Not all the skills, but the right mentality !
Experience, skills, your track record,.... Often the first thing that comes up in recruitment. But at Unilin Group, we look first and foremost at what mentality someone has. A quality that you have and cannot learn. So it makes little difference what your background is if you want to work at Unilin Group.
Louis Verhelst: from professional cyclist to Finance Controller
Until 2018 Louis Verhelst (31) spent his days on the bike as a professional cyclist. “By the way, I was a member of the Quick-Step youth team”, he says. After seven years of full-time cycling and repeated injuries Louis cut his cycling career short. Nowadays you can find him in the Unilin Group’s Finance Department.
From professional road racer to accountant, for Louis it was a logical step. “I have a bachelor’s degree in accounting but I signed my first pro cycling contract just one month after I’d started working as an accountant.” Nevertheless, he kept the accounting option open, also after his cycling career. He applied for a vacancy in the Unilin Group’s Finance Department. “I didn’t expect to get the job, precisely because I had so little experience. But Unilin Group still chose me, based on my character and mentality.”
Louis brought interesting competencies to the table during his job interview. “I indicated that I had developed a different set of useful skills during my sporting career: a wide scope thanks to a multitude of international contacts, immunity to stress and a generous dose of perseverance. Those qualities convinced Unilin Group to hire me for the position.” At Unilin Group attitude and potential play a key role because contrary to certain technical skills, these things cannot be learned.
The right mentality
After three years Louis felt ready for the next step in his career. “I wanted to give it a shot as a Financial Controller. Most Controllers have a master’s degree whereas I hold a bachelor’s degree. But my current manager immediately set my mind at ease: for Unilin Group it is more important to recruit someone whom they know has the right capacities than hiring someone with the ‘right’ diploma who lacks the attitude they are looking for. It’s great that Unilin Group gives you opportunities, regardless of your background. I’ve been in my new job for a month and a half now and I’m really happy I made the switch. I have a lot of contact with foreign colleagues and I really enjoy that.”
Lieselot Meersschaut (30): from chiropodist to Distribution Requirements Planner
How does someone with a chiropodist’s degree end up with Unilin Flooring? “Before I started here in 2018 as a Distribution Requirements Planner in the Supply Chain department I held an administrative position at an HR agency. Advancement was out of the question there, both vertically and horizontally, so I started looking for a new challenge. I perform well under pressure, I’m a perfectionist and I had already developed strong administrative skills. I also wanted to work close to my home town of Wielsbeke. All roads led to Unilin Group and one week later we had a deal.”
Learning on the job
But how is that possible? After all, Lieselot was a total stranger to supply chain. “That’s true (laughs), but during the interview I pointed out that I’m very flexible. I like to learn, I adapt easily and I’m a fast learner on the job. My enthusiasm and flexible attitude are what convinced Unilin Group.”
She started without any background in supply chain or the programs she would have to use. “That was a bit stressful”, she laughs, “but as I expected I learned the job with the help of training courses and the support of my colleagues. And that definitely has its advantages because there are so many elements that apply specifically to Unilin Group.”
Lieselot wasn’t left to her own devices. “When I started, my manager took the time to coach me several days a week. My immediate colleague also went over everything with me.” She also enrolled in an online training course to learn the jargon, she took product training and was given a tour of the plant. “All of this helped to accelerate the learning process and to get to know the company, of course.”
Three years later Lieselot is ready for the next step within Unilin Group. “As things stand I miss personal consultations with colleagues. This has had a bigger impact than I thought. When I raised the subject with my superiors they were very understanding. Together with HR I’m currently looking for a new opportunity in-house. I would very much like to manage a team as a team coordinator. I want to lend a sympathetic ear and help people feel good in their job. It’s nice to see that Unilin Group is open to internal mobility.”
Want to know more about lifelong learning at Unilin Group? Go to our jobsite and read all about the different career paths you can choose from and how we approach lifelong learning in practice.