With a team dispersed across the region or across the globe, how do you meet peers from a little bit of everywhere? Cisco technology is, of course, one way! Webex and Webex for Teams keeps us connected constantly, but sometimes, nothing beats good old fashioned face-to-face time.

The news of having an off-site meeting in Berlin with all the recruiters in EMEAR (Europe, Middle East, Africa and Russia) made my eyes light up. As part of the sales recruitment team, I have met my direct team in person a few times, but just thinking of having the option to meet the rest of the team was simply amazing, and immediately I was excited!

I couldn’t stop thinking about how beneficial it was going to be to have two days together not just sharing ideas, best practices, and opinions on our industry and how we could improve, but also having the time for some fun, which would no doubt bring us even closer.

Our adventure started on the day of arrival with an optional dinner, as it was expected that many may be tired from traveling. But it didn’t take long to realize that this was going to be an amazing event because EVERYONE showed up!

We enjoyed each other’s company, and the opportunity to catch up in a very informal and casual way as we mingled, enjoyed a delicious meal together and filled the room with laughter and relaxation.

The next morning, our offsite began!

After a short introduction from our Director, the first session was about sourcing the best talent by Jim Stroud, who presented different ways for us recruiters to find future Cisco employees. We then broke out into sub-groups and shared different complex, real cases where some members of the team presented best practices too! Some of these examples were how to find talent from an alumni association or professional group as an alternative way for hiring talent in very niche roles.

During all these activities we were encouraged to participate and brainstorm on ideas to improve our jobs. The freedom in collaborating that we have at Cisco is unique, and one of the reasons I love where I work!

At the beginning of the day, we were given a bag filled with goodies, but instructed not to open it until this exact moment. One of the items in the bag, a Cisco cap, established each recipient’s place in the next activity, which was to be the last activity for the day.

The color of the cap (mine was navy :)) drove me to a sub-team for a competition that would have the team exploring Berlin’s most popular sites while responding to quizzes, taking photos, and having fun with our colleagues. We would have just three hours to tour Berlin and complete our mission – each question or activity had a point value, and the team with the most points would win!

You may think this activity has nothing to do with recruiting – but, think again!  Talent Acquisition requires teamwork, and we certainly explore markets, people, and other companies to make Cisco successful.

The second day, we had a full day of meetings about strategy and our “one HR” approach – which is to say that Cisco is a very large company, but we should all operate as one. Before our offsite ended and we all headed back home, our last session was about how talent acquisition contributes to help refugees find jobs at Cisco.

Three people shared their stories of what life was like for them before they joined Cisco and their feelings about their current opportunities. It was incredible to hear their experiences first hand, and to find out how many of these people needed to leave their countries involuntarily. To see how strong they were to persevere and keep going left me with a big smile and a lot of gratitude. Their stories left many of us feeling a variety of emotions, but we all felt very inspired, and a true sense of purpose in our role.

I am so proud to be a part of this amazing team that finds not only the best talent, but the best people to continue making Cisco grow as a family!

Want to join us? We’re hiring.


Raquel Cuesta

Senior Recruiter

Talent Acquisition, EMEAR