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The Hiring Process From a Recruiter’s Perspective

Annika Senkovic

I’ve been working at censhare as a recruiter for a few months now. I realise that what I do might not be entirely clear outside of HR, so I thought a blog post would be the perfect device to answer a few of the questions that I have been asked frequently throughout my career.

What makes your job as a recruiter particularly exciting these days?

I see it as my daily challenge to convince candidates about censhare. Of course, censhare has a lot to offer as a company and having Munich as the primary location certainly makes my job easier as well!

I see myself mainly as a mouthpiece on censhare for the outside world. I like to show candidates early on that we’re genuinely interested in them and encourage a genuine back and forth throughout the application process.

At censhare we want to be fast and efficient. It’s very important to us that we get back to our applicants as quickly as possible – ideally with a job offer!

It can never be quite that simple though; candidates expect things like lunch subsidies, gym memberships, detailed onboarding schedules, and even boring things like a company pension program. The list is long but it’s fun to talk about. It’s the perks that often set us apart, after all.

What do you do to appeal to the right candidates for censhare?

Once the text for a job ad has been written, it is placed, in what we hope, are the right channels.

In the past we would post to sites like monster.com then pray – which worked wonderfully into the late 2000s. Today, especially in the STEM field, that approach doesn’t quite cut it. We work with an agency that knows more than 2,000 platforms and channels in Europe and worldwide. It compiles the right recommendations for each ad, but still, it is often the case that while applications may come in, the really good candidates just aren’t there. Then it doesn’t matter how well-placed or well-written the ad is. Many candidates simply aren’t actively looking, or are looking only passively. Which is why we also utilize headhunters. Honestly, how headhunters reach out to candidates is a little out of my scope, but I’m learning about that on top of everything else!

What questions do you usually ask in an interview?

“Recruiters always ask such weird things.” “That was a stupid question; what did they expect to hear?” Are things I hear often. Even my friends sometimes come to me and ask me if there’s any right way to talk to recruiters during an interview.

So, first things first. We know that applicants are nervous and under a lot of stress in an interview. Remember, not every question is automatically a stress test. Usually we’re just curious and really want to know what the interviewee is about and why some things in a CV are the way they are. We also don’t weigh every single word and “kick someone out” just because a sentence is awkwardly phrased. However, an invitation to interview means that for the most part the facts fit. The interview is so that we can find out more. At the end of the day it’s typically the overall impression that counts the most. The questions we ask ourselves are whether we can imagine having the candidate in the position to be filled and whether he or she is a good fit for the team. And, while it’s up to the recruiter to deliver the good or bad news, we rarely make that decision alone. The department in question and HR agree in almost 99% of cases!

Is it really so difficult to find the right candidates?

Yes! The fact that the job market is increasingly becoming an applicant’s market is probably nothing new for many of you.

Once we have appointments for interviews, the company is likely just as anxious as the applicants themselves! Naturally we want to know what there is behind the paper version of the application! We hope that a promising application will live up to our expectations. It’s disappointing when that doesn’t happen and we have one fewer good candidate in the race.

Sometimes it’s the company that gets turned down, and the applicant decides to go in a different direction. Which is why discussing the aforementioned perks is not just fun but necessary to set us apart. It wasn’t long ago that just sending a contract meant that the applicant would say yes. Today, though, recruiters worry whether or not the applicant will actually accept the offer. It’s not uncommon for applicants to not reply to an invitation to interview, or that I have to phone an applicant to chase up a contract once it’s been sent out. Occasionally the worst case scenario occurs, which is never hearing from the applicant again. So, see, being a recruiter has its challenges.

What’s it like to have to send rejections and disappoint applicants?

Sending rejections is sometimes easy and sometimes hard, depending on the circumstance. Some applicants simply don’t make much of an effort and submit their CV without any further comments, which justifies an easy rejection.

Maybe, some of us still have typical "German" expectations and expect to see a complete dossier with a cover letter and references. Although we understand that some applicants are not entirely familiar with the German job market. As a global organization it’s imperative to keep in mind that different cultures have different expectations of applicants. So, I still want to be able to see what motivates the job seeker.

Of course, above all, it’s especially difficult to send a rejection if the applicant was really good and someone else just edged them out.

Many of you may be wondering why we send standardised rejections that don’t tell the applicant why it didn’t work out. This has been a very sensitive matter since the General Act on Equal Treatment was implemented at European level in 2006. As a company we are not allowed to discriminate against applicants, so we are very careful about whether and how we provide written grounds for a rejection. Yes, unfortunately, sometimes applicants threaten legal action.

As recruiters, we ask about core competencies, strengths and weaknesses. To finish up, I would like to explain how we see our own role:

Being a recruiter demands a great deal of organisational talent, sensitivity and naturally the right amount of human understanding. We also need to know about labour laws, a range of language skills in an international company and, most of all, we need to enjoy communicating the company’s message and strengths to the outside world. There are a lot of other things on my to-do list, such as writing interesting content for our careers page or thinking about different formats to attract the attention of the right candidates. My role has changed a lot over time – from a more administrative role into a marketing and project-oriented role. It’s a lot of fun to be on the front lines of censhare’s growth !

Annika Senkovic Annika Senkovic

Annika joined censhare Munich in June 2017 and has more than 5 years of professional experiences in various HR fields: support, administration, HR development, HR marketing and recruiting. After having travelled the world for 8 months she decided to return to her recruiting roots and now supports the company in its fast growth by finding new talent for the headquarters in Munich.

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