Alison Daley calls herself "the accidental recruiter." She spent ten years working in the industry but "never really grown in any of my positions in recruiting. I've never been promoted."
While she did quality work, she was a misfit in the industry. Alison also "didn't really like the way that tech recruiting market had been going" because of the lack of support recruiters receive in developing the skills they need to succeed. As well as the high rate of attrition.
At the same time, she was hearing about "tech people hating recruiters, and they don't know what we're talking about."
Because of these challenges, she decided to shift gears by attending a UX (User eXperience) boot camp. Alison immediately landed a new job working as a UX researcher, which led to some unexpected realizations.
Alison reflects, "it wasn't until I left recruiting, went into another industry, and then realized that the sum of the secret sauce in that other industry was actually the missing link for where I'd come from" as a tech recruiter.
She wondered, "Is no one out here solving for the problem that recruiters don't talk tech?"
This disconnect has major implications for business success that served as the catalyst for Recruiting Innovation. "Recruiting isn't like a nice to have function. That is a critical business unit. So let's invest in the people in these teams and let them be more successful, which makes literally everyone involved more successful."
Four months after quitting her UX job, Alison had an opportunity to test her business idea by offering a workshop at a Tech Recruiting conference. It forced her to turn her training ideas into something tangible. "I had no list. I've never hosted an event, I had no brand recognition, I was just hobbling this thing together."
The results from the test were positive, the conference was a success. "The feedback was we loved hearing from technologists, we loved hearing about their work, but we want to go deeper. And I hadn't thought past the conference." A friend introduced Alison to a curriculum designer and that's when she realized she needed to bring the content online.
Alison reflects, "I didn't need to know totally where I was going. I just knew that it had to be done. And I was open to the journey unfolding, as it did. Obviously, I'm steering the boat, I'm rowing. But it's sort of like you have to ride the rapids a little bit and see where you end up."
Alison quickly realized that being an entrepreneur was vastly different than working as an employee. She wisely asked a few friends for recommendations for coaches because "my brain as an employee isn't going to be the person that's going to build a very successful business, I'm going to need to break out of the last 10 years of my career and actively create, who I'm going to become."
While there were so many new experiences and challenges on her entrepreneurial journey, Alison loved what she was doing. "When they say you better be passionate about the problem that you're trying to solve. It's not a joke, because there are dark dark days, and you'll end up so deep in that you can't go back and so then how do you keep going forward? Because you have that higher calling."
To conclude the interview, Alison shared what co-creating looks like at Recruiting Innovation. Shortly after launching, she met a few other women entrepreneurs in tech. "We ended up creating a power circle, where we would meet once a month, and we became each other's board." The support she received from her power circle, as well as collaborations with other professionals in tech as well as the curriculum designer have been critical for her success. "I wouldn't have gotten here, if it wasn't for these awesome people around me that were able to do the parts of the job that I knew I couldn't do."
Alison shares many helpful insights and memorable maxims for braving the entrepreneurial journey in this episode of Co-Creators in Conversation. Check out the full episode here.
Connect with Alison and Recruiting Innovation
Alison Daley on LinkedIn