We’re excited to share that we have a new member on the Greenhouse board of directors, Astha Malik. We had a chance to learn more about the experience and perspectives Astha brings to the Greenhouse community. Read on for the full interview.
Greenhouse: Hi Astha, and congratulations on joining the Greenhouse Board! Please tell us a little about yourself and share some of the most important lessons you’ve learned in your career so far.
Astha Malik: For nearly 20 years, I have had the opportunity to work across many different market segments and industries. I believe the breadth of these experiences, paired with a nonlinear career, have helped me transition into different roles from sales to business development to marketing.
I used to think career highlights are always tied with one’s goals and achievement of those goals, but learning moments are equally important.
1. Understanding the importance of mentors: I am fortunate to have a few mentors who I really respect, and their coaching has helped me make work-life decisions, have more self-awareness and pushed me to make bold and ambitious choices.
2. Realizing you are only as good as your team: Early in our careers we all try to prove ourselves smarter, better and inevitably say “I” more than “we.” I have made those mistakes. Learning from these experiences has been one of the biggest highlights of my career.
3. Learning to move on with confidence after failures and disappointments: We all get trapped in our emotions when things don't go as planned. It has happened to me many times, and I am sure as long as I remain ambitious, it will happen yet again. I have become better at pragmatically assessing the situation, separating my emotions from the event and learning to be vulnerable with trusted advisors to learn from what happened and move on toward achieving my goals with confidence.
4. Putting people before brands and opportunities: Realizing that you are influenced by the people you surround yourself with has been a major learning. I have been fortunate to work with many amazing companies with inclusive cultures such as Zendesk and Citrix, and know what good looks like.
GH: What attracts and excites you most about joining the Greenhouse Board? What do you intend to bring to the Greenhouse Board that is unique in terms of perspective and experience?
AM: What attracts and excites me about Greenhouse is the fact the company is a leader in hiring best practice. All of us have used People Tech or HR software that is hard to use and even more difficult to extract value from. It’s the biggest irony and opportunity in the space, and Greenhouse is truly getting it right by focusing on experience as well as showcasing a high level of empathy for users and candidates.
Also, in a world where agility is regarded as a top factor for business growth and competitive advantage, companies cannot afford to have slow, dated or ineffective recruiting and onboarding systems. When they do, it is detrimental as it hurts their chances of competing effectively with companies who are getting it right. Everyone understands and talks about the problem, and Greenhouse is solving it for some of the most trusted and successful brands.
Greenhouse embodies many values I hold dear. As an immigrant and a woman of color, I am an advocate for diversity and inclusion. Greenhouse is reducing unconscious biases that hinder diversity and inclusion in the workplace, and enabling companies to achieve better business results and level the playing field for underrepresented candidates.
I’ve been very impressed with the Greenhouse leadership team’s experience, their ambitious goals, and the problems they are solving for their customers without compromising the company culture.
GH: As an active advocate for diversity and leadership, you’ve been recognized for your commitment to this as a Stevie award Female Executive of the Year and Business Leadership Award by the National Diversity Council. What does DE&I mean to you?
AM: Every company is talking about DE&I, but only the ones that make it a strategic imperative and part of their leadership goals are actually able to move the needle. Setting quantifiable goals for talent screening, hiring, and retention coupled with development programs is hard, but companies such as Greenhouse are making it easier.
For me, DE&I is also about developing underrepresented employees and ensuring they are represented and feel included is equally important. This is only possible if we all say something when we see something in everyday matters. We have to ask ourselves, are there diverse speakers at our event? Are there diverse decision makers in a meeting? Who is making decisions for/programs for diverse groups?
It’s also important to applaud and reward good behaviors and call out bad ones.
GH: Greenhouse is privileged to work with thousands of companies who are hiring millions of people. From our data on the fastest-growing and most successful companies, to our conversations with hiring teams, there’s a clear pattern: great hiring starts with leaders who think differently. We call them Talent Makers. How do you show up as a Talent Maker in your leadership role at Zendesk?
AM: I have managed large and small teams, and one thing that hasn't changed is my engagement in the recruiting process. I want to make sure that we are screening a diverse pool of candidates no matter what the role. I like to make sure I’m speaking with the final set of candidates to ensure that in addition to a great resume, they will add to the culture in a positive way and not compromise culture for performance. This is a big factor in hiring consideration for me.
I’m part of the onboarding team, spending those precious first few days onboarding new team members. It’s important to provide newer folks with a clear guidance on how and where they can contribute most, what the engagement model with different team members could be and how to avoid landmines which I myself may have stepped on in the past. As a Talent Maker, it’s important to help them learn and onboard faster and smarter, giving them a perfect start to contribute to the team’s goals.
Embracing radical candor for the benefit of my team is another way I show up as a Talent Maker. There are never any year-end performance review surprises here. I believe in spotlight reviews on a regular basis to align on what is working great, what could be better and where we need radically new thinking.
I have learnt and firmly believe you are only as good as your team. With that spirit in mind, it’s important to ask them regularly what you could do better and be open to new ideas and suggestions from everyone.
GH: Who are some of the individuals that have been the most influential role models and who have shaped you as a leader?
AM: My mom. She is a working mother with ambition, work ethic and unconditional love for family. She had to make tough choices back in India but showed me how to bring harmony to both work and life. She helped me embrace that that harmony between work and life is never really perfect. It’s important to realize that sometimes one area will need more attention than the other and you can't strike a magical balance everyday.
GH: Please tell us a little more about yourself. We are keen to know more about how you spend your time when you are not working.
AM: I’m a busy mother myself, with an 11-year-old and a seven-month-old Golden Doodle. When I’m not working, my husband and I love to spend quality time outdoors with the family. Luckily, the California weather and landscape gives us plenty of opportunities to be out and about.
I’m also a big cricket fan and went to England this summer to see the Cricket World Cup. And yes, I realize most Americans don't know much about it. Let me share a few facts about cricket: only 12 countries play in cricket’s top echelon, but huge, fervent fan bases in India (1.35 billion people), Pakistan and Bangladesh help make it the world’s second-most popular sport, at least when India has a big match!
Thank you so much Astha, for taking the time to share more about yourself. We’re honored to have you on our board of directors.
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