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Ep14: Steve Lucas, CEO of iCIMS

Analyzing Employment Data

Episode Summary

"You can’t have a meaningful conversation with your customer if you don't have the right data."

Steve follows the data and it’s his go to approach for all challenges; from customer engagement and touchpoints, to market trends.

In episode #14 of our Datavana Podcast, Steve Lucas (CEO of iCIMS) provides insights into analyzing the interesting world of employment data. He examines the current direction of the US job market from applicant activity, COVID, demographics, and covers finer trends such as; where the customers are, diversity, skill shortages and recruitment direction.

Steve & iCIMS are also pioneers in the industry revolutionizing the talent acquisition market. Utilizing data, Steve is changing the way we think about communication & engagement for the employment process.

Ep14: Steve Lucas, CEO of iCIMS
Name: Steve Lucas
What he does: CEO
Company: iCIMS
Noteworthy: Former CEO of Marketo, Sold to Adobe for $4.75B - 3x return to shareholders in 24 months.
24 years of experience in CEO and senior executive roles at the world's most competitive software companies. Public, private and philanthropic organization board member as well as published author with a broad range of GTM, operations, RandD, sales, services and technology market expertise.
Where to find Steve: LinkedIn

Episode Highlights

A Very Positive Trend

"In the second half of 2020; we saw women in particular gain a larger share of 100K plus high salary jobs in areas like tech. A very positive trend. And we've seen that trend sustain. We still need to see that in deeper impacted communities of color and we're starting to see trickle feeds of that. If we want the data to improve, this means improving people's lives. We've got to up-skill and re-skill people into where the jobs are. Because what we're seeing now in the data is this massive gap between job postings and applicants or skilled candidates. Massive. If you look at tech, there are plenty of jobs. There are millions of jobs, the world over, we need to drive up-skilling and reskilling there. The data is undeniable."

COVIDs Impact On Communities of Color

"In April and May of 2020, the US economy alone shed 22 million jobs. Lots of impact. One of the biggest challenges; communities of color were more pronounced in their impact than any other community. I'm not going to get into the why, because there's a lot of challenges with why, but the data is undeniable. Then what we saw from June to August was a reclamation of 12 million of those jobs. That's good news, right? Still 10 million jobs that were missing from pre-pandemic days. We got 10 million. So 200,000 jobs a month is only going to take us five years to get those 10 million back. 200,000 jobs, that's a drop in the bucket."

Ideal Candidate Profile

"What you've got to shift away from is saying to HR and the recruiting team, ‘I want a thousand more of that person.’ Because you’ll always find someone that is a great salesperson. But here's what you're really doing, and this is where data comes into it; You're already driving implicit bias. Let's say for a minute that person is male. You're saying, ‘I want a thousand more guys.’ So you're wrong already. So the Ideal candidate profile is absolutely about the non-gender non race, specific characteristics, the competencies. And let's also then plan for bias getting into that model. So how do we get that out of there before you feed the machine learning algorithm? One, if you don't get that ideal candidate profile right, then guess what you're going to get as output at the bottom or the end of your funnel: Bias, everytime."

Go Where The Market Is

"We're headed towards more informed, smart, economic decisions being made on lead indicators, data being made on application. If people are not apt to apply in a specific state or location because there's COVID concerns, it may be slow to emerge, or whatever. Then you’ve got to go where the applicants are. That's something that I think is going to drive economic decision-making, construction, manufacturing, and the like. You gotta go where the talent pool is, where the applicants are."

Marketing Automation

"I even wrote a book on marketing automation. The first line in the book was, ‘No one wants to be marketed to, but everyone wants to be engaged with.’ If you and I got up this morning and checked our email inboxes, neither would say, ‘Holy cow, there's a mattress sale! Let me get it in my car.’ It doesn't work. No one wants to be marketed to but everyone wants to be engaged with. If an employer or a brand demonstrates they know you, they care about your journey, your experience, they've customized content. They're personalizing that experience, which definitely sits on the quality of your data. You are profoundly more apt to buy. And it sounds obvious, but not every company is just really good at that."

Collaboration & Communication

"The dataset is not billions but trillions of intersection points and data points that we analyze. And we're doing that all in real time. We put out this report that gives you a lot of insight into this applicant activity; application, job postings, and we can see what the job market is going to look like six months from now, because we know where employees are posting jobs and where they're interviewing, not just what they hired last month. The jobs report in collaboration."

Key Insights

  • Engagement Economy. "If I'm applying for a job, I want to be engaged through texts,” says Steve, who backs up his statement with data." People are on average somewhere between 10 and 50 times more likely to open and read a text message than they are email.” He details that engagement by text message is more personal than email, and applicants are more likely to respond. Interestingly, iCIMS captures all the text dialogue between applicants and turns it into structured data, for Steve and his teams to analyze.
  • The People Pipeline. Steve says it's a goal for him to revolutionize the applicant process. He explains the breakthrough opportunity for iCIMS is to change the way we treat applicants, by treating them like customers and creating a compelling and engaging platform for them to use. "When was the last time you saw a really compelling career site? It’s more boring job descriptions and a big apply button where you get a form letter response. No engagement and the reality is that if companies put even 10% of the effort into their career site that they do with their customer site, I mean, talk about a breakthrough!"
  • Applicant Collaboration. Steve challenges the norm and says the inherent way that we collaborate in the real world and the workplace should be replicated for recruitment processes. iCIMS built their recruitment software for the entire talent acquisition process around apps like Slack, Teams, phones, and only when necessary, email. "Collaboration between the recruiter, the hiring manager and hiring teams is a big, big part. Most organizations’ interview process consists of probably a word document and a Zoom link. That's not how we collaborate. We're using our phones! That's how we're collaborating."
  • Experience Data. With the rise of ABM in recent years, most organizations have come to understand the importance of the experience a customer has with a product or brand. Customers are far more likely to purchase from a company that they associate a positivity towards. This is also relevant when marketing. Steve says you need to have quality, accurate experience data to fuel engagement with the customer. "Customers today, whether it's consumers or B2B, they're going to make decisions based on their journey and their experience arc with you. If you don't have the right experience data that is accurate and clear and has a high degree of quality, how are you even going to have a meaningful conversation with your customer or your potential customer?"

Top Quotes

[13:53] "If you don't have the right experience data which is accurate and clear and has a high degree of quality, how are you even going to have a meaningful conversation with your customer or your potential customer?"

[15:44] "We are an engagement platform. And we operate in the engagement economy and ergo, if companies, our customers aren't engaging, they're not going to win."

[16:55] "I think everyone can benefit from this in their career, which is how you think about and develop a pattern recognition mindset. Data, right? People that work with data are very good at looking for patterns"

[27:28] "The dataset that we are talking about is predicated on over 350 million candidate profiles that sit in our talent cloud every year. So across our 4,000 customers that have 35 million employees, there's about 64 million applicants per year. We handle all that volume.'"

[41:02] "I think we are headed towards some, some real quantum leaps, not just for iCIMS, but his whole concept of data and employment."

[43:57] "The world has changed and we are witnessing the greatest redistribution of opportunity; you can work from anywhere at the same point in time. But it's not going to change for a whole lot of industries like; hospitality, transportation, retail, manufacturing, warehousing, and so on. But what will change for those businesses is how they inform and where they make decisions. And That's going to be a lot of this data and data-driven decision-making, and it won't be on lag. It will be on lead."