Core Beliefs, Soft Skills, and Recruiting Talent with Jason Adler

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Core Beliefs, Soft Skills, and Recruiting Talent with Jason Adler

In part 1 of this episode we discuss core values and beliefs about one’s capabilities and skills and how that relates to the process of achieving goals. Other topics and questions we ponder include: Are resumes becoming obsolete? How can we verify the information presented is correct and truthful? How are referrals used to recruit the best new talent? How important are soft skills in recruiting talent?

Jason Adler is an entrepreneur and John Maxwell business coach who brings his decades-long restaurant industry expertise into small business and executive coaching working with people to help them become more successful. 

Transcript

Fletcher:

So I’d like to welcome everybody to the Hire Talent podcast. Great hiring advice for entrepreneurs, by entrepreneurs. Today, I’m really excited to have Jason Adler. He’s part of the John Maxwell coaching team, world-renowned. So Jason, thanks for being here today. If you could just tell us a little bit more about yourself and your background. How’d you become a John Maxwell coach?

Jason Adler:

Well hey, Fletcher, thanks for having me on, and I have been talking here for several years, and it’s great to be on the podcast. I myself am an entrepreneur, lifelong. I was in the restaurant industry for 20 years. I had five restaurants, I’ve hired hundreds and hundreds of people. Trained them, and as an entrepreneur, built teams. I had five restaurants. I sold that, and created my own franchise system. Sold that, and went into small business coaching, part of another franchise called Action Coach, and got hundreds of hours of training. And that was something that I did naturally. But being the entrepreneur that I am, I put that off to the side for a little while, started an online business, sold that, and then got into executive coaching. And this is where I found my sweet spot in working with people, and helping them … Helping successful people become more successful.

Jason Adler:

So in that way, the hiring aspect, when I worked with companies, I created a system called Hot, which one of them branded Hot, where you hire correctly, onboard completely, and train continuously. And so you, my friend, having been owner of the Hire Talent, live in that hiring sector.

Fletcher:

Yeah.

Jason Adler:

And you’re the absolute expert there. And I’d shot you a note about resumes. And what you felt-

Fletcher:

Whether they’re going to become obsolete or not, right?

Jason Adler:

Yeah. Yeah.

Fletcher:

And that got us back in a furious online discussion about the … I guess the validity or the usefulness of a resume in this day and age, and yeah, it was a new concept to me that they might be becoming obsolete. Right?

Jason Adler:

It was like, your response to me was, “Well, come explain why they’re becoming obsolete.” And I’m like, “Well, I just asked the question.” So we’re here to explore it.

Fletcher:

Yeah. That’s good. Well, tell me where that thought came from. I think earlier conversations, you said that idea came to you, the concept of resumes becoming obsolete, came from somewhere. Where did it come from?

Jason Adler:

Well I was reading that article about Tesla going away from … I think it was in Forbes, that Tesla was going away from resumes. And some of the other, newer, younger companies, were going away from resumes because … To me, as I really thought about it, resumes are more about the past, and what have you done, as opposed to what-

Fletcher:

Can you do-

Jason Adler:

… are you capable of doing? What is your potential?

Fletcher:

Yeah.

Jason Adler:

And so as a executive coach, or as a coach, I try and bring people, be in past, present, where they live in the past or look at the past and see how that can help them do what they do today, as opposed to what I try and do is, okay, where am I at today? What are my skill sets today? And how can I best use those skills to forward myself in the future? What is my potential? How can I leverage myself and get better?

Fletcher:

Yeah, so it’s all about understanding some core skills and behaviors and capabilities that will, when applied to a future opportunity, will allow the person to become excellent or be successful at achieving the goals related to that opportunity.

Jason Adler:

Yeah, exactly. And if … In looking at other articles about this, it was very interesting to see that most people that are looking for a new job or to change jobs or whatever it may be, focused first and mostly on the resume and getting it in. And then secondly, they focus on job boards and other things. But lastly, they focus on networking and who they know. Where, if you flip that … And maybe I’m wrong, because you’re the expert on this and I just … I was just doing a little research, but you can fill it in. That when companies are looking to hire, the majority of the hires come from … When I say majority, it’s 50, 60 percent of them, maybe, come from if not in house, they come from referrals, or people that they know that have been referred to them. So it’s really back to the old adage, it’s not really what you know, it’s who you know.

Fletcher:

Yeah, and that’s a great point. So you don’t need a resume to know somebody. To, say, know your neighbor or your best friend, and know what world they’re in, and ask them, “Hey, does your company have a new opportunity for somebody like myself where I could potentially be a fit?” And so that’s on the job seeker’s side. If they went out and they networked like that, the resume almost becomes irrelevant, because the first introduction is from their connection that says to their company, “Hey, I know somebody who might be a good fit,” for probably a number of different reasons that probably have very little to do with the person’s resume. And that’s getting them in the door, getting them in the interview. And sure, probably still need a resume to talk about your past experiences, but it becomes less relevant now, right?

Jason Adler:

Correct. And so the question which we posed in the beginning is, are they becoming obsolete? Well, I think obsolete and irrelevant are two different words, with two different meanings. You know? And so I don’t … Unless … For instance, LinkedIn. If you have a full LinkedIn profile, anyone can see and look and find you, and know what you do based on your LinkedIn profile. And it is much harder, online, to create that LinkedIn profile, or a profile, that is not truthful, than a piece of paper that is not truthful.

Fletcher:

Yeah, so if you post a LinkedIn profile and you alter the dates of employment or the titles that you had, maybe the people in your past might come and raise their hand and say, “Hey, wait, that’s not truthful.” Or there’s also a social accountability. Even if maybe people aren’t holding you accountable, you might hold yourself a little more accountable, maybe out of fear of being caught, right?

Jason Adler:

Yeah, absolutely. Now I don’t necessarily know that people outright lie on resumes. I imagine some do.

Fletcher:

Yeah, there’s some interesting stats there. We’ve been doing a lot of research on this, and it’s upwards to 50 to 60 percent of job applicants, to some degree or another, are misleading on their resume or their work history or their experiences. So there’s a number of different places where people can be misleading. And there’s quite a bit of research on that, and it’s quite surprising. So to boil it down, they’re lying, ultimately.

Jason Adler:

Okay, so the word I would use would be embellish.

Fletcher:

Yeah. Embellishing, yeah.

Jason Adler:

I don’t want to call someone an out and out liar, but embellishing. And I think that at some point, somewhere, most of us have embellished before. Make ourselves look better, feel better. And again, online, for the world to see, I think it is harder to do than on a piece of paper that probably no one would see. To me, it’s shocking, the statistics that, let’s say that there was a job opening, and there were 250 resumes that got sent in for that job opening. Only five to 10 of them would get looked at by a set of eyes. That’s the statistic I see.

Fletcher:

Yeah, and that’s a pretty staggering number there. And even in this day and age, as the talent market is tightening, there’s still a lot of job applicants for every job, and hiring managers, HR executives, even recruiters have a very limited amount of time to even evaluate each resume. I think that number is something like six seconds or something like that, that they spend reviewing an actual initial resume in the early days of the hiring process.

Fletcher:

So I guess that takes you all the way back to this … The best source of connection to a new job opportunity is leveraging those relationships, and that same thing goes for the employers. Those numbers, by far, you’re right. They could be anywhere from 50 to 80 percent of all new hires come from relationships with people inside the existing company. So a referral … A lot of them are direct referrals, so somebody that the employees know on a personal basis. But there’s even that second or third degree of separation as well. It’s somebody that person knows who knows somebody else, are referring in that talent. And they say good people stick together. So if your top people are referring other people into the organization, they’re already doing half the vetting for you, right?

Jason Adler:

Exactly. Exactly. So it seems to me that this is an area in the hiring, in the recruiting space, that is ripe for disruption. And if you think about it, I look at … If you go all the way back, there were 45s and LP, then there was the A-track, the cassettes, it evolved to the CD, and CD went the way of downloads and being able to listen to music that you want. Now you have Spotify and you have Pandora and stuff like that. And then you can also look at … There’s … There was the VHS and the VHS got replaced by the DVD, and the DVD got replaced by cable TV and on-demand TV, and now it’s downloads.

Jason Adler:

So what’s to say what’s next here in this space?

Fletcher:

Yeah, I think there’s a couple of simple things. Last year, we released our applicant tracking system that has a built-in employee referral program so that you can a) manage an employee referral program, but b) it enables your existing team members to share the open opportunities, share information about the organization and what careers are like. So everything about the organization, to their network, both directly, through, “Hey, here’s an email link to our career site and all the open jobs,” but also on social media. And that’s a tool for helping execute that.

Fletcher:

And we just got off the phone with the providers who helped create this for us, and I asked them that same question. “This has got to be disrupted in a more meaningful way, because that tool’s great.” And his response, at least for the short term, was that companies need to have a more comprehensive program where they are reinforcing this conversation on a regular basis. That they’re arming their workforce with information and tools that make a) it easier to share, but b) just making it a part of their culture, that this is what we do. That we share our opportunities with our networks, with our neighbors, and our friends and our people that we know on Facebook, because we love working here.

Jason Adler:

Yeah, absolutely.

Fletcher:

And maybe technology will help us harness that, but it’s something that you also have to reinforce as a culture [inaudible 00:14:57] organization.

Jason Adler:

So if I heard you correctly, a) your company, the Hire Talent, has a tool that companies can use to help spread the word about how great their company is, build their culture, and recruit people that way. Is that correct?

Fletcher:

Make it easier for the people to do that, right? But there’s still a missing piece that you have to ingrain or create a culture of this being a great place to work, and that promoting our team members are … Not even just incentivizing them, but making people want to do this without any incentive, right? That this workplace is such a rewarding opportunity that I want to go out and share it with the world. And now, we’ve given them the tool to make it easy to do that.

Jason Adler:

Gotcha.

Fletcher:

So a lot of the things that you do as a business coach, when you start talking about building a company culture and core values and mission, all that has to be in place. And the company culture and core values have to be strong, and when they are, then you introduce a tool that makes it easy to shout at the top of the mountaintops about how great it is. That’s where you can get a bit more of a compounding effect. So now I can share with hundreds of people as opposed to just my neighbor.

Jason Adler:

That is true. And it’s a shame that … Well, you know, if you look at companies such like Southwest, they’re renowned for their welcoming, great culture. And it’s a shame that more companies have not looked towards shifting that, where I think it’s easier to start that way than it is to shift.

Fletcher:

Yeah. Yeah. Yeah, that’s been an ongoing theme here. I think when we get to the end of this series, here, you’re probably going to be the seventh business coach that we’ve had on. Everybody said the same thing. When it comes to the building of the culture … And everybody has a little bit of a different take on it, and a different approach, but it comes back to that same idea. That we really got to build the culture, and that makes people more productive, stickier, and then also, probably helps with your recruitment piece, too, because again, we like to tell everybody about our favorite restaurants, right?

Jason Adler:

Sure.

Fletcher:

And I actually found myself in a funny situation. I went to the doctor, and the nurse is in there doing my blood pressure, and she’s like, “What do you do?” And I don’t know, I told her something about my past in the restaurant world and she’s like, “Whoa, give me a recommendation.” And I’ve had four people in the last month ask me for restaurant recommendations, and of course, I shared with them my favorite restaurant. I didn’t tell them about my least favorite ones, though.

Jason Adler:

Sure. Sure.

Fletcher:

So I think one other … I want to go back to this idea of, are resume becoming maybe irrelevant, or are they less important, or they becoming obsolete in this day and age? And Tesla, the Tesla study, and some of these other tech companies and other fast-growth startups that we’re seeing, I think what I learned from researching their methodology is, maybe they’re starting to put more of an emphasis on the soft skills, or the core competencies. So things like maybe emotional intelligence, people skills, general critical thinking, problem-solving. As opposed to maybe specific skills and experiences like, I don’t know, Java. Or mechanical engineering, to take an extreme example. Or maybe sales. Maybe those experiences are not as important anymore, and not as important as core competencies that are, when applied or when trained to do a job, and then they’re applying these abilities, those people tend to be more successful.

Fletcher:

What are your thoughts on that?

Jason Adler:

Okay, so, I think that what you just said really, as I was thinking through the whole big picture, what you just said made the case for, well, we’ve got to have a way of getting to these people that do have these soft skills, these people skills, these everything. But certainly, the resume is not the tool. Because on a piece of paper … How do you put who you are and your personality on a piece of paper? It’s very hard. And if you’re looking to find someone that has empathy, or someone that can relate to people, someone that’s a people person … And we all know who they are. They’re [crosstalk 00:21:15]

Fletcher:

But when you need them.

Jason Adler:

Right, yeah, exactly. And they’re infectious. But without getting them on the phone, getting in front of them, talking with them, you can’t see that. Now, certain people do have a track record and have gone from place to place, and their skills in that world are evident, and you can read between the lines. But I would say that most people, it is not. And so-

Fletcher:

Yeah, just because you were a customer service person at ABC company, doesn’t necessarily mean you have those soft skills. It might be the only piece of evidence that I have to make a decision to maybe figure out if you have them, but that might be misleading, so there’s got to be a better way of uncovering whether candidates have those earlier in the process.

Jason Adler:

Right. Right. So I was thinking, and I don’t know that … And this is when you’re throwing ideas out there, which we’re kind of doing now, and you said at the beginning, this is a discussion. There is speed networking. There’s speed dating. What about speed recruiting? How would that shape up? [inaudible 00:22:56].

Fletcher:

I like that, yeah. So it’s helpful for everyone, right? So the guy and the girl, they get to meet a bunch of other guys and girls, and what, two minutes at a time, right? And then maybe shortlist their top three people from that experience of maybe meeting 25 people.

Jason Adler:

Right, exactly.

Fletcher:

And so everybody wins, because their time has been respected, but each party gets a flavor of the other.

Fletcher:

Video interviewing is a big push these days, and I’ve always … I like the concept of video interviewing, but I think it’s also … And I’m an assessment guy, it’s a little bit one-sided. I think both assessments and video interviewing and some of these other screening tools that get introduced early in the process, they’re obviously very helpful and very important. But because they’re one-sided, the other person in the speed date isn’t getting value from the date, right? The candidate.

Jason Adler:

Yeah, for sure.

Fletcher:

In this case. So what can we do as organizations to offer more value to the candidate in that type of a situation? If we want to create a speed dating type of scenario, where we ask the candidate to engage in the process and that is hopefully relatively quick and easy, but what can we give them in return?

Jason Adler:

Well, maybe AI can help with that in some way, shape, or form. My response to you, when we were trading emails, was, you know what, I’m probably not smart enough to figure this out. But I can … There’s got to be someone out there, and I’m sure, if some of the best and the brightest minds really took this on and started looking at it, there would be disruption somewhere in the marketplace. And I don’t know, maybe AI will certainly have a big part in it.

Fletcher:

Yeah. Yeah.

Jason Adler:

So you could have your own hiring AI that would actually do quote unquote, five-minute, in-person speed interviews with a person. Now it wouldn’t be live, but there’s … Artificial intelligence is getting big enough and good enough that possibly, that’s a way to go. So who knows?

Fletcher:

And then answer the candidates’ questions about the opportunity, the job, the company culture-

Jason Adler:

Exactly.

Fletcher:

… the growth opportunities. Help educate the candidates. Because especially in this day and age, the candidates are trying to understand and learn more about the companies as much as the companies are trying to understand and learn more about the candidates, right?

Jason Adler:

Yup.

Fletcher:

And I think candidates agree that there’s not enough information, transparent information, out there about the opportunities that they’re applying to, and that’s pretty frustrating. And they’d like to be better educated, both before they go to an interview, or just before they even apply for a job, on whether this is the type of opportunity that they feel like could be a fit for them. So yeah, if we could help automate some of that stuff, that would definitely be helpful.

Fletcher:

So why do you-

Jason Adler:

I think … Go ahead.

Fletcher:

Oh yeah. I guess, why do you think there’s more of a move towards understanding more about the candidates’ soft skills versus relying on resume experience? Why do you think companies are moving more towards that trend in general?

Jason Adler:

I think that today’s society is becoming more … It’s more about feelings, more about emotions, more about soft stuff than what you absolutely know. And so the people that will be successful in the future … And when I say the future, I’m talking about the far off future. I’m not talking about two years, five years. Because really, the way things are speeding up, two to five years is tomorrow. But I’m talking about 20 years from now, where there’s a different generation. Where even the Millennials are being replaced in leadership.

Jason Adler:

So when you look that far out, the leaders of today … Those skills that they have, are going to be replaced by people that can connect with you almost immediately. And be able to take you from one place to another by being who they are. And that’s the skills that they’re trying to promote today. And that’s why all of … At least our society, is moving towards that way. It’s less autocratic and more collaborative. And the more collaborative you get, the more you have to be able to get along with people, know people, be able to communicate with people. And these are all skills that they’re looking for today to push towards the leaders of tomorrow.

Fletcher:

Those hard skills can be taught. I can teach you how to code, or I can teach you how to do this task or operate this software or operate that machine. But the soft skills can be taught as well, but they’re much more difficult to teach people about, right?

Jason Adler:

Yes. And they’re more … Certain people are more inclined to be that way than others. And so you want to find the people that have a natural tendency to be able to connect with people better.

Fletcher:

Well, this has been a really interesting topic, and I was definitely engaged as soon as you started asking me some questions about it online, on that LinkedIn forum the other day. And I was excited to reconnect with you. I’ve always enjoyed these philosophical conversations with you, Jason, and so yeah, I thought it was great that you were able to come on and join us today.

Fletcher:

Could you leave us with just two parting thoughts? Maybe two pieces of advice or two things that we could use in our lives as leaders tomorrow? And then … Yeah, then we’ll let everybody know how to get a hold of you.

Jason Adler:

Okay. So number one, I think that if we all adopt a people first mindset, and when I say people first, it means that you’re engaging with the person. So you’re connecting with the person. I’ve used the word connection a lot, because everyone communicates in some way, shape, or form. But few people connect. So if you … And connecting to someone is a skill. And so one of my thoughts would be to work on being able to connect to the person that you are communicating with.

Fletcher:

People first, and building that connection, what you mean by that is building a true connection with the people that you’re interacting with.

Jason Adler:

Exactly. Exactly.

Fletcher:

That’s a good one. What would be one more thing that we could take away and begin practicing tomorrow?

Jason Adler:

Just along the lines of work life balance, that life is for living, and business is for building. Don’t get the two of them confused. So you want to-

Fletcher:

That’s amazing. I always tell people I’m a recovering workaholic. Sometimes I relapse, too, you know? I really think we should start a club for us. Recovering workaholics. Or workaholics.

Jason Adler:

I asked a client the other day. It was 8:30 in the morning, his time. I said, “If you were given the day off for the rest of the day, what would you do?” And after about a two-minute silence, he goes, “I think maybe I might go have a coffee somewhere and read.” “And then what would you do?” And he just couldn’t … He was the epitome of a workaholic. Works 60, 70 hours a week, and that’s what he was focused on.

Fletcher:

“I’d get some more work done.”

Jason Adler:

Yeah, exactly.

Fletcher:

Yeah.

Jason Adler:

But work life balance. We’re on this planet to live our lives. Not to … We all exit the same way and-

Fletcher:

Finite period of time, right, too.

Jason Adler:

Yup. Yup.

Fletcher:

Well, Jason, that’s been a couple of really refreshing pieces of advice. I’ll tell you, out of everybody we’ve had on, those are quite unique, and I think very, very important pieces of advice that we all should practice in our lives moving forward. And I know they’re not always easy to do, but I think step one is to be aware and to think about them, and then continuously try to practice those techniques and be more aware of people first, and that we need to have balance in our lives. And that awareness can maybe help lead us towards doing those things better, right?

Jason Adler:

Right. Absolutely. Thank you, Fletcher. And-

Fletcher:

Before I sign you off, you gotta tell us how to get a hold of you.

Jason Adler:

The best way to get a hold of me is connect with me on LinkedIn. Jason Adler. And I respond to most people. I am on LinkedIn a lot. I connect with people. There are a bunch of groups that I’m on. I have a group, People First. You can hashtag, you can put some kind of stuff, anything out there that you want, put a hashtag People First on there. You want to celebrate something that you did well, it’s a group that I host. And we’re doing great.

Fletcher:

Awesome.

Jason Adler:

Thank you for having me.

Fletcher:

So you guys can find Jason, Jason Adler, on LinkedIn, and look for the LinkedIn group, People First. Hashtag People First. And yeah, Jason, it’s been great having you. Thank you.

Jason Adler:

Thank you, Fletcher. Appreciate it.

Fletcher:

Okay. Well, that’s really interesting, thank you for your hour today and making it work.

Jason Adler:

Pleasure, pleasure. Glad I could help. Talk to you soon.

Fletcher:

Yeah, be in touch. Thanks, Jason. Bye.

Jason Adler:

Bye.

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