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Jun 15, 2021
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19. Founder, Portfoliorocket

19. Founder, Portfoliorocket
On this episode, Jeff welcomes Loren Greiff who is the founder of Portfoliorocket, where she empowers creatives and marketers to love their work, be valued, AND be well paid. Loren speaks to business leaders and candidates about how to overcome some of the biggest challenges recruiters and job seekers face as we emerge from the pandemic. Jeff & Loren discuss how a crisis of long-term unemployment (LTU) is looming in the U.S. with more than 4 million people or 40% of the total unemployed workforce not finding work even after looking for 6-months or more. Loren shares with Jeff from her deep knowledge of LTU and ageism. Loren and Jeff talk about the growing population of employers (at least 20 out of the Fortune 50) that are committed to hiring the long-term unemployed not just because it’s the right thing to do, but because it makes business sense. Loren shares how hiring long-term candidates leads to higher retention rates and are less costly for employers to acquire. She shares how LTU job seekers should make the critical shift of applying personal responsibility to their search, which always starts with the mindset. Loren discusses why the best talent isn’t always landing the job, the critical nature of networking, and how the conversation is the relationship.


Intro : Duration : (02:00)

Opening music jingle & sound effects

Jeff Hunt:

Hi everyone! I'm Jeff Hunt, and this is Human Capital, a GoalSpan podcast. On the Human Capital podcast, I interview top business thought leaders to uncover the deeply human aspect of work. Today, we're going to talk about a topic more business leaders should be paying attention to.

A crisis of long-term unemployment is looming in the US and as of this podcast recording, more than 4 million people or 40% of the total unemployed workforce cannot find work, even after looking for six months or more. In many spaces, it feels like the economy is roaring back. But other than the great recession, this statistic has not been seen in the US and over 60 years. My guest on the show today is Loren Greiff, who not only has a deep knowledge of the LTU or long term unemployed, and also age-ism, but also has 30 years of experience in consulting, recruiting, marketing, innovative career coaching.

And she founded Portfolio Rocket a year and a half ago with a mission to empower creatives and marketers to love their work, to be valued, and to be well paid for it. She can speak to both business leaders and candidates about how to overcome some of the biggest challenges they face as we emerge from the pandemic.

Also Loren posts, some very valuable thought leadership content on LinkedIn, where she has about 12,000 followers. Welcome, Loren.

Loren Greiff:

Well, thank you, Jeff. I'm so happy to be here, and the name of your podcast, Human Capital. It just shines and rings such an allowed message. And I can't wait to get into it and explain how and why that is.

Topic 1. Who or what inspired you to start your business? (02:01)

Jeff Hunt:

I love that. Thank you. We gave a lot of thought to the name. So, I'm glad it resonates. And, like I said, in the intro, I'm really excited to have you on the show for multiple reasons. And I want to dive into all of those, but before we do, take me back to the beginning of your career and share with me what person or thing inspired you to get into the recruiting space.

By the way, specifically for digital creatives, which is such a unique market, and then ultimately start your own business.

Loren Greiff:

So thank you for that. The inspiration that got me into this, was really all about creatives and marketers giving voice and value to the transformative impact that they make today across the most innovative brands and companies.

So for over 30 years, I've lived in this industry from the inside out, in the trenches, watching this breed of talent confront their fears and frustration about how to uncover what's best and next for them far outside of a job. How do I navigate these waters?

And out of those leadership experiences came a very simple mission to make this tough time easier, more effective, and efficient. So I designed my program first and foremost to be fun. I don't know a lot of creatives or marketers that don't like to have fun. And I think that they resist that search it's not fun.

But it also is a repeatable framework delivering consistent results. So those two things work in tandem. In that opportunity is, is a completely different paradigm shift for them to be found in the marketplace rather than for them to be spending a lot of time hunting that out for themselves.

Topic 2. Long-term unemployment. (04:15)

Jeff Hunt:

In the intro, we were talking about long-term unemployment or LTU.

And I want to spend some time with you just kicking this around because if you look at coming off of the pandemic, the statistics are kind of mind-blowing. The bureau of labor statistics, just so people know, they defines long-term unemployment as being without work for 27 weeks, six months, or longer while they're actively looking for a job.

If you go back to the great recession, LTU steadily declined to a rate of 0.64%. And that, so that was after the great recession, all the way up through April of 2020. So April of 2020, we're at 0.64%. But since the pandemic, the statistic has ballooned. Up to 2.6%. And so that's as of April 2021.

So that's just to kind of give people a sense of how many people are struggling in this area. And so one of the things I'd love to hear your thoughts on is how can employers be part of the solution to bringing these long-term unemployment rates down.

Loren Greiff:

I mean, this is, this is a real hornet's nest, right?

It has a lot of different elements to it and let's face it. The ultimate solution for eradicating the stigmas around long-term unemployment is a long game. It's not going to happen overnight. Hearing different methodologies that are holding C-suite level and throughout the company more accountable for being able to make those hires.

But in the meantime, there's a growing population at this point, at least 20 out of the 40 of the fortune five 50 that are committed to this, not just because it's the right thing to do. And this is important because hiring long-term employee unemployed make good business sense.

And that's really three major reasons. They're well qualified. They come with tremendous life experiences. And what's interesting about this is that it's not necessarily that they are not qualified. It's that they're under accessed. So they're in many cases, just removed from the process altogether.

And we're going to talk about that. But the other reason why it makes good business sense is that hiring those who are long-term unemployed, offers higher retention rates. They want to stay, they want to be involved. They want to be part of a reliable and diverse workforce. And there's been a plethora of information about the benefits of a diverse workforce.

And that does include diversity outside of some of the more traditional understandings, whether it be race or gender. So, that's really important. But they're also finally, less costly to acquire. There are close to 3000 intermediaries that provide American job centers that are publicly funded and non-for-profits who are committed to helping to provide this level of access and also to be helping to provide good.

Good fit for organizations so that they are actively recruiting from that pool. So that's, that's important. The most minimum thing that every employer should be doing is removing inappropriate filters, right? The filters in the screening procedures, asking for things like dates, last or current employment.

Those can automatically eliminate anyone who has the standing of LTU and not only is it wrongly it's illegal. So, that has to be on the employer side to really take accountability for that, and to make significant strides in being able to address this population. But I also want to introduce the flip side of this, which I think is also equally important.

With all that being said, and yes it's unfortunate, it's messy, is horrific. The stats are not promising, right. And a lot that we as job coaches or even job seekers for job seekers is to really make that critical shift of applying personal responsibility. And that really starts with, your headset and your mindset.

So, I addressed this like day one with my clients. Because so much of the time, and they've said, it's been said many, many times, 80% of your job search is up here between your ears. Right? And so many who have been out of work for a really long time. They are smart enough to get around to the upskilling, the classes to supplement where those goals are.

They're using that downtime effectively so that they are able to talk about that. As part of their overall experience. So, they're seeing these opportunities as their solution out, right? Like they need a solution. They don't want to be stuck in the problem. So if they don't address it ideally sooner rather than later, right.

Even proactively, if you know that there's a gap, don't let it sit there. Cause it'll just become bigger. And so, addressing that early on proactively is really, really important on the candidate side as well.

Jeff Hunt:

And it really is beneficial to continuously develop oneself anyway, and it's going to have all sorts of beneficial effects.

Whether it's emotional effects, building competency, making yourself more attractive to a potential company. And overall you're gonna end up in a better place. It sounds like.

Loren Greiff:

They say to change your dying. And if we're not keeping up with art relevancy within our careers, then we are susceptible.

And so you want to do everything to avoid that, especially early on.

Jeff Hunt:

It sounds like what you're saying is that from the employer standpoint, this pool of candidates is highly qualified typically. They have deep life experiences that they can bring to the workplace that other candidates may not have that bring them a level of wisdom.

That's going to be very worthwhile and effective, they're going to be very loyal, so they may help us bring turnover rates down. Is that right?

Loren Greiff:

Exactly. At this time, in particular, we are seeing that there is a lot of, almost like, the flood gates open people who have been sheltering in jobs are now back out into the marketplace.

There's been a lot of transition and at the same time, companies are dying to hire. They're dying to hire. And so this, as I see it on the part of the employer is a critical time to start, providing this audience an opportunity to showcase all that they can do.

Topic 3. Under and over qualification (12:58)

Jeff Hunt:

Right. And so this next topic is sort of connected but talk about under and overqualification.

Because I think some people, especially in the LTU space, may have a long career and, it might be a historic career. Maybe they've got some incredible experiences, but they continue to be overqualified for specific positions, or at least that's what they're being told.

And yet, on the other hand, you have the under-qualification world. So what are your thoughts about how to deal with this issue?

Loren Greiff:

This one really gets under my skin just so you know. Under and overqualified candidates are for the most part rejected at the ATS level.

Right? And so when there's no relationship with a candidate, they are just going by what is essentially on your resume.

Jeff Hunt:

And just to clarify Loren for laypeople, ATS is an applicant tracking system, right? So basically what you're saying is that in the very initial stage, they're going to be weeded out without anyone even possibly knowing, right?

Loren Greiff:

You just actually quoted the quote that I was going to quote, which is that 98% of fortune 500 companies use applicant tracking systems. Which often weed out 75% of the applications before they reach human eyes sometimes for irrelevant reasons. Like the way your resume is formatted. So, if it's that benign for resume formatting, I can assure you that other things that could be indicators that you're not qualified over or under are definitely at play.

So in order to mitigate this, I'm not sure you're going to be able to avoid it but to mitigate it, you have to actually do some heavy lifting. Before you do anything got to know if your skills are matching the roles. If you can drive the results that are required to excel and even why do you want to work there?

Why do you want to work at that company? The answer is not because it's a job, right? Because what ends up happening this dynamic happens over and over again, many job seekers and especially those who qualify as LTU become so desperate to run away from where they are. They don't even know where they're running to.

And that is, that is so evident to anybody who is hiring.

Jeff Hunt:

They can just see it in the interview process. Is that right?

Loren Greiff:

Obvious things like, if you're interviewing for a company and, let's just pretend that they ha, an award-winning app and you didn't use it and you weren't able to talk about it with any kind of depth, it'd be like, you know. Like this person is not really invested.

Why should I, as an employer hire you when you're not coming and meeting me where I need to meet you, want me to meet you? Right. And so, you know in the recruiting world, we call the spray and pray. You send out, it's no different than spaghetti on the wall somewhere somehow, it's going to stick.

So that's a waste of time and it's demoralizing. So, with all your precious time and required energy, avoid that at all costs. But once you are crystal clear and have made that decision, yes, I want to work at that company and I know why. It's about getting in front of decision-makers. So this is so vital because there is a ton of research about why referred candidates are considered the holy grail.

We know that they are birds of a feather. So, the likelihood of them actually staying longer at a company and performing very well is significantly higher, like four times as high. And we know also that when they have a preferred candidate, the process of hiring them speeds up because there's an investment in this person.

So that allows the rest of the team to get back to their regular duties. And also is the ability to make a strong hire so that the recruiting team can go and move over to the next one. So it's saving bandwidth across the organization, and they're also less expensive to acquire because you're not having both.

The actual cost of the advertising or the job posting, but you also are eliminating a lot of that man-hour that is happening behind the scenes where they're often like Google has 3 million applications a year and less than less, less than 2% of them actually get hired.

Jeff Hunt:

Yeah. Just do the math. What that means is that 98% are not getting hired right?

Loren Greiff:

So it's important as a job seeker to really understand that there is an ROI and you want to really pay attention to that. The biggest thing I want you to take away as far as over and under-qualified is getting to somebody who can essentially be invested in what it is that they know you can do, and speak out on your behalf.

That's the key, but also just a couple of other things I wanted to offer as some things to avoid. If you fear that you might be overqualified is by all means. Taylor, the resume so that it is clear and concise. I find that so many people don't understand that multi-page resumes will just send off a signal.

That you've been in the job market for a really long time or been out in the workforce for a really long time. So you don't want to do that. And also don't list every degree that you've ever had. You really want to make sure that you are thoughtful from the employer's side, because if they see that they will jump to the assumptions or conclusions that somehow, you're going to get bored, or that your salary is far outside of their range.

So you want to leave off the dates of your education. You want to make sure that you're also putting that resume in more of a functional format rather than a chronological one.

Jeff Hunt:

Less is more.

Loren Greiff:

Less is more. And then finally for either one over or under-qualified try to get some specifics. So you know how to address them because in many cases it might be fixable.

Topic 4. Referrals (21:02)

Jeff Hunt:

Got it. I'm also making the connection between what you shared about networking and how critical it is to get that referral, because that essentially can bypass the ATS problem that you described earlier, right?

Loren Greiff:

Big time, big time. Referrals are the back door. They are the side door, the back door. And in many, many cases I have seen, and this isn't like a dirty little secret, this is public. Companies will post those jobs for legal compliance. But in many cases, they have a pre-identified candidate.

So you as the job seeker, are looking and thinking, oh, there's an open role and I'm just going to go through that. But they have either an internal candidate that they're going to move into that slot and have to open it up or have somebody who is slotted in via a referral. So, the best investment that you can make is in your Human Capital.

I did that intentionally so that you have the compound interest. Year over year, over year, over year, as your career continues.

Topic 5. The hidden job market (22:27)

Jeff Hunt:

I'd like you to speak just for a minute about the hidden job market and sort of what that is, why it's not always the best talent that is landing jobs. And this I'm guessing is something that you can speak to not just in the world of creatives and marketers but in a very broad sense.

Loren Greiff:

Absolutely. So the simplest definition of hidden job market positions that are not posted online. So you find out about it before it ever hits daylight or is yet to be posted, right? So again, it's positions that are open and available and you have startup companies and all kinds of small companies that are moving in scaling.

And from one week to another, they may not know what they need. Somebody could be out on maternity leave and never come back. Somebody could just have left the company and you are having coffee with their best friend and find out about it. So they're all kinds of ways that you are able to access the hidden job market.

But the first and foremost level is through relationships, right? So it's positions that are not visible. That either is currently open or is coming down the pipeline, which comprises about 80% of the inventory. There's a huge like underneath, if you see an iceberg and you see just the top, all the stuff that's below the waterline, that's considered the hidden job market.

So the second part of your question, was why isn't the best talent always landing the job? It’s primarily because even with my clients who are all masters and experts in their field, articulating their value, and being able to do it. So that it's heard and understood in the eyes and ears of hiring managers is a very difficult exercise.

Especially knowing that you have half an hour in your first interview, knowing that the rapport-building at the beginning and the questions at the end, and leaves you in the middle for, two or three different examples. And so you have to be able to articulate the values that matter to them specifically.

How have you driven revenue? How have you changed a workflow? Where have you made an impact with brand awareness? So importantly to say is that the hidden job market is also, it's going to favor people who are building relationships and able to articulate the how and why of what they can do for you.

Most people don't know how to do that. It's not anything that we're ever taught in school, not something that you know how to do, even in the beginning, it takes practice. And it also quite frankly, takes support. And I see this over and over again where I have a one-on-one program and I also have a group program.

And the folks in the group program just even by having other people say, wow, I didn't know you did that. That is so cool. I even had a client. Not too long ago. And he's like an incredible project manager and he worked in the retail space and I asked him, I said, tell me about some of the stores that you built.

And he's like, no, I don't know if I want to do that. And I finally said, no, tell us. And he said I can't believe you're asking me this because. I built this store, these apple stores in Barcelona, and I did this and then the whole room erupted. They're like that’s amazing!

Jeff Hunt:

So, and that's so interesting because my company is in the performance management space. We deal with goals a lot. And goal-setting is one of the most difficult things to do in an organization. And one of the challenges with it. Is actually articulating the results that are going to occur rather than the activities.

And really what you're talking about is the same thing. If you are a highly skilled candidate, then speak to the results that you have produced and it's going to make a world of difference. And if you're an employer seeking those candidates, obviously you're going to be looking for that result history from the best candidate.

Loren Greiff:

Every single time and I think that what is so critical about this. Is that when you are able to articulate it, it is not only a huge confidence booster, it increases your compensation exponentially because they can see plain and clear exactly what that is the goal for networking, just so that we're on the same page with goals is what I suggest to my clients in order to do this is very simple.

Two coffees a day, two coffees a day that's one hour. And that is 10 a week, which is 40 new people a month, which if you multiply that by the average number of contacts that each person has you're well, over 200, you're close to a quarter of a million for the end of the year. Surely somebody in there is going to be able to.

Jeff Hunt:

But it comes down to the law of numbers. Really.

Loren Greiff:

Yes. Strategic numbers.

Topic 6 Lightning round questions (28:56)

Jeff Hunt:

Awesome. Well, let's shift into some lightning-round questions. I love these because they help us get to know you a little bit. And my first one for you is, what are you most grateful for?

Loren Greiff:

Absolutely everything. I mean, truly, absolutely everything. The life that I live. The people that are in it, the business that I am enabling others to benefit from, and the opportunity to serve. So it's a pretty long list.

Jeff Hunt:

It sounds like you're a deeply grateful person, which is really cool, such an example for people. Loren tell us what your most difficult leadership lesson that you've ever learned is if you can think of one from over your career.

Loren Greiff:

I think the most difficult leadership lesson I ever learned was that as a leader, it's not always about being liked and that it's really, really hard to make tough decisions and do the right thing. Can put a lot of internal conflict in, in, within yourself. You know, it's the right thing, but you may lose some faith face ego. All of those things can, can certainly get mixed up in what is best for the team and the right thing to do.

Jeff Hunt:

Such a good piece of advice. Who is one person you would interview if you could living or not?

Loren Greiff:

I have a mad love affair with art and photographers. And I would probably want to interview, Will Wegman, who is a grapher that does the wine and Morans cause he's a brilliant painter and I love his work.

Jeff Hunt:

Do you have a top book recommendation for our listeners?

Loren Greiff:

Yes. I have many book recommendations as well, but one that really is standing out right now was written by Susan Scott. And the topic is fierce conversations.

Jeff Hunt:

I've read that. I love that book.

Loren Greiff:

Yes. And I liked that book a lot because one of the phrases in there and that I find so powerful is “the conversation is the relationship”. And I think that that applies very, very appropriately to job seekers, as well as anybody who is networking.

Jeff Hunt:

And it fits perfectly with the best leadership lesson that you've learned over your career as well. If you had to boil it down, Loren, what's the single biggest takeaway you'd like our listeners to get from this show today.

Loren Greiff:

What I'd like them to walk away with is that there is so much worth and value that is available in so many ways. And if you are struggling to find it for yourself, absolutely reach out to me. If I'm not the right fit for you, I'm happy to refer you someplace else.

But be in the solution, find a way, whatever that is. It may mean putting something on a credit card. It may mean sacrificing and compromising something else, but it's always going to be part of your self-respect and your dignity to be providing for your family and to be able to be a huge contributor to yourself.

Jeff Hunt:

How can people find you?

Loren Greiff:

Oh, absolutely. I have a second address outside of my home address, which is LinkedIn. So feel free to find me there. I would love to connect and also you can sign up for my newsletter at portfoliorocket.com

Jeff Hunt:

And it's Loren Greiff and it's G R E I F F. Right?

Loren Greiff:

It is. You got it.

Jeff Hunt:

Awesome, Loren, thank you so much for coming on the show today.

Loren Greiff:

Thank you. Thank you so much, Jeff. And thank you, listeners, out there in Human Capital land.

Outro (33:12)

Closing music jingle/sound effects

Jeff Hunt::

Thanks for listening to the show this week. We release a new episode of Human Capital on the first and third Tuesday of each month, I would really like to know what you thought of this episode, send your comments to humancapital@goalspan.com. Human Capital is produced by GoalSpan, subscribe wherever you get your podcasts, and please share this podcast with your colleagues, team, or friends, thanks for being human kind.

Human Capital — 19. Founder, Portfoliorocket
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