Get Your Children Off the Couch – Radio Interview with Ed Tyll


What an honor it was to be invited on the Ed Tyll show on Starcom Radio! The topic was How to Get Your Children off the Couch and Into the Workplace.  I am pleased to share the audio (please click here) as well as the entire transcript. Ed was a gracious host with thoughtful and insightful questions and it was a pleasure to be a featured guest on his show. Please enjoy!

HOST: It is the Ed Tyll show, Starcom Radio Network and AM/FM stations all across America. Michelle Riklan is on the line. You know what time of year this is. Graduation is here now. What do we do with them when you ask what they are going to do now and they look at you and go “oh I’m working on it”, you go “what are you working on?”, “Are you getting a job?” The subject is getting our children off the couch and into the workplace. Michelle, welcome to the Ed Tyll show and the Starcom Radio Network. How are you today?

MICHELLE RIKLAN: I am well. Thank you for having me.

HOST: Listen, how do you get good at this, what is your story, how do you know how to get this done? Generations of parents have been perplexed over this. What is some of your background that gave you the key to getting them moving at graduation time?

MICHELLE RIKLAN: Well, it’s interesting because my career started out in human resource management. And I was always the person that the chief executive officer would come to and say, “Listen, I need your help. I need to do an informational interview with my wife’s cousin’s Niece who just graduated, and they don’t know what they’re going to do. And, you know, just meet with them and get them moving.” So everywhere that I went, I was that person who everybody sent their lost and wandering. I tried to point them in the right direction and ended up getting a lot of experience from that. My main clientele tends to be very high-level executives, but what happens at this time of year is that I get phone calls from a lot of them saying. “Hey you know I’m in a good place right now. I don’t really need any assistance from you, but I’ve got this kid on my couch, and I can’t get them out of my house. Can you do something for me?” So a lot of my clients have kind of pointed their children in my direction because they’re just at that place with them.

HOST: Sure, well let’s begin at the beginning then, how does this conversation start and what are some good tips for parents?

MICHELLE RIKLAN: Alright. So there are so many ways, but what we really need is to just attack the problem. I’m going to give you a little bit of a taste and then an acronym to go along with it so we can remember it. What we clearly want these people (these young adults) to do is to go out and get paid, so that’s going to be our acronym, P.A.I.D. Preparation, Attitude, Incentives, and Differentiation.

Let’s start with preparation.

They come out of school, and if you ask how many of these students are they prepared to enter the workforce, statistically, eighty-three percent will say, “Absolutely. I’m prepared.” Meanwhile, only forty-one percent of employers are saying that they feel that this population is prepared, so there’s clearly a big disconnect.

HOST: Right. And what’s that really based on? Do they answer it in terms of, “Yes, I went to class? Yes, I have a diploma. Yes, I’m alive, awake and ready to go ahead. I have a pen in my hand. That’s what they think it is and the employers are like, “I’m looking for a contribution to my business.” But is that what the kids feel? Like, “You know I’ve done everything up until now, I should be ready.”

MICHELLE RIKLAN: It’s interesting because as you know, one would think that this is a sort of an epidemic. They think that they are looking for job descriptions that say we need someone with a pulse and that’s not what employers are looking for. I mean to have a pulse is certainly helpful but that’s not all they’re looking for when they’re coming out of school. It seems that there is this belief that, “OK well I graduated. I have a degree. I put together my resume. I went to career services and I know some of the job boards and where to look, and I’m ready.” But they’re not.

HOST: Right.


HOST: Right.

MICHELLE RIKLAN: So the preparation stage begins, and I tell parents, “Don’t let them fool you when they say, ‘you know I went to career services. I got my resume together. I know what I’m doing.’” Well, let’s take a look at that and see what the resume looks like. Is it the proper marketing tool and have they actually gotten the right advice as to what they need to do? Because you do need to have the proper marketing tools. Let’s look at your resume, your LinkedIn profile, a job search strategy, etc. in order to actually start this process. So then we need examine all of those tools and figure out if they are effective or not. And if not, they’re not prepared, and then we want to go a little bit deeper into the preparation and say. “Well, hey are you prepared to actually go on that interview?” So that’s part one.

Part two would be the attitude.

And that ties into how they prepare. Their attitude tends to be kind of laid back, “OK I’m prepared because I have that degree, and I’m entitled to a job, and I’m entitled to be paid” They’re not thinking of themselves as a product. And that’s the first thing that I tell any of my clients, whether they’re the C-Suite executive, or they’re just coming out of school, “You are a product, and your potential employer is the consumer. You need to brand yourself, market yourself, and sell yourself toward the target.” Once they get into that mind frame, it kind of shifts how other things are done. It helps them to really speak to the employer’s needs instead of being applicant-centric because when you’re applicant-centric, you’re not speaking to the ‘consumers’ needs.’

HOST: Exactly! The art of listening is going to be new for them, right? They’ve got to pay careful attention to what’s being said in order to see the opportunity, right?

MICHELLE RIKLAN: Absolutely. That is definitely an issue with today’s population. The art of listening, the art of face to face communication, eye contact, and it’s really all about attitude and preparation. If you’re not prepared, if you really are uncomfortable with sitting in a one to one scenario, then you need to polish those skills and that may be going for public speaking skills workshops. It may be doing advanced education on communication and finding where your ‘gap’ is. Because, if you’re spending all of your time with your nose down in your cell phone, you’re not preparing yourself properly for going on an interview.

HOST: Tell me a little bit about Riklan Resources. It’s certified as a woman’s business enterprise by the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council—the nation’s largest third-party certifier of businesses owned and operated by women in the United States. Being that close to that group what would you share with our listeners that maybe the media is not picking up on but is happening among women business executives? You know depending on the day you tune into the news, you might think that Sheryl Goldberg is the only one that ever writes or talks about female executives. What’s going under-reported about these women?

MICHELLE RIKLAN: You know it’s an interesting question. It’s also a personal question so I can I can really speak to that just from my own perspective. When I am involved in business groups that are about empowering women in the workforce and entrepreneurship and climbing the corporate ladder, what I find is that women that have taken the step to do what they are really secure in and know who they are and what they have to contribute are very generous and very supportive of other women. It’s not competition, it’s really more of ‘how can I help be more nurturing?’ And today they’re not threatened or feel that everybody out there is competition and therefore things get done because we are supporting each other, and we are helping each other, and that’s what many of these organizations are doing. They are finding the people who are successful and helping them mentor and guide and get others that are just kind of on their way up to get up further and to develop themselves and develop their organizations

HOST: Michelle Riklan is our guest. We’re talking about getting the kids off the couch and into the workplace and her work in the field of working with women in business and the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council.

Coaching is different for everybody, right? Everybody’s got different needs on that level. What have we discovered about coaching, especially among business executives who, as you say, their plate is so full that they seem maxed out at all times and even after a big achievement sometimes really need coaching?

MICHELLE RIKLAN: Absolutely. I think that kind of goes into my third point of incentive. I love this expression, “I love chocolate, but when I fish, I use worms because fish love worms.” It’s a very simple concept. You need to know your audience. If I’m trying to get my fourteen-year-old to do something for me, I’m not going to incentivize her with a steak dinner. I am going to incentivize her with a trip to PINK. So you really do need to know your audience in order to incentivize them and when we’re doing coaching, it’s very individual because it’s not the same as counseling. It’s not giving therapy, it is about finding what that person needs in order to advance, and then coming up with a plan to go forward with that. And to do that you really need to spend that individual time just kind of unearthing what motivates that person. Different things motivate different people, it may be a work-life balance, or it may be money, or it may be just the kind of culture that they want to be involved in, or the purpose or the mission of an organization. It does vary from person to person and so you can’t really coach with a blanket agenda. You really do need to go deep and figure out who it is that you’re working with.

HOST: Michelle Riklan, is our guest. The website you can go to is Also if you go on the Web site Michelle has set up a coupon code for a free book. What happens when they go to your Web site, and they put in free book?

MICHELLE RIKLAN: OK so there is an e-book, “101 Great Ways to Compete in Today’s Job Market.” If you go to that product on my website and you put in Freebook you will get the free e-book. It’s a very rich resource for anyone, whether they are looking for a position or looking to be promoted or just want to learn about how to self-develop within their own career. It covers every topic from the negotiation of salary to assessment of where you should be on a resume to LinkedIn. It covers the whole the whole gamut.

HOST: Michelle, you are awesome. You are really a great guest. We have to have you back because now that we’ve gotten acquainted with your background and your expertise and your passion, we have so many more news issues available on our show where I think you would be a perfect commentator. I can’t wait till we have you back and thank you for your generosity with your time today. For the free book offer for our listeners, go to and click on where it says products and books and you will be able to type in a coupon code the word free book ‘F R E E B O O K’ and get your copy of ‘101 Great Ways to Compete in Today’s Job Market.’ It’s an e-book available to you at Riklan Resources. Thank you, Michelle, I cannot wait to have you back on the show. You were so good today. Thank you

MICHELLE RIKLAN: My pleasure. Thank you for having me.

HOST: You bet. Man, if you want to get it in gear, get a hold of Michelle Riklan, and she will get you moving.  R I K L A N R E S O U R C E S dot com – Riklan Resources dot com and remember to get the free book by typing in the coupon code FREE BOOK.

Starcom Radio Network AM/FM. Stations all across America.