Anna Boyarkina: The Honour In Hiring

by | Apr 8, 2021

Snooping around Anna Boyarkina’s profile had me super curious to hear about her career to date; from studying economics & business, to starting her own events business in Russia, to starting TEDxPerm, and of course, how that led to her current role as Head of Product Use Cases. In minutes, you’ll be glad you listened in and get why I was curious.

We chatted about Anna joining Miro when it was just 11 people and the opportunity that created for her to gain broad experiences. We talked about building the company based on what people believe in and are doing, and their mission to empower teams to create the next big thing.

Referred by Alla Pavlova, I could soon see why! Anna believes great talent brings a lot to a company but how she does this, well it surprised me. Listen in to hear how she sources herself so she can find profiles and set the bar of what she’s looking for, which is easier than asking recruiters to read her mind. 🔮

We also chatted about the importance of cadence and doing your homework, adding your recruiters to your favourites so you don’t miss any messages from them 😍, and the honour it is to hire the people for your company! 🤩

Grab your headset, a cuppa, & settle in.  🎧 

Connect with Anna Boyarkina on LinkedIn and be sure to let her know you heard her here!

Full Podcast Transcript – Anna Boyarkina

Hello, I am Katrina Collier, and as part of my mission to inspire all the people, that recruit people, to treat people better, I bring you The Hiring Partner Perspective (Unedited) podcast. Here you will hear from those Hiring Leaders who create true partnerships with Recruiters, HR and Talent Acquisition, because they know that it delivers a better result for the business and a better human experience. May this podcast inspire other Hiring Leaders to create better partnerships with their Recruiters and HR, and may it inspire Recruiters to create true and valuable partnerships with their Hiring Leaders. Because people make businesses succeed, and people matter. So let us begin.

Anna Boyarkina, welcome to The Hiring Partner Perspective (Unedited) podcast proudly supported by the people at WORQDRIVE. Thank you so much for your time, as ever, I’m always excited to talk to anyone that’s referred to being an excellent hiring manager. So can’t wait to hear more about that. Before we get started, though, of course, I was snooping around your LinkedIn. And you have a very interesting career to date. How did you kind of get where you are? And can you talk about your background? And did you go to school expecting to do this?

Anna Boyarkina 1:23
Hey, Katrina, it’s really great to meet you today. And thanks for having me. So as you mentioned, I have pretty interesting background, probably my LinkedIn profile doesn’t tell that much about that, in general, so I graduated from the economics University, and I was basically as a standard strategic management. And I was, I had never been thinking about this kind of tech career when I was a student. So it wasn’t that popular at that time. So it was more like for computer science students, but not for those probably who are into management. But I was always thinking about leadership positions, not positions. So title wasn’t really important for me, but in fact that we can make is really important that this was kind of natural that I was thinking about moving to creating something. And so my first job was actually not connected with this with tech or with leadership. So I was in finance. And it was a company that was around some investments. So investments, banking, and that my focus was there on business processes within the company. So how to optimize them how to make collaboration more efficient, and probably where I am now, it’s kind of connected, because it was also about teamwork. So and then, I’m thinking that in a couple of years, I started to notice that I can do more. Yeah. And with my friend, we started a company. So it’s called what’s called protector. It was an agency and event agency that was focused on our events for digital intrapreneurship startups. And we did a lot of forums for interpreters, and those who want to be themselves are startups. And I think it was a bad to learn how digital companies are operating. So we talked to a lot of people. And then one of the most important milestones for me was organizing TEDx event.

Katrina Collier 3:38
Yeah, I saw that on your profile.

Anna Boyarkina 3:40
Yeah, that was amazing. Because so I was invited to help with speakers. And to organize and train them a little bit on logistics, mostly not on public speaking, of course. So and I’ve seen a lot of passionate people who are changing the world. And there is so high bar in organizing the event, and to bring in the content, which I think completely changed the way how I see. The things should be down. And it raised the bar really high.

Katrina Collier 4:16
Yeah. You have to memorize that and everything. Don’t you to speak at TEDx. It’s quite serious. I’m not sure I could do it, because I’d have to memorize 20 minutes worth of stuff. Oh, yeah. I probably say something completely different.

Anna Boyarkina 4:30
So that is why also requires a little bit of training. So people who are speaking for comfortable, yeah. And after the first one, actually, I was organizing for more events. And for me, one of the most surprising things was, how many people have amazing stories to share. And a few of them think that it’s worth it. So and after that, so in the year two, so I started I joined real time board. It is the previous name of Miro. So we are 11 people. So Wow, it was really a small startup by vision. Yeah. So I did a bunch of stuff. So I, I’ve been into marketing and product management, I was answering support tickets, and I was managing support team for a couple of years. And so when we were small, I was running marketing organization. So for last five years, I’m focused on product. And so here I am now.

Katrina Collier 5:35
So did you hear about them? Then when you were doing your events? Is that where you first heard about them? Or what made you

Anna Boyarkina 5:43
bored? So yeah, yeah. So we, by the founder, we started together at the university. So basically, I joined since day one.

Katrina Collier 5:54
Yeah. Which is cool. But that’s great, doesn’t it, it gives you so much more opportunity, that kind of thing. Um, one of the things we were talking about before we went live, and I hit the record button was, of course, what it’s like to be women in the world work and check. And you know, you’ve been a founder, and I’m a founder. And we sort of both agreed that, because of our coaches that hasn’t mattered so much, but I’d love to hear a bit more about like, what it’s like, you know, growing up in Russia, as a woman, it sounds like actually more opportunity, potentially, that we’re giving in the West.

Anna Boyarkina 6:25
So actually, you know, I really didn’t pay much attention into gender differences when I was growing up, and probably that affected a lot. And of course, the social background is really different. But what I really think, and I do not divide people by gender, or by race, or anything. So what’s what’s more important, and we built the company with this in mind, so that it matters, what you believe in, and it matters. And, of course, when we started to grow, we’ve seen a lot of value and opportunity to bring different perspectives to the table, which is really amazing. And getting back to your question. So what it feels like. So it feels amazing, to be honest, because I’m focused, not on, let’s say, gender specific sound focused on the work that I’m doing. And I realized that, of course, given the situation in the world, and in general, it’s really important to say that it’s possible. So and why it is possible, how it is possible, and also to enable people in general to see different perspectives. Because sometimes, let’s say, of course, there are some male dominated cultures. And it can be national culture, or company culture. But probably, the social background is really different. And perspective is really different. And people just don’t realize that there is something that is probably wrong, and that can affect different people. And for me, I think, on the one hand, I’m lucky, because I was always surrounded by people who do not make a difference based on your gender. Yeah. Which really allowed me to focus on the things that matter. And I think it’s also possible. And also, there is a lot of movement in the world. And we see a lot of women in leadership positions and a lot of payment for making an impact. And how it feels it feels really, it feels really great. And of course, we are building the company with a culture that promotes diversity. So that is why probably it’s one of the aspects.

Katrina Collier 8:43
Yeah, no, I clearly got you’re saying so much. That’s it, you just think what they’re missing out on as well. Just the diversity of thought, for example, you know, with with all of that. So what’s what’s the plans for your role going forward? Are you staying with product, obviously, I mean, I would assume you’ve done quite well as a company because of the pandemic because everyone went online. I By the way, love your tools. I use them for my facilitation, my main thing, so late adopter, but love them. But what’s that? what’s the what’s next steps for the company if you if that’s, of course not confidential.

Anna Boyarkina 9:17
So I can cover sound things, but not all of them. So

Katrina Collier 9:22
don’t give away trade secrets. Just in general, what’s your hope for your role and where you’re headed?

Anna Boyarkina 9:28
So you know, for me, the role is not that important, and titles not that important. But if we get back to the company, I think that the pandemic just helped us accelerate the vision that we always had. So we have a mission to empower teams to create the next big things. And we are doing this through creating the solutions for collaboration. And this is what we were doing for 10 years already. The company will be 10 years in jail. So of course we want to continue to do that. So in We are focused on real time collaboration. And we are thinking about how to give visual collaboration power to the hands of as many people as possible. Yeah. And this is actually the goal. So we will continue to learn how people are working and provide the best solutions to support the workflows.

Katrina Collier 10:21
I assume, thanks to the pandemic, a lot of barriers have gone down to that though, which must help. I mean, it’s hilarious in the press here at the moment, they’re kind of going on about so this is in the UK, people want to get back to the office for because that suits the government to say that the rest of us are like, Oh, we don’t want to go back to the office, we’re using tools like yours. So has that broken down barriers when you’re talking to companies about the tool? You know, I should call it more than a tool, by the way. But you know what I mean, the technology?

Anna Boyarkina 10:51
Yeah. So actually, it’s very interesting, because, of course, a lot of companies learned how to use the technology for collaboration. But there are new challenges that are common still. So, for instance, we are so focused, let’s say on task based communication, and collaboration. And we are planning everything around getting the work done, to be honest. Yeah. So that is why for instance, from euro is really important how to bring a little bit of engagement and fun into collaboration space, and this human connection. So how do we solve this problem? And of course, some problems are solvable by the technology, but some are definitely not. So how, for instance, do you enable human connection? How do you enable serendipity? Which was happening in the offices? And yeah, where the offices are treated like places for connection, not places when you attract the board? So that is why there, of course, there are a lot of barriers that won’t just move away. But there are new challenges that we should just recognize and then try to overcome.

Katrina Collier 11:56
Yeah, it’s certainly very, very different times, isn’t it? So of course, you were referred, of course. So thank you so much, Allah blesser thinks she’s taking over my podcast, she’s referring to so many great people, I’m loving it, which meant you’re an exceptional hiring manager, otherwise, you wouldn’t be here. So what that means to me is certainly the partnership paces, you know, working well with the recruiters and investing with time upfront, whether they’re agency or staffing, I don’t really care Oh, sorry, agency or in house, I don’t care. I never differentiate What led you to be that way, when you’re recruiting? Like, why do you invest the time and the effort and the energy and everything else that goes with it? Why do you think it’s important?

Anna Boyarkina 12:37
That’s, that’s a really great question. And one of my favorite topics, to be honest. And thanks for asking the question, I was thinking about how I can share with someone. Experience Yeah, really. So in general, I believe that there are two things that we are doing as leaders. So for instance, I have my function. So let’s assume that this is a product of others, it’s in general about growing the business. And then the other part is growing the team because this is extremely important. And with a great team, you can do almost anything, no matter what the market is, and what you’re focused on. Because great talent brings a lot, and this is one of the most important assets, even, I would say this is the most important one. So that is why it’s basically not recruitment responsibility, not just recruitment responsibility to build the team and to bring great hires on board. So that is why it’s a partnership. So it’s like, as I’m working on the product, I can share an example, which is from that life. For instance, if you are building a feature, you should have somebody who is doing design part, you should have somebody who is coding, you should have somebody who can manipulate with the scope. So and if you are working together, you can do much more. And the same actually is with building the team. So it’s always a collaboration between hiring manager and between recorder. And I believe that if you are strong partners, like partners in crime, and you can get so much more together, and this is kind of align your expectations, deciding who is doing what, and sometimes you can even take your head so I can source people. So this is also fine. So which makes actually really great progress. Otherwise, it’s just not possible. Because this is not something that recruitment owes you something No, not really.

Katrina Collier 14:35
Oh, my name is to get you in front of so many different hiring managers. So you’ve actually sourced yourself, was that like, just going to your network? What do you mean of course, yeah, that’s what made you do that. I just invested interest, I guess.

Anna Boyarkina 14:52
So you know, when you are, let’s say you’re thinking about building something generational. I mean, no matter what This product or company and your it’s your actually homework to do your research and it’s your hormone to understand who are looking for. Otherwise, it just will be extremely hard to calibrate with recruitment because you need to set the bar. So what are some looks like? So that is why the initial part of every role that I’m looking for, so it’s just find the right profiles of people. Ideal will talk to them, probably, of course, we will not hire this exact people. But it will set the bar and we will understand who we are looking for. So what profile what experiences what trades probably.

Katrina Collier 15:41
So rather than just like, pull it out of your, you know, I’m just string which nobody can see on the podcast. But rather than make it out, that’s the word I’m looking for, rather than making it up what you’re after you actually go and do your research and look for profiles. Yeah, so that, you know, wow. Honestly, that that doesn’t happen. You think it would, but it doesn’t happen that much.

Anna Boyarkina 16:06
You know, it comes not just from some kind of silver bullet play. It comes from experience, because of course, it didn’t happen overnight that I started to do this. But when you try to hire different people, you understand that it’s so much easier if you’re doing your homework first. And then you’re calibrating? Yeah, then just expecting that someone will do the homework because nobody can read your mind.

Katrina Collier 16:36
No, great, but no, it wouldn’t be great. We dreadful. Think of all the crazy thoughts we have going on there most of the time. But yeah, but yes. Wow. Sorry that you’d be stunned how impressed I am by that? Would that be your piece of advice that you would have for other hiring leaders then? Or is there some other thing that you’ve learned through your time recruiting that you think hiring managers, you need to know this?

Anna Boyarkina 17:02
So I would say that there will be several pieces. So one is treat your recruitment partner as a partner, because you’re doing the work together. So which means that you both understand the expectations, you both understand what you are doing and what you’re not doing. Also, you both realize every time when you have some contradicted things, and you have a regular cadence when you are connected, because especially in our case, for instance, we are in the mode of hypergrowth. And all of people have different things to do on their plate. So that is why you need to set up a front, how do you communicate. So it’s one thing Another thing is do your homework every time you guys, it’s not only about sourcing, and actually what we are doing with my recruitment partners. For instance, we are meeting once in a week. But during this week, after we met, we have a homework both of us. So somebody is talking to candidate, somebody is probably redoing the take home test assignment because that one didn’t work. Or we agreed to source candidates or we agreed to open the new position. And then when everyone brings their homework to the man is much more productive. And of course, if something happens, do not wait for another meeting, to connect, because it’s the kind of listening system that you should follow. And if you understand that the candidate is waiting for, let’s say, five days, probably the other person is busy. So it’s the kind of immediate signaling. And I will suggest to add your recruitment partners in favorites if you’re using slack. So we have which is really not to miss any important puzzle. Yeah.

Katrina Collier 18:48
Oh, that’s a good idea. Cool. There’s a juicy takeaway. So immediately, I think most of the time they go like low, I want to avoid them. That’s dreadful. But unfortunately, it happens, doesn’t it? And what about the flip side? So you’ve said like, you agree together upfront, and I’ve seen a lot of recruiters who feel like they’re almost in a servitude role, not an equal partner? What tips do you have for them for like, approaching it correctly? Or, you know, demanding partnership, almost, if you will? suggestions for them?

Anna Boyarkina 19:17
Yeah, sure. So first of all, I would explicitly ask the hiring manager to set expectations. And if something is not clear, to realize, while you both are not agreed on something, and the other part probably would be to set up a cadence of synchronization themselves, because it’s also a practice approach. And I believe that there are different hiring mentors and somebody worked, let’s say for 10 years and somebody’s first time hiring managers, so for them, strong recruitment partner would be a great help. And another piece, so I would say that there is no situation when everyone when Somebody is not okay. And the other person is okay. So this is not healthy. And I mean that if the pipeline is weak, it’s not only a recruitment fail. It’s something that you avoid doing, actually. So that is why I would realign probably with the hiring manager on the reins or expectations or locations or some kind of probably target markets that we are sourcing from. So

Katrina Collier 20:30
yeah, so push back with the data. And I like what you found out. Again, like the research, you mentioned that kind of a thing

Anna Boyarkina 20:36
and practically share the signals. Because sometimes turn recruitment screens, there is a lot of useful information that comes So for instance, if people are not ready to work remotely, for some reason, it’s imaginary example.

Katrina Collier 20:51
But let’s say pandemic,

Anna Boyarkina 20:56
even now, so let’s imagine some weird examples when people are really not ready to work remotely, I want to go to the office, or there is something else of like cell specific competence, which is liking, but there is no competence in the market. So that is why you need to realign probably, yes, this is a unicorn that you’re looking for. But you both should agree that the timeline will be bigger than you expected.

Katrina Collier 21:20
Yeah. It sounds like communication all the time. Yeah. But yeah, communication productive. Now, I’m going to keep this shorter than I’d normally keep one of these. And I’m very aware that your clock watching because you have managed to squish me in in the middle of an incredibly busy day. So I’m not going to drag another 10 minutes of information over you even though I really wouldn’t. But I guess I can see you’re a bit stressed. And if anybody wants to talk to you further, they can they just come hunt you down on LinkedIn or somewhere like that, obviously sourcing if they’ve got any questions, or is that the easiest for you? Yeah, yeah, yeah. Yeah. And is there anything you really wanted to say that you totally missed, because I’m, like, very aware of your time.

Anna Boyarkina 22:03
So I would say that making hiring a priority is really important for any hiring manager. Because if you are in this role, this is really honorable role to grow the company. And when you are growing the company, you’re optimizing, not for those people who are already here, but also for those who will come. So this probably the next 10 people 20 or 100. So that is why making hiring a priority means that you spend your time hiring and usually takes about less than 50%, let’s say of the hiring manager’s job, it means that you are thinking consciously about the culture fit, you are thinking consciously about how teams will be working together. And here are optimizing for the future growth for the future values. So which should be connected with the present files that you have? So I would say if you are hiring manager, so hiring is your real priority.

Katrina Collier 22:59
Yeah. I love that honorable. It’s an honor to recruit for the company. I’d not thought of it that way. It really is, isn’t it? Thank you so much for all of that. Unbelievable, I can’t wait to get this out for everyone to hear. I’m sure you’re going to inspire so many people. So thank you again.

Anna Boyarkina 23:16
Yeah, thank you for having me. It was a pleasure.

Katrina Collier 23:19
Thank you for listening to The Hiring Partner Perspective (Unedited) podcast, proudly supported by the people at WORQDRIVE. Hopefully, you really enjoyed what you heard and have left feeling inspired. And if so, I would love your help to create real change. Please pass this podcast on to your Hiring Leaders and other Recruiters and HR. Even share it on your social channels, if you feel so inclined. But the more reach we can get, the more change we can create. So please remember to subscribe, of course, on your favourite podcast platform. And do come and say hello @HiringPartnerPerspective on Instagram where I share behind the scenes of what’s going on. Until next time. Thank you.

Transcribed by https://otter.ai

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