The Remote Show

Show Notes:

Kelsey's Links:



Candor profile

Candor website

Candor Raises $5M To Build The Next Generation, Authentic Professional Social Network


Tyler Sellhorn (00:02): 
Are you a software developer that wants to work remote? Clevertech is where software developers experience remote done right. Live limitlessly, add world class accomplishments to your resume. Live a life beyond the ordinary. Join team members in creating the future, all while making memories and being close to what's important to you. Visit clevertech.biz/jobs to apply. 
Tyler Sellhorn (00:22): 
Hello everyone. My name is Tyler Sellhorn, and welcome to another episode of The Remote Show, where we discuss everything to do with remote work with the people who know it best. Thanks so much for listening. The Remote Show is brought to you by We Work Remotely, the largest community of remote workers in the world. With over 220,000 unique users per month, We Work Remotely is the most effective way to hire. Today we are blessed to be learning out loud with Kelsey Bishop. Kelsey is building Candor to help people know themselves and their teammates on a more human level. No BS, just the real stuff about who you are as a human and how you show up at work. You can find them at joincandor.com. They are hiring for roles in engineering and product. Kelsey is also an angel investor. Kelsey, tell us what problems are you trying to solve with Candor? 
Kelsey Bishop (01:07): 
Yeah, thanks so much for having me, Tyler. 
Tyler Sellhorn (01:09): 
You're welcome. 
Kelsey Bishop (01:09): 
I'm very excited to be chatting with you today. I think the problem that we're really trying to solve with Candor is helping people understand each other as humans. I think in my experience, working for early stage startups, I found it really difficult to understand what people were going to be like to work with before I actually accepted the job. And that was really hard because culture fit and really fitting in with your team and wanting to have relationships with people at work is so important for employee happiness and was for my own personal happiness. And so started Candor to really help people understand each other's superpowers and areas of growth and how they show up at work and all the more qualitative stuff that you learn week two on the job, but might not necessarily know right off the bat. So focused on that humans understanding each other problem. 
Tyler Sellhorn (02:05): 
Really interesting to hear you thinking about that space before you join a team. Especially now that we're so much more so, obviously we're talking on The Remote Show here, but we're working remotely where we don't necessarily always get to meet someone in person before we start, depending on them for a professional working relationship. 
Kelsey Bishop (02:28): 
Tyler Sellhorn (02:28): 
Let's go a little deeper about that moment of how can we evaluate what it's like to work somewhere and how can we discover some of those qualitative items that you're mentioning when we're thinking, hey, this is the surface of what is here that is visible to me from my home office or from my cafe as I'm doing some job seeking and looking for companies that I might want to work at, what are some signals that you've noticed that can give us hints? 
Kelsey Bishop (02:57): 
I think there's two parts of this. There's one which is who are you as a person at work, and then the second part which is who are the types of people that you love working with. In your dream, who are the people that really just get you excited about showing up every day. I think this is often the part that people skip. It's very easy to go out and be like, "Okay, who do I want to work with? Who are my favorite types of teammates?" I think it's overlooked actually in many cases for people to turn inwards and be like, "What am I great at? What areas or environments do I thrive in? Do I like working remote actually? Do I want to overlap time zones with my teammates or do I just care about more async work?" Having those kind of honest conversations with yourself about your own personal work style. 
Kelsey Bishop (03:48): 
And like I said, this could be hours that you prefer to work in, or this could be do I like Slack versus email kind of environments, or this could be do I like small teams versus big teams? Do I like having other people working on my sub-domain within the company with me, or am I a solo performer type of thing? So there's a lot of self reflection I think that has to happen before you really understand or even know how to have a conversation about how am I going to work with somebody else. But I think it's also really important to, after you've done the self-reflection, go into interviews and really treat it as, hey, this is a two way interview. We want to make sure that this is a good fit for the company, but also a good fit for the employee. 
Kelsey Bishop (04:35): 
And so I see employees now coming in, and we do this at Candor too, where we spend half the interview letting the employee ask questions and we really talk pretty honestly about our culture, and I think it's for the benefit of the employee too to really know what they're getting into culture wise, whether it's, hey, here are the hours that we work or here's my personal management style, and here are the good parts of it and bad parts of it, and here are times that people didn't enjoy working with this type of culture. So I think it's really important to have those honest conversations, but it does start with that self reflection so that you can properly be equipped to go have that honest conversation with a potential teammate. 
Tyler Sellhorn (05:20): 
Really, really cool to be invited into some introspection as we are doing our job seeking and to be thinking about things as important as when am I going to work or when do I prefer to work or who am I going to work with when I happen to be working? These are all things that didn't necessarily have a really obvious signal in candidate marketing until yesterday. 
Kelsey Bishop (05:45): 
Tyler Sellhorn (05:46): 
And it's really clear that some teams are better at communicating these sorts of things, and I think it's really interesting to hear you describe the recruiting process at Candor to include that reverse space. Because I think that was one of the things that we did as co-located leaders in a previous era where we said, "Well, our office is in this place and it's for this location," and that equaled a whole bunch of things. If you said, "Well, we are located in suburban New York City or this office is in Arlington Heights, Illinois," these are things that say lots and lots of things to you about who you're going to be working with and what kinds of people. 
Tyler Sellhorn (06:30): 
And now we are in this new space that says, "No, you need to be explicit." And I think that's been the theme of The Remote Show throughout is to say, "Hey, let's be much more intentional about who we are and about what kinds of people you want to work with." Talk some more about that matching aspect of what you all are doing even specific to hiring at Candor or what you're seeing as you support people. 
Kelsey Bishop (06:57): 
Absolutely. Right now the product is really focused first around that self assessment piece. So actually guiding users through talking about their superpowers and talking about, "Hey, here's where I'm still trying to grow." And then finally here are my work style preferences, the time zones, the methods of communication, things like that. And so that's the first step. I think one layer deeper is once users actually go through the self assessment of a very high level what am I like to work with, what do I want, it's then getting more granular and actually creating a working with me doc that then they can use. And with the hiring manager, either before they've actually committed to joining company or just after when they're going through onboarding and want to start the relationship on a good foot, use their Candor profile to start the conversation around work styles and preferences. 
Kelsey Bishop (08:01): 
So that's what we're seeing today. And internally we're also using it around what are things that maybe you wouldn't figure out about me because we are just on Zoom and it's a little bit of a two dimensional world that we're living in at work. Whereas previously we might have had a conversation about the fact that I love oil painting at a happy hour, but in a remote world we don't quite get that today. And so there's also pieces of a more serendipitous workplace that we're trying to replicate on Candor. 
Tyler Sellhorn (08:36): 
Really interesting to hear you building in the space that's ripe for misunderstanding. There is a certain amount of two dimensional aspect to working inside of screens as knowledge workers and also the advantage of working together. I'm thinking of the really fun moments of finally meeting a colleague in person, that URL to IRL transition is so fun, especially because you do get to learn about somebody before you meet them in person. But it's also, on the flip side, one of those things that there is something missing when we are meeting somebody's digital profile, here's their avatar. Tell us what are some things that we can do to enrich that digital version of ourselves in ways that help people learn about us? 
Kelsey Bishop (09:34): 
I think one thing that we've done internally at Candor is everyone shares their story when they first join the team. And I think you do get some of this if you're a hiring manager bringing on a new teammate, you hear a person's story of how they got to where they are, but if you're just a teammate on the team you might not actually get that. And so I think that's a big part of it is having a place where you can actually share, "Hey, here's my story. Here's how I got here." And then also I think making room to have uncomfortable conversations. And so it doesn't naturally come up, I think, when you're onboarding a new employee to be like, "Hey, what am I going to do that's going to piss you off?" For lack of a better way to say it. But it's really important to have those conversations, because especially in a remote world where it can be difficult to read if somebody's upset or not really driving with how you're working, it's important to have those conversations up front so that you're all on the same page and expectations are set. 
Kelsey Bishop (10:38): 
And so I think there's a lot of conversation that can happen in the beginning where it's like, "Hey, I want to set us up well to have a great working relationship. Let's talk about some of these hard things that might come up as we work together." Hopefully not, maybe it's all smooth sailing, but if they do, how can we agree to handle them together in a way that's comfortable for us both. So I think having some of those conversations up front, knowing where somebody's coming from and knowing their story can help us relate to each other in a way that's more authentic and not as transactional, because I think sometimes if we don't have those conversations and humanize each other, work over Zoom can just feel a little bit more bland. 
Tyler Sellhorn (11:24): 
Interesting. I do think that is the piece that so often is not obvious to new remote workers or remote workers who have only worked in a formerly co-located environment. We're talking to those folks right now that are in the midst of considering, "Hey, is this remote work thing, could that be like long term for me?" And I think it's really, really interesting to hear you keep returning to this idea that, hey, we should look within ourselves and decide which things do I want to be known for. How do I work best? What are the things that are important to me when I show up to work? 
Tyler Sellhorn (12:04): 
I guess maybe that's one of the things that I want to flip around to you, as someone who has done hiring remotely, as somebody that has evaluated candidates remotely, what are the things that signal to you, aha, this is somebody who is ready to work remotely, this is somebody who is ready to be successful in our style of working. And maybe that's what I'm asking you to do is maybe describe a little bit about what it is to work at Candor and what your version of remote work is. 
Kelsey Bishop (12:32): 
Absolutely. I think because of the stage that we're at, one of the key core components that has come up in our hiring has been the ability for people to really work autonomously. And it's not even work asynchronously, because we still collaborate a lot and our team loves jam time together and I think that's been a fun piece of working at Candor, but autonomously in that I don't love management, to be quite frank. And so it's been one of those things where everyone's a self starter at Candor. And so if you're owning operations or you're owning design, you're owning the full stack of that particular domain. I don't know how to do that job better than the people I've hired and so when you join the team at Candor, it's really expected that you're owning that start to finish, and the people around on the team are there to support you. 
Kelsey Bishop (13:30): 
But at the end of the day, we are looking for that autonomous type of person who really wants to own the full stack of their domain and really be an expert and really perform excellently at that role that they're in, because we are a small team and trusting each other is a big part of our culture. So I would say that's the big piece is those autonomous people on the team. And then I would say another piece is speed. I would say this is probably unique to Candor in a way that I haven't experienced on other teams that I've been on in the past is we work really fast. And it's fun. If you're excited about just shipping a lot of stuff, experimenting and feeling like you're on a run with everyone else on the team, I think you really enjoy the Candor environment. 
Kelsey Bishop (14:21): 
I don't think that is for everybody. And so we're pretty upfront with that our mode is fast in the interview process, because I think that depending on what life stage you're in and what you're looking for, that might not be your preferred mode and that's totally fine. And then I would say that the last one is we are super direct and very open. And part of it is it makes sense given the product and the space that we're in, but the culture is very transparent. And I would say that the best example of this is we talk very openly about what's working and what's not. 
Kelsey Bishop (14:56): 
And one example of this is we work with a lot of contractors and we hired someone who just wasn't a great fit for what we were looking for, and very quickly every single person on the team was like, "Hey, this isn't a problem at all, but this isn't working out and so we should end the contract." And that didn't have to come from me just because it was my direct report, it was just, hey, everyone on the team holds the bar to this level and we're not willing to drop that bar at all. And so when something's not working out, anyone on the team feels comfortable to raise their hand and be like, "Hey, I'm something an issue here, let's fix it." So I think that's definitely different than other cultures I've worked in is just the directness and the transparency is definitely important to us. 
Tyler Sellhorn (15:43): 
So you've expressed a very specific kind of workplace and you've said that, "You know what? We're looking for a very specific kind of person to work at this workplace." Help us think through the idea that remote work is allowing for niche employees to find niche employers. 
Kelsey Bishop (16:09): 
Tyler Sellhorn (16:09): 
This has been the story of the internet since the 90s, is that there is a long tail of engagement and discovery, and you're trying to solve in this space with your company, but we're saying, "Okay, Hey, how do we get the right people to be matched up with the right companies because of who they are?" And when I say who, I'm saying the company and the people that are at that company, matching them up with the people that are interested in working in that exact, very specific workplace. Can you help us think that through a little bit? 
Kelsey Bishop (16:47): 
Yeah. One of my favorite sayings or things that I believe is that work should be and can be your happy place. And I think this is actually different than maybe 10, 15 years ago where for many people work was just work, and I think that was the expectation. And I think especially with Gen Z entering the workforce, we're entering this era where work can feel like magic and the team that you're on can feel like magic. And especially with this remote work, like you said, you now have the ability to join any team in the entire world in theory, and work for them and be in this magic sphere. Whereas before you were confined to the city that you lived in and the companies that were there. And so I view it as with Gen Z entering the workforce, with remote work being here to stay, candidates really have their pick of where am I going to really find my magic team? Where am I going to be the happiest? 
Kelsey Bishop (17:51): 
And I think that's a really powerful position to be in. And so at Candor, yes, we start the conversation for you, we help you think through what are the things that are going to make me happy at work, what are my deal breakers, what are the things that I really care about that I want my team to have? And eventually I think once we have profiles of all of these candidates looking for roles. Of hiring managers looking for roles, we're going to very easily be able to see, okay, hey, here are the hiring managers, let's say here's a head of product with an open role for a product manager, hey, here's 10 product managers that actually fit in these cultural values that you've said are important to you. And so that's how I view us in this space is how do we elevate what's important to people so that we can get them on their magic, happy place teams. 
Tyler Sellhorn (18:44): 
I love that you have described the opportunity before us right now, because when we decouple our vocation from our location, work can be our happy place. Right? 
Kelsey Bishop (18:56): 
Tyler Sellhorn (18:57): 
I've experienced it for myself. We're about as different as can be. You are living abroad, a company leader, I am a dad in the Midwest, but the things that we found have been feeding the best things for us specifically. And you mentioned Gen Z and the idea that they are now coming into the workplace, I'm curious to hear you expound on that a little more of saying, "Okay, Hey, we're hiring managers looking to hire new people joining the workforce." There of a generation that have specific ideas about what work can be. What do you think we should be saying to them as we approach them as remote hiring managers? 
Kelsey Bishop (19:48): 
Absolutely. And I'll also preface this with saying, I border Gen Z, I'm 25, so I consider myself on this weird cusp of sort of being a millennial, sort of being Gen Z. So, for context, I think when I speak for Gen Z, I also very much speak for myself as well. And I think that there's a couple of things. And one I'll start with is Gen Z is a little bit more flexible with how they even think of the word work. Maybe 10 years ago when people were graduating college, it was, "Hey, go get a full-time job, put on your business casual clothes and sit in this office from nine to five. I think today college graduates think of work very differently and a bit more fluidly where it's, hey, part-time work is no longer demonized. There's this whole thing called the creator economy and I can go be a creator if I wanted to. 
Kelsey Bishop (20:42): 
And then lastly is I'm not confined to a location, and so my life and work actually feel a lot more fluid because it's not that I am going to go work in San Francisco and so my entire life revolves around living in San Francisco, it's, hey, my work can take place on my laptop so if I want to go live in Lisbon I can do that too. And so I would say that when I think about Gen Z, I just think a little bit more fluidly about work. 
Kelsey Bishop (21:10): 
And I think if we're talking to them as hiring managers, appealing to that flexibility is really important because I think the work life harmony and that trend and that thought is more top of mind than maybe it was for college grads previously. So how I think about it is how can you appeal to wanting more work life harmony, wanting a little bit more fluidity and not having this concept of work that fits into a box. I think Gen Z is like, "How can work fit into my life and how do I craft my life so work fits in with all of these different goals that I want?" 
Tyler Sellhorn (21:46): 
Shout out to all of the Gen Z folk and non-Gen Z folk that are solving for better work life harmony. I know that is what remote work has done for me. I cook breakfast for my children every day. I pick them up from school every day. 
Kelsey Bishop (22:03): 
So powerful. 
Tyler Sellhorn (22:04): 
These are things that are powerful and available to me if I'm able to work a non-linear workday. I think it's really interesting to see how matching up a candidate's expectations and hopes and dreams for a workplace, it's not just that it's possible, it's that if you were to express yourself exactly as you are, there is a workplace that wants that exact person. 
Kelsey Bishop (22:37): 
Tyler Sellhorn (22:38): 
I guess maybe the thing that I would invite you to speak more about is that idea of work life harmony. Not just the idea that, okay, I might work on contract or I might work for this project for a second, and then this one for a minute and that one for an hour or a few weeks or a month or whatever time period we want to throw on there. I guess maybe the thing that I'm inviting you to think about is, okay, how can we as employers do a better job of finding ways to optimize for that version of a desired workplace of saying, "Yeah, we do want to be the place you work that fits inside of your life." How do we build that kind of a workplace? 
Kelsey Bishop (23:19): 
I think it's all about setting the right expectations, and so one thing that comes to mind is at Candor we don't say, "Hey, you need to work in a specific time zone." We say, "Hey, if you're in a collaborative role, then we try to overlap four to five hours a day in Eastern Time." And you know what? Even not saying, "Hey, you have to do eight hours a day in East Coast Time," that lets people in London, in California structure their day the way that they want to. And if they want to work mornings, if they want to work evenings, it's just a little bit more room. And then it also gives them the flexibility to say, "Hey, actually, there's not this really strict boundary of the hours I have to work. I know to be collaborative, I want to overlap with my teammates, but I can choose when I want to do that." 
Kelsey Bishop (24:12): 
And I think giving employees, or making it the norm to set your own schedule can be really powerful. On our team, for example, we have two people who both have kids, and for one of them it's really important that he spends time putting his kids to bed at night, but he's in London and so that's the middle of the day on the east coast, but we all know he blocks his calendar for time with his kids, and that's just the way that it goes. Everyone has their different things they prioritize. For myself, it's my exercise in the morning and time with my significant other, that's my precious time, but as long as you make room for people to have a say on how they structure their day, I think that can be really powerful and empowering the employee to have that work life harmony. 
Tyler Sellhorn (25:00): 
Thank you for suggesting that we need to be explicit about the hours that we're going to keep as a team. Shout out to the teams that are full async, no hours that we have to share. Shout out to the teams that express a set of core hours that we're going to work together on. Shout out to the teams that are saying, "You know what? We can't do broad time zone differences. We're all going to work a similar shift." And being explicit about that in ways that allow people to see and to know what it is that they are signing up for, to say, "Hey, this is the kind of workplace I'm going to be at, and these are the kinds of people I'm going to work with. The ones that have also opted into this version." I think that a certain amount of whatever we're calling it today, the Great Resignation, is to say that long before the pandemic accelerated some of these changes we were saying, "I want to have a workplace that matches me better and that the people that I'm interacting with also want the same things as I do." 
Tyler Sellhorn (26:08): 
Speak of work life harmony, let's be around folks that not everybody wanted to commute, but there are some people that really want to work in an office together. Well, by golly, those are going to be the folks that work in an office going forward because there's so much opportunity to work remotely now. And so I think it's really, really awesome, we mentioned it earlier, that the theme of remote working is that it forces intentionality. Shout out to the OG head of remote, Darren Murph. We're quoting you again, man. That even for those organizations that choose not to go remote, that is now an active choice and not just something that is assumed. 
Kelsey Bishop (26:48): 
Yes. And I think that's really what Gen Z looks for. It's the can we make things more intentional? If everyone is stating, "Hey, here are my work preferences or here's the culture of our company," those are the table stakes, then young people can make a decision on what's going to work for them and what's not. But it's not just, "Hey, here's the box, go fit in it." It's now companies are being forced into this position of you have to take a stand on what's important to you. 
Tyler Sellhorn (27:24): 
Well, Kelsey, let's conclude things here by saying no to the boxes that people are trying to put us into. Let's agree to stop pretending and do this thing together on purpose. 
Kelsey Bishop (27:39): 
Agreed. Yes. I love it. 
Tyler Sellhorn (27:41): 
Thanks for learning out loud with us, Kelsey. 
Kelsey Bishop (27:43): 
Thanks for having me, Tyler. This was fun. 
Tyler Sellhorn (27:47): 
Thanks so much again for listening to the show and be sure to check out weworkremotely.com for the latest remote jobs. And if you're looking to hire a remote worker, We Work Remotely is the fastest and easiest way to do so. As always, if you have someone we should talk to, any advice you have, or if you'd like to advertise on the podcast, please reach out to us at [email protected]. That's [email protected]. Thanks so much for listening, and we'll talk to you next time. 

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