Ruckus | Slingshot: Discovering Excellent Talent with Estelle Reardon + Anish Shah

Estelle Reardon and Anish Shah sit down and talk about their organizations, Slingshot and Ruckus. Slingshot’s goal is to match startups with tech prodigies and is of the ethos that talent, not education or age, should dictate access to opportunity. Estelle and Anish discuss what makes the best hires for startups and why exceptional talent is not just found in good schools and big-shot companies. 

Watch the Full Conversation


  • 00:34 – The founding stories of Slingshot and Ruckus 
  • 03:35 – The values that drive Slingshot – Providing unparalleled opportunities to talented high school students regardless of their age or education 
  • 04:28 – The perspective that the Ruckus team brings to executive searches to set their clients and candidates up for success
  • 06:48 – Estelle on the benefits of hiring and working with Gen Z high school students 
  • 09:16 – Anish on spotting exceptional talent 
  • 14:27 – How Slingshot’s interns balance high school and their jobs and why it works so well 
  • 18:14 – Anish talks about the most significant shifts in hiring trends since 2020 
  • 20:49 – Estelle’s advice for employers hiring high school students – The benefits of hiring talented young people before the larger tech companies get to them 
  • 24:30 – Anish’s predictions for hiring trends in 2023 


In our first clip, Estelle speaks to the ways companies can begin sourcing for talent from less traditional markets.

Next, Anish speaks about common mistakes he’s seen startups make on their path towards hiring key leadership roles.

About Our Speakers:

Estelle Reardon is from a four-square-mile town in Maine called Ogunquit. She completed three internships in high school before going on to The University of Chicago and starting her career in venture capital at .406 Ventures and New Stack Ventures. She later went on to help teach New Venture Strategy at Chicago Booth before founding StandOut Search, a startup matching high school students with internships at startups. StandOut Search received investment from The University of Chicago and The University of Illinois and matched over 1000 students with internships before merging into Slingshot Ahead, where she took over the CEO role.

Anish Shah is the CEO & Founder of executive search agency Ruckus. Anish has worked in-house in Growth roles at Snapfish and Getable. He started Ruckus as a Growth consultancy 11 years ago working with 40+ clients, then re-focused his firm on executive recruiting for Growth leaders.

Read the Full Transcript

Anish Shah (00:06):
Hey, Estelle. Thanks. Thanks. Hey, thanks a lot for joining us for this recorded chat here.

Estelle Reardon (00:12):
It’s good to be here.

Anish Shah (00:13):
Absolutely. And hopefully we just get to get to learn more about each other’s organizations, what we’ve been up to, and yeah, hopefully educated an audience about, about a wide variety of different opportunities that are out there for them. so obviously you, you started Slingshot and I wanna learn more about what was kind of your founding story with it. How did it come to life? Where did the idea come from? was there a personal journey of yours anywhere in there we’d like to learn more?

Estelle Reardon (00:41):
Yeah, definitely. So I’d say that for context at Slingshot we match teenage computer science prodigies with internships. And our founding story is very much rooted in the personal story of my co-founder, Akshat, grew up in India and started coding for fun at age eight alongside his best friend Shabam. And by the time they went on to high school, they were both highly experienced, full stack developers who knew their way around complex competencies such as machine learning and natural language processing. Akha then went on to Carnegie Mellon University, Microsoft, and Apple, where he was promoted three times in his first month, in his first six months. However shavam, who was an even better coder than Akshat, didn’t have the family support to attend college, and basically got left behind by the traditional college to career pipeline. And inspired by his friend, Akshat, quit Apple to start slingshot and help PS students bypass the traditional education system and start working for incredible companies in high school. so that’s us in a nutshell. I’d love to learn more about your background and how you started Ruckus.

Anish Shah (01:57):
Yeah, most definitely. So my background was helping to run marketing and growth for companies both full-time as a consultant for about a decade. And basically I went from full-time roles to, to independent consulting. And generally when people were hiring me as a consultant, they actually wanted full-time. they just couldn’t find the person that they were looking for, and they were like, okay, well, you know, you’ll do for now and for now would last 5, 6, 7 months. And, you know, oftentimes I was sort of like, well, where is the full-time person? that’s gonna be sort of replacing me as a consultant. I, I don’t feel comfortable just, just bowing out of this organization. and leaving, leaving a lot of things sort of on the ground. and I just, through that, through those experiences, I learned, oh, wow, this full-time recruiting stuff is kind of hard.

And so I offered myself up as a resource to different companies I either was consulting for at the time or had good relationships with with the whole idea that, you know, I’ve experienced within, within the roles themselves that these companies are hiring for. So, you know, I can, I can have deeper relationships with candidates, I can have deeper relationships with hiring managers, give, give a lot more advice to, to both sides of the house from my experiences. And so I started doing some consulting. My first recruiting or recruiting alongside the consulting. My first recruiting client was Sephora, built out some of their teams, and then I just actually enjoyed the recruiting more than doing the marketing itself. so ended up going all in and saying, all right, let’s, let’s, let’s try to build a recruiting firm here. and that was around the time of sort of the D two C craze about five or six years ago.

Ended up getting a lot of those clients or a lot of those companies as clients. Ended up moving to New York since a lot of those companies were in New York, and just kept on going from there. And, and it’s been, it’s been a fun, fun sort of pride. so with, with Slingshot, I’m curious, so you, you mentioned kind of like, it was, it was kind of an organic founding story there, but I know that it’s kind of a values-driven organization. So curious, kind of like how you’ve pulled out the values that you wanted to focus on and what those sort of are.

Estelle Reardon (03:55):
Yeah, definitely. So it is very values driven. Akshat kind of accomplished everything that he’d wanted when he went onto Apple and had all those promotions. And it gave him a point to really stop and consider what was really important to him and the type of impact that he wanted to have on the world. And based on his story with Shabam I would say that our biggest value is that we believe in talent and your skills, not your age or education should determine the opportunities available to you. And that’s essentially what we’re trying to create at Slingshot. Oh, yeah. Thank

Anish Shah (04:41):
You. Amazing.

Estelle Reardon (04:42):
Yeah, thanks for asking. And I’m also really curious with, with Ruckus like what perspective do you and the Ruckus team bring to executive searches that sets your clients and candidates up for success?

Anish Shah (05:02):
Yeah, thanks. That’s a good question. I mean, part of it is, is some level of, of, of energy, right? When you’re hiring an agency oftentimes or any service provider in, and that’s external to your organization, I think a lot of a lot of clients focus on track record, which we’ve been lucky to have a track record and work with a lot of great companies. w but I don’t think track record is actually the best way to choose a service provider because you’re just gonna then choose the agency or service provider who’s been around the longest. I think you wanna look at how intensely the executive team of that organization is involved. and I think with us, like you’ll notice that almost every single kind of like search, we’re doing almost every marketing piece. We’re doing everything across the board.

I’m pretty involved in every single thing. I haven’t sort of like tapped out of, of, of staying away from those details. And you’ll notice from top to bottom, our entire team is pretty engaged. also I think one thing that gets lost in recruiting is oftentimes the research process. you know, not necessarily just going and flinging resumes at a client, but really understanding what exactly is going on with the client’s industry, what’s going right and wrong about your particular business. And that’s where kind of my background in marketing and growth helps. Being able to dig in and like, okay, what’s going on with your customer acquisition costs? What channels are you doing right now? You know, is there a leaky bucket at all in your product? And then giving really sound advice based on, okay, what’s actually going right wrong for your business? Let’s hire for, let’s hire for the exact opportunities that are in your business, or the weaknesses that are in your business.

Not just, oh, hey, I found this generic org chart online and it said that, you know, I should have X amount of marketers, X amount of product people, X amount of ops, people, you know, hire, hire for exactly what your needs are at the exact moment. and so we try to dig in as deep as possible with the company first before running a search to even understand should you even run a search with us. And then once we, once we all collectively decide yes now we at least have a lot of details in terms of who the exact best person should be. so we just try to go a level deeper and kind of have a certain level of energy and intensity with every single thing we do.

Estelle Reardon (07:08):
That makes a ton of sense. That’s really cool.

Anish Shah (07:11):
I appreciate that. and you know, a lot of companies have never hired someone who’s who’s frankly of high school age before, and I think there might be a sort of like learning curve to get over to even understanding what are the right ways to, to, to work with someone who’s still that high school age and is in Gen Z. but like, I’d imagine there’s also benefits as well to being able to work with folks who are part of that demographic. So what have you sort of noticed in terms of sort of like the benefits that companies have had with, with being able to hire people from your platform who are more of that like Gen Z age range?

Estelle Reardon (07:50):
Yeah, definitely. So to kind of put things in perspective, I love this one quote from Google’s VP of engineering and he says, one top n notch engineer is worth 300 times or more than the average. I would rather lose an entire incoming class of engineering graduates than one exceptional technologist. And unfortunately, with how the current talent market works for engineers, most exceptional technologists tend to be recruited into fang companies like Google once they enter the risk averse environment of a university. And at Slingshot, what we’re trying to do is find the most exceptional self-taught technologists of every generation before they enter this university environment and match them with roles at startups. And this way, ambitious founders can hopefully beat leaders like Alan to the talent that they’re looking for.

Anish Shah (08:49):
That’s actually a really good point. I didn’t even think about that. How the university system makes people more risk averse and then pushes them just to get more and more and more education and get more and more degrees to, to become even more risk averse. Cause you’ve racked up so much more debt. it’s sort of endeavor ending thing. So, and some people just naturally have more risk aversion, but also some people are a lot more risk tolerant, and I think people are just sort of built that way. So not being thrown into a very risk averse environment, I can see that being really valuable and learning that about yourself, like you can learn what you even like before you even enter college, doesn’t mean you’re not gonna enter college still, but you at least can learn more about yourself. So, so that’s really helpful. thanks for, thanks for running through that with me.

Estelle Reardon (09:28):
Yeah, of course. Essentially we’re just trying to reach students at the stage in their education life cycle where they’re most likely to wanna work with an earlier stage company.

Anish Shah (09:40):
Makes a lot of sense. It’s valuable experience, I mean, for both sides, right? and if that person, that company can find a star you know, that’s something they can have consistently for internships and et cetera, or do small projects throughout their career.

Estelle Reardon (09:53):
Yeah. I’m also really curious how do you spot someone who kind of is the equivalent of what we see as an exceptional technologist or like a game changer, but for you guys in executive leadership?

Anish Shah (10:11):
Yeah, and this is another area where it’s kind of funny where I think I much like how I mentioned the way companies kind of evaluate service providers and agencies really just focused on track record. I think companies actually do it a little bit wrong in how they evaluate candidates. in, in executive leadership. I think also most companies hire executive leadership based off of what I call checklist hiring, essentially who checks the most boxes. You know, like if you’re a company that’s in a, in a particular industry since you mentioned Google, you can say like, okay, let’s say with a core, with a core revenue coming from, from search products or, you know, products that are being used by billions of dollars every day, you’re then just looking for people who check the boxes. Okay, have they worked at a company with as much scale?

You know, do they have x amount of experience? Do they, did they grow the right schools, this and this? And at the end, you’re really just hiring the checklist and not the person. And oftentimes what I’ve found, particularly for startups, maybe if you are Google, that’s the way you, you could hire. But if you’re, let’s say a 50 person startup, you know, you want someone who’s incredibly motivated to be in that exact role and someone who has a massive track record, you know, has seen and and done it all, what’s their motivation? You know, when something sort of doesn’t go right within their day-to-day job when a company hits a speed bump. again, we talked about risk aversion and how a lot of people have been trained to be risk averse. the people who work at some of the hottest companies in the world, they’re somewhat risk averse.

They’ve chosen those companies because they’re already safe bets. Yet a lot of our clients are really excited to say, we really want someone out of Stripe. We really want someone out of Coinbase. We really want someone out of, you know, name another company that’s in the news, you know, regularly. But oftentimes those, even when you get those people in sort of early to mid-stage startups you know, they’ll bounce after a year because it’s a, it’s a, it’s a different, and it’s a very difficult role. So the question is, how do you keep someone motivated? Well, you make it so that the role that they’re taking on is actually a massive role for them. It really could define their career. And they haven’t already ha gotten all these massive big names on their resume. And so we’ve worked with companies where we’ve made lots of executive hires and some of those executive hires came in with all the big names on their resume, and the company was super excited.

They thought we did a great job because we, we brought someone in who like, you know, had all the big names and those people bounced after nine to 12 months because they didn’t need it. They have all the big names, they can go anywhere. And you know, other people who didn’t necessarily have all the big names or as many years of experience, they stuck around and they fought and they put in the effort because they’re like, this is my big opportunity to get that big name. and so, you know, you really wanna look at the motivation of the right candidate and not just how hot of a company did they come out of, which frankly is what most of our clients look for. and then you’re also obviously paying a really hefty premium on a candidate coming out of a Stripe or a Coinbase or a Dropbox or et cetera.

and so is that premium worth it? And when I’ve talked to founders who’ve, again, made a lot of those hires from the sexier companies and from ones that were less, they’ve mentioned that a lot of these folks look great on pitch decks, but the actual performance isn’t necessarily that much higher when you’re tracking it over a few years. So I really try to push, push our clients to look at the motivations of the candidates also how well do they talk through really complex problems. to me, I think that shows a certain level of capability. and some of the people who are better at talking through complex problems are ones who’ve been a part of companies that didn’t work out. I personally really like being a part of hiring people who started companies that didn’t work out or worked at companies and were went through that roller coaster and in the end, it, that company didn’t end up being successful and, you know, maybe they have a little bit of a chip on their shoulder and they really wanted, they really, really want to make the next thing successful.

So my own personal, so with that as, as a long-winded way of saying my own personal philosophy of hiring people who are gonna add a lot of value, as I’ve noticed, been a little bit different from a lot of our clients. and I think it would be best for a lot of companies to shift instead of just hiring the brands and hiring the names. Like look at the real motivation of the person and how deeply they understand a lot of the issues that are facing your startup or company, which turns into more of an art and less of a science. And that’s, and it, and it’s, it’s a lot harder when you turn it into an art because you have to really trust your intuition then.

Estelle Reardon (14:49):
Yeah. That reminds me a lot about what Ben Ben Horowitz says about executive hiring around how you should always hire for someone’s true strengths regardless of their resume and not their perceived lack of weaknesses.

Anish Shah (15:05):
Absolutely. I, I had that earlier in my career as well. I had a boss who really liked, banged over my head with the things that I wasn’t good at. and then it took me leaving that organization and then going off and doing my own thing to realize, okay, what was I doing trying to, to, to be this other person kind of similar to her versus, you know, just focusing on the areas that I was actually good at. And I, I think that’s great advice. given that a lot of your a lot of the talent from your platform is, is still in high school, you know, how does that work, like kind of in a, in a, in a day of scenario, how do they break up their days? How do the companies communicate with them? What’s sort of the, what’s sort of the process there?

Estelle Reardon (15:47):
Yeah, definitely. so a common slogan at Slingshot is that we scout the future bronze of tech. And what that means is our students basically view coding the same way a student hoping to one day play in the N B A views basketball. Generally, they spend all their time at Sky outside of school from the time they’re seven or eight years old, coding for fun. And they split their time between online lessons and personal projects. And if they find one and they pass through all of our vetting, hopefully a job at a startup. for example, one of the projects that one of our students might do for fun in the lead up to their time working with a slingshot company is we had one student from Canada build a natural language processing model that takes tweets from the internet and decides whether or not they’re from Elon Musk just like on a random afternoon.

Because that’s just kind of what these students do. and generally our students are not at all challenged by their math and science coursework. So they have around like 40 free hours per week to devote to their real pa passion, which is coding. And that’s kind of the general profile of a student. And then once they actually start working with a startup through Slingshot generally they end up devoting almost all of their time outside of school to this project. And it’s their one focus and they’re really excited to prove themselves and to work on a project that’s gonna be really meaningful in the real world. And generally they communicate just through Slack or through email and through Zoom meetings with the company themselves.

Anish Shah (17:38):
That’s interesting. And do you don’t, is every sort of engagement a little bit different or have you sort of made it in a way where here’s actually a template that we help all these companies utilize to follow? curious about that?

Estelle Reardon (17:52):
Yeah, so we’ve heard from we’ve worked with around 2000 startups in the past, and one thing we’ve heard is that they appreciate the flexibility of being able to hire someone themselves as an independent contractor instead of going through a service where we can, where they control the payment to the contractor and they have to constantly interface with the third party to work with the contractor. So generally we let startups handle things the way they prefer, but we advise that they just bring students on as an independent contractor and just have like our standard set of advice for companies who maybe haven’t hired a ton of people in the past and don’t know exactly how to go about it.

Anish Shah (18:40):
Okay. Makes sense. It sounds like you give them a template to follow if they choose, but they can sort of outside of being an independent contractor, kind of do as they as they, as they agree upon on, on their owns. definitely makes a lot of sense. And this is new for a lot of people, so this is, this is great to learn because I think a lot of, a lot of startups have not hired people in high school before, so it it’s unique in nuance right there.

Estelle Reardon (19:03):
Yeah. The only, the only difference really is you give them all the same paperwork, just have the parents sign as well. And what’s kind of unique about the fact that the stage in life that our students are at is this isn’t their career focus. This is something that they’re doing for their own personal development. So they’re just working for your company. They’re not balancing projects from other companies. They’re just working for your company and then their own learning and enrichment.

Anish Shah (19:40):
That’s great.

Estelle Reardon (19:45):
Yeah. I also had another question for you guys, which is, what are the biggest shifts in hiring trends you’ve observed since 2020? I’ve been reading a lot about all of the changing trends, and I’m really curious what you’d have to say.

Anish Shah (20:03):
Yeah, I mean, I, I haven’t, I mean, I’ve been running an executive search firm for, for a certain amount of years, but I haven’t seen all the inflections of ups and downs of like recessions and et cetera that maybe some folks who’ve been running a firm for, you know, 30, 40 years might, might have seen. but I mean, I’d have to imagine the last two to three years are the most sort of like insane inflections that are so rapid than than in the past. so you know, in 2020 everyone shut off their hiring, you know, for a few months while they’re trying to figure out is the sky falling? Is, is the entire economy gonna break down? What does covid mean? Then they get right back to hiring, you know, 3, 4, 5 months later when they were like, okay, if you were in a, this isn’t true of every company, but if you were in a certain sector that wasn’t affected horrendously, let’s say e-comm, you know, then go right back to a rush to hiring because they, they sort of paused everything for a while.

And then 2021 being the most insane hiring market, the war for talent was at an, an absolute peak because there were so many companies getting funded and they all wanted to hire the best. And so that was just, it was it was a lot of action, like a lot of people hiring we were able to grow our business nicely. But yeah, it was brutal, you know, trying to get candidates to join a lot of our companies because the, the de the the, the supply and demand was so wild. And then 2022, now the most insane amount of like rapid layoffs that, you know, I’ve ever seen in my lifetime. and, you know, you know, so it’s just been an insane two year rollercoaster. And I, I’d have to imagine that it’s incredibly rare and that this is not normal and in terms of it just going down and then insanely up and then insanely down, but I am gonna hope that, you know, things normalize in the next year or two, but who really knows? I’d ha I just really hope this isn’t the, the forever trend that one year it’s massively up and you can’t get anyone to join your company because the, the demand is so high and the next year everyone’s being laid off. I’d, I’d like to hope that it’s not that insane for, you know, the rest of my career.

Estelle Reardon (22:24):
Yeah. Here’s hoping

Anish Shah (22:26):
Absolutely. so when you, you know, we talked a little bit about the, the day-to-day lives of, of the, the high school students who are, you know, going in to be developers with different startups, but you know, I think for folks who, like myself and others who’ve never managed someone who’s still in high school or hired someone like that, you know, what’s some advice for them? Is it different? Is it the same, do you sort of need some unique guardrails that you don’t with other folks who are college graduates? what was, what’s some advice that you would sort of give some of those folks who are, who are looking into bringing some of the talent from your platform on board?

Estelle Reardon (23:08):
Yeah, definitely. So I’d say when it comes to working with a high school student, I’d recommend going through a program like ours or another program affiliated with a university to reach these students so that you can trust that they’re already providing training and vetting and making sure that these students are really just at the same level as college students. But I’d say that largely what I’ve found in my time doing this, I’ve been working with high school students for the last four years now, is that generally if a student has kind of self-selected into looking for like real work opportunities in high school, then they are already an exceptional, an exceptional student, an exceptional person because they’ve chosen, unlike their peers to challenge themselves in that way and to really pursue this opportunity. So I just generally find that the students who self-select into making that choice are already at a very high level. And then if you work with an organization like Slingshot, then the students who, by, by the time those students get to you, you can trust that they’ve already gone through additional vetting and training procedures to make sure not only are they very eager and excited, but they can adjust very quickly to the fast paced environment of your company with very little handholding.

Anish Shah (24:58):
That’s great. And, and, and to really echo the point that you made earlier these are also talented p young people that you’re probably not gonna get access to if you wait for them to graduate college, right? Because they’re even

Estelle Reardon (25:11):
To enter college.

Anish Shah (25:12):
What’s that?

Estelle Reardon (25:13):
Even even to enter college? Because as soon as you enter college the opportunities available to you just because of that one year difference change drastically,

Anish Shah (25:26):
You can suddenly get an internship at Google because you’ve done a year of a CS program that’s like a top 10 CS program, right? But as a high school student, you’re not gonna be able to get that internship. I mean, maybe there’s a few, but for the most part not, so this is really your chance as a startup who maybe is a bit of a no name startup or doesn’t have the same name and like, you know, it makes a lot of sense. And I’d imagine for a lot of these young folks, their parents, you’re also pushing them, like telling them like, how could you turn down an internship at Microsoft or Google? And so you kind of gotta, gotta have a conversation with them before they even get to that point. so I, I’d say that’s actually great advice for some of these leaders as well.

These are not people you’re gonna have access to once they start in their top five kind of program. They’re gonna want to have an internship at Google E or even if they’re not gonna want to, their parents are probably gonna push them to really, really go, go that route as well. cool. Well that, that’s really interesting. I think yeah, I, I think after this conversation, like I’m learning a lot more of the value of, of bringing on some of these people and growing a relationship with these folks, especially if you plan to have your company last, you know, for, for a decade or two, you have time to grow a relationship with them and once they graduate college, if they even go to college you know, continue that relationship.

Estelle Reardon (26:41):
Yeah, definitely. I mean, we’ve had students who started out as interns and then for y YC companies that didn’t, then oftentimes they’ll absolutely wanna continue working with you. but I’d love to kind of dig a little bit more on what were you were saying about kind of the trends occurring right now. And I’m really curious what predictions you have about the 2023 hiring ecosystem and how can companies prepare to attract and retain top talent as we are going into this really strange time where there might be a recession and productivity was really low product productivity is going into a low from being really high during the pandemic. So just really curious what your thoughts are.

Anish Shah (27:49):
Yeah, I think there’s more forums than ever and more inside chatter than ever about what it’s like to work at a company. and we, we’ve worked with companies who have some level of quality funding some level of a product that gets press, et cetera. But the chatter amongst people who’ve worked at those companies or who have, you know, read online about what those cultures are like has pushed a lot of the best people to not wanna work at these organizations. And we see it with a lot of our executive searches where the role is good, the company’s good, the financials are good, but amongst inside circles nobody wants to work at those organizations. So I think right now is a good time for a lot of companies to show that they have some level of, of capability of taking care of their employees, even if there’s layoffs, even if there’s downturns.

you know, this, I mentioned Stripe maybe sometime during this call as like a, an employer that a lot of people have wanted to work for because they’re considered the most popular organization in their, in their, in their industry and considered maybe the one that’s gonna be the winner. and they just announced layoffs this morning. and you know, when you compared their layoff announcement this morning, which obviously they didn’t have to do layoffs, they have enough cash on hand, they could have weathered the storm. so, you know, you, you, you do look down upon them to, to not just weathering the storm but their, with the current employees that they have, but you know, they at least did it with a little bit of class this morning. whereas you look at other employers who ha really didn’t do that at all and gave maybe little to no severance.

And so those are all things that, that, that keep people remembering your organization in a positive manner. And, you know, just just realize that word spreads. And so if you’re just hiring and firing people like crazy and you don’t necessarily, you know, learn to have a heart in how you hire people and fire them and whatnot, you’re gonna, you’re gonna get into a tough position where a lot of the best people are just gonna actively not wanna work for you. And we, we deal with that regularly. Honestly, some of our clients are folks who have had trouble hiring even though they have good products, good businesses, et cetera, because word is spread and, you know founders themselves haven’t really grown up to, to, to be better about creating more more enjoyable cultures. So I think the way to to, to prepare is just to, to, to make sure, make sure that you’re listening to sort of what the, what the chatter is.

you’re not sort of just closing your ears to what people are saying about you out there in terms of your former employees. And you learn to have a, a place that, that, that people wanna work. the larger you grow as an organization, you’re naturally gonna have turnover. it’s I I would say years ago I thought I was gonna run the only organization that was never gonna have turnover and I was wrong. and so, but you can do it in a way so that when that happens, people are set up for success. it just takes a little bit of extra work and it’s your choice to put in that extra work instead of just trying to be a little bit more brutal and cutting things off in a, in a, in a sort of a brutal way. And I think when companies do take a little bit of those extra steps, it does help them down the road because then they’re gonna go back and reach out to a bunch of this talent pool that’s highly in demand.

And I think when we’re, when we’re selling candidates into certain companies one of the biggest things I can say, and I have to actually truly believe this, I’m not gonna lie to our candidates. I have to truly believe like this c e o will take care of you. Like they have a track record of taking care of people. Nobody’s perfect, everyone messes up. everyone’s sort of like, has had situations with employees that maybe could have been avoided if they were handled it differently, but at the same time, you know, at their core, they’re gonna do the right thing. And I think we have clients where I know at their core, I don’t trust that they’re gonna do the right thing. And so you want everyone to trust in you that you’re going to, to do the right thing. And honestly, that’s how we’ve gotten candidates into companies for below market compensation for you know, to enjoy where they’re working, even though another company’s knocking on their door who just raised, you know, 500 million and you know, can offer them all the money they want in the world.

And they’re like, yeah, but I enjoy working here. You know, and then you see layoffs and like a crazy insane c e o at that company that raised 500 billion, and they’re sort of happy, like, okay, I didn’t just leave for an extra 30 to 40 K payout. I enjoy what I’m, what I’m doing here. So that culture is something you can’t talk about either. You know, it’s not, it’s not, it doesn’t come in writing, it doesn’t come in blog posts, it doesn’t come in sort of like press pieces. It’s, it’s what’s going on day to day with your company and how happily or angrily people will leave your organization or continue to work at your organization. And so it’s just something CEOs can be mindful of instead of just focusing on the funding rounds and focusing on like the fake press pieces that only highlight things that, you know, the journalists are not really, you know, digging too deeply into.

Estelle Reardon (33:04):
Yeah, absolutely. it’s a very small tech world and people really do remember it’s, it reminds me, we always tell the companies who we work with, like, Hey, if you decide not to work with a student make sure to send them that polite, hey, not now email. Cause within like the amount of time it’s gonna take you to get to the type of company where that you wanna be, where by the time you’ve really raised money and you’re off to the races and growing, this student is likely gonna be someone you’re gonna wanna hire again for that use case. And they will remember the time when they were looking for maybe their third internship and you didn’t take the time to tell them after an interview that it, you don’t wanna work with them. So I, I couldn’t agree more.

Anish Shah (33:54):
Yeah, I appreciate that. And, and, and yeah, even little overtures like that that I, I myself forget to send thank you notes very, very, very regularly and like, you know, we all could be better, but it’s good to just be reminded those, there, there’s little things that you could do. yeah this is a great chat. I’m really glad I got to learn more about it. And I think through this, I think I learned kind of more of the value of, of what you could be getting. You’re getting, you’re getting access to someone who you basically, you know, are not going to get access to in a couple years because they’re gonna be swallowed up by these companies where much more deeper pockets and are, are offering really safe avenues. So you know, get in now wouldn’t build that relationship now before, before it’s too late.

Estelle Reardon (34:41):
Yeah, definitely. And I feel like I’ve learned a lot about executive hiring and just leadership in, in general. so thank you for

Anish Shah (34:52):
Yeah, most definitely.

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