client interview

Publicis Groupe

On why it's important to understand the market situation correctly, how to find a common language with the technical team and how to attract candidates 50+ years old to IT projects
About the Client
Founded in 1926, Publicis Groupe is now the 3rd largest communication group in the world. Through a powerful alchemy of creativity and technology, we are driving business transformation across the entire value chain.

What positions have you filled with Hi, Rockits?

Our positions were quite typical. We needed frontend and backend developers, as well as a system analyst for an internal Publicis project that our own development team was working on.

For about six months we tried to fill vacancies on our own. However, we had some difficulties in understanding with internal customers who had a wrong idea of ​​the market situation. Our colleagues had a strong feeling that it was not companies who were fighting for specialists, but, on the contrary, that IT specialists were standing in line and trying to find a job. Also, colleagues did not take into account the fact that we are not a specialized IT company (after all, Publicis is, first of all, an advertising holding), and in this regard we are somewhat inferior to tech giants and other technology companies.

Initially, the declared salary was also below the market, while the requirements for experience and knowledge were quite high. This significantly narrowed the funnel and made our search more difficult. Despite the fact that we repeatedly discussed the situation with internal customers and proposed solutions for adjusting the brief / salary range, our efforts, unfortunately, did not lead to any result, and the relationship between the HR department and the development became more and more tense.

At this point, in early 2020, we decided to contact IT recruiting experts who know the market and can help us finding the candidates we need, and our colleagues from the development department supported this decision.

How did you meet Hi, Rockits?

I had a list of recruiting agencies that specialize in IT. So I contacted them all and got offers of cooperation from some of them.

Hi, Rockits! were the first to answer, and we promptly scheduled a meeting. Other agencies responded much more slowly, and I could not delay with the choice of a contractor, because at that moment I practically lived at work and needed help badly. Many agencies were still at the pre-negotiation stage, when a meeting with Hi, Rockits! has already taken place and colleagues have proposed to start work promptly.
Nikita and Anna, who were supposed to manage our vacancies in case of agreement, made a favorable impression at the meeting, showed a deep knowledge of the IT market and noted the same problem areas that we ourselves encountered while working on these vacancies.
All the recruiting agencies offered pretty much the same conditions: a similar rate, experience of working with large companies, expertise in closing similar positions. But the guys from Hi, Rockits! had one advantage: due to my busy schedule, it was almost impossible to get through to me, and colleagues from Hi, Rockits! I always succeeded, albeit not the first time :) In my opinion, persistence is one of the key qualities of a good recruiter, so I decided not to delay the choice for a long time, and we started cooperation.

How quickly did you find a common vision on the position?

2-3 candidates were enough to take a closer look at each other and work out a general plan. My colleague, who spent six months working on vacancies for the IT team and thoroughly knew all the features of our inner customer, drew up a fairly clear structure of the cover letter for the candidate, as well as the necessary list of questions for a phone interview. Guys from Hi, Rockits! adhered to the template familiar to our customers as much as possible, and provided detailed information based on the results of the phone interviews. As a result, the percentage of resume refusals from the client's side decreased to a minimum.

What were your expectations in the matter of candidate's skills?

Taking into account the wishes of the customer and the specifics of the project, we had fairly clear requirements for both the professional and personal qualities of the candidate.

Technical details aside, we needed someone with the required experience in developing a large web application (ideally from scratch). Most of all, we were approached by specialists from small and medium-sized companies, with a fairly wide functionality and a vision of a holistic picture of the entire project. The fact is that our development team is rather small, and therefore the functionality of each person has to be wider than those in product teams of large IT companies.

From the point of view of technology, there was a wish that a person was flexible enough in the choice of tools. We have Java Enterprise, not Java Spring, which is used by most of the Java developers. The team had a lot of work on this version, and there was no desire nor need to switch to something else. So we were looking for candidates for whom it did not matter what to use, Spring or Enterprise.

From the point of view of soft skills, we were looking for a team player who could work with someone else's code or would not mind sharing his code with others. The team also has its own traditions and rules: morning meetings, joint Friday evenings, etc., for which our candidate should have been prepared in advance.

We also had some age restrictions: as our experience has shown, employees over 30 years old, for whom the priority is not career development, but stability, and who are not interested in frequent job changes and switching from project to project, were best suited to the team. We needed an experienced mature professional. Taking into account all our wishes, we came to the conclusion that for our position would be best to find a person 50+ years old.

To find a person of this age is not quite a regular case for us, especially considering that in the average age of rest of the Publicis Media holding - and this is more than 1000 people - is slightly over 30. And in many teams it is even less than that. During the long search for an employee, we understood that in our team may succeed a specialists who have extensive experience in development, while striving for stability and will be ready to go with us a long way of implementing and launching the project. And there are enough reasons to stay with us for a long time: this is a good benefits package, and a minimum of extra hours, and an excellent team, most of which are working on the project from the very beginning and know all the nuances.

The guys from Hi, Rockits! managed to find a candidate who fit all the criteria and perfectly joined the team.

Are there any features that set Hi, Rockits! apart from other agencies on the market?

We have little experience with agencies, but Hi, Rockits! impressed us with their expertise in the IT market and made an impression as result-oriented.

Since our collaboration with Hi, Rockits ! started, we have managed to find common ground with our internal customer and reformulate the brief to close the position. On the Publicis HR side, we did our best to maximize the funnel, and our colleagues from Hi, Rockits! undoubtedly helped us with that.
Head of Sales at Hi, Rockits!
There was another thing that we ruled out by agreement with the client. For each position they had a test tasks requiring 10 to 15 man-hours. This stage could cut off 80% of candidates, complicating the difficult task even more.
Besides Hi, Rockits! another agency was working with us on the same vacancies. But Hi, Rockits! turned out to be more successful and we closed all vacancies thanks to them.

It turns out that thanks to the well-coordinated work with the guys from Hi, Rockits!, our development department has increased confidence in our HR team. If earlier our proposals for adjusting the brief and expanding the funnel were almost not taken into account or were taken with great difficulty, and colleagues had doubts about our expertise, now internal customers listen to our recommendations with bigger attention and are more involved in working on positions.
Alexandra Arseneva
HR Group-head at Publicis Russia

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