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EP 39: Jared Long, Director of Talent Acquisition Operations at Duolingo

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey  0:00  

Hello, and welcome to Talent Acquisition Trends & Strategy. I'm your host, James Mackey. And today we are joined by Jared Long. Jared, welcome to the show, man. 


Jared Long 0:15

Hey, thanks for having me, James!


James Mackey 0:17

For sure.  I'm very excited to speak with you about recruitment operations today. But before we jump into that topic, and what we want to talk about, I was hoping you could share with us a little bit about your background and experience just so everybody tuning in knows a little bit about the perspective you're coming from.


Jared Long 0:41  

Yeah, happy to do that. So I started actually at Apple and operations, not recruiting operations, but that's how I kind of made the pivot into space. And I actually got a lucky break and had a really good manager over at Netflix, who took a bet on me, and knew that operations background could convert into candidate experience, which was really the starting point of recruiting operations for most companies. Jumped to Netflix as their candidate experience manager operating in LA. Eventually, within a year, I took over candidate experience for Latam EMEA, APAC. and got a bunch of world perspectives relative to systems experience and technology in the recruiting space. did a stint in EMEA building out operations, and recruiting operations for Netflix over there.


Came back to the US at the start of COVID pivoted into being a business analyst, and built my own technology for them. And now I'm in beautiful Pittsburgh doing the same thing for Duolingo all over again. So I realized I liked the build phase and became too specialized. Found a great talent acquisition team over here and started from scratch, hopefully, do the same thing.


James Mackey  1:49  

Yeah, that's great. And just so everybody tuning in, you were at Netflix for over five years. So this isn't like something that you dabbled in, this is something that you really mastered for Netflix. Yes,


Jared Long  2:00  

Five years and four positions, which is very rare at Netflix usually gather and you stay in the same place, but I kept jumping around to different spots.


James Mackey  2:08  

That's the way to do it. And that's how you keep learning. Well, cool. So when you were in EMEA, that was Amsterdam, right?


Jared Long  2:15  

Yeah, my favorite city in the world. If I could live in Amsterdam, if I wasn't born and raised in California, I would live in Amsterdam in a heartbeat just too far of a flight.


James Mackey  2:24  

Yeah, I'm actually going for the first time in October. 


Jared Long  2:28  

It's amazing. Are you just staying in Amsterdam or are you actually going to jump around the country and


James Mackey  2:33  

I got a co-peer group thing in Dublin, so Dublin for the first time, and I'm really pumped about that. And I'm trying to head down to like Southwest Ireland for a little bit, as well just kind of travel around a bit and see some different regions, but because my ultimate is like several generations ago, my family's from there, so I want to go there too. But then right after that, I'm gonna go straight from the CEO event to Amsterdam, because there's a big EDM concert. I think it's ams, is that right?


Jared Long   3:03  

You're gonna have a good time.


James Mackey  3:08  

I'm pumped. A couple of friends are flying out and we're gonna go to an overnight EDM concert and see Tiesto, and then we're probably gonna hit up Berlin and then Nice. But Amsterdam, I'm thrilled. I can't wait to go.


Jared Long   3:25  

Yeah, it was open-ended and it was the toughest decision I think I've ever had to make professionally to say I gotta go back to the States. They landed here but loved it. Also, Dublin is not related to recruiting, but my favorite concert ever was Lana Del Rey at a castle right outside of Dublin. That's an incredible place you're gonna enjoy.


James Mackey  3:43  

Nice. Yeah, I'm really pumped. But, I wanted to just jump into a kind of Talent Acquisition Operations. I guess, can we just start at a high level about how it's been evolving over the past few years? Like, obviously, it seems to be taking a bigger hold, and at least technology companies that are a little bit more forward-thinking when it comes to tech and data. However, one of the things that I've noticed over the past several years and that I've, you know, I would have liked to see more of is that there's just simply not enough TA operations around. 


Like every company that seems to be investing in sales ops, and revenue ops, they understand the importance of it, they understand just how big of an impact it has on the organization. And, you know, most leaders will agree, or at least when you call it out that, you know, people are the primary driver of value. And yet, right like we're running ta on a shoestring budget, considering it a call center versus a value add that actually can generate revenue and increase valuations in the long run. So yeah, just your thoughts on, you know, where it started over the past several years and kind of where it's headed and what you're seeing right now.


Jared Long  4:52  

Yeah. I think it's really, really interesting because when I started recruiting operations wasn't really a thing. Recruiting operations were really just considered talent coordination, and recruiting coordination. And so usually RCs would roll into the recruiting managers. And they would be very cyclical and almost looked at as a feeder into becoming recruiters, which nowadays a lot of people that are in the recruiting operations or recruiting coordination work, don't want to go into recruiting the reason they're going into coordination as they looked at the operation side. 


And so when I joined and did this work there as you said, only big tech companies were really looking for this. And I would say, around 2020, there has been a major shift, especially with diversity and inclusion becoming a prominent piece of the recruiting approach, that recruiting operations was a needed branch in the recruiting space. And I say that because the only way to truly impact those visions and make your teams efficient is to use technology. And when you use technology, you can use it in the proper or improper way. And if you give people technology, as you probably know, and you don't educate them on how to use it, and then you give them a strategy, and don't educate them on how to execute that strategy, you get yourself into situations where you're spending a lot of money to try to do something, you're not really solving the problem, and then you end up, you know, and backtracking and trying to do something else. 


So now when you go onto LinkedIn, and you search for recruiting operations, almost every company, especially in the tech world, is hiring that. And that's because it expanded from just being recruiting coordinators to doing that developing processes, doing documentation impacting the DEIB, also, like CRMs, which used to only be on the sales side is becoming a really big thing in the recruiting world, because continuous nurturing of top talent, especially passive talent in the engineering space, is so vital to not only find, but also retain that talent.


James Mackey  6:42  

Yeah, for sure. I think the whole concept of community within talent acquisition as well as a huge right, just to double down on what you're saying with passive talent, right? And continuous outreach, like, I always, you know, I know, some big companies are doing this, and likely smaller companies may not have the budget or the horse, you know, enough people to really do this. But I really love the idea of like, just constantly throwing events and adding value to people in specific functions. So whatever positions, engineers, salespeople, whatever it might be, to host regular events, reaching out to passive talent, just constantly engaging with them. So whenever you open a new role, you have that kind of warm introduction versus going in cold. So yeah, I'm seeing that trend to the CRM, and that's actually or just more seeing that CRM functionality, which is one thing that I don't feel like a lot of ATS systems really do quite well yet. Do you? Do you all, is it part of your ATS? Or do you have a separate system that integrates like, how are you currently doing that?


Jared Long 7:41  

Yeah, I'm not even I'm not affiliated, but I'll just drop some tools here to get some people some shout-outs. So there is a lot of CRM functionality in the market, that's actually probably my biggest break in the recruiting operations space is for a company that I worked for prior, I built a custom CRM for them because they had millions of candidates in their database. So it's a two-year project. And the biggest problem statement that we were solving was, we have so many candidates in our database, it was too difficult to refine those candidates. And we needed a way to be able to aggregate them, and then search against them very quickly. And we were able to do that by parsing together and piecing together different technologies. But most companies don't have the resources to do that. 


So companies like Gem or People AI or even Greenhouse now trying to add a CRM on top, are realizing that an applicant tracking system the sole purpose of that is really the start of the recruiting journey to the end of the recruiting journey tied to a job, whereas recruiting is a continuous process. And so they need a way to bucket people based on location, skill, set title, experience, and a way to keep them engaged so that when you reach out, it's a numbers game, especially in a very competitive market. It's a numbers game. So how are you building these data sets that you can get engaged with very quickly, so your team doesn't have to be massive to hit your hiring goals? You can essentially 10x your team by leveraging this technology, like drip campaigning, like similar skill set searching that allows you to do the same work that you need to do without having the heads that you thought you needed to have to do if that makes sense.


James Mackey  9:21  

Yeah, it does. So you said Greenhouse is building in a CRM layer because that's actually like the one critical thing I had to say about Greenhouse is just the searchability of candidates and ability to engage with passive candidates is currently lacking. They are the ATS I recommend, and we actually have it internally. And just from a data and reporting perspective, I think the data is clean, the customization for custom stages, track pipeline reports, time and stage loss reasons, and all that kind of stuff, I like a lot of the data functionality so it's easier to manage for that perspective but at least for startups and growth stage companies, but I feel like as you kind of push into larger organizations that are looking for more of that CRM functionality that is hiring, like, hundreds of engineers a year or something like that, that's where it starts to break down a bit.


So I'm curious, is this part of their push into the enterprise? Like they want larger customers?  I'm wondering how far along they're in doing this and why they're doing it. I mean, it seems obvious to us, but curious.


Jared Long  10:28  

I've probably demoed and leveraged or used every applicant tracking system on the market. And I do believe that there are buckets of applicant tracking systems. So how deep do you want me to go with technology?


James Mackey  10:40  

Oh, man, I want to hear it all because I don't want to talk about the great resignation anymore.


Jared Long 10:45  

Me either, I don't want to talk about it either. So in this world, what we're really looking at is CRM. I think there's a misconception about CRM, CRM is not only for large-scale companies, CRM is actually probably more valuable for small-scale companies. And when you're talking about, if your company doesn't have the money to invest in technology, there are a lot of resources and tools out there that can allow you to make a lightweight CRM or ATS. So if you're a small company, I think like things and I don't know if it's still around, but Google Hire was really good. LinkedIn has a really lightweight ATS that you can use in their system. 


I am the biggest fan of Airtable, if they ever go public, Airtable is a great tool, but they have a pre-built template for making an ATS in there. And you can leverage that from a CRM standpoint, using their automation technology as well. And then you get to this midsize level. And really the three prominent players there are Greenhouse, and Lever, which I just heard, and I can't validate. But I think leverages got purchased. And they both kinds of do the same thing. And I think the greenhouse is better structurally. And then you have Smart recruiters, which is a very interesting player. And they've invested a lot and are trying to build in automation and technology and AI influence to their concepts. They're a really interesting company to look at as well.


And then truthfully, large enterprise customers were only really sitting on, for the most part, custom-built solutions. Like if you're a med and you have 100 engineers that could work on your tool. They're gonna do that, right? But really, it was Avature iCIMS. Avature started as the first recruiting CRM and built an applicant tracking system after a pretty clean UI, not very customizable. I like them for the CRM piece but didn't like them for the ATS piece. Sorry, ICIMS if you listen to this, terrible UI, but really good customization. So a lot of companies would build custom skins on top of items because you can customize them for the needs that you want. And now Salesforce and workday have made their way into the large players as well. Workday utilizes sub tools to make up for what they lacked prior, making a lot of companies switch to them, which is like a curveball, no one was using Workday for a long time for an hour.


James Mackey  12:58  

Yeah, workday, the workday is like hrs as well, right? Like, are they doing the HR side? So it's like a full, they're trying to do end to end?


Jared Long 13:06  

Yeah, they're doing end-to-end but they're doing it the smart way. So Greenhouse is trying to build all the functionality and functionality in-house, which is difficult because then they have to maintain it. But Workday is built on a core system that allows you to have a smooth transition from pre-employee to post-employee, and then leverage technology. I'm blanking on it. But it's a good thing to look out. They have a recruiting CRM that I looked at, and then that's their preferred partner. And then they use free loot or good times for their scheduling component, which they never had. Yeah, that's the technology that not enough people invest in. If you want to save money on recruiting, invest in scheduling technology because it is the biggest time suck because it's so manual.


James Mackey  13:50  

Yeah, for sure. And you know, we talked about Salesforce. There used to be a company called Talent Rover, do you remember them? They built the stack like on top of Salesforce. So it's basically like a Salesforce ATS and then Bullhorn bought it. And I got so upset because I just knew it was just


Jared Long  14:11  

Yeah, I didn't talk about Bullhorn or brass rings. I mean, I look at agencies ATS, but I don't have much experience in that space. 


James Mackey  14:19  

Yeah, well, I was just thinking about the Salesforce background that the backbone they had talent rover was a lot of people like that for a minute. more so on the agency side, you're right. Well, you know, what's funny is that we actually use the greenhouse as our agency ATS.


Jared Long  14:35  

That is interesting. I mean, they have an agency portal. So I guess you could do that. 


James Mackey  14:39  

We don't do that. Like we just set it up like with a couple of custom fields so that we could have different clients within the system. And we're wanting like all of our clients through the greenhouse to track the performance of our accounts.


Jared Long  14:53  

So it sounds like you need me to come over there and look at your systems. That's what I do.


James Mackey  14:57  

Yeah. If you want to help us optimize it too. They recently updated the interface, which I still haven't played around with. So like every time I go into the system what am I looking at?


Jared Long 15:10  

Sneaky, they updated it and didn't tell anyone and it threw me off too. I wasn't able to inform my team about it. So recruiters do not like change. 


James Mackey  15:18  

I don't master the other one. Like when I was hands-on doing stuff, it was on the old interface. And now I'm not hands-on anymore. 


Jared Long  15:32  

Legitimately, I believe the other reason why recruiting operations have come to prominence is that so much technology has been released in the last several years that are optimizing for efficiency. Recruiters like simplicity. And so when you have a CSM telling you this technology is great, it's going to give you 10x on your return. And then they try to teach you about it when you zone out, when you have someone who doesn't know your workflow, you don't know. So recruiting operations have become like, stop-gap for technology. Because every time I implement a new technology, they say, Let's do office hours, let's do a training kickoff. And never the response is never good. But if I think that, if I have that session, then bring it to the team. Adoption goes up. So it's almost like an in-house. CSM is another component of the recruiting ops, it's become very valuable as technology has taken over.


James Mackey  16:22  

Yeah, for sure. I mean, we have for our customers. So basically, just so you know what we do. We're an RPO company, which is for those listening, it's a fancy way of saying companies borrow recruiters from us. And so we do that for a lot of tech companies. And we actually have process documents built out for like, literally every single part of the talent acquisition process, everything from sourcing, outreach, talent, attraction, you know, employer branding, whatever it might be all the way to enter interview workflows to customer interview questions to D&I programs, referral programs, like whatever it might be, we have playbooks for that. And a lot of the time, you're right, it's like, okay How do we take that process, right? And bake it into technology? To make it as simple as possible to just like, have these workflows set up in a way that's just not too complicated. And then obviously, there's that training component, right? Where you, ideally, are walking the team through how it's done. And I think greenhouse does a decent job of putting together a fair amount of videos and stuff. But not necessarily for custom workflows. So that's something that we try to record our own videos for. 


Jared Long  17:36  

Nice. I do believe that short-form education, especially in the form of video, is the future for training people. So like, there's this company, what I was saying is a company called Loom that's really good at doing things like humanizing the training element, because they put your picture in the corner. So you like it's not just someone recording their screen talking. And I had this hypothesis at Netflix that, if we did every training in the form of a document, and then a video no longer than 90 seconds, we could go from all the self-service questions that we were dealing with, which means that we needed people actually reviewing a channel to only dealing with high like complex problems, like in a six month period. And, I don't think we got to the level that we want it to. But I'd say we reduced the number of questions that we were getting by like 50% and a quarter by just doing the short form videos, because people don't want to ask questions they want to know like, they know what they're talking about. They get the answer quickly.


James Mackey  18:37  

Don't make me search for it. Make it obvious where it is. And no, I don't want to email anybody. Like just give me the answer, you know? I mean, if you don't make it super easy for them to find too, then they're not gonna search through a bunch of videos to find what they need. 


Jared Long  18:57  

I hate it. I don't know if you ever use greenhouse support, but you have to search and it gives you a bot and it's never the right article, then you have to click two times to get to chat. I know, they know that I'm going to the chat 90% of the time, just give me the chat. That's all I know.


James Mackey  19:12  

Yeah. Okay, particularly on the SMB side of the house it's not great in terms of like, you know, their ability to get in there. So what I did is, I took on an internal role a few years ago, building out a greenhouse for a company. And I was working with this guy, Cole Rivers, who's customer success over at Greenhouse. And he did a really great job for us. And he actually went above and beyond Greenhouses like a typical process. So I gave him a shout-out to their CEO and founders. So now I just use that as a reason like Dude, I'm gonna reach out to you anytime I have a question because I want to help you out and make you right giving you recommendations and then hopefully in return like he continues. So he played ball with us most of the time and I just tried to give him shout-outs. But yeah, the typical process just isn't like that, I guess. So like, that's the one thing too, it's like, there just isn't a lot of fast kind of customer success, particularly for the SMB accounts.


Jared Long  20:19  

Yeah. I think there are a lot of areas in recruiting that have been done a certain way, I truly believe this. Like, I think recruiting has been done a certain way for so long with certain people that they don't want to change. They know it's not efficient, but they're good at what they do so they're able to get their job done. And I do think that the evolution of certain things like self-service relative to like recruiting technology has lagged behind other things like, you know, artificial suggestion of an individual based off of skill set parsed from the resume. Because the need to be able to implement that into a recruiter that's done their work a certain way for so long, greatly outweighs this other piece. And so what people generally do is, if it doesn't work, whatever, I'll just move on to something else, I can go back to what I've always done. And so again, that's another area where my world really comes in, where we end up dealing with a lot of these like tier zero requests that are repetitive because they don't want to go to the technology company to ask that question. They rather have me answer it for them at the moment. And our companies pay someone like me to answer it for them in the moment, which might not be the best use of time, but it does solve a problem or stop a gap.


James Mackey  21:35  

Right, for sure. So I do have another question for you. I wanted to ask you. So Duolingo, what is the current recruiting tech stack? And two, do you consider an ideal or if you had an unlimited budget, what would you do to enhance it beyond where it is? So just like two questions at once, sorry.


Unknown Speaker  21:56  

No, it's all good. So Duolingo, actually, probably from a tech stack standpoint, we've over-indexed on technology, leveraging technology to solve single problems rather than multiple problems. So I've been here for six months. The easiest way that I can describe it is we've got a beautiful lot of land, it's unmanned, cured, we've got all the tools we need, all the resources we need. And right now we're figuring out how to build the blueprint. And so I think we do have the right tech stack to solve the majority of the problems that we're trying to solve. It's really about creating the connectivity and then consolidating, like, what do we want to use the Gem for? What do we want to use Greenhouse for? What do we want to use agency recruiters for? And figuring out that proper blend is really what I'm solving right now. Rather than I don't have the budget or the resources to get the technology I need to solve the problem that we have.


James Mackey  22:49  

Gotcha. So it's like in terms of tools, the Greenhouse is the primary one. Gem sounds like it's part of the stack. Are you using any kind of other job boards for data tools or anything like that? 


Jared Long  23:05  

If we're gonna go the whole one. Okay. So we got Greenhouse, Gem, SeekOut, Ashby, Carrot, HackerRank, Handshake, and LinkedIn. Like, probably built-in, we just signed a partnership with like 10 different other job boards that we're doing stuff with a few agencies that we're working with. You name it, we're probably leveraging it in some capacity.


James Mackey  23:30  

Gotcha. Hey, quick question about Gem. Where does it work? Where doesn't it work?


Jared Long  23:36  

Oh, I love the people at Gem. I used Gem at Netflix too. But I would say the only way to use Gem effectively is to have Gem depending on where you start your process. So for us in some instances, we start with SeekOut because SeekOut allows you a really cool piece that most people don't know about SeekOut but SeekOut allows you to look at addressable markets based on what your search criteria are no other tool that I know of does that. So if you want you can start in SeekOut, pull people into a project in Gem,  leverage Gem to do your reach-out campaigns, or group people based on whatever it is you want to group them by and then push your interested people into your applicant tracking system to start their journey against your jobs and why that's important is that's going to reduce your time to hire probably, but also it's going to give you the complete flow leveraging the best part of each technology to solve that part of the funnel. And then the last piece with Gem is their reporting is really easy.  I personally think it is better than Greenhouse. I use Ashby dashboarding for most, but they do have really good reporting and in their CSM, Yuki, is amazing!


James Mackey  24:53  

So you have SeekOut and Gem integrated. So basically you're finding the people in SeekOut and then you're pushing them into Gem. Yeah, and you thought they were somewhat competitive, but I guess not right? 


Jared Long 25:05  

I do think that Gem is a better CRM than SeekOut, I think SeekOut is a better search technology. So Gem I would say, is really good for campaign analytics. Really, they're one of the few technologies that allow you to do sequences that are both LinkedIn messaging and emails, which is really interesting how they do that. So I would say SeekOut is the best external search tool outside of I'm blanking on it right now. But there's another search tool that everyone uses that I've used in the past. The UI is not great, but it's a really good tool as well. Those two are the top external search tools on the market, I believe.


James Mackey  25:41  

Have you ever worked with a Fetcher?


Jared Long   25:45  

No, I met Fetcher last year at the convention in Las Vegas, and I thought they were interesting. But when I got here, we already had SeekOut so I didn't explore deeper.


James Mackey  25:54  

Yeah. There's like a human element to it, where it's like they have people sourcing primarily LATAM.


Jared Long   26:01  

Yeah, Intello did that too, for a while, I believe. I don't know if Intello is still around, but Intello would advertise as a live database, which was really unique at the time. But really, what they were doing was they had a group of people just constantly re-parsing resumes. And that's the other thing that Gem does that most people don't know, as Gem if you have a LinkedIn tied to it will actually update profiles, which is the number one problem with applicant tracking systems, that data becomes stale very quickly. But in Jim, it doesn't, if you're sourcing from LinkedIn.


James Mackey  26:30  

And so I've heard Gem is primarily like, you get the best results for engineers? Or would you say it's across-the-board engineering revenue? Where do you get the best return on Gem? And then like, maybe you could share some stats on like, what percentage of hires come from Gem versus outbound just LinkedIn sourcing? You do all your sourcing through Gem, is that the funnel? 


Jared Long  27:03  

We don't use Gem for external sourcing, we use it for engagement. So external sourcing for us would be like LinkedIn. You know, Duolingo is really unique, because our brand is really strong, the majority of our hires come from inbound, but we do classify inbound as LinkedIn, ad posts, and our internal job site. So when we externally store I would say probably the highest ROI, and I can't give those stats out. That would be an I'd be in trouble for that. But okay, the highest ROI would probably be SeekOut or LinkedIn obviously. Or events, you know, events have become really popular again.


James Mackey  27:49  

Yeah, primarily virtual or in-person?


Jared Long  27:53  

Our University team, I personally think is, and I'm not trying to be biased, but I think it's world-class. And they put on crazy events. So they do both internal or like in-person and virtual. So I think you have to do a combination. When you over-index on one, I think you lose a large pool of people. So I think doing that, especially if you want to target different groups and AB testing, is the best thing to do. Because ROI on events is the hardest thing to actually correlate. Because you can't determine if someone went to an event, did they apply for our job, like, it's very hard to connect those two things. 


James Mackey  28:29  

It's okay though, like sometimes, like you just know that you're putting value out into the world. And that's a good thing. And it's going to pay dividends like sometimes you have to go through those motions, right without even having necessarily the best data to back up the invest. Because it's just you have to be like, Okay, it's intuitive, or it's reasonable to assume that unless,  it's like, there's no, you feel like there's no return, right? Or it's somewhat obvious that there isn't like, I do feel like that's, uh, events are a good strategy. 


I mean, as SecureVision grows, I actually want to have somebody that's like the Head of Community. And I want them to focus on like, basically events in person remote, and building communities for like, the top 10 roles that we fill for our clients. So like, engineers, product sales, people marketing, whatever it might be, and to build communities and events and even like private Slack channels and resource centers to where we can constantly be adding value to the top position, you know, the people in the top positions that we feel for our customers. And that way, whenever we have a new job open for a client, we can just immediately tap into the community that we've built and been adding value to so we're not there yet. Like at this point, it would be too much of a dilution of focus, like we just need to focus on our core. But, you know, that is something in the next couple of years that I want to roll out at SecureVision.


Jared Long  29:49  

Yeah, and there are two points I'll add to that.  I think that's an incredible path to go on. Because I do think that's where recruiting is going. I think you've got to look at discord, especially for new edge technology, that is where you're gonna find great talent from a community standpoint, and then to actually do two more points. I do not believe you at the beginning, you talked about shoestring your budget in the TA world or in the HR world. And I do think at most companies, that is a problem. And so when they look at events, people, when they look at businesses, want to see a direct return. When you look at events, events are about building your brand or building your community, like you're talking about, you might need multiple events, and multiple touchpoints, to get someone to come to your company. But if it gets you one person who has top talent in their space, because they felt connected at that event, it's the employee brand and engagement and community piece that you really are getting the value on, which is not easily correlated to the cost associated.


James Mackey  30:49  

Right. And the other part of that is that it can increase response rates on cold outreach, because it's not actually cold, like, how are you going to track that? Yeah, I mean, unless you have a list of everybody who went and you're targeting them, but you know, beyond that, it's like, you're gonna see a lift across the board in the long run by making that investment.


Jared Long   31:09  

And that's where I think Gem can help you a little bit because you can, you know, have a landing page from Gem that'll capture those people against those events. So that could be a reach-out group. You could also track click-through rates on links that you have on there. So maybe you give them the link from the event and see how often people are clicking and referencing. So I do think there is technology to help you with that. But the thing that I think is actually most interesting, kind of tied to this point, is because technology is moving so rapidly in the TA space, the way that internal teams recruit. And the way that candidates need to expose themselves has changed dramatically, in my opinion, like this idea of just applying to you know, on Netflix, or Google or an apple, the probability of you actually talking to someone at Netflix, Apple, or Google is very, very low if you just apply because they're using technology to highlight specific things, depending on the needs of the business. 


And so when we talk about technologies like these, if you're a candidate listening to this, just applying is not the smart way to get into your dream job. And I have a lot of conversations around this. And writing a beautiful cover letter is also not probably the smartest way to get into your dream job. It's highlighting what makes you unique. Are you a part of a diverse group of people, great have that somewhere in your resume, because that keyword is going to hit your profile, aren't you someone that has a very unique skill set, I've had a bunch of consulting gigs come up for air table because air table is gained so much steam, but no one highlights that they know Airtable. So those types of things are allowing recruiters to distill or to surface candidates based on what their hiring managers are wanting very quickly. And if you're not curating your resume, so don't just apply to a million jobs, because you're going to curate your resume, curate your resume towards the job that you want by looking at the job description, and see the keywords that consistently pop up and fit that into what you're doing. That is the easiest way for you to get an interview. And people don't realize that's the only way to get an interview with these big companies.


James Mackey  33:15  

Right. You have to be a little bit more targeted. And I think it's the know-how piece, it seems obvious, but to people that aren't in TA or just haven't been, it's probably not. But then the other thing is, it takes a little bit of effort. But yeah, you know, ideally, it's like in your job search. It's, you know, if you're going to spend a portion of your life somewhere, we shouldn't be a little bit more critical about, you know, thinking about putting together a target list, right? Like, top 1020 companies, and actually investing some time and not waiting until you need a job, right? Like just proactively kind of putting feelers out there, you know, doing what you just said, trying to build a few relationships, engaging with people on LinkedIn, and so on and so forth. I feel like that's the winning strategy if you really want to, like, be as you know, as thoughtful as possible about your career progression, right?


Jared Long    34:05  

Yeah, it's really about building a brand and a company builds a brand. But isn't it as a candidate, you need to build your brand as well, I can't tell you and I feel for its feel for right now? But all these people that have lost their job, how many posts I've seen on LinkedIn, start with, I haven't been on here in a while, but I just got laid off. But you're so you haven't really built a brand. Now you're leveraging that to try to leverage your community to get a job and I think you should do that's a good starting point. But it's interesting. It's interesting that that's the first reason why you go there. Instead of, like you said, enjoying it, enjoying the fruits of building a community based on commonality which should help you in the long run, get your dream job.


James Mackey  34:47  

Yeah. And again, I think that a lot of people know that they should be doing this. The other issue with that too, you know, you're trying to build these relationships, and then like, a day later, you're making an ask. I mean, I still try to help people, right? But if somebody, I don't know who they are, and then out of nowhere, they'll just start liking my stuff. And then they reach out making a big ask for me to like, tap into my network and ask a bunch of VPS. I don't know, it doesn't get the same vibe as if you built a genuine relationship over the past couple of years, you know? So it's in everybody's best interest to proactively do this, right? I mean, it takes time. I mean, and that's like the other thing with the social strategy, it's not going to give you the return in a week. But if you hit it consistently for six months, that's where it's really going to be most valuable.


Jared Long    35:56  

Yeah, and I think, you know, the last point on the event piece, and this is coming from personal experience. When I was first coming out of school, I got into retail, because it was 2008, the housing crisis, and no one was hiring. I hated retail, and I want to be in retail. So I went to a bunch of community-like job fairs. And I was the person that would hand my resume out, not talk to anyone, I thought I would go into their booth, and handing my resume was an eye for I probably applied to like 200 places and didn't get a single response.


James Mackey  36:24  

So sorry. 


Jared Long   36:27  

It's a good story. It's good for people to know that. So didn't get a single response. And, what I realized reflecting on that today, is recruiters are there to find the best talent for their companies, right? And when you show up to one of these things, their purpose is to engage with you. But in order to engage with you, you need to engage with them. So if I would have done it differently, spend five minutes talking to your dream company recruiter because they want to talk to you, they're giving you a purpose to engage with them. And if you're not doing that, you can't be disappointed that they're not talking to you because I was in retail, no, to the outside perspective, no transferable skill set. Now I'm in a different situation. But when they see my resume, they're gonna say retail manager, that's not going to work for me, because they don't know who I am. As an individual. I didn't build a brand. So talk to people when you go to them. Don't just stand there. All these people want to talk to you. They're all generally pretty nice. That's why they're recruiting. It's the best way to make that engagement because personal connection goes a long way.


James Mackey  37:20  

So we're sponsoring a conference called SaaStr. Have you heard of that one? It's pretty cool. It's a lot of startups, growth stage companies, and even enterprises, primarily SaaS, but also just general tech. San Mateo, I think in the South Bay Area, Silicon Valley. There's gonna be a tonne of companies. It's in September, I actually have some free tickets. If you want to go I can get you one.


Jared Long    37:48  

Should I shoot you the ask? Because we just talked about not asking.


James Mackey  37:54  

This is different. Do you know why it's different? Because you're giving value to the community, right? You're actually learning to grow value. But yeah, for sure, if you want a free ticket. Is from September 13 to 15th. It's gonna be a bunch of great speakers from leading category leading tech companies. It's going to be awesome. I had a point, though. Yeah, the point was, is that we are implementing a similar strategy for, like, engaging with people, it's like we're reaching out to all of this, like speakers, Speaker companies, and all of the sponsor companies, now, they sending out emails, like introducing ourselves, like putting our name out there. We also put together a, like a trip, like, if you stop by our booth and do a discovery call, you could win a free trip to Paris, all-inclusive, we're gonna pay for everything right, like five G's and value a little bit more, probably.


So we're doing different things to drive engagement, but you know, and then I also had an OB specialist, go through my LinkedIn. And like, everybody follows everybody's profile, that's a sponsor or speaker and hit that little bell in the top right corner. So we see all their posts, and then I'm just constantly like, you know, liking and engaging with our content. So by the time I go to this thing, hopefully, everybody's gonna, like, who's gonna recognize me? Right?  So I mean, this is a way to do it, as opposed to just showing up cold so it's like, try to try to build some of those relationships proactively.


Jared Long   39:26  

Yeah, I make it a point if I get a lot of companies reaching out to me telling me, they want me to demo their technology. And I'm blessed to work for companies that have great brands, right? Like that. It's been helping me build my brand. But what I do is I always respond, and most people won't always respond. And I'm sure you've had this where you reach out you might reach out multiple times and they don't. And to your point, I think what that does is creates like it's a social investment I look at as a piggy bank, every time I respond, it's a positive investment into this piggy bank. And now when I go to these different conferences, for good or for bad people, they come up to me and like to actually talk to me at these conferences. And I think it's because I was one of the 100 people that they reached out to. But I actually engaged with them and took a call with them, even if it was to help with their pitch. So I do believe that your strategy in any capacity is going to be valuable for your brand. It's time invested. Time is the most valuable thing you have invested your time where you want to invest it, and you'll see returns, not maybe immediately, but definitely in the future.


James Mackey  40:25  

Yeah, for sure. It makes a lot of sense. So I hope everybody tuning in takes it to heart. And look, this has been a great conversation. I really enjoyed this. We're coming up on time here. And I don't want us to be like go into another topic and then be rushed for the last couple of minutes. So I think it's a good time to hit pause. And just to be clear, again, this was really valuable. So if you ever want to come back on, we got a spot for you if you want to ever do a round two with us.


Jared Long 40:50  

You know, I'd love to. I didn't know where we were gonna go. We went super philosophical, but I appreciate the invite. It was a good conversation.


James Mackey  40:57  

Yeah, for sure. And Jared, if people want to connect with you, where can they find you online?


Jared Long   41:04  

The best place to find me right now would probably be LinkedIn. Just Jared Long, Duolingo I do have an open job. You know if someone wants to come to join me on my team, senior rec ops manager, come join me. I promise you'll have a good time building for a really cool company.


James Mackey  41:20  

Nice. So when we publish this and go live, I will. I'll do a LinkedIn post about this convo. And in that post, too, I can reference any open jobs you have.


Jared Long   41:31  

Sounds good. I appreciate it. James. Thanks for inviting me. I really enjoyed this.


James Mackey  41:35  

Yeah, this was a lot of fun. I enjoyed it as well. So thanks for joining us and for everybody else tuning in, thanks as well, and we'll see you next time. Take care. 

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