and put in 40 hours per week? Are those the same candidate? Are those the same 4 or 5 years? There are so many nuances to it, we get in our own way a lot of the time.

The way you kind of get back in the way of getting out of the way is this new role that I talked about with organizational development. We actually have a psychologist that we’ve hired that are in this new function called Talent Asesser. And the Talent Asesser really fits well into, Josh, some of the work that you guys have done around the video interview, where it’s – and I’ve said this for a number of years now – show me instead of tell me that you can do the job.

Typically in part of our interview process there are a couple batteries, some of them very practical, a knowledge check around a particular specialized area, some of it is more basic. If we have a compliance role, having an attention to detail assessment might be built into there along with a compliance and regulatory knowledge check. Doesn’t mean that those become eliminators, it might mean that those become prescriptions for when someone starts how we build a talent development program for them. They were really good at this, but they had a knowledge gap around this particular area, how do we make sure we shore that up when they join the organization. Then the Talent Asesser, the hiring manager, and the Talent Partner – again their final job is to understand the market, understand the conversation, work with OD team to finish up the job analysis and market data – and then they’re responsible for closing out the candidate. So the Talent Partner kind of pops up at the beginning and the end of the process with the sourcer, the Talent Asesser and the hiring manager filling in the meat of the sandwich.

Josh: So is there a rover for you that is constantly assessing your hiring process and making it better?

Brad: Exactly. Using data.

Josh: Yep, which is the most important thing, obviously. So what’s really interesting to me – and I hope everybody replays that like ten times because I think that was a really good job at giving a nice overview of a super refined process. To recap I guess a couple of things on that. As far as building a really strong talent pipeline when you have to source candidates for an organization that is thousands and thousands of employees, growing really really fast, you have to have a good mix of inbound and outbound strategies to source candidates. So like you said you’ve got people that are dialing all day long, calling real estate agents, trying to get people interested on the outbound side. And then the inbound side, you’re constantly looking at your job ads and job descriptions and seeing how you can make them more effective to not only attract a good quantity of candidates but also a good quality and a diverse set of candidates. Also sounds like on the screening side you’re using some video interviews, you’re using assessments and doing a whole lot of touchpoints to make sure the people you’re advancing are going to be a quality fit for the organization. Also, I thought that was really interesting that you’re almost identifying weak points of the candidates even though you’re still willing to bring them on because those are that person’s opportunities to grow once they’re within the organization.

Now, are you using that as like a selling point through the hiring process? Because I know, like, since I’ve known you at previous companies and at your current job, you’ve always been a big fan of promoting growth and promoting from with in and making sure there’s paths for people so they feel motivated not only during the hiring process but also once they come on board. I’m curious if you’re using those organizational development components you built into the hiring process as a way to attract people and get them excited about coming on board with you.

Brad: Yeah, you know I’ll be candid that’s more aspirational at this point and I think it’s okay for us to say that. A lot of times people are like, “Oh, I can’t do that because I don’t have the next piece figured out.” You eventually put yourself into apathy or paralysis by analysis.

One of the big changes, Adcap candidly was at seventy five people, here’s 9,000 people. It’s a little different. With 9,000 people, I think it’s a little more challenging. And I mentioned the company grew so quickly that even getting job descriptions, job analysis done for all the positions. We’re still working on in tandem through a lot of that. I think as that refines itself and I think it’s a really critical component, to not only take internal candidates but external candidates and push them through.

But one of the things we’re also doing in parallel related to that topic is making a big push for internal lateral and diagonal movement. One of the ways we’re doing that is also in the same exact way, frankly, that we’re assessing external talent. We’re benchmarking that against internal talent, and trying to capture additional data points in a substantive, tangible way to classify people with a particular skill set, hashtag them.

So one of my objectives when I got here was that by 2019 I wanted 80% of my director plus promotions to be internal. Just to give you context, the industry benchmark, 45% is about the top 99th percentile of the curve. So it’s almost double what benchmark says. When I got here it was about 15%. We’re up to 40% so far.

So, in a less formalized way than I’d like it to be we’ve really made a push for the internal talent pool being the first place that we look and allowing that to drive some of our recruitment processes.

One of the nice things is when we’re looking for talent, and sourcing – again you mentioned a lot of different ways that we’re doing that – building a brand, pushing towards different ways of looking at job descriptions, those that say “Come on in” instead of “Stay on out”.

It also means that for instance, I’ll give you another subtle version of that. For a lot of companies, the second place candidate normally goes into a dark black hole never to be heard from again. Well, we’re tagging that second place candidate the same way we’re tagging our internal employees which allows us to then say, “Hey, three months ago you were a top candidate, but we have a new role that you fit 80% of the search parameters for.”, and we’ve engaged with you through common communication or updates or just little messages, etc.

So we’ve kept in touch with them, we’ve driven the internal talent pool, so we’re looking much more holistically than just sort of building a passive social talent pool which is even more progressive. That tends to be the most progressive companies use an internal or a social talent pool. We’re actually driving internal talent assessment to be able to have a real time example and a real time opportunity to tap into our internal talent pool along with our second chance or our third chance.

One of my favorite things that I’ve done is when I see an interesting resume across my desk and I don’t recruit as much in my current role but – as I was building out my team. I joked as I was building the recruiting team I got a call from my CEO and he said, “Hey Brad, we need you to build up the recruiting team to be able to hit this massive goal to take this company that’s going to change real estate to build out the real estate agent pool.” And I said, “Great, you know that’s wonderful Bill. The problem is I’m a little short staffed on recruiters to hire these recruiters.” And he said, “Well, hire a recruiter then.” And so, okay, great, I need to hire a recruiter to hire these recruiters. And he said, “Well, okay, I don’t know what to tell you Brad.” Well, okay I guess I’ll be the recruiter to hire the recruiters.

So as I was building out my team and then hiring all these functions that we never really had on the US side before, I actually got to look at a lot of resumes. One of my favorite things I used to do when I saw an interesting resume was send out a note and say, “Hey, you know you’re not a fit for the role that you applied for, but you have an interesting background. What do you like to do? What are you looking for in terms of general compensation? And let’s see if there’s something that might fit on the team.”

And I got some of my top, top performers on my team, in fact one of the gentlemen just got promoted, he’s working directly for the division. I hired him, he came in the door, didn’t know what he could actually do for us but thought he might be a fit for something. He’s hardworking, he’s intelligent, passionate, humble, all the attributes you really want in somebody. Brought him on board, hit a home run out of the park luckily for me. It’s being able to look at candidates, internal or external through different lenses I think that’s really really critical.

Josh: Interesting. Yeah I know always it’s been a goal of yours to find the diamond in the rough candidates. I know that that goes way back. You’ve always looked for those people that might not jump out on paper or not jump out on video or vice-versa. And you’re able to find those people and make them rockstars within the organization. It’s interesting that you’ve continued that at your current role.

Now, one of the things that I thought was really interesting about what you said was you mentioned paralysis by analysis or by over-analysis. So people that are trying to build out a recruitment strategy, but maybe they don’t have the resources or they don’t have the time, or just not everything perfect. As a result, they don’t end up putting things into place and they don’t get the results that they want. I’m curious, now you’re at a company where you’ve got a 100+ person team, you’ve got all these resources, you’re constantly refining processes, and on the outside listening to you I’m like, “Man, this process is on pointe. It is perfect, everything about it is like a well-oiled machine.” But I can imagine there are things that you still want to improve upon.

My question to you is, as people are listening and they are trying to build out their process and they’re listening to all these things that you’ve got going on, it might seem a little overwhelming to them. “I want to get this guy’s results but there’s no way I have the time or resources to put all these process in place.” So for those people is there like a specific place that you would tell them to start? Or something that you would tell them to focus on, or not get bogged down by as they’re starting to build out their process and strategy to recruit top talent.

Brad: Sure. That’s a great question and one that I think is important to calibrate. And anyone who’s seen me speak I typically end all my presentations with this quote so apologies if you’ve heard this before. I love the Chinese proverb that says, “The best time to plant a tree was 20 years ago. The second best time is now.”

The reality is it’s never a good time, the best time is now. So you can keep waiting for the conditions to get better – they won’t. So finding to me the way that I’ve always began things like this is the same way I started the process here. By the way, it’s hardly oil-refined. Every single day I’m finding something that could be a little bit better, or a tweak to the data algorithm or a sourcing strategy. Right now, the recruiting team, we’re running 5 different tests in Q1 with completely different strategies. We ran a test just a few weeks ago where instead of an interview, we just did a roleplay. That was the complete interview, just a roleplay with a real estate agent. So we’re experimenting with that. Early indicators actually show that we have actually had a 27% increase in quality of hire just on that extremely small population. But it’s different than the behavioral interviews which frankly were measuring the same attributes that we had defined by doing kind of an internal survey identifying what our top performers looked like. There’s lots of tweaks always going on.

The key is finding a group that will be receptive. Ideally, if you have a high volume role, so for instance we have a role right now where we’re hiring 40 people this month and next month besides the agent side. The agent side should hire hundreds if not a thousand over the next couple months. In this other role on the corporate side, again we found a hiring manager that was really open to try and look at things through a different lens. We had enough variability around the rules to be able to. I wouldn’t recommend trying to do this on talent assessment project on one role unless it’s something really, really distinct, you have some really clear indicators, and you feel like you can get some good benchmark data. Whereas it’s a lot easier to do it with 40 and figure out along the way where you make some mistakes. My OD specialist that was on that particular role, they did the first version of the assessment, they did multiple choice for the knowledge check. I’ve actually used knowledge checks for a number of years now. I don’t like multiple choice, I think it gives false negatives and false positives. So I said, “Hey guys, let’s pull back and not do multiple choice.” They said, “Brad, the first 40 candidates already took the multiple choice. If we’re going to use a solid benchmark across the entire population, psychology says it needs to be consistent.” And that’s correct, but at the same time, common sense says you need to actually do an assessment that’s going to capture the right data. So in the midst of all of that we made an executive decision. Let’s make sure that we do the right assessment than continuing to do things that weren’t as optimal.

That’s I think the key is just start. And in real time you might find opportunities to make improvements. I think finding somewhere that will let you fail. And one of the things I love about OKR’s and why we’re rolling them across the organization if you actually hit (I don’t know if you’re familiar with OKR’s, Josh, but you’re actually supposed to fail at 30% of your OKR’s.) Those are objective key results if you’re not familiar with it.

Google is the one that made it famous, though it goes back to Intel in the 70’s, ironically. I love that spirit. It ended up backfiring on me but I used to open up my recruiting team calls by having everyone go around the room and say what their biggest failure from the previous week was. It was early in my tenure, people really didn’t understand the essence of what I was trying to get across, which is, “let’s celebrate failures, as long as we’re learning from them.” So I wouldn’t necessarily recommend opening all your calls with failures, it got me excited and got me pumped up thinking about opportunities to improve but it didn’t necessarily have that effect on the team. The spirit of it is there, which is just go! And know that you might mess up. Don’t do it all in the critical Vice President role for a growing business unit, or it may not fit into one of your more conservative business units but just starting things.

And Josh, you’re familiar with the apprentice program I ran at my last company. Got a lot of awards, a lot of recognition, a lot of speaking engagements around it and we started on the sales side. We did a sales apprenticeship, then the engineering team looked over and said, “Hey! That’s really cool, can we do something like that?” So we started on the engineering side. I had one group that held out almost two years despite an exponential, massive success of the program. Finally, they surcame and said yeah, we’ll do it too. And they did it and six months later they can’t believe they had never done it before. And so it’s okay if you don’t have consistent rollout across the entire enterprise, as long as you give opportunity for opting in and opting out to the program.

I was more hesitant that I was going to be able to accomplish that hyper growth hyper scale change at a 9,000 person company, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised at the receptivity of a lot of our business units trying things and always constantly looking at things they can improve and attract, entertain the best talent possible.

Josh: That’s interesting. Yeah you keep doing the same thing you’re going to get the same result. So ultimately you’ve got to experiment and like you said, it’s better to experiment in a pilot group or pilot position or some type of smaller sample to prove it. And if you can prove it, you can start scaling it throughout the organization. I guess the takeaway there is don’t be scared to get out of your comfort zone, don’t be scared to test things. If you fail, fail on a smaller scale. Don’t try it for every position at the same time. But if you fail use those learnings to either come up with a new experiment or shift gears or whatever it is.

Brad: Another thing to think about too is I’m a big fan of minimum viable products. A lot of times, people think they have to build the whole thing out before they can try it. But what’s the most raw version possible of actually doing that. That’s I think a mistake a lot of people make thinking it has to be a lot more mature and fleshed out. What do you need to do to actually see how people will interact with the experience? What are the things you couldn’t think of in advance? Because if you’re trying to think of everything, you won’t and then you’ll find yourself wasting a lot of time going back and correcting what you thought was the right thing all along. Minimum viable product around anything you do is I think a critical innovation driver.

Josh: I think a lot of people can relate to that. If you’re a CEO or a Founder that’s listening to this and you come from a marketing background, or a product background, you’re probably familiar with MVP’s and experiments so you know it’s definitely something you can apply to your recruiting. I think that’s a really awesome takeaway. So, that’s a lot of really good content for the audience. That’s a lot for them to take in, but if you could just pull away a few nuggets from there, people will be really on their way and really satisfied with some of the action items they can take away from the podcast. Before we wrap up, one of the things that I like to do is on a personal level ask people some things that our audience can take away not as much on the work side of things. So, are you reading any book right now that you would recommend to the audience?

Brad: Yeah, so the book I’m in the middle of right now is The Start-Up Way By Eric Ries, it’s about how you take lean startup principles and apply them to big, slow moving machines. It talks about the government,, and GE. I find it to be a really interesting way of how do you treat different pieces and then teach organizations how to move at different speeds. Next up in my queue, sitting on my desk waiting to be read, it just came out hot off the presses, so I can’t comment on it but The Talent Delusion: Why Data, Not Intuition, Is the Key to Unlocking Human Potential. I think that came out a month, maybe two months ago I think, yep, 2017. And then the book I’ve been handing out – I’ve been handing out quite a few books this year – the one I’ve been handing out the most probably, is called Exponential Organization. Essentially it’s this idea of how do you create things that grow exponentially versus linearly. So obviously, Uber’s a great example of that and Waze. The Wayze story, if you’re not familiar with it, is essentially with very little capital the investment grew so quickly with free social content. Waze is 100% user content driven. How do you create those types of things, those types of engagement communities around products, around processes, around ideation. So Exponential Organization has been a really cool way for me to challenge people on how to think exponentially rather than linearly around their problem. And there are some really great stories in there that you can read.

Josh: Nice, nice. Yeah, as you were talking about your recruiting process I was thinking of the book, The Lean Startup because I feel like a lot of things you’re doing apply to a lot of principles from that book. It’s interesting that you’re reading some of his other work. So, what about any productivity tools that you’re using? They don’t necessarily have to relate to recruiting or HR, but is there anything that really helps you be super productive throughout the day?

Brad: Probably just hard work. The funny thing about hard work is it’s a very controversial topic. And what I’ve always joked there was a – if you think about ten thousand hours – if I’m averaging an 80 hour work week, and I’m 15 years or so into my career, that means I’m really 30 years into my career compared to someone who’s only putting in a 40 hour workweek. So probably just hard work is the most underrated piece and nothing says, you know, balance and turning off, especially since getting married a couple years ago. And shoutout to my wife Morissa who I love very much, she has to put up with me. But shutting out. So this year, we went to Hawaii and shut off. Didn’t bring my computer, or phone for a week. And so ironically I actually think that’s a productivity tool. You know it’s the absence of tools, the productivity tool.

The other cool thing that I’ve been using for a couple years is Pure Chat. And there’s a million versions of it, so I probably gave an unintended free sponsorship opportunity for them. But I’ve always loved instant chat for my recruiting pages. For all of our careers pages where someone, a candidate, can actually chat with you in real time. And most company websites and they don’t say quite as badly anymore but, “No phone calls, no emails please.”, you know, “Don’t call us, we’ll call you.” What I loved about instantchat was, no! Talk to someone right now, in real time, let’s answer your questions. Let’s engage on your mobile, on your PC, on your tablet. Again, similar to the job posting, I’ve always liked the idea of meet people in, let’s figure out where they could or couldn’t fit and then take it from there. So instant chat features have been a big fan of mine.

Josh: Nice, nice. And then just one more question. So, any favorite recruiting influencer? Like, somebody whose blog you read, podcasts you listen to, videos you watch, somebody that you think our audience should follow.

Brad: I wish I could tell you that but I’m a fan of panor recognition. To me, I like to go as far outside of the industry as possible. So even reading The Startup Way, to me there’s a million applications of The Startup Way or lean startup to what we do. So most of my, on the way in this is a non-answer again, which I have a tendency to do sometimes. My pattern every day is really easy, it’s every morning I read Flipboard, an app that lets you aggregate content from different sources. It’s keyed into business, or finance, or marketing, you know we do A/B testing, we do a lot of the marketing principles like you alluded to. So I read that first thing when I pop out of bed in the morning. Then on the way in to work, I typically listen to a podcast, HBR is probably one of my favorites although there’s a couple other ones, Inc, etc that put out good content that’s not necessarily about recruiting or HR but general, more business, and then if a certain particular function business is doing something, why can’t we do it in our group? Which ends up making our HR department feel more like business units in operations because at the end of the day, our job is to recruit, retain, and maximize revenue. You could add mitigate risk in there if you wanted to add a fourth R. But it’s actually really what we do and that’s what the businesses need to do. And so really focusing on business needs because we need to create business solutions has really been a big piece. And then before I go to bed is where I typically do an old fashioned paper book and I’ll read a chapter to bed. So the idea is I dream about HR or recruiting stuff at night, wake up, get my brain thinking about it right away while I’m brushing my teeth rather than idle thought, and come into work. The one twist on all that is on the way home I typically listen to Around the Horn, the ESPN show to kind of tune down work a little bit and to turn off so I can spend some time with my wife and not be thinking about work all the time.

Josh: Exactly, it’s your cool down stage.

Brad: Yeah, exactly.

Josh: Nice, awesome. Well, Brad, this has been great. I think you’ve really provided some awesome advice for the audience and everybody who wants to connect with you should they hit you up on Linkedin or where can they find you?

Brad: Absolutely. Yeah, Linkedin is the best way to reach me. You can add me. Know that it takes me a little bit of time to clean up my network. I’ve been on Linkedin since pretty much the beginning of time so I’ve got 30,000 1st degree connections over there. So I have to delete some to add some. That’s typically the best way. Or you can email me, my email at work is just [email protected]. Again, anything I can do to help out. To me, I think the better the general recruiting, or HR or business becomes at treating people, and evaluating people and giving people opportunities, I think it helps all of us. I used to provide our playbook to all our competitors at my previous company and found that to be a way of increasing the talent pool across the entire geographic area or in this case now the world. So I’m a big fan of trying to pay it forward as much as possible and I would be glad to answer any additional questions if I talked to fast or you wanted a deep dive into something. My resources are yours.

Josh: Awesome. Well, Brad thank you for coming on today, and I appreciate your time.

The Growth Recruiting Podcast is available in iTunes!

Josh Tolan

Josh Tolan is the Founder and CEO of Spark Hire, a video interviewing platform used by 6,000+ customers in over 100 countries.