The creation of a safe space, encouraging environment, and getting rid of the stigma.
From Work to Home is a special collaboration series with Stripe, the financial infrastructure platform for businesses. I speak with Rahal Kansara on how she creates work-life integration and balances her career ambitions with family aspirations.
Rahal is from Stripe's APAC recruiting team who focuses on core business recruiting, particularly in risk and financial recruitment. She aims to provide a safe working environment for parent candidates coming to Stripe, as she, herself, is also a mother to her child, aged 9.
In this episode, she shares that there is no stigma on being a parent candidate at Stripe, as long honesty and openness exist between the employer and employee. With the goal to make candidates believe in their ability, Rahal encourages open dialogues and discussions within the company. These initiatives help their employees become great parents and tech leaders all at once.
To get in touch with Rahal Kansara, find her on LinkedIn: https://www.linkedin.com/in/rahalkansara/
Don’t forget to head over to www.parents.fm to stay up to date with new and previous episodes, join our community of parents in tech, or drop me a line.
Thanks for listening to the Parents in Tech podcast with me, your host, Qin En. We hope you were inspired on how to raise kids and build companies. To catch up on earlier episodes or stay updated with upcoming ones, head over to www. to join our community of parents in tech. There, you can also drop me a question, idea, feedback or suggestion. See you next time!
[00:33] Introducing today’s guest, Rahal Kansara
[00:49] Role at Stripe
[01:05] Number one challenge that recruiters face with parent candidates.
[02:48] Reservations and concerns that parent candidates go through
[08:33] Managing, hiring manager's expectations.
[11:42] Employees resource groups
[17:29] Advice for parent candidates
[18:37] 2 things hiring managers should hear.
[20:07] Lesson that you have learned in your career
[Qin En 00:00]
Hi, I am Qin En, and this is the Parents in Tech podcast. In this special collaboration series with Stripe, the financial infrastructure platform for businesses, I speak with parents at Stripe on how they create work-life integration and balance their career ambitions with family aspirations.
In this episode, I speak with Rahal from Stripe's APAC recruiting team. Rahal is a mother to her child, age nine.
[Qin En 00:42]
Hey Rahal. Welcome to the Parents in Tech show. To begin with, could you tell us a bit more about your role at Stripe?
Hi, really nice to meet you. My role at Stripe is that I'm the, APAC recruiter for Stripe focusing on our core business recruiting, which is mainly focused on sort of risk and financial recruiting side of things.
[Qin En 01:05]
Wonderful. Now as a recruiter, I'm sure you come across candidates from very diverse backgrounds. I'm curious. What do you think is the number one challenge that recruiters face when interacting specifically with parent candidates?
I wouldn't call it a challenge, I think it's an opportunity. If anything, working with parents is such a diverse market and we would obviously want to explore as far as we could to find the right talent, to find the talent that obviously will do really well at Stripe or do incredibly well and be successful in their role.
So I guess that's our key priority or key objective to hit. When we do meet current candidates, they often sometimes have some sort of a stereotype within their own mind, which may sort of stop them or allow them to kinda express themselves freely. And if anything, we encourage them to say so, we encourage them to be forthcoming and talk about challenges that they might be facing or things that they might be going through behind the scenes, in their own heads, just to sort of help them do better and perform better. Because ultimately in my experience, what I have found is the parent candidates are certainly put in their hard job, put in their thousand percent and they are really, really good at balancing work and their personal life juggling multiple priorities behind the scene. And I know there are no such terms like super dad or super mom, because that just really injects a lot of extra added sort of stress and anxiety on a person.
But I do think working parents are really top candidates.
[Qin En 02:48]
Well, that's wonderful. And I think a part that you mentioned earlier, Rahal on how you really bring out and create the safe environment for them to be able to share what's on their mind. Maybe talking through what at least based on your perspective is usually the reservations and concerns that parent candidates go through, especially at the early stages of interviewing and recruiting with a company and how you and your team go about addressing those concerns.
Absolutely the stigma. There is certainly that I don't want to sort of say that I'm a single parent or I'm a parent of children where I don't really have support or might actually reflect that on my resume. First of all, they really don't need to disclose that officially. So that's absolutely fine because nobody wants to discriminate or make them feel alienated because they are a parent who are also working and juggling priorities. If anything, I encourage them to come forward and talk about if there are any challenges, if they are a single parent, if they do need to balance certain priorities, which means that be joining a late night cause with another time zone, perhaps, or traveling out of the country for a particular position that they're applying for.
All these things can actually be spoken out about and discussed and Stripe really has that encouraging culture where we do encourage, and we do create that safe space for these parents to actually have an open dialogue. So, uh, to be honest, I encourage them to speak up about that. And certainly I would a hundred percent support them that this is certainly not expected of you, you are not expected to be working crazy hours or joining a crazy time zone call, just because it tends to be outside of the zone between Amir or the U.S.
So these are the things that we sort of openly talk about from a get go, so that they feel comfortable and what's really focused on here are their skills, the core of the expertise that they'd be bringing to the role and regardless on when they actually work and how they work, it's really up to them. If they need to, and again, as a parent, I can give you my own personal example if I need to make sure that when my child goes to school, I am making myself available for the 8 am pick-up and the 3:00 PM return, I block myself out and I'm encouraged to, by my own manager. Who happens to be a parent as well, actually, and a role model for me. She encourages me to block that time off where I can actually spend that 20 minutes just having a chat with my child, welcoming him back and just to see how his day went and here to listen.
And then again, I can jump back on my calls. So this flexibility is certainly there and [it’s] encouraged really within our organization to have that, which doesn't only create just a safe space, but also creates a very happy mental space for us, where we could actually think creatively and work with solution oriented problem solving rather than just focusing on work and just kind of getting over with it, you know? So this is where we actually enjoy what we do.
[Qin En 05:58]
That's beautiful. Now I'm gonna ask also for perhaps what is one of the more memorable stories or experiences you dealt with parent candidates? Because I'm sure you have so many interesting people that you come in contact with. Was there a time when you know, what you shared about providing them that safe, inclusive, supportive environment stood out? Whether from your perspective or from the candidate's perspective?
Absolutely and look parenting and working, being a working parent myself. This is very, very dear to my heart. And I can really resonate with moms that are trying to come back to work and dads as well, that are sort of obviously trying to come back to work after bonding with a new newborn child.
And this is perhaps the hardest time in a parent's life- to make that decision and step out, it's almost like kind of like a rebirth to us as a parent to then step into the world again, and basically adults. And this is where the particular Singapore candidate of mine who happened to work for another big multinational, where she felt she was extremely stretched.
Working multiple time zones, and she was very reluctant to share this particular sort of a feeling with me, whether or not this would actually go against her candidacy, being a finalist for this particular role. I really encouraged her to have this conversation, not just only with me, but the panel of interviewers, which are going to be her hiring managers and her immediate stakeholders.
So these are some really senior folks within our organization when I encouraged her to actually speak up about that. Not only that actually went in her favor, but it really resonated with us, including the senior stakeholders that this particular candidate really reflects our values. Which are obviously being humble, being down to earth, [putting the] team first, user first approach. But being really honest, she was really scared and reluctant that at this point in time, she might lose the opportunity, but instead that really helped us evaluate this candidate better and turned out to be one of the candidates who is doing an amazing job for our organization at the moment. So, you know, just a little example of how little goes a long way, I guess, when you have an open dialogue about something so small but obviously so big in the candidate's mind.
[Qin En 08:17]
Absolutely. And I think just what you did and what your team did are really bringing in the different stakeholders. I think that's so valuable, right? So that it's not just the people talent and recruiting team that is aware of this, but even the people who will be working once they join the organization, I think that really is valuable.
So I guess on that note, the next question I have, is when it comes to also managing hiring manager's expectations, are there any particular things to take note of? Are there any lessons that you have learned?
The biggest lesson that we have all learned, is a lot of my hiring managers are working parents themselves.
So they actually do really, really value parents at work. And if anything, diversity and inclusion are [at the] very core at our heart. So this is something that's really, really important to us. I guess COVID has changed things a lot in so many ways and coming back to the whole hybrid work model for parents has been particularly challenging.
So hiring managers are very, very aware of that. They're very open to that and they're very encouraging and extremely adaptable in that area. So if a candidate doesn't feel comfortable working out of the office, they have an option to mix and match and work from home whenever they want or make themselves available or come into the office for, even for a need or whatever that they need to, to carry out their responsibilities.
And potentially return back home at their child's return so that they're present in their mind and certainly carry on working post that. So if anything, our hiring managers and our hiring practices are incredibly inclusive and also equally very encouraging to parents to kind of certainly kind of have that work life balance, and certainly look after their children at the same time.
[Qin En 10:07]
Got it. Got it. And I think this is really helpful, right? Because it's really about open communication, really about helping people to understand and be more empathetic. So I guess in terms of this training, this guidance, this coaching, what kind of resources does Stripe offer to hiring managers and leaders so that there's this idea of inclusivity and also people are aware of the potential pitfall so to speak.
Absolutely. So from a talents perspective, we are working on some big projects which are going to encourage return to work moms. There are going to be projects which are going to be inclusive of parents, as well as their children, so that we are not only including parents, but we are also extending that to the, the wider families as well, so that they actually have bit more of an inclusive environment.
We have range benefits that are certainly dedicated to parents and that really makes our lives a lot more easier. But above all, there is this really openness about communicating when you can't attend something or when you can't do something, you are not afraid to sort of speak up or approach your hiring manager or even your skip level manager to kind of have that open dialogue, open conversation that this is something that I cannot attend or cannot do because of my family reasons, or I need to be presence as a mom or as a dad. And that is a hundred percent supported.
There will always be a contingency plan around it. There will always be support around it. So there's a really, really strong support network here at Stripe that encourages us really.
[Qin En 11:47]
That's beautiful. And maybe tell me also a bit more about these employee resource groups that you have. What's the idea behind it? How often do you meet, what are some of the learnings? And once they get best practices that other aspiring tech organizations can follow, if they're considering establishing such practices
Absolutely. So we have a parent in tech group itself, and this group is a group of parents who are bringing in their own perspective, their own ideas, and that group ranges from new parents who just got, had newborns and had returned to work, to parents who have kids that are at, uh, in soccer groups or are demanding of their time. And then there are also parents who are single. So they're obviously juggling work life balance themselves and being a responsible parent.
So they're various sort of parents that are part of this group. And we all sort of encourage to bring a topic that would be supportive to other parents and also going when we're going out, when we we're obviously looking at the talent outside of Stripe, one of the the best practices we could put together to encourage these parents to join us, as well as make their lives easier, where there is less stress, less anxiety and more creativity, more enjoyment of work.
So there are various things that we actually do, and we do meet very regularly and we always have a different topic, different agenda, starting from so PRS to new parents, to joining soccer clubs, to soccer moms like myself as kids are very enthusiast to organizing top shows or even networking events for return to work parents to provide them support.
And that's not all, little things like facilities within strive, which also sort of supports new moms. Uh, so we have mother rooms and we have quiet rooms and various other things that are very, very supportive.
[Qin En 13:44]
I love how practical these things are. It's not just helping on the philosophical things, but really small things, right? Like swapping of clothes of friends. I think that's the practical advice that can actually be quite stressful for parents, right. Especially when you don't have a source to figure out like what brand of milk powder should I buy in the grand scheme of things or to people on the outside, it might feel like such a trivial thing, but it can be just something that rests on people's mind, but having peers and a trusted network to be able to ask that it's incredibly valuable.
Yes, that's absolutely right.
[Qin En 14:15]
I'm gonna shift gears a a little, Rahal. I'm gonna ask this because I think it's also quite pertinent to perhaps the smaller group of audience out there. But I wanna talk about, for people who are thinking about being parents, or perhaps are already expecting whether they are the mom or the dad, it's still relevant.
And usually, you know, there's this sense. Oh, maybe I should not change the job. Maybe I should joined a company because if I do it in a couple of months, I have to take a maternity or paternity leave, you know, it's not gonna look good. That's gonna be all of these concerns. Maybe tell me a bit more about how you view this from your and your team's perspective.
Absolutely. And again, this is one of those topics which has some various stigmas around it in the market, particularly within the talent market.
[Qin En 15:00]
Now this is something that's really, again, dear to my heart, because it has happened where a candidate was in the process of interviewing and they went as far as sort of their final round of interviews.
So after having sort of few rounds of interviews and spending quite a time and energy into the process. They were certainly very much interested in proceeding further, but at that point they had this epiphany where they really wanted to share that they have just found out that they're actually pregnant.
And which means that they will probably will be needing to go on a maternity leave soon. Now, this is something that absolutely did not have to share, but they really felt the need to be open and honest and have the, I guess follow the right ethical path in order to share this information where that's initially they shared this with me and I absolutely really thanked them for being honest and upfront, and really encourage them to have that conversation with the hiring manager.
And I was really keen to see how that really goes. I knew that the hiring manager would be so, so supportive and this would certainly actually will sway their way. Not against, but they were really, really scared to have this conversation.
So I provided them full support and I really encouraged them to have this conversation when they did and turned out to be one of the candidates was absolutely star candidate that interviewed incredibly well, had so much talent and was clearly the candidate out of the shortlisted people that we had, who this role was going to be offered to.
And they absolutely deserve the offer from Stripe and we proceeded to that. We absolutely went through, went ahead with it. They were onboarded and they went, also went on maternity leave shortly after and they were supported. The team was there to support, as well as the manager, as well as everybody around them. And that really made them actually feel really appreciated and really see that the ethical side of things for them, that they were honest, and their honesty was rewarded and it turned out to be a fantastic role for them and really nice team for them.
So, yeah, it went a long way. So we are an organization that does value, honesty, and humility, a lot.
[Qin En 17:29]
That's wonderful. And I think that's such an inspirational story to tell. So given that I think that's really, you know, you have all of these positive examples. If I had to ask you to kind of distill down two or three pieces of advice for parent candidates, or soon to be parent candidates, as they think about embarking a potential career switch or a company switch, what would those two or three things look like?
I would say really focus on your ability to do incredibly well. Do not doubt yourself, be confident in yourself and be honest when you need help, when you need support. The support will always be there for you, but don't be afraid to speak up. Don't have a stigma around being a new parent or even a parent coming back to work.
There is always enough team and support there for you to feel safe and have that safer space to shine really and do really well. So the opportunities are endless really believe in yourself and don't be afraid. That's what I would say.
[Qin En 18:37]
Wonderful. Don't be afraid. Now I'll flip it to the other side of the table.
So to speak and ask for one or two things that you would share with hiring managers who might be listening to this also based on all the experience you've seen and in terms of like all the success stories that you shared, what are one or two things that you want them to hear?
I would certainly say to hiring managers to have a very open mind and encourage openness, encourage open feedback. Certainly create that safe space for candidates to allow themselves to express themselves and also be open to discuss if they had any doubts about anything in particular.
They can certainly come right forward and discuss it and feel secure that that won't have any implications on their career or anything like that. Instead it'll actually help them do better on their day to day tasks or your day to day responsibilities.
[Qin En 19:36]
So true. It's really about seeing the bigger picture and creating that psychological, emotional safety that team members can have the open, transparent conversations together.
And finally, of course, the third and perhaps the most important group, which is the people and the talent team, people like yourself, what would you say to them as they think about facilitating the process between these two very important groups of people, the parent candidates, as well as the hiring manager.
What is perhaps one lesson that you have learned in your career and journey thus far?
I have learned that it is okay to allow the candidate to speak up and let them feel comfortable at their own space and time. So rather than probing, it is important to create that space where the candidate actually does feel comfortable, share something like that with you, and they trust you to do the right thing especially when the candidate is doing the right thing.
So I guess it's really, really important to build that trust with them and that relationship, which you can then certainly extend further to your internal stakeholders, the hiring managers.
[Qin En 20:47]
Got it. Well, Rahal, thank you so much for coming on the show today.
I think it was just so rich to hear your perspectives as a people and talent person, and also all the successful stories that you have facilitated. It's really a result of the transparency, openness, and also ultimately helping everyone to feel safe even before they join the Stripe team.
[Qin En 21:08]
With that, thank you so much and it's such a joy. We'll see around soon.
Thank you. Thank you for having me.
[Qin En 21:19]
Thanks for listening to the Parents in Tech podcast with me, your host, Qin En. We hope you were inspired on how to raise kids and build companies to catch up on earlier episodes or stay updated with upcoming ones, head over to www.parents.fm to join our community of parents in tech. There, you can also drop me a question, idea, feedback or suggestion.
Once again, the website it's www.parents.fm. That's all for this episode, folks. See you next time.