CERN Jobs Insight


“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

D Day

Once upon a time… in the midst of the 2015 war for talents… a squad of Recruiters were looking for the hidden gem. The sourcing Ninja, the logistics Expert, the veteran HR Trainer aka the Swiss Army knife of the RU, have all done their job brilliantly, and Recruitment Specialist MA is now preparing to finalise the exfiltration of the best applicant within 4 remaining targets.

After having applied to a job at a European Organization for Nuclear Research, Applicant 139161 is preparing for an interview.

It’s been 2 weeks now that I’ve been waiting for this day. I’m glad to be given the opportunity to show that I am definitely the one they are...


“Wouldn’t it be wonderful if I could forward all my unsuccessful applications to the ex-employer of the new staff we just hired? This would save time and energy for other recruiters.” MA

Another year at CERN

Ah, January… New Year’s resolutions, cold weather, dark afternoons… If you are just returning from a 2 week coconut-trees-and-white-sand-beaches Christmas break (and even if you’re returning from somewhere else), you’re unlikely to want to face another reality principle which will give the final blow to your holiday spirit: an overloaded mailbox with tons of urgent emails to deal with.

So, imagine coming back from 2 weeks off with no email from your colleagues. Imagine being able to focus on the upcoming year, avoiding spending hours reviewing emails and trying to find out if they can be safely archived without requiring any additional action from your end? Wouldn’t this extend the holiday spirit?

When I came back after the 2 weeks end-of-year closure at CERN, I was not worried



“Received another CV with the incorrect job title targeted: Freight Forwarder instead of Legal Assistant. Feel like the applicant could just forward his CV to another organisation without checking the content.” MA

Serial applicants please also click here

If you enjoy reading and you’re the kind of person who could easily read a bestseller in a couple of days, I have a challenge for you. I won’t ask you to read the 600 pages of a famous thriller referring to CERN in one go, and to send me your thoughts about antimatter, but would you be able to go through the same amount of text and accurately select the most interesting 60 pages within a limited timeframe? How challenging would that be?

Recruiters at CERN go through each CV and every application form received. In our process, we do the initial shortlisting, forwarding only the relevant applications to the hiring manager who will then select candidates for the video interview. The number of applications varies, but we often receive more than a...