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Show Notes

Answer the question: On this week’s episode of Track Changes, Paul and Rich share some interview advice they’ve learned after conducting hundreds of job interviews. We give some straight-forward tips on what to do in job interviews. We chat about the importance of listening, keeping your answers concise and being able to have a conversation with your interviewer. We also talk about what you shouldn’t do. For starters, don’t act like you don’t want the job.

Transcript

Rich Ziade I didn’t mean that in an insulting—

Paul Ford No—

RZ The damn animal speaks sign language, ok? 

PF No, I know. It’s great. Coco the gorilla is definitely [Rich laughs] the look I’m going for. [Music plays for 18 seconds, ramps down

RZ Paul, you know what I’m really proud—it’s pride and . . . sympathy. It’s a complicated blend of emotions. 

PF What? 

RZ It’s hard to get hired at Postlight. 

PF Yeah, it’s like 1%. 

RZ We have tests. 

PF I used to feel—

RZ And it’s a lot of conversations [music fades out]. 

PF I felt terrible about this early days. Like when I was getting started, learning what my role was. 

RZ Yup. 

PF Cuz you just—you feel bad. Basically everybody who gets through the filter is a pretty good person who’s pretty good at their job. By the time you sit down with them—

RZ Yeah. 

PF That first interview. You’ve looked at the resume; you’ve sort of poked around a little bit; and you know this is somebody who can do something like the job. 

RZ Yeah, well there’s—

PF You want them to succeed. 

RZ You want them to succeed! And when they come in for that interview, it’s hard—it’s actually, you know, when you’re having a busy day and then they wedge an interview in the middle of it, I try to like do this thing where I sort of—I need to not come in with my posture and my—what’s that character in the Peanuts that has always just the garbage swirl in and around him all the time. 

[1:17]

PF Pigpen. 

RZ I don’t wanna go in as Pigpen. 

PF No. 

RZ I don’t want them to feel the stress and the tension and whatever else is going on in the day. Sometimes I’ll have a bad meeting, and they’re like, “You have an interview now, Rich.” And then I have to go to that interview. And you really wanna give them a shot. 

PF When do you look at your calendar? 

RZ That’s a different podcast, dude. 

PF No, I look at it—I look at it in the morning, first thing. 

RZ In the morning, in the morning. 

PF Because it literally influences how I dress, sort of my overall attitude. Like, I need to know what I’m in for. 

RZ Deodorant. 

PF Yes, always deodorant. But pace yourself through the course of the day, right? 

RZ Yes. 

PF So, if I see two interviews at the end of the day, I know I’m gonna be like—I gotta ease up to that. 

RZ Yes. 

PF And you do—you have to walk in kinda blank slate. Respect is really important, first of all. People also meet us in this extreme stress position cuz we run the company. 

RZ This is a great point. We wanna share some tips just because we’ve interviewed—And it’s, by the way, it’s gotten to the point where it’s like, “Hey, remember Sally?” . . . And they’ll all look at us [oh, yeah, yeah]. And we have interviewed over 150 people in the last 12 months. 

PF Easily

[2:17]

RZ And they’ll say, “Remember Sally?” 

PF Well, the firm has probably interviewed about five or six hundred. You and I—cuz we don’t interview all the engineers, we don’t interview all [correct] the designers, but we do interview all the product managers, and anyone in leadership. 

RZ Correct. 

PF That alone is about 150 people. 

RZ Correct. And we try to be as out of the way as possible [mm hmm]. And so we’re gonna share some tips today about the interview process cuz we’ve seen a lot. We’re by no means experts on how to get a job but we’ve seen so much and so many different failures and successes that we wanna share some tips. 

PF And half the time we walk out, we go, “You know where that person would be perfect.” 

RZ A lot of the time. That’s a point of frustration. 

PF Because it’s sort of legally, and structurally, and on, you just need to hit a button and say, “I’m sorry, there’s no role for you here.” 

RZ Correct. 

PF Not even, “I’m sorry,” like it just doesn’t line up right now. 

RZ Correct. 

PF That is the reality. You’re rejecting people but the reality is it just doesn’t line up right now. It’s not like, “You’re a bad person, go away.” You know that’s how everybody takes it cuz—

RZ Well nobody’s bad—I mean—

PF No but I used to take it that way. Like you’re like, “Oh really? Really? You don’t want what I got?” 

RZ Yeah. 

[3:17]

PF And it’s actually like we kinda wanna stay friends, we wanna hear from you again. Some people have applied, not gotten the job, applied again a year later—

RZ They keep comin’ to our events. 

PF Absolutely! 

RZ It’s awkward, sometimes. 

PF It is awkward. 

RZ Sometimes. 

PF Listen, all of this is awkward because there’s a hierarchy. “I’m gonna make a decision about your future and you don’t have full control.” And it’s horrible

RZ I think that’s the asteriks I wanna put on whatever tips we share today. We see a very particular interviewee. 

PF Mm hmm. 

RZ We’re the founders of the company; we’re usually at the tailend of a lot of other interviews. We’re sort of this kind of checkbox at the end of the process. So you get a different person often times than the other people do. So just disclaiming that for a second. 

PF And, as I said, like when people interview—I’m very mindful of this, they’re in their ultimate stress position, right? Like they are either gonna talk too fast; be too laid back; try too hard; try to be cool. Like just whatever it is, they’re gonna turn it up 30% more and then another 30% because they’re talking to the cofounders. 

RZ Yes. Yes. 

PF So I try to—I almost always discount someone’s reactions and interactions about a certain amount because I know that they’re just trying really hard. 

RZ It’s a bizarre state they’re in at that moment in time. We’re not out for drinks. 

PF If you can, top level feedback: if you can in any way . . . deliver a casual, relaxed persona—

RZ So I’m gonna share tip number one and frankly we could end the podcast right after I share this tip! 

[4:44]

PF I bet the audience would love that. 

RZ [Laughs] Ready? 

PF Yeah, go. 

RZ Answer the question. 

PF Ah, that’s a tough one. 

RZ Answer the damn question! 

PF Do it. I’ll be the interviewee . . . “Hey, yeah, no—you know, I have a lot of experience as a Product Manager and I heard about you guys through Built In NYC.” 

RZ Yup . . . Wait, so you’re the interviewer or interviewee? 

PF I’m the interviewee. Ask me a question. 

RZ Ok. “You list a couple of technical skills, are you technical at all?” 

PF “You know a lot of what we did was for people who were in the egg industry [Rich starts laughing] and so there was Javascript; and also HTML; but when you—what you would do is you’d open up all the cartons of eggs, and then—” 

RZ Salmonella a big concern [laughs]. 

PF “Yeah, that is actually a very good point. A lot of our work was with the Salmonella Board and then you would make technical requirements, egg-related diagrams. Sometimes you’d actually do it directly on the egg, especially around Easter time and then that was when I started working with the Egg Board technical team in North Dakota.” 

RZ I gotta say: we’re in a strange setting. 

PF So, let me do it right.

RZ Right. 

PF Ask me again. 

[5:53]

RZ “So are you technical?”

PF “I’m pretty technical, let’s be clear where the parameters are, I know a lot about how projects get done. I’ve spent some time and done a couple of weeks of experimenting and messing around with Javascript. I did take one sort of certificate class online which honestly wasn’t the greatest experience, I didn’t learn that much. But what I would say I can do is I can understand the overall structure of a project and I can know what all the parts are. I truly am not a programmer and I don’t wanna represent myself as one.” 

RZ Perfect. 

PF And we say, “That’s fine,” because that’s not a requirement of the role but it’s great to know. 

RZ And you know you’re in that weird setting. I’m not gonna look at interviewee and say, “You didn’t answer my question.” 

PF And let’s be clear that second version of the answer, purposefully was not the perfect answer—

RZ No, it was a little rambly. I mean you’re nervous. You’re in an interview. That’s fine. But you’re answering the question. 

PF You just—you went in there and you said, “Sure, in these ways yes, in these ways no.”

RZ I have been taken on weird expeditions [Paul chuckling] in my life, as an interviewer. 

PF You know a killer is like, “What kind of documents do you deliv—what are the artifacts that you create?” 

RZ “What are the—” Yeah. 

PF And then you get, like, [hesitant] “Well.” 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And it’s like—All you need to hear is like, “I open up Google Docs; I do a product requirements document or I do stakeholder interview—” Or just something

[7:11]

RZ And I think what happens is when they don’t feel like they’re nailing it, they feel like they need to tell a big sweeping story—

PF [High pitched, quiet] Hoo! 

RZ And it ends up—you ever see those old Pink Floyd videos where it’s just a plate of oil that is being projected on the screen? 

PF [Chuckles] None of our audience has seen those but yes, it’s a giant—

RZ It’s a kaleidoscopic, acid induced—

PF Blurry, colorful shape. 

RZ While there’s dolphin sounds in the background. Yeah. 

PF That’s right. 

RZ It’s hard to do! If you don’t know the answer, that’s appreciated. Or ask me back, “Does that answer your question?” 

PF That’s always good. First of all, keep your answers under a minute. 

RZ This is huge. 

PF The five minute ramble is brutal because we’re never gonna stop you. We need to hear who you are and what you’re about. 

RZ Yes. 

PF And I would say, jobs like Product Manager, in particular, man. It’s an abstract role. And people will just get going. And it’s not a conversation. We have to have a conversation cuz the job is a conversation. 

RZ I think that’s rule number two: come in for a conversation. You’re not being tested; you’re not being quizzed. 

PF You’re also being evaluated on how well you listen. 


RZ Great point. Great point. 

PF Like that is project management. It’s listening and so you’re allowed to ask us questions at any point. 

[8:20]

RZ I know some people—I mean there are a lot of websites in the world that give you tips on how to take an interview. Some people come in and they misread and they wanna come in looking relaxed cuz when you look too nervous and tense and tight, it doesn’t signal well. And they come in and they overshoot it and they look like they don’t give a shit. 

PF That’s a rough one. 

RZ They might not actually give a shit! So there is that possibility, right? 

PF But no, if you’re signal, if you’re coming in and you want a job, is that you don’t really need or care much about the job, then we’re gonna read that in the following way: “Well that person doesn’t care much about this job.” 

RZ And we’re gonna manage them. One of the things we talk about a lot—and you bring this up often is, “Gosh! We’re trying to figure out how to navigate this person a lot these days.” And that’s just the person who either isn’t happy; it’s not clicking; and we are looking for that at that interview. 

PF One of my insights cuz I work across the firm in a lot of ways is when I hear someone discussed a lot, I drill in and I just sort of—I’m like, “Why are we talking about them so much?” And there’s another truism I have which is ultimately an employees job is to drive success towards the firm, rather than you driving success towards the employee. Now that doesn’t mean you don’t do what you can to help them succeed, and especially the more senior the person, the more their job is to drive success towards the firm. If you come in and you’re junior, it’s our job to set you up. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF And say, “These are the things you need to do and this is what success looks like.” As you get more senior, or you take more of a leadership role, you’re job is to push in our direction, bring risks, help us understand what’s going on, take ownership. And, you know, this is kind of baseline one-oh-one stuff, so we’re looking for that always

RZ And we’ve had interviews where on paper it’s an absolute homerun. And skills wise, it’s an absolute homerun. But the demeanor and the posture in the conversation, we’re like, “I don’t think you’re too excited about this.” 

[10:12]

PF Well it’s also if somebody could take a job anywhere, then why take a job here? You have to know what you’re gonna get out of it, especially when we’re an agency. We’re not Google. 

RZ Right. 

PF We’re not—you’re not gonna go in and have a ten year career with a giant brand on your name and say, “I did really good work on AdWords as I’m moving into my career in online marketing strategy and execution.” You’re gonna come here because you’re gonna level up your skills; and you’re gonna need to move quickly; and you’re gonna respond; and there’s gonna be certain kind of stressors; and we gotta know that you want that. Like you don’t—it’s not just that you wanna be a Product Manager, you wanna hustle. 

RZ Yeah, and we don’t need you to be joining the cult, to be clear, but we wanna see some enthusiasm which leads me to my next—and this is a tricky one. 

PF Mm hmm. 

RZ Now I don’t know how to couch this without sounding arrogant. There’s a good chance that the person interviewing you is pretty smart. 

PF Yeah, that’s correct. 

RZ Do not bullshit us. Please don’t bullshit us. Don’t flatter us. Don’t tell us how awesome we are. We’re gonna read it. And sometimes you’re a fan, you’re a fan of Paul Ford, or you’re a fan of the podcast, you’re a fan of whatever. And we can tell the difference between you deciding that you’re going to bond with us, and patronize us, versus where it’s just you genuinely saying, “I enjoy your podcast.” 

PF Yeah, that’s a rough one. 

RZ We can tell! 

PF They do their homework with our marketing and they’re like, “You know—” 

RZ [Stammers] I think every interview tips site tells you, “Go learn about the people.” 

PF I know the problem is there are a lot of podcast fans and—

RZ Maybe we’re cynical and garbage people. 

PF No, it’s not that. It’s just that it puts me in a defensive position cuz I’m like, “Ok. You’ve got one up on me. You know about me. I don’t know about [Rich laughs] you.” 

RZ Right!

[11:44]

PF And so I have to be really paranoid because, first of all, like any human being, if you tell me you love the podcast and you’re a big fan of Postlight, I’m like, “[Fake chuckle] Yeah, that sounds great. Yeah, we’re friends.” I don’t like the artificial boundary of the interview. I much rather ambiently get to know someone over the course of a year and say, “Hey, would you like to come on board?” 

RZ Yeah, and this is tricky, right? And this is almost unfair to the interviewee. There’s a good chance they really wanna work here because they’re fans. 

PF It’s horrible! It’s a horrible process and it’s like everyone’s going to Reno to see if it’s gonna work out. 

RZ Yup. 

PF It’s a form of gambling. But! What can you do? This is like—otherwise, you need to build eight million year long relationships in order to make good neutral decisions that just won’t work. 

RZ At some point in the interview we stop asking the questions and we turn it over to the interviewee to ask us questions. 

PF Mm hmm. 

RZ Number one: don’t just ask us questions cuz we told you to ask us questions. It’s fine. If you don’t have questions—

PF I will say when they open the little book and there’s like two pages of questions—

RZ You feel good? 

PF It’s a good sign! 

RZ You should come with questions. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ Come with some questions. 

[12:46]

PF I don’t know if that leads to getting hired or not but it really is like, “Ok, this person has thought about what the job would mean.” 

RZ It is meaningful. You’ve done a little work about what the role is and you’re coming to ask us questions. I really feel bad sometimes when I catch people flatfooted cuz they didn’t have any questions. But, come prepared. Come with questions. 

PF I will say: if you wanna know what the future of the firm will be over the next five years, I’ve got that one in the bag for you [Rich laughs]. That one I’ve answered about 120 times . . . Why don’t we just do it? 

RZ Just tell everyone now? So please, if you ever interview with us—

PF “Hey, Rich, you know we got a few minutes left in the interview, I wanna make sure we have some time for questions. Do you have any questions for us?” 

RZ “Yeah, where do you see Postlight in two years?” 

PF “That is a great question! Thank you. You know, we are a mid-size firm now, no longer just small, we are a mid-sized firm. We are getting a little bigger but frankly, our growth is really gated by the talent that we can bring in. So, you know, you’re looking at 10, 15% growth per year in terms of the number of people here. In terms of client mix, we’re just always looking for sort of bigger and more challenging work. Some of the work we’ve got with big, non-governmental organizations recently has been really motivating—big government and civic stuff and has been motivating for the team. So I think more of that: more bigger engagements, slow growth of the team.” 

RZ Yup. 

PF If you ever listen to this and you come interview. You can say, “I know where you’re gonna be in the next five years, and here’s my next question.” 

RZ Yeah. 

PF You want to know a real one? Don’t trash your current coworkers. 

RZ Don’t trash anybody!! Why would you trash anyone in an interview? We’ve seen it and it’s rough because when you do that, you’re gonna trash me. 

PF No, I know. 

RZ You will trash me. 

PF I’m like, “Oh, ok—” 

[14:20]

RZ I see you saying it 18 months from now about how shitty I am as an employer. 

PF There is a series of online review sites that you will be hitting [Rich laughs] . . . within six to 18 months. Here’s what I know about Postlight: we’re not a bad place to work. We’re a pretty good place to work, I think. But, even on our worst days, and—cuz I’ve worked a lot of places, and we treat people with fundamental respect. And overall, it’s a job! You have to do what we tell you to do rather than exactly what you wanna do. But it’s still pretty interesting work. 

RZ Yeah! 

PF So, if that’s your baseline, even at your most critical, and I think most people here basically agree with that, and you’re telling me that you just kinda hate everybody, I’m like, “Uh, there we go.” We’ve had that. I don’t ever want it again. 

RZ Yeah, it’s a great point. Because a lot of times it’s the July 2018 dash present. And we’re gonna ask that question, by the way. 

PF That’s a tough one, too. 

RZ We’re gonna ask the question of—

PF When you’ve had 26 jobs, and you’re maybe 26 years old. 

RZ Well, this is—the past has happened, Paul! 

PF I know. 

RZ This is tough advice for someone who looks at their resume and they’ve been at seven jobs jobs in five years. 

PF But you know what’s funny is no one dives in on that one and says, “I know it. I know I bounced around a lot. I made a lot of choices but I’m locking in on the next one.” Instead they say, “You know, it’s just hard to find a good fit.” 

RZ We’re bouncing around a bit here but [yeah] here’s what I don’t wanna hear from you: when I ask you why you’re leaving, and it’s been six months, if it’s been five years, whatever. Say whatever [Paul crosstalks] you want. If it’s been six months and you say, “I’ve lost interest.” 

[15:49]

PF Oh yeah. 

RZ You just scared the shit out of me. 

PF Yeah they’re just not doing—No, you get one or two of those in your career where you’re like, “Whoops.” 

RZ Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! It’s—and it happens. 

PF But sometimes you’ll see nine in a row. 

RZ [Laughing] It’s just—they’re just scrollin’ through Instagram—that’s all—

PF Here’s what you learn over time, too: there’s no transformative moment that we’re gonna be able to deliver to you. Like, you’re like, “I think agency work is really gonna change this and be really motivating to me.” And we see that and we’re like, “No, you’re not gonna change. We don’t want you to change.”

RZ Yeah. 

PF We don’t expect you to come in and be a different person here. You should go find something where you can be who you are. 

RZ Look, that resume’s tough. And that’s ok though but speak frankly and openly about—you know, we don’t wanna be your next stop. We’re not interested in being your next hop. [Ugh! It’s—yeah] Like that’s not cool, right? So we’re not looking for that so talk to us in that context. Get into our heads here for a second. Like, we do not want to worry about you in six months. 

PF Also, for God’s sake, there is a little bit of polite fiction in the world, like we know we may not be the job you retire from but don’t talk about how we’re a stepping stone!

RZ Yeah. 

PF It’s so demoralizing, they’re like, “Well, you know, I wanna get a little agency experience before I do what really matters to me.” And you’re like [hesitant], “Ok.” [Rich laughs] It’s amazing what slips out. 

[17:03]

RZ Some people can’t help it. They don’t play the game and I appreciate that and it helps us, you know, understand what’s gonna move forward or not. That’s ok, that’s ok. 

PF It’s just—It’s not about whether the person is a good person or not, it’s about the fit. What are the other things we wanna advise people? 

RZ I wanna pause, Paul, and talk about a particular phenomenon that seems to have happened and I blame it on some shitty article that someone wrote. 

PF Yeah there definitely is some like LinkedIn thing that got passed around. 

RZ It has to be. 

PF So here we are, we’re excited! Everything’s lined up: we found a great number that everybody feels is very motivating. 

RZ Offer put forward, offer accepted. 

PF “Oh my God! Thank God we got that person! We really need ‘em. This is gonna be great!” 

RZ And they’re excited. “They’re gonna be such a good presence in the office.” 

PF “Oh but wait, there’s just one thing.” 

RZ “What’s that?” 

PF “I need to take a little time—I’m gonna come in in about seven weeks . . . and start that job.” 

RZ “What? Where are you going? Is everything ok?” 

PF “It’s not really your place to ask that. I just know that I’m gonna leave my job [mm hmm] and then rather than come straight to your job, I’m going—” 

RZ “I’m going to Malaysia.” 

PF “—to take an additional.” Yeah. “I’m gonna just get out of—I’m gonna get a really nice backpack and go to Southeast Asia for awhile. I’ve always wanted to do that.” 

RZ Here’s what all I ask . . . cuz people have life situations. Who knows? Maybe they need to go backpack, tell us this in the beginning. Tell us this at the outset. In the beginning of the process, in fact. 

[18:13]

PF Well what can you do because what you know is that they might not like that. It’s better negotiation to tell ‘em—

RZ That’s fine too. 

PF I know. 

RZ Well, we’re gonna have to weigh that. 

PF We’re gonna have to eat this one as the employer because that is—somebody read an article. 

RZ I wanna know who wrote that damn article. 

PF [Heavy sigh] That article is kickin’ our ass. I guess if you’re interviewing anywhere else but Postlight you should know that once everyone accepts, you can get that extra six weeks. [Rich laughs boisterously] Congratulations to you. People have done it here. And they’re great. They’re fine. I hope they enjoyed their six weeks. 

RZ You know maybe this is our new reality, Paul, and we need to just accept it. 

PF This is our new reality. [Rich laughs] I think that’s it. Like that word has gotten out that you can accept a job and then say, “But wait a minute—” 

RZ But we’d really appreciate if you could start within a few weeks [laughs]. 

PF It’s so hard to hire that the company—The thing is, is it doesn’t really—It costs us some opportunity costs, but it doesn’t actually cost us anything. 

RZ No, it’s just a little wonky. It’s fine. 

PF [Sighs] You gotta give it, look, the employees, they have some power right there in that moment. 

RZ Yes, yes. And good for them. 

PF Yeah, good for them. To hell with it. 

RZ We’d love to hear tips from other people about what makes an interview process bad or good and what can be better. I worry about ours because it’s long. We could make you meet five people, six people, which is a lot. 

[19:28]

PF It turns out every time we say this, we’re like, “Is our interview process too long?” Everyone comes back and says, “No, [they appreciate it] people really like it, and they—people wanna have that conversation.” I think there’s also an element, too, where if you’ve talked to people three or four times, you know you got close. The more conversation there is, the more reality sort of emerges that like, “Yeah, we really did like you, it just didn’t make sense at that moment. You know?” 


RZ Yup. 

PF And maybe in the world of like everybody being on dating apps all the time and there just being kind of constant rejection for every human being who does anything digitally, it makes more sense. [Rich laughs] “Oh. Postlight swiped—” I don’t—I’m old now and I’ve been married for 250 years. So I don’t which dir—I think it’s left? 

RZ Yeah, I think right is, “Yes, I like this person.” 

PF Yeah so I think people go, “Ah well, ultimately Postlight swiped left.” 

RZ Yeah. 

PF That’s life. Onto the next one. 

RZ Alright, let’s recap these wonderful tips we’ve shared—

PF Wait, what about comp, Rich? How do I get paid? 

RZ Can we talk about comp? I feel like it’s sensitive. 

PF [Crosstalking] No, we can’t. No, we’re not talking about comp on the podcast. 

RZ The negotiation process is what it is. 

PF It is. 

RZ It’s sensitive, it’s a process, I mean the circumstances for people vary wildly.

PF Here’s what I would say, there’s two things: just don’t be a dick about comp. Don’t be like, “This is my only line and if you can’t meet it,” it’s just like if you—

RZ Have a conversation is what you’re saying. 

[20:41]

PF Have a conversation. Yeah. 

RZ Yeah, I think the only other thing I’d mention is comp is not just your salary. There are a lot of pieces to it. Quality of work-life balance or things we’re proud to talk about here at Postlight. There are other benefits to being at Postlight. We try to make this a really cool culture to be a part of. And I think other employers do all sorts of other things too. So look at the whole picture. But, let’s face it, let’s not mince words, your salary is what people think about. I mean [of course] this is what it’s about. It’s a process. Have a dialogue, I would say. Some people get insulted. That’s ok. We are who we are. We’re not, you know, a giant investment bank. We’re a small agency in New York City. 

PF There is one piece of advice—This has happened twice since we started. Don’t accept the job and then not come to work [laughs]. 

RZ Dear Lord, I wanted to hunt those people down. 

PF It was so weird! Like it’s just—maybe—

RZ It was just so unprofessional. I mean I think this isn’t even a piece of advice, this is an anecdote. 

PF It was just a show stopper. 

RZ Who the hell does that? And we’ve had people—

PF No, it happened once. It didn’t happen twice. It happened once. 

RZ And it was terrible, and it was bad, and it was just a shitty note that was sent like two days before. And you know that person is only gonna do so well. 

PF People learn whether they can trust you or not. If you can’t provide that level of loyalty where you say, “I will come to the job and then you don’t come to the job.” 

RZ “On Monday!” [Laughs] Yeah. Come to work. 

PF That is I think the number one shocker . . . that I’ve ever had in recruiting. 

RZ I mean it was bizarre and it was embarassing and we felt stupid and it’s not necessary. 

PF It was just weird. See, that’s weird. We hired someone and then they just—

[22:10]

RZ I think they kept lookin’. 

PF Oh, that’s what happened! No, they got some other job. But that is real. Like there is a social commitment here and a bond—

RZ [Crosstalking] Once you accept. Absolutely. 

PF—that’s going both ways. And it is like, yeah, you think you’re done and you’re gonna move on. It’s a smaller world. And that is a weird move. 

RZ Yeah, it’s a lousy move. 

PF When you commit, commit. Well, now we’ve given everybody all the tips. 

RZ Yeah, let’s recap ‘em, Paul! It’s worth it. 

PF I like a good recap. 

RZ Answer the question, don’t go off on tangents. Keep any response under a minute. Do not talk to four and a half minutes. 

PF No. 

RZ It’s a nervous setting; you might find that you need to fill the dead air with words, just keep it under a minute. And then let us come back. 

PF Take a breath and you can say like, “Wow, I’m a little bit nervous.” We’ll understand that.

RZ Absolutely. Have a conversation. This is not a quiz. This is not a pure quantitative examination; it’s a conversation. So have a conversation. 

PF So we’re not really deciding your future. You’ve got control over your own destiny and we’re gonna say maybe whether you can work at Postlight or not. 

RZ Yeah. 

PF There’s a lot of opportunities to succeed. Right? So like think about that with the person on the side, whether it’s us or anybody. Like, yeah, they’re gonna pass judgement on you, it sucks but it doesn’t—it might be good, it might be bad. 

RZ Yeah. Show you can listen. I mean this is probably good advice for life but show you can listen. 

PF Mm hmm. 

[23:23]

RZ Show you’re interested. 

PF And you know what the job is, like how you think it would go. 

RZ Yeah. A lot of people relax a little too much, they’re like, “You know, this is another article that’s been written.” It’s like just lean back in the chair. 

PF Yeah. 

RZ Show ‘em you got this. We wanna see a little bit of enthusiasm.” 

PF Lean in across the table. 

RZ Lean in a little bit. Yeah. Tricky one: don’t patronize. 

PF People think that buttering someone up will make them like them. It will put us into a defensive position. 

RZ Exactly. And come with questions. It shows you did a little bit of work. You’ve actually—are trying to make a good, informed decision about whether you wanna be here cuz we’re gonna ask you—and most do: “What questions do you have for me?” And come with some questions, and some questions that have a little bit of depth to them is always good. 

PF And, you know, they way I would close this out is just thing about the fundamentals. What are we looking for? We’re looking for a good, clear communicator who is honest; who can tell stories about their past and then work they’ve done in a reasonable tone. They don’t have to be perfect. They can be nervous. They can mumble. They don’t have to look any certain way. They don’t have to be any certain way. It just needs to be—that connection has to happen. 

RZ And finally, if you do take the offer, and we set a start date, please come to work [laughs]. 

PF That is sort of the baseline right there. Just actually attend the job and get paid. 

RZ Worth noting: we are talking in the context of an extremely hot job market right now where people can go just about anywhere they want [oh this is really]. There are a lot of industries where the dynamics are all over the place. 

[24:47]

PF Sometimes when someone’s interesting and was really close but it just didn’t line up, I’ll go look for ‘em like six months later. You know what? 

RZ Yeah. 

PF They’re doing great. 

RZ Yeah! Everybody’s fine. Everybody’s fine! 

PF That is an important thing to understand is like we’re not sitting there going like, “[Sighs] If only,” it’s just this like, “Yup. Ok. Good for them.” 

RZ Exactly, exactly. 

PF Good for them. And maybe it’ll line up again in the future. 

RZ But you know what a bunch of people have made it into Postlight, Paul. 

PF They sure have. 

RZ And it’s a really incredibly talented collection of designers, engineers, product thinkers that partner with your business to help you get things done. We ship really amazing platforms. You’re smiling at me in a weird way. 

PF Well cuz you know what they don’t do . . . is butter us up. 

RZ Boy, they don’t! [Paul laughing] Once they’re in, [music fades in]—

PF [Laughing] Once you’re in—

RZ [Nasally] “Nice shoes, Rich!” 

PF No, none of that. 

RZ None of that. 

PF Sometimes for like the first week. 

RZ Barely. 

PF Barely. And then after that it’s just like—

RZ “What’s your name again?” [Chuckling

PF “Yeah, uh, wow, I don’t know if I can make that meeting.” 

RZ [Laughs boisterously] “I’m busy!” 

PF Yeah, “I’m already booked on this pro—” [Disappointed] “Oh. Ok.” 

RZ Exactly. 

PF Alright, so yeah, no, no [email protected] if you need us. 

RZ Yup. 

PF If you wanna work here, I hope this doesn’t dissuade you. I hope it actually makes you wanna work here cuz we really do want good, talented people to get in here. 

RZ Yes!

PF And even if we say no once doesn’t mean we’re gonna say no twice. So—

RZ There’s a bunch of job openings at postlight.com. 

PF There is a horrible feeling and I wanna—let’s end it this way and you can tell me if we’re allowed to, where they say—maybe we’re getting close to the end, and it hasn’t necessarily gone well, and they pull out of their pocket, like, “You know, I just wanna say I am a big fan of the podcast.” 

RZ At the end! Yeah. 

PF Yeah and I go—in the back of my head, I go, “Probably not for much longer.” [Rich laughs] You’re always welcome to listen. 

RZ Yes, that’s free. 


PF Alright, we love you all. [email protected] 

RZ Have a great week. 

PF Yup. Bye everybody [music ramps up, plays alone for three seconds, fades out to end].