11 Jun Interview with Begoña González-Blanch, Managing Partner US Ackermann International
How has your professional career been at Ackermann International?
B.G-B.: Since joining Ackermann International in 2010 I have had an exciting career. Initially, my challenge was to create and lead the sect of Finance, nonexistent until then in the company, and subsequently, the development of new lines of business for the company, which have allowed us to grow and position ourselves as market leaders. For two years I have held the General Management of Ackermann Solutions, a firm specializing in Human Resources Selection and Consulting, and a year and a half ago I moved to the US to assume the direction of the firm in this country.
What stands out the most to you about Ackermann International? Where do you think their differential values lie?
B.G-B.: The most remarkable thing is the team of professionals working in this group and the passion we put into everything we do.
Regarding the values that identify us, in the first place, there is the care we provide to the client and the candidate. At Ackermann International we treat both with respect, transparency and honesty, always seeking the best for both.
We are not satisfied with identifying candidates, but we look for the best candidate for each client. As is well known, the best thing for a client does not have to be the best for another, so we personalize our searches and dedicate a lot of effort to understand well the culture and values of our clients, as well as the interests, expectations and values of the clients. For candidates, to get the fit between both is perfect. Likewise, we are a company characterized by flexibility and the ability to adapt to the environment, the market and the needs of our customers at all times.
Briefly describe your work as Managing Partner of Ackermann International US
B.G-B.: My current job is to grow Ackermann International in the US. In my day to day I combine the work of business development -visits to clients- and positioning of the brand -events, networking, with the direct supervision of the projects we develop to ensure the highest quality of them.
What do you like the most about your job?
B.G-B.: Diversity and continuous learning, along with the opportunity to meet new professionals every day, both clients and candidates, who contribute and enrich me professionally and personally.
And the biggest challenge?
B.G-B.: Introducing a company, positioning it and making it grow in a market as competitive, dynamic and complex as the United States is a CHALLENGE with capital letters. I face it with a huge will, great doses of passion and a great desire to learn.
How did you get to the Executive Search, Selection and HR Consulting sector?
B.G-B.: I must admit that it was the result of causality. When finishing university, and having studied in the USA, I was signed by an Anglo-Saxon company that wanted to start from scratch a company of temporary work. They were looking for a bachelor in business management and marketing who spoke English. I was the second person who joined this project to take over the commercial area. With hard work and conviction we managed to turn the company into a success. And although we were an ETT, thanks to the solid relationship we forged with our clients, some of them started asking us to do direct search, and that’s how it opened up for me and I started to get into this fascinating world of headhunters.
What struck you most about this sector?
B.G-B.: The opportunity that it offers us to help a professional to develop and improve his career at the same time that we help a client to solve a problem.
Every time a candidate joins a client, we get the right fit, I am filled with satisfaction.
In all your years doing this, what makes you the proudest? What are the projects or activities that give you the most satisfaction?
B.G-B.: There are three things that I am deeply proud of. First of all, the loyal customers who trust me and fully delegate the selection of their professionals to Ackermann International. It also gives me great satisfaction to have created the Solutions area – which provides selection services for Middle Management, Recruitment Process Outsourcing, and Market Intelligence and Mapping – at Ackermann International and which has been a success. And, third, the creation, training and development of our own team.
I enjoy forming, teaching and seeing how our professionals grow, and I am very proud of the admiration, respect and gratitude they convey to me.
How do you see the US market in terms of talent needs: how it has evolved and where the main challenges currently lie?
B.G-B.: The US is a highly competitive and very aggressive market, with an unemployment rate of less than 4%. These variables make our work an art: not only do we have to find potential candidates but attract them, convince them and motivate them to decide to make the change. The irruption of new technologies makes it easier to identify talent, but our personal ability depends on those professionals attending our calls and dedicating their time.
In a context marked by the scarcity of talent and that will increasingly grow, the main challenge is for candidates to trust us, because they are the ones who will have the power of choice.
10 years from now, how do you imagine the world of work, and more specifically, the selection and management of people?
B.G-B.: I see a totally global labor market, where the war for talent is going to intensify. The technology will greatly facilitate the identification, access and contact with candidates, and our work will have a much more strategic and advisory purpose for companies.
¿A tip for those companies that want to attract the best talent?
B.G-B.: Have values and a mission that changes the lives of people; take care of their employees and give value to the products and services they sell, be more human, take care of the ecosystem and return to society part of what they earn.
Another for those managers and professionals who are looking for new challenges?
B.G-B.: Personal branding and networking are two fundamental aspects for every professional, and not only for them who are in search of new challenges. We tend to pay more attention when we are looking for work, but this is not a sprint but a long distance race. The network must be woven before we are forced or make the decision to change our career. It is also important to know what you want and to be passionate about your work.
Common sense and passion are two essential qualities for current managers.
And one last tip for those companies that need to hire the services of a company like yours. What do you think are the aspects that have to be valued the most?
B.G-B.: Integrity, honesty, flexibility and the degree of trust that the firm and the consultant/s provide with the ones who will work.
What do you like to do in your free time? What are your hobbies?
B.G-B.: Strolling, preferably on the beach, watching sunrise every morning and enjoying the company of my children are the best pleasures of my life. A good meal surrounded by friends and some laughs is relaxation therapy assured. I also enjoyed reading and practicing sports such as golf and paddle tennis are another essential source to combating stress and enjoying my free time.