The new hero of the "Top 100 IT Leaders" project is HeadHunter (hh.ru) IT Director Gennady Beregovsky.
HeadHunter (hh.ru) is the largest online recruiting platform in Russia, with over 450,000 companies as its clients. The goal of HeadHunter is to help companies find employees and people find jobs, and to make sure that the process of finding employees and jobs is fast and brings only positive impressions to both parties. The company's extensive database contains over 55 million resumes, and the average daily number of vacancies during 2021 was over 900 thousand monthly. According to SimilarWeb, hh.ru ranks third in the world in terms of popularity among job and employee search portals. HeadHunter is an IT company accredited by the Ministry of Digital Development and included in the Register of Accredited IT Companies in Russia.
As part of the interview, we talked about creating an infrastructure in the company fr om scratch, about a team of polite and efficient system administrators, and about how HeadHunter recruits staff.
The interview was recorded before February 22, so there are no questions related to the current situation, but this did not make it less interesting.
Key interview questions:
Tell us about yourself. How did you get into IT? Why did you choose this specialty?
You have been a CIO for almost 14 years. How has the role of the CIO changed over this time?
What was the most difficult (and interesting) project during this time?
HH is originally a digital organization with a distributed structure. How has corporate infrastructure evolved over time? Have there been any changes in the last two years to take into account the increased requirements for remote work? What solutions have you replaced during this time in the company?
The company has grown rapidly — what approaches or techniques have you used to seamlessly match infrastructure growth with business growth?
You pay a lot of attention to the image of the IT department. Create a team of sysadmins that users love. How do you solve this practically unsolvable problem? How to motivate sysadmins to be polite, neat and efficient? And how do you rate the satisfaction of other employees with their work?
You have high requirements for your team. Everyone knows what a problem there is with the search for IT professionals. I wonder if this is also relevant for a company like yours, or does hh.ru have its own secret knowledge of how to find IT specialists?
What do you like to do in your free time?
What do you want to achieve professionally in the next couple of years?
Quotes from the interview:
«A real CIO is not a programmer, not a computer scientist, but a business person who takes a SWOT analysis of the entire company and uses technology to help increase profits, fight challenges, threats and bring a “bright future” closer».
“The last 2 years were the most difficult — 2020 and 2021, during the pandemic of 2020, 512 out of 12 offices were made in 3 days — the company's perimeter moved home due to a sharp transition to remote work, people had adrenaline. And in 2021, the adrenaline subsided, and now it is difficult to keep the team, so that people do not burn out, and they continue to like their work, so that the team remains a team. In 2020, work efficiency increased, there was a surge, then, of course, it rolled back a little, but now everything is quite even.”
“Over 14 years, the internal infrastructure was created practically from scratch, in 2008 I enter the position, regional offices are opened in the company and internal IT at that moment was dealt with on a residual basis. The guys and I created all the necessary IT processes. Guided by the principles of sufficient reasonableness. We were very lucky with the management of the company, our CEO and CFO left IT, so there were no problems with financing. The general message in the company was this: you can’t hire people endlessly, but you can invest in automation and increase productivity. Despite the fact that we have grown a lot, the performance is breaking records.
“The principle of sufficient reasonableness is to take a company strategy, take a SWOT analysis and make an IT strategy for it. This all sounds good, but with one "but" — the company's strategy also changes from year to year, external circumstances change, internal circumstances change, the owners of the company change. We look at it every year and plan for a year, two, maximum 3 years ahead based on requests from the business.”
“In 2008, a KPI was set for the entire company, which was called “customer focus” — an absolutely subjective assessment that all departments give to each other: IT — to accountants, accountants — IT: everything is all around. And money in the form of a quarterly bonus was tied to this subjective assessment. And so it turned out that people themselves wanted to smile at each other and do good to each other. Just to get a grade? No, of course, it turned out that smiling is more pleasant than swearing at each other or pushing through each other ... This assessment lasted 2 years, and then they went on the principle of "this is how it is done here."
“HeadHunter is about love” is another company slogan.”
“We have a great recruiting department, but we are in the same market and with the same problems as everyone else. The only thing we do not do is not lim it ourselves by age, for example. When you say: “we are only under 30”, you cut off half of the audience, you don’t need to do that now, you just can’t.”
“Personally, I am now facing a very ambitious task — to create a unified analytics methodology in the company. Now analytics has spread across departments, we need to make sure that all analysts work more efficiently. This is a task for the next year or two.”
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