The Staffing Show - Pyle

On this episode of The Staffing Show, Jason Pyle, managing director and president of Harvey Nash USA, joins David to talk about how the company’s future-focused method of tracking data has fostered growth. He discusses how direct sourcing can be used to curate talent while working alongside the hiring company. Pyle also shares his thoughts on a possible upcoming recession, as well as how a practice of thoughtful reflection is useful for personal and professional growth.

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David Folwell: Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining us for another episode of The Staffing Show. Today I am super excited to be joined by Jason Pyle, who is the managing director and president of Harvey Nash. 

Jason, thanks so much for being on the show today. Super excited about the conversation. To kick things off, could you tell us a little bit about who you are and how you got into the staffing industry?

Jason Pyle: Sure, absolutely. Thanks so much. Appreciate the opportunity. It’s nice to be with you. As you shared, Jason Pyle, managing director and president of Harvey Nash USA. Personally, I got into the recruitment industry about 24 years ago, so I’ve been a lifer in it pretty much since right out of college. I think, like many in our space, my first job was as a recruiter so I really gravitated with the industry through the recruiting chair. That was where I just fell in love with the business. I’m probably not alone to have worn about every hat you can, whether it’s sales, business development, leading recruiting teams, leading sales teams and leading every team.

Again, it’s probably a normal thing when you see people wear many hats around the business. I really just couldn’t be happier to call the industry home. I make it a point to tell anybody I can, certainly our employees, anybody that’s new to the space, my daughters, my three kids, just what a great industry it is to be in. Certainly very cliché to say this, but I don’t know of too many industries where you truly get whatever you put in. It’s a hustle and a hard work-based industry.

I’d be remiss not to introduce our business. Harvey Nash, just real briefly, is a technology recruitment business. We’ve been in business in the USA for over 25 years, globally for 30-plus. Very proud to work with a lot of, some of the biggest brands in the space and some exciting mid-market companies as well primarily focused around contract perm, RPO. Business is about 185 run rate in USA, top 50 IT firms in the US, but globally, one of the 30 largest tech solutions and recruitment businesses under the Nash Squared family of brands.

Nash Squared is our parent company, and SIA 33, I think, or something like that on the list of billion three in turnover, which is a really nice jumping off point here. We’ve been able to produce a wonderful piece of data in our annual Digital Leadership Reports we’re proud of, and I’m sure we’ll get into it at some point here shortly.

Folwell: Yeah, absolutely. That’s impressive. I know of the Harvey Nash brand in the US. We set up this call and I was looking, and did not realize you were so big globally. That’s a huge footprint. What are some of the keys that you’ve seen to help drive growth for Harvey Nash over the last few years?

Pyle: Well, certainly we focus broadly around…we’ve got our major accounts, business that really focuses on your Fortune 200, Fortune 250 size companies, and as well as blend that and round that out with a middle market strategy in some major geographies around the country, Seattle, the Northeast tri-state area, Nashville, Tennessee, which is where I’m based. I certainly think we’re well-diversified in that area, but recruiting delivery is really where the rubber meets the road for us.

We really want to make both talent attraction as simple as we possibly can for our customers and as well as the candidates that we target, so making it really easy to work with us. We like to call it predictive staffing in the way that we approach what we do, and really data-focused in the way that we go about that. Not everything you can measure is worth measuring, but we make sure that the real key value items that we want to go after, we’re really focused hard on that. Whether we’re looking at rates response, whether we’re looking at our fill rates, our interview-to-fill rates, really self-assessing, capturing that data, and how we’re doing, how we’re improving.

We find a lot of times in our space, companies that work…let’s say you work with MSPs or you’re working through gatekeepers, customers. There’s a lot of information that you can gather and gain to gain an understanding about how you’re really doing, without ever needing to hear that feedback directly from the client. We set up our delivery approach around really self-assessing, rating all the time how we’re doing. I would say that’s probably underline, underscore, biggest thing that sets us apart in our delivery.

Folwell: Well, that’s amazing. You basically have KPIs that are managed down to the brand level or the individual manager level. You mentioned fill rates. Are you able to share any of the other top-level KPIs that you think are critical for your guys’ success?

Pyle: Absolutely. I would say with, if we were to look at fill rates, so in the MSP space, servicing more your central accounts where you’ve got heavy competition. You’ve got multiple suppliers within categories and within much less the entire program, certainly in excess of 20% fill rates that we service. We track every rec, every major component that we can. We like to go into these quarterly metric calls and meetings with more information than, I dare say, our customers have on us, and that’s not normal. Normal, I think, is we get responsive in our space sometimes, and we wait to hear what the scorecards look like, what the information looks like.

To get ahead, to really purposely grow, I think, in our business, you have to track and mine that. There’s some things that we use. Bullhorn is a tool that we use, but I think that I’m probably agnostic maybe about what ATS a company might use. Bullhorn has been great for us because it didn’t dictate our process to us. It enabled us to establish our process and fit that within our ecosystem, and so I really think process adherence is important. You have to check that process. You can get stuck sometimes by delivering on something that always worked. As we’re seeing today, this market changes and evolves. You have to constantly be assessing how you’re doing, so that KPI is really important.

Folwell: It sounds like you’re basically holding your team to a standard where they’re going, and what their own scorecards that are better than the scorecard that the customer would be rating them on. Is that a….

Pyle: That is the goal. That is the goal. I would say we execute on that really well. That’s a focal point for us. We don’t want any surprises. We find that, a lot of times, we can correct the data that’s being presented to us. I think it’s important to set that kind of a standard with our team so that we’re forensic about it, quite honestly.

Folwell: With that, I mean it sounds like you guys have a good delivery approach. Then just out of curiosity, I know you guys are…I think from what I understand in contract-to-perm, solutions, business, RPO, you just mentioned earlier that you have a new segment that you’re going after on the startup and scale-up space….

Pyle: Absolutely, please.

Folwell: …which I’d love to dig into as well. In terms of growth in 2023, where do you see the biggest opportunities?

Pyle: Great question. I think that right now, we all know the macroeconomic landscape right now is changing. Everybody’s craning their neck around looking to see what’s happening. I’m of a viewpoint that we’re in a space that is, on the whole, especially in the IT sector that we target predominantly, so our business is upwards of 75%, give or take, IT-centric in terms of the recruitment that we do for our customers. There is a bit of an insulation there, but I think too, even at a high level, we have seen some of our customers, some of our larger companies I mentioned like Fortune 100, Fortune 200 size businesses beholden to shareholders, making certain decisions around costs and so forth, which might have caused them to, at this point in time, some of the hiring.

What we’re really seeing though is that that middle market is a place of focus. For everybody, that’s different. For us, that would be somewhere maybe north of a quarter billion in overall revenue, upwards of about a billion or so. I think for every business, every staffing firm or recruitment firm, that might be different. Certainly, focusing there is a big target for us in the new year, really building up that side of our business.

I know we talked a little bit before we jumped on here about direct sourcing. That’s certainly an area of focus for our business. In the United Kingdom, for example, we are in a number of different very large programs handling direct sourcing there. We’re rolling that program out in the United States, and actually a part of a direct sourcing masterclass here that’s going to take place in early February in Nashville, Tennessee, where I’m based out of.

A number of leading industry partners have come in to be a part of this program, and MSPs, and major partners in the space, so that’s an area of focus for us. You touched on our rollout of a new startup, scale-up brand as well, which I can touch on, too. These are all areas of focus for us, as well as just always putting on more steam and growing within the sector that we are really strong in, which is definitely that large, national count and the presence too.

Folwell: That’s great. I want to jump into the direct sourcing component, and also into the scale-up, startup segment as well.

Pyle: Sure.

Folwell: The one area you did touch on, which I know is top of mind for many of our listeners is just the economic trends right now. There is a lot of fear of a recession. I just saw a stat that it’s estimated that 120,000 tech workers have been laid off. There’s been mass layoffs at a lot of these major tech firms. What’s your take on the economy and what’s going on right now?

Pyle: Let me couch this by saying I’m an optimist, so I’m definitely optimistic in nature. You’ve got so much talking heads saying different things about this. On one hand, you’ve got a major bank reasonably bullish about what…one of the largest banks in the world reasonably bullish about what they’re seeing, and consumer spending certainly is buoying us right now, and holding things up.

We had a Black Friday a week or so ago that set a record. In addition, unemployment, we saw the numbers come out from last month where…a month prior, excuse me, where you had 30% more job creation than was anticipated. That certainly, I think, buoys us. Start getting into certain sectors, IT, more insulated maybe than others. Certain healthcare roles, maybe a bit more insulated than others. In general terms, I think I’m optimistic about where things are going.

I think some of your larger companies that we’ve seen in the space, tech organizations as well, had to get ahead of some of the inflationary risk that was coming at them left and right. Again, you’ve got, you’re beholden to a lot of shareholders and investors, and you need to make sure that you’re operating responsibly and properly, so it stands to reason they would make some of the decisions that they did.

The question is, have they gotten ahead of that? My answer to that is, probably yes. I think as we get through the end of this year and start the new year now, there’s so many different opinions on this that come to the middle, which is nobody can tell you and nobody really knows. It’s cliché to say nobody has a crystal ball. They don’t, but I feel good about where things are going.

I think we’ll be fine next year, take our lumps where we have to. Yeah, I think it’s an opportunity for us to use this time, where it might be a little bit slower. We’ve seen certain job volume from large customers dip a little bit, so you spend time working with your team, coaching, training, driving, improving your setup and your structure.

Use these times wisely. I think, rather than maybe dwelling on what you can’t control, focusing on what you can. It’s a good time, too…David, I know you’re very focused in the tech stacks, making sure that, do you have that right? What are the things that you need to be doing to get that dialed in properly for you? There’s lots that we can do as leaders and as folks in the staffing, recruitment space to shift our focus a bit and focus on what we can control.

Folwell: Yeah, I’m optimistic as well. Also, coming off of TechServe’s conference, where Alan with ITR, I can’t remember his last name, but he was sharing that we’re not going into a recession, and unless you’re in retail, you shouldn’t be worried about things. Growth for the IT industry is going to continue, but slowed growth….

Pyle: But still growth.

Folwell: But still growth, so that’s not a bad spot to be in, if the industry’s continuing….

Pyle: No doubt.

Folwell: …to move up, yeah.

Pyle: No doubt. I would say, every year, we produce a Digital Leadership Report that, this year, it’s the longest standing report of its kind. Nash Squared, again, our parent company drives that. Having a global footprint the way they do, they have access to a lot of digital leaders across the world. This year’s report was approximately 1,800 respondents, 80 different countries, and so forth. I bring it up because 52% of respondents in that report, we saw an increase coming in the following year to their IT budget, and while that was the third-highest percentage that we had seen….

Folwell: Really? That’s amazing.

Pyle: …even given what we’re dealing with. Last year, it was at 60%, which was, of course, the tides were rising immensely across the globe, but even despite what we’re running into at the moment, 52%, we’re optimistic around that. 58% feeling like they’ll see their internal IT headcount increase as well in the coming year, which is again a little lighter maybe than what we saw last year. Still, I think, to your point, what you bring up, our techs are still bullish on where we’re headed.

Folwell: Yeah, absolutely. I was also reading something recently about, I’m curious to get your thoughts on this, but the layoffs being more of a social contagion and more of, “everybody’s doing it.” I’ve had an advisor tell me that layoffs are, frequently, it’s just an opportunity to get to make some adjustments to the headcount and resources that you might have overdone it with, so interesting…yeah, yeah.

Pyle: Well, that’s a good point. This is in the news. You continue to…these large businesses, at times, I know they’re looking at their own data. They’ve got some very smart people in their finance operations. They bring in great economists, and so forth, that can help give them the guidance that they need, but yeah, at some point though, it can become a little bit of a copycat kind of deal, too, and be an opportunistic way to reduce your risk. Also, if we think about the last run-up to this year, 2022, a lot of hiring. We saw that with the firms, a lot of hiring that’s happened. Maybe that was a way to adjust and course-correct a little bit, so good point.

Folwell: When I think, IT bill rates, where they went through the roof there for a little bit, then leveling off….

Pyle: Absolutely.

Folwell: …to maybe a sustainable level at this point. I was trying to hire some engineers last year and it was just, pay rates were…they’re still high, but maybe at a more reasonable point at this stage. With that, within…you guys have your Digital Leadership Report, which is awesome. I scanned that and highly recommend that people look that up. We’ll grab a link to that and add it to the show notes. What segments within the IT industry do you see winning in the next couple years?

Pyle: Certainly, organizations that haven’t really completed or are still in some phase of evolution in their cloud journey. Cloud was tops. It was a slight drop from last year, but still right there at the top. Second to that was certainly big data. I think as organizations begin to realize that…we talked about at the top of the podcast about data and how we use data in our world.

Gaining actionable insights from data is a big area of focus from this year’s report. Many respondents, over two-thirds shared that that will be the main focus in the coming year because they realize, digital leaders realize that they can gain a competitive advantage. On the other hand, opposite that, we’ve seen some of the other emerging tech areas like AI and automation dropped a little bit. That’s probably due, cloud, big data, insights becoming more important, perhaps easier to gain ROI from, easier to improve your customer experience, let’s say, when it comes to cloud enablement, and so forth. Whether it’s senior leadership, or boards want to see that ROI, so maybe AI, perhaps, taking a little bit of a backseat.

I’m making some inferences here because we don’t always learn exactly why those decisions and why something dropped in its priority. Automation, AI is hugely important, but it may not prioritize as high as some of these others for all the reasons I shared. I think it’s about prioritizing what you’re going to spend your money on. Those are certainly two areas. Cybersecurity, huge, right?

Folwell: Yeah.

Pyle: You mentioned the cost of our bill rates and so forth, but you go back to cybersecurity, certain development, and engineering, big data, data scientists probably still going to be okay with those bill rates and probably still see some premium on that.

Folwell: Yeah, yeah. I know. There’s some areas where there’s just not going to be enough people in the foreseeable future, and with that, when the demand’s outstripping the supply, with that, that leads into the sourcing component of things. I know you’re talking on direct sourcing, how Harvey Nash approaches sourcing, and then also would like to dig into direct sourcing and understand that a little bit better, help share that with our audience as well.

Pyle: Certainly. It’s an investment. We look at…our customers are relying on us to help them fill a gap and be there to support their core area of need. Yes, you’ve got skill shortages. Certainly, we work to educate our clients on the importance of upskilling their existing team of work, to retain their existing team and getting that because this is a long play. This isn’t something that you’re going to just flip the switch and, all of a sudden, your access to cyber, and data scientists, and other things are going to be solved overnight, so we have to take a… we have to educate and work with our clients on what they can be doing to, first, retain.

Secondly, we’re in the business of placement, so we need to really invest in teams that are building subject matter expertise and the candidate markets that our customers are working in, whether that is cyber, whether that is big data, but building up and curating, going to the talent and curating pipelines of talent that line up well with the ideal fit for our customers, whether that’s geographic locations, and otherwise. We are seeing, obviously, a more hybrid model being embraced and highly…the Digital Leadership Report supported that, and we highly advocate for customers being flexible about their willingness to allow remote, hybrid work. The environment just gives you access to greater talent. You can cast a wider net, but then just purely investing in your team members, your organization, your employees, going after and working with that.

If candidates are getting so many calls, they’re reached out to left and right, you’ve got to build a rapport with the individuals in the space. You’ve got to build rapport with candidates so they know you’re here. You’re here, you’re in that space. You have opportunities that abound in that space. Your clients are looking to you to solve those talent challenges for them, and you have a better shot at getting them interested in the stuff that you have for them.

I also think, too, it’s important that we, whether it’s contract, that we, as a recruiting firm, have to look at our offer. What is our offer internally for any W-2 contractors that we have? What are we putting out there to bridge the gap? Pay rates, we talked about that. Making sure the rates are in line. That’s a given, right?

Folwell: Yeah.

Pyle: But then also, what is the other offer? We would advocate our clients doing the same too. They’ve got us replacing perm. We’ve got to educate customers on, what are we seeing in the marketplace? They need to be able to rely on us to help diagnose where they can help improve that.

Folwell: Awesome. It sounds like you’ve got…not surprisingly, you’re trying all of the…you’re using all of the tactics to make sure that you’re curating the pipeline of talent that you need. What area…I know you’re speaking on the Direct Sourcing Masterclass.

Pyle: Yeah.

Folwell: Could you explain a little bit more about what is direct sourcing? How does it work? Why should people care?

Pyle: Direct sourcing is a hot-button topic. You’re hearing a lot about it. Go to any conference, you’re going to have many speakers wanting to learn more about it. Direct sourcing, for our audience, is really private curation. If you’re a customer, you’re a Fortune 100 business, you’ve built a reputable brand. Bringing a curation partner, bringing a direct-sourcing partner behind the veil, if you will, to curate a private talent pool for your business is a really interesting way to increase your time to close, increase your time to fill. Also, find exactly what I just mentioned a moment ago, is a staffing firm going to the talent and engaging with talent a bit differently.

Right now, your competitive programs, you might have numerous suppliers within those programs all fighting for share of voice in the marketplace, working very hard to fill your needs fast. You can get ahead of that by bringing that in-house, so you’re seeing a lot of firms like Harvey Nash, we have a direct sourcing practice where we can go within the organization and work alongside them, work with their in-house assets, whether that’s their both in-house websites, and their in-house openings, and HR team to extend that reach.

What we’ve found a lot of times is sometimes, HR doesn’t move quite as fast. This is of now, as we in the recruitment business are used to working, so it’s yesterday. Yesterday speed, yesterday pace. Direct sourcing is really a private curation for an end customer. It can typically be used to cover a wide range of really reaching out directly and curating a talent pipeline, so whether you do that as a recruiting firm for your…I would argue that’s what we’re doing today.

For all of our competitive programs that we’re working within, we’re still working on a talent curation program, a direct sourcing program. It may not be privately labeled, so it may not be X, Y, Z’s brand because we’ve come inside the organization, but that’s still the approach that we take whether we’re working with an MSP program or a direct relationship, whatever the case may be.

Folwell: To understand, say Google’s a customer of yours. You’re working side-by-side with Google and saying, “Hey, your network, your brand. We’re going to leverage that. We’re going to source directly for you, build this talent pipeline.” How does that differ from an RPO model, or what’s the variable there?

Pyle: There’s a lot of similarities to that. It’s just repackaged a bit differently.

Folwell: Okay.

Pyle: We find a lot of what we do in our space, and been in business a long time, too, so we’ve been through major iterations, but sometimes, it just reshapes itself a little bit. What a direct sourcing program would be, so you bring up Google, so we can use that as an example. If Google brings a single talent curation partner in their organization, leveraging a direct sourcing technology, and there’s many out there that you can look up that are available for an organization, that can typically be mated alongside a current MSP and a current VMS portal so that it sits alongside that.

There’s typically a lead time that can be given to the direct sourcing curation partner. Let’s say they bring Harvey Nash into the organization as a curation partner. Harvey Nash would then be sourcing and recruiting directly on behalf of, in this case, Google, as you mentioned. We would be wearing a Google hat and extending it to Google. We’re leveraging our knowledge in the industry. We’re leveraging our team. In this case, we put a very large team to support a customer that has invested in us and brought us into their organization to support their program.

We then extend that team out, so whether you’re looking at…whether you’re out there casting a net on your current database, the client’s database, so by bringing a curation partner, Harvey Nash in this case, into the organization, we now have access to Google’s broader talent pool. Then we can work on engagement strategies to keep them up to speed, make them feel a part of a private-label curation, if you will. It really significantly improves the end customer’s time to close. It’s a bit more cost-effective as well. Why wouldn’t a company want to do that? Obviously, you’re bringing an organization, a third-party behind the veil, right?

Folwell: Yeah.

Pyle: You’re bringing a third party. There’s lots of legal HR. There’s other implications beyond just, “Oh, this is easy. Why doesn’t every company do it?” Also, too, that organization’s goals may be different. Perhaps they’re looking for a more global strategy as a way and a means to clean up the amount of suppliers, globally, they’re working with. That might be a different priority than what a direct sourcing program might be.

This goes back to what we also said, too, about that copycat mentality. Just because direct sourcing is going on, and you hear about it, and you’re seeing it, it might not mean it’s the best solution for an end customer to bring that on, but it is a solution. It is something that the companies are exploring.

Folwell: Yeah, that’s interesting. With that, what other trends are you seeing on the sourcing front? What are some of the things that you…how do you think the sourcing landscape’s going to change over the next few years?

Pyle: Oh, goodness. That’s a great question. This is one thing that’s always changing. This isn’t answering your question around sourcing, but I think we’re continuing to see that blending of statement of work, contingent projects, and professional services all coming under one umbrella a bit, and so total talent continues to be what our customers are interested in. That’s where, too, this direct sourcing packages on with that.

Yeah, in term of sourcing, I don’t see us, we’re not really reinventing the wheel. It’s creating a wider net, and as the skill shortages have taken shape, that’s only made customers looking to get almost backward integrating a little bit more and getting closer to the talent.

Folwell: It sounds like you said the total talent or the solutions approach, really more of a, “We’re going to partner with our customers and help them solve, whether it’s building the solution, contracting it, perm placement, direct sourcing.” It’s deeper, more meaningful partnerships based around outcomes. Is that the approach? Is that….

Pyle: David, you did a much better job of summarizing than I did. That’s exactly the way I would put it. Again, we feel like if you’re in this space as a staffing and recruiting firm, you have to take that approach anyway. You need to be a partner with your customers. They need to be able to rely on you, whether it’s understanding bill rates, understanding why we’re not able to find…or where truly, what sort of fit might work for their organization. We’ve got to be that for them. We need to put and invest in resources, putting resources to help them solve those problems.

Yeah, I think that approach, regardless whether it’s direct sourcing or whether…yes, that’s what customers are looking for and that’s what we’ve got to be. I guess, more purposely and consistently grow our business amidst very rapid disruption that we’re facing.

Folwell: Yeah. I feel like the digital transformation, everybody talks about it, everybody knows it’s going on. Everybody’s trying a lot of different avenues to go down that path, and then just different software and figuring out what’s going to make sense. What are some of the things that you guys are doing on the digital transformation front? Do you have any major initiatives?

Pyle: One of the things that we…Nash Squared is part of our global business. We have a number of solutions, businesses. NashTech here in the United States really helps clients through that digital transformation process. We have an entire team that is focused on helping customers through that. It requires learning more about where the business is in that journey, what bottlenecks and trouble points are hitting them hard, and how we can help them overcome that, so creating really boutique solutions for customers.

One of the brands that we’ve had in the US for a number of years now is a sister company of Harvey Nash. We work with clients, and as they have issues and challenges with that, we then bring in our NashTech team to help them solve that, so whether it’s onshore or outsourcing, we tackle that in that way.

Folwell: Awesome. One of the last areas I wanted to cover before we get into the speed questions was you had talked about how you’ve got a new, I don’t know if you call it division or department, but Spinks, going after….

Pyle: That’s correct.

Folwell: I’d love to just learn more about that, and what is it?

Pyle: Perfect, great question. Yeah. A 47% increase in tech startups in the USA. I know you know that all too well. Harvey Nash has been entrenched in the tech space, tech recruitment space for 30 years, globally, and 25 years here in the US. Simultaneous to that, though, our brand, Spinks, in the UK. and Europe has been instrumental in helping startups and scale-ups grow their business. A lot of times, you have founder operators that are really working to grow and need to grow quickly. They get vested capital and they’ve got to make it work, and they’ve got to make it work in an expeditious manner, so Spinks is there to help.

We have an on-site, embedded program. Typical to what we would…normal RPO, but with the difference being that scale-up space has a little different way of working and a little different need. We’ve tailored that to service those customers, so whether it’s contingent, whether it is an on-site managed service, whether it’s an RPO solution, embedded on-site talent solution, we can help them in that regard. So it’s we’re looking forward…we’re launching it in early January, and looking forward to really getting that kicked off.

Folwell: Oh, that’s incredible. I feel like having been in the startup and scale-up space at different points throughout my career, and currently sitting in it in some shape or form, very different needs from an IT perspective. Much quicker to take action, and hire, and feel like it’s a very different demand, so it’s cool that you guys have that specialty. When you say you’re launching, are you launching US since it’s been UK?

Pyle: We are. Yeah, we’re launching US. I’m sorry. I think, yeah. We’re launching US. on January 10th. We soft-launched this week, working with customers there. We’ve been doing this for 20-plus years in the UK, so….

Folwell: Got it. That’s awesome.

Pyle: …we’re fortunate enough to help a lot of companies in the United Kingdom and Central Europe. We’re looking to launch that here officially….

Folwell: Awesome.

Pyle: …and can’t wait to get it rolled out.

Folwell: Awesome. Very….

Pyle: I’ll be sending some information out to you.

Folwell: Yeah, absolutely. If you have a link to that or anything you want to share in the show notes, we can grab that as well, so that’s great.

Pyle: Absolutely.  

Folwell: All right. We are to the last section of the podcast today. Some quick questions for you. What advice do you wish you were given before entering the staffing industry?

Pyle: Oh, that’s great advice. I’m going to keep this really basic, I suppose, and just say that we are very quick to…it’s human nature. Very quick to look across the fence, the grass is greener, et cetera. I don’t know. This isn’t specific to any given industry, but I think whatever you do, you have to really focus on being the best at whatever it is that you’re taking on. I try to encourage people to look at the staffing space and recruitment space because I think it’s a great place to grow a career.

Whether you want to be a business leader, division leader, CEO, or an individual contributor putting great people to work and helping clients, you’ve got to focus on not craning your neck around looking for other things, other opportunities while you’re casually going through the motions in whatever it is that you’re doing. You have to invest, so I would say that. Really be present. Invest in what you’re doing. You’ll make more out of that than wishing and looking across the…looking out on the horizon too often. It’s good to daydream, but focus on what you’re doing, what’s right in front of you. Make the most of it.

Folwell: I love that. In the last five years, what new belief, behavior, or habit has most improved your life?

Pyle: Gosh. Great question. I wouldn’t say it’s a new behavior, but I think it’s a lesson nonetheless. We’re coming to the end of the year. Our fiscal year ends January 31st. I think up to five or six years ago, speaking of being present, I don’t know that I spent enough time really going back and assessing the year, assessing where I tripped up, where I could have zigged when I zagged.

I think it’s important to really stop and take the time that you need, whether that’s a few days, whether that’s a weekend, and really reflecting on the year, looking at the decisions that you made. Learn from your wins. Learn from your wins because sometimes, you can blueprint those a little bit easier than you might think. We tend to win and then say, “Oh, we won,” and move on. Figure out what helped you get that victory.

Also, I think really looking at some of the mistakes made and some of the things that you wish you could …go back to the answer, and be a little more succinct. Take time in looking at where you slipped up and what you could have done differently. Make sure you learn from it, so spending time doing that.

Folwell: I love that and second that advice. What is the book or books you’ve given most as a gift and why?

Pyle: I, just in the last month, read The Simple Path to Wealth by J.L. Collins, and I have gifted it four times….

Folwell: I’m picking it up.

Pyle: …since that, and here’s the deal. It is very basic. It is very simple. It is not rocket science, but it is, the way that the material is presented on really how to…of course, it says, “Simple path to wealth,” but really, it talks more about that it’s life lessons.

It’s ways to set up habits that, in this case, made the author successful, and it’s really…I have three girls. It started as letters to his daughter on advice and guidance on just growing up, knowledge, all the adult decisions that one has to make. I think it does a really good job of presenting material that we all need to remind ourselves of and learn so great, great, book, and a recent one at that.

Folwell: Yeah. I’m putting that down on my list, Simple Path to Wealth. Last question. This one’s putting you on the spot a little bit, but what is an unusual habit or absurd thing that you love?

Pyle: Goodness. I wouldn’t say it’s…I’m a former whiskey blogger. I wrote a blog for a long, long time.

Folwell: Oh, really?

Pyle: Contributed to….

Folwell: I had no idea. That’s crazy.

Pyle:…a couple of publications.

Folwell: I was Googling your name too. I did not find your whiskey blog.

Pyle: Look up Jason Pyle bourbon. You may find something that comes up, David.

Folwell: All right.

Pyle: I did have a whiskey blog for a long time. Contributed to 1,001 Whiskeys to Try Before You Die, so I do dabble in that useless knowledge of whiskey.

Folwell: That’s amazing. Any whiskeys that you recommend? No?

Pyle: It’s so crazy. We’ve seen that industry explode. It’s so hard to find stuff, and people don’t know because there’s so many brands out there that are really just rebranded from…one distillery might produce a gazillion different brands.

Folwell: Yeah.

Pyle: I try to stick to some of the basics. A Buffalo Trace and Woodford Reserve. I try to keep it pretty simple. I don’t chase the exotic stuff anymore. I just find some things I like and stick to it.

Folwell: Awesome. With that, any closing comments that you have for our audience?

Pyle: I’d just go back to the top. We’re in a wonderful industry. Appreciate all the work that you do to help support that, push that forward. I think just the biggest lesson is really just thinking about our customers and our candidates, and building our delivery team around supporting that to the fullest.

It does take some investment and time to do that properly, but it’s worth it because that investment pays off. Whether it’s NPS scores is your value, whether it’s placements, and whether it’s revenue growth, it will pay off in that, and so it’s simple but effective.

Folwell: Awesome. Well that’s great advice, Jason. Really enjoyed having you on the podcast today. Great conversation, some great insights. Thanks so much.

Pyle: Thanks so much, David. I appreciate the time today. Thanks so much for letting me come on.