October 19, 2017 Yscouts

5 Recruiting Secrets from Forward-Thinking Executives

There has been a lot of talk about recruiting and hiring throughout our 47 episodes of the Built On Purpose Podcast. From treating hiring as a marketing strategy to looking for specific traits in candidates, here are five hiring and recruiting secrets from some of the brightest in business.

Don’t Try to Appeal to Everyone

Rob Kelly, CEO of Ongig

Kelly’s business is aiming to make the recruiting and hiring process more efficient for everyone. His biggest takeaway about the recruiting space is appealing to the right people.

“If you try to appeal to everyone, you’re going to appeal to no one. This is a world where there are tons of other companies that specialize in different things. You have to accept the fact that for instance, only 10% of people who come to your career site even apply and that’s okay. You don’t want the other 90%. You’ve got to really be yourself, show your uniqueness, and if you’re doing good work, then you’re going to find the right candidate doing it that way. You want the bad candidates to keep on walking.”

Authenticity Matters

Craig DeMarco, founding partner of Upward Projects

As a company with a strong culture and purpose, DeMarco looks for authentic people. He believes that when you have an authentic team, it’s not only easier to create a people-first culture but it trickles all the way down to the guest having an authentic experience.

“That’s the most powerful word, authenticity, right? That’s what we really are screening for when we’re trying to hire people. People that really believe in bringing service to others, who have a high level of humility, who are authentic and genuine. We can train for skill. You know everyone says they’re a people-first company. Everyone says that now, like how everyone says they have great company culture, but few people live it on a daily basis, empathy and compassion. We get our team, our vendors, our guests and then the investors. We’re taking care of our team and our vendors and all that is trickling down to the guests. If our team is taken care of, they can take of our guests. I believe in that wholeheartedly.”

Use Data and Behavior Strategies

Katie Burke, Vice President of Culture and Experience at Hubspot

According to Burke, Hubspot’s process of analyzing behavior and data allows them to see if a candidate is not only a good fit for the role, but also a cultural fit for the company.

“One: We use data to help inform our decisions so hopefully, from the places where we’ve gotten it wrong, we’re using data to course correct it. Two: Our interview process involves a lot of speaking by candidates but it also involves a lot of behavioral interviewing techniques. For example, if you interview on our sales team, one of the things we’re watching for is the degree to which you effectively listen, how actively do you listen, how actively do you take notes and that sort of thing. As it turns out, if you’re not a person who’s good at listening it shows up pretty early on in the interview process…I just believe strongly that people’s actions speak a whole lot louder than their words.”

Don’t Underestimate Young People

Gerald Chertavian, founder & CEO of Year Up

Chertavian believes in utilizing the skills that young people bring to the table. This philosophy aligns perfectly with his non-profit that gives underserved young adults the opportunity to develop professional skills.

“When we started training and supporting young adults to be successful, it was just back in the early days, and I probably didn’t even know how high and how fast our young adults could go…When American Express tells us we want to hire hundreds of folks through your program to support some of our technical systems and that this is a better source of talent for us, that is a huge wakeup call for all companies to say ‘what am I missing by not investing in this talent pipeline and how do I think about hiring in ways that tap into talent?’”

Look for Curiosity

Kristen Hadeed, founder & CEO of Student Maid

As the head of a cleaning company that hires college students, Hadeed has learned a few things about hiring her mostly millennial-age staff. One trait she loves to see when recruiting and hiring is curiosity.

“Many times, the first time we’re getting direct feedback is in our first job. There are students that we have though, that ask, ‘What can I be doing better?’ When I see something like that, I know someone is really open to learning and growing. With the generation we’re working with, when we see that they’re asking questions, it’s an instant sign that someone is open to learning and growing.”


Y Scouts, a leadership search firm, finds purpose-aligned as well as 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.