A Letter from Jim Miller on Joining Ashby
4 minute read
Last week was my first as the VP of People and Talent at Ashby, and I’m humbled to have my first opportunity to lead a People function. The new role comes with input into the product roadmap and the interesting scope of both helping the internal team refine and deploy our hiring excellence framework, and also to help systematise and scale it for Ashby customers. This brings me into a thriving community of recruiters and TA professionals with whom I’m delighted to work.
For anybody that knows me – working with cutting edge technology and getting to help build and scale systems and processes is very much my bag of crisps. Needless to say, I’m excited to be here.
Usually I would stop here for a well-deserved series of thanks, but first I wanted to expand on why I joined and what I hope to achieve, so here we go. (You’ll find the thanks at the end instead.)
Why I joined
As a little bit of context, I started my career like many recruiters – accidentally (thanks to a conversation with Mike Fetters). I spent 15 years at Google, the last 5 of which involved leading the global online talent channels among other teams. I always wore a systems hat, and highlights of my Google time included helping to architect gHire, their internal ATS, and supporting LinkedIn’s advisory board for EMEA.
With Google’s scale and volume, it was easy to form hypotheses on how to test and improve the processes, though we always had to be careful how we implemented them due to the scale of change management required across roughly a hundred countries, and thousands of open requisitions at any one time.
Moving to Fullstory was my opportunity to implement what I had always thought would be an optimal recruiting strategy, leading with all the learning I had been gathering from previous roles and my teams’ own learnings. FullStory focused on helping the world have better digital experiences; thousands of companies build better and optimise their products accurately thanks to it. I’m proud of what we achieved, especially in the area of inbound-first hiring strategies.
Underpinning the talent side and all this growth and experimentation was Ashby.
We initially worked with Ashby’s Analytics product in 2021 – it was the most powerful and easy-to-use tool I had seen in the TA space. For the first time, my team could self-serve just about any data request. Without trying to be everything for everyone it, in so many ways, improved the day-to-day experience of my team. Without overstating, Ashby’s All-in-one is the best recruiting software I have worked with – data-driven, recruiter-built, and efficient, with a responsive support system that has everything I would want in an ATS.
While tools don’t shape the culture of a team, I believe they are either the enabler or barrier to realising the culture the team is trying to build. Ashby enabled us to start to realise the process excellence we knew the team was capable of – and the result was a focus on a more representative, higher quality way of hiring.
Suffice to say: I’m a fan. Ashby is a tool I’m genuinely so humbled and excited to get to help support now.
Finding cultural excellence
One of the most significant reasons I joined the team was the people. After working at organisations like Google and Fullstory with so many smart, hard working, and passionate people, culture is always a critical consideration for me.
Working with Benji, Abhik and Kyra as a customer over the past 2 years has always been such a pleasure. They always listened to what our teams needed and helped us build the new dashboards, ship new features, and operate as a partner instead of a vendor. It’s the people that make a company what it is, and I truly believe that these people are making Ashby into the next greatest tool in recruiting.
An honest reflection on the TA space today
While I’m so happy to be at Ashby I wanted to take a moment to acknowledge that it wasn’t a seamless journey into this role. It’s damn tough out there right now. The realities of the macroeconomic environment is that many great people in TA are without a role and are on the job market.
My manager and I had an honest conversation in January about this potential reality before I went out on paternity leave for my son, Eric, and so over my paternity leave I applied for hundreds of jobs. 2 months in, I plucked up the courage to pitch myself to Benji. It took many hours of calls with many people around the team before we decided it was a good match, and the business needed someone with my skills and experience.
All to say, it is hard, I know it is hard, but keep knocking on doors, get creative, and one will open – I’m also always open to chat if you want to connect.
You’re going to hear a lot from me in helping the Ashby team and product to continue to scale. If you have any suggestions or want a soundboard anything TA – reach out.
I want to thank the incredible team at Fullstory for an amazing 2 years and the opportunity to lead their talent function, and then thank Ian, Eric, Kristina, Darcy, Peter, Dan, Ashley, Lena McAfee, Luke Anderton, Greg Garrison, and, of course, Gabby & Scott at FullStory for their incredible support and advice on job search journey I’ve had. I’d also like to thank you for reading! I’m looking forward to saying more soon.