Episode 002: The Head Hunt for Hidden Talent

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Hiring motivated, qualified employees is an integral part of any business’s success. Finding the right employees with the proper skills and experience can place your company on a trajectory to maximize effectiveness and reach your highest goals. But with today’s low unemployment rate, finding and appealing to the right candidates is tougher than ever.

Kim and Paul host David Salters, CSP, TSC, a Member and the Director of Sales and Operations for Warren Averett Staffing & Recruiting, to uncover how businesses should create a recruiting strategy, how to know if your business is offering benefits that can compete with others and what new technology may mean for the types of employees businesses need.

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Commentator [00:00:00]

Welcome to The Wrap. A Warren Averett podcasts for business leaders designed to help you access vital business information and trends when you need it so you can listen learn and then get on with your day. Time is tight. That’s why our advisors have wrapped up today’s most timely topics into a podcast with actionable advice. Now let’s get down to business.

Paul Perry [00:00:23]

Good morning Kim. How are you today.

Kim Hartsock [00:00:24]

Good morning.

Paul Perry [00:00:25]

Good to see you. Glad you’re here in Birmingham with us.

Kim Hartsock [00:00:29]

Beautiful sunny day. Little humid outside.

Paul Perry [00:00:31]

And no traffic because it’s the summer. 

Kim Hartsock [00:00:33]

And it’s not Atlanta.

Paul Perry [00:00:34]

And it’s not Atlanta. That’s true. Well for today’s podcast we have with us one of our partners here at Warren Averett David Salters head of our client service team of H.R. solutions runs our staffing recruiting division. David welcome.

David Salters [00:00:47]

Welcome. Thank you for having me. Good morning to Birmingham Kim yet again. 

Paul Perry [00:00:51]

So today we’re gonna be having some conversations around the war for talent that David is always talking about and kind of what do companies need to be thinking about as we move along with the economy as it’s been good and it will shift and it will change but really we want to just have a have a good conversation about that war for talent. Any any opening thoughts to kind of get us started on the on the war for talent what do companies need to be thinking about as they’re changing how they hire folks. 

David Salters [00:01:25]

Well one thing I think companies need to know is first of all you’re not alone. So you’re not the only person facing this issue it’s it’s a national issue in the U.S. It’s a global issue but with the economy has improved and it’s been strong for a couple of years now and it’s put a lot of pressure on everybody not only the employees but the employers H.R. departments individual business owners so you’re not alone and you do need to be thinking about it if you don’t have a strategy for talent for not only acquiring talent but retaining talent you probably should start thinking about that.

Paul Perry [00:02:03]

How did that had it. How does a company go about setting up that strategy. They think about this year next year five years from now 10 years from now how far out does that strategy need to stretch.

David Salters [00:02:13]

Well it depends on where that company is. If if you’re at ground zero and you’ve thought nothing of it you probably need to do some type of analysis of where are you today. And you can start with the old you know do we have everyone on the bus that we need on the bus and as everyone in the right seat. Right. I mean if you look over your organization especially your key team members and ask yourself Do we have those people in those right seats. You probably already can think of a person or two you know that you wish you had right or maybe wish you didn’t have on your team. And then also one thing to think about that is if you have a key employee maybe that’s disruptive in your group right. They have a lot of talent but they don’t align with your cultures and values. You put a lot of your other good employees at risk with that as well. So strongly evaluating what you have today look at your wish list and then start there with truck. How do we attack that wish list. What do I need to run this organization and into your point. Well what will this organization look like in a few years whether it’s three years of five years how’s technology going to affect what you do and how you provide for your clients and project your staff right up against what the future. Do you think it will look like and start building your strategy around that.

Kim Hartsock [00:03:31]

So what I hear from clients and business owners all the time is just how difficult it is right now to find good people because unemployment is virtually zero it’s close it’s close to that. So how do you find those good people and then the next step right is to retain those good people that you already have or that you’ve worked so hard to recruit in. What’s your advice when companies are just starting to get you know maybe they just started working with you or they’ve never really been proactive of kind of going after it true strategy to bring in new talent. How do you start with that.

David Salters [00:04:09]

Well proactive is the right word. You know most everyone at this stage that calls us for example and says David we need help finding  X position whether it be a staff level position or even the senior level position. Almost every search that we conduct today is what we call it. It’s a true head hunt meaning there are really no passive candidates meaning someone who is literally unemployed reading job boards or looking for help. Look for help finding a job. And so the strategy for us is we have to identify what you’re looking for and go out to the marketplace find someone sitting in a seat conducting that same role or similar role and then convince them to make the change. Leave that seat come to your seat right as it as a key to the structure of their career. So. That’s extremely labor intensive. And in today’s world we talk a lot about millennials and different communication styles we have a lot of technology. But at the end of the day this is a personal communication game. It is on the phone. You know we can use text or instant messages or LinkedIn messages to maybe connect with someone in the very beginning but to have a conversation and to share what your company does for someone’s career. That just takes a lot of time. The amount of hours right it is are untold. So you almost need an advocate to conduct that for you even if let’s say you had a natural gift as a business leader for conveying the message of your company and what it can do for someone’s career. How much time would you have to do that. Right. So it’s really proactive so I would I would warn business owners you can spend money on Indeed.com on Linked In on CareerBuilder but the audience may not be there because they have a job.

Kim Hartsock [00:06:01]

That’s right. And they don’t know that they’re looking for a job. So when people hear that they automatically think low unemployment somebody has got a job that means I’ve just got to pay more. Right. And so what’s kind of the what else is it to this story. It’s not always just offering somebody more money. Right. There’s more to it that makes someone choose to leave the job that they’re in and decide to come work with you. So what else is there besides just offering them more money.

David Salters [00:06:29]

Yes. So the money is a baseline. Right. So in this environment the numbers are out there unemployment across the board is three point six according to the Bureau of Labor Stats in more technical positions. It’s less than that. And so that the salary the compensation is a baseline. So basically your ticket to be in the game too much is a salary has to be at market at least. OK. And then the next step is really the data shows that the most compelling requirements for a new job seeker is Will. What I do have an impact on something or someone. Am I making a difference in the world and I’m making a difference to my company and I’m making a difference to my teammates. And can you share that story with them. Right. That’s very important. Obviously their true career trajectory as well. Can they gain experience that’s relevant that that can help them grow and you need to come to terms with someone can use your job for a stepping stone in it. You know there’s an old saying and what if we train our people and they leave and then you know the this other corner is where if we don’t and they stay. That’s right. Right. Right. So in your view you hold that let’s say if you find a really talented person they come to your organization for a few years but they leave it better than they found it. That’s open for you. That’s Randy right. That’s.

Commentator [00:07:53]

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Paul Perry [00:08:06]

I’m sorry Kim but they just talked about market price right. So if I haven’t if I hadn’t been proactive and I haven’t changed the way I’ve been doing things for the last three or five years and now I’m going to go out there and try and find certain folks. Well not my my market is different than their market. May maybe on too low and maybe I’ve got to ratchet up so I’ve got to be prepared for that. Right.

David Salters [00:08:25]

That’s it. Yes absolutely right. And think about your own conflict of interest right. So if you’re a business owner you want the numbers to show lower than they are so you don’t have to pay as much as you need to right. You really need someone to advise you. So even if you have an internal H.R. person right that’s going to work on behalf of of having a great talent strategy for you. But go seek the data right secured that let the data tell you the story of what’s going on in the world because for example Kim you’re in Atlanta and you know that the salaries are just higher right. There’s the cost of living is higher and it has to has to be considered and also want to share this. We have a lot of business owners that have you know they’ve they’ve really built some wonderful businesses. They put their entire life into into these things and they’re fantastic. And but all too often we will hear that business owners say well you know we really need someone to come in and show us and prove to us they deserve to be a part of this organization that we can build and buy. It’s almost like the sweat equity in a classic car that you restored right you’ll never get that money back out. Right. It just means too much to you. Right. So I would just encourage you to disengage from your personal feelings. Right. and seek the data. And there’s plenty of ways that to get data and it’s really we can pay for more data. The more details you need you can pay for more data but it’s out there.

Paul Perry [00:09:46]

And Kim I can imagine that at some point the who I’m hiring is different. Right. So as we’ve talked about another broadcasts every every company is becoming a tech company every company is becoming a data company. I would think that. That there is some sort of. I’ve got to hire a different person. I’ve never been used to hiring before.

Kim Hartsock [00:10:05]

That’s right. Maybe it’s a new position even right. You’ve never even had that type of position you never needed that.

Paul Perry [00:10:11]

Are there any of those types of positions David that that are out there that companies have to start looking at that they may not have looked at in the pasr.

David Salters [00:10:19]

Data analysts is number one right. So business analyst you name so we have a lot of clients and if you just do a search on you know available jobs in a city you probably won’t get too far down the list you’ll see a business analyst or data analysts people are trying more and more to use the data to give them insight to run their business. And that’s a new position. And right. So many times a client will call us and ask us what do we know. Well the best way to get information about an industry or position is to talk to the candidates. They do that for a living. That’s right. And people like to talk about what they do. And so that’s you know again if you if you do engage with a headhunter or someone help you fight to fill a role ask that person how much experience do you have hiring this in a position because that’ll give you some insights into what information have they picked up on. What does it mean to be a good business analyst. Right. So lean on that information.

Kim Hartsock [00:11:17]

And David there’s been a lot of I mean we’re we’re a CPA firm. We we have a lot of accountants. Team and if you do any sort of Google search around the top positions that are going to be replaced by A.I. by technology accountants the technical world of accounting is at the top of every one of those lists and so you know Paul we’ve done a lot of research in our firm around how do we prepare for what is coming and making sure that our team is trained on being advisors. Right. Because A I can’t be an advisor right. They can do the technical compliance work but they can’t advise and I would assume that there are some things related to what you do that may be on the list of A.I. as well. But just as we’ve reflected and you know figured out well where do we need to move towards. What does that look like for the world of staffing and recruiting.

David Salters [00:12:18]

Yes so A.I. is already here it’s that all of our conferences you know it’s a topic of conversation and we’ll we already use technology in our group to help us especially on the front end. So we call it sourcing we’re sourcing for candidates. So the ability to go out and data mined from different databases really helps us. So it’s it’s in the beginning I mentioned earlier this is still a phone game right. So technology. It’s almost like you mentioned is that can’t hope to be an adviser. So for us it really can help you be a recruiter it can help you be so certain. Right. So you sure to find the candidates but once you have identified a candidate again a robot can’t tell the story of what it means to work for your company. Right. So that becomes the human element really comes into play there. As a matter of fact I think just in my experience in some of the really leading industry veterans feel A.I. really is going to help our industry in but some of the doomsday prep you know rhetoric is going to replace recruiters actually polemic strength and much like I think able advisors. That’s right in the accounting world makes you more efficient ones or adds value because again who’s gonna have a conversation regarding who’s going to be right your. Advocate. Now in this war for talent.

Paul Perry [00:13:38]

So so that AI I mean anybody can put any words on a resume and I will pick it up and say Here I’ve got four data analysts. Well that’s right. If I just put data analysts get I’ve never done it nobody asks me. My experience. Then you’re gonna get into a lot of maybe bad hiring decisions right. Because if I’m letting all of AI handle it for me and I’m not actually talking to the people so when you’re out there talking to those staffing recruiting companies that I would assume the question is how much of A.I. do you use and how much of the human aspect do you use.

David Salters [00:14:10]

That’s right. And I would just think about a scenario even if it’s a larger company it has a formal H.R. department internally which includes a recruiting department almost all of our clients to have formal internal departments are extremely stressed. So the. I actually have compassion for these individuals that are sitting in the recruiting seat. They’re overwhelmed. The workload is too high. There’s too many open positions and then just becoming a funnel right now that’s a position I think that technology could could really help relieve the stress on because that too in today’s world I don’t think that person has the ability but not not due to their talent but to their time constraints to provide the service that they’re that the company needs to provide. Right it’s literally becomes a paper pushing job. They’re going to. OK. We have an internal job posting our Web site posted out on some job boards and I’m going to be a funnel of information. I’m just as prescreener right. So we have the the initial prescreen done by the technology of whatever vendor you’re using to post jobs and then that will reduce the universe of applicants. If there are any because you know if it’s a data analyst you may not have any applicants but because those folks are looking for jobs. Well let’s say it’s a more general job like a receptionist. And I’m going to fall that down and just use my intuition as an employee knowing what I know and I’ll get that to the hiring manager say Here’s my top five. OK well multiply that by all people that they support you know there’s no way they can do any recruiting.

Kim Hartsock [00:15:46]

And oh by the way they’re handling personnel issues that are internal. They’re handling changing benefits and re enrollments and you know it’s funny because the one of the top jobs that it says I won’t replace is H.R. manager. That’s right. Right. So there you can you think about what a I can’t replace which is human interaction. The relationships are I think if you think managers are definitely filled with those responsibilities.

David Salters [00:16:14]

Then they’re also going for days at a time to job fairs so their inbox piles on. Right. So what they have to in a calling us or another recruiting firm to do what. They do again so there’s the value in terms of OK where it is. What can the robot not do. What can technology not do. But I think it can help create some efficiencies in the entry level and in the mid-level process and get back to advising them and being advocates and making decisions.

Paul Perry [00:16:41]

But it’s gonna be really important I guess we’ve we’ve been talking about this low unemployment rate in a good economy but what are the care of me at some point. It’s gonna take a downturn right. And so at some point you’re going to be an influx of just available people. And that’s where I will definitely come into play a little bit more because you’re gonna have a lot more people to funnel down. What are some of the characteristics I guess that is the economy does start to take a negative turn from a talent perspective what is what is that concern that I need to be thinking about in five or 10 years if that should never happen.

David Salters [00:17:13]

Yeah so a couple of things on that note so I’ve been in the business about 20 years. I’ve seen some ebbs and flows in the economy and in employment markets due to those couple of decades. One thing that stays true is these technical jobs so STEM science technology engineering and math typically struggles stay up stay strong regardless of the economy. It’s a finite number right supply and demand is what it is. And those positions typically remain strong. It’s really your general type position so anything that doesn’t require specific skill set. I’ll just throw out a very general position like a customer service rep right. You know let’s say but if a company’s business they own they have your customers. There’s a letter right you know demand for that and this tough on those type employees right. So owning the specific skill set really is almost made it may not be recession proof right. But as say it’s rude it’s recession deterrent. Right. And then as an employer as that changes. Okay. Well now we have more supply than we had before and then it becomes. OK. Well why is this person available. All right. So if there was a natural light or economic attrition so people so there’s more people available. Well who got cut off. Why. Right right. Again that’s another thing that A.I really can’t replace is a person having a conversation. Now the the economy shifted and we have more options. Well who do we select. We have we have more options. Who do we select. And again it’s back to having a human interaction to say this is who you should is. This is who will fit your organization and why.

Kim Hartsock [00:18:54]

So here at the wrap we always ask our guests to. Wrap it up in 60 seconds or less. This topic that we’ve been discussing today.

David Salters [00:19:04]

Be aware right. It’s it’s very easy easy. You know Bill saying not to work in your business you know to work on your business right. And almost everyone has talent pain at this stage in the game. So if it’s not a part of your complete corporate strategy to have the right people in the US add it to your strategy. It’s something you can’t avoid it’s not going away. And even when the economy shifts at some point well how do you keep up with having the right people on the bus and having them in the right seat. And I would encourage it to be you know really one of whatever having a core component you have in your business strategy. If talent is not one of those I suggest you add it to the strategy.

Kim Hartsock [00:19:44]

Thank you so much David for joining us. And hope you have a great rest of your day

Paul Perry [00:19:47]

A pleasure talking with you. Always good to see you.

David Salters [00:19:49]

My pleasure to be here. Thanks for having me.

Paul Perry [00:19:51]

Thank you.

Commentator [00:19:52]

And that’s a wrap. If you’re enjoying the podcast please leave a review on your streaming platform to check out more episodes subscribe to our podcast series or make a suggestion for other topics to cover. Visit us at warrenaverett.com/thewrap

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