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HR in the Car - Episode 1: "Whose Idea Was This, Anyway?"

Our first episode is here! Join Miriam and Tom Schin as we jump into the Podcast forum talking about a number of trends and issues facing HR professionals. You’ll learn a little bit about how they first met, and early interactions. These set the tone for our approach, and direction for HR in the Car. Buckle up for what’s sure to become a wonderful Joy Ride of stories from HR professionals and business leaders.


Miriam Dushane, PHR, SHRM-CP

Managing Partner

Alaant Workforce Solutions 

LinkedIn |


Tom Schin

Director, Talent Acquisition Partnerships & Recruitment Consulting Services

Alaant Workforce Solutions

LinkedIn |

Voiceover Intro: Welcome to HR in the car with Miriam Dushane and Tom Schin of Alaant workforce solutions where exciting HR Professionals and business leaders share laughter, insider stories and maybe even a few tears about HR in today's world. Buckle up for the best 20 minutes of your week.

Miriam: So, Tom, whose idea was this anyway to do a podcast?

Tom: Well, you remember how String on our team says that you and I kind of live in this rainbow and unicorn world? I think this is one of those moments that just hit me one day. I'm like, We should do a podcast because we were talking about so many different ideas from communication vehicles, sense of meaning, how do we share information? We've got our newsletter and so on and so forth, and it just the podcast just hit us one day I'm like, Let's do this. And you're like, Okay.

Miriam: Well, you know, I'm always up for a good way to get out there and talk about something or just talk. So that helps as well.

Tom: Yeah. And I'm envisioning our colleagues, just thinking, what are these two up to now?

Miriam: Oh, absolutely. Because well, the good thing is, I think we are doing so much like from a marketing or HR perspective or just, you know, out in the community helping others that I think we have lots of friends that we can highlight and showcase through this venue that maybe they don't their they fly under the radar a little bit and now we can give them a little bit more of a spotlight. Not everybody I mean, John Bagyi, for example, he's going to be one of our speakers. And I don't know if there's anyone who doesn't know who John Bagyi is at this point, but I think there's others that we have that I'm excited to talk to them more about their businesses and just them in general.

Tom: But for me, as hearing the stories or being that fly on the wall. You know, there's so many times where you hear folks, so I was having lunch with so-and-so or coffee with so-and-so and you're like, I wanted to be there or I wish I would have been there. And so I think this for me is a way for others to kind of listen in on some of those conversations, get some of those nuances and stories that you wish you were there firsthand. It'll be just like that. They'll be hearing it for the first time and have some context to be able to relate to it when they run into them eventually. Either John or any of our other future guests.

Miriam: Definitely. I always feel like it's a little bit of a competition, like, oh yeah, well, I can top that story with this story and so on and so forth. Because I mean, I think back on my 20 years, God, 20 years of staffing and recruiting and um I have tons of things that have happened to me and you have probably just as many, if not more. And obviously, the recruiters that we work with, they they encounter some really wacky things every single day. Did I ever tell you the story about the squirrel?

Tom: Squirrel?

Miriam: Like a purple squirrel? No, not a purple squirrel. Like what we talk about in recruiting. I'm talking about a real live squirrel.

Tom: Does this involve your sister?

Miriam: No. No, but how hilarious would that be? No, it doesn't involve my sister. It actually involves an applicant. So many years ago, when we were still meeting with people in person, you know, COVID has changed our world when it comes to that. We were working on a position for a client and the client actually was visiting our office and using our space to conduct the interviews. Now, when I talk about this job, it was more of a I want to say entry level kind of warehouse ish. Not really. But there was like it was working in that type of environment. So a little bit maybe more industrial and so we had recruited about five people and the client was just going to come in and do you know, rapid round interviews, one right after the other. And one of the women was late to her interview, but she did show up about 15 minutes late. And we were like, you know, of course, horrified because we want everybody to be on time and be perfect for their interviews. And she's like, I'm really sorry I'm late. There was an emergency and I had to take care of it. And we're like, okay, no problem. You know, we're glad that you're here, but you got to get going, right? And she's like, Well, do you want to know what my emergency was? And so, of course, we're at this point humoring her because we're like, you're making this even like you're going to be later, right? And she's in our office and they're clients in the office, but not in earshot. So she said, Well, I discovered a baby squirrel on my way here, and it was on the side of the road and I couldn't leave it there, so I had to rescue it. And we're like, Oh, that's nice. Whatever. She's like, Do you want to see it? And we're like, Excuse me? She had brought the baby squirrel into our office and had it in her freaking pocket.

Tom: That's fantastic.

Miriam: I swear. So it's like she wanted to, like, basically prove she wasn't lying. But who does that? Who brings a wild animal slash road in into a professional office for their interview?

Tom: That's the best.

Miriam: Yup.

Tom: I don't think I've ever seen anybody bring any animal into an interview, but these days you see so many folks with service animals. Ya know, to help them.

Miriam: This was not a support squirrel. This was not a support squirrel, no.

Tom: I wonder if Abby would bring, like, a support rabbit because she's got her bunny, right? Yeah. Yeah, that would be a little bit better, because it's not going to like you're not going to be afraid of a squirrel jumping out of somebody's pocket and running amok and biting somebody.

Miriam: Well, and, you know, the funniest part was the team didn't know what the hell to do with that. We're like, what do we do now? Like, does she interview with the client? And it was just it was the most ridiculous thing. And then the one other really funny one that comes to mind quickly was we had an applicant who came to our office about 15 minutes early for interview and she proceeds. We said, you know, you're a few minutes early, the recruiter is finishing up with someone else. Someone will be right with you. And so she's out in our lobby and she proceeds to pull out. Actually, one of my favorite things to eat the nothing but bundt cakes asks our receptionist for a fork so that she can eat her bundt cake before her interview with us. And the receptionist actually gave her a fork and like let her eat it in our lobby. And we're like, What are you doing? She's like, I didn't know what to do. She caught me off guard.

Tom: That's hysterical. I had a guy bring a sandwich once he brought in the sandwich, didn't eat it, but he brought the sandwich. He brought the the soda along with that. And he's sipping along the soda in the interview. And, you know, I'm glad he didn't open up the sandwich, but I told him afterwards, the next time, you know, eat the sandwich before you come, let's sit down. Like, I don't care if you bring some of the drink, a glass of water, bottle water, whatever. But that one always stood out with me as far as interviews go. And, you know, you have some odd moments here and there, but they all kind of blend in together. You know, the folks that are not in the right space and you feel bad for them because they break down. And the oh yeah, that moment of desperation. And, you know, there's so many of those and you hate to see it, but I'm always fascinated at seeing newer recruiters go through their first few interviews with us and seeing some of the stuff for the first time. Yes, blown away. And you're like, no, this stuff happens. You know, it's not like every day, but.

Miriam: So this is like a therapy session for us. We get to talk to other people in the community about their encounters with the wild and. Absolutely, but no, really. Like we want to talk to people and obviously learn about their jobs, learn about, you know, there's a lot of things that are a lot of businesses are doing in this area that affect all of us from a community perspective and something that, you know, is happening in one business, another business really might need to know about and vice versa. So I'm really glad that we're going to be able to kind of give a little behind the curtain, look into some different industries that maybe we don't always have a lot of insight into. So I think that's going to be really interesting and hopefully fun, but also educational and maybe help somebody out when they listen to this podcast. And again, you know how much I care about our community and the people in this community. So being able to talk to different organizations and the organizations that they care about and the work that they're doing in the community I think will be really, really interesting as well and shed some more spotlights on people locally.

Tom: Yeah, that was one of the more interesting takes when we had Catherine Hover as one of our guests coming up where she talked about that sense of community. And it's a whole nother level when you see the intensity in her eyes, because we recorded that one live to see how invested she is with trying to make both Schenectady and Saratoga a better place as to get more businesses involved with her as a collaboration. And you see that passion and energy and what drives her to make things better. And we got to see it firsthand live. And I really enjoyed that aspect of it.

Miriam: And with her in particular, she is you know, I don't want to use this word negatively, but she's, you know, she came to this community as an adult. So I was going to use the word outsider. But, you know, it's different when you grow up here. Right? I'm originally from Columbia County, so not too far south of here. Been here, 25 years. You've got a lot of people I know now. But for her, she's not originally from upstate New York. And so she came to this area and then builds community in the places that she was living. And now she's such an integral part of our community. And I just I love that entire story because it's not a home grown person who is just continuing that legacy of making our place and our community a better place to live. It's someone who came here, saw how amazing this area was, wanted to be a part of it, and really give back. And that's one of the reasons why I love her so much.

Tom: Yeah, she's she's a lot of fun to talk to both in a professional setting, but if you can kind of catch her casually, too, she'll talk to anybody on the street. If you follow some of her social channels, she's driving in her car, honking the horn, saying hi to folks wishing them a happy day and so forth. I saw this not too long ago and it was it just blew me away. But it was so Catherine definitely, it reminds me kind of thinking about to where you and I first met. I'm going to date us because it's still in the 2000 range. But it was a while ago.

Miriam: Early. Early 2000s. Early 2000s. Yes.

Tom: And I want to say it was a recruiters capital region, recruiters network meeting or CRH or CRA meeting.

Miriam: One of the two.

Tom: Either or both. Right. And I know Mario Pecoraro was there and several others, Deb Antineli and Allison Johnson. And so you have kind of the old staples here in this HR area, especially related to our recruiting space. And I just remember being welcomed in because I came in having spent ten years in publishing. So while I knew what some of the staffing lingo was, I was still very green to seeing what a no call no show was. That was the funniest thing to me.

Miriam: Yup.

Tom: My team at the office, they had this NCNS written on at that point where it was a white board. Mm hmm. And I'm like, What's an NCNS.? They're like, What do you mean? You're you're our boss. You're supposed to know this stuff. Like, I'm new to this side of it. What's an NCNS ? I'm like, no call, no show. Like, what's that? And they explained to me the notion that somebody took a job and didn't go to work. I don't understand because I'd been in an office environment for ten years before that never happened. Not to never even fathom that it could even happen. Even growing up in high school and having high school jobs and, you know, summer jobs on the beach and this and that, the other never, ever crossed my mind that people just wouldn't show up for work was fascinating.

Miriam: Yeah, I don't even know if we call it that term anymore. We've been all these in the word ghosted now in terms of that. But yeah, no call, no show. No, I remember I just always remember when we met and I don't even remember the sequence of events. I just know we met and you were probably wearing a bow tie because I can just see you in my brain with the bow tie on because that's your signature look, just like my, you know, turned up color on my jean jackets. But you were always just a super super nice guy and always said about you behind your back that you were one of the good guys. Even though we were in competing businesses at the time, we still had a really good mutual respect for one another. We knew we were doing right by the people we were working with and our clients, and we shared business leads. And I'll never forget the time I was at, if you remember this, it was a couple of years ago, obviously before we're working together, but I was at a restaurant with someone and you came into the restaurant with one of your clients and proceeded to introduce me to your client because you knew that they were going to need help. And I was my firm was a better firm to do it in the restaurant. No one has ever done that before. And I was just like, There's Tom again being one of the good guys. He's such a good guy.

Tom: And so that guy's a client again. Yeah, I know. I remember that instance.

Miriam: But I just remember walking out of the restaurant going, Wow, he is such a good guy. And I just. This is another reason why I really enjoy him and just I'm glad that we're colleagues and now we're colleagues and coworkers and podcast partners. Is that a word? Is that like a term we can start to use podcast partners?

Tom: We're going to come up with something, some sort of hashtag. Yeah, but yeah, it was it was always a synergy between us that I always loved. I'll admit that over the years there would be points where I would think, I want to do this, I want to do this, I want to do this. Whether it was a newsletter or something, any sort of marketing initiative to try and get out in front of the the greater public on social channels or LinkedIn or blogs or this and that. On the other end, every single time I would think of something, you're like two steps ahead. I'm like, Damnit, Miriam I love you, but I hate you.

Miriam: Well, thank you. I really appreciate that compliment because it wasn't all me, obviously. But but yeah, I do. We do definitely think a lot of like which drives everyone else in the office probably quite crazy.

Tom: Yeah, I can think of one or two people in particular that were second guessing that discussion point. So like I can remember interviewing with Stringer and describing to her, I said, I'm probably most like Miriam and you could just see the expression on her face shift and like that was that was the probably the was let me take that back.

Miriam: No I'm very much like you.

Tom: So like I'm more in the rainbow and sunshine and unicorn side.

Miriam: Yeah, yeah, absolutely. But there always has to be, I guess, a realist in the group. Right. Right. It just doesn't it's just never going to be us. We're always going to be very, very optimistic.

Tom: Well, I tried thinking when we started talking about the podcast, I'm like, well, we could we could probably bring in some of our own internal coworkers into the podcast. Like Nick would jump on. No problem. I think even Meg would jump on. No problem. Then I thought, Stringer, not a chance in hell. I think hell would have to freeze over before she would get on a microphone. It's so true, but I think there'd be some folks that would love to do that. And at some point, hopefully we get the chance to kind of introduce the rest of our listeners to some of our great colleagues and talk about some of their experiences outside of a lot, because it helps tie that connection just like you are. And my connection together of why they joined us and why they feel our connection to the community is so important. And what drew them to us as colleagues?

Miriam: Absolutely no. I think that's a great idea. So. All right, my friend, I think we're going to have some fun here.

Tom: Absolutely. I can't wait to hear more and more stories. At some point, we'll get into a few more of our fun anecdotal stories that we've run into over our staffing careers. But this is going to be a lot of fun, and I hope everyone enjoys and can chime in and share some comments and certainly share with your friends, folks who are listening. We want you to tell the world about us.

Miriam: Absolutely.

Tom: Well, thanks again. We are going to invite everybody to follow our podcast on and you can tell everyone about it online and email on social, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc.. But again, come back for more in the car with Miriam Dushane and Tom Schin.