#ProudConnector Unveiled: Stéphanie Verhaegen | Business Development Manager
What did you do before you started at YouConnect?
I've actually done several things in my professional career ... I started in 2009 as an attorney in the commercial and litigation department at Eubelius, where I assisted clients in litigation and advisory work in different areas of commercial law. In 2014, I moved to Delhaize, where I joined the Belgian Legal team as a legal counsel – I mainly worked on contracts and e-commerce. After Delhaize, I had my first experience as a legal recruiter before joining Alpro, where I worked as a legal counsel at the company’s head office. However, my passion for legal recruitment turned out to be too strong, and since June 2018, I’ve been part of YouConnect.
What attracted you to your role within YouConnect?
For me, the main attraction is being a trusted partner to your clients (law firms and companies) in their search for legal talent, and equally to the candidates (lawyers, legal counsels and paralegals) in the development of their professional careers. Based on my expertise, I can offer added value for both.
What do you think are the most important skills a recruitment consultant should have?
Enthusiasm. Accuracy. Ability to listen. Knowledge of the sector.
What keeps you motivated every day?
The knowledge that I can use my enthusiasm and positive energy for the benefit of others, namely our clients and the candidates.
What makes YouConnect so unique as a company?
The horizontal structure, for one thing – the fact that there’s room for a lot of initiative and self-management. For example, after starting as a legal recruiter on permanent vacancies, I went on to add legal interim management to my expertise and then business development. Also, in collaboration with Vlerick, I was involved in our interesting study of the legal market in Belgium. Another thing at YouConnect is that the bar of quality is set high and we have a very distinctive signature: the dedication and drive of every single one of us and our personal follow-up.
What kind of networker are you?
I tend to start from a circle of people I know quite well (ex-colleagues, former fellow students, friends and acquaintances), but I can also make new contacts fairly easily. That’s not to say that I would spend the evening attempting to talk to every attendee at an event. I much prefer longer, less hurried conversations with a limited number of people.
Which location do you prefer to work in and why?
At the moment, I’m really enjoying being in our new office in Brussels: the beautiful setting keeps you focused, and I’m hooked on our Monday afternoon yoga classes!
Which do you think is the best interview question for obtaining the most important input?
On a scale of one to ten, how high or low would you score the vacancy? This is particularly revealing in the context of a more advanced selection process.
Are you an early bird or a night owl?
Both. I have quite a lot of energy.
What was your last online purchase?
What's your favourite Eurovision song?
Waterloo - ABBA. It was long before my time, but I love that kind of music. There must be an old glam rocker somewhere deep inside my soul.
What would you like to spend more time on?
Reading books. I just started "The Working Memory Advantage" by Tracey and Ross Alloway. It’s absolutely fascinating. I love reading books about things like that.
What's your favourite ice cream flavour?
It has to be vanilla... When I was younger, I always asked for it in a cone. Nowadays, in a restaurant, I go for the more elaborate versions.
Do you hold on to certain rituals? What are they?
No, I don’t.
Which celebrity would you like to interview?
Leonardo DiCaprio, mainly because of his commitment to the climate. I’d be extremely interested in discussing ecology and sustainability with him, among other things.
What easily upsets you?
Malicious comments on social media and news sites. I respect the right to freedom of speech. But – in my opinion – many of the harsh and hurtful comments that are made so often, are unnecessary, unfair, and in many cases, completely unfounded. It goes against my positive mindset. I try to stop myself from reading them, but I can't help getting drawn in. Another thing that sometimes annoys me is “DT” spelling errors [specific type of Dutch language spelling mistakes].
Would you rather cook your own meals or order food?
Most of the times, I like to cook my own meals, but every now and then we have something delivered. We also like to eat out. During the corona lockdown, I discovered Belgian suppliers of food and cooking boxes. It's super nice to be able to put new dishes on the table every evening.
When you were a child, what did you want to be when you grew up?
A lawyer, because of the TV series "Recht op recht" and "Ally McBeal". I also started as a lawyer. I did it for five years and really enjoyed it.
What makes you happy?
When my son gets very happy about things. There’s so much of the world I wouldn't see without him. For example, an ant walking along the sidewalk and getting a warm hello from him.
Suppose you woke up tomorrow with a fantastic new quality or skill, what would that be?
I sing a lot, but I’m out of tune most of the time, apparently... So a talent for singing would be welcome, especially by the people I live and work with.
Do you like music? If so, what's your all-time favourite song or tune?
Yes, I do, and it’s very difficult to choose because it depends on my mood. But Glycerine by Bush is always a good choice.
What was your last holiday destination?
We went on a shortski break with our friends to Wengen, where we stayed in a fantastic hotel that I hope I can visit again in better times.
Which three words best describe you?
Small. Positive. Cheerful.
What's your favourite part of the day?
The moment I pop onto the couch and know there's no more "to do's" to take care of that night.
How do you like to spend your weekends?
Ideally: Friday evening aperitif, dinner at home and evening TV. Saturday: breakfast, reading, sports, healthy lunch, reading or shopping, and in the evening going out to a restaurant with friends. Sunday: pretty much the same but mostly sunbathing in the garden or taking a nice walk with friends.