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Fortune 500 Recruiter Interview - Western Union

By Laura Labovich

Fortune 500 recruiters play in a different league than other recruiters, and job seekers who want to join that league need to understand how these recruiters think and what they want. 

Laura Labovich's interview with Chris Brabec, Director of Leadership Talent Acquisition, who is responsible for the global recruitment of VP and SVP-level roles, and Julie Rulis, Senior Corporate Recruiter, who is responsible for identifying talent for the company’s shared services functions, including HR, Corporate Communications, Marketing, Finance and Legal.

Question: What is the biggest mistake job seekers make today?

Julie: To sabotage a chance at Western Union, a candidate simply needs to ask "What does Western Union do?" Given how long Western Union has been around, there is absolutely no reason why a student or mid-level professional should fail to prepare.

One question I like to ask is "How did you prepare for this interview today?" If they only list the corporate website that is a red flag to me, as they have not really capitalized on an opportunity to demonstrate their knowledge and resourcefulness.

Chris: I expect them to know market cap, revenue, positioning, top competitors.


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Question: Are you seeing an increase in candidates requesting informational interviews?

Chris: I get a lot of this with candidates at VP level and above; some managers are open to it, and some are not. I’ll do it, but it must be equally beneficial for both parties. It’s very important that the job seeker ensure there is a true fit before requesting an informational interview.

Question: What is your biggest job search pet peeve?

Chris: One of my pet peeves is when people treat us as a job service, asking us to get their resume to multiple managers after they have been rejected for a position. If you can’t benefit the company and are not a fit, we need to move on.

Second to that is when someone is always emailing you asking if you can help with something. Instead, it’s best to market yourself as a resource/solution. Almost like dating, play just a little hard-to-get!

Question: Are you tapping into social media to hire candidates and, if so, which ones?

Chris: I am not using Facebook - makes me too uncomfortable to use it given all of the personal information on there. Nor am I using Twitter - too new, especially for mature, experienced employees. I have, however, been using LinkedIn substantially, and Plaxo to a lesser degree, for the past several months, and have had a really good response with it.

I use it to reach out directly to candidates about opportunities because you can target the profile you want. I’m also successfully asking for referrals.

Success story: recently, I reached out to a former senior leader at Bank of America, and she gave me three names of folks I should contact, and one of them is our top candidate for a position currently open.

Julie: My advice re: using LinkedIn for job seekers is to identify top companies and, from a social media standpoint, join the relevant industry groups and company groups.

Chris: I’m an OPEN networker on LinkedIn, and I actually like it when folks request an introduction to me - tell me why you’re doing it - and I’ll take the time to click on their profile to see why they may or may not be a fit. It takes virtually no time at all, and it’s much easier than a phone call.

Julie: We will continue to post jobs on LinkedIn. For example, if we have a Fraud Prevention Specialist, we’ll post it to the LinkedIn group for Fraud; Senior Architecture individuals, we’ll post to the groups as well. We are not using or tapping into the Q & A feature on LinkedIn yet.

Question: How do you suggest a candidate go about getting the most current information about your company?

Julie: The stand-out candidates are getting information from all sources, rather than relying on one single source for the company, such as Google Alerts, Hoovers, Recent news articles.

Chris: Yahoo Finance, corporate site for recent press releases.

Question: Are you using more niche sites to post jobs these days or are you still relying on Monster and the big job boards? If so, which ones?

Julie: We still use the large boards to some extent, but less heavily. We do use niche sites: PRSA.org for PR positions or APSonline.org for Treasury positions. 

Chris: Neither are really productive for me recruiting at the senior level (VP and above). I rely quite a lot on referrals, networking, and some paid research.

Question: Are you overlooking gaps on a resume given the market conditions?

Julie: I will definitely bring up gaps in employment as a talking point, but it won’t preclude me from hiring someone who has had gaps in his/her resume. But, he/she better have a good reason for not having a job. Hint: waiting out severance is not one!


About the author...

Laura Labovich, MLRHR, is a Guild Certified Five O’Clock Club Career Coach, speaker, networking coach, social media enthusiast, and award-winning resume writer with more than 12 years of Human Resources leadership experience. Feel free to connect with Laura via Linkedin and follow her on Twitter @LauraLabovich.


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