A close-up of a blonde woman smiling at the camera. She is Shaelyn Klaus, talent acquisition partner at Zalando.
Shaelyn Klaus. Image: Zalando

‘Working in talent acquisition is like riding a rollercoaster’

10 May 2022

Zalando’s Shaelyn Klaus discusses the ups and downs of tech recruitment and shares some of the top productivity tips that get her through the day.

We often hear from those in sci-tech roles to get a unique insight into what it might be like to work in different areas, whether it’s an engineer, software developer, quality control technician or security architect.

But a key part of the tech industry is finding the unique talent for the roles companies are hiring for – and that’s where talent and HR teams come into play.

Shaelyn Klaus is a talent acquisition partner with online retail platform Zalando in Dublin. Her job is to attract the best talent in the tech industry, particularly in the areas of software engineering, product management and data science.

‘As a recruiter, I think it is important to be able to be adaptable and wear different hats’

If there is such a thing, can you describe a typical day in the job?

Because of the fast pace and challenging environment, no day is ever the same or repetitive. I spend lots of time speaking to many people every day, learning about their experiences, while also meeting stakeholders and balancing the priorities of the business.

Typically, this involves ensuring our candidates are well informed and clear of Zalando’s recruitment process as well as describing the culture at Zalando Dublin.

What types of project do you work on?

At Zalando we have initiatives in place to support our diversity and inclusion goals. This involves creating hiring teams with a diverse panel as well as educating hiring teams on minority groups.

Taking part and organising recruitment events such as We Are Data and meet-ups helps us connect with the wider tech community and establish connections for knowledge sharing going forward.

What skills do you use on a daily basis?

Communication, negotiation, stakeholder management, adaptability, project management, patience, empathy and analytical decision making.

What is the hardest part of your working day?

Working as a talent acquisition partner is like riding a rollercoaster; one day you can have multiple offers accepted or have a successful alignment meeting with a hiring team, and the next day you may have lost good talent to other companies or the role you have been focusing on for the last few months gets put on hold.

Do you have any productivity tips that help you through the working day?

Set a schedule and allocate time in your calendar to complete tasks. Make sure you are re-evaluating priorities and focusing your time and effort to where it matters.

Keep open lines of communication to manage expectations. Understand metrics and analytics to help you remove bottlenecks in the process.

When you first started this job, what were you most surprised to learn was important in the role?

As a recruiter, I think it is important to be able to be adaptable and wear different hats. Being familiar with work permit-processing steps, details on company benefits, onboarding and other areas in HR are very useful in answering queries from candidates or new joiners.

How has this role changed as this sector has grown and evolved?

The tech sector has seen many changes almost overnight, with new companies and applications being developed and released daily.

In addition to that, external factors such as the impact of Covid-19, international affairs and economic conditions have also changed the landscape of the future of work.

The valuable takeaway from the tech industry is the ability to adjust in an agile manner where changes are made quickly and impact can be immediate.

What do you enjoy most about the job?

Working with people! I love meeting new people every day, learning about candidates and their path, where they are headed to next.

I also really enjoy collaborating with various stakeholders and hiring managers to deep dive into their team and business area and really understand everything from a broad perspective to the technical pieces.

Getting to work alongside a small support team gives me exposure to many areas outside of recruitment, such as onboarding, employer branding events and performance evaluations. This provides variety and also exposes me to other areas I can learn and develop further in.

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