Have you ever considered a career in recruitment? Herman Driessen was working as a senior VAT advisor in a Big 4 tax firm before he decided to make the move into recruitment. He joined Robert Walters Belgium in 2012 where he now works as a senior consultant for the commerce division.
He talks about his reasons for making the move, what a day in the life of a recruitment consultant looks like and why recruitment is a great choice for finance professionals looking for a career change.
How did you get into recruitment?
“After three years working as a VAT advisor I was ready for a change and was looking for a job that was more commercial and sales-focused. Working in VAT I had very little contact with clients apart from over the phone so I was also interested in a role that would be more client facing. While searching for new opportunities, I came across a job description for a consultant role at Robert Walters - it seemed to cover everything I was looking for; a company with an international reputation and a role that was client-focused that had lots of growth opportunities.
How were your skills transferable into recruitment?
My educational background in finance and my experience in a tax role were definitely a plus when I joined the commerce and industry division as the majority of people we meet are finance professionals. While working within the Big 4, I was involved in campus recruitment which gave me my first glimpse into the world of recruitment. My language skills are definitely an asset as well, as we work in such an international company.
"Finance professionals looking for a change or perhaps an international career will find their financial knowledge and skills are very transferable into recruitment."
How does recruitment compare to your previous role?
My previous role was very procedural and hierarchical and I had very little independence. That has been one of the biggest changes since I joined Robert Walters. In my job as a senior consultant I manage my own agenda. On a daily basis I’m able to meet interesting clients and candidates from a range of organisations, from SMEs to blue chip companies.
What are the benefits of working at Robert Walters?
There’s a great atmosphere in our team - staff get along really well and socialise together regularly outside of work. It’s very meritocratic in that your success is recognised in terms of promotions, incentives etc. Each year top achievers have the chance to go away on our annual incentive weekend to a top location (previous destinations include Miami, Barbados and Las Vegas). Things like this really motivate everyone in the team to go that extra mile.
As well as that there’s also opportunities to work abroad in one of our 24 countries with our international mobility programme. So you can further develop your career outside of Belgium. On a personal level I really like working with people with international profiles such as business controllers and FP&A managers to help them find their next role - the fact that as a company we have such a strong international network makes this a lot easier.
What does a day in the life of a recruitment consultant look like?
After a morning coffee, the team sits together to discuss the candidates they’ve met and the assignments they’re working on to see how we can best help each other to achieve both our individual and team goals. After that, I plan some client meetings; either for a job intake or to get to know the company structure and recruitment needs of a potential client. After that I go out for lunch and then the afternoon is generally blocked off for searches and follow-up calls with clients and candidates.
What advice would you give to those interested in a career in recruitment?
Regardless of your educational background or previous experience, I would absolutely recommend a career change into recruitment, especially if you’re looking for an opportunity to further develop your sales skills and build an international network. For me, being able to help people and seeing their appreciation afterwards, is a real driver. Finance professionals looking for a change or perhaps an international career will find their financial knowledge and skills are very transferable into recruitment. Those who are looking for a career in which they can still use their financial experience will find it a highly rewarding role.”
Interested in a career in recruitment? Please check our internal vacancies or call +32 2 511 6688.