Traineeship & Trainees

Expat expectations

Working at a Dutch HR consultancy as a ‘’non-Dutchie’’

Being 25 years in the business, Quintop HR Consultants works for both national as international customers. Besides the customers, we also broaden our horizon in our search to new talent as not all consultants are native Dutch. Zithe Kamesa is South African and one of the international consultants at Quintop. We interviewed Zithe about her experience on working for a Dutch HR Consultancy in the Netherlands.

Originally from South Africa and born in Zimbabwe, Zithe Kamesa decided during the pandemic to study her masters in HR at the University of Tilburg: ‘’I decided to move and study in a whole different country, let alone continent, and to eventually start working as well, here in the land of all thing’s orange and tulip ornated. A very bold and exciting move which suits me because from a young age I was always keen to travel. My parents saw to it that I knew that there is so much more to achieve, do and see. Either in South Africa or wherever else; I wanted to have that experience.’’ Zithe learnt that The Netherlands has a great education system and even better opportunities to amplify a career. This supported both her decisions to study in Tilburg, which helped her get well acquainted with Dutch life, and eventually then working at Quintop, in Utrecht which was fitting for her next career pursuit.

From Tilburg to Utrecht

Quintop HR consultants felt like a great fit for Zithe, both as a reflection to her personality and what she wants to learn further within her career: ‘’Quintop expressed that they hoped to employ more international candidates from which they could also learn. I, at this stage after doing internships in change management in both local and international contexts, knew I was interested in working in a company like Quintop. I wanted to do and know more about the people side of business. I think now more than ever, human centricity is at the tip of everyone’s tongue and it’s great to be at that forefront of such expertise in this organization.’’

Having moved to the Netherlands Zithe already had some expectations of Dutch people characteristically and culturally. She in her experience the Dutch are generally very happy people. She smiled: ‘’Despite that they love to complain about the weather, they are happy and very interested in cultural exchange and getting to know more about you. That comes with some directness which can often be misconstrued for harshness or being impolite but quite honestly, I like this way of working at times. It saves time, and most importantly you can be just that, straight to the point. This does, however, contrast the expressiveness and warm-er culture I am used to together with the patience and bouts of charisma. Not that it doesn’t exist here just lesser, up until you have acquainted yourself with Dutch people more closely. It does not matter that I am not Dutch, so long as we are always having open dialogue, mutual respect and understand our differences. At the end of the day everyone knows something you don’t (whether you are from the Netherlands, South Africa or somewhere else) and it takes that openness and willingness to uncover such, both ways.’’

People side of business

Quintop’s keen eye on the people side of business, generally checking in and looking out for each other is something Zithe really appreciates. Besides that, she states that the mentoring is also a great way to align her professional goals to her personal ones and following up on these regularly: ‘’I learn something new almost every day about Dutch life and that’s mostly from all my colleagues and friends. That’s enough for anyone to feel at ease I would say, it makes this massive changeover in countries worthwhile and exciting. Not to mention our shared lunch time in the office with good conversation, that together with our weekly ‘borrels’, speaks to great camaraderie.’’

Take a leap into the unknown

To anybody who might be searching for a new opportunity or a new adventure in the Netherlands, you should do it: The Dutch working culture has a deep appreciation for work-life balance and I feel that there is a deep sense of community, mutual respect, and friendship. I feel this to be of great importance to me having moved so far away from home. This becomes apparent with the conversations you exchange with colleagues, to making plans outside of the workplace and the help offered to make sure you are always comfortable’’, Zithe says.

Lastly, she advises to anyone to find something you are equally passionate about and to find a working place that supports your passion: ‘’Find yourself a place where your ideas are welcome, especially because you bring in a different perspective to some challenges. Consultancy is a career to do if you enjoy these kinds of challenges. There is always something to learn and you just never know what the next opportunity might bring, this is due to the diversity and novelty of solving business problems across multiple different industries. So, take the leap into the unknown, it could be everything you hoped for’’.

Zithe Kamesa is 24 years old and started the trainee programme at Quintop in May 2022. She has a master’s degree in international management, a Bachelor of Commerce (Honours) in Communication Management and a Bachelor of Commerce in Business Management. She is currently working as a junior PMO HR analyst, within which she has worked on two different projects thus far. One was to create a new way for the organisation to conduct their midyear conversations in a more human centric way and integrating this into their HR system. Thereafter, obtaining data and analysing the results for a companywide report out. Second, was to optimize and update their company handbook to make it more digitally interactive, redesign it and co-ordinate activities within this process in phased launches.


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