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Interview

‘Recruitment has become as competitive as top-level sports.’

Jul 29, 2019 9:22:24 AM. By: High Tech Campus

The Talent Recruiters is a recruitment company specialised in finding IT and cyber security candidates for clients like NXP, ASML and Philips. They’ve just opened up an office at High Tech Campus Eindhoven. CEO Monique Oomen tells us how they help their clients win the war on talent.

Things are going well for The Talent Recruiters (TTR). In three years time they developed from a one person start-up to a full-fledged recruitment company with seven employees and big corporate clients all over The Netherlands, including Philips, ASML and NXP. The reason they moved to the High Tech Campus is to be closer to their clients and to benefit from the inspiring and innovative working environment.

TTR operates in the midst of the ‘war on talent’, where tech companies are competing for scarce IT candidates. We spoke with CEO Monique Oomen about the secret of their success and how the recruitment game is played to win the war on talent.

MoniqueHow do you explain your fast growth in the highly competitive branch of recruitment?
‘I’m convinced that recruitment is about people and not about CV’s. Many recruiters only look at a candidate’s CV to see if it matches their client’s job requirements. There may be a nice match on paper, but ultimately it’s about the person behind the CV. We have a very personal approach, where we see all our candidates and clients face-to-face. So the secret of our success is that we look at the person and not just at the CV.’

Nowadays nearly every tech company is craving for talented IT specialists. How do you successfully recruit top IT talent?
‘The world is changing very fast. Approaching candidates is different now than it was ten, fifteen years ago. Candidates sometimes get over forty LinkedIn messages from recruiters per day. That’s why it’s very important to speak the language of the tech world. Our recruiters know that language very well. When approaching a new candidate we always send a personalised message. Then we try to have a personal face-to-face conversation, either in our office or through Skype. We give our candidates genuine attention, asking them what their work is like and what they enjoy doing. That’s how you can really connect with them.’

So the candidate feels he is being listened to?
‘Yes, that’s very important. Not to come across as a CV pusher, but being truly interested in the candidate’s career path and following up on your promises.’

What are some of the current trends in the war on talent?
‘I notice that where previously employers were looking for generalists, what they want now is specialists. Technology is developing at such a fast rate that companies need specialised knowledge. And where recruitment used to be an employer’s market, it’s now become a candidate’s market. You see many recruitment companies competing for the same candidate. That’s why the personal approach is so important. Recruitment has become as competitive as top-level sports. If you snooze, you lose. Sometimes I run into an interesting candidate at a party at a friend’s house. It’s a 24/7 game.’

Is the war on talent a recent phenomenon?
‘Actually, it was the same at the end of the nineties. Then there was also a shortage of specialists and recruiters had to become headhunters. You had to call people at their office and sometimes even coming by to bother them there. It’s not a nice way of recruiting. But I see it going into that direction again. It’s becoming a hunter’s world.’

So how do you prevent coming across as too pushy?
‘A pushy attitude doesn’t work for me anyway. At TTR we believe in a long-term, open and honest relationship both with our clients and with candidates. Sometimes that honesty means holding up a mirror to the candidate. Recently I spoke with an architect on Skype and I was the 120th recruiter he had spoken to that week. Because everybody wanted him, he had developed quite an arrogant attitude. I confronted him with his arrogance and he admitted to it and really appreciated me for doing that. In the end he chose to come and work for our client. Many recruiters are afraid of pointing out these things, but it’s all in the way you do it. Be nice and gentle about it, but be honest. That’s the personal approach we’re talking about.’

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