What interested you in Hilti?
I wanted to work for a well-known international brand or business, which offered the chance to be a part of a large company and have a good amount of responsibility from the outset. I also wanted to have opportunities for travel; the company’s head office is in Liechtenstein and many of the major offices are in Switzerland and Germany, which means good opportunities to work overseas.
What does your role involve?
I started in customer service but I am now finishing up an account management role in Gladstone, Queensland, where I was looking after a large development area, including a $60 billion project currently underway. I am now moving back to Sydney with a new role in marketing and product management.
How does the grad program work?
The first role is usually a sales trainee position, an entry level job for those coming into the business for the first time. It involves understanding customer needs and giving them the product to suit. It is great because it gives grads a broad range of knowledge about Hilti’s products. We also get to move around within the company to see and learn about the various aspects of the business – including the maintenance rooms, the retail stores, training, and innovation areas.
From there, grads can move up through the company as I have done. But there’s no specific allotted time or pathway, it’s all up to the individual. For example, I was in customer service for nine months before being promoted to account manager. Now, after one and a half years in that role I am about to start in a new role.
What have been the best and most challenging aspects of the job?
My first role was based in the Sydney head office, which meant that there was always someone to answer my questions, quickly. When I came out to Gladstone however, I became the guy in the red Ute; the region’s Mr Hilti. When things don’t align properly, productivity gets eaten away. Making sure productivity isn’t too negatively impacted can be a challenge, which is where some of the skills I learned in the early stages of program have been invaluable.
There is also a lot of responsibility. For example, I need to decide about applying discounts and what products are required, so having the right product knowledge and support is really important. And if I don’t get it right, the buck stops with me. But it is also a good thing because I own it. I essentially have been running things like my own business, which has been a great learning experience.
How is the work/life balance?
Great. There’s never a drama if you need to take time off. However, being an account manager has been a little different to other jobs and can involve meeting people outside of normal working hours, including early in the morning. Then again, we also have rain days to catch up on other work.
First, I think what I’ve accomplished thus far has been great. I moved to Gladstone and turned an area that was going backwards into a profitable and growing area – I even sold the most expensive item in the Hilti catalogue twice. So I’ve done well being a new face and I now have some new weight behind me. Ideally, in a few years time, I’d like to be based in Europe; one of the original attractions of the job.