Telling Your Story & Helping You Win

by Ross Fletcher 6/4/24

Storytelling is one of the most important tools we have to help find your next top talent.  Crafting a compelling narrative of your company and its specific needs is a no-brainer in attracting the right caliber of person to help you move forward.  That’s where Herd Freed Hartz excels, and it’s why I’m excited to use my deep storytelling experience to pique the interest of your next great hire.

As a former broadcaster and journalist, I couldn’t begin to count the number of stories I’ve told. My career across TV and radio spanned more than 25 years. In one day alone as a BBC radio presenter, I could go from interviewing the CEO of a major airline to a community volunteer raising funds for their local non-profit.  I’ve always found a real joy in hearing stories from across the spectrum and then shaping them for my target audience – the feeling of not knowing what’s coming next always keeps you sharp.

When building a story, one of the most important aspects of any interaction I have is being a great listener. Understanding people is at the heart of it.  Being well-researched and having a solid list of prepared questions is vital, but often the most revealing information comes from reacting to something you don’t expect. I’m confident that having a natural curiosity helps to flesh out the good stuff.

That’s where my time reporting at the 2012 London Olympics comes to mind. While I had the privilege of interviewing some of the world’s most recognizable athletes, my favorite encounter was with a less well-known 400 meter hurdler from the Dominican Republic called Felix Sanchez.  At the age of 34, he’d just won gold for the second time, and I was prepared to hear him talk about his legacy of success.  But his story quickly took an emotional turn as he explained his failure at the previous Olympics four years ago.  He’d failed to make it out of the qualifiers, having learned that same day the crushing news of the death of his grandmother, who’d been one of his biggest supporters. I knew I had to pivot the nature of my interview, to hear more about his deeply emotional tale – at that point who cared about his stride pattern between hurdles three and seven?

I asked him how proud his grandma would be of his return to the top of the podium.  He explained that since the day she’d died, he’d used her memory as inspiration and that in training and during every race he’d stick a picture of her inside his vest, to feel like she was with him. I asked Felix if I could see the picture.  And sure enough, he gently plucked out a two-by-two inch black and white photo of his grandma, as the eyes of both athlete and interviewer began to moisten.

In every walk of life, from sport to business, the power of great storytelling can never be underestimated. How can I help tell your story? Get in touch:

Why I joined Herd Freed Hartz

by Ross Fletcher

Why don’t you meet my buddy who’s an executive recruiter – I think you’d get on really well.’  And just like that, over a Starbucks with a good friend, a great idea was born.

After more than 25 fulfilling years in broadcasting, I was ready for a new challenge.  With that one suggestion, my next career move had just slipped into view.

The next coffee was a little stronger, and at higher altitude.  The pourer was Kevin Hartz, as we settled into the Herd Freed Hartz conference room on the 71st floor of Seattle’s iconic Columbia Tower.  As a managing partner of the firm, Kevin regaled me with stories of how he and his colleagues had got into the business of Executive Search.  I listened intently, soaking up the ways in which this industry-leading team had come to their profession. The more Kevin talked, the more intrigued I became about his world and the parallels to mine; storytelling, research, interviewing. We parted with the intention of regrouping in a couple of weeks’ time and although just a casual conversation, my mind kept whirring. Things flourished from there as I started meeting the rest of the team, learning their culture and how impressively they lived their company values.

I’d been thinking for some time about a change of career, having accomplished more in broadcasting than I could ever have hoped. During my initial conversations at Herd Freed Hartz I kept hearing the phrase ‘executive recruiting is a people and relationships business.’  Broadcasting is very much the same; whether it’s your interviewee or your audience.  My love of storytelling was forged while working for the world’s leading broadcaster, the BBC, covering politics and breaking news, while I was fortunate to travel the globe, reporting on location at 7 Olympic Games and the FIFA World Cup.

Interviewing a rich variety of top-achieving people was a highlight of the job – from the British Prime Minister Tony Blair during the second Iraq war to the fastest man on the planet Usain Bolt on the finish line of the Olympic 100 meter final, and Oscar-winning actor Matthew McConaughey on the edge of a favela in Rio de Janeiro (that’s a story for another day). But the majority of my work has been rooted in the Pacific Northwest and I’m excited to use my skills in a new form, with my new teammates.

As I see it, I’m moving from collaborating with one type of top-tier talent to another, tied together by a common thread – that everyone has a story to tell. I’m ready to tell your company’s story, and share with you the story of your next great hire.