The Recruitment Hackers Podcast

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In this episode of the Recruitment Hackers Podcast, Founder and CEO of AltiSales, Tito Bohrt, talks about building an engaging online community for recruitment. With content as their main driver for candidate attraction, AltiSales is able to recruit quality candidates who already have the Altisales mindset, reducing churn and increasing employee happiness. Plus, they don’t spend much money on job boards or advertising, with a remote philosophy, global talent comes to them.

Show Notes

Welcome to the Recruitment Hackers Podcast. A show about innovations, technology and leaders in the recruitment industry. Brought to you by Talkpush the leading recruitment automation platform. 

Max: Hello everybody. And welcome back to The hacks from max,  our recruitment podcast for recruitment hackers and people who’re interested in accelerating recruitment. Today we have a really exciting guest joining us who is not coming strictly from the world of recruitment and talent acquisition. But in fact, from the world of sales, Tito Borht is the founder and CEO of AltiSales, which is one of the leading sales development providers to the startup and tech world in the U.S. I met him in San Francisco a few years back, and I've been following him ever since on social media. Which he has turned into a hiring engine for his company. 

Tito, welcome to the show. 

Tito: Thanks Max. It's good to be here.

Max: Thanks for coming. So on this show we talk a lot to Talent Acquisition professionals and we present content for people who are hiring thousands and thousands of people.

And yesterday I was talking to somebody who hires 10,000 people a year. Your business is at the different end of the spectrum but I think that's what you've done at AltiSales can be really inspiring for companies of all sizes which is leveraging your voice on social media in order to attract exceptional talent. So that's where I'd like to take the conversation to. but first before we get going tell us a little bit about yourself.  What is the AltiSales.

Tito: Cool. Yeah. Quick background here. So I started a sales development consulting and outsourcing company back in 2012. The idea came 2011 started really doing work 2012. And we’re a really fun company to work for. I mean, we are a distributed company. We have employees and I think at one point we had like nine countries, I think now we're like seven different countries. A lot of people work from home. We have cool things happening like the quarterly president's club.

So every, three months, everybody who's hit their goals for the company is flown over to a cool destination. We've done things like Cancun, Mexico, the Bahamas and places like that, we get the team together and we spend about a long weekend, with one another, just enjoying ourselves, getting to know the rest of the team and so on and so forth because the rest of things are just managed via Zoom. So we're really interacting, just via video conference.

Max: So with this pandemic in place, no more quarterly president's club. I Imagine

Tito: Yeah, we're punting the President’s Club for the future. So everybody who’s qualified in Q1 and now is qualifying in Q2 is going to join me the same one  at some point and we’re going to make it bigger and better once we can travel. But yes, coronavirus has ruined a little bit of the fun, you know, I sometimes joke with the employees and I say, you know, maybe the way we will run this is we'll just do president's club like this. 

Max: Ooh. Yeah. For those who are listening, Tito just switched on his zoom background with the Palm trees. Yeah, I think this is the closest, a lot of people have been to the beach, sad times.  But  you know, I mean, I don't want to talk about sales efficiency, but for Talkpush. We’re spending less time traveling and more time selling, actually. Maybe you've seen the same thing.

Tito: Yeah, that's right. I think companies that are commonly remote are doing so much better than the usual company. And then companies that are usually in house are struggling to figure it out. At the beginning it was figuring out their setup, meaning what do I need at home to be able to have the basic equipment so I can work.

But nowadays it's productivity, you know, it's not easy to transition from working at the office to working from home and not wanting to take a nap from noon to 3:00 PM, right. Or whatever it is. 

Max: I already took mine.  So we're good.  Nothing wrong with taking a few naps, by the way. I mean, that can also be a productivity tip. but yeah, maybe not a two hour one.  I do think if you want to accelerate your time to nap, a glass of wine at lunch really,  does the trick. Tell us about AltiSales, the type of profiles that you're hiring for and maybe, you know, when you started this company how did you come up with a recruitment process  that was gonna speak to your values? That was going to speak to the kind of people you want to work with?

Tito: Yeah. So it was funny because the company, the first thing we set up was based in LA Paz, Bolivia, and we hired half of our team in the U S and we offered them all expenses paid to Bolivia. This was  back in 2012.  And then we hired a few people locally in Bolivia, and we built a hybrid team, righ, of native Americans living in Bolivia for six months, doing some work and then some local people that would be more or stable throughout the years in terms of being able to work with us. Unless, because the visas get more complex the longer you want to keep people out of the country and working there.

So, I think at the beginning it was very much trying to figure it out.  Where do we post in these different countries? What countries want to use websites like Indeed versus Craigslist versus local, even newspapers or stuff like that.  Finding the people with the basic requirements, like for us, we're an English we're speaking company. Then our main, you know, language is going to be English across the board.  But, then there are some teams that speak Spanish more than English. For example, we have a good amount of people in Latin America.  So the early days I think it was more figuring it out and understanding where to post and what to post,  in different places.

But then as years went by the strategy evolved and nowadays we actually find about 80% of our employees directly through social media. I mean, LinkedIn is probably the biggest place. They come inbound. So, I post something about us recruiting and we just started getting applications, which is awesome.

And then the other 20%, I think, comes from regionally sourced through current employees that understand their local countries and we know where to post. So we want to hire somebody in Colombia. We have somebody there that will tell us where to post. Somebody in Costa Rica, somebody in Bolivia, somebody in Argentina, we have all these different countries where we know what are the common places, where English speaking people, would be looking at.

Max: You know, the good job boards and marketplaces. You were talking about the sourcing strategy from a posting and then how it moved to social media. In a bigger company you have let's say 20 or 30 people working in recruitment. You'd have half the team doing sourcing the other half doing interviewing.

And then within the sourcing team, maybe you'd have a team that's dedicated to social media storytelling and answering questions. And if they're big enough, maybe they even have a chatbot, like the one we provide in order to handle these inquiries. 

I guess your time has, over the years, you've shifted more of your time into social media and into storytelling because you realized that it was gonna save you money on advertising or was it more about changing the quality of the traffic? How did this come about? 

Tito: Yeah I wish it was as strategic as you would make it seem. I think the way it worked is I just, I'm a very open and transparent person. So I started sharing a lot of things on social media, and I write blogs on LinkedIn and Sales Hacker about  how to run a company, better everything from commission structures to, you know, whatever, like SDR to handles some things that are very specific to my industry. But, I also share a lot about company culture. Like how do you build promotion paths? And how do you compensate your people?And why you should do president's club and why SDRs matter and blah, blah, blah, and things like that.

And that's just attracted my audience, like the type of people that I hire align with those beliefs and they read my blogs and you know, my information online and they say, that's a company I’d love to work for. And then obviously it does have additional benefits. Like everybody working from home, you know, allows us to have a very broad market.

So I don't need to be trying to recruit somebody in San Francisco or somebody in Boston or somebody in Texas.  You know, I can go and say, it doesn't matter where you work. It doesn't matter where you live. If you align with our mindset, apply. We hire everywhere and anywhere.

Max: Yeah, that's, that's a good point. I hadn't thought of that. This is especially applicable for a company that is open to hiring remote, because when you're doing social media, you're investing your time in building content. You can't really decide where it ends up. It might be consumed anywhere in the world.

And so you don't want that to be lost  Did you find that, you said 80% of the traffic or your hires now come from LinkedIn and what is it Instagram? What other channels are you using? 

Tito: Yeah. LinkedIn is maybe the place where we get the most sales development reps, just because of the following. We just got, god, I think 40 or 50 resumes from people in Latin America through just having our teams post on Instagram. I put a post, my employees, follow me on Instagram and share the post. And because they're regionally located and they have friends or friends of friends, they said we're recruiting. Help me spread the word. Here's what we need. Basic requirements ping me for a link to the job post. And then we got like 50 people in like two or three days and we wanted to hire two. We hired one very quickly. They had all the exact skills and requirements that we're looking for. It's an entry level position, but they were experienced already.

They knew more about the world of data research than we expected to find and they were great. So, yeah, for us, it works really, really well. The more you grow outside your main city, the more valuable social media recruitment becomes. Because, as you said, you can't pick where they’re going to read your content and therefore, the more open you are to hiring internationally or outside your HQ, the better 

Max: There are a lot of companies right now, which as a response to the pandemic have decided,  we're going to be working from home from now on, and this is how we're going to operate going forward. Even for positions that we thought were desk bound we've made the switch completely.

So I think they're going to have to look at, let's maybe switch off some of our span  on the job boards and the CareerBuilder and Indeed and move some of that into investing, into creating quality content that people will share and reshare, et cetera — on LinkedIn. 

Your content is super targeted to the sales development community and it's almost like, it's got a very distinct voice where you sound like you're an industry lobbyist; that you're fighting for the little guy. Which is a great way to get some, I guess, attract certain types of profiles. I Imagine this kind of strategy could be replicated well for companies that hire a particular professional, a particular type of professional. Could be for a company that's hiring lawyers or maybe a company that's hiring sales insurance professionals or recruiters. If you have a big staffing firm, we could replicate that and get inspired from from your content.

Do you think that would work?

Tito: I think so. I think that this is applicable to  any company. And again, it depends. Who's writing the content? I think that if the content is coming from the CEO and it's a company wide kind of a mindset. It can apply to any company and it can apply to any position.

Right? The idea that we take care of our employees, like I tell my team, I say, you know, 20 years down the road, you're going to look back at your career. When you think what was my best career decision I've ever made, if that decision wasn't to join our company, then I failed as a leader. And I repeat that several times and we operate with a mindset of that being the case.

So we're really investing in coaching and training and helping our team do better and learn more and, you know, grow us as employees. They really appreciate it. I mean our employee turnover is almost nonexistent. I've only had, in the last three years, two employees leave our company voluntarily.

Got another two or three due to low performance, which you know, will happen.  We tried training them forever and things didn't work. But well, truly, for a company with 25 employees having churn, I don't know, maybe six or seven employees in three years. it's something that we're proud of.

Max: That's pretty outstanding. Either you're doing something right or you're hiring the worst performers in the market, they can't find a job elsewhere. Just kidding. I've had a few departures myself over the last year. Which you know, was always disappointing, but  mostly the people who left because they wanted to start their own company and they have a new startup, a new venture. 

And, you know, I take a little bit of satisfaction in knowing that I helped them to learn the trade and gain the confidence to become entrepreneurs themselves. So that's the kind of attrition I'm okay with, I guess. 

Tito: Yeah, that's right. I say that to my team all the time. I say if you're leaving, I actually just the one person where we recruited via social media recently, especially Instagram helped us a lot as our team shared.

She's moving to the nonprofit world. So. That was her passion. She worked, you know, in Washington, in DC for a nonprofit before and now her old boss contacted her saying, if you want to come back, we're hiring remote and I can hire you regardless of where you are. She's in South America, as she said, I'm taking that one also because the pay they were offering her was way higher than she was making Latin America. She was getting essentially a U.S salary in Latin America. 
Max: So the nonprofit world, plus the salary. That's hard to beat. It’s hard to fight against that. Tell me about, how do you feel about how your recruitment work has evolved over the years? What are some of the remaining pain points? You've solved around the issue of sourcing and you've got a good pipeline of candidates coming in, and it sounds like you could probably scale it up.

I mean, I know you're still a relatively small business, but I would imagine that you could find potentially hundreds of sales reps to hire globally with a social media first strategy. I don't think that there's any limitations there because the universe is so big. but what are some of the limitations on your end where you feel like, wow, I wish this didn't take so much time? Or where do you think are still some of the opportunities or the pain points today? 

Tito: Yeah, that's so funny. When you say pain points, I can say I smell your sales sweat. Only people who have done enough sales would ever talk about  pain points. When I talk to my friends I don't talk in pain points. I talk in challenges or whatever, you know,  

Max: I don’t use challenges. I use pain points. 

Tito: Yeah. So like, hey, you know, team meeting! Okay, here are my pain points. What are the difficult parts? I mean, one of the things that we've done well is get way more strict on the process that we go through to make sure our candidate is qualified.

Like we're going to do both the culture fit and a skills test. The skills test for the SDRs is we actually give them a bunch of online resources. We say go watch these videos, go read these things and then come back and, build a sequence of phones and emails and show us that you can do the work and you can do it well.

And they need to pass that test in order to do well, so we're testing for both, their ability to learn quickly through only resources. And their ability to execute well, once they've learned something. So that that's helped us a lot. We do the same on our data research team. We have a few tasks, they gotta do an Excel, as part of the interview process and so on and so forth.

so those scale pretty well and then our team retention is so good that  we don't need to hire a bunch of people. We're hiring five or six per year and we can get very strict on  quality. It's kind of the opposite of how most people think. Most people think, what's the minimum amount of money I can pay my employees while still being competitive in the market?

And what's the minimum I can train them while they evolve their career? What's the minimum number of promotions I can give while they’ll still not leave? And I think about it the complete opposite way, I think what’s the maximum amount of effort I can put towards an employee while still making it profitable? And have that employee grow as much as possible within the company? How do I maximize the employee experience? So as a sales guy and a sales development person, my background is in psychology and I'm always thinking the opposite. I’m always thinking how do I maximize the experience of any other person interacting with us? 

When you look internally. I think about it in the exact same way. How do I maximize the employee experience? How do we maximize the fact that after them being with us for three months, they say, holy cow, that onboarding was incredible. Their training is incredible. I'm being helped. Employees make mistakes, how you treat them, how you manage your team… This great book called Radical Candor helps with that employee communication. It talks about like rockstar mindset versus superstar mindset and being radically candid. 
So we apply a lot of these principles to make sure, first, that our current employees are incredibly happy, and second, how do we find the people who will fit the skills that we're hiring for? And also fit the culture we are hiring for? If we hire the right person they're going to stick with us for many, many years.

So, that's the mindset behind our recruitment strategy. 

Max: Well, it's lovely to be able to be so picky, Tito. And I think that your psychology background, that's what you said, that's what you studied in school?

Tito: Decision neuroscience.

Max: That sounds a little heavier than just psychology. Psychology is the most common major for people working in talent acquisition and HR, and they're very much focused on employee happiness. I think people who exercise that empathy muscle will have a bright future. I think that most of the challenge in recruitment and talent acquisition has moved away from how do we reduce the cost per lead as much as possible,  because it's really easy to get volume, actually, today. I mean, you can always buy volume. Your system sounds like you spend more time optimizing around that initial assessment and figuring out that very hard thing, which is can, somebody research and be curious,and solve problems in the course of that recruitment process.

Is the interaction with the candidates happening over email, Skype? Or what are some of the tools you use?  

Tito: It varies. I mean, when we've recruited internationally, number one is, do I have good enough English to be able to work on the team? So literally people send us a WhatsApp message. We ask them, you know, to do X, Y, Z, or introduce themselves or pitch something.

And, and we just want to gauge the quality of their English, which is important.  

Max: Do you eliminate anybody who uses the word pain point?

Tito: Definitely, discarded, immediately. Forget about them. Joking aside, we do look at what are the basic skills that we need for the employee. And we've mostly recruited positions that are fairly entry-level and we grow our people.

So, our managers internally, we recruited one SDR manager and he's grown a lot within the company, has gotten so much better. And then everybody else has been promoted into their leadership positions. So we really hire from the ground up and evolve our people and make them better than keep them in the company.

So yeah, I really enjoy building it from the ground up. Increasing the loyalty rather than, like you said playing the game of lowering our cost per lead. What I want to do is maximize what I call ROTI and this I learned from a mentor of mine, Matt Cameron. This ROTI is return on time invested.

Max: I know Matt, I met him in San Diego, before the crisis.

Tito: Nice. He's amazing. All his trainings are great. But, the way you think about it is, how do you make sure that any employee joining your company or who’s already at your company — when they look at all the options they have, they can go work other places, or whatever else. How do we maximize a return on their time invested?

We're asking them to invest another two years. When I talk to an employee I'm like, why are you going to be here two years from now? What is this job giving you that makes it the best idea to be here for the next two years? And for some of them it's financial, Oh, I can make the most money here than anywhere else, because I'm going to work on my sales commissions, whatever, and our commissions are great. For other people,  growth learning, the opportunities. For other people as a job, flexibility for other people it’s our management style, the lack of stress of the job, because we're very results oriented. Not, you know, time and effort oriented. 

Max: Sorry, don't mean to interrupt. I was thinking that those questions are questions that we'd love to get honest answers to. But when you ask a question like that, sometimes the candidate will just tell you what they want you to hear. And you know, they'll come up with some sort of cookie cutter answer about, Oh, I'm trying to blah, blah, blah, help you help me. It's hard sometimes to get honest answers, maybe it's because your team has been trained on this radical candor communication that helps you to  get more out of it. It's  a little bit harder with candidates. 

Tito: Yeah. You can't do it in the first interview. Right? You're not going to ask them, why do you want to join AltiSales? What’s your ROTI? But, once you've gone through a couple of interviews and you're about to offer the job, and this will happen, they say, I have another three job offers. And we say, okay, great. Why in the world would you join us? Why wouldn't you go somewhere else?

So, we're not saying justify the fact that you want to join us. I say justify the fact that you don't want to join anybody else. What makes us special? If we give you a job offer, would you take it? And why would you? I mean, isn't every job the same? And then what is funny is this is a little bit of reverse psychology, right? They'll do the opposite. It'll be like, Oh no, Tito, here are the three things I love about your company. I love that you're international. I love that I can work from home. I love this. I love that. And I really want to join you. And I say, are you sure? They're like, yes. I'm like, okay, so if I give you this job offer right now would you take it? They’re like I would, I'm like, you already have it. That's it. Sign here. Right?

And then with your employees you also want to be constantly talking about it. So like our managers to every employee, they ask him, what is your mindset? Are you in rockstar mindset or are you in superstar mindset? Superstar mindset means you want to work hard long hours. You want to get a promotion. You don't mind coming in early, leaving late. You're going to be assigned more responsibility.

You want to expand your responsibilities beyond your primary area of expertise. You want us to train you and coach you and guide you and help you grow. If you're in rockstar mindset you're the opposite. You just want to do your job really well. And some people are rockstar mindsets with orientation about money. You're a sales rep. You just want to sell as much as you can. You don't want to learn about sales management. You don't want to learn about marketing. You don't want to learn about any of these. I'm going to sell day in and day out and make my money. 

And other people are rockstars oriented towards time off, they say, I'm just gonna come here, I'm going to do my work. I want to work six hours a day then I have to take care of my kids, or I love playing golf and go play golf twice a week. Or I want to do XYZ outside of my job. Dude, I'm getting married. I got to plan a wedding. I got stuff to do. I can't be working 10 hours a day, screw that.

So we understand how employees think, how they behave, what they're looking for. We try to optimize the manager's efforts to help them achieve in the next few months, whatever they want to achieve, or they can be rotating. So monster in some quarters, they're in a rockstar mindset, some quarters they're in superstar mindset, and then they can shift back and forth and the managers learn how to manage to those mindsets. 

Max: Very good. Well, I don't know about the rest of the audience and our listeners, but personally, after, after hearing you. I kind of feel like applying for a job at AltiSales, just to see how I would fare in the recruitment process. I'd like you to try that reverse psychology on me in interview number three. And I think there was a lot to pick there not just for me, but for any company that wants to hire in sales. So thanks for sharing all those nuggets of wisdom, Tito.

Tito: Of course, man, my pleasure. Unfortunately, you wouldn't be qualified to join us because you said pain points. 

Max: All right. Well then I won't or maybe,  I'll use one of my aliases and see how far I can get through. Thanks Tito, and , looking forward to meeting in person again when traveling is permitted.

Tito: Well, let's make it happen. Thanks Max. 

Max: Cheers.

Max: Awesome inspiring chat with Tito Bohrt Founder of CEO of AltiSales. Please check out AltiSales and add Tito to listen to his insights on how to build a sales development team. His content is the driving engine behind his recruitment. I think, a lesson for anybody who wants to build a large scale operation, large or small, especially if you're going to hire remote teams.

Thank you, Tito. Hope you enjoyed it. If you want to hear more interviews with thought leaders in the recruitment space, subscribe to the Recruitment Hackers Podcast, leave us a review and invite your friends. 

Thank you. See you soon.

What is The Recruitment Hackers Podcast?

The Recruitment Hackers Podcast talks to leaders who have turned recruiting into a long-term competitive edge for their business. In those discussions, we explore ways to improve the candidate experience, we imagine the future of recruitment, and we discuss which digital strategies are performing well. This podcast is essential listening for talent acquisition professionals who want to win the war for talent through digitization, automation and tons of empathy for candidates.