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Taco van der Louw, FreshRecruitment:

“Fresh produce companies should look outside the sector for candidates more often”

The labour market in the fresh produce sector is currently characterised by an enormous scarcity. “There’s an enormous amount of vacancies, many people dare to take the step to another employer again and January is always a busy period in that respect. It’s sometimes even a bit like the Wild West. The economy is recovering, supermarkets are making their fresh produce departments into spearheads, and fresh produce companies are hitching rides on that. More people are needed within the commercial companies, but in some cases that also requires a different type of employee, one who has worked in retail. And it’s difficult to fill these vacancies,” says Taco van der Louw from FreshRecruitment. In this interview, he presents a solution to this shortage.

“It would be good if companies looked at candidates from outside the fresh produce sector a bit more often. The fresh produce sector is very hip, and there are many capable candidates from outside the sector who want to learn this trade, but many fresh produce companies don’t see this yet. They’re often quite reserved against candidates from outside the sector, because these don’t know the fresh produce trade. Of course the fresh produce sector has very specific requirements, but these can also be learned, and such candidates have their own know-how. I think these candidates would be a solution for many companies. Vacancies are now not filled properly, and someone is often appointed internally, who doesn’t always have the required level for the vacancy.”

Foreign companies are also drawing on Dutch staff, Taco has noticed. “In recent months, various Spanish companies, for example, have asked if I had Dutch workers for them. People appreciate the trade mindset, attitude to work and knowledge of languages of the Dutch. Not everyone is well-suited to a job abroad due their private situation, but for others it offers a nice experience, and these are often not the worst places to work.”

“Large companies often have HRM managers, but if they can’t fill a vacancy, they have to find help externally. We have a 100% quality guarantee,” Taco says enthusiastically. Last year he started as a fresh produce specialist within FreshRecruitment after a career of more than 20 years in the international fresh produce sector. “The people working for FreshRecruitment all have work experience within their own field, and that is much appreciated by companies. We know the world of our customers, and that makes it easier to have a click with candidates and customers. We as independent entrepreneurs within FreshRecruitment have to fend for ourselves. Customers often appreciate that. We flexibly look for solutions, and can quickly switch gears because of that. We work with a limited group of customers, and we are well-acquainted with the culture of their company.”

FreshRecruitment's working method is that first the vacancy is figured out and a labour market communication plan is drawn up. The company then searches within their own network and social media to find the right candidate. With the aid of personal interviews and an assessment, the selection can take place. “I want to talk to the manager and direct colleagues in any case, to see if the candidate fits the company. I also often do a reference check,” Taco says. “Of course you want to find a placement for people, but you want to do it in such a way both candidate and customer are satisfied.”

For more information:
Taco van der Louw
Mob: +31 (0)6 535 262 46

Publication date: 1/15/2018



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