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Managers are good. Leaders are better. That’s what Andrew Witt, sourcing analyst for Georgia-Pacific and 2010 Raymond J. Harbert College of Business graduate, told students in Marcia Gibson’s Professional Development classes Wednesday afternoon.
“In our company, our culture is leadership-based, not management-based,” said Witt, whose firm was one of 36 sending representatives to Lowder Hall to interview and recruit students for Industry Weeks. This week featured businesses in the Supply Chain and Aviation Management world.
“We are looking for people who are going to take the lead,” Witt added. “If I see something, I’m going to take the initiative and own that. Or if I see something safety-wise, I’m going to point that out and not just walk by. That’s what I mean by leader.”
Witt — who encouraged students to begin looking for jobs and establish corporate relationships as juniors — discussed a number of career-related issues with prospective talent, including interviewing, what to expect on the job, and how to be more attractive as a potential employee.
“My thought process was, ‘If I get a head start, I can get familiar with how career fairs are run, how I can have elevator conversations, how I can give a résumé and make myself presentable without being awkward,’” he said. “The more I can learn about all of that up-front, the more I feel comfortable in it and the easier the process is going to be.”
Being the right fit for the company is obviously important, and first impressions in the interview process can go a long way. Witt noted that Georgia-Pacific is a “principle-based company” with its top two principles being integrity and compliance.
“Through our interview process we want to get an understanding of who you are as a person,” he said. “A lot of your growing up and who you are will come out through the interview process and it will come out when we meet you. We’re making sure when we recruit that you align with our principles. If it doesn’t appear that you are going to have integrity or align with our other principles, then you won’t be a good fit with Georgia-Pacific.
“We believe that we have to have integrity and operate in compliance with all laws and regulations just to be in business. When you look at a company, you look at our principles and ask, ‘Do I want to be a part of that?’ Yes or no?
“You have to have virtues and talents, knowledge and skills. Essentially, you’re going to have virtues and talents as a person. When we meet you, you’re either going to ooze really high on the ability to be respectful and have high integrity, or you’re going to make me question it. When I think about knowledge and skills, you’ve learned a lot in class or through group projects or learned working while putting yourself through college or whatever those experiences are to have some sort of knowledge, so now we really want to make sure that we are recruiting for the knowledge and skills too. We can teach you a lot of the other stuff.”
Witt said Georgia-Pacific is currently seeking procurement specialists, and is also offering six-month internships.
“It (procurement specialist) is an entry-level position,” he told the class. “You train and learn about our organization – what Georgia-Pacific is, understanding inventory, how that works, getting familiar with negotiations, managing people. It’s a position where we are looking for somebody who is going to be willing to relocate a little bit.
“For an entry-level position, it’s somebody who knows the terminology, knows and has the ability to work well with people and come in really wanting to own their position. It’s an opportunity to get paid to learn – absorbing and soaking it all up. Where I saw opportunity, I went out and did it. An awesome thing about Georgia-Pacific is they want your ideas. Just as much as I mentor you and I share my experiences and my thoughts with you I want to know what you know. You might have learned something better in this class than I did. It allows us to be innovative and it allows us to seek and share knowledge from each other.”
For internships, Witt said students must at least have a 3.0 GPA before applying.
“What we try to do is pair you up in the role that you are interested in – transportation, data mining, sourcing, and from that we put you in a position that you feel comfortable in and you have mentors and a project that you will be working on. Toward the end of the internship you give a presentation in front of our CEO to show the things that you have learned in your time at Georgia-Pacific.”