5 Ways To Identify And Retain Fantastic Talent With María Luz Costa & Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

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I’m passionate about learning from brilliant minds that break standards and go a step further.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field about their five ways to identify and retain fantastic talent. Today I had the pleasure of interviewing María Luz Costa.

María Luz Costa is the Director of Talent Acquisition at Belatrix. She leads and manages the recruitment and selection process in order to select the best talent in the market in the shortest possible time. She manages Belatrix’s recruitment team, which is made up of 20 specialized recruiters, distributed throughout Latin America, in Argentina, Peru, and Colombia. She has a degree in Human Resources from Champagnat University in Mendoza, Argentina.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! Can you tell us a story about what brought you to this specific career path?

Initially, I wanted to be a doctor but even as a child I knew I wanted to work closely with people. In the end, I decided to study human resources at university, and this was one of the best decisions I’ve ever made. I’m very people-orientated, so it was a perfect match for me. Soon after, I started working at an HR consultancy firm and then later joined Belatrix Software. I’m fortunate that I realized quickly that human relations is my destiny.

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?

When I began working as a recruiter for a consulting company, I was assigned a very complex and challenging search. I was asked to find a candidate that was willing to relocate to Dakar, Africa, to fill a tech support position for a large multinational company, for which it was required to be proficient in French and advanced English. I’ll never forget the joy I felt when I finally filled that position!

That was my first experience in the IT world and it led me to Belatrix, which I joined a year later. I believe this experience taught me a lot about perseverance, but above all that passion, emotion and being able to work under pressure are the key characteristics of a recruiter.

Are you working on any exciting new projects at your company? How is this helping people?

I enjoy taking part in everything that has to do with improving and innovating our day-to-day practices. Currently at Belatrix, we are rethinking the selection process and collaborating with our HR Marketing (focuses on building Belatrix’s brand specifically for recruitment) and Digital Marketing departments. For example, we’re focusing on a project dedicated to improving the conversion rates of our staffing funnel and upgrading the user experience in the staffing process. We have many more projects in our pipeline to be implemented that will help candidates feel even more comfortable with our processes.

To help with this, we have recently sent a survey to all our new employees. The goal behind this is to identify better practices and opportunities. We want to recognize possible “pain points” in our recruiting process and, afterwards, design and implement methods and actions that lead to better support and enhancement of these processes.

Fantastic. Let’s now jump 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.

There is a very high demand for IT positions in multiple markets and individuals are becoming increasingly skilled at what they do. It’s an industry where people need to be constantly learning and keeping up with the latest technologies.

In order to attract talent, we work closely with our marketing colleagues to launch diverse positioning campaigns on social media. After that, each recruiter uses their individual best recruitment sources to attract the best candidates in the least possible amount of time. Even when we find a candidate willing to move forward in our process, we don’t just take their technical skills into consideration, but rather look beyond that and consider if they align with our values — in particular, these values include teamwork, passion, and commitment. To do this, each recruiter conducts a competency-based interview by applying an evaluation model based on measurable, observable and understandable evidence.

On the other hand, to review their technical skills we have a team of technical interviewers in place who are prepared to assess and assign each candidate to the correct category based on the project and client requirements.

With so much noise and competition out there, what are the top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?

First and foremost, it’s critical to avoid massive outreach. We believe in and want every candidate to feel unique from our very first approach and contact with them.

Secondly, we always try to add value to our selection process, from our recruiters’ warm, inviting and detail oriented personal qualities, to most importantly, a customized value proposition for each and every candidate. This value proposition considers their motivations, expectations and personal needs.

Lastly, we love to do research to improve our processes. We conduct market research and surveys to get to know our candidates’ experience during each stage of the process, always with the goal of adding value and differentiating ourselves.

What are the 3 most effective strategies used to retain employees?

The most effective strategies to retain employees are those related to professional development, such as training, growth opportunities, career plans and opportunities to change roles. These strategies not only increase productivity and competitiveness, but they also bring employees closer to the values of Belatrix and help us achieve a high-performance culture.

Meanwhile, a good working environment, clear communication channels, and flexibility are keys in creating more commitment and teamwork, which will help to retain employees.

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?

It is vital! Organizations are constantly striving to adapt to be competitive in an evolving environment and this is transforming the role of HR with regards to both its processes and individuals working in it.

In recruiting, trends show us the value of the practices through which we can approach candidates in a more attractive and transparent manner, such as inbound recruiting, artificial intelligence (AI) and gamification.

Can you give an example of a creative way to increase the value provided to employees without breaking the bank?

The challenge lies in the value proposal you present to your employees: the more personalized it is, the more attractive it will look, and thus you will garner better results. An alternative way to provide value is by offering different benefits “á la carte”, that is, by giving each employee the possibility to choose benefits according to their needs without affecting the company’s budget.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

As Elon Musk says, you must constantly think of ways in which you can make things better and question yourself all the time. I like committing to things, both in my professional and my personal life, in order to continue looking for the best version of myself.

Some of the biggest names in Business, VC funding, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world, or in the US with whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

I would choose to spend a day with Mark Zuckerberg at Facebook’s headquarters. Do you think he would be interested? I would like to meet his people, his recruiting and HR teams and ask them about their motivations, biggest challenges and their fears. Despite his controversial profile, Zuckerberg is a digital genius and I’m passionate about learning from brilliant minds that break standards and go a step further.

Thank you for sharing your insights with us today!

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