Careers

Shortlister Spotlight: Meet Brenda, Applicant Care Associate

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At Shortlist, we love building our team almost as much as we love building yours! We have some pretty amazing people across our three offices who have a real passion for what they do and for the Shortlist mission.

Today’s installment of Shortlister Spotlights (a Q&A series to get to know some of our team members) stars Brenda, an Applicant Care Associate in our Kenya office!

Who is Brenda? When not at work, she’s probably in between classes, catching up with friends and family or on some of her favourite series, trying out a new recipe that involves pasta or getting some much needed shut eye! She also likes to make the most use of her commute time reading articles on Medium or a book on her current reading list. Basically embodying one of our favourite Shortlist values, Be a Whole Person.

A fashionista, party-animal or a foodie? Read on to find more about the face behind #CandidateLove!


Hi Brenda! Tell us about what you do at Shortlist:

My role involves working with candidates. Excellent candidate experience is our top priority and as such my role revolves around getting them through their applications by providing information that pertains to the roles we are recruiting for. In addition to that, I also educate both current and potential applicants on how the Shortlist process works as well as ensure that they get feedback on their applications promptly.

I also create content for our candidate blog series where we discuss different issues affecting job seekers and give guidelines on how candidates can get their dream job! Recently, we kicked off a candidates engagement series where we seek to establish deeper interactions with professionals in different fields through training and networking events.

What is your professional background, and what were you looking for in your next career step when you found Shortlist?

Before Shortlist, I was in Sales which involved customer acquisition and education. I then moved to Customer Service which was more of a support role, offering aftersales services and upselling and cross-selling products to existing customers.

When I found Shortlist, I was looking for an opportunity to take on more a challenging role in terms of the scope of responsibilities and expand my knowledge in customer experience. In addition to that, I wanted to be in a space that offers opportunities for both personal and professional growth and development.

What’s your professional superpower?

Empathy.

What’s your favourite Shortlist value and why? (Check out our values here)

Being a whole person: Ever since I joined Shortlist I feel like I’m well on my way to becoming one! As a part-time student and also working full time, it can be difficult to manage both without feeling like one end is falling off your plate. I am fortunate enough to be at Shortlist where we are constantly encouraged to be more than your job.

Because of this, I’ve tried out a couple of new things — for example, I started writing and learnt new skills in digital marketing through managing our candidate social media engagements. I have also been able to have a bit more time for friends and family thanks to the occasional flexibility that my job gives me — I’m now able to plan on when to get my work done and dedicate time to other activities.

What are the three words you would use to describe Team Shortlist?

Brilliant! Upbeat! Industrious!

Brenda also loves fashion!

What’s your favourite Shortlist memory?

There’s so much that happens on a day to day, and I make memories at Shortlist every day! My favourite so far has to be my first week at Shortlist; Aside from the warm welcome, we were kick-starting a major project, and everyone was nervous about how it was going to turn out. We were about nine team members in Shortlist (Kenya office) at the time and having each one of us embody the team spirit played a part in ensuring that the project was a success. The commitment and collaboration did enhance Shortlist One Team value way before it was even made official.

Why is the Shortlist mission important to you?

Helping candidates unlock their potential is important. Shortlist brings a new way into the recruitment process and especially how we treat candidates as we try and bring dignity back into the recruitment. On a personal level, I went through the process and felt the Shortlist difference so helping others through the same and having them feel comfortable and confident in the process is of utmost importance.

As you know, we like to give “high-fives” to recognise when our team members do something awesome. Now is your chance to make a public high five to a fellow Shortlister:

Edinah: Willing to help and always happy!! Literally, it’s contagious!

Olivia: I can’t think of a time I have approached her with questions on anything communications and content related or regarding my role with somewhat difficult responses, that she has not graciously come to my rescue!

Alvin: Ever so generous with his knowledge and experience. I think we have all benefited from Alvin’s expertise both at a professional and personal level.

Mercy: Life of the house for sure! A great listener too.

Ceverene: It’s such a pleasure to work with her; she’s very detail oriented and ensures she gets things done down to the last T.

What do you like to do outside of work?

Girl time is always fun time!

Hanging out with family and friends. This is usually my way of getting out of my head (introverts will understand).

I try and workout whenever I can, and I prefer outdoor activities/workouts. I run every weekend and try to squeeze in 15 minutes for an at-home workout. I find YouTube videos helpful for this. I also have a BBG guide which my colleague Olivia shared with me sometime back and a Shawn T guide for more intensive training.

I am trying to make reading a habit, and so I read a lot more lately. I am currently reading, Sometimes you win, sometimes you learn by John C Maxwell. The book gives insight into why we should not focus so much on our loses and always see these as an opportunity to gain some new perspective and make better decisions. It also paints a clear picture of the damage we can do to ourselves when we fail to learn from our failures or if we allow ourselves to remain defeated.

Have some alone time — I am a natural introvert, but I can be an extrovert occasionally. Hence, I do appreciate time to sit down, organise my thoughts and recharge before taking on a new project.

I also love to listen to music, and a Techno/EDM playlist is always my go-to when I feel myself getting sluggish.

Sleep! My job takes a lot of my mental energy and juggling both work, and school really drains me. This helps me to reboot.

When you were little, what did you want to be when you grew up?

I’ve never been one of those people who’ve always wanted to be one thing in life. I have had moments where I could switch up… I remember I wanted to be a musician at one point. My Mother freaked out when I told her this and insisted I study Business instead. When I was in high school, I wanted to be a doctor, thanks to my love for Biology. Then I grew up, and I just could never see myself working in bloody environments or practising on dead bodies.

I have also wanted to be an Architect like my Father — not sure what happened to this one. Last and currently on my list is a Psychologist. I love helping people and giving advice, and I believe I will get around to doing this at some point in my life. 😊

Tell us about a candidate that inspired you?

I’m always inspired by candidates, working with them every day. I admire their determination to keep going and try again even after a setback. I have encountered an applicant who has been declined for positions seven times and kept on trying until she was finally hired for the eighth role she applied to. The resilience and the determination to not give up despite many failed attempts really inspired me.

Another example is a candidate who has attended each training since we started candidate engagement events. What was inspiring about this is the effort he made towards his professional development by taking the time to attend training consistently to upskill himself.

What surprised you about working at Shortlist/ how is Shortlist different than other companies?

Shortlist has a dedicated leadership team keen to help each team member achieve their highest potential. It also offers a challenging environment where you get opportunities to try your hand at different things and learn new skills.

What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

Reading Sometimes you win; sometimes you learn by John C Maxwell, watching Dynasty, Star and HTGAWM, and listening to… really depends on my mood or vibe.

Meet Brenda’s bestie, Mimi

Do you have a favourite quote or saying?

My inspirational quote is If I use all I’ve got, God will be all that I’m not! — A reminder to always work your potential, put your best foot forward and believe that you will eventually get to where you want to be!

What is that place in the world you’ve not visited yet but would love to?

Italy! The country of amazing fashion, art and of course PASTA!🍝

Which two individuals, living or dead, would you love to sit next to during your flight back from the above destination?

Trevor Noah — who wouldn’t want to laugh all the way back? — and Ayodeji Awosika — he’s an amazing writer.

Final words?

You don’t have to create a masterpiece every day, some days you just need to paint.


Thank you, Brenda! We are so lucky to have you on Team Shortlist.

Five young Indian business leaders share the best career advice they ever received

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It’s an exciting time to be a rising professional in India. Whether you work at a large corporate, a fledgling startup, or a nonprofit organization, you’re probably exposed to myriad opportunities to take on responsibility and create impact through your work.

We spoke to five young business leaders who know a thing or two about creating outsized impact early on in their careers and asked them to share the best career advice they have received along the way. Here are some tried and tested nuggets of wisdom for anyone looking to take their career to the next level.


Varun Deshpande — Managing Director for India at The Good Food Institute, a global non-profit that works towards building a more healthy, humane, and sustainable food system and replacing industrial animal agriculture with plant-based and clean meat alternatives.

The idea of ‘inspiration’ is usually overrated, and waiting for an epiphany is just a waste of time.

For the vast majority of people who didn’t emerge from the womb knowing that they want to be cancer surgeons, ‘inspiration’ comes from diving deep into problems — headfirst, without knowing the outcome. Naturally, you should optimize for risk, skill-building, career capital, financial expectations, etc — but anybody who ‘knows what they want to do with their life’ and is driven by a mission, first had the benefit of deep engagement with problems. Grappling with questions, studying industries and companies, perhaps even suffering trauma and wanting to ensure nobody else has to — that’s what leads to certainty of vision, and there’s no excuse for just sitting on your hands and waiting for your ‘inspiration’ to come calling.”

Ria Shroff Desai — AVP of People Operations at Sula Vineyards, India’s leading wine company and exemplar of sustainability in the Indian alcobev and manufacturing spaces. Ria also spent over two years in the CEO’s office at Teach for India.

The best career advice I received was to never be afraid of your team becoming better than you. As a leader and manager, the best metric I can evaluate myself against is when people start approaching those in my team instead of me directly to resolve their issues.

Don’t hold your team back from getting involved with senior management, allow them to take decisions in smaller projects and always, always have their back in public. You can always review and correct their behaviour or give feedback in private — but as a leader, always take the responsibility if things go wrong. Your team will support you that much more in the future.”

Rishabh Khosla — Previously Country Head for India at Shortlist and tied for the honour of being employee #1 (and also a perpetual source of gyaan for the team). Rishabh is now Business Head at Freedom Tree Design.

“Build your own empire” — With flat hierarchies, constantly evolving role definitions, and most people sticking to a job for 2–3 years, it’s on you to chart a vision for your career and role and make it happen. You’ll be surprised how much responsibility you’ll get if you just ask.

“Don’t overthink it” — People fresh out of college (myself included) tend to think WAY too much about every single path they could take or job they could be doing instead. As long as you’re doing good work, having fun, and BUILDING TRANSFERABLE SKILLS, you’ll be surprised where the next opportunity will open.

Harshil Karia — Co-founder and Managing Director at Schbang, one of India’s leading digital solutions agencies and among LinkedIn’s Top 25 Most Sought After Startups in India!

“The best piece of advice I ever got was from Piyush Vora, who said — “Don’t let anything or anyone get under your skin unless it’s absolutely worth it for you”. I found that so apt for a people-led business. We’re dealing with people who are working on short deadlines and hence may say something unnecessary that may destabilize us. We’re dealing with multiple diverse stakeholders who have the license to say what they feel like. Negotiations are always intense with all kinds of vendors and clients.

In all the fracas, it’s important to keep your cool and only be affected by things that are personally meaningful. Else everything should be measured, thought through, and business as usual with the most rational, calm decision making.”

“It’s a marathon, not a sprint”

Rushabh Vora — Ex-investment banker turned co-founder at SILA Group, one of India’s leading real estate services companies with clients including Mumbai Airport, Adlabs Imagica, and the Trident.

‘It’s more important to know what you don’t know than to know what you know’ — this applies to every leader. You are not expected to have all the answers, you need to learn how to delegate and make yourself as dispensable as possible.”

When you build a business, look at it as if you are running a marathon rather than a 100-meter sprint. Don’t look for shortcuts or short term gains. Invest in processes, people, technology and don’t take unethical shortcuts. Money comes & goes, but goodwill stays forever.”

What’s the best career advice you’ve ever received? Let us know in the comments!

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Job Search Networking 101: Basics you need to know

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Time and again we hear that building the right connections and job search networking is crucial to career advancement or scaling a business. But how do you actually build your network?

In this blog we’ll share key points on how to get started and maintain great relationships with your connections!

#1: Drop your personal agenda.

Successful people always look for opportunities to help others. Unsuccessful people always ask “What’s in it for me?”

  • At networking events, it can be tempting to jump on the opportunity to ask about job openings l or hand out tons of business cards. However, let this be the last thing on your mind.
  • Instead, come with an open mind. Seek out ways you can use your knowledge and skills to help out others. Most events will have an agenda or may be tailored to your industry, thus will give you an idea of what you can talk about. You can get helpful job search information at a networking event without asking for a job  – as in this example.
  • Don’t reach out to others only when you need something from them. Be generous and aim to provide a benefit to others before asking for a favor.

#2: Listening is everything — listen actively and intently.

Everyone you meet knows something you don’t.

  • Ask questions about what the other party is doing. You will be surprised that while you may work in the same industry, they have knowledge in areas you may not, and vice-versa.
  • Watch your body language! Face the speaker, smile, maintain eye contact and do not interrupt your partner.
  • Be present. Then you’ll notice when you start drifting from the conversation and be able to regain your focus.

#3: Stay in touch with your networks:

After the job search networking ends, staying in touch with contacts is just as important as getting them in the first place

  • Building meaningful relationships with others involves a high level of communication. Check in on your connections periodically. Send an email or text to say “hello” or connect on social media. For example, you could share or retweet your contacts’ posts with a thoughtful comment. Congratulate them on promotions or achievements.
  • This can also help in strengthening your more subtle relationships like former schoolmates or old colleagues.

#4: Diversify your job search networking efforts:

If your network is filled with people who are all the same, you’re limiting your room for growth.

  • Find ways to connect with people outside of your industry. Do this to avoid making your network “clumpy.”
  • A diverse job search networking effort opens up doors to help you meet people you otherwise would not and can be instrumental in your career or business growth.
  • Push yourself to engage in conversations about topics outside your usual context. Try attending an event outside of your industry or department. To make this less intimidating, start by reading some articles related to that field or sign up for an industry-focused email newsletter.
  • An easier way to start doing this is by starting in your own organization. Talk to people in different departments and get to know what a day in their professional life looks like. Get to learn about their interests outside of work and build on that.

#5: Get out there!

It’s not about who you know, it’s about who knows you!

  • Learning to manage job search networking is not easy, but with practice, you’ll get better. Attend events, reach out to people, ask questions, and seek advice and guidance on how to start and build strong networks.
  • Find out ways you can contribute to what others need. Build a reputation for being reliable. Follow through with any promises made and remember not to over-commit.
  • The only way people will remember you is by the impact you made. “If your presence does not make an impact, your absence won’t make a difference”

#6: Don’t forget the basics of job search networking:

Winning friends begins with friendliness.

  • Be on time.
  • Carry your business cards.
  • Be friendly!

Learning and understanding the art of job search networking is crucial to ensuring that we put ourselves out there and discover the of opportunities around us. In our next series, we’ll dive into how you can follow up after your meetup. Stay tuned!

Shortlister Spotlight: Meet Poonam, UI/ UX Designer

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At Shortlist, we love building our team almost as much as we love building yours! We have some pretty amazing people across our three offices who have a real passion for what they do and for the Shortlist mission.

Meet Poonam!

The next installment of our Shortlister Spotlights (a Q&A series to get to know some of our team members) stars Poonam, a UI/UX Designer in our Mumbai office!

Who is Poonam? Given a chance, she would do anything to be taken to outer space. If you think she is lost, you will probably end up finding her in the deepest parts of the ocean exploring the mysterious marine life in an all-glass submarine. If this isn’t enough, then you should know that mimicking Gollum from Lord Of The Rings is her secret talent.

Read on to learn more about our creative, hardworking Poonam!


Hi Poonam! Tell us about what you do at Shortlist:

Besides making party hats and reinforcing good ergonomics, I help design and build empathy-driven products that empower employers and candidates to find the best job matches. All whilst trying to make them smile!

In this exhausting and tedious world of applying to jobs, I love that I can help build products that are delightful, empathetic and easy to use.

Fun times with the Shortlist family

What is your professional background, and what were you looking for in your next career step when you found Shortlist?

I have a background in fashion design (and so, strangely called P-Fash at work now) and spent close to 8 years working as a magazine stylist, a costume designer, a founder of a clothing label, a curator at a fashion week and a creative director for an innerwear brand. Was that enough? Guess not!

Last year I decided to venture into uncharted waters of digital product design and joined Shortlist as an intern to start my learning curve with strong mentorship and guidance. Little did I know I’d still be here today! Huge thank you to Rachel, Paul and Simon for giving me a shot.

What’s your favorite Shortlist value and why? (If you need a reminder, check out our blog post here!)

Hard to have a favorite- they’re all great values to live up to. I would although, give our newest value “One team” a special mention. A big part of the culture and what I’ve loved about our Shortlisters is the willingness to help and support each other and putting the team first.

What are three words you would use to describe Team Shortlist?

👉🏼 ⚡️🙌

👉🏼 🚀🌈

👉🏼 🙃👻

#Stimulating #Growth #FUN

What’s your favorite Shortlist memory?

My first day at Shortlist. I was scheduled for meetings and was spoken to in two foreign languages- tech and recruitment. Do I remember anything from that day? NO. Where was I? From hemlines and buttonholes to handmade everything to fashion shows to designer boutiques and now to assessments and competencies to hiring to coding to bots!! Hello world!

My greatest reminder, day one.

What surprised you about working at Shortlist?

Shortlist is like being a part of a vibrant family. A family you work with, play with, you struggle with, prosper with. You share responsibilities with. You feel supported with. You do better with, think different with, think human with.

And amidst all, who always has your back.

Shortlist gives you the space to be who you are and contribute to your individual, unique ways. Every Shortlister contributes significantly to making this a more shared space, space more like home.

What are you currently reading, watching, or listening to?

Reading Cyber Sexy and listening to KISS. Yikes, not sure how that sounds. And, playing LOTS of table tennis. Wait, you didn’t ask that.

What is your spirit animal?

Nudibranchs. Might be too slow to be my spirit animal, but boy, aren’t they fascinatingly beautiful?

Spot the odd one out

Anything else you want the world to know about you, Shortlist, our team? Your favorite playlist to work to? Inspirational quote? Favorite restaurant in Mumbai?

Mowgli days with some simple bare necessities 🎵

I like pineapple on my pizza,

But recently lost my dairy visa,

Sorbets and smoothies are the way to go,

Vegan, Gluten-free, Boring, and Ket-o

I love being in nature, Chlorophyll is my drug,

It’s like being given, a warm fuzzy hug

Dr. Seuss shows me all the places I’ll go,

And I continue my journey with a little disc-o,

Now give this a read as if you’re rapping,

And make it a song with some tapping!

Silly I know, but I like to rhyme,

If it lightens up your day, maybe it’s worth my time!


Thank you, Poonam! We’re so lucky to have you on Team Shortlist.

Did reading about Poonam’s experiences make you want to join our squad?

We’re hiring a Data Scientist (Mumbai or Hyderabad), Head of Product (Mumbai, Hyderabad, or Nairobi) and Recruitment Associate (Nairobi).

Apply today — we’re excited to hear from you!

Job hopping and what it can mean for your career

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Job hopping can be described as the frequent changing of jobs. In many of our interactions with professionals in different fields, we’ve met individuals who inquire about how moving through different positions reflects on them as jobseekers, and what they can gain or lose from job hopping.While we may enjoy the benefits of trying new things throughout our career, is the grass always greener on the other side? 
job hopping

 

Job hopping may sometimes be necessitated by certain events or changes that take place in an organization as well as the nature of roles performed, sometimes this may be a personal decision. We want to share with you how job hopping elevates or disrupts your career depending on the timing of your decision by looking at the pros and cons.

Let’s first look at some of the positive outcomes associated with job hopping every so often:

Growth opportunity: Young professionals are drawn to companies that provide them with upward mobility and professional development. This may be a given in most cases, as we generally would move to an organization that potentially gives the opportunity to rise through the ranks faster.

While a promotion may not be the initial prize, a horizontal move is sometimes necessary to give you the opportunity to progress vertically. Gaining exposure within different departments in your organization can provide immense growth opportunities and make you a more well-rounded professional.

Salary bump: If your main goal at work is to make money, then job hopping may give you the opportunity to attain this much faster than going through annual reviews at your current organization. However, this is not a guarantee for everyone.

You might want to ask yourself: Am I avoiding annual reviews? Perhaps by sticking with a company, you can receive valuable feedback and grow even more professionally than you would by jumping ship.

Diversify your skills: Job hopping allows an individual to sharpen a wide range of skill sets through experience gained in different industries, as well as exposure to different kinds of challenges. A candidate with diverse experience and background appears more attractive to a potential employer, as they are an “all in one” candidate and with fresh ideas and new ways of doing things.

Show some of your best attributes: Job hopping may showcase a candidate’s ability to easily adapt to different environments. If you are able to deliver in a short time frame, it will further show that you are potentially a fast learner.

Building a large professional network: From a diverse employment background, a candidate can forge strong professional relationships that would potentially be very useful in future. That said, it can be difficult to build solid relationships and credibility if you are not at a single organization for very long.

Now that we’ve reviewed some of the positive aspects of switching jobs, let’s move on to the flip side – how this might negatively affect one’s career:

Risk of appearing unreliable: An individual may appear unreliable if they have a recurring tendency to switch jobs every few months or years. An employer might assume that you will shift gears at the first sight of routine or boredom. Consider the signals you are sending by frequently job hopping. Is a hiring manager going to express concern in bringing you on board if your CV shows an employee who is constantly on the move?

Reluctance to invest in your growth: The best employers encourage their employees to grow both as a professional and within the organization. They might spend time teaching the employee new skills, mentoring them about their career path, or coaching them to improve on their weaknesses. They may also do this formally by sponsoring an individual’s studies to further their education or enroll employees in valuable trainings.

If you have a reputation of not sticking around, the employer may pass on extending an offer to you on such opportunities since they would presume it to be a waste of time and resources on their end.

Shows a lack of focus and commitment: Job hopping has a tendency to portray negative traits in a candidate as it can show that you are unstable and lack clear career objectives. It can also be difficult to explain that you actually made an impact in the former organizations you worked at within the short period you were there.

While changing jobs is not a bad thing, it is important to consider some of these factors while evaluating your options.

Furthermore, job hopping can be detrimental to your long-term career goals. You may tend to move around the same position in different companies since you have not gained enough experience to warrant a promotion at a new organization.

Individuals with a history of shifting companies at a moderate pace and showing a pattern of upward movement, increased responsibility, and increased experience, would ideally appear more valuable to an organization.

We’d also like to hear from you, do let us know how your professional journey has been. Let us know any other professional development topics you’d like us to tackle or give insights on.

 

Related: Moving laterally to move upwards

Related: Harvard Business Review: Job-Hopping