Inventive Leaders: Alyssa Bunn, Director of Recruiting

Founded by two great friends, Andy Siemer and James Shaw, Inventive exists to improve lives with bad-ass technology. That's our mission and why we show up every day. Our goal is to make technology and innovation accessible for all. 

We’re a community of entrepreneurs, women, and veterans connected through our passion, tireless attention to detail, commitment to creating our best work — every time, and for getting shit done, brilliantly.

The best part? 

People are the most important part of our mission. 

If you can’t tell already, we are a fast-moving, fun-loving, seriously smart group of people who really care about improving lives. We like to think it’s something that makes us different, special, and unique from any other startup tech company out there. 

We also hire the best of the best who want to grow, thrive, and contribute in a meaningful way. Experience, dedication, and the drive to succeed is the name of the game, and we’ve been fortunate to have built a team that does just that.

In this series, we will introduce you to a number of our team members who help shape Inventive's future through things like engineering, recruitment, and product innovation. 

We will kick things off with Alyssa Bunn, Director of Recruiting.

We sat down with Alyssa for a fun interview to chat more about her new position with Inventive, her unique spin on the recruitment process, and what makes working for our company so uniquely incredible. 

MEET ALYSSA, DIRECTOR OF RECRUITING 

Inventive: Hi, Alyssa! Why don’t you briefly introduce yourself?

Alyssa: Hi! I’m from right here in beautiful Austin, TX. I graduated high school at 16 to pursue a degree in Advertising with a minor in Psychology from The University of Texas at Austin. 

I was recruited to a tech startup in town after graduation. I was onboarded into a hybrid sales and marketing role, but six months later, the VP of HR, Angie, asked if I’d be open to recruiting to meet a business need. I wasn’t aware then that the casual conversation would be so formative. Angie thoughtfully outlined what transferable skills I had to be successful. She mentioned my knack for conversation and background in advertising and psychology would help attract and identify top performers. Never one to shy away from a challenge, I quickly agreed to begin. 

Even in my early recruiting days, I enjoyed partnering with the executive team and learning the challenges of fast-growing businesses from a broader context. As a person that’s always been insatiably curious to learn, grow and contribute meaningfully, it was helpful to be so involved so early in my career. Even with challenging personalities, I never shied away from sharing my perspective, especially when doing what’s right. 

In the past decade, I’m grateful to have been either the first recruiter or the first to build a recruiting team in each opportunity I’ve had. I’m attracted to possibility, so creating a discipline that I’m passionate about (people) is fascinating and rewarding. Just as people are unique, every business has its own mission, values, and business model; a different type of person is demanded. I love how dynamic recruiting is. It’s a perpetual goal that’s never really ever reached. It keeps me sharp and hungry for more. 

I’ve enjoyed success in various industries, including ad tech, digital media, full-service advertising, and matchmaking, believe it or not! I’ve tripled teams and doubled others, both domestically and internationally. I’ve helped launch people's programs from diversity to continued learning and development. I’ve met people from all walks of life, and, just by listening, I’ve been fortunate to have a crash course in human dynamics.

A student of the game, I’ll always be curious to understand what makes people tick. 

Inventive: Describe your current position with Inventive and what led you to this awesome opportunity.

Alyssa: As Director of Recruiting, I got to build and, now, continuously improve our progressive and comprehensive candidate-first experience. My daily focus is threefold: 

1. Attract and engage with all talent as top talent likes to be treated. 

2. Assess true performance, not presentation.

3. Constantly (and relentlessly) focus on building a formidable pipeline of top talent regardless of immediate need. Although hiring talented Engineers is always a top priority, we also focus on valuable roles across the entire business. 

What led me to this opportunity? Well, Greg Bryant, Distinguished Architect, and I worked together nine years ago at another startup in Austin. When Greg reached out about this opportunity at Inventive, I couldn’t say no. Greg has always been one-of-a-kind: sharp, humble, and curious; I knew he wasn’t someone to land just anywhere. The team had to be pretty special, too. 

When I met Andy and James, things fell into place quite quickly. Everyone was fast-moving and fun-loving. They believe in hiring smart people and getting out of their way. I could sense that they, too, wanted to put people first and do the right thing. 

Irreverent at times, the team felt human. When we laughed at the same jokes, and I didn’t feel “woo woo” for talking about the importance of mental health and wellness, I knew that I had found my people.

LET’S TALK RECRUITING 

Inventive: What steps or processes do you follow in recruiting top talent for Inventive?

Alyssa: First and foremost, we lose the job description. We focus on attracting high-performing candidates through promoting the challenges and opportunities we get to experience at Inventive. We all approach our work with passion and vigor, so we attract people eager to make a splash. Those looking for the status quo that comes with a “job” need not apply! 

In the interview process, we prioritize character over skill. Being people-first, our team members must meet our core values: Integrity, Candor, Authenticity, Relationships, and Enthusiasm. Our initial interview is part art and science - casual yet intentional. We aim to understand who a person wants to be, not necessarily what type of role they want to have. 

In light of our values, we aim to keep the interview process as efficient yet informative as possible. Even if business priorities shift, no one gets “ghosted.” Each candidate receives the same level of care regardless of the role. 

Inventive: How important is relationship building to you regarding finding and retaining quality employees?

Alyssa: Relationships are everything! In the high demand and short supply market, top talent has several opportunities available at their fingertips. It’s not just about the work, but who they’ll be working with. 

We highlight how collaborative our environment is, and candidates get to experience this first-hand during our interview process. We invite candidates to two to three 1:1 interviews as it’s easier for everyone to build relationships interpersonally. Panels can feel quite unbalanced. We discuss how we don’t hide behind blame and shame. Everyone is just as impactful here at Inventive. 

Relationships are even more critical in a 100% remote environment. As an “everywhere agency,” we attract talent from coast-to-coast. Virtual relationships require even more awareness and intentionality. We realize it’s not enough to join team meetings and call it a day.

Inventive: In what ways do you communicate expectations?

Alyssa: Expectations are funny as many are unexpressed and unexamined. What we provide is transparency and choice during our interview process. 

Often, I get in front of questions candidates may not know they have. We discuss our founder’s story, core values, and how we embrace challenge, agility, and adaptability as many startups do. Still, We offer stability, work/life balance, and career advancement opportunities that most startups do not.

The next steps are communicated immediately after an individual applies and are communicated in real-time throughout our process. Our language is friendly and conversational. We’ve cut the bureaucratic fine print that most companies embrace. Any sensitive updates, like rejections and offer conversations, happen interpersonally in real-time. 

Inventive: What makes recruitment efforts at Inventive different from other companies?

Alyssa: We’ve certainly created a candidate-first interview process that we’d want to participate in. Every element of our experience is tailored to a candidate’s expectations. When we’re excited about the opportunity, we want to be fully informed, understand the challenges and opportunities, and would like to get in front of the leadership team as soon as possible. 

We also don’t believe in labels or boxes, so candidates may apply for one role and be ultimately considered for another. We also accept a lot of non-traditional candidates into our interview process, e.g., a pharmacist turned engineer. 

“There is an unparalleled vitality that’s palpable in a bootstrapped, entrepreneurial team like ours.”
- Alyssa Bunn, Director of Recruiting

LET’S TALK INVENTIVE

Inventive: What was it about Inventive that spoke to you?

Alyssa: Doing the right thing and being people-first isn’t just wordplay; it’s woven into the fabric of the business. My conversations with our COO, James Shaw, were effortless. We both dedicate ourselves to what we believe in and are constantly improving. I’m happy to say Inventive has delivered! James has been my absolute favorite leader, mentor, and friend to work with. He’s always available, listens well, and trusts me implicitly. 

Inventive: How do you maintain a sense of community and culture with your fellow employees in a remote work environment?

Alyssa: Culture is a feeling created from a million little interactions that an employee experiences over time. We have a lot of proactive (and spontaneous) 1:1 conversations with our team. When we hear of a challenge, we actively seek to remedy it with a quick but smart solution. It’s not unusual to “fix” a problem within 24 hours. 

We also empathize with our employees’ personal lives. Each Monday, we begin by sharing photos of our weekend happenings with the team and keep privy to what’s important to each and every person who works here. We send flowers and treats to say “Thank You!” We’ve flown people in for dinner just because. Our Slack is constantly buzzing with memes and GIFs. We host happy hours and team offsites. We all enjoy an unlimited vacation policy (that we actively encourage people to use). 

“Nothing beats the feeling you get when you know your team understands you, supports you, and has your back.”
- Alyssa Bunn, Director of Recruiting

WORDS OF WISDOM

Inventive: What’s one piece of advice you would offer to professionals/entrepreneurs trying to break into the tech industry?

Alyssa: One thing that’s always transferable is an achievement. Play up your most significant accomplishments by describing specific details (including what you learned) and sharing honest and applicable data. Grab a recruiter’s attention by sharing personal details that jump off the page, like passion projects, personal hobbies, and causes that you care about. One thing every recruiter looks for, regardless of industry, is soft skills. So, share how you’ve demonstrated a company’s core values as, often, companies will have these listed online. 

 “If you don’t get any nibbles, don’t be discouraged. Remember that the best companies are looking to hire great people, knowing they can teach skills. ”
- Alyssa Bunn, Director of Recruiting 

FINAL NOTES 

When Alyssa isn’t working incredibly hard to take Inventive to new heights, you can find her recharging. She loves taking leisurely strolls in her neighborhood, hitting up a hot yoga class, diving into a great book, or spending time with her fiancé, Sean, and their adorable little Goldendoodle, Cooper.

One thing is for sure — we are so grateful to have her with us, leading the charge for all things recruiting. Do you want to learn more about a career with Inventive, or are you interested in joining our team? Check out our current job openings today to see if there’s a perfect position for you! 

Keep an eye out for the second installment of this series, where we introduce Greg Bryant, Distinguished Architect!