Advice for Employers and Recruiters

Predictions for 2023: What changes to the labor market do RPOs anticipate? With Cassie Pike of Cielo Talent

Shelby Konkel AvatarShelby Konkel
December 19, 2022

We’re back again with another episode of the High Volume Hiring Podcast, the podcast that features news tips, case studies, and interviews with the world’s leading experts about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to high-volume hiring. 

The High Volume Hiring podcast

Host Steven Rothberg, College Recruiter’s Founder and Chief Visionary Officer, interviews Cassie Pike, Managing Director at Cielo Talent. Cielo is the world’s leading Talent Acquisition Partner, helping companies across the globe stay ahead in the race for talent with fresh TA strategies and RPO solutions.

Cassie Pike joins this episode to discuss key employment trends of 2022, predicted hiring trends for 2023, and the “art” of high volume hiring. Cassie leverages what she’s learned over the years of working in the recruitment industry and what she’s noticed going on in other industries. This is a must-hear episode!

Subscribe here to follow the High Volume Hiring podcast and stay up to date with new episodes.


Steven (00:14):

Welcome to the High Volume Hiring podcast. I’m Steven Rothberg, the founder of Job Search, site College recruiter. We believe that every student in recent grad deserves a great career. This podcast features news tips, case studies, and interviews with the world’s leading experts about the good, the bad, and the ugly when it comes to high volume hiring. Thanks for joining us. Today’s guest is Cassie Pike of Cielo, one of the world’s leading recruitment process, outsourcing companies. Cassie’s, a managing director, and responsible for the growth, retention, and advocacy of clients globally. Cassie, welcome to the show.

Cassie (00:58):

Thank you for having me.

Steven (00:59):

And Cassie, for listeners who might not know about you, other than basically your, your job title and who you work for what can you tell them?

Cassie (01:08):

Well, first of all, I would say that I am more than just my job. So outside of work, I am an entrepreneur. I’m a big birthday enthusiast and a proud boy mom. I have two teenage boys at home. When it comes to work, I work for c o as you mentioned. We are global talent acquisition partner recruitment process outsourcing is a big part of what we do, and an R P O is really an opportunity for companies to partner with experts to design and execute a customized recruitment strategy that delivers exceptional business results. It can be end-to-end where we take on the whole process, but it also can be discreet parts of the process where you might need a little bit of lift.

Steven (01:55):

I’m, I’m really thankful that you talked a little bit about R P O because I do think it’s mysterious to people who kind of haven’t worked with one before. We, we hear the acronym, we hear the description. It’s different than a temp agency. It’s different than a staffing company or as folks in, in, like the UK might talk about in terms of being an agency. Right. In some cases, like even a, even a fairly small company like college recruiter we use what you could call an R P O for payroll and benefits. They provide some recruiting assistance to us. Other companies that have tens of thousands, hundreds of thousands of employees, some of them outsource, outsource almost their entire recruiting function. And and I, I would assume Cielo has some of both, right?

Cassie (02:47):

Yeah, absolutely. I actually feel like we’re sitting next to each other on a plane, cuz the question is always, so what do you do? Are you traveling for work or pleasure <laugh>? And when I say I work in recruiting, they say, oh, do you work for a staffing agency? Well, not quite a staffing agency. So, you know, I think one of the unique differences about a recruitment process outsourcing partner is that we really take on the identity of our clients. So as opposed to Hey, I’ve got this great candidate, I present them to a number of companies. Because way back when, 25 years ago, I started out working for a staffing agency. When you’re an RPO partner, I mean, literally I have a very large global team, as you referenced at the onset being globally focused. And my team members, for example, on LinkedIn wouldn’t have CIE as their employer.


They would have the client as the employer because we really become an extension of their team. And to your point, some clients do absolutely outsource all of it. We have lots of them. But I would say there’s a growing trend, especially for very large companies where it’s more of a hybrid solution. It might be, we consider it modular services, right? Where you need help with this particular part of the process, be it employer branding, be it interview scheduling, just as two examples, but don’t necessarily wanna outsource everything. And so there are a lot of different options when it comes to R P O, but it is something I appreciate you also bringing up. You know, it’s something that’s a bit of a mystery to folks and that because there’s so much unknown, then sometimes there’s hesitation around it. And listen, we are here to be your partner and to flex and meet your needs wherever they might be.

Steven (04:27):

Yeah, and to the extent, and, and I, I think the first time I ran across an RPO was probably 20 years ago, it was a big box retailer headquartered here in in, in the Minneapolis St. Paul area. And a friend of mine who I had met through work was working for the retailer. They, they had hundreds of people in HR talent acquisition. They brought in an A P R P O, and I think they, I think, if I remember correctly, he said that they went down to three people in hr plus a couple hundred people at the RPO o. And so he was, he was a W2 employee working for this big box retailer on Friday. And then he comes back to work on Monday, and he’s at his same desk wearing the same logoed shirt with the same email address. He said the only real difference was that he now had an additional email address for internal R p O stuff. And he had a different name on his paycheck. And, and other, otherwise it was, you know, pretty much seamless the way they interacted with the, with their business partners e externally e e everything. So I, I was, I was pretty fascinated by it at the time. Yeah,

Cassie (05:40):

I mean, it really is just becoming an extension of the company’s talent acquisition team situations. Just like you’re talking about what he probably, if he was with a really good RPO firm, what he probably came to realize is that he also got access to things like the latest and greatest innovation. He got some, there were some economies of scale. So when it comes to buying different recruitment tools or technologies you could get access to more, there’s also a lot of agility and scalability that comes, right? Because when you think about even just these last couple of years and what hiring demand, how it came to nearly a grinding halt globally, and then came back quicker than I expected and came back. I mean, that, that was not even a roller coaster ride up, that was an elevator that went immediately to the top right. And so that scalability and agility is also something that an r p provider can, can bring in. You know, I was just talking actually to one of our leaders recently who said the cool thing about R P O is that you don’t have to leave your company to get exposure and experience in a really different type of hiring or in a really different type of business. So that’s one of the other things that can come for, for recruiters that choose a career in R P

Steven (06:58):

O. Yeah. And I, I, I totally agree with, with what your, your leaders said. And the flip side of that, I think is also true in that you can then leverage the experiences that you see in, with other clients in other industries because what you might see in retail in 2022 might help you in healthcare in 2023. It might help you in manufacturing in 2024. So different industries have different cycles, and some industries are ahead of others in terms of their adoption of technology. You know, I, I could see in a mass hiring, high volume hiring retail warehouse hospitality environment that, like a chatbot for example, is gonna be a tool that is probably a heck of a lot more prevalent than in maybe a more conservative environment like universities, healthcare companies. But then you can learn from the experiences of the people who well in today’s world virtually sit down the hall.


Because so many people in our industry are now working remotely either or, either all the time or, or, or part of the time. So speaking of sort of leveraging what you’ve learned from other industries what I’m hoping to talk with you about largely today is some of the, some of the key employment trends. And first of all, before we get into what you see coming, maybe we can talk a little bit about to set the context for that, what you see as, as having happened. Like what, what are some of the trends in 2022 that really stuck out to you?

Cassie (08:43):

Good question. There’s a couple things that come to mind for me on, on that topic, right? So despite all of the layoffs and hiring slowdowns that are being reported in the news what has become abundantly clear is that demographic shifts in an aging population mean that hiring will continue to be difficult, and we are going to have labor supply challenges. So I think there’s some folks out there that thought that would correct itself and things would get easier and make no bones about it. There are going to be challenges. Hearkening back to something you just said a few minutes ago about that virtual conversation, remote work is here to stay. So one of the biggest things that stands out for me from the last year or two is that what employees want from their employers and what they’re willing to sacrifice personally for work has changed and it’s changed for good.


And so that presents challenge, but also great opportunity for employers. The third thing that comes to mind for me, and I will just say I am very, very grateful for this. I’ve been in talent acquisition for 25 years, and over that timeframe, there’s been different levels of emphasis on diversity. And I am confident based on what I’ve seen in the last two years, that diversity, equity, and inclusion is going to continue to be a top priority for most companies. This is something that employees care about. They don’t just care about where their employer is today, but they care about what their employer is doing and the progress that they’re making. And I’ve seen a real shift because sometime it was just like, you know, the soup deur, if you will. And what we’ve seen in our client base across sectors is that nearly a hundred percent of our customers became really focused on it in the last couple years. And I would say 80% of them are continuing to be very focused. And I’ve never seen that in my career. So I’m really excited about what that means for the future of

Speaker 3 (10:47):


Steven (10:49):

We’ll be back right after this break. Welcome back to the high volume hiring podcast.


As somebody else who’s, who’s been in this industry for far too long, <laugh>, I absolutely share your viewpoint on sort of where we’ve come, where we are, where we’re going with d e I. And I would only add to that that some of the most powerful messaging that I’ve seen from employers is, is really very much in line with what you were saying, the progress. I love it. And I just think it’s incredibly powerful to candidates for employers to say something to the effect of, our C-suite has gone from five to 25% female in the last two years and two years from now, our goal is for it to be at least 50%, right? So pat yourself on the back, talk about the progress that you’ve made, do it in very tangible terms, and then put a stake in the ground. This is where we’re gonna be. And by when that accountability has got to resonate incredibly powerfully, both inside your walls and outside with, with your candidates from C o’s standpoint, are you seeing clients that you’re working with share those statistics? You know, this is where we’ve been, this is where we are, and maybe even where we’re going.

Cassie (12:28):

Yeah. So here’s what I would say. We’re seeing. Some companies are definitely a little bit trepidatious on this topic, right? How bold do we wanna be about how far we have to go and what our goals are. But we are seeing an increasing number of clients that are putting that information out there, because again, candidates know, I mean, listen, gone are the days where somebody blindly accepts a job and hopes the company’s gonna work out. Candidates today have done so much research before they even apply for your job. They know exactly where you stand on this topic anyway. And so companies that are willing to put it out there be be bold in the statement about where they are even bolder in what they’re aspiring to do. And that progress is really resonating with candidates. We’ve even got a couple clients that we have helped do some videos for to help share that story and tell that story. There’s a lot of really compelling ways that you can get that information out there.

Steven (13:30):

I, I love the idea of using video. I, I an expression that I heard that I shamelessly ripped off years ago is that if a, if a picture is worth a thousand words, video is worth a thousand pictures, indeed it, it, it is so much more impactful, especially if it’s like 15 or 20 seconds mm-hmm. <Affirmative> rather than 28 minutes <laugh>. So yeah, as, as 28 minutes of, of really cute dog videos that, that I can, that I can consume 28 minutes of like talent acquisition, maybe not so much. Mm. so, you know one of the, one of the things that I think a lot of the c clients are, are doing probably sort of much more much higher percentage of them than the average employer out in the economy is, is high volume hiring. You know, a lot more of the clients that you’re working with are hiring in volume versus the average employer out there, which most of them only have 1, 2, 3, 4 employers, employees. In your mind, Cassie, what, what are some of the things that make high volume hiring so different than more traditional types of hiring where people are hiring, you know, one or two people here or there? Well,

Cassie (14:48):

You’re definitely right. We do a heck of a lot of volume hiring around here. We also do a lot of corporate and niche hiring, but I have to tell you, I’m super passionate about high volume hiring. Some people see it as a stepping stone in their career. And I actually think of high volume hiring as more an intriguing puzzle that requires you to be constantly learning new ways to optimize outcomes. I think it’s, and these are my made up numbers by the way, <laugh> but 60% math and 40% art. What I mean by that is there’s the math. Know your recruitment funnel, know your metrics, how many candidates you need to get through each step of the process for each position in each location. But the art side of it is about being creative and really trying new things as you respond to constantly evolving market conditions.


And I’ll tell you this, when a high volume process is working well, the results are unlike anything else in the world of recruiting. I mean, it’s really kind of magical to see what can happen. So, you know, three things that I think really set high volume hiring apart. One is more than any other type of hiring speed wins. If a candidate cannot get through the process quickly, they will go work for any other place that will hire their skills. And it doesn’t necessarily have to be your direct competitor. For these types of candidates that we’re hiring in volume, the skills can be really easily transferable. And so if you aren’t the quickest, then you often lose. The second thing I would say is experience matters. Now, you could argue experience matters for all types of hiring, and I would agree with you, but I think what makes it unique in the high volume space is that you have got to have a mobile enabled application process that is not optional.


It is completely table stakes in order to meet those candidates where they are. And the last thing is really a pretty new trend that’s been developing around high-volume hiring and the business asking recruiters to make the hiring decision. This is a really interesting opportunity for having an impact on the business, right? Save time for those supervisors in those managers on the floor, whether it be a call center or a warehouse or distribution center. But it does require really close alignment between the recruiters and those business leaders in order to make sure that we’re making the right hiring decisions and not increasing attrition, for example.

Steven (17:28):

Hmm. And if I can just touch on one of the things that you mentioned was, was the mobile and table being table stakes. I take it that you mean more than just your ATS is mobile compatible, meaning somebody can pick up a smartphone, zoom in, zoom out. They are one of 12 people in the world that have a resume saved on their smartphone and know how to upload it, right? You’re talking about, you’re talking about an application process. I believe that is as simple as signing up for a gig employment job, right? Like if you sign up to drive for Uber or Lyft or deliver groceries, nobody wants your resume. They want your name, they want your email, they want your location. It’s some fields that you scroll or check off boxes and type in a few words here and there. Right? Then you hit submit.

Cassie (18:26):

You are a hundred percent correct. It, there can’t be any scrolling back and forth on your phone to try to figure out what’s necessary. I mean, really think of it as candidates are seeking that consumer grade experience. So just like I want, if I’m going to order an Uber or order a Lyft, I want to click, click, click, I’m all done. Now we usually need more than three clicks when it comes to a candidate, but it can’t be scrolling, it can’t be requiring a resume. And quite frankly, it can’t be, I get a really fast, easy process on my phone, and then you expect me to go through the really long 20 minute ATS application process, right?

Steven (19:08):

That’s kind of a bait and switch <laugh>.

Cassie (19:11):

Yes, indeed. And lots of candidates fall out in the process, right? If that’s your approach,

Steven (19:16):

<Laugh>, right? And then employers say that they’re being ghosted and it’s like if you created the Poltergeist I think you get what you deserve. <Laugh>.

Cassie (19:26):

<Laugh>, that’s a great way to describe it. I mean, listen, ghosting is a whole nother podcast <laugh>. There is a lot of ghosting that’s taking place for all types of roles, but to your point, I mean, you’re really creating the drop off there. That’s not a candidate ghosting you. That’s a process pushing a candidate out.

Steven (19:42):

Well, before we leave off, or, you know, for, for the employers that are engaged in high volume or who see that in their near future what are some tips or, or best practices that, that you have for them?

Cassie (19:55):

So a few things. I mean, picking up on what we were just talking about, ensure your application process is fully mobile enabled. And by the way, this includes assessments if you use them. You can’t expect a candidate to apply in a quick and easy process and then go through a 30 minute assessment. There are lots of really progressive and even gamified assessments if that’s a part of your process. One of the other tips I would share is that you’ve gotta vary your approach. So what worked for you last year is probably not working the same for you this year. Hiring events, for example, can be really effective. But sometimes it’s a virtual hiring event. Sometimes it’s in-person hiring events during Covid and the height of Covid, we were even hi hosting drive-through hiring events. But here’s the other other thing I’d say, no matter how great the hiring event is, no matter how successful it is, if you start doing that every week, you will have diminishing returns.


That’s one of the biggest challenges for TA when working with the business. They’re like, oh, but that works so well. You got me a hundred people, but if you keep doing it over and over, it loses its luster. And the third thing that I would suggest for listeners is do a journey map at least once every 18 months from the experience of your candidates. And if you’re not familiar with journey mapping, it’s really just sitting down, it’s mapping out a process, but it’s doing it not doing it with Vizio or process maps. It’s really just talking through the process with a variety of stakeholders. And you do it from the candidate’s perspective. And every step in the process you say, is this something that delights the candidate or frustrates the candidate? And then you take that information and you say, okay, we probably can’t fix everything that frustrates the candidate all at once, but what could we do? Where’s the low hanging fruit? Or where are we gonna have the greatest impact to improve our process? Because there are lots of folks out there that are trying to hire the same candidates that you are.

Steven (22:02):

Oh, I love that. That’s that’s the, the way that you phrase that with the, the delighting versus frustrating. It might be a necessary step in the process. And maybe not. I I if that can wait, don’t ask them. For years we’ve been talking about don’t ask for social security numbers during the application process in addition to the whole security issue. You don’t need it. You don’t need it when somebody’s applying. You might need, you will need it if they’re a W2 employee down the line, but you don’t need it at the front end. So that would be frustrating. Yeah. But but

Cassie (22:39):

There, collect it when you need it.

Steven (22:40):

Yeah. At the, and the assessment process done well, and we’ve had several guests on the podcast from assessment companies where one of the things I’ve learned is yes, the number of minutes matter, but it’s also the feedback that you provide to the candidate and how quickly, so if it’s transparent and hey, you know, thank you very much for completing. You’re not actually a good fit for this sales role, but you’re an outstanding fit for this customer service role. Would you like us to continue to consider for that? For that, that’s delightful. That that is the that and, and that’s great. But to just say no, you know we’ll get back to you if and when it’s convenient to us, not so delightful.

Cassie (23:21):

Yeah. So frustrating. I will add one additional point in that is that the most effective journey mapping sessions that I’ve seen or participated in are facilitated by someone who’s completely neutral. Ah, they’re not any part of talent acquisition or the selection process. So they don’t have any biases towards any of it, but can really just walk you through an objective exercise.

Steven (23:45):

Yeah. They weren’t the one who decided two years ago to spend that money or to implement it that way. That’s <laugh>. Not that I’ve ever made that mistake. No. Now <inaudible>, so <laugh>,

Cassie (23:57):

Cassie, you and me, not you or I.

Steven (23:59):

Exactly. So Kathy thank you so much for spending this time with us and for sharing your insights. For listeners who want to learn more about you, about Cielo how should they reach out to you?

Cassie (24:13):

I would love to hear from anyone who talk, wants to talk about best practices or tips and tricks in the high volume hiring world, so you can reach me via LinkedIn. I’m a pretty open networker in terms of accepting invites and would encourage anybody who has other thoughts and perspectives as well.

Steven (24:31):

Awesome. And that’s Cassie Pike, c a s s i e?

Cassie (24:36):

Yes. It’s Cassie Pike, p i k e.

Steven (24:39):

Awesome. Thank you so much. Thank

Cassie (24:41):


Steven (24:44):

Thanks for joining us today on the High Volume Hiring podcast. I’m your host, Steven Rothberg of job search site college recruiter. Each year we help more than 12 million candidates find great new jobs. Our customers are primarily Fortune 1000 companies, government agencies, and other employers who hire at scale and advertise their jobs with us. You can reach me at The High Volume Hiring podcast is a co-production of Evergreen Podcasts and College Recruiter. Please subscribe for free on your favorite app. Review it five stars are always nice, and recommend it to a couple of people you know who want to learn more about how best to hire at scale. Cheers.

New Job Postings

Advanced Search

Request a Demo

First Name
Last Name
Please do not use any free email addresses.
Submission Pending

Related Articles

No Related Posts.
View More Articles