S4 E99 | eXpertease: Kevin Grossman talks about candidate referrals

Kevin Grossman with Talent Board shares why he thinks not leveraging candidate referrals is a mistake.

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Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:17
Oh, parishioners, I’m Chris Hoyt, president of CXR and your featured preacher for today’s CareerXroads sermon. And we’re going to be focused on a topic that should be near and dear to all of our hearts referrals, but maybe not the type of referrals that you’re necessarily used to not employee referrals, not friends and family, but something else. Now, before I get into that, with our guests, and the head of the choir and this house of candidate care, let’s talk about what’s ahead for the next quarter of an hour. You have dialed in to one of several different segments we do on this podcast. Today you’re listening to what we call an eXpertease and that means that we brought in a powerhouse doer, a queen or king of delivery a passionate practitioner to sort of share a fast paced opinion, or some lesson learned, they’ll give us just 10 minutes of their time to chat with me about something they feel strongly, you should know. Now you’re here live and you have any questions for our guests, you can add those to the chat window, we’ll do our best to get to them in the conversation. If we do run out of time, however, we’ll make sure to drop them over in our open and free CareerXroads recruiting community forums found at CXR.works/talenttalks. As a reminder, if you’re not already subscribed to this series, it’s not too late for redemption, you can point your browser over to CXR.works/podcast and you can listen to previous episodes, as well as hit those beautiful subscribe buttons that will dial you in on nearly any platform you use to soak up your daily podcast goodness. Now, let’s get this super sermon started. Today I’m welcoming Kevin Grossman to the podium. And for those that don’t know, Kevin is the president of Talent Board. Those are the folks who’ve been essentially helping hundreds, if not 1000s of companies elevate their candidate experiences around the world for years. And some might say that the CandEs and the team behind the talent board banner are responsible for not just elevating the CXR, but also helping to define the standards that are used by countless leaders. Kevin, how are you?

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 2:09
I’m good. Hi Chris, hi Gerry. Thanks for having me on.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:13
We’re excited to have you here. I get I got to ask the topic is candidate referrals. And you what you want to tell us that maybe maybe we’re not doing it right? Or maybe we’re missing something? Why would we mess with something that for so many at such a high rate of hire, or hired candidates? Why would we even mess with something that might not be broken.

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 2:30
So we’ve been doing this research for over 10 years, and for the past four or fiveish, we’ve been more focused on the impact of candidate experience on the business and the brand over time. And one of the things that we we talked a lot about, and we have talked a lot and continue to talk a lot about is if you’re a consumer based business, not only does that, you know, maybe prevent candidates from applying again, in the future referrals, which I’ll come back to, but also making purchases and just having brand affinity in general. But we and we talk a lot about that, right. But what about the rest of the world, but b2b companies that of course, I always like to pick on Lockheed Martin, because they’ve been multi year winners now eight out of the past 10 years of our CandEs, which again, we give CandE awards to the companies of the highest positive candidate ratings every year and our research. Long story short, if I’m an engineer, and I apply for a job at Lockheed Martin, and I have a crummy experience, I’m not going to not buy military equipment, because I don’t get hired. But I am going to go tell my three engineering friends over here. And maybe one out of those three decides, I know and I’m not going to apply for that job. I thought I wanted to work there. I mean, it’s a ripple effect. It’s all based on projections and estimates. But we now we see that happen in the research. So let me tell you, the reason why I’m focused more on it now is because when you look at last year’s data, we’re still capturing data for this year, we’re still in the middle of the program. And live this fall, we’ll be able to talk more about what we saw this year in the 2021. But last year, out of all the candidates globally, for that matter. 60% of the candidates in our research only make it as far as the application process. Now that’s not unusual. That’s pretty much the case for I think a lot of if you run the numbers across jobs, then most of those are not qualified, right? And then out of that still, that whole pool of candidates from last year 200,000 plus in our research, nine over 90% didn’t get hired. So 60% only made it to application over 90% of all didn’t get hired. And yet a third of the candidates still tell us and told us that they were extremely likely to refer others extremely likey.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 4:45
I want to make sure I understand So of all the people that applied whether hire qualified or not over 30% said

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 4:51
They were extremely likely to refer others based on their experience, refer others to like you should go apply for a job there in that context. So while not the same, you know, as an employee who’s working in an organization, and it’s making a referral or even an alum that used to work at an organization that’s referring, but I think it’s an even with some of the top ranked CandE winners, it’s not something we hear them talking a lot about. And and I’m starting to wonder, I mean, that it’s a missed opportunity, potentially. Right? That because that is a whole pool of folks. That now Now you could if you were to dig deeper, sure, you can make the argument that’s going to be the case for individuals who make it further into the process, right. They’re getting some human interaction. They’re getting screened, potentially assessed, interviewed, there’s more engagement happening, there’s more investment into whether or not I’m going to do something again. Sure. But I still that that’s a pretty significant pool of individuals who don’t get hired, that say, at least they’re willing to make referrals and to have brand affinity that have done associate with the brand still going forward, whatever that means to them. I think that’s, that’s big.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:06
Yeah. So Kevin, are you saying that there is a missed opportunity? If they’re saying they’re willing to refer others to apply? Why aren’t we taking advantage of getting them to refer others to apply?

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 6:17
Yes. And if they’re, if they are, if companies are doing that we’re not hearing that even within our own CandE community, we’re just that’s not something that in fact, there was one company last fall that wasn’t even part of the CandE processor, the CandE research benchmark research. I was on a webinar webinar from maybe even a sponsor webinar or something like that, that was talking about how Oh, yeah, we we there are some of the rejected pool that we leverage in our referral program. And when upwards of 40% of your hires, that varies across companies, right. Could be from referrals. That’s just that that is an untapped potential, I think. And if there are, if they are doing it, it’s not something that’s being talked about a lot, not at least in our CandE community, potentially.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 7:02
Yeah, it would be interesting, like we’ve seen people do new hire referrals, right,

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 7:06

Chris Hoyt, CXR 7:07
Our onboarding process, tell us somebody, you know, that kind of thing, arguably, you know, whether that’s good, or you know, whether it’s useful or not for candidate flow argument, but have you seen anybody sort of did this is kind of some new territory for most, I assume, and a concept because it might be kind of an awkward conversation to ask, have to ask 90% of that base, right? Or even even 30% of that base for somebody else from I’m not hiring you, I’d like you to refer somebody else. Are people having those conversations already?

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 7:38
Not that I not that I’ve seen it with any specificity at all, or and not recently. However, I’m wondering if that could potentially change, right? Because think about what’s going on right now. In the crazy world of recruiting and hiring, right. Hiring is is is ramping up tremendously across industries, I mean, industries that were decimated last year, or are hiring 1000s of people now, hospitality, restaurant retail, and the list goes on. And incentives are all over the place. Right now. It’s not just about bonuses and money. It’s about you know, get free appetizers, if you do an interview at our restaurant, and we’ll give you a nice set. I mean, I was just reading this article in New York Times about about that. So you, I don’t know, you start thinking about is there an opportunity to do something a little bit more formal around maybe even finalists, right finalists, final stage candidates that aren’t going to get hired, but have been feel like they had a positive experience and their perception of fairness is high enough, which is critical in this equation. And somehow formalize that. And I wonder if there’s an opportunity there. I have not heard that today. And that’s why we’re I mean, we’ve been doing this for a long time. But I’ve we’ve been thinking about this. Now, as we look at those numbers. Is there an opportunity to do something?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:02
You beat me to the call out that the market is so topsy turvy right now than what we’re normally used to, It might be time for some things that are just a little bit unconventional,

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 9:11

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:12
Sure, you probably have to massage the process. But you know, Cam you’re not wrong. People are doing crazy stuff way to call the other day where they’re giving $1,000 just to come in and interview to some candidates. Or they’re they’re tackling retention in a really sort of ingenious way where they’re giving cars away. As people get points for when they you know for clocking in or for you know, pulling others how do we get a car?

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 9:35
Well how do I get a car Chris? I want a car. How do I get a car?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:39
We still have to work in our home offices, Kevin, how do we get a car?

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 9:42
I mean, that’s but that’s that is the reality right now. What’s happening we never I mean when you and now you both have the conversations all the time to when you talk to ta leaders in there and people who’ve been in recruiting for well over a decade and maybe up to 20 years or more. People are telling us that they’ve never seen this before. And where we’re at today, I mean, coming. And we’re still in that we’re in this weird in between place, right? Where it’s not pre COVID, we’re kind of we’re not post COVID we’re kind of in this middle where things are opening up and awakening and vaccination rates are slowly increasing. That’s exciting. But then, you know, you throw in the the combination of whether or not I can work remote or not, if I have that leverage opportunity at all, are you making me come back on site and all those things as part of those incentives that are really it’s it is kind of wild westy. Yeah, you know?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 10:43
Yeah. I mean, it’s a very interesting scenario in which, you know, organizations that typically get because of their brand strength and their their commercial awareness, right, they typically can get 50,000 applicants, right? Right. It’s just anything else, you know, it’s just the norm for them. And now even they are struggling, so they’re struggling to get that volume, so that they can get in there and pull the talent out as needed. You know, that the midsize organizations that might only maybe get 1000 a month of that are 50,000 a month, they got to come up with something pretty different. I will tell you that this is a pretty different concept.

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 11:21
How and then I then, you know, gosh, this leads to so many other things. But then how how do we the individuals are there, but what and and the incentives that are now being leveraged and how the resources and time and staffing that we’re finding these people I mean, even in today’s world, I don’t I don’t want to hear anybody saying, because and I know this is kind of counterintuitive, what we’re talking about by literally saying we can’t find the people that we need. Because I mean, it’s just it’s where it’s it’s we got, I think they’re there, but it’s how do we what how do we how are we what are we offering to them? And where are we going to them? And how are we doing it regionally and globally? And I don’t know I it is. It is going to be fascinating in the next six to 12 to 18 months to see where this goes. And and and by the way, right now it’s early returns, but in the CandE data candidate resentment is growing again.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 12:23
Yeah, well, I’ll tell you, I think I think you’re looking at a couple of different things. Right. It may also not just be about how do we how do we get the referrals, but who do we ask for the referral? So

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 12:32
Right, right, exactly.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 12:34
Yeah, we got a comment that came in on the records from Gerry actually. He says, you know, what about the people that you’re bringing back from a furlough standpoint, these are ideal people that are willing to come back? Yeah. Oh, um, that might have some friends and family that are going through the same thing?

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 12:49

Chris Hoyt, CXR 12:50
Yes, I do think it’s also who you ask, rather than a blanket,

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 12:53
I would agree with you on that

Chris Hoyt, CXR 12:54
Massaging that messaging like, Hey, sorry, it’s us, not you. We don’t want you but we really want your friends. So can you send them over?

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 13:01
Well, and that’s the thing, though, right? If you’re if you’ve if somebody feels like everybody’s bummed, if they don’t, they don’t get them. At the end of the day, it’s only about happy if I get hired. There’s no happy otherwise in the equation. It’s just about have a positive experience and where you fare, otherwise, I’m going to be bummed. But I think if that those individuals who have a high perception of fairness and feel like they had a positive experience, and you’re asking them to, you know, listen, would you be willing to be part of this program, and we could, you know, offer you an incentive to make a referral of somebody who might end up getting hired. I mean, there is a possibility there.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:39
Kevin, I think you nailed it. I think if you if you have been ignoring the candidate experience, if you have that black hole of recruiting that we all talk about, if you’re not getting great NPS scores, this might not be the time for you to even consider asking right now.

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 13:52
That’s true.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:55
If you’re doing well, you’re receiving CandE recognition, right, and you guys are doing the good work. This is some serious food for thought, Kevin, tell us more about the talent more very quickly, and the candidate experience where other people find out more information about that,

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 14:08
Sure, you just go to Thetalentboard.org, Thetalentboard.org. Don’t forget the the. You go right and learn more about the program, learn how to register, we’re the program still open right now. You can still benchmark your candidate experience against companies big and small across industries globally, even not just North America. And that is open for now through the end of August. That’s the deadline to complete all the surveys. But there’s still plenty of time and companies. Just a few hopped on today. And it’s a great opportunity to get anonymous and confidential feedback. And if your ratings are high above our average benchmarks that we see this year, you could be in the running to win a CandE award solely based on the ratings and the data and the analysis we do and then that’s where we tell you publicly and shout from the rooftops and and help you with those referrals and those kinds of things. So there you go,

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:04
Thetalentboard.org, Yeah?

Kevin Grossman, Talent Board 15:06
Thetalentboard.org, and that’s where you can find everything that you need. And of course, you can always connect with me to on LinkedIn and ask questions, but plenty of time to participate.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:16
Great. Awesome, Kevin. Thank you now, as I said before, on this podcast, we connect with talent leaders and practitioners almost weekly, to talk about everything ranging from what’s keeping them up at night to their favorite wine or their most embarrassing professional experiences. So you’re not going to want to miss any episodes whether it’s a segment like Moments That Matter or Uncorked. Have you met our general podcast, of course, an eXpertease so be sure to head over to CXR.works/podcast to subscribe and get caught up. And while you’re there, check out the incredible updates and community growth happening at CXR. In just the last month I can’t make this up. We’ve seen nearly 800 new and verified recruiting professionals actually sign on register and begin to benefit from dozens of focus communities that range from invitation only to members only to open to the public, all with one focus in mind, making each of us better at our craft recruiting more awesome more quickly. Also, if you’re interested in connecting with myself or Gerry, or any member of our team check out the new contact us page where you can easily book phone call or virtual meeting or Believe it or not, if we’re local a cup of coffee or real live happy hour check in you heard me right so get on our calendars until that we’ll see you guys online at CXR.works

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