Name: Bart Van Loon
Headquarters:
Belgium
Website:
Zeropoint
Superpower:
Bringing together businesses from Europe, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka

 

Bart Van Loon is an Offshore Staffing Specialist with Zeropoint. They bring together businesses from Europe, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka. We talk about the benefits and challenges of offshoring and the difference between having a personal versus a professional culture. We also discuss the common tools used, and how Zeropoint trains both the employee and the client to work remotely.


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Powerful quotes by Bart Van Loon

We find that today, more and more people are going offshore – not because they want to organize things cheaper, but because they want to organize things better. You should not have the ambition to hire the best software developer of Antwerp, or even the best software developer of Flanders; you should hire or look for the best software developer in the world.

 

There’s a very clear distinction to be made between professional culture and personal culture.

 

I’m not really sure if the face-to-face meeting is important as such. What really is important is that for a long-term professional relationship, you also engage at least a little bit into getting a personal relationship – especially when going offshore. There are so many companies today that have a PlayStation or a Nintendo Wii or something set up where the employees get to play together. Those are things that are so easy to join remotely today, and you should definitely set that up.

 

One thing I tend to tell my customers is that they are sitting as far from you as you are sitting from them. So it’s not only hard for you or strange for you or unusual for you; it’s also hard and strange and unusual for the people sitting offshore. And it’s even quite easy to bridge, but you have to bridge it. You have to make effort there.


Original transcript

Lisette: Great. And we’re live. So welcome everybody to this remote interview. My name is Lisette and I’m interviewing people and companies doing great things remotely. And today, on the line, I have Bart Van Loon. Did I say that correctly?

Bart: Yeah, actually it was surprisingly well. Bart would be the English pronunciation and Van Loon the Dutch pronunciation.

Lisette: Okay, so how would you say it? Let’s start there.

Bart: Well, completely in Dutch, my name would be pronounced Bart Van Loon. In English, Bart Van Loon, obviously.

Lisette: Right, well, let’s keep to the Dutch version. I’m in the Netherlands and you’re in Belgium. And Bart, let’s start with what does your anywhere office look like? And I warned you that we are going to be talking about this, so you know what I’m looking for. But I am really curious because everybody has got such a different setup and different needs when they work from anywhere. And I know you travel a lot, so maybe there’s something there. But what does your anywhere office look like?

Bart: The first thing is obviously my laptop. One thing that is really important is to have a great battery life on your laptop. That’s definitely important to me. I find it particularly hard to work without the Internet. So I can go for a stretch without being online, but usually that would be less than an hour. Good Internet connection is important as well. My phone, obviously, decent smartphone with good reception is important. You should not be afraid, let’s say, to go online to roam as well. So you need to have a decent setup there with your mobile operator, so that you can freely use your phone anywhere you like without being afraid of these horrible charges that are possible, unfortunately. That’s basically it in terms of hardware. I do like to write things on paper. So I tend to have a paper and pen available around. But that would really be less necessary than the laptop and a telephone and Internet.

Lisette: I have that too. I have my paper here. I don’t know what it is about. I could type it out, but I just like writing it out for some reason.

Bart: Yeah, I really do. It’s just that always afterwards; I really have to immediately digitize it. Otherwise, one way or another, it will get lost, unfortunately. So it is a waste of time, perhaps, to write it down first and then to digitize it. But then again you can also use that to reorder your thoughts and maybe make a more decent summary of the meeting you’ve just had. But if there’s no pen or paper, then it’s just fine as well.

Lisette: Right. And I see that you’re an IT offshore staffing specialist. That’s what it says on your LinkedIn profile. I’ve recently learned the difference between offshoring and near-shoring, but if you could go into a little bit about what that means? What is an offshore staffing specialist and what do you do?

Bart: I need to correct it a little bit. I definitely am an offshore staffing specialist, but not necessarily in IT. It goes much broader across different sectors. It’s not necessarily IT. Then again, obviously, IT is one of the sectors where offshoring is the most prominent due to various factors.

Lisette: And who else is doing offshoring? Actually, you’re right. I don’t hear about it in other sectors very often. Remote working is just like Agile. It started with the software community because it lends itself to that kind of work. But now it’s going broader.

Bart: Yeah, it’s true. Well, working remotely is linked with IT often. But even if you look at, for example, the garments industry, they’ve been going offshore for decades already. All of our clothes are being produced offshore, in offshore regions. So it’s definitely also remote working in a way. It’s different because not every individual would be working locally in that factory. But as a whole, if you look at it from the context of the company, it is an offshore office that they’re operating. But if I talk about my own company, we set up offshore relationships, definitely in IT. As I said, it’s the most obvious sector to work in. But also, if you look at graphical design, there are possibilities. Accountancy, engineering, obviously data entry, even virtual assistance is there. So there’s really much more that can be done from over a distance than only IT.

Lisette: And why are people doing this? I’m going to assume the number one thing is going to be cost. People are going offshore because of cost. But I think there’s more. Is there?

Bart: There’s definitely much, much more. We find that cost is perhaps not even the first element on the list of reasons why people go offshore. Let’s say it shares first place with availability. We find that today, more and more people are going offshore – not because they want to organize things cheaper, but because they want to organize things better. And with better, I mean with better people. I really think it’s very important today, to have the ambition. Let’s say I have a company in Antwerp. You should not have the ambition to hire the best software developer of Antwerp, or even the best software developer of Flanders; you should hire or look for the best software developer in the world. And obviously, we’re not there yet. Nobody can offer you truly global source pool of talent. But if you go offshore to certain locations, you can definitely raise the hiring bar because simply you have many more candidates and many more people around.

Lisette: Right. Is there a particular location that’s really popular to go offshore?

Bart: Yeah, of course, there are locations like the subcontinent: India, Pakistan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh is there. They’re pretty good at English. Because of colonization, they have the English economic structure, the English education system, the English political system, so it lowers the barriers of working together with them. I found that in Europe, if you look more at the Latin Europe, if I call it that way – France, Spain, Portugal – they tend to go more to Africa, specifically northern Africa because people speak French there. Or even Latin America because language is just a really big thing in working with people locally or remotely.

Lisette: Right.

Bart: Which really, all over the world, you can say. Eastern Europe is there as well. As you said before, it would be called near-shoring than offshoring. Really, there is not such a big difference.

Lisette: Where does the line get drawn? Is there a time zone that it’s over four hours away than it’s offshoring?

Bart: Not really because Pakistan, nobody would call it near-shoring, but there’s only a three-hour difference with Europe. So I don’t think it’s a time difference. Generally, it depends of course where you are from. I don’t think in the United States, anything would be called near-shoring because distances are always great. But in Europe, Eastern Europe would be near-shoring and anything else would be offshoring.

Lisette: Oh, interesting. So it brings up the issue of culture in working together. Surprisingly, most of the time when I ask people about culture and how do you deal with different cultures, most people say, actually, it’s not an issue. And I’m totally surprised to hear that because for being an American living in the Netherlands, I also thought, oh, Western Europe, it’s just like the U.S., very similar, and it’s totally not – I mean on the outset. But when you’re in it, you realize, oh, there are a million things that are different. So I’m always surprised. There are big differences. But it doesn’t seem to be an issue. What’s your experience with it?

Bart: My experience is that there’s a very clear distinction to be made between professional culture and personal culture. My specialties lie with setting up relationships between European employers and Pakistani and Sri Lankan employees. And there you can clearly say that from a personal perspective, the cultures are vastly different. People lead their lives in a different way. The important moments in one’s life are very different in the subcontinent or in Europe. But then there’s also the professional culture. And there we talk about loyalty to the employer, to the project, talk about interpretation of this term called deadline. It’s about working together or not. And their differences really tend to be much, much smaller – especially, I would argue, in regions that were colonized by Europe. It’s one of those results that unintentionally came from the colonization. So even though there might be differences personally, professionally it’s not really an issue often.

Lisette: People realize that, hey, we’re working with… Maybe the awareness is just so there when you start working with somebody else. That is a heightened awareness, maybe.

Bart: Yeah, that is important. I would be the last one to say that there are no differences at all. No, there is a difference in language, difference in time, difference in culture. So these things have to be accounted for – preferably, before you start because I do think this is one of the most underestimated points in going offshore, that before you start, you should think about how to deal with these differences instead of after coming across some problematic differences, maybe retrofitting the way that you work together. So it’s really something that you should consider before.

Lisette: I assume that you have a process for those considerations. Maybe before, when a client comes to you and says I need a team of… How does that work? Does a client come to you and ask for a team? Or do they say I have a project? How does that happen?

Bart: In our case, we are really an HR partner. So we sit together with you to truly and deeply assess the kind of people that would optimally fit in your organization in its current situation. That would be the first step. Then we would go out in South Asia and find people. And we will pre-screen them for you. We are pretty strict on the English level, on the degree that people might have because unlike in Europe, I would argue that in South Asia, it is a good filter. It’s an important filter, still, the degree. So language degree, also some soft skills that we really try to estimate, like how would this person feel or deal with working in a European economic environment – which is, of course, different than elsewhere in the world. And after that we would send one, two, maybe three candidates to the customer who will do the final hiring by using their knowledge of their sector because we’re not specialists in Java development or specialists in graphical design or specialists in accountancy. So screening somebody, recruiting somebody related to those skill sets, we rely on the customer itself. This is not project-based, never. We always set up permanent or semi-permanent relationships between remote people and employers [inaudible].

Lisette: Oh, okay, so it’s actually they end up getting a job. So it’s not just they’re here for a project. They ended up in a long-term thing.

Bart: Exactly. We offer people a full-time employment contract, but it’s the customer who gets direct management and direct supervision over the resources.

Lisette: Okay. I recently hired a number of people for the Happy Melly team. And I knew it was going to take a lot of time. And really, I was doing the pre-screening in essence for Jurgen who would do the final decision, or he would take our input and make the final decision. But the amount of time that it took to really screen people properly and to get to know them was insane. So I can imagine that a client would be very grateful to have a service that…

Bart: Definitely, yeah. As I said before, this is also an aspect which is important, perhaps even more important than cost often because we can offer black and white. We can guarantee that we’ll find a good resource within two months. Opposed to that, for example, in the IT sector, the numbers are currently that if you have a vacancy for an IT job in your company, you are to expect only 1.8 candidates within the first four months. And these numbers are for Flanders. 1.8 candidates in four months. It just takes a lot of time to find people who are good and affordable because there are always freelancers, but the rates are extraordinary in IT.

Lisette: Also the dependability fluctuates wildly, I’ve heard. I’ve had so many people complain that yeah, they were great in the beginning. And then two months later, we just didn’t hear from them again. It was just gone.

Bart: Because today, everywhere in Europe, I would argue, if you’re a freelancer and you’re pretty good in IT, you get offers daily. You can really be very picky and set the price very high for any job that you would like.

Lisette: Yeah, I keep track of all kinds of… I’m a tracker. I’m a quantified self nut. But I keep track of every time I get a client request for somebody coming to me saying they want work. And I got 10 requests just in January alone, which I thought that was great. I’ve had much poorer days. So it’s extraordinary.

Bart: Every other day, you get a request or an offer, these days it’s true.

Lisette: So now what do you see people are really struggling with when they start to work remotely with these clients? I don’t know how much insight you have into the actual working relationship, but I assume you have some. So what do you see people struggling with? I hear all kinds of things, but what is your perspective?

Bart: One really, really important thing is control. If you look at the different tasks that any manager, also remote manager would have would be to brief somebody to support them during the work, then to check or control the results, and then to give feedback. This is the loop that every project manager finds himself all the time when dealing with his or her team. Of those four parts – the briefing, the supporting, the controlling, and the feedback loop – controlling really tends to be the most difficult one. It is a trust aspect which has to be there. You have to start with a decent level of trusting each other, which then can go up or down, depending on the working relationship. What people tend to do is they would err on the side of controlling too much. We’ve had clients suggesting that why don’t we put up a permanent camera on the room where a team is working, for example. Or why wouldn’t we constantly record screens of all those guys, so that we can always see what they’re working on, all these types of control – which are really something that we always discourage to do, or even just not allow to be implemented because in the long run, or even in the mid long run, I would say they always tend to give bad results. People who are over-controlled tend to get over-dependent, for example. It’s perhaps something that you would see in many Western governments, that government employees are over-controlled, so they become over-dependent, over-compliant, and then efficiency goes down. And there’s less room for creativity and less room for making errors, less room for thinking of different solutions yourself.

Lisette: It sounds like a nightmare to me. I’m just thinking, last night I slept horribly. And this morning, I was just not effective. I can only imagine if somebody were to be recording my screen this morning, I probably would’ve been fired. It’s just doing nothing. Finally, I had to go to walk and had a cup of coffee. And then came back. And then I’m able to focus. Maybe tomorrow, I do double time or something. I can imagine any freelancer; any employee would go to this kind of thing. It seems normal that should be allowed, I would think.

Bart: Of course, it’s also not about allowing, but it’s about getting a feeling that most companies today they allow Facebook and YouTube and everything. But nobody then would allow you using Facebook two hours straight.

Lisette: Sure, I wouldn’t allow myself.

Bart: I agree. But if you can walk around through the office and you glance at people’s screens from time to time, not really checking or controlling, but just you get an idea of somebody when they’re working or not very productive, or they’re maybe stuck on the same thing for a long time or not. And this is something that you lose with a remote team. Then again what we offer to compensate this is we have a whole office in Pakistan and Sri Lanka. So even if you hire a single person with us, he would still be sitting in office with many people there. So the social pressure, you can say, is there to work. We do record, obviously, when they enter the office, when they leave the office, when they go for lunch. These are simple things that we record, which I think are rather basic and important. But controlling too much or over-controlling stuff tends to be a mistake that people are making out of fear because they a little bit of this control.

Lisette: And so what do you recommend instead? If you see somebody really controlling, how do you say, hey, relax, just trust. You can’t just stay relaxed and trust the process. They’re like hey, this is my money.

Bart: I agree. That’s where a job gets pretty hard because it’s very emotional. We’re not dealing with tears and rage, whatever, but still it’s like a subjective emotional feeling that the customer has. You should not see it as a problem that you try to solve. It’s really a problem that you should avoid. So that is something that we focus on very much. Before we set up any relationship, the people offshore, obviously, are trained, but also the people locally are trained. All our customers and the set of their employees are obliged to go through a Zeropoint training in remote team management, virtual team management, cultural awareness, for example. We also offer possibility… I strongly suggest our customers to take that possibility to bring over their remote team to Belgium, to Europe, three weeks a year, for example. We urge them to connect on LinkedIn, on Facebook, in chatting. We urge them to send each other congratulations cards for birthdays or births or whatever happening in their personal life as well. So you really get a sense of a belonging. It really becomes a team. And then we tend to avoid these feelings of powerlessness and loss of control.

Lisette: I’m kind of a nut. I’m unusual in that. In my experience, I don’t have to meet the people in order to work well with them. I’ve been working remotely for so long. I’ve been doing this for so many years. But I’m being convinced almost by people that I interview that you have to meet face-to-face. That is just so important. It just builds the connection. And at first I was arguing it. But I’m starting to say that actually, these people have a point. Do you see that there’s such a huge difference when people meet face-to-face?

Bart: I’m not really sure if the face-to-face meeting is important as such. What really is important is that for a long-term professional relationship, you also engage at least a little bit into getting a personal relationship – especially when going offshore. And then the next step that I would argue is that face-to-face meeting really, really helps in getting this personal rapport between different people, between two people. But if you hire a team of seven people offshore, there’s no real need of getting all seven of them shipped over to Belgium for a couple of weeks, than maybe just with the team leader or a project manager would be enough. So face to face, I would say it’s important. It’s a really good medium of setting up trust. But the trust, really, is important thing, not the face-to-face meeting as such.

Lisette: And it sounds like there are a lot of other personal things people can do. Connecting on social media seems like an obvious one. But I really like sending the birthday card and remembering people’s [crosstalk – 00:24:02]. Yeah.

Bart: But there are so many companies today. They have a PlayStation or a Nintendo Wii or something set up where the employees get to play together or they have Mario Kart competition throughout a company or something. Those are things that are so easy to join remotely today, and you should definitely set that up. It’s possible. It’s easy.

Lisette: Yeah, the technology exists. It’s more about the processes, which brings me to my next favorite topic, which is tools and processes. And it sounds like from when we were talking before that you guys know a lot about this.

Bart: Yeah.

Lisette: Is there a particular set of tools that you always recommend? Or does it depend on the client that you’re working with? How do you go about that?

Bart: It definitely depends on the client or on the specific setup. But then you might be surprised that the generic set of tools is pretty similar for any kind of setup out there. If you look at tools, most of them will be about communication. So if I would just list without naming specific tools, a couple of important ones…definitely, there is voice communication. It’s not recommended. It just has to be there. You have to have a good and easy to use voice communication between you and the remote employees.

Lisette: So whether you’re using a phone, Skype, whatever.

Bart: Yeah. In offshore, it’ll most probably be VoIP. So Skype is one example. But there are also hard phones, obviously, which allow you to call remotely for free over VoIP. We go even a step further and every employee add Zeropoints which is then virtually employed by our customers. Every single employee gets a Belgian phone number. So it’s really easy for all customers to just pick up their phone when they’re in car, while they’re jogging, early in the morning, whatever, call his Belgian phone number and they reach their developer directly at their desk at the remote destination – without paying extra, just paying for a local call. So that’s really very important. People are asking about video communication. I think that’s an important one too, but definitely less important than voice. What we tend to realize is that what is even more important than video communication is screen sharing. So it would be my second point. For example, if you imagine two developers working together on something or meeting on something and discussing something, when they’re together locally, physically, you will most often see them sitting together next to each other facing the same screen – as opposed to sitting across each other and looking at each other’s face. So if you translate that into remote dealing, screen sharing is more important, I would argue, than this videoconferencing. I’m not saying videoconferencing is not important, but I want to downplay it a little bit. You don’t have to see each other through webcams or video every day. Whereas calling and hearing each other daily definitely is recommended.

Lisette: And there are now plenty of tools that allow screen sharing and video at the same time, which seems totally ideal then, depending on the situation, of course.

Bart: Yeah, there’s Skype, there’s TeamViewer. But any VNC setup will also work. So there are many options there. Third would be chat. It’s even an advantage. I find it strange that even companies working only locally have only recently found out the benefits of chatting with their employees internally in the same building. If you want to share documents, just quick transfer of document through chat, file transfer, that’s possible. Passwords, email address, anything that is more easily copy-pasted than spelled over the phone should really be there on chat. What we also like about chat is that if you look at voice on one hand and email on the other end, email is asynchronous and voice is synchronous and chat sits somewhere in between. When you’re in a live chat session, it’s definitely synchronous, but it’s also very easy to quickly ask a question on chat and just get an answer an hour later or something. That works just fine as well. So email is there, chat is there, voice is there. And one important thing to realize is that you should use the right tool for the right job.

Lisette: And I assume you help guide the clients for… Given this, you’re probably going to need a chat, and definitely a voice.

Bart: Definitely. We have some common situations laid out where we give examples on the tools usage. Like I said, it’s part of the training that we give all our customers initially before they start working remotely with people. And this is also followed up even monthly in the first few months. Monthly, we follow up the tools usage of our clients.

Lisette: Smart, super smart. It gives a little refresher every month or a review or how’s it going or is it working for you. I can imagine that maybe it’s the perfect tool, but it doesn’t work for them for whatever reason.

Bart: Exactly. And it’s a habit. It really is a habit which has to be inhabited.

Lisette: I can absolutely see that. I think that’s really smart, actually. And what I really like about this – and I didn’t think about it before – is that you’re giving people a Belgian number. And it just makes that one step more seamless. I did this also with my grandmother. I bought a U.S. number for her because she was in the U.S. And she was just somehow intimidated to dial the international number. So I said I’ll give you a U.S. number, and it rings through to my Skype. And then she was able to call and it was no problem at all. She was used to it.

Bart: Definitely. I also find it strange, even though I do feel it myself. If I get a call from an unknown number, if it will be a local number or a foreign number, it does give a different feeling. I guess it’s really because my parents or everybody’s parents always saying don’t stay on the phone too long because it costs so much. And a remote call would be even more expensive and I would be little bit weary of calling. I don’t know. Maybe that’s where it comes from.

Lisette: Yeah, I have to say. No, no, you can’t talk too long. Don’t call the long-distance number. Of course, now it doesn’t matter anymore, but it’s still… But I think there’s more to it than that. There’s a seamlessness that you’re providing that I think with remote working, there’s so much distance and so many ways that any way that you can to bridge that gap seems important. And it’s never the big step. It’s always the little stuff like a Belgian phone number and the right tool.

Bart: We also urge our customers to give the remote employees an email address with their own domain, so that they don’t have to email somebody at Zeropoint.IT, which, of course, is perfectly all right. But they can email somebody with an email address within their own company and their own domain. So that’s another important thing.

Lisette: Right.  All these things to bridge the distance and make people feel a little bit more normal.

Bart: It’s also definitely very important for remote employee to have an account on the local time registration system for example. They should not be using different reporting sets or different reporting routes or whatever, that just is bad. One thing I tend to tell my customers is that they are sitting as far from you as you are sitting from them. So it’s not only hard for you or strange for you or unusual for you; it’s also hard and strange and unusual for the people sitting offshore. And it’s even quite easy to bridge, but you have to bridge it. You have to make effort there.

Lisette: Right. And is there any difficulty with the time zone? It seems like such a simple thing. It’s always just add two hours or whatever. But it seems like time zone is so hard somehow.

Bart: Yeah. We realize that in the beginning, people are sometimes confused. It’s a little bit harder. But really, after a week or two weeks working with the same people remotely, it’s also pretty seamless. I feel that it’s 10 a.m. in Belgium and I know my guys in Pakistan will be having lunch. But I don’t have to consciously add these free hours. It’s just 10 a.m. It’s lunch time there. So it tends to get really easy. After a while, it’s no problem at all anymore.

Lisette: So it’s hard in the beginning and then you…

Bart: Yeah. What we do in remote offices, we obviously have clocks with a Belgium time up against the wall.

Lisette: Smart. One thing that I want to ask: you mentioned in the beginning about personality and the soft skills that you look for. And I’m curious. Are there certain personality traits that you find that don’t work well with the situation? Is there a type of person that just shouldn’t work remotely?

Bart: The short answer is yes. Of course, it’s something that can be learnt. You could argue that anybody can learn it. But for some people, it’s just easier to flow into this remote working situation than for others. In terms of personality, what we do at Zeropoint is everybody we interview gets to do a personality test and the tasks preferences test as well. So we look at experience. We look at technical background, personality and task preference. So these four together form the profile of a person.

Lisette: Interesting. What kind of task preferences would be a red flag for you, that this person isn’t going to work? I’m sure it differs in every situation. But I don’t know if there’s something general.

Bart: Yeah. The task preference is not so much about can he work offshore or not. It’s really more is he a fit for this specific job or not. Some jobs require you to be more learning towards developing stuff and others more towards reporting stuff. Some require you to be very innovative and creative. Others require you to be able to follow rules and structures and just become much faster same thing after a while. So it’s not so much about being able to work offshore or not. It’s more about is this person’s specific match, because in the end, we’re a recruitment agency. We look for the perfect match for your job. If you look at personality, however, then there are some red flags.

Lisette: Can you tell me what some of those are? What would you look for?

Bart: For example, over-dependability. If you’re really dependent on quick and frequent feedback…you have to be able to work autonomously more than local employees… That’s maybe another personality aspect. But communication has to come natural to you. It should not be a barrier for you to talk to somebody that you don’t really know that well, often even in a different language. It’s important that you are person-oriented. I’m not a psychologist or anything, but I’ve read a lot about it. And people tend to be either task-oriented or people-oriented. And in a remote working relationship, people-orientation is really important.

Lisette: Right. I noticed that too when I was interviewing people for Happy Melly. You just get a sense for, oh, this person is going to be reaching out. There’s one person, and immediately, she was very reaching out. In fact, on the first day, she offered to call every single facilitator that we had. And I thought, “Oh my God! I would never do that.” I would hate to be on the phone like that. She was like, “Oh, do you want me to call?” No problem. She was serious. You thought, okay, I get it. That’s the person who’s going to reach out enough.

Bart: Yeah, that’s important because you have to trust the other person asking you questions when something is unclear. For example, there are many reasons that somebody should report to you or take initiative there. So there are definitely some personality traits which are more favorable than others.

Lisette: Right. Of course, everything can be learned and everybody has a shot. If you really want to do it, I would think you have a shot. It’s always interesting from an HR perspective. When you’re interviewing people, what are the red flags or things that stand out? I find that very interesting. And it’s smart to do a personality test and a task-oriented test. It’s really wise.

Bart: And we put a lot of emphasis on that. It’s really a very, very important part of a recruitment process.

Lisette: Yeah, and I like that because it sounds like you really do want the best match and to have those kind of things that stand out. If somebody needs a really free creative spirit, then it’s one thing. And if they need somebody who’s really tuck, tuck, tuck, getting your tasks done, it’s another thing.

Bart: I’m very happy that you’ve mentioned that because it’s a tagline we’re using: the perfect person for the perfect job. It’s something we have the luxury of being able to offer because in Pakistan and Sri Lanka, there are just so many people, such good education, and unfortunately, a slow economy. So there is availability of talent, which is crazy. There are so many people there looking for a job who are amazingly talented, well-educated, and really willing to work very, very hard. And for us, it’s really simple. If I can share some numbers, if we put out a vacancy, like a job for one of our customers, depending on the sector, of course, we get between 40 and 60 applicants within one week. And then you get quality through quantity, I would say. It gets really, really easy finding the perfect match for the job in question.

Lisette: Right. The statistics game as a client, that’s really in your favor.

Bart: Yeah, most definitely. That’s also why we’re reaching out to those regions as opposed to some of the closer regions in Eastern Europe because many of these countries in Eastern Europe have even fewer inhabitants than even Flanders. So that also means fewer universities and fewer people available on the job market.

Lisette: Right, I love it. In terms of just pure statistics, your chances as a company, if you want to get some work done, you’re going to find really a star, for sure – especially if you know the people and you’re getting them screened, I love it. One last question, which is if we want to learn more, or if they want your company to hire for their next big project, what’s the best way of finding you guys and getting in touch with you?

Bart: We tend to be pretty easily findable online. Zeropoint.it is our website. There’s also Zeropoint.be. We are based in Belgium. We’re on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn. You can even Google my name, which is Bart Van Loon. I’m really easy to find and contact online. So you’re very welcome. We have a forum on the website. You can email me. I’ll be very, very happy to help you.

Lisette: Great. I assume given that you’re offshoring, finding you online wouldn’t be an issue. But I always like to ask the question so that I know exactly which channel people can go through. And then I can put it in show notes as well.

Bart: Bart@zeropoint.it is my email address.

Lisette: Great. I really appreciate your time today. I learned some new things and I’m looking forward to writing this up, and especially adding some of these quotes in the book. The problem is that you want to avoid problems, not solve them. That was a great quote. There are a few gems in there. I can’t wait to bring it up.

Bart: Yeah. It is important because it all has to do with trust. And trust is something you should retain and not something you should repair.

Lisette: Ah, yet another one. I love it. All right, we’ll end here. Thanks so much. And until next time, everybody, be powerful.

 

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