The Dutch Child protection board wants to innovate their recruitment process. So they started by innovating the way they recruited the new recruiter that is going to be in the lead of this innovation. Instead of sending in a resume and hoping you will get invited to an interview, the candidate decides if he or she is fit and just books a 30-minute interview at a specific date and time. 

Dutch labor market

For American readers, that might be used to phone screenings, you need to know a thing or two about the Netherlands and the Dutch labor market.

First thing you need to know is that the Netherlands is a small country. From the center of the country, Utrecht, where the pitches (as the interviews are called) are held, you can drive anywhere in the country in 2 hours. Hence phone interviews are uncommon here and we don’t usually pay travel expenses to candidates either.

Another important fact is that recruiters are in high demand. Maybe not as hot as IT developers, but still very hard to recruit. So it’s hard to find good applicants, especially for a government branch that doesn’t have a great reputation.

Requirements and process

So how did we come up with this idea?

The first thing was the premise of wanting to innovate the process. And in order to innovate, you need someone that has a different view than the existing staff. But we know from past experience in resume selection people do tend to always select the same type of people. So even if nontraditional applicants, probably the people we are looking for, would apply, they would most likely not be invited for the interview.

The second part was the tight labor market for recruiters. Will there be applicants? And since many people fear rejection, the probably won’t apply if they think they will not be selected.

GEM Recruiting AI

So the first idea was a ‘walk-in information afternoon’. Candidates would be able to just come to the office at a certain afternoon and ask everything they wanted to ask. But in a tight labor market, that didn’t seem to be a great idea. So we said: instead of giving information about the job, why not give the candidates the opportunity to present themselves? Lower the risk of rejection to zero. You can just book a 30-minute spot in the agenda en pitch yourself.

Can anyone book a spot? Yes, they can. And no person will be Googled or has his or her Linkedin profile checked before the pitch. Of course, we did write down job requirements in the job ad, Formulated vaguely on purpose. The job requirements are things like:

  • Thinking from a candidate perspective
  • You know how to approach important target groups
  • You have great cooperation skills
  • You’re a leader when it comes to new ways of working

And experience with recruitment is a bonus, as well as experience within the childcare or judicial system.

The results

A day after the job opened, all spots for pitches have been claimed. So the next day the decision to extend the possible number of pitches. Currently, 22 people have registered for a pitch and 17 more have submitted a resume since they are unable to attend at the specific pitch date. That’s 39 applications for a job in a really tight labor market.

Of course, we do need to wait and see what the quality of the pitches are, but I’m pretty sure there will be plenty of well suited, and potentially unsuspected, talents in there. And I think many very well suited people might not apply, because of the fear of rejection, but would invite themselves to an interview.



Bas van de Haterd

Bas van de Haterd is a self-employed professional that helps companies recruit smarter by using the right technology. He is mainly known for his in-depth knowledge of pre-screening assessment technology. He also runs a research, award, and event called Digitaal-Werven that focuses on the candidate experience. Follow Bas on Twitter @bvdhaterd or connect with him on LinkedIn.