Scott Hoffman might be the first world-record holder ever to participate in the Getting to Know series. It’s almost enough to overlook his love of candy corn. Almost. Aside from being a world record holder and a semi-professional stand-up comedian, he’s also a staunch defender of the industry at family get-togethers. Read on to learn more about Scott, why you should never accept an invitation to play cards with him, and how he can help you reach 7th position.
How did you get your start in the industry?
Fresh out of college, a friend and I were looking for some temporary work to help us get by and we answered an ad for doing bankruptcy research on Pacer and Banko at a company called Alegis Group. The rest, as they say, is history.
What is your career highlight so far?
When you count your time in an industry in decades, is there such a thing as a single “highlight?” Genuine question. But I suppose my answer would be the development of relationships that I’ve fostered over my “decades” as the highlight. I have industry contacts and I have people I truly consider friends, and oftentimes those lines are blurred…and I’m proud of that.
When or how are you most productive?
Well, as Mike will attest, I’m cobbling these answers together after midnight. I hate to admit it, but late at night is when I’m able to get the most done. The constant distraction of e-mails rolling in or Slack messages popping through that eat away at me during the day are a complete non-factor between 11pm and 1am. Try it!
Which industry professional do you admire most?
There are almost too many to choose from, particularly those that have been able to build an entire firm, agency, vendor or company of any kind, from the ground up. But if I must fill in this blank, I’ll say Yale Levy. Successfully growing a practice from one state to many, taking over other firms, swinging big and sometimes missing, but always learning and growing from those experiences…and now, while still in his prime, stepping back a bit from the practice to enjoy his family and personal life. It’s admirable.
What is one thing you do better than everyone else?
Play the trombone…and rap. I’m also a drummer. These things are all true. I’m guessing literally no one was expecting that answer.
What do you like most about this industry?
The fact that (in my world, at least) each month presents a new challenge and a new chance at success. Sure, the company has annual goals and a 5-year plan, etc…but in the recoveries world, you are always trying to hit a monthly number. So no matter how bad the current 30-day block is going, there is always the next one.
What is one thing you wish you could change about this industry?
Almost everyone says this, but it’s with good reason: the national perception of the collections industry. My sister-in-law (hey Anne!) and I got into a rather heated argument a few years back (during Thanksgiving no less) because she literally tells people that her brother-in-law “steals money from poor people.” Well, that clearly didn’t sit well with me so I tried to educate her on the good that we do in this industry. Too many people just don’t understand how it works…like, at all.
If you weren’t in this industry, what would you be doing?
I’d either be a copywriter, or a failed stand-up comedian. My degree is in Marketing and I just assumed I’d work for an ad agency after college, but a few failed interviews later and I was face first in Pacer and Banko all day. Also, I’ve done stand-up on a semi-professional level…so I guess I could do both of those things at the same time.
Describe a typical work day
Living in the Mountain Time Zone, I spend the first hour or so of my day clearing out e-mails that I’ve been getting since 5:30am. Once that’s done, it’s not uncommon to have six-to-10 meetings in the course of a day, whether internal or with clients or with servicers in our network. I try to keep up with incoming questions and issues in between meetings and then do what I can to have a clean inbox by 5pm. Then a run, dinner, quality time with wife and daughter and…far too often…around 10pm or so I’m back on to clean up anything missed or focus on longer-term projects.
What is your guilty pleasure?
…that I’m willing to admit? I will never fess up to some of the TV shows that I watch, so in the spirit of the season, I’m going to go with candy corn. I love candy corn. Societal hatred of the seasonal treat is unfair!
What is the best advice you’ve ever received?
My friend Wilson encouraged me to buy Bitcoin back in 2015. I waited until late 2017. I should have listened to him. But in terms of business advice, it would be “Make a decision and stand by it.” Very often in performance management we can find ourselves waffling on whether or not a move is the right one that will maximize profits, etc. More often than not, your gut will lead you in the right direction, so make a call and roll with it.
What are you currently reading?
“Essential Poker Math” by Alton Hardin. I fancy myself quite the poker player, so most of my reading for pleasure is related either directly or indirectly to gambling, game theory, etc. If not that, I’m reading books about punk bands from the 80s and 90s.
What is one fact you’d like everyone in the industry to know about you?
Just one?!?! I’m in the Guinness Book of World Records for being one of 100 people (from the Greenville Track Club) who ran the fastest 100x5k relay (30 hours and change, look it up) back in 2011. I was much younger and faster, but still an achievement I take great pride in.
Who else would you like to see answer these questions?