“The variety of tasks and the fact that every day could be different is what excites me the most about my work.” - Questers

“The variety of tasks and the fact that every day could be different is what excites me the most about my work.”

We are very proud of our super recruiter team and therefore use every opportunity to present some of its members. This time under the spotlight is our Lead Recruitment & Resourcing Advisor, Zlatina Tomova. She joined us back in 2018, and it was about time to have this interview with her. Read about what excites and challenges her and also what are the most interesting roles she is currently working on.

Tell us about yourself. What’s your educational and professional background? How do you spend your free time?

My name is Zlatina, and I have been part of the lovely Recruitment team at Questers for more than 4 years. I hold a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology, and I’m a Master in Labour Markets and Human Resources. I could say it was my goal to work in the Human Resources field, and I love what I do. I also appreciate the IT sector we are involved in, despite all the challenges.

In my free time, I usually turn to more creative and introverted hobbies – I love making stuff with my hands, such as scrapbooking journals and making my own jewellery. Most of the time, I experiment with content creation for social media, video editing and taking photos.

Zlatina TomovaWhat excites you the most about your work?

The variety of tasks and the fact that every day could be different. I know I can learn something new every day, from a piece of interesting information to a new skill. The people I talk to daily, my colleagues and the whole recruitment market are all such important elements that contribute to building better knowledge and expertise each day.

What challenges are you facing in your everyday work?

Some may think that recruitment is easy, but it is not and never was. Actually, the last years proved that you have to be persistent, determined, strong and very creative to survive the storm.

We faced a lot of challenges in the last 3 years. What is more – we experienced the effects of the so-called “once-in-a-lifetime events”, such as pandemics, war and solid shifts in economics and the market environment. All of these have inevitably influenced our work and led to a re-evaluation of our methods and approach.

Some of the main challenges are related to reaching a satisfactory level of response rate for niche and extremely difficult roles we are looking to fill. What is more, we need to have a great sense of urgency and be as competitive as possible to react with adequate advice, interview organisation and proposals for each candidate and avoid losing their interest or losing them at all in the process. In the back of our minds, we need to constantly remind ourselves that sometimes 1 day is crucial and makes a difference.

In addition, client-wise, we also need to provide guidance about cultural differences and specifics and also market insights. Even though we work with international organisations that have widespread and multicultural teams, our partners rely entirely on us to give them better insight into our market dynamics and pool of candidates. Thus, the challenge here is to always stay on track with what’s happening on the market.

We know the recruitment team is quite busy right now. What are the vacancies you are currently working on?

We have a recently opened role for a Senior Product Designer (UX/UI) for one of our new promising partners – Times Higher Education.

We are also actively working on attracting Senior Java Engineers for one of our oldest clients which is providing the Bulgarian market with career opportunities in a niche but exciting business field -  the investment hedge fund industry. Also, for the same client’s team we are looking to hire 2 Implementation Engineers.

We are also focused on finding a Senior PHP Engineer to join the established team of another partner of ours – Law Business Research.

Zlatina Tomova with HR teamTell us more about those teams. What are they working on, and what is the team culture?

Times Higher Education is a powerful company because they have very extensive expertise in providing the world’s most influential university rankings, which are linked to lots of analyses and data. This is how their platforms and products function – they evolve around gathering data, user experience and most importantly – helping communities and the society as a whole make strategic decisions when it comes to education.

They have managed to build a great engineering team, working in Agile, in squads and most importantly – giving voice to everyone, taking decisions together, based on the knowledge of each individual. This is what they are looking for in the Senior Designer as well. They are an equal opportunities employer, and they care for their people. For example, they have mental health days for their employees and other work-life balance initiatives. I think everyone suitable for this role will feel very welcome at THE.

The US-based hedge fund I mentioned earlier, also gives amazing and one-of-a-kind opportunities to experienced, senior individuals to join a business which is not common on Bulgarian market and feel the depth of the hedge fund focused on investments and trading. Not only are they a financial advisory company, but also, they are a tech company that has proven its capacity and know-how to build powerful trading, analyses and risk platforms that help portfolio managers and big investors drive their capital and process their data.

Because this client has a number of tech-focused teams, depending on the leading technology – Java, C++, Python, ServiceNow or a combination, each team is led by its own Manager or Lead. What we can add is that they are an Agile-oriented company, following the best practices in development. They know how to challenge their employees by allowing them to work on new-generation platforms and extremely complex systems.

Law Business Research is another interesting business partner we have. They have gone through a significant transformation from being a traditional legal publisher to becoming a tech-focused company building strategic web applications helping legal professionals. Their products are feeding the legal sector with lots of proprietary data and unique analyses.

The engineering team is again Agile-oriented, working on 2 major products with leading technologies – PHP and .NET in the backend logic.

Share some insights, what kind of projects are there and what are the main skills the perfect applicant should have?

It is expected that the new Senior Designer joining Times Higher Education will be very much involved in the whole end-to-end design process for a mix of products – digital such as websites, data and data-visualisation-driven platforms. This individual will need to have exceptional UX and UI design skills, an Agile-oriented mindset and experience in a squad-team environment in order to shape how the product team works, build design systems and take an active part in strategic decisions for the company. It is definitely a very broad and responsible role.

Zlatina Tomova with the HR teamThe Java engineers will be allocated to 2 different teams. One is related to platforms processing lots of data needed for different accounting, valuations and calculations, and all this is helping stakeholders. For this team, even some background knowledge in Python will be welcomed, in addition to strong Java exposure.

The other team is giving a chance for new joiners to get exposure to one of the trendiest Java roles ever existing in New York City – the one for the Risk Infrastructure team, allowing engineers to build new generation systems and report historical data. This is extremely important for optimizing risk management processes and building investment and risk strategies.

Both teams are working in Java 11, AWS environment, using Docker, Kafka, and Spring boot. Among some of the soft skills, they are looking for, is definitely being autonomous because the US teams will require taking ownership and responsibility for the given tasks without the constant need for mentoring and shadowing. Also, the ability to communicate your ideas freely and confidently without any language barriers is crucial.

The Senior PHP Engineer for LBR will be dedicated to one of their intelligence platforms, functioning in Laravel and Vue.js. This is a white-label platform that supports 8 different websites and helps law firms and legal professionals access data, analyses, articles, legal guidelines, etc. The individual will need to have strong backend knowledge in any PHP framework, preferably Laravel, as long as they are willing to work with it. Front-end skills are also important. Thus, the role is treated more like a full-stack one. LBR are evaluating the seniority of the candidates also by their passion to drive the development process further and be a vocal part of every decision with confidence and autonomy. In the future, it is possible to take some leadership functions. That’s why this is also checked during the interviews.