Don’t make decisions solely based on a resume. In my experience, sometimes the best hires haven’t presented the flashiest resume. Be sure to keep an open mind throughout the process.
As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Maria Gotes.
Maria Gotes is Masergy’s Chief Human Resources Officer. She heads up the global human resources organization and is responsible for leading inclusive HR and talent strategies while preserving Masergy’s dynamic corporate culture. Gotes brings more than 15 years of experience heading human resource teams. She has held senior positions and has demonstrated success in executing human capital strategies, full talent cycles, M&A and organizational scaling for growth at a number of leading technology companies. Gotes holds an MBA and Bachelors of Engineering in Biomedical Engineering from Arizona State University. She is also a Society of Human Resources Management (SHRM) Senior Certified Professional.
Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?
Growing up, I dreamed of helping cure cancer one day and had my sights set on becoming a biomedical engineer. I loved every minute of my time during college, but as I neared the end of my studies, I realized that I didn’t want to spend my life in a laboratory and that I thrived better when I was engaged in dynamic conversations with people. I soon found myself gravitating toward business classes and subsequently began my career in sales and program management with a special interest in talent development.
My first foray in human resources was at a software technology startup in the mid-2000s. As with many startups, resources were limited, so I wore many hats; the HR work I was tasked with overseeing grew on me quickly, though. As my interest in linking talent with business development grew, I began to look at HR from a strategic business perspective, and it was my goal to understand how talent is key in determining the future success of an organization.
Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?
One of the most important lessons I have learned from not one particular story but from a myriad of experiences is that executive coaching is a key ingredient to the success of any company. It’s been great to see the professionals that I’ve mentored over the years bloom into top-of-the-line HR experts.
Are you working on any exciting new projects at your company? How is this helping people?
I’ve really enjoyed jumping in head first in my role at Masergy (I joined the company in May of this year). We are currently working on leadership development with a focus on how to strengthen managers’ ability to coach and mentor the employees they lead. Masergy has always had a culture of high performance, and we are continually striving to identify and implement initiatives that can improve our solutions and services for customers as well as create a workplace that engages our talented employees.
Fantastic. Let’s jump over to the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill? Please share an example for each idea.
- Make sure there is a group effort among the hiring and recruiting team in order to really get to know a candidate. It’s vital that everyone involved in this process has a specific part to play when it comes to understanding how a candidate fits within the organization.
- Don’t make decisions solely based on a resume. In my experience, sometimes the best hires haven’t presented the flashiest resume. Be sure to keep an open mind throughout the process.
- HR professionals need to make sure that candidates align with the values and culture of the company. Having a candidate integrate within the company for a few hours is a great way to begin gauging whether or not she or he is a fit.
- Aptitude testing helps save time and assists your organization in finding the best talent that will ramp up and get onboarded quickly.
- Take advantage of predictive analytic tools available to support decision making. This is a great way to make sure hiring expectations are aligning with potential candidates’ dispositions.
With so much noise and competition out there, what are your top ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?
- Develop and put to action your employer value proposition. Help candidates visualize how working at your company can be a valuable, well-rounded life experience and how it can help them achieve their professional and personal aspirations.
- Having well-defined processes to bring new talent into an organization is critical for growth and sustainability. The process usually needs to involve many stakeholders, compressed bandwidths and scarce internal and external resources. The better you plan, measure and execute your process, the better your chances are for repeated success finding and bringing the best talent aboard.
- It’s vital to give candidates a top-notch experience when interviewing. That means communicating effectively with the candidate throughout the process so that they fully understand the next steps in order to make the best use of their time. Whether they are local or not, bringing candidates to see your office and experience your environment shows that you value them and the decision they have to make.
What are the 3 most effective strategies used to retain employees?
- Start with a competitive comp and benefits package. Valuing employees begins with recognizing the importance of taking care of the basics when you first bring someone on board and throughout the employee’s life cycle. A great way to show appreciation is to help support their and their families’ lives by providing quality benefit options, adequate vacation time and fair compensation.
- Foster an environment of transparency and trust.
- Allow for autonomy, mastery, and purpose in your organization. One of the best ways to retain employees is to show them you trust them with flexible agreements. Help employees become experts in their field and be actively engaged. It’s also important that employees find purpose within the job. This can be done by highlighting how someone’s job affects other employees and the company as a whole.
In your experience, is it important for HR to keep up with the latest trends? Can you give some examples of what this looks like?
There are HR fundamentals that are never going to change (e.g., you need to treat people like people), but you do need to keep up with the trends so you can better help advance your company, especially with the expansion we are witnessing of HR technology and analytics. It’s also important to attend industry conferences to understand new strategies and to learn from the best practices of other industry experts.
Can you give an example of a creative way to increase the value provided to employees without breaking the bank?
Helping people find purpose within a company is completely free and helps build industry experts, which is something that will pay dividends in the long run. Time is the most limiting resource, but by creating goodwill from employees, they are more likely to want to perform highly in their position.
You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?
We are beginning to see this shift in the workplace, but it is critical to authentically and actively create equal opportunity for employees. Not only would this benefit companies as a whole but it also broadens their access to talent and improves employees’ lives.
What is your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how has it been relevant to you in your life?
“Care personally and challenge directly,” by Kim Scott. This quote beautifully encapsulates how I like to treat people and how I want to be treated in return. To genuinely care for the people in our lives, you have to be authentic. This applies at home and at work equally.
Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?
Sheryl Sandberg, because I really admire the work she has done to advance women in the technology business. I find her vulnerability inspiring and her message to “lean in” is something I carry with me every day.
Thank you so much for these fantastic insights with us today!