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EP 33: Sarah Peck, Head of Talent Acquisition at AEVEX Aerospace

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey  0:00  
Hello, and welcome to Talent Acquisition Trends & Strategy. Today we are joined by Sarah Peck. Sarah, welcome to the show!

Sarah Peck  0:18  
Hi. Nice to be here.

James Mackey  0:20  
It's great to have you here. Hey, before we jump into it, could you share with everybody a little bit about your background and experience?

Sarah Peck  0:26  
Yes. So I got into recruiting as a travel nurse recruiter, which was interesting. I love nurses. But I'm convinced they're all crazy. I got out of that and got into the agency realm, and then found my way into AEVEX Aerospace where I'm internal talent acquisition and where I lead a team now. Our jobs cover five continents, we work a great deal with veterans, we work all over the US, my team is geographically dispersed, and most of them are remote. And so I have a lot of opinions on a lot of subjects and kind of a track record to back some of that up. So pleased to be here.

James Mackey  1:15  
Nice, very cool. So I think what's one thing that's top of mind for a lot of talent leaders right now and recruiters are, just thinking about the marquee contraction, we're seeing, particularly across tech layoffs, you know, with recruiters, and one of the things we kind of chatted about, before we hit record was just what talent leaders can do to kind of insulate themselves from a potential recession that we might be in right now. What are your thoughts on what's going on in the market and what should talent teams in town leaders be thinking about right now?

Sarah Peck  1:50  
Yeah. So first off, you need to build relationships. And this is kind of the core of everything. And I mean, you should be doing this anyway, regardless of what the market is doing, but no more so now than ever before, really, at least since the great recession. You need to be building your network. And you need to be having those conversations with your leaders. 

If you happen to be a TA leader, you need to be networking with the C suite, you need to be anticipating changes coming, you need to be prepping yourself and you need to be heard, you need a seat at the table. And you really need to make folks aware of what your TA team is capable of and how you're meeting needs, outside of perhaps what they typically think of like backfill. So TA teams drive growth, recruiters drive growth, and it's important to underscore the importance of that with leadership. 

The other thing you need to be doing is really connecting with your recruiters. And if you're a recruiter and you're listening to this, you need to be connecting with your leader. The reason I say this is because you need to be building that cohesiveness, that relationship you need to be known as the trustworthy reliable one. People are less likely to quit or in turn, get laid off if they have an excellent relationship with their leader and with their followers. And then above and beyond that, there's kind of a ripple effect into your community.

I for one lived through the Great Recession of 2008. I was out of work in 2010. For a year I couldn't find a job I was in sales at the time. And ever since then I've been curating my network. And whether it's on LinkedIn or Instagram, Facebook or in person, or I volunteer with San Diego Sherm, I'm on the board, I'm on the board of a tap association of talent acquisition professionals. I'm reaching out and I'm not just reaching out when I want something I'm reaching out when I see someone's had a birthday, or a new baby, or any of these things and just giving props giving thumbs up to people. And so I'm giving back in the sense, not just because I might want to do a withdrawal in the future, but also so that I have a good network, so I can help people who have just been laid off or if I get laid off, in turn now I have all these great connections that will help me find a job. 

James Mackey  4:33  
For sure. So investing in our networks, investing in our relationships, and our communication, all of which are incredibly important. I think that talent leaders and recruiters should be focused on building their personal brand on LinkedIn, for instance. It's a huge missed opportunity to not be publishing content. And I don't think people need to be worried about optimizing it right or getting a Million Likes, it doesn't matter. Just get yourself out there, say things, talk about your journey, talk about what you're doing, and even if it's low engaging, that's still 500, 1000 plus views of somebody seeing your content that otherwise wouldn't.

Like, if you had the opportunity to get in front of 1000 people on stage, and tell them who you are and what you do, that'd be immensely valuable. And that's basically the opportunity that's on LinkedIn every day for people. And I still would love to see more people take advantage of that. And just commenting on other leaders' posts that are like other talent acquisition leaders, like there's a little bell icon in the upper right-hand corner of everybody's profile. And, you know, recruiters and talent leaders alike should be clicking on that little bell. So they're notified of all the posts of those leaders, and just engaging with the content sharing, commenting, and all that kind of stuff. And I think, that's really, really important to ensure that your people are always going to have opportunities, you know, pretty much in any environment. 

And I think just communication like building relationships with your peers, your team members, your leadership, you know, making sure you kind of understand. I think, to just philosophically how they viewed on acquisition. There are kind of like two ways of, thinking, in my opinion, it's like, you have the companies that see talent acquisition as this transactional motion, right, they can just kind of flip on and off when they want. And then you see others that are proactive, right? And they're thinking about hiring plans a year out stuff like that. They want to make investments in brand candidate experience, you know, these types of things create, not only great can experience with great onboarding experience.

Companies really understand that people drive value, we have to do everything we can to attract the top talent, retain top talent, and provide great experiences. If you have the luxury of doing this, try to work for a company that understands that. You can always do that, I understand not everybody's, in a position where they can be picky. But I think, when when you are in a good market, or even when you're not just trying to scope out the opportunities where you know leadership sees a lot of value in what you do. 

That's probably just good advice even if you're not a recruiter. Whether you're in marketing, sales, or whatever, you want to work for a company that understands what you do really well, and values it right. So if you're a people leader, like you ideally want to be at a people-first company, right? Maybe if you're a sales leader, maybe you want to be at a Salesforce company, I don't know. But that's kind of how I think about it.

Sarah Peck  7:34  
Yeah, you bring up a really good point. And I think not every company necessarily sees talent acquisition as an equal partner at the table, or even sees the value. They see it as well, someone quit so I'm filling out a requisition and in an X number of days, I'm probably going to get a replacement. But there's a lot of talent leaders can do to make themselves part of a conversation and really have their influence fall. And one of the things I've really tried to do at my company is not only craft the metrics, I'm not only lagging metrics but predictive metrics, which will tell us how we're doing in the future. 

You know, anticipate job growth, I'm helping us see where we've been, but where we could possibly be next year, looping in the C suite in conversations around things like secession, succession planning, and really trying to invest some value in those relationships, and not just show up when I need more money for something but show up and say, Hey, I noticed you're having an issue with this, we actually have some really good solutions that we could share with you. 

And so I think if you can really share the value, and I think this is kind of a bigger conversation that goes beyond what we're going to cover today. But you really need to be in a position of creating value for your company and showing your company that when it's time to make cuts, if it is a recession, the last people you want to cut is talent acquisition, because that's a revenue-generating stream. And if your company realizes that you're a revenue-generating stream, that is so much more compelling, I think in the long run.

James Mackey  9:27  
For sure. So one thing I want to slow down on was talking about like predictive metrics. Can we get a little bit more tactical on that? And could you share specifically what you're kind of diving into and maybe for talent leaders like tuning in? What are some actionable things that they can kind of take away in terms of thinking about predictive metrics for tonne acquisition?

Sarah Peck  9:50  
Yes. So for example, what is typically been a lagging indicator is the cost per hire, but we've taken it a step further. And rather than look at what we did last year, and benchmark against that or benchmark against the industry, because most of the contracts I signed, LinkedIn recruiter, Hire easy folks like that most of those things can be projected into the future because the price is although they're not always static, they remain fairly consistent. And so the cost per hire is typically kind of a flexible metric anyway, depends greatly on how many people you've hired, it depends greatly on all of these things in the past what you've spent money on. 

But if you can predict your budget fairly well for the year and if you also have the ability to forecast the amount of hiring you're doing, you can very easily come up with a number that's going to be accurate within a couple 100 of dollars, just depending on how you look at it. And of course, the skill of hiring. If you're Capital One, and you're hiring 20,000 new associates a year, obviously, your variation is going to be a bit different. But for a company like mine, we're just over 500 people, we hire about 200 people per year, sometimes more. Some of that is backfill, and some of that is organic growth.

I've been able to predict, you know what my cost per hire is going to be aggregated for wage growth within the TA team aggregate for some of these other things, some losing programs, gaining programs because we are a Department of Defence contractor. And so that's one of those predictive indicators that we're able to use to assess what it's going to cost in the future. And I don't know if you've noticed this, and I've certainly spoken to some of my colleagues and I know they're noticing this, but talent acquisition has gotten dramatically more expensive over the last year or two. To the point, one comp analyst that I was speaking to at an SHRM conference mentioned to me that ta wages have grown by 20% in the last year. Other sources will put a pay scale, I think puts it at 5%. But I think, again, they rely only on lagging indicators. So that's probably what it's grown two years ago.

So adjusting for those inflated costs, understanding if you lose someone from your team, and you need to hire a new recruiter, you may be bringing them in at a different wage point. And then you have issues of wage compression with the rest of your team. And it's this whole thing that you have to navigate around. So by being able to predict some of these things in the future, and by being able to forecast accurately, or at least somewhat accurately what your costs are going to be. You can really be more prepared for those conversations with leadership when you come to them and say I'm sorry, you know, this just happened to me. I had a recruiter quit yesterday, we were paying him 62,000 plus a bonus. And I came to them. And I said we're going to have to start someone of equal level, basically zero years of experience, we're gonna have to start them at 70 Plus bonus, and now it's this whole different conversation. Why did it go up? But they've been warned. And so they were expecting that.

James Mackey  13:23  
Right. I mean, just to go back to your point about the kind of like inflation of recruiter salaries. I mean, this is just a high-level recruiting cycle, right? Like in 2020, companies one, laid off recruiting vendors, and two, laid off internal teams. As a result of that, the market rebounds. pent-up demand from not hiring, and not backfilling, along with growth means high volume hiring needs. Companies no longer have internal recruiters so they try to hire at the same time everybody else is, which drives up recruiter pay. And then ultimately bring on recruiting vendors again, and experiment with new hiring products. That is a high-level recruiting cycle that, we're gonna see. 

We're in the middle of it right now. Right now we're in a holding pattern where companies have kind of cut back on vendors, and they're cutting back currently on internal recruiting staff. But pretty soon here, we're going to be turning a corner, particularly in tech. Typically, tech rebounds a little bit faster than the overall market, where we're going to start to see that pent-up demand driving higher volume already needs, right? So it's coming it's gonna come back but again, that's why to some extent, just due to the US economy, like we're kind of inflating into bringing down recruiter wages, but honestly, like since we are, you know, companies have cut back on recruiters and they're going to be hiring recruiters all at the same time. Several months from now. 

I feel high recruiter salaries are just going to continually be pushed back up, even as inflation hopefully starts to come back down in our economy. I still think that the recruiting skill set, there's still going to be just a lack of quality recruiters on the market for a lot of the growth that we're going to be saying. And so I was saying this like six months ago, but I was telling hiring companies like you need to increase your cost per hire by 15 to 25%, this year, or you are going to be struggling. A lot of leaders just don't get it. And those are the ones that obviously struggled, but you have to consider it's like, it's recruiter wages. And then some of it is just inflation as well, like, you're gonna see costs increases, just because everybody is across the board. But it is significantly more dramatic in our industry than it is in the greater economy.


One more example of that is, you know, we obviously had to increase our rates. And what we do is like, we do recruitment process outsourcing. So basically, companies borrow recruiters from us, right? And we had to increase our rates significantly. And a lot of times, like the prospects, will be like, What like, that's for one recruit? and we're just trying to explain,  Look, I gotta hire people at like, 25% increased salaries than I did last year. Right? And also, a lot of this hiring surge, like, that's not going to be like permanent, right, it's very cyclical, that impacts prices. So definitely you're right, just like budgeting needs to go up significantly in order to be competitive. Even in the market, we're in now, like, it's difficult, as you said, you know, it's wise to look at talent acquisition as a value-creating, you know, maybe not directly revenue creating all the time, depending on the types of hires that people have to make, but its value creation, it'll exponentially impact the growth trajectory of the company. And if you cut too deep on that, then you're cutting off the ability to hire the best-fit individuals that are going to help you produce the most value.

Sarah Peck  16:50  
Well, and for my company, and for my competitors, within the aerospace field, we're hiring DoD contractors, that bill a certain bill rate, so it literally is revenue generated, because if they are not in the seat, we are not collecting money. And then back to your point about the increase in price for RPO. We're also seeing this with agencies dramatically. 

So I went for a long time without using agencies, then we had an uptick in business. And I was told, okay, go ahead for some of the more niche engineering roles. And when I used to be able to negotiate like a 15 to 18% fee, I mean, it's up to I'm lucky to get them down from 33. I mean, they're wanting a third of the first year's salary. And you know, I consider myself fortunate if I can land at like, 25, 26, 27% of starting salary. And I'm a heck of a negotiator. And I can't even get them down. I mean, and I'm telling you just two years ago, people were Yeah, I mean, they were hungry, they wanted the business and, they were willing to be lower with fees. But of course, their costs are up, their recruiters are more expensive. And so it's this whole cyclical effect. 

James Mackey  18:12  
Right. And what's interesting about that, too is that's how strong the demand is. Think about that for a second, because if demand is so strong on the agency side for that kind of like augmentation of internal staff that they are actually increasing the percentage of heat. 

Because if you think about it, agencies, in a sense, are insulated from inflation, because if they're consistently doing, let's say, 20% of the base salary, as base salaries increase, so does the fee they collect. But basically, what we're seeing is demand is so strong that even though their fees are rising with inflation, they are still able to charge a much higher price, on the contingent or I guess, potentially even retained side of the house. So that's a really interesting insight as well.

Sarah Peck  19:03  
Yeah, truth be told, honestly, I know, from a couple of the agencies I've worked with, they're in a position to turn down business. And so if the hiring managers aren't getting back to them, if it's a slow roll, if all of their candidates get shot down, it's not like when I was working for an agency when you just put up and shut up and you had to go after it because that was your client. 

Nowadays, they can simply move on to another client, because the demand is there. So you really one thing I've had to do, and, I would do this anyway because I worked for an agency and I hated when I had slow roles and lack of communication and lack of specific feedback, but I'm trying them out much harder to be a good partner to them, to communicate well, to give them actionable feedback. Because at the end of the day, I mean,  they don't have to fill my role, they have options. That's a scary thing.

James Mackey  20:05  
That's a really good point. You have to consider their experience as well. I think that's one of the biggest mistakes that a lot of organizations make is they don't consider vendor experience a priority. And so one of the things I've done pretty early on at SecureVision is that one of my core priorities, running the company is creating great experiences for everyone associated with the company. That means employees, clients, candidates, and vendors. Vendors can also be a really big untapped referral source for new business. So treat them well, pay them on time. 

Sarah Peck  20:46  
If you're a member or a board member of an organisation that routinely needs, sponsors, also, if you've treated your vendor poorly guaranteed, they're not sponsoring your event. And this reminds me of something that kind of goes back to the whole networking aspect, is I get hit up by agency recruiters with terrible messaging and poor approaches all the time. And almost invariably, unless I'm completely strapped for time, or it's an especially appalling message. I try to respond and at least thank them and say, No, I'm not interested. 

Because if you think about it, you may be in a position in the future, unless you start your own business, and you're in charge of all of it. You may need that recruiter in the future. And God forbid you burned a bridge by being a complete jerk. I mean, you have to treat the vendors, well, you have to treat all of these executives, account executives that reach out, like I tried to give them a response. Thanks. but no thanks. Because it's such a small community within talent acquisition and your reputation, it you only have one chance to make it and they will talk, they all talk to each other.

James Mackey  22:09  
It's always, just be kind, I tried to do that, too. But if a salesperson is like, particularly annoying, sometimes I can be a little short, and then I usually regret it. And I try not to be but I'm also human. So I try not to give myself too hard of a time. But yeah, as much as possible, just be kind. Everything kind of comes back around, and you want to build up that social capital and just be kind and helpful to as many people as you can, throughout our career. It's just a good goal to have, like, I'm going to try to make as many people as possible better off due to their association with me. That's kind of a personal goal for me. I want to, I want to help as many people be better off as humanly as possible in my life, right? As a result of my work. So, I definitely agree with you there. 

think, more people should just again be focusing on the relationship side, communication side, like, really trying to contribute and help without necessarily looking for something even in return. In the short term, a big part of networking and building relationships is, as you said, just sending the notes proactively, like looking for opportunities to help people.

Obviously, we can't do that 40 hours a week, like we have jobs to do, but we can say, Okay, we're going to allocate, you know, 5, 10% of our time to like just taking calls helping people, right? And even if you have to book it, like a month or two out, like that's worth it, like sometimes people reach out for help. And I'm like, I'm slammed this month, I just can't make it a priority. But yes, like it is really important enough to you, if you really want to speak with me, we can book for the end of the month, or we can be for next month. And sometimes they won't, right? If it's that far out, but then it's like they vet themselves out. Like obviously, it wasn't important enough to their long-term development to book a call a month out. And if that's the case, then why are we jumping out in the first place? Right?

Sarah Peck  24:10  
True story.

James Mackey  24:13  
Now, the more that I'm thinking about it, I think that's just gonna be my go too because it takes away from people that aren't maybe as dedicated as the ones that are really taking their development seriously. 

Sarah Peck  24:27  
I do that too. I'm like, well, August is not good for me, how does the end of September look? And then they're like, oh, nevermind. And some people will take you up on it. And that's when you know, they're committed, and it's gonna be a good conversation.

James Mackey  24:43  
And those are the people that you know, 10 years from now, they're gonna be in the leadership role, decision making, and that's somebody that can be like a really powerful connect.  And then just one other insight just based on what you said that I think is just helpful to kind of like hone in on a bit. One thing to consider if you're looking for job stability is to work for a company that has billable positions. Because if people are, you know, billing out, that means that revenue, it's a direct revenue generation function. 

It's like salespeople, right? In an upmarket, you need great salespeople to take advantage of the growth and in a downmarket, you need great salespeople to get you through it. I mean, talent acquisition is even more so closely correlated to, like a revenue org for a company that has billable roles. So I think it's definitely something people should consider if they prioritize that stability and consistency is a core kind of value for their career.

Sarah Peck  25:45  

James Mackey  25:49  
Well, hey, look. So that's a tonne of value that we kind of go into already, for everybody listening, but to kind of like shift gears a little bit. Wanted to talk to you about salary transparency, I know that's a topic that is top of mind for you. So I'll let you kind of lead us off here. And we can kind of tackle the topic however you want.

Sarah Peck  26:07  
Yeah. So, this has been in the conversation for a while, just within talent acquisition. But when Colorado changed their law and made it a requirement for companies to list salary ranges, it had kind of a polarising effect. Some companies when listing remote roles would say, anybody but Colorado residents, and that immediately put them in a category, or maybe you don't want to work there because they weren't willing to post the ranges. And then for other folks who did post their ranges, I think it made it such a godsend to people applying for jobs and for recruiters as well. Because number one makes the salary conversation a lot easier. And number two people will opt out if your salary is not within their range. So you automatically know, as a recruiter, I'm getting people who are within my range. 

Now, this becomes challenging for companies like mine, where a lot of our pricing and a lot of our bill rates, and all of that are proprietary. So for a lot of our contract roles, we really can't list a salary range, because that's kind of our secret sauce. And our competitors want to know it. And obviously, they can find out by applying for the job. But you know, for the most part, it's kind of a secret thing.

James Mackey  27:41  
You don't want to just hand that out. I mean, you're right. Like, the reality is that our competitors are going to find some of this stuff out if they really want to. Don't make it easy for them. Let's make them dig a little bit.

Sarah Peck  27:51  
Yes, exactly. But for other roles, for example, as I said, I'm hiring a new recruiter, the first thing I tell someone, and I don't have the range posted, well, I haven't posted the job yet. But I will probably post the range just because people need to know that upfront. And within recruiters, there are some people who think 45,000 years is against salary, there are some people who think $180,000 is the expected salary. So even within recruiting, there's such a broad range of what people get paid. Finding people who pigeonhole into that exact range is really critical and important. And I think it just makes everyone's lives easier. 

You know, if you have your salary range listed, well, first off, indeed is so proactive that they will guess your salary range, and they will put it on there. Nine times out of 10, they're way out of the ballpark. So you might as well just be putting this out of salary range anyway. And in my experience, they do such a poor job. And they always ask me to low it almost scares people away. So at that point, it just makes more sense to go now guys, but this is not the salary. You know, we're actually paying a lot more than that. 

So it's this ongoing thing. It gets talked about a lot among leadership circles I'm part of the consignor Council, and we meet once a month. We talk about stuff like this. And I think it's just hard shifting the dynamic because there are a lot of people in HR that used to guard those ranges with their lives. And I'm not trying to push very seriously on HR. Yeah, I'm not trying to push this all off on HR. Like certainly talent acquisition has played a role but I think leadership also needs to adjust their mindset as well because if you set a salary range, and you're not getting people now all of a sudden you have to look am I being competitive? Do I need to increase my salary range? 

Usually, that happens organically through recruiters talking to candidates, and they're just overpriced for your role. But I mean, this level of transparency, it's kind of new. Typically the only jobs you see with pay posted, obviously, outside of Colorado and well in downtown New York passed a law, but I believe they postponed it, putting it into place. And I don't have the exact details on that. But essentially, what it is, is usually if you're a truck driver, and you're looking to drive Botel, you get this many cents per mile or this many dollars per hour. But above and beyond, like entry-level roles that post it, like there's really not a lot of that out there in the market. And there really needs to be.

James Mackey  30:46  
Yeah, I agree. I mean, there are a lot of areas we could dig into this. But I think the first thing I would just say is transparency is going to help you have a more competitive cost per hire. Because if you do not provide the salary ranges up front, you're going to start to see lower conversion rates down font or lower offer acceptance rates, where everybody's just spinning their wheels, right, like people are investing time, time is directly correlated to the investment of that person's time, their salary. It's not just about the talent acquisition team. But there's a huge cost that's hard to calculate when it comes to just hiring managers' time too. 

It goes beyond just the down-the-pipe costs of talent acquisition when, you know, budget allocation for other hiring manager's salaries, you know, are going toward candidates they shouldn't be speaking with, because companies and everybody's wasting their time talking to people that aren't going to be the right fit. And then also it produces a bad candidate experience too. It's bad for a company's reputation. Like, you know, I'm sure that both of us would be very annoyed if we went through like an entire interview process. And there was a significant gap between what we were looking for and what they were offering. Unless, of course, theirs was, much higher, but you know, generally that's not the case, right? 

Sarah Peck  32:03  
I have all of my recruiters have the expected salary conversation, even if for a lot of our roles, we haven't set really strong benchmarks for what the pay is because there's such a wide range of experience, right? But I have my recruiters talk to candidates in that first phone call, say what is your expected salary? Good, that's in line with what we're targeting, or, you know, what, you may be a little too expensive, but I want to move you forward in the process because we might be able to stretch this and make it work. 

I think for recruiters out there, if you're allowed to if your company allows you to definitely have the pay conversation, get it out of the way, don't even waste 15 minutes on the phone with them establish some rapport, and immediately get into that my job pays $85,000. Is that within your range? You know, or if you can't lead with the salary, what is your expected salary for this role? And they're like, 85,000, perfect, that's what we're targeting, you're in. Because it's like James just said, the cost per hire is reflective of the amount of effort and time that goes into all of these conversations. And if you're eliminating unnecessary conversations by being transparent by pay, even if you can't post it on your job description, have the conversation. And that's something we're doing even though we don't post very much of our pay. We're very, very open and the conversation hey, look, this is what it is. How does this work for you? 

James Mackey  33:37  
Now that actually we're talking about this, I feel like the hiring manager's time and involvement in talent acquisition should be included in the cost per hire.

Sarah Peck  33:48  
Yeah, if I'm a by and large hiring manager time and involvement are not calculated as a function of cost per hire. Usually, it's all the talent acquisition efforts and the cost of salaries and all of that. If you look at hiring manager involvement, there's a huge, 

James Mackey  34:08  
Huge costs, it's not accounted for.

Sarah Peck  34:11  
It's a lost cost that it's not accounted for and it really should be, but I think it would be too hard to quantify.

James Mackey  34:18  
Yeah, I mean, it just requires a lot of time to track but it's still an interesting thought, right? Like, if there would be a way to do that effectively, that wouldn't just incur a significantly higher cost because you're trying to track that versus doing other stuff. But that's just an interesting thing to think through. 

The other kind of point or that I would just say, as it comes to salary expectations is that top talent, the top people in the market, particularly for skilled laborers, senior-level talent and senior level, individual contributors, getting up to management director, you know, those types of hires, they're going to have the philosophy typically of transparency being a two-way street. They are going to be getting to the point where they have more years of experience they're gonna be more critical. about where they move next, right? They're gonna be thoughtful, particularly like the best-fit people that are really going to drive growth and value. Like they're going to be the most thoughtful people when it comes to, you know, selecting the right opportunity. 

And I always said, particularly for leadership roles, like, I'm kind of concerned, if they're not asking me for a lot of details up front, why aren't you asking about, you know, some indicators of like financial health or whatever metrics, like you're looking for, depending on what function you're getting involved with, within the company. You know you want people that are inquisitive, and that are digging and trying to uncover, more about how the organization is run. So it goes beyond salaries. But, you know, if you want to compete for the best people, the best people are gonna have the most options. Doesn't matter what market condition we're in, they're always gonna have the best options. And so they're gonna be able to demand more transparency. 

So do you want to hold back and maybe get the people that aren't the best fit? Or do you want to be transparent, and have the ability to access top talent more consistently?

Sarah Peck  36:04  
I'm part of the executive hiring process for, like, directors and above. So essentially, if a VP has to do the interviews, I do the top grading interview, which is there was a book written about it, I won't belabour the point. But basically, it's an HR interview, it doesn't need to be done by the hiring manager. So I interview these senior execs. And I always touch on pay, because I think it's important, I don't necessarily know a lot of these people I get from agencies or executive search recruiters. And so I don't know if that's been thoroughly fleshed out or done in a manner that is consistent with how I would do it. 

So, I've found it to be a little generational. For my boomers, a lot of you guys out there are a little uncomfortable talking about pay, which is interesting, you're like, Well, I'm open, or I'm flexible, or like they don't want to put a fence around it. Whereas you get down to Gen X or God forbid, millennial. Like that millennial is going to tell you exactly what they want. They know they want equity, they know they want unlimited PTO, they know I mean, all of this different stuff. But it's interesting, it's very generational, I find I have the most luck with Gen X in terms of people being clear and upfront about what they want with salary, but also realistic, and not asking for way more than I can deliver on. Millennials and I'm kind of Xenial I kind of fall in between that. 

Millennials definitely want a lot more. And maybe it's just because they're younger, and they're going for these senior roles. There's a lot of overestimation of value that goes on. And so sometimes you have to have those coaching conversations around. Look, I don't care what you're making right now, I know it's not this, jumping by 40 grand may not be realistic in this position. 

So discussing the salaries also becomes a function of being that kind of counselor figure. And being that you know, because sometimes you have to walk someone back from a number they've gotten their mind wrapped around and just say, Look, we really like you, and we want you to move forward in the process. But if you're going to move forward, you need to understand that you know, you are overpriced, and here is why. And I've had that go both ways. I've had people say, well, thank you, but no, thank you. But more often than not they go you know what, thank you for that perspective. And thank you for still talking to me, even though, you know, I came in at that high number.

James Mackey  38:49  
Yeah, that's a really good perspective in terms of like salary negotiations. I think a lot of recruiters and talent leaders think about salary negotiations the wrong way. They think about like convincing, right? It's like this motion of like, we know, it's less money. But think about this value, think about this growth opportunity. And I'm not saying that's not important, but you got to tread lightly on that stuff. Because if you persuade too much and sell too much, then you're ultimately looking at potentially much higher attrition rates if that's the metric. 

Particularly if you roll out that kind of philosophy to your recruiting word where like all of the hirings is influenced by that, you're gonna get a lot of people in the role that is kind of just like annoyed, not really thrilled about their comp and are more likely to leave quickly, right. And so it's better to just as you did, like, salary negotiations from the employer perspective is more about clear expectations. It's more just about saying exactly what you said, communicating clearly, kind of where your heads out, how you kind of view that perspective and just saying Like, look if it's not for you, we get it. But if we're going to move forward from this point forward, we want to make sure that you understand like, this is how it is right. 

It's less about persuasion and selling. And it's more just about putting clear expectations on the table. Right, and being transparent. Getting back to that. Well, look, I think we had a couple of other topics that we're probably not gonna have time to get in on, just because we're up on time. So I just wanted to say thank you so much for joining us today. This has been a really insightful conversation, with a lot of value for talent, leaders, and recruiters tuning in. So Sarah, thank you for joining the show today and contributing.

Sarah Peck  40:40  
Thank you, James. It's been a pleasure.

James Mackey  40:42  
Thank you. Thank you for everybody tuning in. Thanks for joining us, and we'll see you next time.

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