The Real Bottom Line

Building Effective Teams: Insights from Erin Long Moon, CEO of Zephyr Connects

In this episode of The Real Bottom Line podcast, Wendy interviews Erin Longmoon, the founder and CEO of Zephyr Connects, a company that helps businesses build effective teams. Erin shares her journey into entrepreneurship and the importance of building a valuable company that is not dependent on the founder. She also discusses the common mistakes entrepreneurs make when hiring and provides valuable tips for onboarding new team members. Erin emphasizes the need for a partnership approach when working with a recruiter and highlights the importance of understanding your company's unique culture and core values when hiring. She also shares insights on the recruiting process and the importance of creating a positive and engaging interview experience for candidates. If you're a small business owner looking to build a strong and effective team, this episode is a must-listen!

Erin shares her personal journey into entrepreneurship and how she became the founder of Zephyr Connects. She discusses the importance of mindset and overcoming limiting beliefs as an entrepreneur. Erin also highlights the need for intentional and tactical hiring decisions, emphasizing the importance of hiring for culture fit and diversity of skills and experiences. She provides valuable insights on the onboarding process and the importance of integrating new team members into the company's culture and dynamics. Erin also discusses the role of recruiters and provides guidance on when and how to use their services. She dispels common misconceptions about recruiters and emphasizes the importance of a partnership approach when working with them. Erin concludes by sharing tips for effective interviewing and the importance of creating a positive and engaging interview experience for candidates.
  • Design a recruiting process that aligns with your company's needs and culture
  • Focus on culture fit and core values when hiring
  • Create a positive and engaging interview experience for candidates
  • Consider partnering with a recruiter for expert assistance
  • Mitigate expectations and be flexible in the hiring process


Join us for the Bottleneck to Breakthrough 5-Day Challenge, designed specifically for ambitious and growth-oriented business owners who are feeling overwhelmed and hitting revenue plateaus. In just 60 minutes a day, over the course of 5 days, we will provide you with the blueprint to go from bottleneck to breakthrough by reframing your relationship with time. This challenge will help you break through revenue plateaus, spend more time in your zone of genius, and build a more valuable business ā€“ even if you feel like you've tried everything and are time-starved. 

Join the Bottleneck to Breakthrough 5-Day Challenge. Here's what you'll learn each day:
 
Day 1: Design Your Ideal Day
  • Explore what your ideal day looks like as an entrepreneur and how to allocate your time based on entrepreneurial time rules
Day 2: Unlock Your Genius
  • Shed tasks outside your zone of genius and focus on activities that energize and fulfill you
Day 3: Master Letting Go
  • Analyze tasks and activities, determine their fit in your zone of genius, and understand the cost of holding onto them
Day 4: Leverage Your Time Blueprint
  • Build a step-by-step process to shed undesired or time-consuming activities, explore delegation in a new way, and escape business jail
Day 5: Build Momentum
  • Learn how to execute your ideal day by chunking down activities, overcoming forces of perfection, procrastination, fear, and ego, and amplifying growth drivers for your business.

Register at https://bottlenecktobreakthrough.com/

Creators & Guests

Host
Wendy Brookhouse
The Financial Planner for ambitious growth oriented Entrepreneurs
Editor
Shaun Whynacht
Iā€™m the founder of Blue Cow Marketing and father of an amazing little boy. helping other business owners overcome challenges is my passion.

What is The Real Bottom Line?

Dive into the heart of success with Wendy Brookhouse, the Ultimate Wealth Amplifier, as she delves deep into the 8 pivotal drivers of business triumph. From financial acumen to customer satisfaction, every episode unravels a new secret to achieving unparalleled success. Welcome to Season 4, where we break down the core elements that shape prosperous businesses.


  • Financial Performance

  • Growth Potential

  • The Switzerland Structure

  • The Valuation Teeter-Totter

  • Recurring Revenue

  • Monopoly of Control

  • Customer Satisfaction

  • Hub & Spoke

Title: Transcript - Sun, 12 May 2024 01:43:40 GMT
Date: Sun, 12 May 2024 01:43:40 GMT, Duration: [00:36:41.32]
[00:00:00.20] - Speaker 1
Alright.

[00:00:02.60] - Speaker 2
Hello, and welcome to the Real Bottom Line, the podcast by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs. On the show, we talk a lot about building a valuable company. And one of the key measures of value is how dependent is the business on you and the quality of your team. Our guest today, Erin Long Moon, is the founder and CEO of Zephyr Connects. And she is located in Cleveland but does business around North America. And she is the company that helps build teams. Hello and welcome, Erin.

[00:00:37.10] - Speaker 1
Thank you. Thank you for having me, Wendy. I appreciate it.

[00:00:40.39] - Speaker 2
Oh my gosh. I'm so excited. Building team is such a daunting thing.

[00:00:46.00] - Speaker 1
Yeah.

[00:00:46.60] - Speaker 2
For so many entrepreneurs. But let's talk about your journey into entrepreneurship first. Oh my god. How did you become the founder of Zephyr?

[00:00:56.29] - Speaker 1
Well, that's a long story. I this is actually my fifth my fifth venture into entrepreneurship. So I'm just kind of wired to be an entrepreneur, but this is the true, like, business. A lot of my other entrepreneurial journeys were a lot of lifestyle businesses and and things to just, you know, put food in my own mouth. This one, I decided it was time to go bigger and have a bigger impact. And it started, back in, I don't know, two thousand fourteen or so, I decided to be a business coach. And, that was my passion was working with entrepreneurs and really helping them to create systems and processes and get all of the institutional knowledge out of their head and and into a format so that they could grow. And, inevitably, what would happen is that then it would become time to hire. Like, we would we would be ready for them to start bringing in other people and then come to find out they still didn't quite because they needed people. They didn't have the time to do it, or they would make knee jerk reactions in who they hired. They just weren't really doing the best job. It's an expertise that they didn't have. Yeah. And I had gained that expertise over the years in various aspects of my career, so I started offering it as a service, you know, to my clients, and these are all small business entrepreneurs, you know, owner operated small businesses. So I started doing as a as a service, and then really the writing was on the wall about two or three years in that this is really what people needed the most, you know, that they didn't have a solid resource for. So I pivoted the company, and Zephyr was born in two thousand seventeen. So that's how we got here.

[00:02:31.80] - Speaker 2
Well and it's you know, if you think about it, unless we are hiring, hiring, hiring, how do we ever get that skill set as an entrepreneur? Right?

[00:02:40.19] - Speaker 1
Right.

[00:02:40.90] - Speaker 2
I think back. So this is a number of years ago, but, Erin, we kept hiring the same person Mhmm.

[00:02:46.69] - Speaker 1
In the

[00:02:46.90] - Speaker 2
sense that they had high sociability, high verbal reasoning. So every time we would start asking the questions, they had a really fast response. And, we had somebody who was helping us with our assessment tools. He goes, oh, that's funny. They had the almost the same profile as the last person. And you're like, we're hiring the same people.

[00:03:06.30] - Speaker 1
Same people. Yeah.

[00:03:07.19] - Speaker 2
Right? Every time because we we liked them, and they were very social. And they had all the right answers, but we but we didn't have the skills to dig past that.

[00:03:16.09] - Speaker 1
Right. Right. Right. And that is very true too. A lot of times people hire, you know, who they who they resonate with, and they see themselves in that person or they see a familiarity like, hey. You're like all of my friends or you're like all of my entrepreneurial peers. Come on board. And, you know, obviously, for some positions, that might be a good decision. Right? But for other positions, it's it's totally counter to what you really need. You know, and then it creates a team to have a lot of similarly minded and similarly skilled people, which, you know, you need diversity of mind thinking and skill sets and, and backgrounds, experiences, all of that. Yeah, exactly. So if you really want to scale or grow a business, at some point, you gotta pivot and get really serious about who are we bringing on and getting intentional and tactical about those decisions.

[00:04:07.19] - Speaker 2
Oh, I love that, Erin. You remind me of my favorite quote. If you work with a yes person, one of you is redundant.

[00:04:14.40] - Speaker 1
I love that. I've never heard that, Wendy. That is great. So true. So true.

[00:04:19.80] - Speaker 2
Oh my gosh. So now we are, like, your year

[00:04:23.39] - Speaker 1
you're almost eight. Yeah. Eight seven

[00:04:24.69] - Speaker 2
and a half. Right?

[00:04:25.50] - Speaker 1
Yeah. Seventy percent like that.

[00:04:26.89] - Speaker 2
What has been the biggest challenge about growing your business? Wow.

[00:04:31.89] - Speaker 1
So many. What's the biggest? I mean, partially my mindset. You know? I think and I

[00:04:36.50] - Speaker 2
was just about that.

[00:04:37.69] - Speaker 1
Yeah. I think entrepreneurs you know, like, my own belief system and my own limiting thoughts would get in the way of my ability to either I mean, I'm a pretty courageous person. I'm pretty wired to be courageous. I'm the person who easily would go do something a little bit extreme. So that's not really like I wasn't courageous, but my mindset about just limiting beliefs and, like, what's possible, You know, scarcity mindset things sometimes would creep in, blinders of what's you know, just just my own mind and thoughts would get in the way. You know? And so I would have you know, I and I started to recognize that because I'm pretty interested in self, like, improvement and self growth and growth mindset stuff. So, you know, it's just the writing started showing up on the wall of there's really nobody stopping our progress but but me. And so what do I have to do? You know? So I started working with a mindset coach. I started reading more books around mindset and started opening up and started realizing how powerful just my own thinking is to the actual results that we achieve. So, you know, it was an moment. It was a pivot, and I'm constantly working on it, but I would say that's had the biggest impact.

[00:05:52.80] - Speaker 2
That happen for you, Erin? Like, what year were you in? When did it and how how did that show up?

[00:05:58.60] - Speaker 1
I would say okay. So I'm it wasn't a moment. Right? Like, I I would like to say it was a single moment. It wasn't. But I would say probably around year three.

[00:06:07.10] - Speaker 2
Mhmm.

[00:06:07.39] - Speaker 1
And I think one of the reasons why it started showing up is because we we were growing. You know? Like, I went from myself. I had my first hire in twenty early twenty nineteen, had a second hire in twenty nineteen. But three years in, you know, I now have a team of eight or so people.

[00:06:21.00] - Speaker 2
Wow.

[00:06:21.50] - Speaker 1
Right? And and and all the things that come with that, having to develop those processes, having to develop culture. I had to develop as a leadership. It's like I did wake up one day and I was like, okay. I'm no longer just an entrepreneur. I am now a business owner with a team, and I am a leader. And I had to stop and kind of, you know, look at what kind of leader do I wanna be, and what do I wanna create. And it wasn't that I had, like, big problems in my business, I'll be honest. You know? Like, we I was lucky. I think I saw it before problems arose.

[00:06:54.19] - Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:06:54.60] - Speaker 1
And a lot of my dream I was just telling someone earlier today over a coffee that I had that my biggest teacher has been actually watching people do things the way that I don't wanna do them, right, versus the versus mentors of, like, showing me how I do wanna do them. And I actually think that was a really powerful teacher for me to work for different entrepreneurs who are really doing things the way I was like, that just doesn't, like, resonate with the way I would wanna do it, which is one of the reasons why I'm an entrepreneur because I just wanted to do it my way. Right? But because of that ability, I also stopped a lot and stopped myself and got, okay. How do I make sure sure we don't end up there? How do we make sure we don't end up there? Just by asking a lot of curiosity questions. And so as we grew and all of a sudden, I've got this team, we need real processes. We're actually growing, this is looking like it's a legitimate business for the first time, like, maybe this is actually gonna be something gosh. It's gonna work. It's yeah. It's this is gonna actually work. Then Then I was like, alright. I gotta buckle down and get serious, and what do I really wanna create? You know? And I think though those kind of questions is what really opened that up to the idea of, like, this is all up here. You know? Absolutely.

[00:07:59.80] - Speaker 2
On your LinkedIn description, one of the things are it was on your bio, I think, or one of the places you talked about how, to compliment what you're just saying is, like, you've really stepped into the CEO role. Right. Right? So how, you know, making that shift. So there's mindset work. But I think it's, the I think the biggest bravest thing is to realize that you can do bigger things.

[00:08:24.19] - Speaker 1
Yeah.

[00:08:24.60] - Speaker 2
You can think big. Mhmm. And I think it's a huge hurdle for a lot of entrepreneurs to cross that that, chasm, if you will.

[00:08:33.29] - Speaker 1
Right. Right. I think I see that too because I'm surrounded by entrepreneurs as I'm sure you are too, just being one yourself. And so I I totally agree, and I do think that's where a little bit of the courage comes into play and this trust that you have to have. And I I just I don't know. I made the decision, you know, early on when I was like, I wanna create a real company that has a huge impact way bigger than just my community. I want it to to really, really resonate, and and I want by the time I'm done to look back and really feel like I did, you know, and my company did something that was really powerful in its world. You know? And so because I wanted that that ability to dream big, I'm like, I'm not gonna be able to do that unless I get this company much bigger and we reach more people.

[00:09:18.89] - Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:09:19.10] - Speaker 1
So I just kinda had to let go of the fear. You know? I was like, I cannot like, I I have the fear sometimes for sure. Like, right now, I just hired two salespeople when I only was intending on one, but I love you know, they both have such strengths, and I'm like, alright. I'm gonna do both, man. This is scary because I'm investing in something I wasn't really planning, and I'm gonna just take a leap of faith. And I was like, I've got the fear, but I'm gonna do it anyway. You know? And I think that that is a huge mindset shift that I think if you really do want something bigger than just like a lifestyle business or a small company, which is totally great. I mean, I think there's such a place for that too. But if you want something bigger, you gotta be able to to let go of that and do things in spite of in spite of that fear.

[00:10:04.20] - Speaker 2
And, you know, there are lifestyle businesses and people who have just replaced the work with the with the company and the growth company like yourself. And, you know, it it's there's no right way. It's gotta be what what's right for you. It's not

[00:10:17.00] - Speaker 1
Hundred percent.

[00:10:17.70] - Speaker 2
What should you be as a business owner, and how big should it be?

[00:10:21.00] - Speaker 1
Right. Right. I I definitely agree with that. I definitely agree with that. And I don't know when I made the decision, honestly, between you and me that I was like, I want this to be way bigger than than just my backyard.

[00:10:32.89] - Speaker 2
But And you since you were little and you have no control over it.

[00:10:36.10] - Speaker 1
That's probably find your I totally agree. I I mean, that that is the way I have lived my life for sure. Big and big and bold. I mean, definitely.

[00:10:44.00] - Speaker 2
Oh, big and bold. I love that. I love that. Yeah. That is such an interesting part of your journey. I really appreciate you sharing that. I'd like to dig into a little bit on the side of because you're recruiting. You're helping build team for small companies. Mhmm. What do you see? What are the biggest mistakes that companies, small companies like owner managed enterprises are making when they're hiring? Well, one of the biggest ones,

[00:11:09.10] - Speaker 1
the one you touched upon. That is it's hiring mini mes. You know? Like, people who you're like, yeah. We had a great conversation. You know, we talked all about our hobbies, and we really resonated. And and just hiring someone that you like without really doing the vetting due diligence and and being intentional, that is that is definitely one of the first ones I see, especially with Earl like, entrepreneurs who are making their first, second, third hires. Right. You know, when they're kind of small, it's the first real venture that they have. Hiring friends, hiring family members, unless it's a family unless it's intended to be a family run business, but just like I'm gonna hire my cousin because my cousin needs a job and sure, that, unfortunately, that can really, really backfire. It is so many levels. On so many levels. Right? It's so rare that it works out. So the ones that I see the the entrepreneurs I see that really build strong, effective teams have drawn the line in the sand on that. You know? And they're really clear about that. So that's a big hiring mistake too. And it's really common to do as your first few hires because you don't know how to hire. You know? You

[00:12:14.29] - Speaker 2
You go to what you know.

[00:12:15.50] - Speaker 1
You don't yeah. Yeah. And I think that's the other thing is, honestly, giving yourself grace, learning who's the right employee for your company takes time. It takes mistakes. It takes error. So just be okay if you make hiring mistakes. You know, be okay if that person that you first hired ended up being an, unfortunately, like, not the greatest employee. Maybe they sucked a lot of your time, maybe whatever it was. It that's okay. Just just put your boot you know, pull your boots back up and and do it again and do it again. And every single time learn something new about why that person wasn't the right hire. And I think that's the other mistake I see is people will make a mishire right out of the gate, and it stops them from ever wanting to do it again.

[00:13:01.29] - Speaker 2
Agreed.

[00:13:02.10] - Speaker 1
Right? And that is such a shame. That's such a shame. So

[00:13:05.89] - Speaker 2
Yes. So it's not really a mistake. It's just part of your learning curve Yeah. To be a good boss and a good builder of team.

[00:13:14.89] - Speaker 1
Yeah. Exactly. Yeah. And it could take you fifteen times, You know? But just trust that every time you're getting it, you're gonna get better and better and better. Right?

[00:13:22.79] - Speaker 2
You're sitting sort of the right person's next. Yeah.

[00:13:25.70] - Speaker 1
Yep. Yep.

[00:13:27.20] - Speaker 2
Oh my gosh. That's funny. Okay. Best onboarding tips. Because I feel like you can hire the right person, but if you don't integrate them, you you might you might not get as much out of that person as you could.

[00:13:39.39] - Speaker 1
Yes. And I think one of the things I'm so excited about this question is that there's more research coming out. And don't ask me to cite data, please, because I don't have the numbers. But there is research coming out about this that I've been believing in a long for a long time is that we forget about the social emotional onboarding

[00:13:57.20] - Speaker 2
of

[00:13:57.39] - Speaker 1
our employees. We think more about what are the tasks they're gonna do, what software do do they need to learn, you know, what are the KPIs? Maybe if you have KPIs that they're gonna be measuring it, what are the expectations? And those are critical. You don't wanna onboard team members without those things. Mhmm. But often I see we're missing the most is the boat on the social emotion emotional side. So how are you integrating them into your culture? How are you integrating them into the team dynamics that have developed? How are you sharing? Like, you know, I'm a very specific type of leader, you know, and I wanna onboard my team and my new team members to understand who and how I am wired as a leader so that we can work well together. Think about how are you how is the best way to communicate?

[00:14:43.10] - Speaker 2
Mhmm. You

[00:14:43.39] - Speaker 1
know, are you the type of person where I need to just get to the point, or do you want me to stop and say, how was your weekend? And tell me a little about your family and or are you just like, I don't wanna spend you know, that's a waste of my time. Let's just get to the point. I wanna move on. You know? It's like learning those social and emotional and communication components are often not intentional in the onboarding, like, you know, journey that's created. They're forgotten components, and so it's really important to do that.

[00:15:12.10] - Speaker 2
Do you find it's even more challenging with more work from home or hybrid work?

[00:15:17.60] - Speaker 1
Well, I mean, I'm a fully virtual company, so it it's yes. I'm sure it is. You know, you can't just grab somebody and go run out for that coffee, and let's just chat together. But it doesn't have to be a lot harder. It just has to have more intention around it, and it has to be built in with that intention. Don't just assume that that new hire who's now sitting in their home office with no connection to the rest of your team is gonna be the one to reach out and say, hey. You know, I'm new here. I'd like to get to know you. Let's hop on a Zoom call. You need to make sure that your people on your team intentionally reach out. Like, you're gonna meet with them on Tuesday at three, and can you meet with them on, you know, Friday at one? And can you have lunch with them next week on Monday? Right. You know, plan it in. And because especially in virtual, you gotta think about, okay. They're home all by themselves. You know? Right? Right. Unless they're in a meeting. And so you wanna make sure not only is it clear what they should be doing in that time, but also that people are reaching out. You know? One of the things that we really, we try to recommend to our clients is a buddy system. I don't know if, you know, if you've heard that term, but

[00:16:27.20] - Speaker 2
it's, like,

[00:16:28.00] - Speaker 1
take so assign a buddy. Take somebody in your company. It should be it should be something they wanna do. This person in your company, so you don't wanna force it on someone who doesn't wanna do it. But ask somebody to volunteer to be a buddy for the new hire. And that buddy is sort of like their, you know, kind of the person that they can go to for all of their questions even if they're the kind of embarrassing questions. Like, one of the one of the examples I often give is, you know, for some companies, like, if you need to go to the restroom in the middle of a team meeting, that's okay. You can go do that. Just tell people. Be right back. Other companies, unacceptable. But these aren't necessarily in the employee handbook. Right? Like, these are cultural things. So it's like the norms. Yeah. So it's like have a buddy that you assigned to your new hire, have them be with them for the first two, three months, and their job is to integrate them into the culture, to teach them those, like, those sort of unknown or unspoken expectations, you know, talk about the different people. They can be the ones like, hey, you know, when you interact with this person, they're all about like house plants, bring up house plants and you'll never shut them up. Or, you know, it's like the one that that is that is their social their social connection to the rest of the team and to the culture. It's a really effective method.

[00:17:45.59] - Speaker 2
Oh, awesome. So recruiters, it it, what type of roles? When should I use one? You know, talk to me a bit about that. Like, is it for all my hires? Is it a specific kind of hire I should consider using a recruiter for? Like

[00:18:02.20] - Speaker 1
Right.

[00:18:02.59] - Speaker 2
Now let's let's cut through and give some clarity around the whole thing.

[00:18:06.50] - Speaker 1
Yeah. Yeah. Yeah. And that's the the the top level answer is it depends.

[00:18:10.20] - Speaker 2
It depends so much. Right?

[00:18:12.09] - Speaker 1
Of course, it does. Depends on how big your company is. It depends on your needs. You know? There's traditional recruiting services, which are are, usually that like, you hear the thirty, twenty, thirty percent of the annual salary. Very it could be an expensive venture to to do that kind of recruiting. And so in those cases, if you were gonna use traditional recruiter, you know, I think you wanna reserve them for more manager level because that's really quite an investment. The type of recruiting we do is very different. We're flat fee recruiting. It isn't based on salary. And so we try to be a more affordable solution for small businesses. Like I said, I designed this whole business around recruiting for small businesses. And, you know, our clients typically, we get we have the ones who are, like, help me with my first hire. I just don't know what I'm doing. I'm a little bit worried. I wanna get it right, and then they won't hire again for years. That's totally fine. But we also have clients who are growing. They wanna add, you know, three to five people per year. They're not doing big numbers like an Amazon or something. Right? They're but but that's big for them, and they're scaling the business. And so in those cases, we can do all positions for them. Doesn't matter. It can be labor on up to senior management up to c level, and it can be, all industries as well, and we've just become the recruiting department because they they warrant that. Right? Like, they're they've got enough activity. They don't warrant a full time recruiter in house, but they but they warrant a partner that knows their culture, understands their core values, knows the kind of people who are gonna fit into that piece as well as can find the ones with the skills and all that. So that's our main focus is culture fit recruiting.

[00:19:55.90] - Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:19:57.20] - Speaker 1
So, you know, it does I think part of it too is assessing what skill set do you have, you know, mister and missus entrepreneur. How critical is that particular role going to be if it if you don't get it right? Like, is that gonna cost you a lot of time, money, possibly customers, possibly coworkers? Then if that's a really critical hire, then you wanna probably use an expert to help you get it done right.

[00:20:19.29] - Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:20:19.50] - Speaker 1
The other piece, honestly, is time. Like, you know, for our clients, they tend to come to us because, you know, anecdotally, it takes about sixty to eighty hours to fill one position.

[00:20:29.50] - Speaker 2
No way.

[00:20:30.29] - Speaker 1
Yeah. It's crazy how much time it can take. Right? Especially if you wanna do it right and you're not just knee jerking, hiring the first person with a good resume, but you wanna get it right.

[00:20:39.20] - Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:20:39.50] - Speaker 1
It it's crazy. And the amount of times that people don't show up to interviews or they you know, it just it's such a time time waster. So if you're also just extremely busy and even if you have a decent hiring process, but you're like, I cannot fit this in. I've got too much going on, too many balls in the air. Everyone on my team is busy. That's another time to consider outsourcing. You know? So there's a that's what I mean by it depends. Right? There's just so many different layers. It just there there's so many factors into making that decision.

[00:21:10.50] - Speaker 2
I love I love fat flat fee. It just, I think it makes so much sense

[00:21:15.00] - Speaker 1
Mhmm.

[00:21:16.40] - Speaker 2
Today because it's not like in the past, I think, where you had to spend so much probably even more time trying to find the right candidates because you didn't have LinkedIn and other places where they're all hanging out.

[00:21:27.79] - Speaker 1
Right. That is true. That is very true. It took a lot more time. I also think that for small businesses, this model is better. Mhmm.

[00:21:35.50] - Speaker 2
You

[00:21:35.70] - Speaker 1
know, for larger companies, you know, it it maybe that other model works just fine. But one of the reasons why it's so high priced is, you know, traditional recruiters are using a contingent model where you only have to pay if you fill the role, which sounds great, you know, on one level. But what ends up happening is that recruiter is probably trying to fill thirty roles, and they'll be lucky if they fill four of them. So those four people are the ones covering the cost of the work of the other twenty six that they're trying to fill. Right? And that's why it just doesn't work for small businesses.

[00:22:08.70] - Speaker 2
And it probably it probably adds that veneer of, wow, if I I have to get somebody whether they're right or not completely right or not because I need to get that trigger that payment.

[00:22:18.40] - Speaker 1
Yeah. Exactly. Exactly. The if there's an intrinsic, like, push for fill the role as fast as possible, that's what the motivation is for that recruiter, which I you know, there's no blame here. That's just the way the model is set up. Yeah. Whereas when you can do flat fee, like, with us, we're exclusive. You're only gonna work with us. We're gonna be your recruiter. We're gonna work with you until we find you the right fit for that flat fee. You're just you're paying for the service, and so we're far more committed to the quality person that we're trying to find you, that culture fit and all those pieces because we're not driven by this need to get paid if we don't fill the role. Right? It's just a really different really different model, really different energy behind it, and a different motivation behind it.

[00:23:01.00] - Speaker 2
What do you think is the biggest misconception about About recruiting recruiter like yourself?

[00:23:07.00] - Speaker 1
Oh, that's a really good question. I mean, obviously, for me, it would be that we're really expensive. You know? And that's what's tough. I mean, we're disruptors. We're trying to change that.

[00:23:16.79] - Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:23:17.40] - Speaker 1
Because recruiters are and can be very expensive.

[00:23:20.50] - Speaker 2
Mhmm.

[00:23:21.29] - Speaker 1
And we're, you know, we're a fraction of the cost compared to others, and I just so that's a shame. I think the other one, honestly, they have a very used car salesman kind of reputation, at least here in the States. I don't know about Nova Scotia, but they do here, which is very unfortunate. But, you know, that they don't really care. Again, they're about numbers. They're about fill the real fast. I don't really care who it is. Just how can I get you the best deal? And that's a shame too. You know? There are alternatives of recruiting firms that care about you, care about who you you know, they bring into your organization. You know, they they were much more mission driven mission driven than transaction driven. And so I think that's a misconception, but it but it's it's an earned misconception, unfortunately. The industry has earned that misconception because of that model that it was built on from the start, the contingent model. So it's a

[00:24:13.09] - Speaker 2
Oh, interesting.

[00:24:13.59] - Speaker 1
Shame. It's a shame.

[00:24:14.59] - Speaker 2
I think I think in Nova Scotia, most of the players the big players here are very mission driven as well. It's just they have a different price. They just they're doing the contingency model for the

[00:24:24.59] - Speaker 1
most part. Right? Yeah. Yeah. Which is just doesn't quite work for small businesses, right, who've got tight budgets. And

[00:24:32.90] - Speaker 2
So let's say I did hire a recruiter, Erin. What does that look like? How does it like, what what am I responsible for? What are you responsible for? How does that engagement roll out?

[00:24:43.90] - Speaker 1
Yeah. So we take a partnership approach, and that to me you know, if you are a small business owner and you are thinking about working with a recruiter, I would really lean into that with whatever recruiter you try to work with is that you're in partnership. No recruiter can truly in, you know, like, a one hour meeting with you understand your needs and then go find them. So there needs to be clarity about who you're looking for. You know? And if you aren't totally clear, a good recruiter should help you by asking the right questions to get that clarity. But but before they go work, there should be a lot of clarity on who it is you're looking for, what, you know, what those tasks are. All the details of the job description should be figured out, but you should also be able to articulate your core values. You should be able to really articulate and understand your culture. You, you know, need to you need to know your business really well. And, again, even if you've never had articulate before, if somebody asks you the right questions, you should be able to, you know, answer those questions. And then the in terms of the engagement, like, I mean by partnership, like, a good recruiter is probably gonna say, you know, here's here's person a or candidate b. I don't necessarily recommend them. What I want from you is feedback. Put your eyes on them. Watch my interview. Give me feedback so that I can fine tune who we're looking for. Because the truth is is no matter how much you think about it ahead of time, who you're looking for

[00:26:07.20] - Speaker 2
Yeah.

[00:26:07.50] - Speaker 1
As you start to see actual people, you start to realize, oh, wait. I did want that or, oh, wait. I don't want that. Like, you start to fine tune. So be willing. That's what I mean by partner. So, like, be willing to give constant feedback to the recruiters so that they can continue to refine and refine and refine who they're looking for. And don't be afraid of that and, you know, have that clarity with them and then and also just the expectation. One of the expectations I think is critically important that is different than a lot of industries is recruiters can't create human beings. Right? So Okay. Right so we can't I can't take, let's say, a bookkeeper that we're trying to fill a role for for one of our clients, for example. I can't take this candidate pool, and I can pick the best and the strongest for your role. But if they're missing a tool or they're missing something, I can't make them do that. Like, I can't, you know, refine them like you can a product or, you know, I think about in construction. If if the if the cabinet is hanging crooked, they can go fix it. We can't do that. Right? Like, we're dealing with humans. So it's also mitigating expectations on what a recruiter can do and who a recruiter can bring. So things like trying to find a unicorn, you can't expect a recruiter to do a great job finding a unicorn because unicorns just kinda don't exist. Right? So you gotta be willing to be a little bit flexible. You gotta be willing to understand that what we're doing is we've got a thousand maybe candidates in your city that qualify. We're gonna narrow them down to your culture. And so that narrows it down to literally, like, maybe ten because Right. You have a unique culture. Not everybody's gonna fear a culture. And so you gotta be willing to work with what you got, you know, because the candidate pool is the candidate pool. There's not a lot we can do about that. Does that make sense? So it's like mitigating and understanding expectations.

[00:27:56.59] - Speaker 2
Your your culture comments are bang on and about the fit. I think I, I moderated a leadership panel with two hugely successful CEOs. Mhmm. And their styles couldn't have been more different. One of them was like, we consult everybody. When we hire someone, they actually interview with almost everybody in the organization, etcetera. And the other guy was like, well, really, I tell them what to do, and then they just go do it. Like, because I you know, I'm not gonna micromanage or, you know, there's no check ins.

[00:28:26.79] - Speaker 1
Right.

[00:28:27.20] - Speaker 2
Vastly different, both extremely successful. Right. But you'd want what you you want collaborative versus go off and do their own thing. You know what I mean? Like, the Yep. The style of the employee would have to be different to be successful in those models.

[00:28:41.59] - Speaker 1
Yeah. And that's what we call your unique fit employer, your unique fit employee avatar. Okay. So that's like a mouthful. But that is exactly right. Like, who's gonna be successful in what we call, like, a player or a top talent, which are phrases I don't really like. But if somebody can be an a player at your company, but, you know and let's say you're a bookkeeping company, for example. We use that example before. They might be an a player because they fit your culture and they fit your leadership style and and the goals and and your processes and everything, but they could end up being a c player at a at another bookkeeping firm because they don't. It it you've got a unique culture. You have a unique business, and you need people who are gonna resonate and work well in that culture. So they're your unique fit employee, and that's who you wanna look for. You know? And that that takes expertise. It takes focus. It takes an understanding. Yes. Attention, all those things. So

[00:29:35.50] - Speaker 2
It all comes down to, you know, who not how sometimes. Hiring Right. Having teasing you as a team member. Yeah. Question. Yeah. I put together a job description. Mhmm. And I price it completely wrong. Yeah. Like, do you provide, some sort of feedback and guidance as to what an a player in this level and will will cost us?

[00:29:58.59] - Speaker 1
Yes. Yes. We do salary research as a part of our process. We have two, three phases technically to our process, and the first one is really like a strategy phase. So once we learn everything we need to know about the position and we've learned everything we need to know about the company, we even interview our clients' employees so that we can understand from that 03:60 point of view what it's like to work there, what is your culture from everyone's perspective. Yep. Then we do then we start doing research. And we've got competitive you know, a lot of recruiters have access to competitive analysis and data. So we actually back our strategies with data. How many applicants are in your area actively seeking today? How many companies are actively trying to find these people today? So how competitive is it? You know, we come up with a profile of who we're looking for, salary research. Like, we just do a lot of data driven points. Then what we do and this is, I think, a really key point too I like to share is then we think about it from a marketing perspective. Recruiting is not HR. I know that so many people are gonna

[00:30:58.90] - Speaker 2
put back

[00:30:59.40] - Speaker 1
on me. Recruiting is marketing and sales. It's marketing and sales. So you use marketing techniques to attract the right kind of candidates. It isn't about quantity. It is about quality. You want people again who are gonna resonate with your culture. So the PC you put out there, the job post

[00:31:17.40] - Speaker 2
Yes.

[00:31:17.90] - Speaker 1
Needs to speak to your target audience. Your target audience is not necessarily every bookkeeper in your city. Your target audience is the bookkeeper that'll fit your culture. So you need the job post to reflect that, to talk to them, to talk directly to

[00:31:31.09] - Speaker 2
you. Screen out too.

[00:31:32.59] - Speaker 1
Exactly. It helps you screen out people who will just be a waste of time. So you gotta tell stories in it. You know, it's like, you gotta think about it from a marketing How do I attract the right candidates to my job? Then once they're in front of you and you're talking to them about your job now, it becomes a sales conversation and not the buy my job because that's not a good sales tactic. I'm talking about the more consultative sale, like, do we have what you need to flourish and to thrive? And do you have what we need to flourish and thrive? Like, is it a good partnership? Is it a good match? Yeah. That's what you wanna try to uncover. So when I say sales, it's not like trying to convince someone to take your job. It's learning from each other. Do we have what each other needs? What are our pain points? And can I can I support you and help you with yours? Can you help and support me with mine? You know, that's the sales conversation that I'm talking about.

[00:32:27.29] - Speaker 2
So interesting. Erin, is there anything else I haven't asked you about the industry, your business, the very active recruiting that you think is important for small business owners?

[00:32:39.09] - Speaker 1
You're putting me on the spot, Wendy. Alright. Let me think for just a second. I know, and that's good. I love great interviewers. Thank you. Let me think. I think okay. This is one that I think a lot of, people, especially if you're gonna do it yourself, which is fine, miss in interviewing is spend first of, spend some time coming up with an actual recruiting process. Think about it. It is a process in your business that you should design and you should craft and curate and and have intention behind. So that's one. Then bring it down to now you've got the interview as a part of that process. What is it you're really trying to uncover? And a lot of entrepreneurs, of course, focus on those skills and the talent and the experience. But what, again, they're forgetting is that culture piece, core values. Like, what are the core values that drive that candidate? Well, let me tell you. You ask them that question, and they're gonna look at you blankly. They don't they don't stop and do core values exercises like businesses do. They don't know. So what you have to learn is how do you ask the right questions in that interview to pull out and to tease out what truly are their core values. They may not be able to articulate them, but we all have them. We all live by them. So how do you, in an interview, help a candidate under like, how do you tease out what they are? So spend time educating yourself on the kinds of questions to ask. And one of the things that I really I mean, this is one of our soap boxes here at Zephyr is throw out the interrogative style of interviewing. It it it it scares people. It shuts them down. They feel unsafe. It's like, don't make them have to back up who they are. Do it from a, I am so curious about you. I cannot wait to learn about you. Tell me everything about you. When you come in from that perspective, then people open up. They feel excited about interviewing with you, and they tend to be more honest and truthful and transparent about who they are than if, you know, you're sitting there, like, interrogating them, which is kind of like the old

[00:34:44.19] - Speaker 2
What are your weaknesses?

[00:34:45.59] - Speaker 1
Yeah. What are your weaknesses? How do you know what I did yeah. Like, prove to me that you did what you say you did at the other job. And, you know, it's just like, what would so and so say about you if I called them today? That's a a common one that's in a book that a lot of people read, and I won't name the book, but it's like, yeah. If I called your supervisor from this job, what exactly would they tell me? You know? What would they tell me that you did wrong? Like, tell me. Tell me. And you're just like, shine a light on me and tell me what I did. You know? It's it's like you're they're guilty. They're guilty before you even get to know them. Right? Like, they're guilty of being a bad employee. They're guilty of whatever that you think they're guilty of. And when you come across that way, you peep first of, they're just gonna say what they think you wanna hear, you know, because they're just trying to protect themselves. So learn how to do and learn how to interview, I think, would be the other How

[00:35:36.30] - Speaker 2
do people get ahold of you, Erin?

[00:35:38.40] - Speaker 1
Number of ways. So we do have a website, Zephyr connects dot com, and it's z e p h y r. And it's a not a common word, so I do try to spell it out. So it's Zephyr connects, which Zephyr means a gentle breeze in case anybody is does not know. They can call us. So our number is eight hundred I gotta look at it because I don't know off the top of my head. 02:04 six nine five eight. We do serve Canada and and America. You did mention North America. We do serve the US and Canada, so that number works in both both, countries. They can also email me, which is aaron, e r I n, at zephyr connects dot com. And, of course, I'm on LinkedIn. I am probably the only Erin Longmoon in the world, so it's super easy to just Google my name and you will find me. That's one of my benefits of my very unusual name.

[00:36:26.19] - Speaker 2
Thank you so much for sharing so much of your wisdom here today. And I think the real bottom line here is recruiting is actually a sales and marketing exercise, and you can outsource it.

[00:36:37.19] - Speaker 1
Yes.

[00:36:37.59] - Speaker 2
Thanks so much, Erin.

[00:36:38.69] - Speaker 1
Thank you, Wendy.