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EP 100: Shauna Geraghty, SVP & Global Head of People & Talent at Talkdesk. Masterclass: quality of hire, predictive algorithms, the magic number to measure success.

Podcast Transcript

James Mackey 00:00

Hey everyone, welcome to The Breakthrough Hiring Show. This is your host, James Mackey. I am so freaking pumped for today's episode. We have today as a guest, Shauna Geraghty. Shauna, thanks for joining us.

Shauna Geraght 00:10

Thanks so much, James, for having me. I'm excited to be here.

James Mackey 00:13

Yeah, I'm really pumped. I really enjoyed our conversation on the prep call and there was just, I felt like, a lot of natural rapport. So I think this conversation is going to flow really well And I think we're definitely going to be guiding talent strategy for a lot of executives tuning in. So, yeah, for sure. So I want to learn more about you. Could you give us a quick overview of your background and what you're up to? 

Shauna Geraghty 00:32

So I am currently the SVP of People and Talent at Talkdesk, and Talkdesk is a $10 billion private SaaS company. We have about 1500 employees in 20 countries across the globe And I was the first US employee at Talkdesk. I joined in 2012. We were founded in 2011. And I initially started within the marketing organization, transitioned to the talent team in 2016. And I've been running the People and Talent organization through Hyper Growth Sense.

James Mackey 01:06

Love it, and you're also a strategic advisor for Stanford as well.

Shauna Geraghty 01:10

Yeah, yeah. So my background, my academic background, is in neuropsychology. I have a doctorate in clinical psychology and I completed my postdoctoral work at Stanford and continue to contribute as a strategic advisor to a research lab that I joined when I was a doctoral student.

James Mackey 01:30

OK, this is. I feel like we could probably talk for a couple of hours because, with your background in psychology as well as marketing, i feel like that is just such a cool foundation to be running a people organization for such a great category. Leading tech company.


Shauna Geraghty01:46

Yeah, i didn't know it at the time. I really truly kind of pivoted in my career when I graduated with my doctorate And I, when I went into tech I wasn't sure that I would fully leverage it But I was surprised how much I did first on the marketing organization. But absolutely within the people function There's so much synergy And I know that I'm a better clinician because of the work that I do at talk desk And I'm absolutely a better leader at talk desk because of my clinical work.

James Mackey 02:13

Yeah, I could kind of overlap. I could definitely see that. That's. That's really really cool. So curious actually what, what kind of growth holds you into talent for marketing? How did that transition happen?

Shauna Geraghty 2:28

Well, it wasn't natural. Maybe it was. Some people might be able to relate to this. So we had probably about 120 people in the company globally and we didn't have and we're entering this hyper growth phase and we didn't have anyone in town and HR. All of that growth historically was, you know, organic top down. We'd bring in a leader and that leader would build out their team. And we knew that we're at this critical and clutching point that we needed a talent leader and we needed to bring in someone world class. But we couldn't find that person. We were interviewing multiple people and we couldn't find the right fit.

And so, after a number of failed attempts, our COO looked at me and he said, Shauna, you can do this. And I was like what do you mean? He was like, well, think about it. Take what you know about inbound marketing and you pair that with outbound prospecting, because I had built the outbound prospecting cadence for a CDR organization.

He's like you're an expert at process because of marketing, marketing's high volume, transactional, and you know how to interview because of your, your clinical work in structured clinical interviewing. He's like you just put it all together and that's talent. And I said, ok, well, yeah, that makes sense, but if I'm going to do this, i want to meet, i need to, i need to learn from someone who's done it before, and so he said perfect, i have the perfect person for you. So he set me up with a person named Aaron Wilson, who was an engineer by trade but transitioned to run a talent acquisition function within a hypergross startup that later got acquired, and I sat with Aaron for literally 30 minutes and learned everything about his process And from there developed our talent acquisition process, and we still use that same process today.

James Mackey 04:13

That's incredible. And Aaron Wilson, what? What company did he work for that got acquired?

Shauna Geraghty 04:19

He was at Bright Roll before they got acquired by Yeah.

James Mackey 4:23

I'm actually connected with him.

Shauna Geraghty04:24


James Mackey 04:25

I'm trying to think. I don't know how we initially got connected, but that's yeah, that's really cool. And then he went to yeah, yeah, oh yeah, we were talking about him on the.

Shauna Geraghty 04:33

Yeah, yeah, yeah, Yeah. that's why I was like familiar.

James Mackey 04:36

Just talking about this, right? Yeah, that's. That's really cool. I I love speaking with just like people that have reached that, that level of success, because you can learn. It's such high impact time.

Yeah like I'm, i'm all for working with advisors. I mean, at the end of the day, i don't you know, nothing beats hands-on experience. But you can accelerate to that Like. I think one of the issues that like younger leaders can make is trying to, in a sense, like reinventing the wheel.

Yeah, right, where it's like we end up wasting a bunch of time trying to figure it out, and particularly if you're smart and intellectually curious, there's always this desire to solve for the problem, and so I think it's like important to remember like there's a lot of people that have done this and it's better to just acquire all that knowledge And then, when you get to the point where you acquire it, then you can use your creative thinking to be forward thinking, like OK, how do I apply this to 2024? How do I make sure that we're being progressive, and what's going to be the best way to acquire talent or do anything else over the next five years, and how do we make sure we're not late to the party? Yeah, that's where our time should be, when we're thinking intellectually and trying to solve problems. That's what we should be doing, not like figuring out how to put together structured hiring, like there's already folks that know how to do that, and we should be learning from them.

Shauna Geraghty 05:54

Absolutely. I think there's a ton of resources within our field, but also there's amazing resources outside of our field. So if you think about sales the amount of investment that goes into sales and developing outbound prospecting, cadences, systems and tools, inbound marketing techniques a lot of what where the field is growing right now are kind of borrowing from those techniques and those spaces, so no need to reinvent the wheel. Companies like Greenhouse have great online processes and documents that you can download, but if you look at adjacent spaces like sales and marketing, you can find a lot of great material there as well.

James Mackey 06:30

Yeah, it's so cool. I mean I just I really just love your background and how you've built up to where you are today. I think it's really really impressive and I think it's just such a solid foundation It's it's really cool. So, but anyways, i think let's we could jump into a quality of hire, which is, i know, is something that you've been thinking about a lot lately, at your time at talk desk and I guess, even at a higher level. Philosophically, i would love to learn how you think about the topic and how that cascades down into execution for your people organization.

Shauna Geraghty 07:09

Yeah, absolutely, and you know, quality of hire has always been important to us, but I like to create a little bit of context because it's more important now than ever And I'll talk a little bit about why. So the past two years were really easy to raise money right And, by extension, i call it like the wild wild west of spending as well as hiring and recruiting. So a lot of startups had the money to spend. Because of that, we saw growth, inflation across the board and you know many more and more companies were benefiting from that. That cash infusion We're seeing now is it's incredibly difficult to raise money And there's like a complete market correction that's happening and focus companies are really focusing a lot more on building a sustainable business and really efficient growth, and so what that means for us in the recruiting role is that a lot of recruiters and recruiting leaders are now switching their pivoting from quantity of hire to quality of hire.

You know, whereas before it seems like we could never hire fast enough or always in a period of catch up, now we have the opportunity to find that right, perfect fit, and it matters more than ever because we only have a few racks and we might not be able to get to backfill folks when they transition from the business, and so we have to be laser focused on that quality piece above all else, and companies are valuing that because they're more focused on efficient growth And they're actually forcing that mechanism and asking recruiting leaders to focus on quality of hire a lot more than quantity of hire and and hitting their number.

James Mackey 08:47

Yeah, and so as companies are making that shift, let's get into what are some of the changes. or how can people go about optimizing for quality of hire?

Shauna Geraghty 08:58

Yeah. So for me it all starts with defining what great looks like within your organization. So like, what does quality look like within your organization? And there's a number of ways you can do it. I can talk through kind of the easy, quick and dirty ways to do it. But the first thing that you can do is just gather two cohorts of people Who are your top performers in your organization and who are your bottom performers or your low performers. And it's important to have those two groups. If you just look at top performers, then some of the constructs might not differ between those two groups. But if you look at those two groups distinctly and you say what is different between my high performing group and my low performing group? So what do our high performers have that our low performers do not have? And that's important because if you can identify that, then those constructs are more predictive of joining that high performing group, so they're more predictive of success. When you're interviewing candidates in the interview process, for example, you might see that the high performers have a growth mindset and the low performers have a fixed mindset. That's really important, and so you can use growth mindset as a differentiator. When you're interviewing talent, conversely, you might see that both cohorts are really good at operating and ambiguity And if you notice that low performers are just as good as high performers.

You wouldn't want to use that as a construct to select talent because they can end up in either group. But you can actually do it in a much more kind of quantitative way. You can do a qualitative analysis, you can look at a quantitative analysis as well. You can look specifically at the experience, the competencies, the personality, traits, core values that separate those two groups And then, once you've done that, you want to make sure that you concretize that into what we call our ICP Barred It From Sales Ideal Candidate Profile. And my suggestion is to have one ideal candidate profile for your entire company, if you can And if you have to kind of segment that into two groups. So let's say your ICP for engineering is very distinct, then one for the entire company, one for engineering, or one for the entire company and a separate for sales and engineering.

But don't go beyond that, because a lot of that's your foundational work that you're going to build upon And the more kind of like variances of that or variability within that, the harder it gets to kind of like you know, build out your scorecard, constructs, your training and things like that. So keep it simple, but it's super easy to do. You don't have to have anyone quantitative on your team to do it. But if you want to scale it, then you can use products like Searchlight.

Searchlight has an amazing quality of hire platform that they're using and they're actually getting to the point where they can predict, within a certain degree of confidence, goodness of fit within the organization in the interview process And they're doing that by analyzing top performers and middle performers within the organization and then looking at what differentiates those two groups and then feeding that information back into the selection process, interview process. So really interesting stuff that you can do at scale with products. But if you don't have the budget to invest in those products and you don't have anyone quantitative on the team, you can do a really quick and dirty approach to that And it's just as effective. It can be just as effective.

James Mackey 12:23

Right. I think that's like that whole growth mindset thing too. It's like you know, sometimes you would love to have this robust like data and reporting to you know, to make decisions, But the reality is that you can still use data, even if you're just kind of hands on digging. Yeah, And that's going to be baking decisions off data always, And I think that that's. I really love that. That method of looking at contrast between high performers and low performers, And I actually never thought about that. If both groups share a certain trait, then that should not, that's not going to be indicative of success.

Shauna Geraghty 12:58


James Macke 12:59

And so that shouldn't be measured in the interview process, despite it possibly being very important aspect of what top performers bring to the table. How do you so? how do like what? what I would ask, though, is so let's say, how do you coach hiring managers? Because you still want top performers to have that trait, because you know it's important success, even though people don't you know that might have it, aren't, but, like, if it's still sort of important, right? Do we just say like which, right it off, it really doesn't matter, it's obviously not as important. Or is there a way that you kind of say, like well, like you're still looking for this, but this isn't how you make the decision, necessarily, right? How does that work?

Shauna Geraghty 13:36

So what I would say is that hiring manager is the way I would say it Okay, yeah, these are, these are, these are your current employees, meaning you've selected them to join the organization, and what it might mean is that everyone understands intrinsically that that's important to the organization. So it could matter And it's. It might not be something that you want to drop off, but it's not going to be predictive of group membership between our high performers and our low performers. And so if, if a hiring manager really values that competency, whatever it is, keep it on the interview scorecard, totally fine. But what some people do is they take a waiting approach and they might say, okay, we, you can assess that in the interview process. Absolutely, we'll keep it on the scorecard, but what we know about your role are these are the competencies that are actually predicted of success, and so you can weigh them more heavily than the others. Right, and if, down the road, the, the your organization evolves over time and you realize that truly, that competency that they loved truly was predictive of success, then you bring it back into the interview process.

The thing that I love about this is people evolve over time, organizations evolve over time, so this isn't a static process. You can't just do it once, set it and forget it. You have to be mindful and collect data throughout the employee life cycle to make sure that you can iterate on your approach, because your ICP when you add a hundred people probably is not going to be the same as your ICP when you have a thousand people, Right, and your ICP when you have 40 people in your department might not be the same as when you have a hundred people in your department. So it is really important to keep that in mind. But if the hiring manager intuitively knows that that's important and they have a wealth of experience to back it up, you don't have to fight it. Just put it on the interview scorecard and let them assess it. But then you can over index for the ones that you know that are more predictive of success.

James Mackey 15:27

Yeah, i think that that's a that's really really smart. So did your doctorate work kind of guide, that philosophy, or how did you like decide to incorporate that strategy? Because I think it's, i think it's really cool.

Shauna Geraghty 15:39

Yeah, I guess. So Yeah, I think you know I did a lot of work with. I took a lot of courses on statistics and math. I was pre-med, undergrad and then, you know, in neuropsychology we do a lot of research and complex analysis. So I think that does help. But what I will say is that you don't have to have that to be good. A lot of companies do. The other thing that I recommend to you is really most talent leaders and people leaders are really effective at forming high value business partnerships. You have people within your organization that can do this work. It's not that hard, It's not that complex. So go out and reach out to your FPNA team or your business intelligence team and ask them to partner with you on this project. What I've found is that most people are willing to help, especially if you've built it into a program and you know exactly what you're doing. You just need this last piece, which is the analysis. Usually, I've found that most people are willing to help and contribute to that.

James Mackey 16:41

What I really find interesting about the ICP comparison ideal candidate profile comparison to the ideal customer profile is really digging even deeper to that concept of thinking through. You know your company, you know I don't care Pretty much every executive tuning in your company doesn't have a dozen ideal customer profiles. There might be segmentation based off industry. There might be segmentation, i guess, based off region if it's international, global organization. Or there might be segmentation of SMB, mid-market enterprise. So at a maximum you're going to have probably a handful if it's a large, like global organization, right.

But for most of the companies that we're referring to that are probably category leading SaaS organizations, there's not going to be a ton. And just think about that, right, if you wouldn't try to go to market with like 20 different ICPs on the customer side. And so I think too, it's like maybe part of the struggle for finding, if a company gets foreign up to even thinking about an ideal candidate profile, you really need to get to the point where you have a very clear customer profile as well. And as a customer profile evolves and the company is thinking about additional scale and thinking, you know, as that strategy might evolve, i think that's one of the key drivers. That's going to change the ideal candidate profile right At different, as you said, different stages of scale. So I think the parallels are essentially endless And even when you dig deeper into the parallel like really dig deep into it it still holds true. It's just such a good analogy.

Shauna Geraghty 18:12

Yeah, and you hit the nail on the head. We in marketing, you wouldn't create, you know, 100 different personas and then inbound marketing campaign based on the 100 different personas and then nurture and create, you know, specific content based on the 100 different personas you create. you take that one, two or three, depending on you know what you've defined within your organization and then you add personalization through tokens and other methods And you do the same thing with us, right? We create one pitch based on that persona. We create, you know, our outbound prospecting cadence based on that persona. We create a lot of our inbound techniques based on that persona.

You want to make sure that your EVP resonates based on that persona, and so a lot of that foundational work starts with the one ICP. If you want to start with that, don't make it too complex, because everything that you're building on top of that requires that you're aligning with that ICP. You can create that personalization later. You know, even though you've you've created your pitch, you're not just going to read your pitch to a candidate. you're going to first learn about their candidate, what they're interested, and then you're going to match the two. same, you know, same principle applies. So, even if the ICP isn't like the perfect, perfect, perfect fit for the wreck that you're recruiting for. it doesn't matter, you're going to customize that approach anyways as a recruiter.

James Mackey 19:38

Right, great recruiters are going to do that And I would hope that the majority of great recruiters do that. I still think it's probably not, as it's not tall quite as much as it should be. Personalizing pitches, like you have to understand. Okay, what are the core candidate value propositions? right, it's another parallel between value propositions on the revenue side And you have a handful of things, but and it's not necessarily that one is a primary value proposition. Maybe that is a little different than the revenue side, but you know, you might have five different value propositions And when you're on the screening calls, ensuring that your recruiters are digging in first to the priorities of the individual you're speaking to and you can't make assumptions.

Of course, you should not make assumptions or biases based on where they are in life or something like that But you want to dig in specifically and ask questions surrounding what's important to them, what they're looking for, what they like about their current role, what they wish they had right, what they would recommend to their people teams to improve And based on that data, then you know.

Okay, let me really dial into benefits, because I know this person said they offered information to me about how important that is for them, or you know they want to talk about work-life balance or they want to talk about career progression. So I think a lot of recruiters, if you don't train them properly, might fall into the trap, thinking about why did I join the organization? and just making an assumption that that's what people want to hear And so there's not exactly necessarily a primary value prop on the candidate side. It has to be highly personalized to the needs of the individual And that's shows people that you also really care about them as a whole person, which is pretty important, as it turns out.

Shauna Geraghty 21:26

Yeah, we always say that we're looking for goodness of bidirectional fit, meaning that we have the right opportunity for them to grow and to be successful and to flourish within the organization. And in order to determine that, you have to understand that candidate, that person, and that that person is. Then you know the right individual for us within the organization. So most recruiters are pretty good at assessing whether or not they would fit within the organization or add value or be successful, but sometimes they forget to ask the candidate about their own experience, their ideal role, what they're looking for in their career, what's important to them, and then marry those two together And that marriage is the most important. That's where you get the magic And that's where you're able to create individuals that not only are brought into the organization but that are successful for long term, and that's really what we're looking to do with quality of hire.


James Mackey 22:18

Yeah, i love it. So this is all very good stuff we're talking about. I wanted to talk about, like we have as a note here, predictive validity to the algorithm. Can we dive into that?

Shauna Geraghty 22:31

So I'll walk you through how we're doing it with searchlight, because searchlight automates all of it. But you can again, if you're quantitative, if you have that ability or if you can partner with business systems, business information or FPNA, they can help you as well. So what searchlight is doing is actually really interesting. They're taking data that we're gathering in the interview process as well, as as soon as the candidate starts with, or the new hire starts within the organization. They ask the new hire to fill out a new hire intake form and a manager to fill out a new hire assessment form And they're looking at degree of fit within some of those questions or items on those two as well, as their standard offering is a reference check platform, so they're also pulling in data from their former leaders and managers and people that they went through the reference check process with, and they're taking all of that data and they're saying and they're also looking across our organization, at our current employees, and they're saying this information, this data, these constructs or these competencies are more predictive of success in the interview process. So and so they're using our actual employee data to build the model and to train the model and to enhance the predictive validity of the model, the higher the predictive validity, the more likely that individual will be successful than this organization. If you're assessing those competencies and those constructs that they determine to be predictive of success And so we're doing it automatically with searchlight searchlight will give like an overall score for our candidates. But you can also do it in that process that I described earlier, as long as you just probably either wouldn't know what the predictive validity is or you would have to do an analysis based on like lagging indicators, which let.

The beauty of searchlight is, all of that data is a leading indicator of success, right? We're pulling that data either through the interview process or at the 90 day mark. That's beautiful. The only other way to do it that most people do are they take their performance evaluation scores, so those are coming six and 12 months after that new hire started. Or sometimes they'll take their kind of like sales attainment metrics, but again, especially enterprise software, those are coming 12 months later, sometimes two years later. So searchlight is getting all of that like. It's like a leading indicator. You can get the lagging data if you're just pulling out regular kind of performance data. So that's the easy way to do it. Again, if you're quantitative or if you have help within the organization.

James Mackey 25:10

Yeah, and I wanted to ask you a question about collecting data, using that as a feedback loop I had. I'm trying to see what episode it is so I can reference back to it. I will, i will find. Okay, it's episode 93 with Jeremy Rutch for those tuning in.

But one of the things that he talks about is actually collecting data in the onboarding process as well, and I'm wondering is that like I don't know if that's through searchlight or anything else, but have you been able to find like some kind of ramping data? I mean, i think with sales is probably easier, but you know just across the board in terms of how people are performing in the initial month or two of work and being able to tie that back to predictive and performance? Because I feel like, if you can, you know a lot of companies. They might only figure it out after like six months to a year, right, and it's at that point, particularly if it's a customer facing position or anything. Well, i mean, honestly, any position that you hire for should have a direct causal relationship to the North Star metrics period, right, i mean, that's how we should be thinking about our hiring plan, but I suppose it's like so every position should be really important.

But I just feel like that if you can figure that out within the first month or two, then you can avoid situations in which people are in high leverage positions. That really could screw things up And I think the employee side would say the rebuttal would be like, well, yeah, you got to give people time. Of course I'm not saying that like we need to invest in folks and give them time, but the earlier on you can spot something, of course, the more you can give that person more support or kind of limit downside to make sure you don't have too much exposure and, you know, not getting something done. That's really important. So do you have any thoughts on how to do that on the onboarding side?

Shauna Geraghty 26:59

Yeah, that's actually what Searchlight does And I'll walk through that. And if nobody, if you don't have access to Searchlight, the easiest thing to do are you can look at you know time to ramp time to productivity. That's usually on the sales side or CSM, but you can create an onboarding survey that assesses that. You can just ask the manager on a scale from one to 10, you know how is this employee performing based on you know what you assessed in the interview process And you can look to see if the manager's expectations are aligned with the new hire. Because you can ask the new hire the same item on a scale from one to 10, how much does this role relate to what you were pitched in the interview process Or what is your performance? you know, in the first 90 days, what Searchlight does is they automate that, and they're actually. They took it a step further and they're looking at the degree of fit between those two responses And what they found is is if there's misalignments, that's when you know you probably have a mishire, but there's if there's alignment, even if that alignment is low, and this, this, this, this goes back to what you were saying.

So even if the manager says you know the employee is performing lower than what I would expect it.

But if the employee is self assessing as lower as well, that's where you can still retain them as an employee right, because they're self aware and the manager is having those conversations with them, and that's where you can bring in additional support mechanisms for those individuals to help them grow along the journey.

So you don't necessarily have to fire them. But if they're misaligned so if the manager says you know this performance, their performance is terrible, and the employee says my performance is amazing, that's when you might have a challenge on your hands, because either the manager isn't giving them performance feedback or the employee is not self aware. They might not be incorporating that feedback And that makes it a little bit more challenging, for you know our, our LND teams or people, business partners, to get in there and to help. So the simple way to do it, the hack, is to create two surveys, one for the manager of the new hire and one for the employee, and you can ask certain items. It doesn't have to be that item, but look for the degree of fit between the their responses on similar items And if they're aligned, you can still create magic, even if that person is a lower performer initially, right out the gates.

James Mackey 29:20

So one of the things that I find tricky on the performance side is, i think some organizations and hiring managers have have trouble with defining clearly what success is for each role. Yeah, i think we have a tendency to create job descriptions focused on tasks, yeah, versus outcomes, which not only is less effective, but it's also like candidates aren't going to be as interested, if you like, from talent attraction standpoint. So it's like it's mess, it's just not a good. It's not good for the organization, it's not good for attracting talent.

I, one of the things that my mind always goes to it's like that's one of the primary focuses prior to a role being open is having a approval process in place that not only includes a 30 69 day plan, a bunch of other things, but really ensures that hiring managers understand what, how success is measured.

And, again, whoever is approving needs to understand the steps of why that matters to whatever North Star metrics for the department of the company and make sure that's aligned. It could clearly be tied to ROI, opportunity cost, cost savings, something of that nature. So I'm just you know, is there anything else that or I don't know if you. I would love to know if you actually agree with that, or maybe you think that there's a more effective way, but is there anything else that you think of to ensure that from a performance standpoint they're, you know, even kind of getting into before that that success is very clearly defined, because I think that not only ensures that the department's being effective, but then also, when we're kind of measuring performance of people, we want to make sure we agree on what should be measured right.

Shauna Geraghty 31:06

Yeah, you hit the nail on the head. I think bringing quality talent into the organization starts even before you kick off the role, and that is, you know, a really important statement. And so what we do is we use Greenhouse new position kickoff form. We actually, before Greenhouse launched that, we had our own new position kickoff form and we created two forms actually. One was we called new position kickoff homework and the other was a new position kickoff form, and what we said was, as soon as the REC was approved, we gave the hiring manager the new position homework and we didn't schedule the kickoff meeting until they've completed the homework. And that's really important because it walks through some of the core criterion steps that we just talked about, and it is a forcing mechanism because if we have that as a gap, then the manager has to think through as many of the items that we have on the new position kickoff homework before actually starting to see candidates, which is what they want, right? They're really motivated to get candidates in the funnel always, and so you have this gating process.

Then what we do is, in the new position kickoff, we take their homework and we use it. We refine it a little bit, but we use it almost like a contract, and that's really important because, as a recruiter, you want to make sure that you have that degree of alignment with the hiring manager. If you don't, you're going to spend cycles and cycles and cycles and producing candidates that either aren't a fit or misaligned or you know the hiring manager might spend too much time at top of the funnel. So that alignment is really important And some of that alignment is exactly what you said. So what are the success criteria for the role? What are we? we use V2M2s, but what are the goals and metrics that are going to be assessed?

James Mackey 32:52

What's V2M2?

Shauna Geraghty 32:54

So, yeah, v2m2, so we use Salesforce's V2MOMS framework, which are like OKRs, but we just dropped the O, which is obstacles, and so two Vs and two M. So vision, value, method and metrics, and that's our operating framework essentially. And so our company sets company V2M2s And then we set cascading V2M2s at the departmental level and then the individual level. So what are the departmental V2M2s and what are the individual V2M2s for this role? And oftentimes, actually, we're talking about our company V2M2s as well with our candidates, because if they can understand how they will be assessed when they're brought into the organization and if they can understand exactly what are some of the strategic initiatives that we'll ask them to deliver on, then that's a really rich conversation that the recruiter can have at that first touch phone call to help qualify in and out of candidates. So we're not spending a ton of time atop a funnel.

The other thing that I really like to do in the new position kickoff is I like our recruiters to ask the hiring managers give me one question that will allow me to screen out 80% of the candidates atop of the funnel. Just one question, and if the recruiter doesn't even need to know, and then what is an excellent and a good and a bad answer to that question. And the recruiter doesn't have to have that domain expertise. But if you can get that from the hiring manager, you can spend save cycles and cycles and cycles down the road And so with that then you as the recruiter and the hiring manager are super aligned on new position kickoff And then you start you know post, then you post the role, then you start your outbound prospecting and your list building, and that to me is really important. So Greenhouse has built that in as well. They have a new position kickoff form. I don't know about other ATLs, but they. But I think it's a brilliant idea because it's the most important stuff of the process.

James MackeyHost34:48

Absolutely So. When I did a in the early days of secure vision, I did a interim chief people officer role, for this was a hundred persons ass company, So it was smaller.

But one of the things that I built out was a two step approval process as well, And it actually at the because of the scale of the company was chief financial officer and CEO And I just to make sure that there was financial approval, And the CFO also kind of doubled as a COO and really ensured that things were aligned with North Star metrics Of the organization. And so I just think that companies can really take they should be taking more thoughtful approach to what they're doing before a role is in fact open. That doesn't necessarily mean that it should be a ton of time to be clear, Like I mean, it's probably for a lot of companies it should be more time, but I don't want to just say that as like an indicator of whether it's effective or not, because there's a lot of larger organizations that could be slow and ineffective. So it's not. Maybe there could be in some cases a correlation, but it's definitely not how you should be thinking about it necessarily.


Shauna Geraghty 35:54

But the work anyways. We're either going to ask them to do the work before the new hire starts right, Or just front load the work and then you get a better quality new hire. That's, that's what I always say. You're going to do the work anyways. We're just asking you do it now. I know you're anxious, but this is where you're going to get the best results. So let's partner together.


James Mackey 36:11

Yeah. So what's interesting is in the first week of August, i have the two founders of a company called Confirm coming on the show Josh and David And their company actually is focused on optimizing performance reviews and removing error. So basically, the data that they've collected is that for a lot of companies, 60% of performance reviews is actually error. 20% is based on how hard a specific hiring manager chooses to grade folks and it's not necessarily consistent And then 20% is actually correlated to direct performance in a lot of cases. So I think that there's a lot of opportunities for improvement for performance reviews And I think that a lot of companies do actually struggle with this. I think it's one of the harder things to properly manage and remove bias of honestly unconscious bias from the process.


Shauna Geraghty 37:11

Well, listen, you know, the same competencies that we're building into our ICP are there in the performance review process, right? So it's not. As long as you have consistency across the employee lifecycle, then you know the train. You don't have to do training twice. You're not doing a hiring manager training and how to ask or assess, and then you're not doing a manager training on how to evaluate their performance. They're the same competencies. So they should know those competencies, they should see actually what separates our top performers from our mid and bottom performers and they should be able to assess.

But performance reviews are really really challenging because there's so much that varies across the organization And even if you have the most crisp training, guidance and then calibration, they're still, you know, we're all humans at the end of the day And because of that there'll be a lot of kind of subjectiveness that that enters into that process. The dirty way to do it is to ensure that those same competencies you're using to assess across the employee lifecycle And, honestly, sometimes if you're managing people out, placing them on pips, it should be based on those competencies as well When you're creating your grow plans and your LND team are doing skills gap analysis same competencies, and so if you're narrowly focused, if you have three to five narrowly focused, then again all of the people programs are building on top of that And it became. It becomes kind of almost seamless for your employees because it's ingrained in them. They get multiple touch points and training and development and content to learn with those same competencies.

James Mackey 38:51

Really, really good stuff. I'm having so much fun talking with you right now. This is like an actual masterclass. This is really cool. We have about nine minutes left. I want to get into the magic number. Oh yeah, i believe it's quality of hire, and then there's an aspect of difficulty of hire. I would love to, first off, just if you could give us an overview how you came about this, or why does it really matter. Then maybe we can get into deep diving into actually how to execute it.

Shauna Geraghty 39:27

Yeah, all started When I started leading our talent team back in 2016,. I thought, okay, let's create an easy metric. Let's just tell each recruiter that they need to hire two people per month. Then I would track that. I would do attainment against that metric. But what I realized really quickly as our team grew and we had a little bit of specialization, is that I had an executive recruiter and then I had an SDR recruiter and then I had an engineering recruiter in Portugal.

It was not fair for me to assess performance based on two hires per month because my executive recruiter there's no way they're going to do that My SDR recruiter is going to blow that number out of the water. How do I look across my entire organization and measure performance? At the same time, we wanted to incentivize quality of hire. We knew that it's incredibly easy to hire a candidate if you just lower the bar and you get everyone on board to lower the bar. If you're just telling someone you need to bring in two hires a month, you're actually telling them I don't care how you do it. This is what I care about is quantity. But what I wanted to make sure of the ever-in-news that we actually cared about quality and hitting that number. I was looking for a metric that would allow me to do it, and I couldn't find any, so I made up my own And we called it a number.

I thought it would work, but it actually ended up working pretty well. So what the magic number is you take the candidate quality score and you multiply it by the candidate difficulty score. Now, the candidate quality score you can measure in a lot of different ways. The way we did it, that we thought was the most fair across the organization, was to take a Likert scale of one to five, and all interviewers are assessing the candidate throughout their process on a scale from one to five, and then you can either take the average of all of those scores or you can just take the hiring manager score, because the hiring manager should know degree of fit between the role and the candidate the best. So it's that one to five scaled score and that is candidate quality. Now, candidate difficulty was a score that I assigned as a leader before he even kicked off the role, and I assigned that based on what I knew about the search. What is the talent pool of the search? Who is the hiring manager, how many candidates do we think will come inbound versus outbound, what is the degree of impact of the role? And that scaled score should be again on scale of one to 10. And then what you do is you multiply after you've made the hire. You multiply those two scores together and you give the recruiter a target of 100, 100 each quarter. They would try to get above 100 each quarter. You're adding up all the magic hire numbers for each of the new hires that they brought into the organization And what I found was it actually aligned perfectly with what we were looking to do.

Because if I wanted to bring in a world-class VP of finance and I gave that rec to my executive recruiter I knew on a scale from one to 10, that would be a 10 in terms of difficulty. But if we brought in a world-class VP of finance, then overall that would be a 50. If we brought in a pretty good one, that would be a great fit. That would be a 40. An average of 30. But if you brought in two per quarter, then you're heading your magic number And that's eventually. What we asked the executive recruiter to do was to bring in two high-quality individuals per quarter, and so it leveled out. And then you could do the same math for SDRs as well. Sdrs candidate quality or candidate difficulty, is a lot lower. It's a lot easier to bring in SDRs. We usually rated that to a two or a three, and so it's more of a volume play there.

James MackeyHost43:26

 I think we're gonna implement that.

Shauna GeraghtyGuest43:28

Yeah, it's cool, it's really cool. I shared with you data. That was just one result And, if you look at it, we actually knew, anecdotally, that the ones on the tail end were either our ramping recruiters or our lower performing recruiters, and the ones that are our highest performers consistently overachieved And we captured this data every single quarter and it aligned perfectly with their actual performance.

James MackeyHost43:52

Really that's really cool, yeah, yeah, and I think too, just from a recruiter morale perspective, this is really important, because if you have somebody working on harder recs and you just kind of stack rank folks on the volume of hires, what is that? It's like somebody who's crushing it, who's working their ass off, but it's like 50th percentile or something in terms of number of hires.

Shauna Geraghty 44:16


James Mackey 44:17

That's not gonna.

Shauna Geraghty 44:18

No, so we have a commercial team and an enterprise team. It's like if we measure performance by the number of deals closed, Well who's gonna win? The commercial rep doesn't make any sense, right?

James Mackey 44:27

Yeah, that's so smart. Yeah, and in recruiting.

Shauna Geraghty 44:30

I don't know why it's easy for us to say two hires per month, but we would never do that in sales. So yeah, it's taking the balance of quality and difficulty.

James Mackey 44:42

I'm learning so much. It's fun. I've done like a hundred episodes almost on this show. I've worked with over 150 companies in the tech industry to help them hire and build talent strategy and I've learned so much on this call with you. Thank you so much for contributing and just being part and contributing to the community. I'm just so excited to see the response of this episode and I know I'm gonna have a lot of high-level executives DMing me on LinkedIn saying that they've dropped this in Slack channels and it's guiding strategy and they're implementing. So seriously I've really enjoyed this conversation. Thanks for joining me today.


Shauna GeraghtyGuest45:15

Thanks, James. It was super fun. I love this stuff, so thanks for having me on. It was fun.


James Mackey 45:21

For everybody tuning in. thank you so much for joining us today and we'll see you next time. Take care, Thanks.

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