Let’s be honest for a moment, when most people think of HR, their reaction often falls somewhere between a half smile and an eye roll. Luckily, our Head of People and Culture gets a much different response from her colleagues.
She has at least one inside joke with everyone at the office, her door is always open, and her self-defining Slack emoji is the sun. Yes, we are very fortunate to have the very bright and warm Sonia Basili as part of our team. Over the past 12 months, we’ve doubled in numbers and we’re only getting started!
Before she becomes completely unreachable, get to know the lady responsible for bringing our team together:
What attracted you to work for an AI company?
I’ve worked in tech for many years because I’ve always wanted to be a part of an innovative industry. Back then, nobody was looking to work in AI, but since HR is all about people, my goal was to work with professionals who were open to new ideas.
Transitioning into a company whose focus was on AI felt like the best way to surround myself with those kinds of people. I like the startup mentality as well, because it’s a place where you can grow and get your hands on everything.
At the end of the day, I chose Stradigi AI because of their values and their vision. My role might not vary much from one industry to the other, so it’s really the company’s perception of what HR can do and it’s potential that makes all the difference.
What do you enjoy most about your job? What is the most challenging?
I like people, my background in psychology is very much a reflection of that. HR allows me to be a part of someone’s journey, from the very beginning when they apply to seeing them grow and flourish within the company. I also enjoy facilitating the relationship between the team members and their managers. I see HR as an advisory role, but my previous experience has given me a different perspective about my job. A great example is taking a more hands on approach and coaching people through challenging situations, which can lead to positive outcomes. More specific to Stradigi AI, my door is always open, so people tend to float in, bounce ideas off me and walk out, so I guess being a soundboard to the creative minds at our office is a fun perk.
As far as challenges go, finding the right talent is at the top of the list. People tend to have a very negative outlook of talent pool at the moment, but I believe the right people are out there because so many of them have transferable skills. The second part of that challenge is finding someone who will be the right fit. On a personal level, will they be a match with their managers? Are they aligned with our values? All of this adds a level of difficulty.
What contribution to Stradigi AI are you most proud of?
Formalizing processes to ensure our team can improve and grow. An example being mechanisms for feedback, not just annual reviews, but ongoing feedback between management and team members.
Training and learning opportunities are crucial in our industry and we want to provide everyone with a chance to learn something new. We are lucky to have a team of people with diverse backgrounds and we leverage that through weekly team breakfasts where someone from a specific department will have a chance to present, or host a lunch and learn about an industry-related subject. This allows everyone to be in the same room, interact, find common ground and transfer knowledge in a fun and inclusive way
How would you explain the culture here at Stradigi AI?
Our culture is a direct reflection of our leaders. They are all extremely hardworking and passionate about the work they do and that same drive can be felt in every department. We’re hungry, we’re innovative and everyone wants to contribute to our success… you can feel that when you walk through our doors.
We value people that are humble. Our process is very much about collaboration and humble people know that it takes a village to deliver an AI project. We are all responsible for carrying our own weight, but being a team is deeply ingrained in our culture.
We also appreciate people who are smart, not just academically, but socially. Self-awareness definitely plays a role when we are considering someone to join our team.
Do you have a favourite interview question?
Why do you want to work in AI, but more specifically, why us? I think most companies would agree that there is nothing better than finding a candidate who believes in the work they are doing and wants to contribute to their success.
What advice would you give graduates beginning their careers in the tech industry?
Starting out is difficult, we’ve all been there. As an HR specialist, I’d say you need to be clear about what you want to do. Find an industry that you’re passionate about and do your research. Figure out what type of role you want and think about what you can bring to the table. During the interview process, bring concrete examples, find out what the company’s biggest challenges are and suggest solutions. Don’t be shy to show your drive, demonstrate your ability to be flexible and your hunger to learn.
If I’m speaking to you as a friend, I would say find the right company. The ideal candidate has the skills, but they’re also the right “fit”. Find a place that has the same values as you do and be vocal about it.
What part of the hiring process do think HR professionals would like AI to automate?
Filtering through CVs, no question! Besides that, I’d like AI to help automate feedback to candidates. I think that in the long run it could be extremely useful to the HR process if people gained insights into the reasons they weren’t chosen and hopefully, learn from it before they apply to another opportunity.
In general, across the industry, what changes would you like to see implemented in order to improve the HR process?
I think everyone hopes for more diversity. We’ve always made a conscious effort to hire people based on their skills and personality over anything else. I think when you focus on that, you will find that your team is naturally more diverse. Having people with different backgrounds is such a gift. We see it as a strength and it’s been a contributing factor in our success thus far.
If you could switch places with someone for a day – real or fictional, who would it be and why?
I’m in serious vacation mode right now, so I’d have to say any food critic. For 24 hours, I would go through every Michelin star restaurant possible and enjoy every single bite!
Are you looking for an opportunity to join the Stradigi AI team? Check out our careers page for all of our current job openings!