Insights on Staying Relevant in the Job | Elena Agaragimova

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Elena Agaragimova, a talent development expert, discusses staying relevant in the field, the impact of AI on talent development, and the use of AI in acquiring talent.

Elena Agaragimova is a talented expert in finding and developing great people. She’s worked in universities and big companies, helping them grow. Right now, she’s in a tech consulting firm, where she’s in charge of finding new talent. But she doesn’t just hire people – she helps them grow and do their best work.

Elena is also really good at speaking and writing about her work, inspiring people all over the world. She hosts two podcasts where she shares her tips and stories. Her books include Shift and The Rough Guide to Awesome Leadership. Shift provides readers with actionable advice for life-altering changes, while Rough Guide offers new managers a fun yet practical roadmap to success.

Outside of work, she helps young people and veterans find their way in the professional world. Elena’s mission is to help everyone succeed in their careers.


  • To stay relevant in the field, individuals should cultivate curiosity, have the courage to make changes, and build relationships.
  • Organizations can support talent development by being proactive, having a solid strategy, and providing resources for managers to effectively develop their teams.
  • AI can be used in talent acquisition to assess potential based on a candidate’s whole profile, rather than relying solely on resumes.
  • Predicting future trends and skills in the tech industry is challenging, but staying adaptable and open to learning is crucial. Soft skills, such as communication, influence, and leadership, are essential in any role and will always be in demand.
  • Staying updated on technological advancements, such as AI and machine learning, is crucial to remain relevant in the job market.
  • There is a disconnect between higher education and the corporate world, with many graduates lacking real-life skills and struggling to communicate their value.
  • Applying online through ATS systems has a low success rate, and networking and building relationships are key to finding opportunities.
  • Personal well-being and habits, including sleep, nutrition, exercise, and social ties, play a significant role in career success.

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(00:00) Intro

(05:20) Maintaining Relevance in the Field

(09:32) The Role of Organizations in Talent Development

(15:54) Using AI in Talent Acquisition

(22:23) Trends and Opportunities in Tech Skills

(25:10) Today’s Challenges in the Workforce

(30:43) How to Learn the Hiring Process

(34:26) The Importance of Networking

(37:43) Ask for More Responsibilities

(40:54) Advice from Elena to Professionals

Transcript (Edited by Vit Lyoshin for better readability)

Vit Lyoshin (00:01.392)

Hello everybody, welcome back to the Vit Lyoshin Podcast. Today’s guest is Elena Agaragimova. She’s a talent development expert, career coach, speaker, entrepreneur, podcast host, and author.

And so a couple of words about you. You’re leading the talent acquisition right now at Horizon Industries. And, you also run a non-profit organization called Bloom Youth, where you help young professionals develop skills for their professions and to be successful in general and things like that. You also have two books that you’ve written, Shift, and another one is called The Rough Guide to Awesome Leadership. And you also host a podcast that is also called Shift. And so there is also a wealth of information there.

I invited you today to talk about a few things where your expertise is, I can leverage your expertise in staying relevant in the field, AI technologies, and the impact of AI on the development of talent and things like that. And also some processes or procedures that the organization can employ to develop the talent or acquire talent for the organization.

So before we jump into specific questions and topics, can you just please tell us a little bit about yourself and your journey and maybe any pivotal moments or milestones that happened there?


Elena Agaragimova (01:44.43)

Sure, well thank you. You did a pretty good job, like overall kind of sharing the career story and everything that I do. So I wear multiple hats. If I were to give a little bit more kind of context to it, I fell into the professional talent development kind of by accident because I’ve had such trouble developing my own career, most of my career professional life that I kind of just did a lot of trial and error. And I realized I was like, oh, I was like. A lot of people don’t know how to go about their careers. Now, a lot of people have questions that I had. So that’s kind of why I decided to dive into this field. I originally started off in higher education. And then I was like, OK, I’m kind of getting a little bit bored. So I decided to go into corporate learning and eventually kind of that talent development space. And career coaching just sort of felt like a good fit because of all the different experiences. So I don’t necessarily promote myself as a coach as much. I just feel like it’s just part of everything that I do. But yeah, so I’ve had a lot of different pivotal moments. A couple of them. I mean, I can give you a couple. One, I think that’s kind of interesting and maybe scary to some people that I’ve had about 17 different jobs by the age of 26. So I worked since I was 15, and I still like to credit my first job at Subway to the job that formed me as a professional because it’s such a service job, right? People don’t think much of it, but it developed my self-understanding, understanding of other people, how people treat others, and understanding what it takes to make a dollar. So I have a lot of respect for people who work in service industries, hospitality, and all those fields. So I always say, it was probably one of the most developing opportunities for me there. And then, up until then, I’ve tried so many different things. So yeah, it’s been a journey. The pivotal moment was I was like, okay, I can’t keep just jumping jobs. This is not normal. I need to actually figure out what I want to do with my life. And so, you know, looking back, I think having jumped that many jobs since the age of 15 until like 26, I think it’s what helped me figure out a lot of things I don’t want to do and helped me create a career basically that I have today, which allows me to wear multiple hats, which allows me to be creative which allows me to enjoy what I do pretty much do every day as strange as I might sound to some people I actually love what I do every single day maybe not a hundred percent of the day but 85% of the day I love my work and that’s because it went through you know a lot of crafting of being where I am today.


Vit Lyoshin (04:23.472)

Okay, yeah, great. Thanks for sharing. So let’s start with the first topic, the relevance in the field. So in today’s fast-changing environment and changing technologies and new trends coming out every couple of years, just in general, how people can stay relevant in their field and their occupation.


Elena Agaragimova (04:49.296)

So I wish I had a very specific answer for you, but it really depends, right? It depends on your field, it depends on who you are, it depends on where you are today, where you want to be, and many other factors. What I know for sure from the years of doing this job is that change is inevitable, technological advances are inevitable, we’ve seen jobs come and go, we’ve seen jobs evolve, and so on, we’ve seen a lot of ups and downs in the job market.

The people who stay relevant are those who are following kind of three, I guess, pillars, if you want to call it. So one is curiosity. So being curious enough to explore what is going to be impacting your field, your industry, your role in the coming future. The other one is courage. So being courageous enough to make a change and shift when it’s time to do so. Not being too stuck doing what you’re doing and thinking that it’s not gonna affect you and be courageous enough, because there’s fear involved when it comes to change. And the third one is building relationships. I think no matter who you are, where you are, where you’re from, what you’re doing, building a relationship is gonna take you further in life than any formal education, any certification, any experience.

So I think if we just look at these three things and make time to make those things priorities, and it doesn’t have to be intense. And I think that’s what a lot of people kind of the misconception they have is like, well, you know, I don’t have time. Well, that’s okay. But it’s not that you don’t have time. You don’t want to prioritize it. So when you do become irrelevant, you know why when you do end up with another job, you know why, because you didn’t prioritize things that are important and you weren’t courageous enough to make a shift when it’s time. And if you stay curious and build relationships, you will know when it’s time to make a change because you you’d be exposed to information. Right. And so I always like to look at increments and everything, right? The whole idea of shift is like, how can I just be better a little bit every day? And so by staying curious is like, what does that mean? Staying curious. That means, you know, maybe 10 minutes every day, one hour a week, choose whatever works for you. Explore, you know, read something in your industry, read what’s happening in AI, subscribe to newsletters that are focused on future work, future industries in your particular field. Right. Look at kind of just what’s happening in the market. You know, read some business articles, just see a holistic approach of like a seed from a different side. Like what is happening in an economy? What’s happening in the industry? You know, really, you don’t need to be an expert. What I promise what will happen is once you start going in, like getting little pieces of information over time, it’s going to collectively come to an understanding of, oh, that’s what’s happening. Eventually, the dots are going to start connecting and so on. If you do this regularly, you’ll be in a good spot.


Vit Lyoshin (07:38.192)

Okay, I understand. Yeah, that’s great. And if I can translate this kind of tactics that people can do, it includes things for continuous learning, doing small courses from various resources, right? Or reading books, or like you said, just reading industry news or newsletters. Those all will contribute to this curiosity and build your knowledge in general and general knowledge of things. And then also networking is where you will build your relationships. Talking to people, maybe going to conferences or going to meetups or classes or whatever. Those things will also broaden your understanding what’s going on and you’re talking to many people and you’re introducing yourself. It’s also building those social skills that are needed in many professions. So yeah, those are great tactics and things people can employ actually to stay relevant.

So are there anything from the organizational standpoint that can be done to help people in this? Because maybe I’m just a new guy who just started my job, I’m 20 year old or whatever. I don’t know all these things. Is there any organizational things that they can help like HR maybe or somebody and guide?


Elena Agaragimova (08:59.153)


It’s a great question. It’s a question I think about a lot because I’m in this role. That’s kind of my job is helping organization prepare for these things. And I can tell you that organizations that do this well, they do a couple of things. Number one, they’re more proactive. So as an organization, so I’ll kind of talk about the organization and then the individuals leading those organizations.

So from an organizational standpoint, just collectively having a culture of productivity, proactiveness. How do I say pro being proactive? I don’t even know what’s the other word. I’m trying to think, trying to say here, but being proactive as an organization, what I mean by that is actually having a solid strategy, right? Having a plan. A lot of times we are so reactive and I think we’re getting more and more reactive as businesses. So sure, larger organizations, maybe they kind of have a little bit more strategy and so on, but a lot of SMEs like small, medium-sized enterprises tend to kind of just, you know, it’s a lot of reactions versus actually planning ahead and looking at what’s coming.

Something that some of the companies do is they have what’s called future teams. And this is something I’ve heard from a futurist. His name is John Seney. And he talks a lot about that. I’ve heard him say this years ago. And he said they have these kind of future teams. So basically you have a team, a couple of people, maybe a committee, whatever format works for you, that people who get together once a month, once a quarter, whatever it is that works for your organization. And they think about what’s coming their way in their business, again kind of like as an individual staying curious, as an organization collectively you have to stay curious. Like putting the right people in a team together to think about what might be impacting your organization and how are you going to pivot if necessary. So that’s from an organizational side.

In terms of like whether it’s HR or L&D teams, I think collectively we can do a better job working and helping our managers manage better. Because at the end of the day, that’s probably the group in an organization who is the most impactful in terms of the growth of the organization. It’s the most impactful in terms of the talent growth in organization. And it’s the people that are running your business, essentially. These are the people on the ground. And oftentimes, they’re forgotten, especially the middle managers. They’re not supported. They’re not provided the resources and things like that to be successful in their roles. And on top of that, even if there are resources, like companies have a great leadership program. Wonderful. Is there a system or process in place to support that person’s development? And what I mean by that is you can have all the leadership programs in the world. If you work in this person to the ground 60, 70 hours a week because you just laid off a bunch of people, now this person is not only managing your clients, managing your projects, managing a team. Now you want this person to then develop themselves and they have a family and they have a life, obviously. So there has to be a system and a process to support the growth in an organization. Right. And I see a lot of companies like, oh yeah, like we have a great leadership deal, wonderful. How much, how many hours is this person working? How many projects, you know, are they managing and so on. So it’s, you know, so there has to be both, right.


Vit Lyoshin (12:15.056)

Yeah, understand. Okay. So there’s also probably a difference between, like you said, having a leadership development program and growing managers into leaders. There also has to be something for frontline employees, like maybe, let’s say, development teams, and they have some sort of programs or some sort of tools that they can use for development.

For example, I’ll give you an example of what my organization does is and this is just internal to our smaller part of the organization. We said that every development sprint, every developer gets a few hours of individual research and development time. And they basically can pick and choose whatever they want to work on. They can go read some articles, they can write some prototype code for something, many of them right now experimenting with artificial intelligence. So it’s great because once in a while they come back and they say like, Hey, check this out or I build this, check it out and see maybe we can incorporate and use it. I think this idea came from like Google and some other innovative companies. We’re just trying to use these tools in our way. And yeah, sometimes it works great. Some people don’t use it at all and that’s okay, whatever.


Elena Agaragimova (13:32.338)

No, it’s a great point. Um, so the way I kind of look at it is that you have kind of high performers, mid performers and low performers in organization, right? So the low performers, a lot of times I’m for better or worse, it’s just what it is. They’re probably just going to stay in that role, if at all, or they’ll move on or you’ll let them go. The high performers are already doing a lot of that development on their own. The high performers don’t need HR or their manager to tell them, Hey, you need to look at some, they’re driven internally. It’s a little bit different. It’s the mid performers who are the people who have the potential. But need that support, need that push, need that little, uh, you know, uh, motivation to get to that next level. And this is where the manager comes in, which is why I focus more on the person leading the team is because they are the ones who can keep them accountable. They are the ones who can follow up with them. They are the ones that can challenge them in a healthy way. And if they’re not able to do that, you’re probably missing out on great talent in that mid level because you’re not tapping into that potential. And so, you know, so that’s why it’s like, yes, you can, you should definitely have offers across the board like from the junior staff up until senior leadership and partners and so on, you need to have opportunities to develop. But it’s people will make time for things that are important to them and sometimes having accountability helps you understand how to prioritize certain things in your career. And a lot of younger staff, a lot of mid-performers, that’s what they need the most, that’s where your most potential is in organization.


Vit Lyoshin (15:01.36)

Yeah, I see. That makes sense. Okay. So now that everybody’s talking about AI and it getting, you know, become trendy for the last couple years, are there any opportunities to leverage it in terms of acquiring talent or developing talent? Any examples maybe that you have?


Elena Agaragimova (15:22.58)

Yeah, sure. So you mean like in the world of recruitment.


Vit Lyoshin (15:25.52)

Yeah, exactly.


Elena Agaragimova (15:31.348)

Yeah, so there’s a lot of really exciting things happening. So, one particular company, I was just at a conference a couple of weeks ago, I got to meet the leadership team of the company and they’re doing something really cool, they’re called Avenica. And so one of the biggest challenges in organizations today, right, is what is the best way to screen a candidate? It is through a resume, right? Or like even if you recommend somebody, you’re like, first thing person’s gonna say, can you send me their resume? Resume, as we know, is not the best indicator of somebody’s talent, let alone future success and so on, what the person might have done, it doesn’t really tell you much. So what this company is doing is they’re saying, forget about the resume. What we want this person to do is this person goes into this platform. They do upload their resume, but following that, there’s a series of assessments and interactive behavioral kind of assessments that takes place that helps that individual understand their potential. So we’re not looking at what you’ve done or what you studied. We’re looking at where’s your potential based on who you are as a person, like your whole person, your hobbies, your character traits, your values, et cetera. And what I love about that is that it taps into, especially when we’re thinking about the future in AI, a lot of jobs, a lot of things that people have done are not necessarily gonna be relevant. There are certain aspects of it that are gonna be transferable, but they’re not gonna be relevant. So you’re gonna have a lot of people coming up in the next three to five plus years that are gonna be coming to jobs with a whole lot of irrelevant experience. They now have to find a new career somewhere else and it’s gonna be hard to do. So unless we as professionals, as leaders, as hiring managers can help them figure that out, we’re gonna have a huge talent shortage. We already do, it’s only gonna get worse. So what Avenica does is that’s how they provide candidates to organizations is by the time the candidate goes through their selection process, they come up with a profile of the person based on all these different things that the person, who they are, what they can do, all the skills versus just what they’ve done.

And frankly speaking, a lot of candidates are not good at telling their stories. A lot of people don’t know how to move from one industry to another. They don’t know how to smoothly connect everything that they are that is beyond a job or a role that they’ve done because there’s a lot more to that person, right? So they wear a lot of different hats in their lives. So that tool helps them do that. So I think that’s exciting. Personally, that’s like probably one of the best tools I’ve seen out there in terms of figuring out potential because I’m a huge fan of that tool.

I’m a huge fan of people’s potential. That’s what my whole thing is about. I spend a lot of time with candidates trying to figure out do they have the potential, right? And so, and I think that’s what we can do better as recruiters in general, because a lot of times it’s like, oh, let me just, do they tick the box? It means nothing. I don’t care what you’ve done somewhere else. It does not determine your success, or, you know, your success in this future. It just doesn’t. So any tool that can kind of tap into that potential to the best of its ability at least, can probably, is gonna be game-changing for sure. And there are other ones as well, but I think that’s probably one of the better ones, one of the better AI applications.


Vit Lyoshin (18:40.112)

Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I’m just wondering now on the receiving end the company that’s looking for candidates is going to use the same tool and pick the person whose potential matches what they want to do and things like that. How does it work on the receiving end?


Elena Agaragimova (18:57.364)

So on the receiving end, they will be, so there’s a conversation that takes place from what I understand. I apologize, Avenica if you hear this and I’m wrong. On the receiving end, there’s also a conversation that happens between, so there’s a human involved between the candidate and the company, right? So it’s more of, I have a chat with the hiring manager, let’s say I work for Avenica I have a chat with the hiring manager, I try to understand what is it that they’re looking for, and then I have a potential candidate from that, database, there is a matching process, like where I don’t know exactly, honestly, like I think people should just watch the demo, I don’t want to make things up. But what I know is that in the case study they were showing, I’ll give you an example, a candidate who applies through an ATS, like an application tracking system, on a company website. There are a few of them who got denied for a job. And then Avenica passed them on to the hiring manager based on their profile, because the profile was actually, in fact, a match. But either the ATS didn’t recognize it, or the recruiter didn’t read it correctly, and so on, or didn’t analyze it correctly, right? And so the ATS system ended up kicking these candidates out and what eventually happened is that they ended up getting hired and really succeeding in those roles. And that happens all the time. So I think that’s kind of where it’s at. So I think it focuses also more on like helping you as a professional analyze that person from all different perspectives because again, most people are horrible at their resumes and most resumes don’t tell a story whereas this platform allows you to tell that story and makes more kind of ready to go candidates that have been vetted for. Does that make sense?


Vit Lyoshin (20:42.8)

Yeah, it does. Yeah, I was just curious how this whole loop works. Okay. Yeah, that’s pretty cool. I wish everybody would start using something like that because it’s a huge problem right now. I know some people who are looking for jobs right now and it takes months and months until they get through all these ATS systems and recruiters and various levels of screening that they have to go through at each level. A whole bunch of potentially good candidates get filtered out.

So something like that, that analyzes and creates your, you know, like a professional profile, if you will, could be helpful. And then you can just pick people for their potential and not what they’ve done. I like this idea a lot actually, that makes a lot of sense.

So speaking of potentials, are there any, like for any profession in tech, let’s say, are there any trends or potential skills that will arise and will be in demand that people should focus on.


Elena Agaragimova (21:50.9)

I wish I knew the answer to that question. I’d probably be very rich if I could predict something like that. It’s a great question. I wish I knew, because I think there are just so many things we don’t know, right? There’s so much unknown and I don’t have a specific answer. But again, if you just look historically, what has always been in need is the soft skills, right?

Like the ability to communicate the ability to influence the ability to lead and so on. So I think, you know, that the leadership skills, whatever, you know, whatever you want to call them, but not even just the leaders, you don’t need to be in a leadership role or anything like that, but just the ability to communicate well, the ability to sell, because I think you’re always going to be, no matter what technology is out there, you’re always going to be influencing selling something right? Whether it’s your role, your job, your product, services, or company. So I think sales skills, being comfortable and being able to communicate articulately in a way that influences your audience. I think that’s always going to be in style.

I think there are going to be, of course, some technological things that we’re going to need to know how to do. One of the things that I encourage people to do is if you haven’t taken a course on AI, there are a bunch of free ones like IBM has a free one. There are a bunch of free courses on machine learning and AI. Just take it. Even if you’re like me, who’s like, what are they talking about? Like, what is this course about? Like I’ll go in blindly, but just to start wrapping your head around what is machine learning? How is it everywhere that you are right now? And so.

I think just putting yourself into, get a little bit uncomfortable and put yourself in that situation, that’s probably gonna be great. Because that’s happening, so you might as well get comfortable with it, learn, and so that whenever the next AI thing comes out, you’ll be ready to, at least you’ll have some idea about it versus starting from scratch.


Vit Lyoshin (23:52.112)

Yeah, I see. Yeah, that’s all these courses we talked about earlier. There are so many of them on any given topic. You can learn anything right now from the luxury of your home. It’s unbelievable and many people don’t take advantage of this and they just… Well, it is what it is. So what are some of the biggest challenges that you see currently in the workforce, maybe when people trying to get a new job or maybe when companies trying to acquire people and they just don’t see those skills in people?


Elena Agaragimova (24:30.964)

How much time do you have? I have a lot of things I can talk about.

Okay, let me choose some. So a couple of different things. I’ll start with kind of the beginning. I think the beginning of a career journey, right? So, because I think it’s an important one. I think that I can spend a lot of time on an individual, but I think we need to understand that there’s a systemic problem. And so I’ve started in higher education. I was in career development in higher education. And there’s a big disconnect between higher education and the corporate world, right? So we see a decline of confidence in higher education. A lot of people are opting out of higher education, and pursuing four-year degrees. There are a lot more two-year programs, associate degrees, certificate programs, and trade schools that are coming out, and a lot of people pursuing those. So at the same time, we have on the consumer side, we have the student, right, or the future worker who is like, I’m not really gonna spend 50K – 100K a year, or whatever, or a degree, however much it costs, I don’t know how much it costs in different states, but I’m not gonna have this loan because my job coming out of college is not gonna pay for it. So you have this disconnect where a lot of the younger, a lot of the college-age people are opting out to more trade schools or certificate programs and so on, but yet corporates are still like, well, we still want you to have a four-year bachelor’s degree. That decreases their pool of candidates. And sure, there are a lot of companies that are like, we don’t need a four-year degree. But it’s not really, there’s still a lot of hoops to jump through. So it’s not really that straightforward. So I think there’s a disconnect there, right? It’s like, okay, so we need to just talk to it. The two sides need to talk to each other, right? Unfortunately, in the government space, for example, right? Like we’re both in the government contracting space. You need a bachelor’s degree in most cases. Like I don’t think I know, you know, so that’s unfortunate because there’s a lot of great candidates. Anyway, so that’s one issue, right? Is the disconnect. Or you have people who are graduating with bachelor’s degrees but never had any internship, never had an apprenticeship, they lack real-life world skills and so on, and also ability to present themselves in a specific way. So there’s that, there’s the higher education on corporate, that’s a big issue, I think that’s a challenge that’s just systemic.

When it comes to organizations, number one, again from an organizational side and from the individual side, I always like to say there’s to, you know, in this case is three sides, right? There’s the higher education side, the individual and the corporate. So higher education, we covered the individual. There are a lot of people going back to not sure how to communicate their value. They don’t do enough homework. They don’t brush up on their interview skills. They don’t know how to tell their stories. They don’t invest time and figure out their values. They don’t know what they’re looking for. They’re blindly applying to anything and everything without going deeper into the job description. And what’s happening is that you have a bunch of people applying for roles, and then what happens on the ATS side, on my side, when I get all these, you know, my team and I get all these applications coming in, we’re not gonna go through all of them. It’s humanly impossible at all a lot of times. And we have four weeks to fill a role sometimes, like on average, so about 45 days to fill a role, like most companies. So it’s just, we cannot possibly interview 500 people. It’s just not gonna happen. To screen, a thousand resumes with a small team. That doesn’t benefit anybody, so I just urge people, when you’re applying, if you are using the application online, to make sure you’re actually going through the job description. Make sure you will qualify, because if we were to do that, maybe we’d be better off collectively, right? But that’s a big ask, I know.

And then, so just as an individual, being able to tell your story, I think, is the most important one. Knowing how to present yourself virtually in a world where we’re interviewing on Zoom, you know. Just make sure you’re ready for that interview. Make sure to check your connection, check your video, make sure you properly, you know, attire, like the basics, which I know is so basic, but you’d be surprised how many people make that mistake. Just don’t take the five minutes to just put themselves together.

On the company side, it going back to that potential. I cannot stress that enough. We’re looking for people, looking for unicorns half the time. We’re looking for people who can hit the ground running, right? It’s just, you gotta be a little bit realistic. You gotta be a little bit more flexible. You know, I always say like this, if a person can do 75% of the job, hire them. That 20, everybody has a learning curve. Look for that potential. Look for character. Look for the soft skills, you know.

And again, sometimes people who are screening these candidates are not the best people for the job because sometimes they’re just there because it’s just their job and they’re just doing the bare minimum and they’re just sticking the boxes and they don’t really care if you’re going to get the best candidate, especially if you’re working for an external agency. Right, the external agency just, they make money off a candidate, and so on. So training people how to recognize potential instead of going and checking the boxes and asking people about their five-year plans and strengths and weaknesses and ridiculous questions that still so many recruiters and hiring managers ask. Like get to know the person as a person and that requires you to actually care about that person and that candidate and make sure that you’re hiring talent that wants to stay and grow with an organization. So there’s a lot of that in there. So I would say these are probably the three biggest challenges. There are a lot of other ones, but these are probably the top ones.


Vit Lyoshin (29:50.224)

Yeah, so there are challenges on both ends, some basic understanding of how this process works. Like I asked my friend the other day who’s applying for jobs, did you hear that they use ATS systems to filter your resume to look for keywords and things like that? And he was like, I have no idea. What do you mean? Where people can get information on this?

They don’t teach this in school, they don’t teach this in university. There are a whole bunch of career coaches all over the internet that cost a lot of money to just give the simple answers. Are there any free resources or anything at all that people can get about this information?


Elena Agaragimova (30:35.858)

Yeah, I mean, listen, there’s a lot of free information. I mean, just on YouTube, the basics, like YouTube, articles, LinkedIn is great, right? I mean, I myself put out so much information, so much free stuff. And the funny thing is, you know, Vit, is that I heard somebody say, I think it was Gary Vee, he said this, he said, somebody asked him like, Gary, like, why do you put all your top-top things out there? Like you put your top advice, your secrets. And he was like, do you know why? Because 99% of people listening, well still not do that work. They will not do the work to actually go and do and follow the 10 steps to start a business and follow 10 steps to have great content and so on. So it’s it’s.

A lot of information is that if you want to prepare, there’s tons of information online. You can, you know, and I agree, you don’t need to pay necessarily a career coach if you don’t have the funds for it, right? It’s helpful to have one, but you don’t need one. But it just means that you need to do all the heavy lifting yourself.

Can you do it? Absolutely. Yes. It’s like the same thing with health and fitness journeys. Like we all know what we need to do. It’s hard. It’s hard to implement, but choose your hards, right? And, you know, and audit yourself because why people like to apply online, Vit, is because they’re like, you know what, it’s the dopamine hit, like, okay, I’m going to send the application. I’ve done my job. Now it’s up to the company. And then we get the rejection, but you don’t realize that rejection means that probably nobody even looked at your resume. There’s a very high probability that a human being did not look at your resume.

So applying online has a very low success rate in general, especially the more senior you go in your roles. If you are a mid-level and up, forget about using ATS. Apply it for the formality’s sake, but you need to also then go through your network. You need to reach out. You need to hustle your way to that opportunity, right? Because those opportunities become scarce. Like it’s less and less opportunity the higher you go. And simply, hiring decisions are not made that way. Hiring decisions, your next senior manager at an organization is not gonna come from a random ATS submission or from a random database. It’s gonna come from somebody you know because it’s too risky to bring on a senior person into a company and that’s what people don’t understand. It’s not always a fair game, it’s not a fair world, but you gotta think from a business perspective. If I’m a hiring manager, if I’m a CEO of a business, It’s too risky for me to bring somebody randomly. They have a great resume, great. I interviewed them, but I’m not sure. I’m always going to go to my network first. I’m always going to go to people who have interviewed before, maybe who I’ve interacted with before. I’m always going to ask for recommendations from my team or people in my network and so on, which is why 80% of those jobs are not even advertised. And that’s because that’s too much risk to bring in somebody we don’t know, we don’t trust. We didn’t yet seen them in action or heard something about them. And that’s just the reality, whether you agree with it or not, it’s just what it is.


Vit Lyoshin (33:32.784)

Yeah, that’s tough. That’s for sure tough. And with all these layoffs and so many people flooding to the job market right now, it gets even harder. Even like middle management positions. You go to LinkedIn and you check job posting and there’s like three days ago it was created and it’s already like a couple hundred of applicants there. It’s a lot of people applying.

And most of them are getting filtered out and not even contacted or anything. It just almost a waste of time. And I feel like time spent if you focus on networking and just talking to people, reaching out in email or LinkedIn or whatever other social media you can think of and just getting to know those people and probably working on this in advance. If you’re not looking for a job right now, start building those relationships. Go talk to people, reach out, make friends, grab a coffee or whatever, and have a Zoom chat in the evening. And then who knows, maybe a year or two from now they will recommend you somewhere or you have an opportunity to help them somehow and that will be a much better proactive approach I think when trying to grow yourself or help other people to grow and things like that.


Elena Agaragimova (34:52.178)

Hmm. I think that if I can just add there, I think that’s such an excellent point because we start networking when we need something and that is the worst time. Just don’t even do it.

I mean, really like just don’t do it. Like, you know, that’s what’s called building relationships. It takes time to build those relationships, right? People refer and recommend people they know, trust, they like, it takes time for you to get to that relationship. Another thing is that a lot of people say, well, I’m horrible. I’m, I’m an introvert. I don’t know how to network and that’s okay. Find your avenue. Maybe it’s in your yoga class. Maybe it’s in the, you know, discord chat. Maybe it’s in a video game you play. Maybe it’s in a small community. Maybe it’s at a dog park. I don’t know, but it doesn’t have to be. You don’t need to go to a conference. Maybe it’s starting a podcast, right? So it doesn’t have to have to be what works for what, you know, there’s this notion that network has to be the scary animal. It’s not you choose your own. The idea is to have as many people in your network, in your circle, right? And maybe not in your close circle, but like extended circle. Know what you bring to the table, what value you bring. And you know, what’s the best way to build relationships and not even for the sake of building. But the best way to lead in life and to make sure you stay relevant to make sure you have to pay it forward and to give and to add value to other people and not see it as I’m building a relationship because I’m gonna need this person, no no no build a relationship with people you actually want to build a relationship so be a build relationship with people you can Do something for it’s the give give give then take I forget who wrote the book. It’s called Give and Take oh my gosh I forget the author’s name anyway It’s a good book called Give and Take and it talks about takers and givers and then I think like the middle people. But the way to get ahead in anything career or business is give, give, give, and then you take maybe you ask, right, like the ask. So if you focus on giving and adding value, I promise you it comes back 10 folds, the key is to be genuine about it.


Vit Lyoshin (36:49.104)

Yeah, I have an example from my earlier career about this when somebody comes to me and say like, hey, I want to make more money or hey, how do I get promoted? And I usually respond with, well, go to your boss or supervisor and ask for more responsibilities. Simple as that. Ask them, how can I help you? What project can you give to me? And I’ll do it in six months or whatever. I’ll work on it. And maybe something happens after that. Maybe they will promote you, they will raise your paycheck, or transfer you somewhere where it’s more interesting, to another team maybe, or something like that. You already know your supervisor so even if you’re an introverted person you’re communicating with them pretty frequently so it shouldn’t be a challenge. If you’re afraid to talk to them just send them an email and list like hey I did this and this in the last six months but I want to try this and this maybe I can try.

I see this happening many times, but it kind of happens when people are desperate for a change or desperate for something. But if you do it all the time, your career will improve itself almost seamlessly. You will continue to grow and your salary will grow and your role will change to higher levels and things like that. So I think being a little bit proactive and using all these different techniques can surely help people.


Elena Agaragimova (38:20.405)

And, something I want to just add here is sometimes you will ask for more responsibility and you do everything and you take the boxes, but then you don’t get promoted and you don’t grow because it could be for various reasons. And that’s why I always say like, you have to go into it with that curious mindset that you’re doing this for yourself, that no matter what you have now gained six months of additional skills that you would not have gotten otherwise. And guess what? You can take those skills somewhere else. Right. And a lot of people like, well, I’ve done this. And then they get frustrated because they went in for the wrong reasons. You know what I’m saying? They went in with expectations. The only expectation you have is to learn and to grow as a professional. Whether you’re gonna get what you think you’re gonna get, that’s out of your control. Let’s hope, but don’t go in with that expectation. Go in to be the best version of yourself, the best at your best. And sometimes the company, the manager won’t recognize it and that’s okay, that’s not the right company for you but now you have more skill sets and opportunity to grow and take those lessons somewhere else and so it’s a win -win for you.


Vit Lyoshin (39:22.192)

Yeah, I guess I would add a little really quick is that focus on something that you can control and something you can’t control is your supervisor giving you a promotion. Maybe they have somebody else already in mind or maybe it’s not the right time and their boss is not willing to do that yet. So it could be so many different reasons, but if you focus on things that you can control and you say I want to learn the skill, let me do this and then you have it, that’s it, that’s all you get. I totally agree with that approach.

All right, awesome. So coming to the end, let’s wrap up with final advice from you to give to any professionals, just in general, how to stay in this market, how to stay in your job, or what to do next.


Elena Agaragimova (40:17.205)

So I’ll try to add something different from everything that I’ve ever said about curiosity and courage and, forgot the last one I said, oh, building relationships.

Another thing I’d like to add is to audit your habits. So the Shift, my podcast, is all about shifting your mind, shifting your body, and ultimately shifting your life. And the reason I started is that I realized that a lot of times we focus on this one piece of our life, which can be like a career, but really the holdback, the obstacle, the thing that’s pulling you back is in your personal life. It’s in your habits and your routines. It’s in your health. And so audit your habits. Audit what you spend time on. Audit how much you move. Audit how much you sleep. How much you eat. What you eat. The quality of the food. How much water you drink. And all those. We go back to the basics. We’re so focused on careers. And that’s why we’re more stressed out, less productive a lot of times. You know, we are struggling health-wise in many aspects. We’re burnt out. That’s because we moved away from the base.

And if you don’t focus on the basics of your well-being and part of that is also your social ties, your family, love in your life, joy in your life, fun in your life, if you just you know super focused on your career great. But don’t ignore the basics and I think because that will impact everything else if you’re not sleeping well. You can’t be you know trying to take on more projects if you’re not eating well. And you’re just having you know sugar crashes throughout the day if you’re you know drinking five cups of coffee throughout the day I promise you it’s not good for you, please revisit that. If you’re not moving throughout the day, if you know, so if you’re not living a healthy life, it’s impacting your career, whether you realize it or not. And I can spend an hour just talking about how an unhealthy lifestyle impacts your creativity, productivity, energy levels, emotional responses, and so on, decision-making skills, all those things. So audit your health overall.


Vit Lyoshin (42:12.496)

Great advice. I think we can save that topic for the next time. I totally agree with that and I’m guilty of it myself, you know, working from home and moving less for the last three years obviously didn’t help me, so, but you know just something to work on.


Elena Agaragimova (42:29.461)

Same here, I have my vices as well, so I have my vices. Not perfect, it’s a reminder for myself and everybody else. So by no means am I perfect in this.


Vit Lyoshin (42:39.6)

Yeah, okay. Well great. I think we covered a lot of good things here So yeah, thank you very much for your time, and I hope we can talk more in the future

Thank you very much. Talk to you later. Bye


Elena Agaragimova (42:54.421)

Thank you.

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About Vit Lyoshin

Hey there! I'm Vit Lyoshin, and I've been working with technology and cool software stuff for a long time. Now, I'm hosting a podcast where I talk to really smart people who know a lot about making software and managing products.

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