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How to get the right talent for the ‘beyond the screen era’

Amsterdam, April 18th, 2018

Amsterdam-headquartered Mirabeau shares its name with the Comte de Mirabeau, a prominent figure on the French Revolution. However, the digital agency’s revolution is about technology innovations.

In November 2016, Mirabeau joined forces with consultant company Cognizant and open its Digital Studio, one of the largest digital innovation and delivery centres in Europe. The opening of the Digital Studio has doubled Mirabeau’s workspace at the Kauwgomballenfabriek in Amsterdam.

The agencies’ experts in strategy, design, technology, human sciences and data, work closely with leading companies such as D-reizen, Eriks, Leaseplan and Brunel to create excellent digital solutions.

Mirabeau built its reputation building solid, effective digital platforms for the web and mobile. Now the company is researching the possibilities that alternatives to the screen provide, with the likes of AI and AR as well conversational interfaces.

The Digital Studio allows Mirabeau to expand its services to new digital technologies like IoT, Data Analytics, AI, blockchain, conversational commerce and cloud computing.

Juggling a large pool of talent is no mean feat. We talked to Gina van Berkel – Corporate Recruiter to find out more about what it takes to hire the right talent.

Gina has been at Mirabeau for over two years. She originally studied Commercial Economics at Amsterdam University of Applied Sciences. Upon graduation it was the recruiter job offers that caught her eye so she followed this path. When she is not in the office she teaches Body pump as a hobby.

How do you select your specialists?

Right from the beginning, we involve our Mirabeau-specialists in the selection process. Whether the candidate applies for a technical or a creative position, we select on skills mostly.

Technical skills and a wide range of programming languages are needed for development, and proven work in a portfolio for creative positions.

Of course, we usually check out a CV and presentation letter to get an impression of the candidate.

What role does talent management play at Mirabeau?

Recruitment is getting more and more important within Mirabeau. It always was, because it is directly relatable to Mirabeau’s growth. The market is really tense right now and we are determined to add the best specialists to our team. We’re continuously looking for great people who’d like to deliver cool stuff!

Which of these specialists are most difficult to find/retain?

All the senior positions are difficult to fulfil. In particular the more technical positions that require exceptional good knowledge of programming in several languages or a particular skill, are challenging – a good challenge though, which makes our work super interesting.

Like probably every other organization at this moment, we’re struggling to find and hire the best specialists. Still, we’re hiring many people each year. I think we distinguish ourselves with the top-notch work we’re doing for brands like KLM and ING, those award-winning projects make people want to work for Mirabeau.

Have you ever considered opening offices near where you can find new talent?

Yes. For that exact reason, we have several offices in the Netherlands. It proved to be a good way to connect with talent across the country. Amsterdam is our HQ and the rest of our offices are situated in Hoorn, Rotterdam, Eindhoven and Leeuwarden.

Our people, however, are working all over the world at clients’ offices.

For example, this week, some of my colleagues are working in Oslo, Abu Dhabi and Paris.

A big advantage we have is the fact that we became a Cognizant Digital Business. By joining forces with Cognizant, we got access to hundreds of offices worldwide.

What is our overall long-term vision and philosophy for the recruitment function?

Our people work on projects for large international clients such as Air France-KLM, ING and By combining design, insights and technology, we create digital products and services centred on customer’ needs and behaviour. To broaden our services and expand our reach to global levels, we need to keep hiring the best specialist out there!

Can you briefly explain your career path to date?

My first full-time job was as a Recruitment Consultant at an employment agency. After some time, I noticed that this wasn’t the kind of work I’d wanted to do for the long term. I started looking for something else and came across Mirabeau on LinkedIn. I applied at other companies as well to spread my options, but the interviews and the process at Mirabeau just felt right to me. And here I am, still at Mirabeau.

I have made a huge transition over the last two years. From a super junior and inexperienced graduate to the specialist I am today. There is so much more to learn though!

What do you believe has been the key to your success thus far at Mirabeau in particular?

To begin with, my success is partly thanks to my great colleagues. I have had so much help from my team to get where I am. Every bit of advice, support and experience comes from them! Especially Paul Beets (Lead Corporate Recruiter), who’s still a great example.

What also helps is that I am very interested in technology, I’ve always been. That is obviously of great help for a tech recruiter! I believe that the key to my success it is a mixture of these elements.

How do you connect your organization’s overriding business strategy with your HR strategy?

No matter what department someone is working in, everyone aims to get the highest quality, we never settle for less. For the clients we work for, their users and our colleagues. The people we hire have an effect on this, so we have as well. People at Mirabeau get that, so we all cooperate to achieve great quality together.

Tell us one thing you love the most about your role and what don’t you like.

I love that I have so much freedom to do whatever is necessary to do my job. The whole culture and vibe within Mirabeau support this and it keeps my work challenging. I have room to do what I like to do. For example, some days I leave early to instruct body pump classes at my gym!

What I don’t like right now is the quality of the coffee in the office. However, I just heard that we are getting new machines! So, it’s getting better soon.

What book or movie has had the greatest impact on you? Why?

Not so much a movie but one episode of Black Mirror (series) made a great impact on my vision of the future. We all know that AI and digitalization are becoming an important part of our lives. But can you imagine a world in which you need to be rated to achieve a certain social score to unlock a better job or a nicer neighbourhood?

Thanks Gina!

By Geny Caloisi.

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