In our Meet the Team series we sit down with a new team member to give you a closer look at the individuals who work around the clock to transform the very nature of tech recruitment. This week we get to know more about Dave Lemphers, our CEO. On a break from engineering, the serial entrepreneur took a few moments to explain Code Pilot to his friend and co-founder Cara McCarty.
CARA MCCARTY: So, what’s Code Pilot?
DAVE LEMPHERS: Code Pilot is a data science company, so as CEO, I spend almost all my time writing code, working on product, and thinking about our customers. We’re a candidate first platform, so I spend a lot of time thinking about engineers looking for their next awesome gig.
CARA: I like it. What do engineers typically have to deal with when looking for their “next awesome gig”?
DAVE: Finding a great job as an engineer is frustrating and painful, mainly because the first point of interaction is almost always a non-technical person who has to reduce your abilities to a lowest common denominator that they can use as a filter. They lack passion, empathy, knowledge, and care for the craft, and therefore, have perverted the hiring process for engineers. We’re going to fix that with good old data science and automation.
CARA: How have you seen technical recruitment differ in large companies vs. small start-ups?
DAVE: In small companies, you tend to cut out the recruiter and deal with engineering candidates directly, but you can only scale at a certain level. I read in a research report by Fermin Moscoso del Prado Martín that during a lexical decision task, humans can only process about 60 bits per second. Think about a CV, let’s say most CV’s are about 40k bits of information, that’s about 11 minutes to read and truly digest every CV. That’s maybe 5 per hour, and 40 per day. It’s very time consuming. At large companies, you have a phalanx of recruiters sifting through resumes, but their incentivized to close open recs, not hire outstanding engineers, so it’s a crap shoot who ends up in the engineering funnel, and at that point, engineering ends up doing the heavy lifting. Now you have your best engineers in meeting rooms doing interviews instead of coding, which doesn’t make them happy, or make business sense. That’s why we built Code Pilot.
CARA: And, how have you seen technical recruitment change over time?
DAVE: LOL, I haven’t. Job boards became better at SEO/SEM and bringing people to the watering hole, but you still end up drinking slightly yellow stuff downstream from the big companies like Google, Amazon and Facebook. Also, lots of companies have added lots of bias in, under the guise of measures like, “cultural fit”, which is just their get out jail card for “I don’t like this candidate but don’t want to get sued”. The technical hiring landscape is more of a mess than it’s ever been. We’re looking to replace recruiters with solid data science and automation.
CARA: Starting a company isn’t for the faint of heart. What are your credentials for running a company?
DAVE: My undergrad degrees are in Computer Science and Engineering, and my post-grad is in Law, so I write a lot of bugs and can argue my way around having to fix them. I’ve built and sold 3 startups, worked at Microsoft as a Principal Engineer twice, am a CTO at Techstars, and have coded on the line as a professional software engineer for 19 years.
CARA: With over 19 years of software engineering experience, why Code Pilot now?
DAVE: We’re charging fearlessly into a space dominated by well funded, well branded companies, and are picking them apart with well built product. We launched our new Portfolio product a month ago, and hit 1000 active users within 4 weeks, candidates love us, and so do hiring managers.
CARA: What are the values that drive you?
DAVE: Transparency, passion, dedication, intensity.
CARA: You’re clearly dedicated to your craft, but in your free time, what do you enjoy doing?
DAVE: Hanging with my two daughters, who are my best friends. I’ve reared them on cafes, bikes, and yummy food, so we spend most of our time indulging in those things, in that order.
CARA: What books would you recommend to someone reading this?
DAVE: The U.S. Army U.S. Marine Corps Counterinsurgency Field Manual by David H. Petraeus, Artificial Intelligence: A Modern Approach by Peter Norvig, & Meditations by Marcus Aurelius.
CARA: Let’s wrap up. You can invite three famous people, living or passed, to dinner. Who do you invite?
DAVE: Grace Hopper. There was a picture of her in the hallway at University, I became infatuated with her, she was an engineer’s engineer, and a true disciple of the craft, and a complete badass.
Hayao Miyazaki. I love this quote from him about his movies, “Many of my movies have strong female leads- brave, self-sufficient girls that don’t think twice about fighting for what they believe with all their heart. They’ll need a friend, or a supporter, but never a savior. Any woman is just as capable of being a hero as any man.” I have two daughters who are my world, and I work in an industry that hugely depresses fairness and equality for women, even though most of the heros of Computer Science were women.
Vincent Lingiari. He fought for 8 long bitter years for Aboriginal rights in Australia, eventually leading to the then Prime Minister visiting him, and pouring a handful of soil through Vincent’s hands, signifying victory. I find that kind of conviction incredibly powerful and defining.
Coffee: Flat White at Medici.
T-Shirt: by Code Pilot.
Beard: by Dave.