November 14, 2023

The Hitchhiker’s Guide to Recruiting: Harmony in Motion: Bridging Conflict with Lessons from the Road


Episode Highlights

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In this special episode of A Hitchhiker’s Guide to Recruiting, Cory and Marc welcome a special guest and colleague Drew Dubendorfer. Travel with them on this insightful episode ‘Harmony in Motion: Bridging Conflict with Lessons from the Road’, as they embark on a unique journey exploring the surprising parallels between the Van Life lifestyle and the art of answering interview questions about handling conflicts in professional scenarios.

In this episode, they delve into the shared experiences of living in close quarters, managing differing opinions, and effectively resolving conflicts that arise in both the adventurous Van Life and the workplace. Discover how the skills and strategies used to maintain peace and harmony on the road mirror the techniques employed to address workplace conflicts. Cory, Marc, and Drew uncover the keys to effective communication, problem-solving, adaptability, emotional intelligence, and collaborative conflict resolution. Learn how living in close proximity teaches us invaluable lessons in navigating disagreements, fostering understanding, and finding common ground—skills that are transferable to the workplace dynamic.

Whether you’re a Van Life enthusiast seeking to translate your experiences into professional growth or a career-driven individual eager to enhance conflict resolution abilities, ‘Harmony in Motion’ is your guide.

Episode Transcript

Welcome to another episode of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Recruiting. I’m Marc Dobkin. I’m joined here by Cory Kazmierski. I’m a hiker and backpacker. Cory recently lived the nomadic lifestyle while traveling the country. And this is our monthly series where Cory and I guide you through exploring the landscape of job and employee search terrains.

We’re actually joined here today by a special guest, our colleague Drew. Just wanted Drew to join our show here today because you recently lived sort of a van life style, I guess. So it kind of relates to this show here. And, yeah, I’d love for you to talk a little bit about your travels, recently, across the country, Drew.

Yeah, of course. I’m happy to be here. So thanks for having me join as a first guest. Thanks for having us. Of course. So my name is Drew. I am on our go to market team. I work specifically with a lot of like sales recruiting. And yes, as Marc said, I similarly to Cory, I like to say like we city hopped a lot. We do have a van. So, I would say maybe not full time van, but we have stayed in it extensive amounts of time. It gets a little difficult when, you and your partner are both on client meetings, stuff like that. But yes, have traveled all across the US.

Even into different cities in Canada. I love to go hiking, and skiing too. So with it getting to like snow weather, I’m excited about that. So I think that’s why we did a lot of Canada too, catching a lot of those areas, but, yeah, so I have kind of done it all. Big adventurer, especially kind of moving into remote life when COVID hit. There’s a lot of people that travel abroad.

And when you’re abroad, you go to so many different places because you don’t know the next time you’re going to be back. Right. But, you keep telling yourself you’re going to do that in the US, and do you? So we kind of just took advantage of that. So yeah, that’s kind of my little background into adventuring, traveling across the country.

I would not recommend, having two cats in a van, but we’ve done it. Yeah, so that’s a little bit about me though. Oh, that’s great. That’s why we love you, Drew, because you love adventuring just like us. But, you know, Cory, you were kind of doing a similar thing. So, what are some of the sort of similarities between, what, as far as your adventures go and Drew’s?

Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I mean, I think part of it is like Drew said, just kind of city hopping. You know, a lot of what we do is different cities every three weeks to a month we’re in a different Airbnb. We haven’t done the transfer to the van life yet, but, you know, who knows, maybe one day.

But yeah, I mean, I think a lot of similarities and just having those sometimes tight quarters. You never really know what you’re going to get from an Airbnb from city to city. So, you know, we’ve stayed in places that have plenty of space for us to spread out and we will never hear each other on the other side of the house. Or sometimes we’re in like a one bedroom apartment where we’re screaming over each other on client meetings.

So, you know, I can definitely understand some of those similarities from that standpoint. Yeah, for sure. It sounds like you guys learned to handle conflict, in tight spaces, right? And traveling with your partner, and being with them 24/7 most of the time. So, you know, Drew, you had mentioned something about the difficulty of taking like client meetings with your partner in such close quarters and Cory, you sort of, finding a quiet place to take meetings and things like that.

So, you know, I’m really interested in hearing about what it’s like living in close quarters with somebody and the difference of opinions you might have and different triggers and things like that and how you handled them.

Yeah, I think that’s always tough. Everyone’s different. I think, you know, even when we’re in conversations, I think that is something that we often forget to mention. Sometimes when I see like we’re having a difference of opinions I’ll say “Hey, we’re different people. We have different needs, or we have different thoughts on something. Let’s first just like make that be known.” And so we’re not getting very heated about a conversation. But yeah, I think in general it is very difficult to be traveling, because you’re thinking about so many different things, on top of like your work that you have to, you know, like coincide with.

But yeah, there’s always going to be difference of opinions like we and probably Cory can, you know, share your side of this, but like, when you’re city hopping or like, you know, driving to so many different areas, you’re like, oh, well, what if we went this way. And then that could lead us into going to this city, and then that city, and then going there. Or if you go south more and then you’re going to be hopping into a different like this direction.

So, I think there’s always going to be a difference of opinions in that regard of, like, which way, like, what’s going to be our best, like, long term option here. And then obviously, like, working in close quarters, too, there’s a very big communication factor. So, like, you know, making sure that when you have a very important meeting, you’re making sure the other person knows that so that they can kind of make sure that they’re not, you know, tinkering around somewhere, and making noise. But yeah, I think those are just a couple of things that definitely stand out is, like, everyone’s going to have a difference of opinions on something.

There’s no right or wrong either, because we’re all different people. And then there’s always going to be like working against the importance of a client meeting or a candidate call or something like that. Like, where is the priority on these? Like, who has the important meeting that they need to push before the other person, and communicating with that individual.

So those are things that like, stick out to me. That’s interesting. Well, who knew that you’d come on to our show and actually provide some marriage advice as well. That’s great advice there, Drew. Yeah, very great.. Yeah, it brings us to the topic of this episode, actually. We wanted to specifically focus on interview questions and more so, conflict resolution.

And what I mean by that is like, those type of questions that you typically hear in interviews, like, can you provide me an example of a time when you handled conflict with a coworker and how did you handle it? Or, How do you approach resolving conflicts within a team? Another question might be, how do you handle disagreements with your supervisor or manager?

Any other, sort of questions along those lines that you guys can think of that you might hear in interviews? Yeah, I mean, I think those are two really common ones, Marc. I think to even make it more broad, you know, something along the lines of like why did you leave your last company?

And I feel like there can be a lot of conflict issues behind those questions at times. So, you know, not even as specific, but in a more generalized way, those questions can come out one way or another in an interview. And I think it’s important to learn how to handle those. Yeah. And just like Cory said, that is a- that’s a big one. Because obviously, that gets asked almost every time, you know, by recruiters, agency, and then internally as well. You know, the sales part in me thinks of when someone doesn’t hit a quota, like how did you overcome that? What was the result? What did you do after that? So thinking of that again, like that long term of that. Or like, tell me about a time that you had a negative client experience and how you might have turned that into a positive.

Like, what did you learn from that? Like, that’s what interviews are truly trying to understand is like the learning component of it. Or, from like a personality standpoint, like, how best do you approach things? Like, making sure you’re thinking things through stuff like that. But, yeah, I guess, like, if I were to answer some of these questions, though, I’ll be pretty broad here, though. And then maybe Cory or Marc, you can kind of like chime in too, of course, but again, I’m going to be repetitive here when I say it’s always important to take into account someone else’s feelings.

So, Marc, when you’re talking about conflict resolution. Take into account someone else’s feelings. Some people it’s, you know, it comes naturally. Some people it doesn’t. So just take a pause for a second before reacting. Acknowledging really does wonders when, you’re in conversations. And the other person kind of gets a little heated, it’s because they’re not really acknowledging what the other person said and they might be confused.

So just like, take a second. I think with answering a lot of these, though, really important to have good stories prepared. And when you’re talking about those stories, you know, giving an example, it’s going to hold a lot more weight. So making sure that you’re really not talking too much about that negative, before you start to talk about the positive.

And I don’t mean like, lie. And I don’t mean don’t talk about it at all. Like, obviously they’re going to want to know that there was a negative component there, but just be very brief with it. Let’s say answering Cory’s question about like leaving a company. Don’t say you got into like a rift with like HR or something.

You can talk more, you know, generally like there were leadership changes. There were commission changes, things kind of like that. And just keep it as is. They don’t need to say, like, with the leadership change, like, “Oh, I was really struggling with my manager doing this, that, or the other.” You can just say there were leadership changes and if they, of course, want more detail, like.

That’s something that they’re asking for, but if they don’t, then why lead into it? I think is important there. And then also don’t talk like too negatively about your company in general. I think there are instances where people think, you know, maybe you’re at a direct competitor. And they really want to make sure they’re relaying to that other company they’re interviewing with that they’re super serious about something, and they’re talking all this negative stuff about that company. But, to the company that you’re interviewing with, they might, in their head, be like, is this person just a negative person?

They just might have some question marks there. So again, just keep it like super, super brief in terms of why you’re leaving. Don’t be too negative because that can also hurt you too. But that’s very broadly, and Cory, I don’t know if you have more specifics to go into there too. Great advice. Yeah, definitely. Yeah. I mean, I think you make, you know, some really good points there.

I think going back to, you know, the point you made earlier about just some of your travels and being in close quarters. You know, I think it is important, like if, you know, if you are answering these questions and even just in general, like having a conflict at work, like that open communication and just saying like, “Hey, look, we are two very different people, you know, let’s just kind of chat this out rather than like get heated.”

Like, “Hey, no, things are escalating.” Let’s tone this down a notch and, you know, really, hear each other out here, before things progress too far. But yeah, I mean, you know, in an interview setting, you definitely never want to talk negative. And, you know, I think another thing that an interviewee might be thinking is like, “Hey, like, if they leave our company, like, is this how they’re going to talk about us as well?”

Like, you never want that you know, bad publicity from a candidate when they’re interviewing somewhere else in the future. But no, I mean, I think you’ve hit kind of all the points exactly right. And, you know, there are going to be different questions depending on what kind of roles you’re interviewing on.

And I think. You know, having that prepared answer, and just kind of delivering it with confidence is going to be one of the most important aspects on an interview. If you’re kind of fumbling around your words, like, it’s going to come off. Like, you might not be telling the full truth or something like that.

So you definitely want to be like, confident in your delivery. Even if it is negative, because, you know, again, like you might get asked some probing questions and some things are going to come out, but, you know, don’t hone in and take too much time on those negative aspects of what you’ve been asked.

But turn that into how you turn the conversation into a positive or the conflict into a positive and get it resolved. You know, I really love that point. Yeah, to that point, I think it’s super important to address the question, answer it honestly, but always, you know, pivot it into a positive conversation and how you handled it positively and what was the positive outcome of that.

Well, great advice. This was really insightful. Drew, thank you so much for being on our show. Really appreciate it. It’s been great having you here and hopefully, you’ll want to come back on our show in the future. Yeah, you know I’m happy to be here. And, happy to, maybe we should share some stories ourselves and really bring it home. But yeah, I’m to be here.

Thanks so much. Yeah. All right, great. Well, as we wrap up another episode of the Hitchhiker’s Guide to Recruiting, keep in mind that the lessons from the trail can guide you to success. Stay curious, stay adaptable, and remember every step counts.


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