We had the pleasure of interviewing Taline Ainein, a talent acquisition specialist with A Thinking Ape. Taline was a part of our #aspiretotech campaign and we wanted to learn more about her and why she chose a career in tech. Here’s what she had to say:
BC Tech: Tell us a bit about your early years and where you’re from…
Taline: I was born in Montreal but went to elementary school in Lebanon. My family and I moved to Vancouver in 2006 and have called it home since. I grew up in downtown Vancouver and went to a very small high school called King George Secondary (it’s right by English Bay). I studied at the University of British Columbia and did a double major in Finance and HR at the Sauder School of Business with an exchange semester in Bangkok, Thailand.(For those of you thinking of doing an exchange semester abroad, don’t think twice!)
BC Tech: How did you end up in tech?
Taline: Before graduating university I did a lot of research on the type of culture and environment that I wanted to be a part of, and that’s how I fell into the world of tech. I didn’t want to get just any job after graduating—I really wanted to find an industry and a company that I was excited to join.
BC Tech: How were you were first introduced to the tech industry?
Taline: I knew I wanted to end up at an innovative company that challenged me and supported my growth. I didn’t know too much about Vancouver’s tech scene prior to graduating university, but I knew what kind of company I wanted to work for and the more research I did, the more I found out that tech companies foster the kind of culture and environment that I would thrive in most. It was exciting to see that there were companies that challenged you to find more efficient ways to improve processes and had cultures where you learn from your failures—ones where you can make data-driven decisions no matter what level you were at. That’s when I knew I wanted to be part of the tech scene and startup world!
BC Tech: Walk me through your work and tell us what you’re working on now…
Taline: What’s really valuable about working with a smaller company is that you get to gain experience in a broad spectrum of areas. Your priorities and what you are working on vary week-to-week. Currently, I’m focused on sourcing for our software engineering co-op position and working closely with the hiring managers to forecast our future hiring needs. In an industry where finding top quality candidates is very competitive, it’s super important to stay on top of industry trends and to constantly adapt your talent acquisition strategy in order to attract and retain those individuals.
BC Tech: Tell us about some of the bigger roadblocks and struggles that you’ve had to overcome in your career…
Taline: I think some of the struggles I faced through university were trying to not compare myself and my accomplishments to those around me and also learning how to deal with rejection. I remember in second year, the majority of my friends at Sauder were getting internships at their dream companies, and that’s when I learned how to turn rejections into opportunities. It was a turning point to be able to learn from the rejection letters and move on.
BC Tech: What are the biggest motivators in your work? What drives you?
Taline: I’ve always had an internal drive to be the best version of myself. I think being intrinsically motivated is what drives me to continue improving and learning. In addition to that, the people I get to work with, the candidate relationships I build, seeing direct results and improvements from recommendations I’ve made and knowing that I’m making a difference and adding value through my work are huge motivators. It’s very exciting when I pick up the phone and extend an offer to a candidate, and it’s just as valuable when I pick up the phone and give feedback to those who didn’t make it past the interview stage. Knowing that I’m making a difference in someone’s day or giving them feedback to continue improving is very rewarding.
BC Tech: What does a typical day look like for you?
Taline: It really depends on what projects I’m focusing on for the week. Typically I like to come into the office around 8.30am, make myself a coffee and catch up on my emails. I’ll then check LinkedIn and read up on some of the business and tech blogs I follow. If my focus for the week is recruiting related, I will spend the majority of the day sourcing for our open requisitions, reaching out to potential candidates and meeting with hiring managers. At the end of the day, I like to follow up with candidates in the pipeline who have been waiting for a response and update them on their status for a given role. It’s neat to work in an environment that’s always changing and one that enables you to set your own schedule and prioritize your projects as you need.
BC Tech: How do you feel about the state of tech in 2017, what excites you?
Taline: It’s very exciting to be part of the tech world right now. There are so many opportunities for people to enter the tech scene and you don’t need to be in computer science to find your spot. From a talent acquisition perspective, it’s definitely a candidate-driven market, but I think that makes it exciting to be part of an industry that requires you to always be thinking of strategic ways to attract and retain top talent. You really have to stay on top of what other tech companies are doing in the industry and how you can elevate and innovate your own strategies.
BC Tech: What advice would you have for young people who are really hoping to get into tech but just don’t know where to start?
Taline: As I previously mentioned, before graduating I wanted to find a company that would align with my values and an environment that I could see myself thriving in. What really helped me was reaching out to industry professionals. It goes back to turning rejections into opportunities, and I learned that by reaching out to people on LinkedIn. The worst that could happen is they’d say they don’t have time or not respond at all. Personally, I gained the most knowledge from going on coffee chats with people who had roles that I strived to be in one day and who worked for companies I dreamed of being a part of. So my biggest advice would be to step out of your comfort zone and send an email or LinkedIn message to someone who intrigues you, someone who you’re genuinely curious about, and find out what it takes to be in their role.
Want to learn more about what it’s like to work in tech? Check out our #aspiretotech page.