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JobBoardGeek: On the road – an all-in-one recruitment marketing approach to finding truckers

JobBoardGeek PodcastIn this episode of JobBoardGeek, we talk to Damon Levy of ClassATransport and JobsInRigs about how he helps employers find truckers. It’s always been hard to find truckers, but Damon has an ‘all of the above’ approach that uses multiple marketing channels to keep the hiring pipelines full. Jeff Dickey-Chasins of JobBoardDoctor and Steven Rothberg of College Recruiter discover Damon’s secret and talk about how the pandemic has affected logistics. Jeff also talks about job board software, a topic that Steven knows almost too much about!

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Transcript:

00:00.00

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Hello everyone and welcome to job board geek it’s the podcast about the business of connecting candidates and employers. My name is Jeff Dickey Chasins,  I’m the JobBoardDoctor and here with me today and my co-host. The always amused Steven Rothberg of College Recruiter is also here hey Steven, how you doing.

 

00:22.66

Steven Rothberg

I’m doing great I was at a Nhl game a couple days ago and my minnesota wild clinched a playoff spot. So now it’s just a question of how quickly they get eliminated.

 

00:32.34

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

And for those of us who are not sports fans I assume you’re probably talking about hockey since you’re out of Winnipeg right.

 

00:40.76

Steven Rothberg

Um, there is no other sport other than ice hockey. So yes.

 

00:47.65

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

ah yeah well unfortunately here in Iowa baseball rules the roost. We don’t have a big hockey presence. But um, anyway. Today I’m very excited. We have Damon Levy of class a transport and jobs in rigs here. He’s going to be talking to us about his business and how he handles recruiting in the logistics industry which is very interesting. But first of all Steven I just wanted to chat with you about some information that I got. Through the email from one of my connections I found out that force finder the job board software provider that’s been around since I don’t know the early to mid 2000 is shutting down their service as of May thirty first of this year job board Hq which is another job board software provider is going to be working with them to to move their clients over to the job board Hq platform. But I thought it was kind of interesting because when I started out in the industry back in 97 there were no job board software companies. Everyone that was doing it.

 

01:50.88

Steven Rothberg

So yeah.

 

01:53.79

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

You know, made their own and I really wasn’t aware of any job board software providers until the early two thousand S when Job X came out I believe they were the first I may be wrong about that and when I started consulting back in 2009 The whole landscape had changed. I Found this out very quickly by working with clients and they’d say you know I’m getting started I need a job board software platform and I started looking and I kept finding them and finding them and finding them and finally I just said I’ve got to I’ve got to write up a buyers guide to this because this is just ridiculous I can’t keep track of all these providers and you know right now.

 

02:27.34

Steven Rothberg

Yeah.

 

02:31.54

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

My buyers guy typically has about 50 different providers and I know I’m missing some that are out there because every year I find a new one. But I think it’s an interesting category because one of the things I do as a consultant that happens this happens every month sometimes every week

 

02:35.76

Steven Rothberg

Enough.

 

02:51.49

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

I get calls from people that are looking for a new software platform and for me, it’s become fairly straightforward if you’re a startup use job Board software. Don’t try to build it on your own because you’re going to spend a lot of money and you’re probably going to have something that doesn’t work.

 

03:01.37

Steven Rothberg

It has.

 

03:09.73

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

But if someone like you Steven came and said yeah I’m not happy with my platform a lot of times the answer is well. You need to engage a development company to build it for yourself and the difference between those 2 situations are ah. Someone that knows what they’re doing and someone that’s just getting started and doesn’t know what they’re doing and that that really changes the landscape but you know I know that you Steven have been through many cycles of this I was just curious to hear your thoughts about all this.

 

03:28.66

Steven Rothberg

Yeah.

 

03:40.70

Steven Rothberg

Yeah, you know when you when you brought this story to my attention and immediately caused some ptsd some flashbacks. So we went College Recruiter went live in 96

 

03:52.82

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

M.

 

03:54.84

Steven Rothberg

And like you said like back in that Era there really was not job board software that you could either have your site hosted like on a Saas basis or buy the source code WordPress and the WordPress themes just weren’t a thing they just simply didn’t exist yet so we built.

 

04:08.43

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

E.

 

04:14.25

Steven Rothberg

Our first software we had ah a high school kid who actually still works for us as a contractor. Um today. Um he built it for $3000 and it was just straight html. You could either search by location or by job category but not by both um and when we had.

 

04:22.62

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

And.

 

04:33.53

Steven Rothberg

Initially I think something like 25 concurrent users then cold fusion told us that um it wasn’t a good day and that you know we were the reboot server. Um, so anybody mentions cold fusion to me. Um, them fighting words for me.

 

04:45.44

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Yeah.

 

04:49.86

Steven Rothberg

Were I think fairly early on in using job board software. Um, you know John bell from he used to be a job at Boxwood Technologies so boxwood hosted our site for a few years starting in 98 um love the people there.

 

04:55.45

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Right.

 

05:08.44

Steven Rothberg

Product for us at the time was great. They started to kind of go in one direction being hosted hosting association or job boards for Associations we were going in another direction. We ended up parting ways very amicably. Um.

 

05:12.31

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Right.

 

05:27.31

Steven Rothberg

Went over to what is now next same sort of thing happened. There was great until their business started to move in one direction. Our business started to move in another direction parted ways. Very amicably. You know there were some always some bumps and hiccups along the road whenever you stop. Um, or you know, um, kill a partnership but both organizations could have been much worse and they were both very gracious and professional. My warning is if you’re a startup and you’re looking to use job Board Software I agree with you. That’s the right path.

 

06:03.65

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

The.

 

06:05.86

Steven Rothberg

But understand at some point you’re going to reach a fork in route if your business is successful and you start to have you know probably thousands or even tens of thousands of candidates a day if you’ve got probably hundreds of employers posting jobs to you. A lot of the job board software is just not going to keep up with that because you’re going to want to customize it no matter how good their software is they’re providing that software to probably hundreds of job boards and so inevitably it becomes this one size fits all kind of model and. You know if it’s your business. It’s your business. Not you don’t want your search or your look and feel to be the same as dozens or hundreds of other sites. So I think it’s a great entry into the market. But as you scale up, it’s it just it puts handcuffs onto you.

 

06:57.80

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

yeah I I don’t I generally agree with you on that. Um, on the other hand I’ve also worked with job boards that are you know I’d consider solid mid-tier job boards you know in in the neighborhood of 30000000 a year and they’re on a job board software platform for very specific reasons that works for them. So I think the main thing you know that is very important is just that you have a clear understanding of what you need and you know job board software can be an option. It.

 

07:16.30

Steven Rothberg

Hello.

 

07:31.85

Steven Rothberg

Here. Earth.

 

07:33.97

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Probably is not an option if you’ve been in the business for a while because you know you’ve got enough like you said special needs. But you know never say no, It’s always worth give it. You know taking a look at it. But anyway I want to get onto.

 

07:44.56

Steven Rothberg

Yeah, a lot of of people have called me special but not in a very complimentary sense.

 

07:53.23

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Ah, yeah, well I think on that note we need to move to our guests today Damon Levy of class a transport and jobs and rigs welcome to job board geek.

 

08:02.96

Damon Levy

Thank you very much. It’s a pleasure I Appreciate you guys having me on.

 

08:07.11

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Yeah, absolutely like ah like I was saying before we started recording I jumped at the chance to to have you on here because you represent a really interesting segment of the job board industry and I’m hoping that we’ll all learn a lot. Um. Why don’t you start out by telling me what your background is how’d you get into the industry. How’d you end up focusing specifically on logistics and transportation.

 

08:34.17

Damon Levy

It is kind of an interesting story. Um, you know at of high school I jumped right into direct selling marketing interested in computer technology. You want to learn the code I wanted to kind of be well-rounded. Um and I spent a ah fair amount of time.

 

08:49.34

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Um.

 

08:54.12

Damon Levy

Um, you know in the direct sales direct marketing. You know, got good at it had a couple of companies at the same time you know, learn technology and in 2002 my father who had spent 35 years in the recruiting business doing permanent placement.

 

09:08.12

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Ah.

 

09:09.93

Damon Levy

It called me and you know it was a couple years after the 2000 recession and he said look I could use some assistance and in some marketing here within the company because we’re having some challenges and you know I jumped at the opportunity to jump in and you know. Put some ideas in place that ultimately really helped the company became very successful ideas and um at the same time I then started to learn the permanent placement side of the business. Um, and my father was recruiting in healthcare.

 

09:43.16

Damon Levy

Um, and after doing it for a little bit and I realized you know the Healthcare permanent placement side of the business really wasn’t for me this was back in about 2002? Um, so I did something kind of interesting and you know through some of the things that I learned there was always a. Method to picking an industry to recruit in when you were doing permanent placement.. There had to be enough companies you have to be able to get candidates employers got to be willing to pay Fees. So There’s a criteria so I started going through sic codes right? um.

 

10:08.69

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Right.

 

10:18.54

Damon Levy

And looking at various industries and then doing some research and things like that and you know I just I came across one of the sic codes that was trucking and transportation and.

 

10:32.58

Damon Levy

What I ultimately did was you know practically overnight. We started doing permanent placement for truck drivers and it went quickly. We were doing really well at it but something happened which was kind of interesting which kind of goes against permanent placement is that the attrition rate was extremely high.

 

 

10:51.87

Damon Levy

And some of our employers were basically coming to us and saying look Why don’t you just get me applicants I’ll pay you for the applicants. Ah, and we’ll do the work and you know the light bulbs went off.

 

11:05.61

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Oh.

 

11:11.70

Damon Levy

And that’s how class a transport was born. Um, you know I got my team together at the time and because I knew my way around code. We basically had a board coded out within two weeks we had launched the board and it immediately started to you know, kind of. Take on a life of its own I mean obviously there was a lot more behind what we were doing and we had to you know, follow the fundamentals of getting on the phone and letting people know about our services and all that. But that’s how class a transport was born. You know, um, you know during that time. Yeah.

 

11:44.12

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Wow I mean you make it sound easy.

 

11:47.76

Damon Levy

It was I’ll tell you it was a lot of hard work. But I think that the direct selling background and then understanding permanent placement had an extreme impact as to. Being able to do it and obviously understanding computers you know and not having to you know, go figure out how to get a board going. Um, you know that helped and I’m not saying That’s the case for everybody but um, it definitely made a difference and but you know coming from a guy who spent a lot of time on the phone and.

 

12:09.51

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Oh.

 

12:24.11

Damon Levy

You know I knew that in order to get this thing going. We were gonna have to work long hours. So you know and I think it was oh 3 Ah we yeah we hit the ground run in with this thing and haven’t looked back ever since. So yeah.

 

12:39.62

Steven Rothberg

Well, but that’s awesome I I love the sort of your ability and willingness to evolve it. It reminds me a lot years ago. It was it was actually probably around the same time as when you were starting in early two thousand s I saw um guy Kawasaki speak.

 

 

12:58.18

Steven Rothberg

Um, who’s a investor he was an Apple evangelist I think that was literally his job title when he when he was there very early employee and he talked about a company that he had invested in that manufactured some item chair knife. Whatever the heck it was and basically they couldn’t sell it for the intended purpose. All of their customers were buying it to use it for something different and this company wouldn’t sell when it found out that its product was being used for intent other than what they wanted it to be used for. They would stop selling it to those customers and guy Kawasaki was like are you crazy? you’ve got customers who are trying to give you money figure out a way.

 

13:28.90

Damon Levy

They just stop selling it. Interesting.

 

13:36.81

Steven Rothberg

Making that easy for them and that’s kind of sounds like what you know your philosophy I’m always amazed at how many entrepreneurs believe that they know better than their customers. How their product should be used once you sell that product. It’s no longer your product. It’s theirs.

 

13:36.83

Damon Levy

Interesting. Yeah here.

 

13:50.70

Damon Levy

I Learned that a long time ago in everything I did I Always listen to my customer because they will always tell you what they want and what they don’t want and we pivot based upon that information and that has definitely been a big part of growth. No doubt about it.

 

14:07.86

Steven Rothberg

Yeah, yeah, the other thing that you mentioned that maybe it can have you elaborate more. You said that you know the attrition rate was extremely high and that’s not um, a phenomenon that is only in the trucking industry. But.

 

14:10.51

Damon Levy

We’re still doing it to this day.

 

14:27.41

Steven Rothberg

Especially over the last couple years trucking has been kind of the poster child for that when you’re talking with your clients the employers and they’re talking with you about attrition I see some trucking companies say we need more truckers in the industry.

 

14:42.30

Damon Levy

And and.

 

14:44.30

Steven Rothberg

Right? More people have to learn how to drive trucks and I see a small number that say no what we need is for people to drive trucks for longer. Not just three months but 3 years or 30 years what’s your advice to your clients when you have when you’re having those discussions.

 

14:58.88

Damon Levy

Good question and I I actually had it cut out my list here as one of your questions Jeff which is it’s I have a ah very different view on um when it comes to some of these issues. And coming from my background in the permanent placement I hear both sides of this, especially my industry and I come from a place that employers have to do 1 of 2 things is number 1 believe employers have to increase marketing because they need more people to talk to I think that’s a big thing because in any industry there’s going to be an ebb and flow of good times. Bad times pandemics economy issues wars what’s going on and it’s always going to affect things. And I really believe during those times I’ve always really focused very heavily on let’s just increase marketing increase activity to get more people to talk to the flip side of it in addition to that I’m also a very big believer in this idea that I think companies struggle very heavily not only in trucking. In this onboarding process and I’m sure you guys see a lot of this. There’s a real struggle in you know from when the applicant comes in to you know, getting them to return calls to getting them to show up to interviews to getting them to start work and this is a real you know. It’s a point for me to and we’re working a lot on this. We’ll talk more about that. But and I think that in the trucking industry. The problem is that the attrition rate. Yeah I have never seen a solution that means a whole lot now I’ve seen a lot of my employers.

 

16:44.35

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Um.

 

16:48.38

Damon Levy

Keep people where others don’t and I dig into that and I try to find out what are you doing and I and I usually see a common denominator that the person in hr the owners or the vice presidents the one that are controlling the staff they have a bond with these guys and they create. Something where these guys almost feel bad to leave the company and that’s the 1 common denominator I see in the trucking industry where there’s a connection between ownership and employee so that’s the 1 thing but for most part because of we’re dealing with a lot of the attrition. For whatever reason the long hauls driving longer hours. It’s it’s a difficult balancing act where employers which is where I think class a transport and what we’ve done and what we’ve really focused on is just getting employers more people to talk to. If they have more people to talk to. They can get more people behind the trucks they can. Ultimately you know have a pipeline of people filled where they don’t have to sit with empty trucks. That’s just my view on it. Um. And there’s you know like I say and’s there’s just no magic pill to any of it. But there’ are definitely things that could be done to minimize I think some of these pain points and it’s a work in progress. You know it’s it’s a working process with in any industry and it’s not easy. Ah, but and coming from permanent placement I think that I realize really how difficult to be a great recruiter is to find people to get them and things like that. Not to you know, scare people. But I think it’s also just fundamental. Um, fundamental things you do from start to finish to get people. You know when they apply to you know, start work. So hopefully that that answered that question. Sure.

 

18:42.46

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

So Damon I’m kind of curious I asked this of a lot of the guests that I’ve had on this on the podcast because I think everyone seems to have variations on the same model in terms of revenue. But. I suspect yours might be a little bit different. What is the revenue model for your site and for your business.

 

19:00.89

Damon Levy

Good question you know I am for so many years really looked at what is the best way to go about this and you know originally I looked at the standard job posting model and I just could never make that work I just.

 

19:18.60

Damon Levy

For some reason I struggled with it. So what we did um is we came up with an idea where we were going to blend our model and be a sort of a blend between an ad agency, a recruitment agency and a job board. We were going to take the best of all 3 and create one all encompassing product. So what we basically have done is we created a suite of products where employers come to us. We’ll run a campaign form where we create the ads. We do the marketing. Um, we promote it. We do all of these different things through texting through emailing. Inbound call campaigns syndication. Um, we created an Api where if an employer comes to us and says you know, um I’m looking for drivers out of Chicago. Let’s assume. We have a little thing that’ll say all right? You have 4 or 5 major cities from Chicago. But then you have you know, fifty or a hundred smaller cities. Well our platform will replicate these campaigns a hundred different times.

 

20:24.67

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Ah.

 

20:26.69

Damon Levy

And give mass content out there and it’ll fall into our feeds and this is how we’ve really been able to build a candidate base of close to a quarter million drivers so far. So the revenue model sends ah centers around the campaigns we run where it’s a flat fee and they can run that over.

 

20:40.33

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Right.

 

20:44.60

Damon Levy

One month two months three months or four months or a year they can add additional locations to the campaigns which they pay a fee for that then they can have access to our backend database system and our backend database system there’t that’s an add-on for that which is really a resume system but it’s a unique interface that we created where it let’s assume they’re looking for drivers in you know Ohio somewhere it will preload all of the applicants and it uses a keyword system where you basically can say I want. Hazmat drivers out of you know zaynsville Ohio and it’ll instantly filter the applicants without having to run a search and then they can just open them and go down the screen and just start calling. So we’ve created that as a product and then they also you know have a dashboard where they can see top performing ads and you know manage their ads and the applicants that apply they have ah we have a lightweight crm where they can reject candidates things like that. So. It’s really an all-encompassing. Approach where they pay for the services we offer you know the texting the emailing the campaigns the locations and then they get all these additional tools to get the best and the most out of the campaign.

 

22:00.80

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

You know? so I find that really interesting because um, you know when I do my news roundups for my blog I I used to always say you know news of the job board industry and then probably 3 four years ago I started saying news of job board and recruitment marketing industry.

 

22:18.99

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Because there’s sites like yours that are really acting more as a recruitment marketing platform agency and you know there certainly happens in a lot of different niches. Not just your niche. But I think the thing that struck me was the very first thing you said you said.

 

22:38.38

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

We write the ads and I was thinking. There’s so many job boards that would kill to be able to do that for their clients because a lot of the problems that happen with their clients tend to be bad original content from the employer and. You know you can do all the marketing you want. But if you have a not very good Posting. You’re screwed you know.

 

23:01.45

Damon Levy

And what’s so interesting about that point is that over the years through statistics I’ve been a real stickler for metrics and really seeing bounce rates. You know to the point where the landing pages that the drivers apply on.

 

23:19.88

Damon Levy

Down to the size and the color of the fonts have been dialed in to reduce bounce rates over the years how they interact with the application where we place things where we do things and you know we have found you know over time like employers when we set these campaigns that might send me this book job description.

 

23:23.59

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Yep.

 

23:39.70

Damon Levy

And we will let them know saying look. We can do this as is but the reality is in this market because you know 95% of your applicants are coming via way of mobile. Um, they’re not going to go through all this and a lot of these things are very generic for the industry. Let’s pull them out when they apply and you reach out to them. Then you could kind of fill in in in the gap and you know we’ve tested it both ways we’ve done the longer ads and then we’ve done kind of what we’re seeing in the market and whenever we make that adjustment. It’s a night and day ah it’s a night day approach it really is and our employers really appreciate that we do that you know it really makes a big difference. Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah, it’s it’s a big thing. So.

 

24:16.76

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Ah I’m sure that has an effect on your employer retention. So yeah.

 

24:25.32

Damon Levy

And you know it’s all about employer retention. We do our best you know I stay up at night trying to figure out how to you know, keep 100% of them and it’s never going to happen but hey I could shoot for it right? Yeah, so.

 

24:34.64

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Yeah, yeah, everyone’s got to have a goal so well listen Damon it’s we’re out of time but it’s been wonderful talking with you. Um, it was incredibly illuminating now if our listeners want to get ahold of you. What’s the best way for them to do that.

 

24:50.70

Damon Levy

Ah, email Damon at class a transport dot com so spell just as it sounds ah and then probably the best ways email like all of us right? yeah.

 

25:11.61

Damon Levy

Either way I can leave a number if you’re good with it. They can always reach me if people got questions I’ll throw it out. You ready 6 six 1 area code six zero seven 3 7 7 4 and I’m always accessible at that number and I’m the type of guy that always returns calls to.

 

25:28.43

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Perfect, perfect well listen Dave and thanks for coming on the show. It’s been great to have you.

 

25:30.87

Damon Levy

So yeah, it has been a pleasure with spending time with you guys. It really has and you know hopefully we’ll stay in touch and you know as time goes on and we’ll go from there.

 

25:42.17

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Sounds good, sounds good and Steven if anyone wants to get in touch with you for any um, unknown reason how do they do that.

 

25:51.78

Steven Rothberg

Well by the time this episode drops I will be getting ready to just basically sit in front of my Tv for the next two months watching NHL playoffs so they can find me there.

 

 

26:04.36

Steven Rothberg

Um, but so assuming that they have not yet realized that hockey is the one and only true sport they can email me at Steven at http://collegerecruiter.com David it was ah awesome. Thank you so much.

 

26:16.34

Damon Levy

You’re very welcome. It was likewise with you guys it really was so on that note I have a wonderful rest of the week

 

26:22.89

Jeff Dickey-Chasins

Well, we’ll try. We’ll try for whatever week this ends up showing in but um, that’s it for this episode of JobBoardGeek ah, be sure if you like it or even if you don’t like it to subscribe on Apple Spotify stitcher Google whatever floats your boat. This is Jeff Dickey-Chasins, I am the JobBoardDoctor and you’ve been listening to the only podcast that focuses on the business of connecting candidates and employers. That’s all for now I’ll see you again next time. Thanks.

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