Career Compass

Virtual Interviewing with Ty Smith

Episode Summary

Throughout the pandemic, virtual interviews became a necessity, and for a variety of reasons, experts believe they are here to stay, perhaps with some combination of in-person interaction being added. In this episode of Career Compass, hosts Vernon Williams and Demetrius Norman are joined by Ty Smith, Vice President & Director of Permanent Placement Services at Robert Half, to discuss how to excel at virtual interviewing. This episode provides listeners with tips to succeed during virtual interviews, video interviews, and advice for students and emerging professionals interested in beginning a journey to the c-suite.

Episode Notes

Throughout the pandemic, virtual interviews became a necessity, and for a variety of reasons, experts believe they are here to stay, perhaps with some combination of in-person interaction being added. In this episode of Career Compass, hosts Vernon Williams and Demetrius Norman are joined by Ty Smith, Vice President & Director of Permanent Placement Services at Robert Half, to discuss how to excel at virtual interviewing. This episode provides listeners with tips to succeed during virtual interviews, video interviews, and advice for students and emerging professionals interested in beginning a journey to the c-suite.

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Episode transcript

Episode Transcription

Vernon Williams: Welcome back to season six of Career Compass, a podcast from SHRM, the Society for Human Resource Management, and the SHRM Foundation. Career Compass prepares future leaders today for better workplaces tomorrow.

Demetrius Norma...: As a voice of all things work, SHRM supports students and emerging professionals with advice, information and resources for every step of your career.

Vernon Williams: Designed for students or emerging professionals, Career Compass delivers timely, relevant and critical conversations about work to help you succeed in your career journey. Thank you for joining us for this episode. My name is Vernon Williams and I will be your co-host.

Demetrius Norma...: my name is Demetrius Norman and I will also be your co-host. This season we are doing things a little different to celebrate SHRM's 75th anniversary. That's right. SHRM is celebrating 75 years of supporting HR professionals and the workplace as a whole.

Vernon Williams: To honor this milestone, we are hosting seven episodes focused on HR from the past, present and future with a common thread of driving change.

Demetrius Norma...: Joining us on today's episode on the present day topic of virtual interviewing is vice president and director of permanent placement services at Robert Half, Ty Smith. Also, just so you know, this episode is valid for professional development credit or PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. We will provide the code later in the episode. With that, let's get started.

Vernon Williams: For those listeners out there who have followed our podcast, you might not recognize my co-host's voice. That's because Demetrius, although being a part of our student team, is new to the Career Compass team. So Demetrius, tell our audience a little bit about yourself.

Demetrius Norma...: Vernon, thank you for that introduction. I'm so happy to join you as a co-host. So a little bit about me. I've been with SHRM for over four years. Specifically, I work in the certification department dealing with our academic alignment programs and student initiatives, whereby I coordinate with undergraduate and graduate programs that are offered in HR to ensure that they are aligned with the SHRM body of applied skills and knowledge. I've been working with the student engagement team for about three and a half years. So I'm excited to join the team with the Career Compass podcast.

Vernon Williams: Demetrius, I've enjoyed our time working together and addressing many of our student challenges. Super excited to have you join us on this podcast now. So I'm going to kick things off with a question for you. So today we're talking about interviewing and specifically virtual interviews, which have become a little bit more prevalent in the last few years due to COVID. But let me ask you this, do you prefer virtual or in-person interviews?

Demetrius Norma...: I actually prefer both. I think the benefit of an in-person interview is having the opportunity to feed off of body language, energy within the room, also connecting with the interviewer and getting an idea of the office layout, the environment. The virtual component, you can do the same now. I believe that there is always opportunity for improvement and I believe that the way the technology is advancing, the virtual interview will kind of become the wave of the future. It'll give folks the opportunity to be creative and it'll give individuals the opportunity to kind of express themselves in a more unique way that you may not get in an in-person interview. So I think they both have their benefits and I actually wouldn't mind doing either one.

Vernon Williams: Well, I'm going to let you slide with that answer, Demetrius, because that was kind of a non-answer on that one. But I understand. I understand where you're coming from. I appreciate that. I'm going to say for me, I too could sort of go either way, but I'm going to choose the in-person because my success rate with in-person is a little higher than it is with the virtual component. So maybe the in-person thing works a little better for me.  

All right, so kicking things over to introducing our guest for today. Ty Smith is the vice president and director of permanent placement services at Robert Half, the world's first and largest specialized talent solutions firm. In his role, Ty oversees a 20 plus person team that handles all accounting and finance placements, including audit and tax, as well as human resources and executive level administration within the Washington, D.C. metro area. In November, 2022, Ty celebrated 18 years with Robert Half and has served in several progressive roles during his tenure, gaining experience in the finance, accounting, human resources and administrative industries throughout the Bethesda, Maryland, Northern Virginia, and Washington, D.C. offices.  

Ty's team constantly ranks in the top five of the entire East Coast stretching throughout the Midwest within Robert Half. Ty earned his bachelor of science degree in economics from Allegheny College where he also served as a four year varsity athlete with the men's basketball team. He's an avid sportsman and takes fitness seriously in addition to being passionate about service and underserved communities. With that, Career Compass would like to warmly welcome Ty Smith.

Ty Smith: Thank you all. Thank you.

Vernon Williams: The modest introduction, man. I got to be honest for our listening audience, I've known Ty for quite a few years. We started sort of as adversaries on the basketball court, and then later on, at least in my latter stage, joined up as teammates. You all can't see Ty, but Ty is like 6'6", 200 plus pounds probably all muscle. So one of the better decisions I made was the team up with him.

Ty Smith: Right. Listen, I'll take it, man. I'll take it. We needed you as much as you needed us.

Vernon Williams: I appreciate it, man. I appreciate it. So speaking of sort of the transition of things, a lot of folks that we talk to are often transitioning careers, or are still trying to figure out their career pathway. You graduated from the Allegheny College in Pennsylvania with a BS in economics. Did you see yourself becoming a recruiter straight out of college or how did you find yourself at Robert Half?

Ty Smith: Vernon, it's funny that you asked that question because it's something that I never thought I'd be doing. I frankly didn't know a whole lot about it. Wish I did because maybe it would've meant I could get a little bit of extra money during the summertime. But no, I never thought I would be in this world. I knew I enjoyed sales, I knew that it was probably something that made sense, but I was an economics major, and so in following suit with the natural progression, I was thinking I'd just go get a job in finance and move on from there.  

I realized that after an internship, it just wasn't going to work. I had no desire and no real interest in finance from a career perspective. So I kind of just happened to stumble across Robert Half. I got a call from one of the managers in the Bethesda office, which at the time was a smaller office and brought me in, talked to me a little bit about the role. I researched the company, the job, and still frankly didn't know a ton about it, but it seemed pretty interesting and the rest is history.

Vernon Williams: Makes sense. So just to sort of recap that before I let Demetrius in, the importance of internships, I realize in your case, that showed you sort of maybe what you didn't want to focus on in doing some other things, but also in terms of the research that you put into the company that was showing interest in you to make sure that you could secure that job.

Ty Smith: Yeah, a hundred percent. It's funny because most people go to internships because they want it to lead towards a position after school. Obviously it went just the opposite for me, but frankly it was probably the most important internship I ever did in my life.

Vernon Williams: Absolutely. 18 years later, right?  

Ty Smith: That's right. That's right.

Demetrius Norma...: Well, and Ty, you mentioned the sales background and I could see the connection between that and recruiter be from the people aspect. With that, you've been with your organization for almost two decades, which is a rarity in today's society, so especially in the D.C. metro area and speaks highly of your ability to excel. So can you talk a little bit about what it takes to remain at a company for an extended period of time, especially through difficult economic times and with increasing expectations?

Ty Smith: Yeah. First off, Demetrius, you can't stay two decades. It makes me sound super old. I like to go with the 10 plus years and just call it like that and they can guess for the rest, right? So we'll leave it at that, right? But no, jokes aside. Yeah, I mean, there's a lot to it, right? I mean, staying loyal to a company for two decades, or 10 plus years, again, I always like to call it, it means that you're taking some good with some bad, right? There's no way that anyone's going to be with a company for that long and say that it was all peaches and cream, right? That's just not the case.  

I think that you have to be bought in enough from a number of different perspectives, right? You have to be fulfilled in what you're doing. If you aren't, there has to be advantages and opportunities to do other things within the organization, which was my case, right? I'm not doing the same job that I was doing when I first started 18 years ago. It wouldn't have worked for me. But it also means that you're generally going to be navigating difficult economic times, right? I've been with the organization for 18 years, so I was there in 2008 and 2009, where frankly I had a very large book of business in real estate. I think we all know what that meant about my book of business in 2008, 2009, right?

So I had to redefine myself, rebrand myself, and figure out how I was going to continue to win, and so that presented a challenge. But the company does do a good job of navigating the economic downturns and upturns and things of that nature. So it was helpful in making me be in a position so that I can be in a position to win. But yeah, I mean, that's a big part of it, understanding the economic times and knowing how to navigate it, and hopefully the organization that you're with allows you to do that and puts you in the right position. But there are times when unfortunately you've been in a position and you're not finding the fulfillment that you once were, and in those times you have to explore other options.  

Sometimes a part of that is exploring options and trying to figure out if the grass truly is greener on the other side. For me, it hasn't been, and I've been able to find other advantages that have allowed me to stay, but it's not always encouraged to do that, right? It's not that I'm saying that everyone should be in the same position for that amount of time. It's just more about what you're happy with, and if the job is currently giving that to you, then great, stay. If not, explore other options and see if there are going to be opportunities elsewhere.

Demetrius Norma...: That's perfect. The two things that I took away from that is the ability to reinvent yourself, I love that concept, and then being with the organization that provides you with the opportunity to kind of wear multiple hats and operate in multiple roles, so they kind of play hand in hand. So no, that's good stuff.

Vernon Williams: Yeah. I want to kick us over to sort of our topic or touch on that a little bit more. Thinking about last episode where we talked about the history of human resources a little bit and taking a historical look at things, I want you to tell us about what interviewing was like sort of maybe pre-COVID, even back when you first started, and how things have evolved over time, how has interviewing changed over time?

Ty Smith: Yeah, I mean, pre-COVID, there wasn't a thing... Well, I shouldn't say that. Virtual interviews did exist, but they were just kicking off, right? So when we're talking to the clients and companies looking to interview individuals, it was almost always just assumed that they would be in the office or maybe they'd come to our offices if it was more of a private search or a confidential search. So on those situations, you would have potentially virtual interviews. But for the most part, that was the biggest change, right? Pre-pandemic, it was almost always in person, shaking hands, meeting each other face to face and trying to figure out if each individual and client were a match.  

Now, it's almost abnormal to do an in-person interview, at least first round or second round, right? At this time, sometimes you'll come across organizations that are happy to do final rounds in-person or would want that, and those are more of the "old school" hiring managers and presidents and owners of firms. But for the most part, it's all virtual. I can't tell you how many people we've placed post-pandemic where they have never actually met the person face-to-face before hiring the individual.  

Vernon Williams: Oh, wow.  

Ty Smith: I would almost say it's probably half and half, maybe even more virtual. So that's the biggest change by far. The other thing is, we talked a little bit earlier about navigating the economic market, right? We are constantly talking to companies right now with the way that the economic market is right now with respect to meeting individuals and then moving very, very quickly. Because the fact of the matter is a qualified candidate is a needle in a haystack. It's the jobs that are a dime a dozen. So because of it, a company that wants to attract a qualified candidate just simply doesn't have the time to take as long as they need to to make decisions.

They've got to make those decisions much more quickly than they have before. So that's a big deal too. That does change and that's not so much post or pre-pandemic. That's really more dependent upon the economic climate and how prevalent qualified candidates are out there on the market or how prevalent strong jobs are out there on the market.

Vernon Williams: That's great news, especially for good or qualified candidates. I just want to ask one quick followup question. Have the questions that either the candidate or the employer ask, have those changed over time? Because I imagine, I mean, I know some of this is age sort of or experience based as well. When you're 23 years of age, you probably aren't asking about healthcare benefits and those sorts of things. But in general, have the questions sort of changed over time that one side or the other wants to know?

Ty Smith: A hundred percent. A hundred percent. The biggest question for every single candidate is, "Ty, what's the work-life balance? How often do I need to be in the office? How often can I work from home?" By far and away before they talk about compensation, before they talk about location, I mean, sometimes before they talk about what the job is. I say that jokingly, but I'm being a hundred percent factual. It's incredible. That's the biggest thing that people want to know. They want to know how much they have to be in the office and how often they can be at home. Then on top of that, if whatever reason they need to be in the office more often than not, it's more about how much more can I command for this specific role versus the other hybrid roles or three other remote roles.

Vernon Williams: Makes sense. There's a price to pay for that, right?

Ty Smith: Absolutely, yeah.

Vernon Williams: There's dollar associated with it.

Ty Smith: Absolutely.

Demetrius Norma...: So Ty, I'm going to pose our earlier question to you. So if you were to compare and contrast virtual interviewing with in-person interviewing, what would you say are the pros and cons to both situations?

Ty Smith: Yeah. It's funny because I'll answer the first question that you guys asked each other, and I would much prefer an in-person interview. The idea to be able to mirror and match the individual much more, to be able to feel their tone, be able to feel their energy, all of that I think is just so much more easier to gain on in-person in front of the individual. However, there's a certain amount of convenience and ease to virtual interviews that you can't discount, right? As an employer, it's a big deal because you can do a virtual interview and then go right back to work, right? Then generally virtual interviews aren't as long as in-person interviews.  

There's something about an in-person interview that a person feels that they need to create more small talk or ask more questions or spend more time with the individual than there is in an in-person interview. So from a convenience, from a efficiency standpoint, virtual interviews are great. That goes on the side of the candidate as well. On the candidate side, if you're working and you have 30 minutes to go take a break, but then interview, you can do that. Whereas beforehand, say pre-pandemic, if you have to go into the office, a lot of times these candidates were taking off half days and things of that nature to interview for a position that they may have found out that they weren't interested in.

Vernon Williams: Yeah, I think from my standpoint, the thing that I loved about not being in person for an interview, I should say the biggest thing that I loved about it was I could put my notes and sticky pads and everything else all around the room so that I'm still kind of creating that eye contact, but really I'm looking up to see what that percentage is or what university one of my interviewers went to so that I can draw something or tie something back to that conversation. So you can do it in person, you just have to study and prepare a lot more, I feel like, versus again, when you've got your notes at your hands.

Ty Smith: A hundred percent. Yeah, having the notes surrounding you, like you said, and I can see it, right? I mean, you can have it on the wall and things like that and the camera doesn't see what's behind it, right? So I mean, it's easy to just kind of refer to it and look as if you're going off at the top of your head. So that's great.

Vernon Williams: All right. I want to pause just for a second to take care of a couple of housekeeping items. First, those of you who are listening to this podcast seeking professional development credit, this program is valid for .5 PDCs for the SHRM-CP or SHRM-SCP. The code to redeem your PDCs is 24-SKH3V. Please note this code will expire on March 8th, 2024. Again, the code is the number two, the number four dash, the letter S as in Sierra, the letter K as in kilo, the letter H as in hotel, the number three, and the letter V as in Victor.

Demetrius Norma...: Speaking of PDCs, one place to earn several PDCs, 28, in fact, while networking with peers, connecting with mentors and expanding your HR knowledge is at SHRM 23, taking place June 11th through the 14th in beautiful Las Vegas. The SHRM annual conference and expo, which has drawn more than 20,000 attendees in the past, is a can't miss experience for any current or emerging HR professional. You can register now to take part in a curated student experience featuring career focused programming and discounted member pricing at just 425 for in-person registration in Las Vegas, and $275 for virtual passes. For more information, visit

Vernon Williams: Okay, jumping back into the podcast. With the world going virtual a few years ago and everyone's searching for the perfect background, and I can tell, Ty, you do this all the time because you all see it, but the man's background is immaculate. What do you think the perfect virtual background is for those conversations? What is the ideal background that a candidate should have?

Ty Smith: Yeah, it's a good question, Vern. I'm going to probably throw this story a little bit of a loophole here. I think the perfect background is one that doesn't include a virtual background. I think if you can get yourself into a very neat, tidy area in your home or wherever you're sitting, an area that has maybe neutral colors or things of that nature that doesn't involve a lot behind you so that it takes away from the focus of the video, which is you and the content that you're articulating. I think that's probably the best case scenario.

There certainly are times when maybe you're in a smaller environment or maybe your home office is your bedroom or things of that nature, and in that situation, you can certainly have a virtual background, but I would try to make sure that, again, similar things, it has neutral colors, not a lot behind it. You certainly don't want anything too busy because if it is, then it just takes the focus off of you and what you're talking about, and the reader on the other end, just human nature is going to lead them to start looking at other things behind you to kind of figure out what those are.

Vernon Williams: So I'm going to put you on the spot, Ty, and ask you a quick follow up question.

Ty Smith: Of course.  

Vernon Williams: I'm not going to put you on a limb by yourself because I've done this. I will say I've done it. Have you ever intentionally put something either in your background or wore certain colors or anything to give yourself a little edge in the interview?

Ty Smith: That's funny you say that. If you could see it, I know the rest of the guys can't see it, but you can see the diplomas in the back, right? So obviously it's at least this guy went to college, right? I think things like that are certainly helpful. It depends on who you're interviewing with. If you're doing your research and you find out that someone has kids or things like that, maybe I'll show you a background with pictures of my kids in the back or something like that. I don't know that I would necessarily suggest it, but it doesn't hurt, right? It's certainly a good talking point too.

Vernon Williams: Anything you do to connect, right?  

Ty Smith: Right.

Vernon Williams: We all want to all want to feel connected and feel the sense of belonging.

Ty Smith: I will add, I was interviewing someone, and obviously as you mentioned, we're avid basketball players and watchers and such, and I happened to be interviewing someone who had a picture of their framed college jersey. I just kind of brought it up and she went on and on about it and we hit it off from there. But it served as a good talking point for sure.

Vernon Williams: Absolutely.

Demetrius Norma...: You've already gotten into the question that I wanted to ask, but maybe if you can provide some additional tips that you can offer candidates to excel during a virtual interview.

Ty Smith: Big time. Yeah, big time. I think there's probably a lot that we can take from not only just tips here, but also just kind of the new virtual etiquette that exists because we're doing this every day and obviously our interviews and things of that nature. I would say the first couple of things that are particularly important probably are testing the technology, right? I mean, the biggest thing that you have to do is do a technical trial run, which would include your computer's camera, the microphone, the internet connection, and then once that's intact, calling up a friend, a family member, having them do a trial run with you, whether it's Teams or WebEx or Riverside or Skype or Business, whatever the case is, Google Meet, doing it on that same platform to make sure that it runs perfectly.

The other thing is charging it up, making sure that if your laptop's going to be away from a charging station, making sure it's a hundred percent so that you can go on your laptop or your tablet, you can go on without any issues. That's a big deal. I would say avoid using smartphones, if you can, right? The video is generally smaller. It doesn't give as good of a view as a laptop or a tablet. Dressing for success. Sometimes people think that because it's a virtual interview, I can show up in a T-shirt or something like that. I would say you should dress the same way as you would for an in-person interview. Whatever you would wear on that is exactly what you should wear in the virtual interview. Those are big, big deals.  

I would also say kind of avoid bright, flashy colors, show something that's kind of more a neutral color, dark, something like that. The other thing probably is making sure that whatever you have is pressed so that when you're sitting down, right? It's interesting, I say that because someone will throw on a nice shirt, but it's wrinkled and it's like, oh, you probably should just put on a T-shirt. You may have been better off, right? Then also setting the stage for distraction free video interviews, making sure that you're in a space where the kids or the dog or other things can't be in there, making sure there's not a huge light behind you or something like that, and all of a sudden you're a silhouette and they can't see what you look like. Things like that.  

Turning off the email, the text, social media, things like that, so you're not getting alerts and things are popping up and they're hearing that in the background. Then being prepared, right? Showing up on time, or actually before time, right? If it's an interview, pop on there two, three, four, five minutes beforehand. You always want to kind of be waiting as a candidate for the person to come on. The worst situation is to come on two or three minutes later while the hiring manager is waiting for you to pop on.

Good eye contact, body language, making sure you're sitting upright, making sure your posture's good, making sure your eyes aren't kind of diverting from the camera and into other things that you have if you can. Then lastly, checking your volume controls. There's all types of digital connection issues sometimes, and so projecting your voice and trying to avoid from talking over the interviewer by giving a pause after they've kind of communicated their question, and then kind of carrying on from there. These are probably the biggest pieces I would say, probably just what comes to mind with respect to kind of video interview etiquette.

Vernon Williams: So thus far, we've been talking a lot about live interviews, whether they're in person. We talked briefly about that, but more so on the virtual side. Part of virtual interviewing, and I'm not sure how much experience or exposure you have to this, is video interviewing. I've done a couple of these, and I got to tell you, it's very, very different than sort of the conversation we're having right now where we can see each other and you get that feedback and so forth. Talk to us a little bit more about what advice or tips you have for candidates who do video interview and where it's recorded and then sent to the employer afterwards.

Ty Smith: Yeah. I guess what I would first start off is by saying for any hiring managers or presidents or anyone like that listening, I am not a fan at all of video interviews. I think they're so impersonal. I think that it's really, really difficult, as you just said, to articulate what you're saying and it's hard when you can't feed off of anybody at all. But to answer your question, you can take a lot of the tidbits that I mentioned beforehand. I think the biggest thing for the video interviews is practice, practice, practice, practice, right? I mean, whether it's on your phone or whatever, it's just taking a video, videoing yourself, just random questions, answering them, playing it back, seeing how you look when you play it back, seeing how you sound, those kinds of things.

I think as much practice as you can give yourself on the video interviews, it's going to make you a better candidate for the job. Then I know that sometimes there's situations where they're throwing questions at you and you don't know what those questions are, and you're having to respond, which obviously makes it even that much more difficult. But I think they want to see how you perform under pressure. So the only way to perform well under pressure is to practice.

Vernon Williams: I could not agree more. One of the interviews that I had done, you had some time to practice and they gave you the question, but once you hit go, you couldn't pull it back. So if you made a mistake, it's going. I'm happy to say I did get a second interview on that one, but I was sweating bullets. How many times can I sort of go through this without it maybe timing out or something like that? Then obviously you want to get it right for the one that they're actually going to see. So practice is some great advice right there.

Ty Smith: I think, and the only thing I would piggyback off of that, Vernon, is to your point, everyone's going to do that, right? Everyone's going to mess up a little bit because no one is used to doing that unless you're a newscaster, right? Those are the only people you would expect to really just knock it out the park without question, right? So because of it, recognizing that everyone's going to mess up, get over yourself, and then just go back into what you were going to say because they see enough of that, whereas they would be open and happy to have someone get right back on the ball and keep going, versus really kind of, for lack of a better way to put it, freaking out because they messed up.

Demetrius Norma...: I like both of your points with the practice, practice and planning. I think it kind of helps to alleviate the stress of interviewing in person in some perspective. It gives the individual an opportunity to one, prepare, and two, set up all of those staging components that you kind of mentioned from the lighting to all of the other elements that go into that. So I mean, it's interesting. I think it goes back to it could either be in-person or kind of through whatever technology or software that they're using, right? So with that in mind, you know that SHRM is celebrating its 75th anniversary, and our theme for this year is driving historic change in the world of work. So let me ask you, what do you consider the biggest accomplishment of your career or a moment when you drove change for the betterment of your workforce?

Ty Smith: That's a tough one. That's a tough one, right? So my position currently is very different than my position was when I first started with Robert Half. When I first started, it was call as many companies as you can, try to build your book of business as quickly as you can, as efficiently and as effectively as you can. So to be celebrated, it was just the more placements I had, the better, right? Now, it's evolved into a little bit of production and a lot of management.  

I think that if I were to answer that question, the biggest accomplishment is and always will be when members of my staff are growing and gaining and getting new heights and understanding kind of what's going on and how to accomplish those tasks and getting better at that. I think the biggest thing that I feel like I'm winning is when someone tells me, "Hey, I'm making more money than I ever have in my life," or, "I'm so fulfilled." Right? Those are the big accomplishments for me are when my staff members are growing and they feel like this is the best job for them.

Vernon Williams: All right. We'll get you out of here on this question, Ty, because we appreciate your time. Generally, as we've talked to people that are joining us on this podcast, we ask for words of advice and things that they would tell students, but I want to shift this and change it up a little bit given your background. I want to ask you, what parting advice or tips do you have for students and emerging professionals with aspirations of reaching the executive suite?

Ty Smith: Good question. I think it probably starts with reflection, really trying to figure out what you're good at, really trying to figure out what you like to do, trying to find out how to weave both those things because I think if you can figure out what you like to do and what you're good at, then you're probably going to be really good at it. You're also going to be open to putting in the work ethic to become better, right? I think what happens a lot of times is people don't actually come to an understanding for what that is and then they don't put the work ethic in because they don't like it in the first place. It's not so much people are lazy. I think it's just that people aren't happy with what they're doing.  

So I think if you can figure that out and understand what deal makers and deal breakers are for you, I think you can put yourself in a much better situation. It's all about networking. It's all about who knows you, who do you know and putting in the time to do it and then gaining the experience, right? So if you understand how to get there because someone's talking you through it, if you have the right people educating you and pushing you and you can put in the work ethic, you're going to get there, right? The one thing I've found in life is it's all about who is training you and your work ethic. The two have to be very, very good for you to succeed, right?

So just understanding who's at the top of their game, picking those individuals out, finding mentors, finding out how you can get there, understanding what they did to get there and what that's going to look like, and then obviously putting in the work. Those are the two biggest things. Preparation, researching, figuring all those things out with respect to who's out there and who you need to befriend and find out more about, and then obviously taking that and then doing your own work. Those are the biggest things.

Vernon Williams: Thank you, Ty. I appreciate it. What a great way to wrap things up today talking about networking, where here at SHRM we have a community over 300,000 members, mentorship for our students and emerging professionals. We have resources there too, knowledge, information. It's almost like you're a walking billboard for us. I appreciate it. Thank you for your time and thank you for sharing some of your insights.

Ty Smith: This was great. This was great. Anytime, guys, and thanks for having me.

Demetrius Norma...: With that, we are going to bring this episode of Career Compass to a close. We'd like to thank SHRM and SHRM Foundation for providing us with this platform, but more importantly, we'd like to thank you all for joining us and hope you stay with us throughout the season as we discuss more topics like this episode.

Vernon Williams: For more exclusive content, resources and tools to help you succeed in your career journey, consider joining SHRM as a student member. You can visit us at to learn more about being a part of a community of over 300,000 HR and business leaders who impact the lives of over 115 million employees worldwide.

Demetrius Norma...: Now, if you liked what you heard, follow or subscribe to Career Compass on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, Google Play, or wherever you listen to podcasts. Do you have a topic you think we should cover or guest we should hear from? We'd love to hear it. Email us at Again, that email is

Vernon Williams: Lastly, are you looking for more work and career related podcasts? Check out All Things Work and Honest HR at Thank you again for listening, and we'll catch you on the next episode of Career Compass.