Growing your company from 2 to 10 people is the most critical time in your company's life cycle. The reason for this is every single hire that is made can make or break the company. 

Every founder I meet has a story of “we hired a person that we thought was going to be a rockstar and it turned out to be a disaster”. 

So where do things go wrong when a bad hire is made?  

The interview was run from a position of need;  where we focus on selling the opportunity. So excited to get this new rockstar on board that we totally forget to take the time to understand if the person aligns with the values of the organization.

The good news is there is a solution to avoid these sometimes deadly mistakes and it just requires structure and developing your listening muscle. 

Our guest today:  Jeremy Parker, Co-Founder and CEO of is the best place for companies to buy and distribute quality swag that people will actually want to keep. We work with 5,000+ companies including Facebook, Google, Amazon, Netflix, Spotify and Tik Tok.

Jeremy was named to Crain's NY 40 under 40 (Class of 2020) and Swag is #218 on the Inc 500 (2020) and #368 (2021)- Fastest growing private companies

Today we discuss:

  • The importance of the first 10 hires
  • Process to avoid making the wrong hire

Challenge today?

  • Hiring for the resume
  • People who have done it in the past
  • Not about the skills but the culture
  • One bad hire can destroy a business

Why is this important to the company?

Story:  First 2 years just the founders. Then scaled quickly to 14 people

  • Who you hire in the early days is super important.  Need to be the right fit, for the right time.  They could be a great person and extremely talented but if they are not the right fit for the time it can go sideways.  
  • Up to 70 people now and everyone is ability is important, skills not as important, as culture

How do we solve the problem? 

  • Stop micromanaging

    • Guide & teach & trust that people will get it
    • Allow people who are hiring to do the job
  • Right mentality & Right focus (embracing failure)
    • Failure is ok
    • Embrace it!
  • 4 rounds of interviews
    • First meet with Department Head.  If that goes well, meet with someone who is currently in that same position in the company, to make sure they feel this person can do the job well. 
    • If that goes well, meet with the COO,
    • if that goes well, meet with CEO.
    • If the candidate gets through all rounds and everyone feels they could be a good fit, we get at least two reference checks.  Someone who they worked under and someone who they worked alongside.  

Rick’s Nuggets

  • Evaluate everyone around your values

Key Takeaways -Value:

  • Being ok with failure! Nothing can go wrong when you are ok with it. Failure will get you where you need to go.

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This show is proudly sponsored by Criteria Corp


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