When Sweden’s LeoVegas became our client a few months ago, two of Humeo’s recruiters were given the task of creating a new IT hub in Poland from scratch. What does the job of an RPO recruiter involve in this case? What’s the purpose of Lidia and Pati’s trips to Sweden and Malta? What is the Scandinavian work culture like? Read on to find out! ?
Jakub Udziela: Hi, girls! How are things after Sweden ?? and before Malta? ??
Lidia Skowrońska: Great! One vacation after another (laugh)! I feel like I’m going from one adventure to another (laugh). But, seriously, I appreciate the opportunity to go to new places. In this case, this is the client’s headquarters in Stockholm. But I mean not only traveling, though we also go sightseeing after work, but most of all – the opportunity to get to know the whole of the company’s organizational structure, the client’s head office, and all processes. We are recruiting people for this team, so it’s an invaluable experience for us to be able to see them at work, talk to them face to face, and of course to socialize with them.
Patrycja Petrykowska: That’s right. Talking to someone on video calls is completely different from being together in the office and having a chance to chat. In addition, these are great people, and I enjoy spending time with them. This wouldn’t be possible online, because we’d simply have no space for that. As Lidia said, such trips help us to better understand what the client requires of us and how the company operates. Remote working makes this a little more difficult. Cultural exchange is also very valuable because we’ve had a chance to learn a lot about Sweden. We’ve been even given a booklet entitled “Working with Swedes.” Not everyone has a chance to get to know a different culture when they start working somewhere. It’s good to know the customs of the country of your client or employer.
I know you’re about to go to Malta.
Pati: LeoVegas has another office in Malta. There, we will be talking to the team responsible for employer branding because this is where this department is located. LeoVegas’ headquarters is in Sweden, which is where the management and the departments responsible for HR and IT are based.
Lidia: In Malta, there’s also a lot of operational staff. We will get to know the customer path from the business side and the area of customer experience. All these things will help us tell candidates more about the project or the product they will be working on.
Traveling is great, but tell me honestly: what is it like to work for LeoVegas?
Pati: I like working for LeoVegas very much. I’ve been very pleasantly surprised that they’ve been so open and included us in their processes and meetings, and in the life of the company. I don’t feel alienated, I don’t have the feeling I’m an outsider whose only task is to recruit candidates. I’m like other employees, who know what’s going on in the company. We attend not just meetings devoted to recruitment, but also general company meetings, where we discuss such issues as the organization’s plans for the future.
Lidia: I find it very important that as Humeo’s RPO recruiter I have two teams and two companies that support me. I benefit in two ways. On the one hand, Humeo supports me in operational work, and I have a great team that I can share my recruitment experiences with. On the other hand, LeoVegas has integrated us into its structures. It treats us as an integral part of the team and the whole company, which also offers plenty of opportunities for development. We’re responsible for a project that involves creating an IT hub for LeoVegas in Poland, so we have a lot of room for maneuver in end-to-end recruitment, as well as in other areas, such as employer branding, and even on organizational and legal issues, in broadly-understood business matters.
What is it like creating an IT hub for a foreign company in Poland?
Lidia: There are lots of challenges, such as the red tape in Poland. We don’t specialize in dealing with the Polish public authorities. Luckily, we don’t have to do that, but we’ve been told by LeoVegas employees that this is a very big effort. For me, it’s great that I can be part of a team involved in such a project. Also, it’s great that we’ve been working on this project from the outset. We had no office, no strategy, and no recruitment processes. Patrycja and I were the only ones who knew the Polish job market, so we were given a very responsible task of supporting the rest of the company and hiring managers and explaining to them how things work in Poland. So our job mainly involves creating the whole recruitment process from scratch with a strong focus on candidate experience. Apart from handling recruitment tasks, we’ve also helped the client find an office in Poland. We make candidates feel comfortable when they start their new job, provide them with welcome packs, and make sure that the onboarding process is set properly and everything runs smoothly. We devote a lot of time to strategies and conceptual thinking about how we can best integrate developers into the company – that’s because they’ll be working in a new branch office of LeoVegas, but at the same time we want them to feel they’re part of the whole organization, not a separate office. For example, we have to organize trips for newly-hired employees to go to Sweden for the onboarding process.
Pati: Speaking of which, we were also involved in creating the entire onboarding process from scratch. Everything must be ready down to the smallest detail before candidates come to work on their first day so that they can start their work in nice and comfortable conditions. It’s been very exciting for me to create something from scratch and see how it develops over time. I’d compare this project to a garden: you start by planting a tiny seed, then you make sure it has enough water, sunshine, and proper nutrients so that it can slowly turn into a sprout and grow. This is exactly how your garden grows and gets better and better. Setting up a new office in a new location is similar. Also, it’s great that we had a chance to visit the office space in Warsaw and see it for ourselves. We could then honestly recommend it to candidates during job interviews.
Lidia: Exactly! The garden metaphor is very apt. When this “plant” gets its first leaves, and we can see that the work we’ve done is bringing tangible results, this gives us great satisfaction. It’s not a matter of completing a single task and saying, “My job is done here.” We have to work constantly on this project. We keep improving it and testing it. You figure out many things as you go along, but you still get a lot of satisfaction from the fact that something you’ve built from scratch works. This is a beautiful reward for hard work.
Pati: As for the fact that everything is changing so quickly, this has its positive sides because we can constantly improve all processes, and the company has a flexible approach. LeoVegas’ employees are open-minded, so we can discuss things in peace and test the effectiveness of various solutions. If Lidia and I can see that something could be done better, we are given the green light to make changes.
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Did you find any of these challenges especially enjoyable? Can you see other challenges or difficulties?
Lidia: The difficult thing is that things are changing very quickly, and we have to be ready for that. From the perspective of recruitment, it’s sometimes difficult to keep candidates up to date all the time. Here, we need to strike the right balance between the needs of the company and those of the candidates. Setting priorities in the right way is definitely very challenging too. When you’re creating a new unit, there’s so much to do that you need to know what matters most. For the recruiter, this means of course taking care of candidates, but we must not forget that we have to think long-term, for example by predicting the path of development that employees can follow in the company. So to sum up, I’d say that the challenge here is posed by strategic long-term thinking in a rapidly changing environment.
Pati: I fully agree. I’d also add that some of the difficulties are posed by things beyond our control. Sometimes they work to our advantage, sometimes they don’t. We have to be constantly in touch with candidates and explain to them that something has changed, why it has changed, and how this will be distributed in time. We can’t always control these things, we don’t always know when something happens. Candidates may initially react with annoyance, but over time this may turn out to be an advantage. It’s our task to explain this to candidates in detail.
Lidia: Exactly. With a project where so much is going on, such as opening a new office in a foreign country, it’s not always possible to schedule changes. Let’s take, for example, the registration of a company in Poland. Polish bureaucracy works so slowly that it’s impossible to predict when the registration will be approved. The changing world around us is another thing that determines certain changes. We don’t have to look far to find such examples as the COVID-19 pandemic and the war in Ukraine. We have to take all these things into account in the context of recruitment and individual job interviews.
Pati: Also, I can think of another challenge that I see as a huge plus. At work, we communicate in English all the time, both when we write and when we talk to people at different levels in the organization. This means I have a chance to use English every day, so I can improve my skills. For candidates, this can also be an additional benefit.
What do you think about LeoVegas’s organizational culture? Can you tell me something more about it?
Lidia: I think it’s typically Swedish. I don’t know what other Swedish companies are like, because I’m just learning the Scandinavian work culture, but what I like a lot is the fact that LeoVegas pays great attention to work-life balance. For example, at lunchtime, you can’t reach people in Sweden by phone for about an hour. We’ve already visited the Stockholm office, so we know that people spend lunch breaks eating together, establishing relations, and bonding. This is very important at LeoVegas. Being proactive is also appreciated. As Pati said, the company is open to all of your initiatives. There’s a lot of room for development literally in anything you want to implement. You can test, experiment, and observe the results of your work, and then choose the best solution to achieve your goal or task.
Pati: I also feel that if you seize the initiative and make a mistake, you won’t be punished, but you’ll be able to draw conclusions as to what you can do better in the future.
Lidia: Exactly. People who work in Swedish companies have told me that this constant appreciation is really very motivating and makes people want to do more.
Pati: The culture of an organization is created by the people who work there. During our stay in Sweden, we asked LeoVegas’ employees what they valued most about their work, and they said that those were the people they were working with. This is something obvious – these people are great, the atmosphere is great, and everyone wants to stay in the company as long as possible. They aren’t going anywhere.
Lidia: Yes, and all of our colleagues are very helpful. They will always find the time to help others. Pati and I have experienced this ourselves.
Let’s talk about the work you’re doing for Humeo. Can you see any significant, important differences between the RPO model and the previous model, which was based on a success fee? At Humeo, we switched to the RPO model half a year ago. How do you feel after all these changes in the company?
Pati: I’ve had a chance to work as an RPO recruiter for two clients, and the tasks can be very different depending on the client. For example, I was earlier responsible for candidate sourcing, but now my tasks include end-to-end recruitment and more responsibilities, which is great for me because I don’t like doing repetitive work in the long run. My responsibilities are quite different from those I had in the success-fee model. Previously, my job involved finding candidates who would sign the contract and start working for the client. That was where my work ended. As RPO recruiters, we are part of the company’s organizational structure, we stay in touch with the candidates after they’re hired, so we can ask them, for example on Slack, if they are satisfied with their work. In this way, we can get better feedback. For me, the most beautiful moment in the work of a recruiter is when candidates are truly happy with their new jobs, and their lives have changed for the better.
Lidia: Yes. That’s the moment when the plant starts to bloom, to continue the garden metaphor. I can confirm that being part of the client’s organizational structure is the biggest plus of RPO. Another challenge is that it may be a little more difficult to maintain the unity of a recruitment team whose members work as RPO recruiters because everyone works for a different company. We have to face this challenge and encourage team members to work out their own solutions that will facilitate team integration and knowledge sharing.
Pati: Being part of another company also allows us to better understand how it operates and how decisions are made there. When you work based on a success fee, you’re an outsider, so the information you get is sometimes incomplete or exaggerated. Sometimes you can’t ask about more details, and you get frustrated, for example because you don’t know why the hiring manager is taking so long to answer or why something has been put on hold. In comparison, as an RPO recruiter working for LeoVegas, I can always ask more detailed questions on Slack. Or I can check the hiring manager’s calendar and see that he or she is very busy, so the fact that I have received no reply is not a matter of ill will. I can stay up to date with what’s going on in the company, which makes my job easier.
Lidia: When you understand your client’s business better, you can also “sell” the job better and decide more easily if the candidate is a good fit for the company’s organizational culture. This also makes my work a lot easier.
Pati: When a candidate asks a non-standard question, we don’t have to wait forever for someone to answer, but we can immediately convey the relevant message.
From left to right: photo one – Lidia Skowrońska; photo two – Patrycja Patrykowska and Magdalena Kurleto / Humeo’s recent teambuilding event ?
I see. This has been a very detailed interview. Thank you for all of your answers! Before we finish, I have one more challenge for you ? Of course, there’s one more question I have to ask, this time at the end of the interview, not at the beginning: if you could have a poster of a famous recruiter up on your bedroom wall, who would that be?
Pati: For me, work-life balance is very important, and such a poster would disrupt it (laugh). I try not to think about work after work, but if I had to choose someone, that would be a colleague of mine I met in my previous job. She taught me how to recruit candidates and made me aware of the importance of the quality of the processes and candidate experience.
Lidia: My approach to work is based on an eclectic mix of what I’ve learned in various places and from various people, so I’d have to have a picture of a huge team of different recruiters. It’s hard for me to name one person, but I think I would hang a picture of Humeo’s entire recruitment team on my wall. I’m inspired most by the people I work with on a daily basis, because they are closest to the market and the realities of recruitment.
Great! You’ve risen to this challenge as well! ? Thank you once again for your answers and for this interview!
Lidia: Thank you. It was a pleasure!
Pati: Thanks, Kuba!
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