A Different Approach to Recruiting Executive Talent

In this week’s The Faces of Business Episode, our guest speaker was Beau Billington. Beau is the Founder and President of The Free Agents. His company works as a recruitment agency for recruiting executive talent.  Beau is helping to redefine the way executive talent is sourced.  

In the recruitment business, everyone has their own approach towards various tasks. However, recruiting executive talent is surely a grim charge. To understand this concept properly, we had our talk today.

In this week’s The Faces of Business Episode, our guest speaker was Beau Billington. Beau is the Founder and President of The Free Agents. His company works as a recruitment agency for recruiting executive talent.  Beau is helping to redefine the way executive talent is sourced.

The conversation started with Damon introducing Beau to the show. After this, Damon asked Beau about how he got into his recruiting business and what do they do in it. To this, Beau responded saying that he got in this business accidentally.

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He further mentioned that he has worked on the sales side for most of his time. He said that his inspiration came from watching someone on TV who had just started this free-agent business. This is when Beau also thought about starting his own business.

After this Beau addressed all the needs and challenges that occur when you are recruiting executive talent. To this, Beau said that currently, his focus is on small-scale companies. He says that his goal is to provide these companies with the same access as the larger ones.

Talking about changes, Beau said that the biggest change these days is the increase in software platforms. Further, into the conversation, Beau shared some more about recruiting executive talent. He said that when he first started his company he got a lot of complaints from individuals that recruiters ghosted them.

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Therefore, according to Beau, it is important to understand what the individual has and how recruiters can utilize those skills. Furthermore, he said that when it comes to hiring, various industries hire according to their own requirements and experience.

Moving on, Damon asked Beau about what is the average tenure one requires when you are looking for a CFO or a sales manager. To this, Beau said that it depends on the industry mainly and since he works in technology, the tenure is around one and a half years to three years.

By the end of the conversation, Beau talked about the challenges that they face while recruiting executive talent. He said that companies nowadays are mirroring the hip hop style and therefore changing those criteria as well.

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Apart from this, Beau said that these things are what is challenging especially after the times of Covid-19.

The conversation ended with Damon thanking the guest for his time.

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Damon Pistulka, Beau Billington


Damon Pistulka  00:04

All right. Thanks once again, everyone for joining us for the faces of business. I’m your host, Damon Pistulka. And with me today, I’ve got Bo Billington, from the free agent. So Bo, thanks for being here today.


Beau Billington  00:22

appreciate you having me on. Damon. Good to be here.


Damon Pistulka  00:25

Yes. So first of all, Bo, you you’re you’re in the southeast here in the Atlanta area. Yeah. So I do have to say or ask you, what is the weather like there now?


Beau Billington  00:37

So if you’d asked me two days ago, it would have been 7580, Sunny blue skies. Today, literally cold full fraud kind of rolled in about 5550 degrees and it’s rainy for the next three days. Oh, yeah. But there’s there’s a rebound in sight. You know, come the weekend. I think it’s I think it would be back to nice spring weather, which is one of the one of the times that I love best about Atlanta. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  01:02

Yeah, it is nice in the spring there. And the marches. March is the month when it starts to get nice, isn’t it?


Beau Billington  01:10

It is Yeah, there’s some showers throughout March and April. But I mean, they’re assassinated here. They’re gone. And then yeah, pristine.


Damon Pistulka  01:17

Good. So you you’ve got an interesting background there Bo and and you’re doing some cool stuff now with the recruiting that you’re doing and in the free agent stuff. So why don’t we start a little bit in your background? And and what really, weren’t you just start early in your career and kind of how you you evolved into recruiting?


Beau Billington  01:40

Sure, that good question. No, I never really aspired to be a recruiter or headhunter. And of course, no offense meant to those that are in this industry kind of happened organically to be honest with you. And you’ll kind of rewind a little bit majority of my career I spent selling, you know, software and services into like the fortune 50. More for international companies, a lot of international travel, frankly, got totally burned out, you know, have my first kid built a house was in Toronto, like two days before Christmas, it looked like I was about to get snowed in. And this is the first Christmas with my eldest daughter.

And honestly, I was I was sitting at the bar watching TV and ESPN came on and they’re talking about you know, so and so is going to be a free agent. And I’ll sit alone and literally just started kind of thinking to myself, like, how cool would that be if if I was by myself, I could do my own thing plug into different companies and ultimately be in charge of my destiny. And that’s really kind of was the genesis for the free age. And of course, it took about two and a half more years for me to a get the courage, you’ll get the business playing where it needed to be and leave corporate America. But that’s kind of how it spawned literally just in a I think was a courtyard Marriott in Toronto.


Damon Pistulka  02:52

Wow, that’s cool. That’s cool. Right down because it’s interesting. So you were you’re watching TV and you got it. Someone was becoming a free agent. And that gave you the idea for your company?


Beau Billington  03:06

Precisely. Yes.





Beau Billington  03:07

But also to is kind of the the cons the concept, you know, granted me only talking about the NBA, what they’re not allowed to play for, you know, multiple teams. Yeah. It was like a free agent, this independent indicee excuse me, that I have the ability to kind of plug in and plug out and really do what I want to do. From a career standpoint.


Damon Pistulka  03:28

Yeah, yeah. That’s nice. That’s nice. So when did you start? Okay, so this is this is your selling selling software and such? And then then you you decided that you wanted to be recruiting? I mean, it’s that’s quite a, that’s quite a change.


Beau Billington  03:43

It is. So what’s crazy, too, is I believe, tomorrow, I have my four year anniversary for my company. Okay. Yeah. So this is a timely conversation. That’s a big milestone, right? Yeah. Yeah. Oh, but but in regards to how I started, so prior to kind of jumping out, I worked for a professional services company where we were selling consulting services in fortune 50, to think big, big big it installments, application development in the light, okay. And it was really kind of during that time that I noticed, maybe there’s some gaps within the consulting world, the way that things are done.

And perhaps things can be done a little bit more efficiently. And so I already had kind of the concept of the free agent in the back of my mind that I’ve been kind of going through for the last two years, and not sure what the actual literal application was, and then kind of having that experience for, you know, over a year and a half year and seven months or so. So in consulting services, it kind of just kind of clicked. And I came to the realization conclusion that I could put a business together that checks a lot of those boxes, a makes me a free agent, but be also, you know, solves some of these challenges for organizations that are out there.


Damon Pistulka  04:54

So what were the what were the needs, or the challenges that you saw that you were like? The industry really doesn’t that solve that? Well, or address that? Well,


Beau Billington  05:06

sure. So, so a couple fold. So predominantly by my experiences in the enterprise, and so where we focus now is really kind of that 10,000,005 to 10 million up to 200 million.

So much of the smaller market is, is where the focus is. And, you know, really the kind of the problem that we solve for is when you look at the big, big, big companies, I feel they have, you know, much more in tune processes, procedures, they’re able to attract talent, you know, easier quicker, and they can also pay more, when you come in market, things change a little bit. And so what I really sought out to do is provide the same access to small organizations the same access to I’d say, you know, executive talent that large organizations have.


Damon Pistulka  05:49

Okay, so you’re trying to improve the access to a talent, or trying to give them a give a smaller company, the same access to talent that a larger company would enjoy?



Yes, exactly. Okay.


Damon Pistulka  06:05

So what are, you know, when you’ve been working in this industry, the last four years, what are some of the changes that you’ve seen that have really changed the way that people have to go about their recruiting?


Beau Billington  06:20

So I’d say the biggest change has been the prevalence of software platforms, such as indeed, LinkedIn, excuse me, and the like. And you honestly, with that, coupled with COVID, I feel the industry has really completely changed. It’s kind of somewhat of a mess right? Now, David, to be honest with you, because what you have is you have these low cost options that that companies can love. And indeed, and a lot of times, those companies are linked in the deeds, they’re more concerned with the scale, and simply the quantity versus the quality. And so there’s a real mismatch.

And the toughest part, though, is that you have the small companies with tighter, tighter purse strings. And so a lot of times, the only they believe that, you know, the only way to kind of get access to talent is by leveraging these software platforms. But the problem because of COVID is that they’re just completely saturated with candidates. And so any company that puts a job wreck out there, you know, may have you know, 5x is probably an extreme example of what they would have had pre COVID.

And so that’s a tremendous amount of candidates to sift through, you know, the good candidates, a lot of times will just naturally fall out of the process, because companies can’t move that quick with the amount of candidates that are coming through the pipe. And so there’s just there’s a lot of issues currently, right now and in the industry. But to answer your question, yes. Companies have leveraged software like LinkedIn, and the but it’s kind of a double sided. You know, situation.


Damon Pistulka  07:53

Yeah, yeah. So. So the, the COVID, and the unemployment that was driven by it, you really seen that affecting the the amount of people that are available on the market? Or is it?


Beau Billington  08:07

Absolutely, yeah, the amount of data folks available as substantially increased, you also have folks that are looking because maybe they feel that they’re not in a stable situation. Yeah. But then on the other side of the fence, you have company is that are kind of tea, I don’t want to take any advantage of that situation.

But they’re really kind of cherry picking, in looking for the exact perfect candidate, a lot of times they don’t exist. And so that’s kind of a an open job order that that should take, you know, a month, two months, three months to fill, which is taking a lot longer, because again, they’re looking for that perfect person. Meanwhile, the passing of candidates that are likely, you know, would be great, great additions to the team.


Damon Pistulka  08:47

This is a topic that I’m just kind of a side topic. But I mean, when you talk about these larger companies, do you think these atss are really helping them or hurting them? You know, when I’m going to put a position out, I’m going to get 1000s of applications? Are they are they doing the job? They should?


Beau Billington  09:06

Right, terrible. I think ETS and BMS are absolutely terrible for large organizations. And so a lot of times what they do is they try to kind of consolidate their vendor pool. So they’ll, you know, they’ll leverage these ATMs as BMS is and consolidate within your pool, you know, down to three, four, just just as an example. And then they’ll they’ll start, you know, working on the rate card.

And so they’ll kind of lock these companies into small margins. And a lot of times that’s going to lead to them looking for the crappier candidate just being candid. Hmm, oh, so no, I don’t I’m not a big believer, and maybe there’s some scenarios where they’ve worked out the kinks. And they serve their need, and they all have they have a purpose. There’s a purpose there. But a lot of times I feel like they they actually cause more harm than maybe just a tighter procurement side. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  09:56

Well, I think it’s, I you know, you look at some of these, and I I can I can empathize with with some of these hiring departments and such when they’re, you know, they can, they can be processing 10s of 1000s of resumes a day for 1000s of positions or whatever that is, and there’s a need for them. But I also think that when you look at hiring at that scale, that the 80 S is, like you said, a lot of the good candidates, their best candidates in some cases, or maybe many I don’t know, but and get get tossed out, because they just didn’t do something, right. Because it’s not intuitive, like somebody’s looking at it would be,


Beau Billington  10:40

yeah, and the quality, but the quality starts to suffer as well, because it’s less about the candidate and putting the right person at the company and more about the margin. What are we going to take? And yeah, I think that, you know, the DMS as well, they, they’re out there to serve a purpose. A lot of times, you know, the inverse is actually what happens.


Damon Pistulka  11:00

Yeah. Yeah. Interesting. Interesting. So when when you decided you were going to be a recruiter, and you’re going to do this, you wanted to help help make this a different experience? So can you tell me what, what you saw and what caused you just to develop the experience that you wanted to create?


Beau Billington  11:26

Sure, so so what I, you know, again, I’ve been doing this almost four years tomorrow, which is, which is crazy, a lot of the feedback that I get from individuals, especially when I first started, my company was around candidate experience.

You know, a lot of prospective candidates, were always complaining about, you know, getting ghosted by a recruiter, you know, getting calls from recruiters where they didn’t even take the time to kind of look at their background, look at their profile, and see if they’re actually a fit recruiters that don’t even understand, you know, the company that they’re representing, or what the application or solution is that the company, you know, deploys in the market. And so they’re really, we’re just kind of a bunch of issues.

And frankly, you know, every time I talked to somebody and I showed up on time, I actually did my due diligence. You know, it was good discussions. And, you know, I felt as if, really the candidate experience was was lacking, and a lot of the due diligence that the recruiters and headhunters should be doing is not happening. Okay.


Damon Pistulka  12:31

So it’s interesting. So when you talk about recruiters ghosting somebody, that’s, you’re talking about somebody that they’re, they’re in the process, they’re talking with them about a position and they just ghost them then, or,


Beau Billington  12:46

yeah, so so sometimes it doesn’t always happen. And so it’s Yeah, you got to choose my words carefully here, right? No, not either. So the I say less professional recruiters and headhunters out there, it’s all about the shiny objects. And, you know, being they’re generally kind of laser focused. And so if they have a shortlist of three people in the company, for whatever reason, was taking with one individual in particular, a lot of times, it’s to other folks will not even get a phone call, just to say, Hey, thanks for your time, but companies moving in another direction.

Hmm. And I think that’s, that’s a big problem. And, you know, a lot of lot of companies also understand is that, you know, if they’re being represented by an agency that can affect their brand, yes. You know, because ultimately, I like to think that I’m an extension of the companies that I represent, and so I need to know what they’re doing. What the allegation is, I need to be able to speak intelligible about kind of what they’re trying to accomplish. And it’s just It baffles me.


Damon Pistulka  13:48

Yeah, that is interesting. Because Yeah, I mean, I could see if you got a lot of people get hundreds of people that are applying to a single position and you not got there but once you start weeding it down into these few or a handful that are the final selection and they come in for an interview and then he goes back to that it’s like that doesn’t make sense. You know, from a lot of different perspectives.


Beau Billington  14:13

Got a good point you know, if you are hiring scale in scale or you’re using LinkedIn, you have 500 applicants it is it’s extremely difficult to let 499 people know that they’re not the right fit. That’s


Damon Pistulka  14:28

Yeah, yeah, I can tell you I can understand the first round I just think it would be awfully it’s a different situation when you’ve gone through the first round you made it in the second round you talk to somebody and then you know they they do an interview at that right at that second round whatever that is. With the much smaller are the it is the first in person interview and there’s only a handful I mean, that that’s that’s manageable by anybody’s standards to get a few emails out to somebody to let them know what’s happening.


Beau Billington  15:00

It should be it. You know, I’m not perfect. You think? Yeah, right. But what’s what’s interesting to me is that, you know, this is this happens at the executive sector. Yeah, this is not just a tactical workforce this Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  15:11

yeah, we’re talking to executive recruiting. And


Beau Billington  15:15

what’s funny too, is that, you know, when you’re talking about recruiters and headhunters, you know, they should have a vested interest to to close the loop, because ultimately, that’s a potential buyer for them as well. Right? Maybe it’s not the right fit here. But you do a good job and a good at your craft. And that’s somebody that you’ve kind of, you know, maybe teed up for future relationship.


Damon Pistulka  15:34

Yeah. Yeah. And I mean, exactly, when you’re doing executive recruiting, that same executive you play somewhere could be the one that recommends you and you in that company buys from when you down the road, when you’re down the road there. Yeah, that’s good stuff. So when you when you looked at it, and we talked about this a little bit before we got on here on on live was the, what were the things you were trying to change with your company? And and how are you doing that? Sure. So


Beau Billington  16:07

the next thing that I’m trying to change is, I think it all really ties back to the candidate experience, and doing a strong intake with the company that you represent, I think those are really critical. And that’s, you know, hand holding the candidate through the entire process, the shortlist, you know, not just the golden goose, if you will, but also to really getting to understand the organization that you represent. And so, you know, part of my process involves pretty lengthy intake with the leadership team.

And really, you know, when you get to a certain level, I don’t want to say that that all skill sets are created equal, but you get a certain level, a lot of times and tactical, the tactical skills are there. And it’s really the soft skills that separate a good candidate or candidate might be good for one company versus a candidate. That’s, that’s not good for another.

And so, you know, that’s really what we try to understand is culturally, what are they looking for, you know, what, what are the roles and responsibilities individual have, but also to, you know, what will their, what is their team line, because a lot of times these folks deny individual contributors, their interfacing and executive leadership role. So they’ve got maybe peers, but also direct reports. And so it’s really critical that we get and understand the ecosystem, which also too, though, helps us represent the brand properly in discussions. So I think it’s kind of all tied together.


Damon Pistulka  17:28

Okay. Yeah. So you mentioned soft skills. And that’s something that I think has to be fairly hard as a recruiter to be able for the time that you get to spend are typically, around a company to really even understand those soft skills, what are some things that you do that might be a little bit different, that that allow you to understand that better?


Beau Billington  17:56

So first and foremost, we have, you know, two to three, sometimes four discussions with the candidate. Yeah, first one’s really, you know, around quality of fit. And it’s just kind of a very, very high level discussion, talk about the role talk about the background, but it’s also conversation just like this, you I’m not one of them, I don’t have my checklist of items that I’m going through, it’s really just kind of conversational, where I get to know the candidate, you know that that’s usually about 15 to 30 minutes, so that’s 45 minutes. And then assuming that we kind of checked majority of the boxes, we’ve moved to the next step.

And that’s where you will get more in depth on the company, what they’re trying to accomplish, but also to their background. And that lasts anywhere from 45 minutes to an hour typically. And most often than not, we’ll have kind of a follow up discussion after that just to kind of revalidate recheck.

So there’s a multitude of different points. And I found because, you know, a lot of times too, if you talk to somebody once, you may have a different experience in the second time you talk to them. And so having these different checkpoints, I’ve found has helped us really kind of hone in on the personality skill sets, but also create a robust executive bio or executive summary, if you will, that we often that we submit to companies that we represent.


Damon Pistulka  19:10

Yeah. Yeah, yep. So when you’re What? So executive placement overall, do you have any idea because I don’t what? What is the success rate? I mean, how many people I see get placed, then how many people are still there after six months? Say?


Beau Billington  19:31

That’s a good question. I think that varies from industry or not industry, but the discipline and discipline. So first and foremost, our focus is predominately sales, marketing technology. You know, and as it pertains to us, ultimately submitting candidates to our customers, we have a pretty high hit rate, we usually try to submit no more than three with a goal of one to two. And typically we get a placement from one of those what the first two two individuals that we ultimately submitted.

The updates to the stay rate, that’s really tough. So in sales, you’re going to have the shorter of the two, right? I’d say typical VP of sales or chief revenue officer, we’re looking at a year and a half, three years. And if you think in five years, but you’re doing you don’t great marketing side, you know, I say, three to five years, and the technology could be anywhere, honestly, you know, you got CIOs that will kind of step into these roles and be with organizations for the long haul. And then other roles that that may have kind of a shorter tenure. Yeah.


Damon Pistulka  20:32

So when you’re when you’re hiring a sales manager, or Sega CFO for a company, what, what’s the average tenure of somebody like that in companies now?


Beau Billington  20:43

So again, it really depends. I typically work within technology. So it’s either Yeah, for services. And, you know, I’d say it could be one and a half, three years. And that’s not necessarily from me, but that’s kind of what I see in the marketplace.


Damon Pistulka  20:57

Okay. Because I knew that that had been going down a lot. In those those senior management roles and sales, especially as the the economy goes up and down, you know, you run through a year of down, or not great in an industry, and there’s gonna be a lot of churn,


Beau Billington  21:15

we have a few things. So you have the economy, which is a big factor, you also have, you know, sales and sales individual could be the greatest scapegoat of all times. Yeah, you know, and then to depending on the market, you know, if you’re in a saturated market or a hot market, you know, there’s going to be companies that are gunning for you.

And so you have sales that are an uptick, and all of a sudden, you know, martic, for instance, martec, just to be very clear, supersaturated market, and that could be one where maybe longevity, as a chief revenue officer, or senior salesperson could be shorter, just by the sheer fact that there’s so much competition in the space, and acquiring sales is a difficult task.


Damon Pistulka  21:51

Well, and this, this is something that I often asked and thought about, but have never asked, and I think it’s a good opportunity to do this. How many times do you think that that people are, are churning sales people, when really they’ve got bigger systemic problems that are really the core of the issue, rather than the people themselves?


Beau Billington  22:16

A lot? I really do. I’ve had conversations with companies where, you know, they said, Hey, Bo, it’s, I’ve got a sales problem, you know, okay, well, what’s the problem? Let’s get to the kind of let’s, let’s dive a little bit. And then after deeper involvement and dialogue, it turns out that it’s not necessarily a sales issue. Maybe it’s not even marketing, but it’s, it’s they don’t even have, they don’t even know succinctly what the value proposition of the company is.

You know, and so, you know, one of the things that we do in addition, just to executive headhunting recruiting, we also provide consulting services, we could bring in fractional leader in that capacity to help the company kind of professionalize the sales process, which then may put them in a better position to hire a sales leader. Okay, a lot of times people think that, you know, sales cures all that’s that’s an old adage, actually, and people do think that anybody can do sales. And if there’s an issue of revenue, that’s not happening can’t be product, it can’t be marketing, it can’t be technology, it’s got to be sales.


Damon Pistulka  23:17

Yeah. Yeah. That’s interesting, because I always thought about that, because I, you know, I’ve had friends that work for larger companies, or even people I know, that worked in the medical industry, before medical devices and such, and, and, you know, and the technology changes and, and I think that that cause more in new technologies came out, or software, just all these solutions, and the people are often the sales growth, they’re the, the the scapegoats in the whole thing that actually the technology itself is is, you know, it’s matured to the point that, you know, you don’t have a lot of places to sell or it’s being outpaced by new technology.

Sure. And, and the salespeople are the scapegoats there, they want to go in and change the sales when it’s really more of a systemic or a product problem at the back end, isn’t it? Is market


Beau Billington  24:05

fit? You know, there’s, there’s so many small organizations out there that are trying to sell to the enterprise, that maybe don’t even have a logo within the enterprise. And that’s, that’s a tough proposition. I mean, maybe maybe the best salesperson in the world can bridge that gap. But anybody’s gonna have a challenge there. Because, yeah,


Damon Pistulka  24:20

yeah, that’s a great point. And it’s something I think, too, that if if you’re having a deeper conversation with a company, I don’t know if you can get into that part of it. But it really, ultimately, changing people cost a tremendous amount of money and, and whether you realize it or not. So if there’s some other things that can be adjusted to make your people more successful, you’re going to ultimately be performing better in the long run. Not that I know in your industry, you you’re changing people is is is that the engine that drives the bus, but but, but if they’re doing it the right way, you’re going to Need more people because they’re going to have more sales anyway? Well, that’s


Beau Billington  25:02

so that’s, that’s the thing is I, you know, don’t want to replace anybody, you know, to me, you know, I add value to companies when they get the right person who sticks around. And so that’s also why I have a problem, a lot of the job aggregators, if you will, like LinkedIn, and D, because I feel like a lot of the due diligence with the individuals they bring in isn’t done because there’s just too many candidates. So they end up turning and churning, yeah, they’re getting them for less expensive than maybe for hiring a company like mine.

But at the end of the whole thing, it costs them more, because they may go through three candidates. Yeah, you know, versus just one. And it also costs, there’s opportunity costs for not having the right person, you know, at the right time, you know, early if you kind of, you know, delay the process. And also, if you have the wrong person, the wrong person, because firms like bond do cost money, we don’t work for free. Yeah. So it’s there’s definitely some, you know, some some considerations there.


Damon Pistulka  26:02

Yeah, yeah, there’s no doubt. I mean, I think that that, really well, I do a bit of work in sales. And I understand that, but when you look at sales, there’s so much more around it, then the people themselves, that, especially today, with the different technology that you got available to help sell better, and to help. You know, I interviewed someone last week or a couple weeks ago, and they were talking about AI for sales, sales teams, that were, like large industrial distributors, say, example that I’m with a company like fastenal, and I’m a new salesperson with fastenal.

Well, fastenal has got, you know, four bazillion products in their, in their catalog, how the hell am I a new salesperson gonna come in, but if, if the AI would be able to go, Okay, here’s your, here’s your client, here’s what they they bought in the last 90 days, it’s about time for them to be able to replenish. And here’s what other clients like them bought. And maybe you should, you know, suggest to them, those kind of things, you know, also put those sales people in the position to win. Whereas it’s not so much survival of the fittest anymore, because the sales game, a lot of that at that even in the the mid and higher tiers is still that way.


Beau Billington  27:25

I totally agree. No, I’m not I’ve kind of been on the software game for about four years. So I’m not, you know, on the cutting edge of what’s out there. I do use software myself. And I think it’s critical. Of course, you you could over index and use too much software. And then yeah, inflicting messages, which I think is a real problem. Yeah, it is. It is important, which probably underscores, you know, the thought earlier about you know, even a W could do it, you know, now everybody thinks it’s a software that anybody should be able to do. Yeah,


Damon Pistulka  27:50

I don’t I don’t think sales is a tough job. I don’t think and I’m never gonna ever say it’s not because it is. And it is because consistently, you have to you have to get ready to get up and swing. And I don’t care if you’re managing salespeople or in the sales field, in the field doing sales. It’s tough. And I just I was just curious, as we talked a little bit there about, you know, I think companies there are a lot of companies that rush to blame the person rather than that the everything around them that could could really be contributing to the performance.


Beau Billington  28:25

100% Yeah. When I have those conversations, Damon, you know, I don’t always leave with it with a with a wreck. You know, I don’t always Yeah, some of the times it’s a different conversation. Yeah, got a different issue. I think you need to, you need to solve first, and then maybe phase two is to hire that sales leader. But yeah, gone through two in six months. You know, maybe it’s not a person thing. Maybe there’s something else going on here.


Damon Pistulka  28:50

Yeah, that’s definitely it’s not that is is it a when you see the multiple turnovers or, or in, in our case, is I like to say is, is we have a little baseball team here in the northwest called the the Mariners. And we were the oldest, we’re a team that’s never won a World Series. I don’t think it’s the players are the coaches after a while. Yeah, you know, so you can he happens a lot of places. So when when people are when you’re doing the recruiting now, what do you think some of the some of the biggest challenges to recruiting sales executives are these days?


Beau Billington  29:29

Sure. And, you know, again, we focus across sales, marketing technology, so it’s not just sales. Yes. But I feel that, you know, there’s a lot of challenges that are out there. First and foremost, I feel like a lot of companies are trying to kind of mirror what’s cool and what’s hip, you know, started with the, you know, the coolers were everything was full or beers. Yeah. That’s kind of a phase. It’s been phased out. And now it’s remote work. But you know, frankly, I feel like a lot of Companies have adopted kind of the same verbiage in regards to trial balance. Unfortunately,


Damon Pistulka  30:12

yeah, so they’re, they’re starting to try to. Yeah, cuz that was that I tell you that was a big deal for a while, you know, it’s like fun Fridays and you know, having a beer on tap and stuff like that. And, and I don’t know if people got wise to it, but I know that there are some companies that I know that did a lot of that, but then the pay the benefits and everything else for the employees work weren’t nearly as good as other places.


Beau Billington  30:40

Whatever stuff. Yeah. And of course, you know, I’d say executives, about those things, but just one of the challenges and then pre COVID, I feel like we were more in a in a candidates market. And so basically, it’s kind of the real estate market. So yep, you’ve got it, you got a lot of a lot of candidates. And, and, you know, or a few candidates, a lot of jobs situation where I was talking to candidates that that were very strong companies are coming with a compelling offer, and they’d have three, four offers Wow.

So down to money, as well as flexibility. Now, the inverse, where there’s a tremendous amount of candidates and few jobs. And so it’s, it’s, it’s tough, being able to kind of stick out from the crowd and ultimately have to have a compelling story. Of course, it’s got to be factual. Yes. But companies need to kind of create and think through what’s compelling about working at their organization versus another one. And I’d say that’s one of the toughest challenges and again, goes back to kind of how important our intake is, because we need to understand why is it unique? Because ultimately, you’re competing against your competition?


Damon Pistulka  31:45

Yeah, yeah. And you make a good point, because I think a lot of things have not just COVID but I think that COVID change the economy, and no doubt about that, and change the job market and such, but, but, you know, we will come back into the day where, where people are more selective if they can be about about the places they work. And at the executive level, I think that there still is going to be selective, and to a certain amount. A lot of people that are that are the leaders of these companies.

And I don’t mean just the the sales executives, the marketing executive in the tech is actually like you’re talking about, but I’m talking about the founders, the CEOs, the board members in these companies, they have to have a social presence, they have to think about online reputation management, they got to think about what, you know, the the six employees that they made angry two years ago that went to glass door and hammered the company, you know, that that just wasn’t there. 10 years ago, it was


Beau Billington  32:47

totally agreed and another situation to kind of with COVID. And, you know, people I don’t wanna say desperate, but, you know, looking to make a change, especially somebody doesn’t necessarily have a is not gainfully employed currently, is being a flight risk. And another reason why I think that, you know, companies should leverage agencies when they can, not that we’re always perfect and fleshing that out. But that that’s a real issue right now, or somebody made for Jessica, we’re gonna do we have to do.


Damon Pistulka  33:13



Beau Billington  33:14

so you know, part of our job is to kind of try to begin to use the same word flesh out whether or not you know, what’s the motivation for taking this position? Are you really excited about the opportunity? Or you you take it because you have to have a job? Yeah. Yeah. That’s, that’s in the tactical world as a strategic I mean, it’s, it’s across the board. And that’s, that’s a big issue. Right now.


Damon Pistulka  33:36

Yeah, I can imagine. I can imagine. I hadn’t thought of that. But you’re right. There’s a lot of people that would take the job to make the cash now do whatever they need to do, you know, work with cross country. Yeah. And, and as soon as they can find something else, they’re back home. So


Beau Billington  33:51

that’s a tremendous cost to companies. So not only are they paying, you know, somebody like us, or you know, LinkedIn, they’re not free. But they’re onboarding these individuals. Yes. Well, they basically are sucking resources out of them with no intention on staying daily in the company starting from from square one.


Damon Pistulka  34:07

Yeah. Yeah, that’s for sure. That’s for sure. And at the executive level, I mean, it’s even, it’s even probably tougher, because or more expensive, because, you know, they just get the the executive comes in, they’ve got ideas of how they’re going to do things and they start down that road, right, and then you’re into at six months, and they’re really getting into the swing of something and and they leave now you start over again, because it because it’s more than likely not going to be the same program or the thought process coming in behind it.


Beau Billington  34:36

Well couple that with the fact to that it typically takes around nine months for an executive to find a new position and you find people that you know, they can master desperation


Damon Pistulka  34:50



Beau Billington  34:51

a take a job that they shouldn’t have. And you know, that’s a it’s a real it’s a real situation.


Damon Pistulka  34:58

Yeah, right now, yeah. Yeah. Hmm. Okay, interesting. So, uh, you know, someone asked me this the other day when I was I was getting interviewed. So what what happened? I asked you about sales and marketing and technology recruiting, I should have asked you.


Beau Billington  35:19

Wow, wait, wait, wait a flip it on me, Damon. Um, you know, we didn’t talk about the the platform that I’ve that I kind of launched about about two and a half months ago, you know, yeah,


Damon Pistulka  35:31

let’s talk about that, then. It segue? Yes,


Beau Billington  35:33

we’ve talked a lot about, you know, indeed, and LinkedIn and how, you know, they’re ultimately just trying to go after the quantity necessarily quality. And so I’m trying to, you know, with my company, I’ve really got two business units. The one we’re out there doing executive recruiting, you know, we’re doing contract work. But I also try to spin up kind of another business unit, that’s more of a software company where I aim to be kind of the, the antithesis of LinkedIn. And so it was network for executive level, you know, certain matter experts, cross sales, marketing technology, would they go through our vetting process, and they actually join our network, so they join, okay?

conversely, companies go through the same process. And so we’re vetting companies, we’re actually vetting their positions, we’re having helping companies kind of build out their profiles and build out their job descriptions. And then within the platform, they literally can post something out into the ether. So it’s an example I need to CTO company, here’s here’s the salary and a budding CTO within within the network and find that position, apply for the job, they create commerce.


Damon Pistulka  36:33



Beau Billington  36:33

up to three years, I hope we identify more as a software company versus your services company, because that’s really where I see the market going. To be honest, yeah. And if you can curate the the individual component, but also the jobs as well, then you know that the matches and the value of the network has been increased tenfold. And last fall, I don’t want to sit here and hate upon LinkedIn. And indeed, especially as I use LinkedIn, a lot for business, though, yeah, and it is out there. But you know, they don’t necessarily curate the jobs. And so if companies have the budget or open spot to post the job they can.

And so not to say that there’s a lot of fake jobs out there. But you will find companies that are kind of advertising jobs as a way to say, Hey, we’re still alive, we’re still growing, and maybe as a as a news or a ways to kind of get resumes and get people into the ecosystem with no intention on on ever hiring them. Yeah, that’s trying to alleviate with the platform side by not only vetting the talent, but also ensuring that the jobs are actually real, and factual, and they’re going to do something and they find the right candidate.


Damon Pistulka  37:41

Yeah. So do you see that there’s there’s many executive level positions that are, they’re open, they’re not open anymore, or just not there?


Beau Billington  37:50

I think with the executive level positions, you know, that could be someone on your face, to be honest with you. That’s more so kind of, you know, with, I’d say lower salary.


Damon Pistulka  37:59

Okay. Yes, but


Beau Billington  38:01

it is it is the reality of the platform.


Damon Pistulka  38:04

Yeah. Yeah. Oh, yeah. No doubt, no doubt. Cool. All right. Well, then that when you’re when you’re creating those vetted communities, I think you you can build the trust level across the community. And understand in that situation, that if the people that come into it, and the businesses that come into it, understand and respect the, the level that it takes to get in there, you’re going to be able to they’re then going to be able to trust I’m going to work for for a company that has at least passed these, these levels of entrance and and vice versa is that, you know, Damon’s not going to get into the group if he’s, you know, not who He says He is.


Beau Billington  38:51

Exactly. And so we also have a referral component to the network as well. Without further I don’t wanna say thanks, but increases the trust factor, which is critical, especially in my industry, you know, every customer I have is a repeat customer because you get it and you have an opportunity and you, you create, you provide value, but you create trust. Yeah, for us. It’s hard to establish it’s super easy to lose.


Damon Pistulka  39:15

Yeah, no doubt. No doubt, huh? That’s good. That’s good. Well, it’s it’s interesting now in is if someone wants to see this platform wants to understand more about it and and how would they find out about it or wherever they get to it?


Beau Billington  39:33

Sure. URL websites easiest. It’s okay. The free agent.com


Damon Pistulka  39:38



Beau Billington  39:39

Don’t ask me how I how I actually ended up with that URL, but it’s the free agent calm.


Damon Pistulka  39:45

Alright. Well, that’s, that’s a good one for it.


Beau Billington  39:48

Got it. Apply it at the top right or join now.


Damon Pistulka  39:50

Yeah, okay. Good. Yep. And they’ll start the process that way. Well, that’s good. Well, Bo, it’s been great talking to you. And I think that this is, it’s interesting. You Your approach to, you know, pre vetting candidates preventing companies and really kind of changing the way that this is done and do it more the way that that I think sales and marketing is happening now in today’s market. So, yeah, yeah, it’s good stuff. Well, if someone wants to reach out to you, is LinkedIn a good spot to get ahold of you?


Beau Billington  40:24

Yeah, LinkedIn is fine. It’s just you know, linkedin.com forward slash, Bo Billington, ve au bi Li MGT o n, or my email, which is Bo bu at the free agent calm.


Damon Pistulka  40:35

Yeah, yeah. Awesome. Awesome. I just I didn’t I didn’t see that we had. Rodney was listening in. So hey, Ronnie, Ronnie listens to us. Often, I think it’s a commute and commute. Listen to him. So that’s good. Whoa, thanks so much for being here, Beau Millington from the free agent calm if you need to get a hold of him just like a bow Billington on LinkedIn or go to the free agent comm to look more about the platform he has developed around matching candidates and companies in a controlled environment. Did I say that correctly?


Beau Billington  41:09

I think you crushed that. In fact, I would adopt that tagline.


Damon Pistulka  41:12

Yeah. Awesome. Awesome. Well, it just came out. So we’re lucky there. Thanks again, everyone for joining us in the face of business. And thanks both for being here. And we will be live on Thursday talking about another topic and listen to something hopefully interesting about business life. Thanks so


Beau Billington  41:33

much, Dan. Appreciate you.


Damon Pistulka  41:34

You bet.

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