In today’s technological world, changes happen in the blink of an eye, but one thing that hasn’t changed is the need to source top talent for companies across the globe.

We sat down with one of our resident HR experts, Aylin Pardo, to learn more about how to have a successful interview and secure the best candidate for your organization. Aylin, our Director of Corporate HR, has over 25 years of experience in Human Resources spanning across the U.S. and Latin America for companies like Microsoft and Pizza Hut Latin America. Keep reading to gain insight into Aylin’s recruiting process and some career lessons she has learned along the way



Q: How do you prepare for each interview? Do you have a specific process?

The first thing we do to prepare for an interview is review the candidate’s resume to understand who the person is and what kind of experience they have. I also take a look at their LinkedIn profile to get more information. But the most important thing is understanding the role and job description, so I like to go directly to the hiring manager to better understand the position. Talking to the hiring manager and understanding what they’re looking for is the key to getting started.


Q: What are some of your favorite recruiting tools?

My all-time favorite tool is employee referrals. Employee referrals are your most valuable tool because you can speak to the employee directly to get more information and details as to why the candidate is the right fit. I also like using networking and social media, like LinkedIn, Facebook, and even Instagram, nowadays.


Q: Can you share some tips on how to craft a great job description?

Keep it simple and interesting with a fresh, direct writing style. When you write an overly complicated job description, you might lose the candidate right from the start because they may not be clear on what you’re looking for. The job description should also have a title, a purpose, roles and responsibilities, qualifications, and a brief summary of what the person would be required to do. Nowadays, I’ve found that younger generations are also looking more closely at a company’s corporate responsibilities. Most companies keep their mission and values on their website, so adding this to the job description can also help you attract the right person. Make the job description relatable. At the end of the day, you’re hiring a human being. If you can relate to the job description, other people will too.


Q: How do you create a positive candidate experience?

It’s important to put the candidate at ease. I do this by not thinking of it as an interview, but instead thinking of it as a conversation. This is a great strategy especially if the candidate is nervous, you can set the stage by not jumping into the job description right away. Instead, you can make small talk about the weather, or traffic, and create a good starting point for the conversation. I say that to them as well, “We’re having a conversation right now. I just want to understand what you bring to the role and what experiences you have that relate to the position, is that ok?.” And then you get started. It’s also ok to say, “I notice you seem a little nervous, am I interpreting that correctly?” and sometimes when people acknowledge their nerves, they decompress. Be sure to reassure them that this is just a conversation, and that they can take their time.


Q: How do you adapt this strategy to a virtual interview?

You go off body language – the tone of the person, whether or not they’re making eye contact with the camera, or just not seeming comfortable. You can still try to make the candidate feel at ease by making small talk before jumping into the role. Your goal is to keep it light.


Q: How has the interview process evolved in response to the changes in the work environment?

There are definitely more virtual interviews than ever before, but in general the formality we used to see, especially with attire, has changed. You used to have to wear suits and ties, or formal business wear regardless of the job you were interviewing for. Now the environment has evolved to allow you to represent yourself depending on the culture of the company you’re interviewing for.


Q: What are some tips on evaluating candidates? Do you have a set rubric when interviewing?

I do not. During interviews, I like to focus on soft skills because technical skills can always be taught. I am interested in getting to know the person beyond the resume and LinkedIn information – I can see what projects you’ve completed and where you’ve worked. The interview shows me the soft skills that I can’t find in any other place except by talking to the person. I can tell how genuine their questions and answers are and test for cultural fit. I evaluate a candidate by trying to connect to the person and understand beyond their technical skills.


Q: Are there any red flags you look out for when interviewing?

Sometimes you get a gut feeling during the interview. They might be taking too long to answer questions, not making eye contact, or not making sense from one question to another. Sometimes it’s best to address it and ask for clarification so candidates know you mean business. It’s ok to address your concerns during the conversation.


Q: Are there any questions that interviewers must avoid to stay compliant with EEOC regulations?

The best tip I can give is that all questions should be related to the job description. Keep it 100% professional to avoid getting off a tangent.


Q: What are some success tips for creating a diverse and inclusive work environment?

Being open for employee feedback, conducting diversity trainings, acknowledging a diverse holiday calendar, and creating events that focus on inclusivity. Have two-way conversations with your employees by sending out surveys to ask what they’d like to see us implement and get open feedback. It’s also important to promote an open-door policy and lead by example. Even if your team is remote, you can maintain an open door by encouraging employees to send you either a formal calendar request to speak, or just by simply using Microsoft Teams to ask if you’re available to chat. I personally make myself available before and after hours to accommodate employees and speak to them whenever they need to, especially the ones in different time zones. Remote employees are limited to the use of technology, but you can adapt by being communicative about ways they can reach you during the hours you’re available to speak.


Q: What’s something you learned throughout your career that you wish you would have known sooner?

This is a tough one! I wish I had learned to be direct and assertive about my career development plan. I think women especially are shy about negotiating compensation and being straightforward about requesting to attend career development events or conferences. Sometimes we imply that we’re interested, hoping that our manager or leadership will extend an invitation, when in reality we own our career, and we need to be vocal and specific about our aspirations. Once I learned how to do that, I was able to control my personal growth. You have to be direct, you have to be assertive, and, at the end of the day, own your career.


Hungry for more recruiting strategies? Check out this webinar by our Talent Development Manager, Jesse Leeds, to learn more about how to turn your organization into a well-oiled recruiting machine. AlphaStaff is always ready to help your company navigate all aspects of HR administration, call us today to learn how we create a plan to help your business.