Intrro FM: Scaling Stories

Amandeep Shergil
Director Of Tech Recruiting
Automattic

Amandeep Shergil: Director Of Tech Recruiting at Automattic

We caught up with Amandeep Shergil, director of tech recruiting at Automattic, the company behind WordPress.com, WooCommerce, Tumblr and more. Amandeep has plenty of experience in building teams at fast-growing startups like Lendable, so it was a fantastic opportunity to discuss the various possibilities and pitfalls when it comes to hiring tech talent in 2022.

We covered a range of topics, including:

  • Why ‘distributed working’ is not the same as remote working
  • How to build global talent pipelines
  • Innovative assessment processes to improve the candidate experience.

Transcript

Nasser Oudjidane 


Hello and welcome to our series of scaling stories, a discussion with talent leaders about their lessons building teams at some of the world's fastest growing companies. I'm thrilled to introduce our guest today, Andy Shergill, Director of tech recruiting Automattic, the people behind WordPress WooCommerce Jetpack, simple note, Tumblr and much more. Prior to Automattic Amandeep was building teams that fast growing startups like lendable and clear AI, Amandeep  a huge welcome and thank you for joining us.


Amandeep Shergil


Amazing. Thanks. Thanks for having me. And pleasure to be here.


Great to get started, could you give us a brief introduction about you and and your company?


Amandeep Shergil


Yeah, I think you've covered a lot of it already. But yeah, I am. I'm a recruiting professional been in recruiting since I graduated, work for a number of technology companies, after my time in agency recruiting, so I've done a start an agency that I worked for companies across the technical spectrum from consulting to larger, I guess corporates and smaller, much faster growing startups through to where I am today, which is actually a blend of everything that I've done so far. So it is a company called Automattic. We are the company behind wordpress.com, Tumblr, WooCommerce, and a whole host of other brands. And our founders, somebody called Matt Mullenweg, who is also the co founder of WordPress. So we are not WordPress, I do have to put that out there. And you know, we are we are the people behind wordpress.com. And super interesting company. We've been around for 15 plus years. But we're now a company of 1800 people, but spread across 80. I think we're 83 plus  countries now. So we are fully distributed company, which means distributed effectively means remote, but when we don't like the word remote, just because of the way that we work, like distributed working is it's kind of the next level from remote working. And, and, yeah, I mean, we've been practicing this, since our inception, we don't have a single office anywhere in the world.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Wow, that's amazing. Um, I'd love to just double click on your understanding and definition of death of distributed versus remote and how distributed to the next level of remote, next level of remote. So how, how, how, why do you think that?


Amandeep Shergil


Absolutely. So if you, I mean, Matt's actually got his own blog online. And he has, I guess a picture of what distributed working means and the different levels of distributed work. But if I was to kind of distill that, and take my own take on it, and give you my own take on what distributed work means versus remote remote is effectively when a company allows people to work from wherever they want, but they still have a base. So people go away, but they come back together. And they're generally working similar hours, you know, there's roughly core hours or something along those kinds of lines, even if it is geographical core hours. Distributed work is extremely different, we could have a team spread across 10 or 12. Time Zones, it is a very, very different way of working because it could be a team of two, it could be a team of 100 people split into squads or organized in their own way. But if the way that they work is in a distributed manner, which means you don't have to be online at the same time you work in how an asynchronous is one of these things, these terms that we use a lot at Automattic. So we do a lot of written communication across slack across our internal blogging system, which is called P two, and a whole host of other tools that we use internally. But distribute work means we are all working together no matter where we are in the world. And it's distributing that work across everybody within the organization. It's not remote work, where we just go away, work on things and come back together, this is truly spread.


Nasser Oudjidane 

And I understand that you you've recently joined I mean, I think it's six or seven months in has it been a transition that been hard to to get into or you found that it's something that you've perhaps found easy,


Amandeep Shergil


A lot easier than you think. But I'm kind of lucky in the same in the same way as well. I've worked for some remote companies before. And I've also worked for I've actually worked for distributed company before as well. So I hadn't I've dipped my toe into the world of distributed work before I joined Automatticbut Automatticdo this to a different degree to everyone else. And they because it's been in practice so long. There is a little bit of a learning curve. And but it is not so extensive. Like if you if you've never done remote work before. Yes, there's a little bit more of a learning curve. You know, you've got to you've got to learn then that, you know, being alone is something which is something you've got to adjust to, because you work from a home office, you can also work from a co working space, we give people the flexibility. So if you want to work from a coffee shop, or co working space, or your own home office, all of those things, and more are allowed, like, you know, we give people that flexibility to work how they want to work, but it is lonely, not going to see your colleagues, it can be lonely, I should say, not seeing your colleagues on a daily or even a weekly basis. We do meet ups. So there is that kind of side of things where we typically say automations, that's the internal name for someone who works at Automattic organizations will do somewhere between three and four weeks of travel a year. And that is generallyto go into meet the teams meet, you know, meet colleagues, but also a week for the grand meetup, which is when the whole company gets together, unfortunately, been put on pause because of the pandemic. But we'll eventually get back to that.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Does that usually happen in different locations or are in one location?


Amandeep Shergil


The grand Meetup is usually somewhere in the US just because most of our people are in the US. But the other meetups happen anywhere in the world. It really depends on where people are based. So you know, if you're geographically dispersed team, we typically say find somewhere roughly Central, or easiest for everyone to get to know, the last thing we want is for people to spend 40 hours on a plane to get to a meetup, get pick somewhere roughly easy, and then just get together for a week.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Cool. And what's your main focus? Since you've joined? Have there been any core areas that we can discuss?


Amandeep Shergil


There are many I mean, this is one of the first roles where I've actually honed in on one specific area of recruiting. So technical recruiting. It's in my role title, I guess. So we can definitely talk about that. But um, I have a team spread literally across the world again. And we are working across our what we call core engineering, effectively, PHP and JavaScript engineers, we're hiring across systems and higher engineering, we're also doing data and mobile. So there are many, many different areas. And I'm less hands on in this position than I have been in the past. And that's because of many other reasons. Like we have a team who were very highly skilled and doing some amazing work as well. I'm happy to dive in.


Nasser Oudjidane 

How are you thinking about building talent pipelines with regards to engineering objectives, and the existing work culture? And, you know, in addition to available talent pools?


Amandeep Shergil


Really good question. So the only real directive and it's not really even directed internally, the only only consideration we have is that we want to increase our geographical diversity. And keep it easy. I'm just gonna say geodiversity, but um, so we try to recruit anywhere in the world outside of North America, because that's where the majority the bulk of our engineers are. And the company was founded in San Francisco, like most tech companies, so almost American tech companies. So you know, we have a big base of engineers, and just employees, if you want to call it that in North America. So our real focus is to hire everywhere else in the world. And ideally, you know, we want to be hiring in places like Latin America and Southeast Asia, in Africa, in Eastern Europe, the places that are actually underrepresented. And we can allow people in those countries to work on global projects, which they don't always get the opportunity to do well, without having without the need of having to relocate, like we've got this opportunity where we are a distributed company, and we can hire people, almost anywhere in the world, I have to say almost, because there are some countries, but not a lot of hiring. But when that happens, like we're giving people these opportunities in these countries, but we're also tapping into this talent that isn't, you know, it isn't being leveraged by anyone else. So it's actually really a really, really exciting way for us to be able to address the market. And building these talent pipelines is the next challenge. Right? So we're leveraging tools. And yes, we have tools. We're trying to stay away from LinkedIn. Just because we don't want to we don't want to be going into the communities that everyone else is fishing. We want to we want to try and be a little bit different in the way that we're addressing the market if we possibly can be. So there's a few other tools that we use, but we are using a CRM, we've obviously got an ATS, like most people will, I guess it will be listening to this. So we are building up our pipelines. We're building up our projects we're doing a lot of sourcing sourcing was something that wasn't being done heavily and Automattic before I joined. So this is something we've had to really shift the needle on in order for us to achieve scale, but also achieve scale. outside of the countries where we're well known, so that's some of the like, I guess it kind of answered the question, but there's a ton of different areas I can go into. 


Nasser Oudjidane 


Absolutely. And one thing that you mentioned, just as one of your last points ending with sourcing, do you structure your teams as functional sources? And then 360 recruiters? Sorry, what I mean is, do you have top of funnel sources that are then hand over candidates to the recruiting team that manage that process and that candidate relationship?


Amandeep Shergil


Not yet. So the key thing to remember about Automattic is we all have our talent function, our talent team is only really 18 to 24 months old, it's a really young function when it comes to, especially when you look at the size and the age of the organization as a whole. Historically, the individual teams just did their own hiring. So you know, they were like, they put out the adverts, they looked at inbound, and they eyed people as I needed to. And things have really poor things from a hiring standpoint, really ramped up over the last couple of years. So this is where the need to have recruiting expertise is crept in. And the talent division that I'm part of hiring isn't the only thing we do. Alright, so hiring is one of out of the five things that we look at. We also look at, you know, experience, which is, you know, encompasses growth and development encompasses leadership training, you know, so some of these people related projects, if you want to call it this DNI is something which bridges across everything that we do. But employer brand has its own thing as well. So with, in saying all of that, you know, there is still a long way to go, in terms of structuring the way that we look at talent. So sourcing teams is something which is on our roadmap, but it isn't something we have in place right now. So our recruiters, our 360, if you want to call it that, like they do everything. And they're supported by recruiting specialists, who look after a lot of the admin heavy tasks, but they also look after the pipelines, so they help our recruiters to manage the pipelines, the candidate communications, even some of the stakeholders stuff. So recruiters are freed up to look after everything from sourcing all the way through to, you know, final stages of the interview processes. And, importantly, one thing, which we don't do right now, and talent is offers. And offers are handled by our HR team. And a few reasons behind this, you know, there is a little bit of like, we want to reduce bias, you know, we want to make sure that you know, we're not both us but also our hiring teams aren't. They're not creating candidates in a different way. Because with a salary expectations, we just want to hire great people. We have very little hierarchy as well. So we don't necessarily go out and target senior senior engineers or mid level engineers or junior engineers, we just look for great engineers, that do their best work.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Yeah, so sorry to interrupt that just on that I'm I'm really interested to learn how do you define what assessment processes that you have internally to actually really determine brilliant engineer, a brilliant candidate, especially considering it seems that although perhaps recruiting has an in terms of the recruiting function sourcing function is, is quite nascent. Being a distributed company for 10 plus years. And hiring across the globe must mean that you must have quite a robust, I'm assuming, assessment process of vetting talent without being in person.


Amandeep Shergil


Absolutely, I think I don't think any company is truly nailed how to assess candidates in any in any field, right. So this is something in my mind, every company is still developing. Here Automattic, we are quite experimental in the way we do things. And so shortly before I joined, and there was an experiment running, it was called a no interview experiment. So our core engineers no longer do an interview at the beginning of the process. That is organic applicants. So anybody who applies, the first step of the process for them is to do a code test. And the other thing, which is really unique about Automattic, is we have a trial process for almost every roll across Automattic. So no, no person is employed at Automattic without going through a trial. And the trial is, of course different for every single role that you do. And it is designed to give people an idea of what work at Automattic would look like for the role that they're applying for. So that given a project it can range, some some trial projects or five hours and then some are up to 40 hours a month. Engineering the core engineering ones depending on which role you're going for, but they are up to 40 hours in length, we're working on an a new version of the trial, which will be a little bit shorter, but still evaluating all of the same skills. But you know, we are looking at two technical skills, of course, but these trials allow us because of the way that they're designed to look at a lot more information. So, you know, we're assessing candidates, not just on the technical knowledge, but on their communication skills. And this doesn't mean verbal communication skills, but written, and even the written communication skills, we're not just looking at how they, how they communicate with us on Slack, or how they communicate on PTS, we're looking at how are they writing, you know, comments, and PRs, you know, how these things structured? Is it understandable for people across the world, right. So, because we're distributed, again, so much of our work is written, and it's async, when they write a piece of code, you know, when they're writing this PR, we need, we need somebody else who might have me on line at the same time to be able to understand what they're writing, and what they're doing with this work. And we go beyond that. So when we're looking for engineers, again, because we're distributed, and people get, get the opportunity to work on so many different things, we do look for expertise in a particular area. And, you know, I don't know how many people will be familiar with this, but it's that classic T shaped profile of engineer. So yes, the breadth of breadth of experience, but we want to have at least some expertise in something along the lines of either architecture, or security or performance, or doesn't matter what it is, as long as it's one of those kinds of areas and our assessments, you know, the trials, and the code tests allow us to be able to look for all of these things. And it's assessed by engineers. So amongst the engineers, we're not just talking about all of the engineers that are Automattic, we actually have what we call a but, again, this is specifically around core engineering, but we have an engineering, hiring rotation. So engineers volunteer, and to spend 100% of their time. And we're also opening this up to part time as well, for some people for some of the roles right now. But people spend all of their time for a period of either three to 12 months, on just hiring other engineers. So they can really, really get deep into this whole process and this project, and they can also help us to get better at this as well. So it's not just recruiters influencing our processes, we have actual engineers at Automattic helping us to get better at recruiting. And I think that's really cool, and very, very unique.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Absolutely. And their level of involvement, in addition to reading code reviews, and, and other perhaps assessment related stuff, which your candidates are doing as part of the projects and trials, how else are they involved?


Amandeep Shergil


So primarily, they are doing that reviewing code tests, but they're also I guess, their trial buddies, so they have to spend, not have to spend, but they spend time with our engineers, with our engineering candidates on the trial process. And this can be for the 40 hour trial, there's like our engineers are spending anywhere between 20 and 30 hours per candidate on each trial. That's a lot. That's a huge amount of time to invest. But we want to make sure we're giving our candidates a great experience. And we're setting them up for as much success as we possibly can without giving them the answers. So you know, they're spending a lot of time on this stuff. But outside of just the recruiting processes, or just the actual processes themselves. They're involved in feedback loops. So they are talking to our candidates, they're getting feedback from our candidates, they are working with recruiting, and they are working on these contests, these trials to optimize them. are we assessing all the skills that we should be? How can we how can we make sure we, you know, for not before there's something missing? How can we make sure that we're assessing for that in the next version of this trial? Even if it's just an iterative process? Or if we're assessing for things that don't matter anymore? How can we remove this from this whole process? That's some of the stuff they're getting involved in. And we have a new full time hire team. And there's only two people in this right now. And that they are engineers who have been hired into Automattic only work on this full time. So not on a rotation but full time. And they've had some huge impact in exactly these processes.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Yeah, it's super interesting. I'd say one thing that was kind of niggling in the back of my mind is that you have this process and a lot of time that's invested coupled with perhaps the hottest hiring market that's I don't want to say ever existed, but it certainly since I've been in recruiting and started working. I don't think it's ever been so fierce and competitive. Are there any adaptions or any things that you're thinking about doing to make things more perhaps efficient to entice the best that may have three or four other offers and untold amounts of solicitations from other companies and Curtis.


Amandeep Shergil


Yeah, this is a really interesting topic. And it was a major adaptation to the way I had to think about recruiting, especially when it comes to sourcing, coming into the coming into the company, right, I can't come in and you know, all of a sudden, change the way we've been hiring for the last 10 to 15 years, right, for winning trials for the last 10 to 15 years, I can't all of a sudden say we can't do trials anymore. It doesn't, you know, doesn't operate that way. works. And Automattic, you know, we have a really, really good retention rate. And some really, really tenured people at Automattic. So like within the talent division, my lead has been here for coming up to 10 years, the head of DevX, why partner with really closely has been at Automattic for 14 years, some of our engineering leads have been here for 14-15 years as well, 16 years, in some cases. So we have some really, really tenured people. And that's because they enjoy what we do and will want and we've hired them in the right manner. So I'm not going to come in and start try and change all of this immediately, it's got to be a phased approach. And it's got to be, it's got to be iterative, and to make sure that we're not lowering the quality bar when we make these changes. So instead of changing the process, what we've done is change the way that we source. We can't change organic applications. And I'm sure that anybody who's in recruitment will know that organic applications is probably the most inefficient way of hiring anyway, right. So the conversion rate of an applicant in an applicant to getting hired is much lower than referral or, you know, a source candidate. And so referrals is something which we're really driving, it's got the highest conversion rate. And for many, many reasons, I'm not going to go into the mall right now. But um, you know, that is, that is definitely something we've had to turn around and drive a lot more than it because it's been okay, but we can definitely do a lot better with that. And the second piece is, when we are sourcing, it's not looking for those active candidates, it's looking for people who aren't on the job market. Or if they are coming on to the job market, making sure that the beginning of that search, and how we handle the candidates through the process is another big area of improvement. Right? So this is something which we've had to really think about carefully. In the past, it's usually been okay, let's let's fast track the process. So you know, Can we can we make changes to the process, the way that we're hiring, to meet the candidates expectations. Instead, what we're doing is managing the candidates expectations up front about our process. So before putting it into the process, tell them what it entails, you know, there's a 12 hour code test and as a 40 hour trial, is this something you can commit to? Before we send it, this is all done before we send the code test. And we reiterate this at every stage. So again, in the past, it's been very much a case of send, send a candidate code test, let them spend, however long they want to on the code test. Same with a trial, it's a 40 hour trial, but spread out across however many weeks you want, you know, we don't force people, it's a very flexible way of interviewing here. So what we've had to do is try and manage those expectations a little bit better. So if they're an active job seeker, you know, we give them the code test, like how when do they expect to be able to finish the code test and making sure that they're staying on top of it? If they're not, that's okay, as well, right? Maybe they're just not as interested in our opportunity versus other opportunities in the marketplace. But we have to clarify that we have to make sure that we're spending time with people who want to be involved in our process. And once people get into the process, we typically find now that the dropout rate is extremely low. And that's because of the way that we're explaining the process, the way that you know, we are explaining the opportunities that are available, as well. Yeah, and which is a little bit tough, given our process, because we have a very centralized way of interviewing as well. The bulk of our core engineering roles go through the same process, and at the end, based on a combination of things, but our business requirements, but also very heavily what the candidate expectations are like, what do they want to be doing? We then distribute them into one of them many, many, many, many projects. You know, so they will, they could be working in WooCommerce. They could be working in Tumblr, or.com, or jetpack or anyone, anyone like different projects, or divisions and projects, but we'll distribute that based on what the candidate wants to do business requirements and whole whole range of other things.


Nasser Oudjidane 

I'm assuming that not only the the dropout rate after they've accepted, but after they've accepted the offer, once joining, there's just, I'd say a much better understanding of what it's actually like to work at the company and you get a much better understanding of what the candidates like therefore, probably a much better retention rate, especially in the first six months of them joining


Amandeep Shergil


Yeah, for sure. Retention in first six months is close to 100%. We have very, very few misses with this process. And the offer acceptance rate is right up there as well. You know, I came in and was asked like, what do you think a good offer acceptance rate is, and I was like, in the industry, it should be, you know, 95 to 100%. You know, that's typically what I've worked out, like, I don't really lose many offers. But given the length of our process, we should be right up there at 90 to 100%. We shouldn't be losing any offers at the end of the process.


Nasser Oudjidane 

How are you thinking about compensation packages? Or how does the company think about compensation packages, considering it's, you know, predominantly based in the US? Most of the people that are obviously well paid, and you can hire in Eastern Europe, for instance, are you paying top of the market in Eastern Europe? Are you playing US equivalent salaries everywhere,


Amandeep Shergil


We don't discriminate on where people are based, you know, if they're in a, they're in a location where, you know, we could potentially half the salary, we don't do that, you know, we we don't go to that extent at all. We actually kind of look at the conversion rates, there's many, many kind of factors that go into it. But the there's not much of a difference between what we're paying people in the US to what we're paying people in the rest of the world. The only difference is, we can't employ people as full time employees outside of our entity countries. So we have entity countries, and you know, Ireland, the UK, US, Canada, South Africa, Australia, I think, maybe new zealand. So one of the countries I think I'm maybe forgetting about. But the rest of the world, we employ people as independent contractors. So there are still limitations. They are independent contractors, and they still get access to like all of our internal benefits, of which there are many. We really, we really do look after people. I've kind of figured that out in the last six months, six, seven months. But, you know, we can't employ them as you know, payroll employees in countries where we don't have an entity.


Nasser Oudjidane 

You mentioned something earlier with regards to try to find candidates outside of LinkedIn, I'm not sure whether this is a trade secret, are you able to share some of the tools that you're using to source candidates, particularly engineers, that perhaps mean that you know, outside of the, the LinkedIn in mail and suite of services and tools that they have?

Amandeep Shergil



Sure, I mean, we're still experimenting. So you know, I'm not gonna say we've cracked the code or anything, you know, there's no secret sauce isn't quite there just yet. But, you know, there are some tools which, which are industry wide that most people listen to this should know off and select GEM is a CRM, you know, that's pretty simple. Most people will know about GEM. But then we use a few other tools. So yes, we use LinkedIn recruiter light for candidates where we can't find email addresses from other tools. But you know, there are email finding tools , like Lucha, and kendo, and all sorts of other ones out there, right. So those kinds of tools we use. We use all we've tried using tools like amazing hiring and hire tool, you know, there's a whole bunch of tech focused tools to go and find in source engineers as well outside of LinkedIn. And then there is another one that we're trying right now. And again, like, I'm not sure I can log companies on here, but it's a it's a much smaller, newer company called Sensia. Who are really interesting, you know, it's, they do a combination of different things, but they have a sourcing aspect to their tool. And that's what we're really trying out right now. Because it doesn't just scrape from LinkedIn, but it scrapes from GitHub, Stack Overflow, meetup and a whole host of other I guess, public facing websites if want to call it that. And it's not restricted to just tech, which is kind of the other cool thing about it. And from a cost standpoint, this was like a really big driving factor for me, they don't charge per seat. It's a SaaS product. So if, as we were growing our team, I didn't need to go and spend more and more money with them. It was a case of one, one outlay and all the recruiters and even hiring managers across Automattic can access could get access to it if they wanted to.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Awesome. Yeah, you can plug tools. And that's great that you are finding, as I've always known you to be an early adopter and supporter of early technology companies, just so that perhaps we can go to some of our wrapping up questions. Are there any pieces of advice that perhaps are BS? When scaling teams that perhaps come to your mind with regards to myths that needs to be put in the trash.


Amandeep Shergil


It's good question. I mean, every Everything helps towards scaling. And, and nothing is a one fiddle, there's no one fit solution to scaling as well. So I'm not sure about any, like BS myths that are out there, I'll be really honest, like, I haven't really been told something which I will turn around and be like, oh, like, that really doesn't make any sense. You know, everything makes sense to degree. And the one thing I would say is, I would encourage people to think outside the box, be creative, don't look at other companies and go, Oh, this is what they're doing, therefore, we need to do it. And if everyone else is doing it, do something different. You know, that's, that's kind of what I would encourage people to stop doing. You know, we are a creative industry. Recruiting is it's, it's part creative, it's part artsy, it's part science, there's parts of everything of what we do. But I think a lot of people today are missing that creative aspect of recruiting, and we need to get back into this. And I really miss it. And there's some really cool things I used to do back in the day, which, you know, we don't do anymore. And I'd love to be able to get back into it, you know, an example, can see you're looking at these, one of those examples with the, you know, one company I worked for, I'm not going to name them. But you know, we, we were targeting a very, very hard to fill role. And we jointly kind of came up with this idea of sending, sending a gift to targeted people. So I've mapped the market out, you know, it was, it wasn't remote at the time. So you know, we mapped out like, the local marketplace for these, these people that we wanted to hire. And with the hiring team, we came up with the top 20 people we wanted to target. And each of those people, we sent a hand we sent them a handwritten postcard with a gift. And the gift was a Google Chromecast. And the company was also Google partner, they were an Amazon partner and they were Marcel partner. But you know, we wanted to send them something a little bit different, a little bit, you know, something that would catch their attention, not the usual here's a t shirt or, you know, here's a mug. So we sent them all a Chromecast with a handwritten postcard. And you know, it was a little bit cryptic, because we didn't want to be so obvious with it going to a workplace. Obviously, we didn't have people's personal addresses. So we sent them to people's workplaces. And it was a really interesting experience. And the ROI was definitely there. Because we made like two hires out of this whole thing. And the cost wasn't that high in comparison to what we were doing. So ROI was definitely that. And did we have people who were a little bit annoyed at what we were doing? I think one? You know, it definitely kind of just goes into my workplace. And we were like, That's cool. All right, that's fine. We understand what you're saying. But most people were actually like, really, really intrigued, really interested. And some people were like, they contacted us to say, Can we send it back to you? And we're like, no, if you're not interested, that's okay. Keep it to get like we're not, we're not expecting you to send it back to us if you're not interested. But we did interview a good bunch of those people, even just to kind of network and get, you know, get those ideas across, you know, for the future for future hiring go for networking within that network of people. But as I said, the end result was two eyes. And you know, would we have got that in the same period of time, if we have just gone out and done traditional stuff? Probably not. So it was really, really interesting. And you know, that's a little bit of creativity with a little bit of science baked in, and you know, I think we need to all get back to the roots and do stuff like this.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Yeah, amazing story. How? How are you thinking about the? Sorry, I'll pause there and just ask, is there one challenge when it comes to scaling teams or people practices that if you had a magic wand, you'd love to be able to fix or make disappear?


Amandeep Shergil


Really interesting one. building consensus. So this is the this is the slowest part of any scaling challenge, and change management, scaling, whatever you want to call it, right? I mean, we all come up with ideas, we want to experiment want to try things. But generally, it requires building a level of consensus to be able to do this. And the way I've got I've got, I've got my own way of kind of getting around this a little bit. But if I had a magic wand, and I wanted to kind of make company wide changes, or division wide changes, you know, wraps, right, super, super rapidly, it would be to build consensus super, super, super quickly. And the way I tend to do this, to get around building consensus is experimentation. I do small experiments. And then I build it out, I build you know, I get the I get the data, I show the ROI and what I'm doing, you know, what is it you know, what is the change we've made, do A-B testing, build out those numbers, get the data show people what's actually you know, what the impact of these changes actually is? Everybody will want to get involved. And if they don't, you have to figure out why. Because typically, it's not because the process is wrong for them. It's typically because they're either afraid of change, or they're afraid of some, some some other kind of thing or some other impact. In which case, a phased approach to kind of rolling these things out can work as well. But um, yeah, the magic wand would be really super quick consensus decision making.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Yeah, is there anything that you listen to read or watch for inspiration, or motivation that perhaps our audience might be interested in, and also consuming?


Amandeep Shergil

And I mean, from a personal perspective, my team, I love listening to my team. And we do want to, like this is through one to ones it's through, I like team discussions. And I try my best just not talking those things, I want my team to talk to me. You know, I love it when they run, because, you know, I get an idea of what they actually want to fix. That gives me inspiration, you know, what are they enjoying? What are they hating, you know, these are the things which really, really kind of inspire me. Outside of that, if you're talking about recruiting based, I guess, podcasts and stuff like this. The main person I follow at the moment is somebody called hung Lee. I'm pretty sure everybody knows who he is, too. So recruiting BrainFood, I'm gonna plug it for sure. But he does these podcasts and Fridays, which I try and join whenever I can, or listen to them whenever I can. And I follow some of the people some of the main speakers around Europe, right, so people like Irena Simova, who's like, an absolute wizard at sourcing, you know, she's just phenomenal. So any, whenever she's putting anything out there, I definitely listen to those types of things. And yeah, I mean, all those people that speak at these types of events, I know that most of them have got books, or podcasts or blogs, or it's got Boolean strings out there. So you know, that's another one that I follow. So yeah, these these are the types of things that I follow for my own guests to keep on top of the industry and for my own inspiration to try new things and bring new ideas in. But I tend to combine a few different areas. But yeah, I mean, I try and draw inspiration from the challenges I have around me. And then take that out to the marketplace.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Yeah, for sure. Yeah. If you're not familiar with, humbly, I'm sure you are or arena then definitely worth checking out. And just finally, what is there one thought value or phrase that you live by?


Amandeep Shergil

Honestly, no, that's a really good one. But um, I just try and stay positive I try. And you know, the other key thing, and this is maybe really, really important in today's day and age, but it is learning to switch off. And I struggle with this with my team, not personally, you know, especially working from home it is you know, and having that kind of distributed remote working setup. You know, I think a lot of people are probably will have been through this, at some point over the last the last 18 months or two years. Maybe they are still going through right now. Learn to Learn to switch off automattic, they encourage people not to have emails and slack on their phone. I still do. But you know, I encourage everybody my team not to have it on their phone. And you know if they are if if they're as we call it fk, but if they're on vacation, so Away From Keyboard is what we call it, but if they're on vacation, go away. Like don't check in, I don't need you to check in. Like if you're saying you're going away on vacation. We know we have a plan in place for you to be away on vacation. We don't want you to be checking in. And you know, I would encourage everybody to kind of follow that mindset, you know, really learn to switch off, get that downtime and refresh properly. You know, keep that positive mindset basically, don't let it weigh you down.


Nasser Oudjidane 

Yeah. Well, thank you so much. It's been a pleasure.


Amandeep Shergil

Absolutely been a pleasure being here. Thanks for having me.


Cheers.



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