Interviewing With Tri Star’s Lou Taylor? Only The Confident Need Apply

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Lou Taylor, Owner and CEO of Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group. Photo: Kelsey Grady

Owner and CEO of Tri Star Sports and Entertainment Group Lou Taylor sets the bar high when hiring her team members. She has constructed a recruiting process using advice from Whitney Johnson, a former Wall Street analyst, regular contributor to the Harvard Business Review, and co-founder of Clayton M. Christensen’s investment firm Rose Park Advisors. Taylor shares, “Whitney Johnson worked her way up from the secretarial pool on Wall Street. She’s a brilliant woman and one day she asked me, ‘What’s the biggest challenge facing you as a CEO?’ I said, ‘It’s freakin’ interviewing people. It kills me.'”

Johnson had a solution.

What is the recruiting process you implemented at Tri Star?

If you apply for a job here and you have all of the qualifications for that job, I send you a video request. Statistics show that people who worked and took accountability for their own wage at a very young age have a greater work ethic. So we ask candidates, “Tell me about your first job.”

Our other questions include:
What are your philanthropic and charitable efforts?
How do you think about society?
How do you contribute back?
What is the most complicated situation you’ve ever found yourself in at work?
If you had the opportunity to do anything in the world and write your ideal job description, what would it be?

These questions tell me what they’re really thinking, not what they think I want to hear. And, it allows me to hear how they present.

What comes next in the process?

They do a written test of exactly the things they’ll be looking at if they worked at Tri Star. How do they review a financial statement? Are they picking up on the details? I’m looking to see how they review and I’m also looking at how they present. I’m looking for people who take the time to type their comments and send them back neatly rather than handwritten answers. If they didn’t think enough about the fact that the CEO of the company is going to be reviewing their work, I don’t hire them.

How does a candidate’s confidence play a role in your hiring?

I can walk into a room and in five minutes, I know if I’m going to hire someone or not. If they don’t have eye contact with me and if they don’t present confidence, I’m not going to hire them. People, when it comes to their finances, want to be presented good news and bad news, both worse and best case scenarios, with confidence. Without it, you can do the best financial presentation possible, but your client is going to leave steeped in fear.

After an employee joins the Tri Star team, how does policy and procedure shape their work habits?

I’m a freak about policy and procedure. I have everything documented down to what the shopping list is for the office. All I want to do is make sure we think about processes and procedures so that everything that we do, tangibly and positively, contributes to a client’s life. I’m a freak. I admit it. I don’t care though because I love it. If you look at our team as in football, I have a great defensive line and a great offensive line. And together, hopefully, we’re going to get in the end zone for the client. I’m 100 percent convinced that nobody gets more value out of their business management firm than what they get here. And the successes are getting to watch our clients retire with money and have peace.

To read more of our conversation with Lou Taylor, check out the 2015 Next Big Thing January print issue of MusicRow magazine.

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Sherod Robertson is President and Owner of MusicRow Enterprises. He oversees all operations and develops strategic initiatives for MusicRow magazine, RowFax, and MusicRow's CountryBreakout chart. Robertson previously served as Director of Finance of Arista Records after beginning his career as Vice President of Finance and CFO at Reunion Records.

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