KORTRIJK – The 30th anniversary of Ago International should actually have been celebrated in 2020, but a virus decided otherwise. This spurred the owner and CEO of this renowned recruitment and selection agency, Patrick Levecque, to hold the festivities this year instead. The cream of the Flemish corporate world was therefore invited to enjoy a night on the town with James Bond and 007’s latest release No Time to Die. An appropriate theme, because Levecque is, above all, a man on a mission. (K.B.)
The event was attended by some 300 business owners, shareholders and decision-makers from various companies from 17 different branches of industry. Five prominent guest speakers, including Honorary Governor Paul Breyne and the CEOs of Jet Import (Redbull), Stadsbader Group, Mydibel and Open Tours (UK), briefly took the floor to speak about the many years of successful collaboration they enjoyed with the agency in the field of Human Resources Top Recruitment.
Ago International was established in 1990, in which Patrick Levecque focused from the outset exclusively on the selection and recruitment of senior executives, middle management staff and white-collar workers. The list of references that Levecque and his multi-talented team accumulated in 31 years is impressive. An entrepreneur in every sense of the word, Levecque did not limit himself to operating exclusively in the south of West Flanders but he also extended his field of activities to other provinces (Sint-Martens-Latem, Brussels) and even across the border, with branches in Lille and London. A branch will soon be opened in Paris as well. ‘Our clients come from a vast diversity of sectors, including the service industry’, says Patrick Levecque.
Three happy parties
Although 2020 was a challenging year for many, it was marked by positive results and growth for Ago International. ‘As in all sectors, an organisation has to adapt quickly to the changed market conditions and we did so immediately’, says Patrick. He continues: ‘For example, we did not hesitate to start screening CVs digitally right away, or making use of video conferencing and zoom meetings, while many others were still having doubts about using these tools. All in all, we were able to successfully recruit candidates for 18 absolute top-level positions in the entire year 2020, in addition to 110 middle management staff and 35 white-collar workers.
This was virtually identical to the results we achieved in 2019. Our mission may be difficult, but it is crystal-clear. We always want to see three happy parties at the end of the day: that of the company that hired us, the employee who found a new job – and us. We attach considerable importance to long-term relationships. Achieving this mission requires a great deal of empathy, a high level of competence and the right network that includes people in top-level positions. This is why we always go in search of the true DNA of a company, and link this to the aspirations of the candidates. Neutral and ‘other’ members of Supervisory Councils are also being recruited more and more frequently by Ago International. The demand for candidates to fill discrete and anonymous interim management positions has also been increasing. Prospective co-investors can also rely on our services.’
The right attitude
A total of 17 specialised recruiters, freelancers included, work at Ago International. Patrick Levecque, one of whose favourite hobbies is fencing, upholds a number of principles in which he, as an entrepreneur, firmly believes. He has always been a champion of recruitment. Levecque says: ‘I have always been good at spotting talent, and started doing this at an early age through sports clubs or youth associations. Companies complaining about a scarcity on the market should certainly point their gaze in this direction. He who sows early, reaps more later on. I also believe strongly that a candidate’s attitude is more important than his or her diploma. A diploma is a first step and very important as such, but there are also other elements: passion and enjoyment, daring to think outside the box, personal drive and a desire for improvement, job satisfaction and wanting to distinguish yourself from your competitors. These are all crucial factors that will increase your chances of professional success. We are always on the lookout for the most suitable candidate and that does not always have to be the one with the highest qualifications. Our diverse customer base shows that we deliver highly professional services. I always say: “Serve first, earn later”.’