"We have high regard for international experience, although it is not an absolute requisite for us."
Münster University sees itself not only as being rooted in the local region, but also as having an international orientation – in teaching, in research, among students and among its administrative staff. Using reports, background information, portraits, facts and interviews, we will be showing just how wide-ranging the issue is.
On the basis of discussions with students, we know that they often wonder whether, and to what extent, international experience is an advantage for their later careers. In this series of interviews, personnel managers from various companies located in the Münsterland provide answers to these questions.
The third part of our series features Guido Hilchenbach, HR Manager at Landwirtschaftlicher Versicherungsverein Münster (LVM), an insurance located in Münster:
What are the three most important criteria for your company when it selects new staff?
Professional and technical qualifications are really important. Personality and an ability to work in teams are significant criteria too.
When you recruit people, how important for you is international experience, for example in the form of work placements, voluntary work abroad or a semester spent at a foreign university?
There are three aspects of international experience that are important for our day-to-day business, even though our focus is on Germany. Applicants who have international experience have firstly developed relevant social competence, secondly demonstrated personal flexibility, and thirdly broadened their horizons. This is why we have high regard for international experience, although it is not an absolute requisite for us.
In what other ways can young graduates score with you?
Applicants can score "bonus points" if they do voluntary work outside their jobs – whether it be social service, or involvement in the cultural or sporting areas, or something similar – because it quite clearly requires social competence, which is also valuable at work.
What status does internationality have in your company as regards your staff, your business and your corporate culture?
Because we are a company that is focused on Germany, internationality is something that is of rather minor importance. As stated above, we have a high regard for any international experience that applicants can demonstrate. As we operate all over Germany, but not internationally, internationality is not reflected in our corporate culture. Our business activities are restricted to Germany.
Do you think that in future international experience will play an even greater role than today when recruiting staff? And how could or should universities react to this?
The importance of international experience will increase inasmuch as globalization and migration will continue to increase. For this reason our workforce will become more diverse, and staff should have international experience and, above all, intercultural competence. What universities must do is to promote stays abroad and acknowledge the competences students acquire there in the form of credits for their degree courses.