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Michelle Idziorek, Head of Recruiting at Telmate, Heads Up the Hiring Process for a 200+ Person Team

telmate office
200+ Employees currently work at Telmate

Michelle Idziorek: Powering a Fast Moving Startup with Key Technical Roles

Michelle Idziorek
Michelle Idziorek
Head of Recruiting

Michelle Idziorek, the Head of Recruiting at Telmate, headed up the hiring process for their 200+ person team. Telmate is a telecoms provider with a unique mission— they build communication technology products that help inmates all over the United States and Canada. Their product lets inmates keep in touch with loved ones and improve their own well-being, including video chat, education, and entertainment through various devices and touchpoints.

During her time at Telmate, Michelle, filled hundreds of roles for the team. But she found herself hitting a breaking point last year when she was working on up to 20 job requisitions at a time—the company was thriving, but her plate was full. Michelle hired The Sourcery to pad the Telmate team with additional recruiting resources, allowing Michelle to focus on the roles she had already committed to. The Sourcery was able to take on new roles and help with unique or technical positions that were difficult to fill.

Deployed in over 300 correctional facilities in North America

A One-Person Team Finds a Support System

As the sole recruiter for Telmate, Michelle’s biggest challenge was finding the bandwidth to manage sourcing, schedule interviews, follow up with potential hires, and gather feedback on over a dozen candidates at a time. She moved fast and got things done, but she didn’t always have a moment to stop and breathe.

“The Sourcery was a lifesaver at a time when we were scaling so quickly,” Michelle explains. However, she admits, she hadn’t requested the help herself. It was a decision made by a colleague that brought The Sourcery’s team to her.

The Sourcery helped reinforce Telmate with additional recruiting resources

Michelle was reluctant to bring on an outside team of recruiters partially because of her past experience working for an agency herself. She knew firsthand that contingency agencies often sent many candidates without fully understanding the job requirements or the company culture, so she wasn’t sold on handing over some of her most important roles. Furthermore, she was wary of them creating more work for her than they’d help absorb.

“I’m a recruiter who likes to fill all of my own roles; I have the competitive streak. But once The Sourcery stepped in, it was a huge relief. I could focus on the jobs I already had.”

Director of Engineering screened & hired by The Sourcery

Things changed when The Sourcery team visited the Telmate office for the first time. Michelle was impressed with the way they focused on getting in-depth information on who Telmate was and how they operated. “We have so many contingency recruiters reach out to work with us, but I really liked The Sourcery’s model,” she says. “They clearly wanted to understand our company culture, goals, and requirements for each position”.

A Growing Startup Competes with Tech Giants

At one point, Telmate opened 15 new job requisitions in a single day. They weren’t looking for just anyone—they were looking for the best engineers in the industry. In a city like San Francisco, the competition from the most well-known tech companies is stiff. Recruiting for Telmate wasn’t just about finding people with the right technical skills, it was also about building strong brand recognition among top talent in the area.

“It’s extremely competitive in a place like San Francisco, where engineers are being recruited by companies like Google and Facebook.”

Engineering roles are hard to fill for other reasons too. Michelle recalled a time when her team needed a senior developer, but recruiters sent engineers with fewer than two years of experience because they were more concerned with volume than fit. She was thrilled to find out that The Sourcery took technical requirements seriously, vetting each candidate carefully and making sure they were completely qualified before passing them through to the next stage.

Software Engineering Manager screened & hired by The Sourcery

Building a Long-Lasting Recruiting Partnership

Michelle and the team at Telmate have worked with The Sourcery on several roles since they began working together, hiring a Director of Engineering and a Software Engineering Manager in the process. They see it as a partnership—The Sourcery now understands the nuances of their business and customizes the recruiting process accordingly.

“The Sourcery were willing to work with our process from day one. The team has been fantastic and I’m sure we’ll work with them again.”

“The Sourcery cares about filling roles with the right person,” Michelle recalls. She appreciated the how quickly The Sourcery recruiters worked while still only sharing high-quality candidates. This was one of the biggest differences that Telmate noticed between The Sourcery and typical contingency agencies. “Unlike other recruiters who would just push anyone on you to get the commission, I could tell The Sourcery took my roles as seriously as I did,” says Michelle.

So far, Telmate has benefited most from The Sourcery’s hands-on approach and their flexibility in meeting the varying requirements of their team. Michelle’s experience with The Sourcery was the perfect balance of a team that worked proactively and independently at the same time, a welcome change from her days working with contingent agencies.

“I’ve worked with recruiters before who flooded my inbox and blew up my phone hoping to get feedback on one of the hundreds of resumes they sent to me. I don’t have time for that.”

Since then, she’s told many other recruiters in her network about The Sourcery. “They’re extremely professional,” she says. “They communicate regularly and know what they’re doing, so I can hand things off confidently while focusing on my other work.”

Rather than struggling under the pressure of too many job requisitions, Michelle was able to lean on The Sourcery when she needed it the most. The consistency of the team’s performance made it easy to trust that Telmate would have quality candidates to choose from.

“Often with agencies the quality just isn’t reliable,” says Michelle. “One recruiter is good and one is horrible, but you have to work with them because you hired that agency. What you get with The Sourcery is across-the-board quality.”

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“The Sourcery is always there when we need them. They can scale up or down in response to demand. The Sourcery doesn’t take a success fee. We only talk to pre-screened candidates who fit what we’re looking for.”

— Jared Friedman
(CTO & Co-Founder at Scribd)
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zack rosen pantheon

“We knew we needed help. We decided we might as well try this recruiting thing. We were able to hire a string of engineers in a very short time. The Sourcery took a ton off our plates immediately. Like In-House Recruiters, but better... It's hard to juggle the work to build the product and hit the milestones while also managing the hiring process.”

— Zack Rosen
(Co-founder & CEO of Pantheon)
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John Witchel

“They Made Me a Better Recruiter. Over the years, I’ve placed more than 20 software engineers through The Sourcery. They do a fantastic job of minimizing hiring overhead. I was okay at recruiting before I met them. Now I actually consider myself a pretty good recruiter.”

— John Witchel
(Tech co-founder )
cole shiftlett thoughtspot

“The quality of candidates we were getting from The Sourcery was really meaningful. We didn’t just fill our first couple of roles, we got strong team members who still work with us today.”

— Cole Shiftlett
(Head of People Operations )
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“Be patient. You don’t have to settle. Great people are hard to find. They don’t just sit around waiting by the phone. They’re already busy. They’re probably fully engaged on several things already. Embrace the fact that to find people, there’s going to be a lot of work. Working with The Sourcery will be a much more efficient use of your time. There’s no magic solution, but The Sourcery knows how to do it the right way.”

— Josh Tyler
(VP Engineering & Design)
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Michelle Idziorek

“I’m a recruiter who likes to fill all of my own roles; I have the competitive streak. But once The Sourcery stepped in, it was a huge relief. I could focus on the jobs I already had.”

— Michelle Idziorek
(Head of Recruiting)
telmate