Originally from the Ukraine, Anya Voronova was looking to pick up a new language when she moved to Berlin. Instead, she ended up taking on a much bigger challenge: recruiting for SoundCloud, a company that helps millions of people connect with artists using dozens of languages across the Internet.
Anya has always been drawn to the music world, which was among the reasons she found Berlin so appealing. Years prior to working for SoundCloud, Anya used the platform to find new musicians and DJs. As an employee and tech recruiter, she's discovered that SoundCloud is more than just a great company that discovers musical talent. The cultural experiences and the high-level talent that she's surrounded by on a daily basis at SoundCloud ensure that she never gets bored.
We recently sat down with Anya to learn more about her experiences with SoundCloud, her insights into how to stand out in the application process, and what SoundCloud is doing to promote a more diverse and inclusive workplace. Read on to learn more!
What's it like working for SoundCloud?
It's a great atmosphere. In Berlin, we have a recording studio in the office and a DJ booth in our cafe. On Friday mornings anybody can perform and spin some records.
And now, while working from home, we've learned how to preserve that sense of community virtually—we have lots of Slack channels where people can share music to try to keep their spirits up.
High-level, what qualities are you looking for in candidates?
It derives from our values. We're looking for candidates who are open to feedback and open-minded in general, with a willingness to learn and to grow. We also try to find people who are not ego-driven, and people that just have positive attitudes.
What is one thing you love to see on a resume?
I really love when the applicant mentions specifically what they're looking for somewhere in the header. I also really like a concise CV. One to two pages is great.
Have any candidates pleasantly surprised you in the last few weeks by doing something particularly creative? What made them stand out?
One person recently designed the whole layout of their resume with SoundCloud branding. I liked that. I always like to check out their SoundCloud profiles, too. Sometimes people include them in their applications and you can check out their playlists, or you'll discover they're actually a DJ!
If you could give one piece of advice to someone getting ready for an interview with you, what would it be?
It's probably cliche, but just be yourself. If you don't know something, especially in the later stages, just admit it. It's always good to say, "Yes, I didn't know that. But I want to learn."
What does SoundCloud do to help women and minorities thrive at work?
At SoundCloud, I really appreciate the diversity and inclusion. It's not just something that HR does; it's a business imperative. It comes from the executives. We have an anonymous survey every year. Based on the results, we design a diversity, equity, and inclusion action plan. And leadership commits to taking those actions.
Last time we did the survey we recognized that we needed additional support, so we started hiring D&I consultants as well. Now there are lots of mentorship and coaching programs. Every leader committed to personally mentoring two people from marginalized groups. The company also provides mental health resources, unconscious bias training, and allyship and ally skills training.
One example of this work in action that I find really cool is that you can go on our internal system and add your pronouns to your profile to tell others how you want to be addressed. We also practice using gender neutral pronouns as a team.
I think it's basically just trying to create inclusive environments where everybody can thrive…. We're always trying to get feedback to grow and improve.
Obviously 2020 has been a challenging year on multiple fronts. What's one thing SoundCloud has done in the face of those challenges that's made you particularly proud to work there?
SoundCloud established a community fund with one million in initial investments that they're going to spend on causes like advancing social justice and supporting mental health. We've asked for feedback from employees, so anyone can nominate an organization that they think donations should go towards.
Before we go, tell me a little bit about yourself outside of work. What do you enjoy doing?
I play lots of sports, especially during quarantine. I'm also vegan, and I'm into all kinds of vegan cooking, and discovering vegan restaurants. I'm also a foster mama for cats. While these animals look for a forever home, I foster them. And of course, I live in Berlin, so I also like dancing and partying!
To learn more about SoundCloud and their open roles, check out their company page on the PowerToFly website -- they're hiring!