November 14, 2022

The Hirewell Hot Corner: NILs and Personal Professional Branding


Episode Highlights

Explanation/Discussion of NILs


Joel Talking About His Background/Journey


Connecting with Candidates through Content


How We Approach Candidates Initiating Engagement with Us/Our Content


Joel's Thoughts on Content Engagement


Two Minute Drill


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In this week’s episode, Dan and Louie have their first guest, Joel Lalgee, to discuss the topic of Self Branding in a business environment. Joel being one of the most influential “self-branders” in the recruiting space, the guys felt bringing him on to talk about “how to grow your brand” would be beneficial to viewers looking to take their first steps to stardom. They segway the topic by bringing up NIL (Name, Image, Likeness) deals in high school and college sports athletes.

Episode Transcript

Welcome back to the Hirewell Hot Corner where sports and recruitment meet. I am your host, Dan Spittel, joined as always by Louis Morici. Today is an exciting episode, a first in the HHC series, we have our first guest. Joel Lalgee is our business development consultant with Hirewell.

Joel, how’s it going?

Going, great. Great to be here. Glad to be the first guest too. Super exciting!

No one better than Joel to be our first guest. And you’ll see why as you go if you don’t already know who he is. Louis, great as always to have you. What’s going on in your world and the world of sports today?

It’s a big world. We got all four major sports going, if you wanted to throw soccer in there, we got champions league as well.

It’s a busy time. We got the Phillies, two-one in the world. Football right in the thick of it. Hockey’s just getting started, basketball’s getting started and like I mentioned, champions league getting out of the group stages to the knockout round soon.

So busy, and I’m here for it.

Most exciting time in sports.

NFL trade deadline just passed. Our teams made a trade. Steelers and bears, Chase Claypool heading back to the Midwest, so that’s exciting. You hit on soccer. My fiance’s actually a high school soccer coach. Her girls just finished up their season with a district title, and made it into the state tournament. now in a couple weeks, a couple of them are going to be signing their national letters of National signing day for high school students is in two weeks. And so, it’s an exciting time all around for sports athletes of all ages.

That’s incredible. Congrats to her and the team.

Yeah, with National Sign Day coming up, it’s, an exciting time for high school athletes, college athletes, and more recently with the addition of the NILs in the last couple years. For those who aren’t familiar, NIL means, name, image, and likeness.

It’s an opportunity for college athletes to make money off of their college careers make money off of their name, image and likeness. So I know, we talk a lot about sports. How do we relate things to the world of recruitment? NILs is a big way for these athletes to brand themselves before they become professional.

Some of my personal favorites are, Decoldest Crawford, the Nebraska wide receiver, partnering with an HVAC company. They say, if you have Decoldest, in the state, you know who to ask about it.

Yeah. That’s so cool.

Kudos to them for the enthusiasm and the creativity.

CJ Stroud was a big one. He signed a deal with Express. He actually bought his whole team, new suits before their season opener and prime time against Notre Dame. Brony James is another big one. He signed with, I think Beats and Nike. Right Louis?

Yeah. Doing a little bit with both of them. crazy. Granted, he gets, the royal treatment because of his dad, but he’s going to be a star. Or at least, seems to be a star in the future here.

Him and his brother. So, how is this relevant to our world of recruitment? Either one of you want to jump in?

I’d love this development just in general, because I would think too, like a lot of these college stars probably already even have like social media brands themselves, so I’m sure it was a moment in time before they capitalized on it. But it wasn’t that rule, like you couldn’t make any money at all. It seems like a smart evolution because if you’re building a brand on social media and people are monetizing it, that’s the easy way to, to do brand deals and that type of stuff anyway. But yeah, I love that. very cool and it seems like it’s fair too because they seem to entertain people a lot.

I think part of it was trying to keep kids in college longer, further incentivize them not going to professional sports after one or two years in college. it’ll make the NCAA to lay more money. They can say it’s for their own good, for the sake of getting an education, but we all know that’s not the driving force behind it.

It’s always money, man. Come on, let’s be honest.

I, fully support it as well. Some of these kids don’t come from, financially stable environments and they’re in college on a full ride. But as far as the resources to have food in their stomachs, things of that nature, like they need money and if they’re excellent athletes and can make some money while they’re in college, I mean, more power too. There’s guys making millions of dollars in college because, they’re superstars and they’re the next generation. So, I think it’s a great way to segue into to why we have Joel on our show today. He’s an expert when it comes to branding, all of the above.

Oh, yeah. And an athlete. Can’t forget about that. the model, in our company at least, on how to keep yourself relevant in recruiting, and just keeping people or having yourself be front of mind. So, talk to us a little bit how you kind of tackled that to start.

Yeah. Just to give a brief background on like why I even started doing this stuff, honestly, like I just got really sick of outbound. You know, so I came from an agency where there wasn’t so many KPIs at the agency I was at, but I just realized like everything I was doing was outbound. I’m emailing people, they don’t know who I am. started noticing on LinkedIn, because that was the only platform I was using, I was actually against all social media for about three years. So I wasn’t on Facebook, wasn’t on Instagram, never really got into Instagram, but LinkedIn I was still on. I’d go through the newsfeed periodically and start hearing people talking about content and how you could use content to bring people towards you.

And I was like, man, like it’d be so nice if people would, approach me instead of me always approaching them. I just realized, “why aren’t we doing that at our company?” the company I was at- at the time.

We were doing like blogs and stuff, but I’m like, “Who reads blogs?” there’s this LinkedIn thing. So I tried it. The first go around was probably about five years ago. I tried two posts and it didn’t work out so I gave up. And then two years later I just made the commitment. I was like, “You know what? I enjoy writing. I’m going to just start putting myself out there.” Probably most people would know my content now for how it’s changed. But back then, it was bad content. I remember one post specifically, I did something called Emoji Math. And I’d be like, “This is bad.” It was a brain emoji plus a workout equals money. If you put your mind to something and work- like it was seriously really, really bad. I’d be embarrassed to post something like that. But then as time went on, it just evolved. I ran into people, like James at Hirewell, who runs talent. And I’m like, “Wow, his content is good So you start to run into people who have like really, really good content and then you start to learn “Oh, I can say things, I have insights that I can say.” That’s the background happened. I love we do so much content in Hirewell. People don’t see the value of it all the time, because it’s super hard to measure. you’re not going to be able to measure how far this conversation goes. But after doing stuff for as long as I have, you just know that it makes an impact. I love it.

Yeah. I would say we’ve seen some impact just from the few episodes we’ve already been able to put out just in increased engagement. I don’t know about you Louis, but additional messaging, from people on LinkedIn, additional connections and whatnot. Shameless plug for you, Joel, is that your content that you’re putting on LinkedIn is how I found you and how I found Hirewell and how I ended up where I am. What is your follower count on your various accounts at this point?

Twitter I’m coming up to 6,000 and Elon just took over. But Twitter, I mean last month had like 400,000 impressions. I actually had more people visit my profile on Twitter than I did on LinkedIn. then TikTok is at like 20,000 But yesterday was at 18,000, so it’s going up pretty quickly. And then LinkedIn, come up to 150,000 on there. Everything’s compounding and that was like the big thing that I learned is TikTok is a great example. I see a lot of people jumping over there. It took me a long time to get a thousand followers. It took me even longer to get 10,000. I’d say once you get to 10,000 on a platform, then everything’s compounding. But again, like Twitter, I’m only a 6,000 followers on there, and I’ve been doing that for three years and I’ve tweeted over like 5,000 times.

It’s a long game


content But to your point, you don’t have to be doing it that long for it to make an impact. And honestly, I think it actually if you have less engagement sometimes, it can actually be a better thing because you’re kind of more approachable and then you know, like you talk to a candidate and you’re like, hey.

Especially Louis, do sales positions, so obviously like athletes and sales, synonymously, related a lot of the time. Maybe you talk to them about sports or like you find that rapport and then you talk to them. They’re a great candidate. They’re not interested in making a move, and then they see three or four of these episodes, they get engaged in it, and then they’re reaching out to you in two months. “Hey man, I’m just thinking about you. What do you got open right now Boom. There you go. And stay top of mind without setting those really annoying, follow up messages like has anything changed?

It’s like they’re getting to know you and it’s something powerful when somebody has a conversation with you one-on-one, and then they start to see you show up. And especially with video, which doesn’t get as much as engagement, but like when people are tuned into the video, it’s really, really, really powerful.

And yeah, I think it’s actually less powerful for agency recruiters than it is for internal recruiters. I think internal recruiters that are working for brands, they are really missing out if they’re not creating content. But for us it should be a no brainer because it’s just a great way to connect with people in a non-aggressive format.

Agree a thousand percent. Developing this content and kind of staying, I like to call it sticky, if you have that conversation, things don’t work out. In the short term, they see a few of these videos, they circle back around. And as you mentioned, talking sports, I actually talked with a candidate today. Noticed he, coached hockey in Minnesota, was just talking to him about that. And then we dove into I’m a Black Hawks fan, he’s actually a Red Wings fan. Like little banter that way. Granted, he’s a fit for the role that I’m working on right now. I think just that little tidbit mixed with content keep a relationship going way beyond just a couple conversations.

Yeah, I love that.

Obviously that is part of the reason you do it, but then also love that you guys are like talking about sports. Because it’s like, you’re not

going to

one day be like, “Oh, I don’t like this anymore.” It’s like you can just get on banter and sports is always changing. So smart to make it about something you care about. Whereas a lot of times people approach it and it can feel a little bit forced. But I think at Hirewell we’ve just done a good job in fostering that with people. Hey, if you’re passionate about something, talk about it.

That’s where it starts. Then who knows where this is going to be, it could be a year from now, it’s something completely different, but it happens naturally.

For sure.

We talked about, we know how it works within your role. We know how this content and branding helps us in our roles as recruiters.

Let’s flip it over to the candidate side. Someone as a, whether it be a job seeker or an individual, what can they do to build their brand and how would that benefit?


is huge too, because what you’re seeing is it’s kinda like that NIL thing, we’re talking about with sports players, right?

We’re seeing that it’s not just in sports. People are building brands. It’s not just movie stars. People professionally now, are building brands. So like a great example of this would be, there’s a guy called Zach Wilson who’s at Airbnb. And the guy, I like his content. He’s a really cool dude, but he’s talking about stuff I don’t understand, like data engineering stuff. But he’s built this brand and he’s got like 300,000 followers. It’s a valuable thing. If I was a candidate and I was looking for a job, the first thing I would probably focus on is more just engaging with people’s content. Showing up in the comments, having conversations, dms with people and conversations.

It’s tough because when you’re a job seeker, particularly if you’re out of work, there’s obviously a level of “Hey, I want to get back to work.”

And that can often times be interpreted or it can come out, don’t want to say a desperate way, but it’s like obviously you’ve got more of an emphasis on trying to get those conversations started.

Getting involved in the conversations you care about with the people that you are interested in connecting with, that helps. In terms the content you could actually post, the best thing to do is just look at people who are in your space that are already creating content. See what they’re doing and then seeing where you can either add to their conversation or create your own conversation. You don’t need to reinvent a wheel content. There’s lots of people who are doing content, lots of people within different spaces.

See what else is out there, then you take what other people are doing, make it your own, and you add your own spin onto it. Creating content for job seekers could be a great thing because you’re doing something where you’re solving and you’re talking about the things that you care about.

So if you’re looking for an accounting job, as boring as accounting can be, somebody could turn accounting into something that’s actually exciting. But even if it is dry content, other accountants and other people will connect to it as well. That’s a piece that people get really defeated about is like engagement and like you don’t actually need that much engagement.

Like you just don’t. What you need is consistency. You need to care about what you’re talking about and you need to deliver value. And if you deliver value to one person or five people, that’s really, really valuable. And what you actually find is the more engagement you get, typically the content just gets really worded down and garbage anyway. And it’s actually the best content creators are usually the ones who have a really small niche group where they just like: value, value, value. And the right people would hear it.

Do you look at candidate activity when you’re on LinkedIn? If somebody comments on your stuff, how do you approach that?

a salesperson was to comment on this, like how would you approach that?

If it was someone I wasn’t connected with, I would definitely,


their profile, probably send them a connection.

I would definitely take more notice than obviously someone that doesn’t.

The, squeaky wheel gets oil sort of thing.

If they’re the ones that are reaching out to me, or engaging on my content, they’re going to be someone that I’m going to take a look at. If they’re looking at my content, let’s just have a conversation. Maybe they’re looking now, maybe they’re looking down the line. It’s a great way to start a conversation as well. That’s my experience.

Dan, I’m sure

you have some thoughts as well.

Absolutely. Stuff like this, these episodes we push out. We’re pushing out content to engage an audience of people. If they don’t engage back, we don’t know who really who we’re reaching. So those who do comment, those who like it, those who follow along, those are the kind of people that we see more often as it continues to grow and the people we, connect with more frequently. Those people will be front of mind for a lot of different things. I know I’ve had people I’ve connected with on LinkedIn, who maybe three, six months down the road I have a job pop up. “Oh yeah, I remember this person. I talked to them about a role that we didn’t have, now we do.” And I’ve had them interview for jobs like that. Keep getting yourself in front of the right people. And like you said, another week, another cliche for Louis about squeaky wheel gets the oil.

funny though because

I will say too

I never get mad when somebody comments my stuff.

Obviously if someone’s

trolling me, then I’d make fun of them for it. But

outside of that,

if somebody shows up,

it’s a good thing.


a lot of people who post on LinkedIn don’t get really good engagement. So if you’re

the person who is commenting

add to the conversation.

Someone hears this and then they go, “Yeah,

the squeaky wheel getting oil. I love that.” You’re obviously going to look at that and be like, “Oh, who is this?” And I think like the important thing to remember for people is- and this is the same for

content in general, it’s not like a magic hack that’s just going

millions of dollars or like a new job.


it’s another avenue to start a conversation. It’s not a guarantee either. And I think

that’s the piece which like, I think a lot of people give up is because they think it’s going to be this thing that’s just


results in a day or a week.

But over time, and with consistency, it just starts to create more conversations.

And to me, that’s the goal of it. And it doesn’t matter if you’re on TikTok, if you’re on Twitter, if you’re on Facebook, you can have conversations through social media and it can start conversations. It’s a mindset change in what you’re actually doing.

And I think if you approach it from that way, then there’s less pressure of it being something else. Like you don’t have to be an influencer or, anything like that. I would probably say you want to be a conversation starter. because I know plenty of influencers that have millions of followers that don’t make any money or aren’t actually that successful. But same time I know a lot of people who don’t have a lot of followers that are just good at conversations. Maybe not even on social media. Maybe they’re just good at conversations through emails and they’re really successful, because it’s offline relationships still matter more than online, if that makes.


I’m happy you mentioned instead of being an influencer, a conversation starter. Like I picture- guys

can relate that person who does ask the actual question that everyone has, has like everyone just doesn’t want to raise their hand. And that gets that question answered by the teacher.

Well, in this case, we’re putting out content this content kind of addresses or talks about an issue we run into, anything under the sun, but it relates to recruiting. So whoever it is, Joey, Susie, Bobby, who’s on LinkedIn looking at it, they’re like, “I’ve gone through this,” like they relate to it, they comment on it, and like you said, you find that kind of niche market. It’s not like you’re going to appeal to absolutely everyone, but I find the comments that I leave are mostly on posts that I’m like, “Oh wow, someone’s going through the same stuff I am.” it’s comforting and it’s- you know what? It makes the job, the negative sides, the down times about a job a little bit easier. Because you know that there’s people out there that go through it, they’re fighting through it, so should you.

Yeah, I mean it’s funny,

obviously I do a lot of like memes and like jokey type comment and there have been times where I’ve been like, man, I don’t know, maybe I need to stop this.

If you’re like a jokester, do you trust business to that person? But, I will tell you like a lot the chief people officers that I have conversations with on my podcast or like just through networking, a lot of them reference that they love the hiring manager stuff Because it’s like, internal, they can’t really bash hiring managers. We can’t really either. People appreciate that. And then someone recently asked me, they were like, what do hiring managers think? And obviously I’m not so much in recruiting, but honestly, if you don’t know that your process sucks, that’s on you.

It’s just we’ve all sat in a seat

of being a candidate.

All these hiring managers, they’ve all gone through a job seeking process. When you approach things through humor, people don’t really take it personally.

And I put reminders in there too like, “Hey, I love hiring managers.” That’s the whole reason we have a job. The reason that recruiting is so hard, is the whole reason our business exists.


Well, Joel, I don’t know if you’ve seen any of our episodes previously, but we like to end off with what we call the two minute drill. Final thoughts, one last segment. What are your thoughts on a potential Hirewell NIL deal.

Dude, I love that. I think we already do that, but yeah, I think that could be a good move for the future.

We do love to brand, don’t we?

There you go, dude. I love it.

Louis, if you could pick one athlete to bring in a Hirewell NIL deal, who would it be?

Given that we’re Chicago centric, I probably would just say Patrick Kane probably my favorite athlete of any sport. And hockey being my favorite. Patrick Kane. Thousand percent.

There you go. I think we have to shoot for the stars. Arch Manning. He’s going to commit to the University of Texas. We’ll go big Jim McGuffin fan.. We’ll call it the Hirewell hook ’em. All big money right there.

Cristiano baby. That’s who I’m going with. Cristiano, I got him. You know I’m nearly there.

I thought I was shooting for the stars.

Yeah, we’re going to need a little more funding for that one.

a free agent, man. Nobody wants to even have him. So maybe he can join the Hirewell team and I’m only like 0.001% away from him in follower count. So I think it’s a done deal.

It’s neck and neck, really.

Yeah. He’s seen my GIFs, I’m pretty sure.

Matt, James, if you’re watching, take notes. We’re going to be coming these ideas shortly.

Yeah, let’s get tri and exec. They probably have the connection in Europe

with Cristiano. Let’s do this.

There you go.

Joel, appreciate you jumping on. Excellent first guest segment for us here at the Hirewell Hot Corner. Louis, a pleasure as always. else out there, thank you for tuning in again to the Hirewell Hot Corner. Join us again for our next installment in two weeks. And as always, stay classy LinkedIn.

See you guys.

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