Kira Gusakova | LCC Made Me Hungry for Knowledge

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20170426_224802Could you please tell us about yourself? When did you graduate from LCC? What are you doing now?

I am originally from Riga, and graduated from LCC in 2003 with an undergraduate degree in Sociology. I am a human resources professional, and at the moment I work as a talent acquisition specialist for Indeed, which is a large multinational IT company. I have been living and working in Dublin for the past 12 years.

My role as a professional is to engage with business leaders or organization’s main stakeholders to try to understand their needs. Essentially, I need to ensure that a business’ requirements are clearly stated and that hiring needs are aligned with their strategic plans so that I can then source and present a high caliber talent for them. In a way, I am the middle person between a manager and a future employee. I guide employment candidates through the process and ensure that Indeed is a great place for them to work. I represent a global company and support senior leadership throughout Europe, the Middle East and Africa. 

Could you explain what a  talent acquisition specialist is?

I am not a recruiter. I am a talent acquisitioner. I am an engager, a listener, a coach, and an advocate for employment candidates. The reward for me is not simply the hiring of a person. It’s more of a personal connection and a chance to watch people be successful in their careers. 

From your experience what makes an employment candidate stand out? How do you ensure that you ‘acquire a talent’? How do you distinguish between various applicants, considering that they also come from different parts of the world? 

I partner with managers to learn more about the day-to-day operations of the team, to learn more about what skills I am sourcing for to make sure I understand their needs really well. When I interview candidates, I intentionally make it less formal in order to get to know them better and see what their personalities are like. They obviously need to have appropriate skills for the job they’re applying for, but a good company would have a strong training network to fill in any gaps in their experience. 

Would you then say that personality is just as important as skills and knowledge are?

Absolutely! Great places to work put values and personal attributes at the foundation of their corporate culture. I often ask team members what their favorite part of the current job is and what they don’t want to see in someone working that job. You can gain quite a lot of insight from the answers to these questions!

So, judging from this point of view what makes a candidate a desirable candidate?

The majority of companies values goal-oriented people. It’s not just about being ambitious, but also about having good planning skills, discipline, and consistent performance. It’s important to ask candidates about their hobbies.  When someone says that they love reading but then can’t remember the title of the last book they’ve read – the impression they make is rather clear. I also always ask candidates what sort of leader they admire. Even though they are talking about another person, their answer reveals their own personal values and aspirations. 

So how do you spend your free time?

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Family and friends are my soul, my heartbeat, my support. As a family, we like hiking, and that is one type of activity that is least dependent on the weather. If you have ever heard stories about Ireland, I am sure the word ‘rain’ was used few times. I am also a ‘feeder’ – I show love with food, so my free time is often spent hosting, eating, sharing, and laughing!

What role has LCC played in your professional development?

After graduation, I moved back to Riga. After being a student at LCC, where developing in an easily approachable, flat, open, and engaging environment is the norm, it was hard for me to find the same balance back in Riga. So, I moved to Dublin.

I think the biggest lesson I acquired from my education at LCC was to never stop learning. The world is constantly changing, and you have to continuously evolve as well. That’s what LCC has embedded in me. Through the culture of diversity, inclusion and self-development, LCC has made me hungry for knowledge! 

How do you define success for yourself? 

Being an expert in what you do. I have certain expertise in my field, but I’d like to develop further. I am interested in analytics associated with artificial intelligence and machine learning and using various tools to predict trends in, for example, migration and its effect on the workforce. It’s quite fascinating to me, so I intend to never stop learning about it.

What would be your advice to those who’ve just graduated from LCC?

I think in comparison to my generation, recent graduates feel significantly more confident. It’s great, but I’d say you’ll need to do your research as well. We now live in the age of data. Use that to your advantage. And I’d also advise you to listen to your own instincts. Embrace what feels right to you. Invest in your strengths instead of dwelling your weaknesses! The new graduates have so many possibilities! Do your groundwork, and you’ll find success.

Anything you’d like to wish for LCC?

You know, I am very glad that I’m doing this interview. I graduated more than 10 years ago and the university is celebrating a big milestone this year. It feels great to just touch-base with LCC and also revisit those memories. 

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