Alistair Neal

Are you looking to explore the various ways that social media platforms can be used to market and grow your business? In this episode of The Staffing Show, Alistair Neal of Paiger shares how his company helps businesses capitalize on the opportunities provided by social media and amplifies their impact. 

David Folwell: Hello, everyone. Thank you again for joining us for another episode of The Staffing Show. Excited to be joined today with Alistair Neal of Paiger. Alistair, thanks so much for being a guest today. To kick things off, why don’t you go ahead and give a little background on who you are and how you got into staffing?

Alistair Neal: Funny enough, I kind of got into staffing by accident. It’s more staffing tech where I spent the vast, vast majority of my career. I went out with a buddy of mine and he showed up in a new car, and I said, “How’d you get that new car?” He’s like, “I joined this company called Broadbean.” And then so I said, “How about you give me an interview over there? I would also like a new car.”

And so he got me in the door, and I discovered that I liked the industry. I like what people are doing. It’s nice to help people get jobs, and I especially like the technology side of things.

So I spent a number of years at Broadbean, working first as just a regular sales guy, individual contributor. Then I moved into partnerships and managed relationships Broadbean had between most of the ATSs and a number of job boards. Then after Broadbean was acquired by CareerBuilder, we decided to launch Paiger. So myself and a couple other Broadbean folks started off a new little software company.

Folwell: That’s great. And why don’t you tell us a little bit about who is Paiger and what challenges you’re solving for staffing firms?

Neal: Paiger is a mostly marketing/business development platform, designed for staffing agencies to capitalize on the opportunity that social media provides. And we all know that being active on social media and keeping your name top-of-mind is very valuable, and we try to help people do that as efficient, yet as professional manner as possible.

Folwell: Awesome. I’ve actually looked at Paiger and heard a lot of good things about you guys, in terms of how you’re helping to automate the outreach for recruiters and marketers on social media. Being a digital marketer myself, I’ve dug deeply into HubSpot publication, the publishing, and also use Buffer at different times. How does your guys’ platform differ or vary from something like Buffer?

Neal: So our main differentiator from Buffer… Well, there’s a couple, but the biggest one is we have everything done as if the people have done it themselves. So if you’re on LinkedIn and you re-share somebody else’s status update, that does virtually nothing for your impression count, for how many people are seeing your actual post.

So everything we do in Paiger as if the individual has posted it themselves. Even if it’s something that the marketing team created and then wanted them to post it, it all comes directly from the individual. And since people are trusted more than brands, and people will generally have more followers than brands, it’s a good way to easily amplify whatever marketing or content that you want to have out there.

Folwell: It’s super cool because I’ve managed marketing for a lot of different startups at different stages. And one of the challenges we always had was getting the sales team to share content, and to share good content, and to share meaningful content. And I’ve actually had at different points in my career, where we’d have a Slack channel, where it’d be like, “Share this and use one of these components or this text to share it. And when you share it, make sure you tag this and link this.” And we would really spend a lot of time trying to get sales teams of different sized organizations to share on LinkedIn, because we understood the value, but that effort and the scalability of that effort was quite limited and it was always a challenge. And from what I understand, you guys are actually essentially enabling somebody, a marketer, to distribute on behalf of the recruiters. Is that accurate?

Neal: That is accurate. So going back to what you just said about, “You have the Slack channel where you say, ‘Use this copy. Tag this person. Do this.'” Being a sales person myself, that used to end up on the to-do list, which never got to done. You’re like, “Okay, Slack channel,” go to do it, and then you call a candidate and you forget about it. So what we’ve done is reduced that process to let the marketers write the content, and decide what content, and when to post it, and where to post it. And then for the salespeople, just give it a “yes,” either via text message or a one-click, so that they don’t have to go through all that effort you just mentioned. And that way, it actually gets done and shared.

Folwell: Yeah, and just to second that, I would guess that maybe at our best case, we got like 50% of the sales team to do it. And on average, it was 10 to 20% of the sales team would actually take the action, because it was on the to-do list and it wasn’t top priority. So it’s a pretty cool thing that you’re solving here.

Neal: If you think about the 10%, those people would do it, anyways. We’re taking care of the 90%, where there’s the rest. Now you add another 90% amplification to it. And I bet the 10% people that do it naturally are also the 10% that perform the best. Most clients, most candidates, most placements.

Folwell: Absolutely. So with this and with where Paiger’s going, what are some of the other key trends that you see happening in the staffing industry right now?

Neal: I talk to staffing agencies all day long. The biggest problem, and it’s totally unrelated to Paiger… Maybe I’m going to take stuff off track here. The biggest problem is staffing agencies can’t hire more recruiters. Most agencies out there are like, “We need more recruiters working for our agency,” and they simply can’t find them; which is funny since you are a staffing agency, so you’d be able to find them, but there are just not the candidates available out there.

Folwell: It’s funny. Having a digital marketing agency, we always use the term, “You’re supposed to eat your own dog food and use your own product.” And I feel like most staffing firms, aren’t using recruiters to… They’re not actually doing what they need to do to bring people into their own team.

This is a little bit even more of a segue, but a fun story is… Do you know the term, “Eat your own dog food?” Have you heard that?

Neal: I like, “Drink your own Kool-Aid.”

Folwell: Drink your Kool-Aid. Yeah, so “Eat your own dog food,” is what I’ve heard in the startup space quite a bit. And finally, I was like, “I need to know the foundation of this,” and so I looked it up. And apparently, the person who came up with that saying was the CEO of a dog food company, and at their annual board meeting would open up the dog food, and take a bite and say, “If it’s good enough for me, it’s good enough for your dogs.”

Neal: That’s good.

Folwell: Not related to staffing at all, but just a nice little fun tidbit to share. So our team has decided that “Drink your own champagne or drink your own Kool-Aid,” may be a little bit more appetizing.

Neal: Absolutely, I’m going to switch to champagne now. That’s great. But funny you mentioned that drink your own Kool-Aid thing. So if you go to my LinkedIn posting history and you scroll down a bit, I didn’t write half of the stuff on there, but I’ve benefited from it because I got connections, and I’ve benefited from the efforts the marketing team is doing, with literally zero effort.

But just to kind of segue into having the robust social media profile that you want, you can’t just be company-content person. They’re boring. It’s like, “We get it. You love where you work. You’re just showing ads.” You have to add some other types of value. For the ultimate profile, I would say have some company content, talk about yourself a little bit, let people get to know you in a professional setting, and then throw in some jobs.

Folwell: Yeah, that’s one of the challenges that I’ve always had. It was always good to push out the company content: a webinar, whatever, maybe it’s a downloadable job report or something that might be useful for your audience. I don’t know if you guys have solved this. This is something I always struggled with as well, but how do you make it personalized, or humanize it a little bit more, when you’re writing it on behalf of the team? Are you guys doing it on a one-to-one basis at all? Or is it all company-wide?

Neal: It can be done company-wide. Depends on the type of content. Your webinars and stuff are obviously company-wide. And then some things will be team-specific, just to the sales team. Some things will be just for the executives. So it really depends on the type of content who you want to send it to, but we do have that capability to set it out there.

On the same front, the other thing I was wanting to encourage people to do when they are sharing content is to put your own thoughts onto it, because at the end of the day, the vast majority of people aren’t going to go to your webinar who see that post. You get a thousand views. You’re not going to have a thousand webinar attendees, but most of those people that view it, they’ll stop and they’ll read your two sentences about it. And it’s those impressions where they get to know you as an individual, at the same time as seeing the company content. So I think that’s the most important thing for people to do is actually…everybody can write two sentences, right? So anytime you’re sharing something, put your own two cents on it.

Folwell: And so, when the recruiter goes to share it, they have the ability to add that and they’re able to add the text before they hit send? Is that how that works?

Neal: They absolutely do. They can just write their own update to go with whatever content goes on. And Paiger makes it easy, but that’s probably the most important thing, is to let people get to know you on a personal basis with whatever content you’re sharing.

Folwell: Absolutely. I guess if you want to just go through, when we’re talking a little bit about best practices with social media recruiting, what other tips or tricks, anything else that you’d recommend in terms of best practices for what recruiters should be doing on social media these days?

Neal: Yeah, absolutely. So we’re connected on LinkedIn. You’ve seen some of my posts, right?

Folwell: Yep.

Neal: Can you tell me one off the top of your head?

Folwell: Not off the top of my head.

Neal: That’s exactly it. That’s what I’m getting at, right? But you see my posts, you see my name, and you get to know Paiger over time. And a lot of people are worried about, “I’m going to write something stupid or I’m going to have some content out there that’s not going to be right.” And nobody remembers what you posted yesterday, but they remember that you posted and they remember you were there. So it’s not necessarily that you need to be the world’s greatest white-paper author to be able to be present. It’s more showing up. Show up three times a week, five times a week, so that people do get to know you over time. And while they don’t remember the specifics, they will remember you.

Folwell: Actually, that kind of goes back to the psychological principle with familiarity. I don’t know if you know that there was a study that was like, “Even seeing somebody whose face who you don’t like, if you see it repeatedly over time, you become more fond of it.” There’s a fondness with familiarity and brand awareness, as well. So that’s a great tip, because I think a lot of times, even with myself, I find where I’m going to post something, but I don’t have the perfect words for it. I’m going to wordsmith it five times, and then you end up holding back, when really just getting it out there, having that consistency, is a meaningful thing to do.

Neal: Absolutely. Familiarity breeds trust. And it’s not necessarily that that’s going to lead to business, but when you do send somebody a cold email, or you give them a cold call, they know your name, they know a little bit about you. They’re far more likely to answer that email, even if it’s a “no,” but they’re far more likely to at least give you a response, just because they have had those impressions over time.

Folwell: Absolutely. And what are some of the results or case studies that you’ve had with customers using Paiger, or just the people that are overhauling their social media outreach?

Neal: So I’ll kind of bring it to life. It’s top-of-mind because it just happened. So I had a demo with a prospect, and I said, “How did you hear about Paiger?” He goes, “I saw your CEO was on a webinar with somebody else.” And he didn’t listen to the webinar. He didn’t check it out. He just saw that name. It brought up his curiosity. He clicked over to the Paiger account, read a little bit about it.

I was like, “Oh, great. This is interesting. I’ll actually reach out and schedule a demo,” because with today’s sales environment, what’s the first thing you do when somebody reaches out to you? You go to their webpage. You look at the company. Or what’s the first thing that you do when you see somebody’s name and they write some interesting comment? You go look at their LinkedIn profile, where you’re going to learn what they do and what problems they solve.

So we have a bunch of actual, proper case studies on the website, but it just was, “How’d you hear about us? Oh, great.” Darren just showed up on LinkedIn. We had a little webinar. Great. And because he posted about it, I got a demo out of it.

Folwell: That’s great. And what do you think? There’s all this talk, there’s been for years, about the content overload and how there’s just too much out there. What are your thoughts on what social media will look like three to five years from now? How do you think it’s going to change?

Neal: So I think the algorithms are pretty good at showing the right content to the right people, especially since LinkedIn added the dwell time as one of the factors they take into account when determining how often to show you a post or who to show it to. So dwell time is pretty important. And with the over-content bit, the dwell time will help the best content rise to the top. The content that’s getting interacted with.

And that also goes back to what I was saying about, “It doesn’t matter if you post something, because a) nobody’s going to remember it tomorrow, and b) if it’s not a great post, it’ll be seen by fewer people than when you do have that goldmine that’s shown to a lot of people.” So trial and error. Don’t over-post, but the more you post, the more likely you’re going to have a good post that’ll then get massive exposure.

Folwell: And so, a couple of things to dig into there. Dwell time, I don’t know if all of our audience is familiar with what that is or how that works, so why don’t you tell us a little bit about that?

Neal: Dwell time, when you’re scrolling your feed, oftentimes you’ll see the click “read more” button. They’ll give you the first sentence and a half, two sentences. If somebody clicks “read more,” that’s massive positivity for dwell time. And then the LinkedIn algorithm will say, “What a great post. Let’s show this to more people.” Or if you’ve got a video, they watch how long people watch a video to determine if it’s quality video. Or if it’s a picture, and then you just stop your feed and it sits on that section of the feed for a little bit, you’re dwelling on that post. LinkedIn can sense it’s good content, and then they’ll show it to more people.

Folwell: I think that’s just something to think about. It’s interesting, because I feel like it used to be, “Keep your social media posts super short.” Now it’s like, “Well, you have to read more on LinkedIn.” And it’s great that they’re actually looking at that to identify what content is good, and what will kind of move up based off of the algorithm.

How frequently… Or actually, two things: do you have a suggested length, in terms of what people should be posting, and also frequency, in terms of posting, as well? Do you have any recommendations or best practices on that front?

Neal: Yeah, so length of post. Actually, I wish I had…we did a bunch of research on this. Length of posts: short sentences don’t do great. You always want to have people click the “read more” button, so make sure it’s long enough at least to have the “read more” on there.

Linking outside of LinkedIn on the posts downgrades your post quality if people don’t come back. So LinkedIn tracks you if you leave and it’ll know if you come back. So if you’re linking out and people don’t come back to LinkedIn, LinkedIn is going to miss out on that ad revenue, so they’re going to show your post to fewer people, which is why you’ve often seen people put: “If you want to read more, link in the first comment,” which doesn’t downgrade your posts. So you’ll probably see that more and more.

Folwell: I’m just going pause on that. So you’re saying that, instead of having the link off to the article, put a summary of it, a picture, and then link the actual post to the article in the comments?

Neal: In the comments.

Folwell: And then LinkedIn is actually viewing that as a more positive post?

Neal: Correct. So you won’t be downgraded if you put the link in the comments.

Video, square video does best. You always want to have captions on your video. I need to drink my own Kool-Aid on that one. None of my Sales Fails have captions on there. Videos, three to five minutes. Don’t go over five minutes on your video.

Other bits: emojis are great for whatever reason. Emojis do great. Personally, I’m like, “Emojis are for kids, or teens, or gen-whatever.” And I wasn’t a fan of emojis until I figured out that emojis actually perform better on LinkedIn. So add some emojis to your posts. It’s becoming less and less informal for emojis.

Folwell: I see that in email subject lines, as well: starting a subject in an email with an emoji can increase conversion rate, too. So it’s a funny thing. I wonder if it’s one that will be lasting.

Neal: It will be fad-ish. They keep adding more emojis, so we’ll see. And I’ve started to adopt it. And you know what the other thing is? Not to go side, but I don’t know sometimes what to write. So emojis are super handy. I saw a post that I liked. I didn’t have any comment on it, so I just gave it some hand claps.

Speaking of that, LinkedIn gives posts with comments far more traction than posts that don’t get comments on it. So if you’ve got friends out there and you see their posts, if you want to support your colleague, your network, your buddy group, always comment on their posts because it’s going to help them get more exposure.

Folwell: I just heard the same thing. I’d heard that LinkedIn’s algorithm currently really favors… If you have a post with a lot of comments? That’s one of the best things you can do. So we’d always coach the sales teams for recruiters: “Hey, go comment on this webinar. Give it some legs.” And that was a way to really kind of push things further on.

Neal: It 10xs your view count pretty quickly. Likes are good. Comments are great, especially comments that drive further comments. If you get replies to your comment, then suddenly LinkedIn is like, “Oh, this is a conversation now. That’s what we want to drive.” And they’re just going to give it that much more exposure.

Folwell: And what about the frequency of posting?

Neal: Frequency of posts? Get this question a lot. Don’t post more than twice a day. I always recommend for four or five times a week will get you the maximum exposure. And if you post three times a week, you’ll be exposed to 80% of your network every month.

Folwell: And actually, that’s something else I don’t think that people understand. I just hear it from different agency owners I talked with, and confusion around it. And I actually don’t know the details either, but it’s not like every post goes to everybody in your network. And especially because not everybody’s showing up on the same day, they’re not all reading their feed all the time. And I think even if you could dig into the company posts, and how the visibility of a company posts versus an individual posts and then what that looks like, I think that’s something that could be super useful for those that are listening today.

Neal: So company posts don’t get the same exposure as individual posts, as people’s posts. They’ve downgraded that, but the flip side is, company pages don’t get penalized for over-posting. You can go wild on your company page. You want to post 20 times a day? Great. You’re not going to be punished. If you’re an individual and you post 20 times a day, LinkedIn is going to look at you as a spammer and downgrade your posts significantly.

Folwell: I didn’t know that.

Neal: Yeah, so company pages, go wild. Individual pages, don’t post more than twice a day.

Folwell: I didn’t realize that they’re actually downgrading or penalizing you for over-posting. I would never recommend that anybody post over twice a day, but I didn’t know that there was actually a penalty that was enforced on that front. That’s super interesting.

Neal: Other little tips while I’m thinking about it: three to ten hashtags. Don’t over hashtag. It looks stupid, and the LinkedIn algorithms will punish you for over-hashtagging. But you want to expand your network and reach more people. Look for the hashtags that have the best traction, make sure they’re relevant to your posts, and then use those ones.

Folwell: And what about the use of images? One thing you mentioned on video, which I highly recommend, and I think has been a best practice long enough that I’m more aware of it: when you post a video, having the subtitles. The why behind that is, as you’re scrolling through LinkedIn, you don’t have the sound on. You’re on your phone. You don’t actually know what’s being said unless you have the subtitles. So that’s always been a best practice.

Not always the easiest to implement that. That said, the tool that I’ve been using recently that has blown my mind is Kapwing. I don’t know if it’s anything special, but it’s an easy one, and auto-adds subtitles, which is nice.

But yeah, any other recommendations on the format, in terms of video and/or images, that you would use?

Neal: Posts that do really well are slides. So if you’ve got a PDF and you want to put up three slides, that’s going to perform very well, for whatever reason, with the algorithms. Maybe it’s the human control behind it. “Hey, this is good content if it’s the first three pages of a PDF.” And that’s also a good way to drive traffic, is put up the first three pages of valuable information, and that’s going to lead people to your lead gen tool, or whatever you’re actually using that information for. So slides do very well. Gifs do pretty well.

Folwell: That’s great. While you’re doing that, I’m clearly just picking your brain for all of the social media best practices that everybody needs to know, because I know this is an area that you excel in and have a lot of knowledge around. The other thing that I’d be curious if you have stats on this, or if you don’t, it’s fine as well, but I’ve always wondered how… You see people who actually write the long-form articles on LinkedIn, and I’ve actually had instances where, in the past, for companies, we would do a blog post and also publish it on LinkedIn. And I’m just curious if you have any information around that also?

Neal: Unfortunately, I don’t because everything we do is based on individual status updates. So that’s where we focused our research.

Folwell: Fair enough.

Neal: But going back to the point, documents perform the best. So if you have like three slides up there, that’s the best. Content with less than three lines of text performs the worst. Text or only text with an image perform about the same. Video does just about as good as documents, and a little bit better than text only. And external links are better than things with less than three lines of texts, but the worst performing out of all the other options I just mentioned.

So that was a bit confusing way to say it. Short posts with less than three lines are the worst. Best is documents. Second best is video. Third best is text or text with an image.

Folwell: That’s insightful and valuable. I did not know about how slides were performing. Do you have any examples, companies/people, that you would recommend following or looking up on LinkedIn for somebody who’s just doing this insanely well? Maybe your own profile. Should I direct everybody there?

Neal: You absolutely should. We do drink our own Kool-Aid. My videos, I need to put captions on them. I was using Descript for a while, but you know what’s interesting? What I’ve discovered with the videos is, I have a lot of guests on there and I get 1,000+ impressions and about 70 watches, but I’ve never had a complaint without the subtitles. I’m just thinking out loud. I could be doing so much better if I put the subtitles on there, because there are a lot of people that could watch them.

So go to look at my page. I like to think I’m a good example. SmartRecruiters is an excellent client of ours. SmartRecruiters. We have a great case study with them where they’ve got 200 people in the system that they’re just amplifying this content, driving massive amounts of traffic to the webinar. They had like 400% higher attendance than expected at their most recent webinars.

Folwell: Oh, my gosh. That’s amazing.

Neal: And you know what it is? It’s just the salespeople actually sharing the content. It’s so simple.

Folwell: Yeah, it is so simple, but also it is hard to get recruiters or sales teams to consistently share that content. But when you think about the value of the amplification, that every one of your recruiters has 200 connections, or everybody on your sales team has 200 to 400 connections, that’s insane. Even if you have a 20-person team, that is a huge amplification of the message and just awareness as a whole. And it’s really difficult to do without having some sort of tool to help you kind of enable that.

Neal: Yeah, absolutely. And actually, most people have more like 2,000 to 4,000 connections. So if you’ve got a 10-person team, you’ll be able to get your message posted three times a week in front of 40,000 people, that are all relevant because you’ve all spent the time to connect with them anyways, which means they’re in your target market or your target candidate pool…

Folwell: Yeah, I’m going to Google this one if you don’t know it, but do you know what the average connections is per person on LinkedIn now? I have no idea.

Neal: It depends on the industry, but it’s somewhere around 3,000.

Folwell: Wow, that’s wild. So I guess that makes sense for LinkedIn, because they’re probably way above the average. I think when you look at people who are, I feel like, in the medical field, the LinkedIn connections, it’s a way less important platform for them. So yeah, awesome.

Neal: If you’re ever in the job market, what’s the first thing you do? You go out and start connecting with recruiters. That’s step one. And then three years later, you connect with them and go, “Oh, whoops. I forgot about this person. Let me go see what they’re up to.” There’s a lot of that curiosity factor.

Folwell: Any other, I guess, social media or anything beyond that, that you see as trends or things that are going to have a big impact on the staffing industry?

Neal: It’ll be interesting to see what happens with the newer platforms, aka TikTok. People are starting to put staffing-related content on there, and I think it’s one of those spots where you can be an early adopter and get that head start over everybody else, because right now, TikTok’s just a bunch of teens dancing. I’ve never been on there, but I think there’s a lot of opportunity because you’re starting to see… I see it on the aggregators on Reddit and places, where people are like, “Oh, look at this person talking about the staffing industry on TikTok.” So I think there’s a huge opportunity to jump on to the next big social media platform before everybody else does.

Folwell: Yeah, I feel like early adopters of any new channel to market, any new social media platform, can end up getting quite the follower base without the lift that it will take later on. A few years from now, it’ll be overwhelmed, it’ll be hard, but right now, probably a decent opportunity. I know of a couple of healthcare staffing firms that were actually out there. I think TotalMed was making a big approach into it. And there’s some others that I think are actually taking some effort, and getting people internally to manage the TikTok account and try to make it humanized.

A little bit of a personal share is I got on TikTok. So I’m like, “I need to know what’s going on in social media,” and thought I’m just going to take a look at it and never use it again. And as the algorithm has learned what I like, and it is just solid comedy, insightful business tips, and a lot of puppies and cats. It’s become quite the entertainment factor. Not something I ever imagined would be, but there’s actually some decent content out there. It takes a little bit for the algorithm to kind of learn what you like, but it’s a good one.

Neal: Nice.

Folwell: I don’t know if it’s good for the brain. I don’t know if it’s a good habit to have, but it definitely can pass 20 minutes pretty easily.

Neal: Excellent. I’ll have to check it out. I also enjoy puppies and comedy.

Folwell: There’s some good stuff. There’s some good philosophical posts, as well. It’s not quite what I expected. You might have to get through the dancing phase of the algorithm to get there, though.

Neal: All right. I look forward to it, because I’ve got to drink my own Kool-Aid and get on the TikTok.

Folwell: There you go. Next up, you’re going to have a massive TikTok following, and we’ll be watching you there.

So, all right, kind of jumping into… Actually, is there anything else on the more business side of things, or in the trends or challenges with anything you see going on in the staffing industry that you’d like to discuss?

Neal: No, I just hope that it keeps going the way it is. Everybody’s kind of in a good business growth position, where their biggest problem is growing. So I hope that continues.

Folwell: It’s kind of amazing. It’s finding candidates, finding recruiters to get more candidates. If we can just solve those two things, and whoever solves them the best… It’s definitely a fast-paced time right now in the staffing industry. Compared to a year ago, things feel really good.

Neal: Yeah, absolutely.

Folwell: So jumping into just some more of fun questions, a little more personal. So in the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Neal: Getting up early. Getting up early has made wonderful changes in my life. It used to be, for a while there, I was like, “Get to work just on time, in the nick of time.” Now I’m popping up at six in the morning. It’s just a trend you got to get through. You just got to force yourself to start doing it, getting up early. I hate to sound like the guy that’s like, “You get more done before everybody else wakes up,” but it really is the case. And then it’s just been so… I don’t know. It’s just improved the quality of life dramatically.

And the other thing is, if you get up early and you have something you don’t want to do, that’s the best time to do it. Just whatever it is you’re dreading from the night before, just get up at six and get it done.

Folwell: So the “eat the frog”?

Neal: Yeah, eat the frog first. Yeah, exactly. That’s funny. Drink your own Frog-Aid there, but it works.

Folwell: I think my twenties were the last minute, and now I’m setting my alarm for 4:45. I’m like, “What am I doing?” But man, the amount of work you can get done before 8:00 AM, it feels so good.

Neal: Yeah, it does it. And that enables you to relax a little bit more in the evenings, rather than “I got to do this,” a little bit. So I think that’s the biggest change that’s been positive.

Folwell: I second that in a strong way. What is one of the best or most worthwhile investments you’ve ever made? Could be an investment of money, time, energy, etc.

Neal: I’ll tell you the worst investment I made was frigging crypto-coin. That one’s top-of-mind right now.

Folwell: Well, it sounds like you bought in January?

Neal: I bought like a month ago, and it went up a little bit. And I was like, “Oh, it’s going up. I’ll buy some more.” And then it just plummeted.

Best investment? I bought a Honda Element nine years ago. That’s the best investment I’ve made. That car is trusty. It’s great. People crap all over it. They’re like, “It looks like a bread van.” But it’s just the best. I don’t know. It’s just been the best car and I love that car. That’s the best investment. Is that what you’re asking? Because that’s my best investment.

Folwell: Yeah, I love it. That’s great. And then what are bad recommendations you hear in your profession or area of expertise on a regular basis?

Neal: There’s too much automation that people misuse. So if people are telling you to automate everything, I don’t think that’s good advice. So for a while there, somebody said, “Hey, there’s this tool on LinkedIn. It will send LinkedIn automated messages.” Everybody can sniff out a LinkedIn automated message a mile away. I’m talking about in the chat.

Or sending a sales message directly after a connection. There was a period I was like, “I’m just going to send out the first connection: ‘Thanks for connecting. Buy my product.'” Worst possible thing you can do.

So connect with people, connect left and right. Over the last two years, I’ve just connected with people, and then that’s it. I won’t message you again, unless it’s something super relevant. But by showing up and posting things is sales adjacent. So don’t use any LinkedIn messaging automation tools. People smell it right away and people don’t like it. And unfortunately, that amount of spam is downgrading the quality messages people send.

Folwell: It’s unreal how many. I can barely keep up with my LinkedIn messages, and it’s all just junk. There’s just so much junk in there on a daily basis. Good call on that.

What is the book or books that you’ve given the most as a gift and why?

Neal: Michael Crichton wrote… Is that how you say his last name? The Jurassic Park guy, Michael Crichton? Is that correct?

Folwell: I think so. I’m going to-

Neal: I think it’s Crichton. He wrote a book called Travels. It’s amazing, because first of all, he’s clearly a genius. He’s the doctor. It was kind of his life experiences, and that book talks about where he traveled, and the experiences he had, and his perspective on it. It’s just such a good read, and he’s such an interesting individual. I highly recommend it to everybody.

Folwell: I’m writing that down for myself. That sounds great.

Neal: It is so good. I won’t ramble on it, but it’s absolutely worth a re-read.

Folwell: Awesome. And then how has a failure or apparent failure set you up for later success?

Neal: It’s funny you mentioned this. I have an entire video series called Fails and Prevails, where everybody comes on and tells a fail story and a prevail story. So if you go to my page and look at episode number 50… I’m going to dodge this question and tell you to go look at episode number 50 of Fails and Prevails to get my fail story.

Folwell: All right, I’ll check it out after this.

Neal: How’s that for a dodge?

Folwell: Great. And then lastly, what is an unusual habit or absurd thing that you love?

Neal: Big Rick and Morty fan. I don’t know if Rick and Morty counts as absurd, but huge Rick and Morty fan.

Folwell: Did you watch the latest episode Sunday?

Neal: I did. So good.

Folwell: I was there Sunday night, 9:00 PM. 

Neal: It’s so good. It’s such a good show. I don’t know. It’s probably mainstream now, but yeah, that’s one of the best shows on TV.

Folwell: I love that answer. I’ve gotten into that recently. My girlfriend is a huge Rick and Morty fan, and so that’s become a regular. I’ve gone through all the seasons in the last year.

Neal: Oh, awesome. I love it.

Folwell: Yeah, I’m new to it, but yeah, that sounds great. Cool. Is there anything you’d like to add in closing comments/thoughts for our audience?

Neal: No, just if you’ve made it this far in the podcast, listen, we appreciate your time. And if you want to reach out and talk about Paiger or anything recruitment/marketing-related, happy to connect.

Folwell: And also I highly recommend you check out Paiger. If you’re a staffing agency looking to expand your social reach, expand your brand awareness, check out Paiger. Also the Fails and Prevails episode.

Neal: Yeah, when are you coming on the show?

Folwell: You name the date. I’ll be there. So let’s get something on the books, for sure. But Alistair Neal with us today. Thank you so much. Really enjoyed your conversation, and I hope you have a good one.

Neal: Thanks, David. Pleasure to be here, and appreciate it.