We all know that sitting in a job you don’t like is bad. We know it restricts professional development, increases stress and anxiety, harms our immune systems, ruins sleep, puts tension on relationships and makes you prone to a list of chronic conditions. A job you hate affects everything. If you add the fact that the retirement age is being pushed back each year, there’s a bulletproof argument that says loving your job is increasingly important. In fact, it’s more than important, it’s necessary. Yet it’s surprising how few people take this seriously. We’ve become complaisant to staying in jobs we dislike, perhaps in the hope that if we stick with it long enough it might get easier, or maybe a promotion down the line will put us in a slightly less draining role. But this plan is passive, slow and it may never even happen. There has to be a shift from thinking of a job you enjoy as a potential bonus, to an essential foundation that you actively search for.
If loving your work is an aim for everyone, finding the right job is the first step. But in a world oversaturated by enticing job titles and inflated responsibilities, it’s a grueling task to find. Marie-Eugenie Artes is, however, someone who loves this task. Recruitment has been her passion for nearly twenty years and now works with recruitment consultancy Career Factory under their defining motto “love your work”. Artes has seen the recruitment industry transform in countless ways, but she remains a purist at heart, believing that good recruitment always has, and always will, hold human connection at its core.
How are you involved with Career Factory?
Career Factory has been around since 2002 and I joined last year after having previously worked with the owner. My aim with Career Factory is to allow more entrepreneurs join the business through a new idea we came up with called Startuppen, which now runs alongside Career Factory’s usual recruitment activities. We realized that a lot of people want to own their own recruitment business but struggle with the challenges of being an entrepreneur, especially at the beginning. Startuppen allows people to work for Career Factory (which is a franchise) as an employee and then after a year of training, workshops and entrepreneurship coaching they can start their own recruitment agency under the Career Factory name.
Doing it in this way minimizes the risks with starting a business and takes away the need to for people to invest their own money which is another serious uncertainty. And they can take all the contacts and business they build in the first year with them as well. The idea is new in recruitment and I’m really excited about it. I’ve built my own business before and I was a franchisee for a lot of years at another agency, so I know what it’s like to start a business and I know the benefits of a system like the one we’ve created. Startuppen is about giving people the power to start their own company, making it easier for them to do so and expanding on our core mission to create opportunities for people to love their work.
Why are you passionate about recruitment?
It’s something I’ve always done and always loved. I studied international business at university and after that I chose a job in recruitment. I’ve done everything you can think of in recruitment, and the combination of services, communication and commerce suits me well. I love my work and that’s also what we want to facilitate through Career Factory. We love our work and we want people to love their work. And on the other side, an organization can save a lot of money by arranging or outsourcing recruitment in the right way. Staffing costs are generally the largest expense for a company and I want to help. I like what Career Factory stands for and its views are very closely aligned with my own. We spend so much time at work nowadays and with retirement ages increasing, it’s more and more important to love your work.
There are a lot of recruitment companies. Do you ever feel it’s a challenge to make your voice heard among everyone else?
It’s definitely difficult and even more so for us because we’re smaller a company that doesn’t yet have the brand awareness we would like to have. There are, however, big differences between recruitment agencies. We work with entrepreneurs, experienced recruiters with a passion for their profession, and because of this we generally build up long-term relationships with our clients. There is rarely a change of contact after clients have experienced what we can do for them. Our challenge lies in propagating our message and brand awareness.
Are you ever worried recruitment will become an automated industry in the near future because of technology?
I’m not actually worried. Of course, there’ll be more ways to search for people and there’s a real move towards marketing automation. The industry is becoming increasingly digitized but there will always be a human factor in this job, and on top of this the cultural fit is often just as important as someone’s education and working experience. The conversation you have with someone is necessary for the entire process and that can’t be replaced by technology, I’m convinced of it. Things are becoming more digital and as an organization we’re embracing that, it’s a good thing. But no matter how many parts of the industry become digitized, there always has to be a talk, a physical meeting. Humans do things you don’t expect, so you can put all you want into a database to predict or categorize something, but there has to be a human connection in my opinion. We always interview are people in person, always.
How has recruitment changed over time?
I think the digital transformation of the industry has brought about a lot of new choices and a lot of new ways of doing things. The way we interview has stayed largely the same, but the surroundings has shifted dramatically. And few years ago we believed you could do everything as a recruiter; sales, recruitment, administration but now that’s not the case. We realised we had to let go a little and let people do what they do best. The business is now entirely different to how it used to be and it’s constantly changing, something that and that has made be constantly change how I work. I used to even have a shop on the main street in Harlem with all the other agencies and that was how recruiting worked in Holland. We had an open and closed sign and people came there to ask for a job. It couldn’t be more different now and that way of working doesn’t exist anymore. Nowadays you have to move with the changes or risk being left behind.
What’s does success mean to you?
I always seem to have new definitions that change with time. Revenues aren’t my main drive though, and I know I’m happy when the people around me are successful in their own work. It’s amazing to see people happy and succeeding in their own endeavors. When they reach their goals, I’m happy.
You’ve been involved with recruitment for well over a decade now, how do you keep learning and maintain your own growth?
I regularly visit events and conferences to remain informed about changes in the industry and opportunities that are interesting for us. It’s where you connect not only with people but with ideas too, with new possibilities. You learn so much from these events and luckily there are so many of them nowadays. You can ask Google anything nowadays but it’s different to asking people face to face, and I think there’s value in that.
Do you have any principles you live by?
I believe in honesty and responsibility. You have to do what you say. A lot of people don’t, and I think the simple things like that make a real difference.