Doreen Goldman, VP TA at TCW guides us on how to draw parallels from our own experiences and empower candidates to explore their different directions and potential trajectories. We go on to look at how to foster positive relationships to allow a candidate to connect with their potential employers, all while remembering the power of authenticity, growing your strengths, and acknowledging your areas of growth potential.
[00:00:05] RS: Welcome to Talk Talent to Me, a podcast featuring the most elite talent leaders on the front lines of modern recruitment.
[00:00:12] FEMALE: We actually want to understand the themes of someone’s life. We want to understand how they make decisions where they’re willing to take risks and what it looks like when they fail.
[00:00:22] RS: No holds barred, completely off-the-cuff interviews with directors of recruitment, VPs of global talent, CHROs, and everyone in between.
[00:00:31] FEMALE: Once I went through the classes and the trainings and got the certifications through diversity inclusion, I still felt something was missing.
[00:00:39] 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.
[00:00:52] RS: I’m your host, Rob Stevenson, and you’re about to hear the best in the biz. Talk Talent To Me.
[00:00:59] RS: Here with me today on Talk Talent To Me, is the Vice President and Talent Acquisition Manager over at TCW, Doreen Goldman. Doreen, welcome to the podcast. How are you today?
[00:01:07] DG: Good, good. Thank you. It’s great to be here. I’m really excited.
[00:01:10] RS: I am as well, and not only to speak with you, but also because you have two adorable dogs swarming all over you and around you. It’s not uncommon for people to be like, sorry if my dog barks during this, but they are actually on camera like really, really in the podcast right now.
[00:01:26] DG: They literally were in my interviews when I interviewed with TCW, because I was hired during the pandemic, so everybody knows Marley and Izzy are going to make a cameo at some point during a meeting or something, so they like to be involved.
[00:01:38] RS: Yeah. I got to say they’re completely welcome interruption, Marley and Izzy. I love that they were in the interview. You’re like, look, that’s called, bringing your whole self to work. What you see is what you get. You’re not getting me without the dogs.
[00:01:49] DG: Absolutely. It was with the Global Head of HR. They just decided to bite somewhere to keep them quiet as to include them.
[00:01:55] RS: Yeah. They want to be near Ma. I don’t blame them at all, but so glad to have you here. Doreen, we have loads to get into today. Before we do. Would you mind sharing a little bit about your background? How did you come to your role at TCW and what exactly TCW does do?
[00:02:09] DG: TCW, we’re a global asset management firm. We have a half a century of investment experience with a broad range of products. We manage over 240 billion client assets. Yeah, we have our TCW and MetWest Fund, Families. We manage one of the largest mutual fund complexes in the US. Yeah, we’re very committed to our clients and making sure they succeed. Our reputation is everything, it’s really important to us.
[00:02:38] RS: Got it. Then what’s the state of the Talent Acquisition department over there?
[00:02:42] DG: Much like anybody in Talent Acquisition and recruiting seeing the market is one of the most difficult I’ve ever seen at. I worked through the financial crisis in 2008. I have been exposed to some crazy markets, but it’s definitely a candidate-driven market, we’re seeing a ton of demands from candidates. Whereas previously, we had structured compensation packages, and it’s all about flexibility now and just being able to meet the candidate’s expectations, not just their compensation package, but overall, whether it’s benefits, vacation, relocation, or their work schedule, and it’s complicated. It’s very complex.
Now, we’re not just competing with people in our industry for talent, it’s every industry because they can work remotely. The outreach is now global with candidates, they can literally work anywhere they want, if the company is willing to hire them all.
[00:03:36] RS: The nature of competing with people even outside your industry is that related to companies, do you think indexing less on previous industry experience?
[00:03:47] DG: I think it’s more targeted towards when I’m speaking about the industry experience, it’s more about the technology roles and functional roles that are more agnostic to the industry. Whereas before, we may have been stricter about hiring people that have capital markets experience or financial service knowledge and working experience. We have to be more flexible, because the bottom line is, is the hard skills, the technical skills are what we look for and are the hardest to satisfy. We depend on our developers and everybody at our firm, but it’s extremely crucial that everybody has the experience. It’s not as important now to find the candidates unnecessarily have the financial service knowledge if they’re willing to learn.
That’s the key. It’s being able to differentiate the people and the candidates that are saying they’re willing to learn and whether they are actually capable and willing to put the time in, because it’s a very, very much an immediate gratification type of world we live in today. If the candidates and the employees don’t have things right at their fingertips, it’s a lot harder to get people to take the leap to invest in their selves even. It’s a lot more difficult than it used to be.
[00:05:05] RS: Yeah. I’m hearing this a decent amount, this emphasis on an individual’s ability to develop, to adapt, to grow, to learn. Feels like learning is now, like everything is down to that. If you can teach yourself something, or you can pick something up, then you’re unstoppable.
[00:05:23] DG: Well, it’s actually exactly how I would describe my background. Also, to explain that a little bit, it’s I started off in a guest services operations role at a restaurant conglomerate, so to speak. Then I got recruited into recruiting. I never took a finance class in my life. I never studied financial services or maybe took two business classes. But what it comes down to with Talent Acquisition, and recruiting is just how motivated and hungry you are especially when you start off at a headhunter or an agency, rather. I’m not a big fan of the word headhunter, but when you start off at a recruiting agency it’s eaten, what you kill. It’s all about the fire that you have, and the motivation you have to fill roles, because that’s how you’re making money, that’s how you’re, and your reputation is everything, because when you’re growing and I was working both the candidate and client-side, which I eventually built up to.
Starts off with the candidate side, I was thrown into an interview with a trader that made millions and millions of dollars in the fixed income market back in the day. I literally was mortified. Then I started realizing during the course of that interview with that candidate that people really love to tell you about themselves and talk. People want to talk. If you’re willing, it’s about being willing to admit what you don’t know and not be biasing, because nobody wants to be biased, nobody wants to feel like their time isn’t valuable, and nobody wants to feel that you’re blowing smoke in their area, in their way. So just asking questions, things that you want to know that you need to know that you want to understand, in order to better equip you to help that candidate. Find something that they’re looking for, and make the perfect fit, or the best fit that you can from both the candidate and the client-side.
My recruiting days definitely started out just I put a lot of time, I was working till 11 o’clock at night, in New York City. It was definitely an around-the-clock type of mentality when you’re working on a commission, lifestyle, because time is everything. Speed is everything. If you’re not getting to the candidate first, somebody else is. It was a lot of work, but it was definitely an investment in myself and my future. I recognized early on that it was something that I was passionate about. I loved it for so many reasons, but I think the key for me, and the real kicker for me was being able to connect people that wanted to find their homes, their next big thing for them, and connecting the dots and finding them something that they were just as passionate about.
Yeah. I think that it’s really about the relationships that I forged and both on building out a business and client-focused and candidate-focused relationships. I think that it’s every relationship. Then when I moved into corporate, it was the same thing, valuing the relationships that I was building and proving myself, because just in any industry, I think it’s that much more magnified in financial services. I only can speak to what I know, but the mentality is very much like you’re only as good as the last role you filled, you’re only as good as the last quality candidate that you put in front of your clients. It’s work. It’s definitely a lot of work. I literally wouldn’t, couldn’t imagine doing anything else that would make me this happy. I would be as passionate about it.
[00:08:53] RS: I love to hear you reflect a little bit on those early days when you were hustling so hard, working till 11 pm. Just because there’s this very anti-hustle narrative. I hear a lot right now that’s like work-life balance. Don’t subjugate yourself to the gods of capitalism. Here’s a company that doesn’t really care about you that would fire you why are you giving them more than they’re asking for like going, the distance doesn’t serve you. That’s what I’m hearing just out there in the content of the social sphere. But I reflect on my own time in my early 20s grinding. I didn’t have any other responsibilities and I really think it’s responsible for where I am today. Do you think back on your own experiences that way? Or do you have regrets about how much time you hustled?
[00:09:38] DG: I have no regrets about how much I hustled. I think that is what makes me who I am. I instilled very early on a level of responsibility to myself to grow myself, so that I would be, if you’re not going to invest in yourself, you’re not going to put the time into better yourself and learn and grow and aim to be as successful as possible, no one’s going to do it for you. It’s something I talk about a lot with people that asked me for work advice and professional advice. People expect immediate results. It all falls back to the immediate gratification and whether it’s working out or eating right. People want to see results immediately. If they don’t, they jumped ship. They’re not willing to work at it anymore. I think that with Talent Acquisition, it’s all about the reputation that you have, and the way you treat people.
I’m in the school of thought that you treat people the way that you would want to be treated. The other side of it is from the business side, and now that I’m corporate. I can see it in a different lens, also. I mean, we look at candidates as not more than just their qualifications and whether they meet five out of five things or six out of 10 things. We’re hiring people based on what their potential, and what we think that they’re capable of. That comes from within, that comes from them proving to us or showing us their excitement, and their passion, and their growth, and their success. When I’m extending offers to candidates, I make sure that they understand the trajectory and what we think they’re capable of, because it’s not just about what you can do tomorrow, it’s about what you can do in two years from now.
It’s about, we’re hiring for the long term. We look at people as a long-term commitment. it’s they’re interviewing us, we’re interviewing them, it’s a mutually beneficial relationship where we see growth. I want to make sure that my candidates and the employees and TCW has a whole, we invest in our people, and just make sure that people understand, their employees understand that their growth is just important to us as what they’re doing today.
[00:11:45] RS: How do you screen for that in the interview process?
[00:11:48] DG: A lot of it comes from just experience and time. It’s not a perfect science, you can’t, you there’s no way of knowing what’s going to happen tomorrow in the market and a person’s life, whether there are life changes and stuff. So it’s being agile and being flexible and willing to work with people. But when you’re interviewing somebody, I think it’s hard to miss someone’s excitement and passion. I mean, in their cells, and in their career. Money is important, but if that’s the only thing that they’re focused on, and their hours are the only thing they’re focused on, or whatever the case may be. It tells me a little bit more about what the motivating factors are for that candidate.
I look for more, I mean, it’s not necessarily a deal-breaker for me, when I’m speaking to somebody. If I see great skills and sometimes, they think it’s educating them on what they’re capable of, because they may not even know. They may not even know what the trajectory could be for them. It’s making sure that they understand the different directions that they can go, if they’re willing to invest in themselves.
[00:12:53] RS: That’s a good point that people I think, don’t often think of their own trajectory or potential, particularly at a single company, because you’re so focused in the interview process on convincing them that you can do the job right in front of you. You do have to do that before a new trajectory is possible. I see why people emphasize the first point. If you were interviewing at a company, how do you balance that whole, I want to prove I can do the job at hand, but also, I need to know that there’s a plan for me, that there’s growth potential here?
[00:13:24] DG: Well, I think that’s where the questions come in, you obviously want to address your skills and your qualifications and what’s the priorities and the role that you’re interviewing for and how you can draw parallels from your own experience to those priorities. speak about your successes, your wins, your strengths, also your weaknesses, and what you’re willing to expand on and what you’re willing to grow in. it also comes back down to the no bias. Don’t sell yourself for something that you’re not. Be who you are, show your strengths and admit the areas where you need a degree of growth in.
The questions that you asked about your trajectory and where the hiring manager or interviewers see the potential for this person interviewing for this role, what they think the different areas they can go into. I think is really what it comes down to just making sure. Also knowing what – to think about what you want in the long term. I think that’s, it’s like you said in the market, in the interview process, rather, were so involved focused on do we meet all these qualifications that you don’t think about what this company can do for you and what you can do for them. That mutual growth that you see, so your company is positively impacted by your growth, just like you are, I mean, that’s why we look for the potential in people more than just their qualifications.
[00:14:52] RS: Yeah. That makes sense. TCW, investing in people’s long-term potential, indexing for it, what else is going on over there? What campaigns are top of mind for you right now?
[00:15:04] DG: We’re definitely growing our social media presence, and just the DEI focus. We are expanding on many different areas within our product lines and businesses and technologies. There’s a lot of cool things happening, we’re excited to get new people in the door, and there’s a ton of growth potential. So we’re really just focused on our people and making sure that, especially in the environment of this world today that our employees feel safe and supported that they have the resources they need to, that they’re healthy emotionally, and physically, and that we can provide them the growth that they need for their future, so whether it be classes or different seminars that we offer.
We have different managers and different department heads speaking every few weeks, and they’re like education sessions that anybody’s welcome to. So we give everybody the opportunity to advance and to learn about the different product areas and business units, and it’s, to each his own, but each employee wants to do with that is up to them, but we want to give them the tools that they can to advance themselves.
[00:16:09] RS: What do you want your recruiters to get out of those you have the different functional department heads sharing about their armor, the business? What do you want the team to get from those conversations?
[00:16:21] DG: They’re for everyone at the firm. It’s really just to educate every area of the business on every other area of the business, so that people are aware of what we offer. Oftentimes, when somebody joins a firm, they don’t really know what’s being offered, they think only about themselves, about their role that fit into this box and that’s all they see. If you’re willing to expand, if you’re willing to learn about the different areas of the firm, that also provides you a ton more opportunities to make the connections, network, meet people, speak to people learn about the businesses, learn about the different areas that you can get involved in. Then with that education, and with the support that we offer, and that if they’re willing, and they are motivated, it’s an endless opportunity.
[00:17:06] RS: How would you characterize the most impactful approach for a recruiter to learn and develop? Is it being really involved with other key stakeholders and then leadership in the company? Or how do you think recruiting folks out there should approach their own development?
[00:17:20] DG: I think one of the most challenging things for somebody in Talent Acquisition and recruiting in and especially from the corporate side, is having the push and the trust. It’s the trust with the business and the hiring managers that if they looking at a resume and they’re not seeing exactly what they want or what they think they want. It’s developing the trust so that they feel confident in your assessment of somebody. If I’m evaluating the candidate on a number of different things, then I see the potential. That’s something that by developing that trust with the hiring managers in the business that if I’m sharing with them, and they feel that capable and they respect my decision and my judgment that opens the door. That will allow them to think outside the box when hiring and when speaking to people.
All throughout my career, I think that’s been one of the most important things that I’ve developed in just my relationships with the candidates, yes, and with my colleagues, but the business and the hiring managers, because if it’s a partnership. I’m partnering with them and providing guidance and advice. I’m not demanding anything, I’m not demanding them hire this person or that person, but I’m providing them the knowledge and the guidance that I hope they value. From what I see, and looking back I think has been very valuable for me, is that relationship-building piece and then the trust that I’ve developed with candidates and clients the same.
[00:18:51] RS: Yeah. That makes sense. For your own approach, right? When you mentioned that just being curious learning was your true north. How would you chart your own trajectory as you have wound up in this VP role? What have been the commonalities for you, as you’ve moved throughout your career and your ability to continue adding responsibility, get that cushy desirable, VP title as you ascended to this point, and looking back what has been the most impactful for you?
[00:19:21] DG: If I had to guess the most important thing to be able to do, especially when you’re first starting out, is balancing your priorities. When I started on the corporate side, I went from having 10 jobs on the agency side that I was working on at one at one time or 15 jobs to 35/40 requisitions. It’s budgeting your time. Making sure you’re providing the support to each manager that you can and also understanding when to ask for help and when to delegate and when to speak to your manager and tell them that you’re getting burned out. You never want to burn out, because it’s a defeating feeling. It happens to everyone at some point. It’s normal, if you’re doing 40 wrecks at a time or more, but it’s definitely being able to budget your time, provide the support to your businesses, and being responsive to candidates.
Also, knowing that you’re going to get a call while you’re doing something that’s going to pull you away from it, whatever you’re doing, and you need to be able to have your to-do list, know what you need to get done for the day, because people’s livelihoods are at stake. I know that things falling through the cracks are not an option. I need to make sure that the things are done the administrative, and the operational stuff is taken care of. These candidates are appreciated and are receiving the responses that they need and the feedback they need to grow to get to the next step.
[00:20:49] RS: You mentioned how important it is to prioritize. That’s something I’ve personally struggled with, I often feel I’m on a treadmill, where I’m doing the work that’s before me, and I’m pleased with how it’s coming out of the output is good, but it tends to feel like you’re treading water. How do you revisit the work you’re doing to make sure that you are focusing on the things that can have the highest impact on you and your career?
[00:21:14] DG: Take a step back. Whenever you feel overwhelmed, whenever I feel overwhelmed, or I feel like I need to collect myself and manage my workload and my priorities. I take a step back. I have a spreadsheet. I like the spreadsheet route. I’m old school. I have a spreadsheet that I go with that I update daily, who’s interviewing for what, where we are in the process? What was the last contact with them, the last interview all that? So it’s understanding how many requisitions I have, how many candidates I have for each requisition and where will my time should really go from a recruiting standpoint, but then it’s also in Talent Acquisition, it’s more than just the recruitment piece. It’s really managing the process of working with the business and coming up with strategies and figuring out different ways to find candidates and be creative and how we’re sourcing.
I definitely think that taking a step back and really looking at your priorities and your workload and understanding what you’re capable of, and where you are in the process with all of your requisitions that typically is my go-to or my way, but the other thing is also, I mean, I know we’re hearing this all the time is self-care. Making sure that whenever you feel like you need a break, to take that break, and allow yourself the freedom to breathe, and to have that time, because we are juggling a lot right now. It’s more than just our workload, it’s life in this pandemic, and what’s going to happen in the job market. There are a ton of things to worry about, but there are a ton of things to be grateful for too.
I think that if we take a step back and look at the bigger picture and where we are in life, and or me, I’m extremely grateful. I never would have thought I would be where I am today and have helped so many amazing people find work and work with so many intelligent and just supportive people in my career. I’ve been extremely lucky to have amazing managers and colleagues, and I never would have thought I would be where I am. So it’s extremely humbling. I know I worked for it, but I wouldn’t be where I am without all the support that I’ve had and the management and I’ve been fortunate enough to have.
[00:23:19] RS: Yeah, yeah. I really think the people you choose to work with end up having as much of an impact on your career as your ability to deliver, right, because if you deliver really well, but you don’t have the support around you where people don’t see your value, then it’s for nothing, frankly,
[00:23:35] DG: It really is, because if you feel valued, you stay, people stay when they feel appreciated, people stay when they feel valued, and when they’re acknowledged for their hard work. That’s not to say that they’re not reprimanded when things aren’t going well, and they’re not doing well, but it’s being able to balance the two and appreciate someone for their work and constructive criticism so that they can continue to grow.
[00:23:56] RS: Yeah, absolutely. I do feel like it’s important to call out just how easier said than done this is, because here we are extolling the virtues of hustling earlier in your career, but then you need to make sure that you’re working on meaningful things, you need to take a step back. I don’t know if I have an answer, but I really feel like folks, you need to build in the rest time. It’s not like, okay, after you’ve been cranking for 11 hours, then sit down with your spreadsheet and start to figure it out. No, no, that’s not going to work.
[00:24:30] DG: It’s this catch-22, because when I think about my background. It’s all about being in the hustle. That’s what I feel like has made me also successful, it’s like, you said, how do you balance the two. I think that just comes with the years of experience and knowing yourself and as you get older, you know yourself more and more and what you’re capable of and when you need that rest when you need the break, so listening to your body, listening to your mind, and making sure that – because ultimately you can’t perform to the best of your ability, if you’re not feeling well. So you got to invest the time yourself just like you do in your career.
[00:25:05] RS: Yep. That makes sense. Well, Doreen, we’re creeping up on optimal podcast length here. This has been a delight chatting with you, so at this point, I would just say, thank you so much for being with me here today and sharing your experience and your wisdom. I really love learning from you.
[00:25:17] DG: It’s been so great to speak to you. I’m very humbled to be on this podcast and I’m excited to hear all the rest of your podcasts in the coming days.
[00:25:25] RS: Thank you so much. Don’t forget to subscribe wherever you find podcasts are streamed, Doreen.
[00:25:31] DG: I’ve already had.
[00:25:35] RS: Talk Talent To Me is brought to you by Hired. Hired empowers connections by matching the world’s most innovative companies with ambitious tech and sales candidates. With Hired, candidates and companies have visibility into salary offers, competing opportunities, and job details. Hired’s unique offering includes customized assessments, and salary bias alerts to help remove unconscious bias when hiring. By combining technology and human touch, our goal is to provide transparency in the recruiting process and empower each of our partners to employ their potential and keep their talent pipeline full.
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