Hiring talent by leading with culture

Latest Newns

Everyone asks me what my secret is when it comes to keeping a stable staff; as they all seem to be operating in a constant revolving door of talent (and team members).  

Hiring isn’t easy. 

The time involved and overall process can be frustrating, painful, and overwhelming. Especially when you find yourself continually hiring for the same positions over and over again. 

Think about the time investment it takes to train new people.  Studies show that if you lose a trained “A” player on your team, the cost can be equivalent to 1 to 2.5X their annual salary…

What is the real opportunity cost for you and your business when you hire the wrong people or lose a key team member?

Here’s the good news… 

There are ways to avoid riding this carousel of constant turn-over. 

Here are a few of my secrets when it comes to hiring “A” players and building a high-performing team.

First things first. 

Where are the people you’re looking for? 

I’ve discovered the people you need most are not necessarily advertising themselves or looking for a new job. 

So instead of fishing in the same pond (blue ocean vs. the red ocean), and using the same fishing pole that everybody defaults to, try this simple and effective approach I’ve been using for years. 

I developed this strategy from the Dream 100 idea (just modified it to attract talent instead of clients)

Using LinkedIn, I ask my team to start looking for people who fit the criteria I’m looking for. 

They search profiles for certain people who live in particular areas, work for certain companies, and have the target job title I’m looking for. 

My team then compiles a potential target list of people they like or that look interesting that fall within that criteria I’ve outlined. Again, this list is compiled of people who aren’t looking for a job. 

We then send out a quick message to connect and once they connect, we send each person on the list the following message: 

“Hi, my name is david asarnow. I’m the Founder and CEO of a marketing and sales empowerment agency called Business Nitrogen and I’m looking for a [insert job title]. Someone who possesses the [insert a few of the traits/skill sets/talents required for position]. 

I’m reaching out to see if you happen to know anyone who might be interested in a role like this. I ran across your profile and saw how many great connections you have within the industry. 

Please let me know if you happen to know anyone or can think of anyone that might be a right fit for this position I’m trying to fill. I would very much appreciate it, thank you!” 

Just guess what happens next… 

Many times people respond back with, “Tell me more about this position, as I actually might be interested.” 

See what I did there? We don’t ask them directly. We ask them if they know anyone else that might be a right fit. 

If they aren’t interested, oftentimes people will reply back with potential candidates and referrals (which is also a winning step in the right direction). 

Some of the best talent comes from referrals. You never know where referrals can come from, so never be afraid to ask…

My next big secret is pretty simple, and it’s something anyone can do. 

I’m always looking for talent. No matter where I am, no matter who I meet I’m always thinking, “Would they be a right fit for Business Nitrogen?”

I’ll give you an example.  I was recently at an event, and met a contractor named Josh who happened to be there with one of his clients.  

I ended up having a few great conversations with Josh and on the last day I made a comment to him, “I like you, I can see how talented you are in this area. If you ever decide that you don’t want to be a lone wolf anymore, and you’d like to be part of a team of superheroes let me know!”

He responded with, “I appreciate that, but I’m pretty happy with what I’m doing.” 

Ironically, a few months later I ran into Josh’s client at another event. One of those mornings we met for breakfast and he said, “You know Josh has brought you up more than a few times, and the comment you made to him. I think he may be interested in working for you.”  

I said, “Well, if that’s truly the case, tell him to reach out to me, he has my contact info.” 

A few days later Josh reached out, and we ended up bringing him on board with us!

Again, it doesn’t matter where I am. My radar is always “ON”. I could be at a restaurant, an event, or a general store. If someone impresses me, or gives outstanding service, I ask myself, “Would they be a good fit within my company?” 

It probably helps a bit that I’m pretty spot on when it comes to identifying great talent, however, I always follow this golden rule 100% of the time. I’m sure you’ve even heard it before…

Hire slow, fire fast. 

Our hiring process is quite extensive. We put candidates through multiple interviews. They are given exercises to complete, and we also give them a culture index to take. 

For us the first interview is the most important. It’s our culture fit interview. We do this one first because if a candidate is not aligned with our culture there is no need to go any further in the process. 

There are a lot of candidates out there that have all the right experience, and skill set or qualifications, but

 “Are they a great culture fit?”

When I add someone to my team, my hope is that this is the last job they ever have, and I convey that to them. 

Again, taking the time to hire someone to become part of your team pays dividends in the end, and most Entrepreneurs go about the process too impulsively and quickly simply because they want to get it over with.

 Another big secret I learned early on in my career that indirectly relates to good hiring practice is: 

Become the person everyone wants to work for!

The truth is, we all have things that happen in our life.  In order to grow as human beings, some of the hard questions we really must ask ourselves are,

       “Where’s the lesson in this?” 


  “Am I going to learn from those lessons and improve as a human or not?” 

Many years ago when I first started this new division in a manufacturing company I was working for, I remember going to a conference with the marketing manager who was working with me to help build the vision. Her name was Pat. 

She was much older than me, and she was someone I really respected. She later became almost like a work mom to me (always looking out for me), and that all began when we were getting ready to step off the bus to get to the SeaWorld Renaissance Hotel entrance (where we were staying during the conference).

She leaned over to me and said, “Can I ask you something?” I said, “Sure.” She point blank asked me, “Why are you such an #&@ hole?”  

I said, “Excuse me?!” She then said, “You’re just so pompous. You think you are better than everyone else.”  

I was stunned. Again, she was someone I really respected, so I asked her if we could sit down and talk more about it. 

It turned out to be an awakening for me. 

Not only did I realize how I wasn’t showing up the way I thought I was, I was made aware of exactly how other people perceived me showing up. It was hard to swallow, but I took it on as a challenge. 

I made a vow to myself to turn it around completely. To become the person everyone in the company wanted to work for. 

In less than a year, I became that person everyone in the company wanted to work for. 

All the most talented employees working there wanted to be on my team, which made our division even more successful and profitable. 

That one conversation with Pat ended up being a pivotal moment in my life… A real learning opportunity for me. 

Don’t push those opportunities away. Embrace them. You never know what lessons you can learn from them, that could change your life forever. 

Speaking too of opportunity lost… 

Don’t discount the “Intrapreneur”. 

Just because someone wasn’t good at being an Entrepreneur, or may not want the responsibility of going it alone, or prefers to work with a team, doesn’t mean they wouldn’t make one of the best people you could ever have on your team. 

When I worked in corporate America (and looking back now), I was definitely an Intrapreneur. I treated that company as if it was my own. I operated and made decisions “as if” it was my own company. 

This ultimately empowered me to make better business decisions. 

I always look for people with those qualities, as they become invaluable assets within my team and culture.  

In many cases, they are incredible drivers that propel the business forward exponentially. 

Hiring and retaining high-performing teams is a skill that has taken me decades to perfect. I hope these tips are as helpful to you as they have been for me in building a high-performing team of “A” players.

P.S. As you learned from this newsletter, recruitment and Hiring is the #1 Entrepreneurial Blind Spot which is why most avoid it like the plague… 

Let’s face it, the entire process can be utterly frustrating & time consuming, AND often results in attracting and hiring the WRONG talent for your team and/or business. 

But what if ALL the heavy-lifting was done for you, and you were only handed the highest qualified candidates that checked every box you were looking for? 

Direct message me with “Help me hire” to see if Nitrogen Hiring Network™ could be your talent recruitment solution

To your success, 


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