The SmartDreamers team recently met the team behind Karrier Hungária, one of the most successful Hungarian-owned recruitment and consulting agencies with ten years on the market here.
Letʼs start with a short introduction. Tell us a little bit about the company, the organization itself and the management team.
GABRIELLA RUFF: We founded Karrier Hungária ten years ago. Beáta and I had been leading an international recruitment company for ten years and we were ready to carry on our experiences in a company, which, with a key focus on clients, highly developed professional skills and flexibility could be outstanding in a saturated agency market. We are very proud that we have successfully achieved this in a few years, with a Hungarian-owned background, without getting help from a foreign parent company, using self-developed know-how, and weʼve managed to be amongst the best recruitment companies with a stable client base, solid team and with growing results year after year.
BEÁTA FÜRJÉSZ: To this day we both participate actively in the managing tasks, establishing direct contact with customers and candidates. We find it immensely important not to manage the company from an "Ivory Tower", but to have precise information about the market so we can quickly and flexibly react to the needs of our clients. Our operations manager deals with the daily operational management with the effective help of our experienced team leaders.
The Agency business has two dimensions: there are candidates wishing to find a job and companies wanting to hire candidates. What are the most highlighted values you represent towards your partners in the business?
BF: Our motto is: "Our job is our passion", which is present in our everyday life. We consider it important to work with colleagues who adopt this attitude instinctively as theirs and can focus on candidates and clients with the same great sensitivity. Partnership and effective communication are the most important values with clients as well as with candidates. If those are missing, there can be no such thing as meaningful consultancy. We believe itʼs important that the candidates coming for interviews can have a real candidate experience. To achieve this experience, we have beautiful interview rooms with a panoramic view of Budapest, there is easy access to our office by metro, and refreshments are served. But even more important is that we have experienced, professionally trained consultants to meet and help the candidates. If a candidate is choosing us, we can make the situation easier for them as they participate in a personal interview and from that moment on we manage them in finding a job. We help them to optimize their CV, give them advice and prepare them for client interviews as well. Those candidates applying through us are much more successful in any job interviews than other candidates on the market, and we are really proud of that.
We represent the same core values with the clients. Itʼs important for us to have precise information about the positions so we can give accurate information to candidates and offer positions for applicants with the right qualities. We are in daily contact with our clients and we work in the name of transparent and cooperative communication, which has proved very effective in the past few years.
Who are your main partners and what feedback do you think they would give us if we asked them about you?
GR: We mainly work for multinational companies, but weʼve also conducted searches for Hungarian companies employing only two people. Itʼs a bit strange - but also a big appreciation for us - that one of our competitors entrusted us with finding them their new director for Central and Eastern Europe. What would they say about us? You should ask them, but Iʼm confident theyʼd say we are a company that applies high standards, is very responsive to demands, attentive to clients and candidates. A company with which they are not only able to cooperate effectively, but also one that is very pleasant to work with.
What are your companyʼs main strengths compared to your competitors, and what is your position today on the Hungarian market?
BF: We are in the top two amongst Hungarian-owned companies and in the top five among all consulting agencies, including large international brands. Our goal is also in the future to be considered by our clients and candidates as a highly professional company to work smoothly and effectively with. Our main strengths are professionalism, experiences gained in the past 20 years, constant improvement and the immediate integration of market trends into the company, speed, flexibility and conscientiousness.
Lately there has been much in the news about the shortage of labor in Hungary. Can you see this tendency across the Eastern European region?
GR: Our partners in the neighboring countries can feel this general phenomenon. The same industries developed rapidly in this region and we can say that they meet the same challenges as we do. The shortage of labor is mostly present in the IT, engineering and SSC sectors. Unlike previous years, recruiting manual workers takes longer and the competition has also grown stronger for technicians and trained workers. Employer branding also has key importance for factories, and not only for companies employing white collar workers. It is increasingly challenging to find multilingual accountants, customer service agents, IT staff, and purchasers for SSCs. We highlight the importance of cooperation between agencies and their clients to help the firms create their own employer branding policy. The agencies also convey the applicantsʼ preferences and needs. The applicants seek accurate information about a company, its goals, its position, its staff, management, other benefits offered, location of the company, etc. - a good recruitment partner can help to strengthen all the employer branding initiatives of the clients.
Are there any industries more affected than others?
BF: In my opinion, there are no exceptions, but these trends can show to a different extent. It is typical of industries where investment levels have been outstanding in recent years and thousands of people have been recruited, such as SSCs, industrial investment in some areas, or IT at national level. There are similar problems in healthcare, and with the recruitment of skilled laborers, for example car mechanics. But the reasons are different; here the problem is the emigration of these laborers and the insufficient number of skilled young professionals in certain areas.
Werenʼt you recently selected as one of the best Central European recruitment agencies?
GR: This is a great honor for us; this is an international competition open to all the HR recruitment agencies in our region. We got the news over the past few days that we were selected as one of the regionʼs best consulting companies. This is a great acknowledgment for us as a Hungarian-owned consulting firm. We are very pleased that up to now we had been listed among the most successful three-or-five companies in the Hungarian market, but we could not even dream of being a potential nominee for the best recruitment company prize in a Central European competition. Yet we got into the finals! We are pleased to see that our values, work knowhow and culture, along with our market presence and achievements, are opening up such international opportunities to us, and it is also incredible to see that this success can be achieved as a Hungarian-owned company.