Recruiter Spotlight with Anya Voronova
Originally from the Ukraine, Anya Voronova was looking to pick up a new language when she moved to Berlin. Instead, she ended up taking on a much bigger challenge: recruiting for SoundCloud, a company that helps millions of people connect with artists using dozens of languages across the Internet.
Anya has always been drawn to the music world, which was among the reasons she found Berlin so appealing. Years prior to working for SoundCloud, Anya used the platform to find new musicians and DJs. As an employee and tech recruiter, she's discovered that SoundCloud is more than just a great company that discovers musical talent. The cultural experiences and the high-level talent that she's surrounded by on a daily basis at SoundCloud ensure that she never gets bored.
We recently sat down with Anya to learn more about her experiences with SoundCloud, her insights into how to stand out in the application process, and what SoundCloud is doing to promote a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Read on to learn more!
What's it like working for SoundCloud?
It's a great atmosphere. In Berlin, we have a recording studio in the office and a DJ booth in our cafe. On Friday mornings anybody can perform and spin some records.
And now, while working from home, we've learned how to preserve that sense of community virtually—we have lots of Slack channels where people can share music to try to keep their spirits up.
High-level, what qualities are you looking for in candidates?
It derives from our values. We're looking for candidates who are open to feedback and open-minded in general, with a willingness to learn and to grow. We also try to find people who are not ego-driven, and people that just have positive attitudes.
What is one thing you love to see on a resume?
I really love when the applicant mentions specifically what they're looking for somewhere in the header. I also really like a concise CV. One to two pages is great.
Have any candidates pleasantly surprised you in the last few weeks by doing something particularly creative? What made them stand out?
One person recently designed the whole layout of their resume with SoundCloud branding. I liked that. I always like to check out their SoundCloud profiles, too. Sometimes people include them in their applications and you can check out their playlists, or you'll discover they're actually a DJ!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone getting ready for an interview with you, what would it be?
It's probably cliche, but just be yourself. If you don't know something, especially in the later stages, just admit it. It's always good to say, "Yes, I didn't know that. But I want to learn."
What does SoundCloud do to help women and minorities thrive at work?
At SoundCloud, I really appreciate the diversity and inclusion. It's not just something that HR does; it's a business imperative. It comes from the executives. We have an anonymous survey every year. Based on the results, we design a diversity, equity, and inclusion action plan. And leadership commits to taking those actions.
Last time we did the survey we recognized that we needed additional support, so we started hiring D&I consultants as well. Now there are lots of mentorship and coaching programs. Every leader committed to personally mentoring two people from marginalized groups. The company also provides mental health resources, unconscious bias training, and allyship and ally skills training.
One example of this work in action that I find really cool is that you can go on our internal system and add your pronouns to your profile to tell others how you want to be addressed. We also practice using gender neutral pronouns as a team.
I think it's basically just trying to create inclusive environments where everybody can thrive…. We're always trying to get feedback to grow and improve.
Obviously 2020 has been a challenging year on multiple fronts. What's one thing SoundCloud has done in the face of those challenges that's made you particularly proud to work there?
SoundCloud established a community fund with one million in initial investments that they're going to spend on causes like advancing social justice and supporting mental health. We've asked for feedback from employees, so anyone can nominate an organization that they think donations should go towards.
Before we go, tell me a little bit about yourself outside of work. What do you enjoy doing?
I play lots of sports, especially during quarantine. I'm also vegan, and I'm into all kinds of vegan cooking, and discovering vegan restaurants. I'm also a foster mama for cats. While these animals look for a forever home, I foster them. And of course, I live in Berlin, so I also like dancing and partying!
To learn more about SoundCloud and their open roles, check out their company page on the PowerToFly website -- they're hiring!
Living in the midst of a pandemic has brought about a whole host of changes and challenges for workplaces and employees. One of the most notable? Virtual interviewing. With most on-site interviews on hold for the foreseeable future, it's important that you be prepared to make a great first impression—virtually.
Our friends at global tech software company Relativity were kind enough to share their top tips for nailing your virtual interview.
To help applicants understand how they can stand out, Fernando Sierra Jr., Video and Photo Specialist at Relativity, asked three of his colleagues to share their advice:
- Savrut Pandya, Senior Sourcer
- Judene Hylton, Senior Recruiter
- Brendan McLaughlin, Senior Recruiter
Read on below for their tips or watch the full video here.
1.) Set-up and Appearance Are Key
Savrut Pandya, Senior Sourcer, says setting the scene can make all the difference in making a stellar first impression. So how do you go about that? He recommends that you:
- Be interview ready at least 30 minutes ahead of time. Turn on your device and make sure that it's working, and that you have a strong Internet connection. There's nothing worse than turning on your computer minutes before an interview to discover that your system needs to install mandatory updates before you can log in -- UGH!
- Familiarize yourself with the meeting software. Many companies are using Zoom to conduct virtual interviews. If you've never used the software before, download the free version and make sure that you know how to navigate the platform. You'll feel much calmer the day of the interview if you know the ins and outs of the program.
- Open all necessary applications, documents or browser tabs. It's always a good idea to have any documents that you may want to reference for the interview pulled up and ready to view. Pro tip: also make sure that you minimize or close any tabs that are not relevant to your interview. They may be distracting.
- Appearance, appearance, appearance. The appropriate attire and atmosphere may vary from company to company. Make sure to check in with your potential employer to confirm what the ideal dress code may be, just as you would if you were going into the office for the interview.
2.) Communicate Effectively and Clearly
Senior Recruiter Judene Hylton notes that communication is even more important in a virtual setting. She suggests that you:
- Have a notebook and pen handy. Get back to basics and jot down notes during the interview to show your interviewer that you are listening and retaining important information. Don't resort to note taking on the computer in front of you. Keyboards make a lot of noise!
- Avoid using "yes" and "no" answers. Interviews should flow like a conversation, not just Q&A. Elaborate on your responses with examples of previous experiences, and tell stories when appropriate. Let your interviewer find out more about who you are as a prospective employee.
- Listen to the entire question or statement before you reply. Don't jump the gun and respond too quickly. Listen thoughtfully to your interviewers, and make sure that they are finished speaking before you rush to answer.
3.) Don't Forget To Prep
Brendan McLaughlin, Senior Technology Recruiter, says that preparation is key. He recommends three key steps:
- Do your research. Don't just read the job description. Top candidates take the time to research the company, the industry, and the company's competitors so that they can better prepare themselves and ask well-thought-out questions.
- Figure out who is interviewing you. Do some digging on LinkedIn to learn more about your interviewer's background. You never know if you may have something in common with the person that you're speaking with. There's no better way to break the ice than by establishing some common ground before you dive into the interview.
- Review the job description. Make sure that you review the job description, and write down any questions you may have about the role. Make sure you have a copy of the job description on hand so that you can reference it during the interview. (This is one benefit of getting to do the interview virtually!)
4.) Go for a strong finish
Don't just leave the meeting when the interviewer stops asking questions. Brendan has a few tips on how to finish on a high note:
- Make sure to ask questions. Prepare a few questions before the interview, but also ask for clarification on anything that came up during the interview that you may be curious about.
- Thank the interviewer for their time. A simple acknowledgement can go a long way!
- Express your desire for the role, and explain why you are the best candidate for the job. A lot can happen during an interview. It's important to highlight how you can bring value to an organization at the end of an interview. It's the last thing that your interviewer will remember about the conversation. Make it a strong statement.
- Make yourself available for any follow-up or additional conversations. Provide availability for future interviews before you sign off. This will show that you're thinking about next steps, and that you're eager to learn more about the role.
Interviewing is a skill. Whether in-person or online, it's important to prepare yourself before you step into the hot seat.
Want to put your virtual interview skills to the test by applying to one of the open roles at Relativity? You can view them here.