What do talent acquisition managers want in… Belgium

As a Talent Acquisition manager you are responsible for the recruitment strategy. The nature of this process depends on the country or region you are located. What do TA managers actually want in different countries? In this series we will showcase this based on data acquired from the European Recruitment Dashboard and the experiences of TA managers themselves. This time: Belgium.

TA managers in Belgium in data

Based on data acquired from the European Recruitment Dashboard we want to give an insight into the background of TA Managers in Belgium. We looked at the ratio men/women, age, international experience and countries where they would like to work.

Stephanie de Wulf, Talent Acquisition and Employability Manager at the Flemish Government (Vlaamse Overheid)

‘As a TA manager in Belgium, working for the government, I notice that there are more regulations that need to be respected. It does not allow enough flexibility.

At this moment, we are implementing a new Talent SaaS (in the cloud) system, Cornerstone on demand. This is a lot of work, but will give the Flemish government much more possibilities, which we are looking forward to. We also want to make use of artificial intelligence, because we find it important to have an efficient and fast selection process where candidates can do tests and interviews 24/7. Currently we state the time of the interview, which is not always appreciated by candidates.

As a talent manager, it is important to have a vision on strategic talent management. This is not just about recruiting and selecting, but it’s about the added value you want to create towards the business This means following trends and being aware of the job market. At the Flemish government we want our employees to be sustainable deployable. This means that we expact each employee to be on the right spot or moving towards it and contributing maximally to the values of the organisation. That’s hard with 28.000 employees. It is important to be creative. We help people to make use of self leadership when it comes to their career path. We also notice that we have to prepare people for the jobs of tomorrow, even though we don’t always know what these are.

To go forward in your job, you need to take the time one in a while to stand still en reflect on what is happening. I know this is a challenge in todays agitated society: I do notice when I schedule these moments for my team people get creative again and take the time to discuss. Work on your employer brand strategy and also work inside out. Your own employees are the best ambassadeurs to attract new colleagues.’

Steve Goethals, IT Recruiter – Matching Talent at vind!

‘A recent research (in Dutch) shows most Belgians don’t look for a job at all. You really have to convice them to get a new job, even if they would be happier. They value the work/life balance a lot and are not as active on LinkedIn as for example the Dutch.

For me, is it important to align the HR politicy with the goals and challenges of the company. For this, it is important to figure the whole recruitment process, from from vacancy intake to off boarding. You can only do this by using a sourcing plan, employer branding, KPI’s, ATS, testing etc.

My tip for TA managers is to pay a lot of attention to a good sourcer/recruiter who looks at hyperpersonalisation when looking for the right candidates.

The attention for remote e-testing is lacking in Belgium. I also would like to know more about social referral, augmented sourcing and onboarding.’

Isabel De Baecke, Business Unit Manager Talent Acquisition at Solvus

‘The biggest challenge in Belgium lies in recruiting volumes. Because of the language problems, the overheated job market, the influence of mobility challenges and because Belgium mostly is a market for small or medium-sized enterprises, the recruting is in relatively low volumes. This makes the cost per hire high and innovation in the selection process relatively expensive, which means the employer branding budgets are not optimally spend.

As a TA manager you want the right talent on the right place at the right moment. To do this optimally, TA on its own is insufficient. That’s why we aspire to use Total Talent Management at Solvus. Apart from attracting talent internally, we also centralise the development and retention of this talent. But we also invest in attracting different forms of external talents. So I would advise other TA managers to not look at TA in isolation, but to think about a Total Talent management and take the business and hiring managers with you in this practice and the interest of it.

As a TA manager I am interested in new technological development and scanning the market looking for new trends. The added value of tools is not always clear. You have to know exactly what you need to make a right choice in the growing supply. We use tools like ATS and VMS to gain access to the job market and automise tasks so recruiters have more time, which they can use to invest in their relationship with our candidates. Apart from the classic assessment we also focus on value fit and measuring the potential and learning agility. We do this, ecause we believe that almost every job will change fundamentally in the next 10 years.’

Sophie Theen: “Learn to grow when you really need to”

Sophie Teen is a culture and talent guardian at 11FS, a London based start up in the Fintech sector. Currently her company is growing headcount at 300% a year globally. Before this, she was the head of HR at Revolut where within the year the headcount went up by 500%. You might say she knows a thing or two about recruiting in hyper growth, the subject she will be addressing at Talent Acquisition Live this year.

Sophie, I don’t think many of us can imagine recruiting for organisations growing at rates above 100% a year. Tell us, what do you do on a day to day base?

“The reality is as the first HR person, you end up doing everything working with the founders on almost everything about their people and culture. And as the company grew, so did my team. They specialize in their areas leaving me to have the headspace to plan for our future, which normally includes reviewing objectives for the business, the teams and myself. Looking at strategic workforce planning because we’re bootstrapped, everything needs to be accounted for financially, which kind of makes you do the 3rd, 4th, 5th degree thinking before you make a decision to hire. Although this might sound like you’re wasting a lot of time especially in a really fast paced startup, but you think: if I don’t do things strategically, then what makes us different? How do we know we’re doing better than others? I really enjoy that part of my day. The rest is when I spend time with leadership to work on human challenges, because let’s face it, there isn’t a one size fits all manual created to help HR professionals solve every problem in an organization. You’ve got to approach, think, resolve, learn, then bake it back into your current process. It’s all about learning constantly, never stop reflecting.”

So you will be talking about recruiting in hyper growth. How do you describe hyper growth and tell us a little about your experience with it. What numbers are we talking about?

“Hypergrowth is a common ask from founders when I get to meet them. We all live in the myth that hyper growth means hiring a bulkload of people, because it makes us look a lot more superior that our competitors. Well, that’s a lie I’ll tell you. Hypergrowth is when you double, triple your headcount but people are still happy working there albeit the new hires shifting your culture as they go. You can only do this by removing yourself from the idea of “grow grow grow at any expense” and finally learn to “grow when you REALLY need to”. It will force you to think about skill mapping, strategically mapping your workforce based on cost, workload, deliverables before any hiring managers say “I want to hire someone”. My hyper growth experience comes from running medium to XL sized headcount companies, but again, this is not a numbers competition. Hiring 200 people and losing 100 at the same time means you’re not doing it right.”

So you are doing insane numbers with a very small team. How do you manage that?

“Strategy and your people. I know, I sound like a flashy consultant about strategies, but there’s a reason why. I used to have a team of 11 hiring 200 people, now I have a team of 2 and we hired 120 people last year. It’s not magic, and there’s no secret sauce to it. Leading a strongly charged organization to hire so many people in a short period of time meant two things: strategically planning for gaps to fill (means asking questions you normally don’t dare to, because they tell you that HR’s role is just to hire when asked) and optimizing your internal resources. Ask yourself, who are your best ambassadors of the brand, and who knows more people than you do? The people in your company. Our biggest source of hires come from word of mouth which means, someone in the company already know them to refer them to us.”

You call yourself a culture guardian. What do you mean with that and how do you handle that part of your role?

“It means I take the word “culture” very seriously. It means that when one of our staff is in despair, or having a challenge, I drop everything and go to them. They are my first and utmost priority. But this doesn’t mean just being a listener, because I’m not that. My role to guard the culture to is keep our people happy by solving their problems. Of course from time to time, there are exceptions when they’re out of my control. But all in all, I know what our company principles are and I bake them into every process, conversations, trainings, and wherever I see gaps.”

Last question: can you tell us something about you most people won’t know?

“I spent a huge chunk of my life living near the beach and so while I’m in the UK, I use the Calm app for beach waves sounds for sleep all the time! I’m one of those people who you call beach bums, because I can be there for hours and hours on end.”

Watch the Talent Acquisition Live 2018 after movie

We look back on a very successful first edition of the international event on innovative recruitment: Talent Acquisition Live. More than 150 visitors were inspired by 4 keynotes and 20 breakouts. Do you want to relive the day again or did you miss it? Check out the official after movie.

Join Talent Acquisition Live on the 20th of September in Amsterdam

Do you want to know how companies like Booking.com, Cognizant, Albert Heijn, STRV, Bonnier Broadcasting and Specsavers are innovative in the way they attract talent? Join 150 talent acquisition professionals at the first edition of Talent Acquisition Live the 20th of September 2018 in Amsterdam. Subjects you can expect are:  augmented sourcing, interviews via voice bots, humanising the hiring journey, mega sourcing, automated talent pipelines, referral hiring and much more innovative talent acquisition. And with expert speakers like Tru’s Bill Boorman, Bas van de Haterd, Sara Cauwenbergh and Karen Azulai.

Watch the video

We made a promo video for the event, watch it below. Do you want to join us? Register now at this site.

Go to TA Live with your whole team for a reduced price

Until the 1st of August you profit from a big discount when you come to Talent Acquisition Live 2018 with your team!


Until the 1st of August the price per ticket is €295,- per person (instead of €395,-) if you come with your team. Discount is calculated automatically upon registration of at least 3 people at once. Discount only applies when you register at the same time. Check our website for more information and to register!

Talent Acquisition Live

The 20th of September 2018 Digitaal-Werven and Werf& organize the first edition of Talent Acquisition Live in Amsterdam. A new european event about innovation in recruitment from strategy and process to tooling. If you want to know more about the 4 amazing keynotes, click here.

Bill Boorman: “We haven’t seen a single example of AI in recruitment yet”

Artificial intelligence in recruitment? Many people talk about it, but we aren’t yet that far, says TA Live-speaker Bill Boorman. But he does see a chance that AI will improve recruitment, if we work with good data.

‘Algorithm anarchy’

On September 20 TRU founder Bill Boorman comes to Amsterdam to speak on Talent Acquisition Live. Among other things, he will discuss what he calls the ‘algorithm anarchy’: the proliferation of algorithms in recruitment. “Especially sellers and visionaries have their mouth full of AI. But my definition of AI is about independently thinking and independently deciding machines. And I have not seen any of that in either recruitment or HR”, he says in the video below.

Clean data without bias

Yet there is a lot of potential in AI in recruitment, he believes. “If we learn to work with clean, reliable data, without historical bias, and if we give the machines time to do the right thing.” Because if we don’t, “we only automate processes that work against people, instead of people”, he says.

Pre-event: The Talent Unconference

The day before Talent Acquisition Live, on September 19, there is a pre-event: The Talent Unconference. This is an event without badges, keynotes and powerpoints. However, there are plenty of small interactive sessions on how to attract and retain the right people. The Talent Unconference is organized in collaboration with Bill Boorman’s The Recruitment Unconference (TRU).


Check our website for more information and to register. The early bird is until the 17th of Juli 2018.

4 amazing keynotes at Talent Acquisition Live 2018

The 20th of September 2018 Digitaal-Werven and Werf& organize the first edition of Talent Acquisition Live in Amsterdam. A new european event about innovation in recruitment from strategy and process to tooling. Founders Bas van der Haterd en Martijn Hemminga tell you more in this video about the keynote program.

Keynote program

with: supermarket Albert Heijn who are using all the really new media like soundcloud, snapchat and spotify and using geo fencing to hyper target around their stores. On the other hand, we’ve got Sofia from Bonnier Broadcasting, a major Nordic television network, who will share with us how she’s using e-mail to engage with those impossible to find IT specialists.


Check our website for more information and to register. The early bird is until the 17th of Juli 2018.

New European event about recruitment innovation: Talent Acquisition Live 2018

Digitaal-Werven en Werf&, two leading Dutch recruitment knowledge platforms, combine their forces to organize a new international event on the 20th of September 2018 in Amsterdam: Talent Acquisition Live. In one day recruiters and talent acquistion professionals will be inspired by innovative hiring practices on three levels: strategy, process & technology.

How to be innovative

Talent Acquisition Live presents you 4 inspiring keynotes and 16 breakout sessions. Not only will the speakers help you answer the question how to be innovative with your talent acquisition, it’s also a great way to supersize your network. We are expecting  200 participants from all over Europe. All the sessions will be in English.


The first three keynote speakers have been announced:

  • René Herremans (Albert Heijn) about recruitment via Snapchat, Soundcloud and Spotify.
  • Bill Boorman (Trumunity) will inspire us about the future of recruitment (tech).
  • Sofia Broberger (Bonnier Broadcasting) will show us that e-mail isn’t dead and still works when you use it the right way.

New speakers will be announced soon on the website: https://ta-live.com. You can also find more information about the inspirational venue and travel and hotel tips.

Pre-event: The Talent Unconference on the 19th of September

The day before Talent Acquisition Live there will be a pre-event: The Talent Unconference. An event without badges, keynotes and powerpoints, but with small interactive sessions about how to attract and retain the right people. The Talent Unconference is organized in cooperation with Bill Boorman’s The Recruitment Unconference (TRU).

Copyright 2018-2019 - Digitaal-Werven & Werf& - All rights reserved