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Olexandra Suslich:

Interview with
the director
of ControlPay

ControlPay is one of the brightest examples of successful unique services. What is the secret of the unusual business in Ukraine? – asked Olexandra Suslich, the director of ControlPay.

– What was the history of ControlPay?

– The history of our company is very interesting, as well as the product that it offers. We are an international company, owned by the Dutchman Karel Kinds. At the end of the 20th century, Karel got an idea of providing Freight Audit services (audit of transport invoices) in Europe. At that time, Europeans knew little about this, even fewer companies were directly involved in such business, so it was an innovation for the market.

For a long time, Karel had tried to bring his idea to life, but, unlike the USA, where the Freight Audit business was popular and even flourishing, there were some obstacles in Europe. At that time, European countries were separated by borders, where different laws and taxation systems operated. Also, people spoke not only English and it created additional language and cultural barriers.

Karel wanted to adopt the experience of American companies engaged in freight audit, so he turned to one of them to understand how the business was organized. And what he saw was the office full of papers and the atmosphere of chaos. That was the moment when Karel decided that everything would be different in his company because “people should be happy and love what they do while keeping up with progress, modern technologies and industry trends.”

It occurred to be difficult to find a partner, who could implement the idea of paperless technology. Peter, Karel's son, who got a higher education in Moscow and worked at that time in Kyiv (KyivPost newspaper), advised his father to look for a partner in Ukraine. Initially Karel was skeptical about this, but nevertheless he gave it a chance. Peter introduced him to Olexander Shapoval, our first director, who at that time worked in IT company and agreed to do a pilot project.

After a number of introductory presentations with clearly formulated expectations, Olexander confirmed that the idea was possible to be implemented. Preparation of the pilot project took about three months. But already at that stage, Karel realized that those people would be able to bring his idea to life. That is how the ControlPay business ended up in Ukraine.

After the basic version of our platform in which we conduct Freight Audit was ready, there was a need for a team.

Fortunately, Kyiv universities prepare worthy young philologists and specialists who have a good command of foreign languages – not only English. At that time, one of the most important criteria of selection for the ControlPay team was knowledge of foreign languages.

In 2004, the first audit team was created, and I had luck to become a part of it.

– How did the crisis affect the business?

– The crisis morally affected part of the team that worked here. But the difficulties that the company and the team overcame helped to form the backbone of people who continued to work with us and were sympathetic to the complexities of the company’s growth. Many of them are still successfully working and continue to develop ControlPay service.

– Who are these people?

– Everything started with the Customer service team, IT (development and support), and Administration, but now the company has representative offices in different parts of the world and its structure includes different operating teams: Audit, Implementation (these people are engaged in launching new customers), Marketing, Sales, Quality management, People administration, Solution engineering, Account management and Project management.

– What specialists are needed in the company or will be potentially required in the future?

– Due to active sales and expansion of work scope for current customers, personnel for audit will be needed as top-priority. For audit team, we prepare specialists on the basis of the training system developed by us.

What we value in candidates the most is responsibility, scrupulousness and diligence, analytical skills and knowledge of English. And, of course, a great desire to work.

It may happen however that the candidate is not the perfect fit according to all our standard requirements for the hard skills, e.g. English or Excel, but has a great desire to work.

In this case we are ready to facilitate training for such people. Although, there is a fine line – we are not a university that teaches everyone – we are open and ready to invest in development, but it is impossible without the desire and initiative of the candidate him/herself. When a person is open to changes, new information and applying new knowledge in practice, we can help and guide.

ControlPay uses a multi-stage recruiting process, which was developed by our experts specially for the company.

– How long does this multi-stage recruiting process takes?

– Typically, for audit it takes from 1 to 2 weeks for a person to go through a full cycle of recruiting process, the Basic School Training and receive a final answer.

– Is this multi-stage recruitment process mandatory for employment in your company?

– Of course. First, a candidate is interviewed over the phone, then he/she receives a testing and is interviewed in person. After successfully passing the previous stages, we invite the candidate to the Basis School Training program to introduce an overview of our professional field. Training for candidates is a journey into the general part of our working process. It is provided by the company so that the applicant can form an impression of our activities and decide whether it is interesting to him/her. On the other hand, it is also a chance for us to see whether the candidate has the qualities mentioned in his/her resume; how the person interacts with other candidates in the team; how responsible he/she is in fulfilling the tasks.

After the training, the candidates write a test that shows how well the training material has been perceived. The final and complex picture of the candidate is formed at the interview with a representative of our HR department and the manager of the department where vacancies are open. In this final interview, we communicate with the candidate, discuss the training material and the test. It is after this final interview that a decision about possible employment is made.

– Please tell us how rigorous recruitment and selection process is conducted by the company. Are there many candidates being screened out at different stages of recruitment?

– It all depends on the group and the candidates. It happens that from a group of 8 people at the Basic School Training we may hire them all. But according to statistics, more usually from the group of 5, only 2-3 candidates receive the offer.

– Does your company have a division into “yours-not yours” candidates?

– Not precisely, everything is very individual. Along with this, we have a certain portrait of the PERFECT candidate.

Attentiveness is very essential in our work because we manage the client's money. Work is important to be done carefully, consciously and responsibly. These are the qualities we are looking for in our future employees.

Of course, we work not only with numbers, but also are involved in business communication with foreign (not local) partners. For effective communication with them, it is important to clearly formulate an idea, skillfully operate facts and figures.

– Does ControlPay have a special attitude to “veterans”?

– Yes, we appreciate people who have been with us for a long time. As a rule, they are now either in managerial positions, or are high-level specialists in their field.

Thanks to the recent reorganization, we have expanded the career opportunities for our employees: you can begin from the starting position and just type in the data, then move on to the position of the auditor. In the Audit department, an employee can become a high-level specialist or a manager. If a person demonstrates high results of work in audit and aims to acquire new skills, he/she can develop further as a specialist, work in other teams and perform different tasks.

Regardless of how long a person has worked with us, everyone influences the development of the company through their productive work. We always consider and work with ideas and wishes of everyone. The most effective and feasible proposals are being implemented.

– And what if a person just wants to work constantly in one role?

– If this is the role or position in which the person feels comfortable and works effectively – why not?

– So, what does a person need in order to find a job in ControlPay?

– Express the desire to work with us, and this can be done by sending a resume :)