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Daniel Estrada, CTO and Product Manager, Scavado

Scavado is for People People

 
Daniel Estrada, CTO and Product Manager Daniel Estrada

head·hunt·er /ˈhedˌhəntər/
Noun:
1. A person who searches for suitable candidates to fill business positions
2. A member of a society that collects the heads of dead enemies as trophies (from Scavado Blog)

Have you heard about Scavado? I learned about the company on SourceCon's website. According to Scavado's website, they offer "a simple, powerful sourcing tool for proactive recruiters to find prospective candidates online, compile their contact information, and build a comprehensive pipeline of prospects to recruit!"

Welcome to a Talent Acquisition Channel Podcast on TotalPicture Radio with Peter Clayton reporting. Joining us today from Grand Rapids MI to tell us about Scavado is Daniel Estrada, the company's CTO and product manager.

Scavado was founded by Lori Fenstermaker, who has worked in the recruiting profession for many years.

Questions Peter Clayton asks Daniel Estrada in this podcast:

Daniel, tell us something about Lori and the background of the company.

You've been with the company for about six months? What drew you to the business?

From what I understand, this is your first exposure to the recruiting industry. What has surprised you? Frustrated you?

What set's Scavado apart from the all the other sourcing tools out there?

Many recruiters I know use LinkedIn with some cleaver Boolean search strings to find passive candidates. What makes your solution better?

How long does it take to get up-to-speed using Scavado? Is this a SaaS solution?

I noticed on your website that you have a "compatibility quiz" so tell us, who makes a good fit for using Scavado?

In reading your blog, I know you attended Talent Net Live in Chicago last month. What were some of your take-aways?

How is Scavado licensed? Do you offer a trial period?

Are you planing to add any new features or enhancements to Scavado this year?

How did your Google+ experiment work out?

About Daniel Estrada; Daniel is an entrepreneur, technologist, and recovering consultant with over 13 years of experience helping small and large organizations do more with less. He is currently the Chief Technology Officer and Product Manager of Scavado, a web-based sourcing tool that allows corporate recruiters to easily search the web for passive candidates, compile their contact information, and build a pipeline to recruit. Scavado automates the time-consuming process of writing Internet search strings to scour the web, including business and social networks, for the best employees. Daniel is fluent in 3 languages and has lived in several countries.

Daniel Estrada TotalPicture Radio Interview Transcript

Welcome to TotalPicture Radio, the podcast for career advancement, leadership development, business trends and innovation. We produce broadcast-quality interviews that link companies to customers, prospects, employees and passive candidates. Working with press credentials, TotalPicture Radio covers many leadership, HR and recruiting conferences and events throughout the year. Through our unique, highly-targeted podcast interviews, TotalPicture Radio can extend the conference, continue the conversation, provide valuable content and information for our sponsors. Welcome to a special Talent Acquisition channel podcast on TotalPicture Radio.

This is Peter Clayton reporting. Have you heard about Scavado? I learned about this company on the SourceCon conference website a little while ago. According to Scavado’s website, they offer “a simple, powerful sourcing tool for proactive recruiters to find prospective candidates online, compile their contact information and build a comprehensive pipeline of prospects to recruit”. So joining us today from Grand Rapids, Michigan to tell us about Scavado is Daniel Estrada. He is the company’s CTO and product manager.

Daniel, thanks for speaking with me today.

Daniel: My pleasure, Peter. Happy to be here.

Peter: So Scavado was founded by Lori Fenstermaker who has worked in the recruiting profession for many years, from what I understand. Can you tell us a little bit about Lori and about the background of the company?

Daniel: Lori’s been a recruiter for, I think, close to 20 years now and most recently ran a boutique RPO that sourced very specific jobs. A lot of them were very technical and one of the things she did a couple of years ago is getting to trying to do internet sourcing. She took one of the sort of infamous internet sourcing classes, spent about $1000 plus travel to go and spend a day learning Boolean search techniques. She got this huge three-ring binder and came back to her office and started trying to apply some of those techniques and just found them to be very time consuming and complicated.

Lori is very typical in the sense that, I think recruiters are sales people and they want to be on the phone, they want to be talking to people. They don’t want to be trying to figure out what is essentially a computer programming language to find good names. So Lori decided she wanted to try to automate that process and asked a developer to build a product for sort of automating this whole Boolean search process, this internet sourcing process, and that’s where Scavado was born.

She mostly used the tool internally at first. Her team at the RPO was using it for their client searches and she was onsite with a client one day who had this search ongoing for many months for a Mandarin-speaking cosmetics formulator, with consumer product experience. That’s fairly kind of a purple squirrel search, as they say in the industry. The company had a hard time finding candidates for that position and Lori used Scavado to come up with a list of I think about 6 names. Her client demanded to know how she did come up with so many good leads and asked to buy subscriptions. That was the beginning of Scavado as a business.

Peter: How long ago was that?

Daniel: I want to say that was about 3 years ago. Lori started selling Scavado, which used to be called AutoSearch, to her customers and her own network. Last year, 2011, I joined the company basically to help her start selling the tool outside of these networks. We rebranded and launched new marketing materials and really have been focusing on getting word out into the marketplace, because it’s really not another tool like it.

Peter: From what I understand, you’ve been with the company for about 6 months, now?

Daniel: Yes, a little over 6 months.

Peter: What drew you to this business?

Daniel: That’s a good question. Lori and I have known each other for several years and I was really impressed with her style of doing business. She’s a very straightforward person, very honest, very people-oriented and very well-respected in the industry, particularly among her clients. So when we started talking about it, it made sense from that perspective. Lori’s the kind of person that I love working with. In addition to that, my background is in technology space, consulting and in particular, in the legal market. It was interesting for me to get into a new industry like recruiting, because it was something that I hadn’t really dived into prior. So that was definitely attractive. It was just starting in something new and getting to know the industry and learning as much as I could about it.

Peter: Since this is really, sort of your first exposure to the recruiting industry, what has surprised you and what has frustrated you?

Daniel: I think that’s a great question. I think the recruiting industry is like any industry, it’s very much trying to keep up with the pace of change and in the rest of the world, so to speak. It’s very easy for us in the recruiting space to become very insulated from what’s going on in terms of innovation and technology. That’s something I’ve talked to a lot of folks in the industry about, is it seems to be a lack of innovation in HR technology in particular. There are some great vendors out there making some really innovative and interesting products. But on the whole, companies in particular haven’t been very quick to adopt a new technology in HR.

That’s one of the things that I’ve noticed in HR as well as in other departments in corporate America, in my background there is that HR has way too much on its plate. It kind of becomes this support function for an organization and it isn’t given the clout and sort of the decision-making power that it needs to really impact the organization. The transformation that we’re going through right now has, not just as an industry but the transformation that I think the whole world is going through right now, if that talent is becoming more and more important. I think the best companies, the best-run companies, have been figuring this out for a while. They understand that in order to be competitive, they need the best people because technology has made the world a lot smaller. It’s brought us all closer together and it’s raised the bar, so to speak that the base line of performance isn’t enough anymore. Everybody can perform at sort of an adequate level that is much higher than what we’ve seen in the past. So I think that’s a really big challenge that the industry is struggling with right now. It’s frustrating to see companies try to tackle that in very inadequate ways or just ignore the problem altogether, which I think a lot of companies are doing.

Peter: Let’s talk a little bit more about Scavado. Specifically, what really sets this company apart from the other sourcing tools that are out there – and I’m sure you know there’s a ton of companies who are trying to provide these kinds of things to recruiters.

Daniel: Absolutely. So the thing that’s different about Scavado and I’ll be very upfront about this, we don’t sell Scavado as an answer to every HR problem in an organization. Our customers are corporate recruiters who use a number of sources to compile a list of candidates and reach out to them. I think Scavado is part of a larger tool set, part of an overall strategy. But the area that we really excel in is this idea of sourcing passive candidates, which I’m sure most of your listeners are familiar with that term. These are people who are not really looking. They’re not coming to you and asking you, applying to your corporate career site or answering your job posting on a job board. These are people that you’re going out, you’re targeting them based on things you know about their experience, certain qualifications you know they have. That’s a different approach to sourcing, then, relying on sort of the posting prey mentality, right?

The place that Scavado excels in is we take a lot of different sources on the internet, business networks, social networks. We use Google’s custom search engine technology to build searches around finding resumes and CVs and staff lists, employee bios, anything that could potentially lead to a list of names or a profile on somebody who might meet our subscriber’s criteria for a job. Then we pull all of these sources together into one tool and the user can create a pipeline right inside Scavado. They can bookmark someone they like, fill up contact information. We have tools for verifying the personal email address and looking up phone numbers and things like that. So you can pull all of this research together, create a pipeline and then start making their calls and export that data into other tools or basically use the data right inside Scavado. That’s really the power, is that we’re pulling all these sources together and we’re allowing our recruiters to keep that data organized.

Peter: Back to SourceCon for a minute where I initially found your company, as you know I’m sure SourceCon next month, the conference in Atlanta – a lot of the recruiters that are going to be there are folks who are very comfortable with doing Boolean search strings. They spend their day on LinkedIn and are able to find just about anybody. Right? Is your product something that is an enhancement to that? Would somebody who really doesn’t mind doing the Boolean search stuff, is this product right for them?

Daniel: The straight answer to that is yes and there are a couple of reasons for that. On the first part of your question there, in terms of Boolean experts, you have people in the industry who are very well-versed at internet sourcing. Frankly, those are some of our best subscribers. People who believe in proactive recruiting and understand the techniques and maybe write their own search strings now – we have a lot of users who are sort of online power users. They know those techniques. It’s just that Scavado makes that whole process so much faster for them. They can use their own advance searches inside Scavado. We have an advance search area where you can write your own strings, but Scavado’s also built for people who, anybody who knows how to use a search engine can use Scavado. You enter a few keywords. You click search and you’re off to the races. That’s one kind of key component.

The other thing I’ll say, in terms of LinkedIn and how we compare there, LinkedIn results – we do come across a lot of LinkedIn results in Scavado, but LinkedIn results I think are a very small part of the opportunity for recruiters to find good candidates online. The reason I say that is first of all, we hear a lot of feedback from recruiters that when they send inmails on LinkedIn, when they look up LinkedIn profiles, often they have a hard time hearing back from people and they’re not able to connect. Obviously those inmails cost money. They have to rely on the LinkedIn network basically to be able to connect with those candidates. The second thing is, LinkedIn is such a small part of the amount of data that’s out on the internet. We find that in many cases, a lot of our best results come from areas outside of LinkedIn, outside of business networks altogether. We have a section in Scavado called “Target a Website” which a lot of our subscribers have used very successfully. You can target a competitor’s website and find a list of their employees. You can target trade associations and find a list of speakers. You can target universities, colleges and trade schools and things like that and find names of alumni and faculty. There’s all kinds of great names.

I met a subscriber a couple of months ago who, and they’re in the healthcare space and they recruit a lot of nurses. They were able to find a list of, I think, about 60 or 70 names of folks who would attain this nursing certification, with contact information, which basically was their lead list to the whole year. Those are the kinds of results that you don’t get if you just focus on the business networks. And again, that data is subject to being out-of-date and often people don’t have email notification turned on. So these inmails pile up and people don’t log in to LinkedIn. They don’t get that communication. I think LinkedIn is a great tool, but you have to acknowledge that that’s just a small piece of the pie.

Peter: How long does it take for someone to get up to speed using Scavado?

Daniel: The line for Scavado is virtually non-existent. This is one of the things that – again, because of Scavado’s history and the way that Lori as a recruiter built this tool, she wanted to build a tool that was easy enough for anyone to use and easy enough for people who want naturals at writing Boolean search string views. That’s really the key so we’ve kept the interface very simple. We have a lot of support materials. We have tutorial videos built right into the application. We have ScavadoU which is a support portal where users can go and ask and answer each other’s questions. We have documents and other videos posted there, quick search guide. Any of the sort of support that you would expect from any software product and more, we’ve built into the tool and tried to get people as many different ways of learning about the product as possible.

But really, anyone who has done internet research and believes in that passive sourcing process and knows how to use a search engine can dive right into Scavado and really start using it pretty powerfully. We try to keep it that way with new features. Our main goal is ease of use. Scavado is web-based. There’s no installation. You log in, you sign up, create your account, you log in and that’s it, you’re up and running. You don’t have to install anything on your computer. You don’t have to talk to your IT department. It’s all extremely easy.

Peter: I noticed there’s a thing on your website, which is called “The Compatibility Quiz”. Daniel, tell us a little bit of who is this product designed for? Is this for third party recruiters? Is this for corporate recruiters? Who’s using this and who’s being really successful at using it?

Daniel: Most of our users are in-house corporate recruiters. That’s really the audience at Scavado, this is built for. Our best users are people who believe in doing a little bit of digging to find good candidates. We do talk to a lot of recruiters who don’t share that philosophy and they are much more comfortable posting a job and waiting for people to contact them. We do best with companies and recruiters who want to go out, find names, get a really targeted list and call 10 people and hire somebody instead of wading through a hundred applications. You may be hiring somebody. That’s really the – when we talked about sort of philosophically, the difference between passive and active candidates, you can get some great people applying to your jobs, who are may be unemployed or who may be looking for a change and are coming to you. But the whole pool is never going to be as targeted as it is when you look at passive candidates, because you’re reaching out to them specifically for qualification, a certain experience level, whatever it is that you’re looking for. So you have much more control over the process.

Peter: In reading your blog on Scavado, I know you attended the TalentNet Live in Chicago last month. A lot of my good friends and people who I had on my show, like John Sumser and Lori Ruderman were there. So give me some of the takeaways from that event.

Daniel: That was a great event. I talked to John extensively – I shouldn’t say extensively. We did attempt to chat a little bit after one of the sessions. Craig Fisher and Marianne Neifert and many others were involved in organizing that event. But they did a great job of bringing together some great speakers and some great topics. There were a lot of things discussed at the event. It was only a day long, but there were a ton of different topics. I think that one of the things, as I mentioned earlier, that John said to me about this lack of innovation in the HR space particularly, in HR software. He said there was a lot of talk about, how does the HR industry gain more clout among their peers in a corporate world in particular, and even in smaller companies where you have 1 HR person. It tends to be kind of a catch-all department. So there was a lot of conversation about how you improve that scenario.

Another thing that I heard a lot about, there’s always a lot of talk about social media in HR. There’s a lot of talk about talent communities and really, the way I worked this wrap-up of the event on our blog, which folks can read at scavado.com/blog, the big take-away for me was that talent is a very fluid and dynamic thing that a company engages in, right? It’s not just an A and B process. We can’t just say ‘okay, we post our jobs, people like them, they contact us, we hire them, end of story.’ That was recruiting in the 80s. That’s not recruiting today.

Today we need to be engaging with people on a regular basis. If we don’t hire them today, we need to be direct marketing to them. We need to be making them part of a community. We need to be engaging them on social networks. We need to be using what we learned about them in the application process first time around to help figure out if they might be a good fit for another position in the organization. So all these little pieces working together is a really important trend that I think a lot of companies are starting to get. They’re starting to understand that we can’t look at this in a vacuum. Talent is everything that a company does today. Companies who don’t get that are very quickly falling by the wayside and they’re seeing the businesses suffer because of that lack of the people.

Peter: How is Scavado licensed? Do you sell seats? Do you offer a trial period?

Daniel: It’s a subscription-based product. We have a monthly subscription and an annual subscription. Most of our subscribers are on the annual plan. It’s more cost-effective than doing a monthly. We do have some smaller companies who have more sporadic hiring need. Monthly is a great way to try out the product also. So you pay per person, per month or per person, per year. So if you have a recruiting team of 10/30 people, whatever it is, each of them gets a license of Scavado. There’s some collaboration that can happen inside the tool. Managers are able to look and see a search history, how much and how often their folks are logging into the tool, the searches they’re running and all that kind of stuff. So it is monthly or annual, per user. Again, no set up time. It’s very easy to kind of get in and out of the product and have access to it from anywhere.

Again, I think where software is headed and has been headed for many years, is that people don’t want to be tied to a particular device. They want to be able to use a software anywhere.

Peter: Now is this great with other systems, such as SalesForce or Oracle or Teleo or any other of the database systems out there?

Daniel: Yes and no. You can export the data that’s stored in Scavado. It’s yes if you use xml format. You can open that in Excel or you can open it in basically any application that allows you to import data. You can get your data from Scavado into another product. Most of the systems you’ve mentioned allow that kind of importing and that’s not an issue. One of the reasons that we stayed away from integrating Scavado with the specific ATS and basically connecting customers’ ATS to their Scavado data is that we have a number of customers who are RSCPP-compliant.

One of the things that we have to be very careful about in the HR space as we do more sourcing online, as we look at people’s profiles on social networks, is that we keep data that we’re using for research separate from data that we’re using for hiring decisions. There’s certain protected information that we can’t ask a candidate, we can’t store about a candidate in an ATS. We’ve been careful to keep that separation but I think down the road, there’s going to be more and more integration of those tools and we’ll certainly be part of that.

Peter: Yes, that makes sense. Can you tell us about some features or enhancements that you’re planning to add to Scavado this year?

Daniel: We have a fairly robust road map for the product. We’re constantly tweaking features, adding features, again being very careful to do that in a way that it keeps the product very simple to use – a few things we can I think do a better job of social integration.

As I mentioned, there’s been a lot of talk about talent communities in the HR space and the recruiting space. So integrating with those networks and it will be more of an active way so that a candidate that you have in your pipeline, or prospective candidate I should say, you can do some social research on right inside Scavado. That’s something that we’ve been looking at. We do have a major release coming this year, some features that involve social, with some features that help our users step through the process of online sourcing in a more, sort of intuitive way.

So right now, Scavado pulls together a lot of great research tools, but we’d like to move beyond that and really help the user, walk the user through every step of that process and be able to be a bit more intelligent. So Scavado learns from your sourcing, your recruiting process and tweaks the sources of data that you’re getting from your results based on the industries you’re sourcing in, what kind of company you are, trade groups that are prevalent in the industry you’re recruiting from, all those kinds of things. There are a lot of things that the software could do that, again we kind of weigh, value versus not over complicating the tool. It’s a big turn-off for a lot of people. So tons of stuff we’re considering, we’re constantly working on a big list and whittling down features that we think are most important and we’re starting with those. Look for something major in the middle of the year, I’d say.

Peter: Daniel Estrada is the CTO and product manager for Scavado, and that’s scavado.com. Daniel, thank you so much for taking time to speak with us today on TotalPicture Radio. I’m assuming we’ll see you at SourceCon.

Daniel: You will. We’re one of the sponsors and we’re looking forward to it.

Peter: Great. Thanks again.

Daniel: Thanks for having me, Peter.

You’ll find this interview along with resource links in the Talent Acquisition channel of TotalPicture Radio’s new, completely redesigned and mobile-optimized website at totalpicture.com. Visit our site for a complete transcript of our podcast with Daniel and while there, please sign up for our newsletter. Connect with me on Twitter, @peterclayton, and we invite you to join our growing TotalPicture Radio Facebook community. To receive a free media kit and for more information about TotalPicture Radio, call 203-292-0012 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

Thanks for listening.

Peter Clayton

About Peter Clayton

Peter Clayton, Producer/Host, is an award-winning producer/director of radio, television, documentary, video, interactive and Web-based media who has created breakthrough media for a wide array of Fortune 100 clients.

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