Brex Dir of Recruiting Richard Garcia: Forrest Gump of TA

Richard GarciaBrex Dir. of Recruiting
Episode 43

Richard Garcia joins to discuss how he’s building his team, the value of budgeting your time, and how to not be a bottleneck to the rest of your team.

Episode Transcript

00:00 Rob Stevenson: Recruiters, sourcers, directors of talent, talent acquirers of every ilk and persuasion, welcome back to your favorite recruiting pod. I hope we’re your favorite recruiting pod. If we’re not, that’s okay. There’s room for more than one recruiting pod in your rotation, I imagine. Shuffle us both in there, amongst your true crime pods, and your news pods, and your Dungeons and Dragons pods. Anyway, if this pod is new to you, here’s the long and short of it. Every week I will be bringing in my favorite people in the recruitment space, directors of recruitment, heads of talent, you name it, and they’re all gonna do primarily one thing…


00:36 RS: Talk Talent To Me. This week’s guest is a really fascinating guy, Richard Garcia is his name, the director of recruiting at a payments company called Brex, and we started out with how to build a recruiting team, what metrics to look at, standard Talk Talent To Me fare. Come to find out, he hired for Elon Musk at Tesla, he hired for AI specialists at Google, he was at Facebook during the whole Cambridge Analytica hubbub. This guy is like the Forrest Gump of recruiting, he just pops up at momentous talent acquisition occasions. And we talked about treating your time as a resource, how you can measure it, both at work and outside of work to optimize on what’s important to you. We discussed the virtue of the hustle and spending lots of time at work. How does that play into success, how does it depend on how you define success. And alongside all that time measurement, we sprinkled in just a pinch of death anxiety, a brief cameo from my favorite therapy topic.

01:38 RS: Anyway, Richard is just full of insight, I really enjoyed our conversation and I can’t wait for you all to hear it. We’re gonna get right into it after a newly truncated intro song. Yes, I do welcome and take action on constructive feedback. And on that note, I’d like to encourage you all to shoot me a line with any questions you might have for guests, or opinions on the show, topics you’d like to see addressed. I’d really like to start a mail bag kind of segment here. I think that could be fun. So if you feel so inclined to speak up, please email me,, tweet me @robstersays, slide into those LinkedIn DMs. You know the drill. Okay, let’s get going, please enjoy this episode with the Director of Recruiting at Brex, Richard Garcia.


02:34 RS: Richard Garcia is in the makeshift podcast studio. Richard, how are we?

02:39 Richard Garcia: I’m doing well, Rob, thank you for the invitation. [chuckle] It definitely is makeshift, but it’s beautiful.

02:44 RS: Oh, good.

02:44 RG: And we love it. But, yeah, happy to be here.

02:48 RS: Thank you, I’m glad you’re here too. I’m glad you appreciate my hackneyed spun together studio. But we do what we can with what we got.

02:56 RG: We make it work.

02:57 RS: Exactly, that’s the motto of startups, I think.

03:00 RG: And recruiting.

03:01 RS: Yeah, as it were. [chuckle]

03:02 RG: Yeah.

03:02 RS: So both of those things you’re doing right now, startupping and recruiting, starting up and recruiting.

03:07 RG: That’s right.

03:07 RS: So you’re over at Brex now, how is that going?

03:10 RG: Brex is one of the most amazing companies, if not the most amazing company that I’ve worked for. And as of today we are growing faster than any company that I’ve worked for also.

03:24 RS: And when we list those other companies that’ll be really impressive. [laughter]

03:28 RG: Yeah. [chuckle] So Brex is a fascinating company because it caters itself to startups. So, it’s a startup that caters itself and the products to startups, particularly to the credit market. And startups today don’t have accessibility to credit, so what Brex does is we create the accessibility, and we open up that founder access in the most immediate to creditworthiness. So, you’ve probably seen it around the city, we have billboards everywhere, Brex is essentially the corporate card for startups.

04:06 RS: And you have a couple of just prodigy-like founders, right?

04:09 RG: Prodigy founders, yes, we have a couple of prodigies at the company, so it’s fascinating. But Henrique and Pedro are the founders, and they both started their journeys early on in Brazil. Pedro was one of the first original hackers of the iPhone, and was building out the original Jailbreak My iPhone application. I think he was about 11 or 12 years old.


04:39 RS: Oh, my gosh.

04:42 RG: He got sued by Apple.

04:44 RS: Naturally.

04:44 RG: Yeah. Framed the news.

04:49 RS: Cease and desist or whatever.

04:50 RG: Cease and desist, yeah, he framed that. And very proud about that.

04:54 RS: Of course.

04:56 RG: And then embarked on a journey with Henrique, who was also a coding prodigy at the time, and had won countless hackathons with different groups, and they came together and started around late 15 years old, early 16 years old building out a payments company. And that payments company exploded with growth, it essentially became like the Stripe of payments is what you would consider it in Brazil. So by the time they hit around 19-ish years old, just a few years in, they’d built a multi-billion transactional volume business with a head count in and around 100 employees. We’re talking about 19-year-olds.

05:44 RS: Right, yeah.

05:44 RG: So, it’s a beautiful thing. So we got prodigies, and those are the leaders of Brex, amongst others, right? There’s so many other stories, and then you get into engineering and these other critical aspects of the business and the product life cycle and you have an entire different set of intricate backgrounds that I don’t even wanna go too far into because that’s a whole different conversation but…

06:13 RS: What about recruiting?

06:15 RG: So recruiting is… I would say, I don’t talk too much about myself but…

06:21 RS: We’re on a podcast, now is the time.


06:23 RG: We’re on a podcast. So yeah, I’ve accomplished a lot, at least in the first few years of my career on the finance side, and then I transitioned my experience there, when I graduated to human capital, to recruiting, and specific to tech, which I had no understanding of. So in that I worked at Citrix Systems, worked at Tesla, worked at Google and then Facebook and then now I have taken all of that process, that experience, placements, just everything in my career, and I’ve brought that forth to Brex. I am building an organization on the recruiting side essentially from scratch.

07:13 RS: So having seen the way a large talent organization operates at those bigger companies, now you get to Brex where, like you say, you’re starting from scratch. Where do you start?

07:23 RG: Yeah, so I think in the most immediate, I walked into Brex and there was about 30 of us, right, and the goal was, we need to double in size, just to support the demand. So as any good recruiter would do, you walk in and you find the pain points and you address those pain points immediately. At that level there is no recruitment support.

07:48 RS: Right.

07:49 RG: There’s just a philosophy around recruiting around the company and that’s coming from the founders themselves. So walking into Brex, my goal was to build a A-plus talent team across different verticals simultaneous to building a process and an infrastructure for a recruitment team to also be successful in. It’s a lot of work walking in and not having any infrastructure there to begin with. And actually, if you compare this, and I mentioned this today to another person that comes from a really scaling and successful tech company in San Francisco, 400 to 2000 employees is much different than 40 to 400.

08:44 RS: Right, right.

08:45 RG: Yeah.

08:46 RS: You said there wasn’t much codified in terms of recruiting support.

08:49 RG: Yeah.

08:49 RS: Did you have to build out that whole… Just the entire process? Where did you start, because your founders and it sounds like a lot of the exec team, they’d had experience hiring, they had experience building teams, so you have a lot of opinions, I’m sure, floating around. How did you go about prioritizing and figuring out what were the crucial hires and where you should spend the most of your time?

09:08 RG: So it’s really in the most immediate… The moment you walk in to any organization, but more so for this specific example, it was immersing myself with not just the leaders, but also the individual contributors. So, sitting down with everyone, and being part of their teams. So I always talk about this when I’m teaching some of my newer recruiters how to attract talent. You need to take off your recruiter hat, and you need to put on your engineering hat. And that is the way… And I’m just talking specifically about engineering, but it can be any vertical, but specific to engineering. You wanna put that engineering hat on. You wanna think, what would an engineer do in this situation, how would they respond, what would they respond to? What are they going through on the daily basis?

10:07 RG: Not so much what a recruiter sees or what a recruiter is incentivized by, but what an engineer sees, what an engineer is incentivized by. I needed to do that from day one, take off that recruiter hat, put on that marketing hat, that finance hat, that engineering hat and staff them up quickly, while keeping the highest level of talent. And so that was my first goal and I set myself a timeline for that, which ultimately I was able to achieve. But long nights, long days, long nights. And then, of course, staffing up a team on the recruiting side, because at the level of being a one-man show, you can only do so much in the day. So, I can fulfill 10% of the value of what I need to achieve but I can ultimately fulfil 40% with the team.

11:02 RS: Right, right, so what were your first hires on your team then?

11:06 RG: So my first hires on the team was an immediate support to my volume, and that way I could alleviate a lot of the more so administrative duties, so that I could free myself to do more of the conversational intakes, client management and candidate experience related aspects of the role. So that was one of my coordinators, specifically someone that came from a very high touch executive assistant background, so they truly understood how to deliver the best experience possible, but no prior recruiting experience, but very adaptable. My second hire was what you would imagine, volume driven. And so it became a sourcer, someone that could deliver in the time frame that I was doing the on-site day-to-day work, this person was doing the sourcing component of the day-to-day, in order to supplement and driving volume at the top of the funnel.

12:24 RG: The third person was replacing myself and extracting myself from a larger organization, which was the engineering technical arm, and dedicating someone to that organization which had the most need, right? So a technical recruiter, a senior technical recruiter, someone that could replace me.

12:47 RS: You’ve offloaded the administrative, the pipeline generation, and the specific recruiting for a in-need around the business. What were you hoping to free yourself up to do once those people were in place?

13:01 RG: Continue to build the team. So now I have hired a secondary replacement which now supports the non-technical side of the business, and then I have to continue to build out that structure there, under those individuals, alongside the support. And then as that team evolves, having an eye for the data that they’re building every day. So I’m at a simultaneous stage here where I’m building their structure, their hierarchy chain, but also myself looking at the data without having somebody that’s fully dedicated to that position today. But once I extract myself from that role, I can do high-level strategy, and we can scale much faster in the organization.

14:00 RS: Is that a role you would want, at some point, someone whose… Not that you would personally want, but a role you wanna hire, at some point? Someone whose job it is to fully be in the data all week long? I’ve been wanting that for my marketing team for a long time, and never got it.


14:16 RG: It would be a blessing.


14:17 RS: Yeah, yeah.

14:18 RG: Having somebody that’s fully immersed in data all week would be great. I spoke to a few folks this week and they’re out there. They… I would just need to find someone that’s very passionate about what it is that the data consist of. Because it isn’t data that is… It’s unique data, right? Yeah, that’s… But yes, to answer your question, I would absolutely want somebody.

14:49 RS: It would be great, yeah.

14:49 RG: It would be great, yes.

14:50 RS: So, in whatever capacity you can look at it now, what are some of the metrics you’re focusing on, what are some of the data insights you’re hoping to glean?

14:58 RG: So at a startup level today scaling from, let’s say, a company of 70, where we’re at now, to… Let’s get it at 200 over the next 12 months, let’s say. I’d like to be able to review the data on a weekly cadence, and even if possible a daily cadence in order to address quickly bottlenecks in each vertical. So, at tech and non-tech, and then if failing in some area, fail fast, iterate the process, make things better. Or even recognize where we’re doing really well in one vertical, and then adopt that in another vertical.

15:52 RS: Right, so I wanna… Because I’m a clunky interviewer and I don’t have a seamless segue, I just wanna kind of shift gears and hear about… Let’s start with Tesla.

16:02 RG: Sure.

16:02 RS: I kind of wanna hear about your Tesla career because a minute ago you were talking about robots on the floor of warehouses, and I was like, “Shit,” trying to furiously set the microphones to try and capture it. So, I would just love to hear more about that.

16:15 RG: What an amazing experience. It was what I call a roller coaster. What I would say is, it is a very mission-driven company, and working at Tesla was the… I think at that time, during the stages of where we were building Tesla, building Solar City, building SpaceX, all kind of revolving around each other, anyone and everyone that was working in these organizations was feeding off of each other. And Elon today versus what Elon was a few years back, even then… He’s kind of still the same guy, right? And he’s very transparent, he says it how it is. Working on engineering for anything that had to do with Elon’s decision-making was also eye-opening, in the sense of positivity, it’s nothing negative. But he always wants to see better.

17:26 RS: Yeah.

17:27 RG: And it’s what you would expect. From a standpoint of the company itself, there’s not much that I could say that isn’t already public, as far as the culture, the company, the excitement, the brand. I think on a recruiting side, it isn’t as… I’m coming from a Google and a Facebook where I got to see true massive organizations that are already 60,000+ people. Tesla is very scrappy in the way that we approach things. And it was also what was so fun about it. We were able to do things that, spur of the moment. We did really interesting activities on Saturdays and Sundays with some of the best engineers across the country, and we’d invite them over to meet with us at SpaceX, right? And they would come in and sit down, and we’d interview them, and we’d set up booths, and we’d almost, in a sense, compete with each other. You’d have a Solar City desk there, and then you’d have a Tesla and a SpaceX desk right next to each other. And then, ambassadors from the recruiting teams kind of going head-to-head.

18:48 RS: Like an internal career fair, kinda.

18:49 RG: Internal career fairs. And so it was really exciting ’cause you’re feeding off of each other’s energy, but there’s a competitiveness that’s there too.

18:57 RS: Totally, yeah, yeah.

18:58 RG: Yeah, it was really fascinating the way that we would create some events because they were isolated to Tesla, they weren’t more so external. And it’s representative of the brand, right? Tesla doesn’t really promote its vehicles. It doesn’t promote its brand. The philosophy is that people just want it. So it’s kind of the same way that we had that philosophy on the recruiting side, people just wanna work here, right? Like this is the best company in the world and that’s what we’re saying.

19:29 RS: So Elon in particular is invested in talent and recruitment. He will periodically tweet out job descriptions and explain it and say, “This role reports directly to me, respond or email careers@ if you are interested.” What was that like working alongside him on the recruiting side?

19:45 RG: You know, it was… There was challenge, and there was also appreciation and there was a lot of excitement, and there was a lot of strategy, right? And I think one of the biggest takeaways was always looking for the best person that’s out there. And sometimes what you see in recruiting is a… I wouldn’t call it a complacency, but I would say that you make a wrong hire because you move on, not just on an emotional level, but you also move on at somewhat of a desperation, like I just need to get this done now, and I need to hire this person today.

20:27 RS: The role has been open too long, we’re already past their standard, however long it takes to fill it, like we got to get someone in.

20:33 RG: Exactly, and that makes for a bad hire on both sides. And when you have a lot of new managers, particularly at Tesla, you had a lot of new managers. Because they’d never been managers before, but the company was growing so fast. And so, the philosophy that Elon always promoted was hire the best, most exceptional people, and that was what he reinforced every time. I’d send him an engineer, I’d send him a profile, when he did a… It wasn’t that the candidate was just going into the life cycle process of recruitment. They had already completed all of their rounds, right? This is towards the very tail end of the experience. Now, it’s, you have to pass. What Google has is a hiring committee, what Tesla has is Elon. [laughter]

21:26 RS: Yeah.

21:26 RG: You have to pass Elon’s bar to be an engineer. And so that he would look at the… He would look at the breakdown of all the data that we would provide to him and he would say, “What makes this person exceptional?” And we would have to justify that.

21:43 RS: So that starts to work itself into the process too. And in any company where there’s a CEO interview, where there’s like someone who wants to… Someone who’s a higher up, who wants to meet with everyone on the team, there’s usually gonna be one question that they love. A previous CEO of mine loved to ask, “Tell me about your next job after this one?” Meaning like, do you have a plan for your career? What do you wanna learn here? What do you wanna accomplish? How do we help you get there? Have you put some thought into your own role, etcetera, etcetera? And so as you were bringing people through the process, you’d have one eye on that. You’re like, “If this person doesn’t have like their act together in terms of that, then they’re gonna fail the CEO interview.”

22:24 RS: So in your case it’s the… What makes someone exceptional? So do you have one eye on that? Are you digging for that in the interview process, just because you don’t want someone to get all the way to the end and then be… You’re rejected based on that.

22:37 RG: So one of the biggest indicators that the candidate we were courting was a great fit for Tesla was their passion for the mission, right? You could not work at Tesla if you were not truly passionate about what you’re doing there. I will say with transparency because it isn’t an environment for everyone, right? There are aggressive deadlines, this is known. It is a manufacturing company that has a quota, right? It’s not a software company, like a Google or a Facebook, right? Where you don’t have necessarily the same quotas, so there’s a much more relaxed environment.

23:22 RS: Now, the hardware, you gotta ship, right? That’s where the word shipping comes from.

23:27 RG: Right. But when you have the Street looking at your valuation based on the amount of vehicles you’re producing on a quarter or even monthly basis, and I think now the granularity is at a weekly basis for model 3s. You need to deliver and the only way you do that is by working hard and all hands on deck. And there are times at Tesla where the VPs come down and they wash cars. They will deliver the vehicles to the consumer. And that’s a beautiful thing, because everyone is truly passionate about what the business is doing, and you could not work in that environment unless you truly believe, right? So that was an experience that I learned by truly believing the company and truly believing the mission, and then I started to assess my candidates based on that mission belief.

24:40 RS: So, you’re right, that is a known quantity, the… It takes hustle to work here, there’s gonna be long hours. It’s not your 9 to 5 maybe in some cases. And that was part of that company culture, that was a value. Where do you come down on that side of whether that should be a value, because there’s this notion of, what about your mental health? What if… Is it okay if someone’s not fully bought into the mission, right? Like they like their job and they are really good at their job and they show up and they’re a great team mate and etcetera but it’s like, “Oh, I’m not super passionate about recruitment software,” for example. Is that okay? Should we expect that level of dedication from every employee, because at Tesla people are kind of beating down the door to work there. But a lot of companies that isn’t the case.

25:33 RG: And so I think… I’ll use a good example. It’s like, well, it’s a relevant example, right, so cars. You can go right now and choose any car that you wanna drive, it’s of course based upon what you can afford, so essentially in equivalence to what you could get into, so what company you could land at, but you could drive any car you want, the choice is yours. You can get into a car that goes really fast, you can get into a car that goes really slow, it’s your choice. It’s the same with your career and the same with a company. You have the choice, because the way that at least I see it, you are the talent and the talent is able to go wherever they want. Now, in the recruiting side, which is what I represent, is, sometimes you may not see that you would have a great career being at Brex, let’s say, because you have no understanding of what Brex does today, but if I enlighten you and I give you exposure to what we’re doing and I introduce you to people and I court you in the ways that truly are what you value, then you may very well see another opportunity that you did not see before.

27:06 RG: Essentially, if I was a, hate to say it, but like a car salesman, you didn’t see the Lexus in the corner there because you were looking at the Honda and you were looking at the Toyota, and that’s okay, but now you know you can afford the Lexus or now you know that the Lexus is gonna give you what you really wanted in comparison to the Honda and the Toyota.

27:30 RS: So you’re saying it’s the recruiter’s responsibility to really dig into candidate motivations and show them something that they may not have thought they wanted?

27:41 RG: I think it’s absolutely on the recruiter’s scope to assess what their passion is, what they’re excited about, what they wanna do next in their career, what they’re doing today as well and aligning them, because most times recruiters will reach out to a candidate and it may not be a great fit, but maybe there’s other opportunities within the company that that person could likely do today, or what I see is maybe they’re just not a good fit, but they would be good down the road or they would be good at another company and you know someone there that you can make a recommendation to.

28:24 RS: So in the event that someone was just like, yeah, I don’t know if I’m gonna be the VP who drives, who delivers these cars to make sure we ship, you would say, that’s fine, maybe there’s a different role or maybe you’re not a good fit or there’s no whatever talent optimizes on… I guess, I don’t know, I guess I don’t know what my question is. I think I’m just more curious about just the debate on whether we should hold as the paragon of productivity and work which like anything Elon Musk touches tends to become, this notion that you have to hustle and grind your hands to the bone at a job.

29:06 RG: Well, look at what he just put out, was it two weeks ago? He said, if you wanna become ultimately successful, you need to work 80 hours a week, there’s no question about it. I don’t disagree with that, but what Elon is referencing, and I actually wrote this on on my LinkedIn, what Elon is referencing is that if you want to be successful, it doesn’t mean that you need to work 80 hours a week at one thing, it just means that you need to put in 80 hours worth a week of work towards the things you want to see become successful in your life.

29:45 RS: Got it.

29:46 RG: Right, so he would not have been able to build three companies, two companies, five companies, I don’t even know how many companies he has now, at the same time if he didn’t work 80 hours. He can delegate those tasks, but no one’s going to care as much about those companies as he is and it’s the same as any of our lives so, yeah, we all need to put in about 80 hours worth of work.

30:14 RS: Right, and that can be into your hobbies, into your family, it’s like more about personal productivity and growth than it is about clocking in.

30:22 RG: Exactly. And that, I think from a recruitment standpoint it aligns with the lifestyle, it kind of doesn’t stop, you are always recruiting in some fashion. Yeah, it is an interesting concept, at least from Elon’s approach, and not a lot of people are excited about that, ’cause no one likes to hear that they have to work 80 hours a week in order to become successful nowadays, but that’s the nature of where we are today. In order for you to have those successful benefits in life you’ll need to put in the time.

30:58 RS: I don’t know, I don’t know if it takes 80 hours. To maybe to be this larger than life executive maybe, I guess it hinges on your definition of success.

31:11 RG: So it’s interesting. I did the math on… At least for myself. I do real estate stuff on the side, pretty passionate about that, amongst my recruiting and there’s 168 hours a week, that’s what you have in approximately seven days, so from that you have at least for myself, let’s say I’m putting in 50 hours worth of work a week, which is about the standard, and you… At least for myself, I’m putting in an additional 40 hours a week into real estate, so those are after hours, those are through the weekend stuff but that’s the amount of breakdown. And then I have about 35 hours to 40 hours a week I’m putting into family, right? And then I’m putting in another 49 hours-ish to sleep.

32:11 RS: Right.

32:12 RG: So, 167, 168 hours, right? So if you do wanna break down what that time looks like, break it down by the week.

32:21 RS: I like that.

32:22 RG: See what you’re really putting out.

32:24 RS: Where you’re spending your time, yeah.

32:25 RG: Where are you spending your time?

32:26 RS: We do it with our budget, when you do your finances, you’re like, “Oh, shit, I’m spending 240 bucks a month on Lyfts.”

32:31 RG: Yeah.

32:32 RS: Right? But you got me thinking I wanna do this. So alright, well, lop off 40 or so for sleep, lop off X amount for being in the office, I got this new screen time app on my phone.

32:41 RG: Yeah.

32:42 RS: I’m embarrassed to tell you the number, but take that out of there, right? Where can you move things around if productivity and how you spend your time, and in the interest of cultivating happiness, I think that’s important too. It’s like, you don’t know what you don’t measure. And so, it’s like learning that you spend 240 bucks a month on Lyft is like, “That’s too much, that’s a couple of grand a year. I can take the bus more.”

33:02 RG: Yeah.

33:04 RS: And so in the same way, I’m spending 18 hours a week on Netflix, that’s too much, I could read a book, right?

33:10 RG: Yeah.

33:10 RS: I think that’s just good practice for anyone.

33:13 RG: One thing that Elon said early on that I’ll never forget is the biggest waste in life is not maximizing your potential. And we all go to work for intellectual stimulation, that’s what we do, that’s why we go to work, we want to learn, we want to become better as people, and we wanna challenge ourselves. That’s why people fly to the Moon or wanna go to Mars, right?

33:45 RS: Right. What did Sir Edmund Hillary say about Everest? Why did you climb that? And he said, “Because it was there.”

33:50 RG: Because it was there, right? And that’s a… It’s just a curiosity that’s amongst us.

33:55 RS: Achievement, yeah, and progress.

33:58 RG: So that’s the same thing you should look at and value with your time. When you look at 168 hours, what are you losing there? Because you really can’t put a value on that time. Because you never get it back, right? So if you do put a value on it, then make it so that it is going to create a return, right? Whether it be putting in time today that creates a return later, or getting an immediate return for the time you contribute today, regardless of the fact, make sure that whatever time you are building and utilizing in your 168 hours you are doing it with the mindset that you’re going to receive a return.

34:48 RS: Right. And you kind of can measure it too, right? It’s 168 times 72 times however many years you live, 80 to 90. Man, it took 42 episodes, but we’ve finally talked about death and anxiety on this podcast.


35:02 RG: Great.

35:03 RS: Oh, man, so yeah, I think it is important to sort of divorce that from just work, right? When it’s 80 hours, it doesn’t mean in front of your computer at your desk. And if you have this need to achieve and push yourself, if you have that compulsion to wanna do that, then you start to think critically about where you spend your time.

35:27 RG: And so this is where I think the time shift is a very interesting piece, because the guys at Brex, when I say guys, I literally mean Henrique and Pedro, that is a big component on their decision, right? They’re building a company that’s growing so fast, we are building a company that’s growing so fast that we really don’t have the ability to sacrifice time. And we are working hard. And it is one of the fastest valuation companies out there today, going from, just in a couple of months, from a… Let’s say tens of millions to 1.1 billion, right? Where it became a unicorn overnight. And we’re on the trajectory of being a decacorn, right? So it’s a very fascinating time to be on this rocket ship, and time is a huge factor, especially when your value goes in, let’s say a period of 10 months, it goes to 1.1 billion. Every hour of that time counted.

36:38 RS: Yeah.

36:39 RG: Right? So there is no time wasted. We work on really exciting things within the financial sector that are reinventing the structure of what we all know today, into what we will know in the future. And the startups are immediately recognizing that, and seeing value in it, and jumping on board with both feet, which is how we have continued to position ourselves to becoming a dominator within our space. And talent is not sacrificed along the way. We are attracting some of the best people, if not the best people, I could argue. I love the companies I’ve worked for in the past, but it’s fascinating to see the level of quality that we have hired at Brex, and we continue to hire. These are, no question, the best people in the world doing what they do at Brex today. So there’s a very proud feeling walking around the office that you are part of this elite in a sense of people that attract more of those same profiles, and it brings out the best of you.

38:01 RS: And this exercise in time measurement, this can go all the way down to your day-to-day as well, right? In your case, it’s like, “Oh, I’m spending 35 hours a week sourcing. Hey, I need to hire a sourcer.” Or, “I’m spending this much time scheduling, I need a recruiting coordinator.” If you are looking to grow the team, if you are… If there are things you wanna accomplish at your job that you don’t have time for because you’re doing other things, measure it, show that to your boss. Show that, “Hey, this is… Between the rest of the team we’re spending 40-50 hours a week on this. That’s a full-time job for someone else, right? That frees up all these other things.”

38:39 RG: Yeah, you don’t want to be a bottleneck to the business because you feel that you can take on ownership of everything.

38:49 RS: Don’t be a hero, right?

38:49 RG: Don’t be a hero, don’t be a hero. That’s the best way to put it, especially in a startup where everyone is all pretty much consumed throughout the day, there’s a lot to be done and there’s only so many of you. The don’t be a hero mindset is essential. And when we think about ‘Don’t Be A Hero,’ it really means when you see an opportunity to work with someone, then you should voice that, you should bring up the need, because you’re growing and there’s opportunities, and those opportunities can create more opportunities, if you partner with others on those specific challenges. And so, exactly to your point is, if I am in a bottleneck situation, or I am projecting that there will be a bottleneck at some point in the near term, then I need to not just become the bottleneck, I need to find a solution for the bottleneck, before it becomes a bottleneck. And that’s where you start to voice that opinion, that concern and create a solution around it.

40:10 RS: When it comes to your own team, though, you can look at your team members and you start to get a sense of how they’re spending their time, and I think in a lot of cases it ought to be up to the manager to be like, “Okay, this person, I’m not gonna wait for you to cry uncle. I’m gonna take this off your… Take this from you,” right?

40:27 RG: Right.

40:28 RS: Richard, take the wheel. I had a boss one time and we had a co-worker who was… She was a designer, and she was the only one, and she was very overloaded in her work. And I knew we needed a junior designer, the whole team knew it, but she wanted to be a hero. And then at some point she voiced that, and the boss was like, “I was waiting for you to cry uncle.” And that blew my mind that he saw it and said nothing, like what? To prove what point? That was upsetting. So don’t be that person, right?

41:00 RG: Right.

41:00 RS: Help your team do their best work by letting them know that you can see that they’re at the end of their tether, or that they can spend their time in other ways, or that there is a bottleneck being created by their desire to do a lot of work.

41:12 RG: Yeah, you have to have an open mind, right? So I’ll give you another good example is, in my team sourcing is extremely important. Most companies have the same importance in sourcing, but in particular, I think sourcing should be a strong partner to the business, just as strong as a recruiter, they should be alongside each other. It shouldn’t be a support to a recruiter, or a support to the business. It should be a partner. And so, sourcing should be sitting on intake sessions, they should be doing sourcing jams, they should be really integrated with their supported business units. Sometimes that may come across as, in a way, to the sourcing team a little bit more of a micromanagement approach, right? Go sit on intake sessions. Go sit in shadow sessions with interviews and phone screens.

42:23 RG: But really, what you’re doing is getting them full-on exposure to what they may not see on an everyday basis that a typical recruiter would see, which is, what’s in front of the curtain, and not necessarily what’s behind the curtain, right? What are we, and how are we assessing? Then how can we scale that across every recruitment support person, both on the sourcer side and on the recruiter side, not just on one side? Because then there’s inconsistency, right? Or there could be an inconsistent process there after recruitment that goes into the engineering team, or any team. And so you want the consistency across the entirety of the life cycle. But taking that even a step further, is you also want to understand from the sourcer, so this is a bottom up and a top down situation, is the sourcer needs to understand what is the passion that’s driving that candidate. Is it salary? Is it mission? Is it the team? And then carrying that interest, that passion all the way through to the recruiter, and then from the recruiter into the next stages, which is the engineers, the engineering managers, whatever it is that is going to continue through that life cycle.

43:55 RG: And what that does is it almost solidifies the ability to align the interests at the close, at the offer negotiation, to the candidate’s interests. So if you do that early on you’ve not just built a rapport, but you’ve also continued the rapport building across the entirety of the life cycle, meaning that you are building up a pre-close, to then get a good and seamless close, and an acceptance.

44:28 RS: I love that, and I have follow-up questions, and I wanted to hear all about a couple of your other jobs, but we are creeping up on optimal podcast length here. And I would be remiss if I surged past it.

44:40 RG: Go for it.

44:40 RS: Without a…

44:41 RG: Go for it.

44:44 RS: I want to, but I think we should, I think, we should schedule a part 2. [laughter]

44:47 RG: Yeah? Okay.

44:47 RS: Honestly, ’cause we’re at 47 minutes.

44:50 RG: Okay.

44:51 RS: Yeah, there’s a whole bunch of more stuff I’d like to hear about, but we’ll leave that for the sequel, Rob and Richard part 2…

44:58 RG: Part 2?

44:58 RS: Part 2, yeah, exactly, revenge of the recruiter.

45:01 RG: That’s right. [chuckle]

45:03 RS: But anyway, this has all been really fascinating. If you like what Richard had to say about Brex, find him on LinkedIn, hit him up, and be a part of that awesome growing team. It sounds like an amazing opportunity.

45:13 RG: It is.

45:13 RS: Richard, you’re fascinating. I just love picking your brain about all this stuff. Thank you for joining me and being here on the show with me.

45:18 RG: Thank you, Rob. Thank you for the invite.

45:20 RS: And to all of you out there in podcast land, thank you so much for joining us. Once more, I’ve been Rob Stevenson, Richard Garcia has been Richard Garcia, and you’ve all been amazing, wonderful, talented recruiting pros, have a spectacular week and happy hunting.


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