Talent Acquisition

Rockstar Recruiter Series: The Motley Fool


Successful hiring requires a team of dedicated, informed, and engaged Fools (our nickname for The Motley Fool employees). This fact rings true for Jen Elliott, Cheryl Palting, and Annie Healy, who bring 10 years of experience in the industry to our company. They were happy to take time out and tap into a few popular recruiting questions:

We’re impressed when a candidate:

Uses an interview as an opportunity to ask compelling questions. The standard ‘What’s your favorite/least favorite part about working here?’ pales in comparison to ‘I saw on LinkedIn that you previously worked at ABC company. How does the marketing funnel at XYZ differ from that at ABC, and how has that difference impacted your current marketing strategy?’”

With the last question, you’ve cued to the recruiting team and the interview panel that you’ve researched your audience and thought strategically about their role within the larger context of the business. Asking thoughtful questions is a key way to distinguish yourself from other candidates.

We’re impressed when a recruiter:

Is “always on.” Recruiting is never a 9-5 job, and everyone you meet knows someone who knows someone who might be perfect for your company.

Build internal relationships so that you’re able to measure candidates for their cultural fit, and ask questions to understand how teams operate and what personality traits are required for each role. A great recruiter sources candidates from all different places, whether it’s a reference check call or a lunch date with their neighbor’s boss who is entertaining new employment opportunities.

We have been in the recruiting industry for:

10 years, collectively. Jen, Annie, and Cheryl bring talents from different backgrounds to the team. Annie started as an HR Generalist, while Jen has been a recruiter since 2010. Cheryl, after joining these Fools six month ago, serves as the perfect example of our company’s project-based culture. Originally a Member Services Fool, Cheryl built a strong knowledge of our products and customer business model. Her cheery disposition and ability to connect with Fools proved great qualities for her transition to recruiting.

We know we’ve done a great job hiring when:

An employee impacts the business. Our team agreed that finding the right person for the right team and watching them propel the company forward is the best part of their job. There’s also something to be said about the energy a new hire can create outside of his or her new team.

The biggest challenge recruiting Fools face today is:

Differentiating your company’s branding. Winning Glassdoor’s title of Best Place to Work in the U.S. two-years running wasn’t an easy feat. It takes constant teamwork from across the organization to create an engaging, happy, and worthwhile environment for Fools.

Almost every business is steering their ship toward a meaningful mission, and companies are focusing more than ever on meeting Millennials on their terms—remote work options, constant feedback, collaboration opportunities, above-and-beyond perks, and non-linear growth.

Not long ago, a lot of these benefits were only offered in Silicon Valley or concentrated start-up hot spots. Jen adds, “The trend is spreading quickly, and as recruiters, we have to really know, understand, and believe in what we can offer.”

I stay cutting edge by:

Asking a lot of questions. Curiosity is a shared trait among the industry’s best recruiters. Our People Team stays up to date by reading articles on People Development from all over the world. Cheryl notes, “Somewhere, on the other side of the nation, someone is recruiting differently than I am and I want to know about it.” It’s important to ensure your interest in a candidate lasts throughout the interviewing process.

Jen adds, “We see a lot of resumes and talk to a lot of people about what they’re working on and the tools they’re using to get the job done. Whether it’s a new CRM, new programming language, new IPO, or new app, we want to know all about it from the people who are using it in the field.  This keeps us relevant, informed, and – a The Motley Fool mainstay – “always learning”!

In 2015, I’ll invest more efforts in:

Building relationships with passive candidates. We don’t have to have an immediate opening to fill and the candidate doesn’t need to be actively searching for employment in order to start a conversation. Engaging with passive candidates will be beneficial to building our candidate pipeline, growing our network and brand, and finding other like-minded people.

Another task on the docket is to improve our online branding. Cheryl is passionate about this project, “I’ll invest more efforts in creating an epic Careers website from which candidates won’t want to leave. Being a Glassdoor Best Place to Work definitely helps us build an awesome brand, so having a career site that confirms and exceeds the hype will get candidates even more excited about working here.”

Executives see employer branding and recruiting as:

Integral to the continued success and growth of the business. Along with other important characteristics in a candidate, it’s worth considering how someone will fit into your office culture. Hiring the best people is a long-term strategy—not something that ebbs and flows with each open requisition. It requires persistent commitment from every level within the business, and a dedicated recruiting team is needed to steer those efforts in meaningful ways.

Tom Gardner hits our point home: “Employees spend a third of their lives at work. Make your office a place someone would actually want to spend time.”

I use Glassdoor because:

It’s largely an unbiased resource to see how our competition sources talent and how candidates and employees feel.

Our Foolish recruiters agree that Glassdoor is a great resource. Cheryl explains it as a place, “where you can get the inside scoop on companies without dialing 411.” One of Glassdoor’s best qualities is its consistent honesty, which is found in employee reviews. Jen explains, “There are a lot of themes and lessons learned there. We can learn what other top rated companies are doing well — and also what their employees are concerned about. Internally, we want to keep a pulse on how our employees and candidates feel about us and make sure we’re constantly refining and improving.”

There’s much more to the story than simply what Glassdoor publishes online. Cheryl continues, “On the flip side, recruiters can use those reviews to help build their brand and make their company’s workplace the best environment it can possibly be, which means testing and learning, and that’s always exciting.”

My success is most closely tied to:

The impact that each new hire makes, and collectively, how these impacts make us a better company. When a new hire becomes a high performer and quickly adds value to their team and our company, we know we made some fantastic choices.

I could improve my reputation as a recruiter if I:

Networked more. Our CEO Tom Gardner wrote, “External relationships can create value beyond imagination – they can inspire a thought, spark a partnership, lead to a hire, or just simply be enjoyable.”

There are so many professional organizations — especially in the DC area — that host happy hours, meet-and-greets, alumni events and industry gatherings. Between LinkedIn requests and external events held at FoolHQ, the sheer number of ways to get involved can be overwhelming sometimes.

Jen described her team’s strategy in balancing networking with everyday job responsibilities. “Focusing on a few at a time and measuring the ROI with each event can help us pin-point the best opportunities to build our brand and meet prospective candidates.”

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