Behind the scenes of CERN's Talent Acquisition team: Meet Muriel and Céline

Added: 13th June 2019 by CERN

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I don’t really have a regular week. Every day is a new adventure.

Meet Céline and Muriel who work as ‘talent detectors’ in CERN's HR Talent Acquisition team: find out more about them, their daily work and what makes them tick!

Hi Muriel! Hi Céline! Tell us a little about yourselves:

Muriel: I’m 33 years old, I'm married and we are lucky to be the parents of a 3 year old boy. I’m a real Belgian, I enjoy a good meal in a nice restaurant and I enjoy having a drink with friends and family after work and although I didn't expect it, Geneva has many cool "after work" places.

Céline: I’m French, 29 and am told I have a funny English accent. I enjoy every aspect of my life: in French we would say ‘je croque la vie à pleine dents’ (I take a huge bite out of life's apple!). I may not be a theoretical physicist but I try to understand the fundamental laws of nature by hiking all over the world and taking pictures of the amazing places I visit.

What do you do in CERN HR’s Talent Acquisition team?

Muriel: I’m working as a Recruitment & Sourcing Specialist for our professional roles, so if you would like to become a staff member at CERN there is a chance we might meet. What does a typical week look like for me? I'll be seeking great talent among the hundreds of applications we receive for our varied engineering and technical roles, but also for administrative and other support roles, looking for the professional 'particles' to come collide in our unique Organisation! I also run selection boards, 1 or 2 each week typically where I interview candidates with my colleagues in the different hiring departments to ensure they are the right for the role, and the role is the right fit for them.

Céline: My main task is to coordinate the Technical Student and Volontaires Internationaux programmes as well as the Technician Training Experience programme. I am the little mouse behind the scenes, checking the eligibility of the applications, organising selections, preparing the contracts and welcoming our future colleagues. I don’t really have a regular week. Every day is a new adventure.

What’s your background and how did you come to CERN?

Muriel: I grew up in Antwerp city and graduated 9 years ago with a Master in Law and Economics. 6 years ago our life suddenly accelerated when I followed my husband to Geneva when he was sent here for work. And I took my chance, applied for a role at CERN and was thrilled to be offered the job in such a unique work environment!

Céline: I studied Management and Economics. I had the feeling that CERN was the place for me so I persevered... I had applied several times until the Talent Acquisition team gave me a chance to join their team, trusting me despite me not having an HR background. It’s been almost three years and I confirm: I am very happy.

What are the challenges of your role?

Muriel: My main stakeholders are hiring managers and I consider myself very lucky to being able to collaborate with them, discovering the multiple aspects of engineering and technology we have at CERN through their eyes and experience. It's fascinating! We challenge each other every day on different topics such as diversity, candidate experience, sourcing, technical assessments, etc. We could compare it to  CERN's machine developments: we work together to determine what could be improved. 

Céline: I think my challenge is putting the H in "HR". Every month newcomers arrive, leaving their family and country to start a new life here at CERN. I am trying my best to help them and make it as easy as possible for them to get the most out of their time here.

What do you like about it?

Muriel: I enjoy the combination of operational excellence and at the same time having the freedom to shape my own work and contribute to multiple other aspects of HR.

Céline: I love that my role allows my universe to collide with all my colleagues’ universes, hundreds of collisions, every day, between different people, cultures, habits, hobbies, projects and experiences.

What are highlights of your time with CERN so far?

Muriel: I got married 2 years ago so I can’t ignore this personal highlight but aside from this I must say that every recruitment is like a collision that triggers data. I learn from the people that I’m meeting each day and it helps me grow and thrive personally and professionally.

Céline: CERN pushes the limits of science and allows me to push my own limits, everyday a little bit more. I live my life close to the speed of light and CERN accelerates my opportunities for learning new things. You can’t get enough of CERN and life around CERN!

Any special anecdotes?

Muriel: I had a skype interview with a candidate who really amazed me. She designed a new job description based on the original by making different visuals out of it. She just brought it up in passing during the skype but it really blew us away.

Céline: My anecdote is my amazement at having grown up so close by but never having thought I would work here! I live 25 km away from CERN, and I see the Globe of Science from my bedroom, and from my office at CERN I see the mountains. The structure of my universe is a beautiful mixture of the two. When I was a kid, I would see this illuminated Globe but I never thought I would be working there one day.

Describe what ‘quality of life’ means for you.

Muriel: 5 years ago, Geneva didn’t sound so much like music to my ears… When we arrived, we started to discover the region and I actually fell rapidly in love with the beauty of the surroundings, and my positive impressions ‘accelerated’ quickly. Every weekend feels like a holiday. I live in Satigny, very close to CERN and to the vineyards. Quality of life means to me being able to come home at noon, have lunch with my son and pick him up from the crèche on my electric bicycle.

Céline: for me, it means being happy that the weekend arrives to enjoy the area, hiking or skiing but also happy that the weekend ends to see my colleagues again. No Sunday evening blues, I kind of like Mondays at CERN.

On a totally different take, If you were a particle, what would you be and why?

Muriel: Céline told me about this cool quiz to determine what particle I am. Turns out I'm a Gluon, which ‘they "glue" quarks together forming protons and neutrons. As a recruiter I feel it’s kind of my job to see whether I can be the glue between candidates and a job and a team.

Céline: I'm a Gluon too! The strong force between Quarks. Let’s say that the Technical Students, TTEs and VIs are Quarks and I am the Gluon who is linking them to CERN, its wonders and opportunities.

Over to you! Take the test and find out which particle you are! And apply now for our many different student, graduate and professional opportunities: who knows, we may well meet one day! Take part.

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Tagged as: Careers Advice