How do you hire millennial rockstars? Every company goes into the hiring process hoping to find a millennial rockstar. Unfortunately, most of the time they simply find someone who can do the job. But what if the aim became more to find the "right" person instead of any person? In this episode, you'll learn about how this millennial's manager knew she was hiring a millennial rockstar.
Danny Schneider is a National Inside Sales Supervisor, 3PL at Saia Inc. Saia is an American trucking company, or a less than truckload trucking company, that originated in Houma, Louisiana in 1924. With original operation occurring in Louisiana and Texas for the first fifty years, expansion came after 1980 when coverage began reaching into more states within the South.
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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
The Transcript - How to Hire a Millennial Rockstar
00:02 Amanda Hammett: Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and this is the Millennial Rockstars podcast.
00:06 AH: Today on the Millennial Rockstars podcasts I interviewed Danny Schneider. And Danny is a rockstar. And this episode talks a lot about how do you spot that rockstar before you even hire them? Now, funny thing is, Danny was nominated by Jamie Salter who I interviewed a few episodes back. But she knew when she saw his resume and when she met him for the first time that he was going to be a rockstar even though he was A, still in college and B, guess what? Danny had zero work experience. But Jamie knew he was gonna be a rockstar, and guess what? She was right. So, tune in and check out this episode with Danny and you can learn how to spot a rockstar for yourself.
00:51 AH: Hey there, this is Amanda Hammett. I am known as The Millennial Translator® because I help companies attract, retain, and engage top millennial talent. And today, you're with us on the Millennial Rockstar podcast. And today's rockstar is Danny Schneider. Welcome to the show, Danny.
01:06 Danny Schneider: Thank you Amanda. Thank you for having me.
01:09 AH: I am super excited to talk to you. The person that actually nominated you is really awesome and she's a really awesome Rockstar Millennial herself. So, Danny tell us a little bit about you.
01:22 DS: Well, don't tell her that too much. It's just between me and you. [chuckle] Like you mentioned or I don't know if you did actually, so I work for Saia LTL Freight. I have been working here for over two years now, actually. I graduated from Western Carolina University and was hired by that person that you talked about Jamie Salter. She brought me on to her team and little work experience actually, pretty much no work experience. And I've been working with Saia ever since. And I had a couple of promotions along the way and yeah, really enjoyed my time here. Been kind of a brief career but just getting started.
02:03 AH: That's awesome, that's awesome. Well, Jamie had nothing but just high praises to sing about you. So, when she started talking about you I was like, "Alright, I've got to have him on the show as well." Alright, so tell us a little bit about your background. You mentioned that you are a fairly recent to the career. Tell us a little bit about what... You're in sales so tell us a little bit about how you went from college into sales?
02:27 DS: Yeah, so it's an interesting transition. So, like I mentioned little work experience that's really throughout my life. I was actually an athlete for the majority of my life, throughout high school I played three sports. And then I got to college and played collegiate baseball. So, that essentially in itself a lot of college athletes out there then, they know that's pretty much a full-time job. So, did that for four years and had a great time. But then it was the shoulder kind of blew out a little bit and it was time to move on to the, I guess real world you could say.
03:00 AH: Okay.
03:01 DS: So, I was fortunate enough to get in contact with Jamie and Saia, actually the summer before I graduated. And we had spoken about an opportunity that didn't go through actually. They had filled the slots out by the time I interviewed so that was actually my first little rejection. But it came around and by the time I graduated I got back in contact with Jamie and her... And then also the manager there, Mike Basso. They brought me on board and that transition from going to no work experience at all to come into the corporate lifestyle and I'm working in sales. It was different. I didn't know what to expect. But I actually quickly found, Amanda, that a lot of my traits and things that I've picked up in sports translated over and translated over into sales.
03:57 AH: What exactly were those? What do you think really helped?
04:00 DS: I can say definitely this is a combination of just how I am and then what I've gathered from sports. But competitiveness is definitely number one. Especially in sales you wanna be the most competitive person there. You want to win and that's really what I try to bring every day. It gives you a lot of tools in college baseball specifically, preparation, understanding really what work goes into being successful, trying to do more than the person you're competing against. So those are some of the top two things that I've taken away. There's other thing, teamwork. That's also extremely important. Being able to be coachable which mostly cause...
04:44 AH: That's a good one.
04:45 DS: Yeah, I think that's been real big for me coming into the work space and like I said a little experience so try to be as big of a sponge as possible.
04:55 AH: That's awesome. That's great. And I really think that that coachability takes... Will take any employee really really far even employees that maybe don't have that natural knack or talent for whatever the role is. That ability to take in coaching not take it personally and just say, "Okay, how can I improve?" That is one of the main things that I look for when I go into a company and say, "Okay, these are kind of the skill sets you need to be looking for in the interview process." That is in the top five.
05:23 DS: Yeah. No, I've found that to be extremely helpful. I mean in my industry there's people of a lot of different ages and actually most people I deal with have been in the industry probably as long as I've been alive. But what I've found is that you've never been around too much as to kind of learn new things. We have our annual conferences or whether it's gonna someone fairly new like me or someone that's been around and for 30 years, you can always learn new things and taking criticism or taking coaching the right way can definitely translate in a good, in a positive manner.
05:57 AH: I agree. I couldn't agree more. So let's talk about... We talked a little bit about what things have worked for you so far and granted you're pretty young in your career, which is awesome. That you're already... Have some rockstar status, but have you found that there's certain things that just have not worked for you in your career? Whether it's just certain work styles, management styles anything like that.
06:27 DS: As far as management styles go, I haven't run into that quite yet.
06:32 AH: Good for you.
06:32 DS: And no that's not just 'cause Jamie is probably listening or other managers are probably listening [laughter] but going back to the sports back, you're used to different coaching, different management styles so you adapt to that and again you try to take the positives out of that. Really, I guess the road block that I would say that I've run into alludes to what I was talking about earlier is dealing with people with experience and overcoming the thoughts of, "Okay. You have inexperience, you're young." That type of deal, "You really don't know what you're talking about," or, "I might be better suited off with someone that's been working in this industry a lot longer." Something along those lines. That's something kind of how I struggle or not struggle, but I run into with my customers versus more internally and adjusting the corporate or the work lifestyle.
07:27 AH: Okay, I mean that's totally fair. And to be completely honest with you, I am way more advanced in my career than you are and I still run into that.
07:38 DS: Exactly. And I hear that with my direct manager right now. I think he's technically a millennial, as well, but one of the olders I guess you could say, but he ran into that in his career and that was something he had to overcome. And I've gotten that objection quite a bunch... A bunch of times. So it's something I'm still learning to work with something I really can't control, and to be honest, but just finding other ways to work with customers and get them to understand that. I'm in my role for a reason, and the position I was given people are trusting me to do the job. So if we can move past it, let's go for it.
08:20 AH: Awesome, awesome, alright. So let's go back to Danny in college and Danny thinking about going into the working world and into the real world when you go back and you think about that time and the way that you envisioned corporate America or the working world, is there a difference between the way you envisioned it and the reality of the working world, and what was that difference?
08:50 DS: So the main thing is going from a college, college student, a college athlete on the demand for it. So, like I alluded to playing college baseball was a full-time job I feel like and it required a lot of hours, but really getting up doing your 8:00 to 5:00 or even later getting... Some days I'm here 11-12 hours in this office kind of that demanding and being able to function and get in the zone and work that long that was something that honestly, I was not really... I didn't know how I would handle it. Again, I felt pretty confident in myself at first, because of my background and just maybe more of my personality, but that was one of the things that I had reserves about is just, "Hey, can I get to work and be functional by 8 O'clock?" That type of deal. And then also just stepping into an industry like freight which I had no experience in, had no family or anything like that in the freight industry and learning everything that I can. Obviously, there's so much out there with this industry that I could be in it for years and years, and I'll still be learning things.
10:05 AH: Yep.
10:06 DS: But specifically to this industry is understanding what I'm selling, understanding how I can best help my customers and turn it around into something that'll be... That'll work out for my company and their company. So it was all brand new to me. So kind of a long answer short, just everything was new Amanda and I had to get used to that and any time you do something new, I guess, inside, whether you admit it or not there's reserves or you're gonna have some questions but it's 'cause overcoming this.
10:40 AH: Okay, that's awesome, alright. Now let's talk a little bit about your boss.
10:45 DS: Okay.
10:45 AH: Or your old boss Jamie.
10:48 DS: Okay.
10:49 AH: Feel free to just go there about them. [laughter]
10:51 DS: Oh I'll be honest.
10:55 AH: Is there anything that your current boss, your old boss Jamie or maybe a mentor has really done to keep you engaged to keep you productive and to keep you driving forward? Because sales can be, it can be rough.
11:10 DS: Yeah.
11:11 AH: And so is there anything that they've done that really has helped you just keep going?
11:16 DS: Yeah, I'll go on both. I'll talk about former management, Jamie and then a gentleman by then name of Mike Basso that I referred to earlier. Talk about what they did. They got me to where I am and then what my current manager does.
11:30 AH: Okay.
11:30 DS: So as far as Jamie goes and Mike goes. I think what helped me the most was just a belief, like I told you, I've showed him a resume and it said it, sports essentially. And then I could turn that into an interview, but having the thought of alright we see that you're worth this investment, and bringing you on board you know we're size a billion and a half dollar company, so it's a big corporation. There are a lot of plans here, but to trust in me like that and not just, "Hey, we're gonna bring you on board." But continuing, as I was working there, as I had questions, and I ran into things, both Mike and Jamie did a great job of believing me. And then the position that I'm in currently, which is a national account representative, I went from the sales development side, and then I took a brief little project promotion type deal, and then when Jamie was the head of the department for a little bit, I was stuck is because the project had run out and I had done a fairly successful job as a sales development rep, so Jamie approached me as far as this position. It had been something that was open. And some of the executives at our company here, really wanted to push this position as something that could be important for our company.
12:53 DS: So Jamie approached me, and I really hadn't thought of applying for this and said, "I really think you should take a look at this. I really think you'd be a good fit. You've done a good job and other things." So it really was her approaching me and then realizing, "You know what? Yeah, I can work with some of these companies that are doing millions of dollars of revenue a year. I can take this step." And so having that confidence in me, I think from a coaching, from a management standpoint, that is definitely something that's worked and so with my current management, we've... Jamie, of course has gotten another opportunity and isn't with Saia, but I have someone in here that worked with Jamie. He's been around the industry for a while, and then we also have a new director in town.
13:43 DS: So I have two bosses I say I work closely with. But from that standpoint, well works for me and I enjoy challenge. Competitiveness, like I referred to earlier, they're always willing to lay down a challenge and it's while I may... I had a great year last year. And while they're praising me for that it's like, "What are we gonna do in 2018? We have goals and gotta step it up a little bit." So it's a contrast of throwing those challenges at me and knowing that I can take those in stride and be coachable in what I have to do to hit my numbers, but that's something that I really enjoy, is not over-hitting on it where it's, you need to be at this number, if not, there's some pressure on it, but great job last year. Now how are we gonna turn this into more? How are we gonna grow more, get more rep? But, and the same goes with this current management that Jamie had with me, is the belief in me, giving me different capabilities and being flexible with my position, letting me do things that will help me out. That's along the lines.
14:57 AH: Okay, that's really cool. So would you say that your current management, they're putting out these challenges to you and really appealing to that competitive nature within you, but are they also helping you along the way, or is it just like, "Hey this is what it is, go for it." Or are they giving you that...
15:16 DS: Oh no doubt. Yeah, no doubt. There's help along the ways, and I'm glad you're bringing that up 'cause again, that's something that can go towards your last question. The manager that worked with Jake more directly, he has more experience and he's becoming more hands-on my accounts. If I ever need to bring someone in on conference calling. I'm trying to maybe close the deal, just to have the manager on the phone or have the manager on the call. That presence can go a long way, so Jake's very hands-on with that. And then any time I really have a question, like I said, coming brand new into the industry, the more you're in freight, the more you realize you don't know. [laughter] So just being open to advising on what I need to know mainly about the industry, mainly about experiences that they have had in the past. I think that's something that really helps me out.
16:15 AH: Perfect. That's awesome. That's really good. So is there anything that Saia as a company, or the culture within your team, is there anything that they do, whether it's perks, whether it's benefits or it's just that team culture that they do that really helps you to create the sense of loyalty to Saia and to your team?
16:38 DS: Yeah, well it's the fact that you have the opportunity. Like I mentioned, it's a very large company and they've been around for over 90 years and still growing pretty fast, actually. A lot of expansion here lately, so it's the fact that you have that opportunity to grow. There are endless possibilities. Right now I'm in sales. I started off in the sales development role in inside sales, an entry level job, but there's a ton of different directions that I'm able to go.
17:11 AH: Okay.
17:11 DS: My particular position, is the only one within our company. We have over 9000 employees, and I have the only national account representative position that works with just third-party logistics companies. I have that, and so it gives me the flexibility while I'm in a corporate office with four floors of Saia members to individualize my role. So I get to do things my way. I get to bring new ideas to the table and help expand on that. And Saia again, for an old large company which you don't normally see, they have the flexibility to say, "Yeah, that makes sense. That would actually help us out," whatever it might be. You can do it on the environment.
17:57 DS: Within my department they really do a good job as far as keeping everyone engaged, setting goals for everyone. It's not just me they're challenging. We're bringing on new position, always thinking of new ideas, different ways to service our customers. And so that really keeps everyone on their toes, I guess you could say. And the demographic that they've gone after in the past is more recent out of college, or into the mid-to-late '20s type deal. So a lot of millennials in my department as well and inside sales specifically is an extremely part... Or extremely big part of what we have going forward in 2018.
18:43 AH: That's awesome.
18:44 DS: Yeah.
18:45 AH: That's really cool. So you mentioned something. I'd like to circle back to it in this last question. You mentioned something when you have an idea, you bring a new idea to the table, they're like, "Alright, let's go for it." So do you find that they are very open and willing to not only take new ideas and run with them but also to help you brainstorm and think outside the box? Are they willing to think outside the box?
19:09 DS: Yeah. I think if... From my perspective, 'cause if I bring it to my direct manager, and a lot of times it might mean getting something approved, getting something... Investing a little bit more money. Like, for instance, this new laptop I was telling you a little earlier about, things like that. But they do as long as it makes sense, as long as I can present it. And the fact is, "Hey, you know, I'd really think this would good for me or this would be nice to have," or something like that. If I can present it in a fact of, "This is the return that we're gonna get as a company, and this is what I see helping us improve or the benefits to Saia as a company and to me and my numbers," that's something they're very receptive to.
19:57 AH: Alright. So as long as you can build the business case, they're willing to back you up?
20:01 DS: Yeah, it goes like that as far internally and with my customers. 'Cause if I'm just sitting here saying, "Hey, we can get you a little better price, or we can get you in the ball park," that's really not gonna give me a ton. Or it's not really gonna go a long ways. You wanna show what the value is, the... Your people all the time talk about ROI, things like that, but it goes internally and externally, as well.
20:23 AH: I agree. I agree wholeheartedly. Alright, so you've touched on a few of these things, but I want you to spell them out. And Jamie and I actually had an offline conversation about this before when she nominated you. So I already know what you are...
20:39 DS: Alright. [laughter]
20:41 AH: But what is it that you think made you stand out? Because you admittedly came into the workforce with a resume that was basically I was a college athlete with no work experience, whatsoever. But Jamie, from my understanding, like knew immediately you were a rockstar, and she was determined to get you on her team. What was it that made you stand out? What do you think?
21:06 DS: I joke with her too, 'cause like I said, the first time we talked she rejected me. So then she came back and asked me to be on board. And it's like, "Is she gonna just bring me in again and tell me no?" So I always joke with her about that, and she'll tell me she is like, "I really wanted to have you. I really wanted to have you." But I can really say, Amanda, what sets me apart, and I think I briefly mentioned this earlier, is the work that I wanna put in, the work as far as learning my position, learning my industry, working for my customers. This is not really an 8:00 to 5:00 job. And that's what I brought to the table as far as my athlete background. I know how to outwork my competition. That's something you don't just show up whether it's baseball, whether it's your job, whatever it is, you don't just show up and outperform someone. You have to put in the work.
22:01 DS: So whether, like I said, just being willing or willing to invest in myself, in my career, that's something that Jamie and Mike Basso really installed in me. But the hard work, working sometimes till 10 o'clock at night, not just, I'm not here working for 16 hours a day or whatever it might be... But I really need to get this proposal in on time, or I really need to check the statistics for one of my customers to see how we've been doing as far as the service goes so I'm prepared for that 8:00 AM call. That is really something that I can really advocate for myself is I'm gonna outwork anyone.
22:47 AH: Okay. That's perfect. And so what do you think it was on your resume that really stood out that Jamie was like, "I need to call this guy out of all the hundreds of other resumes." What was it?
23:00 DS: Yeah. I don't know if it was something on my resume, but the fact that what Jamie was looking for as far as in inside sales and my first conversation was over the phone and what the job they're looking for me. It was essentially cold-calling, a lot of over-the-phone stuff. So it's how I sounded to customers, how I was able to speak. Being confident, I think that's another big trait that comes into play, whether you're new to an industry and a job or not, but to have the confidence in yourself to know that you can get the job done. I think that's something that Jamie would have picked up on right away. And that's another reason she would have had me come right back in for the interview. I know the second interview process was very, very short because it was Jamie getting me back in here and it's like, "I liked what I saw in the summer. We didn't have room, but now we do. Please, we would like to have you come on board." And again, the confidence and knowing my abilities and trying to grow as a salesman, grow as a professional, that's something I think Jamie would have picked up on.
24:08 AH: Alright, so is there anything that you wish... And I don't know how many other companies you interviewed with, at any point, but is there anything that you wish that companies knew about the interview process, and hiring younger employees?
24:25 DS: So I did not really get to interview with too many other companies.
24:29 AH: Okay.
24:30 DS: To be honest I was... It was like a week after I graduated.
24:34 AH: Okay.
24:34 DS: I got fortunate there.
24:35 AH: You did [laughter] You got...
24:36 DS: Yeah I know and two and a half years later on going on three years, it's worked out. But something I think just to not overlook you look down, you see that like I said, you see the lack of experience, you see someone's maybe inability or someone's inexperience in a particular industry, not just a job but to not overlook someone kind of their characteristics as far as who they are and what they're willing to do. And you can kinda tell, 'cause I've actually had the ability to interview people to come work for Saia so the ability to sit on the other side of that chair. But when someone says, "No, I'm willing to work hard." You can take that in stride but when they can tell you, "I know that preparation goes into this, I know that sometimes I'm gonna have to work longer or do more than what's expected of me." You don't wanna just be at status quo, you don't wanna be at goal, you wanna be above goal.
25:39 DS: So the ability to judge a person and how far they're willing to go, and what they're willing to do. I really hope that that's something that companies aren't overlooking because otherwise, if you're looking at someone's experience, you're looking at a resume you're really just looking for something to wow you before the interview then that's not gonna work too much, but and I'm sure most companies aren't that way. And like I said, my own experience, maybe coming here as far as how much I've interviewed, it's mainly been internally with Saia, but just trying to judge a person's character more than their actual profession.
26:21 AH: Alright, at the end of the day, when you're hiring young employees who are fresh out of college, they're not gonna have a ton of experience they might have a bunch of part-time jobs or they might have a bunch of internships, but you know...
26:35 DS: Yeah.
26:36 AH: What are you gathering from that?
26:38 DS: Like I technically had an internship in college. It was through one of my senior classes it was one of those deals but that didn't define me too much as far as my professional life.
26:51 AH: Absolutely, absolutely, well, fantastic Danny, this has been really awesome. And I think that this will give a lot of really great insight into... For other companies when they're looking at hiring millennial rockstars themselves. So Danny is it okay if our audience wants to reach out to you on LinkedIn.
27:07 DS: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. Connect with me, ask me any questions. More than willing to talk and meet new people.
27:13 AH: Fantastic, well I will include a link to your profile in the show notes for the show. Well, thank you guys so much for joining us for this episode of Millennial Rockstars and Danny Schneider thank you so much for being on it.
27:25 DS: No thank you Amanda, I appreciate it.
27:27 AH: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Millennial Rockstars podcast if you are looking for even more information on millennials and some free resources visit my website at amandahammett.com. The link is below, it's amandahammett.com there you can download a free millennial employee engagement guide that will give you all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those millennials engaged on a day-to-day basis, because we all know that millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.