"Those expecting fancy job titles and glitzy statements will not immediately feel at home here."

Aug 17, 2023

Employer in the spotlight: ATS Group

Who says ATS, says top technical talent. ATS Group oversees 25 companies and has some 1,200 specialists working in Belgium. The technology group focuses on electrical & automation, green energy, mechatronics, HVAC & energy solutions and distribution. Each company has its own family character and falls under the wings of a strong, stable group with a distinctive down-to-earth vision. Fodder for technical specialists... with a down-to-earth outlook, that is. ATS Group is the next employer we sit down with following our 5th anniversary.

At the table: Pascal Vanhoecke: HR Director, Ewout Goedgezelschap: Technical Recruiter, Hendrik Aelbrecht: Co-CEO.

What is the biggest challenge in the labour market for you, apart from the tightness?

Hendrik Aelbrecht: "Besides technical skills, what we look for above all is down-to-earthness in our people. We have a mentality of doing, working together and being service-oriented. This is difficult to reconcile with glamour, prestige and ego. We see that many companies' recruitment strategies mainly involve high-profile marketing campaigns. Candidates often feel attracted by these, but we also regularly find that after an initial introduction, sometimes after an initial employment, they come back from a barren journey. The fine words sometimes turn out to mask a different reality. This worries us, because it undermines the credibility of how employers present themselves and creates distrust among candidates. And let credibility be a value that is high on the agenda at ATS.

"We have a mindset of doing, working together and being service-oriented. That is hard to reconcile with glamour, prestige and ego."

How do you see yourselves as employers?

Pascal Vanhoecke: "Our technicality sets us apart in the market. We bet on our reputation rather than sounding slogans. Along with our unique culture, we want to attract people who come to work here because of the technical challenges. Marketing pitches don't work with the type of candidates we are looking for anyway. We are looking for people who are attracted by our job pride. Sincerity, that's what we want to radiate and attract."

"Marketing pitches don't work with the type of candidates we are looking for anyway."

What should candidates expect who knock on the door here?

Ewout Goedgezelschap: "Here, it is not about individual goals. Working together is higher on the agenda here than making a career. Someone who knocks on our door with a flashy career plan may well be left hungry for the first period. Anyone expecting a glitzy work environment, bold statements and fancy job titles will not immediately feel at home here. No, we challenge people technically, we challenge them personally. So that they are strong in any type of project in the future. Here, we shape people 100%. We include them in our thought processes, in our vision, in our ethics. Only when you understand every detail, every nuance and every logic can you appreciate and understand the entire process. From this angle, our colleagues work indirectly, but very definitely, on their market value."

"Let credibility be precisely a value that is high on the agenda at ATS."

How does CTRL-F play into this?

Pascal Vanhoecke: "CTRL-F feels our culture well. We know that can be a bit of a test at times, but you have our DNA in your fingers. Partners working with us have to have an absolute focus on the long term. CTRL-F shares that same ethos with us."
"It starts with knowing candidates well. Only then can you link them to our corporate culture. That you build a close relationship with your candidates, we notice in your comprehensive presentations and screening reports."

"That you build a close relationship with your candidates, we notice in your elaborate performances."

Knowing each other well is indeed where it starts

Ewout Goedgezelschap: "And the candidates themselves appreciate that too. They themselves say they feel good about the way they are guided by CTRL-F. You guide them throughout the process and give them support to make the best choices. They appreciate the time you set aside for them and the opportunities you present them with."

"Candidates you suggest, we can almost as good as employ. It simplifies the selection for us and we can get to the core more quickly. What do they expect with us, what do they grow from, in what role will they blossom with us? And that is the best basis for a good start."