Digital Transformation

Transforming talent: Your most important asset with Evan Sohn

Evan Sohn

Arguably, the company’s most important asset is its people. And in today’s changing landscape, finding the right people has never been more important.

Right now, US businesses spend billions of dollars in cost and productivity each year to find the right hires. But with a pandemic slowly ending, businesses need to find new ways to reach potential hires that are more cost-efficient, cost-effective, and adaptable to unique cultures.

Evan Sohn and digital transformation

Enter Evan Sohn, Chairman and CEO of Evan and his team have an interesting point of view on advancing digital transformation and hiring by utilizing video earlier in the process to create a more human and cost-effective approach.

On this episode of the Transform It Forward podcast, we spoke with Evan about how he’s transforming the hiring process, what that looks like for US-based corporations, and his predictions for the future of HR and recruiting.

A seasoned disruption pro

Evan is known for being an entrepreneur, an expert on CNBC, one of the leading indicators of the job market, a philanthropist, and the founder of the famous Sohn Conference. Ever since starting his first mobile computing company right out of NYU, Evan has spent his entire career in disruptive technologies.

“What’s interesting about disruptive technologies is you’re basically moving jelly beans.”

Evan says, “it’s much easier to disrupt because you don’t have to convince people that there’s a market for your product or service.” isn’t inventing the recruitment space. Instead, Evan and his team are simply working to shift the $130 billion market spend over to their platform.

The recruitment industry is evolving

Typically, on Transform It Forward, our guests are looking at their companies trying to identify the exogenous factors that are going to disrupt them. In Evan’s case, he looked at the recruiting and staffing industry — an enormous market — and decided it was ripe for disruption.

Despite all the technology, from ZipRecruiter to Indeed, Evan says there is still a strong human element to the recruitment industry. A career is one of the biggest decisions a person makes in their lifetime, and they need humans to help them through that decision.

On top of that, the actual recruitment process itself hasn’t changed, even though the methods behind the process have. This told Evan that the recruitment industry was ready to be disrupted and have its 80/20 rule shaken up.

“The reality is recruiters who are valued individuals in the ecosystem spend probably 80% of their time finding the candidates and 20% of their time talking to both potential candidates and clients. That needs to change.”

Instead, Evan says recruiters should spend 80% of their time conducting the recruiting process and engaging with great candidates instead of searching for them.

According to Evan, the average American hiring manager will spend 42 days reviewing 250 resumes, which will cost over $4,000 total. About 27% of people leave their jobs voluntarily. Think about all the money and time spent on new hires, only to have 27% of them quit.

“If we could eliminate half that cost or a third of that cost and put it back into the system, that’s going to be incredibly transformative.”

The power of additive technology

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced these discussions to happen. Now, with over nine million people unemployed in the US, how can the recruitment process be expedited to avoid wasted time and money? Evan believes the answer lies in additive technology.

Like UpWork, is enabling the gig economy through an on-demand platform that provides small and independent recruiters with technology that they alone wouldn’t have access to, such as search tools, matching tools, video functionality, and curated talent pools. These additive technologies are what can help speed up the recruitment process.

A new recruiter pricing model

But how will this impact the pricing model? Traditionally, recruiters are paid for their success rate. For example, a percentage of their candidate’s salary after hiring.

Evan feels this pricing model is outdated and that the future of recruitment is going to be more geared towards paying niche recruiters regularly. Recruiters who have the talent pool and the expertise to get the job done quickly and done right.

“We don’t care about identifying people. We want to know who’s engaged, who’s ready, who’s ready to make a move who’s ready to look at an opportunity, who’s up and coming.”

Employees are moving faster

While the way we recruit is changing, so is the job force itself. Employee churn is increasing, and technology is providing us with more insight into skills, data, and successes.

For Evan, we’re doing away with the expression “give it the old college try” and moving towards a skills-based world. Candidates are going to seek out certain skills to land specific jobs.

And as talent moves around faster, companies are going to ask their recruiters to find candidates with the exact skills required for the gig. To continue growing, companies will need a constant flow of highly talented people.

 On-demand recruiting

This is where on-demand recruiting comes into place. It provides companies with the resources to hire more employees, faster than ever before. And with “The Great Rehire” on the post-pandemic horizon, disrupters like are going to be more essential than ever.

Not only are companies looking to hire back many employees, but they want those employees to be diverse and inclusive. Ultimately, this is a fantastic opportunity for organizations to rebuild their workforce in a much better fashion.

How video can transform the recruitment process is meeting the demand curve with its video platform. Instead of old-school resumes, candidates can “pitch” themselves through video. Hiring managers can get a real essence of who the person is and not just what they look like on a paper resume.

“We need to be more than what’s on a piece of paper. And that’s what a picture is worth — a thousand words. Imagine what a video is.”

With this hiring process, Evan feels the entire recruitment industry can transform for the better. Today, has the largest community of recruiters. But what excites Evan is the number of people they see getting hired by their recruiters every single week.

Our last question on the podcast is always the same: What music does Evan jam out to after a long day of work?

“My kids will make fun of me, but I’m incredibly eclectic. I love a good Stevie Wonder, Motown, Earth, Wind and Fire, George Clinton, and The Parliament-Funkadelic. But I also have a Nashville playlist, so good old country as well.”

Eclectic, indeed.

Five key takeaways

We pulled five key insights from our conversation with Evan.

  1. To disrupt recruiting, you don’t need to reinvent the space. You need to shift the existing spending. Regardless of technology, recruiting requires people to answer fundamental questions. Who’s the best person for the job? Who’s the best partner you have? Recruiters are focusing all their time on finding candidates rather than choosing them.
  2. Huge sums of money are being spent on the hiring process. Transformation in many areas will be unlocked when companies can redirect this spending while getting the right people faster.
  3. The gig economy is a key part of modern society. An additive recruiting technology can make these jobs more accessible. Right now, 50% of millennials have a side gig. Why not make that recruiting? With a vast variety of recruiters and recruiting sites, it’s possible to enable the gig economy by empowering new recruiters and their networks to join the process.
  4. A huge culture shift has occurred in employee churn. Millennials change jobs faster than any previous generation. As churn increases, the traditional model for recruiting no longer works. Companies don’t want to pay a portion of an employee’s salary when they’re more likely to leave. Instead, they want to pay for a steady stream of qualified candidates.
  5. What does the new model of recruitment look like? Curated talent pools. It puts the right people in place without having to do contingency or retained searches each time.

Listen to the full episode here.

If you missed the prior podcasts, click here.