Internationality and a multicultural approach brought Mr. Rivera to ISG.
Read here, how the technology sector has endured the pandemic and why he would like to share this passion with new colleagues.
Mr. Rivera, first I would like to ask you to introduce yourself.
My name is Sergio Rivera and I am originally from the US and was born in California. However, due to my father´s career had to move quite often and primarily grew up in Spain and Italy.
As such, I am fortunate in that I have had a multicultural upbringing and acquired an openness to different cultures early on. These are the foundations that led me to study International Business which allowed me to learn what my strengths and weaknesses are. A year after graduation, I had the distinct opportunity to join ISG, continuing to immerse myself in a multicultural setting tackling today´s recruitment challenges from a European perspective.
Within ISG, I focus on serving clients from the technology sector and have experienced continuous opportunities for growth and learning.
Let’s talk about the labour market in Spain. What is it like at the moment?
I returned to Spain at the height of the 2008 crisis and witnessed firsthand the lasting effect it would have on the country´s economy up until 2015 when we noticed an improvement and change in business environment. Coincidentally, 2015 was the year I graduated and I saw how opportunities slowly began to accelerate and the general economy in large cities like Madrid and Barcelona became competitive locations for startups and multinational companies alike. For instance, we are in touch with large companies from the US, and Germany that are opening up new locations in Madrid.
More recently, the 2020 pandemic has unsurprisingly had an impact on the country as well which has led to many companies reorganizing and shifting their operations on a daily basis.
You are focused on the technology business. What is the situation like in this sector?
Very good question. It is a bit overwhelming but in a positive way, because it is a sector that does not require as much face-to-face interaction in order for deals or sales to be made. Digital products and interactions have been given an even larger importance further accelerating the trend towards digital communications and work environments. Furthermore, it does not require teams or workers to be fixed or in the same location. Software companies, in particular, can quickly transition to establishing remote teams, they quickly adapt their infrastructure, adapt their communications, so that their team members can easily work from home.
Do you as ISG technology have many competitors on the Spanish market?
Yes, we have. We have the big competitors, the typical ones you can think of, but there are also smaller competitors. We are found somewhere between the large companies and smaller niche players and apart from that, rates for recruitment tend to be lower in Spain than in Austria or Germany. It is a bit more competitive, but we differentiate ourselves by providing a much more international search, more multinational sort of profile especially for international companies. In Spain, the level of English is not as high as it is in Austria and a company that needs high level of English will find it difficult to find such profiles without a provider like ISG.
This is your USP?
Absolutely. Our team itself is very multinational. We have people from Spain, Germany, Austria, Romania, Ukraine, and even from Kazakhstan, believe it or not. Due to that advantage, we have access to a broader candidate pool that most companies do not. If there are any comparable companies, I have yet to meet them.
Is there any success story in times of Corona you can think of?
We have an important client in Madrid, an important chemical company and they are creating a technology company in Madrid that is going to act as an internal consulting company for the rest of the group. In the last year we have been recruiting for over 30 or 40 different vacancies, which we have successfully filled. We are in direct competition with a large sourcing company and we have been able to outperform in terms of quanity and quality.
Do you have any tips for applicants who want to work as recruiters in the technology sector and who apply at ISG?
We are currently expanding the team, and I can say the following 3 factors are important for this line of work: The first one is to have an understanding for HR. It is very important to understand the importance of HR within a company. As an employer you have to be attractive to professionals and you need to encourage a positive mindset in order to get the right people. So as a recruiter, you need to understand how the person fits in a team and how it might affect the overall dynamic inherent.
The next point is an interest in technology. None of us are programmers or specialists in programming but you need to be motivated to learn about digital products, and development processes in order to have a conversation. If you are not interested in the field, it is unlikely that you would enjoy the challenge of capturing the imagination of such profiles.
Thirdly, you have to have an interest in understanding people, how people behave, what motivates them and how you can communicate and effectively convince them in the case of changing their jobs or accepting a job offer. These are basically the three pillars that determine the success of a recruiter here, in my opinion.
In your opinion, how important are social media channels?
I think quite important. You definitely need to have a presence there; you need to have an active communication. But there are more important niche players, for instance in the technology sector, there are Github and Stackoverflow.
I do not think that this is the most important aspect of recruitment, however. In today’s world, these platforms are important, but it is more important to develop relationships and a network which goes beyond having a social media presence.
For example, the ISG database is excellent and I prefer it to using any of the social media platforms. Those candidates have a prior connection with ISG, they have talked either to me or one of my colleagues. Our colleagues are all very professional, and this is something candidates appreciate when comparing to other experiences that they might have had.
All recruiting agencies have a presence in social media and especially within the technology sector there is a bit of a stigma towards recruiters. I often get the feedback that the candidates really prefer our collegial approach compared to competitors.
We, therefore, promote a better relationship to the candidates and we are not forgetting about them throughout the process. We value a direct feedback loop with our clients and thus extend it to our candidates as well. The most important thing is to communicate that even if it does not go that well, we still care about the candidates and that we are not just going to forget about them. This is more of a long-term relationship that we try to build.
What do you like most about being part of ISG?
There are 2 aspects. Firstly, which is becoming a bit of a theme throughout the interview, is the multicultural aspect, which I absolutely love and I really identify with. Secondly, comparing to other companies, I feel like ISG has a very human, very friendly environment, which is rare.
So many companies communicate that you are more than an employee, you are family, you are a friend etc. but with ISG there is no negative pressure from the management or colleagues alike. On an individual basis, we hold ourselves to high standard and help each other at all times. We are open, we speak every day what can and cannot be achieved and create realistic expectations. With that we really adapt to our strengths and create powerful synergies.
We are speaking of people after all, with opinions, feelings, hopes and dreams – in that sense ISG does a really good job in being open and understanding towards its employees.