S4 E36 | Have you met… Chris Hoyt

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Chris Hoyt 0:19
Well, it’s good to see you. I feel like it has been ages since I’ve seen you even though we’re super cool.

Gerry Crispin 0:23
Good to see you. We’ve been you know, obviously moving in different directions with with the summer and all this kind of stuff that we’ve got going. So yeah, it’s a busy time for now. It’s a good time actually,

Chris Hoyt 0:37
It is. You know, I just hung up with one of my one of my favorite members,

Gerry Crispin 0:41

Chris Hoyt 0:42
And I just yep, Shelia Gray had a wonderful conversation with her. She made a comment that she felt that some of our, you know, this pandemic and the effect that it’s had on us conducting live meetings and now moving more virtual, has actually she thinks brought a lot of the leaders in our community closer in some regard because they think we’re getting more, It wasn’t a really quick for lack of a better phrase, we weren’t having really quick hit it and quit meetings. That’s my phrase, that’s not Shelias, but now we’re there are more touch bases, I think with more of our leaders in the community members are jumping on quick video calls versus waiting, you know, every month or two for these live meeting. So there’s value to both. So it’s kind of it’s kind of an interesting perspective.

Gerry Crispin 1:21
It is. And I think the advantage that we’ve had is that we’ve had enough history with enough of the TA leaders face to face that that there’s been a build up of relationships that that that you can continue, I think online. I think the the challenge is going to be with new members, and those that we don’t know as well. In getting them engaged in some way, shape or form.

Chris Hoyt 1:53

Gerry Crispin 1:53
I did think some of the podcasts that we’re trying to create bullish on a add to that they make people a little more personable when you do the next step and that sort of thing.

Chris Hoyt 2:10
Yeah, I would agree with that, which sort of brings us to what what today’s podcast is, right, because we’re talking about this new series of Have you met

Gerry Crispin 2:18
I, you know, this, this new series of Have you met, I think is kind of interesting. And the challenge in in you and I interviewing, or me interviewing you is, is to get at some of the things that, you know, that that I think people would be kind of interested in, you know, from the point of view of, you know, your role as as running, you know, the future of CareerXroads. So, I have a couple questions that that I’ve never asked you.

Chris Hoyt 2:54
Alright, Gerry, I’m ready. I’m ready. Should we do this over a happy hour instead, I feel Like,

Gerry Crispin 3:00
It would probably be disastrous if we did this at appy hour. It would really fall apart very quickly.

Chris Hoyt 3:11
A damn shame we don’t get along.

Gerry Crispin 3:13
Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s good. That’s kind of what I missed, by the way is, is being able to sit at the bar later at night and just sit and relax a little bit and just come up with whatever we come up with. Right when you were a young man.

Chris Hoyt 3:34
How far back are we going?

Gerry Crispin 3:36
As far back as you want?

Chris Hoyt 3:38
So six months ago?

Gerry Crispin 3:39
Well, no, not six months ago. I was. I’m curious as to when you thought you were. You became an adult? When did you kind of realize either by looking in the mirror or what have you that, you know, you were you were a person who had to go out and do shit. I mean, you know was there? was there a moment or you know, just parents just kick you out and say go go out? And you know,

Chris Hoyt 4:06
whatever. It has been very hard to deny my adulthood given all of the gray in my beard over the last few years. I don’t know. Gosh, my, I suppose. I mean, I guess that’s an easy question. I suppose it’s one. So I was 17 when I joined the Army, so I guess it’s I guess it’s when I left for the Army. I mean, funny thing about that I left. It’s not the same army basic training as it is today. I have a friend whose son is going to basic training and they’re going to be able to stay in touch while he’s gone over Facebook. And I’m like, you know, you know, the old there’s no crying and bailing. There’s no Facebook and basic is now

Gerry Crispin 4:48

Chris Hoyt 4:49
Fascinating. Isn’t it? Fascinating

Gerry Crispin 4:51
Oh, man, given that my son did the same thing that you did, in relation 70 No, it’s like, it was like, you know, are you going to college right now. And he goes, Yeah, sure. Here’s the list of the colleges, the colleges are based on party schools. And I go, No, that’s not gonna happen. And he went into the Navy, but I do remember you know, basic training back then was you know, you disappeared for a while he got a little notes that said, you might get into we’ll make him write a note to you at some point, but you know what, he’s really lonely and depressed, but you know, we’re going to, we’re going to isolate him for a while.

Chris Hoyt 5:38
So I did, I did get to write a note, the first first week or so that you’re in basic training, they tell you that you can write a letter home in fact, they make you or they used to make you You didn’t just get to go do a status update. We actually write a letter, which tells you how long ago maybe this was Anyway, my my letter came back to me because the residence were no longer at that address.

Gerry Crispin 6:00
Your parents shipped you offed then moved,

Chris Hoyt 6:03
They had absolutely moved. I had no idea that they were moving. I don’t know if that had been the plan, you have to remember I’d only been gone about a month or so. But they had moved my dad had actually been my dad was in the service at the time had been relocated to San Antonio. And so of course, that came back I thought, well, but maybe maybe I am on my own. But we did the phone call a few weeks later, and that that absolutely did go through so I was fine.

Gerry Crispin 6:29
It forces you to kind of say, Oh my god, I’m you know, I am on my own. I am, you know, my own person from this point on.

Chris Hoyt 6:37
I felt like I was on my own when I left. The realization that I was on my own when they left was was slightly different. But yeah,

Gerry Crispin 6:43
Got it. I love it. So at what point did you did you think recruiting was something that was going to be more than a temporary job?

Chris Hoyt 6:53
Oh, wow. More than a temporary job. I can tell you when I fell in love with recruiting. I think I’ve told the Before there was this massive hiring event that I was actually helping to orchestrate. And we were doing these sort of interviews to fill these these giant call centers. And I remember very clearly there was a young woman who was interviewing in this little five by five room. They’re like little, almost like little study rooms, right? There’s a cubicle attached to the wall, there’s a door, there’s two chairs, it’s tight. You’re doing these, you know, standardized interviews. And at the end, I remember saying, you know, I’m very excited, very pleased to extend you an offer. And I think the offer for was for something like $13-$14 an hour, and this woman just gets up, and she makes this kind of weird face and then she runs out of the room. And I’m thinking, I’m thinking through what I said, I’m looking at how I was seated and wondering if something has gone horribly wrong and not going to be try like I don’t know what’s going on. And I get up and I go down the long hallway go back out in the middle and she is literally almost off the ground hugging this older gentleman, and apparently, the job offer, you know, she’s crying. And the older gentlemen turns out to be your dad, and they have been struggling and the job offer is what essentially is going to save their house. Like they get to stay in the house a little longer. I, you know, I don’t know the details, but cool. And I just remember thinking, you know, I’ve been doing this for a while, and it had escaped me just how impactful some of the things we get to be part of or some of the things we get to do as recruiters. So that’s, that’s probably when it really just punched me right in the face that we have the ability, even as recruiters as entry level recruiters to make a really positive difference.

Gerry Crispin 8:42

Chris Hoyt 8:43
And we could all be doing a better job sort of paying attention to the impact.

Gerry Crispin 8:46
I love that. I think that’s just your answer. I really I really enjoy that because I think for most of us, there is some point at which we recognize that we actually are are touching the lives of other people for good or ill. And, and it’s, it’s a hell of a responsibility to be able to deal with that. I do think that for some recruiters, the fear of how they might be negatively affecting those that they don’t go on with, affects their ability to, to open and honest.

Chris Hoyt 9:27
You know, it’s it’s, it is interesting that you say that because it does make you think about the flip side of that, you know, not getting back to the candidates and that gap there. But I’ll tell you what, also struck me too later in my career when I was running, recruiting teams, and managing roughly about 20 recruiters or so, organization I was I was going through some downsizing. And so my team got repurposed, to go sit and do these conversations where we’re discussing this riff, with the individuals that are being impacted. And I was thinking about that the other day, because, you know, now we’ve been talking with a lot of our leaders who are having to, you know, work with their teams, right and how that gets affected. And I just remember the flip of that, and that, you know, trying to be so empathetic, and and it’s, it’s not always the high end of Congratulations, you’ve got a job, this is life changing, but sometimes some of our recruiters and like my team and like so many teams now end up sort of on the other side of that, where we’re, you know, that’s not the happy part, have anything to do with you know, HR is having to deliver the tough news also. So it’s, it’s, it’s interesting, interesting opposite of balance.

Gerry Crispin 10:34
It is. It’s an interesting opposite. It’s an interesting balance, I think it’s, it’s becomes easier and much more satisfying, obviously, tell someone that they’ve got the job. It’s it is, I think it requires a little bit of training and practice to be able to empathize, sympathize, engage, and then you know, to some degree I’ve seen some extraordinary recruiters over the years, especially the recruiters that are focusing on the on returning veterans who stuck with them, couldn’t give them a job, but kept engaging them in part because they may have been veterans as well. And then over time realized that that builds relationships as well if just knowing that you’re there, and being being there for those people who do have some regret, offers downstream unintended consequences that I think are extraordinary. But I you know, I, that’s a I’m glad you answered that question that way. Cuz it seems to be that that would be an interesting question to ask almost anyone who’s in our space, about that moment. So that’s it. That’s cool. Thank you.

Chris Hoyt 12:02
Well, thank you, Gerry.

Gerry Crispin 12:04
So, so when did you realize that there was other options besides, you know, going up the corporate ladder in all of that, because you know, you, you worked at AT&T. I mean, primarily, you’d had several different jobs. I know. But mostly it was. I first remember you at at&t trying to explain to people how you were getting the job done with no budget. And I remember being totally blown away about how passionate you were about actually figuring out workarounds with no money. And, and I said, Yeah, there’s, there’s somebody who’s gonna have a lot of fun when he finally gets a budget.

Chris Hoyt 12:52
Scrappy. I like to think that we were being scrappy.

Gerry Crispin 12:54
Yeah, I think we were scrappy at that. But then obviously went to PepsiCo, PepsiCo and you were, I think extraordinarily successful in terms of being able to fully engage all of the folks around and we’re doing some innovative kinds of work. What were you thinking in terms of, you know where you were going to go before before we started talking about?

Chris Hoyt 13:21
Good before we started talking about being a we that

Gerry Crispin 13:24
Yeah, yeah. Okay.

Chris Hoyt 13:26
So it’s interesting, like I had an extraordinarily different experience at AT&T and PepsiCo, two very different cultures, two very incredible companies. And the support system at PepsiCo is really what led me to be able to accomplish everything that I was able to do. The leadership there was exemplary. The push there to constantly chase. What gets your heart pumping. What gets you excited about work? was a big part of me deciding, I think, actually not so now I’m remembering. I think there was a point in time where you asked me not long after we had met, did I want to be a vice president of talent acquisition? I’m remembering this now as we’re talking about this. And I think that the leadership there was so so adamant about not pushing everybody up a corporate ladder, but guiding them towards being, you know, working on what gets them excited that I remember telling you, I didn’t think I had any interest in being a TA, a Vice President of TA. But I really wanted to continue to do things that would sort of blend what I was doing, you know, my side hustle of trying to network and empower people to excite people, but the work that I was doing was just to get people excited. And I think that i think that that that was pivotal for me like, Well, how do I figure out how to do this full time? How do I figure out how to continue to get keep people motivated and continue to keep people network as a full time gig? Who the hell makes any money do it that, how do you pay the bills and keep the lights on doing that. And then I slowly began to understand what you did for a living what you would mark or doing for a living. And I was like, well, that’s damn near close to closest thing I’ve ever seen. And I think that’s, that’s what got us to talking. And interestingly enough, Sheila Steiger who was my leader at PepsiCo at the time, is now over Abv I remember I remember going back and talking to her and saying I you know, I don’t know what I want to do for a while but I really wish if I were going to go out and do my own thing, I really wish I had X, Y and Z under my belt so I have a little more credibility because I didn’t want to be one of those guys that’s just talking about stuffing work is never done and I wanted a little more global this and a little more system that she said well let’s let’s do we can do to get you that and deliver that to you and I just I think that’s I’m gonna just side plug for those leaders out there that are all in I just think that’s that’s so important to get under leader work with a leader that that supports you like that unconditionally. Whether it means you stay or whether it means you know, they’ve really got your your passion, out in front. If that makes sense,

Gerry Crispin 16:04
I think it makes a lot of sense. And I think there are more leaders today that that are willing to offer more options than simply, you know, climb the ladder or, you know, go somewhere else kind of thing. I do remember at Johnson and Johnson spending 10 years there, I they were extraordinary, and I absolutely loved it. And, and got promoted a few times and at one point, basically said, you know, you got to take me out of here because I’m really, really bored leading a team, I don’t want to lead a team I want, I wanna, I want to go do shit. And, and, and they let me do that. And then and then at some point, they basically said after about 10 years, they said, you know, you’re at the top of the ladder that you created and we have nothing else for you. We just don’t, you know, you got to get back in line and become a director and vice president or you are a director but I was not didn’t have a lot of people working for me. And but, you know, VP is what we have here and I go I never want to be one of those. I just can’t can’t imagine all the politics you guys got to deal with bullshit. And they say, Well, okay, maybe, look

Chris Hoyt 17:36
Don’t get me wrong. There are elements of corporate that I miss. I mean, I miss I miss large teams. I do miss working in a big organization. I don’t miss

Gerry Crispin 17:46
Infinite resources when things are going well.

Chris Hoyt 17:49
Yeah, I do miss I don’t miss the politics. I you know, I do miss the office sometimes. Which is kind of interesting, but in the same respect like this, uh, you know, whatever. miss and don’t miss. And we’ve got we got a pretty fantastic team. At CXR we’ve got, essentially, we have if you count some of the contractors and people behind the scenes to the lifting, we’ve got almost eight people at this point that are doing work with us to support over 150 companies now of really cool leaders, like we don’t have any leaders, essentially in our group that I would say, are not a lot of fun or just we’re not doing really cool work or who aren’t leaning in and helping so it’s Yeah, it’s fun. I feel like I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing. I think that’s great.

Gerry Crispin 18:33
So I think that, that today, CXR, is in really great shape, you know, just from the point of view of the vision that it had, but but your ability to execute on making that vision real much, much more so than it had been, because I really do feel it is a community of folks. Who by and large are very committed to each other’s success? And I think that’s reflected in the, you know, the several of us however many there are of us now, but certainly the four key players and and I see it in in just how so many of our long term members have represent themselves and are fully engaged in helping each other. So I kind of like that. Is there anything as you look out over the next couple years that you think is going to be critical to accomplish?

Chris Hoyt 19:38
In terms of us as a us as a community talking about the community building CXR? I think that we have, we have always had a place for our alumni, right for our for our former members who have left to go to smaller companies and maybe could not necessarily afford to come back, but who could still lean on us as a resource, or the folks who were former members that have moved to an organization and are not necessarily allowed to share anymore, right, that sort of precludes them from part of the membership. And I think in the last year, and then we’re now in how many years, Gerry 20 twenty- five years or 25th year. I think in the last year, we’ve really decided that it’s time to lean all in for those those alumni and create, I think, almost an enriched community a place for them to go and to be much like the community for the active members. And I think people are going to see that with the series that’s coming out, right, we’re doing the web, the webinar series that you and Shannon are driving that’s coming out soon, they’re going to see that with a lot more activity with that alumni group. We’ve got an exchange that’s dedicated to alumni that’s got, it’s got to have close to 1000 people that are ready, and I think to really bolster that and build that up as a resource for folks, I think it’s going to be huge. And I think that’ll be a big one for us to you know, lean in and continue to lean forward on for the next probably two years as it as we nurture that and and see CXR, I like to say catch on fire, but really see it, you know, catch on fire and light up. So I’d say that’s the next big one for us.

Gerry Crispin 21:17
Yeah, I, I would tend to agree with you. I do think that we have a real strong potential for our community to make choices on how on a few things that we might want to do for the industry as a collective. And if we can bring people together to leverage all of that, that aggregate group of, you know, many companies and maybe beyond just CareerXroads, partnering up with others. We could have, we could have removed the industry a little bit, I think from that point of view.

Chris Hoyt 22:01
I know what you’re getting at Gerry are we wanted to share that?

Gerry Crispin 22:08
I think we got I when I, when you look at the alumni, they are all over the map. And as you pointed out all over the map, in terms of you know, they’re they’re active in their own organizations or they’re active in smaller organizations that don’t really have a budget or a fit,

Chris Hoyt 22:26
Or some have left ta some have left town.

Gerry Crispin 22:30
Right, doing totally different kinds of things. So some have gone to the dark side in HR.

Chris Hoyt 22:37
Somehow, there is an opportunity here and some might call it some might call it some some CXR foundational work that we have an opportunity to deliver on so I think I definitely think there’s something there. And that’s that’s been something I think you and I have talked about the whole five years we’ve been working together that I think we’ve probably learned a nice foundation for that to sort of build on. I agree,

Gerry Crispin 23:03
I just just that I do believe we are a viable business. But we’re also I think, attracted to people because we tend to have a mission to help people be as good as they can be.

Chris Hoyt 23:20
Well, I like the work that we do. We’re sort of sort of off the rails here a little bit, but I like the work we started doing last year where we did the CXR cares. And it really wasn’t about the talent acquisition community. So for those who are I keep forgetting recording for those who when we would go to a new location to do one of our live meetings. We would ask for our members, some of them who ever want to volunteer could come in a day early and spend the morning helping with a local charity church organization. So some days we helped with a men’s shelter at risk men’s shelter and other day we did food pantry, another day, which soup kitchen mother do I mean it’s just we helped college, we coached some college kids. They were just graduating how to get into the workforce. I mean, so that that really spoke to me. I know that spoke to you as well, it was important for us. So I think I think we’re learning how to give back on a larger scale of community, not just not just with our direct members, but helping them to sort of focus on the local communities that they’re in. Well, I don’t think there’s been a more important time for that, where we can figure out how to get back with everything we have going on right now the pandemic and the societal unrest and I just think it makes sense for us right now in that time it’s perfect.

Gerry Crispin 24:33
Yeah, it’s great.

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