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Recruitment Innovation: Dice.com Leverages Job Postings for Tech Hires

Art Zeile, CEO of Dice
Art Zeile, CEO of Dice

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Gene Marks [00:00:01 - 00:00:15]

Is there any, is there any tricks that an employer can use to get somebody's attention, to get more matches to, you know, is there anything specifically on the postings that they're doing that would drive better connections?

 

Art Zeile [00:00:15 - 00:00:36]

Absolutely. It goes back to that idea of expressing your culture. A lot of people think that they can have a job posting and just literally list all the mandatory requirements, the nice to have requirements, the educational requirements, and that's it. But in my opinion, you have to talk more about your company and what makes it special.

 

Announcer [00:00:36 – 00:00:49]

Welcome to Paychex THRIVE, a Business Podcast, where you'll hear timely insights to help you navigate marketplace dynamics and propel your business forward. Here's your host, Gene Marks.

 

Gene Marks [00:00:53 - 00:01:51]

Welcome back to another episode of the Paychex THRIVE podcast. Thank you so much for joining us. Whether you're listening to us or watching this on YouTube, we really appreciate it. And, by the way, before we get started, if you have any need for advice or help or tips from running your business, which you know, who doesn't, we all do. Sign up for our Paychex Thrive newsletter. Go to paychex.com/thrive. You'll get other back episodes of this podcast and also some great tips and advice for helping you manage things in these challenging times today.

 

My guest is Art Zeile. Art is the CEO of Dice, dice.com. This is part of a series of interviews that we're doing regarding finding people, recruiting people, and doing it in the best ways. Dice has been around for a number of years. I've been, as somebody who runs a firm in the technology consulting space, I'm well familiar with what the platform does. But rather than me explain it and talk about it, I think art is the best person to do that. Art, first of all, thank you so much for joining.

 

Art Zeile [00:01:51 - 00:01:53]

Thank you very much, Gene, thanks for having me.

 

Gene Marks [00:01:53 - 00:02:00]

Sure. So, first of all, give us the whole pitch on Dice. What does Dice do? Why should we be interested in it?

 

Art Zeile [00:02:00 - 00:02:38]

Dice is a platform where recruiters and candidates can interact and find the right kind of career opportunities. And I'd say what's distinctly different about Dice, and to your earlier point, is that it's been around for a long time. It's been around for roughly 32 years. It actually precedes the internet, funny enough. And as a result of that, we have 6.5 million profiles on the platform. There are roughly 8 to 9 million technologists with skills in the United States. So, we have a pretty good number of those candidates that are attractive to the hiring community.

 

Gene Marks [00:02:38 - 00:02:50]

That's really interesting. So, what exactly sets the platform apart. I mean, obviously there's a lot of competition out there. There's the indeed and the Career Builders and the LinkedIns, like what's your value add?

 

Art Zeile [00:02:51 - 00:04:16]

So, I would say that what sets us apart is the fact that we look at a technology professional's career distinctly differently than the alternative platforms. We really focus in on skills. And if you've ever seen a technology professional's resume, you'll see that they actually provide a skills block, meaning that they want to tell people that they know Python and C++ and they know how to program various types of databases or they know how to use Amazon Web Services. And so, for a senior professional you'd see anywhere between 30 and 50 distinct technology skills. And that's what we profile inside of Dice.

 

So, when you're looking for a particular technology professional, you actually import the entire job posting into our search pane and we go out and take a look at all those 6.5 million technology professionals and match based on the skills that you've asked for. So, a distinctly different process. If you're familiar with LinkedIn, and just about everybody is, they have a paradigm of looking at titles, and unfortunately in the technology world, titles are not uniform. What constitutes a junior Java developer is really unknown or a senior Java developer. So, we go deep on skills.

 

Gene Marks [00:04:16 - 00:04:51]

So, that's great. You know, it's just funny because I've been looking right now this is non-technology related, so I don't think it would be something that Dice would have, but, you know, looking for like some accounting help within my own company. And so, you know, I put an ad out on Indeed and even Craigslist, which I know, you know, there's pros and cons there. But, you know, the typical recruiting type of platform, most of us have this idea that it's like you place the ad out and then you wait for people to respond to your ad, but it seems like dice has a different model to that.

 

Art Zeile [00:04:51 - 00:06:08]

Yes, in fact, I have to say that the technology community doesn't work that well in that mode of just place an advertisement on any kind of a job board and expect the right people to show up. I always say that's the equivalent of putting a billboard up in rural Iowa and hoping the right people drive by. In fact, technologists know that they are in high demand. The unemployment rate for the technology workforce has been roughly 2 to 2.5% for the last decade, substantially less than the overall United States unemployment rate. And so, they get a lot of different opportunities. You have to go out and chase them. It's not the other way around where you can just put an advertisement on a platform and hope to get the right people there. In fact, we always tell people it's much better to search the database, find the right people for your particular job posting, and then you have to aggressively communicate with them.

 

And so, a difference in our platform also is that we have our own internal private email service, much like In Mail. So, that's a similarity, I guess, with LinkedIn. But, also, we have our own instant messaging service, so that if you are on the platform, you can immediately contact that candidate and engage them in a discussion.

 

Gene Marks [00:06:09 - 00:06:46]

Okay. I mean, it's a very different approach, and I think it's a very, very good approach, and it makes sense considering the market that you're going out for. And I guess what that means, Art, is, you know, if I'm looking for a Python developer, a C++ developer, an IT director, whatever, you know, whatever it is, it's up to me, like, I'll get matched with people, but then I've got to still, you know, reach out to these people. Like, you guys are providing me with your data, your database, your community, but it's not like you're providing me with people that are actually saying, oh, we're interested in a job. In fact, I'm assuming some of the people that come up with my search are already gainfully employed.

 

Art Zeile [00:06:48 - 00:08:01]

I would say that the majority of them are gainfully employed. Again, going to the fact that the unemployment rate for the workforce itself is like 2%. So, there are signals, however, that tell you whether or not they are interested in a career move. We have filters that you could essentially implement on top of your search saying, I only want to look at those people that have updated their resume in the last 30 days. I only want to be talking to those or have those candidates identified that have been on the platform in the last 90 days. So, there are these filters that show whether or not the person really is engaged in Dice as a means for understanding whether or not they are motivated to change their career.

 

We also have this algorithm that shows up that's called "likely to switch". So, we grade every single candidate's likelihood of switching jobs at any point in time, and that algorithm has been in place for about 15 years. It's based on machine learning technology, so artificial intelligence, and it allows you to understand whether or not it's very likely that by engaging in a discussion with that candidate, they would be willing to interact with you.

 

Gene Marks [00:08:01 - 00:08:24]

We talk about jobs, the candidates, can we be a little bit more specific? I mean, again, our audience here is small, mid-size, maybe a few enterprise people that are running those size companies. So, they're sort of all over the map as to what their needs are. Who's looking for who on your platform, what types of positions?

 

Art Zeile [00:08:24 - 00:09:23]

I would say that if you looked at any one of our career reports, and we publish them several times per year, we see a very large number of people looking for Java developers and Python developers. If you asked what are the super-fast, trending jobs, they are associated with anything that touches AI, artificial intelligence. Number two, cybersecurity. Number three, cloud engineering.

 

It makes sense because a lot of people are trying to figure out how to implement AI in their business model. There's so much talk about that these days. But cybersecurity is a constant threat and is only getting worse for any business that has any interaction with the internet. And then finally, cloud engineering has been a long-term trend that we've seen because more and more people want to move their applications from their data center or their internal office to AWS or Microsoft Azure or Google Cloud.

 

Gene Marks [00:09:24 - 00:09:39]

What about on the consulting side? I mean, say somebody needs more help with Office or Workspace, or if they need training on a CRM application or an accounting application. Do you provide those kinds of people in your community?

 

Art Zeile [00:09:39 - 00:10:09]

Oh, yes, there's no question about it. It spans the, like I said, we have 6.5 million in the profile, so pretty much about 70% to 80% of the total tech population in the United States. Anybody that touches any kind of a technology skill, including what we would consider end-user services - people that are essentially helping end-users to implement software applications perfect their environment at the office - we definitely have those people on our platform as well.

 

Gene Marks [00:10:09 - 00:10:19]

Got it. Geographically, these are people all around the world. And if we did want to sort of make that a specific part of the world, we have the option of doing that too? 

 

Art Zeile [00:10:19 - 00:10:47]

I would say that we really focus in on the United States. So you will find that you determine whether or not you need a work authorization to essentially engage in a, a candidate discussion with individuals. But for the most part, the vast majority of our population is the United States. Now, these folks can identify on their profile whether or not they're interested in full-time, part-time, or project work, and you'd find that available, as well.

 

Gene Marks [00:10:47 - 00:11:00]

So, there's a whole bunch of different people in the community. You mentioned about project workers. So again, besides, if I'm looking to hire an employee, I can also be looking to hire contractors, as well, on your platform, like 1099? 

 

Art Zeile [00:11:00 - 00:11:33]

That's exactly right. Now, I would say that the majority of the folks on our platform are engaged in full time work, so they're interested in, you know, full time alternatives, but there is a good portion of the population that would engage in part-time or contract work. In fact, I'd say that if you talk to just about any technologist, they would say, yeah, I'm working at this particular company, but my uncle has this project that I'm working on, or my trend has this side gig that I'm working on because they're all engaged in kind of multiple work streams as kind of nature of being inside of the technology community.

 

Gene Marks [00:11:34 - 00:11:35]

Let's talk about cost.

 

Art Zeile [00:11:36 - 00:12:47]

Okay, so there are a number of different ways to access Dice as a platform. I would say the most typical one is to engage in a subscription, and our subscription allows a recruiter or a team of at the very base level to engage with the platform for a full year for roughly $7,000. So, that's the annual subscription to a Dice license. Now, you can also go to what we call our web store, and you could post individual jobs. But again, I told you that posting a job doesn't necessarily bring the right level of engagement and results, but you can do that.

 

We also have a team that is our own internal recruitment team, and what it will do is it will use the Dice database on your behalf for an individual assignment. Let's say you are a manufacturing company and you want to find a data scientist, and you haven't really done that kind of recruitment before. You can give that to our team, and we will vet five candidates for both the skillset as well as their interest in your company and deliver it back to you. Pricing ...

 

Gene Marks [00:12:48 - 00:12:48]

Correct.

 

Art Zeile [00:12:48 - 00:12:49]

$10,000.

 

Gene Marks [00:12:49 - 00:12:50]

I'm sorry, how much?

 

Art Zeile [00:12:50 - 00:13:02]

About $10,000 for, like, recruitment, to the point where you can hand it off to your hiring manager and say, okay, now it's your responsibility to take it from there through the interview process.

 

Gene Marks [00:13:03 - 00:13:11]

Right. Are there any free options on the site? Did you say you could post a job? But again, that's not, you know, really going to give you the best results. But are there any free options?

 

Art Zeile [00:13:11 - 00:13:38]

There are no free options today, but we're actually working on that so that we could release it by the end of the year. That's one of the basic shifts that we're making with Dice is that we're going to engage in a freemium model by the end of this year where individual recruiters can actually go onto dice and select the number of profiles they want to download, the number of jobs that they want to post, the number of emails that they want to make, as well as messages on the platform.

 

Gene Marks [00:13:38 - 00:13:53]

So, if I'm looking to take advantage of the platform, can I get introduced to who your recruiters are, the outside recruiters that are using the platform, or would, you know, is it, is it a better scenario for me just to work individually with your own internal team?

 

Art Zeile [00:13:53 - 00:14:07]

I would say it is probably better to use the internal team, although I would tell you that we have a number of recruiters on our platform for Dice. Like, on any given day, about 35,000.

 

Gene Marks [00:14:07 - 00:14:08]

Wow!

 

Art Zeile [00:14:08 - 00:14:24]

And they do constitute the majority of the staffing recruiting agencies in the United States. The big ones that are very well known, like Robert Half or Adecco or Randstad or Kforce or Jobot,  they're all of our clients today.

 

Gene Marks [00:14:24 - 00:15:41]

That's great. Yeah, it's, you know, first of all, I realize you're working on the freemium, you know, model, and that, you know, that that's fine. It would make sense for some, but, I mean, I get it. I mean, it's a very valuable community that you have. It's a very valuable database, and it's pay-to-play. I mean, if, you know, I see that you're focused on companies that are serious about either helping other companies hire people or they're looking for people and they're in the game and they can pay to have that help being done. It's not like a free service. There's a lot of things that set you apart from the typical job boards that we see, and I just want to ... just to make sure that my audience understands this so that we're not only ... You're going to be paying for this service. You get what you pay for, and I think that's important.

 

But number two is you're focusing on the technology world, and a lot of the mainstream recruiting sites don't. They're like, be all and one, all for everybody. And again, technology is a very, very unique way of recruiting. So, you want to work with a platform that's really geared specifically to that industry. And then in addition, this is not like a typical, we post a job and people respond to it. This is, we're going out to a community of people, finding people that would match what our interests are, and then we're going to be going after these people to see if we can make them a better offer. I mean, again, it's. I don't know if I'm missing anything, but it's ...?

 

Art Zeile [00:15:41 - 00:16:27]

Absolutely, I think that it is a different level of engagement with the community. The community thinks about skills. And I have to say one other thing that didn't really touch on, which is that we have a customer success team. So that if we see that you're having difficulty with any particular job posting, let's say you've had your job posting up for 15 days, 30 days, 45 days, and it doesn't seem to be giving you the kind of candidates that are necessary for you to complete your search and hire an individual. We'll jump in and help you. So, I think that's another big part of the value proposition, is that it's not a black box where you hope you get the right applications coming in. We will help you use the tool and make sure that you are effective.

 

Gene Marks [00:16:27 - 00:16:35]

Got it. All right, that's great. So, all right, let's turn to some advice. I mean, you've been doing, first of all, is this your company? Like, did you start this or ...?

 

Art Zeile [00:16:35 - 00:17:37]

I came on board about six years ago, actually. I have. I was enticed to come on board because I believe my background is more entrepreneurial, and the board of directors wanted somebody to be more entrepreneurial, really kind of think about the next generation of Dice. So, I have spent the last five-plus years really focused on product development, focused on the product roadmap, and improving the experience for our end-users on the Dice platform.

 

But I think it is that entrepreneurial kind of background that brought me here. And I was a constant user of Dice because all my previous companies that I created on my own were in IT services or software. And so, I had used Dice continuously through my career to find the right technology candidates, the right talent. And in my opinion, it's the difference between a successful business and an unsuccessful business, especially in the technology sector. It's all about people.

 

Gene Marks [00:17:37 - 00:18:17]

Yeah, it really is. And obviously, you want to have somebody experienced working along with you and providing that kind of help and somebody that's experienced in a specific industry. So, that makes complete sense. So, tell me what you've learned so far. You've had so many employers come by, you know, your business, and obviously recruiters as well, and they're trying to get matched to the right people.

 

You know, just generally tell me what some advice that you might have about looking for good, and let's keep it focused on tech people which is completely fine because that's what you do. What should companies be doing when they're trying to find these good tech people, whether they're on Dice.com or if they're somewhere else.

 

Art Zeile [00:18:17 - 00:19:04]

First and foremost, you have to understand, again, that the community knows that it's in demand. And so a typical developer, a typical technology professional, is getting, I would say, on the order of 30 to 50 emails from recruiters each week. And they want to engage with people that really understand their specific career development and where they want to go. But I'd also say there are really unique attributes to the community itself.

 

For example, when we went through the pandemic and experienced COVID, everybody worked from home, the technology community realized that that actually does improve productivity. It allows them to essentially have much more time to work on problems. I mean, technology is generally problem solving.

 

Gene Marks [00:19:04 - 00:19:05]

Sure.

 

Art Zeile [00:19:05 - 00:20:09]

So, our surveys come back consistently saying that 73%, or at least above 70% in each one of the surveys, our candidates want the ability to work from home part of the time. And that's a little bit different for different businesses. The other thing that I would tell you is because they're being sought after, they can be very selective, and so our surveys come back saying literally 90% of our candidates will not work for a company that they don't respect. They want to know the reputation of the company. They want to work for a company that they believe in.

 

So, those attributes of the company that you might not express to most workers, you have to really make your company shine so that it is attractive to a technology worker and they want to join your team. I'd say those are the big lessons that I've learned. It's a distinct tribe that this group of technology professionals that constitute a little bit less than 10% of the workforce in the United States. They operate differently than the rest of the workforce.

 

Gene Marks [00:20:09 - 00:20:14]

Do you find that the process itself has changed much over the past six years that you've been doing this?

 

Art Zeile [00:20:15 - 00:20:52]

Well, I think it is much more geared towards chasing the tech professional rather than the job posting. I think that's the big message and takeaway. I remember throughout the course of my career, we were able to put up job postings pretty successfully on our own site for my different businesses, and we get a lot of people that were attracted to us because we had a pretty good reputation in Denver. But I think that now you really have to zero-in on the person, the individual that you think is the best for the job and then really make an attractive offer and talk about the culture of your company, why it makes sense for them to come on board.

 

Gene Marks [00:20:53 - 00:21:21]

So, when you mention the culture of your company and those kinds of aspects of the type of business that you're running, when you're reaching out to technology professionals, I mean, it's a cold lead. I mean, you don't really know these people and they don't really know you. Are there any tricks that an employer can use to get somebody's attention, to get more matches to, you know, is there anything specifically on the postings that they're doing that would drive better connections?

 

Art Zeile [00:21:21 - 00:21:44]

Absolutely. It goes back to that idea of expressing your culture. A lot of people think that they can have a job posting and just literally list all the mandatory requirements, the nice-to-have requirements, the educational requirements, and that's it. But in my opinion, you have to talk more about your company and what makes it special, and that's going to attract the candidate to you.

 

Gene Marks [00:21:44 - 00:22:53]

Got it. All right. Real-life examples. So, I've been doing a lot of speaking on AI over this past year and a lot more planned. So, I speak to, like, business groups, industry associations all across the board. Obviously, there's a high level of interest in this and because the people that are in my audience are owners or managers of these companies, they're pretty clueless about it, yet they see what the potential is, you know? So, a lot of people come up to me and they're like, hey, you know what we'd love? We need somebody to take a look at what we're doing, tell us how AI could improve our business both now and in the future, and then also help to implement some of those changes. We're looking for that kind of technology consultant, and that kind of person is in very high demand.

 

So, if I were to come to you and say I was running a 200-person company and I had that need, and you'd be like, oh, well, we advise and can help you find that person. How would you help? Like, give me, like, a specific, specific things you would do to help a prospective company with, with that need? Because I can promise you that people listening and watching this, there are many people out there that have that need. What would you say to them?

 

Art Zeile [00:22:53 - 00:23:25]

Yes, I would look for people that had a consulting background. I think the consulting background is one that is best suited to essentially talking about the different dimensions of how AI can help you. As an example, we have a software intern, a gentleman that's getting his comp-sci major from Davidson University, coming in this summer to review our marketing work streams and how we could use generative AI to improve all of our marketing work streams. That's just one.

 

Gene Marks [00:23:25 - 00:23:27]

You're having this person come into Dice.

 

Art Zeile [00:23:27 - 00:24:12]

To do this, right for Dice. Exactly right. But I mean, we're also bringing in consultants to look at other areas of the business. But the best thing to do, in my opinion, is to have somebody that has that skill set, AI background, data science, data engineering background, that can look across multiple functions, because it's going to be different depending upon the type of company that's involved. But I do believe, and I think a lot of good work has been written by people like McKinsey and company, that every single functional area inside of companies are going to be touched by AI for the future. So, it's good to have somebody that has that broad purview or expansive knowledge of an organization to come in and help individual companies.

 

Gene Marks [00:24:13 - 00:24:20]

That person that you found to help you out, identify maybe potential opportunities to use AI in the marketing process, how'd you find that person?

 

Art Zeile [00:24:21 - 00:24:53]

Well, a friend of mine just happened to say that their son was interested in an internship. I found out that he had a comp-sci major. He was studying AI in depth inside of his program. And I said, well, we've always thought that this would be very well suited to essentially taking over certain types of content production and certain marketing work streams. Let's have them work in marketing and really dissect what we're doing across the board in marketing and where AI can help.

 

Gene Marks [00:24:53 - 00:25:19]

Got it. All right, that makes complete sense. All right, just a couple more questions and I'll let you go. This is great stuff. We've been talking about employers. There are a lot of people that listen and watch this that are their own independent consultants, freelancers, business owners themselves. Maybe an employer, too, maybe not. What advice would you have for them? Like, we're all looking for opportunities, so say they're on the Dice platform. What could they be doing to be getting noticed by that next great employer, that next great project?

 

Art Zeile [00:25:19 - 00:26:22]

I personally believe that AI is not a flash in the pan, that all of the energy, the momentum that we see associated with AI, and even beyond generative AI is real. And so I would train yourself in some of the AI-related technologies and experiences and make sure that you update your profile and resume to reflect that because I do believe that that's going to become much more important in terms of everybody's skill set for the future. I'm talking about even my skill set as a CEO, I need to be more relevant to my understanding of AI. But just as a data point, over the last year, we have seen the number of job postings that require AI skills go from about 8% of our total to 18% last year. So, literally almost a fifth of all job postings are asking for AI-related skills. So, my advice is spend the time to really learn AI-related skills and it will be very beneficial for your career.

 

Gene Marks [00:26:22 - 00:27:01]

Great advice. And finally, Art, where do you see this all going for your industry itself. Literally, I thought when I came upon Dice 20 years ago, and as usual, I was wrong, I thought that would be where all recruiting would be. There would just be specialized sites like Dice that just knew their market, knew their community, and that's where employers would go. But meanwhile, I mean, the general recruiting sites that are out there are still quite popular, and I'm curious where you think your business will be going. What do you see Dice looking like, say, five, six years from now?

 

Art Zeile [00:27:01 - 00:28:02]

So, the way that I would look at it is that it's going to be much more of a peer-to-peer communication site or a community. So, traditionally, job boards actually in the first incarnation were just one way communication mechanisms. You put a job posting up and you and a candidate would apply, but they wouldn't necessarily engage in any kind of communication between recruiter and candidate. Now you have these platforms like LinkedIn and others, that you have some limited number of communication means between recruiter and candidate. I think it's going to be recruiter to recruiter, and candidate is candidate, and recruiter to candidate.

 

So, that's where we're driving, is to create more of a community. And people like being in a community of like-minded people, and so technology is its own kind of environment where everybody can feel comfortable talking to each other because they talk the same language, they have the same motivations, they have the same aspirations. I think that's where we're going.

 

Gene Marks [00:28:03 - 00:28:32]

Art Zeile is the CEO of Dice at dice.com. Dice is a great platform for finding people in the technology world, has a different approach and a long term success, as well. So if you're looking for people in the technology world for you, for your business, Dice is definitely a place for you to go. We've been discussing not only what Dice does, but also some of our thoughts and advice on getting noticed if you're in that community and also finding good people to match, too. Art, thank you very much. It's a great and informative conversation.

 

Art Zeile [00:28:33 - 00:28:35]

Thank you very much, Gene. I really appreciate it.

 

Gene Marks [00:28:35 - 00:29:10]

Do you have a topic or a guest that you would like to hear on THRIVE? Please let us know. Visit payx.me/thrivetopics and send us your ideas or matters of interest.

 

Also, if your business is looking to simplify your HR, payroll, benefits or insurance services, see how Paychex can help. Visit the resource hub at paychex.com/worx. That's W-O-R-X. Paychex can help manage those complexities while you focus on all the ways you want your business to thrive. I'm your host, Gene Marks, and thanks for joining us. Till next time, take care.

 

Announcer [00:29:13 - 00:29:17]

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