Hiring new talent acquisition leaders is a critical task. These are the gatekeepers to your organization, identifying and advocating for suitable candidates and finding a place for them. As they move through the recruiting and onboarding process themselves, they have a unique eye for company culture and a candidate’s experience — a culture and experience that they will soon control.
Having recently settled into new roles, we checked in with four hiring and talent acquisition professionals at three U.S. tech companies about their first impressions during their hiring and onboarding, and their goals over the next 12 months.
Background: Headquartered in Sydney, Australia and boasting offices all over the world, creatives use Canva to design and publish everything from presentations and social media graphics to album covers and posters. Prior to joining Canva, Schultz spent more than five years leading product recruiting efforts for LinkedIn.
Experiencing the remote onboarding cycle: “It’s interesting going through a hiring process as a TA professional. It gives you a unique chance to walk in your candidate’s shoes, and I have a new level of empathy for everyone who went through an interview process and joined a new company remotely in 2020. It can be more challenging to truly experience a company’s culture remotely, so Canva definitely stood out to me as its culture and values came through strongly throughout the interview process — by the language each interviewer used, how authentic they were over Zoom and the accessibility of the leadership team. When the CEO and the COO are willing to jump on a call with you, it demonstrates how important hiring and talent is to them.”
“We are experiencing hyper-growth, so scaling efficiently through people, processes and tech is another goal.”
Focusing on diversity: “At Canva, our mission is to become a celebration of diversity, where it feels like a safe haven to be yourself. We also want to help create equity through our products by empowering anyone to design anything, anywhere. Therefore diversity, equity and inclusion is a no-fail goal for the people team this year. We are experiencing hyper-growth, so scaling efficiently through people, processes and tech is another goal along with continuing to elevate the Canva story and mission globally through our talent attraction strategy.”
Background: Los Angeles-based Output develops gear and software for musicians, producers and film composers. These include audio effects software, synthesizers and sampling platforms as well as recording equipment. Low previously led talent acquisition and recruiting teams at restaurant management system Restaurant365 and healthcare software provider PatientPop.
Access to the top: “Two conversations defined the recruitment process with Output for me. The first was with our CEO, Gregg Lehrman, and it was the one that made me want the job. He was so relatable, and I felt like he had been 100 percent transparent with me. It stood out because, surprisingly, this kind of candor has not been my experience with other hiring interviews in the past. Even though Output is scaling like crazy, Gregg prioritizes interviewing every candidate we get to the offer stage. That speaks volumes about his desire to maintain the culture that he has built at Output, and I’m happy to be a part of it.
The second conversation was with the Managing Director of Summit Partners who funded our Series A round. Getting to hear directly from them as to why they made this investment was incredibly impactful on my decision to join the company. When he explained the potential they saw in Output and what they thought the company would do in the next two to three years, there really wasn't much of a decision for me to make.”
“The main goal for my team this year is to grow our employee population, to do it with a renewed focus on diversity.”
Grow the team, with a focus on diversity: “The main goal for my team this year is to grow our employee population, to do it with a renewed focus on diversity and to then enhance our culture as we scale. I am very fortunate to be surrounded by employees who want to be intimately involved in our efforts to diversify our workforce. They understand the value and the positive impact this will have on our business. We are well on our way to creating the best music technology company to work for in the world.”
Vincent Castellano, Head of Recruitment at MeetElise
Background: MeetElise’s AI assistant for property managers responds to leads, schedules tours and follows up with potential renters. Headquartered in New York, the company says its technology can convert 65 percent more leads into foot traffic for on-the-market properties. Prior to joining MeetElise, Castellano was a technical recruiter for Amazon Web Services.
Values alignment: “Everyone I spoke to during my interview process at MeetElise displayed honesty, subject matter expertise, respect and passion for what the work they are doing. I got a sense that the company values are very much in line with my own. The hiring team demonstrated consistency, which was key in me deciding to move on from my previous company. Additionally, I dove deep into researching the real estate and property technology space. I quickly realized that there was an incredible lack of technology innovation. MeetElise is truly disrupting the space.”
“Progressive hiring practices, diversity and inclusion and positive hiring culture are a few things that are top of mind for us.”
Doubling the team: “We are about a team of 35. We are looking to grow to 90 by the end of the year. Progressive hiring practices, diversity and inclusion and positive hiring culture are a few things that are top of mind for us as we set out to accomplish our hiring goals.”
Background: Buie joined Canva’s Austin-based team after leading talent acquisition teams at big data company Rubrik. Canva’s other U.S. office is in San Francisco.
Interviewing across functions: “Having recently gone through the interview experience at Canva and in a completely virtual environment, I feel like Canva did a great job not only allowing me to meet cross-functional stakeholders I'd be working closely with but also to experience real-life projects I'd be tackling in the role. For every role at Canva, candidates complete a challenge or take-home exercise that mirrors the actual work and skill sets needed to succeed. It's a good way to assess talent but also a unique way for candidates to get a taste of the real work they'd be doing and show off their creativity along the way.”
“It’s a fun process to raise awareness of who we are and what we value as a company.”
Build a U.S. employer brand: “There are so many exciting goals for our team in 2021! One is to continue building out our employer brand here in the U.S. While Canva is known to be one of the top companies to work for in Australia, we are still making a name for ourselves here in the States. It’s a fun process to raise awareness of who we are and what we value as a company, and it will ultimately enable us to bring diverse backgrounds to Canva and continue scaling the business.”