Last week, we had a talk with Martha Jamir Gonzalez De Ycaza. She is Campus Recruiter at Philips and is busy recruiting students and recent graduates on a daily basis. We talked with her about her job, her ambitions, her experience with recruiting students and useful tips for promoting yourself in the best possible way during a job interview.

Martha has been working as a Campus Recruiter at Philips for the past six years. In these six years, she has worked in different markets: first in Panama, where she was born, then the Iberia market (consisting of Spain and Portugal), then Italy as well and since 2019 in the Benelux. Being a recruiter wasn’t Martha’s first ambition when she was younger. “First, I focused on working in HR, because I thought that was the way to go. But everyone’s ambitions change over time. I learned to focus more on what I really like to do; working with students and organizations, supporting young talents but also a company as Philips to provide talented people. This is what I want to keep doing.”

Martha recruits students mostly via universities and student organizations like MAA. “These places are ideal for our role as campus recruiters, because we focus on students. Other colleagues of mine focus on older groups and recruit them mostly via LinkedIn, because they are looking for experienced people.” Martha points out that the quality of students she and her colleagues of Philips have met via different activities of MAA is very high. “And we will definitely continue to collaborate with the MAA!”

What are important things a student recruiter pays attention to when recruiting? “One of the most important things is how you as a student project yourself. Show that you are proactive. Especially when working from home, being proactive is key,” Martha points out. “Also CV, skills, knowledge and experience are important, but it depends on the kind of internship that is there. Sometimes managers will say: ‘I don’t need someone with experience, because they are an intern.’ Others will say that they would like to have someone that already did an earlier internship.”

In Martha’s opinion, you can transfer knowledge into experience. “During every conversation I have with students, they mention different projects they did in university. You should be able to translate that knowledge – working in projects – into experience and develop this project as it was a short-term assignment. It gives a recruiter and manager a very good idea of what you are capable of doing. It requires analytical skills, doing a presentation, doing research, et cetera. So knowledge and experience is 50/50.”

Martha adds: “But do internships! Take opportunities to work, even if it’s at a family member or volunteering. Work with student associations like MAA to develop skills like time management, collaborating with businesses and coping with different responsibilities. And as said before: if you don’t have any experience, focus on those university project or business cases as if they were short-term assignments.”