Ivina Prosvirina on making a shift from aviation to recruitment

Ivina Prosvirina for Teamdash Meet the Expert interview series

This “Meet the Expert” interview brings the story of Ivina Prosvirina, Talent Acquisition Specialist at Talentbyte, into focus. Ivina’s transition from the aviation industry to talent acquisition has allowed her to showcase her natural talents and strengths.

Find out how Ivina landed her current job and what drives her to navigate the changing currents (or should we say airflows? 😉) in the corporate world.

How did you get started in recruitment? Was working in talent management something you always wanted to do?

My journey into recruitment wasn’t a direct flight; it was more of a layover from the aviation industry to the corporate world. I graduated from the Estonian Aviation Academy and dedicated around 7 years of my life to flight operations at Tallinn Airport. Making this shift wasn’t easy, but it was driven by my quest for a career that demanded a wider range of skills – creativity, strategic thinking, and deep expertise… Recruitment offered just that, allowing me to blend my natural curiosity, authenticity, enthusiasm, and passion for discovering new connections and making these connections work!

What would you say is a common misconception about the work of a recruiter?

I believe that a common misconception is that recruitment is merely about filling vacancies. In reality, it’s all about constantly keeping eyes and ears open, building relationships, understanding the nuanced needs of both worlds – the labour market and the business you’re in, strategically matchmaking these worlds, and always analysing the data you have. It’s a blend of art and science, requiring emotional intelligence, market insight, and a bit of Hogwarts magic to find the right fit, for sure!

What have been some of the biggest challenges you’ve managed to overcome or improve on during your career so far? How did you do it?

One of the biggest challenges I’ve faced was adapting to the rapid changes in the corporate world. This isn’t just about keeping up with trends; it’s about navigating evolving people’s expectations, business development strategies, and technological advancements. To overcome these challenges, I’ve made “continuous learning” a top priority for myself. For example, I recently completed a project management course to enhance my ability to manage hiring managers’ expectations and better understand their perspectives.

What are some of the most rewarding experiences or achievements you’ve had in your career so far?

The most rewarding moments come from seeing a candidate thrive in their new role, knowing I played a part in that journey. Even more pleasurable is seeing them succeed in the company by getting a promotion or reward. And at the same time, noticing the company achieving remarkable milestones with the involvement of the person I could bring on board when needed. That’s something that literally makes me emotional. Because then I feel – I’m in the right place, doing the right thing!

What kind of experiences have you had as a candidate yourself?

Absolutely. Let me share my favourite one – during the first 5 minutes of the initial interview with my current manager at Talentbyte, he asked me, “Have you always been so cheeky?” This was because, instead of writing the proper cover letter for the position, I had simply said, “Hey, let’s be honest, nobody reads those cover letters. Let’s just meet and talk…” And later, it turned out to be one of our common values – honesty, transparency, and straightforwardness because it makes life and relationships so much easier… And I keep doing that, both as a recruiter and, if needed, as a candidate – being cheeky or honest, you name it.

I’m super excited about 3 main trends in recruitment: white glove candidate experience, the blend of digital fluency and emotional intelligence, and authenticity.

  • White glove candidate experience is all about giving candidates a top-notch experience, something I’m a huge ambassador of.
  • The blend of digital fluency and emotional intelligence – the future that belongs to those who understand both technology and people. This means an expert who is good at Excel and possesses strong communication skills will always be ahead of someone who has only mastered Excel but lacks crucial communication skills.
  • And authenticity? I believe it needs no explanation – just doing things differently!

And my only concern is about AI (surprise, surprise). Not because it might replace someone someday, but because of its easy accessibility to everyone, even those who don’t really know how to use it properly or understand when it’s truly beneficial.

What do you feel is unique about your current place of work?

I believe the key to Talentbyte’s charm, which really draws people in and keeps them with us, is our flexibility, or what you might call our friendly vibe, something we can still afford, being quite a small company…
So we’re all about talking things out, figuring out what’s most important, and truly being there for both our team members and stakeholders. By the way, we’re currently on the lookout for a Junior Sales Development Representative!

What tools that you use in your day-to-day work are the most valuable to you? What do you use them for?

  1. LinkedIn is my top tool because it’s great for all the basic needs I’ve already mentioned – keeping eyes and ears open, building professional relationships, understanding the needs of both worlds, the labour market and the business you’re in, as well as building my own and my company’s brand. Most importantly, it’s invaluable for finding candidates and building relationships with them.
  2. ChatGPT is like my brainstorming buddy, helping me with research, generating ideas, and even supporting self-learning.
  3. And ATS for keeping all our recruitment activities organized, ensuring every candidate gets that white glove experience with us.

In your opinion, what are the most critical skills and qualities a recruiter should possess to be successful in this field?

Being a people person. Being a hustler. Being attentive to details. Being calm. Being a good salesperson. Being curious. Being creative. Being authentic and strategic. Being a detective. Being a cautious optimist. Being a lifelong learner.

How do you approach diversity and inclusion in the hiring process, and how do you ensure fair and unbiased recruitment?

I’m quite sure that unbiased recruitment is impossible if the team itself is full of biases. So, it’s important to address them first. I can’t say it’s an easy task, but it’s absolutely worth the outcome – I’ve been through that myself. I can recommend the TED Talk “How to Outsmart Your Own Unconscious Bias” by Valerie Alexander.

Do you track any metrics/KPIs in your day-to-day work? If you’ve managed to improve any of them recently, what did you do to achieve better results?

Absolutely, we’re all about the numbers! But we keep it real by focusing on the metrics that truly tell us how we’re doing – like how fast we fill positions, the efficiency of our recruitment funnel, where our best hires come from, how happy people are with our process, and making sure we’re welcoming a diverse group of candidates.

And speaking of achievements, we recently filled some senior engineering positions in just 30 days, getting those engineers onboarded in 20 days…

How would you define a good candidate experience? What strategies do you use to offer one?

For me, great candidate experience is all about creating value for both sides, even if it doesn’t end in a hire.
So, my top rule is to avoid one-size-fits-all solutions. Even if there are thousands of people in the pipeline, I’m upfront about it, explaining any delays and how decisions are made to the candidates. And if it’s a no, I provide clear reasons and suggestions for improvement – all about respect and transparency.
I must agree that it’s a luxury I can afford myself, not having dozens of recruitments at once. However, I also believe that companies of any size must strive for such an approach by hiring a sufficient amount of personnel or prioritising recruitment and distributing the workload equally.

What is the key to attracting and retaining top talent? How to keep building strong teams?

Attracting and retaining top talent is much like a key principle from marketing: supply meets demand. This means listening to what people really need, not just what the company wants to offer, and then offering this with their own twist!

I believe the key things top talents are looking for nowadays include work-life balance and flexibility, career growth opportunities, and an inclusive and innovative culture. By focusing on these desires, companies can make their teams feel super appreciated, sparking their commitment and enthusiasm right from the start.

Recommend us 3 books/TV shows/podcasts and let us know why you love them.

  1. Book: “The Culture Map” by Erin Meyer. My favorite! It dives deep into how cultural differences impact how we work and communicate globally. An absolute must-read for anyone belonging to international teams (which is literally everyone nowadays).
  2. Podcast: “The Diary of a CEO” (DOAC). I love it for its raw insights into the highs and lows of leadership and entrepreneurship. Each episode is packed with real-life lessons that are both inspiring and grounding.
  3. Netflix Series: “Virgin River“. Well, it’s far from a business series, yet it beautifully showcases human communication, active listening, emotional intelligence, and pure relationship-building against the backdrop of stunning nature. Such a gentle reminder of the importance of these skills in everyday life.

How do you know when it’s time to take some time off to avoid burnout and take care of your mental health? How do you recharge?

My signal to pause comes when even my favourite tasks, like copywriting, begin to feel burdensome. I swear, if I ever reach that point, I will immediately take a month-long vacation.
And as for everyday recharging, my kids are absolute pros at shifting my focus away from work and completely re-energising me. Also, running works wonders too.

What motivates you professionally? What is your biggest professional goal for 2024?

My drive comes from recognising my knowledge gaps when I realise, “Well, there’s so much yet to learn..” But for 2024, after a year of constant changes and challenges, my goal is to give myself a break, allowing myself to go with the flow, seeking less adventure and more steadiness. So, I hope 2024 is all about balance and stability.

How would you describe your job to people considering transitioning into recruitment/talent management? Any tips on where to start?

For anyone considering a dive into recruitment or talent management, here’s a tip: Google recruitment memes first. And as you scroll through them, remember that these memes might just offer the most honest introduction to the rollercoaster world of recruitment you’ll find. Because in every joke, there’s only a tiny drop of jest – the rest is truth.

Thank you for sharing your story, Ivina!

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Merilyn Uudmae


Content Marketing Manager

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