For most people, Facebook is an escape—a way to procrastinate, a place to be entertained—but for Josilin Torrano, 27, it’s her job. As a University Recruiter, Josilin works at the Facebook campus enjoying perks like a sushi lunch bar and frequent Sheryl Sandberg sightings. But aside from the playful incentives of being at one of 2013’s “Best Places to Work” Josilin is undeniably building one serious career.
Having gotten her start in yet another fun, fast-paced office working as a Creative Recruiter at Nickelodeon Animation Studio, Josilin’s instincts for the unconventional and previously untapped have been encouraged early on. Between her personal experiences and the insight she gained while co-managing an internship program at Nickelodeon, Josilin discovered she loved the pay-it-forward rewards of helping students begin their careers.
Josilin’s success is evidence that, if you give it your all, you can go from ordering espresso shots for the office to calling the shots in the corporate world. Read the full story below
copy: Elena Valeriote
photos: Molly DeCoudreaux
Her Starting Point
Where did you start your career?
I was hired as a Creative Recruiter at Nickelodeon Animation Studio immediately after graduating in 2008. I was asked to interview for the position following a two-month internship within the Recruiting & College Relations department at Nickelodeon. This job involved me staffing all production-based roles within the studio. I later also took on the role of co-managing their award-winning internship program. I stayed with Nickelodeon for almost four years.
You received a BA in Communication Studies from UCLA. Have you found your degree to be very useful in your career?
Maybe, rather than the classes I took while attending UCLA, it was the people and their motivation to take charge of my career. I can vividly remember during orientation for the CS department, a speaker telling us “you’re already behind” if you haven’t had any internships. I was floored. I figured I was ahead because I had been accepted into a prestigious university and admitted into one of the most exclusive majors on campus. Not so. His words affected me. I immediately knew, no one was going to give me my future. I had to get it myself. It was situations like this and having classes with incredibly smart, motivated women that helped me go after what I wanted in life.
You’ve held several internships, including assignments at Bragman Nyman Cafarelli, CosmoGirl! and Media Talent Group. How did your experience at these internships influence your career choices?
Working in college relations, I am obviously a firm advocate of internships. To quote a former boss, “you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince.” Amphibians aside, it can take someone several interviews, internships and jobs to finally realize which calling is right for them. Internships are the best way to do this. At worst, you have a crappy semester and find out what you don’t want to do with your life. What have you lost? Three months of your life? No biggie. But at best, you discover something you love and can continue to climb that jungle gym called a career.
Before I started at UCLA, I assumed Public Relations was the field for me. So what was my first internship during school? A winter quarter at one of LA’s premier PR Agencies. Almost immediately, I realized this was not the place or field for me. I am so grateful that I grasped this notion while still safe in school and not after graduation, desperately looking for work in one of the toughest job markets around. I shudder to think how my life would be different if I waited until after graduation to start figuring out what I wanted in a career.
Her Big Break
Throughout your career you’ve gained a lot of experience with social media. What tips do you have for millennial women looking to pursue a career in social media management?
Connect with your audience and stick with your gut. While at Nickelodeon I advocated to the higher-ups that we needed a presence in social media. This was back in 2008 and my execs were a bit skeptical of what Facebook and Twitter were. Think back to the movie with Sandra Bullock, The Net. The Internet is scary, and it can steal your life without you even knowing it. This is what I was facing, but knew we needed to be on social media to stay relevant.
I stuck to my guns and flew under the radar with our page. I didn’t ask permission, I posted. If something got flagged by legal, I took it down, but I didn’t stop taking risks and updating that page. I paid attention to what our followers interacted with, things like retro Nickelodeon callbacks, and gave them more of the same. If a post with a hand drawn image of SpongeBob got 100+ likes, you better believe I was hassling the artists for more.
It’s not enough to get Likes on your page, it’s about having people talking about that page and commenting on your
content. This keeps them coming back.
You’ve worked as a recruiter at Nickelodeon, Hulu and Facebook. Can you describe what this type of position entails? What are the characteristics necessary for being a recruiter?
As a recruiter, your job is to anticipate the needs of your client and deliver results as efficiently as possible. Results could be talented designers, numbers-based information or advice grounded in what you’ve seen in the field. To be a valuable recruiter, one must be an advocate for their candidates, a solid communicator and an ambassador for their brand. If you do not believe in the product you’re selling, neither will your candidates.
What do you look for as a recruiter for Facebook?
Specifically with the design team, we look for a builder mindset. This includes interaction ability, visual touch and thinking about the design of products from the perspective of using them socially. Our process involves reviewing prior product work, one-on-one interviews with our current product design team, as well as a presentation of the designer’s work.
Facebook is all about connections. What connections have you made in your life that have progressed your career?
Too many to name. What I will say is, you never know who will help you or whom you can help. Treat everyone as you’d like to be treated.
Before working in Menlo Park for Facebook, you had worked and studied in Southern California. Tell us about how you made the decision to move to the Bay Area.
A tremendous opportunity at what has become the coolest place I have ever had the pleasure of working. That and I am originally from the Bay Area. This has been a coming home of sorts. In what is the understatement of this interview, my parents are over the moon about the shift north.
If we had the chance to peek at your schedule, what would an average day look like?
My day always begins with making my to-do list for the week (long term goals) and the day (short term). Once I have established the day’s events, I feel energized and prepared for the day. I then head over to our cafeteria and stock up on fresh-juiced veggies and other breakfast treats. The rest of the day will follow a similar pattern. Me eating way too much of Facebook’s gourmet free food and checking items off my list. There are also meetings and surprise tasks peppered in here and there. This agenda with semi-regular trips to my partner universities keeps me quite busy and terribly over stimulated. It’s a beautiful thing.
What is your favorite part of your job? What’s the most challenging?
It is incredibly rewarding to work with students. To them, this isn’t just a job or an internship to help leverage their salary or get a shiny new title. This is the next big phase in their relatively young life. To help them in this process is tremendously gratifying. What’s challenging is finding top talent before any of our competition does. There’s a small group of designers out there and everyone else is looking for them, too.
What advice can you give to other women working through their own professional learning curve?
Trust what makes you happy and be patient. You will not figure everything out right away. Pay attention to what you get excited about. When something makes you want to put in the extra hours or keeps you thinking once you put your head on the pillow, that’s what you should do.