Alvin Monpellier's job interview at Aegon wasn't exactly what you'd describe as conventional: he was asked put his own position together with the job specs, and he also had to find his way out of an escape room.
As part of our Faces of Aegon series, Alvin explains in his own words how he secured a position in the Brand & Communication department of Aegon the Netherlands.
(Photos of Alvin by Rienk Toorman)
"I saw the vacancy advertised on LinkedIn calling on applicants to 'design your own communications job'. This really caught my attention. The department was looking for a total of eight new colleagues, with various skills and competencies.
Using these 'building blocks', you could really make your own job specifications. For instance, there was a need for someone with writing skills; a person with experience in sponsoring and someone who was familiar with internal communications. So, I could indicate where I had useful experience and what I would like to learn.
Normally, a vacancy text spells out what the employer needs and you write your motivation letter on that basis. With Aegon, I was able to choose which 'building blocks' I wanted to use, and this actually made the process easier. I added an image of a crane in my cover letter that placed the letters of my name into the text. I did this to showcase my creativity.
I was subsequently invited to complete a personality assessment, and shortly after that I was invited for an interview. I found this to be tricky as I had no idea what to expect from the discussion. Were they going to ask me about the building blocks I had outlined or something completely different? I have to admit that it was difficult to prepare for the interview.
But, all went well, and I was told I could take part in the Escape Room experience...
Not a typical office
I thought that was great of course. I immediately saw a huge box-like temporary room when I arrived in the central hall of Aegon's headquarters in The Hague.
We went into the Escape Room in groups of five. We were a mix of future Aegon colleagues and other applicants. Everyone was excited and this generated a good atmosphere. The nice thing is that you quickly see how others react and you immediately start to get to know your colleagues.
We were also being watched by a psychologist and an Aegon human resources colleague. There was no time to put on any pretenses and they could really see how an individual behaves in such a potentially stressful situation and how the group works together. Our team happily clicked and we were the fastest to "escape" the room. We celebrated with a high five. It was a cool experience, and that alone was a win in my book.
We underwent a psychological evaluation after the escape room experience, and we discussed why I had or hadn't done something. Then I thought, 'This is me, and if they accept me, they will take me for how and who I am." And in the end I was accepted. It was a unique experience!
Getting the call
I was just about to tell a colleague that I had applied at Aegon when I got a call offering me the position. Naturally, I was very happy as I never expected I would find a new job so quickly. Aegon was able to offer me a new step in my career and therefore I had hoped I would be picked. Clearly, I was not completely sure about what I had applied for, though I was aware of which building blocks were necessary.
When people asked me what I was going to do, I replied: ' I don't know exactly, but I do know that I am well-received.' I just had a good feeling about it. The challenge was exciting and it gave me energy as I knew that I could give it my own interpretation. My philosophy is 'throw me into the deep end, I'll find my way.'