Recruitment strategies come in all shapes and sizes, but how do you know which one works best for your organization? As you’ll discover in today’s episode, building a talent community is an effective, forward-thinking strategy that can help you attract and retain a highly skilled workforce while saving on recruitment spend and effort. To discuss this topic, we are joined by Dan Mastropolo, Chief Vision Officer of Shiftfillers and President of Oak City Advisors, a passionate staffing executive who goes beyond adapting to change and aims to shape the future. Tuning in, you’ll learn how a talent community can help you maximize your talent database, practical advice for hands-on technology adoption in your organization, the role AI will play in the future of staffing, and much more. To hear about future-proofing talent acquisition and increasing your operational performance, don’t miss this thought-provoking conversation!

[0:01:15] DF: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us for another episode of The Staffing Show. Today, I’m super excited to be joined by Dan Mastropolo, who is the Chief Vision Officer of Shiftfillers and the president of Oak City Advisors. Dan, thank you for joining me today. Thanks for being on the show. Super excited to have you on.

[0:01:33] DM: Thank you for having me. I really appreciate it. I’m excited about this topic today. It’s something I know you know, I’m passionate about.

[0:01:40] DF: Yes. Same here. Same here. To kick things off, just give me a little kind of perspective on who you are. Could you give us a little bit of background on Shiftfillers and Oak City Advisors?

[0:01:50] DM: Sure. So, I’m one of the original founding partners for Shiftfillers. Shiftfillers is a high-volume, light industrial staffing company that we built really at the beginning of COVID, when our world shifted, and we took an approach that basically was really to stay focused and be a light industrial supplier to basically the MSPs and high-volume enterprise accounts. We primarily service everything through a vendor on-premise model, really, from day one just kind of started it with, making sure that we were a very high-tech enabled staffing company to really leverage as much as our tech stacks as possible to be able to communicate and drive high-volume placements in the light industrial space.

Also, really try to de-commoditize the light industrial space to give more workers a voice. We’ve done a really good job of becoming a major player in that. Then, Oak City Advisors, I started, actually back in 2018, and what we focus on is helping staffing companies navigate the complexity of technology and staffing. So, we do a lot of third-party workflow automation, we also do a lot of server architecture and design for companies that haven’t necessarily started to truly own their data, and really just help people navigate these multiple systems to streamline a lot of their technology for their day to day as well.

[0:03:10] DF: That’s awesome. One of the reasons I’m really excited to have you on the show is I feel like there’s your level of expertise when it comes to not only what the tech stack strategy should be from a high level is really impressive. But also, you’re very hands-on. You’re actually jumping on and implementing and connecting the dots. Sometimes you talk fast, so fast about the technology that I have trouble keeping up with it. But you figure out how to solve problems in ways that I think other people aren’t.

What I was hoping to dig into a little bit today is, one, kind of getting your expertise and thoughts around tech stacks and kind of what’s next in technology. Then, also something that you’re passionate about, and we talked about a little bit is building talent communities, which is a little bit of a hot topic right now, as I think we’ve all seen the kind of fluctuations in job board pricing. And it’s one of those things that – there’s sometimes alternative paths. So, to start down that path in the conversation, can you just tell me, maybe define what a talent community is from your perspective?

[0:04:14] DM: So, a couple of years ago, there was a new terminology that kind of came into staffing, which was basically called direct sourcing. Over the last couple of years, direct sourcing has really taken off. The way that I think about a talent community is basically getting a better cost per unit out of your talent database and helping redeploy those people so that you’re able to see a greater return or a better cost per unit of what that actually shapes out to be. The way that you do that is by utilizing technology, your existing talent database by bringing resources in your tech stack, that really helps you drive engagement so that your talent pool is actually an actively engaged talent pool that can be deployed basically through enterprise, business, or multiple market, local markets, and clients so that you’re basically constantly keeping these people working.

Because as a staffing company, our cost gets more controlled the longer people work for us by either reduced SUI, or just the fact that we’re not basically spending that top-of-the-funnel money. So, really, at this point, there’s a couple of different versions of progression within direct sourcing, and you’re seeing a lot of these companies that adopted it early, which I’m very fortunate and one of the companies that are acquired me with Shiftfillers was Raised Recruiting who has been a very early adopter of this mythology. They’re really starting to catch traction within these enterprise accounts that want to see either cross-pollination of brands, for example, where they’re normally competing in a market, these things allow us to basically help leverage and basically redeploy amongst those brands, so that they’re basically able to really meet the demand. It’s critical when it comes to high volume, staffing, especially in saturated tech marketplaces.

[0:06:06] DF: This is obviously a topic that’s near and dear to me with Staffing Referrals, obviously, and sometimes excited to have a conversation around when I talk to staffing agency owners and kind of staff and executives as the learning about the size of their database, and then the actual use of the database and the ROI on it. I think that when you kind of jump into the direct sourcing, it’s like, “Okay, you should for sure, be nurturing your database and getting more out of it.” I was talking to somebody the other day, and they’re like, we have 130,000 RMs in our database, and yet every job that we place is coming from Vivian or one of the job boards. It’s like, “Wait a second, why not email the people you have?”

So, when I think about the direct sourcing components, like go to them, which we absolutely do, and then the secondary component of that is, what does their network look like? How many people in your database are connected to the people that actually need the job, that are the right fit for the job today, which is where I feel like the adjacency of direct sourcing to talent communities.

[0:07:08] DM: I definitely understand it. You joked around about me speaking really high level, and not always making sense with people that don’t understand it, and that’s kind of a commonality of what my life is pretty much all day. But let’s just be clear. I’ve been an operator, which is why I think about technology, and I’m probably as detailed as I am in understanding these configurations, because one, I’ve stayed agnostic to most HR tech for a long time over a decade. Secondarily, I came out of Randstad so I got the enterprise side, really early on in my career and feel really blessed that’s where I started, but then made that shift, to like many from corporate to independent.

When I went independent, number one thing was I always joke around, but just like sales and finance don’t always get along great. One wants to save money, one wants to spend money. It’s very similar, obviously, even with TA and finance, because TA is under the gun to basically meet this demand. Secondarily, most of the time, people want to spend more in job boards or programmatic advertising. The reality is, to your point, these job boards that are getting a little bit more expensive and updating pricing, now all of a sudden, we’re all trying to navigate how do we do this without liquidating more margin, right?

For me, in light industrial, the margins are so small that you really just have to control costs all the time. But most of the time, my TA team is calling me and saying, “Hey, we need more candidates at the top of the funnel.” Well, my first question always is, “How much have we actually tried to engage what’s already in the database?” Because between Raise and myself, Shiftfillers has probably close to almost 200,000 candidates in our database right now, 50,000 active app users, Raise is pushing well over a million plus in their database, right? There’s a lot there. We’ve taken an approach, especially, and I believe that this should be a TA strategy for most agencies today. TA is not just job board and programmatic spend. It’s basically, automated referral management and trying to utilize the existing talent network you’ve already invested money in, plus job boards, plus programmatic, plus grassroots, plus marketplace partners, plus, plus, and plus.

So, it’s not just one lever in today. It’s all of those things that really go into a full TA strategy. But when you execute on that, your numbers are multiplying at magnitude. Now, it’s back to engagement, which is a fundamental tech stack area that we spend a lot of time trying to get creative with.

[0:09:48] DF: I mean, I think just to kind of add to the importance of this. A couple of things I’ve heard from our customers talking about Staffing Referrals right now for a minute is kind of the risk that you take if you are 100% dependent on job boards over time. One of the things that we’re seeing as a trend is a lot of staffing agencies are coming to us and saying, “Hey, we’re at 10% of our placements come from referrals today. Three years from now we want to be at 20%. Five years from now, we want to be at 30%, and we want to just continue to drive more and more of our placements from referrals, or from direct sourcing, from our database,” basically.

The one thing, I don’t know why I had never thought of this, but one of our customers is like, “Well, I have two options. I can either pay my candidates or I can pay Indeed. One builds loyalty and the other one makes Indeed wealthy.” So, a couple of different options there. I say all of this with, I do think that you need Indeed, and that Indeed is a great platform. I shouldn’t be talking directly to them. So, it’s a good tool to have out there and you need to use it from a sourcing perspective.

[0:10:42] DM: You definitely do. I think, one of the things that tends to be an aspect of direct sourcing, is basically utilizing client brand. A lot of us have really strong client partners and their brands do carry a lot of weight for us. But typically, through this mobile strategy, or direct sourcing, or just all of the above items, there’s a lot of things that are kind of in my world co-branded. Shiftfillers has, what we consider winning moves, and why people would want to maybe represent us and that the powerful brand within our internal network. But there’s other companies that we support, whose brands carry a lot of power in local market, and really between direct sourcing, plus mobile strategy, plus a couple of the other things that we utilize in our technology to kind of make us stand out and be different, is leveraging all of those things.

[0:11:35] DF: What are some of that? You’ve talked about a few of the platforms that you guys use. I think one of the things that a lot of the listeners are always looking for is like, what is in the tech stack? And any advice or tips that you would want to share with everybody that’s on today? 

[0:11:48] DM: Yes. So, I can definitely point out a few that are in the stack overall, for us on the Shiftfillers side. But I think, a lot of people also want to understand what actually makes a stack, a stack, right? Essentially, in my Shiftfillers world, our stack actually starts with a direct sourcing technology called Opptly. It’s one of the top three kind of – Opptly, Hire Lever, and WorkLlama are kind of the standing direct sourcing platforms today.

We basically use that from a curation perspective to basically fuel a portion of our Shiftfillers top of the funnel, from Raise’s existing database they use that system from. Secondarily, we’re really then into what we consider an ERP, which is combination, front office, back office, which would be the equivalent of your Avionté, Bullhorn, JobDivas of the world. Anything that basically blends client relationship manager, applicant tracking system, and what do I call mid-office, right? Basically, most of us then transition mid-office, back office, which combination, you could have some of those standalone ERPs, or you go to more enterprise accounting, like QuickBooks or Sage Intacct, or those types of things.

But in between that, basically, ERP and mid-office, one of the most crucial layers is communication layer, right? And how we actually communicate. We, at Shiftfillers, use Sense. But in addition to that, we also have Staffing Referrals playing a key component for us in automated referral management, and really, we utilize a lot of communication through your tool, plus the combination of Sense, which is really used to once again, get into the main component of this, which is engagement. Those things, and the easier we make it to communicate, both internally, externally, and with clients, is so crucial to essentially what we all call kind of this seamless communication platform. That’s the expectation today, especially, of a light industrial worker, right? They don’t want to spend more than 10 minutes applying for a job. Most of these people have Indeed Quick Apply, and they’re applying to 30 jobs at a time.

[0:13:49] DF: Right. You can do AI. Applies to like 200 jobs a day for you.

[0:13:57] DM: It is. That’s not getting slowed down anytime soon. But for most of us, most of that is attract, engage, onboard, deploy. But most companies that let it stop at deploy are missing out on where most of our margin comes from, which is then redeploy, right? So, for us, we’re using all of those things to make sure that we can redeploy quickly. I think one of the best statistics that sits for me in Shiftfillers’ world is beforehand, we’re kind of fragmented with the communication layer. When we kind of made those changes between you, Avionté, and Sense specifically, our redeploy rate since January of this year is up almost 30%.

[0:14:39] DF: That’s amazing. We’ve just heard stats like that recently from one of our customers who’s saying that the time on contract for referrals was – we’ve heard 3x for one light industrial customer, 96% for accounting and finance companies. It can be pretty significant, which is awesome.

[0:14:56] DM: That’s an actually really interesting analytic too, on like the length of assignment, because outside of just a redeploy rate, our average length of assignment in the same period went from basically two weeks to almost six. It’s a really big number when you start actually quantifying it.

[0:15:10] DF: That’s one of the metrics that I want to bring to the industry to start focusing on, it’s the same way, it’s a SaaS metric. It’s customer lifetime value by source. But are you looking at candidate lifetime value by source? Say, “Here’s the gross profit for candidates based off of where we got the candidate from?”

[0:15:28] DM: Believe it or not, right now, the main one that we track is actually with your platform on Staffing Referrals. It’s a new addition to the dashboards, which we really appreciate you guys adding. But we definitely see it –

[0:15:41] DF: Yes. Right.

[0:15:42] DM: It may have been. I didn’t want to take the credit. But it is definitely an analytic that really kind of stood out for us. I mean, we’re definitely over a 10% placement rate with our referral metric. For us, we see a pretty high value in the gross margin line. I don’t necessarily look at it so much on the other sources. However, we do track, obviously, what percentage of our candidates are coming in by source. We always see. Always. It doesn’t matter what we’re comparing. We always see our referral candidates generate higher revenue, higher margin, longer lengths of assignments compared to other sources. But a bulk for us in Shiftfillers, like I said, 10% come from referrals. We get about 10% organic from our website, and then we get the other from basically, Indeed, is our three main sources.

[0:16:33] DF: You’ve implemented more tech and been more hands-on than most people I talk with. What are some of the lessons learned or challenges that you’ve encountered over the years of doing that?

[0:16:45] DM: Yes. That’s a really good question. So, I think, let me start with probably the easiest one. Over the years, it was really challenging being 100% in what I call marketplace to marketplace integrations when you don’t necessarily own your server, on your side. That’s really just because of the fact that a lot of product marketplaces in our world prioritize a lot of their development based on client demand or ask. For us, one of the biggest shifts that we’ve seen, not just in Shiftfillers, but a lot of clients I consult for on the Oak City Side, you have to be ready for that step. A lot of people are still behind, I think in just hiring technology resources in-house. I think personally a lot from what I hear from customers, it’s because they don’t have confidence that they know how to manage it, and it tends to be a little pricey to go into that world.

So, for me, that was a big lesson I learned probably a little over seven years ago. But there was a big difference in speed to execution, and being able to take more control of what things you kind of bring together and how you utilize data. Then, once again, when you own all these things in your server and have a decent server architecture, it does drastically improve your ability to BIs and custom dashboards and see different analytics that you tend to not just get from one source. That’s one.

I think the secondary thing is, a lot of people jump into automation with what they need because of asks from typically people in their team. But the people that tend to analyze that, especially at C level, are technically looking at that only from an ROI perspective, and typically, just from the pain point that’s coming from either the business unit, or the department, or a branch that maybe has that one-off issue. I don’t see a lot of people that take time to actually write out their workflows, and really take time to understand where those processes are costing them money, and really looking at things end to end when they go through those gaps, like analyses of what they’re essentially taking as their business case to solve. Obviously, that comes with experience. Obviously, that comes with a lot of hard lessons and doing things probably the wrong way for a really long time.

But the people that I consult for, where I always see the highest ROI is with the people that take time to really analyze those things, gap analyze that on a bigger scale for the entire business, because then you can actually streamline automation and workflow design to potentially get higher ROI, or if there are like bigger ticket items that are going to cost money for product development, or an enhancement to go to an API plus package with your partners, it’s not as easy to get the ROI if you don’t slow down to kind of speed up. Those things for me have definitely played instrumentally into both speed of delivery and seeing quicker wins on low lift, high ROI, versus high lift, low potential ROI because of the cash needed to support it. So, those would be probably my top two.

[0:19:52] DF: Yes. On the topic of the second one, it’s just to really be intentional and strategic about it and don’t just piecemeal it together. Think about the whole picture. We had Justin Clarke from F|Staff on the podcast the other day, and he was talking about that it’s such a clear thought now, but he’s like, “How do you measure success?” It’s like, “Timing.” “Time? How long does it take a candidate to get through it?” And I’m like, “Of course” – that’s a very simple and great way to do that and also, something I haven’t thought of.

[0:20:19] DM: Yes. I know. Justin’s a good client of mine for a very long time, and one thing Justin and I completely relate to is, we both really operate with the mentality that people and technology work best together. I’m sure he probably said that on the call with you. It’s true. You need both elements of that to really get the most out of it. But the other principle we really have is in a tech stack, a lot of people think about internal users and candidates. In my world, it’s actually a tri-party triangle. It’s end users from a talent perspective, it’s internal, and it’s clients. And there’s a very different persona in every one of those from a UI and a UX perspective.

I operate there, and most of my clients know this. I’ve said a ton on different things I’ve publicly spoke out over the years, from a candidate perspective, they need very little, the more you have there, the more adoption you’re going to have as an issue, because most people like bells and whistles, because they think it looks good. But the more bells and whistles mean candidates are only going to still probably use the top two or three things that they care about in a mobile strategy, which is they want to see their jobs, they want to see their schedule, they want to be able to get the time and payroll quickly, and they tend to like being able to refer people or earn extra income quickly.

You don’t need a whole lot more there. Same thing when you think about a client persona, right? Most of the time, clients just want to close the gap between jobs and candidates, or not have to pick up the phone to send an order, or send that email, or most of them are already working with vendor management systems. So, when you bring this extra technology, and they’re already so absorbed in that, that it’s just an extra step, so that’s more hesitancy to adopt another thing in the day-to-day.

The internal users are the most complicated to think about, because they’re the ones that are feeling the pain of all those manual things, right? If you go into a branch, for example, how many times a day do you think these offices get called for payroll questions, call-outs, availability, just to ask what jobs are available, even though they’re posted 900 different ways, right? That’s all admin burden that’s coming to your teams that if you haven’t necessarily gone to a cloud call center, or some type of AI tool, or some type of self-service menu, that’s all burden coming back to the agency.

So, I take a lot of pride, especially my Oak City side, Shiftfillers, as well. But we have built so much stuff out for compliance, and like other things that just take a lot of that burden, into more proactive communication internally, in native systems like Slack, or Teams, or Google. There’s a lot of those things that become possible through these extended APIs. And when you really want to, again, go back to that comment I made about the gap analysis and understanding the use cases or business cases of where you’re potentially exhausting your internal staff with these repetitive type items, it’s a lot that you can catch winds there, if you just kind of slow down, open up and talk about it. Then, really pay attention once again, to where you can get a high ROI, just purely an hour back in mental health for your employees.

[0:23:28] DF: With all of that, you’ve talked a lot about kind of what you’ve done and some of the tips that you have on implementing tech. Where do you think staffing is going? Where do you see, five years from now, what does a staffing firm look like?

[0:23:41] DM: That’s always a fun question to chew over a little bit. Because I think what’s interesting is, is I think that question could be answered differently, really honestly, in our verticals. You take healthcare, for example. COVID, drastically pushed healthcare staffing into 2050 overnight, because it had to be adopted for the demand, right? Light industrial, in my opinion, is the most poised and needed for this tech. But because of the fact that we don’t have more mid-market staffing companies necessarily adopting it, it’s been mostly enterprise or larger firms. It’s a slower adoption at the client level because it’s only a couple of us saying, “Hey, we really need this in our strategy.” Where you take things like Gale Healthcare, and ShiftKey, and a bunch of those healthcare groups, it became a staple overnight because nobody was able to really execute without it in that period of time.

So, when I really look at it, I think I said this a couple of weeks ago on the Avionté internal conference for mobile strategy I did. You look at where we are today. There is so much being talked about AI and the top of the funnel and speeding up the processing of candidates, and it makes complete sense. Once again, when we started this with a job board spend. the amount of money we spend on programmatic and the volume of applicants that come in. The reality is, is most staffing companies TA groups can’t even touch 10% or 20% of what they’re spending to come into the ecosystem.

Naturally, you’re seeing AI spend most adopted there. However, when we really start progressing, can we stay true to this end-to-end solution kind of in mind, right? I see AI coming a lot more into mid-office, back-office items because there’s a lot of still mundane processes that essentially are manual time reconciliation from the time and attendance side, right? Right now, I’m blessed I sit on the board for Timerack, but Timerack has been one of the few TLM mid-office companies that have really come in and said, “Listen, we want to solve this problem for the industry because of how much waste, how much margin erosion goes into those areas.”

Once again, when we’re really evaluating AI, and where AI comes into conversation for ROI, yes, we get it on the top of the funnel. And if we can process more and get more people to deploy, great. But guess what, if clients aren’t ready to intake that much more volume, does it really solve the problem? It doesn’t. So, you need to see that get now adopted on the client side to be able to actually onboard and intake orientations at those volumes, especially, NLI. 

However, secondarily, we don’t really control a lot of this third-party clock. So, I see a lot of that progression going into, can we get AI to evaluate variances between clocks, VMSs, ATSs, and I think those things will really quickly start to adapt because it’s the second lowest area to be able to go get more margin back into the business that most of us just don’t have great options for today.

[0:26:49] DF: I’ve actually heard a couple of different people that talk about that. I think some of the Y Combinator were even saying like, some of the biggest opportunities they were asking for AI solutions for back office. The boring processes that nobody wants to do, repetitive process, like how do we get AI to go in there and disrupt this and we’re already using automation for it. 

[0:27:06] DM: Yes. I think the other area that we’re going to see a lot adapt to, I’m really fortunate. Dan Giurescu who’s a great friend of mine at Credivera, and I’ve got other people that are really into like velocity network from the blockchain perspective. But the second area or third area, I really see a lot of this technology advancing is in an identity and security perspective, right? I joke around, but you know me personally, for me, I’ve got 35, 40 systems I see on a daily basis between everything we’ve just talked about. I feel like, my personal life is Fort Knox in this phone among two FA authentication, SSOs for freaking everything. I spend half my time just copying numbers to unlock X, Y, Z.

For the average user, let’s say for even like a healthcare person, that’s a lot. It’s a lot in their day to like be able to get into those things. You tack that in with credentialing, and people having to kind of understand that there’s risk if they’re staying in traditional backgrounds because unless you’re continuously monitoring or randomizing, you’re not necessarily always exposing the risk that you may have on some of these sites. So, a lot of those are also advancing to where you see mobile wallets, easier ways for people to share credentials, with key stakeholders, and stuff like that, that speed up that credentialing and background process amongst employers. And I think those things are also critical to seeing a lot of adoption, both from candidates and users, because it’s just going to be a better experience.

[0:28:39] DF: I’m personally excited for that. I’m tired of logging into, whether it’s Netflix, ESPN, or whatever.

[0:28:45] DM: I’ll tell you. I was talking to Maggie and the team over at Credivera a couple of days ago, and they actually just launched and have been building out password lists security with Microsoft, and it’s really unbelievable some of the advancements you’re seeing there. 

[0:28:59] DF: That’s great. That’s great. I’m excited. I’m super excited for that to move forward. Because scanning the QR code is a better step, but I feel like there’s a way to go.

[0:29:07] DM: Definitely.

[0:29:08] DF: I think we’re going to laugh about that someday. You just have to pull your phone out and scan a QR code to get into the TV.

[0:29:14] DM: It’s so funny. It’s so true. But next time you’re just going to have some AI aviator talking to you from the screen, like your own personal TV, or whatever you want.

[0:29:25] DF: We’ll have a Deepfake of Dan Mastropolo out here. I don’t think I could keep up with your pace.

[0:29:30] DM: I don’t know if you saw it. The other day I saw Maya Huber from TaTiO posted her AI of herself. It is pretty wild what those things are turning into.

[0:29:40] DF: It is incredible. So, with that, we’re going to go and wrap up to the speed round. There’s a few last questions for you. What advice do you wish you were given before entering the staffing industry?

[0:29:48] DM: Oh, man. Find the magic pill that keeps you young forever. Definitely lost a few years in this industry. No, I’m just playing. I think some of the best advice that I’ve gotten so far in my career is there is real value in slowing down to speed up. The more that you don’t react to what is chaos for most of us on a given basis, you have to kind of hold yourself accountable to asking the question, is this a one-time thing? Is it a major problem? Is it somewhere in between? Because a lot of us are so reactionary to what seems in the moment is monstrosity, and chaos. But when you really look back on a lot of those items, it really wasn’t that. It was an isolated incident that became bigger because we weren’t prepared for it.

So, then we just reacted to it. I’ve taken a lot of pride in slowing myself down. You think I’m fast now, you should have heard me when I was 23, starting at Randstad. I got hung up on probably a hundred million times, because – it’s even more important when it comes to technology and really taking time to make sure that your business case is something that is worth going down the path and investment for. Because, once again, tech is an investment. It is, all the time. You don’t always see it in two weeks. Sometimes a year or two, because it’s repetition and adoption, that really gets to see those things in magnitude. 

[0:31:19] DF: In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

[0:31:24] DM: I’m going to probably say something a little untraditional. But I’m also very public with it. I take a lot of pride in my faith. For me, personally, I think in those last five years, I’ve done a really good job of asking myself, is this something my spouse or my faith is okay with in a lot of what I do? And trusting that those things, maybe in those moments, I couldn’t see exactly what I was experiencing. But now looking in hindsight, those five years, I went through very specific things to be able to be at the level that I am today. And without those experiences, and kind of like learning that about myself, I don’t know that I would have been able to reflect back on it in the way that I have, that makes me really appreciate it. It’s been really critical to me staying true to who I am through some really challenging times in the last five years.

[0:32:19] DF: Last question I’ve got for you is what book or books have you given most as a gift or have been most influential to you?

[0:32:25] DM: I’m going to go with, probably, my top two. The first one is Rhythm, from Rhythm Systems. Rhythm Systems is kind of an equivalent of like Traction and Rockefeller Habits with Scaling Up and principles behind those kinds of two that are blended. I’ve done not all of them. But essentially, for Rhythm, for me, at Shiftfillers, we use Rhythm Systems’ technology and book, and that’s kind of our starting point. All three of those are very much geared towards hyper-growth companies.

Basically, I live in startup world. I’ve basically been in startups for almost, going on almost seven years straight. When you are thinking about a concept that you’re trying to turn into a business, and you need to be able to understand how you get high levels of revenue in a niche that basically comes with solving problems within that space, and then also setting up your team into a cadence of how to hold yourselves accountable to the things that it takes for companies to get to those levels of what we call hyper growth, which is typically a 10x or higher valuation. It’s been instrumental and I still use almost 10 of the 15 major principles every single day in everyday conversations, both from consulting and internally.

The second one is Critical Conversations. Naturally, as leaders and business owners, it’s impossible, impossible to not be able to have hard conversations, both with senior leaders, internal staff, partners, vendors, coworkers, people in the market, whatever. But a lot of people, I think when they get into those conversations tend to want to automatically get into a defense of why that opposing party needs to convey or change their mindset to them. For me, it’s actually completely different. It’s me trying to understand, as a leader, why you have the concerns that you have, and making sure you feel comfortable to approach me in those conversations, and taking time to make sure that you’re responding to what those kinds of situations are, and really listening. And that book does a phenomenal job with how to navigate those conversations.

[0:34:39] DF: That’s great advice, Dan, and really good having you on the podcast, finally. We’ve talked about it for a while. Any closing thoughts that you have for the audience?

[0:34:46] DM: I’ll close with this and I think I’ve said this probably 20 times on half these things that I’ve done. But first and foremost, thank you for having me. It’s always a pleasure to be able to speak about the things that you can obviously tell pour out of me and are just the passion of my life of this in industry. I don’t say it enough out loud, but like I love being able to give back to an industry that’s given so much to me in my career. So, that’s the first.

The second closing thing is, when it comes to technology and adoption, and starting to want to explore those things, the reality is, since COVID, which is, shockingly, already, almost four years ago, it just changed our world to where some of these things are expected from the people we do business with in the staffing industry every day, whether it’s candidates, internal employees, or clients. If you haven’t started to adopt outside of just a traditional ATS, or for some of us, most of us spend a lot of our careers just on spreadsheets to get started. The quicker you dive in, the quicker you’ll see why these things are catching, and why the companies that are essentially in what we can still consider the fastest-growing companies of staffing in the industry, and why they’re on this trajectory, versus a flat trajectory. It’s because of the fact that most of us have figured out a way to start adopting it, and you need to essentially start doing it.

Once again, if you’re unsure, that’s why you have people like me willing to help start those conversations. So, don’t hesitate to reach out or just take the leap of faith because it’s definitely worth it.

[0:36:21] DF: Awesome. Well, Dan, thanks again for being on. Really appreciate it. I enjoyed the conversation and have a great day.

[0:36:25] DM: Thanks. 


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