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How I joined a tech company as a tech novice

Chari Neggers - May 24

Reading time: 5 min

How I joined a tech company as a tech novice

I recently experienced a major life event. I changed jobs and, I can tell you, it was quite a journey. My story starts with my innate curiosity…

 

From recruiter to candidate

A few years ago, I was a recruiter myself, which gives me a particular perspective on the job application process. Many employers use LinkedIn as a tool to spot potential candidates, but only a few use it properly. I know from experience that sourcing candidates through LinkedIn is not easy. It’s an art to make the right match, especially if you’re looking for a very specific profile.

Now on the other side of the line, I’ve learned that people with my profile are rarely contacted by recruiters on LinkedIn with appropriate job offers. Not to mention the impersonal InMail messages with totally irrelevant content. Throughout my job search, it became painfully clear that even in a tight job market, employers still pay little attention to the candidate's experience.

 

This is 2022, thank you!

After I had gone through initial interviews at some large Belgian organizations, one company invited me for a second interview with their HR Director. I was shocked when she asked me if I was planning to have more children in addition to my two-year-old daughter. This was probably said in ignorance, but I gracefully declined their invitation to go through the next stage because of it. I just couldn’t work for an HR Director who’s unaware of the discriminatory nature of the questions she asks. This is 2022, thank you!

The next disappointment came when a recruiter at another company couldn’t answer basic questions about the role and its responsibilities. She made me quickly remove their company from my wish list because answers such as “I don’t know”, “I’ll have to ask my supervisor” and “I think this is the responsibility of another department” didn’t give me much confidence.

 

No interrogation, more a casual conversation

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casual conversation

I have always worked for large well-known Belgian organizations because, for me, the visibility of my employers’ activities was always an important driver in my job search. So, one day, I got a remarkable LinkedIn invitation from OMP, a company I never heard of. I always check out any job offers I get, just to see who did their homework. OMP’s job offer seemed a very good match with my experience and expectations. Nice sourcing skills there, I thought.

So, I decided to change course and learn more about this unknown OMP. To my surprise, the initial interview with the recruitment manager ended up being a casual conversation between two people with the same interests. A week later, I was invited to OMP’s head office, quite nervous about meeting with the hiring manager.

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From the moment I walked in, I felt a genuine connection with everyone I met. The interview didn’t start with an interrogation, it began with a short presentation outlining the company’s activities as a leader in supply chain planning. Great! A technical novice like me could use some clarification on this complex business. 😊

 

A dive into the unknown

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That day I also got a tour of the office, and I was impressed by all the office perks: a private fitness facility, a pool table, a beach volleyball field, a ping pong table, and a padel court. Without hesitation, I immediately thought it would be a fun place to work. In subsequent interviews with future team members, I became more and more enchanted by OMP and its people. One even sent a message after an interview saying “It was very nice meeting you. I hope WE can make it happen”. It made me feel like we were already working together.

Convinced by the sincerity of everyone I met, I decided to take a dive into the unknown and sign the contract.

A dive into the unknown

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A warm welcome

A few weeks before my start date, my manager contacted me and asked if I wanted to join them for OMP’s New Year’s event. She thought it would be nice for me to get to know the team a little bit better in advance. Of course, I grasped the opportunity. It began with an 8-km hike, followed by the CEO’s New Year's speech and a walking dinner with food trucks. It was a great way to get introduced to the team. The prospect of new colleagues also mitigated the feeling of having to say goodbye to my former colleagues.

After a very busy final week at my old employer, I came home to find a handwritten card in my mailbox from my future team, saying they were looking forward to my arrival. This small gesture made sure I was all set to start at OMP.

On my first day, I was a little nervous. What if the human approach that I experienced in the selection process would be suddenly absent once I was there? I was relieved to discover that my teammates are as crazy as I am, always up for a funny quote or GIF, regularly engaging in self-mockery, but straight to the point when they needed to be. They decorated my desk and brought sweets on my first day. During the pandemic, they even worked with a rotation system to make sure I was never alone in the office, had company for lunch, and got answers to all my questions.

 

“Stop working and go to the hospital”

But then my daughter got the flu and ended up in the hospital with dehydration. Bad as it was, it was even more unfortunate for it to happen in the third week of my new job. Apprehensive, I called my supervisor and informed my colleagues, but they all turned out to be super understanding. We arranged everything practically for work and every day they asked me how my daughter was doing. My American supervisor sent me a message: “Stop working and go to the hospital to be with your daughter.” Even the HR department who arranged the hospitalization insurance asked the following week how my daughter was doing. This was all confirmation for me that I made the right choice.

 

Smart and caring people

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Smart and caring people

How can a tech company like OMP still feel so human? I discovered that close collaboration is at the heart of the organization. Without it, we cannot mean anything to our customers. I've been here four months now and I can honestly say I’ve met a lot of smart but also caring people. OMP really encourages its people to care for each other. And they set a great example too. As an illustration of that, management were quick to launch various initiatives so that we could all contribute to helping our colleagues in Ukraine.

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Unknown is unloved,” according to the Dutch proverb. That was why I hesitated at first to respond to OMP’s invitation. But I’m so happy I did. I felt at home from day one, and I still do. My advice? Stay curious and take that leap of faith.

 

Eager to join one of our global teams?

Chari Neggers

Employer Branding Specialist

Biography

With a degree in psychology and a master’s in communication, Charissa started out in HR at major Belgian companies. In 2022 she brought her employer branding expertise to OMP, raising the company profile as an attractive place to work for top talent.

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