May 30, 2023

The Hirewell Hot Corner: Earning Your Stripes in The Sports and Professional World


Episode Highlights

The 99%


Paying Your Dues in the Sales World


Finding Your Footing After Graduation


Career Journeys are Unpredictable


Two-Minute Drill: Advice for New Grads


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In this week’s episode, Dan and Louie dive into recent grads looking to enter the workforce and how that is similar to athletes who were recently drafted and need to earn their stripes and build their “game tape”. Not everyone is going to get drafted and be a starter/ all-star on day 1, almost all of them need to work their way up the depth chart. It is the same thing for new grads, you need to grind through some of the tedious responsibilities and gain experience before earning your dream job.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to the Hirewell Hot Corner where sports and recruitment meet. I am your host Dan Spittel, joined as always by my co-host the Ironman, Louis Morici. Louie, great to see you again. Let’s jump right in. What’s going on in your world, and in the world of sports today? Well, we’re in the thick of the conference finals, not only in NBA, but also NHL.

Thus far there hasn’t been one competitive series. We saw the Lakers get swept. We did see the Celtics Force Game five, what is now a 3-1 series for the Heat, NHL 3-0 Vegas over Dallas, and 3-0 Florida over Carolina. So, yeah, that’s where we’re at, I guess, as far as an update, and we’re game 40 in the MLB season of 162, so.

It should be a fun finals for both those sports. Teams that you don’t see every year is not like the traditional powerhouses. So I’m a big fan personally. Bonus points for any time LeBron James gets knocked out of anything, so. We speak the same language on that. But also on top of it, you know, we’re getting near the end of these seasons.

We’re about to be in the thick of draft after draft rookie camps. Some pretty big drafts coming up. The NBA draft, Victor Wembanyama. NHL draft, I know we just talked about Connor Bedard. MLB draft is next month, I believe. And the Pirates have the number one overall pick so excited to see what they do with that.

A lot of new blood coming into these sports, and so it should be an exciting time of year. Matches up well with the end of the school year. So we’ve hit, you know, that graduation point. So, class of 2023, congratulations to all of you, finishing out your college careers, earning those degrees, moving into the next world, whatever that may be for you.

So exciting time all around, inside of sports and outside. Yeah. Yeah, I mean we’re definitely getting into a lot of the drafts. I still think it’s weird that baseball draft is in the middle of the season. Not even, it’s just compared to the other three major sports, it’s in the off season, it’s a big event.

Whereas baseball, it just doesn’t seem to be that big of a deal. But obviously congrats to the graduates, 2023. From those who are looking to enter the workforce. And I think that’s a great way to segue our topic this week, which is really about earning your stripes. You know, you see it in sports.

Not everyone is going to be LeBron James, Connor McDavid, guys who from day one, their first day, first game, they’re All Stars. As nice as that is when it translates to more, you know, corporate America, you don’t get those. Or 99.9% of the time, that’s not the case. So earning your stripes is really the theme here.

Yeah. And so I like that you highlighted MLB specifically. Cause I actually really like how they do the draft in season because even the guys who are the number one overall pick, they’re usually 18 years old out of high school, with the exception of like Mike Trout and Bryce Harper. They’re playing in the minor leagues for at least a season.

If they’re getting the call at 19/20, that’s pretty impressive. So it gives ’em a chance to jump right in and hit the pavement in High A ball, Low A whatever they start in and start building their resume, if you will. This time of year, we also have rookie camps in the NFL. Now, I know we just talked about the NFL draft.

We just talked about the NHL draft. So many opportunities for guys who may not become these superstars right away, or even in the first couple years to just grind their teeth in their new world of sports and in the professional leagues and kind of get their footing and figure it out.

Definitely interesting to see what the newest group of workforce employees does. You hit the nail on the head that everyone’s got a dream job. I know when we were younger it was probably professional athlete. But everyone coming out of college with that degree has an idea of what that looks like for them and 99% of the time, like you said, you’re not going to be landing that dream job right out of college. And so I guess we’ll go into it and it’s probably pretty easy for you to talk about from the sales side of what does it look like to earn your stripes? It’s exactly that. You got to go through what, in my world, in the sales side, as a sales development rep or a business development rep, high amount of cold calling, handling objections, and there’s an art form to sales.

It’s a very high paying industry over time because you’re driving revenue for a company, but to get to a point where you’re wearing the nice suits at the board table, closing millions of dollars of deals, ask anyone who’s been in sales at that level. They started in these roles where you’re cold calling, cold emailing, setting appointments, and having people hang up on you and all that. That is the paying the dues, because once you’ve grown that thick skin, then you show your worth, you show your effective rate, you can move into that AE role, which is that full sales cycle where, you know, 200K starts to become an a reasonable amount of where you’re targeting compensation wise.

So, there’s a lot of grinding that needs to go into it before you’re seeing the fruits of your labor. Quite frankly, you got to build out a resume. The difference between sports and professional world is these guys come in, they’ve only been doing this their whole lives.

They have a resume, if you will. They’re playing at a top level in juniors. In any kind of like U14, U18, whatever it is, national teams, they’ve cut their teeth and they’ve played top competition all those years. You might have had an internship in college, you might have worked in college, but in the professional world, there’s a reason entry level jobs exist, and there’s a big stigma that has been there for a while.

That entry level isn’t entry level anymore. There are people that require three to five years of experience and call it entry level. That’s not what we’re talking about. We’re talking about tried and true entry level jobs. Just out of college, a great place to start your career, build up a skillset set, build out the resume, and kind of work towards that dream.

And for sales, specifically on your side. It’s a very clear career path I would think. It seems that way from my perspective. In a lot of areas that’s not always the case. Speaking from experience and being around recruitment in so many different areas I’ve been in now, looking back when I was in college, even just coming out of school, there are so many jobs, so many companies, so many industries that I did not know existed.

Let alone that I’ve ever considered working with because didn’t know they were out there. So how can you possibly decide what that end goal looks like if you don’t have a full scope of what’s actually out there? And I think it’s the cliche of older people always ask college students, well what are you going to do with your life when you graduate?

You don’t know the answer to that. Well, you might think you know the answer to that, but you don’t know the answer to that. My question that I always like to ask people is, what do you want to try when you get out of school? And so that’s how I see that. Yeah. I mean, going through college, I chose my course load, my major was marketing with a focus in advertising. I’m sure like a lot of people who have ever watched the show, Mad Men, the glitz and glamor of becoming, an account director where you’re working directly with clients for Coca-Cola for at the time, like Lucky Strike as they show on the show, to get to that point would’ve been years of underwriting, copywriting, like so much that goes into it.

And quite frankly, it wasn’t a market that you could just jump into out of college, like you had to start freelancing and all that. So I decided to go at sales and doing the sales, and then I started sales recruiting. And now I feel like I’ve found my career, like I really do love doing this. I don’t get up every day and dread going to work.

I enjoy what I do. I like who I help, so it’s funny how the path works out, but I wouldn’t have found what I did without starting at a point where I knew that I just needed to grind at something and get an experience and learn a little bit and build my film, if you will, for college athletes or athletes in general, they have a film. They have plays, they have games that they can show.

You need to translate that into a corporate role where you’re showing on a resume, these are the things I’ve done. They might not be directly aligned to what we’re doing here, but it’s a track record of success. It’s something to go off other than I was a three month intern at so and so during college, like you’re, no one’s going to hand you a 100K base salary based on a three month internship. It just doesn’t happen. I hope not. I imagine it’s happened before. Okay. And it’ll happen again, but typically not. I would say that you and I are very similar in how our paths occurred, and I think it’s pretty normal for most college kids is I studied sales and marketing in college.

I thought I was going to go into sales after college and I pivoted a bit. I looked into HR. I went and got a master’s degree in labor relations. I think, as you can see by what we do here, I don’t work in labor relations. Coming out of grad school, there was a hiring freeze. I thought I’d work for the government.

There were no government jobs, so I took the first job I was offered. It happened to be in recruitment. I learned a lot. I grew through the ranks in healthcare recruiting. I found that “Oh this is a side of HR where I still get to help people,” and I really enjoyed that. I kept finding more opportunities to diversify that experience and keep maintaining and building that passion.

And here I am. I love what I do. Amazed how it worked out, but wouldn’t change it for the world. Yeah, I mean, both of us weren’t sitting here saying, “Hey, we’re going to start a video show called The Hirewell Hot Corner, where we talk recruiting and sports and basically take up 15 minutes of people’s week.”

And we never thought that, but here we are. Never in my wildest dreams could I have possibly imagined that’s where my life could have taken me. But so let’s, you know, get it back on topic. For these college graduates coming out of school. I know the job market’s always tough to break into. My advice to them is it’s pretty simple, it’s-

any experience is relevant experience. You know, take a job, I’m not saying take the first job you’re offered. That’s what I did personally. I wanted to go get ink experience. You don’t have to be that open, but find something that you think, I can do that, and I can learn from this, and I can build that into valuable experience, and it’ll get me along what I think is the right track.

What else can we do for them? Louie? Honestly, my personal thoughts is, you know, lock in a job and stick with it. Don’t always go chase a 5K bigger base salary, things like that. Job hopping on a resume is something that a lot of people will look at and remove people from processes due to it. I think you have so much to learn that you can, there’s a lot of runway at pretty much any company for the most part you start with.

As long as you do your due diligence, you’re not just looking at the dollar amount they’re offering. Yeah, absolutely. I think it’s a perfect segue for the two minute drill. I think advice for new grads is a great way to end this. My personal philosophy is you are not signing yourself up for a life sentence by taking the first job that comes along.

Any experience you gain is valuable. Learn what you like, you learn what you don’t like in the professional world. Okay. Straightforward. And for me, I think it’s, you know, when you’re first evaluating your first job, whether it’s in sales, marketing, recruiting, really look at what I call the underbelly.

I take that phrase from an episode of Entourage when they’re looking at new agents, things like that. And yes, there’s that surface level. Oh, they got the nice office, but how does their training look? What is their- 10 years look like? Are people a revolving door? You know, look at some of these things and get yourself into a company that is actually valuing you as an employee and understands that you are new to the workforce and wants to leave you with a good first impression.

So you know what that looks like for the rest of your career. There are so many great companies out there that have what they call an early talent or early career piece of their onboarding and training specifically for new grads are new to the field employees. There are so many great training systems.

There are so many great companies that do stuff like that. Do a little research, you’ll find the right underbelly. I like it. And you’ll probably be set up for long term. Even if you stay with the company. Don’t stay with the company. Stay in that role. Don’t stay in that role. So many different options.

True. Truly there is. Perfect. Well, on behalf of Louie and myself, thank you as always for tuning into The Hirewell Hot Corner. Please do join us again in two weeks for our next episode, and as always, stay classy LinkedIn.



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