Thinking Inside the Box

How to be Authentically Successful - Carol Schultz

October 04, 2022 Matt Burns Season 1 Episode 113
Thinking Inside the Box
How to be Authentically Successful - Carol Schultz
Show Notes Transcript

In today’s episode, I chat with Carol Schultz, the Denver-based Founder & CEO of Vertical Elevation, a consulting and executive coaching firm specializing in career coaching, leadership development, and strategic business planning. 

She’s also Host of the Authentically Successful Podcast, covering topics ranging from business challenges, leadership, culture, with a strong emphasis on hiring the right fit for your team and company culture. Shortly I’ll be joining Carol as a guest and encourage you to check that out. I show up differently as a guest and Carol’s direct style cuts right to the point on a number of challenging issues related to work and culture.

In a way, that discussion will really be a continuation of our first conversation, on this podcast. We discuss talent in a post-pandemic landscape, where organizations go wrong in creating and sustaining culture, and the importance of honesty in leadership. 

It was such a pleasure connecting with Carol. And I hope you enjoy it.

Carol Schultz

Carol Schultz is founder and CEO of Vertical Elevation. She is a talent equity and leadership advisory expert. Recognized for her proficiency in corporate leadership, Carol has spent three decades helping executives gain clarity in their careers, make bold leadership moves, and create cultures of performance.

Schultz and her team have helped hundreds of companies—from seed stage pre-initial public offerings to publicly traded companies—transform their organizations and create sustainable, talent-centric cultures that run at maximum efficiency. She's the host of the popular podcast Authentically Successful and author of the new book Powered By People: How Talent-Centric Organizations Master Recruitment, Retention, and Revenue (and How to Build One).


Thinking Inside the Box

Constraints drive innovation. We tackle the most complex issues related to work & culture. And if you enjoy the work we’re doing here, consider giving us a 5-star rating, leaving a comment & subscribing. It ensures you get updated whenever we release new content & really helps amplify our message.

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Matt Burns

Matt Burns is an award-winning executive, social entrepreneur and speaker. He believes in the power of community, simplicity & technology.


[00:00:00] I always say to people, bring in the people who are genius as an area. You are not. use your genius where you're good and hire people for their genius. Stop trying to PA cut and paste. [00:00:20] Well, maybe this person can do. Let me put that person in charge of that person doesn't make any sense at all

[00:00:40] constraints, strive innovation. Hey everyone. It's Matt here for another episode of thinking inside the box, a show where we discuss complex issues related to work and culture. If you're interested in checking out our other content, you can find us at bento, and wherever you find your favorite podcasts by searching, thinking inside the [00:01:00] box.

And if you enjoy the work we're doing here, consider leaving us a five star. Commenting and subscribing it ensures you get updated whenever we release new content and really helps amplify our message. In today's episode, I chat with Carol Schult. The Denver based founder and CEO of vertical elevation, a [00:01:20] consulting and executive coaching firm, specializing in career coaching, leadership development, and strategic business planning.

She's also the host of the authentically successful podcast covering topics ranging from leadership culture and a strong emphasis on hiring for the right fit. As inside. I actually show up as a guest on Carol's [00:01:40] podcast in the coming weeks, and, uh, encourage you to check that. I always find that I show up a little bit differently as a guest than when I'm a host and Carol's direct approach really has a way of cutting to the point on a number of issues related to work and culture in a way that discussion was a continuation of this discussion.[00:02:00] 

One that we recorded a couple weeks ago, we discussed talent in a post pandemic landscape where organizations go wrong in creating and sustaining culture and the importance of honesty and leader. It was a real pleasure connecting with Carol and I hope you enjoy it. And now I bring you Carol Schultz, [00:02:20] Carol.

Um, This is, this is, I appreciate this is the deal. And I also appreciate that we've basically recorded half the podcast without hitting the record button. So like why I thought we should just like hit the record button, contain the conversation. It's really engaging before we get back into it though. I would love if you could just.

Indulge us who Carol Schultz [00:02:40] is your background, your experiences, what led you to today? And then we can get back to our conversation. Okay. I'm gonna, I'll give you the high level, answer to that, Matt, because otherwise we could be here for, you know, two, three days mm-hmm or more. And then by then I'm gonna need a cocktail.

So, um, you know, who I am is, is somebody who sort of stumbled into search in [00:03:00] 1992, uh, while I was outta. and it was in the Juan ads, you know, remember the Juan ads right now, those Juan ads are online. And I, you know, it's funny, I interviewed with four different firms and I won't give you the whole long story about that, but I, I landed on the right one, which was very fortuitous [00:03:20] because as you and I both know recruiting because, you know, it's, it's a, because it's a low barrier to entry job.

It's a giant sea of medio. Whether you're talking about contingent or retain. I mean, even in retained, it's, there's still a lot of incredibly mediocre head hunters. So, um, I joined this [00:03:40] firm spent nine years with them while I was there in 1998. I started doing my own training development work and learning how to be a coach and started doing that kind of training.

So I've been at that for whatever 1998 to now is 24 years, I think. And. The more I learned about search, the more [00:04:00] I realized how broken it was. and in 2008, I got outta bed one morning and could not. Make the trip down the hall and around the corner to my desk. so I thought I just have to really figure out what I wanna [00:04:20] do here.

And I started to build this process, like what doesn't work about recruiting. And as I started backing into it and looking at it and, and interviewing lots of executives that I knew, I backed into this process of what it is to be a town centric organization. So that's at a high level. What the, you know what that is, [00:04:40] who I am for those listening.

Who've been through an interview, which is everybody mm-hmm, , I'm sure a portion of the audience is getting like cold sweats thinking about. The recruitment process as candidates or as hiring managers in the earlier days, become a long way in a short period of time. No kidding. What are some of the things that you spotted in terms of like glaring, [00:05:00] but consistent trends of us just not getting it right.

Well, what I will say is, like I said, I started in the fall of 1992, so I'm just coming up on 30 years and you know, 1995 is about, I think when the internet came to our office, In many other offices around the country and around the world. Right. [00:05:20] And I think recruiting was okay then. I mean, it's never, it's never been fantastic, but it was better than it is now.

And the reason for that is, you know, I say though, the internet has done really fantastic things for so many industries, including recruiting, right? I mean, you've got [00:05:40] LinkedIn, which in my opinion is really nothing more than a giant database. It's like the Oracle of, you know, I mean, Oracle sell, I mean, among other things, you know, they grew up their business and database technology, you know, if you don't know what to do with the database, it doesn't work.

Right. So, but what the internet has done to recruiting that has not been [00:06:00] good is having people start by thinking, oh, oh. Instead of having a one by two ad in the paper, guess what we can do, we can go and put a, put a whole page ad online. You know, let me ask you this, Matt who who's reading your want ads.

I haven't had the term want ads in about 15 years. So hopefully nobody, hopefully I'm not producing want ads, [00:06:20] but point well taken. It's the, the mediums with which to share information nowadays are completely different than they were right. Even five years ago, right. People who are looking for a job that's, who's looking at, you know, I, I, I just am using want ad is a, is a garbage can term, right?

So, you know, whether it's, whether it's the we're hiring on somebody's profile. Or, you [00:06:40] know, a job or a job on indeed or anywhere else or on LinkedIn or wherever it is. Those are still the one ads. It's just a more complicated one ad. It's a more comprehensive one ad that's. Right, right. And I believe that there, that right there was really started to be the downfall of search I [00:07:00] got a mil.

I mean, I could tell you a million stories. You know, people got PE companies thought, oh look, we can just put somebody behind a desk and they can sort their resume. , but again, who's sending resumes, people who need a job. So the question is, do you wanna hire somebody who's not looking for work or somebody who is looking for work?

And that isn't to say that somebody looking for [00:07:20] work isn't worth anything, because there are people, but there are a lot of people looking for work that aren't, or aren't even remotely who you wanna hire. I mean, I've got a, I've got a, a CEO who's telling me a story. Uh, I think it was on one of my podcasts that they put an ad out and got 400 resume.

400, I think three were even [00:07:40] worth interviewing and I don't believe he hired any of them of those three. How much time and money did they just waste? I've worked in organizations where job black clinicians get thousands of resumes. Um, and we process hundreds of thousands of people on an annual basis.

It's um, we. It's an interesting conversation [00:08:00] because I both agree with you. And I also, I'm optimistic that we've hit a turning point now, and that might get better in the future. And why I say that is, I think first. Most technologies up to this point have been designed and created without really a human-centric lens on them.

Mm-hmm they generally take the lens up to [00:08:20] your point, like a database thinking or programming thinking, or like they look at like the back end. So the original. Applicant tracking systems. The original right technologies were built with a view to making the life of the recruiter as easy as possible to keep records.

So they could report into the larger corporate entity. Right. That's because that's what they wanted. [00:08:40] And they were the customer. So technology companies built those solutions. There was nothing in the conversation around how to make this easier for applicants. Applicants were like, well, if you want a job, you'll do whatever it takes.

So we don't really necessarily spend that much time thinking about the candidate experience. It's only as the job market has shifted. And now we're at a place [00:09:00] demographically speaking, where bay boomers are increasingly leaving the job market and there's less and less people to fill their jobs. There's also a huge misalignment between the skills that are needed in today's market and the skills that are available in today's market.

Right? So there's a game of musical chairs happen. Is such a strange time, Carol, that as far as I know, it's the first time in my 40 years in this planet, where has ever been [00:09:20] a, a pre-recession economy with a hot job market, right? Like it's very strange. So like all that being said, applicant tracking systems have had to evolve to a place where.

Candid experience is important because if you aren't punctual, if you aren't, um, thoughtful, if you aren't [00:09:40] removing friction in the same way, Amazon thinks to remove friction. When I put stuff in my basket and buy it on their, on their website, you will lose good people because good people to your point, probably aren't looking.

And if they are, they don't wanna spend much time going through the search. They don't have to. So there has to be so much more intentionality put into it and. [00:10:00] Um, at the same time, I always question let's not lose the humanity and the social interaction as well, whether we program it or not, let's not have this be, feel like we're going, applying for a passport.

Like it can be more fun and more engaging and we can use technology as the interface. And talent experts like yourself can help us inform [00:10:20] what an experience should be for a candidate, because there are too many managers who have this view of, I apply for a job. You will sing for your supper. And now I'm wondering why I can't get good applicants for my positions.

Well, right. And, and that's, it's, that's actually really great because, you know, for years and years and years, you know, Matt, it was all about. When I would prep [00:10:40] people for interviews, you know, remember what's, you know, you have two ears in one mouth for a reason. So you listen twice as much as you talk. And when you're on an interview, remember you're, this is, I mean, in interviews, just a high level sales call, it's all about you asking smart questions, geared around what you can do for the prospect, which is, you know, potential employer, not what [00:11:00] the prospect can do for you that said.

You know, I've written in my book about this and I'm writing a lot of articles about this. You know, if companies wanna become talent centric, it is imperative. I mean, it is mission critical that they actually start thinking about the candidate experience a little bit more. That doesn't mean the candidate doesn't have to sell you [00:11:20] on, on why, you know, and, and ask you those smart questions on why they're potentially a fit for your organization.

But if you wanna get the best people, you sure as hell better. Coming up with the right strategy and asking them the right questions. Like, what is it that you want out of a company that's important? [00:11:40] You know, if you decide that this particular position that you are hiring for, you want that person to stay for at least five years?

Well, you know what, ask them, this is what we want. Just, you know, we we'd like, and if you're having an authentic conversation, you know, showing genuine interest in someone, people will open up. By and large, and be [00:12:00] honest with you. I mean, yeah, there's gonna be some who are gonna blow sunshine up your skirt.

You know, there is no a hundred percent panacea. My goal with companies is to get them north of 90% successful hires when I build them a down strategy. Okay. Well, one thing I wanted to follow up on, if it's okay with you, which you talked about [00:12:20] asking that hiring manager, how long they want to have somebody in the organization.

Yes, correct. And I think for me, what's interesting about that is I come from a world where the assumption is forever. Like I'm hiring this person so that they retire 25 years from now. And that's likely why the hiring manager, when you asked the question kind of gave you that blank stare. Cause they, they [00:12:40] didn't think about that.

So I'm just curious how you've arrived at that. Of reality. And how you counsel hiring managers to join us in the 21st century talent landscape and discuss the, the, the benefits, if you will, of the fact that some rules might be transitionary and some people might be transitionary, right? [00:13:00] Yeah. I mean, it's, it's another one of those things that came to me as I started, you know, working on my kickoff meetings for a new client.

What are those 45 50 questions? I need to be asking them that I need to send them in advance so that when I sit down with them for two hours, or depending on how [00:13:20] many people I have to meet with, it could be, you know, I'm think my longest loan is nine and a half hours, um, with, with a client years ago. And that I had to really start thinking about everything.

Okay. So let's look at the culture of the company and that, you know, that could be five or 10 questions and the skills of the questions. And then you get to kind of the human resources pieces. [00:13:40] And that's kind of a human resources question in my, in my opinion. Right? Which is, you know, culturally, what are you looking for?

You know, we're, we're looking for a match and, and how long, I mean, first time I asked this of a client, how I just arrived at it. How long do you want this client person to stay with you? And they were like, I've never thought [00:14:00] about that. And the, the companies really want somebody to stay with them forever.

Nobody's gonna stay with them forever. I mean, this, those days are by and large gone. Now that doesn't mean that that's not gonna happen somewhere sometime with someone. I mean, you know, I think given the, given the world that we live in now, there may be people out there. There are people out there who are looking for [00:14:20] something that maybe they do wanna spend a career doing.

So, you know, let's just ask the question. We would really love somebody in this role to stay with us for at least five years. What do you need as an employee? For that to happen for you? Like what do you want, what do you need? [00:14:40] I don't. I can't imagine. Anybody's not gonna just answer your question. Well, and I think it's also, why is it important that a person's in there over five years?

And if the answer is, cause I don't like hiring, that's not good enough. Well, of course not. right, right. But I also know that there are some line managers out there that their least favorite parts of their job is this part of the job. They just want someone to do [00:15:00] the work and I. That worldview tends to come from a place where talent was much more available.

So it was quite easy to swap out person a for person B, because sadly they didn't give person a or person B a lot of currency. We are now in a reality where, [00:15:20] whether you think that way or not, you don't have the luxury of being, of treating people with that level of, of dismissiveness. Right? We are now at a place where.

If you're asking for five years of my life, you better have a very good reason. Like it better be a really cool opportunity that I'm going to get more from than just the benefit of saying that you were my boss [00:15:40] on my LinkedIn profile. Like there better be a cool opportunity. I better be able to have impact.

I better work for a company I'm, I'm aligned with like, you know, Carol, I know you talk, you are working with both organizations and candidates. So you know, that things like, you know, I read an article headline. Was compelling a couple weeks ago that said if you've been in your job for more than two years, you're underpaid.

[00:16:00] So it's like, you know, you're, you're in a market where as the, as the job market changes and as valuations around salaries continue to shift, there is a, an understanding, I think for organizations and candidates and managers that. There's this great reshuffling, if you will, of, of people in roles and opportunities.

And [00:16:20] if you want people to stay around it, it has to be for more than a salary and a full time job. Of course. Listen, I mean, you're preaching to the choir over here, right. So, you know, when I say, when I say, you know, we'd like you to stay for five years. Yes. There has to be a reason for that. Right. So, you know, if you're hiring a chief sales officer, you might want that person.

For [00:16:40] seven years and, and there's there's, and you can point to the reasons why you want that person to stay there that long, because this is where we are. This is where we need to go. And it's gonna take this long to get here and, and, you know, and, and there may be the more transactional things where you can lose people after two years.

I mean, nobody wants to hire E. You [00:17:00] know, it's it's can cause a lot of brain damage, especially if you're working for an organization who won't allow you as the hiring manager to do the search the way you need to do it. You know, I had a, an old buddy of mine who was a group vice president at Oracle, who was, which is a third line sales manager.

Responsible for, you know, hundreds [00:17:20] of millions in revenue. And this is like years ago. And, and he said to me, he was complaining. He was grossing about all the hiring problems he was having. And I said, why don't you hire me? He goes, I'm not allowed to, I have to use my internal recruiters. And they're terrible.

I mean, you know, it just, this is just more evidence that, you know, that my idea and the pivot was the right thing to do. Mm-hmm , [00:17:40] you know, I, you, yeah. Why, why is it so hard for some organizations to solve that problem? So you talked about this, so presumably like you, presumably those people in that organization, I mean, Oracle's a established brand, had a ton of success growing massively in part, because of the talent of their people.

They've went to the market. They've hired recruiters who [00:18:00] probably have different experiences and are probably not. They have budgets. And so like where do, where do things go wrong? Because there's good intentions. Where do things go sideways? Yeah. I, I think there, there it's a multitude of things, so I'll cover a couple of them.

You know, two, three of 'em here.

Hey everyone, it's Matt here. I hope you're enjoying today's discussion. And before we [00:18:20] continue, I want to make you aware of my latest creative project this week at work presented in partnership with my good friend, Chris Rainey of HR leaders. Each Friday will live stream on LinkedIn at 7:00 AM. Pacific standard time.

That's 10:00 AM Eastern standard time and 3:00 PM GMT for our European viewers [00:18:40] and together bringing the latest trends news on topics, emanating from organizations, everything from culture to technology and the future of work. Joining is easy. Just follow me on LinkedIn, click the bell at the top right hand side of my profile.

And you'll get notified when we go live each week. And whether you do experience the [00:19:00] content live or later, if you've been following me for a while, you'll no doubt recognize the fun banter Chris and I have developed over the years and whether it's been podcasts or digital events, we're so excited to again, bring you the topics affecting today's workplaces and their leaders.

and now back to our discussion,[00:19:20] 

first of all, often I believe that internal recruiters have way too many job orders they're they're working on. Okay. So if you've got somebody internally, who's re who's, who's acting is a full life, you know, running a full desk, right. Sourcing, calling, I mean the entire process. How do you give that [00:19:40] person 30 openings and expect them to get 'em done in any, in any realistic way?

right. It, I mean, it is not possible, Matt. It is not humanly possible to do a good job. Like that, the better way to do that under those circumstances would, would be to build, you know, or retain firm inside your organization. Right? So you've got people that are doing nothing but [00:20:00] sourcing. You've got people that are doing nothing, but, um, uh, reaching out to them, taking those names and reaching out to those people or determining who they reach out to, and then handing 'em off to the, you know, the search consult.

Okay, here are the ones that, you know, after maybe two calls or three calls or whatever that might look like depending on the kind of process you put in. So that's, that's one problem. I think another problem is [00:20:20] the problem that, uh, recruiting is tends to be tends to be always underneath human resources.

Um, and we talked a little bit about that, which turns it into a complete cost center when , it is, well, you could turn it into a cost center, but you know, those are the people who are hiring the people who are gonna make you money. How do you look at [00:20:40] it like that? Yes, it's a cost center. Okay. Just like sales is your, is your sales is your only income earner, like your only direct income earner.

I mean, you can put customer success under there as you know, with renewals and stuff. But when you're talking about new licenses, sales sales, is it, I'm not saying you're the most important [00:21:00] department in your company. I'm just saying they're the ones who are generating your revenue. So don't you think it's important to that the people who are bringing those people in, who are generating your revenue among other things, people who are building your products and who are gonna handle your customer's success, and so you don't have churn and so on and so forth, don't you think that, that those people should be, [00:21:20] you know, looked at in a very different way than they are?

I, I just, you know, I don't think, you know, I look at 98% of HR people have had zero experience in talent acquisition, zero. And those who do have had such a minimal amount, it takes years and great training to become a great [00:21:40] recruiter. I mean, I look back on my career and I think, yeah, I was earning, I mean, in my third full year, and this is back in the nineties, don't forget.

okay. And I was working for a firm, so wasn't like, I was getting a hundred percent of my money. This is when you know, fees were, I was, I started in contingency and then moved to retain. But you know, fees were 7,000, 10,000, maybe [00:22:00] 12, if you were lucky, My third full year, I earned a hundred thousand dollars and it just continued to go up from there, of course.

But even then, I didn't know nearly anything about my business. I, I kind of feel like it took about six years to get, and this was with great training, six years to really start to get a handle on what this job is. [00:22:20] And then, you know, every year I learned a little bit. Because there are things that happen in your career, and I'm sure you can recognize this in your own, that are living in a blind spot because you've never had to deal with it.

No, God, I never even thought about that. Say I think one of the challenges with search and as it relates to HR, is that [00:22:40] a lot of the activities that most people think about when they think about search are they there's a perception around them being easy. I mean, most HR people don't have experience with search, but they have experience having done interviews and make confuse and conflate those two things as interviews are search and you and I both know that there's so much more to search than just simply sitting down and doing a behavior [00:23:00] based interview to a script and.

In the same way, organizations, deputize HR leaders to be, you know, masters of search and without the training, without the experience, without the resources to do it. Um, there are HR leaders who deputize people within the HR function to lead search within that, without the resources training in those [00:23:20] things, you know, to your point, there's, there's so much to be learned.

And especially now where the tools are consistently evolving as well. And. Blend, you know, whether it's AI or whether we're blending other vehicles to do this, like there's, there's complimentary solutions and there's still a core deficit of knowledge on how to do search. Well, how do it really, [00:23:40] really well, well, right.

It's like I said, I think anytime you have a low barrier to entry job, it that's, that's the common denominator, right. Is where do you find that top 2%? How do you find 'em? How do you ask the questions? You know, I, I can say to a client let's, as we start to build a talent strategy, once we've aligned, the leadership is, I mean, it's [00:24:00] different for every organization, depending on what their business strategy and vision is, how do I, you know, how do I can build them a talent strategy?

And that talent strategy may include internal recruiters that I'm gonna likely go in and train because I know what great search is and how they need to do it. And do we decide to do it in a retained model or a full desk model? you know, [00:24:20] and the other thing is, do we, um, use agencies and if so, then they have to bring me in to interview the agencies, because I know the questions to ask to determine is this firm, do they know, do they know what they're doing?

Or are they blowing sunshine up your skirt? [00:24:40] Because I can't tell you the numbers of people who've said, yeah, they blew sunshine up my skirt. And, and I, I don't understand that I. I couldn't live with myself under those circumstances. I mean, yes. Some stuff's outta your control. Right? I mean, I had, I had a project number of years ago, um, when I was still doing search work [00:25:00] and there was a change of control right in the middle of it.

Well, I can't be responsible for people quitting because of a change of control. I mean, that's expected and you know, I, I mean, I, I would put that in my contracts. You know, if there's a change of control, your guarantee is gone. Because, you know, and then, and then I, you know, and I had a client once who, [00:25:20] who the, the head of sales turned over while I was working on this project.

And they're like, well, have you found us any more people? I said, not gonna happen. Not till we get a new VP sales in there. I mean, do you wanna go to work for somebody that you don't know who it's gonna be? No. Companies just sometimes make really, you know, some, somebody [00:25:40] up above them is giving them the, putting the hammer down on.

You need to hire people. Who's gonna come to work for somebody. If they don't know who their boss is gonna be. I wouldn't. I mean, people, you need to be realistic. What world you're living in. Well, what you're talking about really is as you're working with stakeholders and whether it's at the sweet suite of the board level or [00:26:00] individual hiring managers, when you're, when you're working with search, I'm hearing you talk about really three kind of buckets of work.

And I, I use buckets of work in the most affectionate way possible buckets of work in the sense of there's a degree of process and integrity of process to make sure that. People are being treated well that they're being re respected and that there's [00:26:20] some, some rigor to how we're making decisions on how we're moving forward.

Mm-hmm , there's also an element of coaching. It sounds like with managers, with leaders on both setting, right expectations, how they should show up in interviews, what, how they should conduct themselves, what kind of questions they should be asking, not asking. And then there's an element as well when it comes to this process [00:26:40] around.

Now you've asked, you know, you've got the, um, the integrity of the process. You've got the, the elements of, um, you know, coaching. I I'm curious how much of, of the craft to the profession as it were, is also the network, the relationships that you build and draw upon to support searches. Maybe you talk a bit about [00:27:00] that, right?

Yeah. So you said, you said something earlier about when we were talking about, um, how you set up a, a search process and talking about, you know, how, how the HR people know how to interview, but here's the thing to do search properly. I, I would always say to my clients, you will not see a candidate Trevor me until [00:27:20] I interviewed them at least three times.

I will have had three conversations with them and we're not talking 15 minute conversations. We're talking usually at least an hour of each, so that I start to get a really good sense of that person. It takes time to build a relationship. It takes time to build a relationship [00:27:40] and, you know, I, people have this sort of, at least around HR and I know you'll recognize this.

Oh, I'm afraid to say anything, you know? Perfect. That is how I want you to lead into a comment. Right. And, and. With people who do what I did and do it really, really well. I [00:28:00] had several people over my career say to me, and I quote God, I told you things. I've never told a recruiter before. And I don't tell you this to pat myself on the back.

Matt, I tell you this to make, to make a point that when somebody says that and I would always acknowledge thank them, cuz that's a huge acknow, I mean, a massive acknowledgement for somebody to say, I've told you things. I've never told a recruiter before, [00:28:20] and here's the reason. I never looked at my business.

I don't want, and I don't want anybody to look at their business as a transaction. This is about relationships. This is sales. Okay. I am truly and authentically interested in human beings. So when I'm talking to someone I wanna know about [00:28:40] them, I wanna know about them personally. I wanna know about them professionally, what's going on in their life.

This is how you get to know people. And of course me as the search professional, I would know the kind of culture they have and what I was looking for. And I would share that with candidates when it, when it was time to do so, but the reality is it's all about [00:29:00] relationships. And if somebody thinks they can have one 15 or 20 minute conversation, a screening call, Ugh, with somebody they're wrong.

I can't tell you how many hiring managers like, oh yeah. All, all I do is, you know, they, they hire, they won't let me hire a recruiter. I have to use internal recruiters. They send me a million candidates and I have [00:29:20] to re-interview them because they haven't done anything. They spent 15 minutes with somebody on the phone.

How can you possibly get a grasp? Some, what a human being is gonna be like at your company in 15 or 20 minutes. It's not possible. Well, it, it's not possible unless you're Omni mission and I'm not exactly. And it like, it speaks to the narrow [00:29:40] frame of the conversation, because even if you could get through the job posting in 15 minutes, you're unlikely gonna be able to assess their, their.

Suitability to meet any of it, right. Their capabilities. Exactly. You're not gonna be able to understand what their motivations are applying for the job, what they're actually looking for. And there's nothing more disappointing for a hiring [00:30:00] manager or a talent professional, or a candidate as going through a protracted process only to realize you've made a bad decision.

And now you have to start over again. So it's, you know, you need to take the time to your point, to get to know people, to understand their motivations, their incentives, and understand. You know, is this really a good fit? And I know it sounds cliche because for the longest time [00:30:20] that the employment market was set up in such a way where you could post any job and get hundreds of applications.

So yes, you could say the fit was important, but ultimately the company, the hiring managers had most of the power in that dynamic and it has changing. And I think the demographically speaking will continue to put pressure on certain roles where you really have to be motivated [00:30:40] in finding the right fit for people because the scarcity around opportu.

Is gone and the amount of jobs that are available for people that are hybrid and remote, the job market has expanded you no longer have to accept that's right. What is available to you? That's right. You know, and, and you said something we were talking earlier about, you know, some of the things, why kind of [00:31:00] the challenges around recruiting and how people look at it?

The third thing I wanted to mention is because the founder or CEO, that's building this building out, the leadership team doesn't understand this either. That's why they end up putting HR in charge of talent because they don't get it or, or they, or talent reports to finance. Oh, [00:31:20] you know? Yeah. That's great.

Let, let's put what you see as the cost center, underneath the guy who's holding the purse strings and doesn't wanna spend any money. And it's not that all CFOs are like that. Of course. And they do need to watch the money of their. But, you know, there, there are ways to get this done. I believe that HR, whoever [00:31:40] that head HR person is, especially if they're a quality person, they need to report directly to the CEO, accountant needs to report to directly to the CEO, just like tech, sales, marketing, etcetera.

It is that important. And, and I believe that CEOs and founders don't see that yet. And. [00:32:00] Of the belief that they'll start to see it more and more because the pain of having open vacancies of not being able to accept new clients of not being able to move transformational project initiatives forward, the speed that they're used to and accustomed to that's right.

All those things that they have traditionally taken for granted as talent, not being a critical dependency. [00:32:20] They're they're gonna have to necessity look at this stuff. And what you're talking about are things that we've been discussing, you know, academically for 30 years. Um, it's, it's now where the rubber hits the road is, you know, are you, are you now seeing the changing demographics?

Cause I'm seeing more organizations awakened to the reality around having to provide [00:32:40] flexibility, to broaden their talent pool of having to be more, um, buttoned down and more, uh, mindful. The speed at which they go through job postings. Like there, there are some changes that have been made and I think you're right.

I, I still think there's this, there is a bit of a lagging group of people that have decided that the world is gonna go back to the way things once were. It's [00:33:00] just only a matter of time. yeah. Good luck with that. You know, it, it's funny. I was talking to a, to a, a colleague and this is, gosh, this is north of 15 years ago.

It may even be close to 20. If not more in back then, we were talking about the baby boomers, retiring and companies. [00:33:20] Weren't doing shit about it. And this is often the world that we live in. Right. People think, well, I hope that doesn't happen. Well, hope it's not an effective strategy. Okay. And you better start getting your head out of the sand and thinking about these things and, and they're complex.

I mean, we, [00:33:40] everyone is busy. I have to have an EA to, to manage me because I'm, my brain is smoking half the time with everything I've got going on, you know, editing articles that we're publishing, you know, whatever with the book, anything that I'm doing projects am helping manage my calendar because you know, you need [00:34:00] to, if not your, your head is just gonna stay in the sand and you're not gonna get anything done, bring in the support no matter what your job is.

I always say to people, bring in the people who are geniuses, an area you are not. use your genius where you're good [00:34:20] and hire people for their genius. Stop trying to pay, cut and paste. Well, maybe this person can do that. Let me put that person in charge of that person doesn't make any sense at all. I'm gonna, I'm gonna hire this guy because he's got a great, he's got great skills and abilities, but unfortunately his communication skills.

He's gonna piss [00:34:40] off everybody that works for him. And as I've been saying for many, many years, uh, and I'm sure this isn't the first time you'll hear this. People don't leave companies. They leave managers. Mm-hmm you better start. You better start training your managers, coaching them, teaching. 'em how to be better leaders and better communicators.

Communication is probably the number one most important thing. Because people don't [00:35:00] realize Matt, that the language that they use, they do, they it's, it's living in a blind spot for them. They don't realize how that lands in the world of the receiver. They, I mean, they just, it's just, like I said, it's in a blind spot.

They don't see it. It's living in an, a world of you don't know what you don't know. And until you can bring that outta a blind spot [00:35:20] and, and have somebody realize when you use this word, you know, let's talk about this word when you use this, how do you think that could make somebody. So it's gotta get it into the forefront of your head to start thinking, wow, let me use a different word that doesn't occur as judgemental.

that's maybe a more, you know, effective [00:35:40] word to use. Well, it's, it's just that it's deploying a modicum of empathy and just asking how it's gonna land. I mean, I think we we've talked, you mentioned earlier this, the idea of, of talent and I. Worked in organizations that all affectionately refer to as cost conscious companies.

So, you know, [00:36:00] resources were not abundant. And even when they were, they weren't spent abundantly mm-hmm mm-hmm and, uh, a big part of the value proposition was, um, can you deliver on your mandate within real tough constraints? But that was just like, that was the competitive environment of the organization.

It's very consistent with most large American [00:36:20] companies. It's like survival instinct. You're battling over finite resources and everyone's trying to achieve some degree of competitive success and in this environment, You can choose to when you have a situation where you don't have all the resources that you need.

Well, welcome to real world. That's that's how world works. Yeah, of course. [00:36:40] And at the same time you can choose to, uh, try and game the system. You can Tru choose to accept the conditions for what they are and pout about them. You can do any number of three things to react to that. Or you can choose to apply a degree of creativity and intention, then ask ourselves what are the incentives of the people that [00:37:00] are involved so that we can optimize the constraints.

And I'll give you an example, what ties to talent? I took it my last corporate engagement. Before I left to start a business, I was asked by an organization to really help undertake the first HR digital transf. Up to that point, HR was manual. It was face to face. It [00:37:20] was incredibly well intentioned, but incredibly poorly resourced.

And the organization had tried on several occasions to grow, but they had always hit a roadblock around human capital and had to slow their growth plants. Well, They said, Hey, we're looking to do this differently. This time. We wanna bring somebody in who has, you know, bigger company experience who can help build a program [00:37:40] and a system so that talent no longer becomes the critical dependency that it is today.

And we can make decisions based on what makes sense for the business. Great, amazing. Over the course of 12 months, we brought the team from, I think it was seven to start with up to 25, we brought in a whole bunch of SAS technologies, automated everything and made it standard. But that didn't change the [00:38:00] fact that although I was able to bring more people and hire more technologies, I still had a budget to, to work within.

And I still had a big mandate that I had to realize mm-hmm so rather than hire, um, you'd rather than go to the market and try and compete with the predominant employers in the market. I wasn't gonna be able to go and say, Hey, I can offer you Google salaries, or I can offer [00:38:20] you apple salaries, or I can attract Harvard graduates.

I said, Hey, I need a combination of people that I know. And I trust. Because we're gonna go through a big venture together. And I also need people that are willing to understand that there's currency in the opportunity that they might take a pay cut from their market rate. But what they're signing up for is [00:38:40] experiential learning that will ultimately increase the value of who, what they can be on the other end of the engagement.

Which is kind of a little bit of a shell game and people have to trust that you're actually sincere in that because if they don't, they're never gonna agree to it. But one thing I'm proud of is that because we built that model, we were able to attract people that were ambitious for opportunities. And in every case, [00:39:00] less than two years later, they had acquired experiences and were able to leave the roles for in most.

30 to 50% pay bumps. Cause they now had leadership. They had technology, they had project management, they had transformation experience and they took a small step back, which benefited me in the organization because we were able to achieve more with [00:39:20] less right. And benefited them in the long run because they on mass were able to.

Accomplish their goals get experiences. And then turn that into something that was ultimately more financially aligned with what their expectations were. That to me is a perfect example of let's build a system mm-hmm that everybody can win in mm-hmm and be realistic about the fact that it's, we can't throw money at everything.

We [00:39:40] have to be pragmatic that's that's right. And, and that's, you know, it's the same thing as we were talking about earlier, it is all about asking, you know, really getting clear on what do they want, because. Money, you know, especially with, with, I think gen Z. Now these, these, these people wanna, they wanna contribute.

I mean, yeah, everybody needs to make a [00:40:00] living and maybe they've got student loans to pay off, but the reality is, is money. Money is important. Yes. We all need it to live by, but it's not necessarily the most important thing, not for everybody. And that's where it's important to say, what is it you need?

Right because [00:40:20] it's different for everybody. And you know, if somebody's looking for upward mobility or for, and you know, any of the things that you're talking about, that, you know, that experience to get them to the next level, whether that's with you or with someone else. Yeah. That's gotta be worth taking a little bit of a pay cut for, for some people.

If they're gonna get that, it's, you know, nobody's gonna get a 10 outta 10, everything that [00:40:40] they. And, you know, I, I did wanna mention, as we were talking, uh, talking that, you know, everyone on the planet has circumstances. We've all got 'em, they're different for everybody. And as humans we can. Either allow our circumstances to manage us [00:41:00] or we can choose to manage our circumstances.

I prefer to follow the ladder, took time to get there to that took a lot of, you know, training that I did my own coaching and having a coach and so on and really learning how not to let my circumstances manage me because I think most human beings let their circumstances manage them. Well, I didn't have a [00:41:20] choice.

No, no. You actually always have a choice. The Cho the choice that you feel you didn't have is just not an app. It's, it's not an appetizing one. That's why I think you didn't have that choice. And that, that, that concept, Matt is really, really hard to get to for a lot of people. You know, you said you did not have a massive budget.

You had to do [00:41:40] X, you know, X amount with X amount of money, and you managed that circumstance and figured out how to go about doing it because it's not gonna serve you to sit around and bitch and moan about it all day long. Figure it out and get it done. And they go home and have a beer well, and to be fair, I met many of professionals along the way, who said, Hey, you know what?

Like, I love the concept, but [00:42:00] I, at this stage of my career, financial right. Success is more important to me. So I'm gonna pass on the opportunity. So, and that's completely acceptable as well. It's aligning the opportunity to the individual, making sure everyone's getting what they need from it. That's how you build partnerships, whether it's employment, whether it's your personal life, whether it's friendships, it's establishing [00:42:20] mutual benefit.

That's right. That, I mean, that's exactly right. You know, you, and, and you, you mentioned that in your friendships, you know, I always say that, you know, with, when it comes to people at companies, you know, you don't have, you don't have business problems, you have personal problems that show up in your business.

and we all have the ability to choose [00:42:40] any of those relationships that we want. We can choose to be in 'em. We can choose not to be in 'em to your point. You know, I'm not in the point in my life that I can, that I can afford to take that pay. Cut. You. That's okay. I, I am not here as a recruiter or a consultant or anybody to tell you how much money you should make.[00:43:00] 

That's not my job to do that. I've said it a million times to candidates. It's, you know, how much money you need to make is your business, but I need to know that to help find you the best opportunity. Right? And I think if, if companies heed that strategy more. [00:43:20] They'll be fine because it's not some people might just be, they've got a bunch of kids or wife doesn't work, you know, or their husband or whatever that might be.

So, so like I said, it really, really, really boils down to communication and how you communicate with people. Carol. Thanks for taking the time today. I enjoyed the conversation, Matt, this was a absolute [00:43:40] delight. Even at the end of my day, when I'm tired, I feel all energized. Now, after having this conversation with you, we'll talk soon.

Take care.

Ohr is a digital transformation consultancy working at the intersection of [00:44:00] strategy technology and people operations. We partner with organizations, private equity and venture capital firms to accelerate value creation and identify the organization's highest leverage initiatives. And this can take place in many forms.

From strategic planning and alignment to technology, procurement, implementation and [00:44:20] integration, along with organizational design process reengineering and change management. With our proven track record of working with complex high growth organizations, we provide a lens that goes beyond the balance sheet, increasing enterprise readiness, resilience, and value.

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