Hunt Club CEO Nick Cromydas

Nick CromydasHunt Club CEO

Joining us today is Nick Cromydas, CEO of HR tech company, Hunt Club. Nick offers insight on the HR Tech industry as a whole, where talent lies in the priority list of most companies, and how he would think about offering a recruiting skillset to the market in an ever changing world.

Episode Transcript





[0:00:06.1] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to Me. A podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the frontlines of modern recruitment.


[0:00:12.8] FEMALE: We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions. Where are they willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.


[0:00:22.7] RS: No holds barred, completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs and everyone in between.


[0:00:31.1] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.


[0:00:39.7] MALE: Talent acquisition, it’s a fantastic career, you are trusted by the organization, you get to work with the C-Suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between and everybody knows you.


[0:00:53.0] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson and you’re about to hear the best in the biz, Talk Talent to Me.




[0:00:59.7] RS: Before we get started, quick shout out to whoever is tuning in via listen only mode, we know that you’re there but we don’t know who you are so welcome to you. I just wanted to let you know we’re thinking about you and we’ll get this show on the road here.


Joining us on today’s installment of Talk Talent to Me is the CEO over at Hunt Club, Nick Cromydas. Nick, welcome to the podcast, how are you today?


[0:01:22.6] NC: Good, Rob, appreciate you having me, excited to be here.


[0:01:24.7] RS: Yeah, pleased to have you on. We have had your associate, your colleague, your peer, your underling, he’s going to hate me for saying that.


[0:01:32.6] NC: No, no underlings, teammates.


[0:01:35.5] RS: Teammate, Matt Hughes, Matt Whose Your Daddy Hughes as I like to call him here, friend of the show, oft. Guest oft. Cohost, he canted up me to you, he thought that you’d be a perfect fit for the show and I had to agree, here we are meeting, thanks so much for being on the podcast with me.


[0:01:50.3] NC: Yeah, excited and I owe Mr. Hughes one, he’s great and we’re so thrilled to have him at HC.


[0:01:56.2] RS: How’s he doing, how are his numbers looking this quarter?


[0:01:59.6] NC: Doing great, Q4 is spiking high so he’s actually delivered some incredible results for an amazing customer called viral ads, just raised 150 million bucks from WestCap and a ton of really amazing investors. Shout out to Matty Hughes, he’s doing great work.


[0:02:13.1] RS: Yeah, he’s a high performer. I’m being cheeky, I know he’s performing well so I had to pull his leg a little bit because I know he will tune in.


[0:02:20.5] NC: You got to always poke your former teammates.


[0:02:22.3] RS: Yeah, of course. We’re here to talk about you, Nick, and your company not Matt Hughes Your Daddy Hughesy. I would love to learn a little bit about you here at the outset because you have a really interesting background. You had a background in venture capital before you got into HR tech, before you founded this company, for the folks at home, would you mind sharing a little bit about your background and kind how you wound up founding this company?


[0:02:43.5] NC: Yeah, it’s a very odd and non-linear path. I graduated in what is arguably the worst economic time in the history of the United States, so 2008/2009, couldn’t get a job. My whole life before anything business was actually tennis. I tried to be a professional tennis player, played in college in Vanderbilt, very quickly found out that I was not nearly good enough to be a professional tennis player.


I went and got my first job at Northwestern University as their assistant tennis coach and had this really linear, non-linear crazy path to teaching tennis to then being a consultant at KPMG and their strategy and their technology practice to then building my first software business with our CTO today to then starting in investing companies to then being in Hunt Club so it’s really been an odd and strange path but it’s been a fun one along the journey.


[0:03:36.5] RS: I had to say, you are among my favorite breed of entrepreneur, which is someone who had kind of seen the problem firsthand and experienced it and then set out to fix it, as supposed to the savvy entrepreneur who kind of sees a gap in the market, sees an opportunity, because I think you have a better understanding of what really is at stake and what really is deficient in a marketplace.


Was that the case for you when you were working in venture capital? Where you experiencing that companies in the portfolio were having trouble hiring or that there was something fundamentally missing from the experience of adding talent?


[0:04:09.0] NC: Yeah, it definitely was, how we came up with Hunt Club is really based on two sort of insights. The first was we’re investing, we invest in sort of 30, 40 companies at the time, up to 50 now. We routinely watched our portfolio hire, retain search firms, contingent search firms and continually have not a great experience and I sort of likened it after talking to almost all the founders and CEOs that they just didn’t understand their type of company and this was back in 2010, ‘11, ’12, ‘13, ‘14 where venture hasn’t quite had the exponential boom that it has today and there’s a clear mismatch between the talent market and the service providers of old and some of the next gen companies and new and the type of DNA it needed to be successful and we saw that gap happen over and over again.


I think the second insight, Rob was, I just had a lot of friends and executive search that kept winning digital searches and kept asking me for introductions and they just would look at my LinkedIn and say I was connected to someone like Matty Hughes and asked for an intro to Matt and lo and behold, three months later, Matt would send me an email saying he just took a new job and he wouldn’t have considered had it not come from me and because of our relationship.


Effectively I felt like I was doing a bit of the recruiters’ job and so kind of pair those two insights, the first being the kind of unicorns and next gen category creators of tomorrow are totally different animal and company than some legacy businesses that traditional search providers and service and the second was, we thought a crowdsource model or network base model would just be more effective.


[0:05:36.2] RS: That sort of reflects what I’m hearing from recruiters as well as this sort of new breed of CRM talent tools where it’s about you cultivate a long-term relationship with someone so that you don’t have to hope that you land in their inbox during the tiny window of time every few years where they happen to be looking. Is that kind of the approach of Hunt Club? Are you trying to cultivate this network of folks that you can draw from? How would you say Hunt Club differentiates from the standard agency or RPO model?


[0:06:08.1] NC: Yes, we do three things primarily different than most firms in the world. The first is, if you look at most search firms or most traditional agencies, they’re built with a service provider’s mindset but not a technologist mindset. From day one, we’ve had a product and engineering team and data science team and then really look to grow that team alongside of our search team and so, really having them focus on solving problems like automating the sourcing list of candidates that could be a great fit, to really automating a lot of the outreach cadences in a way that’s authentic to a great customer experience and candidate experience, to augmenting the type of tools that a talent specialist in our team would use to actually work with a client. 


Really thinking thoughtfully about recreating the end-to-end process from day one. And so most firms are really thinking about how do they now enable their business in technology after they’ve been around for 10, 20, 50, a hundred years and we’ve sort of taken a DNA of digital first approach from day one.


The second and I think which is a really big differentiator is, we have a network of over 12,000 business leaders that sign up, drop their LinkedIn networks, their Gmail networks in your software platform and we map those relationships, the strength of those contexts between parties. So when we’re doing a VP of product search for Gopuff, we can have hundreds of product leaders across the country all referring on Gopuff’s behalf and so, by sort of decentralizing the network and decoupling it from just one recruiter when you’re working with a traditional firm to a network of leaders across the country, you get amazing talent with a trusted introduction. 


We think that’s the big differentiator. In a universe, Rob, where you can hire anyone anywhere and not just the person in your backyard, the only way that you’re actually going to get them to acknowledge something in your inbox or get them to acknowledge something in your LinkedIn, we think is through a trusted introduction. We’re really power in trust.


[0:07:53.0] RS: That’s really helpful context, I would like to get into how Hunt Club is uniquely disposed to help communities grow and scale but just because of your background, I feel like there’s also an opportunity to kind of talk about this industry at large. For like — I’ve spent most of my career working with HR tech companies, at least in some capacity, and I’ve heard over and over that this is a greenfield opportunity. HR departments are underserved compared to marketing departments and sales departments and in terms of the fun, shiny new toys that the sales team and the marketing team, the engineering team gets, the tech that they’re enabled with, HR and talent is often left behind. 


I guess my question is does this advanced tooling for HR tech even exist yet? Because it’s been 10ish years now and you don’t see the kind of mergers and acquisitions or IPOs from HR tech companies. When I think of the biggest acquisition in HR tech, I think Microsoft buying LinkedIn and that’s, I hardly think of LinkedIn as an agile future sort of like technological service. Where do you think this industry is in terms of the actual tooling and its ability to be a heavy hitter in the same way that Mar Tech and Sales Tech is?


[0:09:16.1] NC: Yeah, I think if you look at the industry at large, there’s a lot of consolidation. The behaviors of – I’ll speak about the greater trend in a second because I think there’s some really awesome things happening where CPOs and chief talent officers will have some really good tailwinds to get more out, but I think if you look at the industry at large, there’s a lot of consolidation by the big players buying all sorts of small things or medium-sized things to build up a robust portfolio of products and services.


The reason for that Rob, is that, if you look at the behaviors of recruiting or HR tech in general, you’re dealing with a wide variety of people all wanting a wide variety of different things, all with the wide variety of their own behaviors and how they use software and so I’d liken it very much to the CRM industry where there’s really a couple of big global players and the rest is being consolidated and/or is smaller players looking to find their pathways.


The good news I think is that people in hiring and how to hire and how to run remote teams and how to manage distributed workforces is changing more so than ever before and the behaviors of how people work are changing more so than before. I think that’s creating a lot of greenfield space for executives, investors, board members everywhere to realize the importance of investing in an amazing people leader, the importance of investing in an amazing HR leader and the importance of investing in tooling and technology.


I think we sort of hit this critical mass or tipping point where the challenge of talent and acquiring talent and hiring talent and onboarding talent is at a point now where every company is feeling the pain and because of that pain, you’ll see a change in behavior where larger scale businesses are investing more and who is the next talent leader, people leader of the company and companies are investing more aggressively on different services and unique innovation than they ever did before. I actually think the chief people officers of today, the great ones will actually be the CEOs of tomorrow and I think we’re going to see that trend continue over the course of the next 10, 15, 20 years.


[0:11:12.7] RS: Yeah, I tend to agree with you, just because your senior most talent professional officer executive, interfaces with every department in a way that no other executive does besides perhaps the CEO, right?


[0:11:27.1] NC: Totally.


[0:11:27.4] RS: When it comes to this need for talent, is this an economic reality? Is this the result of a rising tide in understanding how important the right hire and the right people are in a company? Is it both? Because it’s typical, when you ask CEOs and I have, what are their most — their three biggest problems, their five biggest problems, talent is on that list but it’s never number one, you know? It’s like three or four. Is it creeping up in people’s rankings do you think? Is it like, where are you with the understanding of how important talent is I guess is my question?


[0:12:05.8] NC: I think for the first time, most CEOs that I talk to, so for the hundreds of the last, you know, close to north of a thousand in the last couple of quarters, talent’s been number one in the list. I think where people are starting to have a little bit of the mind shift is, maybe sales or product development has been one or two, historically or empirically, but I think people are starting to realize, they need the right people to drive those results and they need the right people to build the right products or transform how their product’s [inaudible 0:12:31] works.


Every customer we talk with and I’ve spoken to, many of our investments all are stating that talent is the number one challenge and going back to the “why” Rob, I think it’s a colliding force of number of different things. I think the first is, if you look at the amount of behavior that’s changed post-COVID, every single company has had to change how they’ve done business, whether it’s working remotely, whether it’s transforming their business model to be more digitally accepting, whether it’s investing in new services or products that actually can be delivered or absorbed or consumed digitally.


Whether it’s people realizing that what they want in their life and their career is quite a bit different than the one they’ve been doing in the rat race last 10, 20, 40, 50 years. With all this behavior change, generally stimulates innovation. With innovation comes funding and financing and venture capitalist and growth equity funds, putting dollars to work and I think also, we hit this really interesting tipping point where there’s more money being deployed from a venture perspective.


I think we’re on track to spend or invest over 450, 500 billion dollars this year. Large companies have expedited their digital roadmaps and there are trillions being deployed against how they’re changing how they do business and then all large tech companies now can hire everywhere, right? Those three factors mean that the talent pool has gotten pretty thin.


The way we think about it is, every company will be a tech company down the road in some form or fashion and it’s what’s making the market really challenging right now, given the limited amount of opportunities and the large amount of companies hiring and limited amount of candidates.


[0:14:06.0] RS: It’s a fascinating confluence of variables and behaviors as you say. What with this shift to remote work, these shifting and raising expectations of candidates themselves, the amount of money there is to compete for talent, the amount of investment being poured in by venture capital, et cetera, et cetera.


I kind of want to ask you to prognosticate a little bit because it’s not particularly risky to say, “Oh there’s a shift to remote, you have to have a remote policy or else you aren’t competitive.” I think that’s like a reality frankly of yesteryear and certainly now.


[0:14:43.2] NC: Not everyone realizes that yet though.


[0:14:44.5] RS: No, I mean, there are some people who are insisting on back to work and they’re going to hire in their backyard and that’s fine but I think the truly competitive company is one, if you have more than one office geographically, you already have a remote work policy whether you like it or not, but let’s assume that remote hiring sticks around and that agile competitive companies now are not so worried about hiring in the geography of their HQ.


[0:15:11.2] NC: Yup.


[0:15:11.7] RS: Another example. I’m going to bring this home but I’m going to pull from a different – a couple of different areas. There was this great post on hacker news where this guy was like, “I have four full-time jobs right now as an engineer because they’re all remote and everyone’s so desperate for talent that the interview process was a joke. I got hired really easily and every company is so understanding about you not being able to make meetings, or you taking care of your mental health, or you not delivering a project on time that they’re super forgiving and I can basically half ass or to be mathematically frank, quarter ass every job and it will take them several months to realize that I’m not doing a good job and fire me.”


“I have four full-time jobs and I’m going to W2 1.3 million dollars just in salary as a software engineer this year.” Okay, extreme example, I don’t necessarily condone that. However, I think what it speaks to is this trend that maybe the best deal for you as a skilled candidate is not selling your skills to one company like it has been for the last hundred plus years.


That this deal of like, “I will sell my time to you and in exchange, I will get this salary and I will get all this benefits.” It seems like it’s not the reality of how work gets done, especially if your job doesn’t actually take you 40 hours a week, it takes you 15, 20 and the other 15, 20 is coming and going for meetings and responding to emails or going to meetings that could have been emails or commuting or what have you, we’re taking our time back in such a way. 


Yeah, you could only really work for one company when you have to physically be at a company, you know? Now that you have a home office, why just pick one company? Do you see this trend the way I see it? Do you see that it’s possible that employees could decouple themselves, unbundle their work from one employer and what does that mean for recruiters if you do see it that way?


[0:17:18.3] NC: Yeah, totally. I mean, remote work and contract work are some of the fastest growing trends. A great customer of ours is Upwork and if you look at their kind of continued financial reporting, they’re growing like crazy and continue to scale and there aren’t enough full-time bodies for their jobs for their customers so their customers are now doing a wide range amalgamation of different contract gigs and and employees or contractors get more freedom, employers get access to a talent pool faster without the restrictions of hiring a W2 employee, so I think that will a 100% continue as a trend that happens. 


I think what will never change is building a team and a business and a focus on a mission and a vision that cannot be unlocked in 10 to 15 hours a week or a company at providing inspiration of culture that makes them want to work more than just what a part-time contract gig and have ownership in the business and be able to grow and really understand and be a part of the team that drives those results. 


I think you’ll get a very mix bag of different types of experiences as the world changes where those that have just been through a three to five-year cycle in a startup and are a little tired and fatigued, may have taken a couple of contract gigs until they find the perfect opportunity. Others may be at a stage in their life where mission is less important and they are certainly happy working on a couple of things here and there and building their own book of business and spending time with their family and that’s great too. 


I think you will see a wide range of different behaviors over the next 10, 20, 40 years and I think it will really align based on where an individual is in their moment in time in their life and how inspired they are with either building their own contract business or joining a different mission to really create an impact. 


[0:19:01.9] RS: Interesting, so in order to make that deal of the one person one job thing stick, you kind of need to have them be like fully onboard like, “Hey, we need a 100% of your attention on this” whereas if you’re just like churning out code for a product that you know is successful but not filling you up, not filling up your spirit that you don’t need to say, “This is all of my time.” 


[0:19:26.1] NC: Yeah, totally and I think it’s based on someone’s stage in life and what their excited about and what they’re passionate about and oftentimes we see three to four times successful serial entrepreneurs go join a company because they believe so deeply in the mission of that business, right? I’ll give you a couple of examples. 


We helped scale Gopuff as one of our kind of first customers in their early days and they added over 150 folks to their business and they’re recruiting some incredible VPs right now that have been executives at large public companies that don’t need to work and in their RSU packages and their comp packages are public information but they are joining because they believe in the idea that what can you provide in the world when you get the ability to really define the instant needs category and get something to customer in 20 minutes or less. 


I think, you know, if the company is mission-driven and values-oriented and cares about making change and impact, I think what you’ll often find is for those that are excited about joining those missions is that it’s beyond just the money. It’s about really how you can effectuate change. 


[0:20:29.6] RS: Does this hold true for recruiters as well and their ability to sell their skills to a variety of companies? How would this shifting need for talent or shifting approach in looking for one role or many roles for talent, how would you expect that would affect the recruiting profession? 


[0:20:47.8] NC: I think it is going to change a lot. I mean if you think about most of the recruiting market today at least in permanent placement search and let’s talk specifically about executive search to start, you know, four or five companies really are around 50 to 60% of the total revenue in the industry, right? So Spencer or Hydra corp, DHR, Russell, now True is getting up there and so if you look at that as a benchmark that means that the rest of the industry is somewhere between a 150 to $200 million and below. 


Which means it’s already an extremely fragmented industry to start, which means that multiple clients, multiple customers, multiple opportunities that they’re working on at once and so I think from an external recruiter perspective, the trend is already there. It is how most of us and how most agencies are operating. From an internal recruiter perspective, I think it is already happening quite a bit as well. 


We are freelancing and working from a small companies, most companies or a lot of different companies is a fast growing trend but I think that the core of what I said a bit ago were at the end of the day, working for many companies and not having one mission, one alignment, one team all focused on one north star is something you just can’t recreate when you’re stitching together multiple contract gigs. 


I think there certainly is a time and place for that in many of our lives or in many of our life situations but I think there is always going to be a time and place for where being a part of one team is more exciting than working on your own in multiple gigs.


[0:22:10.9] RS: If you were not an entrepreneur, if you were a recruiter mid-level maybe, five to 10 years’ experience, I’m curious how you would think creatively and come up with a savvy way to sell your skillset. Assume it’s not but for the sake of this discussion, let’s assume it’s not one company, one job, right? If you were going to try and use your new remote ability, work from home ability, unbundle it, what does that look like for a recruiter who is maybe not optimizing on the mission and vision of a company they want to work for but just the most efficient way to offer their skillset to the market? 


[0:22:51.3] NC: I think there’s probably two questions, one, what can a recruiter do beyond recruiting and two, other ways to build or book a business from a recruiting perspective. When I think about the best recruiters in the world, right? I have been lucky to interact with quite a few of them over the last five to seven years of building this business, people that are billing 15, 20, $30 million a year, they’re the most incredible sales people in the world, right? 


They have the best networks and they have tons of trust and credibility of executives across the country and so I actually think of a recruiter as a human network effect. If I had my own boutique recruiting shop and I was helping customers with talent, I would think about how I can drive creative value to my portfolio of customers in many ways beyond talent whether it was customer introductions, business development opportunities, advisory network interactions, board members, et cetera, et cetera. 


I think one of the things that we’re doing at Hunt Club and one of the deep reasons why we built this business from the beginning, is that when you look under the hood at some of these large recruiting firms and the amount of assets they have created whether it is information of people and companies, networks of executives they can access instantaneously, knowledge about things in business, it’s infinite and no firm has ever captured that on one digital platform or thought about unlocking that in any other way other than just a recruiting transaction. 


I think the long-term vision for our company, and always has been, is we’re going to help companies grow through trusted introductions and what that is today can totally change down the road and so if I was a recruiter, which I am technically, you know I would be doing all sorts of other trusted introductions to help my customers grow in a wide range of ways and if I was a recruiter not really interested in repackaging the network effects I have already built for myself, yeah, I would really focus on how do I pick customers that I’m really aligned with their mission and vision. 


How do I maybe instead of purely as a cash deal look to onboard some customers from equity perspective as well and really be a part of their team and see if I can help drive just more broadly and more than transactional value, build on our price value through awesome relationships. 


[0:25:00.2] RS: With Hunt Club and with the situation you just described for an independent recruiter, it’s almost like network as a product, which is something that you can’t buy really, you can’t automate, you can have assistive technologies but is there going to be a piece of technology that generates a trusted relationship with someone? Definitely not, right? That is purely in the realm of human to human interaction I think for a long period of time. 


[0:25:31.0] NC: A million percent. I think you can augment it, right? For someone who’s a great connector or great at relationships, helping them manage that, helping them build it, helping them understand their network in a bunch of unique ways but automating a human interaction, we’re not even remotely close to that as a society and I think that is the opportunity for what we’re trying to build at Hunt Club and just broadly for the world now. 


When you can hire anyone anywhere, how do you get them to listen in a world where they’re getting 4,000 different spam messages in their LinkedIn inbox or in their email or getting random texts from recruiters they have never met for roles that are off target, right? I think we think of this industry just as a ripe and a huge opportunity to think about centralizing trust and building trust through every interaction in the process but also through who actually reaches out to you for a job in the first place and that’s what we want to empower here. 


[0:26:20.1] RS: It’s an interesting view of the recruiting skillset, the value of the network because I think it is often cast in terms of how good are you at sourcing, how good are you at finding someone’s email address, how good are you at being efficient, getting what you need to from a phone screen, keeping that energy for every phone screen if you have eight in a row, which are important but is that really a differentiating thing or are those recruiting skills, those traditional skills you need that you would see on a recruiting job description for example, are those more commoditized in a world where you can hire better with a personal relationship? I think the answer is probably yes, right? 


[0:27:06.5] NC: Yeah, totally. This skillset, what the best recruiters in the world do can be trained or innately learned just through being great at business. I actually think like if you read profile and you reframe this thinking for one second, right? The average partner at [Hydra and Struggles 0:27:23.8] probably makes somewhere between 700,000, 1.5, $1.2 million a year or something like that, which is an exorbitant amount of money. 


That’s two to three maybe four X what really great enterprise sales people do at mid-market SaaS companies and then the average, the other side of this pendulum is like the average contract based recruiter that’s only getting paid from performance, maybe he is making 32 to $45,000 a year. 


I think the point I am trying to illustrate is really good recruiters or really good business people who are incredibly great at relationships and the difference between the premium folks that are doing incredibly well and succeeding exceptionally in relationships and financially versus those that haven’t quite got there yet is probably a wide range of things but we really believe it’s how you treat relationships and how you build relationships. 


How you orient relationships to provide value from two sides and I think that’s a thing that the industry has been classically trained and is missing on is a big majority of the market that isn’t some of the – and even the large players in this way a lot of times but like a big majority of the market that isn’t a relationship first is getting lost in transaction and as you said initially, it’s timing the perfect note to somebody in the moment or, listening to a stranger. 


That worked 10 years ago when there wasn’t that much noise. In today’s world, you know, we’re getting 17 million marketing messages a day in our inbox. How are we supposed to pick off an email from a stranger about an opportunity for us? It’s just too hard. 


[0:28:55.6] RS: Lost in Transaction would be a great blog post title. If you don’t write it, I am going to have to. 


[0:29:01.7] NC: Oh! Amanda, on our VP of marketing, I hope she’s listening that’s a good one.


[0:29:04.6] RS: Yes, CC Amanda, shout out to Amanda. 


[0:29:06.5] NC: Yeah, we’ll share it. 


[0:29:07.9] RS: It’s important though I think not just for recruiters but the exercise here really is reflect on what it is only you can bring to a company or to the market and it’s probably not a series of skills that you’ve learned over the last five years or that you’ve become – you have exhibit some kind of mastery and just because you’re replaceable. 


To use myself as an example, my utility as a podcaster, I don’t believe is my ability to edit audio or my ability to prospect guests, asking them to agree to the show or might agree to my ability to work with a designer to get a logo. I believe it’s this, I believe it’s my ability to be on a microphone and then have a conversation, which sounds silly because people have conversations all day long with loads of people but that’s the unique offering. 


[0:29:59.0] NC: Well Rob, I’d take it one step further. I’d say your superpower in isn’t editing or sourcing talent for a show, it’s building trust and rapport with those on the show so they feel comfortable engaging with you in a way that hopefully creates value to your audience, right? That is a skillset that is not a commodity. 


Everything else, someone can theoretically do but the more quality, the more engaging you are, the higher quality of the conversation, the more content you produce, the larger your audience grows and then it becomes an even more defensible moat, so I think of your superpower as the ability to engaging with your audience and I think that is something that no one can train. 


[0:30:36.9] RS: I love that, defensible moat, because there is that in every job, right? In the software engineering, it would be your ability to understand a problem and ask the right questions to generate a solution as oppose to your ability to code in a specific language, right? How can individuals reflect on what do you do that is a commodity? You know, it is frankly like, “Oh this could be trained, this could be outsourced, this could be automated, this could be replaced.” 


Most people’s jobs probably that’s a good chunk of it but I think what you really succeed is identifying that last 20% that only you could do and just optimizing on that and just selling that, which, in the case of a recruiter who is trying to be savvy is your network, is your relationship, is your ability for a VP of sales to call you and be like, “Hey, I need an enterprise rep” and you’d be like, “Okay, I have a few people in mind” and make that conversation happen. 


I’ve been trying to get some of these recruiters on the show to talk about that but that, I mean, some of these people are making fantastic amounts of money and all they’re doing is what you were doing that led you to found Hunt Club is connecting to people. 


[0:31:41.7] NC: Totally and I also think as we think about building a decentralized world where the best talent lives in many networks and many cities and many markets, you think about the – did you ever read The Tipping Point by Gladwell? It’s a great book, Malcom Gladwell wrote it, awesome author. He basically said even the best connectors can really only manage a 150 to 200 relationships at once.


Think about a mental model, it’s a 150 to 200 people on cycling through my head at once, maybe I am using databases, but you’re really only keeping and nurturing those relationships at that level and so we think about if that’s the amount of people one really a promising recruiter can manage at once, then how are you actually accessing the global talent pool for your customers, right? 


Which is why we think about the centralized model, so if you use thousands of business leaders who are building trusted relationships with their network constantly, then you can actually get the right introduction at the right time and so we think about that a lot here. 


[0:32:38.0] RS: 150, man, you think of like all of the different Facebook friends and Twitter followers and people that you’re expected to see their lives play out before you and register that in a part of your brain, you can’t do it. You got to make some cuts. If you want to be a great recruiter, you need to break up with your college roommate I guess is what I’m getting at here.


[0:32:55.9] NC: Create some mental space for someone new. 


[0:32:58.2] RS: Yeah, exactly. Nick, this has been so fascinating talking with you. I feel like we could keep going here but we are creeping up on optimal podcast length. Normally I would ask you to kind of thread the needle here, to slide into home and offer some advice for folks but I feel like we’ve already done that in so far as telling people to reflect on what they can offer the market and how to be savvy about offering those skills in the market. 


At this point, I would just say thank you so much Nick for being a part of the podcast. I’ve loved learning from you and chatting with you today. 


[0:33:25.6] NC: Rob, appreciate the time. It was really fun and excited for Matty Hughes setting this up, he’s been awesome and a great member and teammate to Hunt Club. We’re excited to meet you and thanks for the time. 




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