What do you value working in your team?
Jarmila: We are an easy-going team and we enjoy having fun together (there is even an ongoing battle for the funniest person in the room). For me personally, this is one of the most important things in a workplace. Spending 40 hours a week with people you actually like, people you can learn from, who inspire you, who make you laugh — I feel very honoured to be a part of this great team. And of course, there is cake every once in a while, after all, we are still an HR office.
Szilvia: Everybody has their own personality. We highly value this at Project A and we want to see the same in our candidates. At the same time, authenticity defines us as recruiters as well. We don’t see ourselves as administrators, but rather as coaches and connectors.
What is important for you at work?
Szilvia: A nice atmosphere and good teamwork — an environment that is encouraging and inspiring. In addition, it is important for me that I can use my skills and I can also develop myself further. Having an understanding team lead, who is aware of my strengths and knows the areas I need to improve further and whom I can trust. I feel lucky because I have it all here.
What are your tasks at Project A?
Jarmila: We support Project A and our ventures in finding the right talent. This helps them in building up their businesses. Over the years, my experience in this field has taught me one thing which is deeply rooted in me; hiring the right talent is the essence.
Next to recruiting, my second passion is to coach people. We train people on different topics like interviewing, direct search and so on.
Thirdly, I do employer branding projects, often together with our internal communications team, to make possible candidates aware of the great companies, we have in our portfolio.
What is unique about the TA-work at Project A?
Jarmila: We have to ensure a balance between structure and flexibility — and this is a big challenge. On one side, we have processes e.g. how an interview plan should look like, but often we have to react fast and adjust it to the needs of the Hiring Manager. Maintaining high quality is very important to us. Candidates are in the centre of our work, we do our best to make the experience for them as smooth and pleasant as possible. Even if we don’t have a fitting role, we work a lot with our Project A Talentpool. This is a very valuable hiring source for us. It is a pool of over 1000 candidates we regularly search in when we have new roles. It’s a very good way to stay in contact with us and receive regular updates.
What are the challenges in the field of Talent Acquisition?
Szilvia: There are certain cases, I am 150% sure that the candidate is the best fit. However, after forwarding him/her to the relevant partner (as we also recruit for the ventures and not only for Project A), my responsibilities are of course limited. I cannot take care of the candidate anymore and I need to wait for some information in order to provide update etc. This needs patience and acceptance.
Getting enough applications for certain positions is another challenge. Luckily, some talented working students and interns are supporting us with the sourcing through LinkedIn and Xing and with their help we are able to gain more candidates. I am very grateful for the work they are doing. 🙂
Why is it so important to work cooperatively?
Jarmila: Talent Acquisition at Project A is not the typical way of recruiting. 80% of the roles we fill are for our ventures. We help them to build up high functioning teams and step in especially when it comes to roles that are hard to fill. We also do consulting on how to improve processes in the field of Talent Acquisition and Employer Branding. Overall we have a lot of different projects and positions. We need to collaborate all the time with many different stakeholders. The base of all is, that we have a strong emphasis on being candidate centric and providing a very good candidate experience. Flexibility and empathy are therefore two very important traits we have to show every day. With over 80 open roles and many side projects, being able to keep an overview and do good project management is essential.
Jarmila, you studied psychology, what supported your decision to work in the area where you are now? To what extent does your psychology studies help you?
I love meeting new people and my studies provided me with good general knowledge about different personalities, about communication and relationships. In our job, it is important to be empathetic. My studies of psychology bring forth my understanding and the “walking in their shoes” experience, even more. Since we spend such a big amount of our time in our workplaces, it is very fulfilling to help to match a person with a job that really fits them.
In my master thesis, I wrote about “How to match personalities with jobs”. That knowledge was an excellent base for me to start my career in this field.
How do you know if an applicant is the right person for your team, for Project A or for a venture?
Szilvia: Apart from the technical knowledge and the must-have experience which I of course always check in the CV, I observe the candidates’ behaviour during the interview (skype or onsite). From verbal and non-verbal signs I can figure out the candidate’s dedication and behaviour. I adjust the impression that I get regarding the skills (soft and technical) and personality with the requirements of the position and bumm: there is a match.
What is important to be successful?
Szilvia: I think that success definitely lies in the fact that we are a great team working closely together and helping each other. Of course, we also need to love what we do. I personally really like to be in contact with and get to know other people.
Sometimes an interview can make my day. Other times it can be tiring to have many interviews in a row. However, after everything, there is a team with whom I can share my experience, emotions and questions or doubts.
It is also very important to be consistent. Some candidates are trying to lead the interview or they don’t give a clear answer to a question. Therefore, leadership as a skill is one of the key elements. Honesty is another factor that is very important: always being honest with the candidate and what he or she can expect.
To believe in the “product” is equally important as the above-listed characteristics. In this case being excited for the product of the partner and about a certain position or about Project A. The candidate feels your enthusiasm and of course it makes a positive impact.
What do you like about Project A?
- We can create and try out new things. No limits for creativity.
- We also have the same drive: we are all flexible, dynamic and very motivated. The whole environment is very professional. And this is really inspiring.
- Also, we get a lot of room for self-development (organising, participating in events, make speeches or presentations, hold trainings etc.). The management is very open to suggestions and encouraging us. I really like this flexibility.
How can you integrate what you bring from your previous experience?
Szilvia: I had a kind of a long journey with a variety of positions until I started at Project A in the recruitment department. I have studied to be a teacher but then I started to work with Data in the ERP team (backoffice). I was a team lead in customer service and later on a Head of Quality at an E-commerce company. I can definitely use people management, leadership skills, empathy and assertive communication skills. Recruitment is a lot of responsibility from managing stakeholders to providing a smooth candidate experience through leading the interview. I like it that I am responsible for building up a team contributing to the success of a company.
One last question: How did you end up being friends?
Szilvia: Our personalities complement each other. We are a great team: very professional and dedicated to work and we also have a lot of fun while working. Our topics have a wide spectrum: from best practices regarding the best interview techniques till the best beaches in Sicily, everything is possible to discuss.
I mean who wouldn’t be a friend with this superfunny and sweet person?
- Szilvia studied Social Sciences and Economics and works as Talent Acquisition Manager at Project A
- Jarmila studied Psychology and works as Senior Talent Acquisition Manager at Project A