The Recruitment Days: an insider’s perspective
An Interview with Roelof Takens by Annemiek Jutten en Bryan Lubben
What is your role in the Recruitment Days committee?
My role in this committee, together with one my fellow committee members, is commercial relations, which makes me responsible for the acquisition of this event. On a day to day basis this implies that I approach companies, get hold of the right person and then start the negotiation. These activities require that I keep in touch with the companies and that they are up-to-date of the latest info.
What are you trying to reach with the Recruitment Days?
In the end we hope that everyone attending the event, whether you are a student or a company, will be satisfied. My goal is that attending students are able to visit interesting companies and that the event provides companies a high quantity of high quality ambitious students.
Are there a lot of companies that participate on a regular basis or are there more new companies?
It differs every year, this year we have fewer companies that participated in the earlier editions. If I reflect on previous editions than I can tell you that in the last three years around 35 out of 60 companies have sponsored earlier editions, so there has been some repetition.
What is the biggest challenge for you in your function as Commercial Relations?
It is always nice to bring in a big multinational company, it’s a great feeling to add a big company name to our event. After acquiring the companies, it becomes essential to get enough students for all activities, which requires good promotional skills. Some companies only go to one of five recruitment events in the Netherlands, and this might have been decided already, therefore it is not always a matter of convincing.
What are the pros and cons of this committee?
I definitely think it is really nice to do something that matters, it makes me feel good . Next to that I think that it is really interesting to experience the decision making process of different companies. These situations provide me with insights that I could not have gained in another way. Not long ago we were visiting a company that said that Groningen was an interesting place for them to recruit students. They told me that in cities like Amsterdam or Rotterdam there are in general more students that are extremely focused on getting good grades, but that the students of Groningen had more extra-curricular activities and are also known for their laid-back attitude. This difference in attitude makes our students more suitable for an informal business culture.
For me the main con of the committee is the intensity, as I initially didn’t realize it was this demanding. If a company declined I often blamed myself and wondered if I could have done it differently. That is something I have to deal with, but it is also a great learning experience.
How was the cooperation with other members of the committee?
The cooperation was great, we decided to have fixed office hours, but there is room for flexibility. However, we always tried to be there together. Next to the social aspect, working together is also very convenient because sometimes quick interaction is needed.
Would you say that it is hard to actually obtain a big company for the event?
This actually depends on many factors. If they for instance already decided to go to another recruitment day or if they have decided to do recruitment on any other way; then you can’t really do something about that. Another thing is that companies are paying a certain amount of money, so it is important for them to have budget for an event like this. Sometime this is rather challenging, as a lot of companies can or will not participate for reasons not within my power to change.
Next to that it is important to speak to the right person, at the right time and say the right things. But also this makes the position of acquisition challenging and very rewarding once a company agrees to come to the event.
Would you say that you have developed your sales pitch by now?
Yes, I definitely improved myself during this committee but, I have to say that most of the selling part is over, only in the first stage of my function I had to really sell the event. Currently I have to keep all companies up-to-date and keep negotiating the right terms.
Why did you apply for this committee?
I recently returned from a six-month exchange in Turkey. During my stay there I was doing and experiencing a lot of things. When I came back from that exchange I realized that I had a lot of spare time. By reflecting on that I got really motivated on being productive and developing skills that are useful. So I chose to do a committee at the EBF!
“Why should you attend the Recruitment Days!” – according to Roelof
It is the perfect opportunity to get to know some great companies and let them get to know you. This is a great step on your way to get a job, internship or to merely orient on your future. Attending is really cheap while you are getting a lot in return for this price!
Organizing this event is even more epic than just attending it, so take a look at the recruitment page.