HR Tech Interview with Neil Costa, Founder & CEO at HireClix

Journey into Tech

Hello Neil and Welcome to the HRTech Interview series. You have a very distinct experience in marketing. Please tell us about your journey and what inspired you to start HireClix.

Thank you for taking the time to speak with me. After working at PwC following school, I had the opportunity to really grow my professional career in e-commerce and digital marketing as the industry started back in the mid 1990s. That path led me to work at on the internal digital advertising team. We had an amazing brand, a market leadership position and millions of dollars in digital marketing budget to try to spend efficiently. The real key was being aggressive and adventurous to grow the brand while making good decisions and spending efficiently. Just because we had a lot of budget, didn’t mean we could spend wildly. Accountability in digital advertising is very attainable through proper tracking. It was really that consumer marketing mindset that serves as our core and was the foundation of starting HireClix. HR and talent acquisition leaders are still struggling to measure the return on investment of their recruiting investments and we knew we could help bring clarity to that problem. Spend smarter. Measure ROI. Expand the Employer Brand.

Please tell us more about HireClix and your core offerings.

HireClix is a global recruitment advertising agency that provides a range of services to improve the recruiting processes of businesses. Our core offerings include on-demand recruitment marketing, creative design, and strategic consulting services. HireClix assists clients from various industries and organizations by helping them navigate the wide range of solutions, technologies, media options, and job boards available in the marketplace. By doing so, we enable HR professionals and recruiters to save time and money while building new recruitment marketing strategies, developing their employment brands, and reducing overall costs-per-hire. Our services also include building effective strategies for pay-per-click advertising on platforms such as Indeed and Google, social media marketing on platforms like LinkedIn, Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok, mobile recruitment marketing strategy, developing passive candidate recruiting strategies, customized recruiting programs to attract top talent and measuring recruitment ROI by analyzing Applicant Tracking System data.

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Digital transformation has accelerated during the past few years. What has been the most important lesson you’ve learned that has enabled you to stay on top of your game? Would you like to discuss how you continued your development and research efforts in the face of the pandemic?

We are always looking for ways to stay ahead of the curve and that’s usually by leveraging a  combination of HR and advertising technology and trends. We try to stay on top of the HR technology trends by attending events, talking to new vendors and staying abreast of what the leading industry analysts are talking about. My favorites are Madeline Laurano and George LaRocque. They have an amazing amount of exposure to vendors and enterprise customers and offer a smart perspective on the ongoing trends and transformation of our industry. When it comes to the advertising trends, we really operate in a manner that a consumer agency would but choose to focus on recruitment advertising. That means the team is all over the job board media trends but the most important lessons we learned are related to what’s happening in the consumer digital world.  We see our current recruitment marketing mix for enterprise sized organizations is sliding more and more into employer branding ads. This is important because we can help organizations create a campaign strategy that gets them in front of their target audience during their day-to-day lives versus waiting until they start a job search. Having expertise across consumer media channels allows us to speak to these opportunities confidently when a client wants to activate in this space and create a competitive advantage for their recruitment efforts.  We invested heavily in the research of these consumer channels during the pandemic and it is now paying off. Also, we think the transformation goes beyond digital because the world of work is radically evolving. We see four very distinct generations operating in the workforce today – Boomers, GenX, Millennials and GenZ combined with the new remote work versus office work dynamic is adding some wild factors to how we all talk about candidates, employer value proposition and retention.

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You have recently launched a Career Site solution. Please tell us more about it and how can it help recruiters improve their candidate experience.

Career sites provide businesses with an incredible opportunity to engage with candidates and offer insights into their organization, allowing them to showcase what makes them unique. HireClix’s newly launched Career Site solution provides enterprise-sized organizations with an upgraded, dynamic career site experience for candidates on a modern, consumer-grade technology platform. The solution aims to solve pain points faced by talent acquisition professionals in a tight labor market by offering a customizable and scalable career site with a faster speed to deployment, which can create more engaging interactions between an employer’s career site and a candidate. The solution also aligns with corporate brand standards to ensure consistency and effectively showcase corporate culture.

By seamlessly integrating to a company’s applicant tracking system, the applicant experience is harmonious from the time they are introduced to the employer brand during their job search to when they’re hired. We have launched fresh career sites for Peraton and Mindful Health Solutions to support their recruiting and employer branding efforts in the government contractor and health and wellness industries, respectively. These organizations have reported our partnership has been seamless, providing unmatched customer support and guidance throughout the design and management of their career sites, allowing them to create more compelling user experiences that align with their corporate brand.

Since the career site serves as the front door to prospective employees, organizations need to do a better job of improving their presence.  We are moving in a direction where everyone leverages apps and sites that are focused on a smooth and engaging experience across the rest of their lives.  Why wouldn’t people expect better from a career site and why wouldn’t they judge you as an employer if you didn’t have this type of experience.  Most organizations are already spending a good amount of money on a career site and they are getting a subpar solution.  The budget is already allocated so why not get out there and make a change.  Some organizations are using career site technology that is 10-15 years old.  Other solutions are based on wordpress.  What we have found as we launched the Career Site Solution is that organizations can upgrade their career site and improve their candidate experience in a matter of months and have it effectively be cost neutral.  They get good support when they need to make adjustments or we can even empower them to make their own changes to their career site.  I was at a conference of about 75 Healthcare CHROs last week and I asked the audience who was happy with and proud of their career site and not one person raided their hand.  It’s a disaster.

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California and New York passed the new Pay Scale Disclosure Law last December. How is it going to affect the recruitment industry?

Due to newly implemented pay transparency requirements, many optimistic job seekers will start asking for the maximum end of the salary range, and businesses must be prepared for salary demands to escalate out of control. To manage candidates’ expectations effectively, recruitment professionals need to be able to clearly explain the rationale behind their compensation framework and justify why they fall within a specific salary range.

What are your predictions for the recruitment trends for the year 2023?

I predict that companies will prioritize internal mobility to improve retention and provide career growth for employees. Employers will also refresh their overall employer brand to address the new world of work and adjust to the needs of employees, especially as they continue to offer flexibility and work from home accommodations.  Additionally, I predict that half of the Fortune 500 will revamp their career sites, as they will need to have an extremely fresh user experience and operate more like retail consumer sites like Netflix, Amazon and Toast – meaning light and easy interfaces where interactions are smooth. Overall, organizations that move with speed and creativity in their hiring processes will have a competitive advantage in the tight labor market.

Any advice for the HR/recruiters to start in this space?

If you are jumping into the industry for the first time,  you just need to be adaptable. I think the industry is going through massive change and will not stop evolving. Technology is changing. The market leaders are changing. The target market for job seekers is changing. The world of work is changing.  The best people I have seen as leaders and stars in our industry are practical and adaptable. They don’t resist or put off the change because they knew it was coming. They aren’t holding on to what we used to do because they know that change is the constant. The other factor is that HR/recruiters need to be more metrics driven. Everyone on your HR and recruiting team should be able to talk about why you spent money on something and the return on investment you get with their CFO or their finance colleagues.

Thank you, Neil! That was fun and hope to see you back on HR Tech Series soon.

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Neil Costa, Founder & CEO of HireClix, has twenty years of experience in Digital Marketing/E-Commerce/Recruitment Marketing businesses with success in marketing, strategic alliances,sales, and business development. He has a strong depth of knowledge managing ROI and P&Limpact on businesses, along with extensive experience in customer facing roles and publicspeaking about recruitment marketing, recruiting analytics and building an employer brand.Neil’s specialties include interactive marketing, negotiation, social media, P&L management,and marketing know-how.

HireClix is a global recruitment advertising agency that helps clients – including Fortune 500 HR departments – apply the power of on-demand recruitment marketing, creative design, and strategic consulting services to improve their recruiting processes. HireClix helps clients from a wide variety of industries and organizations, sort through the sometimes overwhelming number of solutions, technologies, media options, and job boards in the marketplace and access the metrics they need to make good business decisions. HireClix saves its HR professionals and recruiters time and money by building new recruitment marketing strategies, developing their employment brands and reducing overall costs-per-hire.

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