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Karel de Grote University College relies on CVWarehouse to straighten out complex recruitment tangles

We had a talk with Peggy Saey, policy officer HR: “About 80 percent of our employees have a teaching role. In the other 20 percent, we find supporting functions, going from cleaners to administrative staff and managers. Of course we’re dealing with a certain amount of turnover, like every other organization. People retire, find new adventures or have a temporary assignment that finishes. In the previous academic year, we recruited about 125 people. That’s a lot.”
 

Complex playfield

“The decree of higher education sets us several rules of the game”, says Peggy. “Therefore, our negotiation margin is very limited. We need to stick to the diploma conditions for our academic staff, for example. A lecturer must have a master’s degree, a practical lecturer at least a bachelor’s degree. That’s one thing we can’t ignore. The diploma conditions aren’t as strict for other functions, but we need to have our own system. In addition, the wages are also subject to fixed scales. That makes it even more difficult to attract certain talent or expertise.”

The general trends in the market, and their influence on the attractiveness of study programmes, have an impact as well. “If we look at our programme ‘Art and Culture Mediation”, we see that it has become significantly less popular”, knows Peggy. “According to the new art decree, the funding for art and culture houses is largely trimmed. Because there are a lot less jobs in this sector today, there is much less interest in this programme either. Of course, it has an impact on our need for teachers. Some of them are generally educated and can be used in other programmes. But others are specifically educated. Either way, the fluctuations between the attractiveness of our different programmes don’t make it easier. On the contrary.”

Attractive employer

“Whether it’s hard to fill vacancies? That really depends on the type of function”, says Peggy. “A vacancy for student counsellor easily attracts more than 200 candidates. For lecturer profiles, we generally have a good response as well. But if we consider very specific vacancies, for ICT professionals for example, the number of applications is a lot lower.”

There’s no doubt that the Karel de Grote University College is an attractive employer. “First of all, working with us is interesting because of the job security and of course the high number of vacation days. The teaching staff has 55 vacations days per year, while the supporting staff has 45 of them”, says Peggy. ”Of course, that’s not a decisive factor. But we see a lot of people in their thirties among our candidates. They have worked very hard for ten years, but have a young family, and are looking for more stability. The work-life balance becomes increasingly important, as you grow older. We see it every day in practice. “

But what makes the Karel de Grote University College different than others? “As an educational institution, we find it our duty to offer development opportunities. If we expect our students to learn continuously, we need to expect the same from our employees”, states Peggy. “In addition, we notice that the employees really feel at home here. We have a warm, pure and transparent work environment in which you can take initiative. We also project that atmosphere to our candidates.”

“I think we can state that CVWarehouse plays an important role in the success of our recruitment efforts.”

Peggy Saey
HR

Recruitment needs structure

“As HR staff member, I’m also HR Business Partner for Sint-Lucas Antwerp (the school of arts) and the overarching supporting services of Karel de Grote”, reveals Peggy. “I’m in a team of three HR members for more than 1,200 employees. Therefore, a good structure is essential to fulfill our role in a good way.”

Therefore, the recruitment process has been described in detail. “The need to recruit usually comes from a manager”, says Peggy. “He or she contacts us, and after a short conversation and a requirements analysis, we draft a vacancy text together. Then we publish it via CVWarehouse, which is also linked to different job boards.”

The vacancies of the Karel de Grote University College usually have a short life span. “We make them available for two or three weeks”, says Peggy. “That’s enough to get the number of candidates we need. In addition, after this short period, we can easily get an Excel list out of the CVWarehouse-system, with all the details of candidates. We use the list, together with the managers, to figure out which candidates are eligible for an initial interview.”

A daunting task without CVWarehouse

“With our huge amount and variety of vacancies, we need a system”, acknowledges Peggy. “CVWarehouse has a lot of advantages for us. It is for example interesting to see the history of the candidates in the system. But the selection options are also very useful. In the overview, we can see the candidates’ highest degree at a glance. So we avoid losing a lot of time to underqualified or overqualified candidates.”

But what happens to the candidates who don’t survive the first rounds? “They get a personalized e-mail, automatically sent through CVWarehouse”, says Peggy. “In that way, we save a lot of time, and we’re sure that all candidates get correct feedback.”

“The good service is what really reassures us”, concludes Peggy. “When we get stuck or have a pressing question, we get the support we need. We’re sure that CVWarehouse remains a reliable partner in the future. The tool also gets great updates regularly, and links to new job boards. I think we can state that CVWarehouse plays an important role in the success of our recruitment efforts.”