Founder, NHP Talent Group & Host, The Pozcast
1. Do you remember a time when you were happiest as a child? Where were you, who were you with and what were you doing?
I was lucky that I was able to go to sleep-away summer camp as a child, from ages 8-19 in upstate New York. For those 11 years I had basically the same core group of friends in our bunk. We were independent, we explored, we got into trouble and played like kids should (before phones). My happiest moments were during rainy days when we were stuck inside the bunk and had to come up with games and activities to keep ourselves busy. We would build forts with our blankets and play card games for hours. We learned how to be independent and figure out fun on our own.
2. At what age did you become an adult? What happened, and how did you know?
I became a real adult at 17, in 1996, when my Dad’s brother Harris passed away. I lost my Grandparents when I was much younger and never really understood death. But to watch my dad sit by his side as he deteriorated, flying back and forth from NY to Miami almost weekly, till the end was gut wrenching. It also showed me how caring and empathetic my dad was (and still is) and that resonated so deeply with me and help shape my level of empathy.
3. What habit or behaviour or belief have you recently acquired? Why is it now in your life?
Call it OCD, call it having an “active mind”, but I have never really been able to focus on one thing at a time. Great ideas, smart, sure…but the focus and discipline were missing. It wasn’t until I truly started to focus on building my business that the high level of focus clicked in where I could set my mind to a specific action-driven task and accomplish it with discipline and efficiency.
4. What do you think is true that most people think is false? What do you think is false, that most people think is true?
I don’t believe in luck like many do. I truly believe that luck happens when hard work and preparation meets opportunity. I believe “Fake it till you make it” is one of the worst sayings/mantras to believe in. Faking it gets you nowhere and only has diminishing returns. The true actionable advice is to double down on your strengths and stop focusing on your weakness to gain true progress and results in life.
“The true actionable advice is to double down on your strengths and stop focusing on your weakness”
5. What’s one misconception people generally have about you?
Sometimes I may come off a bit snarky, which some may translate as being a dick. In all honestly, that is just my New York meets Long Island outer layer of protection. Once you peel that back you will find a passionately loyal and loving friend, father and husband who cares deeply about others and will do anything for those I care about, both near and far.
6. What is your untrainable superpower?
I am a true connector, a relationship conduit. It does not matter if its business or personal or if I make a single penny off of a connection as I truly believe in karma, it all comes back to you. I can see two people and instantly – like I have VR googles on – see the literal connection points above their heads and why they should be connected and facilitate it. I get tremendous joy when I get excited about introducing others and they already know each other.
7. On what topic would you never make a joke?
I would never joke about anti-Semitism or any type of racism. I have been on the receiving end of it a couple of times in my life and it is nothing to joke about. It hurts and cuts deep.
8. Have you always had the same political beliefs? If so, why do you think you have held them so long? If not, what event caused you to change your view?
My wife told me not to get political, especially here in the US, but important to discuss. I consider myself fiscally conservative and socially liberal. I believe deeply in supporting basic human rights, equality, pro-choice and prison reform. However, it upsets me to see the Dems in the US go to the extreme Left, to the point where some say “if you are not all-in with us, you are against us.” It has become extremely hard to be neutral or have your own political beliefs if different than others and that is what is ultimately dividing our country – a lack of respect for other viewpoints. While I despise our current President on many levels, he has done some solid things for the economy and for small business owners, which I am. I am torn on many levels with this election and the current situation in the US. I hope we can come together for the sake of our children.
9. What app or tech product have you most recently fallen in love with?
I love Interseller- CRM – it’s a game changer. Those who know, know. Check it out.
10. What is your most prized possession? What’s the story behind it?
My prized possession are my pair of field-level orange seats from Shea Stadium, former home of the New York Mets. I am a die hard, passionate Mets fan and these are in my den and remind me every day of my love of baseball. Also, when I debated purchasing them in 2009, after they tore the old stadium down, I asked my dad if I should, as they were expensive. He said, “will you regret it 10 years from now that you didn’t?”
11. If you were to survive the zombie apocalypse, what role would you play in the new society that would follow?
Easy, recruiter! Ensure that the best people are in every possible position (including our leaders!) so we can all be set up for success!
12. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received?
“Plan your work and work your plan.” On my first day of recruiting in July 2015, my mentor Tom Hull said this to me and to this day, I repeat it in my head every morning when I start my day.
13. What decision makes you say, “What was I thinking??” when you look back on your career?
I decided to leave SIRIUS XM in mid 2011 and take a marketing role at American Express, as I thought the “grass would be greener.” Great company, but not for me. Turned out to be a bad decision and I should have stayed at SIRIUS bit longer. But you can’t look back too much, it will hurt your neck! Everything happens for a reason and I learned so much about how a great company, like Amex treats their employees and customers.
14. What role do you find yourself playing when you join a newly formed team? Can you explain why this happens?
Whenever I am part of a team, I always end up taking on the function with the heaviest lifting. Think because I am a “focused- do-er”. I have always been a bit of a swiss-army knife as I have a diverse background and skillset that plays to my advantage in many situations.
15. What hiring heuristic do you generally go with?
I always go with my gut and intuition when it comes to my hiring heuristic. I have rarely been proven wrong and when it happens, usually a far outlier. For example, on an initial candidate screening call, I can usually get a good sense if they are serious about a role or making a move by not just asking good questions, but the tone and energy they convey.
16. When it comes to our work and industry: what scares you most?
The ease of entry into the recruitment industry is what scares me the most. I believe that like many financial roles, there should be some type of test or license to be a recruiter. We are dealing daily with people’s careers and lives and with some basic guidelines and framework, we can all make the process better. This would also help the general reputation of the industry as a whole. Anyone can be a recruiter, but only a few are great.
17. Who will be the winners & losers in our industry in the post-Covid19 world?
Those who continue to make themselves “Invaluable” to their clients and candidates will be the winners post-Covid. By providing continuous value, even when there is no business to be had, will ensure that you are top of mind, top of the list when business opportunities return. I cannot preach this enough as it has been the #1 key to my success over the past 6 months.
18. Do you have a secret tip, tool or trick that’s contributed to your success?
For me, my success over the past couple of years has been predicated by my core 2 mantras: “Harness my inner tenacity to drive me forward when I need it”. And second, “there is NO plan B”. Once you have a backup plan, you have already thought about failing. Do not ever put that into the universe!
“Once you have a backup plan, you have already thought about failing”
19. Aside from your parents, name one person who has had an extraordinary impact on your career. What did they do and what did you learn from that person?
One of my best and favorite managers was Debbie Ernst, during my early tenure at SIRIUS XM.
On my first day of work in 2006, before we even to start the proper onboarding, she took me by the hand and said, “let’s go meet everyone.” For the next couple of hours, we walked around all 3 floors of the massive NYC office and she introduced me to literally everyone – from the maintenance crew, to the secretaries to the executive team. This enabled me to build and foster relationships within an organization and be incredibly more effective in my day-to-day role. She taught me a valuable lesson on the importance of relationship building at a critical early stage of my career.
To this day, it has been a foundation of my success. Relationships are gold, treat them as such.
20. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With ... ?
You should do the next 20 questions with Claude Silver or Jill Katz.
Thank you to Adam Posner for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune. Subscribe to The Pozcast for a unique look into the recruiting industry