There is a flood of great talent on the market and the competition for those limited positions is heating up. With this rise in the talent pool the ability to properly access applications is a major challenge. The bar has been raised!  Are you leaving good people on the table?

Our guest today: Shawn Sheikh, Co-Founder & Managing Partner of Pivot CMO

Shawn is a Silicon Valley & Beach serial entrepreneur and Y Combinator alumni. His specialty is helping companies scale from $0 to multi-millions in revenue, through both conventional paid acquisition and non-conventional growth hacks. 

Apart from Pivot CMO, Shawn loves to work with founders to find creative ways to scale their businesses and owns and invests in a portfolio of small to medium sized businesses

Today we are discussing

  • The challenges in a heavy applicant reply market
  • How to effectively screen applicants to avoid false positives

What are the issues you are finding in screening applicants

  • Quality 
  • Response rate
  • Don't want to do the case study

Right Approach?

  • Reply with application (google form) 

Phone Screening 

  • Report to person call screen

 Rick’s Input

  • Job description- performance metrics and call to action
  • CTA: 3 questions for submittal - to be completed for all applications
  • Timing of the event…. ie: when to do a test
  • Phone screen for Purpose

Current process that works

  • Application process does work (cuts from 3k to 300)
  • 20-30 people are qualified (phone screen)
  • 75-80% show up for phone screen
  • 6-8 to interview
  • 1-2 to offer

Referrals- from employees

  • 4 all hires
  • One referral from a person they 


  • Applicant review/application
  • Phone screen -50% technical/ 50% fit
  • Walk through assignment
  • Test
  • Interview
  • Offer

Rick’s Nuggets

  • Interview Structure & process tied to your Company values
  • “What are you capable of achieving?”
  • Make the call based on the person’s answers rather than the resume

Key Takeaways:

  • Better screening questions during the process 
  • Addressing people’s needs before money
  • Owning who you are!
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