A recruiters’ perspective

Authors: Ivo Knorr & Daniël Asselbergs
October 29, 2020

Studying at a university is a stepping stone to a great career. Higher education prepares you for the mental challenges a high paying job can impose. We however think that being able to revise difficult material is not enough for a lot of intriguing and interesting jobs. The job market is more competitive than ever before. The SARS-CoV-2 virus influenced major corporations, the profitability went down. This resulted in, most cases, a freeze on all new hiring of employees. Universities however still produced roughly the same amount of graduates. Increasing your chances of hiring in these difficult times is essential. We decided that an article on the job application and hiring process would be engaging. A way of getting an insight into this hiring process would be to interview a recruiter. The recruiters of new talent know the ins and outs of the industry. Olivier Thé, a recruiter employed by FrieslandCampina, was up for the task.

A recruiter is responsible for the acquisition of new talent. They monitor the entire process of hiring. They however do not get a vote in the final stage of the hiring process, the decision of whom to hire for the vacancy. Olivier Thé specializes in acquiring new talent directly from universities all over the country. His job title is campus recruiter. Furthermore he searches for talent that have the ambition to work in production plants. A graduate that obtained a MSc in Supply Chain Management would be an appropriate candidate. A weekday for a recruiter is never the same. He mentioned that his daily tasks differ a lot. Attending events, reformulating the team’s strategy and judging whether an applicant fits into the firm’s culture are great examples of this. 

Students can meet recruiters at all sorts of events. A lot of these events are in collaboration with universities or student organizations. Tilburg Career Days one of the events recruiters regularly attend. FrieslandCampina, unlike many other companies, also recruit from their social media platforms. Their recruitment team doesn’t pick candidates for the job during these events. They simply promote and define what they are looking for. Attendees of these events are then encouraged to apply online. This way the company ensures that the maximal amount of possible candidates apply, resulting in the largest talent pool.

Olivier Thé explained the job application process of FrieslandCampina to us. This process is representative of the industry standard. Other very large and competitive companies, like the big four, also use a lot of these strategies to determine the best applicant. All applicants are judged based on their curriculum vitae and their motivation. The motivation of the applicant is illustrated in a short video. The company subsequently filters all unqualified applicants. The remaining candidates are then assessed, personality questionnaires is a prime example of this. This all happens online because the number of applicants is often still quite large in this stage. The next step is interviews, only the top performers in the assessments get to this stage. The chosen candidates are then enrolled into the two year traineeship programme. Olivier Thé also is actively involved in this process.

The purpose of the interview was to inform our members of the process and to give them tips on how to perform better in this challenging job market. We thus also acquired some great tips. We first asked a question that we already talked about on this blog: are good grades important? His answer was quite similar to ours. Good grades are important, there is however a clause attached to this statement. Olivier Thé mentioned that good grades in combination with a lot of extracurricular activities is way more desirable than only excellent grades. The employer wants to know if and how you developed yourself during the four years you spent studying. He also added that clarifying those activities should be done in a very concise manner on your curriculum vitae. Recruiters usually simply scan your curriculum vitae, making it paramount that all the important information is told in in a really short text. The layout of your curriculum vitae is also quite important, create one yourself. Do not just use the templates available, creating your own curriculum vitae makes you different from other applicants. We would also add that attending career events is crucial for developing a network that can help in the job application process. The recruiter also stated that electronic assessments for practicing are readily available. You should definitely capitalize on this opportunity. Reading about the company you're applying to is also quite wise. A visit to their website and their end of the year report gives you insight into their products, services and future vision for the company.

Implementing the perspective of a recruiter can greatly improve your desirability to companies. Developing yourself during these years at university is of the utmost importance, as it sets you up to be an useful employee to companies. Become more actively involved in study associations or start your own business or take a gap year to do a board year, however being future oriented and interested in developing yourself is the first step. 

We would like to thank Olivier Thé from FrieslandCampina for taking the time to sit down and answer our questions. More information? Visit https://careers.frieslandcampina.com/global/en

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