For my blog post this week, I interviewed two of iCIMS’ own Human Resources professionals.
Nicole Tucker, our Technical Recruiter, is responsible for identifying the talented technologists who drive the current and future success at iCIMS. Jay Fendrick is iCIMS’ Talent Acquisition Coordinator and Onboarding Specialist. Jay is responsible for managing the HR Information Systems, preparing and analyzing regular reports for the team, and coordinating the Onboarding process for new hires.
They both sat down eager to spill a little of their knowledge and experience with iCIMS for our readers!
Jenn Carpenter: Can you both tell me a little about your background and how you got involved with Human Resources?
Jay Fendrick: Sure. I graduated from Rutgers with a Bachelor’s degree in Political Science, and decided I didn’t want to go to law school, which was my original plan. I immediately took a staff job for Whole Foods Market and after several promotions, was offered a role as the Payroll and Benefits Specialist for a new store opening in Middletown, NJ. This was my introduction to the world of Human Resources. After spending some time as HR executive team leader for Target, I eventually made the move out of the retail industry and started doing contract work as an HR Consultant. Shortly thereafter I was fortunate enough to be offered a permanent position as Talent Acquisition Coordinator Team Leader and Onboarding Specialist here at iCIMS.
Nicole Tucker: I majored in History and Communication at Rutgers University. During my senior year of college I had the opportunity to graduate a semester early, which allowed me to complete a full year internship with Virgin Mobile USA in their Corporate Communications Department during their IPO process. The company did not have the budget to take me on full-time and understood my pursuit for other opportunities. I came across a posting for a company in NYC looking for a Jr. Recruiter. I had no idea what the job of recruiter truly entailed, but the position sounded interesting, so I applied. The company was a boutique agency-side recruiting firm specializing in retained and contingent searches for the start-up technology arena and the financial industry, specifically quantitative finance. I joined the firm just before the markets truly went south. It was definitely a learning experience as companies decided to retract and slowdown on the hiring front. After almost four years, I realized technology was the place to be and after a short job search I found iCIMS, which has turned out to be amazing.
JC: Nicole, can you talk about the differences you experienced between recruiting for a staffing agency and recruiting in-house for a company like iCIMS?
NT: Working for an agency recruitment firm is very mercenary. As a company we managed dozens of clients, which has its pros and cons. It’s very entrepreneurial, but also cut-throat and competitive. Moving into an in-house recruiter role has been even more interesting and challenging, in a great way. I can actually see the teams I am helping grow, which is definitely more gratifying. I get the experience of seeing the impact I have on a company, and now know firsthand how HR interacts and partners with the company as a whole – shaping the culture and making it so that people want to be here. It’s truly exciting because iCIMS is at the crucial point where we’re just starting to really take off and grow. If I had stayed on the agency side, I would have never seen the full scope of what a Human Resources professional really does. I would only have that one side of the fence, and I would only be seeing that one side through a peep-hole.
JC: Jay, this question is specifically for you. Since starting with iCIMS as an Onboarding Specialist, how has your approach to Onboarding changed?
JF: The first question I asked when I first became the Onboarding Specialist was “How can I improve Onboarding?” And that’s something that we still ask every group at the end of our program – what they liked, what they didn’t like, and what can be improved. At this point, the process is solid and systematic in terms of the structure and organization, but we still have space allotted to grow and adapt as we see fit. For example, we moved our Breakfast with the C’s from the week of Onboarding to the week after to give new employees more time to let information sink in, and we’ve seen them ask more specific questions instead of very generic ones. We’re always trying to find more ways to improve and get more people involved by adding classes and seminars, and nothing is ever set in stone. Even small changes can make a huge difference in delivering our iCIMS brand experience to our new employees.
JC: What iCIMS features do you use the most, and what benefits do you see during your daily tasks?
NT: What I find really great is that everything is trackable and documented. That’s especially helpful when I have 15 different things on my mind – I can check within the system if I have or haven’t done something already. Also, obviously, the search capacity within the system is great, and I’m a fan of how our system allows you to see how the candidate heard about iCIMS, whether it was a referral or a social media site, etc. Being able to have everything in front of you and reference actions and emails is incredibly helpful during conversations.
JF: I absolutely love our Communication Center. For onboarding purposes, I use it to send multiple communications to new hires before their first day. Communications I send range from their initial Welcome or Congratulations e-mail to providing them with login information for our New Hire Onboarding Portal, where they can fill out paperwork in advance and learn more about the company. It’s really a great tool, and since all messages can be saved as templates and shared, everyone with access to the system can use it!
JC: Great insight! My last question is – what has been the strangest thing that’s ever happened to you with a candidate? Any funny stories?
NT: Oh, I have so many funny stories. I actually know of a client that emailed iCIMS and said that there was a bug in our software because a candidate profile in their system and the form the candidate filled out didn’t match. So R&D went back and found out that that particular candidate had previously submitted a Background Check Release iForm, but had gone back later, changed their social security number and their name on their profile. Once you submit that iForm, that information cannot be changed. The sleuths here at iCIMS were able to go back and tell that client that this particular candidate was a liar. And it turns out that that person had used their sister’s name and social security number to apply because they had a warrant out for their arrest!
JF: At one of my previous companies, we were interviewing someone to be an overnight cleaning crew employee. The Social Security verification process was manual at that time, so I had to call the Social Security Administration hotline and provide the information. This particular candidate’s information did not agree and I had to inform him that he needed to contact the SSA and correct the situation before we could extend the employment offer. When I explained the situation to the candidate, he responded by pulling out a stack of roughly 20 social security cards from his pocket, tried to hand me a few, and said “Here, try these!” Obviously, I did not, and told him we could not offer him employment.
Thank you, Jay and Nicole, for being open and candid about your approach to Human Resources, experiences throughout your career, and best practices regarding some of your tasks using an Applicant Tracking System.