Alla Pavlova is a renowned tech recruiter, sourcer, speaker and trainer who works with Kandidate on an advisory basis, overseeing our 40-strong sourcing team. Having been in the business for 14 years, Alla is no stranger to hypergrowth startups – they are in fact her specialty. Startups go to Alla when, for example, they need to hire 100 people in 6 months. She compares her experience of working for such companies as being “like a high-speed school of life, compressing ten years into six months”.
Alla’s views, generally, reflect the velocity of change in the recruitment sector. When asked about her advisory work with Kandidate, Alla described her job title as being a “challenger”. She observes our sourcing teams, finding any gaps and breaches in their sourcing processes and helping to build up those teams and methods with a bleeding-edge mentality.
We talked to Alla about her insights into the recruitment sector and her predictions for 2022, amongst other topics. Here’s what she had to say about the market she often represents in public forums – a market she sees as riper than ever for disruption.
Let’s take a closer look at her trend predictions.
“Don’t be afraid of automation” in the recruitment sector, she mentions first off. Alla considers recruitment to be one of the last sectors to automate. She sees the current push by disruptors toward automation in the recruitment sector as striving for a “changing machine” which is more capable of comparing teams than human analysis alone. At Kandidate we don’t view automation as a rainbow-perfect, 360° solution to meeting hiring needs – which is precisely why we adopted a hybrid, collaborative approach with our partners. Coincidentally or not, two of our most recent collaborations underway are with Trivago, the travel company, and Miro, a visual collaboration software firm – both of which can safely be called disruptive in their respective fields.
Alla expects the market to become more and more data-driven. “It’s the next step for hiring managers”, in her own words. The industry is changing extremely fast as it is, she observed, “and no one is sad about it because change is good”. The implementation of data-based I.T. in recruiting will be, in her words, “driven by different and better science and better questions in 2022; with better tools, better optimizations and better approaches”. That said, Alla noted that most publications’ annual predictions, in her experience, turn out to be false!
Nonetheless, she herself is as bullish about A.I. in the recruitment business as other industry-watchers are elsewhere. Like, for instance, in the gaming business, where she mainly works as a recruitment advisor. Yet it’s not all about data or an A.I. revolution. Interestingly, Pavlova touched on a humanistic twist to the recruitment modus operandi which also strikes a chord of transformation. Pavlova says that her own work process has already changed from the traditional headhunting model to a novel approach to recruiting, which is partly why she works with Kandidate. In the old days, she said, the recruiter was like a hunter. “Now it’s not about running to your hires,” she added. Now it’s about making people run into you.”
“The best companies stand out because of their relationships with partners,” she added. Whereas headhunters’ roles have long been something of a one-shot, or at least a hit-and-miss deal, today’s recruiters “want to be part of the table. We want hiring managers to trust us. We strive to be caring, diverse, loyal. It’s less of a consultant- and more of a partner-based model,” as she described it. Empathy is a key concept for her; so is the law of karma. She explained why as follows.
In a world with so many possibilities for candidates, it’s imperative, from her point of view, to cleave closely to each special situation – as opposed to simply repeating the old-fashioned, scatter-gun approach. She herself is not interested in executive hires because this area requires a big network, as she sees it, and a recruiter risks spending too much time expanding his or her own network at the cost of making the best possible hires. “It’s more about meaningful connections instead,” she explained. “We try to contribute before asking our partners for something.”
OLD VS. NEW HIRING MODELS
As opposed to the old model – the on-success agreement whereby a client also pays for the placements their recruiter has not completed – Kandidate’s hybrid approach specifically avoids passing on these costs and inefficiencies to our clients. One reason the incumbent model doesn’t work, according to Kandidate CEO Alex van Klaveren, is that it can quickly lead to client/recruiter burnout, which in turn leads to restarting the hiring company’s entire recruitment process – from identifying another recruitment firm to getting it right with the new firm. All of which sucks up time and money, when time is possibly the most precious commodity of all in an entrepreneurial world.
The recruitment sector is extremely competitive, she confirmed, before getting into more detail. “Agencies are like butchers,” she continued, by way of example. “They send 100 emails a day to as many profiles… Kandidate, on the other hand, spends hours and hours on reachout. Rather, we seek to elicit happy, relevant, meaningful replies.” She goes one further from her emphasis on quality over quantity when she says, “We [actually] reject clients”- if the fit isn’t right. Of course, Alla works on sourcing governance as opposed to directly with clients: however, her oversight is 20/20.
This is why Kandidate is one of the recruitment sector’s top disruptors. We choose clients who are innovators, and they choose us for the same reason. The bottom line is this. “We want to work with innovators,” said Alex van Klaveren. So if you see your company as an innovator or disruptor, and if you want to work with like-minded recruitment partners – this is the Kandidate way.