Report from Dutch Consultant Wim de Kruijf about his week at the IESF-partner in Chile
The International Executive Search Federation started a knowledge exchange program in which a partner experiences some time working in another country at another partners office. During the pandemic all the partners work in a more digital and remote, this creates opportunities to work abroad and to share and experience different ways of working. Dutch Consultant Wim de Kruijf from Van de Groep & Olsthoorn kept a diary during his week at HR Buro in Santiago de Chile.
A long flight and wandering around the city
After an 18-hour flight (without any chaos at the airports of Amsterdam or Paris) I arrived Sunday morning in Santiago. After a little break in the hotel, I took the metro to the historial centre Centro of the city. The stroll around the city brought me to the amazing viewpoint of Santa Lucia and the impressive Plaza de Armas square. Claudia Montedonico from HR Buro advised me via WhatsApp to go the more Bohemien parts of Chile and I ended up watching the city football derby Universidad de Chile – Colo Colo at a cosy bar in the Bellavista area. The people from HR Buro later told me I had the true local experience!
A deep dive in the company
Monday was my first day at the office, I was welcomed and was assigned to my own office. After sending out a few e-mails and following up new applicants, the rest of the Monday was focused on getting to know HR Buro. Claudia introduced me to a part of the team. She told me about the ‘context’, as a Sociologist I was very interested in the economic, cultural and political situation in the country. Claudia told me about the new constitution that was being put into place and the ‘new’ situation Chile was in after Covid, with more hybrid ways of working. After a presentation about HR Buro and a talk about Interim Management as extra service next to Executive Search, we went outside to have a nice lunch. The rest of the afternoon we focused on sharing experience on (Job) Marketing and Communication. Although we share a lot of common experiences, there are still differences in strategy and way of working. HR Buro focuses more on PR, with leadership articles. At Van de Groep & Olsthoorn there is more focus on nurturing the existing pool of candidates and clients in the database. A truly inspirational meeting! The workday ended with a cup of coffee in the streets with the marketing team and after work a little bite and a nice craft beer.
“Wim’s visit was a tremendous experience to share market trends and differentiators. In addition, this type of exchange allows us to enrich ourselves with new ideas and share best practices that support our positioning within the industry. It also allows us to broaden our view of different realities and learn from different cultures with a focus on passion for what we do, always putting people at the center. I loved it! Thank you very much for allowing us to actively participate in this great initiative.” Anita Jirón, Corporate Business Director.
Meeting the Executive Search team and the Founder of Buro
On Tuesday the goal was to present the Dutch Executive Search process, from sales, to the recruiting process and the after care. I’ve made a presentation on Monday evening about the relevant parts of our Executive Search process. During the presentation we’ve shared a lot of common experiences like the way we introduce candidates to the client with a candidate matrix and a personal explanation from the Consultant. But there are also differences in our way of working. HR Buro works with dedicated Salespeople for the commercial contacts with the client and Consultants for the candidate-side of the process. Another difference is the background of the Consultants, at HR Buro they have a psychological background. At Van de Groep & Olsthoorn the Consultants have a background closer to the market of our clients like a technical (and managerial) education and experience in industrial companies. Also, we’ve discussed the way we identify and reach out to potential candidates. Van de Groep & Olsthoorn uses different sources: database (job alert), direct research and job marketing online. HR Buro uses direct research and sometimes job marketing, but this is difficult since a lot of clients want a discrete and anonymous search. There is large potential for HR Buro in using the large database of candidates they have built throughout the years. The most important common basis we have is that we all work in people business. Individuals should be centered in all steps of the process, both on the client and on the candidate side. An Executive Search-agency can only be successful if the people are able to build trust.
Later that day I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of the company Cecilia Gajardo Jimenez. Cecilia told me about the journey of HR Buro for the last 35 years. Her story was inspiring, she started as a young ambitious entrepreneur with a background in finance bringing people together in her professional network. Now she is Managing Partner of a market leader with a broad range of services and a young team of over 100 employees. How she did it? According to her, it’s because she is bored easily. What I see is a truly creative and energetic business leader with a warm personality. She combined building a great team and taking chances with a constant focus on new product-market-combinations.
“Wim’s visit was a contribution to our team knowledge. I believe that this type of experience should be encouraged. Wim was welcoming and nice, always open to talk about his experience and to provide information about their work, which was focused on the “trust relationship” with the client. It is also very enriching to know how the market works in other countries, which businesses are growing and see which ones we could apply in Chile, adjusting them to our reality. This kind of experience was really positive for the whole team, we were very motivated, and it helps them to have a broader vision of consulting and also to rescue good practices that we could apply to improve our process.” Leslie Alvarado, Head of Executive Search HR Burô
Putting it all together
On Wednesday we’ve met again, and Leslie and Anita from HR Buro gave their presentation of the Chilean Executive Search process. We did a deep dive again and discussed several new topics, we’ve shared reports and gave each other more insight in the Recruitment systems we use. I’ve learned about the high-quality standards HR Buro have (supported by measuring their own performance) and about the self-developed integral system that supports the administrative process. Later in the afternoon, Claudia (Head of Operating Systems and Management Control) joined, and we did a more detailed run on both our systems. It was great that both our companies are closely involved in the development of the systems in order to create a smooth process.
“I believe that sharing best practices and experiences of companies that have a high standard of service, in terms of technological and process development, gives us a glimpse of what we can achieve, in this way inspiring us and enriching our experience. It also reinforces our commitment to continuous improvement as part of our quality culture. Both Wim’s visit and the possibility for us to get to know in detail his consulting processes expands our knowledge, and we believe that our Executive level consultants can perfectly represent us in other countries, contributing with all the expertise and the seal of HR Burô.” Claudia Centellas,Head of Operating Systems and Management Control.