Growth, hiring, and turning employees into champions with AJ Bruno

By Darby Dupre
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Growth, hiring, and turning employees into champions with AJ Bruno

QuotaPath’s CEO and Co-founder, AJ Bruno, is the definition of a mover and shaker. On any given day he’s coaching local entrepreneurs on pitch decks, having walking 1 on 1’s with his team, thinking about QuotaPath’s next round of funding, strategizing on pricing and packaging, and that’s just the beginning.

After his diverse experiences leading and co-founding his first company TrendKite, a PR analytics software based in Austin, Texas, and now onto his second company, QuotaPath, he makes the perfect candidate for podcast 1 to 10. Hosted by Eric Sharp, CEO and Founder of ProtoFuse, 1 to 10 focuses on sharing stories of companies that are scaling from 1 to 10 million in revenue.

Eric sat down with AJ, not to chat about sales strategies, tactics, or principals, which are common topics on the podcast and AJ’s area of expertise, but about another one of AJ’s passions – growth, hiring, and cultivating your employees into leaders.

Here are a few highlights from the podcast that are helpful for founders, top performers, entrepreneurs, and those who are wondering what first hires should really look like.

Interviewing is a two-way street

Your first hires are just as much interviewing you as you’re interviewing them. Startups and new businesses don’t have much credibility. There isn’t much press people can read about or others to converse with on their experiences. So, make part of the conversation about yourself. AJ talks about sharing your background and offering sources they can do reference checks on. This establishes trust and transparency from the get-go.

Hire people who resonate with the mission, vision, and values

The most passionate hires are those who get behind the idea. You want people who understand what you are building, and how it impacts those you are building it for. AJ explains how critical mission, vision, and values are to a business and how they should come out of the interviews you’re having in the early days and beyond. Skillset can be taught but your people make up your culture, so find the ones who are passionate.

Teachability is a key factor in finding the right hire

A pillar of staying at a company is learning and growing. This is one of AJ’s beliefs that we can attest to at QuotaPath. One attribute that is monumental in turning hires into top lieutenants is being humble, open and willing to learn. During the interview process, test for teachability as AJ did. He would give his interviewees a framework for a presentation, have them present, give feedback on what went well and what could be improved, and ask them to re-present a portion. This gives you on-the-spot feedback on how they view and handle feedback.

There’s plenty more goodness in this episode, so listen on for more insights from AJ on how to construct effective 1 on 1’s, ENPS surveys to gauge employee engagement, and how to invest in your first hires so they become managers, leaders and ultimately champions and top lieutenants.

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