Razvan RADA, General Manager at Head Hunting IT, an IT recruitment and IT staffing company searching and selecting talent among IT and Communication experts.
First of all, how are you and your family doing in these COVID-19 times?
Razvan RADA: The COVID-19 pandemic found me single, but not alone: I was enjoying life with my friends, colleagues, and parents, but unfortunately, the pandemic has been forcing me to reinvent my singleness under the new context: I am now constantly trying to prevent myself from going into aloneness. I feel as if the pandemic took quite a lot of the social pleasure away from my life. Being a predominant Latin country, situated in South-Eastern Europe, Romania used to satisfy me in terms of the joys and pleasures of life. There were communities, nice social events in Bucharest, interesting international festivals in Transylvania, and nature escapes in the Carpathian Mountains or in the Danube Delta, but for me, the pandemic simply attacked all of this good social energy.
Both as an entrepreneur and as a general manager, I had to also find the right balance between the medical risks of the employees and the business risks of the company. To put it into a psychological perspective, I had to handle the fear of illness felt by the employees, with the fear of bankruptcy felt by me, especially since the pandemic started one year ago. However, I am now pleased since no employee got sick or depressed, and since the company has actually had some growth. Both resilience, and luck
Tell us about you, your career, and how you founded Head Hunting IT.
Razvan RADA: I graduated from “Babes-Bolyai University,” in Cluj-Napoca, Romania, with a major in business, and I have followed a career in management consulting, ERP systems, and project management. I contributed to and learned a lot through several international companies, including KPMG and Microsoft, in the Romanian offices. However, 10 years ago, I decided to downshift and look for entrepreneurship experience. One of the previous CEOs that I had worked with offered me the chance to establish a private company called Head Hunting IT. This was a valuable example of both good mentorship and trust that I received from an experienced entrepreneur, along with good personal fear management. I am happy that I was curious and open to this new experience.
How does Head Hunting IT innovate?
Razvan RADA: Both due to the company’s industry (human resources) and due to my mindset, we are more focused on innovation in terms of employees’ soft skills and project management methodologies. It may sound like a paradox, but the IT recruitment and staffing projects still very much rely on people, not just on IT tools. When the pandemic started, I decided to contract a psychologist and get her involved in our processes as a coach. This change helped us enormously in terms of our processes, employees, customers, and candidates.
However, I do feel that we should innovate more in terms of technology.
How does the Corona Virus pandemic affect your business finances?
Razvan RADA: Fortunately, both the revenues and the cash flow have not been affected by the pandemic.
Did you have to make difficult choices regarding human resources, and what are the lessons learned?
Razvan RADA: Unfortunately, the pandemic affected the harmony in our company, which resulted in two valuable employees leaving. Ever since the pandemic started, I have been a true believer in the mixed model of remote working and office working, which was not necessarily welcome by all employees. Quite frequently, we only talk in terms of the needs that the employees have while neglecting the needs of the CEOs and the people managers in general. It may be quite comfortable for many individual contributors to perform their tasks from home, but this might turn into hard times for CEOs and other people managers.
CEOs are somehow in the position of artists/actors with their audience. Managers get part of their energy and inspiration from their employees, who we actually try to connect with. For me, virtual employees (and virtual audiences) are less inspiring and motivating. However, I do have one piece of advice: while managers should constantly care for their employees, employees should also find some time to care for their managers.
It may sound like my resistance to change, but I am just being dilemmatic of some of the pandemic’s themes. I am still meditating and reflecting on these changes and trends, and I am trying to accept and integrate them. To put it simply, I am doing my best to turn the loss into gain.
How did your customer relationship management evolve? Do you use any specific tools to be efficient?
Razvan RADA: One good thing that I noticed during this pandemic is that the existing and long-time customers have found comfort in continuing the business relationship with us. I somehow feel that our relationship has become stronger. Ever since the pandemic started, and when possible, we try to organize video calls from our office and send a message that we are still here, we are passionate about work, and we are responsible in terms of medical risks, and we are alive.
We use an advanced CRM recruitment tool, which enables us to manage our relationships with our customers and clients. The GDPR principles and regulations have become both parts of our mentality and our tools.
Not only has the pandemic affected our personal meetings with our customers, but it has also affected the in-office interviews of our candidates at the customers’ sites. I somehow feel that several key activities became dry and less soulful. Since working from home and remote working are becoming the norm for so many IT specialists, we can easily notice that many previous job selection criteria have vanished, such as office location, office design, organizational culture, teams, and events. What is left when selecting among various IT remote job offers? Apparently, only money. Plus project, technology, and working flexibility, some may add.
Did you benefit from any government grants, and did this help keep your business afloat?
Razvan RADA: No, we have not yet benefitted from any government grants. On the other hand, the IT industry in Romania has constantly been supported by most of the political parties and governments, which is a good thing. So, indirectly, we benefit from the political wisdom and vision of the industry that we act in.
Your final thoughts?
Razvan RADA: I am a Romanian born and raised in Transilvania, and I am currently working and managing a company in Bucharest. As a manager, I love direct and personal relationships, and as a Transilvanian, I love nights; however, social distancing and night restrictions are definitely giving me hard times… just kidding. But, as one of my favorite songs says, I will survive. We will survive… Together.