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HAYS candidates talk about their search for work - #DiversityWorks

“Borders aren’t holding back people anymore”

Born in Belgium from Italian parents, build a life in ‘her’ country Italy, but came back last year to Belgium to start a new job here. And how did Maria-Teresa Silletti (44) – Tesina, as her friends may call her – apply? Over Skype.

With a beaming smile on her face, that’s how Maria-Teresa Silletti greets me, even though I’m half an hour late for our appointment, thanks to the numerous traffic jams around Brussels. But hey, if Italians are used to something – except la dolce vita – it has to be traffic and people arriving fashionably late. Maria-Teresa, or Tesina as she calls herself, was born in Belgium, but moved to Italy when she was older. She stayed there, in a house not too far from Rome, before coming back last year.

‘Va bene’

In 2014, Tesina and her husband decided they needed a change. And why not move back to Belgium, where she met her husband? “It has always been our dream”, she tells us. “Out of nostalgia, but also out of pure ratio. In Italy, jobs are scarce and so are opportunities. The Italian labor market is rigid; someone has to retire before there’s a vacancy. And even then companies often prefer ‘filling’ an empty position by restructuring, instead of employing someone new.”

“Moreover, we decided to move for our children”, she continues, in the beautiful Italian accent from the hills around Rome. “This way they learn that in this international world, they have plenty of choices. If they want to return to Italy when they’re grown-up, va bene. If they want to go to Germany, fine by me. The world is their oyster.”

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Both Tesina and her husband had a permanent contract in Italy. That combined with having their own house – no mortgage! – the family had plenty of certainty. But the dream was alive, so Tesina started looking for a job in Belgium, which took her about a year until she found a job description on the website of recruiter Hays. She sent her cv and got a call shortly after.

“The interview with Hays happened over Skype”, Tesina tells us. “Afterwards I was invited for an interview with my current boss… over Skype. Finally I made it to the final round and had an interview with my boss and managers… also over Skype.” Seeing some surprise in my eyes, she gets even more enthusiastic. “It’s great, right? The labor market is opening up in a spectacular way. Borders aren’t holding back people anymore.”


Tesina arrived in Belgium in December last year. Only a couple of days later, she started working for the customer service of technology concern 3M. “Right now I have a temporary contract and we’re renting an apartment”, she says when we’re curious about their current situation. “But in Belgium that’s the way things go. Temporary contracts are much more established here. Of course that allows the market to be more flexible, which truly is a relief coming from Italy.”

--- Hays Belgium. Please talk to our PR & Communications Officer to make changes to quotes. Please also contact him for questions or more information.
Gunther Malin
PR & Communications Officer
+32 (0)470/99.18.76