German recruiting community leader Wolfgang Brickwedde answered the questions of our interview. Wolfgang Brickwedde has profound expertise in recruiting and employer branding, he is the founder of the Institute for Competitive Recruiting, speaker, and large-scale industry projects contributor.
Enjoy his success story!
How did you start recruiting? Why are you still there?
Actually, I started to recruit people at the university. In a student organization, I was responsible to staff teams of students who worked together on a certain project for a company. In doing this I needed to think of ways to find suitable students, sell the project topic to them and select the team members. The fact that one of my majors was human resources didn’t really help — theoretically.
But I learned a lot about HR and realized that within HR recruiting is the most interesting part. One can influence the future of an organization by attracting and hiring the right ones who will be responsible for the future success of the company.
In today’s markets, recruiting is still the hottest topic in HR, more than 60% of the HR startups are focused on this area. And we are moving from a cost-oriented function to a strategical function, finally.
Speaking about career aspirations, as a kid, what did you want to be?
It may sound silly, but I thought I would become a stockbroker at the age of around 12 years. And before my studies, I actually worked as a FOREX dealer. After half a year I realized that it was way, too, and went to university.
Tell us about the Institute for Competitive Recruitment (ICR). How did you come up with the idea of your own company? What’s the mission behind ICR?
The Institute for Competitive Recruiting (ICR) consults companies on recruitment performance management. The ICR is acting as a platform for improving the recruitment function in the DACH Region. This is achieved by facilitating the development of commonly used standards and benchmarks for recruitment processes reaching from employer branding to onboarding. In addition, the ICR is exploring improvement areas and consulting in the steps of attracting, sourcing, selecting, and hiring new employees.
How I came up with the idea? In 2010, after 3 years with SAP and 9 with Philips, I realized that both recruiting models were quite sophisticated and there was not a lot to improve left. But a whole lot of employers in Germany and the DACH area were lagging behind when it comes to recruiting. Since I used to be self-employed before I started with Philips, I felt the need to help the other companies to reach their next level of recruiting – and that is what I do since then.
You are a co-author of the book „Praxishandbuch Social Media Recruiting“. What inspired you to write it? Are you planning to publish more?
The main author asked me and others whether we would be interested to share our knowledge with a broader audience. And we said yes. The book is already in the third edition. I have been asked to write a book on active sourcing, but I currently don’t have the time.
You are responsible for major projects like the yearly awards for “Germany’s Best Jobportal”, “Germany’s Best E-Recruiting Awards”, and “Active Sourcer of the Year”. How does it help you at work?
The “Active Sourcer of the year” improves the recognition of the hard work of the sourcers and the topic in general within the field of HR. And since I provide training in active sourcing, it supports my business as well. The other two are improving the transparency in the labor market and increasing the perception of my competence at the same time.
What makes a person a great recruiter?
A great recruiter is a combination of a consultant and a salesperson. He or she knows the labor market and his or her (internal) customers very well, is technically savvy, and likes to keep up to date with the latest developments. Digging for the info, profiles, etc is part of the DNA. He or she is a trusted adviser to the business and able to sell in both ways. On the one hand, the position and the company to the candidate and, on the other hand, the candidate to the hiring manager – and is able to close the deal.
You run your own business, speak at major conferences and contribute to large-scale industry projects. Do you ever have time to relax? How do you prefer to spend your free time?
Sometimes the workload is heavy but in general, I am the master of my time and the topics I work on. And I like the things I do, so I wouldn’t really call it work. If I don’t improve the recruitment in the DACH area, I like to travel, read books, playing cards.
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