From interim management to recruitment
After eleven years as an HR interim manager, Virginie Verschooris decided to utilise her expertise in a new career challenge, joining Robert Walters interim management division in our Brussels office last year. Virginie explains her career switch, how her skills were transferable and what she enjoys most about her new job.
Why did you make the switch to recruitment?
I gained experience in sales and business development roles before moving into HR, so switching to a role where I’d be able to build long-term partnerships and connect HR professionals with clients felt like a natural step. It was a great opportunity for me to leverage the knowledge and skills I’d gained from my experience in a way that can really add value.
What made Robert Walters the right choice for you?
During my time as an interim manager, I partnered with many different recruitment consultancies and was always impressed by the service I received from Robert Walters. All of the consultants I met were really easy to talk to and always on hand to give advice. Through my experience as a client, I developed a great impression of Robert Walters as a no-nonsense company that focuses its attention on the people element of the recruitment process, helping to find the best solution for both candidates and clients.
I felt that the company’s core values were closely aligned to my own and that was a major attraction. In addition, the flat management structure, global network and position in the market were a good fit with my career aspirations.
How were your skills transferable?
My candidates really appreciate the fact that I have ‘been in their shoes’ for over a decade. It really helps to put them at ease and get the conversation going. The fact that I have insider knowledge of the pros and cons of working in interim management means that I can easily understand the situation my candidates are facing and help match them with the right role, at the right company.
What do you enjoy most about your role?
In my role, I focus on the identification of interim managers in the East and West of Flanders and building relationships with clients, so I split my time between the office and meeting with clients and candidates in my region. I really like the fact that each week is made up of a broad range of activities. As someone who is quite commercially-minded, I really enjoy being out in the field, building strong relationships with my clients and candidates and ensuring I’m up to date with the latest market trends.
I’d also describe myself as results-orientated, so I really love the feeling I get when I find the right synergy between a candidate and company.
What are some of the best things about working for Robert Walters?
There’s a very strong team culture, people are very open and keen to collaborate both within their teams and with the wider business. For example, in the interim division, we have a very mature approach to recruitment; we share leads and by working together, we can strengthen the service we offer to our clients, which is something I really like about working for Robert Walters.
I also like the fact that the entrepreneurial spirit is really encouraged and celebrated; if you want to try an innovative approach or develop a new area of the business, you will be given the support and tools you need to do it.
It’s a very inspirational culture with many stories of success across the business. For example, my managing director, Özlem Simsek, started her career at Robert Walters as a senior consultant and is now head of the Belgium business. It’s great to see what’s possible to achieve if you’re prepared to put in the hard work.
What does it take to succeed in recruitment?
Every consultant has their own style but ultimately you need to be client-focussed and prepared to find the best solution for your client. So, you need to be a great listener and enjoy building strong relationships with clients and candidates.
Recruitment is a very dynamic career but there will be difficult days and missed opportunities, so it’s important to focus your energy on learning from those mistakes rather than dwelling on them. For that reason, I’d also say that you need to be able to recognise when to step back, collect your thoughts and recharge your batteries so you’re ready to seize the next opportunity.
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