Once upon a time in a land far, far away... Oh no, wait! This story takes place right here and now... This is the story of Chaffa Zaroui who launched Fidès, her IT recruitment firm for the financial sector in Luxembourg. Let's introduce her!
In a nutshell...
For you, being an entrepreneur means above all… Freedom !
The main advantage of being an entrepreneur? Being free to make my own choices and taking responsibility for them.
The main disadvantage of being an entrepreneur? Beware of workaholism!
Chaffa, what do you do for a living?
With Fidès, the IT recruitment agency I created at the beginning of 2020, my mission is to find the best matches to satisfy the expectations of my clients (private banks and fintech) and to meet the needs of my candidates. I do my very best to help them form a relationship that will work in the long term, with the highest degree of trust, well-being and productivity!
In fact, that's how I function. Whether in my professional or private life, I like everything I do to be of concrete use and to bear fruit. After all, something that doesn't grow dies...
As a mother of two young children, and as someone who is passionate about her work but also about literature, my time is precious. The more things go on, the more selective I am. When I do something, I always give it my best, and I also expect the same in return when dealing with others!
Why did you choose the IT recruitment sector?
For pragmatic reasons – my professional experience, my network, my expertise in human resources (in banking) and my knowledge of the IT consulting world naturally guided me. I had all the qualifications and experience required to launch my business.
During a job interview in 2016, the CEO of the consulting firm I was applying to asked me the famous question “Where do you see yourself in five years?” I answered straight out, “I will have started my own company.” It's a funny anecdote when I think about it... a bit cheeky even! But it's part of my personality – when I'm sure of myself, I go for it!
And then the idea took off. Fidès began to mature in 2018 and was born on 2 January 2020. I opted for the SARL-s status because it was the most relevant option in my case. And, contrary to what others may think, I had no fear of appearing illegitimate. In my eyes, the legal form does not matter much in terms of reputation, contrary to the numbers which speak for themselves.
Would you recommend future entrepreneurs to seek support when launching their business?
Launching an entrepreneurial venture is a project in which you are alone. So yes, it's really nice to have someone that you trust with whom you can share your progress, doubts, questions, etc. Moreover, the world of entrepreneurship is a learning experience. The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Luxembourg is a world in itself that you should discover. It also helps to deconstruct preconceived ideas.
How did this help your project evolve?
Being accompanied by nyuko allowed me to refine my offer by better defining my needs and those of the market. In other words, my scope was too broad at the beginning. My coach advised me and convinced me to place myself in a niche market by combining IT and finance. This is what I did, and it is objectively bearing fruit.
The beginnings of Fidès, alone or in a team?
At the very beginning, I thought of joining forces because I believe deeply in the power of collective intelligence, and I’m someone who needs to be challenged. But I finally decided to launch the business on my own. I set up my practice in Silversquare Luxembourg and I'm still happy about it! It's a very valuable environment for me. I have been able to meet people who challenge me and with whom I have established solid relationships.
But my conviction that collective intelligence grows with diversity does not diminish... A first new recruit joined me in October 2021 and the firm is going to grow even more since another new recruit is expected, this time with an English-speaking profile.
How do you get in touch with your clients?
Mainly through my network. I always go through my network first and I make it available to my clients. As for candidates, they contact me directly. I never publish an offer online. Thanks to my experience of more than ten years in the Grand Duchy, I have an excellent network of IT specialists and a trust that has been built up over time. Word of mouth is key here...
And LinkedIn is the customer acquisition channel that works best for me. I also have a website that I am currently developing.
You chose the high-end as a differentiator?
Exactly. My services are highly qualitative. I have a real interest in my clients. I am not a service provider but a partner. Their issues are my issues.
The IT recruitment market is traditionally built on a volume strategy. To differentiate myself and because it is in line with my values, I have decided to bet on quality. Fidès offers a much more thorough analysis phase than what is done on the market. I meet the teams and immerse myself in the company's culture, I familiarise myself with the environment to ensure that I place the candidate who will be able to bring the best added value and thrive in the long term...
From the candidate's point of view, I carry out a full assessment and draw up a skills file. It is also important to realise that changing jobs is not an easy thing to do, it is not trivial. I therefore ensure that I support my candidates after the contract is signed and in the long term. This includes an integration interview two months after the candidate starts.
What good practises do you recommend for prospecting and marketing?
I use the skills I acquired in consulting and apply them to recruitment. The key elements are interpersonal skills, the human touch, analysing client demand and understanding the motivations and expectations of candidates.
In this particular sector, it is essential to understand the recruitment processes of my prospects. There are two scenarios: either the IT business is my entry point and the IT managers recommend me to the HR department at a later stage; or it's the other way round, I contact the HR department first and then convince the IT managers. Understanding this nuance from the start guides my entire approach. It should be noted that my preferred contacts are always the people in HR.
Do the numbers speak for themselves?
Yes, I'm not afraid of numbers, I need to master them. It's vital to know how to manage the financial side of things, to know how to build a sustainable business model...
In my case, the niche in which I have positioned myself by offering high-end services is my strength. And the rules established for remuneration in my sector have also helped me to frame my economic model, since Fidès receives a defined percentage of the annual salary of the person it has placed.
Do you have a management method you would like to share?
I never let myself get overwhelmed. To manage everything that I have to do on a daily basis, I have developed a priority management system based on the “business first” concept – I tackle the billable tasks first.
How do you manage the balance between your professional and personal life?
I am very lucky – I have a very stable personal life. It is extremely important to be well surrounded and I must say that I am thanks to my family and my close friends... I need to do a lot of sports too, to unwind. It has always helped me a lot.
If you had only one piece of advice to give to future entrepreneurs, it would be...
Interview conducted by Delphine Anzevui
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