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UKRAINE: Rob van Elburg Interview with a Tech Headhunter from VAN ELBURG NOTTÉ

Rob van Elburg

Co-owner VAN ELBURG NOTTÉ, Amsterdam, The Netherlands.

Global Executive Top Search with more than 20 years in tech talent search.

Note from Collabwith: As we host a digital platform for startups, academics and other innovation professionals to connect and collaborate, we have some of an incredible Ukrainian innovation ecosystem inside Collabwith. We contacted them to know how they are faring and if we could help. Collabwith aims to fight disinformation, and bring the stories directly from the startups, and academics in Ukraine and endeavour to help their country and Europe.


As headhunter, you were already the bridge between Ukrainian talent and the Dutch organizations. How have these activities changed with the war?

1st of all, I can’t even express myself how much it hurts to see network & friends going to war. I’m active in Ukraine since 2005, and noticed the upcoming of the very smart Tech/HR/Recruitment ecosystem and now complete organizations are at war. And that in just 3 weeks. I’m in shock. So to all Ukraine people.

Safety first. You are welcome in The Netherlands. To stay, but also to work. Everything changed! I’ven so many connections in Ukraine and every day I hear and read the stories. We help wherever we can. With relocation, with housing, with funding, with event participation and also with doing business as much as we can.

How are you supporting the talent and business ecosystem in Ukraine from the Netherlands?

My job is to relocate people to the Netherlands, to do a permanent, onsite, job here (highly skilled migrants). I always start my search in Ukraine, simple, because the smartest people are here and mostly smooth & successful relocations as well. My job is to relocate people to the Netherlands, to do a permanent, onsite, job here (highly skilled migrants). We started here in 2005. All together, we relocated 250+ highly skilled migrants from Ukraine. Beside sourcing, we always post our global jobs via An Ukraine job board for people willing to relocate.

For sure, we’ll continue with this, even if there are delays. Partners in the good and the bad! I used to go to Recruitment & HR Events in Ukraine as a speaker or teacher. Such an impressive ecosystem. The IT sector is booming. Over 33,000 IT graduates a year. So the Recruitment & HR part is overwhelming as well. Very well-educated, smart and willing to learn. The last years we noticed in NL as well. So many Ukraine Recruiters & HR entered the market here as a highly skilled migrant. And all successful. Now…complete organizations are gone and at war. It’s a nightmare!

From your perspective, how can business organizations support to Ukrainian talent and business?

I am in daily contact with my network. What people now mainly ask for is to stay in touch and to pay any invoices as soon as possible. The situation changes daily. Nearly everyone is currently working to be safe, support the family, support the military, and keep the business afloat. Now they mostly still operate from Lviv, but things are starting to rumble there as well. We offer a workplace and hospitality to our network if you want to leave the Ukraine.

Many of our Ukraine contacts are now also in Poland, Romania and Moldova and do not want to go further to the Netherlands or the like. We try to help there too. Network that is still at the front mainly asks whether funds can be set up for ammunition. That tears me apart the most, apart from the terrible images of war. That I see daily posts from the nicest and smartest people working on molotov cocktails and funds for guns & bullets. So unrealistic and absurd, but this is the hard reality.

As you are very hands-on now bringing Ukrainian talent to the Netherlands. What kind of personal and professional stories are impacting you the most? What are you feeling?

Please have a look on Roman Artiukh’s profile “Hello Recruiters, don’t call me for the next Node JS job. I have to clean the house first!” I can tell you 100 many stories about successful relocations. Even more about how successful Ukraine is in the war for talent. Now we are talking about an actual, real, horrible war. Talent is fighting. Talent is dying. So all my feelings of love and peace are with the people in the Ukraine.

Are you finding real support from international forces and humanitarian help? How do you get this support (if any)?

We can’t give a non -flight zone. That’s most wanted. Besides that, we do everything we can to help. I’m touched by the story that the Amsterdam Russian Orthodox Church, says farewell….to the Russian Orthodox Church! The Patriarch is pro-invasion and in Amsterdam the Church is not. Amsterdam has a history in being smart with religion. So Spinoza can be proud here. We all stand by Ukraine! But it’s hard to see that we can’t give what they want the most…the non-flight zone.

What is the priority now for Ukraine, from your perspective?

It’s an outrageous mix to stay alive, to support family, to engage with the army and to run a business. This is happening to all Ukraine people at the moment. Please support at any stage and where ever you can. Pay bills asap from business perspective! Talk with all individuals how to support.  Already the notice is a great help. History tells that’s stories like this always ends with the dictator being killed. So hopefully we can move asap here, I guess that’s the main priority for Ukraine.

Contact Rob van Elburg directly with inquiries via email, or on linkedin.


20+ years top level experience. The perfect match is always a goal. I love to build strong teams with impact. Expert in Tech. C-level partner. Great results in Fintech, E-commerce, Digital transformation & SaaS scale-up.

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