Octane VP Talent Acquisition Adam Redlich

Adam RedlichOctane VP Talent Acquisition

Joining us today is Adam Redlich, Vice President and Talent Acquisition at Octane. Adam shares the difference between time to fill and time to hire, why if a candidate is a maybe, they’re a no, and why if a company pushes you to sign quickly, there’s usually something they don’t want you to find out.

Episode Transcript

TTTM 226    Transcript EPISODE 226  


[00:00:05] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent To Me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders  on the frontlines of modern recruitment.  

[00:00:11] FEMALE: We actually 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  when they fail.  

[00:00:21] RS: No holds barred, completely off the cuff interviews with Directors of  Recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs, and everyone in between.  

[00:00:30] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the  certifications through diversity inclusion, I still felt something was missing.  

[00:00:38] MALE: 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.  

[00:00:51] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson, and you’re about to hear the best in the biz. Talk  Talent To Me. 


[00:00:58] RS: Joining me today on Talk Talent To Me is the Vice President of Talent Acquisition  over at Octane, Adam Redlich. Adam, welcome to the show. How are you?  

[00:01:07] AR: I’m good. Thanks for having me, Rob. 

[00:01:08] RS: Really pleased to have you in. Where are you broadcasting from today? [00:01:12] AR: I’m speaking to you from our New York headquarters in midtown Manhattan. 

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[00:01:15] RS: Got it. So are you fully back in the office? Is it hybrid? What’s the state of things  for you at Octane? 

[00:01:21] AR: We are hybrid when the pandemic hit, we shifted to a remote first workforce. I  live in the city and have three small children. I enjoy getting out of the house and coming to the  office, I can be much more productive. We’ve had what we call a soft open, the office fully  reopens in April, but even for people locally, we’re not forcing people to come into the office,  right? If the office will be open, if it’s here, people want to come in whether they live in the tri  state area or wherever they are. 

[00:01:52] RS: It’s interesting the offices now more like a benefit, or a perk as opposed to just  expectation. Is that state of things for you? 

[00:01:58] AR: We haven’t thought of it that way, but yeah, it seems that way. I was talking, our  CEO was here. I was here Monday, Tuesday and today’s Wednesday. Monday, I was one of  four people in the office. Yesterday, there were quite a few more. Our CEO was here yesterday.  He’s here again today, but when we were chatting yesterday, there was a good number of  people in the office that we both commented on how it’s nice to be in the office with this many  people, right? There’s enough people to create a buzz of excitement, but not too many, you  know, pre pandemic. We had somewhere around the 75 to 80 people in the office mark. Quite  a change from 80 people to four that were here on Monday, and probably 15 or 20 or so here  yesterday, actually probably more 10 to 15. 

[00:02:44] RS: Not strictly necessary for, what do you call yourselves? The Octaners, the  Octotoknights?  

[00:02:49] AR: Octanes, simply.  

[00:02:50] RS: Not strictly necessary for the Octanes, but people are choosing it, which is  interesting. I’ve been hearing folks, okay, we’re hybrid, we’re two days on three days off, or  what have you? But there is some expectation that you will be in some period of time. Is there  not that expectation for Octane? 

[00:03:04] AR: By and well, no. That is not the expectation. However, there are some teams  that enjoy the synergy that occurs when they’re together. There’s a lot of learning through  

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osmosis. Some teams aren’t requiring, but are requesting that people come in on a particular  day, right? Whether it be the team comes in on Wednesdays, it’d be great if you could be here,  right? But it’s not, as I mentioned, we’re not forcing anybody back to the office at any given  cadence. At least not now. 

[00:03:36] RS: Yeah. That was going to be my follow up is, right now, it’s fully optional. I do  wonder if people continue to not be there at all, if there would be like, “Okay, hey, everyone,  look, one day, two days a week, you got to make an effort to be in. You can’t just be fully  remote.” Do you think that would be a possibility? Or are you sticking to the, hey, “Use your  best judgment. If your boss says, come in one day, a random day, then you have to do it.” 

[00:03:59] AR: I’ve heard my boss, the chief business officer say, “We will not be forcing  people back to the office full stop, whether it’s now or ever.” Because when the pre pandemic  we were very much in an office culture. During the pandemic, we realized that we could  maintain our culture and more importantly, be incredibly productive while working remotely.  When we started to turn the dial back-up in terms of hiring for 98% of roles, we cast a  nationwide net. Now if I look at my team, I have five recruiters, two live in Manhattan. One lives  in New Jersey and that she had an hour commute to the office pre pandemic, when I told her  look, you’re not going to need to come back to the office. She took that opportunity to move  further west into New Jersey. I don’t expect to see her in the office, though if needed, she  could come in.  

However, we do have two recruiters that are in Texas, one recruit for corporate functions here.  The other recruits for our Irving, Texas based loan operations and fulfillment center. She is  Office adjacent, but I told her the same thing, right? Yes, you’re there. It’d be great if you went  in for meetings here and there, but there’s no expectation of her working in the office at any  given cadence. It’s fully up to her as it is to me, right? I may decide to come in four days a  week simply out of convenience. I enjoy working here. I like the buzz. I also enjoy working at  home. I like the flexibility. We’ll see whether VP or any level individual on certainly on the  exempt side, as long as somebody is performing at a minimum of that expectation, I don’t  anticipate for anybody being forced back to the office at any cadence. 

[00:05:44] RS: Yeah. Most people I’m speaking with are going to a half and half model. I think  you’re the first company I’ve heard of that and leaving it totally up to the individuals to decide,  like the office is open, if you want it strictly not strictly necessary, totally your call. Again, it’s  going to come down to what people have to decide for themselves, right? 

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[00:06:05] AR: We wouldn’t have hired them if there was going to be some expectation that  they come into the office at any point. 

[00:06:11] RS: Yeah, makes sense. Well, that’s helpful. I just liked hearing from folks about how  they’re navigating the back to work piece, but we should probably set some context around  who you are and how you got to Octane. Would you mind sharing a little bit about the  company and then your role and how you wound up at the company in your role?  

[00:06:28] AR: Sure. Octane is a New York based Fintech. Our mission is to connect people to  their passions. Up through last year, we’ve been focused on the power sports industry, which is  the industry made up of motorcycles, snowmobiles, ATVs, etc. The company was founded  because the financing process for that equipment, believe it or not, remains still to this day,  very paper driven and manual, which of course, equals slow and tedious. That’s the problem  that our founders set out to solve in 2014. When they founded the company, they wanted to  make obtaining financing for power sports as simple as using cash. So up through last year, we  were focused primarily on providing financing into the power sports industry. We’ve done a  great job in that space.  

We’ve also provided financing to the non-commercial ride on lawn mower industry, which is a,  sound small potatoes, but it’s a $5 billion dollar industry. So far this year, we’ve launched into  two additional industries, the trailer industry and the tractor industry. We have plans to enter  into three additional industries this year, at least one of which is larger in market size and power  sports and power sports is a $25 billion industry. I don’t remember if I said that at the top. So  that’s what we do as a company. I was brought in, in May of 2019. When the C-suite realize  that from a talent acquisition perspective, what got them here wasn’t going to get them there.  They needed to bring somebody in with an eye and focus on things like strategy and process.  That’s my strong suit.  

I bring, July of 2022. I mark 30 years in talent acquisition for me. I was brought in in May of  2019. At the time, we had – I was employee 141, so there were 140 people behind me when I  joined. Today, we have over 550 employees. We we’ve experienced some rapid growth,  roughly half of those 550 plus are part of our Irving-based loan operations and servicing Center,  which is primarily made up of a large percentage of non-exempt staff in roles customer  engagement, credit operations, collections, etc. 

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[00:08:44] RS: Headcount is just about tripled since you started. When you were brought in to  scale up the team, how specific were those growth goals? Were they like, hey, “We’re going to  hire this many people were going to grow these teams.” Or was it just — “and we should  probably have a leadership, we should probably have leadership on the talent side. Then they  can do our processes.” How prescribed was your role when you got there? 

[00:09:06] AR: The headcount growth numbers were not as laid out as they played out rhyme  not intended, but the company knew that growth was afoot, right? There was no, there’s no  question that we were about to step on the gas and grow. I think that a large part of our growth  last year, was somewhat unplanned. We historically have been very conservative with all of our  estimates around everything, including headcount growth. I don’t think that the growth that we  experienced was really part of a plan. It just happened the way that it did.  

We’ve been very conservative to not get ahead of our skis from a headcount perspective, right.  For example, when COVID hit, January, going back up a little, in 2019. We had an amazing  year, released our first couple of securitizations to get the loans that were originated off of our  balance sheet, packaged up as bonds, and the institutional investors. We raised our Series-C.  We originated through Roadrunner financial, which is essentially our in house lending division.  We originated just north of a quarter billion with a B, quarter billion dollars in new loans, all  while keeping losses at a rate right around 1% of the loan book. When we set our 2020 targets,  we said what, we’ll double originations in 2020 came out in January, swinging for the fences  with big bets and being programs and big initiatives, that of course, COVID hit and every other  company in the world, we slammed on the brakes.  

When that happens, slamming on the brakes, we did two things in parallel. First, we tightened  originations, right? We thought we’d be a little more, we thought, hey, let’s be more risk averse  before we put let’s see what’s going to happen with this COVID thing, right? It might last six  weeks, we don’t know. At the same time, we slashed hiring, right? I remember sitting down  virtually, with the CEO, March 16th, 2020. We at the time, my team and I, my team, which was  at the time, just me plus one another, we’re working on right around 60 open roles across the  company. The CEO and I slash that from the 60 open roles that we were working on, pre pandemic to the six roles most critical for the success of our business. Of course, we filled  those relatively quickly, or quite quickly. Then we were able to maintain a steady headcount  throughout the pandemic, no furloughs, no layoffs, nothing like that, until we started to slowly  turn the dial back up on recruiting in September of 2020. Then I think, in January 2021, and  we’ll call it Q1 2021 is when we really started to slowly press on the gas and accelerate. 

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[00:11:56] RS: Part of, you shared with me that one of the high level metric for measuring  success of hiring, time to hire right? How long does it taking folks to get through this process?  Was that something you looked at when you were trying to look at overall speed to hire, or was  it something you looked at when it was time to just ramp up hiring across the board? 

[00:12:16] AR: Yeah. I mean, I think that’s the important metric is time to fill, right? There’s time  to fill and there’s time to hire. Time to fill being rec opening date to offer acceptance date,  right? How long does it take to fill the rec, time to fill. Time to hire is application received to  offer extended. How are offer accepted? How much time does it take an individual to make it  through the process? Both are important metrics, in my opinion, and both should be looked at,  and diagnosed, right? If things are taking long, why? Where’s the holdup? Where’s the  bottleneck? If we’re able to fill roles relatively quickly, but the average candidate spends a lot of  time in process. Why is that? Why are we keeping people on the vine longer than we than we  should, right? I’m a big believer in making a decision and acting on it, right?  

In my, one of the things that I learned early, I say early in my career, it seems early, but it was  about halfway through my career was when I first started at Google back in 2023. I heard from  one of the [inaudible 00:13:16] was the SVP of engineering, may have been a Google fellow.  Anyway, one of the engineering leaders made the comment if somebody is a maybe, they are  no and for me, that’s been a mantra that I’ve had since, because, especially at a growth stage  company, we need to hire people that we’re excited about.  

If I hear hiring managers after an interview, say, “Yeah, he’s okay. Let’s keep them warm, but  let’s see what’s out there.” To me, that’s a no. To tell, you know, the message to the candidate  is, yeah, we think you’re okay, but we’re going to keep fishing is different than the interview  went well. Everybody was excited about your candidacy. However, we have two more  candidates in play that last interview is scheduled for a week from Thursday, so I’ll be able to  give you a final decision a week from Friday is much better. I’m all about transcript speed of  process and transparency.  

[00:14:08] RS: Can I ask you about that messaging, if you receive that as a candidate, because  I know, I’ve heard from folks that there’ll be an interview process and then like, “How did it go?  Where are you in the in the whole thing?” They’ll tell me, “Oh, yeah, so they said that they liked  

me and that everyone enjoyed meeting me, etc. They have a couple more candidates they  want to speak and then they’ll get back to me next week.” If you hear that as a candidate,  

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should you be thinking, “Hey, let me go, let me go back out there and keep my search on. It’s  clear. I’m not your number one.” What should you do if you hear that as like, because it sounds  in your opinion, that’s bad recruiting practice and you should just tell someone in that case,  “Hey, it’s a no. We’re not moving forward with you.” But if someone tries to keep you on the  line like that, should you just as a candidate like have a little bit more pride and move on. What  would you do? 

[00:14:53] AR: Well, there’s two devils in the details there, right. There are two ways that  message can be both delivered and interpreted, right? It’s one thing to say, everybody thought  you were great. So the way I delivered a message is, Robert Adams wanted to get back to you  following your interview. The good news is it’s not a no, everybody enjoyed meeting with you.  It’s compared to the spec ready, to be hirable. We do have two other candidates that are  actively in play with interviews scheduled. The second of those interviews is scheduled for  such and such a date, I’ll be able to get back to you with a final decision by the day after that,  is different than me say, “Hey, Rob. So the team enjoyed meeting you, but we have a few more  people we’re going to talk to and I’ll get back to you next week.” Right? That’s much more  ambiguous.  

I believe that transparency is key throughout the process. I let candidates know, early on in  during my very first conversation with them. When I say during my very first conversation with  them, I mean, during my recruiting teams very first conversation with them whether it’s me or a  recruiter on my team, we’re going to let people know what our process looks like, what the  steps are, what’s involved and how quickly we move people through. As I said a minute ago,  I’m a big believer in decisioning, right? We interview somebody, I’m on the phone with a  candidate, I know at that point whether or not I’m going to move them forward. If I’m going to  move them forward, I will get their availability and schedule that next step during my first call  with them. Likewise, after they have say, a phone interview with the hiring team, the hiring team  knows that they should get their feedback to me within 24 hours. If it’s yes, I call the candidate  and we schedule the next round of interviews.  

The next round in our process is by and large, the final round, right? There are exceptions here  and there, but by and large, it’s a three step process here with a recruiter screen, a hiring team  screen, and what we call the final interview, which typically has five sessions. It’s roughly  between four and five and a half hour of interview time. After that interview, the interview panel  will get together and talk about their various sessions. We’ll make a decision. If they say, let’s  keep him warm, but keep fishing, then we update. I talked to the higher, I talk to the team  

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about that. It’s refreshing now to hear leaders in the company say in those meetings, as the  interview panel is arriving at a definite maybe have an answer. I’ve heard other leaders of other  departments say, as Adam would say, if a candidates a maybe, there are no and this sounds  like a definite maybe, so let’s just let him go. It’s really in the messaging. 

[00:17:39] RS: Yeah. That’s an either case of outreach when you’re responding to a candidate  for whom you’re informing, there are more conversations scheduled. I think the thing that  candidates needs to do is ask, what are you hoping to see from those additional candidates  that you didn’t hear from me? Is this just a case of we need to have them moving to the  process in case you say no to us? Or is this you need to have them in the process, because we  aren’t sure if you are the best person for the job? I push people on the candidate side and  maybe it’s because I’ve seen a little bit behind the curtain speaking with folks you, but I push  people to hold these recruiters to task a little bit and understand where you really are in the  process, because they want to cultivate lots of options. You can’t just be an option, I need a  job.  

[00:18:22] AR: Yep, that’s 100% fair. I think that to be clear, if we don’t have other interviews  already scheduled, if the interviews are already scheduled and on the books, we would shut  the process down right there if somebody is hirable, right? If a hiring manager talks to two  candidates, and one of the sons, just say, one of the two, he wants to move forward to the final  stage, but it hasn’t yet been scheduled. We won’t schedule it. We’ll hire the candidate that  interviewed. But if the interview is on the books, it’s the right thing to do is it’d be I don’t want  to use the word mean, or inhumane, but it’s not good business to call a candidate and say, you  know what, we filled the position. I’m canceling your interview, right? The interview is already  on the books. We’ll let it play out, but if the interview has not yet been scheduled, or if there are  phone interviews with the hiring managers that are on the books, we’ll still hire that will hire the  individual and cancel those phone interviews, because it’s early enough in the process.  

Once a candidate has made it to our final stage, and we’ve scheduled the interview, it would  just be bad candidate experience to call him and say, “Psyche. We filled the role.” Free to move  about the cabin, because we want to give that candidate ample opportunity as well. If a  candidate were to ask, what is it that you’re looking for that you didn’t see in me? The answer  would be, it’s not that we’re looking for something that we didn’t see in you. It’s just that we  have these interviews scheduled and from a candidate experience perspective, it’s the right  thing to do to continue with them. There’s no guarantee, we’re not conducting those interviews  

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just to be nice, right? We’re conducting those interviews, because we thought this candidate  was valuable. They have just as much chances of getting the job as you do. 

[00:20:10] RS: Yeah. It’s about the signed offer, right? What are you hoping these candidates  have that I don’t have? Well, we’re hoping that they sign an offer and you haven’t done that  yet. Until we have an offer, you carry on as if none of these people are going to work out, right? 

[00:20:24] AR: Well, yes. But if the recruiting team is doing their job, theoretically, candidates  are at the one yard line, in their own mind, and the only thing that point following the interview,  if they were to receive an offer. The only thing that would be new to them would be the  numbers. We know where the candidate expectation is, then theoretically, it should work out,  because I would hope that the candidate would say, if the candidate wasn’t interested in the  job and wasn’t thinking that yes, I’m going to accept it, if the number is right, they would tell us  that. What after the interview, “This isn’t the opportunity for me. Thank you guys so much for  your time, but I’m going to move on.” 

[00:21:10] RS: Yeah. But anything can happen at the offer stage, right? They could be talking  to other companies, the partner conversation, right? I have to run it by my partner, the I don’t  want to move the, there’s a million things, but it sounds your team works to not be surprised  

by those things. The very common offer rejecters, I think people do well to solicit early to try  and understand early so that they can’t come back to you at the office? Well, I actually think  this, but you told me why, it sounds your team is working to understand that early. 

[00:21:42] AR: Right, right. I have a candidate recently tell me her declining offer, because their  parents would be more comfortable with them at a larger, more established company. 

[00:21:51] RS: Yikes. Did you say if your parents are making decisions about your career, that  maybe we don’t want you to work here? 

[00:21:56] AR: No, this was somebody with limited experience, graduating with their masters.  What I said to her was look, you have your parents, I have my wife, were at different stages.  You ran your offers by your parents, of course, I run mine by my wife. However I think that I  understand where your parents are coming from. However at a larger company, you’re going to  be more of a number than individual and should a bump in the road hit the larger company last  in, first out, as opposed to merit-based accomplishments and tenure. Let the person go, but at  the end of the day, I’m not their father. They’re going to listen to their parents, not to me. I think  

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everything happens for a reason, I’m sure that that particular individual is going to do well in  her career. The person that we hired in her stead, is also doing well here. 

[00:22:47] RS: I hope that image will manage to make their parents proud. I guess, we’ll just  say that. 

[00:22:51] AR: I hope so.  

[00:22:53] RS: I wanted to ask you a little bit about hiring manager diplomacy, because I think  you have an interesting point of view and working with heads of department and department  executives in order to understand what their growth needs are and how to even standardize  interview processes. Could you maybe explain your philosophy a little bit about working with  other department heads to make sure you hit their goals or to make sure their goals are even  realistic? 

[00:23:17] AR: Sure. A good example of that is mid last year, end of June. We had a new CTO  start. As one would expect, our CEO told him, “Hey, first 100 days, assess your organization,  figure out how you want to structured, first talk to me, then go talk to Adam about the growth  that you’d like to see.” He started in June, mid-August, he and I had a conversation at the time.  Our engineering team was about 40 people. He said, looking Adam, I need to double the team  or I need to hire roughly 40 engineers. I need 20 engineers in a zero to five year experience  range. 10 Senior Software Engineers and 10 Leaders whether managers, senior managers,  directors, right. When I told him, we talked through each of those buckets, right? On the zero  to five years this is right in our wheelhouse. I don’t see a problem hiring those 20 people.  

Here we talked about the challenges that we had on the senior engineering side, some things  that we as a company had done recently to assuage those problems. So I said, proof will be in  the pudding, but we should be okay there. We had never hired leader, managers externally  before. We promoted everybody that was in a manager role. We talked about the competency,  we identified the competencies, we identified who would interview and how, what kinds of  questions would be asked, etc. We laid out and documented all of that. That was in partnership  with myself the CTO and his leadership team, the other – the SVP of Engineering and a couple  of existing directors.  

As I was telling him, okay, that sounds good. I’m I’ll rally the team and we offer the challenges.  Oh, PS I needed all in 16 weeks. This was end of August last year. Once he said that, we talked  

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about other challenges around scheduling and missing that. We came up with, he let the  engineering team know that if an engineer was not working on an outage, or talking to an  investor, there were very little things that were happening that could it very few meetings that  myself and my team could not overbook with an interview. We had buy-in at this at the C-suite  to move fast and get these interviews scheduled. Fast forward to December 31st, we hired 50  Full Stack engineers across. We over hired a little on the zero to five year experience side, but  in all the other metrics. We were also able to ensure the 28 or we ensured at the end, we look  back and saw that our efforts are focused efforts ensured that 28% of the hires were either  female or came from underrepresented groups.  

Overall that project, which I nicknamed project turbo higher was a raging success. It was in  large part due to not only the partnership that I had with our CTO upfront and the agreements  that were made around, what it how to measure during the interviews, but also because my  structured interview process had been in place for at that point while being little over two years  at the company, we were able to move people through the process quickly and oftentimes  candidates, we typically tread around a decision. Yes, no, by noon, the day after an interview,  the final interview. So a candidate senior engineer came in and interviewed on a Thursday, by  noon, Friday, he would have an offer in his hand. When we asked that quickly, it’s not  unreasonable to expect the candidate to respond quickly to with an offer. While we didn’t put  explore, I’m not a big fan of exploding offers. In fact, they’re probably my only career regret, as  I look back at my long and illustrious 30 year career in Talent Acquisition.  

My only regret was one company that I joined, because they backed the Brinks truck up made  me a giant offer. OPS, this was on a Friday, they made me the offer Friday night, actually, I got  the offer. If I didn’t sign it by Monday, the equity was cut in half, and the sign on bonus went  away. Now, I didn’t really care about the sign on bonus, but you’re joining a growth stage  company for the equity. I signed it. I started came home from my first day and looked at my  wife and said, “What have I done? I just made a huge mistake.” That Saturday, I applied just I  blew the dust off my resume and started working again.  

To that end, I’m not a fan of exploding offers. I don’t believe in that. However, we don’t leave  offers open in perpetuity right. We let candidates know that we like people. We move quickly.  We like people who can who can make decisions equally and quickly, but we understand this is  a big decision. So dot, dot, dot. 

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[00:28:02] RS: Yeah, yeah. If you ever receive an exploding offer, you should run. You should in  general, I think you should run explosions. It’s good advice, but also it’s just completely  arbitrary. I think like you say, you set a reasonable timeline with a candidate. You say, “Hey,  how long do you think it’ll take you to think about this? When can you give us an answer?” If  they string you along forever, then you can say, “Hey, it sounds like you’re not ready to make a  decision. That’s totally fine, but we’re going to move forward other candidates.” Offer revote,  that’s different than saying, “Sign on the dotted line, or else it goes away.”  

[00:28:31] AR: Right. 100%, yeah. Like as you say, when you run from explosions, generally.  Where there’s smoke, there’s fire, right? If a company is pressuring you to make a decision that  quickly, it’s because there’s something they don’t want you to find out before you decide, in  my opinion. 

[00:28:47] RS: Yeah. Yeah. Or they’re just very inexperienced. They think that’s how you do  business. It’s not, that’s definitely. I love what you shared about how you could just book over  engineer’s calendars, unless it was putting out a fire or talking to an investor or something like  the CEO maybe, because that to me proves the prioritization of hiring. There’s this, the  productivity hacker people I follow or will usually, at one point on their timeline say something  really effective. If it’s not on the calendar, it’s not real. Whether that’s that meeting, or that  catch up or something that you yourself want to work on book yourself time on the calendar,  and then it’ll happen, right?  

So in the same way with hiring, you can say you prioritize hiring, but unless you’re allowing  your team and yourself to go into interviews, and to spend a lot of time interviewing, it’s not an  actual priority. That to me says it’s easy to pay lip service. It’s easy to say we want to hire but  to actually dedicate the resources and that’s time away from building products, right? Your  engineers will spend a lot of time in interviews, if you have to hit these lofty hiring goals, right?  You have to be okay with them taking time away from the other projects. That feels an  important thing to call out as well. It sounds the CTO was on board. 

[00:30:00] AR: Absolutely, he was absolutely on board and was the biggest champion of the  project. That ability to override is company wide, right? It was the rules by which we were able  to override things were extended, right? If you’re not putting out a fire or talking to an investor,  but companywide, it’s understood that if somebody has a one-on-one scheduled, we can  override a two person internal meeting with an interview, because Frank and Mary can find  time to talk to each other much easier than this candidate is going to be able to break free from  

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TTTM 226    Transcript 

his current day job to come and talk to us. That’s perfectly understood and acceptable  companywide. We’ve never had anybody, pushback on that. Hey, you overrode my one-on-one  with my manager. 

[00:30:50] RS: Yeah. That makes sense. Easier to reschedule one-on-one than it is for a  candidate to book another dentist appointment, wink, wink, right?  

[00:30:59] AR: Right. 

[00:30:58] RS: Quick, quick. We are creeping up an optimal podcast length, but I want to ask  you one more thing. Just on that note of booking a fake dentist appointment. When you are  searching for a role, how upfront ought you to be with your current company that you’re openly  looking? Because there’s the whole, I don’t want them to know I’m unhappy? I don’t want  them like, will they fire me? Is that some weird power play? What’s more ethical? Telling  someone you’re only looking for a new role or lying about dentist appointment? 

[00:31:29] AR: That’s a great question. I mean, it’s never ethical to lie, but at the same time,  you don’t want to jeopardize your current job while in search of another, right? If there’s really  no one size fits all answer to that question, because a lot of it depends not only on the  company, the company culture, but also your manager, their philosophies, your relationship  with your manager, there’s so many levels of complexity to that will shape that, but if I look  back at my career, personally, I don’t believe I’ve ever gone to my manager and said, “You  know what, I’m unhappy here. I’m looking, for a new role.” Oftentimes, especially in the last  few in the last 15 years or so, yeah, since probably maybe 20 years going back to like 2003,  when Google first reached out to recruit me, I’ve been fortunate to have been recruited away,  right.  

Oftentimes I was the true passive candidate that wasn’t looking, as was the case with that  exploding offer, right? It was somebody who called to check a reference on somebody that  worked for me prior. He spun the reference check into a, hey I’ve never run a recruiting team.  We’re about to do some massive growth here. How would like you to come talk to us? Right? I  can’t really answer that question from personal experience. I feel like there’s no one size fits all  answer. It really depends on your relationship. Some people have a relationship with their  manager and can say, you know what, this really isn’t right for me. I’m going to start looking  and the manager is cool with that, right? Other managers would freak out and be like, “Well, if  you’re not happy here, then get out. Yeah. You’ll never know. 

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[00:33:08] RS: Yeah. I think, when I think back on my career, I feel like I did it by not saying  anything, like not lying, but also not being forthcoming about the truth. So I would say, “Hey,  boss, I have to cut out early on Thursday, I’ll be leaving at 3 PM.” I don’t have to give them any  details. I don’t have to tell them why I’m leaving. You could say, I have a dentist appointment or  you could just say I have an appointment, right, which is also not a lie. I think in general you’re,  if you’re being diplomatic, you are under no obligation to give all the colorful details about your  life. You can just leave a hard stop and say, “I’m leaving at 3 PM on Thursday. Let me know  what I need to do in advance of that so that the rest of the team isn’t stressed.” That’s as much  as you think you need to provide.  

Anyway, Adam, this has been great chatting with you. Thank you for being here. You’re such a  knowledgeable guy. Thank you for walking us through your experience and how you worked  with your CTO and through the team. I’ve really loved learning from you today. 

[00:34:07] AR: Thanks for having me. It’s been a pleasure. 


[00:34:12] RS: 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’s 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. 

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