A year of a high staff turnover: what recruitment has taught us

In the past year, SYL has gone through quite a few recruitment processes. Because of that I decided to write about some of my thoughts about recruitment, as well as some tips for applicants.

Recruitment takes time, but it’s also important to do it properly. Hiring someone can be a long-term commitment, and in a smallish work community a person’s skills, personality and attitude can have a major impact on the work.

A well-managed recruitment process is an important way to build our image as a good employer, and that’s also a reason to spend time on it. As far as possible, I have made it a habit to at least give feedback to interviewees, but also to interesting applicants who were not invited to an interview for one reason or another. Some applicants are inexperienced, but they may be potential applicants further down the line. It’s smart to show them that SYL is a good employer, and I feel that it’s important to encourage young people at the start of their careers.

We have also added questions that measure emotional intelligence to our list of interview questions, such as what the applicant would do in a situation where it feels like everything’s going wrong, or what they would do if they noticed that someone else is having a bad day. High emotional intelligence is also linked to good work performance. (Starczewski 2016). Here at SYL, we often work in teams and pairs, and as the union gets a new Board every year, there is also a high turnover in many of the working pairs each year. Lobbying work also includes a lot of meetings with different people. This means that high emotional intelligence is important.

Another main principle for our recruitment is strengthening the diversity in our work community. By hiring people who have been active within the student movement for a while, we can retain traditions and strengthen continuity. On the other hand, we also need people from outside the student movement to bring in new perspectives. Sometimes we need previous experience, and on other occasions we can hire based on potential. Unfortunately, the SYL office is very white at the moment, so there is still work to be done to strengthen the diversity in our work community.

I also promised to include some tips for applicants.

  1. Read the job advertisement carefully and make sure to answer it in your CV and cover letter.
  2. There’s no need to repeat the contents of your CV in the cover letter. It’s better to talk about what motivated you to apply and what sort of things you would do in the role. Share your vision and perspective!
  3. In an interview you can also talk about your areas of development and your growth. Self-reflection is part of your emotional intelligence, and you’re allowed to show it.
  4. Remember that the company you are applying to would usually be lucky to get you as an employee. So you don’t need to be too humble!

Sonja Raitamäki

Secretary General



Tunneäly yksilön ominaisuutena työelämässä

Rekrytoijien näkökulma

Hanna Starczewski 2016

Sonja Raitamäki
Secretary general

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