July 17th, 2023 at 10:41:10 AM
In this exclusive interview, we had the opportunity to sit down with Anna Golubchenko, a seasoned tech recruiter from Ukraine who brings a unique perspective to the table. With firsthand experience living in Estonia and the United Kingdom, and having recruited for prominent companies such as Bolt and Meta, she offers invaluable insights into the world of talent acquisition within the tech industry. Join us as we delve into her journey, expertise, and the evolving landscape of recruitment.
Anna, could you provide an overview of your professional journey and how you arrived at your current role?
I started my professional career in 2014 in the international boutique agency - Relocateme.eu, where I did my first steps in recruiting and sourcing as well as helped numerous candidates to relocate and join EU-based software product companies. After a few years, I decided to make a leap and relocated to Tallinn, Estonia to become the third Recruiter onboard Bolt then known as Taxify, what a ride it has been! 10x growth in 3 years :) I was starting my day by sourcing Backend Engineers and finishing by offering Country Manager in Tanzania to kick off operations in the region. My last adventure was Meta where I was both Technical Sourcer and later on a Technical Recruiter hiring Software Engineers for London teams working on WhatApps, Instagram, AR/VR, Ads to name a few.
Over the years, you lived in different countries. How did that contribute to your growth as a professional?
Greatly! I've been living across different countries - Ukraine (born and raised), Estonia, and the United Kingdom, each of them having different working cultures and communication styles. Learning how to navigate those were the biggest learnings along with a deeper understanding of the talent markets and inner workings of the local tech communities.
Can you share any best practices you learned recently for sourcing and attracting top talent?
In the past few years, I've moved from scattered Boolean searches and trying to mine anything but LinkedIn to more strategic sourcing and relationship-building with candidates. It does not matter if you can source in and out of Twitter or GitHub if you can't fill roles with your candidates. Focus on better profile calibration, market mapping, and constant feedback from Hiring Managers and peers could be way more beneficial than the most perfect Boolean search string. Keeping in touch with candidates after unsuccessful interviews, and giving them actionable feedback and support will positively impact your pipelines and will allow filling future openings faster.
Generally speaking, a well-thought-out interview process, excellent candidate experience, and a high degree of empathy are the things that elevate any company to the “top” one when it comes to attracting talent.
What sets the recruitment process in companies you've worked at apart when it comes to assessing candidates compared to other companies?
For a quite big chunk of my career, I was working with algorithmic coding interviews as a larger part of the interview process. It's a love-hate relationship :) and many Software Engineers will agree with me on this. Apart from those coding exercises, there is a more profound look into how technical candidates can solve problems, especially while designing and making architecture decisions, how they can analyze different trade-offs while choosing between a few technologies, how they address different conflicts at the workplace, and willingness to lead and upskills others on the team. Those areas are perhaps the biggest difference in how various companies assess Software Engineering candidates
What role do diversity and inclusion play in your recruitment workflow, especially when it comes to building diverse technical teams?
If you ever want to build a product or service that is used across the globe you need a diversity of thoughts on your team. It is this simple, that's why DEI is an inseparable part of any healthy Talent Acquisition processes. DEI Recruitment can be addressed from two perspectives - strategy and execution. Each company strives to achieve some sort of Diversity goal, for example, 30% of the workforce will be gender-diverse by 2025 and based on this objective Recruiting team executes. The key here is to act with diversity in mind at each funnel stage: introducing inclusive sourcing practices and sessions, making sure your job descriptions do not contain any discouraging language, providing reasonable accommodation during interviews, adding unconscious biases training for interviewers and Hiring Managers as well as running employer branding activities targeting different diversity categories.
How do you think AI will influence tech recruitment?
AI will certainly make the job of a Recruiter easier with numerous tools for writing productivity, automated CV screening and initial assessment, pipelining, interview scheduling, and whatnot, however, the essence of Recruitment is rooted in the human ability to empathize. Little thought experiment, let's imagine the situation when you - Human Recruiter, and AI both are extending an offer with equal conditions - relocation to country X, compensation, benefits, etc. Who will receive the "Yes, I'm happy to accept your offer" email? AI that can analyze input and make you a perfect closing pitch - "Here is the perfect salary for you Ms. Candidate" or a Recruiter who can listen to all concerns, and understand the root cause, which is highly likely down to human emotional behavior and address it instead of formulaic approach to create "perfect" offer?
In my opinion, the future of tech recruitment is in harvesting AI power to create excellent experiences for a human candidate, and not to automate everything. It's tech recruitment, and candidates are already being hired to build AI, and there is nothing that prevents them from creating little AI helpers to communicate with not-so-great Recruiters and their cheeky recruiting AI tools.
How do you stay informed about the latest trends in the tech recruitment industry?
Little confession - I keep up with various tech and start-up resources rather than focus on Recruitment per se. I follow some prominent VCs such as Anderssen Horowitz, Index Ventures, and Sequoia Capital in their publications and podcasts. Speaking of podcasts, my all-time favorite is Vergecast which talks about trends in both software and hardware. As for Tech Recruitment, I try to browse company blogs from ATS, sourcing tools, CRMs (for example Gem or SeekOut), and Recruitment agencies that can yield larger datasets on their platforms or talent networks and provide more accurate analytics on ongoing trends. And who does not like to spy a little bit on TeamBlind - taken with a (massive) pinch of salt it could give some rather interesting insights on industry and tech companies.
What’s next for you - which type of company do you see yourself hiring for?
As you might have guessed from the previous question I'm quite keen on going back to start-up life either as the first Recruiter on a team or as a Talent Partner on behalf of VC or Start-up Accelerator. There is talent available on the market at this moment and some of them will be willing to take a risk and create their ventures instead of joining another tech giant. The next couple of years could be quite interesting for the industry with major shifts in the AI field, the emergence of CleanTech, and biotechnology. Being an early employee of Seed or Stage A start-up is a tough job at any function not only in Talent Acquisition, however, there is no other place I'd rather be.
Anna, it was one of the most interesting interviews, thanks a lot! We have already written down a few things to look up to keep ourselves up to date, and we’re sure our readers enjoy your insights as much!