jason

Shift’s Head of Talent Strategy Jason Medley

Jason MedleyHead of Talent Strategy

Jason Medley joins to explain how Shift partners with organizations to help them hire veterans, as well as provide veterans the training they need to transition into office culture.

Episode Transcript

00:00 Rob Stevenson: Hello recruiters, sourcers, heads of talent, directors of recruitment, talent acquirers of every ilk and persuasion, I am so glad you’re tuning in. It just warms my little HR tech content marketing heart that you’re here with me today. I have got some magical audio-based recruitment material for you all and I can’t wait to get into it, but before I do, in case this is your first time tuning in, here’s a spiel. If you never heard the podcast before, here’s all you need to know. Every week, I bring in my favorite people in the recruitment space, directors of recruitment, heads of talent, VPs of HR, you name it. I get them in here and we turn on the microphones, hope for the best. And they primarily do one thing.

[music]

00:42 Rob : Talk Talent To Me. And today, I welcomed a friend of mine, who I love podcasting with. He served in a handful of talent roles culminating in a VP of people job at Imgur. Now, he is the Head of Talent Strategy at Shift.org, and I am really excited for you to hear about Shift. Shift pairs with organizations to help them hire veterans. When you Google Veteran Hiring or jobs for veterans, what do you see? Are the results jobs at companies that look like yours, or are they a bunch of indeed.com links for jobs in Des Moines Iowa?

01:21 Rob : The challenge is that veterans are highly skilled individuals who can be great assets for your company but companies typically aren’t actions to identify them, and veterans, typically don’t know that they can go out and get those kind of jobs. Shift doesn’t just dump candidates on you. They want to make sure, A, your organization is set up to receive veteran talent and give them the best chance of success and B, that the veterans themselves acquire the workplace skills they need to best transition into the workforce.

01:54 Rob : How to articulate the skills they have accrued during their service, how to explain their experience in the service in terms of how it makes them a great fit at an exciting company. Jason explains it way better than I do, so I’ll let him do it. But this is a really wonderful episode featuring a company doing some serious good for diversity hiring. Usually, when I cover diversity on this podcast, my guest will point out that a huge part of diversity hiring strategy is pairing with organizations specifically designed to build communities of diverse talent and connect them to opportunities. Shift is one of these such organizations. So without further adieu, I give you Jason Medley, Head of Talent Strategy for Shift.org.

[music]

02:44 Rob : Jason.

02:47 Jason Medley: No, that wasn’t it.

[laughter]

02:50 Jason: Alright.

02:51 Jason: And go.

02:51 Rob : And go.

02:52 Jason: Jason Medley in the building. Good morning, how are you?

02:55 Jason: I’m great, Rob. Thanks for having me, excited to be here.

02:57 Rob : Yeah.

02:57 Jason: Excited to be back.

02:58 Rob : Yeah, glad to have you back. You were one of the first episodes of Talk Talent to Me. When I was firing up the podcast I went through my greatest hits. And I was like, “Who do I have to get on this right away?” And Jason Medley’s name came up, so here we are back at it.

03:10 Jason: Yeah.

03:10 Rob : Sorry it’s been so long, but welcome back.

03:11 Jason: Thank you, thank you. And the studio is slowly getting a little nicer as well and I feel like the equipment gets upgraded each time I come back.

03:19 Rob : Right, I have pink chords now.

[chuckle]

03:21 Rob : That’s an upgrade.

03:22 Jason: Really cool, pink chords.

03:23 Rob : I have sound dampening things that I stole from the sales team.

03:26 Jason: Yeah, yeah.

03:26 Rob : So I’m moving and moving on up in the world slightly up into the right. But anyway, thank you. I appreciate it. You used to be the VP of People at Imgur?

03:35 Jason: Correct.

03:35 Rob : Now, you’re not.

03:36 Jason: Now I’m not.

03:37 Rob : You are now the head of Talent Strategy at Shift.org. Let’s start with Shift.org and then we can talk about Head of Talent Strategy.

03:43 Jason: Yeah, yeah. For sure, for sure. So, Shift is just an amazing organization that at the heart of it, what we do is we help veterans find jobs and careers that they love. So every year, sort of the sad part of this is every year, about 250,000 people exit the military. Out of that 250,000 people, 80% do not have a full-time job lined up when they leave. 50% of the people who do, leave that job within the first year. When you really dig into it and you start understanding why, it’s because the military quite frankly, does a really poor job of getting them sort of transition ready, that transition readiness. There’s just not the type of preparation that sort of needs to happen. So, one of the things I like to say is how I like to compare it to is in early 2000’s, I moved to Korea for a little bit. I just sort of up and moved, had zero training, couldn’t speak one word of Korean, landed on the ground, and it was the biggest culture shock of my life. And it probably took me, I would say, a good nine months before I felt like I could even sort of survive the day-to-day there, right?

04:52 Rob : Yeah.

04:52 Jason: And it’s very similar for veterans who enter civilian work life, everything is completely different. It’s not a question of their lack of skills, they have amazing skills. I mean these are some of the most… In many cases, they’re extremely technical, and in many cases they’re extremely disciplined, extremely organized, amazing work ethic. Many of them have had to learn multiple languages. They are amazing. And these are the people you want on your team.

05:22 Rob : But the context of serving the military versus serving in American workplace is very different.

05:29 Jason: They’re different.

05:29 Rob : Yeah.

05:29 Jason: They’re very different. And so where they struggle is it’s just a whole new world and they struggle with things like, “How do I talk about my skills in a way that organizations will understand when I’m interviewing?”

05:41 Rob : Right. Which is probably not a thing you do in the military.

05:44 Jason: You do not. [chuckle]

05:44 Rob : Yeah.

05:44 Jason: Right, right, right. And also most people know this, I mean, compared to the military, there is a huge lack of discipline within organizations.

05:54 Rob : Yeah.

05:55 Jason: In the military, you sort of volun-told what you’re gonna do.

05:57 Rob : Yes.

05:57 Jason: And sort of your career…

05:58 Rob : Top down. Yeah, yeah.

06:00 Jason: Exactly, exactly. So you kind of step in and…

06:01 Rob : And you get here and…

[chuckle]

06:03 Jason: People arriving at 10:00 AM, 11…

06:05 Rob : Right, right. And in my experience it’s like, “Okay, do your job. Show up and figure out what you’re supposed to do.”

06:09 Jason: Yeah.

06:10 Rob : I’m not just gonna tell you, give you an order and a directive right away.

06:13 Jason: Yeah, yeah, yeah. So, what Shift does at the heart of what Shift is about is we’re a talent development company. So, we start working with active duty military who are transitioning out months, months, months before their end date. So we start working with them anywhere from about six months to a year preparing them for that transition. So everything from interview coaching to how does an organization structure work to how do you have one-on-ones, how do you make friends, how do you network internally, what is the lingo of these organizations?

06:46 Rob : Do you connect them with roles or is how to search for a role also part of that training?

06:52 Jason: Well, the other side of what we do is we build out amazing partnerships with companies.

06:57 Rob : Okay. Sorry. I cut to the chase there a little. You were building up to a bigger reveal and I just totally spoiled it.

07:02 Jason: Yeah, No, no, no. So for all of you out there, yeah… No, we build amazing partnerships with companies who, for the most part, really wanna diversify the backgrounds of their people. So at the end of the day, I really think of this as a diversity play. Military veterans bring an amazing world view and way of thinking that is completely different from most other people within the organization. And not only that, not only are they diverse in the fact that they were in the military and they have a diverse background, the military is probably one of the most diverse organizations there are.

07:36 Rob : Yes, yes.

07:36 Jason: So our talent pools that we’re able to supply to organizations are extremely diverse. So 40% of our candidates tend to be females, they’re extremely educated in many cases, extremely technical as well. And so, the way that I think about this is we Shift, partner with organizations to help them think about, “Okay, how can we help you continue to diversify the backgrounds of your people through veteran hiring?” So a lot of times, when people… When organizations and people think about diverse talent, they sort of tend to think about three past, they think about LGBTQ, they think about people of color, and they think about female hiring, right?

08:15 Rob : Right.

08:15 Jason: The cool thing is we have veterans and we have pipelines that fit all three of those, but not only that, they bring these amazing world views and these amazing experience to the table. So we look for partners who really wanna actually take action when it comes to diversity hiring. I mean, a lot of organizations, a lot of conferences, a lot of meet-ups, a lot of podcasts are built around. Let’s talk about diversity. But when the rubber hits the road in actually doing something about it, that’s when it gets a little bit trickier. And so, Shift wants to help solve that problem for organizations and we’re doing that through diversity hiring through veterans.

08:54 Rob : The way that you engage with veterans prior to them leaving active service, it reminds me a little bit of university hiring.

09:05 Jason: I can understand, yeah.

09:06 Rob : Similar playbook, where it’s like, “Okay, we know that this talent is coming to market and they’re gonna be highly skilled and that they’re gonna be eager to prove themselves, and we wanna be the one that they engage with, and so let’s send people to these colleges, let’s start talking to them at the end of their junior year, let’s not start talking to them in March of their senior year. Let’s build this process, get them in for internships or whatever.” And so there’s this talent relationship taking place where it doesn’t just start when they begin looking for a job and begin actively interviewing. There’s this whole lifetime of someone’s engagement with companies or with the workforce in the case of veterans, right?

09:41 Jason: Yep, yep. No, exactly. And I think it’s similar to university recruiting in a way because I think universities don’t do the best job of preparing…

09:50 Rob : Yes.

09:50 Jason: Of preparing students for what it’s really like in the real world, in the civilian world, within organizations. And it’s the same way, it’s definitely the same way for veterans. The difference is, is that veterans have had in some cases, years maybe a couple of decades of a culture that’s been sort of instilled within them in a way of thinking that is completely counter to everything that we know within sort of today’s companies and so helping them sort of break that mindset but not losing what makes them special and what makes them disciplined, the skill sets they bring to the table is really, really important.

10:28 Jason: So yeah, the more time that we can spend helping them in the transition, the more training that we can give them, the more exposure that we can give them, what we find is that they rev-up a lot faster. So on the HR side of thing, everything is about on-boarding with an organizations, how quickly can you get people up and running and producing and the way that I think about it is the more that we can invest in them in that sort of transition period and training them up, the faster they’re gonna be producing within organizations. And we’ve seen a lot of our veterans are taking on amazing roles within organizations. So we see them taking on project management roles, we see them taking on business ops roles, we see them taking on technology roles, technical PMs, we see them taking on sales. Originally, I wouldn’t have just thought that sales would have been a great path for them but it is.

11:25 Rob : Yeah.

11:26 Jason: They’re extremely disciplined, they’re extremely focused, they do what they say they’re gonna do and managers love them and not only that, many of them are moving up very quickly and starting to manage themselves. Many of them have managed large teams within the military.

11:41 Rob : Right, yeah.

11:42 Jason: To the point where they’ve had to… Their mission has been to protect them and save their life at all costs.

11:47 Rob : Certainly, yes.

11:48 Jason: They know how to manage.

11:49 Rob : And if they’ve been in military for any amount of time, it’s the upper out thing where you basically have to get promoted and when you get promoted that means that you have people underneath you. And so back to where you were saying, we teach them how to articulate their skills for the workplace. You have leadership experience, you have or sorry, you have management experience, you have led people and not in the conception of having a weekly one-on-one or a weekly like all-hands meeting.

12:15 Jason: Yep, yep. And I can tell you, especially in my past where you’re sort of in the lead people role or if you’re in any HR function, I feel like we talked abut this on the last podcast I was on, but the crap of the company can fall down on you and so it’s sort of the complaints. And especially here in Silicon Valley where you get a little bit of a sense of entitlement. We’re given so much as employees and it’s great in a lot of ways, but the amount of complaints and the complaints about, “I don’t like the brand of free chips that we’re getting,” or you know, whatever. It’s just like you do not get that with veterans.

12:50 Rob : Right, right.

12:51 Jason: In so many cases, they’re so humble, they’re so grateful. We literally have a backlog right now of over 5,000 veterans who’ve already left the military that are desperate for opportunities that we’re helping them and building out programs for. So the opportunity around this and the opportunity for organizations to diversify is huge.

13:12 Rob : Right. At first blush is this really untapped talent pool and then a really untapped diverse talent pool. What’s not to love? So head of talent strategy.

13:22 Jason: Yep.

13:23 Rob : What does that mean?

13:23 Jason: Oh, gosh. Well, it’s so fun to talk about this. I was joking with someone the other day I was like, “I actually get paid to talk a lot about Shift. That is an amazing job, but there’s so much more to it than that. So head of Talent Strategy, I pretty much lead three functions within the organization. One is called Talent ops, so for us that’s very much sort of the top-of-funnel outreach side of the company, so our marketing, our branding, top-of-funnel in terms of getting the active duty military and the veterans approved and through our pipeline.

13:56 Jason: So on the active duty military side, there’s an approval process. So the way that Shift is able to currently work with active duty military is there’s a program within the Department of Defense called the Military SkillBridge program. And so in their final three months, we’re actually able to place them within fellowships in organizations that’s completely paid for by the military. So they’re still being paid their salary in those final 90 days and 85% of the fellows that were replacing are receiving full-time offers at the back end of that. 85%, that’s an amazing number.

14:27 Rob : Yeah.

14:28 Jason: And so getting them through that approval process is part of top-of-funnel. The education, education to their commanders for approval is part of that process, and then just the branding and marketing of the company sits there, so that’s one function. Next is…

14:44 Rob : That’s one function and four functions…

14:46 Jason: Yeah, yeah. One function. The next is Talent Strategy. So Talent Strategy is really cool. The way I like to describe it is, it’s sort of partners assess/recruiter/career coach all wrapped up in one. So a team of brilliant folks who work very closely on the ground with our partners to think about how to roll out veteran hiring in a way that works for that organization, and then essentially, the recruiting function matching sort of the right candidates that are likely to receive a full-time offer with them. And then I have Talent Development, which is where I’m extremely heads down at the moment.

15:22 Jason: So Talent Development is all of the education and training that we give our candidates, that we give these veterans. The back half of this year, we are really investing really heavily in talent development. So building out an amazing mentor community, building out besides our sort of regular transition track, we’re building out business ops tracks, we’re building out project management tracks, we’re building out sales tracks, getting them certifications around technologies that maybe they haven’t been exposed to. Some of the hard skills that aren’t necessary for them to land a fellowship or the full-time job, but that’s gonna help them ramp up significantly faster.

16:07 Rob : Right.

16:08 Jason: So building out one, a team around that and building out the right curriculum, and bringing on the right education partners. So if there’s any amazing people out there that wanna teach anything around sort of career transitions, reach out to me.

16:21 Rob : Yeah.

16:22 Jason: I’m building that network which is amazing. And so at the end of the day, my personal job is to figure out how to scale all of that. How do I, at the end of the day, open up more opportunities for veterans and that’s how I think about it. So every day is exciting, every day is different, but I wanna make it as easy as possible for organizations to hire great veteran talent.

16:42 Rob : And so that looks like, A, connecting the two.

16:47 Jason: Yep.

16:47 Rob : B, making sure that when they are connected, that these veterans have the ability to put their best foot forward, in a western business sense of it.

16:56 Jason: For sure, for sure. But as I speak with partners, very few people, you have partners or potential partnership conversations with who are just like, “I’m not interested in veterans.” Most people get it. It’s sort of diversity conversations. I don’t know if I’ve ever had… I’m sure there are some out there, but I don’t know if I’ve ever had a conversation with the organization who was just like, “We don’t care about diversity.”

17:18 Rob : Right, right.

17:18 Jason: The issue is helping partners figure out how to educate this internally within their organizations. One way we do that is that we realize in most, most companies, that they already have veterans sitting there and so we help them identify the people who can be sort of the flag bearer, the torch bearer at this mission.

17:41 Rob : Yeah, yeah.

17:42 Jason: And helping them think about how do we sort of PR this internally? How do we get people excited and sort of expose the business to veterans and sort of the amazing upside to hiring veterans and the diversity that comes along with that, helping them build out employee resource groups around veterans. You typically don’t think about that, but they’re there. And it’s a really, really unique community and it’s not just veterans, it’s spouses of active duty military or spouses of veterans, dependents of veterans. One of the reasons I’m so passionate about this is because my dad was in the Army. I was an army brat growing up, I was born abroad, I was born in Germany. I went to eight different schools in 12 years.

18:26 Rob : Yeah.

18:26 Jason: I saw firsthand the transition that my dad underwent, and then have seen other people really struggle. And I think even above that, that the broader mission is… We all know this, especially if we sit within the HR function, how difficult it is for people with nontraditional backgrounds to break into great organization. And it’s crazy. We’ve come a long way, we’ve… Most companies have eliminated the need for a four-year degree, there’s steps we’re taking, but…

18:56 Rob : As long as discovery happens keyword-based, we’re not gonna get away from that totally, right?

19:01 Jason: Right.

19:02 Rob : Because keyword-based search is based on what a couple white guys at Stanford wrote in the late ’70s.

19:07 Jason: A hundred percent. Yeah, it’s sad. And so I wanna help companies think about… I wanna partner with them and I wanna solve this together. How do we help people with nontraditional backgrounds break into their organizations? Veteran is just a great way to do that. I think overall, though, for Shift, I think we are hyper-focused on the military and veteran hiring. I think, though, if we do this right, I think that we don’t stop with veterans, right?

19:34 Rob : Yes.

19:34 Jason: I think… I look at it like we have an opportunity in the future to open out verticals on returning parents to the market. We see this, we know this, moms and dads who decide to have children and stay at home with them who had amazing skill sets, and by the way, they develop amazing skills sets when they’re raising kids. It’s not an easy job, right?

19:55 Rob : Right. And then 10, 15 years later, they’re entering the workforce again, they’re like, “Where do I start?”

20:00 Jason: Yeah, yeah. And most recruiting teams will not even give them the light of day, and so there’s that group. Another really interesting one is retiring athletes. I’ve spoken with a few of them lately, and a lot of them are in their late 20s, 30s, they’re not all leaving and millionaires.

20:17 Rob : No, very few of them are.

20:19 Jason: And they have no idea how to think about their skill set.

20:21 Rob : That’s actually very similar to veterans, right?

20:24 Jason: Yep.

20:26 Rob : Because they were probably four or five years, and then they come out and they’re like… I just got excited, I was like… ‘Cause I connected the dots, and I don’t have anything insightful to say. I was excited to be with you, you got me fired up.

20:36 Jason: They’re highly disciplined, they’re highly focused, they’re amazing team players. And that’s a group that really struggles. I interviewed the other day… Or not interviewed, I had a conversation with a ex-professional hockey player here in the States who just identified with Shift’s mission so much because he was like, “I struggled. When I got out, I had nowhere to start. I didn’t know how to talk to organizations about my skill set. I’ve just been this athlete, and I don’t know how that translates into the real world, right?”

21:10 Rob : Right.

21:10 Jason: And helping them think about that. When we think about…

21:13 Rob : And the Baltimore Ravens doesn’t care what happens to their practice squad guy after he gets cut, right?

21:18 Jason: Yeah, right, right, right.

21:18 Rob : You probably spent… In that example, you’ve probably spent your whole… Or the last eight, nine, 10 years, or probably your whole life, focusing on this one… This sport and being an athlete, and now what? And it’s very similar… The way that athletes leave athletics is very similar to the way that veterans leave the military, right?

21:36 Jason: Exactly, exactly. And you’re part of this culture and this way of thinking that’s very different than really anywhere else, and…

21:43 Rob : And a lot of athletes go in the military. [chuckle]

21:45 Jason: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. So a lot of our… One of our exciting partners is Major League Baseball. We’ve placed quite a few veterans with different teams throughout their organization.

21:56 Rob : Cool.

21:56 Jason: And it’s really exciting to start exploring conversations on how can we help them with people who are retiring out of Major League Baseball, right?

22:02 Rob : Yes.

22:03 Jason: And so we think about that. I think about spouses of active duty military. When we were… One of my proudest hires at Imgur, my last job, was we hired an engineer who… His wife was active duty Navy; she was a Navy pilot, and she was always deployed, and they were always being moved and relocated, and he struggled. And so embracing a remote culture and allowing him to essentially work from anywhere, and understanding how to take care of him and wrap her arms around and support him, and… Was really important. My mom, as a military spouse, struggled with this. When you’re moving every year, to build your own career is really difficult, and my mom struggled with that. And I always say my mom, unfortunately, didn’t really get to start her career until her late 30s, early 40s when we were out of the military, which is crazy. So I understand that there’s great talent in the world that doesn’t have the traditional background that organizations love so much, but they have amazing skill sets, and they can be… They can just literally add tons of value with an organizations.

23:19 Rob : Right. Organizations just aren’t actioned to discover and hire them.

23:23 Jason: No, no. And some of it… It’d be interesting conversation one day, but a lot of it is how we incentivize recruiting teams, it’s how we get them to think about it. Unfortunately, in a lot of organizations we gotta hire right now, right now, right now, right now. There’s a lot of retraining that needs to happen with hiring managers. But this is where, for me, when we partner with companies, where we’re always looking for… Again, who’s the torch-bearer of this mission, and who’s gonna help jump in the fight with us and help make this real.

23:58 Rob : Right. I’m glad you pointed out that this also affects the spouses and partners of active service members, because it’s not just the individual who is serving, their whole… Anyone in their orbit is going to as well. I wonder if there’s a generational effect, too, and so you yourself as an army brat, if you had had an organization like Shift that was like, “Hey, you’ve been to four different high schools, how do you start applying for colleges and how do you start thinking about trades, and how do you start… ” That outreach could honestly be done for any teenager, [chuckle] but particularly these people who are going… Who have a non-standard upbringing, there’s a generational effect there as well, I would imagine.

24:42 Jason: Definitely, and I think… Again, that’s why I think Shift is very much just getting started. There’s so much that we can do in helping prepare people for amazing career shifts, anyone for amazing career shifts, and helping organizations being better at identifying nontraditional background, and the potential that they can bring to the company.

25:04 Rob : I love Shift and organizations like Shift, because I have people in here and we talk about diversity, and a couple years ago, the answer to how to hire diverse talent was get referrals from your diverse talent that you already have in your organization, search… Source from historically black colleges and universities, search by sorority; there’s all these sourcing and search techniques. Lately it’s been partner with these organizations who foster these communities. And so I just need to get more of these… [chuckle]

25:35 Jason: Definitely, get more of those.

25:36 Rob : I need to get more of these organizations on this podcast. I talked about this on my last episode was what’s the next level of diversity hiring, once you have set accountability and goals, where we wanna reach 50% diverse pipeline representation. Great. Alright, how do you keep them around so that you don’t have a leaky bucket and that you actually foster and give diverse talent a reason to stay? And then another gear shift is, okay, don’t just actively source one at a time individuals, partner with organizations who specifically are focused on this problem.

26:08 Jason: Yep.

26:09 Rob : Are you doing any recruiting these days?

[laughter]

26:12 Jason: I’m doing recruiting for my own team, yes, we… Shift is… It’s growing, it’s a small organization right now. We’re about 20 people, but we’re growing in a few areas, so we’re definitely growing and we have a sales side to what we do. So continuing to build out partnerships. I’m currently hiring sort of a talent ops lead, which is really a growth marketer/creative, so definitely looking for great talent in that space who’s really passionate about diversity hiring, and especially veteran hiring. And then I’m also looking for a lead of talent development right now, so someone who has a background of curriculum development who can help us continue to build out partners in the educational space. And then we’ll always be looking to grow our talent strategy team, so strategic business-minded recruiters and career coaches out there who wanna do really, really good in the world, and who are extremely partner-focused, and can go on the ground and really help move the needle within amazing companies.

27:28 Rob : Yes, I love it.

27:29 Jason: So yeah, reach out to me. [chuckle]

27:31 Rob : Plug, plug. Yeah, yeah, good, good.

27:33 Jason: Jason@shift.org if you’re interested in any of that.

27:35 Rob : No, I would love that. If a hire came from this that would…

27:38 Jason: Oh, it’d be great. Does that mean I have to give Hired a fee, or how does that work?

27:41 Rob : This one’s on the house.

[laughter]

27:43 Rob : I did wanna ask you a little about but how the actual product… Sorry if that’s reductive, works. Is it similar to Hired, is like you have… Veterans are on one side of the marketplace, the organizations you partner with are on the other side, and then the product connects them, or how does that work?

28:00 Jason: Yeah, so I think over time what’s really exciting about Shift is the technology that we’re building. So the future of Shift and what we’re able to extract is gonna be really cool. So being able to extract data from the military side of what we’re doing… And when I say data, I mean starting to understand the types of roles that active duty service members fill, and what skill sets come out of that, and your… The predicting technology that comes from that. As we understand, and as we continue to experiment and grab more data around the types of roles that veterans are highly successful in, the technology there is gonna be really cool. We have tons of opportunities to partner with the military in getting transitions right. My ultimate dream is that Shift actually is asked to run all of the military transition program. And we can do that, there’s things we can do it at scale, we have to do that through technology.

29:07 Jason: So today, to answer your question, no, we don’t have… It’s not… The capability is not built out yet where our partners can go on and look at the backgrounds and identify, but that is coming for sure, and it’s coming very, very soon. For me, part of what’s really interesting in my role now is that I get to play this product… I get to wear this product hat a lot. And we get to work with their engineering team, who is a small engineering team of five people right now, but four of them are female, which is really cool, by the way.

29:40 Rob : Nice.

29:41 Jason: And they… I get to help ’em think about how we’re building out this product. So it’s something I’ve never been able to do in my career, which is really cool, and a growth area for myself. But yes, the only way to touch and to scale this in a way that’s gonna really make the kind of impact I wanna make is through technology. And so absolutely. So working with our engineering and product team now to very much think about how to do this right and taking our time with it, because this is going to really be the backbone of how we’re able to scale in the future.

30:21 Rob : So if I’m listening to this and I’m a recruiter and I’m thinking that sounds great, I wanna hire veterans for my company, shut up and take my money.

[laughter]

30:30 Rob : What does it look like once I start partnering with Shift?

30:31 Jason: Yeah. So when you start partnering with Shift, first of all, you’ve just stepped into an amazing world, and there is nothing more exciting than… In my mind right now, than helping people who have served our country, helping them find their new home and their career path. So first of all, it’s just an exciting journey. But really, you start working with the talent strategists right away, because we understand… What we’re never about is we’re not a recruiting agency that just throws talent at you and walks away, we are in it for the long haul with you figuring out how do we help you diversify and scale this and educate your organization in a way that really, really makes sense. So there’s…

31:19 Jason: The main way that companies are working with this today is through our fellowship program. So bringing on… As I mentioned earlier, bringing talent on for a three-month fellowship with the goal for a full-time hire. And again, 85% of them are getting full-time hires, so you can think about… So they’re very similar to internships. For many of our already established partners who we know have really great… Who really have really great onboarding and training programs internally, we consider direct hires. But for us it’s really important that our veterans are going on teams and working under managers who invest in them and take it seriously. And we do a lot of pre-work to help them get to that point, because for a lot of people it’s scary; there’s a lot of misconceptions around veteran hiring, and I’m starting to hear it all [chuckle] and it’s like, wow.

32:19 Rob : What have you heard?

32:21 Jason: You heard things around like PTSD, and oh my God… Or there’s bias.

32:27 Rob : That’s a misconception.

32:29 Jason: Yeah, it’s a huge bias, or there’s misconceptions that they’re aggressive or arrogant or… And while, yes, there may be some who are aggressive and arrogant just like there are in every facet of life and background…

32:41 Rob : Yeah, yeah, I’m sure you’ve never met a non-veteran who wasn’t aggressive or…

[laughter]

32:45 Jason: Right!

32:45 Rob : Can we just take a second and attack that for a minute.

32:47 Jason: Yeah, yeah, let’s do it.

32:48 Rob : The whole, oh, they have PTSD. Okay, well, are they any more likely to have PTSD than your SDR is to have an anxiety disorder?

32:55 Jason: Yeah. Right, right, right!

32:56 Rob : I’ve seen plenty of people have panic attacks, for sure. [chuckle]

33:00 Jason: But honestly, I’m not seeing that at all, or at any kind of scale.

33:03 Rob : No, of course not, of course not.

33:04 Jason: These are folks who are extremely humble and extremely eager to just do really great work and start this next journey in their life, and they are succeeding. It’s amazing to see how much the organizations really embrace them. Yesterday I had a meeting with OCTA, who is a great partner of ours. And literally a fellow that’s been working with him that they’re transitioning and making a full-time offer to, and just the way that they were talking about this fellow, and the impact that he’s been making, and how nice honestly it’s been. And from the manager who’s been managing him, and just the skill set and the world view that he brings to the table is just… It’s incredible to hear these stories. Every organization should experience what that’s like.

34:01 Rob : Yes. And that had to feel good…

34:03 Jason: Yes, for sure.

34:04 Rob : For you, and just to know that, hey, this works. This mission is helping companies and helping people connect with organizations and jobs that they love and transition back to the world.

34:15 Jason: For sure, for sure. And we’re… A few other ways that we’re helping organizations, we are… I generally think the companies who decide to partner with us, I wanna highlight their efforts. We have a lot of events coming up over the next few months, we have diversity events. Every month we have tracks where we bring in 20-30 fellows and they do tracks around the city, learning about different companies, what their cultures are like, what their products are like. We help spotlight great organizations that way. If you’re a company that partners with Shift, I wanna help get a spotlight on you. If you’re doing good in the diversity space, I wanna help do that. When we think about… We have an amazing network partnership, Andreessen Horowitz is a big investor of Shift, Tim Ferriss is an investor in Shift. And there’s just so many ways that we can help shine the spotlight on great organizations, and I think we should. If you’re a company who is really investing in diversity hiring, I wanna tell the world about you. And that’s gonna be one aspect that I’m gonna scale around my personal mission at Shift, because I feel like that’s the right thing to do.

35:32 Rob : Definitely is. Jason, I love the sound of Shift, I love the work you’re doing, and your organization is doing. It seems like such an obvious win for companies to partner with Shift, and to increase their diversity talent pool, and especially to engage and hire veterans, so congratulations on the new role. The company sounds amazing, and I can’t wait to follow you and watch all the great work you’re doing.

35:52 Jason: Yeah, thank you so much, and thanks for having me again.

35:55 Rob : Of course, yeah, I’ll have you back any time you want.

35:57 Jason: All right, awesome.

35:58 Rob : Jason, you’ve been great, and all of you out there in Podcast land definitely go check out Shift.org, click that, Request a Demo button, enter offer code RobStevenson for a 20% off discount.

[laughter]

36:10 Rob : No, I don’t have that kind of power. I don’t have that Joe Rubin power.

[laughter]

36:14 Rob : But no, definitely think about this for your organization, seems like an awesome easy win. I think that just about does it for all of us, both of us, here at Talk Talent To Me. Once more, I’ve been Rob Stevenson, JasonMedley has been JasonMedley, and you’ve all been amazing, wonderful, talent acquisition darlings. Have a spectacular week and happy hunting.

[music]

36:44 Rob : Talk Talent To Me is brought to you by Hired, a double opt-in global marketplace connecting the best fit active talent to the most exciting recruiting organizations. If you would like to learn more about how we can help you find your next great hire, head to hired.com/employers and we we’ll get started.