Another Source

Hiring Manager Insight Amidst the Pandemic – Featured Interview Series

May 2020

Marcie Glenn

We are honored to feature Alli Burton, Director of Talent Acquisition, at McKinstry, an industry leading engineering and construction firm. McKinstry believes deeply that energy, facility services, engineering and construction are revolutionizing the built environment. For more than five decades, their teams across the nation have been creating and maintaining spaces that cut waste, save money and assure comfort. You may have already been into one of their efficiently designed buildings! From football stadiums to data centers, modernist libraries to historical landmarks, McKinstry is committed to ensuring that facilities are good to their owners, occupants and especially, to our environment.

As the Director of Talent Acquisition, Alli leads all aspects of McKinstry’s talent acquisition strategy, delivery, and performance while working in partnership with all levels of the organization. Alli’s passion lies in leading, managing, developing and mentoring a growing Talent Acquisition team while identifying and implementing effective and innovative recruiting methodologies to drive results. Alli’s team focuses on national hiring strategies, college recruiting programs, diversity and inclusivity recruiting strategies, and the Veteran hiring program.

Another Source has partnered with McKinstry since 2001 and has facilitated in more than 230 critical hires across the organization. Alli continues to be an exceptional leader and thought partner.

Alli’s Responses:

What has been the most significant transition for your team during this pandemic? 

I would say the pace change of our activities. We went from 150 mph to a more manageable 75 mph and that’s been a tough transition for our team because it happened overnight. There’s a lot of uncertainty in the air and to add on a significant work change, well, let’s just say there was a lot of conversations about it.

Assuming you and your team are working remotely, what’s one unforeseen benefit and one unforeseen negative?

The benefit I see is that it’s forcing us to work smarter, to leverage out technologies, and really operationalize our function. The negative is the distance we have from each other. We really do rely on a high level of collaboration in the work we do so we’re just having to work differently.

How do you see your organization changing in light of this pandemic?

There are a lot of silver linings that are coming out of this pandemic. I believe organizations that were not open to remote workers in the past will start singing a new tune. I also believe that our ability to tap into a talent pool that has now been expanded nationally, even globally, will help us recruit higher level candidates with more diversity than we would if we were relying upon locally based talent only.

What is your process in determining essential positions at your organization?

For us it’s about utilization, skill sets, and current market needs.

What advice would you give to applicants that are beginning an unplanned job search? 

Leverage your networks, be flexible, and have a growth mindset. Sometimes it’s ok to take the job that might have been your 3rd choice before and work yourself into what you really want to be doing. Agility and hustle will be key especially as all of the unemployed are starting to apply. Figure out what differentiates you and make sure you start every interview with a smile and some humility. We will get through this!

What’s a critical lesson you learned about yourself and/or about your team in the last 6 weeks?

I’ve learned that we are more resilient than I thought and that the old adage “only hire people smarter than yourself” is really proven in times of crisis. I’ve been really honored and humbled to work with all of my McKinstry colleagues as we’ve navigated some tough moments. As an employee I’ve learned that coming to work for McKinstry 9 years ago was the absolute right choice and I have been extremely impressed with the grace that our CEO and leadership have taken to be a truly “people first” organization during a really tough time.

 

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