Shaina Semiatin

Grindr Head of TA Shaina Semiatin

Shaina SemiatinHead of Talent Acquisition

Our guest today is Shaina Semiatin, the head of talent acquisition at Grindr, the world’s largest social networking app for gay, bi, trans, and queer people. She’s data-driven and strategic, with extensive experience in growing and scaling venture-backed and private equity-backed startup. Shaina unpacks some do’s and don’t’s for the talent acquisition process and shares her thoughts on the current archaic process and how it needs to shift to keep pace with the speed of light with which candidates are moving. Tune in now, to hear more from Shaina, enjoy!

Episode Transcript


[0:00:06.1] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to Me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the frontlines of modern recruitment.

[0:00:12.8] FEMALE: We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life, we want to understand how they make decisions, where are they willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.

[0:00:22.7] RS: No holds barred, completely off the cuff interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs and everyone in between.

[0:00:31.1] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings got the certifications through diversity and inclusion, I still felt like something was missing.

[0:00:39.7] MALE: Talent acquisition, it’s a fantastic career, you are trusted by the organization, you get to work with the C-Suite and the security at the front desk and everybody in between and everybody knows you.

[0:00:53.0] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson and you’re about to hear the best in the biz, Talk Talent to Me.


[0:01:00.1] RS: Hello podcast land, it is I, your host, Rob Stevenson once again, bringing you another instant classic, I’m sure, episode of Talk Talent to Me and here with me today, is the head of talent acquisition over at Grindr, Shaina Semiatin. Shaina, welcome to the podcast, how the heck are you?

[0:01:17.8] SS: I’m great Rob, how are you doing?

[0:01:18.8] RS: I’m doing really well, I’m pleased to see the giant house plant behind you seems to be in good health, so well done, you. I always like to call that out, it’s important people have plants in your house already. Do you have lots of plants or just this one for accent?

[0:01:33.0] SS: Excellent question. I am the gardener of the family, so I keep the whole house thriving and actually in many ways, I think that’s relevant for leadership. So certainly, it’s something we can talk about later about cultivation and growth are key, right? So got to have the plants.

[0:01:46.8] RS: If your boss has a bunch of withered, dying house plants in their Zoom, they might be a bad boss.

[0:01:53.3] SS: Yes, that could be a flag while doing video interviews, perhaps something people should look out for.

[0:01:58.1] RS: It’s funny how job titles like sometimes really misalign with people’s personal, like personal lives. Like a friend of mine had an ex who was just very, very toxic and the ex’s title at work had something like relationship nurturer in it because they were like, customer relations or something but the word “nurture” was in there and I was like, “Oh, devastatingly off the mark.

[0:02:18.8] SS: This is something that is underrated, which is the many, many ways and facets you can learn about people through their LinkedIn. So now, I’m going to go back and audit my LinkedIn after this.

[0:02:28.6] RS: What do you look for, what jumps out to you, what’s like a pink flag maybe?

[0:02:33.3] SS: That’s such a good question. Pink flag. Well I would say, on the pros side, there is some benefit to authenticity like, maybe I should call out that I’m a great gardener, you know? In my LinkedIn.

[0:02:43.9] RS: Why not?

[0:02:44.3] SS: Why not? I should think about that, maybe even include a plant in my profile picture but no, I mean, pink flags are so relative to the role in the person, right? I think it’s great to have content. Like the biggest misstep people can make in this day and age if they want to work, especially in tech is just not having a presence at all, right? You’re better making a presence and being thoughtful about who you are wand what you want to put out there versus letting someone else fill in the blanks like that’s the real danger.

So I guess the only pink flag really is a photo-less, detail-less profile because how can a recruiter know what to offer you? Like, we are literally creeping on your LinkedIn to give you jobs. If we can’t tell that you did, it doesn’t help us get there, right? So I would say, that’s the only one that’s maybe important.

[0:03:28.8] RS: Yeah and it’s not like, “Oh, I will never hire you” but it definitely doesn’t help someone stand out, right? If it’s just a list of skills maybe or experience and I think people make the mistake that just because a resume or a LinkedIn profile for example is formulaic and templatized means that it has to be boring, it doesn’t, right?

I really want people to put fun things about themselves on there. I have on mine that I was the roast master for the departure event of Intello’s first employee, like, I stood up and I just made fun of him for like, 35 minutes with a bunch of my other peers, in a loving, affectionate way of course but that’s part of what I bring to the table.

I’m not just a list of CMSs and technologies and web apps that I’ve used. There’s a human being back here and his name is Bobby.

[0:04:11.6] SS: There is indeed, agreed. One of the missteps people make in LinkedIn is like, trying too hard. You know, you just be honest. Maybe you’re great at personal branding. If so, put some really snazzy and clever things on your LinkedIn. If you’re not great at it, at least put some detail on there. Recruiters still want to talk to you, especially if you’re great at your work, right?

So it just depends and then, you got to find your rhythm, be authentic on your profile but a recruiter will find you if you’re out there and it’s up to you to control that narrative.

[0:04:42.2] RS: Absolutely, yeah. Well, we jumped to addressing of LinkedIn profiles. But let’s earn the insight, shall we Shaina? I would love to just learn a little bit more about you and what your role is over at Grindr here at the top. Would you mind walking us through your background and how you landed in this current role?

[0:04:58.3] SS: Absolutely. I’ll keep it short and sweet but for over a decade, I’ve been growing and scaling venture backed and private equity backed startups. So I would really consider myself a builder, that’s my favorite activity, right? It’s coming into an opportunity or a team where the talent acquisition function might exist, might not exist, but either way is ready for an upgrade — is ready for a comprehensive and more strategic polish, we’ll say.

And so that includes everything from building the TA team from scratch, building process from scratch, building trainings from scratch and then of course, scaling the company simultaneously. So that’s my jam, it’s what I love. I tend to come into companies that are smaller, usually a thousand people or less, sometimes global and help those companies do everything from that baseline build.

But the more fun and sort of strategic components as well, like imbuing values into the process, right? Imbuing culture into the process and most importantly, especially I think in a lot of conversations we’re having today, how do we think about diversity, equity and inclusion and how do we loop that in from the very outset into building a TA function so that as that company scales, equity is much more a part of the process inherently from the beginning.

So I’ve been doing that for the last decade. Grindr has been an incredible, fun, authentic ride. Super-super great. Similar story, I came into Grindr to help build the TA –

[0:06:26.6] RS: That’s been my experience to Grindr too.

[0:06:28.9] SS: Fantastic. The wonderful thing about Grindr is it gives back to the queer community in many ways, right? So certainly, people think about it as a fun dating app for the queer community but one of the fun things about being in this company is just seeing the consistent care and the consistent connection, right? To the queer community and the commitment there.

And then also, just hearing user stories when people reach out to us and let us know that they met their partner or they met a dog sitter on the app or they met their best friend of 10 years on the app and it’s been a joy to just see and unfold and learn more about how the community interacts and engages and uses our platform for connection in all sorts of ways.

So been building TA for the last year and a half at Grindr. It’s an incredible TA team, the team cares so, so deeply about equity, inclusion, scaling this company with heart, finding people who truly care about our mission and our values and so I couldn’t ask for a better opportunity. It’s just – it’s been a real joy to be here in such an amazing ride so far and to date, we’ve accomplished many of the things I just previously talked about.

So laying the foundation, scaling the company in it’s first sort of steps, starting to touch interview training, process improvements, all of that but when we look to 2023, that’s when I start to get really excited because that’s when we’re going to start to really iterate not only on our existing processes but we’re going to try to push the envelope as a team and make sure that we’re just creating at all times at every point in that lifecycle like a really world-class candidate experience.

[0:08:03.9] RS: So what is next for you? What’s on the horizon for next year?

[0:08:06.9] SS: Oh my gosh, yes, scaling the company of course, right? That’s exciting, that Grindr’s an exciting point in its business journey. It will be going through an exit and so part of our focus is going to be finding great talent that’s aligned with our mission and values and continue to scale the company quickly to meet our business needs and objectives but not sacrificing on really finding great people that care about what we do and care about the queer community.

So that’s one, absolutely and you know, we’ve talked about this a couple of times together but I think what keeps me up at night these days is thinking about the speed at which the world of candidate experience and the world of recruiting has moved in comparison to the expectations of people and the expectations of candidates, right? So recruiting itself, in many ways, has stayed pretty archaic, it’s a pretty wrote process.

Yes, we have LinkedIn which is digital. Yes, we have cool in-person and virtual conferences now as an option to attend and is sort of post-COVID world but for the most part, 98% of the time, a candidate still has to take their whole life and boil it down to a one to two-page resume and then, submit that resume through a clunky and very cumbersome system either on their phone or on their desktop, right?

And then wait to hear back while their resume sits in the ether, you know, hoping that a human of some kind gets them an update at some point and then the rest of the journey, especially in tech and in tech recruiting, can still be quite wrote, right? That resume gets reviewed, they talk to a recruiter, they’ll talk to a hiring manager, there’s a tech screen to file around interviews and then there’s an offer stage and so it’s effectively.

It gets signal and it can be done very thoughtfully, like recruiting itself can be done thoughtfully but candidates are light years ahead of that in terms of the speed at which they move, you know, what they’re looking for these days in a company, their expectations, how they engage with brands and so we haven’t started doing this yet but one of the things we’re really interested in at Grindr in 2023 is reevaluating the whole life cycle of four approach to interviewing.

It doesn’t mean that we will necessarily do away with tech interviews but if there’s a way in which we can start to experiment and broaden the lens of how we learn about people and how we enable candidates to tell their stories, not just on a resume and a piece of paper, we really want to experiment with that and look at our process holistically and see can we upend the classic sort of recruiting experience to make it better for candidates and to make it more effective at getting true signal that maps to success in a role.

Because fundamentally, for many roles depending on what they are, you should be able to boil it down to, call it, three to five true “must haves” that are going to determine success in that role and everything else is or should be, a nice to have or ancillary. So how do you create a process around that philosophy, right? And get it to be so much more valuable and specific to that signal. So that’s something we’re hoping to play with next year.

[0:11:12.7] RS: What do you think is the candidate expectation of this process that is deviant from the, as you say, archaic process that companies are putting forward?

[0:11:23.6] SS: Such a good question. I like to think Grindr does some of this quite well already, we have to see but high level, everything in our world moves at the speed of light it feels like, you know? Especially, it depends on where you’re recruiting and the cultural context with which you’re recruiting and what the roles are.

But broad strokes, if we’re painting with broad strokes and we’re talking about recruiting for tech roles especially or tech companies in the US, candidates are used to moving at the speed of light. Candidates expects a lot more from their companies, as they should, right? They expect companies that are actually going to deliver on work-life balance and mean that holistically in a heartfelt way through policies, through programs.

They care about what companies are doing for diversity and inclusion. They care more about values and mission and they don’t want to have to look all of that up themselves, right? I think, the archaic sort of recruiting world has always leaned back on its ability to put the onus of work on candidates.

I think best-in-class recruiting in general is personally invested in each human that goes through the process because at the end of the day, it’s arrogant to assume that your time is more valuable than someone else’s time and that should apply to recruiting and candidate experience, the way it applies to anything else, right? Getting coffee at a coffee shop or spending time at the doctor’s office, whatever the case is.

So part of what we try to do at Grindr that I do think is atypical is build an extremely high touch candidate process and extremely communicative candidate process and one that creates a lot of opportunity to proactively share resources with candidates, so they don’t have to go digging in this work themselves to learn about who we are and what we believe because at the end of the day, candidates are interviewing, I hope, the companies as well, right?

Every time they’re entering a conversation, it should be a two way conversation and I think many companies, especially, as they continue to grow and to sort of enterprise scale, lose that perspective, right? It very much becomes a test, like interviewing for many companies is treated as a pass-fail assessment. Come in, impress us, pass this text screen, thanks very much, yes, no, that’ sit and then a cold email decliner.

A mediocrely warm email forward and to the next step but at Grindr, from a fundamental perspective, we believe in queer joy, we believe in our mission of connecting the queer community, elevating that and that extends to our process. Like, we want to bring that same sense of joy and investment and the personal touch from that very first email or application all the way through to offer.

So that’s what we try to do now and I think there’s always more you can do there but that’s the differentiator in the market right now.

[0:14:16.7] RS: I do wonder how much this process ought to be streamlined because getting a job is not a commodity as getting a coffee is, right? Or some other situation where you want it to be as fast and efficient and then seamless as possible. Changing jobs is a huge decision, right? And so what do you think is the balance between yes, this should be optimized and streamlined versus no, this should be a longer, more thoughtful process even at its most efficient?

[0:14:45.7] SS: it’s such a phenomenal point. Agreed that jobs are not coffees, that’s a good thing. Coffees are great but jobs have huge impact on the way we live and breathe and our families and our personal life and our financial success in health, right? And our physical health, so there is a balance and I think that comes down to being fast where it matters.

I think a lot of that comes back actually to the recruiting team itself versus the interviewing team, right? So for its stickier sample, Grindr runs a very thorough and very focused and tight interview process. When we’re kicking off a role, we start with a classic kick off but we make it strategic. We talk about the true must haves so that it’s inclusive.

We focus on establishing key interview areas for each of the stages to make sure we’re getting the proper signal and we don’t shortcut interviews for the sake of getting someone in the seat. So totally agree, I think what’s changed though is that candidates expect more from companies in that process as they should, right?

So, it’s not a bad thing to have a very thoughtful and intense four or five-step process but I think the question or the challenge is, the more that we build and construct and refine that process, the easier it is to lose sight of the fact that you are asking people, humans, to donate and dedicate a lot of time to this journey and so if you’re going to do that, right, you need to make sure that you’re being really thoughtful about what you’re giving back and I think that’s where companies get offtrack a lot of the time.

They get into the pass fail mentality, they’re very into their focus areas and their signals and the two, three, four technical interviews that it takes to make sure that this principle engineer is really a game changer but have they taken the time to talk about the company culture and values and the differentiated experience of being of that company.

Have they taken time to answer the candidate’s questions, really build a vision for them of what the culture would be like, right? To sit in that role, or sit in that company. So totally agree that there’s a point at which if you shorten interviewing too much, you’re probably doing a disservice to both the company and the candidate, right?

Candidate should take time and get to know people but you got to do that with heart. You got to do that with authenticity and you can never lose sight of the fact that you’re asking someone to potentially, while they have another job, dedicate hours and hours to your process and those are hours that they’re not spending with their kids, where they’re not walking their dog, they’re not meditating, right?

They might be doing a take home process or a take home project, we’re asking a lot and so I think the best recruiting can do right now to catch up to candidates is to just stay human centered in the design. From the very first touchpoint via email, all the way through offer onboarding, closing and remembering that even when you have hired people and they’re part of your team and they have started and they’ve gotten their swag, they are wearing their Grindr shirt, those existing employees are still your candidates, right?

Those are still people that are contributing to the success of the business and those are people that very well could move into other key roles for the business in the future to advance it. So in some sense this sort of best in class 2023 we’ll say recruiting has to be more holistic than it’s been in the past. It is not about getting butts in seats, it is about hiring someone onto the team or the company, it’s about hiring for values.

But it is also about hiring someone not for the job they are in but the job they might have with Grindr in three years.

[0:18:25.4] RS: So much of this thoughtfulness and streamlining being put into the interview process is done in the interest of efficiency and removing barriers to entry or removing biases generally, which is good of course but also though, I do see it being done to remain competitive. You don’t want to have a long process by the end of which the candidate has gotten and accepted an offer somewhere else.

It seems though that that in your view is maybe no reason to truncate or alter a process. Would you say that you would rather let a candidate go than alter things and force something through just say interest of staying competitive?

[0:19:03.9] SS: Oh my gosh, that’s the million dollar question.

[0:19:06.4] RS: It’s probably, I mean, the answer is probably it depends, yeah.

[0:19:08.8] SS: I would say it depends.

[0:19:09.5] RS: Yeah, probably.

[0:19:11.3] SS: Yeah, it’s probably, you know, I don’t believe in cop out answers but if we are being honest, it does depend, right? You know and keep in mind again, I always come from the agile perspective, right? I am not coming from an enterprise perspective. So when you’re at a startup or you’re at a tech company that is under 1,500 or under a thousand people, you do have an advantage and agility.

It is much easier to pivot and to make changes on a case-by-case basis. I think the challenge for talent acquisition leaders in general is making those decisions and balancing the arithmetic of moving quickly to help the business without sacrificing on equity. A big part of what Grindr thinks about because of our values, because of our ethos is how we imbue equity in our process and wanting every candidate to have a very equitable process.

So I think the risk you run if you move faster is you’re inherently giving that candidate an advantage, right? You are enabling that candidate to move through a process potentially faster, maybe you are getting less good signal but also you are still asking everyone else in that pipeline to go through in many ways a more robust or slower process when a faster process might have suited them as well, right?

So case by case, you have to be very thoughtful. What we’ve done at Grindr to balance this is if we have a sense of urgency, we will typically keep the same process but do everything we can to partner with the candidate to make that process happen faster and then you can take that downstream and realize that in general that is something you can apply to all recruiting and should, right?

If you can make your process move faster for one candidate by collaborating with your internal stakeholders and the candidate and communicating around that, that is something you can probably apply to other people in your pipeline as well. It is really not that hard but it is about effort and it is about communication.

One of the most phenomenal things about Grindr is that the company’s commitment to valuing interviewing and seeing it as important, seeing it as a privilege and not a right, is very inherent to everyone. It is not just to the recruiting team, right? So very rarely at this company is our recruiting team having to drag people along in that process. We have phenomenal stakeholders, we have phenomenal hiring managers who are willing to move things around to prioritize interviewing to make those tough decisions possible.

So I don’t have a perfect answer but it depends on that but what I would say is the one area in terms of speeding up interviews, the one area we would not sacrifice on is quality of signal or fairness in the process. We keep that as a parameter, we keep it as a north star because if we lose that, if we lose the focus on equity and on fairness, there are a whole lot of other things that are harder to quantify that we will lose but it’s further downstream, right? So it’s sort of where we land on that one.

[0:22:07.2] RS: Yeah, that makes sense. The idea is that look, you can speed up the process as long as you are not sacrificing to the evaluative process and I think everyone has probably had that experience where you decide to condense the process even if you are not cutting stages out maybe like, “Oh, this candidate they’re in the final stages with another company and they’re going to get that offer before we get them to round two” or something.

So if we care about getting them, then we do have to move faster, okay? Everyone’s had that experience and instead of like, “All right, we’ll let’s throw out some of the interviews” probably what it looks like is you ask as VP of whatever, “It says you weren’t available for this interview until next Thursday, can you cancel something and move it up to this Tuesday?” right? Okay, so then that is the question, is that reasonable to take that version of the process and make it every single interview or is that committing to a brake neck pace? I don’t know.

[0:23:07.8] SS: “Yes and…” is what I would say to that one. I think making that choice depends a lot on how tied your TA function is to the business’s success, business outcomes, objectives, headcount planning. So I think many TA leaders or many TA functions will end up making that choice in a vacuum sometimes and that’s where it gets dangerous. I think the smartest thing you can do is to determine how quickly you want to move and what your pacing should be based on things that aren’t sexy but are really important.

Like having good talent acquisition data, aligning that data to your headcount plan, having an organized headcount plan, partnering with FPNA throughout the process to ensure that you’re clear on what your hiring objectives are quarter by quarter and if you have those things lined up and you can do this even if you are a 100 person company, right? Good data is free, so it is up to you and your TA function and to some extent, you know, the systems you used to have that data.

So if you start there and you lay a good foundation of data and integrity, you have so much at your disposal to make smarter decisions for the business. So whether you are being asked to hire 15 people or 50 people in a quarter, you can apply your time to hire data, your time to fill data against those metrics and figure out exactly how many interviews you are going to need through your pipeline to achieve that objective, right? Based on all the things we care about.

For acceptance rate, final round to offer ratios, pass through rates throughout the funnel. Again, I think what people miss is you don’t have to be a rocket scientist or a mathematician to get that information right. You have to run a rigorous process and you have to be thoughtful about how you use data and gather it, but if you have those things at your disposal, the rest falls into place, right?

You apply that to your headcount, you back into it, you figure out what resourcing you actually need and then the last step is you go to your teams and partners with that ask of, “Hey, this is going to be a sprint. We’re going to have a three-month sprint. I need every Tuesday and Thursday from you from two to four blocked so we can move at the pace that we need to, to match the market.”

So you could run it that way and it is hyper-effective. The one thing I will say again though that I don’t take for granted and that it is not guaranteed in the world of talent acquisition is having great hiring partners. So that’s been such a blessing at Grindr. It is something that is not a given at every company.

But if you have invested data driven hiring partners who care about the business than the success and you are able to tell them a clear story with data about why you have this ask, it is very justified to move at that quick speed as long as you don’t burn them out or you have a system in place that’s structured so that you have alternates and you can balance the load, it’s pretty empowering when you can do that and it’s special.

[0:26:01.2] RS: What does it look like if you don’t have a good hiring partner?

[0:26:05.0] SS: For a talent acquisition specialist we’ll say or head of TA, doesn’t look as good, Rob.

[0:26:11.1] RS: Yeah, it’s not great.

[0:26:13.4] SS: Not great but it is such a good point, right? Again, something I don’t take for granted. It’s very rare, it’s very special. I think that the very best talent acquisition humans whether that’s a head of TA or whether you’re a recruiter in your very best job, the very best TA folks can help transform anyone into an incredible hiring partner and stakeholder as long as that other person is willing to meet them in the middle, right?

So some of that is about time, some of that is about investing time, getting to know your tougher stakeholders or tougher hiring managers because there is always a reason that there’s toughness or resistance and often, it has nothing to do with talent acquisition, right? Very often, it has to do with the fact that that person has a sick parent that they are caretaking or that they haven’t slept in three months because they have a newborn or the dog from their childhood is sick or they are spread too thin with company objectives, right?

The resistance that TA folks tend to receive around interviewing, very, very often has nothing to do with interviewing itself and so the best thing a TA professional can do is dedicate time to building a true partnership with that person first and coming in and focusing on listening. So if that partnership has been strained, start by asking a lot of questions and just really listening deeply to what the blockers have been, what the challenges are.

A lot of times, beyond talent acquisition I think all of us do this, we are so desirous of certainty that we rush into problem solving mode, right? We’re so desirous of wanting to fix things and move onto the next thing that we very often do quite little listening and jump right into, “Okay great, here’s the solve, let’s move this out of the way and then we’ll get right onto the next action item.”

When you are partnering with a challenging stakeholder or when something in your process isn’t working, the best thing you can possibly do for yourself is take a break, eat a biscotti or gluten-free biscotti, depending on your dietary restriction, have a coffee, step back, dedicate more time at the front end to listening and to asking question especially what questions, not why questions but what questions.

They are open, they are broad, they unlock true blockers that might be happening for you or happening for someone else and if you start by doing the upfront work and really figuring out at the front end what the true issues or challenges are, then you are going to save so much time downstream solving for that, right? So my best advice with tough stakeholders is recruiters have to remember they’re people too.

They have a bunch of competing priorities, their frustration probably has very little to do with you as a person, whoever you are coming into that conversation and it is really about how can you spend time — remember that person is a human and dedicate that upfront work to really identifying the true issues so that you can solve one or two things and unlock a ton of value for the process downstream.

[0:29:25.2] RS: What is an example in those conversations with hiring managers of a why versus a what question?

[0:29:31.8] SS: Best what question to kick off any hiring manager partnership especially if it’s new, “What do you need right now?” That’s it. Short, sweet, simple, what questions are open-ended. They aren’t trying to solve for things, they allow for more space and more room and what you really want to enable for leaders especially who have so many competing priorities, who are spread really thin is figuring out what they need, that they’re not getting.

Because clearly, if the partnership hasn’t worked historically, there’s something going on for them around what they expect or what they wanted and what hasn’t arrived and so you, this new TA person coming into this relationship, a huge part of your power and your ability to help is the fact that you have no context whatsoever or at least, very little context, right? And very little influence over what’s happened in the past.

So starting broad is the best possible way to get true answers. So what do you need right now is my number one recommendation, pause there, count to six, don’t say anything, silence is a key part of this and I would also say, we should do that for ourselves. I often sometimes will do that. If I am having a day or just a week where I know I am not at my best and I want to be for my team or for my stakeholders, I will pause and ask myself like, “What do I need right now?”

“What do I feel like isn’t working? What’s missing?” and just reflect on those and that usually enables me to after a biscotti or coffee, unblock myself and this help unblock others.

[0:31:08.0] RS: What is, you’ll note I am asking a what is question here, what is an example of a bad why question that people maybe ask lot? Why is this role still open?

[0:31:19.3] SS: Why is this role still open? Why hasn’t this been done yet? Why isn’t this working? I think the challenge with why questions and again, this is very hyper-specific. I would call out contextually too English language first of all, right? Often US cultures, we want to keep that awareness because the moment we’re talking about a global company or a global stakeholders, there is so much nuance in language usage and the way we ask questions.

So certainly a lot of what I am thinking about is very much from the tech like US based perspective but in general, at least in English and you know in the US context culturally, “why has” can have an implication of accusation, right? Also urgency, what questions don’t feel as urgent? They leave more space and again, this goes back to actually the beginning of our conversation, which is all of us in many ways and we say this is nothing new —

But all of us in many ways are moving at the speed of light, on our phones juggling 15 calendar notifications at the same time, we’re on Slack at the same time, we’re on LinkedIn at the same time, we’re texting our spouse about picking up groceries or what’s for dinner. There is just not much space. You know, no matter where we live, who we are, the context of our lives, just that speed doesn’t allow a lot of space for nothingness or reflection or relaxation.

We now are in this weird world where many people are working remotely and the onus is on ourselves even more than it was before to build space, to build separation, to build quiet and so you have to be very intentional with how you do that for yourself but these what questions are a micro chasm of a way you can do that for someone else, right? So the best thing a recruiter can do when they show up to this meeting where they’re either with a new stakeholder or they are trying to solve an issue on a requisition or hire that hasn’t worked, got to start with space.

You got to leave, you got to savor that time with your stakeholder, you got to leave them time to actually reflect and what questions are just beautiful for that, you know? What questions are spacious.

[0:33:31.6] RS: Shaina, I am going to ask you one question to wrap this up. When does your podcast come out? Because I feel like you are doing us all a great disservice by not sharing this information. I don’t even think I needed to be here. You have so much amazing stuff to share with me. So at this point here as we reach optimal podcast length I would just say, thank you so much for being here and sharing all of your experience and wisdom with me. I’ve loved chatting with you.

[0:33:56.4] SS: Likewise, it’s such a joy. I am so passionate about recruiting. I love what you do as well, thank you for all the voices that you elevate and all the work you share with TA. It is a tough and interesting time to be in recruiting but I will say that for anyone that’s thinking about it or continuing to be on this space, keep doing the good work because it is also an incredible time to be in recruiting. It’s really exciting, so thanks for the time Rob, it was really fun.


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