“Cross-pollination breeds the best innovations”

Talent sourcing consultant Merle Vogels is searching for the best of the best in their fields. The ones ideally suited for a job at TNO. He gives them the exact push they need to apply for a job here. Then, Merle’s work is done, and the applicant’s adventure begins.

“If an application process doesn’t automatically yield the perfect candidates, I search for them as a talent sourcing consultant. My search might fill a role at any of the nine TNO research areas, or one of the supporting staff units. So, I could be looking for the right chemist or health scientist one day, and the right econometrist or IT specialist the next day.”

Freedom to explore

“I approach most candidates through LinkedIn. When I say I’m looking for someone for a role at TNO, they are often pleasantly surprised. TNO is quite a big name in the scientific world. I’ve often said that TNO’s reputation practically does half of my work for me.

My conversation with potential candidates is as open as it can be. I won’t give a sales pitch. I lay all the pros and cons honestly on the table. For example, at TNO, you have a lot of opportunities to set your own course and determine how you want to grow in your field. If you show initiative, the possibilities are almost endless. But you can sometimes get a little lost in all the opportunities.”

The rewards of hard work

“I enjoy recruiting for all nine TNO focus areas. I get to interact with many different departments and with research managers who each have their own style and approach. Conversations with candidates are always fascinating. I like immersing myself in worlds I don’t know, or don’t know well enough.

To me, an interview is successful if I detect that the candidate is feeling positive about starting the application process. And of course, if the enthusiasm is mutual. Afterwards, when I hear that the candidate has actually been hired and now enjoys working at TNO, that’s of course especially rewarding. Particularly because it’s such hard work to bring in the exact type of people that TNO needs.”

Cross-pollination creates excellence

“Everyone who works at TNO has one thing in common: they are intrinsically motivated. So that’s what I look for when I speak with candidates. Usually, I notice it quickly. Like in the passionate, proud way they talk about their work. They like it when I show interest as an outsider. Conversely, they want me to tell them whether TNO is the right fit with their vision of success in their field and their plans for growth. That’s when I tell them about how many opportunities TNO offers.

Another thing that makes TNO unique is the chance to work on a variety of projects. It’s not four years of work on a single topic, like PhD research. And it’s not about being hounded by targets and margins, like in the business world. A final key TNO characteristic is the cross-pollination that happens when different disciplines come together for projects. It results in the best innovations.”

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