Tracy Lui’s professional journey proves that with some research and determination, opportunities lie ahead. A natural people person, Tracy Lui shares how the world of human resources was calling her name and how she answered it with vigor.
During my undergrad, I worked various part-time customer service roles where it became apparent that I enjoyed both the interactions I had with customers but also loved collaborating with team members. I was unsure how I could translate this to a corporate environment but overheard a colleague talk about studying human resources.
I didn’t know much about the field at the time, but after some research and reading, it sounded exactly like what I was looking for: a marriage between people, relationship building and business. Right after graduating with a Bachelor of Arts, I applied to a one-year postgraduate HR Management Certificate Program.
I definitely enjoyed the recruitment and selection course more than the other subjects introduced in the program, but felt that being a generalist would be the best way to determine which area I wanted to focus in.
Searching for my first job in HR was a daunting endeavour – there were thousands of graduates already out there, thousands who have just arrived and thousands to come. How was I going to stand out and make an impression with prospective employers in such a competitive market?
I was clear on what kind of role I wanted and what I didn’t want; I did my research, prepared responses but wanted my conversations to be genuine as well. For every role I applied to, I made it a habit to send thank you notes to my interviewers – it goes a long way! Experiencing firsthand how stressful a job search could be would later serve as my motivation to always provide a positive candidate experience when I was on the other side recruiting.
In retrospect, I wish I didn’t put so much pressure on myself in my job search. I associated failure with not securing a first job as quickly as my peers. I still remember very clearly how stressed I was or being unhappy when I didn’t hear back from companies. It’s hard to but try not to take job rejections personally. Continue to improve on your craft – the right job will come along.
Eventually I landed an interview for a part-time HR Coordinator role and while not ideal, I knew that this would be a great opportunity to get my foot in the door and learn. Looking back, I’m so grateful my manager took a chance on me. She taught me all the foundations of great HR professional today: clear communication, attention to detail, critical thinking, problem solving, and other invaluable skills that could not be learned in a classroom. These were the skills that only through application and refinement in the workplace could be developed.
As this was my first HR role, I made my fair share of mistakes. I remember feeling horrible about these instances, but my manager was incredibly supportive. I always made an effort not to repeat them. After all, making mistakes is the only way to learn and elevate your skillset.
During this time, I had the opportunity to build teams in North America and take part in global TA initiatives. Working in the healthcare industry was an amazing experience and taught me a lot, but I was ready for my next challenge.
With the tech industry growing quickly in Toronto, I was set on making a transition into that field to be a part of that growth. When I came across Q4, I was fascinated with the product, the people, and the culture. It looked like such a fun and collaborative environment! From the very beginning, I had a lot of autonomy in my role as a Talent Specialist and have had the incredible opportunity to help scale the business as well as build processes from the ground up. I have worked my way towards the Lead Recruiter role and now lead non-technical recruitment at the organization.
As a corporate recruiter, I love that I accomplish two thing at the same time. The first: I can help people progress in their careers. The second is making an impact at the company I’m working for by aligning a person’s skillset with the needs of the role. Finding a great fit for an open position is akin to finding a missing piece in a puzzle – it’s satisfying in itself, but also allows you to progress further and contribute to the bigger picture. The success of any company is built upon the hard work of their people, so I always feel proud every time I hear that one of my hires is excelling in their role.
With that said, I get to be very involved with the business in my position. From learning about different roles, what makes them successful and how they help drive the business forward. I also enjoy partnering together with the hiring team to figure out what experiences or skillset would fit the role. The fun part is when I get to speak with different people and figure out what motivates them and what they’re looking for in a company. I strive to be transparent and honest with my candidates – what the company culture is like, the challenges, process/timelines, etc. It’s a two-way street – they should be interviewing us as much as we’re interviewing them.
To me, being humble is so important. That’s not to say don’t speak up when you achieve something. You should be proud! But doing it in a way where you not only celebrate your wins as an individual, but also as a team, says so much more about you.
Another observation: agility is key. The reality is that things are constantly changing and often at a very quick pace. Something that worked flawlessly yesterday may not work today, so it’s important to keep an open mind, understand the situation from different perspectives to be able to pivot when needed.
Last but not least, imposter syndrome. I think that a lot of people can relate to the feeling of not being good enough or comparing yourself constantly with your peers. I still struggle with it sometimes. I think that I’ve learned that even the most successful leaders have been through this. I’ve learned to be a bit more pragmatic in my approach and take a step back before I action on something, and to also lean on close colleagues to talk through a situation when necessary. Sometimes it helps to get another perspective when you are unsure. It’s important to have conviction regarding your own decisions but also be open to new ideas, especially from those you trust.
Being location agnostic and remote working – it’s here and it’s here to stay. In order to remain competitive, companies will need to adopt to the new hybrid work environment even when things are back to normal. I think that it will be important that companies provide flexibility and allow employees to choose what they’re comfortable with: whether that is continuing to work from home, coming into an office or a hybrid model.
Having this flexibility is a great moment for employees as they won’t be tied down to one option. I enjoy working from home but will enjoy the opportunity to meet my team and colleagues again when it’s safe to do so!