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Ever wondered what’s working in Blackthorn Vision like? In a new series of articles, we glance behind the scenes of our work processes and corporate culture through the eyes of our employees.

So, without further ado, let’s go!

Meet Mariya Kanitska – our Head of HR. Mariya has worked at BV for about 3 years, including 6 months in the Head of HR position. We talked about her candidate selection methods, the company’s core values, and what’s going on with the IT industry in Ukraine these days.

My way to HR management

Being into psychology since high school, I chose this subject for my degree. Later on, I’ve got additional education in administrative management and started to work in the travel industry. It was a time when the IT domain was developing rapidly in Ukraine and Lviv, so I was excited to participate in this process. The people in this industry, their vision, and their enthusiasm to gain knowledge amazed me. Besides, it was a chance to get in touch with people from abroad and explore their work culture.

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My love for people and my ability to build connections brought me to the HR field, where I was in the right place to help others and make a difference. As for my decision to work at Blackthorn Vision, I had several reasons. First and foremost – driven and forward-looking people, eager to improve and grow. When people truly believe in what they do, their passion is contagious. Second, it’s the company’s CEO, Mykhaylo. He builds a business ecosystem that is both financially successful and supportive for its employees. His vision inspired me, and I realized I wanted to work with him side by side.

Head of HR tasks and responsibilities

I’m in charge of HR & Recruitment in our Lviv and Khmelnytskyi headquarters. Our HR team includes 3 HR generalists, a recruiter, and an office manager. By the way, we are hiring – our team is looking for 2 additional pairs of hands.

As Head of HR, I take care of recruiting, professional development plans, HR branding, HR services, and corporate compensation plans. Since our company is expanding, we focus our main activities on recruiting. We also pay attention to in-company communications and take part in shaping the BV brand.

Creating a comfortable work environment and opportunities for personal development and growth is one of our top priorities. Here are some of the latest services we developed for our colleagues: updated compensation plan, renewed corporate events, transparent performance and salary review. Now we are working on our centers of excellence.

We use corporate surveys as our preferred tool to assess employee satisfaction. Most of our co-workers attend the surveys – I believe it’s a sign of high engagement in the company’s life. And we bear fruit, too: the surveys help us find communication gaps and define stepping stones towards a better employee experience.

How I fight burnouts: my formula of work-life balance

I am grateful to have an amazing team that I can fully trust. It helps maintain a balance between work and personal life, as I can delegate my responsibilities with peace of mind. We promote transparency so that anyone who faces challenges can always come and talk.

My job is my passion; it inspires and motivates me every day. Being in recruiting for 5 years, I witnessed thousands of human stories. There were stories of success and stories of failure. My profession requires me to rejoice, sympathize, cheer and comfort others. Yet, when I give a part of myself to others, I need to replenish my energy.

Thanks to my husband, I have reliable support at home. Every time I’m afraid of failure, he smiles and says: “You can do it!” Aside from that, I enjoy growing indoor plants. For me, indoor gardening is more than a hobby – it’s a philosophy. My plants fulfill me with vigor and inspiration in the same way I fill their pots with water. I think I’ll have to move to a bigger apartment soon because I can’t stop!

The IT market in Ukraine

The IT industry in Ukraine is still evolving and requires 40 thousand developers annually. Filling these workforce gaps remain our biggest challenge since universities graduate only 16 thousand specialists per year. For this reason, we rely on educated people that switch from other occupations.

Large IT companies already partner with universities to adapt their curriculums to modern business needs. Blackthorn Vision is no exception – we strive to create more opportunities for folks motivated to work in IT. This year, we launched BV Academy, and our students are already working on real projects.

Soft skills vs. hard skills: what we look for in job applicants

In Blackthorn Vision, we strive to create a vibrant, productive work environment and remain united under any circumstances. Therefore, our company values personality traits that contribute to fruitful teamwork. For instance, communication skills are essential since our employees interact both with co-workers and foreign customers. And of course, we look for team players – people who are supportive, open for dialogue, and able to handle critics constructively.

There are few more important traits we look for – open-mindedness and self-motivation. Applicants with sharp minds and a passion for knowledge are our perfect candidates. However, even the strongest soft skills cannot cover a lack of technical expertise. That’s why the number one reason we reject candidates is inadequate hard skills. We need people attentive to details, and if applicants cannot carefully read a job listing and evaluate their technical stack, we’re heading in different directions.

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My weirdest interview

Once I interviewed a candidate who came with his mother. And a proactive one – she stayed throughout the whole interview and asked about our compensation plan and other administrative matters. But, unfortunately, the candidate lacked the experience to fit that position. So here’s my professional advice – don’t bring your mother to an interview, even if your CV is spot-on! No matter how proactive your mother is, better be proactive yourself.

How we create opportunities for our employees

Our company cares about its employees and creates a positive working environment that encourages creative thinking and self-improvement. We design personal development plans that include English courses and speaking clubs, provide our corporate library and other educational sources. Moreover, each employee can join our mentorship program to share their expertise or learn from top experts – members of our competency groups.

Being a member of our team is the first and foremost opportunity for our potential employees. Everyone in this company is a part (an important part!) of something bigger and contributes to a common goal.

About the company

While the IT market in Ukraine is jam-packed with companies big and small, the demand for qualified developers increases year after year. As a result, money is no longer the main incentive for many professionals. Instead, people want to make an impact, to feel important and stable. Our company provides all of that.

At Blackthorn Vision, we have a clear image of our niche and unique path to success. Our well-calibrated optics guides us while we make business decisions and select clients. Every our project shapes the world into a better place. For example, we supported the development of COVID-19 vaccines by Pfizer.

Blackthorn Vision is a company where people are the most valuable asset. It’s a place of power and faith in every team member. Here, you’re never alone, and it’s priceless. When our co-workers celebrate 7-8-9 anniversaries in the company, it struck me every time. For example, our CTO just celebrated his 10 anniversary in the company. I think it’s awesome! Employees loyalty and dedication to a company is the best marker of success.

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