Scott Schimmel 0:20
All right. Hey, welcome to The You School Podcast. I'm here with a very new friend because we met like a week ago. This is Adam Ward. Adam, love to hear a little bit about you, personally, professionally. And then we're gonna dig into what's one of my favorite topics today.
Adam Ward 0:34
Sure. Thanks, Scott. Appreciate you having me here. Quick about about me. I am a founder founding partner at a firm called growth by design talents. We work with a lot of early stage and growth stage startups around all things recruiting. Prior to starting that firm, about four years ago, I ran recruiting company called Pinterest. And prior to that Facebook, Qualcomm and some other companies, but what's really hopefully interesting to all of you is I grew up through university recruiting. So the first 10 to 12 years of my career at companies, including Qualcomm and Facebook, were running elite building out their university recruiting programs, spent a lot of time on college campuses, and seeing a lot of the patterns of students in terms of university, they went to majors and outcomes. And I really love that part of recruiting, which is helping students think through their careers, and matching their personal interests and intrinsic motivations, with career outcomes, and jobs and careers and things like that. So excited to be with all of you and dive in here a little bit,
Scott Schimmel 1:49
Well, you're making me smile, because I remember when I was a senior in college, and if you were on the other end of this, this would probably become one of your stories that you would tell later on because in my final interview, to go work for this big accounting firm, I did multiple rounds. I have like an identity crisis. I'm like, almost like a panic attack in the interview, because the guy asked me the question that no one asks, Why do you want to work here? And I was like, I don't, if I'm honest. And I don't want to have this as a life. And I don't, I don't really know why I'm doing this in the first place. And that, that that voice in my head of like, don't be honest, don't be honest. He just for some reason, finally asked that one question that broke the seal for me, like I can share this with somebody. So that's a big part of what I'm fascinated about, from your perspective, you've hired and been in countless conversations with young people. You've heard probably the good, bad and the ugly of how they talk about themselves and their story. What what do you see, I guess, on both sides, The Good, the Bad, and The Ugly, that could give a young person watching this or a parent or an educator who works with kids, some sort of like hooks or handles or ladder to build in terms of skills?
Unknown Speaker 3:01
Yeah, well, first of all, kudos to you for having the courage to answer the question, honestly, I think more often than not, so much is leading up to that very moment, the pressure to tell the person what they want to hear, right? More often than not happens. And the outcome is you start down a path of a career that you think you're supposed to have, right, but you truly don't want to have. And we all know people who you know, answered it the opposite to you. And started that career in finance, accounting, sales, engineering, choose the outcome, and 18 months in two years in, they are not happy. And not only in the end, because they're not happy and not getting fulfilment from the work, they're not being successful. And so now you kind of get this like bit of a spiral thing. And so what eventually happens is through their decisions, or others, they have to almost backtrack, you know, in their career, they have to find that thing that is going to reconnect with that thing that is fulfilling for them, and change career paths in the cost of that literally financially, but also emotionally and on relationships and other things. Mental health is tremendous. And so the more work we can do upfront to determine and help identify those things where you get energy and fulfillment, then think about the career outcome, but the a lot of our systems to, you know, to really till recent recent date has been around starting with the like, what do you want to be when you grow up? Right, right. Think about that question. What do you want to be? And if it's not, I want to be a well rounded human, I want to you know, they're they, they're these very tactical job outcomes, right? And so if you start there, then you actually become self fulfilling prophecy that you need. To do these things to do that, so I want to, I want to be an accountant because my mother was an accountant. Okay, great. So now you backtrack from that what schools do you need to go to? To be an accountant? What What classes do you need to take in high school? What things? What tutoring? Should you be doing after school now? In middle school, right? Yeah. Versus like, what's the question is like, what like, What do you enjoy? Where do you get energy? Where are you? What do you really do in your free time? And then let that be the outcome of the job. But we actually work backwards now as a society. So I don't know how to answer your question specifically...
Scott Schimmel 5:36
Yeah, because it reminds me a few years later, instead of going into accounting, I worked on a university campus and had conversations with with students that I wish I'd had with somebody had with me. And it turned out, there's probably six or seven years after that moment that I was getting lunches, every single week for a couple of months with there were six different employees at the same accounting firm that I had intended to work at. And all and I known all of them when they were back in college, and we had just kept up, you know, kept up relationally. And at one point, all six of them had said, I made a mistake, I shouldn't be here, I don't want to be here. And I had this thought, maybe self serving to go to and email the managing partner and say, I'm kind of like a bounty hunter for you right now. I could either Yeah, skew them to leave your pretty quickly, which is going to cost you a tremendous amount of money. Or you can pay me 15 grand, I will get them dialed in and help them tap into purpose and passion. But ultimately, all six of them left over the next couple of years. Because it wasn't the right thing. So I imagine you sit in between there. As you work for people to help hire folks, there's a lot of cost involved for making the wrong choice that you talk. Yeah, yeah, life and for the company.
Unknown Speaker 6:53
For sure, I think we've all seen the stat you know, the cost to replace someone that's a mis-hire. It's just the cost of the company is 2x their salary. But there's a much bigger, like emotional cost and impact on the business that you know, that's harder to enumerate. Yeah. And I think one of the things I maybe want to clarify is that all meaning and purpose has to come through our jobs. That's right. But when we, when we generally spent so much significant time of our day, in working weeks and weeks of working, that you can have both, it does not have to be this decoupling of I work here. And then I get meaning and fulfillment outside here. Yeah. But it also doesn't have to be one or it doesn't, you don't have to be one in the same either. You can get meaning fulfillment, you know, from work, you can also do things that are fulfilling to you that also require work. And so I think we'd like to talk in these Maxim's sometimes, work life balance, balance sounds like it's equilibrium, or meaning in work or life. And like, it's like, it seems like these one or zeros, and it's not that way, actually, there's Shades of Gray, a continuum here. And for each person where you derive value where you derive purpose, could be a different blend could be a different formula. And you kind of under you get to learn that formula. As you grow as you do projects in school. Or as you get involved in things in school or outside of school with your family, you can start being paying attention to that balance of like, where you get that energy and purpose through what mediums and through what vehicles, and then you start to apply that as you know, life progresses for you.
Scott Schimmel 8:40
What are the things you as you hire? What are the things that you're looking for? And obviously, it's a given some sort of competency for the role. But But beyond that, how do you? What are you looking for? And how do you look for it?
Unknown Speaker 8:55
Yeah, yeah, we add up for context, I'll say we did these meta studies, both at Pinterest and Facebook, where we had enough employees we hired and also enough data points in interviews that we've done over time to map a couple things. One would be, you know, the outcomes being we can measure performance in the company, we could also measure like engagement. So engagement, thinking about that as like, how excited about my job overall, like how happy are you at work, and what we found over time for success of people are both performing and happy. And by the way, those aren't the same. Just because you're performing well, doesn't mean you're also the happiest, there is like some but it's not a direct correlation is that we will then map that back to the interviews and so we said hey, the person who did the best on their skills and versus like, characteristics, so skills being I know how to write code in a certain language, I can use a financial software, I know how to sell a product. Versus characteristics, being an effective communicator, collaborator, has grit, whatever it might be really important for that company. What actually was more correlated to performance and happiness over time? Surprising is the characteristics, not the tangible skill. The tangible skills are a little bit of like the given in the theorem. Yeah, they're a little bit of like, the basic qualifications like, but generally, if you're interested in that job, you have the basic qualification, what separates someone who's like, really good, from really great, or really, okay, from really happy in the job is those, those other things. So what I love about recruiting is mapping someone's motivations. And like where they spike on the characteristics side, about what's unique about a company, or about a industry. And those are all very dynamic things. So you might think one software company is the same as another software company, one accounting firm, but they're actually very different cultures. And they're very different things and value systems in place around that. And I love mapping a company's core values to a person's core values. And when you get that alignment, it is magic. It is magic. So have you ever maybe had a job interview is a very specific example. But maybe, or even met someone and it just is like, you can almost get like tingle like you like you walk out of that conversation so excited, energized, you want to go do something about that, like that, because there's been an alignment on more of the values than the responsibilities of the job, if you will. And so that mapping and matching is like the magic of recruiting or job searching. And, you know, most job searching is kind of broke into a ton of conversations to hopefully find that match, right? But it's actually more of the intrinsic motivations to a company's core of a person to a company's core values that really make the perfect match.
Scott Schimmel 11:56
To specifically get into that, how, how do you measure those characteristics? Is it something that you're going off of intuition? Do you have assessments that you're doing? How do you look for that?
Adam Ward 12:08
There are assessments there are great things around like strengths finders and Myers Briggs. And there's lots of things out there that are great. That are great measures. I love just asking questions of people. So when was the last? What was the last time you were doing something that you like, you just lost track of time? What were you doing? I was I was I was reading a great book. Okay. Tell me about the book. What was in it? Like? What what made it fascinating because not every great book, you're like, you look at that every book you read, you look up, you're like, wow, I just lost three hours. Like, what was it about? What was the content? What was the top? You know, so you kind of really dig in. And when people feel like they're like, in that flow, or like lose track of time? If you could do anything in the world? What would it be? What are you in the top 5% of everyone you know, at doing? It's often like, not like not a skill, but like something like a characteristic, you have our personality trait or something? And what do you like? What are you really great at? And so this, like, self awareness, and people's actually self selection around things is hugely powerful. Often it takes the right probing questions to get at it. And then you can map that to more understood, constructs, like assessments and things like that, too. But I like kind of digging in a little bit deeper behind it.
Scott Schimmel 13:28
How do you then if you're a candidate in that case, and your experience with with college aged students? How do you get to the place where you can give answers like that? I guess I'm, I'm kind of floating around, like, do you either have good character or not? And I obviously I don't think that but what then can you do in terms of development to be intentional? So you get to an interview, and that just flows? authentically? Yeah.
Adam Ward 13:55
Yeah, I think one is like, we all have good character, it just may be harder for someone to like, have I don't think that happens, like harder to tap in or kind of it feels maybe not as that reach or maybe not as obvious for you. I'm a big believer in like, really people understanding their, what their strengths are, and what they're good at. And then just communicating those, what often happens in trying to apply for a university or a job is you try to mold what you are good at to the recipient, right? And what happens is like your, you know, the, the square and a round hole type of thing, you're kidding yourself, and you're selling yourself on somebody that actually isn't a great fit. So, back to your example of the accounting firm, I imagine you were telling yourself narratives to continue on that track. Because that's, that's what it would take. Those are the answers that were needed to get to that outcome. And so when you actually lead with and, you know, like, here's like, where I'm really strong, and it takes a whole lot Have a vulnerability and confidence to be able to say those things knowing that you're more than likely not to get rejected, upfront, that's actually the better outcome, then taking that job at the accounting firm in eight weeks in eight months, and realizing that's not the right fit, because it, it's gonna work out, it's gonna work itself out, it's better to like bring it to the front, and help you at that decision point, versus being stuck in something later, the wrong universe, that happens a lot. You see a lot of transfers happen after one year, or one semester, where the culture that university the size, the curriculum, isn't the right fit for you, and may or may not be the right time to go to a university or college. And that think how costly that was to you, as a parent think I'll emotionally impact on the student. And so the more you lead with what you're strong at and communicate that that's gonna actually help beat the match happened more accurately up front?
Scott Schimmel 16:04
Well, it's funny, you bring it up, because I actually got fast tracked to in that accounting example. Because I've been to the recruiting event about a year before, and I walked in late, I saw where all the other students were like congregating around, I mean, they were just like leeches to like the big firms and, and there's just one guy on the side. And I just was kind of like, missed it, I'm over it, I don't even care. And I walk up and just really start chatting with this guy, older guy. And he's asked me a bunch of questions. And then he says, What do you think about during the summer, aren't you supposed to get an internship, you know, that's the track that you're on. And I look him, I was like, I go, Hey, okay, I have two options, I can get an internship with you guys, or this girl that I'm in love with is going to study abroad in Italy. I'm like, why would I do an internship? And then it turned out, I found out the next day, that guy that I was just been messing with turns out to be one of the key partners, big accounting firm. And so he was in that candidate, like me just being totally authentic. He's like, Well, you want that guy? And but the point, I think, how do you? How do you get to that environment? For a young person, when there's a lot of stress, there's pressure, there's anxiety, stress interview. And for me, I mean, when I'm in that mode, the last thing I could do is think clearly, and I start, you know, dry mouth, all that stuff. So do you have any, like real practical advice on that end, in terms of telling your story and communicating clearly?
Adam Ward 17:28
Yeah, well, it takes a lot of work to get there. And honestly, it takes a lot of mistakes. And the more that you can learn from really early things, you know, around, hey, I tried that. class. And I did like, what did I learn from that? Like, that wasn't right for me. I tried that friendship. I tried that part time job, you know, and like, what like, it takes a lot of support and guidance from friends and family to help like, think about what are the lessons learned? How do I apply this next time? So the growth growth mindset is powerful, a lot of ways and that's, that's one way. But you have to you bit knowing you're going to try things and things aren't going to work out. But that's okay. Because there's value in that lesson learned that you apply? Yeah. I think when you think about like the interview, I think often interviews feel like a one way thing. And actually, the word interviewer is actually around like damn extracting information to see if you're right fit. And as much as you can going in with like, the level of confidence, I'm like, I'm actually trying to extract information to to see if they're right fit for me. Right, right. And the more you can kind of go into that balance of like, I'm both buying and selling you rent versus just selling, the more you're going to get the right signal, this is the right fit for me. And that's like super easy to say. And this, you know, abstract conversation, very difficult to apply when you might have school loans or expectations from families to get a job. But the more you can put yourself in situations of doing that research around yourself, and what companies or industries or careers might be more interesting, the more likely you're to be in a situation where that's going to be a more natural given, give and take versus like, you're selling yourself to the company of like, here's why I'm a great fit. But in the back of your mind, you're also trying to convince yourself that you're a great fit. And when it actually is a good fit. It just is there isn't there doesn't feel like you're having to make up these things or re shape your answers around the expectations of what that person wants. It's just a match. It's just so much. And I guess it's super easy to say in the abstract. Yeah,
Scott Schimmel 19:32
right, right. Well, it reminds me and you and I are both familiar with this organization called the Honor Foundation. It's mostly special operators like Navy SEALs going in this career transition program. And there's one particular night they do now where it's they bring in a bunch of hiring managers in for a kind of a mock speed interview nights. And I've been in that room a few times. And it's I mean, one hand it's ironic to hear Navy SEALs be like this is the worst thing I've ever done. Not to talk about myself I'd rather be in combat, rather be shot at. Yeah, but then to hear the iterations of, I mean, they go through five or six, seven different times. So just sitting down with someone who asked the question. So tell me about yourself, what do you who are you? What are you looking for? Yeah. And they'll come back after that event and say, I mean, incredibly exhausting, but incredibly valuable to go through the repetitions of learning how to communicate and how to how to trim stuff away that's unnecessary and irrelevant and get to the right good stuff.
Unknown Speaker 20:29
Yeah, and it's those core and I get some things, you know, they might have led a platoon of US soldiers, they might have led an operation, but they distilling it down to these characteristics, leadership or organization or communication, they're actually quite transferable. And we don't talk enough about transferable skills, we often talk about like hard skills or soft skills. I think there's a blend of those which are these is transferable skills, I think it's, it's, it's unfair to call communication a soft skill. I actually think it's a hard skill to learn and be good at. And it's highly transferable, right. And so those, like distilling those things down and helping, trying to identify those as early as you can, and it's not like you have it or not, these are all skills that you can learn and develop. And some of us have a more natural predisposition towards it. But it takes a lot of practice and miles and feedback to improve on it.
Scott Schimmel 21:31
So kind of winding down a little bit as a dad, what messages are you hoping to instill in your kids? How do you even think about that? Like, what do you hope they pick up on over the years watching you and listening to you? What do you what are you hoping to pass on?
Adam Ward 21:49
Yeah, if sometimes, as a parent, it's also so close to the cobblers kids have no shoes. Because there's all bunch of other emotions wrapped in there as well, are there like dynamics happening, it's not just thinking about, like, learnings and careers for my kids as well. I think it's really thinking about each child being very unique and wired very differently. I have identical twin daughters, who literally have the same DNA, and to see what they're drawn to how they react to certain things, from very early days and weeks and months, helps you they're just people are wired differently. Even if they have relatively the same environment and genetic makeup, that's different. It says giving them the space to explore and be the different percent and like make those mistakes. And yeah, I think part of our, as a parent, my goal is to help create that safety net for when they do to help pick them up, learn, like learn the lesson from it and move on. But none of us are going to be perfect. And each of the paths of my three girls are going to be very different. Not many all three won't go to college. And maybe that's okay, maybe they're going to do very different things and have different value systems in but success isn't going to be measured the same for each of them in terms of like jobs and careers and income and families that they're going to do wildly different things. And knowing like all of that is okay, because what really matters is like for them that it feels like success and rewarding fulfilling and purpose, not my definition of what it is for them. And if we're guilty of anything, as parents why thinks is us putting our values and measures of success and filament on our children. And that now they start chasing those things, may they start chasing the path to be being an engineer or a doctor and sacrificing maybe some things in their heart that they know are not aligned with, you know, where they're intrinsically motivated or excited.
Scott Schimmel 23:50
We just did a few nights ago, this live workshop bunch of like 30 Kids in Rancho Bernardo and two of the kids in the room were my kids. And I'm leading them through this series of questions and exercises, helping them ultimately get to that question of what are you going to do? Like we talked about the beginning, but layering in all these other lenses to look through about all the same stuff you started with? Like your priorities, your values, what kind of people do you want to be like those sorts of things? And then when I get home, I don't think my son's gonna listen to this. So I can say, I saw his little packet his worksheet. And I was like, Oh, maybe I should read it. Maybe I shouldn't. But I did. And then one of the questions was, who do you look up to and from their professional life, who is someone that you know, that you look up to and how they work, not what they do, but how they work? And he says my dad, I was like, and then he writes, because he seems to enjoy what he does. And I just thought in a in a clear instance back to me. In this identity crisis. In an interview, I told the guy, I'm really worried that I'm going to become 40 and still work here and become someone I'm not meant to be. And then to hear that I was like, okay, good. Yeah, yeah, I don't know. He knows what I do, really. But at least he has some observation at 16 that I enjoy.
Adam Ward 25:05
But his measure is enjoyment. Yeah, like that's like, that's the value construct Do you want and, you know, if you look at any profession, that people who are the best at what they do, are highly successful, meaning like top of their profession, sometimes that's commensurate with compensation, things like that. But actually more than that, it's around fulfillment and energy, and they're there at the top, because they actually, at the end of the day, they would do that job for free, because they enjoy it so much. And so that, you know, sometimes we're chasing, like, what is like the top salaries or all that stuff that like you're chasing, chasing the wrong thing. And by sort of starting with, like, identifying what they really enjoy, where they find fulfilment, allowing that to take its course is going to ultimately to success as defined by a rewarding life fulfilling life one with purpose.
Scott Schimmel 25:59
Last question, is there any resource that comes to mind? And there's a couple different things to think through one is just really employment in general, there's this collective narrative out in culture right now that that employments changing rapidly where work happens quiet coding? So is there anything that comes to mind on that level? And then the other side of it would be somebody that is young that wants to really think this stuff through? Is there a book you recommend, or a podcast or anything that you to kind of say, hey, yeah, pay attention to this one?
Adam Ward 26:28
Hmm, that's, I probably would need to follow up on some of like, the very specific things, a couple of thoughts is you're gonna have many careers now. So you're not choosing a career, you're gonna do there's, and there's different chapters in your life, too. I think the future of work is actually multiple jobs at the same time. So I think, in 15 years, no one will be working for one employer, they'll actually be working for multiple. And so you might think about slices of your work. Yeah, I only want to say week, because I don't think you'll be doing week slices of your working time, we'll be working on different projects for different organizations, some of them won't be your own. And so I think the the thought of working for one company for a fixed period of time for a fixed period of hours will be gone. And so the construct of thinking about what job do I want to what company I've been working for, I think will be, will be changing significantly in fashion. It's very old fashion. And to think about that, you know, even now, it seems really bizarre, three years later, that you would show up at a company at eight o'clock and be there till five because that's what we did. Like those are like the pandemic is shifting. That's already weird. So that you work for one place that you are beholden to one company and one organization when you actually have a wide range of interests and skills. Outside of that one job and company, I think will also be like, that was weird that was that I don't think it's that far away. The book that I always recommend, which might be in like more high school to college range is emotional intelligence by Daniel Goleman. I think emotional intelligence was 15 years ago, and 20 years ago, and then for the next 20 years, the most important thing that people can develop and the most malleable. And so I really encourage that book as a great way to really understanding what emotional intelligence is and how people can continue to develop it. Awesome.
Scott Schimmel 28:30
Adam, thanks so much for being on this. I can talk to you for hours, and hopefully, yeah, thanks. Thanks for what you're doing and how much you care. And we're comrades and caring for young people and designing and building meaningful lives. So we'll be in touch soon.
Unknown Speaker 28:44
Thanks. Happy to be here. Thanks for having me.
Scott Schimmel 28:47
Hey, thanks for joining in on The You School podcast, we'd love to share with you the resources available on our website at the euskal.com not just articles, ebooks, worksheets and other podcast episodes, but specifically you should know about a free course we have available called The Real Me course. It's digital, it's interactive, and it will guide you to get clear about who you are in a great story you could tell with your life. So go register for free account and get started on The Real Me course today. At theyouschool.com. That's the you school dot com