Teddy Dimitrova: “Have a hospitality mindset in recruitment”

Introducing one of our keynote speakers for Talent Acquisition Live: Teddy Dimitrova.

Teddy is originally Bulgarian and moved to the Netherlands 10 years ago to study. Although she is 100% Bulgarian, after a decade here she does consider herself one third Dutch. After several years in the hospitality industry, she realised it was way too corporate, too many layers, rules and stiffness. She got headhunted by a recruitment agency and before she knew it she was a “IT recruitment consultant”.

Three years later she can say without a doubt she has found her true calling in talent management. We interviewed her about her experience in the field and her keynote on TA Live.

So what is Talent Management for you?

‘Recently I’ve discussed the title with several people from the industry and some say it is a fancy name for a recruiter. On this, I don’t agree. A recruiter is a separate profession. As talent manager I help startups and scale up grow – from setting up the whole infrastructure, through recruitment strategy to the actual growth. Think about everything from employer branding, EVP (values, benefits), employee happiness, on-boarding programs etc. What I really love about it is the fact that in the startup world there are very few restrictions (e.g. budget or not enough FTE’s for the projects), but for the rest – you can be creative, think out of the box and just create something unique – what is a better challenge than that?’

Your background isn’t in HR, but in hospitality. Does the service attitude you learned there help you with your current career?

‘According to statistics, 97% of the hospitality educated people don’t end up working in the hospitality industry. One of the main reasons is that they get headhunted in their early post graduate years by many industries – for one big reason – their hospitable mindset and attitude. This is something you mostly can’t really teach someone, it is something you are born with. Characteristics you would often see are adaptability & flexibility, passion, empathy, patience, team work, great communication skills, quick minds, customer centric etc. I strongly believe that having those qualities has not only helped me to be successful in my job, but has made my approach and work ethics quite distinctive.’

‘The hospitable mindset and attitude is something you can’t really reach someone.’

‘When talking about “service attitude”, the hospitality industry has changed a lot in the past years. Every industry has recently been through influences of new generations and digitalisation. Therefore, we don’t talk about servicing anyone anymore, we are talking of giving great experience. And that’s something that has become a huge topic in the talent industry as well. Candidate experience is one of the most important pillars in your recruitment strategy these days.’

So where do you get your inspiration, how do you develop your own skills?

‘Well, I’m super proud to be part of the Recruitment Slackers Community, where I often help organise meet ups, share knowledge during sessions and also stimulate others to do so. Actually being part of this community and being so active in there is a big part of my day to day life and has helped me become a better recruiter, sourcer and overall better person.’

You moved from Bulgaria to the Netherlands during your student years. Do you think your dual perspective helps you recruit better?

Yes, I moved to study and stayed. Having the background of Eastern European and the experience moving abroad, starting my life from scratch helps me a lot. I mostly work with candidates from abroad and when I share my experience, challenges and successes with them, we manage to create quite a bond and it also helps me persuade people to move. Also, being an expat has made me aware of a lot of cultural differences between the Dutch and all other nationalities, which helps on the side of hiring people on cultural fit. For the past years, I pretty much managed to map European countries and know where to find certain type of candidates. For example: I know that it wouldn’t make sense to headhunt developers in Bulgaria, as their financial status is quite good and they don’t want to relocate. Especially in comparison with Macedonians or Serbian for example, who would rather relocate to central Europe to escape political situations in their countries.

April 18th at TA Live you will be talking about recruiting with the end in mind. Tell us a little about your talk.

‘When I was an agency recruiter, I would often talk with startups and would hear the same issues – no budget, high urgency, no strategy, delayed projects etc. But due to the lack of budget, the only thing startups would have is creativity. I couldn’t help to think: what would I do if I was in a similar situation? When I joined Bloomon, we were talking about hiring 8 developers. But we knew that this might change very quickly and grow to 30-40 open roles instead of 8. And yes, the challenge was the same – low budget, no agencies, no branding, no strategy – so we had to be creative. We sat down with the CTO and mapped out everything we could think of that didn’t cost (much) money. I was super lucky to get all the freedom and flexibility to experiment. There were also failures for sure, but I learned a lot. Now with those learnings I am more than excited to help other startups in their journeys.’

Last but not least, can you tell us something about you most people won’t know?

‘Oh, that’s a challenge. I’m quite open about myself and pretty distinctive in things I like or don’t like and people know that. Perhaps the fact that 10 years ago I was convinced that I would be General Manager of a luxurious 5 star hotel in Rome is not very well known. Also what actually NO ONE knows is the exact number of pair of shoes I have. More than 120 for sure…’

Maarten Lens-Fitzgerald: “Voice will make the work of recruiters more efficient”

A bot that screens candidates or calls them to schedule a job application. Voice can make the work of recruiters easier and more efficient, says Maarten Lens-Fitzgerald of Open Voice and speaker at Talent Acquisition Live on 20 September.

The big three

Voice seems far away, but with Siri, Alexa and Google Assistant we already use it today. But we are only at the beginning and a lot is going to change. So far there are three major parties. Google (with Google Home and Google Assistant) and Apple (with Siri) are the best known. But there is also Alexa from Amazon. This is the third largest and already has more than 12,000 employees on voice, more than what Google and Apple have together in this.

Why do recruiters need to start with voice?

“Voice will definitely break through”, says Lens-Fitzgerald. “It works much more efficiently: you no longer have to type and don’t have to stare at a screen all the time. The opportunities for recruiters are also enormous. Consider, for example, the screening of applicants. After a job application, the candidate is automatically called by a robot instead of a recruiter. These can communicate through voice. This not only saves time, but due to the digital intelligence the robot also quickly gets an idea of what type of candidate it has to deal with. Questions can be asked specifically for that person and you get a more relevant conversation. Even though it is a robot, it becomes more personal. And for recruiters it saves all those resumes read. “

Target group-oriented approach

You can also approach different types of candidates with voice differently. For example, if you want to appeal to programmers, you can tailor a Google Voice campaign accordingly. The voice robot knows how to approach programmers and know their ‘style’ of communicating. This can be very personal. For example, look at the ads on Facebook or Google. Everyone gets something different to see. That will also happen later when someone says ‘Is there a job for me?’.

Voice branding

Companies also have to think about the branding via voice. “Has anyone thought about how you convey your message and your desired image in a voice? If you want to give a certain feeling or value, it is essential to think about this”, says Lens-Fitzgerald.

How far is voice currently in the Netherlands?

A bit like the smartphone was in 1998. On YouTube there is a video in which Frans Bromet asks people in the street in 1998 whether they have a mobile phone. They all looked at him crazy, they did not have it and should not even think about being accessible. That is now also a bit the same with voice. But you see where the mobile is now, remember that for voice in a few years.

What is your message during Talent Acquisition Live?

Lens-Fitzgerald: “Just think that in 10 years at least 20 percent of your communication in recruitment will be via voice. Jobseekers mainly listen to companies. Online advertisements may no longer exist, you have to reach them via your voice. We do not yet know exactly what that means, we all have to figure this out. You have to start now”, says Lens-Fitzgerald. “If you start first, you will have the most experience later. If you wait with it, you might end up like Blokker or V&D.”

Talent Acquisition Live: September 20 in Amsterdam

Do you want to know how companies like Booking.com, Cognizant, Albert Heijn, STRV, Bonnier Broadcasting and Specsavers are innovative in the way they attract talent? Join 150 talent acquisition professionals at the first edition of Talent Acquisition Live the 20th of September 2018 in Amsterdam. Subjects you can expect are:  augmented sourcing, interviews via voice bots, humanising the hiring journey, mega sourcing, automated talent pipelines, referral hiring and much more innovative talent acquisition. And with expert speakers like Tru’s Bill Boorman, Bas van de Haterd, Sara Cauwenbergh and Karen Azulai.

Copyright 2018-2019 - Digitaal-Werven & Werf& - All rights reserved