In a candidate-short market, everyone is on the search for talent. According to research from…
The Consumerization of the Employment Industry
This post was originally published on staffinghub.com.
On this episode of The Staffing Show, Andre Mileti, product evangelist at TechRuum, talks with David Folwell about his personal journey in the staffing industry. He shares his ideas on what’s in store for the future of staffing, including an increased focus on company reviews and a shift towards a Connected Recruiting framework. Andre also discusses mindfulness and how it’s impacted his life in a positive way.
Read the transcript of their conversation below, or listen here.
David Folwell: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us for another episode of The Staffing Show. Today I am super excited to be joined by Andre Mileti, who’s the product evangelist at TechRuum. Really great to have you here. We’ve been buddies for some time, in the industry.
Andre Mileti: Great seeing you, David.
Folwell: Super excited to have you on the show.
Mileti: How are things going with you?
Folwell: Oh, it’s good. Busy as always. Busy as always.
Mileti: I love the plant you have in the background. I feel like you should have another one and it’s like Between Two Ferns. I hope no one’s tried to use that joke before. Have they? Is that original or is that….
Folwell: They haven’t, but I think I should add another one, just for that.
Mileti: You should. You should, absolutely.
Folwell: To kick things off, just tell me a little bit about who you are and how you got into the staffing industry.
Mileti: Yeah. I had no idea the staffing industry existed until six years ago, where I was pulled into it.
Yeah. I came from the retail and travel industries. I was introduced to staffing six years ago, when one of the ventures…I’ve always been an early-stage startup guy, helping software companies take products to market in transforming industries. So, I did a lot in ecommerce and retail, and I did a lot in travel, mostly ecommerce.
I got pulled into this company called EmployStream, at the time, through the venture capital firm that had just invested some seed round into this idea that onboarding was going to be important to this labor industry, called the staffing space, and that candidates are going to care about being able to sign paperwork online.
That was a transformative idea. I mean, October of 2015, I was brought into lead go-to-market, sales marketing, business development for EmployStream, which then of course, turned into Able. And then obviously, beginning of this year, was acquired by TechRuum.
So, I was fortunate to be a founding member of that organization and got to see a lot of change throughout the industry, in these short six years.
Folwell: Oh, that’s awesome. Great story for your entry. You and I discussed this a little bit, but you’ve seen a lot of trends in the staffing industry, especially one being onboarding mattering. But what are some of the things that you’re seeing from where you sit?
Mileti: It’s like that continuous maturity of that thought of candidate-facing, talent-facing experiences matter. They’re mattering more and more, as the labor market shifts to younger generations. That’s a major driver, as well as new technologies that come into play.
Really, that trend, what I like to call, it’s the consumerization of the employment industry. Most mature industries, like I had mentioned before, travel and retail and ecommerce, have gone through this. Let’s call it the next wave of digital transformation for the staffing and recruiting space. This concept of the consumerization of employment is really driven by two major forces. There’s two behaviors happening.
Well, first of all, employment is a commodity now. Because you have younger generations, they care about things that older generations didn’t care about and vice versa. So, you’ve got consumerization of the employment and hiring experience.
On top of that, you have, usually a technology or changes in business process, that either support or they brought on that change, to begin with. So, there’s a little of chicken and egg happening, but those are the two major things that we’re seeing, is really changes in technology and business processes are driving better experiences, to meet the demand of a younger labor market that values things like experience over job security. That’s the kind of things that we’re seeing today, and it’s changing how staffing and recruiting firms attract and engage their talent and the types of business models and plays that they run.
Folwell: Yeah, no, I think it makes complete sense. My background was in the travel industry as well. I think that’s that model to look at, how does that apply here?
And looking at, all right, well, we had all these staffing or hotel travel agencies, people booking hotels for you. And then you have Expedia, Booking.com come out, make it easy to do so online. There was a slight dip in travel agencies, but now they’re actually back up again. But they’re more specialized and they’re offering online tools that allow you to do some of the booking, some of the management yourself, as well. I think that the staffing industry parallels that really well.
With that, I mean, what are some of the other details, I guess, or areas that you’ve seen related to travel or retail, that kind of compared to what you’re seeing now?
Mileti: I think you hit it on. So just playing off that concept of travel, that couldn’t have happened without high-speed internet and without these agencies figuring out, “Hey, people care what they see on a website. Let’s make it look cool. Let’s improve the experience.”
Then all of a sudden, mobile came around. Now, let’s start modernizing the experience, if somebody was on a different device. That’s meeting the demand with modern technologies. And then, of course, you need the vendors in the space, to provide the businesses the tools to do that.
There’s always some initial idea that kind of kicks it off. So what made all that happen was the global distribution system started saying, “Hey, let’s aggregate. As opposed to going point-to-point with all of your vendors, let’s aggregate things.” Then you get the direct-to-consumer models popping up.
Now all of a sudden, American Airlines is going to sell directly or the hotel’s going to sell directly or go through an aggregator. So ultimately, the common theme here is, business used to be done this way, because these were the standard channels of engagement with your customer base.
And then all of a sudden, digital comes around and creates this massive open map on top of it that says, “Here are the possibilities of what could happen. Let’s start seeing what is really going to happen. Is it going to be social? Is it going to be an app? Is it going to be text or chat bot?”
All of a sudden, now we have this massive playing feel of top-of-funnel engagements. You’re watching now, this more modern employee base, starting to hit and drive engagement in places that didn’t exist a few years ago.
The same thing really happened. I think you need to be careful. This is really important for the staffing space to understand, because in each one of these scenarios, when you have digital transformation taking over an industry, something gets cut.
A middleman gets cut at some point. Or you need to reinvent yourself, so you are not the one getting cut. You’re the one that’s actually driving the business and experience forward, so that you become an industry standard and a best practice, as opposed to a laggard.
Obviously, travel agencies went from tens of thousands down to 20. Look at what happened with big box. All the mom and pop shops, they just did not have the capacity to scale at which the larger folks did. The staffing space needs to do that same thing. They need to realize that, what got you here won’t get you there, meaning the future of the industry, the employment. They’re going to have to navigate this change, this seismic shift, by investing in new business models and methodologies that are candidate- or talent-centric.
Folwell: Yeah. I mean I think it’s common knowledge at this point in the staffing industry, but when you compare it to travel…I always think one of the best examples is just looking at Blockbuster. It’s like, they had a chance to buy Netflix. They had a chance to modernize.
Here, they sat back and said, “You know what? Our business model works. We don’t need to adjust. We don’t need to adapt.” Then here, now they don’t exist. There’s that. And then you mentioned on just the different demands from candidates at this point.
I was in Portland over the weekend and saw…I think this is probably pretty common with the gig economy now, but I saw Amazon advertising, “Get a job without ever interviewing.” I haven’t seen that advertised out. I know you can do it through gig work, but I just think about how expectations are changing and the idea of that even being a possibility. Ten years ago, 15 years ago it wasn’t. Now it’s common. It’s like, “Oh, I’m going to hire 10 people that I’ve never talked to, that nobody on our team’s even talked to.”
Mileti: Yeah. The talent is following suit. I mean, when you think about it, the old way of getting in your car and driving to a recruitment office, fighting traffic and paying for parking and gas to apply to that one job, someone’s going to sit at home and in that same amount of time, apply to 10. It’s mind blowing.
If those 10 aren’t as easy as scrolling through Instagram, they’re just going to abandon it. As a matter of fact, we just had some incredible stats come out, with a Gen Z survey we did, is that 70% of talent will abandon an application or a hiring process, even if the job is perfect, if it’s too hard.
That would’ve never happened 10 years ago. Now it’s just like, “You know what? This is taking too long.” It’s called consumer-grade experiences. Us, I mean, because we’re part of these younger generations that are entering the market, they’re expecting that consumer-grade experience.
If it isn’t as easy as scrolling through Instagram or Twitter, if it isn’t as easy as buying a product on Amazon…you need to have a one-click hiring process. If you don’t, people are going to go find it somewhere else. That’s called the abandoned application, which is pretty much synonymous with abandoned shopping cart rates in ecommerce.
Folwell: I’ve never even thought about it, just comparing it directly to that, but it’s the same deal, for sure.
Mileti: Without a doubt.
Folwell: Yeah. One thing you and I talked about a little bit, but TechRuum has this movement forward with the Connected Recruiting methodology. Could you just share a little bit about what that is and what’s changing?
Mileti: Yeah, absolutely. TechRuum sees this shift. We have 10,000 staffing customers in North America. We have our finger on the pulse of this. We’ve been seeing this happening. TechRuum has traditionally brought products and services to make the recruiters and the overall staffing model run. We’ve done quite well with that. We have industry-leading technology.
But we’re seeing this shift to, the talent is going to require new business models and methodologies. So it’s our effort. Connected Recruiting, it really is a framework. It’s a methodology for the staffing business, to adopt some best practices around user experience, digital marketing, business process automation, UI, total talent experience management, so that you can compete with this modern world of work and win the war on talent.
It’s not necessarily a product that we’re selling. It’s an ideology that, if adopted by a staffing firm, it’ll galvanize their organization and think about candidate and talent first and build all their business processes throughout the entire talent lifecycle, from application, all the way through redeployment and ongoing nurturing, which will then feed referrals and re-engagement and positive reviews, which then feed your Google reviews. And then Tommy, who’s online, Googles and sees you have four-and-a-half out of five stars.
It’s beyond Net Promoter Score. It’s more about driving a digital brand and digital experience, that is going to create a flywheel effect with your talent pool.
Folwell: Yeah. I think just going back to that stat, I was going to ask you next, what are some of the benefits of implementing this?
I think you went through a few of them. But that stat of, 75% of candidates would abandon the cart, abandon the application process if it’s too difficult, and I think about myself in so many situations. The second I hit a roadblock, I’m like, “Oh, well, there’s an easier way.” That easier way is almost always Amazon right now. Shocking.
Mileti: It is. Same product, same result, you go to Amazon.
Folwell: I get to a shopping cart and I’m like, oh, it’s not auto-filling. It’s not auto filling. I can go do this over here in 10 seconds. It’s going to save me some time.
I feel like that same concept is happening for applicants every day, especially right now, with this labor market. Be like, “Oh, I can get the exact same pay rate at these 30 different places.” It comes down to, who’s easier to work with? Right?
Mileti: 100%. The staffing firm needs to become a digital marketing agency. They need to become obsessed with conversion. The way you become obsessed with conversion is, you need to understand your talent and their personas. It’s going to be driven by psychographic and demographic data. You need to create segmentation. Then once you have that, you design candidate journeys.
There’s a bunch of different journeys. There’s dozens of them that a staffing firm needs to understand, inside and out. Within those journeys, they need to really understand the moments that matter.
A big theme of TechRuum this year was “meet the moment.” We need to meet the talent, meet the industry where it is because it’s changing. Well, that continues. That whole strategy continues within Connected Recruiting, because there are moments that matter within a talent experience and a journey, that you’re going to make an impression on whether they click through, whether they add that job to their shopping cart or whether they say, “This is actually taking too long” or “This message is off” or “This job isn’t right.”
Knowing what those are and making sure that you’re continuously optimizing those experiences and experimenting with new ways, all in an effort to drive higher conversion, that’s really the major goal of Connected Recruiting, is to have that level of thought and that level of mentality and apply it to your talent experiences.
It’s not all going to be digital. In some cases, the ideal experience is going to be, “Hey, recruiter needs to pick up a phone and have a conversation.” In some cases, it’ll be, “Oh, this’ll be best served via self-service, within an in-app alert, as opposed to an email.” In some cases, it’ll be an email. So, it’s about the right mix of omnichannel experiences, built around those journeys.
Folwell: I second that. My background in digital marketing and conversion rate optimization was what I spent just an absolute insane amount of time on. One thing, I’ve said this to our audience so many times, but I’ll repeat it again, is “Go apply on your website.” I don’t know. If you’re the CEO, go apply on your website, see what that experience feels like. Put in test email addresses, that people don’t know. And then go apply on Indeed, and see what that experience is like. Go check it out and compare, what does it feel like and how many steps does it take? I think that’s such a critical thing.
I also think you brought up the whole psychographic and demographic data, and making sure that you’re really thinking about the candidate journeys, who they are and what they want to see. I feel like agencies frequently forget that, even within their segment. Say they’re travel nursing. Within their group of travel nurses, they have people that want completely different things. They have people that want the highest pay. They have people that want the most hand holding. Thinking about, how do you actually segment the people, is a key component as well.
Mileti: If history repeats itself in retail, in ecommerce, once everybody went online and we could start buying products online, the next stage of the retail evolution was personalization. So, everyone had their ecommerce platforms and there was a best practice on how to buy a product online and your shopping cart design. What ended up happening, there was a secondary platform that emerged, which was the customer experience platforms, the CXPs, which were part marketing automation, but also UX and personalization, so that no two people that landed on REI.com or Amazon.com saw the same experience. It was persona data that was driving a journey.
The staffing industry will get there. That is going to happen. You’re going to be looking at your segments and creating specific messaging, that speaks to not only who they are, from what journey they’re on, but the type of person and what their likes and dislikes are.
Folwell: I couldn’t agree more. I think that’s great insight. Also, I mean, I think history does repeat itself. It’s going to here, as well.
Mileti: Without a doubt.
Folwell: The companies that recognize that and get there faster are going to be the ones winning the battle. With that, what are some of the obstacles that you see, when it comes to staffing firms moving forward, embracing this change?
Mileti: We’re kind of on the bleeding edge of a lot of this right now. It’s a lot to take in. I mean, digital transformation takes decades. It’s a decade-long process of iteration. That’s the big thing. There’s an iterative process here. You’re not going to hit a home run or a grand slam right out of the gate. You’re going to do baby steps.
I think the old-school mentality is, “Let’s design a solution. It’s going to be perfect. I don’t care if it takes two years, but we’re going to implement it and then we’re done.” “Done” never enters the equation, when it comes to talent experience management, to the level that we’re talking about here. So, getting people to think that, “Hey, it’s a marathon, not a sprint,” and just start with the basics and then start adding on. That’s a big one.
Nobody wants to be in ongoing implementations, but that’s going to just take an organization time too, to understand that this is just something that’s going to be…it’s going to require constant enhancements and fine tuning. That’s a big one.
Folwell: I think that’s a major shift. I also see that. I mean, business owners as a whole, the way that I’ve experienced it from just having the marketing agency side is, “Okay, well, we’re going to do this, redo our website. And then what’s the silver bullet on top of that? Then we’re done.”
It’s like, I don’t know. You have thousands of people visiting your website every month. Do you stop showing up and improving that experience if you had a retail store? It’s like, no, you’ve got to continue to evolve and continue to do more with it.
I think on the candidate journey side, I also feel like there’s so many pieces of automation that you can put in place, that you can’t do it all at once. You’ll overwhelm everybody. So, just taking the baby steps and learning as you go and measuring as you go, it seems like the right approach.
Mileti: Measuring’s the big one. I don’t feel like we’ve gotten to the point…and you know this from your digital marketing agency, conversion metrics, funnel metrics were so granular that a digital marketer could look at something and say, “Well, now I’m going to change this word or this content and do A/B testing and multi-variant testing.” We’ll get to that point as a best practice in the industry.
The other one is like, this isn’t one department that owns Connected Recruiting or this level of digital transformation to create a talent-centric model, to fight off the talent platforms and to modernize your business for these younger age groups. It requires marketing involvement, recruiter ops, business ops, IT, legal and compliance. You need to assemble a news team here. It has to be its own organization, for the most part, a cross-functional team.
It’s just funny because in retail, ecommerce was just a department off of the traditional brick and mortar. Then over time, they realized, hey….
Folwell: This is the business.
Mileti: This is the business. All of a sudden now, you have two separate teams. There’s always going to be the traditional business. You’re going to get employees that way.
It’s just, this new model is going to require a joint task force, but it can’t be separate tech stacks. You need to put everything under roof, at the end of the day, because one day your talent might decide to walk in an office or make a phone call or download an app or go to your website. That data can’t be isolated in different systems. It needs to all go into one and tell one cohesive story.
Folwell: That makes a ton of sense as well. With that, I’m going to shift gears a little bit back to, we were talking about candidate expectations earlier.
We talked about some of the ways that they need to evolve. But are there any other specific things, that if you’re a listener to this and you’re a staffing agency owner, that it’s like, “All right, here are the things I need to be thinking about in terms of next steps for candidate expectations, cart abandonment or application abandonment.” That’s a new concept for me. I love that…you would suggest people think about right now or things that you think are coming up in the next few years?
Mileti: Yeah, absolutely. We’ll be releasing a talent survey that’s got a lot of this highlighted. I think I’m going to be doing a webinar on that as well. But just to tease you out some additional figures there, this one is incredible to me. 20% of people that worked with a staffing firm in the last year, the reason why they worked with them was reputation.
That is a consumerization, because they’re not looking for…they’re making a decision on what work they’re going to take, not if it’s the right fit, if it’s the long-term plan for me. They know that all that stuff is temporary, and they might decide to do something else another day. They’re making that decision based on brand reputation.
They’re going to Google, they’re doing a review, and they’re seeing what other people had to say. The fact that 20% of respondents to this survey said that was the reason, tells me that that is just showing how the consumerization of this industry is being driven off of some of those things that spark us humans as consumers.
“Hey, what did other people think about this? It might not be the perfect long-term fit for me, but hey, I’ll give it a shot, if these guys have four out of five stars.” I buy products, solely on that as well. Talent are choosing jobs, based on that alone. I was kind of shocked that it was 20%.
Folwell: I wish you had that year-over-year, for the last five years. I would love to see that. That feels like something that’s going to be 80% in three to five years from now. I don’t choose a restaurant without Yelp.
Mileti: Don’t do it.
Folwell: I love Yelping. Then I’m going to Yelp to figure out what the popular dish is.
Mileti: That’s it.
I feel like the Great Recruiters, ClearlyRated, having that reputation management system in place, things like that, is also a critical component.
Mileti: Without a doubt. It’s kind of embarrassing, but if I’m going out to a nice restaurant, I’m literally looking at the menu and choosing what I have, before I even leave the house. I don’t want menu anxiety when I get to the restaurant. I’ll know what the best dishes are.
Folwell: That’s hilarious. That’s hilarious. I’ve started going to the popular dish. I pull it up while I’m in the restaurant. “What are the five most popular dishes?” That steers my direction. I’m like, “This is insane. I’m sitting here, menu in hand, looking at, what do people order the most? Okay. Well, now I’m more interested.”
Mileti: That’s how it is.
Mileti: No, I was going to say, another one is, 90% of respondents to the survey had mentioned that the reason why they work with a staffing firm is because they thought or they are getting opportunities to rescale, upscale or get education.
They can get a job anywhere. They’re going to come to a staffing firm because that is going to be the value-added benefit. That, “Hey, you’re going to learn about me. You’re going to put me, potentially on a career path, to go from $15 to $18 an hour, to know what my aspirations are, and where I’d like to be in terms of employment, in the next six months.” I don’t think we’re there yet as an organization, to be thinking, “Hey, those are the conversations.”
We’re still very commodity-focused. “Hey, there’s an open rack. Let me look at my database, throw things at it, see what sticks, move on to the next,” as opposed to being a little more strategic around our relationships.
This whole idea of a Connected Recruiting framework will give you the data and it’ll give you the time to do that analysis, so that you’re providing your talent exactly what they’re asking for.
They’re asking for a coach, a mentor. They’re asking for a teammate here and a partner, to guide them along this journey. Whether it’s temp or temp to permanent, that doesn’t matter. They’re looking for that personal touch. Sometimes that’ll be delivered via digital. Sometimes it’ll be more traditional engagement.
Folwell: That’s an incredible stat. I’m actually just wondering. I’ve not even thought about that, but when candidates get placed, I’ve never heard of anybody asking, “What’s your career path? Where do you want to be in five years…” as a standardized thing that you can then use as data, to go forward with.
Have you seen that in the onboarding process? Not just as an interview question, but actually asking it as, “Hey, we want to help you grow and help drive you down that path.”
Mileti: We’re starting to see some customers thinking about it. We’ve seen a couple ones that are doing some cool things around gamifying the process. You’re cleared and you’re ready for work. You can grab jobs that have been officially provided to you, within an app or within this experience.
Then there’s a gated experience saying, “Hey, do you want to make $18 an hour? These jobs are available today. If you want to get them and you want to unlock them, take this class, upskill yourself, get this certification, so that we can put you to work here and make more money.” That’s pretty cool, to be able to do that at a global level.
Folwell: I mean, that’s what our economy needs, in so many ways.
Folwell: That’s just good for everybody. So, that’s really cool to hear that.
Mileti: Yeah, without a doubt.
Folwell: With the report coming out, any other interesting stats you want to share?
Mileti: Yeah. This one isn’t really a stat. Actually, I can’t remember the number exactly. You’ll have to download the report. We’re not meeting the engagement expectations of the talent in this survey. There was a resounding number of respondents said that, they want to be contacted at least once a week, with these types of engagements. What they’re currently getting is not once a week, and the engagements are usually around jobs that really don’t match them. So, there’s no value there. There’s no benefit that the staffing firm is providing.
What they want to see is an engagement that is more timely and consistent or some sort of value is being provided within that message and usually around matching. It’s all comes back to having really, really solid and clean data and having the right rules engine and the right automation on the back end, to do that matching a little better.
Folwell: Yeah. I mean, I feel like that’s the Netflix and Amazon related movies, recommended products. Right now, I feel like most of these experiences are, “Okay, well, here’s a hundred additional jobs that you might be interested in.” But if it could be, “Here are three jobs that literally hit your skillset, exactly what you’re looking for,” now you’re saving me time. There’s a value add that comes from that experience as well.
One other component, and this is a little bit specific, but we’ve talked about the NPS and how important that is. I think we’ve already touched on this a little bit with Yelp. We might’ve beaten this one to death, but what’s your take on NPS and the importance of that for an agency’s success?
Mileti: I think it’s important. But in my opinion, in this new digital model, around Connected Recruiting, I feel like Google Reviews and what your reputation is in the social stratosphere, is more important than Net Promoter Score.
I mean, you tell me, “Hey, Net Promoter Score is negative 23.” Okay. But I just Googled you. You have four and a half out of five stars, by 600 people. I know what that means. No one knows what that….
Folwell: Yeah. They’re not googling, “What’s your Net Promoter Score?”
Mileti: Exactly. So, as we become more self-sufficient as an employment economy, in doing our own searches for jobs, it’s going to start with Google. It’s going to start with keyword searches for your brand or for your on-demand staffing platform that you just launched or for your local office. Whatever makes it to the top of that search results, I think is what is going to drive the biggest value.
You can feed that, through ratings and reviews. You can work with other third parties, that can provide that value. Do you guys offer that? I don’t even know if Great Recruiters….
Folwell: Great Recruiters has a component of that. ClearlyRated does as well, I believe.
Mileti: Yeah, ClearlyRated.
Folwell: Yeah. ClearlyRated, Great Recruiters, I think those are the two big ones in the space, but for a reputation management side of things.
Mileti: 100%. Yeah. I think that’s huge. I mean, that’s what drove a lot of the smaller organizations, your niche players, when you think of the retail industry.
How did companies like Abe’s of Maine and B&H Photo, companies that if you’re not buying high-end electronics or camera equipment, you have no idea who these companies are. But they do hundreds of millions online, because they’ve developed a positive reputation and they have created a niche. The staffing model needs to grow towards a niche, so that you can feed those positive reviews and get great stories, great talent stories.
Folwell: Absolutely. I think that’s something just for everybody listening to think about is, “What is your online reputation?” If you’re not looking at it, if you don’t think it’s important, I would take note and consider taking some action to improve it.
With that, we’re going to jump to the personal questions for the interview. What advice do you wish you were given before entering the staffing industry?
Mileti: Man, I feel like I was pretty well equipped because I just came out of retail ecommerce. I’m like, “Okay, I’ve seen this play. I think I know it’s going on.”
What advice? I was not well equipped. When we took EmployStream to market, I underestimated…this was, of course, six years ago. I was a little taken back by the level of sophistication around the digital models that people had in play. I was amazed to see that people were still on paper. I was amazed to see the level of swivel chairing that was happening.
The best advice somebody would’ve given me was, “Hey, realize that you’re going to be having this conversation for the next 10 years. You’re going to have 10,000 of them. You just got to pace yourself, man, pace yourself.”
I think I came in assuming that it was going to be a faster transition to more digital first, just because…I wasn’t there at the beginning of retail, but I could imagine it’s the same way that staffing was five, six years ago, in terms of replatforming efforts and bringing in people that are going to think more, with more modern marketing tendencies, digital marketing.
Folwell: Wow, that’s great advice. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior or habit has most improved your life?
Mileti: Mindfulness, taking breaths. Out of nowhere, realize that my brain has just gone on a massive negative tangent and I’m hyperventilating. I’ve been doing it for two hours, while working. Then I need to realize, “Yo, dude, take a deep breath, relax, bring yourself back to a centered space.” It’s very easy to do, but it’s hard to remember.
So in the last year, I’ve been able to start being more mindful, to get in more of that meditation, to have just quick little meditation wins and bring myself back to equilibrium.
Folwell: Any apps that you recommend….
Mileti: Then I freak out again.
Folwell: Yeah. Then you freak out after it. Do you have any apps that you use, or do you just do it on your own?
Mileti: Yeah. The mindfulness, just the….
Folwell: On the watch.
Mileti: Yeah, on the watch. It’s just like, “Hey, dude.” It’s like, “Hey, take a breath.” I’m like, “Oh, thank you Apple Watch.”
Folwell: It always concerns me when it comes up though. I’m like, “Am I clearly in a bad spot? Is my heart racing that much that you…?”
Mileti: Yeah. Right? And kids, having young kids, teaching them breath, trying to become a better father is going to make you get your stuff together.
Folwell: Awesome. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? Could be an investment of money, time, energy, et cetera.
Mileti: I moonlight as a contractor. I like building. Yeah, I like doing remodeling.
Folwell: I know you’re always out in the yard.
Mileti: Not always. In the yard, in the basement. I’ve gone through this now for 10 years. It’s a bit of a hobby. I have a love/hate, but anyone can do the job right, with the right tools. There is a tool out there for everything. I used to just try to hack things together in my earlier days. I apologize to anyone who, if I ever did a bathroom remodel for you, on the side, for fun.
I didn’t use the right tools, but they had this concept of “hack artists.” So, I was a hack artist early on. Then at some point, I realized that you needed to invest in the right tools and the right time to learn how to use them, in order to get the job done, that will last beyond just six months or a year. That was a lesson I learned.
So, having the right tools for the job. In my case, a lot of carpentry tools. My wife’s like, “Why does that thing cost $400?” I’m like, “I needed it for that one thing.”
Folwell: I mean, you probably have an ROI, with all the hours you’re putting it. So, definitely worthwhile investment.
Mileti: Yeah, without a doubt.
Folwell: Last question I’ve got for you is, what is the book or books you’ve given most as a gift and why?
Mileti: Ooh, yeah. I love this one. There is a book called Crossing the Chasm. Who wrote it? Geoffrey Moore. Geoffrey Moore. Yeah.
If you’re an early-stage startup or if you’re a startup company at any stage really, in the process, it is a book that analyzes really, every software company trying to break into a market with some sort of innovative idea, goes through this bell curve of innovators, early adopters, first majority, second majority and laggards. It’s a bell curve that goes like that.
It’s easy. I’ve been doing startups for the last 15 years. I’ve done seven of them, and five have failed. Why do they fail? You can always get your innovators. Most people can get past the innovators and get an opportunity or get a business off the ground. And then a large percentage can make it into your innovators.
That’s your group that, you can sell more than just two or three people. You’re not giving it away. You’re starting to commercialize it.
Folwell: They’re willing to try it.
Mileti: They’re willing to try it. The big challenge, and this is where most…this is where 80%, 90% of businesses and mostly startups fail, is going from your innovators to your early majority. That is known as the chasm. This book talks about how you can cross the chasm. It goes through decades of use cases, with companies like IBM and Adobe and Salesforce and all these companies.
Really, it analyzes how they crossed the chasm in their markets and what were the strategies and tactics they used. So, love the book. Always give it away. Always open it up if I need a refresh.
Folwell: Awesome. I don’t think I’ve read that one. I’m putting it on my list. Great recommendation. Any closing comments for the audience?
Mileti: A couple things. TechRuum’s going to be putting on a lot of content around Connected Recruiting and this whole idea of, in order to be the next generation staffing and recruiting firm, you really have to invest in a new platform on the front-end of your business, that is candidate and talent facing.
It needs to be omnichannel. It needs to be rooted in business process. You need to drive personalization. There needs to be some level of self-service. You need to be obsessed with conversion and metrics and analytics. You need to have UX designers or have your vendors support you on UX design. It’s always ever-evolving. You’re never going to always get it right.
Amazon spends hundreds of millions of dollars adjusting what a “buy now” button looks like on their website. They test it, in order to get from 2% of people buying on their website to 2.1%, because that means billions of dollars. A staffing firm needs to be thinking that same way.
Folwell: I love that as a closing comment. Well, really nice having you on, Andre. Great seeing you. Can’t wait to sit down with you at our next conference. Good hanging out.
Mileti: Couple weeks. Great seeing you, David.
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