The Last Word: Hire higher

Sue Marks


Pinstripe Inc., Brookfield

Industry: Recruiting and talent management

Sue Marks has become one of the most respected entrepreneurs in the talent management and recruiting industry. As a founder of Pinstripe Inc., Marks has extensive experience in not only consulting companies on hiring and managing top talent, but finding, hiring and retaining her own management teams. In today’s economy, she believes that companies must hire the best available talent, even if they need to stretch their budgets to do so.

“When I use the term ‘hire higher,’ it’s not a suggestion, but a mandate for growing entrepreneurial companies. For emerging growth companies, nothing is more critical to their survival and success than the right talent. The surest path to success for a small company is to assemble people who know where you want to go … and have been at least most of the way before!

“Most of the time, the reality is that entrepreneurs and their organizations get caught up in thinking, ‘I can’t afford her … she is way above my budget’ or ‘He just has too much experience, why would he come here?’ I would argue that you may think you can’t afford these ‘A players,’ but I am advising you that you can’t afford NOT to hire ‘A players.’

“As the CEO of a successful company and a serial entrepreneur, I speak from experience. My advice to other young companies is to seek out the following traits in your employees and be willing to pay the necessary salaries. It’s a small price to pay for success.

First and foremost, hands-on experience working for a company that you would like to become, emphasis on a combination of practical, get it done attitude, with the ability to strategically problem solve.

Business acumen, analytical and objective mindset, accountability, and confidence.

‘Entrepreneurial traits’ like being able to make decisions based on limited information, because we’ll never have all the information we need, especially in fast changing environments.

“Willingness to take calculated risks and learn quickly from mistakes.”

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