Tess Hoitink

Tess Hoitink: "Most people present are graduates themselves and have been in your shoes, too"

Published: 17th January 2023 Last updated: 08th February 2023

Tess Hoitink is Talent Lead at Hays. The company participates in the Social Sciences Career Event Tilburg (SCT) during Career Week.

What kind of company is Hays?

“Hays is an international recruitment agency, with more than 10,000 employees worldwide and  offices in 33 countries. In the Netherlands, Hays employs approximately 150 people, in two offices, one in Tilburg and one in Amsterdam.

Hays matches companies and candidates as part of selection & recruitment or secondment. In the Netherlands, we do so for the Dutch job market, but we do work together with colleagues abroad. Hays serves large customers like Heineken, insurance group a.s.r., Red Bull, and Bosch, but we also work for small and medium-sized enterprises. Within Hays, consultants each have their own specialisms, for instance, recruitment for the HR, engineering, or IT branches. Given their knowledge of the job market, they can advise both businesses and candidates. Hays wants to be a life-long career partner, which means that we do not only advise candidates at the start of their working lives but also when they have moved on in their careers and want to take new steps.”

What position do you have at Hays and what does it entail?

“I work as a corporate recruiter, which means that I recruit my own colleagues: the recruiters and consultants. In addition, I am involved in campus recruitment, both at research universities and universities of applied sciences. And within Hays, I develop tailored training programs and I conduct training sessions.”

Why does Hays participate in the Social Sciences Career Event Tilburg (SCT)?

“Young professionals are a target group we mediate for and that we also want to recruit for ourselves. And besides, we enjoy the contact with students. We find it interesting to hear what they are looking for in an employer, but also where they look for vacancies and how they look.“

How does Hays contribute to the SCT?

“During the Career Week Preparation Day in February, we teach a workshop in the field of positive personal leadership. Students learn about their strengths and how they can use them to achieve their goals. I developed the workshop as part of my Master’s of Human Resource Studies together with Sjanne Marie van den Groenendaal, who is pursuing a PhD at the Department of Human Resource Studies at Tilburg University.

Tess Hoitink

During Career Week in April, we give a corporate presentation and we are present at the networking drinks. The presentation is aimed to introduce students to what we do as an organization, what we can do for them, and what it is like to work at Hays. The Hays website gives a rather formal impression, whereas the work floor atmosphere at the Netherlands branch is quite informal. The presentation gives us an opportunity to share this kind of information with students that is not something you would pick up from the website.”

What opportunities does contact with your company have for our students?

“We have a lot of knowledge on the job market and we think it is important to share that knowledge with students. In addition, we offer internships for students, we can mediate for them when they have graduated and they may want to work at Hays itself. If they want, students can take a look at our extended career website.”

What tips or do’s and don’ts would you give to students?

“Mind what you wear, even if you do not yet know what kind of company you want to talk to. The way you dress always leaves a first impression with a potential employer. It is better to be overdressed than underdressed. Also think or your body language: adopt an open attitude and radiate eagerness.

Be confident about approaching businesses during Career Week. Most people present are graduates themselves and have been in your shoes, too. They will actually enjoy being in contact with you. In those interviews, ask questions about things you really want to know. They may also be personal questions. It is exactly those questions that help you discover whether there is a click and to decide whether you want to pursue a contact.

Think of these interviews with companies as a way to build your network. You can start now, even if you will not graduate for another two or three years. If you have already talked to somebody within a company, it is easier to get in touch and to ask if there are any vacancies.

And finally: think of your LinkedIn page as your resume, so pay attention to it. Make sure that your page is complete and up-to-date and post something now and then, so you are more visible. Feel free to share things that you are proud of, things that you have done or achieved.”

What helped you to get where you are now?

“When I was job hunting, I posted a message on LinkedIn. Somebody in my network invited me for an interview. I had a job in less than a week. So if there is one thing which I would recommend to students, it is the importance of a network, not only if you are looking for a job now, but also later, if you are ready for a new step.

What also contributed is that I always undertook activities besides my studies. I served on a board for a year and I traveled for six months. During my job interview, I was specifically asked for these experiences and what they had taught me. Having traveled or having been on exchange shows that you have got guts and are not afraid to take a risk. That was a great help to get my current job, in which I am expected to operate independently and proactively."