EP: 170 Your Guide To Getting Hired In Today’s Tough Labor Market With Theresia Intag

Brave Women at Work | Theresia Intag | Tough Labor Market

 

According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, “Employers slowed hiring and handed out smaller raises in recent months, signs of fading momentum in the job market that have some forecasters expecting unemployment to rise in 2024.”

 

This is being done to help the U.S. economy have a soft landing, meaning the Fed is trying to avoid a recession. The Fed is trying to have the labor market cool without it collapsing.

 

What does all this mean in lay terms? It means that if you are looking for a job right now, it is a tough labor market. And this tracks with the conversations I’m having with my dear friends and other colleagues out there looking for jobs.

 

They are interviewing, interviewing, and interviewing some more without hearing back from recruiters. Their confidence is taking a hit. They wonder if they have the chops to get hired.

And while this is happening, we have a changing work environment with continued demand for hybrid or remote work, human resources professionals being battered and bruised from the challenges of COVID and beyond, and recruiters getting a bad rap.

 

My guest today, Theresia Intag, is setting the record straight on all these issues.

 

During my chat with Theresia, we discussed:

  1. The story behind Theresia’s companies, IntagHire and Tag4HR.
  2. What Theresia is seeing in the recruiting industry right now.
  3. Why you may not be contacted after your interviews right now (and hint, it’s not your fault).
  4. How you can stand out from the crowd when interviewing.
  5. How you can stay confident and engaged when it’s taking a long time to find the next best role in your career path.
  6. What’s going on with hybrid work and how companies can attract top talent in the changing face of work.
  7. Why middle managers are facing burnout. Theresia also shares some creative and interesting ways that companies can support their employees.

And the benefits that top talent is expecting moving forward.

Listen to the podcast here

 

Your Guide To Getting Hired In Today’s Tough Labor Market With Theresia Intag

Hey, everyone. How are you doing out there? According to a recent article in the Wall Street Journal, here’s a quote, “Employers slowed hiring and handed out smaller raises in recent months. Signs of fading momentum in the job market that have some forecasters expecting unemployment to rise in 2024.” Lovely. Why is this being done? This is being done to help the US economy have a soft landing, which means that the Fed is trying to avoid a recession. The Fed is trying to have the labor market cool without it collapsing.

You’re like, “Jen, you’re boring me. Why are we starting this way? What does this mean in lay terms?” It means that if you’re looking for a job right now, it is a tough labor market. This tracks what the conversations I’m having with dear friends and other colleagues out there that are looking for jobs right now. If this is you, my apologies and keep the fight up. Here’s what I’m hearing. Candidates, friends, they’re interviewing and interviewing some more without hearing back from recruiters. As a result, their confidence is taking a hit. They’re wondering, are they the right people for these jobs? Do they need to go back and get more education? Why are they not hearing back? They’re wondering if they have the chops to get hired.

While this is happening, we have a changing work environment with continued demand for hybrid or remote work, human resources professionals being battered and bruised from all the challenges of COVID and beyond. Let’s face it, recruiters are getting a bad rap because they aren’t getting back to many of you.

My guest, Theresia Intag, is setting the record straight on all of these issues. During my chat with Theresia, we discussed the story behind Theresia’s companies IntagHire and Tag4HR. What Theresia is seeing in the recruiting industry right now. Why you may not being contacted after your interviews. Hint, it’s not your fault. Let me repeat that for confidence. It is not your fault. How you can stand out from the crowd when interviewing. How you can stay confident and engaged when it’s taking a long time to find the next best role in your career path.

What’s going on with hybrid work and how companies can attract top talent in the face of changing work environments. Why middle managers are facing burnout. Yes, we’re still talking about burnout. Theresia also shares some creative and interesting ways that companies can support their employees. Finally, the benefits that top talent are expecting moving forward.

 

Brave Women at Work | Theresia Intag | Tough Labor Market

 

Here is more about Theresia. Theresia Intag, Founder and CEO of IntagHire and co-founder of Tag4HR has deep experience in human resources and talent acquisition. Theresia has a passion for running small businesses with innovative, flexible models that free up your time and optimize your budget and mental health. In 2016, she designed a flexible recruiting service business to disrupt the outdated traditional recruiting firms, saving clients up to 50% in recruiting fees.

In 2022, she co-founded an HR community to provide modern resources, business acumen, community, and tools for growing HR leaders and small business owners. With over 20 years of recruiting and HR experience, Theresia is well-versed in the evolution of attracting candidates, how to build effective recruiting engines, and how to keep your business running with top talent. Theresia has worked with amazing brands such as Samsung, Bazaar Voice, Nordstrom, Yeti Coolers, ForeFlight Dimensional Fund Advisors, Spanning Cloud, Holzman Partners, and many other organizations to build their talent pool.

Theresia values innovation and flexibility for life’s challenges and creating human spaces in the business world by leading with compassion. Theresia was a 2023 Impact Award Finalist for Vistage, a global CEO network. On top of all that, I had a wonderful time talking with her and I’m sure that we’ll shine through in our conversation.

Before we get started, if you’re enjoying Brave Women at Work, please make sure to leave a rating and review in Apple Podcast or Spotify. If the show has made an impact on you, share it with a friend or a colleague. Your ratings and reviews, you know it, they help the show continue to gain traction and grow. Thank you again for your support.

Also, if you haven’t yet downloaded my freebies from my website, check them out at BraveWomenAtWork.com. I have created three for your use, 24 Career and Leadership Affirmations, because who doesn’t need that mindset boost? Five Ways to Manage Your Imposter Syndrome, and one of the most popular Getting Paid: 10 Negotiation Tips. They’re workbook style guides so you can complete them on your own time and in your own leisure. Again, go to Brave Woman At Work to learn more and to go and download those freebies. Let’s welcome Theresia to the show. Hello Theresia, welcome to Brave Women at Work. How are you?

Hi, Jen. I’m good. Thanks for having me.

I’m so excited. Why don’t you jump right in? Tell us a little bit about you and your background story and how you’ve gotten to where you are in this moment.

I want to mention that my background was working as a manager of HR and recruiting for many years. About 7 years ago, I’m 53 right now, so it was pretty late in my career, I decided to take the leap and try to start my own company because I saw that there were some gaps around recruiting and HR with outside services. I created a unique hourly model for recruiting and HR that comes in much cheaper than the traditional models that are out there.

That was a big deal to jump in and start a business on a model that didn’t exist to see if it would work or not. It turns out it was sticky like it was working and it was resonating with a lot of companies. We primarily work with SMBs. I had to make sure it worked there, but it’s working. Here we are, seven years later and I’m one of those few small percentage of women that have a business that’s over a million in revenue. Yes, I am super excited about that because I know that there needs to be more women doing that and I’m always shocked by that statistic.

Congratulations first off. That was quite a leap. I want to congratulate you. I’m just curious because there might be other people tuning in that are like, “I’d like to make that leap. I have a side gig.” Before we get into the meat of your business, did you have a plan B or a plan C? What was going to happen if it didn’t work out and wasn’t sticky?

I did. I’m a calculated risk taker so I was working contract work while I was building the business until it generated enough revenue. I was doing that very carefully and it took about six months, then I started to be able to pay for myself. I was always being overly cautious with it. If it didn’t work, I could always get a contract and go back to contract work if I needed to. There’s always a plan B.

It sounds like you had multiple plans. When did it come about? I knew you were in HR for a long time as I was doing research on your background and things like that. Is it through your work in HR that you saw that gap in the market or how did you find it?

Yes, absolutely. The biggest gap was that you have executives who need to be paying attention to the business, the finances, the machine, but they don’t have any deep knowledge in HR or recruiting. There’s this gap and they don’t always fund it the smartest way or the best way. They end up leaning heavily on the firms that charge those 20% fees or charge those big monthly retainers for HR services. They aren’t necessarily being very consultative or understanding the individual business. That’s where I was trying to fill that gap of creating that world that was more business-friendly and cost-effective.

Also, here’s the twist, I wanted to hire working parents, especially working moms to give them part-time jobs where they could use their business expertise but make good hourly money and still have flexibility for their families. Even if they wanted to take a whole summer off to spend time with their kids at home or if they wanted 20 hours a week every week, the model was built on that foundation.

Another kudos. You are way before the curve. Way before hybrid. Way before COVID. You were a visionary that you were like, “People need to have this flexibility and make good money.” You probably were moving right along like trucking right along through COVID, correct?

Yes. I had already built the model. When the market had its spike in late COVID, that helped us launch even more and take a big leap forward because we were already set up for it. Now, remote and flexibility is a more common term, but when the business started it was not as common, nearly as common.

No, not at all. One of the other things I wanted to mention, your company that I saw the website, so it’s Tag4HR, correct?

That’s the second company.

Okay.

That one, we launched in 2023. That is a membership company for HR professionals to help give them more resources to do their day-to-day job, avoid burnout, and build capacity for themselves.

What’s the name of the original company we’ve been talking about?

The original service consulting company around HR and recruiting is called IntagHire. The second company, it is confusing, is called Tag4HR. It’s a membership company.

Which company do you offer fractional recruiting? Is that the first company?

IntagHire is the fractional recruiting and fractional HR services.

Just people understand, I’m sure they could guess, but what does that mean? You’re hiring fractional time, is that what that’s for recruiting?

What that means is we are offering fractional recruiters and fractional HR professionals to plug into a company at an hourly rate when the company needs it. Instead of having to worry about if they can only hire, have a budget to hire one person or one and a half persons, we can come in with part-time people to do projects on a monthly basis. They charge hourly for the work that they do, so the company is not spending as much to get some big projects done.

Just because I know you live and breathe recruiting, this very day I talked to someone, yesterday, lots of people in my community may be part of layoffs and curious about our conversation. We’re going to bend it towards individual performers and leaders in the marketplace if you’re okay with that. I wanted to get your thoughts on the trends that you’re seeing with recruiting right now.

We do have a soft market right now with the layoffs that have happened, but those super high-demand roles, which in tech you’re starting to, all the AI technology that’s evolving and coming around and the different companies popping up every day, they are still some high demand tech roles that are still competitive in spite of the market being soft.

Overall, the big hiring trends that we were seeing last year have slowed down and now the market’s settling. I think we’re going to see it, it’s not going to pick up like it was before, but I think we’re going to see in 2024. It’ll pick up a little bit in February or March as people are realizing, “We need to start building out sales again or marketing again and try to generate more business.” I think those are going to be good areas. Healthcare, there’s still some low numbers on having enough employees. I think there’s big demand there too.

I got to represent my area, I don’t know if you know this area, banking, investment services, financial services. Do you have any thoughts on those sectors?

No. We have one client that’s a finance firm, but I don’t have as much insight overall in the big picture. I do feel that it’s soft right now too, so I think that’s going to pick up a little bit, especially with interest rates that hopefully will be dropping soon. That will cause the movement.

I’m thinking in my head like, “Go Fed, go.”

Please go.

Go get those rates to drop a little bit. We don’t want 8% mortgages.

Yes, exactly.

We’re going to pivot again to the individual contributor, the leaders women that might be looking or looking to pivot this year or may have been part of a layoff. What advice would you give to women tuning in who are looking for new roles right now?

I would say start now. Start early. Look at those companies that are ideal companies for you to work at or that have the right culture that you would like or benefits even that you would like. Make sure to keep a list of those companies and keep an eye on all the roles. The other thing is to then go in and start connecting with a lot of people at those companies on LinkedIn. Maybe even reach out to someone. Don’t ask them for a job but reach out and ask them, “What do you like about your company? I’m very intrigued by your company. I’m very intrigued what the company does. Do you enjoy working there? Do you mind if I ask a few questions around it or schedule a time to chat with you?” If they’re local, “Would you mind if I took you out to coffee?”

A lot of people won’t respond but if you do 10, I bet you get at least one response and that starts it and they might refer you to somebody else to talk to within the organization. You start networking within those target companies. That gives you a leg up big time because they can refer you to any open roles in the future.

I think that’s good. Backing up one half step. If you’re not on LinkedIn, please, I’m begging you get on LinkedIn. There are millions of people out there. The other piece is like optimizing your profile, which I know you can Google resources for that or find people that can support you with optimizing your LinkedIn profile. What else I tell and challenge my clients on the coaching side is, spend fifteen minutes. It doesn’t have to be a lot but reaching out and having those virtual or in-person coffee chats and networking is where it’s at. I believe it’s in LinkedIn.

I do too. Keep it concise. Don’t go ramble on and on in your outreach but have those specific questions that you might want to ask and keep it authentic. I think that’s important.

Yes, because everyone’s got the guard up now for AI bots. Don’t sound like a bot. Be authentic, be vulnerable, be human, and connect with people. I think that you’re not going to get everybody but if you got 1 or 2, it only takes 1 or 2 and then you could be in your next role.

Yes. I feel like it’s less nerve wracking to send those messages than to call somebody or try to run into them on purpose. It’s a good starting place.

If you think about it as we jump off of this, it’s better than old school picking up the phone book and being, “I’m going to cold call people. That’s why they say coffee is for closers.

Absolutely.

With these conversations I’ve had with some women in the last couple of days, what I’m hearing and there’s so much frustration that it’s taking longer than normal. People are interviewing and they’re not getting any responses. It’s going in the black hole. I’m like, “What is going on? Why aren’t they hearing back from recruiters and hiring teams when it’s very interesting in comparison to where it was before?

When the markets are softer for hiring, then what you see is double the applicants or triple the applicants. The recruiter is consumed with not just 20 applicants, you’re not 1 of 20, you’re 1 of 200 applicants for the week. Every week, there’s more applicants that come through. The recruiters are trying their best to get through as many as they can. Usually, in that top 30 to 50 people they’re going through, they can find at least 5 qualified applicants.

Sometimes they can’t get through the whole list. Other times, they start to get through the list or they’re interviewing 20-plus people and it’s hard to get back to the people. I do feel it’s best practice in recruiting though if you are being interviewed that they should definitely follow up with you as to the status instead of going in the black hole. If you’ve just applied, that can be a little trickier to get to the all-200 people unless you have a good ATS system that can reach people that quickly. Recruiters are often very swamped and overwhelmed.

What you’re saying is, don’t hate on the recruiters?

It’s not personal. It is not. I tell candidates that. When I talk to them, I will let them know, “If you don’t move forward in this process, here’s maybe why. It’s not personal.” I’ll even let them know there’s a referral that’s in process. It could go to that referral because they know them personally. That gets them. Like we talked about earlier, if you’re networking with the people in the organization and then one of those people referred you to an open job to the recruiter, then you’re a referral. You have more power in a sense as a referral than if you’re cold applying to the company.

That’s the first thing, and then I do these little pauses where I’m like, “You know that it’s a soft market so we’re learning.” It’s a soft market. Don’t take it personal. I think those are the first two. One of the things that I do hear from candidates is that it can take a toll on confidence because they’re going in the back hole, and then all of a sudden, they’re talking into the void because they’re not hearing from the recruiter. They then start asking themselves, “Am I not qualified? Do I not have the skills? Maybe I shouldn’t be applying for this level of role.” In terms of keeping our confidence high while we’re looking for work, any thoughts there?

Yes. I highly recommend to find 3 to 4 other people that are also looking for jobs that you might know of in your network or circle of friends or maybe even some supportive organizations that help people find jobs and meet with them once a month for coffee and/or virtually on a Zoom. You all support each other with the process because it can beat you up and it helps to know other people are going through the same thing. You then realize it’s a numbers game, it’s not personal, and you can get feedback from those people too like, “Is my resume that far off the mark?” Chances are it’s not. Chances are it’s fine. You get some free insight on that. If you do have an interview, they don’t always give it to you but always ask for feedback. It’s surprising what you might get feedback-wise from people.

If they say, “No, you’re good. Somebody else was just a hair better because they had two things that were important for the role that maybe you didn’t have.” It’s small things so don’t take it personally. Keep going. Don’t give up on the journey. Keep going. Keep talking to people. Keep getting feedback from friends or experts. Keep trying to put one foot in front of the other. I always say too, make a list of all the things you did well in your previous jobs. Post it on your computer screen and have it there every day to remind you when you’re feeling down. Nope, I know what the heck I’m doing. I am qualified, I do have skills. Keep going forward.

Yeah, those are so good. That’s your new mantra. Those are your new affirmations. Look at all the things I did because it can be an absolute head game. I also like the fact that you are saying don’t go it alone and build that community around you of like-minded people.

Yes, get a mentor. It’s so hard to ask. I know that. It’s real but try to get a mentor it makes a big difference.

They don’t even have to be in your exact line of work. Just someone that you respect. We’ve done shows at Brave Women At Work on mentorship, so go back into the big vault. I can’t believe Theresia. It’s like we’re way over 160-plus episodes. It’s crazy. Go back in the library everybody and search for mentoring. We have it in there.

One last thing on the recruiting side. You said, soft market, we’ve got 200 applicants. Do you have any thoughts, someone might be wondering, “Is there anything that I can do to stand out?” Used to be, and I’ve asked another person on the show about this, “Is it a thank you note? Is it a thank you email? Should I have color on my resume? Should I do a video for you? Should I stand on my head?” What can a person do if there is a lot of competition for a particular job? Anything that you would say, here are some other little tricks that you can have up your sleeve to be standing out.

Every company, there’s a lot of different types of companies and there might be some cultural nuances within companies and what they like to see. Whether something super professional or more chilled language thing or more personal language. I would say, keep a foundation resume. What I mean by that is a resume that has all your experience on it, and then create 2 or 3 versions for the different types of jobs you typically apply for. For me, when I was a recruiter, there would be tech recruiter, there would be general recruiter, there would be recruiting manager. I would have those three versions so I could apply quickly.

The other trick is at the very top make it easy on the recruiter. They are glancing through these hundreds of resumes that they’re getting. Put those top skills that you have that align with the job description, put those at the very top. Current skills, bullet points. That gets them to start to read the next part of your resume because they can see you’ve got some fundamental pieces that we’re looking for, and then they glance through the resume.

Everything that is the most important thing you did or you think might resonate the most should be in that first sentence underneath that job that you worked at because they’re only going to read sometimes that 1 or 2 sentence below the job title. Don’t make it super lengthy unless you’re doing an academic job or a statistics job where they require PhDs and they need all the extensive backgrounds. Typically, make it concise.

That’s good. For resume, is it still one page? If you’re an old timer like I am, is it okay to go two pages and cut it from there? We don’t want more than two pages.

Not more than two pages. It’s okay if you have a more senior level experience, but if you get into the executive level, sometimes those are bios even. Know your audience that you’re applying to and tweak accordingly as fast as you can because the faster you apply the better. Just tweak it for each job if you can.

The faster you apply, the better. Click To Tweet

Also, thank you video, thank you note, thank you old school note, or we don’t care as recruiters?

It depends on the recruiter.

That’s a fair answer.

I would say it never hurts to do a thank you email. If you have their email address or the hiring manager’s email address, that’s the fastest and easiest. It is nice to get a card occasionally, but you don’t know always. The person’s working remote these days so you don’t have their home address to send them a card to. The email’s probably the safest. It never hurts because it’s another touch point that they remember you because even if you don’t get this job now, you might be qualified for a different job later and maybe they liked interviewing you and they put you on the save list. They’re saving your resume for potential things that they’ll have in the future and they’ll reach back out if they feel there’s an alignment.

There’s another learning right there. Don’t light up the company if you’re ticked and you didn’t get called right because the recruiters may have you on the B team or a bench list for another job. You don’t want to be slashed and burning those bridges that you’re trying to build.

The other thing that I think people don’t realize, and I watch this happen all the time with our clients, is that the client thinks they want one kind of role. They do the title, but then as you start to recruit on it, you start interviewing people, you realize, “We need these skill sets and we didn’t realize it.” Until the role changes and they find somebody in the interview process with those other pieces and they don’t even have a chance to change the job online and redo it.

They’re just like, “That’s what we need.” The job may have shifted during the whole interview process and they loved you, they liked your skills, it just wasn’t quite right for where they realized the business needs to go, but in the future there could be something because you were phenomenal at interviewing and you were engaging. They want to hang on to your background and your skillset.

That’s good too because it shows that businesses and companies were changing at the speed of light, whereas 20 years ago if the job description was the job description, it was a job description and you’re earning for the jobs and they’re hiring for the job. Now, it’s such a fluid situation that you have to realize that if they’re changing language and the job description doesn’t match exactly the interview conversation, it could be because they’re already moving and morphing. I also think, and I tell people, interviewing the company is as important as you being interviewed because you may not like where they’re going with the job and then it’s not the right fit for you either. I think it goes on both sides of the fence there.

One hundred percent, yes. Do ask those questions. Do understand the culture and the things that might be important to you because it needs to be a good fit for you too. If not, that’s where we get into those higher burnout rates and more turnover and you want to leave quickly instead of having some stability in the organization.

Let’s pivot in terms of what are some of those things with the big hot button that I’m hearing and seeing still. I’m like, “When is this going to be over in mainstream?” It’s hybrid work. For you. you’re like, “I’m serious people, I’ve been living this for seven-plus years. What is the problem?

It works.

“Can you stop hating on hybrid work?” I have to ask you because you’re an expert in this area. What is the deal? I don’t get it. Why are companies still looking to bring people back in the office full-time? I’m not talking like, “If you want to give somebody a day or two days, I totally respect that you want that hybrid environment.” In fact, I agree with that philosophy. What about all these companies? We’re not going to name, we’re not going to hate on companies but there’s a lot of prominent ones that are like, “No, you must be back in mythical office and cube and all of this stuff five days a week.” What gives?

A couple of things. I think that there are some companies that truly do have the type of business that requires people to be in there, but there are the smaller percentage. They have something happening in the office every day or regularly, so they need the people there and that’s going to happen, but then I think there’s a combination of things. I think you get some people that are more traditional mindset and when the market soften, they’re getting a lot of pressure on why aren’t you reaching your numbers? Why aren’t you making more revenue? They’re like, “It’s because everybody’s remote now, they’re not producing enough.” Is that true? You start looking at it and it’s not really.

There are some industries maybe too that the remote working or the company is not structured to support remote work and engage the employees. Maybe they are underperforming. When you’re structured right, we’re seeing from our clients with hybrid models that  the employees are producing more when they have that flexibility because they’re so excited to be able to do the things they need to do and still work full-time jobs that they give it their all more and you can attract better people too.

Brave Women at Work | Theresia Intag | Tough Labor Market
Tough Labor Market: Clients with hybrid models have employees who are producing more because they have that flexibility.

 

Exactly, because now I’m thinking, and we’re going to have a show at some point this year on millennials and Gen Z. I’m like, “The top talent is not going to go for the rigidity of that traditional mindset.” I don’t think they’re going to be able to recruit for a top talent.

No, they’re not. It’s already showing in tech companies. The top tier tech specialists that everybody wants, but there’s not enough of them, they want remote or hybrid. They do not want to be in the office full time.

Tell me if you are in the same camp. I’m hoping that the pendulum, it feels like a pendulum of a clock that’s wildly swinging. Let’s say COVID was one extreme. Now, we’re swinging back the opposite, what it feels like for some business, extreme. I’m hoping that the pendulum will eventually be in the middle. Do you think we’ll eventually get there? I hope so.

Hybrid is here to stay. It is not going away. There’s too much around technology to make it easier and easier to do hybrid. The younger generations that we need to hire over the next 5 to 10 years, they’re going to expect it. They want to live life, they want to have the flexibility to live life, travel. They need the hybrid arenas.

The younger generations that we need to hire over the next five to ten years are going to expect the hybrid model. They want to have the flexibility to live life. Click To Tweet

I think it’s already proven that it makes us happier, makes us more productive, feel like we have more control and ownership of our time, etc.

Yes, and it helps reduce the burnout that we’re seeing such high numbers in.

Let’s talk about that. I looked on your blog and you quoted Forbes that 43% of us middle managers are reporting burnout, which I found staggering. It still shocks me. Let’s talk about HR teams, these two groups. How can we support employees who are on the verge of or experienced burnout?

Yes. It’s such a good topic right now. It was part of why we started the second company for HR professionals that were in burnout. What we’re seeing is a combination of things. There’s more pressure on families because it requires two working parents to support the family as a whole. You’re juggling a lot more and technology keeps us working longer hours in some ways because you can always check your emails and respond to things, research things.

Also, I think that the traditional model, and I’m hearing people talk about this more, traditional model of where you climb a ladder, that’s a very structured ladder moving up is not resonating with people anymore. They want to learn different skill sets because they get stuck in this one arena and they’re bored or they’re uninspired and that feeds into the burnout as well. Things become very monotonous.

Whereas, if they get to experience new departments or learn some new skill sets and move laterally into different departments, they’re enjoying that exploration better. It makes the company better because you have people that understand how different departments engage with each other. We’re starting to see the very beginning phases of transitioning into a whole different work model moving forward.

That’s interesting. It’s not like, “I’m a finance or I’m an IT specialist, and then I want to be an IT manager then I want to be a senior IT manager.” They may go into a different sector of the business so that they’re cross-functional, and then they may eventually go to management, correct?

Correct, or they may not. They decide they don’t want to manage. That’s the other thing that we’re seeing too, especially with technology. You’re seeing a lot of engineers that move up the ladder and the next place that they’re supposed to go is to be a manager, but they’re like, “I don’t want to be a manager. I like being technical. I don’t want to worry about people skills and all of that.” It doesn’t work. We’ve watched it fail multiple times in organizations that we work with. Now, they’re starting to figure out, “Who are those true managers? How can you give people raises that are high-functioning contributors but they’re not going to be managers or executives?”

I like that too because usually it was like, take on all the people which I laugh. I told my husband, “Don’t do it.” I’m a people manager. If anybody’s tuning in from my team, I love you people. I love all my people, but it’s not for everyone. I like the fact that businesses are getting smart enough where they’re like, “Why should we have to pay our people leaders at that top of the ladder? Why aren’t we paying those specialists or those technical experts as much?” In some cases, some industries probably even more than a people leader.

If you also have those experts that are doing those jobs so well, you don’t necessarily need as many managers to manage them because they’re getting their stuff done. They know how to do it backwards and forwards.

Yeah, that is true. I was talking to a friend and we were talking about management. It isn’t as easy as saying to people like, “Go do that.” If they’re not in the right roles then you’ve got issues or there’s behavioral problems. What you’re saying is exactly that. If you have a bunch of all-stars on your team that are technical and paid well and feel valued, then they might be completely on their own. They would have some sort of team leader or a manager, but it’s a superstar team. It’s like whatever, they can do their own.

Get a chief of staff to manage a large team or something because they need to understand the functionality of the business and they can relay that to that team, but that team is sharp. They can adjust things and make it happen for the best of the business once they understand that.

You have a whole second company on it with Tag4HR. What about our HR teams? I want to give some love and some credit to our HR teams because they have gone through it. Let’s talk about it. We were taking advantage of them. We were almost expecting them to be there. We’re talking about the COVID, all of the stuff they were doing. We want to give love to our first responders and our medical people and all that, but we’re focusing on HR teams right now. How can we support our HR people who are probably still very crispy burnt out from the last 3 to 4 years?

I’ve watched a lot of HR professionals jump out and become consultants so they can get a break. A good HR person is hard to find a lot of times. Part of that is because the job is so big and there’s usually no funding to support the team, to create a team, HR team. You have one person a lot of times in those SMBs that are doing way too much. I think a lot of times people don’t understand what is involved in that HR role, the different compliance pieces that you have to keep up with.

Brave Women at Work | Theresia Intag | Tough Labor Market
Tough Labor Market: A good HR person is hard to find because the job is so big and there’s usually no funding to support creating an HR team.

 

As we do more remote work or hybrid work, people are living in a lot more different states. Every state, you have to register the company and then pay attention to the state laws and do various things at various right times so the company doesn’t get in trouble. There’s all these components, then you get into the general payroll benefits, employee relations, then you get into culture, then you get into, “We want our performance management stuff developed more in annual reviews.” They’re doing all of that and more. I only mentioned 70% of it probably.

Also, have all these over the last three years very pivotable things going on around policies. “Do we work in the office? Do we not work in the office? Do we have to disinfect everything? Do we not disinfect everything? Certain social issues ae going on, do we talk about the social issues? Do we not talk about the social issues? What’s the culture of the coming?” It was all over the place and they had to pivot constantly. That is a hard job to do all those other things, and then keep pivoting on these new things coming up. Kudos to HR people that survived and made it because you guys are awesome and I feel like they’re undervalued. even more so today they have to do things now that are very important to the business running well.

I’m in jest here, but seriously if you are in a company, ask your HR person how they’re doing. Ask, “How are you?” Everybody with HR is always used to serving others, so they’re never probably losing like, “I’m not good.” I think we need to ask our HR people how we can support them.

Yes. That’s exactly why we started Tag4HR, it was to give them that support because they don’t have anywhere to go and they have all this confidential information and they can’t talk to people that understand what they’re going through. We wanted to give them that space because it is a tough job. They have a lot on their shoulders.

What we will do is of course we’re going to link up both companies and if you have anything special that we want to give to our HR people because I’m sure there are some HR folks tuning in, let me know. We’ll definitely link up both companies in the show notes.

Definitely, yeah.

Let’s pivot off of our HR folks. They’re very much in the background here, but work-life balance. I got to tell you, I got a love-hate relationship with this term.

Is it real?

Is it a myth? I don’t know. Is it finding graders of the lost arc? I don’t know. Do you think it is possible? Do you think that balance is possible?

It’s funny, I posted a poll that was asking, “Do you think technology is helping work-life balance or hurting work-life balance?” It was a 50-50 split because it depends on I think how the company’s set up. In some ways, technology is like, “We can work remote. We can respond to things when we want to.” However, it’s like, “Where do you get that separation of work time?” In the good old days, you worked 8:00 to 5:00, you were off at 5:00 and you went home. That was it. You were not on your phone answering emails at all. Now, all of us, I swear, most of us anyway are definitely checking emails or text at night, maybe responding. I had a text 11:00 last night asking me questions on something.

I think it’s important for companies to start talking about some policies to set up that help support work-life balance. It can be done in creative ways that doesn’t hurt the business. Some of the things that I think about are like, “Wouldn’t it be great if a company did once a week, especially if you’re in the office, a two-hour lunch once a week for their employees, so that you can go run whatever errands you want to?” An hour is hard to get much done and eat your lunch right at the same time or you can go get a massage when you’re not with your kids and you don’t have to get a babysitter. It’s giving you these different gaps.

Another thing, there’s this great life coach, Caitlyn. She always does the wind-down Wednesday where she talks about totally disconnecting from social media and everything on Wednesday and having real personal time. I thought, take it a step further for businesses, do a wind-down Wednesday where Wednesday afternoon there are no meetings for the whole afternoon. You encourage your employees to do no emails or text in the evening as well, so that everybody has a complete break from the business. It doesn’t hurt the business at all. It still keeps everybody going, but they’re on the same page. It helps when everybody’s taking that break because you don’t have any unexpected messages coming in.

Also, you don’t feel FOMO like, “I’m not involved.” It’s newer for me, so if you’ve already heard this then bear with me, but JOMO, Joy Of Missing Out, I like that. I have the joy of not being connected. This is going to be scandalous Theresia, but I have to share it. I went through my own burnout. Obviously, I’m not an HR at this time, but I went through burnout and I took my work email off my phone. I tell people I don’t have it on there anymore. They look at me I have a third eye and it has saved my life.

The other thing is with scheduling meetings, I don’t have my work calendar. People will be like, “How do you schedule things?” I’m like, “Send me a text or an email with what you have available. I’ll get right back to you when I’m back at my desk or the next workday and I will schedule.” Maybe you’re a business owner of multiple businesses, maybe it is that critical, but for me at this point, I feel I need that space.

Kudos to you because I think this is where things are going. I think we have to be very purposeful on where we spend our time and where we disconnect and when we make room to disconnect. Granted, some people are in some pretty high powerful positions and it’s not realistic to do it all the time or every night, and that’s okay, but where do you find those moments? My husband and I on Sundays, we do analog Sundays. From when we wake up until 2:00 in the afternoon, we don’t look at our phones at all. Not for social media, not anything. That is where we get a break to force our brains to go back to things that we enjoy. Like cooking or we may even run errands, but we’re not looking at our phones in between. We’re trying to be present in the moment.

We have to be very purposeful in where we spend our time and where we disconnect it. Click To Tweet

That is so cool. Everybody, that’s a cool challenge. How long have you been doing the analog Sundays for?

I think about almost a year now. Granted, we’re not perfect about it, and that’s okay too. We don’t want to create more shame for us. There’s enough shame in society right now.

Let’s not.

Yeah, but we really try to do it. We go for walks more often on Sundays because of that. I think giving ourselves permission to be selfish and make those spaces is important.

One last question on the analog Sundays because now I want to try it and I’ll report back, Theresia. Last Sunday, I was at church and I didn’t have my phone purposely, I put it aside. I thought about my phone no less than ten times during that service. Maybe you’re still like, “No, it still happens.” Where you’re like, “Where’s my phone? I got to look at my phone.” It’s an illness. How long did it take for you? I’m not trying to put words in your mouth, how was that process of that deconditioning where you were like, “I’m okay. I don’t feel lost without my phone?”

I think it took about 3 or 4 Sundays because my brain had to be retrained that after it went through it a couple of times that everything was okay, then it started to be comfortable with. It’s okay when I do this break. Nothing happens. If I do feel something important, like my kids need something. They’re young adults, but if I know something’s going on with them, of course, I’ll say text me and I’ll have my phone nearby to glance at my text to see if it’s from them. Most of the time, 90% of the time the phone’s gone out of sight. It took about 3 or 4 weeks and the brain started to get used to it and now it looks forward. I’m like, “It’s my day that I can unplug and I feel better.” It becomes this feel-better thing.

So good. I have to report back.

I have to give Caitlyn credit for that one too, because she started that one for my husband and I as well.

We’ve talked about hybrid work, we’ve talked about top talent. Are there any other benefits for that group, for that top talent that may be different or something we haven’t talked about that they’re looking for or will become table stakes in that interviewing and recruiting hiring process?

The top talent, they want the hybrid or remote work that’s high on their list. They want the good benefits. Benefits are getting trickier. The next piece is, financial literacy is becoming a little bit more important to younger generations. They’re becoming smarter about how they want to handle their finances and retirement programs and what companies can provide information on.

I think companies need to look at getting creative about ways in which they’re being more supportive. That mental health component is starting to talk more to the employees. One company I know, one of our clients, this is so amazing that they do once a month, the whole company takes Friday off so that everybody has the same day off. There’s no emails, there’s no texts coming in. There’s no FOMO that you should be watching something just in case. They want everybody to not respond on that Friday.

Brave Women at Work | Theresia Intag | Tough Labor Market
Tough Labor Market: Companies need to look at getting creative about ways in which they’re being more supportive of their employees.

 

That’s so cool. When we’re talking about mental health, the old standby, that traditional mindset is, “We have EAP, that access program.” Are we talking beyond EAP services?

Yes. That’s important too though. I still think that EAPs are critical to have and people like that. I think people are getting a little bit more into trying to develop skills, trying to make that room for themselves, trying to create boundaries, which is a lot of people do not know how to even set a boundary. I think that therapy can help a little bit and those EAPs are good because they’re free a lot of times to employees. Whereas, it’s expensive to get therapy on your own and insurance doesn’t cover it a lot of times.

That’s good having those health wellness days, having extra PTO that’s for health wellness, or having a little bit longer time off for when you have a loss in the family. Typically, it’s a couple of days. That’s almost impossible. The funerals don’t even happen that fast now. They’re getting extended more and more. Having a week off or two weeks if it’s your spouse or an immediate family member. That’s brutal. Two days and then jump right back to work. No way.

Exactly. I also throw a plugin for maybe it might be meditation, meditation apps because that also helps and supports with mental health. Those are good. We’re a similar age, so wouldn’t that have been nice? You look back and go, “How come I didn’t ask for those things?”

I have one that’s going to wow you. There’s one company CEO who’s very forward thinking. He’s going to be offering four months off for maternity leave.

In the US?

In the US, yes.

Wow.

It’s insane. That’s telling you where, and I know small companies especially, you got to function and you have limited budgets and it is not realistic to have extensive times for certain things. It’s a hard balance to keep businesses in business, which we want to do that too. You’re going to see the US starting to slowly evolve in that direction of having more time off for certain things.

Hallelujah.

I know.

I’m all on board because I know how hard it was to cobble it together when I had kids. 3 weeks or 4 weeks, I got to give credit, I did take four months, but it was unpaid. I had some unpaid paid, all that, but I planned for it and I was fortunate enough to even get it approved. There are so many companies, like you said, three weeks. They say your body takes about 18 months to heal, so you’re not going to wait that long, but 3 weeks is not human literally. You’re in pain.

You are, yes. I applaud him. Again, I understand the realities of running a business too, running my own, but it is tricky to do certain things. Where you can and where you can be creative, it will be huge for you and your team. Your team will be grateful.

That’s so awesome. I have to ask, what are 1 to 2 ways women can be braver at work?

I love this question because it has been an evolution for me. When I started my own company, I started to discover who I was and my strengths were, and I was shocked. Here I am in my late 40s, early 50s, and I’m figuring it all out. I would encourage women to first learn your strengths. Use those things online like strength finders, predictive index, other assessments because none of them are perfect, but they all give you parts and pieces. Figure out those things that bring you some delight or joy that you do in work and outside of work, and then lean into them and figure out the why’s. Why do those things spark you? Why do those things excite you? Expand on that and keep leaning into it. It’ll expand your life in general.

The second thing is, learn to set those boundaries so that you can do those things. I think that’s critical. I think as women, we feel like we got to do it all and we have to be there for everyone. We’re always the last person that we pause for. It feels selfish and it feels like that’s not our job. Our identity is getting everybody else moving forward and off the ground and supporting them.

Learn to set those boundaries so that you can do the things you want. Click To Tweet

Setting those boundaries where you’re saying, “No, I’m going to take this hour for me. I’m going to take these two hours for me. I don’t feel right right now. I’ve got to have some alone time. How can I do that? How can I get a babysitter or somebody in the family to help?” Where can you do those things and listen to yourself and build those skills? Again, there’s a lot of online resources to teach you how to build boundaries and what that looks and how to start small. It doesn’t have to be big, it’s a process. Start small and grow from there and see how it goes.

I love the term joy and delight. It made me start questioning what gives me joy and delight. There’s a challenge for everybody. What gives you joy and delight? What can you say no to that does not? We forget.

Yes. That joy and delight is what rejuvenates us too.

You’ve challenged me. I got my own homework. We are going to link it all up, but one more time. How can women companies because I know you work with companies, HR professionals, how can they find you and your work online?

I’m on LinkedIn, look me up, Theresia Intag. You should be able to find me under Intag. Our family’s very small group of Intags. You can also go to the website, IntagHire.com, and then the other company is Tag4HR. In Tag4HR, we are a very young company there. The first 200 people that sign up, which we have a handful already, but if you still can get in under that 200 mark, they get free little Yeti cups that are welcome to the 200 clubs.

Everybody, jump on over there, especially HR professionals. Go get your people. Go get the support you need because I love that you’re creating a safe space for them.

It has been a pleasure. I love talking with you. This is great.

Thank you so much. Best wishes as we’re rolling through 2024.

Joy and delight, that’s what we all want.

That’s what we want. Thanks again.

Bye-Bye.

That does it for my conversation with Theresia. I hope you found our discussion both valuable and inspiring. As a reminder, please rate, review, and subscribe to the show in Apple Podcasts and Spotify. The show is also available on any other platform you enjoy. Until next time, show up, get hired, and be brave.

 

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About Theresia Intag

Brave Women at Work | Theresia Intag | Tough Labor MarketTheresia Intag, founder, and CEO of IntagHire, and co-founder of Tag4HR has deep experience in human resources and talent acquisition.

Theresia has a passion for running small businesses with innovative, flexible models that free up your time and optimize your budget and mental health. In 2016, she designed a flexible recruiting service business to disrupt the outdated traditional recruiting firms, saving clients up to 50% in recruiting fees. In 2022, she co-founded an HR community to provide modern resources, business acumen, community, and tools for growing HR leaders and small business owners.

With over 20 years of recruiting and HR experience, Theresia is well versed in the evolution of attracting candidates, how to build effective recruiting engines, and how to keep your business running with top talent. Theresia has worked with amazing brands such as Samsung, Bazaarvoice, Nordstrom, Yeti Coolers, Abaco, ForeFight, Dimensional Fund Advisors, Spanning Cloud. Holtzman Partners, and many other organizations to build their talent pool. Theresia values innovation, flexibility for life’s challenges, and creating human spaces in the business world by leading with compassion. Theresia was a 2023 Impact Award Finalist for Vistage, a global CEO network.

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