Chris, a New Zealand born Dutchman based in Amsterdam, is walking around his spacious office during our skype conversation giving us an interesting glimpse of what his (work) life is like and where he and his about 20 person strong team are spending their workweek. What we see is far from bad: An about 400 m2 bright and inviting loft, with strategically placed artwork, factory lockers for the team and writable walls. But first things first, Chris Wood, who we are meeting today, is one of the two co-founders of Searchlite, a YBorder partner that joined the network in late 2015.

How to revolutionise the Dutch software development recruitment market

It all started back in late 2011, when Chris, previously in finance, and Floris, a recruitment expert, decided to change the way recruitment was done and perceived: “We wanted to become market specialists as opposed to simple recruiters. We wanted to be different than the 9-to-5, unspecialised and big players in the sector. Our aim is stand out in the sector.” How they manage to stand out? “With a strong candidate focus. Software development is the present and the future. It’s all about attracting the best technical talent.“ And later he adds: „Every company is a software company. As software reaches beyond the confines of monitor and keyboard, it becomes a bigger part of every business and every day life. So we want to be close to and get in touch with the software development community.” Searchlite is doing this for example with a startup and technical mindset, educating their consultants in the different programming languages, frameworks, tools, methods etc. Also senior consultants organize, host and sponsor regular software development meetups for local programmers – and fun.

“Your ego is not your amigo”

“Fun?” we ask him. “Recruiting can be boring to be honest with you. It is hard and sometimes tedious work. A good atmosphere in the office is extremely important. Our office is right in the centre of the city and we spent a considerable amount decorating it for our staff and the developers who pop by. We also regularly go for lunch together or for after work drinks. We do Secret Santa for Christmas.” Chris describes Searchlite as a social office where personality counts. “We don’t hire CVs, we hire people. It is personality and motivation that count most,” he explains. “We also don’t take things too seriously,” he continues pointing the camera of his phone to black lettering on the wall where it reads “Your ego is not your amigo”. “At the end of the day it’s a job, it should be fun and stimulating. We enjoy finding candidates a great new development job but we don’t pretend like we always know what the best job is for every candidate. Changing jobs is a very personal thing, it’s up to the candidate to decide that and you have to respect that.”

Searchlite and YBorder: Added value for the candidates and the company

Chris seems to be a perfect example of a globetrotter: open, perfectly integrated, multilingual. Given the international experience of the founders themselves, we ask him about Searchlite’s motivation to join YBorder. “We saw it as an opportunity. It adds value too our company and is a an additional service for our candidates.” Despite the 50,260 IT companies in the country and generally good growth prospects, he knows that an international experience is the best option for professional growth for someone from a small country. According to InterNations, the Dutch are well equipped for this experience demonstrating an excellent ability to blend in among the local population. Chris confirms this stating the Dutch would be very open to travelling and curious to see what their job is like in a different country. In short, “they are willing to try.” And this, they certainly do: 61% of Dutch expats say they have prior experience of living abroad in two or more different countries. So why don’t you try?

Are you a Dutch software engineer and ready to become an expat abroad? Find out more about YBorder or get in touch with Searchlite directly:

Twitter: @SearchliteNL
LinkedIn: Searchlite

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