Sven Hoogenboom studied Industrial Product Design, which wasn't exactly a close match for the activities of engineering firm VIRO. Even so, Sven contacted us to discuss a graduation assignment. This choice proved to have a successful outcome.
‘Industrial Design primarily focuses on the consumer market and on the aesthetic part of a product,’ explains Sven. ‘It doesn't really focus on the technology behind that. However, the mechanical aspects and such interest me. I was one year into my study programme when I realised this. I then decided to finish my studies while also taking on board as much as possible on the topic of mechanics during my internships and graduation.’ In his search for a suitable graduation assignment, he found VIRO in Arnhem.
This conjures the image of a lone mountaineer, struggling in vain to find something to hold onto. A number of VIRO's projects are somewhat related to Industrial Product Design, but the discipline is not one of the company's core activities. Recruiter Yvette Koerntjes took Sven's reasoning to heart. ‘In his application letter and CV, he made it clearly known that he had chosen a technical specialisation to graduate in. He gave a strong indication through this, which inspired Fred and I to talk to him.’ Fred van Manaen, department head of Mechanical Engineering says, ‘Initially, I wasn't keen on inviting him. However, Yvette said that his CV looked so good. It's only during the interview that you see, hey this kid would fit in well here. Let's work together and give it a go.’
Fred explains Sven's graduation assignment, ‘In the past, we had received a phone call from someone looking for a special mechanical wheelchair for their sister. They requested that it could only be operated by the sister's left hand. Sometime later, I received an e-mail from the caller explaining that his sister had passed away. From then on, our department thought of this as a fictional assignment. Sven came up with a concept for it, which is now being developed further by a colleague.’
Sven is now a VIRO employee through and through, working as a Junior Mechanical Engineer in the ASML team. Yvette says, ‘He's a motivated, positive young man who is a good match for the team.’ Fred adds, ‘A group of us were going to go to a colleague's wedding, but the coronavirus stopped that at the last minute. We then had the idea to make a video instead, Sven is the driving force behind it. Each one of us recorded a video and then sent it to Sven. He made them into something fantastic, which we sent to the happy couple. He's front and centre for those kinds of things. He's a real good and fun guy!’
How is Sven doing? ‘I was immediately thrown into the deep end. Coincidentally, my supervisor had also studied Industrial Product Design – so we made a good match. He helped me throughout the entire process and the group at VIRO was open to questions. I had to take the initiative myself though. That suits me well, because I like things being that way. I was free to ask anything I wanted to know.’ Fred says, ‘The people in the department are such a great group. Interns and students doing graduation projects are part of the group, and everyone helps each other. There's a reason that nine times out of ten, students want to come work for us.’ Yvette adds, ‘At the closing interview, we as recruiters always evaluate with the student. We ask them: how was your experience, what can we still improve, could we contact you to discuss your career opportunities at VIRO? Sven was very positive. He gave us a final score of nine out of ten.’
Sven does not immediately start working for VIRO after graduation. ‘On LinkedIn, I received sixteen messages from non-recruiters asking if I would come work for them.’ The offer of sales engineer at a technical company really appealed to him; however, he quickly noticed that the job description given to him was not accurate. He quit after two weeks. ‘And that's when they come back to you,’ laughs Fred. ‘It's just like when your son or daughter moves out, but then the relationship they're in doesn't work out. Sven literally said, “I miss you.” It was great to hear him say that. We were more than ready to welcome him back, because our door is always open.’