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Mastering Startup Recruitment with Whitney Finlinson

The Randal Osché Podcast: Season 1 | Episode 12




Join us on The Randall Osché Podcast as Whitney Finlinson, owner of Visionary Talent, shares her expert insights into startup recruiting. Leaving the ski-bum life behind to lead her own recruiting firm, Whitney discusses the critical skills necessary for successful startup recruitment and how to cultivate a positive workplace culture.


What You'll Learn:

  • The essentials of effective communication and hiring processes in startup environments.

  • How to create and maintain a workplace culture that respects boundaries and fosters growth.

  • The impact of job market trends on recruiting and the importance of integrity and relationships in the recruitment industry.


Whitney draws on her extensive experience to offer practical advice for entrepreneurs and recruiters aiming to find and retain top talent. She also emphasizes the importance of adapting recruitment strategies to meet both employer needs and candidate expectations for successful long-term placements.


Listen to the episode on Apple PodcastsSpotifyYoutubePodcast Index, Podcasts AddictAmazon Music, or on your favorite podcast platform.


Find Whitney Finlinson:

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Book Recommendations:


Highlights


  • Importance of Communication: Effective and open communication is crucial for candidates, clients, and internal teams.

  • Healthy Workplace Culture: Aim for a healthy work environment with professional boundaries, not a family-like atmosphere.

  • Early-Stage Recruiting: Personalized approaches in recruiting for startups lead to better matches and long-term success.

  • Candidate Abundance: The current job market has many candidates, making it vital for hiring managers to avoid bad hires, especially in early-stage companies.

  • Transparency in Hiring: Being transparent builds trust with candidates and hiring managers, setting candidates apart and fostering better relationships.


SHOW NOTES



Questions this conversation has Randall Pondering

"How do you assess if if the candidate will be the right fit for your organization?


What was your favorite quote or lesson from this episode? Please let me know in the comments!


And that's it for today's conversation here on the Randall Osché podcast. Thank you so much for joining us and we hope that you've enjoyed listening as much as we've enjoyed recording it.


Many many thanks to our guests today for sharing their knowledge, their experience and their life lessons. If you found today's conversation insightful, interesting, inspiring, please join our growing community by subscribing. Randall Osché podcast on your favorite podcast platform, and never ever miss another episode.


 We'd love to hear your feedback. So keep the community alive by sharing your takeaways from today's episode and use the hashtag Randall O'Shea podcast. Your feedback and interaction fuels our continued efforts to build a safe space for meaningful, long form conversations. So thank you so much for the support until next time, stay curious, stay inspired and keep the conversation going.





The Randall Osché Podcast - Whitney Finlinson (Episode 12)

[00:00:00] Whitney: I think that communicating is an art that is quickly, quickly dwindling. And when it comes to candidates, when it comes to clients, when it comes to internal teams, it's incredibly important. And people being able to talk freely without fear of repercussion throughout every stage of everything is also incredibly important.

[00:00:17] Whitney: And that's what creates a healthy atmosphere to work in. Not a family atmosphere, but a healthy one. 

[00:00:22] AI: Hello, and welcome to the Randall O'Shea podcast, where we create a safe space for meaningful and thought provoking conversations. We have long form interviews with entrepreneurs, thought leaders, artists, and change makers in order to deconstruct their journeys and to pass out valuable life lessons and life changing perspectives for listeners like yourself.

[00:00:46] AI: So that you can, as Randall says, learn their lessons without their scars. So, whether you're tuning in on your daily commute, or during a workout, or cooking dinner, we are happy to have you join us. So, take a seat, relax, grab a cup of tea, and join the conversation. Now, let's dive into this week's episode. 

[00:01:11] Intro: You made it.

[00:01:27] Randall: Whitney Finlayson, welcome to the show. For the people who don't know you, why don't you take a quick moment and introduce yourself. 

[00:01:33] Whitney: Hi, thank you for having me. I am Whitney Finlinson. I own a boutique recruiting agency called Visionary Talent. We are specific to startups throughout the U.

[00:01:44] Whitney: S., really focusing on seed series A, series B. 

[00:01:49] Randall: Excellent. Question for you right off the bat, how did that happen? Visionary Talent is the company, right? 

[00:01:55] Whitney: It is. And I don't know. Um, I was maybe eight years ago living in park city, Utah, kind of doing the steep thing. And I had a friend in the Bay area who said, Hey, we're doing some recruiting out here.

[00:02:10] Whitney: I think you would be good at it. You have to start liking your phone in technology, come on out and learn a new skill. And I was like, great. I've lived in a Bay area before. I love this city. I am on my way. And so I moved to San Francisco for a few years, the woman who owned the company at the time met me once and was like, yeah, it looks great.

[00:02:29] Whitney: Come on in. And so I started recruiting from San Francisco for a company called Veneta Partners. We had a small team and through the progression of the company, a lot of changes, a lot of iterations. I bought the company that I worked for. About two years ago almost to the date, and now we're just continuing on the same team, same everything.

[00:02:51] Randall: A bunch of questions there. How did you buy the company, how did that come to be? How did you be like,I've helped contribute to the growth of this? I don't want to see it go or I want to continue working here, but I want to have more equity in it. Talk to me a little bit about that process.

[00:03:07] Whitney: So I had kind of worked my way up into all in one general manager of the team, really focusing on, the leadership position internally and, Being client facing. And through that, the owner at the time started working for VC as well. She was doing both and juggling quite a bit. And after about a year and a half of that, we kind of went through the COVID hump.

[00:03:28] Whitney: And then after there were mass layoffs and business was kind of just stop and go, stop and go. And she was starting to focus more on her position at the VC. And I was focused really on our team. And I said, Hey, what are your thoughts on this? And she said, I've had the same thoughts. Let's move forward and transition you into the ownership position.

[00:03:46] Whitney: and you can buy the business. 

[00:03:47] Randall: Excellent. I said, 

[00:03:49] Whitney: okay, this works for me. 

[00:03:52] Randall: Yeah, 

[00:03:53] Whitney: absolutely. 

[00:03:54] Randall: So you said you only focus on startups at certain stages. So tell me a little bit about what those stages mean and why startups in those stages? 

[00:04:06] Whitney: There are a couple of reasons when you come into an early stage company, most of the time they just received funding and they need to scale.

[00:04:14] Whitney: They have a lot riding on it because when you receive funding, you have the seats and board members who are hoping for an R. O. I. right? And the way that you do that is to bring people in to help you drive the business. So if you're coming in at a series C company, it's going to be a really scrappy environment with a few people that are very hands on and there is a product, there is market fit, but they're still getting their feet under them.

[00:04:38] Whitney: If you come into a series, a company, there's a product market fit. They have customers, everything is kind of up and humming, but they need to scale and so on and so forth. And most of these companies don't have an established HR recruiting arm yet. And that's where we come in. We know what the market looks like.

[00:04:55] Whitney: We know what scrappy talent looks like, and we can help take the entire process off of their desk. So the majority of the time, our clients are CEOs who are juggling nonstop. And so we want to come in and the way that you stop juggling has to bring people in to help you juggle. But with that being said, you can't stop juggling to bring the people in, to get them on boarded and to put the time into it.

[00:05:14] Whitney: So we come in and we identify what the biggest need is within the company. And we start there. 

[00:05:20] Randall: Just taking a quick note before I forget. So it's sort of a sweet spot, right? I can imagine once they grow to a certain size, they have their own HR department and they wouldn't need to outsource that function anymore.

[00:05:33] Randall: But I'm guessing, post them hiring the people in their own network that they wanted to do this thing with, but pre having their own in house HR function. 

[00:05:44] Whitney: Absolutely. A lot of times we have kind of a land expand model. So a lot of times we'll hire like the VP of sales. And through that search, we've gotten to know the company really well.

[00:05:52] Whitney: And then we've also gotten to know the candidate really well, because we've nourished them throughout the entire interview process. And then we come in and help that VP of sales scale their team. So we know the company, we're partnered very closely, and then after that, when they start to grow, we can come in and help them hire their internal HR team as well as their recruiter and kind of do the handoff that way, because we've done it with the company for however long. 

[00:06:16] Randall: I don't have an issue with this myself.

[00:06:18] Randall: I'm guessing you don't have an issue with this either. But I can see some people thinking that in helping hire their own HR team, you're working yourself out of a paycheck. 

[00:06:33] Whitney: Absolutely. I mean, we never want that, but at the end of the day, if our clients are doing well, that means that we're doing well.

[00:06:39] Whitney: And then they give us referrals and it kind of goes on. I'm a big believer in paying it forward and everything coming full circle. And so having to focus on our clients growing is our actual number one goal. And the majority of the time that does push us right out of a job, but also that comes with another opportunity waiting for us.

[00:06:59] Whitney: We'd be really fortunate. 

[00:07:01] Randall: I would agree. I mean, I think that fortune favors the bold, I suppose, right? That might be an uncomfortable thing for some people to do, but that's what makes you good at doing your job. And then the people probably at that startup recognize. help, the added value you had to them, they go and work for another startup, they start their own startup.

[00:07:23] Randall: And they were like, Hey, I'm going to hire Whitney because she helps scale businesses and does it very effectively. And then you also get to focus on the stage where you become a subject matter expert, right? You live in that sweet spot and you're the expert in that sweet spot, right?

[00:07:40] Whitney: Absolutely. And we're representing another company in the market, which we take very seriously. We want to represent them to the best of their ability and market them to the best of our ability. And that's why we focus on really early stage companies because once you start to get into series B, series C, series D and beyond, Those people have recruiting arms, we still come in and we support them when they are doing type for growth mode, or they need to do some massive hirings.

[00:08:02] Whitney: We have a couple of clients right now who are a little bit later stage, and I just need to pump numbers in. And so we can come in and be a benefit that way as well. 

[00:08:10] Randall: And you said in a previous answer, I'm jumping around a little bit, forgive me, but you said you come in and help identify the positions that they need to hire.

[00:08:20] Randall: So do they open up, like, their office doors and you say, assess what we're doing here. We need to get here, we need to scale. We want to hit these numbers. This is the staff that we have so far. What types of roles or positions do we need to hire? Talk to me a little bit about how you partner with them to identify what types of roles that they need to bring in to help them get to where they want to be.

[00:08:41] Whitney: For the most part, when we come in, there is some sort of an outline or a roadmap as to what the next move is. And what comes with that is helping them identify whether or not it's going to be the first major hire is sales or marketing, right? Is it the chicken or the egg? The chicken or the egg? With that, how many years of experience do we need in order to get people through the door?

[00:09:00] Whitney: Do we want this person to be an individual contributor or a player coach? Are they going to come in and start building a team right away? And really identify years of experience area of expertise and really have they scaled a similar, stage company before just as long as you're in kind of software or in sass within that type of a sales frame.

[00:09:21] Whitney: It's not a copy and paste, but as far as the subject, you don't really need it to be within the same subject. You can kind of take the template of scaling, whatever stage you're at and apply that to another company. And so what we want to do is go in and buy people who are excited about doing that, because it is not for the faint of heart.

[00:09:39] Whitney: Startup life is a grind and it is not for everybody. And so we identify those people who like to do it 

[00:09:45] Randall: Talking about talent. I don't know if i'm going to regret the order in which i'm doing this. I guess we're going to mix this in and see how it goes sort of what we talked about at the beginning, part one and part two cause I can't help myself.

[00:09:57] Randall: So startup world is, a different beast, its own sort of beast, right? And you've identified certain types of people with certain traits and characteristics with certain experience and background that seem to work well in those environments, right?

[00:10:15] Randall: You have sort of that avatar created. How have you figured that out? And then how do you assess if that person is going to be the right person at that startup? 

[00:10:24] Whitney: Well, I think it's probably a similar template with most recruiters. I have a senior team of people who are absolutely amazing and we're chameleons. That's kind of what we're priding ourselves on right now, because we can identify the company.

[00:10:36] Whitney: We can market them. We can get high response rates. And then it really is just a matter of weeding out. Can you say bullshit? The bullshit here. 

[00:10:42] Randall: Yes. Yeah, yeah. Please, please, please. 

[00:10:45] Whitney: So we jump on the call and we do a really extensive vet process where we identify how early were you in a company? How many people did you grow it to?

[00:10:54] Whitney: What stage were you on in revenue? What did you implement? What are things that work for you? What are things that didn't work for you? And give us examples so that we can really dig into people's backgrounds. And identify whether or not they were really hands on in building and creating, or if they were on the sidelines a little bit, which everybody is at some point, right?

[00:11:13] Whitney: You need to have that kind of balance of knowing what to come in and take the ball and run with it. But we also can really identify who has actually implemented and helped grow, which. We're really proud of. 

[00:11:26] Randall: Yeah. But I imagine the more you do it, the better you get at doing it. Right. 

[00:11:30] Whitney: The recruiters I have on the team, as I mentioned um, the more senior ones, they can do in their sleep and they can jump on a call and within the first three minutes, they can be like, not our guy.

[00:11:38] Whitney: And that's also another conversation because I think recruiters have a little bit of a slippery reputation in the market. And it's because you have to tell people they're not a fit often when they want to be a fit. And it's also because they're like. You know, I got a guy slinging candidates under a light post at two o'clock in the morning. So, 

[00:11:58] Randall: Slippery reputation, you have piqued my curiosity. I'm going to get back to that though. 

[00:12:05] Randall: I have found. I don't know the number of steps necessarily like in your process, but it's been my experience that in my observations from my network of people that the candidacy process has become more cumbersome and many steps where maybe before it was two or three interviews, but it's not uncommon to hear of a three to seven step process and that process can include interviews with multiple people panel interviews, projects to be done mock presentations to be completed.

[00:12:44] Randall: So tell me a little bit, maybe that's part of what you do, maybe not, but talk to me a little bit aboutif my observation that the candidates process has become, I would say cumbersome as to maybe why that is and if that's an effective and efficient way to assess and bring in talent.

[00:13:02] Whitney: I think that you're a hundred percent on the money there. I think that what is happening in our current market is unlike any other market that I've seen, which is there is an abundance of candidates. And that comes from a larger picture of mass layoffs and bad acting on the side of corporations, as well as smaller companies doing massive risks is something that started post COVID when they were trying to balance out the overhiring that happened right around in our COVID era.

[00:13:28] Whitney: And then larger companies started doing mass layoffs, and then around last year, smaller companies and startups also started doing some pretty aggressive risks. Which has created this, abundance of candidates and not every candidate is specific, especially for startups. A lot of those larger company layoffs don't really translate into the startup world, but now people are doing it and all of that is to say that hiring managers, it's an embarrassment of bridges.

[00:13:54] Whitney: Right, and you open up a child, you've got 500 applicants in 48 hours. And so people will go through the process because they can. And then with that, the other side of it from the company side is they don't want to make a bad hire because specifically when you're in an early stage company, it's not something that you can bounce back from as easily.

[00:14:11] Whitney: You have to ramp people. You have limited resources. You have a limited time. You have to put all of your energy into ramping and making sure that those people stick, and if they don't stick, it takes a bigger toll than it would on a larger company. And with that in early stage companies, a lot of people are beholden to the board and they want to get it right.

[00:14:28] Whitney: The first time they want to show, well. They've got a lot of eyes on them and. Then the other part of that is they also want to do right by the customers, they want to grow, they want everything to happen. So there's a lot of pressure to get it right out the jump. And if you don't get it right out of the jump, it stings and it kind of creates a little bit of mistrust in your ability to hire and have to start over.

[00:14:50] Whitney: And so I think that that is what I've seen for the most part. I've talked to candidates who are like, I was in process for 4 months. I can tell stories for days, but for every candidate experience. It's like a little bit like, oh, my gosh, that's awful. The internal team has got a reason as to why it is.

[00:15:05] Whitney: They're a little bit gun shy. 

[00:15:06] Randall: I guess I can sympathize with organizations wanting to make sure they make the right hire. But I've also observed that in these multiple step processes thatthe wrong skills or talents are being evaluated, right?

[00:15:22] Randall: Example if you have to give a mock presentation, right? Mock presentation, it's a fake presentation. That's what you're doing. And the individual doesn't work at the company and the individual has never talked, spoken with an actual customer. So they're kind of flying blind and doing this fake presentation.

[00:15:41] Randall: But. When you're giving a mock presentation say you're pitching to a customer, you have to build a pitch deck or a presentation to prove out ROI or something like that. when you're giving the presentation I think in those instances, what you're seeing is the last 20 percent of a process, right?

[00:16:03] Randall: You're not seeing the 80 percent that went into it to talk to the customer, to have the interview skills or soft skills to bring people along to educate them through the process to how do you collaborate cross functionally across the organization. But All of that is dismissed for the last 20%, how well did you do or not do in this final piece of the interview.

[00:16:26] Randall: So I guess from my observation, my question is I suppose twofold. Have you seen processes that are robust because organizations are gun shy? But robust in the wrong areas, or do you think that generally speaking, or just maybe from your point of view, because you manage the process that the right things are being assessed with the right candidates for the right roles, if that makes any sense?

[00:16:52] Whitney: It does make a lot of sense, and I think a couple of things are at play there. I think that when you come in for a presentation, you have multiple stakeholders, and that is the point, right? Especially if you're in like a sales position where you want to be able to show that you can get buy in from multiple stakeholders.

[00:17:06] Whitney: That's often the point of bringing multiple people in on a panel interview, but the people that they bring in are either 1, not up to speed on what's going on or what's been going on throughout the entire process, or 2, it's going to be somebody that carries a lot of weight and can sway the entire panel.

[00:17:20] Whitney: But also, again, has no privy to the beginning of the process of this candidate has gone to it. So if you bring in a COO into the final step and fingers crossed, and they don't really know anything else about the candidate and they're like, oh, I don't know. They kind of tripped up over a few thing.

[00:17:34] Whitney: That's going to carry a lot of weight with the rest of the panel. The other side of that is I talked to all of my clients about this process because interviewing is incredibly uncomfortable. You're incredibly vulnerable. You're in a place of facing rejection. Nobody loves that and you perform, which is a huge bummer, especially interviewing with multiple people.

[00:17:54] Whitney: And so we try and make it as comfortable as possible where they pitch a product that you know. Put together a deck that, you know, go with something to give candidates a little bit of a baseline of their expertise, and how they would get buy in for a customer and a product that they've already worked with.

[00:18:08] Whitney: And then that way, they can really highlight what it is their skills are and I working in the candidates bring that up if they're pitching to a company and they're like, hey, I don't know enough about this. The other side of that is sometimes companies want that experience. They want to see how much the candidate will dig in on the website, how much information they'll get and ask them if that's the point.

[00:18:26] Whitney: And if that's the point, then at least you know what you're getting into, right? You know what you need to be looking at. You know what the objective is there. And I think a lot of people want to feel like they know what they're doing with very little information given, and we've been guilty of this ourselves.

[00:18:40] Whitney: We're like, here's some information. Good luck. And part of that is will the candidate come and ask, that's going to set them apart. And you also need to start building a relationship with the hiring manager and the people in the interview process, because at the end of the day, they're going to be the people that you're working with on a daily basis.

[00:18:56] Whitney: And with that being said, there is a fine line betweentexting at three o'clock in the morning and or one or two follow up questions after this or that so 

[00:19:04] Randall: would agree the unfortunate thing and this is from my experience is maybe this gets back to the slippery slope, not slippery slope reputation, but just a slippery reputation is I agree with everything that you said right there.

[00:19:18] Randall: But I don't know if I want to say this, but it's been my experience that companies fuck that up. I've been in those interviews the assessment process. And I have done the work. And the volume of work is acknowledged like, Oh, it looks like you put a lot of time into this, but there's been a few and I've followed up with them.

[00:19:37] Randall: Be like, Hey, if this was a real engagement, I would follow up because there's gaps here and I want to make sure I'm doing a thorough job and those emails have gone unanswered and it's just like, okay. Then I show up, I give the presentation and then it's just where did these numbers come from?

[00:19:54] Whitney: Randall? It's just like and I give, some logic, but it's It's a fake presentation. I made this shit up because it's a mock presentation like what the fuck you want me to tell you. I made them up 

[00:20:04] Randall: It's a mock presentation like I did the best with what I had I made the rest of the shit up because it's a mock presentation. This is like the genesis of my question of what things are being evaluated. Are you hiring a great bullshitter that comes up with a great story as to where these fake numbers came up from? Or do you want somebody who can do the fucking job and here's the presentation? I did the job It's a mock presentation. The numbers are fake. The math is real. The numbers are fake Did you like it or not?

[00:20:32] Randall: Right?So, I don't know if you have any thoughts on that rant. 

[00:20:35] Whitney: That was very impressive rant. I have a lot of thoughts on it. I think that again, it goes back to, Hey, I want to identify, I'm going to be making up numbers and call that out. I have candidates who come in and they email everybody on the calendar invite, which is also, I'm like, cringe, don't do that.

[00:20:48] Whitney: But then the information is out there and everybody has full visibility. Hey, this is what I'm seeing. And then that way there's no way for a hiring manager or one person to say. Oh, that's not what we were expecting. Well, I asked and everybody here knows it. And again, appropriate questions do not email everybody on the calendar.

[00:21:04] Whitney: With that being said, sometimes, especially early stage companies, there's not a lot of communication and there are juggling a lot.You're probably had a few experiences where people were not prepared. And at the end of the day, what everybody is really looking for in my experience and with early stage companies, it's very different with larger stage companies.

[00:21:20] Whitney: They need people who can do the entire thing by themselves with little to no resources, but that's a hard thing to say to somebody who is a senior sales executive or a senior leader who is already done the hard, heavy lifting of being an SDR and of prospecting for days and having to go out and hit the pavement and like, Hey, I've done this before.

[00:21:39] Whitney: That's not really where I'm at in my career. That's a hard thing when you want that level of talent to not be able to provide. And so a lot of it comes down to having the conversation or not wanting to have the conversation of you have no resources. You are going to do this alone. You're the 1st, 2nd, 3rd, 4th hire, and you're going to have to get the entire sales situation up and off the ground with little collateral and enablement.

[00:22:01] Whitney: Good luck. That's like, not a fun conversation. It's not appealing to people who are applying. 

[00:22:06] Randall: Sign me up for that job. I would do that. Just don't tell me to make up fake numbers and ask me where the fake numbers came from. 

[00:22:12] Whitney: You send me some names later. You send me, send me some names. I'll reach out.

[00:22:16] Whitney: We'll tighten it up. Okay. 

[00:22:18] Randall: Okay. I mean, it's happened more than once. To me, those scenarios, you're hiring a good actor and a good bullshitter and not a salesperson. You gave me a brief that was a page long, double spaced, You asked for 15 slides on it and about a financial model, like, yeah, I made the shit up.

[00:22:36] Whitney: Yeah, this is it. 

[00:22:38] Randall: Moving on. 

[00:22:38] Whitney: There could be a million different reasons that this doesn't work. your entire presentation, everything could have been perfect. And it could have been like an inflection of your voice. Not our guy. Yeah. I mean, 

[00:22:47] Whitney: I don't love like culture fit because I think that that's just like a lovely way for people to discriminate. I don't think that you should focus on that when you're hiring people. I think that you should get people, especially with remote and especially with technology. You don't need to want to have a beer with everybody after work.

[00:23:02] Whitney: You need to get people in who are capable of doing the job and who will show up and have a positive attitude. And there is a difference. Between people who do like, I know a lot of candidates who come in and they're like, Oh, I have to do this. This is not what I'm signing up for. And their attitude is not positive.

[00:23:16] Whitney: And that is going to be something that is detrimental. I know very little about you, but in my experience, that is not who you are. But I think that it could be, a myriad of things. 

[00:23:26] Randall: I would agree. I read something on LinkedIn the other day. It said red flags of a toxic work environment is when they start saying, we're family, this or family.

[00:23:33] Randall: And I was like, no, you're not my family. I have a family that's outside of work. I have friends that are also outside of work. If I happen to make friends at work. Fantastic. I'm open to that, but I'm showing up for a paycheck because this is an exchange of my services for money, just like with customers.

[00:23:53] Randall: You're exchanging your services as a business for their money. Like you're not saying, Hey, let's be besties. Let's make sure this is a cultural fit to sell a million dollar deal. No, like you want to treat them as a customer, not as a friend or family. And. I agree with you.You can have a positive attitude, you can be a hard worker but you don't need to be family, you don't need to be your friends, that doesn't mean, you can be abrasive, that doesn't mean you can be an asshole but there are boundaries, and personal and professional lives are important, and I think that's what it comes down to.

[00:24:26] Whitney: I couldn't agree more with that as a leader or somebody within an organization, you need people who are going to push back and you need people who have a different perspective and a different way of thinking because otherwise you're in your echo chamber and you're just going to be in your tunnel.

[00:24:38] Whitney: You're not going to be able to see what's going on over here or what's going on over here because you don't have people who are kind of expanding through thoughts and ideas and being able to push back and early, early stage companies creating that environment early on is incredibly important. 

[00:24:52] AI: Let's take a quick break from today's episode. If you're enjoying the conversation, please take a moment to look us up. You can find Randall on Instagram at Randall O'Shea, that's spelled at R A N D A L L O S C H E.

[00:25:10] AI: And you can catch the show notes and other resources at randallosche.com and now back to the episode. 

[00:25:17] Randall: I'm going to try to get this back on track.

[00:25:19] Randall: 

[00:25:19] Whitney: I liked it all day. 

[00:25:20] Randall: What would you recommend to a startup that you're working with of what the most effective and efficient way you would recommend for them to hire. What does the process look like? You answer however you want, but maybe you're looking for a certain type of role.

[00:25:35] Randall: And for a certain type of role at this size company, one, two steps, three interviews, whatever it is, but what would be to go from not having an employee that you want to having an employee that you want? What's the most effective and efficient way to get the right talent in the door? 

[00:25:50] Whitney: I'm working with a series A company right now, and they're doing a really good job of trying to establish what the process is and being very thorough about it out the jump, which is something that you need for your 1st few hires, because it's something that you can replicate and templatize for other positions and other roles and you'll use it forever.

[00:26:08] Whitney: So an example is they have, I think that there's a spy interview process, one of which is 30 minutes at the end with the CEO. The 1st 1 is 30 minutes with the hiring manager. So it's not extensive extensive, but it is a lot. And what we're doing right now is creating what the interview process is, what the questions are, what each person who was involved in the interview process is trying to identify in this candidate and then keeping track of that and mapping that.

[00:26:34] Whitney: And with that, they have an internal app. Application tracking system and they had to keep everything in there. So they have their scorecards in there and they have their questions in there and everybody has visibility so they can see what the 1st interview was like, what questions were asked.

[00:26:49] Whitney: And then also they know what they're going to dig in on and have any questions. And they also want to elaborate on from the 1st interview. And then, at the end of it, there is a panel interview for people, all leadership stakeholders. They're all identifying something different, asking different questions that are established ahead of time.

[00:27:05] Whitney: And then, at the end of it, everybody is required to fill out a scorecard that has a jot down a sentence or 2 and then there's also. Rate this candidate 1 to 5 or these 6 subjects and at the end of it, we do the math so that when everybody is having strong opinions about candidates, especially when it comes to panel interviews, we can go in and say, hey, the difference here is a half a percent in this candidate, as opposed to this candidate. This candidate is a subject matter expert. This candidate is awesome at negotiating. What's your priority here? Knowing that the score across the board for the entire team is comparable and when you can establish what the process looks like at the jump, it makes the entire process for hiring your first, second, third, fourth, fifth hire cruise control. 

[00:27:47] Randall: I would agree. Even with the podcast, I keep telling the virtual assistants I work with is my objective, simple and repeatable. If everything is just simple and repeatable, we send out a newsletter each week. We don't need to add links every week.

[00:27:59] Randall: Like the links aren't changing. It's the same links, the links for the guests change, but for us, they stay the same. So let's not have to repeat that every time we do something. So I appreciate a good process. 

[00:28:10] Randall: So if it is a five step process, how many people start the first step, like we'll say stage one, how many people will you allow to go through stage one?

[00:28:21] Randall: And then how many people would you allow to speak with the CEO at the end of the process at stage five? 

[00:28:28] Whitney: So the vetting process is really interesting. We'll take all of the calls because the iteration process is something that's needed up front, right? Unless you're doing something that is metrics driven, like somewhere within a sales organization where you can look at somebody's track record.

[00:28:41] Whitney: I mean, I've had clients who required W2s or proof of like president's club. So sales is a little bit different because it is metrics driven and the numbers generally don't lie. Everybody has a bad quarter or two. Everybody in sales knows that. That just something that you can just say, okay, this is a pretty easy X, Y, Z, let's move them forward for this reason.

[00:28:59] Whitney: Do they know how to prospect, which is again, something that's really big in early stage companies. If you're going for something that is not so metrics driven, you're coming into marketing or product where you really have to get a little bit creative with it and iterate a little bit more to make sure that you're in full alignment with the hiring manager.

[00:29:15] Whitney: We would vet out probably over the search, maybe 20 to 25 candidates of those 20 to 25. 15 would make it to a hiring manager of those 15, 10 would go for a first call of those 10 to ideally two or three would make it to the final stage. 

[00:29:32] Randall: I imagine for some opportunities, given the job market, you could get hundreds of applicants or more.

[00:29:38] Whitney: I opened up a search and made a public through an ATS. Four weeks ago and got 500 applicants in two days. And then it comes to the other side of it of like, you want to make sure that you're being thoughtful with everybody's time, because again, when you're in a jar bag date, you're in a little bit of a vulnerable position and you're putting yourself out there and rejection is never, ever fun.

[00:29:55] Whitney: But you want to make sure that you're closing the loop. And then when you're getting numbers like that, people are coming back and they're like, well, why didn't my experience align with what is happening with the job description. You can answer 500 people and you want to, but you also have the other roles and other things that go on.

[00:30:10] Whitney: So you try and be as thoughtful and do the best that you can within the process to make sure that you're being aware of people's space and also that they're moving on and not wasting their time. 

[00:30:18] Randall: I agree. And I think that puts recruiters and organizations in a tough spot. How do you get 25 candidates out of 500 candidates?

[00:30:27] Whitney: You identify what are the must haves. And a lot of times, it's going to be, are they from the space? I mean, you can go for years of experience, and then you can go for startups. Do they fit in three buckets? And one of them is going to be years of experience. Startups, are they from the space?

[00:30:40] Whitney: And then you just start to kind of whittle it down from there. 

[00:30:42] Randall: And then I imagine, fringe candidates while they, might have a fit or be the perfect candidate, you just don't have enough hours in the day to go through and see, this person might not fit those three buckets, but super scrappy and has, these other characteristics or traits that would serve them well, but because those three buckets aren't marked.

[00:31:06] Whitney: At that level. At that level, when it comes to the inbound, with that being said, part of our offering is that we can help our clients with their inbound, but we're a predominantly a hundred percent outbound. We go out and we find people and we try and have them fit within the three buckets.

[00:31:20] Whitney: But if we see something based on our experience or like, Hey, this guy doesn't have, he isn't coming from the space. However, startup after startup after startup, a lot of success and longer since that's a call we will take every day of the week. We just have to make sure that we can justify it to our clients.

[00:31:35] Whitney: This is what we like about this candidate. We're going to stand behind it. Communication was amazing. And take it from there. 

[00:31:40] Randall: Side sort of adjacent question. How much through a candidate process do you evaluate? Or I guess much weight do you put on things? That aren't necessarily in those five steps.

[00:31:53] Randall: So, do you assess,communication? How they answer the phone? Can they use Zoom effectively and efficiently when they're on a Zoom interview? Do they send thank you emails to the interviewers after the interview? And how do those read? Things like that. How much, outside of the actual five steps, how much weight do you put on the other things that they could be doing throughout the interview process?

[00:32:19] Whitney: In this market, everything matters. So if you hang up the phone, was it "buh-bye", that's a little condescending. You're out. I'm just kidding. We'll identify it and we'll say, Hey, like this was a red flag with this candidate, but they have all of these amazing attributes and we feel like it's worth a phone call for you.

[00:32:35] Whitney: We want to make sure that we're making the best use of our clients time and of our time. We're talking to so many different people to make sure that we're getting the right bit. And I think that's the other part of being able to cost close the loop with everybody. We do a really good job of trying to do that, but we're also like human error is very much so a real thing. 

[00:32:52] Whitney: And I think that in the day we're living in, it should be given a little bit of weight. Everybody's trying for the most part. There are some bad actors out there, but I think that for everybody that I've talked to is doing the best they can. 

[00:33:03] Randall: Yeah, I'm a big proponent of, thank you emails post interview and I got really offended because somebody posted something on LinkedIn said that's garbage. You don't need to do that anymore it's like if I've been on both sides of this. I've been a sales manager where I've had to interview people, right?

[00:33:19] Randall: And I've had plenty of interviews in my time. But if somebody would send me a thank you note after I interviewed them, yeah, that's a gold star for them. that's not saying that they're going to get the job, but that's going to,make me think more favorably of them.

[00:33:32] Randall: I always think of it too, as driving past the billboard. I want to be the billboard, I want my name to be top of mind for them. So if they just interview somebody and then they go read my email, right? I'm top of mind for them. As long as it's not again, being sent at three in the morning.

[00:33:47] Randall: And it's relatively well written. I think that's a plus. And thank you, I guess, for confirming that my rage was appropriate. 

[00:33:54] Whitney: It's one of the biggest things that drives me at the wall. I think salespeople are the best at it because that's how they run an entire sales cycle, right?

[00:34:01] Whitney: You've got to close the loop. You've got to follow up with all of your clients and hiring managers are looking for that. They're looking for the thank you. They're looking for the acknowledgement. And if you add a bullet point or two, We mentioned X, Y, and Z within the interview. These are things that I wanted to highlight from our conversation.

[00:34:14] Whitney: It goes such a long way. And the other thing, the other side of that is when I'm going through 500 applicants or a hiring manager is going through 500 applicants, if you really want the job and you really want the job, because the other side of that is you can put your resume into a LinkedIn and you can send it a hundred different places and not know where you're applying.

[00:34:32] Whitney: I cannot tell you how many candidates we've talked to. They're like, okay, what's the company? And we're like, you, you applied to the company. You need, what's the company like? It's the exact same on the other side. And that is happening quite a bit as well. It's a job that you want and it's something that you've looked into and you've done a little bit of research.

[00:34:47] Whitney: Hit up the people, hit them up on X, Twitter, on LinkedIn and just give them a, Hey, I just applied to the job. I love my skillset for this. If you have a minute, I'd love a little bit of feedback. Thanks for taking the time and sweet and short. And then people acknowledge it. Oh, okay. This guy, I've got to do a double check on what it is he's doing and where he applied.

[00:35:07] Whitney: And it's just like that little extra step for something that you really want is going to set you apart in this market.

[00:35:13] Randall: I also read something on social media for the folks listening, I guess if the adage is just because it's online doesn't mean it's actually true. So I hired an executive coach, Don Asher, and I actually have another podcast interview with him coming out.

[00:35:28] Randall: Before or after this one does. But in Don's book, he's an executive coach. And he authored 12 books and one of the books is cracking the hidden job market. And in that book, my number one takeaway, and I think the number one point he was trying to make is you get jobs by talking to people.

[00:35:43] Randall: And on the last page of the book, that's the only words there. Bold, takes up the whole page. You get jobs by talking to people. And for the longest time, I mean, still today,that's my approach. To set yourself apart, you gotta put yourself out there, right? You have to leverage your relationships.

[00:36:00] Randall: You have to, if you see a job that's posted, like you said, reach out to them on LinkedIn, on X, whatever, try to get in front of them, even if necessarily they don't respond to you. It is a mental picture for them. Oh, I saw Randall's name. Let me go double check this. Right. I think that all positive things come from that sort of kicking up dust.

[00:36:23] Whitney: I think that the majority of people who get hired and this isn't great for my business, but know somebody who knows somebody. And that happens all the time. It's nicer to have a warm referral when you're hiring somebody, when you're paying them, when you're rolling the dice. We've had people go through extensive interview processes.

[00:36:39] Whitney: And then day one, everybody's really drinking the Kool Aid on this candidate, like day one, they have died of an overdose. I have literally had that happen. It's unreal and recruiting is really interesting because it's very similar to sales. However, your product is people and people are holding the cars close to the vest.

[00:36:56] Whitney: They have other things going on. They're not fully transparent, especially in a job search because they're looking out for number one. Which they should be, nobody will ever be faulted for that, because you need to do what's best for you and your situation all of the time, especially in a market like this.

[00:37:09] Whitney: That is just like the wild West. Nobody is safe. But with that being said, transparency coming into a process and telling everybody where you're at and having your cards on the table is actually going to set you apart from candidates because it builds trust and it builds trust with hiring managers. And again.

[00:37:25] Whitney: These are people you're going to be working with. You need to establish that relationship as early on as possible. And having a warm introduction takes a lot of the guesswork out because they can go back to John Doe who recommended you and be like, Hey, what happened on this candidate? You know, it's a completely different experience and people like that, which they should.

[00:37:41] Randall: Yeah. So still holds true. Excellent. 

[00:37:43] Whitney: Second up. 

[00:37:44] Randall: Thank you. Sort of circling back to where we started, I was reading your bio prior to jumping on this there was something in there about how you're passionate about connecting people with opportunities. And one of the through lines on each of these interviews I've done so far is people talk a lot about passion.

[00:38:02] Randall: And maybe that's bias of the people, my bias of the people I want to interview but people seem to be having success and in the success that they're having, they're pursuing something that they're passionate about. So how did you get to the point where you became passionate about connecting people with opportunities?

[00:38:20] Whitney: I want everybody to be in a happy space work is so much of our lives and so much of our existence. And I think that finding a company and a team that you are excited about and that you want to come and help grow and help be a part of, especially in an early stage company. You have a lot of ownership out the jump. Because you're helping to build something and I think finding those people who want to help build it's a niche and then I can go back to my clients years later and they can say hey so and so took us from here to here and this was an amazing hire and they made all the difference within our company and our organization and we take a lot of pride in that and And, you know, for every so many candidates who don't make it through the process, the 1 that does has a life changing experience.

[00:39:04] Whitney: And we want to and I say this for my team, because it's really important that everybody is doing what they want, that they are working on something that they're excited about. They're working on something that kind of drives them and that everybody has a voice at the table and all of the companies that we work with, I would recommend, I would work at. That's how lucky we are.

[00:39:22] Whitney: And so I think that that's a really big thing, especially when you're working closely with a company, you want other people, you want to set them up in a good situation. And that's all we're trying to do. 

[00:39:30] Randall: Excellent. The other thing I read in your bio was and I think this sort of segues about more referrals to and like leveraging your network as a candidate. 

[00:39:40] Randall: I suppose the question is how important is maintaining relationships in your business? And what are some of the ways in which you do that? 

[00:39:48] Whitney: Well, I think that one thing that I have learned that has been so, so important in recruiting specifically is everything comes full circle and to constantly think about the long game.

[00:39:59] Whitney: So is it something that doesn't work out within my favor, your favor, a candidate's favor? Right now maintaining a professional and positive disposition is going to be what carries you in the next opportunity. And also people don't ever forget. And so I think that constantly thinking about what the long game is and knowing that it is a smaller world than you think it is, and everything will come full circle is the best advice that I've ever gotten.

[00:40:25] Whitney: And it's changed my relationship with recruiting and with owning a business, I want to support people. And instead of constantly going, how am I going to help? How are we going to do this? We all just kind of want to move the needle and do as much as we can together. 

[00:40:36] Randall: Excellent. I know we're coming up on time.

[00:40:39] Randall: Do you have a few extra minutes or you have a hard stop at the bottom? All right. Excellent. I'm not great at keeping time. 

[00:40:45] Randall: Um, um, How does that process from a business standpoint how do you assess the startups that you want to partner with and help?

[00:40:55] Randall: Is it just whoever comes to me or whoever I solicit? Or are you at a point where these organizations have these traits? We know at this point you have a certain segment that you look for. But anything past that segment or do you qualify organizations in or out based on any other factors?

[00:41:13] Whitney: We will try everything once. It's been good and bad. So we'll try everything once, but also all of the clients that are on our desk right now are clients that were referred to us. And that, as we just discussed goes a really long way. 

[00:41:26] Randall: Yeah. Excellent. What's one thing that you wish you would have known?

[00:41:31] Whitney: Let's see, owning the business portion of it. We're coming into two years on that. I think that my parents are entrepreneurs and I ran the business for a couple of years thinking like, Oh, I've got this. And owning a business is very different than managing a business. So that was an awesome learning curve that I think I'm peaking on.

[00:41:49] Whitney: And I also think that, as I mentioned before, one of the hardest parts about recruiting is making sure that you're not being desensitized because you have to tell people that they're not a fit for exciting opportunities or opportunities that they're excited about often. And so still figuring out a way to not be robotic about it is something that we talk about internally, constantly, because everybody is again, just trying to do the best they can.

[00:42:14] Whitney: We want to make sure that we're closing loops and we're treating everybody as we want to be treated. 

[00:42:19] Randall: That's excellent. I think that goes a long way with candidates too. Like I've been part of some interview, some candidate processes where she's like, Oh, I appreciate how you did things. I disagree with your decision because I want the opportunity, but appreciate you going out of your way to have the conversation with me or provide me with feedback whatever.

[00:42:36] Randall: And I think that does go a long way. Andif say somebody was a number two or three candidate. You might want to hire them at some point in time in the future as you scale. But if you treat them, you know, unfairly or not how you would like to be treated, they might move on and they might not ever want to come back and partner with that organization.

[00:42:57] Randall: So I think it's a little bit goes a long way. 

[00:42:59] Whitney: And it's a referral. Everything is referral based. So if it's not a fit for you in this company, you don't know that their VP of sales doesn't have another VP of sales buddy who means somebody with your exact skill set. And that's what I'm talking about the long game like there is always somebody with everybody to meet if it's not them who can connect to you then it's somebody that they know and so I think that just like maintaining that level of professionalism is incredibly important.

[00:43:22] Randall: The question just popped into my head totally off track topic, but maybe some tea. What's the worst thing that you've seen a candidate do? 

[00:43:30] Whitney: This is awesome. We talked about it. I was working with a company that just got their series C they're in the AI space. They were humming. And we had a candidate who had this beautiful resume.

[00:43:42] Whitney: we saw him and we're like, Oh, my God, this is the 1. Just longer stints, blue chip companies, early stage startup. He had it all. And we talked to him and his recruiter was like, Oh, there, you know, a couple of steps in, there were a few red flags, made it to the hiring manager. And then after the hiring manager, his communication style with us started to drop off and get pretty aggressive.

[00:44:01] Whitney: And he went off the rails and I reached out to the hiring manager and I said, Hey, this candidate is starting to show some signs and some red flags here. If it's okay with you, I'm going to snip him because we don't want them to progress any further with your team, knowing what we know. And he was like, go.

[00:44:17] Whitney: Use your best judgment, go with it. And so I let him know it wasn't a fit. And he was like, you're a dumb bitch. This is like a 60 year old man, maybe 57. And then he rattled off, we let the client know, hey, he's probably coming for you because he's been pretty irate about the situation. And then my client was the CRO of CROs.

[00:44:37] Whitney: He was an absolute dream. He reached out to the guy and said, Hey, we don't really appreciate it when you treat our partners like that, you know, please act accordingly. And he responded, thanks. You're a dick. And then proceeded to rattle off into the night. And we were all thinking, okay, maybe there's a substance, something happening here.

[00:44:57] Whitney: And then the next day it kept going into the morning. And so that was one of the things where we were just like, Oh, what? Cause the companies and everything that was in his background. We all thought we had the jackpot. It was one of the craziest turnarounds we've seen. 

[00:45:10] Randall: Do you think that his resume was bullshit or he was just acting a fool with these organizations they put up with his behavior?

[00:45:17] Whitney: I think it's the second one. Because we go and we look at connections, we kind of dig in when we're doing this so that we can see exactly how far it's by webs out when we have candidates that were really excited about. And he had all of the right connections and you know, there was some back channeling that had happened as well.

[00:45:32] Whitney: So I think that it was one of those things where in a professional atmosphere, he was capable of really keeping it together. And then once I would assume he'd been in the job market for a hot minute and he was sick of having the conversation of this isn't going to fit. And then we got the brunt end of it all.

[00:45:47] Randall: Yeah. Flip side of that, what's the best you've seen from a candidate that you still haven't offered a job to? 

[00:45:53] Whitney: That's really hard because when it comes to candidates, especially with recruiter relationships, a lot of time recruiters have a relationship with candidates that they want.

[00:46:04] Whitney: To succeed, and they could be right for the job, but again, something that is happening with an internal team that we are either not privy to, or that is just a misalignment with what it is that they're hoping for in a candidate. We try and advocate for them to the very best of our ability because we formed an attachment and some sort of a friendship.

[00:46:21] Whitney: And so that happens at least once a week I'll have a recruiter is going, no, we've got to get this guy through for this reason. And it's because they've become friends and they like the personality and they like that everything seems to align, but there is a little bit of misalignment internally. So that happens all the time.

[00:46:38] Randall: I suppose one of the things for if there's any listeners, they're in the job market out there, there's so many factors. It's not just you, right? It's not that you're a bad candidate. It's not that you don't have the proper education. It's not that you're experienced.

[00:46:52] Randall: It's not that you couldn't do well in the job. But there's just a myriad of factors. And it just happens that you weren't right for that job at that time with that company. 

[00:47:04] Whitney: Hiring is really, really subjective. It's based on exactly what you said. So, so many different reasons. And then also there's a lot of personality, there's location, there's, you know, gelling with everybody who's already on the team.

[00:47:16] Whitney: They could have been established for five years, and this is the first time they're actually bringing somebody in. And that person is supposed to gel with all these people who have this built up history. There are so, so many factors and almost never. Is it an actual reflection of the candidate, their skill set, or their ability to come in and do the job?

[00:47:31] Whitney: It's just a really big pool. 

[00:47:33] Randall: Which is astounding, because the reason that people think that they get jobs is because of their competency.

[00:47:41] Whitney: I think it helps. But that's about it. 

[00:47:45] Randall: Yeah. Yeah, I mean, that's good to know. Two final questions. 

[00:47:49] Randall: What's the most influential book you've ever read? 

[00:47:52] Whitney: I think that in business, it's probably Radical Candor. I love that book. It goes back to communication and the fact that everything can be solved. Even having hard conversations being clear. Clear is kind. Clear is concise. And communicating and having hard communications isn't necessarily a reflection of the person who asked to receive them.

[00:48:14] Whitney: It is just a reflection of the circumstance. And I think that communicating is an art that is quickly, quickly dwindling. And when it comes to candidates, when it comes to clients, when it comes to internal teams, it's incredibly important. And people being able to talk freely without fear of repercussion throughout every stage of everything is also incredibly important.

[00:48:34] Whitney: And that's what creates a healthy atmosphere to work in. Not a family atmosphere, but a healthy one. 

[00:48:40] Randall: Uh, I like that with boundaries, a healthy one with boundaries. I would agree with you. Communication is important. I also see it dwindling, right? I witness poor communication. I witness situations that arise that could be easily cleared up if people were better communicators, but I also have experienced instances and have witnessed this for both myself and with other people that oftentimes in organizations, so I mean that as the entity itself or hiring, the sales leaders, directors, the executive team, they don't want to hear it. They're not good at receiving feedback, even if packaged nicely in a compliment sandwich. We're doing this thing really well, but like your flavor of the month initiatives aren't working. We should restrategize, but this other things also working really well. I feel like that any company I've worked at hasn't been receptive to any sort of messaging like that.

[00:49:39] Whitney: I'm sorry to hear that for you and all the companies that you've worked at. Nobody go check out his LinkedIn. But I also think that there is a way to package that, that makes sure that people know that it's coming, right? Hey, I have a few thoughts around X, Y, and Z, and I want to make sure this is a conversation that you're open to having, because I think that there's a way that we can optimize it.

[00:49:59] Whitney: And if it's not a good time, let me know when it's a good time. So one, setting people up so they know what's coming because that way they're ready to brace themselves to get feedback if what they're doing isn't working and they're open to hearing new ideas because if they're like, that's not something I'm going to talk about, nobody is going to say that right to your face generally, and then coming at it with instead of the compliment sandwich of like, Hey, you're killing it over here, but also here you have to address it with my experiences.

[00:50:24] Whitney: This is what I have seen and then that way it's not personal to whoever it is who's receiving it because you're not telling them that whatever they're doing isn't right. You're telling them your experience and nobody can tell you that your experience is wrong or your experience isn't anything because it's your experience 

[00:50:39] Randall: Yeah, 

[00:50:40] Randall: That's that's helpful, right? But I just I can't replace Nereo is in my head like going through my history of like, yeah, even that being well received and one of the lessons I've learned the hard way was from the Robert Greene book, 48 laws of power and the first law of power is never outshine the master and any conversation I've had where I've tried to like pad and this again, like my experience and witnessing this, from others where I've worked at organizations, I'm thinking of one, I'm not naming it where I've had some good ideas, And I've articulated these good ideas.

[00:51:13] Randall: People have ran with these ideas, but they rebranded it something else So it could be their idea, but then not that I need credit for it But it wasn't you and if it was me that would put me in a situation to be out shining the master be like Randall came up with this initiative and and this was Randall's idea and it makes a lot of sense.

[00:51:33] Randall: So we're going to move forward with it. Maybe I've just worked at the wrong companies, but there's been few leaders I've worked at and few companies I worked at, if any, where, however, you would package that not well received. So I just don't, I have zero faith in the organizations out there in the world.

[00:51:53] Whitney: I completely understand that. I've heard this exact example many a many a times, but there is light being shined on all of these situations right now. This is the other side of the over communication that's happening on the Internet and not in real life is a lot of people are being held accountable by their peers and learning how to manage in a different way.

[00:52:12] Whitney: People are learning how to manage. People are learning how to be managed. People are asking in leadership positions to be managed, especially again, my experience, early stage companies, leaders need people who are going to come in and take things off of their plate and show them how to optimize and being able to address that early on.

[00:52:29] Whitney: Hey, I'm a thoughts person. I want to be somewhere where I know I'm going to be heard. And not in a way that is, I want the talking stick constantly, and I want the adoration that comes with it. But, hey, I think that I have a lot to value. I will have a lot to add within these scenarios. And I want to make sure that this is something that we're open to and collaborative.

[00:52:46] Whitney: That is an initiative that is being pushed very aggressively right now. And it comes in with people who have people ops people organizations outside and just HR who are trying to create like a healthy culture. There is a really, really big glitch. Or people to have ownership and participate. So I'm sorry that that has been your experience, but I do believe that there is a reckoning coming and I think it's going to balance out a little bit 

[00:53:08] Randall: because people 

[00:53:08] Whitney: don't want to stay, they don't want to stay in places where they're not appreciated and where their ideas are being taken.

[00:53:13] Whitney: That's not a good feeling for anybody. 

[00:53:15] Randall: And it's not effective for the organization because other people see that. But I think it's a super power to recognize that you're not the smartest person in the room. Right? And in doing so, I think you can leverage the collective wisdom.

[00:53:27] Randall: And if you're you know, a leader or you're the authority in the room, you can solicit that feedback. I would say you do have to listen to it, but you don't have to implement it. You can solicit ideas and see what works best and maybe like you tweak your initial idea by 10 percent because somebody spoke up.

[00:53:43] Randall: But if you do it the way I described earlier, where you just take the idea, rebrand it and pretend it's yours. Then other people are going to stop speaking up because it's not worth their time, energy and effort. They're going to collect a paycheck. They're going to put in their eight hours a day.

[00:53:56] Randall: They're going to go home and they're going to look for jobs on LinkedIn. 

[00:53:58] Whitney: Absolutely. Absolutely. And people talk, you know, like in your experience, people talk to their coworkers and it was kind of just bleeds into the entire fabric of organizations. And I think that going back to companies that are just getting off the ground being able to nift out, there are a lot of things that needs to be addressed really early on in order to create an environment in which people want to be in, in which diversity thrives and which conversations are happening that are positive and collaboration and innovation.

[00:54:24] Whitney: It's so, so important to establish that is something that is welcome and accepted very early on, because if you don't, that it's going to be how the company grows. It's going to grow. People are going to be stifled. Everybody's going to be holding to the head and it's just going to have a snowball into its own thing.

[00:54:40] Randall: Excellent. Thank you. We're going to wrap this up. 

[00:54:42] Randall: One of my last questions where do you see Momentum in the job market right now? 

[00:54:46] Whitney: I think that there was a big dip last year. 2023 was the worst year in recruiting on record since maybe 2008 and the beginning of this year has started to pick up quite a bit and then coming into Q2 Q3, there's usually a nice little plateau because everybody's on their summer vacation and doing their thing.

[00:55:02] Whitney: And then come Q4, it's going to pick up quite a bit as well, because everybody wants to be in a new position for the new year. And they're also planning for headcount for the following year. So I think that everything's going to start to pick up towards the end of the year here. And I also think that everybody's very concerned about AI coming into play and what that means for them and their job and their position.

[00:55:21] Whitney: And the other side of it is with AI, there are huge opportunities and huge plays that are outside of the space that still support the space that come with data and security and everything that you're going to need in order to support that entire circuit brand new movement. And so I think that the market's about to pick up quite a bit 

[00:55:38] Randall: Hopeful, some optimism 

[00:55:41] Whitney: For all of us.

[00:55:42] Randall: For all of us.

[00:55:42] Randall: Exactly. And either as a candidate or an organization that wants to work with you, where can they find you? 

[00:55:49] Whitney: Monley, Dan, Whitney, Finlinson, visionary talent. Our website is visionarytalent.Io. I love having conversations all the time. So if anybody ever wants to talk or just needs to bounce around some ideas about what their process is, I'm always here for it.

[00:56:02] Randall: Excellent. Well Whitney Finlinson, thank you so much for your time today. I know we ran over, but I appreciate the conversation and answering some of my questions. So appreciate that. And then we'll be sure to include any references and where to find you in the show notes. 

[00:56:18] Whitney: Thank you so much for the time, Randall.

[00:56:20] Whitney: This was awesome. 

[00:56:20] Randall: Excellent. 

[00:56:21] AI: And that's it for today's conversation here on the Randall O'Shea podcast. Thank you so much for joining us.

[00:56:28] AI: And we hope that you've enjoyed listening as much as we've enjoyed recording it. Many, many thanks to our guests today for sharing their knowledge, their experience, and their life lessons. If you found today's conversation. Insightful, interesting, inspiring. Please join our growing community by subscribing to the Randall O'Shea podcast on your favorite podcast platform and never, ever miss another episode.

[00:56:53] AI: We'd love to hear your feedback. So keep the community alive by sharing your takeaways from today's episode and use the hashtag Randall O'Shea podcast. Your feedback and interaction fuels our continued efforts to build a safe space for meaningful, long form conversations. So thank you so much for the support until next time.

[00:57:15] AI: Stay curious, stay inspired and keep the conversation going.

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