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In conversation with Laura de Figueiredo

In conversation with Laura de Figueiredo

Brought to you by Mocha Sips
This episode of Mocha Sips is brought to you by iMocha. This is a series where we talk with experts and pick their brain to figure out what's working and what's not working in the world of HR.
General Manager, OnTheGoSystems
Rapid fire with Laura!

Where were you born? - Buenos Aires

Favorite childhood memory - I loved imitating actresses. I used to dress up and I used to imitate different actresses in front of my mother and sister.

Maradona or Messi? - Messi

Dogs or cats? - Cats

Tea or coffee - Mate (Mate is a traditional Argentianian drink)

Your 3 heroes - Mother Teresa, Anne Frank, and Mahatma Gandhi

Favorite book - Frankenstein, Fahrenheit 451

Favorite movie - Back to the Future

Laura's laugh is infectious.

Laura is one of the warmest people that I have spoken to. She is a good listener. She smiles a lot.

But, beneath that smile, is a badass.

And no, I don’t say it lightly. I don’t call her 'Badass' to sound dramatic.

I call her a Badass because she has been able to do something that a lot of us aspire to do.

She has managed to take a plunge into the unknown. She has managed to do something that a lot of us are scared to do. She has successfully managed to transition to a role that she is passionate about.

And now she manages the entire HR function at OnTheGosystems. Currently, OnTheGoSystems has 98 employees. from 40 countries.

Okay, so let’s go back in time.

Laura is a professional Translator, graduated at Universidad de La Plata in Argentina, where she started her career as an English Teacher (and a translator part-time)

But when there was an opportunity for her to move to a new role, she grabbed it with both hands. And then she didn’t look back.

An English Teacher was now the HR head of an organization.

It wasn’t all glamorous, of course.

It came up with its own challenges. Moving to a new role is never easy. But Laura was up for it.

How did Laura make a transition to the HR role?

By being persistent. By asking a lot of questions. By seeking feedback.

Laura understood the importance of being coached. She knew that in order to tackle these challenges, she would have to approach them with a beginner’s mind.

When she took over the HR function, the employee strength was 45. The employee strength has now moved to 98.

Amazing, isn’t it?

Having a beginner’s mind really helps us to let go off our ego :)

Putting your soul in your work

After talking to Laura for just 5 minutes, it is pretty clear to understand her passion. And the most striking thing about her is “Care”. She takes pride in what she does. She cares a lot about company employees.

For her, the most satisfying thing is when a candidate that she helped hire, starts making meaningful contributions to the organization.

Did her teaching experience help Laura in her new role?

Absolutely, yes she said. To be a good teacher, you need qualities like empathy, deep listening, communication, and much more. When you play the role of an HR, these skills could be your greatest assets.

The reason this answer stood out for me was because a lot of times, we tend to assume that when we transition to a new role, our past skills might not add value. But that’s just not true.

When we make these career jumps, our past experience definitely adds value.

How do you make sure that the employees are happy?

As simple as it seems, the answer is communication.

As all the employees of OnTheGoSystems work remotely, communication comes even more important, said Laura. This communication is done via face to face calls, regular surveys, etc.

What are a few red flags that you look out for while assessing a candidate?

This is becoming one of my favorite questions.

Every time I ask this to the experts, I learn something new.

When I asked this question to Laura, she said, “Even if someone is really skilled, but doesn’t seem like a team player, we might not want to hire the candidate.”

Candidates, I hope you are paying attention to this one. I will repeat it again, just because it’s so important.

“Even if someone is really skilled, but doesn’t seem like a team player, we might not want to hire the candidate.”

Don’t just focus on developing your core skills, people. Focus on being a good team player. We interact with our co-workers daily. Nobody wants to work with “not-so-nice” people.

Funniest candidate interview ever?

In order to explain the next red flag, Laura told me an incident which made me laugh for a full 45 seconds.

There was a candidate interview in progress, and in the middle of the interview, the candidate asked, “Excuse me, what company I have applied for?”

At that moment, the candidate had forgotten the name of the company for which he had applied.

“Always do at least some research about the company that you are applying for.”

It’s funny that we sometimes fail to comply even with the simplest of advice.

How do you think recruitment has changed over the years and what role has technology played in doing that?

Technology has definitely played a positive role in the world of recruitment. Things like ATS, online assessments have certainly made our life better. The recruiters, have to be careful though. Over-dependence on technology, she says, is not recommended.

It’s quite interesting that even Kathy Quigley, the Senior Recruiter at NICE Actimize, told me the same thing.

I think I learned a lot in this interview. And I hope you did too. Make that jump, guys. Embrace the uncertainty.

Be like Laura.

“Even if someone is really skilled, but doesn’t seem like a team player, we might not want to hire the candidate.”

Laura de Figueiredo

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