WWCode Podcast #38: Pamela Rodas, Sr Director of Global Talent Acquisition TELUS
Written by WWCode HQ
Women Who Code Podcast 38 | Spotify — iTunes — Google — YouTube — Podcast Page
Pamela Rodas, Senior Director of Global Talent Acquisition at TELUS International is interviewed by Navati Jain, an iOS Developer at Loblaw Digital and a WWCode Mobile Evangelist. They discuss transitioning into technology, resume gaps, the importance of anti-bias training, and pro tips for standing out as a job candidate.
Tell us more about yourself and your career journey.
I started my career when I was 19 years old, working while at the university. I studied marketing and specialized in Business Administration. I went into Human Resources about 17 years ago when I was offered an opportunity at an outsourcing company. Prior to that, my work was mostly in the marketing and public relations field. When I had my first day as a recruiter, I never looked back.
When I went into talent acquisition, I was impressed with what talent acquisition meant in the outsourcing industry. I started my career as a screener, moved up to a testing administrator, then I was a team leader. I managed sourcing afterward, then I moved up to an HR manager. After two years, I moved into a talent acquisition manager regionally, managing various countries in Central and South America.
Afterward, I became a Global Senior Manager, managing specifically digital solutions for the Americas, Asia, and North America as well. Almost three years ago, I became a Senior Director for Talent Acquisition globally. We manage the CX hiring, which means our back office, content moderation, and voice and non-voice services that we give to our clients today. We also manage digital solutions, which are help desk positions, architects, senior resources, IT managers, and artificial intelligence.
Can you tell us more about the work that you do at TELUS?
At TELUS International, we specialize in building careers for our internal talent. I am a true testament to that. I started in a local scope and I moved on to a global scope. They gave me an opportunity to manage a global team out of Central America. We live by our values: Passion for growth, passion to innovate, the capacity to let teams be comfortable among each other and make mistakes, and find solutions together. It is what has built us into this amazing company. We have, worldwide, more than 60,000 employees. We’re not your normal outsourcing company.
We also do digital solutions; help desk, back office, and technical work, like in IT support, the infrastructure world, server management, networking, and the development space. We manage positions from developers level one, all the way to architects, crypto experts, salesforce, and GCP. We manage multiple technologies for different clients in the telecommunication industry, financial sector, start-ups that have emerging technologies, and AI.
Our model is very different. We acquire companies with the expertise and combine it with our secret source of TELUS International, our culture, our values, and the way that we respect our internal talent. We believe in our corporate social responsibility. We do a lot for our communities in every region that we operate. We have a lot of programs under our belt, specifically for women, #workforher.
What are the initiatives at TELUS for career growth, especially for women’s professional growth?
Part of what we do is partner with communities like Women Who Code and others that can open that avenue with our female candidates in the diversity space. Part of the misconceptions and bias that exists in every region today without exception, is the misconception that as a woman, you need to comply with 100% of the skills in a job posting, before even taking a chance in applying. So one of the main things we have worked on is how to make job posts friendly.
From day one, we give you visibility of our community, what we do, who we are, what verticals we have, what’s the career paths that you can follow, learning programs, how you get there, and mentorships. The growth that you have in your career starts the day that you start a new position. You have to be thinking about how to move on to the next level. Learning, especially in technical space, is something to invest time in.
What are the steps taken to avoid bias against women or non-binary genders and ethnicity, race, etcetera?
We do a lot of training. Training is key, not only for our technical teams but for our recruiters. As a recruiter, you’re accountable for a company’s image and culture. Respect is key. We ask where you are located, so we can understand the culture. We ask your pronouns. We have programs for women and the LGBTQ+ community.
What are some tech skills that you use for the job?
We use Agile methodologies for talent acquisition to follow our processes. When you’re in talent acquisition, you talk about profiles, competency, and psychometric approach. You never talk about technical skills. The whole team, 100% of the team is certified, just to make sure that everyone is on the same page.
We make sure that if you’re in the technical space, a technical recruiter, you are proficient in technologies. They need to know the basics and how they’re evolving. You have to be on top of the market so you know what’s coming your way. They certify themselves on developing skills as well, on how to train and how to assess those skills without having assessments.
What advice do you have for someone who is making a transition from a non-tech field to a technical role?
We experience that every day. We’ve enabled a learning platform for them, coaches plus trainers, to make sure that they choose the right path. My first recommendation is, don’t get overwhelmed by the amount of technology. You need to understand what you want to achieve and what you want to specialize in. Ask the right questions to experts that have done those transitions. If you don’t know anyone, read.
How do you, as a recruiter, view resume gaps?
We discuss it with our teams all the time, because immediately you may be biased. If you want to break the bias, start with the recruiting process. We have learned with proven data that even though you have gaps, we can address them and you can be successful with us at a job.
Do you feel it’s better to discuss the salary expectations in the very beginning or wait it out?
In my opinion, it’s better at the beginning. Do your research. All the job descriptions are on the career sites of big companies in the market. Take a look, match it, do your research and find out before you come in from day one.
Can you tell us about some of the volunteer initiatives you have worked on, and what are the other things that you are passionate about outside of work?
I volunteer for animal welfare. That is very important for me. I partner with communities to help rescue animals of all species, but also I work with entities on enabling information and educating our society on it. That’s on the personal side. When I joined TELUS International, one of the things that amazed me the most was how we care so much about our community. We partner with communities to help women.
Do you have any pro tips for folks in tech and what makes a candidate stand out? Any dos or don’ts?
Know what you want. Learn about areas/specialties or technologies before deciding on what is the path that you will go through. Ask a lot of questions. Have a voice. Have a say for other women throughout that process as well. My recommendation to all the women out there, regardless of the phase that you are in your career, always surround yourself with people that will take you to the next step as well. We don’t have to crush other women to get what we want. Choose the path that you want, not what everyone else is doing. Choose what you want to do for your personal priorities. Choose as far as you want to go, and how will that not sacrifice the personal priorities that you have.