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Dominik Stępniewski (Senior IT Recruiter, Warsaw office)
written by Dominik Stępniewski
Life is all shades of unexpected. You should have a plan for yourself, follow it with determination, choose the right educational path, and then find a job in your desired profession. But as everyone knows, you may have a detailed strategy for your career path but life will still write its own scenario, and that is not necessarily a bad thing.
Using his own example, Dominik is here to share his take on the topic and to also give us some interesting tips.
What do you do as a Senior IT Recruiter at Avenga?
From the very beginning, at Avenga (formerly IT Kontrakt) I have been responsible for the recruitment processes, starting with the creation of job adverts and actively searching for people (e.g. via Linkedin, network, etc.), to interviewing candidates and onboarding new employees.
The most compelling stage for me comes during the job interview with potential candidates, when I get to learn not only about their professional stories and plans for the future, but also about their interests. Every person is different and absorbingly unique, and my role is to match the given person’s skills and capabilities to a specific project and team. After this interview, the candidate then goes further on through the recruitment path having internal interviews with the Key Account Manager and then the Client. From start to finish, I accompany the candidate during the entire process.
In addition to recruitment, I regularly participate in Warsaw’s career fairs. Together with my team of recruiters we run our stand, talk about our company, and settle the outcomes of the events. I literally enjoy every single moment of these events as there are so many opportunities for interesting conversations.
What areas of IT do you deal with on a daily basis?
My specialty has always been oriented to a more technical role, like Java and Frontend specialists, automation QA, and Devops specialists. I also work with the Scrum Master positions, which gives me a lot of satisfaction.
Occasionally, I take part in the recruitment for other roles and it’s always fun to learn about new specialties and refine your knowledge.
What skills or character features do you mostly look for when researching potential candidates?
Every recruiter has his/her own approach to a candidate. I focus primarily on the technology skill set, because this is what we are ultimately looking for. However, I always try to pay particular attention to their character traits in order to assess if they might be a good fit with the people already working on a project. Obviously, interaction and communication within every team is critical for the success of the project, so having a diverse approach to every individual is a sort of trick of the trade.
It’s also important to remember that in the current market, where candidates are very much in demand, they are also very familiar with the recruitment process and interviews, and sometimes they can tell you what you want to hear.
Do you also interact with people in the industry on a personal level?
Of course I do 🙂 One of my closest friends is a programmer by profession. He constantly supports me in broadening my knowledge and understanding about specific issues that are unclear to me. He sometimes tells me a lot of insider stories and it gives me a fuller picture of what the professionals in that area expect and what motivates them.
Besides, our careers are all evolving in parallel and as I gain experience I am able to observe changes in the developers’ approach at different stages, which is always a very helpful lesson professional-wise. 🙂
You are a psychologist by profession? How did you end up in the IT industry?
Yes I am, but I am certainly not the only one 🙂 in this industry. Psychology is a great field of study that teaches openness and understanding of other human beings, and these qualities are irreplaceable at work. However, the idea to work in this industry came up while I was working in sales; I have to admit I did not like that role too much. But as I am good at relationships with other people, recruitment seemed like a great option and that’s why I chose it. It’s really no secret that I entered the IT world through coincidence. The first company that took me on in an internship position was from this industry. To this day, I am very grateful that things turned out the way they did 😉
Did it take you a long time to find your way in the IT industry?
At first, I was overwhelmed by the knowledge of technologies and terms that were mentioned all around me, and for some time I felt like I was in an airport lounge with various names and words circling above my head, the meaning of which made no sense to me. But, learning is fun for me so I liked talking about it, reading up on things, and finding out as much as possible.
I use a lot of my skills from previous jobs and direct contact with complete strangers is not a problem for me, but I also quickly seemed to have developed a certain flair for presenting job offers.
Do you have any advice for people who would like to try their hand at IT, but aren’t sure if they’re up to the challenge?
I highly encourage recruiters from other fields to develop themselves in the field of IT recruitment. This path in our industry has such a high potential for personal growth and professional development, just as the IT world itself. I have one piece of advice on this and that is to constantly expand your knowledge and keep reading. Read every piece of professional literature you can get hold of.
However, when it comes to joining the industry in general, I would especially encourage people to explore all the possibilities it has to offer. Not only scientific or purely technological minds will find something for themselves in IT, but the artistic approach can be very beneficial in the role of UX Designers or Graphic Designers. Additionally, the roles of Scrum Masters and PMs are also in high demand and that means administrators and managers. Quality assurance and testing, as well, open the way for many people, which is proven by our Tester Academy.
I have to admit that when I was just starting out, I didn’t have anybody to discuss the possibilities and challenges of working in this industry. So now, I make it a special point of sharing my personal knowledge and experience with my colleagues and future recruiters.