HR & Culture / Interviews

Balancing the Grind with Anneli Scopazzi, CEO of Boulevard Recruiting

Anneli Scopazzi is the CEO of Boulevard Recruiting, a San Francisco-based company specialising in recruiting for startups, across roles like engineers and product designers.

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1) To kick things off, could you tell us a little about your career background and current role?

I started my career in accounting and switched to recruiting about 7 years ago.

My foot in the door was through a boutique recruiting agency in a 100% commission role before I was recruited to Palantir, a company to which I am forever grateful for giving me a chance as a non-traditional profile to grow into leadership quickly.

I went on to become Head of Talent at Figma which tripled in headcount while I was there, through its Series B and C.

In September last year, I founded a boutique recruiting agency that specializes in recruiting for early stage startups. My role is CEO and I’m currently supported by 5 other recruiters plus my EA Libby (and scaling).

2) What does a day in the life look like for you? Can you take us through a recent workday?

I organize my week by my energy flow. Mondays can feel daunting coming out of the weekend and Fridays I’m often exhausted. So I calendar Monday as a ramp with the morning blocked off to set goals, plan the week and catch up on emails.

Monday afternoons are available for meetings for high priority stuff like strategizing with recruiters, advising startup founders and working on scaling initiatives. Tuesdays are blocked off entirely.

This is for reporting and strategic work, stuff that moves the company forward. The rest of the week is pretty open for back to back work calls with a mix of candidates, recruiters, startup founders, recruiting leaders and calls relating to passion projects like mentoring recruiters and building a network of women in leadership.

I work on the highest priority items first, most heavily on Mondays/Tuesdays and mornings on a daily basis. Passion projects are interspersed throughout the week and more heavily weighted on Fridays when I typically log off early.

3) Does your current role allow for flexible or remote working? If so, how does that fit into your life and routine?

My company Boulevard Recruiting was built for remote work. Its name shouts out to the San Francisco street where I live as much as it does to Paris or New York, my favorite cities.

Early on when I was thinking how will my company attract the best recruiters when the best recruiters can go anywhere. One, you have to compensate people well but I think most places are doing that.

So strategically we offer the ability to work a little less (full-time recruiters are expected to work about 30 hours a week and certainly more if they want to make more, which people do). They’re also encouraged to work whatever location, days and hours they please, so long as they’re responsive and doing great work.

When I first started my company I celebrated remote life by scheduling several trips, simply because I could. My first stop was a little cottage on the coast of Washington, flying through Portland.

Next up was visiting friends in D.C. and New York, followed by the Central Coast of California, Park City and Boise to see family, and a trip through Santa Barbara, Los Angeles and San Diego in the first couple of months.

Boulevard recruiters live in the San Francisco Bay Area, Los Angeles, San Diego, Austin and Corpus Christi, Texas so far.

4) What does work-life balance mean to you and how do you work to achieve that goal?

My work is very blended into my life. I cannot emphasize how much I love my work. After a misaligned career in accounting I know that I’m lucky to be doing work that doesn’t feel like work.

I’m meeting incredible leaders, best in class professionals and learning about cool technology every day. That being said, to be a strategic leader I absolutely must take breaks from recruiting.

My performance slips when I’m running on low fuel. I end up tackling what’s right in front of me instead of stepping back to long-term problem solve. In the break between my recent roles, my schedule stopped. In this space, strategic questions that had troubled me for months became suddenly clear.

So my R&R (rest and rejuvenation) time is now well-protected. I rarely work past 6:30pm and avoid working weekends, except on creative projects and reading strategy books. I’m learning to pass off more stuff, and invest in tech that automates. While I’m not there yet, I’m working towards modeling my own, spectacular 30 hour work week.

5) In the past 12 months, have you started or stopped any routines or habits to change your life?

I am such a big fan of working out since COVID! I started slow but now I workout pretty hard 5 days a week and it’s really changing my attitude and energy.

I exercise about 20-30 minutes at a time, alternating days between intervals and spinning in my living room. Turns out to make a big difference, that’s all it takes! I hired a health coach to hold me accountable. Shout out to Amy!

6) Do you have any favourite books, podcasts or newsletters that you’d like to recommend?

Right now I’m reading Strategy, A History by Lawrence Freedman. It was recommended by a leader I admire so much who underscored the importance of getting really good at strategy.

Of course I love Tim Ferriss’ podcast on life hacks. I love his philosophies around maximizing your life, both personally and professionally. Also Arianna Huffington’s Thrive Global podcast! It changed my perspective in terms of embracing the importance of unplugging from technology.

7) Are there any products, gadgets or apps that you can’t live without?

I followed Arianna Huffington’s advice and bought one of the last manufactured iPods that I switch to in the evenings. Its only apps are Spotify, notepad and alarm. Huffington reminds her listeners that technology derails and controls our moods with its constant notifications. I do what I can to avoid that.

Software-wise I’m all about automation and moving faster: TopFunnel (recruiting automation tool), ClaraLabs (scheduling robot) and Superhuman (the ultimate emailing experience). Also Notion (Boulevard’s workspace) because it’s smart and pretty.

8) If you could read an interview about work-life balance by anyone, who would that be?

Arvind KC, a VP of Engineering at Google and former CIO (and hiring manager) at Palantir because he fascinates me. I love the way his mind works.

9) Do you have any last thoughts on work, life or balance that you’d like to share with our readers?

I think there are two work styles: to find a job you love, or to find a job that pays the bills and enables you to do what you love. (Ideally you find both!) I think our culture’s predominant message is that everyone must find a job that they love, which frustrated me during my first years out of college because I had no idea what I might be happier doing.

To people in that boat, I feel you. Now’s the time to practice patience. Work hard and produce great work whatever you’re doing. This will afford more opportunity than building a reputation of dropping the ball. Also commit to adventure and exploring the world to discover new ways of being. Not only will you find new opportunities you’ll have more fun while doing so.

Of course there will be opportunities to work extra hard, maybe even harder than feels good, for a longer term payoff. Those decisions are different and difficult for everybody. Regardless, it’s important to not wait too long to experience joy. You don’t want to blink and your life flew by and you were always waiting to be happy.

Get more aggressive about scheduling and carve out time for activities that fill you up, whether that’s an artistic outlet, charitable work, growing your skills, expanding your mind, enjoying your loved ones. Until you figure out work stuff, there are so many other ways to experience joy. There are so many ways to do what you love. You get to choose that adventure. Make it yours!

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About Author

Hey there! I'm Hao, the Editor-in-Chief at Balance the Grind. We’re on a mission to showcase healthy work-life balance through interesting stories from people all over the world, in different careers and lifestyles.