DOTMAGAZINE: We hear more and more often that companies – at least in Germany, but also elsewhere – are having trouble filling key specialist roles. How can a company make itself attractive to potential employees?
PEER BIEBER: That’s a good question, because especially here in Germany, we’ve got a war for talents in certain industries and it’s more and more important that companies talk about the activities and topics they can offer to employees. What this means is that it’s not just about the job, but that an employer – especially in Germany – has to get into a position where the company is talking about what the benefits are, and what the purpose of the company is. It’s about working for a company that fulfills a vision which is not just running jobs – it’s more. Because well-educated people in Germany can make a choice about which employer they are going to choose. So, it’s more and more important to provide this kind of information.
IT experts know that they are in high demand so they can start to set their own requirements.
DOT: Are there particular recruiting challenges in the German market?
BIEBER: Yes, there are, if we look into the IT sector. All professions which are related to IT skills - like a developer or a consultant in the IT area - are very much needed on the market, so a lot of employers are hunting for these kind of professions. IT experts know that they are in high demand from companies, so they can make a choice about which employer would suit them best, and they can start to put forward their requirements regarding: “What do I want from my employer; What kind of topics do I want to be involved with?” – they can put this into discussion before they choose who they will work for.
For example, it’s already standard for IT jobs that a developer would ask if they can work at home two or three days a week; if they have flexible hours; if they get to choose their own IT equipment when they start at a new company. It’s not like in the 80s or 90s, when people just came to a job and everything was set up as the company wanted to have it. It’s now the other way around, that these highly needed employees can choose what they want. To be honest, it’s not bad for companies because it creates a more comfortable situation for the employees if they can, for example, choose their own IT and find a way to work according to time schedules that suit their habits or circumstances.
DOT: Apart from the ones you have just mentioned, how have employee expectations changed in recent years?
BIEBER: Well, we also talk about the fact that more and more employees are looking for sustainability in companies.
They say, “Okay, it’s good that you have a good product or a good service to offer - but what’s behind this? What’s the story of the company? Where’s the company making a difference regarding the community, the services etc.?” This has changed a lot. And we see that, in daily business, companies are being asked questions like this in interview situations or even on online platforms more and more often; this is information potential candidates ask for.
DOT: What do you consider to be the key success factors for recruiting great staff?
When looking to recruit, sometimes an employer just has to be the quickest instead of the best. But it’s also about being honest about what you can offer.
BIEBER: First of all, in Germany we have to say being very fast. It’s about speed. Once you put a job advert onto the market, and you get some applications, it’s very important that an employer is very fast. It’s not about, like, “I’ve got two or three weeks to get a lot of applications and choose who would be the best.” The market has changed. So, after two or three weeks, the applicants you’ve had might not be available anymore. So it’s very important that, once you get an application, that you make a touchpoint, that you get in contact with the candidate and try to get an interview as soon as possible. And, to be honest, sometimes an employer has just to be the quickest, the fastest, instead of the best, because that’s how it is in the market. That’s one essential basic.
So first and foremost, it’s being fast. But it’s also about being honest and showing the potential candidates what you offer – it’s not just a job: Of course you have to mention all the qualifications which might be required, the tasks which are to be done – but you also have to offer the surroundings. So, talk about benefits, what kind of office equipment you have, where your office is located, what the other benefits are, like holidays, like work-life balance. Offers can be mentioned. This is one crucial part for companies to start talking about, because a lot of companies in the past just had the assumption that the candidates would know what they offer, but this is wrong. There are so many job offers out there – you have hundreds, thousands of jobs in Germany daily – so it’s very important to talk about what you’re offering, because it makes it easier for candidates as well as for companies to find the right match.
DOT: And what about retaining staff?
To retain staff, you have to see what aspects could bond the employees. Here, assigning responsibility is a big priority.
BIEBER: Well, that’s another crucial part. It’s obvious that it’s easier to retain the employees you’ve got already instead of recruiting new ones. There you have to do more than just paying the salary; you have to get into more of an intense relationship with your employees, so you should start communicating with them more and see what could be aspects to bond the employees in the future. It could be a career that you can offer, it could be other benefits like having responsibility for certain projects. So, offering more people responsibility is a big priority, especially for beginners: They want to have responsibility in companies as soon as possible. And if you can start offering something like this, it makes it much easier to keep employees. There are just so many job offers out there these days that, if necessary, they can just go online and find a new job within hours, if they have a good qualification.
DOT: Are there any other factors companies should be keeping in mind?
Every employer should check their reputation on employer review websites on a regular basis.
BIEBER: Well, I think one very important part which should be mentioned is that, if we are talking about websites like Glassdoor or Kununu, reviews of employers are becoming more and more important. And I just recommend that every employer keeps that in mind and checks their own reputation on a regular basis – and it’s not just checking, it’s about starting a dialog. It doesn’t matter which industry you’re in, it’s important that you accept criticisms – even in the public sphere. These can be positive or negative, but it is important to start a dialog in order keep your own reputation as employer at a good level. Nearly every second employee who’s looking for a new job is using tools or platforms like this to find some orientation on the market. So that’s very, very important.
Peer Bieber is an expert for recruiting strategies and an author. He is the founder and owner of ArbeitgeberGold GmbH. His consulting company is focused on German medium-sized businesses who want to become independent on the employment market.
Please note: The opinions expressed in Industry Insights published by dotmagazine are the author’s own and do not reflect the view of the publisher, eco – Association of the Internet Industry.