Recently, Senior Consultant Heber Hernandez and Consultant Gustavo Lopez participated as speakers during FTI Consulting’s “Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging Leaders Share Interviewing Tips” event. More than 140 young professionals and college students who identify as diverse — many from Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Hispanic Serving Institutions — gathered online to learn about enhancing professional development and interview skills from FTI Consulting’s team. Heber and Gustavo shared their experiences and provided mentoring sessions as part of the event. In this Q&A, they share insights from the event, as well as their perspectives on diversity, inclusion and belonging at FTI Technology.
Heber, Gustavo, it sounds like the recent event for young professionals was very well received. Can you share a few details about the event?
Lopez: We had a chance to talk to potential FTI Consulting candidates about what we do at FTI Technology and the different segments and practices across the organization. Heber and I shared a bit about a day in the life of an e-discovery consultant and digital forensics investigator, as well as our journeys in getting to where we are in our current careers.
Hernandez: The students were really appreciative of the advice given during the event. After the sessions, each attendee was asked to choose which segment they were most interested in and then we were connected with several to arrange one-on-one discussions to answer questions, offer advice and act as a connection they could reach out to if they needed help as they started applying for jobs. We reminded them how important it is to not give up and to remember that some jobs don’t work out, but that the right one will come along if they keep at it.
Can you talk about that a bit more — how you got to where you are in your career and any challenges you faced?
Hernandez: I came to FTI Technology a bit later in the game than most young professionals. It was difficult to get the experience I needed to qualify for positions, but so many organizations wouldn’t consider me without that experience. So, it was important for me to find opportunities to get my foot in the door and I had to go through a lot to get here. I started out with an internship and ended up going part-time at my other job just so I could get experience. For all of the effort, it worked out. I love this place and the people that we get to work with.
I try to share my story with young professionals just starting out as a way to give advice to not hesitate when opportunity shows up. Go for it. It might require sacrifices to make it happen, but it’s important not to give up.
What advice did you share for how new candidates can stand out and connect with the right opportunities?
Lopez: I think that FTI Technology is looking for candidates who really know themselves and their impact. So, I encourage young professionals to establish what they’re an expert at, or build a strong, specific skillset that can be emphasized in job applications and interviews. It’s also helpful to be able to demonstrate where in your life and your activities you have taken a leadership role, and specific examples of how you work collaboratively.
Here, we’re in constant communication with clients, our team and other teams, so collaboration is an important skill for anyone who wants to work here. Of course, tech savvy can help you get in the door, but it is not always the most important requirement.
What do you like about working at FTI?
Hernandez: From my perspective, people from different cultures feel included at FTI Consulting. I feel like people have my back here. It feels like a family.
I also really appreciate that there are opportunities to be challenged and to grow. We do important work here. We assist clients in litigation and investigations, which is a constant and evolving need around the globe.
Lopez: In my first job out of college, I felt nameless and unseen by leadership. So when I joined FTI Technology, it was a bit difficult for me to see myself as an integral and visible part of the team and to get used to the collaborative approach. I had to get out of that old mindset so I could participate in the welcoming culture that thrives here. Now that I do, it’s really fulfilling. That’s especially important when things get hectic.
Why do you think FTI Consulting has been so successful at maintaining such a supportive and unifying culture?
Lopez: It comes down to the leadership. Before my time at FTI Technology, I never got one-on-one face time with leadership, but here, I speak directly with Senior Managing Directors. They know my name. I like having that personal connection. Leadership sets that culture and we all follow by example.
Hernandez: I agree. It starts from the top. Our Managing Directors and Senior Managing Directors are reachable in ways that you don’t see elsewhere. At other companies, my experience is that everyone stays in their own lane, but here, there is genuine care and encouragement to grow beyond your role. Anyone that has the desire to get to that next level is supported in doing so. Not only are there many professional development opportunities, but leadership also actually wants individuals to achieve their own professional goals.
The views expressed herein are those of the author(s) and not necessarily the views of FTI Consulting, its management, its subsidiaries, its affiliates, or its other professionals.