Success Story: Yahia at Better Shelter
This is one of our many great success stories of a recruitment. Meet Yahia Atef Hamad AlNajem, who recently landed his first Technical Engineer job in Sweden. Through this interview, him and David Karpathakis Thalén, Head of Product Development at Better Shelter, share their experience of the recruitment process and their time working together.
What occupation did you have before your current employment?
I was working as a Renovation project manager- maintenance focal point for an NGO called SOS- children’s villages association in Amman- Jordan. I was renovating a 30 years old village with an Area of 26 hectares. My work was in line with two Human and Engineering curves. Since I was renovating residential houses which were used to provide care for children with no family bonds, I got into a direct contact with the children from a humanitarian perspective, in addition to my Engineering duties. Working for Better Shelter is my first job as an Engineer in Sweden, before that I worked as a part time Actor and musician with a theater group name “Teater Theatron” based in Malmö.
How did you experience the recruiting process with Novare Potential?
It was a direct and quick process with a high level of professionalism. I sent my CV at night and got an automatic reply which said that Novare Potential will get back to me with a phone call within 2-4 weeks if they found my CV matching the requirements.
I was surprised that I got a call already at the second day, from Dalia Zana a researcher at Novare Potential, asking some questions about my CV and some other general questions. She said that she will get back to me to set an appointment for an interview with her. The interview with Dalia was for an hour, the questions varied between my career, what I did before I applied for the Technical Engineer position and why I find myself suitable for it. Dalia got back to me in two days only to inform me that I passed to a second interview, this time with the Head of Development at Better Shelter David Karpathakis Thalén, to ask me more about the technical questions for the position.
Dalia followed up with me directly after my interview with David. A third interview were held with the Direct Manager Johan Karlsson and the Head of Technology Tim De Haas and me. After two days I got a call from Novare Potential informing me that I got the position in Better Shelter and that we would have a meeting to discuss the contract and to answer my questions if I had any. The process took less than 10 days, and it was a smooth and quick process.
Tell us a little bit about your new role at Better Shelter
I work as a Technical Engineer to provide any support needed for our partners that are installing Better shelter’s product, making the process easier with giving recommendations and a step by step follow up. This is in addition to writing technical documentations, reports and collecting requirements and data.
The challenges for me were opportunities at the same time because the working environment is totally new to me since it is my first job in Sweden. So, this is a chance to know the Swedish working culture and market more and more for the future. I am comfortable with the working environment at Better Shelter, the team is friendly and supportive. The great thing is that mistakes are allowed because you learn more by making mistakes. Guidance is always provided to find the information and how to deal with obstacles at work. I come from a different culture and background since I am from the middle east. Arabic is my mother tongue and I know a lot about the eastern cultures. Together with my engineering experience I can deliver the technical information needed using the same language and making the installation process and follow up easier and more effective.
What does this job mean to you?
To take part in Better Shelter means a lot of things to me. This is my first job in Sweden, finding an Engineering job here is so difficult and it took me so much time, so this job is an important step in my career path and an opportunity to understand the Swedish market more. From a humanitarian perspective I am a part of improving the lives of forcibly displaced persons and Asylum seekers around the world with a chance to find a place to call home where it is dignified and safe. And that is important from my self-worth view that makes me satisfied, that I could act towards this problem and to take a part in the solution.
David Karpathakis Thalén, Head of Product Development at Better Shelter
Why did you decide to collaborate with Novare Potential and are you happy with the outcome?
Better Shelter works together with partners around the world and saw a good potential to grow our own knowledge by hiring a competent and skilled employee with a non-Swedish work background. Currently we are also doing a lot of projects in the middle east, so finding someone who can support our partners directly in Arabic was also a factor.
We believed that Novare Potential was the right partner for this process with their outreach in non-traditional channels, and base of a diverse candidate pool.
What was it that Yahia did or said to make you think he is the right fit for the job?
Yahia showed that he was able to understand both the importance of planning technically for a project but at the same time an ability to adapt to problem that can occur during implementation. Better Shelter operates in a very volatile and unstable sector (humanitarian sector) where an ability to solve problems quickly can have a huge impact on human lives and an understanding for that situation was important. Yahia had previous experience from humanitarian work and that also came as a big plus. Besides his technical skills he came across early as an easy to work with and friendly person. Something of great importance in a small social enterprise, like Better Shelter, and to build trust and good relations with our partners in the field. A personal trait that he has now shown also after a while of employment.
What would you say to companies who are considering recruiting from a more divers candidate pool?
DO IT! From working in an international workplace, you learn a lot. Differences challenges you and forces you to grow as an organization. For us working with development to improve the lives of forcibly displaced people by providing shelter an understanding of different cultures, contexts and situations is crucial, something you can get by a diverse team. Diversifying your work force can only open up new opportunities. Make sure the competency you have can be kept and excel in what they know and diversify for you organization to learn new things. Also adding that the selection of candidates we were presented with by Novare Potential were all very competent and motivated AND could provide us with the benefits of diversity.