Hiring Guru: Marty Fisher - Seeking the X-factor

Martin Fisher is a creative thinker and problem solver at heart, he is Sherpa Marketing's "Big Idea" front-runner and their President. Marty believes it's not good enough to be creative for creativity's sake, but rather that great creative is table stakes and that it must drive action. Good creative stops and holds the viewer. Great creative compels the viewer to act and brilliant creative integrates into a lifetime brand experience that is measurable and carries into every aspect including valuable SEO.

He professes for clients like Cisco, Novartis, and so many more; "A commitment to uncovering the most effective and measurable communication strategies is one of my passions. I am not content to "phone it in", I challenge myself and the Sherpa team to do more and find incremental value. Clients receive the benefit of this drive - successful projects with tangible and measurable results."

Marty Fisher believes the same goes for creating the team that creates the creative.

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To what degree do you keep your finger on the pulse of hiring for your ventures?

"I am very involved. Whether it's building or reviewing the business case for a new hire, I want to be part of the process. If the new hire is outside of my area of particular expertise, I participate in the creation of interview questions that are more focused on a prospective employee's character and how they might fit into our culture. I try to be present for final interviews and the decision making team."

How important is it to keep personally connected to the process of adding new talent/personnel to your team?

"As a smaller business (21 employees) we are still a pretty close knit group. A bad hire can have a really negative effect on the vibe of the office. We love and celebrate our differences, but we try to hire employees that exhibit a core set of qualities."

Do you have any hard-fast rules that are followed in your own selection of team members or those who will be working close with you?

"Yes, we do. We always try our best to employ the individual that we think is the most likely to be successful in the role. We always look for the X-factor qualities (e.g. creativity, sense of humor, work ethic). If they have the X-factor qualities, we may choose them over someone with more practical experience because we figure we can teach them how to do their job, but you can't teach someone how to be creative, it's a God-given talent."

Do you have an anecdote or philosophy to share that comes to mind that would sum up your thoughts about hiring?

"The thing that I would share to other employers is to take your time, don't panic hire. No matter how desperate you are, it's better to be measured and wait for the right candidate. Your existing staff would rather work a little harder in the meantime knowing that competent help is on its way."

Best interview question you have used?

"One that we like to use is "What do you do in your time away from work?" It's a great way to find out if a person is a lifelong learner. As a technology driven marketing company, there are seismic changes every 6 months and we need people that are tinkering and learning when they are away from the office."

Any hilarious interview stories?

"Nothing comes to mind... but if you want to talk about a couple of bad hires..."

I did refer him to a few stories of my own in my book The Naked Interview: Hiring Without Regret.

What has driven you in building such success?

"Aside from the obvious, driving the financial success of the business. I realize that I spend more time with my colleagues than my family. Hiring competent people that I like means that I can't wait to get to work every day and that positively affects the rest of the company."

Now this, I love; the ability to pull back from the business yet continue expanding is success.

Interview by David Jensen