Hired two Heads of the Development Department for Gazprom-Media

Hired two Heads of the Development Department for Gazprom-Media

Gazprom Media Holding needed a Head of the Development Department. We found one. And it turned out that another one was needed — but in a different field. Here's how we managed to fill two similar vacancies in a very narrow field of operation.

I give the floor to our recruiter Margarita.

What was the request

GetIT was approached by colleagues from Gazprom Media Holding.

They were looking for the Head of the Product development department.

The requirements for the candidate were demanding. The main ones:

  1. Experience in the media industry.
  2. Experience in managing teams. The important requirement was for the person to understand the stack used in Gazprom-Media Holding.
  3. We needed a leader with a capital L. He must have had such a set of personal and professional qualities to make the department work "like a Swiss watch".

All requirements were as follows:
Requirements for the Head of the Gazprom-Media Development Department

  • Over 3 years of experience in leading several development teams.
  • Ability to build full-cycle development processes
  • Experience managing development teams/departments of at least 30 employees
  • Experience working as a developer or system architect
  • Ability to strategic thinking
  • Strong understanding of the projects' value to the business
  • Excellent communication skills, oral and written literacy
  • Strong leadership qualities
  • Technical background. Work experience or a good understanding of the current team stack: JavaScript, ES6, TypeScript, PHP 7, MySQL, MongoDB, RabbitMQ, Redis,Vue.js, Kotlin, Swift
  • Ability to take responsibility for team performance
  • Self-reliance
And here are the tasks that were to be performed:

  • Managing development teams, managing development processes and standards, building communication between teams
  • Department budget planning
  • Hiring employees, building teams
  • Improving the product architecture, advancing the technology stack, "reviewing" the other team members' code
  • Contributing to solution design
  • Interacting with product managers and clients to analyze demands and find the best solution
  • Team building
  • Development management: interacting with business customers, participating in planning and discussing strategic plans for project development, making final decisions on project architecture
  • Implementing new and optimizing ongoing processes within the department
  • Building and implementing development standards
  • Developing a culture of knowledge exchange among the department's employees
  • Organizing the transparency of the development process.
In addition to the high requirements, there was also a stop-list from the customer - a list of friendly companies whose specialists it would be unethical to hunt. This made matters even more complicated.

Gazprom realized that the vacancy was challenging, so they searched in three different ways: on their own, with the help of another recruitment agency and GetIT.

Where I looked for candidates

The difficulty was that the position required a person with expertise in the media sphere. There was no option to go beyond the media sphere. There was only one way — to find the right person from the right company, establish contact and lure him away. There were only few such companies and I had to explore them all.

First of all, I scoured the GetIT candidate database, which is rich in resumes of TOP-level executives. There I found the first names.

LinkedIn was next. This is a great platform where you can see who works where. I set filters for companies and different job titles: CTO, head of department, and so on. Plus, I used X-ray search to find those I didn't see right away. On LinkedIn, I found people who are now employed in companies of my interest in the required position.

And of course I used Boolean Search in search engines. That way I managed to find not only people currently working at the needed companies, but also people who ever worked there.
I immediately realized that the vacancy was about hunting. The task was not an easy one: the media sector is very narrow, such specialists are very few in number, and companies cling to them tightly.

I filled the first position after 6 resumes

After four days of searching, I sent the first resume to the Customer. The person did not fit the skills. Then there were four more unsuccessful candidates. All of them were from the core area, but they were not a good fit for different reasons: some because of their skills, some because of their rank and task level.

It should also be noted that colleagues from Gazprom-Media independently checked the recommendations for candidates and took this very scrupulously. If the candidate had any negative cases, Gazprom was not willing to consider him/her.

And there was such a candidate too: he worked as the head of the department in a media company, had the necessary experience, met all the requirements. But our colleagues from Gazprom gathered feedback and decided not to pursue further dialog with him.
Two months later, the very candidate was found. He was the sixth. The applicant had 11 years of experience in the field of media, had all the necessary technology knowledge and was a great personal fit. He wanted new challenges, which such a large media holding could provide. Everything came together here: the candidate's motivation, skills, Gazprom-Media requirements — he received a job offer.

The second vacancy was closed with a 9th candidate

Immediately after the first vacancy was closed and the offer was made, colleagues sent their feedback: "Excellent. Let's continue the search. We need another Head of Development department — for the Premier Online Cinema."

The vacancy was similar, but now I entered a worked-out market. I had to dig even deeper, searching in non-obvious places.
I thought I already knew everyone by their last names and had to Google more, reach those I couldn't reach the first time, look for alternative sources.
For instance, I watched some conferences and news from this area to find names that hadn't come up last time.

I even studied the information regarding the sale of Kinopoisk and thought: what if the ex owners got bored? I e-mailed one of the founders of Kinopoisk. He replied that everything was fine, joked that he was enjoying his retirement, and is now busy organizing photo tours - for fun. So I went to his site, took time admiring it, and went searching further.

Apart from the non-standard search, the fact that I practically stayed in the flow also helped. Those candidates who for some reason did not respond to my letters on the first vacancy began to respond now. I also showed some of them to the Customer. There were nine candidates in total. The last resume turned out to be perfect.

In addition to the fact that the person fit all the requirements, he was personally and professionally very driven, with a high level of emotional intelligence. But — the salary range was below his expectations. Plus, besides us, he had two more offers from other companies.
The brand and the tasks offered by Gazprom-Media played a crucial role for the candidate — he agreed to talk. The person had such a high level of negotiation skills that he was able to argue for the payment he was interested in, while our colleagues were delighted with the conversation.

6 tips if you are looking for candidates in a narrow niche

  1. Make a list of companies that may be of interest.
  2. If you are looking for TOP-level candidates, you need to understand the technology stack in corporate donors. Make a map of the technologies they use so it is always available to you.
  3. When you need to reach out to a candidate and there is no way to widen, look for all possible ways to contact him. This means not just writing to the mail, but also contacting him\her on LinkedIn and different messengers — your message will be noticed at least in one of these sources. Approach this point wisely: you can send a more detailed job description to the mail, and a more concise one in messengers. Think about the way it will look to the candidate. Messages should not be duplicated and should be as personalized and logical as possible.
  4. It's important to design the job description in a way that will get the person to respond. Of course, in my case Gazprom's name and capabilities played a role. But a well-written vacancy will work in all other cases. Make it clear to the candidate why their experience is of interest and what opportunities the vacancy will provide.
  5. Look for candidates not only among the current employees of the companies you are interested in, but also among those who once worked there.
  6. If the Customer does not have an understanding of the salary level, scan the market yourself: what figures might such specialists be interested in? At GetIT we have up-to-date analytics on the level of salaries. If you have no such analytics, you can find vacancies and resumes of candidates from companies you are interested in on various platforms, find out their expectations, and correlate this information. Also, if it's top management, you can understand the approximate salary range by knowing the salaries of other "tops" in that company.
This story is about the importance of going beyond, looking at the situation from the top and not being afraid to try. Margarita is just one of those recruiters who are able to think outside the box and have a subtle sense of the market. That's why she succeeded. You will too!

And if you can't find the right candidate or you don't have time to experiment,all you need to do is come to us at GetIT Agency. We will help you if you have a difficult vacancy, tight deadlines, are looking for a rare specialist and need guarantees. Leave your details on the website and we will provide you with the first CVs in as little as 24 hours.