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Joining Zeren, by Stephen Zafarino

Calendar icon 6th June 2022

By Stephen Zafarino. Stephen is an Associate Partner at Zeren, and is a member of our US team, specialising within our Technology hiring vertical.

What attracted you to Zeren?


Three things drove me to jump on this exciting journey with Zeren; the people, the Client base, and the overall opportunity to grow and scale rapidly.


Starting with the people, it was an easy decision to come and partner-up again with Monika Dowal, a previous colleague of mine. She is smart and understands how to execute. When speaking other members of the Zeren team, it was evident that there was a clear vision and direction, navigated by thoughtful leadership from Chris Preston and Matt Evelt.


Working with a Client base focused on VC/PE and Fortune 100 businesses is exciting, but working with these companies is even more exciting when a proven track record exists. The relationships Zeren builds are unmatched, and the team reaps success with high-level roles spanning the globe.


Zeren is experiencing rapid growth, and joining the team at this time seemed like a no-brainer. I have always enjoyed building scalable and effective teams, and I will have the opportunity and tools to do so at Zeren.


What is your role within Zeren, and how does it tie-in to your background?


I am the newest member of the US Technology Practice, having joined the team as an Associate Partner. My role is to execute senior-level searches whilst developing and scaling a successful team and discipline. There will also be plenty of opportunities to shape the process, which will impact the future of our US Technology hiring vertical.


My role perfectly matches what excites me and keeps my passion fed!


First, scaling a team is not a walk in the park, and is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ model. I have been fortunate enough to spend time building teams from the ground-up and making them successful, working with more established groups, and bringing them to the next level. Each time I built out a territory or grew a team, it was a unique opportunity, and presented plenty of challenges to figure out. Nothing is more exciting than a good challenge!


The second component of my role lies in executing on searches. “Matchmaker, matchmaker, make me a match!” comes to mind whenever I think of a search. Ultimately, I’m looking to make both my client and candidate experiences excellent, whilst they fall in love with one another. The entire process of a search is gratifying.


On the Client-side, I focus on meeting with a Client for the first time and starting to build a relationship with them; learning about the projects they are working on and have in their working pipeline, figuring out their pain-points, and working with them to create a solution. I strive to find them the perfect candidate, having joint, weekly update meetings, navigating them through the interview and negotiating process, and having executed on what I said I would.


On the Candidate side, I seek to understand their ambitions and goals, by figuring out what is at the core of what they want to do and where they want to go. I learn, from them, what is exciting right now within the technology space, and what Candidates are trying to avoid, before introducing them to an exciting opportunity, giving them a tremendous transparent experience, and hopefully landing them their dream job!



Zeren exists to empower the world’s change makers. We do this by building high-performing teams in the world’s most innovative businesses, to accelerate growth by connecting visionary leaders and ambitious talent.


We are a leading global Executive Search & Recruitment firm with teams and offices in San Francisco, Houston, New York, London, Berlin and Frankfurt.


We partner with both high growth, VC/PE backed businesses and ambitious Corporate brands placing senior leaders, building exceptional teams, or providing critical interim and consulting talent.