“You can’t find me a job in IT?” A sentence that changed my life

rozhovor_martin-01-01Read an interesting interview with Martin Šimon, lead “headhunter” at Experis, about why he doesn’t see people as just pieces of meat and how important it is to get to know them.

I’ll admit it. When I headed to interview Mr. Šimon, I was thinking: „Oh boy, this is going to be some wannabe IT recruitment guru shaking his mane before every breath“. I was pleasantly mistaken, but that’s what this interview is about.

Mr. Šimon, you work as a Team Leader in a company that sources employees to companies as big as Cemex, CSC or Siemens. How do you personally perceive your profession?    

How I perceive it? One day, one of my close acquaintances asked me “Martin, how is it possible that you can’t find me a job in IT when you work where you work?” That was the moment I realized something was wrong. I thought hard about it and decided that we would start doing things differently. My and my team of consultants’ motto is “I’ll find an employer if I have a good person to work with”, and I always have those. When someone messages me on LinkedIn or on FB, sends an e-mail, calls or comes in person, it means one thing in my eyes – they’re interested, and I appreciate and value even this single step. My perception of my profession is that I help people find their true work potential.

Can you describe in more detail what exactly the words “doing things differently” mean to you?

Getting to know the person wanting to work with us as much as possible. And going farther and deeper than is the norm for staffing agencies. That’s the difference, see? Crossing established boundaries in some way, which means not paradoxically putting the person in any established boxes. We want to figure out their motivation and fears, but also their soft skills. Some of our clients actually ask us to focus on the soft stuff. They’re interested in it. So if I had to sum it up – we want to figure the person out top to bottom.

That sounds a little utopic.

We’re not superheroes (short pause), but we try to vouch for each of our candidates. That’s why in Experis we have a good starting position when it comes to “headhunting” a little more sensitively, as I like to say. We are also in direct contact with head managers of large IT companies.

How do you conceptually work with a candidate who turned to you so you’d help them find a job?

The concept is wonderfully simple. We basically want to make the candidate lazy and calm (smiling).

Make them lazy? You mean that?

Absolutely. We want to be the driving force behind everything and to provide comfort when it comes to recruiting and communication with a client. The candidates are passive and we offer them to companies and tell them about them. Where our work ends, that is, when we find them a suitable position, is where the candidate’s work begins. So why should they actively stress by looking for a job when they decided to trust our services?

You mentioned a topic I’m interested in a lot, which is where your work with the candidate actually ends?

We want to support the candidate in whichever way we can. We communicate with them pretty much all the time. It’s a partnership for life. We don’t forget about our people. It would be extremely stupid to just find a job for them and then delete them from our records and memories for good. Also, with this method of communication, we get a 100% thorough feedback. Sometimes our former candidate comes back and in turn lets us know something they learned during their employment. We make them coffee and get to it (laughing). Without things like these we wouldn’t be able to keep growing.

Mr. Šimon, now I’d like to know… How much of your work is thorough preparation and what percentage is just improvisation at a given moment?

Well first of all, I work with people 24 hours a day (laughing), so it’s definitely improvisation through and through. But yeah, that’s a good question (takes a while to think). I’ll try to answer it with a real-life example from my work. Recently a person contacted me saying they’re a Python developer and we didn’t have any positions officially listed for that occupation at the time. So I started working outside of our network. I picked out four companies and managed to get a meeting at two of them. So that’s what the preparation/improvisation ratio looks like for me. We always have to be able to somehow manage, we’re helping people change their lives after all.

OK, now a bit of a different question… What if even despite all of your efforts you still can’t find a position for a candidate? What then?

As I said in the beginning, we’re not superheroes, but of course we don’t give up at the first sign of trouble. We actually work continually with people for whom we are unable to find jobs right away.

How do you work with them?

We give them tips on how to properly fill out their profile on job portals etc. And they can of course consult us on everything regarding job search. Besides, I lead a team of experienced and skilled IT and engineering consultants who are fully committed to their profession. Frankly, if they weren’t, if they didn’t actually live the job, they would’ve left a long time ago and started doing something else. Because our profession is very mentally exhausting, believe me.

How often does a candidate look for a position only based on salary?

I will say this – we are here to direct the candidate in this area. Sometimes their demands are overestimated, sometimes they are underestimated. Imagine three points of a triangle – the client, the candidate and us. We all have the same goal – to find a right person, in the right place, and to incorporate your question, with the right salary. That’s the only way the triangle makes sense to me.

Where do you think the IT job market is now?

The way I see it, the market supply will grow until at least 2020, but schools won’t deliver people that fast. For example, last year, in 2016, we did a global survey and found out that IT professionals are in second place in the rankings of top positions which employers globally have the hardest time filling. And now what? Also, many people studying IT tend to be introverted and these are often the most talented ones. But when they get “thrown out” by the school after graduation, they lack assertiveness. So it’s not that the people don’t exist, rather that they don’t know how to apply themselves or, let’s say, break through. See? This is where we get to my concept of getting lazy.

My last question: Do you get contacted even by people who have zero IT knowledge but are very tempted by it?

Yes, we do. And we definitely don’t tell them “no”. I don’t remember a single instance in the last five years, since Experis started, of us turning such a person down. Our job is to accommodate our candidate and try to help them as best we can. We can offer personalized training and have a network built up around the world. Those are our biggest assets. I even have to admit that I personally was pleasantly surprised when I recently found out that we have offices in Colombia and Israel, so we’re truly around the world (smile).

After a pleasant interview with Martin Šimon from Experis, I was, thanks to his openness, given a new perspective on the whole process of recruitment. Apparently it’s not boring, but a pretty thrilling ride – for everyone involved.

Source: http://cdr.cz/clanek/ty-mi-nejsi-schopen-najit-praci-v-it-veta-ktera-mi-zmenila-zivot, Author: Pavel Jartym