But Does It Scale?
You might be ready for take-off – but are your tactics and processes ready for scale too? There’s a critical point in an organization’s growth when output increases with fewer inputs to sustain it. That’s when you need to be especially smart about the resources you have and how you use them. This lesson boils down to continuous success and how technology and talent can keep that rocket ship flying.
- Code, Cloud, AI, and B2B Sales
- Running Team Meetings
- Attracting and Hiring Sales Talent (Shown Below)
- Onboarding Sales Talent
- Sales Enablement
- Pipeline Optimization
Scale: Attracting And Hiring Sales Talent
Attracting And Hiring Sales Talent Interview Transcript:
Joseph Fung: I am so excited to have Adam Gellert here, Founder and CEO of HiredHippo. Adam, we’ve had a chance to get to know each other over the years. Maybe you could start off to help our audience. So maybe we could share a little bit about your story and HiredHippo to help set the stage.
Adam Gellert: Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for having me. So I’m Adam, Founder, and CEO of HiredHippo, as you just mentioned. And I’ve been in the recruiting space for the last 15 years. Essentially what HiredHippo does is it’s a modern recruiting platform, and we make it super easy for companies and candidates to connect based on what they really care about without resumes, works really just like a dating app. But much, much better.
So it’s not Hungry Hippos, it’s HiredHippo. And so yeah, just taking my experience and recruiting over the last, you know well over a decade to kind of figure out what was missing, and I think you know the world needs to get to space where candidates can actually be in the role that they actually should be in and that they really care about. And I find out that that’s very difficult to do nowadays, so we’re on a mission to make that easy.
Joseph Fung: So let’s start off with the juicy question then. Clearly, people are hiring you and buying your software to find talent, but really who owns the idea of attracting great talent?
Adam Gellert: Yeah, it’s a good question, and the simple answer is everyone. Everyone in the company should be a recruiter. They should put a recruiter hat on, and they should be focused on what are the gaps in our organization, what are the types of people that we’re looking for, what kind of culture do we want to create moving forward, how does our culture change on a day-to-day basis.
But really, I mean the number one reason why people leave jobs is not necessarily because of the company, but it’s because of the sales leader. And so or their manager in general, but if we’re talking about sales specifically, people want to work for, you know a leader that inspires them and that they you know that really resonates with them and what they want to be doing.
So from an attraction standpoint, it should always be the hiring manager. They should be, you know, typically in most cases, the first point of contact you know after the screening process.
Joseph Fung: I love how you started with that kind of big tent idea, and you gave some specifics. I want to dig into that hiring manager a bit. Now we work predominantly with sales teams, and I know that’s where we’ve spent a lot of time chatting. So let’s dig into that hiring manager. If a sales manager wants to create that culture to attract the talent, you know, how you eloquently put it, what are the things they can do to help create that attractive culture?
Adam Gellert: Yeah, it’s a good question. I think, for the most part, is just really understanding the culture that they want to create. You know, making sure that they really understand like the type of person that they want to work for them. You know, some sales managers really want someone who can be, you know, super gritty. Some people want some people who can be a little bit more empathetic.
So just really understanding sort of what are the types of people you want to attract. Once you understand and can you know almost self-identify who those people are and what to look for, it’s going to make the recruiting process a lot easier.
So I’m coming at it from a recruiting perspective, which I understand really well. And so what I think a mistake is that a lot of people make is they’re like, I think I want this person with this degree because that’s what’s worked in the past or you know my expectation is that someone that’s going to be really good in this role will you know execute really well in an interview or send me a follow-up you know the email that really speaks to me, that’s not always the case.
I mean you see that when people have like a really you know spectacular resume and they get through the door someone like blows the roof off of an interview, and you know six months later still aren’t very good right. I think it’s because they don’t understand what exactly that they’re looking for. So I hope that answers your question.
Joseph Fung: I love that comment. I mean, that resonates so well, and as sales leaders, we should be really good at understanding our ICP and our customer personas. That should apply to our staff too. So I think that resonates well.
You alluded to a few things though, you said companies are looking at the resume, you know, maybe kind of a flashlight thing, and that’s what’s worked in the past. But it sounds like those aren’t the best indicators. What are some of the other indicators that you’ve seen work better?
Adam Gellert: Yeah, well, I think every role nowadays is like, it’s an organism, it’s ever-evolving you know new roles are popping up, and you know in sales, it’s different than you know door-to-door sales that we did you know a decade ago right.
So I think you really need to look at your environment, your customer, what’s changing, and the type of who you’re looking for. But they want salespeople to be coachable, they want them to be empathetic, and they want them to be really passionate about the work that they’re going to be doing, and you know that’s sort of like the core of what would make a really great salesperson. So you know I think it starts from that.
Joseph Fung: Okay, so thinking a little bit about those attributes, I’d love to unbox a little bit about what you’re doing with HiredHippo, because I think it shares a little bit about the unique, you know, unique aspect to hiring sales.
I hear a lot from sales managers that when they’re working with HR, recruiting departments, they often get given a bunch of resumes, and they need to evaluate it based on that. You’re doing something different with HiredHippo in terms of what you’re sharing. Maybe you could share a bit. You know what is it that you’re giving hiring managers for to look and filter through with those candidates?
Adam Gellert: Yeah, I mean in a few words, we’re giving them a super-rich profile. Something that you can’t see on their resume, on a cover letter, on their job description. and where we’re really heading is like what are better conversations that you can be having with top key talent to better identify how this person is gonna not only be successful like in their first you know 30-60-90 but a year down the line.
And so what people in society right now are caring about more than ever is working for companies like to have a certain type of impact, the job that they’re doing is gonna you know have some sort of certain impact. I mean everyone’s looking for different things, but being able to identify what they’re looking for is super, super important, and I don’t think enough people look at that.
So what we’ve done with HiredHippo is figure out first what do people care about, and second, do they have the skills to be able to execute on those things. And that’s what you’ll get from, you know, creating a profile on HiredHippo as a candidate and also seeing candidates as an employer.
Joseph Fung: That’s fascinating. I like the inversion. I know filling out that profile from an employer’s perspective felt a little unusual. That’s not typically what we do. We created a job posting, and then we toss it up on the internet, and resumes magically appear. That’s how it works, right?
Adam Gellert: Yeah, I mean what I really didn’t like when I was like digging into, you know, should we actually build this business. Right? Like what other tools are out there, and I thought there was a lot of other tools out there that focused on like how do we figure out like how to, what resumes are good and what resumes are bad right. But you know I want to think about it completely differently, which is like, resumes, in general, are bad because they’re not standardized.
You know everyone writes different things people are, you know, expect different things from a resume. So both of your profile as a candidate needs to be standardized, to be able to say like this candidate is you know better fit than this other candidate and make it easy for companies to compare them. And also, job descriptions they’re just they’re not standardized like there’s tools out there that you know essentially cut down what are the right words to attract other people right.
But I think we’re trying to fix a broken system rather than create a new system. And that’s what we wanted to tackle, which we didn’t see was available on the market.
Joseph Fung: So I think we spent a bunch of time talking about what employers should be looking for. You have the unique opportunity to also see what it is that candidates are looking for because of your two-sided matching.
Is there anything you can share about the information or the characteristics of the jobs that the candidates look at and care about the most?
Adam Gellert: Yeah, I think, Joseph, like people would be extremely surprised with what candidates are looking for like, there’s this expectation that you know candidates that are good that want sales are only interested in money. And I think you know it’s so different across the board in terms of what people are looking for. And so there’s like three main buckets that we call them, which is you know what’s the job that I’m gonna be doing and what impact am I gonna be making at that company.
What’s the compensation or benefits that I’m gonna get from working there. And then what is the work environment right that I’m going to be going to. So is it a work from the home environment, or is it, you know, going in and connecting with people. Obviously, typically right now in the space, it’s a lot of work from home, but yeah, I think it’s different across the board. Everyone cares about different things depending on their, you know, home environment, depending on how they want to accelerate their careers. So it’s different.
Joseph Fung: Awesome, so I’m really intrigued. One of the things, when we speak to hiring managers or one of the things that I often hear when I speak to recruiters is referrals are so valuable. You know that idea of, hey if you’ve got existing employees, if they can refer somebody in that’s great or even beyond, you know I’d love to unbox that a little bit. You know how, what are your thoughts on the best way to leverage referrals? And is there a right or a wrong way to leverage them?
Adam Gellert: Yeah, it’s a great question. I think in terms of referrals, I mean it’s obviously a great way to hire people, but not because they’re a referral because the relationship is already there. And building these relationships is the most important part of you know a successful hire. So if you learn how to build relationships early with people within your space or the people that you’re connecting with, then it’s gonna work out into a much better, higher.
So I’ll give an example like if you can start identifying what type of people you need to hire before you even hire them and start having those conversations early. You know, even in an environment like today when you might not be hiring for the next couple of months, like still having those conversations identifying the right people, is really critical, right.
So, I think you know, I think just to like answer this question directly, is that referrals are great, but if you don’t pay attention to people outside your immediate community, then you can have some diversity inclusion issues right. You could might not see what you’re not seeing because you’re self-identifying into you know what I think is a really good candidate right now. Because these are the people that within my community we keep hiring right.
Joseph Fung: That’s a great observation. The value of those referrals what I heard exactly clear was that they shortcut that time to build a relationship. But I hear the strong cautionary comment about diversity. One of the things that I particularly, I was using the higher typical platform, was that it gave me the chance to chat with candidates.
You know really quickly. You know I’d love to hear when you think about that idea of building a relationship, do you envision that happening inside a platform like HiredHippo or otherwise, or is it primarily once you get out of the tech platform and you’re interviewing and chatting for those sales managers who say I want to build relationships with those candidates? What advice would you give them?
Adam Gellert: Yeah, I think it doesn’t matter where the relationship happens. I think as long as it’s like comfortable and, you know, not fake, I guess it is the way to put it, so it just it has to be very like genuine and authentic, right. So if you’re more comfortable creating relationships or building relationships and you know quick conversational messages back and forth that I think it’s great to start within the platform that’s why we built it right.
Because a lot of candidates you know are more comfortable, because you know how do you start that conversation before you eventually see like, is this worth me to go out on a date with this person right. So and I think on both sides of the fence at the end of the day, it’s just got to be a really good match like there’s got to be a perfect balance of the scales, and I think that’s not something that a lot of people look at so.
Joseph Fung: Okay. So I think we spent a lot of time talking about kind of the pre-recruiting and the recruiting process. I know that we said we wouldn’t take all of your time, so I want to just kind of shift gears into one last topic before we’re wrapping up. And it’s kind of what happens after the recruiting process?
You know so I’ve heard this the other day, a short statement, I’d love to run it pass it to you and hear your thoughts whether you agree with it, that, you know, salespeople really just want a clear path for advancement and options for training, you know, and I’d love to hear. Does that sound true to you? And you know from your recruiting experience, does that really hold water?
Adam Gellert: Yeah. I think with the problem that we have is that we just make these a lot of these generalizations. So again, going back to my comment earlier, I think people are looking for different things. I mean, we know that based on how we identify the data that comes in from HiredHippo and by you know screening and connecting with candidates asking them a simple question which is, what’s next in your career, what do you care about, why would you leave your current job. And so you know I think it’s different for everyone.
And that’s what you know the data shows as well. So, yes, there are definitely a lot of salespeople that are looking for career advancement and training options. Absolutely, I think if you can offer that as an organization, you’ll be able to capitalize on a large pool of talent. Because at the end of the day, in addition to what other things are looking for, a lot of people will also be looking for that.
But I think what I’ve heard recently is a mistake where a lot of like sales leaders or people that have gone into a higher-level sales role are actually like a little bit self-conscious about asking to take a step down. And I think it’s a problem for like their mental health, right. So they might have like thought that they wanted to be in a leadership role that seemed like that was the next step in their career.
And then they’re thinking like, are people gonna be, look at me differently, if I take a step back, if I go and approach another organization. And you know I was a sales leader of a team of 10 people, and now I just want to be an account executive, and so they struggle with that. On the same side, you know companies also struggle with saying you were a sales manager before, are you really going to be happy as an accounting executive, and…
Joseph Fung: It’s a candidate, it’s overqualified and all that.
Adam Gellert: Yeah, exactly, and they’re not overqualified, they’re looking for something different they can contribute to the organization in a different way. And people change, and it’s, you know, it’s I think it’s a mistake to say that, what somebody wanted yesterday, is the same thing that they want tomorrow.
Joseph Fung: I’m so glad you brought that up because it sounds, so it’s a beautiful parallel with that idea of the buyer’s journey where each customer has their unique path, each candidate has their own path, and being empathetic with that is so important. And I’m glad that you mentioned that because it’s a really good reminder, and it’s good to have that kind of hammered home.
Adam Gellert: Yeah, exactly.
Joseph Fung: It’s been a fantastic conversation. I mean, a lot of our audience is sales leaders, directors of sales CROs. Just before we wrap up, if they’re looking to grow their teams, is there any other advice you would give them for them to keep in mind just as we wrap up the conversation?
Adam Gellert: Yeah, I mean, I think, I would just definitely be empathetic to where people are at in their career journey. And I think the better conversations that you can have with those candidates to discover and pull out that information in an authentic way, you’re gonna definitely reduce churn on your team, you’re gonna have staff that are much more satisfied.
And then I think the other thing when you’re looking at recruiting because that is my expertise that never you know run you know a large sales team. So from a recruiting perspective, my suggestion is that to put transparency into your playbook.
Because the biggest thing that I hear from candidates in terms of like, why they want to leave their current job or why things didn’t work out was because if the job wasn’t as explained to them, it wasn’t as expected or something changed. And so I think you know we’re too quick to sell people on an idea of what we hope this work environment is going to be like and not exactly what it is.
So I’ll give you one quick example. If you can only train someone one day a week or you’re not available because you’re busy doing other things, you know, let that candidate know that. Be very specific and figure out. If I was only available to you one day a week, how would you be successful? If I created that work environment for you, what are you going to do to continue to be successful day in and day out?
Joseph Fung: That’s awesome. I love the actionable nature of it. And I completely agree with the value of that transparency. It is the best way to be empathetic both ways. Adam, this has been such a fantastic conversation. Thank you so much for the time. I’m looking very much forward to the next time that we chat. But in the meantime, thanks again. Looking forward to getting this up and feedback from our audience. But I hope we chat again soon. And we’ll see you next time.
Adam Gellert: Awesome! Thanks very much for having me. It was always a pleasure chatting with you.
Joseph Fung: Likewise, Adam. We’ll chat soon. Ciao.
Adam Gellert: Okay, take care.