Welcoming Clubhouse to the Gray Scalable Community


Clubhouse is a project management platform that allows software teams to track their daily progress within the context of the big picture goals of your company. The product allows individual developers and teams the ability to filter all of the way down to individual tasks and it also allows the C suite to pull back and track high-level progress throughout the quarter and year, providing visibility into the engineering roadmap for all levels of the organization.

The story behind Clubhouse started at Intent Media, where Clubhouse co-founders Andrew Childs and Kurt Schrader watched the company scale from five to hundreds of employees. As they scaled, they saw their product management tools begin to fail to meet the growing needs of their engineering team. Andrew and Kurt set out to alleviate their team’s frustrations and improve the developer's experience with their existing tools, so Andrew built a UI layer to sit on top of their existing toolset. Tl;dr, it was a success and the team’s adoption made it clear that there was an opportunity in the market to turn it into a standalone platform.

“I think one big thing that we have tried to do from the very beginning is design the product so that every level of the organization can see what is happening. You can go from ‘what do I as a developer need to be working on?’ to ‘what are the 4-5 things we are building this quarter and how are we doing?’ We want everyone to be able to just do their work.” - Kurt Schrader

Clubhouse’s product has resonated so well with their clients that they have been able to scale to over 700 paying customers simply through word of mouth. Unsurprisingly, word of Clubhouse’s product reached the ears of Battery Ventures who approached the team to discuss investing in the product. Clubhouse announced earlier this week that Battery recently led a $10M series A.

Following their raise, Clubhouse approached Gray Scalable to help them grow. One of the most rewarding things about our model at Gray Scalable is getting to work with teams that haven’t yet had formal recruitment support. At Clubhouse, we get to work closely with Andrew, Kurt and the team to help build the recruiting function from the ground up. From sourcing & recruiting strategies to designing interview training, interview processes and hiring matrices, we get to do it all! To top it all off, the team is just as excited and eager to partner with us, and have proven themselves to be dream partners!

Right now, we’re working with them to grow out their engineering team. We’re on the search for a Senior Front End Engineer, Senior  Clojure Engineer, as well as a Senior iOS Engineer. As a Senior Front End Engineer, you’ll get to help do things like design and build out new features and data visualizations, help build out the front end architecture and help the team continue setting up a robust testing infrastructure. On the other hand, as a Senior iOS Engineer, you’ll get to work in React native as the second mobile engineer to help continue shipping new features, all the while helping the mobile app move closer to the functionality of the web app.

At Clubhouse, you’ll find that the team is incredibly down to earth, humble and friendly! There is a ton of collaboration, as half of the team works remotely - so being able to work effectively whether you’re at the office in Union Square or working from home is really important. The company is at a compelling point in their journey where their product has clearly proven itself, but they’ve got big goals for their future. Anyone joining the team has an opportunity to make a meaningful impact in their individual roles and on the company.

Our experience at Clubhouse has been nothing but positive and we hope to partner with them long term! It’s clear that in the world of project management tools and platforms, many have tried to solve what continues to be the same pain points, but it’s clear that Clubhouse is onto something remarkable, and we can’t wait to see where they’re at in a year!


To learn more about the exciting opportunities at Clubhouse or to talk about how to join the team please reach out to Bec Bliss at bec@grayscalable.com or Elise Sun at elise@grayscalable.com.

Pick your next boss - using Backdoor References

The Boss IRL.jpg

We’ve all heard the old adage that people don’t leave jobs - they leave their bosses. As an HR practitioner, I’ve observed that this is more often true than not. And as a consultant, I often help our clients create robust interview processes that evaluate candidates on many dimensions of compatibility, including how the manager and employee will mesh and work together, all to stave off turnover down the road.

It’s not just companies who want their new hires to stay for a long time - job seekers of course don’t want to be job hoppers. So, it’s equally important for companies and candidates interviewing to evaluate for compatibility on the front-end.

When I work with candidates - at all levels - I encourage them to view the interview process as a two-way street. Candidates should absolutely be interviewing their potential new boss and colleagues. There’s an art to it, of course - it can’t seem like you’re interrogating your new company, so you need to structure your own interview to ensure you’re finding out the things you need to know, in the right ways.

Start by making a list before you walk in the door. What do you want to learn from your conversation? What matters most to you? Your list may include finding out about what types of projects you’d work on, how your performance would be measured, what their general culture is like, and your potential manager’s management style. This might seem counterintuitive or even scary, to interview your interviewer - but it’s a worthy endeavor. Remember to know your value, and stay humble, and you’ll find that you’ll get a lot of the information you need.

But what about the things you can’t adequately learn about just by asking? For example, no manager, when asked about his/her management style, is going to respond, “So glad you asked. I’m a total micromanager!” You might be able to vibe if someone is extremely one way or the other on the micromanagement scale, but if not - you need another means to find out. This is where I recommend backdoor reference checking.

My team and clients know I have a healthy skepticism of companies doing backdoor references on candidates, unless conducted in the right way, and at the right time. The main reason I ask companies to hold on doing backdoor references is to preserve candidate confidentiality. But as the candidate, you’re in the driver’s seat. You decide whom you’d want to inform about your job search. This means you can do some backdoor referencing on the people you’d potentially work with and for. Here are some tips on how to do this right:

Do Your Research - and Choose Wisely

Use LinkedIn to see who in your network is connected directly to the people you’re talking to. You can then decide whom you’d trust enough to reach out to in order to learn about the company and team. Who you ask is at least as important as what you ask - remember to ask only those who would maintain your confidentiality. And ask people whose opinions you really trust - and who will give you an honest and fair assessment..

Time it Right and Keep it in Context

You’ll want to conduct your backdoor references late in the process - after you’ve had the chance to assess the opportunity for yourself, and when you feel like you’re pretty likely to get an offer. If they’re checking references on you, it’s a good indication they’re serious - and a good time for you to do your references on them.

If you do get a bad reference, make sure you keep it in context. Was the person who gave the reference laid off? Was their input colored by a personal conflict? Is the input years old? It’s good to take a trusted friend’s input seriously, but don’t forget to look at things holistically. A friend of mine reminded me that reference checking can be like deciding where to eat - you wouldn’t skip a restaurant you’ve heard great things about, just because of one bad Yelp review.

Speaking of Yelp...sites like Glassdoor, Indeed, and Fairygodboss can also be valuable tools, but definitely need to be taken in context (and I also think with a bit of a grain of salt).

Whether you’re an active or a passive candidate, remember that it’s not just about a company finding out about you. Trust yourself enough to evaluate the opportunity, primarily by what you learn in the interview process - and verify by leveraging your network.

What do you think about backdoor referencing for candidates? Let us know in the comments section! And check out my thoughts on companies conducting backdoor references the right way here.



written by Deb Feldman, Principal Consultant and Co-founder

Thinking About Diverse Teams as Systems

Overcoming Biases: Thinking About Diverse Teams as Systems


This post was written by Jodi Jefferson. Jodi is Executive recruiter with 10+ years experience specializing in Engineering and Product search, providing strategic consulting for high-profile venture capital backed startups, growth stage, private and public companies. Broad experience in new business development, relationship management, advisory, talent development and recruitment of software engineers and product executives. The post was originally published by Jodi on Medium. 



It’s been a busy year for diversity in the news. Since the Google Manifesto and the Uber debacle, it has become clear that even large, forward-thinking tech companies continue to struggle with diversity in the workplace. And yet there’s plentiful evidence that diversity is good for business, and most tech startups are eager to hire a more diverse workforce. But how do you accomplish this in a way that’s beneficial both for your company and meaningful for the people who work for you?

Understanding teams as systems

Diversity is a complex subject, and teams are complex systems. You need to understand all the necessary parts, why each layer is so critical, and how they all work together to achieve a common goal. In working to understand the diverse needs of your team, think of it as an operating system driving the function of a larger machine, in this case your company. In order for your machine to work properly, your OS needs to perform a diverse set of functions, such as scheduling tasks, executing applications and controlling peripherals. Similarly, a diverse team is like having a diverse set of tools that allows you to optimize for diverse problem solving, which will only make a system work better, be more resilient, with happier people and better products.

Building a better system starts with understanding why diversity is so important. Teams that comprise of diverse cognitive, gender, ethnic, age and socioeconomic diversity simply outperform those that are less diverse. HBS reports that “diversity can boost innovation and employee engagement. Companies with greater gender and ethnic diversity also financially outperform their peers. Diversity increases a company’s ability to attract and retain top talent, to better understand their users.”

Hiring for diversity

It can be tempting to immediately point to your recruiter or HR department and ask them to hire more women. In the last year, I’ve been increasingly asked what my “diversity initiative” is for nearly every executive search I embark on. As a recruiter who has specialized in building engineering teams for 10 years, this is not only my problem to solve. It’s all of ours; and this is not just about hiring more women (although that’s part of the solution). Take a close look at your team. How is it built out in terms of race, gender, LGBTQ, veterans, ethnicity, people with disabilities, income, education, and more?

As Uber head of diversity Bernard Coleman III notes, the first step to creating a diverse team is overcoming your own biases. “People often hire based off of familiarity and/or comfort, (i.e. someone who went to your program/college, looks like you, shares your interests or is a member of an organization you’re affiliated with).” Instead, consciously seek individuals with unique perspectives who come from different backgrounds. Find reasons to hire them. Make exceptions. This is not about “lowering the bar” to increase diversity — it’s about finding a different kind of talent for your team and honoring your differences.

Creating an inclusive environment

There is no shortage of stories (and hard evidence) that women and underrepresented minorities (especially in tech) experience bias and a general lack of welcoming environment. So once you’ve identified the gaps in your talent, consider what it takes to build it out accordingly.

Sure, I have a pipeline of female engineering leaders at my fingertips, but why would they want to work for you? What are you doing to prove your environment is diverse and inclusive? If you’re trying to attract a diverse subset of talent, start by asking yourself some questions:

  • Can you overcome your own biases?
  • What does your board look like? Is it ethnically diverse? How about your leadership team?
  • Can parents of all genders raise children and progress in their career?
  • What are you doing to create a more inclusive environment?
  • Do you have a non discrimination policy in place?
  • What part of your hiring process has diversity in mind?
  • What does the interview panel look like? Are candidates meeting with a diverse set of individuals?

Take a long, hard look at your answers to those questions. Do you need to take steps to make your company more inclusive? If so, consider making some of the following improvements to your company (in addition to my suggestions above):

  • Create gender neutral bathrooms
  • Design employee resource groups to include women’s mentoring and leadership programs
  • Support STEM initiatives and women in tech groups and events (e.g. Grace Hopper CelebrationWomen Who CodeBlack Girls Code)
  • Offer gender-neutral paid parental leave that include adoption
  • Add egg freezing services to your benefits
  • Offer child care options for all employees
  • Create breast pump rooms
  • Be open to flexible work arrangements

Also, remember that that the root of inclusivity considers all people. Take a page from Denise Young Smith, Apple’s first ever VP of diversity and inclusion: focus on everyone, not just minorities. “Diversity is the human experience,” notes Young Smith. Once you understand your team as a system in need of a diverse set of tools, identify the gaps in your system and work to create a more inclusive environment for all employees, then you’re well on your way to success. Are you ready for a change?

What is sexual harassment in the workplace?

by Kate Le Gallez

This post was originally published on Culture Amp

Recently, we’ve seen a number of high-profile stories of pervasive sexual harassment at leading companies surface and gain media attention. These stories might only dominate the headlines for a little while, but they’re just the tip of the iceberg. The UN reports that 40-50% of women in EU countries and 30-40% of women in Asia-Pacific countries experience some form of sexual harassment in the workplace. In the US, a YouGov survey found 30% of women have been sexually harassed.

Women are overwhelmingly the victims of sexual harassment and so most of the stats we see relate to their experience. However, the limited data that’s available suggests LGBTQ people and people of color are also disproportionately affected. A smaller percentage of men are also harassed by women or other men.

While the victim’s experience of sexual harassment can range from uncomfortable to devastating, in the workplace there are also ramifications for the wider organization. The relationship between culture and sexual harassment is complicated, but with 98% of US organizations reportedly having sexual harassment policies in place, something is clearly awry in how culture is espoused versus how it’s experienced.

We need to talk about why this is the case.

Because sexual harassment claims are often settled behind closed doors, there’s little opportunity to understand and learn from what’s happened. Even if details are shared, people tend to focus more on the salacious detail than any lessons that can be learnt.

Privacy is essential, but organizations need to start having the tough conversations that can make change happen. We want to help start these conversations, so we’ve partnered with Nathan Luker from Your Call, a whistleblowing service provider, to deliver a series of articles on sexual harassment in the workplace.

We’ll cover the following questions:

The importance of defining sexual harassment

Before we even get to the definition itself, we wanted to start with why it’s important to have a shared understanding of what sexual harassment is.

Even when a definition is set out in black and white, cultural biases - particularly those stemming from a traditional view of the workplace as male-centric - can still impact how people interpret its meaning.

The Harvard Business Review tested this idea by asking a small group of individuals to read and then discuss a sexual harassment policy. They found that even though the policy clearly focused on specific behaviors of sexual harassment, the participants overwhelmingly felt that the policy focused on perceptions of those behaviors and therefore found it threatening. The participants believed it could cover any ‘innocent’ behavior by one employee (typically a heterosexual male) if an irrational person (typically a heterosexual female) perceived it to be harassment.

From a reporting perspective, being clear on the content of ‘sexual harassment’ can actually change how women self-report their experiences. The US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission examined the findings of a range of surveys and found that when a survey specifically asked respondents whether they had experienced particular behaviors, like unwanted sexual attention or sexual coercion, rather than simply asking about ‘sexual harassment’, the level of reported harassment increased. In short, even women experiencing these behaviors as uncomfortable or offensive don’t necessarily label them as sexual harassment.

The point of these examples is that even when we think we’re on the same page, we’re often not. And this divergence can have major consequences culturally and individually.

Defining sexual harassment

The definition of sexual harassment in the workplace is the same as the definition for sexual harassment anywhere. The following definition is from the Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC), but very similar wording is found in the US, UK and EU:

An unwelcome sexual advance, request for sexual favours or other unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature which a reasonable person would anticipate would cause a person to feel offended, humiliated or intimidated constitutes sexual harassment.

It’s about behaviors

To really understand what the definition covers, we need to look more specifically at the types of behaviors covered. The AHRC gives these examples:

  • unwelcome touching;
  • staring or leering;
  • sexually explicit pictures or posters;
  • unwanted invitations to go out on dates;
  • requests for sex;
  • intrusive questions about a person’s private life or body;
  • unnecessary familiarity, such as deliberately brushing up against a person;
  • insults or taunts based on sex;
  • sexually explicit physical contact; and
  • sexually explicit emails or SMS text messages.

These are just examples and they all look incontrovertible on the page. Other behaviors that still amount to sexual harassment can be less obvious, perhaps delivered in a more subtle way. In these situations, perpetrators may excuse their behavior as flattering or flirtatious, while victims worry they’re rocking the boat unnecessarily. The fact is, if behavior of a sexual nature reasonably makes a person feel offended, humiliated or intimidated, then it’s sexual harassment.

Connected to the workplace

Workplace sexual harassment laws tie these behaviors to the employment context - which generally means every employment situation and relationship. The prohibition covers not only behavior in the workplace itself, but also work-related activities (e.g. conferences and parties) and basically all the interactions between people who work together.

The environment itself can also amount to unlawful sexual harassment where it’s sexually permeated or hostile. This could include a workplace where pornographic materials are displayed, or a culture where offensive jokes, sexual banter and crude conversations are the norm.

Who’s responsible?

The person who sexually harasses someone is responsible for the harassment, but employers can also be held responsible for the actions of employees. Having policies and procedures to create a harassment-free environment, and make reporting effective will help limit an employer’s liability, and can help reduce incidents.

In the next article in this series, we’ll look at why many (up to 80%) of sexual harassment incidents go unreported and some of the cultural and contextual factors that might be to blame.

We made it to Los Angeles!

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Gray Scalable has officially started operating in Los Angeles, CA. The new location is the first outside of our Silicon Alley headquarters in NYC, and we are building a team to cover clients throughout the greater LA area and the west coast.

“We thought carefully about where to expand our business outside of NYC - and the southern CA area is full of really interesting companies at stages of development where we can provide services with real impact for them. It feels a little like NY a few years ago in terms of tech community and market opportunity. Plus, Darla moved there,” says Charlie Gray, Gray Scalable Founder.

Adding a Los Angeles location gives Gray Scalable a physical presence in one of the fastest growing tech start-up environments in the country and where consulting and recruiting services are in high demand.  The new location will be led by veteran talent acquisition professional, Darla Hornbjork.

For over a decade Darla has been assisting tech companies scale as they’ve grown. With expertise in hiring engineers, product designers, marketing and sales professionals to partnering with C level suite to define talent strategy, Darla brings extensive experience building sourcing pipelines, hiring, developing process and internal tools and defining employer brand strategy.

Darla is excited to get the ball rolling and says, “LA is no longer just for Hollywood! The tech scene is explosive and I’m so excited that Gray Scalable is going to have a chance at shaping this growth. I look forward to duplicating our reputation in NYC of being indispensable, respected and the in-demand partner for growth.”

For more information about the new Gray Scalable Los Angeles office, contact darla@grayscalable.com or our Head of Business Development, erin@grayscalable.com.

Gray Scalable Spotlight: Sam Feldman


A little more about our people analytics manager Sam, or, as our teammates call her, “Spreadsheetz”, or  “sheetz” for short….

How she got into HR & people analytics:
Sam got into HR a few years after college. She started off as a conference event planner in financial services, which led to campus recruiting roles in both banking and media.  From there, she moved into recruiting program management. All the while, her favorite thing to do was the tracking, analyzing and reporting for each of these positions, which (with the help of some great managers and mentors) led to doing people analytics work full time.  

Sam rounded out her skills by getting a masters in analytics from NYU, which she finished this past spring (she’d like to also say thank you to her teammates for their support - and for celebrating heavily with her when it was finished!)

Any other jobs you’ve held?
Sam’s had a wide variety of jobs, starting in high school.  Here’s a select assortment in graph form!


How she got to Gray Scalable:
Sam also opted to hand draw her answer here -



Sam’s role at Gray Scalable:
Sam joined Gray Scalable in August 2015. As the people analytics manager, she focuses on helping clients make better HR decisions using data, primarily focusing on compensation design, recruiting reporting, and survey analysis. She also spends a lot of time on internal operations projects and writes many of our blog posts.

Her favorite office pastimes are explaining herself with whiteboard graphs, trying to make it warmer in the office without anyone noticing, and wondering how early is too early for lunch.

Her favorite projects:
Sam’s worked with over 25 companies at this point, and it’s hard to pick a favorite client engagement. In lieu of trying to name favorites… here are some superlative awards:

Best ViewIntersection and Cheddar
Best SnacksBuzzfeed (frozen yogurt machine!)
Best Swag: Harry’s
Cutest: Bark&Co (puppies everywhere)
Cool Factor: The Players’ Tribune and Livestream

One of her favorite projects is actually an internal one - the annual recruiter survey.  While procrastinating grad school assignments one weekend, she sent Charlie an email pitching the idea, and was off and running with it that week.  The annual surveys have become some of our most visited sites and have helped companies understand how start-up recruiting works. Check out the results to this year’s survey, here.

What Sam’s up to now:
Sam’s currently working with two great clients (The Players’ Tribune and Cheddar), helping out with a few other companies, and working on some of our internal business operations as well.    

When she’s not working, she enjoys exploring Brooklyn with her husband Steve, crossword puzzles, good bourbon cocktails, and anything produced by Ken Burns.

Cover Letters: Do or Do Not - There is No Try


Ahh the infamous cover letter (or "cover emails" in many cases)….We get a surprising number of questions from candidates and friends about them. Does anyone actually read them? Are they necessary?

Unless you’re pretty early in your career or an entry level candidate, cover letters really aren’t a must, but it's also true that they can make a difference in some cases. For every hiring manager who skips over them there's another that thinks it's lazy not to have one. There really is no right answer here - a good letter can either help or do nothing, but a poorly written one can do damage to your candidacy. So, at the very least, if you do write one, you should make sure it's really good. Even if the writing process is uncomfortable and slightly annoying, here are some tips to make it impactful:


What does your potential future employer hope to learn from your cover letter - and why do they even ask for them?

A cover letter is a short, typically single page letter that employers often ask for in the hiring process along with a resume. Some employers ask for cover letters as a knee-jerk reaction: "send us a resume and cover letter" gets copied and pasted from job descriptions year over year. However, some ask for cover letters specifically because it's another way for them to evaluate your writing and communication skills.

A cover letter should go beyond what someone can read on your resume, and offer further insight as to why you would be a strong fit for the position you’re applying to. This is an opportunity for you to introduce yourself to an employer, to sell your best qualities, and to begin your argument as to why you would be the best person for the job. Use this as a chance to demonstrate your knowledge about the company and its products or services. Make it interesting, make it something that the hiring manager will read to the end.

In a cover letter you want to answer the big picture questions that tell hiring managers why you deserve that next step, typically an interview…


So what are those big picture questions?

A cover letter allows the writer to answer the question, ‘who are you?’ It gives you the chance to introduce yourself to the person reading it and it’s an opportunity to reach out as an individual, not just an applicant.

In a resume, you’ll share your skills and experience, and from that most people will decide if you’re actually qualified for the position. In a cover letter, you’ll answer ‘Why are you the best person for this job?’ Your answer should demonstrate what you know about the position you’re applying for and why you would be a great fit at that company. The resume is just about you; the cover letter is about you, the potential company and how you fit together.

The last question a cover letter can answer is simply ‘why?’ If you think anything on your resume warrants further explanation, or may make an employer question your abilities, (employment gap, lengthy time in school, etc.) you can use your cover letter to offer more detail.  


Formatting tips

Keep your cover letter short. You'll lose your audience if it's more than a few, short paragraphs. You also want to make sure you’re maintaining a level of professionalism. This may change and vary depending on what career field you’re looking to work in. Use language that you are comfortable with and if you’re not sure,- and even strive to mimic the level of formality the company displays on their website and careers page.

Keep your contact information consistent with what you have on your resume and make sure to include that information on both documents.

If you are 100% sure you know who will be reading the letter, address them by name. There’s nothing more boring and impersonal than receiving a letter that’s addressed to “whom it may concern.” Avoid being vague and generic, and tailor your cover letter to the specific job and the specific company you’re applying for.

And after all that, proofread. PROOFREAD. Proofread - Typos and incorrect information in a cover letter can do a lot of harm - and it's easy to avoid this kind of thing. You're looking to have your cover letter be something that differentiates you from other candidates and makes you stand out - not something that could make you look inattentive to details.


Ok, so you’ve written the cover letter, now what?

If you don’t hear from the company within a few days or about a week after submitting your cover letter and resume, follow up with them. A quick “wanted to be sure you received my application” email is an appropriate follow-up, include your name and contact information should they need to get a hold of you.


written by Irene Courey, Recruiting and Social Media Specialist

Gray Scalable Spotlight: Erin Jensen


A little more information about Erin, who joined us this year as Head of Business Development & Executive Search...


How she got into tech:

Erin holds a BA in English and Computer Applications from the University of Notre Dame. She remains adept with the you’re/your and they’re/their/there distinctions, and also became well versed in COBOL, AOL dial-up technologies and Friendster. She later continued her education at Harvard Business School, where she earned her MBA in 2007.

Erin’s earliest work experience (harking back to high school) spanned manning a flower shop and setting up floral arrangements for weddings, to giving birthday party pony rides and riding other people’s horses in horse shows. She moved into technology when she started her career in Sales & Consulting at FactSet Research Systems in NYC, and from there joined Google, where she led an AdWords sales team in the company’s Retail vertical, and then moved over to YouTube where she was the chief of staff for YouTube’s head of Sales and Marketing. It was there in 2009 where Erin met Charlie Gray when he ran People Operations for the advertising business. They worked together to create and scale up YouTube’s video and display sales team.


Erin’s role at Gray Scalable:

Eight years later, Erin joined the Charlie’s team at Gray Scalable. She manages two critical roles, leading our growing executive search practice, while also taking on the job of managing our development of new business.  

Before joining us, Erin had become a valued part of our partner network while at Riviera Partners. As Charlie said: “We’d been recommending our clients to Erin for exec search for a couple of years, because we knew she would be a great referral. But recently it became clear it would be better if she just joined our team instead!”


Best neighborhood find:

Erin’s favorite find since her start at Gray Scalable, has been her new favorite coffee shop, The Smile in Noho. “It’s the perfect place to meet candidates and clients, whether you want to simply grab a coffee or a longer breakfast / lunch bite!” She also enjoys frequenting an old standby, the Crosby Street Hotel, for their afternoon tea.


Erin’s favorite part of working at Gray Scalable:

“The team!! I joined GS because it offers a holistic way to fully serve our clients (from embedded recruiting to HR consulting, and now executive search) - it means so much to be able to be that true partner through different stages of a company’s growth, addressing people and growth needs for start-ups as well as mature companies.  But more importantly I also joined because the team here is fantastic - all of them at the top of their craft.  I learn new things every day.”


Who she’s crushing on as a potential client:

When asked who she’d love to work with next, Erin says she has a soft spot for Glossier, the digitally native beauty brand here in NYC. She loves what they’ve built in just a few short years, and continues to be blown away by their loyal customer base and fantastic products. “It’s clear they found product-market fit early on, which is so much easier said than done. I truly admire them.”


What she’s up to now:

Erin resides in Greenwich, CT with her husband and two sons. When she’s not navigating Metro North trains, subways, or flights to the west coast, Erin loves playing tennis, accompanying her sons on the occasional class field trip, or squeezing in a Greenwich Crossfit WOD at the beginning of the day. We also learned she has a passion for music and karaoke, and when asked what her go-to karaoke song was, to our surprise Erin shared a setlist on her phone and decided on “Heaven is a Place on Earth” by Belinda Carlisle.

Great Engineering + Fantastic Team = Awesome Client: MM.LaFleur

MM.LaFleur is a fast-growing professional womenswear company based in New York City. They aim to be the go-to wardrobe solution for women of purpose by taking the work out of dressing for work. Through their thoughtfully-designed products and highly personalized service model, they celebrate and champion the modern professional woman.

They’ve got great opportunities: a growing multitude of super-loyal customers, a popular website, multiple physical showrooms, a small army of dedicated stylists, their own warehouse and supply chain -- all the elements needed to craft a unique and sticky cross-channel customer experience. They pioneered the Bento try-before-you-buy experience and they’re hungry for what’s next.

Gray Scalable is currently working with MM to hire a few mid-level, full-stack engineers for their growing team. They use a bunch of different tools to get the job done: LAMP Stack, Javascript, CSS, Ruby and Python. We are looking for engineers who have worked with some or all of these. Also, e-commerce experience is a nice-to-have (but it is definitely not required.)

As an employer, MM. LaFleur is dedicated to building and maintaining an inclusive and progressive workplace. When asked what keeps them happy, team members have consistently stated that the people and leadership (starting at the top with Sarah) are primary reasons. To be more specific, employees feel that they are supported by strong, thoughtful leaders, have learning and development opportunities and are generally surrounded by talented, interesting and, yes, fun co-workers.

Of course, they’ve got interesting technical challenges, too: analytics-driven personal styling and marketing, real-world inventory tracking, personalized algorithmic merchandising, supply chain visibility, speed, scale, data pipeline -- all the things you’d expect of a growing, vertically-integrated clothing brand. Plus, they treat their stylists as external users, building fast and fun tools to empower them whether they’re on the phone or in the showroom with a customer.

Oh, and they just moved into a beautiful new office:

mmnewoffice .jpg


If this sounds a team you’d like to join, apply here!

written by Ben Schumer, Technical Recruiting Consultant

First Principle of Compensation

At Gray Scalable, we help a lot of companies set up a rational compensation structure and set their pay to market. It’s a foundational product to us, because this can then help companies with so many other things - like career development, hiring the best talent, etc.   

But one of the biggest benefits is communications - that is, it enables the company to talk to its employees confidently and knowledgeably about their pay. As a great HBS study demonstrated, the communication about pay can matter more than the actual pay itself.  

Our first principle about compensation is that while you should never be totally transparent with your employees about everyone’s pay, you should act as if you are (except in the simplest of workplace populations or union environments, where it may actually be possible or necessary to have very strict and uniform comp structure). Every compensation decision you make, from new hire offers to annual increases to bonus payments - should be a decision you could reasonably defend if suddenly the curtain were pulled back and the whole team knew about that decision.  

This enables you to be proactive about comp decisions and conversations, and it challenges you to ensure you’re treating everyone fairly. It’s also a good defense against all the potential pitfalls of NOT having a defensible process - like employees asking each other about pay and drawing their own conclusions, or having to respond regularly to counter-offers.

This is a key ingredient of organizational health, and it requires a rational compensation structure as a starting point.  


written by Charlie Gray, President of Gray Scalable

Gray Scalable Spotlight: John Ball


A little more information about John, a Technical Recruiter and Gray Scalable Rock Star...

How he got into HR:                                                                                                                   John holds a BA in Business Administration and is currently finishing his Masters in HR & Organizational Management from Manhattanville College. John’s first job was as a college admissions counselor for Manhattanville, and then he transitioned into a technical recruiter in 1998 as “the internet boom” was in high gear. He started in client development and technical placements on the agency side, before going on to build Engineering and Product teams for  Patch and Aol, Everyday Health, Jibe and Vimeo.

John’s role at Gray Scalable:                                                                                                        John joined the team in January of 2016 and has since hired dozens of engineers, product managers and other tech staff for our client companies. He spends most of his time onsite with hiring managers, working to scale their technical and product teams. John specializes in sourcing and hiring engineering and product talent, and implementing recruiting process for top tech start-ups.

His favorite projects:                                                                                                                  “One of my favorite all time projects was working with Patch/Aol. We had a major recruitment scaling initiative to hire 1,500 people in about six months. I was one of the first technical recruiters so I got a chance to help build a great technical team for them. I got to work with some really outstanding people and learned a tremendous amount about internal recruitment and scaling initiatives overall.   

A recent project I enjoyed was with Spreemo. It gave me the opportunity to work with Andreas Turanski, the CTO of Spreemo Health, for a second time. I had previously worked with him when he was the CTO of Jibe. We were able to build an outstanding engineering team consisting of onsite and remote engineers. Spreemo Health has helped tens of thousands of injured employees at Fortune 500 companies recover better, faster, and more affordably, so it felt good that my recruitment had an impact on helping people get healthier faster.

Olo, the white-labeling ordering platform, was also a great client. Every person I contacted would ask, “what’s Olo?” but then discover this great product with a fantastic engineering team, and a culture that is so sticky that there’s almost no attrition.

It’s also great starting up new gigs! We just started with Aaptiv this week, and are really excited about it.”

When asked what he enjoys most about working at Gray Scalable, John said, “I like working at different client sites and meeting other interesting people in technology. It’s great to have hands-on, current knowledge of the tech job ecosystem in NYC: who’s growing, what’s new, what tech people are using, etc. My teammates at Gray Scalable are also amazing and it’s great to be able to share ideas and learn from one another constantly.”

Some fun facts that John freely shares with anyone who asks:                                                  John has four of the cutest bunnies as pets. He loves to dance salsa and his go-to karaoke song is James Taylor’s Country Road.

7 Steps to Improve the Top of your Resume


Are “Professional Objectives” and LinkedIn summaries still a thing these days? Do people read them or just pass over them to read the work history or connections? As recruiters, we generally appreciate them, because when well written, they help us get a clear idea of who the candidate is, and what he/she is looking for. But, "well written" is the key here - check out our advice:


  1. Know your audience. Who are you hoping reads this and what do you want them to learn? What do you want them to immediately know about you?

  2. Outline your content (before you even start writing)... What are the most important experience and skills you want to share? Keep in mind that the first two sentences are the most important because that’s what everyone sees. On LinkedIn, they’ll have to click to read more based on what your first two sentences say.

  3. Grammar and professionalism matter. Decide to write in either first or third person, don’t switch back and forth. First-person allows you to start a connection with the reader and it allows them to get to know you.

  4. Add multimedia elements (i.e hyperlinks). This allows you to share the maximum amount of material and information about yourself, your skills and your experience.

  5. Be authentic. Especially if you’re talking about specifically why you do what you do.

  6. Demonstrate your skills and specialities--you can do this by sharing your experiences and giving specific examples of how X led you to Y.

  7. End with a call to action. For example, on LinkedIn you may want to encourage the reader to connect with you or to send a message, if they share a common interest or can offer you something of value to your career.   


written by Irene Courey, Recruiting and Social Media Specialist


Looking for some help in your job search? Join our community to stay in the know about different jobs and opportunities in your field or check out our open jobs page!

Linking Talent Acquisition to Talent Management

Including guest post from Cheryl Roubian, Director of Talent at Greenhouse.

 At Greenhouse, Cheryl leads a team focused on finding, elevating and extending the lifecycle of top talent for Greenhouse. Find Cheryl on Twitter and LinkedIn.


 This post originally appeared on the Greenhouse blog on August 9, 2017, under the "Company Culture" category.

Top 3 Ways to Improve the Intersection between Talent Acquisition and Talent Management

Sometimes things just work better together: milk and cookies, Sonny and Cher, Bert and Ernie, sharks and dinosaurs (ok, maybe they don’t but they should). To this illustrious list, I will add Talent Acquisition and Talent Management.

In January of 2017, we brought Talent Acquisition and Talent Management under one roof. While the two teams have always worked well together, it’s been really cool to see the ways that bringing them together has created deeper and more effective collaborations.

The best part is... you don’t actually have to combine the teams to reap the benefits we’ve experienced. Here are three ways you can leverage the expertise of each team to build a stronger organization:

1. Include your business partners (BPs) in the kick-off process for new roles

Context: At Greenhouse, our recruiters do a lot of discovery when they kick off a new role. That discovery turns into our interview plans, which are an incredibly rich resource and answer questions like:

  • What’s the business need for this hire at this time?

  • What are the high-level objectives and 90-day goals for this person?

  • What are the qualities, technical capabilities, and interpersonal skills we’ll need this person to have?

While our recruiters have always built interview kits and our Human Resources Business Partners (BPs) have always had access to them, it didn’t occur to us to intertwine their workflows until we combined the two teams and I started reviewing the interview plans.

What we used to do: Our approval process for opening a role included putting a second set of eyes on the interview plan before we officially open the role - for us it was historically someone at the director-level or above.

What we do now: That second set of eyes now belongs to the business partner (BP) who supports the team opening the role.

The benefit: This creates an opportunity for the business partner and recruiter to share important context on the role and overall profile of the team. Sharing knowledge in this way is a good check-and-balance that we’re building strong teams with balanced skill-sets. That makes for more effective teams and a more effective Greenhouse.

TACTICAL TIP: If you’re using Greenhouse as your recruiting tool, you can create a notification that alerts the BPs of internal applications. This gives the business partner a heads up on potential internal moves – information that might otherwise take a couple days or weeks to filter over to your Talent Management team.


2. Notify BP’s about new hires as soon as an offer is accepted

Context: When a new hire joins Greenhouse, they get access to Greenhouse Onboarding (our product) and go through our company-level Onboarding Program. Behind the scenes, the new hire’s manager is also working with her business partner to run through her own onboarding checklist and make sure the new hire gets onboarded to both the team and manager but also Greenhouse overall.

What we used to do: BPs heard about new hires as part of onboarding setup, typically about halfway between offer acceptance and start date.

What we do now: BPs are automatically notified as soon as an offer is accepted.

The benefit: This gives the BP a leg up on supporting managers as they prepare to onboard their new person. Data shows that good onboarding leads to better outcomes. When our managers are prepared to onboard new hires, it means new hires ramp faster, are more effective sooner, and stay longer. Everybody wins.

TACTICAL TIP: If you’re using Greenhouse Recruiting and Greenhouse Onboarding, there are actually two ways you can do this:

  1. In Greenhouse Recruiting, you can notify your business partners when you mark a candidate as “hired”, or

  2. In Greenhouse Onboarding, you can set up your tasks to notify the business partner when a new hire has been added to the system (i.e., when a new hire is pushed over from an accepted offer in Greenhouse Recruiting).


3. Capacity-planning and Org changes

Context: BPs are usually the first people to know about organizational changes - from promotions to departures and everything in between. While it might not always be appropriate to share this information with your entire recruiting team, it’s vital information for effective planning on your talent acquisition team.  

What we used to do: At Greenhouse, this communication loop has always been pretty close, but we use to shared this kind of information in a more ad-hoc manner, which meant there was occasionally a lag in sharing key moves.

What we do now: Our BPs and the head of Talent Acquisition now have regular touch-points throughout the week to share information around promotions, transfers, departures and other organizational changes.

The benefit: If your organization is growing, business needs change FAST. Knowing when and how org changes are happening allows us to better plan and adjust our recruiting capacity to business demand. This means we can open roles more quickly, which means hiring managers get help faster, and Greenhouse can meet its business objectives sooner.

TACTICAL TIP: Depending on the rate of change in your org and/or how fast you’re growing, consider having these touch-points at least once a week.   


Summing it up

In this post, I’ve shared some of the ways we’ve found our talent teams work more effectively when they’re intertwined. Six months in, we’re still uncovering really interesting ways that Talent Acquisition and Talent Management work better when they work together. I hope you’ve found this post helpful and would love to hear how Talent Acquisition and Talent Management work together in your org!

Gray Scalable Spotlight: Bec Bliss

A little more information about Bec, a Technical Recruiting Consultant and Tech Hunter-Gatherer...

How she got into HR:                                                                                                                   Bec studied anthropology at the University of Melbourne in Australia and has spent her career building engineering, product and sales teams for startups in New York. She started as a contingency recruiter before joining XO Group Inc., where she built out the engineering team and implemented recruiting process and operations.

Bec’s role at Gray Scalable:                                                                                                           Bec joined the Gray Scalable Team in August of 2015 (Happy Two-Year!). She specializes in sourcing and hiring engineers and implementing recruiting process for top tech firms in the New York City. Bec also manages Gray Scalable’s internal sourcing team.

“My job is to be a bit of a chameleon, adding support or process tailored to each client's specific recruiting challenge. I've had some clients that have excellent processes in place and a wonderful employment brand, and other clients that have no recruiting support or are new to the scene. Sometimes that's doing classic engineering recruiting and others it's designing process, doing interview training, setting up an ATS, or building an employment brand. In truth, it's why I love the job so much: each client has a new problem to tackle.”

Her favorite projects:                                                                                                                    “All of them. I know, I know, but really! Each one of my clients has been an amazing partner, making me feel like a true member of their team. It's been incredible to see the results and metrics improve at each client and that's the result of a healthy partnership between Gray Scalable and the client. However, working for BarkBox did have some really snuggly perks! If I ever had a stressful day there was always a puppy around happy to have a cuddle.”

Bec’s favorite part of working at Gray Scalable:                                                                             “I love that we're a close-knit team - despite the fact that we're usually only in the same office once weekly. I feel as much support and fellowship from this team as I have in places where I worked alongside my teammates every day.”

What she’s up to now:                                                                                                                   Bec currently resides in Brooklyn with her boyfriend, dog and a small urban farm in the backyard. She loves to travel and never leaves home without her passport and a deck of cards.

Keeping Up with Gray Scalable

What’s new at Gray Scalable?

Erin Jensen joined the team last month!    

Erin started her career in sales and marketing, spent a couple of years at Google and Youtube, and has worked independently as an e-commerce, marketing and merchandising consultant. Most recently she spent a few years building an east coast executive search practice specializing in senior technologists.  

Does that mean that Gray Scalable is now doing Executive Search?

Yes! Although we have done several targeted executive searches for People VPs, CTOs and CROs for some of our long term clients, we will now be managing searches for new clients, with Erin leading the way. She will also be responsible for developing new business for all of our recruiting services, including embedded search and consulting.   

We also recently welcomed Emily Werthamer to the team. Emily will also be managing executive searches independently. In addition to several years working in third-party executive search, Emily managed the exec recruiting function at both Patch and Aol.  

In other exciting news, Darla Hornbjork, our veteran tech recruiter and sourcing team manager, has had a baby, dropped a hyphen, and packed up and moved to LA!

Wait... Does that mean that Gray Scalable is now open for business in Southern California?

Yes it does! We are excited to meet new clients and start building new relationships in California, and Darla will be back from her maternity leave in early October.

There are lots of other exciting team members, including our newest recruiter Ben Schumer, our newest sourcer Angelica Martinez and our versatile new social media boss Irene Courey.    

We’re looking forward to continued growth over the next year as we bring on some really interesting new clients, expand our geographic range and offer new services. Thanks for following us!


Gray Scalable Spotlight: Rose Alvarez


A little more information about Rose, our Sourcing and Operations Consultant and favorite Wearer of Many Hats

How she got into HR:                                                                                                                 Rose joined Gray Scalable in February 2015, as the fourth team member. Her first job was as a pre-school teacher near her hometown, Berkeley Heights:

“I love kids and the job was fun but I felt like something was missing. I wanted to be in the hustle and bustle of NYC. After getting a taste of administration at a fast-paced startup, I knew I wanted to learn more about HR. A family friend introduced me to Charlie, and after speaking with him about what he was building and what I could learn, I knew it was the best opportunity for me and I've never looked back!”

Rose’s role at Gray Scalable:                                                                                                           As an early Gray Scalable employee wearing the above-mentioned many hats, Rose was instrumental in helping set up and establish our core business operations. She continues to help us all stay organized and takes great care of us. As we've grown, she has specialized as a Sourcing and Operations Consultant, spending her time searching for the perfect candidates for our clients.

Here’s what Rose has to say about her ever-evolving roles here: “What surprised me the most about working at Gray Scalable was how collaborative, transparent and helpful everyone has been here. I think these are the qualities that have helped me develop and continue to grow.

My proudest moment was my first tech hire. It was a difficult position to fill and took a lot of work but it was SO worth it and made me want to go out and get more!!”

Her favorite projects:                                                                                                                  “I've really enjoyed collaborating with Bec Bliss and helping out at Buzzfeed. We have been helping them out for over a year and they are great to work with. I've taken on tech coordinating there as well, making sure our candidates who come in have a great experience from the moment they enter the building till the moment they leave!

I've also enjoyed implementing, along with Charlie, Cocktail Roulette at Gray Scalable. Every couple months we gather clients, colleagues and candidates at random to enjoy a night of cocktails and conversation!” 

Some fun facts about Rose:                                                                                                             Rose was once on a Rachel Ray Makeover Show, rocking an Oscar look a la Kate Winslet. Rose is a lover of all things Hamilton and could never turn down a glass of rosé (frozen or chilled).

Gray Scalable’s 2nd Annual Start-Up Recruiter Survey


Last year, we launched our start-up recruiter survey, geared at learning how recruiters meet the hiring demands of growing companies.  This year, we once again asked questions about the makeup of the recruiting team as well as how the hiring process was structured.  We also added a new section on HR practices - asking about surveys, performance, HR tools, and compensation.  

Recruiters from over 40 start-ups participated in the survey. These companies ranged in size from under 50 to over 500 employees and came from cities across the US (though the majority - about 75% - are based in New York).

We turned the results into a guide to help start-ups build out their people practices.  Here’s what we learned:


Building a Recruiting Team

Hiring the first recruiter - how much experience do start-up recruiters typically have? As with last year’s findings, recruiters at start-ups are generally not new to the field; 65% had more than six years of recruiting experience, and 27% had 10 or more.  Only 10% had fewer than 2 years of recruiting experience.  Making sure you hire a recruiter with a solid amount of experience is a sound idea -  it’s not an easy job!

When start-ups add the second recruiter.  Most start-ups add a second or third recruiter after 50 employees, and all companies over 200 employees had at least 2-3 recruiters. Those with more than 500 employees had at least 4-5 (with 60% reporting 6 or more recruiters).

When to add recruiting coordinator support.  At under 50 employees, most recruiters reported doing all the scheduling themselves. From 51-100 employees, some teams had recruiting coordinators but many were still getting help from an administrative employee in the company (but not a designated recruiting coordinator), which suggests that companies may need this role sooner than they think.  At the 100 employee mark, half reported having a designated recruiting coordinator and after 150 employees, it was unusual for a company to not have this support role.  At the 300 employee mark, there were at least 2-3 coordinators, if not 4 or more.  This suggests that if you’re growing quickly, you may want to open that recruiting coordinator job before you get to 100 employees (and if you’re growing very quickly, even sooner!).


Recruiting Team Expectations

How many roles should a recruiter handle at one time?  From the graph below, the majority of recruiters reported being responsible for 6-10 roles or 11-20 at any given time.  Having more than 20 open jobs at one time was unusual (less than 10% of recruiters).  


This information can also help guide the ‘when to add a second recruiter’ question from above  - if you’re a growing company that anticipates that there will be 20+ roles open at your company at any given time, it may be the right time to add a second recruiter.

In addition, the types of roles being recruited for matter as well.  Those reporting that they were primarily responsible for engineering and product roles reported being responsible for fewer requisitions than those recruiting for other roles. Nearly 70% of tech recruiters were responsible for 10 or fewer roles, and 25% reported working on fewer than 5 at any given time.  Interestingly, 100% of the tech recruiters responsible for more than 10 roles at at time reported having recruiting coordinator support, suggesting that you can offset a slightly higher workload if there is a support role in place.

How long does it take to fill a role?  Recruiters in our survey reported taking mostly between 1-2 months to fill a role.  This fits with what we’ve seen at our clients and other places we’ve worked, where the average time to fill is usually somewhere around 50 days (from the time a job opens until the offer is accepted).

How many hires are made per month? Recruiters generally reported making 5 or fewer hires per month (80%).  As with the number of open roles, the type of job matters as well - 80% of tech recruiters reported 3 or fewer hires per month, while 90% of those recruiting for non-tech roles made 4 or more.


Hiring Process

How many interviews before a candidate gets an offer? Thankfully, 97% of recruiters responded that fewer than 10 people interview a candidate before they get to offer stage (that includes the recruiter interview).  That said, it looks like there tends to be ‘interviewer creep’ as a company grows; the larger the company, the more likely recruiters were to report a higher number of interviews before getting to an offer.


While we understand that there may be situations where it makes sense to have more people weigh in on a candidate, putting a ceiling on the number of interviews a candidate has to go through will keep your process efficient and ensure your candidate has a positive experience.

Is structured interviewing a standard practice? ‘Structured interviewing’ refers to whether a company uses consistent questions and topics across interviews (compared to letting an interviewer ‘wing it’ or ask questions like what type of tree they are).  In our survey, 83% of start-up recruiters reported that they used structured interviews. This is even higher than last year, where 71% of recruiters reported the same. Overall, structured interviewing helps find the best fits for your open jobs and reduces bias in your hiring process.

What about skills tests? Having a candidate complete a skills test during the interview process (before or during in-person interviews) has also become a common practice among start-ups - only 12% of recruiters reported not using any sort of skills test during the interview process. However, the majority of skills tests are engineering based, with very few companies reporting that it is a practice across all job functions -  

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 2.33.29 PM.png

Do interviewers score candidates?  Interview scoring is also regularly used at start-ups.  Only 12% of recruiters responded that there is no formal interview scoring (these were not the same 12% from skills-test group).  The majority (59%) reported that they use a simple 2-point scale (a simple ‘thumbs up’ or ‘thumbs down’), while 30% reported using either a 4-point or 5-point scale.  

What applicant tracking system do start-ups use?  As with last year’s results, Greenhouse takes the cake as the ATS most used by the recruiters in our survey.


What are the most common sources of hire for start-ups? When it comes to where recruiters get their hires, the most common sources are employee referrals, direct reach outs, and inbound applicants.

Screen Shot 2017-07-26 at 2.36.40 PM.png

Employee referrals were the most popular source of hire last year as well. If you would like some tips on referral programs, we’ve got you covered - check out our post from earlier this year.

What are the go-to sourcing platforms for recruiting candidates? LinkedIn was far and away the most common recruitment tool, with 85% of recruiters putting it in their top 3.  Below is a graph showing the platforms that were used by at least 10% of recruiters -


Building diversity into your recruiting practice. With the emphasis on the importance of employee diversity in the news this year (in addition to being important in general), we were hoping to see an increase in the number of start-ups reporting that they built diversity practices into their hiring process.  However, this graph remains relatively unchanged from last year -


If you’re interested in some steps you can take, here’s a pretty comprehensive guide to get you started, provided by the VC firm Homebrew.


Building out your HR Practice

When do I move from a PEO to HRIS?  In our survey, the switch to standalone HRIS solutions picks up around 100 employees, and no companies reported using a PEO after about 200 employees.  The HRIS’ systems used by start-ups varied widely, but the most common ones in the survey were Namely, ADP, BambooHR and Workday (the latter was only reported for companies over 500 employees).

Conducting employee surveys.  Employee engagement surveys were relatively popular among start-ups - 78% of recruiters reported that their companies used them.  The usage of them did not depend on company size, which suggests that engagement surveys are a decision made by leadership to learn about their organization rather than a function of growth. The most popular tools among our respondents were SurveyMonkey, CultureAmp, and Google Forms.

Do start-ups use market compensation data? Most start-ups in our survey reported using external market data to benchmark their salaries - 68% reported using a compensation consultant and/or market survey data, and only 15% reported that they did not use any at all.  The remainder were unsure whether external market data or consultants had been used.

How often is employee performance reviewed? Start-ups in our survey reported that employee performance was formally evaluated most commonly on an annual or bi-annual basis.  Only 12% of companies reported not having any formal performance review.

What about performance scores? The debate of “should we have performance ratings?” continues. Half of respondents reported that they used performance scores (with five- and four- point scales as the most popular), while the other half reported that they did not use scoring at all.


Thank you to all the recruiters who took our survey this year!

If you have questions or suggestions, email Sam Feldman - sam@grayscalable.com


written by Sam Feldman, People Analytics Manager


Follow uS to be the first to know about next years' survey!



Why You Should Be Hiring for "Culture Add," Not Culture Fit

This post, by Kathleen de Lara, originally appeared on the Entelo Blog. Kathleen is the Inbound Marketing Manager at Entelo, in this blog post she shares the dos and don'ts of hiring a growing team based on company culture:

Beware of hiring people cut from the same cloth as your team – it could work against what you’re striving to build.

To start, let’s define company culture – an organization’s “genetic code”, an understanding of the overall vision, mission, and values demonstrated by employees’ actions and attitudes. Finding people who embody your company’s standards and principles can be a challenge, but lock in a few, key individuals, and it may seem like you have the blueprint to building a model team. That’s exactly the problem.

Organizations are often prone to finding and hiring people they like – employees who work hard, collaborate well with others, contribute to the company, and ultimately, jibe with the culture in place.

While this can almost guarantee you’re hiring someone who will do and fare well with the team, consider who you’re missing out on by dismissing people who aren’t exactly “perfect,” or fit the mold of who you already have on your team. Hiring for culture fit is frequently misunderstood as hiring people with similar attitudes, traits, beliefs, and experiences as those on the team. That can mean identifying candidates who graduated from top universities, previously worked at a highly regarded orgs, or who are experts and purple squirrels of their domain.

As Jon Bischke explains on HR Happy Hour, for some companies, culture fit becomes a matter of bucketing candidates under these checkboxes: Does this person look like us? Talk like us? Walk like us? Thinking of culture fit this way encourages bias, exclusiveness, and the likeliness for companies to multiply the status quo.

Instead, hire people who are a “culture add” – that means people who not only support the team’s values and professional ethics, but also bring an aspect of diversity to the team. Alternative viewpoints, unconventional experiences, rare, specialized skill sets. Hiring people who add to your culture also champions a more inclusive means for evaluating candidates, rather than focusing on what a candidate doesn’t have. Instead, think: What can this person could bring to the table?

When employees experience the benefits of a diverse team, they’re more naturally inclined to seek diverse candidates to support a continually developing team. More, newer ideas are discussed, different communication styles thrive, and candidates from diverse backgrounds become engaged with what your company has to offer.

Gray Scalable's Greatest Reposts of Q2!



Check out these five steps to give effective, positive feedback to improve the performance of your team: http://bit.ly/2sal4Hu.

Screen Shot 2017-07-20 at 1.50.15 PM.png

It is possible for companies to experience incredible growth while still maintaining open and inclusive work environments. Betterment is a great example of this--watch how they have managed to do it here: http://bit.ly/2qD61nC.



“I'm going to upset you by telling you about how sometimes being nice can have unintended and ironic consequences for the workplace.” It’s important to give honest feedback, even when that feedback isn’t nice: http://bit.ly/2uoirSO.


Employees at every level need training, and here’s why: http://bit.ly/2rRRLwC. Need help getting started? That’s where we come in!



Join our team!

We're looking for a Business Recruiter with fearless sourcing chops, operational excellence, awesome management skills, high integrity and a great sense of humor, is that you? Apply now!

Gray Scalable Spotlight: Michael Aiyar

A little more information about Michael, our Sourcing Consultant and Candidate Wrangler...

How he got into HR:

“My first job was an internship at a small tech recruiting company in California when I was in high school. I didn't realize it at the time, but it planted a seed that stayed with me throughout college and eventually led to my first job at Microsoft in campus recruiting. Working in tech ended up being a great experience for me, and I even wrote a blog post about it. After being at a large organization for a bit, I decided it was time to try something new, and moved to NYC to join Gray Scalable. It's been awesome learning about the startup world and seeing how smaller organizations build and scale.” Read more about why Michael works in tech in his Inclusion Matters blog post: bit.ly/2uaJvbk.


Michael’s role at Gray Scalable:

As a Sourcing Consultant, Michael specializes in researching startups and the talent market and connecting candidates with roles for our clients. He also works on implementing our CMS/ATS system and is always exploring new sourcing tools and methods.

Michael’s proudest moment at Gray Scalable was making his first successful candidate-client connection at Wellpass! When he started with Wellpass, it was very early stage, so when he reached out, that was the first time the engineer had heard about the company. “It was incredibly satisfying to be able to connect her with a new opportunity that she might not have found on her own - especially one with a mission that she believed in and a product she was excited to help build.”


His favorite projects:

“I've been lucky enough to be at a large client (Buzzfeed) and a tiny one (Wellpass) and I've liked each for different reasons. It's fun to recruit for something that people have already heard of and know about (like Buzzfeed), but it can also be fun to educate people about something new and innovative (Wellpass). I've also really enjoyed getting to work on streamlining our workflows and integrations with our ATS/CRM.”


Some fun facts about Michael:

Although a terrible singer in real life, Michael once ended up singing karaoke with Mary Lambert (collaborator and friend of Macklemore). He was also, randomly, featured on an interview about Zagreb on Croatian television