Today we had a chat with David Cherry, who is a senior international in-house recruiter for McAfee, and an old colleague of mine based in London. He shared very insightful tips for job seekers and his thoughts on the changing career industry, all kept very secret until now!
What do you do at McAfee?
Currently I’m a Senior Recruitment Business Partner working in the internal Talent Acquisition Team for McAfee, my day is taken up recruiting (across various functions) throughout Southern and Central Europe and our Emerging Markets region. I am also heavily involved in social media using tools like Facebook and Twitter.
Tell us about your background
My first job was actually as a QA Engineer for a small software company – I’ve always been interested in technology and being 19 years old, building servers and programming modems was (at the time) the best thing ever! Unfortunately I was made redundant after 9 months, so I did what every does and uploaded my CV on to Monster’s database – this was how I ended up in recruitment and have been working in the industry now for over 10 years, always with a focus on technology,
To begin with I joined a small recruitment company in London and began focusing on networking and telecoms recruitment in the UK. Through the relationships I had built I had the opportunity to work for one of my clients (Ochre House) who provide outsourced recruitment and HR solutions, and one of their clients was McAfee, after 3.5 yrs working on site at McAfee I was given the opportunity to move in-house in to a permanent position.
What is the job market like in your region (EMEA)?
You can get so many different answers to this question depending on who you speak to. Personally I think the job market is increasing and gaining strength every day. At the same time businesses are being more cautious and only recruiting positions which are deemed as critical hires. There are a lot of jobs out there but unfortunately due to the downtown there are even more people looking for those jobs which increases the competition.
What’s it like recruiting across so many countries?
It’s the most interesting part of my job, I have recruited in at least 30 different countries in my career and whilst it does mean I am incredibly busy every day I really enjoy working with different people, making new contacts and learning about new countries and cultures.
What are McAfee typically looking for in a candidate?
There’s no silver bullet to this question and every manager and every client I have recruited for will look for something different but being passionate and motivated is a great starting point.
What are you 3 best tips for job seekers?
- Be honest
- Spell check your CV/resume
- Be prepared for an interview / have your own questions
How important are CVs and cover letters nowadays?
CVs are crucial; this is the document that gets you in the door, the document that holds the key to speaking to someone or securing that interview!
Covering letters; myself I’m not as interested in these and would tend to go straight to the CV but I do like to see a covering email explaining why someone is applying, their current situation etc… Just not something that’s 5 pages long! The more effort a candidate puts in to their application the more effort you will find a company will put into their response.
Any horror stories?
Several I can think of, but none I can repeat!
I did interview someone a few weeks for a customer facing position; I asked a fairly straight forward question ‘What are your main strengths as a communicator?’ to which I got the reply ‘I’m not very good at communicating’ – Moral of the story think about your answers before speaking.
I’ve seen many in my current position, the best are when you’re involved in hiring someone at the beginning of their career and then over the next few years you’re able to interview them again and, in some case again. Before you know it they become a manager and you start working with them to help build their own team.
What are the social media trends in the career industry?
Social media is gaining momentum all the time and there are a lot of different options for an employer to take advantage of. When thinking about a social media strategy you should start thinking about the finish line and what you want to achieve – you will then be able to choose the right media and platforms to suit your objectives.
Are recruiters, as brokers, threatened by LinkedIn?
I would say no, there will always be the need for someone to facilitate, technology and automation can be fantastic and can assist with the speed of a hire but there is a danger to removing the human element and this could just damage your brand as an employer.
What is your favourite social media tool?
Has to be Twitter – it’s one of the most responsive on the market today. You can get your message instantly to wider audience, it has the ability to snowball very quickly. You do, of course have to be careful what you tweet about – what goes on the internet, stays on the internet! You can, of course, follow me on Twitter.
What’s the one thing people can do to help you?
Candidates can help themselves by keeping their profile up to date on LinkedIn or any other online media they are using for job hunting. If it’s not there is a huge risk that a recruiter would just overlook the profile and move on to the next.
Also in my current role as an internal recruiter I would suggest to approach companies directly there is a big push, particularly with the larger organisation to reduce recruiting costs, which means reducing reliance on external recruitment companies.
Final words of wisdom?
What did you want to do when you were growing up? Are you doing it? If not, why?
David Cherry has over 10 years experience in recruitment focused on head hunting and executive search and works across both sales & technical positions in Europe. As part of the internal Talent Acquisition Team at McAfee, David started in a technical recruiting role responsible for engineering and technical support in the UK and Israel. Connect with him at @DavidCherry4.