Hap Klopp, Founder & 20 year CEO of The North Face

Hap Klopp spent 20 years as CEO and President of The North Face. In that time, he turned two small retail stores into one of the most recognized and well-respected outdoor gear companies in the world.

Hap launched a global management consultancy company, HK Consulting, after selling The North Face. He continues to speak around the world on adventuring, leadership, entrepreneurship, and the human side of management.

He’s also the co-author of two books, one on success called Conquering the North Face: An Adventure in Leadership, and one on failure called Almost: 12 Electric Months Chasing a Silicon Valley Dream.

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Highlights from our conversation include:

  • Hap’s early experiences hiring (and firing) (1:40)
  • The interview that motivated him to start his own company (3:39)
  • Why Hap looked for employees with passion over functional expertise early on (6:53)
  • How he identified candidates that aligned with The North Face’s DNA (9:06)
  • Hiring mistakes and how to move past them (10:21)
  • Prioritizing interpersonal relationships over traditional hierarchies (15:38)
  • Why Hap pushes for transparency in the hiring process (17:45)
  • How his recruiting practices changed as The North Face grew (18:41)
  • Hap’s advice for building high-quality teams (20:45)
  • What he wished he knew about hiring 30 years ago (22:47)
  • Why he’s focusing on working with disruptive companies today (25:33)

Visit HowIHire.com for transcripts and more on this episode.