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50 Smartest Companies of the Year 2021

A non-profit organization with a clear mission: to foster and facilitate the implementation of the necessary conditions for attracting, connecting and retaining in The Basque Country: Bizkaia Talent


In today’s highly competitive world, talent management is not just a simple HR term that can be tossed around. Talent management is a continuous process that involves attracting high-quality talents, providing proper training for skill development, and constantly motivating them to improve their performance. The main motto of talent motivation is to build a highly motivated workforce who will remain by the company’s side in the long run. Generally, talent management consists of many responsibilities that belong to HR. All the same, but it is not viable to expect the HR department to manage talents. Companies must have a dedicated talent management strategy in place to achieve dynamic results and capitalize on employees.

Globally, there are various talent management firms providing excellent services, but Bizkaia Talent stands out from the rest. First founded back in 2005, Bizkaia Talent is a non-profit organization that was established with a very clear objective. That objective was to help foster an environment where the very best talent in Biscay, its capital city Bilbao and the wider Basque Country would find the necessary conditions to thrive and to showcase their unique talents and characteristics on a global stage.

In conversation Ivan Jimenez, Managing Director of Bizkaia Talent

Q. Do you maintain a database of candidates already pre-screened to accelerate the recruitment process without affecting the quality of the hire?

We have a database of more than 15.000 highly qualified professionals that want to be connected to the Basque Country (especially with those 500 Basque organizations that are also part of our database), living in more than 100 Countries, half of them weren’t born in the Basque Country, but it goes with the claim we use when we go abroad looking for talent with the “Be Basque Concept”, a way to say we want them to be part of our Country.


Q. What are the factors that contribute to your success?

It’s a combination between the personal contact that we get not only when we help people coming to the Basque Country through our Relocations & Be Basque Dual Career Centre, but also with different international meetings we organize called Be Basque Talent Meetings and Conferences, we go wherever the talent is instead of organizing local meetings, this personal contact is specially reinforced by our digital tools, such as the Basque Talent Map, Career Development Centre or Basque Talent Observatory, a mix between personal contact and most advanced technology. One without the other doesn’t make sense.

Q. How do you prevent mis-hires and maintain the efficiency of your services?

We are in the middle; we don’t make the whole recruitment process. That’s something made by the Companies or through headhunters. We are facilitators in the ecosystem. Anyway, we try to know personally as many candidates as we can so we can make the first filter.

Q. Diversity and inclusion are more of a challenge today than ever before. With an increase in laws and regulations focused on workplace diversity, how do you help your clients drastically alter their recruiting and HR policies to keep up and meet the strict compliance standards in place today?

We are currently developing a new service Basque Employer Branding Service, so we want to improve the whole employee journey. A person just even being a client is a potential employee of companies, till any employee leaves the company going throughout the whole experience. IN this sense, many studies say that Diversity & Inclusion improves a company’s results, so create that sense of emergency, especially in a situation of lack of talent, will be a very important part of this service.

Q. It’s a job seekers market now. It is harder than ever to attract and hire top candidates. How do you identify qualified individuals?

For us, the use of technology and data analysis is a key factor and a continuous conversation with companies. We take data from 15 different job platforms and analyze the needs of talent of the Basque Companies through our Basque Talent Observatory, then we use different sources to find them (for instance, LinkedIn) and we try to meet them personally, so we can know more about their expectations and needs, in our Be Basque Meetings and Conference, sometimes, in the case of the Conferences, we meet them along with Basque Companies, and we organize a fully personal agenda for both professionals and organizations looking for talent.

Q. Do you have any new services ready to be launched?

As mentioned before, the Be Basque Employer Branding Service. A personal and virtual meeting point for Basque Companies that want to improve their results when it comes to attracting and retaining talent.

Q. What does the future hold for your company and its customers? Are exciting things on the way?

As the lack of talent is increasing in the advanced economies, the need for a global strategy to attract, retain, and more than ever connect with talent living/working everywhere is an opportunity window for us, we have been working for a long time knowing (based on data) that even during crisis times, that lack will be deeper and we had to work in advanced, we have in that sense and advantage, so companies that didn’t believe in this strategy not so long time ago are approaching us now, that’s something exciting for us.

Meet the leader behind the success of Bizkaia Talent

Ivan Jimenez is the Managing Director of Bizkaia Talent. Ivan has a double degree in Law & Economics by the University of Deusto, MBA by the Deusto Business School, and different Programs in Machine learning and Digital Transformation by MIT Executive Education, he has also a Certification in Employer Brand Leadership by the Employer Branding College. He speaks five languages (Basque, English, French, Italian and Spanish). He is the author of several articles about Territorial Talent Managment in publications such us The Global Talent Competitiveness Index. He has been leading the company during the last 10 years, promoting the technologicalization and internationalization of the company and along with other international organizations creating the European Talent Mobility Forum, a community to improve best practices and try to attract talent to different European Regions. The company in 2020 was the winner of the Place Marketing Award in Economic Development Category, and also the Small Business Award as the best Talent Managment Organization.

“Our goal is to become the Basque Country’s leader and a European reference model in the management process for highly qualified people in the fields of science, technology and business.”