Behind the scenes: Pitch Perfect – the IBM iX Sales Camp

Authors: Jil Perdacher, Melanie Warzyc

To expand the Business Development Team, IBM iX created an innovative hiring event: Pitch Perfect - The IBM iX Sales Camp. Now, 6 months later, David Novakovic, a former participant turned Account Executive at IBM iX, shares his experiences and progress thus far.

One of our key objectives for this year was to expand the IBM iX Business Development department. This led us to a fundamental question:

How could we attract the most sought-after talents for our sales team?

As a result, a new project emerged: the IBM iX Sales Camp – an innovative type of hiring event to combine elements of an assessment center and a boot camp. During the IBM iX Sales Camp, candidates were exposed to a wide range of tasks and content, including challenging case studies that promoted teamwork, storytelling skills, and insights into the Customer Journey Transformation that we pursue with our clients.

After 3.5 months of brainstorming, planning, case development, and, last but not least, rigorous applicant screening and interviews, the first weekend of June 2023 finally arrived. Throughout those two days, we had the pleasure of meeting numerous promising talents and experienced a consistently high level of energy. We engaged in deep conversations and discussions, making us immensely proud of the successful execution of this weekend.

In summary, we received over 200 applications, resulting in 16 exceptionally talented young professionals participating in this unique hiring experience with us. Ultimately, we were delighted to extend job offers to more than half of these outstanding talents. But what was the experience like for our exceptional participants?
We ensured that every participant received individual feedback through one-on-one calls, and we are thrilled to report that some of them have already joined our team. One of these talents is David Novakovic, our interviewee today, who joined as an Account Executive at IBM iX Vienna in July.

Hi David, thank you for taking the time to answer some questions for us. How did you find out about the hiring event event “Pitch Perfect”?

To be honest, after a not-so-smooth application process with another company, I decided to change my approach and search Kununu for the best-rated companies in Vienna. I found out about IBM iX DACH and then discovered the Sales Camp ad as well as an open position I was actually interested in. I applied and a few weeks later I found myself on a plane from Vienna to Düsseldorf heading to the Pitch Perfect Weekend.

Tell us about your first impression of the event and the company.

After a short screening call as well as a video call with Jil Perdacher, I was very curious to see how the event would really turn out. At that point, I couldn’t really imagine that an event structured like an assessment center could be so personal and insightful. And that’s exactly why I was very surprised that the CEO, CSO, CTO, other members of the management team and the entire team I applied for took the time to meet us on that weekend. Actual team members really gave us a chance to get to know them. And that’s the biggest difference from all the application processes I’ve experienced before. I had time to get to know the people who I was going to be working with in the next chapter of my life – this was the first of its kind for me.

What was your biggest challenge during the two event days?

That’s a good question. I think I speak for all the participants when I say that we were not sure what to expect. There was a big question mark over our heads about what to expect to do that kept the tension up. One thing that really stood out and that overrode the usual motif of elbow mentality at these types of events: IBM iX made it clear from the beginning that they were open to hiring more than one person. That changed the way we perceived the event and made us work like a team before we even were one.

And what was your highlight of the event?

The small conversations and moments I shared with the people involved and the energetic atmosphere. Furthermore, the general gut feeling when I saw how my experiences from the last 4 years came together in 2 days and helped me solve the given tasks and challenges.

Now you have been working with us for over 2 months. How did you experience the onboarding and what is your role at IBM iX?

The onboarding was smooth. Every detail was considered. It started with receiving an onboarding package, continued with introduction sessions with all the new joiners and rounded off with coffee talks with my colleagues to get to know them. What also surprised me is that the mentality of the people I got to know during the event translated well to the whole company. I started as an Account Executive and I am part of the Generative AI Taskforce within IBM iX DACH. To answer the question of what I am doing exactly I would probably need a little more than 1-2 sentences but if I would have to put it crisply: I am responsible for managing and growing assigned client accounts by serving as the main point of contact, developing relationships and ensuring customer satisfaction and retention. Or to put it into a more abstract way: Talk to people to understand the needs of their roles and businesses and help them come up with solutions to transform the customer experience to drive growth.

Tricky breakout session

Exclusive company insights

Networking and team event in the evening

Sounds good?

If you are interested joining IBM iX,
please check out our open positions.
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Any questions?

Contact us for questions about your career at IBM iX.

Jil Perdacher
Talent Acquisition Consultant, IBM iX Dusseldorf, Graz & Vienna

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