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Paris showcases TMC in Greece

Last May, Paris Giazitzidis went to a two-day career event in Greece to tell people about the benefits of Employeneurship. Paris is from Greece himself and now works as an Employeneur with TMC Physics in The Netherlands. He had no idea how popular he would be there…

When TMC asked if I would like to attend a two-day careers event at Aristotle University, in Thessaloniki, Greece, I had to question whether I was the best person for the job: I am neither a recruiter nor do I work in an HR department, and so I have no experience of being on the other side of the interview table. Nevertheless, it was an extremely easy decision for me to make. My answer was an enthusiastic 'YES!'. The plan was for me to meet candidates there who have a background in physics, to talk to them about TMC, and see if there might be any opportunities for collaboration.

By the way, I forgot to mention that I am a physicist too, and so I feel right at home alongside people who are passionate about physics in general. Lately, after spending years in labs and writing scientific papers, I’ve found that I really enjoy getting out and speaking about physics. That's why I was so excited about this opportunity in Greece – I was looking forward to encouraging the candidates and letting them know that they too could find a job that perfectly fits with their ambitions.

This is how the career event would work: each of the 40 or so companies attending had an interview table, and the candidates would swap from table to table in a speed-dating fashion. Each 'date' would last for about 15 minutes. Then a bell would ring, and the next candidate would come to your table. I knew the score, and I was ready to begin.

Day 1: speeddating

My first ‘date’ was due at 9am. I sat at my desk, waiting, and looking at the side where the candidates are waiting, trying to guess which of them might be a physicist. And then the bell rang. Let's go! I could see the candidates one by one finding their scheduled appointment. But no one was coming towards my side of the room. Hmmm... Then someone from the organizing committee came over to me. "I regret to say that your first appointment has been cancelled," she explained. My first thought? "What a disaster! I want to go back… this isn’t for me!" Then she explained that I could use the two cards lying on my desk. One card was red, and one green. Raising the green one meant that I wanted to continue with my next appointment. Raising the red one meant I needed to take a break (Spoiler alert: I never used that one). So, I raised the green card. "Oh my God! Someone is coming..."

Cut to 6pm the same day, and I'm still sitting at my desk. After being stood-up on my first 'date' and wondering whether I should continue, a miracle happened! I met more than 50 candidates in a really fast pace. 50! They didn’t all have a physics background. I also met chemists, software engineers, data scientists, mathematicians and people from other technical backgrounds. What really excited me was that there was constantly a queue of about five people waiting to chat with me. The scheduling system seemed to have gone out of the window. There were so many candidates wanting to talk to me that the organisers asked me to speed-up a bit and spend no longer than 10 minutes with each person so I could meet them all.

I asked one of the candidates how long he’d been waiting in the queue to see me. He looked at his watch and said: "About two hours.” Then he added, “Do you see the other three guys over there? They’re waiting for you too." When I looked around the room, there were other company representatives with no queue whatsoever, or even empty tables with green cards lying on them. This was just day one.

"Always be passionate about the things that you like. Do not hesitate to try new things, and make the effort to explore strengths that are hidden inside you."

Day 2: the energy of a hundred students

Another 50 candidates. Only half of them were scheduled meetings. The other half just came along without an appointment. When I asked why they wanted to meet me, plenty of them said, "In between the interviews we talk about how our appointments have gone and what the interviewers are like. And we all find you and TMC very interesting!"

I will definitely remember those two days in Greece for a long time. It was AMAZING! A lot of pressure, no meals, no breaks and strong headaches, but at the same time, a unique experience with very interesting chats. I was lucky enough to receive the positive energy of a hundred young and enthusiastic students – I really felt like I was flying, while a huge spotlight was aiming at me!

With all the candidates I met there, I would like to share a piece of advice: always be passionate about the things that you like. Do not hesitate to try new things, and make the effort to explore strengths that are hidden inside you. I really appreciate that TMC gave me this opportunity to explore myself. Thank you Robert van Tankeren for not saying, "No, Paris, you should stick with your daily project, this is outside of your remit." By sending me there, you helped me grow. Because, as someone once said, "Only when you step outside of your comfort zone, can you grow."

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