CTO Scott Hirsch Learned That Free Wasn’t the Best Price for His Software

CTO Scott Hirsch Learned That Free Wasn’t the Best Price for His Software

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My guest for Episode #154 of the My Favorite Mistake podcast is Scott Hirsch, the co-founder and Chief Technology Officer at the HR platform Talent Marketplace. With work experience combining business administration and computer science, Scott's passions lie in enabling business processes through the innovative use of technology.

In today's episode, Scott shares his “favorite mistake” story about setting the beta version of their platform as free. They launched the platform for free and “got almost no response.” Once they put a fee to it, clients started coming in, as Scott tells us. How did they decide their initial pricing was a mistake?

We also talk about questions and topics including:

  • “Freemium model”??
  • Which way would we rather be wrong?
  • Hiring challenges right now?
  • The search for talent in a tight market?
  • Does the data bring particular insights?
  • Increase in remote work?

Scroll down to find:

  • Video of the episode
  • Quotes
  • How to subscribe
  • Full transcript

Find Scott or his company on social media:


Watch the Episode:


Quotes:

"What we actually found there was that pricing the platform in a way that we would be taken seriously was extremely important."
"It's just an acknowledgement that we're going to be wrong and just which way do we want to be wrong? Which mistake would you rather have or which mistake would you rather make?"
"One of the big common mistakes that we see is  people will get bogged down in their product development and not be able to launch on time or with the features that they really truly need, because they don't necessarily understand what that minimum viable product is."

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Automated Transcript (Likely Contains Mistakes)

Mark Graban (0s):

Episode 154, Scott Hirsch CTO and co-founder of the HR platform, Talent Marketplace.

Scott Hirsch (8s):

And what we actually found there was nobody signed up.

Mark Graban (15s):

I'm Mark Graban. This is my favorite mistake. In this podcast. You'll hear business leaders and other really interesting people talking about their favorite mistakes because we all make mistakes, but what matters is learning from our mistakes instead of repeating them over and over again. So this is the place for honest reflection and conversation, personal growth and professional success. Visit our website at myfavoritemistakepodcast.com. To learn more about Scott Hirsch and his company, look for links in the show notes, or you can go to markgraban.com/mistake154. As always, thanks for listening everybody.

Mark Graban (56s):

Welcome to my favorite mistake. I'm Mark Graban and our guest today is Scott Hirsch. He is the co-founder and chief technology officer at the HR platform, the talent market. So with work experience, combining business administration and computer science, Scott's passions lie in enabling business processes through the innovative use of technology. You can learn more about the company talentmarketplace.ca. So that tells us you're joining us from Canada. Where, where are you connecting from today, Scott?

Scott Hirsch (1m 27s):

Yeah, thanks so much for having me, Mark. I'm connecting from Vancouver, British Columbia on the beautiful west coast here in Canada.

Mark Graban (1m 33s):

It is a beautiful place. I it's been more than a decade since I've had an opportunity to be in Vancouver. So I'll look forward to things, getting a little bit more back to normal and getting back up there sometime soon. I'm really glad you could join us today. And there's a lot to talk about. Talent is a hot topic in, in many circles today and what we'll learn more about you in the company, but as we always do here, I guess we'll, we'll jump right in. What would you say, Scott is your favorite mistake?

Scott Hirsch (2m 7s):

Oh, Mark. My favorite mistake in a professional circumstance was probably early on in the Talent Marketplace lifecycle here. So we initially priced the telemarket base platform for free. When we launched on our beta platform back in about February of 2017 and what we actually found there was nobody signed up, even though we were offering this great platform, that's good technology, some free talents and access all pre-screened rate up for free, just serving it on a silver platter for anyone that could just enter the email address instead of a password, we thought, ah, it's a deal. That's too good to be true. So we thought we would have hundreds, thousands of people just knocking on our doors to get onto the platform, but that really wasn't the case. So what we actually found there was that pricing the platform in a way that we would be taken seriously.

Scott Hirsch (2m 47s):

It was extremely important.

Mark Graban (2m 49s):

So I mean, it's tough when anybody launches a, a new company or something that's, web-based a lot of times people think, well, if we build it, they will come, you know, the, the, the baseball movie field of dreams. And so you launched and you want that traffic to be there. Did, did you have data that, that showed people are finding the site and then at one point they're there, they're just, they're not registering or they're starting to register and not completing it or registering, and then not using it. Like what, I'm curious, what you did the sort of try to help investigate what was the root of the problem?

Scott Hirsch (3m 27s):

Yeah, for sure. So there's a couple of things in, I think you had the answers in some of your suggestions there as well. So like, first of all, we definitely had the wrong mentality to start off with. And then we thought if we build it, they will come. How could they know one or wonderful platform, right? Like everything that I build is amazing. So, but that's obviously not the case, right? So like we needed to do more market penetration. We need to do more advertising. You need to have more conversation, do more business development to get the word out about Talent Marketplace and our platform into the community to really entice those people to come to the platform. Because what we saw from the metrics and the analytics was that people weren't discovering us to start off with a lot of like candidates and people that were looking for work were able to find us all right. But we didn't do such a great job on the employer side and having employers sign up.

Scott Hirsch (4m 10s):

But that also being said, we also saw some bounces from employees that started the registration process and then just basically stopped or didn't use the platform or something like that too. So the way that we kind of investigated that one a little bit further was we just sat down with them and had that conversation. I was like, okay. So like you came to the site and like, you didn't sign up. Can I ask why? And they're like, oh, that seems a little bit sketchy. Or that would probably, wasn't the precise word that they used, but not legitimate we'll say or something along those lines. And I think part of the reason for that was that pricing decision that we made early on to make it free. Because I think if we didn't take ourselves seriously and put a price tag on our platform, our efforts and our candidates, then they were going to take us seriously either.

Mark Graban (4m 53s):

And so how long did this take to sort of, you know, sort through all of this and come to the realization that the pricing was a major concern and then to start some experiments on with what, what was, what was the non-zero number that, you know, went with?

Scott Hirsch (5m 9s):

That's a great question. So it took about two months of us, like trying to figure what was going on and like making some experiments and stuff like that. And it's not, I remember the mindset very clearly too, cause it's kind of like, okay, if we raised the prices, I was just going to make things worse. Of course we're free. How could raising the price?

Mark Graban (5m 25s):

Yeah. At some point there's some basic supply and demand higher price would mean less demand, but

Scott Hirsch (5m 30s):

Yeah, it was exactly right. Right. Totally, totally. So when we started to do the investigation and we start to have some of those conversations with the employers that weren't necessarily signing up right away, we start to discover the reason why. And so that's why in about two months time, you raised the price to like a very, trepid 10% of like an annual salary or higher, which is actually quite low for the recruitment industry here. And again, I think that was also just us like tiptoeing into the right direction. We weren't ready necessarily to like jump full force into putting our full price tag on right away. And again, I think that was almost another mistake that we made because we ended up raising our prices again later that year. And then we have subsequently raised the prices once or twice since then as well.

Scott Hirsch (6m 10s):

But we're always willing to work with clients that are looking for the right pricing structure for their businesses too.

Mark Graban (6m 17s):

Yeah. So there was the mistake of free and then the mistake of still not quite high enough legitimate or going from, yeah, I don't, I, I don't trust it because it's I, or trust or like, or whatever. I don't trust it because it's free versus I don't trust it because it's too cheap. I mean, there's, as, as time goes on, I, I imagine there's, there's lessons about pricing being an art as opposed to being a precise science. I mean, I, I'm trying to remember gosh, back to MBA times and all kinds of Dianne dynamics from applied, you know, luxury goods where, you know, something is worth, it seems like an outrageous price, but it's worth that because people are willing to pay it because it signals like whatever brand equity or, you know, that, that, that might be there.

Mark Graban (7m 11s):

Or, you know, there's so there's, it's, it's complicated. I'm stammering through that, my mistake, but what's, what's your advice for other entrepreneurs or other business owners to, to try to figure out the sweet spot of not leaving money on the table by underpricing or not, not overpricing to the point where you scare people off for that reason.

Scott Hirsch (7m 32s):

I love that question, mark. And I think my piece of advice for new entrepreneurs or people looking to price their platform, their product, or whatever it might be, maybe their time as well would just be one, make sure you value yourself your time and whatever product that you've put together. Well, so that means maybe not free. And that's like, you're pursuing like a freemium model or something along those lines, but putting a price tag that is reasonable. So like you make a little bit of money, but it's also affordable for your potential customers. Then also just be willing to be flexible. So one of the reasons that we were able to be successful eventually with our pricing models is that we continue to be flexible with our pricing. So what that really means is, you know, maybe $5,000 all at once is too expensive for a person or a business. Maybe that's a monthly payment instead, or maybe it's a, Hey, you know, if you're able to sign in the next 30 days, I'll give you 10% off or 20% off to help make it a little bit easier.

Scott Hirsch (8m 19s):

So always keep those interesting kind of like mechanisms, levers in mind to be able to make it a little bit more paddle palatable for your customers.

Mark Graban (8m 27s):

Yeah. And you used a word I was going to ask you about this, this idea of a freemium model. Can you talk a little bit more about that more broadly of, of, of how some companies use that, that strategy?

Scott Hirsch (8m 41s):

Yeah, absolutely. So usually for a freemium model, what that really looks like is it's usually a platform or a software based kind of company that offers free sign up and unlimited set of free features for free. So like maybe it's a video recording platform that says you can, you know, use like up to five videos on your site and they can all be whatever 25 minutes long, or it could be zoom, for example, like you have meetings up to a certain length of time or something like that. But if you want to have unlimited meeting times and also recording your videos and maybe you actually have to pay a certain monthly subscription. So that would be what a freemium model looks like.

Mark Graban (9m 14s):

Yeah. And you're right. Zoom is a good equivalent of a good example of that. The one scheduling tool that I use for scheduling the calls, you can book.me, which is similar to Calendly, which is, I think maybe a little bit more popular that that's definitely a freemium model, but I'll tell you I was getting so much value out of the free version of it. I started feeling guilty cause I thought, well, I really like this tool. I want them to survive. I signed up for the paid tier because I could afford it and it was reasonable and it just seemed like it was worth contributing to, it's not a donation because I was getting something of value in return.

Mark Graban (9m 57s):

And I'm not asking them to raise the price if anybody, if anybody there is listening. But it just goes to show that, you know, pricing really is really is a tough thing to figure out one of the things I was going to ask just back in, I'm curious, you know, and maybe, you know, in, in the course of answering this, you can tell us a little bit more about how the platform works. You've got people posting jobs, you've got people looking for jobs. It seems like early on when you launch something like this, there's a chicken and an egg problem. How do you attract job posters without a lot of job seekers and vice versa?

Scott Hirsch (10m 38s):

How did

Mark Graban (10m 38s):

You address that?

Scott Hirsch (10m 40s):

That's a great question. And I'm actually going to broaden it a little bit and say like, this is the classic marketplace. Teeter-totter conundrum that we'll never solve. It'll always be unbalanced, but we do our best to balance it. But you're absolutely right. So it is a chicken and egg problem. The way that you start is you either pick the chicken or the egg, you got to start with wines. So what ours was is we started with the candidates cause I was a little bit of the lower hanging fruit for us in our market when we were starting out. So we got about 20 or 30 of our friends. I'll make candidate profiles, very smart, hardworking professionals. And then that was enough to go to one or two of the employers on the other side. So let's say that you get inside and then bring those candidates, the eggs to them and say like, Hey, how about any of these? And then they would sign up and then that would bring on more candidates than not bring on more employers.

Scott Hirsch (11m 21s):

So it's just a scale really quickly, but really the decision needs to be made early on. I'm going to start off with, you know, this group of people that I know or this market that I already have get them onto my marketplace platform. And then I'll grow the other side from there.

Mark Graban (11m 36s):

And I'm curious to hear a little bit more about the founding of Talent Marketplace. Do, do you have a co-founder who is kind of more focused on the business and marketing side of things where you're focused on the tech, that's a, a common pairing? What, what were your circumstances?

Scott Hirsch (11m 51s):

Yeah, for sure. So there three of us in university that we're all friends kind of thing, right? And so we went off and did our careers for like a few years and then one of our buddies called us up and said, Hey, I have this great idea. I'm seeing a challenge, particularly in the healthcare industry for hiring contractors. It started off as, and we think that there's a great opportunity to be able to automate a lot of this process, build a platform to help facilitate these hires and save them a lot of money. So we took, took about a year in 2015 doing it. Part-time on the side of our desks as part of our outside of our regular jobs. At first to build out an initial MVP at the platform, get some candidates onto it, get some employers onto it, explore a little bit more about whether or not there's some viability for this.

Scott Hirsch (12m 34s):

And then after about a year of testing it, we really thought that there was something there. So we all ended up quitting our jobs in December of 2016 and took a run on it. Full-time and then from there we had a couple of months where we made the pricing mistake early on, but then we quickly pivoted, we managed to get a little bit of revenue into the business and break even in terms of covering our costs and stuff like that for the platform built pretty early on within that first year. And then since then we've been able to scale the business pretty well, but you're absolutely right. I covered most of the technology stuff. One of my other partners covers all of the kind of recruitment in terms of helping encourage candidates come on with platform as well as account management and getting those candidates in front of employers. And yeah, we have a bit of a sales and marketing sharing that were going on. That's going on between the two plus as well.

Mark Graban (13m 16s):

And you know, you, you talked about that, that pricing mistake that you admitted, but it sounds like, you know, you did a lot of things. Well, you avoided some mistakes that, that people would sometimes make. For example, the mistake of quitting a job too soon before, before the side gig is, is validated. And, you know, I'm making the mistake of assuming something will work instead of testing the different aspects of it that, that you mentioned before launch. So I, I noticed some of the terminology you used like MVP and, and pivot from lean startup circles. But for listeners who don't know about some of those models, can, can you share in particular what MVP stands for and what that meant for Talent Marketplace?

Scott Hirsch (14m 4s):

For sure it's not most valuable player in this instance, but in a business circles or lean canvas kind of world it's minimum viable product. And the reason that that's so important is because you want to have an understand the most minimum base set of features that are essential for getting your customer to buy, right? So like as much as us in the technology world, particularly love to have every bell whistle feature. It's like, oh, it'd be great. If you could change 10 different colors and support five different languages and had this feature and that feature, those aren't necessarily the core value out of the product. And they might end up delaying your launch or being over complicated and really what you need to get out as fast as possible is that minimum viable product that delivers the most value to your core customer as quickly as possible.

Scott Hirsch (14m 44s):

So that's one of the big common mistakes that we see is like people will get bogged down in their product development and not be able to launch on time or with the features that they really truly need, because they don't necessarily understand what that minimum viable product is.

Mark Graban (14m 59s):

Again, our guest is Scott Hirsch, he's the CTO at Talent Marketplace. And we're, we're learning not only from the mistake they did made we're learning from mistakes that could have been made mistakes that other people make and, you know, startups are such, yeah. I mean, there's so much risk involved in taking those steps to, to move forward and, you know, testing and validating ideas is so important or, you know, may be stated differently, like, you know, making mistakes, making small mistakes early on so that we can prevent a bigger catastrophic mistake down the road. And I'm glad to hear that you figured out the pricing thing and you survived and you've grown and scaled, and that's always so good to hear.

Mark Graban (15m 49s):

Well, one of the things I wanted to come back to this, when we chatted the other day before recording here, you talked about the mindset that you've tried to create within Talent Marketplace about mistakes. Can you tell, tell, tell us more about that. I think this is really interesting.

Scott Hirsch (16m 6s):

Absolutely. It's just an acknowledgement that we're going to be wrong and just which way do we want to be wrong? So it's like, which mistake would you rather have or which mistake would you rather make is really the mindset that we try to foster a Talent Marketplace. So like we're not running around trying to screw everything up, of course, but it's kind of like, okay, so is the pricing going to be 10% or 15%? They're both probably wrong, but one might be a little bit more wrong and which way would we prefer to be wrong? Right. So like we say, okay, let's pick the 15%. That's still, probably wrong, fine, but at least there, then we can move down a little bit if they ask us to something like that, whereas going from 10 to 15 or 10 and pushing it up might be a little bit more difficult. So it's that kind of acknowledgement that just, you know, whichever way we're going to pick our poison. And we're probably going to still suffer a little bit, but acknowledge that we might make the mistake again and we will pivot to make it better.

Mark Graban (16m 55s):

Does the same idea apply when it comes to technology decisions that you're addressing or leading or working on?

Scott Hirsch (17m 3s):

Absolutely. Right. So that's that whole AB testing that we do on the site quite a bit. So first of all, we do our best in order to check the metrics of usage on a site. So like, is this button being used? There's this teacher being used or how can we make it easier for the candidates and employers on the site? We have some ways to track that. And we use that information to make some of the decisions we choose to make around the feature implementation that we do. But quite frankly, we make mistakes there too. Sometimes we roll out features that we think, oh yeah, like everyone said, they want this thing. Like all my favorite one actually I'll give you a specific example is candidates will often request on platforms like this for the profile to be anonymized or to be hidden from the certain companies.

Scott Hirsch (17m 43s):

Like maybe they're they don't want their current employer to see that it's searching for work. It's a very common, you know, situation to be in, totally empathize with that. Right. So on the very first iteration of Talent Marketplace, we had an anonymized profile feature, right? It's like, it'll change your first name, last name, just to initials, it'll remove your profile picture and kind of put something default there and said, so just to make it a little bit more, you know, anonymized for them, if they want to hide from certain companies, for example, after two years, nobody used It. But even though it was heavily requested. So like that was one of those really interesting mistakes. I don't want to say it's a mistake to listen to your users. That's definitely not the right kind of message there, but it's, you know, something that's asked for versus something that's needed, I suppose.

Mark Graban (18m 26s):

Yeah. And that's something that happens a lot, the little bit of exposure I've had to software companies that exact same situation where we're many people will say, we want to do this with the software. And then when it's built, like you're trying to scratch your head and figure out, okay, well it's there. You know, why, why, why not use it? You know, it could be a chicken and egg dynamic. Like I think of another initiative. It wasn't a software company per se, but in some healthcare circles, I was part of a group that was trying to help organizations both in Canada and the U S learn from each other. And one of the things we heard, a lot of feedback from, from, from different people was we want a platform where we can share improvements we've made nor our organization.

Mark Graban (19m 16s):

So the, those others can, can pull and draw from those. But it was, it was a different chicken and egg problem, not job seeker, job poster. I think what people were really saying was I want a repository that I can go and pull from. I want to see other people's ideas and yeah, you, you go first fingers pointing in different directions. So like the tech, the technological capability was there, but then there was more of that social challenge of how do you get someone to contribute to the common good there before pulling on it? And I, you know, there's no ill intent from anybody.

Mark Graban (19m 56s):

I think it just goes to show if, if we'd agree, pricing is complicated. People are complicated too, and something sounds good. And then when push comes to shove, they don't follow through with it. So have, have you, have you learned some methods to try to better validate or do small tests? Can you do a minimum viable feature to see if people say they're going to do it, but now before we, we build out the fully formed version of it let's test and see if people will click and take action.

Scott Hirsch (20m 27s):

Yes, absolutely. So we do very much that, like we roll out a small feature, run an experiment with it. We always, the mentality that we try to take is we do it manually first and see kind of mechanical Turk, almost the feature to start off with to see if people will use it. And if they do great, we're doing manually. And then as soon as that manual process doesn't scale anymore, then we say, okay, let's automate it. We're going to build this into the platform. And then that's kind of how we run that experiment for that piece there.

Mark Graban (20m 54s):

Yeah. So really, really good lessons that I think apply, especially in software settings where you can iterate so quickly, there's probably applications to other service industries where you could try to test some, like you said, less automated version of a process and then go and put more effort in once it's been validated the best you can. One of the things I was curious about, like I mentioned, this is a pretty competitive marketplace for Talent Marketplace. I want to talk in a minute about the competition for employees. You know, there are a lot of job boards that have existed at this point for a couple of decades.

Mark Graban (21m 37s):

So I'm, I'm, I'm curious to hear even as, as, as it goes to your origin story of entering a market where there's already existing players, what gives you the courage to go into that and try and differentiate yourselves?

Scott Hirsch (21m 52s):

For sure. And I think the really important piece there is the market research that was done up front before kind of entering into this business and this industry. So basically we took a look at the recruitment industry as a whole, both in Canada and across the U S and in Europe and stuff like that. And we saw that it was growing about eight to 9% year over year COVID to the actual rebound from a postcode. What's been really interesting too. So maybe that's something we can talk about too, but so we had the market research for the recruitment industry as a whole was showing that it was a growing industry, which is really cool to see. And then in addition to that, we looked at the barriers to entry for the recruitment industry as well. And so, yes, it's highly competitive. There's a couple of really big incumbents in the market, but then there's also like hundreds and thousands of little guys.

Scott Hirsch (22m 33s):

So like the barriers to entry into the recruitment industry as a whole is pretty light. And then there's also just a bit of stagnation in terms of the combination between technology and HR. HR seems to be a little bit behind for some reason, in terms of the adoption of technology, it's very manual heavy. And I think that has to do a lot with like the people and relationships that are involved there. But I think there still is a lot of space for technology and automated solutions to help build those relationships. Even stronger. People are very important in this industry of course, but I think that there's a lot of space for technology to grow into that. So that's kind of the analysis that we did to enter into the market.

Mark Graban (23m 9s):

Yeah. And so, you know, here we are at the beginning of 2022 and it's, it's, it seems like in a lot of cases, it's the job seekers marketplace right now. There's, there's shortages of employees, especially in certain fields for, for all sorts of different reasons, demographics and, and, and COVID, and, and what have you, what are some of the, when you think of what your customers are facing and what they're trying to address and what you're hearing from them, what, how would you describe some, the biggest hiring challenges right now for companies trying to compete for talent?

Scott Hirsch (23m 52s):

Absolutely. You're bang on there, Markt. I think that's one of the biggest challenges that employers are facing right now in hiring great talent is specifically for it, technology development, hard and skill-based talent. There just aren't enough of them. It's as simple as that, because everyone's like, I want a senior developer with five years experience in react, right. It's kind of like, well, react was invented in 2013. It's only been relevant for about four years. So like looking for somebody who is experienced in that, it's just really impossible. So the, some of the skills just don't exist quite yet. And like the institutions like the universities and the coding boot camps and stuff like that, they're trying to keep up and turn out more people that are looking to transition into industries, such as technology and the doing a great job at it, frankly.

Scott Hirsch (24m 37s):

And I think that a lot of the government support that exists too. Like I know up here in Canada, there's a bunch of like grants and stuff like that to help whether it's youth or new immigrants or people transitioning careers from the oil fields, for example, into technology, those grant programs and stuff like that exist to help support people to get into that market too. But the main challenges that employers are facing is just, they're not enough of those types of folks that are available. They don't for the smaller companies, particularly they can't compete with the Amazons and the Microsofts and the Googles of the world because they don't have the brand recognition. They may not be able to offer all of the perks as the ping pong tables and the remote work and all the other benefits that might come with working for a big name company like that. And they just don't get the applicants that they're looking for at the smaller companies.

Scott Hirsch (25m 18s):

They're too. So it's an all around kind of storm of different challenges that particularly small employers are facing with brand recognition, being challenged, to compete with salary and compensation and just competing for a very limited amount of talent that exists in the market currently.

Mark Graban (25m 34s):

Yeah. So, I mean, it sounds like there's a couple different categories of, of challenge or causes to that hiring challenge, some of which are market dynamics. And then some, like the one example you used, and I've heard this from some other technical people, I know, like sort of the, the mistake or the unforced error of requiring five years experience with this, but it's only been in use for four years. Like, are there times when, like, as Talent Marketplace where you try to flag issues like that, does that require manual review or, or what are some ways that you can sort of try to help accompany with a job, identify some of the issues that might be preventing applicants from applying or taking it seriously or, or having some sort of filter that just filters out everybody inadvertently

Scott Hirsch (26m 28s):

For sure. Right. Like that's one of the reasons that tell marketplace is different too, is we completely pre-screen and vet both sides of the marketplace before they're able to come on, it's different than LinkedIn, or it's different than indeed where anybody can post a job in any way I can put the resume up and anyone can apply. We make sure that a hundred percent of candidates have a resume review, a phone screening, and they are who they say they are. And this is same with the employer side too. So when an employer, for example, post a job or requests a role that says like, I need somebody with five years experience in react, even though it might not be possible in some incumbent on us to make sure that telemarket place us to make sure that the employer understands the reason that that might be challenging and the reason that they might not be getting as many candidates for that role specifically.

Scott Hirsch (27m 9s):

So that's why we have a bit of a differentiator as Talent Marketplace. I think too, because we are a pre-screening and helping genuinely both sides to find that perfect match.

Mark Graban (27m 20s):

So that's really interesting of having some of that pre-screening in place there. I I've seen news stories. You may have seen these too, where you have people working remotely and technical jobs who are in some cases now taking two or sometimes three full-time positions, have you have you

Scott Hirsch (27m 41s):

I've heard about this and sometimes they'll outsource one of them to like another country or something to,

Mark Graban (27m 45s):

Or just, yeah. People realizing like, yeah, this job doesn't really require 40 hours a week. If that's the threshold, or like you said, they're playing this maybe unethical arbitrage game without collecting the paycheck and then farming it out and you might say, well, Hey, companies do that. Why not employers? Like there's, there's all kinds of dynamics there, but does, does, does the screening help ensure if, if, if one of the employers can be you and said, Hey, Scott, I want to make sure I'm hiring somebody who, who is only going to have this as their job. Is that there? Or is that, is that overblown? Because there's a couple of stories that got a lot of press.

Scott Hirsch (28m 26s):

I think it's the letter option there. I think they're a little bit overblown because they get a lot of precedents, particularly be relevant and relatable. I would say for a lot of folks right now, the shifting to the work-from-home kind of culture. But that being said too, like, it's not impossible for that to happen. And that's part of the reason why, like, again, like shameless self plug for Talent Marketplace, but like that prescreening is valuable, right? Like if you're going to just pull a resume on indeed or something like that, and they say, oh, yes, I can work and I can start remotely, all that fun stuff. Great. I think that'll work in probably 99% of cases, but there might be that one or 2% that presents one of those challenges.

Mark Graban (28m 58s):

And don't apologize for plugging the company. That's fine. I don't consider that a mistake. Well, one other question for you here and I'll plug the company again, Talent Marketplace.ca is the website. I'm one question listeners might have. We have a lot of listeners here in the U S is, do you, do you serve job seekers and employers in the U S or Canada own way

Scott Hirsch (29m 22s):

For the time being we're mostly focused on Canada, but expanding into the United States is definitely on our radar. We're hoping to get down there this year. Hopefully we'll probably set up with pursuing one other, the employers down there and then build the talent pool kind of around that, because we're still figuring out geographies that are most likely be west coast, Seattle, most likely as a starting point, because it's just close to Vancouver here, but then we might expand down to the west coast, like into California, maybe into Colorado or something like that as well. We'll see where we end up.

Mark Graban (29m 49s):

So it sounds like there's an opportunity there to build upon lessons learned from earlier growth and earlier scaling

Scott Hirsch (29m 56s):

And make new mistakes,

Mark Graban (29m 59s):

New mistakes, new learning, right,

Scott Hirsch (30m 1s):

Exactly.

Mark Graban (30m 3s):

One other question. I'm curious to hear your thoughts on, you know, the impact of the pandemic and particular accelerating work from home. I'm, I'm guessing in a platform like yours, you have a lot of data that would help kind of, you know, illustrate. Do you have more people accepting jobs in other provinces, in other area codes? I bet you could see some of that pretty vividly through data.

Scott Hirsch (30m 30s):

Yes. And that's one of the most interesting things about kind of being in a technology focused recruitment platform place. Right now. I remember at the beginning of the pandemic and well, it just like everything tanked the beginning of my time. And that's just the way it was. But like, but coming out of the recovery here, we've seen a lot more power in the hands of the talent and the candidates that are looking for work in particularly around demanding, like straight up demanding work from home as an option. Right. That I think it's, it's definitely over 80%. I think it's about 85 or 86% of the candidates on our platform right now will not consider a job if it doesn't offer at least hybrid, like from working from home. Right. And it's kind of like, oh, wow, that's such a big shift even a year ago or two years ago.

Scott Hirsch (31m 10s):

Right. And it's just, it's so interesting that people have reprioritized their lives on that. So that's one piece of data. That's very interesting. The other one that kind of stands out to me from like a COVID perspective too, is just like the employers looking for their abroad for their workforces now, too. So like, because they're offering remote, they can say like, okay, well, if I pay somebody, whatever, $200,000 a year from the bay area, why not pay somebody a hundred thousand dollars perhaps equally skilled from Kansas? I don't know like that. Right. So it's like, it's, they're looking like this adjusting for abroad in different kind of zip codes for their talent to,

Mark Graban (31m 47s):

Yeah. There's, there's a couple sides of that coin. One is trying to, like you said, hire people at a lower price based on where they are. And then there's also, you see articles. If somebody's moving from the bay area to someplace with a far lower cost of living and they don't want to, you know, then this, this question of like, well, I, I, if I bring this much value to the company, why would you want me to take lower pay? Because I live somewhere else that it's, it's a tough dynamic. But again, I think in a, a job market where the employees have much more leverage, you know, you you've, you've got to do what you can to, you know, to, to maximize your earnings in a job you like, and you know, there's there's record.

Mark Graban (32m 28s):

I know, I'd be curious if there's similar data in Canada in the U S we've had at least five months in a row now of like all time record number of people's quitting numbers of people, quitting jobs, same thing in Canada.

Scott Hirsch (32m 41s):

Yeah. I would say so for sure. And like, I think this is anecdotal and I don't have data to support this, but I think that's a re-evaluation of a lot of people taking a look at their lives and saying like, okay, I've been working from home for a while. It's been great to be able to spend more time with the family and the dog or whatever it is. And like, I want to make that shift in my career or pursue what I love or like make that decision to make it a little bit easier. So like, it's really interesting to see for sure.

Mark Graban (33m 6s):

So I think there's a final thought adaptation from the story you told. And again, our guest today has been Scott, Hirsch is a co-founder and CTO at Talent Marketplace. Again, their is TalentMarketplace.ca you know, you, you were talking about underpricing yourself and not valuing your offering in the marketplace enough. I think there's a lesson there for individuals who are listening, please don't undervalue yourself and what you're worth in your job and in your industry. And if you're looking for something new and you're in Canada and maybe shortly in the future here in the U S maybe the Talent Marketplace can help.

Mark Graban (33m 47s):

So, Scott, I really thank you for sharing your story and the reflections I always appreciate when someone's willing to come on and share a mistake. And I'm glad it's one that you learned from and, and got past. So thank you. Thank you again for being here with us today.

Scott Hirsch (34m 0s):

Thank you so much, Mark. There's a lot of fun.

Mark Graban (34m 2s):

Well, thanks again to Scott for being a great guest again, to learn more about him and Talent Marketplace. Look for links in the show notes in your podcast app, or you can go online. Markgraban.com/mistake154. As always. I want to thank you for listening. I hope this podcast inspires you to reflect on your own mistakes, how you can learn from them or turn them into a positive I've had listeners tell me they started being more open and honest about mistakes and their work. And they're trying to create a workplace culture where it's safe to speak up about problems because that leads to more improvement and better business results. If you have feedback or a story to share, you can email me myfavoritemistakepodcast@gmail.com.

Mark Graban (34m 43s):

And again, our website is myfavoritemistakepodcast.com.


Mark Graban is an internationally-recognized consultant, author, and professional speaker who has worked in healthcare, manufacturing, and startups. His latest book is Measures of Success: React Less, Lead Better, Improve More. He is author of the Shingo Award-winning books Lean Hospitals and Healthcare Kaizen, as well as The Executive Guide to Healthcare Kaizen. He also published the anthology Practicing Lean that benefits the Louise H. Batz Patient Safety Foundation, where Mark is a board member. Mark is also a Senior Advisor to the technology company KaiNexus. He is also a Senior Advisor and Director of Strategic Marketing with the healthcare advisory firm, Value Capture.