By Justin Kerr


Interviewing is easy - if you are the applicant. Interviewing is hard - if you are the hiring manager. We bring Keith George on to the MR CORPO podcast to talk about helpful tips and tricks on how to run an interview. Keith is a high-powered executive from, Old Navy, a generic famous consulting firm, and Coca-Cola. He is also a former part-time male model and he is the world's best interviewer. We discuss whether having a resume longer  than 1 page is an automatic disqualifier - it is - and we also break down the interview process from the moment you walk into the room until the applicant starts crying. Mr Corpo and Keith talk about how they fell in love in the workplace. 




How To Interview (10/26/2016)

JUSTIN: Alright, welcome to the Mr. Corpo podcast. Interviews are easy. Yes, I said it. It's easy to interview for a job. You're basically being given all the answers in the job description. You know everything that you need to say, you have unlimited time to prepare for an interview. There is no reason that you should not ace an interview as a potential hire. 

Now, for the same reasons, interviewing people is really, really hard. You have basically 30 minutes to decide whether this person's gonna join your team, if they're lying to you or not, if they're good at their job or not. It's a really, really hard deal. So I've brought on Keith George to the Mr. Corpo show today. He's basically the world's best interviewer. He's one of my top three people I've ever worked with in my entire life. I'm not even sure who the other two are. He's also been a senior executive at Gilt, Old Navy, Coca Cola or Pepsi or one of those, throw in a consulting firm, Accenture or something like that I'm not sure, PricewaterhouseCooper sounds about right. Um, I've already talked about him being an amazing interviewer. 

He's also -- I should note this -- he's a part-time male model. Not a full time male model, part-time male model. And you're not gonna see him in GQ magazine, you're not gonna see him in the J. Crew ads. You're probably gonna see him in the Departures magazine, maybe Hemispheres on the Delta flight between Cincinnati and uh, Toledo. But he's gonna be in there. And he's not gonna be doing an ad for a big brand. It's kind of like an off-brand wine company. He's probably standing in the field, the wind is blowing in his hair. He's that kind of male model. So, if you get an idea of, kind of, I know you can't see him on the podcast, but that's what you look like. So, anyway, I'm excited to have Keith on the show -- 

KEITH: Thanks for having me. I've done everything I can to resist fighting back on those -- on that description. But uh, I'll take it. 

JUSTIN: Nothing but truth right there. Not everyone can be a male model, whether you're part-time or full-time, take pride in that work. Do you get paid to be a male model?

KEITH: This is such bullshit by the way, cause I wasn't even a fucking male model. 

JUSTIN: Part-time male model! 

KEITH: That was a long time ago. 

JUSTIN: Okay, yeah, so -- 

KEITH: Alright. 

JUSTIN: See? It all counts. Alright. 


JUSTIN: So, Keith, you heard me frame up this debate. What if you're the person who's hiring somebody? How many people do you think you've hired in your career?

KEITH: Well, I've absolutely interviewed well over 500 people. I probably hired in um, 50 range, probably.

JUSTIN: Okay. 

KEITH: Um, at least through me or on my direct teams, and then probably many more outside of that through indirect teams. 

JUSTIN: Okay, okay. Give me a number, how many of those do you think were good hires? Like you were happy with that hire, it worked out. 

KEITH: Probably about 85 percent of them. 90 percent. 

JUSTIN: That's an amazing hit ratio. I would say I've probably hired around 50 people. I would give myself credit for saying 30 to 35 of them were good. And I can think off the head right now ten people that I wish I'd never hired. And the thing is, once you hire 'em, it's hard to get rid of 'em. 

KEITH: Right. 

JUSTIN: So this is a critical moment in any manager's life. 

KEITH: I always say, it's easier not to hire than to fire. I think the biggest mistake people tend to make is, they take one approach to every interview. They come in, like you said, they say, "Tell me about yourself." And they waste all this time on -- on you know, kind of getting to know the candidate in a certain way without actually thinking about what they really need. And so I like to look at an interview, a little bit about like, staffing a baseball team, right? I don't want nine home run hitters. I don't need nine shortstops, I don't need nine pitchers. What I need is a balanced team. And so every interview really is not just looking at that job and what you need, but it's actually looking at the composition of the team that you've got. Because I may have a need for a certain skill set, but at the same time, I may need a certain skill set plus somebody who's more extroverted. Or maybe somebody who's a little bit more thoughtful, because you don't need to have, you know, your entire team made up of the same folks. What really works is when you have that mix of both skills and background and approaches to life. 

JUSTIN: Alright, so I think that sounds like a good perspective on being a boss and building out your team, but make that real for me. Does that mean you're going into an interview, and being like, hey, I need an extrovert, and you're gonna interview this person, and whether they're an extrovert or not depends on whether they get hired or not?

KEITH: No, what I'm saying is that I go into each interview thinking about: what is it specifically in this instance at this time that I need? And -- and then try to build around that. Now, I will -- will always say that I'm open to people who -- what I will call, almost, athletes. People who can do a lot of different things. And I'm not ever gonna go into an interview being like, I'm looking for 05:04 someone who is an introvert who has these skills, etcetera. Yes, this may apply more towards management, but you're managing the team that you hired. So if you don't hire the right team, then your management style is gonna be in trouble. 

JUSTIN: I mean, you're kinda blowing me away right at the beginning here, because I feel like when most people go into an interview, when I go into an interview, I'm just looking for someone who's smart, who I think I wanna hang out with, or work with, who I think has some properties or some abilities that might mix well with my team. But you're saying hey, I'm going into this thinking, does this person fit into my team? That's a totally different approach. 

KEITH: Yeah, fit into my team, to -- fit into the company, fit into what we need. Everybody loves to have people around that they wanna go get a beer with, but at the end of the day, we have a job to do. You have to mix it up in the right way or you're not gonna achieve what you want. GroupThink is when everybody has -- comes from the same place and will -- has the same perspective and goes the same way. How do you combat that? You bring in different perspectives. You bring in different points of view. And so of course, diversity is this buzzword. But it actually is meaningful in the workplace. 

JUSTIN: Okay. Let me get down to it. You've got 30 minutes, you walk into a room cold, maybe you've been handed a resume. Walk me through what you do before you walk into the room for the interview. 

KEITH: I look at the resume to say, I wanna see what is the story that that resume is telling? I always -- I like to say that -- that a person's resume, it's -- it's a ladder. It's one experience ladders up to the next experience, ladders up to the other experience. How did those things connect or not connect, and how is that relevant to the job that I'm trying to hire for?

JUSTIN: What are you looking at in the resume to get you into what questions you wanna ask them?

KEITH: I go back to what I call the ladder. The ladder is, your experiences that are built on each other. Is there consistency in there? Is there -- is there a r -- is there, you know, a method to how you've gone about your jobs? Did you -- if it's an entry-level job, did you spend your one summer working in a dental office? One summer being a lifeguard? One summer being a server in a restaurant? Or did you actually, early on, know what you wanna pursue and -- and go after that? Now, I'm not trying to say that everybody needs to know exactly what they wanna do, but I wanna understand where are the links in the chain. And then, what are the skills that you learn? Because let's say you're hiring for an entry-level person. Sometimes, someone may have been a server, which is great, because what did they have to do? They gotta -- had to learn customer service, they had to learn, you know, efficiency. They had to learn to work well with others. All those things are the things that I'm looking for, but at the end of the day it is a -- it's the ladder, to me. What is the story and how do these things link together on a resume, and then how can I ask you about that and understand how it's built. 

JUSTIN: Okay, okay. Do you have any things that are immediately like, this person is out? So for me, if I get a resume and it's more than one page, I am 99 percent sure I don't wanna hire this person. I'm not saying that's like perfect, I'm just saying, oh my gosh, you can't get all your stuff organized and efficiently put it in one page. So that's like a breaker for me. But what about you? 

KEITH: I -- I think a -- early on in your career, more than one page is just absolutely unnecessary. And even after that, at some point in your career, you don't even need a resume. 

JUSTIN: Right, you don't have to say anything. 

KEITH: You don't have to say anything. It just is. And so I -- I would tend to agree with you, being able to get everything on one page is important. I think the things that I look at immediately is, how long in position at -- at a specific company. I'm willing to -- to forgive any shorts stints if -- as long as there's a reason for that. You know, if there's a life change, or there was something -- there was something that they became passionate about. Those are -- those are kind of breakers for me. And then, the other thing -- again, going back to this -- is if there's just a, a general sense of confusion in what this resume is. Because again, straight out of college, everybody's resume is just, everyone's doing the best they can. But you get to a point in life where if you're jumping all over the place, it just seems confused. 

JUSTIN: Yeah. 

KEITH: And that's not -- and I'm not looking for that. 

JUSTIN: Well, to me, I don't even get mad at being confused. I get mad at, you're a job hopper. And I guess it's maybe the same, it's like -- 

KEITH: It's a little bit the same. 

JUSTIN: -- oh, gosh, like, figure it out, like stay somewhere for at least a little while. 

KEITH: Right...right. 

JUSTIN: Or people, maybe no one likes you. So -- so anyway, alright. So that's kinda before you walk in. Um, you walk into an interview, I'm talking about you the hiring manager, you walk into the interview, there's the interviewee sitting across the table, they've got two copies of the resume. What do you do? 

KEITH: So, the first thing I do when I come in is I look for people who will look me in the eye, give me a firm handshake, and stand up. Those are -- 

JUSTIN: Stand up!

KEITH: Critical. Because --

JUSTIN: Really?

KEITH: -- frankly, that's what I do when I meet anyone. And if -- and I expect when it -- when it's a business partner, it's not about they -- it, giving me any sort of respect. It's not about that at all. It's just common human courtesy. 

JUSTIN: Okay. 

KEITH: Then, my first question, which I have to admit, kinda goes with maybe some of the questions you have, but with a little bit of a twist on it, is, I always ask people, before you had to pay the rent, let's talk about when you were a kid. You're ten years old. What'd you do? What I care about in that, with that answer is: I don't care what you did, I'm looking for clues. Because people -- some people were really 10:06 into team sports. Some people were really into music. Some people loved art. When you're ten, you're not caring about prestige. You don't care about money in that way. You're just you. And so what I wanna get out in that first question is: who is this person deep inside? And when you ask a question about people when they're -- when they're really young, they can answer in a way that's more free than when they're old. You know, here I am saying my theme song would be I Need A Dollar by Aloe Black. That is not how I was at ten years old. You know, all I cared about was team sports and this and that. And so I wanna understand that -- that core behavior before I get anywhere else. 

JUSTIN: So, this is shocking to me and I -- I'm learning a lot. Because right out of the gate, you're not even asking them about the work. They're -- they've prepared -- they're doing -- they're there, they're ready to do everything. And you kind of almost throw them off right at the beginning, cause you don't expect someone to walk in and say, "Tell me about your childhood." 

KEITH: Right. 

JUSTIN: I mean, I actually like that. Because I usually ask about work, ask about work, ask about work. And then, oh, crap, this interview was scheduled for 40 minutes, I gotta fill time. Oh, what was your childhood like? Or, what do you do for fun? I ask it at the end. So you're saying right at the beginning, get to know them, in a different way. 

KEITH: And I say that with that twist on, you know, before you had to pay the rent, before you cared about what your friends thought, because now, if I -- if you ask somebody even at the beginning of the interview, you know, some warm up question, "Tell me about yourself, you know, what do you like to do for fun?" They're already in their mind thinking, okay, well how do I spin this, right? Like, I'm a triathlete and I do this and what that's sending a message that's I'm disciplined and all those things. And that's not what I'm looking for. What I wanna understand is like, you know, and they're -- and again, there's no right or wrong answer. Cause there're people who are like, I was really into music. I love the piano, I practiced. And then I'm thinking to myself, okay, this is somebody who's really thoughtful, who love -- you know, practiced something that was really difficult and they showed perseverance with that. Those are the -- or someone's really into team sports. And so then I start thinking about how do they engage with others. 

JUSTIN: Do they get caught off guard or are they quiet for a while, they go, I wasn't expecting that? What -- what's the reaction to that?

KEITH: They do get caught off guard. But then, when they say something, my next question is always, something around that subject. And so it does -- it has a way of warming up the interview in a way that is not, "Tell me about yourself" and all those things. Cause in a way, I don't feel like that warms up the interview because they're expecting that question and so then they go into some rote answer. 

JUSTIN: Alright, so you've warmed them up. Where do you go from there? Like, what -- do you have a set of questions -- you have three questions you've always asked? Or one question that's your key question? What do you do from there?

KEITH: I don't have a set question. It goes back to this, this approach on trying to fill my baseball team in the right way. I know generally what I'm looking for before I go into the interview. And I'm looking for people do to maybe one of three things. Either be that person, not be that person, and it's not -- we're not gonna go forward, or not be that person but introduce something that I'm really intrigued by. And I like to think of an interview not as for a specific job, but I like to think of an interview as, you're here thinking about a specific job, but I'm here thinking about you as a potential fit for my entire company, for my entire career. And I don't care so -- of course I care about filling that position at that time, because you know, having an open seat is a -- is a challenge. But what I do wanna say is, I would rather hire somebody into the right job then hire somebody into the wrong job just to fill the job. So I'm always looking a little bit further out. 

JUSTIN: Okay, okay. This is something I struggle with, and I -- and is a fault of mine in interviews. I will ask someone a question and they will be struggling to answer it, and I will partially answer it myself. And so I kind of fill the space. That's like a horrible way to interview, cause I haven't really tested their metal. I haven't really seen what they're made of. What about you? Do you ask a question and can you sit there and stew in the silence and do you have any strategies around that?

KEITH: Well, let's be clear that everyone loves to hear themselves talk. 

JUSTIN: Right. 

KEITH: And so something that I tell people often times when they're going in to interview is: know this, the more the person interviewing you is talking, probably the better rating you're gonna get when you get out of there. It's just a fact. People like to hear themselves talk. Look at Justin. He loves to talk. And so -- 

JUSTIN: I just have such a big heart, I wanna, like, make it comfortable sometimes. 

KEITH: And so knowing -- yes, you do. But at the end of the day, you do them a disservice, because you're not letting them -- them express themselves. And like you said, they only have 30 minutes. Give them the floor. Let them talk. And understand that -- that you're not actually helping them if you fill in the sentences. 

JUSTIN: Yeah, alright. Let me -- let me ask you this: on another note, let's say you get into the interview, you're ten minutes in, the interview's scheduled for 30 minutes, do you ever just cut it off 15:00 after ten minutes and just say, "Hey, thanks for coming in." Like, what do you do? You're five minutes in -- or, how quickly do you know it's not gonna work, and then what's your exit strategy? 

KEITH: I don't think that it's fair to just cut off the interview and say okay, we're not gonna move forward here. Because again, they may not be the right person for that job, but they may be right for something else. And I think that that shows people respect by actually exploring that. However, I will say this: I used to work in a group that had a team on the other side that we had to work with that was very challenging to work with. And they were -- they could be very difficult at times. Justin was a member of this team. And they would be very hard on the people that were on my team. And so I had this interview philosophy that I would say, I'm gonna take these people to the wall and see if they can actually handle some things, because if they can't handle things in this interview, they're gonna get crushed by our cross-functional partners. And so -- 

JUSTIN: So, wait, wait, wait. I wanna dig on that. So, how did you take them to the wall? I mean, this is -- this is actually an insight. So I rarely -- I'm just asking questions, I'm interviewing. I think rarely do people try and take someone to the wall. How did you take them to the wall? How did you poke and prod and test them? 

KEITH: I did case study, where I would leave them with a case study. I would always do the same -- same case study. So I would have comparison points. I would leave the room, let them prepare for it, and I would come back and then --

JUSTIN: Shut up. 

KEITH: The better they were, the harder I grilled. And grilled, and grilled. And I had a saying at some point that said, "If you walk out of my interview thinking you're gonna get the job, you're probably not getting the job."

JUSTIN: Right, right. 

KEITH: "But if walk out thinking you're not, you probably are." Where I made a mistake was, one time -- well, I had a -- I had this philosophy that said, if I knew you aren't gonna make it, I actually would shift gears really quickly and back off -- 

JUSTIN: Right, yeah. You just wanna be nice. 

KEITH: I wanna be nice. I'm not trying to -- no reason to hurt anybody's feelings. And there is one situation where I misread, and I thought that this candidate really had it. And so I took the candidate to the wall and it didn't end well. I mean, the candidate --

JUSTIN: Tears. 

KEITH: -- ended in tears. And I'm not proud of that, and if definitely made me adjust my style. But what I will say is, for that period of time, when I was hiring people and they were in a job that had a little bit of a combatant feel to it, that people that I hired came in and they could take the heat, and when they took the heat, the people that they worked with respected them more. And so that's not something that I do now, because the types of work that I'm in now just doesn't have that type of relationship, but it was a little bit of thinking about, what is this person gonna experience on a day-to-day basis and how do I actually see what they're gonna act like in a real-time situation. 

JUSTIN: So, I think there's a couple things I wanna pick up on there. One is this idea you just mentioned: understanding what the job entails. What skills it's gonna require. In this case you said, you know, combatant business partners. So you wanna test their metal. I think that's a great insight. Not everyone thinks of: what does this job take to be successful and how do I draw out of this person and test them? Are they good or not? That's -- that's one point. The other point is: a case study? You literally -- do you something out? You bring it, you put in front of them? Or you talk to them? What -- I've never heard of people doing this. 

KEITH: Well, so, it's a classic business school exercise. Where I -- what I did different -- and so, where people will give a case study and they'll try to understand, and they'll be like, you know, how would you measure how many gallons of water are in the ocean? I don't like that. What I would do as a case study that is applicable to the business that we are in. And then to me it was less as much about what you would say, but then how you would respond in the situation. Because I would present certain things in a way that were a little tough. And so what I -- what I did was, I -- I learned how they were without asking you, "Hey, are you tough? Can you take the heat? Can -- how are you with a combatant business partner?" Because what's everyone gonna say? They're gonna say, I'm great at that. I'm really tough. Or, you know, something. So I wanted to see it in action. 

JUSTIN: Yeah, okay. Alright. I think I that's good. I have two questions that I really like to ask. And I wanna hear if you think these are good questions or bad questions to ask interview. I like to ask the question: what are you famous for? If I talked to your boss, if I talked to your co-workers, tell me about Keith, what would they all say? And then the other question I like to ask is: what's that one thing, I know Keith, you're great, you're good at your job, what's that one thing that all your bosses keep saying, Keith, you're great, but you gotta keep getting better at this. What's that thing you have to improve? What's your thought on those as questions?

KEITH: I love the first one. I don't like the second one. 

JUSTIN: Okay. 

KEITH: I love the first one because what you're doing is, you're actually creating a hero moment. And that hero allows them to stand up and say, "Here's what I am." And I don't care if it's, I'm the person who is the glue amongst my friends, and I keep everybody going -- 

JUSTIN: Right, right. 

KEITH: And I -- and it may not be anything related to a skill. What I don't like about the second question is that, 20:00 I've gotten the same answer 100 times. "That I work too hard." 

JUSTIN: Yeah, right, right. 

KEITH: That I -- that I -- that I take my work too seriously. I care too much. And it's just -- I just can't take listening to that. And I think that there's a point after all the interviews that I've -- that I've done where, if I know what you're gonna answer, you know, I'd -- let's just not even go there. Cause it's just wasting everybody's time. 

JUSTIN: Yeah. 

KEITH: There's a twist on what you said on that second question that I actually do think is interesting. Is, if you had all the time in the world, what is something that you would love to learn? Which is a little bit of twist on, what do your bosses tell you you need to develop, right? And you won't always get out of it the same thing as far as, okay, what are your developmentals? But it could be like, you know, I would love to be like the greatest leader in the world. And maybe that -- sensing that that's something they're kind of working on. 

JUSTIN: I would fall asleep if someone said that to me. That's too generic. I wanna be the greatest leader in the world. 

KEITH: Oh, fine! 

JUSTIN: I thought people were gonna say, "I always wish I was a beekeeper," or like, I'd love to be a bee -- do they take in work way, or do they take it in non-work way?

KEITH: You know, it's up to them. But I think -- well, listen. I -- to me, saying what is -- what is the one -- what is your one developmental is just opening up the "I work too hard" thing. 

JUSTIN: A generic -- yeah, okay. 

KEITH: I don't wanna hire somebody for a current job. I wanna be thinking that I'm hiring them for two, three jobs from now. 

JUSTIN: If you know an interview didn't go well, do you tell the person at the end of the interview, "Hey listen, I don't think this is gonna work out, but good luck," or do you just leave them wanting more and hopeful? Like, what -- how do you leave it?

KEITH: I wish that I hadn't taken people as close to the wall as I had -- as I had at times, because I think if you look at the long game, things come around. So no, I don't tell people if the interview doesn't go well. And I'll tell you why. 

JUSTIN: Okay. 

KEITH: Because everybody is good at something. Everybody is good at something, in my opinion. It just may not be what I need right now. So it's not by job to make somebody walk out of there feeling bad about themselves. My job is to fill my role. And so I think it goes back to showing people respect. Again, as far as -- I stand up when I meet somebody for the first time, and I shake their hand and I look them in the eye. It's about respect. And so I as -- as I've grown in my career, I think that's something that I like to show people. 

JUSTIN: Okay. Um, one -- one other question I have: have you ever talked yourself into hiring someone? Have you ever been on the fence, and you're like, I'm not sure, and then you went to okay, let's take a chance on them? Have you -- have you had that happen to you, and how did it work out?

KEITH: It never works out. 

JUSTIN: Never works out? 

KEITH: Never works out. 

JUSTIN: Right? It never works out. I was looking for like, a little bit of -- 

KEITH: Never works out. 

JUSTIN: I just had that happen to me recently where I -- my instinct was, this isn't gonna work, and then I was like, maybe I'm over-analyzing it, I said yes, it felt good in the moment, it's not two weeks later that you're like, oh no. Now I've got a warm body that can do no work. 

KEITH: And I understand what you're saying -- sometimes you need a warm body for data entry or whatever -- 

JUSTIN: Yeah, yeah. 

KEITH: But if I'm interviewing someone for a data entry role, I am looking for, what is your personality and how are you gonna -- gonna do that? But for me personally, I'm looking for people who can grow in their career. Because if they come in and we train them and we invest in them, I want them to -- to wanna be there for the long term. 

JUSTIN: Anything else about interviews that you wanna share? Any, like, do's or don't's? Any, like, this must happen? Any Keith George, "this is the secret to my success on interviewing people" secrets you wanna share?

KEITH: I think the biggest risk that people look -- or, do in an interview, is, they walk in and they're looking for a mirror of themselves. They look for something that says, hey, these are things that I connect with. And I think that what happens is that people do place stereotypes or they start thinking, okay, why don't, you know, this isn't gonna work with me. And again, it comes back to, how does this fit with my team? What does my team need in being able to hire for that? 

JUSTIN: Words of wisdom from Keith George in the world of interviewing people to hire them. We're gonna take a minute and go to our ad break for our sponsors, Forlorn Hope. 


JUSTIN: I've talked about Forlorn Hope for the last six episodes. Have you ordered the wine from them yet? My gosh, stop what you're doing, go to, use the Mr. Corpo discount, M-R-C-O-R-P-O, and get 15 dollars off your order. I mean, give me a break. If I told you I had access to the best wine in the world, and it was super affordable, and it was super small batch, and I was gonna get you 15 dollars off, wouldn't you take me up on that? So why aren't you doing it? Go to and use the Mr. Corpo discount. Keith, you've modeled for wine companies, but do you drink wine?

KEITH: I do drink wine, but I don't model for them. 

JUSTIN: What is your favorite, red wine or white wine?

KEITH: I love red wine, usually with a little bit of spice and earth to it. 

JUSTIN: Okay, that's super pretentious. Would you say -- how many bottles of wine do you think you've drank in your entire life?

KEITH: Probably 5,000. 

JUSTIN: I think that sounds about right. 25:00 Keith, the wine hog. Shoutout to Matt Rorick, the winemaker. Thanks for sponsoring the show. 


JUSTIN: Alright, welcome back from the break. I'm still here with Keith George. I wanna light up this section by talking about our first jobs. I wanna talk about Keith's first jobs, this is a new section. We're looking for a sponsor for this section, so give me a shoutout. But in the meantime, Keith George, first job, go. 

KEITH: Coca Cola truck driver. 

JUSTIN: Amazing. How old were you?

KEITH: Twenty-two. 

JUSTIN: And how much did you get paid?

KEITH: Six dollars and 50 cents an hour, after I got my college degree. 

JUSTIN: This cannot be true, that's 100 percent a lie. 

KEITH: It's 100 percent true. 

JUSTIN: How is that possible? You went to Virginia. 

KEITH: Well, basically -- I did. And -- go to show you what a UVA diploma's worth. No, but I did my internships in college on Capitol Hill and for better or for worse, I finished up those internships and I said, I don't wanna work on Capitol Hill. And I'm a little ashamed to say this, but my dad worked for Coca Cola, and I found out about a training program in Atlanta. And I was dating this girl who was moving to Atlanta. 

JUSTIN: Yep, that's how it goes. 

KEITH: That's how it goes. So, I went to Atlanta, and I'll never forget, the guy was offering me the job to be a truck driver at Coca Cola -- 

JUSTIN: Not a training program? Just a truck driver? 

KEITH: Well, so it was -- if you wanna get in this training program, you need to show that you can actually understand the business. So you need to like work in the stores and drive a truck and do that. So I went from being this snobby, dumb Virginia graduate to six dollars and 50 cents an hour, wearing a Coca Cola uniform with a patch -- not for irony -- the Coca Cola uniform, and driving a truck for six dollars and 50 cents an hour. 

JUSTIN: What kind of truck? A big truck, or -- 

KEITH: The big truck, baby! I can drive -- I can -- 

JUSTIN: You can do those, with all the different gears and stuff?

KEITH: I passed my road test in an 18-wheeler, true story. 

JUSTIN: Wait, I have a question. When you graduated from UVA, went for this interview at Coca Cola, how many popped collars were you wearing for the interview? Two?

KEITH: Zero. I was not a popped collar guy. I was not a popped collar. That's a Princeton thing, not a Virginia thing. But I did go for the interview, I did get the job. But what I'm happy about is that at the end of the day, the stuff that in -- in the moment, I hated, as far as going into these stores and saying, yes, sir, yes, ma'am to these convenience store managers, rotating the inventory, delivering the drinks on, you know, the day before Thanksgiving -- a lot of that is actually applicable now. It's customer service. It's marketing. It's pricing, it's promotions. It's inventory management. All those things -- 

JUSTIN: Oh my gosh. 

KEITH: -- just blown up on a bigger scale. 

JUSTIN: That's amazing. 

KEITH: And I had -- I worked 11 days straight when I first started. And on the -- on the 12th day, I dropped -- this shows you how long ago, it was 1993 -- I dropped a -- a case of bottles on top of another one and a glass shot into my arm, I have a huge scar on my arm from it, and they gave me one day off to go to the doctor. And here I am 25 years later and I can look down -- and when I look at that scar, no matter how far I go, I think about that moment. 

JUSTIN: Keeps you humble. 

KEITH: Keeps me humble. And I have a little PTSD every time I see a coke truck on the road. 

JUSTIN: Oh my gosh, that's fantastic. Now, did that scar on your arm affect your male modeling career at all, or -- I guess they have makeup artists for things like that, or, it's fine. 

KEITH: Yeah, there's retouching. 

JUSTIN: Yeah, lots of retouching. 

KEITH: Lots of retouching. 

JUSTIN: That is fascinating. Now, did you ever steal a case of coke? Were you allowed to drink from the coke selection? Or -- 

KEITH: No, but I will say that I worked late one night and I was in a bad part of town and they stole about 150 cases of coke off my truck. And -- 

JUSTIN: While you were in it, or what --?

KEITH: Yes. And what you don't know is that if that happens to you, you as the driver are responsible for those drinks -- 

JUSTIN: You paid for it?

KEITH: And I worked for free that day. 

JUSTIN: Oh my gosh. That's a fantastic first job. Wow. Keith George, best first job ever, six dollars and 50 cents?

KEITH: Six dollars and 50 cents an hour, it was a tough job. But you know, at the end of the day, I have a ton of respect for those guys. 

JUSTIN: Alright, well, let's move on. I wanna talk about you and I. You and I work together, we haven't even told the listeners that we know each other -- 

KEITH: Yep. 

JUSTIN: But I've -- probably they figured it out. I knew you as this guy across the hall who was, you know, just a guy and maybe, I don't know what my impression was but I was like, oh, I don't know, he thinks he's smart, but he thinks he's smart, and so I think he's gonna be kind of annoying, you know, cause he was like so perfect. He looks perfect, he talks perfect, he's organized perfect. He's like Mr. Perfect. And so I was pretty nervous, or not looking forward to working together. I'll never forget this, was like my third day on the job. Keith and I were in a meeting, he said something to a group of people. One of my employees came up to me and said, well, what do you think? Keith disagreed with you on this. And I said to my employee, "Hey, don't worry about it. I'll handle Keith. I'll tell him what's going on." 30:05 And I went back in my office, and it was about 30 seconds later, Keith George walks into my doorstep, stands there and says, "If you have something to say to me, say it to my face and let's figure this thing out." And I looked at him and it was like that moment you fall in love with somebody. It's like, there were just hearts circling around his head, there were birds tweeting, and I looked at him and I just said, "I love you." And from that moment forward I think we were like amazing together, but it was just like, let's be real, let's be honest, let's get to work. And uh, do you remember that? Do you have a different recollection of that? 

KEITH: No, I absolutely remember that. No, what I recollect is that I was in a new role, I was scared to death, to be honest, and I wanted to do well, but I also didn't want to be pushed around. And the role that I was in had a rep -- had a reputation for being pushed around by your role. And I felt like if I didn't say something it was gonna bother me and it was gonna last too long. And we worked in an environment that had what I would say a good deal of passive-aggressivity. Just in the whole environment. 

JUSTIN: Yep, yep. 

KEITH: And so it was that moment where I was -- I was nervous coming in there saying it, but I think after that day -- 

JUSTIN: Yeah -- 

KEITH: -- we became close. 

JUSTIN: No, it was magic. And you know, it was one of those moments that was just a learning moment for me, where it's like, if you wanna have a real relationship with someone, you gotta be straight. And you gotta be honest. And just tiptoeing around each other or not saying what you mean is gonna take too long and not get you where you want. And you know, honestly, in 16 years of working, those were maybe my two favorite years. Um, you know, it was a great team, there were other people involved, but I think your partnership was the integral part of that. So anyway, it was a great experience for me. 

KEITH: I would agree. What I will say is, I've had a similar experience where I went into someone's office and I had -- and I said something to the same effect of, this is really upsetting me and here's how I feel and you need to say this. And they've acted the exact opposite way that you have -- 

JUSTIN: They didn't fall in love with you?

KEITH: They -- and -- but it showed me where we stood. 

JUSTIN: Right, yeah. 

KEITH: And from that moment on, I knew, you can't trust this person. You gotta like, deal with it in a different way. So, yeah.  

JUSTIN: Interesting, interesting. Alright. You're now out on your own, you're an entrepreneur starting up a business. Do you wanna talk about it for a minute, or you wanna keep it top secret and tell people to tune in later?

KEITH: No, what I -- what I'll say is that what I realized in my career was that I'd done a lot of corporate roles for a long time. And I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial. What I didn't think at the time -- and, and it's probably still true -- was, I'm not the guy who is gonna go from Gap, Inc and Coca Cola and these jobs to me and three guys in a garage working on -- on some idea. And you know, I wish that I was, but I'm probably not the guy who's gonna come up with the next Instagram. And that's okay. I know who I am. But I knew I wanted to do something more entrepreneurial. And so when I got the call to move to New York and take the Gilt role, I knew it was taking me on the path that I wanted to go. Something more entrepreneur -- entrepreneurial. My friend said, you know, all the equity, you know, has been taken, this company's three years old, etcetera etcetera. And all that, you know, may have been true. But the fact is, I knew that it was taking me on -- in the right journey that I wanted to go on. And then when we sold Gilt earlier this year, I knew that if I went right back into a corporate role, then my Gilt experience would have been a blip on the -- on my career. Whereas if I took it even more entrepreneurial than this, I'd be setting my own curve, and my own trend line, in a different direction. 

JUSTIN: Okay, okay. 

KEITH: And so, I got called for a lot of big roles out there, and instead I joined up with some guys that I worked with before, and we're starting a new business that we'll be launching in January. 

JUSTIN: Fantastic. What a great journey. Congratulations. Uh, the show's almost over, but I wanna give Keith a chance to ask Mr. Corpo anything he wants. So this is a new segment of the show, listeners can write in to You can hit me up on Twitter at Mr_Corpo. Or you can hit me Instagram. But you can ask me anything and I'll answer it. I can solve your work problems. We can talk about it. Anything like that. But Keith, while I've got you here, any questions you wanna ask me? Anything at all. 

KEITH: What remains a mystery to me is, why is the least corporate person I knew continuing to work in the corporate world?

JUSTIN: The short answer to that is, I live in fear of my father. That would be the most concise answer to that question. 

KEITH: But your father was an entrepreneur. 

JUSTIN: Yes, but he -- anyway, I don't wanna go into it. Don't -- 

KEITH: You told me to ask any question. 

JUSTIN: Don't -- don't ask me! Don't ask me -- don't ask me to go deeper. I answered it, which is, I live in fear of my father. That's the first part, that's the real part. The second part of it is, I've really debated my whole life of, am I an artist? Am I a businessman? What am I? What should I be doing? How should I be spending my life? And to be totally frank, what I've realized is, corporate America gives me the balance of what I get paid for how much effort I put in for allowing me to do all the other things I'm passionate outside of work. 35:05 And so one of the breakthrough moments for me was when I was just coming up in work, it was like, especially the first ten years out of -- out of college, I'm like, I'm an artist, I'm a sellout, I'm working in corporate America. And I looked around my friends that were playing guitar, that were in bands or painters, and I realized, you have a nine to five job and you're getting paid eight dollars an hour. If I can have a nine to five job and get paid, let's say, 100 dollars an hour, well that seems like a pretty good deal for me. And so that's what really led me to this idea of becoming an efficiency monster and kind of competing with corporate America, so to speak. To say, you can get me from nine to five, or you can get me from six to five, but at five o'clock, that's my line in the sand to say, I'm either taking advantage of corporate America, or corporate America's taking advantage of me. It's so funny because I like to think of myself as a rebel or a punk, and it's like, give me a break. I've been working in corporate America 16 years, working at huge companies. I'm no punk, I'm no rebel. 

KEITH: What you're articulating is that you know why you are where you are now. And it is a -- it is a balance. And life is full of tradeoffs. And I don't care what -- who you think you are. You could be, actually, the greatest rock n'roll star in the world. You have a record deal to work with, you have endorsements. You gotta be here to make a public appearance. You're doing this radio spot that you're like, oh my gosh, here I am. But the fact of the matter is, is that there's not a person out there in the world that is -- that's -- that's living a life that doesn't have tradeoffs in it. But being aware of those tradeoffs is something that actually I think very few people do, and I think that you're doing a great job of acknowledging that and making those tradeoffs with a, you know, a -- a thoughtful approach. 

JUSTIN: Keith George, mentor, psychologist, male model. He's amazing. Keith, thanks for being on the show today. 

KEITH: Thank you very much. 

JUSTIN: That does it for the show today. Mr. Corpo, you can hit me on the social channels. Instagram, Twitter, I gave you my email, which was I really, really, really, really, really need your reviews on iTunes. Go to the podcast channel and give me a review. I don't care if it's one or it's two or it's three or it's four or it's five, but give me a review. It moves us up the rankings, it helps more people know about us, and eventually we'll get some real advertisers that can start to pay my amazing producer, Rob, real money. He's nodding his head furiously. 





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