In this episode, Gareth Webb speaks with Mark Gray, Head of Hiring at Invisible Technologies - an "Ops as a Service" business focused on optimizing how leaders get work done through a flexible workforce and automation expertise. Gareth and Mark discuss their point of view on AI's place in hiring, how Invisible Technologies is paving the way, why hiring from big brands can have limitations, hiring for distributed organizations, and more.
- Mixing AI and humans to better assess candidate profiles
- Why you need to be benchmarking candidates
- Research-driven inefficiencies in withholding compensation
- What Price's Law says about the limitations in hiring from big brands
- The future of digitizing organizational culture
- Building and hiring for distributed teams
BreakOut of the hiring noise with OutScout.
Gareth Webb: [00:00:00] We are off. Good morning, Mark. How are you?
Mark Gray: I'm good, Gareth, how are you?
Gareth Webb: Um, yeah, I'm okay. I think I mentioned to you, and so apologies to anybody looking at any video clip here. I was up three times in the night with my aging pooch. Um, but we shall soldier on I've had two extremely strong, um, espressos prior to, uh, , this conversation. Thanks for joining us. Breakout is our podcast series, which is really, uh, focused on two things.
One is talent and one is tech. Technology, specific talent, and the, um, all things that link to, uh, that particular, uh, niche, uh, rather chaotic, um, as we've mentioned before, um, hard, hard piece. The business world to try and crack and we're all trying to make it better. One of the things that we, we truly think is like everybody has different pain points.[00:01:00]
Potential solutions, but there's not always shared that well among, um, the industry. There's probably lots of complaining going on in the pub that in, in, in coffee shops, but, um, not necessarily much mind share around practice and, uh, new trends. And, know, it's a highly philosophical world.
Right. So I want, we wanted to talk to you, um, about your. Take on things, uh, and your angle. , Can you give us a bit of a background on yourself and, and your company and what you're looking to do there?
Mark Gray: Sure. So, uh, I'm Mark Gray. Uh, I've been in the hiring space for, uh, 15 years now. Um, primarily in, in the tech field. So anything from small scale ups of five, six people all the way up to. Uh, you know, the, the bigger orgs such as Zendesk, uh, with Invisible, I've kind of been tasked to, uh, [00:02:00] essentially bring, bring hiring out of the Bronze Ages.
Um, not only just invisible, but the, See if we can make a mark globally. Um, so Invisible is a ops as a service business. We can. Uh, essentially automate any process, in any business, in any industry, small, medium, large, uh, crazy large, um, through using software, uh, and humans. Um, and that brings its own challenges, uh, which we could probably get into later.
But, uh, very contrarian business, uh, approaches pretty much everything very differently. Uh, I'm not sure there's any business out there like it, uh, in every aspect. And, um, a lot of the approach of hiring has been formulated around that based on both some previous research I've done, but also some of the, I guess you could say, Moneyball approach to hiring.
Uh, I've implemented in my past two, uh, companies prior to joining Invisible.
Gareth Webb: How long have you been there for?
Mark Gray: Uh, I, I'm still [00:03:00] fresh. Uh, I'm coming up to my fifth
Gareth Webb: Okay. Um, and then, yeah, you said prior to that, like, smaller and larger companies, including Zendesk, um, then Air Tame was, was. You were there for what, three and a half years? What was, What was our time?
Mark Gray: Air team, it's a, it's a hardware, uh, and SAS combo, uh, for digital signage. So like the US education sector is a huge market for them, and then prior to that, I was with Realm. Who were very nerdy company, you know, building software for software Um, and uh, that got acquired by Mongo dv.
Gareth Webb: Very good. Um, cool. Well look like I'm e eager to hear about, invisible. you said it's a, a business that is a combination of like machine intelligence, automation, AI and humans to manage any kind of task essentially. [00:04:00] what, what made you join the business?
Mark Gray: Yeah. Uh, a few things. So firstly, uh, I think it was the, uh, the questions they had on their application page were, were so bizarre. Uh, that immediately peaked my curiosity. Um, a globally distributed company is also something that's appealed to me. Um, that, and, you know, their technology is super interesting.
This is way when five, when the website was very old school,
massive, massive facelift, but. Also throughout the process, you know, that's where you get a sense of an organization, the people that you interview with. The bar was so high, you know, everyone I interviewed with, I was like, Good god. The, the level of intelligence in this organization is, you know, a bit terrifying, uh, which is, you know, where you wanna be.
Um, you know, you definitely, I'm definitely not the [00:05:00] smartest person in the room in that organization. Um, But also the, the vision and mission and you know, obviously speaking with Francis, our ceo, um, you know, really kind of blew my mind in terms of how he sees, uh, the organization growing, how he wants to build the business.
And once again, just, you know, in, in some ways how crazy his ideas are. Uh, but backed up with, you know, solid corporate finance, uh, foundational knowledge and. You know, a lot of hard work.
Gareth Webb: Yeah. Yeah. I think, um, brand and website identity, corporate identity. Um, mission. those things are great, right? But good. most talented people out there. Um, and I mean, um, talents sort of loose term, but like, let's say in our industry, technology, IP development, innovation, like. That [00:06:00] those types of people are mostly engaged and motivated by being around people who are, who they learn from.
So it doesn't necessarily mean smarter than, cuz that's, I guess, very domain specific. But, yeah, your, your point of like, not being the smartest in the room, but like being around people who you learn from, with each and every interaction and day, I think is, is a huge, not just hiring, um, Doing the hiring is like the first bit, right?
But like, keeping people and growing people, like, it's very hard for people to leave organizations where they are like incredibly stimulated by how, um, how deep like the knowledge is or how like solid the talent is around them.
Mark Gray: For sure and it's, you know, look at San Francisco. You know, 15 years ago, 20 years ago, San Francisco was still kind of cultivating its image of being the tech hub of the world. But you know, it's that, oh well the smartest people in tech are moving to San Francisco. I should probably move to San Francisco.
Uh, and it's that kind of network [00:07:00] effect that we're trying to create here as well, Uh, by going. What is the DNA to be a partner and invisible? Um, how do we cultivate that? And then how do we let the world know so that people of a similar I
Gareth Webb: Yeah.
Mark Gray: um, communicating that's a challenge, but, uh, we'll figure it out.
Gareth Webb: Yeah, definitely. I think that's the every company in the world at the moment, um, trying to figure that out and communicate it. You know, especially as distributed teams and businesses grow, like having, having a culture and an ethos that people can buy into if they're not in the room or not in the building.
Um, let's talk about that a little bit. Um, like I think one of the things that you are doing and that your does is, is obviously about, is you've got the hiring of the partners and then you have the hiring [00:08:00] of additional folks that actually carry out tasks. What do you call them?
Mark Gray: Yeah, we have partners, specialists,
Gareth Webb: an agent. Um, so of the things you mentioned to me was about, um, like assessment you know, interviewing people is one thing, but assessing them for, for fit. Um, tell, us some of the things you are doing, uh, with Invisible to change that you said you're trying to bring hiring out of the bronze ages.
Like what does it look like now and what you're trying to build?
Mark Gray: Yeah, so I'll start with specifically on the agent side and for context to all the listeners, Agents are individuals we hire globally, um, to. Log into our platform and help our clients complete tasks that software can. Um, so one of the huge benefits of, you know, obviously hiring at a global market is there's a lot of people to pick from.
One of the downsides of doing that is there's a lot of people to pick from. [00:09:00] Um, and, you know, how do you sort that out? How do you understand, you know, who can perform well and who who can't? And, you know, obvious. How many hours can you put into interviewing and searching these people? So one thing we began to do was, let's understand what success looks like from a output perspective.
You know, per task, every task isn't the same, but there's some similarities. Let's see who we have already and let's, you know, based off performance data, you know, whether that's. X completed X amount of errors, you know, whatever way we formulated it, and then benchmark that against. Personality traits, uh, and task utility.
So what are those things? So personality traits, you know, big five, five factor model, whatever you'd like to call it. Essentially the baseline for most modern day psychology, we will pull a report, uh, through a AI tool we use called Ator. Uh, they're a German organization. Um, [00:10:00] we can pull that data within two, three minutes.
We can then look at. Let's look at the full formulation of personality traits across a team of, let's say 200. Let's segment that by the top 10% performers, the median and the bottom 10% performers. And then from there we'll just do a, a basic analysis to see, um, okay. Are there any, um, aggregated outliers, um, or, uh, of personality traits?
So to give you an example, when we did recently, we had to. Close to 190, uh, agents for a very niche project. Um, and what we could see was the top 10% of performers were considerably higher on the openness scale. Uh, the agreeableness scale and the conscientiousness scale. And the bottom 10% of performers, uh, were very low, or sorry, very high on neuroticism and very low woman business.
So that gives us now kind of a. [00:11:00] A blueprint of okay, looking at averages and you know, if you hire a hundred people and you use this method, 42% of the time, we're more likely to hire someone at the top 10% than we are the bottom.
Gareth Webb: Mm-hmm
Mark Gray: Um, on top of that, you know, we do a very, Task specific test as well to actually benchmark their skills specifically to the role that they'll be doing.
Um, so yeah, essentially what does that look like? Well, it's a huge Excel seat, uh, with like loads of decimal point numbers. Um, you know, we. Pull in one of our analysts and we actually have a PhD, uh, software engineer who helps kind of coll all the information, make sure we haven't missed, rinse and repeat across all teams.
Uh, now, slowly but surely starting to do that at partner level too.
Gareth Webb: Yeah, that was my next question. So how do you, how will you do that for specialists and partners? Like is, it's very different, right? Cause probably less of, [00:12:00] of a narrow task, but still you know, say you've got product designers or AI researchers or software engineers, Like what, what, how do you think that would look different in, in, in, in a different.
Mark Gray: Sure. So like with at all levels, we'll use some tests and we'll use them at other levels. So like an example is at a partner level we're, we're gonna start rolling our PLI assessments, which are Predict Predictive Index Learning Indicator Tests, which essentially shows. How quickly can you take an information and act on it?
Um, the reason why we do that is the partnership. Um, you know, the core manager is ownership. So it's very broad what you're responsible for, yet also very in what you need to achieve. So we need to understand that people can kind of take in along this information and actually act on Um, Within the same breath, we usually only target rules that has a very clear, tangible [00:13:00] output.
Um, so, you know, we're not really utilizing this for, let's say, design, because you know, what makes a good designer is, you know, Not so much a tangible thing, whereas let's say sales, well, we can clearly see how many sales a person is making. Uh, and you know, obviously you have to factor in all the variability there.
Um, but we can go, Okay, our top five sales people are doing X, Y, and Z. So same method as we do with the agents. Let's see if there's some commonality there. And then we add on top of that, you know, the p l i assessments, uh, the task variability, uh, and the big five. Then we can start building out a. Uh, clear picture as.
What makes what person better? Um, the next step obviously is team dynamics. You know, how does a group of people interact with each other in a certain size of team and what's the optimal, uh, variance in how those people interact with each other, based off their [00:14:00] personality traits? Although that's, that's still a bit advance for us at this point cuz we haven't really built out our, our full analytics center.
So, um, that's kind of the next step, uh, of the evolution.
Gareth Webb: Yeah. One of the things that's, we, we have touched on before, and I, I'm a big believer in this, although to educate clients and hiring folks to understand it is a bit of a step, is, you know, this whole notion of. Must have five years SaaS experience for that so, so I, I do get it. I definitely get it more on the product and the engineering side.
Obviously, like if you haven't built SaaS products then you know, engineering's gonna be tough. Um, product you could have come from products and. Internet and, and be very good at enterprise SA type products in my opinion. But, but people seem to latch on to b2 c, b2b. That's one era I think gets made.
Um, the other is, [00:15:00] yeah, especially for sales and marketing and operational roles, know, must have had five years B2B SAS experienced. Can you talk a bit more about that?
Mark Gray: For sure. Um, yeah, it's, you know, the, the belief that past success determines future, uh, success, which, um, is inherently wrong. Um, one of the research, um, projects we ran was, you know, utilizing that same mantra of like, Oh,, we only wanna hire sales people who, who've done SaaS sales before. So we actually wanted to test that.
Oh, I see. Um, How real that was or if it actually held true, or if it was just purely a true system. Um, and yeah, you know, the results were pretty clear. It wasn't, it wasn't a significant degree of correlation, but it wasn't insignificant either. That basically showed that. Hiring people based off the fact that they've worked in SaaS before is a negative correlator factor, future [00:16:00] performance.
So you're actually less likely to hire a high performer if they've worked, um, in SaaS before. Once again, though, it wasn't like a massive variance, but it was still a variance nonetheless. So there's very little proof, um, both in what I've looked up and also what a lot about other academics have done in various industries that actually proves that to be the case.
Gareth Webb: So, So what's the alternative?
Mark Gray: The alternative is to look past cv, look past an individual's experience, or what success they may or may not have had in their past jobs and optimize for the functional aspect of what they're gonna be doing in their new job. there's still a lot of things we don't know. You know, we understand to a degree the effect. Uh, company culture, team dynamics, the individuals traits, uh, and there's even a model for it. It's called text model of personality based Performance. It's a, [00:17:00] uh, and essentially what they stipulate is, you know, the individual's personality traits has a direct impact on team dynamics, the company's culture.
Uh, and the tasks they do that then impacts their overall job performance, which is then also fed by both their intrinsic and extrinsic reward center. And then it's a loop, it's a just kinda constantly circulates. Um, so how can we measure people's intrinsic or extrinsic reward centers? Well, it's very hard and no one really knows how to do it yet, so we can't really, uh, say we can do that and measure.
In a meaningful
Team dynamics is a very interesting space that, once again, every layer you add, you know, you add a factor of complication to it, team of four, you know, it's four to the power of four, three to the power of three, two to the power two, one to the power of one a variability. You have to factor and then you have to determine what those factors are.
[00:18:00] And you know, you can see how this just gets to the point where it's just very difficult. Um, And then finally, you know, organizational culture. How do you digitalize culture? Uh, it's very difficult. You know what a lot of companies tend to do is, here's a sample set of questions. What do you think of our culture?
And then once again, you run into the problem of it's the, um, it's the perceived culture. Uh, and I say perceived same way with, uh, personality tests. You have perceived traits and observed so perceived as. Fill in these multiple choice questions. What do you believe yourself to be? Uh, and you know, there's obvious issues with that in the sense of.
You might not want to, uh, admit to yourself that let's say you are X, Y, and Z even though you are, um, of kinda your own personal. And then there's observed traits. So if you were to ask a thousand people what your traits were, you don't aggregate that out. And then that's the output. And there's a lot of argument as to, [00:19:00] you know, which is more valuable.
I believe observe traits is more valuable, um, for various reasons, but it's tricky. Like we're still very much in the early stages of understanding this, but the next 10 years and the, you know, increase of computing power, the utilization of AI and hiring, and we're getting to a point where this is becoming much more of a reality.
Gareth Webb: Yeah, so, so the, let's say I, I believe like a lot of senior execs hire with like their own, um, Yeah, Saving their ba, saving their own bacon, career risk, perception. Like look at this great hire I made, it's X person from X company. Uh, so there's like this extrinsic motivation to hire a kind of brand.
Um, so people are hiring folks, you know, cuz they had three to five years at this kind of like [00:20:00] stellar brand, but that brand. Been great for various reasons, right? Like the product, the, the funding, um, not necessarily that individual's work. Um, yeah, to your point, at least looking past the resume, the cv, the LinkedIn profile to extract context or, um, reasons to make a higher or red flag, um, observation.
So, So what are some of the, you talk about assessing for tasks. What are some of the other like assessment techniques cuz it does sound to me like are not the sort of talent leader that just has conversational. Kind of assessment with folks, like, it seems to me like there's more, You want data points, you want your numbers, you want, you want indicators, so we call it signals.
So our whole thing is like signal driven hiring, like signal driven matching. Like this person has versatility, they have. They've built processes, they've built teams, [00:21:00] they've done the that we can extract from them or their profile that highlight why they could be good. We still have a bunch of clients that are like, Yeah, but I want someone from a big company.
Or, Yeah, but they were, um, you know, they haven't managed a big enough team. So there, there's lots of these things. What, what are the things that you truly assess for? Like, say, say it's a partner or a specialist role, not one of your agent roles where it's a very narrow task. What are the things that you look for?
How do you assess, um, what, what do your interview processes look like?
Mark Gray: Yeah. And, and before I get that, it's just something you, you, you mentioned while you were speaking there that you know, oh, they worked in this big brand and you know, they must be good so, Using basic maths, you can use something called prices Law. Prices law essentially states the square root of the total participants accounts for 50% of the output.
So what does that mean? So if you have a company of a thousand people, what is it? 31, 32 people account for half of the output. So when people say, [00:22:00] Oh, we've hired from this big company, this person's amazing. You know, there's actually only 32 people in that business that are amazing. I'm oversimplifying but that's the trap a lot of companies fall into.
It's like, Oh yeah, this amazing brand, amazing company. Well, the person you've hired more than likely, has been influenced by what's happened there. But unless you get very lucky or you're very, very good at identifying these people, it's more than like, you're not hiring one of the critical
Gareth Webb: Yeah.
Mark Gray: Um, So it's some, and you know, that just expands and gets, you know, 10,000 people.
It's what? A hundred? So it gets harder and harder the bigger the company Uh, it's also why a lot of big corporations kinda collapse after a certain size. Um, because essentially those key people start leaving. Um, To your question, how do we assess partners and specialists? So it really depends. So on the engineering side, we've built on like a very comprehensive matrix of what we're assessing, how [00:23:00] we're assessing it, and how do we make it completely even across every candidate.
So, Um, for engineering, we break it down like one, there's a, a live coding session and we're benchmarking around 18 factors. Uh, that isn't specific to how good the quality of the code is. That's actually one, Uh, another one is, you know, how are they communicating this? How elegant is their solution? And then within that range, You you know, strong.
No to strong. Yes. We have very specific indicators of how we measure that. So the idea is we can put any engineer in there to do an interview and they can look at the sheet and see, okay, yes, you know, it is strong. Yes. On elegant code because of X, Y, and Z. This is what they, We also have like assistant design interview, same, uh, kind of scorecard detail.
Um, Different task. Um, so we're really kind of wanna understand and, you know, we're catalog [00:24:00] on cataloging all of this as well, so that in a year or two when we look back at all the candidates we've either accepted or rejected, we can try and analyze if there's a pattern there. You know, are we leaning too heavily on people that do really well in the system design interview, but not so well on the coding interview.
Um, so every kind of data set you can pull in, just hold onto. Benchmark, look at it in six months, look at it again in six months, and try to understand what you're doing well and what you're doing poorly. Um, on the sales side, what we have is very, um, specific simulation sets, uh, sessions. So we'll actually use like recent real calls and we'll kind of create a script for the interviewer.
So the, Okay, you're a recent call with company. X, Y, and Z. Here's the script of what happened with our salesperson. I want you to replicate that on the interview. Uh, and we'll, you know, cut out bits if they're like too extreme or not norm. [00:25:00] Uh, so we're trying to simulate what it would be like for this person if they were actually doing a sales call.
Similar process, again, we benchmark against multiple factors. Um, and then we have very clear kinda guidelines on, onto how to score this person. Um, But funnily enough, through all of this kind of data gathering and pointing, one thing we kind of figured out is. Close to 60% of the partnership either has funded the company or as a co-founder of a company at some point.
So now we've kind of gone, Okay, so that's actually the kind of common bond that's bringing in a lot of partners is all these are ex entrepreneurs. Um, Exactly. Um, so that's one thing now that we're leading into a bit more as well to kinda go. Obviously not everyone we're gonna hire is gonna be a former entrepreneur, but, um, it's definitely a predictor of, of future success.
Gareth Webb: Yeah.
there's something there in that, without a doubt. I think a lot of companies get scared of that [00:26:00] profile because think they're always gonna do it again. Um, but I think a lot of entrepreneurs don't always, they don't always set out to be that. They just kind of, either something came up or they had to do it.
it's circumstantial, but I think if you put a bunch of those people together, they probably love it because then they're not dealing with the bureaucratic types and.
Mark Gray: Exactly
Gareth Webb: The, structural hierarchy that many people want. Um, if it's like, no, we're here to change things, work things through, be scrappy failure's.
Okay. Um, which that gets a lot of lip service in the tech industry. I think, like, you know, cuz if Mark Zuckerberg said it is like, I must be true, like fail fast, fail often, it's like, well, yeah, you actually always get rewarded for doing that. Um, in fact you get punished. What have you, You've probably been hiring and working with companies with sort of distributed teams and hiring distributed [00:27:00] manners before, different time zones and regions, cuz you're in sort of, um, reasonably central European location.
I'm guessing that that's not to you. Post Covid, but like, it's obviously become mainstream and it's, it, it's, um, extrapolated somewhat like what are the biggest challenges that now face, around hiring, onboarding and culture? Building, building and establishing and scaling culture.
Mark Gray: Yeah.
so the hiring piece is, you know, For context. I, there's me at the moment. Uh, I have one person in the UK and, and two people in India that, like, that's my team and we've just actually hired someone in El Salvador. So, uh, we're, we're hitting all the continents. If you find any recruiters in Antarctica, let know.
Um, but so the, the big challenge is obviously, you know, every country has a very different cultural viewpoint to. So how do you align that? Uh, and that's very [00:28:00] difficult. Um, so, and that kind of goes to your final point of how do you align on everyone under culture? So few facets of it. When you have a distributed team and you're hiring distributor for other distributed teams, there's definitely much more of a leadership.
Um, heavy focus in the business because, you know, you can't just tap someone on the shoulder and have a chat with them. Um, so building out very clear frameworks as to what people can and could do. Uh, rather than going, Here's a script, follow it. You know, naturally everyone has their own personal flare.
But building, you know, clear guidelines as to here's how you should approach these challenges, off you go and you know you're gonna make mistakes. It's gonna take you a while to get used to it, but you know, the only other option is being a micromanager, which, you know, no one has the time for. Nor um, aligning the culture at all levels is also difficult, especially cuz you know, we have [00:29:00] partner specialists and agents and all three of those.
Very different cultures. You know, uh, in the partnership we do a lot of activities together. So unlike Fridays, we have this thing called conversations. Our CEO will invite someone along and talk to for an hour about a really interesting topic, uh, and then we'll go discuss it after. But also just having the openness to communicate, you know, I'll just jump into people's rooms and chat with them for a while.
Um, Be a time burglar and uh, just have some interaction with my colleagues, Um, specialists. They're a lot closer to the partnership, so they interact a lot. The agents is like a whole new different company. You know, the culture we're building there is so different. Um, and it's predicated along. We want to give you the skills we want, give you the opportunity.
We wanna create future entrepreneurs and a lot of that is baseline. Building this like library of training and development content for all our agents globally. So a huge part of what [00:30:00] we're doing there is like, here's the practical side, here's the theoretical side. You're the master of your own destiny and we're, we're here to support that kind, that journey.
Um, so it's tough, but I think like with most things in culture, it comes from the top. You know, Francis, our CEO, has very strong beliefs as to. What the business should be and how everyone should kind of work within the business. And Amy, our chief people officer, who's phenomenal, is just like a amplifier for that across all.
Gareth Webb: That's a good, a good word for it. Um, yeah, it's a good word for it. Like amplification. Um, cuz I definitely that what you're saying is right, like it comes from the top, like the founder or the CEO's job is to set the direction of the business, the, the pace and the standards. But like those three things should be like, moved congruently.
Um, but it's, you can't do it. Like one person [00:31:00] can't do it. And, and, and what I mean is like, it's not like about beating the drum, but it's definitely about degree of repetition and enrichment of like what a vision is, um, and what a culture should be. But it has to be amplified. Um, How does she do that?
What does she do to, to, amplify and, and resonate?
Mark Gray: That's a good question. It just kind of happens. Um, I think it's, um, A lot of it's structural. So, you know, from, we were set up seven years ago as a remote only business. So everything has been built on So it's, it's, it's, I'm, I'm thinking now, like, how did it work in offices and, you know, it's really, and this is the problem with kind of culture and trying to identify, It's like I know what it is.
I don't know. You know, what's the secret sauce? It's really hard to explain. A, a lot of it comes down to actions, you know? We [00:32:00] value transparency like a lot of companies do, but how do we do it differently? Well, everyone knows everyone's salary. Everyone knows everyone's equity. It's all on our website. Um, you can access any document you want.
Board minutes. Yep. Financials. Yep. We actually share it. Everyone has it. Uh, everyone's performance management. You can go in and look at it. So everything's an open book, so you remove a lot of friction by doing that. It's controlled. It's still removed. Um, another thing is just the, the kind of the value set.
We, IBU and everyone, IBUs, like, as I said, the big one's, ownership. If something goes wrong in your area or in your team, it's because you've made a mistake and you have to take that and fix it. Everyone lives by that. I've never heard in my five months here someone complaining about their work or a team member or something not working, and that's because the only one that can fix it is themselves.
And it's an [00:33:00] incredible attitude and a lot of it is. Lived by, because it's a determining factor as to who does or who doesn't get promoted. You know, if you don't live by the values we have here, well, how can we promote you to a role? And since you need to be AER for culture, we can't give you that.
Everything's connected in the business.
Gareth Webb: Yeah. And in terms of like you more, you mentioned knowing knows each other's salaries and performance and stuff. When you go to market, you are, this is kind of like a changing, I don't see it going in any direction other than one direction, but like company details around hiring in each position and we get some clients that are like completely cool with it and.
That information is linked to the position in our platform. So when a candidate sees a role, they, they can see the comp, or at least the range. Uh, some clients are still dead against it, like they wanna hold those cards right till the end, which. [00:34:00] It's a nightmare to be honest. And ends in tears a lot more than it doesn't.
Um, and the laws are changing, which I think will just continue to change. Whereby won't, you won't be able to do that anymore. so we'll see. But like how do you view that transparency of comp.
Mark Gray: Uh, it's. Not only does it make my life easier, I like when we say transparency comp, it's like this is the comp. There's like no negotiation, there's no range. It's like this is the number and it's based off like a tiering system. It makes life so much easier. It's, it's, you know, Hey, did you check out our comp?
Here's how the partner paying model works by the. That's fine. Done. You never discuss complicated. There's none of this gamesmanship. And I get the mindset of companies go, Well, you know, we won't put the comp. And then like, maybe they'll get really bought into the company and then maybe we can get them like 10 or 20 K lower than they initially won.
It's just like you're wasting everyone's [00:35:00] time. Um, and this, you know, goes back to the bigger picture of, you know, the. The hiring market as a whole is just so inefficient. And these are like one of the reasons why it's like candidates spends five hours interviewing, realizing it's a hunter cable of what they're looking for, then everyone's wasted their time.
So I'm all for it. Get 'em online, get 'em on, you know, candidates that wanna work for you will come work for you. Uh, and also, you it, it goes back to what we discussed before, you know, hiring purely off the cb. You're not gonna get the best people you can. So, uh, by limiting yourself, again, by not putting a a salary number on there, you're gonna attract the people the.
Gareth Webb: Yeah.
that's a good, that's a good point. Um, yeah, it is the time drain, the inefficiencies, the data silos, like it's, it's all those things. Like we are trying to step by step help by. You know, you, if you keep candidates happy, you are like, and I mean, not just [00:36:00] when they work for you, but like through an in, through an engagement.
Like when you first, they first talk to you and when they first, um, when we match them to a client or a position, like they feel good about all those steps because it's clear, it's visible, it's all about expectation's, sort, expectation management, right? So, um, trying to be really consistent there.
Like the experience and then the same for clients. Like they don't want rejected offers, so it's like, Well, okay. Let's just all be very, very clear and level at the start. Um, let's just have a few, a few kind of wrap up points. you and your, what are the kind of, you mentioned one business, can you repeat that?
And what other tools that and your teams currently or reviewing or you can't live without?
Mark Gray: Well, naturally an ats, you know, I don't plan on, uh, logging a filing cabinet up to my Um, the, yeah, Retorio was the AI tool that we use, um, which, that's the one I probably couldn't live without as [00:37:00] well. Um, a lot of the usual suspects like LinkedIn, um, we're using Handshake at the moment for a lot of our academic stuff.
Gareth Webb: Yeah.
we've used that. hired some grads through that. It's good
Mark Gray: Yeah, it's, it's a great platform. They need to hire some engineers to fix of the problems. So this is very buggy. Um, it has, its, has its downsides. Um, another one's angel list. Obviously a lot of the usual suspects. Um, Aside from that, some of the things we're looking at, it's more like ease of life things, you know, good time for scheduling.
Um, just, that's another like absolute time burglar when you're trying to schedule candidates, especially when, you know, we get around three, 4,000 applications a month. Um, trying to manage all of that scheduling is, is a nightmare. Um, and then finally, as I mentioned, PLI assessments. We'll be doing a bit of executive hiring next year, so probably utilizing [00:38:00] Hogan assessments.
Gareth Webb: Yeah, I am shocked we do so much senior level hiring, like senior ics, like people getting paid two, $300,000 a year, no assessment tools. Um, not even just to like, you know, not, not that that should determine exactly if they're right, but it should potentially be part of the journey, Right. And the, the kind of experience.
But, uh, I don't, I dunno if some companies just feel like it. Either like an off putting factor for very, very high value candidates, but, um, we, we see so much of that not happening. Um, and then especially like director VP level, like it, we've got like one client that will do personality assessments with each hire.
Mark Gray: criminal.
It's, it's, it's, it's ma but I think it's, you know, the underlying factor is, You know, there's this belief that everyone wants to succeed. And I believe it's a, most people [00:39:00] don't want to fail. And there's a big difference Um, and I think this is the reason why sometimes things just that make a lot of sense, don't get done.
Cause the fear of failure is so great that people are like, Let's just maintain the status quo. I'm not gonna stick my head. I, I've got bills to pay. And it's a very logical thing to do, you know. It's, you know, survival instinct and I completely get it. But
Gareth Webb: Yeah, it is. Definitely. Uh, well that leads me into my next question, which is like, what, what makes your job more difficult than it really should be?
Mark Gray: candidates, no. Um, I'm joking. Candidates, we love you. Please apply it invisible. Um,
Gareth Webb: people. Yeah.
Mark Gray: What makes my job, you know, trying to bring tangibility to all the intangibility of hiring. Um, so everything related to hiring. You know, I think on our previous discussion, I, I [00:40:00] kind of said, Uh, you know, a nihilistic view of hiring is no one really knows how to hire. We're all just kind of figuring it out.
Um, that's true. You know, we can move the needle. We, we you know, have a better, uh, sense of who can and can be successful, but it's an impossible task. We're all too complicated and there's too many variables and there's no way a human can judge it. And then you add five humans into that because it's a panel interview and then, you know, good luck.
Um, So, yeah. Does that answer your question,
Gareth Webb: Yeah, no, I think, I think that is, Probably true of just the broader, you know, the philosophical variance of like what people deem to be best practice. And, you know, we talked about it with comps, like, well, why, why don't you just say what it is? then there's, there's a 10 minute conversation and pushback and friction and being guarded.
And that, that, that's, that's the same for everything like IU and assessment [00:41:00] is like, it's very philosophical, which is probably why, probably it should be, It probably should be like less there. There definitely. If you, I think you're right. Like not everyone knows how to do it, there is a band of like, good better than you've got, like, let's say best practice.
There's variance in there, there's like good then there's substandard poor um, that, that, yeah, that, that, that makes it much, much harder. It needs to be who, um, who do you know, do you respect? Like who's the sort of talent people, ops type leader that you think we should talk to?
Mark Gray: There's this guy, Gareth, that I'm talking to at . He's uh, pretty switched
Gareth Webb: It's very, I don't, don't feel it this morning.
Mark Gray: You can just do a one hour long
Um, the one, uh, OG and this guy shape a lot of my, uh, thinking is Dr. Tomas Chamorro-Premuzic. I'm probably butchering [00:42:00] his name, he is a organizational psychologist that leads up all the innovation function at the Manpower Group. He's written a few books.
He is, you know, Phenomenal. He, he is the industry leader in this space. You know, anything to do with academic research in hiring, you know, essentially breaking down everything we believe to be true. That's
Gareth Webb: What's his name?
Mark Gray: uh, Dr. Um, Toma Cha
Gareth Webb: Yeah, yeah,
Mark Gray: I will set,
Gareth Webb: To Thomas Chamorro. Promus, Yeah. Pro music. Okay. Dr. Thomas.
Mark Gray: Yeah.
Gareth Webb: Um, so he are you, Science and technologies help organizations predict human performance. Okay. I've never heard of him. Looks, his website looks great. Um, shall dive into one of those books. Good. thanks very much. That was very helpful. very insightful. [00:43:00] You've definitely got a different approach to quite a few of our clients. Um, a lot of people I speak with, which is what we want.
Wanna hear it all. Um. Thanks so much for spending an hour with me and um, yeah, I really enjoyed that. Thanks a lot.
Mark Gray: Thanks for having me, Gareth. It was a pleasure.
Gareth Webb: Thank you.
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