Sam Baber

Storable VP Talent Sam Baber

Sam BaberVP Talent

Today’s guest is Sam Baber, the VP Talent at Storable. Sam explains how to foster personal relationships within the workplace, warning signs to look out for when recruiting, lessons Sam has learned over his professional career, what makes a successful recruitment strategy, and much more. Tune in today to hear why empathy, compassion, and leadership are the keys to becoming successful in the executive recruitment space with today’s expert, Sam Baber!

Episode Transcript

 

[INTRODUCTION]

 

[0:00:06.1] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to Me. A podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the frontline’s modern recruitment.

 

[0:00:12.8] FEMALE: We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions. Where are they willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.

 

[0:00:22.7] RS: No holds barred, completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs and everyone in between.

 

[0:00:31.1] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

 

[0:00:39.7] 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.

 

[0:00:53.0] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson and you’re about to hear the best in the biz, Talk Talent to Me.

 

[INTERVIEW]

 

[0:00:59.6] RS: Joining us here on today’s episode of Talk Talent to Me is the VP talent over at Storable, Sam Baber. Sam, welcome to you, how are you today?

 

[0:01:07.4] SB: I’m good, thank you so much, it’s good to see you and good to talk to you.

 

[0:01:10.4] RS: Yes, good to see you, good to speak with you, all those things so pleased you’re here, what’s going on for you right now, how’s your week VPing the talent?

 

[0:01:18.5] SB: It’s been great, definitely we’ve had a banner year so far in regards to hiring, this week actually, ironically was a little bit quieter. We only had a few offers versus – we’ve been averaging seven to 10 a week since January 1st , so this week was actually unusually quiet.

 

[0:01:34.3] RS: Is that cause for alarm or just a little aberrance?

 

[0:01:38.0] SB: I think part of it is just this team was kind of given the task at the beginning of the year to go out and try to hire a hundred and five people in the first quarter of the year, which is more than we’ve ever hired in a quarter. I’m lucky to say we hit that goal and currently, as of right now, I think we’re at about a hundred and twenty accepted offers for the year and we still got probably another 80 recs to close this year if anything. I think if maybe it was tax week, I don’t know, right? People just got quieter. I think people – I think it was good to have an unplanned kind of week of oxygen taking and kind of getting into the Q2 groove.

 

[0:02:12.2] RS: What do you do when you get those brief moments of respite from the never-ending treadmill of fulfilling roles?

 

[0:02:17.4] SB: We thoroughly enjoy it. You know, I think there’s always something going on, the team always, I always say this too, everyone on my team and my team is overseeing both talent acquisition and learning and development. Whenever we do have a little bit of oxygen, right? They all had a side hustle they’re working on, so whether it’s someone working on metrics, whether it’s somebody working on DEIB, whether it’s somebody working on all the content we create from a learning and development perspective or just some sort of coaching and training that’s a one off that is needed, there’s always something to do.

 

So certainly, I think too, it’s a – they’re all recruiters but certainly, they all have a lot of different things from a people operations perspective that they’re working on so it’s – they’re not drumming their thumbs. They definitely have stuff to do and so, I think if anything, right? This week was one of those things we didn’t really realize that we were having a quieter week ‘till we all huddled. Every Friday, we huddle and just kind of let our hair down. 

 

Not necessarily a team meeting which is to catch up and you know, just kind of looking at the metrics for the week and it was like, “Wow, we kind of had a quiet week” and so it gives recruiters also an opportunity to hit the reset on either their sourcing skills or follow-up with some candidates int terms of either next stages or potentially some decline calls. We do try to – any candidate that comes through our pipelines, we do try to make sure that if they get through those final stages and they don’t get the job that we do end up with a phone call versus an email because we want to give them that high touch. Also, if there’s some feedback or some coaching or guidance that they’re actually looking for and they want it, we’ll give it to them.

 

[0:03:46.5] RS: Got it. Before we get too deep in the weeds here, would you mind sharing a little bit about Storable and then how you kind of approach your role?

 

[0:03:53.4] SB: Sure, Storable is a company that basically – we’re a multi-platform software company that provides the tools needed to run storage units across the country and so there’s a variety of different text stacks that we use. We certainly, we have marketplace that is basically, if you’re looking for storage, you can go on there and see all the different opportunities you have within whatever mile radius of your zip code to see what storage units are available and the pricing and so you can go that route.

 

Then of course, a lot of our storage unit owners and facilities pretty much, the people who are running those, it’s almost like running their own business and so we give them the software to help run their business. So whether it’s access control in regards to how to get into their units, whether they’re looking for insurance for the things that they are keeping in storage, we provide all of those services to those folks. 

 

So it’s kind of just soup to nuts, all things self-storage which of course. When you just start thinking about it and you drive around in your car, it’s everywhere.

 

[0:04:53.1] RS: Yeah, definitely. And all over the country, you know, there’s not a place out there where things don’t need to be stored.

 

[0:04:59.9] SB: Certainly in North America, right? I kind of say that tongue and cheek but we are known to buy lots of things and then run out of room. That monthly recurring, he or she are storage unit, there you go, just sign up for that monthly recurring payment, right? Sometimes it stays there for a short period of time and sometimes it stays there for a long period of time.

 

[0:05:18.7] RS: Thank you for giving me that reminder actually.

 

[0:05:22.3] SB: It’s one of the things a new hiring orientation, we always ask, “What’s your actual personal experience with self-storage if you’ve had any?” and some of the storage we get in the new hire rotation are hysterical.

 

[0:05:34.1] RS: What did people say?

 

[0:05:35.9] SB: Well, like, “Oh yeah, I had self-storage once and I forgot I had it for five years and then I did the math and realized how much money I had spent on self-storage” right? Just a wide variety of things and then, you know, we also get our – we get our storage unit facility owners, right? Telling us stories about things, you know, there’s been reality TV shows about storage because sometimes people store some really funny stuff.

 

[0:05:57.7] RS: Yeah, of course. Well, so you mentioned some of the talent goals, you had tons of hiring that you made in the first quarter over a hundred people, you said you have probably like 80 left for the rest of the year so was this a general front loading going on for hiring?

 

[0:06:11.8] SB: Very much so, recently, our PE is EQT based in Sweden and certainly, we kind of fell under their tent last year and there was a lot of preparations for kind of the next couple of years in terms of what’s on the Horizon and that was definitely a very thoughtful strategic investment into a lot of the talent and it was a heavy lift and I think there was definitely a few folks who were like, let’s see how this works.

 

I think some people were very surprised that we were able to hit a lot of the goals we set for ourselves but it’s definitely very heavy front loaded Q1 in terms of some of the stuff that now, we can begin to sort of elevate, we’ve got a lot of people that we needed to get in the seat. They’re going through their ramps right now, we have a couple of dozen folks who were salted to start the next six weeks.

 

Really, in terms of you know, all of our directors and above, all that hiring was complete as of last week for the year that was in the plan. Now, we’ve got the team, now it’s the action and the results to drive through that. That was certainly, that was definitely the main reason for that major investment and to get the year off started with a bang.

 

[0:07:16.8] RS: Got it. Have you experienced this phenomenon, you mentioned you said, you have like a dozen or perhaps more people who will offer accepted, first day scheduled. Have you ever gone to this and maybe nine minutes total in your career, this phenomenon of people accept the job and then just never show up?

 

[0:07:32.9] SB: Certainly, in the last 25 years, that’s happened a handful of times, it has not happened at Storable since I’ve been around, we definitely had a very small number of candidates who once or twice in the last two years, either one of two things happen, I’m really, there’s two examples that come to mind, one is somebody accepted an offer and before they started about a week and a half, before they started.

 

They just called and said, “You know, my partner has got a much more high paying job and they really asked me not to work anymore and so I’m not going to work.” Okay, you know, got it, right? Kind of, for me, that was kind of interesting of like, “You didn’t figure that out during the interview process? But that’s cool.”

 

Yeah, the only other time I can think of that we had that happen was someone who accepted the offer, delayed their start date, started with us and honestly, it was within two weeks, I won’t say who it was but it was certainly a very well-known, very large tech organization in the country. That they had kind of hit – they were continuing their interview process even after accepting our offer and after serving.

 

And then that company came after them pretty hard and the person just, number one, there was no way we were going to – that person had their eyes set on that brand and we didn’t want to get in their way. Quite frankly, and also, I think it told us a lot about their character and so there was no fight to keep them because, and it was early stage enough that it wasn’t – a lot of harm hadn’t been done other than that we had lost time, right?

 

But that, you know, it’s a very rare thing for us and you know, there’s a lot of things I think that are going on in general right now that we’ve dodged a lot of the preverbal bullets that I do know a lot of my partners in crime across a lot of different talent organizations. We’ve been fairly lucky so luckily, that’s not happened very often. 

 

[0:09:17.3] RS: In that case, where someone accepts an offer but then they want to push out their start date further than two weeks, three weeks, is that a red flag? Does that tell you maybe they’re not really ready for a job?

 

[0:09:27.5] SB: It’s not a red flag for me, I think there’s definitely some hiring managers that that is a red – when that happened last year, the particular hiring managers said, “That a warning sign.” Okay, you know, that’s going to be your warning sign. We always have to have minimum of two weeks quite frankly from an IT perspective.

 

If they wanted to actually delay it another one to two weeks, if it’s within 30 days of the offer acceptance, there’s no flags for us. We also really ask candidates as well because people have lives, right? If there’s things that are planned in the first hundred days, if you were to take this offer and start on this day, if you’ve got travel plans or whatnot.

 

Let’s get that cleared up now with the hiring manager just to make sure it’s on the radar so we know about it so there’s no surprises, right? No, if it’s within 30 days of our acceptance state of the offer, there’s no flags.

 

[0:10:13.1] RS: Got it. Yeah, I can understand someone who want to take more time because if you care about your current role and you want to give them two weeks notice, right? And then you want to take some time, you want to travel, like then, you know, a month feels like reasonable. The more time between, the more I would be worried that – so announcement approached them, they might second guess it, they might just decide, I don’t want to work at all. I’m going to exit capital, I feel like you’d have to – it’s not dissimilar from the offer acceptance timeline where it’s just like, “Hey, what’s reasonable for you? We will understand but we’re not just going to leave this hanging up there for eternity.”

 

[0:10:49.9] SB: Yeah, my team always, I think one of the key things, we always do a lot of post-mortems and sort of look back and you know, certainly, I think too, with the quarter we had, there’s a lot of – not a lot of negative post-mortems but a lot of like, how did we do that, right? How did we actually get through that quarter and have the success that we had and certainly, some of it is just – will remain a mystery but I think one of the key things for us is we do put our large priority and investment of time in the relationship that the recruiters build with the candidates. And, form the get-go.

 

We always try to make sure too, right. Since it’s part of our overall cultural DNA is what we call the trust bank, you know, you make a lot of deposits and hopefully, not too many withdrawals but we really try to make sure we’re building that trust and respect with the candidate from day one so as they get through that process and they learn the business, that the recruiter is actually able to really candidly ask them some hard questions about what else is on their radar or how are they evaluating the jobs that are – because we know they’re talking to tons of people but to get to them to that point where they let themselves kind of – they get a taste of what it’s like to work here in that relationship.

 

So there’s a lot of trust built and a lot of openness and candor and we’re very lucky, right? But I do think that’s one of the secret sauce ingredients is that this team really does put a high value on the relationship they’re building with the candidates because if they do come on board, the thing we always tell folks, relationships at this company, especially being in a fully distributed, remote workforce, relationships are the key to your short-term and long-term success. We try to make sure we are mirroring that behavior and showing them what it looks like and feels like during that recruiting process.

 

[0:12:35.0] RS: Has that translated into higher offer acceptance rates?

 

[0:12:38.6] SB: I mean, I think it’s one of the reasons. I’m always stunned right, I refuse to take all of the credit or really, very much of it, right? Because so much of it is just a fluke in my mind.

 

[0:12:48.2] RS: So much of what is a fluke?

 

[0:12:50.8] SB: Because yeah, it’s not like I have some sort of algorithm or measurable recipe but we ended the quarter with 92% acceptance rate and generally, I always tell recruiters, if it’s 75% or above, that’s gravy, it’s great, right? But the last couple of years at Storable, we’ve averaged 88% and above. Yeah, we ended Q1 with 92% which of course I’m thrilled and really proud and super humbled by it and the team did that, right? 

 

But I do think one of the primary reasons for that, especially in this market, we just tell like it is and we really make sure that whatever checks we’re writing to candidates during that process that not only do they come onboard an they can cash all those checks and be like, “Wow, they actually really meant everything they said.”

 

They also get surprised throughout their time with us of the hidden cheques that they get to cash, that you know, they couldn’t necessarily predict or the recruiter didn’t tell but we just – we don’t do magic flying carpet ride recruiting. We like to tell it like it is and I think a lot of that has to do with our customer base is very much – it’s salt of the earth and it’s very much they’re just trying to work to make their storage units as safe and effective as possible in terms of their clientele and you know, they just want to tell it like it is.

 

We’re not doing that Fortune 100 recruiting, we’re really working with folks who are just trying to run their business and operate it the most effective way and pretty straight shooting crowd and that’s how we talk to our candidates as well.

 

[0:14:14.9] RS: What are those hidden cheques that they find along the way?

 

[0:14:18.6] SB: Again, right? Like the – we do put a large premium on psychological safety at the company and we talk about it all the time. I host a monthly lunch and learn that the topics vary from month to month, this month was all around last  year’s theme was self-care, we kind of ended that but this last month, I talked about compassion at work, what does that look like. The next couple of lunch and learns will be about perseverance and I take a lot of my inspiration for lunch and learns from texts, I’m a huge reader. I will absorb a lot of information and try to come up with a 30/40 minute presentation to give to the employees of just thinking about really, the humanity behind the employee is really kind of my hidden agenda behind the lunch and learn.


Just giving people tools in their toolkit to how to be better and more effective. Whether it’s performance related in work but also in general in your life. I mean, our EDP is be more, do more. We want people to come in and do the best job they can, we want them to be able to surprise themselves with the unlocked potential that we think every person has, right?

 

I like to also say that the recruiters, you guys are really what you’re doing – you’re talking to candidates, you’re trying to find the person who is the best fit for this opportunity. Recruiting is about opportunity giving. You may have a hundred or a thousand candidates and maybe majority of them could do the job but who actually do we think could come here and not only maximize their own potential but surprise themselves. And actually have a career trajectory and some career growth, as well as some work on things that all of us as human beings go through. But what can we offer them from whether it’s you know, through one of our employee resource groups, in terms of helping the community, whether it’s through one of our select channels of pets or music or books or what was the show you binged all weekend.

 

But trying to bring out the human being behind the worker as much as possible. I don’t think we’re reinventing the wheel in any way, shape or form other than, we really do want people to come here and do the best job they can but also find themselves learning about themselves, trying things on for size, permission to fail. Learning from those experiences and then helping others every day, whether it’s a client on the outside or internally, right? 

 

Just unlock as much potential as they can. I think those are some of the cheques that surprise people, they get to cash. It is a job but it’s also a place, even though you’re working from home now, it’s a community where people really can challenge themselves to be their best versions of themselves and that’s kind of how I always frame the lunch and learns is we’re just going to give you the tools.

 

Maybe today they’re meaningful, maybe you want to work on how to be vulnerable, right? Maybe you don’t but like, here’s the tools and whenever you’re ready, you know, work on it. We tell people too, you know, whether it’s your job or whether it’s how you treat yourself and other people, you got to do the work. All we try to do is just give them the tools, right? Here’s the tools, you pickup the one that you need right now and then let us know how it goes.

 

[0:17:25.9] RS: Yeah, that investment makes all the sense in the world to me because everything is downstream of being happy, healthy, fulfilled, et cetera, right? And if you have those things, if you’re working on yourself and you’re trying to improve and level up, then, you’re going to be a better co-worker, colleague. You are going to do better at your job, you are going to have more energy. 

 

It all kind of adds together, so you know, probably it is more related to like from just talking to you. It feels like you probably just have empathy and you want people to win. So you are helping them develop but it also like it helps the company. 

 

[0:17:58.7] SB: Yeah and I do truly believe, you know, I always ask this question when I do manager training or leadership development right, you know, what gets you out of bed in the morning? What fills your gas tank, right? Especially as you go into leadership and talent from the top is something we put a large premium on at Stroable. There is a lot of leadership development we do and we’re about to kick off another round of that in the next 30 to 60 days. 

 

So but if that tone from the top is not working right, to your point like the downhill effect, right? So we do spend a lot of time with our leaders but I think the point I was going to make here just in general, you know it requires work and people for me I really do believe this in terms of what gets me out of bed every morning, right? It’s I think every person has potential. I think where companies sometimes make mistakes or they don’t or they get shortsighted is and this is where leadership comes in because it really is, it is on leaders in my opinion. 

 

The majority of the responsibility falls on leaders, how do you unlock the potential in people. For me, one of my things is give them the guardrails, right? I mean it is not – if you are commanding control or everything is black and white, you’re probably going to have more errors. But if you can give them some guardrails to bounce off of and learn by doing, making mistakes, have some points of failure, talk about it, learn from it but you got to give them what they need and then you’re going to let them go and just go figure it out, right? 

 

I want to get out of my team’s way as much as I can. I am always there for them when I need to but I am not going to micromanage and I am not going to hover and be a helicopter boss, right? I like to hire adults and treat them like adults and that’s kind of our philosophy in general but I do think that that is so important. I think a lot of times people try to put people in boxes and or if they don’t operate the way that they operate then somehow the other person is wrong. 

 

I just think it does fall on leaders to make sure you are providing an environment for folks to be creative, make mistakes but also get out of their way because they’ll surprise you almost every time. I mean, I’ve got people on my team I just love to watch how they are growing and that’s the best gift. It’s just watching someone discover their own potential and you trying to very subtly get them kind of with invisible hands guide them and then have them discover. 

 

Have those wild moments at least once a week if they can, right? The sometimes there is the “ouch moments” and you’ve got to talk about it. 

 

[0:20:29.5] RS: Could you share some of the books you’ve been reading that you think have made you better at your job? 

 

[0:20:34.1] SB: We don’t have that much time. You know, I am a liberal arts guy. I was a lit major, I taught college English for a short period of time when I took a break from human remains as I sometimes jokingly call it but yeah, I mean because I do look to a lot of literature in general. By literature I do mean fiction but I read a lot of non-fiction. I would say for books right now that are kind of top of mind for me, the lunch and learn is coming up. 

 

We are really focusing on unpacking Angela Duckworth’s Grit, which is a great text and that will probably be a two-part lunch and learn because there is a lot of content to unpack. I am a big Agile believer, so I do read a lot about – there is a lot of Agile people operations text. I think one of my favorite books in the last couple of years is a book by Will Larson called An Elegant Puzzle and it is about systems of engineering management. 

 

Not only is it great for a tech perspective and there is a few engineering leaders I’ve talked to at the company who have also read it, it just gives you an enormous amount of insight in general. I think people think of engineering as sort of this it’s a beast unto itself, which there is days where that is absolutely true but this book has so many fundamental principle around management and leadership as well as people. 

 

It’s really become invaluable for me especially when we’re onboarding executives. I just think Will Larson is great and then I am an HBR junkie, so I read HBR almost every day as well as The Atlantic because I do want to keep in touch with what’s happening in the world but yeah, I am a big sponge. I can’t live a day in my life without reading for at least an hour every day. 

 

[0:22:05.3] RS: I love to hear that and I have an inkling that the people listening to this podcast are also the people who would spend time reading some of those text because if you are spending your free time listening to Talk Talent To Me, you probably care about getting better at your job. There’s lots of other podcast out there, so those are some great reads particularly the Will Larson one, which it doesn’t sound that it’s even necessarily about how to better understand your engineering department but that it’s like really cross applicable. 

 

[0:22:29.3] SB: For sure, absolutely, a hundred percent especially again for I think managers and above would benefit from reading that text regardless of the function they work in. 

 

[0:22:37.3] RS: What about fiction? 

 

[0:22:38.5] SB: Wow, nobody ever asked me that. 

 

[0:22:41.5] RS: What about because I am the same, I kind of split non-fiction and fiction and I get to a point where like I have to read some kind of novel just to fill up my soul a little bit but can you fit some fiction that has translated into enriching you as a human talent? I know it is kind of a weird question but just like – 

 

[0:22:57.4] SB: Oh no, I mean I’ll say this right. I have to go way back because I am towards the back half of my career, so this is back in the previous century but in my undergrad years, I think the book that had the biggest, this is going to sound so pretentious but it’s true. The book that had the most impact on me on college, I was lucky enough to go to a really small school where we spend an entire semester only reading Remembrance of Things Past by Proust. 

 

Which is you know, well over, I mean it’s thousands of pages but that book fundamentally because it is book but it is also a series of books but that is, if you would love to get in the weeds and under the skin of the human condition, that is the text. That is like the urtext for me. More recently, I mean my fiction runs the gamut. I love the classics and I always will and so at least a couple of times a year I’m either dipping into something I read what I probably shouldn’t have read it. 

 

Like you know, Scarlet Letter in high school, okay I got it and then I read it in my 30s and I was like, “Oh my god, this is a great book” and I would never have understood that at 16. 

 

[0:23:58.6] RS: I did the same thing with Great Gatsby, in high school I was like, “This book sucks” and then I read it again in my late 20s. It’s like, “Okay, I get it.” 

 

[0:24:05.4] SB: Yeah, the book is epic, right? East of Eden is one of my go-to epic American text. But you know just more recently Rob, Andy Weir’s Project Hail Mary, I had a ball. It is a great book, a lot of fun because I think when I go to fiction now candidly, I do want to either I’m going to go to a classic or I want something completely unreal, right? I don’t do a lot of domestic drama fiction because I think most contemporary fiction is not great personally. 

 

Non-fiction probably the best text in the last year and a half I read and I always forget the author’s name and I always screw up this title, oh my gosh, it’s going to drive me nuts. It is a book about the Sackler family and the pharmaceutical industry, Empire of Pain, I think. Now, I had to look it up. 

 

[0:24:51.4] RS: You could look that quickly, yeah. 

 

[0:24:52.2] SB: For the podcast because the author is an amazing writer but that book because I think that’s part of it too, right? It is, yeah, the best non-fiction book I read in the last year and a half is Empire of Pain by Patrick Radden Keefe. He is a great non-fiction writer but it is about the Sackler family and the pharmaceutical industry and I think that the thing that I love about non-fiction that may have sort of that umbrella like, “Oh, it’s the Sackler family and oh that must be” but certain writers like him because it is really just beautiful journalism. 

 

That’s why and I think so many of the text in general and how I apply them to work, there is also a history of business in America throughout the 20th century and in particular, the impact the pharmaceutical industry plus marketing has had on the psychology of the population. Through the lens that he present in the writing, that is how I learned about human behavior as well because that really is my job is to be fascinated by human behavior. 

 

Then again, trying to hire that, trying to groom it, trying to unlock potential. You can get so much from so many different text and that is why I tell people whether it’s films or TV shows or books or whatever or just sitting and observing people, if you are one of those people who can sit in a hotel bar or an airport lounge, be fascinated by human beings. I think the best leaders also should be fascinated by human beings. 

 

So I think if you are that curious and that open, you’re just a better person and I think too, you just learn by understanding the layers and the choices people make and how sometimes those choices are personal and sometimes they were from outside forces that they have no control over and that is kind of what I try to bring to the table in general with the work that I do. Last thing I’ll say here real quick about that, right? 

 

You talked about taking a break between jobs, I worked at a couple of companies. We are not doing this at Storable at the moment but a couple of companies I was able to start new hire on Fridays and I loved it for multiple reasons. Everyone is a better mood on Friday. It always ended up with a happy hour and they could go talk about the company over the weekend with their friends, right? 

 

From a PR perspective but it forced to break between jobs because a lot of times in this world people will finish a job on Friday and you know – 

 

[0:27:07.0] RS: Start on a Monday. 

 

[0:27:08.2] SB: Because most companies don’t treat their employees who are leaving well, right? And/or because sometimes if you are not careful they bring to the table 72 hours later some PTSD and/or some really bad habits from their previous job. There was one company in particular that I literally had, we had orientation and then based on the resume and the person in my knowledge of the industry and/or the company they came from, I would occasionally have to host a detox orientation especially with leaders. 

 

Where I would have to tell them, “Hey, I know you came from X company. If you want to fail fast here, go into every meeting now for the next 30 days and go, “At X we used to do it this way.” If you want to take a loaded gun as a new hire because again with leaders, you have to deal with egos whether you like it or not but I would have to do a bit of a detox orientation based on the companies they come from because that’s not going to fly here, right? 

 

Those weren’t fun but they were necessary and so I think I love forcing a break to make people – unless financially it was going to be really hard, we made that accommodation right but giving them a break between jobs especially if they ended on a Friday and took that whole week off and then came to us that following Friday, that usually took care of some of that initial toxicity and it was easier. 

 

I think people should get creative with onboarding and new hire orientation and Mondays suck for everybody, so we still do Mondays and we do a good job but I still like to play with it and maybe someday we’ll get back to that but I do love the new hire Fridays for sure. 

 

[0:28:47.8] RS: I like that a lot too, yeah, starting on a Monday, you know non-zero chance that they quit their previous job. Like you said, 72 hours before and also whoever is going to train them starts off underwater now because they had all the stuff they were going to do on a Monday anyway and now they’re having to spend it onboarding someone. Yeah and that seems all this in the world to me. 

 

[0:29:06.8] SB: We’re fortunate we have someone that is actually the majority of their job. I mean, that’s their vocation in life, which is great. That helps make all the difference. 

 

[0:29:15.1] RS: Can I tell you, I didn’t realize it until you said it but almost every boss I’ve ever had has done that thing you described where they’re in meetings like, “At my last company, we did this” and I am like, “Eh, shut up. You’re not at that company anymore.” 

 

[0:29:26.6] SB: Yeah and it literally is like you are committing suicide whether you know it or not. Nobody cares.

 

[0:29:32.1] RS: Yeah, it is a different company like it’s apples to oranges.

 

[0:29:35.1] SB: Right and we hired you, so also here’s the thing. I think the one thing consistently too that I coach on for folks and it’s life, I get it, you’re here. You have proven yourself by getting the job. You don’t need to wake up every day and feel like you’ve got something to prove to everybody else every day in here. 

 

[0:29:54.6] RS: Which is what you are doing when you say, “Well in here we did this, so I have experience” right? 

 

[0:29:58.7] SB: Right, just do the job and also like – 

 

[0:30:01.4] RS: It’s also dunking on yourself too because surely you didn’t take this job to just do the same thing you did before over again, right? 

 

[0:30:06.6] SB: Thought I would hope not, you know? But yeah, it’s fascinating. It fascinates me. That is probably one of the top three things when it comes to coaching people. I’m like, get out of your own way and quit trying to feel like what do you have to prove anyway? 

 

[0:30:20.8] RS: Yeah, that’s great advice. There’s been a ton of great advice in here Sam, this has been an A-typical episode but in all the best ways I think. We are creeping up on optimal podcast length here, before I let you go though I would just love to extract another bit of wisdom from you. If I am listening to this, I want to elevate my career. I want to end up in leadership in the talent department, what’s some advice you would give to people to make sure that they are being critical about what they want and how they can develop into leadership position? 

 

[0:30:44.8] SB: I don’t know if you asked the right person that question. 

 

[0:30:47.5] RS: That’s a question everyone. 

 

[0:30:49.1] SB: How I got to hear, you know I think the one thing I’ve learned the most about my career and the thing I coach, I love doing university recruiting. I haven’t done it in a while and I love recruiting younger talent because there is so much potential there, right? They are so hungry and really just ready to throw any playbook out the window. I am fascinated with generational dynamics in the workplace and I love the generation coming up right now. 

 

I am saying that partially because I am bias with my niece and nephew. I think people potentially in their early 20s and maybe global but I definitely think this is a very Western North American frame of mind, right? My dad is not a giver of great advice typically but he did want – I remember when I moved to New York after college, he’s like, “Do me a favor” he’s like, “Your 20s are about making all the mistakes because after 30 course correcting will be really hard.” 

 

I was a creative liberal arts educated guy, right? I started in the entertainment industry and then moved to Texas and someone looked at my resume and said, “You worked with actors, writers, directors, really high-maintenance people, let’s put you in executive recruiting.” I didn’t know recruiting, you know? So I said, “Okay” and I was young and that’s how my career started and I think the things I’ve learned, the two things I would say from those two stories are one, I haven’t met a lot of 22 to 24 year olds who are really that great at having it all plotted out. 

 

But they will tell themselves they do or they’re looking at keeping up with the Joneses and like, “By this age, I should be doing this and by that age…” let all that go, number one, let it go. You’ve gone through schooling your whole like, you think you know everything, you may know some things right but like be open to the experimentation and the unpredictability and don’t be focused on having a compass. 

 

Let is spin, right? Because that’s what I did and I am really grateful I did that in hindsight and then the second thing too is you know, I look back and it all makes sense now but in the moment, when I first came into executive recruiting at a very young age for a really large company, it was, “Okay” but I think I learned that too and the person who looked at my resume who is no longer with us and I think I’m so grateful for her every day is also for my job, right? 

 

Looking at the resumes and looking beyond the surface because I would have never known that had she not looked beneath the surface and kind of unlock that potential. That was a very valuable lesson, which is you know, present the things about yourself in a way too that are genuine, authentic and honest but also know that there could be something that you don’t see in your own persona or your own experience but someone else does and they may surprise you. 

 

Usually those people who are willing to unlock your potential and you see that happening, those are the people you want to go work with and so find that. Try to put out as much as you can, live your life, get as much experience as you can but quit trying to plan it so much and be prepared for some shocks and surprises because like me, 27 years ago, I never thought that I knew then, you know, this was my career but God, I am so grateful it is. 

 

So that is kind of the two stories I tell about just let it by and do right by yourself and be who you are and you know, it will come and love what you do. 

 

[0:34:14.8] RS: I love it. Sam, this has been a fantastic conversation. Thank you so much for being with me here today. 

 

[0:34:20.6] SB: My pleasure, anytime. Thank you so much. 

 

[END OF INTERVIEW]

 

[0:34:25.6] 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 the 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. 

 

To learn more about how we can help you find your next great hire, head to hired.com/tt2m. 

 

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