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Kelly Franco has been recruiting in the tech industry for the last 5 years creating meaningful relationships between companies and individuals. She is also a 2-time published children’s book author and enjoys bringing smiles to the faces of kids and adults alike.

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Editor’s Note: We provide a transcript of each episode to make it easy to search and read. Since robots are not ready to take over the world yet, the artificial intelligence isn’t perfect. There may be some typos in the automated transcript.

Kelly Franco (00:02):
A lot of people think that job searches, you know, are very frustrating and looking for a new job is frustrating. And it is,I was there, I had, you know, had been unemployed for four months and was full-time looking for a job and it is very frustrating and exhausting. and, and I think it’s because you’re consistently having to sell yourself.

Vincent Phamvan (00:30):
From Vyten career coaching. It’s How I Got Here.

Vincent Phamvan (00:32):
A show about business leaders, their resilience, and the stories behind their career moves. I’m Vincent Phamvan, and I’ve interviewed thousands of job candidates over the years in both recruiting and as a former corporate executive. Now I’m on a mission to help you take the next step in your career. A corporate job opening attracts an average of 250 resumes and just one person is going to get hired. It wasn’t all that long ago that I was nervous and frustrated by my job search, but it doesn’t have to be this way. You can navigate your career with confidence, spend everyday learning and drive to better yourself. You can be excited about the future. In today’s episode, we meet Kelly Franco. Who’s been in recruiting in the tech industry for the last five years where she creates meaningful relationships between companies and individuals.

Vincent Phamvan (01:23):
In addition to that, she’s also a two-time published children’s book author stick around in this episode where Kelly shares the journey behind how she became a published author while breaking into a career in tech.

Kelly Franco (01:37):
So I grew up here in the Bay area. I was one of four, one of four children. My parents were definitely go getters. I would say my dad worked an hour away and commuted, a ton you know, to provide for us. And my mom was a stay at home mom for, for all four of us. And so when my dad retired we were out of health benefits. So my mom decided to join the workforce herself. And now she’s the assistant to the controller at Google, which my opinion is so cool. [That’s awesome.] You know, I had a great childhood had family. I have a huge family, lots of siblings. Yeah. I think I really get that, that driven this from my parents and just being so heavily driven themselves

Vincent Phamvan (02:28):
In my conversation with Kelly, you can definitely tell that her family and growing up in Northern California had an impact on her overall work ethic and ultimately her career working in tech.

Kelly Franco (02:43):
I think just that, you know, that example that I gave of just my mom, you know, kind of picking up the Slack and going in and being able to provide for, for her family when my dad couldn’t. I think that was an example of, okay, even if you don’t want to do something, or if you don’t, you know, you’re calm, if you’re comfortable and being a stay-at-home mom, you know, giving everything up to, to do what’s best for your family was a big lesson for me.

Vincent Phamvan (03:15):
That’s awesome. As you were kind of transitioning out of college and into navigating the real world, what were the things that, you know now that you wish you would’ve known at the time,

What Kelly Wishes She Would Have Known After College

Kelly Franco (03:26):
One of the best pieces of advice that I’ve ever gotten was that things seem so big until you actually do it. And then after that, it seems like nothing. So I kind of wish that I, you know, knew that these things that seem so big to me at the time were just going to be another stepping stone and to not stress as much as I did. This piece of advice came from my escrow agent when I was signing the paperwork for my first property. I bought all by myself. And what he meant was, you know, things look so big and overwhelming and are just that until you do them. And then it seems like nothing. So he used the example of when you’re buying your first car, and that seems like the biggest deal, and then you do it and it’s behind you. And like, you don’t even think about it. So, you know, when I was thinking about, you know, buying this condo is the biggest deal to me, which it was. And, and then, you know, after that happened, it was, you know, a piece of cake and it just seems like another event that happened in my life. So I think thinking back, just kind of telling myself to not concentrate too much or stress too much on things that seem overwhelming. Yeah.

Vincent Phamvan (04:38):
Makes a lot of sense because of the fear of the unknown, right? Like the closing process on a condo or on a house is kind of a daunting process until you go through it and then you, then you know what to expect.

Kelly Franco (04:49):
Yeah, yeah, absolutely.

Vincent Phamvan (04:51):
So throughout your career, you’ve worked at some notable companies, some notable brands, some household names, you know, SurveyMonkey is a survey tool that pretty much everybody, I would say has had experience either building a survey or taking a survey on SurveyMonkey, Lyft, another one with how common rideshare is, and, you know, there’s only two options in the market for ride share. What were some of the things that you look for in organizations that you’re pursuing to join?

What Kelly Looks For In Potential Organizations

Kelly Franco (05:26):
I think for me culture means a lot learning more about, you know, the cultures that these companies are fostering. That is something that I always, you know, make sure I do a lot of research on and make sure I know which kind of team I’m joining, even if that means really, truly into that during the interview process, I’ve had some experiences where I hadn’t been on the best team culture wise. And so after that, this was very, very early on in my career. And so after learning that it’s something that’s always been top of mine when I’m interviewing just really drilling in not only on the company’s culture and how they operate, but also the team dynamic and how the team mates work day-to-day together. Secondly impact and growth. I think I wouldn’t want to join a company, not knowing where my growth path could lead or, you know, what are some of the challenges that I’ll be tackling? I think a lot of the reasons that people join new companies is because there’s new challenges to do. It’s not like, or to tackle, it’s not so stagnant. It’s not, you’re just kind of doing the same thing every day. You want to be challenged. That’s, what’s kind of keeps us going. So I would say those are the two big things

Vincent Phamvan (06:55):
As you’ve interviewed for your past few roles, have there been organizations and you don’t have to say the name of the company where red flags have gone up, or your yellow flags have gone up for you where it’s not a good culture, or it’s not a culture necessarily that, that you thrive in. Like, what are those yellow flags that could be a warning sign?

Yellow Flags When it Comes to Company Culture

Kelly Franco (07:15):
Sure, absolutely. I, I guess I, you know, one example that can, that comes to mind is if teams aren’t as collaborative or you know, teams that don’t work together very well or, or feel like their team members are very siloed and you just kind of come in, you do your work, you leave. I thrive on teams that are more collaborative. And so that’s, that’s been a yellow flag at some of the places that I’ve interviewed have just not having a very collaborative culture.

Vincent Phamvan (07:51):
You can always tell when you’re interviewing with somebody, whether they’re excited to be there excited and not just be there as, as in with the interview, but either as in being a part of the organization versus somebody who’s kind of going through the motions.

Kelly Franco (08:06):
Yeah, exactly. That’s very telling as well. Absolutely.

Vincent Phamvan (08:11):
So talk to me a little bit about the role of a talent source or, you know, what are the, what are the major things that a talent sourcer does and what your job seekers know about interacting with sourcers and recruiters?

Sources vs. Recruiters and Their Roles

Kelly Franco (08:25):
Yeah. So talent sourcers, the difference between a recruiter and a sourcer. At least in my experience of the company that I’ve worked at is the recruiter is someone who will kind of own the entire process, working really closely with the hiring manager and the, the inbound candidates. And that includes applicants and referrals. And then, you know, really taking these candidates through their entire process and, and and eventually closing or presenting an offer and having them accept what the Sorcerer’s role in this process is, is going out and identifying passive talent and, you know, going out into the market sending outreaches and trying to entice people to, to be interested and then, you know, getting on calls with them and, and really selling the company. I I’ve always enjoyed, I prefer that the sourcing piece, just because it’s, it’s very research space and also very creative. I find that I am able to be more creative in my writing and my outreaches and just, you know, selling SurveyMonkey or, you know, wherever company over the phone and, and really kind of, you know, letting my passion shine through.

Vincent Phamvan (09:46):
And I love this because it kind of pulls the curtain back a little bit behind the scenes for what’s going on with companies. Many companies know that your top talent in the market might be employed, might have another job, might be perfectly happy at, at that other job. And I remember throughout my career, one of the biggest career moves that I made that moved me across the country. It was a really talented sourcer who convinced me to have a conversation, convinced me to fly across the country and interview for a job that I wasn’t even really interested in at the, at the time, but like fundamentally changed my life. What are, if you are a job seeker, whether you’re a passive job seeker or an active job seeker, what are the things that our job seeker can do to stand out to companies?

What Job Seekers Can Do to Stand Out to Companies

Kelly Franco (10:35):
Yeah, I think one thing, you know, that a lot of people think that job searches, you know, are very frustrating and looking for a new job is frustrating. And it is I was there, I, you know, had been unemployed for four months and was, full-time looking for a job and it is very frustrating and exhausting. And, and I think it’s because you’re consistently having to sell yourself and to know, you know, you know, how great you are. But you know, these companies and these teams don’t know that yet. And so interviewing and networking and searching can be exhausting, especially, you know, I’m naturally an introvert. And so talking and especially talking about myself, takes a lot of energy out of me. So, so yeah, I think one of the one thing that I learned, you know, during that process was to really advocate for myself. No one really knows your worth as much as you do. And especially as a woman, I’m constantly reminding myself to advocate, advocate, advocate, even in my current role. And just constantly throughout my career,

Vincent Phamvan (11:50):
That’s such a great point because when work at a job at a company, the people at that company know how great you are and your body of work and your body of accomplishments. And sometimes it could be really easy to make the assumption that somebody else has read your resume so that they already kind of understand those things, which unfortunately isn’t always the case, or, you know, there’s a story behind something on your resume that really helps bring things to life. W you know, as your, as you are sourcing talent and as you’re going through kind of profiles on LinkedIn, what are some of the common things that either stand out in a good way or automatically remove somebody from being considered on their LinkedIn profile?

What Makes You Stand Out in a Good Way and What Gets You Removed From Consideration

Kelly Franco (12:46):
Yeah, I always, personally, I always enjoy the candidates who, or the people who sprinkle in something personal about them. I love learning about people and their stories. I think that’s also a huge part of why I love being a sourcer is because I get to learn more about what’s going on in their world and what motivates them, and what’s important to them in their career and what makes them them. And so you know, when people include some personal touches in their LinkedIn profiles, I always feel like I get a little, you know, a little bit of a peek into their, into their lives. And so that’s, and it just, it helps to also humanize, right? Like, I feel like in this job, it’s easy to just be looking at profiles and see people as profiles. And you forget sometimes that there are humans behind these, these profiles. And so getting a little peak into that humanness is what I was, I always look for.

Vincent Phamvan (13:51):
I think that’s the advantage to that. You have so much more flexibility on LinkedIn versus a resume where it’s a little bit more rigid, a little bit more formal and the norms, there are just not the same in terms of being able to put a little bit of your personality out there. Like when you think back to the person who is able to tell their story the best, what did that person, what did he or she do on their LinkedIn profile that really stood out?

Kelly Franco (14:21):
Some examples of that I can think of off the top of my head. There was a candidate I came across before that was like, you know, whatever their title was. And then you know, however many years they had in the industry. And then the third bullet was Disneyland, annual cardholder, or avid Starbucks drinker or something that you don’t see every day. I know for me, I made the decision to include the fact that I had published two children’s books. And that’s not something that, you know, you would normally put on your LinkedIn because it’s, it’s mainly for, you know, your main career, but I’ve gotten a lot of great feedback, especially from candidates who I talked to and, you know, they do their own research before our call. And they’ll, they’ll say things like that was really refreshing for me to see that. Now I feel like I know so much more about you or does anything you’ve done in your personal life, you know, volunteered. I see a lot of, you know, volunteer experience on there and that’s, that really helps to, you know, show what they’re passionate about.

Vincent Phamvan (15:33):
That’s so funny about it. But 10 years ago, I asked everybody that I knew everybody that I worked with to endorse me on LinkedIn for a skill, which a lot of people, you know, have skills on their LinkedIn. But the one I asked everybody to endorse me for was French press coffee. And I told everybody in the office that I would make them a cup of coffee to prove that my French press coffee was really awesome. And then it got to the point where that like Rose on my profile and ended up being one of the, one of my top skills, which is kind of a funny thing to have as like one of your top skills. But it’s kind of crazy how many conversations have started as a result of that. In terms of, like you said, it just kind of sparks this little thing that you end up having a conversation about, and it really makes the conversation a lot more memorable than comparing, you know, a bunch of people where their backgrounds look about the same, their profiles look about the same. And there’s not really anything that like separates and makes somebody stand out. Tell me a little bit about the process of like, what made you want to write a children’s book and like, what did you learn from that experience going through it?

Kelly’s Experience Writing Children’s Books

Kelly Franco (16:41):
Yeah. So my first book was published in 2016 and I had written this story a few years prior and it just kind of sat on my computer. It wasn’t really something, it was kind of a lofty goal for me. I was like, Oh, maybe one day I’ll do something with it. And then I had gone something gone through something pretty personal in my life. And so I needed something to really throw my, all of my energy into. And so I was like, now’s the time I feel like this is, this is probably would be the biggest distraction. And so I, I found an illustrator. I found a designer, a lawyer, an editor, you know, just kind of assembled this little team and decided that I wanted to self publish because there are two avenues you can go down when you’re publishing.

Kelly Franco (17:33):
You can either traditionally publish with a publishing house or you could choose to self publish, which is a lot more upfront work and cost. But for me, the important thing was, you know, getting it out there and in a timely manner, sometimes you traditionally publish it. It’ll take several years to get picked up. And so, and I also, the other thing was that I wanted to retain control over the decisions that were made for the book. Again, like if you, sometimes, if you go with a traditional publishing house, you don’t, you kind of hand over your rights and, and they, you know, kind of make decisions as they see fit. So, because this was my first project, I wanted to make all the decisions myself and be involved in every step that I could. And I very much was.

Kelly Franco (18:26):
And it, yeah, and it was such a labor of love and, you know, ton of work ton of, you know, late nights. But I couldn’t be prouder. And then a year later I stuck with my same team and we were able to publish a second book, which was it just been very rewarding just to have this physical project that you poured your heart and soul into and be able to share it with the world, share it with kids and just seeing kids’ reactions is my favorite thing ever. I, I do a lot of, Oh, not these days, but I, I, in the past, I’ve done a lot of school tours where I’ll, I’ll go to different elementary schools and read my story to kids and have like these author events and just seeing the way kids react to it and seeing them smile and seeing them ask questions. It’s pretty indescribable.

Vincent Phamvan (19:24):
That’s awesome. It sounds like one of those things, like you had described before that it seems like this really big, daunting thing, like I’d already even know where I would get started finding an illustrator that I loved and like finding an attorney to be able to guide through the process, but that’s really awesome for anybody who’s listening. Kelly was Check it out. The two books are a tale of two friends. So what’s really kind of incredible is like, as you tell these stories about the process of writing the book, your passion really comes through, right? You, you naturally kind of just light up because you’re talking about something that you’re excited about. I’d imagine talking to job candidates, that those are the things that really really make a difference too, as you’re having conversations with folks.

Kelly Franco (20:20):
Yeah, absolutely. I think, and that’s, what’s, you know, going back to your original question of why you joined companies, I think I’m very much a product nerd in that sense too, of I have to be passionate about the company that I’m working for. I have to believe in it or else, you know, my job isn’t authentic. You know, these conversations I have with candidates are just not authentic. So I believe in SurveyMonkey, I think SurveyMonkey is a great tool, you know, will I love talking about SurveyMonkey. And so I think that’s, that’s what makes my job so easy. It’s because it’s a product that I used most of my adult life and use still to this day, and I’ve seen the impact it has on people and customers.

Vincent Phamvan (21:07):
Tell me about the areas of the business that you support for SurveyMonkey, and what advice would you give to somebody looking to get into that functional area?

Kelly’s Advice For Becoming a Sourcer or Recruiter

Kelly Franco (21:16):
So my role is kind of unique in the, in the sense that I’m kind of branded as the pinch hitter. I can work everywhere. We have some sourcers on our team who are just on the technical side engineering design product, and then some who are just on the sales side, some who just do executive recruiting. I kind of have my hands in every pot, which is cool for me. That’s what I like about sourcing. It’s just the variety. I think if I was doing one thing all the time, I would get bored. So I enjoy learning about all the different areas of the business and getting into that.

Vincent Phamvan (21:53):
So throughout your career, you’ve had experience recruiting for a variety of roles, a pretty broad set of roles specifically on technical roles. What advice would you give to folks who are interested in a career, whether it’s in engineering, whether it’s in data science, whether it’s to, you know, to be an engineering manager, like what advice would you give to somebody who wants to be able to pursue a career in that area?

Kelly Franco (22:19):
Yeah, I think personally, so as a, as a sourcer, as someone in the recruiting function, I get a lot of people who contact me on LinkedIn and, you know, you know, multiple times a week asking about a job that we don’t even offer it SurveyMonkey and, you know, some of them are way off. And I wish that I think one piece of advice is that I would wish people would do more research when looking at a potential employer. You know, personally, I think people who don’t do their research, it’s always really easy to tell. So one piece of advice is I would say, get to know, you know, their, the company’s brand, if the certain company that you’re going after get to know their brand, their communication style look into their open jobs and contact the most applicable person at the company.

Kelly Franco (23:12):
If there’s a person at the company whose title is sales, a recruiter, for example, and you’re looking for a position within sales or engineering, like your, like your example, you would, you know, you would contact them as an example. So, you know, the head of engineering that would be probably the best person to get to. I have a story that kind of correlates with that, and this could go for both tech and non-tech when I was looking for a job, I was unemployed. So there was a lot of pressure to find a job pretty quickly. So at the beginning, I was mainly just, you know, applying blindly to job postings and not really hearing anything back. And I found that that was not working for me. So I decided to directly contact the VPs or heads of talent at the companies I was targeting and ask for just 30 minutes of their time, 15 minutes of their time, just to have a conversation.

Kelly Franco (24:13):
And a lot of times these companies didn’t even have jobs open or talent or for talent professionals. So what I found was, you know, mostly everyone was at least open to talking to me just for 15 minutes, 20 minutes. And that’s what led me to Lyft actually. And so for me, you know, being in the recruiting field for someone else that may look different, you know, VP of engineering, head of marketing, things like that, but just making those, those connections goes a long way, because then when they do have an opening, you’ll be the first person who pops up in their mind because they know you, they know your work, they have that rapport you built.

Vincent Phamvan (24:55):
Yeah. It makes such a difference when that rapport is already built versus just a buying on a website where hundreds of other people have applied for that role. And especially if the role is posted on LinkedIn, you know, as soon as there’s an easy apply button, you’re talking thousands of people that have applied for it, reaching out to somebody cold that you don’t know is somewhat terrifying. Walk me through kind of what was going through your head and kind of how you approach that.

Kelly Franco (25:24):
So the way I approached it was I want it to be very conversational. I’ve seen, you know, people reach out to me in the past that, you know, are very robotic or scripted and I wanted to, again, kind of humanize myself. And so I would literally just reach out and say, Hey, I’m Kelly, I’m in the recruiting field looking for my next role, any chance you have 15 minutes just to chat or, you know, I know that you don’t have any roles open, but you know, just like, would you be open to a conversation or just keeping it very short. That was my approach just because that’s how that’s something I would have responded to. And it went a long way. I mean, you know, like I said, I, most of the people I reached out to were interested in, at least having that conversation and a lot of them, I still keep in touch with, to this day, which you know, is again beneficial for my future career. I have those contacts. I have those relationships built.

Vincent Phamvan (26:31):
Yeah. What I love about that is short and sweet. I think a lot of people overthink it. And I know for me, if I get a, unfortunately, a lot of spam on my LinkedIn account and a lot of people who authentically reaching out and want to connect, but anytime I see four paragraphs or just a wall of text, it’s like, my brain just turns off. And, you know, I see the first and maybe the last sentence of it, but those short and sweet messages really matter to your point.

Kelly Franco (26:59):
Yeah. Because it makes you think when you see that wall of texts, it makes you kind of feel like, I guess it’s the same with, with sourcing outreaches. It makes you feel like you’re just being spammed or, or that person is sending that to lots of different people. And so you don’t feel like it’s personal. Yeah. So yeah,

Vincent Phamvan (27:19):
Some of the best advice that I’ve gotten on LinkedIn is to treat LinkedIn messages more like text messages, less like letters because you know, when you really hit the sweet spot and somebody replies, especially if you have the LinkedIn app installed on your phone and you get that notification right away, man, if you can get them while they’re actively in their inbox, a lot of the times it just turns into it, literally a chat and you’re chatting live back and forth. And nothing’s better than that, especially for trying to schedule a conversation.

Kelly Franco (27:49):
Yeah, exactly. If you could get them, like while they’re in line at Starbucks or pushing their kid on the swings of the park, if you know, those are when people are checking their emails and checking their inboxes. So part of my job is kind of figuring out those times of when people are looking at their inboxes and, you know, during the Workday, it’s not always the best, that’s, you know, part of our analytics of how we send out outreaches at a time that’s most applicable to, to, you know, people reading it, hopefully.

Vincent Phamvan (28:26):
So if you were to reach out to a head of a department, let’s say that’s a head of engineering, let’s say it’s a head of HR, head of talent. Maybe it’s a head of marketing. You know, it could be any role of what are the times that you would send that message today, knowing what you know now?

What Time of Day You Should Send Outreach Messages

Kelly Franco (28:45):
Well, so back then I sent them, I think, during the day. And I got a lot of responses, but I, I think knowing what I know now, I don’t think I would change that to be honest, because as a talent professionals, we’re, I mean, at least everyone I know has their LinkedIn profile up all the time and is always answering emails and messages on LinkedIn. So it’s part of our job. So yeah, I would say that at least for a talent professional now head of marketing or a head of engineering, I probably wouldn’t do that same thing just because chances are, they haven’t looked at their LinkedIn in months, years updated it. And so I would probably probably wait until maybe the end of the day evening time because, you know, even if they’re not looking at their LinkedIn you know, maybe they’re looking at their personal email and hopefully their LinkedIn messages are getting pushed to their, to their personal email. So I would probably say like the evening time is, you know, when people are not working as much unwinding, a little bit catching up on

Vincent Phamvan (30:02):
Personal stuff. Yeah. I agree that 8:00 to 9:30 PM time. I know for me, that’s when I dig out of email jail. If I’m backlogged that’s that’s exactly. When I dig myself out, there might be folks right now who are thinking, gosh, during a pandemic, I should just be happy that I have a job, but they might not be happy at that job. Like, what are the considerations that somebody should think through right now, as they’re considering whether they should stay or whether they should start pursuing a new opportunity?

Advice For Development Whether You Are Employed or Unemployed

Kelly Franco (30:35):
Yeah. I think you bring up a good point of, you know, being in this, you know, pandemic world that we’re, we’re just kind of like, like you said, you’re, you’re lucky to still be employed. So, you know, you just need to stick it out and just be thankful going back to what motivates me. If you’re not being challenged, if you feel like your day to day is getting kind of stagnant and you’re not learning then that’s a major red flag that I would say that I would, you know, encourage someone to show, at least start looking to see what else is out there. You never know. My philosophy is always have your, your eyes open to what else is out there because, you know, you don’t know what you don’t know. And so, like you said earlier in your case that you ha when, if I have even known of so yeah, I would say, you know, not being challenged, not not learning as an individual. And you know, I know sometimes people will be at companies for many, many years, and then, you know, the company decides to go different way or new leadership comes in and things kind of change to maybe not that person’s liking. And so, you know, that has, you know, sparked some, a lot of, you know, at least based on the candidates that I’ve talked to that’s has sparked interest in, in looking elsewhere.

Vincent Phamvan (31:58):
It sounds like it’s never a bad idea to keep your LinkedIn profile up to date.

Kelly Franco (32:03):
Never a bad idea. Yeah, like I said, I always enjoy talking to the people who are like, well, I mean, I’m, I’m super happy. I just want to know what else is out there. I just want us, and I think that’s the best mindset to be in is even if you are super happy and are being challenged and are learning, you know, you never know what else is out there. And so I’m just being super forward-thinking.

Vincent Phamvan (32:29):
Yeah. I had a manager at one point, tell me, always take the call. And I always thought it was, it was odd for my manager at the time to tell me that. But one of the life lessons that I learned, it’s always good to take the call when you get a call from a sourcer, from a recruiter at another company. Because if you say, no, there’s a good chance somebody on your team might get that call next. And it’s never a bad idea to know what you’re going to be up against in terms of trying to retain your talent too. If you’re a manager on a teams what’s tell me about a mistake that you’ve seen somebody make during a job search process and how can somebody avoid that?

Kelly Franco (33:06):
I mean, kind of going back to not doing enough research and, and I don’t expect a lot of research, especially I’m reaching out to people who may have not even known about SurveyMonkey, you know, an hour ago. And so I don’t expect people to do a ton of research, but at least after the first conversation and, and it, you know, if they want to move forward, I think setting yourself up for success is the best thing you can do. And you can do that by doing research into the company. And like I said, you know, getting to know their brand and, and anything else that, that you could use in your, in your interview and ask questions about, I think SurveyMonkey especially is a company that’s founded not asking questions. So we value people who are curious and asking questions all the time and, and kind of going deeper. And so I think the most research you can do, even if you are a passive candidate and, you know, someone reached out to you, it’s still your job as a, as a candidate to bring those questions and to bring that insight. If, if it is in fact, a company that you weren’t initially interested in, but you know, the more conversations you had, you got more interested. I think something that can really set you up for success is, is making sure you do that research.

Vincent Phamvan (34:28):
Tell me about what you did to prepare for your interviews at SurveyMonkey. How much time did you spend preparing and what were some of the things that you researched or looked into?

How Long You Should Spend Preparing For an Interview and How to Prepare.

Kelly Franco (34:38):
Oh, I had been following SurveyMonkey for years, and I had always kind of seen them as one of my North star companies. And I was like, wow, I would love to work for them one day. And so I had reached out to, I had, when I was unemployed, I had gotten a referred in not for a particular job, but just to just kind of have an open conversation. And I talked to one of our recruiters and had kind of, you know, it wasn’t the right timing, but had kept in touch with him for a really long time. And, you know, I checked in a few times like, Hey, are you guys hiring it? Are you guys hiring it? And finally our, they had just hired a new head of sourcing. And so it was, I was at Lyft at the time.

Kelly Franco (35:23):
And it was, I finally felt like the right time. The reason that I had initially entertained SurveyMonkey was because, like I said, they were, you know, had always been a company that I had looked up to. So the more I had, I got more and more excited. I use those conversations as data points of, you know, in making my decision. And so, so yeah, I, I mean, I pro I prepared a lot for my, from my interviews at SurveyMonkey because I, it was important to me and it was, you know, I told myself if this is somewhere that you really want to work, and this is something that you’ve been wanting for a long time to really give it your all and to, and to prepare as much as I could.

Vincent Phamvan (36:08):
I was talking to a group of job seekers a week or two ago. And somebody in the group said, I always spend about eight hours preparing for panel interviews. And it was really interesting because there were other people in the group who were kind of surprised by that statement. But I think what’s really telling me though, is that if you’re a job seeker and you don’t do that, that means that you’re likely up against somebody else who has done that level of research. And, you know, that research in terms of table stakes, just, you know, especially when you have a publicly traded company, there’s so much information out there and available earnings reports to be able to understand what initiatives and what priorities a company has right now. And potentially even to be able to have a conversation about how projects that team is working on, could contribute to the overall organization’s goals. And so, you know, there’s so much out there, but I know back when I was working in recruiting, like one of my pet peeves, maybe pet peeve is the wrong word for it. But, you know, I was always surprised by candidates who had asked questions where the answer was literally like on the career website. And it kind of just showed the, that person didn’t do the legwork to be able to learn it themselves before asking the question.

Kelly Franco (37:30):
Yes. Yeah, I totally agree. I get, I get that a lot. And like I said, I give candidates a pass when that happens, because, you know, I reached out to them, but the more they move through the process and, you know, if they still haven’t, you know, they’re still asking those kinds of questions or you know, still aren’t, you know, bringing their best self in terms of knowing about the company. I think that can really hurt them.

Vincent Phamvan (38:00):
Yeah. what’s something that you failed out recently and what’d you learn from the process?

How Kelly Has Learned From Failures

Kelly Franco (38:10):
So to me, failure is, is about not meeting expectations, others as well as my own. So every quarter we have metrics that we’re encouraged to hit and, and truth be told this last quarter. I didn’t, I didn’t hit my off her goal for the quarter. And there are lots of factors that, that play into this. You know, every role that I’m working on, every search has a story. And you know, while there isn’t any penalty for not hitting our goals, I, I personally feel that I, that I failed and I’m very hard on myself and that sucked, but what I, what I did was I worked twice as hard this quarter and, and really, you know, dedicated myself and, and I’m on track to hit my goal, hopefully this quarter. So I think it’s all about the rebound and, and what you, what you learned from it.

Vincent Phamvan (39:08):
Yeah, absolutely. What are some of the best resources that have helped you along the way throughout your career?

Kelly’s Most Helpful Career Resource

Kelly Franco (39:17):
Having a mentor or a variety of mentors has really helped me having someone you can bounce ideas and questions off of. I would, I would strongly suggest that, and it doesn’t have to be someone on your, my mentors are actually people who are outside of talent, acquisitions or leaders within the organization that I’ve grown really close with. And just get as much advice as you can you know, solicited or not. You know, feedback is fuels as we like to say it, SurveyMonkey and know the more feedback you can get from people who have gone through the, these a lot of these same situations is best.

Vincent Phamvan (40:00):
Tell me about one of your mentors and how did that relationship come to be?

How to Develop a Relationship With a Mentor

Kelly Franco (40:05):
Yeah, so one of one of my mentors is another leader within the company not in talent acquisition. And I had worked with her on filling a few of her roles within her organization. She’s at the VP level, and we really just kind of bonded over, over the search. And, you know, she had said many times still loved from people that she loved my work work ethic and, you know, saw how professional I was. And I quickly realized that she was, you know, one of my biggest champions and someone that I could, you know, really, and I could really use that you know, just in terms of, of getting advice and, and bouncing things off of, like I said, so so yeah, I think that’s, you know, it kind of came through in a natural way, but, you know, I really honed in on it because I, I, you know, I think one of the most important things is, is identifying your champions and knowing who your biggest supporters are and, and really channeling that and leveraging them.

Vincent Phamvan (41:14):
Yeah. The language their champions ends up being really important too, because you were talking about earlier in this episode, being able to advocate for yourself, and a lot of the times in the job search process or in the promotion process, if you have a champion advocating for you, oftentimes that’s even better than advocating for yourself. Totally.

Kelly Franco (41:34):
Yep. Yeah. And, and that was, you know, we do quarterly or by yearly feedback cycles. And I made sure to include her in that because I knew that, you know, I, I, she would have a lot of great things to say, and she would be instrumental in my career.

Vincent Phamvan (41:55):
Last question for you, where can our listeners connect with you online?

Kelly Franco (41:59):
So I’m on LinkedIn Kelly Franco SurveyMonkey. And even like you mentioned earlier, my website for my books is Those are probably be the best two places to contact.

Vincent Phamvan (42:15):
Awesome. Well, Kelly, thank you so much for joining me on this episode.

Kelly Franco (42:18):
Thank you for having me, Vincent,

Vincent Phamvan (42:22):
Thank you so much for listening to the show this week. If this podcast was helpful to you, the best thing that you can do to support is please consider rating and reviewing the show on Apple podcasts. This helps us help more people just like you move towards the life that they desire. Visit our podcasts on Apple podcasts. Then scroll to the bottom, tap the rate with five stars and just leave a sentence or two about what you loved most about this episode. You can subscribe wherever you listen to your podcasts, or you can write at I’m Vincent Phamvan, and you’ve been listening to how I got here. This podcast is brought to you by Vitan career coaching.

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