‘Building a better future’ is one of the main objectives of the company Hilti. The building element in their case literally building as Hilti is the leading company when it comes to supplying products in the construction industry. This B2B company is also a loyal partner of the Marketing Association Amsterdam. But what is Hilti exactly? And what is it like working in such an industry? Today we speak with Nadine Gijzen, trainee of Hilti. She will help us understand more about the Hilti career possibilities and what it is like as a woman working in a male oriented sector.
Hi Nadine, thank you so much for finding the time to do this interview with me. Could you first tell something more about yourself and how you got in contact with Hilti?
Of course! My name is Nadine Gijzen and I am 27 years old. My study career started with International Business and Management. After finishing my bachelor’s I started a premaster and completed a Master of Strategy and Organization at the VU. My father always worked in the construction sector therefore I had heard of the name Hilti before, but I never imagined myself working in such a company. After my master’s I was looking for a sales traineeship. Like most people I started looking on LinkedIn and browsed on the Internet, until I came across a vacancy with Hilti which said that it was also suitable for women. I became curious and looked for more information. Next, I wrote an application letter and before I knew it I was scheduled for an interview. Afterwards, I was invited to an introduction work day to better understand a regular day at Hilti. I really liked that day and the rest is history…
Ah nice! And what do you like most about working at Hilti?
The thing I like most about working at Hilti is the work climate. Everyone is just really informal and casual. The feeling that I get when working with my colleagues is one of the main reasons I enjoy Hilti. Nowadays, I am often on the road in this period of my traineeship. Still I speak to many colleagues every day. The contact between colleagues is very good. A couple of months ago we even went on wintersport together. That is a really good way to develop friendly relationships with each other.
Did you already have a passion for construction?
No, not at all actually. That is also not that important for Hilti. Of course you need to have some affinity or interest in technics, and want to learn more about the product of Hilti. Though, you do not need to have a technical background. It is more about what kind of person you are and if that fits with the culture of Hilti. It helps if you are easygoing and social to handle clients. The technical stuff you will learn along the way, so do not worry about that!
Still the construction world looks like a male oriented world from the outside, how is this world for you as a woman?
Actually there are also a lot of women working at Hilti and more and more are joining. However, from the perception of the client they sometimes still have to get used to this. For example, in the beginning the clients were testing me a bit more than my male colleagues. They are just curious where you came from. But if you show them you know what you are talking about and if you don’t know right away, they want to see that you handle it right.
Ah good to know! And could you tell us something more about your traineeship and the career possibilities at Hilti?
Yes, I started this two year sales traineeship in January 2016. With this traineeship you work as an account manager for 2 years but at the same time you receive coaching and training. Now I am working for the outlaws program, this is a business case inside the company. Besides the sales traineeship there is a technical traineeship, but you marketers are probably less interested in hearing about that. Also there is an international program, where you can work as an account manager for 1 year and after you go abroad for a new assignment. For me the sales traineeship was the most interesting because I want to stay in the Netherlands for now. Although, If you choose one traineeship there are still multiple possibilities. In these 2 years working as an account manager I am building my own client network and I have the autonomy to control for myself for what I want to do next. Hilti is a big company, but the nice thing is that you can easily switch positions for a different function or a different location. It is also possible to apply for one position instead of a traineeship. Also there are possibilities for internships. That is a nice way to get to know Hilti!
Ah, and what kinds of study background are you looking for in your new employees?
We do not pay that much attention to which study you have done. Your personality is more important. We are looking for people who are social, communicative, independent and creative. Also we speak Dutch internally so that would also been a requirement. Still internationals are welcome if they are open to learn Dutch. Also our new director from Germany is learning Dutch now!
What will you recommend to people that are still doubting if Hilti is a good fit for them?
There is always a possibility to get to know us better! You can just come over for a cup of coffee and we can talk about your options. It is important that you have some interest in sales and that you would like to improve your sales qualities for the sales traineeship. Also everyone will have an introduction work day to really discover how everything works at Hilti. So, I would like to recommend to you to come talk with us, and ask yourself and us critical questions. You are not only there to present yourself but it is also the other way around!
- Nadine’s favorite tool of Hilti is the new robotic total-station, it can measure everything on the construction site!
- Nadine’s most memorable Hilti experience is when the whole company visited the head office in Lichtenstein, which was very impressive!
Written by Suzanne Bolander