Carlos Utanda is a headhunter and executive partner at AD HOC, a consultancy specializing in the search and recruitment of senior management positions. One of the services offered by EAE’s Professional Careers department is a series of training sessions run by the expert with the aim of giving students insight into the current state of the employment market, which professional profiles are in the highest demand, the importance of the digital fingerprint, and how to have a successful job interview.
This first session in Madrid forms part of the Employment Partner Executive: National Labour Market. Over the course of the session, participants had the opportunity to gain some in-depth insight into average salaries and the differences between communities, the sectors and profiles currently in the highest demand, and the many drivers of change in the field of employment. On more practical matters, students discovered how to access processes that are not visible through the standard channels and how to improve their digital profile in order to enhance their visibility on the web.
You are an executive partner at AD HOC. What does your work involve?
At AD HOC, we do direct profile searches. We are not a recruitment company, but rather we go out into the marketplace to find the profiles that are required by our clients. The positions are always middle management or executive profile, ranging from 40,000-50,000 euros up to 200,000. We conduct the market research, draft reports, etc., and we present the final three candidates for the client to choose from.
What profiles are currently in the highest demand?
Over the last year, Technology and increasingly profiles that did not previously exist, many of which are related to the world of business intelligence, big data, etc. The other big area to highlight is Sales and Marketing. 50% of the positions they ask us for are in the areas of Technology, Sales and Marketing.
What is your opinion of the employment market in Spain?
Good, we have noticed it since August 2013. The market is being much more reactive, and, this year in particular, both for us and our competitors, it is going to be a really good year. I would even say that we have reached pre-2008 levels.
Many EAE students come from Latin America. What markets are excelling right now?
In that region, we work in Mexico, which is a stable market. Brazil is in bad shape. In fact, we have experience of a senior executive who is working there and wants to come back to Spain, because of issues with safety primarily. Venezuela is not good and neither is Argentina. In our experience, interesting markets would be Chile, Peru and Mexico.
What recommendations would you give to students taking a job interview with you?
That they stop to think and analyse. At the end of the day, doing a Master is not just a qualification. In other words, the student doesn’t go through the Master but rather the Master comes through the students. They also have to learn how to tackle an interview and job search from a critical perspective. In the end, it is a matter of selling ourselves and press all of the ‘levers’ of motivation so that an employer hires us. Spotless digital profile, good curriculum and preparing for the job interview extremely well with a very sound knowledge of the customer.
And in terms of languages?
As long as they speak English, that’s enough, but they have to speak it well. 95% of positions that they ask us to fill require a high level of English. The level in Spain is really bad and it is an aspect that shouldn’t be underestimated. It is a key issue.
You check out candidates’ social media. What recommendations would you give to avoid posting something that may be damaging?
Uploading information is very easy, getting rid of it is not. What we look for most of all on LinkedIn is that it is a serious profile with a professional photo. But there is still very little awareness in terms of the information that is posted on line. It is the first impression they are going to have of us.
There was one case in which they asked us for the digital fingerprint for a position in communications in order to see the ‘on’ part of their work first hand. For extremely technological positions, or that deal with the media, I would recommend taking great care of your digital fingerprint.
Lastly, what are students that attend this talk going to learn?
This type of talk is really necessary, but students also need to understand that they have to work. At the end of the day, the real test will be in the marketplace. If they more or less keep in line with the things we are going to explain here, it will be a good start, but if they miss them, they’ll be missing out on an opportunity.
When I proposed this to EAE, I did so because I noticed that nobody else was doing it. When I made my professional change, I took a Master, but nobody gave me any preparation and it was frustrating to see how I was going one way while the market went another.
We have to reject 80% of candidates for really basic things, and that is something that we are going to analyse here.