The second step to… recruiting your best staff


Why Step2to…

I felt that I needed to brand my consultancy services in association management, and I have chosen the name “Step2to…” to reflect the fact that potential clients, most probably, would have already tried another solution to the issue(s) they are facing, before requesting the support of a consultant; this request being therefore their second step towards finding appropriate solutions.
As my natural market focus is on Brussels, the European hub for international associations, I took on the colours of the “Brussel Capital Region”.

Brussel Capital Region


5 reasons why you should work with Step2to…

I have never met a recruitment company acting in Belgium that understands what our associations are about. , They often confuse us with charities, and either they are not interested in a market that they consider not to be profitable enough, or they apply their traditional processes with poor results in comparison with our real needs.

Step2to…is 100% specialised in not for profit associations.

Michel Ballieu has been active in top management positions in the world of associations for 18 years, and understands perfectly the types of talents required for them.

Step2to… will conduct the search and selection of the right professionals faster than any other outsourced possibility.

Step2to… will conduct the search and the selection of the right professionals at a lower cost than any other outsourced possibility.


Michel Ballieu



Nationality: Belgian Languages: French, English, Dutch

  • Michel studied economics at Brussels University, and holds a postgraduate degree in Management from the Solvay Business School. He gained his first professional experience, mainly within Xerox and BASF, by coaching and managing sales teams, including several years of marketing management at multinational level throughout the European Union.
  • 20 years ago he entered the not-for-profit world by managing the six European Offices of the ‘Up with People’ student exchange programme. Later he acted as the European Executive Director for several US-based professional associations, on behalf of MCI, while running its Association Management Department.
  • He joined ECCO – the European CanCer Organisation as Chief Executive Officer in 2006, overseeing a team of 25 professionals.
  • He retired in 2016, and started the Step2to… activities.
  • As a volunteer he has served six years as a Board member of the European Cervical Cancer Association (ECCA), eight years as a Board member of ecancermedicalscience Foundation (ecms), and four years first as Board member and then as President of the Associations’ Conferences Forum (AC Forum).
  • He is currently a member of ESAE and of its Education Committee, a member FAIB, an active member of UIA, and a member of the Advisory Committee for the European Association Summit in Brussels, he is an advisor to, and speaker at, the Solvay Business School for its Masters in International Association Management. He is regularly invited as a speaker to conferences targeting non-for-profit associations, and to events organised by the European Federation of Pharmaceutical Industries and Associations (EFPIA) and by MedTech Europe.



The right process for the right recruit


Illu recruitement


Recrutement text

Within Step2to… I am specialised in employee recruitment for the Belgian and International not-for-profit association sector.
I can provide a quick, effective, and reasonably-priced service founded on the lessons I have learned during my 18 years’ experience in association management, and on the understanding gained through the recruitment of the 100 staff who I have employed during my 45-year professional career.


The recruiting process

I am able to offer two types of service, which can be undertaken either together or separately. The second of these gives you the choice of four options, each one leading more and more to researching a closely-defined, best candidate for the position you are seeking to fill.


Preparing for the search of the right candidate

When a new position is created sometimes association leaders have difficulties in defining the right profile for the post, and very often managers have unrealistic expectations and over-ambitious job descriptions.
Where required, I can help you to define realistic profiles taking into account your financial resources, and draft an appropriate job description jointly with you.

This mission includes:

  • one face to face meeting with you and/or with the direct manager to which the new employee will report, in order that I may understand your needs and to discuss the ‘must haves’ and the ‘wish to have’.
  • within a maximum of 5 working days I will produce a draft job description for your review
  • during a phone conference you will share with me your corrections and/or amendments
  • within a maximum of five working days I will provide you with the final version, ready to be advertised


Conducting the search process

Brussels is very attractive for many citizens from Europe and beyond, being the seat of the EU institutions and a real hub for associations. It is not rare to receive 200 or more applications for one post; my personal record has been 450 for a middle management position.
Each of these candidates deserves serious attention and fair and rapid treatment. That is why each one will receive a personalised email response in reasonable time. This is a question of ethics and of respect for the candidate, but it is also important for the image of your association as being serious and credible.

There are several possibilities to outsource more of the burden of conducting the search for the best candidate. I can offer you four options, from the lowest level of involvement, up to the full service including possible assistance for the very final step in the process of hiring the right candidate.
In any event, whatever the option you choose, my service will cost you less than 50% of what a commercial recruitment company would charge you.

  • We agree together the right publicity channels for your research and I write and place the advertisement.
  • The candidates will reply to a Step2to email address in your name, and I will receive and sift all replies.
  • I will provide you with all the CV’s received that I have not rejected on the grounds that they do not meet your criteria or the job description. This is a first approach based solely on the content of the letters and CV’s received.
  • All candidates eliminated at this stage will receive an appropriately-worded email in your name within ten working days.
  • During the search process I will keep you regularly informed of progress and of any problems. In the case of problems we will discuss any possible changes.

My service stops there and you will take over the interviews, the final selection, and the salary negotiation.

  • Includes the “economy” option.
  • I will conduct telephone interviews with all the candidates that I have not previously rejected at the economy stage. This will allow me to check on candidates’ motivation and to have a good understanding of their experience, thereby retaining those who express themselves clearly and show initiative, and also to look into practical questions such as geographical distance, the possibility of moving home if necessary, and other issues such as salary expectations.
  • Based on this, I will be able to give you a pared-down list of the candidates who merit being met face to face. On average, this list will contain between 12 and 20 candidates.
  • All candidates eliminated at this stage will receive an appropriately-worded email in your name within ten working days.
  • During the search process I will keep you regularly informed of progress and of any problems. In the case of problems we will discuss any possible changes.

My service stops there and you will take over all face to face interviews, the final selection, and the salary negotiation.

  • Includes the “economy” and “intermediate” options.
  • You request me to carry out face to face interviews with all the pre-selected candidates. It will be depth interviews closely based on your criteria and job description.
  • All candidates invited will undertake a 20-minute practical written test during the interview. The test will be directly related to the function to be undertaken and we will have agreed its content in advance.
  • I will provide you with a short list of three, a maximum of four or, more rarely, only two candidates. The results of their tests will also be given to you.
  • All candidates eliminated after the first face to face interview will receive an appropriately-worded email in your name within ten working days.
  • During the search process I will keep you regularly informed of progress and of any problems. In the case of problems we will discuss any possible changes.

My service stops there and you will take over the second interviews of the short-listed candidates, the final selection, and the salary negotiation.

  • Includes the “economy”, “intermediate” and “full service” options.
  • You ask me to accompany you to the end of the process, and that I take part, with you, in the second or even possible third interviews, and help you with the evaluation of the last remaining candidates and in the final negotiation.
  • Often at this stage it is the less objective criteria that make the difference between the candidates, such as a feeling of being on the same wavelength, or the capacity of the person to fit into the existing team. These are, of course, your personal criteria, but I can help you understand and evaluate how the candidates fit without intervening in the final decision, which always belongs to you personally.
  • I will contact the candidates who have not been chosen by telephone within two working days. I will tell them of your decision and answer any questions they may have, which are frequently about how to improve their performance at interview.

My service stops there and you tell the selected candidate the good news and discuss how to proceed with him or her.

These options are simply to give you an idea of the level of service available, but of course all levels may be tailored to meet your specific requirements.


The right advice for a successful association

As with every consultant, during his employment at an association management company, Michel Ballieu worked for many different clients, professional associations, trade associations, and federations, representing different metiers: town planners and architects, engineers and project managers, insurance brokers, and in the medical field. Drawing on this wide experience, he can advise you on how best to solve issues; and provide a view from the outside in order to bring about changes for the better.



  • Review current statutes and suggest changes to better address concerns expressed by the leadership
  • Help in establishing clear internal rules for better processes, for instance in :
    • – election process
    • – membership benefits and duties
    • – terms of reference of committees and task forces

Compliance (medical field)

  • Advise about
    • – national codes
    • – industry self-regulations such as EFPIA and MedTech
    • – disclosure codes

Human Resource management

  • Help in the establishment of performance evaluation of staff members
  • Improving job descriptions
  • When appropriate, help in staff recruitment
  • Help in correctly applying Belgian laws and rules and to benefit from their exceptions

Strategic support

  • Advise the Executive or the Board
  • Organise needs assessment

Membership development

  • Identify new members’ markets
  • Help in developing tactics to retain and to recruit members



Michel Ballieu

Mobile: +32 475 76 23 03

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