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What keeps you awake at night?

I'm always looking for ways to change how tech companies think about recruiting. It's an eye-opener to speak with a CEO who thinks he can build a world-class company with a few of his friends. The experience of seeing a client go from $2 million in revenue to NASDAQ in 3 years showed me what recruiting can do. The experience was lucrative, but the education was priceless. It was a case study on getting ROI from recruiting. Sometimes I feel like Chris Columbus... trying to convince people that the world is round when they want to believe otherwise.

What advice do you have for start-ups?

Act your age. All too often, young companies follow the lead of mature companies when it comes to staffing. Multi-million dollar companies have the luxuries of time and money. They can get by on mediocre talent. But, new teams can't afford average performers. It's one thing to add one person to a 500-person company, and quite another to hire employee #16. Don't compromise on early hires - they set the bar for the rest of your recruits. With LinkedIn, Facebook and Twitter, everyone now sees all the talent in the pool. But, this transparency also shows how shallow the pool is. If you want to hire the best people, you will have to compete for them.

What's the biggest mistake young companies make?

I can recall a supply chain start-up with a brilliant dev team. These guys were saving their one client nearly $300 million/year. Yet, they couldn't land a second client. Their headcount ratio of R&D to Sales was nearly 30-1! The founders truly believed their 'baby' was beautiful. So, they saw selling as a necessary evil. The CEO insisted that one sales rep was enough, while I tried to convince them that a tandem learns twice as fast. They had been burned from hiring good reps from brand name companies. No one had told them that making quota for IBM or SAP is very different from doing so with a start-up. If you accept the 80/20 rule, then you know that 4 out 5 reps don't cut it. But, selling to early adopters makes these odds even worse.

What keeps you going?

I've always had a passion for understanding human potential. As a kid, I had a knack for picking the best teams in the schoolyard. By university, I was addicted to baseball and hockey fantasy pools. I loved predicting performance with spreadsheets based on genetics, historical stats, teams, even ballparks. Then, studying Organizational Psych showed me that recruitment is the root of all success. Nowadays, I love teaching my team and clients to truly 'see' talent. First we block out the noise and misconceptions. Then, we shed light on the signals that really matter. Once you can 'see' talent, you're changed forever.

To find the right combination of skill set and values is always a challenge. It takes a trusted recruiting partner that really knows your business.

For several years I have counted on The Laudi Group to build world class organizations with me. I have seen this team work in Mexico City, Los Angeles, Boston and points in between. They can headhunt with the best.

Edward Murphy, CEO and President
TVR Communications

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