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Season 1

Ep. 30: Hirewell: Agency Recruiting Leader, Joel Lalgee

By August 21, 2022November 30th, 2022No Comments

Episode Overview

Joel Lalgee has a 6-year background in agency recruiting and currently works at Hirewell. He is a massive content creator that has generated 77 million impressions in the last year and has 140,000 followers on LinkedIn. Joel is not afraid to tell it how it is and provides real and authentic career insight from the lens of a recruiter.

Here are some questions we will be answering:

– Why is it challenging for companies to hire well?

– Difference between Internal vs. Agency Recruiters?

– How do Recruiters get paid and what are their incentives?

– Are Recruiters out to truly help candidates get the best offer?

– Why is recruiting a hard job?

– Is job-searching 90% timing?

– Why are Agency Recruiters in a battle with CEOs?


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* Disclaimer: The opinions and views expressed in this podcast are of the host and guest and not of their employers.

Episode Transcript


“Two of the hardest positions you’re ever going to find yourself in are- let’s say three are right out of school and you’re looking for your first job, a really hard situation. Second situation is you don’t have a job and you’re looking for something, that’s a really hard situation to be in. And then the third one is, let’s say you’re like a solopreneur and you’ve owned your business for 20 years and then you want to get back into the workforce. Those are like the three hardest scenarios.” – Joel Lalgee 


Welcome to the Final Round podcast, where our mission is to help you knock out the competition, advance past the final round interview and grow in your career. My name is AJ Eckstein and I’m a podcast host, recruiting expert, international speaker, career coach and strategy consultant. Join me in the ring as I speak with RECRUITERS at top companies to learn the secrets why certain applicants get knocked out and others are still standing after the final round. 

Now, let’s get ready to rumble. 



Joel Lalgee has a 6-year background in agency recruiting and currently works at Hirewell. He’s a massive content creator that has generated 77 million impressions in the last year and has 140,000 followers on LinkedIn. Joel is not afraid to tell it how it is and provides real and authentic career insight from the lens of a recruiter. Joel is our first agency recruiter on the Final Round and I cannot be more excited to dive in.

 Welcome back to the Final Round podcast. I am your host AJ Eckstein, and sitting beside me is your very own Joel Lalgee who’s actually an agency recruiter for 7 years. Not an internal recruiter but an agency recruiter, which we’ll talk about the difference today. He’s also a massive content creator, especially on LinkedIn and Twitter, who tells it how it is. So, I can keep talking about him or we can welcome him on the show. So, Joel, how are you doing on this beautiful Sunday afternoon? 


Joel: AJ, I am doing well, great to be here with everybody and yeah, excited for the conversation today.


Why is it challenging for companies to hire well?

Joel, it’s so interesting to me because I’ve been following your journey for such a long time now and I think now you’re nearing about 140,000 LinkedIn followers. I know you also recently just launched on Twitter. And like I said early on, you say how it is. I think that authentic voice resonates with your followers. I know it’s going to resonate with our audience of the Final Round. So, the first thing I want to start with as I saw and I see it for all of our audience watching this video is you’re wearing a hat that says Hirewell, which is the company that you are an agency recruiter for. Hirewell’s tagline is that they recognize that hiring is hard and hiring well is even harder. So, why is it so hard for companies to “hire well?” 


Joel: Man, that’s a huge question which hopefully I’ll be able to answer to the best of my ability here. I think number one, I think where most companies fall short on hiring is I just think there’s a disconnect between what employees are actually looking for and what they have to offer. So, I think that’s huge for particularly a lot of smaller companies, but then typically the clients that we work with, we don’t work with the Metas or Amazon or any of the big names because let’s face it, they have a lot of people that want to work for them. So, I’m not sure how much of a challenge is necessarily outside of just finding and picking the right people to work. But a lot of the companies we work with are startups that might have just received their funding. And what we find is that you just don’t have a story. It’s like your branding isn’t there, and so a lot of times what we’re finding is number one. It’s super competitive for top talent because top talents obviously are going to be going towards the bigger name brands and you work hard, you do well and you become a top person in your field. Obviously, you want to make more money as well and the big brands can pay for that. So, a lot of the clients we work with because they’re smaller, they have a challenge of being able to tell their story. Obviously, like the smaller you are, the more of an impact hiring really has. So, if you’re Amazon for example, and you make one bad hire, at this point it’s not really going to impact Amazon as a whole. But if you’re a small startup with 25 to 30 people, you start getting these leadership hires, you make a bad hire that impacts you really negatively. So, I think that from the outset as a company that doesn’t have a brand, you don’t have a reputation a lot of the times, it’s tough and then you don’t have the money either to pay people. So, that’s what we find in the market. So, a lot of what we do as an agency recruiter is we work with companies that are having trouble attracting people and then we act really as their ambassador in the marketplace. We’re selling the story. We’re going out. We may be doing outbound recruiting, which probably isn’t a comfortable place for a lot of internal recruiters necessarily. And then we’re also consulting them on things they could be doing better as well because I think a lot of times what we found is people go into a recruitment search with an idea of something that they want and then when we’re all set and done and we’ve actually made the hire, you find that what they actually ended up needing and choosing to go with is completely different to what they thought they needed. Part of our job as recruiters is to vet out who’s in the market and then also consult companies on maybe a different direction they need to go. So, yeah, that’s what we find a lot of times why it’s just so challenging and it’s definitely competitive right now.


Difference between Internal vs. Agency Recruiters?

I think you made a couple great points there. For instance, the thing that I took away is that you said Amazon, for instance, if they make one or two bad hires, they’re not even going to blink an eye because they have hundreds of thousands of employees, right? But if a startup or a small to mid-sized business makes a bad hire and they’re only at less than 100 employees, that one bad hire could be pretty catastrophic to the business, especially those early-stage startups. You said you help with branding, you’re almost an ambassador for the HR team, the company and you helped build that story. There was also one thing where you mentioned internal recruiters versus agency recruiters. I want to unpack that for a second because I think that people think recruiters have the same role across any company and also Hirewell is not just a company, but they are an agency. So, I guess, at the simplest level, what is the difference between an internal versus an agency recruiter?


Joel: Yeah, it’s really interesting too because Hirewell, for example, I’m not actually recruiting anymore. I’m more in a business development role where I’m helping grow our brand as well, kind of leveraging reach on LinkedIn and things like that. But in my first nine months at Hirewell, I actually spent most of my time recruiting recruiters. So, we’re working with again, a startup that’s maybe looking to make that first internal recruiting hire. To be honest with you, I think after being an agency world for as long as I have, there is an idea from an agency side that maybe internal recruiters aren’t as good at recruiting as agency recruiters because agency, you’re out there, you may be doing more cold calls, you’re kind of selling people, you’re working with companies that having a problem with hiring. But what I found out is that a lot of what internal recruiters do isn’t necessarily even recruiting. That’s obviously a portion of their job, but you find a lot of what they’re doing is understanding the hiring managers, understanding the business and serving as really like an advisor within the hiring process with the stakeholders as well. And then they’re doing other things like putting together the job descriptions, putting together a market strategy or the employer brand strategy, figuring out how to get attention to these positions that they’re looking to recruit. So, I think what I found is just throughout so many conversations with the internal recruiters, they’re two completely different skill sets. Again, being an agency recruiter, we’re kind of taught that we’re the cream of the crop. We’re the ones who are really going out there and we’re doing the head hunting and you get terms like that throwing around. But what I found was that they’re just two completely different functions. Again, like an internal recruiter, process is really crucial and data is really crucial. You have to be able to go and talk to a hiring manager about the top of funnel or like who do you have applying, and if those numbers aren’t there and as time goes by, you start to realize like how many people you need applying, how many people you need to process to get the hire. So, you start to build that data. So, internal recruiters, it’s not just about having recruiting conversations and DM-ing people to come work at your company, it’s about understanding holistically how does the hiring process look and what are you going to do to get that top of funnel hire? What are you going to do to make those successful hires and make that time between you advertised job and you know you need to make the higher to that time you place somebody, how you going to make that smaller and smaller? And then you start looking at things like onboarding and retention, which again from an internal recruiter point of view, when you play somebody, you’re kind of walking them through their journey at the company. Whereas an agency like where I’m from, you just don’t do that. Like yes, you go out there and you kind of go to market for companies and you have lots of conversations, but once you make that placement, you might check in 90 days, once the guarantee is over to make sure they’re still working so you’re going to get your money. But after that, you’re kind of done. So, I think it’s a big distinction and I think for candidates who are out there, it is really important that you know when you get a message from a recruiter, it’s really important that you figure out who are they. Are they internal? Are they an agency recruiter? And the conversation you have with one or the other is going to be different. I think if you’re a candidate and you’re not aware of whether or not you’re working with an agency recruiter or an actual internal recruiter, that’s where we start to see things like ghosting happening and can kind of get frustrated with some of the recruiters out there, which I’m sure we’ll get into a little bit more as well.


So, Joel if you’re a candidate and a recruiter reaches out to you, that first step like you said figure out if they’re internal or if they’re an agency recruiter, but how do you change up your approach working with these recruiters and also thinking about their incentive because I think agency recruiters are incentivized monetarily in a different way than an internal recruiter is. So, can you kind of walk us in our audience the candidate through how you change your approach working with those two types of recruiters?


Joel: Yeah. I think number one, if I’m working with a recruiter that’s working directly for the company, I’m going to be careful with what I’m telling them. I’m going to treat those conversations more like an interview. So, even the screening call with the recruiter, I’m going to make sure I have good questions for them about the company. I’m going to have notes like why I’m interested in the position of the company. So, I’m just going to show up prepared, I’m going to show up excited if I’m interested in the opportunity. And then I’m going to make sure again like I’m asking as many questions as I can. I think where my approach would change with an agency recruiter is, I’m going to be a little bit more relaxed. I want to find out what industry they serve, what clients they work with because a lot of times they’re going to work with multiple clients, they’ll probably have multiple positions with different clients. So, I think with those conversations honestly, I’d approach it more relaxed, more of like relationship building. The reality is it’s like an agency recruiter, it’s like they are vetting you, but it’s a different vetting kind of process. An agency recruiter’s goal is probably to get you the most money that they can possibly get you because their bonus is tied into or their commission is tied into your salary. So, I think with the agency recruiters, like honestly, I just kind of treat them like more of a friend. But then the only areas on both sides that I would be really, really careful with is salary. In both situations, I’d make sure I’m thoroughly researched on what the market is paying for these positions. An agency recruiter, if they’re asking about salary, I’d probably switch it on them and say, “Okay. I’m happy to let you know whether or not the positions you’re working on are in the ballpark of what I’m looking for.” But you just want to be careful with those conversations. And it’s the same on the inside as well.

I mean, internally, I don’t think they care as much about salary, but obviously like there are salary bands and they want to stick within them, but I just think in both cases you don’t undersell yourself as well. So, again, just being really researched with that is crucial. My rule of thumb generally is if you’re in a position and if somebody’s coming to you and they want you to make a move, I’m at least looking at 15 or 20% of where I’m at right now to incentivize me to make a move, and you have a little bit more power obviously if they’re reaching out to you.


How do Recruiters get paid and what are their incentives?

So, you said that and I thought that was super interesting. So, the last thing that you said was if you’re going to make a pivot from your current company that may be an agency recruiter reaching out or internal, they want you to pivot over to a different company. You are expecting at least a 15 to 20% increase in salary to incentivize you to make that pivot. Which I think is really interesting. The second thing that you said is agency recruiters are actually incentivized to help get you the highest salary because they get a commission on what you end up landing. Is that correct?


Joel: Yeah, I mean 100%. That’s why it can be helpful to work with an agency recruiter at the end of the day, because if you’ve got an internal recruiter that’s working for one company, then that’s all they can offer you with that one position at the company or maybe another position that they think you could be a fit for. But they’ve only got that one opportunity, right? Whereas if you work with an agency recruiter, they might have two or three positions. Good agency recruiters, they’ll prep you for each interview call. Good agency recruiters will do that. They’ll have a conversation with you. They’ll let you know who you’re interviewing with. They’ll prep you and that’s because they want to place you. So, yeah, they’re incentivized to place you. Whereas internal recruiters, typically, the way that they’re paid is a pretty high base salary. They might have some sort of internal incentive but a lot of times it’s an annual bonus, larger base salary. And so yeah, they want you to have the job. So, when you’re vetting out particularly agency recruiters, good questions to ask are, how long have you worked with the client for? Have you made other placements with the clients? What is your relationship? Are you talking to the client? Big red flag, right If they won’t tell you who the client is in the first place. But then if they do tell you who the client is, how long have you worked with them? They’re like yes, it’s the first time. Okay, great. Well, that doesn’t sound like you got a good relationship or you start asking questions like, who are the hiring managers? What’s the recruitment process? If they start to not be able to answer those things, you might be in trouble. Whereas if you talk to a great agency recruiter and they have worked with this plan for five years and I’ve placed 20 people with them, this is what the interview process looks like. Here are the types of questions you’re going to get asked and they’re wanting to debrief with you. They wanted to find out how the interview went and wanted to prep you for those calls. You find an agency recruiter like that, that can be a great position. So, again, because of the way that agency recruiters are incentivized, it can work really, really well, but it can also work terribly because then you do have a lot of agency recruiters that are really fighting hard to get your resume and they might be taking your resume, shopping it around people to try and win business from them. There’s a lot of other kinds of shady tactics out there. So, I think for candidates, again, it’s asking. You can guarantee, you ask that question, how long have you worked with a client? What’s the client? Tell me about the recruitment process. You ask those three questions you’re going to know whether or not this person’s worth talking to and worth working with.


You mentioned mostly inbound as in a candidate receiving an in-mail in their LinkedIn inbox from a recruiter. Do you think it’s advantageous for a candidate who is searching for a job, has been having trouble and actually reaching out to an agency to try to get paired with an agency recruiter to work with that person to then reach out and apply on their behalf?


Joel: I think it’s worth it. Was that where I put all my efforts? Probably not. I’ll say look, if you’re in that position which you just described, two of the hardest positions you’re ever going to find yourself in are -let’s say three right, are right off school and you’re looking for your first job, a really hard situation. Second situation is you don’t have a job and you’re looking for something, that’s a really hard situation to be in. And then the third one is let’s say you’re like a solopreneur and you’ve owned your business for 20 years and then you want to get back into the workforce. Those are like the three hardest scenarios. So, the example you used as a job seeker, the reason I wouldn’t necessarily search out agency recruiters is typically agency recruiters only really want to spend time with you if they’re reaching out to you because again like their money is directly tied into making a placement. And so, if you’re already having trouble on your job search, they’re going to look at that and whether or not this is wrong or right, it’s kind of like the real talk we’re talking about. The way that an agency recruiter is going to receive that is you don’t interview well and you’re not desirable to companies because you’re having a tough time getting a job. So, are they really going to like to spend their time trying to get you in? Chances are they probably won’t. Now, why do I say that you should still do that because anything is possible, but would I spend 50% of my time trying to connect with agency recruiters? Probably not. I think these things aren’t talked about enough and they’re tough things to hear but I think knowing that then you have to gear your mind up like a salesperson does. You’ve got to be hungry, you’ve got to understand that there’s a number game involved. And ultimately, at the end of the day, what happens is people when they’re in that situation, they think that this next job has to be it. Like they got to land that big job and it’s just not the truth. The truth is you need to land a job and you need to land something because right away, once you have a job, you can continue looking for another job and then you can also gain skills in that job, even if it’s not your number one job. And who knows? You might end up getting a job that it’s unexpected, or maybe it’s a little bit outside of the box of what you thought, and then suddenly you find yourself doing well in that environment, getting promoted, going into management and all of those skills, then you’re able to leverage in your next job move. And again, it’s the same for people out of school, there’s an idea that like your first job has to be perfect. You’ve got to land at a huge name company and yes, if you land at Amazon, that’s great. Any time in your career, if you end up at a big company that can propel you, but equally getting a job is just important in general, so it’s like you want to get something obviously within your field. And I’m not saying if you want to go into consulting, take a job in fast food, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m just saying maybe it’s taking a job with a lesser-known company in order to gain those skills and then continue to look. Again, what do most people do? They get a job and then they just get comfortable. 

My advice to anybody is you should always be just out there and like to be open to things and having conversations and networking because like we’re seeing now, a lot of people are getting laid off and suddenly they’re like, “Oh, man! I should post on LinkedIn. This is the answer.” Yeah, that’s great. It’s great that you’re doing that now, but imagine if you were networking and making connections in those two years that you have that job. Then suddenly something happens, you have like a warm list of people that you can call on as well.


One of our favorite quotes in the show from Episode One with a recruiter from Boston Consulting Group is network when you don’t need anything. I think being so visible when you aren’t needing anything and just because you have a sure thing today doesn’t mean it’s a sure thing tomorrow, especially the world we’re living in. Like you said, it’s not that your journey took five days to get an amazing job, but it was actually a two plus year journey because you’ve been kind of really engaging every single day empowering that community. So, I think for everyone out there, try to be more visible and your name will pop up. ‘Oh, I see Joel. I know who that is. It’s not a brand-new lead,’ which I think is super interesting. You also mentioned the green Open to Work banner and if anybody has been on LinkedIn or Twitter, there’s a huge debate going on if you should include it when you need a job or if you shouldn’t. So, curious, Joel, what is your thought? Should you include it or not?


Joel: Look, again, regardless of a green banner or not, if you don’t have a job, it is tough. Think about leveraging from a salary perspective, if people know that you don’t have a job, they also know or they’re guessing that you don’t have income coming in and they’re probably thinking, ‘Wow, you probably need income.’ So, who has the power in that negotiation, right? As opposed to if you’ve got a job and you’re like, ‘Yeah, I’m making 100,000-year right now in this job. And on top of that, I’ve got three other job offers from other companies who happen to be your competitors. One is for 130, one is for 135, one is for 120+ equity, who do you think it’s got more power in that situation? So, the green banner for me, honestly, it’s not a make or break it. The real root of it is, is you don’t have a job. So, it’s just hard when you don’t have a job to like leverage and become desirable because people know you’re not working unless you’re like somebody who’s really well known in your industry and maybe you took a sabbatical for a year and your VP of marketing and you took the company public and you’re like, ‘Yeah, I’m taking some time off,’ they’re probably okay. But if you’re not in that situation, which is probably most of us – I don’t think the green banner really makes a difference. I think the root of it is if you don’t have a job, it’s harder. So, if I didn’t have a job, I would have the green banner open the work thing on there, just because I do think it’s just more visible. But again, I’ve heard of people then like, ‘Oh, well, don’t put it on there,’ and make sure like on your LinkedIn it still says present so people think you’re still working, like that’s a terrible idea then you just misleading people and then they’re going to reach out to you and be like, “Hey, so you’re still with blah, blah, blah.’ ‘No, actually I got laid off four months ago.” And the recruiter is just going to be like, “Great, okay. Well, that’s misleading.” And again, it’s like if you’ve been laid off or you’ve been let go or even you’ve quit, what are the types of things people start to think about? Whether or not it’s wrong or right, what they start to think about is why did they get let go? There must be something wrong with them? The good employees don’t get laid off, which we know is just incorrect or they go, “You quit? Well, you must be difficult to work with. Oh, it was a toxic environment so are the three other jobs you quit? You’re a difficult person to work with or you got five fired? You weren’t part of like a workforce reduction, you just got fired. Like there must be something wrong with you.” Now, could there be red flags? For sure. Are those red flags? I would think like any legitimate recruiters should be asking why did you leave that company? What happened? But is a green banner on your LinkedIn really the issue? But I will say it makes for good content on LinkedIn. 


It’s definitely an interesting point. I’ve seen people take those strong stances and also Joel, you’ve been the host of the Headhunter Hideout podcast for almost two years and I saw that you also interview recruiters. Your audience is not job seekers, they’re actually recruiters. So, what are you trying to teach recruiters on the Headhunter Hideout podcast?


Joel: So, the Headhunter Hideout, the idea of it was to take agency recruiters of people who are really successful within the agency recruiting world. So, a lot of times it was like agency owners that have scaled their businesses or are doing really, really cool things. And a big part of that was like at the time, a lot of the business I was involved in was working with agency recruiters. So, I just wanted to make a ton of connections within that space. I was learning with every conversation I had and it’s just like really just understanding like how did you build your business? So, how did you scale? Because it’s really hard to scale recruiting agency businesses. I think it’s something like 95% of agency recruiting businesses don’t scale past 10 people. There’s like 10 agencies that have got over 100 million in revenue in the history of agency recruiting, which is insane. So, it’s just a hard business for people to be involved in. But now, I’ve recently launched a new podcast called Running Recruiting. Now, that’s a lot more focused on internal recruiters, getting like VPs of talent or chief people officers and that for me is like understanding like their journey and like how they got to their point in their career, but then also just understanding like what are some of these challenges that they’re facing from like founders and investors. It’s a huge task if you’re trying to take a company public and you have to make 400 hires in six months, like that’s just such a big thing to handle. So, I think for me, like the podcast number one, it’s awesome to be able to just learn from people. It’s great for me to be able to connect with people. So, there’s like that self-serving factor to it. But I think from an audience perspective, really whatever field you’re in, you should be at least consuming some content from people who are better than you. If that content is not out there, that’s like an open door to maybe you should start that content and have those conversations, I can’t really think of a better way to actually learn than hosting a podcast. So, yeah. 


Well, it’s funny because I think our audience learns a ton, but I think everybody realizes that I’m such a big learner and I’m a sponge and I love learning from experts in the recruiting space, like yourself, Joel. So, it’s definitely right back at you. I think last year you generated 77 million impressions and have 140,000 followers on LinkedIn, which is to take a step back, mind boggling to think about. I know that hasn’t been just overnight success, like a lot of people talk about. That’s been years of blood, sweat and tears and ask any aspiring or current content creator out there, it is a lot more work than you would think. It’s not just dancing videos on TikTok, but you have to stay consistent, you have to come up with new ideas and you are killing it on the content side. I think it’s because you’re so real with what you do. I saw you’re on the road to 100 million views this year, which is just incredible. And your content, I would say how at least in my view, what our team saw is that your content leads more into just funny and authentic career content and you use I would say kind of your brand is you use gifts and you spark reaction. So, can you tell us more about how you look at your content? What is your content strategy?


Joel: Yeah. I mean, I started creating content on LinkedIn, I want to say 2019. So, it’s coming up to three years, which is crazy and for me, it was like, I was kind of bored in the recruiting job that I was in. And honestly, I just wanted to throw out tips of stuff that had been working for me and that’s how it started. So, a lot of them actually went really hard on videos originally and were just doing videos on how to do a creative subject line if you’re reaching out to somebody, how to stand out from other recruiters when in-mailing candidates. And then I just started developing from there. I was like, you know what, I really enjoy writing. So, I’ll start telling stories about different challenges I’ve had. So, I talked about mental health in the past, talking about challenges with work, challenges with job search and those types of things and taking my own personal story and sharing it and just sharing it from a point of view of like, ‘Hey, you’re not alone in these tough situations.’ So, I did that for about a year and then my content changed to talking about why it’s important to create content. And that was because I was shifted and I started this business where I was helping recruiters with their online presence. So, I started talking about why you need to create content on LinkedIn and content strategies and how often you should be posting and different topics that you could post. So, again, I did that for about a year. And then it wasn’t until, I want to say it was about a year ago, I was like, man, I’m not getting a big enough audience with like recruitment owners because that’s who I was trying to reach from a sales perspective and I was like, ‘Man, none of these guys. I don’t think they’re seeing my content.’ Like I’m looking at the analysis and it’s like a lot of recruiters, but it wasn’t like owners and founders. So, I was just like, how could I reach a recruitment owner? And then I just thought, well if I can get every single recruiter on his team or her team to like my content, I will get in front of them. I honestly just pull the card out of Adam Karpiak who’s huge on LinkedIn with like memes and basically rips the job interview process all the time. But it’s always humorous and I’m like, ‘Man, that guy kills it with engagement.’ And so, I did the same concept, but from a recruiter’s perspective on what it’s like to work with hiring managers. So, the first idea behind this was you work with the hiring manager and you source 100 candidates, you submit 5 candidates, they interview 5 of them, they really like one of them and then they decide that they’re going to go in a different direction. And it just has happened to anybody in recruiting: you start to search, you work really hard to find candidates and then suddenly the CEO is like, “We’re going a different direction.” That post, I mean I knew from the get go, I pressed Publish or whatever the button is and it was like in 10 minutes, 120 likes and I’m like, “Okay, this is it.” And then it just grew from there. So, I did that for a while and it was like right as I had my second child, so it actually worked out because then I didn’t have to spend as much time creating content. I just came up with something funny. So, I did that for a while. I think now, I’m just at the stage where because I’m kind of bringing back in the livestream and the podcast, want to get a little bit more meaty with the topics as well and I think I’m just at that point now to where I’ve just gotten so many views and so many reactions. It’s been great and it’s been insane and it’s been great for visibility and just awareness, but now, I’ve got more time. My kid is a year old. We’re kind of out of that like a new newborn stage. So, I’m excited for this next stage where having a lot more conversations, the content you’ll start to see shift probably more just more meaty type of topics, which it already has like in the last couple of weeks. And again, I’ll still throw in some of the humor because I just think it’s really great to like relate and I think recruiting is super tough and you have to have a sense of humor if you’re going to be a recruiter, but also like I don’t necessarily just want to be known as just like humor. I think because I’ve done shifts before, I’m not too worried. Obviously, if like 50,000 people unfollowed me, that’s not what it’s about anyway. It’s about having good conversations, being real, connecting with people and I think it would be a good change anyway.


And on the topic of content strategy, our content strategy at the Final Round is to provide you the go to career platform to knock out the competition, advance past the final round interview and grow in your career. We focus on four main initiatives, including our podcast, which you are listening to right now, the Knockout Newsletter, our website blog and our videos. If you want to learn from career experts like Joel who’s a recruiter as well as hiring managers, be sure to head to our website at Now, back to the show. 


Career Content Deep Dive

Well, I definitely love your content. I think it’s so relatable and not a lot of content is relatable, especially those influencer stories about how you’re walking to an interview, you see a dog and the dog turns out to be your interviewer, it’s just cringy content at that point. I think a lot of our audience either follows you already or maybe has not ever seen any piece of content from you. So, I actually want to introduce a quick new segment, Joel and we’re going to do a content deep dive. Actually, my team and myself did a whole deep dive on, I would say the last 100 or 200 posts that you made on LinkedIn, Twitter. We screenshotted some of our favorite posts and what we’re going to do is we’re going to dive into specific pieces of content and we want you to give us some more context and just quickly your initial reaction, may be why you posted and we have a bunch, so we want to just kind of rapid fire if you’re good to go with that. Are you good?


Joel: Let’s do it, man. I love that.


Okay. So, the first one, the best candidate doesn’t get the job, the candidate that interviews best does.


Joel: 100%. And it kind of goes back to what I talked about before with agency recruiters, right? Good agency recruiters prep people, and this was something which like, I hadn’t necessarily been great in the past as an agency recruiter, but I just realized probably within the first two or three months of recruiting recruiters, I was like, “Man, I got to prep these recruiters on interviews.” So, I think it’s just like number one, if you’re interviewing, ask for that prep. If you’re working with a recruiter be like, “Hey, let’s have a prep call. Run me over, like what are some questions that I should be asking or what should I focus on? Have lists of questions, do your research, do your homework. And at the end of the day, it’s the truth. I’ve recruited some amazing candidates in the past that just bombed interviews because they just went in and they weren’t prepped at all, and preparation is everything. That’s right down to like if it’s a Zoom call, interviewing in the Zoom is different to interviewing in-person. So, to me it’s not the best resume that wins the day. I’ve seen some bunk resumes get jobs because they just killed it with the conversation. They killed it with the questions, they showed their passion and it’s just massively underrated. 


The next post, a hard job people think is easy, recruiting.


Joel: Yeah. I mean, I think most people think recruiting is literally just looking at inbound applicants and then picking somebody and doing that. And it’s like the truth of it is you have to know the hiring manager. You’ve got to know your company that you’re representing. If you’re an agency, if you’re internal, same thing. You’ve got to speak to the culture, you’ve got to understand like missions aligning, you’ve got to know what’s the vision of your company and you got to find people that can share that vision. You’ve got to sell them, but not over sell them. So, yeah, recruiting is tough and it’s something which I think a lot of people want to be a recruiter now for some reason, but it’s not even all about helping people necessarily. It’s a lot more like helping the business and like helping the business find great people and obviously, in that you are still helping people. But yeah, it’s hard.


I think the next one definitely if it hasn’t already will ruffle some feathers. So, it starts with companies, why are you playing? We all know you paid for that best places to work award.


Joel: Look, it’s funny like Hirewell, I don’t think we’ve won any best places to work awards because we haven’t entered any. I’ve worked for companies that have won those awards and I just remember getting the email from the HR guy, like remember to do the survey, remember to do this and it’s just think like is it good to get the best place to work awards? Sure. I just think this is the whole problem I have with employer branding as well. It’s just like canned content that’s just perfect and like to me, people see through it and I don’t know. I know a lot of people have said too like they’re definitely awards that you don’t pay for, but I’m pretty sure most awards you’ve got to pay some sort of entry fee for. So, yeah, that’s my thoughts with that.


So, all candidates out there, be careful when you see that “seal of approval” if it even is a real seal. 


Joel: Sometimes they are a great place to work. But even that whole idea is like each person is an individual. Each person is going to have an individual experience of the company because you’re basically what I’m looking for when I go to work for a company. I’m looking at like two things: who’s that CEO and like what do they care about and like who is my manager going to be? Because I can tell you this, you can work at America’s best company but if you get the one manager that just sucks or like you just can’t work with, you’re not going to have a good experience. So, I’m much more about that than like a bunch of awards.


Is job-searching 90% timing?

And the next post 90% of recruiting is timing.


Joel: I think this comes back down to like relationships and it’s kind of what we’re talking about. Master recruiters can just build networks and relationships and relationships and relationships and relationships. Really amazing recruiters will stay on top of them with stuff like content and they’ll stay top of mind, top of mind and then we’ve had it where it’s like you reach out somebody, it just happens to be that perfect moment where they’re looking for something new or they just had a bad day and like you just caught their attention. And on top of that, you might reach out to someone and they just accepted a job, that’s timing. You might reach out to somebody else who just quit that job, that’s timing. So, for me it’s all about creating your own timing and just understanding like a large part of it is how big is your network and how strong is it? 


Why are Agency Recruiters in a battle with CEOs?

So, you had a post. This is the last one we will do for this mini segment and it was Dear CEOs, we either work with you or we are going after your people. That’s the life of an agency recruiter.


Joel: Yeah. I think CEOs, anyone in leadership, hiring managers like it’s just really for me like a big piece of everything is like you should be treating your people well. 


And it’s interesting that I think as a CEO they’re worried about competition as in if you’re a tech startup, the next best tech startup. But really if you think about it, they’re competing against the agency recruiters because if you don’t treat your people well, then you’re going to hemorrhage talent because the agency recruiters are going to notice that and actually grab your talent to go somewhere better. So, I think that kind of what you said takes away from that post. Hey, CEOs, hey companies, treat your people the best and if you don’t then there’s going to be an issue. So, I think that was a super insightful post. And Joel, the last question for today, the final question that we ask every guest in the Final Round podcast is what is the best piece of advice that you can give to our audience to help them get past the final round interview and land their dream job?


Joel: Yeah, I think we kind of talked about this earlier especially with that like it’s not the best candidate, it’s the best interviewer. I think one of the trends that I’ve seen recently because it’s been a candidate market is just a lack of preparation. I think I just can’t re-emphasize that more. It’s like preparing, getting really great at asking really great questions, getting better with connecting and understanding where the issue is and your problem. If your resume is getting interviews, you don’t need to pay somebody to do your resume like your resume is getting you those interviews. If you’re interviewing in multiple places and you’re coming second or third to prepare, understand what happened in those interviews. If it’s on Zoom record that Zoom like literally have a camera pointing towards you and record what they’re saying and what you’re saying and then have somebody that you trust whether it’s professional mentor, whether it’s somebody in your personal life, have them review that tape and let you know like what things you might be doing wrong or you might watch that over and be like, “Oh, like I seemed distracted at that point, or that wasn’t a great way to answer the question.” So, prepare and just get better and realize that you’re not going to ace every interview. But those interviews that you don’t ace, like you need to critically look at yourself and go, what do I need to do better? And just consistently get better with your preparation.



Well, I love that. Again, Joel, thank you so much for the time today. I think for all of the recruiters, HR teams and the companies out there listening, I think they now know how to “Hire well.” I think for all our job seekers and candidates out there, our audience, I think they now know how to interview or job search well. So, on behalf of our audience, thank you so much again, Joel. Absolute pleasure. And I think for everybody out there, you’ll see a lot of new followers and a lot more content deep dives into your content strategy and overall presence online.


Joel: Yeah. Thanks, AJ. I appreciate it, man. Great to be here with you.


I had a blast unpacking some of Joel’s highlight content and understanding more about agency recruiting versus internal recruiting. Be sure to follow Joel on social media as well as check out for more career resources like this to help you advance past the final round interview. Until next time, keep fighting and I will see you in the ring.