Hiring Millennials is not like hiring employees from other generations. All too often companies wait until they are desperate to fill a position before they begin to seriously recruit for it. By then, they are willing to accept the first person whose resume says they fulfill that need. But if you are hiring millennials, they want and expect more than just a job. They want career with a company that is a cultural fit.
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Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.
The Transcript - The Longterm Value of Hiring Millennials Right the 1st Time
00:01 Amanda Hammett: Hey, this is Amanda Hammett and this is the Millennial Rockstars podcast. Hey and welcome to this episode of the Millennial Rockstars podcast. Today's Rockstar is JW Kiser, who happens to be the chief loan officer for New Peoples Bank. And one of the things that I took away from the conversation with JW was the importance of hiring right the first time. And JW actually gets into some really interesting things where he talks about how it may cost you a little bit more upfront but it's so worth it in end, so check out what JW has to say.
00:37 Amanda Hammett: Hey there, this is Amanda Hammett, I'm known as The Millennial Translator® because I help companies attract, retain, and engage top millennial talent and today on the Millennial Rockstars podcast we have JW. JW, welcome to the show.
00:51 JW Kiser: Hey, thanks for having me.
00:53 Amanda Hammett: Alright, so JW, you were actually nominated by someone that I know from my personal life, she and I attended college together and let me tell you, she has been someone who has always, always impressed me, so when I reached out to her and asked for a nomination and you were the immediate first person that she was like...
01:13 JW Kiser: Wow.
01:14 Amanda Hammett: This is who it is. I was like, "Alright, I've got to have him on the show." So tell us a little bit about you JW?
01:20 JW Kiser: A little bit about me. Well, first I may question that person that nominated me but it's very flattering and I greatly appreciate that. Now, and so a little bit about me, I live in Abingdon, Virginia, and I've got a beautiful wife and our 10-year-old daughter and I work for a great company called New Peoples Bank and and I'm a Senior Commercial Loan Officer so I think my exact title is Chief Commercial Banking Officer. But I think in banking, they give you these really long titles so they can pay you less, but, you know, that's what it's about.
01:52 Amanda Hammett: Fantastic, fantastic. Alright, so you and I discussed this a little bit before we turned on the recording but you are an older millennial, correct?
02:04 JW Kiser: Thank you for reminding me, but yes. I'm in the '80 birth date I think.
02:09 Amanda Hammett: Yes, yes, yes, yes, so you're right at the top end of the age range, which has given you a good bit of work experience correct?
02:18 JW Kiser: That's right.
02:18 Amanda Hammett: Okay, fantastic. So tell us a little bit about your career path. How did you get to being that Commercial Bank Officer?
02:27 JW Kiser: Let's see. Like a lot of kids I went to college and as I was getting ready to leave I wasn't a 100% sure what I wanted to be and I think I wanted to be a pharmaceutical guy at one time and I saw my buddy and I had a few friends that did that and there was nothing like running around in the car and playing golf all day and selling drugs and making lots of money but at the end those jobs were pretty hard to get then and so then I thought of being a stock broker and I realized I didn't wanna do that. But kind of how I ended up in banking, a gentleman that I really looked up to that was one of my instructors, a guy by the name of Dr. Steve Bourne, he was an advisor for a local bank and he asked me if I would have some interest and go on and talk to those guys and they were trying to hire somebody that was fresh, that didn't have any preconceived notions on banking or any good habits or bad habits 'cause I didn't have any good habits either since I wasn't a banker but they wanted somebody they could train and kinda run around the bank and bring it up the way that they wanted to.
03:30 JW Kiser: And so I started there, and from there, I worked in Princeton, West Virginia, for a little bit and moved to Wytheville. We had a bank in Wytheville that was struggling and I was just a young kid at the time but they kinda gave me a chance. And so I went to Wytheville and had a really good run working at that bank and although I had some success at that location, and then there was another guy in town who would later become my future boss, a guy by the name of Jim Grubbs. At that time, it was just me and Jim that really loaned money in Wytheville and he said, "Hey, you know, rather than us beat each other up all the time, why don't we just work it out." So again, I kinda ended up in another bank and from there I moved to Abingdon to fix another bank and when I left there I moved to another bank to fix it and ended up here in New Peoples.
04:20 Amanda Hammett: So really what I just heard is that your title should be bank fixer.
04:24 JW Kiser: It actually should be bank janitor, but yeah.
04:27 Amanda Hammett: Fantastic, fantastic. So in all of that time, I would assume that you have learned some lessons about yourself, about how you work best and just things that you figured out over the years. So tell us a little bit about what you have figured out for yourself that works really well for your work style or your work environment, things like that?
04:52 JW Kiser: Probably the thing that works best for me is to really be open and honest with everybody you do business with and that's very generic but it's very sincere. I heard a phrase one time that was called under-promise and over-achieve. It's always important to be... Whether you're trying to deliver to a new client or get a new relationship to say what you're gonna do and do what you say. So for me that's probably the biggest lesson that I've learned and the one trait that I still hold close to my heart. And just good communication and being able to deliver.
05:34 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. So does that translate not just to the client world but also internally to fellow bank employees?
05:43 JW Kiser: Sure, yeah. I think my employees have heard me say, you know, I kinda wear everything on my sleeve and what you see is what you get. I'm very truthful and very honest.
05:55 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome.
05:56 JW Kiser: And to the point, I'll be the first one to pat you on the back and tell you go have dinner on the company and I'll be the first one to kick you in the rear and give you a coaching lesson. So, but I think that's what people want. I know that that's what I want as an employee, and the millennial employee. And I just want good clear direction and great goals, and to be held accountable to those goals and have great things said about me, when I deliver and coaching when I don't.
06:26 Amanda Hammett: Absolutely, well, I think that that last phrase, the coaching when you don't, I mean that's one of the things that I work with a lot of companies on is this idea of radical transparency and you actually exhibit that. You may not exactly call it that, but you're the first person to admit to, "Oh, I messed up."
06:42 JW Kiser: Yeah.
06:43 Amanda Hammett: And I think that's important for a boss, for an employee, but also for a boss just show their employees, "Hey, I mess up, too." So it makes them more comfortable that like when they mess up, that they can come to you and say, "Hey, help me fix this."
06:57 JW Kiser: Yeah, it's way better than trying to cover it up. I mean...
07:00 Amanda Hammett: Oh yeah. [chuckle]
07:01 JW Kiser: You don't wanna go that route.
07:01 Amanda Hammett: And it's a lot easier.
07:02 JW Kiser: Not in what we do especially so.
07:04 Amanda Hammett: Yes. It's a lot easier to fix when you goof up before you start messing it up worse.
07:09 JW Kiser: That's exactly right.
07:11 Amanda Hammett: Alright, well, so with all of those wonderful things that you've learned about yourself, I would assume that there's also some things that you've learned that haven't worked so well for you. So any kind of stumbling blocks that you've seen throughout your career, any life lessons, we'll call them that you've learned over the years.
07:28 JW Kiser: Well, since we're talking about age, we'll probably hit that one to age. When I was... Even though I'm a younger millennial, when I was younger in my career, or older millennial when I younger in my career, doing what I do, it was hard to get that first shot. I mean, you're trying to loan a guy a million bucks or five million bucks or whatever it is, and you're a 27-year-old kid that, thought you knew a lot, and I thought I was a great banker, and delivered great service, but yeah that was probably the first part. It was tough to crack in to doing some of those bigger deals, with a little older generation that maybe they had a preconceived notion about the millennials. I'm not sure, but...
08:10 JW Kiser: So that was probably my stumbling block one and it's from a life lesson standpoint the thing that I've learned that's been most true and held true to this day is, surround yourself with great people. Take the time to hire the right person. And pay that person what they're worth. I mean it's, at the end of the day, that investment, I see so many people, and I see it even happen in our organization sometimes. It happens everywhere. We look at that other $10,000 that you're gonna have to pay in salary, and we go just a little bit lower and your return is so much better hiring the right person the first time and hiring a person that has the experience and the qualifications that you wanna see in an employee, even if it costs a little more upfront.
09:01 Amanda Hammett: No, I... Listen, I am a former recruiter. [chuckle]
09:04 JW Kiser: Okay.
09:05 Amanda Hammett: I know you are preaching to the choir here, I get it. I think that that's so important is to slow down in that process and actually pay people what they're worth, not just browbeat them on dollars.
09:20 JW Kiser: Yeah, that's a lesson that I've learned. I mean, when I was younger, I probably fell into that trap some and would hire, I don't wanna say the first person but the first person that I thought would be right, instead of waiting for the person that I knew was right. And the turnover is more. You gotta spend more training. It's not the way we go. And so that's, by far, the strongest lesson that I've learned. And we have a great team and I've been able to build a great team at this organization and surround myself with great people. And so...
09:51 Amanda Hammett: Okay, but yeah, I know. I mean that is a wonderful, wonderful lesson that you've learned. And unfortunately, I see companies making that mistake over and over again, and they just... They're like, "Well, we don't understand why we have high turnover." And I was like, "Really, you know." So...
10:07 JW Kiser: If you want greatness, don't hire average.
10:10 Amanda Hammett: Yes, yes, yes, that is fantastic. Yes, that is perfect. So let me ask you... Let's go back to college JW for just a second, so let's think about you getting ready to graduate, and you said that when you were leaving college, you weren't exactly sure what you wanted to do, you had a few things that you were interested in. When you were thinking about you, back in the day, and the way that you saw corporate America before you experienced it or the working world or the real world before you actually experienced it, did you... Do you remember hitting any major stumbling blocks or reality checks as you moved and transitioned into the real world?
10:53 JW Kiser: Yeah, yeah, you know. When you say that, I'm smiling, you know. When I went to college, I mean I did pretty well in college. Made mostly A's, made a B or two here and there, and when I thought that I graduated, I thought people would just be dying to hire me. I thought that, here's a guy that did great in college and... At least I think I can talk to anybody. And I thought I would just roll out and people would have their checkbook and just be dying to drag me over. I'm being a little sarcastic, but that's not really the way it worked. And you kinda gotta earn your way regardless of what it is. It doesn't matter if you're laying bricks for a living or you're in the business world, you gotta earn your way. And so, I can remember my first salary, starting out, I wanna... I was like, "Man... " I just thought it'd be different. So yeah, that was probably my first stumbling block was trying to find my way into the real world and what it meant to have a W2 versus what you thought your W2 would say.
11:56 Amanda Hammett: Oh yes, yes, yes, yes. I very much remember getting that very first paycheck and thinking, "Well, where did all my money go?" [chuckle]
12:05 JW Kiser: Where's the other half at? They took half. They took half of virtually nothing but... Yeah, so that was probably my big stumbling block. I thought that they just be lined up out the door and I'd have no problem getting a job and paying out the wazoo. But you gotta earn it, you gotta earn it.
12:22 Amanda Hammett: Well, yeah. That's the tough reality a lot of us face, leaving college, for sure. So, let's talk about you throughout your entire career because you have mentioned one or two people thus far that have kind of given you an edge throughout the years. But when you're looking back, were there any bosses, current or former, or mentors, or anyone like that that really helped you stay engaged, stay productive, even on those days where you're just like, "Man, I cannot go back in and face this today."
13:00 JW Kiser: Sure. I've had so many wonderful mentors, just kind of starting there. Even I can remember when I grew up. I was just a kid and I played golf every day. That's what I did, and lived in this little small town and my dad would drop me off at the crack of daylight and then he'd pick me up at dark. But there was so many people there that I looked up to, and I played golf with a lot of grown men that kinda took me under their wing and kinda taught me how to be a man, and be responsible and be polite. And so, it even goes back that far. And my dad was a phenomenal father. He was very demanding and wanted me to do great and be successful in life, and be respectful. So even back to the early days, yeah, I have a ton of mentors and I literally couldn't name them all. Probably my first and best mentor was a guy by the name of Mori Williams. Now, Mori actually works at our bank. When I got out of college, Mori was my first boss.
14:00 Amanda Hammett: Really?
14:00 JW Kiser: And in banking you have, usually before you go start a new branch like you see these big nice million dollar branches were, usually before that you go in and you do what they call loan production office, which is basically, you send a lender over there and he tries to beat up some loans before you open your branch because the branch is so expensive you want some loans to help offset some of those bills. So we were getting ready to build a new branch, and they put Mori and myself and his assistant in this little tiny house over in Princeton, West Virginia. It was this little house office. And our offices were so close that, me just being a young guy straight out of college, I could listen to Mori's conversations, as bad as that was. But by listening to how Mori talked and interacted with people, I really learned how to talk to people. Even when he was in a bad mood that morning, when he picked up that phone, he was smiling. And it was all about them.
14:54 JW Kiser: So even though we were in a super tiny office and bathroom was beside everybody's offices, which is a different story, but it was great to be able to hear those conversations that he had. And he would take me on a lot of joint calls, and so he was my first mentor that really taught me how to interact in business. I knew how to interact with people, 'cause I'd had mentors my whole life, growing up with people that demanded respect, but he was the first one to be able to convey that to a business, for certain.
15:27 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. I wouldn't think of it as like eavesdropping, but really, that was a wonderful growing and learning experience for you to have, especially at that critical juncture of your career.
15:38 JW Kiser: It was. Yeah, and now Mori works with us. We parted ways years ago, and he went to a different bank, and I went to a different bank, and he joined our team, our commercial team, about three or four months ago.
15:51 Amanda Hammett: Really? Oh that's just a wonderful circle.
15:54 JW Kiser: It's amazing how people come back. Yeah.
15:55 Amanda Hammett: That is fantastic. Have you ever shared with them about kind of the impact that the listening in on those conversations has had on you in your career?
16:04 JW Kiser: Probably some. I probably never divulged that I was eavesdropping on every conversation he ever had. But I assume if he was gonna talk to his wife, he'd shut the door, but just a small office.
16:15 Amanda Hammett: Well, you'll have to forward him a copy of this, this podcast.
16:18 JW Kiser: There we go.
16:19 Amanda Hammett: So is there anything at any of the banks or any of the organizations you've worked with or been a part of that they gave as far as perks or benefits, or even just the culture within those organizations that has really made you say, "Man, these are my people. This is where I wanna be. This is where I need to be."
16:43 JW Kiser: Yeah. I've been very, very fortunate. I worked at two or three organizations, I guess about three organizations and they've all really believed in education. And they believed in investing in people. And for me, I've always wanted to continue to grow, and I read a lot. And I went back to school and got my MBA and all that stuff. And in banking, there's so much to learn, and you learn every day, and I'm sure it's like that in every field, it's just this is the one that I know. So I've always had great employers that were willing to invest in me.
17:19 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome.
17:19 JW Kiser: And I wouldn't work somewhere that wasn't willing to invest in me. I saw a post on Facebook one time, that said, "What happens if we invest in this employee and they leave?"
17:35 Amanda Hammett: Yep.
17:36 JW Kiser: Well, what happens if you don't invest in them and they stay? You know, it's worse. So I've always had great employers that believed in education and training people right, and doing things the right way, and I've been very fortunate there. Perks, I've never had a boss that micromanaged me. And, yeah, I know, it's hard to believe. It is hard to believe.
18:00 Amanda Hammett: I can't believe that. [chuckle]
18:03 JW Kiser: Back to probably my first real... I mean, not my real job, but my first real challenge was when I was at First Bank, and I went to run an organ... A new branch... Or an old branch that was losing a bunch of money. I had a boss by the name of Jim Grubbs, and Jim kinda sent me down there, and he said, "Hey, I don't care how you do it, I just want you to make money." And it was losing a bunch of money, and he didn't call me every week, wanting to know what my seven-step plan was, and he wanted to look at the numbers.
18:35 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome.
18:39 JW Kiser: That's very important. And even my current bank president, he's the same way. He don't care if I work 60 hours or 40 hours, or if I leave here at three o'clock and go play golf. It's... Did you do your job? Did you deliver on the results that we agreed that you'd deliver on? And I think that's what millennials want. I know that's what I want. I don't wanna be micromanaged. I've had times in my career where I've worked 80 hours a week, and I don't wanna do it. I wanna have a healthy work-life balance, and at the end of the day, I'll do what it takes to deliver. Sometimes that is 80 hours, but sometimes it's 30.
19:17 Amanda Hammett: Yeah. JW, that was very millennial of you to say that.
19:21 JW Kiser: Oh, thank you. Thank you.
19:23 Amanda Hammett: That work-life balance idea, that's something that I hear a lot of complaining about is like older generations sometimes just don't get that. But of course, we were the ones that introduced the concept of being a workaholic.
19:37 JW Kiser: Yeah.
19:38 Amanda Hammett: So I guess that's probably why. So when you're looking at hiring a young employee, is there anything in your mind that will stand out, whether it's in a resume, whether it's in the interview process, is there anything that really stands out in your mind that says, "This person is going to be a rockstar. This person, like I gotta have this person."
20:03 JW Kiser: I want somebody that's confident. First and foremost, I tell everyone the same thing that, I hire you for this, what we're doing right here. I hire you... If you can communicate, that's kind of the part one of what we do. If you have great conversation with great people and ask for business, you'll be very successful. But the second part of that is, I want somebody that's driven and I want somebody that's not driven by dollars. Dollars are the worst motivator ever. If you give somebody some dollars, it's very short-term performance driven. It's not what people think it is. So I want someone that, first and foremost, can communicate. And then second, the success that they wanna have comes from within, not an external reward.
20:51 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome, but I love that. I love that a lot. So is there anything... Is there anything else that you think that organizations need to know about hiring millennials, whether they're the younger millennials or the older millennials like yourself.
21:06 JW Kiser: Yeah, thanks for reminding me again.
21:08 Amanda Hammett: You're so welcome.
21:10 JW Kiser: You know, I do think millennials are a little different generation, and it's no different than what I do or what you do. If you go to one organization or another one, you've gotta kinda tailor your pitch a little. It's the same if I'm going to see a farmer, or if I'm gonna see a 30-million-dollar customer, you gotta change a little bit, and you gotta have some flexibility. And I think millennials probably demand that more than ever. I mean, I don't think that they're... I'm not saying previous generations are just cookie cutter. I'm not saying that, but I think they want some flexibility. I think the perks that they want are a little different. So to me, when I try to hire someone that's younger, I wanna figure out what their hot button is.
21:56 Amanda Hammett: Yeah.
21:56 JW Kiser: What do they want the most out of this? Is it... Do they value the vacation, do they value the dollars, do they value a Country Club membership? What is it?
22:07 Amanda Hammett: And how do you find that out JW?
22:08 JW Kiser: You gotta ask great questions. It's no different than... If you'll talk to someone, and you get somebody talking about themselves, they'll love to keep going. So you ask great questions, and don't be afraid to ask those questions. So, I think you figure out what the hot button is and you play that card. Because ultimately, that's what's gonna drive their decision, and make them happy and content with where they're gonna work.
22:34 Amanda Hammett: That's awesome. That is fantastic advice. And I think that that's something every leader needs to hear. At the end of the day, we're all hiring, we're all looking for that next person that's gonna help us push to the next level. But you gotta hire right to do that.
22:50 JW Kiser: That's right.
22:51 Amanda Hammett: Well, fantastic. Well, thank you so much, JW, for being on the Millennial Rockstar podcast. Is it okay if our audience wants to reach out to you on LinkedIn?
23:01 JW Kiser: Sure, that'd be great.
23:02 Amanda Hammett: Fantastic. Well, I will share a link to JW's LinkedIn profile in the show notes. But thank you guys for joining us today on the Millennial Rockstar podcast, and we will see you next time. Bye.
23:14 JW Kiser: Thank you. Bye.
23:16 Amanda Hammett: Thanks so much for joining us for this episode of the Millennial Rockstar podcast. If you are looking for even more information on millennials and some free resources, visit my website at amandahammett.com. The link is below, it's amandahammett.com. There you can download a free Millennial Employee Engagement Guide that will give you all kinds of tips and tricks on how to keep those millennials engaged on a day-to-day basis, because we all know that millennials who are happy at work are more productive at work.
Disclaimer: This transcript was created using YouTube’s translator tool and that may mean that some of the words, grammar, and typos come from a misinterpretation of the video.