Ready to change hiring forever?
Join thousands of talent leaders learning new ways to optimize and revamp their recruiting processes to hire the best talent.

The Art of Leading Recruiters with Ryan Vecitis

“If a friend asks, ‘what should I do in an interview?’ or ‘how should I go about getting the attention of a company?’ I love talking through that with individuals, friends, family, whoever. That side of it, giving advice, guiding people through a career will always be number one in my heart with this type of job.” In this episode of Hire Quality, join host Devyn Mikell and special guest Ryan Vecitis, Talent Acquisition Manager at Sendik's Food Market, as they delve into the nuances of talent leadership and the current trends shaping recruiting. Gain valuable insights from Ryan's cross-industry expertise and discover why he places such a high emphasis on career guidance.

Devyn Mikelll

Hire Quality is a show built for Talent Acquisition Professionals.

Tune in bi-weekly to hear from a new guest and cover their journey as a Recruiting Professional.

Subscribe Now


[0:00:06] Devyn Mikell: Hey, this is Devyn Mikell with the Hire Quality podcast. Super excited to be interviewing you. So could you introduce yourself, your role in the company that you work at?

[0:00:16] Ryan Vecitis: My name is Ryan Vecitis. I’m the talent acquisition manager for Sendik’s Food Market. We are a Milwaukee-based grocery store and we have 18 stores. My team handles everything recruiting for all those 18 stores and the corporate office.

[0:00:32] Devyn Mikell: What is top of mind for you as a talent leader at your organization?

[0:00:36] Ryan Vecitis: Right now, the retail space and grocery in general, for all of hiring is very tough, full-time market, especially in this space. We do really well with leaders and managers of our organization. But when it comes to frontline workers, it is getting tougher and tougher to keep people around and keep them from just jumping to another job for 50 cents, a dollar an hour.

[0:00:59] Devyn Mikell: What is something you wish you knew about leading a talent that you didn't know when you first started?

 [0:01:05] Ryan Vecitis: One of the main things that any recruiter can try to really understand is the relationship building and culture of each and every team that they work with. Each organization harps on how great a culture is, and how great they do things, which is awesome. But in the end, every department, every team in that department is their own culture, and really diving into those things. The best ways to communicate with them, I think is probably the biggest aspects, really understanding how everyone communicates and works together is one of the best ways to build and lead a good team.

 Then, your goal as a leader is to make sure that each one of those individuals has that pathway, has that avenue to succeed in whatever direction they want to go, each person is going to be a little bit different. So don't always think that everyone on your team is going to want to be a manager, or a director or a VP, one day, some people are going to want to recruit and recruit for their whole career, and that's what they love to do, and there's nothing wrong with that at all.

 [0:02:06] Devyn Mikell: What's something unique about you as a talent leader at your organization that makes you a perfect fit for that job?

 [0:02:13] Ryan Vecitis: The ability just to be agile and gritty when solving problems and taking on challenges. I think it's key to be able to be flexible. Take the experience that you have and use it to make the right decision. But to even sit back sometimes just listen to everybody's perspective. Take that all in, taking your experience, and move forward is really one of the big things that I try to do in every situation with every problem. Use that to try to be as agile and gritty as possible when solving these problems. We always want to solve them as quick as possible, but sometimes it is hurtful to just start doing, and then make too many mistakes along the way.

[0:02:51] Devyn Mikell: We made it to the last question, and this one's a fun one. What is the worst question you've ever been asked in an interview?

[0:02:59] Ryan Vecitis: I've heard plenty of people try to use those, if you were a vegetable, if you were a time of day, what would you be? When all the rave was asking those types of questions when the Googles and Facebooks of the world were putting out how they interview and how they assess their talents. I think those questions are silly. I think you put people off guard, which I understand you might want to do that every once in a while. But my philosophy and interviews has always been, make people as comfortable as possible and get their true selves. There's different ways to get to the same solution without making the candidate uncomfortable.


[0:03:40] Devyn Mikell: Everyone, thanks for joining this episode of Hire Quality. I'm your host, Devyn Mikell, co-founder and CEO at Qualifi. I'm joined by Ryan Vecitis, the talent acquisition manager at Sendik’s Food Market. Thanks so much for being here, Ryan. Super excited to chat.

[0:03:53] Ryan Vecitis: Yes. Thank you for having me.

[0:03:55] Devyn Mikell: Absolutely. So I want to give you the opportunity to add a little sizzle to what I introduced you, as you’re a talent acquisition manager. That means so many things at so many different companies. So what does that mean for you at Sendik’s?

[0:04:05] Ryan Vecitis: Yes, at Sendik’s. it’s a unique role I think because it's brand new to Sendik’s. They never had anybody in this position to own recruitment. So I feel like I take on actually a couple different things. Number one, managing the team. So we have a team of six, from four recruiters and two coordinators that handle all recruiting for 18 stores, and 2100 employees all together. We brought in about 1500 people last year. I’m paced to do the same exact numbers this year. That's one side of it, people management, running through the day-to-day there. But then also, getting strategic with everything we do, from technology, to marketing, to employer brand, a little bit everything.

There's so much more to do with talent acquisition at Sendik’s. As a grocery store, we can do so much more. We were just there with the old school retail mentality of, you post a job, they'll apply. So we're getting past that, the market is way past that. And so we have to make sure that that brand stays strong and people know that we're hiring and what positions we're hiring for. And getting through all of that is a good portion of my role as well.

[0:05:13] Devyn Mikell: Got you. I'm glad to ask that question. Because to me, you sound like a VP of talent. You're overseeing the entire function, the strategy, everything. I think you sound like a VP of talent. So we'll unpack that later.

[0:05:26] Ryan Vecitis: I appreciate that. That obviously will be a goal of mine into the future. I'm not that far along in my career, but in the scheme of things.

[0:05:32] Devyn Mikell: That’s fair.

[0:05:33] Ryan Vecitis: But at Sendik's too, I report directly up to the CHRO. So there is no in-between. So I'm in a sense that level, that's what the decision making goes between me and her. Margaret Soda is her name. We collaborate on almost everything that we do when it comes to recruitment, and brand management, and just employer brand all together. That's essentially that level too, if you were to expand out the company size-wise, that's where we'd be.

[0:05:54] Devyn Mikell: Absolutely. So jumping in one of the things I like to do, like you heard it, the audience heard the introduction is you talking to me. “Talking to me” is the interview tip. So one of the things I want to dive in a little bit on that I thought was interesting that you mentioned is not everyone wants to be a talent leader someday, right? People are very okay being a recruiter. Personally, for me, I've always been like, “Hey, what's the next thing? What's the next step? What's the next step? What's next?” I'm always trying to climb. Probably a slightly toxic trait of mine, but trying to climb, and not everyone's built that way. How did you know that you wanted to keep climbing the ladder and keep going into that talent leadership position?

 [0:06:37] Ryan Vecitis: I think it's a good point you make. That's just an attribute that some people have, like you have it. And I think that was probably – I bet you it was with you when you were 10 years old. If you played any sports, you want to be that person that always got better, you didn't just want to go to the game, you wanted to get better, you wanted to win. That's where it comes from for me as well.

Growing up, my father was always pushing me just to always be better the next day, if thats make mistakes, fail forward, whatever it is, it's always getting better. And getting better in corporate America is kind of climbing that ladder, taking on more things, more challenges. I've always been a proponent of the people side of things. I think I deal with people well, I manage people well, I work with people well. So that always just naturally brought me to the leadership side of things. I love seeing how people tick. Psychology classes, going through college were always very, very interesting to me. And understanding why people do things, how they do things.

Then on the opposite side of that, with recruiting especially, I think people – you have so many different things you can do in recruiting You can work with so many different departments, you can work with so many different people. No day is really the same. The core of what we do is the same. You find people, you talk to them, you make sure they're fit for your culture of your organization, and you move on, and you get them through the process. But all those conversations are different every single day, like there's no black and white in a sense, that's always something different.

Then at the end, I think we have some of the most rewarding things you can give. Give someone a job, give someone a career, give someone their first career. I think there's nothing more fulfilling than, giving an offer call to a college student that gets their first job at a company that really wanted to work for. That feeling alone can fulfill many people's needs in their work life, and that's perfectly fine. Some people just like that, that every day, this is what I'm going to do, and there's no surprises. So what? That's why we're all built differently. Again, I will take half of my team being those individuals, every single organization I work in, because they are very, very important to a team.

 [0:08:37] Devyn Mikell: That's exactly I was going to say. It's like, "All right, you have those that are built to – we're the stepping stone. You need the people that are like, "I'm good right where I'm at, and I love this. Seeing the difference over my life has been super key. I didn't used to be like, "Why isn’t everyone an entrepreneur? Why are we all not doing this? Then getting a reality check is like, I need the people that are not. You know what I mean? It's similar in what you're saying for sure.

[0:09:02] Ryan Vecitis: You can even put it back to sports. I mean, think of a basketball team. You can have your Kobes or Michaels lead the team and be everything they need to be, but you still need that Dennis Rodman of the balls to get all the rebounds in play defense. It's completely different than Michael Jordan, but you need them to win. If you're going to win in same way, you just need role players.

[0:09:22] Devyn Mikell: That's a great way to put it, honestly. So you've been mentioning like future aspiration, VP of talent. Is that the pinnacle for you? Do you see that being like, "Hey, this is where I'm good"? Or are you like, "I'm taking this all the way to CHRO"?

[0:09:36] Ryan Vecitis: That's a great question. Honestly, recently, I've been talking to myself, thinking to myself about where that in my career is going to go. I have two little kids now, and spending time with them is very, very important to me. They're five and three, and just the time with them in growing up is going to be very important. I will pick my roles going forward mainly off of them, and their schedules, and what they do. If that can take me to an organization where I'm leading a lot bigger group of talent acquisition specialist, recruiters, whatever that may be, or just overall strategy at a company, great, but I don't need the big title. There's a lot of things I do here right now as the manager that are extremely fulfilling. And I don't have a lot of red tape to do a lot of the same thing. Like you said, it sounds like a VP, but the title doesn't show that. It's just fine. A title's a title.

In the end, if you have the challenges, and the things you get to fix with freedom, and Margaret keeps giving me the opportunities I have, there's nothing wrong with where I'm at. It's one of those things I mentioned it in the pre-interview is being agile, I will continue to do that with my career too. If my kids are extremely successful in 15, 20 years, they don't need me anymore, they don't need any help, then let's push it a little farther for myself. I've dabbled in to entrepreneurship as well. I've consulted before Sendik's. I still do it here and there. That also gives me another side of the business where I'm running my own business.

I get to kind of walk through other company's recruitment teams, HR teams, build out job descriptions, walkthrough processes, maybe where they fall short in the smaller companies, or even manufacturing firms see a lot of it. If they're newer or smaller, they need a lot of help with just process creation. So I've done that in the past too, and that helps just fulfill that other side. If I don't have enough, you never have enough problems. But if I need something more, if I want to do more, I think harder. I have that side of my life as well I can go back to.

[0:11:30] Devyn Mikell: Yes, that's awesome. So let's take a 10,000-foot view, step back three steps. Let's talk about the journey. Every recruiting leader I've talked to, every recruiter I've talked to is like, "95% of times, I fell into recruiting." I feel like that's the story of being a recruiter is like, "I fell into this. I was not going to college for this. There's no recruiting major at a university." How did we get here, basically? Tell me your story from – it could be like your first job, honestly. Tell me your story from how you ended up here.

[0:12:00] Ryan Vecitis: That's exactly where I'll go. Because I came out of school around '08. '09. So if everybody knows the history there, it wasn't great for the job market. I came out that summer took a couple of odds and ends retail jobs, honestly, and just kill time with those as I search for other things. As I began that process, like everybody does, they're blind to what job searching is, like it's changed since then, it's going to change again. But it's a grind, right? It's a real grind to look for a job.

As I went through that, as I took phone interviews, as I did interviews, I always thought like, what are these people thinking on the other side? I feel like I've answered things correctly. I feel like I've gone through everything I needed to go through to show that I'm a hard worker and I can work well at this organization, then you don't get a callback. It happens, right? I mean, it can be numbers, it can be any significant reason why you don't get a callback. But I always wonder what it's like to be on the other side. Then, all of a sudden, I see this company called CLO, which was an RPO recruitment company. They were looking for interview specialists, and I was like, "Well, cool. I'd be interviewing people for $12 an hour. They had you interview call center applicants into whatever company was hiring them to do that. So RPO, for people that may not know is recruitment process outsourcing.

So big organizations that have big call centers or retail organizations, even for simple jobs, may push that out to a company and have them just do five to 10 questions of a call center, see if they pass. And if they do, move forward. That's what I did for about a year. I did love it, I did understand what people were looking for, again, understand the business of HR, and recruitment. Then from there, jumped over to a recruitment agency. So that's called Genesis 10, an organization that worked with the big companies in Milwaukee, the Northwestern Mutuals, Kohl's, Baird's of the world, an IT consulting essentially. So when they needed a project to be put out, they'd hire Genesis 10 to bring in the team.

I learned a lot about recruiting, and sourcing, understanding sourcing, Boolean searches, all that good stuff. In an agency, you learn it very fast because it's a grind. You make your money on the people that you hire, you get part of their margin. So it's just a motivating factor right there. You don't want to get through as many people as you can. As I did that for a few years, it just naturally – I wanted to be a part of the organization that I was recruiting for. That's what brought me over to corporate. From there, the natural attribute of trying to always be better just happened, and I grew ever since. I always will be curious, so I asked a lot of questions when I finally got into a good organization that, I guess wrote the pathway to a talent advisor type of role. I had a great VP under me, her name was Vic [inaudible 0:14:43]. She let us kind of learn and fail forward all together as a team, and you'd understood a little bit more about how to run a department.

In those roles, we owned certain departments and it was a smaller insurance company. So we owned certain departments, and we did everything for them. We sat down, "Okay. What does your whole headcount look like? What do you need? What's the busy time for you? When do we need to start ramping up?" Al of that. So that just naturally, you kind of learn the whole process, the big picture. And from there, just kept learning, and kept growing, and got to Sendik's essentially. I did a little bit of leadership in my past role at Layer One Media, small tech company, downtown Milwaukee. But they are just a smaller company, so I didn't get to do as much hiring or have as big of a team as I was looking for. Then Sendik's reached out, and here we are. So it really just got to the point of naturally trying to be better, trying to grow, trying to ask questions as much as possible. Fell in love with the recruiting from the beginning, just being on that kind of the behind the scenes of hiring.

One of the things I still love to do, I still do not hate it whatsoever. If a friend asks, what should I do in an interview? Or, how should I go about getting the attention of a company? I love talking through that with individuals, with friends, family, whoever. That side of it, giving advice, guiding people through a career will always be number one in my heart with this type of job.

[0:16:07] Devyn Mikell: Yes, you're not alone. It seems like that's like a quality of recruiting. That's why I love this industry. It's filled with people that are very nice.

[0:16:16] Ryan Vecitis: You got a lot of helpers, a lot of helpers.

[0:16:18] Devyn Mikell: My theory, is there's great parts of that. There's also the side of it where it's like, "No one gives direct feedback sometimes." That part could be – so it's like, everyone's nice.

[0:16:29] Ryan Vecitis: It's brutal, and that's probably one of the big things I've learned over the years too, is just kind of be direct right away. Either way, they're going to get to the answer of no, if that's – because that's essentially what we're running from, is given someone to know that news, whatever it is. As much as you see, so many LinkedIn post of, I've got ghosted by 15 companies, blah, blah, blah. Ninety percent of the time, it's a numbers thing. Not every person can go through 500 people. It's just natural for human error to miss one or two people, and it's tough. It's a really tough market to get through everybody, especially how tech-focused some of our ATS's are now. They'll parse out resumes and kind of decline you from that sometimes. You don't even get to a person to have to say no from.

There's good and bad in any industry. You're going to run in good and bad developers to help you build software, that could really break a piece of software, but it's sorting through it, and then learn from the mistakes that you did.

[0:17:26] Devyn Mikell: Right, exactly. When you started with Sendik's, did you have the team of six? or did you build out that team?

[0:17:32] Ryan Vecitis: I walked into a team.

[0:17:34] Devyn Mikell: Got you.

[0:17:35] Ryan Vecitis: That was the most nerve-wracking part about this job. It truly was. Because I didn't get to meet any of them upfront either. I sat down with Margaret, some other directors in the organization, walked through my philosophy behind hiring, and what I would mentor the team with and push forward. And then after that, it was like, "All right, here's your team on day one." I had someone on the team that was there for six years, and then everybody else was like a year under. It was a unique dynamic.

I've leaned on my lead recruiter now, his name is Scott, heavily, because he was the one there for six years, and just teach me process, teach me everything you've done, and then don't get offended when I want to change it. That's what I had to – I had to lay that out right away. I was like, "Look, the reason why I'm coming in is to try to make things more efficient." And there was no technology used really before other than the Google Suite we had. And so, getting people off of spreadsheets into more into the ATS, more into data was a big thing. And luckily, most of the team was brand new. So we're all learning together. But it was that dynamic between Scott and I that really was unique. It was tough at first, but tough in the sense, we didn't know where we should step together.

That's where my past role as the director of recruiting with Layer One. The CEO there taught me heavily, "Just be transparent. Just be transparent. Walk through everything. If you don't know something, you don't know something. Walk through it together. That's fine. Like, so what? Again, I take to my grave the fail-forward mantra. If you fail, fine, but learn from it. Then it's not a failure, you're just learning. So we did a lot of that, and we're in a really good spot now. We added coordinators to the team, we added another recruiter. Scott and I did that interviewing together. So it's been great ever since. It's just that first three months was like, where do I jump in? Where do I work? Don't I jump in? We're doing you let them go. That was the scary part, for sure.

[0:19:27] Devyn Mikell: How did you move when you got in? What was the first activity you actually did after you're onboard fully and what was the first change that you made?

[0:19:35] Ryan Vecitis: Yes. I mean, the first month is probably all listening. It's all I could do. Listen to how everyone did phone interviews, how they process people, how they onboarded, ask questions, again, where you're just listening. So you just did a phone screen, where do you go from there? Why didn't you set them up with the store right away instead of just asking the questions of the one process that you'll know till you die once you kind of get into recruiting, It's, you source, screen, set up, sell to the hiring manager, so forth. A lot of listening.

Then the biggest change probably right away was the phone screens. They were extremely, extremely robotic. I cannot take that, I want conversation. I understand that a lot of our roles, that was a big learning experience for me too, is a lot of the roles are just part-time high school students. So you kind of have to guide them pretty heavily, because it might be their first job. Those, I understood, we just shorten them up, really dug into some culture questions around customer service, that's huge for us. We always want to take care of the person walking through our grocery store.

So finding out people, even at a young age, you can kind of tell right away when you're talking to someone, they get it, how to deal with people, and just talk nicely. So we work through that, and then just overall changing the robotic, like just going through the questions, and writing down what they say. That was hard to listen to, because we're in one big open space, and so I got to listen to them all. But we got through it, and there's probably been three iterations of the phone screen in the last year, and a half so far, because we'd have to take a question out. "Oh, wait. We actually need that for some of this reason. Okay, put it back in. Change this question because they're answering it the wrong way, and we're not getting the stores what they need to hear." So there's a lot of back and forth. Honestly, I don't think that'll ever change. We'll go on 15 iterations of a phone screen, just how the industry might change.

[0:21:22] Devyn Mikell: Yes, because it probably should, honestly. So that makes sense. I like that you stepped in and did something like you want it, sounds like you did an audit. So first, you don't just come in with assumptions from previous industry, but it's like, "Hey, how does it work here?" And then you step in, it was like, phone interview. That's the one. Your reason is different than most. Which is – usually, it's like, our phone interview process is too long. I mean, you know, my world. I live in that every day.

[0:21:47] Ryan Vecitis: Some of it was for sure. I did cut some, but I think in the end, it was about the conversation, which I will die on that. Candidate experience is number one, anywhere you go. It doesn't matter what industry. Treat them right and they'll stay around.

[0:22:01] Devyn Mikell: You've done now staffing. In fact, check me here, staffing, healthcare, like dental. Is that correct?

[0:22:09] Ryan Vecitis: Yep. Correct.

[0:22:09] Devyn Mikell: We've got technology and grocery, so we got retail. Which is your favorite that you've worked with from a candidate perspective, and which one's the hardest?

[0:22:21] Ryan Vecitis: I think you might agree with me that technology and developers are some of the hardest people to sell, to get on board, depending on where the market is. Hardest to pay, because they want so much money.

[0:22:33] Devyn Mikell: Yep, you don't have to tell me twice.

[0:22:34] Ryan Vecitis: Yes. There's a lot going on with the development world right now, as there should be. There's so much technology going on. Everyone's got to learn so fast, so quick, and so do we as recruiters to screen them out for individuals like yourself that are going into the final interview, right? You don't want to see somebody that we didn't talk to the technology with to understand their process, or if you're using waterfall or agile, we don't go through that. And all of a sudden, you get them. They're like, "What are we doing here?" So there's that side of it with technology.

The retail industry is tough in the sense that a lot of the people in it that are dedicated and like doing what they do aren't online, which is where we search, was where we get people. Resumes out there. So many resumes are outdated, or old from the job they had eight years ago. They may not have the same email address, and so just getting a hold of people, and getting in front of them is a very hard thing to do in retail. My favorite overall with the team, and just the recruitment that we had was the dental industry. DentaQuest was an awesome organization, people understood what they're doing, the company took care of everybody.

Sendik's takes care of people absolutely too, but overall, just seeing that right away, and the ability to make change, and do things, and you got a lot of different people to talk to in the insurance world, right? You got the in-depth technical side of insurance, underwriting, whatever it might be. Then I'm also going to hire some developers there too, because we have a website, we have applications, we got to run through those two. So I got to work with a ton of different organizations, if you want to call it that, just DentaQuest alone. So that just gave me the biggest avenue to just jump into different areas, help out other cities too, because we were nationwide. So I got to do a lot of traveling there. That opens your eyes to recruitment changes. Obviously, when you go from coast to coast to the Midwest, people want different things. And so you learn that pretty quick out there too.

[0:24:24] Devyn Mikell: Yes, it is interesting. I feel like you've gone. I mean, touch a lot of industries. That's a fact. But a lot of times, it seems like it'd be flipped, right? So like people would start in retail, and want to go towards tech, but like some of the things you just mentioned is like, "I don't know, I wouldn't necessarily want that." Because I think one of the things that's challenging about technology recruiting is, it's so sourcing-heavy that you almost constantly feel like you're failing, potentially. It's like, "Man, I have no inbound flow here. It's like I'm doing everything I can to get to these people, and they're good, like they don't want to talk to me." Especially if there's no employer brand that's like pulling people, so I definitely get to see – if I was a recruiter, I would maybe have an interest in more of like someone where they're getting inbound applications. At least it would keep me busier. You know what I mean? Like I'd be doing something all the time. 

[0:25:11] Ryan Vecitis: Yes. What we run into now is no-call no-shows. They'll sign up on our Calendly for the interview, and then don't answer. We see that. Or we get 50 applications on Indeed, and we only truly talk to two of them, because they have the right experience, they answer, they're the right person. So there's still a lot of failure there too. I mean, that's a message I always harp on, is like, don't get down on yourself. It's the market, it's the type of people we're working with right now. It's just what it is. The world may change a bit if I were handling a development recruitment team, but in the end, the method was still at heart still there. Like, just keep going, keep going, keep going. Like run experiments, that's the biggest thing. Change something, but don't change everything. Change one thing at a time, see if it works, move on. Hopefully, that keeps the motivation there because you're trying different things. 

But overall, you're dealing with failure. It's just what it is. You're hiring one person. Even if you just see 10 people, that's still 10% that you're hiring.

[0:26:10] Devyn Mikell: That's true.

[0:26:11] Ryan Vecitis: It's baseball. Back to sports, it's baseball. You're going to the Hall of Fame if you're failing. It's just what it is.

[0:26:17] Devyn Mikell: Yes, it's wild. But you got to touch on my next question, which is, you're talking about experiments, trying things, testing things, breaking things sometimes. What is something that you feel like your company is doing to recruit in a unique way for the market you exist in?

[0:26:35] Ryan Vecitis: I think something that we do that's a little different than any other like bigger grocer in town, is we put a lot of the final decision, the offer making, the back and forth into the store director's hands. It may be weird for me to say, we're taken out of our hands, my team's hands. But in the end, like that's the person they're working for. That's the team they're working with. So we want that relationship to start as soon as possible. Because in the end, again, another thing that I think is constant through recruiting, through retention, talent acquisition, onboarding, whatever you want to call it. Is if people are invested in you, and the values that you have, they're going to stick around over the money, over the benefits, over anything else.

So if we can build that, and get those people to understand, like, "Hey, this store director is really great. He cares about you, he's going to work with your schedule, he's going to show you a path to grow if you're someone young, out of high school, and college, whatever it is." We want that to start right away, we want to have them – give them as much time as possible to talk. That's probably one of the bigger things, because so many things happen on the back end with us with so many people and so much administration, we have to do to onboard people that it just seemed natural to have us take everything. But in the end, they come in to us for one day of onboarding for an hour and a half, two hours, and then they're gone. They're in the store. So they're not with us anymore.

[0:27:53] Devyn Mikell: That's fair. I hear that upside for sure. Do you think there's downside to that approach?

[0:27:58] Ryan Vecitis: Absolutely.

[0:27:59] Devyn Mikell: Where does that lie?

[0:28:00] Ryan Vecitis: Unconscious bias right there. I mean, they don't have any HR training like we do. Unconscious bias is something that everybody has, I still have it, I've gone through so many trainings and understand it, but everyone's going to have it. Everyone in the end is a product of their environment. And so something's going to stick around in the back of your head on a regular basis. If someone's been in the grocery industry for 25 years, and they think, "No. No high school student should ever make more than $10 an hour." Like, that's a problem, right? We're never going to get anybody. We can't sell them if they're not okay with like giving a little bit more money. That's a simpler one to give you. But that's kind of where it goes, is they've been in one industry forever, you were going to get biases, it's just what's going to happen.

So that's another thing we try to do a lot of, is have a relationship with our recruiter in the store director to build that relationship, to go back and forth. Perfect example, recently. My lead recruiter, Scott, he was like, "I'm getting a lot of nose from a certain store. I don't know why." So he just said, "Hey, I'm coming out there, I want to sit down and we're going to talk all day long." I want my team to do that. Build that relationship, understand what they're thinking, what they're thinking. And maybe it's because they don't have a lot of roles open so they can be extra picky, maybe that's it. But if they give you something, they're like, "Okay, you can't do that." Then, we have that conversation. We open their eyes a little bit. It's education. It's really just education too in the end. Build a relationship. It's easier to educate, it's easier to go back and forth, and just not miss anything because of some sort of bias.

[0:29:27] Devyn Mikell: For sure. When I hear about hiring managers, here's what I usually hear. We love involving them, but they are the reason that we lose candidates. Not in a sense of, they pushed away the candidate in like a rude way or anything, but it's like a lot of times, it just has to do with, they have a job that they have to do, which means this is not a priority. And now, candidates are kind of left in like a weird space where they're wondering where they're at. Do you guys run into that, or is it so high-paced that that's really not an issue to you guys?

[0:29:56] Ryan Vecitis: We absolutely run into that still. We still have plenty of roles that require a certain set of skills. We hire chefs, we hire butchers, any sort of leadership, right? Then retail leadership is tough. And so to get good people to do it, that aren't burned out, that haven't moved industries is tough. So same that I bet you, you hear any other time in any of these conversations, timing. I'm just sitting out, and I'm thinking about it. I don't know that person was too good to be the first person to come through all those same excuses, right? It's a constant back and forth. It's a constant check-in, communication. Again, back to education. Be like, sometimes we got to lose people to be like, "Look, here's the data, you waited three weeks to get us the, okay, here's what I want to pay them for the offer. They're gone, sorry. But what held you up to give us that dollar amount? What did you need? Did you need us to do something more, or –'" I don't know what it is, it could be something different every single time, but you just need to make sure that you're constantly checking in.

We'll lose people even — the interviewer doesn't go well. They're speeding through it. They don't leave time for questions. They may be interviewing at every other grocer in town, or Target, or wherever else. And if they're asking the same questions, trying to get the understanding of benefits, or whatever it might be, and we rush through it. Guess what? They're not saying yes to us, they won't even call us back. But then, there's plenty of times they'll save it too, because they'll make an offer on the spot. Like, "I love this here. This is what I want from you. Go ahead, let's go. Sign now, and we'll get you an orientation on Monday" and it's Thursday. There's plenty of times that happens too. So goes both ways.

Again, recruiting is their second job, it's our first. Like anything, you've probably seen it, you run an organization. If someone doesn't own something, it's second, third, fourth on their list. And so it's first on ours, we got to own it. We just got to make sure we keep it through all the way.

[0:31:44] Devyn Mikell: Yes, fair point. I think one of the challenges is for recruiting specific, I think it's unique. It's like, it's our first priority, but we don't own the whole process. But we're measured on the result. That's the part that's crazy to me, and it's a real thing. 

[0:31:58] Ryan Vecitis: Yes, some metrics in HR in recruiting are off, I think, but to your point like, yes, we get either get raises or demerits, if you want to call it that, because of our metrics that we don't even own the whole process. Great point.

[0:32:12] Devyn Mikell: Yes. This one's a – I like to get a little edgy here and there. But this one is not that bad. I made it sound way worse than it is. What is your hottest take on recruiting? I want to leave it a little general, like what's the hottest take you have on recruiting as a function, as – you call it the industry, you could call it recruiting in your industry. But like, what's the hot take for you?

[0:32:35] Ryan Vecitis: In our industry right now, one of the things that I am getting a gut feeling on that might not even be that hot the way people are seeing the industry, but full-time jobs outside of leadership and retail are dying. We're in a gig economy right now. Everyone wants three different roles to be an entrepreneur and three different things. Then maybe, work retail to kind of get some benefits while they build things. I'm in the process of working through with our leaders on why do we need so many full-time roles. For managers and departments, I absolutely get it. But why not split up two chefs in a part-time, or butcher in a part time, whatever it might be. The hours are the same. We look at labor hours, we don't look at headcount, in a sense. I mean, yes, at a certain point we do, because we don't want everybody working just four hours a week.

But there's a point there where retail doesn't pay enough at full-time to really let people live nicely, so people take multiple jobs. So let's give into the market in a sense and play that game. If it changes, and it switches again, fine, we'll go back. But it's not that hard to go back. But part-time is starting to take over. I mean, that's our number one metric for offers accepted, number of people we bring into the organization. Eighteen-plus part-time roles are leading by far. That's over high school students and everything that we see. That's groceries, like usually that job everyone has when they're at school. I need to work a little bit on the weekends, I want to work something retail. So yes, it's unique.

[0:34:02] Devyn Mikell: I feel like it is definitely something that you specifically could share, that's the world you live in, that's unique, like you said.

[0:34:10] Ryan Vecitis: I don't know. I ponder it all the time, and I don't know if I've been in the industry long enough to even make that assumption. But the numbers don't lie too. I mean, last year has been heavy, heavy part-time, and that's where we succeed, that's where retention is high. So I don't know, you just kind of – you got to follow the data sometimes.

[0:34:26] Devyn Mikell: Yes, I will say you're unique in that. Not a lot of recruiting leaders are following data, which is a subtle call out there. But anyways, moving into like the final segment of our show, I call it the question of the week. So this is meant for our audience to be a part of the show. So I'm going to explain to them what this is. So this is an opportunity for you, audience member, to be a part of the show if your submission is selected. You'll not only be played on the show, as we continue to collect these, but also you'll get a special gift from us. So I highly encourage participation. The link will be in the show notes. But it's just one question that I'm going to give you, Ryan. First, pass at. The question of the week for this one is, what candidate attraction hack have you tried that drew in surprising results? Doesn't have to be exclusive to Sendik's. It could be anything.

[0:35:20] Ryan Vecitis: I go back to this, it's going to seem very simple. In its heart, it's a job fair. But we do job fairs all the time, at colleges, at tech schools, whatever it might be. We see those all the time, right? Diversity, job fairs, specific job fairs, always students, always internships, never anything more than that, for the most part. We signed up because we knew as an area where the organization was. We had a facility there, and a job fair at a church. You could argue, you're leaning on one side there, you're not being HR, you're not in the middle of everything. But it brought in the most amount of people that we ever had that stuck around, that applied immediately. Because, for some reason, it was the market that we needed in manufacturing at the time, individuals that showed up on time that wanted full time or they wanted third shift, or whatever it might be.

They came in, and we just killed it at that job fair. To this day, it still sticks out in my head, because I've done so many, and most of the time, it's shaking hands with people and saying, hi, and getting your name out there that you're supporting colleges or whatever it might be. But that one was truly like, that's what we got, we got a lot of people out of it. That's about the only one I can think of off the top of my head. That's a hack. I don't see too many of them anymore. I mean, obviously, we're still coming out of COVID stuff, but this was many years ago. So maybe something will come back of that where there's more just general job fairs coming up. But market is not showing that right now, especially in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, unemployment is pretty low.

 [0:36:54] Devyn Mikell: You're going to win the unique battle on that one. That's wild. It's surprising that they're on time because I feel like a lot of people are late to church. But anyways, I digress.

[0:37:02] Ryan Vecitis: [Inaudible 0:37:01] church it was. [Inaudible 0:37:04]

[0:37:07] Devyn Mikell: Yes. Well, no, I appreciate your time, Ryan. Would love to give you the floor to share how people can connect with you. I think there's going to be a number of people that would love to follow you, keep up with you. Your floor to share like ways that they can get to know you better.

[0:37:20] Ryan Vecitis: I'm very active on LinkedIn, still live there for the most part most of the day to make sure that Sendik's brand is still doing well. So Ryan Vecitis. One of the only few Vecitis's out there, so you'll find me pretty quick. Then, email is fine too. If you have to reach out for questions or questions about Sendik's, about what I do, how I do things, by all means, I'm constantly checking email, so that does not fall behind on my sec. I can't stand notifications. So I will always be knocking out emails. That's So I'm more than happy to answer any questions that someone might have after this interview.

[0:37:56] Devyn Mikell: Again, I appreciate your time. This has been awesome. For those who are listening, definitely keep in touch and honestly go follow Ryan. He's awesome. He's probably undersold the amount of things that he's done. I feel like it's not every day that you meet someone who's bounced to that many industries, and been comfortable. So that's like a kudos to you, and I think it's super impressive.

But anyways, love the conversation. If you love the conversation, I would love for you to subscribe to the show, and follow us on social media, on Qualifi on LinkedIn so you can keep up with us. Otherwise, go do the question of the week, because it's fun, and you could get a free gift from Qualifi, and I feel like who wouldn't want that. So, thanks, everyone, and have a great day.



Think you can spot biased interview questions?
Take the Quiz