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The six most common errors when looking for skilled workers


The skilled labour shortage, demographic change and lack of children: a “perfect storm”. This is especially true when the rather unknown lift sector and its suppliers are looking for skilled employees.

But they can at least avoid the most common mistakes when looking for new recruits …

By Nicolas Sacherer and Stefan Permoser

First: it is essential for companies to rethink their approach. Those who avoid making mistakes are those who are successful. We point out the six cardinal errors that will guarantee that no technical experts apply to you.

Error 1: You do not want to poach

How many experts do you know who are lying around unemployed on the couch and can’t find a job to save their lives? Probably none. Many companies are in the meantime increasingly lowering their expectations, since qualified personnel are increasingly hard to find. There are after all more jobs than applicants.

Thus, since almost all competent experts are already employed, you have to concentrate on reaching employees who are not one hundred percent satisfied with their job and would be ready to switch.

This means you have to present your company as an attractive employer and ensure that you come to the attention of employees ready to change.

Error 2: You’re fishing in the wrong pond

But how can you reach employees ready to switch? Let’s take a look at what most companies are doing wrong. Normally, the personnel manager and managing director sit down and plan the new "strategy" on how to get more applicants. The answer: job adverts and job portals!

Why doesn’t that work? Well, since all competent experts are already employed, why would they spend their valuable free time in a job portal? (And we all know how much they love their free time!)

Therefore, be present where your potential applicants are: in social media of course.

Error 3: Your company does not appear attractive enough

Imagine you’re contacted by a company. Let’s take the company where you are currently employed. You’ve never heard anything of this company. So you take a look at the website, scroll through the careers page, browse at Kununu …

Photo: © Bernd Lorenz / LIFTjournalPhoto: © Bernd Lorenz / LIFTjournal

Let’s be honest: would you apply to an employer you had never heard of before? And even more importantly: what if a similar company had already contacted you, perhaps even with additional benefits? How does your employer compare?

It has to appear attractive enough that even an employee to whom another company was expressly recommended would come to you! And that does not by any means require that you have to offer new employees a four-day week, 100 percent home office and 35 days annual holiday.

That’s not what it’s about. It’s about attractively communicating and highlighting the factors that constitute your company. Many companies are not even aware of their own advantages and benefits. This is where an outside perspective helps!

Consequently, in order to be able to rely on getting technical experts excited about your company in the future, you should concentrate on reaching the candidates where they spend their free time and present yourself there as an attractive employer.

Error 4: You are comparable

As long as you seem to be like every other employer in your region, you are in a weak negotiating position. The logical consequence is that the employer with the most attractive advantages will emerge as the winner.

What can an SME do? The answer is: take the offensive. You must become visible, you must become known, you have to attract attention.

Never mind whether in the form of professional pictures, image films, employee interviews, blogs, social media: there are many ways of gaining attention and appearing attractive!

Error 5: You are cold and opaque

We live in the information age. Today you can find everything about everyone on the Internet. Hence, also information about you as employer. Or not? Imagine you want to sell your house on an online portal. You would not just insert the price, state the hard facts and a picture of the exterior.

Emotions have to be aroused – the buyer wants to see himself already in the house and take possession of it in his mind. He wants to be able to feel what it would be like live in your house and raise his family there. It’s just the same with a job. Give your applicants insights into your daily work, share the opinions of colleagues, create professional pictures and video material.

Error 6: You are too slow to act

There are no applicants, apprenticeships are harder to fill, recruiting employees is frustrating. But it doesn’t have to be like this. If you decide to take the offensive. Many are aware, "We should do something here." But how many are ready to do what has to be done?

This is where small companies and SMEs have a vital advantage compared to company groups: they are manoeuvrable and can make fast decisions. Even with a small budget, you can become visible in this way and cast an attractive light on your strengths. This is how small companies can avoid being overshadowed by the job adverts of mega competitors and even stand out sharply. 

More information: Nicolas Sacherer and Stefan Permoser are the founders and managing directors of "Permoser & Partner". The company has set itself the goal of supporting SMEs to recruit technical experts successfully via social media channels. They presented their concept at the E2 Forum and at the VDMA Trade Association for Lifts and Escalators.


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