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Insights Recruiting with an awareness of conscious and unconscious biases.

As part of our #PeopleDriveResults campaign, this week we have caught up with Ponnamma Belliappa, Senior Recruitment Lead in Bangalore (India).

1. Tell us a little bit about your professional background?

I’ve been working in Recruitment & Talent Acquisition function for 14 years now.  My experience has been working within the consulting space and across a wide variety of industries including engineering, oil and gas, manufacturing, and telecommunications. I currently lead a team of recruiters and manage recruitment operations delivery for Atkins’ UK Transportation business. 

2. What inspired you to become a recruiter?

For me it was an accident that has lasted more than a decade. I was in between jobs and offered a role in recruitment. Being naturally curious, I took up the opportunity and it has been the most enriching decision so far. 

3. What is the best thing about your job?

In recruitment, each day is different and offers new learning and to have diversity in everyday tasks makes it interesting.  The immense knowledge that you can gain by market research, talking to candidates and hiring managers alike on industry insights, future trends is absolutely enriching. You also learn how to hold conversations with people across all levels and in all situations.  Knowing that you've helped change someone’s life for the better is an amazing feeling and the satisfaction you get from this doesn’t get much better.  

4. What’s the moment you prefer in a job interview?

I find it fascinating when candidates get passionate about what they enjoy most about their professional life.  This gives insight to their genuine interest in the role and that they’ll do what it takes to be successful because they care, and it comes naturally to them.    

5. What challenges do you face in your role?

The scarcity of talent in a candidate-driven market has been the biggest challenge. We’ve got to be ahead of the competition and have the most innovative techniques to attract talent.  While there are lots of opportunities to succeed, there could be a lot of things that can spiral down as well.  Having a positive attitude and focusing on the best possible solution will help in overcoming any setbacks.  

6. What qualities are necessary to be a recruiter?

You need to be an exceptionally good listener to understand your candidates’ and hiring managers’ needs better.  A recruiter is constantly juggling different activities each day, so you should be able to prioritize your tasks and effectively manage time. Staying on top of industry trends and focusing on the future is quite essential for strategic growth of the business. More than anything, you’ve got to be empathetic and learn from experiences.  

7. What does diversity mean to you?

Diversity for me means understanding that every individual is unique and has a different perspective and accepting these differences.  As a recruiter it is important to be aware of both conscious and unconscious bias.  Once these are uncovered it is essential to make sure they do not get in the way of hiring decisions.  

8. Why is AtkinsRéalis a great place to be?

AtkinsRéalis offers you a brilliant work environment and culture. There are a multitude of opportunities and projects to choose from and work on, apart from your daily operational tasks. What this means is you can work with experts across our offices globally. This enables an individual to expand their skills and grow as a professional. I also enjoy the fact that I have a great degree of control and freedom to share innovative ideas and be heard and valued. 

9. Tell us about your favorite hobby

I’m constantly reading, be it books, newspaper clippings or any kind of material that I find interesting.  I’m usually inclined to read the fast-paced thrillers and have an inclination towards classics, history and war genres. Books are my absolute happy place.