What happens when you put your employees first?
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My guest for this episode is Andrew Shearer. Andrew is a former product management and user experience design leader at eBay, PayPal, HomeAway, and Expedia. He has 24+ years of experience creating and leading high-performance teams.
He now helps founders and technology leaders build and optimize Product teams as founder and principal at BravePath. They provide a range of services, including:
Recruiting (Executive search, direct hire, contract, and contract-to-hire)
Consulting (Product strategy, talent assessment, process optimization)
Coaching (leadership coaching, career change, sounding board)
We talk about:
His UX and Product Management career journey in Silicon Valley.
Why he left that world to start his own business.
Why he founded BravePath.
How they are very different from typical recruiters and agencies.
Advice for candidates to help them nail their interviews.
Key points from our conversation
I want to call out a few points from my conversation with Andrew to help you if you’re considering working with a recruiter (or even starting your own business!). He also shared more advice that is helpful for managers, employees, and candidates.
An “Employees First” philosophy
Andrew was quick to give credit to Richard Branson for this quote:
“Clients do not come first. Employees come first. If you take care of your employees, they will take care of the clients.”
― Richard Branson
He’s been fortunate to learn from some really smart leaders to hone the craft of his profession and the art of shipping great tech products. But, they weren’t quite as strong at being good people leaders (e.g., understanding human beings, motivating them, getting the most out of them, etc.).
The reason many companies aren’t achieving their objectives is that the people are miserable. Life is too short to suffer at work. Happy employees are better at what they do and produce better business results in the long run.
A Better Recruiting Model
Recruiting feels broken. I think we’ve all experienced that frustration with the ones who constantly message us on LinkedIn and don’t seem to have a clue about what we really do (e.g., “Why would you think this job is a fit for me???”).
It’s challenging to work with recruiters who haven’t done our jobs before. They don’t understand our world, our roles, and what a successful career path is in our profession and industry.
Andrew and his colleagues come from the operational world of building and running strong Product teams of engineers, product managers, designers, etc. They always cared about the people side, so this transition into creating a recruiting and coaching agency uniquely positions them in the market.
They aren’t your average recruiters, and they don’t work with companies and candidates in the same old ways that other agencies do. They understand product and technology, care about the candidate experience, treat people with respect, and build long-term relationships (e.g., coaching, giving feedback, no ghosting).
Building good relationships is an investment. A candidate today could become one of their clients looking for more talent tomorrow.
Perception is Reality
As a past Product and Design leader, Andrew put a lot of thought into his performance reviews over the years. He has an interesting model for reviewing feedback that an employee receives.
He puts the feedback into a 2×2 matrix to classify it. You obviously need to work on valid, important feedback. But, you still need to work on important feedback that you feel isn’t true about you.
Perception is reality. Whether it is true or not, it will cause problems if you don’t address it. For example, someone could block your promotion if there is a perception that you’re not a good team player and will struggle to manage a team.
⬆️ Scroll to the top if you want to listen to our entire conversation, and hear more of Andrew’s advice for job candidates in the tech world! 🎧
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This week’s office hours topic
Larry Cornett is a leadership coach and business advisor who hosts a private mastermind community for ambitious professionals with weekly challenges, office hours, and 24×7 support. If you’re interested in starting your own business someday (or accelerating an existing one), check out his “Employee to Solopreneur” course (launching in 2022).
Larry lives in Northern California near Lake Tahoe with his wife and children, and a gigantic Great Dane. He does his best to share advice to help others take complete control of their work and life. He’s also on Twitter @cornett.