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Retro View on Recruiting and Online Assessments - Interview mit/with Fyltura's Anne-Cathrin Becker

Was a pleasure to speak with Anne-Cathrin Becker from Fyltura about my view on the last 20 years in recruiting - no surprise that we covered online assessments as well.

Ich hatte das grosse Vergnügen mit Anne-Cathrin Becker von Fyltura über meine Sicht auf die letzten 20 Jahre im Recruiting zu sprechen - natürlich mit besonderer Berücksichtigung des Themas Online-Assessments:

English translation:

Using technology to attract talent - When "one-size-fits-all" doesn't fit anymore

In our interview series with HR experts, we regularly introduce interesting people. Today we are talking to Marcus Fischer, Head of Talent Acquisition, Recruiting and Employer Branding at Zürcher Kantonalbank.

FYLTURA: Dear Marcus, would you like to introduce yourself briefly to our readers?

Hello Anne-Cathrin, nice to meet you and thank you for inviting me to the interview! Who am I? In a nutshell: For many years I have been a recruiter and employer brander by heart with passion for HR tech.

In my career, I have had the pleasure of recruiting great people for exciting jobs in top companies in various industries: Aquent, Audi, Baloise Group, Textkernel, Straumann and since February 2021, I have the privilege of doing so for Zürcher Kantonalbank, the largest cantonal bank in Switzerland and thus one of the leading Swiss banks.

In addition, together with Martin Maas, with whom you have already spoken, I run a small but fine employer branding consultancy: Time4Hires.

I'm from the north of Hesse, successfully married and challenged daily by two teenagers - my family-internal test unit for new concepts.

FYLTURA: Just recently, you took the plunge and made a change of industry. What did Zürcher Kantonalbank do particularly well in its employer branding?

That's easy: They lived the core of their positioning: "The nearby bank". From the very first contact, it was a very positive exchange at eye level. No show, no sugarcoating. It was people talan exchange between folks who wanted to make a difference. With a high degree of authenticity and passion. And that suits me.

FYLTURA: You've already worked in a number of industries - how did recruiting and the selection process differ in these industries?

The basic principle in recruiting is generic. Differences arise due to the strength of the respective brand, its products and consequently the job profiles being sought. Finally, the available resources also play a role, althoughthere are never enough resources. It is certainly not surprising that IT people are selected differently than sales people. Beyond the technical knowledge, however, there are hardly any differences; the determination of cultural fit is almost the same everywhere.

FYLTURA: You've been working with tests since 1998. What development have you been able to observe in this area and what experiences have you made?

Today, it is normal to validate selection decisions with test procedures; at that time, this was hardly common - especially not digitally. In 1998, we primarily tested programmers and graphic designers. This was binary: correct answer found/action executed: won, otherwise lost. But even that was helpful.

I remember 2001 very well, when we did the career hunt with Jo Dierks and his CYQUEST crew, a gaming-based online assessment that also described personality attributes. That was super exciting, but actually still completely overwhelmed us at the time. The confidence in the profiles we received there was - wrongly - not very strong.

Today, we see a very high level of personalization with good usability for all parties involved and many providers working with AI and their algorithms. The only thing that probably hasn't changed is the skepticism of talent, who still don't love it.

FYLTURA: You've already worked with innovative recruiting strategies - what's your take on testing procedures as a valid selection tool?

I would generally no longer label test procedures "innovative" - they are now a fixed part of the recruiting tool set and their validity is beyond doubt for me. For me, they are an important and valuable support tool in the selection process. However, I would still not rely on test procedures alone - they are a puzzle piece of the overall picture.

FYLTURA: How do you evaluate the technical expertise of your applicants?

It varies; we don't follow the "one-size-fits-all" principle. Tests, assessments, business cases, interviews, work samples - the spectrum is broad. However, the personal assessment of future colleagues still plays a central role.

FYLTURA: Let's stay with recruiting - what experience have you gained in your last jobs in optimizing recruiting processes?

This has always been a core part of my work. I am a pragmatist and follow the maxim "less is more". My goal is to ensure that processes do not become a burden, but ideally do not hold things up. I am not a "tick box" person.

Technology, unsurprisingly, plays a central role in optimization - used correctly, it allows us to engage with talent more individually today. A huge win for everyone involved. Looking back, it's incredible how easy many things are today that seemed unthinkable a few years ago.

FYLTURA: What made you passionate about your job and what excites you most about it?

"Doing things with people:" *LAUGH*

There are two things: on one hand, I have the chance to meet many exciting people and learn more about their expectations and wishes - that still fascinates me every day. On the other hand, I can live out my enthusiasm for technology and use new tools and concepts - I love that.

I feel very privileged that I get to be in such an exciting and agile field of activity. And when I get to share that with great people around me, it's the icing on the cake for me.

FYLTURA: Our last interview was with your partner from Time4Hires, Martin Maas - he advocates more genuine authenticity in employer branding and a new culture of mistakes. What exactly does that look like in your day-to-day work?

That shouldn't really need any explanation. Authenticity is the foundation of employer communication. But to do that, you also have to continuously look in the mirror of self-awareness. What you see there is not always flawless, but hopefully radiates sympathy and passion - so you should consider how much makeup you put on to stay in the picture.

Because the first thing that disappears when you put on a lot of makeup is uniqueness and emotion - and that's what usually tips the scales in favor of a career decision.

On the new error culture, which I wouldn't call it new either: Dealing constructively with mistakes is important because we live in a world that can rarely be controlled or predicted - too many external factors influence the success of our activities.

The path to success leads through trial and error - a constant learning and optimization process. It becomes fatal if nothing is learned from mistakes. In our field, mistakes are part of the creative development process. If you live a zero-error culture, you won't get very far today - you're giving away too many opportunities.

FYLTURA: What book, blog, podcast, event would you recommend to a newbie in HR?

There's too much to list here. I would recommend newcomers to quickly network online and talk to like-minded people and learn from their experiences. The community around recruiting and employer branding - nationally and internationally - is great, people are open, helpful and happy to network. Offline, I've been an HRbarcamper from the very beginning - the only event date that never gets crossed off my calendar. But of course there are many other good events.

And for those who don't like that, I recommend reading blogs. This has the advantage that the information is very up-to-date and you never run out of reading material. Some time ago I published the blogroll that I work through - there is something for everyone.

FYLTURA: Which expert from the HR world would you recommend to us for an interview? Is there something like a role model for you?

I am struggling with role models, I think everyone has to find their own way. There are a lot of great, inspiring colleagues who do a great job and with whom I like to talk. Barbara Braehmer is one of them, maybe she is happy to speak with you.

FYLTURA: Marcus, thank you very much for the exciting insights and your willingness to do this interview.

Aquent, Audi, Baloise, Textkernel, Straumann and most recently Zürcher Kantonalbank: talent attraction in various industries, from large companies to start-ups: Marcus Fischer has been able to create and shape many things in his career.

Currently, he works as Head of Talent Attraction, Employer Branding and Young Talents at Zürcher Kantonalbank.

Marcus is active on almost all relevant platforms and a convinced advocate of the credo "Sharing is Caring": As a tutor for the topic "Personal Branding for Recruiters" he shares his knowledge on and as a partner at Time4Hires he supports companies in shaping their employer brand and optimizing their recruiting activities.

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