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 Caleb Jones, our CFO. On a break from speaking to investors, the operator sat down with his friend and Code Pilot co-founder Dave Lemphers.
DAVE LEMPHERS: So, what do you do here?
CALEB JONES: I feel like this is that scene in Office Space with the Bobs.
DAVE: Why yes, did you get to the TPS reports?
CALEB: Ha ha, no not yet. My job is essentially to make sure your hands are on the keys as much as possible.
CALEB: My core responsibilities are operations, capital development and management, investor relations, managing suppliers, and making coffee in our office. The last one is self-proclaimed because I am the only one that will drink the office pot brewed variety.
DAVE: Correct, I will not drink your gutter brew. Tell our readers about your background.
CALEB: I have been fortunate in my career to work and advise at several startups and investment firms focused on early-stage companies around the world. I have been blessed to work and learn from top-flight CEO’s and management teams which have consequently provided me the opportunity to contribute to over $100mm in transactions and have raised capital from HNWIs, large multinational investment banks, and foundations.
DAVE: What is it that you experienced that makes you excited about Code Pilot?
CALEB: Scaling your software engineering team is vital for success and is a common struggle along the entire growth journey for a company. In the beginning, many founders are non-technical and it is extremely difficult for them to assess a skill set they don’t have. The company may also be scaling rapidly and need to bring on engineers in a hurry, but can’t afford to take their talent off the line to sit in interview rooms for a few days a week with a whiteboard. I have seen this at companies I have worked at and worked with and it is a critical issue to maintaining momentum, product velocity, and growth.
DAVE: What are some solutions you have seen?
CALEB: I don’t know if they are “solutions,” but remedies that I have seen and been a part of to varying degrees of success are; leaning on your network, technical recruiters, and test services.
DAVE: What do you mean by varying degrees?
CALEB: Well, there are a host of issues with all three. You can luck out and find a decent candidate through those channels, but it is more chance than process and the one major issue none of them can actually address is hiring at scale. Recruiters or your network may know or have one or two solid engineers that they are referring to anyone and everyone but their resources are fairly shallow. If you need to build out a team of five engineers in a short amount of time, neither of those paths are going to work with much success. That leaves us with the testing services route, which frankly just aren’t actually assessing much when you peel back the marketing. They are typically just mental puzzles that don’t mimic actual day-to-day coding or provide enough data to make an informed decision. That is why I refer to finding a good candidate that way as more luck than process,
you probably have the same odds of finding a great engineer in that pool of candidates as you do by standing on a street corner and asking if people are software engineers on your lunch break.
DAVE: What about doing it internally?
CALEB: Again, it goes back to where they are in their own growth journey, but as a general overarching theme, employers often struggle with articulating and accurately measuring technical skills that they need, so they often look to arbitrary data points (i.e. went to X school) and lengthy processes to de-risk their hiring decisions. Depending on the risk aversion of the hiring manager, this process can waste tremendous amounts of internal resources and increase the likelihood of cognitive bias selecting their candidate over abilities. If we can cut the time to getting the right person in the right role so everyone can get to work ….that is how we are going to solve the big problems.
DAVE: You talk about “solving problems” a lot in the office, can you expand on it here?
CALEB: Sure, if you think about it at a simplified high-level – businesses exist to solve problems. If we eliminate cognitive biases and lengthy hiring processes, we can access our entire talent pool and get the right people in the right roles quickly. I mean how much of our human capital pool is underutilized? The answer is too much. This will scale companies and the solutions they are bringing to market. Code Pilot can build a high-performing team overnight by using deep learning and behavioral science…think about what can be accomplished. Right out of the gate you are 6 to 8 months ahead of where you would have been.
DAVE: What do you think is the key to making a great hire?
CALEB: One key is actually looking at what the person can do and deliver relative to the open position. It is so easy to fall into the trap of relying on a title or logo instead of actually looking and vetting the candidate’s skill set vs the roles responsibilities. Fast forward a few months and neither party is going to be happy.
DAVE: What are the values that drive you?
CALEB: Resolve, Growth, and Merit.
DAVE: Let’s change gear a little bit, you talk a lot about boxing and MMA in the office…will you please stop?
DAVE: Fair enough, does Cristina put up with all the boxing talk? Oh, we should also mention that you are getting married very soon.
CALEB: Yes, yes I am. Cristina has come around to it and has been to a few fights with me and is now a fan.
DAVE: I am not sure if she is a fan, but I am excited for you. Also, the record should show that she is too good for you.
CALEB: That is true, we didn’t need to build a deep learning model to find that out.
DAVE: What do you enjoy doing when you are not working or planning a wedding?
CALEB: I enjoy consuming tacos, bbq, and recently I have been getting into rock climbing, so I guess falling onto mats.
Hair: by SHED Barber and Supply.
Shirt: by Code Pilot limited edition.
Coffee: Flat White by Medici & Office Gutter Brew.