Part 1 – Patrick Ortman from SalesFirst Recruiting

Patrick Ortman is the president of SaleFirst Recruiting, with offices in Phoenix, AZ, Denver, CO and Portland, OR. Patrick is a very intelligent person who has his finger on the pulse of not only the world of employment but on many important topics surrounding us today.

Patrick is an athlete, an Eagle Scout, received his pilot license at 18, graduated from University of Dayton School of Law and was admitted to the Michigan State Bar in 2000. He had raced motorcycles semi-professionally until he broke his back in 2008, he has broken 27 bones over the course of his life (so far). 

Before starting SalesFirst Recruiting, he was in professional business to business sales and upper management for 15 years. Patrick is passionate about placing good people into good jobs.

This is Part 1 of a two part episode because as we got into this very important conversation during this time with the COVID-19 pandemic affecting all of us and so many people furloughed, laid off or working from home, we covered a lot of ground that we felt was important. We didn’t want to simply stop the conversation for the sake of keeping an episode to less than an hour.

We begin with where the world currently stands on April 14th, 2020 and by the end of Part 1 we talk about the current environment as it stands regarding employment all the way through to a discussion on home-based employees and how that will affect all aspects of life. 

Part 2 digs deep into preparing your resume for submitting to potential employers and getting your LinkedIn profile up to spec. 

There are so many great tidbits of information in these two episodes that are very time sensitive to the times we’re living in. Both Patrick and I sure hope you get a lot out of this conversation.

SalesFirst Recruiting Website:

To email Patrick directly: [email protected]


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Patrick Ortman Interview

Patrick Ortman Interview – Part 1

Joe: Hey, Patrick Ortman, thank you so much for joining the podcast and coming on and speaking to me at this very unique and strange time that we’re in with COVID-19 and how it’s affected the whole world. And I thought this would be a really important episode to get recorded and I believe so important that it’s jumping ahead of two other ones I’ve already recorded because, you know, it deals with with employment, people working. And I think the last statistic that I read was 6.6 Million people applied for unemployment. Does that sound correct to you?

Patrick: Yeah, well, thanks for having me, Joe. It’s a it is a weird time. You’re right. And it’s it’s almost hard to consume all of the information that’s coming in, whether it’s health information or job information or world statistics or impact of friends and family. And are there. Is there gonna be enough pasta on the local store shelf? There’s just a lot going on that people are adjusting to. Right. And I hope that my being on the podcast will create a little bit of clarity, a little bit of hope, a little bit of a plan that people can effectively use to dispense with a little bit of that that’s weighing on them right now. Now, it’s not going to put pasta back on the shelves, but it is nice to know, you know, where your next job is going to come from. Right. So hopefully I can help out in a little small way that I can that I can help out. Right. So to your question, does that statistic sound right? Probably. And I think that the reason I say probably is a lot of those numbers are always running behind the true number. So when that report comes out and all the unemployment statistics are gathered, many days have typically gone past that that gathering point. So I suspect that the number is probably considerably higher than any number that you’re actually hearing about. One of my friends who is also in the recruiting business was talking to me. And this is sort of an off the cuff conversation just talking about this this state of things. And we did a little bit of head math.

Patrick: And the number we came up with was that for all of the working hours of the various states, unemployment agencies, which is, you know, typical eight to five type job that they were processing collectively processing one hundred and twenty five thousand jobless claims per hour per hour. So in the United States, we were shedding and probably still are, if not increasing that number every single day. So it’s it is an interesting period of time. I don’t think that we’ve ever seen a shedding of jobs at this pace ever in our past. And I mean, not to jump ahead, I don’t know what your next question is for me, but if we think about historically, I have many friends in the industry who were around during various periods of time in America where we saw some sort of an economic downturn, whether it was, for example, the bubble or the housing market crisis, all of those sorts of things. Right. And during all of those periods of time and smaller periods in between, we saw kind of a ski slope. The economy started to go down. Jobless claims started to come in. And even though it felt like a very steep slope to us and in some cases it was, it was still a slope. And gradually this, you know, the economy moved down the hill. Well, this feels more like in the numbers, I think. Bear it out a lot more like an elevator that was headed to the penthouse and all of a sudden the cable broke. There is no slope to it.

Joe: I know.

Patrick: Right. And I don’t think we have any historical marker to measure this also. It’s it’s truly unprecedented in our, in our collective memories. Now, I’m sure maybe in the fourteen hundreds there is some big plague or something like that. And it had a similar debilitating impact. But I don’t think that there’s anybody alive that’s seen anything quite like this.

Joe: Yeah, and the reason, you know, though, everyone will hear this in the intro, but you know, you are the president of SalesFirst Recruiting and you have offices here in Arizona, in Denver and Portland. Are those the three? Those are the three.

Patrick: That’s right.

Joe: Ok, cool.

Patrick: That’s right. Yeah.

Joe: So, you know, you and I have had a lot of candid conversations because I’m lucky enough to be able to share office space with you here in Phoenix. And we’ve talked about everything under the sun. And when I thought about the next important episode, I wanted to get someone that is, you know, was in the trenches of where we had more jobs than we had people. And now it’s going to take, you know, or has taken a big turn the other way. And I thought that this could be a super educational conversation with you. And, you know, like we said, we don’t want to get too dark right with it because it can be you know, it could be one of those things where you’ve already heard enough of this. But I wanted it to be more uplifting and educational to figure out a way to help people that are listening to the podcast or eventually would watch the video because the video would be up shortly as well. How to figure out what to do now to come out of the other side of this and be prepared. And so I have an outline of, of some questions that I’d like to get into. And then we can take it where it goes. And we don’t have to stay. You know, like we said, not too strict on any of this. All right, cool.

Patrick: Giddy up. Yeah,

Joe: So.

Patrick: I like it.

Joe: I think my first question here is, is if you were furloughed as opposed to laid off, like I want to break down the different situations. So there are people that have been furloughed. There are people that have been laid off. What would your advice be in regards to sticking to the the I think what you were doing before all of this happened, because I think most people are thinking, okay, well, this is what I’ve always done. And and I was furloughed and furlough might end up turning into a layoff. Right. It’s hurt right now. It’s like we. I guess the the term that I’ve heard is furlough is like, we love what you do. We’re not laying you off. But at the moment, we can’t pay to have you working. So just stand by on the sidelines of wait. Laying off is pretty much you know, there’s there’s a good chance you’re not coming back anytime soon. And I think the mentality of some people would be, hey, I’ve always done this. So I’m, I’m going to stick with figuring out how to do that again. And I think this is a real pivoting point for a lot of people where they might think I’ve always wanted to do this or I should start thinking along those lines or should I start thinking about what’s what jobs will come back. The fastest the soonest so that I can get back to working, providing for myself or my family or both. So that’s kind of the question that I wanted to talk about. Now

Patrick: Yeah.

Joe: There’s a lot in there.

Patrick: I don’t know if you’re familiar. There is. I’m not even sure where to start unpacking it. There’s a lot of good places to go in that conversation. The first thing that I’ll tell you is this will, too. It will end like all other previous things. There will be an end to it. And when that time comes. Really? How are you going to emerge from it? Will you be less of a person or more of a person as a result? And I think there is a lot of reflection that’s taking place about what it is that you’ve been doing and what it is that you want to do. And one of the authors that I really enjoy is a guy named Jacko Willink. And some of you will know him from his extreme ownership book or his podcast. And he’s been really preaching for many years this concept of good when something goes wrong in your life, Good. When that thing that you thought was going to happen doesn’t happen, Good. And he sees all of those things as a personal challenge or opportunity to explore his envelope and push out the boundaries of what he’s able to do. And one of the things that I was excited about coming on this podcast for was, I think that many people who will be tuning in are probably from or have some passion in arts, whether it’s music or whatever.

Patrick: And these have always been the community of dreamers, the people that believe in possible and they believe in themselves. And I really want to speak to everybody, whether you’re an artist or not. To find a little bit of that in yourself, you can be anything that you want to be, just like your mom told you. Within within certain bounds. I don’t know that I’ll ever make center in the NBA anytime soon. But in working in recruiting for a very long time, it’s been my experience that the thing that holds most people back is the crap that they tell themself on a daily basis. It’s not the system. It’s not their boss. It’s not the lack of opportunities. It’s the things that they put on their own shoulders that weight them down. Right. So to to get into the furlough versus layoff piece, I think that you need to have a very real assessment of what that business is trying to communicate to you personally. And you should be able to take some sort of an assessment or stock in what it is that you bring to the table at that company and determine just how valuable you really are. Is this a we really do want to retain you.

Patrick: And if we regain our footing, we are going to invite you back to full status. Then if the case is yes, then maybe it does make sense to hang in there, assuming the next step in that analysis is do I believe that my company will continue to be viable if that business. Let’s say that you are the manager of the local taco shop on the outskirts of Tucson or something like that. That gets very little traffic on a good day. And you’re thinking to yourself, can they withstand this economic downturn and no traffic for the next four months or five months? And if the answer is no, then despite their best intentions of wanting you to come back, you might not be coming back. So be a realist in that in that expectation, right. Regardless of how good you are to that company, how valuable you are to that company, if you do if you truly, after assessing the situation, don’t believe that they can withstand the next four, six, eight months of economic downturn. Let’s assume that it gets a little bit worse before it gets better, too. Then maybe this is a good opportunity to do some of that reinvention that Jocko talked about. Right. If you’ve been laid off, however, I think that the company is sending you a very different message.

Patrick: That doesn’t mean they couldn’t invite you back. And there’s a couple of things that could cause them to invite you back. For example, the federal government in their carers act has put forward a program called the Payroll Protection Program. And part of that program essentially means that you have to maintain headcount and payroll at a level that was equal to the amount that you had going into the COVID-19 crisis or pandemic. So some of those companies who have laid people off might become eligible for that money. And as a result, they will be forced to, in order to comply with the program, hire people back. Now, that doesn’t mean they hire back you. They can hire back anybody. But if you were really one of those valuable people and they did lay you off, the program might be a reason to bring you back. So there’s there’s some nuance to. It is challenging, right? It’s not a simple yes or no answer. But I do think that there’s a very clear distinction between laid off and furloughed. And doing that analysis of where you stood with the company prior to the furlough versus the layoff is going to help you determine what you do next.

Joe: Right. Yeah,

Patrick: That makes

Joe: Absolutely,

Patrick: Sense.

Joe: And I think it’s important because, you know, everyone wants to keep their hopes up. Right. We all want to be positive about it. And and I’m dealing with people in my own family that are, you know, furloughed at the same time. I own my own company and I had to lay off because they’re in till work comes back, even with like we said this the whole Payroll Protection Program or what what did you call it again? Which is that it?

Patrick: It’s the PPP the payroll

Joe: Yeah,

Patrick: Protection program

Joe: So even with that,you know, if there’s no work happening, why do we just stand around austerity each other? You know, so it’s a it’s a really

Patrick: Yeah.

Joe: Tough balance, what you know. So anyhow. Yeah, I think that’s a good distinction. Yeah, this is this is a really broad question. But do you think that any industries have been hurt more than any other industries during this?

Patrick: Yes, definitely. But on a long enough timeline, all industries will be hurt by this because nobody is making all of their stuff, all of their food, all of their clothing, all of their consumables themselves. It’s an interconnected chain. Remember that mental exercise that you probably did somewhere in junior high, which was what does it take to make a pencil? And, you know, you get the rubber from Brazil and you get the wood from the Pacific Northwest and you get the graphite from some mine in Argentina or wherever. Right. And all of that is eventually assembled in China or something along those lines. So when any portion of the economy starts to break down, it has a trickle effect on everything else. And the example that I’ve been using for people that are trying to get their head around that concept is just bringing it back to one personal experience and not just one circumstance meant in my life. My wife works for a company that was going to have a an event in Beverly Hills which moved very, very Lalique. And as part of that event in February, my wife and I purchased a new suit, a new dress. And of course, my wife had to have new shoes and things like that. And we had planned on all of the necessary travel and hotel and food and meeting up with friends for drinks and things like that. During our time in LA, we lived there for many years prior. And when that trip was canceled due to COVID-19, the shoes went back. The dress went back. The suit went back. The restaurants didn’t receive our business. The gas station attendant didn’t process our credit card order.

Patrick: The hotel clerk didn’t check us. And the guy that parked our car didn’t get the tip. So everybody winds up getting a little less money from just me. And I’m one person of millions and millions of people that aren’t participating in the economy. And it might not be me that purchases software security suite for my big enterprise, but all the little individual contributors who cause businesses to flourish that need enterprise grade software are now not purchasing from Microsoft. So the smallest gas station attendant, single individual all the way up to the mega corporations are to some degree or another feeling it. Now, the bigger you are and the further you are away from social distancing, your business model is essentially social distance itself. The better off you’re doing right now. But as all the dominoes fall, then so goes their business, too. So on a long enough timeline, everybody’s going to struggle. But I think very clearly and I think that I’m probably gonna get if they had not from you. Heck, yeah. Is all of this service and hospitality industries that were about people coming together in groups. Those were immediately impacted because all the conventions, all the sporting, all of the music, all of the casinos, everybody, any place that people congregated were immediately impacted. So, yeah, to answer your questions, there’s definitely companies or industries that were, more quickly impacted, but everybody’s being impacted in a long enough timeline. Everybody will be equally impacted, which was why we’re going to come to this tipping point of like how do we re-enter the normal flow of day to day business? And I don’t know that I’m the right person. Answer that question.

Joe: Well, you know, it’s funny because I thought about all the industries and like you said, you know, my industry. It felt like it initially was a gradual here and there. A couple little people saying, hey, we’re going to we’re going to hold off on this. And then literally overnight, it just the calendar got wiped. And and I think, you know, like I can survive. Right. There’s other things that I can do and and continue. And we’ll be here at the end of this because, you know, we don’t we don’t have the overhead that that would force us to close down. You know, like ultimately completely go out of business. But I think about the resorts that we deal with, they’re like small cities. You know, there’s so much maintenance that has to happen on a daily basis just to keep them in shape and alive. Like all of the landscaping and all of the money that has to go into all of that stuff. And I’m dealing with like literally upper management at these resorts and they’re furloughed. They’re home, you know, and there’s there’s got to be just this skeleton crew of, you know, the maintenance people making sure the golf course is getting watered and mode and just some basic stuff and security. But other than that, there’s nothing happening. Right. It’s just scary.

Patrick: Yeah, and when you think about those bigger ecosystems, it goes back to what I was trying to illustrate is when the hotel decides not to go through the renovation of the East Wing. The guy who is responsible for painting the rooms, the woman who was responsible for bringing in the decorations. The person who was going to buy a machine that does a thing as part of that operation is no longer buying that machine. And it’s those little decisions that have now impacted dozens, if not hundreds, if not thousands of first level, second level, Kevin Bacon degrees. That is really creating the situation that we’re all experiencing right now.

Joe: Right. And I think maybe, you know, this is maybe just being a little naive on my part, but it looks like the only thing that’s moving are the delivery trucks because no one can go and get anything anywhere else. So I constantly in my neighborhood are the Amazon and the FedEx and U.P.S. trucks going all the time. Now, I’m sure they took a hit because other businesses aren’t ordering things that they would normally get on a on a weekly basis. But just because we can’t go and get stuff there, at least I would think they’re being less hit maybe. And like I said, that’s probably a naive assumption, but at least they’re they’re constantly out there. Do it. My brother’s a U.P.S. driver. He hasn’t had a day or a second off. You know, they just they’re moving and moving. So.

Patrick: Yeah, it’ll be interesting to see the quarterly financials for some of these companies, right? When when they do come out, I suspect that a lot of the delivery companies are probably going to be somewhere close to balanced. But I. It’s hard for me to understand. There’s a lot that goes into the logistics game. I don’t know how how a lot of those mechanics work for them, but I’m guessing based on exactly what you’re seeing, the anecdotal data of a million trucks drive by every single day. They’re probably doing better than most, but we can’t really have an economy where everybody in the economy is a truck driver.

Joe: Yeah.

Patrick: You know, everybody just delivering to everybody, that’s it’s not really how the how the world works. So it’s good that there’s one part of the economy that’s working. But and a long enough timeline, the guy that makes the plastic tops that go on your milk jug. You know, their their facility gets impacted by COVID-19 and they got to shut down. Now what? Now there’s no milk, you know. So it’s a really challenging time. So maybe swinging back toward the individual and what you can do. Like I said earlier, this will end. And when it does, where will you be? And we talked about the concept of good. So once you’ve done your assessment of where do I stand in my company? If I’ve been furloughed or if I’ve been laid off. If you’re making those assessments. Think about what a what you would really like to do with your now found free time. Whether it’s getting more education. Learning a new language. Becoming more physically fit. Focusing on new certificates that might make you more valuable in the upcoming economy. Seeking out people who have been successful in prior economies. Thank you. Great word of advice. Just if we can pause for a second is a lot of people surround themselves with people who had the same problem they do. So if you feel like you’re underemployed or not, making enough money for your nest egg toward retirement isn’t big enough. Talking to your friend who has the exact same problems might not be the best solution. So maybe taking this time to diversify your personal network a little bit and seeking out people who have solved some of the problems you’ve had would be a good first step. You know somebody who’s been very fiscally responsible with money and has had a great career. Ask them, how did you do that? There’s probably a secret to their madness. I’m guessing most people don’t lined up as CEO by complete happenstance,

Joe: All right.

Patrick: Right?

Joe: And not only that, but they have

Patrick: So.

Joe: Time now to have those conversations right before they get always shrug it

Patrick: Know.

Joe: Off going. Oh, yeah. Well, let’s get something on the calendar. Let’s do lunch. One of those thing. Literally all we have right now is time. It’s it’s just that we’ve never I’ve never experienced this. And and I wrote I think I did it my own episode on basically saying, I don’t know if we’ll ever have this opportunity again to kind of evaluate who we are as people, what we want out of life. And that’s why I think this is is really important. All right.

Patrick: Good,

Joe: So, yeah,

Patrick: Good.

Joe: It’s just the. Good. So I want to get into more of what I believe you can really help the listeners and viewers with based on, you know, me overhearing your conversations with potential employees and how you work with the companies that you place salespeople for. And you know how I’ve heard you help people looking for jobs over the phone on what you need them to do to prepare themselves for these interviews, for these opportunities. So what I wanted to ask now was, what would you recommend people that are going to need to look for a new job? On the other side of this, what they should be doing at this moment, right now.

Patrick: Yeah, well, we we could teach a master’s course in this. And if we had three or four hours for this podcast, we could literally fill it with just the response to that question. But what I’d like to do is put for just a few easy to understand actionable, impactful items that will absolutely change the potential outcomes of your job search. So the first thing that I would recommend is treat it like a job, finding a job. A lot of folks will, you know, maybe in a week send out 50 or maybe even a 100 resumes. And that’s a start. But I wouldn’t say that that’s a typical eight to five type of a routine. You should be sending out, you know, double or triple that in a single day and you should feel spent after your experience of going through the job boards. Networking and the other things that we’re going to talk about here in just a second. So if you are putting forward the type of time that you’re feeling exhausted at the end of the day and you feel very proud of your efforts, then you’re probably off to a very good start.

Patrick: There’s more people than ever that are out there looking for a job. Most of them are going to take a much more sheepish approach and they’re going to apply to 20 jobs today. And good, that’s better than zero. And they’ve improved their situation to a small degree. Outhustle and outwork them. These people are going to get more looks, more potential offers than somebody who’s just putting out, you know, 10, 20 or whatever. So stay active. The word of encouragement and staying active is the the law of big numbers is very few responses for a high number of resumes sent out. Especially now you’re going to have hiring managers who are probably getting between 100 and 1000 applications every single day. And it’s exhausting if you’re a hiring manager to filter through that many resumes. Which means if you apply to a company, it might be days or weeks until that person even gets to your resume. So don’t become timid or lose faith in the process just because you’re not hearing back from people in a good economy, which it’s funny to think about, was just three months ago.

Joe: Right! God!

Patrick: You know, you you had your pick of the litter. There was jobs everywhere. And typically, 30 resumes would yield at least one job interview. I think that now that the pendulum has shifted so hard in the other direction, it’s probably now more like one hundred resumes per one interview. So you should expect to see 99 nothings. And that can be very disheartening. But if you understand that that’s how the system works, then just push through it for everyone that you send out that you don’t hear something back. Good. I’m that much closer to the one that’s going to respond. So stay active. That’s my first recommendation. Any any thoughts or questions there?

Joe: Yeah,

Patrick: Joe?

Joe: I’m glad you asked because I you know, I started asking this question without even kind of saying initially. Does it make sense to even be sending stuff out right now? Is it? Is it? I like that really should have been the first thing I said. Is it just, you know, crazy to even think anybody’s looking at anything or considering anything at the moment?

Patrick: There are, you know, part of our business model when we see downturns in the economy is we will see fewer job orders from our customers. We’ve had many clients, many corporate customers from very small to mid-market to fortune level companies that have reached out to us and said, hey, we’re going to pump the brakes on hiring for now. We’re going to wait and assess, see what the economy’s really going to bear out. And so we’ve seen it at all levels. But with that being said, we’re still working on some jobs here, which means there’s still people that are hiring. Is it fewer than before? Yes. And I think we’ve kind of already spelled that out a little bit. There are absolutely still companies that are hiring. And it’s not just delivery drivers for Amazon. So with that being said, if you find yourself unemployed and you’re one of those people that finds a great deal of pride, as well as just personal satisfaction in earning your way and you don’t want to idle in unemployment status for an undefined period of time, then get after it. My friend, is there still jobs out there?

Joe: Cool! Well, there we go, I just I thought about it after we started this and I was like, you know, God, maybe you were were there. It’s it’s just futile to even be doing it. But it’s it’s it’s good to hear. And I’m glad because there is some positivity in this conversation about it. Right. That there are some people that you are still working with that are still asking you to find the right people for this job. So

Patrick: That’s

Joe: That’s

Patrick: Right.

Joe: That’s hope.

Patrick: That’s right. Well, is. And we’re not the only broker of jobs in the world right now, I don’t want this to sound like a sales pitch for sales first recruiting or anything like that. Regardless of where it is that you are searching, whether it’s on one of the job boards or within your own network of friends and relationships or former, former colleagues, or whether it’s working with another recruiter or staffing agency. All of those things are very viable and I think you should be actively pursuing all of those things. The recruiting industry is interesting. Some of our jobs will be generally public and you could find them in a number of different venues, whether it’s the company’s website or on a job board or through us. Some of them are exclusive to us. And so it goes with other recruiters. So I have many friends who are in the recruiting business and own their own recruiting companies and they’re working on different jobs than we are and vice versa. So my second piece of advice is start to tap into that network. It’s not just about hitting the job boards. That’s one aspect. And it does work, but it only produces so much results. The next word of advice is call all of the recruiters in town and you might not be a fit for all their business models. And don’t be depressed by that. I have a friend and all that they do is recruiting for people who service the electrical industry.

Patrick: So if you call that person and say, hey, do you have any jobs for me? And they ask you, well, do you work in the electrical industry or thinking about getting into it? And your answer is no, they’re not going to be able to support you. That’s not a personal indictment of you and what you bring to the table to a potential employer. It’s just their business model doesn’t align with your work aspirations, and that’s OK. But if you reach out to all of them, you might just discover that even though they’re advertising themselves as this is our focus. They may have jobs that are slightly askew of that focus. That may be a good fit for you. So don’t just assume make the call. The next piece of the puzzle is your talent network. You’ve created networks either physically in person. You know, the person you know prior to social distancing shook their hand. Or maybe it’s a virtual network from your Facebooks or maybe your old school like Joe here and you’ve still got your MySpace account or whatever. You know, every single person in those networks should be hearing from you right now. What a great opportunity to reconnect and reestablish relationships, but also plant your flag and say, hey, listen, Joe, I know it’s been a little while since I last talked to you. And I know that your three states away from me, I don’t know if if this is the most appropriate way to reintroduce, but I’m actually reaching out because I’m looking for a job.

Patrick: And I don’t know if you know anybody in the Greater Phoenix metropolitan area, which is where I would like to stay. Who’s hiring? But if you do, I’d love a warm introduction. Any help would be greatly appreciated. I hope you’re doing well. And that simple message might uncover that. What do you know? Joe has a cousin who lives just down the street from me who is still one of those businesses that’s vibrant and hiring. And all of a sudden, Joe’s given me a great warm introduction to his cousin. Hey, this Patrick guy. He’s a quality dude. I know him personally. You could you could do a lot worse than him. And then all of a sudden, your resumé, which was previously buried at the bottom of the stack, has sprung to the top due to the good word of a friend that you hadn’t talked to maybe in a little while. And, you know, prior to this economic downturn, my, you know, sense of things assessment was that about 20 percent of the people that we talked to, either previously or during the course of our recruiting with them, will actually find a job as a result of that tactic alone. So if you can increase the probability of getting a job by 20 percent right now, by simply reaching out to people that you already know and saying hello. Why wouldn’t you?

Joe: Is it safe to say that doing a job board sort of search and working that avenue as opposed to working with a recruiting company like yours. To me, the difference is a job board is literally like a cold call. And working with the recruiter is a warm introduction because you already have a relationship with the company. You have a trust with the company. So when you bring in somebody and you walk them in the door for their interview, it’s it’s literally like you’ve already this relationship was already set up ahead of time. These people are walking into a completely cold environment. You’ve already done some selling on behalf of them, like, hey, this candidate really has a great resumé. They’ve stayed at their previous jobs for decent periods of time. Is that safe to say that the job board is a cold call and working with someone like you is a warm introduction?

Patrick: Yeah. You know, in a past life, I was an attorney. So this is this is one of my fave favorite Patrick isms. Your recruiter is essentially that attorney that’s working on your behalf while you’re in the cell down in the bottom of the courthouse. Right. And by having a good advocate working on your behalf, lobbying the judge and saying, hey, I don’t know that my person is should necessarily be looked at negatively. Could you do them a a solid here? And your recruiter is essentially the same thing. We build relationships with candidates that come to us. We unpack what has been their life story to this point and what their career has amounted to. And a lot of our reputation is the reason why clients will take a look at people that might have stories in their past that are hard to bring out during a resume. So you’ve got this eight by 11 piece of paper, right? And maybe you had a job gap and you’re not sure how to express it in the form of a succinct resumé, paragraph or a line where a recruiter can have a one on one conversation with that hiring manager and say, hey, listen, I’m sure that you’re probably looking at this resonate and you’re asking yourself, why did they have this job gap? Well, let me tell you this story.

Patrick: This person had. Can you believe this? quadruplets. And it was a major tax on the family, you can imagine. So they took a handful of months off to come together around the newborns. And that’s the reason for the gap in the hiring manager. Those good. So it wasn’t like rehab or getting out of jail or any sort of scary situation. That, again, isn’t well-represented in the form of the resume. So you have this counselor who’s working on your behalf. And as long as we’re very forthright with our clients and we’re telling the real story and we understand you as a person, which means you have to come to the table and be willing to share without ego, without any sort of misrepresentation, as long as we’re well aligned and communicating correctly, we can be that advocate for you. So, yeah, do I think that you’re right, the job board is the cold call and I think that we’re a little bit different than that.

Joe: Ok, cool. So I wanted to I know that you and your staff have been maintaining a video conferencing presence between all of you to still maintain a norm, I guess, in air quotes. Right.

Patrick: Yup,

Joe: Do you

Patrick: Yup.

Joe: Know, I consider you a really smart guy based on my knowledge of knowing what I know of you now and hanging out, talking about various subjects. What do you think is going to happen moving forward with this sort of work at home environment? There’s video conferencing, remote workers, all of that stuff. I know that there’s definite jobs. We had a conversation the other day in the neighborhood that there are definite jobs that we don’t think could ever go that route. In the first example that I could give is anyone teaching at schools? Because I think the you know, I know there’s people out there that do homeschooling, and that’s that’s something they’ve chosen to do for whatever reason. I have no expertise, nor would I ever want to get into having an opinion on that. Personally, I went to normal, you know, just public schools. And I feel that growth happens with with kids interacting in these environments. Right. So I don’t think that you could ever get away with having the responsibility of parents, being the teachers at home and having school online or having kids sit in a technology environment. Where are video conferencing? Because I, I believe and again, this is my opinion and I don’t always like to get into opinions on this show, but is that I think it’s it’s part of the growth. Like, I grew a ton, obviously, in school. And then when I went to college. To me, that’s where the growth spurt happened. As a person and as a man. And so getting back to just this virtual world that we’re in right now. What do you think? Do you think a lot of these companies are start going to start going, hey, we don’t need this commercial office space that we rent? We are. We have been just as productive, you know, the way we’re working now.

Patrick: Yeah, I think that it’s really clear that the world has changed. And it’s interesting, sometimes it changes incrementally, right. Small evolutionary movements in business. But I think that what we’ve seen here is you’ve just been thrown out of the airplane and then the parachute is tossed out after you. And as a business, you’re trying to figure out how to get to the parachute, how to put it on mid air and pull the ripcord before you’re a splat. Right. And I think that there was a lot of “big businesses” in air quotes out there who were doing business the traditional way, which is brick and mortar. There’s a commute. Everybody punches the clock at 8 a.m. and sits down and does their assigned task and then leaves at 5 o’clock. And I think that a lot of those companies are now forced to reassess that business model just in order to survive this brief moment. And I think some of them are probably going to come to the realization that like even though it was painful and we had to figure out things like how to setup the I.T. infrastructure for people to be able to work from home, whether it’s a how do you extend your traditional desk phone to the home, how do you secure or maybe computers that aren’t on premise? How do you know what software we’re going to use to create this sort of virtual experience that you and I are having now? And a lot of those folks were forced to just do it on the fly to grab that parachute in midair.

Patrick: And I think that some of them are going to come to the realization like, wow, this worked almost as well as the old model. And it’s a lot less expensive. And people have more personal time now that they’re not sitting on our nation’s highways every day. And I think some of those people are never going back because they’ve found something that works as well or maybe even better in some cases. I think that there’s other businesses that are never going to be able to get away from it. Actually, no, let let me back pedal that. I’m not going to say never because there’s always the next revolution that’s out there, this this groundbreaking technology that completely changes how we do work. You remember like the old days of driving around in your car. And if you didn’t smoke, your ashtray was full of nickels and quarters so you could use a pay phone to call your mom.

Joe: [laughter]

Patrick: You know?

Joe: Sorry to say I remember those days…

Patrick: Yeah, that’s that’s the old way of doing things. Or do you remember having a map in your car and having to pull over to the side of the road, unfurl it and try to figure out where you were on the map and where you’re going? Technology has completely changed the way we did those things. Nobody has a coin tray for cell, a payphone anymore. Do we know where a payphone is? And so it goes with mapping solutions. Our cars literally take us from point A to point B and we can in some cases be asleep behind the wheel. If you have a semi autonomous car, maybe even make it so I won’t say never. You know, there’s businesses out there that will never move to a virtual model. But I do think that at least in the maybe my lifetime or next couple of decades anyway, there’s going to be some businesses that simply won’t be able to due to the amount of social distance that’s required to fulfill their service. So if if you are a public entertainer, for example, and I’m a huge concert goer, I love music immensely. It’s a huge part of my life. And the experience of going and seeing a live musician, whether it’s in an intimate environment or in a stadium, can’t be replaced by anything digital. No matter how good your home stereo or headset is, it’s not the same thing, right? So will people be willing to pay for those experiences in the next economy? Absolutely!

Patrick: And I think that there’s gonna be businesses out there like that that are going to continue to survive by in person. So interesting side note is my business was actually looking to purchase a commercial property in the month of February and we’d actually made an offer on a building here in Scottsdale. And thankfully, somebody else came in and outbid me for that building. And while I was initially really bummed out about that, in retrospect, I’m actually really glad because to your point, earlier, we’ve been leveraging technology and the recruiters have been working remotely and we’ve been using a video conference that literally just runs all work day long. And essentially the way we’re using it is everybody will move their screen, but the volume is on. And when you need something from any of your peers, you just unmute. And it blasts out on their speaker. And now you’re communicating or collaborating, much like we did in the old, very animated, very loud office space. That was our recruiting office. And you’ll you’ll vouch for that. So communication hasn’t hasn’t failed us working remotely. It’s been good. The culture, the atmosphere is very similar. So we’re pretty happy with it. And I think that honestly, as far as my business goes, going forward, we’ll probably embrace some sort of a virtual environment versus an in-person environment in the next evolution of us.

Joe: Well, yes. So that’s interesting because that sort of leads me to this this next question, and I guess the question is really whether what the pluses and minuses are of working in this environment. Right, and not having that human interaction and being in a physical space together. So, you know, real quickly, because then I want to jump in to, you know, how this virtual environment changes, what SalesFirst Recruiting does. But what do you think about pluses and minuses over doing this? You know, a virtual world.

Patrick: Mm hmm. Well, I think that you are a good example of best of breed, which is when I look at just your video environment right now, it’s well lit. You have a good background. Your vocals are very clear. And one of the things that I’ve seen just from a recruiting perspective is we’ll talk to a hiring manager post interview for a candidate that’s maybe out of market and had to do a virtual interview and they’ll say, I had a hard time hearing or understanding or their screen was so dark, it was really hard for me to figure out like what their facial expressions was. It was hard for me to figure out, like how they were emoting during the conversation and when people can’t clearly see you or clearly hear you. We’ve now taken this in-person experience, which is already a dumbed down experience in this virtual environment. We’ve made it even worse. And we communicate with all of our senses, the sense of smell, sight, touch, hopefully not taste… that’s a little weird, but we’re always communicating with each other, with all of our senses, right? And so I think the first step is making sure that you’re putting forward the best effort to allow full communication with good lighting, good audio, so that people can continue to engage at a at a higher level than what they would do if you didn’t do those things right.

Patrick: So I know that’s a little bit of a side topic, but I do think that it’s really important. If I could if you just indulge me just a little bit here. Going back to how to prepare for the the your future career. We talked about doing your assessment. We talked about leveraging networks and things of that nature. Do yourself a huge favor and set yourself up virtually to conduct these conversations, because pretty much every single company right now is conducting interviews virtually. And I will tell you that if there is a window right behind you and it’s washing you out and you look like an FBI informant who’s just a black silhouette, your interviewer is not going to be able to get a very good read on you. And I think even at some sort of a subconscious level, we just don’t trust people that we can’t see what’s going on with their hands or we can’t see their face. They’re masked in some ways. So center yourself up with a good video setup so that you do portray yourself in the best possible fashion, because this is going to be your true first impression and it’s still an important thing.

Joe: Yeah.

Patrick: Sorry, I kind of got sidetracked.

Joe: No, no, no. That’s a great point. These are the kind of things that I wanted to come out in this because I think these little tidbits are gonna help people. Here’s the unfortunate thing right now, is that our our neighbor. His parents, his father called him the other day and said, you know, I feel really out of touch with everybody and I don’t have a web cam and I don’t have a way to get on and communicate. You know, like if you don’t have an i, an iPad that has a built in camera or your phone, you’re not used to using that technology or you’d rather be around a webcam at a computer where in his case, his mother and father can both be within the same frame and sit and talk comfortably, while having to hold a phone in their hand or or. And he asked his son, who’s my next door neighbor? Could you help me find a like I can’t find a webcam anywhere. And and he was my friend was like, no way. He said, I’ll find one for you. Then he literally went online. He can not find at this moment.

Patrick: A webcam?

Joe: Oh, yeah. So it’s like

Patrick: Yeah.

Joe: It’s just people got the job. And luckily for me, luckily an unlucky that I literally had this setup for a good, I think maybe two years, because all I wanted to do was get this podcast off the ground. So at least,

Patrick: Well, I actually.

Joe: You know, I had it all when it when when the time came or when, quote, the shit hit the fan. Right!?

Patrick: Well, while everybody was out in full panic buying toilet paper, I was sitting back like Scrooge McDuck buying webcams. So just let your friend know

Joe: Ok.

Patrick: I’ve got his

Joe: Oh,

Patrick: Web game. No,

Joe: Ok.

Patrick: Just getting.

Joe: So here’s the next question that leads into this intel. And just tell me when you’re running out of time, because I don’t want to keep you.

Patrick: I’ve got I’ve got all the time for you Joe

Joe: Ok,

Joe: Cool. So based on the fact that we agree that the work environment is going to head in this virtual direction and it already has. And that people need to prepare themselves to embrace this technology and get used to using it and understanding how it works. How does that change? First, recruiting in the way that I would think you’re going to have to hire people that are now comfortable working from home and are set up to have this technology. I’m not sure if companies are going to. They may they may not supply you with all that you need to work virtually. I happen to be really comfortable working from home. I always have. But I literally can sit at my desk and the kitchen is right downstairs below me and I will forget to go eat because I get so involved in what I’m doing. And so when I hear people say that I can’t concentrate at home, there’s too many distractions. And I I don’t have, you know, young children running around and things that distract me. But even when I had distractions, my mentality is really this is this environment for me is easy. So I feel bad for the people that it’s not. But how do people start to train themselves to to embrace this as a potential way that they would be working in the future? And how does it change what SalesFirst Recruiting does and how you go to hire people or assess people for these positions?

Patrick: I believe that one of the human beings most basic and amazing abilities is the ability to adapt. And I think that, you know, that’s why we’re not swinging around in trees because we are able to adapt. And there’s been a million different things that have changed during the course of human events that people have been able to adapt to. Whether it’s let’s just take, for example, people who were coach makers or they made buggy whips for horse drawn carriages. And then all of a sudden here comes Henry Ford with the automobile. And those people said. This will never work. There’s there’s no roads, there’s no this, there’s no you know, there’s a million reasons why that wouldn’t work. But once cars became more normalized, people learn how to drive. And they used to think that by going thirty five miles an hour, and tear your face off. Can you imagine such a thing? You know, and so people were scared of, of that change. And a great book to read, especially during this period of time, I think is a book called “Who Moved My Cheese”. And I don’t want to be one of those people that sounds like a smarty pants. Like I read a whole bunch of books. You should read books, too. But I really think that, you know, if there’s a small universe of books that you could read right now, that would really change how you reflect on the current state of things. It’s a really good one and it’s all about adapting to new scenarios.

Patrick: And even if you’re currently being challenged or are feeling a little bit of stress by working from home, how am I going to manage kids or noise from the trash truck or all of those sorts of things. How do I tackle this big fat, hairy thing called technology? Because I’m a little bit of a Luddite, somebody that doesn’t appreciate technology. I think that the power is in you like just innately. We as human beings have the power to change. So the first thing is just believe that you can do it. So I think that where people are finding the most success is no matter how big your house is, create a little space that’s just yours, whether it’s one small corner in a one room apartment or whether it’s the back bedroom of your upstairs second bonus room in your seven thousand square foot house. Find a space that’s just yours. That’s your new office. Make it your workspace and don’t co-mingle. Work with family. When mommy or daddy are sitting down at that workstation, it’s not time to go fix this leaky floorboard that’s been bothering you for many months. Right. Focus on your work. Keep that space sacred. Monitor your work hours duteously. If that’s a words like like you would at your normal job. You know, you wouldn’t just take off in the middle of the day to go do some weeding in your backyard. I’m sure you know that’s part of your job requirements. You get fired. So the formula for success is still, you know, show up, work hard, be dependable.

Patrick: And the dependability piece, in my opinion, is really, really important. They know that you’ve you’ve plugged in for the day you’re doing the tasks that have been assigned to you because they can see you virtually that you’re leaving a footprint. Right. Whether it’s emails being sent or phone calls being logged or the time that you’re spending logged into video conferences and things like that. If they get the sense that you’re not being dutiful about it, if you’re not being dependable about it, then you’re not going to be one of those employees that’s going to stick around in the new economy. So treat it like a real job is what I would say. Create your space, treat it like a real job. As far as SalesFirst Recruiting goes, the same formula applies. I think that we hire for ability, we hire for culture. We hire for all of the different, you know, nice to haves from any employee. And I think that they’ll translate over really well to a work environment. But I do think that our interviewing process is going to change just a little bit. Like, tell me a little bit about how you would manage remote conversations with candidates or our clients, our corporate clients. And based on their responses to these questions about their workspace at home and how they would approach virtual conversations will help us determine better. Would they be a fit for our particular business model?

Joe: You’re the cool thing about it, though, is that when I stepped into your office, you guys were already ahead of the game because I you were already doing these these virtual interviews with candidates. You know, these preliminary sort of assessments. And I was like, wow, this is really cool. They they they got their shit together. I want to hang with these people,

Patrick: Yeah,

Joe: So.

Patrick: Yeah, we’ve had some really, really great placements. You know, even though we’re focused in three cities, our span actually spreads all across the globe. We’ve made placements for companies in Australia, in England. We’ve had a number of placements on opposite coasts and in Mexico and things of that nature. Right. So we’ve worked on a lot of interesting jobs. And just as a result of of that business spanning outside of the four walls of our buildings has forced us to embrace technology. So I really count us as somewhat fortunate in having embraced technology earlier than later.

Joe: Yes, I agree.

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