If you work in an open office, headphones can be your best friend. They drown out the noise, reduce distractions and prevent interruption by coworkers so you can focus.

But what should you listen to? For many American workers, podcasts are increasingly the answer.

According to Edison Research, 44 percent of Americans have listened to one and there are now more than half a million podcasts streaming for free. That means if you can dream up a topic, there’s probably a podcast about it — including talent acquisition, recruiting and the broader category of ‘work.’ Check out these seven recruiting-relevant podcasts that will keep you entertained and enlightened while you work.

Safe for Work

The name says it all. Safe for Work covers a wide variety of workplace topics, including one episode titled ‘Resumes, cover letters, and interviews, oh my!’ Here’s a gem from co-host Liz Dolan, former Chief Marketing Officer at Nike:

“It was way back in the day when I was first interviewing for a job at Nike. So I was a child. And I had a long day of interviews with a lot of different people, and the last person at the end of the day—it was like 7 p.m.—was the CEO, Phil Knight. And he started the conversation by saying, ‘Well, everyone who met you today seemed to think you were okay, so obviously they did not uncover your fatal flaw. Do you want to tell me right now what it is?’”

-Liz Dolan, former Chief Marketing Officer, Nike

Women at Work

Women at Work is a podcast for women by women (not that men couldn’t learn a thing or two from it). Hosted by three female Harvard Business Review editors at different stages of their careers, the conversations are thought-provoking and the stories tend to really hit home, making women feel a little less alone in the workplace. Here’s an excerpt from an episode about the gender wage gap:

“Here I am deeply embedded in middle age, and I think that when you stop being a dazzling, nubile, young woman, the world sort of turns away a little bit. I mean the good news is there are more and more women in positions of responsibility who can say, ‘Now this is ridiculous. Don’t hold it against her because she has jowls, or yes that candidate is a perfectly credible candidate, but she isn’t as good as this candidate who’s 10 years older. I mean, there’s a moment for stepping up and kind of calling people out on their nonsense.”

-Amy Bernstein

HBR Ideacast

This is the parent podcast to Women at Work. Covering an impressively broad range of issues from the business world, HBR Ideacast is always a compelling listen. Discussion topics are often highly relevant to talent acquisition teams, including an episode about how companies can tap into talent clusters, and this one about hiring the best people, in which former Netflix Chief Talent Officer (and author of How to Hire) Patty McCord tells this story:

“There was a guy in Arizona who wrote this really cool app that we all really loved…and we were talking about new features that we wanted in the product at the time, and somebody was like, ‘Yeah, we should do something like that programmer in Arizona did.’ So I’m like, ‘Well let’s go find him.’ So, my recruiting team reaches out. He’s a very conservative, very quiet woodworking guy who works at a bank, right. So, he comes out and he interviews. And so, this is his hobby, right, writing these apps. He loves Netflix, and does all this stuff when he’s not doing his woodworking. And he’s just perfect, so clever about it. And he represents a portion of our customer base that we don’t see very often in Silicon Valley, you know, a guy that works at a bank in Arizona … So, we interview him all day long, and at the end of the day, he says to me, ‘Are you going to hire me to do what I love to do?’ And I said, ‘Yes, we are.’ He said, ‘Are you going to pay me a lot of money to do it?’ And I said, ‘Well, you know, we’re going to make it so that you’re going to be OK living here in the Bay Area.’ And he literally, like, blushed and just kind of looked at his hands in his lap and said, ‘Oh, oh, goodness.’ He’s a vice president now.”

-Patty McCord, former Chief Talent Officer, Netflix

Recruit and Retain: Trucking Edition

Many recruiting strategies cut across businesses of all stripes, so it’s always fun to see what you can learn from different industries. While this podcast is aimed at trucking companies, it’s chock full of useful advice that can be applied anywhere. For starters, check out this interview with two pros who recruit truck drivers for a living:

“A lot of people would love to work Monday through Friday, but unfortunately one thing I bring up is we’ve got loads that leave here on Thursday that may go to Eagle Pass, Texas and you get home on Monday, and your ‘weekend’ might be Tuesday-Wednesday. Is that acceptable to you? Is that gonna work for your personal situation? As soon as we sit down for the interview, I try to tell them all upfront: ‘I’m gonna tell you the worst,’ because probably 90 percent of the time, that prospective driver isn’t going to see the worst. But if they do, I want them to say, ‘This is exactly what Nick said it was going to be. I don’t want the phone call that says, ‘You didn’t tell me about this.’”

-Nick Lacy, Crum Trucking

Freakonomics Radio

The bestselling book spawned a podcast which has proven to be just as popular as the book. Author and host Steven J. Dubner guides listeners through an exploration of “the hidden side of everything.” His interviews with big names in business can be eye-opening, like this excerpt from the How to become a CEO episode:

“At 25 when I was interviewing and somebody says, ‘What will you do if you see a baby on the street crying after having fallen down?’ And I answered, thinking this is some trick question, maybe there’s some algorithm that I’m missing, and said, ‘I’ll call 9-1-1’ only to have that manager get up and walk me out of the room saying, ‘If you see a baby falling down, you pick them up and hug them.’ And I was devastated because I remember thinking about it and I said, how could I not get that?”

-Satya Nadella, CEO, Microsoft

Recruiting Future

Trying to stay up-to-date with the breakneck speed of technological change in talent acquisition? The Recruiting Future podcast is your friend. Google’s latest innovations, change management, big data, and everyone’s favorite topic lately: robots. From episode 137, AI and the Future of Work:

“Time is the only scarce resource we actually have, and the reason we have a rising standard of living. I don’t know about you, but I don’t work harder than my great great grandparents, but I certainly live a much more lavish life than they did. Why? Because an hour of my labor yields a lot more than an hour of their labor. So I think that’s the superpower going forward … Find all the stuff in your job that a machine can do, get a machine to do it, and you focus on all of the things machines cannot do … the relationship stuff, all of the people stuff, all of the kind of soft, organic things that we do very well.”

-Byron Reese, futurist/author/publisher, Gigaom


Aquarium veterinarian. Real estate concierge. Barbecue chef. Comic book colorist. ACLU attorney. Tattoo artist. Museum security guard. Those are just a few of the jobs profiled in Slate’s Working podcast—which is a modern-day audio version of Studs Terkel’s classic book, Working: People Talk About What They Do All Day and How They Feel About What They Do. Whether or not any of these jobs will ever appear on your job board, the one-on-one interviews are a fascinating peek behind the curtain. Imagine being a greeting card writer, for example:

“The hardest thing is to write something new. We have a database of hundreds of thousands of pieces of copy. People have been writing greeting cards for decades, and they were really good at it. And so to come up with a new idea or really just a new way of saying something, is the greatest challenge of this job.”

-Greg Vovos, senior writer, American Greetings

Happy listening.