Aga Wiszniewska of Avanade is sitting at her work set-up at home. She is wearing a red blazer and smiling into the camera.
Aga Wiszniewska. Image: Avanade

‘My job is often to convince women they are more than good enough’

11 May 2021

Aga Wiszniewska, tech recruiter at Avanade, discusses hiring during the pandemic and why she wants women to feel more confident about applying for tech roles.

Like virtually all aspects of business, recruitment has gone through some major changes during the pandemic. This is something Aga Wiszniewska, a technology recruiter at Avanade Ireland, is very familiar with.

Wiszniewska’s works sees her hire professionals across all Avanade functions and the entire Microsoft technology stack. She also sits on Avanade’s Irish Council for Engagement, aiming to continuously improve employee experiences at the company and helping it secure a spot in the Top Employers Institute’s latest list of best employers in Ireland.

Here, Wiszniewska talks about opportunities at Avanade and why her team is focusing on hiring women more than ever during the pandemic.

‘In today’s competitive reality, a recruitment process needs to be efficient, time saving and candidate centric’

How has Avanade’s recruitment process changed during the pandemic?

The current situation and rapid shift to remote working across the globe has created a great opportunity for the company’s growth. It means we are consistently increasing our hiring volume to meet our clients’ evolving needs.

In today’s competitive reality, a recruitment process needs to be efficient, time saving and candidate centric. However, we go beyond that, setting ourselves ambitious and bold targets. For example, this fiscal year we are targeting 40pc female hires. I am delighted to say we are on track, having already met this number.

During the pandemic it is particularly difficult to achieve this goal as women are those hit harder as a working group. Very often they lose a job or choose to leave the labour market to be able to homeschool their children.

Why does this topic have a place so often in our discussions? Women struggle with self-promotion; they don’t believe in their skills and potential and there is a significant difference in how they assess their own competencies. Generally, they are less likely to apply for a job when they don’t meet most of the requirements.

My job very often is to convince them they are more than good enough, and we are not hiring them because of their gender to meet the targets. Their skills and potential make them perfect candidates and then employees. Regardless of gender, Avanade is a very welcoming and inclusive organisation, hiring in Ireland 25 different nationalities and making also internal relocation possible.

The growth we are experiencing right now gives us limitless opportunities to support and develop the local talent through our cybersecurity bootcamp, where people can cross-skill to become Microsoft Security experts, our Velocity graduate programme, our internships for teachers with Connecting Women in Technology and our tech apprenticeships with FIT Ireland.

How have you worked to make your hiring processes more inclusive of women?

Being in the front row gives me an opportunity to witness stories, behaviours, successes and failures. My personal experience as a recruiter is great and rewarding; I can be honest telling the Avanade story and selling the dream which I truly believe in and I am also part of.

At Avanade, we create a process that can assure we hire a diverse workforce. We educate the business, interviewers and hiring managers not only through official training sessions, but in our daily job as recruiters and professionals who speak with the talent on a daily basis and understand their needs.

Avanade allows and encourages us as employees to be a part of this big change in the workforce, a change that embraces all regardless of gender, ethnicity and disability. We can make great impact by advocating one for another not only for now, but for future generations who will perform to their highest potential in an environment that is diverse, inclusive and welcoming.

Is Avanade hiring right now?

We are hiring faster than ever before, with more roles open than we ever had. Very soon we will have more people joining Avanade Ireland remotely than we had in person before we closed the office doors. But our virtual doors are always open!

Currently, our employees in Ireland are working remotely. In the future, we can expect hybrid working arrangements. Being a consultancy company, we listen to our clients and respond to their needs and as different as they are (financial services, health and public sector, governmental projects, private companies), we foresee different expectations, therefore we are agile.

From a recruitment perspective, the biggest challenge during the pandemic we have is that people are anxious about changing the job and being on probation period through such uncertain times.

To respond to that, we have re-emphasised our approach to onboarding and support in the first six months, which means our new joiners have more time to find themselves in a new role, situation, remote collaboration and to seek help and guidance from their mentors or career advisers and the leadership team.

In the summer we are launching our second graduate programme, we will welcome two STEM teacher interns and we will kick off the Cybersecurity Institute.

What types of candidates are you looking for?

You should consider Avanade if you have a passion for Microsoft technology, as that is our sole focus. Avanade delivers services and solutions to enterprises worldwide using the Microsoft platform. In Ireland, we focus on technology roles from areas such as software engineering, infrastructure, modern workplace, security, CRM, data and AI, delivery management, sales and business analysis.

We are an employee-centric organisation where you can grow your career. We offer 80 hours of training per year, paid Microsoft certifications, career advisers available from day one and Avanade University – real-time access to technical and skilled resources globally. But most importantly, we are a group of engaged and helpful colleagues.

We are looking for people who are passionate about the Microsoft tech stack and thrive in a client-facing role, employees who seek learning opportunities and love to be exposed to various projects and cultures. This is the beauty of consultancy; you don’t have to change the job to learn from different organisations. We also offer cross-skilling prospects, which means you have a wide choice from Microsoft platform offerings to specialise in.

Lisa Ardill
By Lisa Ardill

Lisa Ardill joined Silicon Republic as senior careers reporter in July 2019. She has a BA in neuroscience and a master’s degree in science communication. She is also a semi-published poet and a big fan of doggos. Lisa briefly served as Careers Editor at Silicon Republic before leaving the company in June 2021.

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