Kurt Wilkin is the CEO of HireBetter, a national recruiting firm working directly with leaders of high-growth companies to build game-changing teams. His 19 years of public accounting, business development and consulting leadership include advising high-growth and middle market CEO’s in a variety of industries. He also founded The Controller Group (TCG), which invests in companies committed to offering products or services which profitably make a significant impact on the world. Kurt has been a FoundersCard Member since 2014.
1. Where does your passion for placing the right person into the right position stem from?
As an Entrepreneur who built and sold my own high-growth company, I recognize the incredible pain that comes from hiring the wrong person and outgrowing certain members of your team…we definitely learned a lot of lessons the old fashioned way! I’ve worked with high-growth companies my entire career and, as I studied the key unlocking moves that really helped them get to the next level, it was almost always related to adding key team members. Team members who not only had successfully navigated those waters before but who were also a good culture fit! At a higher level, I am a believer in capitalism and the positive impact that those who “profit responsibly” can have on our society…and this high-growth middle market niche (Gazelles as Verne Harnish calls them) has the potential to make the biggest impact.
2. How did roles in your previous positions inspire you to shift to the innovative recruiting processes at HireBetter?
My experience founding and leading The Controller Group with my Partner. We built a great team and had a great culture but it wasn’t until I looked back on that experience do I realize that we had outgrown several members of our team and we also had employees who were bad culture fits both pre and post acquisition. I often wonder what we could have become if we had raised our bar when it came to new hires.
3. How does the philosophy of HireBetter differ from mainstream recruiting practices?
HireBetter approaches hiring from a strategic, business-first perspective. Before we will agree to help you conduct a search, we need to understand your longer term business goals and objectives…then align your talent needs to your business needs. This allows our clients to be patient in their hiring. Mistakes happen regularly when companies are reactive and try to make hires quickly…and this is where the traditional recruiter preys…and makes all of their money. Check our video to see how we’re different.
4. What key characteristics should employers be looking for?
Problem solving skills, solid communicator, entrepreneurial attitude (at least for high growth companies!) and, ideally, when interviewing candidates, someone who has experience successfully doing exactly what you’ll be asking them to do, for a similar sized company.
5. What is the best piece of advice you would give to a potential candidate looking for their right career match?
Life is short. Enjoy what you do and enjoy the team whom you’re working with.
6. What interview question do you always ask? What question do you avoid?
Always ask: What would your previous employers say about you? Your strengths and coaching points?
Questions I avoid? — anything that sounds like “if you were an animal what kind of animal would you be?
7. Who is someone we should be following on Twitter?
8. What is one book you would recommend to everyone?
I’ve got to say that I enjoyed the simplicity and storytelling format of “Built to Sell” — it was a quick read and offered some very sound examples of building a company that doesn’t need you to succeed, is scaleable and sellable.
9. Give us your best plug/brag a little about as to what you are working on now/next.
We’re in the process of building out our methodology and offering it to clients and prospects…so we can train them on how to “hire better” themselves. Essentially teaching our clients how to fish. We believe this will further shift the conversation (at least for HireBetter) from a transactional, “flipping resumes to fill a seat” industry to one of partnership and mutual goals of building teams.
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