Once upon a time in a distant land... Oh no! It's happening right here and today... This is the story of Chaffa Zaroui, who launched Fidès, her IT recruitment agency for the financial sector in Luxembourg. Shall we introduce her to you?
In a nutshell...
For you, being an entrepreneur is, above all, about... Freedom!
The main advantage of being an entrepreneur? Being free to make my choices and stand by them.
The main disadvantage of being an entrepreneur? Beware of workaholism!
Chaffa, what do you do in life?
With Fidès, the IT recruitment agency I founded in early 2020, my mission is to find the best matches to meet the expectations of my clients (private banks and fintech companies) and to meet the needs of my candidates. I do everything in my power to make it work in the long term, with the highest level of trust, well-being, and productivity!
In fact, that's how I function as well. Whether in my professional or private life, I like everything I undertake to have concrete utility and bear fruit. Besides, something that doesn't grow, dies...
As a mother of two young children, passionate about my work and literature, my time is precious. The older I get, the more selective I become. I give my all to everything I do and expect nothing less in return!
Why did you choose the IT recruitment sector?
Out of pragmatism: my professional experiences, my network, my expertise in human resources (in the banking sector), and my knowledge of the IT consulting world naturally led me in this direction. I had all the qualifications and experience required to start my business.
During a job interview in 2016, the CEO of the consulting company where I was applying asked me the famous question, "Where do you see yourself in five years?" I replied without hesitation, "I will have started my own business." It's a funny anecdote when I think about it... even audacious! But it's part of my personality: when I'm sure of myself, I go for it!
And then, the idea took root. Fidès began to take shape in 2018 and saw the light of day on January 2, 2020. I opted for the SARL-s status because it was the most relevant in my case. And contrary to what others might think, I had no fear of appearing illegitimate. In my eyes, the legal form is of little importance in terms of reputation, unlike the numbers that speak for themselves.
Would you recommend future entrepreneurs to seek support when starting their business?
Embarking on entrepreneurship is a project where you are alone. So yes, it's really great to have someone with whom you can share your progress, doubts, questions, and so on, in complete confidence. Moreover, the world of entrepreneurship is something to be learned. The entrepreneurial ecosystem in Luxembourg is a universe in itself to discover. It also allows you to debunk preconceived ideas.
How did this affect your project?
Getting support from nyuko allowed me to refine my offer by better understanding my needs and those of the market. In other words, my scope was too broad initially. My coach advised me and convinced me to focus on a niche market by combining IT and finance. What I did, and it objectively pays off.
The beginnings of Fidès, solo or as a team?
At the very beginning, I thought about forming a partnership because I deeply believe in the power of collective intelligence and I need to be challenged. But I ultimately decided to go solo. I set up my office at Silversquare Luxembourg, and I'm still pleased about it! It's an environment that is very dear to me. I've been able to meet people who challenge me and with whom I've built strong relationships.
However, my conviction that collective intelligence grows with diversity has not diminished... A new recruit joined me in October 2021, and the agency will continue to grow as another hiring, with an English-speaking profile this time, is planned.
How do you connect with your clients?
Primarily through my network. I always start with my network and make it available to my clients. As for the candidates, they contact me directly. I never post job offers online. Thanks to my more than ten years of experience in the Grand Duchy, I have an excellent network of IT professionals and the trust I've gained over time. Word of mouth is crucial...
And then, LinkedIn is the most effective client acquisition channel for me. I also have a website that I'm currently developing.
Did you choose high-end as a differentiating factor?
Exactly. My services are of high quality. I have a genuine interest in my clients. I'm not a service provider but a partner. Their challenges are mine.
The IT recruitment market is traditionally built on a volume strategy. To differentiate myself and because it aligns with my values, I made a bet on quality. Fidès offers a much more in-depth analysis phase than what is done in the market. I meet the teams and immerse myself in the company's culture, familiarize myself with the environment to ensure that I place the candidate who can bring the most value and thrive there over the long term...
From the candidates' perspective, I conduct a comprehensive assessment and create a skills dossier. It's also important to realize that changing jobs is not easy; it's not trivial. So I make sure to support my candidates after the contract is signed and in the long term. This includes a follow-up interview two months after the candidate starts.
What best practices do you recommend for prospecting and outreach?
I use the consulting skills I've acquired and apply them to recruitment. The key elements are relationships, understanding the client's needs, and understanding the motivations and expectations of the candidates.
In this specific sector, it's essential to understand the recruitment processes of my prospects. There are two scenarios: either the IT role is my entry point, and IT managers recommend me to the HR department in a second step, or it's the other way around; I first contact the HR department and then convince the IT managers. Grasping this nuance from the start guides my entire approach. Note that my primary contacts are always HR professionals.
Do the numbers speak for themselves?
Yes! I'm not afraid of numbers; I need to master them. It's essential to know how to manage the financial side, to build a sustainable business model...
In my case, the niche I positioned myself in, offering high-end services, is my strength. Plus, the established rules for remuneration in my sector also helped me frame my business model since Fidès receives a defined percentage of the annual salary of the person they place.
A management method to share?
I never let things get out of control. To manage everything I have to do on a daily basis, I've developed a priority management based on the concept of "business first": I tackle billable tasks first.
How do you balance your professional and personal life?
I have a precious advantage: great stability in my personal life. It's extremely important to be well surrounded, and I must say that I am, thanks to my family and friends... I also need to do a lot of sports, to blow off steam. It has always helped me a lot.
If you had only one piece of advice for future entrepreneurs, what would it be...
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