Technology with a pinch of Human Touch – Jackye Clayton [Interview]
About Jackye Clayton
Jackye Clayton is the Director Of Customer Service at ‘HiringSolved,Inc’. She is a diversity advocate and one of the most prominent names in the field of recruiting. Known for her amazing personality or sassy as we call it, she’s also a highly sought after inspirational speaker. She’s been listed as one of the most influential recruiters, and HR Leaders, by a multitude of global organizations. We are happy to have someone of her stature join us here on our interview series.
We have the pleasure of welcoming Jackye Clayton today to our interview series. I’m Aishwarya Jain from the peopleHum team. Before we begin, just a quick introduction of peopleHum peopleHum is an end-to-end one of view integrated Human Capital Management Platform. The winner of the 2019 Global Codie Awards for HCM that is specifically built for crafted employee experiences and the Future Of Work. We run the peopleHum blog and video channel, which receives upwards of 200,000 visitors a year and publish around two interviews with well-known names globally every month.
Welcome, Jackye we are thrilled to have you.
Wow, Thanks. That’s a great introduction. I have to use that again. I’m very happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Thank you so much for your time. So, Jackye,
Tell me a little about your journey, your inspiration to get to this, wonderful place that you’re now.
Sure. So it’s funny. I was a business analyst, I worked in IT for a number of years and I took some time off. And when I was getting back into the work field after having my children, I didn’t know where to go because I had spent over four years not working in IT and, you know, it changes quarterly.
So there was an opportunity to be a recruiter and I had never done it before, and they gave me the opportunity. In one of the large firms global recruiting firms, where I think a lot of people get their start. I really bit the bug, it fits with my personality and I started an agency recruiting, and then later went on to corporate recruiting.
After that, I really started analyzing the tools and got an opportunity to work for a couple of different publications explaining the tools that they can use to help to recruit, and then that led me to ‘HiringSolved’. I actually met them at their first conference, like 10 years ago now, and have been working there for almost three years. So it’s been a long journey.
Yeah, it’s wonderful and, you know, I’m sure coming from a different background you have a lot of experience now and, you kind of love what you are doing so I think that is wonderful.
Yes, I really do. Sometimes I think I take it too seriously, but really, we can’t do anything without our teams…
…and it doesn’t just affect the companies as small, when we recruit for our own companies you might think it’s day-to-day or usual, but when you think about it, it affects all of us. All of us interact with various products or consumers, and we all utilize technology across the board.
Innovation goes across the board, so it’s a really important spot, a really important job to make sure that you get those jobs filled. So I like to help people as much as possible. Make sure that they’re finding the right people.
That’s wonderful and I could not agree with you more. It’s really the talent that we get into the organization that finally helps to make it successful, it will be your employees that will speak for themselves.
It will be their hard world, their passion, the value they get to the table. So we must really spend a lot of time and careful assessment to get the best people out there, right, and especially
With the current scenario of the Coronavirus, How do you think that it’s going to affect the recruiting space?
That’s a great question. So it’s kind of like feast or famine, or you’ve heard of those phrases where it’s like some of our clients are some of the people that are in recruiting right now we know are gonna be laid off. There’s gonna be companies that have frozen hiring, and I’ve seen that throughout the industry.
On the other side, there are people that have ramped up hiring 300-400-500 sometimes 1000%. So we know that it’s affected. That’s the first run. What’s happening with our company? Do we still have the bandwidth to support our employees? some people have it and some people haven’t. So that was kind of the first pass.
What we’re seeing next is with all of the different layoffs we know at least within the United States I think they said there were like six million people that filed for unemployment, meaning there are six million people at a minimum that don’t have jobs. We’re going to start to see a flood of applications.
There’s going to be and I’m old enough to say I’ve been through a recession. I’ve never been through a personal pandemic. We’re seeing it from that perspective. But I have seen big league major jumps in the economy. What happens is the competition becomes very fierce. You’re going to have a lot of qualified candidates. When you’re in a market where maybe unemployment isn’t as rapid or there are not that many people looking for work.
But now you might have a recruiting manager and you might have five people with three-plus years of experience. So you’re gonna have to really distinguish yourself, your company. You’re gonna have to utilize a way to help you get through all of those different resumes and people that apply.
Your company is gonna be judged on how they treat all of those candidates. I know in the past we’ve seen at first people treat candidates poorly because they have so many that they don’t seem to care. They might lose sight that those people will get jobs.
And those people do have friends and those people will remember how you treated them during this time, so that’s important. But we also know that those recruiters are gonna have to really work on a slim team, companies are going to be, some companies are going to be in a spot where they don’t have all of the resources, so it’s gonna be a challenge, across the board.
I think the number one challenge that will all see is that there will be an influx of very qualified candidates and making sure that you’re finding the best one and finding a way to get through all of those different applications or referrals is gonna be tough.
There is going to be a surge in the number of applicants, and recruiters will find it difficult to pick the best match for their own organization. Do you think that technology and automation can help in this process?
Absolutely. There are things that aren’t necessarily my favorite tools, but you have to be able to do some of the automation parts, like if a degree is really required and it’s actually needed for the particular job. For example, you can’t be a doctor without a degree. You just are kicked and you see people who have implied that are not qualified, and you still want to give them a certain level of service.
It helps to have automation as even a first layer that can reach out through email, maybe send your personal information or send up a place for them to go to ask questions. But it’s easier to send out an email, maybe at the first level or a text message at that first level, because they will all respond at different times. That’ll be more manageable.
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You can set up those days and times, but you cannot do it on your own, right now, I have a client right now that averages over 2000 applicants for jobs because of the type of company that they are. You can’t go through all 2000, you have to have some level of automation.
And I don’t think that automation should take the place where a personal touch works better, but we can have automation like emailing out directions on how to apply, asking people for interview times, asking people if they are still available or still interested.
Absolutely. So we can kind of leave all the routine and mundane tasks to automation and technology and then recruiters themselves can look at the higher-order value tasks and they can really concentrate on the candidate and make sure they get more value for organizations.
Right and you know when it comes to automation of hiring processes and then you really try to understand, which check works for you better, and there are a lot of human capital management tools out there right.
Do you think that is kind of specific features that as recruiters or as hiring managers they’d like to see in the software?
Yes, I think it’s really important. One of the things that I think is important is, to have a program that will help you know what kind of people you’re attracting and I say that because there are several tools that will help you go through your job description that can let you see that you might be ignoring some candidates because of these requirements.
If you open up these requirements and make them nice to have if they’re not must-have, that you can get to the people that you’re needing. But it can also say this job description will not attract female candidates, the way that it’s written or this person doesn’t exist, which we see a lot, too.
…and the types of candidates that you’re attracting by your advertisements and job postings are going to be important. I also think it’s gonna be important to be able to have what we call sometimes a knockout question where we know we’re not going to hire people that don’t have these particular skills so that again you can speed up the things that are those mundane tasks.
What you don’t want is automation, where a person is going to make the difference between somebody accepting or not accepting a position, but I think you’re going to see a lot of those and scheduling, I think, is very important, and I think that having a way to communicate, various methods at various times is going to be helpful.
Companies that are large scale recruit internationally, and so sometimes you might wanna have a tool that can communicate where it might be hours for some of your team to get those things started.
So that rather than having somebody up in the middle of the night making 45 phone calls, someone can reach out and they can maybe make two phone calls. But they’ve already taken that first level, utilizing automation. They’ve taken that first screening pass off their shoulders that they have more time to be more personal.
Absolutely and I think it can also reduce some of the candidate’s anxiety, tell me something at least give me some kind of results.
You have to do something. It’s nice to have those types of tools or give them tips, or tricks, or let them know where you are in the process as much as you can. Sometimes one of the most frustrating things is that a candidate will apply for a job. They get no response. They hear nothing from the company and then a month later, they’ll get an email saying they were rejected for the position.
You’re like, ’Oh, really. I figured that out after not hearing from you for three weeks’ but the worst is when, three weeks later, a recruiter really wants you for the job. I’ve already accepted another position because I didn’t know you were interested in me. So I think that’s going to be important. So you bought up a good point of having those types of communication skills.
Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense and,
Do you think that it’s really important for organizations to have a social presence and talent brand around it? And if yes, How would an organization go about, building one?
What’s funny is that…
But I don’t think I feel like people should when they’re doing a talent brand first, make sure that you can back it up and look internally to see what’s going on with your employees. They are your best talent brand and interviewing your current talent pool that you have and the employees that you’re working with to help structure how you should brand your company.
Too often you hire an expert in marketing and talent branding, but they don’t talk to the people in their company. So they’re branding a dream that doesn’t exist. I think it’s important to be social, but I think it needs to be transparent, as so what’s actually going on within your company. And it also helps you attract the right people that can make a difference in your company.
There’s gonna be a need for leadership. There’s always a call for leadership. So it’s important to share the opportunities that a person will have to grow and how they can move. Too often we make it about benefits, and we make it about, ‘Oh, we give all of these things to our employees’ but then you talk to the employees and they don’t really do that.
So I think that branding is important, but it has to be honest, it has to be transparent, and I think even if your employees say things like, ‘Oh, this is a really hard environment.
This is a tough environment. That doesn’t mean that people aren’t going to be excited about working in a challenging environment, so you will have better longevity by promoting your company in an honest way. So I think that’s key to having a talent brand, but I think more important..
Absolutely. That makes a lot of sense and I think that’s why even candidates, they go up on Glassdoor and look at the pros and cons and if they see a lot of pros they might just question and just ask, that’s too good to be true, is that for real?
Right, because it also makes it so that you’re not getting the best workers, they’ll say, ‘Oh, am I the only one who feels this way? Maybe I am at the wrong place’ it is like, ‘No, that’s the way the company is we just didn’t say that’, it’s like, ‘Oh, I would have maybe brought different skills, or gone someplace else’ but you have to remember, it’s being fair to the candidates.
It’s not fair to misrepresent in the slightest way because again, these people are going to go out into the world and they become your ambassadors. Whether you choose them or not, your existing employees will be your ambassadors at the first level. So I think it’s important to start with. What is your company actually liking? Getting a full understanding of what it’s like to work for your company?
Yeah, and hiring managers and recruiters are the front faces of your company, right? And they’re the ones interacting with external people. So it’s important for them to be convinced first, that the organization has a good culture for them to convince others and then kind of propagate it out into the world, right? It has a network effect.
Yes, and we have so much data now we have the technology, so you should really look at the numbers. The numbers aren’t gonna lie. What is your turnover like? How many times does this particular department have a lot of different jobs? Find out what’s behind that? How many people are getting promoted?
This is something that our culture seems to really be working with, like, find out as much as you can from the numbers and as well as having the interviews, because sometimes those things don’t line up, but take the time to do that and then you’ll have a more positive brand.
Absolutely and I think as we move towards the future, there’s also a lot of talk about millennials and the gig economy and how there is kind of a generational gap,
Do you see that in recruiting? Do you see that you’re recruiting more millennials, but there is some kind of resistance towards it?
I think that overall, I haven’t really seen a resistance. I do think that all generations communicate differently, and so it’s important that you allow people to meet your employees where they are, and communicate, as best they are, you need to ask them how they want to communicate. I think we’re going to see more in the gig economy coming up, especially because of the current climate and what we’re seeing, with the pandemic that’s going on right now.
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A lot of people are going to be looking at those various jobs, so I think we’re gonna need to be more flexible and understanding that people might do that. But what’s great is that there are a lot of different opportunities for people to try different kinds of companies to work for and get those experiences.
I think eventually, like all of us get to a point where we are like, ‘You know what, I think I found what I really like and I’m ready to settle down’ so I think doing that is temporary. We’ve all gone through it. I mean, we used to call it something different. People used to be contractors or people used to be consultants, but we’re calling it the gig economy.
But I think everyone gets to a point where either something that they want to do or they want to do something more permanent, and so we have to be open to that.
So we all have to be patient and communicate in various methods and you’ll find the one that works best for you. And it will be once you have that open, you should have a better relationship and see different things with the candidates that you’re speaking with.
Absolutely and that is what we call inclusion, you know, having a very inclusive corporation or an organization. And that’s gonna be key to moving towards the future, that’s a step towards the future.
Yes, absolutely and we need to be really working together, during this time, I know it’s gonna be really stressful. Like I said, right now, it’s going to be a change in the market, a drastic change in the market. Because there’s gonna be so many moving parts, you really have to learn how to communicate and
I think that’s going to be the difference between the companies that have a workforce that sticks or one that where the workforce wants to jump around. It’s going to be those relationships and how you communicate with others.
Absolutely. Communication is going to be key. I completely agree with that, to kind of finally wrap this up.
I want to ask you if you have any other important sound bites that you’d like to leave for our viewers.
Well, sure, I want to just say, just stick with it and really join other groups and read as much as you can. Our skills that we’re gonna need moving forward are really gonna revolve around those soft skills and that’s for our recruiters. We’re gonna have to have a different blend of technology and soft skills and communication and reaching out. There has to be a certain level of empathy because people are going through various things right now.
We need to turn that, pay attention to those types of things going on. But know that this is always changing, and sometimes change is uncomfortable, but you have to just kind of jump in and go with it in order to adapt. Being adaptable is going to be key to making it as we move forward within this economy or the next change or the next change.
Absolutely. Adaptability as humans, we’ve always done it. We’ve always come out through crisis, whatever it may be and we have survived. So I think it’s really time to use that to our advantage. Be more flexible, be more open, keep a healthy mind and just be productive during this downturn and actually try to enhance all the skills that probably we’ve been wanting to do for a long time but we didn’t have time for it.
Yes. Yes, absolutely. So it should be interesting. Stay tuned.
Absolutely. Thank you so much, Jackye. It was wonderful talking to you.
Welcome. Thanks for having me. I appreciate it. It’s been fun.
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