Ri5 Profile: Graham Shroll

Ri5 Profile: Graham Shroll


Meet Graham Shroll, CTO and Co-Founder of Meet & Engage Candidate Experience Technology, giving employers and candidates the best of both worlds- personalisation and automation

How did you first get into the industry?

I dabbled in web design when the internet gained consumer traction in the 90s and continued to do bits of hobbyist web design alongside my previous career in enterprise IT through the 2000s. Eventually bored of retelling the same presales tech support story about the potential ROI of virtualising server infrastructure, I decided to made the jump to freelance web development, where I was fortunate enough to find a couple of interesting projects working on careers websites and ATS integrations. I haven’t looked back since.

Would you do the same again?

If anything, I would make the jump sooner. There’s far more scope for creativity in HR tech than in dusty corporate IT.

What would you do if you didn’t do this?

I have a compulsion to fix things, and I think most UI/UX around the world is broken. Whenever I have to take a train, I’m annoyed at the need to type an 8-digit alphanumeric code into the machine to collect my tickets… that’s about 2.8 trillion possible combinations, or roughly 830 unique codes for every single person on earth.  If I didn’t have a job to do, I would probably find whoever thought that was a good idea and slap them hard in the face. Oh, and also try to fix problems I notice in the world.

Who are your favourite people from the industry?

Having worked with IT people buying servers, people in SMEs buying websites and latterly TA people buying tech, I would say that recruitment people all tend to be nice, so I’d have to say everyone!  Specifically, I’ve been very lucky to work with Ali (Hackett) for some time and obviously she’s my fave, along with the great team we have collected around us at Meet & Engage.

What’s the best piece of advice you’ve received in your career?

If you’ve got a career goal in mind, there’s no such thing as a bad job move, only one that gets you closer or further away from your goal. If you make a move that it turns out took you further away, make another one.

And what piece of advice would you give somebody starting out in the sector?

Figure out the way your boss likes people to work, and work like that: If there’s a problem you think you can fix in 45 minutes, and they ask you for an update every 30 minutes, give them an update after 30.  If they want you to always use a particular font but you think the content should matter more, use the font. If you’re the brilliant copywriter who keeps the boss waiting 15 minutes for something written in purple Comic Sans, you’re making life hard for yourself.

What’s your favourite recruitment ad?

The Uncle Sam ‘I want YOU for U.S Army’ poster/propaganda that was inspired by the British Lord Kitchener WWI poster.  The fact that everyone recognises the original or a parody of it in popular culture shows how powerful it is.

And what’s your favourite non-recruitment ad?

Probably The Trainline’s TV ad with the jelly man in it.

You’re entertaining industry contacts. Where do you take them, and why?

With a time machine and a certain amount of contempt for the corporate entertaining budget: Thailand, early 2000s, Bed Supperclub. A great blend of sophisticated food, drink, great music and room to dance about like a fool. The only place I’ve heard a DJ mix Metallica into the Inspector Gadget theme tune. 
I don’t do much corporate entertaining.

What are you reading at the moment?

I generally have a couple of books on the go that I flip between depending on mood: Currently The Dice Man and 1Q84.

And what are you listening to?

Normally some kind of lo-fi hip hop, but I’m currently absorbing Toska – Ode to the Author.

Which five guests would you invite to your ideal dinner party?

People I know tend to discover other appointments if I mention cooking.  If we’re calling it a barbecue with plenty of beers in, then the odds increase a bit.  Though mix in a bit of social anxiety and ‘ideal’ means I might invite just a couple of friends and keep it that size instead. Perhaps mention it to the next-door neighbour if I see him outside washing his car.

What are your top three… TV Shows

The Wire
Star Trek: The Next Generation
Pat Sharp’s Fun House

Something or someone for Room 101?

George Orwell’s 1984

What items do you never leave home without?

Clothes, and a key to get back in.   

What’s your biggest achievement – career or otherwise?

Building and continuing to shape Meet & Engage’s product and business.

Who’s your biggest hero, and why?

At middle school, I had a teacher called Mr White. In his spare time, he wrote and sold software for the BBC Micro, was a sound engineer for pub gigs, and I think something to do with the technical side of theatre. He taught me code, magic tricks and electrical circuits. He was the kind of person who had done stuff, who knew stuff and just wanted to share it. I’m pretty sure he knew that I found a way to cheat on my times tables, too, but he never let on. Thanks, Mr White.

What is your ideal holiday?

Anywhere with a bit of sunshine and lots of delicious, spicy food. I’m happy to be led around between ostensibly interesting historical places and landmarks, but am essentially a gourmand.

What would be your ideal weekend?

One where the weekend part is longer than the week. I like doing DIY projects, drinking and eating, having a bit of a nap during the day, watching Netflix and researching pointless things on the internet, and two days isn’t really enough.

Three words to describe yourself?

Logical, motivated, childish.

Your best and worst habits?

Based on how much I get told off - leaving dirty cups all over the place is my worst habit. My best habit is probably a good attention to detail (except towards crockery).

What’s your guilty pleasure?

Eating fistfuls of baking ingredients from the pantry late at night.

What has been your worst/most boring job you’ve ever had?

I’ve been quite lucky with jobs, but I still remember one Saturday in 1996 when the lottery machine ran out of paper at the shop I worked at. The manager was out and none of us knew how to re-thread it with a new roll. The lengthening queue of cross-faced shoppers did quite a lot of looking at their watches, tutting and making passive-aggressive comments. Eventually, some began insulting people further into the queue to pass the time. Everyone seemed quite keen to wait until it was fixed, rather than go elsewhere. I was a solid block of red for the duration.

What single fact would surprise people the most about you?

I can choose which eye to look out of. I’m told this is uncommon.




Thursday, 7 March 2019

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Ali Hackett Date: Mar 11, 2019

Super piece by my splendid business partner - I enjoy working with you everyday, G Man! :)