Hard work pays off: how Davor turned his warehouse job into a recruitment agency
Fast forward 8 years. Davor is Head of Recruitment at Work in Holland and owns a recruitment company on the side. He speaks several languages on an advanced level and has a leading role within the Work in Holland organization. If that’s not an example of hard work, we don’t know what else would be!
His journey is one of the books. The way Davor developed himself into an entrepreneur is an inspiring story. Especially for international workers that are motivated to explore a new life in The Netherlands.
Let’s start at the beginning. What made you leave Croatia eight years ago?
“A career in Croatia is completely different than one in Western Europe. I have degrees in electromechanics and audiovisual technology and was working for a medical company. The job was okay, but it is quite difficult to move up within the corporate system of Croatia. At some point I realized that I was not gonna grow or be able to move up, so I started applying for jobs abroad.”
How did you end up in The Netherlands?
“Honestly I was just applying for jobs anywhere. Belgium, Denmark, Sweden, The Netherlands. Labourlink was the first company that I heard from. I confirmed straight away that I was coming, I packed my things and I left.”
What were your first years in The Netherlands like?
“I worked at Schiphol where I was doing logistics in a warehouse. Back then the hours were quite long and it was physically challenging. I was just focused on working hard and to really make something out of my new life here. The work itself was not the challenging part, though. It was learning the language.”
But as an international it is not necessary to speak Dutch.
“Sure, but my English was not very good either. And besides, I wanted to learn the Dutch language. With my first salary I went to the bookstory and I bought a Jip en Janneke book. Every day that I commuted to work I used my time to learn the language. To this day I still have the book.”
So how did you develop your language skills?
“While I was working at Schiphol I got to work with a lot of people from the United Kingdom. During my working hours I learned to speak English and in my spare time I focused on Dutch. At some point I got moved to another department within Schiphol, where a lot of Polish people were working. They are amazing people and I really enjoyed working with them, but they only spoke Dutch! It was tough, but it forced me to level up my Dutch language skills.”
You are not working at Schiphol anymore. How did you transition from a logistics company to becoming a company owner?
“About 5 years ago I was approached by Nigel, the owner of Labourlink. He proposed the idea of me starting my own company, focussing on recruiting Croatian workers for jobs here in The Netherlands. I did have to invest some money. At the time it was almost half of my salary, so it was challenging.
Everyone around me told me not to do it and that it would fail. But then again, what was the risk? So I kept working at Schiphol every day till 13.30, went home for a shower and then continued my recruitment work until late in the evening.”
Sounds tough, how did you keep up?
“It was okay. The most challenging part I had already passed. I was used to physical work combined with learning two languages I knew nothing about. And honestly, recruiting people and trying to reach new candidates through advertisements is a lot of fun. I am really enjoying it. At the moment I am not only spearheading my own company, but also actively participating within Work in Holland to cultivate an enhanced work environment and to refine operational processes. My central objective centers around propelling the organization I am engaged with, along with its committed staff, to achieve a heightened level of excellence.''