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Vandna Bloomberg

Why Bloomberg hires for ‘hunger’

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Celebrating Bloomberg’s 25 years in Singapore, Vandna Ramchandani, regional head of recruitment of the firm, talks about the company’s recruitment philosophy, and how hiring has evolved to suit the current talent climate.

As an organisation, Bloomberg believes in providing opportunities, challenging individuals and being innovative in small, simple ways. It also promotes a lot of collaboration and people interaction.

The kind of people we hire are all usually driven and all trying to do the right thing. There’s a great commitment to the communities that we exist in.

Bloomberg’s recruitment process

Within Bloomberg, there has been an evolution of the recruitment process – particularly in the last three to five years. We have grown our team dramatically, both in Asia and globally. We are also very business-aligned, so instead of being a recruitment team, it is more of a business partnership. There’s a clear alignment with the business areas and a clear focus on campus recruitment.

Everybody has their own niche areas and the processes or the way we evaluate ourselves is really like a business. Essentially, you want to see a return on investment.

In today’s world of social media and transparency, people are more discerning – they do a lot of homework before choosing and joining an organisation.

In Asia, there’s a critical need for good talent, as the region is suffering from a talent crunch. To acquire this talent, HR leaders need to engage potential employees, mainly because a lot of them are passive job-seekers. Nevertheless, they are really high performers whom companies do actually want to hire.

In today’s world of social media and transparency, people are also more discerning – they do a lot of homework before choosing and joining an organisation.

Attracting diverse candidates

As such, companies need to have the right presence on all relevant social media platforms, and they need to put their best foot forward. All of this is dependent on the way you brand yourself, the way you engage with passive and active candidates.

In the past, we used to say that first impressions go a long way and candidates only have one chance to impress employers.

But today, I think it also applies to employers. In a transparent world where candidates have a lot of choices of where to apply, it is, in fact, employers who only have one chance in this world to impress candidates.

During the recruitment process, we as an organisation, don’t place an emphasis on the education background or degree alone.

We obviously have our targeted list of universities, but we don’t really limit ourselves to economic majors or accounting majors or finance majors because we want to get a diverse pool of candidates.

We truly believe that if you have the aptitude, the hunger, the willingness, and that if you’re a driver, and you’re innovative and collaborative, you will get stuff done, you will figure it out.

We truly believe that if you have the aptitude, the hunger, the willingness, and that if you’re a driver, and you’re innovative and collaborative, you will get stuff done, you will figure it out.

So it doesn’t matter whether candidates have a finance degree – they should be able to speak to the financial markets, or show us they have an interest in finance.

Sending out the right message

At Bloomberg, we believe it’s very important to be authentic. There’s a lot that goes into hiring an individual, there’s a lot of effort and energy and expense, so you really want to create a good fit and that means that you want to allow people to decide for themselves if they would enjoy working for your company.

You want to give that respect on both sides. So that in terms of employer value proposition, the candidate is also able to understand if his or her personal goals or beliefs align with the company.

It could be anything, it could be the way they look at career paths, it could be the basics such as compensation and growth or how they engage with the community or what their diversity policies are.

Our employer value proposition is, in fact, an ever evolving one. We are a high-tech, high-finance, news and multimedia organisation.

We like to convey in our employer brand that we are a diverse organisation and that we hire from diverse backgrounds and diversity is important to us. But also, because we are high-tech, high-finance, we are absolutely a culture of innovation and creativity.

We are also very big on collaboration and believe in giving back to the community.

That is why the candidate experience and the perception of what the candidate thinks of the company is such a critical part of the whole recruitment process – even if you don’t end up hiring the candidates. This is now embedded into our recruitment philosophy.

We like to convey in our employer brand that we are a diverse organisation and that we hire from diverse backgrounds and diversity is important to us.

Using data effectively

Saying that, however, I think recruitment is still a challenge, not only for us, but for most organisations – especially when it comes to putting together all the data and culling it to make better strategic decisions on how to target better or invest better or see what’s working.

I think that’s the work in progress because we haven’t really had the technology, not only at Bloomberg, but overall, to really build people analytics. That’s the area we really need to continue to push forward.

This is because you get a lot of data about employees from the sources that you hire from, but there’s still a lot more data to attain. For instance, what are the skill sets they came in with, what did you do to develop them, and where did their career paths take them?

From the Bloomberg perspective, we tend to have a good amalgamation of skills needed to use and interpret this data to make meaningful business decisions. A lot of our leaders in HR are from the business and we have sent HR leaders from our department into the business so it’s very much a two-way process.

I also think the alignment really helps because if we have both partners at the table they are able to have a more robust discussion about how they are going to interpret the data.

I hope the influence of HR will only continue to increase.

More and more in this global world, we are realising how critical talent is. It’s not about the lack of people, it’s about the lack of the right people or the right fit.

Ultimately, we have a business to run and that’s the end goal – everything else is a means to make it better and more wholesome.

I think that if you keep that view in mind, the influence of HR or people operations in Bloomberg is only going to increase because otherwise we are not going to be able to drive business results.

Bottom line is: if you have driven people, if you have diverse people, then you ultimately are more revenue-driven.

More and more in this global world, we are realising how critical talent is. It’s not about the lack of people, it’s about the lack of the right people or the right fit.

Implementing a cutting-edge, culturally relevant working culture

We are very much a global organisation, and we like to think all our policies, and not just recruitment, are cutting-edge.

For example, we have just launched our parental leave policy, which entails 18 weeks of paid leave for the primary caregiver and four weeks of paid leave for the secondary caregiver. From my understanding, this is the best in Asia.

But while we function in a framework globally like this one, we will always defer to the local laws and fine-tune them based on the local culture. We very much make sure that we acknowledge local practices as well as celebrate the local culture and festivals.

I think when you go into any Bloomberg office, you tend to get a very constant feel in terms of the open spaces and the pantry, but the way it will be designed, it will be taking some tenets of the local culture into it so there’s a clear partnership and reflection of where we are.

We are very much a global organisation, and we like to think all our policies, and not just recruitment, are cutting-edge.

In our Singapore office, we have actually featured a lot of our local employees. Their names and faces are plastered all over the wall and that’s part of our Singapore 25th anniversary celebration that’s taking place this year.

We’ve also featured employees who belonged to our pioneer group of staff, and who were with us in 1991 and willingly talk about why they have stayed for so long.

I think that really speaks to how pervasive and how attractive the Bloomberg culture is.

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