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Shiluv – A World of Advanced Employment / By Tal Ben-Baruch

Shiluv is a nationwide company involved in employee placement, outsourcing and locating human resources, primarily for the public sector. Today the 22-year-old company has 1,300 employees with operations based in Jerusalem. In 2007 Shiluv was acquired by Taldor and turned into a public corporation traded on the stock exchange, a move that has greatly streamlined the decision-making process at the company. We had an optimistic talk with CEO Yossi Aruasti and Recruitment Manager Kochavit Gadron about the state of employment in Israel and about high-tech worker placement in a time of crisis, as well as about the Jerusalem character that plays such a prominent role in shaping the company.

What sets Shiluv apart from other placement companies?

Shiluv is a Jerusalem company that grew up in the city, unlike other placement companies that have only a Jerusalem branch and the heart of the company is located in the Central Region, therefore we have a Jerusalem orientation. There are several things that are different about Jerusalemites – the workday, the style of work and the work environment – which are dictated by the fact that many Jerusalemites are involved in providing services. There’s something slower when working in Jerusalem, and more in-depth as well. On the other hand we also have an internal language.

What is the Jerusalemite language?
Everybody knows everybody else. This is a city of a million people yet longstanding Jerusalemites conduct themselves as if they’re in a small town.
Social networks are very strong, and that’s one of Shiluv’s major advantages. We’ve known our customers and decision-makers for years, which really helps us. There’s something about being in the heart of Jerusalem…you get to know the fluctuations and the content world.

What are Shiluv’s main areas of activity?
Shiluv has two departments, an IT department and a non-IT department. In IT most of the employees through us are state employees (700-800). This market is very structured and most of the positions are filled through tenders. Demand for high-tech jobs in this sector is rising and in a fluctuating market this is a relatively static field.
In non-IT the positions are higher caliber and more senior. Because we’re in a world of organizations, non-profits and government ministries it’s easier to place high-caliber candidates in high-caliber positions – from very senior office management to assistant directors and directors of large organizations.


Yossi Aruasti, CEO of Shiluv – A World of Advanced Employment

When Shiluv was sold to Taldor, Yossi was appointed CEO, and in February of this year all responsibility was transferred to him. As a Jerusalem old-timer (six generations in the city) the job fit him like a glove and his work is based primarily on personal connections with customers.
What has changed since the company was sold to Taldor?
The entire decision-making process has changed, becoming more structured. We work according to a budget and goals and keeping in mind that we’re a company that’s supposed to leverage business like a commercial firm. In the past, as a private company, the owners could make decisions on a moment’s notice without any process, but today it doesn’t work like that. Every step we take requires approval from the parent company and is under supervision. Like every public corporation our operations are transparent and the books are open.
During the past year we made a strategic decision to turn into a company focused on high tech.

You chose now, of all times, to focus on high tech?
Since Shiluv became a public corporation we’ve been serving the interests of the shareholders so now the company must be a more high-tech label, providing services for the government and public sectors.
Our main high-tech activity is for government ministries and that’s where we’re headed more. We realized that Shiluv has strong, real abilities, including human capabilities and quality and service, enabling it to work with the government sector (the police, the National Insurance Institute, etc.). This is Shiluv’s main channel, and will continue to be in the future. This market is stable and certain, and the demand for high-tech workers has grown steadily.

According to your observations, which types of jobs are in demand these days?
The types of jobs we’ve been seeing in high tech – programmers, web people, system people, software testers, .net people and systems analysts.
In biotechnology in another five years they’re planning to build a technology park near Hadassah, so there will be a demand for chemical engineers, lab engineers, industrial microbiologists, electronics engineers and integration people.
In finance – economists, SAP people, marketing and administration people.
At the senior level there’s a demand for human resources and finance personnel, accountants, vice presidents of operations, fundraisers and large project managers.

What kind of candidate are you looking for?
We’re looking for candidates who are willing to work in an environment that’s not IT per se because, as we said, the positions are in the public sector, so employees work among state employees. We’re looking for people who will serve as our emissaries at these companies.

What screening stages do candidates go through at Shiluv?
Every field has a recruiter who specializes in a certain sector. She takes the position and, using our existing pool of candidates, quickly finds several resumes that meet the customer’s needs. The assessment is done first by us and then at the client site. We eliminate candidates using a funnel method; we don’t have exhausting tests or selections. We came to the conclusion the best method for assessment is one-on-one meetings and we place a lot of trust in our recruiters. Candidates come to us primarily through employee referrals and via the Internet. We don’t do aggressive marketing.

How do customers come to you?
Shiluv has a client base that goes back decades and what’s unique about it is that we don’t have salespeople, marketing people or advertising people. That’s our secret. Shiluv built itself over time as a Jerusalem company. We have goodwill ambassadors who got hired as senior placement managers and they’re our marketing personnel and they recognize Shiluv’s advantages. The secret to our success is solid familiarity with the market and close acquaintances with the people in the market.
In practice I’m a salesman. I run back and forth among the customers, I conduct interviews and everyone knows me. Today the main recruitment channel is first-hand familiarity. I get dozens if not hundreds of resumes every week from people I know personally. All I have to do is make sure the phone and fax machine are working.

Why is it worthwhile for job candidates to come to you?
Shiluv is a company with soul, which operates in a fully transparent way with clients and employees, and by operating professionally manages to help people find work. Shiluv is also a company with low overhead expenses, therefore workers can better maximize their compensation and abilities at Shiluv.

How is the world economic crisis affecting you as a placement company?
The crisis didn’t begin today, it began two or three years ago, and even earlier in the US. Israel is just one small spot, but it’s definitely affected by and drawn into the world crisis, and we’re feeling that now. The crisis started with one local detail that has nothing to do with the worldwide crisis, and that’s the manpower law the state passed without strategic consideration, and together with the world crisis increased the damage on the entire employment market.

The aim of the manpower law was to protect the employee. Was that achieved?
The law was supposedly intended to protect the worker. In 50% of cases it succeeds – the workers are hired on equal terms; and in the other 50% it doesn’t succeed – the workers drop out of the job market, and unfortunately these are workers with low salaries and the sole breadwinner in the family or heads of single-parent families. It has created a pool of people on the outside, and to bring them back into the market is very difficult.

And what’s your view regarding the crisis that’s taken place?
My worldview differs from that of other companies. I believe during times of crisis the companies have to help out the employees. I maintain that the employee is the most important asset and therefore if the employee’s needs over time are met that employee will remain loyal to the employer during times of crisis as well, and won’t leave. If you, as an employer, give the employee solid ground and peace of mind during times of crisis, he won’t look for other places to work. In order to get through the crisis all of us have to come together like a family.
The company has to convey confidence and stand by the worker, and not just during moments of success. The workers are the ones who bring you to the point of success. That’s my motto and I believe in it.

What practical advice do you have for employers facing a crisis?
During times of crisis you have to cut back, and making cutbacks doesn’t necessarily mean layoffs. Layoffs are the worst possible thing and therefore you have to be creative and find other ways. It could be that an employee will come to his employer and say he’s willing to take a cut, “just don’t fire me.” You have to work more at embracing workers, listening to them, talking to them, listening to what they have to say. Workers have a lot of ideas on how to save money. For example, I set up a savings committee here. It starts with savings on electricity and paper and turning off computers and having the employee take on additional responsibilities, and other simple things that streamline the company, and then you don’t need dismissals.


For the Hebrew Article  

 
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