The Exclusively Hires Underdogs: A Nine-Figure Company

Any business that wants to accomplish a lot quickly needs a motivated and high-performing team. This is where business leaders invest a lot of their time every week. Different strategies work for different companies but one thing is certain: hardworking, driven people are the ones that make a company thrive.

Alex Pantich continues to push forward with his strategy to only hire underdogs. This has led him to great success. He is the cofounder and chief operating officer of Upshift, which connects business owners with people in need of additional staff. Pantich started Upshift in 2016 and oversees the HR and operations of one of the most rapidly growing companies in the world. Recruit Holdings also owns Indeed.com. Upshift’s Q1 2022 revenue was seven times higher than Q1 2021. Upshift expects to make nine figures in 2022 revenue.

Pantich explained that Upshift currently hires almost 6,000 “Upshifters” each month. Upshift does not employ contractors like many other companies who do not follow labor laws, pay employment taxes, or contribute to health benefits. Pantich shared the strategy, reasoning and result of Upshift’s bold approach to hiring underdogs within their internal team.


The strategy

Pantich explained that “We deliberately look for people with a chip on our shoulders to join our internal teams.” “This could be people who don’t have well-connected parents or who don’t have enough money to do unpaid interns or elite universities.” Pantich rejected many applicants with high-profile or elite jobs over the years. Pantich said that many of his employees had been working at hourly jobs prior to being hired. Most didn’t go to college for four years.

Pantich, who began working in a grocery shop at the age of 15, is included in this group. He explained that having to take responsibility at an early age helped him grow up quicker and taught him how to take care himself. The skills learned in teen jobs can be transferred to adult roles. Pantich said, “At Upshift, we avoid hiring people who haven’t worked until they graduate from university.” Another strategy is employee ownership. “All internal full-time employees have stock options and are proud to own the company. They outperform their peers, share their news with their families, and then share in the wealth that follows from their work.


The reason

This strategy has a simple rationale. This strategy is simple. Their employees are driven by more that convention, so it makes sense.

People are driven to prove others wrong. It is no secret. Pantich hires these people with no regrets. He finds that they are more willing to push the limits of what is possible than people who have lived in comfort zones all their lives and had everything handed to them. Many Upshift employees have experience working with customers in retail, hospitality, and public service. These types of jobs require customer service, resourcefulness, and quick thinking.


The Final

The strategy is paying off for Pantich and his Upshift team. “We are growing faster that any company with which we compete,” Pantich says. This is due to his team’s experience and motivation, Upshift’s market insight and timing, and also the fact that they have a better understanding of the market. We are a hardworking team, but we also emphasize the importance of taking time for ourselves and our families. “I think we have a great balance.” In recruitment, it is crucial that everyone in the team focuses on getting the job done.

“We insist they don’t push themselves to breaking point, and make sure that they take time off. However, they can get more done in a shorter time period than our competitors.” Upshift is stable and delivers features faster than many other systems. With over seven times the revenue last year, the growth speaks for itself. The app is more popular, customers are happier, and the team gets rewarded for their shareholding progress, which marks sustainable wins.

Resumes can be misleading. Your company might be better served by interns at prestigious colleges or people with impeccable grades than someone who has stacked shelves as an adolescent. Depending on the needs of your team, it might be necessary to overlook the former to make way for growth and progression. Are you looking to make a game-changing decision in recruitment by hiring underdogs?

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