The HireBetter Story


At HireBetter, we impact lives by connecting and empowering good people to build great companies. We know your world because we’ve lived it – we’ve been in your shoes. HireBetter was built by seasoned entrepreneurs who have grown and exited successful businesses. Because we know the types of challenges you’re facing, our team has a deep understanding of how to help our entrepreneurial clients grow and scale.

Through the years, the importance of talent to growth-minded businesses has repeatedly been proven time again. We’ve seen talent as the differentiator for most successful companies. But if talent is so critical to an entrepreneur’s success, why is it served by an industry that many – including HireBetter – believe is fundamentally flawed? We’re so passionate about solving the misalignment between growth-minded companies and the “traditional” recruiting industry that we’ve written extensively on the topic, including this acclaimed e-book: The Recruiting Industry is Broken.

Finding a body to fill a chair quickly in order to score a quick commission is what the traditional recruiting industry is built upon, and the reason we’re anything but “traditional.” We’re Strategic Talent Partners, committed to helping you build, develop, and optimize an amazing team to achieve your vision.

HireBetter has become THE leading talent partner for entrepreneurial, growth-minded, middle-market companies. We’ve won numerous awards and accolades and been recognized by many entrepreneurs, companies and organizations like YPO, EOS and CEO Coaching International. But we’re especially proud to be named as one of Forbes’ Best Executive Recruiting Firms in America. We’re also #1 in our own backyard and we don’t plan to relinquish our status any time soon.

It’s nice to be recognized, but we aren’t focused on accolades. We are a new kind of talent firm with a refreshing approach. We aren’t recruiters – we’re Strategic Talent Partners. Read on for a bit of history. You might see a bit of your own entrepreneurial journey in ours.


The Rise of HireBetter

HireBetter was founded in 2006 and was focused on the Topgrading methodology – a hiring and interviewing methodology that leverages a 12-step process to identify preferred candidates for a particular position. This idea stood out to Kurt Wilkin, himself the Founder and CEO of The Controller Group, a finance and accounting services firm that he and his partners grew from $0 to $20 million and successfully exited to Tatum in just a few short years.

During TCG’s rapid growth and successful run, Kurt realized firsthand the importance of a talented team working towards the same goals. And conversely, he saw many clients who didn’t have great people, they were in the wrong roles or they simply weren’t working together. He worked with recruiters to try and solve TCG’s needs and those of his clients – to no avail. “Contingent” recruiters are the main ones you see in the middle market and they just don’t understand strategic hiring. They simply clogged his desk with mismatched resumes and blew up his phone line with sales pitches and a false sense of urgency for their candidates. He realized that the recruiting industry is fundamentally broken.

In 2011, after leaving Tatum, Kurt purchased HireBetter and began improving on the Top grading concept while completely evolving the business model. Kurt knew that the contingent model of recruiting was not the right business model because it pits recruiters against their clients. So HireBetter became a retained recruiting firm, which is virtually unheard of for lower middle market companies. But it is the right model because it allows HireBetter to partner with clients to match the best possible candidates for their immediate and long-term needs.

From 2011 to 2015, HireBetter grew 50% each year by building a strong brand and providing topnotch client service, but something was missing. The recruiting process ran like a well-oiled machine and clients were happy, but the company wasn’t profitable. HireBetter was great at helping other entrepreneurs scale their businesses, but we didn’t have a plan for scaling our own!

For our clients, we recognized the need to deeply understand their businesses to help them determine what they actually need, versus what they think they need. As Kurt can tell you from experience, throwing bodies at a problem rarely works, it is an expensive lesson to learn and may set you back years. We’ve seen this play out with clients and peers for years. We even developed Strategic Talent Planning™, which is our way of taking our clients’ strategic plans and financial forecast and building a Talent Roadmap that is aligned with their plans.

In our case, part of the solution was bringing in an operating partner (or “Integrator” in EOS parlance) to pair with Kurt’s “Visionary” talents. A new Chief Operating Officer removed inefficiencies and excess costs and reduced the number of employees by streamlining processes. Velveth Schmitz later stepped in as President – building upon this foundation the systems, processes, infrastructure and team to truly scale the organization.

In 2020, facing unprecedented upheaval and change across the world, Kurt and the HireBetter team recognized the need to restructure some key elements of the company. In our Strategic Talent Planning™ sessions with clients, we help CEOs identify their best employees and often help shift them into new roles, so they can focus on what they do best and can best help the organization.

That’s exactly what we did, we followed our own advice. Kurt brought in someone stronger than him to run the company, so he could focus on strategic client guidance and thought leadership. Velveth is a powerful Integrator; not only a master of operations but a team-building guru. Under her leadership, HireBetter has built those systems and processes that will enable our continued growth and ability to scale.

In 2022, HireBetter acquired Diverse Recruiting Experts (DRE) as a key component in our new Recruiting-as-a-Service (RaaS) offering. The addition of DRE’s experience, tools, and strategies for sourcing diverse talent empowers HireBetter to further shape the future of talent in the workplace while helping growth-minded companies scale with world-class talent.


How We’re Different

Our clients appreciate our expertise in working with entrepreneurial, growth-minded and lower middle market companies (roughly $10 to $200 million in revenue) and our strategic approach. We ask good questions and listen intently, then we ask deeper questions to get to the bottom of your challenges and opportunities. We’ve built a unique product offering, Strategic Talent Planning, which aligns talent with your strategic plan, financial forecast, and hopes and dreams, by creating a longer term talent plan. Our powerful scoping exercise helps to clarify what your organization truly needs versus what you think you need. This is achieved through a unique discovery process that leverages our work across hundreds of entrepreneurial clients in similar situations.

Our team is so well-versed in working with entrepreneurial companies that we help you see around the corner and recognize challenges before they become obvious. Our experience in this unique niche means our recruiting team has developed an expertise to not only find, identify, and recruit talented candidates with the resume and experience to help you grow your company, but they also have the soft skills and the “it factor” that allows them to work and thrive in an entrepreneurial environment that can be fairly “fluid” (if not chaotic!).

We also know that finding and leveraging team members’ “highest and best use” is key to unlocking their passion and capabilities within your company. We practice what we preach. As evidenced by our Co-Founder, Kurt Wilkin, stepping aside as CEO to focus on expanding our message as a thought leader through his writing and speaking. Velveth Schmitz is now HireBetter’s “next-level” CEO. She started with the Executive Team 2 years ago.

When we say we’ve been in your shoes, we mean it! We know your team can’t be great without great people. So we made a bet that you want exactly what we do: someone you can trust to help grow your team; someone whose goals are mutually aligned with yours; and someone who can give you access to top talent – talent that’s often not even on the market.

At HireBetter, we’ve built our own team of great people committed to helping you build yours. That’s our commitment to you. That’s how we help you HireBetter.

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