Get the Inside Scoop on Job Hunting in 2023 from 2 Experienced Recruiting Managers

Sponsored by CGI

Jennifer Patton and Alison Stoecklin. Photos courtesy of CGI.

Jennifer Patton and Alison Stoecklin. Photos courtesy of CGI.

May 15, 2024 at 6:16PM UTC

What are recruiters and hiring managers looking for in today’s ever-changing job market? We talked with two recruiting managers at CGI, one of the world’s largest IT and business consulting services firms, to get an inside look and discover advice for anyone looking to start or grow a career in IT and business consulting. Keep reading for the latest do’s and don’ts for growing your career from:

  • Jennifer Patton, who recruits for CGI’s Midwest region out of St. Louis, Missouri

  • Alison Stoecklin, who recruits for CGI Federal out of Washington, D.C

DO: Demonstrate your ability to learn

Jennifer: “A desire to learn and grow can be just as valuable as proven skills. On your resume and in interviews, make sure to include past experience that shows when you’ve embraced the chance to learn a new skill or dive into a new area of expertise. At CGI, we’re a consulting firm where every project will be different, so we look for people who crave variety and want to try different roles. Taking the initiative to try new things and then being able to show results makes you stand out as someone who can problem solve, adapt, and contribute at a high level at a consulting firm.”

Jennifer Patton at team building event. Photo courtesy of CGI.

DON’T: Limit yourself

Alison: “The pandemic has increased many organizations’ creativity when looking at talent. They are more willing to leverage trainable candidates and are less concerned when a candidate has a resume gap. For example, CGI runs training cohorts focused on development, software testing, and data analysis — you can be hired to learn in-demand skills. Don’t hesitate to identify an area of interest and discuss this with your recruiter.  

Also, if you meet 100% of the qualifications for a job posting, you are likely overqualified. Statistics tell us that women often don’t apply unless they meet almost all of the qualifications, but remember — employers understand the value of someone who is willing to learn new things and grow their skills. If you want to grow your career, look for job postings where you meet 75% of the qualifications.”

DO: Partner with your recruiter

While your recruiter works for the employer, they are also on your side and want to create a good fit for you and the organization. Build a relationship with them and be transparent about your career goals. They may redirect you to a different team or project than the one you applied for — so stay open and flexible. 

Jennifer: “I believe our role as a recruiter is to provide as much support to a candidate as possible and to deliver information (both good and bad) with complete sincerity and transparency.”

Alison: “Recruiters partner with hiring managers, but our relationship with candidates is equally important. We facilitate a candidate’s experience by educating them on various career paths or opportunities, listening to their career goals, determining their ideal working environments, and understanding the value each candidate would bring to the organization through their skills, qualifications, and interpersonal qualities.”

DON’T: Go overboard with applications and social connections

Jennifer: “When I see multiple applications from one person, I love the energy and desire to work for CGI. However, if the person has applied to dissimilar roles, I have to wonder if the candidate is clear on the career they want to pursue and whether they’ve carefully considered which roles are a good fit. Pick one or two roles that are the best fit for your skills and desired career path.”

Alison: “Networking websites like LinkedIn provide unique opportunities to connect, but reaching out to too many leaders and recruiters at an organization can be to a candidate’s detriment. Find an in-road with someone who supports the work lines you are interested in, then ask if they can connect you with the appropriate leader or recruiter and work toward a pointed conversation with the right person.”

DO: Find a company that supports women like you

When interviewing at a new company, it’s helpful to find out how they support women — both in regard to their career growth and networking. Alison and Jennifer share how CGI is making gender diversity a priority

Jennifer: “CGI is an employer that champions women in all roles. We are a community that supports and cheers for each other! Getting involved in our Women's Forum is a great first step to connecting with the amazing women of CGI. And, for every lending hand you accept, pay it forward to another amazing female colleague.”

Alison: “CGI is focused on gender diversity in our strategic business units across the globe. Our multi-pronged strategy is highlighted through external recruiting efforts at all organizational levels to ensure parity with the external market and offer increased leadership opportunities to all employees. We aim to grow a qualified, diverse internal pool of future leaders. There is also an increased focus on employee mobility and rotational opportunities, which aids anyone seeking new work opportunities and challenges. All of these efforts help to prepare the future leaders of the organization and strengthen their impact.”

Alison Stoecklin hiking. Photo courtesy of CGI.

Parting words …

In addition to their tips for job searchers, we also asked Jennifer and Alison what they like about working at CGI. 

Alison: “I love to share what attracted and has kept me with CGI when I’m speaking with candidates. There is a high level of collaboration and helpfulness across matrixed teams, along with the ability to grow and learn.”

Jennifer: “There’s a warmth at CGI that is addictive. I joined during the pandemic and wasn’t sold on remaining long-term. Immediately after the acquisition, I had people from all areas of the organization reach out to introduce themselves, get to know me, share their stories, and help me assimilate. The people here are just incredible and authentic, and the work we do is challenging and important. It checks every box for me.”

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