The Two Sides of Hiring with Ducci & Associates’ Jackie Ducci
Finding exceptional talent.
Jackie Ducci is the CEO and Founder of Ducci & Associates.
Ducci & Associates knows hospitality, construction, and professional services. They know it's critical to find and recognize the right talent for a perfect fit. 90% of all filled positions have been successful long-term.
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Josh Elledge: Welcome to The Thoughtful Entrepreneur Show. I'm Josh Elledge, Founder and CEO of UpMyInfluence.com. We turn entrepreneurs into media celebrities, grow their authority, and help them build partnerships with top influencers. We believe that every person has a unique message that can positively impact the world. stick around to the end of the show, where I'll reveal how you can be our next guest on one of the fastest growing daily inspiration podcasts on the planet in 15 to 20 minutes. Let's go.
And with us right now we've got Jackie Ducci. Jackie, you are the CEO and Founder of Ducci and Associates, a headhunting firm. How would you refer to what you do?
Jackie Ducci: Yeah, I know that's kind of an outdated term, but I use it still, I feel like it's the best way to describe what we do. So yeah, we headhunt and then we also hiring consult for different companies that need help.
Josh: And you've gotten a lot of media attention. For the work that you do, namely, because you've published a book, and that book is called, Almost Hired: What's Really Standing Between You and the Job You Want. And so, I would imagine you've been able to help some really good people.
Jackie: It's been a lot of fun, even just today. Now, the books been out almost a year, and I still get messages from random people on LinkedIn saying that they read it, and it helped them get a new opportunity. So that's just felt really good and makes me happy that I put it out there. So
Josh: So naturally, I want to ask the question then. So what is standing between someone and the job they want?
Jackie: Mm, well, the answer is different for everyone. And that's why there was a whole book of information to put out there. Um, you know, just so many things, and I find that candidates usually get stuck at one phase of the job search. And again, it's different for everyone, but they'll find either they're just not getting any interviews or they make it all the way to the end and they don't get an offer. It's usually a consistent problem for each person. So really getting to know people or having them self reflect and figure out okay, “why am I getting stuck at this stage” is what's really important for them to kind of break through and get the results they want.
Josh: What are some common things that you that you would see for someone who's, you know, wants to be on— on the rise, but they just seem to keep stumbling over something like what are some common things that you see with folks? Maybe either are they getting in their own way? Is there a problem with their industry? Do they should they blame somebody else? Or is the the issue usually within?
Jackie: the issue is within most of the time, one thing just right off the top of my head, and I'm seeing this a lot. Now, I think because unemployment is low, and it is kind of a candidate market. They know that and so they tend to go into interviews a little cocky and some— or sometimes they'll play coy and be like, Well, you know, I'm really in demand right now and they don't come across like they really want the opportunity. Even if they do they feel like they're gonna look desperate if they say they're excited about it.
Jackie: So it's just such a turn off to employers and candidates don't realize that. It just doesn't feel good when you're sitting on the other side of the table. You want people that want to work for you. So that's one of the biggest things I see them doing wrong right now.
Josh: HR managers, I would imagine, are pretty smart. Like they know what you're doing.
Jackie: Well, yeah, and they've seen heard it all. I mean, they do interviews all the time, so they can get to the root of what's going on pretty quickly. And there are definitely certain things that turn them off right away.
Josh: Wow, wow. And anything else in terms of like best practices or, or worst practices that are pretty common?
Jackie: Another thing this is something many people don't do very well, when they're applying. They should. I know, this is like, you know, old school advice, but it really does apply. They should have different versions of their resume to send in for various positions like it's on them every time they push send on an app to show The person on the receiving end why they are a fit for that job. Like it's not the recipients job to sift through all the information and figure out it's your job to show them as a candidate. So really just kind of combing through each time and like taking out anything that's miscellaneous or adding things that they might not have thought about. Just it's all about relevance. That's really critical.
Josh: You know, it's interesting, I was recently hiring I needed a Pipedrive engineer, someone to help us with our sales CRM. And when I started searching online profiles resumes. I was looking for Pipedrive, like honestly, I chose a very specific keyword because I wanted someone who is masterful at that one specific platform. Now there were a gazillion CRM managers. But you know, if they stayed with the more generic term, I would have been nervous that there would been this learning curve because they may or may may not be familiar with my platform of choice and, you know, maybe it doesn't really matter, but from a hiring perspective, I knew specifically the problem I had as a company. And I was looking for someone who's like, you could stop right here because I own Pipedrive, I live, breathe, eat, dream, you know, I like I live— I want— that's who I wanted is someone that was just passionate about that one thing and so, you know, it's kind of to your point about, you know, having multiple resumes, look at the job description, and go and add and—
Josh: you know, tailor your, your resume you don't, you can probably leave proficient in Microsoft Word out, unless that's really, you know, really like what the job is all about. And, and really get specific and try to match up in the line right with the keywords in the description as long as you're being accurate and authentic.
Jackie: Well, that's the thing. Like, you never want to be dishonest, obviously. But it's amazing to me, like, I'll talk to somebody and in the course of my interview with them, there's just so much that they've done that's not in the document. And it's like, if I didn't ask that question I would have never known. So how do you expect the hiring manager to know, and also to your point about what you were looking for when you were hiring, we're in a market Now, again, unemployment is low. And so it's like, if you convey that you have the experience, they're going to be so excited about you like you're automatically going to be at the top of the pile. So putting in that little bit of effort can set you apart, and it can make all the difference.
Josh: One more thing on this before we talk about maybe the employer side of things a little bit more, and also your your kind of your rise of your own business. But what are some things that employees I mean, besides the obvious, just in terms of the fact that you know, we live in a digital connected world and how does that play into our— getting the job that we want.
Jackie: It's been an interesting time I started in this business 15 or so years ago. So it was sort of before the rise of social media and all that. And it's very interesting to see how things have changed. I mean, I think in general, it's just made everything a lot less personal. Like everybody on both sides. They feel like they're getting ghosted by everyone, like employers get frustrated, because candidates just disappear, candidates get frustrated because the employer disappears. There's a lot of that. And I think it's just somewhat the nature of the world that we're in. Unfortunately, it's just what it is. So there's that. I mean, on the other side, technology is a good thing because it brings opportunities to people's attention that otherwise might not have. So I think if you're a job seeker, you have more to look at more to apply for then maybe you would have years ago where job postings online were just not as in your face. So there's positives and negatives. I would say.
Josh: What about the The kind of the online presence so here's, here's what when we hire one of the especially for a leadership management position, like the one question I almost always asked 'cause I feel like hard skills I mean as long as you're proficient, you know, we're gonna train you in our systems and our way of doing things anyway. But the soft skills, see I want to know more than anything what someone is passionate about, in their when they're not at work. Like what podcasts do you listen to?—
Josh: What YouTube, you know, what do you watch? What kind of videos do you watch? What like, what are you into what books do you read? Like, it's that, that to me, like in you know, I've got kids in I've got a child in college and two that were in high school and kind of on their way, and said, Look, now is the time to, you know, start building up this persona. Like one thing, you know, my son for a while he chose a different path. But he was really interested in architecture. I said, “Listen, us, why don't you start an Instagram account that's all about like, all the things that you love about architecture and just build that up. Because guess what? A future employer will see that. Or you can make sure that they see that as well.” Like, that's what I look for I look for that passion outside of that, you know, trading eight hours for a paycheck.
Josh: Yes. Well, it makes you see someone in three dimensions as opposed to just like what people present in a typical interview, you're really not getting a good window into who they are, unless you start asking some of those questions. So you're really smart to do that. And I think the best people at hiring, do those kinds of things, and they work it into their standard process.
Josh: If I'm an employer, and there is uh, I mean, there's— I think there are so many industries where it is fairly competitive to find and retain really good employees.
Josh:You know, we work with one recruiting agency that deals specifically with doctors and, boy that there's a real shortage of doctors right now. if— if— if someone is hiring, and they're in— they're looking for people in an area where there's just, there's just not enough talent, it seems like what are some things that an employer can do to maybe compete with other employers that might be offering higher salaries that might not be able to afford? You know, what can we do to invite people into or enroll people into getting excited about working with us today?
Jackie: Yeah, that's the burning question. I think it really depends on who your market is, like. You know, there are some companies now that are all about like the ping pong tables and the casual Fridays and the beer in the kitchen and like that kind of stuff. And like to a certain type of employee that's going to be really attractive. If you're 22 and a frat guy, that's great. Like, if you're like me, it's probably not going to be that appealing. I think knowing like having a concept in your mind of who your ideal employee is. And then trying to figure out different benefits that will appeal to that person because it's gonna sort of make your pool self selecting, right? You're gonna draw people to you that see things the same way and like there's a match as opposed to just trying to chase anybody or the wrong type of person, because then they're just going to turn over anyway.
Josh: Yeah… I, what about hiring virtual teams? Any any considerations there?
Jackie: Hmm. I mean, the biggest thing there is just making sure that the people that you're hiring actually can work remotely.
Jackie: And it's kind of a silly thing to say. Because everybody says they want to do that. But there are a lot of people that try it and they just can't, like,
Josh: I know.
Jackie: y'know, they need to be in an office, they need to be around other people. And there's nothing wrong with it either way, but you kind of have to know who you are and which option you can actually be functional in. And then, you know, from the employer side, being able to feel that out in someone if they've never worked virtually before. I'd be a little nervous.
Jackie: You know?
Josh: Yeah, that has absolutely been our experience. We've had some incredibly talented people, but they've always worked in an office. And it's just unsettling for them. They say, okay, like, I'm on my own. There's like no one in my dining room right now. I'm going crazy.
Jackie: “I'm going to the refrigerator too many times a day.”
Josh: Yeah. Right. Right. Right. So, so Jackie, tell me a little bit about, about your agency and, and kind of where you started and how you've been able to grow because I you know, I think there's a lot of interest in the recruiting space. And certainly, I've been to the Inc 5000 conference a couple times and tell you recruiting industry recruiting companies are well represented. Yeah, there there is. It's a good business, if you can separate— truly provide a great product, solve problems, and separate yourself from the pack. How did you do it?
Jackie: We started really by referral, and I it's weird. Talk about it because people always say the business development side is the hardest. That was always what came really naturally to me. So it was all about relationships. It's about who do I know, that owns a business, and we started with those people, you know, doing placements for them, and it has just exploded from there. We're also really fortunate because we do a lot in the hospitality space. So—
Jackie: Y'know, we would get in with one hotel, and then it would be like, “Oh, you know, we also have these 10 other properties nationwide. So can you help us at these other properties too?”, so just by nature of the industry we're in, it was able to grow, I think more quickly than perhaps if we were in a different industry. So, you know, a combination of things, and we're good at what we do, and we're consistent and
Jackie: yada, yada, yada.
Josh: Yeah, right. Um, what do you do to actually find great talent if you're representing a hotel chain?
Jackie: Mm hmm. Well, thankfully, in hospitality, we have a huge database of people now because we've been doing this for a long time. So the first thing that we do when we get a new job coming to us is that we start with who we already know. We talk to great candidates all the time that we love, and we would like to represent but we don't have the right role for them at that time. But two years from now, something might pop up and depending where they are in life, so we're really good about circling back to people already sort of in our network that we've spoken with. referral is another big thing. I always feel better representing a candidate if they know someone that I know who has vouched for them because then they're not a stranger. So that's one thing that I think really does set us apart from other recruiting firms is that we don't really post ads hardly ever, you know, we don't source candidates that way. The closest we will get is headhunting. Someone on LinkedIn. Yeah. You know, getting to know them that way. But you know, we have different tactics,
Josh: aside from just doing good work. What what other things have you used? I mean, I guess if your goal is to grow your business through referrals. What else can you do?
Jackie: -sigh- What keeps clients coming back to us? And I hear this all the time. And it sounds really cheesy, but this is like this is the honest answer. They tell us that they appreciate that we care. And like just yesterday, we're in the middle of a long interview process with a candidate and one of our clients and he made it through the third interview, and he said something to me, the candidate that just really rubbed me the wrong way. And I felt like you know what, red flag like, I don't like the feel of this. And I actually called my client and said, I want you to pull them I you know, and it's like, devastating because we're going to lose the fee. But I'm like, I don't want my name on this. If this guy is not who we thought he was initially, sometimes you don't know right away. So things like that. We just always have the clients best interest in mind and we want it to work for everyone. So not just trying to force that placement but really like needing it to be a good match.
Josh: I would imagine in the recruiting space in your… Kinda, is it one of those things where you're only as good as your last placement?
Jackie: You know what— well certainly with that client, because if you have one that doesn't work out with that client, they're gonna think twice before they come back to you. So always, like very aware of that. And I think, you know, there are some recruiters that do a lot of temp or like, high turnover kind of placements. And I think their world is different for what we do. We're placing a lot of very senior level, folks. So the expectation is they're going to last at minimum a couple of years and be a good fit. And so, we're just we have to be very diligent about who we're presenting all the time.
Josh: Yeah. So as a recruiter, I would imagine that there's probably a little bit more. It's not just like, I mean, it's not just about just connecting to people, right? I mean, there's vetting that goes into this to make sure that you're not wasting your employer's time. It's not like “Well, let me just grab a bunch of names and dump them in and you go and talk to them.”
Jackie: No, no, not at all. I mean, I would I always Say this too, I would rather present no one for a job than present 10 people that are not even close to what my clients looking for. So, you know, I want to make sure that everybody that I send is someone that if I were in the clients shoes, I would hire them myself. Yeah, you know, as well as you can tell them getting to know someone over a couple of hours. But, you know, when we're working with a client, I'm always asking a lot of questions to really understand not only what the role is and the responsibilities but like, what is their concept of the right person and why have people worked or not worked in the past because those kind of give me a real insight into what we need and sometimes, you know, ideas that the client hasn't even thought of on their own. So we work collaboratively to figure out who is the ideal person?
Josh: Well, Jackie Ducci. You are the author of Almost Hired which is available on Amazon and your website is Ducciassociates.com and that's DUCCI associates.com. And who would be someone that you would just love to have zip you an email and say, let's chat?
Jackie: Oh gosh, any business owner maybe like a small to midsize business owner who's struggling with their hiring either because they keep picking the wrong people, they can't find the right people. And yet they know they need to do it better. Like those are the perfect people that I can help so and also folks that don't maybe have centralized HR in their company. A lot of times they don't for whatever reason and could use some support so that that's a perfect client for us.
Josh: And I know that you, you do serve pretty— pretty much any industry but you certainly have some specialties in hospitality, construction, professional, and General Services.
Jackie: Yeah, correct. But I mean, really, our hiring principles can apply to anybody. So yeah. I Don't want to limit us.
Josh: Yeah, for sure. Well, Jackie, thank you so much for joining us.
Jackie: Yeah. Thanks for having me. This is great.
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