Recruit Rockstars Podcast

Recruit Rockstars is the only podcast on the people part of PE & VC portfolio companies.
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Sep 22, 2017

I just don’t get it. 

Every week, I meet with growth company executives. And I ask to see their Talent Strategy. All I get is blank stares.

How can you possibly expect to grow — and have the talent to fuel that growth — without a gameplan around people.

So, I went out to find an expert on this topic. And I landed a whale!

Bertrand Dussert is VP of HCM (human capital management) Transformation for Oracle. In this role, he serves as HR transformation & executive advisor to some of Oracle’s largest clients. Prior to Oracle, Bertrand was the global leader for HR shared services, recruitment operations, and workforce planning for American Express.

In this 20-minute discussion, Bertrand and I talk about the importance of developing a talent strategy that maps to your business strategy. What does it consist of, how to execute it, and why so many executives miss the boat. 

Don’t be one of them.


Sep 19, 2017

If you’re like most managers, you have a 1:1 meeting with each of your staff members each week. You probably have one with your boss, too -- or your Board.

And you probably dread them.

So, let’s change that. I tracked down the foremost expert on getting the most out of 1:1’s.

Jonathan Raymond is head of Refound, the firm devoted to helping individual contributors make the leap to world-class people managers. Prior, he was CEO of EMyth, the legendary entrepreneur coaching company.

He’s also the author of the book Good Authority: How to Become the Leader Your Team is Waiting For.

Jonathan has studied and tested more on 1:1’s than anyone I’ve met. In this 20-minute interview, he reveals why they stink, how to change that, how to structure them, what to expect, how often, where…the whole enchilada. You can’t afford to miss this episode.

Sep 14, 2017

Unless you live under a rock, you know that Amazon has gone from selling its 1st book in 1995 to $150B in annual revenues. It’s simply breathtaking.

It’s also scary. If you’re not competing with Amazon, I’ll bet dollars to donuts that you soon will be.

In this very special 150th episode, I tracked down one of the world’s foremost experts on Amazon, John Rossman. As an early Amazon employee (he launched the Amazon Marketplace business), John studied the business inside & out.

He went on to write “The Amazon Way: 14 Leadership Principles of the World’s Most Disruptive Company.” I’ve read this book three times, because it explores Amazon thru the lens of talent.

Turns out, Amazon’s secret isn’t its technology or warehouses or operational excellence or Whole Foods acquisition. It’s none of that, yet all of that. It’s a revolutionary approach to recruiting & leading talent. 

John is Managing Director at Alvarez & Marsal, the prestigious turnaround and growth consulting firm

So, how does Jeff Bezos do it? Invest 20 minutes with John & me, and you’ll find out.

Sep 12, 2017

Regular listeners know that I’m on a mission to find ways to better predict how a candidate will actually do on the job.

Today’s guest has built a company that shares this mission.

Kristin Hamilton is CEO of Koru, based in Seattle. Following a successful career at Microsoft, she turned her focus to finding the crucial predictors.

And she’s identified the 7 things we must look for when vetting candidates.

Stop focusing on things that aren’t predictive. Which college, GPA, firm handshake, industry experience? Nope.

In this 20-minute episode, Kristin reveals how she cracked the code and how to ask the right questions so that you can assess candidates more accurately.

If you’d like to hire more accurately and avoid bad hires, you can’t afford to miss this episode.

Sep 7, 2017

I’ve got something really special for you today.

Regular listeners know that Strong Suit Podcast focuses on the “people part” of your business. Hiring, Firing, the whole enchilada.

But today is a packed episode just about You. You as an individual, as an executive, as a future CEO perhaps.

In this rare episode, I flipped things upside-down by enlisting one of the nation’s foremost experts on career management for executives.

Kevin Kermes is Founder and Partner at Career Attraction, based in sunny St. Petersburg. Forbes ranks it as one of the top career websites.

Most career and job advice is just plain wrong. You’d be floored by what I see from some candidates. What I like about Kevin is that he’s super-practical. He provides unconventional career advice to high-performing professionals.

Next episode, we’ll get back to building your company.  But today, Invest 20 minutes with us to advance your career.

Sep 5, 2017

By now, you know that seeking diversity - of all types - in your organization isn’t just the right thing.

It’s also the smart thing. Your organization should be a reflection of the increasingly diverse makeup of your customer base.

But how to do it?

Thankfully, I just landed an expert on the topic. Anise Wiley-Little was named Chief Human Capital & Diversity Officer of the Kellogg School of Management in 2014. This followed a 27-year career at  Allstate Insurance, most recently as Chief Diversity Officer.

She’s also author of “Profitable Diversity.”

In this 20-minute interview, Anise reveals the best practices for how to increase the diversity of your workforce, and the big mistakes to avoid along the way. Believe me, you can really screw this one up - so you don’t want to miss this episode.

Aug 31, 2017

If you’re like most executives, you spend a good portion of your time figuring out which of your company’s manual processes can be automated & digitized. It’s the new normal.

But, have you stopped to think about how the change will impact your people?

My guest today, Anthony Onesto, is a guru of digital transformation. He’s General Manager for Konrad Group, a global innovation company. And before that, he was the first head of human resources for FreshDirect, which he took from 30 employees to 2,000 in just 5 years.

So, he understands the impact of this digitization on your people.

In this 20-minute interview, Anthony reveals how to get your arms around it, the best practices for prioritizing the changes, how to get your team onboard — or how to lose them if you don’t.

If you plan to be around in 2025, you can’t afford to miss this interview.

Aug 29, 2017

How do you assess candidates in most predictive way before you hire them full time? My guest today has an innovative solution.

Jeffrey Moss is the Founder & CEO of Parker Dewey. After spending 15 years in private equity & venture capital, he took the plunge into entrepreneurship.

He created Parker Dewey to connect companies with graduating college students & recent alumni. Employers can provide short-term projects to get those “we really should” tasks done, and also to see the talent in action. It’s far better than an interview or a reference check.

Meanwhile, recent students get real-world experience. This is a win-win.

Jeffrey’s also become an expert in what Millennials want, need, and crave in an employer. In this 20-minute interview, he reveals all.

Aug 25, 2017

Matt Moore is Chief Talent Officer at Alpine Investors, the SF-based private equity firm with $900M under management. 

He joined following a storied career at Silicon Valley’s executive search firm SPMB Schweichler Price Mullarkey Barry. So, Matt has a broad perspective across Alpine’s portfolio companies. 

He’s cracked a code: As a company grows, there are times when you’ll need to trade up/replace your talent.

In other words, what got you here may not get you there.

In this 20-minute interview, Matt reveals how to think about your talent needs… and how they evolve as your business evolves. And of course, how to make the tough decision to replace some of your loyal team members.

Aug 22, 2017

Let’s be honest… It’s become a candidate’s market. Record low unemployment. Good luck finding a Rockstar, let alone getting them to say Yes.

But it can be done.

Today’s guest reveals the secrets to engaging the top talent that aren’t actively looking for a new role. Julie Stone is Director of Talent Acquisition for Equity LifeStyle Properties. Prior, she was in a similar role with Cushman & Wakefield. 

Along the way, she’s learned how to get the best candidates to listen. How to get them to table. And how to get the Yes.

If you’re going to hire anyone during the rest of this year, invest 20 minutes with this episode.


Aug 3, 2017

If you're like me, you've wondered if it's okay to text candidates? Or is that too much? It's a great intimate fast way to communicate, but does it cross some boundary? Can I text them on the weekend? etc. etc.

I found the person with the answers.

Erik Kostelnik is Founder/CEO of TextRecruit, the candidate & employee engagement platform that leverages text, chat and AI to optimize the hiring funnel. His clients include UPS, Aramark, Sodexo, US Marines, Randstad, and VMware.

Erik is a guru on social media recruiting, and in particular texting.

In this 20-minute episode, Erik reveals what you really need to know about how, when, why (and why not) to text candidates. Invest a few minutes and you'll out-recruit your competition.

Aug 1, 2017

If you're a raving fan of the Podcast -- and let's be honest, who's not? -- you know that we spend alot of time learning how to recruit Rockstars from experts.

But what good is it to choose carefully, pay competitive compensation, and then not captivate the hearts & minds of the people you've worked so hard to attract? Most employees have 'checked out'

My guest today is Jason Lauritsen. He's been described as a “workplace evangelist.” He believes to his core that work must be a rewarding and fulfilling experience for every employee.

He's dissected employee engagement. He speaks globally about it. He's written the book "Social Gravity" all about it.

And Jason's identified the ONE thing that you can do to 10x your employee engagement. Most managers just don't do it -- sad, but true. In this 20-minute interview, you'll learn how to avoid their mistake.

Jul 27, 2017

Loyal listeners know that we talk a lot about how to recruit Rockstars. 

But how do you then get the most out of them?

My guest today, Stephen Lynch, has some brilliant insights. He’s Head of Strategy & Consultant at

So, Stephen gets unique insights into the day to day operations of thousands of growth companies around the world. He gets to see what really works & what doesn’t - in terms of strategic planning and business execution, goal setting, tracking performance, running effective meetings, engaging employees and holding them accountable. 

In this 20-minute interview, Stephen shares his observations on how to get the most out of your team. (Some of the insights will surprise you.)

Jul 25, 2017

If so, Christina Harbridge is the expert to show us how.  

She’s CEO of Allegory, the behavior change company. She partners with executives to show them how to work with & through others. And let’s be honest, that’s one of the biggest challenges in the workplace… even with rockstars.

Her story is fascinating. As Founder/CEO of a debt collection agency that collected debt by being nice (!) she learned about the power of workplace communication.  This values-based tactic resulted in collections 3 times higher than the industry average.

Christina is also author of Swayed: How to Communicate for Impact, a bestseller on Amazon.

In this 20-minute interview, Christina reveals how to go about the process of changing behavior in your colleagues & employees.

Jul 20, 2017

James Ellis heads employment branding at Groupon, the massive global company.

His mission is to keep Groupon in front of potential candidates, across all digital channels. Not an easy task in these days of record-low unemployment.

James also hosts the TalentCast Podcast, and has been studying this for years.

In this 20-minute interview, James reveals how to get passive job seekers - people that aren’t looking for a new job - to pursue your company. 

Wouldn’t that be a nice change?

He shows how to find them, build awareness, drip on them, and engage them — before your competitors get to them.

Jul 18, 2017

Can you believe there are tens of thousands of HR Technology products? 

Software, SaaS, apps, all kinds of stuff - designed to help you in recruiting, retention, onboarding, performance management.

Whew. It’s dizzying.

But there are just a few that you need to put in place first.

Steve Boese is Chief Strategy Officer of HRevolutionize & host of the HR Happy Hour Show podcast

In this 20 minute interview, Steve reveals what you truly need, and all the ones you can afford to ignore.

Invest 20 minutes and save yourself a ton of time later.

Jul 13, 2017

Vitaly Golomb is the Global Startup Evangelist of HP Tech Ventures, venture arm of the legendary silicon valley company.

He’s also authored a wonderful book Accelerated Startup that’ll reduce the mistakes you make in the early stage of your company.

In this 20-minute interview, Vitaly reveals the 3 phases of Talent that startup entrepreneurs must master (Hint: at least one of them will surprise you). 

Most Founders screw up at least one of these :-(

Jul 11, 2017

Jacob Morgan has studied, dissected, and written Amazon’s #1 book on leading the workforce of the future “The Employee Experience Advantage”

His clients include SAP, Cisco, Microsoft, and PwC.

There are so many changes for you to contend with - millennials work in an entirely different way. As their leader, it’s your job to create the environment for them to do their best work.

Jacob reveals the 3 areas you must master, in order to get the most out of them. The answer will surprise you.

Jul 6, 2017

Drama is that annoying overhead of your staff bickering, not getting along, gossiping. 

Even Rockstars do it once in a while.

Cy Wakeman is a drama researcher. She’s found that the average employee wastes 816 hours on drama each year. She’s even written a New York Times bestseller on the topic.

Her Reality-Based Philosophy helps leaders and their teams ditch the drama, turn excuses into results, and find opportunities in every challenge they face.

In this 20-minute episode, Cy shares how to how to avoid it, how to stop it, and the huge upside when you do.

Jun 29, 2017

Tired of talent searches that take entirely too long? 

How can you possibly recruit a Rockstar if you haven’t first defined what you’re seeking?

If you’re like most executives, you’ll interview a bunch of candidates and figure out the spec as you meet with them.

It’s. Just. Wrong.

Take the time upfront to determine precisely what you need for the role. Shannon Anderson shows us how.

She’s Principal Consultant at Recruiting Toolbox, the national consulting & training firm that focuses 100% on helping companies recruit better.

In this 20-minute interview, Shannon shows you how to fix the fuzzy front-end of the recruiting process.

Follow Shannon’s recommendations and your searches will take half the time. No more hunting for the elusive ‘purple squirrel’


Jun 27, 2017

Can you believe that there are now 21,000 recruiting & HR technologies … from tiny apps to SAP & Peoplesoft.

How to make sense of it all? What do you really need? Can they actually help you?

William Tincup is President of, which tracks the recruiting industry.

In this 20-minute interview, William reveals the 5 must-have categories that you should put in place first.

He shares the category leaders that you should check out in candidate sourcing, recruiting, retention, onboarding, etc.

This shortcut is going to save you a ton of time, especially if you have a small recruiting team … or none at all.

Jun 22, 2017

What’s it really like to work at your company?

Kristy Nittskoff is one of the nation’s foremost experts on creating a compelling Employer Value Proposition. This is the Real reason that rockstars stay at your company (or leave).

To keep rockstars, you simply must set yourself apart as an employer. In this 20-minute conversation, Kristy reveals how to tell your company’s story with authenticity.

Employer Value Proposition … What is it? How 

how do you create one? Does it cost anything? And why does it matter anyway? How can you compete with Apple & Google for talent?

You’re about to find out.


Jun 20, 2017

Once you’ve worked super-hard to hire a team of rockstars, how do ensure they stay? And keep out the B & C Players?

Adam Ochstein founded StratEx Partners 16 years ago. 

With 100 employers, they’re now a leader in providing HR software & services to small/mid sized businesses. They handle your compliance & legal stuff, to reduce your administrative burden.

But what really impresses me about Adam is his passion for - and commitment to - creating a remarkable culture. It’s his #1 priority and the results have been off the charts.

In this 20-minute interview, Adam reveal’s the role of the CEO in creating the culture, how to protect it, and the mistakes to avoid along the way.

Jun 15, 2017

Imagine having a line outside your door of talented Rockstars who want to come work for your company.

You can make it possible, but you’ll have to treat Recruiting like Marketing, not like H.R.

Shaunda Zilich is the Global Employment Brand Leader for GE. In this 20-minute interview, she shows us the way.

She’s an expert at developing a pipeline of candidates by creating a compelling message & employer value proposition.

Shaunda’s also created a remarkable candidate experience & brand ambassador program, both of which are necessary if you’re going to attract the best.

Do these things, and you’ll never post a job or hire a headhunter again!

Jun 13, 2017

How'd you like to recruit more women to your firm? If this isn't one of your talent imperatives, you're missing the boat.

Fortunately, this episode will help. Romy Newman is President & Co-Founder of Fairygodboss, the leading website for women professionals. Prior, she enjoyed a hugely successful career at The Wall Street Journal, where she was head of digital advertising sales.

She's just completed a study of 300 women - what truly drives them, how they choose an employer, and why they stay or leave.

Turns out that women & men look for new roles in completely ways.

In this episode, Romy reveals the secrets that her research uncovered. And what you need to do in order to attract women rockstars, and keep them.

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