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International Staffing Perspectives: GIJS AANEN, Itelco Solutions Netherlands B.V.

Posted on June 11, 2007
Filed Under Global Staffing Perspectives, LINKEDIN, Networking, Recruitment Industry | Comments Off on International Staffing Perspectives: GIJS AANEN, Itelco Solutions Netherlands B.V.

By Dave Mendoza, Master Cybersleuth, JobMachine Inc.


Last week I initiated a series of discussions to engage global perspectives among fellow colleagues in the staffing industry from each corner of the Earth, in the spirit of fostering best practices and understanding. As part of my continuing effort to research perspectives and identify fundamental patterns among recruiters, newspapers and other mediums, and the role of demographics, I have reached out to global staffing leaders and recruiters to inquire on their methods of recruitment, to examine their personal efforts to develop social networking relationships to foster talent pools, and to identify the types of job boards, blogs, user forums, Listservs, etc. particular and useful to their countries, regions and continents. Today another small step forward to initiate a series of inquiries in the hopes that together we can learn from each other.

Again, I thank each of my colleagues in advance for their willingness to confront the questions posed. Your contributions will assist in identifying patterns we can sort together as part of an ongoing discussion. I invite the staffing organizations of Corporate America and Multi-National companies to share in the dialogue.

(*** INTERESTED IN PARTICIPATING? If you are an overseas staffing professional, and wish to be interviewed as part of this series to share your perspective, please email me at ldavemendoza @ gmail.com)

International Staffing Perspectives:
GIJS AANEN, Recruiting Consultant, Itelco Solutions Netherlands B.V.
Third In A Series


Gijs Aanen is a recruitment consultant working within the IT sector on behalf of Itelco Solutions Netherlands B.V. Itelco Itelco is a Benelux wide operating specialized IT recruitment / headhunting agency with 45 marked experts. (Benelux is Belgium Netherlands and Luxembourg. Because of the relative small size of the countries they are often referenced into one region, in this case “the Benelux”) Itelco Executive Search is a true specialist in the Information & Communications technology (ICT) domain, an application of modern communications and computing technologies to the creation, management and use of information.domain. Itelco’s governing ethos is: “We Deliver.” Itelco was first established in Belgium in 1992 as a cross-industry recruiter of sales and marketing profiles for the Benelux. The company quickly established itself as a dynamic and responsive partner for many key organizations’ recruitment needs, helping to set new standards within the Benelux recruitment industry. It’s Executive Search practice delivers search & selection services to organizations seeking C-level executives and their first-line executive teams. Their experience extends to General Management, Operations, Sales, Marketing and Engineering disciplines throughout the international ICT marketplace.

Gijs is responsible for finding, interviewing, advise, and placing candidates specifically technical and functional ICT specialists in all of the ICT market. within the Netherlands. He is bilingual, fluent in Dutch, his native language and English. In his role Gijs is responsible for business development prospecting and closing clients as well as managing client relations, but more specifically, the key to his day to day is targeting and developing candidates as an executive search recruiter. Gijs prides himself in having advanced his personal network in addition to identifying and broadening his professional (online) network tools. His recruitment career has benefited significantly from his technical origins as a sys administrator. Gijs pondered a career change seeking challenge and a larger scale organization. His personal search effort brought him into contact with an recruitment agency and he immediately fell in love with the recruitment business. Gijs found personal fulfillment in the opportunity to “sit at the other site of the table” and to contribute a positive image to contrast the prevailing negative image which recruitment has had within the Netherlands. Above all, as a former system administrator, he has had a personal background in the ICT talent niche to equip him with the technical savvy to find the right candidate for the right client. Gijs sees to it that his candidates are happy and have made “the right fit” and meeting this challenge is a daily source for inspiration.


Do you direct source from competitor companies? If not, why not? (What re your three top specific ways to find talent)?

Yes, we do. As a matter of fact we exist of direct sourcing. The specific roles where my clients are looking for we usually don’t find on the job boards. Our candidates are mostly high profile ICT experts who aren’t active looking for a new job.

1. Headhunting: For the headhunting Search we will define a target list of companies which compares closest to the Client organization in terms of business model, technologies and culture. At this stage we will also identify any “no touch” companies, such as partners or organizations in strategic alliances with our client. From this target list, potential candidates will be identified and approached by our us who will then screen and evaluate the candidate in order to determine whether they hold the necessary experience in order to qualify for the interview shortlist. For this part we also use the recommendations from our client or the recommendations from other ICT experts in the marked. If we have got the name the rest will follow. Sometimes trough linkedin or Xing sometimes trough Google or other search engines. It’s not hard to find someone nowadays if you’ve got the name.

2. Referral: We use referrals a lot. Just pick up the phone and call a placed candidate to see if he has an old colleague who might fit the job or just a possible candidate you have good contact with

3. Online Job boards: We use job boards like Monster, Nationale Vacature Bank or Itjobboard.”

What Dutch Laws Are Problems That Effect The Recruitment Industry? How Do These Laws Effect What You Can And Cannot Do To Direct Source Candidates From Other Companies?

“It’s not forbidden for me as a recruiter to call someone to see if there are interested in a new role. What I do see is that my candidates all have a competition clause in their contract which forbids them to work at a direct competitor of the company for a given time (mostly a year) Most companies don’t hold their employees to this clause. But if they do the employee will get his right in the court.”

What job boards, online forums, blogs, etc are value in your search for talent within your region?

Our ability to deliver is based upon a sound understanding of our client’s business, culture and the exact candidate profile required to fulfill the requirements of the vacancy. In order to make a search successful, it is important to fully understand the client’s needs and to ensure that there is no discrepancy in any mutual understanding of the assignment requirements. With this in the back of my mind I will find the User group where the specialist are active or select data from networking sites. The forum I use a lot is SAP.com There is an active forum over there and it’s just a small step to send someone an interesting e-mail to see if they are open for a career change. In addition, Voelspriet.nl is popular in the Netherlands in addition to more common international search engines like Google. With the right string of words you can find something like an article or a CV online. For instance if you put down .Net and Development and My View you will get a lot of websites where you can find experts. If you found them it’s simple a question of telling the story of your client. The biggest job board we use is Monster, at monster we put all our vacancies on but at the level I’m searching there is almost no reaction on the ads. Linkedin is one of my favorite networking tools it’s helps you connect to the most valuable players within you region. I use sites like linkedin or Xing.com to find candidates and give them a call or an e-mail concerning a career change.

What recruitment software tools do you use in your day to day recruitment activities & do they translate effectively within all of the different countries where you recruit?

The recruitment software we use is our Database which is Filefinder. For the Database Search we will interrogate our in-house database which contains the complete candidate profiles of approximately 9,000 candidates who have previously been interviewed by an Itelco consultant. The database is based on an Oracle platform and is capable of searching across multiple criteria, ensuring that if the right candidate is listed, we will find them. Those who meet all of the necessary criteria for the position will be included in our initial shortlist for interview.

All candidates on our database are contacted on a regular basis to gather up-to-date information on their professional experience and aspirations, in order to keep the database active. The 9,000 candidates include management, technical, sales and operational profiles with employee and freelancer backgrounds. For searching we will use the internet as well as the network sites. We don’t use special software to do that with.”

How are US and European recruitment culture different? How are they similar?

“A recent study in the Netherlands showed that Dutch employees are very happy with their career. A study between the target group of 25 to 45 in age showed that two third of the interviewed employees are very happy about the position in career perspective that they are right now. “Dutch employees in general are very cautious about getting into a new role. I think his has something to do with the culture. It’s not good to become what we call a Job Hopper That somebody who has various different employers in a short amount of time. Also the traveling time is a real big issue at the moment. The roads are cramped and a traffic jam of over an hour is normal. That’s why even in our small country the location of the client is important. So if we look at the culture I would say that the Dutch employee is willing to change careers if he or she is a longer time with a certain company or gets a big advantage in traveling time. The name of the company is not that important anymore it’s projects or the work strategy that a company uses that makes the difference. For us it’s important to give the candidate a good view about our client. Let the candidate decides whether a role at one of our clients is the right one for him. At this moment the number of open vacancies are at its highest level ever in the Netherlands. That makes the candidates more demanding regarding to projects and traveling distance as well as salary and extra benefits. The biggest challenge for me as a recruiter right now is to find the candidate willing to work at a firm instead of finding firm who will hire my candidate.

What networking groups are available and influential within Europe as a whole and within your country in particular?

The regular online networking groups like Linkedin or Xing. Then there is a large amount of personal network opportunities like seminars etc.For instance Oracle regularly organizes seminars about tuning the database and SAP, likewise, has his own networking events. These are the places you will have to be to spot the right candidate.

What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?

Most of my training I did in-house. I learn the best from somebody who is leading by example. Previously my managing partner Fred van Dulken was CEO of Comparex Benelux, Managing Director of CSS and Managing Director of Computer Company. In those positions, Fred was leading extremely fast-growing ICT companies and was also responsible for conducting several reorganizations involving 70 to 2000+ employees. Fred is now able to draw upon this rich experience to help me get my job right.

My other managing partner Nel van Scheijen was previously COO of Comparex within the Benelux and has held commercial positions at Dell Nederland and Fujitsu Siemens Computers. Nel brings with her over 10 years of experience in direct sales. She was instrumental in shifting Comparex’s focus from the SMB market to selling enterprise solutions to the top 200 customer base in the Netherlands and creating a strong customer loyalty program. Nel is a very experienced woman on the sales side of recruitment and has a tremendous network where I can benefit from.

The years of experience my management is bringing me as well as the solid background of my Belgian colleagues and management helps me learn and develop at my Job . Training is for me something to pick up the phone call a colleague and listen to him or her.

To what extent is SMS Tex Messaging used as a tool for the purpose of recruitment? Have you had personal experience in this practice?

I always text message my candidates to wish them good luck just before there interview. That’s the only experience I have with text messaging candidates.

What inspires you to stay in recruiting?

“Helping candidates into a new role. Seeing that they are happy and right in place. Also it’s always a challenge to commit myself on finding the most difficult profile.”

Recommendations For Gijs


“Gijs is very good recruiter. Some skills of Gijs are: Dedication, to the point, highly commutative, and honest. His involvement is high, and results are impressive.” May 20, 2007
Top qualities: Great Results, Expert, High Integrity

Serge Blik, hired Gijs as a Recruiter in 2005

“Gijs is a good colleague who is willing to help, he is a good listener and a professional in what he does.” November 8, 2006

Joost Lapidaire joostlapidaire@hotmail.com, Consultant, Itelco Solutions, worked directly with Gijs at Itelco

“Gijs is a pleasure to work with. He never really is “off the job” and always keeps his eyes and ears open to new opportunities for Itelco. Always professional, yet never disturbingly so.”November 3, 2006

Hans van Duppen, Consultant, Itelco, worked with Gijs at Itelco

“Gijs is a very driven person, full of energy and enthusiasm. He’s a great guy to work with ! I can recommend him to everyone, who wants to use his recruitment services.” November 2, 2006

Joop den Hollander joop@itelco.eu, Consultant, Itelco, worked directly with Gijs at Itelco

“Gijs is a great recruiter, that has his eyes and ears in the business. Gijs always finds a solution to the problem and is highly liked by his clients and candidates alike.” November 2, 2006

Martijn van Nes – mvannes @ holdingliquid.nl, Recuitment Consultant, Itelco, managed Gijs at Itelco

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