Why you need to hire trusted talent to build and scale your startup. Referrals are still the strongest way to stack the deck with talent for your organization. But you cannot shortcut the interview process. Just because a person worked well in another organization does not mean they will be successful at yours. Diligence in gathering evidence of value, growth and cultural alignment must be gathered to avoid making a bad hire. 

Our guest today: AJ Bruno, CEO & Co-founder of QuotaPath

AJ leads the QuotaPath team as CEO & Co-Founder. Prior to QuotaPath, AJ spent 6 years at TrendKite, the company he founded and was president of in Austin Texas.  At TrendKite, AJ led the go-to-market and sales strategy/execution and took that team from initial product inception through $20+ million ARR and 250+ employees. TrendKite was acquired by the public company Cision for $225 million in January 2019. 

AJ is religious about vetting and hiring talent and has made over 300 hires in his career 

Today we discuss

  • Why trusted talent is the best option to build and scale your startup. 
  • What to do when you don't have a strong network
  • The steps to take to hire through referrals

Why is hiring “trusted talent” the best route

  • Look into your own network of people you have previously worked with or go to a trusted source to help build the team you need to take you to the next level.

Why is this important

  • Avoid running into bad hires  

How do we do it?

  • Reverse engineer your network
  • Looking for trust and loyalty
  • A lot of back channeling (connect with at least 5 people) 

If you know the person?

  • He needs to justify why for both parties

In the Interview process

  • Disqualification questions- do you know who Elon Musk is?
  • Tie questions to the importance of the role

Rick’s Nuggets

  • Knock out questions 
  • Provide a growth path to avoid a transactional experience

Key Takeaways:

  •  Backchannel with at least 3 references if the hire is very strategic (the first hire in their position or respective position)
  • Create a consistent process (with knockout questions or frameworks) if it will be a hire you will make multiple times (sales reps).
  • Ensure that the person is sold on working with you and learning from you as much as possible if it is a strategic hire.
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