Hyperfocus Hour: Neurodiversity and Management Styles

Jon interviews Gabriel Severi, a Security Architect, about the economic impact of neurodiversity and management. They discuss the concept of ADHD tax, where neurodivergent individuals spend extra time and money on tasks that neurotypical individuals can complete more efficiently. The conversation also touches on the flaws in current productivity metrics and the negative impact of bad managers on the economy. Gabriel suggests measuring candidates based on measurable metrics such as IQ, problem-solving skills, and pattern detection rather than experience or knowledge with a particular tool. The podcast concludes by emphasising the need for continuous learning and training for everyone.

Points highlighted in this episode:

    1. Consider the concept of ADHD tax and how it may impact neurodivergent individuals in the workplace.
    2. Evaluate current productivity metrics and consider alternative methods for measuring productivity.
    3. Provide better performance management and people management training, especially for neurodiverse employees.
    4. Measure candidates based on measurable metrics such as IQ, problem-solving skills, and pattern detection rather than experience or knowledge with a particular tool.
    5. Emphasise the need for continuous learning and training for everyone.

Overview Of Podcast

    • Introduction & your ADHD tax
    • 06:22 ADHD management and the economics of it – Video Game Theory 
    • 13:10 Trend 1: Bullmarket
    • 15:50 Trend 2: Promotions
    • 17.01 Trend 3: Bad Management
    • 25:22 Wage inflation & Hiring Market
    • 46.14 Skills gaps and hiring
    • 59:11 Diamond in the rough
    • 64.27 The big five
    • 70:42 Personality Traits
    • 87:01 Last Comments

About Our Host Jon And Guest Gabriel

Jon Wakefield, Consultant at Via Resource

Jon joined Via Resource with a year of recruitment experience in the Cyber Security market, where he specialises in Security Engineering and DFIR.

Having placed candidates from Senior Manager Security Engineering to mid-level in highly regulated industries such as finance; Jon has built a comprehensive understanding of both candidate and client needs and addresses each role, and person, on an individual basis to find the perfect fit.

As an avid Star Wars fan, you will often see or hear Jon making connections and references to cyber security. Jon has ADHD and is an avid supporter of neurodivergent talent in the workplace.

Gabriel Severi, Security Architect

Gabriel is a cybersecurity professional with just over 6 years of experience and exposure to multiple industry sectors. Currently he works as a Senior Consultant, specialising in Security Architecture. Outside of cybersecurity, Gabriel has a deep interest in Psychology and Game Theory, which he has used to analyse the current job market and identify areas which are causing negative impact to the economy. He was diagnosed with ADHD in 2021, and has been trying to upskill companies in neurodiversity management, one employer at a time.

He identified that this might be too slow a method, so now he is campaigning more strongly for better management practices in general, which he hopes will improve the score for neurodiverse employees holistically as a result.


Introduction & your ADHD tax

Jon: Welcome to Hyper Focus Hour, a podcast that is dedicated to ADHD and neurodiversity in the workplace, where myself and wonderful people such as you, Gabriel, attempt to navigate and build tools for neurodivergent people in tech and cybersecurity to essentially help them build and succeed in their career. I’m Jon, I’m a cybersecurity recruitment consultant. I’ve got a year and a half of experience in security operations and digital forensics incident response. I have ADHD primarily in attentive. I have two diagnoses from the US and a third from the United Kingdom. This podcast is now going to be brought to you by myself, obviously, and by a resource, a specialist information and security recruitment specialist who operate in the UK, Europe, US and Middle East, which I realize is quite a lot. Today we have Gabriel Severi as a guest on the show. Gabriel is a security engineer and who, like me, obviously has ADHD. Gabriel has extensive experience in the security industry and I’m really excited to be talking to you, Gabriel, about the economic impact of neurodiversity and management. So welcome to Hyper focus hour. And again, I’m really, really excited to be talking about neurodiversity and management in the workplace and how that can impact the economy. But before we get started, I have one question for you.

Gabriel: Sure.

Jon: Do you know what ADHD tax is? Have you heard that phrase?

Gabriel: Yes, I absolutely have. The extra amount of time that it takes us to do anything, that means we’re often paying for the amount of time that we spend on doing something that neurotypical people do a lot faster.

Jon: Yeah, or like we bought something and we’ve forgotten we’ve bought it, or whatever. So before we get started.

Gabriel: The impulsiveness of buying things without impulsiveness or forgetting to pay for something early, when you get a discount, but then ending up paying for it late and you pay the full price.

Jon: So whether it was today, yesterday, in the last week, what was your most recent ADHD tax?

Gabriel: Oh, dear. I’m lucky on that front that as soon as I identified issues like that, I try to put structures in place to prevent me from doing that. I just make it a default rule. For example, for me, I don’t buy things unless it’s 100% pre planned. If I’m out, I’m in a shopping mall, or if I’m traveling, if I haven’t planned to buy something, it’s a flat rule. Even if I need it, even if I like it and I want it.

Jon: You won’t buy it?

Gabriel: No.

Jon: That’s a lot of self constraint.

Jon: Yeah. Okay, so you haven’t had a text like that in a while.

Gabriel: Thankfully, it has happened and it’s bit me hard. It’s one of those things, it takes a number of times for it to bite you, but you learn.

Jon: Yeah, I had a tax recently that was probably about a month or two ago. Basically, I really like Lego, especially as it pertains to the Star Wars. Right. And basically I bought a Lego Star Wars set and I forgot that I bought it. And about a week ago, it showed. Up in my flat and I was. Like, oh, I have new Star Wars. I have new Lego sets. Cool. I completely forgotten. Absolutely, totally forgotten. And then I was like, this is my Saturday sorted. I can now have a fun day.

Gabriel: That is beautiful. It’s like a present to yourself. From your past self.

Jon: Yeah, that’s how I look at it now. I’m just like, if something like that happens I bought some seasoning that I needed to make, like a curry and like a fried rice and stuff. And it showed up on, I think, Saturday. Same thing showed up. And I was like, what is this? And open it. I was like, oh,

Gabriel: That’s happens every once in a while. The longer it takes for things to get this. I recently bought a present for my fiancé well, I recently before Christmas, I bought a present for my fiancé’s birthday, which is coming up in August. Sorry, apologies. It’s not in August. August is my mother. See, there’s your ADHD again. There it is. Hers is in October. I know it’s a long time in advance, but I knew it was a preorder. I knew that it would take some time for it to get dispatched. And eventually it did get dispatched, and it arrived last week. And it’s related to a game. I don’t know if you like gaming .

Jon: Yeah

Gabriel: Destiny Kingdom is beautiful. I’m currently on Destiny, two, and there’s this beautiful cybernetic dog that you get to pet in the game. And she loves animals and she loves plushies. So a couple of years ago, I bought her a five Nights of Freddy’s Plushie. So this time around, I thought I get this pettable cybernetic dog as a plushie. And he arrived exactly as you said when he arrived. I was like, what’s this? I wasn’t expecting anything. And then I was like, oh, yeah.

Jon: The o moment is a great moment. Because you’re like, all right, I forgot I did that. It’s a really good it’s a good feeling. And it’s also like, how could I have forgotten that? But it’s when you got an.

Gabriel: Email reminding you three days before you arrived yeah.

Jon: And you didn’t read the email because you’re like, no, I can’t be that important.

Gabriel: Yeah. ADHD tax. Right. There not reading emails that you’re supposed to.

Jon: And speaking of that, like, ADHD tax, not reading emails when you’re supposed to. That goes into this into our conversation today.

06:22 ADHD management and the economics of it – Video Game Theory

Jon: Neurodiversity ADHD management and the economics of it. So this is a really interesting topic, and it’s a topic that I don’t think I’ve really had anyone else kind of speak about. What attracted you to it? Where did your interest grow from this? What caused you to think about it?

Gabriel: Sure, I work in cybersecurity, and I’ve got ADHD, so it’s no surprise to anyone that I like maths, mathematics, so anything mathy, anything numbers, anything that you can calculate and measure has attracted me for forever, basically physics, quantum physics, chemistry. So that’s always been an area of interest of mine. But sometimes there’s a topic in the media that sort of pulls up and you’re like, I’ve got some knowledge about this that feels significant. And I had been recently doing some work on game theory, trying to understand it better and trying to see how it applies in different scenarios, but particularly evolution and economics. So there’s two branches of game theory, evolutionary game theory and economical game theory.

Jon: We’re talking about video game theory here?

Gabriel: Almost. So game theory is a scientific theory of interaction and decision making.

Jon: Okay?

Gabriel: So because games fall under that category, it’s called Game Theory. So essentially, if you have a rules of interaction, that is the rules of the game, and then you have an outcome or an objective, right?

Jon: Yeah.

Gabriel: And that is the aim of the game. And then you have the participants, they’re the players. So you can describe games through Game theory, like like chess, or you can describe any strategical interaction with the same theory.

Jon: Right

Gabriel: So hence why, let’s say evolutionary competition started being described in terms of Game theory because it’s two competing participants. For example, in a two player interaction could be multiplayer interaction, could be team based, like a sport, like football. That can be described in Game Theory, but each team is a unit of participation. So you wouldn’t consider each individual player as a player, you consider the team as a player.

Jon: as a player. Okay, so from following you then, game Theory translates into neurodivergence and the economics of management and stuff because you’re not thinking of the managers, maybe individually, but as a company or even what’s it like different kind of verticals like finance or insurance or consultancy.

Gabriel: There’s an entire branch of Game Theory called economics game Theory. And because of my interest in Game Theory, I started getting interested in economics and how the strategies and choices of actors in the market impact the market and each other because companies are constantly competing against each other, trying to do better than each other, et cetera. And, you can even compare. There’s a word that we use in business called incorporated. So incorporated comes from the Latin corpus, which means body. So you can make a parallel between a business entity, a corporation with a body. So the executive management is your brain. The departments are like each individual organ, each individual employee is a cell, and money is the energy.

Jon: So it really breaks down. Okay,

Gabriel: It maps very well. It maps perfectly. In fact, there’s a reason they called it incorporated at the end of the day. And what you get is because I have that interest already. And now a hot topic is this idea of stagflation, right? So you have stagnation, so lack of productivity and inflation where market prices are going up despite us not producing more. And you get COVID and everybody’s now working from home and you’ve got all the subsidies being given out, which is making inflation even worse.
And you’ve got issue of being capable now of working from home. But once COVID is out, some companies are pushing people back into the office. And that caught my eye, that caught my interest because I was like, I think I can model this theory. But after doing the modeling, this is nothing extensively mathematical, but it’s just mainly logic. My area mainly focuses on logic diagrams and logical outcomes. And what I identified was something that I had somewhat presumed or observed. But then I was capable of modeling it at a larger scale, because in the businesses I have worked in, you notice the behavior, and you can predict, this will lead this behavior or this strategy. This choice will lead to these outcome, or given a certain set of circumstances, these will be the outcome of these.

Jon: Was it at that point that when you’re doing this modeling and you were running it through game theory and everything, was it at that point you kind of maybe did you notice there was a trend in like neurotypical managers and a lack of neurodiverse managers? What was the trend there?

Gabriel: So for sure, I’m going to start like this. If I remember correctly, two main trends, potentially three, but one main trend is I’m going to use a technical term, but I will try to explain it as best as I can.

13:10 Trend 1: Bullmarket

Gabriel: During bull markets, you have extreme inefficiency. So what that means is a bull market is when the market is doing financially very well or even exceeding expectations. And what ends up happening is in periods of abundance, you efficiency can be masked by simply applying more resources. So you have a manager that isn’t particularly smart or isn’t particularly good at strategizing or managing people and engaging. And then what happens is. They in order to solve the lack of productivity that his team is having, they say to their manager, the senior management, I need more employees, I need a bigger team. Right. We’re not producing enough because we don’t have the resources. It’s always a resources problem. You’ve seen that picture where this guy trying to look over a wall, has about 15 ladders, but they’re stacked horizontally. Whereas if you used a single ladder stacked vertically on the wall, you’d be able to get over the wall.

Jon: So essentially, instead of using the ladder the way that the ladder should be used, they’re just mismanaging it.

Gabriel: They’re mismanaging resources because they’re inefficient, they’re not good strategists. And what ends up happening is in a period in a bull market condition, that is fine, you can throw more resources at the problem. Let’s tax some more ladders horizontally. Yeah. Because we can afford it. And you see, that’s exactly what happened with Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and all of these large tech companies that are now doing mass layoffs. Why are they doing mass layoffs during a bull market? They overhired. They just threw resources at a problem when the correct solution would have been, let’s find a more efficient way. Yeah, so that is the first trend. Right. And we’re seeing that now. So as soon as a bull market ends and you start going into recession, the inefficiencies of management start becoming critically apparent. Yeah. The second thing I started noticing is because of poor management, promotions were also.

15:50 Trend 2: Promotions

Gabriel: And hiring was also inefficient. And by that I mean they were. More socially oriented to make people happy. Rather than measured on a capacity and skill basis. So what that means is you’ve been. At the job for ten years, you’re best friends with your executive, and you get promoted to becoming a director. Yeah. You’re not being promoted by competency or your actual skills.

Jon: You’re being promoted by nepotism might be a good word. Yeah. Who. You know. Yeah. That’s something that just or you can make happy.

Gabriel: Who. You can make happy. Right. So if you can make somebody happy that has the power to promote you, your likelihood of being promoted goes up significantly. And. What ended up happening there is. You can see now, the evidence is in the job market, whenever you’re looking for a role to apply to and it says you need this many years of experience. How does the years of experience correlate. To capacity to do that job? Yeah. It may or it may not. It could be a close approximation, too, but in isolation, it is not much.

17.01 Trend 3: Bad Management

Jon: Yeah. And then if I’m following with where you’re going, I’m thinking your third point if we bring it back to ADHD or Neurodiversity the third point if I’m following is the people that are getting hired or they’re getting from promoted the nepotism, if you will, that’s being given to other neurotypical people maybe a lot of the time, because they are the ones that make the higher ups, they make the seniors happy. They get on with them. They have those connections, whereas social ability. That social awareness. Yeah. Whereas neurodivergent people, we struggle a little bit more with the social aspects, not even to get into the fact that we often don’t stay at jobs as long as a neurotypical does. So then it cascades because there are probably definitely some really good neurodivergent people out there that would be better suited for these roles and are being passed up because they maybe are a bit too blunt or they just think differently. And the seniors thinking they don’t think.

Gabriel: There isn’t a worse experience of going to an interview where the candidate is more capable of the job than the hiring manager. Yeah. And because they’re speaking completely different languages, the hiring manager can’t identify it. Yeah. And that’s the problem that I’m talking about here, is primarily one where managers that have been promoted into management inappropriately then are compounding the problem by making hiring decisions that are inappropriate. Now, when it comes to neurodiversity, that is affected usually in two ways. So on one hand, where the neurodiverse candidate is the one applying or the one that would like a promotion is the employee, the subordinate? Let’s say, then bad management essentially means that they don’t get the reasonable adjustment that they need. It may mean that their true capacity to perform is not assessed correctly because.

Jon: It’s being assessed on neurotypical standards.

Gabriel: Yeah. Not just neurotypical standards. They’re just. Bad managers don’t know how to assess. Even neurotypicals, some brilliantly talented neurotypicals are being passed over because a bad manager does not have the right metrics to measure capacity. So it’s not limited to one or the other. It’s not us versus them. It’s a bad managers are going to bad manage, do you know what I mean? Whether the candidate is a neurotypical or not. Now then you can flip it and say what happens when it’s a neurodiverse person that is the manager, right? And then you start getting into a whole other scale of problems. And I’ve identified this, particularly in the tech sector. It’s no surprise there’s a lot of psychological research, scientific research that have quantified what percentage of tech employees have a neurodiversity of some sort. Whether it be autism, ADHD, dyslexia, you name it. It is incredibly high, right? I don’t have the number right in front of me, but it is a known fact we are really good engineers, we’re really good analysts.

Jon: Really. That means that we workers, good technical workers.

Gabriel: We outperform. Which means we might stay in the job longer than a neurotypical peer. So because we’ve been there longer, we’ve been there ten years in that company and we’ve made friends with the executive despite our neurodivergency. Then you get promoted despite not being capable of being a manager or not having the adequate training. It compounds the problem because now not only are you a bad manager, you’re a bad manager with a neurodiversity. So not only you’re a bad manager, you’re a bad manager with a neurodiversity. And. I’m sure we’re going to talk about this some more, but as you said, the lack of training and preparation for these neurodiverse managers is really starting to bite these companies in the rear end because particularly the tech industry and the cybersecurity industry, even more so, is starting to severely suffer from the poor management. And that’s what’s in my estimation, what’s causing the prices and cost of salaries to raise. And we can discuss that in more detail if you’d like.

Jon: Yeah, that’s the thing is, as you were speaking, I was thinking about this and at a previous company I had a manager neurotypical and obviously I have ADHD. I’m primarily an attentive, right? One of my coworkers is primarily hyper. One of my coworkers was primarily hyperactive. And this manager knew a little bit about ADHD and they’d come up with a really good way and solution to manage my coworker. So they then took that management style and I don’t know if impose is the right word, but they used that management style as a fellow ADHD on me.

Gabriel: based them all with one brush.

Jon: But the problem was, and I didn’t realize this at the time, which is a shame, because if I had, I think things would have changed, would have would have worked out quite differently. I probably would have ended up staying there. But it’s only with hindsight, obviously, because it’s 2020, I. That management style because it was focused for a hyperactive person was actually horrible for me. It led to micromanagement, it led to undue stress. I wasn’t delivering the way that I needed to miscommunications, lack of communication, and I slowed down.

Gabriel: That makes perfect sense.

Jon: Yeah. And it’s only realized, well, it’s not not that he was a bad manager. This guy was not a bad man. I actually think he’s a great manager. The problem was he was managing me like he was managing someone else when it was a totally different type of ADHD because of the lack of awareness on the different types of ADHD and neurodivergence.

Gabriel: Here’s the thing. I’m going to contradict you there for a moment, but I do think it’s bad management, and maybe it’s not intentional. They were not an evil person by any means. No, I’m just going to term it as management is a skill. Just because somebody is a bad footballer does not mean they are a bad person. T

Jon: I wasn’t saying he’s a bad person. By no means.

Gabriel: Exactly. So bad in this sense, not in the moral sense, but certainly in the lacking skill sense, which is often what we’ve been finding as a result of the bull market. These people that have bad management skills being promoted and rewarded despite each.

Jon: Now because of the bull market, it’s going into a recession or what would you call it? A bear market. So that’s the flip end. Or I don’t know. I believe that’s right.

25:22 Wage inflation & Hiring Market

Gabriel: A bear market is a cold market that things start slumping down.

Jon: And so now that we’re in that market. Now that we’re in that market, we’ve been seeing just wage inflation, especially in cybersecurity. When I started a year and a half ago, was it a security architect would be looking realistically was looking for about maybe 80, maybe 90K on average on the base for really good company, really good security architect, they’d be looking for like 100, right? It’s absolutely changed. Now the price has gone up by 20%. So now the same person with the same experience for the same kind of job, everything is looking for like 100. And what’s happened is you have a lot of these people who come from Meta or Amazon, the big ones. I’m not going to name some of the smaller ones because GDPR, but they come and they have these overinflated egos of oh, I’m worth 120k, I’m worth one hundred and fifty k. And I’m like, but that’s not what the market’s saying. The only reason that you can say that you are worth that is because of the wage inflation that we’ve had, because of the kind of microcosm or the bubble that security is in that’s now starting to pop. And you have both neurodivergent and I think it is, I think it is.

Gabriel: So here’s why it’s not popping. What you’re going to end up with is a classification, a crystallization of and have nots in cybersecurity. And what that means is essentially is at the top end of the market prices are going to keep rising, whereas at the bottom end of the market prices are going to drop. And the reason prices are going to drop is because. More people that believe they’re worth 120 are not going to be able to get those roles at 120. And they’re going to start going for roles at 100, at 80. And it’s going to start slowly trickling down to those levels. But the thing you will find is they will not be doing the same role that is worth 120. They’re going to start looking for roles such as analysts or engineering roles that are now worth 70. So they’re going to start doing roles that they might in theory, right, because when somebody is hired because they’ve got good charisma rather than because they’ve got good capabilities, they might end up with experience in a role that they’re not capable of. So I want to preface it with that. But they’re going to end up in a role that they are over experienced for but paid an inflated wage there.

Jon: Or maybe in a role that they think they’re Over experienced for, but in reality they got lucky with a role that they didn’t have enough experience for and now they’re actually in a role that is actually suited for where they’re at in their career.

Gabriel: Correct. And what that’s going to do is that’s going to dry up the experienced market. The more these people start dropping down to lower wage roles, the more companies are going to be competing for that senior architect, the more companies are going to be competing for that security manager or senior engineers, senior analysts. There’s going to be a lot of competition because people are the companies are unreasonable. And I was going to use this going to these detail, so I’m going to actually take the moment and do that now. So here’s how the inflation generally is occurring, right? And this is across the board, not just in technology or cybersecurity, but in particularly strong. This effect is particularly strong in cybersecurity. A bad manager that is incapable of assessing capability during interview might be overly selective. Yeah. Or might be more likely to dismiss an employee they don’t like, despite that employee being capable of the job. So when an employer, a hiring manager, is being highly selective with the candidates that they want to hire, they’re choosing from a smaller pool of candidates. Supply demand rules, right? When the supply is lower and the demand is higher, that smaller pool of candidates are going to be competed over on the basis of salary.

Jon: We’re seeing the same thing with hybrid working remote working. The amount of people that are wanting to work remote, let’s say fully remote, the amount of people that are wanting to workflow remote hasn’t decreased. If anything, it’s increased. But because of the market that we’re in and companies are like, oh, no, we actually have more power than we did a couple of years ago during COVID They’re now going, oh, we’re going to do two or three days in the week in the office. There’s a couple of companies I know that are doing they actually do five days a week in the office for security analysts and engineers. You guys don’t need to be in the office. You can work from home just as easily. But what’s happening then?

Gabriel: They’re having to pay the big bucks for them because it’s a small pool of candidates. Yeah.

Jon: But at the same time, the hybrid and remote roles, those salaries are actually starting to dwindle a little bit because those companies know that they don’t have to be paying extortionate prices to find a broader pool of candidates.

Gabriel: Correct. And people are willing to go to those jobs despite being a lower salary. And that is very true. And that’s what you’re going to find. So the lower the supply, the lower the candidate pool, the higher the salary range is going to go. And the more selective or picky an employer or hiring manager is due to being a bad manager, the higher you’ll see wage inflation go. Right. Simply because of that effect. But then that causes a feedback loop that I’ve been noticing in the last two years, particularly. Right. So this is really bad feedback loop. Consider I’m going to use an analogy to sort of show how stupid really, this mentality is that is happening in the hiring market. So let’s say a bananas are scarce at the moment due to lack of rainfall, so their price has suddenly shot up, right. So there’s low supply, high demand, price of bananas increase.

Jon: Sure.

Gabriel: People going to the supermarket go, oh, my days, it’s increased so much for that price. I want a really good banana, right. So I’m not going to get these crappy bananas over here. I want the really good banana that’s actually yeah.

Jon: You’re going to sift through the bunch to find the best one you possibly can for that price.

Gabriel: Exactly. And then what you end up happening is that’s the price of the banana that year. You’re not going to find anything better because that’s what you get. Yeah, right. That’s how supply and demand works. You might be lucky and find one good banana in a bunch of bad bananas, but it’s luck more than the way things work.

Jon: Yeah, it’s more luck in finding the good banana than it is skill in being able to spot the good banana. Exactly. I see where you’re going.

Gabriel: The idea there is you’ve got to pay the price of the banana at where it’s at because that’s how the market works. Right. If you think a produce is currently in a good deal, you buy it early so that it appreciates. That’s how the stock market works. If the company’s shares are undervalued, you want to buy them so that when they grow to the value they are supposed to be, you’ve made money.

Jon: I’ve done that with my Lego. I’m going to use another Lego example. Yes, go ahead. Lego. Normally a lot of Lego sets, especially Star Wars Lego sets, appreciate with value, but that only happens when the set is retired. So I have the big 2019 UCS Ultimate Collector Series stardust order. Things sent me back probably about 600 pounds. Now, if I had kept it in the box and not opened the box, just sealed factory, everything, I could now sell that on ebay or whatever, for oh, gosh. I think I saw it for about two about 1500 to 2000 pounds. Just because the supply is now gone, but the desire for it hasn’t left. And it’s the same thing with a lot. Sipping with a lot of the other Lego sets that I buy. I buy them not because I want them or even because I like them. I buy them. I put them in my cupboard. I’m thinking, two or three years, this will be worth, let’s say it’s a 50 pound set. A couple of years, that set is going to be worth 200, 300, maybe even 400 pounds. Not even.

Gabriel: Imagine how stupid then it would be if somebody looked at you, knew that you owned that thing and went was like, I’m willing to pay you $40 for it.

Jon: Yeah. I’d be like, no, you’re an idiot.

Gabriel: That’s less than I paid. Exactly. So that’s what’s happening in the job market. So what ends up happening in the job market is the hiring managers start becoming more picky because they’re bad managers. So they hire somebody that is clearly bad for the job and doesn’t turn out well. They get fired. Then they hire somebody else. They’re clearly bad for the job, so they get fired. So the manager starts thinking, I need somebody with more experience. I need somebody more skilled. So the manager goes, because they’re incapable of finding the right person. They start thinking it’s an experience issue. So they start looking for more experienced people. Yeah, but they want those at the price of the junior. This is a junior role.

Jon: So my question then comes to you for ADHD people, for neurodiverse people, how does this impact them? Where’s the impact?

Gabriel: For neurodiverse people, it’s the same impact as you get for neurotypicals, but we struggle more, let’s say, depending on what type of neurodiverse you have, might struggle more at interviews. When you consider that luck in finding the beautiful banana in a bunch of bad bananas, is that idea of trying to find a talented candidate that is undervalued willing to accept a low salary.

Jon: But you’ve got to find that candidate as well. We’ll use ADHD as an example. Right. I cannot tell you how bad I am at taking written exams. I’m horrible at it. Now, it’s not because I don’t know the stuff. When I take a written exam, I know the stuff. It’s in my head. The problem is, sometimes I need a little bit of, like, a Kickstart or maybe a note, and it could be one word. It could be I don’t know.

Gabriel: I call it the seed. Yeah, I know what you mean. To grow that tree.

Jon: Yeah. And it doesn’t mean that I don’t know it. It just means, okay, if I if I was to do a lecture on why the Galactic Empire fell in Star Wars, right? I love Star Wars. Everybody knows that. Anybody that has seen my my LinkedIn post or has talked to me or anything, they they know I love Star Wars. Right. But here’s the thing. If I was going to give a lecture on why the Galactic Empire fell now, I could tell you why that is, but if I were to get up in front of 500 people, I would probably start waffling, because I know the stuff, but I can’t quite get to it, and you can’t focus on where to start. What do I do to Kickstart or what do I do for that seed? I have a note card or a piece of paper that has key words at different points in that talk to literally give my brain that little boost. Now, when we go over to Cybersecurity, we’re just interviewing in general what happens to ADHD people. It’s the exact same thing. If I were to ask you a highly technical question on a topic. About engineering that you haven’t touched in six months. Now, I know that you will know the answer because you’ve done it. And I know that you know the answer. I know that you’ve done it because it’s on your CV and we’ve talked about it before, but if I were to ask you right now, there’s a high chance, there’s a high probability that you’d be like, it’s there, but you can’t quite get to it. So then what happens? Manager has found their banana. They found their excellent banana. They’re one in a million, right? But because of the way the interview process is built, or because of the way that they recognize it, they don’t recognize it. So they might have the fantastic banana that is under budget, that’s available immediately, that doesn’t have any blemishes or any whatever the hell bananas have. It’s the perfect banana.

Gabriel: Let’s call it a bruised banana. Sometimes you will find, and this is really beautiful example, that’s why I like using bananas. My father, you can tell from my accent, I’m from Brazil, and my father absolutely loves bananas. I do too, but he particularly loves them. And he can tell a good banana from a bad banana really quickly. And a lot of people make this mistake. They want the banana without any spots whatsoever. That banana was picked too green and it’s not going to be sweet. It might be a living a little bit sharp. If you get a banana that’s got some blemishes, some of the purple or some of the black on the skin in, but then you peel it, you’re going to find that it’s actually not penetrated into the actual banana. It’s just surface deep, right? It’s just skin deep. But that banana was picked at the right time. And it’s the sweetest banana you will ever taste.

Jon: Yeah, it’s a ripened banana. It’s perfect.

Gabriel: Here’s what you get. You get a bad manager that can’t tell what a ripened banana is. Yeah.

Jon: So then back to the question. If we take that into mind with ADHD people bad manager doesn’t like, maybe they don’t know what they’re looking for, so they hire the wrong people. How does this negatively impact people such as ourselves? How does it negatively impact? And how then, can we change that process, this economics of management, if you will, to give if we can or help boost neurodivergent people in getting the roles that they would actually probably be good for and would miss otherwise?

Gabriel: Sure, I will get to that. What I’m going to do first is just conclude the mechanics of how the feedback loop occurs. And on the back of that, I will start providing some solutions. So essentially what happens is, once those managers that can’t find a good candidate, what they end up doing is they’re looking through a smaller and smaller pool of candidates, and the price of them, the salary of the candidates, start going up because companies are competing with each other for those bad candidates. The pristine banana that looks with that has no amish. Yeah. But actually, in reality, it’s a green banana. It’s not ripe, it’s not sweet, it’s not right at all. But they’re competing over that banana.

Jon: Yeah. Because it looks pretty.

Gabriel: Because it looks pretty, exactly. So what ends up happening there is for the. Entire industry, salaries go up. But then you’ve got the actually good ripe bananas and they know they’re worth and they know actually, if they’re given a chance, they can outperform the green banana. Right. So those candidates will surf through the inflation of salaries, leverage that high salary and absolutely smash it. And then they will go from strength to strength. Right. So they’re going to be getting better and better salaries, better and better jobs, particularly if they’re capable of navigating and finding, let’s say, some good managers.

Jon: This is supposing that, again, pull back to ASD or ADHD, right. This is on the supposition that that candidate that has the blemishes but is actually pristine in the middle. This is under the supposition that they know how to navigate social interactions, that they know how to interview well or say the right things.

Gabriel: Sure.

Jon: What is the reality of this is a lot of ADHD people, this is stuff that they fundamentally struggle with. I can’t tell you how many ADHD really genuinely struggle with interviewing or picking up on sarcasm or in office politics. And so they get passed up. So I get what you’re saying when it comes to that kind of small minority of bananas. It but then we get to, let’s. Say the I don’t want to say the bigger majority of bananas, but the but the other bananas.

Gabriel: Sure. Yeah.

Jon: You see where I’m going?

Gabriel: Yeah. So because the. So I just wanted to make sure that the point is across, that it creates a feedback loop, right. Bad management raises the salary for everyone, so this is actually a good thing for even neurodiverse individuals. But the feedback loop is there because then they start looking, start narrowing. Because if they want to hire somebody at that high inflated price yeah. They want to look for something that in their mind is worth that price. Yeah. So they start making the criteria smaller and smaller and smaller the higher the inflation goes. Yeah. So that’s a feedback loop that is ever increasing. So let’s say tomorrow the price, the salary of a security architect hit 200K. They’re going to start looking for people with ten years experience.

Jon: Yeah. If not more. Honestly.

Gabriel: If not more, because they think that that’s what it should be. But then guess what? That’s the price for people with two years experience. Yeah. And if you’re looking for people with ten years experience, what I’m calling the banana that is ripe, they’re going to go, no, two years experience is worth that. I was worth that last year. But now there’s inflation, I’m worth more.

46.14 Skills gaps and hiring

Jon: Yeah. Right. But then it compounds a bit more as well, doesn’t it? Because although you have the price inflation, you have the wage inflation, it compounds a little bit more. Because I had the thought in my head, dang it, I’ve lost it. I just need that it is detected. I was, I was trying to listen and I was also trying to think like, oh, this is such a good point. Oh, I’ve got it, I’ve got it, I’ve got it. So it compounds because here’s the problem, right? Let’s say you have ten years of experience. Great. And you’re worth 200K, you’re a security architect. That’s great. But. At the more junior levels. Let’s say junior security engineer or junior security analyst, not architect analyst. A lot of companies either don’t want to invest in these junior people because they don’t think they’re going to stay for very long, or they don’t want to hire people with, let’s say, one or two years of experience or even graduates, because it’s cybersecurity, right? You guys are literally there to protect the infrastructure and the finances of these companies, blah, blah, blah, the GDPR, everything, right? So then this comes into effect of, oh, hey, we have this skills gap for mid to senior and executive level roles. But you don’t really have this skills gap because there’s a lot of junior and mid level people that aren’t being invested in and aren’t getting the money that they deserve because the companies don’t want to come in and say, oh, hey, you have two years of experience. I’m going to give you more money. I’m going to promote you to a security engineer. I’m going to invest in you because. I trust your ability shows up in the market.

Gabriel: So here’s how he shows up in the market. It’s beautiful. Researchers, HR recruitment researchers have done what’s the word, surveys for donkeys years now, seeing how many people are looking for jobs and how many roles are currently available. And it has been demonstrated, you statistically, there isn’t a shortage of candidates issue. No. So employers that used to say there’s not enough candidates, we need to get more people into cyber. We need to get more people into cyber. We need to get. So there were all of these plans. To flood the market with candidates, and. It’S not solved the problem, it’s made it worse. So now the analysis is starting to become, okay, well, there are enough candidates, so why is there still a shortage? They’ve changed the wording. Oh, it’s a skills shortage. It’s no longer a candidate shortage. It’s a skill skilled. Yeah, it’s a skilled candidate shortage. So you mean you don’t want to pay the worth of the candidate? You want a more skilled candidate for. The price that you’re paying.

Jon: Or you don’t want to invest in the get? Because as a recruiter right, obviously I speak to people such as yourself all day. And one of the things I learned quite quickly, there are a lot of open security roles in the mid to senior level positions.

Gabriel: Yes.

Jon: And there are particularly in the mid to senior level position, there are a lot of people that are really good for the role. But why are they not being hired? Well, I can tell you it’s because a lot of these people need sponsorship or don’t need sponsorship, but haven’t worked in the UK, and the companies, for whatever reason, may not want to take that risk, because they’re like, oh, we don’t know if they’re going to be a good culture fit, blah, blah, blah. But they have the technical skills. So they say there’s this skill shortage. And there was a report by it was like CyberNews Weekly or something, I can’t remember who it was. Don’t quote me on that. Basically saying there’s going to be a reported skills gap of like, three and a half million cyber security professionals or jobs in the entire world by 2025 or 2027. What’s? Not the case. I get contacted probably five to ten times a week by graduate level security. We have just graduates, cybersecurity graduates, asking if I have roles. The issue isn’t the candidates. The issue isn’t even a skills shortage. The issue, in my mind is an unwillingness to invest in these people or to invest in the people that are nearly at that point, bring them up to mid, to senior level and then train up and start entry level people. That’s where the issue.

Gabriel: It’s worse than that because a lot of companies are not doing that because they think the junior candidates are not worth their salary. Yeah, right. So if they’re going to hire somebody at that salary, they want somebody a jack of all trace that can do everything. So particularly in that junior to mid role. I’ve been there and I’ve got the T shirt and I can tell you every time I used to apply for a junior to mid level role, they wanted a check of all trades for the price that they were paying. I can’t afford a mid position, but that’s what I need. And a junior is not qualified enough to do what I want them to do. So in order to justify paying somebody at a mid level position, I wanted to do both. But here’s the thing and starting to get into solutions now, what you find is a mismatch between is always every time, always a mismatch between what the worth of the candidate is and how much the company is willing to pay for it and bad manager. Instead of trying to find the diamond in the rough, rather than try to find, let’s say, lower prices, lower the salary offer, but find a diamond candidate within that price range, what they end up doing instead. Is because of the bull market. Remember we started this with say it’s part of the bull market. They just ask executives, can we get a higher budget? Yeah, can we get a higher budget? And so they start going up. But then the company says, for that price, I want somebody with more experience. But then the person with more experience is not going to want to do the job for that much. They’re going to want to the job for more. And every time they go up it scales. So how do you solve it? There’s three ways that it can be solved, right? There are some, let’s say easy pickings, and there are some more structural difficulty issues. So the simple answer is just to pay people what they’re worth and stop overestimating this idea that if you raise salary, you’re going to find a better candidate. If you can’t find the candidate at the salary that you’ve got, the issue is with your metrics, not with the salary.

Jon: I don’t know. I think I would disagree on that one. I’ve got one role right now for a client and genuinely, the quality of the candidates I’ve been sending to them, they like, right? They like the quality. The problem is the quality that I’m sending is about 20k over budget for what they’re able to pay. And I’ve gone and I’ve said, look, know the budget that you’ve given us, the budget that you’re willing to pay. This is the quality candidate that you’re going to get. And so I’ve sent candidates at that level saying this is what you’re going to get for this quality for this.

Gabriel: I’ve got a question for you. How do you know it’s at that level?

Jon: What metric are you using to measure so what to measure the candidates that I speak to, that you sent to them.

Gabriel: How do you know the candidate is a good fit?

Jon: So I don’t base it on years of experience. Some clients appreciate that. Some clients don’t appreciate that. Some candidates, again, appreciate that, some don’t. I don’t care how how many years of experience you have.

Gabriel: How do you do it?

Jon: Don’t worry. I get it by I talk to them. Right. Depending on the role, I have a list of questions, both technical and competency based, that I ask my candidates. Let’s say I’m working for a seam role. I’ll be asking, can you tell me of a time that you were working on a configuration and it all went to hell? And how did you fix it? Or if I’m working a digital forensics role, can you tell me about a time that there was an incident escalation? Again, it all went to hell. What did you do? What kind of remediations did you work on? What platforms did you use? What was your process to find out why it went to hell in the first place? Then what was your process to remediate that? What were the tools that you used? Talk me through everything that you did.

Gabriel: That’s one way down. Yeah. I love this. I absolutely love this. So let’s break that down by asking those questions. What skills do you think you’re assessing?

Jon: So, first off, I’m assessing whether or not they are interested actually interested in the role. Because if they don’t want tell me in detail about that. And I appreciate that there is obviously confidentiality that we have to go through. And so a lot of times, they can’t tell me specific things that they’ve done. I get that. That’s fine. But the first thing I’m assessing is, are they actually interested in this role? If they’re willing to talk to me about it, cool. They’re interested in the role. Second thing, interest. Second thing I am assessing is what they have on their CV. Does it line up to what I’m asking them? So if they can tell me in detail about an incident that they resolved or a seam configuration that they worked on, if they can tell me that in detail, then they are also telling me, cool, they were truthful on their CV. They’re also telling me that they are technically capable and that they can back that up with real world examples.

Gabriel: So you’re measuring for experience?

Jon: I am.

Gabriel: Okay, so you see, here’s the thing. There’s a difference between years of experience and experience with a process.

Jon: Yes.

Gabriel: It’s not necessarily a bad thing.

Jon: I’m not measuring for years of experience so much as that I’m measuring for.

Gabriel: Can you tell me, can you demonstrate that you have experience in the tools that role the processes, the best practices?

Jon: I don’t care if you’ve only done it for a year. If you can show measuring the knowledge, if you can show me that you have the knowledge and the tools and the capacity to do the job, I will be happy to send you. I don’t care if you’ve only been doing it for a year, but then I’m also assessment how do you know they’re doing it? Well, that’s the thing. This is the thing. As a recruiter, as much as recruiters say, we like to say, I’m a specialist in security recruitment. Yeah. I’m a specialist in infrastructure, a software developer development. I don’t work in I don’t use Miter and Attack. I don’t use splunk.

Gabriel: It means you understand the market, not necessarily cybersecurity itself.

Jon: I understand the market, and I understand enough of what you guys do that I can get a baseline understanding of. Or let’s call it like a soft competency baseline. But I can’t technically assess in the way that a hiring manager can or in the way that an advisory board can.

Gabriel: They’re worse, by the way.


Gabriel: What you’ve described is better than many hiring managers. I’m telling you that now.

Jon: But there’s only so much that I can do as a recruiter in what I’m able to do. I try to do my due diligence. Obviously, some people get through the cracks, and if they get through the cracks, hats off to them. That means they’re a good interviewer.

59:11 Diamond in the rough

Gabriel: Let me blow your mind now. The true diamond in the rough that you’re going to find is when you find somebody with a skill set without experience in that matter. In that subject matter. Yeah. This is generally called transferable skills, even technical skills. So let’s say you want to have somebody that is a forensic investigator, but they don’t have experience in forensics or forensic tooling. But guess what? They’ve done a year in soc. They’ve been a junior soc analyst. Yeah, they don’t have a lot of experience. They’ve worked with some soc tools. They’ve done a few investigations, but certainly nothing that they can talk extensively about. How would you measure their ability to do forensics?

Jon: So I’ve actually had this. Quite proud of this one. Although the person you should be the person get the job.

Gabriel: Exactly.

Jon: Which was really annoying. Which was really annoying.

Gabriel: But you’re starting to touch on the point now.

Jon: Exactly. This person was a threat hunter. They’ve been doing a lot of threat hunters. Yeah, they’ve been a threat hunter for years and years and years. Now they are at their current place, they are a threat team lead. So they’re running a team of, I think it’s like five or six threat analysts. Absolutely. Awesome. I put them forwards for a digital forensics and incident response position. Their CV didn’t have much in the way of DFIR at all. So how did I measure and figure out that or think that they were good for the role? To be completely honest, I don’t know. Part of it was a gut feeling. Genuinely part of it was a gut feeling. I was talking to them. I have a relationship with this person. I know them decently well, as well as I can without having met them, but you know what I mean.

Gabriel: Yes, of course.

Jon: And from the conversations that I’d had and knowing the kind of person that they were, I just had this gut feeling of, I know they’re good enough to get through technical, but maybe they’re not going to be good enough for exactly what the company is looking for.

Gabriel: Fine. Let me run that by you. Yeah, good. No, that’s fine. I know, because I do the same. So the difference between a good and a bad manager is the ability to quantify structuralize system to systematize. No. There’s a proper word for that systematize. Systematize. That’s the word systematize. That gut feeling into operational metrics. Right. So what you perceived through your pattern detection mechanisms, right? Instinctive pattern detection mechanisms. There are some really smart people out there that they’re capable to take what this is generally called art, and turn it into science. Art and turn it into science. So here’s the trick. Problem solving ability.

Jon: I was going to say, you know what this candidate has in common? ADHD.

Gabriel: ADHD, of course. ADHD are pattern detection machines. Look. So problem solving ability, number one. Number two, the pattern detection mechanisms, the ability to perceive and identify patterns. It doesn’t matter whether they are threat hunting patterns or whether they are forensic patterns. The ability to follow a system in a methodological fashion, right? Generally, all of these things tend to be somewhat associated with IQ. And when you’re talking about psychometrics so the measurement of personality the most trusted nowadays personality measurements is called the big five.

64.27 The big five

Jon: The big five?

Gabriel: The big five personality test. So this covers things like extraversion, um. Openness. So openness to experience the willingness to try out new things. Conscientiousness, which usually means how organized you are or how hardworking you are. Neuroticism, which generally is your aversion to threat, right? So how risk adverse you are and how emotionally in vested you are to risk detection. And what’s the third one to go extraversion openness? Conscientiousness neuroticism. And I forgot the other one. Give me 2 seconds. I literally can google this.

Jon: What I’m hearing is a lot of these traits are traits that neurodiverse people have.

Gabriel: No, everybody has them, but then it’s like a spectrum. It’s a personality spectrum.

Jon: Okay, let me rephrase that then. A lot of the traits that you’re talking about, I think ADHD or neurodiverse people maybe show to a higher extent, like ADHD on the whole are more risk tolerant.

Gabriel: Correct. Lower nervous system.

Jon: I picked up and moved from the US to the UK with hardly a second thought. I literally was like, okay, I’m going to sell my car. Everything I own, I’m just going to pick up, I’m going to move, and it’s going to figure itself out. I think very few neurotypical people would do that. Whether or not that’s a good trait is up for debate. But it’s something that I.

Gabriel: Because of object permanence. So in ADHD, the lack of object permanence, the fact that you forget things easily, right? It means you don’t remember risks as pretty much as permanently as neurotypical people.

Jon: So yeah, maybe maybe a way, maybe a way to address the economic impact of bad management and neurodiversity is let’s say we bring more neurodiverse people into I’m not saying that we have to bring them in as managers. That one specifically. That won’t change things.

Gabriel: Well, what I’m saying is in cybersecurity you have preponderance of autistic and ADHD managers. I know, but what does not solve the problem,

Jon: that’s not let’s bring them into the hiring process, right? So let’s say we have a neurotypical hiring manager and that neurotypical hiring manager is like, okay, this is what I want, this is what I want, this is what I want. And then let’s say I put five CVS in front of the neurotypical manager and let’s just presuppose one of them is going to get the job, right? No matter what, one of them is going to get the job. And the five CVS are all of different qualities. They all match or don’t match for varying reasons. Now, the hiring manager might go for the shiniest CV because again, let’s prespose the neurotypical. They might go for the shiny CV and say all the buzzwords are there, blah, blah, blah. Great, now let’s take a neurodiverse person then whether ASD doesn’t matter or ADHD doesn’t matter and we give that person the same five CVS, there is a chance that they would look at a CV that isn’t pretty. Maybe the candidate is a bit jumpy, they’ve moved every nine months to a year or something. They don’t have as much technical information. Or maybe they have too much. They’ve waffled it too much. Right. But they have that level of intuition on that CV that the neurotypical hiring manager doesn’t. So what then could happen? Well, that neurodivergent person could then go to the hiring manager and say, hey, I know you like candidate A, but candidate D here, they are really good and this is why. But you have to be able to quantify that and break that down and have that relationship with that hiring manager. Maybe I’m convoluted it way too much.

Gabriel: No, I think there’s a lot of assumptions in the sense there’s the assumption there that the neurodiverse person will always 100% of the time, be better at detecting a diamond in the rough than the than the neurotypical.

Jon: Yes, that is an assumption that’s made. That’s the thing. It’s an us versus them approach which is not going to make things better, that a neurodiverse person is going to be always better at the job. I’m not trying to take an us for a Stem approach. I’m trying to find an approach of how can we, as neurodivergent people work with neurotypical people to help solve this problem?

Gabriel: Ignore the label system. That’s the solution.

Jon: Just ignore neurodivergent neurotypical. Just ignore the labels.

Gabriel: No, in the sense of the label won’t be the differentiating factor when it comes to hiring or promoting or retaining. Because here’s the thing a neurodiverse manager is just as likely to drive an employee into resigning as a neurotypical manager.

Jon: That’s true.

Gabriel: And they’re just as easily misled when it comes to identifying the right candidate. Because you said it earlier, that gut feeling. Now, some neurodiverse people have that gut feeling, some don’t. Some neurotypical people have that gut feeling, some don’t. How do you solve the problem? You take the gut feeling and you systematize it so that everybody can do it.

Jon: But how do you quantify or systematize something that is. But I don’t even know how to describe it.

Gabriel: Easy. That’s why I was saying the personality traits

70:42 Personality Traits

Jon: Oh, this is where you’re going with it. Okay, I see where that’s where I was going.

Gabriel: Yes. So you have to find, for example, you want to find a hard worker conscientious people and their tests done with this repeatedly, ad nauseam. People that are high conscientiousness are known to work harder. It’s a fact.

Jon: You would want to test candidates with this personality test.

Gabriel: It’s the most successful personality test in psychology ever, and it’s being developed even further. They say now there’s even a big six model with H being honesty right. As an additional factor to it. So here’s the thing. If you want somebody to be creative, if you’re hiring for a creative role, openness, you want somebody high in openness, happy to experience new things.

Jon: But there you’re having to presuppose that candidates are going to be willing to take this test

Gabriel: 100%. I know. I know for a fact that that is a factor. But this is one way of, let’s say, solving the problem. Now, if you don’t want the candidates to take these tests, you can narrow them down as part of an interview process. You can ask them during your interview.

Jon: Oh. And just kind of create, like, an internal scoring like, system, right?

Gabriel: IQ what does IQ what does intelligence quotient measure? Do you know?

Jon: Yes, but supposedly it measures the which is what? The innate intelligence of someone or their ability to problem solve.

Gabriel: Problem solve, yeah, exactly. It measures two things pattern detection and problem solving. So your ability to visualize a solution to a contextual problem instinctively. So how quickly does your brain process the problem, how quickly it processes a simulation to identify a given solution, and how quickly you will pattern match a solution on paper to the solution in your mind. Right, so most IQ tests, you’re given a question, which is the problem, and you have to embed that problem into your brain and simulate it. And then you’re given a set of multiple choice answers and your brain will come up with the answer. And then you have to pattern match from the multiple choice the answer that your brain came up with. That’s how IQ tests work. So at the end of the day, at least, that’s the Culture Fair version. Right, the Culture Fair being the images and geometric shapes one, and you’re identifying rotation. So you’ve got a clock at twelve, a clock at three, a clock at six, and then he asks you, what’s the next one in the sequence? Nine. Yeah, exactly. So that you have to be able to imagine the problem, which is the rotation of the clock. You’ve got the sequence. That’s what it’s measuring. So if you want some body in a job that is an engineering job.

Jon: You want to be looking for someone that has that same kind of intellectual acumen, if you will.

Gabriel: Yeah, the ability to problem solve, to engineer, simulate. Yeah.

Jon: Whereas if you were looking for someone for like a GRC role, you wouldn’t be looking for the same thing.

Gabriel: You’d be looking for no, you’d be. Looking for somebody that’s conscientious, potentially a little bit neurotic because you want them to be risk adverse.

Jon: Right. I was thinking about this. We were talking and I think you’ve actually dressed I basically had a question. I think you’ve actually dressed it because there are different types of intellect, if you will. Right. You have logical intellect, emotional intellect, psychological impact intellect, social intellect, even physical intellect, where you’re intellectually, maybe you’re not as smart and smart, but, you know,

Gabriel: Good visual and kinesthetic.

Jon: Yeah, you’re kinesthetically intellectual. That was going to be my rebuttal. But it seems like you’ve actually thought this through, where if you have an engineer, you’re going to be looking for one type of intellect because that’s the thing that engineers need. Whereas if you’re looking for, you need.

Gabriel: To match the intelligence to the role. You can’t pick somebody that is a beautiful artist. They are an amazing musician, they have. A high IQ and they are high in openness. And then they’re going to try to do a GRC role.

Jon: Yeah. Or like a pen testing role. Yeah. They’d hate it.

Gabriel: Right. They’d hate it. It’s not open enough for them. It’s not creative enough. So it’s too procedural. Right. So that’s the thing. You need to match the role to the candidate. And sometimes experience not just experience, but experience with a particular tool, particular process is not the best predictor of capacity to do that job. So what you had with your gut feeling is you identified in that candidate an ability to do pattern detection, an ability to problem solve, particularly. A heightened consciousness, the ability to be very dedicated to the job. Somebody might be a quick learner. And if you’re capable of assessing during an interview how quick a learner somebody is, give them a case. Right. And don’t give them time to prepare. Surprise them with a case study during the interview and see how quickly they will remember the facts of that case study. That’s somebody’s ability to learn.

Jon: So this is kind of your solution to it’s. Not bad.

Gabriel: I’m saying you need to systematize the hiring process, because decade, a whole generation of bad managers have killed the hiring industry. They’ve killed the science behind hiring. They’ve really killed it. And you can use the same thing for performance and promotion. Somebody is on the job, and you need a new manager. Rather than giving it to the person that’s been in the company the longest, you need to give it to the person potentially with a higher agreeableness, because a disagreeable person is not a good manager. Yeah, disagreeable people make good directors, very good directors.

Jon: But they don’t make good managers. Yeah. They can’t make an advertiser. They can’t work well with others.

Gabriel: Correct. So you see the idea. So you need to find the right skill set for the role, and you need to find ways to measure that skill set. And that’s what’s been missing. That’s why neurodiverse people are losing out. That’s why neurotypical people are losing out. That’s why companies are losing out on a lot of money. Right. The whole economic system is broken because of this fact. Poor measurement of productivity, right? So that’s when it comes to personal management and companies need a whole lot better outcome measurement. Outcome measurement. When it comes to productivity, how do you know if somebody is being productive? The traditional approach how many hours have you done a day? If that doesn’t mean that you’re being.

Jon: it’s like in recruitment. How many calls have you made today?

Gabriel: How many calls have you made today?

Jon: You haven’t been productive today.

Gabriel: Yeah, but how many candidates did you successfully place in a job?

Jon: Or it’s like how many calls were actually how many calls connected, or how many calls did you actually get something out of? Like, how many people of those 20 were interested in the role? A good fit match the salary, it could produce results.

Gabriel: Call to offer ratio. Your call to offer ratio is your performance.

Jon: Not even that. I go off of interview to offer ratio.

Gabriel:  Well, even tighter. Yeah, even tighter.

Jon: Very tight. Yeah.

Gabriel: So interview to offer ratio is once you’ve got an interview set up, what’s the percentage of those interviews that result in an offer?

Jon: I don’t know off the top of my head.

Gabriel: No, I’m not asking. I’m saying. A good measurement for productivity, because you can mathematically calculate how good you are at finding the right candidate. But that can be gamed, you see? That can be gamed, let’s say by sending less candidates into interviews.

Jon: Yeah.

Gabriel: But if you’re really good. At selecting. If that gut feeling of yours is really good at preselecting the right candidate, then you know that this candidate will be successful.

Jon; Yeah.

Gabriel: So you send less. So you’re boosting your ratio. Right. Hopefully, you can see, so every metric has its way to be gamed, but at the very least, it’s a metric that is measured on the basis of something productive. If the company made an offer, that means they liked the candidate, so it’s undeniably a good outcome. So even if you can game the ratio, the outcome is still good. But then you’ve got companies that make some measurements that are ineffective that leads to bad outcomes.

Jon: Well, they’re arbitrary measurements at best.

Gabriel: Arbitrary at best, outright disruptive at worst. And people are smart. Employees are smart. They’ll learn to game the measurements. They’ll learn to game the metrics, and now they’re gaming the metrics that are irrelevant, arbitrary at best. So you’re teaching employees to become more arbitrary. So why else would we have a stagflation? Why would productivity be low if you’re not training employees?

Jon: All of a sudden? It comes around circle.

Gabriel: Of course it does. Yeah. And this is what game theory teaches. You see, once you start identifying these things, okay, managers being bad managers, they’re measuring your productivity with the wrong metric. And now you’ll see a lot of articles saying, oh, employees are lazy. Are they? Or have you trained them to game the wrong metrics? Yeah. It’s.

Jon: And you’re and you’re measuring them on the wrong metrics, not on the you’re measuring them. Yeah. You’re not measuring them on things that matter. You’re measuring them on things that someone put in place to make themselves feel more important while having to do less work.

Gabriel: Yes. Here’s the thing. Productivity at the country level or at the company level is measured appropriately, roughly. Right. GDP and monetary values are a good measure of success. Sure. But here’s the thing. How does your team, your individual team performance correlate to how much profit your company makes? If you can’t prove that the metric you’re using for your team actually increases the profit by either lowering cost or boosting revenue? Yeah. Your metric is irrelevant. It’s literally that simple.

Jon: Oh, I think we’re going to have some upset people at the end of this episode.

Gabriel: But it’s the truth. Blaming employees for being Jocko Willink created a beautiful book. Extreme ownership. I don’t know if you’re familiar with it, but I’m sure some people listening to this podcast would know. Extreme ownership is brilliant. And basically, every manager that tries to or every executive, every CEO director that tries to blame employees for being lazy or less productive, particularly around this conversation about working from home, right. Oh, we want employees back in the office because they’re less productive when they’re working from home. Let that book. Extreme Owners should be a lesson. The buck ends with the accountable executive every time. Every time.

Jon: I didn’t know there were accountable executives.

Gabriel: Well, great point. Exactly. So the idea is if your employees are being less productive. Maybe you’re not measuring productivity correctly. Maybe you’re not measuring incentive correctly. Right. Because there’s the idea as well. How are you incentivizing people to be more productive?

Jon: Yeah. But then that would mean if you’re not measuring that correctly, then you’re also not measuring your hiring needs on what you actually need, but on what you exactly.

Gabriel: And then who suffers even more? Neurodiverse people. Because we’re now being managed by bad managers and they are not happy with us because we’re not that social. Or maybe we’re too social, or maybe we’re grumpy because you’re measuring us badly.

Jon: Or we’re taking it too literally, but you’re telling us what to do, and we’re doing it very literally.

Gabriel: Yeah. So all of these things and we end up getting the short end of the stick and being fired because the manager can’t measure productivity well, they can’t measure hiring skills well. They can’t. Right. So that is the key. So once a good manager that is capable of measuring things correctly, they will go to a low salary, they’ll open a role at a lower salary, and they’ll have the cream of the crop of candidates. Because here’s what they’re going to do. They’re not going to measure candidate skill on the basis of experience or knowledge with a particular tool. They’re going to measure the candidate on the basis of actual measurable metrics to find if they’re a good fit to that role. No. What’s their IQ? Roughly? What’s their conscientiousness? How hardworking are they going to be? How good are they problem solving? How good are they at pattern detection? How good are they at learning? How fast a learner are they? And then you’re going to find, actually, there are some really good candidates here that don’t have that experience.

Jon: Yeah. But they would have otherwise missed had they not done it that way.

Gabriel: But within three weeks, they’ve learned it’s literally that quickly. Three weeks they learned how to use the tool. Yeah. Three weeks they learned how to detect patterns that they had never seen before.

87:01 Last Comments

Jon: Yeah. Well, Gabriel, I think we’ve run out of time for this, but I do genuinely believe that we could be talking about this for hours yet. So it would definitely be good to get you back on at a later point, and we can just keep going into this.

Gabriel: But I think we’re reaching the end anyways. The three main solutions are better hiring and recruitment, better performance management and productivity monitoring and people management training. Because at the end of the day, it’s good enough. Not good enough. Yes. Okay. You can measure an engineer productivity, you can measure an analyst productivity, but how are you going to measure management productivity? So you need good people management training and a good way of assessing their skills yeah. Within their role. And train them to do better. Train them to do better. Train them on how to handle neurodiverse employees. If you’ve got a neurodiverse manager, then train them so that they can handle things despite being neurodiverse, they can manage better. Yeah. Everybody needs training. Everybody

Jon: Everybody needs training. I completely agree on that. I need training. You need training. We do. Yes. It is just something that yeah, we all have something to learn every day. It doesn’t stop. Yeah, I think that’s really well summarized. It’s a really complex subject. Maybe we haven’t solved anything. Maybe we have. Hopefully we have. All I can hope is that the people that have been listening have gotten something out of it. But yeah. Thank you to everyone that’s been listening or watching. Thank you guys for listening to Hyper Focus Hour, which has been hosted by myself, obviously, and Gabriel here through Via Resource, which, again, we are a recruitment company. So if you need us, I’m right here. Gabe, thank you so much for your time today, for your wonderful insights on neurodiversity management and the economy. You have a lot of thoughts into it. You’ve obviously put a lot of time and effort into it. It’s been amazing getting to hear you. Just wonderful to get the challenges on my ideas, my presuppositions. It’s been really informative, and I just really appreciate it. So, yeah, thank you again. And for everyone else, stay tuned for the next episode. Don’t forget to take a break, drink some water, and take a stand up and walk around for a few minutes until next time.