Head of Human Resources
- She looks for diamonds to join the team and organizes leisure activities.
Welcome! Today we are interviewing Anna Gangan, Head of Human Resources at our agency.
Please tell us how and when did you decide to start your career in HR?
— I would say that this happened gradually, starting in the summer of 2022 🙂 While we were a small agency, there were very few people in the team. There was no particular HR position back then. When a new project was launched, our specialists looked for talented assistants on their own.
I was working as a project manager and started looking for people to join the team. In the process, I realized that I was quite comfortable in this role.
It turned out that I can easily communicate with strangers during interviews, and I also really enjoy organizing the whole selection process. Starting from learning resumes and ending with offers. To be honest, they are the most enjoyable part of the job. Well, it’s really cool when you send a person an offer and get their acceptance.
Serhii also noticed that I can feel how much a person is “ours.” It’s not even entirely rational, because I don’t rely on skill scores alone. Rather, I look at the candidate’s global values, character, and approach to work. It turns out that all this can be understood by looking at the resume. And at the interview stage, it becomes completely clear 🙂
What challenges have you faced throughout your career?
— I suggest we talk about the HR area. There are actually a lot of tasks here. Because to write even a job description, you first need to figure out what this person is supposed to do. Therefore, you have to understand the intricacies of the work of, for example, content marketers or designers.
The next step is to review resumes. Then there are the first, so-called “diagnostic” interviews. Almost every one of them is followed by a “trail” of communications. In general, this is not surprising, and it is my top priority.
Not everyone has time to ask all their questions during the conversation, so they clarify some things later. I am responsible for making this interaction comfortable for the candidates, because attention matters to all of us.
What has been interesting in your work recently?
— Almost everything 🙂 I think that my job is interesting in itself, because it involves constant meetings with new people of completely different mindsets. I mean, a technical specialist thinks in one way, and a project manager thinks in a completely different way.
At the same time, the list of questions I ask during interviews is approximately the same. And the answers I hear are as different as possible. It turns out that I have the opportunity to find out how different people’s worldviews are. And I often wonder: does it somehow depend on the specialization or life path?
So, in my opinion, HR becomes a bit of a psychologist and begins to understand people to some extent more. And sometimes you are less surprised by the behavior of others in different situations and circumstances.
What do you like most about your job?
— To explain this, I need to elaborate that I am not only HR, but also a People Partner and HR journalist, sorry for the tautology.
By combining these roles, at certain times I do what I like and am good at. For example, I not only look for and adapt team newbies. In addition, I organize various entertainment events for the team, select and order gifts for the holidays.
Of course, the realities of our time impose restrictions on team building, but they do not make it impossible. I am interested in making sure that even at a distance we can get together, spend time together and get to know our colleagues better.
What is your mission?
— I think it is about really understanding a person and their true needs. And then put together a kind of puzzle: find us a great specialist who will strengthen the agency, and offer the candidate a job that will bring him not only income but also opportunities for development and self-realization.
That means I have to look ahead to predict how a person will develop and bring in those who will be a “perfect match” to the team.
You also need to remember that I am also a People Partner. In this role, my mission is to make sure that all the Solves are happy, satisfied with their lives and work, and have comfortable working and teamwork conditions.
In your opinion, what are the pros and cons of the HR profession?
— It’s about the same thing again: communicating with a lot of people. This has both a pros and cons. On the one hand, it’s interesting and informative. On the other hand, communication with other people is exhausting, you give up your energy.
In the case of a team, you always get, let’s say, feedback in the form of energy in return. It can be in the form of gratitude, positive emotions. When we talk about HR, the search itself, there is not much energy flow back.
This happens because candidates can be a little bit wary. Many people try to please you, but they don’t really feel sympathy for you. There are also situations when a person is not in the mood for conversation at all, closed off. After such interviews, I sometimes want to go to a therapist. But in fact, this is normal. People are different, and that’s what HR is like – a constant school of life.
What is the most difficult thing for you in HR right now?
— This is the moment when I need to say no to people. Especially if I liked these people in general, they were cool, they fit the “scale of ours”. However, they did not fit, for example, the skills required for this profession.
It’s always hard to say no, even if I didn’t like the person.
But when you have to say goodbye to people who are already in the team, it’s even harder. Especially if they leave without warning, or, for example, it becomes clear that you are not satisfied with the quality of their work. And you’ve already gotten used to the person, felt them as your own, invested emotions.
What qualities should HR have?
— Here we could answer with a very clichéd phrase about communication skills, but without them, you really can’t do anything. That’s why you need to have, first of all, the ability to speak, to convey your opinion correctly, to speak the mission of the agency or company.
It’s very important to convey the truth about what kind of work a person will be doing. We don’t want people to think that they will come to a resort with a light regime, for example.
We always explain that our work is active, our team is not toxic, and our processes are structured in a certain way.
In addition, I believe that empathy is a very important quality. It is empathy that allows you to understand, literally in one phrase, that a person, for example, has lost motivation or, on the contrary, is motivated and satisfied with his or her work.
What were the biggest failures in your practice?
— I could say that these are people who did not stay with us for long. After all, I hired them and voted for them when we were choosing a candidate. But I won’t say that. I believe that we still needed each other at that time.
I would say that it was a specific moment of shame when I did not answer the candidate correctly enough. Yes, it wasn’t an offense or anything like that. But we both felt that it was wrong. I was very tired at the time because of the large number of interviews, but I’m still very ashamed, even now, that I couldn’t control myself.
What advice would you give to a newbie who came to study with you?
— Don’t be afraid. By this I mean that you should not be afraid to take responsibility.
When we hire a person, we are confident in their expertise and competence. So, we give them the right to be bold and make decisions. But at the same time, you need to know that you also need to be responsible for their implementation and results. You should not be afraid of this. Even mistakes teach you.
What trends do you see in HR?
— In hiring, it is automation. There are many services that help automate and visualize processes, maintain a database, and create a list of backup candidates.
I plan to implement them in our agency’s work this year to work as efficiently as possible.
What advice would you give as an HR professional to entrepreneurs reading this interview?
— Be honest. Beginning with the job description, do not invent anything that you do not have in the company. Before posting a job, sit down and think about the values that are important to you in employees.
When you have a clear idea of what values a person should have, everything else is easier.
I also emphasize that we are not the only ones who choose employees. Specialists also choose whom to work with. So, it is better to tell everything in detail and as it is. This will allow all participants in the process to make informed decisions.
Thank you for an interesting and positive conversation, and have a nice day!
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