Jose Guardado, co-founder @Build Talent. How to reach a 92% closing rate.A-Players - The top startups' recipes to build teams of top performers
- 397 views
- 19 Apr 2022
Closing candidates is an art & science.
It’s one of the biggest-leverage activities in recruiting - get better at closing and everything else just falls into place. Less sourcing, less interviewing time, and better internal satisfaction. So I brought in the best expert on the topic I could find!
Jose has been doing recruiting for 15 years, working for startups like Nebula, Edmodo, Dropcam, or large companies like Google and Cisco.
Jose has also worked at Andreessen Horowitz (helping on recruiting executive talent) - one of the most prestigious VC firm in the world, and then coached Y Combinator founders. He knows his stuff.
There’s one reason why I picked Jose to talk about closing: his impressive 92% closing rate at BuildTalent. See, that’s an agency dirty little secret: when a search firm works on a mandate, they’re only ~40% to actually find someone for the role (hence the reason why companies tend to use several agencies at the same time). Jose is at 92%. That’s twice the industry standard.
In our discussion, Jose shares his closing techniques, his numbers, and his secret sauce.
Hi, everyone. Welcome to a new episode in A Player. So, you know, our thesis in a players is that recruiting is very close to selling. And there's one specific step in selling that is closing that we'd like to address today with our guest Jose Guardado. So thanks for being here today, Jose.
Thank you, Robin. Good to be here.
So the first time I heard about Jose was reading his guide The Art and Science of Closing. Very good guide. One of the best read I had on this. So I thought I wanted to have Jose on that podcast to talk about that specific guide and his specific learnings. So, Jose, you have 15 years of experience, mostly in recruiting. You started as a property manager, then did a couple of things like being a key account executive at Yahoo. So you also have some sales background, but mostly your background is in recrutiting in several startups. Nebula, Edmodo, Dropcam right. In corporates at Google, Yahoo, Cisco. Then you work with Andreessen Horowitz, the big VC firm. You work with the powerful companies to help them hire. You also coach YC founders to help them hire, so a very broad experience, both in strategic and operational stuff. And for the past two and a half years, you've been founder at a company called Build Talent, an agency that has an impressive completion rate of 92%. Is that right? 92% completion rate on 41 searches, which is very impressive for people that listen to us and don't know that the industry standard is probably closer to 50% in agencies or probably even below 50%.
So that 92% completion rate is the exact reason why it's important that you talk to us today and that you share your learnings. Did I miss anything in that introduction?
No, that was great. I really appreciate you kind of covering that ground and setting the stage.
Nice. So how about we start with the very broad and philosophical stuff, like why it's important to have a very good closing rate. Is there a short way to close candidates? Do you have anything specific on that? And then you'll dive on the specific tactics and how you can implement this for everybody listening to us today?
Yeah, absolutely. And so just to quickly zoom back to a point that you made that recruiting is sales that ironically, for me, that was a sales role that drove me back into recruiting. As you mentioned, I was at Yahoo doing account executive role for Yahoo, hot job selling recruiting products basically to agencies in the Midwest. And what it made me realize is that there are recruiting firms for everything. So, like, if you need a forklift driver on contract, there's a recruiting firm that will find you that if you need a plastic surgeon in Miami, there is a recruiting firm that will find you that. And so really kind of seeing how ubiquitous recruiting was and how vast really it is in our economy, really kind of gave me a newfound appreciation for it. But to come back to your question, close rate, the reason closing is so important is because you can do everything right. You can spend a lot of time with the candidate building rapport, getting them over the line. And if in the end they don't accept your offer, really all that time is sunk cost. And there are other implications as well.
It's not good for team morale to lose out on someone that you really wanted to hire. You obviously have to start that process over as well. And so it really is the sort of utmost urgency when it comes to closing time. And there are a lot of things that someone can do to affect their close rate. A very wise person told me this once, and I've found it to be true. Founders oftentimes will make offers when they are ready to make the offer, as opposed to when the candidate is ready to accept the offer. And the real point is that it's a two way street. As much as you are interviewing the candidate, they are interviewing you. For most founders building competitive teams, the type of people that you're trying to hire have a lot of options. And so really getting them over the line is the essential bit. And there are a lot of elements in your control. And so, for instance, making an offer that you have a high likelihood of having accepted. You can dialogue with a candidate to understand what the gaps are, how close you may be, so that when you actually send a written offer to them, you know they're going to accept it.
I have seen founders sort of throw an offer over the wall and see what comes back. That's not, in my view, best practice. That's a bit of a gamble. And so I definitely like to have greater control over that close rate. And there are a lot of tips and tricks that you can do to sort of get to that point. But I think that the important concept is mutual conviction. So you, as the hiring authority, have conviction that this is your candidate, that you want them on your team, that you're going to do everything you can to get them. And then on the candidate side, they have conviction that this is the company that I want to join. This is a mission that I want to be part of, and this is my tribe, essentially. And so if you can operate in a realm of greater certainty, there, the close rate can go up substantially. Now, obviously, as you're scaling, you can't treat every hire with sort of white glove precision the way you would treat an executive level higher. But to the extent that you can minimize the uncertainty when delivering an offer, I think that you'll have greater control over your close rate.
You also asked about tips and tricks, You can use a sort of one to ten method : on a scale of one to ten, one being not ready at all and 10 being ready today. Like, if the company is right, if the offer is right, how ready are you to accept this offer? And that's asking the candidate to self assess if they come back with anything other than nine or ten, you have a perfect opportunity there to address those gaps. I have sometimes seen founders reluctant to go to these uncomfortable places, but that's exactly where you need to go. If you're trying to reduce the uncertainty around delivering an offer, you can't sweep the stuff under the rug because worst case scenario, you hire them and then they discover it and then they quit. And then you're doing another search.
Right? When you start asking the question, you start with the first initial funds screen and you start with a question and try to get the person to ten until the end of the process. How do you do this? And also probably another important question is how do you train your team to do this as well and to ask those questions as well?
Yeah. So I think that there's a time and a place in the first conversation with someone. It's premature to ask them one out of ten, how ready are you to join our company? First, you need to establish rapport with them. You need to establish incentive or interest, rather mutual interest. And once there is kind of mutual momentum and the candidate has sort of leaned into the opportunity at that point, you can run your assessment and you can ask these kinds of questions. But I think that it's sort of like dating. You don't ask someone to meet your parents after you've met them once they're sort of a build up. And so I think reading that and sort of behaving appropriately within that context can help guide the time to ask these kinds of check ins. With the team, I found it fairly easy to be able to enable recruiters to do this stuff. It's really about having the confidence to check and having the diligence to follow up where there is any kind of a doubt or hesitation and again, a willingness to go to that uncomfortable place.
Okay. So would you say that you start asking this in the final rounds? Because I've tried myself to ask it very early on, and I've seen that it also works like the person would say, okay, clearly you're three to ten to accept that offer now, but also you get some interesting things and you say, okay, what would get you to four to five, and then you move on to the ladder.
Yeah, I've definitely seen that work. There's a great recruiter that I work with over at Neuro, Blake Williams, he sort of comes alive in the close, and when it's all sort of on the line, he will come and give sort of a self assessment. Hey, I think we're 20% there. I think we're 30% there. But this guy always gets it to 100 eventually. And to your point, you have to start somewhere. The cliche I use is like you have to get the fish into the hook before you can pull the fish into the boat. That's how I've tried. But there's certainly no harm in getting to a real conversation earlier in the process with someone, especially if that's your style and that's the culture they're going to be walking into.
Okay. So there's another thing that you mentioned before. It's about the mature conviction. Oftentimes people and I'd love to hear your take on this. Oftentimes people hear about the importance of setting the pace in the recruiting process, and that's very important in the closing expertise as well. It's the same in sales. You have to set the pace yourself, but also people forget that it's not only about them and they shouldn't be trying to go as fast as possible, but it's also the ability to bring the candidate to conviction. So if you have a five day interviewing process and are you able to call someone in five business days but they're not ready to accept the offer, then you'll probably be losing the pace and the person is not ready. So they'll just ask for two more weeks and then it's done. Right. So how do you set up the pace and also at the same time, make sure that the person is ready to accept the offer?
Yeah, absolutely. So a couple of things. The tactical sort of homework bits are understanding what the competitive landscape is like. Is the candidate interviewing elsewhere? Are they expecting offers elsewhere? What's the timeline on that? Are you competing with an internal promotion, or is the choice binary of staying in my company or accepting a new role? All of that will inform the pace that you take with them. But I think that the objective is not to necessarily run a five day process. Sometimes you're trying to catch candidates up with one another, but the objective is, as you mentioned, getting to that mutual conviction. And the pacing can be a servant in this sense, but it can also be your worst enemy. I use the cliche of a surfer catching a wave and like, if you're out there in the ocean trying to catch that wave and you are too early. The wave is just going to kind of roll over you and you're not going to get anything if you go too late. It is absolutely impossible to catch that wave as fast as you can possibly swim. There's no way you're going to get it.
And so I think it's similar here where if you're too early with a candidate, you kind of appear too eager, you misunderstood the dance, and it doesn't send a signal of confidence to a candidate that you understand what that dance is and that you'll be able to do this with other people. And so we've all been in a situation where maybe someone was interested and we were not, and that's a terrible place to be with your candidate. However, on the reverse side of that coin being too late, you have no chance at all. Even with the early like, maybe you can make a second impression, but with the late, it's gone and you've missed your opportunity. And so finding that mutual pace, really understanding what the candidates pace is so that you can match it becomes really important. But there are always surprises. And this assumes that the candidates being forthright with you. This also assumes that you have done your homework. Again, like I said, the first point to find out what else is going on, what you're competing against.
So it's a lot about the discoveryright, asking questions. And that's also something that we see in sales. The best sales people are not just here to push their product, asking a lot of questions to the prospect, trying to define the need. So one of the questions is the one to ten methods. So how ready are you to accept the offer? Another question is what's your situation? What's the competitive landscape? This one, how do you get honest replies to this? And how do you make sure that the person is being straightforward? Because people can tend to not say, well, where do you go on that? Do you ask the company's name, the stage of the process? What can you ask?
Sure. No, it's a good question. And I come back to that initial premise that I shared before, which is there's a time and a place. In a perfect world, the recruiter has such a good relationship with the candidate that they just give them all that information. And so the recruiter has 100% of information, they can give it to the client. You can all operate with 100% information. In reality, oftentimes you don't really get people being deceptive, although I have seen this where somebody takes a new role and they don't update their LinkedIn profile for twelve months and then they take a call as if they were still in that previous role. So I have seen that and I would call that deceptive. But usually what you get is omission. I'm just not bringing it up. I'm just not bringing it up that I took a new role. I'm just not bringing it up that I actually left there or actually was let go. That's controlling the narrative. And you can expect that to an extent. And I think that the more senior people get, the more they realize that they have these kind of tools in their belt.
But I think that you'll also find a spectrum of forthrightness, of sort of honesty and openness from candidates. And a good recruiter can sort of appraise that and read the room, understand what they need to do to be influential with that person. But sometimes you don't have the full suite of info that you need. And so you have to use these questions to get at least the bare minimum. And I think that also the recruiters role and the hiring manager's role are a little bit different here. So if the recruiter has been looped in the entire time is being actually the conduit between the hiring manager and the candidate is in sync with the hiring manager so that the recruiter knows the latest updates, then they are empowered to be an agent to the candidate. Tell me what you need. How can I get that for you? How can we make this work, et cetera? If the recruiter is out of the loop and the hiring managers communicating directly with the candidate, it's very hard for the recruiter then to come in the 11th hour and say, hey, I want to be part of this too.
Talk to me and tell me all your secrets. Again, if you miss the wave, you're not going to catch that. You have to spot it. You have to be ready to go for it when it comes, right?
That's probably right. What you say because people will just omit certain details. So if you ask the questions, you'll get the replies. And that's what I actually really liked about that guy as well. It's how closing starts with the very first interaction. And then you keep on asking questions, keep on doing that discovery. And the more intimate you get with the candidate, the more information you can get as well.
That's interesting. There is another thing that you address and it's very part of the discovery. It's how will you make your decision and the decision making process from the candidates. So there are a few frameworks, and I'd love to hear these frameworks. But also what I understand is most of the time you just have to ask the candidates
How will you make your decision? And also this I've tried and I found it very useful to do in the very first interview, like what are you looking for? Imagine that you have very two separate companies offering the same compensation, same role. How will you make your decision will be more like on the worklife balance, on the missions. So you can ask those questions. So can you tell us about the decision making process and the questions that you can ask and the few frameworks that you've seen work in the past.
Yeah, absolutely. So to Zoom way out, I'd reference Maslow's hierarchy of needs, where for a person to be happy, like, obviously, you need your shelter, you need your safety, you need your sustenance, you need a place to think, et cetera. But the higher level needs are feeling understood, like applying yourself, being creative, and these are the types of things that ultimately are the draw into an opportunity specifically for startups. When you're competing with a more established company, it's like, here's a place where you can really grow and shine and be challenged and become a better version of yourself. And so I think that that's where you can be competitive and trying to get people to join you on your mission, finding people who are aligned to that mission. But people decide for various reasons, and some of it can depend on where they are in their career. Like, for instance, one person could be coming off of three failed startups and now they just took a job at some big public company, and they need to because they've been making under market for the last three jobs and they need to catch up. That person is probably less likely to take a risk on a startup coming out.
However, somebody who maybe has had a startup win and then has been at a big company that they required into for a while and is now ready for a new opportunity. That person is going to be more sort of risk tolerant or even risk seeking in the next opportunity. And so part of it is sort of understanding where they're at mentally from a career standpoint and whether what you're offering maps to that. And sometimes you can just look at a profile and say they're great, they're super qualified, but they just don't map to this. Like the timing is wrong. The place in their career is wrong, the scale that they seem to be shooting for and their trajectory is wrong from what we have to offer. And so all of that stuff informs, like how someone will make a decision and you can't forget about compensation. People have families, families get more and more expensive as they get older. And so the later except someone gets in their career, the less maybe they are capable of taking those risks without some wins. The other thing that I'll mention is I'm married. I certainly don't make decisions like a solo unit, any career decision that I make.
I talk with my wife through very thoroughly. And I think that that's the case for the majority of leadership candidates. By the time you're an executive, most of these people do have, if not families, certainly a partner. And I don't often see founders giving that a lot of thought. And it's probably not something that you think about when you're hiring a salesperson or an engineer. But when you're hiring an executive, really paying attention to who else is involved in this decision? And like, how could we even involve them jumping ahead a little bit? That could be anything from taking the candidate and their spouse out to dinner. It could be, for instance, sending some swag, including a baby onesie, to the family with a handwritten card. It doesn't have to be something specific, but the point is that they feel seen and heard and important to the process. And I think that also provides cover for the candidate to say, hey, I know we're taking a risk. I know it's a pay cut... It can really be powerful. The other question that you asked is like two, same opportunities, same role, same opportunities.
How did someone decide? I guess I would challenge the premise a little bit and to say that Series A startup enterprise, SaaS, they're not all the same series B growth company, they're not all the same. There are unique characteristics to each company and each founding team and also the impact of the role that the candidates being considered for. And so it's almost like a special Snowflake each time. But I certainly have been in competitive situations where the two offers are relatively commensurate. And I think that in that case, the advantage that you can have is staying close. And what I see the best founders doing is like when it's closing time, they're texting the candidate on a daily basis, they're talking to them on a daily basis. There is always an event coming up on the calendar next, right. If you're meeting with somebody, okay, what's the next meeting, et cetera, that's always being defined. And so staying close is about the best advantage that you can have there. But there's nothing that's foolproof.
Yeah. There's another thing that we also do. So on the first screening call, we would ask what other companies are you interviewing for, what the processes look like? And then we write that down and use this across different interviews. At some point, you will say, okay, so you're also interviewing with Google and Facebook. So if you get an offer from HireSweet, Google and Facebook, how will you decide? Because everybody will say, obviously, I will pick HireSweet, then they'll pick your own company, and they will say these two different companies. But what's more interesting is what are the pluses and minuses of each one. And so you can really see how you compare with other companies if they say, okay, hiring the product is great, but Google, the pay is better, the team is great. And this is where you understand that you're probably not in the best situation. So what do you think about that?
Yeah, I guess with any candidate, like I said, in a perfect world, you have all the information and the candidates just kind of willing to share with you. I think if you make it a part of your process and you standardize it, you can make it less uncomfortable when you bring it up. But with asking candidates, you have to assume that like you said, they are going to kind of tell you what you want to hear a little bit with the pros and cons. You do get kind of a sense of their critical thinking. And I think that most people go for the money. To sort of say it's crudely. I had a friend leading people at a growth startup and I won't mention their name, but they had basically a year where they just kept losing to Google and Facebook on staff level offers and to the point where they started to ask people, hey, are you interviewing with Google or Facebook? And if they were, they said, okay, you know what, this isn't a good fit because we don't want to take it to the end. We don't want to basically get our hopes up and then lose to an offer that's forex the cash, which they had been doing consistently.
They did that, and then they increased their close rate. They also increased their productivity throughput in the recruiting pipeline. I don't know that that blanket solution is the right answer. But again, I do think most people and it's not trivial, right, like a 200K salary versus an 800K take home per year. That's not trivial. And there are a million reasons why that is the right answer for somebody at that point in their career. And so you can't really hold it against somebody in that sense. But you do need to know what you're up against, especially at the startup where you know you're going to be coming in with less, right.
Following up questions on that. Is there a way to have people consider a pay cut or is this something that's hopeless and you just should do like your friend and just say, okay, we're paying less. So just out of the process now.
There's no one right answer there. Companies will have their compensation philosophy, hey, we want to pay 100% of market. We want to pay 50% of market. Uber famously paid 75% of market when they were in their heyday to engineers. So like, if you're getting 100K, I'm getting 75K here and you need to believe it, you need to be bought in. So I think it worked out for them. It worked out for some of the early people, but less so those who came later. And I think that most people kind of understand that a startup is going to pay less than a big company from the get. But when it comes real, then people start asking questions. They sort of see the variance. And I'll give you an example of somebody who is at a recently public company, like, let's say an Airbnb or a Lyft or an Uber. That person is receiving compensation and base salary, but really largely, mostly in their shares, which are liquid. And that's as good as cash. And to go from, hey, I'm getting 800K a year to the startup is offering me 200K a year. And then a bunch of upside that is like, do you have to change where you live?
Do you have to pull your kids out of school? Do you have to sell a house or whatever? These are kind of major considerations that I think push comes to shove once the conversations start to get serious, and then candidates oftentimes will pull out and just say, hey, that's too much of a gap, et cetera. I think that the bigger the pay cut you're asking someone to take, the bigger the ask it is. I think that also there is a market for this stuff. Right. And a 16 Z puts together a really good executive compensation study annually. And there's a market you might think that you're worth 400 kwh a head of engineering, but that's not what the market says. Or you may think as a company that you can pay ahead of engineering 100K at Series B, but that's not what the market says. And so there are realities that exist outside of the company to candidate in exchange, that's happening. Okay.
And also. Right. We're not fully rational beings, and they will take decisions on some times and biases or wrong decision making models. So there are a few that you mentioned in this guide, like the Regret Minimization framework, the gut decision obviously, the fear of missing out. So can you elaborate a bit on that? Any other decision making models that are interesting to understand, like the ultimate decision by the case?
Yes. So the first one you mentioned remind me of the name, the Regret Minimization. So that's Jeff Bezos. And basically it was like if you didn't do this, would you look back and regret it? And it's sort of a different way of looking at FOMO. Right. Fomo is a very powerful human motivator. And I would say it drives a lot of behavior in financial markets and economic systems, et cetera. And so people are going to kind of decide that way and got instinct. I love the book Blink by Malcolm Gladwell that talks about how our human brains and our psyches are so equipped with these capabilities to sort of quickly discern and make these value judgments that come through as instinct for us. And I think the more senior that someone gets, the more they own those instincts and learn to trust them. And so I think that whatever framework you're applying to try to make a decision, you have to understand that there are myriad ways and that even an individual might alternate between different systems of choosing depending on where they are in life. And so it's probably tougher to really understand a candidates entire psychological profile.
But I guess we try to I've always tried to hire people with high IQ who can kind of read this stuff who can kind of read intonation and dig a little bit further. But again, you have to stay within the realm of what's reasonable in that professional conversation, and you have to understand that omission could just be part of it.
There's also another framework. I don't know if you know that one because you didn't mention in the guide. It's the five F's from the book Who- The A Method for hiring, where you set the fit, the family and the freedom, the fortune. So that's the cash component and the fun and that the person will take their decision based on this.
That's a really good one for anyone who's hiring. That is like such a great book to read: who by Geoff Smart, not only in sort of stuff like this, but also in giving you a guide to really break down what you're looking for when you go out to hire someone in terms of outcomes and results. But that's really good. I have heard that one, and I think that's about as good of an overall summary as I could come up with. Right.
And there's also a very good thing on reference checks where you do a pre reference check on the phone screen. Again, when you say, okay, I'll be interviewing your last manager, what's her name again? Can you give me her name? And we'll be asking that question. On a scale of zero to ten, how does that person compare to their peers? And what do you think they will reply, we've been doing this, so we'll get a lot of very honest replies to that and very often correlates with the actual answer in the end of the process because you cannot do the reference check on the yeah.
I think one thing to mention, though, is like nothing is absolute in a reference check. And I was just listening to a podcast with I think it was the founder of Fair and he's talking about this exact method, the Who method. And he was like, look, there are probably managers that I had that would have said I'm a six out of ten. That wouldn't hire me. Again, to say that it is just a snapshot. Right. It is not a substantive analysis or definitive analysis on someone. It's just like something to consider.
Sure. But it's also a way to get more information. It's not about the absolute number, but why not higher? Why did you give you a six out of ten? Because I don't know. I just tried to go outside of my job description or just because I was late at work. It's not the same answer.
Yeah. And I think everyone, if you dig deeply enough, has some bad reference somewhere. Sure. And so I think what you're trying to find out is, are those shortcomings going to be detrimental in this specific role or can we tolerate them? Right. Like we're all humans, we're all imperfect, but knowing what you're walking into when dealing with someone, they may have a personality characteristic that goes against your culture, and so understand that stuff is important.
Right. Okay. And if we look at the pure tactics, are there specific things that you'd like to share on how to execute the recruiting process, how to make sure to close people? And maybe you have, I don't know. Great. Closes You've seen by people you've been working out at Anderson or YC?
Oh, yeah, I've seen great. Closes Maybe I'll start there. I've seen some fantastic. Closes and so the one that I'm probably most revved up about this is a seed company, Coin tracker. We work with them to hire a head of engineering. And the person that we hired came from managing 100 plus engineers at Uber and join them at seed stage. And, like, they've since gone on to raise a big growth round, and it's a fantastic company. And he made a really great decision. But what I saw from the founders in that meeting was it wasn't one or two dinners. It was three or four dinners with the spouse really getting deep. Both founders there both founders flying out to meet him every single time to do it in person and basically bringing him along this journey where this was certainly the earliest stage environment that he would have ever been stepping into in his career. And so first they had to come to conviction on their own, but then they had to get the candidate to conviction. And I think they got there first, but they were relentless and not in a stalker way, but in a very professional, resolute, and determined way to keep the conversation going until they got to mutual truth and mutual understanding.
And that's what they did. And so I saw that closing process take four or five weeks, which is not by the book. The sort of cliche is that time kills deals. In their case, they met some really strong candidates, but this was always their person. And it took really getting to know each other in order to build that trust in order for that leap of faith to have been taken. And so for these folks, I think it was a game changing hire. And I just was so impressed with how they handled themselves throughout the process.
And this is exactly why it's also important to have those five F and include everyone in the decision making process in the end.
As you mentioned, the spouse, right?
Yeah, absolutely. Another one that I'll mention was another YC company, Convex, and they closed a fantastic VP of product that we helped them with. And in this case, the spouse of the candidate had been a VC in the past. And so it was actually going through their deck for her to say, okay, these guys are pretty legit. And then, yes, they made adjuster for her to sort of get her around, but really sort of understanding her importance in the process and bringing her along, I think was fantastic. And the candidate had really great competitive options as well. And so really just staying close, not letting any time elapsed where events could have come up really sort of in the referencing. The back channel referencing was just phenomenal. This founder had done five, six back channel references earlier in the process and really sort of understood what they were getting into. And so that's one thing that we haven't really gotten into in today's conversation. But I think it's really important in closing, which is those back channels. And that for number one, getting the hiring manager to certainty or conviction to understand what they're dealing with.
But also number two, to really kind of further understand the candidate and their triggers, their motivations, things like that. A really well conducted reference call can give insight to all that stuff. One great reference question that I learned from Jeff Stump over at Andrews and Horowitz that you always ask what are the strengths and what are the weaknesses? And what he says is like, what would the critics say? And it's a very sort of de escalating, kind of a softer way to ask the question because everybody's got critics and everybody's critics are going to say something. And so kind of positioning it that way, where it's ubiquitous, lets people open up a little bit. In some cases, you can even get the reference to become an advocate for you as you are closing the candidate and say, hey, here's why the opportunity is so great, so that they have a point of view now and maybe they're willing to speak with their friend or colleague to help get them over the line, but really essential. And that's something that the search firm should be helping a founder with before you're getting to any place of making an offer.
Is getting those back channels under consideration.
Right. That's often overlooked. I wouldn't have thought about pitching the opportunity to the reference. Yeah, interesting. So I really liked also the conclusion in the guide, it's impossible to recruit 100% on pool. If the person is happy in their job, then they won't change jobs and there's nothing you can do about it. They're perfectly happy. So can you elaborate a bit on this, on the pushes and pulls theory?
Everybody can probably imagine themselves at a time in a job where they were totally happy. And that could be the honeymoon phase where I know for myself when I first got to Andresen Horowitz, there is no opportunity that could have gotten me to pick my head up. I was just so committed to my job and loved it so much and was having so much fun that I got tons of recruiter messages and they just kind of bounced off of me. And there also sometimes comes a time where there's a push where like, hey, you want something different or you're intrigued by something else, or maybe something at work isn't going the way that you like. And whatever those reasons are, that is what allows somebody to pick their head up and consider a new role. And so if it's 100% push, meaning the candidates laid off from their opportunity and they're going after the new company saying, please hire me, please hire me, please hire me, that's never going to work. If it's 100% poll where the company is going after the candidate who doesn't want to interview, they're just going to ignore you. And so the truth is always somewhere in the middle.
It's not these polar extremes. And the question is, if there's any push, how big is it? And can that be enough to get the candidate over the line? And understanding what those reasons are can really help you in the close. Like maybe the person wasn't given a ton of trust or responsibility in their role and that was their push. Well, you know, you're walking into this situation where you're going to have greater trust and greater impact and greater control, or maybe let's say they were under compensated. Well, you can come here and be not undercompensated. That becomes a really powerful selling point. And so understanding what those are and that comes back to closing in the beginning, really getting to know your candidate, that's going to help you.
So that's another question as well. It's very hard to ask this way. So probably not the right way, but what are your pushes? If you're talking to me, there are pushes, things that are forces that are pushing you outside of your job.
Yes, I've heard, like recruiters. The really cheesy way to ask it is like, hey, well, you're taking my call, so what's the deal? But I think that you can ask it in a more gentle way and just say, hey, any reason in particular why you'd be picking your head up now? It could be, hey, you know, tour of duty is done. I have vested most of my stock. It could be, hey, we just had a kid and I need something else. And who knows?
And we get back to asking questions and discovery. So if father comes to you for recruiting advice, what's the top three things you would say? And there could be things that we already said in that podcast, but also wait to wrap it up.
Yeah. So for founder, number one is people think of the talent market is like the entire market is very aggressive market. You need to think of it as a Venn diagram where it's like one circle is like people who are qualified for your job. And the other circle is people who want to work in an early stage startup and you're mining that middle. And that is your candidate market. And so why doesn't urge from Google want to come and run my infrastructure? A lot of reasons, but you have to kind of think about that upfront. I think for the other thing that I would mention is that founders are asking people to take the same level of risk and sometimes less risk when joining the company for a much lower percentage of the company. And so I think that you have to empathize with people to know that the value proposition for them is not the same as the value proposition for you. And you have to find people who are aligned, who want that growth, who want that adventure, who want to work with you specifically. And not everybody is going to be that.
And I guess the other thing that I would say is like recruiting. I've heard the cliche that you should spend 50% of their time recruiting. You're always going to be recruiting. And if it's a pain, if it's a pain for your team, if it's not a priority for your team, if it's not something that people enjoy doing, you're not going to succeed as a startup because it's like you need to raise money. Obviously, you need to be able to build a product, but you can't be a one person enterprise. You need people around you. And at some point, you need senior people around you who have options, who can go anywhere they want. And you need to create a sales pitch and a value proposition for them that is going to enable them, you to actually attract them as opposed to the thousand other opportunities that exist out to her right now.
All right, cool. So thanks. I think that covers most of the guys. So thank you very much for sharing this. And going through these last two questions would be the closing question. Number one is, what's the number one advice that you would give to your younger self?
Yes. So I guess it took being a founder of my own company to understand the owner's mentality. But approaching work with an owner's mentality is completely different than approaching it from an employee's mentality that touches on what I was kind of alluding to earlier. But if you can take any role and apply that owner's mentality, you are going to get so much more done. You are going to be so much more rewarded in your work. And so younger Jose could heed those words wisely.
Okay. And there's a very good book on this called Extreme Ownership, written by the next Navy Seal. So it's good, right, as well, if you want to understand how to become more owners.
Last question is who's the most impressive person you like to hear? Only players who you recommend me to interview?
Yeah, absolutely. Dan Portillo, formerly of Sweat Equity Ventures. They just rebranded as the General Partnership. So he spent almost eight years at Greylock running talent there. And he's a friend, and he's someone that I've looked up to for a long time. And what they're doing with General Partnership is really putting the VC model on its head. And sort of the collision, the intersection of talent and capital really becoming a differentiated model for helping build companies and so very impressed by him and I think he'd have a ton of great ideas to share with you.
Nice. I'm checking his LinkedIn profile, send him an invitation and will try to have him there. Thanks, Jose.
Yes, thank you, Robin. Great to be here.
This is Robert. Most of our listeners come from word of mouth so thanks a lot for your support and if you enjoyed a players, please keep on sharing it with your team and friends. Stay tuned for the next episode and if you can't wait, follow me on LinkedIn for more content and recruiting you next week. Bye.