Episode 317: Featuring Ken Krieger, The Judge Group & Adam Bird, Cronofy
Jessica Miller-Merrell | Podcast| By
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Welcome to the Workology Podcast, a podcast for the disruptive workplace leader. Join host Jessica Miller-Merrell, founder of Workology.com as she sits down and gets to the bottom of trends, tools, and case studies for the business leader, HR, and recruiting professional who is tired of the status quo. Now here’s Jessica with this episode of Workology.
Episode 317: Featuring Ken Krieger, The Judge Group & Adam Bird, Cronofy
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:00:26.66] Welcome to the Workology Podcast sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace the HR Exam. As human resources and talent acquisition professionals, we depend so much on partnerships and relationships with our vendors, and I feel like this partnership need is growing in importance every single day. From ATS to HRIS house to background screening and sourcing and more. Most of us are working with experts outside of our companies to support our HR and TA functions and make us more productive, efficient and successful at our jobs. Today, I’m talking about a successful partnership between two vendors and helping eliminate friction in hiring. I’m talking with Ken Krieger, he’s the Executive Vice President of The Judge Group, and Adam Bird, CEO and co-founder of Cronofy. Cronofy delivers tools and services that allow businesses, groups and people to effectively organize their time. Ken was recently promoted to the EVP position after 30 years as a CIO and VP of Training and Development for The Judge Group. Ken and Adam, welcome to the Workology Podcast. I’m so excited to have you on. Ken, let’s start with you. Tell us a little bit about yourself and your background.
Ken Krieger: [00:01:47.21] Thank you, Jessica. My name is Ken Krieger. I’m the executive vice president of the judge group. I joined Judge 32 years ago as a technical recruiter. I pounded a phone. I worked a desk and after leaving recruiting management, I saw a need and a pain and I founded our corporate training program. Then in 2001, I was asked to become the corporate CIO, and it was a role I held for about 20 years. During the 32 years I’ve been a judge, we’ve grown a small staffing company less than a million dollars into a $500 million professional services company with staffing, IT, consulting, and training. I tend to gravitate to things that no one else wants or no one else has done, and that’s kind of what, how you make a name for yourself and you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. And we kind of look to surround ourselves with people who basically won’t listen to, no, you can’t do something. And that’s really how I ended up stumbling upon and meeting Adam Bird and Cronofy
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:02:49.61] Awesome, I love your background as a disruptor and as a practitioner recruiter on smiling and dialing and filling seats, that’s awesome. What about you, Adam? Welcome, welcome to the podcast. Tell us a little bit about you and more about Cronofy.
Adam Bird: [00:03:03.95] Thank you, Jessica. Yeah, I’m a lifelong technologist and I’ve been working in the technology sector since the early 90s and really spent my time building kind of early SAS software, communication software with my previous company, and with Cronofy really turn my, my attention to time. The kind of biggest problem we have as, as humans. And and what we’ve done with Cronofy is we built, initially, we built a, an underlying technology provider. Someone that, that, other software companies turn to to power their scheduling. So in the same way that if you’re familiar with services like Stripe for payments, or Twilio for text messaging, software vendors like, like Indeed, like Clear Company, like Talentsoft, like Personio, are using Cronofy, the underlying technology to power the interview scheduling in their services. And what that’s meant is we brought up a real body of knowledge and capabilities, and I’ve kind of immerse my time, spend most of my time with product teams, helping them solve scheduling problems. Now what we’ve seen is now companies like, like The Judge Group and other companies coming to us directly and saying, well, that’s all very well, you embedding it in this one piece of software. How can you help us solve our more general scheduling problems? And so out of that came the scheduler, the tool that The Judge Group are using with this, with this outlook and outlook embed and now we’re building out a series of integrations and capabilities for all sorts of software vendors that, and that enterprises can use.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:04:34.85] Amazing. Well, thank you, Adam. I’m really excited for us to be talking more. Everybody who is in HR and a recruiter right now listening to this podcast is shaking their head. They do need more time, especially now, because things are changing so quickly. Hiring is coming back and there isn’t enough time to be able to find candidates or interview them and then bring them into the organization. So I love and I, and I can’t wait to hear more about you and and Cronofy and how you’re helping with that time, giving us more time. I want to jump right in and we’ll start with Ken. What criteria did you use when evaluating vendors and what problem were you specifically looking to solve?
Ken Krieger: [00:05:17.54] Great question. Let’s start with the problem we were solving for. You know, we have staffing divisions, we have it consulting divisions, we have trained divisions, so we have 9000 consultants in the field. Eleven hundred full time employees across 30 to 40 offices, you know, seven to eight million candidates, 200000 client contacts, all trying to communicate and all trying to schedule meetings via phone, email and text across at least four countries and numerous time zones. So there’s a saying in business that minutes mean millions and there was obvious friction that could be eliminated and we kind of felt like we were playing the world’s largest game of tag. You’re it. So since we are also moving our email to the Azure Cloud, we figured let’s take advantage of functionality that we couldn’t do when our email was on Prem. You asked, how did we evaluate vendors when we were evaluating vendors, you ask the normal universe of concerns, what’s the API experience with integration? What’s the mobile experience? Can it pass our security team audit? But it was the intangible stuff that really mattered to me, and that’s kind of where Adam and Carone, if I differentiated themselves from the pack with all technology purchases. There are always use cases that aren’t supported out of the box, and that means you’re going to have to lobby the vendor to try and get change implemented.
Ken Krieger: [00:06:39.91] And one or two things have to happen. Either technology has to bend to the business process or you have to adjust the business process and bend it to whatever the limitations of the technology are. So when we suggested features or function requests, I felt that Adam genuinely listened. Some vendors will placate you. And what I mean by that is they’ll agree with everything you say verbally, and then they’ll say something to the effect of, OK, that’s something for our long term development roadmap, which we all know in technology, is code for. We’re not going to do it. Adam wasn’t like that, and I’ll just give you a Real-World example from this week, and we had an administrative assistant from our health care division, and she basically reached out and said, I had this idea for corona fi. We shared the idea with Adam, and Adam said, Great, you’ll see it in two weeks. She was ecstatic not just she had made a real difference and she was listened to. It wasn’t just about the feature and function, it was how Adam and Karen, if I made her feel because suddenly in her role, she didn’t have a lot of influence and suddenly she was able to impact change.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:07:43.60] Can I love to hear that? And I know that HR practitioners and recruiting leaders when they have that kind of relationship with their HR tech vendor, it just makes things go so much smoother. I will say, and I think others are shaking their head right now. They have generally not had that experience and this is a differentiator, it sounds like. And what makes Krona feel unique? I wanted to kind of switch gears just a little bit and talk about company leadership. Buy in for HR technology. Let’s start with Ken, and then we’ll move over to Adam. So we’re thinking about evaluation. How do we get executive leadership to go? Oh yes, we need this HR technology to help make our hiring, onboarding or recruiting better?
Ken Krieger: [00:08:34.24] Very good question. First, I think. You have to understand that business need drives technology, not the other way around. You don’t start with the technology and the product and try and find a business need, and you have to consider your stakeholders otherwise your products are going to become shelf where. So I said to one of our project managers the other day, I said, Look, how good is a technology project that’s on time under budget and never gets used by anyone? You know, so your digital transformation is only going to work if you can align and leverage the technology, align it with the business strategy if it makes users more effective and they actually want to use it.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:09:15.66] I love that let’s. What about you, Adam, you’re coming from the other side of things as the air technology service provider. How do we get buy in or what can they do in your in your perspective?
Adam Bird: [00:09:29.22] So I think there are a number of angles. There’s this hygiene factor is absolutely so what we’ve seen and I’ve seen in my previous lives, I’ve run software companies and procure software. Myself or my team have procured software myself is that someone can get carried away with the functionality of something or the potential of functionality of something. And then you realize it’s falling down on data privacy controls, which are incredibly important in, say, something like air because you’re dealing with not just the employee data, but candidate data as well, and how that’s shared in an organization and with your vendors. It’s something that has to be considered very, very carefully and in many ways. For us, this is one of the benefits of being a kind of European headquartered organization, as we’ve had to deal with this from the get go. So a lot of the kind of us vendors are kind of playing catch up with the legislation and otherwise one of the other areas is getting confidence with or demonstrating a real sense of understanding of the problem space. So one thing we’ve done is quantify is not try to understand, be all things to all people. So our background is in being a technology provider to other software companies. So about we’ve got about 80 to 100 HR tech vendors who are using qualified technology to power interview scheduling or to power performance management scheduling in their applications. And what that’s meant is we truly, truly understand the scheduling problem space. So the example that Ken gave in terms of our ability to deliver new features in many ways, we’ve immersed ourselves in this problem space for so many years that we kind of know what the roadmap is.
Adam Bird: [00:11:07.95] We have a kind of roadmap of years of features that we could add. It’s really we’re in a position now where we know what we need to do. It’s a question of prioritization. And so being able to turn around to the assistant in the just group and say, Well, yes, this is the literally the next feature we’re working on. You’re going to have it in two weeks time is incredibly satisfying, but also it’s reaffirming for us as product people. And and I think this is where software is a partnership and that partnership term is thrown around willy nilly by all sorts of people, but actually truly seeing it as a partnership because this is about a long term relationship. So I want to qualify to be working with the judge group for years to come because I know there’s so many ways we can help them going forward. What I need to be able to do is I need to be able to listen to people and it’s all being well. I love talking to you, Ken, but actually your team are far more useful because they’re at the coalface. They’re the ones that are actually having to face these problems. So the fact you give me access to those people really makes that makes our life so much easier because we can react and make sure we’re addressing their actual needs rather than the perceived needs that management have.
How to Choose the Right Tech to Speed Up Your Time-to-Hire
Break: [00:12:17.85] Let’s take a reset. This is Jessica Miller Merrill and you were listening to the Work Algae podcast, sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace the HR Exam. Today, I’m talking about successful vendor partnerships, and I’m talking with Ken Krieger. He’s the executive vice president of the Judge Group and Adam Burd, CEO and co-founder of Corona Fi.
Personal and professional development is essential for successful HR leaders join Upskill HR to access live training community and over one hundred on demand courses for the dynamic leader. HR restart credits available. Visit UpskillHR.com for more.
I love all these insights. This is this is fantastic. I wanted to talk a little bit about Corona AFIS, report on candidate expectations and interview scheduling. Talk to us, Adam, about that and why the results are so significant.
Adam Bird: [00:13:11.56] This was a really interesting report to run. So a few years ago, one of our customers job just did a report on kind of recruiters and how they looked at interviewing and looking opportunities there, and we kind of kind of return to that report and we’re thinking, Well, okay, well, how can we improve on that? And there’s lots of research into recruiters and because essentially they’re the bias. So vendors in HR tech vendors are focused on the buyers, and no one really had done a deep dive into the candidate and how the candidate was perceiving processes. And there’s lots of anecdotes that we’ve all got anecdotes of crazy interview processes from friends and colleagues and family members. So we kind of commissioned this kind of this primary research six and a half thousand candidates who kind of essentially been through a job interview process in the last 12 months and this was across the US, UK, Germany and France. So we’ve got a really strong kind of western global perspective and understood how different nationalities would view the process. And but there was a there was a kind of recurring theme across across all of these these situations and that there’s an absolute causal link between the the effectiveness and the efficiency of the interview process and the kind of assessment process and the candidates perception of your brand and.
Adam Bird: [00:14:32.88] That perception of brand carries through not just to how they feel about you, it’s how they tell other people about you and how they tell how they think about you as a as a company that they may even want to buy something from. And the other side of this is we found that 70 percent of people are senior people had actually dropped out of an interview process because of interview scheduling delays. Now, the hope job of recruiter has is to get in front of the best people for the job and get them in front of the hiring manager and make sure that the company puts their best foot forward if they’re not able to schedule interviews or to drive them through an assessment process in a timely fashion. Then they just lose those candidates. They’ll get the candidates for whom this isn’t that important, which are the least interesting candidates that they want to work with. So this would we finally had some real numbers to back up the anecdotes we’ve seen and the kind of the critical importance of the impression an employer is giving candidates as they go through that interview process.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:15:37.38] I’m going to link to the corona free report in the show notes of this podcast episode so you can just Google Corona fire or go to corona search corona fire when you go to work ology and you’ll be able to find this this episode, but 70 percent. So if you feel like you’re not getting the right people or we need to quit blaming the job boards and the other tools and take a little bit of internal look at our own processes to look at length of from application to offer and look at your processes. And this report and the work that quantifies doing can really help you speed up that process and then make sure you’re getting the right people in your organization. It’s it’s going to make a huge difference. As a vendor partner, Adam, what’s the most important factor when working with a company like the judge group?
Adam Bird: [00:16:31.92] I think I’m going to reinforce the point we’ve said before it’s about listening and and building that relationship where you can talk to actual users, not just the purchaser, as it were, because purchasers and users can be very different people and you need to be prepared to do that and you need to be prepared to invest in that relationship and be prepared to sort of prioritize your roadmap to make sure that you’re you’re meeting their demands. Now, the opportunity and the challenge for us from a product perspective is making sure we’re prioritizing effectively now because we’ve immersed ourselves in this space because we understand the problem. We can do that because we know that the problem that the the HR admin was was was was talking about this ability to schedule on behalf of other people. This is a common problem against a number of our customers and that’s why we were able to say yes, it’s it’s absolutely coming. So being able to be responsive and listen to that as well. But also, I think Ken made a point of the kind of software project that is on time on budget, but no one ever uses. You also need to offer sort of training time and make sure that you’re able to get people on board it and make sure they understand how to use the tool, provide the the tooling within their standard workflows so they can start to build up with anything new. You need to build up some kind of some kind of muscle memory. You’re changing habits, you’re changing behaviors. Now you can get over that initial kind of activation energy, as chemists say you can you suddenly get all the benefits going forward, but that takes it, that takes investment from the vendor in the relationship to do that.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:18:14.04] It is what I think the relationship that Corona and the judge group have together are relationship goals for what all of us is. Practitioners aspire to to have that relationship with their vendor or HR technology partner because so many of us don’t have that. You guys are a great example of what it can look like when you do spend a lot of time in research and evaluation and work to to find the right partner, to be able to support each other and their businesses. So hashtag relationship goals, that’s what I’m thinking here. I wanted to to talk again with Ken and talk more about specifically how Karen AFIS tools and technology has helped the Judge Group streamline its processes. Talk us through maybe an example,
Ken Krieger: [00:19:03.99] I guess Adam had talked about the effectiveness of the interview process and the candidate view of the brand. And if you can eliminate friction, you need to. And I’m just going to talk about the staffing industry as a whole because I think Judge does a better job. I’m biased, obviously, but you know, you have recruiters saying, I’m not getting the right people and then you have the applicant saying, I’m right here, I’ve jumped through every hoop you want me to jump through. So you have to have an investment relationship, so quantify helps improve the user experience and your level of customer service, phone tag is everyone’s least favorite thing in the entire world. I call them back, I get their voicemail, they call me back. I’m in a meeting. We email back and forth and exchange times candidates. Today, a lot of them have one click apply. They apply to hundreds of jobs, sometimes without regard to what the job actually entails. And in a few states, they actually mandate you have to apply to jobs to receive your unemployment benefits. So with any relationship, both parties are asking, Is this a commitment or are you just making a restaurant reservation? So when a candidate applies to a job for us, we send them an email saying Thank you for applying for the job. Here’s a link to schedule time where we can discuss this in alternative jobs. If this isn’t the right fit, the candidate feels good buzz. Hey, they’ve actually gotten a response. It’s an icebreaker from our end and those that don’t respond, it kind of thins the hurt a little bit and shows, you know, we’re trying to show a little bit of a differentiator. And it tells us the people that are engaged and do book time on our calendar are the people we really want to talk to.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:20:44.46] I love the restaurant reservation because it’s so true, and I think a lot of people think about the application process. I’m just going to reserve all the reservations at my favorite spots and then let my friends pick or I’ll pick which one I’m feeling at the time. So I love that that quantifies helping you make that less friction or frictionless as possible and easier for the candidate and everybody internally to. Adam, what what’s the future in terms of maybe new features for corona fi? Give us a sneak peek.
Adam Bird: [00:21:16.25] So what we’re working on right now is kind of these kind of advanced, more complicated scheduling capabilities. So I think, as I mentioned before, we’ve support hundreds of hundreds of vendors sort of just over 100 100 in the air space in solving quite complicated interview scheduling scenarios. So be that, you know, the one on ones easy, but you start getting involved in panel interviews with optional groups and meeting rooms and then sequences of meetings and assessment days. All of these are capabilities and in our core engine. And now what we’re doing is we’re exposing those as real capabilities that people can leverage from our scheduled product and that be from our our web app. From the outlook, plug in that the Touch Group use. Well, we have a team of plug in as well, but also now we have kind of plug ins and lots of other applications. So, for example, we have a greenhouse integration. So would you believe Greenhouse decided not to integrate with quantify, to build our own verification capability, so we decided to build it for them? We’re working. We’re doing the same thing with SuccessFactors, and there’s a number of other addresses where companies that have kind of more complicated scheduling requirements, and they need that kind of flexibility to really kind of hone in. We’re making sure they can unlock the full power of the chronotype scheduling capability and that kind of that ability to at the heart of what we’re doing is we’re showing the candidate they care because you can use services like currently as an example with a public link where your calendars open all the time.
Adam Bird: [00:22:45.15] But that’s that’s poor experience from from a kind of hiring manager perspective because they don’t necessarily want to keep their calendar open all the time. But also it’s a poor experience from the candidate because basically you’re saying you’re not important to me. Book yourself in, fill in your details and I’ll get you when I’m ready. Whereas what we’re doing without with our service is this ability to generate a personalized link to the candidate based on whatever complicated scheduling rule that you want. They they accept it in two clicks and they know and it’s tailored for them and they can’t re-use it. So this whole idea that you’re kind of saying, Well, actually, I see you. I recognize you. Batter batter Ken’s point, and you can now choose to take advantage of that. And we are actually engaging in communication rather than just making you jump through hoops to make my life easier. So lots of integrations, lots of more complicated scheduling, use cases, really kind of honing in on those kind of the lighters in the candidate experience. That’s kind of where my self and the product team are focusing our time over the next, probably six to 12 months.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:23:49.71] I love all that integrations and new features and really the ability to create a personalized experience for your candidate and also your saving time for the candidate, but also for the recruiter and the hiring manager who are doing the interviews because they are not ending up with unnecessary interviews on their calendar because some random person got a link off of the internet. So I love all the things that you’re doing. I wanted just to say thank you so much for taking the time to talk with us today, Ken and Adam. But before we go, Ken, we’ll start with you. Where can they go to learn more about you and the judge group?
Ken Krieger: [00:24:26.97] I would say the best place to learn more about me and the judge group is just go to judge. And you can learn all about our company, and we’re kind of like corona fi, we’re always adding to it and adding features and functions, but we’re in four different countries 40 some offices, so Judge Icon would probably be the easiest.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:24:49.03] Amazing. Awesome. And what about you, Adam? Where can they go to learn more about you? And Corona fi certainly qualified.
Adam Bird: [00:24:55.63] Com And our blog especially, we have a lot of insights into interviews, questioning on air. We’ve ended up building a real kind of body of knowledge, and the team have become kind of subject matter experts in that area. So there’s always new content. So the report you’re going to share, but also insights from industry professionals on that report as well. So quantified com forward slash blog that that’s all you need for your insights in air along with work ecology, obviously.
Jessica Miller-Merrell: [00:25:22.99] Well, thank you. Thank you so much. We’ll make sure to include links to Ken and Adam’s LinkedIn, and the show notes, as well as the quantified candidate expectations. Report a link to the judge group and information about greenhouse and other ATS integrations that corona fi offers. So thank you guys again for for taking the time to chat with us and talk about your businesses and the work that you do with the Judge Group and at Greenify.
Ken Krieger: [00:25:49.18] Thank you, Jessica. Thanks, Jessica.
Closing: [00:25:51.52] I’m so glad I have had the opportunity to talk with Ken and Adam on the Workology podcast today. I love how they work together, and I think that truly this these are relationship aspirational goals for you as the tea or HR leader to find a partner like Karen Affi, to be able to work together to help eliminate that friction higher, faster and do your jobs better. I want to thank Ken and Adam for talking with us today. They gave us a lot of great information and insights, and I want to thank you for joining the Workology podcast. It’s sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace the HR exam. This podcast is for the disruptive workplace leader who’s tired of the status quo. I know that’s you. This is Jessica Miller-Merrell. Until next time, this Workology.com to listen to all our Workology podcast episodes.
I’m so glad to have had the opportunity to have Ken and Adam with us on the podcast today.
Thank you for joining the Workology Podcast sponsored by Upskill HR and Ace the HR Exam This podcast is for the disruptive workplace leader who’s tired of the status quo. This is Jessica Miller-Merrell. Until next time, visit Workology.com to listen to all our episodes of the Workology podcast.
Connect with Ken Krieger and Adam Bird.
– Greenhouse + ATS integrations
– Cronofy Candidate Expectations Report
– Episode 316: HR Tech Insights Featuring John Borland, Anne Fulton and Anastasia Neddersen
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