The NN Group – A strong Employer Brand

Published on 26-07-2018

In our expert interview series working in the field of employer branding and/or recruiting, we have already spoken with Marloes Peters & Bjorn Luijters of innogy. This time we interviewed Hugo van Zelm van Eldik, Principal Recruiter of the Dutch NN Group about building an employer brand and the relevance of Cultural Fit within this process.

Who is Hugo van Zelm van Eldik?

Hugo van Zelm van Eldik (HvZ) is Principal Recruiter at NN Group N.V., one of the largest Dutch insurance companies, and has been working there since 2010. His focus is on the IT-related functions. In addition, Hugo and his team are actively working on the employer brand of the NN Group in the Netherlands. Hugo works mainly from the company’s head office in The Hague.

The NN Group – A short Profile

Since 2 July 2014, NN Group has been listed as an independent company at EuroNext in Amsterdam. The NN Group is an insurance and investment company, as well as the umbrella organization of the following brands: Nationale-Nederlanden, Delta Lloyd, NN Investment Partners, ABN AMRO Insurance, Movir, AZL, BeFrank and OHRA. Overall, the company has about 15,000 employees. With their help, the NN Group serves more than 17 million customers in 18 countries, with a strong focus on Europe and Japan.

Collaboration and role division within the recruitment team of the NN Group

The Hugo team consists of a total of 10 recruiters. Hugo himself is the Principal Recruiter for the IT department. The team also includes an internship coordinator, graduate recruiter, labor market communications, PMO recruitment, employer brand guarantor and 1.5 FTE support.

For me personally, NN stands for humanity, excellent support and hard work on exciting IT tasks.

What are the core values of NN as a brand and as an employer?

nn-core values

NN wants to offer its customers financial security for the future. People and mutual trust are therefore the focus. To achieve this goal, NN works based on three core values. You can read more about these values in the NN statement ‘Living Our Values‘.

The Employer Brand of the NN Group

What can you tell us about employer brand NN?

HvZ: Research shows that the brand name NN might be well known but is rather low in popularity. This is partly because we have not been actively visible on the job market for a couple of years. Also, the credit crisis still has an impact on our reputation. Nonetheless, our goal is to become the employer of choice. To achieve this, we want to focus more on the most relevant target groups during the recruiting process.

To achieve this goal, we first identified the Employee Value Proposition (EVP) of the NN Group. This was also the moment we talked to you [CompanyMatch] because we wanted to make our employer brand NN and our underlying values more accessible to interested job seekers.

What target group segmentation for new employees has the NN Group formulated as a financial services provider in a fully digitized world?

HvZ: The NN Group has formulated a number of core target groups that are central to our recruitment policy. Above all, the occupational groups have a digital profile.

These are our main groups:

  • IT
  • Risk
  • Data & Analytics
  • Finance
  • Investments & Asset Management
  • Marcom & Product Management

Does the NN Group feel the effects of the increasingly competitive labor market?

HvZ: It certainly doesn’t get easier to find the right candidates in the current job market. Throughput times are increasing and the various types of employment contracts are increasing, e.g. the question of whether flexible or fixed contracts. Ideally, at NN Group, we shape business growth with permanent employees. This ensures a certain continuity. This positioning as an employer also means that we not only deliberately advertise individual jobs, but focus on our entire employer brand. Only in this way can we reach our target groups successfully. This requires time and attention, especially in terms of establishing a future-proofed employer brand of the NN Group. We developed target group campaigns, in which we share experiences and projects that are specific to each target group. Associated with those is the fitting open vacancy. Of course, you can also contact all other vacancies, however, we are increasingly aware that the candidate wants to be personally addressed and convinced.

What role does Cultural Fit play as part of NN’s recruiting experience, and what wishes are still unfulfilled?

HvZ: Cultural Fit is about the right click between candidate and organization. This plays a major role for the NN Group and thus also in our recruitment process. In the past, this was determined by the gut feeling and intuition of the recruiter. But we found that our organization cannot work without a good match of soft skills between potential candidates and organization. That’s why we also test the NN Mindset, including factors such as collaboration, learning agility and ownership.

CompanyMatch plays an important role in the recruiting process for us. It is this first touch point where an anonymous candidate is easily tempted to match with the NN Group. This match is a win for both sides: We, as employers, can position ourselves well and communicate what we find important in a working relationship. The candidate can compare his/her own preferences with us – and that already in the orientation process. Before a candidate is invited for a second interview, an online evaluation follows. In addition, the candidate has the opportunity to attach his CompanyMatch directly to the application form when applying.

A mismatch and your formula goes down the drain…

Data is knowledge. How does the NN Group measure the outcome of recruiting and employer branding efforts to attract new talent?

HvZ: The NN Group acts and adapts solely based on data. This means that we do nothing without measuring it properly. This also applies to our employer branding and recruiting process. With Google Analytics and our weekly NPS scores, we know exactly what the results of the various efforts look like and how candidates, applicants, and managers experience the current candidate journey. The recruiting team starts each week by looking at the different NPS scores of the past week. This also applies to the NPS score of applicants who have received a refusal.

What does it cost and what results does it achieve?

Of course, things could always be better and we have enough goals for the future. In the future, I want to focus even more on the quality of hire and measure our performance with a focus on it. For example, it is very interesting to see if those employees, who have used CompanyMatch, perform better after 18 or 24 months and if there is less fluctuation among them.

CompanyMatch is in our TOP 5 sources for applications and recruitment.

What are the results of CompanyMatch 1?

HvZ: The same goes for CompanyMatch: We measure everything with Google Analytics. Up to this day, we know (as of 2017) that based on the Candidate Journey, CompanyMatch was involved in 14 of our 167 new hires. We are very pleased with this result and see CompanyMatch in our TOP 5 sources for job applications and recruitment (source: Annual Report NN Group Recruitment 2017).

What is the role of CompanyMatch from Candidate Journey to a new hire?

HvZ: We see that CompanyMatch is often part of the Candidate Journey of jobseekers on our career page or when looking at vacancies. Candidates use CompanyMatch to test whether they match with us. This actually helps them in deciding whether to apply or not. This is a good match and we benefit greatly. CompanyMatch was hereby measured as the final click for those who got hired. That’s why they are assigned to CompanyMatch.

To further illustrate:

  • CompanyMatch has contributed to 623 out of a total of 5217 applications;
  • 48% of applicants using CompanyMatch were invited by the NN Group for an initial interview;
  • 14 candidates were hired;
  • The majority of employees has an HBO + profile and falls into one of the following recruitment audiences: IT, Risk, Finance, Data, Marketing or Investment.

HvZ: We are very pleased with the results we achieve with CompanyMatch. The results were measured during the course of 2017 and we are already seeing the first new hires in Q1 and Q2 of 2018. CompanyMatch thus contributes directly to our employer brand goals.

The CompanyMatch 2 results

In addition to the results collected by the NN Group, CompanyMatch also measures various statistics on the use of CompanyMatch by job seekers with the NN Group in the online orientation process. From a career perspective, the job seeker matches up with CompanyMatch Engage or through the company profile of the NN Group. On average, about 1,000 jobseekers each month identified their personal match with the NN Group. In addition, CompanyMatch provides the NN Group with real-time insights into the match profiles of anonymous recruiting audiences who identified their match. The ‘Total’ column shows the total number of matches with the NN group from the careers page and the domain together. The ‘Career Website’ column shows the number of matches measured by the NN Group’s career website alone.

Industrial sector Total Career Website
Financial services 16% 20%
Insurance 9% 13%
Banking 6% 9%
Information technology and service 7% 8%
Human Resources 5% 6%
Management consulting 4% 5%
Marketing & Advertisement 3% 4%
Financial Administration 3% 3%
Customer service 2% 3%
Computer Software 2% 2%


Function Total Career Website
Financial / Economical 16% 21%
Leadership / Management 12% 14%
Sales and Marketing 13% 13%
ICT / Automatisation 10% 12%
Administration & secretariat 8% 8%
HR and Organisation 8% 8%
Other 8% 7%
Communication 6% 7%
Employee consulting and politics 5% 5%


Level of Education Total Career Website
HBO (Applied Science University) 40% 40%
University 24% 38%
MBO (vocational school) 16% 10%

The following were involved in this interview: Hugo van Zelm van Eldik (Principal Recruiter) and Miranda Mooij-Bood (Employer Brand Specialist). The interview was conducted by Bjorn Veenstra, CEO of CompanyMatch.

CompanyMatch published a white paper about the place of corporate culture in a digital world, based on scientific research and current studies. Feel free to download the free paper by filling out the attached form. 

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