My Name is Caralie and I’m Here to Recruit You.
My degree is in theater performance from Louisiana State University, so it’s only natural I now do technical recruiting for Flatiron School in New York.
When I moved to the city ten years ago, I quickly decided to hang up those imaginary tap shoes. As performers we’re told “If you can imagine yourself being happy doing anything else, do that.” As a 19-year-old drama student, I couldn’t, but as a 22-year-old desperate to land a job, I could think of a few things.
My disinterest in pursuing acting parlayed into casting, and from there I became a talent manager for actors. In that role, coming into contact with an unrepresented actor is something to be feared. It’s awkward. They need you, you don’t really need them. The conversation shifts to networking very quickly and the interaction sours.
It’s hard out here for a pimp though, you know. I have compassion for actors on the hustle. There are so many actors in NYC and so few jobs.
After almost 8 years as a talent manager, it was time to stop helping others find a place for their tap shoes and try something else.
We live in a world where tech opportunities are endless and high level engineers are hot commodities. When I got the opportunity to recruit for Flatiron School, many dynamics surprisingly bled over from my previous job. I got to know people, see if we could work together, and do my best to set them up for success.
Something I’m specifically seeing happening with both industries is that while both were once flooded with white dudes, there’s now more focus on bringing diversity into the mix.
The biggest difference between now and then: you techies don’t seem to need me as much as I need you.
Or should I say, as individuals you mostly don’t need me. While it can be frustrating at times, it’s pretty badass that this whole group of diverse people with this skillset are happy in their jobs. On a larger scale, though, I realize I am needed to help make sure diverse and interesting candidates are getting the right exposure. I think Flatiron School is way ahead of the game, but we still have work to be done.
After getting over the initial shock of not being the desired intro at parties, I switched into high-gear trying to find ways to be good at this thing.
Let’s be real, LinkedIn can seem super lame, and recruiters get a bad rep. The truth of the matter is the team of recruiters at Flatiron are cool. No joke. We all come from different backgrounds with different voices and are passionate about adding interesting and dedicated people to Flatiron. Cool people want to work with other cool people.
The real struggle is coming from a human place to recruit tech talent. When you google “recruiting”, horrific pictures like this show up:
I am not a natural salesman. I am someone, however, who can talk about feelings any day of the week. Finding my way as a recruiter has just been about seeing alumni stories, bonding with the product and engineering team, and really being able to articulate that what this team builds can change people’s lives.
The first time an offer got rejected, it felt like a breakup. I drank too much gin when I got the news, spent the next day watching bad reality TV, and by Sunday, I was back on LinkedIn trying to find the next best thing.
I took a cue from a rad Meetup recruiter that joined our team and hosted a sourcing party. We gathered up the entire product and engineering team, ate pizza, drank, and listened to some Beyonce while our team reached out to their connections to see if anyone was looking. Besides being a good time and connecting as a department, some great leads came out of it.
In my short time as a recruiter, the best thing I’ve learned is that by getting to know the people who already work with you, you can better reach out to those people who would be into it too. It’s as much about finding someone ready for a change and ready to switch their mission as it is finding the right fit for your team.