Recruiting Lead, Facebook
Bureau of Labor Statistics data reports that employment of computer and information systems managers is expected to grow 17 percent over the 2008-18 decade, which is faster than the average for all occupations. For a company like Facebook, as the company’s career site reads, “Innovation is paramount.” That’s why it’s vital to have recruiting pros like Richard Cho on hand. Cho is a recruiting lead at Facebook with over 10 years of experience at companies such as Cisco, eBay and Echelon Corporation.
Facebook is one of the newest member companies of DirectEmployers Association. Prior to joining, Cho spoke at last year’s DirectEmployers Annual meeting and Conference. We were able to pull him aside and learn more about his role, how he landed at Facebook and the company’s focus on OFCCP compliance.
Can you introduce yourself?
Hi, my name is Richard Cho. I’m a recruiting lead at Facebook and I joined the company in September of 2008, when we were announcing 110 million active users and we had about 15 people in the recruiting group.
What do you do in your job at Facebook?
My role as a recruiting lead is to manage a handful of recruiting professionals that support product management, design and parts of engineering.
Tell me a little bit about your journey to Facebook and how you found yourself there.
Incidentally, Facebook was probably the biggest impetus behind my discovery of a job at Facebook. A person that I worked with almost 8 years prior to me joining Facebook had just landed a job there and became the recruiting manager. Someone I highly respected, someone I trusted and had a lot of credibility with asked me if I would be interested in a role there. There was some hesitation because the thought of working at a social networking company didn’t resonate with me as much as, say working at the network leader like Cisco, or a company like eBay. But since I trusted the recruiting manager, Andy, he compelled me to consider a job and obviously, I joined and it’s been one of the best decisions I’ve ever made.
The fact that Facebook is just growing by leaps and bounds means that you’re having new challenges with recruiting and talent acquisition and everything that goes on with being an HR practitioner. What does that look like for you on a regular “nuts and bolts” basis?
It’s like driving at 125 miles per hour essentially. In September of ’08, there were 15 of us in recruiting. Now we have somewhere north of 120 recruiting professionals. The employee count, just generally speaking, was right around 600 people in 2008. We’re somewhere north of 1700 people worldwide and opening up offices in India and Seattle. These are things that a growing company like ours has to deal with and the best way I can describe it is you never slow down. There’s never a dull moment there.
What are some of the challenges that come along with that?
The challenge, really, is to ensure that we sustain the things that are core to why we’ve become the company that we are today. The best way to describe this is to break out the three core values of motivation that Daniel Pink articulates in his book Drive- mastery, autonomy and purpose. Whether we know it or not, at Facebook the three values that Daniel brilliantly articulates are the core values that motivates every employee at Facebook. When you get to the size of a company that we currently are today, you’re trying to mitigate dilation of mentorship that typically occurs when companies grow too quickly. So most companies end up adding a lot more leaders which could impact the ability for employees to retain the scope of work and creativity that have been integral to their success. So the biggest challenge for Facebook is to keep all of the core values that drive our employee’s while not overwhelming our leadership group or ignoring the need to grow the skills of every employee.
This ties into my next question, which is how did you come across DirectEmployers?
I came across DirectEmployers when I was asked to present at the 2010 Annual conference. That connection was serendipitous because of the fact that Facebook reached a point where we have to take a very serious look at things like compliancy, diversity, inclusion…things that most larger, more established companies have to deal with, with much more resources. We needed to establish these things quickly with limited resources. From what I’ve read online and having informal conversations with current DE members, I got the sense that DE is the best partner to have when a company is tasked with quickly implementing a comprehensive compliancy, diversity/inclusion programs.
What are some of the things about DirectEmployers that are attractive to you and your team?
OFCCP compliance is probably the biggest one. The ability to connect with other DE members that have gone through the process of setting up OFCCP compliancy programs and to have access to industry experts in the field of compliancy, diversity/inclusion is going to be invaluable for a company like Facebook. The ability to benchmark against 5 or 6 different companies and learn from what they’ve done in order to be successful, but not overly bureaucratic is worth the price of membership. This is not something you just find in any other service that’s out there.
What’s cool is though Facebook is cutting-edge, the company also learns from other people who are in the industry, who’ve been doing this for a long time and is wisely figuring out how to walk in the footsteps of people who’ve paved the way before you. As somebody who’s in your position, what does the membership aspect of the Association mean for you?
Yes, three things. One, having access to the level of expertise in peer members and the association is important. Number two, it allows Facebook to establish ourselves as a company that is taking diversity, inclusion, and OFFCP compliance very seriously. Three, the tools that are available to the members of DE will help us to shortcut many of the steps involved in establishing the various compliancy and diversity programs. I’m going to look to this membership as a great bi-lateral partnership with not only DirectEmployers staff, but also with other Members of the consortium.
Just starting out, that may not mean a whole lot to you, but it could be great for Facebook in the future, because of how much influence you have in your own direction. In your opinion, what does that mean to you?
I think it’s going to mean a lot. You know, we’re a company that is doing things that are not considered “typical”. We’re innovating on how people are sharing and being transparent. I’d like to feel like Facebook has been an impetus behind a societal change. We’re capable of doing this because we weren’t beholden to a strict standard of law – in fact, it’s encouraged to think out of the box. In this same vein, having the ability to influence, or at least have an audience with those that define what it means to be compliant, what it means to define diversity and inclusion (like the former Chair of EEOC), is going to be incredibly important because we’d like to partner with people and entities that would be open to considering a non traditional approach to these issues.
People that I’ve talked to and interviewed don’t come into HR “because my dad was in HR so I’m in HR.” You’re passionate about working with people and making sure that they’re in the right fit. Why are you passionate about your job?
I’m passionate about my job because of the impact that I get to make with people. From a decision standpoint, a job and a career is probably one of the most important decisions that you’ll ever make. I love the fact that I can partner with the candidates to help them make the right decision on their career – even if it means that the best decision for them is not to join the company for which I am representing. When the candidate comes to a company like Facebook, and they express how much they appreciate the guidance that I’ve provided, I get a strong sense of satisfaction and pride. Also, I enjoy the fact that some of those people are making a huge impact at a company like Facebook. I look back and say, ‘you know, “that person” that I’ve hired has been responsible for “xyz” thing at Facebook and that’s made a huge impact’ and I can selfishly try to take a little bit of credit – I enjoy that aspect as well.
You guys are so forward thinking and you’re changing and evolving so much, but you’re pretty heavy hitters with that changing and evolving. Looking forward, how do you think a partnership with DirectEmployers may help the face of Facebook in the future?
Well, it’ll certainly help us to mature as an organization. The ability to learn from the industry experts and peer members, and utilizing the tools that DirectEmployers provides to members is going to be invaluable to us. My hope is that we will be able to interact with the association to come up with various compliancy and diversity programs that will not limit our ability to move fast and be nimble as an organization. Thus I envision that the product of our relationship with DE will be that we are considered a world-class organization that values diversity/inclusion while maintaining the identity of the company that makes us unique.