Strings Attached: A Beginner Recruiter

My journey to tech recruiting began with my undergraduate degree-- and just to make it clear, my degree has almost no relationship with tech, or with recruiting.

I had an interesting path going into college because I didn’t want to attend at all. I grew up as a triplet, so college touring was an emotional and strange family endeavor. My brother and sister were excited to go to college; I was not. I was a hormonal teenager during our entire trip up and down the California coast: headphones in, “napping,” lips pursed shut, pure protest.

Fast-forward, and one path led to another until there I was, a student at UC Santa Cruz (sorry, but what kind of mascot is a banana slug, ugh). Being from Southern California, I was excited for the change in scenery. I planned on going into Creative Writing, switched to Literature, and settled on-- out of all things-- History with a Jewish Studies concentration. This was extremely fulfilling because it’s an academic take on the religion I grew up with. I had the opportunity to critique and explore Judaism from a non-religious perspective, and I was able to make some important self-discoveries-- the first of which was the realization that, for me, Judaism and Jewish Studies are a hobby, not a success path.

The challenges in my academic experience came with my general education requirements. Math, in particular, was such a struggle. I failed it twice and went through too many tissue boxes. But I had to fulfill my math requirement to graduate, which is why I settled on-- out of all things-- Computer Science: Intro to Java.

Needless to say, I passed with flying colors. I’m no engineer, but dammit I did it.

Throughout my college experience, I had no idea what I wanted to do professionally. I couldn’t see into post-graduate years of my life. I officially completed my degree this summer, and even then I felt like a blank bundle of nerves. But, naturally, I knew a few things about myself: I knew I was a business girl. I knew I could work with people. I knew I could communicate. I knew I wanted to move back home to the Greater Los Angeles area. And I knew I had a LOT to learn before truly finding myself and my professional passions.

It all comes down to timing, then. As most of these accounts go, the timing was SO right. A few weeks before I officially graduated, I had a very important conversation with my cousin’s fiancé. He is a tech recruiter, he said. What is that, I asked. He explained. I didn’t quite digest the explanation. But then he told me his company is hiring. Excuse me, I hardly even understand what you do. It’s ok, he said, we’re taking fresh grads. Ok, I said. I’m a fresh grad-- when are you taking my resumé?

I applied to be an Associative Technical Recruiter at Binc LA, and you bet I put “Computer Science: Intro to Java” on my resumé’s “Relevant Course” list. I wouldn’t have been qualified without my degree, so for that I’m grateful. My interview process at Binc was an eye-opener for sure. Our founders emphasized that recruiters almost never go into college knowing they’ll become recruiters. So many Bincers were in Humanities like I was. Bincers are writers, Bincers are mathematicians, Bincers are Scientists, Artists, Advocates, Adventurers.

When I started training, I began to understand what recruiting really is and what makes Binc significant. I feel extremely honored to be a part of our mission and model, which strays away from traditional recruiting methods. We are not commission-based, which generates a supportive, team-oriented “we culture.” We’ve moved on from cold-calling and use tools and tactics that lead to excellent results in outreach. This is an environment where questions are encouraged and where learning doesn’t end. This is a company that helps other companies grow in the midst of its own Goliath-growth.

I’m on my first project with a company called Iterable, a startup in SF that’s revolutionizing the way companies reach out to their subscribers. So far it’s definitely been a ride. It took at least a month to get used to the nine-to-five-thirty schedule and a bit longer to understand my caffeine limits. I’ve made a thousand cringy mistakes and I’ve had my share of cringy phone calls, but I’ve also had some really proud moments. Once, an engineer over at Iterable sent us a code challenge that one of our candidates completed. My colleague took a look at it and messaged me in sheer confusion. But when I took a look, I knew what was going on! Granted, I was scraping the surface, but this made me aware that I can properly engage in many technical aspects of technical recruiting. And speaking of engagement, I have also learned that being candid is key to positive engagements with candidates. My first few technical screens were a bit rocky because I was taking them too seriously; but recently, my feedback is unanimously comprised with the understanding that authenticity is everything.

Ultimately, I am in a committed relationship with technical recruiting. We are in our honeymoon stage. We are always learning more about each other and this is a very exciting time for us. Maybe one day we’ll get married, but I’m really not sure-- we need to take it slow, take it one step at a time.

Chloe Sehati