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Spillin' the tea with Alison Kaizer

Welcome to another segment of Spillin' the Tea, where we sit down with a member from our Tea on Talent community, Crosschq's exclusive user community!

Today were spillin' the tea with Alison Kaizer, a global recruitment leader, start-up advisor, and the Head of Talent at Golden Ventures. Today Allison shares with us empowering advice, her short list of inspiring talent leaders to follow, and some thoughts about keeping the humanity in this high-tech future of talent acquisition.

How did you become a talent Leader? Did you know or how did you know this is the career you wanted to pursue?


I became a Talent leader kind of by accident! I had been consulting independently for a while after coming off of stints in management consulting and advertising and decided it was time to go back in-house. I sent my résumé to a recruiter at a boutique agency and she looked at it and thought that I would be a great recruiter because of my industry knowledge, business background and entrepreneurial lens! I went in for an interview and fell in love with the innovative and human-centric nature of the role. I loved the challenge of each role to fill being different and being pushed to constantly learn. It was also great going to sleep at night feeling like I’d had a positive impact on candidates’ lives.

I spent a few years in that agency and ultimately built a fairly robust tech practice for them. Then, one of my clients moved over to a start up called She reached out looking for the first in-house talent leader and after an extremely memorable eight round interview process, I got the role! The rest is history - I’ve been in the startup world ever since!


What career advice would you give to those early in their talent acquisition journeys? 

The best advice I could give anyone who is early in their talent acquisition journey is to anticipate having to be incredibly flexible in order to succeed. This is a role that is constantly changing, whether it’s the state of the market or looking at hiring for a role that you’ve never seen before. It requires incredible adaptability and resourcefulness - sometimes you have to go source for candidates, other times you will be inundated with applicants, and some offers will be declined. Every hiring manager is different, and every candidate is different. 

What can others do to empower women? 

One of the things I’ve done is use my recruitment skills to connect women to the female mentors they crave! At one point during my tenure at my last company, we had some fantastic women working across functions but unfortunately not many in executive management. If anyone asked, I would go into my network and ping strong female executives and just ask them if they’d be open to mentoring and coaching a junior member of our team! I’d offer some swag as a thank you. I don’t think a single woman ever said no to this request! Simply raising your hand and offering to help others by sharing your knowledge and experience can be so impactful. 

Who are your most influential thought leaders? 

I’ve had the privilege of connecting with some incredible thought leaders who inspire me deeply. Christine Song (currently the people leader at Knix) has been a mentor of mine for a long time. She inspires me with her content, kindness and candor, and she is the reason I ended up in my current role at Golden. She also gave me the “permission” to remain focused on talent as opposed to pushing into the HR realm, giving me confidence that there was ample room to grow as a specialist. I am so indebted to that advice. Additionally, Lorena Scott is another senior people leader who I admire. I reported to her at She’s a Harvard MBA-educated mom of 3, so basically Superwoman, and she views the function as truly strategic. She instilled in me the need for process, data, scalability, and humanity when building a talent function. She is also the most radically candid person I know, for which I am grateful.

How can we keep humanity in recruiting with the incredible rise of all this data and advances in AI?

At its core, I can’t imagine a more human function than recruitment. While I am a huge proponent of data, structure, scalability, and automation, ultimately recruitment is matchmaking. Taking the time to really chat with candidates and understand their desires from both a functional and cultural perspective is paramount to the success of any business. Human elements like having interviews in a room (real or virtual) versus relying too heavily on take-home tests or the interaction you and the candidate in providing feedback make the difference between a good and great interview process for a candidate, and often determine which company they choose to join.

What advice would you give to others in talent acquisition to navigate the rough waters? 

Just remember that talent acquisition is actually sales, operations, and strategy! A strong talent professional has incredibly transferable skills and can easily pivot into many other functions if needed. Also, recognize that client diversification can sometimes lead to stability. While many companies may not have enough hiring or resources to justify an in-house talent acquisition professional at the moment, they may turn to agencies or contractors for support. I had an incredible experience starting my career in an agency, and there are some great ones out there - many of which focus entirely on tech! You can also consider doing your own thing as an external vendor or taking on a contract. Sometimes, the fit is so great that companies decide to make the hire permanent! 

Want to hear more from Alison?

She’s going to be Spillin’ even MORE Tea on March 30th in Q/A Style talk at 9AM PST/ 12PM EST.
Register here to join us.

Jacqueline Sohl

by Jacqueline Sohl

Talent Solutions Specialist

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