Road to Recruitment: Sevan Der Bedrossian, Robert Walters San Francisco
No matter what field you’ve specialized in, if you love working one-on-one with people and solving problems, then a career in recruitment could be a great path for you. And for former engineer Sevan Der Bedrossian, that statement reigns true. While spending six years behind a computer working as a quality engineer, Sevan decided his skills would find him great success in a new career – recruitment. And after starting his career at Robert Walters in our Paris office as an industrial engineer consultant, he’s made his way back home to San Francisco to reunite with family and embrace the opportunities and challenges he’d find working in a new market and new team: design. Learn all about Sevan’s career journey from engineering to recruitment:
Where did you work before joining Robert Walters?
I have a background in engineering, and after graduating I worked in quality for six years. So, before Robert Walters I did engineering in the food industry and worked at three different companies where I was a quality manager, and the last one was this big American company called Sealed Air, a food packaging manufacturer. They’re the company who invented bubble wrap – fun fact. My role was to help clients find the origins of the issues they were having with our products and put forth the necessary corrective actions.
What attracted you to working in recruitment?
I would go with sales teams to see clients and it got me thinking I wanted a job that was more sales driven and would put me into more face-to-face contact with people, instead of being behind a computer all day. Like I said, I mainly delt with problems with clients and it always went well. I was able to talk with them, understand what they were looking for, and really listen to them and deliver…and I realized that my strengths were in my soft skills. So, I wanted my next role to be working one-on-one with people and to help them find solutions.
Why did you want to work for Robert Walters?
In France, Robert Walters sold themselves really well, and they got me on board quickly because the recruiters from each division actually come from that industry. So, as an engineer I was relieved when the recruiters in the engineering division who interviewed me had actual backgrounds in engineering. That made me more confident to switch into recruitment.
How did you end up recruiting for the design team in SF instead of the engineering team?
I was doing Industrial engineering back in France (Manufacturing, Maintenance, Quality, and Site Directors). I could have gone with engineering here in SF, but it’s mainly software engineering which is a domain I don’t know much about. I thought I’d start out something brand new, and I liked the idea of design, where I would need to rely more on the soft skills of the people I’d be meeting, Design being quite subjective.
What do you like best about your role?
You have an opportunity to change people’s lives. It’s something where if you’re good at your job, do your homework, and really understand what the client or candidate is looking for or better yet needs, you’re really going to have a big impact on someone’s life, or help a client build their company’s roadmap. You’re basically helping people succeed.
What has been your biggest achievement to date?
For me, it’s a specific placement I made not too long ago. I sent a candidate a job that he was convinced was not the right fit for him and not interested, and vice versa with the client. But I talked to them both and was able to convince the candidate it was worth the try, and the client he was worth interviewing because he was really good. And it all went great! The candidate ended up accepting the job and he reached out to me later thanking me for listening to him and taking him out of his comfort zone. Now it’s going great for him.
How would you describe the culture at Robert Walters?
Over here in SF, I love the fact that it feels like a big a family. The whole team is very nurturing and collaborative. It’s all about teamwork and that’s not common in this industry. We share the candidates we discover during our searches; we synch up every day with the whole team and find ways to collaborate instead of having an “ownership” mentality. The overall environment is wonderful. For example, the holiday party was amazing and so fun. I came here a few months ago, but I noticed how people internally are great friends with each other. Like I said, it feels like being part of a family.
What advice would you give to someone considering a move into recruitment?
Always listen to the candidates and clients, they have all the valuable information needed to properly carry out this job. It’s a difficult, but uncomplicated job. Success relies on properly processing the information given from the candidates and clients and applying accordingly. It makes your job much easier when you earn the trust of both candidates and clients.
How did the company support your move from France to San Francisco?
It was a very smooth, easy process for me because I have dual citizenship. However, the France office supported the decision for me to move to SF, which allowed me to proceed with the interview process and shortened the notice period too. And the SF team was a huge help with organizing all the proper trainings, schedule chats with the different managers so I could better understand the market/industry and helped with the moving process.
What attracted you to working in SF?
So, for one I was born here in San Francisco, and I’ve got half my family here, mainly my sister who moved back here six years ago. I felt like I had more opportunities to grow here with the SF team.
How did you find adapting to working in a different market?
Still in progress! The job remains the same, but it is definitely a candidate market, making it much more difficult to start a discussion with them. The training and advice given from the team and managers has helped a lot. But I’m starting to adapt pretty quickly with the support from my team.