The member states exchange information regularly on job vacancies, and local EURES offices have access to a considerable amount of information about applying for jobs and living and working conditions.
The international department of your home country employment service can put you in touch with one of their Euro-advisers, who will give you advice on finding work in Belgium. Euro-advisors can also forward your details to the national employment service of the country you’re interested in. The EU website (www.europa.eu) contains information about EURES and EURES-related agencies in many European countries, as well as factsheets concerning specific countries.
Belgian government employment services are available by region and by language. The main employment service for Flanders is VDAB (Vlaamse Dienst voor Arbeidsbemiddeling), FOREM (Service Public Wallon de l’Emploi et de la Formation) in Walloon and Actiris in Brussels. They list office hours, addresses and phone numbers, as well as job postings on their websites: www.vdab.be, www.forem.be and www.actiris.be.
Belgium is well served by private recruitment agencies, many of which operate on a European or worldwide basis. Some executive level management and information technology jobs are listed with headhunters in London or New York, particularly where broad international experience or English-language fluency is required. There’s also a variety of small to medium-size recruitment agencies in the US and UK specialising in international placements.
Agents place advertisements in daily and weekly newspapers and trade magazines but don’t mention the client’s name (not least to prevent applicants from approaching the company directly, thus depriving the agency of its fee).
Many of the cross-European and international employment agencies, such as Adia, Manpower, PA Consulting Group and Michael Page, have offices in Brussels and other cities in Belgium. Locally owned and operated agencies often post clerical and administrative jobs in their shop windows.
Most legitimate recruitment services charge the employer a fee based on the annual salary paid to the successful candidate. Fees can run to as much as 40 or 50 per cent of a year’s salary, which the headhunter may have to refund if you don’t survive the initial probationary period (anything from one to six months). Be extremely wary of recruiters who demand a fee up front from the job applicant or expect you to reimburse them for postage, telephone costs or other charges incurred during the course of the job hunt.