Sevada Baghdyan, Founder of the company, has talked to Banks.am telling about Relevant’s services and the benefits that clients can get.
- Mr. Baghdyan, you are the co-founder of Menu.am, a business standing out on the Armenian market from other companies. You’ve recently announced the launch of a new company, Relevant. Based on your experience, how would you describe the business environment in Armenia in terms of establishment and promotion of business?
- I would say the business environment in Armenia is quite favorable. This is not only my opinion but also that of many friends of mine who are doing business. We regularly discuss business opportunities in our country.
As far as promotion is concerned, we have a little problem – it is the small size of the market. However, businessmen should not limit themselves to the local market only, the state borders should not define the borderlines of a business. We should stretch out to the international arena.
In 2012, when we founded Menu.am, we were convinced that we wouldn’t do business only on the Armenian market, and after 7 years of operation, the company is already the leader of the market in Georgia, Ukraine, and Belarus, and it’s the first among the former CIS countries by the number of orders if we do not count the Russian market.
The same holds true for Relevant. I am sure in a very short period of time, the Armenian market will become small for the company and we will need to scale up our operation to other countries as well.
- Please, describe to us in simple terms how Relevant, a company headhunting for mid- and senior-level managers and providing consultancy services works and how headhunting is done?
- Relevant helps employers find senior and mid-level managers who can develop the employer’s business and drive it towards new achievements.
The service is quite developed in the world and businesses very often opt for services of intermediate companies to find top management. However, we decided to also search for mid-level managers in Armenia besides the senior ones.
Relevant provides 2 key services to various companies – executive search (search for senior managers) and headhunting.
These two services are quite different. In the case of an executive search, the employer presents the details on what kind of specialist he or she is looking for in advance. It concerns both professional expertise and personal qualities which is also critical.
In many cases, a qualified specialist does not manage to demonstrate himself/herself in a company because of incompatibility with the team. In this stage, if an employer wants, we can provide consultancy and figure out together what kind of a specialist to look for. After that, we start the search.
People in an active search for employment are not our target. We find an employee for an employer among the ones who do not search for a job but are happy with their current position. However, after talking to us, they do not mind considering other options.
As for headhunting, in this case, the employer clearly mentions which specialist he wants to offer a job and we start negotiations with the candidate on behalf of our client.
- In general, to what extent are Armenian businesses ready to accept Relevant?
- The Armenian companies have traditionally been in-communicative. They have always tried to solve their problems themselves and seldom turned to specialized organizations. However, we notice the process has activated over the past 6-7 years.
We already see many companies focused on their business development, and they outsource related services – marketing, IT management, bookkeeping, and legal issues to specialized companies. This is a smart approach: you do your main business and outsource the related “headache” to specialized companies.
The same is true for this field. There are only a few companies who have a specialist in their HR departments who can professionally and effectively do executive search or headhunting. Consequently, I have no doubts this sphere will develop in a very short period of time and companies will start outsourcing the search for mid- and senior-level managers to specialized companies more often.
- So, who pays for Relevant’s services?
- The employer pays for the services, and there is no fee for a specialist.
The sum payable to Relevant depends on the expertise of the searched candidate. The payments are made only for the accomplished job by installments.
- Many companies usually do their headhunting themselves. What is the advantage of choosing Relevant for executive search?
- Of course, it is possible to do with their own resources. However, there are some critical issues to be considered in those cases. For instance, in this case, the search scale is limited to their own network and LinkedIn.
Besides, there is an issue of business ethics: it is risky to reach out to the candidate you liked working in a different company as in case of the competitor company’s learning about it, it will affect the relationships between the companies which is not desirable especially if you operate in the same field.
The candidate is not always ready to give a positive response to the offer as he or she does not clearly know if he or she will be hired after all or not. The company the specialist is working at now may learn about it as it has been contacted by an employee from another company which causes confidentiality issues.
There are also cases when a company after 10 years of development with the same executive finds out, the latter with his or her current capacities cannot drive the company to new achievements.
To take it to the next level, fresh energy is needed and the business owner is not sure he or she can find a relevant executive.
If the search is entrusted to a person working in the same company, the probability of the information leak is very high. There is a risk that if the new CEO is not found in a short period of time the owner will lose the old director or at least he or she won’t work with dedication anymore. While in case of choosing Relevant’s services, everything will be confidential, without any harm to the business.
- How do you ensure the confidentiality of the deals and data?
- Confidentiality and trust are the most important things in our job. While searching for candidates we do not disclose the name of the employer until we make sure during the meetings the candidate matches the demands of the employer and is interested in the offer.
The same holds true for the disclosure of the candidate to the employer. Until we are sure the candidate meets the demands and until the candidate gives consent to being disclosed to the employer the name of the candidate is not revealed. We do not stick to this principle only in case we have the consent from both parties beforehand.
- And what are the guarantees to ensure the client that you have found the needed specialist or the team of specialists?
- We use an internationally acclaimed methodology while checking the skills and capacities of a candidate.
If needed, we choose the selection method together with the employer. I would like to note that we present more than one candidate and the employer makes the final selection. If the selected candidate quits the job on his or her own initiative Relevant finds a replacement free of charge. The guarantee period is usually one year.
- Do you see a prospect of cooperation with the government?
- If the responsible departments of the government would like to get Relevant’s services, I would only be happy to find relevant specialists. I have initiated a discussion on some matter with one of the authorities and I hope everything will go well.
I would like to help mid- and senior-level specialists, our compatriots from the Diaspora who are thinking about repatriation to find relevant jobs in their motherland through our company.
I am sure the experience of the Armenian specialists from the Diaspora will help Armenian businessmen gain a different perspective on their own business. Of course, in such cases, the employer should demonstrate the willingness to search for a specialist in the Diaspora as well.
- In the near future, Relevant will become a member of the Association of Executive Search and Leadership Consultants. How will you benefit from this membership?
- It is a time-consuming process, indeed, but the membership to AESC is very important for us. We may say the global expertise is stored there as all the major companies engaged in executive search are there. The membership will enable us to study the global expertise from within which will bring a new quality to the Armenian market.