Creative Talent Endeavors Founder Kyle Samuels

Kyle SamuelsFounder

Kyle explains his entrepreneurial journey starting Creative Talent Endeavors, and shares the benefits of working for an agency over an in-house recruiting gig.


Episode Transcript

Kyle Samuels 0:00
If you’re at a search firm, you have different networks you can pull from service like, as we’re seeing that big tech is not hidden, cool, hello healthcare, hello restaurants. But if you’re at a big tech company, and you’re the head of TA, and they’re laying people off, it might not look that good for for you for job security, or at the very least, you’ll just be bored, because let’s say you keep your job but like there’s really nothing going on, you’re not learning. So I think you have a little bit more flexibility on the agency side.

Rob Stevenson 0:31
Welcome to Talk town to me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines of modern recruitment. We actually

Speaker 2 0:38
want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions where they’re willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.

Rob Stevenson 0:47
No holds barred completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment VPs of global talent, CHR rows, and everyone in between.

Speaker 4 0:56
Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

Speaker 5 1:04
Talent Acquisition. It’s a fantastic career, you are trusted by the organization. You get to work with the C suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between and everybody knows you.

Rob Stevenson 1:17
I’m your host, Rob Stevenson, and you’re about to hear the best in the biz. talk down to me. Here with me today on top talent to me is a man with a ton of experience in our space. He’s served as a senior recruiting consultant over at Ernst and Young was a TA leader at General Electric aviation, serving a few different roles that yum brands for companies like Pizza Hut and Taco Bell. Now he serves as the CEO of the executive search firm he founded creative talent endeavors. Kyle Samuels, welcome to the podcast. How the heck are you today?

Unknown Speaker 1:49
Doing great boiler up Rob. How you doing my friend?

Kyle Samuels 1:51
boiler up? I have a fellow Purdue grad on Yeah, it’s never happens. I never got the shout out. But it’s good to have you know, a fellow alumni here with me.

Kyle Samuels 1:59
They haven’t we have another Boiler Maker on the team here CTE. So

Rob Stevenson 2:03
they’re good people, these these weathermakers. You know, I found a good amount of Purdue grads, when I was in San Francisco, not so many San Franciscans in West Lafayette, Indiana. However, that’s a fact. That’s a one way pipeline. But I do have, you know, a special soft spot in my heart for that Purdue education. So glad we can share that. And man, I’m glad to have you on because I called out on a recent episode that were kind of unfair to agencies on this podcast. And it’s not by design, it’s sort of just a factor of the guests I tend to have on I tend to have on internal recruiters, most of whom worked at an agency at some point. And they’re internal now because they prefer being internal. So that’s just a factor of who I have on the show. It’s not the whole story. So I’m hoping to get you know, the other side of the narrative from you. We’ll get there. But first, I would just love to hear a little bit from you, Kyle, about your background, and anything maybe i i missed when I was introducing you. Could you share a little bit about your journey and how you came to found creative town endeavors?

Kyle Samuels 3:00
Absolutely, absolutely. So, man, I’m gonna rush it through it not in a bad way. But I know time is money. So from Cleveland, Ohio, only child introvert, study political science at Ohio University. I’ll spare you the details. But there’s the kids who say I finessed my way into technology. So actually, I plan to go to law school, but actually ended up working in a network operations center at a tech company that later got acquired by WorldCom. So that was my first part of the Career a couple years was actually doing technical work, which is funny. work for a startup in Los Angeles. After that got laid off web 1.0 disaster, decided to pivot and actually when the entertainment work for a company no longer exists, but it’s called AMG or artists management group had like, Leonardo DiCaprio, Scorsese, like Ailis Michael Ovitz was the CEO Great. That stint in entertainment I worked for a couple other companies was fantastic for me. And it got me to being a recruiter, because that world is so much based around like literally relationships, getting to know people. So like, if you laugh, but remember, Joey from friend had a spin off back in the early 2000s.

Rob Stevenson 4:04
And a bunch of them in fact, over the years. Yeah.

Kyle Samuels 4:08
And so like, it doesn’t matter if you’re an assistant or coordinator, if your boss is like, give me the script, you need to know someone at Warner Brothers who can get that script, right. And so they helped me build that skill set in terms of getting to know people building relationships, etc. So I did that for a couple years realize that I cannot have my success be that dependent on just people liking me like, you know, because it is relationships, right? And so, someone pitched me they said, Hey, why don’t you try executive search, give it a year, you started as a research analyst, and you’ll either love it. Or you’ll be like, Hey, I’ve decided that I want to be in marketing or you know, comms or HR because you work on so many searches and so many industries turn out I loved it. So that’s how I got into search, grew up and became a recruiter, work in agencies for a while. And then when I was at a company, I worked for the woman who ran the CEO and board of director practice. She was phenomenal and unlike a lot of senior leaders at that big search firm. She wasn’t like a former executive in marketing for p&g, who was just a rainmaker she grew up searching. And so one of the other things that and I think, because she came up from search, and she had an MBA, she looked at the work more strategically and analytical than some other people. So she taught me rigor. And so that was like, you know, I’m a poli sci graduate. It was fun. But I want to know how to read a p&l and the 10k, and 8k and all these terms I’ve never heard before, decided to go back to school. So I went to Purdue got my MBA from I was Daniel’s now, but it’s always going to be created for me it is what it is. And so I ended up working at GE Aviation after school at a great time there to the HR leadership program, did a full time role working and leading a facility in Charleston, South Carolina. And then Yum, brands call me right, I worked there for several years, I led TA for Yum, corporate, then I got to do a short term assignment for a pizza global, which is in talent. And my final role as an HR leadership team at Taco Bell. And I was just very lucky, it’s not something I can tell people as long as going to work, but the person was the chief people, officer, Frank Tucker, at Taco Bell, at the time was my mentor, we had a great relationship. And so he asked, Hey, what do you want to do next, I felt safe enough to say, you know, I love it here making payroll, it’s fun. But I really want to start my own search firm we talked about for a couple months. And ultimately, he was like, you seem like you really want to do this, Jesse, you know, you’re due to get promoted again. And I was like, No, I want to do this. And he said, we’d be happy to be your first client. And so that’s how CTE started. February 1 2017.

Rob Stevenson 6:33
So I’m curious in that moment, where you had this relationship with the Chief People Officer at you know, huge brand, you’re slated for promotion seems like a pretty cushy gig. Why did you think that was the time to start your own thing?

Kyle Samuels 6:48
So when again, I consider the core of someone said like, what are your would be a recruiter, but like, I’ve also done HR generalist roles. And so I’ve been lucky at companies like GE and yum, where you actually get to that, you know, seat at the table. And so let me ask you this, Rob, this is a prime example. Have you ever seen the movie Goodfellas? Yeah, of course. Okay. So remember when Tommy thinks he’s gonna get made, and he walks into the garage, and he sees the plastic on the floor and goes, Oh, and it’s bands over lights out. I have seen the same look, when someone is coming to their normal Wednesday, one on one with their boss, and they see me there in the room. And they think oh, Kyle was at a two three that ran late. And I have a three o’clock come on in Rob, have a seat. So you sit down. And then I pull out that folder, which has the logo of our organization and say, Robin, fortunately they did it, you see that look of like, I was in here to talk about my goals, and I’m leaving without a job, right. And so knowing that it can happen to anyone, I was just like, again, I mentioned before it entertainment, I just wanted to be able to control my own destiny and my success. And it wasn’t like I was like, starting a b2b SaaS company that’s going to rip, like something I didn’t know how to do. It’s like, I know how to do this. I’ll just be doing it for myself. So that’s kind of what it was, is that I just, again, it’s I guess it’s a control thing. I just wanted to have more autonomy in my career.

Rob Stevenson 8:02
Yeah. When people compare and contrast working for another company, or working for yourself, they always say, Well, you have more job security, working for a company, which I don’t think is true at all, because you really can get laid off through no fault of your own. Right? If a company overextends itself that Listen, you’re a high performer, but right you have to go. So I don’t know, if you have job security. Maybe you have like short term compensation, security, right? Like that paycheck is going to hit your bank account every two weeks, that direct deposit is going to hit, you know, and whether you really did a great job or not, frankly, which is it’s different. When you’re working for yourself. That’s not assured that maybe is the difference in security. But I’m glad to hear you kind of map that out that you felt like you were more secure doing your own thing, because at least you’re in control of your own destiny.

Kyle Samuels 8:52
Rob And COVID Hit we had three people and never once did I say, oh my goodness, I wish I was an employee because again, no one knew was happening. I was like scores of companies looking at spreadsheets. Who do we have? We’re paying them how much to do what at a time like this. So I was like, Hey, I think that the myth is, Rob, is that you know, oh, you know, just job security is no, also take young rats former employer, right. While I as Kyle could say, all I know what’s gonna happen with this COVID thing that I’m hearing about, but I guarantee you, I’m not going to fire myself, right. So that’s true. But the other thing is if you had to bet a betting man, who’s going to make it through this thing called COVID, yum brands or CTE Yes. The idea of a multibillion dollar global company actually surviving Yes, but that’s the company is not the individual like I always say is like, Tim Cook, shout out to him. But the only advantage I have over Tim Cook is it I can’t get fired. He can still get fired by a board right now. It’d be very wealthy, but still like you don’t that’s the one thing that you give up. So for me, it made perfect sense.

Rob Stevenson 9:53
You can get fired by a client, right? You can get fired by an account. Right? But that doesn’t like that’s an accountant. Right? That wouldn’t necessarily Think you are making

Kyle Samuels 10:02
your hot water? Right? Yeah.

Rob Stevenson 10:04
So what about that first moment? So you kind of get the long tenured, Chief People Officer of Taco Bell to sanction your own. You started your company tells you you’re you’re slave to promotion. You’re like, thanks. but no thanks. You go off into your own thing. What was the early days? Like? How did you get your first customer?

Kyle Samuels 10:24
It was talking about like that. I mean, that’s what it was. But that was my thing, Rob. So it was like this. One of the hardest things about recruiting is the brand that you’re recruiting for, right? Because like, if you’re a passive person, I say, oh, there’s this cool AI company called blitzie And you have to decide to on a research this, see what their backing is, like, see who their leadership is, right? If I say Taco Bell has a role, you may or may not like Taco Bell, but no one’s ever said, can you tell me more about this company called Taco Bell and what they do fact. So my thought was, I’m gonna have a client that I’m never gonna have to explain what they do. Everyone in the world I talked to was gonna know they exist, and how big they are. I knew everyone from the CEO on down, and I worked at the company. So if I cannot be successful in my own recruiting for this, then I should not be doing it because there’s nothing closer to a layup than this. Right. And so it started with Taco Bell, then we started to work with other divisions, uh, yum. And then of course, because we’re doing food, it was like pulling people from the network that I had a G in it. Yep. So food companies and advanced manufacturing companies. And so at first grew, it was referrals. People I knew human beings. It wasn’t any real cold outreach. In the beginning, it was just the network.

Rob Stevenson 11:28
Yeah, it was the same for me. I was running content for hired back in the day, like people don’t know that. And guess who my first customer was when I started my podcasts company. Baby.

Kyle Samuels 11:38
That’s my thing. Get rid of the headcount, you know, that I can do this stuff. And we can still work together. Like, you know, it worked out

Rob Stevenson 11:44
there’s trust, right? There’s lines of communication, there’s expectation that like, they know how I perform, if I go knock on someone’s door, they’re like, will he actually do this? Like, can we count on him at all? There’s all these questions. So yeah, the pumping your network in the beginning, like, eventually, you can, you will have to branch out probably. But all of my business success has come through referrals, essentially. And it’s come through my network. I’ve been very little cold, anything.

Kyle Samuels 12:08
It can work, but it’s like the Listen, cold outreach still works. There’s a reason why in this day and age of 2023, it still amazes me that people send junk mail, right, like those little things. But it doesn’t matter that point 7% of whomever responds is, obviously they’re getting their ROI for it. It’s just like, you know, but they’re not tracking like, oh, did Kyle open up that metric, whatever, whoever hits us hits us. But you’re right, the relationship aspect is the best way just because if someone can say it’s like a restaurant recommendation, I can say, I heard this restaurant was good, or I ate it was delicious. Trust me get the quiche or whatever, then that weighs a little bit heavier.

Rob Stevenson 12:41
Yeah, definitely. So creative talent endeavors. It is executive search, correct? Correct. Director and above. So what made you narrow to that level?

Kyle Samuels 12:50
I came from executive search. So that’s how I was brave when I started research and listed like, that’s the world that I knew those were my contacts were. So yeah, that’s just what it was. To be honest, that’s how I’ve been trained. If I had come from maybe like, you know, the staffing contingent, are seasonal or something like that before, maybe it would have been that, but this is what I knew.

Rob Stevenson 13:08
Right? Right. It also doesn’t make sense from a pricing, you know, like the way that agencies typically operate as you charge a percentage of, you know, whatever the income of the person you place. And so director and above has more income. It makes sense. lower volume, though, right? So there is a trade off

Kyle Samuels 13:21
there is but when I started, it was just me, in quality it continues to be, that’s the most important thing. And so I was very intentional about making sure that you starting a new company, someone’s taking a chance in hiring you versus someone else. Like you have to make sure your product is unassailably as good if not better. And so that actually worked out well. And also, like a lot of recruiting isn’t always your network, like those are the people I know if someone’s like, hey, I need a software engineer with two years experience. I’d be like, I don’t know. I don’t know those people. You know what I mean?

Rob Stevenson 13:54
Right, right. I want to go back to the Taco Bell as a first customer thing, because I’m putting myself in the shoes of someone listening and being like, Oh, could the company for whom I’m currently recruiting? Would they be my first customer? If I couldn’t start an agency? For example? I guess, did you look at Taco Bell? And you’re like, Okay, I see the landscape of their town operation. I know they’re already spending x amount on agencies, that’s like an opportunity for me, or how did you know that they were going to convert? Yeah, cuz

Kyle Samuels 14:19
I mean, as part of my job, right? So I know what the spin is, I know what’s going on. And I can make that appeal that get rid of some headcount. Let me focus on this again, you know, that I know the type of people because anyone can say, oh, we need a director of FNA. But you know, like the shorthand from cultural how they were like, I just know it. You don’t have to train me like you were training a new external recruiter. And so I knew that we will be opening but I think the toughest or the most important part about this, is that I felt the comfort with Frank to be able to say that, because I’ve worked at other organizations. That’s a career limiting move. It’s like, okay, he’s off the potential train. Like he’s not one of us. He’s not trying to stay here forever and did it up. So like, you want to make sure it’s a safe space to do that. because it’s not always gonna work out like that you may not have the connection, or the rapport, that trust with the people. But in that case, yeah, I knew enough about it to say like, Hey, so like I would say if someone is like running their head of creative or advertising internally at a company, and you know what the spend is, and again, at these big companies, you’re doing both right, so you have someone internally who heads up create and design, but you’re also spending millions on an external partner, if you can say, Hey, get me off the payroll, maybe you take a little money from Adam, and give it to Paul. But like, now you’ve got someone who has the legitimacy. And also one of the things in recruiting that was really powerful, is, think about it, I am a recruiter who can literally tell you from experience what it’s like to work that organization, right. It’s not like, you know, we have lots of clients that I have not worked for. So I’m just I heard or it’s like this, but I’m telling you, no, it’s like this, and I can tell you how the bonuses go and the conversations. And so in terms of building that rapport with a prospective candidate, it just goes a lot further, because you know that that person is been there and done that, so to speak.

Rob Stevenson 16:00
Yeah, that makes sense. The whole like, I know the culture, because that is often a criticism I hear leveled against agencies is like, if you hire an agency, they’re never really going to understand your company culture, they’re not going to know what it’s like to work there day in and day out. And they’re not gonna be able to find those people who would be a culture add or be a culture fit, however you want to put it. So in the case where your customer is someone you’ve worked, obviously, you know, the culture. What about when it’s not somewhere you work? Do you think that criticism holds water?

Kyle Samuels 16:28
It depends. And that’s a cop out. But I’ll tell you a little bit about us. And the way we do it, we go slow to go fast. So if we’re kicking off a search with a brand new client, and I want you to do our, you know, VP of people and culture Cool, great, we’re awesome at that, we’ll do it. But we’re not just the okay 10 years of experience this, that. And the third, like, we’re going to dig in and say, Is this someone who needs to have the stretch to be your future Chief People Officer or just someone who can? Who’s gonna be happy doing a great job here? And that’s it, right. But they’ve seen it all. We’re gonna ask, tell us about your company, right? Like, if you’re already public, you know, what are your growth initiatives? Right? If you’re a startup, are you trying to get acquired? Are you trying to IPO? Like, what is the exit play? You’re trying to get? You know, I’m saying like, we want to know that because at the executive level, you’re not just selling that job, you’re selling the whole opportunity of the organization. So we spend time okay, they kicked butt here in two years, do they sell in the same role? Or is there a promotional path, right. And so I think if the agency takes the time to really understand that, then you can mitigate that issue. And each subsequent search gets easier. But I’ll also say that, it depends if you’re working with contingent, or retained, right. And I think that’s one of the things that we sometimes tackle is people just, they’ve only been experienced with contingent, and maybe they haven’t had the best experience doesn’t mean contingent. Recruiters are bad, it just means that if I’m not guaranteed money, I’m gonna do the absolute minimum to get this higher, because it’s not guaranteed, right. And so, here’s a resume, I hope you like it, goodbye. Gotta go to the next one. Right? Where’s for us is white glove service, we are super attentive, we are always there. We’re gonna say babysitting. But like, you might have had a great interview with a candidate yesterday. And everyone’s all excited, we’re still checking in making sure that they enjoyed it. Hey, any other companies call? Like we’re there, just so there are no surprises. And so I think if you have a firm is willing to get that deep, and just being frank, a partner that’s willing to devote that time that believes that’s important, because sometimes you can last a year, whatever, just find this VP of marketing will take over the rest, right? So I think it has to be the right fit.

Rob Stevenson 18:25
So creative talent endeavors is retained search. Correct? We were tight with the contingent, the criticism would be oh, there are some perverse incentives there. Right? Like, if you’re only going to get paid when you make a placement, you push harder for any given placement, whether it’s a great fit or not,

Kyle Samuels 18:41
I’ve experienced because I’ve been on the buying side of continuous search, it’s not so much that it’s just that, here’s instead of like, you know, we present like, Oh, we’re gonna talk to you about Rob. And he’s currently the VP of data. And he’s done this and his degree, and here are all the reasons why we think is experienced fits in his comp, and right, we take the time to do all that. Because whether you’re the person place or not, we’re gonna get paid. So we go deep, and we, you know, I’m saying, but if you’re not guaranteed that 45 minute interview for a candidate, the client may not even accept level or higher, it’s not worth it. So it’s like, they hit the KPIs. He’s got an NBA, he said, this type of company, he said, he’d be interested, you guys have a blast with your internal team, right? So they don’t get the prep, and then maybe it’s not done and they they’re all excited. They talked to the person, the person is like, oh, no, no, I said, I relocate but only like to New York and LA, I would never move to Chicago, right? Because they didn’t have the time to do that.

Rob Stevenson 19:30
Right? Right. Then they didn’t bother at that level of assessment, because it was okay, they’re good enough they meet these qualifications,

Kyle Samuels 19:37
which again, I get it it’s not it would be hard to run a very successful I think contender for doing that level of interviews, because the vast majority of them you’re never gonna get paid for it was just time and there’s not infinite time.

Rob Stevenson 19:49
The way you’re explaining it. I’m putting myself in the shoes of you know, an internal, you know, head of people, Director of Talent, what have you, and why would you pick a contingent search from I guess to save money, I guess if maybe you had some really high volume roles,

Kyle Samuels 20:03
a couple of reasons, if there’s a niche, like there’s a company that only does Python developers, that’s all they do, literally. And it’s contingent. But again, one of the things about continuing to talk with people all the time, so they might have more, so I could see going for that, like, in a case like that, and especially if it’s more junior, because just, you know, you’re not getting Oh, how do you lead now you’re gonna grow even after years of experience fan, I’m just gonna program stuff, right? So relax, right? So there’s that. Or it can be like you said, it could be cost. It’s just like, which is a weird thing, right? So because because I’m gonna say what the cost thing. Cost is like, it’s not about the money, it’s about the guarantee. Because if you hire a contingent firm, you’re still saying, I’m gonna pay that percentage. If you find me a person is the same thing you say, to retain firm, the only difference is, if for example, with a retained firm, if seven weeks in you decided to pull the search, because your company cut headcount, you still have to pay us for the work that we did, and contingent you don’t. Right. But if you feel like that’s not gonna happen, my argument is unless the contingent person like you, you know, they’ve worked well, you really feel good about them? Why not go with retain? Because if you feel like that farm is definitely going to be able to close the role, right. So that’s the tough part. And that’s why when I was thinking about I can go to continue, because like, I’ve just stopped wanting to work for free. And the way I’ve been the way I like to work, isn’t that kind of like, transactional? Here’s a resume hope for the best like i We take pride and actually knowing our candidates, knowing what they want, making sure we’re matching the right customers. So for us, Miss Not, not the right one, but in cases it can 100% make sense? Or if it’s something where like, you know, unfortunately, lots of di people have been fired recently, right. So like, yeah, there’s a lot of people really great people who are who are available and talented. So I get saying, You know what, let’s make sure we get the win on this one and go go retained and win or sorry, go contingent. And then you can also do that in parallel with your own internal team.

Rob Stevenson 21:51
Right, right. Yeah, that makes sense. Like, it could be dependent on the talent market. It’s like contingent, we’ll have plenty of success with this. Because there’s a lot of people out there looking for jobs. It’s a high volume role. It’s a junior role. There a niche contingent shop all reasons why you might consider it. What about on the agency as a career option? Front? Because I feature people who are internal recruiters who prefer to be internal. I want to hear you kind of explain, under what circumstances do you think someone might prefer to work for agency rather than to go in house?

Kyle Samuels 22:23
Okay, so you don’t mean work with as a client, you mean an employee? Correct? Gotcha. I think if you’re entrepreneurial, right, because there’s more of an opportunity to actually directly impact your income versus like, you know, a corporate role was like, Oh, you’re basically this, and you have a 20%, bonus, and tada, right, until next year. So I think that’s one thing, you have more of an impact on your money. Number two, if you are someone who enjoys the variety of like working on a search for like a 72 person startup in the morning, and then a search for a fortune 40 company in the afternoon, you just love the the differences in the range versus like, the roles will be different. But every time you talk to someone about the culture, you’re saying the same rap every time your internal, like, oh, and our culture is the as this right. So the variety aspects can be fun as well. And then the other thing I would say is that you typically just get more breadth of roles, right? Because not every company does everything. But like, recruiters at CT, like we placed the head of culinary at Chipotle, right? Only maybe none of our non food restaurants are not good clients are going to need that. But it’s like, yeah, you could be talking to the heads of culinary from every restaurant you’ve ever gone to in the morning. And then you’re doing a head of FPN a role for like a fortune 500 consulting company in the afternoon. So it gives that variety and makes the day a little bit different. That’s what I say will be the top color three, I think advantages,

Rob Stevenson 23:43
then what would be the career trajectory of someone who’s really, really successful at like a medium to large sized agency out of eventually, like, how do you move beyond the placements? Or is that always going to be a part of it.

Kyle Samuels 23:56
So we also do HR consulting. And so we’re a little bit different, we don’t just do the recruitment side. So and there are mixes there. So one of the products we have an HR consulting side is something that’s been very relevant now as companies have either slowed hiring, or definitely slowed spending on hiring is, we have a bunch of talent acquisition recruiters specialists, whatever they’re typically, you know, they know what to say you comes into ATS, but they don’t know how to hunt, they don’t know how to get that passive person interested enough in the company, right? So we can train your people to do that. So we’re a little bit different, like I said, because we have the advisory side. So like, that’s kind of like a team effort between the recruitment side in the advisory side, but the other part I was gonna say is just elevating to different roles and specialization, right. And so typically, when you start, you start with more junior roles, you’re trying to get your experience and then you grow and you grow and grow and next thing you’re doing C level roles. So I think that’s something that can change. And again, a lot of it’s obviously going to be dependent on the economy and what kind of company you’re at. But regardless, the economy there, there’s always going to be someone hiring. It goes you know, it ebbs and flows. So If you’re an agency, you can do what we did. So last year, we didn’t completely pivot. But I saw where the economy was going. I was like, Let’s get closer to our food clients because in QSR first office in necessity Second off, especially like QSR, and fast casual, so like your taco bell is cold laser Blaze pizza. For someone doesn’t make a lot of money. Chipotle is like a splurge, right? Like, because it is I love Chipotle with great delicious, but like $80 for family for burritos and chips is kind of expensive, right? So that can be the splurge that takes the place of say, going to TGI Fridays, or Applebee’s. Now, if the economy’s messed up, right, conversely, the executive level person who says, you know, let’s just go to Chipotle and spend 80 bucks on chips and salsa, because it doesn’t mean anything to us. And we’re saving the money because we went to our local French bistro, the four of us would be like 182, with tip in line and all that good stuff, right. And the other part is health care, right? Like, there’s many things that you would stop if you lose your job or things get tight, but like dialysis is probably on the very bottom of that list. And so I say all that to say, if you’re at a search firm, you have different networks you can pull from. So it’s like, as we’re seeing that big tech is not hidden, cool. Hello, healthcare, hello restaurants. But if you’re at a big tech company, and you’re the head of TA, and they’re laying people off, it might not look that good for for you for job security, or at the very least, you’ll just be bored. Because let’s say you keep your job, but like there’s really nothing going on, you’re not learning. So I think you have a little bit more flexibility on the agency side.

Rob Stevenson 26:25
That is a great point. This notion that even in a downturn, someone’s hiring, someone’s making money, like the example I like to use is, you know, if in March, April, May 2020 Tons of people like losing their jobs. However, if you worked for like a zoom, if you worked for Uber Eats, if you work for Instacart, you were never busier, right? You’re probably getting raises, you know. And so if you happen to be a recruiter, and Instacart, you felt great. If you were in any other industry, maybe not so much. But if you’re at an agency, then someone like you would say, Hey, we’re now going to start selling into companies like Instacart, and DoorDash, and zoom and anyone else who, in this weird new world we find ourselves in is is thriving, basically 100%. Yeah, maybe you’re a little more agile, like you were kind of you were stuck in one industry, for better or worse as an internal recruiter.

Kyle Samuels 27:18
Yeah. And again, you know, maybe you’re at a company like Amazon that does everything. And so if you’re good enough, you can just like, hey, put me in the put me that put me over the whole foods for now. Over on Amazon

Rob Stevenson 27:27
Prime TV shows, yeah.

Kyle Samuels 27:31
Versus just like, Oh, crap, I met this software company, and we’re laying people off, what is going to happen to me?

Rob Stevenson 27:36
Yeah, that makes sense. Okay, so part of the reputation of agencies is, is like, Oh, they’re if they are transactional, and they don’t want to get to know the company culture, people have had bad experience with agencies. But that’s I don’t think a factor of agencies, it’s a factor of an agency, like, sure. There are ones that are you know, that there are bad agencies out there. There’s bad actors in, in every space, right? I can’t tell you how many bad podcasters there are. But I guess what I want to know, then is like, rather than just write off the whole industry, the whole like business model, what can people be asking if they are looking to bring in agencies for their company? What are some of the things that they can ask to make sure that this is an agency is going to do right by them? And it’s not one of those bad examples that we often mentioned?

Kyle Samuels 28:21
So one thing I’ll say is, people, actually, my head of advisory services said this because he used to work at IBM, and he said, his old boss used to say, no one has ever been fired for hiring IBM, right. And so what happens is people say, I’m gonna go to one of the big names because it’s a big name, and it’ll be safe and great, cool. But a lot of these big names, they have the big name, right? So they don’t have to have the best people because the name is the thing, right? So yes, you got us. But the recruiter you get might be kind of mid right. And so I would ask them how they work. Right? I think it’s less especially the executive level, pending on the roll. Like we do a lot of finance and HR, which are, they can move across industries very easily, right. And so I asked them how they work because sometimes people get fixated on like, I’m a $1 billion manufacturing company, how many rolls? Have you done for $1 billion manufacturing companies, and sometimes that is appropriate. But more appropriate is understanding how the company works and seeing if it’s something that’s going to work for you. Right? So are they high touch? Are they low touch, right? Like I one of the things I always say is that we will be positive irritant. So we’re going to harass you until you get back with feedback for the candidate, like it is right? And so making sure that you work the right way. I would also ask, you do want to make sure they have usually you want to make skill, make sure they have a relevant previous experience, right. The best predictor of future behavior is past behavior. But I would also say Don’t fixate so much on again, have they done this type of role, but how do they work? And does it seem like they could be a good advocate for us for out in the world, right? Because the majority of our clients, their name rings louder than ours, right? And so if they can defeat it, if we’re doing a search for the Vita, and we come off as unprofessional or unprepared and someone’s good if their friends like, Hey, did we just hit me up for this job? They’re not going to say, I had a bad experience with a recruiter, but they were third party called, there’s gonna be like, Hey, I don’t know much right? Yeah. So we guard their reputation with our lives, we know it’s very important. I think that is just as important as Have you done this exact search before like is the way they work going to be a match for how your organization works, right. And again, of course, if you do more searches, every individual, every hiring manager is different, but there is a company culture. And so making sure that they are not at odds, but they’re, you know, cohesive.

Rob Stevenson 30:49
Kyle, you’ve really made a great argument during this episode for why someone might want to work for an agency, I’m glad we that we had you on because that side of the equation was sorely needed. So something to think about for the folks out there who are thinking about their next career move, or whether internal is for them, whether they want to make a move, etc. I think connotations aside, if you choose a good company, if you choose a good agency and you do really good work, you will be happy you’ll be well compensated, it’s not too much more complicated than that.

Kyle Samuels 31:17
Now one thing I will say being fair, is if you want to do more like long term and I guess we’re you know TA is a vast thing, right? So if we’re talking about straight recruiting like this a little bit different, but if it’s like you know, someone who could be a director, manager ta one of the advantages of being in house is you know, you get to work on things besides just bringing people in but it’s like what’s our website was our employee or our candidate value proposition? Our and our project is to you know, because you are working for one particular company, so our project is to get you know, 100 interns next summer by the like, you get to do that and see it to the end. You don’t I mean, like more So there, there are some advantages to doing it too. And I’ve enjoyed either, but I do like the variety for me just I like having different clients and different things to work on every day.

Rob Stevenson 32:04
Yep, makes sense. Kyle, we are approaching optimal podcasts lengthier so at this point, I just have to say thank you so much for being here. This was an awesome episode. Sounds like you’re doing really good work over there. Yeah, this was a blast. Thanks for being here today.

Kyle Samuels 32:15
Thank you for having me, Rob.

Rob Stevenson 32:19
Talk talent to me is brought to you by hired. Hired empowers connections by matching the world’s most innovative companies with ambitious tech and sales candidates. With hired candidates and companies have visibility into salary offers competing opportunities and job details. Hired unique offering includes customized assessments and salary bias alerts to help remove unconscious bias when hiring. By combining technology and human touch, our goal is to provide transparency in the recruiting process and empower each of our partners to employ their potential and keep their talent pipeline full. To learn more about how we can help you find your next great hire, head to