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HRExaminer Radio

Guest: Richard Campione, CEO and President of Findly
Episode: 116
Air Date: September 18, 2015


Richard Campione is the CEO of Findly – the leading provider of On-Demand Talent Solutions for Global Enterprises improving recruiter efficiency and candidate experience. He also serves in the following capacities within the following organizations:

– Board of Directors, Mavenlink: Provider of cloud-based applications which combine advanced project management software with resource planning, collaboration, and financial tools to help businesses conduct business online.
– Board of Directors; President, Cloud & Business Intelligence Division at ServiceSource: Market leader for maximizing recurring revenue via both a SaaS and a Managed Service model ($SREV).
– Board of Directors, Biome Analytics: Provider of cloud-based performance management applications, data, tools, & services.
– Board of Directors, Winshuttle: Winshuttle provides a data usability platform focused on Lean Data Management.

Richard considers himself as a resourceful catalyst of change. He is an Executive who balances strategy and execution in the journey from tens of millions to half a billion in sales. A driven leader with global experience and hands-on background in running a P&L, product management, sales, engineering, marketing, professional services, channel development, and M&A, he has led direct teams of 500+, indirect teams of 5000+, and portfolios of $4B+. He is a veteran of both startups and multinational corporations and is an energetic team builder with contagious enthusiasm. Richard is interested in the next generation of Business Apps: using data, the cloud, and machine learning to drive more effective business processes. He is an advocate of Lean Concepts: Iterate quickly, validate learnings, focus on the key business model levers, and execute accordingly.

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Begin transcript

John Sumser:                       Good morning and welcome to HR Examiner radio. I’m your host, John Sumser. We’re coming to you from beautiful downtown Occidental, California, where the forest fires have slowed a little bit. We’ve got some rain. There are no roses today, but we have the most days out here. We’re going to be talking today with Richard Campione, who is the CEO and President of Findly. Richard, how are you?

Richard CAMPIONE:         I’m doing great, John. How are you?

John Sumser:              All right. Nice to have you on this morning. Why don’t you introduce yourself to the audience?

Richard CAMPIONE:         Okay, obviously, my name is Richard Campione. Give you a little bit of sense of me for background and personal and professional interests. I grew up in England and I had parents as professors, began the journey as an engineering student, did my undergrad and graduate work at MIT. Then, spent the next 30 years exploring how technology and data could really impact business. Was fortunate to work at some little companies that became big companies like Oracle and Siebel and such. Also spent some time in little tiny companies when the SAAS and the internet revolution hit. I’ve done most of the various roles inside of software, all oriented to changing how people do business. That’s on the professional side.

On the personal side, I’m really interested in sports and athletics and such. I courted skills motion. As a young kid I did gymnastics and moved into martial arts, then some snowboarding and motorcycling, actually. All of those things have the same kind of mentality and training approach. I also like travel and spending time with my family. That’s a quick flavor of me, if you will.

John Sumser:              Thank you. Tell me the story of how you got to Findly. We were just talking before the show started about the fact that you’ve been in other parts of the human resources industry. Let’s tell me a little bit about that story.

Richard CAMPIONE:         Actually, I had transitioned from being operational when I had left SAP. At SAP, one of the areas that I was responsible for was the HR industry so I did have some experience there. I had transitioned from being operational to doing a bunch of board of director roles and doing some consulting, and frankly, being semi-retired.

I came to the conclusion that being semi-retired was overrated, actually. It’s really about how you spend your time and I really like being involved with companies and working with bright people and solving interesting problems and helping change the world, if you will. That got me back looking at what would be fun to do. Because of my background as a senior executive in a large company, of course large company opportunities come your way.

I really decided I wanted to be more on the cutting edge of where technology is going. I believe we live in a truly fascinating time. The advent of the Cloud and the wisdom of crowds and peoples’ desire to listen to other people is completely changing how business works. I think many businesses now are going through a big metamorphosis. You see it in how Amazon’s changing the retailers and how Netflix to cable. Getting back in that game was pretty keen to me. I decided that smaller companies, which are working with newer technologies and employing and really exploiting that transformation could have the biggest impact on businesses. Within the scope of businesses, if it can help people, then that makes me even more interested, even more excited, if you will.

Really what attracted me to Findly is, in a nutshell, what we’re doing is we’re helping companies find the right employees to hire … “Right” being the keyword, the ones that meet their qualifications … And doing that with less time and effort. The flip side … There’s a duality here. It’s helping job seekers find the right jobs for which they’re well qualified, and again, with less time and effort. That nexus is really well suited to undergo change. The old post and pray model doesn’t really work.

If one is clever about employing what the Cloud and communities and growth hacker digital marketing enables, then in essence, it’s what did for dating and changing the dating game. I think that’s going to make the world of a lot of job seekers much better. I think it’s going to help companies do the transformation they need to do to survive given the existential threat that a lot of them suffer now based on what the internet’s done.

Then, in talking to the company, looking at technology, but most importantly, the people. You spend most of your time working with your colleagues at work, day in and day out. What I found was the people, they were really bright. They were really committed, and they really loved this vision. That’s just exciting. If you [inaudible 00:05:20] pulled me out of retirement, and been a few months on board. It’s been great.

John Sumser:              Great. Tell me about what a current, typical day looks like for you.

Richard CAMPIONE:         A typical day. As a CEO, I’m not sure there is a typical day. There’s a day where you … There’s several typical days. Maybe that’s a better way of putting it. There are days, probably my favorite days, where I get to be out in the field … Out in the field, either talking to prospects about how we could solve their problems or talking to customers about how we are solving their problems and how we can do a better job of solving their problems. That’s really where real life hits. That’s really the impact we’re having. That’s where truth lies. That is really what I like to do.

That said, I’m also responsible to making sure that we can do all those things, so I have to spend time back at headquarters as well. Trained as an engineer, I love the market identification to product definition, to delivering a high-quality product. That lifecycle, it’s really fun for me to spend time with some of the engineers and the product management guys and to see how all that comes together. Of course, that’s only useful if real people can bring it to life, so I also spend time thinking about how the processes work for the marketing leading into sales leading into the implementation to customer success.

I’d say there are three different kinds of days where I spend a lot of my time, which really get me going. Then, there’s the other stuff that I have to do. There is this idea of fundraising and all that kind of stuff. I do all that because it’s my job, but that doesn’t make me as passionate as those other three types of days. I’d say, summary, I don’t have a typical day and that’s part of what I love about my job. I have many types of interesting days.

John Sumser:                That’s great. Tell me about Findly. What is Findly and what does it do?

Richard CAMPIONE:         What is Findly? Actually, I mentioned it a little bit at the very beginning. If you distill it to a sound bite, we help companies hire the right people in less time and effort. We help job seekers find the right job with less time and effort. If you look at the … Maybe it’s interesting to talk about who we think are the most ideal customers for us. Of course, we can help many more people than this, but frequently if you think about your ideal customer, it highlights what’s unique about you, so to speak, but also who is perfect. Then, other people who are close, will listen in and say, “I’m like that too. These guys could really help us.”

What’s perfect for us are actually the companies who are reacting to the new changes by the Cloud environment. Retailers who are reacting to Amazon and cable companies who are reacting to what’s happening with Netflix and such. The reason is, these older companies, they tend to hire an awful lot of hourly workers. They have a large volume of hourly workers, so there’s a volume game. In order to compete, they need to change how they interact with the customer. All these hourly workers, they are the customer-facing piece of the company. These companies also have some hard to fill roles. They have executives. They often have engineers, people like that. It’s this mix of hard to fill people, as well as a large volume of more hourly workers, shifting the skill set, transforming how the company will behave. Typically they become more customer services oriented to compete against what the internet has to offer.

That’s the ideal customer. Why? In that sense … Again, my metaphor of how this game should work is it’s like dating. If I paint a cartoon … This is a bit extreme, like cartoons often are. The way the world has typically worked is called “post and pray.” You throw up some sort of ads, you drive people to your website, and immediately you slam them right into your ATS, your Applicant Tracking System. That’s a little bit like, if you think back to the dating, before the internet people used to start the dating ritual in bars. You can imagine a guy seeing a girl in the bar, and walking up to the girl, smiling, and then dumping a prenup on her, and saying, “Would you mind reading my prenup?”

That’s a bit like what it feels like to go through the ATS compliance-driven application process. It’s not always affective. In fact, a number of really important candidates get repelled by that and we see pretty big drop-offs. If you think, really, about that dating metaphor and you also think about how technology now has been applying to moving people along, either or maybe from a business perspective, it’s more like digital marketing, growth hacker marketing.

Initially, you want to attract people. You want people to find out about you. That is some advertising and such. Then you want to capture that person so you can talk to them, if you will, get their name and number. Now, you want to have an engaging and a nurturing experience. The growth hacker marketing metaphor is you’re nurturing the lead through the funnel, but the dating metaphor is, “Hey, you’re getting to know each other. You’re sharing information.” In time, you get a little bit less flirty and a bit more deep. At some point in time, you’re actually going to consider getting engaged and talking about more difficult stuff, maybe prenups, but maybe just arranging the wedding and all that kind of stuff. That’s analogous to, “Now I’m actually ready to get into the application process. Now I’m willing to go through the compliance, and I’m willing to try and prove that I’m pretty good.” At some point you fall out. You get to the other end of it and you get hired.

If you think of that funnel from the employer perspective, I want to capture as many people as possible, at volume. I want to nurture and engage with them, again, at volume. There I need technology. I don’t have the people to do it all myself, so I need to have digital marketing and growth hacker marketing and automation to interact with these people. I also need to be segmenting them. I need to figure out who’s likely to be a good fit, because the people who I want to spend my time, money, and effort on qualifying through the application flow, which is expensive and onerous and time-consuming … I want as few people as possible to get into that, provided that I can meet my hiring goals. You want to restrict who enters and focus your energy during the application process. Then you get the best hires.

From the candidate’s experience, when I’m discovering, I want to learn. I want a very lightweight way of engaging with you. Then, I want you to give me information that I actually care about. I want that nurturing to be of interest. I want the ability to control my information. I want to be able to stand out. I want to be able to let the right people know that I’m good. At some point, I want to go through the application process, and I want to do that as easy as I can, admitting it’s hard. I also want to stand out again and prove I’m good for the job. Finally, I get hired.

It doesn’t end at hiring. A lot of people think after 90 days, “We’re done. It’s someone else’s problem.” Really, for the business, it doesn’t end at hiring. There’s two important things you need to track. Are these people performing and staying with the company? Generally speaking, if you want them to stay with the company, you want them to be able to get more career advancement inside the company. They actually want to apply again for other jobs, so the cycle repeats.

With this view of the life cycle, what we do is we offer a series of products and services that match that candidate’s journey. It start in discovery phase, and we have a variety of … I think of them as digital marketing tools, but ways of getting your word out. Getting your word out into social media and to advertising. We make it very easy for people to click and enter their name, and just get engaged. That brings them into our … We call it “The Hive,” a talent community where the candidate can control their own information, share it with a number of companies, take tests and credentials and badges and begin to differentiate themselves, and companies can start interacting with them and engaging and nurturing … Going through that early dating ritual.

We offer what’s called CRM, or a Candidate Relationship Management module, which allows companies to capture information about the candidates, which is private to the companies. The beauty of it is, it’s blended together with our talent community, so that the profile of the candidate is living in real time. The candidates are maintaining it. Then, we have some digital marketing, email interactions and such. You can nurture along these candidates. At time they’re ready to do the application and we have an ATS. We offer an ATS where people can go through the application flow. Some companies, of course, have other ATSs, so we have integration approaches to work with those. You don’t have to use all of ours. However, I would love it if you did.

Going through the proving phase, we actually have an assessments business and we have io psychologists and we can build customized assessments. We also have more than 500 of pre-defined assessments in the areas of skill sets that different types of workers need, as well as behavioral competencies, such as leadership or customer service orientation and that kind of thing. At the end, if they do join, now, of course, they’re going into the HRIS world. We don’t offer an HRIS. We take the approach of integrating to extract information out so that we can deal with the tail end. I guess, in a nutshell, that’s what we do and how we’re thinking about it.

John Sumser:              That’s a pretty broad spectrum of an offering. Lots and lots of your competitors focus on subsets of that overall hiring lifecycle. What are the pros and cons of doing a comprehensive approach like yours versus point solutions for each of the things?

Richard CAMPIONE:         That’s a great question, actually. That’s actually why I began with who is my ideal customer, because my ideal customer has that high volume piece, because of the hourly workers. I also believe the hourly workers are less well served and their plight of needing to have many jobs to make ends meet is more dramatiCampione There’s less people out there helping them. I believe that if we can solve the problem for them, we also help these companies that need to transform, but the volume game becomes very important.

If you’re dealing with volume, then it’s more important that the candidates are self-maintaining their own information, because there’s more people than you can keep your database up to date. The problem of the graveyard in the enterprise systems is more acute. Also, if you’re dealing with volume, this whole digital marketing, how you engage and interact with people and nurture them along, again, becomes more acute, because it is a larger volume of people.

If you’re dealing with hourly workers, by and large, they tend to be harder to reach and harder to engage with in traditional mechanisms. Most hourly workers, for example, aren’t heavily available on LinkedIn. The kind of ways that you go after engineers are different than the kind of ways you go after hourly workers. You need more of an automated tool that’s very mobile friendly, that’s Millennial applicable, so you can quickly and easily engage and nurture. It’s a whole different kind of interaction style. Then again, if you’re doing the applications … If you’re doing lots of applications for hourly workers, again, volume becomes important. Assessments, as well, especially if you have these tests that are available, volume drives a need for automation.

If there is volume involved, then the need to get the skills set separation for segmentation for targeted, for automated interaction so you can have a personalized feeling interaction one-on-one, but actually through an automated fashion, which is what the internet has happened … The old Peppers & Rogers approach. Then, this is most applicable. We’re most ideal when you have that volume dimension going through the pipeline, but because the way you deal with volume is about quality, it’s about their attributes, it’s about their behavior and their competencies, both proven and claimed in background … Because all of that’s in there, it also actually works for the hard to fills. The same techniques can be applied to the hard to fills.

Understanding that helps us unify the end-end pipeline. I find that the other players, who focus more on just one piece of it, or one or two pieces of it, they try and be one thing for everybody in that one piece. That’s a different way of optimizing. It’s a different set of trade-off and then you cobble together your pieces in a different way. I think that’s the trade-off and that’s how we’re approaching it and why.

John Sumser:               That’s interesting. Not very many people claim as boldly as you do to be able to serve hourly workers and the higher end of the recruiting spectrum. How do you do that? How do you build a system that’s good at volume and good at high-touch equations at the same time? That’s an interesting problem to try to tackle.

Richard CAMPIONE:         Honestly, I’d say, I don’t try and do that. What I try and do is I try and solve the hourly worker problem. That’s what I’m focused on. What I’ve observed is that some of our customers are using our technologies for the hard to fill. Some of them are using it exclusively for hard to fill, because what they find is that the ability to capture the quality dimensions and then interact in a lightweight fashion is actually very effective. I’m actually not trying to go after the hard to fills. I am trying more to go for the hourly workers, but it seems to work for them too. It turns out that every company has some hard to fills and so these tools are useful.

However, I think your question is a very good one, because from a project management, from a company in a focused perspective, if you are too broad, you’ll end up being not good at everything for anyone. I don’t like that approach. I really like figuring out who it is who’s ideal and do the actually best job you can for them, and then you’ll end up being relevant to many other people. That’s great. That’s fantastic in [inaudible 00:20:04]. It makes your market bigger. It makes your company stronger. However, to really be good, you need to be focusing on some things and that’s what we focus on.

John Sumser:               You’re an advocate of lean concepts. There are not a lot of people in our industry who understand what that means. Why don’t you take a moment and talk about what lean concepts … What does that mean and how does it apply to Findly?

Richard CAMPIONE:         Great question. Lean really comes out of the Toyota productions system, the manufacturing lines. It’s all about continuous improvement and how do you get better and better. I’m an MIT guy, right? It’s based on the mathematical model of statistic processes, where if you have large cycle times, it actually leads to really long delivery times and higher over rates. Fundamentally, what you want to do is shrink to smaller and smaller cycle times, quick iterations, and high experimentation mode, where you’re clear about what you’re experimenting on, you look at the results and you iterate. You’re always iterating and trying to improve.

I believe this concept applies across the board. It’s been popularized in software over what’s called “agile development,” which is all about getting smaller and smaller cycle sizes and strums up cross-functional people together to iterate to build better software. It applies just as well to theories of management and metrics on management and quick cycle times and changing how you run businesses. It can be applied to supply chain flows. It can be applied ubiquitously. More and more I’m trying to apply that philosophy to everything I touch in business, but actually also in life.

John Sumser:                That’s interesting. You must have spent some time … If you haven’t, we’ll pass right by this, but you must have spent some time thinking about how lean concepts apply in retail settings, because of your focus on hourly workers. It’s hard for me to get a grasp on what you do different in retail when you’re trying to move into a more agile way of operating. Any thoughts about that?

Richard CAMPIONE:         … Not really well articulated thoughts. I think the really important piece is this battle between where the old world people that are brick and mortar with lots of people versus the internet people. The internet crowd, they’re doing AB testing, and AB testing is you run a test on two populations, group A and group B, and you give them different input and you see which one has more effect. Then, you use that to make decisions. This AB testing approach is dominate in the internet, especially in retail and content production and such, because you have large volumes of people and you can do statistically significant tests very quickly. You can do some of that AB testing, too, in brick and mortar, through what you put in your stores and advertisings and look. Some people are doing that.

I think that the biggest opportunity for the application of lean thinking, apart from just supply chain optimization and all of that kind of stuff, is in figuring out where the customer service benefit of having real people talk to you in stores is going to trump the benefit that the Amazons have on the internet. It’s that experimentation for what is the customer interaction that’s going to win. These problems where both the landscape is changing quickly and plus you don’t really know the answer, that’s when rapid experimentation helps. If you’re explicit about what questions you’re asking, you do a quick experiment to procure and answer, and then you have to adjust your business quickly. That’s where I think people are going to win. That’s, I think, the biggest opportunity for lean in retail.

John Sumser:             What a great answer. You took that one gracefully. Thanks very much. We’re coming to the end of our time. What should I have asked you that I missed?

Richard CAMPIONE:         What should you ask me? That’s … You actually asked very interesting and good questions. What should you have asked? I guess, what I would like people to take away from this is A.) that Findly is a high energy company that is focused on the candidate journey. We live right at that intersection between the candidate journey and the employer journey trying to employ people.

Our buzzword, if you will, is quality. We think it’s all about understanding what differentiates candidates and what are the attributes that employers need. We focus on that quality all the way across the channel, so that you can attract the right people. You can nurture and engage with the right people. Then you can bring only the right people into your apply flow and have a very high applicant to hire ratio and not waste that time on the wrong kind of people. Taking a digital marketing, growth hacker marketing approach to really become the of the hourly workers. That’s what we’re trying to do.

John Sumser:              That’s an exciting journey. You may be hearing in the background the forest fire is back up and the air raid warnings are going off in my town today. [crosstalk 00:25:22] It’s fire season in California. Why don’t you take a moment and reintroduce yourself so that if somebody wants to get ahold of you, they know how to get ahold of you, and we will wrap up the show?

Richard CAMPIONE:         Certainly. My name is Richard Campione. I’m the President and CEO of Findly. You can follow me at Twitter, at @Campione. I’m also findable on LinkedIn. Those are probably the two easiest ways. I’m always happy to talk to people.

John Sumser:              That’s great. Thanks, Richard, so much for being here today. This is HR Examiner radio. I’m John Sumser. We’ve been talking with Richard Campione who is the CEO and President of Findly. It’s been a great conversation. Thanks so much for being on board today, Richard.

Richard CAMPIONE:         Thank you for inviting me. It’s been a pleasure. Take care, John.

John Sumser:              All right. Bye bye.

Richard CAMPIONE:         Bye bye.


End transcript

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