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“In the competition for the best candidates, we must all play an active role”

Our employees are at the heart of our success as a company - we can only be competitive in the long term with the right people in the right positions. However, it is no longer so easy to find the most suitable candidates. What challenges does Beiersdorf face in a fundamentally changing labor market environment? And what does this mean for us as employees? We spoke with Susanne Iser, Corporate HR Director Strategic Recruitment & Talent Acquisition, about the current challenges of recruiting.

Susanne Iser
Susanne Iser has been responsible for Recruiting at Beiersdorf since September 2016.

Susanne, the labor market has changed considerably in recent years. What kind of changes are these and to what extent do they influence your work?

Susanne Iser: A major change in recent years has been the reversal of the balance of power on the labor market. It is simply becoming more and more difficult to find suitable candidates, because there are far fewer good candidates than vacancies. Today, qualified candidates can choose their jobs and companies have to make more efforts to find them. In addition, many talented people are not actively looking for jobs - even though changing jobs is much easier than before. In other words, we must make a significant effort to find and attract more talent, not least with a good candidate experience. This is the increasingly strong sales component in Recruiting.

From employer to candidate market - how did this development come about?

S. I.: The demographic development and the rather low unemployment rate are decisive factors. But the shortage of skilled workers and the broadening of the job offer - for example by digital companies and young, agile start-ups - have also led to a setting today where the candidate is clearly the center of attention. Quite similar to our marketing colleagues who strongly focus on the consumer, we act in a candidate-centric manner. This means that we have to tailor our approach very specifically to the candidate.

What does this shift in power to the candidate mean for you and your team?

S. I.: In order to attract talented people to us, we must become more visible as Beiersdorf. Employer branding is becoming increasingly important. After all, people are often not familiar with our company name outside of Hamburg. We have strong brands, but they are rarely associated with Beiersdorf. As a result, we often cannot benefit directly from the attractiveness of the brands like other companies.

This means that it is even harder for Beiersdorf to find good candidates? What is your approach in the candidate driven market?

S. I.: We have to start with perception, which means increasing awareness of Beiersdorf as an attractive employer. We have a lot to offer, and we need to communicate this proactively to the outside world. In addition to targeted employer branding measures, it is important that our employees become active promoters of the company. They are simply the best multipliers! They can present Beiersdorf authentically and convincingly to the outside world and are able to achieve a wide reach. Every Beiersdorf employee is a recruiter.

In other words, in the future each individual should play an even greater role in recruiting?

S. I.: Exactly! Placing an ad and waiting until the right applicant comes forward? This procedure is no longer working. We use targeted employer marketing, actively approach interesting candidates by contacting them directly and invest in young talent at universities in order to get into the heads of tomorrow's talents at an early stage. But that alone is not enough. We all play a part in this: For example, every employee can rate Beiersdorf on portals such as Glassdoor and kununu, share contributions from the Beiersdorf LinkedIn page and job ads, or recommend candidates from their own network for externally advertised positions via our referral program. Recruiting has become a sales job – for all of us.

Susanne, thanks so much for the interview and the valuable insights.

Kathrin Erbar

About the editor: Kathrin Erbar

Since 2017, Kathrin is responsible for communication on HR related topics, including e.g. diversity, learning & development, leadership or new work. Before that, she was very much about the figures when she was responsible for financial communications at Beiersdorf for several years.

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