Hired and Inspired | Episode One | Chris Reed - Benson Hill

Justin Schmidt
July 26, 2023

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Episode 1 Transcript

Justin Schmidt: [00:00:00] Welcome to hired and inspired. A podcast presented by largely. Join us as we explore the metrics, strategies and trends that matter in talent acquisition. Candidate experience and employer branding. I'm your host, Justin Schmidt.

Justin Schmidt: welcome to Hired and Inspired. Today I have Chris Reed from Benson Hill with me. Chris, welcome to

Chris Reed: Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity to talk.

Justin Schmidt: Absolutely. Chris, why don't you tell us a little bit about yourself and Benson Hill

Chris Reed: I am the director of talent Management, so I, I kind of own all talent here, thankfully. So help with attraction to development. And, um, I've been, I've been a, uh, a lifelong, I think almost like career spanning TA practitioner and nerd self-proclaimed, without a doubt. So a chance to talk shop.

Chris Reed: I, I rarely turn that opportunity down. But, um, Benson Hill, we're an agricultural technology company. We design, , high protein, plant-based, , Protein, [00:01:00] literally like through, uh, soy and yellow pea. So our goal here is to help, , create new strains of soy that are not only more healthy, but um, also more sustainable and, um, more nutritious and also benefit our farmers as well as benefit you and I and, , selling into the food system.

Justin Schmidt: Did you get your career started in talent or did you start in like sales or another field and kind of transitioned

Chris Reed: Yeah, you know, it was really interesting. So I was placed out of college by a recruiter who was my neighbor. I used to mow with lawn. Um, Joe Gunn was his name, and so he was friends of the family and he helped me just kind of navigate. Initially my, my first role is I worked for what was then called Business Training Library.

Chris Reed: Now it's called Biz Library

Chris Reed: in Chesterfield. I was one of the first three people hired. so we doubled the size of the company and, and back then it was selling a membership to a training library. So it could have been time management, could have been sales skills, management skills, [00:02:00] communication, all of that. And it was like Netflix from back in the day. If you remember, uh, when you used to exchange, uh, DVDs with Netflix, it was the same concept, but for training programs. So,

Justin Schmidt: Oh wow. So literally mailing media

Chris Reed: Yeah. Literally like, yeah, as long as you shipped it back by traceable means. And, um, that's how I got my start. And so I, I really thought, wow, that's gotta be just a rewarding way as a career to help people find jobs.

Chris Reed: Like I. I, I sort of attribute it to being in real estate, like, I'm not selling houses, I'm selling homes,

Chris Reed: that kind of idea. And so then, um, I had a couple years in sales under my belt, and then probably like many of us, I broken through an agency.

Chris Reed: And, um, that's where I, I got my start sort of managing a, um, contractor kind of platform for, uh, a company here in Louis.

Chris Reed: And then just kind of grew accounts from there. And then, Just literally fell in love with helping people finding like their next career step. I'm just, [00:03:00] I'm still fascinated by it, um, with just the process, the engagement and, and all of that. So it's really great.

Justin Schmidt: Mm. Coming from the agency side into a sort of team at a, at at a standalone business,

Chris Reed: Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: what's the big differences there?

Chris Reed: You know, the, the three things that I look for for in, in joining, you know, a corporate team from the outside is one is hustle. Like the agency hustle still has to be there because you're closing jobs. It's not a. A monetization of a process anymore, which turns me off, just absolutely turns me off. That's why I, I love being on the inside.

Chris Reed: On the corporate side, I don't wanna monetize conversations because I think it sets the motivators or maybe if some false pretenses. So, um, I look for the hustle. I look for grit, and I look for [00:04:00] accountability. Like tho those three things I can't teach you. I can teach you interviewing, I can teach you sourcing, I can teach you maybe some candidate control things, um, but I can't teach you that, those character pieces. So I think those are the big things, but I, I, I would say the biggest difference. With and, and I, let's go on the stereotypes, right? As

Chris Reed: the agency recruiter or business development person is the hustler, right? Hustle, hustle, hustle. I've gotta get this many opportunities in my funnel so I can close this many.

Chris Reed: So I've got this much, you know, commission and things like that, which is fine and, and admirable. I don't have that type of endurance or, or I sort of, it wanes with me. Um, but if we can. Sort of harness that and bring it inside. That plays really well. The other thing is, as an agency, you have multiple missions that you're serving and the missions of your clients. Here on the [00:05:00] inside, you have one mission, and so I really like that dedication to mission because. That's how I'm driven is I'm, I am committed to what this organization is doing. I'm committed to the people. And so I think there's just an extra layer or maybe multiple layers of buy-in, um, or connection with that.

Chris Reed: Yeah. So

Chris Reed: there's like a spirit to it maybe.

Justin Schmidt: no, I, I, I follow you and the dedication to mission and that. When I hear that phrase,

Justin Schmidt: what it conjuress to me is bunch of people. Everyone agrees what the North Star is. Everyone's rowing. Rowing in the same direction. I could come up with a million metaphors here to describe it, but everybody's bought into the same

Justin Schmidt: thing, and that makes a huge difference

Chris Reed: Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: in the organization's ability to succeed.

Justin Schmidt: I mean, we say here largely a lot that talent strategy is business strategy,

Chris Reed: Yeah. Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: And when you start from a shared mission like. The rest of the stuff. [00:06:00] It isn't easy, but it gets easier.

Chris Reed: Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: The other thing about the mission point that's, uh, caught my ear was that implies a deeper understanding of what you're doing and a deeper understanding was also kind of brought up in the metric.

Justin Schmidt: I asked you about coming on the show when you said, like, my transition there,

Chris Reed: Yeah. Yeah. No, well done. Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: You said, um, to me, the ultimate answer that I wanna know is from the candidate and the hiring manager, quote, knowing what you know now, after

Justin Schmidt: one year, would you still make the same decision to join slash hire

Chris Reed: Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: I would love for you to double click on this a little bit for us.

Chris Reed: Sure. So to me, that's the ultimate sort of payoff, right? That's, that's how I know I can put a bow on that higher,

Chris Reed: because I. It was either so, so people have, there. There I learned from one of my mentors who helped me break into, um, recruiting. There are [00:07:00] only six motivators for someone to get a new job and it's environment, challenge, location, advancement, money, and stability. You there, there might, you might use different terms, but those are the only six. So as a recruiter or, well, I'm just gonna put myself in those shoes as I'm talking to somebody, I wanna know why you're talking to me. Why

Chris Reed: are you interested? What are you, what you looking for? And how can my opportunity be mapped to that?

Chris Reed: Because then I'm being true to you. I'm being true to my company. I'm being true to my team that I'm looking to help out by adding this new talent. And I think if, if we match those motivators, which will be dynamic, right? Like I'm a, I'm a working husband, father of two, I've got a daughter in college. I've got a daughter that's going into eighth grade. Well, stability. Is gonna be right up there, right? I, I've got

Chris Reed: to, I've got to provide and do those things, but if it was 20 years ago, I might just be [00:08:00] looking for more beer money, you know? So, uh, it, it could be that, right? So I think at the end of a year, you have seen warts and all. You've seen seasonality. You've seen good, bad, and ugly. Like, I've been happily married for 22 years, and if it's. I love my wife, she's my best friend. But there are times where we butt heads or

Chris Reed: we get angry at each other or, or something collapses in some sort of capacity. You're gonna have that with your manager, with your team, with your peers, with your organization.

Chris Reed: Whether it's, we didn't make earnings or we didn't land that big client.

Chris Reed: And so you're gonna go through those things. You're gonna go through the ups and downs, and so even after all those ups and downs, or your first round of thumb at the end of one year, would I still am? Because that also tells me if you're happy.

Chris Reed: I want you to be happy. I, I, I am obsessed with helping our employees be happy. Um, that's why I love this talent management piece of it. Not only helping them [00:09:00] come in the door, but stay.

Justin Schmidt: Right, the answer to that question. Looking back a year from now, would you still take the gig or hire the person? The answer to that's not yes or no. It's not a binary

Chris Reed: No, no.

Justin Schmidt: I wanna transition now to the opposite side of your metric. Question here, which is the one that you wish would disappear.

Justin Schmidt: And you hinted on this a little bit a minute ago when you talked about kind of being on the

Justin Schmidt: agency side. Um, and I don't wanna mean that this metric only exists on the agency

Justin Schmidt: side, but you know, the x number of applicants gets you x number of interviews, which gets you X number of hires, the.

Justin Schmidt: The waterfall, the funnel in marketing. We deal with

Chris Reed: Sure.

Justin Schmidt: exact same

Justin Schmidt: issue and I've, I could probably talk for two hours on this topic,

Justin Schmidt: but this show is not about me, it's about

Chris Reed: Oh.

Justin Schmidt: Um, I would love it if you could

Justin Schmidt: unpack that a little bit for us, because this is fascinating to me.

Chris Reed: so [00:10:00] what we do in talent acquisition is a people process,

Justin Schmidt: Mm-hmm.

Chris Reed: right? It's focused on people, people providing either a service skill, talent. What have you. Um, yes, there are situations to where you need to really hit that high volume. We need to get this much broadcast. I need to generate this much, this much interest or whatever.

Chris Reed: But I, I see so many and I, I get hit up all day long with new technology. And technology is awesome. Like I'm not. Down. I mean the, we have technology, so you and I don't have to sit together. I mean, you know, I mean the, you've gotta embrace technology. But if I see a piece of TA technology that is starting to remove human

Justin Schmidt: Mm.

Chris Reed: interest aspect interaction, I become a little, uh, my, my defenses go up.

Justin Schmidt: Right.

Chris Reed: Um, because this is someone's livelihood and, and I, I have very [00:11:00] few rules on my team, very few rules I want to empower. I want to get out, get the heck out of the way of, of my, my team members. Um, all, all of those things, right? But I've got one ultimate golden rule, probably like if you were to eliminate 'em all, like what's my number one thing is if you lose sight of this person's livelihood during the process. We're gonna have a very serious conversation because the reason why I got into this is to help people. The reason why we should we do this type of work is to help people, help grow companies, help create opportunity, help communities. You know, there, there's all of these like ancillary or, or these byproduct pieces and yeah, it sound, it may sound a little corny and I'm a little bit of a dinosaur maybe cuz I've been doing this a while, but man, if you lose sight of the people on this and start to mechanize or. Anything like that. I, I lose patience because to me, what we do as a craft, it's a skill. And, and, and [00:12:00] all of my like fellow, you know, colleagues or or past people that I've worked is, they've all heard me use this analogy. When you get a bunch of recruiters together, it feels like you're getting a bunch of magicians together.

Chris Reed: Like, oh, so that's how you. Oh, that's how you saw, saw them in half. Or that's how you cut the cards to come up with the ace every time. You know, it

Chris Reed: feels like it. I don't wanna say honor amongst thieves because that, that makes it sound pretty slimy. But, um, I think when we get together to talk shop, it's always about how we build companies and how we build people. And I'm fascinated by that. I'm driven by that. I'm committed to that. And so if you sit here and tell me I need this many reach outs or I need this many onsite visits, um, you know, if we have, um, an agency that we're working with and yep, I'm gonna be there, uh, Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday. I I didn't invite you here. I don't need you here. You, you don't have to come here. No, I'll be there. I, I'm just turned off like I know you're, I know you're required to do this as a part of your [00:13:00] performance and, and what's required of you, but here's what I want. I want great candidates for my role. Um, and the other thing I tell my agency partners is I am hiring you to provide a service and we're gonna be partners and I'm gonna help you get this, and I'm gonna do everything.

Chris Reed: I will not go to. Baseball games. I do not want presents. I will never, ever go to a happy hour. Um, I, I just want you to bring me great people that we can potentially hire and you can help us build. That's all I want. I, I don't want anything else. .

Justin Schmidt: Yeah, touched on

Justin Schmidt: something there that I've been thinking about a lot, and as a matter of fact, Allison and I were chatting about this in the office this morning.

Chris Reed: Okay.

Justin Schmidt: True story on this automation and technology

Justin Schmidt: bit.

Chris Reed: Mm-hmm.

Justin Schmidt: There is a bias in developing technology to create things that computers can see and do with

Chris Reed: Mm-hmm. . Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: computers are really good [00:14:00] at saying, oh, you've got. This number of inputs, this number of outputs, which turns into this number of inputs, which then turns into this number of outputs. And then you get your funnel, you get your, I need X candidates to fill out X application rate to

Justin Schmidt: reduce my time to hire by Y or whatever it is.

Justin Schmidt: The funnel optimization process there just gets people into worrying about the funnel and not the business process and, and, and all the stuff that goes into creating those

Justin Schmidt: measurements. Right. So you're exactly right. There is a point at which you kind of want the pendulum to swing back a little bit

Justin Schmidt: and focus on what matters, which is setting up the relationships with your agency partners under, you know, the right auspice

Justin Schmidt: on getting off on the right foot and having those shared goals.

Justin Schmidt: And going back to your

Justin Schmidt: original point, the shared mission.

Chris Reed: I think, um, you know, later on in our conversation, we're gonna get to my favorite book or a book I'd I'd recommend. And, um, there was, um, a thing in there [00:15:00] about, um, the healthcare, healthcare system. Look,

Chris Reed: my, my parents both healthcare system like career, my daughter's gonna be in healthcare administration.

Chris Reed: I'm, I'm not knocking it,

Chris Reed: but the analogy that the author had that wrote the book is if you, uh, took your shin and kicked your, uh, coffee table every day. You're gonna develop a sore and it's gonna create pain. And if you

Chris Reed: go to your doctor right now, the healthcare system's set up to give you a pill to minimize that pain, it's not gonna cure the wound. It's not gonna stop you from kicking the table. So if we automate things in ta, we're, we're going to continuously kick the table and focus on the wrong things. You're gonna focus on the symptoms and not the cure.

Chris Reed: And so people, And interaction. I, I am hoping, God, I I hope is always going to be at the core of this function or this career, or this, um, calling, however you wanna say it.

Chris Reed: [00:16:00] And, and yeah, I know, I, I, again, I, I'm, I'm running the risk of sounding corny, but,

Chris Reed: um, this is, this is, uh, genuine and, uh, and, and it's been a long, long, uh, kind of long time philosophy.

Justin Schmidt: Love it. Speaking of philosophy,

Chris Reed: sir.

Justin Schmidt: best piece of advice,

Chris Reed: in this world of ta I forgot what I wrote down, to be honest. Um, so, uh, but I am a big, um, nutrition and fitness.

Justin Schmidt: Hmm.

Chris Reed: Right. Um, I, I am a proponent of taking care of yourself,

Justin Schmidt: Hmm.

Chris Reed: so if they're, if you are not putting the right fuel, Into yourself if you're not getting the right rest. Um, I wish I would've discovered this years earlier. Um, not because I'm suffering in any sort of way, but I think I missed out on, on potential,

Chris Reed: uh, of health benefits, right? [00:17:00] So, um, personally, if I were to, uh, recommend somebody's like, take care of yourself, make you and your body a, a, a focal point of wellness. Um, getting into business. If I, if someone were to ask me, you know, what is your best business advice?

Chris Reed: And I would say always be nice.

Justin Schmidt: Mm.

Chris Reed: It takes zero effort. It takes absolutely no skill. Um, it just takes energy

Chris Reed: and, and I think if you have the right energy and you're being nice, yeah, you're gonna get kicked in the teeth a few times. They're without a doubt. Somebody's gonna trample you because of politics or bureaucracy or whatever. But in you play the long game. Play the laundry.

Chris Reed: Yeah,

Justin Schmidt: that's especially important in times like we're living in now

Justin Schmidt: where there's, there's, just a lot of anxiety in the air.

Chris Reed: There's

Chris Reed: so much division because you have a different opinion on something. I'm supposed to get angry and put you

Chris Reed: down. That is [00:18:00] counterintuitive to how I. Hopefully operate, um, but certainly believe it's like, have a different opinion. Help me understand. I'm not saying you're gonna convince me and, and Lord knows I'm, I doubt I'm gonna convince you to my way of thinking, but just like, help me understand and why can't we coexist that I think there's just this lack of coexistence and just respect. Just, Hey, it's okay to be different. It doesn't mean I have to hate you, or we have to have policy that is now gonna now force you into my way, or something like that. That that just drives me nuts how we can't, um, Uh, do something like that. And, and, uh, one in one of my leadership cohorts, I, I have this leadership cohort program, an annual kind of a quarter.

Chris Reed: You have one competency per quarter. And, and we talked about influence and, and how do you persuade an influence. And, and I use this example from, I wish I was the smart Matthew McConaughey of all people. Um, there was a shooting at an elementary [00:19:00] school

Chris Reed: and gun control is this like hugely divisive thing, but he did this really magnificent. Kind of conversation on the news and he's like, I know you, you have a, he was talking to another gentleman and said, you know, you have a different opinion than I do, but you're a dad. I'm a dad. Can't we start there and just find some common ground? And I thought that was just really intelligent. How it was like, we have different opinions.

Chris Reed: Let's not start at the attack. Let's start at the unity and find that and it, I think that's all how all partnerships ultimately get ironed out.

Justin Schmidt: That's exactly right. And taking that in myopically, focusing on the talent life cycle for just a moment.

Chris Reed: Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: Coming from a place of mutual respect as both a. Hire and a hiree to

Justin Schmidt: use two words that don't necessarily exist,

Chris Reed: they do now.

Chris Reed: Yeah. Yeah, yeah.

Justin Schmidt: just aperated them

Chris Reed: That's Perfect.

Chris Reed: Perfect. [00:20:00] Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: Potter term there. But my, my point here is that the candidate experience is a human experience.

Justin Schmidt: And a human experience is one that's best served when everybody is bringing the right energy to the table

Chris Reed: Right.

Justin Schmidt: and they're exuding that warmth and health and confidence and. Ability to listen with

Chris Reed: Mm-hmm.

Justin Schmidt: and it is so easy to kind of look at your funnel.

Chris Reed: Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: going

Chris Reed: But yeah.

Justin Schmidt: just abstract this all to like whatever the ATS or whatever tool it is you're looking at tells you and forgetting that behind every single one of those rows in the database is a person who said, Hey, I would like to work it.

Justin Schmidt: Benson Hill, this job looks

Chris Reed: Mm-hmm.

Justin Schmidt: going to apply. Or someone on your team

Justin Schmidt: reaching out to the person and saying, Hey, would you like to work at Benson Hill? And all the, we go on and on and on about all these different like deep nerdy topics

Justin Schmidt: about employer brand and candidate experience. [00:21:00] But at the end of the day, , it's about treating people with

Justin Schmidt: respect and bringing the right energy.

Justin Schmidt: Absolutely love

Chris Reed: And it's someone's, remember that those lines in the ATS is someone's mother, someone's daughter, someone's

Chris Reed: uncle, father, brother.

Justin Schmidt: Yep.

Chris Reed: They're people.

Justin Schmidt: could be a person on LinkedIn with a green open work border

Justin Schmidt: seven months into their job search and or they could be somebody who's just curious. Right?

Justin Schmidt: You don't know until you,

Chris Reed: It's someone

Chris Reed: and, and let's never, ever, I. Forget that. And I've done my share of forgetting that I am not, I am not perfect. I'm not gonna sit here like I've called every candidate back. Um, but the more you can minimize that, it's, it's not only going to put more good energy back in the world, but you're just gonna take care of more people and that pays off.

Chris Reed: And in this line of work, if you don't take care of people, word gets out or they're like, you know what? I went through this amazing process. I didn't get the job, but I work with this guy, Chris. This guy, like he just took really good care of me, kept me up to date. He [00:22:00] was really transparent. You, you know what, you'd be really good there and you get these emails on occasion sometimes.

Chris Reed: That's that Hail Mary where you are looking for that one. You know, I'll use the term purple squirrel and like ugh. And fall just backwards and like,

Chris Reed: oh my God. Yeah. And or they have a story about, man, I was really stressed out my, my company was getting sold and you called me.

Chris Reed: I told my wife about it, told my husband about it, told my son about it. Those stories are I can go home to my daughters and say, dad, help somebody today

Chris Reed: and did. I would work for free if that happened Every day. Yeah. Don't wait. This is public, right? No

Justin Schmidt: Yes, but I, your, your point is well

Justin Schmidt: taken. Um, Chris, this has been a, a great conversation and I could chat with you all day and we might have to, Organize an informal round two and do just that.

Justin Schmidt: But let's end with our rapid fire here.[00:23:00]

Chris Reed: All right. Laid on me.

Justin Schmidt: What is your favorite interview question to ask when you're recruiting and why?

Chris Reed: You know, um, there's, there's a couple to choose from, I'd say, but, um, there's always like, what's your most significant accomplishment? I think that's a good one. But what I, what I always like is the first, it's not really a question when I engage with somebody is I. Um, I always like to start a first time interview with someone taking it from their perspective.

Chris Reed: Again, focus is on them, so I always just say, look, I, I, I'm not sitting here with a list of, tell me about a time you had to tell a customer no, or something like that. What I wanna do is I want to answer your questions. Where can I start to help get you connected to our world? This role, the team, where should I start?

Chris Reed: Because we need to get you connected so you have an understanding if this is even gonna be viable for you. And the reason why I do that is, one, it's from their perspective, but two, [00:24:00] it lowers their anxiety, it gets them into a comfortable zone, and it tells me what's important to them. If they're gonna talk about why is this job open?

Chris Reed: Okay, they're looking for stability. Um, who's it report to? They're looking at for leveling and impact, and, and it kind of gives me a little insight to them. So I say, what can I answer for you? And so it's really putting it on them to a degree, because my role in the recruiting process is to be a, um, not only an advocate for them, but a resource of information.

Chris Reed: Because ultimately I want them to say, this guy did right by me. He gave me all the information for me to make the best decision for me, and obviously I want that decision to be join Benson Hill,

Chris Reed: but I've done a service to them and they, they feel cared for.

Chris Reed: Love it.

Justin Schmidt: What's the book that you recommend most often to people?

Chris Reed: Um, if it's, uh, for me, I'm a nutrition [00:25:00] guy. Um, it's a book called How Not to Die, which is a crazy, crazy title. Um, but it, it's really about how the, the food that we eat and what it does and how it, how powerful it can be to treat, um, and prevent, um, disease. I, I was, I'm just enthralled by it. Um, that one's really good. Um, I don't really have like one like talent acquisition sort of like handbook. You know, there's a book of 10,000 questions or something like that. But I would say how not to die right now is, is my, uh, my go-to that. I recommend that people say, because oftentimes, and, and I'm, I'm fortunate, like, hey, you're, you know, you're kind of a healthy guy.

Chris Reed: Where, where should I start? Like, boom, here's your, just, you start right here and that's gonna set things straight for you.

Justin Schmidt: Love it. Last question. Who in the talent act, talent development space would you take out for a coffee or a cocktail Depending on the time of day

Chris Reed: sure.

Chris Reed: sure. Um, I was, so, I grew up [00:26:00] at Express Scripts here in town, and I worked for a lady by the name of Jennifer Schley for five years. Jennifer took very good care of me. I learned a ton. Um, we butted heads and we laughed and we, we've, hell, we even cried at times. Right? Um, Jennifer's the head of TA for, um, LinkedIn.

Chris Reed: And I haven't seen Jennifer in a while and, um, I, I was touched when she called me right before she was about to accept the offer there, and we just kinda had this really awesome, like heart to heart. So, um, I would like to catch up with Jennifer because I haven't seen her in so long and she's just had a massive, massive impact on me and a lot of the leadership lessons that I learned from her.

Chris Reed: I've, I've kind of. Been able to not only use with my team, but then within the, uh, cohort leadership development stuff. And, uh, so I'd like to see Jennifer again.

Justin Schmidt: Shout out to Jennifer.

Chris Reed: Yeah.

Justin Schmidt: Um, to close here. Chris, tell us where can people

Justin Schmidt: find you? Where can people find Benson Hill?

Chris Reed: You got it. Benson hill.com um, [00:27:00] is the easiest. Uh, we are on every, um, you know, pretty much every major social media platform. You can find me, uh, linkedin.com/chris Reed, r e e d Sstl connect with me. I have to, I'm required to in this line of work, so I've got a huge network. I got into this to help people. I got into this to connect people. I don't care if it's a job at your company. I don't care if it's a job for a friend or whatever, but if there's a way I can connect two people for them to benefit from, uh, from career or anything like that, or just knowledge share, sign me up. Um, that's why I got into this because it, everybody wins when you do that.

Justin Schmidt: Chris Reed, thank you so much for coming on hired and inspired, and have a wonderful afternoon.

Chris Reed: You too. Thank you. I appreciate the opportunity Justin.

Justin Schmidt: So I just had this fantastic conversation with Chris Reed from Benson Hill, and he brought up [00:28:00] some great points that I would just love to get your perspective on. Allison. The first one is he mentioned his favorite metric is a one year retrospective with the new employee and the hiring manager, and basically asking them

Justin Schmidt: If you could do this again, would you still make the same decision to either hire or join? And the reason he likes that is that it takes this longer term sort of deeper conversion, if you will, of the candidate into a successful long-term employee. And there really is something about measuring for more longer term success.

Justin Schmidt: Would love to get your reaction to that and kind of how you view that and how you recommend people take a look at that kind of stuff.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: , I completely agree with Chris to start, I think that . Really understanding how successful we are when we hire folks is, is a longer term play versus I filled [00:29:00] a role. They showed up on day one. We got through onboarding, we got through 90 days. I think oftentimes talent acquisition teams really look for that 90 day mark for that early turnover.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: I used to measure our first year, so I completely agree, , on the one year. Conversation. I think there's a lot of benefit to having the conversation not only with the new employee, but also the hiring manager. Uh, because based on what the hiring manager says, there's some further opportunity for leadership development, right?

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: If they say, ah, I really wish this person. Did X, Y, or Z differently. It gives the business partner an opportunity to kind of help coach, um, in, in those areas. But I think that sometimes we forget as, uh, TA teams, if you're, if you're a separate TA team versus a member of a, a HR organization, um, or maybe you wear all [00:30:00] of the hats, oftentimes you already have this information in the form of your performance management process.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: So, Whatever your opinion is about performance appraisals, we can go into that during another conversation. You at least have some form of data, right? So these longer term metrics are really, really hard to come by. But if you take a look at performance appraisal data or any other organizational. Metric that, that you use to measure performance and tie that back to the person.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: That can give you some insights as well. But I love the anecdotal, the, the conversation. I think that that's super, uh, super valuable.

Justin Schmidt: It is, and when I was talking to him, You know him. He's pretty inspirational guy. I was ready to kind of run through a wall for him halfway through the conversation, but I think the point he makes and the point that you've just articulated as well is really valuable, and that is, [00:31:00] it's one thing to look at 90 days out, but a year out, you've really. Being given an opportunity for that role to sort of entrench itself into the organization, that person to really plant roots and kind of make the decision and show the aptitude, is this something I'm gonna grow into and be a part of for a long time or not? And then like pulling back and looking at the top of your funnel based on that feedback is gonna give you a much better view into how you can build the team going forward.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: Well, and to build on that, even asking yourself, okay, this is what we did at that time to recruit and attract this talent. What were some of the things that happened with that individual, and are we still doing them? Or even asking that person, knowing what you know now about the company, what should we do better to attract additional talent such as yourself?

Justin Schmidt: Yeah. Another thing that Chris brought up, And I could come up with [00:32:00] a thousand different parts of this interview that was notable. But for the sake of keeping this show nice and tight, we'll only do a couple here. The other thing that he brought up, and when you and I were talking a little bit before we started recording, you'd mentioned process mapping.

Justin Schmidt: I wanna get into this 'cause I think this is really important. He said to me that anytime, A piece of technology comes across his desk that looks to remove the person from the process. His spidey sense kind of goes off because in his words, at the end of the day, what we do in talent acquisition is a people process.

Justin Schmidt: Right? And you had mentioned the concept of process mapping, and I think there's a great . Bit of information to share here on how to look at process mapping and the intersection between that process map and the technology you bring into your TA org. So I would love it if you could kind of double click on what you [00:33:00] mentioned to me about the process map and how it relates to what Chris X.

Justin Schmidt: I think this is gonna be really valuable.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: You know, I'm a nerd about process mapping. I think it's really important to understand what's supposed to happen. How did you engineer it to happen? What are your expectations at each step so you can evaluate, right? And, and talent acquisition is a process. You start with your, your top of funnel. You wanna attract people in, you want to go through a selection process and offer process, hiring, onboarding and so on and so forth.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: I think you really need to be, Um, aware as a leader what the kind of the big blocks are, and then what are some of the sub-processes underneath those to make sure that things are happening the way that you expect them to happen. And then layer on what technology do you currently employ to get those pieces of work achieved?

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: And where are you really [00:34:00] good and where do you have some opportunity?

Justin Schmidt: Mm.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: Where are your teams doing more tactical work? Like scheduling is a perfect example of scheduling. Automation is fabulous, so where are your teams Really, really tactical, and where are they maybe using more discernment. And if you have all of that really laid out for yourself, when that tech comes across your desk or when you're looking to maybe, um, optimize your HR tech stack or your TA tech stack, you can double click into what's important.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: Because should always ask yourself, tech, you know, what problem am I trying to solve technology for technology's sake is not. The way to go about it. Just because there's a new bright and shiny tool doesn't mean that, that you need to, to jump on it, right? Might not even apply to the way that you run your business or your culture or how you seek to run your business.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: And I think, [00:35:00] uh, I agree with Chris. There are times when in my past lives, technology has been brought up as a way to automate or simplify. And I, I always got just a little . A little clenched, a little, a little nervous about, okay, what is this actually going to mean? Because from Ital, anytime you're dealing with people, we are not, we are not zeros in ones and there's so much depth, right?

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: And there's so that, especially when you're trying to assess potential, So in the TA space, when you're assessing potential, that human interaction and that ability to ask more questions and be curious is so important versus, uh, you know, just automating a process with something recorded and scored and, and, and sent on down the road.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: So I, uh, I continue to agree with Chris, which is not a shock. Um, but I urge everyone to really like . [00:36:00] Double click into your process, map it out, get other people involved who are performing the work. Ask them what keeps them up at night, what takes the most of their time. I was actually talking to one of our clients the other day, uh, about something a little unrelated about their referral process.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: And, uh, this, this TA manager was telling me that she spends eight hours a month managing their referral process. Which I, I thought, oh my gosh, I've been there. How? How can we help? How can we help? So we, we did essentially the same exercise. We said, let's look at what's the process as it exists today?

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: What's your program? What are you actually seeking to do? What problem are you trying to solve and what can we strip away? 'cause sometimes we build steps in things that make sense, you know, at the time. But a year later or 18 months later, it just doesn't make sense anymore, and you've gotta [00:37:00] reevaluate, dust it off and, and solve it in a more efficient way.

Justin Schmidt: Yeah. In a previous life I used to work for a process automation company, and we would tell people all the time, map out your process, understand what technology you have, where. Why that currently exists, what it's passing back and forth, optimize that. And you might find you don't need to buy anything new at all.

Justin Schmidt: And if that's the case, good, we've still helped you.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: Mm-hmm.

Justin Schmidt: And at the end of the day, talent acquisition is the same thing. It's just another process. All processes should be mapped out and studied. And to your point, do it once a year because you never know what was a great idea in 2021. Probably isn't a good idea now.

Justin Schmidt: You're never gonna find that if you don't look at it. So that's great feedback. Well, thanks Allison, so much for your perspective on this episode, and we'll see you next time.

Allison McCutcheon Barcz: Thanks Justin.

Justin Schmidt: And that's it for another episode of [00:38:00] hired and inspired on behalf of everybody here at largely. Thank you. To show your support. You can subscribe by going to your favorite podcast app and searching hired in inspired or largely podcast and hitting that subscribe button. To find out more about largely please visit largely.com and thanks again

Justin Schmidt

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