Hiring talents from all over the world

Hiring talents from all over the world

Leandro Gomes da Silva is Technology Ambassador for the Creative Group. A unique title for a recruiter that needs to show that their recruiters take their ideas on technology to the real world, where humans are most important.

Creative Group might not be the most well known company, but many people will have used one of their products at one time or another. To give you an idea of the company:

Online vouchers, for many companies around the world, go trough their systems. They also have a unit that focusses on putting money on prepaid mobile phones from abroad. The recently raised 22 million euro and operate in 130 countries in the world. The employ over 100 people now up from 40 a year and a half ago. Those 100 people are located in Amsterdam and Nijmegen, have 27 nationalities, 15 of those are non-EU and 45% of the company has the Dutch nationality.

Their aim is to grow to a company of 250 people and they think that will be about their sweet spot where they can service their customers worldwide.

2020 is an interesting year for them as they are going to bring their recruitment to the next level. Improving hiring processes, eliminating bias, educating hiring managers and asking themselves tough questions like: is the vacancy really necessary?

You hire a lot of talent from outside the EU. Most companies fear the quality of the applications will not be sufficient. At least in their perception the range of quality of engineers and data analysts in countries like India is much wider than in Europe. How do you assess the quality of the people you are hiring?

We are specialized in hiring outside of the EU. I tend to compare us to the football club Ajax. We are always on the lookout for talent with high potential that has not appeared on the radar of huge companies such as Google, Facebook, and Uber. Looking for talent where the rest of the world does not enable us to dig into relatively untapped talent pools.

We evaluate the quality of our talent through several methods. If we focus on our engineering role we have decided to automate the first part of the funnel. This means presenting candidates with pre-assessment tools such as Equalture and Hackerrank. After that, we have a couple of technical rounds with our engineers. These interviews are usually remote. Depending on how positive we are about a candidate we can decide to fly them in for the culture fit rounds. All of the steps in our interview process are designed with the intent to really get to know the candidate, their potential and current experience level. We often ask ourselves the question; will this person make an immediate impact on the business? If the answer is no that is also ok, as long as we are confident that they can grow and make a significant impact later on.

How do you prepare your new recruits for a life in the Netherlands? What’s the most important thing you’d like all employers hiring from abroad to do? 

During my talk at TA-live I will focus on this specific point, but just to give you guys a sneak peek. Most companies think that helping new recruits only means getting their visa in order, booking their flight and perhaps throwing some money at them so they can pay for temporary accommodation. Experience has taught us that a more “human” approach is necessary in order to increase the chance of a successful relocation. I always ask people to imagine the last time they moved houses, what is the first feeling that comes up when you think back? A lot of people told me it’s actually stressful. Now imagine leaving your whole life behind to embark on an adventure in a country that might be completely different than your own. There will be stress, a lot of it… But there are ways of lowering this and gaining the trust of your employee, they need to know they are in the right hands.

Make sure your new colleague knows exactly what to expect throughout the whole process. Have regular contact with them to check up on them and see if they have any questions or some issues that need clarification. Our employees now that they can WhatsApp me outside of office hours if they have some urgent question that needs clarification.

This starts before they leave their country and usually ends about 6 months after arriving in the Netherlands. As you can imagine with our hiring volume it can be a time-consuming task. This is why we enlisted the help of Settly. They assist us and the candidate during the relocation period and long after. As a company we really try to give our people all the resources they need in order to build their own community. We have a weekly dutch language course, weekly bootcamp and yoga, regular knowledge sharing in the form of internal Ted talks. But even something as simple as Friday drinks and having lunch together with your team on a daily basis really makes a difference.

In the year to come we will start introducing even more events where our colleagues can socialize and even bring their family. By being accessible and guiding your new employees actively throughout the process you will gain their trust and loyalty. And more important than that, there is a big chance you will have made a new friend.

You have offices in both Amsterdam as well as Nijmegen, in the east of the Netherlands. Do you see a difference in recruiting expats to these locations? As Amsterdam is probably much better known? 

There is a big difference in recruiting for both offices. We always present people with the option and most expats tend to pick Amsterdam. The main reason for this is, of course, the international vibe of the city.

In some cases, people know all about Amsterdam and have never heard of the Netherlands before. Therefore recruiting expats for Nijmegen is in many ways more challenging. However, there are also several types of people that prefer our Nijmegen office of the Amsterdam one. We see that families moving from abroad with the intent to stay in the Netherlands for a longer period of time prefer to emerge themselves in the “hardcore” culture and language. In that case, Nijmegen is a good option.

And do you see a difference in how the expats find their way in these cities? 

Most expats tend to have an easier time integrating into society if they live in Amsterdam. This seems to be because the city has become increasingly international over the past decade or so. Sometimes we even hear Dutch people complain that the native language in Amsterdam is English rather than Dutch. This is a huge benefit for the people that are relocating. The people we relocated to Nijmegen have been doing better than expected, they are often helped out by colleagues in the first weeks and we are always here for questions or any translation that they might need.

And do you select different types of characters for those cities? 

We don’t actively select types for the different cities. Everyone gets to choose where they prefer to live and work.


Want to hear, and ask, everything about this? Join his session at TA Live on March 12th. Buy your tickets here.