CIX Top 20 CEO Series: Caitlin MacGregor, CEO,

The CIX Top 20 CEO Series highlights the chief executive officers of Canada’s most innovative companies.

You can register for CIX 2015 here.

Today we sat down with Caitlin MacGregor, CEO of

What impact does being on the CIX Top 20 have on your business?

The impact is huge. Internally we’re all excited and proud of making this prestigious list of innovators. It helps validate what we’re doing and the growth we’ve been seeing. We hope more companies will want to be innovative in their hiring practices as a result.

How was your company formed?

It started as a result of needing to hire. Four years ago, I was running an education software company in New Hampshire. It was calculated that messing up our first hire would be a loss of $300,000. We assessed all 80 applicants that applied for the position. Two candidates stood out., for different reasons, so we hired both. After 3 months, Joel’s fantasy football team was doing really well, but he was only doing 10% of his work. Soo… he was fired.

Christine, on the other hand, was running the entire operations of the company and within a year and a half I had groomed her to replace me as acting president during my maternity leave. If we had relied on resumes, we would have missed this hidden gem. We decided to build Plum, so that other companies could find great hidden talent.

What brought you to this industry?

Based on our own experiences in how we got started, we saw the need to help other companies find hidden talent. The hiring process has bias and there’s still turnover. It hasn’t changed in years so it was continuing to do the same thing. We saw the need to put the right people into the right roles by looking beyond skills and experience. Personality and cognitive ability are actually the proven predictors of workplace performance. Employees who are well matched to their roles are more productive and happier. It’s a more efficient workforce. We saw it was time to move from a subjective hiring process to an objective data matching solution.

Who are your typical clients?

Issues in the hiring process affect everyone. Our clients are across all industries and are generally C-level decision makers/hiring managers wanting to fix the process. They are eader to find employees who are better matched to positions. But we don’t only serve employers. After a job seeker completes the survey, they get a Plum profile that identifies their talents and provides insights into the types of environments they would be best suited for.

Can you give me a sense of your role and what you do as CEO of your company? What are your goals?

I have built a strong team through using Plum to hire so that the right people are matched to their positions. My role is to help them accomplish what we need for our customers and job seekers. We’ve been successful in that we already have paying customers. I work with the team to build more features that provide value to who we serve. My goals are to hire talent with amazing potential that matches their role, provide them with support and resources and then to trust them and get out of their way!

How do you feel your past experience has impacted you and your role as CEO? Have you had any mentors?

This is my third start up. That has helped. I have had a lot of mentors and I wouldn’t have got this far without them. Alan Quarry was originally our Entrepreneur in Residence at Communitech. Then he helped us redo our company branding. Then he lead our Angel investment Due Diligence and then became an investor. He provides consistent advice and support. Also, Todd Bissett has provided the most amazing mentoring around all things legal and fundraising related. Plum wouldn’t be here today if it wasn’t for Todd!

Are you developing anything new that you can share with the public?

We’re launching performance evaluations so that our customers can track the results of who they hired.
We are always launching new features and enhancements to provide more value to job seekers and employers. As for more exciting news, people will have to stay tuned to see what we’re launching over the next several months.

Where do you see your company in 5 years?

We want to get to a place where a hiring manager asks to see the Plum scores before looking at the resume and calling them in for an interview, that job seekers will use the insights into who they are to find the environments they are happiest in.

What are you looking forward to most at CIX 2015?

I’m looking forward to networking with investors and other companies to help them see the value in changing the hiring process.