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Recruiting is dead - long live recruiting!

May 03, 2019

Which HR-strategies will be successful in the future?

“What do you have to offer apart from an exciting job, and what about my work-life balance?” asks the candidate at the beginning of her interview. The paradigm shift in recruiting is in full swing. Candidates are becoming increasingly self-confident and have very precise ideas about what company they want to work for and what their work situation should look like. But what can businesses do in the face of these new developments to highlight their brands on the job market and ensure that they always recruit the most suitable talent? HR experts Wolf Reiner Kriegler, Founder and Managing Director of Deutsche Employer Branding Akademie (DEBA), and Helga Pattart-Drexler, Head of Executive Education at the WU Executive Academy, have analyzed what recruiting strategies will be successful in the future.

Pic of a recruiter selecting an applicant
A paradigm shift across all industries is calling for new approaches to recruiting.

A corporate area is undergoing fundamental change across all industries: HR departments have to deal with profound labor-market transformations - new demands on the part of candidates, digitization, a skills shortage - for instance in the field of IT - and global competition are calling for completely new approaches to recruiting. Long gone are the days when recruiting was as simple as advertising a job in a newspaper and selecting the most suitable candidate from hundreds of applications. The rules of the recruiting game have changed. Nowadays, candidates no longer apply for jobs, but businesses vie for the best of the best in what is known as the war for talent. Recruiting has become a complex process that starts earlier and ends later.

The following 6 strategies will help HR professionals achieve recruiting success in the future:

Strategy 1: Accentuate strengths and develop a creative concept

“Ideally, employer-communications activities are planned in a cross-media and dramaturgic manner,” says Wolf Reiner Kriegler, Founder and Managing Director of Deutsche Employer Branding Akademie (DEBA). According to him, those who want to do more than just personnel marketing need to think in terms of campaigns and must have a creative concept. In this context, developing job advertisements is only one small piece of the puzzle. “The more distinctive and distinguishable the identity of a company, the clearer and more effective its identification offering.”

Portrait Helga Pattart-Drexler

Helga Pattart-Drexler

  • Head of Executive Education of the WU Executive Academy

Job advertisements still tend to be very streamlined in nature. As a result, the job applications businesses receive are very similar as well. What can companies do to change this? Accentuate their competencies and strengths in a precise manner. This increases the workload, but it also creates real value in terms of recruiting.

Strategy 2: Create a strong employer brand

Between 2006 and 2010, employer branding was THE dominanting topic among HR professionals. Meanwhile, the hype has ebbed away. That said, branding activities are more vital than ever for employers, but, according to the experts, their focus needs to be refined. Wolf Reiner Kriegler thinks that too often businesses mistake branding for marketing. “Actually, employer branding is primarily a process of developing an organization, and indeed its identity and culture, and only secondarily a process of marketing.” He also points out that above all else employers far too rarely show their “rough edges”, adding that developing a crisp profile invariably involves bringing something into view and leaving something else out of sight.

Pic of a notebook with employer branding written in it
Employer branding should be given more attention again - but not primarily be seen as a process of marketing. Photo © CC0 Licence

Strategy 3: Harness digitization for employer branding and recruiting

In Wolf Reiner Kriegler's opinion, technological change shapes employer-branding efforts. “It is when businesses use employer branding as a catalyst for strategically desired change that things start to get exciting.” Apart from brand-driven cultural transformation, digitization opens up tangible practical opportunities in the context of recruiting, such as the automation of certain processes, as Helga Pattart-Drexler explains. “Companies need to define where and for what purposes they can use digitization,” she says, adding that it is important for businesses to make sure they can devote more time, not less, to the individual candidate. “Also, organizations must provide the necessary technology and ensure that their employees are literate when it comes to using new media. The future of recruiting lies in active sourcing, which again builds on an attractive employer brand.” Social-media platforms, such as Facebook or LinkedIn, play a crucial role in this context.

Strategy 4: Foster the involvement of departments that have vacancies to fill

“Frequently, recruiting happens too far away from the departments where vacancies exist. But it is these departments that know exactly what professional and social skills they are looking for,” says Helga Pattart-Drexler. The problem, though, is this: HR experts are not too keen on having others tell them how to fill vacancies. “That is exactly why, at the end of the day, job advertisements look similar.” One upshot of this can be that the newcomers are not really compatible with their departments.

Portrait Wolf Reiner Kriegler

Wolf Reiner Kriegler

  • Founder and CEO of DEBA

In these times of skills shortage, recruiting has become a core business process that all the relevant departments must be actively involved in. Direct contact between candidates and departments can help ensure there will be a real “fit” for both sides.

Strategy 5: Be more courageous when it comes to recruiting

Similarly worded job advertisements, elaborate assessment centers and many interview rounds are to reduce the risk of choosing a candidate who subsequently turns out not to be right for the job in question. “People focus too much on playing it safe when it comes to recruiting. Why don't they dare to try out something new?” says Helga Pattart-Drexler. It is only in the course of everyday professional practice that one can really tell whether somebody is a perfect fit. Businesses should take a more relaxed approach to recruiting. According to Wolf Reiner Kriegler, the “cultural fit” is key: What type of employee has what it takes - not only in terms of professional skills but also personally and culturally speaking - to be productive and make his or her wishes a reality within the corporate setting? He also says it pays to question established assessment criteria: “Unusual résumés, for instance, are no longer the exception and may soon become the rule.” Helga Pattart-Drexler summarizes the gist in a nutshell: “Ultimately, having the right wavelength is what really matters.”

Pic of a laughing employee at his workplace
Whether there is a "cultural fit" is often only discovered in everyday job life. Photo © CC0 Licence

Strategy 6: Don't neglect internal recruiting

For many businesses, it is anything but easy to fill vacancies internally. This is due, among other things, to internal resistance, for instance on the part of executives who dig in their heels. “There is still considerable potential, provided businesses address this issue in an active and, above all else, open-minded manner,” says Helga Pattart-Drexler.

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