Originally posted on MaltaCEOs.mt
BY RAMONA DEPARES
13 NOVEMBER 2023
Up next on our 50 Business Leaders series, the husband and wife team share how their expertise within the industry helped them secure a strong leadership position as specialist recruiters.
Before launching iTalent PLUS in 2021, Pierre and Liana Mifsud had both accrued decades long of experience in leadership positions within some of the biggest names in iGaming. Pierre’s background includes his previous role as Head of Sales & Account Management at B2B provider Booming Games, while Liana was Head of HR at Play ‘n Go, leading the company’s HR and recruitment efforts. Both were happy in their roles, but they also knew that it was time to create and drive their own project. That project was iTalent PLUS which, as Liana describes, is significantly different to the regular recruitment agency.
“My specialty has always been building teams and I was consistently told that recruitment is my forte. My passion shows, whether it’s in the way I ask questions, how I try to understand how a candidate will fit in an organisation, whether the client would work well with them… The satisfaction that comes from seeing someone growing in a role that you made possible for them is tremendous. As is the knowledge that the client is happy with the fit and the performance. It’s this passion that drove me to found iTalent PLUS,” Liana shares.
This passion didn’t take long to pay dividends, which is why last February Pierre decided to take the plunge and join the new family venture. Initially, he was concerned about his lack of HR background. However, he is also a firm believer that great leadership doesn’t happen without taking a few calculated risks.
"In the end I was surprised to find so many similarities between my previous job and this one. I focus on business development for iTalent PLUS, so it’s still within the sales arena. I’m working in the same industry, attending the same conferences and speaking to the same people, so the switch was very organic,” he says.
He attributes a significant part of the success that iTalent PLUS enjoys to the fact that it’s run by two leaders whose talents complement each other’s.
“Liana oversees the recruitment side of things, while I’m in charge of building relationships with new clients, which is what I’ve always done. We pool our knowledge and expertise, and this enables us to offer the full package of services both to clients and to candidates. There is no missing link at iTalent PLUS and this strategy is really paying off,” Pierre continues.
Liana agrees, adding that since they both had experience working in both B2B and B2C companies was one of their biggest assets.
“We understand the roles that we are trying to fill for our clients. We understand the company structure, the management system and the precise nature of candidates they’re after. In fact, iTalent PLUS specialised in iGaming very organically, mostly because between us we have a substantial pool of knowledge. It places us at an advantage compared to other recruiters whose background is a recruitment agency. Our background is actually iGaming, we’re already part of the system,” she says.
It’s clear that the two company directors are on to something. Liana explains that iTalent PLUS brought in its first employee four months after inception. This growth trajectory was expected to happen at a considerably later stage, but it soon became evident that there was no point in postponing.
“One of the reasons behind the decision to start our own business was the realisation that we both needed to find a work-life balance, so there was no point waiting to grow the team given the business was there. We treat our employees the same way we treat our clients – with empathy, while focusing on good communication,” Liana continues.
Pierre adds that their leadership style is based on flexibility, rather than a 9 to 5 approach. The team of five fulltimers and a handful of freelancers all work remotely, and the focus is on delivering, rather than hours or location.
“We don’t care where the team does the job, as long as they do it. And we do trust them to do it.”
This year sees another milestone for iTalent PLUS as the company will be present during the SiGMA Week conference, where Pierre and Liana are looking forward to forging new connections.
“When we first launched iTalent PLUS, it wasn’t quite our intention to specialise in iGaming. But our network is very much related to the sector, and the clients that reach out to us know they can trust our knowledge. We are also very open to other digital industries like Fintech, software, tech… This is a world we are very knowledgeable about and where we can definitely help clients,” Pierre says.
Liana, meantime, is looking forward to doing what she does best during SiGMA. Meeting both new clients and possible candidates and matching them up to new opportunities.
“We’ve reached some excellent milestones and we’re looking forward to reaching many more. Our vision is to become the go-to recruitment agency within the iGaming industry. Despite being such a young company we’ve already made incredible strides in this goal,” she says.
Pierre explains that the growth trajectory keeps increasing month after month. Clients that started out by offering entry-level roles now trust iTalent PLUS with management and C-Level positions.
“This is a trend we look forward to continue strengthening and we’re sure we will be seeing some excellent opportunities this week at SiGMA. We are really looking forward to see iTalent PLUS reaching the next stage,” he concludes.