TEAM NORDIC JOBS WORLDWIDE IS AIMING AT A TOP POSITION IN VISMA SKI CLASSICS AS WELL AS THE RECRUITMENT BUSINESS IN ESTONIA.
Nordic Jobs Worldwide specializes in recruiting Nordic language speakers. Since its start in 2016, it’s growth has been stellar and steady. This year, the company will set up 2 new offices to be closer to its clients. These offices will be located in Malaga and Tallinn. Estonia has been one of the biggest business areas for the company and there is a lot of potential for the future. The company CEO Rickard Fritjofsson says the company wants to give back to the Estonian community right from the start, and to do that they are hiring Estonian skiers to build a Pro Ski Team for the Visma Ski Classics. Rickard is a long-time athlete himself, playing bandy for years, and came up with this idea one night after the company had made plans to open up new offices in Estonia, and now the first hire has already been made.
“So I started to figure out how to start up a ski team in Estonia and maybe help the skiers over there to build up the skiing community again and also in a branding purpose to get our name out there regarding the recruitment agency. And I did a little research online and found Mart Kevin’s name on the results list and he was the only Estonian athlete. I couldn’t find any others actually.”
Rickard is most excited about launching the team and actually making this dream happen. It is always fun see an idea come to life. He is looking forward to the first race and witness the team competing. He hopes this project will build a lot of passion, pride and engagement in the company as well as support the Estonian skiing community.
FIRST SKI TEAM MEMBER AND PART-TIME RECRUITER
The first hire, the team leader, is a young Estonian skier, Mart Kevin Pölluste, whom Rickard spotted from the results list as the only Estonian skier. Quite fast after coming across Mart’s name on the list, Rickard decided to contact him with a proposal. Rickard hunted Mart down on LinkedIn asking if he still skis and saying that he would like to work with him. Long story short, they came into an agreement and decided to start building up a Pro Ski Team for Nordic Jobs Worldwide at the Visma Ski Classics. The plot twist here is that Mart will not only be the team leader and an athlete in the Pro team, but he will also work for the company part-time as an international recruiter.
When asked about his initial reaction when Rickard contacted him, Mart says that at first, he didn’t know what to think and where something like this could lead to, but now that they are starting this adventure together, Mart feels super excited.
“I don’t think I have ever been more motivated to do anything in my life before, so I am really looking forward to this in my personal life but also as an athlete.”
The most exciting part to him is just the general thought of being a part of the team this winter. He wants to build a fun community around the team, and he imagines it will not feel like work at all! Additionally, the fact that he will have a job at Nordic Jobs Worldwide makes him look forward to the future.
This brings us to what Mart wants to emphasize most. He wanted to bring light to how amazing this kind of opportunity is for him and for any skier. Having a job on the side and skiing semi-professionally brings a lot of security into an athlete’s life. It is not so common for athletes to have financial security, especially when they are still on their journey to become one of the best.
“There are really few athletes in the world that can be full-time athletes”
However, Mart is used to the combination of a part-time job and semi-professional ski training. His plate is going to be even fuller this time around when he takes on the managing of the ski team on top of everything else. Recruitment as a business is also a totally new area for him, so there will definitely be some challenges for him to figure out. His only hope is to find a way to balance everything so that he also has time to relax and think about something else than recruitment, training and ski team management.
MART KEVIN PÖLLUSTE, THE HEAD OF THE SKI TEAM
Mart Pölluste has been skiing since he was a child. At first, he had football as another important hobby but eventually he decided to focus on skiing solely. He started off as a sprinter but a couple of years ago moved on to marathon skiing. For the last two years he has been a part of a Norwegian Visma Ski Classics pro team and at the time of Rickard’s LinkedIn message, he was on his own contemplating whether to compete alone. His goal is to win the Tartu marathon, the biggest race in Estonia, and also Vasaloppet, in Sweden.
“Biggest result for me in the Visma Ski Classics has been last year’s Vasaloppet, or this 2020 Vasaloppet, where I was 62nd so I think this has been the best result. But in local races I have always been, you know, on the top. In Tartu marathon I was the 8th. I think that these results prove that I have talent and that I can excel.“
Vasaloppet is one of his favorite races together with Marcialonga and Birkebeiner which are three of the biggest races. The ones in Central Europe are among his favorites because the tracks are the most interesting ones going through some small Central European villages where the crowds are cheering the skiers on. If he would have to choose, he would say his number one is Marcialonga.
Usually Mart does various kinds of training during the week. Last week he did 27 hours of training. His normal routine includes a couple of longer sessions for marathon endurance, gym sessions for strength and intervals to prepare for the high speed in the races. However, this year he will try to put in an extra gear and do everything a little bit better! To help with that Mart has a personal mentor/coach who he communicates with weekly but Rickard from Nordic Jobs Worldwide thinks the company will be able to support him and the team in many ways as well. Of course, through sponsoring but with coaching the team, combining their work and training schedules to suit their seasons, and mentoring them using their knowledge from their background in sports coaching.
This weekend the World cup in Estonia is taking place, where Mart will be able to get perspective on his current shape and what he needs to improve on. He will compete against Norwegian skiers which will be a great indicator to where he is at. All in all, he is happy with his current shape, everything has gone well, and he hasn’t had any major complications either.
The first thing for Mart to do, was to start building up a strong team around himself. At Visma Ski Classics, it is required that each team has at least 2 women and 2 men. The team does not need to consist of only one nationality. Rickard says in the future the Nordic Jobs Worldwide team could be a team of different nationalities since the company works in various countries and recruits for more than 10 nationalities, but for now they want to start with Estonian skiers.
When given the go, Mart started working on finding suitable team members and quite fast he found interested athletes and started having negotiations with them. According to Mart, the most important quality in the athletes in his team, needs to be ambition.
“The drive to be the best. To me it doesn’t matter, right now, if they are winning or not. If they have the drive and the ambition to be the best, then it will come. If they don’t show me that then I don’t think they have a spot on the team.”
The plan for the fall time is to first start with seeing where the team is at and then create a strong strategy and training plan that can lead to success. The team aims to be at its best from January to March which is the most important time during the season. When asked about the goals and ambitions both Mart and Rickard have for the team in the future, Rickard says:
“I actually have a goal, in 3 years, that we should be in the top in some competitions and maybe have a victory as well… Because the ambition is to be the best we can be, in whatever we do.”
Rickard says the most important thing to succeed is of course to aim for the long-term goals and even though the huge urge to reach goals fast, he says it is important to remember that Rome was not built in one day. The results must be built over time. He is confident that this will be a success because both him and Mart share the same values and goals, to be on top of their game both in skiing and in recruitment in Estonia and Europe.
A NEW FUTURE FOR CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING IN ESTONIA?
Both Mart and Rickard are of the opinion that this co-operation can have an amazing effect on the whole skiing community in Estonia. According to Mart, some younger athletes might benefit from this through seeing something they can aim for in the future. Having goals and something to work for, will have a huge impact on the future athletes’ motivation.
“I think it will not only bring some spark into their eyes but also we can show the Estonian community as a whole that we can (succeed), and that skiing is still a good sport to pursue”
It might be hard for some counterparts to understand the value of this, at least, within the first year. Maybe the community is a bit stuck in their ways at the moment and not able to commit to this team yet. However, both Mart and Rickard feel that if the team will manage to build up great success and do things with a positive attitude, others will see the value of this. According to Mart it is a special situation when a company from a foreign country is investing time and money to developing this sport in Estonia, and he thinks it might be the biggest chance that Estonian skiing has to become better again.