Hiring at Scale

Hosted By Matt DeCoursey

Full Scale

See All Episodes With Matt DeCoursey

Prem Kumar

Today's Guest: Prem Kumar

CEO - Humanly.io

Seattle, WA

Ep. #1123 - Hiring at Scale

In today’s episode of Startup Hustle, we’re taking away the stress that traditionally comes with hiring at scale. Matt DeCoursey and Prem Kumar, CEO of Humanly.io, walk you through handling high-volume hiring efficiently. They also pin down the benefits of AI in recruitment, what qualities are exuded by a great candidate, and how to handle the “sad path.”

Did you know we already released our top Seattle startups for 2023? Humanly.io is just one of the successful emerging-growth companies that got the accolade. Check our list now.

Covered In This Episode

What is the “sad path,” and how should you handle it? How do you ensure you’re hiring the right candidate for the position? Is AI the answer when you’re hiring at scale?

Get Started with Full Scale

Matt and Prem answer these questions and more. They also share other valuable tips that help you conquer the challenges of high-volume hiring.

Get the right people for your business. Discover what to do in this Startup Hustle episode.

Best Entrepreneur Podcast Available on Spotify, Apple and Google Podcasts


  • How did Prem get into entrepreneurship? (02:19)
  • Defining high-volume hiring (04:11)
  • Using AI to get suitable candidates (08:26)
  • On keeping people engaged (10:47)
  • How Humanly.io handles the “sad path” (13:16)
  • What is the most crucial part of the hiring timeline? (17:38)
  • Hiring people during the pandemic and economic downturn (22:16)
  • On convincing big companies (25:39)
  • Integrating Humanly.io into the process (27:49)
  • Customizing Humanly.io’s chatbots (30:04)
  • Is Humanly.io going international? (31:24)
  • The universal traits that make a great candidate (36:11)
  • What makes a great salesperson? (36:35)

Key Quotes

If you want to hire at scale, remember: the person you didn’t hire today might be your candidate in a year or two. So you have to find a way not to destroy your brand’s impression.

– Matt DeCoursey

What I mean by valuable first touch is not just an automated message from an applicant tracking system. But getting them to a point where they can actually get their questions answered.

– Prem Kumar

I look at technology as making things happen quicker, faster, and more efficiently. But it can also make bad things happen quicker, more efficiently, and faster. So if you don’t have a solid foundation, you’re catalyzing something already bad and making that happen faster.

– Prem Kumar

Sponsor Highlight

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Moreover, our Startup Hustle partners are also ready to work with you. Discover their solutions for your business today.

Rough Transcript

Following is an auto-generated text transcript of this episode. Apologies for any errors!

Matt DeCoursey 00:01
And we’re back! Back for another episode of Startup Hustle. Matt DeCoursey is here to have another conversation I’m hoping helps your business grow. Speaking of growing, if your company grows and it grows really fast, you’re gonna have to figure out how to hire people really quickly. Now, if you listen to the show a lot, you know, we talk a lot about hiring people. And hiring the wrong people can really, really set you back. It can be distracting. It can be expensive. It can be frustrating. But hiring the right people can put your business on the rocket ship that’s going to the moon. That’s all where we’re all trying to go, to the moon, right. Speaking of going to the moon, today’s episode of Startup Hustle is powered by FullScale.io. Because hiring software developers is difficult. And Full Scale can help you build the software team quickly and affordably and has a platform to help you manage that team. Go to FullScale.io to learn more. With me today is someone else that knows a lot about hiring people, especially hiring at scale. I’ve got Prem Kumar, he is the CEO of Humanly. They specialize in human resource services and high-volume hiring teams and go to Humanly.io. There’s a link for that in the show notes and a link for FullScale.io in the show notes. Now, one thing about Prem and his company is they are also on our list of Top Seattle Startups here in 2023. So it should be no surprise that straight out of Seattle, Washington, we can say, Prem, welcome to Startup Hustle.

Prem Kumar 01:30
Thank you so much for having me. Really excited to be here and for this conversation.

Matt DeCoursey 01:35
Yeah, well, let’s go ahead and kick that off with a little bit about your own backstory.

Prem Kumar 01:39
Yeah, absolutely. Thanks for introducing the company. As you mentioned, we help high-volume hiring teams screen and schedule an interview more efficiently and equitably. My background started I started my career at Microsoft; I was joining out of college, and I was a high-volume hire myself. So I had a lot of experience with writing expansive resumes and cover letters only to never hear back. Eventually, I did hear back from Microsoft and work there. As I worked at Microsoft on the HR tech side, I started to realize that a lot of these professionals, whether it’s on the talent acquisition side or HR side, it’s not that they were trying to ignore candidates or employees by any means it was that they didn’t have the technology to really engage at scale. And, you know, that’s where my story started after, after having my first kid; it was kind of a kick in the butt to think about my passion and what impact I want to make on the world. And I knew I wanted to enter the startup world. So I left Microsoft after about 10 years, working on a lot of great projects. There. It was pm for our global HR portal. Among other things, I went to a company called Tiny Pulse in the startup ecosystem focused on employee engagement. And when I was at Tiny Pulse, I met my co-founder for Humanly. Long story short, but we felt, you know, there’s a lot of great tools out there to help find candidates, source their job boards, there’s a lot of great applicant tracking tools, but there weren’t many tools to help you really have better conversations with your candidate. How do you convert them better on Zoom? How do you handle automated pre-screening? So really, our goal is to save time for high-volume hiring teams. And that’s kind of been my background has primarily been in HR tech and talent tech.

Matt DeCoursey 03:31
So when you talk about high-volume hiring teams, now this is this. Because I’ve got a couple, there’s a couple of words in the notes here that say entry-level or mid-level, like, so what is a high volume higher? What does that mean? Exactly?

Prem Kumar 03:46
Yeah, it’s a great question. And there are a lot of different people who use different definitions for it. But we kind of split our customers into two groups. One is on the hourly side, and the other is on the professional side. A lot of what we’re doing is professional, so you can kind of think, yeah, entry to mid-level support operations sales, we’re generally getting high applicant volume. So instead of, you know, 100 resumes, 200 resumes, maybe it’s three, four or 501 of our customers Moss Adams for entry-level, accounting type roles will get put into like 4000 resumes at university hiring a big, big high volume professional one as well. So high applicant volume is what I’m talking about when it’s too many to really have human engagement with all of the candidates that come in.

Matt DeCoursey 04:34
Yeah, we’ve had to do a little bit at Full Scale. It’s not that we don’t really run into like 1000s Like, but we’ll get, you know, we’ll get 1000 applicants in a month and some months, which, you know, for us is still a pretty high volume. And in order to do that, we’ve had to create, you know, we’re hyper-specific to software developers and software like leaders and testers, which, you know, it doesn’t make it easy to just qualify some people. Now keep in mind, folks, when you’re listening, when all of a sudden you put up a job post, and you even get like 100 applicants for it, if it’s just one position, you’re like, Whoa, yeah, go through a lot, you got to really kind of thin it down. And I was, you know, admitting some recent travels. I find time to go through the Wall Street Journal app, and I read articles that I probably wouldn’t normally read because I’m stuck on a plane, right. But there was just an article recently about, indeed, who is known for hiring, but they have alienated all of their customers because they changed their billing model. So it was already kind of expensive to use a lot of this stuff, but keep in mind, like some of these platforms, you know, they, they bill you based on the number of applicants that come in, they give you a very short amount of time to say like, this is not a qualified applicant. And if you don’t do that, you can end up spending a lot of money. So anything that can, it can, you know, get the right people in front of you, you know, as a business owner, you have to pay people to do that you have to pay people to read the resumes. And then one of the things in there is we’re all kind of subject to human bias. You know, it’s like, you know, cuz that’s the thing it’s like, it’s, you’re the person that’s looking at the interview that’s looking at the resumes. What are they? What are they biased about? When I say bias, I don’t even just mean like that, you know, I think when some people think bias, they think along the D Id like the diversity, equity, inclusion, and belonging, but some of this is just like being able to understand, for us, it’s like technical things like this type of developer are also most likely this type of developer. And then that’s the thing we have a hard time it is getting, you know, our assessments take about an hour apiece, and we have up to 50 of them, you know, so you get sometimes it’s hard for us to we’ll get someone that’ll take one assessment, and then really, there’s like a couple others we’d like to see them take. So we’ve had to spend a lot of time building our platform to route people in certain directions and stuff like that, which is to overcome the lack of human understanding. So with that, I see you guys are working on some automation and AI-type solutions to help do that. And I know that this is a big, big thing. And well, it’s obviously gaining adoption; you’ve raised over $5 million. And, and are often running with that. But with that was the way the AI was, that the need to kind of cut through the human blindness when it comes to certain things, or?

Prem Kumar 07:46
Yeah, I mean a couple of things. So yeah, we’ll use AI to get the right candidates to humans, fast to the right, human faster. But in doing so, you’re cutting through a lot of potential bias for sure. So you can kind of think of it where if you have, you know, 1000s of candidates that applied a lot of times to, in these high volume scenarios, you just have, our companies only have the human time to get out to like 20% of the 1000s Apply, and then that 20% will have a somewhat biased process like you’re describing, and that 20% will have to wait a week to even talk to a human. And, as you mentioned, humans might use shortcuts in their minds to kind of match and things like that. So what you’re doing is now you have 100% instead of 20% getting a touch, so it is a piece of technology, but they’re getting a talking to a two-way chat where they can get their questions answered. So part of it, too, is not just screening the candidates out or in but the candidate screening the companies out or in because then, you know, by the time they actually get to a human, they already got their question about remote work answer they already have their pay questions answered. So they know they want to be there, and they’re less likely to drop off later on the biased side. Yeah, no, it’s very easy, especially when you’re dealing with someone who will even look at certain pieces of data; the time of day or looking at a candidate’s resume might cause you to be more likely to take a shortcut or create bias. So we’re guaranteeing a standardized two-way conversation for all candidates. And another piece that has been interesting for us is we’re talking a little bit about just the volume, but oftentimes sometimes, with like b2c companies, these candidates are their best customers too. So at Disney parks, for example, the average person who applies for a job there also happens to spend eight times more money in the park. So by ignoring them, you’re also ignoring your best customers if you’re a b2c company. So I think there you’re paying in time and money to attract these eyeballs and applicants, so answering their questions and screening them in a nonbiased way is important, but you’re right, there’s a lot of bias we can mention measure in our chats, how empathetic are they being are they using biased language are they matching Um, based on things that are actually correlated to outcome versus things that aren’t so yeah, that’s an interesting thing.

Matt DeCoursey 10:07
Yeah, I think one of the things that that you mentioned, you got a great point as is keeping people engaged. And I think as our company grew, one of the things that we had to really step up the volume, so we, we went through, you know, so we’re, you know, five years old, essentially, this company, and in the first couple years, it would take us about three weeks to get through our entire hiring process. And we would just people would just kind of drop off, you know, because of that, and their level of excitement for a career change, or your company, or maybe they got a job somewhere else. And, you know, so the things that we’ve really had to do to keep them keep that going. Well, first off, shorten that process. But one of the things you mentioned was how quickly did they get to speak to a person? Yeah, yeah, we put a big emphasis on that, even if it was just in the beginning, like, there are certain people that will, you know, their end that they might have, so we do have to have a human assessment and interview component. But we made that last, and some of the things we as we evolved with our and began to hire, hire at scale a little better. We’re chopping some parts of the process out, like we used to actually have a middle interview that we would have a software developer do with a specific subject matter expert, like another developer that was an expert at that subject. But we realized that if they got certain if they got a certain score on their assessment, almost 100% of the time, the subject matter expert would recommend them for the final interview. So but those little correlations, that’s what speeds the process up a little bit. And also things like we’re also the founder of Gigabook.com. And we, you know, we integrated that into the platform. So people give people, rather than having someone wait for a callback and scheduling an appointment, giving someone an option to schedule that because when they see it down the road, whenever that is, sometimes, that’s also that mental satisfaction that they have an upcoming event, they’re not just stuck on that. But then the thing, one of the hardest parts was what is often referred to as the sad path, which is sorry, you’re not getting the job. Yep. How do you guys handle that part?

Prem Kumar 12:34
Yeah, I mean, I think one of probably the most underutilized pieces of real estate on the internet is the sad path, email. So the open rates on those emails are a marketer’s dream because everyone wants to know if they got the job, so they’ll open the email, but then it’s just a few sentences, right? So. So I think, to your point, you mentioned it with matching before, where we believe in an outcome for every candidate, and the outcome might certainly not be that you get the job for every candidate. But there could be another job, there could be some training you can put into the follow-up email, one of the things we do so after you go through our automated chats, you’re then getting into a human interview. And just like you, I also believe that there is, you know, this is a human process, and we need a human at the end. So our tool will then sit in on whether it’s a Zoom interview or a team interview; it will write follow-up emails for you. So when you’re done with the interviewer, you can go into your email box and have everyone you meet there’ll emails written for you. And that helps us have a good touch with the candidate where it’s based on the conversation you had. And we also have intelligence knowing that, hey, in that follow-up email, we should mention remote work because we know that’s highly correlated to converting candidates in our company. So I think automating kind of the notes, the follow-up emails, that’s becoming more possible than it once was. And that allows you to have a follow-up with the candidates that are in the set, set that sad path, as you call it, and basically not necessarily a fit. And the other thing, too, is we know why you might not have been a fit so far. Chat talks to you and says, A, you don’t have your CPA yet. So that’s not fit for this accounting job. When you get it, and they say it’s in December, then you can send an automated email in December and say, Do you now have your CPA? So I think it’s that keeping the conversation going through automation. That’s another thing that, honestly, as a human, I just don’t have time to keep track of every candidate I ever talked to. And then the last piece is impossible.

Matt DeCoursey 14:42
That’s impossible. Yeah, yeah. I mean, I’ve yet to meet a human that can do that. There are people that seem like they might be able to, but it’s just too many pieces. It’s too many pieces and too many parts. And if you have a car company that is in operation that is continuing hiring because, like, I think in some cases, some people, organizations have an opening, they get flooded with applicants, they fill the job. And then that’s not the case. But, like, for we’re talking about at scale here. So you know, the company, like you mentioned working for Microsoft, or like big companies, or anybody that’s growing, maybe even humanly, you’re kind of always hiring, you know, and so that means it’s kind of like, there was, you know, like that the people at the post office kind of go nuts sometimes, because the mail never stops counting, it’s never, it’s never done it just continuing columns and columns and columns and like, but that can feel the same way at HR and a hiring office. I mean, it’s a way at our company; I mean, a slow month is 600 applicants, and that’s a lot to keep up. And so you have 600 plus the month before that. And then I think one thing that you just mentioned is that if you want to hire at scale, remember, the person you didn’t hire today might be your candidate, and a year, or two years or whatever. So you have to find a way to not destroy your brand’s impression. And that’s where that sad path stuff, kind of. I mean, no one likes to hear they didn’t get the job. But if it’s presented in a way that’s respectful and respectful of people’s time, you know, and let them know, this is why. And I think if you tell, you’re telling people like, Hey, this is how you can get better. If you’re, some people are just gonna probably say, eff that and be mad because they didn’t get what they wanted. But I think a lot of people are also like, okay, I get that I understand. And we do have some people that come back, and apply, so where do you find them? If you talk about the whole timeline of hiring, what’s the most crucial part of it, to keep the best people on board?

Prem Kumar 16:58
Yeah, I mean, I kind of look at it similarly to when I started Microsoft, as in support, and we measure a lot of things that are somewhat similar to recruiting; time to resolution is similar to time to hire, but time to first touch was a big one in support. So how to do you, like you mentioned the time to the first human touch. So oftentimes, in high volume, just getting sucked getting them in a situation as soon as possible, where you have a valuable first touch, and what I mean by valuable first touch is not just an automated message from an applicant tracking system, but getting them to a point where they can actually get their questions answered. So the quicker you can get value back to them. And that time, the first quality touch. So after I apply, can I start a conversation within 24 hours where I’m getting my questions answered? And sometimes it’s within, you know, an hour or 30 minutes, but can you make it at max 24 hours, where you’re getting into a situation where you’re able to get your questions answered about the job, and, and also getting screened and knowing kind of if you’re going to be a fit, or if you move to the next human step. So that’s, that’s generally what we aim for. And that’s been a big one. For our customers. Yeah, certainly measuring overall things like time, the full-time time to hire is a big, big metric. Candidate experience is another metric. And one quick thing I’ll mention is to the sad path piece, we actually will notice that candidates will rate their experience with our chats about a 4.8 out of five, but if they don’t get the job, it actually only drops to 4.7 out of five, because they get a quick no usually so I think even reducing the time to a no. can help you with it from experience as long as it’s Unrespectful. It’s not automatic. No, but there’s some reasoning behind it.

Matt DeCoursey 18:54
Yeah, so for us, our first touch, maybe not a person, is actually our last touch is a human, but for like a tech for like technical positions. And I think they’re a little different than some of the stuff because, you know, I’ve been in sales. I’m a self-admitted salesperson cream, and I’m willing to admit that I am a salesperson. But salespeople are really tough to hire because there’s it’s challenging to there’s not like, like, they almost make it feel like developers make making that makes hiring developers feel a lot easier because there’s like a tangible thing like you mentioned a CPA earlier like your thing if you’re applying for an accounting job and that and that’s a key ingredient of if you don’t have it that makes it pretty easy to be like okay, this is not where you need to be. Salespeople are kind of tough because if we’re okay, 90% of salespeople will tell you that they’re amazing. About 2% actually are maybe 5% At best, I mean like amazing, amazing, like, and then you know, then there’s a pretty big padding there between serviceable and terrible because a lot most people salespeople are serviceable. But there’s not; it’s really tough to kind of gauge that. And then selling different things calls for different types of personalities or different types of salespeople. There’s really a lot that goes into it. So I feel free on that one. Yeah, we’re halfway through the show. So I want to remind everyone that finding expert software developers doesn’t have to be difficult, especially when you visit FullScale.io, where you can build a software team quickly and affordably; I should point out Humanly.io, they’ve got a lot of great people, and a lot of great product coming out of there too. So check out what they do. Now. After you do that. You can also remember the Full Scale platform is going to help you to find technical needs and see what available developers, testers, and leaders are ready to join your team. Visit FullScale.io to learn more. Now our platform matches; it’s more like we’ve already hired the people, and our prospects come, and they answer a few questions. And it matches people up with, you know, different skill tags experiences, got a search engine of sorts, helps schedule, helps schedule an interview and kind of just streamline that process. It sounds to me like human leaves are more the other way around, where it’s the tool that the hiring company will use to help interface with the applicants. Am I describing that properly?

Prem Kumar 21:28
Yeah, you are. Yeah, interface with applicants, and then join the remote interviews that humans are doing as a next step.

Matt DeCoursey 21:36
Yeah, the Full Scale team, they’re already our employees; we’ve already hired them; I might have to start using humans to help us do that faster. But that’s one of the things you know, we’re talking to, we’re using that keyword that startups, VCs, and private equity entrepreneurs love this word scale. I think scale, the word scale, and scalability are very misunderstood because there are things that are not as, quote, scalable as others. And humans are one of them. The nature of the term scalability, it’s not. And the reason that over the last 10 to 20 years, you saw this love for enterprise software was the quote scalability of it, meaning you could turn up nonhuman factors in some regards and see a big Blitz and growth when it came to things. Hiring people a lot can be a lot slower and a lot more difficult. Now. It seems like you guys went through a very interesting couple of years. It is in your timeline because you have a pandemic, and then we had the great resignation. So we boasted a 93% employee retention rate, and 2022, which was the year that everybody was quitting their jobs? What is that kind of movement in the marketplace? Good for your business? I would think it would be?

Prem Kumar 23:04
Yeah, it’s definitely been an interesting time. So yeah, we had raised our kind of first round of pre-seed money, right. As COVID hit, there was a lot of uncertainty. And then yeah, the economic downturn, and then we were also Silicon Valley Bank, customers who went through that was also a lot of stuff going on at once. So yeah, it kind of depends. So we’re, we’re generally selling, and most of our customers are not tech companies, per se. There are a lot of different industries. So we’re not impacted in the same ways as some of what we’re seeing with layoffs and big tech. Obviously, there are a lot of companies struggling; I mean, usually, it hurts us first, and then we find out how to make it an advantage. So, in the beginning, during times of uncertainty when people are downsizing, there’s general apprehension, so our pipeline was hit a little bit, but we had a really strong growth here in 2022. And part of that is, as people kind of got their bearings back, they wanted to do more with less, and they didn’t have the budgets to hire, you know, giant tech and people teams. So we’re definitely a product that helps you do more with less; it helps you take kind of one recruiting coordinator and give them the power of 510 15. So that’s, that’s generally what we’re going after, into the scale thing. Yeah, no, I mean, you are right. Humans, in many ways, don’t scale tech technology can help you scale things, but it also can, you know, I look at technology as making things happen quicker, faster, more efficiently, but it can also make bad things happen quicker, more efficiently, and faster. So if you don’t have a solid foundation, then you’re catalyzing something that is already bad and making that happen faster. So I do think it’s really important to first think about the foundation and then and then use things to make those processes scale.

Matt DeCoursey 24:59
Yeah, I’ve read, I’ve read quite a few articles over the last few years talking about, you know, you get big companies, just big corporations that have hundreds of 1000s of people and talking about how they had their own, like internal tech or processes or something that was just skipping over like 1000s and 1000s of qualified candidates, you know, like, basically not doing what you guys are doing, and finding ways to take a look at stuff and a lot of that was built in a pretty simplistic way that you know, where one answer that maybe shouldn’t have been a disqualifier was? Yeah, and you know, so you get these companies that they’re, you know, they’re, they’re, you know, making their quarterly reports and stuff like that, but we’re not able to hire people fast enough, and someone else is looking at it, like you had 100,000 applicants, how are you not finding people? It’s, is that a problem that you know? Some of that is, is that a problem with your hiring? Or is it a problem that you don’t have the ability to train them? Or like there, I don’t know, there’s a lot of components in there. So I think you guys are really solving, really solving a problem. Now, but one of the things, and let me ask you this is, you know, and this is, you know, the how, what are you guys doing to help the world of hiring HR in big companies even understand and know that you have something to help them?

Prem Kumar 26:29
Yeah, no, it’s a good question. Um, hop hopping on the Startup Hustle podcast is one of the things we’re doing to get out there.

Matt DeCoursey 26:39
Good answer. I like that.

Prem Kumar 26:42
Yeah, no, definitely. And now that things are beginning to be back in person a little more, we’re definitely trying to show up at the conferences. Get our marketing going. Where we just partnered with Sherm, so we went to Sherm talent a couple of weeks ago. And yeah, word of mouth and others, we have a lot of happy customers. So word of mouth is another big piece, in addition to sales and marketing.

Matt DeCoursey 27:09
What kind of training or exposure or experience practice like what does it take, like if I want to sign up with Humanly.io? At my company, I’m the owner of the company, so I am not going to necessarily be the one that’s going to do all of it because I’ve got this midsize company, right? And I mean, what am I going to have to go through to hook this up to integrate it to put it in? Like, what does that whole process look like?

Prem Kumar 27:41
Yeah, integrations are really important to me. So one of the things when I was at Microsoft, one of my roles was helping startups integrate into the office and into the Microsoft ecosystem. And I know it can be if integrations are not seamless and easy. It can be the biggest, biggest nightmare. I had someone with a cup prospect tell me a couple of weeks ago that they would rather get a divorce than change their applicant tracking system. Because it was such a pain to go through the reintegration. Obviously, an extreme example, but yeah, we make it pretty easy. So we already have pre-built integrations with most of the applicant tracking systems out there. So really, generally, we onboard folks in weeks to a month. So we’re not talking multi-months here. We take you through a questionnaire and a little branding exercise, and then we will introduce you to the different chatbots we have for you that you can put on your website. All our chats have a unique link. So it doesn’t have to be like a widget on a website. When you think of a chatbot, it’s like on the bottom right corner website. But there’s a URL for every job. So you can go to a chat page. So you can put it in SMS, you can put it in social, but yeah, generally to try to make that pretty streamlined and customer success. And having a team of account managers is very important to us. So every customer will have a designated account manager who and they have their phone number and their email; it’s not like a general support email they have to message. So that’s another piece of making onboarding pretty streamlined. So yeah, you book a demo with us. And we can then get you set up in less than a month usually.

Matt DeCoursey 29:24
Do you have to go through a customization process with the chat box that configures or gets them to say what the client or user wants to say, like particular answers or stuff like that?

Prem Kumar 29:38
Yeah, good question. So we’ve kind of made this fairly; we’ve broken it down. So it’s fairly straightforward where you’ll have about 80 to 90% of that will be our so if, for instance, it’s let’s just say it’s an accountant role. We have our accountant chatbots. It’s taught to, you know, hundreds and 1000s. So you take that as a baseline. We have a library of questions. But then, in onboarding, when I mentioned that questionnaire, we wanted this to feel like your brand. So your candidates don’t know they’re talking to humans. So we’ll take your brand assets. And then, yes, we want to honor your hiring philosophies. So if you have, you know, we have a library of questions. But if you say for sales roles, coachability is important. I want to correct our own questions we want to ask; they have the ability to do that. But you’re not kind of going into a UI and typing out every question from scratch; you’re more picking the general topics and then the wording and things like that. Yeah, we definitely have branding teams, especially bigger companies that want to make sure their employer brand comes through, which is important for us, too. So.

Matt DeCoursey 30:44
So all 300 of my employees are in the Philippines at this point. Are you guys focused on North Americans like the United States hiring? Or do you do anything International?

Prem Kumar 30:56
Yeah, good question. We are, we are moving a little bit more internationally. And we actually have a team in Vietnam. So we’re in Asia a little bit, just from a development standpoint, and in addition to the US, but yeah, most of our customers are right now in the US or Canada; we are now beginning to get some in the UK, and then Asia is definitely an interesting one, particularly as we integrate with WhatsApp and maybe eventually some of the other ones like WeChat.

Matt DeCoursey 31:22
Yeah, and for those of you listening, you know, anytime that we get used to what we do, and if you gain experience as a CEO or a founder, your that is applicable to where you are, and then you get into international things where often things are 90% the same. And then there’s like 10% different and that 10% different meaning just like different rules or laws or approaches. And like, when he asked you to talk about it, like, you know, like, okay, that’s the common question that we get. So we are all remote. So there, since the pandemic, is this work from home, and then and then here’s the thing, and this is where these things get tripped up. So candidates sometimes will look at something they’ll be like: this company has 15 PTO days, and this one has 10 PTO days, but the company with 10 PTO days pays 20% more. That is that grossly outweighs it from a personal income standpoint. The other company with 15 PTO days, so sometimes with that, so what one of the things with us is, you know, we try to bridge the gap because some foreign countries have had some very, very like compared to what we’re used to in the US have some very interesting PTO practices, meaning like some of these companies, I mean, some of these countries, they’ll have like 50 days, you’re like, when do you get anything done? Right? But these little nuances that go from country to country can have everything to do with whether or not you get paid, you hire people, and I mentioned that situation where the other company has a few more PTO days, but the other companies are paying a lot more. It’s amazing to me that people, sometimes people, especially people that are applying for what we’ll call smart positions, don’t always figure that out. You know, they look at that. So sometimes, you know, we’ve had to kind of lay that out. And honestly, I’m going to take a look at humanity because we spend a lot of time trying to get people to really understand that dialogue. And here’s the thing is, we talked about salespeople earlier, but your recruitment people are salespeople too, you know, those, they need to be good salespeople because they’re going to handle objections, there’s a little bit of selling that’s in there. And it’s like, and you have to have people, it’s like you mentioned the folks that worked at Disneyland, I would absolutely want someone working at Disneyland that was passionate about being a user at Disneyland, you know, that’s someone that’s going to understand the landscape, they’re also going to be like, hey, you know like they’re going to interface with people and how the different vibe about them. Yeah, and that matters. Because, you know, you don’t want that you don’t want the person that’s like yeah, I don’t know, it’s Snow Whites over there, you know, and like, so. So, you know, getting there’s a lot of complimentary stuff that needs to be in there. So, okay, so we’re, we’re nearing the end of our time here at Startup Hustle. And, you know, I’m just curious. As you know, we had a very interesting conversation here. We clearly have two founders that have a lot of expertise and hiring for many, much different things. Now, when you look at hiring, what are some things that are universal, like whether you’re trying to hire an army of cashiers or an army of developers? What do you think some of the things are that are universal when it comes to hiring just good people in general, like the traits that you can’t get, you can’t say? Like, like, without these things, you probably have a weak candidate, and I’m gonna lead, I’ll lead. So I’ll go first. And I will say the one one. The number one thing that we look for is passion. Are you passionate about doing the job that you’re applying for?

Prem Kumar 35:31
Yeah, yeah, I would steal your passion word there because that’s a big one. I think coachability is important. So humility and coachability. So whether it’s a job that takes a lot of training or not, you want people that are learners that are going to evolve in your organization. But you have a passion for sure. I remember when I applied at Microsoft to start my career, that was a big thing I tried to show in my interview and landed well, but yeah, those are a couple I would say guy, Dad coachability to that.

Matt DeCoursey 36:03
So that would fall under the attitude. Yep. Category. Yeah, just the general. And for us, we have another one in there, so when we get past our technical assessments, we’re into the personal interview, side, attitude, and likeability, which are kind of what you mentioned, which is coachability. And we have another one we call critical thinking, which is the ability to spot a problem. And, and criticize the approach in a productive way, you know, meaning like, I think one of the things that offshore developers have, worldwide, the biggest complaint is that they aren’t the is a lack of critical thinking, meaning like, they get a plan, they look at it, and there’s other might be problems with this, but then they build it up anyway, you know, that ability to speak up and say, Hey, there’s a problem here. You know that that’s a big thing for us. Like, what about dependability? Very difficult, very difficult to measure in an interview.

Prem Kumar 37:11
Yeah, it’s hard to measure an interview, you know, you can start to see some early signals. Like we can measure, like, no-show rates and stuff if you’re not already showing up. But yeah, that’s a big one, for sure. Adaptability, particularly in the startup world, is important for us. And then when one thing we call like, truth-seeking, but like, to me, this is really about having the customer’s best interests in mind. So when you’re solving a problem, it’s not about whether the CEOs, right, or you’re right, or this person, right. And at the end of the day, the truth is the customer’s truth on anyone or any individual. So there are ways you can test how much someone really cares about the end impact. And that’s where that critical thinking comes into play. Are you really thinking about whether he is actually going to win? Yes, you can literally do what’s written on the piece of paper, but when an end user uses it, are they going to be delighted or not? And I think that customer-mindedness is certainly a big one for any job, even if it’s not directly customer-facing.

Matt DeCoursey 38:15
Yeah, and I think I think one more thing that I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention is just communication. You know, like in general and, and man communication can fall under like six different top-level categories and be it own.

Prem Kumar 38:31
Yeah, and the trouble you’re talking about is how it’s challenging to hire salespeople, and they’ll say they’re at the top. Really good communicators are also good at appearing very coachable, adaptable, and passionate. So I think being able to, to really assess good communication, but then also separate out some of those other things can be hard. Yeah.

Matt DeCoursey 38:55
People get it wrong with salespeople. Because I’ve always been chatty since I was a kid. Just like, and I’ve actually become less chatty as I’ve grown older. And I think I’m just kind of like, pick and choose those things. But a lot of times, people, oh, that person’s a great talker, they’d be a great salesperson. That is not what makes a great salesperson, a great salesperson is a good listener, a problem solver. They’re empathetic on behalf of their client, customer, or prospect. And when you can find a way to solve it, if you’re looking for salespeople, you want to find someone that is a problem solver and is able to look at the like, what’s the biggest problem that you’re trying to solve at your business? And I asked that people I said to people everywhere premium like I just like in general and you know, what’s the biggest problem you’re trying to solve? And they’re like, well at work, no, in life, you know, like, and if you can find that for someone and you know, I find that the hardest and most the hardest problem to solve and the most valuable one is anything you can do that generates peace of mind. And that’s where I’ll kind of like to segue to this at the end because that’s what your platform does for this high volume stuff because there’s that peace of mind. There’s like this chaos of like a zillion applications coming in. And then you have the anxiety as the founder, the owner, like, are we even handling these properly? How are we doing this? And then let’s look at the human component of your hiring and recruitment department. Because look, man, that’s just like a lot. And they just keep coming, and they keep coming. And then, like, You got to deal with that. So if you can generate peace of mind in that process now at Full Scale, and once again, today’s episode, Startup Hustle, is brought to you by FullScale.io. Go to the platform takes two minutes, fill out the form, and we’ll match you up with vetted software people, but that’s the peace of mind we generate as people are anxious about hiring an offshore team. So we only hire about one in 35 candidates. You’re paying us for not to get the 34 out of the way to give you the one that has the peace of mind. You’re like, Okay, this is someone good. Because really, regardless, here’s the thing, regardless of all of it, I’ll be the first person to tell you that until someone shows up and does the job, you don’t fully know if they’re any good. Yeah. It’s just the way it goes. I’ve had the greatest of what appeared to be an all-star Hall of Fame, top candidates show up for employment for an interview somewhere, and I’m like, Wow, this person’s amazing. And they show up. And it’s not that they don’t; it’s almost always that they, it’s not that they can’t do the job. It’s that they have something else calling them, something else is going on in their life or in their reality, and they find a way to mess it all up because of that. And it’s weird too. Because of this, that’s evolved for me over time, as I’ve actually had to fire a couple of people from prior companies because they couldn’t stop text messaging. Like, I’m like how you’re sending like, there’s no way you’re not sending like 100 text messages a day at work. Every time I look at you, you’re texting, and that’s definitely not part of your job. You know, some of that, like, you know, it’s like you never know. Alright, anyway, once again with me today, Prem Kumar, and he is the CEO of Humanly, Humanly.io, pre my lights and my episode Startup Hustle with what I call the founders to freestyle. I like to give the mic to my guests and let them make any closing remarks or statements, and then I’ll have a few of my own. So is there anything you’d like to say to this just to the Hustlers out there?

Prem Kumar 42:34
Well, thanks for having me if you’re at where I was in the journey about four years ago, and I would encourage you, so this is, before I started, I would encourage you to just get started. That was the hardest part for me, kind of taking that first step and jumping out. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions about what we do, want to check out our product or just need advice on the startup journey. My email is PREMQ Humanly.io. Yeah, thanks for having me.

Matt DeCoursey 43:06
Yeah, thanks for joining me. Congrats, again, on making it to our top startups in Seattle this week; by the way, that was like, so we do a new city every month, and we realized we hadn’t done Seattle. That was a beefy list of competitors you had there. As we tried to narrow that down, I mean, we were having a hard time; we normally kind of get it down to about 20 Before we get down to 10 or 12. And yeah, there was a lot to choose from, a very robust market. My statements on the way out are, look, if you want great companies, you want to have an all-star company and have an all-star roster. If you want to have an all-star roster, you got to get good at recruiting people, which means you need to have the best offer; okay, there’s no secret sauce, there’s no AI platform or staff augmentation platform or anything that’s going to get past the fact that you have a shitty offer at your company, meaning like, it’s not a great place to work. It doesn’t pay that well, like any part of the reason that we have a 93% retention rate of Full Scale; I pay better, pay better, and everyone else, I remove some of these things. So if you’re trying to find platforms, like premiums or things like Full Scale, that are just going to be delivered, dump trucks have the highest talent willing to work for the lowest rates. That’s not how it works. It’s not; it’s really not. So it starts with the offer. It starts with your company culture. It starts with the way that you are building your company and, with that, getting into good hiring practices. I’m all for automation and efficiency and organization, the way that human Lee’s doing it; it’s a lot to keep up with. And the thing is, if you don’t get this stuff right early and start trying to figure it out early, you’re gonna get to the point that you dreamed of where it’s time to go, go go, and you’re gonna realize that your rockets are on the launch pad without any fuel on it. So you have to figure these things out before you truly need it. You know, the great companies don’t figure it out at the moment; they realize that, oh, we really need to scale up. You got to keep an eye on this along the way. The reality is people come and go; it’s the nature of people that you hire, that don’t own equity in your company, are probably going to end up working somewhere else someday because that’s just kind of the way it goes. If you keep people around for 1520 years, congratulations. It’s still hard to do. Just be prepared for that kind of change and just know that it’s just being professional about it. Graham, thanks for joining me, man. I love what you’re doing up there.

Prem Kumar 45:53
Thank you so much for having me.