This week, Faith sits down with our Account Executive, Ashley Yearby, and Head of Strategic Accounts, Jessi Soler, to talk about how we streamline the hiring process and help companies find success. They also share what you can do if you can’t use Gun.io, and pitch the next big business idea on how to find a reliable home contractor.
How you doing? How’s your day?
I’m having a very good day. We got two deals signed today and then one last night. So it’s three in 24 hours.
Yeah. Jessi is killing it. So, because
You guys both are killing it. Oh my God.
It has been.
Been, it was looking dismal for a second there, but <laugh>, I was like, I don’t know what’s gonna happen.
I feel like December’s usually good because people are just trying to get things like locked up for the new year.
The start of the new year, yeah. (Faith: Mm-Hmm. <Affirmative>)
We’ve had historically decent Decembers.
Yeah. They don’t wanna like roll in after the haze of the last two weeks of December and be like, wait a minute, I actually have a shit ton of work to do for hiring.
Well guys, welcome back to the Frontier podcast. I’m so excited. You two are my two favorite guests, so…
Oooh, I like that.
Yeah. To be able to talk to you both at the same time is like, now I’m having a great day too. (Jessi: I know.) And you guys know how my day was yesterday, so that’s saying a lot. We’re really, we’re coming around over here.
Yeah. It’s been rough, but my contractor did just show up and it seems like they have figured out how to make it stop leaking in my house. Like it rains inside when it rains, so we’re excited.
Faith, I think like when I originally talked to you, remember I was so gungho on doing my own house projects and like my add-on.
This week you’ve just really turned me off
<Laugh>. Well, good. Don’t do it. I’ll be glad when it’s done though. I feel like it’s like childbirth. I’ve never birthed a child, but I’ve heard that it’s like, obviously very painful, but you forget about it shortly after, at least enough to like, you know, a lot of people have another child, so they’ve forgotten.
In the moment, it is definitely like–they, they didn’t tell me that I was gonna have to wait when I asked for an epidural, I was gonna have to wait 45 minutes for it to actually happen. (Faith: Yikes.) So when I started having contractions, I was like, okay, I think I can, I can take like a few minutes of this and then within minutes I was like, oh no, I need the epidural. They’re like, oh, it’s gonna be a 45 minute wait. I’m like, why didn’t you tell me this 45 minutes ago so I could have ordered that? It, yeah. It was an excruciating pain. But you’re right, it’s very short-lived, but it’s very painful in the moment. (Faith: Yeah.) But it’s very short-lived, enough to where even when the baby comes, you’re like, what pain? (Faith: Right.)
It’s Miles! Yeah.
Yeah. What, I don’t know what you’re doing to your house, but it sounds… <laugh>
You’d think that I was building a palatial like guest house and like, it’s not that. It is a maybe 600 square foot addition of like a primary suite. (Ashley: Okay.) And an entryway and a pantry, which is very necessary because my existing house is 900 square feet. (Ashley: Okay.) Which is little, it’s just a little thing. So now it was fine when it was just me, but now it’s me and Mr. Faith and also our dog and also friends coming in and out and–
A lot of chickens. Thankfully they’re not indoor chickens. So they will not be making use of the addition, but…
<Laugh>. Well, yeah. I can only imagine like adding on what that can do because yeah, just being a homeowner in general, no one tells you all of these things.
Did you guys have to do any work to your place?
Oh, yes. Well, in March, yeah. So we bought the house last May, (Faith: Right.) in March of this year we had a leak and it went, yeah. Went through the, like the bathroom and then into the kitchen. So we did that. Then we decided after we got that done, like let’s re-pipe the entire house. So we re-piped the entire house. We had to add insulation into like the attic and all these different places. So yeah, we’ve had our fair share of like, house things that weren’t necessarily expected (Faith: Mm-hmm. <Affirmative>.) So now the projects that I do wanna do, I’m like, I can only paint. That’s all I got in me is to paint <laugh>. That’s it.
I can’t even do that well.
<Laugh> Jessi, I feel bad. I mean, you hired a contractor for your first paint job that does–does Ashley know about that? Jessi was like, she found this person that, you know, didn’t really have any reviews and she’s like, let me give him a shot.
And I said, I should be the one to give him his first review. That’d be really nice of me.
I’d do that too.
<Laugh>Everything was painted. He took, he was like, oh, you want your house painted? Cool. That means your art, that means your furniture. (Jessi: Yeah.) Like everything. Right?
Yeah, because they used like a spray gun.
Oh my gosh.
I mean, literally the first day I like got into my house, everything was covered–my furniture, I had just gotten a new couch. It was just all spray paint. My fridge is still all spray paint, all my artwork, all my frames, the floors. My poor dad came to visit like a month ago and he spent the entire day just on his hands and knees scrubbing the floors with like, (Ashley: Oh my god.) oil removal.
Oh man. I attempted to paint and I don’t like this color of pink, so I’m painting it back white. So there’s like a test patch behind me. I hope it doesn’t show up whenever we start recording.
No, we’re good.
Oh, we’re recording sis.
Oh, okay. Well, if you see it, people, just know I’m going back white. No more pink, no more pink walls, jus –
No, she’s stylish. Yeah, she’s not, doesn’t have just patches. I feel like throughout this process I’ve found myself more than once being like, I just wish there was a Gun.io for contractors, (Ashley: Oooh!) like home renovation contractors.
That’s good. Yeah.
Don’t throw–don’t throw ideas out there. I’ll try to figure it out. <Laugh>
I was gonna say, I need to pitch this to like the entrepreneur and hopefully this time next year it’ll be a business, but yeah, it’s like I would pay top dollar for a company. I’m just, this is just like, you know, 1:1 Gun.io. We’re a team of senior engineers who vet other engineers. So clients when they come to us are getting someone who’s been vetted by their peers who were vouching for, they’ve got, you know, the added benefit of us stepping in if anything goes wrong, filling in with somebody new. Like, this week I thought I was gonna have to hire a new contractor, and I was like, I don’t even know where to look. Like if I had a Gun.io for house contractors, I’d be like, chilling. I’d be able to be doing other stuff instead of thinking about managing my contractor.
I’m such a dumbass, I just Googled contractor marketplace and Gun.io pops up <laugh>.
<Laugh>. Don’t click on it, Jessi, I don’t wanna pay for your ad click. Oh my God. Well, that’s actually like, weirdly a good segue, guys. I never am able to master that, but today’s our day. So obviously you two are responsible for making sure that companies who hire through Gun.io have an exceptional experience. And that’s both with like, you know, treating them well, but also making sure that we’re delivering on our value proposition, right? And making sure that everybody’s getting value out of working with us. So I guess to start, like <laugh>, we use the metaphor of a home contractor for what we do, but I’m curious in your eyes, like what I, what are the biggest benefits that folks cite when you’re talking to them about working with Gun.io? Like what makes their eyes light up? Like, oh yeah, this is way better than whatever we’re doing right now.
Obviously I think the biggest thing is that we are giving them like a very curated list of people that they do not have to vet or don’t have to vet as extensively. So the big thing there is like, if you’re posting on a job board, you’re getting, you know, hundreds of resumes. I’d say, from what I understand, like 80% of those are people that don’t have any type of skill related to the job or what you guys need. But you’re still having to go through them. And then on top of that, once you’re seeing resumes that do fit, you still need to, you know, do the interviews and do the technical interviews and vet them. So I think the big thing coming to us is like, hey, we know we’re gonna get, you know, five fantastic candidates that know their shit, that have been vetted and, you know, we know they’re good options.
I think the other big thing is also the speed in it. (Faith: Mm.) Especially if you’re working towards a deadline. If your last employee just left out of nowhere, you need someone ASAP. You know, you’re getting people within a week. So I think speed and quality are the two big, big things. And then also just the fact that like, we’re there to help with, you know, we have the customer success team. Once you start working with someone, like there’s someone that’s gonna be making sure that things go well. So it’s not all on you to manage things. So yeah. I think those are the big things that I hear at least when I’m speaking with new clients.
And I’ll, I’ll go ahead and say those same things, particularly the customer success manager. That addition I think is huge for us to say that we’re not just going to hand you a developer and then leave you to work with them. The customer success team that we have, they’ve done an amazing job with stepping in and making sure that things are going well. And if they aren’t trying to fix them before they get any more out of control, that’s a highlight that a lot of clients are really enjoying is having that extra hand holding process. Even if they don’t need it, they know that it’s there for them.
Hmm. Yeah. I mean, a hundred percent, that’s what I want right now with my home contractors <laugh>. Like, I need, I need my hand to be held and I need someone to whisper sweet nothings in my ear and tell me that this is normal and they’re gonna figure it out.
Faith, I would always do that for you.
<Laugh>. Oh, Jessie.
I live so close.
You do, will you, will you be my account manager for my, my personal life? <Laugh> my customer success? Just like Faith’s success manager?
<Laugh>. I feel like that’s what I need. Well, kind of like, on that note, I feel like the sentiment that I opened the episode with, like, I just want Gun.io for house contractors. I’ve felt many times with other, you know, more realistic things that would be helpful to have a service like Gun.io to go to, like when I’m hiring marketers, freelance writers, any kind of contractor to add to my team. And so I’m curious, like how if you guys had a friend come to you and be like, look, I way–I love the way that Gun.io does hiring, but I’m not hiring a developer so I can’t use you. What advice would you have for them based on what you’ve seen like be most successful on our platform? Like what would you tell them to do as they’re hiring?
I would suggest know, like, before you even start talking to someone, I have a very clearly defined idea of what the goal is and what you want the outcome to be and what you want communication standards to be. (Faith: Hmm.) When you go into something knowing that it just, I mean, it, it makes it far more successful all around. And- I mean, I see that with clients too. Like when someone comes in, they have a well defined scope, they know exactly what they need, they know how they wanna communicate with someone. Those engagements go a billion times better. (Faith: Hmm.) And also like being transparent about that when you first speak to him, like, Hey, listen, you know, this is what I’m looking for. If you don’t think you can do that, that’s absolutely fine. You know, just let me know, but gimme your take on it. Where, where do you think you might struggle? Where do you think you can, you know, absolutely nail this? So yeah, being prepared and then having like those transparent conversations right upfront.
And I would say, you know, with the transparency, it’s being honest. If you’re not honest with what your needs are or–and that could be you don’t fully know what those things are, that still allows us to prepare whoever we’re presenting to you, or even for ourselves to go ask the right questions to the right people. So being honest about where you’re at in your process, being honest about what your need is, being honest about things like your budget, being honest about timelines, all of those things are going to help us. So even if it may not be ideal, we can still work around it if we know what we’re working with. (Faith: Right._ And that can go with anything, you know, you don’t necessarily have to have all the answers, but if you have an honest idea of where things are at, you can still get help.
Yeah. I think that onus is on the hire to know what are the outcomes that you need, right? And then the how that should happen is kind of where we step in, right? Because we have senior developers who can jump in and be like, Cool, so this is the outcome you need. You need actually a, you know, a database engineer to do this for you. When we’re hiring–our team’s pretty small, right? Our company’s 30 people. To me and Jessi, it feels huge. But to people coming from larger companies, it feels tiny. And when we hire somebody, it’s usually because we don’t have that expertise in-house. Even if it’s, you know, like a low-level job, for example, I’m looking for a backlink builder for next quarter to hire a freelancer. And backlink builders are not, they’re not paid like VPs of marketing, but it’s a skillset that like, I do not know, I don’t understand.
I’ve never done it before. So to find someone who’s actually really good, I probably need to have someone who’s done that job before, look at candidates and look at their resumes and tell me who’s bluffing, who actually looks good, who can actually do the thing I need them to do. So that’s always my advice to folks. Like, I think companies are successful on Gun.io because the candidates have been vetted by their peers, right? They haven’t been vetted by like HR or AI or, or us. They’ve been vetted by somebody who’s done that work before. And so I try to apply that in, in other roles as well. Right?
Thanks guys. I’m trying, I’m, I’m learning over here. <Laugh> On the dev side. I mean, this is really our value prop on both sides is, Hey, when you come to us, we are talent-first. We’re people-first. There’s always gonna be a human on the other end to talk to you. And obviously that translates really well with developers because when they sign up for Gun.io it’s because they’re looking for a new opportunity, and that’s a really stressful and an emotional time. So having somebody who’s kind of your personal concierge is really meaningful there. But what have you guys seen on the client side? Like what, what’s the benefit of having kind of a human touch when we’re working with hirers?
I mean, I can say that I’ve had clients that really want, they wanna make sure that we’re also protecting the developer that we’re bringing to them. (Faith: Mm-Hmm.) So even when it’s discussed, you know, when you start talking about rates and things like that, some of them really wanna dig into that, not because they wanna get into our business, but they wanna make sure that we are not undercutting. They wanna make sure that we are treating them well. And so having someone that has that same belief practice makes it easier to work with them. If someone is going to come to a call with Jessi or myself and, you know, be rude or trash, that’s just an inkling of what our developer’s going to deal with. (Faith: Hmm.) And we don’t wanna put them through that. So having clients that have that same belief of like, putting the talent first and they’re okay with how we do our business. They’re always really good people to work with. And they, they wanna make sure that they’re, we’re doing right by our developers, especially in a marketplace setting. They wanna make sure that we’re treating them well. And so having clients that walk that same path with us it it’s very, it’s very like refreshing, especially when you’re talking to a founder or talking to someone that is really high up, like still knowing that they want that human element (Faith: Mm-hmm. <Affirmative>) and they wanna see people treated fairly. It does mean a lot.
We are giving them access to people that they likely wouldn’t have access to otherwise. When we work with clients and we help them, you know, really discuss their project or their role and like, you know, help us sell this to this fantastic community, you know, our candidates trust us. So because of that, like, you have access to these people. Hmm. So I think, you know, that’s a big thing there. And that like, hey, you know, they’re, they know the Gun.io community, they know the Gun.io staff members. If we’re able to get, you know, someone, someone on our project for this, they’re gonna be like trusted people and they’re also gonna trust the people that we’re working with. So I think that says a lot.
And on our end too, like, I think because we’re talent-first, we try to make it work for the right candidate, you know? (Faith: Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>), if you have like two options and one’s like, eh, like, okay, they’d be, you know, they’d probably be good. They’re low on rate. We have this one who’s fantastic, they’d be perfect for this project. Like, we’re gonna try and make it work with that first choice.
<Affirmative>, because number one, it’s gonna be a better engagement. Like, and then, you know, hopefully that that developer is wanting just as much to work with you guys, so we’ll do what we can to make that happen.
And I think like having access to our talent to be able to send them a Slack and be like, Hey, I’ve got this job. I think you’re gonna be a good, good fit. Being able to interact with them one-on-one as well. I think it shows the talent that we’re just as much invested in the outcome for them. It’s not just about the company and the dollar, it is very much about like them themselves. So being able to have that direct communication with them, I’ve enjoyed that personally. Just being able to talk with them and have just, you know, little random conversations, even outside of searching for a job if they have a question, being able to answer that for them. So again, putting a human element for them that they have someone they can always reach out to. And same for the client. They’ve always got someone that they can contact within Gun.
Yeah. It is a little dependent on company size too. Like depending on your stage and the shape of your existing engineering team, the thing that makes people’s eyes light up about what we do here differs, right? Like on a larger team, it tends to be, you just don’t have to think about hiring anymore. Like you get to actually deploy your engineers on engineering tasks and not on parsing resumes and interviewing folks and all that. But I’ve been thinking a lot this year about startups, right? Like, especially given kind of the economic moment we’re in globally, there’s more pressure than ever on startups to get it right the first time. And particularly for non-technical founders or folks who are, you know, kind of at the early stages, it’s hard to know what’s right, what’s wrong, directionally where you should go. And I know that both of you have had experience, Jessi, over the last several years, Ashley over the last year, helping startups find success using the Gun.io hiring model. So I’d love to hear like, what has that been, like, what’s really stood out to you as a key benefit for those folks?
I mean, I think it depends like what stage you’re at, but the biggest thing is like, I’d say honestly, the majority of candidates on our platform have been at an early stage startup. You know, whether they’ve worked as a founder, if they worked, you know, as an engineering manager, if they’ve worked, you know, just in a developer role. So they’ve seen this before, they understand, you know, what challenges that companies at this growth stage face which is, you know, massive, like going into this, not blind, having someone that’s done this before. And I think, you know, what founders tend to find really valuable is someone that can give those opinions, that can say, Hey, we can do it this way, but this might suffer. Or, you know, we can do it this way, but it might cost more. It might take more time, but it’s gonna, you know, be much easier to scale eventually. (Faith: Right.) So just someone that’s done those things before that understands the challenges understands like how to go about different things, I think is like invaluable to someone that’s like just starting their first company. That’s primarily what we see. And I feel like when non-technical founders come to us, that’s who they’re looking for.
Yeah. Someone who can kind of advise and not just take orders.
Yeah. Even if it’s just like, Hey, I have an idea <laugh>, but like, help me scope this out, you know? (Faith: Mm-Hmm. <affirmative>), how, like what type of people am I gonna need on this team? Realistically how long could this take me to get to an MVP? If I work with two people, if I work with three people, if one person does it how much is this gonna cost? So yeah, I mean, I think because we have so many people that have done that before and have done it both successfully and not successfully, it’s a good community to be in.
Piggybacking off of what she just said, even Teja said it yesterday in all hands, like, he doesn’t necessarily know what he doesn’t know. (Faith: Right.) And so a lot of the people that come to us, they’ve got some of that same energy. And when they’re open and they allow us to do our jobs and allow DevRel to do their jobs, like when they allow everyone that’s part of the puzzle to do their job, they end up walking away with a great developer that is helping them build something. And you can always tell when they come back. Jessi’s got some great clients that we’ve had some discovery calls with here recently that have been really small companies that have grown just with the help of Gun’s developers, and they’re so excited to talk about Gun because they wouldn’t be where they’re at without us being able to help guide them and put the right people in place for them.
I know who you’re talking about and I am so obsessed with all those companies. <Laugh>. (Ashley: Yeah.) Okay, last, last question and then I’ll let you guys get to your Fridays and maybe get your drink ready for happy hour in an hour. Finish this sentence. You should come to Gun,io for help if you’re struggling with what?
If you’re struggling with finding reliable, experienced people who can help you grow.
And I was going to say, come to Gun.io if you’re struggling with retaining talent, <laugh>, like that was literally what I was gonna say, because retaining the talent and the people that you are hiring, if you’re struggling with that, come to us.
Or come to us if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Oh yeah. That’s a, that’s a really good one.
Know a little bit, but like, we’ll handle the rest.
Yeah. Right? Yeah.
Come to us if you’re overworked, <laugh>, like, come to us if you’re short-staffed, overworked and just don’t have the capacity to take on another project and you, but you want to.
Or you need the bandwidth. Right? Or you need, like, hiring a new dev is non-negotiable, but you have your regular job to do. Yeah. That’s good stuff. Thank you guys for writing my marketing copy for me. <Laugh>, it’s all part of my master plan.
And if you’re in HR, come to us. If you wanna look like you’re a brilliant, like engineering, scouting, sourcing, just come to us. We’ll make you look really good. I promise.
Oh man, that’s a good one. Ashley. I cannot imagine being like an HR manager and having to source for development talent because, you know dev teams are not easily pleased. Like, if you bring them somebody who is not the somebody that they would’ve hired you’re gonna hear about it. So,
Yeah, that’s a good one. I love it. Well ladies, I’m sad to see this end. This is so much fun. I’m gonna come up with another excuse to have you both back on. Very soon.
I’ll be down for it.
Thanks for listening to the Frontier podcast, powered by gun.io. We drop two episodes per week. So if you like this episode, be sure to subscribe on your platform of choice and come hang out with us again next week and bring all your internet friends. If you have questions or recommendations, just shoot us a Twitter DM at the Frontier Pod and we’ll see you next week.
You’re gonna kill me. I completely blanked out. <Laugh>
Bill, make us look smart.
<Laugh> Can you repeat the question?