They are the first faces you will probably meet in IT Labs, and there is a reason for it. Biljana Stefkov and Ana Georgieva have a major role in the company’s growth by recognizing the talent that’s a good fit for our high-performing teams. You will immediately feel comfortable in their presence because they are a real embodiment of the company culture – professionals that are also kind-hearted people.    

And they are the right people that can explain and clear the air on much confusion around the recruitment process. We had a wonderful conversation on different important topics related to recruitment in general, and how the process of recruitment looks like in IT Labs. It has meaningful insights that can help you prepare and make the right impression, so take a deep dive and read it.

Biljana Stefkov

Senior Recruiter

Ana Georgieva

Recruitment and Employee Engagement Specialist

Why did you choose this profession? Was it a life calling? 

Ana: I think that I defined my career path early in my high school days, but I wasn’t sure what it meant back then. I started volunteering in the local NGOs led by the desire to be the voice of the voiceless, a friend of the lonely, and shelter for the unprotected. And as the saying goes, one thing leads to another, I started working as a social worker, but then I realized that I love business as well. Long story short, this is how I became part of the IT Labs HR team.

Biljana: I’ve always wanted to help people. By being a recruiter, that’s what you do. On the one hand, you help people find great jobs, and on the other, you help the company or client find great people. Seeing the creation of a long-lasting successful relationship is something that fulfills me.  Years ago, I became interested in HR in general, and during my career, I was involved in a few of the streams covered by HR, but recruitment stuck close to my heart. The connections you create, the people you meet, the relations you see. Everything plays its part in deciding why I choose to work as a recruiter.  I also see my personality as a mix of equal parts of creativity and drive for analytics. And found recruitment as THE profession that combines those two daily.


How do you break the ice with a candidate? Do you have a trick in your sleeve? 

Biljana: I see the interview as a conversation with a smart, mature person who is great at what they do and is also aware of why we are having the conversation.  So, in this case, I don’t necessarily see the need for having an ice breaker. When you know why you are there and know the discussion subject, it comes quite naturally to have the conversation. The main idea of having a quality talk is to listen to the candidate carefully and skillfully direct the conversation.

Ana: When I was a beginner, I was trying to introduce myself more formally and professionally. But, as time went on, I realized that the perfect mix between being professional and friendly to the candidate is the key to leading the candidate towards a fruitful and successful recruitment process. The candidates should be aware that the recruiters are their friends and the bridge between them and the hiring managers. After all, we have the same goal – to hire them.


What is your general impression – are people afraid of interviews? Can you suggest something that can help them shake off the anxiety? 

Ana: Work on your attitude. I am not saying that you should be overconfident, but everyone enjoys having a conversation with people who have a winning attitude. Don’t overthink possible interview scenarios, prepare yourself (learn more about the position and the company), and go with the flow.

Biljana: I think people generally are not afraid of interviews. At the beginning of the conversation, it might come a bit odd to start sharing professional and personal aspects of one’s life with someone you’ve just met. Still, it’s the recruiter’s role to create an environment that will make the candidate feel comfortable and safe.


Whats your favorite question to ask? 

Ana: I don’t have favorite questions, although I always want to learn more about candidates’ favorite projects. In my opinion, it’s vital to learn about their points of interest, such as technologies, challenges, or what kind of teams they want to work in. Having this conversation can lead you to the conclusion if your company culture matches the candidates’ expectations.

Biljana: Each person is unique, and so is the conversation (interview) you have with them. I don’t have any favorite questions that I ask. The questions depend on the candidate’s story and the type of connection you create during the interview.


How would you describe the recruiting process of IT Labs? 

Biljana: Process-driven and flexible 😊. That’s what I love about IT Labs. It has its defined ways of how a quality recruitment process should look like. Even though we follow it in most cases, it is flexible and able to be modified to achieve the best results for all parties involved (company and candidate).

Ana: I would agree on this one with Biljana. The perfect definition is indeed process-driven but flexible.


Why should a candidate become part of IT Labs? 

Ana: If you want to work in a process-oriented, structured, but friendly environment, you should seriously consider joining our company. As part of the IT Labs team, I would like to emphasize that working in an organization focused on people’s growth makes me feel comfortable about my future.

Biljana: The decision of someone to change a job is quite personal, and I do think it needs to be based initially on personal needs, combined with what the other company and position have to offer. Once the personal aspect is set, IT Labs has a variety of advantages it can offer:  multiple projects and clients, modern technologies used, interesting set of requirements in job positions, a culture of appreciation, balanced approach towards support and challenge of its employees… and much more 🙂


How do you sustain a professional manner while also being friendly to the candidates? 

Biljana:  I think that in business people create special bonds (especially during a recruitment process), but I see it as different rather than regular. A specific type of connection that is leaning more towards a professional behavior combined with politeness rather than friendliness.

Ana: Professionalism, among other things, means knowing the boundaries between work and personal life. There is no need for extra effort if you follow this simple rule.  However, we have to show empathy and validate people’s feelings during the recruitment process.


What is the biggest challenge of being a recruiter?  

Biljana: As in any profession, there are good days and bad days. What is important is to love what you do, and that’s how you’ll find joy in most of the days spent doing that. Personally, I don’t see a specific challenge of being a recruiter.

Ana: To understand your potential candidates’ needs, their interests, and to get their attention. I am not sure if this is the biggest challenge or the shortest job description ever (just kidding). 🙂


There is a negative trend of ghosting in the recruitment process. What is your take on this? 

Biljana: To be honest, this trend is a worldwide issue from both sides – candidates and recruiters. As bad it is to be ghosted by the candidate, it’s good to take that as a lesson from a recruiter’s point of view and just imagine how a candidate would feel if you don’t come back with feedback after an interview. But I see this as a resolving issue in the future, since it’s quite connected with the increased usage of social media, and I believe that polite behavior principles will apply in this type of communication with time.

Ana: Being ghosted, either you are a candidate or recruiter, can make you feel uncomfortable. If the recruitment process was software, ghosting is the perfect example of having a bug in the software. It is essential to understand that the bug is not intentional neither nor personal.

I believe that both candidates and recruiters are aware of ghosting’s negative effect, but sometimes it happens.

It’s up to us to work on the continuous improvement of our responsiveness.


What is the biggest misconception that you have noticed regarding the recruitment process in general? 

Ana: The biggest misconception that people have regarding the interview process and recruiter, in general, is that recruiters are just people who are collecting resumes and only care to fill the position no matter what. As a recruiter, I would say that this belief is incorrect. Our recruitment team is striving to build strong and long-term relationships with the candidates, understand the requirements in detail, find and hire the best-in-class engineers, and deliver high-quality results.

Biljana: Oh, there are quite a few… 😊. But something that I’ve noticed through the years is the misconception that the initial interview with the recruiter is unnecessary, meaningless, or just a procedural meeting, without the opportunity to benefit from it. I think the truer side of the story is quite the opposite.

The initial interview is a crucial part of the recruitment process. The discussion where both sides – the company (through the recruiter) and the candidate – can find out every important detail that helps them clarify whether they are a good potential match. The initial conversation with the recruiter is where you can ask and share literary anything you consider important for your career. It is a conversation that can lead to a life-changing decision.  It has weight; it is a constructive and directed conversation towards a specific goal. At the same time, it is flexible enough to provide a safe environment for sharing and asking the tough question you naturally wouldn’t ask during the rest of the recruitment process. It provides the candidate with a key to all the company inside info you cannot find easily on the web. On the other hand, it allows you to meet your “go-to” person – the person you can lean on through the whole recruitment process (the recruiter).

On the positive side, I think this misconception of undervaluing the initial interview is slowly changing, as people feel freer to explore the labor market and go to interviews more often than they did previously.


How can a candidate WOW you?  

Ana: People speaking with integrity can always WOW me. I am always amazed by candidates who have a high level of self-awareness, not only for their strengths but also their weaknesses. And the third thing that is crucial for me is the candidate’s eagerness to learn.

Biljana:  True, honest people, with an awareness of personal strengths and flaws, amaze me in any setting, not only during the interviews. Having a conversation with this type of person is truly remarkable. And I consider myself lucky since this profession allowed me to meet many great people who nurture those values in themselves.


Whats the best interview advice you can give to candidates or people looking for job opportunities? 

Biljana: Just be yourself. Take ownership of what you know and what you do and bring that to the recruitment process.

Ana:  Try to listen carefully and take your time to answer the questions. Interviewers are just people who passed the same process as you to get their jobs. We are aware that, sometimes, the interviews might be stressful for the candidates. Don’t fake it till you make it. Be yourself.


Maja Tanushoska

Digital Marketing Specialist