Charlie Judy has vision and he’s not afraid to call things out like they are. In the professional world of recruiting, talent and HR, you don’t always get people like that. I’ve found them to be rare breeds along the way, the people who really are passionate and will tell you all about it. Which is why sitting down with Charlie as he tells me about culture and his vision for the future is a real joy. Charlie is a founder and the CEO of WorkXO. Check out more info on Charlie on his website here.
Jamie: Hi Charlie
Charlie: Hey, what’s going on man. Are you in Hong Kong right now?
Jamie: I am indeed, it’s nearly midnight right now.
Charlie: Wow, that’s a big deal. I lived in India for about a year and I understand those time differences.
Jamie: Ha, yeah, it’s very different. So diving straight in, tell me, what’s the most common recruitment related questions you get asked during talks or conversations with other leaders?
Charlie: Honestly, I get asked so many, it’s hard to know whether they’re common. I think the ones I pay attention to the most are the ones I find most compelling. So around how we recruit for a brand and what that means and does that put you at risk of creating a homogenous culture and do we look and sound like everyone else. As a culture enthusiast, and the founder of a technology that helps organisation’s measure and understand their culture, I think that conversation is a little misplaced. It’s really important for recruiters to get more focused on recruiting beyond the resume. Like how do you know what you’re looking for, and how are you assessing the candidate fit and how they complement your business. Just beyond the boxes that are easy to check around skills and experience, because that’s the easy shit. Anybody can do that. And artificial intelligence is doing it anyway so I’m always going to go way beyond the question.
Jamie: I love hearing that, totally agree.
Charlie: Yeah, so the questions I think recruiters should be asking are the ones I get interested in like, how do we really get better at differentiating our service through presenting candidates that go beyond the resume?
Jamie: What’s the biggest challenge that you face in recruitment, and what will be the biggest challenge in the future?
Charlie: Well, I’m going to tie this back to my current world because I live, breathe and eat it, but I think it’s challenging for organisations to give enough information to the candidate that is meaningful and provides context and colour so they can make an adequate assessment around whether this is a place they can be successful. We need to equalize the recruiting experience because right now it’s 90% organization and 10% candidate. It needs to be 50:50 because the candidate needs to be recruiting the organization just as much as the recruiter is recruiting the candidates. Why not do it by giving information around what they’re likely to experience, what work will really be like, how we behave, what it feels like, sounds like, what happens if you make a mistake, how are decisions made etc. etc. You need to go through the layers. It’s those things which have more impact on an employee’s success and the candidate should be in a better position to assess those things.
Jamie: So going forward that’s going to be a real challenge for businesses I imagine?
Charlie: Of course. The challenge they’re facing is how do they get more open and authentic. How do they help candidates make a decision or opt in or out, and how do we figure out whether they’ll be successful here or not. If they get here and 30 days in realize they can’t be, they’re as good as gone anyway, so let’s give them that information before they decide to join us.
Jamie: But how do you communicate that information to the candidate? Is there a piece of tech out there to do it, or do we need to re-work the whole attraction process to communicate your companies ethics or culture?
Charlie: Some of this is just about being open and becoming more aware around who we really are. So beyond the buzz words, what does our language mean. What does collaboration look like? Does it mean you all get in a room together and don’t leave until the decision is made, or does it mean sharing the right information at the right time. And most importantly, and probably the hardest, we have to own that and stop worrying about being all things to all people. We have to stop chasing this kind of elusiveness and lose the definition of what makes your company a great place to work. Honestly, I don’t care if you’re on a list of great places to work, that doesn’t mean anything to me. Unless you’re the right place for me, you’re not going to be a great place to work. So let’s understand the kinds of people who can be successful here, let’s understand how we work and share that with these people so they understand exactly what they’re getting themselves into, and let’s own it.
Jamie: I guess internal talent are too scared to be that honest right?
Charlie: They’re trying to sell the dream man. And they want to win too, so part of this needs to be about, it’s not about finding and filling the role, but about how successful that candidates can be.
Jamie: But how do you measure that?
Charlie: It can be measured in years, speed of productivities or in contribution. There are loads of ways to do it, but the recruiter should be measure on their success beyond that individual walking through the door.
Jamie: What’s your worst recruitment horror story?
Charlie: Ah man, there’s a long list of them in the recruiting realm.
Jamie: I know, tell me about it.
Charlie: I think the worst is when you’re recruiting at executive level or a senior person and you’re asking the organization to spend a lot of time with that person and they’re really happy with them, and they get excited about that person, and then the candidate decides not to come on board. I think so much about that is sequencing. We ought to be empowering our recruiters to go beyond sourcing. They need to be more involved in really transferring information, sharing it, making sure that not only is the person qualified, but they’re actually in the game. Knowing that if we can get an offer, they’re going to sign and we need to be doing that before we start subjecting the rest of the organization to a bunch of bullshit right.
Jamie: Well recruiters need to partner with businesses to deal with that.
Charlie: Yes. Recruiters need to be the quarter back or the air traffic controller job where there’s lots of factors influencing the candidates success and they should be anticipating that. When the candidate is finally presented, it’s almost a formality and they don’t need to decide whether they should hire this person, but that they need to hire them.
Jamie: If LinkedIn turned off the lights tomorrow, where would recruiters be?
Charlie: I think as a stop gap we’d all revert back to traditional job boards. Indeed is making a pretty interesting play as a kind of in between, giving access to candidates without a recruiter required. If you ask that question to a recruiter and they don’t flinch, they’re good at what they do because they’ll already have their own database. I mean, recruiters need to be recruiting people they’ll need in five year’s time, not five days from now. We don’t spend enough time doing that so to avoid disastrous situations like no LinkedIn, we should do more of that.
Jamie: I understand that. You expect recruiters to have a network they can tap into.
Charlie: Yeah. I’m CFO, so if I need an accounts receivable manager, I should be able to call a recruiter, tell them I’m looking to fill that role, and they should send me an email straight away with five names. I mean, it’s a little idealistic and impractical for that matter, but we do need to be driving towards that.
Jamie: You mentioned job boards before. Do you think they provide a good return on investment?
Charlie: To some degree they’re a necessary evil. At the very least, your presence on job boards gives you brand exposure. I do think it’s becoming a diamond in the rough though. The ratio of quality candidates is not great, but also, they produce some surprises every now and then. It’s almost like you have to have a portfolio of solutions. Anyone that places all their bets on LinkedIn or job boards isn’t going to win, you need all of those things. The trick is to have all of those things feed into a technology or solution where I can choose and pull from each to find the best. All part of a casting net.
Jamie: Definitely, it’s the coordination of all those channels that will get you the right person. So…
Charlie: Sorry one second, my wife is texting me if I want coffee and I absolutely do so I need to get back to her.
Jamie: Ha, definitely get back to her. So, talent acquisition or recruiting?
Charlie: I don’t give a shit.
Jamie: Why do you think recruitment has a bad name and how do we fix it?
Charlie: The perception is that we’re here to check boxes, fill positions and move on. We run people over and know them aside and won’t communicate because that’s not our focus.
Jamie: So how do you hold recruiters accountable?
Charlie: I’m thinking about a system base line. You’ve got to get some standard that are non-negotiable. Like, every single person that touches the organization, no matter how qualified they are or are not, they’re going to get a response from us at some point in the process. Even if that is just to say, ‘hey, we’ve filled the positon and didn’t get a chance to look at your CV, but we’re honoured that you took the time to submit it and we hope you stay close to us.’ Recruiters tell me you can’t do that, but of course you can. I can automate any single message at any time, that’s what technology is designed to do.
Jamie: What does recruitment look like in five year’s time?
Charlie: It’s going to be heavily AI laden. You’re going to be able to automate everything from sourcing to screening. It’s going to include stuff beyond algorithmic searching of qualifications. It’s going to involve video submission. I think they’ll be a greater chasm between recruiter and the candidate earlier in the process. That means the recruiter needs to take a much more qualitative role in building, nurturing and enhancing the relationship with candidates. Tools and technologies will continue to play a bigger role in recruiting, but I don’t think that in any way makes the role of the recruiter obsolete, it just changes their focus. They’re going to have to understand the business better, they’re going to have to act as hiring manager in place of the hiring man. They’re going to be doing live interviews so it means that they’re going to be out in coffee shops and having lunches and dinners with people so they’re interacting in a much more human way.
Jamie: That’s a lot of work.
Charlie: Yeah but only with the people they know already are highly qualified and a great fit for this outfit.
Jamie: A lot of recruiters are scared robots are going to take over their jobs…
Charlie: Somebody always has to close the deal, even in our world of SaaS and platform based product and service. People still want to talk to a live person before they sign up for something. I mean, they just do. I don’t think that’s ever going to change.
Jamie: A ChatBot won’t do?
Charlie: I mean, it’s a great way to get the customer to the point where they hit spend, but I think AI is going to make it increasingly important for organizations to do what we started this conversation talking about, being authentic and getting better at communicating. So it’s less about technology and more about the language, it’s less about how we communicate, but more what’s in the communication. So that requires some thought. If you can demonstrate that you can tell the company’s story in a more authentic, meaningful way, that’s a skill for recruiters to have.
Jamie: What are your three favourite business tools you couldn’t live without?
Charlie: I like Calendly. I used to have an assistant and now I don’t this helps me so much. I really like Zoom. I think it’s the conferencing platform of the future, I think they’ve got it figured out. We also use a CRM and content marketing platform called Hatchbox, which is new to the space and really good functionality for a business of my size.
Jamie: As an influencer, who do you follow or who influences you?
Charlie: There’s so many. One of them is Jason Lauritsen. I don’t know if you know him, but he just gets it. He’s a great guy and not full of himself. I’m wary of any influencer who hasn’t done the job. It brings legitimacy. There’s also a woman called Dawn Burke. She was in HR up until a year ago, but she was a writer, speaker and influencer.
Jamie: Thanks for all your time today.
Charlie: Absolutely man.
Charlie Judy is one of the founders and the CEO of WorkXO a Workplace Culture Management Platform. Check out the WorkXO website and the WorkXO Blog here. We also recommend following him on his personal Twitter and on LinkedIn profiles.