Meet Oana-Maria, Recruiter international workforce

Speaks Dutch, English & Romanian

While still studying for her degree in Information Technology in Romania, Oana-Maria founded a specialist company to help Romanian construction specialists find a job abroad. A project she kept going for a few months after she completed her studies and moved to Belgium. In the end, she decided to work for a temporary employment agency instead. She has been looking for and recruiting well-skilled foreign specialists in construction and technics for several years now as an IDM recruiter at IMPACT.

Combining your studies with running your own company? No easy feat. Oana-Maria did just that and it is how she met her husband. ‘He was looking for specialist construction workers to work in Belgium, which was what my business was all about. After completing my studies in 2008, I decided to move to Belgium to live with my husband. I continued my activities in Belgium and realised several construction projects with Romanian workers in the construction industry until I had to give up my business through unexpected circumstances.'

Screening and recruitment with international partners

Oana-Maria signed up for Dutch classes and began looking for a new job. She got a job as a recruiter at a temporary employment agency, because she still had a passion for the HR sector. ‘More than five years later, I applied for the job of IDM Recruiter at IMPACT. With success. My job is to find foreign experts in construction and technics, and once I have done so, I take care of the whole application process. In other words, in my current job at IMPACT, I’m basically doing what I did when I was running my own business.’

And, that experience has benefitted Oana-Maria. ‘Our Belgian clients are looking for highly technical profiles with specific skills that are very hard to find in the local job market. Based on a conversation with them and the vacancy profile, we look for and screen candidates internationally. We do this together with specialist partners located across Europe: Poland, Romania, Spain, Italy etc. After matching them with the client, we give the candidates a lot of info about life in Belgium. Once they arrive in Belgium, our IDM Coaches take over, giving them all the support they need and helping them fully integrate.’

Reasons to work in Belgium as a temporary worker

As an IDM recruiter, Oana-Maria meets new candidates on a daily basis and hears a lot of personal stories. ‘There are many things that get to me and stay with me. A few months ago, I had a candidate from England who was forced to move because of Brexit. He no longer had job security and found it really hard to have to move to another country. In the end, he came to Belgium and he is really happy now. So happy, in fact, that he advised a British friend of his to do the same thing. And he, too, now works in our country via IMPACT.’

As a Romanian expat herself, Oana-Maria can wholeheartedly recommend the move to Belgium to foreign specialists. ‘Belgium is a prosperous country with a good social security system including health insurance etc. What’s more, IMPACT offers them a very professional support programme towards full integration in Belgium. We take really good care of our candidates and temporary workers, with a personal approach. We organise online video calls, so they can talk to us directly and we listen carefully to their stories. And after their arrival in Belgium, too, everything is organised down to a T. Obviously, they can also count on receiving good wages and an excellent service.’

Someone to fall back on and long-term security

It is an approach that is very much appreciated by the foreign temporary workers. ‘We mostly get warm reactions, because they can contact us for pretty much anything; whether they have a specific question about contractual pay, a particular document that has to be filled in and submitted, or what the opening hours are of the local supermarket. They know they always have someone they can fall back on and who usually also speaks their language. That inspires trust and gives them peace of mind.’

There is one more important thing. ‘You must remember that, in time, as a temporary worker, you could end up signing a permanent contract at an employer where you have successfully worked on a temporary basis. That’s because IMPACT doesn’t work on a project basis with companies, which means that we can give you the security you need as a foreign temporary worker. And that really does give you peace of mind, especially after you have made the difficult decision of leaving your country to accept a job in Belgium.’

We ended the interview by asking Oana-Maria the question: How do you make impact?

‘By changing the lives of people who desperately need it. We often hear stories of candidates who leave their countries for a better future. IMPACT gives them the opportunity to do this in the best possible way and with personal support. We improve the standard of living of the temporary workers who move to Belgium. This helps them grow both personally and professionally. And, in turn, these workers help companies achieve their growth ambitions too, because a specialist with specific skills is joining their ranks. In short: a win-win situation for everyone.’