ATLANTA, GA – This week I hired an intern to help me with some of my research needs around the office. The intern will support me and Allan Seibert, my new recruiter who’s kicking all kinds of butt. Since hiring Allan after initially passing on him, I have been trying to figure out how to hire more people like him.

It’s not so easy.

One time I hired a guy from Wharton who didn’t work out. Another time I hired a lady from Brown who didn’t work out. Allan, on the other hand, is a hungry as hell kid fresh out of the University of Georgia’s Terry business school, and he’s working out great.  It’s amazing to see this guy’s growth in such a short period of time.

At least in my business, the formula for success seems to be 10% inspiration and 90% perspiration. Allan is not above anything: He’ll call anyone. He’ll do anything. He’ll handle any search, no matter what level. He’s not above anything. Totally can-do. Man, I sure do love that. Finally!

And clients, be forewarned: Allan sounds like he’s from the sticks (because he is), but he’s “dumb as a fox” as we like to say in the South.  You’d be crazy to underestimate him. Wicked street smarts, I tell you. AND: Over time, his southern accent is disappearing. I’m very proud of him and wish I could buy 10% of his earnings in perpetuity.

Anyway …

We get this new intern, and I’m interviewing him. Smart kid. Soft-spoken. Well groomed. Very likable. University of Georgia B-school student in risk management.  Allan recommends him highly, so I figure what the heck?  At 10 bucks an hour plus big project completion bonuses, what can I lose? In fact, my mind’s kind of made up that I’m going to hire the kid before I even interview him.

Naturally, I start messing with him during the interview. Not in a mean way, but in a Charlie Rose way where I’m seizing on every little point and trying to develop a conversation that’s actually going somewhere.  I won’t get into the specifics because I’m sure that Allan, who reads this blog, will show Thomas, the new guy, this blog post. Let’s just say that Thomas didn’t exactly “lean into it” during the interview because they don’t teach you that in college.

And I asked Thomas “If this is an internship and your real goal is to get a job in January as a risk manager, what kind of experience would you like to get to make you more marketable to any company who’s going to hire you?”  Naturally, Thomas gives me a blank stare.  Whoever heard of such a question? Nobody at Terry, that’s for sure.

At the end of the interview, I said to Thomas “Your first assignment from me is to submit a resume with the experience that you want to have by January. Monday is a holiday. Have it on my desk by Tuesday.”

In a perfect world, this would be a fairly standard thing with all job seekers. You have your current resume, and you decide your current job sucks or whatever, and you decide to look for new job. Wouldn’t it make sense to create a future resume with your ideal next job?  With the ideal next title? The ideal next responsibilities? The ideal company? The ideal industry? You get the idea.

Like most people, I’m a very reasonable person. I understand that life is about trade-offs, and if you are willing to come into my company and help me grow my business, then I should give you something in return above and beyond money.  Just tell me EXACTLY what you want, and I’ll do my best to get it for you.

But here’s the kicker: Before you can tell me what you want, you have to know what you want.

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