S5 E10 | CXR Podcast: Jodi Brandstetter, Lean Effective Talent Strategies

Author and entrepreneur, Jodi Brandsetter, shares what she thinks talent leaders should be considering in today's market.

S5 E10 | CXR Podcast: Jodi Brandstetter, Lean Effective Talent Strategies

Author and entrepreneur, Jodi Brandsetter, shares what she thinks talent leaders should be considering in today's market.

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 0:27
I gotta say, every time the intro music comes on, I do a little do a little dance. You know, we talk about updating it Jodi, but I don’t know if I want to it’s gonna catch.

Jodi Brandstetter 0:36
I was dancing. I liked it.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:39
Well Jodi, welcome to the show. This is the CXR podcast where we bring together talent acquisition telemanagement leaders and you know, practitioners to really share what’s what’s top of mind for them, what’s keeping them up at night, of course, share what they’re going through things, things that they have done, or accomplished or lessons they’ve learned along the way. So we’re excited to have you on today. Jodi, for those who don’t know who you are, do you want to give us kind of a quick escalator pitch of who Jodi Brandstetter is?

Jodi Brandstetter 1:05
Absolutely. So I am a recruiter by trade. I’ve been recruiting for over 20 years. And in the last couple years, I’ve also become a design thinker and an entrepreneur. So I help small to midsize companies with creating the best hiring process for them, so that they are hiring the right talent so that they can make really amazing business goals achievable.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:29
And how long have you been doing that sort of as an independent as a?

Jodi Brandstetter 1:33
Oh, it’ll be four years on April 1,

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:36
Four years and two books under your belt now?

Jodi Brandstetter 1:40
One point well, actually, yes to on my own. And then I’ve actually published a couple books for other people, too. So I’m kind of that’s like, my second gig is I’m a publisher.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:52
Nice. That’s great. Well, let’s talk a little bit about hire by design. So so we invited you on the show, because you’ve done you’re making a little bit of ruckus in the space around design thinking. And it’s getting some attention there. But can you explain to folks, because Gerry and I were talking design thinking one of our member companies, came to us a couple years ago and said they’re redoing everything and talent acquisition, they’re taking this design thinking approach, and we loved it, we loved how they turned everything upside down. We loved how it changed that productivity. We loved that engagement that was a result of that. But we haven’t heard a whole lot of organizations going all in on design thinking. So share a little bit about sort of your take on design thinking in the world of talent, right? You can go HR talent acquisition, but in the world of talent, and why you think that’s important for folks will be paying attention to you today.

Jodi Brandstetter 2:44
Absolutely. So one thing I think everyone needs to understand is they’re probably doing some step of design thinking in talent, and they just don’t even know it. So and that was something that was kind of an aha moment for me, when I found design thinking and decided to make that my methodology of choice to use with my clients. So design thinking, to me is the no brainer of methodologies for talent, because it focuses on the person and focuses on the business and ensures that it’s actually feasible, something that can actually be fun. And what do we do in hiring, we work with the business to understand what kind of person can come into the organization that can actually make an impact in that department in the business. And then we go and find that person. And then with that person, were explaining to them why they can make that impact on the business and get them in the door and actually start to do that. And that’s exactly what design thinking talks about is understanding your audience, understanding who you’re working best. So in the talent space, that is not just the candidate, I love candidate experience. But guess what, there’s other people in the process. So you have to look at the hiring managers perspective, you have to look at the recruiters perspective, and be able to understand those audiences so that you can create the best processes, the best experiences and the best strategies on recruiting talent into your organization.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 4:15
So Jodi, how do I know if I’m, if I’m implementing a strong methodology for design thinking correctly, if I’m just winging it, and I happen to be doing something that is sort of in the design thinking realm, like is there this methodology is there’s this sort of step process that I should go through to do this the right way?

Jodi Brandstetter 4:34
Yeah, absolutely. And it’s actually a pretty simple process. The first thing is you have to understand what you’re trying to solve, right? The problem, what is the challenge, and really kind of focus on what that’s supposed to be? Then you look at your audience, you have to understand them. So you know, can you can absorb, observe, absorb, wow do that Observe, interview, there’s a thing called immersion and empathy to really, you know, get in their shoes and understand their perspective, you cannot solve a problem for someone if you don’t know them. And then you have to have the space to be able to come up with ideas, and that’s ideation brainstorming, you know, that’s where you can become really creative and think outside the box and be able to, you know, come up with a solution no one’s ever seen before. And then from there, that great idea has to actually become the solution. And that’s where you start to do the prototyping. And this is where I think a lot of people like freak out, say, oh, my gosh, I can’t make a prototype. But just to let you know, a prototype is a pilot, it is the sandbox, it is a draft, there is so many different ways to do a prototype. But take taking that solution or that potential solution, doing the prototype, getting feedback from again, your audience, and then being able to pitch it and actually move forward to the solution and actually implement it. And then you kind of have to keep looking at it, right? Because we are human, we consistently change. So iteration is really important, what design thinking. And that’s where you don’t let a product or solution go stagnant. You’re always looking at ways to improve it, or to throw it away and try and start fresh. So it’s really that constant, you know, continuous improvement focus.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:26
Yeah. So Jodi break it down? For me, though, a little bit like when we say design thinking, because for some, this might still be this ethereal thing that people in the HR workshop do or that, you know, there’s a stack of books for in the back of, you know, Barnes and Noble. I mean, like, what, if you were to give it to me in laymen terms, like what asking me what is design thinking? And, like, how do I know if I even need it? Is it just I got a problem to solve? So gosh, I must go to design thinking and there’s got to be more to it than that. Right?

Jodi Brandstetter 6:59
Yeah. So you need design thinking, if you are solving a problem for a person. So that could be a new app to a new process? To literally as simple as what kind of email communication should I send to this person? I mean, it really is something where you sit down and say, No, I really kind of need to understand who I’m, you know, serving. And then from there, how can I serve them better, and make sure that I’m providing what they need. So design thinking can be just as simple. It can be a five minute situation where you just literally kind of go into empathy, and think about their perspective. And say, this is how I’m going to, you know, craft this email, I might have my you know, my coworker next to me to look at it gives me feedback. And then who am I send it. And that could be just thinking, simple. Everyone likes to like make it this big, huge process that takes months and months and months to do when actually design thinking is a simple process just to get to know the audience, figure out a solution is some feedback, and then implement it.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:15
So if I had a challenge, let’s go back to candidate experience. Right? If I had a challenge with, let’s say, communications that were going out to candidates, right, or communication that’s happening internal to the hiring manager, right, just some some level of communication, how could I apply? Like, if we, you and I were going to sit down and I said, Look, Jodi, I need some help. My Messages. I think they’re falling flat, nobody’s responding at a low response rate, when I’m sending messages out to candidates. Can we apply some design thinking to that?

Jodi Brandstetter 8:46
Yeah, so first, we really need to figure out exactly, maybe pick a specific time, it’s a specific communication to look at, can’t really be broad and say, I’m going to look at every communication I send to every candidate. So I would I always tell people, if you look at the areas where you know, you’re going to be sending it a lot, a lot of communication with that the stamp, or the you know, if it’s, you can even look at hard to fill positions and say, okay, my communication needs to be on point for this specific developer, right. So pick a very specific section that you can then really be able to, you know, look at and, and appeal to, that also helps you ensure that you don’t have to understand everyone’s perspective to write so you’re kind of niching the audience that you’re trying to understand. And so that helps you kind of understand that helps you kind of focus on okay, if I’m looking at this niche developer position, I need to probably look at my candidate persona, which is a design thinking tool that some people don’t know that it can be design thinking focused. We

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:54
We just had we just did a show where we were I think last week we had Allison Kruse on we talked about the value of personal notice across the top of my language,

Jodi Brandstetter 10:02
You’re talking about language to Chris, I just did this with a client, we actually did a candidate and a hiring manager persona, which made my heart flutter. Because a lot of people don’t think about those hiring managers in that perspective. But you have that niche, that way, you can really then find the audience to be able to either you know, observer interview, or immersive empathy, have that game plan. So it could be that you want to change your perspective in empathy. And Chris, you could go in, you know, maybe apply to the competitor that has that exact same developer position, and see what communication they’re providing, right? So you’re seeing someone else’s company and learning, and maybe that helps you find a better solution to your communication problem.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 10:51
I hear you and want to make sure I’m following you. So here you say, get specific on what you’re trying to address. So get very pointed.

Jodi Brandstetter 10:58

Chris Hoyt, CXR 10:59
And then and I keep hearing you use this word empathy. So then we’re, we’re flipping on the empathy switch, or we’re returning that knob to the right, to better understand what the the other side of the equation to better understand or see to what’s being delivered.

Jodi Brandstetter 11:13
Yes. I mean, I, as a talent director, my focus all the time, what’s my team? So I was doing empathy, I was looking at the perspective of my recruiter, and I always failed to look at the candidates perspective, because I was so focused on my team, right? So empathy, and, and really using these different ways to do it. So there’s, you know, there’s change your perspective, it’s do it yourself. So if you’re going to expect a candidate to go through an assessment, and if you haven’t taken that assessment, shame on you, because you have no clue what that perspective looks like. Right? So. So there’s all these different ways to kind of really understand your audience without even talking to them. But key is, please talk to them. I mean, do some interviewing? I mean, for gosh, sakes, we’re recruiters we should be able to interview anybody. But yeah, I mean, it’s really just kind of taking that time to understand their side. And then look at the communication. You know, I did, I started a communication study right before COVID. And COVID. kind of ruined it for me, where I was looking for everybody, right? Yes, that was just one one of the million things. But I was, I was so focused on understanding what type of communication a candidate wanted at different steps where I was ending the process, right? So kind of that Thanks, my No thanks, or, you know, confirming that next interview, I was so focused on that. And when I started talking to the candidates, they really didn’t care about that communication, the communication they cared about was that those days, weeks where we didn’t communicate at all, like, they were more excited about getting an email saying, you’re still in the process, we just don’t know yet from the hiring manager, then me sending any other communication, and that from the amount I was able to do. And I’m hoping to pick it back up now that we’re in a place that we can maybe hang out with people again. But the piece was, you know, they would stay in the process longer. Yes, they actually just had communications. So like, one of my favorite things that I got, from Stacy’s apart was the Friday update, where you you know, grab a beer, and just email your candidates and say, Hey, I don’t know anything yet. But we are thinking I’ve yah, that way, they don’t have that stress on the weekend. I’m trying to figure out, am I still in the process? Am I going to get this job like we we forget that they aren’t used to being in this process? Whereas we’re in it every day. So you know, there was so many aha moments, just having those conversations with candidates that I didn’t even realize that I was missing, or we weren’t focused on as recruiters that we should be.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 14:04
So, alright, so we get we get specific, we get empathetic. And then we what we ideate Is it just throw it at the wall to see what sticks?

Jodi Brandstetter 14:15
Yeah, then we we do some brainstorming, you throw on your creative hat, you get your juices flowing, and you start to think about, you know, what are some different ways that I could be communicating, and you literally do the good, the bad, the ugly, like, this is a time for you to like, really just go crazy with ideas because you never know when one’s gonna stick. And then you have to get feedback. Feedback is key throughout this whole process. Like if I have a great idea, and then I just go with it and I get no feedback, it’s probably going to fail, and we just wasted so much time. So once you have kind of your ideas, you’ll either you know as a team make decisions like vote, or you can actually just share it with people and say what do you think? Then you come up with that idea that you want to move forward to the prototype. And then at that point that you’ve been now your creative now you’re going to be super simple, because prototyping should be very simple. It’s not the solution, you should not be putting tons of time, energy and money in it should be easy, cheap. And something that you’ll just throw away if you don’t like it. Because this is when you’re going to, again, get feedback and say, here’s my solution. What do you think? And they can say, did you think about this? Or what about that? And also, you’re like, oh, this doesn’t work. So instead of putting all this time, energy and money into it, you make it simple and easy for you say, Okay, let’s start over. Let’s regroup and let’s go back to the ideation or maybe I didn’t observe enough. See, I’m saying observe, I feel like I’m seeing absorb every time.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:51
I think what I think what I hear you saying is that first iteration, you should go into it knowing it’s just the first iteration.

Jodi Brandstetter 15:58

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:59
Don’t expect this to be a final product.

Jodi Brandstetter 16:01

Chris Hoyt, CXR 16:01
But do expect this to evolve.

Jodi Brandstetter 16:03
Yeah. And you know, and if it is a good product, if it’s a good solution, it’ll continue to move forward, but they’re still evolution to be done. Right. You know, like, we’ve seen so many things happened in the past couple years that we’ve had to what they say pivot, and I tell people pivoting is either iteration period, like, whenever you have to shift whatever you’re doing, you have to go to a different route. You’re, you’re in iteration. And so you know, again, a lot of times people think it’s really hard. And it’s like, no, it’s actually what we do every day.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 16:35
Yeah. Well, so should this be done in like, what’s more effective, a large group, a small group, working solo, like what

Jodi Brandstetter 16:46
It really depends on what you’re working on, you know, I have been able to do design thinking on my own. And I’ve also been able to do and then a group, I think what you have to do is really figure out who are those stakeholders, who are the people that really care about this project, who really want to move forward with it. And then you need some of those people that who are going to kind of tweak, you know, kind of get annoyed, and you’re going to get annoyed with who are going to push you a little bit because they’re going to make you think outside the box. And make you kind of think of ways that you’ve never thought of the one thing I would say is you have to make sure everyone’s in the space to actually be open and willing to do the process. If you’re not willing to do the process, it’s going to fail

Chris Hoyt, CXR 17:27
Interesting. So if I’m a leader, or well shoot, I mean, at any level effectively, right, based on what we’ve just talked about, and I want to get started in this. Outside of it, I want to give you a chance to talk about your book for just a minute, but outside of going and grabbing up one of your books, what’s the best thing I could do to really learn more about design thinking within within the realm of talent within my work,

Jodi Brandstetter 17:49
There are so many different ways you can learn about design thinking. I actually got certified through IDEOU, which is a online course through idea which is a design thinking consulting firm. So I learned from you know, consultants who do this day in and day out for their clients. So they have an amazing program. And it’s designed thinking for anyone. So you know, this is something that you can encourage really anyone in your company to do. I just saw that Josh Academy has added a design thinking component. Super excited about that, I think it’s a little bit more HR driven. And then my shameless plug is I’m actually developing hired by design certification through my by design granary academy. So that’s actually coming out in April, where you can do a six week course. And I give you actual ta challenges that then go through the process yourself and at the end, have a solution. So you really understand the whole thing of what design thinking is, and you have the confidence to take it back to your office back to your company and actually use it.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 18:58
Nice. Well, you’ll have to you’ll have to keep us updated on that in April and shoot it over. We’ll share that with our members.

Jodi Brandstetter 19:04
Yeah, yeah. So like I said, there’s all kinds of different ways. So I love seeing that people are 100% See design thinking as a methodology for us, TA and HR folks. So it just makes me happy when I see another person sharing this information.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 19:21
I love it. Well, Jody, take us out with a quick pitch on where we can find more information about Hire by Design and HR by design.

Jodi Brandstetter 19:29
So yeah, so hire by design is the book that came out in September of 2020. And you can get that on Amazon, or you can message me and I would love to gift the book to you. I’ll even sign it. I heard that’s special when people sign their book. And HR by Design is my newest book that’s coming out March 25. And I’m actually doing a launch where I’m hoping to make it an Amazon bestseller. So on the 25th it’s going to be a shocking $2 To buy it ebook so if you want a great deal definitely amazing. If you want a great deal definitely check it out there. But you can find me on JodiBrandstetter.com

Chris Hoyt, CXR 20:11
Right Thank you so much Jodi we’re so glad you joined us.

Jodi Brandstetter 20:13
Thank you it’s great I love geeking out about design thinking and hiring.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 20:18
Alright, we’ll see everybody else on the community side until then see XR dot works until that next week podcast don’t miss it. Bye everybody

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