This week’s episode features insider knowledge on the processes behind hiring and recruiting remote talent from someone who has been deeply involved in the industry for over a decade.
Greg is the Senior Recruiter at Dynamite Jobs, as well as one of The Bossman’s closest friends. Avid listeners might remember his name from the “ferret story” that we’ve shared on this podcast in the past. (We’ll touch on it again in this episode as well)
His addition to our team has been pivotal as we’ve been developing our flat-rate done-for-you recruitment services.
Greg joins us on the podcast this week to talk about his history in the job recruitment industry, how and where he finds the best candidates for jobs, which skills are in the hottest demand right now, and so much more.
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Ecom CFO provides the process, tools, and team to maximize profitability at a lower cost than you could otherwise hire and manage yourself. If it touches the bank account, they manage it.
There is no better way to optimize your e-commerce business profitability than to reach out to the team at Ecom CFO, and a big thanks to Ecom CFO for sponsoring the show.
Do you have ideas for things you’d like Dan and Ian to discuss on future episodes?
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Dan: I don’t know if you know this, but for fans of this podcast, you actually have some notoriety, because for better or for worse, until now, you’ve been ‘the ferret guy’.
Greg: And that’s fair.
Dan: Happy Thursday morning. Welcome back to the pod. Today’s episode, a little bit navel gazing, just gonna get in front of it. If you recall, a while back Ian and I did these long form interviews about our entire backstory. Today’s episode is a little bit of a continuation of that. We’re going to tell our own story and talk about one of the most exciting things that happened in our business recently, which is how we came to work with today’s guest, Greg. And it was a really unique hire for us because, I’ll try to explain it this way – we couldn’t afford Greg until we hired him. So I don’t know if this is unique to service business, something we’re learning, but maybe it’s just a mindset limitation we’ve had over the years. But the capabilities that Greg unlocked in our business were so powerful that we were able to afford him once we brought him on the team. So I don’t know, does that make sense or not?
So today, we’re gonna be introducing you to Greg, who is our senior recruiter at Dynamite Jobs. And he’s been brought on really to help us become the go to place for finding remote staff, not just finding them via recruiting, but by a variety of services and products that we’ll be cooking up in the coming months. And, let’s cross our fingers, years. So we talk a little bit about that. And also, even if you’re not using a service like DJ, we’re going to try to share some useful things for anyone advertising jobs, interviewing candidates, that includes where we’re looking for them, and how we decide whether or not they’re a good fit. Also some timely stuff like what skills are in hot demand at the moment. Just want a 180 view of hiring from someone who has been up close and personal in this world for over a decade.
Greg: My name is Greg. And I’ve been doing recruiting for almost 15 years now.
Dan: Where are you based?
Greg: I’m based in Virginia, outside of Washington DC, grew up here, left for a little bit to go to San Diego, and then back for the last 15 years.
Dan: So, Greg, I don’t know if you know this, but for fans of this podcast, you actually have some notoriety, because this might sound unbecoming. But for better for worse, until now, you’ve been the ferret guy.
Greg: And that’s fair.
TMBA 515 Ian: So the reason I decided to move to San Diego was – I had always kind of liked the idea of living in California. I got the idea with a good friend of mine who was also graduating, who I grew up with. And so, we packed up the U haul. Then we put it behind Greg’s truck. And we had Greg’s ferrets with us. And ferrets are these little, these little cute animals kind of rat-like but much longer. And I guess the interesting thing about ferrets is they’re illegal in California and so that that becomes an issue once we get to the California border.
Greg: Funny thing is, I remember listening to that episode. And I think, you know, I sent Ian a text and I was like, ‘Man, I made it onto the podcast’. But yeah, for some reason I got two ferrets in college. So we had to smuggle them in some blankets crossing the border. And then we got there, trying to find a place to live. We stayed in the hotel.
TMBA 515 Ian: And we check in. And this is a perfect place to let the ferrets run around because they’ve been in the truck for the past week almost. And we decided that we need to go out and get some dinner. So we put the Do Not Disturb tag on the outside of the hotel door. We go out to dinner and we come back and the tag is off the door. Open the door and the ferrets are gone. We asked the staff if they’d been in there and they said yes. We asked them if they’d seen the ferrets. They said no. And so eventually we call it animal control. Someone had called them in and basically Animal Control says ferrets are illegal in California. We are going to euthanize them unless you get them on a plane in the next couple of days. And so Greg put his ferrets on a plane and they traveled back to Virginia.
Greg: So I no longer had any ferrets and I don’t think I ever saw that ferret again.
Dan: Greg, what is your connection with Ian?
Greg: One of my best friends. We went to middle school together, and then high school together. And then a little bit of college. So we’ve been friends since we were you know, probably 14 years old.
Dan: Was it difficult to leave Southern California when you decided, you know, it was time to go back home.
Greg: I guess a little bit but I had a girlfriend that I’d been with for a couple years now. And she kind of not really said this but like, ‘Hey, are you coming back home or not?’ So I just decided I didn’t really have a whole lot going on in San Diego. At that point. I was still parking in cars and working in restaurants, which I love, nothing wrong with that. I just thought it was time to go back home.
Dan: What do you think was gonna happen to Ian at that point when you walked out?
Greg: I thought he was gonna cry. I think I took him to his favourite restaurant. And I kind of broke the news to him. I think we had some good laughs about it. I was like, ‘Hey, I might come back in a couple years though’. And then I never came back.
Dan: Greg, tell us about how your career started. What was your break? I remember this. You’re scanning job posts, and all the jobs say that you need to have experience, and then you don’t have that experience. How did you get through that hurdle so to speak?
Greg: Yeah, I had an interesting situation. So I think I just got really lucky when I found this job that I’d been out for a long time. I didn’t know what recruiting was, I didn’t know what staffing was. I didn’t know it was a career. But when I moved back east my girlfriend at the time, now my wife, was actually babysitting for one of the founders of the recruiting company. And she said, ‘Hey, my boyfriend’s moving back, are you guys looking to hire a recruiter’. And then at the same time, one of my good friends from college, he had just joined that company about a year before me. And he put a good word in for me. So I kind of fell into my lap. So if you don’t have a lot of experience, I think a lot of you know, referrals is probably one of the best ways to go.
Dan: So many recruiters, churn out of the profession. Now what was it about you that allowed you to be sustainable and have success with it?
Greg: So I’m a competitive person, you know, I think you kind of have to be in any type of sales roles, any kind of recruiting role. I like adding value. At the end of the day, I like placing people that were really awesome at what they did, they’re really cool people, and would build a little bit of a relationship with them. Sometimes I would talk to somebody for the first time but not really help them find a job till 12 months later. I like to stay in touch with those people just because they were similar to me. It was easy to hold a conversation with them. So I think a lot of it’s, you know, how hard you work, but then also building relationships, wanting to add value by helping people find jobs, but then also helping companies find really good people.
Dan: Have there been things that you’ve observed that have changed about recruiting over your career thus far?
Greg: More recently, of course, remote stuff all companies are hiring remote, but prior to that. There really haven’t been a lot of changes. It can be stressful, it can be very time consuming. You know, they’re not able to attract the best talent so they want to work with companies who can help them do that.
Dan: When things went remote, what happened there?
Greg: Couple things. The candidate pool opened up – there’s more people, you know, usually, in traditional recruiting, when there was no remote work, you had to stay within a 50 mile radius of the person you were trying to, you know, find to join the company. So your pool of candidates was fairly small, and especially depending on the location of the country, it could be even smaller. But when remote opened up, you had the whole country or outside of the country to find the best talent. So you would be able to talk to a lot more people that were just as good and, you know, you’d have access to a lot more candidates, once you know, companies started letting people work from anywhere.
Dan: It’s also been a little bit of an .., a little bit of a loss for what we’re calling internally ‘remote first’ companies. So, you know, there are traditional companies that are maybe even technology companies that, you know, always had an office and always had that kind of culture, and now they’re hiring remote people. And that’s a little bit different than a company who was founded on those principles. But those companies that were founded on those principles are now kind of competing with traditional companies.
Greg: That’s on the flip side – remote, when there are only a few companies that were hiring remote, that was a huge bonus, so you would have a pick of a lot of the best, you know, candidates that were out there for each skill set. But now what we’re seeing is that everybody’s hiring remote, so there’s a lot more competition. So instead of candidates, maybe only having one or two remote companies to look at, now they could potentially have 10 to 20 companies that they’re looking at. So it’s good for the candidates right now, where they have access to a lot more opportunities with really cool companies. But now it makes it a little more challenging for the companies to find the right person, as well, because there’s so much competition out there.
Dan: In some ways, this is we’re getting more granular, one word that’s been tossed around a lot is async. So async would be – you instal a little tracking pellet on your computer and your employer makes sure you sit at your desk for eight hours a day. And there’s a ‘showing up’ versus like a ‘results orientation’ company. So I do think remote companies are being forced to, like push their value proposition and make it clear rather than just rely on the old crutch of you know, live anywhere kind of thing.
Greg: I think a lot of companies, what I’m noticing, it’s kind of like you mentioned, are results driven. If you can get your job done in, you know, 20 hours, and you’re good at it, then they’re fine. Even before COVID and remote and all that, the best companies to work for were the ones that weren’t micromanaged. Even though you had to be in an office: everybody’s an adult, you know, you show up, you get your work done, you’re going to have the support that you need from us. But I’m not going to be clocking your hours – I don’t expect you to be here at eight o’clock every day, you don’t need to stay to five, if you have a kids soccer game to go to you don’t need to tell me where you’re going. Now I think the companies that work remotely or have the same mindset. And I think candidates are starting to realise that.
Dan: How did it unfold that we started to work together?
Greg: Obviously, Ian being good friends with him for a long time, we stayed in touch and I followed the Dynamite Circle for a long time. We just started talking, and I guess it’s been three or four years now to where Dynamite Jobs took off. And he was just kind of asking me questions about job boards, and recruiting in general. And as the years went on, we just started talking more in depth about it.
Dan: I recall one early conversation in March, when COVID first hit, we called you on a video conference. It was this first kind of official thing where you were just downloading your knowledge onto us. And we were trying to implement it on the platform somehow.
Greg: That’s right I remember that. It’s a little bit of a new world to me, everything was going remote, it was kind of away from traditional recruiting. One thing that really excites me about dynamite jobs, too, is just the type of companies that we work with, to where they just seem to get it. They want to hire the right people.
Dan: So there was that video conference. And then like, you started showing up to our team calls.
Greg: Ian was like, ‘Hey, could you make it?’ I was like, ‘Of course’. I’d hear what’s going on, and I try to give some insight. And then I was getting excited about it. And I was looking forward to joining those calls and hearing what was going on with the company and the changes and updates and the momentum that you guys were having.
Dan: So that momentum, a lot of it was traffic to our platform and the excitement of people in our network about the opportunity to find great candidates on our platform. But it didn’t solve everybody’s problem. So that kind of ‘aha moment’ was when we had a few clients who were like,‘I don’t want to use your website. I’m too busy. It takes too much time to run these hiring campaigns’ yet, you know, maybe a 20% of the candidates first year salary, which is what a lot of traditional recruiters charge and plus a lot of these recruiters are a little bit out of touch with remote first. We felt maybe, hey, there’s room for a flat rate, ‘We can do a hiring campaign on your behalf, done for you’ product. And that was a big aha moment and really require the expertise of someone like Greg. A lot of these campaigns are for really high level candidates. And we needed somebody really experienced to deal with those high level candidates and high level clients. And that’s the moment we brought on Greg to start honing that offering. So I asked Greg to pull back that black box a little bit and outline his process for finding the right candidates for this service and for any job in general.
Greg: So a good discovery call is first understanding the role and the skill set that somebody is trying to hire for, kind of figure out a little bit about the company and the size of the company, and maybe why they’re hiring and why there’s a need for this person. Did somebody leave the position? Is it just an additional headcount? And then also some of their pain points? Have they been trying to hire somebody before? Are they having issues with not getting enough qualified candidates? You know, are they not? are they finding good candidates, but the salaries off? So really just understanding what they’re trying to hire for at the end of the day. Once we understand the role and you know, learn more about the company, we’ll put a game plan together as a team, and we’ll go market the job. We’ll find the best places, depending on the the job and the skill set, you know, we’ll not only, you know, post a job on Dynamite Jobs, to go through our network and reach out to our database, we will also go to other places that we know attract qualified candidates and good candidates. And we will do a lot of marketing, a lot of promotion to make sure we have as many eyes on the job as possible, because the goal is to find the most qualified person, and there’s a lot of places that they hang out that aren’t your normal traditional job boards. So we want to uncover them.
Dan: How critical is the job ad itself?
Greg: It’s very critical now, as there is a lot of competition. There could be five to 10 other jobs that are very similar to yours, very similar companies that are hiring, that also have the job posted. So what we need to do is make sure, one, we have a really solid job description that talks not only about the hard skill sets, but also the soft skill sets, kind of tells a story of what it’s like to work at the company. So I think it’s critical to have a very well written job description that gives a good overview of the company, as well as the person that you’re hiring for.
Dan: A lot of job ads are boring. I’m just gonna flag that up.
Greg: They are, they’re awfully written, they’re very short, they don’t really give any insight and a lot of times they don’t get a lot of applications.
Dan: Most founders don’t take the time to share the narrative of their company, or the project that they’re looking to get a crew member for, you’re asking someone to change their life, you’re asking a high quality person to change their life. You know, in more traditional industries, you can just lean on the fact that, it’s this company, it’s this job, and the candidate can fill in that narrative for themselves. Because you know, what it means to be a Senior Director of whatever at IBM, but if it’s a small little company, and you take that same strategy, it’s not going to work as well for you. Because no one knows what your narrative is.
Greg: Agree, you’ve really got to tell a story of what it’s like to work there. You know, where the companies come from, kind of why you’re hiring, you know, what the day to day life is. And all these companies that we work with are awesome. I talk to a lot of candidates for all of these different companies, and it’s very easy to tell the story because they are really a great company and really great founders. And I think people generally read the job descriptions and they get excited about working there. Part of the initial calls that we do with candidates is not only to learn about why they would be a good fit for the company and if their skill set matches up and but even something bigger is – is the company a good fit for them? Is their personality going to fit in – do they want to work at a smaller company.
Dan: Well candidates will tell you things that they might not tell the employer that will give you some real genuine insight into whether or not they’re a good fit, whereas typically when a candidate speaks directly to the employer, they’re just no holds barred, ‘hire me, pay me money’.
Greg: I think they’re a little more open. It’s a little more of a casual conversation. It’s really digging into what’s motivating them? Why are they looking for a new position? Are they looking for a remote first culture? Okay, cool. This is probably a good fit for this company. Do they want to work maybe at a 10 person company, okay, this company is 10 people. Alright, they’d be a good fit there. So it’s really understanding what motivates them, and the type of opportunity they’re looking for. And that also has to line up with a company what they’re hiring for. So a lot of our initial calls are just screening for that to make sure it’s a match for both sides.
Dan: One of the things we talked about earlier is this idea of going out and marketing the jobs. So I think everybody knows the big players in remote right now are basically Dynamite Jobs, We Work Remotely, Remote Okay. Is there any other site that’s kind of preeminent in the work from home? Yep.
Greg: There’s a couple smaller ones for niche skill sets, for maybe like developers, Ruby groups, React developers, Laravel developers. So there are some niche job sites that we use.
Dan: And then, of course, there’s sort of the more incumbent ones, there’s Indeed dot com? LinkedIn is a big one.
Greg: So LinkedIn, Indeed, Monster, the old traditional job boards just really don’t do it for me anymore when I’m looking for candidates, it’s a lot of junk that’s out there. It’s not a lot of qualified candidates. And we just don’t get a tonne of good results for it. So honestly, we stay away from even the LinkedIns, and Indeeds right now.
Dan: We have, basically, kind of Facebook group hustles, forum hustles, we have very niche job board hustles.
Greg: We have a huge excel sheet with all of the job boards we’ve used over the last couple years, the success rates. A lot of them don’t work, there are a couple that do. But yeah, there’s also – job boards are great, and it drives a lot of traffic. But if we’re not finding the candidates, or they’re just not out there, we definitely need to go to the forums, the Discourses, the telegram groups. We need to get in there and really find where people are hanging out.
Dan: One of the internal jokes at our company, Greg, is how hard you are on candidates versus the rest of us. So Ian and myself, we’re such optimists, we’re entrepreneurs, we’re like, ‘Oh, this person is really cool. This person’s really interesting’. And you’re like, ‘dogshit, dogshit, dogshit, dogshit’. And you’re just used to this process of finding those gems.
Greg: There’s a lot of things that just X them out immediately – obviously, location, or if they’re applying for a developer job and they’ve never been a developer. So those are easy to x out. But then the other thing is – I’m looking for, you know, the top out of, you know, 100 candidates, I’m looking for the top three. I’m not saying these aren’t good people, or they’re, they can’t be good candidates at certain places, or certain jobs. But, for the ones that I want to, that I feel comfortable kind of putting my name behind and the Dynamite Iobs name behind, I want to find the best candidates out of, you know, 100 applications. Our goal is to save these companies a lot of time, and only send them people that are going to make for productive conversations. So if they tell me, they’re looking for X, I want to make sure the person that I give them has X,
Dan: What are some of the mistakes our clients are making?
Greg: One that jumps out is sometimes looking for somebody that’s maybe not out there, we call it a unicorn. Or maybe their compensation isn’t in line with what they should be hired for, from a skill set perspective. Sometimes not interviewing quickly enough, if they’re seeing good candidates, because the market is so it’s so tight. Whether it’s through us or somebody else, they need to jump and interview that person quickly, because there’s a good chance they’re gonna have two or three other things going on.
Dan: That’s a good one.
Greg: And if you talk to a candidate, and they don’t hear anything back for like, a week, you know, week and a half, then their excitement about the role, you know, is going to go down a lot.
Dan: Are there any other counterintuitive things that you know that our clients might not know?
Greg: So soft skills, with me, is really big. How do they respond to me? Are they responsive through email? You know, are they professional? Are they able to describe their experience in detail? When I say detail, for eg, If I asked them a question about a certain skill set, or certain job they had or project they might have been on, can they give me enough detail to where I feel like they actually did the work themselves? That’s a key indicator if they really know what they’re doing. But I guess, to go back to soft skills, I think the biggest thing is probably responsiveness. Somebody who gets back in a timely manner, somebody who says they’re going to do what they’re, you know what they say they’re going to do, they deliver on a timeline. If they’re going to get an exercise back to me in three days, they do it. Those are some red flags for me if candidates are unresponsive and don’t stick to the deadlines that we talk about.
Dan: If we were to make a movie about recruiting, one of the trailer taglines would be, ‘Where do you want to be in five years?’ That’s a classic entrepreneur question in the interview? What are some classic questions that you ask in your interviews?
Greg: Definitely don’t ask that. I don’t know if I would follow the answer too well, that just seems too far of a timeline. I don’t know what I’m doing next week. But some things that are important to me: what’s motivating you? What’s maybe missing in your current role that you’re ideally looking for? What are some things that are important to you and your next role in your next company? Their availability, you know, of course, compensation comes into play.
Dan: Can you figure out if someone’s lazy by talking to them? Or how does that work?
Greg: Sometimes by the communication style, yeah, you can tell, maybe in a video interview, they’re not, you know, too put together, maybe they don’t seem like they really want to be there, at the end of the day is a huge flag for me. Another thing that’s really important is, before I talk to people, of course, everybody’s seen the job description, because they apply for the role. But I always ask, have they reviewed the job description? Have they had a chance to go to the company website? What do they think about the company, is at a place – I try and get some information from them to make sure they’ve done their research before jumping on a call with me because, to me, that shows that they’re genuinely interested in the company that they’re applying for, if they’ve done their research, if they haven’t, that’s a huge red flag to me, it just seems like they’re applying anywhere and everywhere. And I think it’s really important for them to, you know, not only be a good fit skillset wise, but also a personality fit or cultural fit with the company. And just doing a little bit of research on the company, I think, goes a long way.
Dan: What are some roles that are becoming increasingly difficult or changing in 2021? For example, one of the things we’ve noticed internally is that remote WordPress developers based in America, that stock is skyrocketing right now, you have to pay a lot more for that than you did last year or the year before.
Greg: So what I’m noticing is, I think technical jobs are really hard right now, developers are in really high demand. Ruby’s really hard right now, it’s kind of a niche technology. So we’re having some struggles with that, with finding good candidates. But right now the technical jobs are some of the ones that are the hardest to attract the talent.
Dan: If you had a maybe a young person say, ‘Hey, I’m going to go to some online university, or I’m going to go to real University, in the next month’, what would be the majors that would be really profitable for them to focus on both technical and non technical right now?
Greg: Technical, front end development is huge – React, great skill set, Node is a great skill set, getting into DevOps. But then also non technical, like marketing, jobs, content creation is huge right now. We’re talking to a lot of companies who are trying to hire marketing managers, growth managers. So non technical, I would really focus around marketing type of jobs and how to create content. There’s a lot of people hiring for that right now.
Dan: Cool, Greg. Thanks for joining us today.
Greg: Appreciate it. Thank you.
Dan: Shout out to our colleague, our team member, shout out to Greg, from our very own Dynamite Jobs. Thanks for listening, got feedback on this one? I’m at Dan at tropicalmba dot com. A couple little announcements. I want to do a philosophical overview of this strategy, because I’m seeing it everywhere. And it’s working for so many people. So, how do you grow a profitable services business, you look at departments, or executive level people that big companies have, and then you just break them down into services. So look at this week’s sponsor, EcomCFO dot co. Essentially, what Sam, who is the founder of that service, his suggestion is saying, ‘Hey, instead of hiring a CFO who’s gonna come in, they’re gonna make over six figures, and then they’re gonna want budget to do things as well. Why don’t you just pay our service fee? And we’ll have a whole team working for you’.
And that’s kind of what we’re doing with this Dynamite Jobs recruiting as well, we’re basically saying, ‘Do you really want to go hire an HR department?’, and how many HR people you’re gonna need to have to duplicate what we can do with a whole team over here. And now, even HR departments are calling us they’re saying, ‘We have enough to do, we have enough employees to manage. We want you guys to do these campaigns on our behalf’. So it’s kind of interesting. And I think you can look around to all different functional areas of a business, or different niches of business and just find like, ‘Hey, here’s a really expensive function in terms of, you know, talent’. I think this is a trend that you can jump on and think about that, especially in this new ‘remote first’ world, we’re entering. Big companies are seeking to find ways to get executive level function things done for cheaper and productized service is a great way to do that. So we’ve seen a lot of examples of this over the years on the show, and I think it’s just going to become more and more popular, so I’m really pro this sort of fractionalized executive or fractionalized department served as a productized service to growing businesses. So, like we mentioned, Dynamite Jobs did more sales in Q1 than in the entirety of last year. So we’re really cruising along, making a lot of hires ourselves. And we’ll keep you guys updated on the progress. So that’s it for this week. We’ll be back next week, where we’ll be going over one of my favourite business books of all time. See you then.