In today’s episode of The Startup Chat, Steli and Hiten talk about Steli’s outbound recruiting hack.

Hiring a new member of staff can be challenging. If you want to find the right person for the role, you need to invest a lot of time and sometimes money on the whole process. One way to approach the whole hiring process is by seeking the advice of people who are overqualified for the job, and this can lead to a lot of benefits for you.

In today’s episode, Steli and Hiten talk about how hiring for a role at Close is going for them, how approached the recruiting for the position at his company, how people can be very helpful when you seek their advice and much more.

Time Stamped Show Notes:

00:00 About today’s topic.

00:41 Why this topic was created.

01:56 How Steli approached the recruiting of a position at his company.

02:44 How people can be very helpful when seeking advice.

03:31 How one simple question led to a ton of recommendations and referrals.

03:50 How this approach allowed Steli to meet people that he’d hire in the future.

04:38 How this approach helped him understand the quality of the available talent pool.

05:54 Why Hiten recommends more people do this strategy.

06:22 How this approach can help you build relationships.

06:41 Another benefit of this strategy.

3 Key Points:

  • I did a lot of outbound recruiting.
  • I met people that I know I’ll hire in the future.
  • It was a very valuable calibration of talent for me.


Steli Efti: Hello everybody, this is Steli Efti.


Hiten Shah: And this Hiten Shah.


Steli Efti: On today’s episode of The Startup Chat, we wanna share with you a [inaudible] recruiting hack that has been working wonders for me and have helped a lot of other people use. So this is kind of the hack of hiring people that are really hard to hire and getting smart in the process of it. Here’s the deal, a lot of you that have been long time listeners, you know that we’ve been looking for a director of marketing for quite some time. I put myself out there quite a lot with videos, and even with a podcast, tiny episode, 2 minute episode. Where I ask you listeners to help, and a lot of you did. We are very close to filling that position so this has been a very successful, even if it very intense recruiting effort. But one thing that I’ve done this time around that I’ve never done before that has worked really, really well, and I wanted to share, is something that I’ve used in sales as a strategy. But never in recruiting in this specific way, which is I did a lot of outbound recruiting. But the way I did it was, I didn’t reach out to people telling them I think you could be a good candidate, or maybe you’re interested in this job we’re looking for. I was reaching out mainly to people that seemed either slightly over qualified or drastically over qualified, and would tell them, I am currently looking to hire an executive in this position. I’d love 10 minutes of your time to get some advice from you on how to do that. A lot of people would take me up on that and would graciously offer their time and advice. Then what would happen, there were a number of benefits that came from that. One is that, one positive thing that happened, which is part of the strategy here, is that as I would describe passionately to them about the company, the opportunity, all the action that is going on and who we are looking for. Some self-identified and raised their hand and went, this actually sounds interesting, maybe I’m your person, right? Then we would engage into our conversation about that. Some people would not even entertain this because they were so clearly over qualified. I would have actually been shocked if they wanted the job. But those people would truly be at first, an advisor for me. So they would say, you know what, I’ve hired X amount of people in this position, here’s what I have learned. Do this, don’t do that. How do you think about that? What’s the team composition? They would strategize with me and give me pointers, advice, ways to think about, questions to ask that I haven’t asked. So I would learn a ton, and I would benefit from the experience from hiring this type of position. Then, I would always round it up at the end with asking them, well should, do you know somebody that fits the bill? Right? Do you know somebody that is incredibly talented? Not somebody that’s looking, somebody that would be perfect? Maybe we can hire that person, but I should know them. I should connect with them. More often than not they did. So it led to a ton of recommendations, referrals, and connections to super talented people and those are conditioned warm. So I didn’t ping these people cold, somebody the trusted and respected said, hey, you should talk to Steli. Maybe the opportunity they have is interesting. Even if not, I think you two should connect. So I got connected to a lot of really amazing candidates. The one more than the last added benefit to all of this, was that, well there’s actually 2, dammit. One is that I met some people that I know I’m going to hire in the future. That I can’t hire right now, but I’ve started the process. I have especially one person that I know, I’m going to hire next year. We’re not at the right stage, this person is kind of too senior and the timing doesn’t fit. But I know I wanna work with this person, and I know I’m going to hire this person successfully next year. So I am investing now, every month in this relationship. I found somebody incredibly talented that I wanna work with long term. That’s incredibly valuable. So I’m starting to invest in the relationships, so I can hire this person a year or 2. That was one, and the last benefit is, it was a very valuable calibration of talent to me. Talking to people that were over qualified actually made me understand better, what the overall talent pool is and how to judge the talent that was right in front of me with a better, more broader scale. So I didn’t just judge the talent based on the talent pool that was at my disposal. I judged them on the talent pool in the overall market. I talked to some people it was like, okay these are the executives at the top of their game and the best companies in the space. This is a good reference point for me. Although I knew that people existed that were that, it was different talking to them. It helped me really evaluate people and crystallize my idea on who I am looking for and how to judge them to add these conversations. So this has been super valuable journey. It was a lot of work. Right? As a lot good things are in life. It’s not a shortcut. It takes time, it takes energy. But the benefits have been really, really big for us. So I thought I’d share it with the world. I always love to share this stuff with you because you always add valuable stuff. You know, I’m dying to hear your response to the strategy. Have you ever done this? What am I missing? What’s bad about it? What’s good about it? What’s kind of your thoughts on doing this kind of [inaudible] advice-based recruiting.


Hiten Shah: I think its key. I think more people should do it. One, people love talking about themselves, right? Especially even at work and their achievements. So you’d be surprised at the response rate that you get when you’re looking to hire, and you want advice from someone who is in that role. Or is like even the manager of that role or whatever, what have you, right? It helps you build relationships too in that category or area of interest of yours. Cause if you’re hiring, its likely it’s an area of interest, right? If you’re hiring, you’re usually the hiring manager so to speak, and persons either gonna report to you or someone who reports to you. I don’t have much to add, Steli. I think this is something I wish more people would do. Its something that even for myself, when I’ve done it, its been really valuable to me. Its super key and you can get, not even free advice, cause it’s not about free advice. It’s more about how do you calibrate the roll that you’re looking to hire and how do you know whether someone’s good or not? If you haven’t really either hired for the role before or had experience in the role before, or even if you have, this can be really valuable to help you kind of make some connections to people that might know other people. Then on the sort of longer term end, folks that you might wanna work with in the future. Then you find people and relationships that you wanna invest in. So that you can sort of get ahead of this for next time, you know? Or the next role that you need to hire. I think it’s super valuable. This form of out-bound recruiting using advice as a way to get conversations and learn about other people, and also learn about the role is fantastic.


Steli Efti: Awesome. Alright, I’d love to hear everybody else’s thoughts, your feedback. If you haven’t tried this and want to try it, please do so and comeback to us and let us know if it worked, didn’t work, or what results were there. We always love to hear from your learnings and learn from them. So you can always get in touch with us Yeah, I mean hiring is one of the most important things any found, any seller can do. So getting better and better at that is a core competency has been a big focus of mine. So we’ll keep sharing all the lessons we learn and all the things we do, all the mistakes we make, to benefit you. We can’t wait to hear vise versa from you, your lessons learned, your tactics. But this is a recent one that really has worked tremendously well that I wanted to share with our listeners. That’s it for us for this episode and we’ll see you very soon.


Hiten Shah: See ya.


Steli Efti: I thought you’d say, happy recruiting.


Hiten Shah: I was going to, actually.


Steli Efti: Beautiful, beautiful.