My first working experience (in the middle of a pandemic) described in a few words!

Damia Group Portugal
6 min readApr 6, 2021

By a young and enthusiast recruiter 🤓

Graduating… Yes, that wonderful time of confusion and the sudden realisation of all of the adult responsibilities coming your way, whilst everyone expects you to know what you want to do next in life.

It’s true that the idea of a job lasting a lifetime is no longer something that resonates with us but that doesn’t take away the importance of your first professional experience!

Yanked out of the safe bubble of life at University, you’re now faced with a sneak peak of where you’ll spend most of your time and energy for the foreseeable future and, as if that isn’t enough, you become very aware of the weight each professional choice has in shaping your much desired exiting and fulfilling career.

This is my first working experience (in a middle of a pandemic) described in a few words!

It can be educational (or not) for those who are starting their professional careers, or a just pleasant flash-back for those who already have years of experience.

I’m José Ramalho and I’m the newest tech recruiter at Damia Portugal.

I have a master’s degree in psychology 👨‍🎓 I’ve always been passionate about human behaviour and the human condition as a whole. Each person is unique in their own way, so there isn’t a dull day when you’re trying to dive deep into all the environmental pressures and biological factors that shape us into the people we are.

As part of the course, we have to do an internship at a company to gain some real-life experience and put everything we learn into practice. It was a great first professional experience and I ended up falling in love the tech world and the endless possibilities it presented 💙

Psychology is a degree that for most screams “UNEMPLOYEMNT” so, being exposed to that setting really opened my eyes to what I could actually do that had a good deal of demand in the job market.

2020 was shaping up to be an AWESOME YEAR, right?

Well, with all the uncertainty of the pandemic, all of a sudden, all the professional opportunities just disappeared… Companies didn’t want to hire and even less someone with less than a year of experience. Every job I applied for had hundreds of applicants and I kept getting rejected at final stages of the interview process.

We love your profile but right now we decided to go with someone else for this position” or “Unfortunately, we are unable to move forward with your profile but please feel free to apply to our company in the future”.
All nice words, but they all meant NO”.

After a lot of rejections or just getting ghosted by recruiters with them getting my hopes up and then getting them crushed, I started to have a think “Maybe, you don’t need to go to a top-notch company”; “It’s your first job in the area, it’ll be ok if you don’t have good working conditions. You have to start somewhere”. I lowered my expectations but then… DAMIA APPEARED 🥳

I had heard about Damia Portugal through a friend, but I never really thought I had a chance. I went for it anyway and after a few interviews I received a call offering me a spot in the team!

Everything still felt a bit surreal at that point but over the next few days the unstoppable Xana (our extraordinaire HR Manager) made sure I had everything I needed to start my journey.

Entering a fully remote environment and with the office being located in Lisbon (around 300km from where I live in the city of the roundabouts, Viseu) I didn’t have the possibility to meet the team in person but honestly, Damia has always made me feel as if I had.

All of those fears of having to compromise and have crappy working conditions or a toxic culture, were quickly shun right at the interview stage as I met more people from the team and confirmed even more over the next few weeks as I started to work with them.

This company prides itself in a lot of things, but I’d like to highlight two:

· Expertise

Over the last 2 months, I have taken my first steps into the world of Tech Recruitment with a talented and supportive team to help me. I’ve learnt quite a lot already and continue to learn each day as Damia strives to provide the best experience always with a human-to-human approach, smoothing a lot of the hurdles associated with this process for the candidate.

· Damia is a family

The first thing I was told when I joined was that Damia is a family 💙

I feel that a lot of companies quite banally sell the idea that their employees are a family, but do they really mean it? Sure, it sounds good in the marketing publications but what do they do to support it on a day-to-day basis?

Here, since the first day I’ve felt that they really mean it! One example is all the activities they so tirelessly organize to guarantee not only learning experiences, but also moments where we can debrief after a day of work.
Check out Damia Portugal’s Instagram! We share all our internal activities @damiagrouppt

Adding to these, there’s a great atmosphere of support, always room for a laugh, great company policies to help to keep sane during these troubling times and a serious concern for hearing our voices in all matters.

If you ask anyone at Damia what they like the most about working here, their answer will almost without a doubt be THE PEOPLE. I can testify to that.

Even though we are separated at the moment and still will be for the foreseeable future, I truly feel seen and right at home here.

Thank you for reading!

About Ramalho:

José Ramalho aka just Ramalho is Damia’s youngest tech recruiter (he was nicknamed by his surname right from the start as we already had another Jose in the team).

Although he’s in the beginning of his recruitment career, Ramalho has proved himself to be a tech enthusiast, full of energy with a big willingness to learn! He even took it upon himself to be one of our time referees in order to make sure that all our zoom meetings are efficient and not plagued by fatigue.

He joined Damia during the pandemic, and in full remote fashion, he has been working from his hometown Viseu! This has been a random but fun contribution to our Zoom meetings, as we are able to hear the birds chirping next to his window and often the wonderful green landscape around his house🌳

Check out his LinkedIn and say Hi to Ramalho.


About Damia Portugal:

We are an international innovative IT recruitment company with over 25 years of experience working across all levels, from support right up to executive board level, with our HQ based on the UK.

We came to Portugal with the promise to shake up the market and redefine how one engages with clients. Our core goal is to develop relationships across the market, offer a disruptive (but positive!) approach with both clients and candidates, always based on open and transparent communication.

We take the stresses out of recruitment and engage the right professionals who will excel in your organization.

We use out-of-the-box sourcing techniques.

We are innovative, disruptive, transparent and relaxed.

We came to the market to do it different and we love it!



Damia Group Portugal

At Damia Group we take the hassle out of tech recruitment and put in the right professionals who will excel in your organization 🔥