Though Panda International’s journey began over 10 years ago, Co-Founder and COO Daisy Tazelaar is no stranger to the recruitment industry.
Having worked in recruitment for 16 years, Daisy has seen first-hand the changes in the industry, particularly during the pandemic, which have drastically shifted the way in which recruitment agencies and the wider workforce operate.
But what ideas were behind the inception of Panda, what does the future hold, and why has there never been a better time to join the Panda International team?
Here’s what Daisy had to say.
Take us back to when you founded Panda International. What took you to that place of starting a business?
Before starting Panda with Co-Founder Jay Freeman ten years ago, Daisy worked in an extremely driven and high-quality recruitment business for four and a half years.
Being able to help with the set-up stage in Brussels as a trainee before moving up through the ranks and returning to Amsterdam was a great experience for Daisy and an indication of the growth opportunities within recruitment.
Though she loved her job, she also wanted to focus more on clients and candidates rather than the ‘hit-and-run’ style of business.
“I was missing the focus on partnership, the long-term collaborations, the human aspect in doing business.”
Because Daisy’s earlier career in recruitment had allowed her the opportunity to focus on building partnerships, she knew that this was what she wanted to focus on when deciding to set up her own business.
Daisy knew that Jay was the perfect partner – extremely driven, focused on growth, knowledgeable, and with amazing values behind him.
With both coming from the same school of thought – driven, focused, and value-led – setting up Panda made sense, as did the robust market of the life sciences industry.
Over the last 10 years, what would you say have been your personal drivers?
“Growth and impact are my main drivers.”
Growth on different levels has driven Daisy throughout her journey at Panda, such as the personal growth from the satisfaction of seeing the business grow and helping other businesses to grow.
“When you set up a business, you do it for different reasons, but one is that you can guide the way and also impact people’s lives – that’s because we believe that we are extremely good at recruitment. We have a lot of impact on our clients’ and candidates’ lives.”
For Daisy, much of the importance of having the right job comes down to the satisfaction, peace of mind, and happiness that it can provide.
Additionally, there is the growth potential with stakeholders, particularly Panda employees.
“People come into our business with no experience, and you can literally see that we change their lives – they do it themselves, but we give them the platform to change their lives from a growth perspective, a financial perspective, and to achieve the things they never thought they could achieve.”
What is one of your greatest learning experiences from the last 10 years?
“I learned that you always need to keep on growing, educating yourself, be open and flexible.”
A flexible mindset, according to Daisy, helped Panda adapt quickly during the most tumultuous period of the pandemic when the way of doing business completely changed.
“It meant that our business adapted quickly, and it wasn’t seen as a negative, it was seen as an opportunity.”
When you’re looking to attract talent into the business, what are the main things you look for, and what advice would you give your younger self when entering the world of recruitment?
“Follow your instincts.”
Since beginning in recruitment, Daisy has trusted her gut instincts, which lead to the creation of Panda with Jay.
When it comes to attracting talent, though, Daisy believes that value alignment is the critical element for success, and for the business to thrive.
“If the values of the company and the individuals align, that is always a good hire.”
What message would you give those individuals who are new to recruitment?
Jay’s impact on the business is the level of innovation, Daisy says, which means that for individuals looking to work for an innovative business where everything is possible (and there is no ceiling), you’re supported by your colleagues and everyone top-down and bottom-up, Panda is for you.
There is also the clear structure regarding learning and development that Panda prides itself on, but primarily, Daisy emphasises the role of having big goals.
“Think big, because it’s possible!”
How do you feel over the last 16 years, in your own personal experience, the recruitment sector has changed?
Daisy gives some advice for businesses looking for their ideal candidates:
“The market has never been as tight as it is now. Young people have a lot of demands, so as a client it’s important that people understand why they should join you – what’s in it for them?”
Panda’s approach to recruitment, as described by Daisy, is to look for the people that fit the organisation but also to make sure and clear that people understand Panda’s proposition.
“It’s no longer us picking them, they also need to pick us.”
This is an area of recruitment that Daisy believes has changed the most – the understanding that it’s more mutual, which is a very good evolution because as a company, it means you keep evolving.
“Those who stand still won’t always have the best people working for them because the great people won’t find them.”
Candidates have always been important to Panda, even long before the market demanded the change, in the same way that clients, candidates, and employees are all equally important.
Diversity and inclusion are also important to Panda’s values.
“We have 8 nationalities, 50/50 split between male and female. It never matters to us where someone comes from because it’s always about who’s got talent. That’s how you create a dynamic workforce because what they do have in common are their values and ambitions.”
Moving forwards, where do you see recruitment going and where do you see Panda going?
With everything happening in the world, talent is scarce, so businesses will be looking to recruitment agencies that recognise where talent is and how to attract them, alongside supporting and educating them with the onboarding and retention of candidates.
“We are a quality business that doesn’t want to just ‘place’ candidates. By focusing on partnership – attraction, onboarding, retention of talent – we can see ourselves as that full partner for clients and candidates.”
Daisy believes that Panda’s exponential growth over the last few years will continue on its upward trajectory as Panda continues to innovate and keep on top of talent and keep their network big.
Any closing comments?
“Enjoy it. Focus on the good!”
Life is about mindset, Daisy says.
“For example, as a single mum, loads of people tell me ‘That must be hard!’ but it’s not. I focus on what is amazing… that little baby! Do I sleep less than before? Yes. Is that hard? No.”
It’s the same with talent – Panda is a company that Daisy truly believes can give everything to people… growth, camaraderie, vision, making dreams come true.
“Focus on the good because I believe that if your mind is focusing on yourself, taking control, focusing on what is in front of you… then why not take it?”
Do you want to be a part of the Panda International team? Take a look at our vacancies and start your bespoke career path today.