S5 E38 | Recruiting Community: Moving from Enterprise TA to Start-up TA

Hoyt talks with three former enterprise level corporate TA leaders about their transition to lead startup recruiting - and why they'll never go back.

S5 E38 | Recruiting Community: Moving from Enterprise TA to Start-up TA

Hoyt talks with three former enterprise level corporate TA leaders about their transition to lead startup recruiting - and why they'll never go back.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 
We’re quasi live sort of live today so but Jordan how was how was burning man not on you’re not on your bucket list of things to do? I don’t understand.

Jordon Flowers, Reliable Robotics 0:09
It looks like a long time in the desert and dirty and you know, I like showers and it’s beautifully gray a little bit of drizzle like this is this is why I choose to live in the Northwest so like, if I’m gonna go I don’t know if that’s just not my scene.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:33
Just not your jam. Over 100 degree weather every day and dusty the entire time.

Jordon Flowers, Reliable Robotics 0:39
That sounds absolutely horrible. I enjoy it. I will enjoy it vicariously through you. But not presently.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 0:48
Aaron can’t wait to go. It’s on. It’s gotta be bucket list for her and I can see it on his face.

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 0:52
Burning Man. Yeah. I’m curious. I’m curious. I don’t know. I’d like to be an observer of drone overhead or something.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:04
There are videos you can watch videos for that is there for video just a little commercially, but it was gorgeous video.

Yeah, yeah. And then Leann, Of course you’re obviously on the waiting list for Burning Man.

LeAnn Perry, Veho 1:15
Of course I’m down. I’ll explore anything one time,

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:18
Guys, you should be embarrassed. She is stepping up and saying give me the RV. Take me to the desert ready?

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 1:26
Yeah, I’ve never even been to a Grateful Dead concert. So you know what? I know. It’s embarrassing.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:33
Oh my god. Yeah, I’ve done one Grateful Dead concert. And I was in the parking lot the whole time. I guess it tailgated the Grateful Dead.

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 1:39
Never made it in.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 1:41
Never made it in actually. Alright, you guys ready to get started? Yep. All right, here we go.

CXR Announcer 1:50
Welcome to the CXR channel. Our premier podcast for Talent Acquisition and Talent Management. listen in as the CXR community discusses a wide range of topics focused on attracting engaging and retaining the best talent We’re glad you’re here.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 2:20
Oh, law listeners and watchers, I’m Chris Hoyt President CareerXroads and your host for the next 20 minutes or so as you have dialed in to the recruiting community podcast now in this show, for those who don’t know, we pulled together leaders and practitioners and personalities from the recruiting community to talk about what’s top of mind for them both inside and outside of the CXR community. CareerXroads also for those of you who may not be familiar is about a 30 year old community of TA professionals from around the world who work in organizations that on average hire between 2000 and 200,000 People here each CXR. We connect those members, which are now at over 5000 leaders and practitioners. Every single week. We do it in our forums. We do virtual roundtables, online workshops, learning sessions, live meetings, leadership summits, all the good stuff. But today’s guests are mostly new to the show, but certainly not to our community. And we’ve got three of them. So we’re going to jump right in. So let me see if I can bring them on in here. There we go. One of one of them’s definitely not new to CareerXroads. Gerry, it’s good to see you this morning.

Gerry Crispin, CXR 3:31
So yes, and good to see you.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 3:36
Look, here’s what we’ll do, because we don’t usually have this many guests on the show. So we’re gonna, I’m gonna choose one of you. And I’m going to ask that you give an escalator pitch of who you are, and why we why we should listen to what you have to say today. And then I’m going to ask you to pass the baton to one of your colleagues should go pretty quickly because there’s only three of you. And because in Brady Bunch style, I’m just gonna go ahead and pick Leann. So Leann, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and where you work and what you do?

LeAnn Perry, Veho 4:05
Yeah, good morning. So I’m Leanne Perry. And I currently work for Vito technology, which is a last mile delivery company. And I have previously worked for a mobility company, and as another startup. And then previous to that I worked at Nike for the recruiting organization. And I’ve had about 25 years of TA experience, so I’ll pass it over to Jordan.

Jordon Flowers, Reliable Robotics 4:28
All right. So I’m Jordan. I am currently a head of talent acquisition at Reliable Robotics. So a small startup in the bay. But why you should listen to me. I don’t know. I’ve been in the TA operation space for about 15 years now. So heavily focused on the tools technology analytics operations side. And I’m really enjoying bringing what I’ve learned over those years in really large companies now to a much smaller company. I’m trying to help a startup grow. And with that, I will pass it over Aaron.

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 5:07
Hi, I’m Aaron Bruce, and I lead recruiting for Samsara. Based in companies based in San Francisco, I’m actually up in Seattle, been here for about a year. And for those who aren’t familiar, Samsara is in the Internet of Things business. And our focus is really digitizing the world of physical operations. My my prior life, I spent about 17 years at a large e commerce company, and why Listen to me, I don’t know if you should, but I probably have good stories about scaling and going from a little to a lot. And I’m a I also like history, too. So I probably have some few good stories about what not to do. And it might be interesting.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 5:56
Well, I am anxious to hear your stories. Gerry, do you want to give us an escalator pitch about yourself?

Gerry Crispin 6:03
Really, so I, I’m a student, I, you know, nurture talent acquisition leaders. I really care about the space I’ve been in for 52 years, and I have a lot of stories, we don’t even want to get started.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 6:22
Some we can, and some we can’t. So look, if you’re listening, or you’re watching the show, you will you will have picked up by now that we have three folks in that are at smaller sized organizations, and certainly have some experience at larger enterprise sized organizations. And now we’re moving into that talent piece there. So I think what sort of sparked the idea for this, if I may, is, you know, the thought that there are different muscles in play as a TA leader at a startup than there aren’t necessarily at an enterprise organization or within a function of the enterprise. And they’re different. It’s different muscles. And I thought it would be fun to kind of talk about, like, what that means what that looks like, when you go from a big organization, or you’ve done hiring in a big organization, how is it different at a startup, because what we did see during the pandemic was quite a few. You know, number two, number three folks leaving big organizations and going to run talent acquisition functions at startups, right? Whether they’re trying to leapfrog their retirement plan, hoping something goes public, or whether they’re just really looking to learn new muscles, or flex new skills along the way. So, Jordan, I’m going to start with you. Just randomly, is there anything you would you would tell your five year younger self that you should consider before sort of moving into a startup space from enterprise?

Jordon Flowers, Reliable Robotics 7:52
I think the first thing that I would tell my my younger self is get over the imposter syndrome real fast. Because you don’t really have time to spend on why am I here and how did I get here? You just need to be able to jump in and trust the fact that you were chosen for a reason to lead an organization and lead a team and to put as much trust in yourself and what you’ve learned along the way, as others are putting in here. So for me, it took a little bit to go like wow, like I’m really here, and we’re running this and but there’s not a lot of time to just sit and think about that. There’s plenty of work that needs to get done.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:33
Yeah, it was it was it a moment of just like Holy smokes. I’m the man.

Jordon Flowers, Reliable Robotics 8:38
The first time that like you get a slack from the CEO. You go, oh, like, this is real. And if that had been at a major corporation that you would go oh, something’s not good. Yeah. That’s Robert, he does that. Right. Like he’s just something you chat with? It’s it’s just a different feeling.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 8:58
Yeah, yeah. Great. Well, Leann, would you would you say that you both are Nike alum? Yep. So would you would you say you’ve kind of got the same? Did you have a little bit of impostor syndrome? Did you have the same sort of reckoning when when you went to a smaller organization?

LeAnn Perry, Veho 9:12
Not really, I think for me, it was more like if I would have told my five year younger self, I would say learn more while you’re here in the enterprise. Because like, you’re so siloed in an enterprise wide organization, where you may not know as much about talent attraction, or like executive recruiting or things like that. And so it makes you flex different muscles. And so I would say learn more five years ago. But, you know, I think you have to be confident and just show up in the way that you need to so that you can drive your team forward.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:44
Yeah, I do think that’s interesting that you’ve if you’ve gone from some sort of specialty alignment within your org, sort of siloed to your point and then moving where you own it all. And I’m just gonna go on a limb here and say your teams were drastically reduced in size

LeAnn Perry, Veho 9:58

Chris Hoyt, CXR 9:59
So you resources are cut, right?

LeAnn Perry, Veho 10:01
Yep. So you have to be really more thoughtful around who you select on your team so that they can be nimble and scrappy and like play all different kinds of roles.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 10:10
Yeah. Yeah, for sure. Aaron, what would you add to that?

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 10:12
Well, these are those are all great points. And I would definitely concur with them. I think the one that I would give myself five years to get with would be, you know, how can you make decisions a little faster? Because I think I think when you’re in these large companies, and you have a lot of maybe data and feedback at your disposal, it’s a little easier to make kind of calculated decisions. And when you’re in a startup, and you’re moving really fast, your decisions count more, the impact of your decisions count more. And so I think if you’re, if you’re able to kind of demonstrate quick decision making with less data and less input and be right, that’s a good thing, especially in the smaller context.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 10:57
Yeah, interesting. It’s, so let me ask you guys, and we’ll just come right back to you. And we’ll ask you first, but it is there. Was there an aha moment or a big like, like, lesson about what what’s the same? Like, what was consistent? Like, I think to Jordan’s comment earlier, like, if when I was a practitioner, if the if the CEO or anybody from the C suite sent me an email, it was what what happened to that waiter I referred to you for a job. Did you ever hire? Where are they in the process? Or you have fucked up somewhere? And now I need you and your team to fix it. So some things are different. And maybe some things are the same. But what would you say is the same?

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 11:36
I find a lot to be the same. And probably the the biggest thing that surprised me, was just the amount of technology that we had at some sorrow when I joined. Now, it’s it’s more we’re more dependent upon third party software versus in house software. But the recruiters had a lot of tools. The needs of the business weren’t dissimilar to larger organizations. You know, how do I find the best diverse talent? I am at the right cadence that I need it? And honestly, the playbook I don’t, I don’t think it’s vastly different. It’s just the scale is a little different. And you don’t have as many resources in getting your leadership team and making sure you’re surrounded by the right leaders, early on is really critical to build that credibility. But I found there’s a lot of similarities. And there’s a lot of aspirations to both be efficient, fast, and to raise quality, and it really isn’t dissimilar to other companies I’ve been in the past.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 12:37
Well, interesting. Would you say? It’s the same Jordan? Is it? Is there an awful lot of the same with a little bit different? Or is it just night and day?

Jordon Flowers, Reliable Robotics 12:44
I would say it’s, it’s mostly the same. You know, I tell people all the time recruiting is recruiting is recruiting regardless of where you’re doing that. Recruiters have the same hiring managers have the same needs the same desires that I would say the the need to have a phenomenal candidate experience is the same. That’s something that we’re doing it on a much smaller scale, maybe with less people resources, different tools. But at the end of the day, the product that we need to deliver is the same whether we’re 1000 people, 100 people or 70,000 people. So it’s, I would say more the same. But it takes a while to realize that it’s the same.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:31
It’s an adjustment period. Yeah, yeah. What about you, then?

LeAnn Perry, Veho 13:36
I would say the recruiting process is the same. But I think the speed is very different. You can make decisions faster, you don’t have to have 100 people weigh in on something before you make a change. So I think what I say is different about a startup for enterprises speed.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 13:54
Yeah, so. Well, I like I like the I like the message of Death, death of consensus. Right? What does that analysis probably we’ve all seen it in corporate right, it takes months to get something approved. Unless you go rogue and just kind of sweat you know, swipe it on your card, and do this later. Yeah. Pilots, you just call them all pilots.

LeAnn Perry, Veho 14:15
Right, right.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 14:22
So okay, so that brings up a good question, two tech stacks. Like you’ve come from a big organization where you have, you know, a considerable tech stack is, is there still a love hate relationship with your ATS? Is your tech stack, the way that that gets managed and selected? Is it different at a startup? LeAnn, what about you?

LeAnn Perry, Veho 14:42
I actually think that we have more tech stack here than we might have had, like, I think we just had this ad hoc or a startup. So a business over here will say let’s try this. And then they sign a contract or this is over here says let’s start this and they’re not all talking together. So it’s kind of like pulling thing back then to say what’s the right thing for the business that We’re, we’re in right now. Of course, everybody always has a love hate with ATS. Right? So you have to just figure out what ATS is the right for the business that you’re in today? Yeah,

Chris Hoyt, CXR 15:12

Gerry Crispin 15:13
You don’t start with an Excel spreadsheet.

LeAnn Perry, Veho 15:17
Sometimes they do, but like we had an ATS when it came to both organizations. So it was kind of like, work what we have. Yeah.

Jordon Flowers, Reliable Robotics 15:25
So my experience has been a little different. Our tech stack is much, much smaller. And I love it. It’s one of the things that I’ve battled previously is having too many tools that kind of all do the same thing and overlap and trying to get consistency and process. So now we’re at a spot where we have an ATS, we have one, maybe two sourcing tools, like it’s, it’s really freeing to be able to then dig deep into those tools that you have and use them the right way, as opposed to trying to figure out why people are doing things so differently across different business units. I will say though, it is a rude awakening when you’ve been in the tech space for a while. And you know, there’s a tool that you want to use, and you call them and they say, great, you’re way too small for us call us like in a few years. So that’s, that’s fun.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 16:15
Nobody wants to hear they’re too small. It’s not great. Aaron, what about you?

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 16:21
Yeah, I think we’ve got the basics down plus some so whether it’s, you know, we’ve got an ATS that the whole company uses not just sales, not just engineering, right. So that’s good. You’ve got one consistently, you know, ATS. And then we have, you know, some of the basics. So things like scheduling software, things we don’t have would be, I think there’s some good technology out there around automated resume screening, right, like some of those add on tools, and automated assessments, which larger companies tend to have. Those are things that just don’t make a lot of sense for us at our scale, but that we have our eye on the future. And I think maybe to LeAnn’s point, the part that kind of keeps me up most is how to all these systems work together. We didn’t build it our ourself. So we’re dependent upon these vendors and their integrations. And probably the one thing that’s consistently lacking is this kind of total data picture where it’s really hard to get all the data to look the same in lineup. And that’s the one thing I hear probably most people complain about is like, I just want the data to be easy to get to, and you’re all in the same spot. And that’s the probably probably the part we struggle with most.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 17:31
Yeah I bet, well, and I think that you’re probably no stranger to that, and any size organization just get get the data to work. Right.

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 17:37

Chris Hoyt, CXR 17:38
So Aaron, let me ask you, your your journey at your organization is done. You’re ending on wonderful terms. It’s just time for your next chapter. It’s time for your next adventure. Are you going enterprise? Or are you going startup for your next leadership role? What’s it going to be and why?

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 17:57
Well, it’s a little early, I’ve only been here one year. Right. So yeah, I think the know I’ve really enjoyed it. So you know, I didn’t know what to expect when I went from, you know, million employee company to, you know, 14-1500. And I just knew that I wanted to take a chance and take a risk with my career, because I really hadn’t seen this size of company and hadn’t seen a company go through that transition before. For me, I would probably do, I would do a startup again. But I would do one that’s pretty far along, I was lucky enough to come to Samsara three months before we went public. So a lot of the foundational work was done, and being able to help take that company, you know, from 100 million to 1 billion or 500 million to 5 billion. That’s kind of my my sweet spot where I like to play. So I would probably do, I don’t know that I would go, you know, jump to a large enterprise. Again, I look for another company who’s, you know, has the, you know, potentially has the opportunity to become iconic. And and can grow, but it’s going to be over multiple years.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 19:08
Interesting. I like that. Jordan, how about you?

Jordon Flowers, Reliable Robotics 19:11
So similar to Aaron, I’m kind of right at that one year mark. So not really even contemplating this decision. But if, if I have to answer today, probably going to another startup but a slightly different approach to Aaron where he wants to come in you and that that later stage like I want to come in earlier I came in to a Series C so kind of midway through the lifecycle of being a startup, and it’s intriguing to me to think about a series a leg super early, you know, first first dozen or so employees and, and help build that up from the very, very beginning. So that’s my answer for today. I, you know, asked me again, in a year or two, it might change but that’s kind of where my head’s at.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 19:59
Alright, Great. and LeAnn you go big or go small.

LeAnn Perry, Veho 20:04
Oh, I’m startup all the way. I joined Veho before series A and it’s been such a crazy journey but fun and like exciting to learn things and grow with a company and you kind of just know everybody is they grow and it’s fun, just watch the team get stronger every day. So you know, I’ve only been at Veho just a little bit shy of a year. And so I’m kind of in the same boat as Aaron and Jordan. But if I had to make a choice to go somewhere else today, it would definitely be another startup.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 20:36
I love that all three of you there about roughly the same time, all of you not wanting to go back necessarily to enterprise.

Gerry Crispin 20:43
So I think I think there’s a there’s an addiction to getting into smaller smaller operations, you know, I can I can recognize after about four or five years, or at least about three years after leaving a large company, there’s no way I could ever go back. And and part of it is the freedom I think, to think about your work in terms of what what constitutes the job. And your ability to be somewhat flexible about taking on additional things or stripping some things out the ability to think about your, your job in relation to your career in terms of how you’re making an impact on the lives of other people. And I think finally, your ability to have more agility in terms of blending with your life, your life stage. And you don’t often get as much of that, or at least that’s a concern in enterprise companies. And that’s one of the tensions that they’re having right now. Is they want they want consistency in terms of who comes to work, where they go to work, how long they’re at work, all of those kinds of things. In order to standardize and yet the people after pandemic have gone, you know, I don’t think I want to have you dictating that to me anymore. So I could see this, this is great.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 22:06
I do hear I do hear a message of agility from all three, yeah?

LeAnn Perry, Veho 22:11
Totally. And the fact that you know that a lot of startups do have remote work, like I’m 100% remote, and that is a motivator and a definitely a differentiator for me.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 22:22
Yeah, there’ll be no back to work at your organization’s back to the office?

LeAnn Perry, Veho 22:27

Chris Hoyt, CXR 22:28
Really interesting. So So I’ll start with you, LeAnn. If you were going to write a book, you’re going to take you can take us out with this, if you’re gonna write a book about your experience, and what you’ve sort of learned about about the work and maybe even about yourself on this journey into a startup organization. What would the title of that book be?

LeAnn Perry, Veho 22:49
Buckle up?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 22:55
All right. And then here’s the big question. Who gets the first signed copy?

LeAnn Perry, Veho 23:00
Probably my husband.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 23:02
Yeah. been an adventure for you both has it?

LeAnn Perry, Veho 23:04

Chris Hoyt, CXR 23:06
Very cool. I love that. Jordan, how about yourself? What’s the title of your book?

Jordon Flowers, Reliable Robotics 23:10
dSo as somebody who has come from the like, operations, everything has a process, a rule, a policy, like, my book is probably a letter to myself, and it’s gonna be titled Just go with it.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 23:24
Just go with it. I love it and who and who gets that signed copy?

Jordon Flowers, Reliable Robotics 23:30
That is a really good question. I don’t somebody new in their career, I don’t really know. I don’t have a person to just pick out but somebody probably in the operation space, who could also use the same advice that not everything has to have a policy all the time.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 23:48
Yeah, I love it. I love it. And Aaron, what would the title of your book be?

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 23:53
Wow. So one of the things I love about samsara is we have these company values. And there’s one called Adopt a growth mindset, which basically means experiment, take chances take risks. I don’t think I could use that title book. They probably would say something about that. But I do I love that concept. I think for me, it would be take to why not?

Chris Hoyt, CXR 24:19
I like that. Aaron, who gets your your first signed copy of that book?

Aaron Bruce, Samsara 24:25
Wow, that’s a great question. I probably give it to her, I’d give it to my older son. Maybe he’ll he he’d be curious about it when he’s a little bit older. And it’d be fun for him to just kind of read that story and see what I went through.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 24:41
I love that it’s endearing. Like I want to say thank you so much, the three of us super, super busy, much much gratitude for you cutting time out of your day, to jump on a stream with us and to just share kind of what’s been going on in your life and the lessons that you’ve learned along the way. And the fact that you’re not going back I think is really pretty interesting. So thank you. So much for making the time to join the show today.

LeAnn Perry, Veho 25:02
Thanks for having us.

Chris Hoyt, CXR 25:03
Thank you. You got it. I’m gonna put you in the greenroom hanging out there for just a second. Please don’t go anywhere. There we go. All right. And just really quickly, I just wanna remind everybody, if you are wondering what’s going on at CXR, in the CareerXroads community it’s super easy. You can check it out at CXR.works. That is the website, we obviously ask that you like and subscribe to all of the content that we do here. But also reach out and connect with us on LinkedIn. Let us know who you’d like to see maybe hear on the show. Or you can head over directly to CXR.works. And check out if you qualify to join the community. There’s over 100 Other companies and brands over 5000 recruiting leaders and professionals that I mentioned earlier. Just check it out. Go ahead. You’ll be glad you did. Have a great time. We’ll see you on the next show.

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