Searching for the perfect candidate is Ana Ber’s passion. The Managing Partner at InterSearch Romania often takes creative and innovative approaches in the process.
Just how unconventional these approaches can be is showcased by a project she successfully completed last year together with Alexander Wilhelm, Managing Partner at InterSearch Executive Consultants in Frankfurt. A long-standing client had been looking to fill a vacant SAP development position for a special module for about a year. “The candidate market for this very rare search profile is practically depleted in Germany, and we don’t actually handle these types of search profiles anymore,” Alexander Wilhelm says. But the client was open to the idea of having the person work remotely, even though it was “uncharted territory” for the company to fill such a position from abroad. Ana Ber came up with the brilliant idea, searched in Central and Eastern Europe, and actually found the perfect candidate in Romania. The developer now travels to Frankfurt once a month, but otherwise works from Romania.
Global network an asset
“This example shows how companies and candidates are changing and evolving,” Ana says. Those in charge were trying to unite different ways of working and living, as well as new business models. All of this, she says, needs to be balanced, taking into account the expectations of the younger generation for corporate sustainability. “Companies need to focus more on their employees, otherwise they will lose them or not find new ones,” explains Ana. She elaborates: the COVID pandemic forced many companies – including in Romania – to expedite their digital advancement. One advantage of this is that Romanians were early adopters, which is why many European companies launched pilot projects there, for instance to test new applications and products.
The example of German-Romanian cooperation also underscores how advantageous it is for an executive search consultancy to be networked in a globalized world. “If I don’t know what’s happening in Germany or Singapore, I can’t offer my clients the perfect solution,” Ana explains. After all, she says, it’s about finding the best staffing for them for today, tomorrow, the day after tomorrow and the day after that.
Emancipation more advanced than in Germany
At InterSearch Worldwide, Ana Ber is Group Leader for Energy and Diversity & Inclusion. She ensures that diversity and inclusion are lived and implemented within the network. “Only then can we make it clear to our clients, based on our own experience, how important these points are,” says Ana.
This leads to remarkable accomplishments. A case in point: the executive search consultant was able to place a woman as general manager in a Japanese automotive company for the first time. This example set a precedent there, so that even more women have since taken over management positions. “They were simply the best, regardless of their gender,” Ana explains.
Preconceptions about older people
In former communist countries like Romania, emancipation is further along than for example in Germany, she says. This is because women there have always worked in male-dominated professions, Ana explains. With a 35.8 percent share of women in management positions, Romania ranked 13th in the EU in 2021, while Germany was in the bottom third in 20th place. Only the public sector and politics lag behind in Romania when it comes to equality.
“Romania is actually very tolerant,” Ana says. “But there is bias against older people, from the age of 55 you are considered old in our country.” Employees of this age are seen as slow and lacking energy. It is assumed that they do not give their all for the company. But that’s not true, assures Ana. She is not only concerned with gender justice. She wants to prevent discrimination against older and younger people alike, as well as discrimination based on ethnicity. And she’s always finding ways to do that, too – creatively and unconventionally.