work culture

A Career in HR Plus Job Seeker Tips with Chandra Caridi, VP of HR at Oatly

January 13, 2021

Chandra Caridi is the VP of Human Resources at Oatly, the delicious, go-to oat milk brand.

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Chandra Caridi is the VP of Human Resources at Oatly, the delicious, go-to oat milk brand. Chandra shares about her career journey, how to build a strong workplace culture, and how she ended up at a fast-growing, trending company like Oatly by embracing failure and curiosity and welcoming the unknown.

Today, Oatly has over 165 employees and is widely known for having an incredible workplace culture. I’m thrilled to bring this conversation to you on The Career Memos Podcast.


There are a lot of buzzwords in HR. Here is what you should know.

You may have wondered what’s what in HR. What is the difference between a recruiter and a Human Resources manager?

Recruiters have a very important role, often being the first point of entry to a company. You can think of them as the matchmakers. They are responsible for sourcing talent for different roles in a company and creating a thoughtful experience for interviewees. They are also focused on diversity. 

Whereas an HR Manager is in place to set up a new hire for success. Their purpose is to nurture them, support their ongoing career development, and unlock their full potential. 

It may seem like the role of the recruiter is fairly transactional – you find A-list candidates, they get hired, then you move on. But when Chandra was in a recruiting role early in her career, she was thoughtful and forward-thinking about how each of her potential candidates would continue to thrive after getting hired.

You can do anything, but not everything.

Chandra happily filled the HR role at Oatly after their President admitted that HR wasn’t his strength within the growing company. From there, she went from a solo team of 1 to a team of 9 and growing.

The first order of business was implementing triage: having clear systems and processes in place was key. Chandra identified that she needed a recruiter immediately and found a great applicant tracking system. It was a slow process, but built from there.

Later, they opened their first US factory and realized they needed help with HR operations so they took on business partners to support specific teams within the company.

Have grace and patience when applying to jobs at popular companies.

It may not come as a surprise to hear that Oatly can receive sometimes as many as 400 applications for a single role within 24 hours.

Chandra reminds us to have grace and patience and to be mindful. Oatly gets back to every single candidate that applies.

But how do you stand out? What’s huge for Oatly is to have some connection to what they are doing. Let them know what their company means to you, and when communicating your passion for the brand and the role, be original and intentional, as it can be obvious to Chandra when an applicant is copying and pasting a canned message.

Something else that stands out goes beyond having a shiny college degree. Look at the company’s mission statement and core values. For example, at Oatly, Chandra says candidates who share stories that evoke their level of resilience and adaptability always stand out on paper.

Create intrigue so a company will be curious to learn more about you.

The Career Memos Podcast is available on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher, and Google Podcasts. withSarina Career Coaching equips Gen Z and Millennials with the career tools they need to succeed. Learn more here.

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Over the last 12+ years, I’ve done everything from work as a global human rights activist to lead marketing & partnerships initiatives at companies like Postmates and Apple. I’ve started businesses, lived in multiple cities around the world, pivoted careers more than once, and know what it takes to turn career goals into a reality. As a career coach & consultant, I’m passionate about sharing all that I’ve learned with you, helping you define tangible goals, and providing you with the tools and direct feedback you need to achieve them.

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