Long ago in the days of yore (just kidding, 2014), I interviewed a visibly shaken candidate for a Service Specialist position in Chicago. It was 10 degrees outside, but here he was trying his best not to sweat through his neatly pressed dress shirt and tie. He had arrived early, dressed professionally, and with copies of his resume and cover letter in tow. We had already had a very successful phone interview and he had filled out our application thoroughly – and though his voice was wavering and at times he seemed to rush himself through answering my questions, the content was solid and I could tell he had clearly taken time to prepare for our interview. Nervous would’ve been an understatement.
“Let’s take a little segue here…” I said, trying to ease some of the tension, “What excites you most about this opportunity? How do you feel taking this new opportunity might challenge you?” His answer was the same for both, and one that is echoed by candidate after candidate for entry level positions.
He was an entry level candidate currently working in the food service industry since graduating high school. He was fresh on the job market with no related experience – this was his first time in an office building, first time in a law firm…his concerns were about fitting in, learning how to work in corporate environments and what it means to communicate with other professionals, learning the industry, and excelling in a completely new type of position than he’d never held before.
When he exhausted his list – I asked him to describe his outlook on customer service, drawing from his experiences in the food service industry. He bloomed when speaking about concrete previous experiences he’d had serving others – and shared anecdote after anecdote of instances in which he’d resolved customer issues and took measures to prevent them from ever arising again. He was smiling now.
“Great! Are you ready to learn the rest?” I asked. “Well, of course,” was his calm reply. We continued our interview (much less apprehensively now), and he was hired on into one of our larger accounts in downtown Chicago.
This was not a unique interview – but it was exemplary of IST culture and supremely valuable nonetheless. It did not matter that he hadn’t held a similar position. He only needed to be asked the right questions for anyone to know that this candidate had a servant’s heart and was ready to break into the corporate world and start a career.
On the Talent Acquisition Management team, we work to find individuals that we know will make positive additions to our IST Family. It’s not a matter of screening online resume profiles for key words, or using algorithms to see who may fit best on paper, or finding bodies to meet quotas – the real recruiting is in the conversations we have with our candidates and future co-workers. This goes for our hiring managers, too.
One of the most rewarding parts about recruiting, for me, is hearing from a recently hired new co-worker that they’re enjoying their position, or from their supervisor that they’ve hit the ground running and are excelling in their new position. What’s even better is when they prove both of these by referring people in their own lives to apply for positions within IST. What better way to build our team than with people we can vouch for from the get go?
I hope that by now you’ve seen info on our new referral program…employees who refer an individual that is hired on into a full time role are eligible for a $750.00 bonus after the new co-worker has been with us for 90 days. Those are the (exciting, but) extraneous details. What excites me personally about the referral program is the prospect of working with extraordinary people that I never would’ve met without all of us working together company-wide to expand our team with the best and brightest and double down on our commitment to excellence. And if some of them happen to be our friends and family members? Lucky for us!