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Ben Walker: All right. Looks like folks are starting to come in.
Ben Walker: Thanks everybody for joining. We're just going to give it another minute or maybe two, just as people are transitioning from other sessions or other meetings. Thanks for joining.
Ben Walker: All right. We've got a good crowd. I'm just going to give it one more minute. Before we get started.
Ben Walker: It looks like there's still a few people coming in now. So just give it one more minute.
Ben Walker: All right. The number of students would be holding steady. So let's get started. Thank you everyone for joining this panel where we'll focus on the challenges of attracting and screening qualified candidates in a hyper competitive environment where there's talent scarcity and unprecedented demand for technical resources and resources overall.
Ben Walker: I'm Ben Walker from Glider. Glider is a candidate screening automation solution that includes bulk, online and mobile candidate screening as well as skills assessments. And one way in two way interviews. So thanks for joining this session. I am joined by a fantastic panel of experts representing different cross sections of the talent acquisition space.
Ben Walker: So, first James Simmons is a Vice President of Talent Acquisition at DroneUp, which is a very cool, innovative company that focuses on drones delivery services and flight services, and I'm pumped to be joined by Megan Smith. Who's a vice president of strategic partnerships at Modis and Modis is one of the largest staffing and consulting firms in the world. They've got about 30,000 employees and about 10,000 customers across 20 different countries. And I'm joined by Maran Henderson from Pontoon Solution. So Maran Henderson is a Program Director in the MSP solution for Pontoon and Pontoon is a leading provider of MSP recruitment experience outsourcing total talent and services procurement solutions.
Ben Walker: So looking forward to a great session. Thanks for joining. Just a little housekeeping you can send in if this is your first session you've attended. You can send in questions. I'll do my best to pivot between the panelists' questions and questions coming in from the audience. And certainly at the end, we should have plenty of time so that I can start feeling some of those questions if I have missed them.
Ben Walker: So please use that Q/A funcanility. And so first I just want to kind of, sort of tee up the topic here of what we're covering. So for context anyone that's in this space today knows that we are in really unprecedented times. A lot of dynamics at play here between just incredible rise in digital transformation initiatives coupled with let of job hopping that sort of started with COVID may be here to stay for awhile, baby boomer retirements. There's all these dynamics at play causing significant talent scarcity. And so the qualified candidates often already have a job. And how do you attract those folks? And then the other dynamic that we'll talk about is how do you guard against.
Ben Walker: Having folks who really aren't qualified or only marginally qualified come in, they might look good on paper. They might have great credentials, a great CV, but then you discover that they really don't have the skills that they need. So, some of the data bears this out again. I think folks on this are probably living it out every day, but just for a little bit more detail and context.
Ben Walker: The jolts report which is a bureau of labor statistics, a report that comes out every month. This summer, at some point it hit an all time high of job openings. I think it was around 11 million. And then it came down a little bit, but I think we're still north of 10 million job openings. Now, within the tech sector, the job openings year over year doubled with technology positions.
Ben Walker: And so a couple of other anecdotes that we're hearing about. I was talking to one of our customers who mentioned that year over year, their requisition volume tripled. And then recently I was talking to a customer at the beginning of this new year. And she said, you know, normally the first week in January, if people are sort of getting their footing under, I'm catching up from the holiday and it's a pretty quiet week.
Ben Walker: They got a thousand requisitions within that first week. And so, we're seeing this in our data as well. So from 2021 sorry, 20 to 2021. We saw actually sorry, 21 to 22. So the first week in January of 22, we saw a 10 X increase in the number of people who are inviting candidates to take assessments, skills tests on our platform.
Ben Walker: So, that is the challenge that everyone who's in this space is experiencing right now. And essentially, you know, we hear variations of the same theme from across all of our customers and prospective customers, we have to find and screen more candidates faster while being mindful of the candidate experience and without compromising candidate quality.
Ben Walker: So there's this bifurcation or this juxtaposition between got to do it fast with an unprecedented amount of volume without compromising the quality or the rigor of that screening process. So, I want to kick it off for the panel. We've got five topics and we'll cover a few questions per topic, but Megan I assume some of this resonates with you and you and Modis are seeing any anecdotes or specific examples.
Ben Walker: And then specifically, how are you making sure that the top of your candidate funnel is big enough to get enough qualified candidates through the bottom of the.
Megan Smith: Sure. Thanks. Thanks for the question, Ben. You're absolutely right. The talent shortage is there and we have seen a demand greater than I've ever seen in my career to be quite honest, modus has seen substantial year over year growth in job orders in regards to just widening the funnel.
Megan Smith: We're looking at more than just the must haves on candidate resumes and when we're talking to candidates, so it's more around. Culture fit. What might be some of the soft skills that clients are looking for? Adaptability problem, solving collaboration, dependability. We're also looking at previous applicants that maybe we haven't talked to in some time and I'm weighing heavily on candidate referrals.
Megan Smith: And then another cool thing that Modis has going on is Modis academy. So we liked to look for candidates that are maybe an 80% fit to a client. And then we're using modus academy to upskill those candidates for the client.
Ben Walker: That's fantastic. I'd love to ask you a little bit more about that later.
Ben Walker: Great. So James, you're relatively new to DroneUp and I know DroneUp is in hyper-growth mode and you're sort of building as you're going. What are you doing as you build out your team to make sure that you have the capabilities to really ensure a solid talent type pipeline.
James Simmons: Yeah. So we have two things going on.
James Simmons: One. We have a somewhat new and emerging skill set and drone pilots . There are a ton of them out there, but they are not typically working full-time; they're usually doing some kind of side hustle, job weddings. Photography, some type of work in the kind of commercial space, maybe with power and utility companies.
James Simmons: But so there's that component. And then we have the traditional component because we have got it in all of the other jobs that come along with our growing departments IT, Finance, et cetera. And so, we're using Glider and we're using a bunch of different tools to kind of assist us with both finding the talent, but also then the ability to assess whether or not they're skilled.
James Simmons: And one of the things that's, you know, Ben that we're doing with the pilot side of the house is we're building our own pilot assessment through Glider. And that will allow us to rate and rank for lack of a better way pilots and their skill sets and their overall experience and how that correlates to the roles we're trying to fill for our delivery.
James Simmons: And so it's been an interesting market because on that side of the house, it's not as hot meaning we are not as competitive for talent in that world. We've got a lot of pilots that are interested in doing different things, but then you've got the flip side of traditional IT, Marketing, Finance type roles, where we are having trouble finding the right talent and then finding talent that's interested in making a move.
James Simmons: Potentially to a new company, we're looking at more passive candidates in that space and trying to then assess what that looks like overall.
Ben Walker: Yeah, it's a really interesting group of folks. I got a chance to meet some of your drone pilot recruiters and it's fun working to identify new requisitions or new skills, assessment tests for skills we haven't seen before.
Ben Walker: And you know, I guess this is similar to what we'll talk about a little bit where someone might have dabbled in software development or a coder, but that might not make them qualify. There's probably people out there who are hobbyists as drone pilots, that may or may not be someone you want to bring in.
Ben Walker: And, you know, there's not just, can you operate the hardware, but do you know the FAA regulations, for example, so there's layers to it. And so I know that's going to be fun to build that out. So Maran you your pontoon programs, many of them have really high volume globally of requisitions.
Ben Walker: And you're reliant on a portfolio of staffing agencies and consultancies to help you fill those roles. So have you had to make any adjustments in your teams and your programs to make sure that you have sufficient candidate volume flowing through to meet this demand.
Maran Henderson: Yeah, thanks. Ben. I think running MSPs, you're always challenged with managing the balance of, you know, quantity and quality.
Maran Henderson: And I think what's always the most important for us from an MSP perspective is being able to obtain any sort of forecasting we can from the client and being able to pass that back to our supplier partner. So they can really move from that reactive way of recruiting to more proactive, which helps them kind of keep that pipeline of qualified candidates going.
Maran Henderson: So if you've worked with an MSP before, you know, forecasting is not the easiest for us to get, it's not always something that we readily have. But when we do, it's super important to share that down the line for us, our teams, keeping them connected with our clients, with key stakeholders, and having those regular connections.
Maran Henderson: You know, maybe they're not thinking about a project that comes up, but just off the cuff conversations, something pops up and we can bring that information back. And on the flip side, you know, our supplier partners, as they're having conversations with clients and with their candidates, if they hear about a ramp or a project coming up, they share that back with us.
Maran Henderson: And then that allows Pontoon. Yeah, but the manager got in front of it, set expectations aside from everybody waiting for a rec to drop in our VMS. They needed the candidates yesterday and we're all scrambling.
Ben Walker: Yeah, I have spent some time running an MSP program and also working with lots of them in a consultant capacity.
Ben Walker: And I would say a whole other discussion topic perhaps. But that forecasting of contingent labor always often seems like it's an afterthought for organizations who have hard enough time projecting talent needs on a full-time basis. So that makes it particularly hard when you're not sure.
Ben Walker: What's coming yet for historical data, but things change rapidly and are hard to respond to. So,
Maran Henderson: Yeah, well, you know, too, I was just thinking, you know, it's not even always just the project, but even if a manager knows a handful of Pega developers or just even a little, that may seem significant to them, but for us, I mean, that is really huge that we can share that back.
Maran Henderson: So, you know, it's up to us to really educate. Those are the kinds of things that might seem insignificant from a client perspective, but for our staffing partners, that's invaluable.
Ben Walker: Gotcha. Yeah. So last question on this topic at all out, I'll throw it out to any of you in, in. If you have an answer.
Ben Walker: Fantastic. If not, we'll move on to the next topic, but I'm curious if any of your organizations James, I alluded that you're building yours as you go, but have you had to rethink the process and automate where you used to do something manually or cut out steps that you realize aren't adding value, but something to get that screening process, the sourcing and the screening process done more quickly.
James Simmons: Yeah, no, a hundred percent. So we're faced with the talent challenge of finding recruiters in this market. Right? So everybody in this world is probably challenged with that. And so we are as well. And so we're looking at ways to automate that application process a little bit better.
James Simmons: We're using, utilizing our ATS a lot more. We've hired actually some internal folks to develop out the APIs and connectors with our other with our other applications that we use a lot to ensure that including Glider to ensure that we can automate steps that, that frankly, a recruiter or manual process would have otherwise done.
James Simmons: And then. That's just the reality of the world we play in right now, even if I had the number of recruiters that I wanted. I think we'd still be given the, how fast we're growing, how many people were looking for, we'd still be struggling with, without automation, for sure.
Ben Walker: Gotcha.
Megan Smith: Yeah. And I would tie into that too, and just say, you know, from our perspective, we're using a lot of AI for search and match and then the, you know, the PRA the RPA process to for pre-screening candidates and then Glider for you know, just getting candidates tested in advance so that we've got a pipeline built for, you know, Rex as they're coming in.
Ben Walker: Fantastic. So, skip to a subtopic here, and that is with this challenge of finding the right talent where often folks who are qualified and proficient are already on an assignment or have a job.
Ben Walker: And with this unprecedented demand for technical resources, we're seeing this cohort, and this is bearing itself out in the Glider data of folks who are not qualified frankly, to be in the space. So the good news is there's lots of options now for people to up-skill particularly in technical skills, they can take online courses and that's fantastic, but ultimately there's going to be a group of people that just don't have the aptitude and aren't going to be proficient or at least not yet.
Ben Walker: So in the Glider platform, we have assessment functionality that includes the ability to monitor and automate sort of the proctoring functionality. If you think of someone taking a test in a testing center or a classroom, and there's someone there sort of making sure everyone's doing what they're supposed to do.
Ben Walker: In this distributed remote workforce that we're in today our proctoring functionality automates that. But with that, we can see that we saw a 92% year-over-year increase in our monitoring triggers. So indications that someone's cheating. So that could be someone sitting next to them.
Ben Walker: And you hear that voice in the room. And someone's asking someone to answer the question for them, using their phone, opening up a browser tab to search for an answer. And so, I've been with Glider for almost six months now. I was in the contingent workforce base for over 20 years, but for a new skills assessment, I was astounded at some of the stories that I heard.
Ben Walker: It seems like every call that I was on for my first couple of weeks and talking to companies, I was hearing a news story of, wow, you wouldn't believe this one. We have a challenge. With testing integrity and people not getting help on this test. Well, one of my favorites was I think it was an interview and this was a company that wasn't using Glider yet, and they were talking to us about our solution.
Ben Walker: But there was an interview where they're doing a two live two-way interview and the candidate apparently had someone either in the room or on a remote computer with the speakers on who you know, the interviewer would ask the question. Somebody else was answering the question, but the candidate was lip-syncing and I've heard this more times than you will probably imagine.
Ben Walker: But particularly funny or sad, depending on your perspective, one that, that I recall is that the candidate forgot that they were supposed to be lip-syncing. So they're in the middle of this interview and there's somebody else giving the answers and they just sort of zoned out and they're just staring at the camera.
Ben Walker: So we see lots of this and it's a challenge. And so, you know, I'm curious, I'll pose this question to all of you. It does this resonate with you and do you have any good, bad or ugly examples of your own.
Megan Smith: I'll jump in again and being in this industry for 20 years I tell people all the time, I think I'm going to write a book when I retire.
Megan Smith: There's too many great stories. So we've got two stories that I kind of pitched this out specifically with Glider, which as you know, and those of you that use Glider it is a proxy. And as you log in to take the test, it asks you to use the camera. It also asks you to use the mic so that it can track.
Megan Smith: We had a candidate that actually stood up in the middle of the training or after the skills assessment for about 15 minutes and had a new person come in and sit down. So clearly they had just completely forgotten. They had agreed to use the camera. And we also had a candidate that actually was doing a face-to-face interview.
Megan Smith: So pre COVID that came into one of our offices and was super fidgety about what she was doing. We started asking her some, you know, in-depth technical questions and she finally kind of put her hands up and said, I'm really sorry. This is actually my husband's resume. And he's in the car. If you want me to grab it.
Megan Smith: I mean, it's like, I don't know where this stuff comes from, but it's pretty wild.
James Simmons: Right. Ours is much less, but yours, you win the souls there. You both of you guys do, but we've just started using Glider last year. As part of me bringing it from my prior role and coming here and really just seeing it again, we don't have it for the pilot side, but we have it for the other.
James Simmons: Areas that we've been using it. And we just see a lot of candidates pick up their phone, which I think is a very natural thing to do. And begin the process of Googling the answer or figuring out whether or texting something that we phoned a friend. I'm not sure. On the old, who wants to be a millionaire, but we've had that happen.
James Simmons: We've had people quit right in the middle get exasperated and kind of quit through the process. And you know, when we follow back up with them we ask them. What's the particular reason that you jumped out and they just said, Hey, I don't really understand the role. I don't really understand the skills needed.
James Simmons: And as a result, I just felt like it was best for me to kind of move out. And so it's been a huge help for us. Overall, it's been a little bit frustrating because as you as staffing coming from the staffing space and coming from a job here, that my job is to make sure. That we get candidates through the process.
James Simmons: There's a frustrating component to it, which is we're dropping a lot of candidates at the beginning, but that's really what we're supposed to be doing. And so, it's been a huge help, but not as great of stories. So we'll see if in the next year we have some good stories to tell, maybe next year.
Ben Walker: Gotcha.
Maran Henderson: Yeah, I was going to say, Megan, I think anyone who's worked in staffing feels like they could write a book at this point of the crazy situations you hear about. I think from an imposter perspective I've heard of groups of people working in the same apartment, like all collectively working contracts in some way, shape or form.
Maran Henderson: But I think at the end of the day, it's always, they always get caught. And it's denied until finally it is, you know, embedding of what happened, right. They, it wasn't them in the interview or it was them in the interview. And now they're outsourcing the work to somebody else. So lots of crazy experiences, but I think Megan, you might take the gate.
Ben Walker: So Maran has this changed from your experience with any of your programs, how managers approach this, are they sort of exacerbated and throwing their arms up? Are they doing things differently?
Maran Henderson: Yeah. You know, I think we've seen managers really embrace the video interview. I think, unfortunately in a lot of cases, it doesn't replace the in-person interview.
Maran Henderson: On the other hand, we've heard companies that are completely doing away with the traditional multi interview process, just to address the fake candidate market we're in. So, that's always the potential for imposters to kind of come through. The pandemics really caused everybody to have to be more agile and fluid in the way that they're attracting and retaining talent.
Maran Henderson: But I think we've seen the more risk-averse of our clients have added either a step or added a control in place because this has just become so much more prevalent as we continue to be in a remote environment.
Ben Walker: You touched on something I just want to punctuate. And that is companies saying, Hey, we can't afford to take three weeks to get four or five managers schedules aligned to go through this linear. Screening process. So we've seen sort of group interviewing happening more and also recording an interview process and it could be a technical interview. It could be a technical coding exercise and allow others to see it, you know, that same day, but on a different schedule so that they can get through that process much faster.
Ben Walker: And you know, that's key as you have people who are getting offers quickly and you, if you wasted a day, you might lose a candidate. So that's good to hear that the companies are adapting.
Maran Henderson: Yeah, interview days are the new thing, you know, get everybody on the same page, knock it out and be able to kind of extend offers and move quickly.
Ben Walker: So on the other side of the corner you know, the other cohort of folks are those who really are qualified and they have stellar resumes and work experience, they know their stuff. And they're asked to take a test to prove that James, are you having any situations like that and how do you handle that?
Ben Walker: What is your team? Tell those folks.
James Simmons: Well, we have two responses to it either. They like it because they think they're gamifying the system and realizing that, you know, okay, how did I do, please tell me how I did, or they're offended that you're asking somebody of their caliber to take the test.
James Simmons: And I think our answer and our response is pretty much the same, which is we're asking everybody to do that and if you move the baseline up, fantastic. You know, just imagine the candidates that will come in after you. But at this point we're looking for everybody to have an assessment and have that on file so that we can at least utilize that in the interview process.
James Simmons: We're not, again, we're not utilizing it for purposes of creating a gate at this point or any kind of any kind of barrier to entry. What we're really trying to do is understand where they are. In the spectrum of other candidates that have come before them, as well as obviously folks that we've put out to work here in corporate or in the field.
James Simmons: And so, it is helpful. And I think what we've found with some of our quote unquote senior candidates is they don't score as well as some of the mid-level candidates, because they're not as involved in that on a day-to-day basis in that role, in that skill, whatever, working with that skill, et cetera on a day-to-day basis as.
James Simmons: Folks that are working for them. And so I think it's been interesting for them to see an opportunity to at least expand their knowledge, expand their overall skills and maybe get back into some of that.
Ben Walker: That's really interesting. That's an interesting dynamic. I hadn't thought about that. The more senior people may have moved into a tech lead role and not have been hands-on.
Ben Walker: And if they're being considered for more of a hands-on role or a tech lead role, where they still have to know backwards and forwards what their team's doing in coding, then they would score less well than those that have been more directly involved.
James Simmons: Interesting. Yeah, it's been interesting.
James Simmons: It's been fun though. And I think we see a lot of candidates depending on the personality of course. But we see a lot of people that are interested in at least doing it for purposes of their own self assessment.
Ben Walker: Yeah. Yeah. So, Megan or Maran, is there anything that you've seen has worked well in these circumstances?
Ben Walker: You know, Maran, it may be something you've heard that the agencies supporting the program have done, or Megan, something that, that you, your teams are doing to encourage those who are reluctant to to just complete the test.
Maran Henderson: Yeah. I mean, I think it's all about how you approach it with the candidate.
Maran Henderson: Right. And I think what we find to be successful across our programs that have blended something like Gliders. It's part of the process to James's point; it's not the first step to get you to submit it, right? If you're thinking you have to do this in order to get submitted, there are so many other opportunities out there.
Maran Henderson: Why would you take an assessment when you can just put your resume out there? So really explaining the value and that there might be some extra time on the front end having to take the assessment and go through that. The rest of that process should be, you know, speeding up essentially, right? The manager knows you have technical capabilities to meet it in a lot of cases.
Maran Henderson: It could just be a quick culture call to make sure you're a fit for the team and you're getting that offer. So, you know, the staffing partners really have to show that value, right? This is just part of the process. It's the first step. And that's how they can combat some of that.
Megan Smith: Yeah, I would agree with that.
Megan Smith: I think the key for us is really just making sure we've gotten manager's buy-in first. So, you know, when we've got candidates that are interested in taking the test, we like to be able to have the conversation that managers are brought in. And this is generally the first round interview. So to your point, kind of speeds the process and moves things through a little quicker.
Ben Walker: So the other dynamic here is the remote workforce. And while it already had higher adoption, I'd say over the last, certainly five years pre COVID. Cause companies to virtually overnight change their work from anywhere policies, certainly for contingent workers. And even for employees, those that were reluctant to embrace a policy have had to.
Ben Walker: So that creates new opportunities and challenges for finding talent. So, you know, if I'm in the greater New York area, I can now consider a job in Denver if I wanted to, if I'm allowed to work on that job from home and, you know, even in this greater New York market So I have to work in Midtown Manhattan and I live in Brooklyn.
Ben Walker: I might not want to take that job. But now that I don't have to commute every day, I can go into the office on occasion. So anyway, it hopefully broadens the workforce. Also creates challenges. Managing that workforce creates challenges with qualifying and screening the candidates when they're not sitting in that room with you or that testing center.
Ben Walker: So, Maran has this impacted your ability to screen candidates who might've come in person for an interview or who might've come in person to take a test has this made things easier? Has it made it more difficult.
Maran Henderson: Yeah, it's definitely made it interesting. I will say. So I. You we really rely, I probably alluded to this several times, but from an MSP perspective, we really rely on our supplier partners to make sure that those candidates are being screened by the time they get to us.
Maran Henderson: Right. That they can do that role in some way. So whether that's using a technology likeGlider doing a traditional in-house, I don't know if they even exist anymore. But you know that they're doing some kind of screening on their end that by the time we get it, we know that they can effectively do the job.
Maran Henderson: But I think. Especially with COVID and what we're seeing. You know, I have found such value being a part of a company like Pontoon and having this family of brands like Modis and Megan's team. And my team, you know, we can pull up and say, what are the challenges that our clients are facing?
Maran Henderson: And by putting our heads together, we can allow this kind of bigger thinking approach. And we can go to our clients and say, here's some innovations that can maybe address this remote environment, whether it's a technology like Glider or it's analytics or something that effect and that kind of helps us take them in this race to fill seats that everybody's in, it's such a tight market and it moves more to the strategic, getting the right work done and helping them through this.
Maran Henderson: So, you know, we've had to really be agile and change how we do things. And a lot of that is, you know, collaborating internally to make sure that we're taking all the expert advice from our brands and bringing that to the forefront, to our clients, to make sure that we're adapting with them.
Ben Walker: Yeah. Gotcha. And Megan, has this made your team's jobs easier or harder or both?
Ben Walker: And have you seen them? I was just going to add if you're, if you've seen any customers reverting back and maybe with Alma Cron, they reverted back again. It's a very dynamic environment, but I'm curious if companies also start to say no, now we want people to come in person. And if that's created challenges as well.
Megan Smith: Yeah. So I think, you know, overall the ability to source candidates, really, this has made it easier, right? The ability to work anywhere. However, I think it's very industry and client specific. From my vantage point, it seems like most of our engineering and med device clients really are still working onsite through this.
Megan Smith: So that has been a bit of a challenge finding candidates or, you know, having to go through, you know, time off that kind of thing. The Finance and Insurance vertical really seems to be, you know, they're willing to have candidates work off site that they want people in the market so that when they do go back to offices, They can be face-to-face again.
Megan Smith: And then it seems like most of our high-tech clients really have remained open to, you know, work anywhere environment. So it really depends on the client industry.
Ben Walker: Yeah. I remember maybe six months into the pandemic hearing companies and really big companies say we've permanently switched to remote workforce and I've worked long enough.
Ben Walker: 30 years into my career that nothing is permanent in corporate America, and that policy might change a year from now, but it'll be really interesting to see where things lie. I was on a panel earlier or listening to a panel rather yesterday. And the question was posed is this new dynamic here to stay, regardless of what the outcome of COVID is in terms of how quickly that's not an issue anymore.
Ben Walker: And everyone universally said, regardless of COVID dynamics it's here. So I think it's great that you're finding ways to make the most of that situation and leverage the benefits. And so in screening candidates, you know, recruiters are often the first line of defense, right? So they get on that initial call and you gauge interest and fit and those sorts of things.
Ben Walker: James.,What are you hearing from your recruiters in terms of their challenges and sort of weeding through what's real on a resume and what might not be, and how do I feel comfortable moving this person on to the next stage with my screening capabilities?.
James Simmons: Yeah, well, I've always said, and I think I shared this with you and it's not obviously rocket science what we do but I always felt like recruiters needed to be an inch deep and a mile wide.
James Simmons: Right. In terms of overall expertise and understanding of what clients were looking for and, or their internal or external client was looking for. So I'm not expecting my recruiters to walk in the door, even if they've got 10, 15, 20 years of experience in the space and be able to give a complete java exam and come out of that, knowing that this candidate is the best match for the role.
James Simmons: In addition to that, how we use those technologies individually in groups, how the hiring managers use those externally with clients can be different. And so, you know, it's like agile, there's about 7 million versions of agile. So if it's how we used it internally and certainly fundamentals that are standard.
James Simmons: So what Glider has given the recruiters is the ability to ask in-depth questions and get a good, solid answer. Writing one or two different variations of a good answer is still a good answer and solid enough for us to move them forward with some confidence that they can still do the job. We provide that then to the hiring manager and allow them to see some of those answers and then incorporate that into their own interview process.
James Simmons: So. They are looking at how they answered that question and maybe can follow up with a more in depth question about how we're using it today. Here's how you would be utilizing it in this role, et cetera, and how we could potentially find the best candidate from that match.
James Simmons: So it's given our recruiters the ability to be a little bit more confident in their assessments, which is great, but it also gives our managers. An assessment that they can use that, then they can say, okay, in this case, this is true externally or internally, but in assessment they can use to say, this is how we're using it today.
James Simmons: You're using it in a different way. And maybe that's a beneficial thing and it creates a different kind of conversation during the interview process.
Ben Walker: Yeah. Fantastic. So Megan, how are the recruiters that Modis doing?. Are they hanging in there with this?
Megan Smith: It's tough. But honestly, you know, our recruiters are amazing.
Megan Smith: They have been so resilient through this pandemic and Modis really has put a concerted effort and focus on personal professional wellness during this time. So although the workload has absolutely increased and we've been hiring recruiters to keep up with that demand, the team really has embraced the spike in volume.
Megan Smith: We're just tackling it day by day.
Ben Walker: Yeah. So Maran, the ideal scenario is you screen your screen well. The candidate gets on the job and they crush it. They just are fantastic. You want to keep them as long as possible. The opposite side of that question is they've slipped through a crack or two and.
Ben Walker: You did a great mass screening process, but really don't have the skills and they're not going to be successful in that role. And they're not. And you know, you have unwanted turnover because you just say, look, we need somebody that can do these things faster, more efficiently, more productively, whatever it may be with higher quality.
Ben Walker: How do you, when that happens, how are you measuring quality in your programs? I know it may vary based on the customer and how they want to measure quality, but the quality of the worker is often retroactive. Things that get measured at the end. Have you seen any creative, innovative ways of measuring quality of the workforce?
Maran Henderson: Yeah, I mean, I think, you know, the great resignation, right? And we've been hearing so much about this as of late. And so it's really important for our clients that we're keeping a close eye on. That negative attrition, whether it be a candidate resigning for their own reasons or it's you know, a performance related issue.
Maran Henderson: So I think that's where we see that value in a Glider assessment. Right. We know that a candidate coming in can at some way meet some of the technical requirements, but I think what we've seen and it probably is not the first thing that people think about when it comes to quality and performance.
Maran Henderson: But one thing that makes a big impact is that contractor care piece. So it's, a lot of companies are getting away from, you know, you get a body in the door and then they become a number and they go to the black hole of recruiting. Right. They don't know if they work for second company X or client Y so having that consultant care in those regular check-ins, I think really help assess with quality and performance in real time.
Maran Henderson: So, having staffing partners checking in. How was it going with the candidate, right? Is this the job you thought it was? Because then you can set expectations and keep a happy candidate. But from a manager's perspective, checking in as a candidate on assignment can really, in real time, if you're addressing performance issues, bigger, smaller can really make the difference in the perception of performance.
Maran Henderson: And just by tweaking little things, as you're having those connections can make for a happy candidate staying on assignment and the other happy client and that's a win for everybody.
Ben Walker: Yeah, that's fantastic. I've heard a lot of examples of organizations where they are so worried about co-employment that, to the extent that they've been just sort of trained in some cases, over-trained or trained incorrectly to, you know, you can't give them a performance review, but that's translated into, okay.
Ben Walker: I can't give them any feedback. I have to call an agency and that agency has to give them that feedback. And I've worked with. Particular attorney who has litigated these things in court. And he said, that is not an issue. There's about 50 other risks above that are more important. And so providing that, that feedback directly to candidates as they're doing the work is critical.
Ben Walker: So glad to hear that. That's happening. So we've got about 20 minutes left. I want to focus on sort of the bigger picture, right? So these are, what are we doing today and what do we have to do tomorrow to tackle these challenges? But ultimately there's lots of longer term solutions that are needed. I don't see this demand for tech labor abating anytime soon, if ever, I think it's gonna continue to be an upper trend.
Ben Walker: And so things like upscaling and rescaling are important. Private sector companies working with educational institutions to tailor curriculum, to be more practical for hands-on needs whether it's technology skills or not. So I think that, you know, these are the things I've heard, some innovative solutions here.
Ben Walker: Megan, you talked about Modis Academy. Talk to me a little bit about how that works and I assume that you have people who are very eager to be a part of Modus Academy, because they are going to be a more qualified candidate when they're done with it. But do you have anyone who is sort of reluctant to go through that process?
Megan Smith: Yeah. So Modis Academy was really created with the goal of supporting our customers from a talent environment, so that they're ready. Right. We've got the skills gap. Lots of 80% candidates. Like I mentioned earlier that we just, you know, there's that little piece that's missing.
Megan Smith: So really we've got two primary approaches. We've got the up-skilling piece where we're arming our existing associates with complementary skill sets to provide value. So again, that 80% fit and we'll fill that gap. So think of a Java developer that maybe needs Python training, we can get them trained so that they've got the skills needed.
Megan Smith: We've got the re-skilling piece. So this is when there's more of a gap in the market and Modis can identify candidates with a technical aptitude that we can then train from the ground up. Again, Java developers are in the market's really tough to find W2's out there. We identify candidates and we're actually creating the supply for the demand.
Megan Smith: So we've got lots of clients that engage with us and we partner with them too. You know, create a very customizable training program. It can be virtual, it can be on site. We can do it for clients for their current existing staff, or it can be for modus associates that are onsite. And we have this for our associates that are just working for us.
Megan Smith: So. It's not a full blown academy program that we're actually setting up for a client, but our associates that are working for Modis give them the opportunity to upskill themselves if they have that interest. So we've really found that it helps improve our fill ratios and our retention, and it's also helping our clients from a DNI initiative.
Megan Smith: We're kind of creating environments that provide opportunity for high potential resources that can obtain those needed skills. So it's been a really cool program. We're excited about it.
Ben Walker: That's excellent. It just occurred to me. That might be a good solution for when someone is in there, their quote unquote cooling off period in between assignments.
Ben Walker: So if they're a contingent worker and they've been there 18 months or 24 months or whatever, a company's tenure policy might be go a, if you're a full stack developer and you're, you know, weaker on the front end, go take some front end classes while you're in that cooling off period that. Yeah, a lot of promise to, to the solutions.
Ben Walker: That's fantastic. So James you're recruiting for full-time and contingent. And again, I know you're building as you go and you're iterating rapidly, I'm sure. But do you have any L&D initiatives ongoing to make sure that people as they're continuing their careers or upskilling themselves internally as they remain a DroneUp employees?
James Simmons: Yeah. So from an L&D perspective, we were looking at all the traditional ways for you to utilize upskilling and move up in the organization. But we actually do have a university program, which we're excited about to be launched here in May by a couple of our partners. We've partnered with a few universities to some of that's going to come out from an announcement perspective, but to allow us to take you know, drone pilots for in particular and put them through an individual assessment on glider, assess them through the through the interview process and the talent acquisition process, and then put them into a training program on the job training program to give them the skills necessary to do the job that we need them to do in the delivery side of the house.
James Simmons: And so we're excited about that. It sounds a lot like Modis academy. And so, it is something that allows us to pick through candidates. As I mentioned earlier, primarily, or in the maybe the side hustle space as it relates to flying drones and doing other things and specifically skill them to be experts in what we're trying to have them do from a delivery side of the house.
James Simmons: So we're doing a little bit of both from an internal perspective and traditional roles. We're looking at upscale and the capabilities that you have there within a startup environment that's growing quickly. Like we are, you obviously have a lot of opportunity to prove yourself out and. Move up as you prove that you can either gain the capabilities necessary or have the skills and just maybe haven't used them in a current environment that's a little less applicable outside in an external staffing environment, obviously, but it works really nicely here from a startup perspective.
James Simmons: And then we've got the L&D group working on the university model, which is also very cool.
Ben Walker: Fantastic. I look forward to hearing more about that. Yeah. So one of the other dynamics is looking for a population of workers that really maybe weren't paid enough attention to frankly and a huge one is military veterans.
Ben Walker: And I know there's a lot of upskilling reskilling training programs for military veterans. I heard from a customer a week or two ago that there is an initiative. I think it's department of veterans affairs has a tech training program, but unfortunately, a lot of organizations, both federal government agencies and commercial agencies have education requirements.
Ben Walker: And so they get through this program, they're excited, they're skilled. And then someone thinks them for not having a college education. So I hope that people rethink those policies as well where it's appropriate. And if you can prove that you can do it. And have the skills you need that you don't also have to have, you know, a degree.
Ben Walker: And that's so core to what Gliders values are that we want competency, not credentials to be the reason why you are successful in your career. I think we have time for one more question. Maran you, you get exposed to a lot of different companies. Are you seeing that everyone's relaxing their education requirements for resources where the saying, you know, this is now a nice to have an undergraduate degree or a degree in its particular tech technical acumen is nice to have as long as they can prove that they can do the job and they have the skills.
Maran Henderson: Yeah. I definitely have seen it relaxed over the last few years. I think when it comes into play, is that conversion, right? If there's a company that does a lot of conversions, you have to align some of those specific skills with user experience. And in that case, maybe a degree if they're converted to a full-time employee.
Maran Henderson: So there's some of those challenges still, but I think from a straight, this is true contract work is going to go X amount of time. We have seen her relax a little bit. And to your point, I think that's great because. It used to be, you know, the bachelors was kind of the baseline and then the masters was kind of the next thing.
Maran Henderson: And I just really don't see that happening as much anymore.
Ben Walker: And Maran or James any experiences that you've had or you know, James, I don't know if this is applicable in, when you're going out to candidates for the roles and educational requirements being nice to have, or must have.
James Simmons: Yeah, it depends on the role still, right? It depends on the manager, but you know, we are forcing people to look more at skills that look more at background and competency as opposed to those credentials.
James Simmons: You know, as I mentioned before we kind of look holistically at candidates, which is exciting. We don't get that. We didn't get that in my, in our old role. I'm more focused on filling job needs for large fortune 1000 clients. You kind of have to go with what their hiring managers are looking for here.
James Simmons: We can challenge hiring managers, assumptions you know, everything from price equals experience, right? Which we've all had for years and years to skills and background. Over credentials. And so we definitely see it. We also, from a military perspective, we're a huge military employer and continue to look through how we can bring more and more of those individuals into this environment.
James Simmons: We're obviously here in Virginia Beach today, but we're going to be around the country very shortly. With some offices opening, but right now in the Virginia Beach area, we have a lot of folks that are leaving the military and coming in. And we see that as a tremendously valuable background and applicable to a lot of different roles specifically in our delivery side of the house, because there's a lot of training there that comes along with that.
James Simmons: So I, yeah, I mean, I think overall I'm seeing it less of a focus. I've got a daughter in college. I'm paying a lot of money to go to college. There's at some point for her but but anyway, overall I always tell her, you know, it's going to be about how you do on the first interview and how, you know, from a personality perspective, how you're relating to the team, how much of a cultural fit you're going to be, and then how adept you are going to be at learning the environment and being somewhat.
James Simmons: Somewhat beneficial to the overall team. That's going to matter at the end of the day, and they're not going to remember a year in that you have a degree from a great college. It's just going to be about what you've done for them in the last year, from a company perspective and help. So that I, you know, as we continue to challenge hiring managers, both externally and internally I think the next five years will prove that you know, people will start looking less at those types of things and a whole lot more they're holistic background.
Ben Walker: Interesting. You know, I have a son who's graduating this spring from college as well. And I remember telling him when he was probably, I don't know, eighth grade, maybe an early high school. I didn't, he did not have to go to college if he didn't want to go to college. And there's lots of, I've had lots of friends with businesses where they did not have a college degree, incredibly successful between peer pressure and just, it is sort of the de facto.
Ben Walker: This is what you do. You go to high school, you go to college. I know that's a reality and I certainly same, you know, done paying the college tuition. I'm glad that he did get a job, thank goodness for this wonderful job market. But you know, I think that this is something that lots of people will have to rethink and an interesting topic for sure.
Ben Walker: With the time that we have left we have about eight minutes and want to make sure that people have time to get to the next session or their next meeting. If anyone has a question from the audience that you want to pop into the, to the Q/A please do, and I guess I'll give it a minute to see if anyone does and just say in closing, thank you all for attending and thank you to the panel for all of the great insights and examples of things that are working well.
Ben Walker: And these challenging times. So appreciate all of your time and focus and I'll just stay on for a minute. Just to see if there's any questions that come in and otherwise we'll just get, we'll give it a minute or 30 seconds maybe. And we'll wrap up anything else the panel wants to add, I guess I'll say that as a filler while we're waiting to see if any questions come in.
Ben Walker: No pressure, but if anybody has any other thoughts,
Ben Walker: It looks like there was a good frothy discussion going on among the attendees. So that's fantastic. No specific questions coming in, so we'll wrap it up there. Thank you again for your time. Megan, James, Maran really appreciate it. This was a lot of fun for me. And thanks everyone. Take care.
James Simmons: Thank you,
Maran Henderson: Ben. Thank you.
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