So I finally signed the contract as a Marketing & Sales Career Starter (aka Account Manager) and will be starting with the BTS (Basis Training Seminar) on the 1st of February.
The hiring procedure was already a proof how well the company treats his employees and stakeholders.
As a job seeker I went in and out of job interviews like a marathon athlete and I had really bad and worse experiences – Not with Hilti!
The phone interview
The first contact was a phone interview with the HR responsible where we discussed my curriculum and my future objectives. I felt that it was more than the classic HR magic such as “what are your strengths and weaknesses” … the interviewer was really focused on finding out if there was a fit between me and the company. And I had the impression that the spirit for innovation, the corporate culture as well as my gut feeling were spot on – I had found my future employer.
After the phone interview I received an invitation for a first interview at the Swiss Headquarter of Hilti in Adliswil. Further, the interviewer requested that I had to take an online assessment beforehand.
Visiting the Headquarters for a first meeting
As I arrived in the Hilti Headquarters I was welcomed by the same person I had the telephone interview with. The Interview consisted of a semi structured part and a Sales-Roleplay where I had to sell a plastic paperclip – classic “sell me this pen” situation. At the end of the interview it was clear for both participants that we have found a match and I could proceed to the next selection-level. A week after I received a phonecall confirming my feeling that the interview went really well.
Hilti cooperates !
At this step however there was a time mismatch – I was looking for a job starting right now (October 2016) but a job opening was previewed for August 2017. However, as the interview went really well and I was fully convinced to work for this company the HR responsible proposed to keep me in his files and inform me if there is a job opening for an earlier moment.
In November 2016 I received an email from the HR person informing me that there is still no job opening. Again Hilti has shown its respect and sense of integrity towards future employees and stakeholders. At this time I found that this gesture was a really nice way to tell me that my application was not doomed and both parties are interested in finding a spot for me in this company.
Green Light !
December 2016 I finally received a phone call that there was a job opening for February 2017. So my final step was to have a meeting with two Area Sales Managers.
In this meeting I had to draw a roadmap of myself on a flipchart – without using numbers and letters. Out of numerous presentations at the university this was really easy for me and I had visibly impressed the two gentleman. The rest of the interview was more of a conversation about the fact that one can simply not survive in Sales if his only aim is to get through this entry position for a further promotion. (Short clarification: The policy at Hilti is: Graduates have to be in direct sales for at least one year to understand the products and clients.)
At this point I convinced the two area sales managers that I was keen to take the step through sales and that I loved this challenge!
As a graduate, you might be too vain to take a job in sales. I get it… but that’s looking at it in completely the wrong way. All my life I was studying complex formulas and business concepts… I never acquired the skill set to really sell a product. A sales job will teach you invaluable life skills. You will acquire interpersonal skills which are not learnt by simply studying theory. You will have to manage your time wisely not only day by day but also by seasonal variations of the market. You will have to manage how you stay motivated in periods of stress or weeks of not selling a single item. And last but not least you will learn how to be persistent and march your way up to your goals.