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Petra Neilon

What makes recruiting for internationals so special?

Petra Neilon is Recruitment Consultant bij Undutchables, the Recruitment Agency for Internationals, in Den Haag. Ze bemiddelt buitenlandse werknemers voor kantoorbanen van MBO tot MBA niveau. Vanuit haar eigen ervaring en immigratie weet ze voor welke uitdagingen buitenlanders komen te staan als ze in Nederland op zoek gaan naar een baan. X

What makes recruiting for internationals so special?

Do what you love, love what you do
Here’s a question for Recruitment Consultants out there: “What motivates you to go to work every day?”
This is something we ask our candidates in every interview and yet many recruiters can’t really find their own answers.
Did you know that the average turnover of staff in Dutch recruitment agencies is 9 months? This comes as a shock to me as I’ve just hit the 5 year mark at Undutchables and many of my colleagues have been there longer than I have. Apparently recruitment only offers a challenge for 9 months, after which one moves on to something more exciting. Why then do the Consultants at Undutchables stick around for so much longer? Undutchables is a great employer, this goes without saying, but recruitment stays recruitment doesn’t it? Or does it? There seems to be one clear answer: We do International Recruitment.

What‘s so special about International Recruitment?
To start with, we’re more than just recruiters. There are so many different layers to what this job entails. Our candidates are usually looking for more than just a job. They’re looking for advice, information, social contact, acceptance, a chance. We are consultants, advisors, social workers and sometimes just a friendly listening ear. I’m sure all recruiters play this role in some way or another, however with internationals your recruitment expertise calls for an added dimension.

Getting to know the person behind the CV
It’s not simply about matching a CV to a job, it’s about investment. It’s about getting to know the person behind the CV; someone who has come to Holland for a reason, someone who left a good job behind, has a story to tell and needs someone to listen. It might not be the perfect match on paper; it’s about recognising transferrable skills, motivation and competence in someone who is feeling vulnerable and looking for someone to truly trust.

First stepping stones
Depending on how long they’ve been here, some candidates don’t know that they need a BSN or Dutch health insurance. They need to find their way, and we often find ourselves offering them their first stepping stones by advising them about where they need to go for what and why. It can mean that sometimes we phone the ‘Belastingdienst’ or the IND on behalf of someone. This may not bring about an instant financial reward, but in the long-term it’s about forging a relationship built on trust and understanding, and building a base of loyal candidates.

We go the extra mile – with a smile
Since many of my colleagues are internationals, as am I, we know what it’s like to be new here, to feel a little confused by the initial beaurocracy of settling in. We go the extra mile – with a smile. We provide rich resources of information with tips and tricks and links to useful websites. Our candidates can be looking for schools, housing or social clubs – we try to advise them on it all.
Even after the placement the role of consultant continues; an international doesn’t know what “uitzenden” is or how it works, or what their rights are in Dutch law. It is our role to prepare and protect our candidates sufficiently.

Every day brings a new challenge. Many of our candidates are not familiar with the format of a Dutch CV. For this we provide CV workshops, as well as coaching on interview techniques and identifying their true potential. This does not bring instant profit, but in the long term we increase their chances on the job market and therefore our chances of placing them. Happy candidate, happy client, happy consultant.

Society network
Being a newcomer to the Netherlands can be a lonely affair. It’s difficult to break into existing Dutch social circles so we offer internationals the chance to meet each other. Through social activities such as the Eurovision SongFestival party, International Meeting Day, candidate ‘borrels’ and the Undutchables SOCIETY network, we give our candidates the chance to learn that they are not alone. It’s also a very practical and fun way to get to know our candidates better, which can only lead to good matches with clients.

Rewarding in many ways
Even though we can’t help everyone find a job, we can send them off with hope.
I’m sure I speak on behalf of all International Recruiters when I say that this work is dynamic, exciting, challenging, heart-warming and rewarding. We’re driven by commercial reward, of course, but we’re inspired by the road that leads us there.
And that is what motivates me to go to work every day.

Undutchables Recruitment Agency

For a glimpse into the world of the International, join us at our next Undutchables SOCIETY borrel in The Hague on 20 September, 18:00-20:00.
The location will be announced 2 days before, so keep in touch via our website, Linkedin, Twitter, Facebook.

> Columns Petra Neilon

Petra Neilon keert binnenkort terug naar haar land van herkomst, Zuid-Afrika.
We danken haar hartelijk voor haar bijdragen en haar sprankelende visie op recruitment!

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