Solve your recruitment problem? Stop recruiting!

Of course you open this article after such a title. Now I am perhaps the biggest fan of recruiters and recruitment in the Netherlands, so where does this suddenly come from? Of course we are not going to send recruiters away en masse. Are you a recruiter? Then read this article extra carefully, because I’m afraid that I’ll be kicked out of the board of Recruiters United as quickly as I got in. In fact, here* I explain why you should even give every recruiter a hug.

What should we especially do? Stop immediately adding new recruiters to organizations with the idea that this is the solution to all our problems. Please note: I am taking you into my story full of ideas, quotes from princesses, puppies and other historical figures. So this article is not a waste of time to read anyway, because only a psychopath doesn’t like puppies and princesses.

scarce good

Until recently, the nurse, the Java developer or the plumber was just about the most popular profile in the Netherlands. But nowadays that is none other than the recruiter himself.

Is that gut feeling or is that really the case? Check LinkedIn and you will see that there are 28,000 vacancies for recruiters in the Netherlands. Hello 28,000?! Have you already let it sink in?

Those golden boys and girls are of course so desperately needed to recruit all those nurses, Java developers and plumbers, so far I understand it in this extremely tight labor market.

So the philosophy of the average Dutch organization: oh we have so many vacancies, we aim for one or two new recruiters and our problems will disappear like snow in the sun.

But adding more recruiters to this job market is, of course, like continuing to pull a bunny by the ear and expecting it to turn into a rabbit. Or expect to make a baby with nine women in one month. That just won’t work. Adding more recruiters to your organization will certainly not increase the available candidate pool in our labor market.

You can’t have a baby with nine women in one month

And now I hear you thinking: “Yes Arjan, that’s nice of you again, but tell me how it should be done!” That’s a good comment from you, so I’ll just do that!

Three parts

The trick is to look at work differently and to dare to adjust the entire playing field. This story consists of three parts:

  1. Upgrade conversation to C-level
  2. Expansion of your working methods
  3. Cross-organization collaboration

1. Upgrade your conversation to C-level

Everything you are going to do in the implementation of this plan, you do together with your board / management. It affects the strategy, culture, finances and even more departments within the organization. This is no longer part of HRM and recruitment. In my opinion, HRM and recruitment should be the architects of this story. But you need the buy-in from the board / management to get started with this. Structural, not incidental.

Let go of the definition vacancy

2. Expand your teaching methods

Here is the biggest change in our story. Grab a yoga mat and a guinea pig, a cuddle pillow at a spiritual center or an imaginary bubble in the local pine forest. You know what I mean, let go of everything before you can really focus on my next question: what happens in your organization when you let go of the definition of vacancy?

We are all used to thinking in terms of vacancies. Profiles with blocks of 24-32 or 40 hours of labor that goes with it. Seriously think about this, because we are always working on vacancies, when we should be talking about the total demand and capacity of labour.

Normally we see vacancies, which are then divided into permanent and flex. Flex is then again subdivided into freelance and temporary employment (high on this statement). But that’s about it.

If you have children like me then you also have the Disney movie Frozen seen on average 844 times with fresh reluctance. I’m not a fan of FrozenI’m not a fan of princesses (I do like puppies so I’m not a psychopath), I’m suspicious of talking snowmen and snow monsters and I don’t really like snow at all (I do like the Jägermeister that comes with it).

More today’s best advice comes from this movie anyway Frozen:

Let it go!

Princess Elsa understood that (that’s Princess Anna’s sister)! Like me, she also thought of the fixed definition of the Dutch vacancy. Let it go let it go. That’s what it’s about. If you can let go of that definition and think more in terms of the total capacity of labor supply and demand, you will look at the market and therefore your entire organization in a completely different way.

So in addition to the vacancy, which is normally filled by the ‘permanent’ or ‘flex’ employee, we will all discuss all other forms of work and work together. Such as gigspart-time jobs, traineeships, sniffing internships for adults, alumni, retirees, drop-outs, open hiringlateral entrants, returnees, bbl’ers, nuggers, volunteers and more.

If you are really ‘open’, you will find more than 20 working methods and types of employees.
More in-depth? Please read this article carefully.

Note to yourself, grab a large marker and chalk on your whiteboard: “They aren’t the strongest of a species that survive, nor are they the most intelligent. They are the ones who can best adapt to change (Charles Darwin)”

So look at work differently and survive in the Dutch recruitment jungle.

3. Let your organization collaborate across borders

You, along with your C-level (point 1), have adopted some brilliant teaching methods as brand-new satiny young fresh-smelling puppies (point 2). Suppose you are really going to work out a plan for retiree recruitment because you know that there are many of these candidates available. You will also create a new side job in your organization to literally get your target group over for the medium term.

Then don’t invent this wheel alone, but do this with 2, 3 or 4 peer organizations. Like-minded organizations of a similar size. You have much more power and range together.

puppy in the grass


If you want to solve the problem of labor capacity in your organization, this is the route. Not opening a look at extra recruiters and releasing them into your department who do exactly the same as the recruiters who already work there: finding that it is very difficult to fill vacancies, by continuing to do what we have always done.

Fewer recruiters and more other talent!

So we now have a new vision on working methods, C-level has been added and we are going to work out some really cool things with fellow organizations in the area. The plan is ready, who will implement it?

I used to talk about the holy trinity of recruitment:

  • the recruiter
  • To source
  • The recruitment marketer

Actually it was already a unit of four, because you also have the labor market communication professional (nice Scrabble word by the way, certainly with 3 x word value).

It is of course much more about the division of tasks and responsibilities:

  • The recruiter (vacancy intake, screening, stakeholder management and selection)
  • The sourcer (looking for talent)
  • The recruitment marketer (analytics and campaigns)
  • Labor market communication (titles, texts, images and videos)

In this mix you need people to realize all your wild plans. How exactly is that mix arranged? You can only tell yourself that. Keep in mind that if you really start looking at work differently, it affects everyone in your organization. Stakeholder management is extremely important, also train and inform your hiring managers like never before. Because you may have come up with the story, but it is useful if the rest of the world understands it too.


Take a seriously different look at work, it offers many opportunities for your organization now and in the future and adjust your department with professionals accordingly. Stop recruiting ‘random’ recruiters. So, now quickly watch Frozen with a drink of Jägermeister… Salute.

* Read here why recruiters deserve a hug

Source: Frankwatching by

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