Welcome to Strategy + Action
April 4, 2022

Ep36 Julian Placino - Recruiting with Strategic Content

Today on the show, Strategy + Action = Recruiting with Engaging Content.  


Julian Placino is on the show today.  I've had the great fortune to know Julian for several years now from the beginnings of his show Pathways to Success, to leaving his full-time job to start his own company.  


We dig in specifically around the business he's created to help companies recruit at a level nobody else is doing ...


...in a way nobody else is doing, taking his amazing skills as a recruiter, and then his skills as a media creator and combining those into a system for companies to reach candidates that aren't even looking and to convince those who are looking to consider them.


As Julian points out in the show, "Everyone wins when a company is fully staffed."


We're in a time right now when there is massive competition for hiring great talent.  And companies need to not just "have a great company culture" ... that we hear about a lot, right?  They need to be able to show that candidate how their culture really is different and what they really value and show it in a way that's going to help that candidate make that quick decision.  Julian is creating systems for companies to empower their entire staff to bring in top talent and funnel them to internal recruiters.


Julian brings us some incredible insights around the power of personal branding as well:

- When you can see content as a way of creating passive income for your reputation, then you will start to see its real power.  "I create a piece of content once and it pays me over the lifetime as social equity."

- "Increased access to people gives you increased access to opportunity."

We dig into Julian's background quite a bit, but we spend a whole lot of time around this new amazing offer and what he's doing for companies now. 


Today on the show, Strategy + Action = Recruiting with Precision Content

Julian Placino is on the show today. I've had the great fortune to know Julian for several years now since the beginnings of his show pathways to success, to leaving his full time job to start his own company.  We really dig in today, specifically around his business that he's created helping companies recruit at a level nobody else is doing in a way nobody else is doing. Taking his amazing skills as a recruiter, and then his skills as a media creator and combining those into a system for these companies to reach candidates that aren't even looking that are looking but need that convincing to come to them a little bit.

We're in a time right now, when hiring good talent, there's, there's a big competition there for that. And companies need to not just have a great company culture, yada yada that we hear about a lot, right? They need to be able to show that candidate, how their culture is different and what they really value. And do it in a way that's going to help that candidate make that quick decision. So I want to jump into this interview with Julian.  We dig in to his his background quite a bit, but a whole lot more around this new amazing offer and what he's doing for companies now. So let's dive in.

How's it going, everybody? Welcome to Episode 36 of Strategy + Action.  And I say this a lot:  but today, I am crazy super excited about who I've brought to you for this show, Julien Pacino. How are you sir?

I'm good. Jason, how are you? Thanks for having me on.

Absolutely. I, I have the good fortune of knowing Julian and have for several years now. And so instead of, you know, being stingy with with this amazing person in my life, I thought I'd share it with with the audience here. Love what you're doing, man. And we're gonna we're gonna get into a lot of that. But I know, you know, we've been catching up and chatting about creating content and really building a business around specifically content, you know, we, we all hear that everywhere, you know, video contents, the next thing and you need to do it and blah, blah, blah. But it's just sort of, Okay. How, and then especially as you dive into different industries, Julian is the host of pathways to success. It has been for several years now. Great, phenomenal interview show started out audio only podcast, evolved into full scale video show, multi camera, beautifully done. And you're That's it. That's what we call an edit point. That's why Jason doesn't do live quite yet. He's learning how to do these interview things a little bit. One day, he'll know what he's doing. So tell everybody, though, your your background, you know, some some folks may know you from the show, right? Because you've been doing that for a while now. What led to that? And what were you doing, as you started that show, and even before?

So my background professional background is technology recruiting for the past 16 years ago, that has been my corporate discipline. So around 2016 as a passion project, I started my podcast pathways to success. And that show completely transformed my life in very public and verifiable ways. So started in 2016. Now we're actually at Episode 216, into shows turned into a media company. So I know there's this shows about how to create a business out of media. And I think there's some important lessons that I could share, I could share along the way of how that happened. But as I continued to build my media business, I began to infuse all of these insights that I had with recruiting, which is the current iteration of my company, which is a recruitment and marketing firm, which is like the highest expression of all of the utilization of my skills, backgrounds and capabilities. So I have help companies compete for top talent using video training and digital strategy.

I mean, that offer that you've got going, we were talking about that and we'll dig into it deep. What you've created this company have created is just, I mean, it, it gets me excited. It's not my company, and I just, I just love it so much. I'm so happy for you with it. Because it's it really is bringing in all of these things that you've built this specialty around and putting them together in a way that not only is perfect for you to run and do, but isn't being done out there that like anyway, to the degree that you're doing that. And I love that. So before we dig into that even more, what was that? What was that spark, though? That what was that little itch to even start that show back when you were, you know, working for bottle rocket when you were in recruiting? What even prompted all of that,

you know, I love my background, I love bottle rocket, he was instrumental in a very demonstratable way and setting me on this entrepreneurial path. But the truth was, I was kind of in a frustrated place in my career, because I've actually been very entrepreneurial. And I've tried network marketing, I've done real estate of the internet business and all these kinds of things. And around 2016, I was actually getting burned out at of trying to be entrepreneurial, because I wasn't really achieving any kind of success.

And it was all sort of like those things that you could do on the side sort of while still having a full time job Correct. Like during that time. So still trying to scratch that itch of entrepreneurialism while maintaining that full time job.

Yes, 100%. It's like I'm the king of a side hustle. I was always doing something on the side trying to get my financial freedom through some type of entrepreneurial mechanism, right. But the podcast was the first time I actually did something entrepreneurial, without any kind of expectations of success. I wanted to do it purely just because of the enjoyment out of it. And that's what brought you and me together. Do you remember that? It's like I started reaching out to people, it was Jason Osbourne, I said, Hey, who do you know, who started a podcast before and that's how you and I became friends. And you showed me how to do it. And it turns out, doing something that you love is the right kind of energy to develop competence and mastery over something. And as I continued to do the podcast, I started to gain these insights, build a personal brand and connect them to ways to deliver value within the marketplace, which ultimately allowed me to leave corporate America in March of 2019.

Yeah. I don't know how I don't know how actionable this is for folks. And this is kind of why it's what I struggle with is trying to communicate what you just talked about what I've, what I've witnessed with you over the last few years, is that, you know, we hear follow your passion or do this and in all of that, and again, that's sort of something that's a little esoteric, and just sort of out there. But there's something about feeling that itch, having that hunch that gut level, there's, there's just something here, married to not having that defined outcome, like you talked about, like, Oh, I'm going to go start a podcast, because then I'll make, you know, $100,000 by the end of next year, because I'm going to run out, you know, like, some people go that way. But, but that combination of not also though not going the other end of the spectrum and going, you know, I just want I just want to, you know, hear my own voice. And I just want to, you know, I don't know, it's kind of a podcast, just kind of every now and then I do it, you know, that's the other end of the spectrum. And, and I don't think either of those are the right path, and certainly not the one you're describing, which is there's, there's just this itch, there's like, there's something here, and it has, it's gonna lead me somewhere. And there's, there's so such power in taking that step and finding out. And then along the way to though, you know, making at least micro commitments that I'm going to do it for x amount of episodes or X amount of months or something and see if there are some results. Because then you can go in and go, Okay, what's the data I've collected from this? You know, is this leading me in a direction that I want to continue down or not? And it seemed like you had a lot of those little little points, like following that gut? And there's like, oh, well, this came from the show. So let me continue down this this path, right.

Yeah, I think what would be most valuable for your audience would be to talk about the contact points of When did having a podcast and a personal brand actually begin to sort of monetize like that bridge. But the thing that first started this Jason is was a place of frustration. Truly, it's just, I wanted to do it because I was frustrated with my career and I wanted to do something that fed my soul. But throughout that process, it was the right kind of energy to get good at this particular thing. Right. So when I first started the podcast, I had no one to interview I interviewed my sister, I interviewed my best friend, you know what I'm saying. But it's like, I started to realize that I love the process. And I was getting good at it, and people could see it in the content, right? And because of that, that really began to expand my network. So around Episode 100, really, I had a listener reach out to me and say, Hey, Julian, how did you build your personal brand? And for me, I was like, personal brand. What does that? What does that even mean? Don't you have to be Beyonce to have a personal brand. But what this individual was referring to was all of this stuff that I created this social footprint, it became a way for people to get to know who I was, what I cared about, and how I could help them. without me having to say it myself. You see, I saw creating content as reputation passive income, I create a piece of content once, and it pays me over the lifetime in the form of social equity. So what are the benefits of having a personal brand? Number one, it's increased access to people. Whenever I reach out to people who engage with me first, they always respond. So increased access to people gives you increased access to opportunity. Second, is trust, credibility and authority. And everyone knows that people like to work with buy from and hire people they know, like and trust. And lastly, you begin to expand your network by way of a social following. And I have learned a social following has nothing to do with vanity metrics, but everything to do with building a communication channel of people who know like and trust you. So I became by doing something that I love, a recruiter who built a personal brand. And it was meaningful differentiation. So my first business that allowed me to leave was teaching recruiting companies how to build a personal brand. That's how I was able to monetize the insights I gained from the podcast. Does that make sense?

Absolutely. Yeah. And taking that first step, and in there's, again, I want everybody everybody listening to, to understand and pick up on on a couple of these things like, you know, Episode 100 is when some light bulbs went off, and I'm sure there were plenty of little micro, you know, benefits along the way and insights and things that happen along the way. But, but something big shifted at episode 100. And that just speaks to the consistency that that honestly, I you know, I've watched you have over these these years, which is just phenomenal, and really makes a huge difference. So what was that first? So when you were when you were taking recruiting, as I'm gonna train recruiters, I'm assuming like to have a personal brand and reach out to folks, is that correct?

Yeah. So how did I make that first dollar? Right? That's always important to talk about, like, how did you create that first monetization? What were the steps? What actually happened? Right? So my personal brand bled over to LinkedIn, that's actually where I have the most of my social following, right? So I started creating these videos to help other recruiters. And the first video that I made was how to make a cold call. And it generated 34,000 views in nine days. And this was the first time I experienced any kind of virality. So I was making this useful information about recruiting and speaking directly to their pain points. So what sort of happened, I started to attract this following of all of these recruiters from all over the country, the English speaking world asking me for advice for coaching for help. And I saw the consistency of everyone kept having the same problems, right. So what did I do? I, I turned all those like training pain points into a product. And then I sold it into the market. You see my personal brand, and my following informed me of pain points of a product that I could create. And I called it I called it insider secrets to winning business and staffing, right. And that's how I acquired my first my first two corporate clients, and I side hustle that while I was working about a rocket, and within six months of side hustling, that teaching that particular curriculum, I was able to secure a six figure contract with one of my clients and be able to exit working full time and go full time into my company. And that since then, as you have seen has turned into different things. So that's how I did it.

Yeah, and that's, that's exactly what to grab onto. Right, is that you were sitting in a room going, what should I sell? Right? Like you were taking in data while being active in that personal brand kind of things, creating content? What am I good at? What can I help people with putting that out there? And then paying attention, right and seeing that, oh, wow, something's really clicked here. There must be a pain point out there. I know how to solve that. Let me let me see if somebody will, will pay to solve that. And then in going down that path, and it's sounds very simple. It sounds like Well, yeah, that's what you should do. But way too many of us do the let me sit there, I don't want to start a show yet. Until I know, like what I'm selling. And then let me think about a cool idea, you know, and we sit there in the dark room for way too long thinking up stuff that maybe somebody doesn't even want.

Yet you cannot create in a vacuum, especially when you're making something out of nothing. You have to be around and engage with your prospective customers to understand what exactly is it that they're looking for? Right? Because when I was getting all that feedback from LinkedIn about like the market telling me, what are the training pain points, I was only assuming that I could get I could monetize that, right. But I took this and I started to meet with the CEOs of the staffing firms, and said, Hey, do you have these problems? And number one, they validated right? And then I said, okay, cool. So if I, if I created a training product that could help you achieved these particular outcomes based on these needs, what would you pay me to do that, right? And then we just worked out a price. And there you go, and I sold it once. And that became my market rate. Right, that I could do it again. And if you sell and meet the needs of one particular customer, that that that represents a market, because that's not the only one having that issue, right? So Mark Cuban, he always says that, He says, You just have to be right once. But when you're right, that one time you establish a market value, you start to get a sense of who your customer is. And then as you continue to deliver you build a better and superior product.

That's strong. I love it. So speaking of superior products, I want to get him to dig into what you're doing for folks right now, if you can take take us through what this all encompassing, eight years in the making, as you mentioned, you know, product and offering that you've got going on right now. Because it's, it's really strong. And it is amazing to see all of your experience on the recruiting side of things, all your experience now on the media side of things and bringing those things together and just a unique, amazing way.

Yeah, so I have a recruitment, marketing consultancy, that helps companies compete for the best talent in the marketplace. And I do it through video training and digital strategy. So on the video piece, we create a bank of video content that sells the employer brand, and becomes an arsenal for their internal recruiters and employees to share content and generate conversations with prospective candidates. That's one.

So I've seen that I'm gonna interrupt you just for clarity for everybody. I've seen examples of it. But But essentially, what this is, for instance, would be an interview with the CEO, right, that you would put into these meaningful like clips that they're talking about their company, and what they're looking for, correct?

Yeah, yeah. So so there's there's a few specific kinds of videos that we create the recruitment, marketing ads, the ones that you saw, video, job descriptions, employee advocacy videos and Docu series is that we create for their employees, right? So yes, that's how it first originally started, were these interviews that I was having on the podcast, right. But every time I'd have a leader come on the show, they were ultimately talking about how great their company was, because they're trying to attract talent. Well, I saw that we could take little snippets of that and turn them into ADS, right. And that was the seed of this of this, of this company here. Because we could, we could create that content and acquire distribution and stick it in front of prospective candidates. So that's the first thing we do is you create a bank of video content that a company can use to attract candidates and become an arsenal to to proactively generate conversations with candidates, that's the first piece. And the second piece is training. So I come in, and I train a company's employee base, basic recruiting skills and personal branding tactics. So basic recruiting skills to teach their employees how to reach out to candidates in their network, how to have conversations, and ultimately to referrals internally for recruiting, personal branding tactics to help them increase their social influence on LinkedIn, for the purpose of recruiting. It's about galvanizing an entire organization and building a recruiting culture. So that's what I do in the on the training front. And lastly, is the digital strategy. As you and I discussed, it's one thing to create good content, but now you got to get the people you want to see it. You have to get it in front of them. Right. So I designed a digital strategy that capitalizes on the the corporate channels and also employee channels. And I have both paid and also organic strategies.

That's strong. So that training you're going in you're you're basically now creating an entire company of potential recruiters at that point. Right.

Right, exactly. And the thing is that we don't need them to do full on recruiting. We just need to give them we need to teach them how to open up conversations, and then tee them up to recruiting so recruiting can run with it. It's about generating referrals through the existing networks that your company has. And that little clip that I showed you Every company has these hidden referrals that exist within their employees network. But this is a way of bringing recruiting to the forefront raising awareness and teaching your employees skills on how they can reach out to candidates and their network. Because the fact of the matter is this, everyone wins when a company is fully staffed. And that's the truth.

Yeah, and so these are some really important distinctions that that I even didn't pick up on the first time time through, which is really strong here. So number one, that empowering those employees to be able to refer folks is because you're, you know, they're able to reach their buddy who's, you know, down the street, or in a different state, or whatever it is, that isn't even looking, right, they're not even looking to go somewhere else. But they have that influence with that person, if you armed them with the tools of how to reach out why this is a good fit. And recruiter wouldn't even get to because that friends not looking so you've got that you've got that piece which crazy strong. But then in my mind is I hear that, you know, I, I stand in the in the recruiters, internal recruiters and external recruit, you know, of these companies and go like, hold on. That's my job. What are you doing, man? But then what's really, again, strong and that distinction that I didn't pick up the first time was, this is this is a referral, this is to just reach that candidate, the employee, I'm assuming can be rewarded for that referral aspect in some way. But then it still goes to the recruiter right? For them, wait, bring that person in

100%. So the biggest pain point that recruiters have is lead gen filling that top of the line funnel, right for candidates for them to reach out to this is a way of turning the entire company into digital sources for that recruiter, high quality referrals that come from the existing network, right. So like what you mentioned, what employees have is access because it is their best friend, because it is their previous boss, they can reach out and they'll get a response. Because it's a crazy candidate market right now. Just even having the title recruiter on your LinkedIn profile will cause top talent to throw their hands up because it's like everyone is being reached out to right now from recruiters. But if you work into the network and be intentional about that process, I'm telling you, it increases your access, access gives you speed and good engineers, no other good engineers, good salespeople, no other good salespeople. So you're getting speed, access and quality by implementing the strategy.

So walk me through to I want to finish out on that that digital strategy a little bit too because there's some some little pieces in there that are crazy strong. But also walk me through a, you know, a scenario you walk in to Acme whoever, you know, Acme digital, you're walking into there, and you're gonna do this for them. What is that process? What's that timeline?

Yeah, so the first step in the process of any engagement is the E VP discovery. EVP stands for employment value proposition. So in sales and marketing, we have the USP unique selling proposition but in recruiting, we have the EVP employment value proposition, we can't just start creating content arbitrarily, it has to be based on the uniqueness of the company, right? So I conduct three Discovery sessions with their executive stakeholders and talent leaders, most tenured employees, and least tenured employees. And I interview them as far as what are the most compelling reasons why somebody should come work for this organization? What I get from that conversation is a triad of perspective. And I look for the overlap to see what are these intersecting points that everyone finds value in in that company, right. So once I have kind of that EVP report, we'll create a type form survey, send it out to the rest of the company to validate or update that that EVP, and there's two kinds of EVPs that exists the global EVP the employment value proposition that exists for everyone in the organization, despite the discipline, and then the discipline specific EVP to be a software engineer at Company A is different than being a software engineer, you know, Facebook, or Google or any other place, right. And that's how you compete in the marketplace. Everyone is starting salary, everyone's going parts everyone is selling flexibility. But what are the uniqueness of only your company can offer the candidate marketplace and how does that help the individual candidate achieve their personal goals? That's how you win in the market.

That's yeah, that's crazy strong. Yeah, especially in this market. Right? Because you know, there there is in a, you know, amount of talent out there who's thinking they can be choosy right now. And when you can not only have the company culture, that's great and it could attract it. That's, that's one thing. That's like having a great product. But if you if it's in your garage, and nobody knows about it, except the people who come in Now your Raj is not doing you a lot of good Out in the out in the marketplace, right? So being able to then capture that company culture, that belief that what's really going on there and broadcast that in a very strategic way, like you're doing crazy, crazy strong, one, walk walk me through to that that last piece on the digital strategy that we didn't quite get into. Also, which is, you know, it's one thing to have this idea in, like, oh, go to a company and do this, but then the systems that you have in place are really strong, like the employee was employee engagement platform, or employee advocacy, advocacy platform. Yeah, that's what walked me through that a little bit.

So I'll talk about kind of the the key features of each one. So let's talk about the corporate strategy first, right on the corporate channels. So something that a lot of companies don't have experience with his paid recruitment marketing. So basically, associated media spend with marketing their their marketing their employment value proposition, right. So what we do is we come in, we assess what are their openings? Where are they located, where the specific candidate profiles, and then my team will recommend a reader to do a Facebook campaign Instagram, tick tock, LinkedIn, dice, whatever it is right to create that paid media spend, and specifically attracting the passive candidate market, any recruiter will talk about, I want to reach passive candidates, passive candidates. But what's the scalable strategy for that, this is how you do that. And we take the content that we produce, which turns into kind of ads, and then we have my team come in and run the ads to create that brand awareness, drive applique instance, to generate referrals. So that's the quarter piece of things right. And on the employee side of things is we implement an employee advocacy platform, which allows a company to track gamify and amplify the social media activity of the employees, anything that you want to improve, you have to be able to measure and track and that's exactly what this does. And the particular platform that I use has a one click Share functionality. So it makes it so simple, and eliminates the resistance of employee sharing on LinkedIn,

two benefits, right. So employee, like, like you go in and you talk to them, you mentioned when we were talking earlier, helping them build their own personal brand within the company for all the benefits that that can bring. And then secondarily, they can earn a referral fee or anything like that that's tracked through that same platform, right?

Yeah. So the way that we deliver with the way that we deliver the implementation of this is we always first start with the with the individual employee, how does this benefit them. And the truth of the matter is building your personal brand benefits them, they become like an ambassador for the organization, they become more of a leader on the platform and increases their social influence, right. And you really do attract the kind of people that you educate, inspire, and entertain. And that's what happens whenever you have to build a personal brand. So we start with that, first, this is beneficial for your career, right. And then we create further alignment with most companies have a referral bonus, right. But this is a way of digitally tracking that so an ATS can create an affiliate link, we give all their employees an affiliate link. And now they are creating social media content becoming active on social. And now there's that financial incentive of oh, hey, by the way, apply now they get tagged in the system and will be issued internally like the referral bonus, right? It's a way of digitizing and scaling a referral process.

What you're doing is just it mean, it's validated. It's it's, you know, makes so much sense for these companies to bring in. But it's also so timely, like, right now, it's needed more than ever, on all of this. And then taking all of the that digital strategy aspect. You've got numbers and data and all of these things to now back up its usefulness, besides even the, you know, the, here's how many people were brought into the company, you know, because of it. That's, that's powerful. For sure. And then I imagine to just as a, as a great little icing on top of everything else. You're also just leveling up that company's brand out in the marketplace overall, even outside of recruiting. Right.

100% Yeah, you know, for me, sales and recruiting has always been tied very much. Because if you think about what recruiting is, it's connecting with other people. What is sales, it's connecting with other people also, who happened just to be your clients. So it works both ways. But the slant that I have specifically is for talent acquisition.

Yeah, that's great. Well, this is this is this is fun. And what's the what's the next level of this? Just getting that out in front of more more folks at this point?

Yeah, so So right now, I've worked with tech companies have between 50 to 350 employees, specifically in technology. I'm working here in the Dallas area, but I'm able to virtualize aspects of my training as well. But yeah, so that's the piece of it and eventually it looks like a very soon already. I'm having to start to hire, to be able to remove myself from the business because if you look at what it is that I'm creating, it's sort of an agency model. So yeah, big vision for what it is that we're

building. Excited, man. So where can people go to find out more?

Find out, but check connect with the unlinked in. I'm actually the only Julian Placido that's ever existed. So you can Google me, you can find me on LinkedIn, I'll be the first search result that comes up.

Perfect. Julie, thank you so much for being on here. And anything else that the audience here can can help you with and send people your way or anything like that?

No, I think that's it. LinkedIn is the best place to connect with me. So I look forward to connecting with you all there.

Awesome. Thanks so much. We'll see you all next time. 

Julian PlacinoProfile Photo

Julian Placino


Julian Placino is a recruiter turned recruitment marketing consultant, speaker, and media entrepreneur. With 16 years of recruiting experience, Julian has helped leading corporations attract, recruit, and retain top talent. Julian has personally hired over 400 world-class professionals in technology, creative arts, and sales. For 7 years, he led talent acquisition at Bottle Rocket, one of the premier mobile development firms in the world.

Julian has spoken for over a decade to corporations, conferences, and universities about recruiting, personal branding, and career success.

(watch speaking trailer ==> https://youtu.be/1ZkscnNDLo4)

As the host of Pathways to Success, he interviews exceptional leaders about their journeys to success. He's produced 215 episodes, generated more than 100,000 downloads, created over 1.5 million Linkedin views, and has interviewed founders, CEOs, New York Times bestselling authors, TEDx speakers, professional athletes, and prolific entrepreneurs.

His company, Pathways Affiliated, helps companies attract top talent using digital recruiting strategies.