I’m Aya and I work in the People Team at OMG UK. I look after Learning & Development for OMG UK and Graduate Recruitment across all the agencies.
Before starting at OMG UK, I graduated with a master’s degree in organisational psychology and worked at Goldman Sachs as a graduate recruiter. It was a great experience and I learnt a lot, but I wanted to be in an environment where I could make an impact.
I knew from my first interview that OMG UK was where I wanted to be!
I had no experience in media and knew very little (does uploading pics on Instagram and snapchat count?) but was willing to learn and wanted a new industry where I could build upon both my skills and knowledge. I quickly came to realise OMG UK is somewhere where passion and attitude come first.
I usually get to my desk around 09:20 and get a pain au chocolate from the canteen – I can’t get enough of our free brekkie! I’ll grab a green tea and head back to my desk and start by planning my day and checking my to do list to see if there are any actionable items from the previous week. I’ll go through my inbox and decide what needs to be prioritised.
I cover both Graduate Recruitment and L&D, so my routine varies day by day. I’ll check all details are correct for the interviews scheduled in for the day and reconfirm any interviews for the following day. I’ll then sift through graduate applications received over the weekend and set up screening calls with any potential candidates.
Once it hits lunchtime, I take a stroll outside if the weather is nice or go up to the canteen. I like to watch a Netflix episode during my lunch hour!
After lunch I put aside the grad recruitment and work on L&D. I’m currently working on different projects, such as setting up mental health awareness days, creating guidelines and working on training needs across the agencies. I like to leave on time to catch my train back to Surrey – so my day typically ends at 5:30pm
I tend to spend the mornings carrying on with any current L&D projects. I may have meetings in the diary with Facebook or Google on training programmes we can incorporate within the group. I love being able to work on diverse projects across the different agencies under OMG UK – I get to spend time talking to and engaging with such insightful people.
I also have a catch up with my line manager on Tuesdays. We go through all the things we are currently working on or have in the pipeline and discuss graduate recruitment. It’s great to talk it through and see what we can do better, what needs focus and what can be put on a back burner. My manager is extremely supportive, and I think this is one of the most important aspects of any role: to have a relationship in which you can ask for help or some guidance!
I spend the afternoon on candidate screening calls, really trying to gauge what drew them to the media space. This is more of an informal format; in which I can recommend any roles I think would align with the candidate’s skills. Once they’ve confirmed interest, I will go through our recruitment portal and inform the hiring manager that the candidate is ready to be reviewed.
It’s a great buzz talking to young, passionate talent, and I am always learning on the job and developing my skills as I work across different levels of seniority in hiring managers.
On Wednesdays I tend to focus more on graduate recruitment. This is usually the day I have back to back candidate calls scheduled in, as I usually have anywhere between 15-20 graduate roles open at any given time. I also have a couple of apprenticeship roles across the group, so it’s a great day to put aside and focus on grads, apprentices and data fellowships.
This is where I usually have a catch-up call with our partner vendors to see if we have received any feedback and how we can continue to ensure a smooth process, so that everyone is making the most out of their apprenticeship and fellowships, and what support we can give.
It is usually mid-week that hiring managers will have reviewed candidates put forward to roles on Monday/Tuesday and let me know if they’d like interviews scheduled in. I schedule these interviews in for the end of the week, follow up on any feedback given for past interviews and set up second stages. It’s a lot of candidates at different points of the process so I like to keep a lovely spreadsheet to stay on top of everything (I love a good spreadsheet!).
I start the morning sifting through any applications received during the week and set up a couple of calls for the following week.
My focus on a Thursdays is on L&D projects, ensuring everything is set in terms of logistics and bookings. There are times when we need to promote training days, so I work with New Business and Marketing team to get fliers or design assets to send around to the group. If a training day has taken place, I’ll create a feedback survey and have this sent to gather feedback. This gives us data whereby we can see what we need to keep or change for the next time we run a training.
Friday tends to be the quietest day of the week. I use this day to go through my to do list, ensure everything I wanted to action for the week has been done, and sort through my inbox. I use my inbox as my own personal to do list, and I am an avid organiser, so I have a few different folders for different projects. Organisation is key when working a role that has two very different sides.
What is the best piece of advice you have received?
My old manager at Goldman used to have a motto: ‘Will someone die if this is left until tomorrow?’ ha!
But really, that’s the best piece of advice I’ve been given in the working world. It’s very easy to get caught up and lose out on a work life balance, or to stay that additional hour or two, and before you know it, it’s 9pm (anyone who’s been in corporate will understand this!).
It’s always good to ask yourself: ‘if I didn’t do this piece of work now, would this have a detrimental effect?’ This puts a lot of things in perspective. If the email isn’t going to have a knock-on effect, it doesn’t need a response in the evening when you are switching off – leave it until tomorrow. It’s about being smart with your time.
Who has been the biggest inspiration in your career?
The biggest inspiration in my career has been the Head of Recruitment when I worked in the Recruitment team at OMG UK. I am very blessed to have worked with one of the best female leaders (and I am even confident in saying the best I will ever see!). Watching her has taught me the importance of spending time and effort in getting to know your team, understanding what each person’s working style is, identifying everyone’s strengths and leveraging them, but also paying attention to areas of improvement and working together to tackle issues. I think it’s very rare to find a leader who has time for absolutely everyone, is always positive and recognises that there are good and bad days. She has taught me that it does not matter if you make mistakes, in the working world or outside, the most important thing is to recognise it, own it and find a solution for it. This is advice that should be given to anyone. If I’ll become half the woman she is (cheesy) in the future, I’ll feel extremely accomplished.
By Aya Alsahaf, Learning & Development Executive, Graduate Recruitment, OMG UK