Susie:
Hi! Do you want to start off telling us your name and your position at GumGum?

Amanda:
My name is Amanda Vialpando and I'm a talent acquisition partner. I support the business/non engineering teams within the organization.

Susie:
So what was your professional journey like before GumGum?

Amanda:
Before GumGum, I worked at two other companies. When I first began in the industry, I started at Aerotek, which is one of the top recruiting agencies in the country. It’s kind of up there with Robert Half. I started in the professional services division, which focuses a lot on administrative customer support. I stayed for a year, and then decided to move to LA. I moved in with my grandparents  here in Downey and started looking for another job. I got recruited by Internet Brands and accepted a job there. That was really my first job in the tech space and I loved it! I worked there for a couple of years on the recruiting team, with about 30 other recruiters. We recruited domestically, from San Francisco, up in the Bay Area to Texas, New York and New Jersey so it was pretty spread out all over the place. While I was working there, one of the previous recruiters from GumGum sent me a message on LinkedIn, saying they were looking to build out their first recruiting team. I wasn’t very familiar with GumGum, but I had heard good things and came in for an interview. I thought the people were great and the office was amazing. What appealed to me about the role was being instrumental in building up the TA function, especially on a global scale. And then, here we are today! I’ve been here for a little over two years now. It’s gone by so quickly. In a good way!


Susie:
That's quite a journey. What inspired you to want to become a recruiter?

Amanda:
That's a good question. Like many other recruiters, I kind of just fell into it. I was coaching Club Volleyball for about five years, even while I was playing in college. There were about 200  kids enrolled at the club and we were very cordial with all the parents. And one of the fathers from one of the older teams approached me about a possible job opening at his company (Aerotek). He's like, "Hey. I love watching you coach. I think you do very well with the girls. And the way you speak and present yourself. And I understand you just recently graduated from college not too long ago. Are you looking for a job?" And I was like, "Actually I am. I'm just so busy with coaching here at the club and the high school." And I was working retail at Nike at the time, and he was like, "Well, maybe you should come interview at my company. We have an opening for a recruiter." I'm like "Recruiting? What's recruiting?" I just didn't understand the concept of it, and he walked me through it.  He explained it was like relationship building...understanding the needs and wants of not only the clients, meaning the companies, but also what candidates are looking for as well. So kind of like a matchmaker in a sense. And I was like, "Oh, that sounds cool. I like talking to people and getting to know them, and understanding what motivates them and things like that. So I went in for the interview and got the job. 

Susie:
 Wow. That's a cool story. I mean, not knowing what it is, and then just kind of going with it. And, I think the way that you explained it, about relationship building and kind of like a matchmaker, that's a very simplistic explanation.

Amanda:
Yeah. Recruiting and hiring and talent acquisition. It's all about... it's dating at the end of the day. The candidates are essentially dating us throughout the interview process, to see if they want to work for us. And then as a company, we're interviewing them, and "dating them," if you will, to see if they're going to be a good fit for us as well. 

Susie:
Definitely. So what are some challenges that you have faced in your career?

Amanda:
I think right now, the biggest challenge is  all the competition in the job market, especially in the tech space. In  recent times, we’ve had historically low unemployment rates and more jobs than people to fill them. It's what we call a candidate's market - meaning that candidates, at any given point in time, could be in communication with multiple companies at a time and could have two to three  offers on the table. So there's competition in the landscape. And the tech space moves so quickly. They want the best of the engineers, the best of the sales people, account managers, marketers,  etc.. We need to constantly be re-assessing  our strategy and approach to hiring, but I think that’s what makes it fun! 

Susie:
Great. Can you give a more technical description of your role?

Amanda:
I think historically, recruiting has just been viewed as just, "fill the headcount.” But it's really evolved into a lot of different channels now which can range from business alignment/relationship building, pipeline and sourcing strategy, to candidate experience, content and employer branding, technology,  analytics, compliance, onboarding, and so on. I think employer branding, also known as recruitment marketing, has been very important lately. Think of recruitment marketing as similar to corporate marketing. Your marketing team is there to help market your products, understand the market, understand competitors, positioning, lead gen, content creation, and other things of that nature. And recruitment marketing does the same thing, just from an employment perspective.  These efforts share the employment journey of the company -- What's it like to work at this company? What are some things that we can highlight? What are some things that set us apart from other companies, especially in the tech space? Is it our benefits, company culture, internal mobility, employee engagement,  events, leadership, values, or general growth and development?  What are ways we can help the talent pool resonate with GumGum? So those are some of the different snippets that go into recruitment marketing. So again,  there's certainly  the day to day grind of sourcing, interviewing, and managing the process, but then there's a lot of operational stuff too, from platforms, content, recruitment marketing, talent branding, and even working cross functionally with the  broader HR team for overall talent management.

Susie:
Recently, you were recognized as a top LinkedIn recruiter. Could you tell us how that came to be and what that means to you?

Amanda:
I was very surprised that I had received that! I'm a very humble person. I'm always just focused  on the little tasks, and day to day activities. So I think as a recruiter, you do really have to be self motivated. Have that grit as well as that grind. To be able to find that needle in a haystack if you will. Whether that's reaching out to hundreds of people a week, or viewing thousands of profiles a month, you have to make sure that you can attract the best talent. I think that's what it means to be a top recruiter. You're very self-aware in the market. There’s a lot of market research, assessing a lot of people's skill sets and talents, and sometimes, they might not be the best fit. But that's  a part of your job too: To re-engage them, maintain those relationships  and think like, "Hey, they might not be a good fit for the company now, but they might be a fit later on down the road.” So, you're really out there being an ambassador for the company.

Susie:
What would you say your proudest moment in your career is?

Amanda:
My proudest moment was sourcing and hiring my boss, our Director of Talent Acquisition, Yasmin. And for those that don't know the terminology, “sourcing” means I'm the one that approached her, found her on LinkedIn, sent her that email, and started the conversation from there. And I think that was my proudest moment. Because if this person is potentially going to be my new manager, they're seeing my work live in action, from my communication, to my outreach message, to how I describe GumGum and how I get them excited about us. It felt great to bring in our first director of talent acquisition at GumGum! 

Susie:
Not a lot of people can say that they got to hire their own manager or boss. So, that's a great achievement! So last question: Do you have any advice for the women of GumGum? Either about your career, your experience at GumGum or just in general?

Amanda:
I think at an organization at GumGum where the female to male ratio is pretty even, you have so much  opportunity to connect with so many brilliant, driven  and innovative women.  Even having a program like this at GumGum shows we are intentional at recognizing our value and self worth. Continue to be a resource to each other, learn from each other, and uplift each other.  

Susie:
Great advice, thank you so much for being here today and good luck in your future endeavors!

Amanda Vialpando (Talent Acquistion Partner) interviewed by Susie Larriva 

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