What Recruitment Can Learn From Sales
In 2014, Infineon revamped their approach to talent acquisition to thrive in an increasingly competitive recruitment landscape. The results were outstanding. Not only did they increase recruitment five-fold over a three-year period, but they also reduced external headhunter costs by 78 percent. The success of their innovative vision led to Infineon winning the 2017 HR Excellence Award.
Infineon is one of the world’s leading manufacturers of semiconductor solutions. These tiny electronic components have become an indispensable part of everyday life, widely used across many industries such as automotive and telecommunications. Central to this success story is a constantly growing talent base, with more than 40,000 employees spread across 111 countries.
In 2014, Infineon’s recruitment process was outdated, outsourced and often unproductive, leaving them with little option but to make wholesale changes. They started by revamping their job posting process, eschewing the old post-and-pray model for a greater social media presence, to connect directly with a wider audience. Today they boast over 44,000 followers on Facebook.
Their antiquated career site, which had been in use since 2003, was given an aesthetic makeover to create a more inspiring employer image for would-be applicants. This was coupled with an overhaul of the application process. This was key, as studies found that candidates were abandoning applications when confronted with the previously time-consuming process. In addition, Infineon introduced a new system to better ascertain the success of hiring campaigns and measure ROI, which was previously impossible. All of these changes generated a greater volume of applicants for the company.
However, a new issue soon arose. Because their talent acquisition approach was so broad, recruiters were forced to filter large quantities of unqualified applicants. Given the niche nature and highly technical requirements of the roles, this was especially problematic and time-consuming.
At this point, Infineon enlisted the expertise of Mercer | Promerit a forward-thinking consultancy service with core components centered around HR and digitization. Together they created a more targeted and streamlined recruitment model. It was important that the implementation of this system mirrored the high-tech nature of Infineon in its ease and speed of use, as well as pragmatism.
“For recruiting to be successful today, four things are particularly important: proximity and access to the business, a differentiated talent acquisition strategy depending on target groups, well-trained and clearly defined recruiters and the targeted use of digital tools. Infineon does just the right thing.”
Michael Eger, Partner Talent Attraction & Acquisition at Mercer | Promerit
The devised strategy focused on five key elements.
1. Establishing a Recruitment Landscape
The first step in moving towards a more targeted recruitment approach was to build a clearer picture of the roles involved—defined as key functions—as well as the specific nature and requirements for each role.
The recruiting landscape was divided into 12 individual key functions, based on a thorough analysis of which roles were the most crucial, hardest to fill and demanded a certain volume of candidates.
Not only did this allow recruiters to build an overview of their needs in the short term, but it also helped them forecast what would be needed in the future. With a better understanding of the recruitment demands, it was now possible to apply bespoke approaches for the key functions in question.
2. Devising Tailored Recruitment Strategies
Because of the varying nature of the key functions they were recruiting for, it was clear that Infineon had to replace their one-size-fits-all recruiting approach with a more targeted strategy to engage with talent.
This involved separating open requisitions into one of three categories:
Type I: typically used for positions that are easy to fill.
Type II: revolves around a more proactive approach to communicating with candidates for positions that are hard to fill, but that have a high impact on business.
Type III: an assortment of special recruitment strategies for hard-to-fill positions that occur infrequently.
An offshoot of this change in approach was the need for a new breed of recruiter, with a variety of different skills that resembled sales management more than traditional recruitment. This led to a rebranding of the role as Expert Talent Attraction, a new multi-faceted position with core components that include network management and market innovation.
3. Understanding Target Groups and Candidate Persona
For each key function, a hypothetical candidate profile was designed to help better understand the needs and preferences of the target group.
This included identifying both personal and professional character traits to develop a deeper appreciation of how to communicate with the community, as well as what kind of compensation package would be most attractive. In a move to make these personas less abstract, they were assigned the names Dave and Sarah, which made it easier for people throughout the organization to understand the context of each persona.
Again, this kind of radical thinking is more akin to marketing than traditional recruitment and helped Infineon differentiate themselves in a competitive recruitment landscape, and attract best-in-class talent.
4. Candidate Relationship Management Technology
With large volumes of talent, it can be easy to lose track of a pipeline and for workflows to be mismanaged. However, when leveraging Avature, recruiters are able to find and filter candidates with intuitive search tools, as well as track the progress of each individual. Not only can this be done with one’s own pipelines, but it makes it easy to take a look at those of colleagues.
In addition, Avature technology helps Infineon nurture meaningful relationships with their talent pipeline. This is done via automated, but personalized, email communications such as birthday cards, newsletters and event invites.
“It is common that well-qualified candidates narrowly miss out on positions where there is only one vacancy available. In these cases, Avature is invaluable for recycling these contacts and matching them with a recruiter when a new, similar position opens.”
André Czemmel, Talent Attraction & Digital Marketing Manager at Infineon Technologies AG
5. Maintaining a Healthy Talent Pipeline
Infineon proactively engages with talent just as much as when there are no open vacancies as when there are active slots that need filling. Doing so allows recruiters to constantly have options at their fingertips should a position become available with little notice.
Key to this is sourcing via multiple channels such as active social media searches and job advertisements in relevant career sites. Another popular approach is attending industry fairs, meet-ups and hackathons to connect with possible candidates in person.
The results that Infineon has seen since implementing this strategy are nothing short of breathtaking. Between the fiscal years of 2013/2014 and 2016/2017, Infineon went from filling 326 openings per year to 1,600. Underlining this increased influx of talent is a significant decrease in external headhunter costs, which dropped 78 percent over this three-year window.
Undoubtedly their vision was an unmitigated success, a fact only reinforced by their winning the 2017 HR Excellence Award for their outstanding talent acquisition strategy.