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E79 | Keep It Real #20: What Do We Look for in a New Hire?

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On today’s episode, Greg, Trevor and Doug #KeepItReal while discussing what to look for in a new hire.

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Episode Transcription:

Welcome to the Resilient Performance Podcast, this is Keep It Real Number 20. We got a question about, uh, from a good friend of ours, John O’Neill. Uh, in Massachusetts about things that we look for when hiring, uh, hiring somebody. So we just recently announced yesterday, which, who knows when this contest is actually going to go out. But, um, early February we hired our second employee, Joseph ho, and we have our, he’s gonna be in our New Jersey location. And then we have our first hire a new Gigante at our New York location who she’s been. Kicking ass over there and doing great stuff. Um, definitely want to get her on here at some point in the near future, for sure.

Talk about her experience as a trainer for a decade almost before being a physical therapist, that’s a very valuable thing. And I’ll start with that. As something we look for with our new hires would be some sort of coaching experience. That’ll be my first bullet to kind of kick this off. Um, and that’s also something we look for with our students too.

Um, You know, whenever we accept physical therapy, students are our thought process with it is we want to give them a good experience, kind of give them things that they want to kind of fill the holes and what they think, um, might be, you know, their, their sort of weak points as a clinician, because everybody’s a little bit different.

Everybody comes in a little bit different. Like we’ve had one student who came in and he was like, Licensed massage therapist already. So it’s like, all right, we don’t really need to go over manual stuff too much with you. We’re going to focus more on, you know, training type things or whatever. Um, and so, yeah, I’ll start off with that.

As the, uh, the first bullet we go with is on a resume. We’re looking for some sort of training, coaching experience, either as a personal trainer or strength conditioning coach, just something that gives you the skills to work with people in some, uh, one-on-one capacity. Or small group capacity where you can kind of juggle the time that you have with people.

And you can have a smooth, you know, a smooth sort of session where it’s not just like copy and you’re not really sure where you want to go next, as opposed to, if you’re a trainer, you have experience, you’re a strength coach. You have experience there. In your head, each training session sort of has like a flow to it.

And you’re going to start out with this and end with that. And in the middle, we’re doing some of this stuff. So that’s definitely a, a huge skill for us and a big resume booster for us when we look at students. And when we, uh, consider someone for, for a new hire, uh, who wants to take it, go for it, Trevor or Doug?

Go ahead, Doug. Nah, I think that’s a good place to start. And I mean, even if someone doesn’t have like a strength and conditioning background, per se, I think just having some background and teaching people how to do things, it could be even a sport. Like I see, you know, I coached skiing or soccer or dance just for like, you had to like actually take something theoretical and get someone to apply it and do it, I think is really important.

And then, I mean, we’re lucky because we’re small enough that every single one of us can have oversight over whoever we hire. Whereas, if you’re like a really big company, you know, then you’ve got to have a process it’s a lot more impersonal. Um, but I mean, like for, for us, really the people that we hired our most, you know, our first and most recent two hires, we had an interview, but it was really more of a formality.

Like we didn’t, we almost knew before the interview that they were going to be the people that we hired, because in Joe’s case, you know, he had done a clinical with you. So you’re not only seeing that he’s like technically competent. And that he, you know, has the right educational background and credentials, but you’re seeing how he is socially.

And even if he’s not doing a lot of treatment, you know, um, individually in the clinical, you’re seeing how he interacts with patients and athletes. And if he’s the kind of person they want to be around, that’s probably like the biggest thing we can teach people to do anything for the most part. But getting that was something I wanted to mention too.

I forgot about that. It’s like when we take students, we almost want, like, that’s sort of like our interview process as well. And if you do well as a student, it’s okay. It’s in our best interest to make you as competent as you possibly can be as if we would want to hire you. Like we, you could replace us.

That’s sort of like a goal that we would have for our students. And it’s not always appropriate. Just depends on the student, but that’s sort of like in the back of our minds, as we go into it, that it’s, it’s somewhat of like a job interview for sure. Yeah. And so there there’s that piece. Um, but I mean, like, even with the Nugent, like I knew a nutria.

Because I used to actually, I was a member of the gym that she trained at. So, I mean, she was actually a friend that we stayed in touch with over the year. We stayed in touch over the years. And then when I found out that you went to PT school, like immediately, I knew in the back of my mind, and she was like a top tier trainer, um, or is still actually yet.

I have Equinox. So you know that she’s been vetted and you know, if you’re the kind of person where for five plus years, like people want to see you three days a week that says something about you. And so when she went to PT school in the back of my mind, like even without having to do any kind of formal vetting process, I’m like, wow, this would be like a great hire if.

If it was the right fit for her. So when she graduated PT school, and then we were looking for somebody who was almost like, yes, we all like talk to her more. So because you didn’t know her and we want it to, you know, I wanted you guys to meet her, but it was as much. You know, the interview was as much for her as it was for us.

If we kind of, or at least I kind of already knew that like she would be a great fit and then it was more like, Hey, is this going to be a good fit for you? And because, you know, frankly, she was doing really well as a trainer. Um, wasn’t going to make financial sense for her, but you obviously wanted to get PT experience.

So it was mutually beneficial. Um, but you know, if you’re small enough in an ideal world, like you don’t even need to interview, you already know. Who you’re going to hire. And then it’s just a matter of having a conversation saying like, Hey, what’s it going to take to make this worth both of our whiles?

And it’s, it’s like a much easier conversation than like, I feel like if you have to rely on an interview with someone that you don’t know, that just leaves so much to chance the interview should be a formality. And luckily we’re small enough that for us, the interviews were a formality. Um, but we kind of already knew we wanted to hire before that formal process.

So. I guess as much as you can, like decentralize it and make it informal and, and have real, real relationships. Like you guys had a real relationship with Joe and his relationship with the new Asia. So it made that transition to having a professional relationship. So I think both when I think about Anusha and Joe, I think about like the intangibles that they have, which is just their character.

And that’s something that we look for is we want people who we want to ourselves enjoy being around. And that’s what I think of from like a business. Not even a business owner standpoint, but for somebody working in the clinic on a day-to-day basis, it’s like, I want to show up to work with who I want to work with.

I want to be around. I want to interact with who I want to create like an environment that patients want to be in. And I think that’s why like, When I think about the three of us, things have always worked so well because we were, you know, PT school classmates and, and we had a great friendship before we kind of came into the business.

And when we are in the clinic together, like there’s a social interaction that brings just a good feel to the, to kind of like what we’re doing. And. And who we’re with. And patients definitely feed off that and feed off of like being in a good atmosphere and being in a good environment, which like, just start to like the type of person that you are.

It’s like when, when you know Greg and I are in the same, same room together, working with our clients, like it’s fun. It was the same thing. When, when nude is working with her clients in the city, like, and we’re all around. It’s fun when Joe was here as our student, like he helped just add to that. The.

Some technical issues with Trevor, but just to summarize kind of what he was talking about, uh, we’re looking for people that we want to be around on a daily basis, because that’s important in the workplace environment. You want to, you don’t want to hire somebody that you then are forced to be with on a day-to-day basis who you don’t even really, uh, enjoy spending time with them that regularly.

Right? This is something that you’re, uh, you’re doing, you know, around five days a week, maybe. So. You’re you’re at work just as much, uh, of the day, uh, on a weekday than you are at home. So you kind of want it to be like, uh, an extension of your friends and family groups. So that’s, that’s something important to us, for sure.

Um, and then another, uh, another bullet, uh, that I would think of is just like a desire to develop, um, which is something that I feel like you kind of. I think most people have it. I think it’s just a matter of being exposed to the right things and being in an environment that kind of fosters it. Um, which is, again, something that we kind of strive for is giving people the freedom to kind of look, look at different, uh, looked at, look through different routes of, of continuing education.

And you know, if you want to, we’ll tell him, we’ll tell him, we’ll tell Anousha if there’s something that you’re interested in and we can help you learn about it, we’ll do it this weekend. But then if there’s, you know, some coach. In Australia, who’s an expert on whatever it is. Like, we’ll do whatever we can to facilitate you learning from that person as well.

Um, cause then it’s going to help us first off. It’s gonna help that clinician become a better clinician themselves. They’re going to be able to provide a better service, which has been good for our business. So that’s a no brainer. Then at the same time, we, as individuals can then learn from that person.

We can learn from them on the things that they learned from that imaginary. Uh, coaching in Australia. Um, so that would be another bullet for me is just the desire to develop a desire, to be exposed to some new information and, and absorb it and kind of synthesize it into what you’re already doing. It’s not a complete overhaul of what you’re doing, which I’d say is like kind of a big deal too.

Like if you go to a course and then all of a sudden you show up the next day and it’s like, Oh God, we’re, we were totally missing the boat. And, uh, you know, like we have to, everyone needs to be doing this one thing, like, like boost said, So Shaq Sanders set on the podcast with you, Doug, like that’s kind of a red light to him and that’s definitely something that we, uh, we don’t want to see either.

Um, you guys want to run off of that a little bit. Yeah. I think like part of that, it’s just like the self-motivation and self-drive for, for like learning and just becoming better at, at your craft or whatever your profession is. Um, I think that’s just, that’s what we’ve seen. Like w with Joe, for example, it’s like, On the D on a times when, when he’s not here with us, it’s like he, he’s doing something to better himself to kind of learn and asking questions and being thoughtful and being, um, inquisitive about just kind of what it is that we do.

And it, same thing with the new job, like just, she asks great questions and is inquisitive about how to, how to become better at what, you know, at helping people, which is essentially what we’re trying to do as, as physical therapist. So I think that kind of self-drive and like the, um, Um, Altru altruistic altruistic behavior.

I think it’s kind of a, the word I’m looking for, but just wanting to find what you can to help other people. That’s ultimately, like I said, what we do as physical therapists, we’re trying to help the clients who come in and see us feel better, move better, do whatever it is, better, whatever their goal is with us.

And there’s just. Um, and you know, being open-minded and looking for more learning opportunities is definitely something that we see. And I think part of that, like, you know, both you guys were kind of saying before, it’s like the prior experiences that you’ve done, whether it’s personal training or being a sport coach or, or whatever it is just like working with other people, that’s trying to benefit them to, to some degree is huge.

It just, it, it says a lot about like who you are, what you value, um, and, and is again, like, ultimately. Different qualities that we’re looking for in terms of like the person who comes in who’s comfortable, who can make people feel comfortable, who, who speaks well with others and like, you know, is, is friendly as kind as warm as welcomes.

Those just the qualities are so important. I think, to be good at what you do, because ultimately like you kind of alluded to before Doug it’s like, we can teach a lot of like physical therapy skills, but there’s this level of, of, you know, the stuff Brett Bartholomew teaches. Like the art of coaching side of things.

That’s, that’s really hard to develop and hard to coach or having somebody who’s kind of has some of that coming in is super, super helpful for us. I think also to kind of piggyback on that as people who take initiative, especially with their clinicals, like, you know, it’s rare that we would have a student who is just content going wherever his or her program, you know, place them.

Because if you just rely on like, Oh, I’ve got my outpatient ortho rotation. Now you don’t really care where you go. That kind of says something about you. Because that, that to me is the most valuable part of PT school. So we’ve actually had students, you know, reach out to us to ask us if we could take them for a clinical and they proactively sent their, their resumes.

And like, first of all, I would tell anybody like that there’s zero downside to doing that. And it’s all upside. I mean, I’ve actually been impressed with certain people where it’s like, wow, like. You have the confidence to, and they do it in a way where it’s, you know, it’s humble, it’s tasteful, but it’s like, Hey, you know, here’s what I’ve done.

Like, would you, you know, do you take students? And if you do, like, here’s my experience. And you know, we’ve had people where like, if we know that someone’s done a rotation, And another really good facility, like say like a, a rehab to perform, you know, like Josh funks facility or like champion PT in Massachusetts, or like EXOS places like that.

Like the fact that that students have sought out those clinical experiences speaks to the fact that they want to learn certain things that are kind of like outside the traditional PT box. So, you know, when they’ve had those experiences, it’s like, Oh, like we know that they’ve actually been trained really well by.

Somebody else before they even come to us. So it makes our job a lot easier and it speaks to the fact that they’re not, they’re not content just going to like whatever, the closest local PT places near their program, just to check the clinical box. Because I don’t think that like, program’s really that much different in terms of what they teach.

You can only make anatomy so different and, you know, in kinesiology and neuroscience, But the ones that I think are a little bit more progressive with their clinical education that lets students take more initiative. So that’s a big thing. And then I think just kind of related to that is, you know, we are an out of network cash based model.

So the people who have that initiative and that confidence are probably going to do better because we can’t rely on getting 15 visits from an insurance company for something like, if it’s a post-op the, maybe we can, but. We’re under and our students and our employees are under more pressure where like, people are generally paying out a deductible, paying out of pocket, whether it’s like a high deductible plan or they’re paying just pure cash and no insurance coverage.

Like you don’t have five visits, you might have one or two. And then people are like, look, I’m not going to spend, you know, it’s it’s it’s it can be cost-prohibitive. So you have to be confident that you can, like, you can get somebody in a routine they can do on their own and get a really good test retest and a positive change.

And one to two sessions. And I don’t know if everyone, especially like new grads are cut out for that environment. But obviously if they’ve had a clinical with us that we know whether or not like they’re comfortable there, or if they’ve had other similar clinical experiences where they can work under certain time constraints, financial constraints, and that they’re autonomous because every, every place including our RS likes us and like, we’re going to develop clinicians and we do try to make time for that.

The reality is like you’re running a business. So the time it takes to like mentor somebody when they’ve already been hired. Now that’s two people who could have been treating that aren’t treating because you’re like. Setting specific time aside to mentor people. So we want people to like hit the ground running and we’re going to have like informal time that we set aside to like mentor and answer questions.

But like, if we’re being honest, we’re not like setting a lot of time throughout the day to say like, okay, we’re not, neither of us are going to treat so we can develop you like a student. We might do that. But some of that we’re hiring. Like we really, we can’t, it’s not, it’s not wise as a business strategic move.

Yeah. And then along those lines, too, we’re looking for people who are just interested in that and they’ve gone to different sorts of continuing education courses. Now we’re not looking for this whole laundry list of a million different courses. Like just even going to a couple as a student, as a physical therapy student that says a lot about you.

For sure that you’re, like you said again, you’re putting yourself out there and kind of looking for things that are a little bit. You know, non traditional. Um, and we’re not talking about going to like some sort of, uh, you know, like way out of the box. Like you’re going to some course that’s not even related to physical therapy at all at all, but we’re looking just for like something different that maybe isn’t taught in school.

Um, and yeah, like I said, it doesn’t have to be, uh, a total laundry list of courses like we did. Um, it’s just like, it’s not. Reasonable to expect that out of the student, it’s also like pretty expensive too. So it just kind of, uh, you know, it’s unreasonable for us to expect that anything else that you guys can think of that pops into your head.

I mean, just one more thing related to what you said, Greg, is that we want people to be proactive and kind of like it’s obviously PT, the PT school curriculum alone is not sufficient. But we’ve also had people that have reached out and, or even like students where the questions they’re asking us and stuff that like, even we don’t really care about sometimes.

And so, yes, like if you want to do things that are like performance oriented that we do in our environment, that aren’t like purely PC centric. I mean, you don’t get in your curriculum. That’s fine. But it’s like, if you don’t, if you’re not comfortable like working with, you know, a post-op. Knee surgery, patient, you know, two weeks out and you don’t know how to like mobilize a knee or assess a joint.

It doesn’t matter like how esoteric you can get with other stuff. So, you know, I’m not saying the PT school curriculum is sufficient, but you need to know it and be very comfortable with it. Cause that’s like that’s the basis. I think there are some people who it’s like, you’re still a PT before. You’re all these other things.

And you need to be comfortable doing those basic things. Cause otherwise, like you’re not, you’re not like actually a PT or something else. Yeah. I would add like under the intangibles kind of list from, from what you’re talking about, there is like honest and humble. Cause I think those are two things that, you know, you want somebody who is truly honest about like what they know and what they don’t know, because there’s no other way to actually develop your skills unless you can truly be.

Like self-reflective and be honest about like what it is you do and do not know, like, like, I think, you know, we’ve had, we’ve talked about like our, our students that we’ve had here in Jersey in the past, and it’s funny. Cause sometimes they like want to try to impress us with things that they’re, that they know, but they don’t really know it.

And it’s like, dude, I don’t care like that. Doesn’t impress me. What impresses me is you being good with good with clients and being honest with them and helping them it’s like, because you read some blog posts or you watch some video that, that sounds cool, but you don’t know how to apply it. It’s like that.

Doesn’t that’s not. That’s just kind of a waste of time. And when, you know, trying to learn things that, like you said, don’t apply, like the people that you actually work with. It’s like, that’s cool. That’s all stuff. That’s really interesting. But ultimately like, you know, we love reading. They’re more theoretical and.

Not necessarily, always the most practical information, but ultimately it’s like we have to be doing stuff that’s going to improve the care that we give to the people that we are actually working with. And so if you’re only reading about like high performance athletes and how to train, you know, elite athletes, but you only work with like kids, it doesn’t make any sense or only work with a geriatric population.

It doesn’t really make any sense. It’s understanding and being honest about what you know, and what you don’t know and being humble about that. Cause it is, you know, I think. We all have our own egos and want to like be smart and look smart, but ultimately it’s like, you have to be humble about like, no, this is like what I actually do.

And that’s awesome. And when people can be truly honest about what it is, they did basis and what they do and do not know. So the only way we can actually develop more knowledge and more, and actually try to, you know, become an expert. Yeah. Yeah. And that you saying that reminds me of a time when I was with Alan Groover for our clinical, you know, we thought we all did.

And I remember him just saying that he wants to work with people that want to work with him. And that was like a really cool thing to hear him say, because he’s essentially what he’s saying. And he would go on and say like, I’d rather work with, you know, Joe Schmoe, 45 year old dad who just had a rotator cuff repair.

Cause he wants to be with me as opposed to like, I’m going to go chase around some professional athlete because I want to look cool and sound smart and look like, I know, you know, more than. More than the next guy. I’m like, I just want to help people. And I don’t really care who they are. And that, like, that was very, very apparent as a student with them, because we were working with people, you know, in his clinic, there might be, you know, a young, you know, 13 year old kid who has like some sort of like neurological disorder or, or something like pretty involved with as a, which as a student, you’re like, Oh my goodness, like, what am I even supposed to do here?

And then at the same time, like, Across the room is like a professional baseball player from the major league baseball team. So it’s like, there was such a disparity or not disparate. It’s such a big range of who he was working with and who his clinic his employees were working with. But I think that’s a really important thing to think about too.

Like the question is always like, Oh, how do I work with professional athletes? What do I need to do to become, you know, work as a professional athlete or, and though that might be like a goal of yours to work in professional sports. That’s totally fine. You get back. That’s a very reasonable goal to have, like, if that’s the setting that you.

You want to get to, when you want to work, you want to work. They’re like you still have to work well with everyone up to that level. Like you can’t just jump and work with professional athletes right out of the gate. Like you first need to be able to work well with anybody before you can work well with any one specific population.

So, um, I guess that kind of goes back to just being a generalist over being a specialist and being able to work with anybody and applying the same information. Like we’re all doing the same thing. It’s just with different sorts of. Techniques, um, at different times, just whatever’s appropriate for that person is always what we go back to.

Um, but, uh, yeah, and, and it’s just like, don’t know, walk before you can crawl kind of going back to what Trevor was saying. Like, don’t ask us about some crazy, like John mechanics thing and, and like tongue movement in the mouth when like you can’t coach a pushup, like I could care less. About you bringing up some sort of blog posts about the tongue when like, you know, you’re having a hard time working with a 16 year old kid after an ACL surgery.

So, um, that’s, those are definitely huge bullets for us. Anything else you guys want to throw in there for the last couple of days? No, I think that’s good. What about done? Yeah. Awesome. Yeah. Well, let’s wrap this one up and then, uh, we’ll do another one soon. So thanks for listening and we’ll see you next time.

Thanks everybody.