It is quite problematic for a business to recruit new people who seem skilled at first, only to become liabilities in the long run. How can you ensure you are getting the strongest hires for your team? This is the main problem Rick Girard aims to solve through his podcast, Hire Power Radio. He sits down with Tracy Hazzard to share how merging AI and SaaS platforms can optimize the interview and screening processes, securing the stability of your business growth stage. Rick also talks about how they search for potentials podcasts guests and leverages the show’s impact to build credibility and monetize content.
Watch the episode here
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Fuel Your Passion In Getting The Strongest Hires For Your Company Growth With Rick Girard Of Hire Power Radio Show & Podcast
Welcome to another Binge Factor. I have Rick Girard of the Hire Power Radio show. We’re talking about some HR stuff. We’re talking about some recruitment. We’re talking about some hiring. Rick helps entrepreneurs and startup founders eliminate bad hires by building a value-driven interview process that produces concrete evidence to support each and every hiring decision. Wouldn’t that be great if you knew it was going to work out instead of thought it was going to work out? This is why you would listen to his podcast.
Rick is the Founder and CEO of Stride Search, an engaged search firm. He’s extremely passionate about helping startup founders win the strongest hires to fuel unprecedented company growth. Rick’s career kept him laser-focused on building tech startups in the highly competitive Silicon Valley space. Over his career, he has helped build more than 200 startup teams that have successfully exited. Value and impact are the two main ingredients brought to every interaction above and beyond just locating the strongest people.
Rick is the author of Healing Career Wounds. He invented and systematized the hiring operating system, HireOS, the solution for leaders to win the strongest hires by blowing up best practices with a humanistic, evidence-driven, unbiased, and in-time efficient experience. When not running a school for gifted mutants As Professor X, Rick hosts the Hire Power Radio show and podcast, a weekly series on LinkedIn Live, which serves as a business leader’s resource to solve their most difficult hiring challenges.
I had so much fun, but not just that. Rick and I are in each other’s backyards. We discovered that we are in the same town. We’ve got to get together live soon. We’ve done our interview via the internet and via Zoom as we always do here. Rick and I are looking forward to getting to know each other better over time. That’s what I love about podcasting and getting to know people all over the place. Let’s go hear about the Hire Power Radio show. Let’s talk to Rick Girard.
Rick, I am so glad to talk with you. We should be meeting in person. We’re next door.
We’ll have to go grab lunch afterwards. I didn’t know that you were in Irvine as well. That’s amazing.
It’s so great. As I’m doing research and I’m like, “Why didn’t I research this part sooner? I would’ve known. We could’ve set it up differently.” Let us talk about the Hire Power Radio show. I love it. You have an amazing agency, Stride Search, and you have a formula, HireOS, and a process that you use. That’s interesting. I’m assuming that you started your show because of wanting to make sure that people were aware of what you do differently as a recruiter.
I started my show because I got coerced into it.
We need to hear that. How did you get coerced?
I used to be in a building in Costa Mesa called Tech Space. There was a gentleman who had a radio station called OC Talk Radio. I used to walk past his station to go to the bathroom. Every time he wasn’t running his show and he would see me walk by, he would coerce me and say, “You need to do a show.” I’m like, “I don’t.”
We know OC Talk Radio well. That explains why you have Radio in the title of your podcast.
It started out as a radio show and podcast. I did it with him for a little bit. I then took it in-house and it went off. I joined I think what’s called Sitch Radio. I’ve been running the Sitch Radio platform.
There is this conundrum a lot of people have with whether or not they do radio or podcast or both. How does this work for you? Have you found it to be easy?
No, it’s never easy.
Even having a radio show where it should be dialed in isn’t any easier.
I have found though that when you have a set time and structure and you call it a radio show, people show up and they don’t cancel as much. I get very few cancellations. If I do, it’s usually a week in advance. It runs pretty much on my calendar. I like the predictability of it.
That’s an interesting insight into why that would work for you.
When you have a guest in the studio too and they have that experience, never do they cancel when that’s the case.
That’s so true. You show up for your meetings, right?
Yeah, especially since we’re booked three months out. We try to keep consistent bookings. We go every week and keep it as low an impact on me as possible. It’s not my main business but I enjoy it. I get to meet some great people, which is the reason why I keep doing it.
Since we’re talking about this, let’s talk about how you get great guests. Let’s jump into the three things that we talk to everybody about. How do you decide if a guest is meeting the criteria that you have?
We will actively go through LinkedIn and find guests. We tend to go after founders of startups and companies that we tend to like to work with or resonate with who is our audience. The way in which I approach it is it’s a peer learning format. I can talk about what I do all day long but usually, when it comes from a peer that somebody knows and respects and we’re comparing how we do things, it becomes a very productive and invaluable asset to the audience.
If I’m understanding you right, you are saying that you know the profile of your customers. Even if this person, in particular, isn’t your client, there’s that association to how they’re doing things and what they’re doing that is going to come back to you.
That is much more eloquently put on your end than mine.
It’s my job to summarize.
I know. Thank you. To find guests, I work a lot through my network. I’m constantly out and about. I am part of EO, so I work through that ecosystem. I’m a recruiter. That’s how I’ve been trained my whole life. It’s not difficult for me to pick up the phone, call somebody that I don’t know and say, “I have a podcast. Would you like to be on it?”
You don’t have any fear of that. I love it.
Over time, has it shifted and gotten more refined as you found what was resonating with your audience?
I don’t know if it has gotten refined. I always tell everybody, “This show is good except for the host.”
That’s not true. It’s a good show.
I poke fun at myself more than anybody else. It has gotten refined for me. We’ve got the formula down to it’s a problem-solution show. We want to identify a specific problem that you’ve had or maybe somebody in the audience has had that you have solved. That’s the idea behind it. It should be in and around hiring somehow because everybody has had hiring challenges. There’s not a lot of content out there that covers it. We turn our market toward entrepreneurs and business leaders who are doing it themselves and struggling with it.
Because that’s your ideal audience. It is interesting that you focus there. I don’t find that there are a lot of recruiting companies that tend to work in that founder’s area or early-stage startup area. Is there a particular reason you chose that?
I feel like I resonate best with founders. I am a founder as well. I’ll tell you about that later. I feel like that is the place where the most impact can be made. Ultimately, if you come down to this whole hiring process, it is where most mistakes were made. You can find recruiters that do a great job and they’ll find you great people, but when it comes down to interviewing the people, that’s where the wheels come off the bus most of the time.
It’s because founders don’t have any clue how to interview people or how to evaluate whether or not they’re aligned with the organization. It ends up being, “This person is excited about us. We should hire him,” or “You like baseball. I like baseball. We should hire you,” or “This person comes out of Google. That will look good to our investors. We should hire him.” There’s not a whole lot of evidence to support whether or not you should hire somebody.
That’s so true. I’ve seen a lot of presentations about how that first team can be so valuable to investors or be this and be that, but then it goes so wrong in the growth stage because those first hires weren’t the right ones.
In my career, I’ve been brought in to fix that problem hundreds of times. They are like, “We got a cofounder that’s not working out,” or “This VP that we hired is completely rubbing everybody the wrong way.” Those are the problems I’ve been solving for a very long time, so why not get it out to the masses so that not everybody makes those mistakes?
We hire right to begin with. I love it. You got a message and a mission. How are you getting listeners to join? Are your clients listening? Are your prospective clients listening? How are you getting them to know about the show?
We’ve built a pretty solid network on LinkedIn. Most of our growth has come from LinkedIn. At one point, we were putting out 2 to 3 pieces of content a day on LinkedIn. We’ve slowed down and hit this plateau. It is interesting you mentioned that. I am not the best at marketing. If you get me in a room with somebody face-to-face, that’s where I shine, but getting my message out, I’m fairly terrible at that.
Your podcast is a conversation, so that’s working for you. You got that part. You just need to figure out how to repurpose it and use it. I love that. LinkedIn makes a lot of sense because it has got the right ecosystem of people searching and looking. You got it on both sides. Are you getting equal connections between those looking for work and those who are posting their jobs with you?
I don’t know if you have this experience, but all we get as far as demographics is where somebody who downloads a podcast is. I only get feedback from emails as to who our listener base is. I started out as a recruiting podcast and then we’ve evolved to cater more to founders. I try to get to more founders. I don’t know if we’re playing with the algorithm for LinkedIn well enough. There are so many things that I don’t know, but if I got into it and nerded out on it, I probably would have hit 100,000 downloads per episode already.
This is why you and I are going to get lunch together, so we can nerd out together and get into the weeds on this. I would love that. That’s a whole new podcast we should record at some point. It is great. This is common in this area whenever I ask people about how they’re increasing listeners or whether they are focusing on one listener versus another. They don’t have an answer because this data is not there. You’re not wrong about that. It’s missing.
What is that feedback loop? We found personally that it’s tracking between your website and your podcast and not looking at the podcast in isolation. That’s where people don’t always check. How we built our platform was to be able to make sure we could correlate the two. That is where most people are going to see the ability to understand who’s coming into your website. Are those the right kind of people? Are we getting an increase in founder traffic or recruiting traffic? What are we getting more of at any given time?
I’m building a startup, so I am now a startup founder as well.
Tell us a little bit about that. You teased that. What are you starting up?
I started up a company with cofounders called Intertru. It’s based on my hiring operating system. What we’re doing is we’re merging methodology with AI and a SaaS platform to run an interview process for each company. It’s geared toward smaller companies. You can plug anybody into it. We build everything around core values. The interview questions are designed to extract evidence to support whether or not somebody aligns with the core values.
It’s completely a structured and mapped-out interview process. Anybody can go in. All the questions and sub-questions are there. You just ask them and conduct the interview. Our algorithm and our back-end will flag things and make sure that that interview is consistent. It’s gathering evidence, but it’s also minimizing bias, personal motives, and whatever else seeps into an interview like a gut feeling that I don’t feel like the person is going to be good here.
That is so interesting. You got my strategic brain working. Your podcast is going to be such a great marketing tool for this new business if you shift your show. It will be a slight shift in the show to more founders. It’ll be a broader look at those startup stages because SaaS has a much lower-cost entry point. You’re going to have a lot of that.
On the backside of it is me thinking about repurposing on LinkedIn. What could you do? Could you be asking a core value question? From every single guest that comes through, what could you then use on LinkedIn that would tie to the sales of the SaaS? By building a good podcast that already has this longevity to it, you start to make these tweaks and shifts. I’m going to see lots more future monetization options for you in terms of driving SaaS subscribers.
That’s the idea. Using the book and the podcast to drive more audience to it is something that a lot of founders don’t have.
The reality is that you’ve already built trust and integrity over time by having this show first, not waiting until you’re trying to push and launch a new product to bring that out. You’re giving your audience, “Look at how many episodes he has already done. He’s been serving for a long time. Now, he’s promoting this product or this service. That’s awesome.” You deserved it. You earned the right to do that.
I hope so.
We’ll keep seeing if this works. Let’s talk about the last of the three things I usually ask. Usually, it’s the return on investment of time, but you’ve also put money into it because you’ve hired producers and you have staff that you put against that. What do you look for? Every time you are about to send some funds and pay a bill, you think, “Should I keep podcasting?” What is it that makes you say, “This is working for me and I’m going to keep going>”
It has been a great business development tool for search practice. I’ve been able to meet and align with a lot of other entrepreneurs. I’ve helped them to grow their company. We’ve been able to help out with searches, and then also put a lot of the structural components of what HireOS is into their business. The podcast probably has paid for itself for another five years already.
That’s a great return on investment.
Yeah, from that perspective. We were fortunate enough that we’ve had and we’re still working on sponsors that have paid us as well. That was lucrative, especially over the past three years from the perspective of it covered all of our expenses and allowed us to hire some additional people. I’m a sales guy, so I don’t want to do anything unless it monetizes or it continually monetizes. It has been a huge credibility builder. Not only that, but it is easy to open the door with a podcast. If you’re a salesperson and you don’t have a podcast, you’re silly.If you are a salesperson and you do not have a podcast, you are silly. Click To Tweet
It does make it easier on you, doesn’t it?
It does. I don’t call and say, “I want to do business with you.” I say, “I have a podcast. I would like to have you come to be a guest.” I’m giving an individual a chance to use their voice and an experience that a lot of people haven’t had before to be a guest on a podcast. As I get to know them, I try to help them out. If I can help them, that’s great. If I can’t, that’s fine too. All I’m doing is expanding my network and getting to meet some great people and phenomenal people.
Not that my podcast doesn’t make us money. It makes our business money, but I look at it as if I didn’t have that connection point each week, I know I wouldn’t be exponentially growing my marketplace. I wouldn’t be growing my network. I can easily name keynotes and other things that came from having my podcast. To me, that meant more relationships, more partners, or other things that came about because of those opportunities. If someone sat down and they’re looking for that in and out like, “I made this much in ad dollars and that’s my definition only,” they’re missing the point.
That was my thinking when I first started doing it. I was like, “I’m going to sell and advertise. I’m going to make all this money off it.” I got all entrenched in the job with podcasters paradise thing. I got into it for a little while and then I was like, “I’m not going to make a living off doing a podcast.”
You don’t want to go through that influencer pain. Speaking of pain, this is where I want to dive into your binge factor by giving my cycle analysis of your show or comparison against all those out there. The Hire Power Radio and podcast is that show that’s not afraid to dive into the pain. You ask the pain point questions. That is critically important.
Too often, when we are trying to interview someone who is maybe our prospective client and we’re using our podcast as a business development tool, we go only for the good stuff. We want to highlight them in the best light and only talk about their successes. That’s a mistake. By highlighting their pain, it gives you an opportunity for further conversation.
You do that well. It’s not only generating a conversation between you and your guest after the call or in the future, but it’s generating that in my mind as a listener, which makes me want to find out more about you and work with you. Think about that. That’s got to be the critical factor on why somebody will binge on your show and then decide to work with you and you have no clue. They just came out of the woodwork. That’s probably the person that is going to come through like that because you highlight the pain.
I have this three pillar thing that I believe in. It is pain, desire and impact. Those are the three most important. It’s not about me. It’s about them. That’s the other thing. I often struggle with putting myself out there because I’m one of these people who like to lift others around me. I am an enabler. I don’t know what a better term would be. The thing is I want people to be able to have an experience. I want to be able to elevate them and then get them to a better position.
That’s so true. Hitting that messaging of pain, desire, and impact is a common language that puts you at the same level as founders. You are like, “This is what they’re pitching to their investors. It’s what they’re pitching to their early clients or their early adopters in their space.” It’s going to be one of those three things or all of them. You’re already on a language par with them, which makes a big difference. What are some of your favorite a-has you got out of your podcast? What is something that you heard and you were like, “That has changed something in my business,” or “I need to add that service.” Has there been anything like that that informed you in a way that you hadn’t expected?
There are always little things. One of the things we do is talk about what people are doing that is working for them. I have my way of running an interview process, which is the only way to do it because it works. There are a lot of companies out there that have figured it out for themselves. They’re doing it in a very right way that’s unique to their organization. They’re able to stack the deck with good people.
I had an episode where I and my guest were riffing back and forth. With the way he runs his interview process, evaluates for core values, and hires based on core values, we are speaking the same language. What was interesting is the way he solved the problem and went about doing it was very different. I was like, “It’s a different way than I’m doing it, but it works and it’s working great for them.”
That is so interesting. I was talking to a creative agency in Arizona that’s going to be on the show the week after yours. Theirs is going to be after yours. They were saying something about how they felt that the podcast helped express their core values in a better way because their creative agency is a little hard to lay out your core values. It’s a little more complex.
They were getting applications to work for them that were so far above what they had received in the past that it made the podcast worth it from that standpoint. Good people in an agency or marketing agency of any kind are the most valuable asset you have. That’s interesting to be thinking about, how you can express those core values in all the things that you’re doing.
We started putting core values in job descriptions. “These are our core values,” and use that language in your job description. What I find is you don’t get as many applicants, which is great because sifting through 300 resumes is time-consuming and a waste of everybody’s time. We put the core values in and use the language, and then say, “If this resonates with you, send us an email with these three questions. Answer these three questions. If you want to send us a resume, that’s great too, but you don’t have to.” What’s interesting is the people who respond are the people you want to talk to because they resonate with who you are as an organization.
We do the same thing. We put our core values right there in our job descriptions on the sidebar because they’re the outcomes we want as well. They tie in together really well. I hadn’t realized we do that. I don’t know how I came up with it, but we just did it. I love that. Core values come across a lot of times when founders get a chance to talk. It can be too orchestrated when they’re trying to form their brand, write this out, and formalize this so that it doesn’t come across clearly as to what those true values are.
They’re often aspirational too. That’s where companies get into trouble.
That’s because you haven’t built your company yet. You’re a founder. You’re a startup. It’s coming.
I always use Enron as an example. Their core value is integrity. Was that aspirational? All day long? Was it real? No. That’s the thing. You have to do a bit of a deep dive into yourself and say, “Who am I? What do I stand for? How do I want this business to grow? What’s the North Star by which this business grows? I’m providing these contexts and measurables around it.”
Not to complicate all the stuff that you’re working on and doing, but it occurred to me that not only do you need this in the interview process to find the right matches, but you also need it in the review process. Are you going to be adding to your SaaS like the annual reviews or the six-month reviews? That’s where I find I have the most difficulty, “How am I evaluating this person?” For the evaluation, it seemed like it would be good.
I have a friend that what they did was they created this thing called Leadership as a Service platform within their own internal organization. They don’t do reviews. Everything is peer-reviewed. They made it a scenario where everything is super transparent. All you do is if you want a raise, you put it out to your team and your team nominates you and votes on it. If they say, “Give him or her a raise,” then you get a raise. They’ve eliminated middle management. They made it so easy that leadership, all they do is deal with some of the more personal or sensitive issues. They set it up to where all the teams self-manage themselves.
That’s interesting. I don’t know if that would work for us because we have so many creatives who work that are more siloed. They do fantastic job editing audio or something like that, but they don’t touch base with their team. That would be more difficult. Our team is also all remote. They’re not in a location, so that would be harder for us.
There has got to be a way to conduct a similar style interview along the core values lines that would be a review interview in a sense and say, “How are you measuring up against these core values of what we thought when we hired you? What are you doing in achieving them?” We do it in self-assessment and then we review that. Does that meet that from what the leader thinks of it or your direct manager? There is no interview process, which I feel like there should be. We should have a conversation.
I put that in the HR bucket and try and stay away from it.
It’s a case of whether or not your team is functioning and working, and whether your hiring is working. This might be a good evaluation tool after the fact. I’m thinking about growth expansion for you already. You start a SaaS and you got to keep expanding it.
There are lots of solutions out there that you can buy that help you manage your employees, run reviews, and do all those things. The gap in the market is that there’s nothing that runs an interview process. It’s either top of the funnel or once you get somebody working. It’s those two things, but the nothing in the middle.There are lot of solutions that you can buy to help manage your employees. But the gap in the market lies in the fact that nothing runs an interview process. Click To Tweet
To the audience, sometimes, we go off on tangents because the businesses of the podcast are so interesting and integral to what we do individually. That’s what I love about podcast interviews, conversations, and getting to know someone. We’re sorry we went off on a tangent of it, but we hope that helps some of your businesses as you’re struggling to grow, hire, and do other things there. Rick, do you feel that maybe the OC Talk Radio guy was right that you should have started a podcast sooner? I get that from people. Are you glad you started it when you did?
I’m glad I did when I did it. I started it during a very weird time. I changed and that helped me get through a lot of things. It also helped save my business.
That’s good. What advice do you have for someone out there starting a podcast? What should they think about?
I’m one of those people that I do everything wrong and then I learn from it. Try not to do what I did.
Don’t be afraid of it because it still worked out, right?
Yeah. I learned a lot from it and I’m still learning from it. The one thing that I would say is to make it easy on yourself. Create a format that people want to listen to. One of the things I have a hard time with is a general interview podcast. You got to be giving some value back to your listener so that they can go, “I can use this. I can put it into my business or my personal life.” Think of it that way. Start with the audience first. My first two years of doing the podcast were throwaways.
It got good. I have to say that. I always listen to one of your first episodes where you might talk about why you’re doing the show so I can hit on that somewhere in there. I then listen to more of the recent ones. I have to say that you improved over time. That’s the great thing about it. Audiences are forgiving. They know you’re going to learn and they’re okay with that.
I still cringe when I ever go back to that first year.
You were a timid interviewer, but you’re not anymore. You’ve got it down. That’s great. I’m so glad I got you on the show. I’m so glad we got to talk. Is there anything else you want to share with the audience? Anything about your book or anything that you’d like to share with us?
I’ll talk to you about my book.
I love the title. It’s Healing Career Wounds.
You might think that it’s a book for people who are looking for jobs, but it’s the punchline. If you’re hiring people and you’re trying to build a strong organization, and you can show the people that you’re trying to recruit into your company that you can heal their career wounds, and you can provide value to them above and beyond just the monetary aspect of it, you can stack the deck with solid talent and avoid a lot of the hiring issues that we’ve all experienced.
That is before they turn you down because they think you’re going to be the last guy.
You’re differentiating yourself. The book is 100% my process from start to finish. It even includes scripts. It is a fast read. I kept it in 170 pages of my story and then, “Here’s how you do this.” It’s scripted out so that you don’t even have to think about it.
That’s fantastic. Thank you for bringing your podcast, Hire Power, to the world. Thank you for bringing your book and your business to us all here.
Thank you so much for having me. It was great to meet you. We should go grab a beer, do lunch or something.
I would love that.
I hope you enjoyed that talk with Rick Girard. I really did. It is so interesting to get a perspective on someone who has tried different things within the podcasting space where they were trying the radio model and recording live in studios. They were trying those different formats for the show over time and trying to come up with different ways to make it work and customize it for the business. That’s what Rick has done over time here. He has dialed it in.
This is a big blessing to all of us out there who are working on our shows all the time, doing it, and plugging away. Sometimes we need to take a little time, reflect a little bit, make little minor choices, and make some shifts in our show. Sometimes the whole system comes in and says, “You’re not going to be here in the studio anymore.”
I talked to someone. The studio where they were recording has fire. They had to shift everything to figure out what was going on. It is such a shame, but these things happen. Sometimes, they force us into a better place. Now, this person that I was talking to is so excited about how much more they can podcast because they’re not taking that extra time out of their day to go into the studio. They’re popping their computer on, getting started and recording over Zoom. Some things surprise us in the process. That’s what has worked well for Rick. He is so committed to his show as a part of his business strategy. Listen to the Hire Power Radio show, check out Rick Girard, and come back next time for another episode of The Binge Factor.
- Stride Search
- Healing Career Wounds
- Hire Power Radio
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