Why The Time To Fill Recruiting Metric Hurts Your Hiring

the time to fill recruiting metric

Recruiting is a time-consuming process, period.

Why do we celebrate the time to fill recruiting metric? Does prioritizing speed in recruitment produce the best hiring results?

Most organizations believe that the most important measure of their recruiting teams success is in their time to fill ratios. We don’t. We believe that slow is the new fast in recruiting. Take your time. Don’t settle.

time to fill recruitment metric

How you spend your time in the recruiting process is what Y Scouts is challenging leaders to rethink.

When a job opening becomes available, the natural question to ask ourselves is, “How quickly can we fill the job?” The problem with the question is that the best answer is “fast.” Fast equals better. At least that’s what we’ve been led to believe.

But what happens if you fill a job really quickly?

Often times, you will spend more time cleaning up the effects of a rushed hiring decision. When the time to fill recruiting metric is a priority, it is easier for misalignment on values, cultures or mission to occur between an employee and an organization. That’s when you’ll find yourself doing damage control, fighting fires and working on helping people work together that maybe should not be working together in the first place.

The “time to fill” metric has grown dangerous. Does it correlate to faster equals better? If you can fill a job faster, has that yielded better people delivering better performance in the jobs? There’s no correlation between how fast you fill a job and how well that person does the job; they’re mutually exclusive.

Slow doesn’t equal better, either.

It’s about having a crystal clear image of who you are as an organization and knowing what you stand for. It’s about knowing who are the types of people that fit really well with your culture — who believe what you believe and have the skills you need to deliver what success in a job looks like.

Taking far too much time to fill positions can also present challenges. In April 2016, the national average time to fill hit an all-time high of 29.3 working days, according to the DHI Hiring Indicators. That’s a staggering figure, and many recruiters see lowering that as their one objective.

But if you take your time to really define your culture, behaviors and skills, you will end up having a precise picture of the right person that can integrate into the company and perform the job. It’s crucial to do that part right to prevent hiring the wrong person for the job. Don’t focus too much on the time element.

It may sound counterintuitive, but slow may actually be much faster in hiring.

Not slow just to drag it out. But slow to take a methodical approach to defining every step along the way of what really matters. By defining who, why, how, and what success looks like, you’ll end up having a clearer picture of who you need to hire. Then, once you start interviewing people, you can bounce them off of that image of clear-cut standards of success that you have.

Stop using “time to fill” as a metric. You are bound to spend a lot of time in the recruiting process. Spend it wisely and make sure to get it right the first time, so that you are making the best possible hiring decision.

Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that finds purpose-aligned and performance-proven leaders to help organizations achieve their missions faster. Ready to supercharge your leadership search and get the right person in your organization? Contact Y Scouts.

Kathy Sacks Podcast Interview: Achieving Your Potential

Kathy Sacks

In this episode, Kathy Sacks covers a variety of topics including the power of unlocking human potential, how playing it safe on the inside is a recipe for mediocrity, and why you should embrace the things you fear most. Kathy was one of the early employees and investors at Infusionsoft, which is widely considered one of the darling tech companies in the Phoenix area. After a very successful tenure helping grow the company from a few million to more than 60 million, she decided to leave – and we’ll explore her journey as well as how she has used the power of intention to guide her through uncharted waters.

Kathy is the real deal: raw, passion-driven and on a path to create a wave of positive change in the world. Whether or not you know Kathy personally, by the end of this episode, you’ll walk away with a clear understanding of what makes her tick, and you will feel a blast of inspiration to live the life you’ve always wanted. Check out these takeaways of wisdom, success and women empowering the workforce from Kathy Sacks!

Listen to this podcast interview and more episodes from the Built On Purpose Podcast at http://yscouts.com/podcast


  • 3:37 – Unlocking your real potential, through an understanding of both one’s own neuropsychology and a self-designed career path
  • 5:47 – How a humble upbringing within an immigrant family started her on the path toward entrepreneurship and a colorful journey through the working world
  • 8:56 – Recognizing your own superpowers and putting them into play for lifelong leadership
  • 10:35 – A 10-point “manifesto” designed for achieving your highest potential, both in and out of the working world
  • 14:36 – Anecdote of a learning moment found in front of a Smith Corona typewriter
  • 17:17 – Turning both past business risks and personal tragedy into wisdom and seeing life through a different lens
  • 21:13 – What makes up a successful leadership philosophy, particularly through self-awareness
  • 24:15 – Improving yourself as a leader through the concepts described in “Multipliers: How The Best Leaders Make Everyone Smarter” by Liz Wiseman
  • 28:05 – How coworkers and employees bringing your own faults as a leader to light helps you foster better work tactics and relationships
  • 30:03 – How practicing meditation and mindfulness can help slow down a hectic work life
  • 35:30 – Leaving Infusionsoft and heading for new “ways of being”
  • 40:28 – The start to angel investing
  • 47:26 – Setting an example for women in leadership not by “waving the gender card,” but rather by defining Kathy’s own success as an entrepreneur and businessperson who also happens to be a woman
  • 56:00 – How fears can morph into a goal-setting mentality


The 10-point “Manifesto For Keeping It Real”

  1. You are braver than you think you are.
  2. Making money and delivering positive impact are not mutually exclusive.
  3. Fear exists to remind us we are alive. Embrace it, because what scares you the most is the very thing you should be doing.
  4. When you break out of the past, you can write a new story for yourself.
  5. Getting distracted by surface-level wants is the quickest path to a life unfulfilled.
  6. Honesty takes courage. Truth is the answer, every time.
  7. Be curious. Ask better questions.
  8. You were given a voice for a reason. Use it.
  9. Every day should be lived with courage and care, as though it were your last.
  10. When in doubt, gratitude is always the answer.

Who is Kathy Sacks?

I am an entrepreneur, I’m someone who loves to grow businesses, start businesses, help others to grow businesses. That’s one dimension of me. I come from a background of immigrants; my dad was an entrepreneur with an eighth-grade education, so watching him build his business—so feast and famine—really inspired me. For me, I love the idea of being in control of my destiny. That’s really been the theme in my career. Here’s how I look at it: I’m a female, I’m an only child, I’m a first generation and my parents were not educated. We did not grow up wealthy, were middle class, compared to other Hungarians in New Jersey, we were actually doing really well because my dad was an entrepreneur—he was a mason contractor. He didn’t work in the factory like a lot of my friends’ parents did where there was a steady salary. So my dad was this risk-taker, and my mom was a seamstress. She worked in a factory and she was much more “safe” than my dad was. I was a perfectionist, and because I was the only kid, because I had something to prove, because I was the first person to go to college, I had this huge chip on my shoulder. And as a result, I look back and I realize I have played it safe for most of my life. And to the outside, I had a magazine I cofounded with my husband; we built it and were able to sell it to a publicly traded company, then we started another magazine in San Diego, and that did well, and then the timing in the market didn’t work out so well, and we were able to move from that successfully. I started a tech/PR firm, and I did really well with that. And I took on heads of marketing roles with fast-growth tech companies, most recently with a company called Infusionsoft, where I was an early investor and consultant and later joined management team. While I was there, we took the company from 10 million to a little over 60 million when I left. We had two acquisitions, and we took in almost $70 million in venture capital by the time I had left.

And yet, when I look back, I realize that I was playing it safe—and the reason is because I never wanted to look bad, so I tried to be good at everything. When you do that, you’re not spending the time focusing, doubling down on your strengths—you’re just sort of hedging; you’re just trying to manage it all, rather than really focusing on where you’re very sharp, and on your superpowers. So for me, it really came with when I stepped out of the roller coaster of this venture-backed, fast-growth “factory,” of sorts. Part of it becomes a grind, and you don’t spend a lot of time in introspection; you’re just doing it, doing it, doing it, every day. And I realized looking back that I was just up to proving something and looking good, every single day in my career.

Get over your obstacles of: I’m afraid, I’m not good enough, I’m not smart enough, I don’t know enough, whatever your challenges are. You just get over it, and then the person experiences having accomplished the things they were most afraid of, and you sort of do that incrementally. And the next thing you know, that person is doing things that they never thought that they could.

It sounds like you really live your life according to the notion that the thing that scares you most is likely the thing that you should be throwing yourself into.

What I’ve figured out—and this is through having gone through being in media, having gone through cofounding this magazine, to building a team and having no idea what the hell we were doing, we were in our twenties and just going for it. We wanted to be the new breed magazine. We learned a lot, and we made a ton of mistakes and did a lot of things we were very proud of. We put our blood, sweat and tears into that. I got photographers to work for me from Penney’s, and I couldn’t afford the best photographers, the best writers—but we found a way. They wanted to work on this project. I guess when you’re in it, it didn’t feel like a risk. But when I look back at that, and then growing up and maturing, through my thirties and now in my early forties, I’m a mom, we have a seven-year-old daughter, and my mother passed away a few years ago, and I left a big job. So I turned 40, my mother died—she got sick with leukemia and had a five-month battle. I had just left Infusionsoft the day that I got the call from her that she was diagnosed. Then, I turned 40 maybe 4 months after she passed. So for me, that was a moment or the series of events that made it very clear—and you hear this from people, you have these tragic events that happened, and out of it comes wisdom. I’ve been able to come to the other side and be very grateful for all the bad things that have happened—the things you would stick in a bad bucket—that have actually been some of the greatest things that have happened to me.

Do you think that’s just a matter of you choosing your perspective on it?

Yes. I think it’s 100 percent a choice. I’ve had the victim mentality in my life, and I think it requires being aware that that’s not serving you, being in enough pain to want it to be different, and then taking the steps to get access to people and information that are going to then educate you on why it makes sense to make the shift and see things through a different lens.

So you’ve had experiences as an entrepreneur, and even when you were a senior-level leader of organizations where it wasn’t solely your organization—you still led in an entrepreneurial way. So for the majority, if not all, of your career, you’ve been in a leadership capacity in some way, shape or form. Could you define your leadership philosophy?

Leadership is a list, but I think it all starts and ends with self-awareness. Why? Because if you’re not interested in knowing more of who you’re being, then how can you learn to be better? Leadership is service. Leadership is not about me being the boss, leadership is about me enabling the people that I’m leading to be their very best selves.

Eric Severson Podcast Interview: What motivates people?

eric severson podcast interview

Eric Severson spent the last decade and a half as a member of the People team at apparel giant, GAP, Inc. During his time at GAP, Eric was part of some truly ground-breaking HR and People initiatives including implementing a Results Only Workplace Environment (ROWE), becoming the first major apparel retailer to raise the minimum hourly wage, becoming the first major retailer in the world to release statistical evidence on paying men and women equally in all geographies, and leveraging neuroplasticity and mindset psychology as part of a leading-edge performance management system – some really heady stuff.

In this podcast interview we also dive into the difference between work-life balance and work-life integration, a topic Eric is very passionate about. Eric is currently serving as an appointee on the US Commerce Department’s National Council on Innovation and Entrepreneurship – a role that focuses on the key drivers of America’s global competitiveness. This episode is full of great insight with a specific focus on how to help your people become the best version of themselves to not only help your business grow, but to foster a spirit of personal growth within every member of the people you lead.

Ladies & gentlemen, I share with you, Eric Severson.

Show highlights:

  • 2:20 – Eric’s unlikely career path to becoming a business executive at GAP
  • 5:00 – The journey of raising the minimum wage for 60,000 of GAP’s employees
  • 6:11 – How “Women In Opportunity” played a role in the raising of GAP’s minimum wage
  • 8:13 – Why GAP decided to leverage their position of power as a well recognized brand to start leading social change.
  • 9:00 – The benefits of raising minimum wage for employees
  • 11:30 – The side effects of being a first mover
  • 12:30 – What factors led to saying “Yes” to the considerable price tag of raising wages for 60,000 employees
  • 14:00 – Measuring public opinion and the impact on GAP’s bottom line
  • 15:20 – With the majority of GAP’s workforce being made up of millennials, what are the biggest misconceptions about the millennial generation?
  • 17:30 – Why GAP did away with a long standing “no cell phone policy” at work.
  • 18:30 – What led to implementing a Results Only Work Environment
  • 20:45 – Why work – life balance is also about empowerment
  • 21:40 – Creating stability in hourly scheduling in the retail industry
  • 24:00 – Did the Results Only Work Environment wreak havoc on the management practices and individuals who were used to a more traditional structure?
  • 26:00 – The effect of Results Only Work Environment on different types of leaders
  • 27:45 – The impact of implementing a Results Only Work Environment had on turnover
  • 28:30 – Employee voluntary turnover was reduced by almost 50% in virtually every case of implementing a Results Only Work Environment.
  • 29:40 – What inspired GAP to turn to a Results Only Work Environment
  • 31:15 – Results Only Work Environment was consistently the #1 employee engagement program for professional employees, as evidenced by GAP’s Quarterly Employee Pulse survey, where employees identify one thing about the company that they didn’t want to change.
  • 32:00 – Why voluntary turnover will generally be cut in half, while involuntary turnover will generally double when implementing a Results Only Work Environment in the first year.
  • 34:56 – The advantages of quarterly surveying of employees
  • 35:45 – The equation that employees run through their mind on a regular basis.
  • 41:23 – The concept of Neuroplasticity in the workplace
  • 45:11 – Why GAP does not annual ratings and annual reviews.
  • 45:45 – What’s required to be a successful company in the 21st century.
  • 46:20 – Why a GPS system is the perfect metaphor for how employees need to adapt
  • 47:08 – The concept of a Co-CHRO
  • 51:49 – Eric’s role on National Advisory Council on Innovation & Entrepreneurship
  • 56:15 – The concept of repotting ourselves every 10 years to achieve diversity of perspective
  • 59:20 – The most important question a leader can ask themselves when forming a talent strategy

Show links:

The equation that employees run through their mind on a regular basis.

“How hard I work”
“The Enjoyment I Get From My Job”
“The Development I Get From My Job”
“The Money I Get Paid”
Whether Staying At This Job Is Worth It.

Money does not trump all. It’s always a balancing act. Money is just part of it. How much sacrifice am I asked to make in the rest of my life? As an employer, if you can figure out a systemic way to enable people to increase the amount of flexibility they have to achieve the other goals and purpose they have in their life, while making their salary with you, you will achieve competitive advantage in their minds.

Encourage people to come and join you, even if you can’t pay them more than a competitor. There are many times where we had competitors who were willing to pay more. Part of our strategy was to say, regardless of economic conditions, when economic conditions are tough, and we don’t have the money to pay more, this is an advantage that is immune to the effects of a down economy that we can maintain.

It’s a good example of something that ends up being part of the virtuous cycle concept that there were operating reasons why we undertook this to fix a problem with burnout among our workforce. There were strategic reasons to try and gain competitive advantage. At the end of the day, we went out and talked about it. It would be easy to keep it to ourselves. There was a part of me that wished our competitors wouldn’t copy this because we would then lose our competitive advantage. But, the humanitarian in me wished that everyone would adopt the Results Only Work Environment because there are so many people who suffer needlessly because of archaic, 20th century rules about where and when you have to work. In an age where digital technology has made it possible to work almost anywhere, including Starbucks or the airplane.

A few things to think about when considering implementing the Results Only Work Environment.

Why does it work to send 18 year olds off to college with the admonition that they can have freedom to figure out how they’re going to do it? What you will hold them accountable for are getting the right grades at the end of the semester. They can study, they can not study. They can go to class, they can not go to class. They can party, they can not party. When you really hold them accountable for getting the right grades so they can graduate.

But then they go to the workforce a couple years later and they need to sit in a certain place and be watched. As we thought about it, we realized our employees are quite capable, as long as we’re very clear about what their objectives are and how we’re going to hold them accountable, they can manage their own time with our mentorship and coaching.

There’s a futurist named Jacob Morgan that likes to say in the 21st century, the smartest person in the room is the one with the smartphone. The days of when employees went to work and stayed in the dark with their manager, who chose to confer with them in terms of knowledge of the business…those days are over. Employees have instant access to information and are much better able to adjust and adapt to changing conditions. It behooves all of us to think about how the world has changed in the last couple of decades and how we need to change the workplace to reflect that.

Listen to more episodes from the Built On Purpose podcast at yscouts.com/podcast.

6 Hiring Mistakes Founders & CEO’s Make In Mid-Size Companies

common hiring mistakes founders and ceo's make

Founders and CEO’s of mid-size organizations commit the same hiring mistakes that many hiring managers make. Regardless of size and stage of growth, these hiring mistakes are made because of the way people and companies traditionally approach the employment process.

Here are 6 common hiring mistakes that founders & CEO’s make at mid-size companies:

Making speed the goal

Presidents, founders and CEO’s of companies will typically approach an employment process by saying, “I have a job that needs a certain skill at my company. We need this job filled.”

We typically only fill jobs when it’s an emergency. Then it becomes a race to fill it. How quickly can we get it done? When speed is the goal, we rush and make bad decisions.

You are going to spend a lot of time in the hiring process. Hiring takes time. No matter how fast you want to go, it is a time consuming process. You are either going to spend time doing it right on the front end, or you are going to spend a ton of time cleaning up messes on the backend.

The backend is where most people end up spending their time. They will spend their time cleaning up mistakes with bad hiring decisions.

Ignoring alignment on purpose, values and culture

There is a severe lack of engagement that exists with the workforce. According to Gallup, less than one-third of U.S. workers are engaged in their jobs. The problem doesn’t lie in hiring the wrong people from a skills perspective. The problem lies in hiring the wrong people from an alignment perspective.

As candidates, we’ll look for what can we do. What are the skills I have? What are the experiences I have? What am I capable of? What am I strong at? What am I good at?

That matters. However, what matters just as much – which often gets ignored – is do I actually want to bring my skills, strengths and experience and leverage it for a company that’s working on a problem, service or product in a way that is making the world a little bit better?

Does the company and the individual align on the things that end up mattering just as much – if not more – than the skills. Do I believe what you believe? Do I want to work on what your company is working on?

Whether it’s a small mid-size company or a large company, the problem is the same. We end up putting the cart before the horse. We are in such a rush to bring the right skills to the organization that we fail to recognize the importance of the intangible alignment factors with purpose, values and culture in the employment process.

Assuming you know what you need.

This might read a punch in the gut, but one of the largest hiring mistakes founders and CEO’s of mid-size organizations make is assuming they know what they need.

Let’s say you are the Director of Marketing and you need a new Marketing Associate. Typically the Director of Marketing will go to their recruiting leader and let them know they need a new Marketing Associate. They’ll give the recruitment team the job description, and ask them to go find someone that matches the job description. The recruitment team will then go out and find that person.

The Marketing Associate who will be brought into the organization ends up reporting to the Director of Marketing. But they also interface with a number of other stakeholders within the organization. Others departments, customers, vendors, supplies and a variety of people that the Marketing Associate will interact with.

If we only take the opinion of the Director of Marketing – or the direct hiring manager of the open position – then we’re only getting and satisfying one perspective. So are we really hiring the right person? We would argue that you are not.

No disrespect to hiring managers, but their perspective is very narrow. They’ve got blinders on. They’ve got goals to hit. They will hire what helps them deliver what it is they need to deliver to the organization. Instead of really attempting to move the organization forward and satisfying more stakeholders, they naturally adopt a myopic focus.

Using an old job description

If you slow down the employment process to get in touch with some of the other stakeholders that the position will interface with and rely upon, you’ll quickly learn that an old job description doesn’t serve it’s one purpose: to describe the job.

Ask your stakeholders, “What do you think is most important about this job? What worked really well with the former person who help this job? What did the former person who held this job not do really well? What’s happening in the industry that we should think about bringing into the organization?”

There’s a variety of different questions that should be asked of multiple stakeholders. They may or may not be the right answers, but they’re the right questions. When you collect more data from the stakeholders that interact with that role – in addition to the hiring manger – you are going end up with a much more holistic job description. This description will accurately describe what you are looking for in a candidate, as opposed to simply using an old job description or the perspective of just the hiring manager.

Leaving interviews to chance

Whether we admit to them or not, we all have biases. We tend to hire people who are like us. It’s part of human nature.

If you have ended up taking the time to survey multiple stakeholders to understand the image of success, you need to build a structured interview process.

Don’t leave it to chance. Don’t gun from the hip. Most CEO’s and hiring leaders think they are great interviewers and know how to spot talent. Everyone can claim they know how to spot talent. But understanding exactly what talent you really need is reliant on a structured interview process on the selection criteria.

The structure your interview process, you will need to build out specific questions that revolve around your purpose, values and culture. You will need to find someone in your organization that can serve as the ambassador to find that alignment in the intangibles of the organization. You also need to structure your interview process around the competencies of the role, which is where the hiring manager should really be involved.

You should be screening for what you really need this person to deliver. And then asking whether they have a track record of delivering this specific type of work. Or, whether you believe that they have the potential to deliver this type of work as they grow into the future.

Not Vetting for leadership

The most normal route to leadership is through demonstrating success as an individual contributor. Many people who are in leadership roles shouldn’t be because they don’t have leadership competency. They have great job or skills based competency. They don’t have leadership competency.

Dependent upon the amount of leadership required for the role, do you have interview questions built out that are really assessing – irrespective of the job competencies – leadership capability. Is this person a leader? Do they demonstrate leadership?

We have a leadership model that revolves around three character traits. Driving Results. Developing People. Learning Relentlessly. The model serves as a framework of how we do our interviewing around leadership capability. Most people who are in leadership roles have reached that place because they were excellent as an individual contributor at their job. They were great at what they do.

Are you really screening and vetting for leadership?

What hiring mistakes are you making?

Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that finds purpose-aligned and performance-proven leaders to help organizations achieve their missions faster. Ready to supercharge your leadership search and get the right person in your organization? Contact Y Scouts.

John Shufeldt Podcast Interview: Relentless Learning

John Shufeldt

John Shufeldt is one of the most accomplished individuals I’ve ever met. He’s a practicing emergency room doctor, a practicing attorney, the Phoenix PD SWAT team medical director, the author of multiple books on the Ingredients of Outliers, an adjunct professor at ASU’s law school, the founder and CEO of MeMD, a pilot, a guitar player, and a recent TEDx speaker – and this is just a partial list.

In this mesmerizing interview, we talk about life growing up as an adopted child, the 2 character traits that have come to define his life, what it’s like to save a life and, on the flipside, what it’s like to watch someone pass away. We discuss his drive for constant knowledge acquisition, and the power of humility.

I know you’ll agree with me after listening to this interview, for someone who’s accomplished so much, John is one of the most down-to-earth and kind individuals you’ll ever meet. And perhaps the most exciting part of this interview is our discussion around the right questions we need to be asking ourselves every day in order to live the meaningful lives we can. I’m thrilled to bring you this fantastic interview with John Shufeldt!

Show highlights:

  • 2:30 – How John’s childhood as a persevering failure shaped his philosophies today
  • 3:40 – Where John’s never give up mentality came from
  • 6:25 – What John was passionate about growing up, and whether he was certain about what life was going to be like at a very early age
  • 7:40 – How relentless learning has played a role in John’s life
  • 10:00 – Why learning is like putting on a new set of glasses
  • 11:12 – How John balances being a relentless learner with his professional responsibilities by striving for mediocrity
  • 13:16 – John’s biggest takeaways from witnessing human conditions in emergency medicine
  • 14:30 – The look on people’s faces as they realize they’re dying and they’re leaving a life with unfulfilled potential. The definition of hell is when the person you are meets the person you could have become on your deathbed
  • 16:00 – The elements you need to achieve anything you set your mind to
  • 17:00 – Why asking the question “What do you want to be when you grow up” does a disservice to young people
  • 19:00 – What it’s like to be the last person a person sees before they pass away
  • 23:18 – Where does John’s enjoyment come from?
  • 25:12 – Why you should stop wondering if you’re good enough, know you are, and start acting like it
  • 30:00 – What led to the founding of MeMD
  • 33:53 – Why convenience is the new black and the new frontier of competitive advantage
  • 38:28 – Is empathy being lost among medical leaders?
  • 43:00 – What 3 albums are you taking with you on a deserted island
  • 44:15 – What’s next for John

Show links:

Clearly this theme of relentless learning is something that you live. I want to rattle off a number of your accomplishments from a learning perspective. BA in sociology and criminology from Drake University. MD from The Chicago Medical School. You did your emergency medicine residency at Christ Hospital and Medical Center, where you were Chief Resident. You then went on to get your MBA from Arizona State. You then went on to get a JD from ASU. And if that’s not enough, you then went on to get a Six Sigma black belt from ASU. And, I’m just going to call this some other stuff, you’ve authored a series called the Outliers series, you are a pilot, you are the Phoenix Police Department SWAT team medical director, and on the side, I hear you’re one helluva guitar player. I know I’ve left some things out.

What role has learning played for you, and how has it taken such a central role in your life?

First, let me make a couple corrections. I literally know three songs on the guitar. Hotel California is my best, and I don’t think any of the members of the Eagles would even recognize it as Hotel California if I played it.

I really enjoy school and enjoy learning. What I like best about it is, I feel like when you’re in it and when you’re out of it, it’s like putting on a new set of glasses. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve walked out of a class and said, “Holy cow, I cannot believe I didn’t know all of this stuff before. How did I ever survive?”

I look at a problem and say, “Holy cow, how was I not seeing this for what it could be? How was I not seeing this as an opportunity as opposed to a problem?” It’s this new set of glasses with a new perspective and new ways to analyze an old problem.

For me, that’s really been the most enjoyable aspect of this. I try to go back to school every 10 years. I always look forward to it. Believe me, there are times when it is a little bit much. But 95% of the time, I just love it. I look forward to the next adventure.

Given all that you have going on, how do you balance everything?

I strive for mediocrity. You’re going to laugh, but it’s kind of true. For emergency medicine for example – and this isn’t the place to be mediocre – but one time I met a guy who was a MD, JD and in the top 2-3% of the smartest people I’ve ever met. He said to me, “Look. If you’re going to practice in emergency medicine, if you strive for the 100% rate, you’ll be a horrible emergency medicine physician. You have to strive for the 95% confidence interval.”

To get that other 5% is generally unnecessary. Often there’s no return on investment. I kind of approach a lot of things like that. I almost describe myself as wide and shallow. I know a little bit about a fair amount of subjects. Which I like and really fits my personality. When I say, ‘strive for mediocrity’, I don’t feel like I have to be the absolute subject matter authority in anything, but if I have a moderately good perspective with a good understanding of something, that’s what I need to get out of it. As opposed to being the top person in the country on some nuance that for me I’ll probably never have a return on investment on.

What have you learned about the will and determination of patients in practicing emergency medicine?

I think the biggest thing is that great people can come in incredibly unassuming and diminutive packages.

The other thing I learned early was this perspective that I started calling the “if only look.” Occasionally – and unfortunately – I’ll be the last person people see before they die. I noticed a few times early on that sometimes people have this indescribable, wistful, deep sad look on their face. I started thinking, “what is this look?” I interpreted this as the knowledge that they were dying with an unfulfilled life where they did not take advantage of their God given talents and attributes.

I saw this poster recently that the definition of hell is the person you are meets the person you could have become on your deathbed.

That is not what I want to happen to me. I want to go through life and at the end be able to say, “Holy shit, what a ride.”

Listen to more episodes from the Built On Purpose podcast at yscouts.com/podcast.

Andy Sernovitz Podcast Interview, CEO of GasPedal

Andy Sernoviz GasPedal CEO

Andy Sernovitz is absolutely a “what you see and hear is what you get” type of person – no hidden agendas and no bullshit. He’s passionate about the concept of ‘word of mouth’ marketing – in fact, he wrote the book on it. Word of Mouth Marketing: How Smart Companies Get People Talking is a New York Times Bestseller.

Andy is the CEO of GasPedal, a company dedicated to building communities. When you visit gaspedal.com, you’ll notice that the entire site is oriented around the employment brand of the company, a topic we dive into quote a bit during this interview. We also talk about Gaspedal’s imaginary recruiter, Preston Firestone, and how Preston has helped Andy and his team avoid some massive hiring mistakes.

I had a great time chatting with Andy, and for those of you who care deeply about your company’s employment brand, and the importance of hiring the right people, this is one interview you’ll want to listen to more than once. Enjoy this stimulating conversation with Andy Sernovitz!

Show highlights:

  • 2:20 – Where does the rabid passion for word of mouth marketing come from?
  • 3:30 – Word of mouth as an economic engine
  • 5:00 – How Andy knew that word of mouth marketing was where it was at for him
  • 7:15 – Why love is taboo when it comes to leading teams and business cultures
  • 10:45 – How social media can turn into a giant mess
  • 12:30 – We’re more connected than we’ve ever been, but the relationships that we have are weaker
  • 13:25 – The two perspectives of receiving feedback
  • 15:15 – How GasPedal pre-communicates career opportunities to potential candidates
  • 16:00 – How GasPedal is like an Indian restaurant
  • 24:40 – Why cramming people into an open space warehouse to work is one of the biggest business scams of our generation
  • 25:50 – Why GasPedal bought a 20,000 square foot warehouse that will fit 50 people – who all get a private office
  • 27:15 – Why the things we hear about culture contradicts common sense
  • 29:50 – Who is Preston Firestone? And why he is a wonderful screen for liars and assholes?
  • 33:15 – Recruiting for culture
  • 33:45 – The one overwhelming thing that helps build culture
  • 35:21 – Definitions of culture
  • 36:40 – The importance of collaboration in the GasPedal culture
  • 39:15 – Why we undervalue the “how” in work styles
  • 41:20 – The candidates GasPedal looks to attract (and how they go about it)
  • 43:41 – Damn I Wish I Thought Of That
  • 45:45 – Where Andy draws inspiration for a blog that is older than his children
  • 47:30 – Which albums Andy would take on a deserted island

Show links:

Have you figured any secrets out at GasPedal in recruiting for culture?

Everything that we do is about recruiting for culture. Frankly, for any set of skills, you can find a bunch of people that have those skills. It’s hard because you have to go through the recruiting process, but there’s a lot of people who can do any given job.

Our entire recruiting philosophy is finding people who can be a true culture fit. What really drives culture is authenticity. For us, the one overwhelming thing that helps us build great culture is total transparency. That’s why our website is massive and talks about everything good and bad. The more we share, and the more we’re open, and the more we tell the story about, ‘Here’s who we are. Here’s what it’s like to work here. Here’s what we love. Here’s what we hate.” – the more we attract people who would thrive in that environment, and drive away the people who wouldn’t think it’s good.

Frankly, every time we hire someone who isn’t a culture fit and doesn’t work out, we go back and say, ‘What did we miss in our storytelling that made this person think they’d love it here?’ Or, how did we miss something in the conversation with them? What didn’t we ask? You should know what you’re getting into. I don’t know how weird we are on the weird company scale, but the more we can share, the more we can get that great fit.

That backs into our definition of culture. There’s a lot of crappy definitions about culture, like “We have core values! Don’t steal, don’t touch people inappropriately, and work hard!”

Those aren’t values. There’s a lot of fake culture out there. Real culture is two things. It’s an agreement on a destination. We are working to build ____________. For that half, you are looking for people who would love to build ___________. The second half of the culture definition is, here’s how we get there. Here’s how we like to work. Because if you like to work that way, you’ll love doing it.

Now you’re describing the two halves of the conversation. It’s a shared journey, and it’s the shared way you spend your time on that journey. That’s where someone is going to find the absolute love for their job every single day.

It isn’t a right or wrong set of choices. Like this is the wrong destination, or this is the right way of working. It’s about being super clear on how it’s going to be, and if you find your joy this way, or if you thrive in this environment, you’re going to have an amazing experience here. And if not, that’s totally okay.

It’s no different than choosing the friends you’re going to go on a roadtrip with. One of the examples of this that we use in the interview process is the idea of collaboration. Some people are deep thinker writers who love to go in a dark room, work on it, edit it, polish it and present something finished. Some people love to sit around and throw a draft in Google Docs. Everyone will comment, then you’ll have a brainstorming session, and then you’ll rewrite it on the fly, and we’ll all work together until it’s amazing.

Two equally valid ways of working. People love one or the other. But if you are a “sit and work by yourself and make it great” kind of person, you are going to hate the “sit around and pick at it until it’s great” kind of team.

We’re really clear. This is who we are. This is why we do what we do. And if you don’t like that, that’s okay. The more we can pre-communicate that ‘this is what we do and what we love – and this is what we don’t do.’

We talk a lot about comparing the company to an Indian restaurant. We are all working here and we are an amazing Indian restaurant and we cook the best food. Every day we think about how we can become the best Indian restaurant in the world.

But, some people don’t like Indian food. Some customers don’t like it, and some restaurant workers don’t like it. But we’re never going to start cooking hamburgers. We would make terrible hamburgers. We’d be a terrible Indian restaurant, and customers still wouldn’t be happy.

We’re really clear. We’re going to be the best Indian restaurant in the world. If that’s not your thing, that’s okay. Find your joy somewhere. We’d love to help you find your joy. And this is where we find our joy. If you’re one of those kind of people, come join us.

Listen to more episodes from the Built On Purpose podcast at yscouts.com/podcast.

Ray DelMuro Podcast Interview: Complementary Pairs

Ray DelMuro Refresh Glass

Ray DelMuro is the founder and CEO of Refresh Glass, a company on a mission to rescue 10M wine bottles and turn them into everyday glassware. Ray’s journey from aerospace engineer, to world traveler, to the founding of Refresh Glass is a story almost everyone can relate to.

In this interview we talk about the power of complementary pairs, a theme that has guided Ray throughout his life. Style and Function, Emotional and Logical Connection, Utility and Design – these are examples of complementary pairs that we discuss in this interview. We also dive into the power of using business as a force for good and why following your passion may not be the best advice.

Show highlights:

  • 2:45 – How Ray’s upbringing with a dad as a fashion designer and mom was a business person led to Ray’s reality now.
  • 3:45 – M.C. Escher’s influence on combining two separate fields, the foundation for the passion that drives Ray with Refresh Glass
  • 6:15 – The most beneficial lesson Ray learned after a year of traveling around the world to 21 different countries
  • 8:30 – The difference between the golden rule and the platinum rule, and the role our passions play in our decision making.
  • 11:15 – How aerospace engineering played a role in Ray’s career path
  • 13:45 – Ray’s mid-life crisis at 28
  • 15:50 – What was missing in an aerospace engineering career, and how a trip around the world aimed to fill that void
  • 18:30 – where did Refresh Glass come from?
  • 22:50 – Refresh Glass was not a money making idea. It came from purchasing a $40 kit online out of engineering curiosity.
  • 23:30 – What were the biggest challenges in launching Refresh Glass?
  • 26:27 – What’s missing for people to run their businesses with a more conscious mindset?
  • 28:15 – Why Ray changed his sales pitch from a golden rule mindset to a platinum rule
  • 29:30 – Ways to grow your business more, including why Conscious Capitalism may be an approach to consider
  • 34:45 – How Ray has built the team at Refresh Glass
  • 35:46 – Why jobs aren’t about money, they’re about making a life
  • 36:30 – Why creating that “AND” scenario instead of the “OR” scenario is a win-win.

Show links:

Can you share a little bit about your path?

I grew up in Pasadena, California. My dad was a fashion designer and my mom was a business person. I grew up with an artistic half and a business half, which ended up being my reality now. I ended up going to school to become an engineer. I almost went to art school, but decided that I didn’t want to be poor for my entire life. Which is ironic now because I’ve been really bootstrapping my company for the last couple of years.

When I finished school I was in love with engineering and cars. I transitioned to become an aerospace engineer. A few years after having built my career, I decided to quit my job and went on a trip around the world to try and figure out my passion profession to combine the art and engineering into a business. That has turned into Refresh Glass now.

Where did Refresh Glass come from?

I’ll tell you something that normally doesn’t come up when I have conversations about Refresh Glass. When I got back from my trip, the last leg was in Australia. A friend of mine who I knew from the aerospace days called me and said, “Ray, I need someone who can work on CNC machines and also has some decent people skills.” He wanted me for that spot, and that’s how I ended up in Phoenix.

There was a year after I got back from my trip that was probably the worst year of my life. My equation that I came back with was brutally simple. It was to find a way to combine the functionality of something that has the utility of engineering with the animated responses of art that helps the community in some way. I really got bit with the bug of true traveling in the sense of community.

For a year after I got back I worked with this guy for a month. I worked with someone else, and I was the engineer that was sent to China to try to find new products to containerize and send back here. I was a Six Sigma consultant for a few months as well. I was absolutely miserable because I knew the way I wanted it to feel, and I knew the functional part to it, but I didn’t know how to do it until I got fired from the Six Sigma company. They said I was really nice and smart but that I didn’t like doing things the way they liked doing them. When they let me go on a Friday – it was emotional. I had never been fired before.

The guy who was a Six Sigma master black belt implored me. He was like, “Ray, go get a little more experience and there’s a good chance we’ll hire you back in a couple years.” My thought to that was, “Screw that. I’m sick of working for other people. I’m going to go try and be on my own, because I just don’t see this pattern stopping anywhere.”

I got a bartending job and started making drinks at night and working on different ideas for projects during the day. It was during that period that Refresh Glass was one of those ideas and I kind of ran with it.

So you’re a bartender pouring drinks and throwing bottles away. Was that where it came from in seeing what was happening with all this glassware that was going to waste?

Recycling centers just can’t do anything with glass. Glass is a commodity – and this is where it gets into the more technical money side – commodities are traded. Raw materials have value. It’s the hardest of all commodities for them to do anything with because it’s heavy. It’s hard to transport. You have to separate it in three different colors. You have foreign object debris. The plants who run them have to flow 2500 degree molten liquid through tubes. That’s not cheap.

I didn’t know that then. All I knew back then was that no one was recycling them, and I had bottles at the restaurant and at my house. It wasn’t a money making idea. There was a kit online that was $40 and I bought the kit. Being the curious engineer, cost / quality / efficiency trained guy that loved making stuff – the first one I made took like two days. And it looked like crap. I just knew there had to be a better way.

Then I would start showing my friends who would come over. I had access to liquor bottles in different styles. Everyone loved it and wanted to buy some. So it’s really humble beginnings.

refresh glass

Listen to more episodes from the Built On Purpose podcast at yscouts.com/podcast.

The Value Of Values-Based Hiring

Setting aside a candidate’s resumé and job description may be the best strategy for nonprofits seeking the perfect hire. Read the full article written by Brian Mohr and Richard Tollefson on InBusiness Magazine.

Values Based Hiring Article In InBusiness Magazine

Y Scouts is a leadership search firm that finds purpose-aligned and performance-proven leaders to help organizations achieve their missions faster. Ready to supercharge your leadership search and get the right person in your organization? Contact Y Scouts.

The Reinvention of Executive Search

reinvention of executive search

When you visit the home page of yscouts.com you’re met with a bold, distinct message:

We’re Reinventing Executive Search

In this post we’ll share why the reinvention of executive search needed to take place. We’ll also talk about what we’ve done to reinvent executive search, and elaborate on the three areas that are huge parts of our reinvention.

The three parts of our reinvention that we’ll cover:

  • Establishing a go to market strategy around aligning intangibles
  • Challenging the way recruiting is supposed to work by connecting with leaders in a new way
  • The Y Scouts Leadership Model

Establishing a go to market strategy around aligning intangibles

Think about the days before the internet existed. Executive search firms and staffing organizations were either geographically focused, industry focused, or job function focused. That was the traditional three headed monster of how search firms and staffing organizations went to market.

They said,

“We’re a search firm that focuses specifically on the Greater Phoenix area.”


“We’re a search firm that is great at working with manufacturing companies.”


“We’re a search firm that specializes in accounting and finance jobs.”

Then the internet and technology exploded. The one advantage that search firms had – their ability to connect with a certain group of people in a specific area – became less of a competitive advantage with the advancement of technology.

Technology has leveled the playing field. You can connect with anyone today. You just have to have the wherewithal to know how to do great search and sourcing work. It’s just a matter of whether you are willing to work hard enough to find the best of the best.

Y Scouts has chosen a very different go to market strategy. The go to market strategy isn’t rooted in just geography, or just industry, or just job function. It’s rooted in all of those, plus – it’s about alignment of intangibles.

Intangibles is the stuff that you don’t find on a resume or in a job description. It’s the things that accelerate and magnify performance.

Where do I fit? Who do I believe in? Who believes in what I believe in? Who behaves the way I behave? Who cares about the same things that I care about?

Establishing all of the intangibles is part of the alignment process between a company and a leader. It matters more today than it has ever before. Just look at the consumer marketing space. Consumers today are voting with their wallets. Nine out of ten times when given the choice to put their money to work behind a brand that serves a greater purpose, versus those that are commodity based, they’re going to put their money towards the cause or purpose driven organization. It’s not even a question.

As the workforce continues to become more dominated by the younger generations, their natural orientation is cause and purpose-based type brands. That’s easily going to translate into the organizations that they chose to work for.

As a leader, the people who are going to be following you will see right through whether or not you believe authentically in what the mission of the organization is. To get the best out of people, they need to believe in what you believe in.

If you don’t share the same set of beliefs, you’re not going to operate at the highest of high levels. It’s just not going to happen. There’s no disputing that.

The go to market strategy is a reinvention. Not focusing on a geography, industry or profession. It’s about alignment in the intangibles, because that is what matters in today’s business world.

Challenging the way recruiting is supposed to work

A second piece about the reinvention of executive search is when we connect with candidates, we don’t dangle job descriptions in front of them.

We don’t say, “Hey! This job would be great for you because I saw your LinkedIn profile, or your resume, or Jim connected me to you and said you’re a great Chief Marketing Officer. Well, here’s a great Chief Marketing Officer job that pays $450,000 base plus a 40% bonus. I think you’d be great at it!”

Those are artificial lures that really don’t move the needle. Part of our reinvention is that when we connect with leaders who might potentially be a great fit for a client, our immediate focus is all about the leader as a person. Who are you? What’s the difference in the world that you want to make? Who are the people you want to surround yourself with? What type of business would you be proud to represent?

Getting into those types of intangibles matters so much. It matters more now than it ever has. Focusing on the human as opposed to the resume is where it has to start. When you do that, the rest of it starts to fall in line.

Leadership Behaviors & Traits

The other piece comes through all of our collective experience in the talent space. We’ve developed a leadership model that came as a result of what our clients were asking for in the types of leaders they wanted. They emphasized three particular characteristics and behavioral traits:

  • Drives Results
  • Develops People
  • Learns Relentlessly

The first behavior is that they drive results. When they’re placed in a role, they get the job done. That’s the minimum table stakes.

The second piece is that they are a developer of other people. They recognize as a leader that in order for them to be successful, they have to help everyone raise their game and achieve their greatest potential. They’re very focused on others and spend their time developing the people that they have the honor and privilege to lead.

The third thing, perhaps more important now than ever before, is people who are relentless in their pursuit of knowledge. They lean into learning. They haven’t made the decision that they’re a Chief Marketing Officer, and they’ve reached the top and they know what’s best. That’s a frightening proposition if you’re not constantly leaning into learning.

The world is changing fast. The business world is changing fast. If you as an individual aren’t constantly doing your best to continue to evolve as fast as the world is, you will eventually become obsolete because someone is going to learn faster than you.

Those three traits – driving results, developing people, learning relentlessly – serve as the core of our leadership model. Every leader we work with – if they don’t have specific, measurable proof points from their career of how they’ve demonstrated those three behavioral traits, we won’t move them forward in the process. No matter how great they look on paper.

They have to model those behaviors. That’s what our clients want, and that’s what the business world needs.

Transforming how leaders and companies connect to work that matters.

That’s how we are reinventing executive search. We founded Y Scouts based on a go to market strategy around aligning the intangibles. We are challenging the way recruiting is supposed to work by connecting with leaders without using artificial lures – like dangling a job description – that really don’t move the needle. And then third, the Leadership Model.

We believe leaders with purpose outperform those simply chasing status and dollars. To find these exceptional leaders you don’t follow the status quo – you must zig while others zag.

If you have questions on how we are reinventing executive search, or you are ready to supercharge your leadership search and get the right person in your organization, please contact us.

Todd Nordstrom Podcast Interview – What’s Your Story?

Todd Nordstrom Podcast Interview

You are always storytelling (whether you know it or not). Whether you are telling the story of your career on your resume, or telling the story of your organization on a website, the stories we tell have the power to get you hired or recruit a key employee. Fortunately, Todd Nordstrom knows a thing or two about crafting and sharing a compelling story.

Read more

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