Solutions Driven

How the right tech can embed accountability and transparency in your hiring process with Sungrow’s Nick Nowicki 

Recruitment is behind in the tech race.

If you look at the average organisation’s sales or marketing teams, they’ll (usually) have a sophisticated tech stack that’s used continually to get better results and streamline their processes.  

However, their recruiting tech stack isn’t always so advanced. Many businesses are still recruiting by email, using to-do lists to manage their pipeline, and doing manual outreach.  

But HR & TA departments are catching up. Many businesses are putting tech at the forefront of their recruiting – and getting great results because of it.  

So, who better to join us for the latest episode of The Talent Intelligence Podcast than a tech evangelist Talent Acquisition Manager?  

Nick Nowicki from Sungrow, a leader in innovation in the solar industry, joins us today to talk about the importance of getting the right tech and:  

We also look at why we need to be hiring for the future, not the present as job market changes accelerate, and how businesses can move from success in their people to success in their systems – especially as they scale.


  • How to use ensure tech is working for you, not the other way around
  • The importance of team alignment and how the right software can create great alignment
  • Why everyone in your team should be a recruiter – or at least understand how the company’s recruitment works
  • The challenges of hiring across multiple locations, and how to streamline the process
  • And much much more…

Listen to the podcast:

Listen on Spotify

Listen on Apple Podcasts

Watch the Podcast:


Dave Sweeney (He/Him): Hello, everybody, Welcome to another episode of the talent, intelligence podcast from solutions driven. I got a really interesting one today, which is very recruitment centric, which you’d think would be the norm for a recruitment company, but we get into lots of kinds of business topics. This is going to be interesting, though I will let our guest introduce himself in just a moment.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): But we’re going to be talking about everything from how to make sure you’re using technology to engage with candidates and hiring managers to keep everyone aware of what’s going on in the process that transparency that communication. Why don’t you introduce yourself, do the cheesy intro Everyone has to doing these things.

Nick Nowicki: Thanks, Dave. Thanks for being here today with you. So yeah. Hello, everyone. My name is Nick. 35 years old, born in Bavarian. I’m running the show here at Sangro, having a bit of an IT background and a little bit of recruiting here and there. Bit of language background. Right? So yeah. I’m the tele acquisition manager and building everything up from the ground.

Nick Nowicki: That’s that should be about the description about what I’m doing.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): I know that feeling so as such, you get involved in a bit of everything. It’s great to hear from top acquisition, and HR leaders at these huge companies who have a whole team at their feet. That, you know, can split jobs between themselves, and they can do more. But as one individual who’s trying to manage all of this process, I think, from our previous conversation, something you’ve done a lot of and seem really passionate about is how to make sure technology is your friend, and it’s not just sort of a thing that’s there to do a task that you don’t want to do which I think some sometimes we can be guilty of, both in sales and recruitment.

I know there’s one particular tool that you sort of evangelize about, and this is certainly not sponsored, but I’m sure the name will be dropped a couple of times.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): So yeah, the first thing is to get into the hiring process as a whole. Transparency, engaging in the hiring managers, making sure they know what’s going on, making sure you know what they want. They know what’s happening from a candidate perspective. So yeah, maybe kind of shed some light for us, if you can, on

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): how you manage that process, because there’s a lot of transparency involved in the way you work from what you’ve told me previously.

Nick Nowicki: correct. So yeah, thanks for that introduction. So, in fact, Dave, where can I start from? So, when I joined 2 years before, my boss hired me on the premise and said look, you would be my number One recruiter. We don’t have any. You have to recruit all across Europe and many countries we have there with language and laws and whatnot, and it was like, okay, Listen: Renewable energies, right? You want to grow Also, I mean, I can create traffic. But we need to keep track of it. We need to retain the people. So, we need a tool, right? We have a tool. Nope. Okay, then – you want me to come. Then we need to buy a tool as well. Otherwise, my work is just, you know. Drop bets on the Hotstone. Long story short, let’s go forward. I knew that I was the only recruiter for many, many countries, so I knew, to be effective, to keep all these pipelines growing, I need a tool in which I can keep track and partially I can distribute my task free, screening as recruiter to the department leaders right? Because I don’t have time as a single recruiter to up into 45 different pipelines.

So, big takeaway there for the recruitment people here. Make your job part of someone else’s job. So, of course. And here’s the first name drop here. In Germany we have a startup. It’s called a Personio. It’s a unicorn.

So, let’s say this. You have an HR Platform. It just basically to have all the documents collected holidays, everything that a person has an account and can put something in there can request holidays very simple.

Nick Nowicki: So, before being a colleague, you’ve been a candidate, so there’s also this, let’s say, recruiting platform attached to it. The whole platform comes with roles and roles are extremely important, because technically I have all my people on the same platform, and they could all overrun my pipelines, commenting wild and what but of course with a properly installed role system with a technical revenue who is only allowed to see, let’s say, a CV and maybe can just comment: oh, this is interesting. Or someone who is a hiring manager, can also see, above that notice period, salary, expectations, something that we also should in the future change like how we deal with all the holy mystery of a salary bands. But it’s a different topic right so by setting up that, as first of all, as a base to make sure. I know who is allowed to see what? Who can let you know that that we can talk the same language Whenever you comment here on this profile of this individual – we will just take care in the background, making sure we have an interview together.

Nick Nowicki: And then afterwards I already opened that after there was some learning like there was a learning curve. I made a little scrum sprint every month. Let’s say I gave them more and more rights to do something, because at the beginning they need to learn. You need to learn how to basically work like an HR guy. Okay, you can just come in like a storm. Throw people around. That needs to be a process, right? But the secret was partially giving them more rights. Let them feel how a recruiter works. Let them prescreen themselves right, and just give me the things what I really need to do.

Nick Nowicki: Yeah.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): Yeah, it’s interesting what you say about everyone speaking the same language. And you know, just to take a step back from that for a moment. What you say about just restricting some of what people can do initially, as they learn sometimes just having a process and running with it for a while can have amazing effects, because people see the results, and then they start to get that bit more bought in.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): But when speaking the same language, that’s interesting, because as recruiters at Solutions Driven, that’s what we do. One of the biggest themes we see. Certainly, we pick up a role that’s been open for a long time and it’s a hiring team who think they’re speaking the same language. But actually, when a third party comes in and listens to everyone else, is saying there’s some quite clear disparities there between what people are really looking for, and that’s what is causing that kind of lack of the right candidate because there is an inconsistency there. So, from what you’re saying, do you think this has had a big impact on your hiring teams, your hiring managers being able to make sure they know what they’re looking for? The candidates know what they need to deliver, and everyone is speaking the same language through the process.

Is that kind of the end result of all the work you’ve done over the last 2 years?

Nick Nowicki: Yeah, yeah. 70% was just simply finding a common language that everyone knows.

Nick Nowicki: What do we want to achieve, what kind of profile is it? What would fill the boots properly here? And then, of course, by simply mimicking each other, copying from each other because they can see each other’s comments. They can see each other’s evaluations after the interview, especially the evaluation side is displayed very nicely and very crispy. Everyone can rate with little stars, right? And then you see also the way someone comments on profiles, and then they really start to copy from each other a line feature, and then vibe with each other. And meanwhile our system is really like a like a conveyor belt, so everyone pretty much knows what button to click. They require an interview. Bomb! Bomb! Do this like that right now. I’m already preparing for the next sprint, so to speak. We also having, a reeducation platform and education platform for training and stuff like this, and I already prepared first training and made first recordings on teaching them how to schedule interviews on their own with this scheduling tool right? That’s fully automatic.

Nick Nowicki: By that you can really achieve this. This narrative, this big agenda of everyone, can be a recruiter. On an operational side at least.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): I think that level of transparency means everyone not only sees the full process, but it also means each individual person. Part of that process is held accountable as well.

If people can see how the process, they know what’s been done, what Hasn’t been done, so I think that could be.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): The way you talk about it is a sprint, I think, is interesting. It’s something that others can learn from. That’s a very kind of technical way of looking at things.

Nick Nowicki: We had developers talking about sprints. We hear engineer was talking about sprints. We don’t necessarily hear it from recruiters. But when you do that distinct process. But I must be honest. At the very beginning, when I started my work here, I had to roll out a platform. Surely, they, they, whoever sells you such a platform will come with their own, roll out Agents and run it. But this is then just to let it function on a very crude basis. But then you have to find your own way within an organization. And here I was just doing one sprint after another, because, as I said, I have a little of an IT project and background. But this was helping me tremendously in my work to properly roll this out and teach people. It was just, but I did what I did besides signing contracts for people right so really bring them up to speed like how to communicate, communicate properly on the platform that we also we do not use any words that might be harmful on a very, you know, on an extremely easy base like you can, of course, say I don’t like this candidate for, ABC.

But there are also some words and wordings you should avoid. You should, of course, phrase that people start to see the world also through the eyes. And then we come to the recruiter.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): And do you think it’s had a measurable impact on the hiring process? You know whether that’s time to hire. Whether that is the number of candidates you get through to final interview because it’s increased engagement from them. Are you measuring those impacts, too?

Nick Nowicki: The good thing is such a platform like this. One comes also with a little internal metrics. So, of course, time to hire time to offer, and time to hire.

The time to offer for me is way more important than to hire. As I told you, you know I’m sitting here somewhere in Munich, for instance. Right? And I have to offer someone in Greece to offer someone in Uk. Right? I mean time to offer is really what we measure our process from first prescreening to last interview to decision. But the time to hire depending on the country. What situation we have there? Do we maybe also need a third party to be involved, because we don’t have the entity yet. Right? So, this is greatly impacting it. But, as you can see right, we have already some metrics in place? And to answer your question. We actually found that now that departments did not like to say, hey, HR post this position on Linkedin, and then they just wait and ask “so do we have candidates or what?”

I see that, but also the departments, is that depending on their roles, so there is not a second of delay any longer while I am still sitting in an interview or doing this podcast review. Maybe there are already 50 new candidates. 5 of them are already great, and already people commenting. And when I come back from this podcast guess what I have work to do, because they already were doing their job. That is actually mine. But it’s, of course, in their interest.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): So yeah, I have more than measurable success here. To be honest, amazing, that’s interesting. That that level of engagement from the hiring team is huge, because we speak to so many different hiring managers. That could be sales. It could be a supply chain, it could be in operations, anywhere, and very often the hiring is something that is handed off.

And it’s not because they don’t want to be involved. It’s that they feel maybe there’s not enough time. They’ve got other priorities, but actually making it visible, that transparent is making sure that everyone’s accountable for the end goal. So, the delegation is no longer an issue, because actually everyone has an individual part. And if you don’t play your part, it becomes clear.

Nick Nowicki: It’s almost forced engagement, in a way, but in the most positive way possible, I suppose. But we become one big membership of success and suffering. Let’s say, of course, right now we were very successfully recruiting. But, for instance, they also get way more sensitive about the job of doing recruitment. Because now I get also messages like.

“Why are they like? Why is there an explosion of Indian and Pakistani professionals right now? We need a key account manager who worked in Uk for 5 years, and there’s some people from the whole world. What happened there?”

That that’s normal. Just some job crawler forwarded us into some round. And now we’re swarmed by a lot of candidates that don’t fit. But it’s normal, really.

Nick Nowicki: Is that what you deal with on a weekly basis or not daily? This is a classic example of sharing, sometimes also frustration. When a job or a job. Posting is not working quite right.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): That’s interesting. Yeah, I suppose, already it goes to that level of transparency. People see your day job, you know you. You probably know more about the day jobs of your hiring managers than they know about yours. And this flips that

Nick Nowicki: Exactly. Because normally this is, you know this, this the Holy Grail of an organization. What are the HR people doing? Oh, don’t ask them, or they take one or 2 holidays of you. No, this is so great that they see Of course there is some very confidential stuff to be doing here.

but, on the other hand, on the easier end. Look how we work. Look at what we do on a daily basis and see what we struggle with and see what we really celebrate.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): Yeah, absolutely. I love that. And how do you feel this is affected things from a candidate perspective, because I think it’s really important to talk about engagement from a hiring manager and hiring team and make sure everyone’s on the same page or speaking the same language.

Obviously, it gives internally you the same view of who’s coming through. You can all leave your comments and things as you’ve talked about.

How does it benefit both of you, when it comes to engaging candidates and keeping them engaged throughout process.

But also does that same level of transparency and accountability goes down that side of the process as well. They know what’s coming next. Who they’re going to be talking to? What type of feedback they’re getting. Did Does it work on that side, too, do you think?

Nick Nowicki: On the candidate side to a lesser extent, but still, you can feel it. The best example is today I had another marketing interview, and in fact, it was a second interview, a final one, and here we also shared a marketing task, candidate send us back, and sending us something back. I make it publicly visible within this very German group of people. Everyone already sees the same stuff can already comment and debate on the profile, you know, to prepare for the candidate when the candidate comes in.

There are no questions amongst each other. We already know who asks what question, who wants to give proper feedback to the task? What is done by? Now, with this wonderful world that we live in, the century of information and information overflow, we actually appear to be better informed and prepared for the candidate. No double questions, no triple questions, hey? This was asked in the first interview. Everything is, you know, documented, we are all on the same, literally go on the same page here.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): I think that’s just as important for candidate engagement is actually, you know what happens in between parts of the process. I think, if you’re going into an interview, and it’s quite clear that the panel or the person you’re talking to is well prepared. They know you. They know the task that you’ve done. They’ve seen it. It’s not been managed through a lengthy email thread to people who haven’t read it because they got to it 10 emails behind and couldn’t be able to catch up.

Nick Nowicki: Now you said it. I don’t want to know how many people are still dealing with email recruiting. This is the scourge, the scourge of recruiting – email recruiting, because, of course, as you say, there is this succession of email messages, who’s reading the last 16 emails, maybe the last 3 4 are important enough right to even at that, and I think here it will become a way to better add on to for the candidates, because, besides just commenting on evaluations, which is an internal tool we also have an email string. So, within this tool you have a fixed email address.

But whoever uses this email gets basically displayed as Nick Max Frank. But it’s basically one email thread. No, CC: nothing. We all read the same big, long email and just depending on who is writing the email gets displayed on the email head. But everyone we all see the very same string. So that’s something. Also, that of course, aligns us. So, in the eyes of the candidate, it appears that every time someone new is coming into the conversation and seems to be super informed right about what’s happening. The truth of the matter is, it’s just one big email thread that we all use at the same time. Yeah, I mean, it creates clarity doesn’t it, which is really important clarity.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): So, let’s look forward, then, because we, as we record this, you know it’s the middle of get towards the middle of January in 2023. We’ve had a slightly crazy last 2 or 3 years when it comes to recruitment, you know some sectors up and down all over the place, others still in boom, some really struggling at the moment.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): It’s quite difficult to PIN down what’s going to happen next. Technology is something, I think, that comes into almost every conversation we have with, you know, recruitment and HR leaders at the moment, because it’s seen as a bit of a so ability in many ways. The fix all you know, all the problems can be fixed if we find the right tool. Oh, yeah, now you find the right words right now. I wonder if you had a little bit of an advantage coming in from the outside, bringing a tool in when you started a role and then leading that project, you know that was that was yours. You know you had accountability.

Where we may have, let’s say, an internal recruitment team a handful of people could even be more than that.

Many of whom have been there for years, and their processes are well-defined, but they’re not necessarily getting the benefits of everything we’re talking about here that’s where technology can be quite daunting, because change is scary. So, it wasn’t change for you, necessarily, because you knew it was needed.

And so, there’s a bit of a debate there about how we use technology. When I was, in recruitment we’d about all the time and process change when we don’t necessarily know it’s going to work

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): How much kind of kickback did you have when you were interviewing it? Someone saying you know we need this. You want me. You need to do this. Was that a sticking point? Yeah. Was it a big debate?

Nick Nowicki: I mean, the good thing is, if you can sell your argument well, if you can really make your case, you can state your case. You will always. You will always meet open ears. I mean. The good thing was that my boss back then knew what I was ending at. Right. You want me to create traffic. I can create your traffic. Can you handle my traffic? Can you make sure that the people that I bring in are retained properly? That the people are on board it properly.

How can you guarantee by so much traffic? Because back. Then I was about to increase the whole flow by 250%.

This was her need first recruiter, right? So, she knew that we needed something for documentation contracts payroll pop up about. We need a sophisticated tool period. Now, the good thing is, I was already. Ha! I was already meeting opening, is there? That was all right.

Imagine if you’re in a in a sophisticated, maybe successful middle class environment, 600 people working there. And now, suddenly you have to change systems there. Of course, people do not like change the most. The most constant thing in life change is something that we human beings have learned is bad, because, of course, change always means I have to let go of some habits. And we oh, my God, habits are the best in the life of human beings. We love our habits and cooling.

I want to pick it up from there. Digital tools, platforms, right platforms, and then cloud based services. They offer you a lot.

But here is the crux to all of it. Make sure you find yourself one or 2 of the top 3 big platforms. And then try to connect them properly. Now we consolidate, we. We find redundancies in our environment organization because our organization amongst all the different countries grew. And now we need to row together, so some have their own.

Nick Nowicki: I don’t know their own cloud service. Some have the only internal comes. Some of these, some of that. So right now, let’s come back to HR. We make sure we selected this person, you know, for instance that are now working, and these guys have really understood the passion of this time right now. They’re really working hard now, not only to further develop their own platform. but also, to create more a key. And Api is in my eyes, the word for the 20 first century. Use connections where connections can be made, make more connections where no connections are at all.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): I’m sure it was somebody. No, I think that’s a huge point, and consolidation is a word we hear a lot at the moment with people that have these huge tech stacks, and, like you said. If you talk to each other, you might be creating more problems than you’re actually solving.

Nick Nowicki: And absolutely because you drown you, drowning your own digital overflow that you have created there. Make sure you completely analyze the business needs for your operations and make sure, like I already bought this solution, and I using 60 of it.

Nick Nowicki: Because let’s talk also about money. Now for the first time, after how many minutes that we have in this call. Now, thank you. So many people spend a lot of money into different platforms, so make sure if you buy something big, try to use all of it as much as possible. Get rid of all the other stuff. You’re saving money for sure, and you’ll now try to find all the juicy apis to services that talk into the big one.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): So, you don’t need another big platform. I think that’s going into one central place, and I think it’s funny. I get into a lot of conversations about the similarities between sales and recruitment and that, sales have had probably a head start in this kind of technology, but a lot of the thing is that sales tech. Yes, recruitment can make huge use of and get a huge value from 2. It’s probably just behind,

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): And that single point of truth thing is something that if you ask any sales team, they’ll have a crm that that that is the point that everything talks to, because you know that there’s a Sas company for every little thing out, that if you can find a little challenge, there’ll be a Sas company that’s built something.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): Can you buy 50 different little tools. Yes. Well, they refer to each other, so can you have 2 or 3 bigger ones that might not be as good as those individual things, because they’re not specializing in it.

Nick Nowicki: But that will give you everything in same space. I think that’s a huge point to watch for recruitment over the next couple of years. You know also what all this does? Because right now we talked about, what does this tool do for the

Nick Nowicki: bigger good for the bigger organization. But now let’s talk about the recruit and myself. I mean in a tool like this I funnel like from this tool I shoot out all my job descriptions.

Nick Nowicki: all my job applications, my, my promotions whatever. But they all lead back to this platform, so everyone will just come out in here.

Nick Nowicki: We process them through. Then I can make an offer there. I already have my contract templates in there that I can fill out with placeholders within seconds bam contract created. Send it out to your Pdf. For review. You find you accepting it. Just give me 10 s

Nick Nowicki: pulling a red lever on this contract, and Nick Nowicki: I’m creating a safe realm and offer a digital signature.

First my hiring manager signs, then the candidate. 10 s later bound, we both have the 2 copies of the contract, and here we go.

Nick Nowicki: Oh, I’m in awe of how it is nowadays to find coming around to work with each other.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): Yeah.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): Anyway, the question for you on that, because I think we we’re talking here a lot about process about structure, about getting the admin of the recruitment job done, and is done as easily, transparently, and as collaboratively as possible.

How does that then affect you? Being able to do what we could call the human aspect of being a recruiter. You know we you mentioned that about, you know, getting your job descriptions out, getting your ads out when it comes to actually engaging with candidates, one to one with proactively sourcing candidates for a role that might be proving tricky, you know, getting the inbound traffic.

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): Does it actually give you more time to really feel like you can

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): engage in those aspects of being a recruiter more than you did before.

Nick Nowicki: I have to search the number of yeses I’m about to give you, but it should be between 3 and 4. Obviously.

Nick Nowicki: now that I and I, I literally switch of my brain. Sometimes I just have created another job. I just do my retreat. Routine clicks and I have to click number 6 to 7. I don’t know what it is. I know that this job just landed on 21 to 22 different platforms, and

Nick Nowicki: I didn’t even waste a single brain cell for this thing, because it’s a very much optimization auto. It’s optimization. It’s a routine task to switch your brain to store the energy. Still, now I’m going to an interview that I have, and I use all my

Nick Nowicki: I don’t know why you want to call it my charms, whatever work on this prime candidate. Oh, yes, Dave, I have so much time now to simply focus on a human-centered design process.

Nick Nowicki: There is a new client coming in, so we know he’s a prime candidate. He’s now starting to process with us. I know he already has 2 offers, because within the industry he has a certain name. Now, I need to make sure we shine out.

Yeah. And now I can focus because I know I don’t have this? Oh, my God! There’s still this job to post there. I had to refresh it there, oh, how about making the change of the job on the 22 post sides that we have. No, I just clicked 2 times, and that’s it. She’s still stored and focused on this on the sky. Sometimes I can even do it during interviews when I have to shut up. You know this is wonderful. This is wonderful, and I’m still astounded. How many firms, enterprises, whatnot, are still working on this very way of “Please send us your application via post, even though we want you to hand us in your Cv. And your references. Now on our talent platform. Please type in again what university you’ve been to? What school? What was your grade?

Dave Sweeney (He/Him): You’re so right. I mean, I can’t remember where it was published. But there was a statistic. I saw recently that something along the lines of 60 65% of online application processes, the candidate quits less than halfway through, because there’s too much admin. They’re being asked to repeat themselves too much.

And I think to your point about having time to really engage with the person you’re interviewing the candidates. You’re sourcing that’s got to be the end goal.

We must talk about, not shortening time to time to hire a time to offer as you mentioned. But if technology is make is making your role harder, not easier, something’s wrong.

It should allow you to be a human rather than a data input, kind of robot which we’ve all felt like from time to time, I think. But listen! I think we’ll finish that. That’s that. There’s so much we could go on for hours and hours, and I think it’s a growing topic, you know, technology and recruitment. I think it’s going to be fascinating to watch over the next couple of years. But thank you so much for your keyword. Keyword. AI, right keyword, AI, and AI sourcing, and it’s going to be all my job specs for us in in 6 months. I could probably do it now. To be honest, I Already I already start trying

Nick Nowicki: how it would for just to, but I won’t really use it, because so far, we have great templates and stuff, and then how to phrase it in a very human-centered manner. I have my certain humor that I always write in this job descriptions, but I think you’re almost certainly right. It’s a topic for the second half of the day.

Dave Sweeney He/Him: Why not? Let’s have you back? Thanks very much. You really appreciate your time. And yeah, likewise like the great 2,023

Nick Nowicki: likewise. Dave. See you soon, man bye.

You may also like

Join our exclusive hiring enablement community

Elevate your HR strategy with our Hiring Enablement community. Designed exclusively for HR Directors like you, we offer unparalleled access to: Exclusive Podcasts, Events and early access to our Latest Whitepapers

Join our exclusive hiring enablement community ​

We’ll also keep you in the loop of new Hiring Enablement podcasts, blogs and eBooks as soon as they’re available.