What makes us different you ask?

Let me take you back to my final year at university, deep in job search mode. Methodically identifying and applying to the interesting jobs that fit my skills and career goals. Most of the time, I heard nothing back, sadly considering it progress should I be worthy enough to receive even the most impersonal of automated responses along with some vague note about the job not being a good fit. Discouragement began to set in as all around me friends were experiencing similar frustrations.

As all recent college graduates like myself know, once you begin your first job search it doesn’t take long before all kinds of people start coming out of the woodwork to share their sage advice about what you “should” and “should not” do- how you should dress for interviews, how many networking events you should be going to, how much you should talk in that first meeting, and so on. One particular pearl of wisdom stuck with me, though. Nail my elevator speech. 

As fate would have it, I found myself one day on a phone call with Brian Hoppes, the founder and CEO of Elevation Search Solutions. And here is where I find myself now, sponsoring my first event as an Elevation recruiter, my ears ringing with all that well-meaning advice as I mingle with the plethora of developers in attendance. One soon approaches and bluntly asks the inevitable, “So what makes you guys different?”. Instantly I draw a blank as my carefully crafted elevator speech leaves the building. But only instantly, as I found that it was the easiest question I’ve answered in my two months here.

So, what makes us different? It’s the PEOPLE. Not a well-rehearsed talk track, a top-notch CRM, or a solid network. I respect the people I work with, and I am blown away by their passion for growing our business. It motivates and challenges me to pay that forward to each candidate and each client we partner with. Elevation isn’t in the business of making quick, thoughtless placements. We are in the business of treating candidates as people who are willing to let us join in on the next chapter of their career. We are in the business of helping our clients build their companies as if they were our own. 

I personally experienced what it’s like to move through the hiring process with the Elevation team. They took time to get to know me beyond my resume and helped me understand how my strengths could contribute not only to the team but to the growth of their business.

I joined Elevation because I believe in what we’re doing. I believe in my team. And I believe in helping people and businesses move forward. That’s the kind of value and attention you can expect when working with the people here.

-Emily Martin

Cat People and Dog People

dog people cat people.jpg

A respected local businessman I know recently gave me some insight on one of his best kept secrets to hiring success.  Aside from just being flat good at his trade, why do I always have a superior customer service experience every time?  How does he do it?  I wanted to know.

Turns out, there really is a lot of truth to training, hiring the right people, and making sure those hired people enjoy working together and working in general.  Unhappy, unmotivated employees are not going to be able to provide meaningful contributions on a long term, consistent basis. 

Yes, yes, of course.  But specifics, please.  

“In the interview, I always ask the applicant if they are a cat person or a dog person.  I tend to hire dog people, unless I need a real task master or ops person.  In those cases, I hire cat people.  They enjoy being left alone, but come out to play when they want to.  They’re also completely self-sufficient.  They don’t really need me and the claws come out when you do something they aren’t keen on.  They keep everybody else in line.  You know, Forbes wrote an article on Cat People vs Dog People several years after I talked to my staff about it.  One of them brought the article in to show me one day.  ‘Look!  You were right!’.  I thought that was pretty neat.”

I have yet to read the Forbes article.  I’m sure it’s easy enough to find out there, but it doesn’t really matter.  It all boils down to the fact that there is a true skill to sourcing and hiring the right person for an organization that goes far beyond simply a job description.  Finding someone who ticks off all the requirements and who presents well is the easy part.  The real art lies in developing the right mix of cat people and dog people to ensure a business grows successfully and sustainably.

Reap your harvest

With the transition from summer to fall comes a very distinct feeling of pleasant anticipation for the season ahead.  Perhaps it is because human beings, regardless of how digital we become, are still programmed with that instinctual, primal knowledge of seasonal shift.  Around late summer into the early fall not only does our body clock begin to change, but also our metabolism alters and our insulin resistance increases.  Evolution has managed to preserve this cyclical trait in all vertebrates, including me and you.  Of course, we don't stockpile walnuts in the plumbego pots like the squirrels in my backyard.  Rather, our brains just signal to us that it is time to eat more, move more slowly, and put on more weight for the lean winter months.

It is hard to believe that even a short century and a half ago this actually might have come in handy in agrarian, pre-Industrial Revolution Tennessee.  Although these shifts tend to be less obvious given our society now, really listen to your body as it moves into that hibernation mode.  Use this new and different energy to reflect on what you have learned the past year and how you want to direct your next year.  Your next season.  Let your ideas and reflections incubate and mature.  Dwell on them.  And as you begin to hunker down for November and December, and all the extra noise that comes with them, enjoy these few weeks.  Enjoy the time to prepare, for winter is around the corner.

Analyze this.

I find myself amazed of late at the number of companies in the business of data analytics that have cropped up, built out, or relocated over to Nashville.  Even some old familiar faces have new original divisions, mini companies within companies, busy analyzing what has been sitting on their books as a non-depreciable asset for years.  Information.

Sure, everybody knows that smart phones are the most obvious tracking devices for the glorious mundane messiness of all our habits, but this data exists everywhere.  I mean, really it’s everywhere.  And it’s being used in wonderful ways to not only improve our human experience, but to also simply make industry more efficient and effective. 

Think for a moment about the vast layers of coding, programming, and engineering that go into this data synthesis.  Now combine that with the in depth database and security administration aspect of maintaining all that.  Conspiracy theorists reading this will no doubt be nodding their heads in agreement at just more examples of Big Brother.  I consider myself to be a fairly seasoned individual and rarely surprised by much at this stage in the game, but sometimes I must admit that I do have my red pill/blue pill moments just like Keanu Reeves.  But for me it’s not Big Brother, just Big Data.  It’s using technology to get better at what you do, and it’s pretty damn cool.

Interested in being a part of these cutting edge companies?  I don’t blame you.  Interested in help finding cutting edge talent?  Don’t blame you there either.  We would love to consult with you about your needs, whether you are a future client or a future candidate.  We have some exciting times on the horizon.

Rachel Hoppes, Elevation Search Solutions

On CMA Fest

Nashville yielded music city to yet another year of record crowds in town last week for the CMA Festival.  As the bass boomed intermittently across the street at Ascend Amphitheater, our team were stalwarts grinding it out throught the dog days.  If at any point last week you found yourself wondering whether anyone was actually working downtown, then all you need to do is take a peek at our job board...and this blog entry I cranked out after a 30 mintue, 8 block commute.

ON CMA Festival (Sonnet 6.8.16)
CMA week June sings of the event
The siren song of festivals and beer,
Shouted serenade on all errant ears
Of cool temptation on white hot pavement.
As sun-dressed and jorted swarms the descent,
Snarling through city roads sensing your fear
Steady.  Endless.  Crosswalks.  Downshift, first gear.
The great crowd comes but I will be present.
Fixing a steely gaze on my future,
Sweaty masses descending on Ascend
Oh summer madness you fickle creature,
Nourisher of the deepest Nashville roots
Yielding for you I'm EC bound again.                                                                                      

Rachel Westfield Hoppes, VP of Miscellany
*I do not write music but am happy to sell these lyrics for the right price!

Be the beginning

How do you begin anything?  Where do you start?  Do you start by posing a series of rhetorical questions?  In this case, I think we'll go with yes.


This is our first blog post, written by as much of a blogging virgin as you could ever dream to encounter lurking about the interwebs.  Not only that, this is supposed to be a post to introduce the world and all of its friends to our new website.  It's THE post about THE website and I've got nothing but a blank page that's about as white-empty as any fresh notebook I took to class.

What I need is an essay topic.  Can one still write using a thesis statement, supporting paragraph, and conclusion these days?  How about a word.  Just a word.  And how about we go with one of the most obvious and overused verbs in the American English business lexicon when discussing projects, products, campaigns, and careers.  Launch.  

Ah, yes.  The old launch.  Akin to the rollout.  Originally from Latin, evolving slowly through Old French and making it's way to England courtesy of William the Conqueror, the word was originally used as a verb meaning to throw a spear (or lance), and a bit later on to reference the start of a journey in setting a boat afloat.  By the 1600s, we see good old launch as we know it being used in everyday speak as a way to express any kind of beginning, maritime or otherwise.

Sometimes I forget the true meaning of words as our language continues to evolve more quickly than most people care to slow down and think about.  I suppose that for most people, launch nowadays connotes some kind of explosive, amazing, awe-inspiring, life-changing event.  We have NASA to thank for that.  Think launch pad and "prepare to launch", or the shuttle launch.  This is now the point at which I could really nerd out and let my USN show, but I will spare you all......for now.

Sometimes a word is just that.  A rollout doesn't have to necessarily bewilder and amaze you with the touting of the sheer genius of a website.  A launch can just simply be the commencement of something new and hopefully improved, in whatever iteration of the word.  In my opinion, the act of starting an incredible story and being the author of your own beginning is an adventure in and of itself - amazing and awe inspiring enough all on its own without the need for rocket fuel.  

This is our thesis statement.  Be the beginning.  

We hope you love our new site.

Rachel Westfield Hoppes, VP of Miscellany