Meet the Branch Manager - Katja Heurkens-Grunewald

We have shared a lot with you about our company, our events, the Netherlands as a country and their traditions. We feel like it is high time you got acquainted with some of our colleagues. This blog will give you more insight into the life of a recruitment professional, the challenges they face, their most memorable moments and their guilty pleasures. This week we will introduce the Branch Manager of our office in The Hague, Katja Heurkens-Grunewald. Enjoy!

1. How did you end up in recruitment?

As a matter of fact I was looking for a job myself. I had a great meeting with a recruiter at the The Hague office. At the end of our intake interview she said that there was a vacancy in their Rotterdam team. I was immediately interested even though I had never thought of going into recruitment until that point. After my interview in Rotterdam and meeting the team I started in March 2006.

2. What are the most/least enjoyable aspects of recruiting?

I really like and enjoy recruiting and my job. Supporting both our clients and our candidates in finding the right match remains a rewarding and challenging task. Being able to have happy faces after a successful match I will never get tired of. Unfortunately we cannot help every single time which is of course inherent to recruitment. Those are the least enjoyable moments in my work.

3. What is the biggest challenge of the job?

The biggest challenge, yet also the essence and joy of recruiting, is to not only match hard skills like experience and language skills but also soft skills like competences, values and especially personality. For a good fit in the long run it is essential that a candidate fits within the company and team culture. Linking those less tangible aspects is always challenging but also makes the job varied and exciting.

4. What has been your most memorable moment in the job?

To be honest, there have been many. I remember recruiting for a very specific and difficult job profile, almost a needle in a haystack. It was a very lengthy and time-intensive recruitment process whereby I have sought for the right candidate through several channels. It was intensely rewarding when I eventually found the right candidate for my client. At the same time I recall a meeting with a candidate who had just moved from the other side of the world to the Netherlands. She was terribly home-sick and burst into tears during our meeting. I hugged her and we ended up talking more about personal things than what her career goals were. This moment still sticks to my memory just as much. It is exactly that combination that makes my job so enjoyable.

5. What is the most common mistake you see candidates making, apart from the obvious typos?

It is very important to be transparent at all times. I understand that it might feel daunting to be honest about the fact that you have several applications going on. You want to come across as motivated for this specific job not wanting to jeopardize this particular candidacy. But at all times it is of importance to be transparent from the word go. This will enable us to help a candidate to the best of our abilities. We want to make it work together.

6. If you were to have a job outside an office environment, what would be your dream job?

That’s a good one. At the risk of sounding cheesy, but I think I am very lucky in that I already found a job I really love doing. But if I had to choose I would like to run a literary café. It would have several cozy rooms with different moods to them that are all full of books where everyone can read or discuss books while enjoying yummy coffee creations.

7. What's your guilty pleasure?

Haha, well I am a big fan of the Minions. I love their voices and funny language. Maybe also because I feel so akin to them since they lack height…just like me.

Quickfire questions

Q: Bratwurst or Kroket?

A: Bratwurst natürlich!

Q: Sun or snow?

A: Sun! I am a warmblooded person :)

Q: Game of Thrones or House of Cards?

A: Definitely House of Cards!

Q: The best trip you ever took with Undutchables?

A: They were all fabulous in their own right. But Kitzbühel was awesome (and yes, it was in the snow but we also had a lot of sun ;-))


In recruiting, there are no good or bad experiences - just learning experiences!

Katja Heurkens-Grunewald
Work experience
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