Exclusive Interview – Serge Da Motta Veiga, Professor of HRM, EDHEC Business School

Mr. Serge da Motta Veiga
Mr. Serge da Motta Veiga

– SWS editorial Team

We at Shreyas WebMedia Solutions (SWS) thank Serge Da Motta Veiga, Professor of HRM, EDHEC Business School for the exclusive interview opportunity. Serge Da Motta Veiga discussed the importance of Artificial Intelligence in HR recruitment and in new technologies and tools, workplace diversity and inclusion, and many more. 

What criteria do firms use to select the top candidates? 

The selection criteria will depend on the type of company, the industry, and the position they are hiring for (entry-level vs senior-level). For most jobs and companies, though, the rule of thumb is that HR managers seek candidates who fit the company in terms of the position (skills and expertise) and the organisation (its culture).

Could you provide any advice on how to go about networking for career opportunities?

Networking starts with the people you know best – your colleagues, your former colleagues, and your friends and family. Never rule out relatives or schoolmates. When you find the company (or companies) you want to work for, think about who in your circle might have a contact there, and then go to that person and ask how best to get an interview or at least an introduction. As an HR management professor and researcher, I study the job search, and I encourage job seekers to reach out to a potential employer, ask questions, and show their interest. Nowadays, with social media (e.g., LinkedIn), the reach of networking is much broader than in the past. 

What is the best way to seek a job and make a career plan?

At EDHEC Business school, where I am a professor, I teach a course where I challenge students to consider their future careers carefully and how those careers will line up with their personal goals and interests. Surprisingly, many young people don’t take the time to figure out what they truly want out of life and what will make them happy. Instead, they run after a job with a high salary or an impressive title. This often leads to burnout at a young age. Research shows that the average age of burnout is now 32. Instead, young professionals should evaluate the different career options in front of them, which ones align best with their interests, and which ones offer the skills and competencies that will help them succeed in the future. 

Could you tell us about the importance of Artificial Intelligence in HR recruitment and new technologies and tools?
Artificial Intelligence is being used more and more in the hiring process. The use of AI to analyse an applicant’s resume, voice, facial features, or social media activities is gaining acceptance in business, but that doesn’t mean that everyone agrees that it is the best way to select an employee. There are still ethical questions around using these technologies, and I advise that HR managers take a balanced approach to using AI. Specifically, when AI is used for more intrusive purposes, such as analysing job applicants’ social media profiles, this may be perceived by job applicants as violating their privacy. That said, AI can expedite certain stages of the recruitment process, such as resume screening, but human interaction is critical. Research shows that automated interview videos, for example, can be challenging for underrepresented categories of job seekers. There is also evidence of gender and race bias in these technologies, so HR managers must be vigilant or miss worthy candidates.

How to maintain composure during a job search and how to deal with one’s feelings after a rejection? 

Looking for and securing a new job can be emotionally draining. As rejections mount, job seekers can begin to feel that their skills and experience don’t have value in the job market. But this isn’t true, and so job seekers need to take time to psychologically detach themselves from their search as often as possible. By taking time away from the search and participating in other activities such as sports, entertainment, or family time, job seekers will feel more energised and motivated, and they will be more likely to stay focused on their search. Research I have conducted shows that job seekers who take time out tend to receive more interviews and, therefore, more opportunities.

Can you shed some light on workplace diversity and inclusion? 

It is more important than ever to take diversity seriously in the workplace. Research shows that a diverse team is a more productive and creative team. I encourage company leaders to be transparent about their own diversity—a parent who is an immigrant, a physical handicap, a hardship they overcame, etc.—and ask them to encourage their teams and job applicants to be transparent about who they are and where they came from. By telling our true story, we spotlight our unique talents and strengths. Furthermore, companies should invest in training employees to understand differences in the workplace and how they can all work together to make their workplace more inclusive.

What advice would you provide to young people regarding a career? 

I encourage students in my career development course at EDHEC to carefully consider how they want to live their lives. Where do they want to live? How much time do they want to spend travelling for work? What kind of work makes them the happiest? Do they want to have a family, and how much time are they willing to be apart from their family? I am often surprised by how little some students plan for their careers and how many of them charge ahead with a degree and job because of pressure from society, their families, or peers. In my course, students discuss their career plans with their peers, who often push back and tell them they need to reassess their goals. It’s an activity that helps some students rethink their future and make completely different plans. I also ask students how they would like to measure their life when they are older; what do they want to see when they look back at their career and life experiences?