Fri, 02/25/2022 - 13:26

Margarita Stancheva, managing director of Sofia Tech Recruitment, on creativity and empathy in IT recruitment

Sofia Tech Recruitement Margarita Stancheva
Margarita Stancheva, managing director of Sofia Tech Recruitment

The inner need for independence and freedom can be at the heart of starting a business. This is the case of Margarita Stancheva – a free-spirited woman and a goal-oriented manager. Guided by the desire to see her ideas materialised and to test them in practice, she left behind the role of an employee to build a dream team of prowfessionals and start Sofia Tech Recruitment. The company is now a leader in IT recruitment in Bulgaria and focuses on helping businesses scale for growth. Sofia Tech Recruitment is partnering with the biggest names across sectors and sourcing top talents to help clients build their organisations faster and smarter. The game-changing ideas and the individual approach of the Sofia Tech Recruitment team make the process of hiring easy for companies and valuable for employees. Margarita Stancheva talks about the daily challenges in IT recruitment, the art of sourcing the highest quality talent, and the importance of being fair.

You are the founder of Sofia Tech Recruitment – a leader in IT recruitment. How did you decide to start your own company in such a competitive field?

I have always thought of competition as a positive thing. What is more curious is that I have worked for the most prominent agencies in Bulgaria, as an internal employee – I have been their client for many years. I’ve studied how they were operating, I identified key aspects which could be modified to be of help to applicants and companies. First and foremost, however, I met a great team who trusted me. We were destined to start something together. The last reason is not so romantic. It was a real challenge to work with an army of managers in higher positions controlling my decisions and blocking crazy ideas which later on proved to be an absolute game-changer for Sofia Tech Recruitment.

Was it difficult at the start and what lessons have you learnt over time?

Wherever we are at the moment, it is still difficult. Challenges are never-ending in our field. I can share some precious lessons, the first of which is the moment you realise that the hard part does not come to an end after you have started. It is a field in which one day you are at the top and the next you have to start from the beginning. Another lesson relevant for all businesses is to be able to say “no” when the work model or the company’s reputation are put at risk. Success in IT recruitment is fragile and is connected to the trust of our applicants and the companies we work with. Have we made mistakes? Absolutely. Have we repeated them? Fortunately not. We don’t take ourselves so seriously in that aspect and we are open to learning all the time.

Sofia Tech Recruitment

How has the business environment changed since Covid-19 and what are the new rules in the supply and demand of IT professionals?

There is only one rule – take care of the people who trust you. It has been difficult before and it is difficult even after Covid-19 to sell a next employer to people who generally do have a job and don’t trust recruiters. The virus left a lot of damage and although we are talking about business, I would like to vocally express my condolences to all the people who have lost loved ones. We are now seeing a withdrawal from Sofia, which is an interesting trend. A lot of nice places in the country became the hosts of intelligent people with resources. The demand remains at the same level, and the rule is to tolerate people’s freedom and never hide “behind the curtain” information about their future employer.

Software solutions and artificial intelligence become increasingly used in business, is there a “hunger” for software engineers? Do we have enough professionals in Bulgaria?

I don’t know. Some companies showed up in Bulgaria, tried to hire, failed, and caught the plane back. Is it because we don’t have enough professionals? I don’t think so. No company that has built properly its hiring model and offers good conditions suffers from a lack of interest. There is a natural way of setting a bar, which is not tied to “the richest wins” concept. The standard comes neither from the companies nor from the recruitment agencies – specialists are those, who define the agenda and the general criteria. And if we don’t meet them, we can end up in a situation to say that in Bulgaria we are short of IT talents.

In which processes the intelligent software is still unable to replace the intelligent employee?

Recently we are seeing a lot of automation, which aims to generate a high number of messages such as spam in LinkedIn. I managed to analyse some of these products personally and it wasn’t hard to see that they didn’t solve a problem, but rather created one. Because changing your job is not like ordering a new mattress by phone. There is a real person behind every LinkedIn profile and if we don’t approach them in a special way even in the first message, we also become spam. Don’t take me wrong, I love innovation, we work with some of the most serious companies that create robotics and artificial intelligence. But in our field we rely on empathy, combinability, we create the perfect conditions which sometimes have not been initially set. Everything else is less important and probably could be driven by intelligent software.

What does the IT industry in Bulgaria look like as part of the global trends?

It looks great! First-class engineers are working here, creating innovation with a global significance. That is, assuming that one day the political situation in the country improves, it is only a matter of time before we create development centres for companies like Google and Amazon.

Sofia 16 Gurko St, Network Premium Offices

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