A modern approach to recruiting with Jonathan Tamblyn of Gemini

A modern approach to recruiting with Jonathan Tamblyn of Gemini

As a new college grad, Jonathan Tamblyn turned a consulting job at a boutique firm into an on-ramp to talent and people operations. He is currently the Head of Talent at Gemini, one of the leading crypto native fintech platforms, where he leads a team of 45 professionals.

Jonathan recently joined Maren Kate on the Work+Web3 podcast to discuss his journey to a career in talent, his philosophy on recruiting, and current trends and challenges in recruiting.

Jonathan’s approach to recruiting has evolved over the past 10 years to become more transparent, objective, structured, and attributes or values-based. “My style is to bring a lot of transparency around a role, culture, the challenges that might be facing a company, and truly just painting an accurate picture of what it’s going to be like in the role.” At Gemini, he has built a system based on developing specific interview questions around the core functional attributes and values they care most about as a company and that, regardless of function, department, or level every candidate should have. By rating and scoring candidates against these core functional attributes and values, they create structure and consistency in the hiring process.

Jonathan and Maren discuss some of the current recruiting challenges facing fintech companies like Gemini such as scaling hiring in a volatile industry and the efficiency of recruiting. With aggressive runs in the market at times and what Jonathon describes as “crypto winters”, planning for and scaling hiring can be challenging for companies big and small in the crypto native fintech industry. Despite this, Jonathon cautions against reactive approaches to hiring. “I think the classic pitfall there is that you skip over the planning, you skip over the kickoff, and you might miss that opportunity just to make sure that everybody involved in the decision-making is on the same page and has roughly the same definition of what good looks like.”

Recruiting efficiency is also a challenge that early-stage companies face where the scale of hiring demand is bigger than the operations behind it. At Gemini, the talent team is focused on the rate of candidates screened to offers accepted, and by digging into the specific stage-over-stage conversion rates they are honing in on issues and inefficiencies in the recruiting process and addressing them at that stage.

Jonathan’s advice for professionals wanting to break into the web3 and crypto space is to “go for it. Put your hat in the ring and see what happens”. In his opinion, professionals coming from traditional finance have a lot to offer early-stage crypto companies, such as an in-depth understanding of capital markets and macroeconomics. With a mastery of traditional concepts, “they’re able to really understand and articulate to others the value that crypto presents to the world and to institutions, and to retail customers.” He and Maren agree that there is an important role to play for non-technical candidates in this growing industry with roles in behind the scenes administration, business development, strategy, and communications and their ability to make a huge impact on small growth-stage companies.

Jonathan shared a couple of tools that his team is using, Gem, or will be using soon, Textio, to ensure that every touchpoint that candidates have with Gemini during the hiring process is inclusive and that underrepresented candidates are progressing through the hiring process at the same rate as other candidates.

Fellow true crime lovers, be sure to check out Jonathon’s podcast recommendation Sword and Scale. He also recommended the book Working Backwards: Insights, Stories, and Secrets from Inside Amazon for anyone interested in learning more about what’s behind the success of one of today’s largest companies.

If you liked this interview, check out our conversation with Braden Weinstock of Paxful.

Photo of Jonathan Tamblyn
Jonathan Tamblyn

Head of Talent at Gemini

Maren Kate
So today my guest is Jonathan Tamblyn. He is currently the Head of Talent at Gemini. Jonathan, welcome to the show. Thank you so much for joining us.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Hi. It's great to be here. Thanks so much for having me.

Maren Kate
Absolutely. So first of all, for people who are unfamiliar, tell us what Gemini does.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, so Gemini is a crypto native fintech platform. And we offer simple and secure solutions for both retail customers and institutions to buy, sell, trade, and store digital assets and essentially build up their crypto portfolio. Our roots were sort of in a pure exchange but these days we've expanded pretty broadly. We have a new crypto credit card that we just released a couple of months back and we have an NFT arm called Nifty Gateway, which is pretty exciting.

Maren Kate
Very cool. Awesome. So obviously, you are probably doing a ton there and it's a very exciting space but I'd like to take you all the way back to your first job. What was that?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yes. So I graduated college with a philosophy degree with a minor in art history. And I’m sure you've heard a lot of other people with that sort of academic background comment that even upon graduation they probably didn't have a good sense of what they wanted to do. I definitely fell into that category. The summer after I graduated I found a consulting job with a pretty boutique firm based in Philadelphia. And that firm was geared towards helping grow companies by essentially operationalizing their mission, their values, their purpose. And while I didn't know it at the time, this ended up being a really cool on-ramp for me to get into the space of talent, people operations, and some of the qualitative aspects behind companies that a lot of people might not necessarily appreciate at first glance. So I was sort of a project manager for a lot of consulting projects. A lot of our clients at the time were CPG companies, technology companies, alcohol, spirits, things like that and I had the good fortune, I suppose, of just getting exposure to clients and really understanding, from their perspective, how they aim to infuse into their growth strategy things like a founder's mission, or a CEO’s vision and, yeah, very cool job. I sort of learned, at that point, what it's like to support clients, how you sort of need to be buttoned up and prepared and super organized. And like I said, that became a really cool launchpad for me for the next steps in my career, which were a little bit more geared towards being in-house, hands-on, helping growing teams, companies through not only talent acquisition efforts, but also learning and development, culture initiatives, resource management, and staffing, all that kind of stuff.

Maren Kate
And how did you zero in on the talent side of things? Obviously, the people-side is very broad. What drew you to or how did you fall into the talent side of the stack?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, I sort of fell into it. So my second job was in 2011, I moved from Philadelphia to New York City, I joined a startup, which was I think, 11 or 12 people at the time. It was a startup within a much bigger conglomerate called WPP, which is a big advertising and marketing holding company. And the firm, at the time, was growing very quickly and I joined in sort of an all-around Chief of Staff, executive assistant type of capacity. And they didn't have anybody that was dedicated to recruiting and building up an employer brand and, even though I had no experience doing that stuff, my boss at the time that was kind of the managing director for the firm just threw me into it. I started going to campuses, business schools, started talking to partner-level candidates that I probably had no business speaking to at the time as I think maybe a 23-24-year-old. But sort of learned through doing and just got launched into the deep end and eventually started honing that recruiting-centric role as my sweet spot. The firm grew pretty quickly. I think over the roughly five years that I was there grew from like I said, 11 or 12 people to I think around 300 people. And so yeah, I was essentially the only recruiter that was doing most of that growth. So I was working very hard.

Maren Kate
I was going to say, that must have been some long hours.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Definitely carrying a lot of weight on my shoulders, for sure. And definitely walked away with probably a bit more grit and understanding of just what it takes to do that kind of stuff than I had before but super rewarding experience. It was an intense environment but it's great to just, as a young guy just kind of getting into the talent space, sort of talking to MBAs and other management consultants about what their next step in their career might look like.

Maren Kate
So as you've gone through that career path, especially within talent, how has your approach to hiring changed? How do you build out and lead a talent department at Gemini? I mean, I guess from a structural standpoint, how do you guys set up your organization? And then how do you approach it now versus when you first started recruiting?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Absolutely. So I think when I first started recruiting, it was sort of, you're really focused on sort of selling, right? You want the sense of progress with all of the candidates that you speak to. You might get on a phone or have an initial meeting with a candidate who on paper looks really strong and I think a lot of people, especially those who are just getting started in the space, they're sort of programmed to sell and to try to represent the company as best as possible and really try to just maintain as much momentum and progress as you can. And nowadays, my style is to bring a lot of transparency around a role, culture, the challenges that might be facing a company, and truly just painting an accurate picture of what it's going to be like in the role. And at times that might actually sound like that counter sell, right? Why might you not want to do this job? And I find that that is just a great way of building trust. And if a candidate, assuming that they're interested in moving forward, when you get to more advanced stages, offers, helping them sort of navigate that decision, if you've really built that trust with them from the beginning, it goes miles and miles at the final stage. So I would say that shift from really trying to sell to just being more real, more objective, more a little bit neutral when talking about an opportunity, I think that's worked really well.

Maren Kate
I like that a lot.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, definitely. The other main piece is around structure and having attributes or values-based interviewing methods. Going back 10-12 years now when I was first starting recruiting it was a little bit loose, right? You sort of arranged a meeting between a candidate and an interviewer and you let it run and you got that person's feedback, and I think we've probably all been there, but the feedback is typically a little bit more loose, qualitative, not based on examples and nowadays we start with defining what the actual core functional attributes are. What are the values that we care most about? What are the hard skills that we must have? And we build a whole system of rating, scoring, and really specific questions around. So we're actually at Gemini right now, we're just in the process of sort of refining what our attributes are, that we're going to pepper in across the interviewing process. But essentially, what we aim to come up with is a set of maybe four to five, that regardless of the function or department or level, every candidate should be.

Maren Kate
Character traits pretty much. Whether they're an intern or a VP, there's certain things, regardless of the role, that if they're going to be a culture fit you want them to have.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Exactly right. And, of course, the next step there is spending time defining what the expectations are for each competency across levels. So to your point, if we’re hiring a vice president and we're thinking about grit, for example, what does that look like in somebody that's been working for 15 to 20 years versus an intern who might still be in school? They can both exhibit grit, for sure, but the way you measure it, the types of questions that you ask, the way that you extract whether this person really exhibits that thing is going to be quite different.

Maren Kate
So from a nerdy, like, recruiting ops is my jam, I'm obsessed with it. How do you guys structure your team? What does that look like?

Jonathan Tamblyn
In terms of the talent department overall?

Maren Kate
Internally, yep.

Jonathan Tamblyn
So I think you'll like the answer here. So we've got three main teams. The first, which is kind of like the foundation, is called strategy & ops. The recruiting team overall is about 45 people and strategy & ops is around 10, or maybe 12 at this point, and these are the folks who are almost like the mechanics of the recruiting mechanisms. So their job is to build it, monitor it, make sure that they're addressing and diagnosing snags or inefficiencies, and day to day they're deep into our ATS building out new reqs, helping build out scorecards.

Maren Kate
What do you guys use for ATS?

Jonathan Tamblyn
We use Greenhouse. We're a big fan of Greenhouse. We've used it the whole time that I've been at Gemini and then at my previous firm also.

Maren Kate
You’ve really grown with it, too.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Definitely. Yeah.

Maren Kate
I mean, it's a commitment. Once you commit to an ATS when you put the time into it there's some serious switching costs once you've really built certain steps and processes out

Jonathan Tamblyn
Absolutely, yeah, it's very much our sort of recruiting DNA at this point. So absolutely. So yeah, we've got a team that's dedicated to the process, the workflows, again, the kind of operational foundation of the team. And then we have what you might expect to see, a technology recruiting team, which is, out of the three divisions within recruiting, the biggest. I think we have around 25 people on that team at the moment. And then we have a non-technical, what we call GCO which stands for growth, control, and operations, that's a team of I think maybe eight to nine people as of today.

Maren Kate
Okay, very cool. I love that you have the different kinds of pillars there. And so if someone in the department wants to request a new role, I'm sure, obviously, they go through budgeting, go through financing, but then what does it look like on your side? Did you say the strategy & ops team works with them to scope it? Or what is your process for that?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, that's actually a hot topic. We have not figured out a really smooth process yet for being able to keep pace with the growth and expansion of the team in a nice, scalable, maybe somewhat automated way of building out reqs. So we recently finished our 2022 planning, and the recruiters were actually pretty heavily involved in that. So it was the members of the Talent Team interfacing with department heads, VP, C levels, across functions, across geographies, and introducing them some guidelines, sort of limitations on how to think about hiring, and then essentially doing some intake. What are the roles? What's the prioritization? What are the levels? And once we've developed that list, then it turns into plugging all of that into Greenhouse. There are a number of different ways to do it but essentially, that ops team is really focused on just using templates of jobs, duplicating those, and then building out the jobs, and then corresponding openings within them, making sure that all of the attributes that correspond to each job are right. Who's the department head, the hiring manager, who are on the interview panels, what's the relative prioritization, all of that kind of stuff. And we're still actually, despite being in mid-March, we still are doing some fine-tuning just to make sure that everything that's in the ATS is a good reflection of what the actual hiring plan is. But what I've seen, particularly at Gemini, and I think this has a lot to do with the industry that we're in, right, it's still nascent, it's highly variable, there are big aggressive runs in the market and then we see kind of, going back to when I joined in 2018, a two and a half year sustained crypto winter. It can be tough to build in that agility into our hiring planning when we're in an industry which is so volatile.

Maren Kate
That's a perfect lead-in. What would you say your biggest challenges are? There's the obvious ones like, it's so hard to hire engineers, but from a little bit of a higher level what do you think the biggest challenges are in the space like in the crypto slash web3 space? What do you see as the biggest challenges from a company and recruiter’s perspective in hiring great talent for the right role?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, absolutely. So I would say, they're probably three that are top of mind for us right now. So I would say one of the challenges has to do with just the efficiency of recruiting. I think, and this is probably a symptom of a lot of maybe early-stage high growth companies, recruiting has been, it's probably been a constant, it's probably something that, the scale is probably much bigger than the operations behind it. Meaning you probably have a lot of recruiting functions that are hiring a lot but perhaps the process, the method, the scalability behind it hasn't yet caught up. And that's definitely been the case here. And when we look at the way that we hire, I think there are a lot of opportunities to improve the efficiency. So when we look at, let's say overall kind of efficiency, when we look at the number of people who are screened by a recruiter to the people who ultimately accept an offer, that's a number that we're sort of obsessive about at the moment. And of course, you can dive in deeper, you can look at specific stage over stage, pass-through rates, and really hone in on exactly what the issues are. What we're seeing is that, in general, when there's a lack of calibration, or a lack of a unified understanding of a skill or, like I said before, a certain attribute or trait that can oftentimes lead to inefficiencies, right? I might say, a candidate is excellent, then you might interview them next and say that person is not good at all. And that really indicates that we're not on the same page about what good looks like and the type of people that we need to be hiring are. So working on impacting that right now.

Maren Kate
Okay, yeah, that makes total sense. I mean, I think that it's funny, it's like there's always the people… it's like hiring is an art and a science but, at the same time, if you nail down the more relational art side, it really then becomes a system. It becomes an efficiency and a numbers game where if you run enough people through your process and granted you have to be able to offer a good role, offer compelling company, figure out how to source and how to target people, and how to optimize inbound but at the end of the day, in theory, similar to sales, you should be able to build a funnel in a system that if you put 1000 at the top, you're going to get X at the bottom. And there's always going to be variables but I feel like it's more rare for people to think about hiring that way. Even at larger companies often there's more of that kind of reactive crap, we need these people, how are we going to do it, versus how people think about sales and go-to-market, which is a lot more numbers-driven.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Absolutely, yeah. And to that point, right, if you've got a role that suddenly opened up, maybe there's an unexpected vacancy, and there's a lot of pressure to get straight to work and start interviewing people. That's dangerous. I think the classic pitfall there is that you skip over the planning, you skip over the kickoff, and you might miss that opportunity just to make sure that everybody involved in the decision-making is on the same page and has roughly the same definition of what good looks like.

Maren Kate
And what success looks like in the role.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Exactly. Look, the best recruiters, in my opinion, are very action-oriented and I love that. I want to make sure that we continue to encourage that. But I think a lot of my coaching to the team does have to do with, okay, slowing down, let's take a beat, let's make sure that we go through this process first, even though there's a tremendous amount of eagerness to get going.

Maren Kate
Yeah, it's a balancing act. One of the topics that I get questioned about and I hear about a lot, is with companies that are either directly in the crypto space like you are or even tangentially in it, how are you seeing compensation shifting than how it was five years ago, definitely 10 years ago? How do you think the best companies in your space are actually approaching compensation? And what are candidates asking for?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Definitely, yeah, that's an excellent question. I generally see a bit of a divide between the very early stage companies and ones like Gemini, Kraken, Coinbase that are far more established. In the earlier stage companies, of course, what we're seeing is lower cash compensation, lower near-term cash compensation, higher equity. Of course, given our space, we're seeing an increase in the number of companies that are offering actual crypto as payment as well. And I think that for a lot of enthusiasts who are willing to take the plunge into, let's say, a 10-person web3 startup, that can be really compelling. And I think that in many ways can actually either supplement or sometimes take the place of what you would typically see in the form of equity, like stock options, or RSUs, or whatever it might be. At Gemini I think it's actually our approach, especially as we kind of continue to raise the bar for our talent is to be more competitive with the fang companies, right, public, very established, fang, or sort of baby fang types of companies. And so what we're doing is a slightly more traditional model, right, pretty healthy cash offerings and then we do at the moment, we're doing sort of variable cash bonuses, as well as equity, and we're close to 900 people at the moment. And despite our scale, we think it's really important to continue giving actual ownership of Gemini to all of our new employees regardless of level. And I would say that's definitely a practice that I would encourage. I think the sense of ownership, the alignment to the long-term success of a company is going to be really vital. And if we look at Coinbase, they're obviously a public company now, but they're still giving very compelling offers to candidates in the form of equity as well. So those are some observations in terms of advice. Especially for companies that are just getting started, I think one thing that, even if you're 10 people, you really need is some sort of structure, framework, some way of not only validating, or in some cases when negotiating, defending your compensation offerings, but to also make sure that you're being equitable, you're being consistent and in line with other companies that are either around your stage or other companies who you aspire to be. And so it's never too early to start thinking about some compensation benchmarking. There are a lot of tools out there where you can sort of select your peer groups. You can think of, hey I'm a 10-person company but I want to be hiring folks that maybe are coming from 500-person companies in fintech.

Maren Kate
And what will that look like? How will that be different?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Exactly. So, like I said, there's some great research tools out there that can just give a little bit more structure to how these decisions are made.

Maren Kate
What are some of the best that you've seen? Because I feel like there's the kind of old school giants like salary.com or some other ones. I'm very curious, and we're kind of collecting this ourselves, tools that are more for web3 companies or newer startups versus traditional firms.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, our sort of go-to is Radford.

Maren Kate
I’ve heard of that one before.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Of course, yeah. I wouldn't say that they necessarily have a kind of specialty in web3 or crypto or even fintech but I do think it's still valuable if those firms are interested in pulling talent from maybe non-web3 or non-fintech companies just to really understand what the general expectations look like, what's competitive, what these other companies are paying. So that's definitely one. At some point, especially if and when a company is thinking about a potential exit on the horizon, I think you typically see firms that are actually getting formal consulting from companies. There's a really well-known, I think west-coast one called Compensia, and I think they've done a lot of work with sort of pre IPO companies that can help them get their reins around their cap table, their equity offerings, think about executive compensation, things like that. There's another really good one called Pay Governance, which we've spoken to as well. So there are a lot of options. But yeah, I'll make sure that I put on my list to maybe start researching ones that are a little bit more geared towards web3.

Maren Kate
And let me know if you find them. If not, I also think that's one of those awesome opportunities. There'll be companies that start now or have already started that in 10 years will be the benchmark. So in the same kind of vein, I'm thinking about switching kind of the sides of the table and thinking about professionals who maybe are in more traditional industries and who are interested in decentralized web, in crypto, in the web3 type companies, and the future of that. What advice would you get to them in breaking into anything from a company like Gemini all the way down to a 10 or 15 person crypto startup?

Jonathan Tamblyn
For sure. So, yeah, I'd say two main points of advice. So first off, always go for it. If you’re trepidatious, if you're coming from JPMorgan, and you're looking at a small web3 company run out of somebody's basement, you have a lot to offer. And you don't have to be the sort of full-time professional crypto person to be able to come to these companies and bring value. I think especially in sort of like the crypto space for firms like Gemini, right, our roots are in an institutional leaning exchange. People from traditional finance have so much to offer, really in-depth understanding of capital markets, macroeconomics, and I think, and this is advice that I give to candidates a lot, I think a lot of times the best candidates have a mastery of those more traditional concepts. And with that mastery, they're able to really understand and articulate to others the value that crypto presents to the world and to institutions, and to retail customers. We see, of course, a lot of maybe crypto hobbyists that are looking to make a plunge into full-time employment in this space, and sometimes when they're lacking that understanding of maybe how traditional finance works I often see less of an ability, in general, of being able to articulate why crypto can be transformative. So that's definitely an interesting observation I've had and yeah, my advice is always go for it. Put your hat in the ring and see what happens. For those coming from more established firms, especially some of these centurion banks that have been around forever, I think there's going to be some patience, there will be a learning curve when it comes to how a 10-person company operates. It's not going to be as structured, it's not going to be as predictable, there's probably less definition around roles, probably sort of a scrappy everyone's an owner type of environment. And, like I said, sort of swimlanes, job descriptions can easily be blurred, and from the perspective of coming from a much more traditional firm I think it could feel a little frenetic, a little messy. So I think my advice would just be spend your time listening, learning, maybe go in and really try to set the expectation for yourself that it's going to be quite different. And then think about opportunities, either operationally, or from the way that a company is pitching itself and its services of how your more traditional background can help improve things.

Maren Kate
That's a great approach. I like that. Again, it kind of goes back to your thing about transparency, being like, “Hey, this is what's gonna be exciting about this opportunity, this is also what's gonna be challenging” and going into it with open eyes and understanding that I think is really important. And then in terms of, obviously, and it's not just within crypto, it's across all technology companies, whether they're startups or Facebook, everybody wants engineers, especially in the last several years, everybody wants product people, but what would you say are some of the unsung heroes or overlooked roles that really make a huge impact that aren't the sexy Engineer, Product Manager, traditional, like, we need to hire 10 of these now?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Absolutely. Wow, that's a great question. I would say, they're probably a few. So I would say, and you see these a lot in sort of small growth-stage companies, but it might be called the Chief of Staff, it might be called an Executive Assistant, but it's probably somebody who knows the company and its roots, maybe its founders, really well and understands how to get things done. Probably sort of grew up in that environment, maybe was employee number three or four, and typically these folks are really scrappy, good relationships across the board, and for those that are a bit more behind the scenes oriented. I think that role is oftentimes that unsung hero, for sure. They're really kind of running the show in the background. I would say sort of strategy, business development, those types of roles that are kind of continually thinking externally about how to make value, creating partnerships between an idea and another entity, another company, even if what they're doing is just an idea as well. At Gemini as an example, we've got a pretty lean strategy function but it's probably one of the coolest jobs at the firm and they do exactly that. They're thinking about maybe some traditional methods, but certainly some nontraditional methods, of building the brand, building partnerships, and thinking of ways to contribute to the community around us. So this might be kind of more VC-style investment in really early stage companies. This could be very lightweight investment in companies that maybe we just want to advise or partner with. And yet a bunch more of sort of opportunities as well, that these kind of strategy folks are thinking about m&a activities, international expansion, strategic partnerships, but theres’s a lot there.

Maren Kate
Yeah, that's a good point. That wouldn't be something I would think of off the bat and I think you're completely right. It's a big value add. The Chief of Staff, EA, any kind of administrative support that's working on the back end and really getting things done that's just a huge lever that I think most times founders or founding teams pull too late, or not even too late, it's just if they had layered in earlier, they would be able to go faster and do more of what they do best. I think also, in terms of the skill sets, one of the unsung skill sets that I, at least, think is starting to become a little bit more recognized, and coming from a philosophy degree you probably would agree with this, but like communication. Like I almost got my major in English literature and psychology and for all my 20s I was like, “what a throwaway degree”. I literally didn't graduate because I had one semester left, and I was like, “this isn't gonna do anything for me”. But the skills that I learned around writing, around communication, around written communication, now in a world where we're a fully remote company, I've only ever worked at fully remote companies and now that's becoming much more normal, it seems like the ability to communicate well, especially in writing is just, it's almost one of the most valuable skills, I would say, sans being able to be an amazing engineer that can ship code and can ship different products. That communication element is just so vital across so many very key functions.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, that's such a good point. I could not agree with you more. Yeah, I've been thinking about that topic a lot for a number of reasons. I mean, I think when it isn't, when it doesn't, go well, right, when you see writing when you see a proposal when you're maybe watching some discourse happening on Slack or email, where you might say, “Hey, these two people are just clearly talking past each other and they don't seem to be landing their points”, it can be so painful to watch. And our Head of Learning and Development, who was actually I think our second full-time recruiter that we hired years ago, always says that one of the courses that she wants to create and give to everybody across the firm is just that kind of classic writing skill, especially in the professional environment. How do you put together a pitch for a new idea, how do you put together something in Slack, even just email formatting, stuff like that. We're big at Gemini on this sort of, like, TLDR at the top right.

Maren Kate
I love the TLDR. Yep.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, yeah totally. And we hope that people don't think it's too long and don't read it. But, even so, it's just a nice headline so that people, maybe if they're multitasking, can get the gist without having to dig too deep.

Maren Kate
Yeah, and l feel like in school, whether it's college or more kind of specific courses or boot camps, that skill is going to start to become something that's part of the basics that you need to really understand and own to be able to thrive in the future of work.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, and writing makes you think, right? You've got your laptop open, you're trying to craft a message, it might be sort of a half baked idea that's in your head and when you have a deliverable that you're trying to get out, it really forces you to think really carefully about what an idea is, and why it might make sense. What we're doing right now is putting together just tons of documentation within the company too to make sure that we all sort of understand the same things, we're all aligned around an idea, and it's been really helpful.

Maren Kate
What's the tool that you use for that documentation?

Jonathan Tamblyn
We're just using Google Docs for the most part.

Maren Kate
We use Notion a lot but Google Docs, it's the OG. So that actually leads me to what is your, you already mentioned Greenhouse, but what is the tech stack that the talent team works on? What are the different tools you use to hire the people you're hiring?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, we have so many. Okay, so we've got like you said, we have Greenhouses or ATS, that's very much the hub. And then we have a whole network of other tools that in some way, shape, or form flow into Greenhouse. So that's very much the nucleus. So we have a lot of sourcing tools. We have tools that allow our recruiters to go out run searches, build lists, and then in some cases that actually run outreach to them. So we use Hired, we use the tried and true LinkedIn Recruiter, of course, and then we've got specific tools that are geared towards building more personable or sorry, I should say, personalized programmatic email campaigns as well. So I might build a project, I want to introduce these seven or eight people to a cybersecurity role that I have, a tool called Gem, which is absolutely one of our favorites.

Maren Kate
I’ve heard a ton of good stuff about Gem.

Jonathan Tamblyn
It's amazing, yeah. So the main purpose, its roots are definitely in running those email marketing or, sorry, email outreach campaigns to candidates. However, it has a nice two-way integration with Greenhouse. So when you change Greenhouse, it can actually run analytics overtop of it. So when we're looking at things like stage over stage conversions, or even the diversity of the pipeline, right, the rates of, let's say, underrepresented minorities within a pipeline, it can actually help us understand patterns and how underrepresented candidates are performing within the process relative to non-underrepresented candidates. Really nice visuals, really easy to use, easy to share reports, it's an amazing tool and they've got great customer service. I feel like I'm doing a plug for them but strong recommendation.

Maren Kate
I love it. Brought to you by Gemini.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Sure. Yeah, exactly. Maybe we’ll get a free membership or something. That's definitely a good one. What are some others that we use? We're exploring Textio, which is, this might be a platform you're familiar with this, is around helping improve job descriptions and other communications or content that you put in front of candidates, in our case. So within our goals around DEI, of course, we want to make sure that every touchpoint that candidates have with Gemini from a recruiting perspective is inclusive. And of course, there's our career page, but also think about job descriptions. What kind of language are we using? How are we positioning the role? And a tool like Textio will actually screen the language and they'll tell us, “okay, the way that you're positioning this role is very masculine, we would recommend revisiting this verb and this noun”. And we have not rolled it out yet, but we intend to soon. We're really excited about some of the benefits that it will hopefully provide for us.

Maren Kate
That's super cool. I'm definitely going to test that out. I love that application. It's always amazing to me just all the different tools there are for hiring. And I always love talking to people on this podcast because everyone has a different stack that they use in different ways. So I guess another question is what is the product or tool you rely on the most to do your best work?

Jonathan Tamblyn
I would say they're probably two and one is Gem like I mentioned and, like I said, we use it very heavily for analytics. And so I think almost every recruiter on the team uses it pretty continually to just get a sense of how they're doing and how their pipelines are running, where there are snags and things of that nature. And then honestly, this is the really boring answer but Google Sheets.

Maren Kate
I do love me a Google sheet.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah exactly and we, I’ve probably made, I don't know, 10,000 sheets so far and my employees have but honestly, how I explained the way we do recruiting earlier, we try to be as methodical and detailed and structured as we can. And so when we're trying to create, when we have an idea about, okay, what are the attributes that we're looking to screen for this new search, and what are the specific questions that we want to be asking that we think are going to do a good job of teasing out a candidate's ability to do that attribute, and what is the follow-up question to dig deeper and sort of peel the onion and really get to the root of that behavior, typically, the way we'll start is in a Google Sheet. And it's easy to use and it's kind of a blank canvas with a little structure. It's almost like virtual graph paper. And then once we have that fleshed out, then we'll go about plugging it into our ATS just to make sure that all of it is centralized.

Maren Kate
Virtual graph paper, they need to use that line. That's the best. That's a great example. Yeah, I use Google Sheets a ton. I use Notion a lot. And then I use Google Docs when we're crafting a hiring plan or a job description. But that sounds rad and I love that gave me several tools I'm going to look into after this. Okay, so last question and this does not have to be related to hiring, it doesn't even have to be related to business at all, but what is your favorite podcast or book from the last year?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Oh let's see. I would say Sword and Scale. That's probably my favorite podcast. It's a little spooky.

Maren Kate
Yes, it's true crime. I’m a huge true crime nerd. I totally know what you're talking about.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Yeah, it's true crime. For a couple of years I was commuting while working in Gemini between Boston, where I live full time, and New York, where the office is, and each week I'd have four or five hours sometimes just going back and forth. And while it was mostly electronic music while trying to get work done in the mornings, it was oftentimes Sword and Scale or another podcast, something that's a little bit more relaxing on the way back home and yeah something about it is really just…

Maren Kate
It’s weirdly relaxing. I literally listen to true crime and like Unsolved Mysteries after work or if I'm walking to my office and people are like, “what is wrong with you?” and I'm like, I don't know, why but I think because it's so different than the work I do, I'm like, “oh, interesting”. I'm so happy that you said that. No one has ever said that on this podcast. What about favorite book?

Jonathan Tamblyn
Let's see, I've got a lot going on right now. I would say…. You said favorite book in the last year? I would say Working Backwards and this is definitely a sort of business book. So this is Amazon and I don't know when it was published, actually. But right now I think, within the company, we're spending a lot of time sort of thinking about how a lot of the more established big public companies are operating and what's behind their success and Amazon's Working Backwards is a really good start. All about sort of customer centricity and sort of introducing principles into the way that a culture forms so I would definitely recommend that one. That's certainly top of mind and it's one that I kind of keep in my back pocket. Yeah, that's definitely a good one. So one sort of work-related one and then one that’s…

Maren Kate
One true crime, and I love that we're gonna put that in the podcast notes. I'll send you one afterward but my favorite true-crime podcast is called Case File and it's done by an Aussie dude and it's awesome. It's just super true crime-y but it's really relaxing and it's my commute listen. Jonathan, thank you so much. It's been awesome talking with you. How can people find more about you and Gemini?

Jonathan Tamblyn
So Gemini.com is our website. You'll see a lot about our product, there's a career page there where you can learn a little bit more about life at Gemini, some of the opportunities that we're following. You can find me on LinkedIn, Jonathan Tamblyn, and again, Head of Talent at Gemini. And yeah, I love to be engaged in this type of forum. Love to put heads together with people who are either formally in the people and talent space or maybe just interested in learning a little bit more about how companies, whether crypto or beyond, are making decisions and thinking about people and culture.

Maren Kate
Awesome. Well, we will link to all of that in the show notes thank you so much, Jonathan.

Jonathan Tamblyn
Thanks so much for having me.

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