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With Scott Orn

A Startup Podcast by Kruze Consulting

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Scott Orn

Scott Orn, CFA

Jamie Ceglarz, Guild Talent founder, talks about how startups make the 1st senior finance hire

Posted on: 08/20/2019

Jamie Ceglarz

Jamie Ceglarz

Founder - Guild Talent

Jamie Ceglarz of Guild Talent - Podcast Summary

Jamie Ceglarz, Guild Talent founder, has helped many startups make their first finance and operations leadership hire. He talks about how to find and evaluate a finance hire, and what they can bring to a startup.

Jamie Ceglarz of Guild Talent - Podcast Transcript

Scott: Welcome to Founders and Friends podcast with Scott Orn of Kruze Consulting, and before an excellent podcast, quick shout out to our sponsor, Brex. Brex is a credit card for startups. The first one ever. It’s fantastic. They don’t require a personal guarantee by the founder. That is a huge, huge deal. Also has great integration with QuickBooks, which makes life easy for your accountant, and finally they have really good rewards. They do startup centric rewards, so like bonuses on ride sharing, and travel, and eating out, and things like that. All things that appeal to the whole team at a startup. So, check out Brex. If you go through their signup and type in Kruze, you get a discount. Hopefully you enjoy Brex, and thanks so much guys for sponsoring the podcast. Thanks. Welcome to Founders and Friends podcast with Scott Orn at Kruze Consulting and my very special guest today is Jamie Ceglarz from Guild Talent. Welcome, Jamie.
Jamie: Thanks for having me, man. I appreciate it.
Scott: So, two time podcasts guest here.
Jamie: On the short and distinguished list of people. I’m excited to be here.
Scott: It’s a very short list. It’s very distinct. It feels like a Top Gun 2 quote or something like that.
Jamie: Yeah, we’ll see how Top Gun 2 comes out. The movie trailer’s pretty badass.
Scott: I have high hopes that it’s going to be amazing.
Jamie: For sure.
Scott: Cool. So, you are the founder of Guild Talent. Do you want to kinda retrace your career and tell everyone how you got to this point?
Jamie: Sure. Newly minted, first time founder and entrepreneur. I’m super excited. We’re a couple of months in now and things are going great, but the short form of it is that I’ve spent the last decades in recruiting in the Bay Area. There’s been a healthy combination of staff-level recruiting as well as executive search, and all the while that that has been happening, my professional network has grown and gotten this focus in what I would consider mid-career business roles, which are like finance operations, business operations, chief of staff. There’s an awesome opportunity for that director, first time VP placements and having seen both sides of the spectrum how things are done well, how they’re not done well, and given the network, it made a lot of sense to me and yeah, off we go.
Scott: I’m really happy for you for taking the leap. I mean this is a leap that Vanessa took for us seven years ago and I took four years ago, but I always look back on that and it’s the best thing that I did professionally, but also the hardest thing. You walked the walk, and you built this incredible network, and incredible track record as a recruiter. I wish I could invest in your company. Like I’m very confident you’ll do a really good job.
Jamie: I appreciate that. Someone said to me recently that a steady salary is the most addictive drug in the world. So making the jump was indeed probably one of the harder things I’d ever done. I mean, you’re talking to a guy with 15-month old baby, a mortgage, a wife, all of the things that rationalize not doing it. But what I can certainly say is that, I mean I’m confident in the service that we provide, and the network, and my opportunity to provide it. In the first three months of being in business, it has sort of validated itself as having been the right move. That doesn’t mean that it was easy making the jump or that the last three months have been easy, but definitely worth it.
Scott: Totally worth it. And you find that those pressures that you talked about actually become this reservoir of energy and urgency.
Jamie: You’re telling me?
Scott: I always tell people “We can’t really afford not to figure things out.” So, I’m actually not the most resourceful person. Vanessa is very resourceful. I’m good at like asking people how to figure things out or their suggestions. She’s great at like actually buckling down and figuring something out. You just become … I look at my evolution as a person, and I’m just so much better at solving problems now because of this experience.
Jamie: 100%. I mean in general, I’m definitely a doer and also have a little bit of ADD. So I feel like I’m quite well optimized in that there’s never not something on my to-do list. Right. There’s never something that I don’t need to figure out and that’s the way it should be. Right. We’re working a lot, and you’re working on a lot of different things, and that sort of just the early startup thing, and I don’t expect that to stop anytime soon. So yeah, the core, the thing that we provide is executive search for business roles for startups, and that’s always like the core right down the middle. But then there’s this peripheral universe of needing to build a business, right?
Scott: The service you provide startups is incredibly valuable because, well I think we’ll get into this a little bit, but I want to talk about now. You are sourcing people who … The founders come to us. I see this because we have 170 companies. I see this whole thing play out. They’ll come to us, two or three people. They have a dream. They have a very clear definition of what they’re going to build. They start building it, and they have success. That success can sometimes be scary for them because now they have to pivot from being just a great creator to like a great manager, and building an organization. There are usually some bumps there. You’re really strong with your track record of bringing in great operators to compliment them. I think that’s … I have a ton of respect for what you do, and the people you’re bringing into these companies because it makes the founder’s life a lot easier, and you help the entire organization be successful. It’s really cool.
Jamie: Yeah, I appreciate that and I agree. The thing that I see, right, with earlier stage founders and the hire. We were talking earlier about the first non-founder executive, and what that role needs to look like. A lot of it is going to be dependent on the actual founding team and what their strengths and weaknesses are. The typical first one for the business hire is the general manager, finance and operations, business operations. But as companies grow, they develop different focuses and different majors and minors. So, the next is customer operations. The next is revenue operations. There can be an internal business operations person that’s just working on systems and tools, type stuff. So, the strengths and weaknesses of the team is going to need to evolve and the hires that get made based on the different focus point solutions. The beautiful thing about what we’re doing is that they’re a core profile of person, but then they’ve got these little majors, these little focuses, and there’s no shortage of that in the Valley as far as a need for companies to build out those strengths, those muscles within the company.
Scott: Also, I feel like one of the reasons why Silicon Valley is successful that no one really talks about is, and in New York tech, and LA tech, is that the ecosystem is big enough for people to specialize. So yes, everyone has the first finance hire also tends to be someone who does a lot of operations stuff, but people can specialize in their career as a finance professional for startups.
Jamie: For sure.
Scott: Or an operations manager for startups, or the customer success person for startups. So you build this like really deep knowledge. Then the cool thing is when people have done their tour duty, two to four years at the startup they’re at, it’s easier for you to find them to introduce the next opportunity to them because it’s very clear what they do. They have a track record. It’s a nice plugin fit with what the next CEO is looking for. Do you feel like that?
Jamie: Yeah, 100%. I mean there’s some repeatability right? Where people that do the same thing for one or two or three cycles. It’s not that they’re tied to it for their entire career, but there are certainly phases that people go through where over a 10 year period, they’ll do the same job at three companies, three different times. The overlay to Guild Talent as an executive search business that does that is this operator’s guild. This professional community that is an awesome way of harnessing those people that are in those cycles of their careers to, not just me keeping in touch with them personally, but allowing them to keep in touch with other people that are doing similar things. But yeah, all day long, I see it.
Scott: In the repeatability. I also think the major-minor analogy is where you’re majoring in something, you have a minor in something else. Because they get so good at that core focus of their job, they’re able to develop those minors that are super valuable to the company in other aspects. So, I think it just really works. So, you’re being modest when I talk about your network, but can you tell people what the operators group is and how that developed? It’s actually a little internet miracle. A little startup internet miracle. I love it. It’s an amazing resource. Everyone should check it out, but tell them what it is.
Jamie: Sure. So, the Operators Guilt is a professional community for what I would broadly consider cross functional operations executives at startups. It started five years ago. There were about 10 people that we got together for a lunch that were all head of finance and operations, series A. They largely came from either consulting or banking backgrounds, and were all solving the same sorts of problems at their companies. Off the back of that first lunch, people started inviting their friends. We all got into an email chain. Five years later, there’s 550 of them that are in this community. The email forum, and the lunches have now been overlaid with all sorts of focus events, and online events, and mentorship programs, and cohorts, and we’re now in like four different cities. The thing has evolved into an awesome resource for all of the members. It’s awesome to be in a position to be able to not be the one providing the value directly, but just facilitating that sort of exchange of knowledge amongst their peer group. Then certainly, I mean I’ve been in recruiting since long before I started the group, but it’s awesome as an opportunity given like what I focus on as a business and this sort of startup executive business placements that, realistically, they’re less clients of mine and more friends and partners. So being able to be valuable for my friends is a fun thing.
Scott: I think you’re still being kind of modest. It’s this tremendous resource that people can ask whatever question is on their mind or who is the best real estate commercial real estate broker, or best accounting firm, or whatever thing that comes up, they have a group of people to ask. That’s what I call it. Kind of a little internet miracle. I have a nonprofit I started connecting people with patient support communities called Ben’s Friends, and I’ve seen this type of thing work really well for people with medical conditions. I give you tons of credit. You made this happen for people in a professional environment, and I just feel like it turbocharges people’s growth.
Jamie: For sure.
Scott: You know. That person who asked that question can look so smart at work and the CEO has their back, and they know they’re the person who can get the answer for them, and then also implement the answer.
Jamie: Right.
Scott: It gets really powerful.
Jamie: We’re doing a couple of sessions this week on strategic planning. It’s like annual planning, strategic planning. Everyone’s going. I mean, we’re doing this podcast and it’s August, so come September, October, people are going to be doing annual planning for next year. It is exactly that, right? These people planning best practices. How should we do annual planning? And they’re going to this training, and it’s a four hour session, and three of the sessions are now sold out. We have to do three of them because it’s such a valuable thing, and there are a million different examples of that sort of focus session that we’re putting together for the group.
Scott: You have a lot of blog posts, and people are writing tons of answers.
Jamie: Constantly. It’s 20 or 40 emails or posts a day that people are exchanging. That’s just like the main forum, not to mention all the one-on-one conversations that people are having.
Scott: Yeah. So this is like your side product? This is like the thing you did for fun. So, real quick, where would people, if they want to join this, where do they go for the operators group?
Jamie: Yeah, I mean, the easiest place rather than spelling out the email address would be to just go to the link that they’ll see when they’re watching this podcast, and go to my LinkedIn, and that’ll take them to the Operator’s Guild website, and they can sort of apply for membership there.
Scott: Cool. I just think I’m doing a big tip of the cap because it’s … I know even early in my career when I was like at Lighthouse and investment banking, having a resource … I had to learn things the hard way, or maybe everyone in my … I’m 42. I didn’t have Wikipedia growing up. I didn’t have these networks of things that I could look into. So I just feel like it’s provides a tremendous service for people, and it accelerated people’s career, and those that are hungry and want to learn can learn exponentially faster.
Jamie: Yeah. I would say that it’s hungry, but the overlay that is most important is also humility. Right? People that are okay with asking questions and admitting that they don’t know everything. I think that the really cool thing about the group is that it is a resource for people that are okay admitting that, and once you admit that, the sky’s the limit. Right.
Scott: Also I would probably just from my own experience with Ben’s Friends, people who give back. It can’t be a takers only kind of thing. You’ve got to, if you’re the commercial real estate guy and someone’s asking a lot of commercial real estate questions, you need to hop on that. Answer those questions for the people because you want them to be there for you.
Jamie: Yeah. I mean-
Scott: Or the accounting question or whatever the question is.
Jamie: The value of the group is the collective participation of the group. I am incredibly humbled at how strong the participation is and it is exactly the way you described it. That it’s this social debits and credits system where you should always be giving twice as much as you’re getting because you want people to respond when you have something that you need. That was sort of the North Star for us when we started it. Just be a resource and be valuable for your peers. Here we are four years and close to 500 members later, and it’s very much proving to be true.
Scott: Good for you, man.
Jamie: yeah, It’s awesome.
Scott: Good for you. So, we’ll shift back to Guild Talent because that’s your startup. That’s your baby. That’s what you’re spending all your time on. When someone’s coming to you for an engagement, what are the positions that you are really strong at recruiting for, and how do you think about that?
Jamie: That core operational business operations centrifuge is the main point, and then off of that, there are all of these, what we were talking about earlier, the miners, the different focuses, right? So, there’s finance and operations, strategy, growth, customer success, chief of staff, revenue operations, the core biz ops one. Then the other way that I would describe it is that we don’t do a lot of like staff-level individual contributor placements. It is that sort of mid-career director, senior directors, step-up VP placement. What I have seen to be super valuable in market is that there is a lot of executive search recruiters that only do C-suite placements, and not as much focus that gets given to that sort of mid-career director level, VP level roles. For the time we’ve been in business so far, we’ve seen a very clear indicator that we can be very valuable to our clients, and be a great partner to our clients, and that there’s an awesome market to be able to provide that service. So so far so good. Our thesis might very well evolve as we grow, but for right now, that sort of core business roles at the director and VP level is where we’re getting a lot of positive feedback from our clients.
Scott: I love it. That layers on really nicely with those first executive hires a startup’s going to make because a startup isn’t looking for a former VP of Coca Cola. Right? That’ll be a huge mistake. Not even a pre-IPO company is probably looking for that. They’re looking for people who can take them to the next run. Two- or three-year run, and that’s what you guys specialize in.
Jamie: Yeah. The answer that I would have for that question is a combination of the network that I have built as well as the placements that we make as a recruiting business. What I mean by that is that the first non-founding executive is going to be dependent on the strengths and weaknesses of the current founding team. Right. So, we’d look at that founding team and say “Based on everything that you guys have accomplished, based on the skill sets that collectively you have as a team, where should we look at what combination of those majors and minors?” In compliments of my network, and frankly, I would argue that I’ve probably had more conversations with more business operations startup executives than anyone in the Valley at this point. I would argue that there’s very few people that would be better suited to have that conversation with you about what that first non-founding executives should look like. Not to mention, to have the network to be able to go track them down for you.
Scott: Yeah. That’s really powerful actually because I see it on the other side of the equation where someone comes in, the first hires made in a finance operations person that we’re interfacing with, and it’s a little bit like the bad hire can really mess up a company.
Jamie: True.
Scott: It’s a waste of money. It screws people up. It’s confusing to everyone. There’s a place that you did for one of our clients called Fleetsmith that’s going really, really well, and the person that you found for them is doing a great job on the transition. Then we’ve had other experiences in our past, where the company didn’t even consult us, or didn’t know what they were really looking for, and didn’t have that like spec, and have the right signals down. It turns into a giant cluster fuck. It’s really painful for everybody, including the CEO who hired the people. So, I’ve lived the good and bad. Maybe you can talk about … Maybe you can even use The Fleetsmith example of what do you look for and how do you make sure it goes well?
Jamie: Sure. I mean Fleetsmith is an easy, perfectly relevant, squarely aligned example of the type of placements that we make as a business. What I mean by that is that Trang’s focus is finance, but given the size and the stage of the company’s 50-person series B company, they’re working with Kruze Consulting. They love Kruze Consulting, by the way. So, there’s an opportunity for trying to be relevant, not just in finance but in these operational components, and the business operations components of how the engine runs. So, it becomes less of just a pure FP&A role, and much more of this cross functional operational thing. When we were scoping out the role with Zach, that was super apparent, right? “We love working with Kruze. This is not purely finance role. This is a building role.” Those are the companies that are looking for someone that comes from her background, right? The the banker that has seen this at scale. She had a great run at Talkdesk and saw best in class across all those different functions of the business. We were able to pull her out of Talkdesk and help her find Fleetsmith, which was like an awesome experience for us.
Scott: Yeah. Some of the common mistakes I see when people are making that first hire is they’ll hire … You talked about her banking experience, but really, she also has a lot of operational experience.
Jamie: For sure.
Scott: Operational accounting. So, I can’t tell you how many times someone’s been like, “Guess what? We have a new VP of finance. We hired my friend who did investment banking,” and that is not what you need at a startup. It’s great to have that as part of their experience level, but you actually need a really heavy operational component. The nitty gritty. How software systems work, how you architect the processes. That’s not something they teach in investment banking. I did investment banking. I know this kind of stuff. I even know it from having joined Kruze. I had to learn all the operational stuff during my first year. Vanessa spent a lot of time teaching me lot of this stuff. So that’s something that I think Fleetsmith nailed, was getting someone that has on the ground operational experience that actually can … Because that person can hit the ground running and make a contribution like day one. Sometimes we’ll talk to the people, the founders who hired the investment banking person. We’ll be like, “Why did you hire this person?” In a polite way, and they’ll be like, “I really need a good financial model.” We’ll be like, “That takes two weeks. That’s like a two-week project.”
Jamie: Yeah. I went through this exact conversation with Zach, and we looked at a couple of different profiles that were more junior and more senior than Trane. We talked about the profile of the person that came right out of banking and had immediately the same response of is this person going to have the operational chops and have seen the exposure that we need them to be able to make an impact where we need them to make an impact? The beautiful part about Guild Talent or at least from my perspective and the idea of partnering through this project journey is starting with a healthy calibration exercise to go through what we think people look like on paper versus what those conversations actually produce, and helping you evolve what the role needs to look like. Zach was a great partner for us at Fleetsmith, the CEO, and going through that journey, and ultimately resulted in what we wanted it to result in, which is finding the right person for the job. Right?
Scott: Yeah. It doesn’t surprise me. He’s an amazing person, and that can be successful for a reason. Him, and Jesse, and the whole team, and Leslie are amazing. Then maybe just spend one second on just flushing out the other things that person can do besides finance. What are the key operational contributions you see that kind of first VP finance, VP of operations doing?
Jamie: Yeah. So, in general, the way that I would categorize that is that when we’re setting up a company to scale the idea of systems, and process, and tools, and data, and making sure that that you’re steering away from the garbage in, garbage out thing that can stall and stagnate a company, and stop you from scaling. So, it’s creating that foundation within whatever your majors and minors thing is, right? But it’s super important that the stronghold of whatever your core is, is able to speak and communicate with the other parts of the business. So, Trane again, as an example, part of her job is going to be to look at what we’re doing now. Do we have the right systems in place, the right processes in place? Are we collecting the right data sets to be able to five X the company in the next 12 or 18 months? I would say that that’s collectively very true across all of the clients that we have. We just kicked off a director of revenue business operations for Elation Health yesterday, and it’s the exact same thing, right? The person needs to set the foundation for the sales, and go to market team. Worried about churn, worried about the sales funnel, collecting all that data from the marketing team, all that sort of stuff. Ultimately, its focus is revenue operations, but the business operations component is just making sure that the engine is running the way that it needs to.
Scott: I think also, and we were just talking off mic, just catching up, that person being comfortable with fixing things that break. I think the engines are a really good analogy because there’s points where you rev your engine. Sometimes and something breaks, and being able to come in, and let’s say diagnose what’s not working. Because as these companies grow, they blow through these plateaus, and something inevitably breaks. Maybe the CRM system needs to be replaced by something more robust, or maybe the billing system isn’t working as it needs to be, or maybe the customer success tools or process is broken, but being comfortable fixing that and getting your hands dirty. To me, that’s the most critical thing.
Jamie: Yeah, none of the startups that we work on are looking for an ivory tower person that can just look down at something and say that it’s broken. Right. There is an incredible amount of value of someone that can be a strategic thinker, that can sit down and think about an answer to the question of “Is what we are doing now / going to be the thing that’s going to get us somewhere else?” And if the answer is no, then to be the person to go and implement that change, and to get it set up for where we need to go. That’s the foundation that allows for scale. Right. There’s absolutely an art to it. There’s a level of people’s career and personality set that’s going to allow them to want to do that. Some people are awesome doers. Some people are awesome thinkers. But what I see more often than not in these sort of cross functional roles, cross functional operational roles, is that you need both.
Scott: Yeah. That’s really cool. Talk about if someone wants to engage Guild … I love that you have a diagnosis period or a meeting of the minds period, but maybe walk them through from reaching out to you to your process for taking you through the whole hiring cycle so they can visualize this.
Jamie: Sure. I mean the thing that we provide is not rocket science, first of all, right? We’re very good at what we do, but we play this game called we work the system because the system works. We’ll take as absolutely long as we have to with that diagnosis calibration period because, ultimately, getting clear about what the role needs to look like, why the role is open, who’s going to be working with this person either directly or dotted line, getting that clarity. Then from the network’s perspective, it’s super valuable for me to be able to consult to the CEO about whether that profile exists realistically in market, or whether you’re asking for too much, or whether we could be looking for additional stuff. So, that first sort of calibration can take anywhere from a day to two weeks.
Scott: Are there any secrets to making it faster or work better? Or is it just like just depends on the situation and what the organization needs?
Jamie: Yeah, I mean the more well understood about why the role is open and what they’re going to be doing is probably the secret. But part of why companies hire us is to help them figure that out. So, sometimes they already know the answer and it’s very clear, and sometimes we have to help them find the answer. Right.
Scott: I live that everyday on the account. Some companies come to us because the car’s broken and they don’t know how to fix it. Others know exactly what they want, and they found us because of that. Yeah. Each has its own challenges and its own benefits.
Jamie: Yeah. Part of being a professional services business is being able to be a little amoebic and to be able to be the partner that you need them to be. Right. Once we know what the profile is and there can be a healthy back and forth about, “We think it’s one of these two, so let’s sort of pressure test both of them.” I mean the meaty, central part of the process is candidate development, market mapping, research, identifying who are the best people for this job. Then compliments of my personal network, we’ve found it to be awesome as it relates to going and doing, not just candidate development, but candidate engagement, and getting on the phone with them, and helping them understand why this is an awesome opportunity.
Scott: Just pause for one second. That’s an amazing subtlety because a lot of people get hit up for the passive, fire and email, or LinkedIn to 500 people or 100 people. What you’re talking about is almost the beginning of a sales process to that candidate, and it’s a high touch. I really like that because you’re breaking through the noise, and you’re getting them interested in the company. I mean, in the role.
Jamie: Yeah. There are a lot of jobs that I’m sure candidates pass up on because it was just one of four recruiter emails that they got sent that day. Right. So figuring out a way of making sure that it’s relevant. First of all, I don’t like the spam game of sending a bunch of messages to a bunch of people. Right. I would much rather work smarter than work harder, and have that be the brand that we’re building as a business. So far, it very much speaks true to how we’re running our business, I think. And so getting in touch with the right people for the right jobs, and getting in touch with them in the right ways is the name of the game. We have a unique way of being able to do that given the network.
Scott: Yeah, that’s really phenomenal. So, as you engage the candidate one-on-one, you’re trying to get them interested, engaging with multiple candidates. I’ve always wondered about this; how do you message back to the CEO or the hiring manager? What’s your process for that? How do you communicate back to the team that engaged you?
Jamie: Gosh, smoke signals, carrier pigeons, text messages. It’s hell or high water.
Scott: Midnight phone calls.
Jamie: Exactly. Actually, the guy that introduced me to you, Mike [Piasente 00:28:05], he shared he runs a CSO search business. He places security officers. He shared something with me once that was super valuable, which is that our business is about controlling the little things that can go wrong. What I mean by that is that communication cycle that you’re referring to is a very simple thing in concept, but can go wrong if you let it go wrong. So, part of the process is a structured, standardized, mandatory, weekly catch-up call. We’re going over the pipeline reporting deck. You have to be on this video call, and we are going to go through it together because we’re going through this journey of this project.
Scott: We do that too, on our monthly financials. We mandated that and we also made it free. It was like a game changer. Four years in or seven years in for Vanessa, we’re still finding these game changing moments. Having them buy in to the process and making them be on that, on bottlenecks, everybody, it makes everything so much more efficient and makes you successful. That’s really cool that you do that.
Jamie: Yeah. I mean, it’s the difference between being a partner and being just sort of a throw-mud-against-the-wall recruiter. If you’re not on that call and it’s not worth a half hour of your time, I would wonder if you’re invested in the partnership and whether this hire that you’ve asked us to make is really like a needed hire.
Scott: You’re in it for a long term relationship and many, many assignments, and many things like that. Sometimes people, because our businesses are kind of similar, they’ll be like, “Oh, I’m paying you still. Why do you care?” And it’s like, “Actually, we’re in it for the long term. We want your company to do well.”.
Jamie: “I want you to be successful.”.
Scott: Yeah, and it’s like, “And we drive a lot of satisfaction off of that, doing our job well. We’re not robots. We’re human beings that come to work every day with a lot of pride, so having that feedback loop makes you successful and that’s what drives us.” I think it’s the same for you.
Jamie: Yeah, and I appreciate what you said about you’re a human that comes to work and I want to work with people that want to work with me. It’s pretty similar, right?
Scott: Yeah.
Jamie: That is a big, big part of the process. If you broke it down into sort of three phases, you have that initial calibration phase, in the middle is the meaty candidate development and candidate engagement phase, and then you get towards the end where it’s closing time references, all of those sorts of things. That’s the most fun part of the whole thing realistically is getting the, that’s when there’s a lot of excitement. You know you’ve found the right person, and ultimately, it’s the one we’re getting closest towards having a successfully completed project, which that’s to your point why we’re here. Right. You enjoy that.
Scott: Yeah. That was really cool. Yeah. I’m really excited to see where the company goes because you’ve got the foundation for everything. I was actually, as we’re talking here, I’m just reflecting on, I feel like you’re a different person than our last podcast in the sense that you just have such a clear eye of the tiger and know exactly what you’re doing and know exactly how to … It’s cool to see. In the same way, I am like a different person. I’ve really grown, and it’s really fun. I enjoy my job and I understand how to do everything, and it’s just cool to see where we both come from. You know? So, I have a couple random questions that we like to ask. Number one tip for startups bringing the first founder executive, non-founder executive? So, we covered that a little bit, but just the quick answer for you.
Jamie: They need to have that conversation internally, and they’re allowed to argue, and they’re allowed to have debate about what they think that profile may or may not look like, but once this direction has been chosen, they do all of that sort of front-loaded work to get on the same page, they all need to be on the same page. I think that the Achilles heel of the thing is where one person’s looking for someone that looks red and the other person’s looking for someone that looks blue. They’re never going to be on the same page. Getting that alignment, either with the help of a partner like me, or internally. Hell, or high water, that has to get accomplished.
Scott: Yeah, I can see how that … Because they can unintentionally send mixed signals to the candidates too if they’re not aligned. You massaging that relationship. Also, I think probably a pretty good selling point for you is you probably actually know what they need because you’ve done it many times. You know you can read the tea leaves. You can guide the conversation to help them be successful.
Jamie: Yeah, and we’ll help introduce them to different people that have different strengths and weaknesses to help flex that out.
Scott: So, they can see. That’s really smart.
Jamie: Then the next part of that is to control the process, right? Making sure that we’re interviewing the candidates for the right things and that different people are pressing on different points to sort of flush out whether this person is indeed the right person or not. In general, this isn’t just focused on the first non-founder executive hire, but having a solid, clean, crisp recruiting process.
Scott: Yeah, that’s a signal too. It’s professionalism, and this is how we run the company. Top three tips for startups scaling their developer teams? So, you do a lot of finance ops, but you do a little bit of-
Jamie: I’ve got a lot of experience with the developers’ stuff in the past.
Scott: Maybe some of the answer is operations, helping that developer team be operationally sound.
Jamie: The answer to your question is going to depend obviously on the size and the stage of the company, but what I would say and anyone who’s done this before will freely admit that it takes longer and it takes more time through the process than what you originally think. So I always suggest starting early, right? Tip number one would be start early. Step number two is always be dedicating time to this whether you have an open role or not. 15 or 20% of your week, even when you don’t have any hires-
Scott: That’s a really good point.
Jamie: Needs to be spent on this. Having this passive candidate pool. Then number three is invest, right? The thing that we provide as a service is pointed towards these director and VP business hires as it relates to building out your developer team whether that team is in San Francisco or in another country or remote. In any case, companies typically don’t hire an internal recruiter to build the staff level of their organization early enough, and it can be an incredibly impactful hire.
Scott: That’s a really good tip, too. You’re nailing it today. That is awesome. Remotes is more popular than ever. We’re super remote. We made the commitment 18 months ago, and it’s working really, really well. For us. Maybe some of the tips or maybe the benefits of going more remote, and then tips on how to execute hiring remotely.
Jamie: Yeah, you used an interesting word when you said we made the commitment. There has to be this like, “We’re jumping in with two feet” thing. It’s always going to start with making that first hire. One tip that I would have for remote is realize that this is a different hire. Culturally, it shifts the company, but that is not necessarily a negative culture shift. It’s just a different culture shift. All of the clients that we’ve worked with that have hired remote people, whether it’s through the Guild or not, they’re not looking back. Right? It’s the wave of the future. There’re all of these tools that are allowing remote employees to be just as valuable if not more. You just need to become okay with it. I would also argue a little bit that people that are mandating that people are in San Francisco, you have to ask yourself why that you’re doing that. Right. Just take a look in the mirror about whether people can add value and you don’t need to oversee them physically every day in the office.
Scott: We found that making that commitment made us shift, maybe really made us open up transparency-wise organizationally. Now, every morning meeting, we have a whole list of KPIs we run through. Each Group does a way more extensive presentation on what they’re doing and their goals. It was done because we wanted to communicate better with our remote people, but actually, it was just super beneficial to the company in general. It was totally the way we should have been running the company for years, but we didn’t have that catalyst. That served as a catalyst to make us better. It’s really powerful. I’ve kept you longer than I promised. I’m sorry. Can you tell everyone where to find Guild Talents? How to reach out to you, how to engage you?
Jamie: Sure. The website is a guildtalent.com. G-U-I-L-D talent.com. I’m sure that when this gets posted somewhere that there’ll be a link to my LinkedIn. So, it’s obviously on my LinkedIn as well. Yeah, that’s it. Jamie@guildtalent.com.
Scott: Cool. Can’t recommend you enough. Unsolicited promotion here. You are awesome to work with. You deliver for our clients and I’m really happy that you’re on your own and starting your company. I look forward to 12 months from now, and you’ll be like, “Oh my God, we’re up to eight people and I have all these problems.” And then you know, “Oh, I remember that. I can tell you how to do that.”.
Jamie: Appreciate that.
Scott: Yeah, it’s really exciting and congrats on everything you’ve built in your career.
Jamie: Cool. Thanks, dude. See you.
Scott: All right. Take care.
Jamie: Yep.
Scott: Hope you enjoyed that episode of Founders and Friends podcast. Quick shout out to Brex. The first startup credit card. Brex is our sponsor and we really appreciate their support. Brex has no personal guarantee for founders. That’s a really big deal. It integrates really nicely with QuickBooks. Great rewards that are startup centric. It’s a really nice little tool and we are seeing it all across the Kruze portfolio of clients. So, check it out. And again, if you go through the signup flow and type in Kruze, you get a discount. So hopefully you’ll check out Brex. Thanks again for the support on the podcast, guys. Take care.

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