My job is headhunting
Unlike standard recruiting, recruiting in the field of modern technologies has its own specifics. Potential candidates are most often experts in a particular industry. These specialists are able to bring new knowledge, key partners to the company and take it to a new stage of development.
We spoke with recruiter Zuzanna Jendryczko about what the search for highly qualified specialists looks like today, what are the main trends and what is needed to find the perfect job or the ideal employee in innovative industries.
Zuzanna, first of all, tell us how you came to HR?
I studied sociology at the university. Generally, people who go to HR graduate from psychology. But I found my way into this field through languages: a person who knew both French and German was wanted. That company recruited doctors to work in Germany, France and Scandinavia. Later, I spent about a year in an American corporation, where I was involved in the life science industry, in particular in the pharmaceutical and medical equipment industry. I worked with one of the largest producers of comprehensive solutions for hospitals — often for Saudi Arabia and the Emirates, because then many hospitals were built there and they were equipped from A to Z. Later I moved to a company where I work almost exclusively in the biotech industry. We recruit people for pharmaceutical companies who are to deal with medical communication of new drugs. This profession involves continuous training and being up to date.
You personally don’t have the expertise to fully understand what the people you recruit do?
It’s true, I have no scientific background, no scientific knowledge. But that is not required of me. For recruitment, I need to check what experience someone has, whether he or she knows the market, whether they are familiar with a given environment, with whom they have previously cooperated. These things are not related to the details of their industry, but they are important for me.
Is there any dedicated portal, CV database, where you’re looking for candidates?
There are some groups on LinkedIn, but our candidates are so in demand that we don’t act that way. My job is headhunting. I check what projects are on the market now, who is the leader and who could have worked on it. I am looking for someone who has experience — either professional or scientific. Often these people come from competitors.
Does someone send a CV directly to you?
This is rarely the case. Probably 98 percent of the people we employ come either from our market research or recommendations.
Does sharing job offers on social media help?
It happens. But this is because I have a large network on LinkedIn. Network is very important in an effective executive search in a specific industry. The larger my network, the easier it is to reach someone. Most of the candidates I talk to are connected to me later on LinkedIn, we take care of that. I personally make sure that my profile says very clearly what I do. Because when someone comes from a different industry — there is very little chance that I will be able to help him.
Is there always an ideal candidate?
The candidate’s profile does not always meet all the criteria. But then personality matters. There are people who work in one profession and would like to move to another. If they have the right education and the right personality type, we also take them into account. But it is generally preceded by thorough market research.
What are the current trends in the HR industry?
I don’t know if my job can be done in an innovative way, because it is always talking to people. We can change the ways we send a CV, we can use new instruments, but it’s always about some kind of interview and checking both skills and qualifications and the personality that suits us.
But what does the high-tech labor market look like today?
I can say that outsourcing is a big trend on the market. I am not working directly for a pharmaceutical company, but for an agency. People work for us and we delegate them to various projects that last from 1.5 to 3 years. This is a trend that has been active in IT for a long time, and is still developing in my industry. Many people understand now that you can work like this. As an agency, we are actively looking for new projects for our employees. We have an entire business acquisition department to do this. A lot of people started to see outsourcing as an opportunity to work with many different companies on very interesting projects.
What are the most common job requirements from employees’ sight?
I think that an important demand from employees is intellectual stimulation, project potential, and access to modern technologies. The company’s vision and the sense of operating in a startup are also important. I often deal with people who want to work in a company at the startup stage. Because then you can change something, create different things. This is a great satisfaction.
If someone asks me the first question — what is the salary, it is not a good question. But it happens. Of course, money always counts. But if someone is looking for a very specific employee for a very specific job, it is better to leave this topic for later.
In our industry, people who are focused on development, self-education and knowledge, feel the best. They are curious about the world, they don’t like micro-management and want to decide for themselves how they create their work. These are candidates who match the companies I work with.
Do these requirements change with age?
I think that older people are more attached to the place, they are more loyal. Young people know that they will change jobs several times and are less attached to the company and its culture. But young people are more likely to ask themselves what I can give the company, not what they can give me; how can i improve my competence? Young people have more individualism and attitude towards themselves as a person who contributes something. I see it positively.
What do employers most often require?
In addition to the level of education and general intellectual acuteness, the ability to fulfill the assigned tasks, they probably wait for a certain attitude. That the role of an employee will not be limited “from … to …”, but will involve a number of disciplines. Such cross-functional. Some kind of flexibility is also expected.
A proactive attitude is very important at work: if there is a problem, I do my best to solve it. Over the years of my work, I am really surprised how many people can sabotage themselves. I know things can happen. But I want to hear how someone fixed the problem. Problems are there to be solved — alone or in a team.
What could you advise people who are looking for a job in IT, deeptech or life science?
I think I’ll start like everyone else in this field: “It depends…” In the industry in which I work, you need a diploma. You can’t go without it. It is also difficult not to have a well-completed profile on various websites. You don’t have to sell yourself, but simply describe everything you’ve done: studies, specialization, title, work experience.
It is worth doing market research, which companies are the strongest, what they specialize in, what are the needs. If in some countries there are more companies that deal with a certain topic, you can think about improving the language and going there.
There are also industries where it comes in handy to know someone. So, it is important to expand your network of contacts. There are many different conferences and events where you can look for these contacts.
Are internships or trainings useful?
I believe that additional training is worth doing, but only when someone already has a chosen career path and this contributes to its development. The more specific the training is, the better. If a diploma allows you to certify something later, or you are awarded the title of specialist, this is a good choice. For example, if someone wants to move to culturology from the tech industry, I wouldn’t recommend cultural studies. These studies are great for sure, but they will not bring much to your career. Better to learn to manage time correctly.
Yuliya Hoika, journalist, branding and communication specialist.
Zuzanna Jendryczko is mainly engaged in recruiting for the life science industry in Europe, but also on other continents. She is convinced that delivering medicines to patients who need them is a very important endeavor worth contributing to.