Top 5 Takeaways from Teamable’s Conversation with John Sumser

Our CEO and co-founder Laura Bilazarian talks Recruiting, Rugby, and ROI on HR Examiner Radio with John Sumser

1. Recruiting is a team sport

As a champion Rugby player, both for the city of New York and for the U.S. National team, Laura can’t help but draw connections to her experience recruiting on Wall Street. In Wall Street’s hyper competitive world, recruiting women often fell under her responsibilities, and it took teamwork to get the right person through the door. She used this experience to help build Teamable – so, the “team” part isn’t just in the name. The best way to recruit, she tells Sumser, is through “micro-actions from everyone in the company instead of one or two overworked sourcers trying to connect to the whole world.”


2. Hiring is hard

Hiring is hard for a lot of reasons – the employment rate, competitive salaries, the race for every company to become a tech company . . . and then there’s the fact that job spam is real in our interconnected world. “It’s not hard to find people anymore. It’s hard to engage them,” Laura explains. Referrals work when they come from someone you actually know – and this helps for two reasons. You’re more likely to get engagement when you connect your friend to your hiring manager or recruiter than a cold reachout, and you also know if this person will be a good fit for your company.

“They’re going to hire somebody. So you may as well make it someone who you know will do a good job.”


3. The ROI isn’t the only thing that matters (but it still matters)

Recruiting is different – John and Laura agree. In the HR and recruiting space, showing an ROI won’t necessarily prove that your product works like it would in other industries. While Laura still requires an ROI from her team (after all, she did work on Wall Street), it’s important to use a personal narrative too. Everyone can relate to the frustrations of sourcing, tracking resumes, making referrals, and trying to make it all come together in one place. This selling point matters, and it took a while for her to learn that recruiting is a little different.


4. Know who you’re building for

And I mean, really know them. Teamable’s co-founders were all determined to build something worth using before trying to get funding. Instead of chasing funding, they chased customers, who could help build a product they actually use and want to use. So, when the funding came in, it almost took them by surprise. “It was a really hard decision for us. We weren’t out there looking for venture capital – the venture capital kind of came to us.”


5. Whatever you do, it takes time, patience, and practice

Building a company doesn’t happen overnight. For executives, and especially female entrepreneurs, Laura insists on the importance of sticking through the second year. “So many people give up during the second year.” But again, running a company is kind of like Rugby, Laura explains. “The first year we lost, second year we lost, third year we won, and then the fourth year we won.” It’s common advice that it takes 18 months to build a high performing team, product, and company – but after 18 months, you’re just starting to feel confident in what you’re doing.

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