Breaking Down @LinkedIn’s Entire Database! #TalentConnect

I have a confession to make. I use LinkedIn every day! Not just Monday through Friday, I’m on the app on Saturday and Sunday as well! So, don’t think this is a LinkedIn hater post! I’m a LinkedIn 1%’er! I’m a bit addicted to LinkedIn, to be honest, I might have to go see someone!

Being on LinkedIn every day like I am, you begin to notice a few things. Some are great, like content that I find my network sharing that I probably find on LI before I find anywhere else. I love to read about the celebrations of people doing great things at work. I love to read about the funny stories and the heartwarming stories of people in their workplaces. All great stuff!

The more time I spend on LI I begin to feel like the database is basically populated with about 6-7 main types of profiles. It’s like the world is broken down, not in male or female, or black or white, but in these mini-subsets of lives. Here’s what I see when I look at LinkedIn Profiles (these are not official LinkedIn database numbers!):

Sales Pros: I want to say that it’s at least 40% of the LI database, but I know it’s less. But, the reality is, if you’re in sales of any kind, you probably are on LinkedIn at least multiple times a week, and you’re probably sending me an InMail trying to see if I want to blindly give you access to my investment portfolio, sell me leads to executives, sell me offshore recruiting solutions, etc. It’s endless! Even the LinkedIn Sales Pros get into the game and I probably get a message through LinkedIn Sales Navigator from LI themselves at least once per month.

Recruiters: I think about 30% of the LI database are recruiters, but again, it’s probably less, but feels like more, because we (recruiters are my people) are so freaking active on LI! There are very few occupations you can’t find on LI. Of course, you’re probably less likely to find a great pool of truck drives on LI, but for sure any white-collar talent you can find. Recruiters and Sales Pros have to make up at least 90% of all InMails sent on LI, right?

Keynote Speakers: It feels like 1 out of 5 profiles claim to be “Keynote Speakers” which would mean there are approximately 100 million Keynote Speakers on LinkedIn! So, I know that number isn’t correct, but come on, you all can’t be Keynote Speakers! Maybe we need a “Keynote Speaker” definition. To put “Keynote Speaker” on your LI Profile you must be on the main stage speaking either in the opening session, the lunch session, or the closing session, and you must be paid. That probably knocks about 80% of the “Keynotes” out with just those factors.

Life Coaches: You know what happens when you get fired from your job, or can’t hold a job? You become a Life Coach and tell other people how to get a job or hold a job… Is it just me or does seem like 50% of LinkedIn profiles claim to be Life Coaches? “Life Coach” might be the single easiest job in the world to obtain. Life Coach criteria: 1. Are you alive? 2. Have you lived any amount of life? 3. Do you like to tell people to do things that you yourself probably wouldn’t do? If you can say “yes” to all three of those things, congratulations! You’re a life coach!

Executives: Turns out the great thing about LinkedIn is you can call yourself anything you want! It seems like about 30% of LinkedIn Profiles list their occupation as “Executive”. You really bend the matrix when you list yourself as “Executive Life Coach!” So, you are the sole person at your company? Awesome, you’re now the Chief Strategy Officer at Timmy Sackett, Inc.! In fact, I’m a Fortune 1 Million Executive in one of the fastest-growing industries in the world! It’s kind of like the banking industry where everyone is a Vice President, no matter what you really do.

Actual People Doing Real Work that are not in Sales or Recruiting, or playing make-believe as Keynote Speakers, Life Coaches or Executives: Like 3%? Okay, to be fair, I know it’s way higher than that because every week we hire real people off LinkedIn for all kinds of jobs in Supply Chain, Engineering, IT, Accounting/Finance/ and HR. But holy cow do they all seem like the minority. I’m guessing this is the case because these folks are not like me, they don’t live on LI every day. For the most part, folks with jobs are also not looking for attention, so they don’t stick out as much.

So, before someone goes postal in the comments about the value of their life coach or how my math on the profiles equals 347%, I understand that I built my LinkedIn network, so my view reflects a world I built around myself! I built my own nightmare! I put on my headline “Not a Life Coach” and stupid life coaches from around the world reached out to connect with me saying things like “I see we are in the same industry” in their invites.

My dream is that LinkedIn eventually gives me the ability to go in and easily curate my network. You know, do some searches and see that I’ve got “X” number of people in my network that I no longer want in my network and with one click, shrink it down. That would be so cool! Or maybe you’ve changed professions and while you used to want a network of HR pros, now you want a network of Business Intelligence pros.

As our networks get large, it becomes more difficult to curate, that would be super valuable to me. I would pay for that ability! As our careers grow and change over the years we’ve been on LinkedIn for a long time, we really need this ability. I hope as all of you are out at Talent Connect this week you enjoy the great content and networking. LinkedIn puts on one of the top Recruiting conferences in the world and I’m really upset I couldn’t make it this year!

McDonald’s Is Showing Us the Future of Recruiting!

Mikey D’s announced this week that they purchased an Artificial Intelligence speech recognition company. Why? Well, quite simply the vast majority of interactions that happen between McDonald’s and it’s customers happen through the drive-thru speaker. So, if you want to save money. Become more efficient. Make fewer errors. etc. You need to find a way to add technology into that equation.

“Yeah, um, well, I’d like a #3 with a large fry and large diet, and an extra McChicken with no mayo, what? No, you can’t have an apple pie, I also need a kids meal with apple slices, the cheeseburger one, with no cheese, ketchup only, did you get my large drink on the first order? Oh, I need an extra ranch as well, and I’ve got a coupon for a free large sandwich.” 

So, welcome to the show A.I.!

Here’s the thing, if McDonald’s new AI software can figure out these orders and get them right, we recruiters are in trouble!

I wasn’t making fun of the order above, I think that’s my actual order! That is complex language to have to figure out and sort through and respond to. If they can have a chatbot take your order and answer your questions, they will be able to figure out how to eliminate a real human in having screening conversations and most low-level skilled interviews.

“Oh, AI will never replace recruiters, Tim!” 


Because AI can’t have complex conversations? Maybe at this moment, but that is changing quickly. Because AI can’t correctly judge and have bias like a real person? Well, turns out that’s a positive for inclusive hiring. Because AI can’t select the best talent out of many candidates? Yeah, it already does a better job at that than humans.

So, it basically comes down to AI can’t build relationships.

AI is super good, way better than humans, at doing transactional stuff really well. Candidate applies for a job. AI takes them through the process. The candidate gets hired. That can happen today.

Person, not yet a candidate, might be a good fit for your job, but they have a job and are happy with the job they have. They could probably, through a great marketing process, actually get interested in your job, but it’s going to take some real person to person interaction to get them truly interested and leave that job for a new job.

This is where AI will struggle, but that is only about 20% of hiring. So, almost 80% of hiring, theoretically, today, isn’t too far away from having AI take it over and be more efficient and less costly.

Technology starts on the consumer side of the world. “How do we use AI to sell hamburgers to customers?” Once that gets figured out, it’s pretty a very easy transition to “How do we sell this job to a candidate?”

2019 HR Technology Conference Pitchfest Participants Announced!

You guys know I’m a huge believer in doing demos of HR and TA Technology companies to build your knowledge around the technology that runs our professional life. I often get the question, “Tim, what companies should I demo?” Well, I will be looking at all 30 of these companies!

Hundreds of companies applied for this year’s Pitchfest, with 30 selected to compete. In alphabetical order, here are the 2019 Pitchfest participants:

“Last year’s inaugural competition drew outstanding participants and offered a lot of creative, exciting ideas about the future of our industry,” said conference co-chair Steve Boese. “Pitchfest provides a unique exposure opportunity for early-stage companies that are embracing innovation in the HR technology space, giving them a dedicated audience including many of the industry’s top leaders, analysts, and venture capitalists. This year promises to be another inspiring competition packed with great ideas, and we’re really looking forward to it.”

Participants are divided into three groups, each with five minutes to pitch and answer questions about their solution. Each round will consider input from the official judging panel, representing a broad range of backgrounds in HR technology, along with audience voting. The total score earned by each participant will determine which six companies advance to the final round.

One winner will receive a $25,000 prize provided in partnership with the Randstad Innovation Fund and secure exhibit space for the 2020 expo. A $5,000 “Gig Economy” prize from the Randstad Innovation Fund will be awarded to a second participant.

The HR Tech Conference also includes an exposition floor featuring more than 450 exhibitors with products that attendees can experience and demo first-hand, along with a stacked conference program that provides for almost a full week of sessions. Visit for registration and additional information.  Also, you can use the following link and get $300 off – The Sackett Deal! 

TA Technology Buyers Guide: How to select the right vendor to solve your recruiting challenges

Hey gang!

ATAP (Association of Talent Acquisition Professionals) is putting on some great webcasts, designed for recruiting leaders and professionals and I’m leading one September 12th at 12:30 pm ET! Basically, I’m going to be telling you how you should buy recruiting technology and what to watch out for! I’m going to be telling you stuff that the vendors don’t want you to know about the buying process.

Check out the details: 

Talent acquisition technology is moving faster than ever and very few TA pros and leaders have the ability or capacity to stay on top of all of these changes and innovations. The TA Tech landscape has over 10,000 different pieces of technology worldwide. The average TA leader can probably name 10-20 pieces of the technology and/or vendors. Currently, most TA technology is not actually chosen by Talent Acquisition, but by IT and Finance leaders. This is a major problem in our industry!

TA Tech expert Tim Sackett (Hey, that’s me!) will help simplify the complex world of TA technology and let us know how we can take back control of recruiting tech stacks. Tim personally demos over 100 TA technologies every year and is constantly sharing this information across our community.

Bottom Line, tech vendors don’t always have your best interest at heart and Tim will show us how to uncover the right tech and right vendors that will lead us to better candidates, faster.

Join us for this fast-paced webinar that will be both entertaining and informative, and you’ll probably never look at doing demos the same way again!

Register Here! 



Your Weekly Dose of HR Tech: @Eightfoldai – AI Powered Talent Intelligence Platform

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at Eightfold. is a recruiting technology that kind of is hard to define, like many of the new AI-driven technologies within the TA space right now. Eightfold does automated matching of candidates to your jobs with rankings, it can build personalized career sites, help eliminate hiring and screening biases, and even be used for internal mobility.

See what I what I mean? What do you call that? They call it a talent intelligent platform. It can integrate with your ATS and/or CRM and help you automate much of the front-side of your recruiting screening and matching process.

What I find in most organizations is we have recruiters, and they might be really good at the job of recruiting, but they don’t have the specialized knowledge to truly know what candidate will be better at a certain job than another because they lack the technical skill knowledge. Eightfold uses AI and deep learning to match candidates much more accurately and quickly than a human recruiter can do.

The process of Eightfold is fairly lightweight. They can pull in your jobs from your ATS or you can create a job in Eightfold and it will go to work ranking candidates who are the best fit and most likely to respond to the job you have open. This gives an instant target list for your recruiters to go after.

What do I like about Eightfold? 

– Eightfold can help organizations better leverage the resources and data they have invested in talent attraction that has previously not been available to most organizations. Technology like Eightfold will move organizations faster, but also with a higher quality of hire.

– Eightfold personalizes the career site experience for candidates who are coming to your site. Candidate has the ability to upload their resume/application and immediately get a personalized experience that is different from the next candidate who comes to your site.

– Eightfold will help organizations do a better job at hiring for diversity by masking certain information on profiles, but also delivery funnel diversity statistics so TA leaders can have a real-time view of diversity pipelines within the organizations and see where diverse candidates are falling through.

– Because Eightfold’s match technology is so robust, organizations are using it for internal mobility as well, but uploading all of their internal talent and giving a view to leaders of the organization of where you might already have someone internally who is the best fit for a position, and should go down that path first, before looking externally. Too often we see great talent turnover because a position was filled from the outside, and they were never even considered for it, and didn’t even realize it was a possibility.

This type of technology can be used across all kinds of industries, not just tech. From a cost standpoint, and a data standpoint, it works much better at larger volumes, so you’re probably looking for at least 500+ employee organizations to be most effective. It’s certainly dynamic and eye-opening when you demo and I encourage to take a look! While there is an investment to get technology like Eightfold, the ROI is huge in comparison to hiring another recruiter or sourcing pro.

The Weekly Dose – is a weekly series here at The Project to educate and inform everyone who stops by on a daily/weekly basis on some great recruiting and sourcing technologies that are on the market.  None of the companies who I highlight are paying me for this promotion.  There are so many really cool things going on in the tech space and I wanted to educate myself and share what I find.  If you want to be on The Weekly Dose – just send me a note –

Want help with your HR & TA Tech company – send me a message about my HR Tech Advisory Board experience.

Your Job Posting Requiring a Bachelor’s Degree is Discriminatory!

From the world of sports this week in 2019 –

The NCAA (collegiate sports governing body) came out with rules for agents working with college athletes who are underclassman but trying to make a decision to test the NBA waters before graduation. Take a look at what they had to say:

“With this in mind, we benchmarked our new rules against requirements for other organizations that certify agents, like the NBPA, which also requires agents to have a bachelor’s degree. While different and distinct, our rules taken together, which is the manner they were meant to be examined, provide a clear opportunity for our student-athletes to receive excellent advice from knowledgeable professionals on either the college or professional path they choose.”

So, this is being called the “Rich Paul Rule” around the NBA circles. Rich Paul is Lebron James agent, the most famous basketball player on the planet. Rich Paul is a childhood friend of Lebron James, both of them skipped ‘college’ and went directly to the pros! James went and played basketball in the NBA, Paul went and trained as an agent and now has his own sports agency, Klutch, which Lebron happens to be a minority owner.

So, why is this discriminatory?

Rich Paul, like Lebron, grew up black and with little resources. He probably could have gone to college, given the right support system, but when you grow up black and poor, usually access to those support systems are non-existent. Lebron and Rich have had some great success getting young NCAA basketball players to want to sign with them. So, the NCAA makes a rule whereas Paul will not be able to ‘tamper’ with these young men.

Rich Paul, by all accounts, is a successful sports agent for his clients. He’s a very wealthy man, running a very successful business. He’s smart enough to have an army of lawyers, CPAs, etc. surrounding him to ensure his clients have the exact representation they need to be successful in negotiating great contracts.

Rich Paul does not need a bachelors degree. The role of a sports agent does not need a bachelors degree. The NCAA is forcing agents to have a bachelor’s degree if they want to have access to these athletes.

So, let’s get back to HR. We, organizations and HR pros, are pretty much like the NCAA. We often require education for positions where there is no correlation between educational obtainment and success on the job. We do this, like the NCAA, because we are either:

  1. Discriminatory
  2. Lazy
  3. Lazy and Discriminatory

Well, we’ve always hired Account Managers with bachelor’s degrees, so that is why we keep requiring a bachelor’s degree. I would say probably 80% of the positions we hire for in organizations do not need a formal education to do that job, but there will be a formal education requirement on the job description.

Let’s not be stupid and you make comments below about how we definitely want doctors to have degrees. Of course, there are formal educational programs that are critical to success. But there are more jobs that require education where it’s not critical for success. Using education as a screener because you have too many candidates is flat out lazy and you’re probably missing great talent.

Since we know who has and doesn’t have access to higher education, requiring higher education for jobs that don’t really need it, you’re basically saying “we just really don’t want to hire minorities”. The NCAA doesn’t want Rich Paul around “it’s kids”, so they change the rules. The reality is, these are more Rich Paul’s kids than the NCAA’s. At least Rich is upfront with his clients about how he’s making money on them!


Your Weekly Dose of HR Tech: @SparcStart launches Amplify Video Management System

Today on the Weekly Dose I take a look at SparcStart‘s newest product, Amplify. Amplify is a video management system/platform where you can store all of your employment branding and recruiting-related content no matter where it was produced. So, you can bring videos in from professional third parties, YouTube, employee-generated videos from their phones, videos generated on other video-enabled apps, etc., and have all of that content in one place.

Why is this a big deal? Video has increasingly become the go-to content for talent acquisition, and the growth of video being used is off the charts when it comes to employment branding and recruiting. The problem is we don’t have one place to catalog all of this content. We don’t have one place to share this content and measure the views. We don’t have one place to approve and ensure the right video content is being used by our teams.

Well, until Amplify.

What do I like about SparcStart’s Amplify VMS (Video Management System)

– Super simple and easy to use dashboard to upload all of your EB & recruiting videos so you have them all in one system. Plus, from the dashboard, you can share them on social, get a URL to share with candidates that will bring them to your company branded micro-site to view (less noise then sending them to YouTube).

– Create videos as well, without the need for your employees to download an app. Basically, through the dashboard, invite them, tell them what it’s about, they get an email to click through on their phone, record, and upload all in two clicks total! You then have the ability to view and approve to be added to the content library on the dashboard. (click the pic below to see me use Amplify in action)

– Having a video management system allows you to have one spot for quality control across your entire environment. The one problem with quick-video is that we lose control of our brand when all of this is being generated and no one seems to be in charge. Amplify is a great tool to have for any organization that potentially has many locations, divisions, regions, and countries using corporate branded video.

– Early users are already figuring out how to use this system in ways it wasn’t even designed for! Some early adopters are increasing their offer acceptance rate by having hiring managers send a quick offer video link, along with the offer letter, to make the offer super personalized for each candidate. Organizations can send out personal interview videos within seconds.

SparcStart was started as a video job description tool, which is how most of us will know them. The addition of Amplify, which is a stand-alone product, really is something that is needed in the industry and most people are just figuring out they need as video content has exploded. The pricing model is very affordable (like $1K/month for 50 vids!), especially when you figure out all the ways you can use it. The video below literally took me under thirty seconds to click on the email link, record, and upload, with the ability to use! The simplicity of Amplify is why I really think it will take off! Well worth a demo!

The Weekly Dose – is a weekly series here at The Project to educate and inform everyone who stops by on a daily/weekly basis on some great recruiting and sourcing technologies that are on the market.  None of the companies who I highlight are paying me for this promotion.  There are so many really cool things going on in the tech space and I wanted to educate myself and share what I find.  If you want to be on The Weekly Dose – just send me a note –

Want help with your HR & TA Tech company – send me a message about my HR Tech Advisory Board experience.

Words matter! If you want more gender diversity in your applicants!

New data study released by LinkedIn this week titled “Language Matters Gender Diversity Report” has some awesome insight to how the words we use in job descriptions and job postings have a dramatic impact to who actually applies to jobs. We’ve known some of this for a while, but the LinkedIn data is very robust and compelling at a new level.

Some highlights from the report:

– Women are 16% less likely to apply to a job after viewing it than men.

– Research shows that when words like “aggressive” are used in a job description to describe a company’s workplace, 44% of women (and 33% of men) would be discouraged from applying.

– 25% of women would be discouraged from working somewhere described as “demanding”.

– 61% of women associate the term “soft skills” as a female-gender preferred role vs. 52% for men.

– Women are 4 times more likely to want to be perceived as ‘collaborative’ in the workplace.

So, how do you put all of this into practice?

The reality is the words we choose, thinking these words are going to get us the dynamic talent we desire, might actually be hurting our ability to get the dynamic, gender-inclusive talent we desire. There are a number of technologies on the market currently that can help with the wording (Textio is probably the most known).

The data is very clear, the language you use on your job postings and job descriptions will attract or detract certain people from applying. Want to give yourself a chance to get more females to apply, use phrases like “soft skills” or “collaborative” as a desired skill set you’re looking for. Don’t use words like “aggressive” and “demanding” or you’re more likely to get fewer females to apply, and there are a whole host of these types of words.

If you can’t afford the technology that will help you catch this language, I would ask for help from females in your organization (not necessarily in HR) to give you feedback around language and suggestions for things that would get them to be more likely to apply. I find most employees welcome the chance to give TA and HR feedback about our work! 😉

What we know is cutting and pasting the same job description you’ve used since 2004 isn’t working or helping. Most job descriptions, even today, are written in a male-dominated voice that discourages females from applying. It’s very hard to read and see, but the data is screaming at us that it’s a problem that we aren’t paying attention to. We all (male, female, non-binary, etc.) all write in a male-dominated voice because that’s how we’ve been trained to write. That’s what we read. So, it’s natural for us. It’s unnatural for us to change it. Welcome to bias in hiring.


The Woodstock of Recruiting! #RecFest19

Yesterday I got to have an amazing experience in London. I was invited to speak at RecFest! What’s RecFest?

RecFest is the brainchild of Jamie Leonard and the team over at Recruitment Events. It started five years ago with 95 participants. Yesterday it sold out with 3,000 in attendance.

RecFest is an outdoor recruiting ‘conference’ of sorts. There are five outdoor stages, like a music festival. There are food and drinks, and adult beverages. There are vendor ‘booths’, which are really smaller tents that participants can visit. There are large open spaces for the community to network and talk shop.

Did I mention there are bars inside huge circus tents of all five stages!?! This isn’t your normal “HR” conference.

The content is awesome. Thirty-minute segments coming at you on all the stages all at once, so you need to pick which sessions you want to see. Fifteen minutes in between so you can feel free to go check out other stages, and some breaks so you can check out vendors, eat, drink, etc.

Oh, and at that end, why not, let’s throw a party with DJs and bands on the stages like a real music festival! Yeah, why not! It might the coolest recruiting/HR event on the entire planet! The conference pass includes all the content, food, drinks, and after-party.

I couldn’t help but think why can’t we have something like this in America? 

London and how compacted the UK and Europe, in general, makes this a bit more feasible.  Where in the US could you get 3,000+ Recruiter pros and leaders to show up for a one-day event, outdoors, in a park for about $250 per person? New York, Chicago, LA? It’s problematic from a logistics standpoint.

Most Recruiting conferences in the US can’t even get 1,000 people to show up. SHRM Talent, LinkedIn Talent Connect, and Indeed Interactive are the only ones who have an audience even that big, and two of those are vendor conferences.

How could we make a Woodstock of Recruiting in America? That’s really the question I leave London with, because it was awesome! For our community, for learning, for team development. But it’s also super difficult to pull off and we need to give credit to Jamie and his team for putting together such a great event.

If you get the chance, make sure you check out RecFest 2020! I hope to be back!

Every HR and TA Tech Vendor Should Go To @SHRM National for this One Reason! #SHRM

I absolutely love going to the SHRM National Conference.  I’ve been 8 out of the last 9 years. I’ve spoken at many. I’ve been a part of the blogger team at many. I’ve had real conversations with real HR and Talent pros at every single one.

If I was advising HR and TA Technology vendor teams (oh wait, I do) I would tell them to take their product teams to SHRM National and make them go to sessions, meet real HR people, walk the expo and observe and listen, and invite a group of customers to dinner or drinks.


You (HR and TA tech vendors) are not listening to the masses.

For the most part, most teams building HR and TA technology are not and have never been HR or TA practitioners. They are technologist by trade and are looking to solve problems. The problem is, this leads to solving problems for the 1% not the 99%.

When you sit in sessions at the SHRM conference you get to hear real-life HR and Talent. What you quickly realize is that the problems in the field, are much lower than you’re trying to solve for, and much more common. We (the HR and Talent community) want easy-buttons, not higher levels of technology. We want simplicity and shit that works.

You make us believe this is a single point solution, a suite. It’s not and we get pissed off because your promises end up making us look like idiots. We want great payroll, great HRIS, great recruiting, great performance management, etc. You give us great of one or two things, and then average for the rest, leaving most of the organization upset and believing we have no idea what we are doing, and then IT and Finance picks our technology and screws up everything.

When you have real conversations with real HR pros you learn what our real pain is, and then you can learn how to solve that. SHRM National gives you the best opportunity to actually see this in a giant way. Once you go, you can’t stop thinking about what you just learned, what you just experienced.

I go to SHRM National every year because it grounds me in reality. The reality that each day, if I truly want to help, my people are SHRM people. I need that reminder because it’s too easy to walk away from those doing the actual work and think it’s the 1%ers who I should really be focusing on. It’s not.

What’s the one reason you should attend SHRM if you’re building technology for this space? 

Because the attendees at SHRM National is who you are really building technology for. This is the cross section of your user community, all together in one place, with a desire to improve themselves and their organizations. They made a commitment to show up and develop themselves. They care.

I hear from way too many HR and TA tech vendors that SHRM is a waste of time. “There are no buyers there, Tim!”

Yeah, probably not a ton of enterprise buyers, or folks who will ultimately sign the contract. But, it’s loaded with HR and TA pros and leaders who have the budget authority of $5K, $10K, $25K. But I guess those amounts aren’t interesting to you.

20,000+ HR and Recruiting pros were in Vegas this week, all of whom are using HR and TA technology. All of whom were looking to make themselves and their organizations successful.

I’m not saying you need to go drop big money in the expo, but you should at least send some folks from the product team out to do some due diligence around what reality is, every once in a while.