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Strong Suit Podcast

Strong Suit is the playbook for recruiting Rockstars. You'll learn how to hire twice as fast. With half the mistakes. No more bad hires. ... Ready! Aim! Hire!
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Nov 13, 2018

Jason VandeBoom is CEO of ActiveCampaign, a privately-held leader in email marketing automation. (I’m a raving fan because I use it to stay in touch with my customers.)

He founded the company 13 years ago, built it steadily & bootstrapped with no outside capital. And then, 2 years ago, BANG!

Silversmith Capital Partners invested $20 million, and Jason ramped the business from 30 employees to over 300.

Now based in Chicago & Sydney, the business has 60,000 small business customers all over the world.

In this 20-minute interview, Jason reveals how to recruit, build, and lead a team in the face of hypergrowth. Not an easy thing to do.

Nov 9, 2018

In a 3.7% unemployment market, you’re lucky to find an amazing candidate.

But once you find them, do you extend the offer?

Or do you keep looking?

Jason Fiftal is uniquely qualified to help us answer the question. He’s Chief Operating Officer of ghSmart, which has created an unrivaled reputation for helping executives make that decision.

In the next 20 minutes, Jason shares a specific framework for helping you decide.

Never settle.

Oct 30, 2018

Autumn Manning is co-founder and CEO of YouEarnedIt, a leading HR SaaS company that improves bottom-line performance metrics by enhancing the employee experience.

Based in Austin, she has a compelling vision: to improve the lives of employees everywhere, one company at a time.

Autumn's been featured in The New York Times and HuffPost, Inc., Business Insider, and Entrepreneur.

Under her leadership, YouEarnedIt created the world's most robust employee experience platform and was named to Entrepreneur Magazine's list of Best Company Cultures in 2017.

In this 20-minute conversation, Autumn shares what she's learned about employee experience and how to get yours right.

 

Oct 23, 2018

Unless you’ve been under a rock, you know that LinkedIn is where you’re most likely to find your next job.

But it’s also where you’re likely to find your next hire. And your best candidates.

But only if your LinkedIn profile… and your company’s page… are super compelling.

Why?

Because it’s the very first place that a candidate is likely to look, to learn more about you. That’s right… You.

Candidates want to know who they’re going to be working for. And even before they invest their time applying & interviewing, they want to know if they’re likely to learn something from you.

So, I tracked down an expert. In fact, the expert.

Donna Serdula pioneered the concept of LinkedIn profile optimization and is the author of LinkedIn Profile Optimization For Dummies. She and her team of 40 writers have helped thousands of LinkedIn users strategically write their profile in order to engage with their audience and grow their brand.

(And that includes employer brand.)

If you hope to recruit even one person by the end of this year, you’ve got to update your LinkedIn profile & catch this 20-minute episode with Donna.

Oct 18, 2018

Did you know that 80% of job opportunities at $100,000+ filled every month aren’t advertised?

Despite the internet, it’s still a highly inefficient & hidden market.

Joe Meyer, Founder & CEO of Execthread, intends to change that. It’s NYC-based VC-backed job-sharing network that enables executives to access that “hidden job market.”

ExecThread has become the largest global aggregator of unpublished executive-level job opportunities.

Joe has been a successful start-up CEO and operating executive at high-growth tech companies including HopStop (acquired by Apple), Quigo (acquired by AOL) and eBay. He’s been named Entrepreneur of the Year by Crain's New York Business.

And investors have taken notice. He’s raised $6.5 million in capital from Canaan Partners, Javelin Venture Partners, NextView Ventures, and Corazon Capital.

In this 20-minute conversation, Joe explains how it works & why. If you’re looking for a senior-level role, or senior-level talent, pull on this thread & listen.

Oct 16, 2018

Following a successful career at Google Japan, Renee Wong left to start Castbox 3 years ago.

It’s an award-winning global podcast platform that enables anyone to easily find, access, create, and enjoy spoken audio content. (I’m a fanboy.)

Castbox’s proprietary technology includes cool features like curated podcast recommendations & in-audio deep search to customize your listening experience.

With 40 employees in Beijing, Palo Alto, and Hong Kong, Renee’s riding a the very big wave of podcasting.

And investors are taking notice…

She’s raised millions in venture capital from GV (Google’s venture capital arm), Qiming Venture Partners, IDG Capital, SIG China, GSR Ventures, and ZhenFund.

In this 20-minute episode, Renee reveals how she leads a distributed team that literally spans the globe. (And you think you’ve got leadership challenges?…)

Oct 11, 2018

Every day, people move into new roles but things don’t work quite right. In fact, 40% of them bomb.

That’s why George Bradt started PrimeGenesis in 2002.

Following successful careers at Unilever, Coca-Cola, and Procter & Gamble - and degrees from Harvard & Wharton - he knew there had to be a better way.

George wanted to help new leaders move successfully into their roles. And he’s led the revolution in how people start new jobs on the right foot.

Along the way, he’s learned how new leaders can ramp in 3 months instead of the typical 6-12 months. And reduce the 18-month failure rates from 40% to 5%.

He’s the author of 6 books on onboarding & leadership including “The New Leader's 100-Day Action Plan"

In this 20-minute conversation, George reveals why onboarding is usually so hard. And why it doesn’t have to be.

Oct 9, 2018

When I created Strong Suit Podcast to help people learn how to hire smarter, I didn’t know if I’d make it to episode 25.

And here we are at episode 250.

In these 2 years, I’ve had the good fortune to interview business legends like Tom Peters & Christie Hefner. Bestselling authors like David Allen & Michael Watkins. CEO’s like Mark Mader. VC’s like Saydeah Howard. And legendary HR executives like Libby Sartain of Southwest Airlines.

So what do you do for episode 250?

You turn the tables, of course. With my most important guests to-date. Max (14) & Jonah (12) interview me...

I reveal what a headhunter actually does. What it’s like to fire someone. And the boys share their career aspirations (tip: scoop them up now, before their price increases).

Here’s to the next 250.

Oct 4, 2018

Let's be frank.

There are so many places where people botch up the recruiting process.

They're non-compelling. Misleading. And sloppy.

And then they wonder why Half of their new hires don't work out.

I just interviewed Steve Acho of Solstice Consulting Group. Based in Detroit, Steve is one of the clearest thinkers I've met in the recruiting field.

He'd better be.

Because he focuses on recruiting software developers, I.T. folks, and data warehousing experts. Arguably the tightest candidate pool there is.

In this 20-minute conversation, Steve reveals some of his best secrets for getting your fair share of great technical talent (although they apply to any hires you'll make.)

Oct 2, 2018

Brianna Rooney has been a technical recruiter for most of her career.

10 years ago, she founded Techees, which recruits software engineers, data scientists, and similar folks in Silicon Valley.

Not an easy task these days.

But Brianna is relentless. And in this 20-minute conversation, she reveals how to hire your fair share of them.

Sep 25, 2018

Jamie Schneiderman is CEO of Toronto-based Career Spark.

After earning his MBA at Harvard, Jamie found himself obsessed with how to find a better match between employers & employees.

So he founded ClearFit, where he served as CEO for 10 years. They developed a patented Fingerprint™ technology based on research into the direct linkage between personality & motivation on job success. It provides a clear picture into what drives & motivates each employee.

4,000 corporate customers use ClearFit to develop clear action plans to manage & support each employee’s maximum performance and engagement.

In this 20 minute conversation, Jamie reveals what he’s learned about finding the right match between employer & employee.

Sep 18, 2018

It takes a lot to convince a successful entrepreneur to trade in their “Founder/CEO” title for employee status. You know that must be one pretty special organization.

Following a homerun experience starting, building, and selling Caring.com to a public company, Andy reconnected with an old friend from his time at Intuit.

And he became hooked on the shared vision.

Andy now leads sales at 350-employee Bill.com, one of Silicon Valley’s fastest-growing companies.That's one of the hardest recruiting & leadership challenges in business.

He inherited a mixed team.

But with upgrading, restructuring, and just plain caring, the team has gone on to incredible accomplishments. In fact, he’s scaled the business that now moves over $60 Billion per year.

Incredible.

In this 20-minute conversation, Andy reveals step by step how he’s build this high-performance salesforce.

Sep 13, 2018

Alex Salkever is a confessed former tech addict who had a near-death experience texting while driving.

That event got him fascinated by the topic of how tech affects our brain.

And it ain't pretty.

So, he just published his conclusions in the new book "Your Happiness Was Hacked: Why Tech is Winning the Battle to Control Your Brain"

And there are many implications for how - and who - you hire. It's vital to find compatible working styles, with regard to inescapable technology.

He is a columnist for Fortune and Guest Researcher at Duke University's Pratt School of Engineering.

Alex has been a senior executive at a number of Silicon Valley startups, most recently at Mozilla.

 

Sep 11, 2018

Precision targeting… Imagine if you had a map that showed you where your target customers actually made their decisions to buy. 

Christopher “Toph” Day is Co-Founder & CEO of DemandJump.

Based in Indianapolis, Toph’s team helps marketers outmaneuver their competition & double their marketing performance using the Traffic Cloud Customer Acquisition Platform. 

With $6M in venture capital from Revolution, Flyover Fund, and Hyde Park Venture Partners, DemandJump is out to make customer referrals far smarter.

What’s not to like about that?

In this 20-minute conversation, Toph reveals how he’s building the organization that’s building one of Indy’s fastest-growing companies.

Sep 6, 2018

It’s not every day you met an entrepreneur who bootstrapped a company to $13 million revenues and 130 employees.

I just met one.

Tyson Quick started Instapage. 

And he’s on a mission to personalize & optimize online experience for all of your customers. In short, they make your marketing landing pages smarter.

They already have 15,000 customers.

Now he’s raised $15M in venture capital from Morgan Stanley Expansion Capital to scale the business.

In this 20-minute conversation, Tyson reveals how he’s building the team that’s building these customized landing pages. (Hint: they’re located in San Francisco, Poland, and Romania)

Sep 4, 2018

As Denver suffered in its third year of drought, Chris Klein saw an opportunity.

So he co-founded Rachio, where today he’s CEO, leading 60 employees.

Rachio is the personal watering assistant that automatically adjusts for the weather & improves the water efficiency of your home.

Installation takes less than 30 minutes and you begin saving water & improving your yard's health immediately. And of course, its smartphone-controlled. 

Rachio is “blossoming” thanks to venture funding from top investors like Arborview Capital, Amazon’s Alexa Fund, and Bonaventure Capital.

I was blown away by his “First of Four” & “Hiring Sprint” process. In this 20-minute interview, Chris shares how he’s growing the organization that’s growing lawns everywhere.

Aug 30, 2018

Malvika Jethmalani has never backed down from a challenge.

So when she joined a turnaround CPG company 2 years ago, she was ready.

As VP of Human Resources of Flavors Holdings (you know them as the makers of the Equal sweetener you use in your coffee), she’s helped rebuild the organization bottom to top.

Not an easy task… because Flavors has 600 people across 21 countries.

Business turnarounds have been compared to changing the tires on a car that’s speeding down the highway at 70 mph.

Malvika’s experience at Danaher & CareerBuilder, and her Kellogg MBA, prepared her for the task.

In this 20-minute conversation, Malvika reveals how to tackle the people part of a turnaround.

Aug 28, 2018

His grandmother in Barbados was diagnosed with a brain tumor.

Which inspired Gil Addo to start a company.

So, in 2013, RubiconMD was born. It’s goal is to connect primary care physicians with specialist doctors.

Why?

Believe it or not, your family physician doesn’t have all the answers. 

So RubiconMD gives them instant online access to top specialists all over the world. This way, they can provide better care, improve their patient experience, and reduce healthcare costs.

No more driving all over town from specialist to specialist.

RubiconMD’s no typical startup. It’s based in NYC already with 50 employees.

And Gil’s no typical entrepreneur. He holds an MBA from Harvard and Biomedical Engineering degree from Yale. He was named one of Forbes Magazine’s “30 Under 30” in healthcare. He’s raised $13 million from HLM Venture Partners & Optum Ventures.

In this 20-minute conversation, Gil reveals how he’s building the team that’s building this life-saving company.

Aug 23, 2018

Jett McCandless is CEO & Co-Founder of project44, one of Chicago’s fastest-growing companies.

Launched in 2014, project44’s technology provides companies with increased visibility into their supply chain.

In addition to tracking shipments from port to loading dock, the company’s technology provides solutions for pricing, payments, scheduling, and analytics.

And it’s working…

Revenue reportedly increased by a whopping 400% last year.

And recently, project44 closed a $35 million venture funding round & announced plans to make 200 hires over the next 2 years.

So how will Jett attract that talent?

In this 20-minute episode, he reveals his plans.

(And he tells what the ’44’ is all about.)

 

Aug 21, 2018

Sahil Sahni is doing the impossible.

After leaving McKinsey & Company and Techstars, he’s co-founded a fast-growing AI company.

And against the odds, he’s recruiting top-talent in Silicon Valley…ground zero of the war for talent.

AllyO is an AI technology company that is transforming recruiting through intelligent automation. It’s an AI recruiter that utilizes natural language processing & machine learning to automate the end-to-end recruiting workflow. 

This removes the traditional inefficiencies of lost applicants & conversions due to poor candidate experience, and the high cost of recruiting due to administrative tasks. 

AllyO has already processed millions of job applicants for Fortune 1000 companies, such as Walmart, Hilton, AT&T, and Arby’s.

Sahil and his team have raised $14million in venture funding from Google, Bain Capital Ventures, Cervin Ventures, Gradient Ventures & Randstad Innovation Fund. 

Even if you’re not based in Silicon Valley, you’ll get a ton of recruiting wisdom from this 20-minute conversation.

Aug 16, 2018

Following a successful career in investment banking, and an MBA at Chicago Booth GSB, Ryan Crane developed a thirst for entrepreneurship.

Now, he’s CEO of Tempo Tea, the fast-growing beverage company in Chicago. It helps you beat the mid-day slump.

Tempo is a new line of organic, unsweetened sparkling teas crafted to provide a guilt-free & uplifting boost of natural energy. Think tea meets 5-hour-energy.

0 calories. 0 sugar. 0 sweeteners. What’s not to like?

In this 20-minute interview, Ryan reveals how he’s building the team that’s building this disruptive business.

 

 

Aug 12, 2018

Legendary business author Tom Peters once said that “you are your projects.”

Natalie Steck is on a mission to help you manage those projects far more easily.

She recently joined Viewpath as CEO. 

Based in Seattle, Viewpath markets an enterprise-grade project & resource management solution to Fortune 1000 companies. Their cloud-based SaaS software is a proven, robust, and scalable technology platform which integrates with Salesforce.com

In this 20-minute interview, Natalie reveals how she’s building the team that’s building this project management tool.

 

 

Aug 9, 2018

Michael Winnick & his team at dscout have a passion for understanding what makes people tick.

So, they created a research tool that captures thoughts, reactions, and behaviors in the moments as they happen. This way, smart researchers can gather qualitative feedback–in the form of rich video, voices, images, and text–and then analyze it within a quantifiable framework.

Based in Chicago, Michael founded dscout in 2012 with the mission of leveraging technology to make in-context research everyday accessible for organizations.

As dscout’s tools have become commonplace at progressive companies, their leaders regularly tap Michael to help make sense of it all. 

In this 20-minute conversation, Michael reveals how he’s recruiting the team to build this curiosity business.

Aug 7, 2018

Imagine if printing a wallet (or a lamp, or a birthday card, or a sushi wrap) was just as easy as printing a résumé.

That’s the vision of Dan Shapiro, CEO & Cofounder of Glowforge.

Based in Seattle, Glowforge has created the 3D laser printer. It also holds the record as the biggest crowdfunding campaign in history, with $27.9M in preorders in 30 days. 

Put simply, Glowforge makes it simple for designers & engineers to take products directly from digital design to reality.

Before starting the company, Dan was the CEO of Google Comparison, which operates comparison shopping products. Before that, he was founder & CEO of Photobucket.

He’s also the author of Hot Seat: The Startup CEO Guidebook. And has been awarded a dozen US patents.

Whew. Busy guy.

Glowforge has 75 people & $70M in venture funding. In this 20-minute conversation, Dan reveals how he’s scaling the organization in a few remarkable ways.

Aug 2, 2018

Nolan Mondrow is CEO of LockState. 12 years in the making, his persistence is paying off.

Based in Denver, LockState is at the heart of the Internet of Things.

It’s the first company to create software in the cloud that controls multiple connected locks. 

Yes, many connected lock companies make a web or mobile application that is focused on controlling their own device. 

Instead, LockState puts all of these connected locks on to their platform so–no matter what type of door or lock you need–the platform is able to control it from the cloud.

This solves the problem for property managers & owners who need to give access to their properties for guests, renters and service people, even when they are off-site. The software eliminates the expense & hassle of key exchanges, the disruption of early check-ins and overstays, and the security risks of unauthorized access. 

With funding by Iron Gate Capital, Nolan is opening doors.

And in this 20-minute conversation, he reveals how he’s recruiting the team to ‘lock up’ the category. And as Nolan explains, it hasn’t always been straight up & to the right.

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