Sonia Puri | GRoW Programme Employability Lead
What do you most love about your job?
Helping people and supporting people – I love it! Seeing people progress on their journeys is a real joy to me. I have people come to me to do the CV workshops looking for support to improve their CVs but I often continue to provide support long after that, working with their Advisers to try to help participants who are getting closer to employment. Together we will work to come up with other ideas and suggestions and set objectives for them. As I am not an Adviser I can have a different relationship with the participant where I can perhaps challenge them a little bit more. This is where my skills and experience from Maximus comes in. Providing the right amount of support with the right amount of pressure that challenges them to progress is very much the key to success.
Another thing I really love about my job is doing Interview one-to-ones because you can see someone literally transform from being anxious to being confident right in front of your eyes. I wish there was more time in the day so I could do more! I try to keep people motivated and also try to accommodate people to ensure they are as comfortable and relaxed as possible when they do their mock interviews with me, even if that sometimes means an 8pm Zoom call when the participant’s children are safely put to bed.
What are the key strengths you bring to your job?
Since attaining my Business and Human Resources degree in 2004 my career has always been focused on supporting people. After graduating, I started off as a Recruitment Consultant for Hays Recruitment then moved into a HR and In-house recruitment role for UPS. I have also worked for Maximus as a Lead Employability Consultant, responsible for a team of 8. I have been writing CVs and providing career consulting for over 15 years and have worked in various sectors including retail, travel and banking. My work history combined with life experience has given me the ability to work with people of all ages and of all backgrounds; successfully building positive relationships through trust, understanding and working together to help the individual progress. I use my communicative and personable approach to provide the right feedback to participants, ensuring that it is constructive and useful; to make them feel empowered rather than criticised. Helping them to improve and do well is really important to me. I also think that my experience and skills help me bring new ideas to the team which we can quickly put into practice with our existing and new participants.
How did you come to be working with GRoW?
I saw an advert on an online Jobs Board for a vacancy for the position highlighting that it offered flexible working from home options. At the time I was working in Retail at the weekends, but I was looking for more hours with some flexibility and, as I had previously worked in the employability sector, it sounded really interesting. I applied, received a call back within the hour, went through the job application process, had an online interview with Liz and Tosin from the GRoW Team and the rest, as they say, is history!
What is the main difference you feel you make?
Bringing my experience and understanding of recruitment from both an employer’s perspective and a candidate’s perspective. I have hired people and I’ve been a recruiter and bringing those skills to the job is something I do feel really makes a difference as I can give candidates good advice about what an employer is really looking for.
What is your number one piece of advice for jobseekers?
To keep going, keep taking those small steps and you will in time, and at the right time, achieve your goal!