Speaker Summary: CEO of SailPoint Technologies on 3/2

February 24, 2015

in Career Direction, Job Search, Life Skills

Written by Mary Lance

“Thoughts on Today’s Marketplace:  Getting Hired or Starting Your Own Business” by Mark McClain at 9am. 

Mark McClain, CEO of Austin-based SailPoint Technologies, delivered his thoughts on Today’s Job Marketplace encouraging Job Seekers to be specific about what you can do, get to “know someone” in a prospective employer and create a reasonable balance in your life.

McClain, who began his career in the traditional “work for a company” model, later tapped into his entrepreneurial spirit and in 2005, founded SailPoint Technologies, a leader in Identity and Access Management Solutions. He shared some insights on what he looks for when hiring and how important it is to know what you’re good at, understand your role and where you fit. “Don’t change yourself to fit, make sure you can laugh at yourself, have a positive attitude and be honest.”

Even if you may have had a negative experience with a prior employer, he recommended addressing it versus hiding from it. “It shows that you had a problem and how you addressed it –that says a lot about an individual,” he said.

A few pointers from someone who has grown a company from start-up to its current 400-person employee level, McClain said, “Before I talk to you, do your homework and find a connection to me or the company.” With the company website, the internet and LinkedIn, it’s easy to find good data. “And when I talk to you, know yourself, your skills, assets, fit and plan. Show yourself as a whole person. One of my favorite questions is to ask people what they do for fun outside of work.” Lastly he suggested being confident, but not arrogant. Another big turnoff is negative people, regardless of what they’re good at, they still have to work well with the team. And, “After I talk to you, follow-up with a quick thank you email. You can mail a letter too, just make sure you do it, and do it fast.”

Some real hiring questions that McClain discussed were:

  • Who do you know that I know?

Networking trumps EVERYTHING else!

  • Do you seem like you would be a good fit here?

Even with Social Media, 8-second rule is true

  • Will you be a cancer-causing agent? – no negative people

As Warren Buffett said, “Hire for attitude; train for skill.”

  • Are you a position player or a great athlete?

I may need both, so sell what you’ve got.


Even in this marketplace where companies get bought and sold, and layoffs are common, and you could have had multiple jobs at this stage of your life, he still suggests being loyal. “Give a lot, but know you could go.” And because of this, it’s important to have a life outside of work.

And if considering starting your own company, here’s a few good things to know:

  • Bring Your Passion (It’s hard)
  • Find “Good” Money (If you can)
  • Build a Great Team (You’re not that good J)
  • Leverage Your Network (See #2-3)
  • Know What You Want (Lifestyle or Growth)
  • Be Adaptive (You weren’t right at first)

And when building something, know what legacy you want to leave.

  • Built to Last vs. Built to Flip
  • Values vs. Valuation
  • People vs. Process
  • It actually is a small world after all (Reputation really matters)
  • Integrity means admitting failures, not always avoiding them
  • Do good as you succeed, not just after.

McClain was recently appointed as Chairman of the Austin Technology Council and the Austin Business Journal named him “Best CEO in Austin in 2013” for the mid-sized company category, for his record of innovation and taking a leadership role in the community. SailPoint Technologies has been voted by ABJ as “Best Places to Work” five years in a row, but McClain is most proud of his wife, three kids and granddaughter.

SailPoint is searching for people who are the best and brightest in the industry. Career opportunities can be found at www.sailpoint.com


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