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Find Your Next Ultra Talent! Founder Interview with Jess Rigos

Founder Bio:

Mr. Rigos is an Industrial-Organizational psychologist, specializing in helping organizations align their business needs with effective human capital strategies. He has expertise in talent management, designing integrated HR systems, leadership development and people analytics. He has worked with both start-up firms and large multinational organizations including a range of Fortune 500 client projects across a variety of industries such as aviation, transportation and technology. Jess is an Adjunct Professor of Psychology at Hofstra University and conducts research in the areas of recruitment and disruptor applicant assessment tools and methodologies.

The Ultra leadership Method is a management consultancy and human capital advisory firm that specializes in serving investment funds. We use our deep knowledge of investing and organizational psychology to help funds in their pre-deal due diligence efforts by offering human capital insights and by designing talent management solutions for their portfolio companies.

What type of human capital insights do you offer and how does this help funds in their due diligence?

Overall, we apply the same tools and methodologies used in evaluating and selecting executives for internal roles to evaluating Founders and top management teams. We use validated assessments to measure psychological characteristics such as personality, motivations, values and working styles along with simulations, case studies and situational judgement tasks to gain insight into their technical skills and competencies.  This provides funds with a comprehensive overview of how the Founder’s approach their work, collaborate with others and insight into the working relationship the fund may have in the future with the founder. We also provide insight into the talent management practices the company is currently using to identify strengths and risks and to provide recommendations for improvement to ensure legal compliance and technical alignment with best practices.  Together, insights into the company’s management team and talent management practices serves as additional data points to support investment decision-making.

How does personality in particular impact investment decision-making? What should funds look for in founders?

Unlike ability tests, such as IQ or technical skills assessments, there are no right or wrong answers to personality assessments. Instead, the assessments measure fit with a specific role or industry. So, desirable personality traits are completely context dependent. Essentially this is a matching exercise to identify if the Founder’s personality and workstyle are compatible with the investment thesis. For example, if the fund’s strategy is to win with innovation and expanding the company’s product into new verticals, they may seek a founder that is flexible, agile, ambitious and inquisitive or a ‘big picture’ thinker. Although, on the other hand, the fund also benefits from understanding the limitations of the founder’s personality, such as being resistant to feedback, being excessively disagreeable or prone to conflict when collaborating with others, which can be uncovered in such assessments. In reality, we all have some limitations. They tend to show up when we are under stress and not actively monitoring our behavior and can severely impact our interpersonal relationships and hinder progress towards goals if we are not attentive to them.

There seems to be a lot of value to these insights in the pre-deal stage. What role do they play in the post-deal stage?

In the context of personality assessments, these insights can also be used for developmental purposes. These assessments shine light onto our blind spots. Reflecting on how we behave when we are stressed and how it affects those around us can help us to recognize these moments in real time and then adjust our behavior. 

We also design and implement talent management solutions across the full employee lifecycle including hiring, talent development and performance management. This helps ensure that companies are hiring high-impact talent, are quickly and effectively integrating them into the business and making efforts to develop their skills and careers. This is crucial for developing high performing individuals and teams and ensuring that they are satisfied, engaged and are aligned with and committed to achieving the goals of the organization. 

Register for the Ultra Talent virtual investors Seminar on 10/20/20 about “Pre-Investments' Due Diligence & Human Capital Assessment” And learn more about how Ultra Talent partners with investors to assess the vitality of prospective investments' management teams and talent management practices including how to identify human capital related risks when making investment decisions. Click here to learn more:

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