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Rec Tech: the Recruiting Technology Podcast

Bringing you technology inspired conversations with practitioners and vendors in the recruiting technology arena.

Jun 17, 2018

Brad Goldoor: This is Brad Goldoor, co-founder and chief people officer at Phenom People, and I'm next on the Rec Tech podcast.

Announcer: Welcome to Rec Tech, the podcast where recruiting and technology intersect. Each month, you'll hear from vendors shaping the recruiting world, along with recruiters who'll tell you how they use technology to hire talent. Now here's your host, the mad scientist of online recruiting, Chris Russell.

Chris Russell: That's right. It's time for Rec Tech, the only podcast that helps employers and recruiters connect with more candidates through technology inspired conversations. Today's show is a vendor edition, but first, the Rec Tech podcast is sponsored as always by our friends at Hiretual, the recruiter's best friend. Hiretual's AI engine is a personal sourcing assistant that works for you 24/7. You can conduct email marketing campaigns, source candidates automatically much more through the new version three interface, so if you want to source more candidates, check out Hiretual, find them on the web at


Chris Russell: As the chief people officer at Pennsylvania-based Phenom People, Brad Goldoor manages the talent acquisition team and talent development functions, including interviewing, onboarding and employee engagement. Before that, he spent several years as their VP of business development. Phenom has recently secured $22 million series B funding from investors such as Axa Venture Partners, but today he's on Rec Tech. Brad, welcome to the show, it's great to have you.

Brad Goldoor: Thank you.

Chris Russell: I'm curious, I want to start the conversation by asking you about your transition from biz dev into talent acquisition, not a typical career path, but what's that been like so far for you?

Brad Goldoor: Absolutely. You know, everybody in an organization, in my opinion, is always selling, they're always selling something, whether that's internally or externally. I took the skillset of selling our product to our customers, and started using that skillset to sell the company to potential candidates, and selling all the benefits and our growth trajectory and our innovation, and everything that's unique about our company and our culture, and putting those sales skills to the test on, again, selling the opportunity and selling the company to those potential candidates.

Chris Russell: Yeah. Like recruiting is sales and marketing, as they say. What did you learn from working in biz dev that really serves you well in your recruiting role now, would you say?

Brad Goldoor: Sure. It's all about people, as I had said earlier, and it's being able to read those people, and being that chameleon in changing as necessary to the different personalities, and making sure you're catering to those different personality types and changing your pitch accordingly. That's been a natural transition, to move that over to recruiting.

Chris Russell: Gotcha. Just to set the stage for us, how big is Phenom People terms of employee base and what's the size of your GA team there?

Brad Goldoor: Yeah, we're 350 global employees, and we have a global team of seven.

Chris Russell: Seven, okay. This wasn't on my original list, but besides your own software, Brad, for what tools do you guys have in house for sourcing or using other parts of the recruiting process? Can you name a few for us?

Brad Goldoor: Sure. We do use Glass door, we use Comparably, we of course use LinkedIn as a sourcing tool, and as you had mentioned, of course our own tool.

Chris Russell: Do you guys do a lot of sourcing internally overall, is that a big function?

Brad Goldoor: Yeah, we do do a decent amount of sourcing, we've been able to leverage a lot of our news and press, and use that as a tool to attract talent. By promoting a lot of the awards we win, we find that's a very effective sourcing tool as well.

Chris Russell: Yeah, I do see a lot of your press releases out there in the ecosystem, so that's interesting. Press releases could work, I guess, right?

Brad Goldoor: Absolutely. We have a very large depth of content for a company of our size and stage, and we've been able to use and leverage that working closely with marketing. Recruitment is marketing, in my opinion, and so leveraging all those marketing efforts and all those awards that our marketing team that has helped us win at this point has been a really effective tool and draw, in that people are attracted right to good news and growth and big things happening, and so we've been able to leverage that very nicely.

Chris Russell: Yeah. Just curious, do you use one platform for the press releases, in terms of publishing them, or what do you use for that?

Brad Goldoor: As far as the press releases, we do use a PR firm to push them out, and so we rely on them to get that out into the appropriate media outlet.

Chris Russell: Gotcha. I was reading some of your site and some releases before the call, you guys describe yourselves as talent relationship management, TRM. Is that a way to kind of differentiate yourself in the market from your competitors, who are just going to call themselves, you know everyone's using the term CRM these days, or candidate relationship marketing. Tell me more about that, that phrase, that acronym that you're trying to define for yourself.

Brad Goldoor: Sure. Yes, you know we're bringing a unique and differentiated innovative product to market, and we are also choosing a different name along those lines, and it is actually talent relationship marketing. We believe that this function is being disrupted, and a behavior change is in place to start looking at analytics and campaigns and conversions, similar to marketing. It's a broad category for recruitment marketing, but we're pointing it as talent relationship marketing and taking our tool to market in that way.

Chris Russell: Okay. Tell me more about how the Phenom platform helps employers become better marketers at their jobs. I know you've got about five different products in this suite there, but let's go a little bit deeper for me, and tell me more about how it actually works and what it does.

Brad Goldoor: Sure. We start by attracting candidates in a personalized career site, giving them that Amazon-like experience on the front end, and as a result, we find the candidates are willing to stay longer, share more data, and have a more engaging experience. As a result of that, we're able to collect more data and make that data meaningful on the back end for recruiters and hiring managers. Then we leverage that into an analytics tool so they can start to look at source attribution, you know time of stay, digging into those analytics and making some data-driven decisions based off of what they're seeing in those analytics. We then move over to the CRM module of it, which allows you to push out proactive nurturing campaigns and target passive talent, somebody who may have come and visited the site, used their LinkedIn profile for some personalized recommendations.

Brad Goldoor: Though they didn't apply to a job, we can now take that audience and segment it and market specifically to those people who came and showed some intent but didn't necessarily apply, and nurture them through the process, and again, look at more analytics on what's converting, what's not, and how those results end up. Then the last piece to the platform, we take that internally to an internal mobility module where we're hosting an internal-only career site, and enabling and allowing employee referrals to be done from that part of the platform.

Chris Russell: Going back to the career site for a second and the Amazon experience around the apply process, do you kind of have more of a one-click apply or an easy way to apply to job these days? It's kind of a big candidate experience a problem out there, but how do you guys handle it?

Brad Goldoor: Microsoft is actually one of our customers and they actually offer, I think, six easy ways to apply, from using your Microsoft login, your LinkedIn profile, various other social feeds and anything that you might have set up for a Microsoft account at any time. Those are one way that we enable the easier apply, but it's really personalizing the content to the person's experience, just like we use machine learning, so every visit and every click, every piece of content that you consume, we further personalize that experience so that it's the most relevant to them.

Chris Russell: Give me an example of that personalization, if you could.

Brad Goldoor: Sure, Yep. Great question. If you're clicking on and looking at sales or biz dev jobs, I should see a video of a day in the life, I should see a message from the chief sales officer, I should see other jobs that are related to sales or biz dev that I might want to also look at, any blog posts, employee testimonials, all of that content that's relevant to what I'm actually searching for and looking at at that time is served up in that personalized format.

Chris Russell: Right. Okay. On the pipeline side, you talked about nurturing a bit. Tell me more about how that works. It sounds like you really need kind of a marketing person to really run this thing on the back end, in terms of the administration of all this. I wondered if you could touch on that briefly too.

Brad Goldoor: Sure. You're starting to see new job titles pop up in recruiting departments, whether it's employer branding or recruitment marketing, and so those types of people, and they are coming from marketing backgrounds. Our tool is very user friendly, and we can train and enable and teach a new skillset to existing recruiters and talent acquisition leaders with a very simple user interface on the backend. Setting up campaigns is really, you know we make it very turnkey and simple for them to execute, but we are seeing a mix, like I said, of people with marketing backgrounds getting into those roles with new titles, as well as existing people, and we're training them and giving them, again, new skillsets to stay relevant in the market. That's some of the benefits of the nurturing tool on the backend.

Chris Russell: I know there's a piece in there for AI, everyone's got that, but tell me more about what's involved with that, is it true AI?

Brad Goldoor: Yeah. Artificial intelligence, we have live examples of that on some of our customer sites today. One good visual example to illustrate that is our job recommendations. If you're looking at one job, and we're going to suggest five or seven other jobs that are relevant to that, most people do that either key word or location-based, and while those are two of the data points that we'll use in our analysis, we're actually recreating the human behavior. We know that every thousand job seekers looking at this job are most inclined to look at these five or seven jobs on the right hand side, and because of that, we get a higher pull through and click through rate on those jobs, because it's based off of that artificial intelligence or recreating that human behavior, and so it becomes even more personalized and relevant. That's the best illustrative example I have of our AI, where you can actually see it in action.

Chris Russell: You mentioned the conversion rate there, a typical employer website today I think is around, I don't know, between seven and 10% depending on who you ask. What are you guys seeing as far as conversion rates go on some of your job listings with some of your clients?

Brad Goldoor: We're almost double those numbers.

Chris Russell: Double, excellent. That's good to hear. Brad, what's the basic price point of the Phenom product, can you give us some idea of what it costs?

Brad Goldoor: Yeah, so on the low end, it starts at about $50,000, and it can go up into the hundreds of thousands, even to more fingers than that, depending on the size of the company and the customer, but starts at $50,000 on the low and goes into the high-to-mid six figures.

Chris Russell: All right, let me take a quick break, listeners, so I can tell you about our other sponsor today, which is Robo Recruiter, and they're a recruiting chatbot technology. Robo Recruiter's job vet campaigns help recruiters vet and select candidates for particular roles, and make it easy to quickly build conversations that are both personalized and engaging. Start prioritizing your candidates within minutes, go to and tell them you heard it on Rec Tech. You mentioned Microsoft before, Brad, what are some other examples of career sites you power today that listeners could go to? Could you rattle off a couple of maybe URLs for us?

Brad Goldoor: Sure, gladly. Whole Foods southwest, Deloitte General Motors, those are some of the good ones that are out there for people that you could take a look at it and see the Phenom experience that we're deploying on career sites.

Chris Russell: Awesome, definitely check that out. Did you guys just do Proctor and Gamble's site too, or is that someone else?

Brad Goldoor: No, that was not us.

Chris Russell: Sorry. I've seen a few releases about career sites in the news, and I know you guys have done some of those, it must have been a different vendor. All right, Brad, thoughts about the onboarding and employee experience at Phenom, I mean tell me more about your philosophy there in terms of onboarding. Are you guys doing anything to kind of make the employee experience better even after they start?

Brad Goldoor: We sure are, this is definitely a hot topic for me right now personally. One of our internal mantras at Phenom People is "not normal", and we tend to do things that are in line with that. On people's first day, we set them up with a buddy and agenda, their computer is up and running and ready to go with their email already entered in. We have a day one agenda, a week one agenda, we have a buddy for them when they come in, and we have their backpack and other swag items ready to go. They've already completed their paperwork online, we use Zenefits as an onboarding tool, so a lot of companies I know use that first day to actually do that paperwork, that's already done. We take them into a room for about an hour and a half and go through a deck to explain the company's history.

Brad Goldoor: I do that myself, I'm one of the co-founders and I'm our chief people officer, so having time with me and talking about how we originally started the company and the history people tend to find very engaging, it's interactive, they ask questions and get a good amount of time sitting there with me. Then really the most unique thing that we do in the onboarding experience is before they start, we actually reach out to one of their loved ones or friends, and ask them to submit a video wishing them good luck on their first day, and we play that video for them individually. The response has been from tears of joy, to smiles, you know that their cheeks hurt. We've had dogs, we've had neighbors, we've had kids, and we actually had one employee, it was a two and a half minute video with 12 people from around the world, he had in-laws in India, he had friends in different countries, and literally they went through, you know his wife played music to the background.

Brad Goldoor: It's been such, it's literally the favorite part of my job right now, is getting to play those videos on the first day. People are blown away when they see the effort that we did, and from a company standpoint, it doesn't cost us anything. The next natural question that I get asked with this is, "Well, how do you get that individual's friend or family member's contact information?" In the onboarding in Zenefits, they actually have to put an emergency contact in, and so you know they put an emergency contact in usually with a cell phone number, and I text them. Then the spouse or the friend, whoever it is, they're so impressed by what we're doing for the employee, and so sometimes they ask actually about working here by going through that experience. It's been really a unique and rewarding, and a really a fun thing to do, and again, the response has been just off the charts on it.

Chris Russell: That's amazing. I love great onboarding stories, and you're right, it doesn't cost much to onboarding right.

Brad Goldoor: Absolutely.

Chris Russell: I'm glad to hear that companies are changing their tune around that stuff. All right Brad, just a couple more questions for you before we end here. Lots of HR tech startups out there today, you know to me it seems like we're in the golden age of HR tech funding, because everything's getting funded from, whether it's here in the US or overseas. What advice would you give a today's HR tech startups just starting out? You've been in the business for awhile, what's one piece of advice you learned over the years to help you grow your company?

Brad Goldoor: Sure. I would say trial and error, fail and fail fast, and get your product out to market even though you know it's not going to be perfect. Your first version of your product should be a junker. If you go back and look at Amazon's first site in 1999 or whatever it was, you know you can see, right? I would say get your product out there, let people bang on it, iterate it based off of that feedback, and don't aim for perfection, and really operate with complete agility and just learn from those mistakes, is some of the best advice that I've gotten and that I could give forward.

Chris Russell: Nice. All right, last question. Are you hiring? Tell us where and how to apply, give us some highlights there.

Brad Goldoor: Absolutely, yes, of course we're hiring. We've got, you can go to and see all the open positions. I think we've got about a dozen open there on the site right now in the US, and so we're looking for sales and account management specifically, entry level sales, enterprise sales, account management are some of the ones off the top of my head. I know that we're aggressively in product also putting some of that series B money to use and filling those roles. Again, you can see all the open positions on our career site, which of course we deploy on our own platform and product as well.

Chris Russell: Awesome. Well Brad, appreciate you joining me today, learned a lot in a short time, and appreciate the stories.

Brad Goldoor: Thanks for having me.

Chris Russell: Yep. All right, that'll do it for this edition of the Rec Tech podcast, thanks again to our sponsors, remember Hiretual and Robo Recruiter. Don't forget, you can subscribe to the show via iTunes, Google Play, SoundCloud and Stitcher radio. Thanks for listening everyone, and remember, always be recruiting.

Announcer: Another episode of Rec Tech is in the books. Follow Chris on Twitter @ChrisRussell, or visit, where you can find the audio and links for this show on our blog. Rec Tech media helps both HR tech firms and employers to get more clients or candidates through our consulting practice and online tools, so be sure to check out our sites, like recruiting headlines, job fairing, and more to stay up to date on what's happening in recruiting. Thanks for listening, and we'll see you soon on the next episode of Rec Tech, the recruiting technology podcast.