S4 E101 | Have You Met…Rob Dromgoole?

Rob Dromgoole shares some of the fascinating jobs he and his team recruit for and discusses the true breadth of recruiting for such a large organization
S4 E101 Have You Met...Rob Dromgoole?

Welcome to the CXR channel, our premier podcast for talent acquisition and talent management. Listen in as the CXR community discusses a wide range of topics focused on attracting, engaging and retaining the best talent. We’re glad you’re here.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:19
Hello everybody I’m Chris Hoyt, president of CXR and host for today’s podcast, where we’re producing a segment we like to call Have You Met. Now we sit down, typically with a ta leaders to shine a little light on them and what they’re doing, where they’ve been, and just sort of help you get to know them a little bit, learn kind of what they’re about. So today, I am really pleased to bring you longtime recruiting veteran and CXR Alumni and CXR member, Rob Dromgoole. Rob…

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 0:48
Hey, well, thanks for having thanks for having me on the show, Chris. Appreciate the invite. And I can’t wait to talk about recruiting with you and just have a great discussion about some of the unique things we’re doing here at Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:01
Yeah, well, I tell you, I mean, so you’ve been doing this a while. So we’re pleased to have you on. You’ve been doing this a while. But Rob, you have sort of a diverse background in recruiting. You’re at Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 1:15
Correct.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:16
And before we sort of get into that, I want to talk a little bit you you’ve been at this right. You’ve been at PNNL, JBS, T-Moblie,

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 1:26
Yeah.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:29
You were last at T-Mobile?

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 1:31
Correct.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:32
And I think and I probably missed a few in there. But you also have an executive recruiting background that goes way back.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 1:38
Yeah, I was at an agency I retained agency for a few years. And I even did an internet startup and was a multimillionaire with unvested stock for a minute and lost at all with everyone else in the internet bubble, but it was a fun ride.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:54
We come back to another episode for a country song.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 1:58
There you go. Right. That’s how I ended up here in Oklahoma. I lost it all and ended up in Oklahoma.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:06
Well, okay, so none of those jobs. None of those sound like Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma to me.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 2:14
Not at all. Not at all.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:16
But why such a departure from what you would typically typically be working on or what you had historically been working on.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 2:23
Sure. So my previous role at T Mobile, I was heading up recruiting for the southeastern region for the engineering function and recruiting engineers to help build T-Mobile’s fantastic 5g network. And when I heard about this opening, I was kind of like you I was like, What? But so I like have to go interview and talk to this amazing tribe. And the story that compelled me was even though I had done some high volume recruiting in my past with JP Morgan on the Home Loan side with like loan processing centers around the US. What I felt that when I thought about this particular story that was so unique, was the the tribe has such a diverse business portfolio. We have nine different hospitals. We have a police force. We have childcare centers, all throughout the nation. We have grocery stores, we have ranches, we have 20 casinos, we have three resorts. So the diversity of the business portfolio I found very compelling, but also it’s the servant leadership aspect. When I worked at the National Lab, there was an element of giving back and serving the country because all of the research was, in essence, things like climate change or national security, things of that nature. But the giveback aspect here of the nation is all of the money that the tribe makes through the 20 casinos and three resorts goes back to pay for tribal services. So as successful as the casinos in the resorts has been because they have earned billions of dollars, and they do very well. It goes back we still have tribal members in rural southeastern Oklahoma that do not have an internet connection that do not have a cell phone coverage. And you know, the money that someone when they put the money in the slot machine or spend at a table game at our resort. It goes to pay for you know, a doctor at our tally Hina hospital, you know, you know we’re delivering babies out there, they got the full, full hospital, we have to hire the nurses for that we have to hire the hospital staff. So it’s a unique way to give back and help support the third largest tribe in the United States because we have 200,000 tribal members and at the same time I get to live in a beautiful state with low cost of living and no traffic and So it just seems like a unique mix and the opportunity to basically build a recruiting function from the ground up and just kind of be unleashed seem very compelling to me. So I was like, Well, why not? let’s just let’s give it a go.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 5:17
So I have to tell you, we talk about the breadth of the jobs now I just pulled it up what you’re talking about that we have gone to Google jobs, which is obviously it’s gonna be all of your jobs, but you’ve got hundreds posted and I’m just gonna rattle these off. So

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 5:30
Sure,

Chris Hoyt, CXR 5:30
So if you’re listening. Hang in here with me for these categories. restaurant and hospitality, management, personal care and services cleaning and facilities computer and it healthcare, sales and retail, educated, Protective Services, customer service, accounting and finance, manufacturing and warehouse transportation and logistics, entertainment and travel, business Ops, installation, maintenance and repair advertising and marketing. big deep breath, admin and office science and engineering, HR, sports, fitness and recreation. Legal

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 6:09
Yes, we have Wellness Centers yeah, forgot about that.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:11
Media Communications and writing social services, nonprofit, construction, art, fashion and design. Here’s a fun one. farming and outdoors, energy and mining real estate and my favorite so far animal care.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 6:29
Yes, yeah. Well, we have we have two ranches with heads. I got I don’t even know how many head of cattle want to say 1000s on each and then in fact, not listed on there. We’re going to be building our own meat packing facility. We’re not necessarily going to try to compete with Tyson but we’re going to build our own meatpacking plant. So we can actually harvest our cattle on the ranches and distribute the meat from that meatpacking plant to our food services, so we can give to the poor tribal members so they can have access to you know, basically fresh organic beef.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 7:05
It’s fantastic. Rob, when I invited you on this show, it was like he’s nobody recruits for whole city now I’m starting to think yours spans what, a country of recruitment?

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 7:16
It’s literally a country. I mean, I have a chief of police open right now. And the the tribe is literally in a lot of people listening probably are not aware of this Supreme Court case last year. But there was a Supreme Court decision called McGirt. Last year that basically formally established multiple tribes as formal reservations. And it changes the legal landscape for Oklahoma. A good chunk of the state of Oklahoma is now actually Indian Reservation land. So it there’s big changes coming mean, in terms of the sovereignty? I mean, in theory, you know, I don’t know how far you can walk it into the future, but the tax implications, the actual boundaries of the state of Oklahoma in theory could change. There’s a lot going on right now.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:13
So what is that type of ruling? Like what what is something that’s good to put in place like that? What does that mean for recruting? Is it just a fancier world of recruiting when you talk about it?

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 8:26
We’ll talk about the immediate line of sight, I’ll give you an example. So in as a result of that ruling, any type of crime that’s committed on the reservation land, or against a tribal member is now not actually prosecuted by the state. So in the past, actually, I had a staff member all this use, for example, Casey might laugh when she hears this, but someone tried to steal her husband’s truck last week and her her husband owns a local business. And you know, they finally got the person who attempted to steal the truck. But since that it was a non tribal member stealing from a tribal member, that is no longer a state case that’s prosecuted by the state of Oklahoma, that now becomes a federal case. So the jurisdiction changes entirely. So as a result of that, I have to help build up or recruit my team does not me but so we have to hire additional tribal police for an entire reservation police force. We have to hire public defenders, we have to hire judges, we have to hire prosecuting attorneys, and these will work with the federal government versus the state. So if you know so this person who stole the truck would face federal charges in be charged in federal court. Or if there is a tribal member, that for any reason, maybe a tribal member had maybe they steal something on tribal land or something and someone does something bad on tribal land or even harms, you know, say they tried to steal your car. Well, that would be potentially try In tribal court and this reservation instead of through the state, because in essence, it’s a total sovereignty issue. And that means we have to build up the whole judicial function for a nation. Right, so we have to recruit for that. And that’s just one aspect of that. But I mean, of course, we have the childcare center opening, we opened a brand new museum that literally opens to the public in the next month. So I had to recruit for that. And, you know, so there’s all kinds of unique things going on here at the nation. It’s just fascinating.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 10:34
Rob, what’s what there has to at least be one job that floated across your desk, where you were like, you got to be kidding me.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 10:44
The one that in fact, I think I shared it on LinkedIn. Well, today’s the 23rd. So I don’t know when this is going to air but my staffing by director of staffing for our remote teams, Tanya Emson, has to recruit a ranch manager for our ranch that’s in Daisy, Oklahoma. And I think they have like two or 3000 head of cattle. And I’m thinking to myself, how do you recruit a ranch hand? I don’t think that’s on Indeed, it’s not LinkedIn. You know, I like Okay, do I go to a rodeo? You know, I like so maybe do I like drive to other ranches? Is there like a ranch Association where you see speakers? And I don’t know now I will. Tanya and her recruiter, I’m sure are going to do the intake and do just fine. But in my mind, I’m like, I can’t I don’t know how to recruit for that one.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 11:39
I can’t imagine any point in your career prior you ever thought match manager? Yeah, I’ll probably recruit one of those one day.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 11:47
Yeah, no, not at all. Right. So I mean, we have a now we have a drone range here, where we work with NASA in will actually work with the FAA and NASA and we’ll test drones. I’m like, I could find that. PhD, NASA scientist. No problem, right? ranch manager. I’m at a loss.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 12:06
It’s the new purple cow, you’re no longer searching for a purple squirrel.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 12:11
No, and another one of those that was recent, we also had to find a manager for our pecan farm. So we actually have a pecan farm in southeastern Oklahoma. And that was another one where I’m like, okay, where do you find that? We had to have someone go, Yeah, well, you know, I mean, it’s, it’s for an entire nation, right? So it’s, this, the Choctaw Nation itself is massive in size eight states can actually fit within the boundaries of the reservation. So it when you think about the sheer size of it, it would go it’d be like a four hour drive, if you’re going east to west or another four hour drive if you’re going from north or south to north. So if we have all of the towns and the schools and the infrastructure, you know, even we have lakes and water, we have to keep clean and water for the people stuff like that.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:14
Rob I I think I have to say, I think you might have one of the biggest No one’s ever heard of.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 13:24
I, when I actually drove down, and I had never been to the state of Oklahoma until I interviewed here, for the first time in I honestly thought that it was going to be recruiting for the one casino. That’s here in Durant. And then when they outlined it out, it’s just like, why didn’t How does no one know about this place? I mean, and it was, anyway, opportunity of a lifetime right place right time. And I’ve now I want to say the team. So I had to recruit an entire recruiting team from scratch. And we now have roughly I want to say about 50 people. But I didn’t have the budget to pay. I couldn’t like go to Dallas and hire an IT recruiter, you know, I just couldn’t afford it. So we’ve had to build our recruiting function, basically, from the ground up. And I’ll be honest with you, we’ve actually tapped into the CareerXroads resources. And my team, which is, which is brand new, hasn’t had a lot of training or access to any type of events like in ERE or LinkedIn talent Connect, they’ve never been to anything like that. So actually having your keynote speakers to tap into and listen to whether it’s through the talent board or like a Glen. Mr. Boolean blackbelt. Glen, I’m sorry, I forgot your last name. I pronounced it wrong. You’ve you’ve had a every week you’ve had speakers that have that you’ve invited on. And I’ve had a lot of my team who’ve dialed in and picked up tidbits here and there. But my team is about 80% tribal members, mostly women. And they largely came into the function with no experience at all. And now I’ve got a fantastic it recruiter who’s mentoring with Amy Miller on a monthly basis, and she’s just ripping it and gripping it, we’re not using headhunters at all. In I want to say that within the past 100 days, we’ve hired almost about 2400 people externally into this market, right. So a lot of hourly non exempt positions, high volume. And they’ve just been. I mean, like, I had a job fair yesterday, we had 175 offers on the spot. So it’s, and we’ve had a lot of those job fairs. So they have done just a fantastic job. So it’s been, it’s been a whirlwind, but at the same time, just to watch how far the team has come in two years. So from someone who’s never done IT recruiting at all, to someone who’s been, you know, who, you know, we’ve had speakers like Katrina Kibin, come in, or Trish who’s a great sourcing expert, she spoke at source con Amy Miller. And they’ve helped uplift our function. And now we’ve got like a great IT recruiter, we’ve got great, I have recruiters who’ve had hunted public defenders. Now, I’ve had headhunters who brought in, you know, really, really high level people in data analytics, all because of some of the speakers that like your team’s brought in? Well, I say it’s just been kind of

Chris Hoyt, CXR 16:27
You also have to remember you’re building a, and all these folks who are coming in to speak you know, with your location, even when even you gotta you gotta remember, right that you’re building a recruiting team, literally from scratch.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 16:45
literally, from scratch, I had, there was zero budget. And I want to say, this next budget will probably be I don’t know, three and a half million or something. Right. So I mean, it’s still not a huge budget compared to a lot of functions, but it’s not nothing. So it’s, and they’ve done a great job.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 17:05
Yeah, the work you’re doing and that your team is doing is definitely not nothing. Impressive. And the fact that you’ve got these folks coming in with literally no recruiting experience that are still crushing it and you’re hiring 1000s, and you’re having to breadth, just the breadth of the roles that you’re hiring means that you can’t exactly have a large organization might have where they only recruit this recruit that just think that’s a testament for the work you guys are doing.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 17:32
And and we do tend to silo a little bit, but don’t cross function. You know, I’ve got one recruiter, she’s working on call center positions, but then the side she’s doing a data scientist.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 17:41
Yeah,

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 17:42
You know, it’s like, you know, to your point that Google way might not set it up that way. But I found that recruiting is recruiting and, and when you actually hire these young people who are really eager to learn, and you put them in front of training, whether it’s through CareerXroads, or Amy Miller, or Christina Kibin, or others, then they listen, and they actually you give them the tools. And you give them some basic training, and they just go out and do it. And we’ve hired people without college degrees in they’ve just knocked it out of the park. You know, we’ve got some gals on our team, were working back of house driving a forklift, you know, had perfect attendance for a couple of years working at a casino. And she’s like, hey, let’s make her recruiter, and she tears it up, you know, so we’re in. So all of the stuff that you talk about, like, hey, consider people who don’t have degrees or diverse backgrounds, we’ve kind of been forced to do through necessity. And guess what that experiment has, I mean, the numbers don’t lie. I mean, we’ve hired 1000s of people with a short period of time. And I would stack those recruiters at the gal was driving a forklift, with anyone from Facebook or Google. And I think they would do just fine in in their backgrounds might be different. They might have grown up in rural Oklahoma, they might be a tribal member, but they could freaking to recruit. I think they’re doing a great job.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 19:17
Potentially, you’re hiring for folks to be trained Rob, thank you so much for joining the show. We’re really excited to have you on I look forward to seeing that one of our meetings next week.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 19:27
Absolutely. And I cannot wait to have our first in person career Crossroads event. And hopefully I can convince you guys to come out here to the Choctaw Nation. And I could give you guys maybe a tour of the cultural center. Maybe we can’t have our dance team perform. And maybe we can get you to stay in our world class resort out here.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 19:45
Let’s talk about it because it’s not like you’ve got a shortage of land out there.

Rob Dromgoole, Choctaw Nation of Oklahoma 19:48
This is true, but we’d love to see and I can’t wait to talk again.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 19:52
That’s good stuff because I’ve looked as many of you already know on this podcast. You know, we connect with talent leaders and practitioners almost weekly to Talking about everything ranging from what’s keeping them up at night to their favorite wine or their most excuse me embarrassing experiences or like today just to chat and see what they’re what they’re up to or what they’re working on. So you’re not gonna want to miss any of these episodes whether it’s a segment like Have You Met like this one Moments that Matter, Uncork or popular growing eXpertease so if you haven’t already, head on out to CXR.works/podcast subscribe and get caught up and while you’re there, check out the new updates and community growth happening around any of the dozen or so forums and groups that are currently helping nearly believe it or not 5000 members or both members and free users there’s plenty of content collaboration taking place for free members or members and alumni check it out CXR.works. We’ll see you

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