At Plum, everything we do is about unlocking a person’s inherent human potential to maximize their performance – elevating themselves and the companies they work for – while helping them to be happy, fulfilled, and thrive.
Tell us about yourself?
At my first “real” job, I was hired to build an apparel company from the ground up. The crazy thing about that was I had no experience in apparel, manufacturing, or supply chain management. Detractors told my then-boss, Oliver, hiring a 20-something, fresh out of university, as his Director of Operations was unnecessarily risky. But he disagreed. He saw something in me, something no one else saw – my superpower.
Two and a half years later, Oprah was wearing our t-shirt on The Oprah Winfrey Show, and the brand had become a resounding success. In the end, Oliver’s instincts about me were right. I was passionate about building something out of nothing and was dedicated to seeing it through. From that first job to today, nothing excites me more – fills me more – than building something great.
If you could go back in time a year or two, what piece of advice would you give yourself?
If I could go back in time and give myself one piece of advice, I would tell myself to divide my focus between product development and messaging development. I was so invested in creating a product that could change the world that I didn’t think about how I would talk about it. I didn’t immediately see the importance of explaining that Plum solves many of the most complex organizational problems facing enterprise executive teams today. And that Plum is a critical tool during a recession, helping to optimize the gap between what they have and what they need, how Plum keeps employees engaged, and how it minimizes risk by providing the data to make the right decisions.
What problem does your business solve?
Plum is a revolutionary talent assessment platform that quantifies human potential through the POWER of Industrial/Organizational Psychology. Using our psychometric data, Plum understands the humans behind the work – their innate talents, what drives them, and what drains them – and is four times more predictive of on-the-job success than a resume, increasing the quality of hire to 93 per cent.
What is the inspiration behind your business?
Early in my career, I was hired to launch the first U.S. branch of a tech company. To do that, I needed to execute a massive hiring plan, and just as I was about to make my first hire, my executive coach said to me, “Caitlin, if you screw this up, it will cost the company $300,000, and that loss will be on you.” Desperate not to make that hiring mistake or any future hiring mistakes, I decided to use a psychometric assessment – that he had developed while teaching at Harvard – on all potential new hires. The assessment process was costly, labour-intensive, and slow, but it also provided a clear picture of a candidate’s cognitive ability and work ethic. Over time, I realized that success in a role had very little to do with what someone had done and everything to do with what they could do if they were only given the opportunity.
The more I used the assessment, the more I valued it. It felt, at the time, and I researched later, that looking at innate talents was four times more predictive of on-the-job success than a resume. And yet, the HR Tech landscape was littered with companies “matching” candidates to roles based only on keyword scrapes that compared resumes to job descriptions. I knew that was the wrong metric to be matching with. Still, given the expensive and time-consuming consultative route, the only option is an Industrial/Organizational Psychology assessment like the one I had been using required.
I wanted more for the world. So, I set out with my cofounder to create a technology platform designed to democratize access to highly predictive psychometric data using innate talents to match people to the jobs they’re meant to do.
What is your magic sauce?
Plum has redefined how to match people to opportunities – not based on what they have done but on what they could do if given a chance. Our platform provides a new lens that is four times more predictive of on-the-job success than a resume – using innate talents to match people to the jobs they are meant to do – the things they do best and want to do more of.
What is the plan for the next 5 years? What do you want to achieve?
The vision is that every person has a Plum Profile and that there is a Plum Match for every job. Because at Plum, we believe when a person can leverage their natural and innate talents to do what they consider meaningful work, they feel happy, fulfilled, and thrive. That is the world I want for my children.
What is the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The most complex challenge we have faced as an organization is expanding our reach beyond the Human Resources department. Plum solves many of the most complex organizational problems facing C-Suites today – including increasing quality hires, advancing diversity hiring, creating internal mobility, evaluating leadership potential, helping with succession planning, retaining top employees, and more. Yet, historically, we’ve struggled to get those decision-makers in the room.
Recently, we’ve made a critical change to our pitch, leading with our purpose and showcasing the broad impact we can have across many divisions of an organization outside of HR. This has increased the diversity of C-Suite executives we now have seated at the decision table, engaging with us, learning from us, and understanding how we can best help them improve their bottom line.
How can people get involved?
Create a Plum profile – a 25-minute assessment to uncover all the beautiful talents that make you who you are. Once complete, share your top talents on LinkedIn and challenge your friends and those in your network to do the same – empowering everyone to find their best career match.