Johanna K. knows a little something about searching for a new career. As a recruiter by trade and a new Yelp employee herself, she knows both sides of the spectrum with regard to making the decision to find a new career and what she looks for in candidates who are deciding to do the same.
Making the decision to leave your current employer in search of your next great adventure can be overwhelming at best, so Johanna shares her insights, learnings, and tips for those ready to make a change of their own.
Hi Johanna, tell us a little about your professional background.
Since I was a Junior at my private liberal arts school, Kalamazoo College, in Michigan, I knew I wanted to be a recruiter. With a major focused on Psychology and Sociology, I always enjoyed learning different pieces of information from and about people and understanding why they were the way they were, and why some thrived in certain situations or environments and others didn’t.
So after I got my BA in Human Development and Social Relations and my Masters in Human Resource Development, I set my sights on being a recruiter in San Francisco. It took me an extra step or two to get into the recruiting world and to the Bay Area, but I was a woman with a goal and I went for it!
My first opportunity to be a full cycle recruiter came at a small boutique staffing agency in San Francisco – specializing on administrative personnel. At this firm, we recruited for some of the top wealth management firms and venture capitalists in the Bay Area. I learned an incredible amount from some special people there, but I always knew I wanted to do more, be more, and create an even bigger impact. So when I got the opportunity to join the Yelp Sales Recruiting Team, I knew I had found where I was supposed to be.
You started at Yelp as a Sales Recruiter about two months ago. As someone who just started a new career yourself, what advice do you have for someone taking the leap and joining a new company?
Make sure it’s right for you, and don’t feel guilty if you feel a role isn’t the best fit for you. Really think about your long term goals and what you’re looking to accomplish and ask yourself, “Will this opportunity take me where I’m looking to go?” and “What can I bring to the table to help take this team (or company) to the next level?”
Do your research! I don’t mean take everything you find on the internet and make a decision solely on that but rather, make time to connect with other professionals or friends that are in positions that you aspire to be in and listen to their stories, seek their counsel, and ask for their input. Truly assess if this role is going to be conducive to what you’re ultimately trying to achieve in your career. It may not be obvious or immediate – so you need to be able to be strategic and think long term, and if you aren’t able to see the bigger picture, connect with others who can.
Determine if this position will keep you motivated and wanting to get up and out of your house every morning. We all have different factors that will motivate us to choose one job over another, and these things can change over time throughout your career or as life happens. Things like benefits, growth potential, commute, work/life balance, company culture, etc. Make sure it has what you need to stay engaged long term.
What’s the biggest mistake you see candidates make when determining the next step in their career?
The biggest mistake I see is people making decisions in their career based on levels and titles of a role. Not every company structure and duties associated with certain titles are the same. I’ve seen candidates turn down incredible opportunities that met their desired compensation expectations, company culture, duties, etc. because the title wasn’t exactly what they wanted – and they later regretted it. Sometimes titles need to be earned or negotiated at a later time, after you’ve nabbed the job, but to cut yourself off from something entirely because of a title can be incredibly limiting. I’m not saying settle for any title and ignore your worth or all you’ve achieved, but sometimes you have to be strategic about how to get the title to match everything else that’s right about the opportunity. Sometimes the pieces don’t all fall into place at once!
What do you think are the 3 most important factors for a candidate to consider when deciding to accept or decline a job offer?
Company Growth and Culture – being in a company with sustained success and/or growth is important for your career advancement. Additionally, a great company culture is crucial in making you feel welcome, wanted, and valued, and will motivate you to do great work not just for yourself but for your team/company.
Career Development – If not feeling stagnant or bored in a role is important (which I think it is for most people) you want to be in a company where the opportunity for growth or developing new skills is a possibility. You should want to step into every new job opportunity excited about the new skills you can learn and build on so you can be a great asset to your team as well as future employers.
Compensation and Benefits – you need to be able to build and enjoy a life and have peace of mind, and that requires money; especially in the Bay Area 😉 However, remember that your compensation doesn’t stop at your base salary. Keep in mind your total comp package – that includes benefits, stock incentives, variable compensation such as bonuses or commission, and much more. Look at the total package and don’t necessarily get sucked in by a company offering a huge base salary – their benefits may not be in line.
Deciding to leave a job or company is a big decision. What do you think are the biggest mistakes people make when deciding to leave their current company?
A common mistake I see as people decide on whether or not to leave a job is when they leave for reasons that could be discussed or negotiated but they haven’t even asked the proper parties to implement the desired changes. Sometimes people are afraid to ask for what they want, need, and might rightfully deserve, which may very well be achievable, but they leave without even trying and assume it’ll be a tough battle to win. Whether that’s a raise or an interest in another department, it might be tough, but you should exhaust all options and do your due diligence before throwing in the towel and seeking employment elsewhere.
Why did you choose to come to Yelp?
When I made the decision to come to Yelp, I had a few other opportunities on the table. Once I came on site to meet with the people who now are my awesome teammates, the decision became very clear. Yelp’s abundance mindset and unique high energy drew me in. Meeting my team members, hearing the stories of their experiences at Yelp, and how they worked collaboratively excited me because I knew I would be in a supportive and nurturing environment and be able to contribute my own skills and flare into how the team and company functioned.
Yelp is such a special place. To have only been here two months and already feel so connected to people within the recruiting team as well as other parts of the company is amazing. Influencing the makeup of our sales team – the primary revenue-generating force for Yelp – is an incredible responsibility I’m honored to have, and to know that I’m not limited in who I can positively influence and how I can impact the company excites me greatly for the possibilities ahead.
Ready to start the search for your next five star career? We’re hiring! Head over to www.yelp.com/careers to put Johanna’s tips into action and find your next adventure.