Good leadership and appreciation for human capital in the broadest sense is an important foundation, perhaps even more important than machines or automation. This is the foundation for success and innovation for almost any company. But how do you get in touch with the most suitable candidate in case of replacement or expansion?

DE FOUW EXECUTIVE SEARCH (DFES) is a small Executive Search office. As an independent entrepreneur and headhunter, I believe that direct approach of potential candidates is by far the best method to recruit new specialists or managers. Latent (not actively seeking) candidates are approached in a targeted and personal way. And tempted to consider a step by “good ambassadorship” on behalf of my clients. This is in contrast to many recruitment agencies mainly advertising and/or selecting actively job seekers, and thus cover an estimated 30% of the labor market (source: talent platform). The aging population, demographic developments and the recovery of the economy after a crisis have resulted in a permanent shortage in the labor market.

The candidate’s experience during an executive or direct search process in a tight labor market is crucial. It implies more than work experience alone, it is about identifying happiness at work, motives and motivation, personality and learning ability. Just to name a few things. I therefore do not believe in short interviews or send unsolicited resumes.

The core values of DFES, both to client and candidate:

DFES has more than 25 years of experience of DFES, both to client and candidate:experience in successful match making between candidates and clients

Branche Focus

Executive Search (from €100k) i.e.

General Manager (SMEs up to approx. € 75 million turnover)

Commercial Management (Sales and / or marketing)

BU manager P/L responsible

Direct Search (€ 75 - 100k) i.e.

Sales / Marketing Manager

Field service Sales, export etc. (specialized in sales for technically oriented companies)

Branch Managers

Operations Managers

Specialists (focus within the industry)


Industry Focus



Automotive, automotive aftermarket and mobility / leasing

(Technical) Wholesalers and trading companies

In order to stay sharp and broaden my network, I get a lot of pleasure from occasionally fulfilling an “industry-alien” assignment, for example in the hospitality business, energy trade or ICT. I work closely with respected entrepreneurs and former colleagues, of course respecting EU privacy legislation
Direct Search (€ 50 – 100k)

Area coverage



Lots of experience with international searches (locals locally).


DE FOUW EXECUTIVE SEARCH (DFES) has a passion for headhunting. DFES always strives for a WIN-WIN-WIN situation, where all those involved, candidate-client-DFES, improve

It is important that I get to know you well as a candidate, but also that I inform you in an open and honest way about my client and their challenges. I spend more time on this than the average recruiter. So that you are optimally prepared for a conversation in a follow-up process. My happiness at work (the 3rd WIN) is based on the satisfaction of great placements.

Candidates are my capital asset. Essential. So I always take time to realize your WIN efficiently and in a personal way, or to advise you, even if I have no direct or short-term interest. For example to help you get your “Personal Branding” (distinctive presentation) up to date, or simply to listen. Or to point out an opportunity in the market.

DFES has proven to be good at creating the right match. Even if there is not a suitable position for you immediately, DFES would like to get in touch with you. This can be done, for example, through a first acquaintance … a digital cup of coffee?

Most of my clients have ever been a candidate of mine!

"Most of my clients have ever been 
a candidate of mine!"


DE FOUW EXECUTIVE SEARCH (DFES) has a passion for headhunting.  DFES always strives for a WIN-WIN-WIN situation, where all those involved, candidate-client-DFES, improve.

As mentioned before, human capital is crucial to the success of your business. The WIN part for clients therefore is onboarding a successful new colleague. I have many examples of great placements where the placed candidate literally makes the difference between mediocre and strongly growing operating results.
In a tight labor market, it can be a consideration to organize your recruitment or recruitment of top managers yourself. But do you reach the people you actually want to talk to with a few advertisements or an artificial intelligence tool?
Not to mention the time it takes to do this properly? On the other hand, using an agency or external specialist with the right network and the necessary experience seems like a high investment. But what does it cost if you miss turnover because your Key Account Manager position remains vacant for a long time? DFES is happy to help you find and screen new blood. In a personal and sincere way. Solution-oriented. And tenacious. Continue until the desired result is achieved. DFES arranges additional services such as coaching, training and assessments upon request through trusted specialized partners.

Methodology | DFES Plan of action


  • Description of situation, company and stakeholders (analysis). Personal or digital, during or outside office hours.

  • Drawing up a position- and candidate profile.

  • Planning procedure in time, interviews and communication preference.

  • Free quotation.


  • Personal network (also as a source!).
  • Online databases (other than job boards) | social media.

  • Direct approach to candidates within suggested, recommended target groups, during or outside office hours.

  • International.


  • Delivery of a shortlist, preceded by a longlist if desired, as a written and/or personal presentation per candidate. If desired wiht balanced score card to compare.

  • Match based on knowledge and skills, character traits, motivation, personality,….

  • If desired reference check.

  • If desired, assessment or separate online competence test (via partners).

  • Evaluation | Follow-up.

About Paul

Founder of DE FOUW EXECUTIVE SEARCH is Paul de Fouw.

Starting end of 2016 as an independent entrepreneur, before that active for many years for various renowned Search agencies and well-known recruitment & selection companies. Active in search & recruitment 1999, having built a vast and relevant network.

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I grew up as a child in various EU countries and moved very often, internationally. My father built factories, commissioned them, and then went to manage another project in another country. Growing  up I thus visited many factories and received unsolicited explanations about machines and production lines. Love for manufacturing was sown! I have always been fascinated by technology, innovation, robotization and production environments. In addition, developed sensitivity to other cultures (often attending international schools with fellow students from all over the world), a good knowledge of modern languages ​​and a high level of empathy. I am fluent in English, German and French.

In 1999, after a career start in the automotive sector, I came accross the Executive Search business by coïncidence. Learned about Executive Search working at a famous Amsterdam Executive Search brand, under the inspiring leadership of one of the partners. Just like him at the time, I chose to work for aviation suppliers and Dutch industrial trade organizations in addition to manufacturing industry and automotive. He introduced me to management and board of his clients. I placed many candidates successfully in top management and specialist positions in his slipstream. And that is exactly what I still do today, of course with a different working method and digital tools and a sharper function focus, prompted by an ever and rapidly changing labor market. But the enthusiasm and passion are still there. An important personal motive is freedom, which explains why after valuable years at a number of agencies, I chose to start my own business. And that freedom as an independent entrepreneur is priceless.



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