William Gaber

Executive Talent Firm Hand-Picks its Candidates

Wed, 01/21/2015 - 13:43

The Mexican oil and gas sector had not really required anyone to find specialty positions given that, for the past seven decades, PEMEX and its contractors handled most of the industry. Now, as a result of the Energy Reform, the need for highly-skilled and well-versed individuals is growing like a tidal wave and threatening to unsettle the whole industry in Mexico. Being aware which leadership skills are necessary to handle the toughest industry challenges while understanding the difficulties facing new companies in Mexico are two critical enigmas that any talent search firm must crack. Atabay Consulting (Atabay) aims to do just that. Its three partners bring the combined multinational talent search expertise of over 35 years in the global oil and gas industry. Rafael Daryanani and William Gaber decided to team up with another highly-skilled headhunter a few years ago to establish a boutique firm dedicated to hand-picking the best talent for top managerial positions. After the Energy Reform became a reality in late 2013, they decided to focus their talent search endeavors in the Mexican oil and gas sector. After having worked in Europe and Africa for a global oil services company, Daryanani was able to define a strategy and integrate it into Atabay’s portfolio in order to grab the Mexican market by the horns. “We look at key qualities among our selected candidates, ranging from corporate leadership capabilities to experienced technical resources that have had similar positions in environments as the ones required in Mexico,” explains Daryanani, Director at Atabay. “As a boutique firm, we are very well trained in searches for top operational, finance, and other key executive positions in the senior managerial sector. We can place Country and Regional Managers, Director Generals, CEOs, or Presidents.”

In order to carefully select its candidates, Atabay works under three premises. “During an interview we are not simply looking at CVs. Experience is only the first step in the selection process. We focus on motivation because we are not looking to convince anyone who is not interested in a given position. This is the same if the position does not make sense in someone’s chosen career path,” highlights Gaber, Partner at Atabay. As an advisor during the recruitment process, Atabay looks at what drives individuals because it needs to know if it is the right time and place for the candidate to take up a specific position. “With this, we are able to spot motivating factors that will surely determine the development of candidates within a company,” he explains. The life of a candidate can be radically changed if motivation is not included in the mix. This is a crucial component that is needed to lure the right profile to Mexico. “If people understand that their career path aligns with the direction of a job, individuals will feel motivated to give the best of themselves,” adds Daryanani. According to Atabay, the requirements of different clients depend on their positioning in the Mexican market. “Some players have had activities in the past, others have had some exposure to Mexico through distributors, and a few are brand new entrants. This is why relationships in Mexico are a crucial factor that we look for in the general traits of top executives’,” explains Gaber.

Many qualified oil and gas workers regularly move from country to country since their careers are dictated by surges in demand stemming from new developments. After a project’s development phase is completed, most of the technical and managerial staff is able to take on a new venture, so as projects move forward in different oil and gas provinces around the world, companies will begin seeking those same experts. Atabay is aware of this obstacle and is doing the best to highlight the benefits of coming to work in Mexico. Offering an attractive proposal for experienced talent to come and settle into Mexico to continue their careers in the oil and gas sector will be a crucial success factor. Although it is not an easy task, it can count on three ways of capturing talent. First, it uses its personal contacts in the industry which it has collected over its 35-year experience in the global market. Second, Atabay is part of more than a dozen boutique firms that make up an internationallyrecognized group that gathers experts in the top talent search business. By gathering contacts from its hubs in the US, Russia, the Middle East, and Latin America, it becomes much easier to find the most suitable fit for a position in Mexico. “We also leverage on our database with over 30,000 interviews of executives that have been carried out by the three Atabay partners over the last 25 years. Combining all of these resources enables us to select the best candidate from the international market and make Atabay stand out from the pack,” affirms Gaber.