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Tune into the Recruiting Trailblazers Podcast with Marcus Edwards! Unlocking Success: Crafting a Magnetic Employer Brand

Expanding upon the recent episode of the ‘Recruiting Trailblazers Podcast, hosted by Marcus Edwards of Verticalmove, we gain insights from Marta Riggins. Marta, an Employer Brand Specialist renowned for her impactful contributions at Instacart, LinkedIn, and Pandora, shares valuable strategies for crafting a compelling and magnetic employer brand.

Stream all episodes of Recruiting Trailblazers on Apple Podcasts, Google, Stitcher, or Spotify, and boost your TA game.

Building a Magnetic Employer Brand is crucial in the modern job market because it’s the beacon that attracts top talent. In an era where skilled professionals have their pick of employers, a company that stands out with a compelling Employee Value Proposition (EVP) can effortlessly pull in the best. But why stop at attraction? An Enriched Employee Experience ensures that once talent walks through the door, they find a culture that fosters innovation, offers support, and promotes well-being, making them want to stay, grow, and become ambassadors for the brand.

Clear Employee Communications and robust Employee Engagement are the bedrock of a thriving workplace. When employees are aligned with company goals and feel heard, they are more likely to be committed and contribute to the company’s success. Engagement strategies that recognize and reward can significantly amplify performance and collaboration, turning a workforce into a community.

However, during times of macroeconomic upheaval, companies often tighten budgets and put these ‘soft’ aspects on the back burner. “Is focusing on employer branding really necessary right now?” some might ask, viewing it as a luxury rather than a necessity. But can organizations afford to ignore the very mechanisms that ensure resilience and adaptability during such periods? In tough economic times, shouldn’t a company be even more attentive to maintaining a strong employer brand and an engaged workforce to navigate through the storm? These questions loom large, and companies that find the right answers are likely to emerge stronger on the other side.

The Magnetic Employer Brand: Attract, Retain, Engage


  • Attracts top talent effortlessly.
  • Slashes hiring costs through a stellar reputation.
  • Enhances employee retention rates.
  • Boosts morale and engagement across the board.

Actionable Steps:

  • Craft an Irresistible Employee Value Proposition (EVP): Define and communicate what sets your company apart. This is your war cry in the talent battlefield, highlighting your mission, values, and commitment to social impact.
  • Embrace Authenticity: Share genuine stories from the trenches. Let your employees be the voice of your brand, showcasing real experiences that resonate with candidates and peers alike.

The Enriching Employee Experience: The Bedrock of Innovation


  • Catalyzes productivity and creativity.
  • Encourages employees to be proactive innovators.
  • Converts employees into enthusiastic brand ambassadors.
  • Enhances overall employee well-being.

Actionable Steps:

  • Design Deliberate Touchpoints: Map out the employee journey, and create meaningful interactions at each stage.
  • Empower Through Tools: Provide technology and resources that facilitate a seamless and fulfilling workday.

The Clarity of Employee Communications: The Harmony of the Workplace Symphony


  • Guarantees alignment on objectives and company ethos.
  • Nurtures a robust and inclusive culture.
  • Invites and values feedback, paving the way for continuous improvement.
  • Helps navigate through organizational change with ease and grace.

Actionable Steps:

  • Establish Clear Channels: Implement a variety of communication platforms that cater to diverse needs, ensuring no voice goes unheard.
  • Schedule Regular Check-Ins: Set aside time for transparent and honest conversations between employees and leadership.

The Vibrancy of Employee Engagement: The Pulse That Powers Performance


  • Strengthens loyalty to the company’s vision and goals.
  • Curtails the turnover rate, saving on rehiring and retraining.
  • Amplifies individual and collective performance.
  • Encourages a collaborative ecosystem.

Actionable Steps:

  • Recognize and Reward: Implement a system to celebrate small wins and big achievements alike.
  • Foster Growth Opportunities: Encourage professional development through learning initiatives and clear career pathways.

In conclusion, these four components — Employer Brand, Employee Experience, Employee Communications, and Employee Engagement—are not just isolated HR buzzwords; they are the cogs in the wheel of your company’s growth engine. Ignite these areas with strategic focus and watch as your organization transforms into a magnet for talent, a cradle for innovation, and a beacon of industry excellence. Remember, as Marta Riggins emphasizes, “If you’re good at employer branding, you can make anything interesting.” It’s time to wield this power and craft an organization that’s not just a place to work but a place to grow, thrive, and make an impact.

A magnetic employer brand is not just a facade for the outside world; it’s a mirror that reflects the company’s internal values and practices. It’s the narrative that weaves through every job description, every interview, and every employee story shared on social media. A compelling employer brand answers the ‘why’ for a potential employee: Why should I join? Why should I care? Why should I stay?

The employee experience is the journey an individual takes with your organization. It’s the daily encounters, from the first interview to the last day, and every touchpoint in between. It’s the ergonomic chair, the user-friendly software, the smile from a coworker, and the feeling of satisfaction from a job well done. Enhancing this experience is not just about perks and parties; it’s about respect, empowerment, and creating a sense of belonging.

Employee communications should be a bidirectional street where information flows freely from the top down and the bottom up. It’s not just about memos and newsletters; it’s about the conversations that happen in hallways, virtual meetings, and on collaboration platforms. Effective communication fosters a culture where employees feel heard and understood, a culture where feedback is not just expected but actively sought.

Employee engagement is the heartbeat of the organization. It’s the enthusiasm employees bring to their roles, the willingness to go above and beyond, and the shared sense of purpose that drives collective achievement. Engagement is not a number on a survey; it’s the spark in the eyes of your team when they talk about what they do. It’s a key indicator of organizational health and a predictor of business outcomes.

By now, it’s clear that these four pillars interlock to form the foundation of a thriving workplace. When aligned, they create an environment where individuals not only come to work but come to contribute, innovate, and be part of something greater than themselves. These elements are not merely the responsibility of HR; they are the domain of every leader and the lifeblood of all team members. It’s through a commitment to these principles that a company can truly claim to be an employer of choice in the competitive landscape of talent.

The Pursuit of Excellence: The Undeniable Value of Hiring Top Talent!

In the highly competitive corporate arena, the words of Steve Jobs resonate with particular significance: “A players attract A players, but B players attract C players.” It’s a philosophy that emphasizes the caliber of employees as the bedrock of organizational success. But in the wake of the economic turmoil of 2022/2023, have companies maintained their focus on securing these coveted ‘A players’? As firms navigate the choppy waters of the pandemic’s aftermath, including surges in layoffs, it’s worth pondering whether the available talent pool reflects these high-performing individuals or whether it’s a mixed bag of opportunity.

If we accept Jobs’s assertion, the strategic acquisition of ‘A players’ should be a top priority for any forward-looking company. The logic is compelling: top-tier talent tends to operate in networks of excellence, invariably drawing in peers of similar caliber. This not only enhances the company culture but can also significantly reduce the costs associated with recruiting, as the need for constant hiring lessens and the stability of a skilled workforce grows. The domino effect extends to revenue generation – a robust team of high achievers drives innovation, efficiency, and, ultimately, profitability.

The numbers speak volumes. Let’s consider the tech giants as a case study. Apple, in its 2022 annual report, boasted a staggering revenue of $365.82 billion with 164,000 employees, translating to a revenue per employee of approximately $2.23 million. Google, with a revenue of $282.8 billion for 139,995 employees, achieved a revenue per employee of roughly $2.02 million. Meta’s revenue per employee stood at about $1.46 million, while Microsoft reported approximately $987,828 per employee in 2023. Nvidia clocked in a notable $1.45 million per employee.

By contrast, when we analyze the average revenue per employee of the largest 100 publicly traded software companies from Forbes’ Global 2000 list, excluding the aforementioned giants, we arrive at $671,052. That’s an 83% disparity compared to the revenue per employee figures of the tech titans.

This raises a compelling question: Is this substantial difference attributable to having the best talent? Can we correlate the presence of ‘A players’ in these organizations directly with increased revenue and productivity?

Certainly, attracting and nurturing exceptional talent creates a fertile environment for business prosperity. The correlation between high-performing individuals and economic outcomes, while multifaceted and influenced by numerous factors, is evident. Companies like Apple and Google are not just repositories of innovative products; they are havens for innovators themselves. The ethos of these companies, which emphasizes excellence and creativity, undoubtedly attracts individuals who are not only at the top of their game but also driven to push boundaries.

Headhunting passive candidates—those not actively seeking a job change—offers a strategic edge in talent acquisition. Unlike active candidates, who may be juggling multiple offers and could drive up salary demands, passive candidates are typically more selective and engage with offers that present a clear and significant advantage over their current position.

Active job seekers might also use offers as leverage, creating a time-consuming and potentially costly scenario for employers. They are interviewing broadly, which makes it hard to discern their commitment level to any single opportunity.

In contrast, passive candidates are often more experienced and bring a wealth of knowledge from their current roles. They’re not in the market, so when they do show interest, it’s usually for a position that represents a substantial improvement for them. This discernment often leads to higher retention rates as these individuals have made a deliberate choice to change for the right reasons.

Leveraging passive talent can lead to a dedicated, stable workforce, imbuing the company with fresh insights and deep-seated industry knowledge. This approach is particularly beneficial for roles where top talent can make a significant impact on organizational performance and revenue.

In conclusion, the economic uncertainties of the recent past have posed challenges to the conventional recruitment playbook. Yet, the principle that top talent is a fundamental driver of organizational success remains unshaken. As companies recalibrate their strategies in a post-pandemic world, recentering the focus on attracting and retaining ‘A players’ could very well be the key to unlocking unmatched growth and productivity. The statistics from leading tech companies illuminate this truth, serving as a compelling reminder that the collective strength of a company’s workforce is a powerful predictor of its market performance.


Tune into the Recruiting Trailblazers Podcast with Marcus Edwards!

Tune into the Recruiting Trailblazers Podcast with Marcus Edwards, COO of Verticalmove, as he chats with James Parker from Tropic, ex-Glassdoor. They delve into the nuts and bolts of employer branding, systematic recruiting, and strategic sourcing.

Learn about Tropic’s approach to crafting memorable candidate journeys. Stream all episodes on Apple Podcasts, Google, Stitcher, or Spotify, and boost your TA game.

#RecruitingTrailblazers #TalentStrategy #Podcast #TalentAcquisition #Recruitment #TalentOptimization

Catching Fraudulent Candidates: How Employers Can Use Form I-94 for Identity Verification

In the wake of the recent revelation by the Justice Department about IT workers dispatched and contracted by North Korea using false identities to secure jobs in the U.S., employers are now more cautious than ever. While the situation highlights the need for stringent identity verification measures in the recruitment process, it also provides an opportunity to review the tools at our disposal. One such tool is Form I-94.

What is Form I-94:

Form I-94 serves as a record of entry and exit for non-U.S. citizens permitted to enter the United States temporarily. It contains key elements that can be used to validate an individual’s identity and legal status for employment in the U.S.

Key Elements to Check on Form I-94:

  • Admission (I-94) Record Number: A unique 11-digit number confirming the document’s official status.
  • Status Classification: Indicates the visa type (e.g., H-1B, L-1, O-1) and if employment is permitted.
  • Admit Until Date: The expiration date for authorized stay. Must be in the future.
  • Port of Entry: Where the individual entered the U.S. Can be a red flag if inconsistent with the candidate’s story.
  • Date of Entry: Must be on or before the current date.

Steps to Validate Legal Status:

  • Compare Details: Cross-reference the details on Form I-94 with those on the individual’s passport and visa. Discrepancies could indicate fraud.
  • Check Visa Category: Different visa categories have different employment allowances and restrictions. Make sure the visa type listed allows for employment.
  • Expiry Date: An expired “Admit Until Date” means the individual is not authorized to be in the U.S., let alone work here.
  • Cross-Reference with I-9: Use the I-94 to complete Form I-9, the official Employment Eligibility Verification form. An unexpired foreign passport and a valid I-94 can serve as a List A document.
  • Consult USCIS Resources: When in doubt, consult official guidelines from the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services (USCIS) or seek legal advice.

Red Flags to Consider:

When reviewing an I-94 form, watch out for the following:

Information Mismatch:

  • Inconsistent names, dates of birth, or passport numbers
  • Incorrect country of issuance

Document Features:

  • Missing or altered I-94 numbers
  • Poor quality or altered print
  • Lack of official markings

Status and Dates:

  • Expired ‘Admit Until Date’
  • Future ‘Date of Entry’

Other Discrepancies:

  • Inconsistent port of entry
  • Spelling errors or typos
  • Multiple conflicting I-94 forms


Form I-94 can serve as a robust tool for employers in the fight against fraudulent candidates. By paying attention to the elements and red flags outlined above, you can strengthen your recruitment process and contribute to a safer, more secure work environment.

In a world where identity fraud is not just a risk but a reality, as the recent Justice Department disclosure has shown us, vigilance and thorough verification are not just best practices—they’re necessities.

For more information and guidelines, always refer to official USCIS resources and consider consulting with legal experts specializing in immigration issues.

What an amazingly thoughtful thing to say

What an incredible way to wrap up the week. We received this message from a candidate via our contact form on our website this afternoon. I’m truly impressed with you, Sam Dolezal. Thanks for your kindness and thoughtfulness, and for being an outstanding ambassador of Verticalmove, Inc.

For the amazing candidate who took his valuable time to share his experience, thank you so much.

#TopRecruiter #HiringExcellence #ProfessionalismInRecruitment #KindnessInHiring #ThoughtfulRecruiting #JobSearchSuccess #YourCareerPartner #FindYourDreamJob

Another Installment: “Caught in the Act: Hilarious Interview Bloopers and Outtakes from Cheating Candidates!”

Verticalmove, Inc spares no effort in safeguarding our valued clientele from frauds, fakes, and interview cheats, exemplifying our commitment through exhaustive screening measures.

[TURN UP AUDIO] During the interview, this individual was connected to a remote desktop and was receiving verbal responses and prompts, but they were unaware that we could hear the other person (their interview proxy).

As we navigate the post-COVID interview landscape, it’s becoming increasingly clear that interview cheating and fraud is a pervasive issue that is not going away anytime soon. In fact, with the rise of virtual interviews and remote work, the problem has only been exacerbated.

One of the most concerning trends we’re seeing is the use of ChatGPT and proxies by candidates who want to cheat their way through the interview process. ChatGPT is a powerful language model that can mimic human speech and generate responses that sound natural and convincing. And when combined with proxies that mask the user’s IP address and location, candidates can use ChatGPT to cheat their way through interviews without being detected.

This is a serious problem for employers who are looking to hire the best candidates for their organizations. When candidates cheat their way through interviews, they not only misrepresent themselves but also take opportunities away from more qualified candidates who are playing by the rules. Additionally, cheating candidates are more likely to be dishonest and unreliable employees once they’re hired, which can lead to serious problems for employers down the line.

So, what can employers do to combat interview cheating and fraud? First and foremost, they need to be vigilant and take steps to verify the identity of candidates and ensure that they are who they say they are. This may involve conducting background checks, using video interviews to verify identity, and taking steps to ensure that candidates aren’t using ChatGPT or other cheating tools.

At the end of the day, interview cheating, and fraud is a serious problem that needs to be addressed. Employers who take proactive steps to combat this issue will be better positioned to hire the best candidates for their organizations and build teams of honest, trustworthy, and reliable employees.

Verticalmove is among the 2023 Inc. 5000 list of the fastest-growing private companies in America!

Excitedly Verticalmove, Inc has earned a coveted spot on the Inc. Magazine list of the fastest-growing private companies in America for 2023.

This remarkable achievement stands as a testament to the commitment and hard work put forth by our exceptional team. We extend our heartfelt gratitude to our valued clients and partners whose trust and support have been instrumental in our success.

Customer Success Story: Building an AI Dream Team for Healthcare Client using a Contingent, Flexible, Workforce!

Verticalmove’s collaboration with a top healthcare company resulted in remarkable achievements and transformative impacts. Within a short span of 20 days, we successfully created the foundation for a high-caliber AI team, filling critical roles that had remained vacant for months. This enabled the implementation of advanced AI services, including Speech Recognition, Medical Image Analysis, and an intelligent Health Bot Service, revolutionizing operations and enhancing patient care. Our strategic recruitment approach and AI assessment tools ensured the introduction of exceptional talent, driving innovation and shaping the future of healthcare.


One of the world’s largest healthcare companies approached us with a critical need to build an Artificial Intelligence (AI) team based on a flexible, contingent workforce model. They had been struggling to fill several AI-related roles, including Artificial Intelligence Architects, AI Engineers, and Data Engineers, for over five months internally. The company aimed to leverage Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Environment and explore the potential of OpenAI to implement cognitive services across their enterprise.


Understanding the urgency and importance of the project, our team sprang into action. Within just 12 days of receiving the first Artificial Intelligence Architect requirement, we developed a robust pipeline of thoroughly vetted candidates. Our efficiency paid off as we successfully filled the first Artificial Intelligence Architect role within eight days of submitting our first candidate, resulting in a remarkable time-to-fill of only 20 days. The client was equally impressed with our second Artificial Intelligence Architect hire, and soon after, we filled the third and final position in the Artificial Intelligence team. Building on this success, we continued to source and place several Artificial Intelligence Engineers and Data Pipeline & Processing Engineers, securing the trust and confidence of our client.


Verticalmove strategically leverages our extensive network and market insights to generate interest and engagement among top talent. By introducing highly qualified candidates to our healthcare client’s groundbreaking AI team, we ensure an innovative and capable talent pool.

 To enhance hiring outcomes, we utilize an AI-powered digital skills assessment platform. This platform employs audio, video, and image proctoring to confirm identity, location, and competency. It provides objective scores and rankings, removing unconscious bias and improving consistency. We further assess candidates through live coding paired programming sessions before submitting them to the end client. This hands-on approach evaluates technical proficiency, problem-solving skills, and teamwork.

 Verticalmove’s combination of strategic recruitment, AI assessment, and rigorous evaluations ensures our clients receive exceptional candidates ready to make a meaningful impact. 


Our client not only identified and hired the necessary talent but also achieved their goal of deploying modern AI services throughout their enterprise. With our help, they established a flexible and cost-effective workforce to implement Vision, Speech, Language, and Decision services within Microsoft’s Azure Cloud Environment. This next-generation, cloud-based, shared services platform empowers application developers across the organization to build advanced applications, including Speech Recognition and Transcription, Medical Image Analysis, an intelligent Health Bot Service, Image Recognition, and much more. 

Through our partnership, the healthcare company unlocked the potential of AI technology, revolutionizing its operations and enhancing patient care. By leveraging the power of LinkedIn and our expertise in AI talent acquisition, Verticalmove played a crucial role in shaping the future of healthcare for this visionary organization.

We ❤️ Our Amazing Contractors!

At Verticalmove, Inc, our contractors are the lifeblood of our organization. They make an incredible impact on our valuable customers and play a vital role in our success. Today, we express our deepest appreciation for these amazing individuals who bring excellence and drive to our team.

Our contractors go above and beyond, seamlessly integrating into our teams and consistently exceeding expectations. Their specialized skills, adaptability, and relentless pursuit of excellence have helped us navigate challenges and deliver exceptional solutions. We are inspired by their dedication and contributions.

Beyond their professional expertise, our contractors bring diverse experiences and perspectives that enrich our workplace culture and foster innovation. Their passion and willingness to go the extra mile create an environment where everyone strives for success.

To our incredible contractors, we extend our deepest gratitude for your outstanding contributions. You are the driving force behind our achievements, and we value the immense impact you bring. Your dedication and hard work do not go unnoticed.

We are immensely proud to have such an exceptional team of contractors at Verticalmove. Together, we are creating exceptional outcomes for our clients and building a strong community of professionals.

Thank you for being an integral part of our success story!

#ContractorAppreciation #Teamwork #Excellence #Gratitude #Verticalmove

Navigating the Tech Talent Discrepancy: Unraveling the Contradiction and Finding Opportunities!

In recent times, the tech industry has experienced a rollercoaster ride of events, leaving many professionals questioning the future of their careers. On one hand, we witness a significant number of tech-oriented employees being laid off, while on the other, industry reports and projections indicate a growing demand for skilled tech professionals. In this article, we delve into the apparent contradiction between these studies and our current reality, exploring the underlying factors and providing insights on how professionals can navigate this tech talent paradox.

Unveiling the Discrepancy:

According to the US Bureau of Labor and Statistics, the employment of software developers, quality assurance analysts, and testers is projected to grow at a staggering rate of 25 percent from 2021 to 2031, outpacing the average for all occupations. This projection suggests an average of 162,900 job openings each year over the next decade, primarily fueled by the need to replace retiring workers or those transitioning to different fields. These statistics provide a glimpse of a promising future for tech professionals.

However, the International Data Corporation (IDC) paints a slightly different picture. Their research predicts a global shortfall of four million developers by 2025, implying that demand will exceed the available talent pool. This projection appears to contrast the notion of widespread layoffs and the challenges faced by many tech professionals in finding suitable employment.

Understanding the Discrepancy:

To make sense of this apparent contradiction, we must consider several factors at play. First, the tech industry is vast and diverse, comprising various domains, such as software development, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity, data analytics, and more. The demand and growth rates within these domains may differ, leading to variances in job opportunities and layoffs.

Second, technological advancements have ushered in rapid changes, transforming business models and disrupting industries. Organizations must constantly adapt, restructure, or realign their operations to remain competitive. Such changes often result in the downsizing or restructuring of teams, which can lead to temporary layoffs and uncertainties for professionals.

Third, the digital transformation initiatives undertaken by businesses globally have accelerated the demand for tech talent. The COVID-19 pandemic further expedited this shift, with organizations seeking to bolster their digital capabilities to thrive in a remote or hybrid work environment. The demand for developers, analysts, and testers remains high to support these initiatives, albeit with a focus on specific skill sets and emerging technologies.

Navigating the Tech Talent Paradox:

In light of the complex dynamics within the tech industry, professionals can adopt several strategies to navigate the talent paradox successfully.

  1. Continuous Learning: In a rapidly evolving industry, upskilling and staying updated with emerging technologies is crucial. Acquiring new skills and certifications can enhance your marketability and increase your chances of securing opportunities within growing domains.

  2. Diversify Your Skill Set: Consider expanding your skill set to encompass multiple domains. Having a versatile skill set can make you more adaptable to the changing demands of the industry, increasing your chances of finding employment even in uncertain times.

  3. Networking and Building Connections: Engage actively with industry professionals, attend conferences, join online communities, and participate in relevant forums. Building a strong professional network can provide you with valuable insights, job opportunities, and referrals.

  4. Embrace Remote and Freelance Opportunities: The rise of remote work and gig economy platforms has opened doors to global opportunities. Consider exploring freelance or remote work options to expand your reach and access a broader talent market.

  5. Seek Industry Insights: Stay informed about industry trends, demand patterns, and emerging technologies. Engage with industry publications, research reports, and thought leaders to gain valuable insights that can inform your career decisions.


While the studies highlighting the growing demand for tech professionals might seem contradictory to the layoffs experienced by many, they reflect the intricate dynamics and rapid changes within the tech industry. By embracing continuous learning, diversifying skill sets, networking, and staying informed, professionals can position themselves for success in this ever-evolving landscape. Ultimately, it is important to adapt, be resilient, and seize the opportunities that emerge amidst the tech talent paradox.

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