FIRING SQUAD: tilr CEO, Carisa Miklusak

Can a couple of CareerBuilder alums really make a dent in the growing on-demand workforce platform wars?

We grill CEO and co-founder Carisa Miklusak to find out. Enjoy this Talroo exclusive.


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Chad: Hey Joel.

Joel: What up?

Chad: Would you say companies find it hard to attract the right candidates to apply for their jobs?

Joel: Well Jobs to Careers thought so.

Chad: Job to Careers? You mean Talroo.

Joel: Talroo?

Chad: Yeah, Talroo.

Joel: What is that? Like a cross between talent and a kangaroo?

Chad: No. It's a cross between talent and recruiting.

Joel: But ...

Chad: Talroo was focused on predicting, optimizing and delivering talent directly to your email or ATS.

Joel: Ah ha, okay. So, it's totally data driven talent attraction which means that Talroo platform enables recruiters to reach the right talent at the right time and at the price.

Chad: Okay, so that was weirdly intuitive but, yes. Guess what the best part is.

Joel: Let me take a shot here, you only pay for the candidates Talroo delivers.

Chad: Holy shit, okay, so you've heard this before. So, if you're out there listening in podcast land, and you are attracting the wrong candidates, and we know you are, or you feel like you're in a recruiting hamster wheel and there's just no where to go, right? You can go to Again, that's and learn how Talroo can get you better candidates for less cash.

Joel: Or just go to and click on the Talroo logo, I'm all about the simple.

Chad: You are a simple man.

Announcer: Like Shark Tank? Then you'll love Firing Squad. Chad Sowash and Chad Cheeseman are here to put the recruiting industry's bravest, ballsiest in data start ups through the gamut to see if they've got what it takes to make it out alive. Dig a foxhole and duck for cover kids, the Chad and Cheese Podcast is taking it to a whole other level.

Joel: What's up everybody? The December episode of Firing Squad and if our guest was expecting any favorable treatment because of the holidays, well she's in for a rude awakening, I must say. But, that being said, welcome to Carisa Miklusak, am I saying that right?

Carisa: You did an awesome job. Close enough.

Chad: I don't think he did, I think she's being nice.

Carisa: Miklusak but, you know what? When I first got married I got a lot of Mrs. Miklusak so, I'm going to call it like a B. That's good with me.

Chad: Okay, good.

Joel: Considering that there's a sac in there that you should be lucky that I'm trying to say it as it is because I could make up a lot of different stuff.

Chad: Yes.

Carisa: Totally.

Joel: So, Carisa is with Tilr. Carisa, give us a little bit about you before we get into your company.

Carisa: Sure. Thanks so much for having me today. I really cut my teeth in temporary staffing in the late 90s and then did a long stint at and spun off to start building [crosstalk 00:02:56]. Let's just get it out of the way. I'm going to own it and I then started building startups in 2008 when no one else in the world was thinking it was a good economy to do so. And bootstrap company called T Media and was approached by an investor that really helped to inspire the company that I run now, Tilr. Other than that, I've got four and a half year old twins, a super geriatric dog that died twice and is still hanging around and I spend a lot of time in New York, Toronto and Cincinnati.

Joel: I could've gone for the sympathy vote for the dying dog.

Carisa: Oh, right.

Joel: That's nice. So, Chad tell her what she's in for.

Chad: So Carisa, you're going to have two minutes to pitch Tilr. At the end of two minutes, you're going to hear the bell, then Joel and I are going to hit you with rapid fire Q and A. If the answers start rambling, if you start rambling with the answers, Joel is going to hit you with the crickets. You're going to wanna move along and also tighten that game up. At the end of Q and A, you're gonna receive grades from Joel and I. It's either going to be big applause which means you killed it, golf clap, that means Joel almost fell asleep, or the firing squad.

Joel: That was pretty good Chad, that was nice.

Chad: That means hit the bricks, close up shop, pull out the drawing board because your shit sucks. So, that's Firing Squad. Joel are you ready to get that timer ready buddy?

Joel: I'm ready. Carisa, are you ready more importantly?

Carisa: Let's do it.

Joel: Boom.

Carisa: I'm ready.

Joel: Two minutes starting.

Carisa: All right. Tilr is new search technology for the workforce and what's different about Tiller is that we match on skills not on titles. We actually think that titles are pretty bias and screen people out and not in. So, here's an example of how we reallocate talent. Let's pretend that Tim had job A, and gained skills one through three and then Tim had job and gained skills four, five and six. He's never had a job with title C but yet, title C requires Tim to have skills one, three and six. Our technology will actually send Tim that job and once a worker's screened and background checked, they get to make the decision as to whether or not they wanna go to work. There's no interviews in Tilr's marketplace. So, our companies, or our employers rather, really trust us for our technology to make that decision based on skills.

Carisa: Once Tim goes to work, if there's a positive outcome, our algorithm learns from that and learns that there's again this neat, new network between someone that's never done this job and someone that can. So, for workers, we give them new opportunities. For clients, we give them a larger talent pool and we've also recently just introduced our enterprise product which does for companies the same thing that we do in our market place. So, that's a bit about who we are and skills are really the name of the game for us.

Joel: So in the time you have left, where can someone find out more about Tilr?

Carisa: You can definitely go to and it's tilr like the tilr that you pull on the sail boat to turn your direction and also you can download our app. From a company or worker perspective, check it out that way. We've been called the Tinder if you will or [crosstalk 00:06:20] I know, I know. I'm just getting them out of here of recruitment only because we have swipe left and right. That's like the only similarity so, other than that, that's where you can learn more.

Joel: All right. You're done.

Carisa: You asked for more man, you asked for more.

Chad: Swipe left and right just killed me but even before that, I don't believe, I'm not good at math but, I don't believe that one plus three plus six equals C, okay? That doesn't compute. I did a little research and it looked like you guys, at least before, focused on really trying to become like a new style ATS and now you're talking about search.

Carisa: Interesting.

Chad: Was that a pivot or ...

Carisa: No, we never were an ATS, we came out truly with search. We focused on the on-demand market. We're asking people to believe in true algorithmic hiring and not interview. We focus on the on-demand market believing that jobs that had start and end dates would be an easier way for people to make that leap of faith and start to change the way that they recruit. Also, we focus on jobs in certain areas. We headquartered in Cincinnati, Cinci was our beta market and then [crosstalk 00:07:29] to that tri-state area. So, we never really focused as a ATS at all. We've always been search technology. The first product was our marketplace which is a true on-demand marketplace that matches on skills, not on titles. Our second product now is Enterprise which again is a white label of that product that does it for internal organizations.

Chad: Okay. So, one of the YouTube videos that I watched actually focused on how the ATS process methodology sucks. So ... and it was one of your videos, so, that is fairly confusing. So, that is one of the reasons why when I was thinking about okay, process methodology, you guys are looking to try to flip the script on how people get jobs. Now it was skillcentric, there's no question, but on the front end, it was talking about how the ATS process methodology sucked, is that not something that rings kind of true to you?

Carisa: So, we do pump out a lot of content. If watched isolated, there's generally a theme of the month that might seem strange but we often times partner with ATSs to provide additional level of detail for the candidates during the on-boarding process. So, the message is they're perhaps incomplete and kind of like Ford when our current recruitment system was built, pumped out their first car rather, sorry, rather like when Ford pumped out their first car, at the same time, our recruitment system was built. Sometimes tends to look at a candidate in an archaic way. We do have young, spunky fired-up people around saying everything sucks. Resumes suck, titles suck, ATSs suck, job posting suck.

Chad: They're right.

Carisa: And I obviously totally don't disagree because I built the company but, yeah, no, you're not off based but, sorry if it indicated we were like an ATS. That's not what all our business nor a business personally I wanna spend any time in.

Joel: Good. You noticed Chad that she didn't say that the young kids are saying VR sucks but, that's a different podcast.

Carisa: Nice.

Joel: [crosstalk 00:09:22] a branding question. I'm always interested in how you came up with the name, certainly if I go to common spelling if you will, it takes me to a much different website, so talk about how you came up with the name and the challenge that you have from the end of sales process of telling people where to go.

Carisa: Oh, interesting. So, we came up ... here's the true story of how we came up with the name. I of course think it's super fun. One of my business partners, the investor that I mentioned earlier, has a jockey that rarely loses a race by the name of Bobby Tiller. He races horses and he called me one night at about 10:30 and we had all kind of names on a whiteboard and I was kind of pissed off because we wanted internally to own coming up with the name. We this amazing MVP underway, it's late at night, we're in this workshop trying to figure it all out. I come home and I get a call from the investor, what about the name Bobby Tiller? Guy never loses. So, the next morning we wrote in on the board and everyone started talking about it. Tried to put it down. We did look at Tiller but, weren't really feeling it. It was partly formal and so, we started playing with different four letter, five letter versions of it but wanted a four letter version.

Carisa: Looked at Tilr and I rented the name to test it out first before we actually bought the URL and we totally fell in love with it. We felt like it was both a noun, a verb. So, we call our workers Tilr community members. We also have an association where we offer portable benefits but, that's beside the point. One can also till for example and we hope that in the future people will say I need to Tilr that. So, we thought it was fun and that's how we introduced it. We haven't ... maybe I need to pay closer attention because you asked a good question. Makes me wanna check things out. What's the sales challenge in introducing it? I feel like 100, in this day and age gentleman, that's literally what I was going to say. So, I'll just own it, in this day and age, I feel like people don't really harp too much on your name. I did get one push back from a blogger and I apologize, I can't remember his name. He meant the world to me because it was the day after we rolled out the name.

Carisa: That's was such a cool idea, skills are so important, why the hell did you go with one of these Flickr, Tilr, R names. You seem smart, why'd you do that man? Why? Why? Why? And I was like, oh, that sucks. But anywise it's been really f