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Here's Why Executive Search is Whack!


In this podcast episode, the boys chat with Kyle Samuels, founder & CEO at Creative Talent Endeavors. The conversation revolves around the intricacies of executive search, focusing on retained executive search and its traditional practices. The discussion highlights the challenges and dynamics of the industry, including high fees, limited diversity, and the impact of remote work on recruitment. Kyle emphasizes the importance of human connection in the workplace and suggests ways for startups to navigate their first executive search. The episode concludes with a light-hearted note about Kyle's favorite Taco Bell meal.


PODCAST TRANSCRIPTION


Joel Cheesman (00:25.969)

OOOOhhh Yeah, it's Bob Hope's favorite podcast, AKA the Chad and Cheese podcast. I'm your cohost, Joel Cheeseman. Joined as always, the Leno to my Letterman, Chad Sowash is in the house. And we welcome Kyle Samuels, founder and CEO at Creative Talent Endeavors. Kyle also did time at GE Aviation, Ernst & Young, and Yum Brands, home of the greatest company of all time, Taco Bell. Kyle, welcome to the podcast.


Chad (00:34.279)

He's rolling over.


Chad (00:53.506)

Hello.


Kyle (00:57.542)

Thank you, gentlemen, for having me. How you doing?


Joel Cheesman (00:59.577)

Very nice. Very nice. Good. So our listeners, uh, likely don't know who you are. Let's, let's take a little look into the window of what is Kyle, what makes you tick, man.


Chad (01:00.654)

Excellent, excellent.


Kyle (01:06.535)

doubtful.


Kyle (01:11.526)

Yeah, man. So like you, I've had some familiarity with the 216, born and bred in Cleveland, Ohio. Introverted, only child who somehow has decided to base his whole career on interacting with people and strangers and making friends and talking to people all the time. And I love it, it's really weird. But no, started, thank you for the intro, started Creative Talent Endeavors seven years ago. We celebrated our seventh anniversary on February 1st of this year.


Chad (01:38.514)

Excellent, excellent. Well, today we're going to talk about executive search and how it is whack. And before we get to that, we got a little background, right? A little background of executive search. And then also, you know, what's changed with executive search throughout the year? Or is it just the same shit? Hit it.


Kyle (01:55.75)

So for those who don't know, executive search, I'm gonna speak about retained executive search. You have a need, you go to a company because you feel like internally, you cannot find that person or cannot find that person quickly enough. And so the search firm says, great, we'll absolutely find you that person and we're gonna charge you an arbitrary percentage, which is the highest percentage of their salary that we can get you to say yes to. And also by the way, we control who you see. So you can tell us that you can only afford a 250K candidate but if I tell you... all we got is this 300K joker, like, you don't know anything. And so you're going to say yes. And so it's always really, I would not, it's not a scam, but I would say it's rape. It's kind of like a C nos, right? The house always wins in this case. Yeah. And so, but to answer your question, Chad, nothing has really changed in a hundred plus years of executive search. It's still the same way. We don't use data at all in.


Joel Cheesman (02:36.337)

It's a profit deal.


Kyle (02:51.046)

various aspects of executive search. And I think that one of the reasons why it's still this like lofty, you know, gate kept system is because it is so expensive to pay for these firms to actually do these searches with you. Not every company can afford that for every role or many roles. And so what you find is it's a certain group of people and of talent that kind of just get passed around the executive search world.

because they're within that gated ecosystem.


Chad (03:21.762)

So companies don't generally have anyone on staff who have this type of expertise because they just don't need it as often. I mean, why don't companies do this themselves?


Kyle (03:33.294)

it vacillates all the time, right? So one point the pendulum is, we're gonna do everything in-house because why pay all these exorbitant fees when we can just have people pay them a salary and then they execute the search work for us? That works until people are like, we're not really hiring, why are we carrying all these recruiters on our load? We don't really need them. So then it goes back to, ah, it's not strategic, TA is just like, kind of like, go find the people. So we're gonna use firms for it. So it literally goes back and forth and back and forth.


Chad (03:36.331)

Okay.


Kyle (04:01.574)

depending on honestly who's running the TA or HR department at the time.


Chad (04:04.81)

So does the executive candidate actually pay a fee?


Kyle (04:11.526)

There are some companies that will say, hey executive, pay us this money and we're gonna make introductions and help you and all that good stuff. I feel like in this day and age of internet and LinkedIn where people wanna find you, they can find you. I would not advise that. So I say typically if you're paying a fee for something that's not coaching just for introductions, eh, it smells a little weird to me.


Joel Cheesman (04:32.933)

So I would initially think that this system has been around for a long time because it works. However, in my research before the call, I saw surveys of like half of all executive searches fail. I'm not sure exactly what defines failure. But do you agree, disagree with that? And if it is such a bad batting average, why are we still doing it?


Kyle (04:58.578)

So I would say this, I'm one Chad and cheese, I can be myself. So like in like 1812, someone could be like, oh, this labor shit is really working, it's great. I don't pay anything and I get all this labor, it's awesome. So it's working for a certain group of people, yes, but is it working for everyone? No, an executive search is somewhat the same way, right? It depends what side of the equation that you're on. Another reason why people like you said,


Chad (05:03.96)

Yes.


Kyle (05:25.894)

they've been, they accept it. Is there a lot of people who honestly, these are my friends, I've talked to them at other companies, they are so excited to run to one of the big firms and be like, oh my gosh, will you please take my 100K to find this person for us? And they're like, oh, we'll do it. There's part of this is like, we've made it. We can afford to spend this much money with this company that shows that we're doing things well. Maybe it works out, maybe it doesn't, but at least we've reached that level. And because of the brand of those companies, you feel like maybe it was us. I know searches don't work all that well.

And that honestly is the great thing about having a brand, right? Like if you are a new company and there's a mistake, it's like, Oh, I don't know about them versus your GE and you have one bad wrench, they don't make wrenches, but follow me. Um, it's like, eh, they've been there for a hundred plus years. People are going to make mistakes. And so people get. Seduced by the brand, the name and what that means. Um, and companies use that to their advantage, quite frankly.


Chad (06:18.554)

executive search seems to be like they're fishing in the same pool constantly, which is very old and white and male. Right. So why do companies continue to go to, uh, an old pool of the same


Kyle (06:29.667)

They are.


Chad (06:38.734)

freaking candidates. I mean, Joel calls it swapping spit for God's sakes, because it's literally, it's going from one company to the next company. It's CEO from here to their co CEO, whatever the hell else. There's no diversification. There's no upping. It just, it just seems like again, this does not seem like a good or even, even a model that you would want to get into today to be able to not just diversify, but to be able to get new talent into your organization.


Kyle (07:09.234)

So it's waterfalls. And I'm not talking about agile waterfall, I'm talking about TLC. People are, they're sticking to the rivers and the lakes that they're used to, for real. Like that's it. I feel comfortable with this group of people or these companies or they've been vetted by these companies. I know them. I don't know who's over there. They're different than me. They went to a different school. They look different. That's scary. I don't care about that. I'm gonna go with this group because it's easier. It's frictionless. And the other person thing to remember is that


Chad (07:15.222)

There we go. Uh huh.


Joel Cheesman (07:21.05)

Mm-hmm.


Kyle (07:35.482)

Let's be honest, the people who are spending money on these search firms, it's not their money, they're employees, right? They have a budget, but it's not their money. And so, especially if their CEO is like, oh, I love this firm, go work with them. Okay, because, and this is something I've talked to, because my business, right? Talked to people who hire executive search firms, they've told me, hey, Kyle, here's the thing, love you. But if we go to CTE, you know, a boutique firm, that's awesome.

and it doesn't work out, my boss can be like, I've never heard of this, why would you do this? But if we go to a firm that's known, like it's the old adage, no one ever got fired for hiring IBM. It's just like, it's IBM, who knew that there was a rogue character who wasn't a good recruiter, right? And so there's a lot of CYA that goes on. It is the safer thing to again, stick with that same ecosystem. It's not innovative, but if it's successful for you at that time, you don't care.


Joel Cheesman (08:06.562)

Mm-hmm.


Chad (08:24.238)

Mm.


Kyle (08:31.398)

Just being honest.


Joel Cheesman (08:32.737)

I'd love to hear your perspective, uh, being on the front lines of this when, you know, DEI was hot for lack of a better term, uh, following, you know, George Floyd and every, you know, it seemed like everybody wanted a diverse executive or they wanted to, to widen the pool. Uh, we're, you know, we're still dealing with Mark Cuban and Elon Musk going back and forth on, on social media about what exactly is diversity in an organization. So you're just your perspective.


Kyle (08:40.829)

Hehehehehehe


Kyle (08:49.842)


Like Pokemon.


Joel Cheesman (09:02.017)

Is there still a demand to diversify the C-suite? Is it less than it was a year or two years ago? What's the current state of it? Talk about D&I.


Kyle (09:13.574)

So it's less than it was, but here's, I'm gonna shoot a lot of bill. I may have said this to you before Chad. So I'll give you an example. I think that people don't like performative things. They don't like being told if you're a CEO and you've got a job to fill in, you feel like Chad could be the perfect person, but they're like, no, yes, Chad could do the job, but we need to speak to women and minorities before we fill this role. Now, if the job you're talking about for Chad is like,

the maybe the chief diversity officer, and yeah, it might make sense to get a bunch of people with different perspectives. But let's say it's like senior director of FP&A. Make me the argument that having a woman or a person of color in there is gonna make our company more profitable. It's probably not in that particular role. And so I do understand that executives feel like we're sick of this, you have to do it just for looks and it, cause it looks good or whatever when it doesn't serve your business. But what I would say is this.

The problem is, is a lot of, especially during the pandemic, you had people who were just like, hey, I'm an associate brand manager, but I also happen to be Hispanic. Cool, Consuelo, you're now our head diversity officer. But I know Mark, that's cool, you're Hispanic, you want the promotion, right? And so unfortunately, she's in that position where she may be passionate about DEI, but she knows how to self-patate a ship. She doesn't know shit about DEI and she fails. So there's that. Then you've had a lot of people who were just like, they think real life is Twitter and they wanna like, you know.

Chad (10:26.495)

Yeah.

Kyle (10:33.282)

say all these cool things and not really do the work. They almost want to come into the business and be aggressive. That doesn't work either. But what I really do believe is that if you show the return on the investment for DEI, the ROI DEI, people will understand it. I'm gonna give you a perfect example. What's old boy's name from the Clippers? He had the side chick. No, no, the owner, the owner of the Clippers. Oh, I can't think of his name, but fine, that's fine.

Joel Cheesman (10:55.281)

Paul George, Kauai Leonard.

Chad (11:00.085)

The owner.

Joel Cheesman (11:01.353)

Oh, the owner from Microsoft? Oh. Oh yeah, okay. I'm with you.

Kyle (11:02.842)

Yeah, but the guy, nah, don't put that on Balmer. The dude who owned it before, he said a bunch of racist stuff. You can do your Googles. But here's the thing. So he was saying wild racist shit, wild racist stuff about players magic this and that. But guess what? Who were his players? They looked like me, mostly not y'all, because he knew, hey, I may think that white people are better than the black people, but guess what? Not in that damn court. So guess what? I'm gonna pay the best people regardless of their background because I want to win.

Chad (11:17.098)

Mm.

Kyle (11:33.006)

And so I do think with a lot of executives, if you say, our CMO must be a woman or a person of color, why are you making me do this? Why, why, why? Well, we want it to be a Latina because our biggest area or our biggest target for growth is Central and South America and we want someone who knows the culture, speaks the language, blah, blah. And we think that person can do a better job than a white guy from Omaha or a black guy from Harlem. That totally makes sense and people can see it. But I think what people push back against is just, no, because

We've never had one before, now we need this right now. And honestly, in a lot of those cases, it doesn't work well for the person who's coming in because no one wants to be just like, oh, you're here because you were born this way, not because of what you can do or how you can perform. So to get back to your original question, I think that there is a lot less of a desire for it overall in most companies, but the companies who get it, they get it and they haven't stopped doing the real good work.

Chad (12:28.43)

Gotcha. So let's talk about the future. Okay. So we've obviously established that executive search is old. It's feeble could be running for president, the United States. Who knows? Um, at the, at the end of the day, what does the future look like? Right? I mean, you said that the, the executive search for the most part, they're not, you know, they're not, they're, they're not founded in data, in tech, in algorithms.

That's what we're seeing though in the rest of the world. Are we going to move that way? Tell me what the future looks like

Kyle (13:03.586)

Yes, and a lot of search firms, I mean, us included, we use AI for things like back of the house job descriptions or collecting candidates and stuff like that. But one important thing to notice about all that is like companies will do that and they will tout, oh, we use AI for our sourcing and stuff. But as a customer, why do I care? Unless you're giving me a discount or you're telling me something else, like that's great that you guys have saved money but you haven't added it to me, right? And so think about what I think the future is, is this. Oftentimes,

Perfect example, now that people can work remote and regions and stuff, a company's might say, hey, if you work in Manhattan, you know, you might make 15% more than someone working in Omaha, just because cost of living, stuff like that. If you have a PhD, you might make more money than the person with just a BA, right? But when you flip it, when it comes to search firms, we haven't said, wait a minute, you want us to find you an executive who needs to work in, I don't know, Butte, Montana and come into the office every day. That's going to be very hard.

Chad (13:48.258)

Mm.

Kyle (14:02.31)

versus our company is based in Manhattan, we have 40 offices around the country and you can work anywhere in the US, right? Super easy compared to that. Why are we paying the same, or why are we charging the same price for something? One is the degree of difficulty is exponentially harder, but the way things work right now, it's like going to a grocery store, you go to Trader Joe's, they give you the brown bag, and they say anything you put in here is $50. Now.

Chad (14:26.41)

Yeah, but nobody knows what it looks like though. Nobody knows what the landscape actually looks like. So they don't know to ask that question, right? Is it easier to find somebody in Des Moines versus New York City? Well, yes, it's easier in New York City, right? But most people don't understand that so they don't question it. So do we have enough data exposed where people can actually understand what the fuck is going on?

Kyle (14:51.838)

We do, but here's the, I'm just being 100% honest. If I wasn't, if we weren't a company that, you know, was nationally remote, no offices, no, you know, leases, beautiful leather chairs and aquapon and stuff like that, I wouldn't be talking about this. But the reason, the data is there, but there is no compelling reason for search firms to do that, right? Like it doesn't make sense for them. It's kind of like what you guys talk about LinkedIn and we use it and because we have to, but like.

Chad (15:00.697)

Hmm?

Kyle (15:21.09)

I've talked to people LinkedIn, it was like, from a business perspective, like, there's only so much improvement they're going to do because where are you going to go? Where are you going to go? So like, we could do all this stuff, but why? It doesn't make business sense for us. And so I think it's the same thing with the search firms. The data is out there, but people don't know. And you could talk about rationality. It's the same way that I'm looking at them all right now. You can't see it. But like, you can have a sweatshirt that costs $100, or you could put Balenciaga on it. Now it costs $2,000. But some people are so excited about it.

saying that they are a part of the Balenciaga world, they will pay that premium. And I think that it's the same way with search. I see it happen with lots of vendors. You were so excited that you finally been able to get McKinsey to work with you. You're paying a premium for that, but you're okay. And sometimes you do get the value for that premium, but when you don't, you say, meh, it's McKinsey, they probably had an off day. It's okay.

Chad (16:00.302)

Mm.

Joel Cheesman (16:04.57)

Yeah.

Joel Cheesman (16:11.049)

What impact has work from home made on executive search? I mean, we have stories of companies saying get back in the office and we have some companies saying like you can work from anywhere at any time. Talk about what you've seen from your perspective, more companies coming in house, are they willing to have executives that don't work in an office, relocation options, like from where you sit, where does executive search sit?

in the work from home phenomenon.

Kyle (16:42.194)

So to answer your first question, it has been much easier for us, right? Cause in the before times, before COVID, it was like, hey Chad, you live in Baltimore. We've got this great job in LA. We want you to come. Chad has to think about moving his kids. His wife has a job or whatever. Where now it's just like, hey, we're still the cool company in LA. You guys can stay here. Nothing changes for you. So in that way, it's been easier cause you don't get people rejecting the job offer because they have to move and disturb the family. That has been great.

Chad (17:06.894)

Mm.

Kyle (17:08.654)

Honestly, where I think it's been a little wavy is for candidates and employees because companies for the last few years have been playing double Dutch with return to work, right? Like four years ago, oh my goodness, you can be in 10 buck too, it's okay. Go to Tulum, log in, we're good, right? Then it was like, oh, we got, what's that? Vaccine, hey guys, why don't you come in? Just come in two days a week, why not? And then it was just like, oh wait, we got the booster, three days. And then it was like four and five and so.

Joel Cheesman (17:29.829)

Two days a week.

Kyle (17:36.55)

Then they go back and pull back. So like companies have been loathed to just plant that flag in the ground and say, hey, we think we're better together. Because of that, we are gonna be a company that comes in the office four days a week. But we're gonna make it so that you're not doing the trope of like being in the office and zooming with your teammates who are at home that day. There are still individuals who crave human connection. Like we're human people and they want to go work in offices. And I think it's super important for junior people to understand what that looks like.

Chad (18:04.622)

Mm.

Kyle (18:04.914)

But if you are wishy washy, then people are wary because they don't know if you're gonna change it all of a sudden, right? Like there are companies who have told people you can go anywhere and then they said, just kidding. Actually, not only do you need to be back here, we'll move you here permanently, but if you wanna come back once a month, you have to self fund that. And it's just like, you didn't tell me that when you said I could move.

Joel Cheesman (18:22.937)

So we're going back to the future. We're going back to where you have to be, where the company is. The remote thing is not happening for most executives.

Kyle (18:31.45)

I wouldn't say that. And I would also say for executives, it's just life, right? Like sometimes when you have that C in front of your title, do as I say, not as I do. I know companies where it's like nowhere in the office, but they don't worry about the C, blah, blah. They can do what they do, right? So there's some of that. But what I do think that has been great about this is for companies like myself and small companies, when I started the company, well actually I was in Orange County, but as I grew it, I was in Charleston, South Carolina, beautiful city. I love it, great food, but not known for having the world's best. It's not a...

Chad (18:37.386)

You do. Yeah.

Kyle (19:01.154)

industrial, like major business city. And so rather than say, let me get the best people I can in Charleston where I live, it's like, let me get the best people wherever they live. And so I think that is a huge boon for smaller companies, companies that don't have or need real estate, but for the larger companies, sometimes they forget the cost fallacy, but I do believe honestly that, especially if you're younger in your career.

Chad (19:03.918)

Mm.

Kyle (19:25.778)

the ability to be around the people you're working with and get to know them outside of work. I always joke about people when I see them, which is probably not politically correct, but I make a joke like, oh, you do have legs, just because we spend so much time seeing people from the belly button up, you know what I'm saying? So like, oh, now, like, I don't know if Chad has legs or not. So like, hopefully I'll see you guys in Transform and I'll know that, but that getting to know people and the socialization and the workplace is just so crucial. And that is one of those things.

companies, even if you're remote, I think it's super important just to make sure there are connection points to get, if it's once a year, twice a year, maybe you have pods, but I'll put a pin in real quick saying this, is I tell executives when they get jobs and they're excited, like, oh, it's great. They say that I don't have to come in. I was like, ask them, and this is like when it's not a client of ours, but like ask them what their budget is, right? Because that shows you what they think about connectivity. If you're coming in at a senior level and they're like, oh no, you don't need to come in at all. Like that would give me some red flags.

Chad (20:23.702)

pause, little pause. So that being said, going, yeah, you don't wanna see that. You don't wanna see that. Let's go back to the, let's go back to again, the actual fees and the structures and kind of like the traditional long-term, you're gonna pay a shit ton of cash, especially when we're talking about executives who have seen, you know, 1500% pay raises over the last 40 years. And the rest of us schmucks have seen about 14%, right? So that...

Joel Cheesman (20:25.581)

I'm best from the belly up by the way, just in case you're wondering.

Chad (20:53.386)

That obviously aligns with the fees. So the fees have gone through the roof. How do you actually change it, as you were talking about earlier, it's not fair to be looking at an executive in Des Moines paying the exact same thing versus New York City or Miami or what have you. How do you actually get into a structure that way where the client can see this transparently upfront so that they can understand

that there is a new like fashion forward way to look for executives that's not going to kill their fucking bottom line.

Kyle (21:30.446)

Yeah, there are companies out there using that data to let a client go or prospective client go and say, here's the role, here's what I wanna pay them, here's the location, here's the, is it in office, is it hybrid or not? And they can see and play around and be like, oh, interesting. And I think it's something that job, when I say job, hiring managers think about because it will, these things, these calculators can show you that, oh, wow, if I say the thing could be, the person can be remote.

I might save like 15, 20% on my search. And the reason why is because if you say you have to be, I'm in Atlanta right now. If you say you have to be in Atlanta and you have to come in the office five days a week, that is limiting the number of people a recruiter can get versus you can be anywhere in the US, you've exponentially increased the amount of people we can reach out to, which means we're gonna close the search more quickly, which means we can take on another search, which means you can give that, some of that savings back to the client. But I think it's two things. I think first off,

Chad (22:27.807)

Mm-hmm.

Kyle (22:30.786)

It's the education aspect and letting people know that, surge pricing, getting your airline ticket two weeks in advance. We know there's certain things in life where if you act in a certain manner, you will save money or pay more. Allowing people to understand that it can be the same way with search. And then also just making sure that people understand that if you're getting a fair price, it doesn't mean that you're losing quality. It just means that there are companies out there who don't feel like they need to stick you up because in 2020, 2021, maybe a little 2022,

There were companies out there like, if you don't have 200 grand, you better turn around and go make some other friends. I don't have time for you. And that's the interesting thing with these search firms. When times got rough, they did not lower their fees, right? Like they raised them, but when time, they weren't like, oh, let's work with you, understand times. Nope, price is the price. How may I help you? And so it.

Chad (23:09.014)

Wow.

Joel Cheesman (23:19.901)

We're seeing headlines about boomers leaving the workforce, somewhere in the vicinity of 10,000 are retiring every day. But we're also hearing about them sort of part-timing their old jobs. What's your take on sort of the generational shift that we're seeing from an executive search perspective?

Chad (23:30.818)

Finally! Jesus.

Kyle (23:42.066)

Boomers know how to work, man.

Joel Cheesman (23:42.745)

Is it Gen X's time? Is it our time? No.

Kyle (23:46.15)

the forgotten generation Gen X. Yes, but I would also say that boomers know how to work. They have a work ethic. They know how to get busy. They typically don't have as much entitlement. They knew how to do stuff without the LinkedIn and the technology. So I love it. I honestly have seen, there used to be like in years prior, more of a bias towards the young hotshot up and comer, right? Now I'm seeing more clients. I'm not saying they want someone who's, you know, about

months from retirement, but they, you know, like Murtaugh and Lethal Weapon, but they do want someone who has the knowledge, has the grit, has seen it, is not going to like, you know, lose their crap over a bad quarter and things like that. That is something that I've seen change versus just like, nope, the hotshot who's got lots of potential. They haven't done it yet, but we know they can do it. Now there's a little bit more of like, no, I want someone who's battle tested because a lot of companies through the pandemic and because you couldn't interview people in person.

Chad (24:16.439)

Mm.

Kyle (24:43.034)

They hired a lot of people, they found out, oh, you weren't that good, it was just the economy, it was great and no one was checking, but in 2022, I can kind of see that you come up wanting.

Joel Cheesman (24:50.897)

So we're holding on to boomers as long as we can, is what I'm hearing. We're not ready.

Chad (24:56.554)

which screws up our talent pools. I mean, that screws up our talent pools because as soon as they're gone, we've got people with no experience whatsoever. Yeah, that's a different podcast. We don't have people with the experience in these roles because these assholes have kept them so long, right? Yeah, I mean, so...

Joel Cheesman (25:01.889)

and real estate prices, but that's a different.

Joel Cheesman (25:11.601)

Yeah. We're going to pay the piper eventually, right?

Kyle (25:16.367)

Which goes back to what you said about the same ecosystem of talent just moving around and chugging around. Yeah, it's time to listen to New Blood in.

Chad (25:19.69)

Yeah, right, right. So what do we do about that? What does the future look like? I mean, when the pool dries up, right? What do we do then? Because we are doing this to ourselves.

Joel Cheesman (25:23.761)

Ha ha.

Kyle (25:34.466)

It's, so I'm gonna talk about diversity in a different way, not what most people expect. Bubba, Bubba is a guy who graduated first in his class from the University of Nebraska in computer science. But because he went to the University of Nebraska, cool startups don't come there, the sexy consultancies don't come there. So he goes to like Cargill or Monsanto, the type of companies that hire people from University of Nebraska. Bubba would cut his left arm off to move to San Francisco, work for startup and be in the office every day. He would love it.

But guess what? You're in flyover country. We don't give a crap about Bubba. But Bubba also knows things that I don't care if you're black, white, whatever. You grew up suburban, upper middle class, middle class. You went to these elite schools. You kind of have this certain thing. You don't know what people in the so-called flyover states want. Bubba might have an app for like milking cows that could be, I'm serious, being monumental, but they get overlooked. So I think that's another part of opening the aperture and looking at different types of talent is...

One of the things again, you hear about people like millennials, oh, they're entitled. They want this, that, and the third. Well, that's because if you go to certain schools, you're brought up a certain way. It's like, I have a, I want to Wharton have a NBA from Stanford. Yeah, you're damn right. What can you do for me? Right. But Bubba, Bubba wants to prove some stuff. Bubba has grit and Bubba is going to possibly open up markets and opportunities that you didn't know about just because.

Chad (26:47.37)

Yeah. Look at my debt. Yeah.

Kyle (26:58.582)

Oh, wait, how much fertilize? I don't know, I'm making stuff up, right? But I think that, again, expanding it, making it more open and inclusive, always just makes everything better. And one thing I will say about a little diversity part, I have found typically that a lot of people who worked in the military are fantastic, because think about it, especially if you start 18 or younger, you're with people, races, ethnicities, economic, all this different stuff. You just, some are there because they need a job, some are there because they love their country, some of the times it's both.

Joel Cheesman (27:01.881)

Yeah.

Kyle (27:28.582)

but you have to move as a unit with people who don't necessarily look like you think, believe in the same things. So you go to corporate America, it's like, I've had bullets flying over my head. You're worried about this commercial didn't get the hits that we wanted. It'll be fine. And I can interact with any different type of person.

Joel Cheesman (27:39.781)

Huh.

Joel Cheesman (27:44.785)

Kyle, we have a lot of startups and smaller companies that listen to the podcast, maybe looking to do their first ever executive search. In a minute or less, what kind of advice would you give them in starting out with their first ever search? Then, I want you to follow up that question with your go-to meal at Taco Bell.

Kyle (28:04.966)

Got you. Okay, I'm not gonna do a plug. So the first thing I would honestly say, think about as a small company, because I've learned this is a small company too, bigger companies see it coming. They know you don't know crap about crap and they will finesse you. So I would look at how much does my account mean to this person, this company, right? Let's be honest, if you've got, maybe it's 50,000, 75, 100K means a lot to you, but a big company, that's just like, whatever, right? And so like,

That's also gonna show how much attention and care and value they're gonna give you. Also, if you're a smaller company, even if they crush this, you may not need them for another year or two. So again, just think about how much work and care and attention are they gonna give you knowing that you may not have anything for them for another year or so, right? Whereas a smaller company, or forget smaller company, let's talk about people. Someone who's more relationship driven, ask why they're interested in your company. What do they like about your company? Why do they think this is a search that they wanna do?

And you can see if they've really done the research and trust me, if it's a big old company, the big ticket, they will do it. If people haven't done the research, that's cause they really don't care. They think they can get it without even taking the time to learn your company. So ask some of those questions. Don't expect them to be an expert and know your whole origin story, but at least you wanna have that feeling that they really care and that they want to partner with you versus just like, oh, it's an account, it's a check, let's go and let's move on. That's the first thing I would say. And then Taco Bell, I'm a DLT guy, man.

Chad (29:02.527)

Mm.

Kyle (29:33.182)

I'm a DLT guy.

And ranch, by the way, ranch, the LT Cool Ranch.

Chad (29:40.08)

Kyle, so obviously people listen to the podcast. They're gonna want some more, more info, more insights around executive search. And if they do, where can they find you?

Kyle (29:52.85)

They can find me on LinkedIn. They can find us at www.hire, H-I-R-E-C-T-E.com. That's our website. And you can call, no, you can't call me. But yeah, no, reach out, ping me. I will be at Transform next month, lurking around, running around, eating food, having fun, meeting people. So yeah, love to talk to people. It's my business.

Chad (30:08.905)

Excellent.

Joel Cheesman (30:16.409)

Maybe have some Taco Bell. Why in God's name did we record this at lunchtime? Chad, that is another one in the can. We out.

Kyle (30:22.246)

Yeah.

Chad (30:23.906)

way out


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