Who's Holding You Back?

Who’s Holding You Back?

In this episode of Startup Hustle, Matt Watson and Kurt Wilkin, Co-Founder and Visionary at HireBetter, talk about executive hiring. Specifically how entrepreneurs can transform their companies by minimizing hiring mistakes, investing in high potentials, and making the difficult decisions to drop dead weight from their team. Learn how to run a business, minimize errors and become more adaptable to situations during your founder journey.

Covered In This Episode

Are you about to launch your business? As a founder or co-founder, expect the road to entrepreneurial success to be rocky and rough. Fortunately, there are people who have successfully traveled down that road before and Kurt Wilkin is one of them. Before you start off on your founder journey, learn how executives handle recruitment, employee retention, and more ways on how to minimize missteps to avoid failure.

Business Podcast for Entrepreneurs

Highlights

  • How to hire for key positions- “Who’s your Mike?” (4:20)
  • How to build teams and motivate people (9:40)
  • Legacy employees and the number one attribute that will help you succeed (11:30)
  • When should you hire outside the organization (14:30)
  • How unlocking new positions in your organization will help you succeed (16:00)
  • How to find top tier clients and hire them (22:46)
  • How to attract quality candidates (25:40)

Key Quotes

If you’ve got great people and enough runway cashwise to shift and jive whatever the economy or the forces throw at you, you can be successful. But if you’re lacking one of those, you’re going to run out of cash or you got a bunch of dumb asses doing the job.

Kurt Wilkin

It’s not just about hiring a recruiter to find a really talented person. They’ve got to fit in well with your culture. They’ve got to fit in well with the rest of your existing team.

Kurt Wilkin

You’ve got to always be recruiting.

Kurt Wilkin

Get helpful advice and figure out what’s potential holding you back from a successful founder journey in this Startup Hustle Episode.

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Rough Transcript

The following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode.

00:00.00

Matt Watson

And we’re back with another episode of the Startup Hustle. This is your host Matt Watson and I’m excited to be joined today with Kurt Kurt Wilkin from HireBetter I want to talk all about ah executive hiring and running a business and you know the crazy world we live in these days with hiring people. So excited to talk about that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by Fullscale.io hoping you build a software team quickly and affordably Kurt. How are you doing?

00:27.97

Kurt Wilkin

Man Matt I’m doing great I appreciate being here I really love what you guys are doing with the Startup Hustle providing entrepreneurs the tools they need to be successful I love it.

00:36.16

Matt Watson

You know I think I want to say it’s been almost five years I can’t remember anymore like 800 and I don’t know 50 episodes later. We’re still trucking so we’re still having fun. Thank you for joining me today. So.

00:48.89

Kurt Wilkin

You bet. excited for it.

00:53.55

Matt Watson

You know to start out, give us a little bit of your background and what you do and.

00:58.51

Kurt Wilkin

Yeah, you bet I’ll start with a background so I am ah um, a CPA by trade Ernst and young was my first job out of college and I tell you ah the first one to tell you am a shitty CPA. So I learned that pretty early on and I realized my gifts were with people and so. And like a lot of entrepreneurs I started with my entrepreneurial career because I had to so after the dotcom crash in the early two thousands I started a finance and an account consulting firm which is crazy because I stuck as a CPA but we built a great team I had ah some good partners and we were really good at what we did. And I was good at the people side we grew to over twenty million bucks had a good sale and since then I’ve been helping other entrepreneurs be successful I started or I founded HireBetter in 2011 and so we work with a lot of entrepreneurs doing just that and I invest in entrepreneurs. So we’ve got about 120 or so investments over the last twenty years working with ah good people doing great things. So it’s is ah early-stage angel a little bit of series a and then we’ll oftentimes continue to participate as the company’s successful. But.

01:56.37

Matt Watson

Should talk about like ah angel investments or what kind of investments.

02:09.13

Kurt Wilkin

You know, don’t bring me in for a you know series d you know $500000000 valuation type thing.

02:12.22

Matt Watson

But bring you in when you’re looking to hire that key salesperson to take you the next level right? That’s where that’s where you can really hope.

02:18.70

Kurt Wilkin

Ah, absolutely So what? you’ll find ah is my theory my thesis that I’m working on is that with capital and talent. You can do anything so at ah, early-stage company If You’ve got great people and enough Runway cashwise to shift and jive whatever the economy or the forces throw at you. You can be successful. But if you’re lacking one of those you’re going to run out of cash or you got a bunch of dumb asses doing the job. They’re not going to be able to get you to the next ah over the home.

02:45.37

Matt Watson

So what kind of companies with your firm. Do you usually work with I see you’re based out of Austin right?

02:51.85

Kurt Wilkin

You were based in ASA we work all over the country domestic us our clients are typically let’s say 5 to $ 100000000 in revenue and typically through the scrappy startup you know early stage everybody does everything and you’re trying to professionalize your business so you’re looking for that next level. CFO, Ah, VP of sales marketing. What have you and you ah you really need some of that? Not only understands how to find talent but really, what do I do with the existing team what we found and you found in your startup life is you outgrow members of your team and that’s hard sometimes as the entrepreneur to see it unless you get hit over the head with ah with it.

03:30.59

Matt Watson

Well and it’s especially hard when you’re first starting out, you know you’re just trying to make a business work right? and it could be that it’s like your brother-in-law is your salesperson or whatever right? and then eventually it’s to your point. It’s like and my brother-in-law has no idea how to run a sales team or a sales organization or. Any of it right? and you can’t just keep promoting him to be this position that that is he’s weighing over his head right? and I’m sure you see that a lot and um. You know the same time I’m talking to a company now I’m looking at potentially joining ah a company that needs to hire like a chief technology officer I’m bringing in like a new business partner and same thing they have nobody that runs the technology side of it. They’ve managed to get to the level that they’re at and they’re really successful but to get to the next level. A lot of companies need that key hire right? There’s a couple key hires they need along the way and it sounds like that’s what you specialize in.

04:26.49

Kurt Wilkin

That’s exactly right in fact, ah, you know we talked a little bit earlier about this book that I just wrote called who’s your mic and’s ah I’ll tell you about the more about it if you want, but the the the lead character or the first chapter of the book is is about Mike and who’s Mike right Mike is your who’s your fraternity brother in college you guys were thick as thieves he took a couple of hours of accounting in college you think he might have been a marketing major but you know really didn’t matter. He was just your but best bud you trust him with your life. You started your business in your garage A few years later mike’s right there with you nights and weekends from his day job helping you with all the. Administrative stuff right? setting up the LLC setting up the bank account ah ordering supplies. Whatever it was. You’re focused on the product or the or the sales and he’s focused on all the back-office stuff. You become a real company. He quits his job. You make him your accountant he learns Quickbooks. He learns how to. Handle all that stuff again doing all that ah administrative back-office stuff that you hate and I don’t know how to do and a couple years later you make him your controller because you reward his hundred-hour work weeks and he’s busing his ass for you. You know? now you’re doing ten, fifteen million dollars in sales he’s now your cfo. He’s still hadn’t hired a: staff because he’s a 2 cheap, and b: he didn’t really know how to build a team. He’s trying to negotiate a $10000000 line ah credit with your bank. Maybe a merger deal with your largest competitor and you look around and Mike is missing deadlines. He’s laid on everything and he’s swirling he’s in over his head but he didn’t want to tell you because he’s your. Best friend and he didn’t want to let you down. The reality is Mike’s in over his head. So the question is who’s your mic. Everybody’s got a mic whether it’s finance in the county like Mike Sales and marketing operations. Whatever I’m sure you’ve seen that many times in your career who’s your mic.

06:08.38

Matt Watson

Yeah, and I would love to hear you know some success stories I mean I mean have you worked with some companies where you know where those key hires really help propel them to the next level I’m sure you’ve I’m sure you’ve been around some unicorn companies even and you know you you see those key people come in.

06:25.20

Kurt Wilkin

Yeah, so it’s a balance so you know if I have a, if you have a leadership team of 5 or six I don’t want to see all those folks doing this for the first time so to your point who’s a key hire that you could bring in that can get you over the hump you know and it depends on your company and who you have as far as what that position looks like but oftentimes it’s operations or sales. And your case you’re in the tech space or probably your CTO. You just mentioned that somebody who’s got the skills who’s done that before you have got to be in high demand because you’ve done it twice successfully and had you know a major ah exits so I’m sure your phone rings a lot.

06:58.52

Matt Watson

Well and so back to my first exit from Vin solutions I have to say you know probably the biggest key hire we made was a gentleman named Sean Stapleton who to this day I would consider a good friend and was really key to us. He. He be. He was like our came in as like our director of sales VP of sales. Whatever the whatever you want to make the title he was the guy and we already had a bunch of salespeople but he had the Rolodex. He knew the industry he had the connections he knew how to run a sales team. You know how to motivate a sales team and really just poured gas on ah on the company and we just. Took off like crazy and we owe a lot of it to him I mean he really really um, you know lit the rocket for us. So those key people in my perspective could be huge.

07:44.61

Kurt Wilkin

So that’s a classic example of ah bringing in somebody from the outside who’s done it before and what you’ll get if you’re the entrepreneur you’ll get somebody who’s had those scars they’ve seen this movie before they’re not going to learn the same lessons that you’re going to learn the hard way because they’ve done it before. If you get the right person. They’ll bring their Rolodex. They’re bringing their ah previous experience I might bring an entire team. You know if it’s a right opportunity and they’re going to get you there faster it doesn’t mean Mike can’t get you there eventually as your sales leader it just means he or she’s going to learn a lot of lessons the hard way and boy you could have gotten there a lot faster with fewer scars. With ah with some talented people around you. That’s the rocket ship I’ve got a couple griss some great examples on that if you want to go into it.

08:27.99

Matt Watson

Well and you mentioned this earlier to me business is all about people. It’s all about talent right? It’s about having the right talent motivating the talent retaining them all those things. It’s all about people and ah people are difficult to manage and difficult to deal with as well. Especially this day and age it seems like it’s it’s getting even more weirder. Um with this generation but you know what?? what? What? What are your suggestions about that just talent people motivating them.

09:00.66

Kurt Wilkin

Well, I’ll give you a really quick story. You know my last business I said was in the ah professional services and I realized that people suck. It’s it’s hard. There’s always a drama stuff that going on. So I.

09:11.84

Matt Watson

And oh yeah.

09:14.89

Kurt Wilkin

I swore with my next deal I was going to buy a technology company that had like 2 employees you press a button and makes stuff happen and here we are you know ten years later I but a freaking recruiting firm. So not only am my, ah you know, professional services but I’m dealing you know with people so I’m not very smart. That’s the answer. Um.

09:26.64

Matt Watson

With people.

09:34.89

Matt Watson

Yeah, just how you know how to build teams and motivate people. You know.

09:34.60

Kurt Wilkin

So what was your question in dealing with people?

09:39.70

Kurt Wilkin

Yeah, look. This is hard work. It’s not just about ah hiring a recruiter to find a really talented person. They’ve got to fit in well with your culture. They’ve got to fit in well with the rest of your existing team. So I like to say it’s a puzzle you can’t just. A bunch of people in a room and hope it works. You’ve got to have a culture think about all the professional sports teams. You’ve seen the chiefs have had an amazing culture over the last 10 years right? It’s not just about my homes. It’s about the team that Andy Reid has built around there and so you’ve got to be as an entrepreneur. You’ve got to be able to build a culture that. Gets people working together in the same direction for a common vision and you know it can be beautiful music when it works well and it can suck tremendously when it doesn’t.

10:22.18

Matt Watson

But if you don’t have a good offensive line. It doesn’t matter if you got Patrick my holmes that we learned not to the hard way as a Kansas City fan well you know the key to business as you mentioned earlier is who is your mic and what is holding you back like every company has something that that’s.

10:28.50

Kurt Wilkin

I try.

10:41.60

Matt Watson

Holding them back and you know one thing you know at stack 5 my last company you know there was one time we brought in somebody that I thought was like a seasoned executive but 1 of the challenges that we had was I think his job title right? like we hired somebody. And this person he was like our chief marketing officer. He was great but we couldn’t afford to hire a bunch a team to work for him right? and he, you know he wanted to do more strategy work high level thinking all this stuff not like he didn’t really have the experience of like okay you’re going to manage our Twitter account and our you know our Google ads and. You know some kind of more lower level. You know tactical work that need to be done on a daily basis and you know how often do you see that struggle where it’s like you bring somebody in but you have to understand what level you’re bringing them in and having the support team to support them.

11:29.64

Kurt Wilkin

Exactly so let me just reference real quick the book I mentioned and who’s your mic. There are 5 chapters on legacy employees and I’ve got at least 3 on people that you brought in from the outside and the common theme for people on the outside who don’t work. Ah, for an entrepreneurial environment or they come from a big company and their resume looks sexy and they talk a great game but the reality is man. It’s different. It’s hard in the trenches with the absolutely roll up your sleeves the number one attribute we, you know, our clients ask us for is grit.

11:53.61

Matt Watson

You gotta do real work.

12:02.87

Kurt Wilkin

Entrepreneurial attitude you know roll up your sleeves no ivory towers and man if you’ve got a candidate who knows what to say in an interview. It’s hard to vet that out sometimes but yeah, that happens more often than you can than you want to admit, you pay 2 50 for a, you know, big swing and you know what. And what you get is just somebody who’s been relying on a ah team of 20 people at their last gig and they don’t have that startup world.

12:28.24

Matt Watson

So how do you see the market has changed? You know we’re recording this and it’s April 2022 you know. How has the market changed over the last few months with the economy post covid all that? How do you see that change? You know that your customers that are coming to you. Trying to hire these key employees is it is the volume did it really pick up is it harder to find people like what is the kind of market right now.

12:53.70

Kurt Wilkin

Yeah, the volume definitely picked up and then first caught two or three months of 2022 it was at an amazing crescendo just you or maybe even ah, late 21 where you felt like you had to overpay for everybody I think that was a bubble. Think it’s come back to reality now you still have to pay fair wages but it’s not it’s not as crazy as it was a few months ago. Having said that there are definitely there seem to be more opportunities for great talent than there are people. Um. What people you know you hear about the great resignation and I think part of that’s true. But I think people were resigning even before ah ah covid it just ah just the numbers amplified because we had such a dearth of resigning during covid people were retrenching. So I think what’s happened is people are leaving. They’re leaving not for money. Typically leaving for um, for a better opportunity. Maybe a passion or purpose. They realize that COVID made them think twice about their ah professional life and their personal life and they’re making changes so ah for your clients who are looking for candidates they need to have something more than a paycheck. And need to have a vision or purpose that really is impactful for people to want to join.

14:06.98

Matt Watson

So most companies do they typically hire executives from it within and promote or you know what percentage of times would you say that they hire from outside for those positions because I always felt like essentially a real big corporation. It was mostly hired from inside. Grant if most of your companies are kind of small mid-market you know, growing companies that’s different, but.

14:27.80

Kurt Wilkin

Yeah I really can’t speak to the enterprise-level companies I’ll speak more to the early stage and lower middle market which I think is probably more of your audience. Um, I may be wrong. Um, it’s a mix ah, to be honest, there are some entrepreneurs that only want to promote people from within the team and some of them are successful and some of them struggle. Think if you throw people into those types of positions without resources and without some coaching and systems you’re going to have ah, big major struggles. But if you give them the tools they have a chance having said that I want again out of my team of 5 or 6 leadership people I want 1 or 2 that’s done this before. I don’t need all 6 or 7 to have done it before but I need a few skins on the wall. So I don’t make all the same mistakes that you made at your last deal.

15:12.83

Matt Watson

Well, I feel like the struggle as a startup is let’s say you need to hire a new director of customer success or whatever it is and it’s like okay I could go hire somebody. That’s got a ton of experience and they’re an expert at this but it might cost me $200000 a year and it’s like I can’t afford it. Like I just can’t do it so it feels like I have to hire and take a chance on somebody that maybe they’ve been a manager before maybe they’ve never been a director. Maybe they have a little bit of experience as a director. Maybe I can hire him for a hundred grand hundred and twenty grand whatever something more you know palatable and then hope to train them up right? but. What you don’t get is that playbook, right? They don’t come with the playbook of knowing exactly what to do what needs to be done and you have to kind of train them up. But I feel like as a startup that ah kind of ends up being the team, right? You end up with a bunch of you end up with a lot of people like that because you can’t afford to pay you know to. Hire. Um, you know all top to your talent.

16:10.50

Kurt Wilkin

Yeah, I agree you can’t afford to pay top-tier talent and sometimes you can’t afford not to at least have 1 or 2 people. So what I see I look for those unlocking positions that really can um, help you exponentially grow. So for example.

16:16.50

Matt Watson

Yeah.

16:29.70

Kurt Wilkin

Ah, in many companies. The entrepreneur is the visionary and really good at selling the sizzle or so you know ah developing the product but they’re not so great at operating a company and if you don’t have a strong business partner that can help you find efficiencies and ah manage a team from ah throughout. You’re going to waste a lot of money by with bloat and inefficiencies. So I like to partner a visionary entrepreneur with an operating partner. Ah, there’s a CFO with strong operational skills or maybe ah, an operations person with strong financial bent that person can help pay for themselves many times over. And then you can also use some of that money to help you fund another key hire whether it’s maybe customer success is ah unlocking is ah a differentiator for you. Maybe not maybe it’s ah maybe it’s sales somebody who can go hunt to hunt the whales but um, usually there’s 1 or 2 unlocking moves in there that help you get.

17:24.70

Matt Watson

Well and you just brought up something I think it’s important for our listeners too. So you know if you’re listening and you’re an entrepreneur you have to figure out are you? The are you? the operational person are you the product visionary you know ceo kind of type. What is your personality and what do you like to do.

17:24.79

Kurt Wilkin

They’re faster.

17:42.34

Matt Watson

And it’s important in the company to have both like at my last company I’m not as much of an operational person I’m more of a product vision person. You know I can help do anything and everything or whatever. But you know my desk is a mess if I showed you my desk right now. It’s a mess and you know I’m not an operational person. I’ll be the first to admit it but having that person is super critical for success and having a really good partnership and relationship with them and for me it was a guy named Craig Ferrell that we hired who was absolutely amazing and him and I worked great in tandem we, you know i. You know my personality is very different I’m a little more creative than him I’m a little more you know product vision I think a little more you know marketing and stuff like that. But he, you know, he does a lot better with hr and running teams and managing people and customer service and running a sales team and it takes both right and that’s the thing is you got to understand. What your personality is and realize that you can’t do everything I think too many entrepreneurs try to do everything and probably most of them are missing that operations piece. Would you say.

18:48.11

Kurt Wilkin

I think that’s absolutely right? Maybe not 100% but the vast majority have that other skill that you mentioned the one that describes you I would call it a visionary and you’re lacking the other we have ah, I have a good friend. They’ve been a client have also invested in their in this company. He is a. And health care space. He’s ah ah, great with sales and great with product and he’s out you know hunting elephants again and he has been too cheap to hire a real operations person or operations partner so he’s got a bookkeeper and candidly he’s at nights and weekends. Going through all the books ah line by line to make sure things were entered properly I’m like Carl why are you wasting your f and time find somebody for $30 an hour, forty dollar hour an hour. Whatever it is. It’s well worth your time because you’re hunting $5000000 deals. Let’s be sensical about it.

19:39.10

Matt Watson

Well and so Craig and I works great together. You know from early on and I don’t read business books that may come as surprise to some people but I hate reading books but Craig came to me one day and he’s like Matt I know you don’t like to read books but I need you to read this book and it was a book called rocket fuel maybe you’ve heard of it. And it’s about this topic of having both the kind of visionary person and then the integrator the more operations person and he’s like Matt you need to read this book. So I read it over the weekend. Um, and I went back to Craig and I’m like you’re right? Craig, I need to manage things through you I need to let you run things I need to stop run around trying to manage the whole company. And then you know I give them direction you give them direction like we got to figure out how to get you know, operationally get things figured out and ah I’d be honest, it was a really key thing for me like from just a learning experience. Career perspective. All that stuff kind of self-building of like reading that book and coming to the realization of like. I need to figure out how to work with an operations person they can help accomplish what I want to accomplish.

20:41.32

Kurt Wilkin

That’s ah funny. You said that that’s the number one recommended book that I make for folks and what I tell people usually is ah um I tell ah visionaries especially just read the first 3 chapters don’t you know and I wont say waste your time because I love mark winners but the first 3 chapters for visionaries. That’s all you need talks about.

20:51.94

Matt Watson

Yeah.

20:58.81

Kurt Wilkin

Chapter 1, the visionary, chapter 2, the integrator, chapter 3 kind of how you work together. The rest of its you know business book stuff. Um, which is kind of why I wrote my book I think most business books have 80% kind of fluff that they’re kind of just rhetoric and the rest is you know 20% really really good so I wrote mine in in a form of kind of choose your own adventure.

21:00.52

Matt Watson

Um, yeah.

21:18.42

Kurt Wilkin

You have a mic read chapter one if you have ah pipeline Paul which is one of those guys from the outside the sales guy that has more talk than than than action read pipeline paul um, it’s ah it’s more of a fun adventure book and it’s written so you can just hear the stories both gory and glory stories I like to say. Want to hear the crap that went bad so I can learn from what you did and what you didn’t do.

21:42.19

Matt Watson

That’s my favorite is learning from where we make mistakes so a quick reminder that today’s episode of Startup Hustle is sponsored by fullscale.io helping you build a software team quickly and affordably and you know so my last twenty years I’ve basically been a chief technology officer and. Have to be honest, hiring software developers is a pain in the ass and hiring people in generals paya. So for whatever reason we decided to start full scale and we’ve hired like 250 software developers like the hardest thing to do we went and did it 250 times but you know we help other people that need to grow their team. So you know they’re.

22:07.97

Kurt Wilkin

Ah, right.

22:16.79

Matt Watson

I Definitely There’s a huge value in um, in what you do and companies that are looking for those key employees I Imagine you know one thing I always tell people is is people that are really good at what they do. They have a job. They’re not necessarily looking for a job right? and the only way to find real top-tier talent is to go.

s

22:29.47

Kurt Wilkin

Right.

22:36.25

Matt Watson

Poach it most of the time right? I mean how do you? How do you find the people that you find for what you do like finding that top to your talent. How do you find those people?

22:39.17

Kurt Wilkin

Yep.

22:44.22

Kurt Wilkin

Well I’m going to answer this question two ways. One is finding and then how do I hire them. So on the finding you’ve got to always be recruiting. It’s not you can’t just task this with your HR department especially if it’s key hires. You need to go find where those folks are living in the tech space. Ah, for example, there’s an Austin Austin company who started a tech meetup to come in and talk about all kinds of geek tech stuff right? and over the course of a few years is now like 300 people strong and he doesn’t openly recruit there but hell that’s a community he built and now he can poach the best ones through a group like that. Um, so that’s a creative ah answer you’ve got to know where these folks are are are hanging out and go starting to build that network or virtual bench as I call um, didn’t happen overnight as far as attracting. Let me talk about that real quick if you don’t mind Matt um, a lot of people. Especially if you’ve. You know over 30 and you’ve been in doing this for a little bit of time you the old way was you post an ad on indeed or Linkedin or something and people would come to you and they needed a job to your point and it’s a lot easier to recruit people or attract people if you need a job but now people have opportunities left and right so you can’t just. Interview the same way you used to like thinking that these people are desperate for your job. You’ve got to attract them. So ah, if it’s as simple as printing the resume and going through it and having a plan for how you’re going to what you’re going to talk to the candidate about that’s rocket science compared to a lot of the entrepreneurs we work with who are doing exactly that. Run into the interview room with you know, just ah out of the printer asking the same bs questions that the guy before you asked so we have to have a plan we have to have a way we’re going to go through things and then the last point on the attraction is um, know your role as ah, a hiring company. For example, I’m more of a visionary type like you Matt I suck at interviewing I’m a glass half-full guy I’m going to like you for whatever reason we’re going to connect on something. we both like the chiefs we both have you know ah we have a connection to Singapore whatever the case is um. So I tell the team doesn’t let anybody get through to me unless you’re a thousand percent confident that you like them and my job is just to sell the vision and talk about core volt core values and culture and let somebody else do the screening.

25:03.12

Matt Watson

And I agree with you I honestly had probably not been the best hire in my life either and I’m maybe a little too overly optimistic on people. So I hear you on there. It’s tough. But so when you’re trying to hire these you know people that are. Director Vp. You know, executive kind of level people and this day and age what is what kind of compensation does it take I mean most people always expect like different stock options or profit-sharing like working remote unlimited vacation time like. From your perspective and what you see in the market like what does it take to hire these people and attract them.

25:39.99

Kurt Wilkin

Well, I’ll say that it looks much different. You know now than it did a year ago right? The market’s changing that fast. Our compensation surveys that we do or are out of date. You know the minute we print them? Um, but I think it’s an individualized approach and here’s what I mean by that. Matt your motivations are going to be different from ah Matt DeCoursey. You’ve had a couple of exits. Maybe you don’t need a big base package but you’d like unlimited vacation and you’d like you know, nice upside if the company does well and Matt may need. You know he’s got a family of 5 and he’s got to you know feed the kids and he needs a bigger base. So what I’ll tell most entrepreneurs is you typically have 3 levers. You’ve got base compensation cash you’ve got a bonus compensation again cash and then you’ve got ah equity or some other long-term incentives. And the levers can be different like Matt may want a bigger base and Kurt might want more options but you typically don’t get both and then there’s the fourth category which I don’t talk too much about because usually at the executive level. It’s not as important but flex time working remote things like that. Although. Today’s day and age is definitely important to have those options.

26:52.25

Matt Watson

I was gonna yeah I was gonna ask you like? um what percentage of these positions. Do you see these days are remote.

26:59.54

Kurt Wilkin

Um, it’s ah it’s definitely more than it was in the past and what I tell companies is if you are adamant that your all employees have to be coming to a physical office five days a week it’s a lot harder to attract them to your opportunity. And so the beautiful thing that COVID provided was this now acceptance of working virtually so it’s opened up our world so you in Kansas City can now attract somebody from Idaho or New York City, for example, to work for your company. You didn’t have that before and obviously ah with your ah operation in Cebu City now that was that’s possible that wouldn’t possible. You know twenty years ago

27:37.66

Matt Watson

Yeah, yeah, it’s definitely changed my opinion a lot about working remote and I’m one of those people that I’m like why would I go to an office why would I get in a car and drive to the office like what a waste of time like I’m so used to it now and my last company. Ah, Stackify. We actually sold during the pandemic I never even met the news. My new boss the new Ceo the investment group behind it I never met any of them in person. Not one when we sold the company isn’t that crazy.

28:07.62

Kurt Wilkin

That is crazy. There’s something beautiful about that. But there’s also something effed up about that if you ask me right? I mean I like have like for example, you and I are on this call, you’re in Kansas City I’m in Austin we we probably wouldn’t have done this a couple years ago. So that’s beautiful on the downside that I just don’t think we have enough human interaction.

28:12.28

Matt Watson

Is weird.

28:24.19

Matt Watson

Um, yeah, so for people that are thinking about making these key hires and and potentially you know hiring the remote do how do you see the success of that with a company that primarily works in the office and they have like maybe 1 executive remote.

28:26.11

Kurt Wilkin

That we used to I think there’s a human-to-human element that we’re missing.

28:42.20

Matt Watson

You know? do you see that working well or do you see it like if they’re all in the office or all remote works way better and and a mix doesn’t work as well or do you have any kind of perspective on that from what you’ve seen from your your customers.

28:51.23

Kurt Wilkin

I do I’ve got a direct perspective on your last part but let me answer the first one first and that is it’s ah, there’s again, there’s no one size fits all it can be done for a key executive to not be ah to not be in ah in Austin or Kansas Seat, for example, you just have to make sure you’ve got the um you’ve got the mindset that can work and maybe you have to have the systems in place that to make sure you can manage that that relationship properly some of it’s simple as Zoom or a CRM and some of it may be ah you know more of an accountability structure. Um, you’re ah ah. Question about have you seen him work dually look almost everybody’s been in some dual fashion over the last couple of years so it definitely can be done in our case, we were half virtual half in person before the pandemic at hire better and honestly it sucked and here’s why the people who were in the office. Were jealous envious of the people who you know didn’t have to come to the office they’re working out of their home and they can go jogging or you know, whatever and the people who were working remotely were envious because they got to be in the office where all the camaraderie was and that’s where slapping high fives and talking to Kurt or whatever and so it didn’t work so great.

29:57.55

Matt Watson

Yeah, yeah.

30:04.98

Kurt Wilkin

Let me tell you 1 other thing that really, this is a personal thing that I don’t know how but how your other audience member feel about this. But um, I’m funny if I see you and know that you’re supposed to be in the office every day and you’re not. In my mind I’m thinking where the hell’s Matt Dad gummet go Matt why hadn’t Matt here and you might be going out and selling a million-dollar deals and but the fact that you’re not there just for some reason gets me however, have an employee in Charlotte North Carolina that I haven’t seen maybe ever except on Zoom and she might be. Going the dry cleans every day but I know she’s performing and doing her work that doesn’t bother me so for me just ah, some head trash I’ve got around.

30:49.73

Matt Watson

It is weird isn’t it, I was um um I thinking about joining another company and I was in their office and 1 of the executives like oh so and so done get here time Nine o’clock in the morning. What the hell’s wrong with them to exactly your point right? But if they were all working remote. You would never know like that that like weird psychology part of it. You wouldn’t be as worried about and I think part of it when you go remote, you have to think more about managing people and knowing if they’re getting work done or not.

31:08.20

Kurt Wilkin

Yep.

31:19.95

Matt Watson

Where if everybody’s in the office you could be like well I don’t really know if they’re getting anything done but at least I know their ass is in the chair over there and that makes me feel good but you still have no idea if they’re getting anything accomplished but when you go remote, you have to do a better job of knowing if they’re getting things accomplished and managing their work and I feel further.

31:28.80

Kurt Wilkin

Yeah.

31:39.45

Matt Watson

Like for the companies that kind of mastered that those are the ones that saw a lot higher you know productivity.

31:45.43

Kurt Wilkin

Yeah, So this goes back to what we talked about earlier with the visionary and the integrator visionaries typically can’t manage or hold people accountable and that’s why I suck at that part but the operator the integrator has builds a system of Accountability. So You know whether that person is performing whether they’re in the office or not so that’s why for me, it’s so key to have a partner that is able to do that.

32:07.91

Matt Watson

Ah of laughing because you know the visionary they’re truly visionary. They just see ass and seats. Yeah, that’s it just ass and seats. That’s all I know they’re in the office. Ah oh yeah, that’s hilarious. Well um.

32:13.21

Kurt Wilkin

Exactly exactly.

32:21.70

Kurt Wilkin

Yep.

32:26.78

Matt Watson

You know what? what else? do you think has changed in you know since this great resignation and hiring remote? You know what? what other kind of changes. Do you see with hiring these key executives?

32:38.40

Kurt Wilkin

Um, one of the changes that we’ve seen on hiring them is so much of it’s done virtually as you describe with your you know your last deal. Um I think that’s got a shift I think we need to have some interaction ah before the hire is made and you know obviously two years ago they they didn’t feel comfortable. You know, shaking hands. But but now we we need to get back whether you wine them and din them for 5 visits is probably not the answer but have have at least 1 session where you get some really good quality time with these key executives. Um, and the other thing that we’ve seen a lot of is. Um, really acceptance of some of these psychometric tests some people call them personality assessments and we don’t use them as knockouts like if you if you’re not an ambassador according to a culture index you’re going to fail but something that you can ask further questions about and there’s some really good ones out there. But. Um, those are good to see if the person’s got the grit for example to roll out their sleeves and not just be in their ivory tower.

33:38.69

Matt Watson

Well and I think those tests are always interesting to highlight just personality differences of like I’m very detail orientied and you’re not very detail oriented So How I work with you should be a little different now I’m used to dealing with software developers and so theyre they seem like they’re almost all the same personality type. So I speak their language and and and I understand it. But yeah, like there’s such a dramatic difference between like a software developer and like a salesperson like they’re like different forms of human right? and what’s interesting is those tests help kind of highlight that and um, you know some of them can be like some pretty basic sort of. Iq test and and logic tests and things like that and at full scale We’ve had some clients that have come to us and asked us to do these kinds of tests and to be honest with you sometimes I feel like they overly knock people out because of them. It’s like you can have really really smart people but they rely too much on testing. It’s almost like. They want this like they don’t want to make any mistakes hiring So like they put up as many barriers as possible so that like virtually nobody can get through them usually see that problem.

34:44.60

Kurt Wilkin

Well, I think it’s usually some consultant that sold them on their whatever the test is and you better not hire anybody. That’s not a A, B, or C so they’ve got it in their minds and so that’s all they hire and you can imagine for a recruiter who’s recruiting people who have jobs and aren’t entering ads it’s ah it’s horrible. To get people who have a past fail based on some psychometrics. So we think it should be part of the part of this ah playbook but not the whole you know end all bele.

35:09.76

Matt Watson

Well once again, today’s episode of Startup Hustle was sponsored by Full Scale helping you build a software team quickly and affordably you can find us on Facebook and the Startup Hustle chat group please join our conversations on Facebook Startup Hustle chat. Lots lots of interesting conversations on there on a daily basis Matt DeCoursey does a good job of always stirring the pot. So be sure to check out and see what’s in the pot these days. Um, you know I’d love to hear a little more about your book about um I love this whole concept of like you know what’s holding you back and identifying your mic. And um, any other you know stories or tips from your book that you can share as we ah wrap up today’s episode

35:49.88

Kurt Wilkin

Sure First of all I’d like to invite everybody that who’s your http://mic.com/quiz is a quiz that entrepreneurs can take and see what kind of people challenges they might be having. It’s a fun. We call it the ah the team assessment for people who hate team assessments. Um. But the couple of themes that you’re going to have is ah, we all make hiring Mistakes. So don’t feel alone. You do ah, you really can’t sit idle if you have a mistake on your hands. You need to move whether you coach them up or out. Don’t let those fester and then we all have members of our team that we’ve outgrown and that’s just the unfortunate reality. It doesn’t mean they’re bad people or that you need to get rid of them. It just means they can’t continue to be your finance leader if you need a next level finance leader. 

36:36.40

Matt Watson

All right? Well thank you so much for being on the show today and I guess feme is listening if they need to hire some executives. They know where to find you right? Hire better dot com and thank you so much your time today and talk to you again too.

36:46.51

Kurt Wilkin

You got it. Well, thanks, Matt I really appreciate what you guys are doing again for the entrepreneurial community. It’s a needed resource.

36:57.32

Matt Watson

All right? Thank you, sir.

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