The Faces of Magnetic MRO | Kerstin Kiigemaa – the headhunter, who fell in love in aviation

Magnetic MRO’s Recruitment and Employer Branding Lead Kerstin Kiigemaa is the first point of contact to all of our new employees. She is also known to her colleagues as the coworker who never stops smiling and sees a learning experience in everything. We asked Kerstin to sit down with our Marketing and Communication Specialist Eleen Änilane to educate us on how to keep that positivity and to share some tips for those who are thinking about working at Magnetic MRO.

Eleen Änilane: Kerstin, let’s start off with a little intro. How long have you been working in Magnetic MRO and how did you find your way here?

Kerstin Kiigemaa: I have been in Magnetic for almost 9 months for now. I was working in a recruitment agency before that and, in my heart, I always knew that I want to be an in-house recruiter again – an agency will give you a wide experience, but you’ll never see the result and cannot enjoy the fruits of your own labour.

Time to time I got myself thinking about different companies, but all of them just seemed too ordinary to me and didn’t feel right. Until one day when I saw the Magnetic MRO sign from my office window.

EÄ: Amazing! So what did you know about Magnetic that made you look in this direction?

KK: Honestly, I didn’t know that much but I had heard a lot of good things about the company as they were expanding their business and growing fast. I was also very fascinated about the aviation industry, because who wouldn’t be, right?

EÄ: You had probably also heard that aviation can be a tough and a very intense field to work in. Didn’t that scare you?

KK: It’s funny that you asked that. I actually remember one of my first interviews with our HR manager Ene who kept trying to scare me and brought out all the more difficult sides of working here. She was so persistent that I do remember having a bit of doubt at one point (laughs). But I was too eager to try it out myself and decided to give it a go, knowing what the cons of the job were going to be.

EÄ: Can you tell me more about your job in Magnetic? What does your typical day look like?

KK: The only typical day I have is when I book my whole day full of interviews, otherwise my work here is very far away from being typical. Things are always changing and I have to adapt instantly. Plus, I am constantly pulled in different directions and I face competing priorities.

Even when I’ve booked my whole day full of interviews, I never actually know whether this is what I’ll do for the day. Things change, interviews get cancelled, etc. So my role demands a lot of flexibility.

As I said, my days vary a lot, but almost every day I am conducting phone screens, reviewing resumes, scheduling interviews, preparing candidates for interviews, collaborating with hiring managers, and of course, the best part, sending out the offers!

EÄ: How is recruiting people for an MRO company different from finding new people in other industries?

KK: All recruiters are looking for the right personality but it’s even more important here in the Estonian aviation industry. Since we don’t have a lot of experienced aviation specialists, we need to invest in new people and train them for the job.

The size of Estonia sets its own limits and if we’re looking for candidates for entry-level jobs that need training, the main goal is to find people with the right personality, with whom you see that they have a passion for the industry, and who are ready to stay here for the long run. Working in aviation can be very intense, which is why it’s rather challenging to find the right people sometimes.

EÄ: Other than that, what are the main issues you face when trying to find valuable workforce for Magnetic?

KK: It’s funny when I say it out loud but, surprisingly, some candidates are afraid of aviation because the stakes are very high and every job seems to demand a lot of responsibility. In reality, we train everyone for the job and you’ll only get as much responsibility as you’re ready to carry.

Also, the training period can seem intimidating as it takes quite a bit of time to call yourself an aviation specialist. Time is what a lot of people nowadays don’t have and they don’t like to wait for success to come. In aviation, however, you need to take that time, because if you do, you can really fly high with your career and reach unbelievable peaks. Remember – experience takes time, but in our industry, it really pays off in the end!

EÄ: What are the main characteristics you look for when picking new people for our company?

KK: You need to have something that draws you towards aviation – or, in other words, you need to be passionate about the industry. Aviation is a non-stop, 24/7 industry, and we are a global company, forever changing and very fast-paced. You need to be able to adapt to different and new situations. That goes without saying, but you need to be fascinated by the field you’d like to work in – with technical roles you need to be interested in technology, etc. Some other very important personality traits are definitely proactivity, a need to keep improving oneself and learning new things.

EÄ: Do you have any recommendations for those who wish to apply for a job in Magnetic, any special tricks or ways to stand out from the rest of the crowd?

KK: One of the main things is to really think about the position you’re applying to and not just send your resume. We do accept applications from people that don’t have any aviation experience but, in that case, you’d need to research our company and think about what you’d like to work on – is it hands-on technical job, logistics, HR, IT or something else. We have so many different departments, subsidiaries, outstations, so it helps if you’re as specific about your desired position as possible. Even if that is quite general. For example, if there’s a candidate that’s applied to a Logistics Assistant position, we’ll also keep you in mind for similar positions, like Incoming Inspector, etc.

Also, we receive a lot of resumes, so you need to think about standing out with being as straight-forward as possible. We need to see who you are and what your experiences are from the first look. My recommendation is to keep your resume simple and impactful.

EÄ: Nicely put, I feel like these are all good tips for any job! What do you yourself value most about your job?

KK: Thanks to my position, I have the privilege to work with all of our departments and participate in job interviews. During those interviews, managers take the time to introduce their departments and the work they do to candidates, and this is how I get most of my knowledge about the company and the industry. Normally, nobody has the time to sit down with you to talk about the work they do in such detail, but during those interviews they really open up, and I love that – all of these endless possibilities to learn something new and improve myself! I really admire the people here and their dedication. Working here, you really start to wonder if there’s anything more exciting than aviation.

EÄ: That’s truly inspirational! Do you have a moment in Magnetic that you keep looking back to, a favourite memory that stands out?

KK: It was my first month here when a months-long teardown project of ours just finished and the aircraft fuselage was disassembled. The aircraft was transported to Germany and getting it off the Tallinn Airport territory was a vast project.

The aircraft was taken away a little before midnight and I remember coming to work at 11 PM to witness that. When I arrived late at night and saw all of our people from different departments, all smiling, waving goodbye to the aircraft, and enjoying their time, I just knew that I’m in the right place.

EÄ: Everyone who works in aviation knows it’s a 24/7 job, coming to work at 11 PM is a good example of this. I also know that recruiting people for a company this size is no easy task. Do you have a special trick for staying motivated in all this?

KK: Floorball! That’s my secret trick outside the workplace. But honestly, the way to not only survive but to enjoy your flight is to find a learning experience in everything and make that your priority. Take everything that comes up as a challenge – that way you can really achieve everything and enjoy the thrill of success as much as possible.