About us

Who we are
Rtesian started in 2016, when the founders, Ian Burns and Aart van Iterson, took a long, hard look at the way recruitment works in Brussels.

The founders of Rtesian felt there had to be a more effective and transparent way to meet the expectations of the increasingly demanding Brussels bubble, and concluded it was time to redefine recruitment. Ian and Aart have a wealth of experience in recruitment and HR: having owned and run a number of successful businesses, they intrinsically understand the needs of those making management and hiring decisions. Ian has more than twenty years’ experience in recruitment and has spent the last five here. Aart was joint founder of an award-winning public affairs and communications consultancy and has worked in Brussels for over 20 years. Throughout his career he has managed teams, working daily on the challenges our clients face.

This combination of Ian and Aart’s skills and experience, their network of contacts as well as Rtesians’ advisors is what makes Rtesian unique. Our clients get the benefit of working with a recruiter that knows the Brussels bubble inside out.


We know a lot about what makes Brussels tick, but nobody can know it all. At Rtesian, however, we have an ace up our sleeve. We’ve built a discreet network of specialist advisers, all of whom are seasoned experts in their field. When appropriate, we call on their knowledge and insight to pinpoint candidates, check credentials and get second opinions. When you hire us, you hire them, meaning our search for the ideal candidate covers multiple circles of influence.

Advisory board 

Redefining recruitment needs strategic guidance and direction: that comes from our Advisory Board. These influential individuals know Brussels inside out, have their ear to the ground and are ahead of the curve on policy and business trends. We are fortunate to have the following distinguished names as members of the advisory board:

  • Shada Islam – Director of Europe & Geopolitics at Friends of Europe, Shada was previously at the European Policy Centre. As a journalist, she was Europe correspondent for the Far Eastern Economic Review and Deutsche Presse-Agentur among others. She writes on EU foreign and security policy, EU-Asia relations and trade and development issues.  Learn more about her here: http://www.friendsofeurope.org/who-we-are/team/shada-islam/
  • Silvana Koch-Mehrin – Founder of the Women in Parliaments Global Forum, a worldwide network of female politicians. Formerly an MEP, she was Vice-President of the European Parliament and First Vice-President of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe (ALDE) party. She is a regular speaker at institutions such as the UN, OECD, World Bank and other international fora. Learn more about her here:  http://www.koch-mehrin.de/
  • Sir Graham Watson – Member of the European Economic and Social Committee. After 20 years as an MEP which included heading a committee, chairing ALDE and receiving a knighthood, Sir Graham founded The Climate Parliament, a global network of legislators working to speed up the switch to renewables. He also recently chaired a high level working group for Commissioner Tibor Navracsics. http://www.grahamwatson.eu/
What we do
Brussels is unique. It’s a culturally diverse city-state where business leaders, lawmakers and consultants rub shoulders.

Recruitment here isn’t like elsewhere: European Affairs professionals need a special set of skills to work with partners from across the Institutions, the media and industry.

As experienced business owners, Rtesian’s directors understand the huge impact that hiring new staff can have on your organisation. Because we know what works, you can be sure we will only recommend candidates who will not only meet, but will exceed, your expectations. We also have a particular knack for spotting undeveloped potential that can be moulded into an asset to your organisation.

Using a recruiter saves money and time, as well as producing candidates from outside your usual circles. Our expertise and experience mean you have peace of mind. We act quickly, confidently and with discretion to find your perfect hire – what drives us is adding value to your organisation. And unlike other recruitment services, we have a transparent pricing model: it’s tailored so you know exactly what we’re doing for you.

Get in touch to learn more about what Rtesian can do for you or read more about our services here.

The three R’s
Rtesian is powered by three R’s: Research, Reach and Reflect. Their application at every stage of the process ensures our clients get the very best service.
  • Research: Everybody we interact with is unique. By getting to know our clients and candidates thoroughly, we can tailor our services for optimum results.
  • Reach: We rely on an extensive network of experienced, influential people across Brussels, who can discreetly help recommend top candidates.
  • Reflect: We get feedback on everything we do, constantly reassess our processes, and think about what we can do to serve clients better.

You trust us to help make the best hiring decisions, and we do. Transparent pricing, total discretion and dedication to adding value to your organisation mean we’re genuine partners for everything HR-related. We’re quite simply redefining recruitment.

Quality Assurance
We believe we offer the best quality hiring advice of anyone in Brussels, but there are also legal safeguards which apply to the recruitment industry as a whole. Of course, we comply with them: here’s the fine print.

Obviously, we’re members of the national recruitment industry body FEDERGON. Over and above that, we’ve signed up to the Federgon Quality Charter. This Charter refers to the commitment of a company to comply with the ethical and deontological codes developed by the federation and its members. The quality label also includes an ombudsman, who would advise in the unlikely event of a disagreement. Of course, we’d respect any decision made by them.

To learn more about our responsibilities as a member, and how we uphold and promote the highest possible standards in our work, take a look here.

To operate as a recruitment agency in Brussels, you need to be registered with the Brussels Regional Public Service ‘Brussels Economy and Employment’  (Link).  Our registration number is 00575-405-20160408.

We process a lot of information: it goes without saying data protection and your privacy are paramount. You trust us with your most sensitive information, so of course we are registered with the Belgian Commission for the Protection of Privacy (Link). Our registration number is 005067756.