Kathrin Steenmans

Company:BYK-Chemie GmbH              
Role:Industrial Clerk Apprentice  
Has been with the company since:08/2010

What apprenticeship stations could you get to know so far?
I have been employed as an industrial clerk apprentice at BYK-Chemie GmbH since August 2010. Already at the beginning, I noticed that luck was on my side. The successful welcome day and the congenial get-together beforehand made it clear to all of us, what lay ahead of us, but also what we could expect from our apprenticeship. 

Among other things, this included the personal rotation schedule, which showed exactly when and how long I would be in which of the twelve departments. The departments do not just include the typical operational areas such as Purchasing, HR, Customer Service, Logistics and Accounting. In order to obtain a comprehensive overview of the processes within the organization, the rotational schedule also includes departments such as IT, Dispatch Warehouse, and Marketing-Service.

What do you learn in vocational school?
Of course, the schedule also includes going to the vocational school two times a week for training. In doing that, it is interesting to see to what extent the theoretical lesson content is reflected in the company. The vocational school thus not only forms a basis of understanding for operational workflows/processes, but also optimally prepares the students for the intermediate and final examination of the IHK (Chamber of Commerce and Industry).

What are your professional goals?
I am doing this apprenticeship because, in my opinion, it constitutes the proper cornerstone for one to successfully participate in an international company. After the two years, I will pursue part-time university education or in-house continuing education options so I can continue to further build on my acquired knowledge while still working. Through several conversations with managers, I could also imagine myself one day taking on a leadership role.

How do you remember your application process and interviews?
The application process was rather quick and without unclarified questions on my part. Shortly after I submitted my application, I received an acknowledgment of receipt, and a couple of days later, the coveted invitation for the recruitment test. This gave me the opportunity to distinguish myself through tasks involving calculation, logic, German and English as well as subject-related tasks, which brought me to my first interview.

The interview process was very pleasant, because all questions and answers on the part of BYK-Chemie were formulated in a laid-back conversational manner. The first interview was with the head of training and continuing education.  After that, there was an invitation to a second interview, which was structured similar to the first.  However, an HR specialist was involved in that one as an additional observer. The contract and other required paperwork were sent to me in the mail, and, naturally, signed and returned by me. 

Could you provide us with some advices for an interview?
The most important thing for a good interview is intensive preparation, particularly in regards to personal preparation. Assuredness and the manner in which a person presents themselves provides information about character and personality.

There are many ways to become informed about potential interview questions ahead of time. The resume, cover letter or letters of reference should also be explainable without any gaps, for example, in order to avoid contradictions. In addition to the personal preparation, you can also set yourself apart by intensively prepping yourself on important company dates and facts. That shows interest!