Alex Catalán Flores

Director of Operations @ Charity Entrepreneurship
Working (6-15 years of experience)
126London, UKJoined Jul 2021


Lawyer | Management Consultant.

I write on Medium from time to time:

Hit me up if you wanna talk smack or play some AoE4.


I commend you on your moral leadership and I join everyone else in the comments in expressing gratitude for the tremendous good you've done so far. However, I'm curious about your decision to resign. I get the moral justification, but surely there are many grantees with many questions who'd be able to get better answers were you still within Future Fund. Something as simple as access to documents or previous emails would enable you to better support grantees who are likely in significant distress. Why did you see it as imperative to resign effective immediately? Why not at the very least see out your notice period? 

At least one person has gotten word from them that these payouts are on hold for now. This seems very worrisome and suggests the legal structure of the fund is not as robust or isolated as you might have thought.

If it turns out that committed funds were not liquid, that the legal structure wasn't robust, and that grants promised won't be honoured, that won't just be 'really bad' - it will be egregious. 

Suvita is looking for a Head of Operations / Head of Administration and Finance

Suvita is a startup nonprofit working to increase uptake of routine childhood immunisations in India. We are impact-focused and currently deliver two evidence-based programmes to boost attendance at vaccination appointments.

We’re seeking an operations specialist who will lead on delivering and strengthening Suvita’s operations across administration, finance and programmes. You will cover domains such as HR (onboarding & offboarding, contracts, policies), compliance (for multiple entities across different countries), finance, bookkeeping, funder reporting, infrastructure and equipment, and programme operational improvement.

The role will be a mixture of:

  • establishing new systems that don’t exist yet (for example building our Section 8 entity towards achieving FCRA registration in India) as well as
  • maintaining core functions and making them more efficient (for example HR operations like team contract renewals, and programme operations like survey management).

Read more about the role here! Scroll to the bottom of that page for the application link :)

Not an answer, just wanting to say thank you for asking this question! The same question had been percolating in my mind for some time but couldn't quite put it into words, and you did so perfectly. Thank you!

Brilliant post. I have been reading about and dabbling in evidence-led HR for some time, and on my to-do list was writing this exact post for the forum (although I suspect mine would've likely been of a significantly lower quality, so I'm not mad at all that you beat me to it) 

How can an organization effectively use intelligence tests & personality tests in hiring, while avoiding/minimizing legal risks? I know that many are rubbish, but are they all varying degrees of rubbish, or are some of them noticeably better than the rest? How good is Wonderlic? The gap between this can help you select better applicants and here are the details of how to implement this seem fairly large. What research has been done in the recent two decades?

I didn't see you cite it, but I assume you've come across Schmidt's 2016 update to his '85 years' paper? See here

I do think that such a quiz should be used with caution, as it can make the hiring process feel fairly impersonal for the applicant. Depending on what population you want to recruit from, some applicants may strongly prefer human contact rather than to use a quiz, so much then when prompted to do the quiz they choose to drop out of the application process.

I wasn't aware of that China-specific example you outline in the footnote, so it's a nice reminder that cross-cultural considerations are important and often surprising. However,  that aside,  in general I sense that it's a win-win if applicants drop out of the process because they don't like the initial quiz-based filtering process. Self-selection of this kind saves time on both ends. While candidates might think it impersonal, I have a strong prior against using that as a reason to change the initial screening to something less predictive like CV screening.  

perhaps I'll find answers to some of these questions during the coming months as I continue to work my way through my to-read list

Would be curious to see this list, for my own purposes :)

For some jobs, it is easy to create work sample tests, but for a lot of knowledge work jobs it is hard to think up what a good work sample test could be. I'd love to see some kind of a work sample test example book, in which example work samples for many different jobs are written out. Does something like this exist?

How to create good structured interviews? The gap between this is more effective than unstructured interviews and here are the details of how to implement this seem fairly large. Are there resources that go more in-depth than re:Work?

I often hear people asking for resources like this. Like you, I suspect that the significant effort investment required in closing the implementation gap is what keeps some people form implementing more predictive selection methods. 

I'm not sure what your MO is, but I'd be keen to collaborate on future posts you're thinking of writing or even putting together some resources for the EA community on some of the above (e.g. example work samples, index of General Mental Ability tests, etc). Won't be offended if you prefer to work solo; we can always stay in touch to ensure we're not both going to publish the same thing at the same time :)

OP -- I'm curious to hear your thoughts about investing greater energy into making goals more 'legible', as you put it. It strikes me that organisational alignment via loyalty + compensation + culture + management + hiring is circumventing the main problem, which is that the organisation's goals aren't clear. 

For example, couldn't an organisation whose North Star is to “do research to determine priorities for making the long-term future go well" create alignment by breaking down that overarching aim into its constituent goals? I'm spit-balling here, but one such constituent goal could be to "Become a research powerhouse", which would in turn be measured by a number of concrete and verifiable metrics such as "Publish X policy briefs" and/or "Double number of downloads on knowledge products on the website".   These goals would be fleshed out and discussed in detail, then published for everyone to see (or even create sub-goals for specific teams/departments). One could even publish them online so that external candidates can see them during recruitment rounds. The overarching idea is that being able to assess the organisation's goals will allow people to self-select, both in terms of the work they're doing but also in terms of their personal fit within the organisation, leading to greater alignment as people re-focus or exit. 

It's likely very obvious by now, but I'm putting forward John Doerr's Objectives & Key Results framework. It's hugely popular these days, and I'll be the first to admit a bias toward it. Doerr's broader point, however, is that one of the benefits of better goal-setting is organisational alignment:

A two-year Deloitte study found that no single factor has more impact than “clearly defined goals that are written down and shared freely. . . . Goals create alignment, clarity, and job satisfaction.”

My curiosity regarding your thoughts on this arises purely because your original post doesn't mention better goal-setting as a way to generate alignment. I also haven't come across many critiques about the better goal-setting = alignment assumption, so any thoughts on that vein would be very interesting to hear 

Couldn't agree more, Rob. Perhaps my perception is coloured by my own experience and circle of friends, but there certainly seems to be a subset of people out there who genuinely enjoy scaling organisations. I think this is particularly the case in the for-profit sphere, where feedback loops are sometimes instantaneous thus leading to increased satisfaction among the scale-up types.