We’re reflecting on some of our favorite moments shared on the podcast over the past year. Our guests brought an incredible mix of hiring insights and experience to the show.

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We’re reflecting on some of our favorite moments shared on the podcast over the past year. Our guests brought an incredible mix of hiring insights and experience to the show.


[00:00:00] Roy Notowitz: Hello and welcome to How I Hire, the podcast attempts directly into the best executive hiring advice and insights. I’m Roy Notowitz, founder and CEO of Noto Group Executive Search. To kick the year off, I want to look back at some of the hiring insights that guests shared on the How I Hire Podcast in 2023.

[00:00:24] Roy Notowitz: We talk about everything from talent strategy to technology, to how leaders hire and build leadership teams that excel and endure. I’m looking forward to having more of these conversations in 2024, and, in the meantime, you can also check out all of our episodes from last year wherever you get your podcasts. So much has changed over the last few years with regard to executive recruiting and talent market dynamics that I thought it’d be great to start the year with a conversation with my team of principal search consultants to discuss what they were seeing in the market and what their predictions were for the year.

[00:01:01] Roy Notowitz: Noto Group’s Managing Director, Sara Spirko, emphasized openness, and it’s an idea that ended up being a consistent thread and theme throughout many of our episodes last year. 

[00:01:13] Sara Spirko: When groups who are making the hiring decision are more open to looking at a broad range of different types of backgrounds and candidates, they’ll surprise themselves because, usually, that preconceived notion is someone who is like them. And, if you want someone to come in who can bring a new way of thinking that could challenge what you’re doing and maybe see holes that you have in your business plan or operating model. So I think people in those leadership roles that are making hiring decisions — be open. Yes, you have standards. Yes, you have certain skills and experiences that you need, but be open to how that shows up.

[00:01:48] Roy Notowitz: Principal Search Consultant Lena Knofler, echoed how vital openness is in the health and success of an organization. 

[00:01:55] Lena Knofler: So diversity, equity, inclusion remains at the center point of the conversation, as it should be. We talk a lot here about culture fit versus culture add at Noto Group. And we consult with clients around this idea. More often than not, people are seeking leaders who can fit in with the current culture versus someone who can come in with a different perspective, or different lived experience, that they could add new elements to an organization. And I think if you’re really trying to attract the right candidates, it’s all about being open to how someone’s style and approach could impact your organization in new ways rather than ways that are already existing on the team.

[00:02:36] Roy Notowitz: And, on the candidate side, Executive Recruiter, Bridget Hope, shared what she’s observed. 

[00:02:42] Bridget Hope: Candidates are selective, right? Because they can be right now in some functions and some industries; and, because of this, they’re looking for shared or similar values. So the hiring manager is not the only one interviewing. So, I think this ability to, even on the hiring manager side, to be somewhat vulnerable as a leader and know that you’re potentially going to be hiring somebody that wants to follow you. And that is a motivation to take a role As much as compensation sometimes, right? Employees are looking for companies that do the right thing and are known for operationalizing their values. 

[00:03:23] Lena Knofler: I think people are really seeking disruption, innovation, transformation opportunities, something especially at the executive leadership level where they feel they can really make an impact in those specific areas. More and more, I think people are seeking a strong sense of community and really finding a place they can show up and be heard.

[00:03:47] Roy Notowitz: Principal Search Consultant, Tami Bumiller, recognized the need for and underscored the importance of having a strong talent strategy in this moment. 

[00:03:56] Tami Bumiller: From hiring, to developing, to integrating, to dealing with diverse experience, I think if you don’t do that right now and your structure isn’t intentional for how you grow, and develop, and nurture talent inside your businesses, you’re going to spend your whole infrastructure and resources on hiring, which gets expensive. And, what ends up happening is you spend money and you just turn and burn people. And not having a talent strategy is going to be detrimental. I think going forward, I don’t think it’s ever been more important. 

[00:04:27] Roy Notowitz: To dig into talent strategy even further, let’s turn to John Vlastelica. He’s the founder and CEO of Recruiting Toolbox, a consulting and training firm that helps companies recruit and hire better. 

[00:04:39] John Vlastelica: I think you really have to get your leadership team together if you haven’t done this already. Talk about the skills and competencies that you expect any hire to have — kind of federal level thinking. So, don’t think at the job description level to be successful at your company and really articulate those and translate them into something that you can actually interview on.

[00:04:57] Roy Notowitz: John went on to prioritize clarity and alignment within leadership teams in order to avoid costly hiring mistakes. 

[00:05:04] John Vlastelica: If you’re a smaller, emerging company that doesn’t have a talent acquisition team to help with this, I think you do want to make sure that you have not just trained your interviewers on how to interview your company way and, and make the kind of trade-offs you want, but you have mechanisms for getting the interview team together so that they’re not all literally walking into the conference room or starting the Zoom without having looked at the person’s background, not really understanding exactly what the job is. I, I get so nervous about how, how expensive hiring mistakes are, how much time we put into that, and then how little time we prep so that, that prep and alignment work is really huge. 

[00:05:38] Roy Notowitz: John also emphasized the importance of creating a positive candidate experience throughout the hiring process. 

[00:05:45] John Vlastelica: You know, as a CEO or a C-level exec, you might really believe so much in your company, it confuses you that people aren’t, you know, lining up, but, obviously, top talent has so many choices, and top talent is interviewing us as much as we’re interviewing them. So you need to make sure you don’t have the one-way interview experience. The one-way recruiting experience where I’m deciding if you’re good enough here. And one of the things I talk about is how top talent goes to the most engaged, you know, most effective hiring leaders. And those that treat hiring as outside of their day job, like, if you’re a small company, you are the recruiter. Like, whatever your job is, you are the recruiter. And if you see recruiting as something that you’re doing as a favor for your headhunter to give feedback on a candidate or something you’re going to do in like 15 minutes on Saturday morning, you are absolutely thinking about it the wrong way. You have to see that as part of your day job and create a culture where everyone recognizes we are all recruiters. The culture helps us recruit, and we all have accountability. Even if we hire our first recruiter or first HR person, we have to have that kind of commitment, and you have to role model that. You can’t just say it, you have to actually do it. 

[00:06:47] Roy Notowitz: So let’s talk about what hiring leaders are looking for in candidates today. For international marketing specialist, Katherine Melchior Ray, who’s worked with Nike, Louis Vuitton, and Hyatt, it’s all about adaptability. 

[00:07:02] Katherine Melchior Ray: You can’t make someone successful on your own. You can help them succeed, but they’re going to have to be standing on their own two feet in an organization with their own team and their other peers. And so you have to listen to what other people say — you don’t have to follow it, but you need to be aware of those signposts. And I think one of the key things is adaptability. How does someone think? How have they learned from their past successes and failures? How do they learn from their failures? We’ve talked a lot about change and turbulence. How do you learn from that? And have they adapted? Do they learn from prior mistakes? Is the person adaptable? I mean, the world is constantly changing, and you want leaders who are going to be able to embrace that and lead through it.

[00:07:52] Jean Batthany: I always ask people what their superpower is. 

[00:07:55] Roy Notowitz: That’s award-winning Global Creative Executive, Jean Batthany, whose experience includes Walmart, Disney, BBDO, and M&C Saatchi. 

[00:08:05] Jean Batthany: I want to know what they’re good at — what they believe they’re good at — because, honestly, in creative, I need all different kinds of people. I need creative strategists. I need art directors. I need writers. I need designers. I need account and operations people, so the left and right brain. I need production people who are going to finish it. I need people who are happy to iterate. They have to be a creative thinker and a problem solver — have a passion for what they do. Again, diversity is really important because, as I’m building a team, I want to make sure I’m reflecting the communities that we serve, so looking at a diverse array of candidates and talent. I want to look at their past work. Have they done work that resonates with me? If they don’t have great work, could this be the best work of their career? I think that’s always exciting if our best work is in front of us. What’s their reputation in the business? Are they good to work with? Good to work for? Do people come back and work for them again? Are they curious? Which again, I think is crucial. Are they passionate? Are they excellent in their craft? They have to be super passionate. You have to love what you do and use that passion to get other people excited. 

[00:09:07] Andy Ruben: When I’m interviewing for a role, I treat it as if it is the only thing. 

[00:09:13] Roy Notowitz: That’s Trove Founder and Executive Chairman, Andy Ruben. Andy has a unique, intense, and effective interviewing approach that I thought was super interesting.

[00:09:23] Andy Ruben: When you’re going to meet someone, you’re looking for everything you can learn about who they are, what motivates them, what they’ve done in their past, how it’s gone, how they share those past events. I think you can be too slow in the process, but you can’t put too much weight on being objective and learning.

[00:09:40] Roy Notowitz: And he places a premium on his own clarity around the role he’s hiring for. 

[00:09:44] Andy Ruben: So, every role doesn’t have to do everything, but the set of ingredients has to really come together. And so combination of when you’re hiring for a role, you’ve really got to understand: if that role is wildly successful, what is going to be different? I think it’s very easy to throw out vanilla things as opposed to getting really crisp. When you get more crisp about what is really needed in this situation over the next 18 months to two years, it gives you a lot of guidance into who to go look for, and what things to ask them, and understand do they have a 95% chance of being successful?

[00:10:21] Roy Notowitz: It was great to have Darcy Winslow on the podcast. She’s a systems change leader who created Nike’s groundbreaking Sustainable Business Strategies Division. She noted an important shift in how we should be evaluating candidates today. 

[00:10:34] Darcy Winslow: We used to hire and reward those who were very certain. Whether they were right or wrong, it didn’t matter, but they were very certain. And I think now, because of the complexity that we face in everything that we do, we have to be more curious, and that gets into creating the space where you can have more generative conversations, and thus, a better outcome. I think that also points to potential. They’re open, they’re curious, they’re in a learning mode. When you’re certain, you shut down. You believe, “No, I have all the answers,” and there’s no space to explore beyond what’s right in front of you. 

[00:11:16] Roy Notowitz: Seth Ellison has led teams at iconic brands such as Quicksilver, Nike, Hurley, and Levi Strauss & Co. 

[00:11:24] Seth Ellison: When candidates are going to talk about their career path or story, I let them know upfront that I want to learn, in each company or role, what value they added, what they’re most proud of, and why, what their greatest challenges were, and how they overcome those challenges, what they would do differently if they had some do-overs, and how they grew as a leader in each position. I want to understand how they build trust with a new team when they enter a new organization. Then I sort of drop it on them that, if I asked one of their team members to describe their leadership style, what would they tell me? And what would they say your strengths are and your areas to further develop? It’s a good chance for me to really probe into some honesty and self-awareness. And then how do they ensure that their team is as diverse as possible? What’s the makeup of their existing team? How do they want to change it? How will they change it? How do they like to be managed? I’d like to hear from them in terms of what leadership they feel most comfortable working for. And finally, I ask them why do they want to work for our company and brand? And where do they think they’ll really add value? 

[00:12:36] Roy Notowitz: For music and entertainment marketing executive Amani Duncan: 

[00:12:40] Amani Duncan: I’m not looking for perfect. I’m not looking for a soundbite king or queen. I’m looking for a human who’s excited about the opportunity and wants to learn, and grow, and be a positive contributor at the end of the day. That’s what I’m looking for. Yes, you want someone who is qualified. You want someone who probably ticks more of the boxes than not, but I always leave room for those people who may not tick all the boxes that I see the potential in them, and I want them to be a part of the team because they will compliment the team. You want people that are going to suit up every day and get on the field with you with full enthusiasm and with a winning spirit. Really the question is, does this person add to our existing team to make it even better than we could imagine? 

[00:13:35] Roy Notowitz: 2023 was my fourth year hosting the How I Hire Podcast. And I have to say, I continue to learn in each and every episode something new that I think is really useful to my daily work, and I hope it’s been useful for yours as well. I want to give special thanks to all of the guests who were on this past year, as well as the guests that have been on since the beginning of the podcast. And I hope that you continue to enjoy the episodes that we have coming in 2024.

[00:14:09] Roy Notowitz: Thanks for tuning into this special episode of How I Hire. You Can visit howihire.com for details on the show. How I Hire is created by Noto Group Executive Search. To find out more about Noto Group, visit us at notogroup.com. You can also sign up for our monthly email jobs newsletter there. This podcast was produced by AO McClain, LLC. To learn more about their work, visit aomcclain.com.

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