How Bol.com recruits the right talent in a fast changing organization

Blog
22 June, 2017

 

Bol.com, “the store of all of us”, has grown rapidly. Over the last ten years, the company has grown more than tenfold. What does this mean for recruiting new colleagues and how do you make sure that you hire future-minded people? Jaap Rip – Manager Talent Acquisition at Bol.com – has shared some insights in how they deal with those challenges, during the Vlerick HR Day in Ghent. In this blog we will share the highlights of his talk with you.

Read in: Nederlands

Rapid growth

In 2007, only 138 people were working at Bol.com and this number has risen to 1300 today – all employees with a higher education or university degree, because the warehousing branch is being outsourced. The danger of such rapid growth is that you become a very complex company, therefore Bol.com tries to keep everything as simple as possible using its own HR model. This means:

  • Managers themselves are responsible for the talent management of their people;
  • Managers get help from the community manager / recruiter;
  • The HR adviser supports the manager in organization and development of employees.

The feeling of Bol.com

Hire for culture is important for Bol.com, this video (in Dutch) gives an idea of the culture and ambience of the company:

Foundation for talent acquisition

Bol’s foundation for talent acquisition consists of the following components:

  • Focus on search: “We know who fits Bol.com“. By approaching candidates themselves and steering for as few applications as possible, only a few candidates have to be rejected relatively speaking.
  • Focus on candidate experience: this is crucial as candidates are also customers. 
  • The Employer Value Proposition (EVP) starts internally: why do employees at Bol.com work and why are they happy in their role? With this knowledge the right people can be approached. 
  • The recruiter is also the community manager.
  • Quality of hire is key: speed and number are subordinate to a good fit with Bol.com.

Quality of hire

To recruit future-minded people, Bol.com has a strong focus on the quality of hire. What does this mean exactly?

Bol.com is looking for people who:

  • Want to contribute instead of gain knowledge only
  • Are professionally and intrinsically motivated
  • Are interested in figuring out what is really is about 


These are generally people who:

  • Are able to deal with autonomy
  • Think a hierarchical position is not that important 
  • Are highly educated


Expectation management is also important. Bol.com is clear about what it has to offer its employees and what not. For example, at Bol.com everyone works in teams, so working from home is not common. However, you become part of an innovative company with a clear purpose and a solid onboarding program.

Career site is key

The career site is the most important recruitment tool. Every candidate applies via the website and everything is measured so that the right channels can be used to approach future candidates. In addition, the site is also a selection tool: it shows what kind of colleagues work at the company and why those colleagues are successful.

Do you want to know more about Bol’s career site? Then have a look at the case.