Modern executive search is a multifaceted field, and one with much more complexity than may originally meet the eye. While many traditional recruitment firms continue to subscribe to an HR-centric “master of one” methodology, a Maven headhunter needs to have more than just a working knowledge not only of the “human” side of identifying talent – leading interviews, navigating nuance, and managing parallel conversations and negotiations as an intermediary across multiple fronts. Knowledge of the inner workings of their clients’ businesses, the economic realities of the sectors and regions in which they operate, and the changing ecosystems candidates come from are increasingly decisive in ever more competitive and interconnected talent job markets.
One place where this evolution is clearly illustrated is my own path to joining the Mavence team, and the relationship between recruitment and public affairs that shaped my interests and my professional growth. Specifically, it is reflected in the fact that my own pivot away from traditional recruitment firms follows my exposure to, study of, and experience in EU affairs, and my professional evolution into a cross-disciplinary practitioner.
My experience in the recruitment sector began with my first position in the Multilingual Department of Randstad N.V., a Netherlands-based multinational HR consulting firm where my portfolio included recruiting candidates for various roles across different languages and backgrounds. The experience was a positive one that deepened my understanding of recruitment, but also served to spark an appreciation for more international perspectives that I felt reflected an underrepresented but essential element in my own work. This reflection became a driver in what was a deeper exploration of my own interests, in particular an awareness of EU affairs, which prompted me to pursue a Master’s in political science with a focus on European politics and external relations.
Joining Mavence in July 2021 has already been a striking and positive experience, with a highly international team and deep roots in the European affairs ecosystem that cuts across sectors and specializations, reflecting a different kind of model that converges on talent management from diverse segments of public affairs as opposed to strictly traditional HR structures.
There have also been some notable personal takeaways, with lessons and experiences that can only come from working at the intersection of people and issues in a fast-paced and political environment like Brussels. In less than a month, I’ve had the opportunity to meet encouraging colleagues who individually have extensive PA experience from diversified and international background, and who collectively represent nearly a dozen unique career paths to grow and excel in recruitment, public affairs, or a combination of the two.
Not only that, but the strong practical undercurrents of public affairs in the office mean that understanding clients’ needs and understanding the evolving political landscape often go hand in hand, resulting in a day-to-day that includes everything from interviews to business meetings, to following the legislative agenda and participating in events and workshops from PA associations and professional groups. At Mavence, the hands-on elements of networking, peer-to-peer outreach, and practical engagement are not only put on equal footing with HR skills and routines, but are supercharged, and my own interactions with colleagues, clients, and candidates have already reflected that shift.
In our work, we put a lot of stock in the idea of a diverse ecosystem as the heart of EU public affairs, yet as a newcomer to this environment it is clear to me that it is equally true of our own team, recreated in the individual Mavens and their relationships with talents, clients, and colleagues on a more personal scale. As much as my role is dedicated to connecting others to opportunities, I am confident in the possibility of also seeing doors open along my own path as a result.
The working environment at Mavence is a perfect fit for anyone who has experience in and a passion for Public Affairs combined with a predisposition for ‘people-oriented’ success and fast-paced work that constantly keeps you on your toes!