NetApp: ‘the right noise for our vacancies'

The very definition of having your work cut out for you: in a time frame of 6 months hiring around 80 international Technical Support Engineers (TSE’s). Robin Overweel is a recruiter at NetApp and was given the challenge to take on 76 international Technical Support Engineers before October 2015. VONQ worked closely together with NetApp by carefully and precisely marketing the vacancies as well as setting up a Google AdWords campaign.


NetApp delivers software, systems and services which enable their clients to manage, secure and store data. The company employs over 12.000 employees globally, of which around 350 in the Netherlands. The EMEA Staffing Team consists of 17 fte’s each operating in a major hub in the region EMEA (The Netherlands, Great Britain, France and Germany).

Recruiter Robin Overweel is since this spring engaged in a major campaign to attract 76 technical support engineers for the office in Amsterdam (EMEA headquarters). The challenge is to hire “the bulk” in October. Overweel: ‘It is a challenge to hire as many new (international) candidates in six months. Also for NetApp as an organization who are growing strongly, due to the organizational changes, the impact on the support team and because of their ongoing recruitment of new employees.’

Sourcing for candidates

Overweel: ‘In April we started sourcing (advanced searching) for candidates on linkedIn. We found one fourth of the employees that way. Afterwards we published online advertisements on social media and created an internal referral programme for colleagues, in which we asked them whether they know interested passive talent within their family or network of acquaintances. In June and July we have developed, in cooperation with VONQ, a target group campaign, to post targeted vacancies and reach large groups of candidates in different countries.’

The target group campaign via VONQ resulted in 262 applications, of which 21 candidates were selected for the first interview, 14 for the second interview and yielded so far in five hires. Overweel managed the applications in the applicant tracking system of VONQ; ‘ is an accessible recruitment system, in which you can sort and filter your questions. Thanks to I had a good overview of all applications and could easily invite or reject candidates.’

‘Placing your vacancy in one time with VONQ’

Overweel: ‘The added value of cooperating with VONQ for this campaign is primarily in the major international reach of your vacancies and the target use of Google Adwords. We could post the vacancies on the biggest job boards and niche sites in The Netherlands, Germany, France, Great Britain and Ireland. VONQ is able to make, by means of available data, an accurate selection of the right media channels. VONQ created in that way the right ‘noise’ for our vacancies and that was what this campaign needed. Another advantage is that you can promote your vacancies in one time via online advertisements. This saves a lot of time.’

International recruitment

“Our selection process has a total of four rounds. We can ask the Dutch candidates to come to Amsterdam for each round. Because this is an international function, where the command of the English language is important, we also received many responses from different countries. More than 40 new employees are from abroad. We talk to all the candidates first by telephone. An initial interview with a recruiter and then a technical interview with an engineer. The candidates who completed these interviews successfully, are invited to the office for two more interviews. If possible, we fly everyone in. If not, we do the interviews via Skype. Some new colleagues we see for the first time ‘face to face’ on their first day’.

Until 1 October, the Staffing department of NetApp has the time to hire the remaining 12 technical support staff. Overweel is hopeful that this will succeed: ‘Thanks to our way of sourcing and the target group campaign with VONQ, we keep a continuous flow of candidates in the pipeline to achieve the recruitment objectives of the campaign.’

‘VONQ specialist in employer branding’

As in other organizations, employer branding is high on the agenda at NetApp.

Overweel sees this within recruitment as one of the main pillars of organisations in the coming years. ‘You can win candidates for you, as long as they are knows with you as an employer. Even though it is known within the organisation, if it is not recognised with your public, you will stay unknown as an employer. Thanks to the knowledge of data and the reach of targeted ads, like Google Adwords, I see an important role for a marketing recruitment specialist as VONQ.’

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