Fueling Growth in the Pandemic: Nate Ollestad of Literati.com

Nate Ollestad is no stranger to fast growing companies, and it’s a good thing.  As a tech recruiting veteran, he has cut his teeth in the agency world, then at Google, Rackspace and Duo Security, and now applies that growth experience to building the team at Literati.com, the “Stitch Fix of children’s books”.  As the Austin, TX based startup unintentionally benefits from the world sheltering in place during the Covid-19 pandemic, Nate and his team are busy doubling their employee base by blending “new school” technology with “old school” core recruiting fundamentals.

In our podcast discussion, Nate and I dove into what makes a strategic and credible leader.  His playbook includes knowing your craft, not being afraid to move around and toggle from leader to individual contributor, and back to leader again to learn new skills. More like a “lattice” than a “ladder” mindset.

Of course, we couldn’t resist a little talent acquisition (TA) technology talk. Nate prioritizes sourcing over other recruiting stages when it comes to tech spend.  Once qualified applicants are found, it’s classic candidate care from human recruiters he just won’t delegate to the tech stack.

It wouldn’t be a Big Fish podcast if we didn’t also talk about career challenges.  Nate’s self-awareness emerges as he describes his struggle to break out of a his “people pleaser” tendency to sometimes overpromise and underdeliver – a hallmark of passionate recruiting leaders in my experience.  He’s also learned from experience the value of feedback and structured change management to bring the team along when transforming TA.  We agreed, pain is an excellent teacher, which brings its own gifts of humility and depth.  To that, I would add transparent, engaging, and fun to the list of Nate Ollestad descriptors, making him an ideal leader for our times, and a great example for future leaders.

We hope you enjoy the fast-paced chat on Big Fish in the Talent Pool – the podcast for Talent Leaders.  If you do, please be sure to rate and review us.  We’d love your feedback and it will help others find us.

Erin McDermott Peterson is a Partner with PeopleResults, helping clients with global recruiting interim leadership, RPO advisory, and ensuring a great candidate experience.  Follow her on Twitter @ErinMcPeterson, connect via linkedin.com/in/erinpeterson or email at epeterson@people-results.com and listen to her Podcast for Talent Leaders: Big Fish in the Talent Pool on iTunes and SoundCloud, or wherever you access podcasts.