[Podcast] Industry Spotlight | Alden Galvanek – President, The Chatham Group – Fostering Genuine Connections in a Digital Age

The full desk industry spotlight: fostering genuine connections in a digital age.

Sign up for The Full Desk Experience updates!

Show notes

This episode of The Full Desk Experience features the insightful Alden Galvanek, President of the Chatham Group. Join us as Alden shares his expertise on the indispensable role of authenticity and expertise in the recruiting industry.

In this rich conversation, we’ll uncover the nuances of the recruiter-client-candidate triangle and the pivotal nature of the recruiting call. With the global scale of the sales role now demanding swift hiring and rigorous candidate screening, Alden reveals how his firm manages to stand out through a formidable blend of cutting-edge technology and an in-house pool of industry experts.

Despite the rapid technology changes, we hear Alden’s firm conviction that AI cannot replace the human touch—especially in crafting meaningful engagements and nurturing trust throughout the hiring process. Instead, it serves as a tool to assist with the logistics, while the irreplaceable human intuition navigates cultural fits and personal connections.

Don’t miss Alden’s take on combating recruitment challenges, from attracting top-notch talent amidst a tech revolution to educating clients about the synergy of personal relationships and technological advancements. Plus, we’ll discuss the best ways to retain that talent through a solid company culture and transparent communication.
Alden Galvanek’s LinkedIn profile: https://www.linkedin.com/in/aldengalvanek/
The Chatham Group: https://mrichatham.com/
The Full Desk Experience: https://crelate.com/full-desk-experience


Alden Galvanek [00:00:00]:
I see technology encroaching on things and fears of clients about AI and how do we use AI and managing and bridging that gap. The more I’m realizing, guess what, it’s about people. And that really excites me. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere. So I’m excited to continue to develop relationships and mentor people that see that value to help clients understand the value of their own people and improve everything all over the place. We have that ability as recruiters to get them to see the reality of things like culture value, maintaining a system of transparency so that their employees feel valued moving forward hi, I’m Kortney Harmon.

Kortney Harmon [00:00:45]:
Director of industry relations at Crelate. This is the industry Spotlight, a series of the full Desk Experience, a curlate original podcast. In this series, we will talk with top leaders and influencers who are shaping the talent industry, shining a light on popular trends, the latest news and the stories that laid the groundwork for their success. Welcome back to another episode of the full Desk Experience. Industry Spotlight welcome back to another episode of the full Desk Experience. I’m your host, Kortney Harmon, and today I am so excited to have the pleasure of sitting down with Alden Galvanic, president of executive search firm the Chatham Group. They have over 20 years of experience in the recruiting industry. They’re getting ready to celebrate their 20th year, I think, Alden said in three months.

Alden Galvanek [00:01:34]:
Big deal.

Kortney Harmon [00:01:35]:
I know it’s exciting. And Alden has a true passion for helping professionals take their career to the next level. Under his leadership, the Chatham group has successfully placed thousands of candidates in the chemicals, plastics, specialty industrial gases and advanced material industries. So I’m excited to talk more about that and we’re going to jump in and really look at the recruiting landscape of 2024. We’re going to discuss emerging technologies like AI, where processes land in that new realm of advanced technology. And maybe he’s going to share some advice for our industry as we look at candidates and for sales in the hiring market in the year to come. So I’m super excited to look forward to this discussion and the exciting changes and challenges shaping our industry today. So, Alden, before we dive in, obviously I have an industry or a background with you and I’ve known your office for a while.

Kortney Harmon [00:02:28]:
Tell us a little bit more about you, how you got here and about the group.

Alden Galvanek [00:02:32]:
Sure, sure. Kortney. Well, actually, thank you for having me. Great intro. I appreciate that very much. This is fun. I just love doing this with you. You do great things and it’s an absolute pleasure to be here with you guys.

Alden Galvanek [00:02:45]:
Okay, so, Alden Galvanic. I am currently the president of the Chatham Group. We started in 2004. My father and I actually started this company and the reason we’re in chemicals and plastics. He was coming out of a career where he literally managed consulting companies all over the world, some of the biggest ones. I got to travel a lot when I was young. I enjoyed London very much when he had an office out of London. And we decided to use that experience, bring it to recruiting, and get client companies in a better position to hire talents.

Alden Galvanek [00:03:22]:
I was just coming out of school. I went to Rutgers University in New Jersey for my undergrad and then Liberty University for my business masters. But we decided to bridge the gap between confusing chemical industry and great people and how to bring people up to great clients and get them hired. We’ve gone through a lot of ups and downs, as most companies have. Most of our clients have gone through hiring freezes, hiring trends, letting people go, staffing up. We followed those trends with them over the last few years. We grew to a pretty good size in 2008. Then 2008 hit like it did in many companies.

Alden Galvanek [00:04:04]:
We lost many people. We went back down to a three person firm after stepping up pretty good, and we decided to slowly grow after that. And I am just blessed to have an amazing team now of industry experts who have. Almost all of them come out of the industries they specialize in. Literally being the hiring authorities in their industries, in specialty gases, in chemicals, in plastics, in advanced materials, former presidents of companies, former ceos of some of our client companies, most of them with master’s and PhD degrees. They’re all brilliant. They’re working with our company now to help clients understand what it takes to hire the right person. And they know it.

Alden Galvanek [00:04:52]:
So it’s a blessing. We’re going to keep going on and it’s an interesting market right now. So how’s that for an intro?

Kortney Harmon [00:04:58]:
I love it. That’s amazing. And I love the backstory. Recruiting is really about connecting with people, and it sounds like you’re investing your organization to make sure you’re speaking to the industries in which you want to truly be a differentiator in.

Alden Galvanek [00:05:12]:

Kortney Harmon [00:05:13]:
I love it. So you talked about the changing market. Can you give us your overview of the recruiting landscape going into 2024 and maybe how it’s evolved over the past few years? Because you talked about that change from 2008 to now. Give me the overview of the landscape today in 2024 and maybe how you’ve seen it evolve in your office.

Alden Galvanek [00:05:32]:
Absolutely. Technology. This is just true for most industries, but technology has changed things dramatically, and it seems to be speeding up in 2024. The big buzword is artificial intelligence, right? Or the two buzwords, AI, artificial intelligence. What does that mean for our technologies? How are our clients using that? We’re trying to keep our fingers on the pulse there, and it’s doing some crazy things from the candidate side and from the client side out there. So technology is huge. We’ll probably talk about that later on. But candidates are also in the driver’s seat right now, which is interesting because they have multiple positions, and we’re competing in a market where there’s a lot of clients that are slow to hire or they have old school hiring methodologies and interview processes.

Alden Galvanek [00:06:23]:
So when you take the speed up of technology candidates having pick of the litter and they’re in the driver’s seat for positions, and then you have clients that refuse to change their interview process does not bode well. So we find ourselves trying to educate our clients on trends out there, on how to attract good talent, how to articulate their own internal interview processes, and how to articulate their messaging across their own hiring team so that it’s one cohesive message. And it happens quickly and rapidly because the clients that are going to be agile in their interview process and that have their brands down and they know who they are, and they could speak to that with their candidates, they’re going to be the ones that attract good talent. And it’s our job as recruiters to help them see that we’re in a really interesting seat. We get to see how many clients in industry hire, and it’s all different. There’s no one client that does it the same. So being able to see what one client’s doing over here, another one’s doing here, another one’s doing here what the candidate market looks like, and then coming back and educating our client on the best way to do things, moving forward on the best technologies to use to attract and hire talent is really important. So the landscape is a little crazy, it’s a little upside down, but with a lot of education, a lot of great relationship management, I think we’re going to bridge that gap.

Alden Galvanek [00:07:55]:
It’s completely changed since we started in 2004 to go back in time where we used to have paper resumes faxed into our office. We’re constantly dealing with this kind of evolving landscape of technology mediums, but we’ve gone from paper to now massive internal databases, ATS systems, applicant tracking systems, and all kinds of bolt on technologies to help the process move faster. You have to become an expert in so many different things, not just hiring and communicating with your candidates. It’s technology management, understanding the mentality of candidates, consulting with your clients, education, career counselors. So we do a lot of things out there as recruiters. It’s evolved since I’ve been in it since 2004, and it’s speeding up rapidly. And I feel for our clients who feel overwhelmed because it is overwhelming. But that’s where we come in.

Kortney Harmon [00:08:54]:
I love that. I think that’s great. You kind of hit on this a smidge. Talk about the challenges. Obviously, our foot is on the gas when it comes to technology. You talked about AI at staffing World last year. Someone used the term ambient intelligence because it’s like the ambient light that’s in the room. It’s going to be here from now on.

Kortney Harmon [00:09:14]:
It’s not going anywhere. It’s going to kind of live in our day to day. You talked about a few challenges with the idea of our clients. It’s education, getting them up to speed to move with that technology. Is there any other challenges you’re seeing in recruiting firms like yours in today’s market beyond training them and maybe the advancement of technology? Kind of elaborate on that a little bit more.

Alden Galvanek [00:09:38]:
Sure. Well, internally I pull the curtain back. It’s hard to attract talent right now because there are so many changes out there, so many new technologies, and attracting the right person that understands all of it, that also has the sales act, that also understands how to deal with relationships with clients at a very high level in the chemical, plastics, industrial, specialty gas market, it’s a very difficult thing. So we’re finding attracting the right talent internally is becoming increasingly difficult. And it’s going to matter moving forward because artificial intelligence, a lot of people think that it may supplant positions, it may change positions, and it may get rid of some positions. I forecast no to all of those things. I actually think that it’s going to do a lot with the administrative side, but with regards to how we operate as recruiters, it’s going to maximize and put a new spotlight on the communication piece, the face to face piece, the expertise of what we bring to market. It’s only going to highlight that.

Alden Galvanek [00:10:40]:
How do you attract for that? It’s sort of a difficult thing to deal with. We’re still trying to manage that right now. But on the client side, quality and quantity of candidates is sort of a different thing. A lot of our clients, they come to us because we’re the experts in chemicals, plastics, advanced materials, industrial, especially gases. And we’re getting into some new markets as well because they think we have this magic black box of candidates that we could stick our hand into. And here’s your candidate. It doesn’t actually work that way. If anything, it’s because of the systems we have in place.

Alden Galvanek [00:11:18]:
It’s because we’ve done 20 years of grinding out there, getting to know people, maintaining our database, and maintaining those relationships throughout the last 20 years, that we could even bring one, two, three qualified candidates to the table. So managing that expectation on the client side is really important. If they think we’re going to have 20 to 30 people for their advanced phd position where there’s only seven people in the world that could manage this process, well, we failed to communicate that with them, so setting expectations is a must. And we deal with that all the time. So it’s a challenge, but that’s what we do as recruiters. We educate the candidates and the clients, and then on the candidate side. So we’ve talked about internally now we’re talking about clients now on the candidate side, navigating them through hiring processes that are vastly different from company to company. While they have many offers, coming at quick speeds is a challenge, and maintaining good communication throughout that is very difficult.

Alden Galvanek [00:12:25]:
So managing expectations from the client candidate side, it’s a challenge, but it’s what we do, and it’s why we’re recruiters. At the end of the day.

Kortney Harmon [00:12:32]:
I love this. Let’s dive into this a little bit more. Candidate experience. A lot of people are talking about it right now. You have to stand out. You have to be different. You have to continue to draw your audience in. Talk to me about how that’s changed and what candidates are looking for.

Kortney Harmon [00:12:47]:
Now, when going through a hiring process, everything’s at the. It’s on this thing all the time, applying for jobs. How has that candidate experience and how has your firm adjusted to that in this market?

Alden Galvanek [00:12:58]:
Okay, so, one, when we started, it was all about the relationship and really good communication. I think that’s the key to life. Whether you’re talking to your children or whether you’re talking to your spouse, or whether you’re talking to your boss, or whether you’re talking to employees or coworkers or on a podcast, great communication is what matters. And that’s been true in the recruiting industry since we got in in 2004. One of the biggest complaints we used to get was, well, I never heard from them when I was taken out of the process. I never heard from them what was happening with the interview process and that still maintains itself as extremely important today. I think communication. Communication.

Alden Galvanek [00:13:39]:
Communication is extremely important. So do it better. Good recruiting firms will just communicate more effectively and articulate their message very well. So with regards to candidate experience, do they feel like you’re telling them what’s going on throughout the process and do they feel like you’re doing it with urgency and that there’s some speed there? Even when the clients are maybe pushing the brakes a little bit, they’re protracting their hiring process a little bit. Are we still communicating that message to candidates? Good recruiters will do that. I think there also needs to be transparency in everything. Now, sometimes because of NDAs, we can’t get into some things with our clients, but when we started, we were actually taught to not reveal certain information to our candidates. Don’t tell them who the.

Alden Galvanek [00:14:34]:
I may get a verbal backslap for this, but this is one of the things we’re different in. We used to be trained to don’t tell them who the client company is because they’re just going to go apply themselves. And don’t tell them what the salary range is because you want to find out what a candidate’s salary range is, that never works out well. I’ve always found that trust is earned in droplets and lost in buckets. And when you hold things back with a candidate that is already involved in interviewing processes, that probably, if they’re good in their industry, they probably know who you’re talking about. If you start holding things back, they’re going to start holding things back. And now you’re going to be in a sparring match with them of information and you’re depleting trust throughout the whole thing. So candidate experience, communication.

Alden Galvanek [00:15:22]:
Candidate experience transparency. To build trust, I also think we need to coach our candidates along the way. What do I mean by that? Who are they interviewing with? What is this company’s expectations of this role when they are stepping into the process? What do they need to know to articulate what they’ve done to speak to the client more accurately about those are all important things and that’s our job as recruiters. If we’re doing all of these things. Fantastic. Communication, transparency, building trust, being timely in our communications, letting them know where we are in the process and coaching them throughout the way, well, we’re going to do good things for them and they’re going to really appreciate that. Those firms that don’t have these, that post and hope that just take resumes and push them into clients email boxes, they’re doing a real disservice to the industry, and candidates ultimately notice that they’re smart and they’re not going to want to work in that capacity moving forward.

Kortney Harmon [00:16:22]:
I love that on a recent podcast that I was on as a guest with Haley marketing with Lauren Jones and Brad Byley, a lot of other names in the industry. It was really the idea of engagement is the word for 2024. It’s not necessarily the transactional, but it’s the engagement and really making sure it’s different. I mean, back when I was training at MRI, it was really the idea of the number one complaint about recruiters was they called you frequently in the beginning. Number two complaint is you never hear from them again. And that goes right along with what you’re saying.

Alden Galvanek [00:16:52]:
Yeah, I love the idea of engagement. I think all of us want that at some level, just as human beings, we want to engage in the process. We want to see what’s going on. We want to believe in the position and what we’re doing in our current role. And when you sort of disassociate with anything, it leaves you questioning what you’re doing to begin with. So let’s not do that for our candidates when we’re taking them through the process.

Kortney Harmon [00:17:16]:
We talked about AI at the beginning, and I know based on our previous conversations, this is something you’re very passionate about. So talk to me about how technology like AI has impacted your recruiting industry and maybe more importantly, your firm here at the Chatham Group.

Alden Galvanek [00:17:32]:
Absolutely. You say, this is something I’m very passionate about. This is actually something that terrified me as an owner because the word out there was, well, like always when career builder came out, job boards are going to replace recruiters, and then social media and LinkedIn comes out and it’s, well, this is going to replace recruiters and we find ourselves at an inflection point again. There’s a change happening right now. The inflection point is artificial intelligence, and what is that going to do to interactions, to positions, and especially the recruiting process and industry? So I’m researching this a lot. I’m spending a lot of time pulling up scholarly articles. I’m talking with professionals out there. We’re currently interviewing companies from Stanford University that are developing AI.

Alden Galvanek [00:18:25]:
We’ll call autonomous agent technologies to go out there to do recruiting. And I’m trying to see how is that going to impact the future of recruiting. And I now am moving from scared to excited and passionate because all of the research, especially with COVID people moving away from face to face interactions to more digital interactions, there’s a lot of researching, saying that people miss, that there’s a human to human element that will never be captured with AI. In fact, when speaking with some of these companies that are developing these AI tools for interview processes, for sourcing candidates, the number one thing they’ve realized is, well, when people realize they’re dealing with AI, it kills the process 100% of the time. That’s fascinating, and we need to understand that as recruiters and really hold that in light. What does that mean? That means that human beings like talking to human beings. It’s about the relationship. At the end of the day now, AI is doing wonders for what I’m calling the administrative side of recruiting, where it’s helping go out and source different job boards and pull back candidates.

Alden Galvanek [00:19:41]:
That may be good. It’s helping with messaging, getting messaging out faster, moving to that speed model we were talking about, if we want to give a good experience to our clients and candidates, it has to be fast with good communication. AI is helping do that. But what it’s not doing, much to my surprise, and excitement, is taking away that relationship piece. It’s actually maximizing. That’s where I think we have a foothold in the future as recruiters, and I’m very excited to see how that continues to vet itself. So one of the things we’re doing is not only investigating these AI tools diligently, we have a team inside of my company where every week we get together and we ask a couple of questions. What are we currently utilizing? Do our clients like it? What are we not utilizing that’s currently coming to the market with regards to technology? And do we need to look at it? And if so, we set up demos, we put a whole team of people behind it to look at this technology.

Alden Galvanek [00:20:43]:
And then we ask, will this benefit our client and the communication process moving forward? We’re doing that every single week, and I think that a good recruiting firm will do that because there’s too many tools out there. There’s too many pieces of technology that are thrown at us on a daily basis. Not every recruiting firm can deal with them all. And certainly our clients think about that. They’re trying to do their job and do their job well, and now they have to manage all of these tools also just to deal with a small piece of what they do. Hiring for their company, it becomes a nightmare for them, and we’re here to get rid of that nightmare.

Kortney Harmon [00:21:23]:
Okay, so you talked sourcing. You’re like, hey, you think it might replace that first part of this model, the recruiting, the sourcing piece, the administrative tasks. Right?

Alden Galvanek [00:21:32]:

Kortney Harmon [00:21:33]:
I guess my first question is, do you continue to see that to dominate our industry in that portion? And then have you guys started implementing any of that? And I mean, when someone gets to that point to say, okay, let’s do this, you’re obviously spending time with your organization to do it. How do they start? I think it’s scary. You said you were terrified. I think others are in your position probably still today. How do you start?

Alden Galvanek [00:21:56]:
Well, right. It is a scary thing. It’s just new, right? But new things are always scary. I think there’s some benefits on the back end if you just try to understand them. When I was really diving into this, I actually realized that there was an executive order in October of last year placed by the current administration to make sure that AI helps people’s jobs, not takes away people’s jobs. And I was thinking about that and then the more I dove into that, the more I realized, and here’s a direct quote from somebody at the labor department for UI modernization. And he said something, I think it’s going to point our compass in the right trajectory here. With regards to AI, let’s get away from the idea of technology replacing human intelligence, but rather look at it as technology assisting the staff that work with UI user interface and AI programs to do the work more accurately and efficiently.

Alden Galvanek [00:22:56]:
Okay. And that was Andrew Stetner, a director of labor department office at UI modernization. I think he’s onto something there. When I talked to some of our people inside, I was talking to Mike Mueller, genius. He was actually former president of one of our client companies. We did so much work with him, we got to know him over the course of probably ten years of recruiting that when he retired as president, guess what? He wants to work with us. And he’s been one of our most successful recruiters here for the last five years. And when I was talking with him about this, we had a really good quote that we developed, and it’s AI will help with logistics systems and number crunching, and it’s going to do a better job than the human brain can do, but it will never be able to manage intuition.

Alden Galvanek [00:23:44]:
And I think that’s really important to understand because much of what we do in recruiting the person to person, the face to face, the subtleties of communication, that’s intuition. How do you hire the right person? We used to have this quote, people like, people like themselves. What we’re really getting to the heart of is cultural fits, and AI can’t manage that. Well, it can’t articulate that well and a resume can’t highlight that well. So to get back to your question about what’s going to happen over the next three to five years, or what’s AI doing right now?

Kortney Harmon [00:24:24]:
Yeah, absolutely. Or what are you anticipating for your organization in the next three to five years? How are you positioning your firm?

Alden Galvanek [00:24:30]:
Yeah. Okay. So it’s going to be that front end piece. The AI tools are going to become more prevalent and I don’t think they’re going away, but it’s going to take over the administrative stuff, the initial communication stuff, the data collection and the number crunching stuff, and do it way better than we as recruiters can do it. And a good recruiter is going to leverage that to get rid of all that stuff. It’s like mosquitoes anyway, buzing around with all the little things that we have to deal with on a daily basis just to get to the great conversation with our client and candidate. It’s going to get us there faster so that we can do what we’re good at more getting on the phone with our clients, leveraging our expertise and managing the intuition piece of what we’re doing more and more. So at the Chatham group, we’re leveraging that.

Alden Galvanek [00:25:22]:
We’re currently looking at technologies, implementing them. Now we have some that are doing a great job, like the crelate piece and the sequencing piece. We’re diving into that. We’re also looking at AI technologies that are going out and sourcing information and pulling it back to get us on the phone faster so we could have these in depth conversations quicker and deeper. In many cases with candidates right now.

Kortney Harmon [00:25:48]:
That’s amazing. And it’s going to be changing month after month. So I’m excited to see where it goes.

Alden Galvanek [00:25:53]:
Yeah. And faster. Think about like ten years ago to now, it’s like, yeah, there was always changes coming out, but it seems like more and more. And that’s a benefit too, in recruiting, because if we’re going to be the experts, we have to know how it impacts recruiting and our clients and then do it well. And our clients aren’t going to want to deal with it at the speed it’s coming at them. So let’s do it. Let’s help them.

Kortney Harmon [00:26:15]:
We talked recruiting. We talked the sourcing piece. Let’s switch. You just mentioned clients on the sales side. How do you see the role of sales teams evolving in the future? And is there any new skills that are going to be critical? Whether it’s this AI piece, do you see anything changing for the sales side of our business.

Alden Galvanek [00:26:35]:
I don’t really. And why do I say that? I think technology hasn’t really impacted the sales side. Okay. For our firm. Let’s take a look at our firm with a microscope. So, most of our people are successful because they came out of industry. They know how to hire for their industry. They know the pain points of the companies that they came out of.

Alden Galvanek [00:26:59]:
They know what a good candidate can do, so that when they’re talking with a client, they can articulate that and say, hey, I’ve been where you’ve been. In fact, I’ve done this. And not only have I done this, but I’ve recruited successfully to do this. And that comes down to relationships. So having the relationship has been what differentiates recruiters, and I think that will still be what differentiates recruiters on the sales side. Most of our people are successful because they know their hiring authorities, and they know how to have those articulated communications and conversations with them. It used to be different, though, when we got into this business, we used to hire and just more behind the curtain stuff. You would get into recruiting, and then you would take over a territory, and it was a geographic territory, so you would then go and just develop relationships with all of those people in your territory and become the best recruiter for that area.

Alden Galvanek [00:27:54]:
Okay. Now it’s separated out into two different tiers now where it’s no longer territory, because everything is global. And a lot of what we do is remote over the telephone or over video to video communications. And now it’s become the difficulty of the role, the expertise involved in the sale. Think about it like the Pareto principle. The 80 20, 80% of what a client does is sales roles, operations, entry level positions. You can split that down. And then the other 20%, which is where we’re involved with, is high level C suites, managerial operations, engineering, very complicated positions.

Alden Galvanek [00:28:38]:
You still need to know those, and you need to communicate well with the person you’re selling to that you know that and that you can hire those things. So is that going to change? No, because it’s going to be human relationship management moving forward. So one thing I do think will change is the speed, I think speed. To hire and getting clients to understand urgency with screening candidates, it’s essential. So how do we do that? We just educate them more in the relationship process that, hey, we got to hurry up. Your long process is killing the candidate experience, and you’re losing your candidates. So let’s button that up and move forward. And that’s still a conversation.

Alden Galvanek [00:29:19]:
A person to person conversation during that process. So sales, I don’t see it changing too much. If anything, it’ll improve with developing lists faster and getting out there in front of people quicker, but it’s going to be the person to person relationship.

Kortney Harmon [00:29:34]:
Fantastic. I know your industries are very niche. Obviously, even before we started this call, I was like, oh, what is that area? But how do you look at this in your value that you provide for your clients when you’re looking for new clients? How do you stay competitive? How do you differentiate your services from others in your space?

Alden Galvanek [00:29:53]:
Okay, we’ve done this from the beginning. I told you a little bit about how we always have these meetings internally where we’re continually. It’s actually kind of the scientific method. We have a lot of scientists, master’s degree PhD people here. So we take the scientific method, we look at all the technologies out there, we scratch out the ones that aren’t impacting us, we pull in new ones. We’re always on this evaluation cycle of how can we do things better? How can we do things better? How can we do things better moving forward? Not a lot of firms do that. There’s a lot of recruiting companies that continue to do it their way. Their way? It was ten years ago.

Alden Galvanek [00:30:28]:
How are they managing new technologies? That’s a good question. I’d actually ask every recruiting firm to answer that for yourself. How are you managing the new technologies that are coming out? We’re doing that on a weekly basis with a team of people inside of our companies and integrating what’s good and cutting out what doesn’t work anymore. And it happens very quickly. Secondly, the thing that really separates us is the people that we have. I keep saying this, I love them. I’m proud of all of them. Multiple PhDs, three PhDs on staff.

Alden Galvanek [00:31:00]:
All have run companies and have literally done every position throughout their career that we hire. For now, who better to talk to our clients than them with regards to needs, talk about a leading edge or staying on the cutting edge. We’ve done that, we can do that. And we have the technology moving forward to help support that. And we’re developing a support system inside our company around them and their expertise. And that sets us apart from a lot of other recruiting companies out there. Most of them.

Kortney Harmon [00:31:31]:
I’d say it sounds like you’re really good at getting people in the door, you’re really good at consulting and educating. I think another part of this industry is retention. I know on our side of the house, we talk a lot about upskilling and reskilling. In the future because people are leaving jobs. It’s a candidate driven market. How do you consult with your clients about talent retention? And how do you help them with strategies that work well to retain people within their organization?

Alden Galvanek [00:31:58]:
That’s a great question. And it comes back to culture also and our ability to coach them on what we’re seeing work and not work out. In industry, we see a lot of what does not work inside companies. A lot of internal politic issues, a lot of bad communication issues, long interview processes, hiring authorities, not communicating with their people well, ultimately leading to burnout or throwing too much on them with too many high expectations, ultimately leading to burnout. You’d think that that’s great for us as recruiters, but we don’t want that. We want our clients to love the people that they bring on to care about them and everybody to succeed. Right? That’s a great testimony of us. If people don’t have burnout, if they’re there with their new clients and new companies for a long time.

Alden Galvanek [00:32:45]:
So it comes back to educating them on what’s working, what’s not working. And many companies, believe it or not, they don’t put a value on the internal culture that they have. There is a huge shift today where candidates want to go and work for a company where they feel valued and they believe in what they’re doing. How can they go into a new job if the company doesn’t even know what they’re doing, but they’re producing a good chemical and they want to push it out there for maximized profit? That’s good. And we’re a capitalistic society, I understand that. But candidates now want that deeper purpose. So we help coach them on that. We help find that.

Alden Galvanek [00:33:25]:
In fact, we as a company went through that about ten years ago. We were so focused on just doing really well as recruiters and placing people, we completely neglected our own internal culture. We didn’t think we needed it and we thought, well, culture is a nice to have. Well, we went through consultations and we brought people on to look at our company and figure out how can we improve it. And we realized that we had that backwards. Culture is actually the one thing that is most important, not only in our company, but with every company out there. If you could start at the heart of what you do, why you do it and how you do it, and get people to believe in that and care enough about them that they believe in it, success starts to happen. So we educate our clients that way also and get them to understand that moving forward and the people will share the vision with companies that can articulate it well with transparency.

Alden Galvanek [00:34:22]:
And success will happen out of that.

Kortney Harmon [00:34:24]:
I think that’s amazing if you can especially have that conversation to be like, hey, I was where you are. This is the emphasis we put. And when my mind thinks the Chatham group, I always have thought culture because I know you and your father very well. So that is something that stands out and it associates in my brain.

Alden Galvanek [00:34:39]:
Well, I love that. Thank you very much. We did not always have that. We were terrible. But now we look at our people and we realize we have this funny tagline. We’re at the Chatham group, we find great people. It’s always been there, but we miss the meaning of that. We don’t just find great people to hire for our clients.

Alden Galvanek [00:34:56]:
We find great people here inside of our own company. And if you care and you serve your people genuinely with authenticity, even to our clients, this message goes out to our clients as well. They will believe and they will buy in, and their heart connects with things like that. And retention goes up and success goes up. So start with the culture first. Great.

Kortney Harmon [00:35:22]:
I love that I’ve talked about this before, but I think oftentimes organizations forget they have three audiences. They don’t just have candidates and clients, they have their internal teams as well. And missing that is definitely a disservice to your own internal organization. So I love that you’re fully aware of that and you’re definitely making sure that thrives.

Alden Galvanek [00:35:41]:
Good. I love it, too.

Kortney Harmon [00:35:43]:
Let’s switch topics a smidge. Let’s talk about where you’re seeing the most demand and growth currently in today’s market. And maybe the flip side of that. What are the hardest roles to fill right now that you guys are seeing? So most demand and hardest to find?

Alden Galvanek [00:35:59]:
Sure. So they kind of go hand in hand right now. Well, we deal with a lot of technical positions, chemical industry, you can imagine. So the demand is around highly technical positions where there’s an in demand skill set. And the biggest difficulty is finding those technical people with those really hard to find skill sets. So how do we deal with that? Well, we develop relationships with people. We network. We get involved with those people in their communities and ask them, who else do you know networking all throughout the way, developing relationships with them.

Alden Galvanek [00:36:31]:
But that’s always been something that’s been difficult, especially in the engineering field. We have a hard time finding, like electrical engineers, very difficult to locate good high quantity of electrical engineers. We’ve seen an uptick in management and C suites over the last few years. C suite positions, leadership roles, they’re just out there right now, and we deal with them.

Kortney Harmon [00:36:55]:
Also, it sounds like you hit on something. Again, one of the most underrated things that I think we don’t do as much in our industries is it sounds like those difficult areas, you’re going back to referrals. It’s not rocket science. It’s nothing new. But it’s really, you have to earn the rate at the table to ask who else they know. Am I wrong?

Alden Galvanek [00:37:14]:
No, you are spot on. In fact, one of the trends I’m seeing out there doing all this research, one of the things they’re forecasting is quality recruiters will get to know people and get to know more people because of those people. And you don’t do that on social media. In fact, a lot of recruiters develop relationships on LinkedIn, and they stay on LinkedIn and they develop LinkedIn, and then all they want to do is work on LinkedIn. All of the studies I’m saying, and all of the research is saying, hey, people are starting to see that the amount of spam that’s out there on LinkedIn right now is actually pushing people away from communicating on LinkedIn. And they’re shutting down their LinkedIn messaging systems because they don’t want to see any more stuff coming through. Well, how do you get in touch with those people? How do you get qualified people for your roles? How are clients out there going to get more people if the sources, the same wells that they all go to, are starting to dry up and people are starting to put tops back on them and say, no more of this, it goes back to the relationship piece. We seem to be hitting on it throughout this entire conversation, and AI won’t touch it.

Alden Galvanek [00:38:22]:
It’s all about your relationship and your ability to talk with people authentically, get to know them and say, is this right for you? Is this position right for you in your career? And if it’s not fantastic, it’s not my job to push you into this role. It’s my job to help you find something great for you and marry that up with a really great client and make that work for success. And by the way, who do you know that would be right for this role? And then you start, then you just get to know more people that way. But people are not going to open up and give you that if you haven’t built trust and rapport those droplets in the bucket to begin with by being authentic, great communication and transparent on the phone with them, offering some sort of value with the role that you’re bringing them. So yes, it’s about networking. It will always be about networking and relationships moving forward.

Kortney Harmon [00:39:08]:
So true. You talked about it becoming spam. Ironically, I never have counted this before. This is not due to this call, because I didn’t know you were going to say that. But I got 62 LinkedIn messages alone yesterday. That’s not my email. That’s not my text messages. And I was like, holy cow when you said that.

Kortney Harmon [00:39:24]:
I’m like, that is so true. 62 messages, so true.

Alden Galvanek [00:39:27]:
And it’s happening more and more. When I took over the president role, I was even floored when I took over president and I just changed my title to president. On LinkedIn, I get more sponsored ads and emails about random things or new things that we need out there, and it’s actually clogging up my message streams inside of LinkedIn. So I see it. I don’t want that for our candidates moving forward.

Kortney Harmon [00:39:54]:
So true. What excites you most about the future of recruiting and where our industry of staffing and recruiting is headed? What excites you most?

Alden Galvanek [00:40:03]:
Okay. I love people. I am a people person. I went back to school because I loved it so much and got a master’s degree in just leadership and people. And the more I see where this industry is going, the more I see technology encroaching on things and fears of clients about AI and how do we use AI and managing and bridging that gap, the more I’m realizing, guess what? It’s about people. And that really excites me. I don’t think it’s going to go anywhere. So I’m excited to continue to develop relationships and mentor people that see that value, to help clients understand the value of their own people and improve everything all over the place.

Alden Galvanek [00:40:44]:
We have that ability as recruiters to get them to see the reality of things like culture value, maintaining a system of transparency so that their employees feel valued. Moving forward, we’re going to be maximizing the recruiting effort in the future. With that perspective in mind, I can’t wait to continue to bring that to our clients and educate them on why only using AI and sourcing technologies are actually going to inhibit that kind of development inside of a company. And actually, it’s cool, too, just to stay on the cutting edge of technology, because technology can be fun, it can be pretty neat, and it can be pretty helpful. As it ramps up, there will be really interesting new technologies that come out. I’m actually excited to see where they go moving forward and continue to stay on the cutting edge of researching them and bringing them to our clients.

Kortney Harmon [00:41:37]:
That’s amazing. So as we look at top performing firms like your own, what separates those top performing firms from the rest of the pack today? Because everyone wants to be in the place where you guys are. They want to be performing. They want to be growing. They want to be scaling. So if you think about that, what’s your competitive advantage? And what would be your advice to somebody else to help separate them from the pack?

Alden Galvanek [00:42:00]:
Be authentic. Offer a service to your clients and candidates where they feel valued, and bring your expertise to the table every single time. And don’t let that dull. I remember if anybody knows Danny Cahill, most people know Danny Cahill. He said this at a meeting one time. He said, we forget the power of the recruiting call. We forget that as recruiters, we actually go into it and we just try and talk about our clients and our companies and do you want this job? And we have so much more on the table to bring to our clients and our candidates. If we see it clearly, if we understand the power of the relationship and what we’re bringing to the table for our clients, educating them, and new technologies and systems, bringing great candidates to the table and for the candidates, coaching them on the next position that elevates their career.

Alden Galvanek [00:42:56]:
If you don’t lose that, you will appreciate recruiting. And if you appreciate recruiting, you have a passion for recruiting and for people. And if you have a passion, you will be good at what you’re doing. And if you’re good at what you’re doing, clients and candidates will see that and they’ll want to continue to work with you. Because at the end of the day, it’s all about people and appreciating them.

Kortney Harmon [00:43:18]:
I love that he has so many. I have so many things in my head from Danny Cahill. Once you said his name, all of these things rushed in my brain that he said over all the years of training, I know.

Alden Galvanek [00:43:26]:
He’s a cool dude, man.

Kortney Harmon [00:43:29]:
Okay, my last and final question. I promise, if you could give one piece of advice to recruiting leaders today, what would it be?

Alden Galvanek [00:43:37]:
I would say, treat your candidates and clients like customers. Give them a high quality experience. They want engagement. Kortney and I were talking about that before. They want engagement, and they want to be helped throughout this process. Regardless of how many systems and pieces of technology you have in place to make it easy for them, still treat them with a high quality experience and bring along your expertise. Our firm, for instance, has so many stories and so many historical background events and positions they’ve worked through that, they could bring that to their client and help them with their pain points before they even realize their pain points. Bring that to the table if you have it, and don’t shy away from that.

Alden Galvanek [00:44:22]:
Make it also easy for your candidates and your clients throughout the process. If you’re making it difficult, if you have a convoluted process and your client has a convoluted process, you’re losing candidates really quick. It’s like sand through your fingertips. It’s just going to go away and it’s going to be gone. So give them a high quality experience, make it easy for them and serve them. We’ve lost the ability to see that. At the end of the day, recruiting is about serving people in authentic ways, about caring about our candidates and caring about our clients. And if you make it just about metrics and money and placements, you’ve lost it.

Alden Galvanek [00:45:03]:
Get it back and take it right back to the heart of what we do, about people caring about clients, who are people caring about candidates, who are people that just want to improve their lives and you’re helping them do that. Do not forget that as one of the core elements of what we do.

Kortney Harmon [00:45:20]:
Alden, that was amazing. I couldn’t agree more. Thank you so much for joining us today. I love your perspective, I love your insight, and I really love what you guys do over there at the Chatham Group.

Alden Galvanek [00:45:30]:
I appreciate that. I love it, too. Our people are great. Y’all are great. And Kortney, I thank you for this opportunity. Just to talk with you, pull the curtain back a little bit, laugh a little bit, and talk about how cool recruiting is at the end of the day.

Kortney Harmon [00:45:42]:
Absolutely. Well, this wraps up my conversation with Alden Galvanic, president of the Chatham Group. Again, Alden, thank you so much for your wisdom, your experience in our industry, and I appreciate you providing our listeners with such thoughtful perspectives where recruiting is possibly headed in the years to come, what to not to lose sight of and why we probably all got in this business to begin with. To learn more about Auden’s profile, you can check out the show notes. We’ll provide his LinkedIn profile as well as the Chatham Group’s website. But stay tuned for more episodes with top leaders in our industry that we’ll be exploring more in the future. So thank you so much.

Alden Galvanek [00:46:20]:
Thanks, Kortney.

Kortney Harmon [00:46:23]:
I’m Kortney Harmon with krillates. Thanks for joining us for this episode of Industry Spotlight, a new series from the full desk experience. New episodes will be dropping monthly. Be sure you’re subscribed to our podcast so you can catch the next industry spotlight episode and all episodes of the full desk experience here or wherever. You listen close.

Filed under: The Full Desk Experience