How working in recruitment helps me to make a difference

Gijs van Bakel

Gijs van Bakel has always wanted a career where he could affect positive change. Hear his career journey from psychiatric nurse to recruitment consultant, what he loves about recruiting in the Eindhoven market and why working for Robert Walters enables him to make a difference.  

Where did you work before joining Robert Walters?

I initially worked as a nurse, specialising in psychiatric care. I later decided to boost my career development opportunities and gained a bachelor degree in HR and psychology.

After graduating, I worked for an organisation which helps long-term unemployed people re-join the workforce. By chance, I worked with a client who was interested in starting a career in recruitment and that led to my first contact with Robert Walters.

Why did you make the switch to recruitment?

Hearing about the range of opportunities available at Robert Walters piqued my interest. I decided to find out more and met with one of the consultants at Robert Walters for a more in-depth discussion. They explained that interim recruitment in the not-for-profit sector was a growing market in Eindhoven and that my experience would be hugely beneficial to a recruitment role. The idea of being able to become a specialist in an area I’m passionate about was a big appeal.

Analysing and evaluating human behaviour has always been the central focus of my career, but moving into recruitment seemed like a great opportunity to utilise the knowledge and skills I’d gained through my degree and past work experience to add value to others. In my previous roles I’d found it difficult to implement new ideas and change often took a long time, so I was really excited to take on a new challenge that would enable me to set the pace of my career growth.   

How did Robert Walters help you transition into your new role?

In the first few months, I attended training masterclasses run by senior professionals from around the business. It was great to receive guidance from experienced and successful industry professionals so early in my recruitment career as it gave me a good introduction to the business and practical guidance which could be implemented straight away.  

I also learnt a lot from listening to my candidates and clients. Taking the time to understand the challenges they faced enabled me to focus on delivering solutions that were effective as well as gain a deeper insight into the industry.  

What do you enjoy most about your role?

In my role as a senior consultant in the interim finance division, I work with not-for-profit organisations to help them find senior finance professionals. I love the consultancy aspect of my role - my clients really appreciate that I’ve worked in organisations like theirs as my experience of working ‘on the ground’ can offer them a new perspective. It’s really rewarding to partner with finance directors and help organisations hire talented professionals who are going to have a really positive impact on their business.

What makes Eindhoven such an interesting market to work in?

Eindhoven is home to leading high-tech multinationals and is a renowned innovation hub which makes it a very exciting and forward-thinking market. For me, this is certainly reflected in Eindhoven’s not-for-profit sector, especially over the past five years as many not-for-profit organisations have adopted a more commercial and analytical approach to business to improve efficiency and effectiveness. Personally, it’s a real pleasure to be part of the positive changes in the sector and it’s certainly helped to keep my role challenging and varied.

What are your top tips for succeeding at Robert Walters?

I’d say curiosity is a really important trait for a recruitment consultant – having a desire to learn and become a specialist will make it much easier for you to connect with clients and candidates and get to grips with their needs and challenges. In addition, the more you know about your market, the more value you can add.

Honesty and authenticity are also really critical. At Robert Walters, the focus is very much on building strong relationships built on trust – so rolling out the same scripted sales pitch for each client won’t get you anywhere.   

Finally, being positive is a key ingredient to success – in recruitment, there are plenty of highs and lows but being able to move on and focus on the next opportunity will ensure long-term success.

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Alternatively, please send your CV to Sarah Vodegel at

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