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Why I'm In This Game...

Capitalist Note:  I'm posting this story again as I reflect at the end of the year.  I heard again from the candidate below (a guy named Kevin Williams - LinkedIn Profile here) and while he missed his record year from 2010, he again went over the million dollar mark in 2011 and blew out the previous record by 40-45%.  Great hires make you feel good.  Here's to a fast start to 2012 for all of us...

Some days suck.  Lots of days suck, as a matter of fact, but you've got to keep it in perspective... I got an email yesterday that gave me that perspective.

Why do I do what I do?  For the payoff, my friends.  What type of payoff, you ask?  For me, it's the Arigold payoff that says I was part of getting something right that lots of others would struggle to see.

Case in point - I got an email yesterday from an Account Executive I was involved in hiring a while back.  While the AE had some background in sales, he had no industry experience and would have been considered a risky hire by most.   The AE in question shot me a note of thanks yesterday, saying that not only did he reach quota for the year, but he blew up the prior all-time high by about 50% (my math, not his).  The quota all the AE's had repeatedly bitched about (A million dollars?  There's no way an AE at this company can get that...NO WAY!!) had been achieved by a mere mortal.

A mere mortal with off the charts persistence and the skin of a rhino.

He emailed me to say thanks for giving him the chance to prove in to the role.  At the time he was interviewing, we had a change in sales leadership, so he was in a state of flux for about 3-4 weeks.  The dude called me every day for three weeks to check in.  I told him I was fine with him checking in, and he continued to do it - EVERY DAY.  Lots of days I didn't pick up.  He kept calling.  He wanted the job, and the behavior was exactly what we needed in the role.

The new VP of Sales started in his role.  I pushed the candidate to him and told him about the behavioral traits.  I gave him a nickname so the VP of Sales would have an emotional attachment.  That nickname was "floorburn", because I told my Sales leader that on a team of 10, there was room for an experiment with no industry experience, and this candidate was that guy:  a guy who might not have the pedigree, but would out-hustle and out-work those around him.  The VP of Sales smiled and said he'd take the interview even though the background wasn't what he really desired.  

He came back from the interview and made an offer.

My candidate accepted in under 1 second.  The rest, as they say is history.

Looking back, I didn't do anything special. I valued and pitched what could make the AE great, but the special traits were his, not mine.  I kept an open mind and made a placement that made a difference. That's my job, and I'm OK at it.

But being involved in that kind of story and getting that email from the AE?  Priceless.  That's why I'm in the game.

One million dollars in recurring revenue.  Many said it couldn't be done.  A non-traditional candidate nicknamed "floorburn" delivered it.

Keep an open mind out there.

Capitalist Note - the guy in question is Kevin Williams - LinkedIn Profile here.


Emily White

great story - thanks for sharing! Not only can he list over a million dollars in revenue on his resume, you can (and should) boast that your candidate, the one you believed in, was hired and subsequently made your client a lot of solid cash. Great accomplishments all around.


I got into HR through a staffing gig 10+ years ago, so I relate to this story well. It is always nice to have the BS cleared away for a few to really see the payoffs from time to time.

Now I'm all stocked up on warm & fuzzies for the holidays!

Thanks KD!


Chris Ferdinandi - Renegade HR

KD -

One question I hear a lot from people looking to move into new roles and job families is how they can demonstrate they'd be good at a role even without the formal background.

How did Floorburn do this for you? Any tips?

- Chris


great post. It spurred me to comment on it as well with a marketing twist.


Hi Chris -

In the case of floorburn, he had experience, it was just in the wrong industry... With that in mind, I think the key is to be very precise in telling hiring managers you're targeting what transferable skills and experience you have, and what you'll need to learn.... If you have skills that are strong and related to the job in question, you've got a chance...

But then, it becomes a marketing project...

Thanks - KD

Lane Savage


'Floorburn' wrote me the other day, too. He was proud - and he should be - of joining the million dollar club, but not so proud as to forget that he didn't get there alone. Classy play.

Hats off to you for giving him a chance. Seeing a guy like that succeed is indeed 'Why I'm in the Game.'


debbie brown


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