Career Stories

“We Carry So Much Weight:” a Recruiter Shares Her Tips For Overcoming Mom Guilt

Angela Gorospe, a senior recruiter at Palo Alto Networks
Angela Gorospe, a senior recruiter at Palo Alto Networks.
| Courtesy of Angela Gorospe

Some of the biggest turning points in Angela Gorospe’s career were the result of a layoff. When her husband lost his job in 2014, the couple launched their own food truck business, Hula Truck & Hula's Sweet Treats, which is still thriving.

“I was terrified at the time, but I finally gave in and it was the best decision we ever made,” she says.

More recently, Angela Gorospe found herself out of her job as a recruiter during the pandemic. Rather than getting discouraged, she turned to her network for help and found a new home at the cybersecurity company Palo Alto Networks.

“I’m a firm believer that everything happens for a reason, and although I was sad to get laid off, it led me to this amazing role,” she says.

As a senior recruiter at Palo Alto Networks, Gorospe gets to do what loves: “career matchmaking,” as she calls it. The company has also given her an opportunity to become an advocate for diversity and inclusion, another one of her passions.

Here, Gorospe shares why candidates don’t need to check off every job requirement, how she avoids feeling mom guilt, and the importance of recruiting with diversity in mind.

Tell us about your career journey, and what led you to pursue a career in talent acquisition and recruitment.

I fell into recruiting by accident. I got a two-week contract at an employment agency. Everyday I just worked hard processing payroll and conducting new hire orientations. The two-week contract turned into a full-time job and eventually I was promoted to a recruiter. Working in an agency environment gave me the foundation to move into my next roles with in-house recruiting. I was able to hire technical talent for the largest companies in the world. I spent six years in that role and still laugh about how it was only supposed to be two weeks.

What are you responsible for in your role as a senior recruiter?

I partner with different departments to hire the best talent and help candidates make their next career move. I’m responsible for managing all aspects of the hiring process, which includes sourcing candidates, ensuring a positive candidate experience, setting expectations with our business partners, and sharing talent mapping.

What do you like best about working in recruiting?

In recruiting, we are working with people and not a product that we pull off the shelf. Getting a new job is a life-changing experience because it is embedded in how you live your life, from paying bills to providing for your family. To be able to help people in this way fills my bucket!

What types of roles are you currently hiring for, and how can someone stand out in a job interview?

Currently, I’m supporting the customer success (CS) leadership team to scale the organization. The CS team is critical to helping our customers maximize the products they have invested in to keep their infrastructure safe from cyber attacks. I’m specifically hiring customer success managers, engineers, and operations roles.

The best way to stand out in a job interview is by researching the company, practicing STAR interviewing techniques, and having questions ready for the manager. When we post a position, we have a long list of requirements and know that not every candidate will have all of them. If you don’t have the experience, that’s OK! Give an example on how you could learn the task. This is a great way for the manager to understand a potential learning path for your career. When the interview is complete, ask for next steps to show you are interested in the role.

Tell us about your experience leading Palo Alto Network’s Juntos Employee Network Group (ENG) and why this work is important to you?

I’m thankful that Palo Alto Networks promotes diversity and inclusion initiatives. I have worked for other companies where it was just a buzzword, but that’s not the case here. As a Native American, Mexican American, and a woman, I am proud of my heritage and want to be an advocate! No matter where you come from, with hard work you can make things happen in your career.

Joining the Juntos Leadership team has been an opportunity to combine my passion for diversity with my recruiting skills. As the Juntos Workforce Lead, I’m helping to find underrepresented talent by planning career fairs with the Society for Advancement of Chicanos/Hispanics and Native Americans in Science, Hispanic Association of Colleges and Universities, Society of Hispanic Professional Engineers, and Women in Cybersecurity, among other organizations. We also want to sponsor or host a speaker series and showcase why Palo Alto Networks is a great place to work. It brings me much joy and I’ve met so many amazing people through this role both inside and out of Palo Alto Networks.

What have been the keys to your success in balancing your work and family, and how does Palo Alto Networks support you in this?

I make sure to give my energy to the most important things in my life. My family is No. 1: working and providing for them, but also carving out time together. When my oldest son left for the Army, it made me realize how important that time together is before our kids leave to start their own journeys. I started prioritizing family dinner, weekend getaways, and volunteering for activities that are important to them. For example, I’m a PTA board member, Advancement Chair for our Boy Scouts of America troop, and a cheer mom.

I’m incredibly thankful for the support that Palo Alto offers so we can have work-life balance. With the company’s FLEXWORK program, we are empowered to get our work done and make time for the important things in our lives, so I’m able to pick up my kids or attend their events without a worry. Working remotely also gives me the flexibility to log on for special hours to accomplish daily tasks. This makes a world of difference.

What advice do you have for parents who may be struggling to find this balance?

This is the million-dollar question! (If someone has the answer please let me know!) I’m still trying to figure it out, but I always try to give myself grace. As a mom, we carry so much weight to have a successful career and also keep our home life in order. If something doesn’t go right, we feel guilty. We need to get rid of those expectations.

For me, every week is different and my priorities may shift depending on what’s going on in my career, family business, or my kids’ activities. I’m a planner so I try to document things and I live by my paper calendar (don’t laugh).

Overall, we all are just trying to do the best that we can with the resources that we have. You may drop things at times, but don’t feel guilty. Make those lists, check them twice, and give your family hugs. Work will always be there, but our kids grow up way too fast, so spend those extra moments with them.

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received?

When you start your career, stay at each job for at least a year. Even if you hate it, stick with it and learn. Find out what you like and dislike so you know what your next career move should be.

Also, never burn a bridge. Especially if you work in tech, the network is small. Always give at least two weeks’ notice and be professional in your career.

Updated 10/20/2022