Stephanie Baysinger

Recruiting Ops Lead, Open to Opportunity

1. Do you remember a time when you were happiest as a child? Where were you, who were you with and what were you doing?

These big Fourth of July (Independence Day) barbeques at my Aunt and Uncle’s house in Southern California. I’m one of the youngest of over 20 cousins and feeling so cool getting to tag along with older kids to go pick up fireworks or play games in the pool.

2. What seemed like an inconsequential decision at the time, but in hindsight turned out to fundamentally reshape your life?

In 2011 I moved to Boston, MA to give the city a try for a summer. I didn’t leave until 2020, after 9 years. In that time I gained a career in Talent Acquisition, lifelong friends, a husband and a dog. Today I’m back West in Las Vegas… I miss the city every day and still can’t believe that summer sublet turned into a fantastic decade of my life.

3. What habit or behaviour or belief have you recently acquired? Why is it now in your life?

Recognizing when “good enough” is truly enough. I have a tendency to analyze and think about how things can be tweaked or enhanced. While this mindset can be helpful in certain situations, it can also become a time-consuming black hole. I’m working on acknowledging when something is done and being content with it so I can spend more time on hobbies or personal goals.

4. What is your untrainable superpower?

I see the world through concepts and ideas and can find (sometimes weird) connection points across seemingly disparate things. In practice, this helps in strategy and operations work. I love to take messy or unbaked problems and find all the connection points (like a spiderweb). It’s really a superpower when I need to figure out how connection points impact one another.

5. What is a Ted Talk that changed your life?

This TED conversation with James Clear (Atomic Habits) from 2020 titled “The Psychological Role of Habits”. It came out during the pandemic and talks about habits during a time of so much unknown- I’ve found it helpful again recently

I was recently impacted by a layoff. This interview has tactical, actionable and helpful insights I’ve applied during this time. It’s helping me identify aspects of my work identity and how I want those to transcend to a new context. My favorite take away- “Every action is like a vote for the person you want to become”

6. What is the number one thing you would recommend every person in the world to practice from now on in order to increase their happiness and wellbeing?

Take time to detail and define your personal core values. As a leadership coach, I run a quick exercise with all of my clients. Write down your top 5 values (here’s a cheat sheet) and reflect: When do you know you’re in alignment with these values? How will you know when something is not in alignment?

7. What is that thing which is OK to ask you about, but which other people are wary to do so?

Mental health and how therapy plays a role in my life. I am really transparent about my investment in therapy and how I’ve grown to prioritize my well-being. In fact, I even list “therapy time” in my public work calendar as a non-moveable event.

8) If you wrote a ‘user manual’ for how people should interact with you, what would be the most important point in the manual?

I really enjoy debate and talking about a topic from all different points of view. As a people manager, I’ve learned this trait has some flaws. Debate and lively discussion on a topic can come across like I have a strong opinion or create confusion on expectations. I’ve started being more forthcoming on blocking out brainstorm time and then clear next steps when working in teams.

9) What do you think is acceptable today but will become taboo tomorrow?

You know, one thing that I think is becoming more taboo is referring to your company, team, or employees as a ‘family’ as part of an employer brand or engagement talk track. I could talk about this topic for hours – reach out!

10) What app or tech product have you most recently fallen in love with?

I’ve been in love with Canva for years, but the newest AI features have made me fall in love all over again. As a wildly visual person, features like Magic Design and Text to Image have been fun to play around with.

11) What’s the last image on your camera roll? Care to explain?

Screenshots of restaurant posts on Instagram. I’m going on vacation next week and have been scrolling for good food/drinks.

12. What’s the best piece of professional advice you’ve ever received? Who gave it and when?

When you have too much on your plate, simply re-prioritizing or moving things around on your to-do list is just a reshuffling act. The list is still the same length and you’re going to feel just as burdened. It’s a more important exercise to know what to omit (i.e. cross off the list), delegate or even automate!

13. What's a skill that isn’t on your resume, but your former bosses would recognize as one of the reasons you are successful?

Ability to see around corners and visualize the impact. Another operations leader helped me find a great visual for how chaotic and never-ending the job can seem. The idea was to think of myself on a river with objects flowing towards me. I’ll never be able to grab everything, but that’s not my job. My job is to look ahead and decide which items are ok to pass by right now and which are critical to catch. This visual has helped me scan my horizon as a RecOps leader to be more confident in anticipating, prioritizing, and acknowledging we can’t do it all.

14. Tell me about that one project that was a total off-the-rails disaster? What was your role in that shitshow?

I remember designing a session during a training for interviewers to role play a debrief. While I don’t think this is a bad idea per se….I was trying to do this MONTHS before anyone would have to be in a debrief situation (cyclical campus recruiting). I lost everyone’s attention. I learned a good lesson about the power of ‘just in time’ learning when we have a long timeline of events.

15. What is the optimal number of people in a team, with you in it? What roles are those people playing?

The two pizza rule always sounds nice. What’s most optimal is the diversity of strengths, working styles and backgrounds. I’ve become more aware and humble in recognizing where myself and teams don’t have knowledge or experience; putting more effort into and trying to fill those gaps.

16. What hiring heuristic do you generally go with?

Hiring for potential. I’m a coach and teacher at heart. I’ve been lucky to build 2 teams from scratch and we’ve been most successful hiring for teammates with strong self-motivation, humility, intellectual curiosity, and influencing strengths. These strengths are far more fruitful for growth than anchoring heavily on meeting every technical requirement of a job.

17. When it comes to our work and industry: what scares you most?

That talent acquisition will be increasingly viewed solely as a delivery or service function rather than integral advisors to business success. Maybe current tech layoffs have me shook? Especially considering how TA roles were in such high demand in 2020. Now, with companies implementing cost-cutting measures, the impact has been significant. I worry about a continued feast or famine approach to workforce planning and see a really huge opportunity for more reserved seats at the table for talent acquisition….tying the function directly to business strategy.

18. Do you have a secret tip, tool or trick that’s contributed to your success?

Seek to understand. In RecOps I work with other departments like IT, Legal, Finance, etc who have different KPIs, stakeholders and priorities. Do not assume everyone has the same objective for a cross-functional project. Define it and re-visit it multiple times.

19. If you could choose a different career path/profession what would it be and why?

User Experience designer. I love that folks in this field get to combine design with empathy and user-centered thinking. I love the research component, real-world impact and creativity.

20. Who would you recommend to do the next 20 Questions With … ?

Amy Wood – Amy is a true leader in the Recruiting Operations space and I don’t know where I’d be without her. Both a manager and mentor many years over.

Thank you to Stephanie Baysinger for taking 20 Questions for The Brainfood Tribune. Make sure to follow Stephanie on LinkedIn.

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