Going “Inside” with Nicole Cox of Ontrak, Inc. on Big Fish in the Talent Pool

“Design what you want or you deal with what you get.”  Wise words from experienced Talent Acquisition Leader, Nicole Cox of Ontrak, Inc. (formerly Catasys).  And she knows of what she speaks, having built her career in the staffing agency and Recruitment Process Outsourcing (RPO) world, where recruiters manage to get people hired for their clients sometimes in spite of a hiring process over which they have little influence.  Now that she has gone “inside” and leads a corporate TA team for the first time in her career, she has the unique opportunity to draw upon her experience and design the talent engine for Ontrak’s mission: Driving lasting behavior change through AI-powered engagement and telehealth-enabled interventions.  A critical mission indeed, especially in the era of Covid-19.

A California native now living in Austin, Texas, Nicole cut her teeth recruiting engineers and nurses after graduating from CSU Fullerton, then later earned her Masters at Gonzaga University in Organizational Leadership.  In 2003, she joined Decision Toolbox and was one of the four original leaders, helping to establish and grow them for 13 years prior to their acquisition by RPO powerhouse Engage2Excel in 2016.  She then served as E2E’s Chief Talent Officer, in addition to her Operations Leader role before moving to Ontrak in 2019.  We discussed the CTO role in terms of how it shaped her criteria for hiring team members.  “Qualities I look for in a recruiter are someone who has a passion for follow-up and good candidate experience, the ability to leverage technology to create efficiencies.  Also, a good recruiter is alway curious.”

On Big Fish in the Talent Pool, we focus on the careers of Talent Acquistion Leaders, how they arrived in that critical role, and what they learned along the way – to encourage current and aspiring leaders.  The path to leadership is seldom a straight one.  It zigs and zags, there are bumps in the proverbial road, and mistakes are made.   Nicole adds, “Anybody looking to grow their TA career needs to focus on listening, observing, partnering up with some really good mentors and continuously asking for feedback in areas to improve.”  Feedback leads to self-awareness.  Mixed with resiliency, that usually leads to bigger and better things, like Nicole’s current opportunity to design the best process powered by the right technology to find the right talent to literally change the world.  Listen and be inspired!


We hope you enjoy the fast-paced chat on Big Fish in the Talent Pool – the podcast for Talent Leaders.  If you do, please be sure to rate and review us.  We’d love your feedback and it will help others find us.

Erin McDermott Peterson is a Partner with PeopleResults, helping clients with global recruiting interim leadership, RPO advisory, and ensuring a great candidate experience.  Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPeterson, connect via linkedin.com/in/erinpeterson or email at epeterson@people-results.com and listen to her Podcast for Talent Leaders: Big Fish in the Talent Pool on iTunes and SoundCloud, or wherever you access podcasts.