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In the world of recruiting. Some people have seen it all. They build recruiting teams from the ground up, hired hundreds of people in the best companies in the world, developed their expertise year after year. I'm Robin Choi, and I'm on a mission to collect their learnings. These are their stories. Hi, everyone. Today we're having Jeannie to talk to us about how to lead a successful career in recruiting. So Jeannie is a very interesting career. She started PR and marketing, then got into recruiting almost by accident, I'm sure you'll tell us. And then stayed there, had very interesting opportunities work on very strategic role. So one of the very strategic role that you had, Jeanne, was working in the M and A team at Facebook to lead the strategic evaluation and execution of acquisitions on a TeamSport perspective. So I'm sure that was very interesting. Genie has been a coach for recruiters for a bit more than five years as well. So I thought she would be the perfect person to talk to us about how to lead a career in recruiting, what it means, how to have a long lasting career, how to uncover opportunities, what's for recruiters in the future.


What do you think about an introduction, Jeannie? Was I correct? I didn't even mention Aura.


You just did. I love it. Well, I will say you are right. The common sentiment is that most people fall into recruiting because of the choice they graduate from a degree generally not specifically for recruiting. In fact, it doesn't really exist. So most people get the exposure once they're starting to work, or maybe they work with a recruiter. Now that I'm looking back, however, I would say I was maybe a little bit more intentional in exploring the career path because I was looking at different statistics, what kind of roles there would be. I realized I was setting some expectation for myself. Perhaps I wouldn't start at the level or maybe even the pay in my previous professions. So I would say that's a little bit more intentional than just falling into it. And you are right that I have also been very fortunate that I actually had a recruiting leader that gave me the opportunity to test out my transferable skills. It was actually through an agency. But six months later, I took a role in house with Microsoft, which I was at for four years. And then I moved from Seattle to the Bay Area for Liberal at Facebook because back then, remote was not very not all the rage.


Right. I was surprised. I actually stayed there for seven years. But I have several leadership roles, including three year stint at our first engineering office in London. And yes, you mentioned about the mergers and acquisitions team, which I didn't even know about as a potential recruiting profession. So now I have moved to an exciting vertical that I'm Super passionate about in health tech wellness arena with Aura Ring as their global head of talent, right.


You also spend some time at Zillow, right?


Yes, absolutely. In fact, I was there for four and a half years. In fact, three of my offices, physical office in San Francisco, they're all within the same block and vicinity, Facebook, Zillow Group, and now Orbing. So maybe I just like the area.


So that's your own background. And how did you get started with coaching? Can you tell us more about this as well?


Yeah, I think for career coaching, that came out of the desire to help people through their career journey. It was actually during a time when I was at Facebook and there were a lot of people that were very interested in getting into Facebook. So oftentimes they would come to me only have a narrow mind of plan to get into a type of company like Facebook or the Netflix, Apple, things like that. So I decided it's actually more interesting to career coach people to think outside of that particular path, to think about what they want long term, what their value, how they align with the company. So that's how I got started.


Okay. And what do you do exactly with your students?


Oh, my students. It's funny. I actually learned a lot from them as well because every job search is unique, personal, and yes, it can be scary. So most of the people that come to me are working through a potential career pivot. Maybe they started off doing something that they majored in school, they enjoyed it, but they figure out there must be something out there. I also get a lot of clients that really focus on how to grow within that same career path. So, for example, they might be wanting to move into a more senior leadership after being an individual contributor. So those are the very common strategy type conversations. Now, there's a lot of very critical things, too. Like how do I negotiate? How do I get a promotion? So those are all topics career related.


Okay. And out of these people, how many work in recruiting?


I like that you ask that question. Actually, I didn't have a lot of people in recruiting until the pandemic hit because in April to maybe the summer of 2020, there was basically a surge of people being laid off or furloughed, and that included the recruiting industry. In fact, the people that came to me were often people that realized that maybe they didn't focus on themselves a lot. They've always taught their candidates to keep in mind, to network before you need a job. And they found themselves in a situation where they needed to do the same thing. So a lot of them were just trying to figure out what is this an opportunity for me to move into a different type of recruiting, or what types of companies going to have the more growth focused? And what if the pandemic lasted longer? So those were actually the common questions that I received. Yeah.


And hindsight, it was a big mistake for most companies laying off recruiters. No, they're struggling. And do you see the opposite now people pivoting into recruiting coming from?


Yes. I would say actually there's more interest in podcast of like how to start a recruiting career or how to focus on transferable skills. Yes. There is a hot market and during a hot market you also get more, let's say junior talent, people who are coming in as a new grad or just maybe have a couple of years of experience where they're thinking this is a good time to get into recruiting, which is absolutely true.


Yeah. And so what do you say to those people? Because recruiting is very broad. So maybe can you start by giving us understanding of all the roles that are covered under the recruiting umbrella, what it means and other some common skills so yourself come from marketing, PR. So other previous backgrounds that are helpful as well.


Great. Well, before we get into this transferable skill topic, I would first want to ask people to ask themselves why do they want to consider a career in recruiting or why is this compelling for them? So for me personally, before I fully committed to recruiting, I was already connecting people proactively with different job opportunities in my spare time. It was almost fun exercise. And for example, I was in Asia after College and many Asian Americans were also interested in gaining global experience or even learn the language. So since I had done a lot of research ahead of time before I moved to Asia, I was very open to sharing those resources with people that reached out to me and connecting with potential jobs like where are the job boards? How do you network when you're so many hours different out there? So one of my mentors at the time asked me, have you ever considered going into recruiting profession and even offered me to do informational interviews with people already in that field? And the reason why is because he saw something in me, because I was naturally doing it even though it wasn't my job.


So in terms of transferable skills, we can lift out a few here. That means influencing skills, analytical organization, interpersonal communication, intellectual curiosity, like really wanting to always learn business or vertical acumen, becoming a specialist in that area. And I would say the last I would say soft skill to think about is if you are generally more of an empathetic partner, you can do that for candidates, clients and internal members. So in terms of the different types of recruiting umbrella, I would say if you are pursuing a marketing career, you may end up in different paths. Right. You could be in channel marketing, you could end up doing marketing research. You can even do corporate brand marketing or product marketing. So many great choices. And that's the same with recruiting. So I started off in University it was pretty rewarding to help students find their first job outside of school. But even within that space, your focus might be hiring engineers or MBAs or PhD type internships. Now other types of recruiting can include executive recruiting, diversity recruiting, sales recruiting, international recruiting, and like what you mentioned, even specializing in mergers and acquisition. And I didn't even know that.


So basically what we're saying is you don't have to think of recruiting as a jump off point or that you can only be in this industry for a few years before you have to move along. If you're truly interested in the space you'll find. There are so many ways to grow. If you're the type that enjoy working with many clients, the agency might be your interest. Now for me, I prefer being in the in house model where I can go deep and really support the entire business structure. So that's it.


We actually see that a lot. Like there is some kind of path where people will start in agencies, then join in house teams, or they will be starting a sorcerers and then moving to recruiters. So do you see, like, obviously everyone can have their own path and their exception to that. But other big tracks that you see, like you start in marketing, then you probably want to move. Then if you want to go to marketing, then you probably go to the employer branding, for instance. What are the big tracks that you see?


Employment branding is definitely one of them. Another one is actually recruiting operations and programs. Basically, they're the people that just keep us organized. You can call them helping recruiters to enable them to be faster in the process, to find ways to work smarter instead of harder. So if you're a type of person, you can do that. Now if you love statistics and data and really just understanding the whys and how many people go into more recruiting or people analytics where they can actually find a way to share that story and help recruiters decide what's the best strategy to approach depending on what they need. So that's an area.


Do you believe that some roles are like starting roles, like entry level roles, usually sourcing is one and some are more seniors by Essence. Usually people don't start with people analytics and they'll tend to move there after a few years as recruiters. So do you think that's a thing actually? Do you think that's a thing of the past? Will that stay like this?


Well, so maybe you've been an analyst role somewhere else. Not in recruiting, but somewhere else. It could be on sales teams and operational teams. So in that case, your transfers full skills could actually move into a people analytics role. You may not have to understand recruiting so deeply in order to actually be great at that particular job. Yes, traditionally you will find people who first enter into recruiting. They might start as a recruiting coordinator, for example. Or maybe you're a specialist, like you said, kind of focus on either the client side or the sourcing side. What I really do believe that the skills of sourcing to me is not entry level the best source that have this craft, and they've been doing this for years. They have found new ways to find talent from different places and engaging them. Yes. Recruiters are known to sort of close the deal. Right. But the truth is the power of sources that can actually engage with candidates to get them to get passive candidates interested even in the company and the roles that takes some influencing skills.


Yeah. So what are the options for someone starting a career as a recruiter? What should be the outcome? So we see that there is this option being very good at your job and just being a very good IC and building expertise, like on sourcing, for instance. And I completely agree that very senior sources make a big difference because there are less of them. So same as themselves. Right. A very good person, one of the three X, five X increased efficiency. There is something to it. What's the ultimate goal for recruiters like you start today, your career, where do you want to go? Because it's about. So that discussion is also about how to manage a career. So what's the ultimate goal?


Yes. Well, guess what? Every ultimate goal is personal. That's the thing I will tell you if you ask me these questions. Maybe five to ten years ago, I probably would have had different answers because it's through experience where you discover more things you want to try. So, for example, maybe you want to grow your career in a very specific vertical. You want to be known as the talent professional that really knows everything there is to know about Crypto, for example. I'm saying that because it's a hot, new, growing type of company. So maybe that's what you want to go through in terms of your skills is to develop those knowledge so that you know how to attract and find the right talent into this type of industry. So vertical could be one way. Another way is maybe you find yourself always. You have the ability to really coach and mentor and advise people. So maybe instead of being a subject matter expert in one to two areas, you decide you want to try to go into people management. And that's sort of like how I landed in my current role was I never intentionally said, you know what, I want to go into recruiting so I can manage people or manage recruiters.


I just said I was interested in this field. And once I got in, once I had the opportunity to explore what that might be, your strength just naturally comes out. There's definitely areas I don't think I'd be like. I probably wouldn't focus on just Ops myself, but I would be able to identify great recruiting Ops people. In fact, Aura is trying to hire one. I snuck that one in. That really will help balance the strengths and the needs of a really successful recruiting organization.


Right. So there's management versus I see that's traditional. There are different verticals, different industries, different roles, probably also different geographies. So you might want to move across countries. Are there other dimensions that people can play with?


Yes. In fact, let's say you want to be your own boss. You're done with working, whether it's an agency or in house, but you decide you've learned enough skills that you want to help other companies. So maybe you want to consult. So I actually know a lot of basically recruiters turned recruiting consultants that are helping smaller companies build their talent pool or just simply becoming a recruiter that focuses on helping a particular company. So you can do that. You can be your own boss. Now, I also know people who decide recruiting, maybe after 1520 years, they want to take recruiting and they want to do something else. So that includes actually people who go into career coaching, because after you've been in this business a while, you know all the secrets, you know all the tips and what it takes to be successful to get your foot in the door, at least be noticed to be interviewed. Right. So some people go into career coaching, so that's another route to go. You're still in recruiting, but now you're just taking that skill set and moving it into more consultative.


Right. So there are actually a lot of opportunities when you think about it, and people tend to see like recruiting, but there's a lot more opportunities. And on a more tactical point of view, how do you decide and how do you know? Do you need to build a plan beforehand and say, okay, I want to be there in five to ten years? I want to do this. Do you have to adjust along the way? How do you do this and how do you be opinionated about where you want to become?


Well, I see two common approach, and I can share. The first one is sort of like my approach, which is I decided if I picked the right company with the right values and even the right manager, the right people, I can stay there for more than four years, which I've done in my last three roles. And the reason why I do that is because once you're inside and you've been able to demonstrate where your skill set is, they tend to trust you if you raise your hand for a more stretch role or different role or different projects. So being longer term at a company allows you to do that, to build on top of those skills. So that's one approach. The other approach, which I think you probably see this a lot is you might see people in recruiting or actually any type of people who are in these careers would move along at a company, let's say every one to two years. So part of that actually allows them to build different skills, different types, because every time you go to a new company, you have to redo that muscle again. You can't be comfortable.


So in some way, they might be, whether they're doing more of a lateral move or maybe a jump at level that actually helps them as well. So to me, those are the two most common approach you can do in recruiting and for any career.


And there's one thing we mentioned when we prepare the recording is that you said that you were always interested in getting two companies that wouldn't reach out to you in the first place. Can you elaborate a bit on that?


Yes. I think the way I was thinking about this is probably as I was planning my career and now Microsoft was probably a pretty straight shot because it was my first opportunity and they gave it to me after my agency experience. So I really appreciate that. But afterwards I started to look for companies that were up and coming. So in this case, it was Facebook and a few other similar social type companies at the time that was interesting. So it was more of a risk taking for me because I actually didn't know if, let's say, Facebook was going to become the global type of company it is now. So that's how I approached it. They didn't necessarily find me actually. It was somebody that referred my application into the company. So that's a unique situation. And part of that is you can do a whole episode about networking and how amazing that could be even when you are not intentionally networking. How people can look at your skills or your personal brand. Right. And actually recommend you to different places. But then after Facebook, I didn't say to myself, you know what? I've always wanted to get into real estate.


Right. So naturally, again, part of that was just self discovery. I was seeing some things that Zillow Group was doing about pay equity I was passionate about in that area. And so the conversations started. So I went over there. And then afterwards in my sort of news search because I was in the real estate space, I actually got other real estate type projects or companies that were interested. Right. Can you take what you learned there and move it to my other company? What they don't realize is I'm the type that actually likes depth, but I also like breadth. And I knew that I wanted to try a new vertical. So that's one way I approach it was I was looking at vertical that maybe in Aura's case, like I hadn't had hardware experience. But to me, the craft again, is very transferable. And I wanted to be in a fast paced, smaller startup.


And we had the discussion as well. And I told you that I myself like to work in a space and go very deep in a space. So I like to stay in the same industry for years. And you had a very good rule on deciding if you will be better off jumping industries or if you want to stay in.


Oh, yes. So the example or the parallel I'm going to give you is not exactly science, but it could kind of give you an idea what type of person you are when it comes to careers and how you choose. So if you were receiving a free trip of twelve days and you get to go to a place like you go deep, maybe it's a city or a town. You mentioned that you would like to stay in that twelve days in the same city and just know the entire area, the people, all of that for me, I probably would say, is there any way I can do maybe three locations because I can still go deep? I might have to go faster, right? I might have to pack my agenda. But the point is I'm probably more the type, maybe a little FOMO fear of missing out, that I might want to try to do several of those. So when it came to my career, even at companies, I tend to look for companies that I know are very big on internal mobility, that they will focus on helping me and others think about what's next in the different paths.


So you're not always just in one particular area for the entire time you're there.


Got it. So one part is about deciding what you want to do. The first is knowing all those dimensions that you can play with. Then understand whether you rather stay in one role or one industry or if you want to switch. Do you have other advice on how to get to know yourself better and understand what exactly you're looking for? Like the holiday rule?


Yeah. Well, one of my mentors have always said that you never know what you're missing out until you really say yes to more things. So a lot of us might say, oh, I've never done international recruiting. Why would you even consider me to move to a different location? Try that? In fact, that was my experience was I said to them, really? I mean, London is amazing, but I've never done it there. What made them think that I could? So I do think a lot of times the advice is we tend to be our own, we're most critical of ourselves, that we don't actually see what people could see in terms of your potential. Now, it doesn't mean you'll always be successful in whatever you try, but it does mean that you won't have this question at the end of that and say, why didn't I try? So I think that's my advice, not again, not just for recruiters but also for all career path, is that understand? Again, there are many types of recruiting. There are many types of path, even within that same career that you've chosen and trying to be a little bit more uncomfortable so you can try these new things, you may discover you actually like something even better.


So that would be my advice.


Okay. And if we dive into tactics. So you mentioned negotiating, you mentioned working. Do you have good advice that you've seen working that you want to share?


Well, I don't know if you'll be surprised, but as I mentioned, sometimes recruiters were not best at giving our own advice to ourselves, and that sometimes means negotiation. Now I'm saying most people will still have the desire to negotiate, but maybe they don't negotiate with full force. Maybe it's more like you think I can have more. So what I'm saying is we are able to give these great advice to our candidates, to our family, to our friends. And sometimes if we can switch that around to see if we can give our own self that same advice. I think negotiating for recruiting, it's obviously not just about the pay. We want the same thing. We want to discover flexible work. Maybe that's more important for you. Maybe again, you found an amazing potential manager that's going to be able to lead you in a different way. Maybe that's even more important than going to a company that's going to pay more. But you're not sure if you're going to really learn a lot from the recruiting leader. So there's a lot of trade offs that we have to think about. So for me, the only answer is you just have to negotiate as to what you negotiate.


That's totally up to you.


Almost at the end, my first closing question would be what's the number one advice that you would give to your younger self or that you give to younger recruiters, people getting started in the career. And that could be about recruiting. There could be about anything.


Yes, I would say, and I'm already starting to do this. So hopefully I'm not too late, which is especially when it comes to recruiting, we tie ourselves very closely to the company. So if even when we do social media, when we talk about our jobs, oftentimes we're saying, hey, so and so company, we're hiring, we're a great culture. We're all of that. But in our lifetime, it's likely we're going to be moving through several companies. Right. So your own recruiting personal brand is the one that should have to go with you when you switch companies, because if you're lucky, there's alignment between the company and your personal brand. But, you know, sometimes we don't always pick the best companies. Maybe if they're doing something not as ethical or maybe they didn't plan their financial situation and they had to close shop. But the point is, because recruiting is related, almost like people assume you're kind of like a sales role. They might see yourself like, what you're selling may not be great because the company isn't what you imagine. So my advice is always be clear on your own personal brand, your own value so that that goes with you with whichever company you're going with.


So for example, if you are a diversity or a pay equity person or recruiter, that is what you're most passionate about. You would carry on that topic and that advocacy whichever company you're going to, you wouldn't just leave that behind for the company because it's you that care about that. And even if the company cares about it, the truth is you're the one that be able to make that difference as you're engaging with candidates to make sure that is exactly how you live.


It got it. And the final ending question is who is the most impressive person that you'd like me to interview on a players? Do you want anyone to recommend or anyone that you look up to shoot?


I have quite a few so I'm going to give you the non answer and maybe tell you about it afterwards. That's like a mystery kind of thing. So thank you for giving me the opportunity to do this.


Thanks, Jeannie. Hey there. This is Robert. Most of our listeners come from word of mouth so thanks a lot for your support and if you enjoy the players, please keep on sharing it with your team and friends. Stay tuned for the next episode and if you can't wait, follow me on linking for more content on recording talk to you next week.