What is the future of work?
How will technology change recruiting?
These are just a few of the questions we’ll cover in my talk with Ira Wolfe, one of the top 5 global thought leaders on the future of work, HR, and adaptability.
Ira will delve into his book Recruiting in the Age of Googlization.
He’ll also share the recruiting strategies that the best companies are using—and how ChatGPT will affect the workforce.
MENTIONED IN THIS EPISODE:
Ira Wolfe: In order to reach people we’re gonna have to be, we’re gonna have to personalize the message. We’re going to have to understand where people are.
Voiceover: You’re listening to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast with professional speaker, coach and consultant Nicole Greer.
Nicole Greer: Welcome, everybody to the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. My name is Nicole Greer, and I’m here to help you build a vibrant culture and I have an amazing guest on my show today. It is Mr. Ira Wolfe. Let me tell you a little bit about him. He is a, listen to this, I love this. He is a millennial trapped in a baby boomer body. Ira is recognized as one of the top five global thought leaders on the future of work, HR and top 10 for leadership.
He is the president of Poised for the Future Company and founder of Success Performance Solutions. He’s a senior consultant with Dame Leadership and a TEDx speaker, Hall of Fame speaker, should I go on? Let me go on. And he’s the host of Geeks, Geezers and Googlization podcast and part of the people forward network. His most recent book is Recruiting in the Age of Googlization is now the second edition, which has been selected as one of the top 50 books to read in 2021 by Thinkers 360.
He is the founder of the Googlization Nation Community and a frequent contributor to HR and business blogs, including Forbes, Medium, and an expert guest on NTD Business News. He was recently selected as the 2022 HR Southwest Hall of Fame speaker inductee. Please welcome to the show, Ira. How are you?
Ira: Hey, thanks, Nicole. Hey, we’re out of time. Sorry, folks you’ll have to come back.
Nicole: But they got to know how smart you are. Right? We got to build that street cred. And he’s definitely got it. You know, Ira, one of the things I’m doing is I am collecting definitions of leadership. Would you share with me your definition of leadership?
Ira: Yeah, and I’ll give credit to Warren Bennis, for those of age, might remember that name. He was pretty popular in the 70s, 80s and 90s. And he really changed my approach. Leaders are people who get people to want to do what you want them to do, where managers just get people to do what you want them to do. Yeah,
Nicole: That is fantastic. And yes, I am a fan of Warren as well. That’s fantastic. So you’ve been studying leadership and HR for a very long time now. And I’m so curious about your Googlization Nation Community. How are you all working, and what are you working on to help folks in HR and those trying to lead organizations?
Ira: Yeah, thanks. And yeah, there’s a lot there to unpack. So first of all, my passion for, I fell into HR. And for years, I didn’t necessarily, I was in HR. But my passion has always been leadership and also to future work and change. But obviously, Human Resources leads people. I mean, they’re in charge of should be in charge of motivating people, changing, leading people, educating people, skilling people.
So I fell into that space, the Googlization Nation really developed out of my, I came up with the name Googlization. Nation, or Googlization, in 2008, when I was writing my book, Geeks, Geezers, Googlization. And it just turned out to be an alliteration. And what it means is, it’s the convergence of business, people and technology, which we are experiencing, every day, every minute, every second of our lives.
From that, the book, the title became a podcast, which I’ve had for the last five and a half years. And we developed a community around that. We had a lot of people who shared like views and and were interested in the future of work and how it relates to people and what role did technology have and generations and demographics and all those things.
So Googlization Nation is really, one is Googlization about the convergence of people, business and technology, but it’s having a conversation about what the future of work looks like. And that’s what we do.
Nicole: That’s fantastic. So could you give us a little peek into what you see in the future? What are you guys seeing? What are you studying? What are you looking at?
Ira: Oh my. So where do we start with that? So let’s take a roll back, you know, just a few months, and ChatGPT you know, what do we see? I mean, that changed the whole landscape of everything. And just before we started to record this, I probably had six or seven different windows with different ideas, and I plop them in there and see what it generates. and sometimes at the end of the day, I even forgot what I started.
But it’s not, I’m not. I’m both, and my LinkedIn profile says this. I’m fascinated by the future and by change, and I’m absolutely terrified by it as well. And that’s maybe a problem when you really study it. So, you know, what are the things that are changing the number one, the number one theme that I tell people, and just like with ChatGPT is speed. We are living on this exponential curve. The world is just changing faster than any of us could imagine.
Even those of us who studied it. So it’s, it’s scary, and it’s fun, but it’s sort of like on that roller coaster, in the dark. Another analogy that I actually, ChatGPT helped me with this today, came up with, it’s like jumping on a trampoline. And you can either be excited and exhilarated and jump higher and higher and try to reach new heights.
Or it’s absolutely terrifying with the twists and turns, and the unpredictability and the bounce, and you don’t know what’s going to happen next. And especially if somebody else jumps on it, and throws everything off. So it’s the speed at which things are changing is just incredible. But it’s also the scope. It’s not just things are happening faster. Just in the Googlization people, business and technology keep converging.
I converged, I don’t look at like an AI or a ChatGPT replacing me. And it may very well could replace some of the things I used to do, it’s probably going to replace some of the things I used to hire people to do. But it doesn’t, I don’t see it threatening to replace me because it’s actually making me better. It’s a tool that’s there.
But when speed and technology, and age and new ideas and new technologies converging and all that stuff happening all at the same time in the same space. That’s what our world is. And you know, the acronym we use for it is VUCA, v u c a, volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous. But that is the air we breathe, the environment in which we live. And people want to go, no, no, no slow down, I want to take a step back, I want to get off.
And more than that change is people, I would say resisting the change, but people who just think that they can control the change or step off or out of it. And you know, it drives me crazy when people say, well, you know, I’m too old, or I’m only 10 years from retirement. And I’ll be so glad when I get out of this. Well, unless they’re going to stop living, they’re going to be impacted by this.
Because whether it’s going to a doctor, making your reservation, dining out, going into their car, everything is just going to change. And I don’t know how people can kind of step back. Not everybody has to go in like me like crazy. But at least people have to continue to advance and grow and learn.
Nicole: Yeah, so what I’m hearing you say is that it’s exciting. And it’s cause for concern, because we’re not so sure we’re gonna bring all our friends along with us, right?
Ira: Yeah. Maybe we’re, you know, I want to say, but I guess more troubling is even some family that just doesn’t get it. And that’s tough, because, you know, friends come and go, but your family is your family, and when you see families struggling to understand this, it’s a challenge.
Nicole: Right, right. Yeah. So there’s an old saying, and it says, you know, you know, change is optional, but growth is not. I mean, you’ve got to grow, you’ve got to move with the things, right. So it’s gonna grow around you, it might cave in and on top of you, but you’ve absolutely got to join. So I agree with you wholeheartedly. And I love the trampoline analogy. And the other analogy I’m seeing is the one of you know, you got to put your arms in the air and get on the roller coaster just hang on for a wild ride, and learn to enjoy it.
So I love that. Well, you wrote your book about recruiting, and I do a lot of recruiting. And I would love to know more specifically, how do you see recruiting change? Or how have you seen it change with that mash up between people, technology and business and everything? How do you see that mashing up together?
Ira: Yeah, you know, I look back, I wrote the book in 2017. And it really was going to be a regeneration of my Geeks, Geezers, and Googlization and a real focus more on technology. So I wrote the first 150 pages of that book is about technology. It’s about change. It’s everything we just talked about. So if you want to learn a little bit more about how we got here. And then it was like, well, do I want to sell it just as a futurist book or what do I put it in the context of what I believe is going to be one of the biggest challenges that we have?
And one of the biggest challenges is going to be finding people. But it wasn’t just finding people, it was recruiting the people. So I had an acronym, which was REACH. And R is, how do you reach people? It’s almost naive to go back and think that just six years ago, we were talking about, you know, rewriting, not just don’t use your job description, but rewrite a better message.
Your marketing, you know, it’s not about recruitment, it’s about marketing, and how do you, and then the E was how do you engage people? So what tools do you use to reach the people and if you’re looking in a rural area of non techie people, then maybe you still hang flyers in the grocery store, or you hang a door hanger, you go around with door hangers out or you have a job fair.
But if you’re living in a digital world, then how do you reach people in space? How do you reach people anywhere? And so that’s what I talked about. And then it was like, how do you engage them? It wasn’t just reaching them, but how do you get beyond getting their attention? But how do you keep them engaged? And then what’s the application look like? And that was the A.
And then C is what’s communication and conversation look like? Because you had to have that. And then H was hiring. And it wasn’t about the hiring, the step of hiring, it wasn’t about what does a job offer look like. It was that hiring doesn’t stop when you go through onboarding. So that’s the context, and I think that’s still important. But what I talked about in the book with the R E A C H, just got blown out of the water in the last six months with AI.
Because everything that I’m sure you and I and hundreds of other people talked about was in order to reach people, we’re going to have to personalize the message. We’re going to have to understand where people are, and what’s not changed. What in the past is, people when people were looking for work, they went to the classified ads, and then they went to the career builders, and indeed, and even those, even those two are going away.
They’re even, you know, radically changing. Career builder doesn’t exist anymore, technically. And you know, monster used to be big, and they’re almost gone. And indeed, having some disruption. So how do you, one is reach people. And the people who got it before started to have data, they understood where their markets were, they understood, when was the right time, they understood having a community just like Googlization Nation to build a community of potential talent before you were ready to recruit before you had that job opening.
Now, it’s imperative because now the messaging is so much better people that are using the artificial intelligence, and they’re able to target market those people and and how do they keep them engaged. The whole application process is being blown up. Because what was a foundation was using an ATS in a standard application. And now people, people have choices.
The market is still reversed, despite the fact that we’re supposedly in this recession. We literally, at one point we had three jobseekers when I entered the workforce. There were three point something job work, job seekers, for every job. It’s now two job seekers, and like three jobs. It’s like one and a half, it’s reversed. So they have choices. People don’t have to accept your calls, they don’t have to accept your offers.
They’re going to do it when they feel that they’re significant, they’re just not another number. When you reach them, they want to be engaged. They want to feel like they are the most important person in the room, even if you’re not going to hire him. They have to be treated with respect. And it blows my mind. We work with the talent board quite a bit. The talent board tracks all this stuff.
And the number one complaints are still the same thing that they heard 10 years ago. Despite everything that we just talked about for 15 minutes about the speed of change. Number one complaint is it takes too long. From the moment that somebody submits an application till someone is hired. It just takes too long. And then in between there, there’s too many gaps and too many lapses. And then the candidates don’t hear.
There’s no communication. They don’t hear from people. Even when they’re rejected, they don’t hear from people. The companies. Yeah, the reality is, is in 10 years of all this technology, everything we learned, hundreds of books written you know, every conference is loaded with people talking about talent acquisition, recruitment and, candidate experience and employee experience. The same three problems still topped the list of what makes candidates angry. And candidate board measures resentment.
And resentment is not just saying, oh, I was disappointed that I didn’t get a job, or I’m upset that they didn’t call me back or that it took so long. When candidates leave the hiring process resentful, that’s bad, especially in a world of social media, and telling neighbors, and especially when employers don’t have that large database, or the talent pool that they did.
And one last thing on that, and then I’ll shut up. There is no fix, there is no immediate fix in that. If you go back to the 1950s, 60s and 70s, there were 2.5, on average, 2.5 million new baby boomers coming into the market every year. And then we got to the 80s, late 80s, early 90s. And that was Gen X. So Gen X are between like, they’re about 40 to 55 years old now.
Okay, that’s that mix. But they were only half of many as baby boomers. But they were still about one and a half million new workers coming into the workforce. Plus, we also had immigration. So we have three things, Baby Boomers, Gen X, and immigration. And then we hit the late 90s and early 2000s, when the millennials hit the job market, and we had another 2.5 million new workers.
So for 50 years, we had a lot of new people coming into the workforce, plus immigration. Since 2010, it’s been a downward slope, immigration has slowed new policies, that’s not going to be corrected anytime soon. But we hit a birth rate cliff which is now fall under. In this year, we will have somewhere around 400,000 new eligible workers, down from 2.5 million. About 20%.
And that declines through about 2026, 2027, when we’ll only have about 200,000 new eligible warm bodies coming into the workplace, because 20 years ago, our birth rates, everybody’s not having babies, and we cut off immigration. So the likelihood of us having new blood to replace all the retiring baby boomers, and having people that have all the skills that we need, over time, ain’t gonna happen.
There is no quick fix to this other than immigration. And we know that’s not a quick fix. And that’s not going to happen. So for all the employers listening out there, it’s going to be brutal. There is no other word, it’s going to be brutal. And you just have to start treating people nicer and with respect and be more efficient, more effective how you get through this process.
Nicole: Yeah. So you all just got schooled big time. Just want to tell you the name of his book, again. His most recent book is Recruiting in the Age of Googlization, and it’s now in its second edition. And so you can get that information from there. And also, his website is irawolfe.com. And Wolfe has an E on the end of it.
So I want you to go out there and check that out. Yeah, so I love what you’re saying. Because I don’t know about you, Ira, but even when I was coming up, I mean, the same things were happening to me. People didn’t call me back, or they weren’t nice to me or whatever.
Ira: It hasn’t changed a whole lot. I mean, it’s a lot of companies doing it, right. But I always look at what, it’s like anything else when you do a poll. The talent Board recognizes the companies that do a great job. And every year, they have what they call the candy awards. And, it’s a big ceremony and they’re well recognized. And most of the same names are always on the list. But that’s only 300, 350 companies that participate. Now they have 300,000 candidates who give information.
So it’s not just 50 people who said this. It’s a lot of people who said this, and they’ve been doing this for 10 years. And again, just the information that I’m sharing today is free. So anyone can go up, download the reports from the talent board. But over 10 years and everything that everybody’s learned, they haven’t done it.
And I always say if that’s the best of the companies that are struggling, I can’t imagine with the every day, you know, the average company is doing in middle America, small businesses who say, oh, we’re too small to do this, or we don’t hire that often. Everybody has an excuse. But everybody’s playing, literally eating out of the same trough anymore.
Nicole: So will you tell us a little bit about what you see the best companies, what they’re doing. So, you know, we’re hearing what you’re saying, but I’d like to know if you’ve got some examples of some great strategies, systems, smart things people are doing to make their recruiting process top notch.
Ira: Yeah. So it was actually pretty easy. And I share this and I started to do it cynically and sarcastically, but it’s true, is that the bar is pretty low of what companies are doing. And therefore, if you just stop doing the bad stuff, because honestly, companies are making good decisions, even if they’re incremental, even if they’re not the best, and they’re small, and they update their application, or they’re not just copying, pasting job descriptions.
Are they using something like ChatGPT. You can use ChatGPT all you want and create great teasers, great headlines, great messaging. But if somebody applies, and then they don’t hear from you, it’s going to kill that. So we came up, and this came from customer service, CX, customer experience. There’s an acronym that we use, and it’s FCDD. So I, one of my presentations was that your candidate experience is all F’d up.
But it represents frustration, confusion, disappointment, and distraction. Okay, so here’s what I suggest. I don’t have any magic bullets. If you do this, this is going to fix it. If you stop frustrating your candidates, you’ll do better than the company down the street, or company around the world who’s competing with you. And you can, by the way, you can use this FCDD model once you have them in for retention.
What are the things that frustrate your employees. And it could be even getting, requesting a vacation day. Could be your manager, it could be something. So what are the steps going through the process from the moment that they say, I think I’d like to apply to Nicole’s company. What are the things that frustrate candidates that get in the way that does not make it a frictionless seamless process?
Now, we’re not talking about making it easy to get a job. But you’ve got to make it easy to complete an application if someone’s qualified. So it may be as simple as asking four or five screening questions. You know, are you over 18 years old? Are you willing to relocate? If it’s a professional job, or it requires a certification, do you have, yes or no answers. Do you have a license? Are you certified?
If, and this is a big if, I F, if a degree is required, which most jobs that turns out that they’re not, but if it’s required, then they answer yes. If they answer any of those questions, no, then save everybody time and effort. Don’t have them go through their application. But just say, unfortunately, you know, you don’t meet our, nicely say this, you know, meet our minimum qualifications.
But if you’d like to apply for another job in the future, fine. If not, thanks very much. If you know anybody who fits this role, please share the word. Very easy. Okay. How can you make it less frustrating? How can you make it less confusing? I’ve been talking about this for 10 years, six years, I’ve probably given 100, 200 presentations on this. And it still amazes me because some people came back over and over year after year.
And it’s like, well, we’re working on it, or we put it in the budget, is that when you go to their website, it’s like, hey, I want to apply to your company, but I can’t find out how. And then when they find out how, I have to register, and then go back to my email. Or it’s on my mobile app, it’s on a mobile phone. By the way, 97% of everybody under the age of 30 In the US only has a mobile phone.
Only way they connect. Only way they can apply for a job. And the website is not mobile ready. Or it takes too long to load, and not everybody is sitting in the 5g area. If you’re looking for people in a rural area, they may only have two bars. So what are the things that frustrate, confuse. You get on distractions.
I’ve been on pages where the job application is here and on the side there’s a whole stream of ads trying to sell to the candidates. The disappointment parts probably the most difficult because getting hired going for job interviews is one out of 100 people are hired, if you’re lucky. But it’s a disappointing process for a lot of reasons. One is nobody likes to be rejected.
If I really want this job, even if I’m qualified, even if I’m not qualified, I want the job. That’s why I took the time to do that. So there’s always going to be disappointment, but don’t make it worse. So my goal, you know, asking what can companies do, what are the best practices? It’s nothing new. Fix the old. Just make it less FCDD. Don’t F it up.
Nicole: I think that’s fantastic. I hope you all wrote that down. And you’ll go back and you’ll take better notes than you did the first time and listen to what Ira Wolfe is sharing. I absolutely love it.
Ira: Lots of podcasts, lots of interviews, lots of articles. If you just look up FCDD candidate experience, I will show up there.
Nicole: Very good. That’s right. That’s right. All right. Well, it has been such a pleasure to have you on the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. And we all know, Ira that if you don’t, you know, have a great ad that goes out an experience that the candidate has, you do great onboarding, you can’t build a vibrant culture.
And it all starts with hiring the right people and getting them on board. I’m wondering, you know, people are like, oh, no, don’t let Ira go. I want to hear more. I’m wondering if you have one more nugget that you would share with that special listener? That’s like, I want to hear one more great thing from Ira.
Ira: Oh, wow. What will that be? Because my mind goes like in a million places.
Nicole: Pick one of the million.
Ira: I’m gonna say this, and this fits into the tips. I’m a huge fan. You can see it right behind me about adaptability, but growth mindset. There’s a fixed mindset that embeds HR. I can’t, we can’t do it. I don’t have the money. I’m not smart enough. I’m not good with computers. I’m not good with math, I’m not good at writing. I’m not good with technology. And I don’t know how anyone will grow, let alone survive, but especially grow and thrive in the future, no matter what role you’re in, without a growth mindset.
So I would say anytime you say I can’t do this, you put a three letter word behind it. Yet. Y e t. I’m not good with technology yet. I’m not a good writer yet. I don’t understand social media yet. We’re gonna it’s not just having an open mind. But everybody’s gonna have to change the way they we did things and undo some and stop doing some of the things that no longer work.
Nicole: Yeah, that’s exactly right. And Ira I love that you’re bringing up the wonderful work of Carol Dweck. If you all haven’t read the book by Carol Dweck, Mindset, I just adore it. So here’s what we need to do everybody, would you please write this down, go out and visit Ira Wolfe at irawolfe.com. He’s also over on LinkedIn. He’s very active over there.
And it’s LinkedIn, his backslash is just his name, Ira Wolfe. And you could go out and you could talk to him at geeksgeezersandgooglization.com as well. Ira thank you so much for being on the Build a Vibrant culture podcast. We might want to have you back to talk about phase two of all things HR.
Ira: And I’d like to add one more thing. Actually, if you go to irawolfe.com, you can download what is, I co-authored a new, my most recent book was a co-authored book. It was actually Create Great Culture in a Remote World. I have one chapter in there. It talks a lot about growth, or about growth, mindset, and adaptability. So go up there, you can actually download the book for free.
Nicole: That’s fantastic. Alright, so people are like, what, wait, it’s free? Will you tell us the title one more time?
Ira: Yeah, Create Great Culture in a Remote World. And you’ll find it on my website irawolfe.com.
Nicole: Fantastic All right, everybody. I know you totally enjoyed this episode of the Build a Vibrant Culture podcast. Would you go down and press like and leave a nice message for Ira. Leave a nice message, tell him how helpful he’s been. Thank you so much, Ira Wolfe for being on the show.
Ira: Thank you very much.
Voiceover: Ready to build your vibrant culture? Bring Nicole Greer to speak to your leadership team, conference or organization to help them with their strategies, systems and smarts to increase clarity, accountability, energy and results. Your organization will get lit from within. Email Nicole@nicolegreer.com. And be sure to check out Nicole’s TEDx talk at nicolegreer.com.