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EP47: David Marshall, Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition at Medalogix

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey  0:00  

Hey, welcome to Talent Acquisition Trends & Strategy. I'm here today with David Marshall. David, welcome to the show!


David Marshall  0:06  

Hey, James, how are you doing? Thank you for having me.


James Mackey  0:08  

Yeah, of course. Let's go ahead and just go over your background a little bit. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself? 


David Marshall  0:15  

Absolutely, I am David Marshall. Currently, I'm a Senior Manager of Talent Acquisition with a company called Medalogix. Regarding my background, I've been in talent acquisition since 2010. Let's see, starting off I didn't have an internship when I graduated from college. So I consider my start and internships, I was actually an HR file clerk. So just pushing all these papers, hard copies of everything to just digital format. Slowly got into recruiting, I think in 2011. And from there it's been uphill from a talent acquisition standpoint, so corporate recruiter has been the majority of my focus. So actually transitioned to more so of the SaaS kind of provider space actually in 2020. So from then until now, SaaS companies are what I've been a part of,


James Mackey  1:07  

For sure. So the current company you're part of is Medalogix, is that right? Okay.


David Marshall  1:12  

Yes, sir. Medalogix is based in Nashville, Tennessee. It is a SaaS company. From a high level, we provide data analytics to clinicians, that would make an intern provide better quality care to the patients that they're serving. Based in Nashville, the company size is roughly about 70 people, and we have 17 states represented. So even though the company is small, we have a very big presence. So certainly excited about that.


James Mackey  1:38  

Okay, cool. And I think I saw somewhere on LinkedIn, did y'all get acquired by private equity?


David Marshall  1:44  

Yeah, private equity. Still kind of in the startup phase more so but really more mature, where we are in high-growth right now. So sure, reasons why they brought in a big hitter like me. No, I'm just kidding. But that's one of the reasons why the company actually sought my skill set out, because we are in growth mode right now. So QA engineers, engineers, software engineers, come on down. But really excited about that.


James Mackey  2:17  

Yeah, that's great. And I know you had asked me to share a little bit about my background and where I'm coming from too. So I'm the CEO of SecureVision. Been doing that for 7 years, and we've worked with over 150 tech companies to help them hire. We have an RPO model, which is as I like to say, it's just a fancy way of saying you can borrow recruiters from us. So we have recruiters that basically operate like internal recruiters for as long as a company needs and it's a subscription. 


Then when they don't need the internal recruiter anymore, they can give a 30-day notice and we will reassign that recruiter. It's kind of like a mix between like contingent recruitment and internal. And our value adds are basically higher quality than contingent and more flexibility than internal. And that's the value proposition. But yeah, anyways, a lot of startups, growth-stage companies, hyper-growth companies, VC-backed, PE-backed, it's kind of our wheelhouse. And then in the earlier days, I billed myself out. So I did talent leadership roles at different companies. 


That's kind of the world that I play in. I know there's going to be a lot of shared experiences here. We're gonna have some good conversations. So just to jump into the first topic, we wanted to talk a little bit about executive leadership buy-in. I agree with you, and actually, literally, this morning posted about this on LinkedIn, just talking about how important it is. I think it was this morning, sometime really soon, I do post twice a day. So I get lost in terms of when I post stuff but basically talking about how important it is to get buy-in from the leadership team. And that's such an important topic. 


It's such an important thing for companies to do because talent acquisition leaders can't control if a function leader is following their process, and their best practices. Thus you need buy-in from all the different leaders and that comes directly from the C level that has to set a culture around talent acquisition being performance metrics company wide, not just falling within talent. It'd be like blaming the sales team if they're not selling but there's no product market fit. 


Or vice versa, right? You're coming down hard on a product team when your revenue org is totally out of whack.  Your company needs to be aligned on objectives and everybody's job is obviously correlated to some degree and we see that a lot in talent acquisition. But anyways, I just want to get your thoughts here. What does executive leadership buy-in mean to you? What are the biggest challenges you see out there right now when it comes to that topic?


David Marshall  5:08  

Yeah, those are great questions, and I can't tell you how refreshing it is to really talk about this. I'm going to answer your question and then go into everything else. What executive leadership buy-in really means to me - it's really just having alignment from a vision standpoint, meaning that I can see from their lens, and they can see from my lens and vice versa. 


So when decisions are being made, when I hear their thoughts, I'm not hearing it from an HR mindset perspective, is that, okay? I can elevate my vision so to speak, to be able to really align with what they're doing. And then I can bring it back down to my level to say, alright, now how do we digest this in a way that's appropriate and filtered out through the TA lens, so that way you can be in alignment with what's happening? That's a long winded answer but hopefully, that makes sense.


James Mackey  5:57  

Yeah, for sure, for sure. I definitely agree with the alignment. But I like to go as far as to say - I want every leader within the company to have a performance metric around hiring for their team. It's even more than alignment, I think that that's an incredibly important part of it. Because you can't have talent acquisition accountable for performance, like an outcome, the hiring goal. But then if you have a hiring manager that's missing interviews every week, even if you're aligned on the role, description, or whatever else, it needs to be a priority. And that starts at the top. 


And the way that you make it show the company that is a priority is by putting a performance metric around it, right? Like, hey, this is one of the 3 performance metrics, or one of the few performance metrics that every VP has for their department. I feel like it's really the best way to move, to make progress when it comes to buy-in.


David Marshall  6:55  

You're absolutely right. And I think that's one of the things that I have been looking to initiate in my current role now. With the need for TA, and then oftentimes, as I'm sure you know, we kind of get boxed into this transactional-like - Hey, you're doing this, you're doing that to obviously bring talent in, but I look at it like it if you're a fan of college football, I am too as well. So, of course, the state, I'm from Alabama, that kind of lets you know what team I typically root for. It's one thing to really attract and actually have five stars on your team. So what are you going to do to make sure that they maintain that star status? 


And so I think when we talk about alignment, when we talk about performance metrics, that's really the meat and potatoes that I like to be involved in and such and making sure that I'm not only positioning the candidate, but also the hiring manager on up to ensure that we are creating an environment where they can succeed, and help them obviously advance in the company, but also vice versa, we're giving them the tools to be able to be successful.


James Mackey  8:05  

For sure. I mean we've come into environments before where we built out process docs and all this stuff. And it's all great but if people aren't following it, what can you really do? I mean, you have to be tactful, right? You don't want to create enemies. And that's how you want a CEO to be the one communicating this. If you do go to executive leadership, hopefully, they're the type that's not going to say - hey, the Head of Talent was coming to me with this complaint for how you're operating your department. 


Hopefully, they can be a little bit more tactful. Just say - Hey, what are the hiring outcomes that you have? Okay, well, what can we put into place in order to make sure that that happens? Are we following the process? Hey, let's put in a goal for you this quarter. I want to see you do XYZ.


David Marshall  9:10  

That's really important. And I think that's one of the things that, going back to alignment, having those conversations and having a pulse, and I'll say from the first time I started recruiting to where I am now, I am much different. I'm not gonna lie to you that I got into recruiting, it kind of fell into my lap. I didn't really say - oh, I want to do this. It was kind of like, oh, okay, this is something. 


James Mackey  9:33  

Does anybody plan to be a recruiter?


David Marshall  9:36  

And I made a tweet the other day. I said - if you want to do this job, well, you really don't want to do this job. Because when I say it has, it really has, and it's not all the time. It's oftentimes the circumstances that have to deal with because again,  trying to understand it and you see it so getting people to really understand and see it. Knowing how to have conversations with different people. 


Really what I like to do starts with these expectations. When I have this conversation with the CEO - I'm here, this is your idea, break that down for me, and I try to get them to talk. If you are presenting to the board, talk to me in that same manner, have all your reports have all your metrics and different things and your vision for the next three to five years? What is it that you want me to accomplish, because I think that having a solid foundation is certainly key to being able to execute that? 


Then obviously taking that, and then again, bite sized material, having those weekly, monthly follow-ups, with those who are, I would say foot soldiers, but those who are kind of carrying out the vision so to speak, from that mid-level, senior-level leadership and being able to really break that down to where I'm constantly having a pulse. Going back, when I first started, it was kind of - Hey, I'm calling people and talking to people in this. I didn't really think about candidate experience, how to think about, keeping hiring managers' foot to the fire, and stuff.


 And so now, you reach a point where you're being proactive, setting up those standards and such. And I think a lot of times the difficulty is if you work in finance, IT, if you work in all these areas of the company, there's this really big eye on ROI. So you can see it because if they do this clearly impacts a product. TA obviously impacts a lot of the org, if not all of the organization, but it's certainly hard to define that. 


And because we're not necessarily being a part of product production so to speak. I think it's very unique when you talk about being tactical to say - okay, how can I ensure that I'm communicating in a way where you see that what I am doing really does impact the product itself? And the people themselves? Because again, if you don't have the right people in place, then certainly it's gonna hurt everything that we're doing. 


James Mackey  11:59  

You're not going to have the best product, or sell it, it impacts everything. And it's very obvious to us, but I think sometimes a lot of companies may not want to invest enough in talent acquisition, but then they're not happy with the outcomes necessarily, and they look at TA as a call center. I sometimes use that terminology when I talk about talent, but more so because it's commonly accepted, that's how CFOs and a lot of people are looking at it. 


However, the reality is that when you get that right, it enables you to grow a lot faster so that's something I'm constantly talking about. I'm okay with education and talking, and doing things to get that buy-in. I think it's part of what makes a good leader, being able to communicate why this bit is so interconnected with the mission and the outcomes that the company wants to accomplish. 


I think the way to do it is going straight to the top, as opposed to trying to have these conversations with VPS and directors, I like to go straight to the top. Maybe even just asking the C-level, CEO, COO - hey I think we should be tactful in how we express this. As opposed to expressing the dissatisfaction coming from me, let's just instead put in some kind of performance metric, which I think is going to enable us to get the results that you want to see from us and talent. And do that. 


The one thing is, I have been in environments where it's like every month you're trying to convince the team to get buy-in, and you're telling executives what needs to happen, and then they're just constantly fighting it. And that's a real pain. What I always recommend is that it's ok to do the education. But if you find yourself in a position, fighting for resources, and to explain why doing something a certain way is important, it's probably worthwhile to leave the company if you can and to find a leadership team that's aligned with you philosophically on talent acquisition. It's just a waste of resources and time to constantly be like holding your ground, right? I don't know if you've ever been in that type of position at any previous employer, but it's a real pain.


David Marshall  14:32  

No, you're absolutely right. It is a huge pain. With the permission of leadership and my chief people officer, I've let people kind of hit their butt on the pavement a little bit at times, because I'd say okay, here it is - I'm coaching. I have the metrics. I have all these different things and such. And it's such a fight as I'm sure you're aware of, as you just mentioned and instead of just constantly kicking my vision versus your vision, my way versus your way, I said - Okay, we're going to invest in your way holistically. We're going to do this your way and I know it's not going to work and I can't convince you of that but I know the experience can. 


So once we have that experience, all that stuff that everything we thought we had going on, and it all comes crumbling down. And now they come back and say - hey David, kind of need your help; Okay, are you ready to listen, because it's not my show, it's our show. I'm only here just to give you tools and resources to help you to align the ship. We obviously both have the same thing, we want great talent, that's going to be here, that's going to stay here. We want to nurture them, and obviously help them grow and such. The way we go about doing that,  and I'm not saying that I have the best vision for that but I know collectively, we can come up with something that certainly satisfies our needs and such. I'd be remiss if I didn't say I've let a person, our hiring manager kind of bump their head a little bit. 


James Mackey  16:08  

I think so as long as it doesn't blow back at you, right? 


David Marshall  16:12  

Is there documentation I have?


James Mackey  16:14  

Yes, that's exactly what it comes down to. If you have a hiring manager that is rescheduling a lot - document, you need to use Google Docs or something, you're recording that stuff. If you're seeing conversion rates slip or top loss reasons being because of candidate experience, you need to record all that stuff. So that when hiring isn't going to plan you can show - this isn't on me, we have made several recommendations on X, Y and Z dates here. 


Here are all the times that we've had our interviews rescheduled, we have even though we're more on the agency side very similar situations. We do a lot of VC partnerships. So venture capital firms will introduce us to portfolio companies so that we can provide recruiting support to those portfolios. The issue is that a lot of times portfolio companies are only going to make noise if they're not happy about something. We had a recent situation, an early stage company, that was missing interviews every single week, reaching out to the VC partner, and saying SecureVision is not getting it done. And we're looking at the data. 


You missed interviews and in one case they dropped out of the process. You're missing our weekly calls. These guys came from big tech and they're at a startup, a 10-person person start-up. And there was also this expectation - oh, it was pretty easy for me to recruit at Netflix, how could it be that much different, right? They didn't make the connection - well, nobody actually knows your little startup. It's a totally different motion and you can't compete on pay, you can't compete on brand. Yeah, you need to find people with that start-up kind of passion, but it's going to be a lot harder. I think it's a combination of things. 


But again, a lot of the time hiring managers, and department leaders, they're only loud when something isn't going well. And so when you're in talent acquisition, you need to document that stuff. Because they had reached out to the VC and gave that feedback. And so we had to reach out to the VC and say, well, actually, here's what's going on. Here's why that's happening, right? You can't do that without having the right data and documentation. I just wanted to expand on that point because I agree with you, it's important to do that.


David Marshall  18:38  

Absolutely. Absolutely. Documentation is key. And again, it really just creates an easier process and such, when it comes down to that. I want to revisit something you said earlier, you keep talking about these performance metrics and I think that that is such an important thing. And I can't tell you how many times I've been in conferences, and all this and all these gurus, no slack to anybody. But you know everybody's always talking about a high level. So I want to kind of dive into the meat and potatoes, a little bit of what you said. So do you have maybe three to five bullet points? If that many, when we talk about performance metrics and such for internal leadership? What does that look like to you?


James Mackey  19:22  

Yeah, I think when we're dialing in internally to talent acquisition, we could track a lot more, like we can track time to coverage - How long does it take for us to get to a full slate of candidates? We can track diversity in terms of diverse candidates, and how many have been considered for the role. We can track all of that stuff, we can get a lot more in-depth. 


But when it comes to other department heads, just keep it simple, right? Like okay - what's your hiring goal for the quarter? All right, you have to hire 10 people, how close to the goal are you? And if you're not close to the goal that's a knock on your performance, that's a knock on potentially your bonus. I mean okay, well, how can you improve? When the performance isn't going well, what they're gonna do most of the time is say - well, talk with David and Talent or talk with James or Talent, right? They're gonna point to us. But then the question just becomes, are we following the process, and that conversation has to come from the leader, not from talent acquisition because we're not managing that person directly. 


This is a performance based conversation. And our job is not to have performance based conversations, we can give suggestions, but I'm not gonna go to a VP of Customer Success or like a VP of Engineering, and tell them - hey, you need to do XYZ, your job XYZ way. I think it just comes down to being able to show the data, the documentation, and that conversation to be had directly between the hiring manager and their leader. And again, I think it goes all the way up to a VP level. So I think managers should be held accountable. I think directors, and VPs ultimately need to be accountable for hires within their departments. 


And they honestly, to some extent, should be accountable for the quality of the talent, like if their department has high turnover, or they have a lot of people on the team that aren't producing great outcomes - how clear are the performance metrics around that position, have we been able to develop very clear performance expectations for our role? If not, why? And if so, how is the team performing? And if a team has a lot or several members of the team that are not performing to very clearly outlined good performance metrics that comes back on the hiring manager or the VP. 


Not every hiring manager,  manager level is going to have experience hiring. But if you get to a VP level, you better have a lot of experience hiring at that point. When you're looking to fill those functions, nobody should be a VP of engineering or sales, if they haven't scaled a team, they needed to be in a management role, or a director level role where they've hired before. One of the recommendations I make too, is if you don't have experience hiring, don't hire somebody who doesn't have experience hiring in a VP role, that's a huge red flag. That's basically how I think about it, put a hiring quota in place, have it roll up all the way to the VP level, and only hire VPs that have scaled teams before.


David Marshall  22:10  

You know what's funny, I'll even do one better because this is something actually started that I have never done before in my history, when I say it has made my life easier. I was talking with our CIO when I first got started and just introducing myself and he was part of my interview process. Great guy. 


I never forget, he mentioned - Oh, I gotta go, we got our IT leadership meeting in a matter of minutes and stuff, so I let him go. And I just thought about I was like - Well, I would really love to be in that meeting. And lo and behold, I asked him after he got out - Look going forward, I just want to be a fly on the wall. I'm not trying to talk, I'm not trying to do anything, I just want to learn really what it is that you're doing. And this is what you're telling your leaders, how your leaders are integrating and operating with you. All that to say, now not only do we have our have our tech leadership meetings, every two weeks, I'm actually a part of that meeting. 


Literally spend the first 15 minutes talking about talent acquisition, recruiting, what's going on, alignments and stuff like that  are so important, having that presence of the CIO, as well as the department heads. Its money. I have everybody in one room, in one location, I can talk about really quick, high level stuff, what's going on, our successes, our areas of opportunities for the week, and really what's going on. So we really just created a warmer process and those managers who maybe are struggling a little bit more have an opportunity to really be around their peers -Okay, this is what he did to help me or I did. 


So it's kind of organic, they're coaching each other. They're hearing each other's success stories, they're having an opportunity to talk amongst themselves. These people are pretty competitive, so it just creates a high level of everybody wanting to do it the right way, and being accountable. 


James Mackey  24:33  

Yeah, it's social accountability, right? If I know our peers are gonna be on a call, we don't want to look like we're not performing. That's just awkward. That's actually a really smart idea. Earlier on the show in one of the first episodes, one of my friends was the first Chief HR Officer of LinkedIn. His name is Steve Cadigan. I would definitely if you haven't already,  follow him on LinkedIn. 


He's a great guy he is, he's got a lot of great insights. One of the things that he mentioned is that at each leadership meeting and didn't matter what function it was at LinkedIn, the first thing they talked about is - are we building a great team? And if other stuff got pushed, then they got pushed. But they always talked about how's the team performing. 


How's talent acquisition going? He helped scale LinkedIn from 300 to 3000. That was one of the things that you said -Okay, this is the first thing that we're going to talk about at every leadership meeting. If it's a priority, that should be something and again, there are two ways to approach it. There's the way that you mentioned where it's - Hey, I'm going to be on these calls, this is what we're going to do. If you're in an organization where that's not enough, then it's getting that performance metric in place, because people will shape up and make it happen. If they're not going to do it if they don't have the kind of culture that you're building necessarily where it's harder to get that buy-in. 


Then performance usually will do the trick. And if some people aren't happy about it, they'll leave and you'll get new leaders that get it. So I think the point is that that's a really great idea. That should be the first people that are that important to our success, regardless of the department, it should be the first thing that we're talking about.


David Marshall  26:35  

Absolutely, absolutely. And I think, reading so many books and really understanding the concept of a talent-centric environment. I think getting a chance to really speak it in terms of where it can be easily understood by other areas that talent acquisition responsibility is really everybody's job. They look at it at the end of the day - yeah, maybe the leader, maybe the thought leader, and such, but it's not solely just on me. I can bring anybody to the gates, but how do we nurture that going forward? How do we create an opportunity for not only them but for those that come after them? So that's really what excites me about talent acquisition.


James Mackey  27:20  

Yeah, for sure. Just to circle back to why it should be the first thing on every leadership call and just going back to what you were talking about college football Alabama, right? There's a few things. One is obviously the coaching organization, the process, and how they go about running the organization? Yes, but obviously the quality of the talent is going to have a very high impact on the quality of the outcomes produced. 


The amount of time that's spent on talent, scouting and finding the right people and giving it to the right people to join teams, whether at the college level or professional, the amount of money that people are willing at a professional level of how much money they're putting into key A-players, key people, because they know it's gonna drive outcomes. 


So I'm not saying, both are important. You need A-players, and you need process and structure and good coaches or VPs. I'm not saying that it's all about the talent, but come on, when you watch professional sports, obviously you need top talent and in order to do that, you have to make that a top priority. You have to have good people across the board. You can't just hire an A-player in one department because they're not going to stay there if they're looking at the other departments or the progress of the organization. If you put A-player on a team that's  winning two games a year, they're obviously not going to stay. If they have anything to do with it, they're going to try to get traded or something like that. So I think I think it's like a direct correlation, right?


David Marshall  28:55  

I think you're absolutely right. I think that one of the things that you mentioned was the investment. We talked about this, the amount of investment that they put into those talent scouts into this, really understanding, being in the homes, being in the communities as well, to ensure that they're obviously going after the right people. I think the same thing works out in organizations. And so my question and I kind of know from my experience, how do I get leadership to really invest into what I'm doing? So yes,  I have this whole thing, I can come up with PowerPoints and all kinds of stuff for days but how do I actually get them to invest and invest consistently? 


I think one of the things that I've done when I've worked in the environment I came in, is we were using agencies for everything. It was just giving out money, and I am not saying that they were doing a bad job, but the problem was there were no real processes. Okay, what are we doing now, how are we attracting? What are we doing? We had a referral program. We had all these Everything since I think one of the things that we did is just look at the bottom line. And it was easy - Okay, we're using contracts for this, this, and that. And I'm - Well, I can save us quite a bit of money from that, if you just allow me to have these resources and such. And one of the things I asked for is a LinkedIn recruiter license and such, but just going beyond that. 


Even with the success that I've been blessed to have, with that, are you saving the company thousands of dollars, to say the least, it certainly adds credibility to what's going on. So I think that is also a thing as well how do you continue to build that credibility? Regardless of what audience you're talking to, whether it's C-suite, whether it's those specific hiring managers, continuously building that credibility to ensure that people will be receptive of you because again, I know TA, we're kind of at the bottom of the totem pole when it comes to these things, but as you mentioned before, when things don't go right, we hear you loud and clear. 


James Mackey  31:11  

Yeah, we're in the hot seat for this stuff. All the time recruiters are just constantly getting beat up for stuff that's not under our control. You wouldn't hold accountable an SDR for revenue closed won. 


David Marshall  31:31  



James Mackey  31:32  

I'm not comparing that sales developer, SDR, Junior function, and talent acquisition but I'm just saying the parallel in terms of performance metrics being tied to things that people can't control is never a good strategy. So of course, there are bad recruiters out there, don't get me wrong, and bad leaders. Okay, I get that. I mean,  relationships sales, acumen, that kind of stuff is important but if people don't understand the process, they're not going to be very good. They have a ceiling I should say, maybe you can plug him in as a recruiter but you need people that understand process and tech and these types of things. 


I think a lot of the time you can have good recruiters that are getting a lot of heat. And it's okay, we see that a lot too. I just think it's important. I mean, I think we've pretty much covered the point of executive buy-in, right? Hopefully, this is valuable to people and they have some good takeaways, I guess the last thing I'll say is if you're not getting that buy-in and you've tried all of these things, leave and find a company that's ready to invest in you.


David Marshall  32:46  

And I'll say this, TA is a hot market, especially TA leadership right now. I can't tell you how many times I get hit up on LinkedIn, they just say - hey, we have this opportunity. And I'd say it wasn't like that five years ago. I think that companies are really beginning to understand in the age of transition with talent, really just being able to call their own shots. I have a healthcare background so I remember, growing up and just being 2010-2015ish because I work with clinicians a lot. So it was nursing shortages, and this and that and stuff. 


We wouldn't be throwing money on all kinds of signup, bonuses to commit clinicians, and stuff. And so now you're saying that for literally everywhere if you're an engineer you can pretty much call your own shot. If you're a developer, you can call your own shots. How do you compete with the market like that? In terms of where literally, everybody can say - hey, you know what, I'm not happy here, or I can just do whatever it is that I feel like would be my next move. So I think TA is a really big part of that. I like the fact that there is this surge of interest when it comes to talent acquisition, specifically leadership. 


James Mackey  33:57  

Yeah, for sure. Another thing I want to see more of is, if companies are spending a ton with contingent, I want to see less of an emphasis and it's okay to bring the cost down. It's okay for that to be a goal. But what if we take 75% of that contingent budget and just add it to internal TA? We'll still save a little bit, but let's not try to drop that contingent spend all the way down, let's reallocate it. Because if we invest that into employer branding and assets for candidates and process and tech and getting more recruiters, we can produce better candidate experiences, we're going to be able to produce better hiring outcomes and get stronger talent. Sometimes I think the conversation is too focused on cost savings versus on value creation. And I think that we need to see a shift there as well.


David Marshall  34:56  

No, you're absolutely right. And I think that that's obviously something that I really pride myself on is just really looking at where we are and where we're going, and how much value can be increased from it because the value is a lot more sustainable than cutting dollars and cents. If our value increases, that's going to do wonders, even things that can't even be measured. And I think that that's also the thing for me too, that while I love data, I try not to get necessarily so so engrained in it to where I forget the fact that there are things that are that go-beyond data, in terms of helping people be successful. Looking at it from a holistic perspective.


James Mackey  35:38  

There's a lot of things that you're not going to be able to directly tie to placements, but it's definitely having an impact or, number of hires isn't enough. There's the whole quality of hire, which is not a metric I even really recommend tracking because there's a lot of things hard to directly attribute to data, but you just know that they're important. If we're playing the long game, and we're trying to get the best people on our team, and we want to retain those people, there's a lot of things that we have to do for that yes, it's going to impact the numbers on a quarterly or annual basis. But how are we really going to, say point to that number and say - It's because we did this one thing. I think Ben Horowitz, of A to Z venture capital firm, wrote a book called "The hard thing about hard things". And it's about scaling companies. Have you read that one? 


David Marshall  36:32  

I mean, I'm taking the note. 


James Mackey  36:35  

Yes, definitely check it out. You'll really enjoy it. It's one of the few business books that actually captured my attention and I actually enjoyed reading it. One of the things that he talks about is that you don't scale a company with a magic bullet, you do it with hundreds of lead bullets. I've really taken that philosophy to heart not only for scaling my business but when I get even more tactical on a function level. Is one thing going to be the thing that lifts talent acquisition? No. 


And that's the hard part of selling the value of talent acquisition to leadership because you want to get this one investment in, they're - Okay, well, how's that going to impact our hiring outcome for the year? And it's - Well, look, it's not gonna give us a significant lift. But if we do this, alongside this, this, this, this, and this, it's gonna give us overall a big lift. Let's say everything might give like a 1% lift. 


That's again, something that makes it a little difficult for us to sell for the additional budget in my experience, but it's just been my life experience, scaling businesses, and  optimizing TA - Let's focus on making 1000 incremental changes over the next couple of years, as opposed to just finding this magic bullet that doesn't exist. For example, you're not gonna get, or a new agency. By the way, I really liked that company, but I'm gonna say, you're not gonna get one thing in place and that's not going to solve all your problems is what I mean by that. 


David Marshall  38:04  

Absolutely. I love that approach. Typically, I like to keep up, I like to keep bullets in the chamber so to speak. So I let you know what's going on. I think my approach is very much similar. It's the fact that anytime I asked for something and I get it, and I win because of that thing, that just adds credibility. I know that that's not the complete picture and I think that that's kind of like a snowball effect. Every time I ask for something and I'm winning because of that one thing, it increases my chances of, obviously, me getting whatever else I need, that I believe will be beneficial for TA because I've been successful doing this, the small things as well. Even when I first started, I was using LinkedIn Recruiter light. Have you used it?


James Mackey  38:58  

Fortunately not.


David Marshall  38:59  

I mean it is rough. It is compared because I'm so used to having obviously, the big LinkedIn license and stuff, so using that but I was actually able to actually get two hires from using the light version. When you're pitching to a company that doesn't really understand, like they understand TA but they don't really understand TA. So I had to just get them involved and said - Okay, give me this, and I'll show you what this can do. And then, I know I'm gonna need this but this gave me that opportunity. So it really creates a lot of momentum, upward momentum, because you have success with those small investment successes and you can always ask for the local bread. A slice at a time in my opinion.


James Mackey  39:48  

Yeah, I mean, if you can find a way to get some early wins if you're going into an environment that doesn't have a ton of budget, right?


David Marshall  39:54  

And celebrate, celebrate those wins, because I'm telling you, and luckily I always toot my own horn all the time, but you basically have to man. Yeah, it's just me, but people that are around me, but I'm definitely always blasting - Hey, this is what we did. We did it with this. You're welcome. 


James Mackey  40:19  

Yeah, for sure. I agree. I think that's actually some good career advice in general. When you have wins you have to share it with the team because you might think it's obvious or that everybody noticed, but everybody else has got a thousand other things going on. So sharing your wins is really important. Well, this is this has been a lot of fun. We're coming up on time here. 


David Marshall  40:45  



James Mackey  40:46  

Yeah. I just want to say thanks for joining us today. This was great! And for people that want to engage with you, might want to follow you on LinkedIn or wherever else. Where are you online? And how can people engage with you?


David Marshall  40:59  

Yeah, find me on LinkedIn, David Marshall. Or I guess, David Marshalls SHRM-CP, I got the same glasses, but you'll see me trust me, you'll know it's me. So also on Twitter, KingDave_1. Don't judge me by that name. Also the same thing on Instagram. But just I love to be involved in community engagement events. I'm a board member of Derbyshire, I currently serve as Vice President of the SHRM Birmingham Society, Human Resources. The Birmingham chapter.


I just see that those are the best ways to find me or connect with me, I'm always happy to connect and just connect people with opportunities so really excited. Thanks for having me! This has been a great conversation. I love what you're doing. I think I love the unique concept of your business. But it's also your insights too. So those performance metrics, I'm definitely gonna follow up on that. 


James Mackey  42:03  

Make sure they come from the CEO, not you otherwise you're gonna get some nasty looks for sure. Yeah, this was a lot of fun. Thank you, and for everybody tuning in, thanks so much. We'll see you next time!

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