Bringing Up the Next Generation of Technology Experts
Talent Acquisition Partner Annie Cutler reflects on Cloudreach's ongoing partnerships with Generation UK & Ireland and AWS re/Start, and how we can use our expertise to give back to our communities.
As Talent Acquisition professionals, we hold a unique position within any organization - we are in many ways the gatekeepers to opportunity, and have ‘insider’ knowledge of best practices when it comes to job search, interview preparation, and how recruiting processes work behind the scenes. I have personally always felt that I have a responsibility to use that knowledge to help others as best as I can, and one of the things I love most about being a Cloudreacher is that I work with people who share that value.
Various members of our team put time and energy into professional volunteering opportunities outside of work, putting their expertise into action to help others. We have often had conversations amongst ourselves and the broader People team about ways we can volunteer within our roles at Cloudreach or engage more with our communities through our work, and what that could look like.
Thanks to our ongoing strategic partnership with AWS, several members of the People team recently had the chance to partner with Generation UK & Ireland. As Generation notes on their website, “We transform education to employment systems to prepare, place, and support people into life-changing careers that would otherwise be inaccessible." A nonprofit with a global presence that provides cloud training in collaboration with Amazon Web Services through the AWS re/Start program, this classroom-based program focuses on helping students develop the skills and knowledge needed to succeed in technical roles, and also provides career coaching and interview support.
Members of the People team (Ewan Brown, Emi Buchinska, Paul Gill, Meredith Lane, Belen Ripoll, Shaira Shelton, Sarah Everett, and me) conducted 30-minute mock interviews with London-based Generation students, coaching them on interview skills such as answering behavioral questions, having a proper set-up for video interviews, and preparing questions to ask the recruiter or hiring manager at the end of the interview. We also provided feedback to the students on their interviewing style and suggested ways to practice and improve for the real test - actual job interviews! As one student mentioned during a mock interview, “I feel like I did better in this interview than the last one and I will take this feedback and do better the next time too.” This group of students will be launching their job searches in an entirely new, COVID-19 world, and while they know the unique challenges that face them, they are determined, eager, and ready.
As well as providing one-on-one coaching to students through mock interviews, we also presented two master classes on job search topics - one on how to answer the dreaded “Tell Me About Yourself” question often asked at the beginning of interviews, and another on how to effectively navigate salary negotiations. These sessions were available to 4 different cohorts of Generation UK students from the AWS re/Start program, and were also recorded to be shared with students who weren’t able to attend live.
Future master classes presented by other Cloudreachers are planned on more technical topics, and we hope to continue to build the partnership to bring more Cloudreachers’ expertise to these students.