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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Strong Suit Podcast



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Jul 19, 2016

George Deeb, Partner with Red Rocket Ventures, consults to hundreds of startup companies nationally. He’s learned so much & seen the patterns, that he’s even written a book: 101 Startup Lessons: An Entrepreneur’s Handbook. He’s also led & sold two startups of his own. In this 20-minute interview, we talk about: How to recruit rockstars / How to build the team / How to craft the vision / And many of your other startup questions.

Jul 14, 2016

How do you build a team of happy people? And why should you even care? Because they deliver much stronger ROI. Sunny Grosso is Culture Chief at Delivering Happiness, the advisory firm that came out of the book by Tony Hsieh, the CEO of Zappos. She understands the systems, processes, and metrics to put in place if you really want happy employees. Sunny was one of the world’s first Happiness Coaches and a sought-after speaker. In this 20-minute interview, she reveals: how to build a culture of happiness / how to measure it / how to give feedback / how to exit someone from your company / how to begin the journey to employee happiness.

Jul 12, 2016

OMFG ... It took me months to book today’s guest, and I finally did it. Pat Lencioni is the author of 10 books which have sold 5 million books in 30 languages. (2 must-reads: The Five Temptations of a CEO and The Five Dysfunctions of a Team. The Wall Street Journal calls him"one of the most in-demand speakers in America." And today, he’s on Strong Suit Podcast discussing his newest book The Ideal Team Player. In this 20-minute interview, Pat reveals: how to spot a true team player / do you always need a team player / what interview questions to ask / how to take action when you’ve made a hiring mistake.

Jul 7, 2016

There’s possibly nobody more qualified to talk about how an Entrepreneur should lead their Startup… Carter Cast rocketed through the ranks at PepsiCo, before being named as CEO of After stints at Startups Blue Nile & Hayneedle, he joined Pritzker Group Venture Capital. And if that’s not enough, he teaches leadership & venture formation at Kellogg Business School. Whew. In this 20-minute interview, Carter reveals: The biggest leadership mistakes made by entrepreneurs / What to do when it’s time to hire & fire at your Startup / How to be open to input, while remaining true to your vision / What VC’s really look for in entrepreneurs / How open should you be with your team with bad news? / How he almost got axed at PepsiCo.

Jul 5, 2016

Jean Bagileo of David Powell has been a leading executive search consultant in Silicon Valley for decades. In this wide-ranging interview, Jean reveals: how to properly conduct a search / how to shorten the search / how many candidates to meet with / what to do when you & investors don't agree on the finalist candidate.

Jun 30, 2016

OMG! I’m so psyched because I’ve waited for months to feature today’s guest. She’s a Legend in recruiting, culture, and all things people. Libby Sartain is the real thing, one of the best I’ve ever encountered. She was the original VP People at Southwest Airlines, where she planted the seeds & built out an infamous culture (it’s a business legend). If that wasn’t enough, she then went on to scale Yahoo in its prime as Chief People Officer, hiring thousands of people. Along the way, she’s been the boards of directors of Peet’s Coffee and ManpowerGroup. She’s author of the best-selling book HR From The Heart. In this 20-minute interview, Libby reveals step-by-step what you need to do to create a world-class culture & employer brand, that will act as a magnet for Rockstars. You can’t afford to miss this interview.

Jun 28, 2016

John Sumser is a legend in the recruiting & talent field. Currently, he's CEO of HRExaminer. For over two decades, he has studied, dissected, and analyzed the industry. In this wide-ranging interview, John reveals: what is & isn't working in today's hiring game / new recruiting technologies you must master / the impact of millennials on your organization / the biggest recruiting mistakes you must avoid.

Jun 23, 2016

Doug Galen is a Silicon Valley Rockstar with a pattern of a success. He’s added hundreds of millions of revenue at eBay, eLoan, Shutterfly, and Shopkick. He's built new divisions & partnerships to grow the business by 10x. And he does it primarily by investing his time with people - recruiting, leadership, and building culture. Now, he’s CEO of RippleWorks, a fascinating new business that is “Doctor Without Borders for Techies.” They allow tech experts to apply their talents around the world on mission-driven challenges. He also teaches 2nd-year MBA students at Stanford Business School. In this 20-minute interview, Doug reveals: The biggest interviewing mistakes to avoid / How to define your company’s culture in 30 minutes / How to identify Rockstar candidates / And a lot more.

Jun 21, 2016

Today, I interview Raj Sheth. Raj is CEO & Co-Founder of, a profitable company that he started in 2011. Based in San Francisco, it's one of the top recruiting software companies. They’ve got 1,600 paying companies - employers like MIT, Choice Hotels, US Department of Energy. They use Raj’s software to manage their hiring pipeline. Raj sees recruiting from many angles, including the mistakes his customers make along the way & the patterns of what works best.

Jun 16, 2016

20 years ago, Geoff Smart created ghSmart, a remarkable firm to advise Venture Capital & Private Equity firms on their hiring choices. Since then, his firm has interviewed & assessed 15,000 executives. (…Oh & along the way, he’s written 2 best-selling books including the legendary “WHO”) In this fascinating interview, Geoff finally reveals: What defines A-Players & how to hire them / The biggest interviewing mistakes that we make / Why hiring A-Players needs to be your #1 priority / Which interview questions are most predictive of success / How to close an A-Player candidate so they say ‘Yes’

Jun 15, 2016

I was privileged to meet Mats Lederhausen, who’s gold-plated resume is surpassed only by his passion for building world-class cultures. For 20 years, he has preached “purpose bigger than product"

He started at BCG before building a key part of the McDonald’s empire. He & his family built the Swedish affiliate of McDonald’s from scratch. He drove innovation in recycling and health and built the division to many units. 

Mats was promoted to head of Global Strategy for McDonald’s and moved to the US.  He overhauled the menu, R&D, and real estate. He then ran McDonald’s Ventures, which spun out Chipotle, Boston Market, and RedBox DVD. He even served as Chairman of Chipotle.

Mats is one of the finest thinkers on culture, recruiting, talent, leadership, and global business. You can’t afford to miss this interview.

Jun 9, 2016

Imagine your job was to recruit the best recruiters… Debra Jerome is Chief Human Resources Officer at Witt/Kieffer, one of the nation’s leading retained executive search firms (offices in 17 cities). In this role, Deb has recruited an all-star team of recruiters. She teaches us a ton about recruiting, the executive search industry, and what to look for in a headhunter. She reveals the characteristics that define the most talented recruiters. We also discuss how to build an effective employee referral program, which is how Deb finds most of her candidates. And she shares the gotchas you must avoid when hiring a Rockstar. Don’t miss this 20-minute interview.

Jun 7, 2016

After a great run at headhunting firm Korn/Ferry, Simon Mullins joined Microsoft where he successfully recruited 500 executives. He now runs ESIX, which teaches best practices to headhunters. He knows the recruiting business inside & out. In this 20-minute interview, Simon takes us behind the scenes of the headhunting business. He reveals: When & how to use a search firm / How to pick the right one / How to manage them to keep the search on-track / Best practices for negotiating compensation with candidates.

Jun 3, 2016

If you think that creating a healthy culture means buying a ping-pong table, you’ve got to catch this short interview. I interview Anne Nimke, who runs a fascinating company called The Good Jobs. TGJ advises companies on how to create a magnetic culture & environment that will attract & keep outstanding talent. Anne’s seen the mistakes that so many leaders make. This interview will help you avoid them. She reveals: How to articulate your mission & get everyone aligned around it / How transparent to be with your team / Designing an environment that lets people do their best work / Developing healthy communication (even when its bad news) / How the best companies create a culture that people never want to leave. We spend so much time, energy, and money recruiting people. But it’s all for nothing if the best people don’t stay. This video will show you how to make sure they do.

Jun 2, 2016

Wyzant is the leading online marketplace for tutors & students of all ages. They’re venture-funded & growing like a weed. As Director of Talent, Carrie McComb has led the charge in bringing a team of Rockstars to the company. She’s mild-mannered … but highly-competitive. In this 20-minute interview, Carrie reveals her secret formula including: How to spot a Rockstar when you see one / Using short ‘homework’ assignments to assess a candidate / The single-best source of candidates these days / Putting together an employee referral program that actually works.

May 31, 2016

There’s no harder candidate to recruit than a tech & software development leader. But today’s guest does it all day every day. Jason Kranz leads the Silicon Valley & San Francisco offices of Heidrick & Struggles, the world’s preeminent executive search firm. His focus is on recruiting rockstar CTO’s and CIO’s, and in this episode, he walks us through how he does it step-by-step. Avoid the posers! If you’re going to recruit a technologist for your company in the next year, you’ve got to listen to this 20-minute interview with Jason.

May 27, 2016

I just had a chance to interview Stuart Frankel. Stuart is Co-Founder & CEO of Narrative Science, one of Chicago’s fastest-growing Startups. He’s hired 80 employees & raised $30 million in venture capital to build this artificial intelligence company. So cool: their enterprise software instantly turns piles of data into fully-written investment research reports. In this 20-minute interview, Stuart reveals: How Not(!) to build a Startup culture / How the kind of employees you need changes as your Startup grows / What to look for when recruiting Rockstars / How to know when to raise outside capital, and how much.

May 26, 2016

I know you’ll enjoy this candid conversation with Mark Achler, Managing Director of MATH Venture Partners, the $28M venture fund based in Chicago. Mark pulls back the curtain on: What VC’s really look for in an entrepreneur / What sets apart the entrepreneurs who make it & those who don’t / The single-most vital skill of an entrepreneur / And how Founder/CEO transitions can go smoothly… or terribly

May 23, 2016

Mark Jacobson is a Partner at True, the nation’s 12th largest executive search firm. In this role, he’s retained by companies to find only the top talent. In fact, Mark has interviewed thousands of executives. In this 25-minute interview, he reveals what sets apart the Rockstars… top 10% performers. How to identify them quickly in an interview. When is your candidate’s failure a good thing. When to pick the up-and-comer over the seasoned veteran. And Mark busts many of the myths of successful recruiting. If you’re going to hire at least 1 person in the next few months, you can’t afford to miss this interview.

May 20, 2016

Imagine banning all annual employee performance reviews from your company...forever. Jennifer Shoop CEO of Fizz shows us how to do it. No more scrambling to write reviews for each employee between Christmas & New Years. She's pioneered a much better way to assess & manage people.

May 19, 2016

Entrepreneur & CEO Art Papas has built Bullhorn to 600 employees. Because many of his 10,000 customers are Recruiters, he's seen hiring from so many angles. In this 20-minute interview, he reveals the biggest recruiting mistakes that people make & how you can avoid them.

May 17, 2016

Reid Carr is Founder & CEO of Red Door Interactive, the 90-person firm based in San Diego. He's built a robust & vibrant culture that's been recognized nationally. In this 20-minute interview, Reid reveals how he did it, how he keeps near-zero turnover, and how to build a jerk-free culture. You can do the same... recruiting begins with retention of your Rockstars.

May 13, 2016

Lisa O’Keefe is Talent & Engineering Culture Advisor at Pritzker Group, Chicago’s leading VC & PE investment firm. She’s also served as VP Talent & Culture at Signal, the fast-growing tech company based in Chicago. She joined when Signal had 4 employees and it’s now over 150, thanks to her incredible recruiting skills. Despite Lisa’s modesty, she’s achieved remarkable success with both recruiting (96%+ offer acceptance rate) and retention (virtually 0 undesired attrition). In this 20-minute interview, Lisa reveals: How to spot an A-Player in just minutes / How she reaches out successfully to engage candidates that aren’t actively seeking a job / The exact step-by-step of her recruiting process / How to handle those delicate compensation discussions

May 12, 2016

She’s placed 100’s of rockstars at Google. In 1996, Martha Josephson founded the digital media practice at Egon Zehnder, one of the world’s top executive search firms. After McKinsey & Harvard Business School, Martha pursued her passion for recruiting. Since then, she’s interviewed thousands of top digital experts, and placed many of them… Including hundreds at Google! So, she’s uniquely qualified to tell us about how to recruit gamechangers, the disrupters that can help your company remake your industry. In this 20-minute interview, Martha shares: Conducting an interview that is predictive of a candidate’s success / How to do reference checks the right way / If personality tests have changed the hiring game / The importance of the 5-minute “Sniff Test” / How Google has remade its recruiting process

May 10, 2016

Susan Rosenstein has been recruiting marketing rockstars for her clients for 30 years. Big CPG companies, startups... she does it all. From CMO to Brand Manager, Susan reveals the secrets in this 20-minute interview. What to look for in a Rockstar? How to assess culture fit? Should you care about the candidate’s education? What interview questions to ask? If you’ll hire a marketing person in the next year, you can’t miss this interview. Susan is one of the nation’s top marketing headhunter.

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