S4 E86 | Have you met…Allan Goldberg?

Chris Hoyt sits down with Dell's Global Head of Talent Acquisition Allan Goldberg to chat.

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Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:20
Welcome to a CareerXroads podcast for the next 15 or minutes, 15 minutes or so I’m going to be your ship’s captain. And we are going to have another Have You Met episode, the segment is just where we take second and sit down with the talent acquisition leader industry personality and get to know them a little bit, a little bit about them, and maybe discover something you wouldn’t find buried in their LinkedIn profile. And just talk a little bit about what’s top of mind for them. So today, I have Allan Goldberg. Alan is at Dell. He’s been there for a number of years. But currently he is the Global Head of talent acquisition. Right. Let’s see. Are we out of there, Allan? Good afternoon.

Allan Goldberg, Dell 0:59
Hello, Chris. And thank you for having me. It’s good to be here.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:03
I’m glad. I’m glad you decided to sit down with us and just chat for a little bit. Allan, for those who may not actually know who you are, cuz you’ve been at Dell, I think for three…

Allan Goldberg, Dell 1:14
Three years now. Yep

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:16
Okay. I’m always telling acquisition?

Allan Goldberg, Dell 1:19
Yeah, my whole career in general is all talent acquisition with a small foray into human resource generalist work. which didn’t go well, for me What? Yeah, it wasn’t my thing. I really love talent acquisition, I think I’ve always loved the sales kind of aspect of what we do it just appeals to me and getting into the employee relations side of things. And compensation just just didn’t do it for me. So I didn’t, I didn’t continue down that path. But I’ve been doing this since what just about around the time when Michael was coming out with his first PCs is about the same time that I started. So we weren’t quite using PCs yet, in our industry, so I got to live through the dynamic changes our industry saw from everything from engaging with computers to engaging the Internet, and now engaging with things like artificial intelligence. Here at Dell, since 2018, starting off leading sales, delivery, recruiting, moved into also taking on diversity, and then completely left those roles. And last October took on the role of the Global CEO for talent acquisition.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:37
Nice. Nice. Yeah, I like the transition there. I think I had just had a conversation with somebody the other day about the radical idea of recruiters picking up the telephone, and actually calling people and I was like, I remember when that was our only option.

Allan Goldberg, Dell 2:52
Yeah, and it’s funny, I was looking at some data, just yesterday, I think it was with a group of people. And what we, we didn’t see was recruiters making a request in this data for contact information. And the first thing I said was, well, why? And somebody said, Well, maybe they’re not qualified, I’m like, but they’ve got to be qualified. And like that somebody might have had 600 profiles, but only three requests for data. But they got to be qualified enough to at least network. Are we networking, like, like, or is that just lost like it? Is every motion we have about a direct outcome with the person that you’re reaching out to? Or is it more about? Well, let me just network and build on top of each conversation that I’m going to have. And I don’t know that I get the sense that as a community, we do that as much anymore, let alone the telephone.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:43
Oh, yeah. Well, I mean, and heaven forbid, they’re not qualified today. But they might be qualified tomorrow. Like there may be a, you know, a period of time that they were up and you you want to be able to get to know that person before their true candidate.

Allan Goldberg, Dell 3:55
Yeah, I’ll date myself now. But I just shared this story. I once upon a time, had a beeper. And I kept that beeper for 10 years after I had any right to have a beeper, I think it was sky page or something you might remember they were calling me. But the reason I kept it was periodically, somebody called that their number. And it was a candidate, because this is the only people who really had that number. And it just really speaks to the longevity of the work that we can be doing right relational talent acquisition. And it’s not about just today it is about maybe I’ll never hire you or place you if I’m an agency. Maybe I’ll hire your cousin or your best friend, or maybe one day you’ll become a client of mine. It’s about the relationship and it’s really about building a bridge with each other. Because somewhere along our journeys, there might be value for each of us in this relationship. And that’s also I think, not for everybody. I don’t want to paint a two broad a picture, but I think for a lot of folks that might Be a bit of a lost focus area, I won’t even say are I just did not even thinking that that’s a thing I should go do this so focused on, but I got to fill the job now that we’re not paying attention to that.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 5:12
It is a very tactically, like a lot of the recruiters that that we have connected with it is a very tactical approach to filling jobs now as opposed to, to forgive me two decades ago, when for us, those of us who were like minded anyway, it was all about the more connections that I have, the more people that, you know, I may be able to work with to either fill a role or get a referral to fill a role. And I wonder, I wonder if that is a shift in the leadership, because candidly, right, those of us who were more open networkers are now in those leadership roles. And I wonder why the recruiters that are that are working with us are a little more focused on I need 12 people here and two people here. And if you can help me with that I’m swiping left.

Allan Goldberg, Dell 5:56
Yeah, I think if you, whoever’s listening to this, I think if you ask them,

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:00
We have five listeners, Alan,

Allan Goldberg, Dell 6:02
Those five people, we’re gonna get five different perspectives, but I suspect some of it probably, you know, has to do with technology getting in the way a little bit like how technology is forcing us to work. Some of its probably, you know, most ta organizations are probably under constant optics challenge, to deliver more with less resources. So we’re really putting this pressure on our teams, to just get to the, you know, nuts and bolts of what you need to deliver and then move on. And yet, we’re still always trying to balance that out by using different technologies to give them back time. And I’m not always sure that that works, because then it feels like we’re just giving them more busy stuff to do. And it feels a little bit like a cycle, are we ever really getting to it almost feels like I wish I could just give them. You know, we used to have two things, right? We had a paper resume, and we would come through them all the time to see who I wanted to call. And then we had index cards when this was when I was on the agency side, we had index cards that we would scroll through which we would write down our our prospect companies or our client companies on any call. That’s it. That’s and that’s what I got graded on at the end of the day, right that I fill in my call sheet for each of those at a requirement of 25 client calls. And believe it or not 150 recruiting calls, nobody ever got to 150. But that’s what you were always targeting to get to and the pressure was always on that cut that kind of force conversation, it was almost like you were putting the posits every day in your bank account. And then one day compound interest worked in your favor. That was the benefit of it. And when you’re not doing that you’re not getting that compound interest a year or three years from now, as the reward back. That’s sort of the missing element. I would think for some recruiters.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 7:53
Yeah. So I would imagine to you that now if you were to hear a beeper tone, immediately you’re thinking dividends.

Allan Goldberg, Dell 8:02
Certainly what it used to be we used to, there was a were you in the agency side.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:09
I wasn’t. Well, I was a I was contracted through a boutique for a little while, which is where right before I went into corporate and I did that for about a year and a half. And it was old school Rolodex smile and dial.

Allan Goldberg, Dell 8:22
Yeah. Well, my you know, my history is a mix of, you know, growing up on the agency side in New York City. And then going into corporate recruiting with Munich reinsurance, Prudential insurance a little bit with Pepsi, Gartner, I had a couple of stints with Gardner, and then most recently with Dell but the agency side in New York City, down the street from us on Fifth Avenue where there was a suit shop called Dino Baldinies. And whenever we got a great one that people would go off, and we got a great candidate, like we met with them. And we knew this was money in the bank, we would call the client and say I’m sending them over with the invoice. And by the way, I’ll be down at the you know, Dino Baldinies buying myself a new suit. That’s how confident I was that this person was going to get the job when I do miss those. Those days.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:14
Wow, that’s funny. Well, let me let’s switch gears for a little bit. Because I do want to talk about what’s top of mind for you right now. And if it’s, if it’s about the power of sort of giving recruiters back during a really strange time of you know, we’ve got a light at the end of the tunnel for the pandemic, we hope. If it’s about figuring out what’s going on from a sort of wellness and headspace issue for them if it’s really about how to just get your business into new normal or if you have something that’s completely off the radar for anybody else that you’re actually working on what is it that sort of, for lack of a better phrase considered keeping you up at night?

Allan Goldberg, Dell 9:54
Really good question. I think probably the things that are on my radar are probably Similar to most other people, one is, it’s coming out of COVID. And one of the things, right, maybe about three weeks ago, it hit my radars. Oh my God, we put all these special rules and guidance in place during COVID that we forgot we did, right? The big ones we knew like hiring freeze in any special process. But then there were sub plots to that across everything from global mobility to relocation to return to site to our website, our internal site, or the guidance around our policies where we put up special, you know, blurbs to warn people, a, whatever we said in this policy, it’s not exactly accurate right now during COVID here. So the last few weeks has been an exercise in starting to unwind some of those policies. And as we’re coming out of it, we’re recognizing that, well, some things might go back to the way they were some things are probably going to stay the same. Now until we’re really out of it. Because we’re not truly out of it. We’re in this weird period now. And some of it might look different. And for the different stuff, we’ve got to go figure out well, what is that? What’s the impact of all of that, and actually, right before this, I was sending an email, because we’re realizing across several different teams, and Dell’s a big company, right 160,000 employees, a lot of different business units. So it takes a lot of us sometimes I have a joke, we we had, we had an add and I before job grade. So we went from an S for sales to an is for inside sales, it took 50 people in four months to add an I before an S so gives you an idea of sometimes what it takes, it also does very nimble and entrepreneurial, when it comes to process changes were a little less so. So that’s one of the things that’s on my mind, as we’re coming out of this is what do we need to change and re communicate out to our teams, because managers turn on the hiring again. And it’s all bets are off. And nobody knows what to do. And honestly, nobody knows who should know. So that’s one of the things that’s on our minds. And it’s really important to us to make sure our team at least has some direction there. The other thing, impact of COVID specifically is, you know, we spent a year, not really doing much our recruiters have forgotten how to do some of the basic things in this in the systems. And something’s actually changed during that time. And because they weren’t using those muscles, they never got to build that into a repeatable kind of motion. So we’re recognizing also that, hey, we’ve got to make sure our team knows how to do these things. Because, again, like a lot of folks, and I’ve been on a few roundtable calls, they’re all seem to be experiencing the same except for healthcare companies, which remain busy, the rest of us all the sudden got busy. And we got really busy. So we went from zero to 100, in a matter of two to three weeks now. And we’re trying to upscale our team again, and bring in new recruiters and new sources to meet the new demand. But in the meantime, our recruiters are overwhelmed. And that’s a theme that I’m hearing from other folks as well. So short term, these are some of the things that are on my mind, how do we come out of COVID? And how do we make sure our teams are positioned to be successful, and that we have all the right policies that we’re communicating them out to everybody? The other big thing is diversity. So you know, during the year of COVID, we also experienced a major kind of shift with the George Floyd incident that occurred. And several months prior to that, in November of 2019, we announced what we call our 20-30 moon shot goals to the world, we basically are reporting out to the world our representation of diversity. And with that, we also announced that we have real goals of delivering 50% gender diversity by 2030 and 25% underrepresented minority diversity in the US. And that’s black and Hispanic, and 40% gender in leadership and 15% underrepresented minority in the US in leadership by 2030. And that, got a little bit of motion, and then COVID hit so it’s sort of started fizzling and then all of a sudden, in May, it just became this just typhoon of a wave of COVID is not an excuse for us not to be moving forward full scale and operationalizing this plan. So we started moving in that direction. And that’s uncovered, especially in a technology company, the gaps that we have and it’s not just that, you know, there’s a shortage of desire. There’s no shortage of desire to go out and do what some people might feel it’s the right thing, hiring greater diversity. It’s how the heck do you get that done? And how do you find the talent pools? And do they exist for us in the first place? Or are we going to have to go change some of the barriers that get in the way of pools that are there, we’re gonna have to go find completely new talent pools. So I’m spending a lot of my time right now. meeting with leaders of ta from other companies to understand what have they done? How are they looking at some of the solutions that we’re looking at? Or what else are they looking at, as solutions? And what I’m finding is we’re all in the same boat. And we’re all going to go on this journey together, a handful of companies might be a little bit ahead of us. But most companies are really still trying to move in that direction and figure it out.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:54
Yeah, I think some leaders really good points. I think some leaders are actually arguing that the pandemic and the forced work environment change, right for many of the organizations is lending itself to more diverse hiring, when they’re able to hire and trying to sort of uncover what’s what’s actually the crux of that, like, what what has made that change, even a pleasant, unplanned change, such a strong possibility? I’ve been calling this sort of the year of calibration, right, where we’re taking a look at what’s going to stick. And I think this resonates with with everything you’re sort of talking about is what’s going to stick that was good. As we come out of this, what changes did we have to make, we’ve got a member company that hires there, we’re hiring 50,000 people and they end they typically have a 90 day 60 to 90 day time to fill, they got it down to three days. And so now they’re not going any did that because they took some duplication out, they took approval, you know, multi level approvals out, they took background checks to degree drug screens in some markets, so and obviously a lot of that mandatory courts been closed and that kind of thing. But, you know, when we sat down and talked to him and said, Well, what sticks, and he says, as much as possible, when we get done with this, we’re never going to be a two day time to fill. But maybe we’re at two weeks, right? Because we can get rid of we’ve learned what we can absolutely sort of live without. I’ve got a panel Well, the leadership meeting that’s coming up, and I hope you’re going to be there, we’ve got a mixologist coming in to train all of us how to make some mixed drinks. But the second hour is talking

Allan Goldberg, Dell 17:28
Bad combination mixing with alcohol

Chris Hoyt, CXR 17:32
We’re gonna talk about what sticks, right, and I’ve got a panel that I’m doing, virtually, with Australian talent leaders coming up in May, exact same thing, like what coming out of this is going to stick what changed, they have to make the stick. And I think you hit it right from a DE&I standpoint, it’s a really big piece. And just getting back to the basics, deciding what to focus on.

Allan Goldberg, Dell 17:55
Yeah, you know, it’s interesting that a big thing that’s sticking for a lot of companies, and obviously, Dell inhabits this space, which is remote work. Dell, Dell was a leader in the remote workspace before the pandemic, it was just the direction that we went 10 years ago. But we’re probably moving from around 27 to 30%, to more like 60 to 70%, remote or hybrid remote environment. And inherent in that is a lot of questions. It’s easy for leaders to say, Hey, we’re going to do this. It’s another thing as you sort of cascade down into the levels of the organization well how do you make that work? And are we going to do that across all job families of particular types? Or is it going to be up to men? like where are these decisions coming from? So I think we’re navigating a lot of that now to see what’s going to stick and I think we’re very confident that’s a big motion that’s going to stick and it will help with the other motions around diversity, as there are more pools to tap into.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 19:00
I’m really curious to see what leaders will have found and C suite level I think drives a big piece but what leaders will have found some success in this. But who will ultimately because they need eyeballs on their people right? If I can’t see you maybe you’re not really working, who will ultimately Melissa Mayer, everybody back into for those who remember Melissa Mayer pulled everybody back into the no more remote working for Yahoo ages ago, right? Pull them all back in. So who will just say screw it? You getting back into the office? I don’t care what worked and didn’t work, it will be realized. But talent stays or goes. And if they have that sort of Mayor effect on talent that isn’t allowed to be remote.

Allan Goldberg, Dell 19:39
Yeah, it’ll be it will be interesting. I know a lot of Wall Street firms, for instance, are saying back in I think Goldman was leading that charge from what I read. You know, Michael Dell recently was on a on a show talk show and when his commentary was, what will be the real test is when somebody says you got to come to the office. And a competitor says, you don’t

Chris Hoyt, CXR 20:02

Allan Goldberg, Dell 20:03
where’s the talent going to go? And that will help I think filter out what is the real direction and and what is the impact on one way versus the other? And I do think you’re right about bringing up Melissa is are people willing to go all in right now? Or is it really going to be a slog? Let’s see because we don’t want to over extend and then have to figure out how you rein it back in once you go a little too far. It’s going to be an interesting journey I’d say over the next 12 months certainly the next 24 months as we see where everybody everybody’s heading.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 20:38
Yeah, your calibration. Allan, you are amazing. I love when I get a chance to sit down and just talk to you one on one I will also love to see you with our mixologist in the in the leadership meeting coming up.

Allan Goldberg, Dell 20:49
I’ll be there

Chris Hoyt, CXR 20:50
Well, thank you so much for giving us some of your time and I we just we just really appreciate it.

Allan Goldberg, Dell 20:55
Thank you for having me really appreciate the opportunity Chris

Chris Hoyt, CXR 20:58
all right thanks

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