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The Rollercoaster Of Recruiting – Exclusive Interview With Evan Seguirant

Evan Seguirant is a talent acquisition professional who specializes in the ideation and implementation of recruiting programs for progressive organizations. Evan served as the Head of Talent for early stage startups before joining Twitter, where he partnered with executives to build the engineering and product teams for high-profile products like Twitter Spaces, Blue, and Fleets. Evan’s passion for developing cohesive talent strategies, hiring with intentionality, and building exceptional teams was the framework for founding Voyager Talent Solutions. The firm serves a critical niche in the market, offering the delivery capabilities of a traditional agency and the program experience of corporate leadership.

Evan Seguirant, Founding Talent Partner

Introduce yourself! Can you tell us a little bit about your background and how you got started in the talent industry?

I started my career in a boutique staffing agency in Seattle, working primarily with startups and cutting-edge technology companies. By the 2nd year, my most exciting client was an innovation studio that incubated several startup ideas simultaneously. One day, the COO pitched the idea of me joining full-time and I was hooked. 4 years and two Head of Talent positions later, I'd partnered with multiple founders to scale their dream teams, ranging from engineering, product, design, and more.

At this point, the idea of launching a hybrid firm focused on hiring for early-stage organizations began to resonate, but Twitter called with an opportunity that I couldn't overlook. After a few ideation discussions with recruiting leadership, we crafted a position tailored to my 0-1 background- building teams for greenfield initiatives and emerging products across the Twitter ecosystem. After a pivotal 3 years of wins, losses, and learnings at a high-profile yet controversial organization, it was time to make the next big play. That's how Voyager Talent came to be, it was time to launch.

What sets Voyager apart from other talent management firms?

We founded Voyager to be the progressive firm that startup founders and corporate people leaders dream of partnering with. The demands and priorities of agency vs. corporate recruiting are vastly different, which naturally leads to gaps and strategic misalignment. My co-founder and I have over 20 years of complementary experience, including traditional agency work, intensive startup recruiting, scaling hyper-growth organizations like Twitter, and leading enterprise organizations.

Voyager's mission is to offer a modern, full-cycle suite of recruiting products for our clients by offering the strategic insight of a corporate talent leader with the hands-on execution of a motivated agency recruiter. Advisors who can leverage years of in-house experience to develop sustainable talent programs today and then roll up their sleeves to fill our most challenging positions tomorrow.

Tell us about a pivotal moment in your career that brought you to where you are today.

In my final year at Twitter, I was asked to lead the product management recruiting function, quickly ramping up a new team to deliver against the most aggressive hiring roadmap in organizational history. 2021-2022 was a pivotal stretch for Product at Twitter, we were developing several new greenfield features. I partnered with product executives to reimagine our approach to hiring for consumer roles, restructured our sourcer and recruiter alignment, and empowered the team to continue innovating to meet demand. In

that time, Twitter launched several notable products, including Twitter Spaces, Fleets, Blue, and Longform, while improving search, recommendations, platform health, privacy, and security. We experimented, we evolved, and we made it happen.

The process was rewarding, challenging, and enlightening. After nearly a year, I was ready to admit something that I'd known for a long time- I'm at my best when I'm building. At this point, the team had become increasingly autonomous. Sound processes were in place, resource allocation was optimal, and we'd forged excellent relationships with our hiring teams. The building was done and it was time to maintain it.

I'm proud of what we built at Twitter, but there's always been a drive within me to create on my terms, beyond the confines of a traditional corporate structure. I'm motivated by impact and there are so many progressive companies that are ready to take that next step. Better talent strategies lead to better teams, which leads to better products and that is how game changers emerge in the industry. Our mission is to help them get there.

What is your work inspired by?

Contributing to an evolving field is invigorating! Talent Acquisition has changed as much as any industry in the past decade. Historically, recruiting has been viewed as a small function of Human Resources, traditionally understaffed, overworked, and inefficiently utilized. But we've seen encouraging investments in the field over the last several years, leading to game-changing advancements in systems, data and analytics, and machine learning products that drive increased engagement.

And we're still just scratching the surface. I believe that investment in human capital is the next big step forward for talent acquisition. This is true at both an individual and an organizational level. The core responsibility of a recruiter is production, reliably hiring talent on schedule and at cost. But the best recruiters that I've worked with bring so much more to the table than raw delivery, they have exceptional business acumen, the intuition to proactively problem-solve for their hiring partners, and the ability to leverage resources to maximize delivery. As an industry, we need to invest in our teams to cultivate more "talent partners" and "talent advisors", they are the force multipliers.

Similar opportunities for improvement exist at a macro level. We've watched technology organizations gut their talent departments over the last 12 months and I'm curious to see how these teams choose to rebuild. I anticipate that we'll see sharp organizations deploy an approach that prioritizes adaptability by investing in smaller but highly capable internal teams of talent advisors and supplementing with multi-dimensional external resources. I see us approaching a new era of talent acquisition, where the necessity of specialized firms like Voyager Talent will play an outsized role in organizational planning and growth.

How do you approach understanding a client's talent needs and developing a customized solution to meet those needs?

Our approach to any potential engagement has 5 primary steps -

  1. Listen and understand the problem statement, inquisitively and with humility. Why is this an important problem to solve? What are the lasting impacts of addressing this problem? How has your team tried to address this problem? Developing a meaningful understanding of your client's situation is the foundation for creating impactful, custom solutions.

  2. Evaluate the client's capacity and resources. This initial gap analysis is fundamental, a consultant can't recommend viable solutions without proper context.

  3. Offer a range of potential solutions and discuss the tradeoffs associated with each option. Proposed products can range from an advisory capacity in which the client is doing a lot of the legwork to an all-inclusive, hands-on package in which we drive the majority of the engagement's strategy and delivery.

  4. Distinguish primary solutions vs supplementary solutions. Our services are typically discrete and can stand on their own, so Voyager provides an "a la carte" model to clients, in which they can continue to add services based on the evolving, real-time needs of their hiring strategy. This flexibility enables clients to optimize hiring efficacy while controlling costs.

  5. Build a continuous support plan to future-proof the client's talent strategy. There needs to be a long-term plan that extends beyond the project delivery date. We offer multiple options to ensure the sustained success of Voyager's services, including a retained model.

How would you advise a Head of People on their growth plans over the next 12-18 months in the currently uncertain economy?

First and foremost, it's important to acknowledge how challenging the past 36 months have been for people leaders. The economy ground to a halt at the outbreak of the pandemic before the surging digital market triggered hyper-growth across the technology field. The recruiting industry is no stranger to market swings and the downstream effects, but this cycle exposed the reactive approach to planning and the boom/bust mentality that cripples most talent teams' ability to execute through adversity.

So how do we get there? When we step in and begin to develop a plan with people leaders, it starts with four pillars:

  1. Financial Discipline: a key element in any market but critical in this upcoming cycle. Let's outline a budget, specific to growth and build a 10% contingency into it. Guidelines for the exercise include a data analysis of historical recruiting metrics and an evaluation of infrastructure gaps. Good plans account for a range of outcomes, so we work against any of these possibilities: the perfect state in which all headcount is fulfilled as planned, a workable model in which 80% of prioritized headcount is fulfilled, and finally redeployment, where we reallocate resources if hiring slows.

  2. Augmentation Planning: Proactively securing reliable recruiting-on-demand (RoD) resources enable people leaders to jumpstart hiring velocity beyond the capacity of a fully in-house team. RoD can serve as a valuable bridge, providing production value and flexibility in the short to medium term while you invest in the proper full-time staff for the long term. Do you have a list of vendors, consultants, and lead generation sources that you've vetted, budgeted for, and maintained relationships with? These partnerships will play a significant role in organizational growth over the next two years.

  3. Infrastructure Investment: Uneven markets lead to healthy competition in all areas of business. Time to review contracts, systems, and development plans in the existing infrastructure and make thoughtful investments in the areas that will automate and accelerate your program when the light turns back on (as they always do).

  4. Strategic Aggression: This pillar is going to scare 70% of the leaders that you're across the table from, but Voyager is eager to partner with the opportunistic 30%. Down markets are opportunities to advance. Be the leader willing to be on their assessment process and remain committed to your hiring philosophy. When LinkedIn became a graveyard of layoff news in 2022, hiring practices and market perception quickly followed. Organizations are interviewing more and paying less due to talent availability. But there are substantial costs to securing talent below market that aren't always accounted for, including lost production due to excessive interviewing and the risk of increased turnover when the market corrects, plus the resulting loss of institutional knowledge. In the new social economy, organizations need to be self-critical about their brand and the consequences that simple decisions can have on their future.

Follow me on LinkedIn, and visit my website for more info!



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