Strong Suit Podcast is the playbook for recruiting Rockstars.

New episodes debut each Tuesday & Thursday

Strong Suit 276: Recruiting Isn’t Rocket Science. (Except In This Case.)

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You think you have your hands full with hiring? Sales Reps? Financial Analyst?

Try hiring actual rocket scientists & data experts.

That’s what David Godwin and his leadership team have to do. He’s CEO and Co-Founder of Slingshot Aerospace, which has built the next generation of signal-processing AI.

That allows companies & governments to use earth observation data, which remains the world’s largest untapped data source.

Cool stuff. And above my pay grade.

So I learned a ton about how he hires the best talent, and you will too.


Strong Suit 275: Secrets From a Retained Executive Recruiter

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25 years in executive search will teach you a thing or two about hiring.

And in today’s podcast episode, Bernie Layton teaches us about how to do it the right way.

Based in Chicago, Bernie is Managing Director of Stanton Chase, one of the world’s largest & finest retained search firms. He’s successfully performed more than 750 searches for CEO’s, Presidents, SVP’s, and the like.

And he’s done it in a wide range of industries – consumer, consulting, financial, engineering.

So no matter what field you’re in, if you hope to hire Rockstar talent, this 20-minute episode will be eye-opening.


Strong Suit 274: How a SF Tech Legend Learned How To Hire

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If you work in tech in San Francisco…and even if you don’t…you know Auren Hoffman.

He’s been starting – and growing – and selling companies since his junior year at UC Berkeley.

This master networker cofounded Rapleaf, which was acquired by TowerData. He then led the middleware-provider LiveRamp which was acquired by Acxiom for $300M.

Auren is now CEO of SafeGraph, which builds geospatial truth sets. Not to mention, he’s an angel investor in over 70 tech companies.

So Auren knows a thing or two about hiring & building tech-driven teams.

In this 20-minute candid conversation, he reveals how he’s done it, and the mistakes he’s made along the way.


Strong Suit 273: How To Win The Hearts & Minds Of Your Employees

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Do you remember the Blue Shirts?

This army of well-trained, huge-smiling, sales staff at Best Buy built the company to what it is today.

Yes, they’ve been Amazon-ed a bit, but still they survive. The Blue Shirts are why. When everything else (huge product assortment, low prices, easy returns) are commoditized, only service will save you.

And Best Buy’s sales staff serve. Bigtime.

But how does Best Buy energize that 100,000-person army?

Enter Jennifer Rock & Michael Voss. These two executives built the legendary employee communications function at Best Buy from the ground-up. They created the messaging & energy that electrified the Blue Shirts.

After a decade of this work, Jennifer & Michael left to share their secrets. (You can get a glimpse in their new novel Operation Clusterpuck.)

And you can listen to my 20-minute interview, where they reveal the secrets of outstanding employee communications.

Strong Suit 272: How To Land The Candidates You Really, Really Want

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If you don’t know the name Abakar Saidov, you soon will.

Because he may have cracked the code on how to build a relationship with the candidates you want to hire.

For years, I’ve said that “just in time hiring” stinks.

By the time you realize you need to hire someone, and then start, you’re already too late.

You need to dig your well before your thirsty. In hiring, that means you need to build relationships with candidates ahead of time.

That’s where Abakar comes in. He’s CEO and Co-Founder of London-based Beamery. He’s on a mission to transform recruitment by empowering companies to treat candidates like customers.

In fact, he’s helped invent CRM Candidate Relationship Management. It’s like for Recruitment.

Abakar now has over 100 employees & $40 Million in venture funding from Index Ventures, Workday Ventures, EQT Partners, and M12. He’s on a roll.

In this 20 minute conversation, Abakar shares the keys to hooking the candidates you really want. Before you even need them.



Strong Suit 271: How To Hire The Best Software Developers

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There’s potentially no harder hiring task these days than landing Rockstar software developers.

So, I wanted to find an expert at it. Someone who has a dramatically different approach.

I found him.

Based in London, Hung Lee is CEO of Workshape, the matching service for tech talent. It’s software that helps you recruit software engineers by focusing on specific areas of interest. Which results in a high-signal, zero-noise talent marketplace

Hung is also creator & curator of Recruiting Brainfood, the best curated recruiting content delivered to your inbox, once a week.

In this 20 minute conversation, Hung reveals how to go about finding & hiring the best software engineers.


Strong Suit 269: To Keep Your Best Employees, Prepare Them To Leave

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Let’s get real.

For your business to succeed, you need a team of happy & productive employees.

Which means you need to keep your best people. Otherwise, you’ll always be scrambling to get new ones onto your leaky ship.

But how can you keep your best people when we’re at 3.7% unemployment? And when 90,000 headhunters like me are calling them every day?

Here’s the irony:

To keep them, you need to help them advance their career. That’s right… You have to do everything in your power to prepare them to leave you.

You need to help them advance their career. Develop new skills. Build their confidence. Master new skills.

But yikes. If you do that, they might leave you.


Or they may be so grateful …and learning so much… that they can’t afford to leave you. Even when the phone rings.

These 2 goals conflict – growing them & keeping them. So, I found an expert Marti Konstant of Konstant Change, to help us make sense of it all. For 10 years, she’s been developing the concept of ‘Agile Careers.’ She knows more about it than anyone I’ve met.

In this 20-minute conversation, she reveals what’s most important to your best people. And how to ensure they never leave you.


Strong Suit 268: How He Built It From 1 Employee to 4,500 (And Fixed My Ankle)

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In 1991, Mark Kaufman started as a physical therapist. 28 years later, he’s built Athletico into the dominant force in physical therapy.

Based in Chicago, Athletico now has 400 Midwestern locations with 4,500 employees.

And importantly, Mark had the forethought in 2011 to have a third-party start measuring outcomes… something not often done in the field.

Recently, BDT Capital Partners made a significant long-term growth equity investment in the company.

In this 20-minute conversation, Mark reveals how he built the industry-leading company, one foam roller at a time.


Strong Suit 266: How To Master The ‘WOW!’ Job Interview

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Rachel Ohlsson is a Rockstar who recruits Rockstars.

Easier said than done.

As Manager of Talent for Chicago-based Oak Street Health, the fast-growing group of primary care centers for adults on Medicare in medically-underserved communities, Rachel’s learned one of the keys:

The ‘WOW!’ interview.

Rockstar candidates who aren’t impressed by the way you interview them aren’t likely to say Yes.

In this 20-minute conversation, Rachel reveals everything she knows about the WOW! interview and how to incorporate it into your hiring process.

Grab a pen for this one.


Strong Suit 265: VC Brad Feld Builds a Healthy Relationship & a Healthy Business

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Happy Valentine’s Day!

Can you build a durable company & a successful relationship at the same time?

Some days, it seems like an unlikely balancing act.

One of the nation’s leading venture capitalists, and my dear friend Brad Feld, knows that you can.

And in this bonus V-Day episode of Strong Suit Podcast, Brad shows us the way.

Brad has been an early stage investor & entrepreneur for 30 years. Prior to co-founding Boulder-based Foundry Group, he co-founded Mobius Venture Capital. Brad is also a co-founder of Techstars.

Brad’s a writer and speaker on the topics of VC investing & entrepreneurship. He’s written some outstanding books as including “Venture Deals” and “Startup Boards”

If that wasn’t enough, he’s also an art collector & long-distance runner. He’s completed 25 marathons as part of his mission to finish a marathon in each of the 50 states.

In this 20-min episode, Brad shares the secrets of being in love while loving your business. It CAN be done.



Strong Suit 264: Why You Need To Take A Big Number Two

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One of the most unique roles you may think about adding to your company is the COO Chief Operating Officer.

Often known as the “right hand” or “number two” or “second in command”

The relationship between CEO & COO is vital, and nobody has studied it as intimately as Cameron Herold. He even created the COO Alliance.

Cameron is a top business consultant, best-selling author, and speaker. Named by Forbes Magazine as “The CEO Whisperer,” Cameron has touched thousands of businesses directly. By age 35, he had built two $100M companies. And by 42, he had grown 1-800-GOT-JUNK? from $2M to $106M in revenue in just 6 years.

Cameron has since gone on to help hundreds of companies grow, and exponentially increase revenue. He has earned his reputation by showing his clients how to double their profit in just three years – the process outlined in his bestselling book “Double Double.”

In this 20-minute conversation, Cameron reveals what you need in a COO, where to find one, when to add one, and how to make it a screaming success.


Strong Suit 263 Rantings Of A Recruiting Madman

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James Ellis has become one of the gurus of recruiting properly.

Between the two of us, we’ve seen 40 years of recruiting mistakes. And pulled out most of our hair in the process. (What remains is grey.)

Based in Chicago, James is host of The TalentCast… the only other recruiting podcast I listen to.

He’s clear, edgy (but not just to be annoying), practical, and has pushed my thinking. Essentially, we’ve concluded, that to hire the best just do the opposite of what everyone else is doing. That’s how bad most executives are at it.

James rants. I chime in.

And we swear A LOT.

Don’t lose your hair or go grey. Instead invest 20 minutes on this episode.


Strong Suit 262: How To Engage Your People Before Its Too Late

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Jason Lauritsen is one of my all-time favorite experts on employee engagement.

He’s incredibly insightful. Which we need, because employees are more disengaged than ever.

I’ve featured him on my podcast before. And with his new book Unlocking High Performance just released, I’m doing it again.

In this 20-minute conversation, Jason reveals how to use performance management to engage & empower your employees to reach their full potential.


Strong Suit 261: How To Use Google To Hire Your Next Rockstar

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In case you missed it, Google For Jobs launched in 2018 and is quickly shaking up the way your candidates look for jobs.

In fact, 73% of all job seekers start their job search on Google. But, if you’re like most employers, you’re still missing this massive opportunity to engage directly with highly qualified candidates.

Unfortunately, the process for posting jobs to Google For Jobs requires deep coding expertise and access to the page code for every job post.

Until now.

Based in Woburn Massachusetts, Jobiak created the industry’s first AI-based recruitment marketing platform specifically for Google For Jobs.

Jobiak’s platform scans your job posts, identifies the attributes that Google requires, and structures the Google tags—all without touching the underlying code.

Jobiak is the brainchild of Founder & CEO Venkat Janapareddy.

Previously, he founded Gozaik, the social jobs platform which helped employers engage with job seekers on Twitter & Facebook. Monster Worldwide acquired Gozaik.

In this 20-minute conversation, Venkat reveals everything you need to know about Google For Jobs and how to get the most out of this powerful & free resource.


Strong Suit 260: How To Rid Your Company Of Lousy Managers

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You have one key job.

And that’s to ensure that you’re creating a wonderful place to work.

Because that’s the only thing that’s going to attract top-performers. Unfortunately, most companies suffer with lousy managers.

And that’s the key reason people leave. Or won’t come in the first place.

Alexi Robichaux, Co-founder & CEO of BetterUp, is out to change that. Based in San Francisco, his company delivers personalized & professional coaching to improve the scalability of your business.

To make sure you have Rockstar managers in every seat. Managers who help your employees find meaning in their work.

Executive coaching has been life-transforming for me. It’ll do the same for you & your team.

In this 20-minute conversation, Alexi reveals how to do it.


Strong Suit 259: The Guru of Finding Candidates Reveals What Works Today

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Shally Steckerl is often credited with being one of the founders of the Talent Sourcing specialization within Recruitment and HR.

A globally recognized recruiting thought leader, over the last two decades, Shally has helped build sourcing organizations for Microsoft, Google, Coca Cola, and Cisco, amongst others.

Today, as President of The Sourcing Institute and Director of The Sourcing Institute Foundation a 501(c)(3) public charity, Mr. Steckerl advises recruiting leaders on successfully embedding key sourcing initiatives into their current efforts.

In short, he knows where to find the Rockstar talent. Even in a tight labor market.

Often compared to a shot of adrenalin for recruitment organizations held back by confusion, hesitation, or fear Shally’s unparalleled obsession for talent sourcing continuously drives him to probe for practical solutions where nobody has looked before.

In this 20-minute conversation, Shally shows how it’s done.


Strong Suit 258: You Need Serious Help. (And She Can Find It For You.)

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Admins, Executive Assistants, Chiefs of Staff, EA’s … call them what you want. The assistant is the bedrock of any company.

And they can make your life far easier – or far harder. A good one is worth their weight in gold.

But, because the relationship between you & your assistant is incredible intimate, they’re very hard to find.

So, I tracked down the expert.

Hilani Ellis leads the Denver-based company called Exceptional Admins. She’s wildly passionate about remarkable assistants, and she matches the best of them with the executives who need them.

In this 20-minute conversation, Hilani reveals how & where to find them, how to onboard them, and what makes this relationship so magical when it works well.


Strong Suit 257: 30 Employees to 300 in 2 Years? How He Manages Hypergrowth.

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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.


Strong Suit 256: Mind The Gap (How to decide if you should hire the candidate or keep looking)

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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.


Strong Suit 255: Don’t Bother Hiring Until You Fix Your Lousy Employee Experience

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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.


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