I am the Talent Acquisition Director for DNSFilter, a cybersecurity company that specializes in security via DNS. I was hired to build a recruitment function from the ground up. We are currently creating a scalable and predictable hiring process so we can attract amazing talent while keeping up with the company’s rapid growth.
Tell us about your team!
How big is it?
We have two incredibly talented recruiters on the Talent Acquisition team. We have a Senior Technical Recruiter and an Operations Recruiter.
Where are your teammates located?
They both happen to live in Texas - one in Houson and the other in Austin!
What does your team do? What are you responsible for?
Our team is responsible for curating the hiring process to ensure a great candidate experience and a great hiring manager experience. We strive to make every candidate feel prepared, encouraged, and excited at every step on their interview journey and we want all of our hiring partners to find incredible people to fill our open roles. We focus on finding the perfect fit for every open role while hitting goals for rapid headcount growth.
What are the components of a strong remote culture?
Transparency and respect allow remote cultures to thrive.
When leaders take an active role in ensuring everyone feels “invited to the table” it ensures remote employees feel connected to the company mission, values, and business objectives. A regular cadence of All Hands meetings, department updates, 1:1s, and lunch and learns are great ways for employees to be informed of key things happening within the organization.
It is also helpful to hire people who demonstrate respect. At DNSFilter, when a colleague says they are going to get something done, you can trust that they will deliver. The team never has to guess if work is actually getting done. And because of our remote culture, different perspectives and unique backgrounds lend themselves to creative solutions to complex problems.
Respect is so important to us that demonstrating respect is one of our five core values.
Strong remote cultures are built on strong connections. Strong connections are built with Hailey.
How do you make sure your team is happy and engaged in their work?
We’re in the cyber security space so we have an endless amount of engaging challenges to tackle to serve the needs of our customers. We feel very united around the common objective of protecting our customers from threats. It gives us a sense of purpose beyond a paycheck. We obviously have a lot of security savvy people on the team who love sharing what they know and what they’ve heard, and we do our best to help share that knowledge both internally through lunch and learns, but also externally. A lot of the conversations that happen in our Slack wind up on our blog or on our social accounts. Giving the microphone like that to our employees makes us all more cybersecurity aware, and it keeps them engaged.
But beyond that, everyone has regular 1:1s with their managers, so there are consistent check-ins where employees can raise any issues they have. We also create top-down goals. We set them at the company level, then department, and then individual. But everyone is responsible for creating their own goals. It’s not something their manager tells them to do—they get to think about what needs to be accomplished at a department and company level and then create a unique goal that they can achieve in that quarter. This gives them ownership and control of the goal, allowing them to solve whatever challenge is in front of them their way. Their manager is there for support and can provide guidance, but this enables our employees to be more engaged in their work.
We also create top-down goals. We set them at the company level, then department, and then individual. But everyone is responsible for creating their own goals.
What's your biggest challenge as a remote leader?
At the moment, the biggest challenge is a puppy that likes to come into my home office and interrupt meetings :) Other than that, I’m always looking for ways to recognize my team for a job well done. It can be challenging not to be able to share a congratulatory lunch or leave a small gift at their desk, so I have to get creative when thinking of ways to say “thanks for being awesome.”
My Remote Manager Toolbox
I have tried a variety of remote activities with teams I’ve managed throughout the years. Some have included virtual Cribs (i.e. video house tours of everyone’s homes), virtual happy hours, and virtual coffee chats. At DNSFilter, we have a bi-weekly happy hour.
In the past we have had a few competitive rounds of Google Feud and lots of trivia!
Typically the most popular have been icebreakers that involve photos. We like to share pictures of our home lives to kick things off. For example, around Halloween we shared pictures of our favorite costumes.
Products & Tools
Our team lives and breathes Slack. It is the way we communicate all day every day and keep each other in the loop. We also use Zoom and have a video-on policy so that we’re always “face to face” even when we’re hundreds of miles away.
Resources for remote leaders
There are so many! Lately, I’ve been listening to the All Things HR podcast and the HR Leaders podcast.
Make your company a great place to work
"Adding Hailey has been by far the lowest effort, highest impact thing we’ve done to bring our globally scattered team together!" - Mary Grace Reich