#76: Two Things That Tell You Everything During An Interview

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This is a podcast episode titled, #76: Two Things That Tell You Everything During An Interview. The summary for this episode is: If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. ----- Hiring is hard. Really freaking hard. Why? Well, because it’s easy for someone to write a script and tell a story — or to let a few nice logos on their resume do all of the talking. But how do you know what someone is actually like? David has come up with two “tells” to look for over the years (and you can use them too to find your next great hire and teammate). Here’s how you can support Seeking Wisdom if you’re a fan of the show: 1. Get your tickets to Hypergrowth using the promo code SEEKINGWISDOM at hypergrowth.drift.com 2. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app. 3. Leave us a five-star review. Here's how: bit.ly/5-Stars-Only.

David Cancel: I'm going to hit record.

Speaker 2: Is that okay inaudible or not yet. crosstalk

Dave Gerhardt: Is it recording?

David Cancel: We're recording.

Dave Gerhardt: Does it have a memory card in it?

David Cancel: Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: inaudible good.

David Cancel: All right.

Dave Gerhardt: Should be good.

David Cancel: We're back.

Dave Gerhardt: We're back.

David Cancel: Finally. What you guys didn't know, is that because you've been listening to Seeking Wisdom episodes, we had a backlog.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah shout out. Lots of downloads lately.

David Cancel: Lots of downloads. Is that DG has been gone. Tell him why you been gone DG.

Dave Gerhardt: I have been gone because I found my why.

David Cancel: Found your why? All right, full circle.

Dave Gerhardt: All the talk about finding the why, we had a baby, Annie. What's up Annie, shout out.

David Cancel: Shout out.

Dave Gerhardt: Pooping her pants right now. I had a baby, yeah. She was supposed to come in the middle of July, but she came the first week of June.

David Cancel: It's amazing.

Dave Gerhardt: So I was out for two weeks. Seeking Wisdom were back.

David Cancel: Just kept rolling.

Dave Gerhardt: Just kept rolling. The ship keeps rolling. We have an amazing team. So yeah, that's a whole new angle. I don't know what I'm going to bring to the table now.

David Cancel: I know it's going to be different. Is chemistry going to be off?

Dave Gerhardt: No.

David Cancel: Luckily for all of you. I know what you're thinking right now. Annie looks like mom, not like Dave.

Dave Gerhardt: She does.

David Cancel: So we're good, we're good, we're good.

Dave Gerhardt: You won't see her until she's two, just like Beyonce and Jay- Z.

David Cancel: Yeah exactly.

Dave Gerhardt: No public photos. What advice do you, what are you going to give me advice on the record?

David Cancel: I've given you advice crosstalk, so much advice.

Dave Gerhardt: I mean, do you get a lot of advice off the record, that's off the record.

David Cancel: Off the record. I'd say the biggest thing for a new dad is that it really, the magic moment, and this is going to sound bad, but the magic moment really comes around eight or nine months.

Dave Gerhardt: Oh my God. Okay.

David Cancel: That's when the magic comes.

Dave Gerhardt: That's a long time.

David Cancel: That's a long time because that's when you can really connect and the personality starts to come out.

Dave Gerhardt: Okay.

David Cancel: Until then, it's a little hard, especially, I don't know how you're feeding her, but like, if you're, if your wife is feeding her, then you don't have that connection, right?

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah.

David Cancel: And so later that really pops.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah.

David Cancel: Nine months. That's when it gets good.

Dave Gerhardt: That's good to know. I'm looking forward to that. Yeah. She's just like a sleepy peanut right now. But I'm out there. You can see me if you follow me on Instagram, I'm live sharing my feeding at two in the morning. If you want to see where I'm at at 3: 00 AM. All right, we'll talk about that. That's always going to be a recurring theme. So I have all my notes per usual, right? Looking through things that we could talk about. And I decided that I want to combine two things and I want to ask you them because they're both kind of related.

David Cancel: Okay.

Dave Gerhardt: And they're both about tells, okay. You're always kind of like observing and looking for tells about people, okay? And the first one is a tell about humility and why you care so much about cleaning up. Okay? So I want you to explain this, when did this-

David Cancel: I've had this one for, this is one of the first like public tells.

Dave Gerhardt: It is?

David Cancel: For you too, the folks that don't know tells, kind of comes from at least what I know from the poker context and in poker, people are looking for someone else's tells, right? Little signals, body language, or things that they say, mannerisms, that signal, whether they're bluffing, whatever their intent is and playing that hand.

Dave Gerhardt: Mm- hmm( affirmative).

David Cancel: So I've developed these tells over time after talking to, I don't know, thousands of people. In the interview and a context, and also working with them, little things that I pick up on. And I think it's natural for me because I'm introverted. So I'm always observing what people are doing, right? And so the first tell was the tell that I got the most crap about. And because we wrote about it on, this is a long time ago, on Fast Company. So it was published in Fast Company, was called the water test. And this is like the basic 101 level tell. What the water test was, I would come in and be the last person interview someone typically, and you would offer them drinks, food, what have you. And the test was when they, when the meeting was over and they were getting up and we were leaving the room, did they turn back and clean up their stuff? Or did they walk out and leave this stuff in the room? Right? And so that was the tell that we wrote about.

Dave Gerhardt: Okay, so how did you, how did you know, like, was this something that I know you. Was this something that was grinding you in internally for awhile and like your interview-

David Cancel: My OCD.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah, were you like interviewing people and like somebody you didn't end up hiring or liking left a mess on the table and you're like, did you start to piece it together?

David Cancel: I started to pattern match, like everything else. So like interviewed, so one OCD, a little bit on the cleaning. And so I started to notice people, I noticed right away, people doing it. Then after many, many, many, many, many, many, many, probably hundreds of times. Then yes, started a pattern match of like, was there any relation between the people who didn't pick up and their personality later and their quality and their work or not? And so I just kept doing that for years. And then over time I developed that there was, you know, it's not causation, so don't freak out, but there was a correlation in same type between people who did that and people who didn't care too much about the details.

Dave Gerhardt: All right. So you're tell in the hiring process, actually it's even goes beyond though. Like it's not just hiring, but it tells you a lot about somebody, you know trash. Like I remember, the thing I used to always think about is kids growing up, you can tell how their parents, you could tell how their parents were, because if they were like, if they were a family that like they went out, but they left all the lights on, right? Like I know like my dad would kill me. Nobody was home and the TV and the lights were on.

David Cancel: I love it.

Dave Gerhardt: And I was like, so when you started talking about the water thing, I was like, oh, it is all the same thing. It's all pattern matching.

David Cancel: It's all the same and it's not only hiring. So I had mentioned in the hiring context, but I'm just as a nutty crazy about it day to day. So like people who leave messes in the office, what have you, because to me, it's like a tell of like not caring, like thinking that it's somebody else's job. Like this can here is somebody else's job to clean up, that's not my job crosstalk something else.

Dave Gerhardt: Even if it were, even if it wasn't yours, like it doesn't hurt to pick that up-

David Cancel: Totally.

Dave Gerhardt: Put it away. And so something that we shared, I think Will shared this, internally was the All Blacks, the rugby team.

David Cancel: Yes.

Dave Gerhardt: There's an article about them and about humility. crosstalk It all maps back to humility, and says humility is the first after each match. They're the greatest rugby players in the world. They sweep up after themselves. They clean up their locker room after the celebration of a victory or the disappointment of defeat, right?

David Cancel: Ooh. I love the All Blacks. If you need to pick me up any day, go on YouTube search for the All Blacks and search for their Haka, which is theIR traditional New Zealand dance that they do pregame. It'll fire you up. You don't need to know. I don't know anything about rugby, but I know the All Blacks are it.

Dave Gerhardt: So that's the first tell. So like you're listening right now. Think about it. Think about it. Did you go on an interview this week? And did you offer to clean up, did you offer to put the glass in the sink or wash it or throw it out? Like I know a lot of people at home. Their gears are grinding right now. I think that says a lot.

David Cancel: They didn't do it.

Dave Gerhardt: They didn't do it.

David Cancel: I know it. I'm watching.

Dave Gerhardt: That's the first tell, you have anything else on that?

David Cancel: No, I think it's something to always look at and I'm always looking at it. So you want people to care, right? And you want them to have that humility because it takes humility to care about those things.

Dave Gerhardt: It also goes just bigger, broader than that it's details, right? It's why you talk about the detail, the details matter so much. The little things like, and we go all the way back to books that we talked about, like Bill Walsh, standard of performance, right? Why did he care so much about the uniforms and the shirt being tucked in and the socks on right? Like that's a tell. If you walk out onto that field and everybody looks like clowns because their shirts are untucked, it's dirty, the uniform, they didn't wash it.

David Cancel: Exactly. They don't care. They're not going to bring that level of care into the game. Do you know who David Sedaris is?

Dave Gerhardt: Yes.

David Cancel: Okay. Does everyone else know? David Sedaris is you know, one of the funniest authors, right? Most people know him from NPR, right? So from this American Life and other shows that he's done on NPR. He has a new book-

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah I think my wife is reading that book right now.

David Cancel: So funny. So I love him. I've loved them for many, many years, but he was being interviewed on Fresh Air, which I love that show, another NPR show. And he was talking about how he got an award by the queen. And so he was called into the, he lives in London now, called in for this award that he won. And he won this award because this is just an insight into my personality because he spends most of his free time in the town that he lives on walking alongside the road and picking up trash. And then I thought to myself when I was listening to this, and he tells a funny story, how he went to go see the queen. And he thought he was going to meet her by himself. But it turned out, there were hundreds of other people who won this good citizenship award. Anyway, I was listening to this and I was like," Hmm, I'm not that far off from him."

Dave Gerhardt: Do you pick up trash when you're walking in the morning?

David Cancel: Oh yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: You do?

David Cancel: I think I'm like two steps away from him. So you're going to find me in a few years, a few years from now, you'll just see me on the side of the street, picking up trash.

Dave Gerhardt: Okay, I love it. I love it. Maybe that's what it'll come to after, one day maybe you retire, you just go walk around and pick up trash.

David Cancel: Pick up trash alongside the road.

Dave Gerhardt: All right. That's the first tell the other one, we haven't talked about this, but we talked about this privately. There's another tell that like, I don't know if you've relearned it or just mention it again, that came up in the hiring process. And it was probably a couple months ago we had been talking to people for a couple of different roles and each of them separately in the hiring process talked about like a side project or a passion. And that was like such a good instant tell about what this person is really passionate about.

David Cancel: Yeah. Yeah, yeah. I totally remember. We were interviewing for different roles. And one thing that I was telling DG was like, I was leaning towards a person who was doing this thing as their side project. And because they were so obsessed with this kind of idea. Versus someone else that other people that we were talking to for the same role who had the same skill look like they have the same. But they weren't kind of obsessed with this thing, the way that this one person was. And that was a tell of like, if they care this much about it and they're going to put everything in and it's this is the thing we're always looking for.

Dave Gerhardt: Totally. And there's so many things that we can unpack in there. But one of them that I love is like the thing that we, that we talked about all the way at the beginning, which is like, how do you find those next high- level people, top performers. It's not going to be, you go to their LinkedIn page and you see, they worked at this company, did this thing, did this thing, did this thing. You got to try. Sometimes those workout, they don't always do. You have to find out who has the potential. I forget what you call it. But like, who has a different kind of like things that they're already doing, that you might be able to parlay into that role.

David Cancel: Totally. Yeah. That personal obsession that they have and that personal drive for that. It's a personal why, right? Versus business why? And we've always talked about in the past, my focus is like trying to find someone whose personal passion lines up with something that you're doing within business and if they do, like this person did, then you're going to put him or her in a situation they're just going to take off and be super powered. And this person is.

Dave Gerhardt: And he is. And they go and find new, different things. Because if that's a real passion, then you're just driven, you just do things in different way.

David Cancel: Yeah. And what's underlying that is a level of curiosity, right? And so curiosity is so key, right? Because there are people who are going to, you want the people who are curious about that subject area, because they're the ones like you said, who are going to continuously explore, go deeper. Most people just watch things happen, right? And so that's the norm is just to watch things happen. These curious people are the people who are digging in and asking, why did that happen and want to dig in. And then there's the third class of people, which aren't the people that you think you necessarily want. Which are the people who just wonder what happened.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah.

David Cancel: They have no idea. They didn't watch it happen, they just wonder what happened.

Dave Gerhardt: Oh okay.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: So the reason that this is so important is because this is a lesson that I... I'm not good at this yet, right? Going into an interview. And so you might be listening, you might be listening reps and sets.

David Cancel: Reps and sets, he's got no reps.

Dave Gerhardt: I probably interviewed hundreds of people, not thousands over years, right? And you say it's all pattern matching. And so if you're listening to us right now, among the thousands of people listening to seeking wisdom, shout out. You might like," Okay, these are obvious. Yeah. Clean up after yourself, look for the side project." But I'm telling you, you're going to go into an interview in the next week or two, and you're going to walk out of there and you're going to be like," Yeah, you know, I really like Todd, it seems like he's a good, product marketing..." But you're going to miss the tells.

David Cancel: Mm- hmm( affirmative).

Dave Gerhardt: And so that's why I wanted to have you break these two things down because you have to step back and look at the interview from a different way.

David Cancel: Sure. It's almost like a Zen that you can develop, right? You do something long enough, then you start to notice the little things, right? Whether it's this case interviewing or people, but it could be just activities that you have. You can't really notice the nuance and the fine details until you have lots of reps and sets in there.

Dave Gerhardt: Mm-hmm(affirmative). I get caught by you every day. You're like, what's your feedback on that? And I'll say something and I'm like, I think we're going to be on the same page, and you're like, did you notice that thing? I'm like, yes, you're right. And then it just clicks. So reps and sets.

David Cancel: Reps and sets.

Dave Gerhardt: I think you tweeted that recently too.

David Cancel: That's why... I did yesterday.

Dave Gerhardt: Yeah, yeah.

David Cancel: That is why I constantly bring up one thing here.

Dave Gerhardt: What?

David Cancel: Six stars only on iTunes. You're doing reps and sets, right? Muscle memory. Subscribe, if you haven't subscribed to yet.

Dave Gerhardt: This is free reps and set.

David Cancel: This is free. You don't even have to pay for this. You subscribe. Send it to a friend, leave a six star review. I keep meeting people. We just hired a new engineer on the team.

Dave Gerhardt: No way.

David Cancel: Young gun just started this week. Rugged. He says he came in first day," I listen to Seeking Wisdom every week."

Dave Gerhardt: What?"

David Cancel: I said," I know you left that six star review." He said," Not yet."

Dave Gerhardt: Are you kidding?

David Cancel: What? Not yet?

Dave Gerhardt: Okay. Okay. Here's one right here.

David Cancel: Tommy, I'm talking to you.

Dave Gerhardt: This is from fan2.0." A real knowledge from world class operators, five Stars and they don't let them go, six stars. This show is a must listen. The content covered by David Cancel experienced product leader and entrepreneur and Dave Gerhardt is lead marketer at Drift, latest company is actionable and applicable to all walks of life. They bring you in the room with them while they discuss all the things you think about, but don't know where to look. Ownership, mentality, work performance, guiding life principles, path to promotion. Very rarely have I found mentors on podcasts."

David Cancel: There is a true fan.

Dave Gerhardt: That's what it's about.

David Cancel: There's a true fan, a true member of the community right there. So let's why don't you go do up fan2. 0, leave a better review. Try to leave six stars. Complain to Apple. If you can't leave six, leave five, if you have to and make sure you come to Hypergrowth, September 25th, promo code is Seeking Wisdom. Let's go. We're bringing the nation together.

Dave Gerhardt: For everybody that tells you out there that they can't tell you what the ROI and podcast was. I saw the dashboard of how many tickets that we've sold.

David Cancel: Yeah.

Dave Gerhardt: Just based on people who have gone to Hypergrowth. drift. com, plugged in the promo code, Seeking Wisdom and bought tickets. This podcast pays for itself everyday.

David Cancel: Let's go. And we're going to bring a crazy show to the people down at Hypergrowth. And by the way, shout it out to Amy DHD. We're taking video. We've got like five cameras in here now. Every week, there's another camera. There's three. There's a phone over here, another phone over here. We're on Instagram Live, follow us on Instagram, heydrift, right?

Dave Gerhardt: Don't you feel more momentum around video? Like almost every day. Like as you look around other people, not like in addition to what we're doing, do you see more people do it?

David Cancel: It almost feels like a megatrend.

Dave Gerhardt: It might be a megatrend.

David Cancel: That in Messenger. Interesting. All right, people see you next week.

Dave Gerhardt: See ya.


If you liked this episode, we bet that you’ll love our blog content. blog.drift.com/#subscribe Subscribe to never miss a post & join the 20,000+ other pros committed to getting better every day. ----- Hiring is hard. Really freaking hard. Why? Well, because it’s easy for someone to write a script and tell a story — or to let a few nice logos on their resume do all of the talking. But how do you know what someone is actually like? David has come up with two “tells” to look for over the years (and you can use them too to find your next great hire and teammate). Here’s how you can support Seeking Wisdom if you’re a fan of the show: 1. Get your tickets to Hypergrowth using the promo code SEEKINGWISDOM at hypergrowth.drift.com 2. Subscribe on your favorite podcast app. 3. Leave us a five-star review. Here's how: bit.ly/5-Stars-Only.