Things got a whole lot brighter at Allovus when our new Senior Recruiter, Alena Hansen, joined our family. If you haven’t met her yet, you are in for a treat. With her can-do attitude and her ability to make impactful connections between clients and talented creatives, she is sure to bring great energy to our small but mighty organization.
Allovus: Tell us a little about yourself!
Alena: I am a creative recruiter/account manager. That’s my big girl job. For my little girl job, I teach Zumba and kickboxing three days a week. However, 100% of the time, I’m a mom of two girls. I have a master’s degree in International Human Resource Management from the University of London. I actually got my bachelor’s degree in Portland and lived at home so I could pay off school while I was going there. Originally, I’m from Ukraine. I moved here when I was just under 5 years old with my family. We immigrated to the United States as refugees and first moved to Los Angeles.
Allovus: That was very brave of your parents to move here.
Alena: Yes, I definitely I feel that way, too. I owe them a lot. They came here with two kids—me and my younger brother—so, two small children, suitcases, and $1,000 in cash. That’s all they had. If I could imagine what the American dream looks like, it’s my parents. They came here with nothing and now they have a house, a cabin near a lake, two cars, a boat, and put both their kids through college.
Allovus: Imagine how different your life would be if your family hadn’t moved here!
Alena: I have a lot of family in Ukraine and Russia and all over the former Soviet Union. Most of them, especially the women, get married around 18 or 20 and have children—and that’s kind of where my cousins are at. They started their families much younger. For a period of time, they asked, “When are you going to settle down and have children?” Well, now I am married and have children, and I got to do all this cool stuff, like travel and have a career. My life would be very different if I’d stayed there. My mom is Jewish, and Ukraine is one of the most anti-Semitic countries in the former Soviet Union. So I think a lot of opportunities would have been closed to me, much like they were for my mom.
Allovus: How did you decide to become a recruiter and how long have you been in this field?
Alena: I’ve always liked the business space—even working in retail. One job I had in college was working for Victoria’s Secret. My manager told me, “Alena, you’re a natural at this.” At one point, they even wanted me to quit school and become a manager there. I don’t think my aspirations aligned with that!
I’ve always been fascinated by people and how organizations work. So, I went to London and got my masters in HR and came back here. My very first job was at Nike as a contractor in HR compliance. I wanted to have relationships with people, and I wanted to understand how people work in organizations. And I had a lot of relationships… with paperwork. I sat and audited all the new-hire paperwork, and the only interaction I had with people was calling managers to say, “You filled this out wrong, I need you to redo it.” There was no sense of fulfillment. From there, I was recruited by PRO Unlimited into the flex program. I managed the staffing partnerships. I interacted with over 120 different staffing suppliers. I had my own set of managers I worked with to open up new jobs to get people in the door. I wasn’t a recruiter but more of a middleman for those relationships. And that’s when I realized this is what I like to do. I like to work with people. I like to build relationships. I’ve now been recruiting for 6 years.
Allovus: What is your favorite part of the job? What drives you to do what you do?
Alena: My favorite part is making an impact on somebody’s life. Of course, it happens on the client side and it’s a huge win there, but it’s pretty awesome when that happens on the candidate side. I like to spend the time with people to make an impact that will help them in the future. My biggest accomplishment is one specific person who came to one of my “lunch and learns”. I did a presentation on hiring tips and tricks, elevator pitches, and resumes. I talked to this guy who wanted to be a writer. He had just finished his English degree and was working as a waiter and just doing some projects by himself. I kept in touch with him throughout the years. Then he built up his portfolio by doing some freelance work, and I placed him at Nike as a writer. He’s since moved on from Nike and he’s trying to explore some more editorial-type work. That is my biggest accomplishment. I made such an impact on somebody—it’s years of his life! That is what fulfills me. The relationships you build with people. There’s nothing that gives me that sense of pride more than calling someone and telling them they got their dream job—and they’re crying or screaming or being so happy and thanking me. I really think I’m doing what I’m supposed to be doing.
Allovus: What made you decide to come to Allovus?
Alena: The small boutique agency was attractive to me. I chatted with Viv, then I spoke with Brian. It was interesting to not feel nervous during the interview. I felt comfortable and excited about the conversation. They just felt like my kind of people.
Allovus: What do you hope to bring to Allovus?
Alena: I think that new people bring fresh perspective. I come with a little bit of that process or tech space. I love to work with Excel, and I think that will complement Brian as well. I also want to bring some of my relationship building skills.
Allovus: What are your favorite things to do outside work?
Alena: I’m a fitness instructor. I’ve been teaching Zumba for 9 or 10 years. I love to see people having a good time while also wanting to be healthy and fit. And then Kickboxing is fun and is a completely different crowd. My mom also teaches Zumba, we get to do some things together—like attend Zumba jams. My family and I love to go snowboarding and hiking—we’re fans of the outdoors.