168: Fellowship ft. Josh Oakes: Unconventional Paths, How To Interview Well, Transitioning From College To Career, And Being The Best You
Interviews are a crucial part of any business. It is the first line of defense for businesses that could either make or break them, and we all know how detrimental hiring the wrong person could be. In this episode, Thane Marcus Ringler catches up with his friend Josh Oakes to share with us what goes on in the world of interviewing, how you can interview well, and how, as an interviewee, you can get hired. Josh has been working as a Senior Corporate Recruiter at Agile Sourcing Partners, where he manages the hiring process for the corporate organization as well as their major utility customers all across the United States. On top of the interview process, he also shares with us the story of his life, taking unconventional paths, and transitioning from college to career. At the core of it, he shows us the importance of being the best you, challenging yourself on a daily basis away from living a monotonous life.
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Fellowship ft. Josh Oakes: Unconventional Paths, How To Interview Well, Transitioning From College To Career, And Being The Best You
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We’re going to dive into our episode which is a fellowship. It is more of a peer-to-peer casual conversation. Our guest is Josh Oakes. He resides in Southern California with his wife and two kids. Josh graduated from The Master’s University with a Bachelor’s in Communication. He finished his graduate degree at Azusa Pacific University, studying Leadership and Organizational Studies. He has worked in the world of recruiting and talent acquisition for a few years and has recruited for various organizations in the manufacturing, banking, and construction industries.
He works for a utility service contractor, Agile Sourcing Partners as the Talent Acquisition Manager, where he manages the hiring process for the corporate organization as well as their major utility customers all across the United States. Common positions he hires for include engineers, project managers, business analytics, supply and chain personnel, and more. Josh’s career goal is to diversify his human resources experience as much as possible so that he can help consult businesses of all types and sizes in the future. During his off time, he enjoys doing small weekend getaway trips with his family and hosting barbecues for friends and family. You can connect with Josh on LinkedIn, Facebook or Instagram to learn more about interviewing or barbecuing.
This was a fun conversation with Josh Oakes. He’s a dear friend of mine, a fellow teammate on our college golf team, a great guy and a great family man. We talk about a lot of pertinent things that I know you’re going to benefit from including interviewing and how to be good at the process of interviewing. He’s been in more interviews than anyone I know. He’s probably done as many at this point. We talk about having a family at a young age and what that experience is like, and the benefits of it.
We talk about how to live at our faith in a corporate environment and about transitioning well from college to career. He has some great insight on that. We talk about the craft of barbecuing and more. It was a fun conversation and a great time catching up with my friend, and also a lot of great tips and tricks for anybody that is looking to improve at interviewing, or has an upcoming interview, or knows that interviewing is an important part of their career. This is going to be one episode that you’re going to want to read. Without further ado, please enjoy this fellowship conversation with Josh Oakes.
Josh Oakes, welcome to the show.
Thank you, Thane Ringler. I appreciate that.
We go pretty far back and there are quite a few memories. We don’t have time to talk about all of them, but I did think the audience would be privy to know that in a former life yours truly would be known as DJ 300. Do you want to fill them in on what DJ 300 is all about?
That was more of a high school reality for me where I was trying to move up the ranks and being popular around school. DJ-ing was coming to be the new thing at that point. I and a friend had a connection with a local DJ who DJ-ed for a radio station and he hooked us up with equipment and we did parties. Anytime we got to get together, we just brought the equipment out. It wasn’t anything. We weren’t good. Now looking back at it, it’s embarrassing but at the time, we thought we were cool.When you're a father, you have a lot of different responsibilities that you didn't have when you were single, let alone with a kid. Click To Tweet
That doesn’t ever change. We still think we’re pretty cool but maybe we know our place a little bit more. Where did the DJ 300 came from? It’s the Chrysler 300, right?
That was a staple. People knew me around campus for my car, not necessarily because of me. It had 22-inch wheels and a Bentley grill. It was a cool car. I don’t drive anything nearly as cool now.
I remember I had a little Toyota Celica and in high school, I badly wanted to get a sub in there. I had a buddy who had a Mitsubishi Eclipse, which is about the same size, super small. He put a couple of twelve in the back and that thing was way too much for that. You had it on just a little bit over and the entire thing was shaking.
What was hilarious was if you saw a picture of me back in high school, I was this skinny little kid. People would see this Chrysler pull up. It had limo tint windows and they would expect someone completely different to get out of this car. A lot of people weren’t expecting me to step out of that car.
The question then that’s lingering in everyone’s minds is, are you actually marshmallow?
I cannot disclose but that would be something I wish. Maybe in another life.
Speaking of this life, a newer hobby that I’m curious to hear from you is your new obsession or love for smoked meats. I got a used grill off of Facebook Marketplace. I’m back on the grill game, which is always fun but I haven’t dived into the smoked meat game much. What’s been springing this hobby for you and what are you most excited about smoking right now?
It’s funny now that I think about it. Looking back to when I was a kid, my mom was always making food at a young age. I come from a Hispanic background. I was always interested in learning how to cook everything that she did. Even at a young age, I was drawn to the kitchen. That fizzled out as I was in high school and went off to college. I think becoming a dad, your hobbies start to change. I don’t have much time to hit the golf course anymore. We were in Texas for a few months right after college. That’s where I was exposed to barbecue and just fell in love with it.
I fell in love with the fellowship and bringing a bunch of people together, and having a good time. I wanted to bring that back to us once we came back to California. I have got into this hobby and have purchased a few barbecue grills. I purchased a lot of them off of Facebook and cleaned them out. I do a lot of ribs, brisket, your traditional Texas barbecue. I’m always looking to try different flavor profiles. It’s a fun thing to do with the family and invite friends over.
Do you have a signature recipe yet or process that you go by?
This is standard for most Texas barbecuers, but I would say ribs are a staple around here. That’s the cook that I have the most fun with just trying different flavor profiles. It’s a long cook, 3 to 5 hours not as long as a brisket. It’s like an art. Even the look of it, it’s awesome. Ribs are one of the things that my family appreciates the most.
I’m excited for some of that the DJ 300 smoked ribs next time we’re together.
We’ll be throwing them down.
To give people a little more context, we played golf together in college for a couple of years. Since then, our lives have been parallel but different in many ways. Before we dive into some of the topics that I was excited to hear from you. I’d love to hear maybe giving an overview or a snapshot of what the years since our time in college have held for you, because it’s been quite a lot.
We’ve squeezed in quite a bit of life events in the last couple of years. I think we did graduate at the same time. It was our last semester when Allie and I got married. We were starting right away to that journey of marriage. It was an awesome thing for both of us and a huge learning experience at that age to learn how to be a husband and wife. We got married back in 2013 and six months into marriage, we found out my wife was pregnant. Not only am I a husband but now I’m a father at age 22. We started young. That was not planned. It happened that way. God threw us a curveball. Looking back, I could not see the last few years being any different. It’s been a learning experience for both of us. To be at the age that we’re at now and have the experience and learning together at a young age, that’s helped us to be the parents that we are now in a very unique way. It’s been a blast. I now have two kids. A lot of times when people look at me, they do not expect for me to have two toddlers.
What you said was insightful because the way that we think about it and that more of our culture and modern times think about having kids, starting a family, or even getting married is getting later and later. Often the argument for that or the reasoning behind it is it takes a longer time to learn who you are, figure out ourselves, and discover who we are as people. It’s getting later and later that we mature into who we are. I think that’s part of the argument. What you said is that you had the chance and experience to grow into that together as a couple but also individuals. You knew some of that already where you guys were at. Having to face not only marriage but then parenting at a young age, you discovered both your role together and individually too. Would you say that’s been true? How do you compare and contrast those?
The difficult part was there were not a lot of people around us at the same life stage as us at the same age. A lot of our friends were either still in college or just starting a career. They’re not even thinking about family. It wasn’t even like I could have a conversation with a close friend about growing into that role. We had to learn from each other through that process. That has benefited us the most because it kept us on the same page in a lot of ways. When you’re starting a family, you’re bringing in experiences from my side and my wife’s side. Sometimes parenting can be one of those things where there can be conflicting ideas and how you want that to look like. Because we started at a young age, we were able to come together and work through those things. It was not perfect. There were a lot of struggles that we had. Working through those struggles together has helped us to be the parents that we are now. It’s not the stereotypical way that you would go about that but it worked for us and it’s molded how we view parenthood.
When looking back on those years, do you have any of those struggles that comes to mind that fits as a good example or a good illustration of what you’re saying because we all have these?
When you’re a father, you have a lot of different responsibilities that you didn’t have when you were single, let alone with a kid. One of the toughest parts was that we had a lot of close friends that were exploring the world and doing a lot of fun stuff. It was hard for us because at the time, that didn’t align with what was a priority for us. It was hard for us to stay in connection with a lot of our friend’s groups because we’re at a different stage. One of the things that helped us through that is we found people at the same life stages as us, but a little bit older who might be able to share some of their experiences and their insight. The age gap didn’t play a factor in our relationship. There were a lot of mentorships involved with that and it helped us there. That was probably one of the biggest struggles.
We benefit so much from others alongside us in the journey, whatever stage that is. It doesn’t have to be the same age. That’s one of the things we learned the older we get. Age does not dictate the parallel place in life, especially the older you get. Everyone is in a different place, different process, different experience and levels of maturity. The older you get, the more and more your diversity of relationships increases because you are looking for that compatibility of life stage and season where you can relate on a more experiential level.
Even when I was growing up, having a mentor was something that was recommended to me by a lot of people, professional and personal mentors. That was always something that my wife and I had in the back of our heads when we’re working through marriage and starting a family. We’re clinging to people with similar values and rules as us to be able to provide that insight and that encouragement while we’re going through a lot of those tough times.
I want to hear before we move into another realm here. For people reading, what is the case you would make for starting a family young or going the route that you went? How would you sell that?Interviewing is about learning how to balance so many emotions. Click To Tweet
It’s backward for a lot of people. A lot of people want to experience life right out of college. We did it backward where we got to put on our big boy pants early on and had these responsibilities. A fun stage for us is going to be, as the kids start to leave the house and we become empty nesters, that’s going to be at a fairly young age for us. It’s going to be exciting for us to have that a little bit early on than most people, and to be able to watch our kids grow and even potentially have grandkids at that point. To be able to live our fond experiences at that point. Another argument is we have different fun experiences at this stage. As much as we’re not able to travel the world and experience new things as a parent, you create these memories that your kids will always remember. That’s special. My son is not even six yet. His memory is insane. You’ll remember the trips that we went on when he was 1 or 2. At the time, we weren’t thinking that was going to be a memorable trip, but you’re creating those memories at such an early stage. It’s a different cup of tea. It is a great experience for us.
As you think about the future and your kids growing up, what do you wish or hope for your son and your daughter? As you raise them, father them, parent them, and see their potential as they keep growing into that, what is it that you are wishing, hopeful or aiming for in their futures?
The biggest thing for us is that we want to establish these relationships with them, not only with us as parents, but also with their family and with their grandparents. We want to be able to have them grow up in a faith-based family, but also a family of love, and a place of comfort and trust that they can look back and remember. That’s so huge to have that family backing. As you go through life and all of your different stages. If you have an inconsistent lifestyle at the house, it’s hard for kids to be able to work through a lot of these stages in life. Our goal has been to create a consistent home for them somewhere where they know that they can be trusted. Somewhere they feel safe and where they know they’re loved at the end of the day. That’s been a goal for us.
Consistency and love are such a great simple foundation for any goal for a parent. You hear stories and you see kids who don’t have a consistent foundation or support system at a young age, how detrimental that is to them through their childhood. I’ve been so blessed by having that consistency and two parents that raised me. I’ve reaped the reward for that more than I’d ever probably recognized or even admit. I remember hearing a story of some friends who adopted a young girl. For the first couple of years of her life, she was in an orphanage where she didn’t have physical human touch of love present in her life. It was more like putting her in a wooden contraption to hold her up and not have any loving human interaction in her life for several years. The amount of damage that did to her development was staggering to hear. It can’t be overstated enough how important that consistency and that love is. I love hearing that you guys are doing that and I’ve seen it. It’s been super fun to watch.
There’s not a manual to learn that. That’s something that you learn through experience. That’s been one of our key takeaways throughout all of these experiences for us.
With starting a family, being in Texas for a bit and back in California, you’ve also chocked that time full of a lot of different opportunities in the work front, and different avenues of jobs and career paths. There are a couple of things that I was excited to hear more from your experience. The first is on interviewing. The second is on the idea of college career transitions. Everyone’s path is unique, but you’ve had a wide swath of experiences in that. Your experience in both of those could be helpful. My type of interviews are much different than your type of interviews. Podcast interviews don’t have the desired outcome other than a good conversation. The interviews that we’re talking about are for a job and for a living. There’s a lot more pressure and it feels a lot more loaded. Out of all my friends, you are the guy who has done more interviews than anyone I know. How many do you think it’s been at this point?
We’re hitting that thousand points. There was a point early on in my career where I was having five interviews in a day. If you multiply that by a few years, it adds up to be a lot. That’s me on the side of the table that I’m on now. I know both of us when we were graduating and figuring out the next steps, I feel like I was in an interview after another. It was this never-ending cycle on both ends. It’s been quite an adventure.
Do you have a favorite interview and the worst interview that you’ve gone to?
Unfortunately, yes. There are many emotions going through in interviewing. You’re nervous but you’re excited. It’s hard to be able to balance all of those emotions and go in, act like you have everything together, and to be able to present that. I remember early on with Allie and I being married at such a young age. I was putting a ton of pressure on myself to probably apply for jobs that I had no business applying to. I remember there was a position in the medical field. I did not take any Anatomy classes or anything in college to even know anything remotely close to the health industry. That is a huge part of the interview process. You are studying the intricacies of the body and you’re having to almost memorize all of these different procedures.
I remember going into an interview and being asked about a different procedure and what I would do to recommend. As I said I didn’t have that backing to know. I’m trying to make up as I go on what I would recommend a doctor to do in this case. You’re talking to a kid fresh out of college who’s just trying to land a job. I completely flunked the interview. I had no business being in that room but it was a learning experience for me to then challenge myself after the fact. I realized that this is not the door that I needed to be in. Let’s try and narrow this search down into something that fits more of me.
I would love to be in that room on the other side. I’m sure you’re not alone. I’m sure that they get a lot of people that are in a similar place of liking the job and the paycheck but have no idea of the experience needed. That’s a hilarious setting and you see that in movies a lot too but it does happen. The whole idea of dreaming big is like, “I’m going to apply for a job that I don’t feel like I’m quite ready for yet.” There’s a limit to that for sure.
You’ll learn that the hard way. I learned that early on to where I was able to find a different path that worked out for me. Everyone has a different path. Everyone is not going to take the same route. That is early on an experience for me.
A big part on interviewing is balancing your emotions, which is something that you learned in a lot of arenas like performing or in sports and athletics like in golf. That played a factor. You recognize that and start getting better at that, and then also putting too much pressure on our self. We all do that. That’s a very common part of the puzzle, especially early on when we feel, “It’s our livelihood.” Most of the time, it is our livelihood at stake. We add on this pressure that changes the way that we go about it. What are some other things that you experienced or saw yourself fall into? What was that process of learning to improve that life for you?
I’m trying to understand the realistic expectations for what I wanted. That was a big thing. Out of college, the first question most people ask you is, “What are you going to do? What do you want to do when you grow up?” Most people don’t know that at that stage. You’re trying to figure that out as you go. Most people are just applying to any job they see open at that point to work through that process. The thing for me was to dive into these jobs that are being posted and consider, “Does my skillset or my passion fit what this job is calling for?” That’s not easy to do. A lot of people are just applying and figuring out as they go.
That is such an important part of the interview process. I can’t tell you how many applications I see a day where you can tell by the resume, “This person has no business applying for this job.” There are going to be circumstances behind that. Maybe they’re out of work and transition. They’re applying to everything they can find. At the same time, you want to find something that’s going to set you up for the future, not necessarily for the next six months. It’s hard to get out of that mindset. Finding a job now and getting a paycheck now versus where am I going to see myself in the next five years? Can I see myself doing this job over the next few years? Whatever that comes to be. That’s one of the struggles that I dealt with. I’m sure a lot of people deal with it as well.
I love that you brought that up because our generation and our culture breeds this short-term gratification and this narrow short view of where we’re at and where we’re going. It creates this facade that we can jump a few steps and arrive at the tenth step sooner than taking nine steps to get there. This whole idea that we need to be thinking big picture long-term is, what is the 5 to 10-year goal versus how can I get to this position fastest at all costs and apply to get that without even having the experience or know-how to be there? We all face that in so many ways. It’s true to a greater extent of our generation because of social media, technology, and the information being available to everyone and massively disseminated. It does have more access but it creates a false expectation, which can be hard to overcome.
It all boils down to how people deal with these pressures because it’s a very stressful process. It’s easy for people to try and find that quick remedy that helps them get a paycheck, get into something, but it’s not ideal for their situation for the long-term. That leads to many mistakes down the line where if you could bring in patience into the process, it’s hard to do especially with all of those competing emotions. That is something that can help you out in the long-term.
You find yourself in the role and you’ve been in the space for many years of being a recruiter, and being someone who works on hiring people. You’re on the other side of the interview table. What is it about that transition that surprises you that you didn’t know before being on the other side of the table?
This was nothing that I was searching to become. I didn’t even know this as being a profession. I didn’t have much exposure to any recruiters in college or anything close to that. I fell into the job and I’ve been on both ends. There’s agency recruiting, where it’s more staffing related, finding more temporary to permanent roles for other businesses, to being on the corporate side. One of the things that have stood out to me the most and I wish I knew this when I was on the other side of interviewing for companies is that 70% of the time, hiring managers are more concerned and focused on, “Are you a culture fit for our department and for our company?”
That’s not something that as a candidate I was ever even thinking about in preparation. You’re trying to anticipate what questions are going to be asked. You’re trying to fine-tune your resume and get as prepared as you can be, but you’re not thinking about that cultural aspect. That’s such an important piece because many people go into these interviews with a script. They already have written out how they plan on answering specific questions. From a hiring manager’s perspective, you aren’t getting a true sense of who this person is. That’s one of the biggest drivers that they are focusing on in making these hiring decisions. When you get into an interview room, you’ve already been classified as being qualified for the role. You’ve already checked those boxes of having all of the pre-qualifications to have that job. A manager wants to get to know you. That’s one important key that a lot of people miss out on because they go into interviews so scripted. That is one of the things I wish I knew ahead of time.
That’s also true in podcasts. I’ve been doing a lot of podcast interviews for a press tour for the courses and the book. Being on a bunch of different ones, you see very quickly the difference between prescriptive and intuitive interviewers. In prescriptive conversations, people know what to expect and then get content from it, but they aren’t getting an authentic or genuine conversation. They aren’t getting to know the person in a genuine way. We recognize that when we listened to a conversation that was scripted versus unscripted, we all know inwardly whether or not we even consciously are aware of it. We know what is scripted. Even in an interview room for a job process, you will instinctively be aware of those scripted answers. You don’t get to know a person, you get to know the information that they want you to know, which could be very ungenuine.
Hiring managers want to be able to look at you and plug you into their department and see, “Will this person get along with all of the different personalities that I have on my team?” That’s the first part. The second part is, “Will this person fit in with the goals of our organization from a larger perspective?” It’s not usually a common thought for someone going into the interview. A lot of people lose jobs because they’re so polished and scripted. They don’t give that manager an opportunity to truly get to know who they are as a person.Being an up and comer, you don't want to live in this stagnant lifestyle where you aren't challenging yourself. Click To Tweet
You spoke of being culture fit. This idea of culture and company culture has been buzzing for several years as it’s becoming more and more a selling point of different industries, companies, and talking about their culture. On the applicant side or on the interviewee side, when you’re looking at finding a culture that fits you, what would you recommend to people if they’re focusing on that idea of like, “These hiring managers are probably focused on culture?” How do you go about discerning a company’s culture? What ways would you recommend people who are in that process?
The easy way is asking questions ahead of time. Prior to you being brought into an interview, there’s an initial phone interview where either a recruiter or some representative is going through to determine, “Do you meet the qualifications for the job?” In those phone interviews or in-person interviews, however they come to be, there’s always an opportunity for candidates to ask questions. That’s always one of the things that I’m looking for. It’s to see if the candidates do ask questions. It’s like, “Are they interested in what it’s like to work for our company?” A lot of questions usually will be revolved around the role that they’re applying for and the specifics around that. That’s a perfect opportunity for you to ask questions to understand, what are your company goals? What is important to your company? Is your company involved in community outreach? If so, what are some of the outreaches that you guys do?
Ask questions to get to know that company because you’ll be able then to determine if this is a good company for me to apply for and continue forward with. If you’re able to bring that then into your next interview and to be able to use that as ammunition knowing, “These are the things that I’ve perceived of your company. This is what I think your company culture is like,” that’s huge. To be able to ask those questions, comprehend it, and clarify it later on down the line, that can be such a very important part to you through that interview process. Asking questions is perfect. A lot of people ask me like, “Do I have to have questions ready for an interview. What questions are good questions to ask?” They almost feel like that’s a test at the end of an interview when a recruiter says, “Do you have any questions for me?” A lot of times I tell people, “Get to know that person. What do you enjoy about your job? You’ve been there for five years. What have you liked most about the company that you work for?” Get a sense of what that company is like to work for.
Asking good questions is so important to living a good life at the end of the day. As you’re talking, it’s making me think about this idea of operating from a place of fear versus a place of love. When we operate from a place of fear, it’s usually this scarcity mindset. There’s all this whole framework around it. You get this idea of going into an interview like, “This is one of the only chances I have to get a job, to earn a living, and I better not screw it up.” That’s the scarcity. Now I have to script it and come up with the right answers, be very polished, and be the perfect picture that they want, versus who I am. Versus this idea of abundance or love mentality, where it’s saying, “I am who I am. I’m trying to represent who I am well so that they can know me and see if I’m a good fit. They’re going to know better than I am. I do want the job and show that I’m interested in. I’m going to be curious about them and the company, what the role requires, what they’ve learned, what they’re about. What they’re interested in and what they’re excited about.” Through that, you become much more attractive and usually a better fit. In any company, even if resume-wise doesn’t fit as well.
One unique experience that I can pull from when I was on the other side of the table is I had the opportunity to interview with Google. This was a unique experience for me because I had never applied for a company of Google size. To experience their interview process was amazing. I was a little bit scared. I remember talking to Allie about it and thinking, “Why would they hire me?” I can imagine that there are thousands of applications that they’re receiving on a daily basis. There’s no way my application is going to be at the top of the stack. Having the best experiences that they’re going to interview me. I didn’t get that job, but I got to the very last step. I had the final interview and I had a good shot at getting that job.
Through that experience, I learned that I probably didn’t have the best-looking resume that Google had seen. I was able to portray myself in these interviews to the best of my ability that Google was able to say, “We can see you being a part of our organization.” That’s a critical mindset because a lot of people think, “I have no business applying for this job because there are many people that have better experiences or have a better resume than me.” Nine times out of ten, when our hiring managers are making decisions, we’re not hiring the most qualified person. We’re hiring the person that meets all the qualifications that’s going to fit with our organization long-term. That’s an important mindset for you to be in when you’re going through that process.
It’s fun to see growth within ourselves even in the process. What would you say was the biggest growth that you experienced internally in those mindsets? Do you have any shifts that you made mentally in the way you approached it or viewed the interview that changed the game and how you performed within them?
Ever since I’ve been on the other side of the table in previous jobs, I’ve looked at other recruitment opportunities. Now that I’ve had the experience where I’m the interviewer and I’m a part of the hiring process. I’m able to see what different factors are involved in making a hiring decision. If I were to apply for a new job now, my focus and attention aren’t going to be on, “I need to make my resume pop and make it look like the best resume that this company finds.” What I’m wanting to understand is, “Do these companies’ goals line up with my long-term goals? Is this a place I can see myself at?” That’s not a common mindset for people because a lot of times they go where the money is at. They might be at one job for a year and another job for eight months.
They have this reputation of job-hopping because they want to go where the money is at or they want to go where they’re getting an inflated job title. My perspective has always been finding a place where you are going to fit long-term. There’s also a bunch of people that want to find a place where they can retire. That might be too large of a picture for a lot of people because you’re thinking 30, 40 years down the line, but at least you’re thinking down the road, “Can I see myself not only doing this job today but also growing within that organization?” That is a huge piece. I’m not concerned about, “Am I going to fit in this job today?” I want to know, “Do I have opportunities to grow? What do those look like? Does that align with what I’m looking for?”
It’s encouraging to have growth potential within whatever we’re choosing. That is a great rubric as well. Being someone who came out of college got into a youth ministry role, and then has now found yourself in a much different career than you’ve ever expected. It’s the same with me. I never planned or expected to do any of the things I’m doing now. That is more common than not in people’s experience. In that college to career transition, do you have any other things to share, experiences, even advice, or suggestions for people if they’re approaching that place in life or making any transition in life? What has your wide experience taught you in that?
To have the right mindset and not being too big for an opportunity. You talked about the youth ministry and that was a passion of mine. I thought that’s the direction that I was going to go. During that time, we found out Allie was pregnant. I knew at the time that it was hard for me to get a full-time job with benefits that could support our family. I had to look at different routes. You didn’t mention that I was in car sales for a while. Not a lot of people would see me as a car salesman. That shift in perspective for me. I don’t know that I see myself being a car salesman but at the same time, I’m not going to say that I’m bigger than that opportunity. I’m going to give it a shot because the door opened and make the most of it.
I didn’t get my first recruitment job if I wasn’t in that car sales role. That’s what stood out in my resume because they liked that sales background. In a recruitment role, you are selling an organization. I don’t know that I would be in my seat now if it weren’t for those previous experiences. If I would have looked at those from the mindset of, “I’m not a car salesman. I’m not going to do that job.” I probably wouldn’t be where I’m at now. If you can go into those experiences with an open mind, you may be in a career completely different down the road, but it might be because of those entry-level experiences that you had right out of college.
I also would like to make a disclaimer, he was a good salesman at that too. He was killing the game. I remember that. I got to see that in action back in the day.
I was selling Fords and now, everyone in the family and all my friends have Fords.
I’ve got a Ford too. Subconsciously you implanted that, and now here we are. Don’t be too big for the opportunity. That can’t be stated enough. Even for myself, I’ve been trying to grow more of the speaking side. That’s been a slow process. A lot of times we like to think, “I’m going to hold this high level for my brand that only accepts this level of payment or whatever it may be.” I remember talking to Ben Courson on the show. He was like, “For several years I said yes to every single opportunity came my way so I can get the experience and get out there, and be in front of many people as possible.”
The great thing is don’t be bigger than any opportunity that’s in front of you. We’re naive or ignorant when we do think we’re bigger then because every single opportunity matters. It’s an opportunity to grow as a person but also impact those around us. A big part of our lives is our faith. Being in a corporate environment is a tough place sometimes to be living in alignment with our identity and our ideals as followers of Jesus. From your experience in your time there, what has been your approach in operating within HR standard, but also being a light and being someone who’s impacting your workspace for the kingdom?
It’s interesting coming from the ministry background I was in a role where I was able to teach through scripture and on a daily basis, be able to walk people through their journey with Christ to now being in a corporate environment where I am part of the human resources team. There are certain things that you can and can’t say. What I’ve learned through that is just the simple decision in holding to your values, it may sound a little cheesy, but that goes a long way. I remember early on in the job that I’m in now, there were experiences where I made mistakes. The mistakes cost us money. It’s going to be hard for anyone to own up to that and say, “That was on me.”
It might be easy to try and push it off and not take ownership. I was nervous going into my boss’ office about to admit, “That mistake was on me, this is what I did.” My boss was put back based on that conversation. I could have easily swept it aside and not taken ownership. It wouldn’t have gotten noticed, but he appreciated the fact that I was truthful. I had no reason to push that off on anyone else. The simple thing of holding to your values in a corporate environment is so important. When you’re in that environment, there are many daily decisions that you’re involved with that affect many pieces of the puzzle or many parts of the business.
If you’re able to set yourself apart by holding strong to your values, people notice that. Not only that, it’s also infectious. I have an employee that works side by side with me. If I’m able to instill that that’s important in this space, he’s going to be able to take that and make similar decisions. I don’t know if he’s a believer or if he has faith, but at least it’s creating some good in sometimes a very toxic environment. It seems simple but it’s one way that you’re able to shine some light on that.
Holding to your values and the example you shared is showing that it’s generative. It creates that in others. We can create a culture of that by the example that we live in. Taking ownership is such an awesome way, especially for our mistakes to show that, “I’m not doing this because it’s fun or I’m comfortable with what I want to do, but it’s because it’s who I am as a person. It’s my values, my integrity and my character. I’m going to take ownership of these mistakes even though I know they cost a lot of money and it could cost me my job, or it could cost me some of my paychecks.” It’s so powerful that testimony of living in alignment with our character, ideals and our faith. It’s a non-negotiable. It’s going to make a difference.
I’ve always wanted to leave different conversations or situations with whoever else is involved in those experiences with me to come away from it, asking the question, “Why did he do that? What made him make that decision?” Maybe it’s not normal. As believers, if we’re able to do that with nonbelievers, we’re doing our job because they’re seeing the light in us, and then asking that question, “Why is he like that? Why did he do that?”
It’s such great practical wisdom. I love what you’ve shared. We’re going to round out with a few one-offs here before we’re done. The first is going to be less, more and not. What do you want to do less often, more often and not at all?Being the best you is what every single person needs collectively to create the most unity in this very divided time. Click To Tweet
I have a dad bod now. I’ve had this thought in the back of my head where I need to take action and make better decisions. In college, we were eating and putting whatever into our bodies. I need to eat a lot less junk food. That’s tough to do, especially with how much I cook and barbecue. I want to travel more and I didn’t do that as a kid. My wife did more so than myself. She’s more of the adventurous. I’ve wanted to push myself to do that more. We’ve started to move that way. We’re going out fishing and starting to talk about camping. That’s something that I would want to do more. For not at all, there are a lot of opportunities for me that I need to cut things out, but let’s revisit that.
What question do you ask yourself the most?
I am asking myself, “Was I the best me?” What I mean by that is with the opportunities, with the circumstances that came my way, did I make the best decisions that align with what I want in life? Whether that’s dealing with fatherhood. I would say more self-evaluation because it’s easy to get caught in this space where you’re living this monotonous life and you’re not challenging yourself on a daily basis from a mindset perspective. I always am questioning, “Was I the best dad? Was I the best husband? Was I the best employee? Was I the best brother?” They present opportunities for me to get better.
What book or books have had the biggest impact on you?
I’ve had finished my Master’s program. I was reading a lot. There was a book called Leading Change. I don’t remember the author. What stuck with me in this book is it took leadership to a whole new ball game for me. I’ve had experiences with good leaders, but learning how to bring about change in an organization and a home in many different facets of our life, that challenged me in a lot of different ways. That was a good book.
If you could teach a class for a semester, what would you teach and why? You can also pick the age.
I did take a career class in high school. It was a program called AVID where it starts to ingrain what you want to do for your career. Where do you want to go to school? That would be something of interest because that’s been something that I’ve been heavily involved with. I’m still somewhat young where I think I can make those connections with high schoolers to be able to shed some light on that experience and provide some direction for them.
Last question, the one we ask every guest is if you could send a morning text reminder to every up and comer out there, what would you say and why? This would be a short message they receive from you every morning on their phone.
I’m going to go with the same question that I asked myself and revolving around self-evaluation, “Are you being the best you?” Being an up and comer, you don’t want to live in this stagnant lifestyle where you aren’t challenging yourself and all of these different circumstances, especially in our stage of life. We’re going through many different things within our economy. Some historic things where we need to be challenging ourselves to be better friends, to be better coworkers, to be better neighbors. If we can spread that one person to another, that will be infectious. That’s what we need. We’re in a pretty bad state as far as a community is concerned.
I couldn’t agree more. Being the best you is what every single person needs collectively to create the most unity in this very divided time. This has been a blast. Thanks for coming on and sharing a bit of your experience, life and journey this far. It’s been fun to watch from afar and up close at times. I’m stoked for what’s ahead for you and your beautiful family.
Thank you. I appreciate you having me. I’d like to also say to any of the readers. I’m more than welcome to offer an assisting hand. If anybody wants any advice on interviews or wants to run a resume by me, I would love to be able to help anyone that might need some support in that arena. Thane, feel free to publish my email address or anything.
Tell the people where’s a good place to connect with you. That’s always the last thing I end with. Where can people find you and where can they reach out to you?
My Instagram handle is @Joakester. I’m on there quite a bit or Facebook. For business purposes, if anyone wants to reach out to me, just my full name, JoshRichardOakes@Gmail.com. Feel free to send me your resume and some questions that you might have. I’d love to help.
This has been awesome. I love you and I appreciate you and your family.
Thanks again for the opportunity. I cherish our friendship and I enjoyed the conversation.
For all of you reading, we hope you have an up and coming week because we are out.
Following up with one last thing to note. If you would like to get a curated list of all the content I’m learning from whether that be books I’m reading, podcasts I’m listening to, quotes I’m pondering, or even some sermons I’m enjoying, In-Thane is a monthly newsletter that brings vetted content that I know you’ll enjoy. Go to ThaneMarcus.com/inthane to sign up and you’ll be sure to receive the very next one. Each edition of In-Thane is released on the first Sunday of the month. This is a once a month newsletter that I hope you enjoy and benefit from as much as I have. Here’s to learning and growing one day at a time.
- Apple Podcast The Up and Comers Show
- @UpAndComersShow Instagram
- Agile Sourcing Partners
- LinkedIn Josh Oakes
- Facebook Josh Oakes
- @Joakester – Instagram
- Ben Courson past episode
- Leading Change
About Josh Oakes
Currently, I am the Corporate Recruiter at Agile Sourcing Partners with an interest in building the most effective workplace possible. I specialize in managing the hiring process effectively in order to retain high level candidates. I am passionate about being a business partner to my organization and supporting our hiring managers and employees to be set-up for success to achieve department and company goals. I have experience working in the Utilities, Finance and Staffing industries.
When I’m not on the job, I love spending time with my wife and two kids, being on the golf course, and working with kids in the local community at my church.
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