Darrian Mikell is the Co-Founder and CEO of Qualifi, a SaaS platform that powers the fastest phone interview experience in the world and helps recruiting teams hire great candidates faster than ever before.
He graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree in Entrepreneurship and Finance. Darrian was a 2-sport athlete in both Basketball and Track & Field and was a national champion in the Long Jump. He is based in the Indianapolis area and is a dedicated husband and father of 3.
Join Kyle as he discusses automating the hiring process, saving time, and juggling a career with kids and family.
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Our big thing right now is we lead with speed and efficiency as kind of our calling card. But there's so many different angles that we can take. You mentioned, like the compliance side of it. That's not a card that we play too often, but it's very relevant to what we do just making sure that there's consistency throughout the process.Kyle Roed:
This is the rebel HR podcast, the podcast where we talk to human resources, innovators, about innovation in the world of HR. If you are a people leader, or you're looking for a new way to think about how to help others be successful. This is the podcast for you. Rebel on HR rebels. All right, revel HR listeners, I'm extremely excited for the conversation. Today we got an awesome guest. Darian. Michael, he is the CEO and co founder at qualify. It's a sass platform that powers the fastest phone interview experience in the world, and helps recruiting teams hire great candidates faster than ever before graduated from Indiana Wesleyan University with a bachelor's degree in entrepreneurship and finance. He was a two sport athlete in both basketball and track and field and was a national champ in the long job. He is based in the area and as a dedicated husband and father of three. Welcome to the show, DarienDarrian Mikell:
Hey, thank you for having me. Appreciate the appreciate the intro there.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. Well, I'm always excited to talk to innovators, entrepreneurs, you know, people helping solve problems in the world of HR. That's really what we're all about. And so why don't we start off by talking just a little bit about your background? And what led you to look at solving recruiting problems?Darrian Mikell:
Yeah, absolutely. So I consider myself a obviously starting this company and entrepreneur, first and foremost, my style of entrepreneurship is looking at problems that I've experienced myself. So that's, that's how qualifi came to be was prior to this I was at another startup company called viral launch is in the e commerce space, we helped Amazon sellers launch and grow their businesses and provided a variety of tools to them. But my responsibility there was as a one man ops team for most of my time there. So lots of people wear multiple hats in a startup company, and, and I work quite a few, and they're mostly in the back office area. So as you mentioned, my backgrounds in finance, as well. So I kind of assumed that role. And then as we started to grow, just took on the different, you know, logistical things like the general admin and legal stuff. And then also, as we started to hire people, the HR and recruiting responsibilities fall on my plate as well. And so that's how I got into this world of HR. And it's been, I tend to find that like, most HR people, kind of have similar, not necessary, similar stories, but they stumble into it, you know? Yeah, that's a, that's the same for me. So I stumbled into a and just by having those different responsibilities, juggling a lot of different things, I recognized a few areas where I needed some more efficiency, and one of those was the phone interview. And that's what we've set out to solve in this first phase of qualify.Kyle Roed:
Yeah, that's fascinating. So yeah, and I feel you with the state mean, I like to tell people, you know, HR found me. Yeah, you know, it's like, I wasn't really looking for it. Now, I should step back and say, I know a number of professionals now like HR has become it's kind of come into its own right. Like, it's actually like a college major now. Yeah, actually do that. When I was going to school you didn't, that wasn't a choice, right? It was, you know, and I got the job because I was an ops and they, they were like, Hey, we need someone to do this. Here's HR. Now go hire 90 people for the holiday season.Darrian Mikell:
Yeah, exactly. Yeah, imagine me like coming in. Like, when I started to take that on, it was maybe two or three years out of college. And prior to that, I probably can admit that I didn't really know what HR was, you know, soKyle Roed:
there's no shame in that. The best part is the friends you know, the friends I grew up with, when I tell them I'm in human resources, and they just laugh, they're like, why are you? But you know, it's, it's, we work through that.Darrian Mikell:
Yeah, exactly. You're, you're the one that'sKyle Roed:
alright, so want to dig into this a little bit, just just to understand kind of what qualify does now work. So you know, phone screens. It's one of those areas where, you know, I was very fortunate, the company that I started with was one of the largest retailers in the United States. They had a really, really structured, you know, program and protocol for interviewing, like, I got really fortunate that I had really good training to start with, but still when you get on that phone interview, it's kind of like, Okay, what am I doing again? What questions do I should I ask and what if they give me this, you know, weird response and it's just it's it is one of those situations where you kind of learn as you go, and every conversation is so drastically different. And so, you know, I'm fascinated to understand how your system works because just with the nature of phones, on screens being how they are, I don't know how you systemize that and make that more efficient. So what is your approach to kind of solving the phone interview problem?Darrian Mikell:
Yeah, no, absolutely. And I guess to what you were saying before, like, not a lot of people do get the training, so it's good that you at least had like, some foundation that you you know, started with. But no, to answer your question, I'm gonna probably make it sound more complicated than what it actually is. Our system is a automated phone interview platform. A lot of people may be, especially with your audience may be familiar with video interviewing, we have a similar approach where we make the transaction of the interview happened over an actual phone call instead of a web based system. So recruiters are able to go into our system and pre record their own voice asking their set of questions. Usually, you find I found that most recruiters have a scripted list of questions that they ask given each role. So they're able to go in and record those questions, again, with their own voice, so creates these personal yet standardized interviews that they can then scale up their efforts from. So we typically work with higher volume recruiters. So people doing this hundreds of times a week for months, interviewing hundreds or 1000s of candidates a month. And so we're able to help them remove this big bottleneck by allowing them to set up these interviews. And then they can invite candidates at scale. So the invites happen as a text or an email to the candidate, the candidate will receive an invitation saying, Hey, we received your application for this company in this role, we'd love to learn more about you, we also want this to be a convenient experience for you. So we pre record these questions. So click this link to get started. And that takes them to an instructional page where they can read through the how to navigate through the interview, which is basically if they can navigate a voicemail, then they can navigate a qualify interviews pretty similar and just as easy. But ultimately, when they're ready, their numbers either programmed in already, or they can type their phone number into those instructions, and then hit start confirm our system then dials their phone directly, then pick up and answer those questions over a phone call. So they can do it over a cell phone or a landline. It doesn't matter. We give that access to them. And they can respond at their convenience. 11 o'clock at night 3am in the morning, whenever it's convenient for their schedule. We allow for that. And it makes it an instantaneous experience for you know, both sides. So hopefully that that clarified, you know how it all works. Happy to dig in, you know, a little bit. Yeah,Kyle Roed:
that's so that's it. So, you know, gosh, I wish I would have known about this. About 15 years ago, when I was going through, you know, the Gosh, what I call like the groundhog day, where it's like, you've got this set this this list of questions, you ask everybody. And and in this corporation and that Corporation, you got to ask every single question, you know, because they were afraid of, you know, a lawsuit because you were, you know, treating one candidate favorably versus another and you had to you had to take all these notes. And yeah, so Jesus would have been nice to hit the easy button. You know, but yeah,Darrian Mikell:
that's that's how I felt when I was. Like I said, I was a rookie, I was a rookie doing this, I think I got lucky, in the sense of stumbling into the stock process, because I did have a scripted list of questions. I googled those questions at first, and I was like, what should I What should I be asking candidates, and then I found like, something I felt really good with that covered things, I need to know what the screening level. And so I was just like, Alright, these are the seven questions, I'm going to ask every candidate and then as I was doing this, you know, with the coordination, the scheduling that goes into it, and then me just saying the same things over and over again. I was like, there's gotta be a better way. You know, and I didn't really see anything out there. So that's, that's kind of the aha moment to jump into this and get started with it.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. You know, it's, it's a really interesting approach. It's one of those things that, you know, I work for a smaller company now. It's one of those challenges that we're definitely trying to solve is okay, how do I, you know, how do I get good candidates? How do I make sure I give every candidate for shake? Right. And, and I think one of the challenges is with some of the, you know, there's all these like, screening questions you can ask, right? So it's like, how many years of experience do you have, you know, if it's less than five, okay, the candidate gets out, or, you know, where does the candidate live, you know, or what's the location preference or whatever. And then there's all these these knockout questions. But, you know, I intentionally, I tried that a number of years ago, and what I was finding is I was I was missing all these wonderful candidates, because it was like on a technicality, right? Yeah. It's like, you know, if I had a location screening question, and the question was something along the lines of Do you want to, you know, work within a 20 mile radius and there's like 21 right there like 21. Exactly right. It's like so it's like, oh, the geo fence was one mile out. So I just lost like the perfect candidate. Yeah, so I got rid of a lot of them. But then the next problem was okay, now I got all these candidates, and there are some candidates that are unqualified, yeah, that I don't want a hiring manager to be speaking with. But there's a number of candidates that could be qualified. And the only solution that we've been able to do is have somebody physically do that work. So as you're thinking through the system, and as you're thinking, as you're shifting from conducting the interview into actually screening the responses, how does the How does your tool approach that process?Darrian Mikell:
Yeah, the experience. So like, I explained, like how the candidates basically interact with with our platform and take their interview, what happens on the other side is, as soon as they're done with the interview, we have recorded that the audio of that response, we also automatically transcribe those responses as well and make it available to the recruiting team to listen to. And so our big thing right now is we lead with speed and efficiency as kind of our calling card. But there's so many different angles that we can take, you mentioned, like the compliance side of it, that's not a card that we play too often. But it's very relevant to what we do, just making sure that there's consistency throughout the process. And I can go on and on about the different different features, and I hate yourself. But the the recruiter side, then is they'll be able to review those candidates similar to listening to a podcast or listening to music they can want they don't have to listen to themselves toxic talk anymore. The way it's structured is we chop it up question by question. So they can jump forward to any specific point in the interview that they want. So an example there is maybe start date availability or whatever their compensation expectations, if you ask those sorts of questions, then you can, if you're really strict on those responses, if like if you really need them to be within a 20 mile radius, and that's the question you're asking, you can jump straight to that question and listen to that, first, you can also skim through the responses with the transcriptions, you can play in multi speeds as well, if you're, you know, power listener and want to, you know, double up, you know, what you're able to listen to. And then ultimately, right now, the rating systems is quick thumbs up or thumbs down. In terms of passing, or, you know, moving a candidate on to the next steps, we also make it really easy for you to share with hiring managers, the primary users or recruiters, they can also easily for, like, easily email or for a link or download the transcriptions and share those. So it kind of replaces or supplements, the notes that they might take on that candidate. And it allows the hiring team to be more collaborative on how they make decisions, you know, oftentimes, it's recruiters summarizing that call and then passing those notes along. And sometimes that can be hard for a hiring manager to make a decision on and then they might have to do a phone screen after. So this kind of synthesizes, you know, condenses some steps, potentially, it makes it easy for people to collaborate. Got it?Kyle Roed:
That's cool. Yeah, it's, you know, it's really interesting approach. And I just think about, you know, one of the biggest challenges in recruiting is, it's just so time sucking. I mean, it just, it just takes so much idea. And it's, you know, we had it was in a conversation, and we were talking about, you know, I think we're gonna have to hire, you know, 30 people in the next 12 months. And all my brain can think through is, okay, 30 times, how many interviews, you know, and I think the other thing that's really challenging is the fact that I'm sure you've got the statistics that you could pull out there, but everything you look at is it's all about speed. Right? You know, and especially now with the labor market, where it's at, you know, you can't, you can't wait a week to respond to a candidate, you can't wait two days, because they might already be halfway through, you know, an interview process with another company that had a great, you know, just got lucky and saw the application came in and call them right away, or Yeah, or had a, you know, some sort of a solution to just make a connection right away like a texts, you know, whatever. And so, you know, what's what's really interesting to me about this is it's the, the on demand aspect. So are you seeing your customers and your clients kind of see a value there as it relates to the speed of hire?Darrian Mikell:
Oh, yeah, yeah, that's like, that's why we lead with that, because we believe in both obviously speed for efficiency sake, but also the quality. The way I break it down to most people is if you think just logically, if you really want a candidate, especially if you're in a competitive market, it's likely that someone else is going to want that same candidate. And so you are going to set yourself up in the best position to get your best people by being faster than everyone else. So yeah, I was selling that Same story pre pandemic, you know, when the unemployment was kind of flipped, it's about, it's about speed, you know, especially with shortages of candidates, you want to be able to move faster. Unfortunately, you still have processes that you have to go through in order to feel comfortable with making your best hiring decisions. So that's where it's like kind of the, the chicken and egg, like, what should we do, you know, in the phone interview is a common step in that process that people get on the surface, it doesn't seem like it's that big of a deal. It's usually a short interaction. It's like, hey, let's jump on the phone real quick and learn more about each other. But what people don't realize is that when you're doing that with, you know, a bunch of candidates at once, there's a lot of communication that goes into that coordination, scheduling, looking multiple days out, you know, we've heard over and over, you know, by the time, that scheduled date for the interview that we were supposed to have that candidates already taken a job or they're out of the market, or they no show and you have to go through that process again. And so yeah, the on demand piece makes it a lot faster. And what we tend to find is that, making it convenient for the candidates allows them to take it or you know, complete it much faster. So we usually see same day responses through the platform, which has been really, really exciting, you know, on this side of it, to see how people interact and how fast things come back through the platform.Kyle Roed:
That's really interesting. Yeah, and I'm just reflecting back in my, some of my recruiting successes, and a few of them, you know, quite frankly, I'm gonna bust myself out here, but like, this is not my current employer. But it wasn't one of my past companies. I mean, a couple of my best hires were just pure luck that I just happened to be on the recruiting platform. Like within five minutes of them applying and I just happened to have like a free 10 minutes to call them and just do like an impromptu, like phone conversation. And they, but they told me after the fact they're like, you know, you guys were just the first offer I got and I got a bunch of calls after you guys hired me and but I had already taken this job and yeah, and the companies they were telling me were like, big names. That's super big names, like, like the like, Oh, we would have lost out on this candidate so hard. Like, there's no way we would have landed this guy, you know, but but part of that, like, yeah, that competitive edge and recruiting like it is, it is a little bit cutthroat. If you're not, like if you don't have that speed, or you don't have some sort of an edge. Yeah, then it does come down to luck. Right. So you know, make a little bit of luck. Smart about your processes, right? Yeah,Darrian Mikell:
exactly. I think there's a lot that goes into hiring people, obviously, you know, the offer matters, like just as a, you know, like one instance but I don't think you're doing yourself justice. If you're, if you have a long drawn out process, some people might just leave just because this is frustrating, like, oh, especially with the way things are today and in e commerce and and what have you, like, people just expect clean, fast, enjoyable experiences. And that's not often what you get in a hiring process. And soKyle Roed:
yeah, absolutely. Absolutely. I remember Oh, you know, it's funny, because I've kind of seen it both ways where, you know, I started my career a little bit before the Great Recession. And, you know, the great recession. Yeah, we were still hiring a lot. But it wasn't, it wasn't like this, you know, there there were plenty of job seekers, you know, I would say at least it was, it was kind of evenly balanced. Yeah. Job seekers and employers all kind of were on the same footing. Now, it's like, I mean, I tell people, it's, if you think about it in the analogy of like, real estate, it's like, you know, when the real estate markets hot, and there's no houses on the market, you can't find the house you want, you can't Yeah, you really can't. And if you do, you're gonna pay for it. I think it's basically the same thing in the in the hiring market right now, you know, if your employer and you and you need a specific skill set, and a person that has those skills, it's gonna be really hard to find it. And if you do, you're gonna pay for it. So it's kind of you know, and, you know, just like, just like in real estate, if you don't, if you don't get on that list and get that house listing, like, like pre listing, like the day before, like right now is a great example. Like, you can't buy that house. If you wait two days. There's out you're competing against five offers, right? And people are buying houses without even walking in. Right? That's crazy. But that's what it is in recruiting right now. So you know, get on the pre list. Yeah. You know, get the candidate wholesale. Yeah, exactly. And now a word from our sponsors. When Molly Patrick and I tried to figure out how to start on podcast, we didn't know where to start. Thankfully, we found buzzsprout buzzsprout makes it super easy for us to upload our episodes, track our listeners, and get listed on all the major podcast networks. Today's a great day to start your own podcast. I know that you're one of our listeners. So you've definitely got something to say. Whether you're looking for a new marketing channel, have a message you want to share with the world or just think it would be fun to have your own talk show. podcasting is an easy, inexpensive and fun way to expand your reach online. buzzsprout is hands down the easiest and best way to launch promote and track your podcast. Your show can be online and listed in all the major podcast directories within minutes of finishing your recording. podcasting isn't that hard when you have the right partner, the team at buzzsprout is passionate about helping you succeed. Join over 100,000 podcasters already using buzzsprout to get their message out to the world. And now for listeners of revel HR. You can get a $20 amazon gift card sent to you from buzzsprout by clicking in the link in the show notes. Thanks for listening. Are you looking to grow your personal brand or your business brand? Take it from me that podcasts are a great way to do it. Here's the secret. We all want to feel connected to the brands that we buy from what better way to humanize a brand than through sharing your personal story on a podcast. I have had great success with kit caster kit caster is a podcast booking agency that specializes in developing real human connections through podcast appearances. And let me tell you, it's all about the right human connection, you can expect a completely customized concierge service from their staff of communication experts. kit caster is your secret weapon in podcasting for business, your audience is waiting to hear from you. For a limited time offer listeners to the rebel HR podcast can go to www dot Kitt caster comm backslash rebel to get a special offer for friends of the podcast Rebel onDarrian Mikell:
I think people are oftentimes like afraid of automation in certain contexts, especially when when you're talking about like, this is a very human experience and human interaction that you are that you're facilitating. And so people are often you know, especially in context of what we do often, sometimes, like leery of of that. But one, I think the pandemic has shown that people are getting more and more used to virtual and virtual experiences overall. And again, like think about the pros and cons, like what you're sacrificing by not like, if you're not going to do things that are like automating a process and still creating a seamless experience. your competitors are, you know, so like, they're actively working to set themselves up for better success by being faster, and ultimately, you know, landing those better candidates.Kyle Roed:
Yeah, so that's interesting. And I wanted to explore that a little bit. Because there's, I mean, there's so much kind of noise and, you know, I would say kind of fears of like AI and, you know, the, like taking the human out of the process, and you know, all that kind of stuff. And so do you use like, is it AI? Technically, I mean, how does that yeah.Darrian Mikell:
So So right now, actually, you know, we are, and we actually get really good feedback on the pure utilitarian nature of what we do, we're creating an experience that allows convenience for candidates, and then the recruiters can do their job, well, their job isn't necessarily to coordinate and schedule everything, their job is to, you know, evaluate and make better hiring decisions. And then they have other projects that they're trying to get to that screening and the things that go into screening and kind of bog them down in terms of their schedule. So we just make that piece easy. We are excited about the potential of what AI can bring to the table. For right now we're just making that experience faster and more convenient. And so yeah, I mean, we share similar fears around the negative aspects of AI, especially in the context of recruiting for us, like we are, you know, internally, as a company as we want to grow and build our ranks. We want to do so with with thoughtfulness, we care about diversity, and we want to live that out and how we create the product as well. So yeah, there's there is there's a lot of evidence of how the existing you know, capabilities of AI reinforce or create bias, you know, as opposed to solving for it. So I think that they're like we want to approach that that area, you know, with you know, thoughtfulness?Kyle Roed:
Absolutely, I mentioned this earlier, you know, the whole like screening questions and like, you know, these knockout questions as you can do in an applicant system, you know, one of my biggest fears not dissimilar to the AI fears the the impact on diversity, equity and inclusion, you know, if you're requiring everybody to get a four year degree, but you really don't need a degree you just would like to have one and that's a knockout question. You know, it's you just, you just adversity they like it or not, and this is gonna make all the compliance people wrestle but you just adversely impacted an entire group of people, right? There's 100%, there's a word for The EEOC doesn't like it. You know, so like, when you're when you're setting up these questions, you got to be careful. And then but what I think is really interesting. And, you know, full disclosure, I didn't really know anything about qualify before we hit record here. So I'm learning along with all you listeners, my biggest question or concern was, you know, how is this automated phone screening process? screening work? Like, does it cause that, but what I'm hearing is, it's still a human, it's still human experience, you're still actually screening the individual.Darrian Mikell:
Yeah. And like we what we have from day one said was one, we want to make this really frictionless. So we don't want the candidate to have to jump through a ton of hoops to participate. We also don't have a robotic voice, it is the recruiters voice. And usually that is the next person that that candidate gets to interact with. And so it's still creating this cohesiveness and through the design and how we lay out the product, we want it to be really engaging. And like I said, easy to use. But yeah, like, keeping the human at the center, we like we want the candidate to showcase their voice, like it's an opportunity for them to, you know, express themselves how they want to, and we tried to coach our recruiters during the onboarding process to take the questions that they typically asked, but make it engaging weave their, you know, the narrative of their company and the job into those questions. It is different than a live interview, but they're still able to maintain a lot of those elements of, you know, human interaction. And our goal isn't to remove the human out of the equation, it's to get the recruiter to be able to spend the most time with the most qualified people and still have those, again, like it's typically a live interview after, you know, the step in the process that we occupy. It's helping them to get there faster, so they can spend that time with them. Yeah. Most appropriately.Kyle Roed:
Yeah, it's really, it's really an interesting idea. And I like that approach. And yeah, it's fascinating. So but it would, you know, it would be cool to have an interview with a robot, right? Like, you know, like,Darrian Mikell:
no, there's there's definitely some cool, like, cool things out there on the horizon. I think it would be awesome to have like, even more, like some different dynamic experiences within that call. And yeah, like, one of the funny things like, I don't think this feels to me, like secret sauce things, but having like, voices that everyone recognizes, you know, in the platform, you know, like celebrities and things of that nature. They could be be cool, but yeah, not the priority, right?Kyle Roed:
Yeah. Yeah, my Google, I think, yeah, it's a Google Home. That's what our house is. And at one point, we could have had john legend to be the voice of really, the mood. Yeah, yeah. I don't know. We tried it. And it was it was a little bit too on the No, it was just a little bit weird. So now, it's like some Australian voice, which is fine. You know, it's very, you know, lively, like, yeah, it's fun, I and then I get to practice my Australian accent, which could do some work. We've really been diving into the tool, and I appreciate you going into it, you know, certainly spent a lot of time in my career recruiting, and many of us listening to this do get to spend a lot of time on phones with candidates. And it is one of those critical, it's like one of those critical areas where HR can add value, right, bringing in the right people, is one of the most important things we do, period. Yeah. But I want to peel back a little bit more and talk a little bit about your company, you know, as a CEO, as a, as an entrepreneur, as a founder, you know, you've got a really interesting perspective that I think will be helpful for our listeners to, to hear. So what is it like to start a company while also balancing, you know, the demands of building a growing family and and yeah, being DarienDarrian Mikell:
is not easy. The beginnings of qualify specifically, were some of the most challenging if you if you go back a couple steps. So the company I mentioned that I was at prior to qualify was viral launch. And if this gives you any lighting, to me, my personality, even mentality around everything. When I joined viral launch, the CEO was a friend of mine, there was a revenue coming in. So there was like, at least some element of security there, but it's very much a startup. My wife was seven months pregnant with our first child was coming from a large corporate organization, to the startup with some early revenue. And I was like, Yeah, let's do it. And so I left left there. I think I had my second kid while I was there, as well. And there's just yeah, I told you I was wearing multiple hats. And you know, trying to juggle startup life and family life. I now have a third child that I had since starting qualify. And so the beginnings of qualify were really challenging because I was trying to basis bootstrap it myself, I actually got have the privilege of, you know, working alongside my brother. So that's a pretty cool aspect of, of qualifies that we have actually a couple siblings in the mix. So me and my brother are the original co founders. And we got to start this together. But in the early days, there was no funding, we had no customers, we had this idea that was not very proven in the market. So we were trying to get people to believe us on all sides. So money was really hard to come by in the early the earliest days, but we had to get early believers on both the customer side. And that led to us being able to get some investors to believe in us to like, flawless checks here and there to you know, stretch us along. So basically living check to check as a company, and then also as a person is not is not a good recipe for zoominfo mindset. So I'd say like that was one of the more the more challenging areas of growth in the company. So we started in 2019 or early 2019. What's your pandemic? So yeah, we could dig it in any any of those areas. But that kind of gives a lens into at least the beginnings and yeah, my kids are five, three and one. And so there's never a dull moment in in our house. And we also are we're fostering a 13 year old right now. So there's a there's there's a lot of there's a lot going on, just to say that all at once. I think Time management is probably one of the most challenging areas, one of the areas that I continuously evaluate and it's qualifying you in the in the first place. But yeah, I would be happy to take I can go on and on and different areas about it happy to drill in. YouKyle Roed:
know, I think first of all, kudos for taking on the, you know, the stress of a foster. That's just, you know, good for you for, for being a support for a child that needs it, but, but you certainly don't seem to shy away from stress.Darrian Mikell:
Yeah, it's interesting, though, like, my nature is, I mean, how do I say this? I generally don't get stressed out too much. I've learned that that's not true. I used to think I was kind of Superman in that regard. Like, yeah, nothing really fazes me, thanks to faze me, like, especially like I said, those those early times of qualify, there was a lot that like, brought me a decent amount of anxiety and stress and just worry. But my mentality is kind of just like this is the reality is not necessarily worth dwelling on. Like, let's just figure out the next leg, what are the next steps to take. So I don't really try to get bogged to be too bogged down by worrying about what might happen. I just tried to like, right, here's the situation, what do we do next? And how do we, if it is a negative situation, how do we work ourselves out of it? You know, what are the actions that we need to take from here? And so that's my, my general approach to Yeah, to everything. Yeah.Kyle Roed:
Yeah, absolutely. I think, you know, what a great, what a great mindset. And so, you know, my next question, as you're, as you're building your company, as you're growing, your team growing your business, how are you instilling that mentality, and that focus into the kind of the culture of your team at qualify? Yeah,Darrian Mikell:
I think a lot of the culture that we're building stems from, you know, past experiences in terms of like, what we've enjoyed in, you know, previous work situations, and what we want to foster even more, what we want to avoid. Culture is really just a kind of aesthetic, you know, set of commonly accepted rules that you as a group agree on. And so we're, we're continuously forming that we were a team of eight right now. And so, culture really before that was just like, hey, like me, and the founders, you know, me and my brother share a lot of similarities at personality wise, and just beliefs, you know, our belief system, just from how we grew up. And so, I think there's different ways that that's been influenced. And I think it's still yet to grow. You know, as we continue to bring on more people, we want to be really conscious of how that's being shaped. So we have some, you know, basic, you know, guiding mission, you know, guiding mission and kind of guiding values, but we also want to actively kind of create what that system of beliefs is in terms of rules and like how we operate beyond just like, here's, like, the themes around us, you know, soKyle Roed:
sure, so yeah. Nice, nice. And so the other the other question so that I find interesting. I think it's a two part question. So, you know, in the middle of, you know, kind of the world going through the pandemic and people realizing Oh, we need to do something, something different? I got to believe you were, you know, just started this startup thinking, Oh, what does the future hold? You know, how did you? How did you work through that? And then I think the second part of the question is, my assumption is you probably got busier than you thought you would, because people realized, Oh, this is the new normal, this is the new world we live in. So we better figure out ways to be faster and adapt to the virtual world.Darrian Mikell:
Yeah, there's, there's a few things that happened as a result of the pandemic, and social issues that were going on during the pandemic. And I think some of those things are still like playing out. So one, as I mentioned, like, we were still in that getting people to believe in the concept phase, you know, early on. And so there in terms of the impact to our business, it was, it was probably a net neutral, like nothing happened for the better or worse, like, right, you know, during the peak of the pandemic, because we are, our name wasn't out there, as much people weren't familiar with the concept of what we bring to the table. But as things started to, like, people start to get at least a better understanding of what was going on what their needs were budgets started to be, like, less locked down. That's when we started to really build up our business the way like the way that we are now because hiring started happening and people had a little bit more lay of the land. So yeah, like and I think the positives that came from it for at least in terms of our business, at least, is that people like I said, Our are getting more and more used to these virtual experience his phone screens were already contactless in nature, but still like this virtual, what are this, this different approach to it? It made I think it made candidates a little bit more used to that sort of experiences and open open to those experiences. And then another thing that we bring to the table is just our ability to help with the structure, the consistency, which can lead to, you know, a better way to approach objective hiring decision. So mitigating bias to a degree. So we removed that visual layer, allow people to compare Canada's you know, apples to apples, and as people, at least vocally express that they wanted to do different things to have better diversity within the ranks. I think that that is something like I said, it's still emerging as how we can do that, and how companies are actually proactively going about, you know, facilitating that, but that's, that's something that I see is, you know, a positive that kind of came fromKyle Roed:
that time period. Yeah, absolutely. I think there's, there's still so much work, you know, to do in that and it just there's, you know, I mean, humans have these, these inherent biases and you know, as as focused as we are on it, you know, every recruiter has to continually ask themselves, you know, am I doing Am I am i doing something here? that that could be unintentionally impacting, you know, somebody because of how I feel about you know, a certain group I mean, like, you know, it's just our brains work right so it's likeDarrian Mikell:
any small nuances to like we were just yesterday hopefully I'm not I don't expose anybody by saying this. Like we were interviewing for folks that are our team and like one thing I told myself and I told you know, the other folks that were in the interview room like I said, I'm trying to proactively ignore the fact that her like this person's energy level was not you know what, I would hope it would be an interview like the person answered the questions like really great, but they also like maybe seem nervous or like we were trying to like maybe evaluate like they're nervous or shy or are they always like, like that sort of stuff, but one ultimately, you have to evaluate is that a key part of their job? You know, and if not, then should How should that affect our decision? Yeah, like they answered all the questions a certain way and like we really enjoyed those questions the way they answer those questions but it's like small stuff like that though. You know, we're you know, you could have a bias towards people with high energy and that doesn't necessarily make them a better candidate for the role. So we have to we are going to check a lot of those things and really understand like, Alright, what are what are we hiring for? What are the responsibilities of this role? Let's make sure we like are on the same page about what these questions are and how we're going to evaluate them up to best approach 100%Kyle Roed:
one of the best hires ever made came walking into the interview you know like blue hair long hair was a male well with long hair unshaven you know ripped jeans and terrible interview I mean, by all by all by all accounts, the standards like hardly answer the questions, you know, I mean, the questions were answered sufficiently but certainly not in a way that was like wow this is our next you know this is this is our next All Star but you know it was one of those situations where it's like oh you know it was good enough yeah sorry this person and within like three months you know they were like they were like leading the cell that they were in like telling you know telling people how to do it they picked up on I mean they learned like a sponge you know, and it was like yeah, and but it was exactly what you just described and it was one of those situations where you know, and I think a lot of us in HR can can relate to this like, we like people who are like us that's natural, that's a human condition. And you know, typically people in HR we like to converse and we're pretty natural conversationalist and we generally like people hopefully Yeah, but but that person and that Job did not require that in any way shape or form you know that that job allowed whoever you know, it didn't matter how good of a conversationalist you were, as long as you could interpret what the job needed done. Get it done and align people to get it done with you. Like you were golden right? Yeah, and but great example where it's like those you know, those initial byesies they can pop in you know, you got to kind of actively pop that bubble. So kudos for you forDarrian Mikell:
me, then check in. Like for me, like I joke with my buddy of mine, because we work together my first job at school. He actually helped give me the job. I'm like, we laugh about how, how I got hired because when my manager interviewed me, I was a terrible interviewer and interviewee I answered all the questions just like straight down in the middle, like, are you a detail oriented person or, you know, a big picture thinker? I'm like, you know, a little bit of both. Like, like, like, exactly what you're not supposed to do. Yeah, I was honest, I really feel that way. But a terrible interviewee ButKyle Roed:
well, you know, I like to say, I mean, you know, do you know what a good interview means? And, you know, the responses that means they're a good interviewer doesn't necessarily mean that they're gonna be the best fit or employee, you got to, you got to, you got to work through that. Right. And I think any, any recruiter would agree with that, that, yeah, we've we've all been fooled. Before so well, this is this has just been an awesome conversation. I appreciate you digging in and given us a little bit of insight into the the world of qualify, so we're gonna shift gears, and we're gonna go into the rebel, HR flash round. So you ready? Oh, yeah, let's do it. All right. Okay. First question. What is your favorite people book?Darrian Mikell:
Yeah, I think I think this falls into the people book category. It's a book by Simon Sinek, called leaders eat last. It's actually been a few years since I read it. But I think one of the key things that stuck with me from that book was the need for a feeling of safety, humans, desire, a feeling of, of safety. So if you think about it, in the context of leadership, being able to provide the people that you work with, and that work under you, that feeling of security, and safety allows for them to build that trust and commitment towards you the vision that you have the vision of that company, and be willing to kind of go the extra mile, assuming that they don't feel like things are in jeopardy, you know, for them personally. So, yeah, that's a big takeaway from that book.Kyle Roed:
100%. And then, yeah, he's got some great, great content out there. And certainly, well, if you haven't heard of Simon Sinek listen to this podcast, I'd be really surprised. But if you if you haven't, you know, Google it and check it out. All right, next question here, Who should we be listening to?Darrian Mikell:
Who was good one? You me know, I will throw this one out this this counts. But I would say your customers, whoever they are. So for me, I talked to, you know, recruiters, you know, my team talks to recruiters nearly daily, daily, hopefully daily, in understanding what their pain points what those needs are, for. A lot of the listeners I have to assume like your customers are the people that you work with or alongside of every day. The other piece would be data. So I think data can sometimes be misleading. But also data can help inform new ways of thinking new ways of doing things, new approaches, like what qualifi has, has to offer in terms of like I was saying before, some people are leery of you know, you know, virtual experiences, for instance, are automated experiences. But data can suggest otherwise. So listen to your customers listen to data to help kind of guide your your transitions and how you think your decisions and how you thinkKyle Roed:
about things. No, I love that. I think that's the first time anybody's answered data to that question. But that No, I mean,Darrian Mikell:
I don't listen to a ton of maybe podcasts. Maybe I just cheated that it'sKyle Roed:
a little that's all good. It's all good. No, it's an intentionally vague question. I mean, I am in human resources. So I love the gray right? So that's, that's the point so perfect. All right, last question. How can our listeners connect with you?Darrian Mikell:
Yeah, you can visit our website is qualifi spelled with an AI instead of a Y, you can find email@example.com You can also find me on LinkedIn. Darien Michael and my k e LL. I should be really easy to find there and a quick search. But would love to love to connect with you there.Kyle Roed:
Absolutely. And we'll have all that information in the show notes. So check it out. Really appreciate the approach here dairy and I think you know, definitely a problem that that we've all faced in the in the world of recruiting and appreciate you helping us make our lives a little bit easier. So thanks for the time today.Darrian Mikell:
Yeah, thank you so much for having me.Kyle Roed:
All right. Take care. Take care of those kids. All right. That does it for the rebel HR podcast. big thank you to our guests. Follow us on Facebook at rebel HR podcast, Twitter, at rebel HR guy, or see our website at rebel human resources.com. The views and opinions expressed by rebel HR podcast Are those the authors and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of any of the organizations that we represent. No animals were harmed during the filming of this podcast. Maybe