Finalist Q&A: Knotch Head of People, Liv Cruzat

Since most of her HR career has been in tech startups, it’s always seemed natural for Liv Cruzat to turn to technology to improve the efficiency and productivity of her department. We caught up with Cruzat, now the Head of People at Knotch and a member of the Finalist HR Advisory Board, to talk about how HR Tech is changing the game, how to get Leadership buy-in for tech initiatives, and why Finalist made sense for her company.

Finalist: How has HR Tech changed the way you do your job?

Liv Cruzat: I’ve been able to automate a lot of the parts of my job that I didn’t feel used my skills to their full potential, like administrative work and back office tasks. Now I feel like I can focus on high-level strategy. In terms of recruiting I can focus on really building a relationship with a candidate rather trying to keep track of people or the other minutiae that clogs up your brain. Now, there’s space to create and implement  cool new initiatives. That’s been a huge shift and something I’ve really appreciated. I feel like I get to be a lot more creative in the space, a lot more innovative. I’m more of a strategic partner to the company, rather than someone who just does compliance and administrative work.

F: What are the challenges in the recruiting process?

LC: The challenges vary depending on what type of organization you’re in. I’ve been in big organizations and small organizations, both B2B and B2C. For me, right now, being a one-woman HR team  at a nimble B2B company, I need as much help and resources that I can get when it comes to making an impact on recruiting.

Overall, when it comes to recruiting, almost everyone struggles with finding really qualified, active candidates. Over the last few years, especially with LinkedIn becoming a power-player within the space, we’re dealing with a lot of passive candidates. I’m looking for creative and cost-effective solutions to help us find active candidates.

F: Have you worked with recruiting firms?

LC: I have. To date, it hasn’t been super successful for me. Recruiting firms are expensive and I would prefer to make the case for another recruiter on our team. I think about it in a way that the hiring one person in-house is the cost of outsourcing a firm to hire roughly two candidates a year.

Another reason I personally haven’t had great success is because I believe no-one understands your companies brand as well as the people who work there: our employees  live and breathe it. At Knotch we have a very special brand and a unique value proposition. Transparency is at the core of everything we do and we very much view ourselves as the ‘good guys’ from a product perspective. It’s hard to have a third party like a recruiter as passionate about our mission and thus we’ve found it harder for them to dig deeper into the organization to understand what’s right for the company and the role.

That being said,  as we continue to grow and scale I do believe that recruiters can be a great compliment a talent acquisition team.  

F: What appeals to you about working with Finalist?

LC: Finalist helps with solving that big issue everyone is facing finding talented, actively job-seeking candidates. Finalist solves that for me by showing  only the silver medalists, who are talented and qualified job-seekers. . Something else that’s super cool for us, as a more nimble and resourceful startup, is the fact that I can also benefit from adding my candidates to the pool and potentially getting a share of the referral fee.

F: Do you have any advice for other HR leaders on how to get buy-in from leadership on tech initiatives?

LC: What’s important is being proactive. I make it a point to really understand our overall organization’s goals and then I put myself in a position–before anyone else can–to figure out how HR and recruiting can strategically help with company initiatives and goals.  This puts me in a natural position to get buy-in.

For example, I will take the initiative to talk to our individual teams and figure out how many people on each team need to get hired to hit those goals within the desired timeline. I work backwards from there and figure out how many candidates we need to speak to, to hit that target amount of hires. Then it’s continuing to work backwards figuring out how many resumes that will take to screen etc. I am collecting and using  as many data points as possible to help make the case for me on what my proposed solutions are to get to our goals.

The more you put yourself in a proactive position of helping your company figure out how to hit those goals, the more you’re in an innate position to build that buy-in.

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