Intrro FM: Scaling Stories

Cierra Tavarez
Chief of Staff, Recruiting
Attentive

Cierra Tavarez, Chief of Staff, Recruiting at Attentive

For our latest Scaling Stories podcast, it was a great pleasure to catch up with Cierra Tavarez, the Chief of Staff to the SVP of Recruiting at Attentive, an SMS software platform and leader in conversational commerce.

Chicago-based Cierra has worked in sourcing roles for the likes of Capital One, Facebook and Uber Freight, and as our discussion demonstrates, she’s a big thinker with profound insights on everything from big tech recruitment formulas to the way we conduct interviews.

Here are some topics we covered in our chat with Cierra:

  • At Attentive, Cierra has developed an “interviewer training and calibration program”
  • How Cierra helped to transform the candidate experience at Uber Freight
  • The differences between ‘sourcing’ and ‘recruiting’
  • Skepticism towards culture efforts that “ring a little bit hollow”

As you can tell from these extracts, Cierra is a fountain of knowledge and committed to better hiring practices.  We hope you enjoy our chat as much as we did.

Transcript

Cierra Tavarez  

“Your time is valuable. Don't sell yourself short. When there's a whole world out there waiting to do that for you. Demand your value.”

Nasser Oudjidane  

Hello and welcome to our series of scaling stories, a discussion with talent leaders about their lessons building teams at some of the world's fastest growing companies. I'm excited to introduce our guest today, Cierra Tavarez, the Chief of Staff to the SVP of recruiting at attentive. For those of you who are unfamiliar, attentive is the leader in conversational commerce and is reinventing business to consumer communication. Ciara a huge welcome, and thank you for joining us.

Cierra Tavarez

Thanks so much Nasser.

Nasser Oudjidane  

So I'd love to start with a brief introduction about you and your background.

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, of course. So I'm based in Chicago. I've lived here for almost nine years. I'm originally from the Bay Area in California, and I have a bachelor's degree from University of Michigan. I have been in recruiting for about eight and a half years of field that I fell into, sort of by mistake like I think a lot of recruiting professionals. I started out in SAS sales which was a disastrous mismatch of skills, found myself in recruiting through agency recruiting, worked in a number of agencies specifically in the tech space for a couple of years and then eventually moved into in house when I went to work for Capital One as a sorcerer. After that I moved into a more specialized sourcing role in product management at Facebook, and then after that, helped to spin up a similar department at an internal subsidiary of Uber called Uber freight which is specifically focused on business logistics. I worked at Uber freight until the spring of the beginning of the pandemic when about 5000 Uber employees were laid off. So unfortunately, I was affected by that but ended up having a really great time just taking six months off to enjoy myself. Think about what I wanted to do next. And luckily at the end of that period, a former coworker of mine from an agency and a past life reached out that he had started working at this great startup called attentive. He was running recruiting for the product space, and he really needed someone who was specialized in that area. I told him I wasn't really interested in another purely sourcing role. I wanted to work on more program management. I wanted to be a little bit more involved in the strategy side of building out teams and he said, Great, define what you want to do. And so I joined on and it's kind of been all uphill from there.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Well, brilliantly succinct introduction that was I'd perhaps love to just double click on specifically your sourcing experience in those recruiting projects that you're responsible at some of the world's fastest growing companies. What are some of the initiatives that when you look back that you're most proud of?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, so I would say that there are a number of different initiatives that I've that I'm proud of for different reasons. The one that comes to mind first, was in my first in house role, like I said, at Capital One, this was the first role where there was not a lot of definition around my position, and there was a great deal of trust in, in me and in you know, how I would work to contribute to my team and so I got to pilot capital ones first, diversity and inclusion recruiting program. It was very enlightening. It was very difficult there was no infrastructure for it. But you know, now Capital One has a very successful DE&I efforts. So it I feel very proud of having been involved in the inception of that. Other programs that I look at, that I feel particularly proud of have to do with interviewers. So I've been really heavily involved in recruiting on the sourcing and recruiter side but the the larger part of the program has to do with how recruiting principles and recruiting practices are adopted by interviewers and hiring managers. And that can be a really difficult kind of endeavor to make hiring managers and interviewers feel as invested as recruiting professionals. are in the hiring process. So at Uber freight, I worked on an initiative to essentially improve the involvement and the engagement of interviewers and improve their performance by creating a system of accountability. So we were having a lot of trouble with, you know, product managers who were overworked and stressed and not well trained or calibrated in the interview process. You know, not not giving consistent, positive candidate experiences during the interview process. So I essentially pitched a program wherein we would incentivize interviewers to perform better in their interview responsibilities by making it part of their performance reviews. So I essentially kept a docket of you know, people who are not performing up to par But more importantly, people who were performing up to par who I could always rely on to fill in for a no show interviewer who could take a rescheduled interview at the last moment, who was getting really positive feedback from candidates who enjoy their interview experience, and by essentially lifting those interviewers to a more visible position in giving them positive feedback that maybe their managers or executives might not have been privy to in the past. It really created strong relationships between us an improved candidate experience and also just kind of developed a layer of trust between myself and my stakeholders that hadn't been there before. So that was something I was really proud of and really helps to set me up for success and creating a an interviewer training and calibration program at attentive that hadn't existed before. We grew really fast. And all of a sudden it meant that a team of four product managers had to onboard and train every new product manager that joined the company to eventually be an interviewer. So that was like very challenging. It was very fast paced, it was very nuanced. It was very experimental, but had I not had that experience at Uber freight. I don't I don't think that it would have been as successful as it was at attentive.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah, what a great initiative. I have a question. In addition to candidate NPS. How did you or how do you measure the underperforming and the top recruiting partners?

Cierra Tavarez  

So a lot of it is anecdotal. I really look to my sources and recruiters to not keep a record, but to be transparent and be vocal about who they have a positive experience working with and who they have a negative experience working with. This actually probably affects our recruiting coordinators more than anyone because they are tasked with an enormous workload which is made, you know, borderline unmanageable when interviewers don't show up to interviews, they cancel at the last minute, they don't make their calendars available. Or, you know, just any of those things. So I really look to my team to share their experiences with me and be transparent about what what it's like working with everyone. And then I also track the performance of interviewers on the back end through their feedback, whether or not they're aligned on the performance of a particular candidate with the other interviewers that evaluated that candidate, how they conduct themselves in interview, debriefs, those sorts of things. So it's it's part data and part anecdote.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah, yeah. But still really important because all of the work that's being put in all of the systems and tools that are being used, all of the manpower dedicated, doesn't really matter if folks aren't actually invested into this process.

Cierra Tavarez  

Absolutely. And that's, that's kind of the core of a candidate experience and a poor candidate experience really spreads like wildfire and becomes a company's reputation.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yep. Can you share some of your experience perhaps lessons learned when building and training sourcing teams specifically in terms of how do you build a world class sourcing function?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, I think building a really strong sourcing function is sort of sort of a multifaceted challenge. So number one, a lot of sources come into sourcing being very new to recruiting in itself. A lot of people come into their first sourcing role, not having known previously, that being a sorcerer was any different than a recruiter and it is very different. It is a specialization. So I've found that number one, the most important key component of a strong sourcing function is specialized sourcing leadership at attentive. We are very, very lucky to have a killer sourcing manager named Mick who is absolutely dedicated to this. The support and development of his people so I think that that is a really key component that kind of separates the wheat from the chaff in sourcing. I also think that there's kind of a delicate balance between catering to the strengths and preferences of a sorcerer and encouraging continuous development. So some sorcerers really are really gain energy in their role and gain satisfaction from their interactions and their relationships. With candidates. Others are more driven by research and independent work. I am more like the latter. That said, there is no area of sourcing that I haven't touched and haven't had to master. So it's really this this, this delicate balance of making sure that you're nurturing the individuality of a sorcerer and what their strengths and interests are, while also equipping them with the tools to be successful in any part of the function. And I think finally, what makes a really strong sourcing function is individualized support. So one on one time with a sorcerer consistently is is really crucial to a sorcerers investment in their role, excitement about their learning and investment in their pipeline. It's I found in my experience at past companies that it is, it is the most easy for recruiting leadership to find themselves too far removed from sorcerers rather than recruiters or or you know, recruiting management etc. So I think individualize time with each Sorcerer to understand the challenges of their pipeline, their personal development in their role is really indispensable.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yep. In terms of the development of sources in your opinion, and that individualized time that's that they get from you know, from their peers and perhaps from from their manager. Are there specific routes for progression and growth that you that you yourself, for example, have gone more into like programs and do you think that perhaps there's a natural evolution towards programs recruiting itself or any others?

Cierra Tavarez  

I think again, this kind of goes back to the individual sorcerer, but I would say that the more natural but the more common progression is from Sorcerer to recruiter. My personal philosophy is that there is no real hierarchy in which a sorcerer exists as a junior function of recruiting. I think that these are equally specialized, equally crucial functions that exists laterally in an equitable partnership. That being said, sourcing is often a smoother transition into recruiting for someone who has not been in recruiting before. And often someone who starts in sourcing finds that they are really motivated by candidate relationships. They're excited about working directly with hiring managers. They're curious about closing offers. So sources very often move into a recruiting function. I had a personal interest in programs and project management and the general operations of recruiting. I think a lot of other sources are as well because sourcing is naturally so research focused and so data driven. And so I think that it's important to create avenues for people of of both strengths, but at attentive we do have opportunities for sorcerers who are interested in in either side of the house. And I also I also like to emphasize with sorcerers that you can progress in your career being a specialized sorcerer there there is no necessity to become a recruiter if you want to have a strong recruiting career. I have done recruiting and sourcing and sourcing research and contract conversions. I've had basically every different kind of role in recruiting besides coordination and I've found that I don't have any interested interest in recruiting that part of, you know, taking candidates through the interview process closing offers, etc. That really doesn't satisfy me very much. So I'm a really big proponent of creating opportunities for people who just want to specialize in sourcing and be the best at it.

Nasser Oudjidane 

Got it. Moving on to culture here. You've mentioned and you've been a part of the culture champions team at Uber at Facebook, Meta can you share your experience whilst you there?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, it's a really interesting thing being involved in culture at really visible really well known tech companies because culture is very carefully orchestrated by comms teams, by people, departments, etc. So, the culture is is very often predetermined and being a culture champion or being part of a culture team is, is really being a functionary, a functionary of, of distribution for that sort of internal messaging so, at Facebook, you know, we had we have very, very large regional spaces. So I was working for Facebook in Chicago, which was a very large office of people, but people who were, you know, geographically and sometimes culturally removed from the headquarters in Menlo Park in California. So the the impetus there was to create a culture that allowed people in the Chicago office and other regional offices to feel like they were still part of Facebook or Meta and receiving the same sorts of day to day experiences and encouragement as people in the in the main office. So this, this included, you know, things like events, acknowledgments, that sort of thing. I walked away from that experience, really enjoying the relationships that it allowed me to build with people in the office that I might not have met. However, it also left me a little bit disillusioned with those sorts of culture efforts because I think they ring a little bit hollow. If you are, you know, spending money to decorate an employee's desk for their birthday or for a promotion. Or a work anniversary, and yet that person's executives don't know their name. So it was a it was a very informative experience. At Uber, I felt that the efforts towards culture championing were a little bit more earnest in that they were very bottom up. So this involves this. This also, you know, led to a little bit of a sort of a gateway drug into program management for me. It really allowed people to get involved laderally in functions. And departments that they wouldn't have been involved in. So it was also my first little peek at employer brand initiatives recruiting operations initiative, so it was internal and external culture that was very bottom up it was very grassroots kind of ideas being supported by executive sponsors. So I found that to be really meaningful and sort of shaped the the goals that I would have for for my future.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Okay, great. I mean, I have a question. I mean, it's a fairly basic one, which is what is a cultural champion? mean to you and how can you develop something organic and bottoms up which is actually sincere and genuine in what it means?

Cierra Tavarez  

I think the way that you do that is you from the beginning, involve a cohort of individual contributors, from varying functions across the company, and from varying backgrounds to inform leadership, the on the kind of culture that they feel they would thrive in. Whether or not their peers feel like their values align with the existing culture of the company, and then just source organic ideas from people who want to be involved in architecting a culture from the start. So I really believe that there there is no effective way to prescribe a culture to accompany a culture evolves with its employees and also with just the temperature of the world in which a company is operating. So I don't think that accompany I don't think that leadership can create a culture. I think that they can hire emotionally intelligent people from diverse backgrounds and empower them to create a culture that is healthy and that is successful. 

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah, love it. What's your opinion on the approach to talent acquisition a big tech?

Cierra Tavarez  

I think big tech has created really effective formulas. Some of those formulas I have copied and pasted and have been really effective in filling voids and creating jumping off points for people who are new to new to recruiting or new to scaling teams new to scaling programs, like interviewer programs. They really do a good job of creating these formulas that that prove efficacy for stakeholders. I think what big tech maybe doesn't do such a great job. At is individual experience for employees in recruiting and creating nuanced strategies to scaling out teams and departments. My experience has been that big tech companies have a probably probably too large of dependence on volume as a solution towards driving goals. I think that a lot of I think a lot of these companies have pretty high turnover rates in their recruiting departments. Because there's only so long a successful sorcerer or recruiter can survive in a team that is being constantly diluted by new team members, sourcing and recruiting for the same pools of special specialized candidates. And then a you know, a recruiter or sorcerers experience eventually just devolves into competing with their own teammates. So I think an over reliance on you know, more bodies, more asses in seats in the face of a serious scaling need kind of weakens those those companies where I think a more specialized research based training focused approach to existing recruiting talent is probably a little bit more effective.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Can you describe a little bit more about talent development of recruiting teams and specifically for individual recruiters? How do you think it can be improved?

Cierra Tavarez  

I think one, one thing that is, in my experience the most effective at building, developing and retaining, recruiting teams, again, circles back to individual attention, specialized attention, each sorcerer, each recruiter is coming from a very different kind of background. It's not like other departments where people go to school for this. They've all learned the same fundamentals. People come from different backgrounds have different strengths, and have different interests. I think that individualized attention coupled with a more loose structure that allows for creativity in process, makes sourcing and recruiting teams more successful and also improves employee experience. It improves employee engagement and employee retention. People in recruiting want to feel trusted to do their job the way they know that they can be successful as opposed to being prescribed to a list of predetermined accepted best practices that everyone follows formulaically and people also want to be, you know, given trust and freedom to be creative, to learn new things to partner laderlly with, you know, with other departments with new stakeholders. So I think, I think a less rigid structure is really conducive to excited engaged, successful recruiting talent.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah, understood. Do you think that there's anything with the way that recruiters and perhaps the performance of recruiting teams is measured could also improve or perhaps there are some issues related to how one is incentivized?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, that's, I mean, I think that's kind of like the that's the ultimate question, really, for recruiting leaders. I think there is a real there's a real reluctance to move away from, you know, metrics and KPIs goaling that is numerical for recruiters and sourcers. You know, how many offers did you close? How many offers Did you extend things like that? And of course, there, there is no, in my opinion, there is no real way completely around those metrics. businesses run on numbers, and they also create a really firm reference point for people who are learning. That being said, I think that there's so much nuance to what happens in our recruiting department and our recruiting department is sort of a reflection of things that are happening outside of the control of a company in the greater market. And so the things that I've found a recruiter or sorcerer can always control is their activity, their involvement, their conversion rates, and most importantly, their relationships with their stakeholders. Does a sorcerer have a great reputation amongst the recruiters on their team? Does a recruiter have a great reputation with their hiring managers for being strong, communicative, delivering partners? Those things can always be controlled. And if a recruiting leadership team is really truly showing up in that one on one specialized attention, they know how a recruiter or Sorcerer is performing in that way how a recruiting coordinator is performing in that way and doesn't need to rely on dashboards and I think that is much much harder to do at big tech companies than it is at startups and midsize companies.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah, got it. Yeah, really interesting. Moving on to perhaps what you're currently doing now. Can we start with what is attentive? Can you tell us a bit more about them and their mission and  Vision?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, so intensive is essentially a marketing tech platform. We're a B2B B2C company. We are in the mobile marketing space. So you've probably seen an attentive product. If you've ever gone to like an e commerce website, you've been prompted to enter your phone number to you know, receive mobile updates from that brand, that's attentive. We have a very large suite of products now but that's our bread and butter. We were founded by Twitter executives in 2016. And really, our mission is to reinvent business to consumer communication and commerce for the mobile age. So we want real live communication, personalized experiences between consumers and the brands and businesses that they're interacting with. So that's attentive.

Nasser Oudjidane  

And it has won so many awards for being America's best startups to work for last year. amongst a whole host of others, what are the most important factors do you think recruiting and people have done to contribute to the success?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, I think there are a number of ways. The most obvious, I think, being that recruiting is responsible for bringing in the people who on an individual level contribute to what becomes the mosaic of a company's culture. So a strong intuition of  the kinds of candidates who will make a company better for the future, the kind of candidates a recruiter would want to work with would be excited to start at the company. And particularly in hiring for leadership positions, who are leaders that we're going to hire that are that are going to uplevel attentive as a place to work are going to nurture and foster growth and development, recruiters and Sorcerer's and recruiting coordinators all become very closely attuned to the kind of place that they want to work and how can they contribute to that directly. I think the other way that we contribute to that is helping our teams to scale so that each person is having a good time and is not floundering under the weight of, you know, an enormous workload. We want to help expand people's teams so that they have work life balance so that they have close partnerships with trusted coworkers, etc. So I think that I really think that a positive workplace experience can't happen without a strong intuitive recruiting function.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah. And your role is particularly unique. Obviously, so is your journey. What is your role as the as the Chief of Staff to the SVP of recruiting? What does that entail?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, so my role is a little bit different from other chief of staff roles attended as a number of Chiefs of Staff, many of them come from business or operations backgrounds. Obviously, I come from a recruiting background, but the role is sort of multifaceted. So in in its core, my role is tied to the Senior VP of recruiting. His name is Shawn. And my my position relative to him is basically helping him to tackle challenges within the department but also on a company level. So I do my best to act as kind of a proxy where I can be coming, you know, Shawn 2.0, so that, you know he can he can spend his time focused on really high level challenges. I also try and act as a sounding board. So when you know, questions are asked about the future of our team or changes need to be made, etc. Those are things that I tried to help help to work through and create plans for. I also try and try and run offense for him on things if there are things that I can do for for Shawn. I do them so that he can he can focus on on other things. So a lot of my time is spent in planning, planning things like our budget planning things like programs and projects. Helping other people to you know, manage initiatives across the team. I also work cross functionally with other teams so i i co own attentive employer brands, with my marketing partner, Sarah, without whom I would be lost. I also helped to manage our tooling, our budgeting I partner with cross functional teams on our international expansion. And I spend a lot of time generally answering questions for people on my team, offering support creating or finding resources, supplementing new learnings, etc. And then, finally, I'm also part of a diversity equity inclusion team specifically for recruiting and that team involves people from departments like people legal recruiting and sourcing, it's just kind of a cross functional look at how to improve the diversity, equity inclusion of the companies starting from recruiting so a lot of different hats being worn. But that's that's sort of a high level view.

Nasser Oudjidane  

And just on the last point regarding DE&I what is what's being discussed at the moment? How are you helping, attentive, you know, become more of a equitable place to work in and reflect the society that it's serving?

Cierra Tavarez  

There are a lot of different discussions happening right now. The discussions that we're that we're trying to drive to drive really are around around improvement. I don't I don't necessarily know that I that I could name a single a single tech company that I think is doing a great job at this. I think this is a really a really tough. I think it's a really persistent issue within the tech industry. And it's a challenge that should should remain at the forefront. And for me, personally, the things I'm focused on are how do I use my role within employer brand, to further these efforts specifically, so everyone, everyone on the team has kind of their own, their own function and their own area of expertise. This is mine. So I want to make sure that I can figure out ways that attend to becomes visible to underrepresented communities, and not just visible but appears accessible and welcoming and portrays itself to underrepresented communities as a as a place where talented people in those communities can thrive and can grow and will be included.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah. And you've also spoken about passion of yours, which is actually level up and help talent teams wield influence to make impact in this area. Perhaps Can you share some of your experiences about that?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, this this really is a drum that I bang pretty, pretty consistently. I feel strongly that, you know, whenever there are, I guess concerns raised about diversity, equity and inclusion. The first place people look is recruiting like, well, maybe we just need to recruit more underrepresented talent. That is not a new solution. We know. But there's really only so much that recruiting can do we can fill our pipelines, fill our interview benches with underrepresented talent, but we are not the decision makers. There is only so much that we can do to get people through the door and then after that, it's it's really up to someone else. About who, what will be the makeup of their teams. And I feel strongly that if, if the onus is shared between hiring managers and recruiting, then more effective gains can be made more effective strides can be taken. And I don't think that that equity happens without the influence of Sorcerer's and recruiters upon their hiring managers and their interviewers. I say this all the time, especially to new sources or people who are new to recruiting. Recruiting is not support staff. For the departments that we recruit for. We are subject matter experts. And when a new role is opened, a hiring manager is bringing us on as a consultant to teach them how to fill this role. We are not there to ask what they want and say, Okay, we are there to help them to build the kind of team that the company is looking for that will make the company better. We are the subject matter experts on who's underrepresented in the market for a specific role. And we can wield influence with our hiring managers if we begin our relationships with them as equals. And as a source of knowledge. I am here to tell you what this search is going to look like what you can yield, and how we can fill this role effectively, equitably. And with a diverse slate of candidates. I think a lot of junior recruiters and sourcers. Come in very intimidated to disagree. offer unsolicited advice with hiring managers expect, especially if those hiring managers are executives and if they are men. So I really, really try and instill in recruiters and Sorcerer's that you are equal to any hiring manager you meet and your opinion means just as much as theirs.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah, that's really great. Yeah, I think the worst thing about that is that feeling of intimidation can result in misaligned expectations, which then further complicates things down the line when you say yes, and it's actually not possible. And then it just ends up being a mess. So yeah, that really resonates. How do you think about technology implementation to achieve the departments and the overall company's goals?

Cierra Tavarez  

I think that today, there, there really is no way to be successful and competitive. In a competitive candidate market. without investing in technology, I think that it's absolutely crucial to being able to find the best talent, find underrepresented talents, and find them and engage with them first. I think it's absolutely crucial for sourcing to be armored with technology. I also think it's crucial for recruiting leadership and operations, to be armored with technology that allows for really reliable data insights that can be used to inform decision making. That being said, I think there is no substitution for human relationships and human intuition.I have yet to see any sort of tool that can replace a recruiters understanding of a role and understanding of the needs of her hiring manager. There really is no match for it there is I really strongly feel like there will never be a technology that replaces recruiting as a human function.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Right, Yeah, it's human to human. What do you think about the gaps that you've seen within the market? Or perhaps, that are unmet against the challenges that you have faced or are facing? so are there specific areas, for example, within data insights or analytics, or related to sourcing an engagement that perhaps the existing tools are not doing or perhaps are doing very well? That leads me on to my next question, which is what tech are you using to do your job?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, so I think that I think that some not necessarily a gap in the market or a gap in this space, but I would say that one thing that I have noticed is sort of an oversaturation. I think that, again, I think recruiting technology is so crucial to A company's ability to be competitive. But they're I feel like almost every day I see a new sourcing tool, or, like my, my inbox is full of cold emails from, you know, the the the latest sourcing platform or the latest applicant tracking system, I think that there's they're sort of a, I don't know, if it's a it's like an arms race, really, without a ton of innovation. So that's, that's one trend that I'm seeing. That being said, One, I mean, my team uses a lot of different technologies. And my, my teammates, they have different preferences. So some people use some things more than others. Some things are more relevant to particular pipelines, even within the same function. One that I do I do want to call out is a partner that we've had for a few years called underdog.io. And underdog is essentially kind of a combination between the human factor and strong technology, and it is a sourcing resource that helps to surface candidates. But it's a list of technology matched candidates against open roles that a client has, but with a list of candidates that is pre curated by human beings at underdog, so they essentially curate a weekly list of candidates who are engaged who are already interested in attentive, who are specifically interested in small to medium size companies and startups, and already have been pre vetted for the roles that I've told my client services partner are open at attentive. So it kind of combines a sense of convenience, with an automation with a sense of trust in human intuition and human relationships.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah, sounds awesome. It's like the candidates have actually been qualified.

Cierra Tavarez  

So yes, exactly. They've been qualified. And they've already been briefed on what they've been exposed to what attentive is. And they've indicated that they're interested. So it's, you know, it's a list of candidates every Monday and it's a they go directly to the sources and recruiters specialized to what they are looking for. And it's a warm lead.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah, I'm seeing a lot of influences within specific functions in tech, like product and engineering that are creating their own newsletters with talent collectives. I'm not sure if you've seen this, where they, because they have a following of people, due to the experience of, for example, scaling, the design team, Airbnb, they have world class designers following them, they're not open for jobs, and then those candidates could be matched for similar types of companies. And it's interesting how this is kind of being developed, but not by recruiting technology providers, but in perhaps other areas.

Cierra Tavarez  

Right, I've seen the same thing. And I've seen those be especially especially effective in the event of layoffs, a lot of companies have had to reduce in the last six to nine months and I have seen a lot of a lot of LinkedIn influencers with large followings at those companies that are effective, who are able to kind of surface their their vetted former co workers to new opportunities. Yeah.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Moving into closing questions. What's one piece of advice you wish you had when you started in recruiting?

Cierra Tavarez  

This may sound a little cynical, but I really do wish I had this advice. Maybe not specifically at the beginning of my recruiting career, but the the beginning of my career. And this is now something that I I tell all of my mentees, I tell my family members, I tell my friends, the loyalty, the obligation, the altruism, that people are prone to feeling towards their company should be reserved exclusively for their human relationships. I think especially at a good company, a company where you enjoy working or where you love your boss or love your coworkers. It's very easy to feel obligated to, you know, give over give over your energy give over your time to maybe let your boundary Really slide back a little bit. But the fact is, no matter how well treated you are by your company, no matter how loyal you are, a company is a collection of numbers. And once the numbers don't make sense for you to exist there anymore, you won't. A company cannot be loyal to you because a company isn't a person. So I really do tell people work hard, build great relationships with your coworkers and with your managers. But remember that that sense of moral obligation should be reserved strictly for people?

Nasser Oudjidane  

Yeah, I don't think that's cynical, I think that's quite pragmatic. You can almost extend that to the relationships that you build at work can be and often are evolving into friendships. But that has got nothing to do with the company, per se. Yes, that's the relationships that you've developed. And that's, I'd say something entirely different. 

Cierra Tavarez  

Yes,exactly.

Nasser Oudjidane  

What some what's on your reading list? Or what are you listening or watching for inspiration at the moment?

Cierra Tavarez  

One thing on my on my reading list that I actually just finished, is a really, really interesting book called say nothing by Patrick Radden Keefe. It's a nonfiction book about the IRA. And I wouldn't say that I necessarily read that for inspiration, but I would say that it's lends itself to being very inspirational, and, and gave me very new perspectives on on topics and, and people's, that I, I didn't really know anything about it. It really, it really, it just, it sort of changed the way I think about divides among groups, and the effects of investing oneself in those divides. So that's something that's really interesting. But again, I wouldn't say it's necessarily inspirational. One thing that I do consistently returned to, for a sense of inspiration. And it is not in any way, like a sense of like professional inspiration, there's a podcast called this as love. And every episode is a self told narrative by someone explaining a kind of love that they have experienced. Obviously, some of these things are romantic love, like how how a person met their spouse. Some of them are experiences with nature, how they became more committed to their family, how they learn to love something about themselves, that was really difficult for them to love. And it's just a really, I find it to be a very raw, yet persistently humanistic view of life that is, you know, pretty far removed from I think our daily experiences or daily discourse. So I find that it's kind of a good centering piece of content for me. I always walk away feeling better about it. I always feel more ready for life after listening to that.

Nasser Oudjidane  

That's called This Is Love. 

Cierra Tavarez

Yes. 

Nasser Oudjidane  

Okay, awesome. I'm gonna put the tour underdog.io. So nothing can This is love into the show notes because they seem Awesome. Is there any? Or are there any thoughts value or phrases that you live by?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, so the ones this is another thing that I kind of like hammer into the minds of all of my mentees and my friends, especially my female friends. When I was in college, I did a lot of nannying on the side. And one woman that I nannied for was just this, this absolute badass, she was a professor in the School of Information at University of Michigan. She's a young, widowed mother of two, who just really, really impressed and inspired me and I still model a lot of a lot of the things in my life after her and there was one night that she came home late for work. And I had to say a little later, and she offered to pay me pay me more for my time. I told her of course, you know, no, that's all right. I don't mind and what she, what she said to me was, “Your time is valuable. Don't sell yourself short. When there's a whole world out there waiting to do that for you. Demand your value.” That was something that just has stuck with me so often, and I think also kind of ties very closely to that advice I would have given myself at the beginning of my career. Don't give up weigh things for free. There are, there are exchanges in every aspect of life. But don't give yourself away for free until there's nothing. And then especially in a professional setting, again, your company isn't a person that you have a relationship with. favors don't belong in the, in the workplace. If you are asked to do more, ask for more, because you're worth it. And if you weren't worth it, you wouldn't work there.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Right? Pretty powerful stuff. For us. What are your some of your goals for the future? Yeah, so

Cierra Tavarez  

when I think about goals, I don't really think in, in concrete pictures, especially in the last few years with the pandemic, with finding myself laid off finding myself in a role that didn't exist before I was in it, having to define a lot of my own trajectory, I've really sort of sort of decided that life is gonna happen while I'm doing it. And it's more important for me to just continue challenging myself, rather than setting benchmarks for me to check off. So I really don't set very concrete professional goals for myself anymore, other than to just keep challenging myself and, and maintain strong relationships. The one thing that I would say I keep as a consistent goal is to learn one new thing every year. If I end the year, knowing something or doing something that I didn't know or do the year before, then I feel like it's a solid year.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Do you find what that is? or reflect upon the year end on what that was? What I do?

Cierra Tavarez  

I do seek it out. So this year, this year, for example, I learned how to crochet. I knew I wanted a new hobby, something that was going to be kind of kind of relaxing and Zen and creative. And so I just kind of decided that that was probably easy and inexpensive. And so that was that was my my goal for the year fulfilled. I learned how to crochet.

Nasser Oudjidane  

That's awesome. Where can the audience go to learn more about you?

Cierra Tavarez  

Yeah, so I'm on LinkedIn again. It's just Cierra Tavarez. You can also find it linked through our company's website attentive.com. You can also catch me at this year's lever accelerate conference in November where I will be speaking on a panel.

Nasser Oudjidane  

Awesome. Also put that in the show notes. Cierra, this has been absolutely awesome. Thank you for your time.

Cierra Tavarez  

Thanks, Nasser.

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