Interview Atsal
Interview with Alexandre Stefanesco
Head of HR-Agency Atsal
After having achieved success in closing vacancies in creative fields we focus on digital vacancies. To understand what is needed for HR specialists to close such job advertisings and what the difference is between Russian digital markets to others we start the blog "Interview with an Expert"
Our first expert is Alexandre Stefanesco and he is the Head of the HR Agency ATSAL (www.atsal.com). He was born in France, but has lived in Russia and in Moscow for nearly 9 years. He is married, has two kids and he is known as an HR-Passionate!

ATSAL is a Human Resources Consulting agency that provides a wide range of services and solutions to companies operating in Russia or planning to develop activities on the Russian market.
ATSAL mostly provides full recruitment services but also Recruitment on Demand.

"We are a small agency we have four people onboard now.
Our clients are mostly French companies operating on the Russian market but we also have clients from Asia and the Arabic world. We have clients operating on various fields: IT, Industry, Finance, Retail …"

-What digital staff do your clients usually look for?
We have a stable activity in Digital and a dedicated section about Digital in our website atsal.com/digital/

We have clients operating in E-commerce, email marketing, Mobile applications, A/B testing …

Regarding positions and profiles we do search for Developers, (PHP, Go Lang, C++, Android…), some Product and project managers, Senior Architects, Sales People… Any kind of position our clients may need to fill.

-What are usually the numbers of response / clicks?
Frankly speaking too low for Developers / Programmists!

Clearly, there is a lack of available workforce on the market and it is quite hard to reach them and quite hard to interest the candidates. However, a lot of them , while passive, are still interested on potential new projects. We understand that the good ones already work In House while many of them work on temporary projects and on free-lance mode… Therefore, we use a lot of ways to find them as usual postings on classical JobBoards and more others.

- Is it easy to select the right candidates and what are the key factors for selecting?

We do focus a lot on personality, trying to understand who candidates are, what their personal background is and how they should evolve on a personal point of view.

We try to see if this personality and the dynamic matches with what our clients are looking for.

We also have a very structured recruitment process that includes first contact, phone contact, face-to-face meeting and video-interview.

From 2017, we will also propose some new psychometric tests analyzing in a scientific manner the traits that influence the behavior and performance of an individual at work.

In general, we try to provide candidates with a positive experience and a transparent recruitment process.

If we speak about Developers, usually we have technical tests provided by our client in addition, allowing us to evaluate their technical skills.

- Are the qualification of the candidates written rightly in CVs?
Definitely no.

On the Russian market, there is a cultural lack of "well written CVs". Candidates still write CV in a too soviet way or for the youngest one in a too creative way.

In between, everybody has a HH CV, which we use too, but it is still very poor.

For Developers it is emphasized! They however do not rely on their CVs to find jobs but more on their portfolio and of course their networks.

- Do you see the difference between Russian candidates and French?
Ho! Yes a lot :)
French candidates are on an employer market with a very high level of unemployment so employer and recruiters usually face too much applications during their recruitment processes. In Russia, it is the opposite, because despite the crisis, we are still on a Candidate's market with shortages of profiles in many industries and many geographical areas, and there is a permanent lack of candidates.

One more point concerns employees: In France, they fear to lose their job since in this case they will have to face a long period of unemployment … In Russia this is not really the case.

-What difficulties arise during the searching?
I think the main point is the lack of candidates for many of the positions that we close. In addition, we feel like HH is cannibalizing the other job-boards and also that it is more difficult to recruit in provinces.

-How does the recruitment process look like? / What happens in your recruitment process?
We have a very structured recruitment process that includes eight steps and can be consulted here http://atsal.com/en/client/#Search We also follow actively the candidate's onboarding.

-What prevents potential applicants to become the employees?
Well it can be a weakness on the CV, even on those produced via HH.

It is however more often a problem with the applicant's behavior: how they communicate by the phone during their first contact, the fact that they do not answer to emails and are unreachable or all the time busy… It can also be their behavior during the meeting, the motivation they show by having at least read the job description or check carefully the website of our clients and so on…

One example I remember when looking for a Legal Secretary for a UK Law company and some candidates were asking and complaining that the company could not provide parking places for their car while all the foreign partners were using the metro!

We do not want to deal with candidates not able to be on time on meetings and explain us that this because of Moscow traffic! No way, there have been traffic problems for 20 years, deal with it and manage to be on time!

By Atsal, we focus on those points a lot.

- Alexandre, thanks for your time!
I wish you success with the Staya project, we will closely monitor your progress :)
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