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12 Sep

Ep. 60 – Paul Murskov – Founder & CEO of HireKeep

Paul Murskov – Founder & CEO of HireKeep; Solving a problem in the hiring process; Turning losses into wins; Testing to see what works; Having patience to succeed.

Segment 1: (Length :04:00) – General Updates; Introduction to Paul Murskov and his journey as an entrepreneur; His fascination with sales; Starting HireKeep; Creating a YouTube Channel called Paul Talk.

Paul’s finer points:

I've always steered in the other direction. I was always a people person. I was always looking to entertain, to ask questions, just became naturally sales-driven, and I liked the rush of it all.

“I think sales has always been in my blood, which is really different than my parents, and even my brother. They’re very technical people.”

“I learned a lot through my journey, but as I started to get more and more proficient in the sales game and the sales hustle, I realized more and more of what it took, and my sales acumen grew with that.”

The guy on the phone said, Let's do business, and I had to Google what does a recruiting contract look like because I didn't even know the term, so I printed a PDF.

“Starting HireKeep has been really incredible. We’re into a lot of different things here, and my journey has been really insane, because when I sold my first HireKeep deal, and I still can’t believe this, I didn’t even know what a contract looked like”

“I was like, “Okay. Now what?” That’s when I sat down and started to figure this out from scratch, because all I knew was I was onto an idea. I knew that it worked.”

“That’s really our goal, is to wake up loving what we do, and I can see that energy from you guys as well on the show.”

“As I started to build and create, what I realize was the money doesn’t come right away. When the money doesn’t come right away and you’ve got no income coming in, guess what? You’re working 15 hours a day, trying to drive Uber at night, and then back to the hustle in the morning.”

“Eventually, we got our first paycheck, and it grew from there. Now, we’re really excited. We just got nominated for Tech.Co’s Startup of the Year, so we’re going to San Francisco to compete in the semifinals, which is super sick, and I’m excited for the team.”

“I also spun that into a YouTube series called Paul Talk, where I talk entrepreneurship and sales to help educate and share some of the awesome successes, and also the loses, failures and struggles, which there are plenty.”

Segment 2: (Length :04:00) – Talking with Paul Murskov; The problem in the hiring world; HireKeep’s algorithm for matching candidates.

Paul’s finer points:

“In a nutshell, we have everyone take an analysis, because of the state of recruiting and the application process really being, what we believe, broken, in a sense.”

“Hiring mangers taking all this time to look at resumes, people that are great for some companies, but maybe not for their company, but how do you really identify that? We have this understanding of a person that goes in and can self-identify. What are their goals? What are their skills? What are their aspirations? What kind of personality and culture fits are they really? Where would they be the perfect fit?”

Our process, really, is a process of self-revelation and self-identification.

“We just provided you with the avenue to present this to you. You determined it by self-identifying all of these different things that are really important when you’re coming into an organization.”

“. . . almost like an eHarmony, almost like a time machine of what can happen with this individual, and how successful can they be at my company? We’ve proven that because right now, thus far, we’re running about a 97% retention rate of anyone that actually comes into an organization, which is astounding, and I’m not letting it go below that.”

“That process is just becoming more and more efficient and expansive as we learn more and more about the individuals that are self-identifying and taking our analysis, which thousands and thousands of people have and, on top of that, what decisions are hiring managers taking in hiring them, between the different companies that we work with.”

“What you’re describing is the enablement of creativity, the enablement of entrepreneurship, the enablement of the freedom to not be so rigid, because I think that most organizations that have extremely rigid structures prohibit a lot of advancements.

“I’ve been through this with companies myself, which is one of the reasons why I wanted to create HireKeep, but I will tell you something else that I find very interesting, is that some people like rigid. Some people like automated. The thing is, if a person like that falls into an organization that you had just described, there’s that mismatch.”

“I think there is something out there for everyone, and you can create that cultural balance, but you have to be able to differentiate what kind of a person am I, and do I want to be.”

“Not everybody’s an entrepreneur. Somebody doesn’t want to be the number 1. Somebody wants to be the number 2. Somebody just wants to sit in the back and get their job done and move on. If that’s the case, and that’s the type of opportunity that job offers, then that is actually a perfect fit, even culturally, even though it may not be what you were initially describing.”

Segment 3: (Length :04:00) – Turning losses into wins; Keep moving; the patience behind entrepreneurship; holding yourself accountable; testing to see what works.

Paul’s finer points:

“Losses, to me, are also failures, in a way. In order to numb the losses and to pivot, I have one rule, and that is don’t fall too much in love with anything you’re doing or with anyone you’re hiring, with any process you’ve ever built, your own product, your systems. Do not fall in love with anything, because that will enable you to respond to these failures and losses more mechanically, instead of more emotionally.”

If the mindset is, and this is my mindset everyday and I kid you not, is we're going to get it done no matter what.

“Instead of dwelling on the losses or dwelling on the failures and being emotional about it, you want to keep your eye on the next thing because that’s how you can leap frog from a loss or a failure into an even better, more mechanically-sound system faster.”

“When we have that mindset, pivoting is a very natural process because it’s naturally based off these losses and failures.”

“When I first decided I was going to do HireKeep full time, I woke up the next day and said, “Why am I not a millionaire yet? What’s going on,” because I didn’t understand.”

“It’s so funny because you go at this and you’re like, “I’ve been doing this for a month. Why am I not rich yet? What the hell is going on? I’m seeing all of these companies raising millions and millions of dollars. They’re on TechCrunch and all these places.”

“Well, okay. It might take 2 months.” Then 2 months rolls by, and you still made no money. You’re like, “Whoa, whoa, wait a minute. Is this all like a scam? What is this entrepreneur thing? What is this startup stuff?”

Then 6 months go by, and you've pretty much made a hundredth of everyone around you. All of your friends, they've got jobs, and they're making money. You're so alone. That unpredictability and that patience is really something I learned the hard way.

“You have to become best friends with these things, like losses and failures, but also unpredictability. You hit a good point when your question talks about how do you hold yourself accountable, and how do you focus, and how do you move? I think the biggest mistake I used to make is I looked too far ahead.”

“When you look too far ahead, you start to look at things that are instantly outside of your control. If you focus on what’s right in front of you and improving that, especially in the beginning, then you’ll be fine.”

That’s really how you could hold yourself accountable; write everything down, everything that you need to get done, and you hold yourself accountable that way. It’s about the win. It’s the today. It’s the tomorrow. It’s not the, ‘Okay. 3 months from now, here’s what I need to get done.'”

I used to never make my agenda more than maybe 3, 4 days in advance, just because I knew my time has to be so narrow and so focused, and then I wouldn't fail at things that are completely out of my control.

“Strategy and testing and doing this stuff, yes, it’s all about data, but it’s also how it impacts you, how it impacts your team, how it impacts the overall morale of the business.”

“You’ve got to listen to the gut. Sometimes you’ve got to test things and see how does it make your client, your early-stage clients, feel. Are they happy with it? Are you social proofing? I think that some of that stuff sometimes is more important than data.”

“That takes me into the patience piece of it, because that’s the toughest freaking thing. Most people, especially sales people, or people who even spend money on products or will buy anything, they want instant gratification. That’s what most platforms out there provide. I click this button, and 70 things happen without me having to do anything.”

Life never just happens to you. You have an impact on everything that occurs, and I really believe that, and you always take responsibility for your success and failure. Love the struggle because that's when you know that you're actually doing something great.

“That’s really tough if you’re a young company or if you have a reputation you want to maintain. Why? Because a company may throw money at you, but they may not initially be the right client fit. You actually have to say no to revenue.”

“Can you imagine you have no money, and a company comes to you and says, “Okay. I like your service, but I need you to do this, this, and this. I’m going to pay you $10,000 for this,” and you have to say no?”

“. . . but if you build that core, if you build it strong initially, and that’s what people see your company as, is you don’t do deals just to do deals, you don’t just sign contracts just to sign contracts, then you can maintain that reputation.”

Segment 5: (Length :03:00) – Hustler Thought of the Day:

My successes are made out of the ingredients of my struggles. My struggles are the pathway that led me to success. No thing in your life just happens. - TD Jakes


Paul Murskov – Founder & CEO of HireKeep

  • Paul Murskov is the founder and CEO of HireKeep, a recruitment platform that uses predictive analytics to match people with companies based on culture fit, job satisfaction, and potential for success.
  • He left his position as the director of Global Sales at JW Player in NYC to be a part of the Founders Institute in DC. Paul moved back to DC, and a week before the program was going to start, it was cancelled.
  • Began working as VP of Sales at a local startup. Created an analysis to determine if potential sales reps he was interviewing were good culture fits. Used it to grow the sales team into 20 people and made record numbers.
  • He realized he was onto something, and set up a phone call with a hiring manager to try to sell them on the service. Closed the deal in one phone call, sent over a contract he found online, and started HireKeep.
  • Worked out of his apartment building while driving Uber at night to keep the lights on. Grew it into a million dollar business with 14 full-time employees in a year and a half.
  • Paul has always been an entrepreneur. While attending Rutgers, he got his real estate license, and created a service that helped the family of recently deceased people go through the process of liquidating assets to cover funeral costs and outstanding debt. Before that he was one of those guys selling speakers out of the back of a van.


Matt Gottesman

Matt Gottesman is a global digital strategist and technology advisor, creator and editor-in-chief of Hustle & Deal Flow™ - an online magazine dedicated to the world's entrepreneurs, creators and makers, a Social Media Influencer and a consultant on New Media and go-to-market strategies for investments in digital marketing, technology, websites, mobile applications, eCommerce, social media and content.

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