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.