4 lessons on hiring from Inc. Magazine’s Women’s Summit

Find out what the leaders behind SoulCycle, Gilt, Essie and Learnvest have to say about hiring practices and lessons learned.

1. Julia& Elizabeth, Co-Founders of SoulCycle

Invest in training programs

When Julia and Elizabeth founded SoulCycle in 2009, there was no such thing as a “fitness career”. Most fitness instructors were juggling multiple jobs, until these two ladies decided to transform the model recognizing that their employees were key to creating an experience that people would come back for time and time again. The smiling faces that greet you at 5:45AM for the first ride of the day have gone through 12 weeks of intense in-house hospitality training. Oh, and they get paid $100K+ a year as a full time employee.

2. Essie Weingarten, Founder of Essie Cosmetics

Always hire people that are smarter than you

Essie Weingarten started her nail polish empire from a suitcase. She traveled to Vegas with a suitcase full of beautiful, glamorous, and bold colors and discovered that the Vegas show girls were the best advertising she could ask for. For this spirited, Long Islander getting her product on the shelves in nail salons appeared to be the easy part. Hiring on the other hand was a challenge. If she encountered employees who were not as committed to the vision as she thought they should be Essie made it clear that this company was not the place for them. As a young, female founder, she was also forced to learn the importance of hiring smart very early on.

3. Alexa von Tobel, Founder of Learnvest

Get your people passionate 

While Learnvest is a very young company, they are growing quickly. Alexa von Tobel dropped out of Harvard Business School to start Learnvest in 2008 and has since raised more than $40 million from some of the world’s most prestigious investors. She makes every new employee read through pages and pages of customer feedback – the good, the bad, and I’m sure in some cases the hilarious. She believes it is these personal stories and anecdotes describing the impact her product can have on an individual’s life that awakens passion among employees. And passion is key to cultivating talent. “When my people are passionate, they are more committed to the outcome and excited to be a part of the process”.

4. Kevin Ryan, Co-Founder of Gilt Group

Do your homework

Kevin Ryan still interviews 1-2 people every day. He is not hiring for a specific position, but rather just wants to keep his finger on the pulse of the talent pool. Kevin got to where he is today, because he knows how to surround himself with the right people. Recognizing the potential in Gilt’s dynamic duo, Alexandra & Alexia, is only one of the many success stories he can boast about. His key to hiring smart? References. He encouraged the audience to really invest time in finding those references that were not provided by the candidate him or herself. Go above and beyond to find enough people who can share a varied perspective and have worked with the candidate in multiple environments and contexts.