Join TA-Live with other recruiters and get 50% off for 3rd and following registrations

The 18th of April 2019 Amsterdam will be the European capital of innovative talent acquisition for the second time. Discover how you can optimize your hiring with strategy, process & technology. And what’s better than sharing knowledge with other recruiters or TA professionals?

Bring them along, because we offer a special discount for groups. The 3rd and following registrees will get a 50% discount on their ticket. On the 18th of April you can expect keynotes from leading voices like Karen Azulai, Sophie Theen, Christoph Fellinger and Teddy Dimitrova. In our parallel sessions you will learn from speakers like Matej Matolin and Richard Hutchinson.

Getting excited? You can subscribe here.

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.’

How to enter the Dutch Market as a non-Dutch Recruitment Tech company?

5 tips to access the gateway of the European Recruitment Tech scene by Geert-Jan Waasdorp

The Dutch market is often seen as a breeding ground for recruitment tech companies that want to enter ‘main land’ Europe. Often these companies started in the UK or US and wanted to make their next move into Europe, especially Germany and France. The Netherlands is their gateway to the European market. A strategy that companies like LinkedIn and Indeed successfully pulled of.

Some of the success factors are that the Dutch are multilingual and speak English well, have a very developed flex and contracting business (Randstad is Dutch and the second largest in the world) and have a very orderly, and small country. And this reflects on their recruitment market. Within 2 hours driving everyone is in physical reach. Also, the Dutch are known for their innovative character of recruitment, with a lot of successful international companies, of which a lot have been bought in recent years. For example PeopleXS by TalentSoft, Textkernel by Careerbuilder and Connexys by BullhornTo enter Europe as an ambitious HR tech or Recruitment tech enterprise, you first must conquer the Netherlands.

In this short blog, I will give 5 tips to access (do’s and don’ts) the Dutch recruitment market.

1.      The Dutch market is very small and crowded with hundreds of providers, start-ups, scale-ups and local contractors. The most important ones you can find in the Dutch recruitment tech landscape 2019.

This looks like a lot, but if you get to know this market better, you will see that barely 50 of them are influential. This means that it’s easy to become visible once you know how to reach and impact your target audience. A company like did this very successfully in 2016/2017 and became a strong brand in just one year. It takes a great story, a great product and approximately 100K euros of marketing budget. Once you have managed to captivate your audience, you start to get visibility at recruitment blogs like in the Netherlands.

2.      Another way to access the Dutch market, is to do this the informal way, by networking and being present on all the main events, like and all the important others. Talent Acquisition Live is the most important international recruitment event of the Netherlands. Of course, participating as a visitor is a first step, but also being there as speaker, acting as a thought leader and tell, blog or vlog about your experience and knowledge. Knowing the most influential people (for example the jury of ‘most influential recruiter’, ‘Werf& live awards’, ‘Digitaal Werven’) can be very helpful. If they like you and your product, the buzz around your brand begins. But it all starts by being present at (all) the events….

3.      The easiest way to be successful in Germany is to be a native German. In the Netherlands it is not as necessary to speak Dutch to be successful, but the product has a better chance of success when it’s multilingual. That way it is open to the complete market. Having a native version of your product helps a lot in mainland Europe, because in Germany, France, Spain, Italy (everywhere else) this is critical. Vendors who try to sell a primarily English product to the Dutch market, almost all fail. This despite everyone speaking English. We call this the Harry-Potter effect. Most of the adults can read English and wanted to read the new Harry Potter book. But 700,000 readers of the book waited 6 months for the Dutch translation, before reading it. In other words, selling your product will be easier if it is also translated into Dutch.

4.      A lot of Dutch start- and scale-ups are growing in Europe and globally, like VonqAdver-OnlineTextkernelWCCCammioIntelligence GroupOtysHarverAppical,Onrecruit, Jobboost.ioTrendingjobsEndoubleWonderkind. Many of their founders or innovation managers are prepared to share information about do’s and don’ts. Some also come together on global events like Zukunft Personal. This is one of the main ways smaller companies become big. Because the Dutch reach out to each other (and think twice before investing a lot of money), they act together and share (leads) together. A lot of them work together for lead generation, simply because they are not competitors, and/or the global market is so much bigger than the Netherlands.

5.      Forget about your sales pitch. In the Netherlands you need to sell on added value. Even when you are sponsoring drinks and free tickets, the Dutch and especially the Dutch recruiters hate listening to commercial content and an obvious sales pitch. That’s why on the main events, vendors don’t speak themselves, but their clients do. But one good client story doesn’t build a brand! So, combine rich content with a creative out-of-the-box action. I would be lying if I said a nice (free) gadget won’t help, except for the omni-present giveaway pens. But an out-of-the-box action will do even better. Great example is (was) of course SocialTalent. Great content, great visibility and their Black Belt Ninja Sourcers.

Good luck in winning the hearts of the Dutch. It’s easier than it’s made out to be and “bier and bitterballen” can also do the trick.

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.”

Vote now for the Talent Acquisition Live Startup Competition 2019

Vote now for a change to win a free ticket for Talent Acquisition Live. You can vote for the startup which can win a free partner package worth € 2.000 for Talent Acquisition Live the 18th of April 2019 in Amsterdam. Voting is possible till 1st of March.

The competition serves very different parts of the recruitment landscape. Two of them will get a free sponsor package at Talent Acquisition Live by popular vote. Voters are eligible to win a free ticket. At the 18th of April 2019 Digitaal-Werven and Werf& organize the second edition of Talent Acquisition Live in Amsterdam, you can find more about the program here.

Nominated startups
Recruitment Accelerator
The Referral Company
Recruit Robin
The Disruptors

How can you vote?

Login with your LinkedIn account by clicking on the following LinkedIn logo After logging in, you end up on the voting page and you can cast your vote once
You have 10 minutes to vote after logging in
Your LinkedIn data will only be used during the voting period to verify that each person has voted only once

Webinar: Why you should partner up with Talent Acquisition Live

Want to know why you should partner up with Talent Acquisition Live? Go watch our webinar on 11 February 4:30 pm (CET) in which co-founder of Talent Acquisition Live, Martijn Hemminga, and partner manager Ineke Pompen will explain to you why we should collaborate. You can register here.


Martijn Hemminga is multi entrepreneur in the field of recruitment tech, recruitment marketing & employer branding. Together with Bas van de Haterd, Martijn founded Talent Acquisition Live in 2018.

Ineke Pompen is partner manager from the leading Dutch platform on recruitment, recruitment marketing and employer branding: Werf&.

Talent Acquisition Live

The second edition of the international conference on innovative talent acquisition will be held on the 18th of April in Amsterdam. It’s the perfect event for innovative recruitment (tech) suppliers, especially when you want to enter the Dutch and/or Belgian market.

Karen Azulai: “Collect as much info as possible before the phone interview”

Karen Azulai is a global sourcing expert, co founder of HR Tech Nation and in 2018, her parallel session was best rated on Talent Acquisition Live. So she is in the line-up of 2019 as a keynote talking about improving your sourcing by using the really great technology out there. Who is this amazing woman who is seen as the go to person on augmented sourcing? We asked her a couple of questions to get to know her better.

Karen, can you tell us a little about yourself? What do you do on a day to day base?

Everyone always knew that I would be the person to turn to for any type of information. My father has a background in intelligence, I served in the army in the Intelligence Force. Information was my life. This is why being an Information Professional was such a joy for me. And I made a career out of it.
6-7 years ago I became a talent sourcer. Up until that point I also dealt with recruiting here and there. I also studied HR for a short while. The fact that I was ALWAYS deeply attracted to “the future” made me always keen to learning about technologies. And I started using advanced sourcing tools from the moment they came out to the market and I’ve seen them evolve.
In parallel to sourcing, I also studied as much as I could about robotics and AI and all the advanced technologies. I am an avid follower of the Singularity University and when you study there, you understand the magnitude of what we are going through and where we are heading. So I did a lot of global sourcing, changed people’s lives without meeting them even once.

“I changed people’s lives without meeting them even once”

Two and a half years ago – I noticed the HR Tech market was starting to thrive. And I also noticed that automated sourcing processes became part of some of the recruiting platforms. So I dove into that market as well. And 3 years later and I’m totally immersed in it, as a blogger, as a judge in competitions, as a mentor, etc.
I’m also training advanced sourcing methods as well as consulting companies on how to upgrade their sourcing and recruiting teams, digitalising/automating processes and basically preparing them to a market where exponential technologies are going to rule and where everyone has to have a different mindset.”

Focussing on your sourcing work, do you do this nationally or internationally and how do you manage time zones and languages?

“I speak Hebrew, English, Spanish, French and I understand Italian. I used to know some Dutch from back in the days when my family and I lived in Den Haag! I source anywhere on the face of the planet, however there are times and projects that I think it’s more beneficial for the client to have a local provider. For example, in India.

Of course I also source in Israel but only for unique senior roles. Time zones are a bitch…but nothing stands in one’s way when they really want something. I’ve been known to attend meetings at 6 AM and/or midnight.”

You will be talking about augmenting sourcing. What parts of the sourcing process (identifying talent, connecting with talent, actual contacting talent, etc.) do you use technical augmentation for?

“Anything that will help me work more effectively and would help me better understand who this candidate is, personality wise and if they would be culturally-fit as well. Collect as much info as possible BEFORE the phone interview. That means, great sourcing tools, chatbots, gamification, testing apps and more.”

Finally, can you tell us something about you most people won’t know?

“I moved apartments 34 times, I played 4 music instruments, I used to be a flight attendant for 4 years fro El Al, I travel with my pillow and I once took a course about Lichens (google it!..) in the North and South poles. And there isn’t one arts and crafts course that I haven’t taken: from Vitrage (making glass windows) to puppetry to sculpture to drawing to knitting to stiching. You name it, I did it (and some of it was good too).”

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Last chance for the early bird: profit until 1st of February

Do you want to discover how to optimize your hiring with strategy process and technology? Speakers like Teddy Dimotrova, Christoph Fellinger and Karen Azulai will tell you all about it. Profit from the early bird until 1st of February and join us on 18 April 2019 in Amsterdam.

Teddy Dimitrova: “Have a hospitality mindset in recruitment”

Introducing one of our keynote speakers for Talent Acquisition Live: Teddy Dimitrova.

Teddy is originally Bulgarian and moved to the Netherlands 10 years ago to study. Although she is 100% Bulgarian, after a decade here she does consider herself one third Dutch. After several years in the hospitality industry, she realised it was way too corporate, too many layers, rules and stiffness. She got headhunted by a recruitment agency and before she knew it she was a “IT recruitment consultant”.

Three years later she can say without a doubt she has found her true calling in talent management. We interviewed her about her experience in the field and her keynote on TA Live.

So what is Talent Management for you?

‘Recently I’ve discussed the title with several people from the industry and some say it is a fancy name for a recruiter. On this, I don’t agree. A recruiter is a separate profession. As talent manager I help startups and scale up grow – from setting up the whole infrastructure, through recruitment strategy to the actual growth. Think about everything from employer branding, EVP (values, benefits), employee happiness, on-boarding programs etc. What I really love about it is the fact that in the startup world there are very few restrictions (e.g. budget or not enough FTE’s for the projects), but for the rest – you can be creative, think out of the box and just create something unique – what is a better challenge than that?’

Your background isn’t in HR, but in hospitality. Does the service attitude you learned there help you with your current career?

‘According to statistics, 97% of the hospitality educated people don’t end up working in the hospitality industry. One of the main reasons is that they get headhunted in their early post graduate years by many industries – for one big reason – their hospitable mindset and attitude. This is something you mostly can’t really teach someone, it is something you are born with. Characteristics you would often see are adaptability & flexibility, passion, empathy, patience, team work, great communication skills, quick minds, customer centric etc. I strongly believe that having those qualities has not only helped me to be successful in my job, but has made my approach and work ethics quite distinctive.’

‘The hospitable mindset and attitude is something you can’t really reach someone.’

‘When talking about “service attitude”, the hospitality industry has changed a lot in the past years. Every industry has recently been through influences of new generations and digitalisation. Therefore, we don’t talk about servicing anyone anymore, we are talking of giving great experience. And that’s something that has become a huge topic in the talent industry as well. Candidate experience is one of the most important pillars in your recruitment strategy these days.’

So where do you get your inspiration, how do you develop your own skills?

‘Well, I’m super proud to be part of the Recruitment Slackers Community, where I often help organise meet ups, share knowledge during sessions and also stimulate others to do so. Actually being part of this community and being so active in there is a big part of my day to day life and has helped me become a better recruiter, sourcer and overall better person.’

You moved from Bulgaria to the Netherlands during your student years. Do you think your dual perspective helps you recruit better?

Yes, I moved to study and stayed. Having the background of Eastern European and the experience moving abroad, starting my life from scratch helps me a lot. I mostly work with candidates from abroad and when I share my experience, challenges and successes with them, we manage to create quite a bond and it also helps me persuade people to move. Also, being an expat has made me aware of a lot of cultural differences between the Dutch and all other nationalities, which helps on the side of hiring people on cultural fit. For the past years, I pretty much managed to map European countries and know where to find certain type of candidates. For example: I know that it wouldn’t make sense to headhunt developers in Bulgaria, as their financial status is quite good and they don’t want to relocate. Especially in comparison with Macedonians or Serbian for example, who would rather relocate to central Europe to escape political situations in their countries.

April 18th at TA Live you will be talking about recruiting with the end in mind. Tell us a little about your talk.

‘When I was an agency recruiter, I would often talk with startups and would hear the same issues – no budget, high urgency, no strategy, delayed projects etc. But due to the lack of budget, the only thing startups would have is creativity. I couldn’t help to think: what would I do if I was in a similar situation? When I joined Bloomon, we were talking about hiring 8 developers. But we knew that this might change very quickly and grow to 30-40 open roles instead of 8. And yes, the challenge was the same – low budget, no agencies, no branding, no strategy – so we had to be creative. We sat down with the CTO and mapped out everything we could think of that didn’t cost (much) money. I was super lucky to get all the freedom and flexibility to experiment. There were also failures for sure, but I learned a lot. Now with those learnings I am more than excited to help other startups in their journeys.’

Last but not least, can you tell us something about you most people won’t know?

‘Oh, that’s a challenge. I’m quite open about myself and pretty distinctive in things I like or don’t like and people know that. Perhaps the fact that 10 years ago I was convinced that I would be General Manager of a luxurious 5 star hotel in Rome is not very well known. Also what actually NO ONE knows is the exact number of pair of shoes I have. More than 120 for sure…’

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