The first success of Dominik Jurek in running his own business was the recruitment of his brother – Piotr, who also became his partner four years ago. Together, they founded a company dedicated to recruiting IT specialists – Next Technology Professionals. Both of them simultaneously admit that apart from effectiveness, the smile on the faces of their clients and potential job candidates is very important.
Dominik and Piotr worked in the past for large international corporations. However, four years ago they decided to use their professional experience and set up their own business together. Brotherhood makes them trust each other 100%. They claim that there is no better partner to run the business than your own brother. Thanks to this, they gained a significant advantage over the competitors and today Next Technology Professionals acquires IT specialists for such large players as Aviva, Huawei or Compensa. In the interview below they talk about how they managed to achieve such a great success.
Family business in Poland is associated with running a greengrocer, bakery or confectionery. So how did you come up with the idea to jointly establish a company recruiting IT specialists?
Piotr Jurek: Dominik convinced me to do that. [laughs]
Dominik Jurek: I have dreamed of running my own business for a long time. Four years ago, I was looking for a partner and I came up with the idea that no one else would do better in this role than my brother Piotr.
Your approach contradicts the saying that “the only time you get along with your family is in photos”.
Dominik: I definitely disagree with this saying. There are many family businesses that have been successful. And we are exactly an example of that.
Piotr: In our case it is completely different. We are brothers, and we have full trust in each other, which allows us to solve various business problems very quickly and efficiently. As a result, we are much more effective than our competitors.
How did it happen that you decided to work together?
Dominik: At the beginning, I ran a company by myself working remotely from home. In order to increase the scale of business activities, I started looking for a partner. Piotr worked at that time in a corporation. We have always enjoyed talking with each other about various professional topics, and we often came to interesting conclusions together, thereby mutually solving our own problems.
Piotr: Our approach is that I look at the problem from one perspective and my brother from the other, so we put the two parts together into a coherent whole. Dominik had his first experience in building a business. He started to implement a new idea and needed someone trusted to cooperate with. He offered me to be his partner, and I instantly agreed. So running the company together was a natural choice for both of us.
How did you share your competencies in managing your own company?
Piotr: At the beginning I dealt strictly with sales, whereas Dominik trained our consultants, so that the clients were satisfied with the candidates we proposed.
Dominik: I trained and implemented our consultants for the recruitment of IT specialists. I taught them good practices, how to use our system, or have an individual approach to each candidate. I made sure that what Piotr promised our clients was 100% implemented.
Do you use your previous professional experience in running your own business?
Dominik: Absolutely. During my studies, I was on a scholarship in China, and after graduating, I worked for three years in Germany on a management contract for a large corporation. Earlier, during my studies, I was looking several times for an office job in Poland, Germany and England, and I was always able to find one very quickly. I decided to make use of these experiences by establishing a recruitment company.
Piotr: Whereas during my studies, I was on a scholarship in South Korea, and after returning to Poland, I started working in a large corporation. I was quickly promoted to the position of Program Manager, where I directed a team of over 20 Project Managers. At that time, I was responsible for two large markets – Africa and the Middle East.
Both of you worked for large corporations. Do you use a similar management model in your own company then?
Piotr: Definitely not one-to-one, because when there is no big brand behind you, you have to act differently. We tried to take the best out of our corporate experience, such as standardization, processes, quality, automation and combine it with an individual approach to the client and local specificity.
Has anything else surprised you about running your own business?
Dominik: At the beginning we made a few mistakes. A lot of small costs can make the company stop delivering profits. Although we generated a lot of income, we spent too much money on marketing. We invested in advertising gadgets and participation in fairs. We also purchased recruitment tools, which we did not fully use later.
So how would you define an entrepreneur based on your own experience in running a company for several years?
Dominik and Piotr: It’s a person who walks from failure to failure without losing their enthusiasm. [laugh] Thanks to the fact that we drew the right conclusions and did not repeat the mistakes we made, we are where we are today.
I can see that your enthusiasm is certainly not lacking. However, it was probably not always so great – how did you get your first client?
Dominik: By a recommendation. The first client knew us from working together on another project and was very pleased with it. Thanks to this, he decided to start working with us very quickly.
Piotr: The first money earned that way allowed us to survive until we win over new clients.
Then at what time did you hire your first employee?
Dominik: Very quickly, about 2-3 months after starting our business, because we would not be able to recruit candidates on our own. At the beginning, we did not receive any salary at all. We invested all the money we earned in hiring new employees, buying computers or systems that would improve the recruitment process.
You mention improving the recruitment process. How long does it take you to find a candidate that meets the requirements of your clients?
Piotr: From a week to two, if it’s standard recruitment. If we are looking for a specialist with very rare competences, this time may be slightly longer. We show our clients 2-5 candidates for one position.
So few? Is it because of the huge shortage of IT specialists on the Polish market?
Dominik: No. By doing it this way we save our clients’ time, because we know that today in business it is the most valuable currency. Out of 10 people who show interest in the position, we present 2-5 best suited candidates both technically and in terms of soft skills.
It is very interesting because companies in Poland notoriously complain about big problems with hiring IT specialists. So how do you recruit them so effectively?
Dominik: Our consultants must have absolutely full knowledge of the given position and vacancy, so that the candidate has the feeling that we are not just an intermediary, but a partner for him and our client.
You mention that you pay a lot of attention to soft skills during the recruitment process. With such big problems of companies with finding suitable candidates, is it not enough that a specialist has the professional skills expected by your client?
Piotr: We want the candidate to match our client’s team. So that a given person, apart from strictly professional competences, also fits them personality-wise.
How do you reach the candidates?
Dominik: Often the same way as our clients, that is through the recommendation system. Many candidates we have recruited in the past recommend us to their friends from the industry. When such a specialist is looking for or would like to change a job, he/she often reports to us himself/herself.
But this is probably not enough. Don’t you use traditional recruitment methods?
Piotr: Of course, we also have an internal database with over 40,000 candidates. But what matters most are the people – we have great consultants who are professionals in what they do, and they are behind every success, i.e. the candidate being hired by the client.
Who are your clients most often?
Piotr: Now IT is everywhere. [laughs] We have many clients from the financial and insurance industry, we also cooperate with software houses and industrial companies. We recruit IT specialists who work for them in Poland and abroad.
Then what should I wish you in terms of the development of the company and what are your goals for the near future?
Dominik and Piotr: So that, as so far, the clients and candidates are satisfied with our services, and consultants with their work with us.
Thank you for the conversation.