S4 E31: Recruiters Recruiting Recruiters | Have you Met Maren Hogan

Gerry Crispin 0:20
So we’re now recording and this is Gerry Crispin from CareerXroads, and I am with Maren Hogan know from Red Branch Media. Right. Do I get that? Right? I did say that right. That’s fabulous. And and for the next few minutes, we want to talk a little bit about recruiters, recruiting recruiters. But you know, before we start, I would love for you, Marin to just tell us a little bit about who you are and what you’re about, sort of pre-COVID maybe, and maybe a little bit of what you’re in the middle of right now.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 0:56
Yeah. So I’ve been in this space. You’re in my space. The people space, I guess for lack of a better term for about 12 or 13 years now, it was something that of course, like anybody who was entirely new to when I came came aboard, I had a lot of questions. And a lot of people such as yourself, were very kind and gracious and helped me get my feet under me. So I had a series of marketing and community based, not community based, but community management gigs with various talents, startups and communities. And I sort of parlayed that into a consulting firm, which was Red Branch Media. And when Red Branch Media started, it was just me. And now it’s grown to as much as 35. And it’s obviously contracted a bit since all of this happened, but going takes place or something. Yes. We work with HR and recruiting tech and services. So basically anybody who’s selling into the HR function, or the finance function or operations, we tend to work with people like that, we also do have a very small piece of business, that’s employer branding and recruitment, marketing, essentially applying the marketing tactics that we use to sell software services, etc, to selling the employment experience at various companies. And we build a lot of career sites and things like that. So that’s essentially who I am. My days consist of running that and putting into practice all of the HR and leadership things I’ve been writing about for the last decade. And yeah, that’s pretty much me now after this of it hasn’t changed all that much. Except for I’ve gotten the opportunity to finally work with you

Gerry Crispin 2:36
with a that is true. And it has been the first time that we’ve we’ve had a chance to kind of work together and I think that’s been so cool. And I told you before I just, I just love watching people operate. I have heard of how you work, and I know a number of folks who are clients of yours and they all rave about you and so I think you’re in a neat place where you’re doing things that I think you’re passionate about. And I think that that’s, that’s very addicted to the people who are, you know, your employees and and your clients who you work with. But I’ve enjoyed. I’ve enjoyed watching Red Branch Media grow. So it’s kind of cool. From my perspective.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 3:18
Yeah, I’m really lucky to get to work on things that I enjoy and my team, through my enthusiasm, my team and my clients also can learn to like really get behind some of these things because it can feel boring at first, but it’s certainly not. It’s one of those things that is always changing.

Gerry Crispin 3:33
So how did you get involved with recruiters recruiting recruiters as

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 3:37
Yeah, so Chris and myself, Chris Hoyt, have always wanted to work together and the time just has never been right to do it. So he just I think Facebook messaged me or Google messaged me, it was like, hey, do you want to change the world? Whoa, okay. Sure. Who would say no to that? Right. So we got we jumped on the phone. he outlined the sketch of recruiters, recruiting recruiters, which is exactly what the name sounds like. basically helping all of our colleagues either find jobs or find recruiters for jobs that they had open. Because as as we know, some businesses have, you know, contracted hiring and even had to furlough people and lay them off and others have had to ramp up hiring because of increased demand. So once I sort of said, yes, I would love to be the marketing and communications arm of this initiative. We were off and running. I think it was an hour and a half later that I was on a call with yourself and Kevin and Roy and, and many other people that I’m sure I’m going to forget to mention. And we started sort of sketching out what this would look like what was needed from each person, technical perspective, marketing perspective, community management. And then as usual, you were definitely the advocate for candidates there and making sure that we help all of the people involved to a much higher standard. So that’s how I got involved.

Gerry Crispin 4:55
I think, you know, I think one of the things that I’ve enjoyed in the conference sessions that we had is that, and I know I hear you saying I was the, you know, kind of pushing the issue around candidate but and I’ve always have been I mean, for a long, long time, but this time the the incentives came probably in one of the meetings just before you joined us where the employers were the ones basically saying, I don’t want to send my furloughed people to a place where they’re not going to be treated well. And and of course, that that struck my spot that that’s pretty soft, from my perspective. And and then the issue is, you know, how do we define that? And you were right there at the beginning of that conversation where, you know, we’ve got to be able to do something that’s usable, that’s measurable, that allows for us to be able to defend the fact that people can can buy into a code of conduct. So that’s kind of cool. From that point of view.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 5:57
I think one of the biggest issues for employers right now and and I say this, like I said, from my limited view of working with various companies on employer brand is, nobody wants to do this right, I can see that from an employer brand perspective. And I can see it from the owner of a company perspective. Nobody wants to furlough or layoff their workers or reduce their pay or whatever it is, it’s a really crummy situation in a world filled with really crummy situations. So if we can help make them feel a little bit more comfortable, saying, hey, we’re going to take care of them, we’re going to do anything that we can to make sure that everybody does adhere to this code of conduct so that they can at least be assured an experience that’s filled with dignity and responsiveness and the things that we should all be aspiring to. I spoke with the dean from era and he said something similar. He’s like, well, shouldn’t everybody be doing this? And I was like, Yes, but we’re not all individual islands. Often the things that we want to do and the things that we’re able to do within a corporate structure are not aligned. But that’s what’s so amazing about this is that now only have we gotten these companies to align their interests very quickly and tragedies, we’ll do that to people. But we’ve also gotten a lot of HR tech vendors who were previously competitors, to say, you know what, that doesn’t even matter. Let’s focus on this, let’s move this forward, and everybody just pushed and will eventually reach our goal much faster together than we would if we were continuing to sort of, you know, bicker in any sort of sense of the word.

Gerry Crispin 7:27
This is an interesting time to be able to experiment. There’s there’s a lot of willingness to try different things, some of which obviously, will work in someone. So this is an experiment to as to whether or not it’s attractive as a as a site where perhaps we’re not claiming that we have the most jobs in the world. And in fact, we have a finite number of them 300 and growing or a few hundred and growing, and as new employers come on board, we’ll be able to see if we can add a few more And eventually, you know, hopefully we’re going to start seeing soon some of those recruiters finding a good match for themselves and, and climbing on board. But even if they don’t, we’re providing ideas and links and other kinds of things that allow them to to see where other opportunities are. So I think that’s kind of cool.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 8:21
I would agree. I think I’m the biggest and the best. I’ve sent this and thousands of talks, and articles over the years, being the biggest and the best is fine. Having multiple profiles and all that multiple jobs and all this other business is great. But that’s not the experience that we’re offering. We’re offering a curated selection of jobs from a curated selection of companies who have agreed to this particular like you said code of conduct, and making sure that they’re going to treat these people the way that we believe as a consortium should be treated. That’s not to say that there is not a place for those very large sort of clean clearing houses of jobs we want them to be,

Gerry Crispin 9:03
We should know where they are. And we should be able to help some of those recruiters get to them. And one of the things that I would like to do that we haven’t done yet, but I would hope that over the next couple weeks we’re able to do that is provide more of an opportunity for the recruiters who are candidates to talk to each other about the success that they’re having, either on our site or elsewhere, because that kind of crowdsourcing, I think, and that openness, the transparency around that can be helpful to others, so that they could use some of those larger sites, but know a little bit more about how other people are making the best use of it. And I think when when folks who care about helping each other, share around those kinds of things, I think you get more of a community effect from that. And so maybe we can, we can figure out some new things to do. It’s an interesting thing, especially when we’re making so much money on this.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 9:59
I know I just received my first check in the mail. Um, no, I, I think that, you know, you talk about having more jobs on there, I prefer there to be less. But for the reason that you just mentioned right that fewer people are being furloughed or laid off, fewer people are looking for work, fewer employers are, or more employers are bringing these people into their organizations and putting them back to work. There’s a line that we use in a lot of our marketing communications materials. That’s like, you know, when we get back to work, that’s when a bunch of other people get back to work because recruiters are in a key component of ensuring that people get the jobs and the careers and the roles that they love. I would, I would much prefer to see that number go down, whether it’s through our own site or from a resource that people have gotten through from our site, or from any one of the amazing initiatives that our community has, like, lickety split responded to thiscrisis.

Gerry Crispin 10:58
And that is because and I could, because I joked before when I said, How much money we’re making, this is the this is an opportunity for all of us to pay it forward. So we are working, because we, we care about, you know what we do. But we’re mostly working on things that that add value where we can, and we see and part of it is because we’re inspired by so many other people who are teaming up and standing up interesting ideas, all of which I think add some value to our space and to the people in it. So it’s kind of a fun time from that perspective, despite all of the craziness, the tragedies, the the other kinds of things that are going on in the world and keeps us kind of focused around stuff.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 11:47
Well, we have to find our way, right, we just do that there’s not really another path all the way through.

Gerry Crispin 11:54
How are you thinking about the future at all at this point, are you you know, thinking through what what what it looks like a little bit for you on the other side.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 12:03
I am I think we had for a long time I have two partners in Red Branch Media Area Cloud and Jeremy Hogan. And we had for a long time been wondering, should we go remote? We were working, you know, two out of five days from home, it was an option that we offered all of our people, but this kind of just pushed us right out of the nest. Because for those who don’t know, we’re based in Omaha, Nebraska. So we weren’t exactly sure it’s it’s a bit of a transient area, right? It’s right in the middle of the country. People move in and they move back. And so we went to get a sense of whether or not that was right for our company. Now we know that right or not, it’s happening. So that was helpful. I think we will transition to a fully remote company, which many others Mary Ellen Slater and Susan Lamott have both from from the get go had fully remote companies. So it’s certainly something that can be done, but something that I was a little hesitant about in terms of our client base. It’s taken a while for it to hit us, right because it hit consumers first retail hospitality etc. Then it hit the businesses that were selling to those like, for example Toast which is headquartered here, that sold to restaurants they were hit. And then the outsource vendors that cater to those companies, which is Red Branch were hit so we we’re now seeing and settling out to see okay, this is this feels comfortable, but we’re just completely on our toes. It’s not about figuring out how many hours we owe or what the deliverables are. We’re just trying to help our clients and they’re just trying to help their clients. And so I think we’ll become more service oriented will become closer to many of our clients. It will be more of a relationship it already was. We’re very, you know, touchy feely company in general, but it will be a lot more like Okay, we got through this together. We’re sort of bonded now. Like Keanu Reeves and Sandra Bullock in Speed, right like and aside from that, I think that the employer branding piece is going to change vastly. Many of our clients work in distance learning and distance performance management and you know, mobile applicant tracking all of these things are have become in demand, right? Because there is no option except distance.

Gerry Crispin 14:23
We have figure out how, how to rebalance that digital side of what we do. It’s always been there in the sense that we’ve always piloted a variety of different things. It’s not like most of us have, have seen Zoom before, but I don’t think any of us have seen Zoom to the level that we’ve seen it in the last few weeks. And as well as all the other digital approaches to how we run our business and how we, you know, demonstrate I mean, we would think nothing in the past of getting on a plane and going someplace Did and then think about? I miss it too but just think about how many times we did get on a plane during the course of spring or fall or summer. And now there’s a whole different conversation going on behind the scenes, I think in large companies and small companies about what is the balance of face to face, assuming we can get to that level again. But what what should that balance be between that and some of the digital services that we we could be providing? And so that’s gonna be fascinating.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 15:36
I can’t tell if we’re going to go the way of the roaring 20’s. In in the last century, when they recovered from something very similar to this. It was almost a you know, a pendulum swinging the other way there was more touching more parties, more gatherings, more splurging just in general excess, or because we know what we know now and we have a much deeper understanding the layperson has a deeper understanding of like, just general, General scientific principles, if we’re going to say, You know why? Maybe airports are necessary, but maybe conferences as we knew them, and both you and I went to many, many conferences are no longer something we can do. I mean, you think of how many hands you’ve shaken and how many hugs you’ve given and then you’re like, how do we get back there from this? It’s going to be really interesting,

Gerry Crispin 16:26
I don’t think 35-40 different conferences that we feel we need to go to as part of our business and relationship management. But I do you think that there will be a number of key conferences that will survive and perhaps improve in terms of how we engage each other at those conferences. So I think there may be a difference there. I don’t know what that is, to be honest with you. In fact, I’m kind of excited by what that could be. Same with you know, we used to have meeting every month. And we change from that to doing everything virtually now. So there’s an awful lot of that as a shift. And eventually, I suspect they’ll be, we’ll go back to some face to face meetings, but probably not as many as we had before and will increase and improve how we communicate and curate and create and curate content virtually, that might enhance whatever we do. So I don’t know what the answers are. I just know that the exploration is probably across the board, not just for us personally, but also in how we help our clients and members, in my case, think through some of that, because they’re going to have to deal with those same issues as well. They’re the ones who consume the content very often in relation to those kinds of things. So yeah, that’s, I think it’s going to be an interesting world for sure.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 17:59
Let’s very Interesting we have I had this young woman and it was just a routine check in that we had today. And she said, you know, as you know, I used to hate work from home days because she’s an extrovert and she wanted to talk to people and be in the hustle and bustle of the office. And she’s like, but now we have more face to face conversations than we ever did before. Because we have check ins every morning and check ins at the end of the day and weekly check ins and you know, just all of these things, and they all have to be on video so that we know everyone’s engaged. And while that can be tiresome. We’ve read about Zoom fatigue already. I think that it really it’s more meaningful than it then walking past her desk and saying good morning, right? Instead of having like this sort of, Hey, how are you doing? How is this feeling for you? So our most extroverted employees are actually feeling like this is a benefit to them. So when you say more meaningful connection at conferences, I can see what you mean. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve said let’s hook up it doesn’t such a conference. It And we see each other for five seconds, give each other a hug, maybe grab a drink, but we don’t have as much meaningful conversation as we could have. If there was dedicated time like you and I are having now.

Gerry Crispin 19:10
I think, I do think this pivot from network to a more commitment to the size of your network to the quality of the relationship is kind of the way I’m looking at the shift. And and that means not just for us, you know, those of us in the in the space, who are supportive of each other, but also, I think, how we engage our clients and and appreciating more those clients where we can have a true partnership that’s much more of a commitment to the success of one another. And so I think I think we’re going to see a lot more of that. I do think that it’s also possible that a number of the employers out there who are involved in recruiting will see recruiting more as a collective potential to help each other as well as opposed to a competitive nature. I don’t know how that’s going to go itself yet. And and a lot of people will probably poo poo that if they hear me talking about that stuff,

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 20:15
But I know around the corner

Gerry Crispin 20:18
I’m convinced as possible when you see how some of the folks who were involved in the development of recruiters recruiting recruiters were really employers who were engaging each other to help one another. Now, obviously, one was doing search hiring and other was doing furloughing. But each of those you know, some of them who are doing some of those kinds of things are in other worlds were very competitive with one another and now are engaging to try to help each other from a from a from that perspective, so

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 20:53
Of course a better manage their employees or candidates which is something that I don’t think 10 years ago if this it hits You’d have seen, I really don’t know, until we’re lucky.

Gerry Crispin 21:03
I don’t think we did. I don’t we’ve never used the word furlough way back when, you know, maybe hope people did. But

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 21:09
Like, maybe

Gerry Crispin 21:10
that’s, that’s like a new word and and while it doesn’t have a clear definition, I do think it implicitly it sends a message to employees that we do want you back, if we can all at all afford to be able to do that. And it is dealing with a level of uncertainty. You know, this, this is a kind of a short conversation. But it’s it’s really our effort to say there’s a there’s a group of people who came together from a consortium point of view, and we want people to be able to get to know them a little bit better. And so this is one way that we can do that is, is have a few of these conversations. So I appreciate the time. I appreciate your willingness to engage with a whole crew because some some of them were at the start. You came just after that. started that, but you jumped in. And I remember the first meeting that you were in. It wasn’t 10 minutes before you kind of figured out what the lay of the land was. And we’re starting to ask some very interesting and difficult questions. And I love that. I think it’s, I think it was great. That’s what I’m sitting there going, Oh, now I get how she handles herself with this, this crew. She can ask some pretty awkward questions in a nice kind of ways. Fascinating.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 22:30
Ah, I love you know, you’re from a big family. It’s always on always on somewhere. They’re going to be asked to do this and to be part of the initial thing. So thank you. I appreciate it.

Gerry Crispin 22:43
That’s very interesting point, though, about family. I do come from a family that that could get to a point where they’re very intense, yelling, almost yelling at each other in terms of a debate, but certainly, a strong debate of people who disagree but at the end of the day, they always hugged, always engaged each other. So I came from a oddball Italian family for sure. Anyhow, thank you so much for being here and I am going to end the recording. Thanks for having me. Thanks for being here. All right, you take care.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 23:21
All right. Cheers.

Gerry Crispin 23:22
Have a great weekend.

Maren Hogan, Red Branch Media 23:23
Same to you. Bye bye.

Gerry Crispin 23:25
Bye bye enjoy.