The Modern Workplace: A Q&A with Jennifer Finkelson of Aveda

It’s a question that’s top of mind for recent grads and job seekers: What experiences and skills matter most when it comes to landing a position? Our Graduate Business Career Services team seeks to answer this question by talking to recruiters, founders, business owners and C-level executives about the qualities and skills they think make potential employees stand out and get noticed.

This month, we spoke with Jennifer Finkelson, global talent acquisition for Aveda, The Estée Lauder Companies.

How would you describe Aveda's business culture?
Our company is passionate about environmental sustainability. It ripples through every business decision and plays an important role in what we do each day. Our culture is caring and positive, employees are encouraged to volunteer in their communities and make personal choices that are environmentally friendly.

When it comes to interviewing, what is a mistake that candidates make?
In preparation for interviews, some can fall into a “canned answer” trap that comes across as disingenuous. I much prefer a candidate who has researched our company and has thought through real examples about relevant experience rather than a candidate who has memorized responses to frequently asked questions.

What are some exciting trends coming up at Aveda or in the industry?
Aveda is a prestige brand that aligns with the latest trends in the fashion world.  Our network is filled with innovative thinkers, and our creative director rolls out seasonal collections each year that are beautiful and unique expressions of our brand.

What are some areas of need within Aveda right now?
As a hiring manager, I struggle most to keep enough skilled labor staffed in production as we grow.

What are a few of the specific skills you give top priority when hiring for a position?
I'm looking for polished communication skills and the ability to collaborate across many functions.

What would be your advice to job seekers who are trying to assess whether a company is a good fit for them? What questions would you suggest they ask in an interview process that could help to determine this?
I think this is different for every individual; as a job seeker you should ask yourself: Do I feel inspired by their mission statement? Am I comfortable with the people I’ve been meeting? Would I buy what they are selling? Another important question to ask yourself is what is personally important to you. If you're looking for work/life balance and they are asking you a lot of questions about working long hours, that is something to think about. There is no reason to compromise what is important to you - it should feel like a great match without any hesitation.