This Is How A Recruiter Think & Hire A Candidate | Job Talks With HR Specialist Swati Pandey #2

Updated: May 6

Sundaraman: Today we have a guest Swati Pandey from MasterMined( Link ) she has been a recruiter and she has been in this industry for quite a long time. Swati, would you like to introduce yourself to our guest?

Swati Pandey: Thank you so much Sundaraman. Hi everybody, good morning, my name is Swati Pandey. I'll just give you a little bit of background about myself so I come from a defense background and I finished my two masters one in HR and the other one in a Master's in Labor Law. I started working with Amdocs in the year 2011 as an HR generalist in the global relocations team. Post that I had the opportunity to work in HR operations where I looked into the complete employee life cycle from onboarding to exit. And then I got another good opportunity to move outside for about five years and I worked for a company in the middle east where I started my recruitment journey. There is where I picked up recruitment and I realized that I have a passion for recruitment. And then from 2015 until now, I've been completely into recruitment. In 2020, I shifted back to India, and the pandemic hit and I was lost I didn't know what to do, and then that's when I met a friend and we started a company together called MasterMined Consulting and now the journey is still going on and it's been wonderful.

Sundaraman: That's a good journey you have been all through the ups and downs of your career by this point you have tons of experience and a great pair of wisdom, I believe.

Swati: Yes luckily, I got Sundaraman, an opportunity to get my hands dirty in all the domains of HR, from recruitment onboarding to the entire employee life cycle to the exit. From A to Z of what HR domain is, I got to experience; that's been good.

Sundaraman: I believe that everybody can learn from your experience. I and more people can also use that experience to get a job or else can do something better with it. Moving on, can you just give us a brief about what is Mastermined, what does it, and what is the company's mission?

Swati Pandey: Mastermined was started back in 2020 and we are a recruitment consulting firm. We completely specialize in the Ai, data science, data engineering, and data analytics space. That's where we started our journey from and luckily you know we onboarded clients who had similar needs.

Mastermined is like a one-stop solution for all their hiring needs. We know having such a huge database, I think you know that's what Mastermind been doing that's been a strength and one of our missions for a consulting firm is to capture the data science and analytics domain as much as possible you know and grow as in you know in that space that is our main aim. We work with fortune 500 companies and the top analytics form which we are also currently doing right now but we want to work with more fortune 500 companies and more you know analytics organizations and you know be like the go-to company you know for them for all the analytics hiring.

Sundaraman: In the future hiring for analytics you want to be, you want to be the firm that leads it and shows the way for every candidate.

Swati: Right exactly like if you think of analytics hiring or data science hiring you should you know you should have mastermind in your head yeah mastermind in my mind.

( Laughter breaks out! )

Sundaraman: What are the domains you have done hiring apart from data analytics or any other form apart from technical background?

Swati: We do non-IIT hiring like hr and you know manager level leadership hiring and all we do non-technical hiring as well. But like I said we specialize in you know analytics hiring which is our forte. So we've been more concentrated on that area and if you're talking about domains the kind of domains that we've worked in so we work from we've worked in you know CPG, Retail, E-Com, Telecom Industrials, Healthcare, Media, Banking. However, analytics has been you know the main forte.

Sundaraman: I was just curious about, did you enter the food industry or healthcare industry for recruiting as well?

Swati: Yes, we are working with one of you know not one we're working with two fortune 500 companies that are in FMCG food and beverage area.

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Sundaraman: What is the hardest part about recruiting with your experience from now until today?

Swati: Currently, I am sure most of my colleagues are going to agree with me is the major challenge that we are facing is not sourcing a candidate it is candidates having a lot of offers. The dropout ratio is very high so that is one major current crisis not only me but the companies that are hiring the corporate recruiters all of us are facing. This is one of the major challenges that you know currently we are all facing.

Sundaraman: The dropping out of candidates is the current crisis is going on in the HR division, I believe.

Swati: Yes, actually it's not only in India it started in America with a great resignation in 2020. If you read about it there are articles on it, where people you know are just resigning despite the pandemic hit. People were okay resigning and giving up their jobs same things happened in India as well we see a great shift in the way people are thinking people candidates are sitting with two to three offers. They're okay leaving their companies in about you know a year and there's so this is one recent trend that is also a challenge that you know we're facing okay.

Sundaraman: Just getting into the vibe of the podcast, do you contact any discussions with the company when they share a job profile with you?

Swati: Yes, we have to and it is important to discuss with the company as soon as the requirement comes to my company. The first thing we do is get on a call with the hiring manager and the hr because we need to understand the role which is very important what kind of skill sets are required, what is what would be the primary skillset, what would be the secondary skillset, the kind of educational background, the client is looking for also the kind of projects. They would want certain candidates to do so all these things are important the budgets the notice period so that is why it is imperative you know to have a call with them is important.

Sundaraman: If am a candidate I come to you and I show up with my resume so is there a process that needs to be followed to get into the recruiting part?

Swati: I'll try to break down your question if you're saying how this process works once I get the requirement so I'll explain to you how it works once the requirement comes to us the first thing that we do is we go on locally that's where the candidates you know we'll see at least 80 to 90 candidates you know on that platform Linkedin, Monster these are some platforms where you'll find maximum candidate presence so that is our first go-to place. That's where we go we also have our database and what we also do is we make hiring alerts on LinkedIn, we float hiring alerts on LinkedIn. That is where the candidates can come they would see it on their wall that they know it's like an announcement, where they can see what kind of position or what role is you know open right now. Then once a candidate contacts me or I contact the candidate that's where I give them more information about the company the role, the location the budget, etc that's how the process works. If that's what you were asking me

Sundaraman: Perfect, I was asking just that you just better articulated your answer.

Do you prefer an in-house pre-screening test before you send the candidates to a perspective firm or do you have any other methods to screen the candidates or just take the resume and look at it and decide based on the resume directly?

Swati: So Sundaraman, once you know the requirement is given to us, a lot of companies actually, most of them at least 70 to 80; they have their tests you know because it's a technical domain of analytics, data science. Also, they have particular tests you know coding tests you know like a python test or a SQL test basic coding test so that happens in the first round itself. Before that our mandate is to give them the correct fit so how we do a proper screening would be you know getting into their projects. What we do is we speak to the candidate, we dig into their projects, we see if it's matching with what the client has requested and also their communication skills. If there are leadership roles for example then we make sure they have teamwork experience, what kind of projects they have led etc. So there are various screening mandates that we follow and for each position it is different.

This after the candidate all those mandates, are check-marked and we are sure that at least eight out of ten are met that is when we submit the resume to our client.

Sundaraman: What advice would you like to give a candidate based on how to negotiate their salary?

Swati: The current market trend, Sundaraman, I don't think negotiation is a problem. I'm sure my audience will also agree as I said in my previous chat as I told you that the biggest challenge that we are facing is candidates sitting with two to three offers. So negotiation is not a challenge here Sundaraman, I encourage or I would encourage the candidate is you know rather than holding three to four offers and looking for a better offer because that is not an issue here companies are ready to pay. I think looking into the role, looking into the company's culture whether the projects are aligning with what they're looking for, what their aspirations are, how they want to grow into this data science and data analytics domain where do they want to go to you know to head to in future that is more important and that is what we encourage rather than I rather than you know negotiating salaries you know it is very important to you know have your uh the candidates.

Candidates need to know that this is my role in the company this is, how the company is going to read up the reviews of the companies? how is the work culture going to be? am I going to be able to work in this kind of work in a culture? These things are more important I feel you know salaries are something the companies are ready to pay so negotiation is not an issue.

Sundaraman: To sum up with that you have to focus on the culture, how you want to grow, or where you see yourself in the next 10 years, and then based on that you decide what company you have to get in, what role you have to get in.

Swati: Candidates need to know about the company, their work culture and the companies are willing to pay. Like I said candidates are sitting with a minimum of two to three offers. I've met candidates who are sitting with five offers as well and I had to drop certain candidates because when a candidate holds a lot of offers it shows that the candidate isn't serious about the company or the role, it's more to do with you know getting a better package. I would say rather focus on negotiating for your role, a better role in the company, a better project in the company, negotiating for a better work culture I think that is important like focus on the culture project what role you are getting rather than the salary

Sundaraman: Nice touch to it. If we consider the tech domain, analytics domain what are the trends you are trying to you are currently seeing with the skills or the projects? What skills the company is trying to get the candidates to work on? Do you have any trends?

Swati: Trends in terms of qualifications, I will tell you like every company is looking nowadays looking for candidates having education in places like b-tech or BCA, MBA statistics, etc Those things in place that is one thing, that's not a trend. I won't call it a trend, also certifications are in place so those things but if you're talking about trends in the data analytics and the data science roles, there's going to be a shift right now in terms of more Artificial Intelligence coming. In simple words what a human a data scientist or a data analyst used to handle a huge amount of data now that's going to be soon it's going to be automated.

It's going to be handled by an artificial intelligence app or you know a site, etc. So everything is slowly going to get automated so that is one shift that we'll see.

Sundaraman: A trend rather a slow burner but it is going to happen.

Swati: Yes yes.

Sundaraman: That was a good insight. What are the important things as a recruiter you first go and see on a resume when you get a resume?

Swati: For me, I will just say it in one sentence, compact precise to the point. So a good resume should not be a history paper of five pages that is not something a recruiter would want to read nobody want has the time and nobody wants to read a good resume should have maybe two to three opening lines about what the candidate. Whether the candidate is looking for this makes of the first impression it gives me the first impression, the candidate is clear in terms of his goals, what he's looking for a second the education timeline should be in place if he's done B. Tech then from what year to what here if he's done his MBA then from what year to what year, then his certifications if he's done any relevant certifications their timelines should be in place, the companies that he's worked in what again the timeline should be in place from what year what month to what year what month, what kind of projects he's done, giving project details is very important. The kind of clients you've worked with, the tools you've used, that kind of things being specific about them to the point, that is all a good resume needs and that is enough to decide whether I or any other recruiter is going to screen select or screen reject the candidate.

Sundaraman: Do you manually select a candidate, using a resume, or do you have automation software or anything like that to directly screen the content based on a resume?

Swati: We do both. We do have an ATS that our company uses we do both for some roles we manually need to sit and understand and check the resume. And most of the time, the ATS picks up but then again you know sometimes the candidate has not put in certain things you know on the cv so we have to go back to the candidate and ask the candidate you know to update the cv so it's both.

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Sundaraman: Would you like to have a resume a one-page or two-page resume?

Swati: Like I said the more compact and to the point the resume is there should be many various resume templates available on google. If you google you'll find various templates that are available where you can check to me as a recruiter it makes my work easier if the resume is not long. The more precise is it one if you know suppose if you have two to five years of experience I think one sheet of resume front and back is more than enough if you've done that kind of a project as you gain experience your gain experience the work that you do it increases so obviously then your resume can be two pages. But like I said a short resume to the point resume and a precise resume of the candidates certain as education certifications and projects that's more than enough.

Sundaraman: A compact single-page resume is better than a two-page resume yeah a five-page resume nobody has the time to you know go through a five-page resume or six-page resume right short on time

Next topic:

Would you consider courses and certification to be more important on a resume or would you like to have experience more than certifications?

Swati: Both it should be a blend of both if you've done so relevant certifications it should be mentioned on the resume because then it also gives you an advantage

in the selection process.

Sundaraman: Can you name any of those certifications for data science?

Swati: There are various certifications you know like for python, there is for R, and there are various certifications. I wouldn't be the right person to give out the kind of certifications needed but I can give you the platforms from where you can do these kinds of certifications. There are various online platforms right now that provide certifications in data science data engineering ai etc some of them are Upgrad, Coursera, and Google also does have their certifications Udemy Edx. There are many online platforms right now simply learn about the many online platforms that provide certifications. I would rather suggest the candidates that because some want to get into machine learning, some want to get into Ai, and some want to get into NLP, hence it depends because it's a huge field. The certifications should be asked about what they feel would be the best for them in the future the candidate has right.

Sundaraman: Do a certification that fits their future needs

Swati: Yes

Sundaraman: Just say you're hiring for a Mastermined, what are the qualities you look into candidate apart from the technical skills required for the job?

Swati: If you're saying that what qualities are I look for in a candidate not the technical the other qualities would be communication skills. How easily a person can put his thoughts in simple words not jargon's simple words, how easily he can explain to me his flow of communication is important his attitude and maturity towards the job is he serious about it. As I said, if he's holding four-five offers; is he serious about you know getting into this company did he you know find out about this company is he aware of this company. That is again important then I also try to see if he's going to be flexible, will he be able to adapt to the company's culture, so that is again which is important so these are certain qualities that we know we try to assess with technical skills.

Sundaraman: Can you give us a brief gist on a candidate who wants to improve his communication skills but yet faces a challenge about it so can you just recommend some books or any courses or anything that steps that can be taken to improve the communication?

Swati: Skills for that candidate see with so much exposure on the internet. I mean, information and improve on your communication skills have become very easy they can go on youtube. Many influencers are coaches communication coaches who are helping candidates or in general people to help with their communication skills. You can read the newspapers or every day probably one-page try so that is one thing that can be done. Books always as books can be any books it's not one particular book, that will help any book they can start from a very basic book. Read and practice and another thing is speaking to somebody suppose English is like the common language which we all speak so you're speaking with somebody who knows English and communicating with them daily also improves your communication.

As I said there are communication courses that you can do that are available everywhere. You just go on google and you type, how to improve my communication skills you will find 10,000 platforms that would give you certifications, or there would be articles on how to do it. But for me it is consistency and every day reading and speaking help to improve communication reading writing and speaking daily. Yes, daily shouldn't be for like 2-3 hours can be just for 20 minutes 15-20 minutes also makes a difference every day.

Sundaraman: What are your go-to sites for hiring apart from the ones you mentioned before like Monster or LinkedIn?

Swati: Do you have any other platforms that you directly go on and browse for the candidates or go through for the candidates. Like I said, Naukri being the topmost favorite of all most of the recruiters LinkedIn, monster beside them some new platforms have come like fishbowl and also because we've been in this. In this domain for so long, we heavily rely on our database and references. Recruitment is all about networking and the kind of networks you make. Networking helps us to you know find candidates easily also there are Whatsapp group chats, where you can find for data science and data analytics you know where job alerts you know from there you can find out candidates even on telegram now you can see their groups made for data science, data analytics and all where you can find candidates. These are the things majorly we have 50% of the time we depend on our data because like I said our data is very strong.

Sundaraman: When it comes to candidates networking is the way for the recruitment industry

Swati: Yes, it's the most important just like vitamins minerals are needed for body networking is needed for recruitment

Sundaraman: What is the one positive impact you want to live to leave this world?

Swati: I just want to be acting like a good human that's more important now in today's time and help as many people as I can. Recruitment does that as well so probably inspired in the right way in the little way that I can okay be a mentor.

Swati: In simple words, if I got this right, be your mentor.

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Rapid-fire questions:

Sundaraman: What is the latest book that you read?

Swati: Think like a monk by Jay Shetty

Sundaraman: What are the new habits that you picked up?

Swati: Getting up earlier not looking at my mobile

Sundaraman: What is the biggest surprise in life you had recently?

Swati: Surprise?! My son surprises me every day so I can't talk about one.

Sundaraman: Netflix or Prime?

Swati: Netflix

Sundaraman: Sunday morning or Saturday night?

Swati: Saturday night

Sundaraman: Podcast or audiobooks

Swati: Podcast

Sundaraman: What is the one movie that you would recommend everyone to watch?

Swati: The blind side. It's about a soccer player, it's about actually about a soccer player who is adopted by a family and how he does well in life and he has his struggles. He is from a black community it's all about his struggles and he becomes it's a true story he becomes the world's in America he becomes the best soccer player. That is one movie that I would recommend people to watch

Sundaraman: Which youtube channels do you follow?

Swati: I follow many youtube channels, not one it can be anything if I want to find out about data science. Then I more I just type and I keep seeing videos or let it be politics or let it be you know but if you're asking me, people, I follow then it would be Michelle Obama on Youtube. I follow Michelle Obama's Instagram I love listening to her

Sundaraman: How can people find you where can they connect?

Swati: Linkedin Swati Pandey you can find me at Swati or you can type Swati Mastermind m-i-n-e-d. You'll immediately see my name and my picture and you can connect with me please connect with me

Sundaraman: Yeah definitely our audience will be checked up to connect with you and get more insights from you so apart from LinkedIn any other social media Twitter or Instagram any other place?

Swati: I'm not such a big Instagram person I'm very private so Instagram probably wouldn't be the right platform if you're looking for me to help you out with jobs I think LinkedIn is one place I was on Twitter but then on and off on Twitter. But most active on Linkedin is practically on my laptop on my mobile on my iPad.

Sundaraman: That's all for today from my end if you have any other questions from me or my team then we'll be happy to answer them.

Swati: It was wonderful chatting with you guys I think I just wanted to know more about Allin1hub?

Sundaraman: At Allin1hub, basically we are trying to create a one-stop destination for the entire career journey. Candidates who are out of college they are come from sometimes confused or lost they don't know what to do or they currently don't process the skills that they require for the jobs so we try to build one platform one destination where a candidate can come in without having any knowledge before what he has to do in his life. Then start reading blogs then do some free courses which are available on our site and then practice actually you have to practice right you have to we have done some courses now you have to practice that to get a real insight whether you know something or not so practice that test and then you can watch interviews shorts as well you get interview questions or and you can get questions apart from interviews such as some conceptual things some simple word things such as what is blockchain in simple sentence, what is machine learning in simple sentence we make short videos for that and then we also have multiple things such as job guides we also write job guides and reviews for courses where a candidate doesn't have to waste his time going through 100 different courses so he can easily go through this by reading a job guide or a course review where a candidate can see okay this is the post what is the content these are the this is what I'm going to get and then we can decide okay whether I should enroll it in or not and job card is basically for people who have actually got the job and they can give a perspective on how to land a job in that particular company or a particular domain of expertise.

That is what we did, & this podcast is also for the candidates who are trying to get a job but don't know how to land one or don't possess the skills so this is basically from an HR perspective to give them a bigger idea on how to land a job or how to prepare for a job basically so that is what we are trying to do we are building a one-stop destination for entire career journey and give you an idea that this completely free you don't charge anything for it that the entire site whatever you see on our site is completely free so you don't have to pay a single penny for it.

Swati: Great that's great!