Name: Tammy Perkins
Location: Seattle, WA
Position: Chief People Officer with Fjuri
What attracted you to your current role/company?
I joined Fjuri as Chief People Officer in March 2017. Fjuri is a digital marketing and strategy consultancy founded by Thom Gruhler, former CMO of Microsoft Windows who I partnered with while at Microsoft. We help brands across categories to improve their marketing performance and customer experience by tapping into data in a more impactful way.
In many ways, being Chief People Officer is like being a chief architect, but instead of a house, you're building and co-creating a team and culture that will support the rapid growth of your business. After a successful career working as an HR lead for Amazon, Microsoft and Appen, I decided to join Fjuri to take on a new challenge, and help build and scale a team from the ground up.
I’m incredibly proud to lead HR for Fjuri, focused on building and securing our foundation for future growth. Thom and I also both have a shared belief around investing in our team, and creating a culture and environment where bold ideas can thrive and employees are empowered.
What initially attracted you to the HR, recruiting and hiring space?
I majored in HR and organizational communication courses at Ohio University. When I took a diversity and inclusion class through the school of business instructed by Dr. Carl Bridges, I was hooked and decided to pursue a career in HR. I was also inspired and empowered to break the glass ceiling as a female leader and make my voice count.
Throughout my career, I’ve been influenced by great leaders and mentors, who have made a huge impact on the trajectory of my career as I’ve continued to stretch and take on new opportunities.
If you couldn’t work in the HR space, what would you be doing?
I would likely be doing something in the leadership, coaching and development space. I continue to act as an executive coach today and love to learn alongside others. Another huge passion of mine is writing, travel, and fashion – not necessarily in that order. 😉
What’s your OS/mobile device/tech preference? IPhone X
What apps/software/tools can't you live without?
Slack, DropBox, Google Docs for collaboration tools. My favorite personal apps are Instagram, Facebook and Pinterest.
How would you describe your workspace?
We have a very collaborative workspace at Fjuri with open glass offices. There’s also some community areas and alternative workspaces (including an outdoor balcony overlooking the Seattle waterfront) that give our employees the ability to choose where and how to work. I enjoy being in the office to meet and collaborate with the team, while also having the flexibility to work from home when I don’t have client meetings.
RECRUITING AND HIRING
What one word that best describes how you recruit and hire?
Would you say you’re more introverted or extroverted?
I’m extroverted by definition and tend to be outgoing and social, but I also value time to reflect and absorb on my own.
What basic recruiting and hiring thing are you better at than anyone else?
Assessment. I’m able to quickly connect with people, dig deeper to find common areas of passion and experience, while also reading between the lines with candidates. When making a new hire, emotional intelligence (EQ) matters. Ultimately you want to find people you can picture working with every day - who collaborate well, stay open to feedback and can solve problems under pressure.
In my experience, I’ve been fortunate enough to work with highly skilled, smart individuals with high IQ. I haven’t experienced many people who don’t have the skill or capability to do the job. When I recruit and hire, I look for candidates that not only have strong experience, but also some of the less tangible skills that define EQ – self awareness, empathy, grit and resilience.
What's your best time-saving recruiting and hiring tip?
I recommend ruthless prioritization. In the past year working at Fjuri, I’ve learned some valuable lessons managing competing priorities, and on a very different scale as compared to my time at Amazon and Microsoft.
To effectively prioritize, I recommend carving out dedicated time and attention for recruiting. Focus on the one role that you're trying to fill and complete everything you need to make that hire, before moving on to the next role.
It’s also important to partner closely with hiring managers to not only review the job description, but the broader business needs, strengths and gaps of the team – to make sure the finalists you select and interview loops are as focused as possible.
What's the best recruiting and hiring advice you've ever received?
Embrace differences. Stop looking to hire people like you. While many companies tend to consider “culture fit” when deciding on a hire, growth and innovation is fueled by diversity and culture add. Every employee should contribute the company’s success in different ways! You need both hunters, gatherers, and nurturers; introverts and extroverts; data scientists and creatives. (Left brain/right brain).
As you recruit talent, you need to work harder to find the missing voices, experience, and perspectives your current team is missing. Assess the type of candidates you need to achieve future growth. Ultimately you want to have a mix of different high performers and high potentials who will scale with your company.
If you had to pick one recruiting and hiring practice or “tactic” most companies should avoid at all costs, what would it be?
Whether you are a large company or a startup, there’s nothing more crucial to success than hiring high performing and high potential employees. In addition to focusing on culture add vs. culture fit, companies need to stay aware of the unconscious bias that often happens as hiring candidates gravitate to people who are like them.
To avoid this, work with hiring managers to define the “must haves” vs. the “nice to haves”. Make sure you have a common framework to assess the strengths of each candidate, what strengths are missing and why they matter.
Also, keep the interview process simple. People will fall through the cracks if you don’t have a simplified process where they can interview and meet the team in a thorough, yet focused series of interview steps.
If you could impart one universal understanding about recruiting and hiring to every senior executive in the world, what would it be?
Don’t compromise your talent bar because you have an immediate need today. It may put more pressure on the existing team, but you have to make the right hires. Your future growth depends on it.
Hire for the future with the whole company in mind. Look for candidates to help you achieve future growth and who will scale with your company because inevitably what you’re doing today will continue to evolve in the future.
What do you think recruiters and hiring managers should be more recognized for within a company?
Talent stewards who shape and influence the culture.
Any final advice?
Be your authentic self and share your vision. Candidates will appreciate authenticity and transparency.