Today “Six Degrees From Dave” continues its series of articles focusing
upon 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 contribute 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)
Ted Meulenkamp serves as Staffing Manager Europe at Agilent Technologies, overseeing its Pan-European talent needs within the company’s electronic and bio-analytical markets. Ted is a Dutch national residing in Barcelona with his wife Barbara, and two children, Tomàs (4) and Georgina (2).
With customers in over 110 countries and 20,000 employees, Agilent is one of the world’s leading measurement companies. In terms of recruitment, Agilent’s pivotal hiring needs include Research & development Engineers, Sales Engineers with experience in Radio Frequency, GC, MS, and Microwave test equipment, and Application Engineers with a biochemistry background.
Ted has been in recruitment for over 11 years with expertise in building a team and process from the ground up. He manages a team of 2 recruiters and an external agency with 3 recruiters. Ted is responsible for contributing towards Agilent’s process improvement recruitment cycle; European campus recruitment program; global recruitment projects; building internal sourcing capabilities; building a talent roadmap for the next fiscal year; and developing global recruitment training program. Given the broad variations in the cultural landscape of his talent workforce needs, Ted is well served as a multi-linguist; in addition to his native Dutch, he is fluent in English, Spanish, and well versed in German.
After leaving university Ted was looking at several options,: sales, logistics, banking until he came across an opportunity to join a small recruitment firm. Ted was attracted to recruitment’s dual traits of sales and consultancy. After 3 years Ted redirected his energies to corporate recruitment and joined Compuware in Amsterdam. He has since found the transition from contingency search to corporate recruitment to be gratifying, especially given the opportunity to work within business as the source of hire; observing first hand the talented individuals he hired excel.
Ted and his wife, Barbara, eventually relocated to Barcelona, Spain where he was exposed to both contingency and corporate recruitment models until he ascended to the role of European Staffing Manager for Affiliated Computer Services (ACS), an American outsourcer (RPO) which had recently initiated its European organization. Ted’s challenge was two-fold; build the European management team (CFO, sales, IT, HR) and managing a team of recruiters in Barcelona, Spain and Krakow, Poland that were recruiting for ACS’s Shared Service Centers. He had to satisfy a volume 400 of hires with the same profile: university degreed, multi-lingual and culturally varied backgrounds, at low salary levels. Furthermore Ted had to ramp up HR Shared Service Centers which required recruiting talent from throughout Europe to be relocated to Barcelona. Ted accentuated the gravity of the challenge, “Try recruiting a German HR administrative making 45K for a job in Barcelona making 22K!”
After 2 years Ted was approached by Agilent Technologies to oversee its European Staffing organization. The company changed its model from having internal recruiters to one outsourced partner and have a staffing manager and 1.5 FTE recruiters (one of the 2 was part-time). Agilent eventually reassessed its outsourcing effort, and wanted to facilitate a broader in-house model. Ted was brought in to bring Staffing closer to the business, improve processes and work on key positions. His current team is 3 recruiters in addition to another 5 at the vendor. According to Ted, prior model lacked proficiency, lacked in proactivity and administrative oversight. By working closely with the business and by building their internal knowledge and sourcing capabilities Agilent was able to turn the situation around with much improved levels of satisfaction from their hiring management.
Ted believes both speed and creativity are essential tools to beat the competition and hire top talent. Agilent has prioritized its internal capability to identify passive talent leads to convert into quality candidates within its staffing organization. Their talent requirements are very niche oriented with strong demand among competitors; i.e., Tektronix, Rohde & Schwarz, Acterna, Anritsu or Lecroy and in the life science arena with Waters, Varian, Thermo Electron, Shimadzu, Qiagen, Perkin Elmer, Invitrogen, GE Healthcare (Amersham) and Applied Biosystems.
Today, Ted was kind enough to share his perspectives as Pan European Staffing Manager serving the talent needs of one of the world’s leading measurement companies, Agilent Technologies:
Q: What countries within Europe are you accountable for?
Ted: “Nordics, UK, Ireland, Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Russia, France, Italy, Spain and Israel”
Q: How is culture a factor in the hiring practice different from other countries you recruit from?
Ted: “You need to be aware of cultural difference in each country. I’m a Dutch recruiter based in Barcelona recruiting in Germany for an American hiring manager, very different approach and you have to treat candidates according to the culture they come from. Most of the time the recruiters are aware but it’s the hiring manager who may need some coaching. At Agilent most of the managers are well aware of the cultural differences but some are still shocked if you mention 3 months notice periods in Germany.”
Q: In what manner is Europe ahead of the USA in certain recruitment tactics?
Ted: “I’m not sure we are ahead in any particular recruitment tactics. The US makes more us of new technologies like blogs and chats and have more internet tools like AIRS and Zoominfo. Due to the labour market it easier to build a corporate sourcing team where in Europe that is only just beginning. The great thing about Agilent is that the recruiter community is very close and we share a lot of experiences. We really leverage the expertise of the recruiters to help in other reasons. A good example is the fact that I’m in charge of analyzing, documenting and improving the US staffing process.”
Q: What networking groups are available and influential within Europe as a whole and within your country in particular?
Ted: “We are starting to build relationships with several professional associations and university alumni organizations in Germany and the UK. I believe it to be the best way to get in touch with your target group.”
Q: What types of training in sourcing/recruitment are available to you and have you taken advantage of?
Ted: “I’m actually leading a global training project where we focus on 8 different areas; basic procedures, business acumen, writing job ads, sourcing, acting as a consultant, vendor management, due diligence and compensation, relocation. Every month we have webex session with the 50 recruiters worldwide. Besides that we have access to the recruiter roundtable materials etc. I recently sought perspectives on best practices through the “Questions & Answers” forum provided on LinkedIn, specifically on the topic of training in advanced sourcing methods.”
Q: What single event had the most impact on your sourcing/recruiting career? What inspires You as a Recruiter?
Ted: “My biggest challenge was to move from a relatively slow moving recruitment agency to Affiliated Computer Services. They had just won a very large HR outsourcing deal with GM and were ramping up like crazy. The process of getting up to speed, understand the business, have my first experience as a manager and deal with a rollercoaster project was very intense. I think that after 2 years that dealing with this nothing surprises me anymore.
The thing that inspires me most is to have a candidate celebrating on the phone after you have made the verbal offer. The other thing is being able to source a senior level candidate and essentially beating the headhunter saving my company 50.000 (or more) euro. That always gives me an enormous boost of energy.”