Jana Smidt: Passionate recruiter, process and travel lover

Jana Smidt: Passionate recruiter, process and travel lover

Both our clients and us at TalentHub know Jana as a recruiter who does her job with a big passion and dedication. But how did Jana even become a recruiter? What’s she like as a person and what interests her outside of work? Let’s find out!


Who is Jana?

Jana mentioned that for her, it’s hard to answer this question. “I’m from Saaremaa (an island in Estonia). In kindergarten, I wanted to become a flight attendant, which is funny, because I’m afraid to fly. I went to university in Tartu, where I studied the Estonian language. During my studies, I was also introduced to the human resources field and after university, I moved to London and applied for an internship role at TransferWise. Luckily they needed someone who didn’t have much experience, but rather a lot of willingness to learn. From there, I started my career in recruitment. In total, I spent five years abroad before coming back to Estonia.

Any hobbies?

I love to travel, even though I’m afraid of flying. However, I have decided that won’t stop me from traveling so I actually set myself a goal of visiting 40 countries before my 30th birthday. Currently, I’m at 38 countries and I have two months left to fulfill my goal – goddamn corona.

I also like to live a healthy lifestyle – I like going on a jog or a hike. Ice skating is also something that I really like, but lately I haven’t been able to do it (if someone wants to offer me private training, I would happily ice skate again.) During my free time I also like to learn Russian and solve puzzles.

What does Jana do at TalentHub?

Jana’s role at TalentHub is very broad. Besides her own recruitment projects, she provides consulting to firms. Additionally, she helps with operations and leads a team of eight. 

“I’m an advocate of strength-based leadership. That means I encourage my team members to do things that they are already good at even better.”


Jana explaining TalentHub recruiters  how headhunting really works.

What motivated you to join TalentHub?

“What interested me the most was the chance to build something from scratch. I really enjoy that my role is very broad and it involves both recruiting and leadership.”

How did you become a recruiter? Was it something that came naturally to you?

“Initially, I wanted to become a teacher, which is why i studied the Estonian language at university. During my studies though I was introduced to human resources. From there, my interest shifted to becoming a HR manager. I got lucky and my application to TransferWise was accepted and I started working in their London office as a HR intern. At the time their main pain point was recruitment, so from there it was kinda natural for me to start recruiting.”

“I would say that recruiting came quite naturally to me from the start, because I am a great communicator and listener. I’m capable of understanding what an organization needs and based on that, assess candidates. At the same time, I can’t say that recruiting is easy – you need to have certain skills, meaning you have to know how to communicate with people and you need to know how to listen to them. Additionally, you need to be willing to improve yourself at all times.

Which work-related challenges do you enjoy the most?

“I really like that we have very different recruitment projects here at TalentHub. This means, I always have to adapt and learn how to approach every role differently. What works with one role might not work with another.”

“The second challenge I really like is building an organization from the ground up. I’m a big process lover, and I really like to come up with processes that actually help the organization succeed.”

“Another challenge I enjoy is building an employer brand – how do you build a brand up from scratch so that people would like to come work with you.”

What do you like the most about working at TalentHub?

“I love that we operate on trust. Even though we help each other, I feel like I get a lot of autonomy with my work.”

Why did you decide to join a recruitment agency after working as an in-house recruiter for six years?

“I didn’t think I would ever work at an agency. With that being said, I saw an opportunity to become a better recruiter at TalentHub. During my time at TransferWise, I learned to work with agencies. Here, I see things from a different perspective – I already know how to work with recruitment agencies, but I also understand the needs of in-house recruiters. All this gives me a larger perspective, which helps me become a better recruitment partner.”

What is your pet peeve?

“I don’t like when people are sloppy with their work, especially when this sloppiness is related with data. It’s very hard for me to get a good view of something that is done poorly or that is even wrong.”