Page Personnel

Company profile

Page Personnel is the international specialist in recruitment and interim solutions for starters, middle management and operational vacancies. Page Personnel is part of the PageGroup, one of the world's largest and most professional recruitment agencies with 164 offices in 34 countries. Page Personnel is based in the Netherlands since 2002 and operates from four offices (Utrecht, Tilburg, Rotterdam and Amsterdam) in four different disciplines (Finance & Accounting, Secretarial & Management Support, Sales & Marketing, Sales Administration & Supply Chain).

Page Personnel was founded in 1994 and since then has experienced a strong development. Page Personnel is established in more than twenty countries: Australia, Argentina, Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Germany, France, Great Britain, Hong Kong, Italy, the Netherlands, Mexico, Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain, Singapore, United States, Sweden and Switzerland.

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Page Personnel has been active in recruitment since 1994 and is now offering its services in 22 countries. How has the company evolved, particularly since its start in The Netherlands in 2002?
Page Personnel is part of the Michael Page Group, and specifically recruits for positions up to 45k per year in operational and junior management roles. While Michael Page exists in The Netherlands for 25 years now, we will be celebrating our 10 year anniversary this year.
Page Personnel The Netherlands started its activities 10 years ago when a director and consultant from Michael Page were approached to set up the Page Personnel brand. The brand was already present in other parts of the world, such as France, since 1994. They launched Page Personnel from scratch, which was both a challenge and a great opportunity. Two years later the Rotterdam office opened, followed by offices in Utrecht and Eindhoven four years later. In the intervening years we have developed our services within four disciplines: Finance and Accounting, Sales Administration and Supply Chain, Secretarial and Management Support, and Sales and Marketing.
As with every office we open, we start with Finance and Accounting. This is because the now-retired founder Michael Page was an accountant himself. All our new offices and departments are developed by our own staff giving them the opportunity to develop their career towards management.

How do you put the ‘personal approach’ at Page Personnel into practice, specifically regarding your candidates and network of clients?
With regards to the candidates, Page Personnel is a brand which from day one has been focused on working proactively; from the candidate towards the market. We believe a good candidate creates a job.
Firstly, candidates come to our office for a personal interview. We then carry out a reference check on location at the candidate's former workplace, so that we can see the type of environment and team the candidate has been working in. We have regular update calls to maintain contact in case we not have a suitable job at the time. Candidates who are successfully placed receive regular evaluations. In addition to this we offer CV, Interview, Excel, Business English and Social Media workshops for our candidates placed in temporary jobs in order to contribute to their development.
On the client side we also carry out regular evaluations with the placed candidates, as well host events. We recently hosted a wine tasting event which was a good opportunity to spend some time with our clients outside the office.
As you can see, we do somewhat more for our candidates. That is also our approach towards the market.

How do you view the current job market in The Netherlands, especially considering the current recession?
To be honest, it’s really challenging. January was our best month since opening in Utrecht, and the first quarter brought strong results. But in the last couple of weeks, things are not going so well; perhaps due to the political situation in The Netherlands at the moment which is making people more cautious as they wait to see what will happen with the cabinet. Also, the economic situation in Greece, Spain and perhaps Italy can be influencing the European market. As a company we are a stable A-brand, with a strong network and team of specialists; a definite advantage in the current market. We can’t change the market and we don’t know what will happen next, we can only change ourselves and adapt.

Page Personnel focuses on recruiting within specific areas and levels. What type of candidates do you work with? What expectations do you have regarding their education, language proficiency and previous experience?
Most of our candidates have a hbo (vocational) or wo (university) level. Our vacancies are mostly for operational or junior management, so degrees such as Business Administration, Economics, Marketing and IT are the most suitable. It is also important for expats that they speak at least one other language next to their mother-tongue. English is of course very important and preferably Spanish, French, or German. If a candidate is also willing to learn Dutch, then it’s a perfect combination; it’s a sign of respect to be interested in the country where you live and work.

How does the number of Dutch-language vacancies compare to that of international vacancies? How is the demand for international specialists spread over the disciplines?
If you are specialized in your area, whether that be Marketing, Supply Chain, Finance or IT there are always opportunities. However, the market as a whole, not just the international one, is now a bit quiet. I find Finance and Customer Service, often within Shared Service Centers, are the disciplines where internationals can now find work; with IT and engineering closely following.

What career opportunities are there for internationals in The Netherlands?
I strongly believe there are good opportunities for international people to build a career in the Netherlands, due to the large, internationally-oriented companies based here. However, it is not just big companies who are looking for people who master a combination of languages.

What are the chances of finding employment in The Netherlands for international graduates with limited work experience, and how would you advise them to build the required experience?
Firstly, I think it’s good to learn another language, especially if you only speak one or two languages. It is also really important to start ‘temping’ or working temporary jobs, as it is currently quite hard to find permanent employment. There are also some graduates who are not realistic about their salary expectations; this is not the market for it. If a job offers a salary which is lower than the stated indication, I really would not hesitate. Look at the content of the job and whether it is challenging. Don’t be too critical and take the chances offered to you; this is how you build experience. It is also better for your self-confidence if you go to work every day, be around colleagues, and continue learning.
We as an agency can promote you as a candidate and refer you to a company. For each vacancies on our website we often get 40-50 résumés. It is less anonymous and more efficient if we know the candidates and then contact the client, as opposed to when the company recruiter receives a pile of CVs and wonders where to start.

How important do you think Social Media has become, for both companies and job seekers?
Social Media has a presence and is becoming more and more important. Still, I may remain a bit skeptical or traditional about it. We have a very large network of specialists which we built over the past 10 years and Michael Page over the past 25 years, and to which we add our personal touch. I believe that therein lies our added value. We approach the candidates ourselves or they approach us via our website, and we interviewed them; we know who they are and we know our clients. We need those candidates, and they also need us.

How do you see Page Personnel evolving over the next few years? What are your goals and plans for the future?
An important goal for now is to expand our temp business, essentially because the market is asking for it. A lot of companies recruit externally to spread the risk and maintain some flexibility. In the long term we would like to expand our offices and establish other disciplines.

Jacomine Blok
Director Utrecht
Page Personnel

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