Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Cameron Herold - Hiring and People Management

I recently attended a day and a half seminar by Cameron Herold, a successful entrepreneur and former COO of 1800-Got-Junk? which grew from $2m to $106m in annual revenue during Cameron's time as COO. Cameron covered a whole range of different areas of entrepreneurial life. In particular, I took a lot of ideas away on hiring and retaining top people and thought I'd share my notes on this blog:

Hiring process -
1. Need to define exactly what you're looking for, be very specific about it.
2. Craft the job description so that it's very specific about what you're looking for.
3. Define interview questions that help you identify whether the candidate has the specific skills you're looking for. Find other creative ways to do this Eg. look at the cleanliness of their car to understand attention to detail.
4. Statements - when candidates arrive in your office it needs to make a statement aligning with your vision. "I can feel the energy". "I understand what this place is about".
5. You need to be poaching people - it's the best way to find the best people.
6. Conduct group interviews for cultural fit. Group interviews are a great way to see how people interact with others. Suggested group interview questions - pick someone else at the table and sell me on hiring them. (You want them to pick the best person and sell well. You don't want the political person selecting the weakest candidate). How much money do you need to make this year, how much money do you want to make 3 years out?


  • Group interviews - cultural fit comes through
  • Ask 'Why' a lot
  • Focus on the gaps between jobs
  • Ask questions that get you names of people they've worked with
  • Ask for contact details to conduct reference checks on the names they've mentioned in interviews
  • When conducting reference checks - keep pushing to get the dirt on those you're reference checking

Job applications:
Auto response -
1. Please read this painted picture (more on this in a later blog post)
2. Please read this article about us in the media
3. If we're a company you want to work with hit reply with "Interview Me" in the subject line and we'll get you in a for a group interview. This process helps cull people who don't like your vision or who can't follow a simple instruction to reply to this email.

Need ~200 resumes per job. Develop a process for getting these.

When writing a job description, write their scorecard a few years out. Bring that back to today into a job description.
Scorecard = what they're going to achieve. Ideally hire someone who's done that before.

Low Results, Low Values = off the bus
High Results, High Values = handcuff them to the bus. This will be different for everyone - simply find out what they want and give it to them.
Low Results, High Values = move them into the right seat
High Results, Low Values = off the bus

Top 3 traits in Shoes of Prey team members:

  • Happy and enjoy making other people happy
  • Tenacity/Scrappy in achieving their goals
  • Collaborative
Ensure we're interviewing correctly to find these people.


  1. These are useful notes Michael, thank you.

    You've said above 'Ask why a lot' - whilst the underlying intent here is awesome in an interview, there is a danger that asking 'why' repeatedly can feel like a very aggressive interview technique from the candidates' side;. This might not be the right 'culture' you want to communicate, and may not get the most out of the candidate.

    At previous employers I was advised to avoid 'why' question for this reason. Instead, get to the 'why' but with a more nuanced approach like 'what was the reason for doing that', 'can you explain the rationale' and so on. The idea is that it feels less aggressive and demonstrates more active listening on the interviewer's part.

  2. Michael, very timely post for me. Helps with thinking through my recruitment process. Thanks for the post.