I recently decided to write an article for folks looking to land a job — be it a fresher or someone with years of experience.
But instead of me penning down, I thought of getting in touch with someone who has been in the industry for a long time and possesses all the knowledge.
So, for this week’s interview, I got a chance to interact with one of the well-known experts from the recruiting segment — Patricia Chmielowiec, Tech Sourcer & Recruiter @ Uber.
From the word go, the conversation was full of valuable insights. Patricia has not only talked about her journey but also gave me a chapter and verse on the recruiting domain.
All the information in this interview article is pure gold and I am sure you all are going to get a good amount of knowledge.
At the age of 18, when Poland was just entering European Union, Patricia decided to live and work in the UK.
“I went to London to work and learn English. I was working in bar jobs in London and was sharing my apartment with people from 5 countries and 3 continents,” said Patricia. “To be honest, it was a mind-blowing experience. I noticed how much you can find out about other nations and cultures even without having to visit them.”
Soon, she got a chance to do an AIESEC internship in New Delhi, India. After living in India for two months, she went to Spain for an Erasmus student exchange where she learned Spanish.
“This allowed me to see that I love the international atmosphere — cities rich in culture, learning new languages, cuisines, etc.,” Patricia added.
The Human Connection
During this candid interaction, Patricia mentioned that she always liked making people feel welcome. Hence, a suitable career choice for her was to either work in customer service, reception, HR around onboarding new starters and helping out different teams, or in a domain that involves a good amount of human interaction.
“When I was doing my research and trying to figure out a career, I discovered that a recruiting team’s work is so much fun. And I just fell in love with it,” said Patricia. “Later, I signed up for Human Resources studies to get more knowledge. And since then, I had the chance to work with a recruitment agency, startups, and some renowned tech giants.”
She also stated that she was lucky to start her career as a recruiter in a moment when tech startups were booming (2015) in Spain.
After working with some of the big tech firms in Spain; about 3 years ago, Patricia landed a job at Uber in Amsterdam.
When I asked her about the experience working with Uber, she said, “With Uber, Amsterdam, I had a chance to work with amazing colleagues in Lithuania, Denmark, India, and the US. I also found some of the great mentors in Brazil and Lithuania teams. Global companies let you do it and I find it amazing!”
Excerpts from the Interaction With Patricia
What is that one thing you like the most about your profession?
Meeting new people on a global level and closely connected to them despite the physical distance is a fantastic feeling. I also love seeing people starting in a new company, new country, and how they grow as a person and as a professional.
What is the most challenging aspect of your profession?
The difficult aspect of my role is to find senior talent who is open for a change, a move, and has the time to prepare for in-depth interviews.
However, there are other things too.
I feel we recruiters have a bad reputation. Let me give you my own example. I have a good amount of experience in recruiting, but I still get rude answers from candidates. Even though it doesn’t happen too often, I find it shocking when it happens.
I don’t understand the need to be rude when all I am offering is a new job opportunity.
What is the current scenario of the human resource industry? Is it faring well?
Of course! There’s a great shift in the domain. From admin/task takers to business advisors, the HR segment has come a long way.
Today, human resource plays a key role in developing, reinforcing, and changing an organization’s culture.
I believe it’s a great time to work in HR. We finally have a seat at the table, helping businesses make informed and meaningful decisions.
When you hire tech talents, what things do you consider?
First and foremost, I look at the CV because it speaks volumes about you. Most of the times candidates copy someone else’s CV. But again, we can easily figure it out. If someone wants to apply for a certain job, his/her CV or resume should be in line with that job.
Basically, all I am saying is you must invest enough time and effort in creating a CV. After all, it’s nothing less than a first impression.
Let me share some tips:
- Keep the formal needs short (1-page max).
- Mention your achievements (not only tasks). This will show that you’re oriented to make an impact, to bring value to the business.
- Adapt your CV according to the job description or requirements of the company.
- Add your LinkedIn link in your CV to check your additional info.
- Get your CV reviewed by a friend. Trust me, this helps so much.
- Mention all your technical skills. If you have an online repository, do add the link.
- Mention how your career progression looks like — from one company to another, and inside companies you’ve worked at.
Also, I recommend all engineers to read the book Building Career in Software by Dan Heller. It’s an amazing book that holds so much value inside it.
How can fresh graduates land their first job?
In the first place, search for companies that are aligned with your true values and inner interests. You can reach out to them directly even if no role is posted. Let them know that you’re really inclined and have got a lot to offer.
If you get a chance, start as an intern or volunteer at any of their events.
Also, it is, of course, a good way to find out if you like the work environment and the values before you’re offered a full-time role.
And in case you’re not hearing back from the companies you’re interested in, search for alternatives. Job fairs, student advisors, and classmates are great sources to find out about new companies.
What about experienced candidates?
Someone who possesses a couple of years of experience can try meeting people from companies they are interested in to get first-hand info. And of course, to get referred!
If you don’t hear back from a company don’t get discouraged. When you apply for a role, you compete with hundreds of applicants, internal employees, former employees who want to go back. So, don’t take the rejection personally!
Rather, search for alternate companies — their competitors, maybe. Fun fact, less famous companies, fewer people apply to.
Could you also shed some light on expat careers?
First things first, one piece of advice I have for ex-pats is to do in-depth research before arriving in a new country.
In some countries like the Netherlands, Denmark, and Spain, there are tax benefits for highly skilled workers who move there (with a condition that they relocate with a job offer). If you find a job after arriving, you may lose the opportunity to apply for these benefits.
Another good thing you’re gaining by early search is the possibility of receiving a relocation package.
Talking about the jobs, some of the most common opportunities are customer service, administrative support, translator, or other roles in international companies where knowledge of the local language is not needed.
I would suggest, check with your embassy if there are any opportunities or professional networks. Get involved in meetups or ex-pats networks like the Expat Spouse Initiative in the Netherlands.
Some more things you can keep in mind:
- Proactively reach out to companies you are interested in.
- Search for “best place to work” rankings and “fastest-growing companies” in a specific country and city.
- Search for recruitment agencies specialised in jobs for expats.
- And yes, during the search process, try to keep yourself active. Freelance for your former company or clients, teach others your skills or language. Get out of the house and try to explore and immerse yourself in a new place.
- Some more tips here: How to search for a job.
What are the most important things that job seekers should keep in mind?
There are plenty of them. Let me answer them for you in pointers.
- Try to search for interesting companies.
- Visit their career site or specific portals like angel.co
- Job posting on LinkedIn is expensive; not all companies post there. So, follow the companies on other social media platforms.
- Build a personal connection through meetups and other events to get more info, potentially be referred.
- Track your search in an excel sheet to feel good about yourself and the progress you’re making.
- Take care of yourself. Watch inspiring Ted talks or read content with practical tips.
- Create a support group with others who seek a job. Supporting one another helps a lot.
- Work on a personal project or mentor someone to keep yourself active and motivated. You don’t have to be employed to work!
- Practice the most common interview questions with a friend because preparation is key.
At the end of the day, it all boils down to how sincere you are with your efforts. If you want to land a job at a big company or somewhere that offers amazing employee benefits, you must dedicate yourself to the process.