During her Master's degree in Psychology & Management and her work at Kienbaum Institute @ ISM, Friederike Sieber already learned about the impact of transformation on companies. Today, she brings her strategic experience to her work as HR Specialist Global Recruiting at Vaillant, aligning the recruiting process with the new demands of the applicant market. In our interview, she talks about the challenges of the job, how Vaillant is responding to the changing needs of applicants, and what is important in finding suitable candidates today.

Friederike, you joined the Vaillant Group in 2018 and are currently responsible for global recruiting as HR Specialist. What exactly does your job look like?

I joined Vaillant Group in 2018 because I wanted to get to know the operational work in HR after the very strategic experience at Kienbaum. After 3.5 years of operational recruiting, I was longing for work with an international focus and I also wanted the strategic and operational to be balanced. I found both at the Vaillant Group as "HR Specialist global Recruiting". Today, I look at recruiting on a global level and work on the strategic development of recruiting for the Vaillant Group. In addition to the strategic alignment, this also includes the further development of our applicant management system and process as well as the up-skilling of our global recruiting team in system and process. So the topic has remained the same, except that I no longer recruit operationally, but support and advise my global colleagues on the entire topic of talent acquisition.

What are the biggest challenges in your job?

The biggest challenge in my job is change management. My job is to make sure that all our country offices live and apply our recruitment process. In most cases, this works very well. Nevertheless, not everyone is happy with new processes and systems. Here, persuasion is an important part of my daily work. Nobody likes to change familiar ways of working. Changes are exhausting and always mean additional work before the relief comes. My job sometimes involves more unpleasant things, such as process tracking and quality controls.

Applicants' expectations of recruiting have changed in recent years. How do you perceive this at Vaillant and how do you react to it?

Applicants have noticed that companies are very interested in them. They know that they now have a great deal of influence on recruiting and that their demands and wishes are heard and fulfilled. Of course, we have to respond to this. In the battle for applicants, we are not the only ones. We have to stand out in order to be "employer of choice." To achieve this, we try to make our very employee-friendly corporate culture visible to the outside world as well and transfer it to our recruiting process. So everything is under the motto "candidate experience". In addition, we are currently addressing the "new work" trend in order to meet the expectations of applicants in terms of their working environment and flexibility.

As a recruiter, how do I find the right candidate in the battle for talent? Is active sourcing an issue?

A target group-oriented approach is the secret. To do this, I need to know my target group precisely in order to identify points of contact and place information appropriate to the target group so that my call for applications is met with interest. Active sourcing is, of course, a tool that specifically targets candidates who have not become aware of our job ad on their own initiative and who may not have a high motivation to change jobs. Active sourcing will play an increasingly important role in the future. AI will certainly provide more and more support in this area as well. Of course, active sourcing already plays a major role at Vaillant. It's hard to imagine recruiting IT staff without it, in particular.

What do you think will change for recruiters and applicants in the next few years?

At Vaillant, the use of AI in recruiting has not yet been applied. We personally take time for each applicant. Every application is reviewed by a recruiter and every interview also takes place in person. However, I think that recruiters of large companies in particular will receive more and more support from automated processes and AI. This will make the entire recruiting process a bit more anonymous again. Both for the applicant and for the recruiter. Furthermore, active sourcing will become an indispensable skill in the recruiter's profile.

Applicants will continue to enjoy the benefits of the applicant market and in the future will probably be actively approached more than they apply and look around themselves. Active sourcing requires that application materials be designed accordingly. For example, machine readability through keywording should be considered accordingly when creating a resume or LinkedIn profile in the future. LinkedIn profiles and general visibility in networks will play a major role.

Thank you very much for the insights into your work at Vaillant, Friederike.