How Gainful Hires: Advice from CEO Dean Kelly

Whether you’re an employer or job seeker, the hiring process is hard. Shining a spotlight on this problem, we spoke to Gainful CEO Dean Kelly about his best advice for candidates hoping to stand out, level up, and land their dream health and fitness job.

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Roles at high-growth health and fitness companies are highly competitive. What can candidates do to stand out?

DK: Applications that stand out typically include a cover letter tailored to the role, and the best cover letters provide a clear reason for wanting to join, a passion for what we’re building, relatable and relevant experience, and something that shows us your personality outside of work.

A one-page resume that focuses on impact and results, and highlights any promotions within roles.

LinkedIn is a key platform for us: We have been impressed by team members who have reached out directly to Gainful leaders on LinkedIn to let us know that they have applied.

Other candidates will find someone connected to a Gainful team member and have that person reach out to let us know they have applied and vouched for their work!

At Gainful, we often check a candidate’s  LinkedIn profile, so keeping that up-to-date is very important as well.

To the best of your ability, be able to summarize your career-to-date in three minutes, focusing on the most relevant roles and achievements.

You should have a thorough knowledge of the job description and be able to clearly articulate why you want to work at the company, why this particular role, why now, why YOU, and have at least five questions ready to ask of each person you meet.

What does your company’s hiring process entail?

DK: We post a job on which is then also syndicated to websites such as LinkedIn and Glassdoor.

The hiring manager will review applications we receive with the hope of identifying about 10 people to interview.

The first interview is typically a phone screen, where we are looking to understand your experience, the reason for leaving your current company, reasons for wanting to join Gainful, and other things like salary expectations or other items such as remote working.

Additional interviews with additional team members may also involve projects or tasks which are very relevant to the sort of work you will be doing at Gainful. For example, for our Brand Director role, we asked candidates how they would go about launching our Personalized Hydration product. For our Designer role, we asked candidates to produce three assets (an Instagram post, an email, and packaging) for our new Matcha Green Tea Flavor Boost. We do this to see if a candidate understands what we are trying to build at Gainful, and can bring their experience to our brand to take it to new great places. Most importantly though, we will also always ask a candidate if they actually enjoyed doing the task, because it is reflective of the work they will be doing day-to-day.

We will offer to introduce candidates who are successful at moving through stages to additional team members to give them the opportunity to ask more questions and feel comfortable that they are a cultural fit. We will also usually have our candidates meet at least one of our founders, so they can hear the story about how Gainful was created and why, and their vision for the company.

Finally, we will conduct at least 3-4 reference checks before we make an offer to the candidate.

Which credentials matter when assessing applicants?

DK: With more senior roles, we typically value previous experience in a related industry very highly. But more than simply previous experience, we are keen to interview those who are able to show significant impact or results — often leading to a promotion within a previous role.

For those candidates without specific experience in health/fitness, we look for skill sets that are relatable and transferable — for example, problem-solving, making data-driven decisions, or examples of a customer-first mindset.

A passion for health, wellness, and fitness is always a plus and makes every day at Gainful more fun. It is wonderful to be building a personalized nutrition platform when you also love staying healthy and active yourself!

Succeeding at a startup or fast-growing company is challenging. How do you screen candidates for intangible skills?

DK: We have six things we look for in ALL Gainful team members, no matter what the role or level: Be kind, hardworking, smart, ambitious, optimistic, and adaptable to a changing environment.

Most importantly, the candidate’s values and Gainful’s values must align.

If you’re a coach of a basketball team and you’re trying to work out if you should try to sign a particular player, you speak to their previous coach or you watch footage of their previous games. Conducting reference checks with the people you trust to give you an honest opinion is really the only way to do this when looking to hire a new team member.


Note: This Q&A has been lightly edited for clarity and readability

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