Employee selection and retention for tech startups in Amsterdam
Saturday 19 February 2022
Amsterdam is cited as the "most valuable tech city". But with the labor market strained, staff selection remains more important than ever.
It was announced grandly and with much fanfare, including in an article in Het Parool, that "Amsterdam is the most valuable tech city in the European Union." Indeed, the numbers don't lie, as investors gave 170 tech companies a financial injection in 2021. The total amount of investments came to over 3.7 billion euros. Some of the sums were astronomical. Messagebird, an "omnichannel communications platform built for global scale," saw 665 million euros enter its bank account. Mollie, the well-known payment company, received the same amount in investments. Picnic, of those cute delivery cars, also received a solid financial boost of 600 million euros.
Huge investments in these three unicorns raise the average enormously. The remaining 167 companies were able to divide 1.93 billion euros among themselves, which comes down to an average investment of 11.55 million euros per company. Not only is that serious money, but this average investment amount is also, according to tech analysts, "higher than ever".
Amsterdam attractive for Tech
Dutch people often quickly associate "tech" with Silicon Valley. Yet, our country ranks high in the rankings. In Global Innovation Index 2020, the Netherlands ranked fifth among innovative countries. The fact that we score so high is not just because 93.2% of the population can be found online.
Important reasons why international tech companies settle in (and around) Amsterdam are its strong infrastructure, our international orientation (practically everyone speaks English), a strategic location, entrepreneur-friendly legislation, a large number of investors, and, of course, the highly educated workforce.
Growth is not just about money
Tech entrepreneurs sometimes fall in the trap of thinking that a good idea automatically translates to enormous wealth. Of course, revenue projections and potential returns play a big role in investment decisions. Smart investors look beyond profit projections and Excel sheets—they want to see that you have a good plan and that you can execute it.
You must use the funding you've just secured in a smart way to achieve growth. As a tech entrepreneur, you don't do that on your own. When a tech company reaches the scale-up phase, the founders rely on help from smart software developers, sales professionals, and a finance director who understands the company and the market.
Finding staff is difficult
Finding staff is tough, and HR professionals have known that for a while. Amsterdam already has 77,000 jobs in the tech sector (the Netherlands, as a whole, has 145,000). However, it has been proving difficult to keep them all filled, especially now that The Great Resignation is slowly approaching.
Even if the labor market wasn't already tense, it will soon become so. When 170 tech companies have received an average of 11.5 million Euros, you know it's going to be extra tough. All of them want to bring in that one prodigy who will give their company that exponential growth they desire. But candidates with the right qualifications can usually choose from several job offerings.
Professionals in recruitment and selection are feeling the pressure. If you don't choose quickly, you'll miss out. However, you do want to make a careful consideration. Does this person fit within the team? Do his or her motivations align with the company’s values? Will the candidate be happy in their job, or will he leave after six months for another position?
Quickly select personnel while maintaining diligence
Fortunately, there are online tools that are designed to help you make a smart selection quickly and without too much hassle. Such tools require little effort to use and are a perfect fit for tech companies. After all, a tech company that still relies on a pen and a notebook for its recruitment and selection does not come across as very state-of-the-art.
The online ability test measures a candidate’s cognitive abilities. Think of numerical aptitude, numeracy, verbal aptitude, linguistic understanding, and, of course, logical thinking.
These online selection tools have been developed in cooperation with scientists from various universities, which guarantees their reliability and validity. The smart algorithm is regularly tweaked, with the system continually learning and improving from the 250,000 tests taken each year.
The online interview tool The Bridge AI goes a step further. The candidate is presented with three open-ended questions, after which the artificial intelligence uses Natural Language Processing (NLP) to create a comprehensive personality profile. You get scores on the Big Five Personality Traits, the Six Drives (competencies), and more.
Online recruitment makes sense
Working in a time- and place-independent manner is only natural in the tech sector. Moreover, a candidate probably doesn't feel like going through an extensive assessment, especially if they are also in discussion with three other companies.
The online selection tools fit perfectly within the innovative tech culture and require little effort to administer or complete. Order the test and it will be ready within 30 minutes. The candidate receives an invitation and can take the online capacity test or interview when and where it is convenient to them. Once the answers are sent, the HR professional receives a handy report that provides a clear picture of the candidate’s capabilities, drives, and motivations.
More candidates mean higher chance of finding the perfect one
A major advantage of online recruiting tools is that you can work much more efficiently. The candidate will be more willing to cooperate if it takes little effort, but the efficiency gain is mainly on the side of the recruiting organization. As an HR professional you can only speak to 4 or 5 people in one day at the most. With smart online tools, you can interview dozens of people at once, and for different positions. As a result, you can interview more people in less time, increasing the chance of finding that one perfect candidate.
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