S5 E1 | CXR Podcast: Brad Cook talks about recruiting goals

Brad Cook & Chris Hoyt talk about recruiting goals and how to plan and measure their objectives.

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Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:21
All right, Brad. Good morning.

Brad Cook, Intuitive 0:23
Morning. How you doing, buddy?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:25
It’s good to see you. We are we’re back on track 2022 We got our first podcast in here. I’m Chris Hoyt, president of CareerXroads, and your host for what we are hoping is a smooth live stream. So, Brad, why don’t you do a quick introduction of yourself? For those who don’t know, yeah, I like to call it the escalator pitch, you got about a minute to just kind of tell them a little bit of background about who you are, what you do, where you work, and maybe even a little bit on this amazing beard that you have. I’ve never seen you with a beard. I’ve known you for a decade. I love it.

Brad Cook, Intuitive 1:01
This is this is the longest it’s ever been in my life. And I’ve got to this point, it’s going all away. Anyway, Hi, Chris. Great to see you. Again, have everybody watching Brad Cook. I work for a company called Intuitive Surgical. We are a robotic surgery company. Been there for a couple of years really, really fascinating technology, wonderful to be at a company that actually has a mission led organization to help a lot of people that need surgery and get out of it minimally invasively been in recruiting fell into recruiting in 2005 and lit up a number of organizations. Yeah, very much the geeky ta leader love the technology and, and love getting into the process and analytics to make things happen. My background is not recruiting. So my background has been Sales and Operations many, many moons ago at Cisco. So tend to leverage a lot of those backgrounds, from the from the sales and operations into into town acquisition. So looking forward having conversation today.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:55
Nice. Well, we’re glad to have you on the show. I have to tell you, Brad , so you’ve always been one of my favorite ta leaders because there is an it is a interesting, it’s always fun conversation with you about the interesting balance. And and the I’m gonna call it an affliction. That at least that I suffered from shiny bauble syndrome. And it’s a it’s a fandom of technology for solutions sake. But you know, you’re kind of one of those ta leaders we have is not afraid to dabble in, you know, putting some new things together for solving sake. Right.

Brad Cook, Intuitive 2:28
I love something that someone said to me years ago is you build the Frankenstein. And you know, but the Frankenstein been able to sing and dance. And and we’ve gone through technology advances in the last many years. Yeah, when I started trying to bolt everything together, there was no such thing as API connectivity and an ATS you can barely get a spreadsheet out of it, ATS little out an API connectivity. So you throw that in there. Now now you start to throw your real machine learning, whether were the AI crap, but real machine learning, you start to bolt those things together, you can build a Frankenstein that can actually cook your breakfast. So yeah, I think we are in a pretty interesting space right now, I would say my affliction to shiny objects is certainly is dulled over the years. Because you know what a salesperson says what the implementation engineers could actually deliver two very different things. And there’s a few blackeyes out there and vendor land. And so they can do things that they can

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:23
learn along the ways. But I mean, you’ve done some Mel, it wouldn’t be it’d be Mel Brooks versions of the Frankenstein. So you have put some things together. Pretty impressive. But you’re right, it does get a little easier. And I think as we get, as we mature in our career, maybe we calm down just a little bit on that front.

Brad Cook, Intuitive 3:38
Absolutely. calming down is a good thing, especially during going during the COVID we the things that actually get to work, not not spend more time fixing the bad thing.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:46
So So it raises an interesting point, because this is I think, and this is probably lessons learned, right, we learned we learned a lot of this along the way is that there’s a lot of work that has to happen before we can just implement new technology. Right? And we’re labeling that, you know, for the discussion here, we’re gonna talk a little bit about transformation. But can you share a little bit about what what the word transformation means to you in this context?

Brad Cook, Intuitive 4:12
Yeah, so So for me, the transformations that I’ve been dealing with probably the last 10 years is coming from a business perspective, all organizations that I’ve been in, have had massive growth, they’ve had either global expansions or just huge huge headcount growth. And you can really tackle it two ways. You tackle it by throwing lots and lots of bodies at it, or you right size, the amount of bodies and you work smarter versus harder. So the transformations that especially with intuitive is global expansion, global process, getting some infrastructure in that’s going to scale to 20,000 person company that will be within the next three to five years. And part of that transformation is quite frankly, for me, starting with the end in mind, where do we need to be and what do we need to put in place today to support tomorrow? In a global world that quite frankly, a lot of different folks around the world that need to do things differently different labor laws, and bring all those things together and still be able to deliver a solution. That’s not just for the recruiters. But for the candidates, the managers and everybody in between that that x experience level.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 5:18
Yeah, and I gotta say you didn’t pick, you didn’t pick a call, because you’re in the middle of an implementation now. You’re the middle of a graying implementation now, right for a global applicant tracking system. I’ll leave it up to you whether you want to name it or not. But there had to be had to be some serious concern, because this is not a normal recruiting year, this has not been the last two years have not been normal. So to take something on like that. I mean, can you talk a little bit about that?

Brad Cook, Intuitive 5:49
Yes. So the the time at which we decided we were going to put in the new ATS in, we were supposed to have a quiet year, which would have been the ideal time to do it. We’ve we’ve hired, I’m going to jump out to das for the team. But you know, we’ve hired for x and what we had originally planned. So we’ve been playing catch up all year from a recruiting perspective. But at the end of the day, I’ve always had to put COVID aside, yes, it’s a crazy year. For us, it’s been four times more than what we anticipated to hire. But put that aside, the end goal didn’t change, we are going to grow as a company, whether it’s that size in three years or that size in five years, the trajectory is massive. So we need to put the implementation for that. And and it was quite easy. Coming into intuitive two years ago, we had very little metrics, everything was run out of a spreadsheet out of Taleo. And it was a 12 year old version of the layout. And it was very difficult to say show me how many racks we had open, what’s the time to feel like there was literally very little data out there. So the decision was easy. We need to put a platform in and we have selected Smart Recruiters as the core platform. And we have a lot of technology that had been in place prior to me getting there. So a lot of contracts are already in place. So yeah, gone forward instead of the bill. I won’t say we’ve built the Frankenstein, because I will say what I love about Smart Recruiters is their marketplace infrastructure. Yeah, they already have a lot of technology that bolts into the marketplace. So yeah, we’ll have Smart Recruiters as our core ATS platform. We have Phenom as our CRM and career site platform, we have Hiredscore that sits on top of that for candidate management and true true AI rediscovery and discovery within the platform. We have all of that data dumping out of the systems, even today with the Taleo into a data warehouse. And that data warehouse Now feeds out Tableau dashboards. So at any point in time, I can just click a couple of buttons and see exactly what’s going on anywhere in the world of all of our day to day transactions. So yeah, it was a it was not a quick journey to get to where we are we go live in two weeks and counting. So we’re starting final training training as of this week. So super excited to get get moving forward.

When you said when you say the beard is going all the way, is it just going to go live or hot? Like

It’s gonna be go for another at least another month? Yeah, I’ve got to fall over. Like I still stick it out everywhere. Yeah.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:19
I think we’re all just slowly morphing into Gerry. So So let me ask you. So you’ve got this is big news for the recruiting team. This has I mean, everyone has to be excited about this has got to be a considerable sort of upgrade to everything that’s already implemented, what you expect to get out of it. You know, all of your KPIs, I imagine are going to be impacted by some of the proficiencies, you get some big win for everybody. But can you share a little bit about the transfer the transformative side of that before, like as you prep for this? And as you kind of get your ducks in a row? Are you nudging some ducks? Are you kicking some ducks to some of the ducks get just get chucked?

Brad Cook, Intuitive 8:58
From from a business process perspective, the Taleo system was not a system that allowed continuity around the world. So it wasn’t the just, each country was doing something different. Even at the beginning within the US, each functional area was doing something different inside to lab because the workflows could not be structured in such a way that that manager you knew everybody passed through certain gates. So part of the early transformation. And we leveraged align all of this, and I’ve done this a few times with her is coming. And we did lots and lots of focus groups with with business partners, managers recruiters all over the world. I think there’s probably 150 people we spoke to said, What do you need out of a system? And we did that right up front? And that was the starting point to say, what do you think you need? We were educating him along the way of what was possible. Prior to that we did a whole lot of demos of all the different systems so everybody could get an excitement of wow, I didn’t know that was possible. We’ve never had that into Taleo. But now We have that in different platforms. So that early part of the transformation was to get people excited about what they didn’t know about. And then it was, what do you want from the system? So basically, out of that came the RFP, that went out to all the vendors. And there was a big long laundry list of if anybody can build this hat’s off to you, because this there was some crazy stuff in there. But guess what we’re thinking about what are we going to need in two or three years time, not what we need now. And from there, we then started to the change management exercise with everybody around the world of yeah, how are we going to do it differently, because if I had $1, for every time I heard, but that’s not how we do it, like, Guess what, blow that one up. Because here’s how we’re going to be doing it moving forward, the old Taleo stuff was gone. And quite frankly, that was the biggest time that time suck for us is getting everyone on board to start looking at things differently. And how to build a consistent process at the end of the day, if you have an 80/20 process 80% consistent, you can get all the metrics you need out of it easily. And then you can just modify the last 20% for the local for the local countries and stuff like that. The Business Process stuff can never be underestimated how long that takes to do that’s been the biggest time to for us in just getting getting everybody on the same page, especially when they’ve been used to doing things very, very differently. That that’s the element of the transformation that takes the longest. But it’s also the most exciting because as you’re going through it, you can start to see where you can really drive efficiencies that as I said before, that the team has killed it from a hiring volume perspective this year. Yeah, they’re killing themselves in the process of doing it, which is, which is not good. And we’re very much focused on that. But we’re at the point, when we get live with Smart Recruiters where we’re really getting working smarter versus harder. We’ve already seen just in some of the reengineering of processes that we have prior to go live. We’ve seen big increases in in fill rates for recruiters just by getting people to think about how things work together.

Nice. Well, let me ask you, Brad, so in terms of a ATS implementation, this is not your first rodeo. It’s certainly not even your second rodeo. So if you if you had one thing to seven, you’ve done seven of these?

Brad Cook, Intuitive 12:10
This will be seven.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 12:21
Yeah. Oh, man, Lucky number seven, then.

Brad Cook, Intuitive 12:23

Chris Hoyt, CXR 12:25
So with all of that experience on your belt, and I wouldn’t wish seven on anybody, by the way, brother, it will all have that under your belt. What what would be one thing you would tell a leader who’s getting ready to take this on, especially with everything that we have been through as ta leaders over the last two years knowing you know, all of the business and the same scenario, what what would be one thing you’d tell them in advance of kicking everything off, other than buckle up?

Brad Cook, Intuitive 12:51
It’s a it’s a very easy answer. And the answer is simple. Have a dedicated TA Specialist on your technology. This is not a technology, ATS implementations or any ta implementation. It’s not something you can throw to IT. You’ve got to have people that have recruiting understanding. So you know, I’ve you know, people that I’ve had a Debbie for years, and Debbie had been with me for many, many years, and implemented the ATS’s and and Debbie own the technology into answer she knew I come up with crazy ideas and then she would have to go implement with the vendors. And you need that without that you actually don’t have a strong enough business partner. And I don’t believe you’d ever have a strong enough business partner in IT because they may know the technology but now they don’t own or don’t know the business process. Anytime I’ve implemented and I have have done it once or twice without that it’s not as successful and it takes a lot longer. But as soon as you have that one individual that can be the go-to for business process and technology and making them to meld together. It does become much easier. I’d probably all be gray if I didn’t have that in past.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 14:03
Well Brad, I want to thank you again for being on the show. We appreciate the tips and kind of sharing what you’re going through and I I’m anxious to hear how that implementation you got another month until maybe you could come up for air I imagine.

Brad Cook, Intuitive 14:14
Yes the 24th of January go live we have a stabilization period and then back into getting more out of it.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 14:22
I think we’re gonna have to have another appearance just before you cut the beard off and see how it went.

Brad Cook, Intuitive 14:30
I’m going to do it in pieces

Chris Hoyt, CXR 14:33
That would be a show all by itself.

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