In the hot seat: Atish Mehta and the move from London to Oman

With over 20 years of experience in energy sector recruitment, there is much to learn from Atish Mehta. As Country Manager for Petroplan, he moved internationally from London to Oman this year, focusing on expanding business in the Middle East. We caught up with him to hear about his path to this moment, his ambitions for Petroplan, and the advice he wishes he’d had starting out.

Atish, how did you get to where you are now?

After graduating from university, I worked in sales in London and fell naturally into energy recruitment. I gained experience with Candidate recruitment, Account Management, Business Development, finally leading to managing the London office. With my team, I was looking after major operators and significant headcounts for mega-projects worldwide. After that, I took a role on the client side with a major Italian Energy Company. That was a great move, and I understood the details of the process and some of the pressures that hiring managers are under. It’s given me a much better appreciation of my clients' operations. 

I missed the agency life, so when I was approached for the Petroplan Country Manager role in Oman, it was the perfect opportunity to realise several of my ambitions.

Of course, I knew of Petroplan and many of the people here from my years in the recruitment industry, whom I respect. Then came along the opportunity to work and live overseas in Oman, and I couldn’t let this opportunity go as it has always been one of my dreams. Having never been to Oman, I have heard nothing but the most amazing things about the country, especially the amazing culture and people. Joining the team as a Country Manager, I am excited to grow the business here, share my knowledge, and mentor my team. I am truly excited about that. 

What do you miss about London? 

I have always loved London and believe it is one of the best cities in the world. However, I am excited about being welcomed by the sunshine in Oman; I am a sun-chaser at heart. London will always be my home, as all of my family is there. As you can imagine, I miss them dearly, but I am sure they will come and visit regularly.
I have travelled a lot while growing up, and I appreciate the cultures I’ve experienced worldwide, such as India, New Zealand, Singapore, and Thailand, to name a few. I am excited to make a life in Oman and experience the culture this country has on offer. Of course, I haven’t spent a summer here yet, and I know the heat will be intense, but I am even looking forward to experiencing that.

What have the first couple of months in Oman been like? 

It has been amazing so far, including lots of travel, exposure to the market, meeting new people, attending conferences, understanding who is out here, and learning about the market and opportunities. The biggest plus point has been getting to know my team. I have learnt so much from them already, and I know that we will continue to drive business in Petroplan as a team. 
As you can imagine, the culture is very different here than in London, but it has been amazing so far. From the history to the food, Oman is culturally so rich. I am going to start Arabic lessons as well to start learning something new and trying to fit in and communicate with locals. My wife was wrapping things up in London until recently; she has just come out, so we are excited to start exploring more of Oman.

What are you excited about for Oman?

Firstly, I’ve got a great team with so much potential. I have great support from my Petroplan peers around the world, and I’m excited to grow the business here and bring value to Petroplan. Then there’s the way the energy industry is developing here; there’s a lot of business to win, and it’s exciting. There is increasing investment in clean energy although traditional energy sources are expected to remain predominant for years to come.

Who inspires you?

The two people who inspired me were both work colleagues from previous companies. The first has incredible business knowledge, but I really admired the way he did business and built relationships, which is so important in this industry. My other mentor really informed my business acumen. When it came to making decisions, he managed them so well, even when the decisions were tough ones. I have learnt a lot from him.

What advice would you give your younger self? 

#1, Save more! It’ll make the future easier.
#2, Listen to your parents, and work hard during your key educational years!
#3, Take more risks.

I could have worked abroad sooner, and part of me wishes I had made a move before.  However, doing it later in life is also good - I have more experience and maturity and am very determined to succeed. 

How do you wind down and relax from work? 

If I can find time, I love going to play golf, heading outdoors. The weather here is lovely right now, so we’ve been going for walks after a meal, exploring what’s around, and getting to know the area.  I’m also finding myself drawn back to books and thought-provoking podcasts.

There is so much to explore in Oman, and we haven’t even been out of Muscat yet, so I am truly excited to build on those adventures.

 

Learn how Petroplan can help your business recruit the best people in the Middle East. Contact Atish to learn more about Petroplan's expertise.
 

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Case Studies

The AI Revolution: Navigating the Future Job Landscape

The woman in this picture does not exist. She has never existed. She is simply a calculation, made by a computer, based on millions of data points. The image was built entirely by AI, and the tool is getting more sophisticated every day.

Artificial Intelligence has become an integral part of a great many industries, revolutionizing processes and operations. One significant area undergoing major transformation is recruiting. As AI takes center stage in the hiring landscape, both employers and job candidates need to understand its implications and adapt to the evolving dynamics of the recruitment process.

The Rise of AI in Recruiting

AI in recruiting involves the use of advanced technologies like machine learning algorithms and natural language processing to streamline and enhance various stages of the hiring process. From initial resume screening to candidate engagement and interview processes, AI offers efficiency, objectivity, and improved decision-making.

Automated Resume Screening and Shortlisting

One of the primary areas where AI is making a significant impact is in automating the initial stages of candidate evaluation. Traditional resume screening processes can be time-consuming and prone to biases. AI algorithms, on the other hand, can quickly analyze vast datasets, identify relevant skills and experiences, and shortlist candidates based on predefined criteria.

However, job candidates should be mindful of optimizing their resumes for AI screening. Using industry-relevant keywords, emphasizing skills and achievements, and aligning their profiles with specific job requirements can increase the likelihood of passing through AI-driven screening processes.

Enhanced Candidate Matching

AI-driven systems can efficiently match candidate profiles with job requirements, ensuring a better fit for both employers and candidates. These systems consider not only the explicit qualifications but also factors like soft skills, cultural fit, and potential for growth. For job seekers, this means that presenting a holistic view of their skills and experiences becomes crucial.

Candidates should focus on showcasing a well-rounded professional profile, highlighting not only technical skills but also interpersonal abilities, adaptability, and a commitment to continuous learning. This broader perspective enhances the chances of being matched with roles that align with their overall capabilities.

Chatbots and Automated Communication

AI-powered chatbots are increasingly being used for initial candidate engagement, answering queries, and even conducting preliminary interviews. While these technologies offer convenience and speed, job candidates should be prepared for interactions with virtual interviewers.

Being comfortable with virtual interviews, maintaining clear and concise communication, and adapting to a more conversational style are essential for candidates navigating AI-driven communication tools. Additionally, understanding the specific technologies used by employers can provide a competitive advantage.

AI in Skill Assessment and Pre-employment Testing

AI is being employed to assess candidates' technical and soft skills through various online platforms. These assessments often go beyond traditional methods, providing a more comprehensive understanding of a candidate's capabilities. For candidates, this underscores the importance of continuous skill development and staying abreast of industry trends.

Engaging in ongoing learning, obtaining relevant certifications, and showcasing practical applications of skills through projects and portfolios can set candidates apart in an AI-driven recruitment landscape. Proving the practical application of skills becomes as important as listing them on a resume.

Mitigating Bias in Hiring

AI has the potential to address bias in recruiting by making decisions based on objective criteria rather than subjective judgments. However, it's essential to recognize that AI systems are not inherently unbiased; they learn from historical data, which may carry biases. Job candidates should be vigilant about potential biases and advocate for transparent and ethical AI practices in hiring.

Candidates can also benefit from understanding how AI systems operate, being proactive in addressing biases, and promoting diversity and inclusion in their professional experiences.

Preparing for AI-Integrated Interviews

Video interviews with AI analysis tools are becoming more prevalent. These tools analyze facial expressions, tone of voice, and language patterns to assess candidate suitability. Job candidates should be mindful of their virtual presence, ensuring they communicate effectively through a screen.

Practicing video interviews, maintaining eye contact with the camera, and being aware of verbal and non-verbal cues can enhance a candidate's performance in AI-integrated interviews.

Embracing Lifelong Learning

As AI continues to evolve, so do job requirements. The era of lifelong learning has arrived, and candidates must adopt a growth mindset. Staying updated on industry trends, acquiring new skills, and being adaptable are crucial for sustained career success in an AI-driven job market.

Job candidates should consider continuous education, whether through formal courses, online certifications, or immersive learning experiences. Demonstrating a commitment to learning and adaptation can be a valuable asset in a landscape where technological advancements are the norm.

Building a Personal Brand in the Digital Space

In an AI-driven recruiting world, candidates need to go beyond traditional resumes. Building a strong and authentic personal brand in the digital space becomes imperative. This includes maintaining a professional online presence, engaging in relevant online communities, and showcasing thought leadership.

Creating a comprehensive LinkedIn profile, participating in industry forums, and contributing to relevant discussions online can enhance a candidate's visibility. Employers increasingly use online platforms to discover and vet potential candidates, making a robust digital presence an essential part of the modern job search.

Conclusion: Navigating the Future Together

AI is reshaping the recruiting landscape, offering efficiency, objectivity, and new opportunities. For job candidates, adapting to this evolving landscape requires a proactive approach, embracing continuous learning, and leveraging technology to showcase their unique strengths.

As AI becomes more ingrained in recruiting processes, a collaborative effort between candidates and employers is essential. Transparency, ethical AI practices, and a commitment to creating a fair and inclusive hiring environment will be crucial in shaping the future of recruitment. In navigating this AI-driven landscape, job candidates who embrace technology while maintaining their authenticity and commitment to growth will stand out in the competitive job market of the future.

United Kingdom

The AI Revolution: Navigating the Future Job Landscape

The woman in this picture does not exist. She has never existed. She is simply a calculation, made by a computer, based on millions of data points. The image was built entirely by AI, and the tool is getting more sophisticated every day.

Artificial Intelligence has become an integral part of a great many industries, revolutionizing processes and operations. One significant area undergoing major transformation is recruiting. As AI takes center stage in the hiring landscape, both employers and job candidates need to understand its implications and adapt to the evolving dynamics of the recruitment process.

The Rise of AI in Recruiting

AI in recruiting involves the use of advanced technologies like machine learning algorithms and natural language processing to streamline and enhance various stages of the hiring process. From initial resume screening to candidate engagement and interview processes, AI offers efficiency, objectivity, and improved decision-making.

Automated Resume Screening and Shortlisting

One of the primary areas where AI is making a significant impact is in automating the initial stages of candidate evaluation. Traditional resume screening processes can be time-consuming and prone to biases. AI algorithms, on the other hand, can quickly analyze vast datasets, identify relevant skills and experiences, and shortlist candidates based on predefined criteria.

However, job candidates should be mindful of optimizing their resumes for AI screening. Using industry-relevant keywords, emphasizing skills and achievements, and aligning their profiles with specific job requirements can increase the likelihood of passing through AI-driven screening processes.

Enhanced Candidate Matching

AI-driven systems can efficiently match candidate profiles with job requirements, ensuring a better fit for both employers and candidates. These systems consider not only the explicit qualifications but also factors like soft skills, cultural fit, and potential for growth. For job seekers, this means that presenting a holistic view of their skills and experiences becomes crucial.

Candidates should focus on showcasing a well-rounded professional profile, highlighting not only technical skills but also interpersonal abilities, adaptability, and a commitment to continuous learning. This broader perspective enhances the chances of being matched with roles that align with their overall capabilities.

Chatbots and Automated Communication

AI-powered chatbots are increasingly being used for initial candidate engagement, answering queries, and even conducting preliminary interviews. While these technologies offer convenience and speed, job candidates should be prepared for interactions with virtual interviewers.

Being comfortable with virtual interviews, maintaining clear and concise communication, and adapting to a more conversational style are essential for candidates navigating AI-driven communication tools. Additionally, understanding the specific technologies used by employers can provide a competitive advantage.

AI in Skill Assessment and Pre-employment Testing

AI is being employed to assess candidates' technical and soft skills through various online platforms. These assessments often go beyond traditional methods, providing a more comprehensive understanding of a candidate's capabilities. For candidates, this underscores the importance of continuous skill development and staying abreast of industry trends.

Engaging in ongoing learning, obtaining relevant certifications, and showcasing practical applications of skills through projects and portfolios can set candidates apart in an AI-driven recruitment landscape. Proving the practical application of skills becomes as important as listing them on a resume.

Mitigating Bias in Hiring

AI has the potential to address bias in recruiting by making decisions based on objective criteria rather than subjective judgments. However, it's essential to recognize that AI systems are not inherently unbiased; they learn from historical data, which may carry biases. Job candidates should be vigilant about potential biases and advocate for transparent and ethical AI practices in hiring.

Candidates can also benefit from understanding how AI systems operate, being proactive in addressing biases, and promoting diversity and inclusion in their professional experiences.

Preparing for AI-Integrated Interviews

Video interviews with AI analysis tools are becoming more prevalent. These tools analyze facial expressions, tone of voice, and language patterns to assess candidate suitability. Job candidates should be mindful of their virtual presence, ensuring they communicate effectively through a screen.

Practicing video interviews, maintaining eye contact with the camera, and being aware of verbal and non-verbal cues can enhance a candidate's performance in AI-integrated interviews.

Embracing Lifelong Learning

As AI continues to evolve, so do job requirements. The era of lifelong learning has arrived, and candidates must adopt a growth mindset. Staying updated on industry trends, acquiring new skills, and being adaptable are crucial for sustained career success in an AI-driven job market.

Job candidates should consider continuous education, whether through formal courses, online certifications, or immersive learning experiences. Demonstrating a commitment to learning and adaptation can be a valuable asset in a landscape where technological advancements are the norm.

Building a Personal Brand in the Digital Space

In an AI-driven recruiting world, candidates need to go beyond traditional resumes. Building a strong and authentic personal brand in the digital space becomes imperative. This includes maintaining a professional online presence, engaging in relevant online communities, and showcasing thought leadership.

Creating a comprehensive LinkedIn profile, participating in industry forums, and contributing to relevant discussions online can enhance a candidate's visibility. Employers increasingly use online platforms to discover and vet potential candidates, making a robust digital presence an essential part of the modern job search.

Conclusion: Navigating the Future Together

AI is reshaping the recruiting landscape, offering efficiency, objectivity, and new opportunities. For job candidates, adapting to this evolving landscape requires a proactive approach, embracing continuous learning, and leveraging technology to showcase their unique strengths.

As AI becomes more ingrained in recruiting processes, a collaborative effort between candidates and employers is essential. Transparency, ethical AI practices, and a commitment to creating a fair and inclusive hiring environment will be crucial in shaping the future of recruitment. In navigating this AI-driven landscape, job candidates who embrace technology while maintaining their authenticity and commitment to growth will stand out in the competitive job market of the future.

Understanding LNG – an introduction to the current landscape

Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) has emerged as a critical player in the energy landscape, and the United States has become a focal point for substantial LNG project activity. Understanding what LNG is, the dynamics of the LNG market, and its significance to the American economy is paramount as the nation navigates its energy future.

Understanding LNG: A Primer

LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to the point of liquefaction, transforming it into a clear, colorless, and non-toxic liquid. This process reduces the volume of the gas significantly, making it easier and more cost-effective to transport and store. The liquefaction process involves cooling natural gas to around -260°F (-162°C), converting it into a liquid state. This transformation not only reduces the volume by about 600 times but also makes it more suitable for long-distance transportation, primarily through specially designed LNG carriers.

The LNG Boom in the United States

The U.S. has witnessed a substantial surge in LNG projects, driven by various factors, including the shale gas revolution, global demand for cleaner energy sources, and advancements in liquefaction technology. The shale gas revolution, particularly in regions like the Permian Basin and the Marcellus Shale, has unlocked vast reserves of natural gas, making the U.S. a major player in the LNG market. The growth of LNG export terminals along the Gulf Coast, such as the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Louisiana and the Corpus Christi LNG Terminal in Texas, highlights the nation's commitment to leveraging its natural gas abundance for economic gains. These terminals serve as crucial hubs for liquefying and exporting natural gas to international markets, contributing significantly to the U.S. energy landscape. Key Players and Projects Several prominent players have spearheaded LNG projects, solidifying the U.S. as a major LNG exporter. Cheniere Energy, with its Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi LNG terminals, has been at the forefront of this transformation. Other players like Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG, Freeport LNG, and Cameron LNG have also played pivotal roles in expanding the country's LNG export capacity. The sheer scale of these projects is noteworthy. For instance, the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal has the capacity to produce over 30 million tonnes of LNG per year, making it one of the largest facilities of its kind globally. These projects not only contribute to domestic economic growth but also enhance the global energy trade landscape.

Economic Impact and Job Creation

The LNG boom in the U.S. has brought about a wave of economic benefits. These projects contribute significantly to job creation, both directly and indirectly. The construction and operation of LNG export terminals require a skilled workforce, ranging from engineers and technicians to logistics and administrative professionals. Additionally, the growth of associated industries, such as natural gas production, transportation, and equipment manufacturing, amplifies the positive economic impact.

Global Energy Security and Diplomacy

As the U.S. emerges as a major LNG exporter, it enhances its role in global energy security and diplomacy. LNG is a versatile energy source that can be used for power generation, heating, and as a feedstock for various industrial processes. By exporting LNG to nations seeking diverse and reliable energy sources, the U.S. strengthens diplomatic ties and plays a strategic role in supporting the energy needs of its allies.

Environmental Considerations

While LNG is often considered a cleaner-burning fuel compared to traditional hydrocarbons, there are environmental considerations. The extraction and production of natural gas, as well as the transportation of LNG, have environmental impacts that must be carefully managed. Balancing economic benefits with environmental stewardship is crucial to ensuring a sustainable and responsible approach to LNG development.

Conclusion: Shaping the Energy Future

In conclusion, LNG has become a linchpin in the U.S. energy strategy, offering economic benefits, job creation, and a substantial role in global energy dynamics. The growth of LNG projects along the Gulf Coast reflects the nation's commitment to leveraging its natural gas resources for domestic and international gains. As the U.S. continues to navigate its energy future, LNG stands as a cornerstone, contributing to economic prosperity, energy security, and strategic diplomacy on the world stage.

USA

Understanding LNG – an introduction to the current landscape

Liquid Natural Gas (LNG) has emerged as a critical player in the energy landscape, and the United States has become a focal point for substantial LNG project activity. Understanding what LNG is, the dynamics of the LNG market, and its significance to the American economy is paramount as the nation navigates its energy future.

Understanding LNG: A Primer

LNG is natural gas that has been cooled to the point of liquefaction, transforming it into a clear, colorless, and non-toxic liquid. This process reduces the volume of the gas significantly, making it easier and more cost-effective to transport and store. The liquefaction process involves cooling natural gas to around -260°F (-162°C), converting it into a liquid state. This transformation not only reduces the volume by about 600 times but also makes it more suitable for long-distance transportation, primarily through specially designed LNG carriers.

The LNG Boom in the United States

The U.S. has witnessed a substantial surge in LNG projects, driven by various factors, including the shale gas revolution, global demand for cleaner energy sources, and advancements in liquefaction technology. The shale gas revolution, particularly in regions like the Permian Basin and the Marcellus Shale, has unlocked vast reserves of natural gas, making the U.S. a major player in the LNG market. The growth of LNG export terminals along the Gulf Coast, such as the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal in Louisiana and the Corpus Christi LNG Terminal in Texas, highlights the nation's commitment to leveraging its natural gas abundance for economic gains. These terminals serve as crucial hubs for liquefying and exporting natural gas to international markets, contributing significantly to the U.S. energy landscape. Key Players and Projects Several prominent players have spearheaded LNG projects, solidifying the U.S. as a major LNG exporter. Cheniere Energy, with its Sabine Pass and Corpus Christi LNG terminals, has been at the forefront of this transformation. Other players like Dominion Energy Cove Point LNG, Freeport LNG, and Cameron LNG have also played pivotal roles in expanding the country's LNG export capacity. The sheer scale of these projects is noteworthy. For instance, the Sabine Pass LNG Terminal has the capacity to produce over 30 million tonnes of LNG per year, making it one of the largest facilities of its kind globally. These projects not only contribute to domestic economic growth but also enhance the global energy trade landscape.

Economic Impact and Job Creation

The LNG boom in the U.S. has brought about a wave of economic benefits. These projects contribute significantly to job creation, both directly and indirectly. The construction and operation of LNG export terminals require a skilled workforce, ranging from engineers and technicians to logistics and administrative professionals. Additionally, the growth of associated industries, such as natural gas production, transportation, and equipment manufacturing, amplifies the positive economic impact.

Global Energy Security and Diplomacy

As the U.S. emerges as a major LNG exporter, it enhances its role in global energy security and diplomacy. LNG is a versatile energy source that can be used for power generation, heating, and as a feedstock for various industrial processes. By exporting LNG to nations seeking diverse and reliable energy sources, the U.S. strengthens diplomatic ties and plays a strategic role in supporting the energy needs of its allies.

Environmental Considerations

While LNG is often considered a cleaner-burning fuel compared to traditional hydrocarbons, there are environmental considerations. The extraction and production of natural gas, as well as the transportation of LNG, have environmental impacts that must be carefully managed. Balancing economic benefits with environmental stewardship is crucial to ensuring a sustainable and responsible approach to LNG development.

Conclusion: Shaping the Energy Future

In conclusion, LNG has become a linchpin in the U.S. energy strategy, offering economic benefits, job creation, and a substantial role in global energy dynamics. The growth of LNG projects along the Gulf Coast reflects the nation's commitment to leveraging its natural gas resources for domestic and international gains. As the U.S. continues to navigate its energy future, LNG stands as a cornerstone, contributing to economic prosperity, energy security, and strategic diplomacy on the world stage.

Working at Petroplan: In a fast-paced environment, a one-year anniversary comes around quickly.

Valentina Bini is a ball of energy. She sits at the Petroplan conference table, a brightly lit room with large windows looking out over west Houston’s energy corridor, looking like she might jump out of the seat at any moment.

 

“The year has gone by so fast,” she says, looking like the completion of her first twelve months at Petroplan has genuinely surprised her.

“I didn’t think I’d have done so many different things so soon after joining this team.”

Valentina began her recruitment career five years ago, after graduating from UH with a bachelors in psychology.

“It’s been a particularly challenging time for recruiters everywhere,” she says.

“The pandemic dominated so much of the landscape for all of us, and for the customers we serve. It was draining in a lot of ways. Now that period is behind us, there’s this huge swell of energy in the industry, and so much activity going on.”

The statistics back this up. According to government data, overall labor force participation is back to its pre-pandemic forecasted level, and the closely-watched prime-age labor force participation rate is now a shade above pre-pandemic levels. Over the past 12 months, the market has seen a net gain of more than four million jobs, averaging around 350,000 new jobs gained, per month. This has left unemployment at a decades-long low. Filling these jobs represents a huge challenge in such a competitive market, especially in clean energy where skills are in relatively short supply. When asked about her approach to recruiting, Valentina explains that she looks for several key qualities in a candidate. She looks for candidates who have the right skills and experience for the role, as well as a strong work ethic, excellent communication skills, and the ability to work effectively in a team. She also looks for candidates who are passionate about their work and are committed to driving success for themselves and others.

“We have to look beyond the candidates’ hard skills to work out if they’re a genuine fit for the company they’re joining,” she says.  

The daughter of an expat, she spent her childhood in seven different countries, thriving amid the change and the constant exposure to new cultures. She brings this experience into her job.

“Culture is so important, particularly now that so many teams are working remotely and are separated from each other day to day.”

Valentina has adapted to a wide range of recruiting activities in engineering and oil and gas. The variety has clearly made her job quite challenging, but she focuses on the human elements of the recruiting task.

"I enjoy getting to know my clients and candidates on a personal level. It helps me to understand what motivates them and what they're looking for in a role,” she says.

“Valentina has been an asset to our team since she joined us a year ago,” says Craig McConochie, Petroplan’s Country Manager in the US.

“Her dedication to finding the best people, whatever the discipline, has made her hugely successful, and our clients appreciate the results they see.” Outside work, Valentina is an avid cook who loves to experiment with different cuisines. Her parents are Indian and Italian, which has influenced her cooking style. I love trying out new recipes and experimenting with different flavors. Cooking is a creative outlet for me, and I find it very relaxing."

After a few very confident photographs, she leaves as quickly as she arrived, back to the team, and to the open job list.

USA

Working at Petroplan: In a fast-paced environment, a one-year anniversary comes around quickly.

Valentina Bini is a ball of energy. She sits at the Petroplan conference table, a brightly lit room with large windows looking out over west Houston’s energy corridor, looking like she might jump out of the seat at any moment.

 

“The year has gone by so fast,” she says, looking like the completion of her first twelve months at Petroplan has genuinely surprised her.

“I didn’t think I’d have done so many different things so soon after joining this team.”

Valentina began her recruitment career five years ago, after graduating from UH with a bachelors in psychology.

“It’s been a particularly challenging time for recruiters everywhere,” she says.

“The pandemic dominated so much of the landscape for all of us, and for the customers we serve. It was draining in a lot of ways. Now that period is behind us, there’s this huge swell of energy in the industry, and so much activity going on.”

The statistics back this up. According to government data, overall labor force participation is back to its pre-pandemic forecasted level, and the closely-watched prime-age labor force participation rate is now a shade above pre-pandemic levels. Over the past 12 months, the market has seen a net gain of more than four million jobs, averaging around 350,000 new jobs gained, per month. This has left unemployment at a decades-long low. Filling these jobs represents a huge challenge in such a competitive market, especially in clean energy where skills are in relatively short supply. When asked about her approach to recruiting, Valentina explains that she looks for several key qualities in a candidate. She looks for candidates who have the right skills and experience for the role, as well as a strong work ethic, excellent communication skills, and the ability to work effectively in a team. She also looks for candidates who are passionate about their work and are committed to driving success for themselves and others.

“We have to look beyond the candidates’ hard skills to work out if they’re a genuine fit for the company they’re joining,” she says.  

The daughter of an expat, she spent her childhood in seven different countries, thriving amid the change and the constant exposure to new cultures. She brings this experience into her job.

“Culture is so important, particularly now that so many teams are working remotely and are separated from each other day to day.”

Valentina has adapted to a wide range of recruiting activities in engineering and oil and gas. The variety has clearly made her job quite challenging, but she focuses on the human elements of the recruiting task.

"I enjoy getting to know my clients and candidates on a personal level. It helps me to understand what motivates them and what they're looking for in a role,” she says.

“Valentina has been an asset to our team since she joined us a year ago,” says Craig McConochie, Petroplan’s Country Manager in the US.

“Her dedication to finding the best people, whatever the discipline, has made her hugely successful, and our clients appreciate the results they see.” Outside work, Valentina is an avid cook who loves to experiment with different cuisines. Her parents are Indian and Italian, which has influenced her cooking style. I love trying out new recipes and experimenting with different flavors. Cooking is a creative outlet for me, and I find it very relaxing."

After a few very confident photographs, she leaves as quickly as she arrived, back to the team, and to the open job list.