The 3 Qualities I Look for in Applicants
About 15 years into her recruiting career, Vanessa Burrell decided to make a big change: She switched to a completely different industry in order to evolve, a choice that still excites her today.
“I felt that pursuing a role in a different industry would be a great move for me to grow my career and expand my skill set,” she shared. “I’m somewhat of a ‘lifer’ in the recruiting space and have worked in recruiting for nearly 25 years.”
For the last nine years, Burrell’s been at Spectrum, where she’s currently a Senior Recruiter. And as she tells candidates, there are few places she’d rather be. Burrell reports that Spectrum is heavily invested in innovation, its communities and its employees, as illustrated by the development opportunities she’s benefitted from and the diversity efforts she’s been a part of as a member of the recruiting team.
“D&I is woven into the culture at Spectrum and especially in recruiting,” she said. “We feel that it’s simply the right thing to do from a company perspective.”
As a member of this recruiting team, Burrell has assisted a diverse group of individuals at key parts of their careers. And she’s learned many best practices as a result. Recently, she clued us in on what she looks for in a candidate, her best advice for women on the job search right now and what makes Spectrum an especially strong place to apply.
How long have you been in your current role, and what were you doing previously?
I’ve been with Spectrum for nine years and am currently a Senior Recruiter for our Corporate and Executive recruiting team. I’m somewhat of a ‘lifer’ in the recruiting space and have worked in recruiting for nearly 25 years. Prior to joining Spectrum, I worked in a similar role at Coca-Cola as a Talent Acquisition Manager.
What about Spectrum made you want to join the organization?
Spectrum is part of a completely different industry than the ones I was familiar with. I felt that pursuing a role in a different industry would be a great move for me to grow my career and expand my skill set.
What is your favorite part of working in recruiting?
As a recruiter, you have this great privilege of working with individuals at key turning points in their lives — whether that’s starting in a new role or working in a new line of business. It’s a big move for people and can be very personal and emotional, so it is very meaningful to be a part of that process.
It’s also really exciting to watch individuals you worked with early on in their careers move their way through the company and into key leadership roles.
As a recruiter, what are three things about Spectrum that you always make sure to highlight when talking to a candidate?
I primarily like to focus on how we’re invested in many ways:
We are a company that is invested in being the best in our industry and being innovative in everything we do. We’re always offering something new to our customers and aspire daily to be best-in-class. There are numerous investments we make internally to make sure we’re striving towards that.
Spectrum is also heavily invested in our communities. We want to be a provider of choice, but at the same time we want to be part of our communities on a more intimate level. Our employees spend a lot of hours volunteering their time to support their communities. We also offer resources like the Spectrum Digital Education program, which aims to educate our communities on the benefits of broadband.
Lastly, I like to share how invested we are in our employees. Spectrum offers what we consider best-in-class benefits which include highly competitive salaries, internal networks for learning and development opportunities, and continuing education programs. We’re really focused on development and growth.
What’s one thing Spectrum does — whether a formal policy or program — that you think is particularly unique or unexpected?
Our Spectrum Housing Assist program particularly stands out to me, as we help people with home repairs and have renovated around 40,000 homes to date.
Recognizing and rewarding employees continues to be a part of our culture at Charter. The Charter Reward Network provides a common online platform for various employee recognition and reward programs across the company, including awards for excellence in performance and continued dedication as demonstrated by years of service. Employees are encouraged to nominate their peers for the achievements. There’s a point system associated with each nomination which can then be redeemed for different gifts or rewards.
Tell me a bit about Spectrum’s D&I efforts and employee resource groups.
D&I is woven into the culture at Spectrum and especially in recruiting. We feel that it’s simply the right thing to do from a company perspective. We look broadly and widely at our candidate pool and work with diverse groups like Women in Cable Television (WICT) and National Association for Multi-Ethnicity in Communications (NAMIC) to ensure we are being inclusive.
We have a variety of business resource groups at Spectrum. One that I’m closely involved with is Spectrum Women, which is one of the largest BRG’s in our organization. We also have BRG’s to support employees in the LGBTQ+, Multicultural and Veteran communities.
As a recruiter, what are the top 3 qualities you look for in a candidate?
Across a number of positions and disciplines, the three qualities I look for are:
Self-starting: People who are proactive in their approach. They are able to see an opportunity and take their own initiative or action to move it forward. Self-starters are also comfortable sharing their ideas with leadership and their peers.
Strong customer service orientation: No matter what your position or department you’re in, everyone has a customer, whether that’s internal or external. The ability to deliver best-in-class customer service means not just doing the minimum requirement, but being able to put your personal stamp on it.
Adaptiveness: We live in an ever-changing world, as we’ve all seen. One of my mentors once told me that being flexible is too rigid, but rather one should be fluid. Being fluid in your business practices allows you to adapt to what the next day or policy change may bring.
What virtual resources or networking opportunities would you recommend to job seekers?
I would take advantage of any business resource group or organizations that are tied to your industry who have moved their platforms online. These organizations realize that it’s difficult for individuals to network so there is an awareness that they have to rise to the occasion and make their resources virtually friendly.
I’d also encourage you to tap into your college roots to see what types of alumni programs and networking opportunities they’re providing virtually.
What’s your no. 1 piece of advice for women who are looking for jobs right now?
From my personal experiences, my no. 1 piece of advice is don't make the assumption that there's someone else looking out for your career. Though we may have advocates, sponsors, mentors and allies, the responsibility ultimately falls to you to advance your career. You need to be your own best brand manager and an advocate for yourself every chance you get.