This year, ENTER Delft celebrates its second lustrum and thus its tenth anniversary. And all ten years under the inspiring leadership of Patrick van Noort, now Operations Manager Delft, who started out on his own in a small office. With two desks and one telephone. "Everyone who visited us at that time must have thought: 'what is that second desk for', because it was obvious that I was on my own", Patrick tells with a laugh. But with 5 office colleagues in a nice new workplace and a great team of seconded colleagues, those days are long gone! A good moment to look back and reflect on the success.
Patrick: "I studied in Delft and lived 500 metres from where I work now. I could never have imagined that 25 years ago! I started out as an R&D Engineer at Hoogovens, as it was named back then. But I only managed to do that for two months... I really wasn't happy in that job and I resigned during my probationary period... My manager was shocked, because he had never experienced anything like it. Funny detail: years later, I hired him for an assignment at ENTER."
"I resigned during my probationary period. They'd never seen that before!"
Patrick van Noort
But resigning during your probationary period could only happen once, Patrick thought. So he started looking for temporary work, just to get going, and to think calmly about what he really wanted. And that's how he ended up at Randstad Techniek. "They offered me a job at the branch. By chance, actually, but I liked it so much! It was also a really good learning experience."
And so Patrick's career took an unexpected direction, but the right one. "When I was called by a headhunter, who approached me for a position at ENTER, I was an account manager in secondment in the testing domain and had many banks and for example KPN as customers. ENTER offered me the ideal combination: secondment and high tech. And I got the chance to set up a new branch office, and that appealed to me."
A few good conversations followed with founder and owner Roland Poesen, operations manager Mark Sidler and a few more colleagues who had been working for the Eindhoven branch for several years. Patrick: "We really invested time in building a good relationship. And then I just started in a small room, in the building where we are now. I had a small fridge and a Senseo coffee machine and otherwise, it was pioneering. Figuring things out, making appointments, and visiting customers a lot. Always on my own. There were a lot of small companies here at the time of 1 or 2 people, so in a way I was OK, but I didn't have any real colleagues around me and you can't have a chat if you have something unusual going on, for example. You share that with the person sitting across from you, you don't pick up the phone to call Eindhoven. You only do that for big things.
In retrospect, they should have scaled up sooner, Patrick looks back. Not only for his talk with colleagues but especially to accelerate the growth. "But it was a great adventure. I liked following my own plan. Giving up was not in my vocabulary and it also became a bit of my baby. When I started, we only had TNO as a customer in the Delft area. Apart from that, I built up everything myself in the beginning.
"Giving up was not in my vocabulary"
Patrick van Noort
How did he do that? "By being creative. The Delft Business Days, for example, where you can make contact with TU Delft graduates in an easily accessible way and thus be right in the heart of our target group, how could I get in? The answer turned out to be: giving a workshop about applying. So I put that together and still give it with a great deal of pleasure. We are now at the Delft Business Days every year with our team of Account Managers and Recruiters."
What also works well, Patrick knows, is to ask potential customers: 'Is there anything I can do for you at this moment? Patrick: "There is a good chance that they have a difficult vacancy that they cannot find anyone for. If you do find that person, you are in. What helps here is that Patrick, because of his background as an engineer, understands a lot of domains within high tech and also knows what the customer wants. "I think that helped, especially in the early days. It set me apart from the competition. It made it easier for me to get to the table because I was a better interlocutor and could ask more questions."
After ten years, Patrick still feels pleasure in his work. "The high tech field is really cool! There are such nice, passionate people working in it. And I really enjoy being in a commercial role on the one hand, but I also enjoy coaching my team. Making people better in their profession and on a personal level, also makes me happy. It is this combination of everything that makes me feel completely at home. Although, of course, there are still wishes... Patrick: "To add another recruiter and to continue to grow with our team."