IT Recruitment: Interview wtih Harald Schütz of Sophos
Industries, markets and the world of employment are changing, and companies from Upper Austria are substantially involved with these megatrends. The Sophos company is a technological pioneer in the IT security sector and protects companies worldwide from complex threats, viruses and spam. IT security products are becoming more and more complex; the IT world is turning faster all the time and change has almost become the new normal. What effects these aspects of the sector have on employee recruitment is described by branch manager Harald Schuetz.
- Working with epunkt since: 2012/2013
- Typical roles that are filled by epunkt: Software Engineering (developers, QA, technical documentation etc.), product management.
- What I most value about epunkt: expertise, reliability, quality, personal support
epunkt: Mr. Schuetz, the IT landscape is becoming increasingly complex and one could say that a limited ecosystem has developed into a small cosmos. What is your reaction to this constant evolution?
Harald Schuetz: Your observations and the analogy are certainly appropriate. The IT landscape has always been subject to constant change. However particularly in the last few years this sector has seen a rapid acceleration. Moreover, technology has increasingly also entered new sectors - the "internet of things" is an example. As a consequence of this, knowledge that was seen as new a few years ago is often already out of date today (knowledge is increasingly short-lived).
In order to be able to keep up with all these changes and innovations, we rely on a good combination of experience and up-to-the-minute knowledge. To this end we are constantly looking for young people who have grown up with the new technologies and are highly qualified. That means finding appropriately well qualified people in appropriate numbers is increasingly becoming a critical success factor for our company.
Particularly for young talents there is a lot of discussion of self-actualisation through work. The expectations of an employer are high and a good working atmosphere is a crucial requirement. Are you prepared for this "Generation Y"?
Generation Y is the first generation to have grown up surrounded by modern technology such as mobile communications and the internet. For many, flat hierarchies and break-out spaces are important criteria for the selection of workplace. Development potential as well as "work-life balance" are not just buzzwords for them, but of central concern. We are trying to repond to these changed requirements by adapting working methods and procedures.
Instead of highly interconnected structures, we use small teams who are responsible for their own output and can do it independently. An attractive working time model which provides the flexibility necessary to be able to do work in when required, or take a little break sometimes almost is an essential part of that. The aspect of continued professional development is incorporated through regular employee meetings in which prospects are discussed together.
What effect does this change in attitudes have on your recruitment process?
The transformation in attitudes must of course be taken into account in recruitment as well. Many of the decision-making criteria of Generation Y have a social aspect; this is however generally much more difficult to describe than for objective facts. We are trying to accomodate this trend by increasing our focus on employee recommendations and word of mouth. However, an unbiased assessment by the recruitment consultant can often act as an objective source for a candidate.
What is your evaluation of the lack of IT professionals in Upper Austria?
The lack of IT professionals represents a serious problem. Already in the past, it was often not easy to fill vacancies at short notice. This situation has been exacerbated in recent years. Certainly a large and well-known company will find it easier to increase its attractiveness as an employer and receive sufficient applications for recruitment. For smaller companies it has become much harder to find enough well-trained people. There is also no improvement in sight, so the issue will become even more acute in the coming years.
What was your experience of working with recruitment firms? How do you assess this industry?
A competent partner is an important, indeed essential factor for successful recruitment. The experiences that we have had until now with various providers have been quite mixed. We have found that only a long-term relationship allows us to gain a real insight into the company. Because only a partner who is both well represented in the relevant markets as well being a credible representative of the company has any opportunity of being able to find and recruit the best people (i.e. the ones best suited to us).
In the recruitment sector, great transformations have happened in recent years. Whereas a few years ago, employees were recruited traditionally via advertisements in the newspaper, today that is only one of many options. The internet and above all social media provide opportunities that were completely unfeasible, or unknown a few years ago. This allows new employees who are very present and very well connected in these new media to become successful quickly.
What characterises the work with epunkt?
We have found a reliable partner in epunkt who makes us feel extremely well supported in all our recruitment needs. The professional service of the company makes a substantial contribution to our long-term successs.
What we appreciate about epunkt...
- Personalised support,
- Strong market position (player in the recruitment sector),
- Skilled service,
- High-quality contacts,
- Good initial screening,
- Stable relationship,
- Service focus and
- The comprehensive service offering.