Too many applicants push their own unemployment issues onto possible employers. Instead they should challenge him and try to create their own jobs, says Michael Stubbe (BSc, ´92), AU alum and HR Manager at Kamstrup.

The idea had never occurred to Michael Stubbe before. But when a Chinese exchange student explained to him how she could contribute to his company, he hired her. Kamstrup already has an office in China, and the student had working experience from another Danish company. Therefore, she could offer her quite unique know-how to build bridges between the two countries.

Stubbe and the Chinese exchange student first met at CompanyDATING at AU’s Career Festival last year. Now she’s working at Kamstrup’s Skanderborg office, where she’s responsible for their e-commerce and marketing in China.

“Of course we hired her! I appreciate people who can challenge me”, Stubbe says.

In his opinion it’s essential that applicants are active and sharp at defining what they can offer an employer. Too many times he’s experienced that students or recent graduates called him, only to present their educational background and ask what he could offer them.

“And then you push your unemployment problem forward to the person you are talking to. Why should I care about that?”

Clarify and work hard

If you’re still uncertain about what you have to offer, you must figure it out, Stubbe says. Yet Stubbe shows understanding for the confusing situation young students are in, since it’s not always easy to find your way.

“Many things happen by coincidence and you grow and mature along the way. But you also need to stop and ask yourself: ‘Am I moving in the right direction?’ Subsequently you should make a decision and go for it.”

When you’ve found an area that feels right, you will automatically get more drive. And drive is a key word for Stubbe. He quotes AU alum Henrik Poulsen (MSc, ’94), who is now CEO of DONG Energy, and key note speaker at Aarhus BSS Career’s Career Festival.

“As Henrik Poulsen said: Work hard. The more you work, the more luck you will have and the more you will succeed.”

If you show that you really have something to offer and are willing to work hard, then you will be rewarded. But if you are only interested in getting a monthly salary in order to pay your rent, you will not impress Stubbe.

“If you only want to pay the rent, then you will not perform. You will neither be successful nor get promoted. So my advice is to find something that feels right and give it all you have.”

The good networking moment

During the AU Career Festival, Stubbe participated in the HR Gameshow Job Search: Hot or Not? Among other things, the panel was asked whether they would say yes if an applicant invited them for coffee and half an hour of their time in order to get advice.

Stubbe said no. Half an hour is too much. But he wouldn’t mind a five to ten minute phone call on a Sunday afternoon.

“It is a hard sale to get some time with a decision maker. You have to offer something that could have value to them. Why should I spend half an hour with you? You have to be clear on that question.”

His personal experience is that Friday afternoon after four is a good time to call. The decision maker will still be at work, but the employees have left for the weekend already. Therefore it’ll be easier to find an available moment here.

Everything moves faster 

Another piece of advice is to be informed at all times, because everything moves faster today when companies are looking for new staff.  

“Needs arise faster, and we want to fill the positions faster. When an interesting candidate appears, we invite them in for an interview immediately. So keep informed at all times.”

Electronic development is one of the reasons why everything moves faster today. And for Stubbe it is very natural to use LinkedIn and other social media professionally. Before meeting with someone he would always check the candidate’s LinkedIn-profile, he says. He even checked this journalist out before doing the interview. 

Written by Tatiana Tilly.