Ready to change hiring forever?
Join thousands of talent leaders learning new ways to optimize and revamp their recruiting processes to hire the best talent.

Mastering the Human Element in Talent Leadership With Anessa Fike

The workplace revolution is here, and Anessa Fike, CEO & Founder of Fike + Co, is leading the charge. Whether you consider her book, “The Revolution of Work: F*ck the Patriarchy,” her organization that overhauls event experiences to emphasize inclusivity, Project Purple Light, or her innovative approach to hiring practices (spoilers: cover letters are out), Anessa’s unique approach is a breath of fresh air in the talent industry. Gear up for a Hire Quality conversation guaranteed to get you thinking outside of the box!

Key Takeaways:

  • Takeaway One: In today's fast-paced corporate world, talent acquisition teams must transcend their traditional functions and adopt a strategic mindset.
  • Takeaway Two: The creation of safe, harassment-free atmosphere at HR and talent conferences isn't just a matter of policy – it’s about active engagement and immediate support.
  • Takeaway Three: The job market is an ever-changing landscape, and Anessa Fike’s tips on aligning skill sets and elevating the candidate experience is crucial in today’s talent scene.
  • Takeaway Four: Recruiters should keep an eye on emerging trends and adapt their practices accordingly to stay relevant.

Jump into the conversation:

[05:36] Revolutionizing work by challenging status quo.

[11:45] Transitioning from journalism to recruiting in pursuit of flexibility.

[16:46] How to efficiently juggle writing a book, working, traveling, and networking.

[28:01] Some organizations can't be changed and that means it’s time to move on.

[32:52] Promoting safety through Operation Purple Light movement.

Devyn Mikelll

Hire Quality is a show built for Talent Acquisition Professionals.

Tune in bi-weekly to hear from a new guest and cover their journey as a Recruiting Professional.

Subscribe Now


[00:00:00] Devyn Mikell: Hey, this is Devyn Mikell with the Hire Quality Podcast, super excited to be interviewing you. So could you introduce yourself, your role in the company that you work at?

[00:00:13] Anessa Fike: Hey there, this is Anessa Fike. I am a founder and CEO of Fike Co. where I have been doing fractional people, HR, and talent leadership for the last 10 and a half years. I am a recent author of The Revolution of Work, an amazing book that's on Amazon about how work is broken and how we can think about changing it for the better for everyone moving forward.

I've been in the people, HR, and talent space for around 15 years.

[00:00:42] Devyn Mikell: What is top of mind for you as a talent leader at your organization?

[00:00:46] Anessa Fike: Top of mind for me as a talent leader is really just thinking about why we continue to do some of the things that we do in talent without looking around and really understanding the root cause of why we [00:01:00] do some of the things.

 And I really want us to go back to what are we trying to accomplish? We're really trying to align the skill sets that people bring to the skill sets needed for a role. And I think we need to start focusing more and more on that piece on the skill sets and making sure they align in addition to.

How can we make it an experience better? Those are all things that are top of mind for me.

[00:01:26] Devyn Mikell: What is something you wish you knew about leading talent that you didn't know when you first started?

[00:01:32] Anessa Fike: So I think what I would love to talk to younger recruiters or those getting into the space newly would be, is it's a relationship just like any other human relationship.

 this should really be a dynamic of a human relationship, a 50, 50 dynamic. And the other piece I will say to that is there is always this want and need to be perfect as a human, right?

But that's not attainable.

 No human's perfect, and we shouldn't try to make the [00:02:00] process perfect. Just understand that we're continually learning and trying to gauge people from what they're telling us, and sometimes we're gonna get it wrong. That's just where we are.

[00:02:09] Devyn Mikell: What's something unique about you as a talent leader at your organization that makes you a perfect fit for that job?

[00:02:16] Anessa Fike: I'm gonna say I'm able to adapt really quickly. I'm able to think on my feet really easily, so I don't get caught off guard too often. I think that's really great in a talent function. I also have a journalism background, so I think especially in talent that gives me the ability to just think about things from a different perspective and maybe be able to actively listen and poke more on things

 So I think those two things make me, you know, unique for this role. Yeah.

[00:02:45] Devyn Mikell: We made it to the last question, and this one's a fun one. What is the worst question you've ever been asked in an interview

[00:02:53] Anessa Fike: I was once asked in an interview what my spirit animal was, and immediately it [00:03:00] was offensive to me because that's culturally appropriating

But you know, some of the other ones that I've heard, it's like, what's your favorite color? How many marbles are in this glass thing? Any of these like trick questions that have nothing to do with really the role at hand are always making me roll my eyes.

[00:03:20] Devyn Mikell:

heard on the pre interview here, but now she's here to join me for a higher quality conversation. And that's, uh, thanks so much for joining me.

[00:03:39] Anessa Fike: Yes,

thank you so much for having me. This is a long time coming. I think Devyn and I have been trying to do this for like a few months. So, we're here. We're doing it.


[00:03:48] Devyn Mikell: Yes,

absolutely. So Anessa, I know you to be the queen of fractional HR and also the CEO and founder at Fike and Co., but here's what I'll tell the audience. If you go and [00:04:00] look at Anessa's LinkedIn profile and you start to look for the journey, you'll probably get lost because there's too many names, too many good names, too many roles.

You're like, I don't know how she does all this. And so I want you to tell the audience who you are, what you do, what you're about.

[00:04:16] Anessa Fike: amazing. So yeah, I mean, I get bored easily and I get restless easily. And so I have to have a lot of things happening, which anyone who knows me is like, yeah, that makes sense. so for me, I am founder and CEO as, as you said, of Viking Co. I also have been called queen of fractional HR so many times that I finally was like, I'm just going to

own this because

so many people said it to me, because I've done fractional HR and people and talent work for 10 and a half years.

So before fractional was even like a term that people threw around. And, My word for 2024 is impact. And the reason I say that is because I'm also working on two other impactful things.

one is including Operation Purple Light, which [00:05:00] Devyn is on the crew for helping us out with. And just an NILF that I'm working with a high school friend of mine.

And so, it's


about impact this year for me. I really want to make sure that, I am really moving forward on impact. And so, who I am, what I'm about, I really am trying to leave the world a much better place than when I came into it. And I also wrote a book that's coming out February 20th called the revolution of work at the patriarchy in the workplace it built, that's the name of the book. I'll let you fill in whatthat means, but It's about like So much of what isn't working with work, which we all see, we all hear about, we hear about the burnout, we hear about the disengagement, we hear about everything that's bad with work.

And so really, as I've worked across 120 organizations, with, hundreds of leaders, thousands of employees, and. For the last decade,I've really seen trends and how all of this goes back to keeping up the status quo. And if we really want to shake up work and we really want to have a revolution of work and think about work in a new way that works for all of us, that really is pushing against the status quo and doing things differently.

So the book is about that. And, it's not a normal HR book. You're not going to get like an aggregate of statistics and data and like an aggregate of other people's experiences. It is my own experiences, things that I've come into contact with. And then all of the things that add to that.

So like, why is bad?

Why do we need to change it? What does that mean? Hopefully it feels like we're grabbing a coffee, grabbing a cocktail together as you're reading the book. And we're talking about all the things wrong with work and how we solve it. So that's the idea behind the book.

[00:06:35] Devyn Mikell: that is wild. okay. So my job here in the podcast is to unpack your journey.

[00:06:42] Anessa Fike: Yeah.


[00:06:47] Devyn Mikell: I think everyone that listens to this podcast is in the recruiting world of some sort. I bet you a lot of people would love to wake up one day and be where you're at.

Like you get to touch dozens of [00:07:00] companies at a time versus, staying in one company for 20 years, whatever that may be. Right. So your perspective is a lot different. So.

this wasn't, I'm assuming where

you started. So where did this begin? Like, when did you step into talent or HR? and was it out of


Were you in staffing? Like, what was the first touch point for you into this world?

[00:07:19] Anessa Fike: so,

I actually was not in HR. I didn't go to school for HR. I went to school for journalism and I was a newspaper reporter. To start my career. that actually was during a really weird time in journalism. I'm going to date myself. It's actually back when newspapers were trying to figure out what to put online.

Putting anything online was like a brand new thing for newspapers. And it was such a weird time in journalism that I decided to take a break. , I don't know if I like where the industry is going. I don't know if I want to do this for the rest of my life. I took a break. by the way, I was like less than two years into journalism, so that tells you something.

I was like, wait, I've [00:08:00] not even been here for two years and I need a

[00:08:01] Devyn Mikell: I hate

[00:08:01] Anessa Fike: I

don't know if this is

me, like

I loved working with the, the community and I loved talking to people and asking them questions,


makes sense now, but like, I didn't love working, I made like 20, I'll be honest, 24, 000 and I worked six days a week, 10 hours a day.

it was a 60 hour work week for 24, 000 a year. And if you boil that down, I don't

even know if that makes it to minimum wage in most places. So it was a lot. And I had this, drive, I feel like a lot of journalists have a drive, they get into it for a reason of like, trying to find the truth and trying to do good and trying to have this impact in the world.


I liked that piece still, but I was just like, I don't know where the industry's going. So

it took

a break. I actually spent about a year managing a bridal shop, which seems really strange if you know me, but like, yeah, I like that too. And then, I read your mind was like, Hey, do you want to come work with me at the Motley Fool?

And I was like, what is this place? This [00:09:00] Motley Fool. Let me look at this. And I ended up going and working at the Molly full. I started actually as an executive assistant to the

Chief people officer,

the chief technology officer and the president at the time.

I helped

their teams, like all of their teams.

And after about

six months,

the president

and the chief people officer both came to me and they said,

we each

have a job for you and you get

choose, we want to promote you. We have two jobs. Which one would you like? And I'm like, Oh, I don't know. And so I decided. I think maybe HR might be it, right?

Like, I think I would like HR

And actually

it was starting out as HR projects. But then once I got all of those projects done, it was like, okay, now do you want to try recruiting?

And so I say that I started out recruiting. What I actually started out in was like HR project coordination for like six months.

And then I went to recruiting. So, I started to do all of the recruiting. And then the chief people officer was like, Hey, Since you're doing all the recruiting now, do you want the title? And I'm like, that'd be great. Thanks. And [00:10:00] so then I, got promoted again and I was global recruiting director at the Motley Fool.

And so all of that happened within a three year time span.

we also

went from 75 people at the Motley Fool. When I started around about, I can't remember exactly. It was around, around 75.

And when I left,

we were like almost at three 50.


all of those people over those years, I hired because I didn't have a team until Six months before I left and so it was really like I hired everyone around the world for the Motley Fool And so talent


really important to what we did, of course.

And people have stayed at the Motley Fool for 25 years, many people. And it is such an amazing culture that people don't want to leave, they've even put their lives on hold

to stay there.

And so it, Also had a very high bar for me for what culture means in an organization and what keeps people there and what keeps people

putting their own lives on hold because they don't want to leave such an amazing work

[00:11:00] culture. And so when

people ask me like, what's your bar for culture? I'm like, look, my bar is. Probably insurmountably high, right? Like , it started there and I'm not going to lower it. So I'm sorry about that, but like, that's where it is. And so a lot of people have asked me over the years, have you ever come into contact with a culture the

Motley Fool?

And I've only gotten close twice. And so out of 120 companies, only coming close

twice showcases

how much is bad with

So anyway,

back to like the journey I did recruiting. I loved it. I also found a lot of transferable skills. Between journalism and recruiting because it's

asking people questions, trying

to find that repertoire, that like early relationship with someone in a conversation to get their authentic self to come out, to get like real answers.

And so

that was very similar from journalism to recruiting. And then also just really getting to know people and their stories. That's also very, to recruiting and it was core to journalism too. So for me, I found a lot of transferable skills.

[00:12:00] fast forward, how

I got into my own business was, my husband and I, we decided we wanted to start a family and we didn't want to do it in DC.

we love DC, but like at that time earlier in our career, it's like daycare costs are high and mortgage costs are high, and I'm like, can we go to North Carolina where it's a little bit lower cost of living? And so, I went to the CPO and CEO of the Motley Fool, and I said, Hey, would you open up North Carolina for me to go work there remotely?

Well, it was pre Covid. We had an amazing culture an office space,

and they really wanted to try to keep people


to that space. So they said,


not at

time, but

we have an idea. What if you started your own company and we were your first client? And I said, huh, I never thought about that before.

Let me think on it and I'll come back to you. And I decided, you know what, let's, why not? Why not

do that? So,

again, that was in 2013. That was in July, 2013 when I started my business and they were my first client and then it just snowballed from there. So it was kind of like, Hey, we heard you did this stuff at the Motley Fool.

Hey, we want you to come do that here. Hey, we want you to do the same thing. [00:13:00] And one of the cool things that I did in talent.

that I still reference

to this day is really around just that we had this enormous need based on AOL to hire 10 software engineers, but in seat in three weeks. And so I looked at my team at the time and I said, we cannot do this the traditional way.

We cannot

do this how we've done talent up until this point. And so, we completely re imagined it.

it and a bunch of engineers together, blocked off rooms.

We sent out

a way different job description than it had ever been done before. It was like, here's what we're looking for.

Here's what we're going to do. Here's what this means. Here's what your role is going to look like. And by the way, here are the interview dates and when we need you to come, ? Because it's like, we want people to be able to elect into when we were having the interviews. And then we just literally had like a logistical event where we had so many candidates coming in one or two days and just switching them rooms like all day long.

And then we

decided the next day after the interview was like,

[00:14:00] all sat in

a room and we said, who are we going to give offers to? And we had a couple of backups. To this

day, anticipated that like five out of the 10 would stay for a longer period of time. It was like a six month trial period.


I heard nine of those people still work there. And that was from like 2012 ish, 2012, 2013, nine people still work that. And they've repeated that same process six times over. And so it was like, all right, well that worked. I was given freedom early in my career to try things and to just think outside the box.

And so for me, that's how I've always thought about talent, which is part of my journey. And it's also part of the reason I got into fractional before anyone else. Cause I just thought creatively about it.

[00:14:43] Devyn Mikell: I love it.

I hear your

the story about the, the event, we'll call it the event of hiring that you did


engineers. And I think about , , like, what was the thing that made it sticky?

[00:14:53] Anessa Fike: and it makes me think that it was, I'm biased to speed obviously, but imagine going, you get [00:15:00] all your expectations up front.

[00:15:02] Devyn Mikell: You go to the event, you get an

offer or denied

the next day. Like, I feel like that's what, People are wanting, like,

get that. That's

what it is.

[00:15:09] Anessa Fike: it was so quick

and it was like all,

[00:15:11] Devyn Mikell: get it, we're okay.

[00:15:12] Anessa Fike: yeah,

And even like the engineers were so focused on it. they didn't have time because we had blocked off their calendars and we said, this is what we got to do. And they knew it's what we had to do. Right. they didn't have time to say, I can't, I don't, I can't.

All the

excuses that we hear on the talent side of, I didn't have time to fill out my scorecard or like, I didn't have time to get back or take these notes or whatever. It's like they didn't have the space to do that.

So we cut

out a ton of the BS, a ton of the back and forth, a ton of the stuff that we all hate dealing with anyway, and just really got down to, what do we need to do?

What do we need to set


wise? And then what do we need to accomplish? And let's all do it. And we were all dialed in. We were all like, yes, we're here for it. Let's get this done. Yeah.

[00:15:52] Devyn Mikell: Yeah.

I love that. Did you ever replicate it for another company? Or is that like the one place that

[00:15:57] Anessa Fike: You know,

it's funny that you asked me that [00:16:00] I thought about doing it for other companies, but I will tell you the one reason I didn't is because those other companies were not ready to give an offer to 10 engineers in one day.

But if

they were, we could have done it, but you know, startups, sometimes they get a little freaked out if they're like, what we're sending out 10 offers in one day.

Yeah, we are.

[00:16:20] Devyn Mikell: that's fair. talk to me about the distribution, right? Cause you're on the circuit. for speaking for those, I just, I just got hip to these

[00:16:27] Anessa Fike: Yep.

[00:16:28] Devyn Mikell: to speak at HR tech events,

[00:16:30] Anessa Fike: Yep.

[00:16:31] Devyn Mikell: you authored a book and maybe future books,

you do

podcasts like this.


[00:16:37] Anessa Fike: Yep.

[00:16:38] Devyn Mikell: run your own business, two of them.


talk to me about the split of time. Like what actually takes most of your time day to day?

[00:16:46] Anessa Fike: Yeah.

So I would say what I try to dedicate post finishing book stuff up, cause that took the bulk of my time in the last six months,

post that. I really try to

focus on doing the work, like doing the actual fractional work. [00:17:00] that's

what I love to do,

but I also like to

travel. So, like a lot of times I will try to coordinate my own personal travel with like a speaking engagement and.

Friends of mine will know that like if I'm going somewhere for three or four days, I am not just going for one reason, I'm going to go for this reason and meet with


and I'll buy away for this business, like whatever I'm going to be super effective with my time.

and that's

how I'm able to do so much, right?

Like, I'm not just going to one place for one thing or one event or one

business reason it's going to be for like multiple reasons and I'm going to meet multiple people while I'm there So I try to just get really creative and also effective with that.

I also

my wife and a mom and so, I try to only work 25 to 30 hours a week, that's my goal too is like I want downtime I want time to be able to read I want time to be able to catch up podcasts for me are fun So I don't consider it work So I try to do two or three [00:18:00] podcasts a week.

It's just like talking to friends most of the time. And so I really like doing that. And then, like even on the speaking circuit, like I'm going to go to transform in March and rock fest and in July and September, and for me, a lot of those,


are like big reunions of friends, right?

And so it really just feels that way. And I love that. I love that this is a space where we're able to do that. And just, it's like, Oh my gosh, I haven't


all year. How are you? And it's just really like a catch up time. I like that. so yeah, to answer your question, mostly the fractional CPO work, chief people officer work, I would say like secondarily is.

speaking podcasts, conferences, things like that. but then I also do fractional coaching. So like I also help other people who want to get into fractional. I do that work as well. So I probably have about 5 to 10 hours a week that I'm focusing on coaching my fractional clients. because I've worked with, more than 65 people wanting to go fractional and working with them on what success looks like and [00:19:00] getting them to that as


[00:19:01] Devyn Mikell: Got it.

And are all those, you said 65 people wanting to go


[00:19:05] Anessa Fike: Yeah, 65

since last March.


[00:19:08] Devyn Mikell: and is that all HR

[00:19:10] Anessa Fike: no,

no. mostly HR, but I was going to say they're in finance, they're in operations, marketing, tech,

 info sec,

I'm trying to think of all the people. InfoSec, legal, so like chief legal officers, right, fractional chief legal officers. Even in the L and D space and the



So it really ranges.

The fractional

business model is similar, no matter what your, expertise is. And so, yeah, I work with a lot of, fractional execs across, just across different departments.

[00:19:37] Devyn Mikell: Got it, So when you go into a company as their fractional chief people officer, what's your, I guess your cutting edge? Like, Yeah. Yeah. Your secret sauce or whatever you want


say, like your differentiator.

[00:19:51] Anessa Fike: for me,

I think it's, I connect dots really quickly so I can see business dots connecting and I understand things that people were [00:20:00] like, wait, so why are you asking this question? And I just heard this on my friend who was podcast yesterday. when HR people ask those questions, people are always like, wait, no one's ever asked us that before.

Why does HR need to know? And it's like, no, we need to understand the business,

right? We need to understand the

business in order to

add to it. And I can see things

and can understand where cultures really are very quickly because I've seen so many, I've had to do it very quickly.


within the first two weeks,

I'm going

to know exactly where your culture stands exactly where it is.

I'm going to know the business, how your business model works, what are the drivers of the business? And I try to consolidate my listening tour. to do a lot in a small timeframe.

you know, most full time CPOs take a listening tour for like six months, maybe 12 months, and they really

just spend time

talking, listening to people as a fractional exec.

You don't have the time to do that. So you better be making impact. Buy that six month marker or like you're not doing your job well. So the listening tour gets consolidated. So I think [00:21:00] I'm really good at seeing trends, understanding businesses, connecting dots, and really understanding where we starting from and then starting very early to push us forward.

I actually remember,

I think it was with

working with NPR.


I was two or three days in and I said, Oh yeah, we got to get rid of your ATS. We need greenhouse immediately. Like two

I think 2 or 3 days. All right,

let's do this. Right. Like we gotta go, we gotta, we gotta move this forward. So, it was, sometimes it's very



[00:21:28] Devyn Mikell: Yeah. it's


just HR, it's not just talent. It's all encompassing.

[00:21:33] Anessa Fike: Yeah,

Both. it's rare, I guess, for it to have a CPO that has both of those sides of experience has seen both sides equally. And that's a rare thing because a lot of CPOs come up in HR and then they're like, Oh, I guess talent can report to me.


rare actually to have someone who has talent experience and HR experience in that role.

[00:21:51] Devyn Mikell: what do you think companies should do? I'm sure you've heard the dark side and like other, you know, the recruiting versus HR whole thing. Like, do

[00:21:58] Anessa Fike: Oh, yeah.

[00:21:58] Devyn Mikell: one [00:22:00] org?

[00:22:00] Anessa Fike: I think it should

be one org. I think though that if you don't have a CPO that

has been

in the trenches of both sides, Then it should be split it can be one org if you have someone leading it that Understands what the day to day of everyone who's reporting to them looks like, and it's done.

Yeah. I think

it's remiss if you don't know what their jobs

are. So

like as the chief people officer I always think I better be able to jump in at any point for any of my team members and do their jobs

And if I can't, then I need

to go do some more homework.

Like I need to understand because if you can't lead them, you don't know what their day to days are. You don't really understand what their needs are, their resource issues, et cetera. And so for me, I always want to be able to say, if you need me, I can jump in. And I think what's great about my teams over the years that have reported to me is

I have

kept in contact with all of them.

And they're all were like, wherever you go, we would follow you. Like all those things, because I'm ready to jump in. I am [00:23:00] ready to be like, what do you need from me? I can do whatever you need me to do. It really is this piece for me around.


don't know how CPOs out there can lead teams and only have an idea of what half their team does.

for me, that doesn't make sense. maybe for some people it does, but I really want to know and understand thoroughly what my team members are going through.

[00:23:21] Devyn Mikell: Got it.

So you're writing this book. I always forget the term on this, but I'm going to use

my brain's common speak on the title of your book, but it's all about how the workplace sucks

over the

years of research that you've had to do. Opportunity to have and solutions to set things, which I appreciate that you have solutions.

and I'm wondering, how does talent acquisition tie to that? Like for the talent acquisition listener

[00:23:44] Anessa Fike: that wants to read this book, where it is their world tied to that book. Cause I feel like it, it could be confused to be like, Oh, that's such an HR book,


[00:23:51] Devyn Mikell: think there's more to it than that.


[00:23:53] Anessa Fike: Absolutely.

how it

ties in is TA has a lot of power, right? Like we have a lot of power in organizations. [00:24:00] We're literally the first face. We're the first voice.

We're the first person that they have contact with a lot of times as the TA, right? So, you are the first

with this person. And that's


And, I write in the book a lot about leaders who like to talk about people first and it's amazing and everything's perfect here. But your TA person is actually your real gauge of what is happening,

And that

TA person should also be telling you, like, we're really good at these things, but we really need to work on some of these other things. And this is where we are. And I have a lot of respect for recruiters who do that. I have a lot of respect for talent teams that do


And I think that with this future, with this, like we see a future of work, but with this revolution of work, what's different about that

is that



organizations that embrace the strategic ability of their talent

teams are

already [00:25:00] placing a higher priority on their people and they will be better suited for their revenue for competitive advantage in the future.

And if you think about it, they are who make or break the future of your organization. You can be pulling in a bunch of the same people that you've always had at your organization, or you can pull in new ideas and different lived experiences to add to the amazingness of your organization. And your TA team is the team to do that.

And so it should be a very strategic

thought process

a lot of business leaders to embrace

that. And I think what I would say to those TA members that might not be like heads of TA, but are on the TA team, grab this book and see where you can push back in your own role. See where you can make tiny steps in the right direction and what you're doing on a day to day.

And what I mean by that too is like removing any biases you might have, right? We've heard

about this all the

time where it's [00:26:00] like, if you have an organization


they say,

we have a dress code and

we have this, like, this is what professionalism means, or no one with tattoos can come and work here or whatever that is, push back and say, why, why is that in


Can you please explain to me why that is a necessary need?


thing with job descriptions requiring degrees,


Do we need to have a degree as a requirement? Why? Why is that in place? So pushing back in places where you can push back, because I can guarantee that people that are working in TA have heard and had conversations with candidates

that are pushing

back on them.

And also

I would say for talent leaders or those in talent, Is to pull those questions through your organization. What I mean by that is if you are hearing consistently that your candidates from Gen Z and Gen Alpha to come are asking these questions, tell your leaders, tell your execs [00:27:00] what questions they're asking, because that is your next wave of talent.

That should be what your organization should be looking to be better at in the next five or 10 Let them know what questions you're getting asked. because hopefully they're going to start to have their wheels turn to move in that direction to make your job easier,

but to also

make it a better place for those candidates to come into.

[00:27:23] Devyn Mikell: I like that. Cause it's basically, you're saying the whole thing just got to level up. Like the whole thing, there's nobody that's, permissed to ignore this. And I think that's the same thing I say about talent. It's like, I think I made a post last week and I was like,

if you're hoping to be in a role where Talent is prioritized. Here's how to find one and the first step was like, if it's not already where you are, leave. it was this idea that like, if the leadership doesn't care about it, chances are the whole thing's not going to change.

Right. So

[00:27:55] Anessa Fike: And it's tough.

[00:27:56] Devyn Mikell: it within your, yeah, it is, but trying to change it within the [00:28:00] team is tough.

[00:28:01] Anessa Fike: Right. And you can try like half dozen, six to the other, right? Whatever that saying is. There are orgs where you can change people. There are orgs where you can change the minds of leaders, and there are orgs where you can try your hardest and they're not changing, and you don't really know until you try, And so coming from a fractional CPO background, I can tell you there are places I have changed. And even if I've moved them a foot farther in the right direction, that's a foot farther than they were when I started. But there are orgs where you can try and you can just feel like you're, Slowly climbing up the mountain

and you

get to the top and they're like, you're just like, well, they're not

change and nothing I do

is going to change them.

And you

understand that you've tried and you understand that I've tried to do this. I've come in, I've done all the things I know how to do. And if you haven't changed them, then you gotta go somewhere else, I always say try. And if you don't see that they're changing, go somewhere else.

because you never know, Some

places too, where I've, I'm like, Oh, these people are [00:29:00] never going

change. They

have, like, they've surprised me. the other side too, is like, Oh, I can change these people. And it's like,

Ooh, no, I can't.

I really have tried. I've given, I've put out all the stops, everything I have and no, I can't.

and it's also the no, I can't. It makes me feel a little bit better because those are the, also the organizations where we've seen. They've gone through four chief people officers in a year. And it's the same thing where it's like all four of them I know also thought they could change it. But none of us could change it, and to me, that feels a little bit better because it's like, it wasn't just me. I tried, they also tried, and it's just, it's not going to be a thing,

right um

[00:29:36] Devyn Mikell: denominator is

[00:29:37] Anessa Fike: right exactly

COVID denominator is not me. it's you, right? Like that type of, yeah. So anyway, it's a,

You never

know, try it. And if you can't change it and you know, it's not going to change.

Yeah. Go and find some place that's going to appreciate you.

Also, what

I have told lots of talent teams, especially during times when we've had to shift the mindset within entire organization around [00:30:00] talent to go from transactional to strategic

is just start

doing the things. That you consider strategic, like

just act

like the company sees you as strategic and do the things in that way.

And what you will start to

see is

people will go, Oh,

well, thank you for that. Oh

my gosh, that's amazing. Or like

they'll start to see it. And

what happens just like through those interactions

is people

will start to come to you. And this has happened to me and say,

The talent team's amazing.

Did you know they could do this?

And I said,


what a strategic talent team does. Isn't that nice? So it's kind of like, you hear people say, already act like you have the job already act like you have the title already act like it's strategic and then see what you can change.

[00:30:43] Devyn Mikell: I like that a lot. Let me use that one. I want to shift to the end segment of the show. But before I do that, I wanted to

[00:30:48] Anessa Fike: Hot

[00:30:48] Devyn Mikell: a special light.

maybe like a minute on what purple light is,

[00:30:52] Anessa Fike: yeah.

[00:30:52] Devyn Mikell: are naturally, you hear the colors and think, what is that?


[00:30:57] Anessa Fike: What is


who better to tell it than you, Yeah,

[00:31:00] Well, Operation Purple Light started.


all met each other at rec fest last year, rec fest us. So I met Devyn in person and we met a couple of other members of the team and the crew. And, that was also the place where I heard for the first time stories told to me about,

 things happening in

the HR and talent space at conferences.

Right. And so for me, I had heard about awful things happening in sales conferences and elsewhere. But I never knew it was in my field, in my industry, right? Like


the industry I call home, talent and HR. And I thought, nah, like, really? This is happening, right? And we're in a space where we're supposed to be helping people.

But there, there are druggings and sexual assault and sexual harassment happening at conferences


the HR and talent space, in a lot of other spaces in industries too. Sometimes by people that others look up to, sometimes influencers, sometimes speakers, sometimes organizers, like sometimes vendors, it can happen all over.

And what Operation Purple Light is working towards doing is creating safer [00:32:00] spaces

for people to gather

learn and network and not have to think about their physical


And so that's the idea is moving forward. We really want to create safer spaces. And the way that we're going about that is putting in place these parameters and these expectations and

setting and showcasing

what good behavior looks like telling people and educating people what bad behavior


And so

part of that is we're working with conferences right now and events around creating a code of conduct that everyone signs that attends everyone. And basically the code of conduct is like, I'm just going to be a good human being, and I'm not going to do awful stuff to people, which you wouldn't think you'd have to

say, but we're

here and we have to say that.

And secondarily, there's a lot of ways that an organization event or a conference can be operation purple light certified. But again, the code of conduct is 1. Another piece of that is. Allowing space for us to educate why this is such a big

piece. It is a


statistic, [00:33:00] why it's important,

making people aware of what is happening and then ways that we can help with that situation at the beginning of conferences and then creating, moving towards creating this experience that allows people to get help in the moment

when they feel

off or maybe they've been drugged or they find themselves in a weird situation that we can help them get to safety.

And so, Much

like those blue lights on college campuses, which we've all seen, which is like the emergency light operation purple light came out of that. And, Devyn and Qualifi are working with us to make this a reality. And so we also looked at

the purple of Qualifi. And so we decided operation purple light.

we're just starting out. it's a movement at this moment, It's a movement where we're asking people to come and help us and be allies and to help us get to more

events so that

can make people feel like it's a safer space. And it actually be a safer space for them to come into.

[00:33:55] Devyn Mikell: movement and [00:34:00] happy to be a partner here.


You now know what it is, hopefully, whatever, whatever world I have here.

[00:34:07] Anessa Fike: right,


[00:34:08] Devyn Mikell: but they now know, which I think is important. but yeah, like I said,


wanting to give a quick spotlight to that, but then jump into the hot seat.

So, are you ready for my hot seat? These are the

[00:34:17] Anessa Fike: I am. I'm ready.

[00:34:19] Devyn Mikell: moving forward. I will try to family feud this thing like Steve Harvey. So

here we go one person that changed your life in talent acquisition,

[00:34:28] Anessa Fike: Hold. That's

a hard one. I'm gonna throw it to Torrin Ellis. Because,

 um, I think

Torrin pushes all of us to be better all the time in Talent Acquisition, HR, DEI, whatever. So I'm going Torrin Ellis and say him.


[00:34:44] Devyn Mikell: most challenging role you've ever had to recruit for.

[00:34:47] Anessa Fike: Oof. I've

had some pretty nuanced, complicated roles, like machine learning, like deep AI

AI stuff,

like 15 years


and so like really technical, really nuanced stuff. those are [00:35:00] hard because there aren't that many people that can fit that role.

[00:35:03] Devyn Mikell: Yeah. Candidate pool of three

[00:35:04] Anessa Fike: Right.

Right. You've got three to work with in the world. Good luck. Yeah. Yeah.

[00:35:09] Devyn Mikell: Right. Okay. Where do you go to stay up to date on the latest trends and changes in the TA landscape?

[00:35:16] Anessa Fike: my gosh.

You know, I love LinkedIn. I love when people share stuff on LinkedIn because

I belong to so many newsletters and so many things that I just don't, I don't have time to read them all.

just don't. I'm gonna always read my very good friend Hiba Yusef's newsletter. I'm always gonna read certain people's newsletters, but like outside of that, where it's like the ones I have to read.

and by the way, I want to read them too. But like, they're just so great. I have to read them. I'd like to just look on LinkedIn and like people that I, find are in the right progressive space with talent and HR. I just look at what they're looking at. I just try to gather as much as I can.


[00:35:48] Devyn Mikell: Nice.

What's your go to interview question? If you could only pick one,

[00:35:52] Anessa Fike: Well, I really like,


me three words your friends would describe you as, because I think that is like a tiny [00:36:00] glimpse into someone's soul. I don't want to just know work you, I want to know like who you are as a human and, you know, not everyone feels comfortable to always give their whole authentic self to their work

environment, but I

find that gives me a little bit of an insight.

[00:36:14] Devyn Mikell: I like it. Then what's a common talent acquisition activity that needs to die?

[00:36:19] Anessa Fike: Oh,

gosh, cover letters?

hate cover letters, nobody reads them, nobody reads them, if you say you

read them, I call It's a lie. You're lying.


many are you actually reading? Did you read one in the last ten years and say you read cover letters? Like, um, cover letters need to

[00:36:36] Devyn Mikell: To whom it may concern.

[00:36:38] Anessa Fike: Right,

[00:36:38] Devyn Mikell: Yeah. We're going to call this


to whom it may concern.

[00:36:41] Anessa Fike: Yeah. Cover

letters. And you know what I would say? If you ask me and like, what's going to die in the next five years. I think it's going to be resumes.


are going to die.

[00:36:52] Devyn Mikell: so.

[00:36:53] Anessa Fike: Yeah.

[00:36:53] Devyn Mikell: that. it's different, but my,like my mantra is eliminating the need for my resume. [00:37:00] So I would love to see it die in

[00:37:01] Anessa Fike: Yeah. I have lots

of thoughts.

[00:37:03] Devyn Mikell: why they're here for now.

[00:37:05] Anessa Fike: Right, I was going

to say, and there might be something else brewing, but like, I think resumes are going to die.

know, add one more thing

my list.


[00:37:13] Devyn Mikell: Right. Well, also Vanessa, I appreciate you. I think our audience absolutely appreciates your, presence and your perspective. So I'd


to give you like one last floor to push all the things and all the ways to reach you and learn from you.

Whatever you want, the platform is yours for the next 20 to

[00:37:32] Anessa Fike: Oh, my gosh. Wait

seconds. Okay. For sure. you can find me on LinkedIn and that's a fight. Just please come follow me. I like to say a lot of spicy hot takes of things that are on my mind or that enrage me in the moment, which Devyn is laughing because he's probably read them. if you want some fun in your life, come over to LinkedIn and

follow me.


secondarily, Fikeandco, F I K E A N D C O dot com. That is my fractional CPO business. And also, if you want to read [00:38:00] something that seems like you're out to drinks or out to coffee

friends about why work sucks, buy the book,

The Revolution of Work. It'll be on Amazon, Barnes Noble, all the other places that you buy



if you really love the book and you want it featured in your local independent bookstore, which I'm really trying to focus on this book tour, go in and tell them that you want them to have it. And then you might get a book signing from me close by. also look out for book tour signing dates upcoming.


[00:38:29] Devyn Mikell: was great. And right within the time. So, and as I appreciate you, those are listing. I also appreciate you and would love


You love this episode as much as I did that you like subscribe

because there's more,

there's going to be more.

They're always going to come out and they're going to be just like this packed with value. So if you like it, don't miss out, subscribe and keep up with what we do here at Hire Quality . have a great rest of your day, Nessa. And it's been awesome.

[00:38:54] Anessa Fike: Thank you so much.

Think you can spot biased interview questions?
Take the Quiz