CERN Jobs Insight

Referral Letters: guidelines for you and your referees

Have you ever been recommended by a friend to download a fancy new apps from Apple or Google that s/he particularly liked, before even having heard about it?

There are many occasions in life where recommendations and feedback from others can be useful, and shall be sought. As an applicant, it’s probably a good thing to look beyond what can be learned via the organisation’s official communication channels: by discussing with someone who is working or has worked for an employer, you...


“Wondering what would happen if the Recommendations and Endorsement features on LinkedIn were further inspired by the star rating system already used by online retailers… Also wondering how relevant are these features when you can buy Endorsements online…” MA

Summertime and the livin’ is easy

Dry weather, hot temperatures, there is barely any wind in the air. While you’re thinking about climate change physics or to the swimming pool you would rather be going to instead of your office, you’re contemplating your feet during your walk to work.

Actually, it is incredible the number of things we can find out only by looking at people’s feet. Are these ballet flat shoes waiting for the tram heading to Meyrin? Are those trainers pedalling among wheat fields to be on time for...


Feel like those of you who did not miss the Cannes Festival are probably wondering who won the CERN 1st April Fools’ Day Awards. So here are the results:

– Application documents: Submitting a dental scan instead of a CV...

The (too) perfect applicant

What was the most recent stressful event during which you wanted to be seen at your very best? Perhaps for your final oral exam at Uni, for the very first meeting with your parents in law, or for a sports event in which you were competing? Do you remember how you prepared for it? Did you know roughly what to expect before?

Each year, recruiters meet a significant number of people who are in a similar situation and they wholeheartedly acknowledge the fact that going through a selection process can be a stressful experience, especially at the interview stage. That’s what we do at CERN, and we try to minimize this feeling by giving applicants information they would need to be best prepared for it.

Preparation is key, and the perfect applicant would have this...


“Wondering if Recruiters should consider applications from candidates who are not motivated enough to submit quality documents, even if these suggest an interesting profile.” MA

April Fools’ Day Awards

Something you have probably not missed if you are a movie fan, is the 87th Academy Awards ceremony, where the US cinema industry paid tribute to the best people in that field. I could probably find several comparisons between cinema and recruitment, but the one I wanted to mention today is that recruiters also have occasions to pay tribute to applicants. At CERN for example, we make sure we give a quality oral feedback to all invited candidates, recognising their strengths and advising on potential improvements, so they can perform better during future interviews, at CERN or elsewhere.

But the good thing with the Academy Awards is that, before they are invited for the D-Day, nominees and winners have been through a selection process where only professionals from the industry are allowed to vote for their peers....


“Feel like I have to write a post about why Recruiters do not want to find a sledgehammer when looking to insert a drawing pin.” MA

Interviewing James Purvis, Head of Talent Acquisition at CERN

What about if for once, roles were reversed? What if you had the chance to interview a Recruitment Specialist? Would you take this opportunity to ask some of the most challenging questions you have personally been asked in a past interview experience?

This month, James Purvis, CERN Head of Talent Acquisition, is answering some of the questions you always had about recruitment at CERN, and which I dared ask him on your behalf!

Do you remember your candidate experience at CERN?

I was first invited to CERN to attend an interview for a student work-placement in the Management Information Systems group at CERN in 1989. It was a real luxury to fly out to Geneva with British Airways as a student. I remember being walked along a labyrinth of dimly-lit Orwellian looking corridors by a...


Feel like I have to change career when most of the cover letters I read say "as you can see from my application, I am the perfect match for this job" while I can't find any relevant skills in the CV.” MA