“In the future, companies will have to apply to candidates”
Dirk Hahn climbed the career ladder step by step at his employer Hays AG. He started in sales in 1997, where he worked his way up to department manager, then division manager and finally director. In January 2008 he was appointed Chief Operating Officer to the Executive Board of the personnel service provider. And since January 2020, the business graduate has been CEO of Hays AG. We will learn from him here where he sees the classic job advertisement in 2025 and which strategies companies and recruiters can still use to fish for the best candidates in the future. In addition, the manager tells us why he relies on the principle of two operating systems in his company.
While quite a few companies fell into an identity crisis as a result of Corona, others seized the opportunity to prepare themselves for the challenges of the future. Hays AG with its CEO Dirk Hahn belongs to the last group. „In retrospect, Covid-19 was the best thing that could have happened to our business,“ says the manager, who has been with the company since 1997. The initial shock quickly gave way to a strong desire for change. After two and a half thousand employees had set up their home office, a futurologist discussed Hays AG 2025. „And the results came out that we didn’t have on paper three or four years ago when we last revised our strategy.“
Hays now assumes that the job advertisement will no longer exist around 2025. Conversely, this means that „the companies will apply to the employees,“ says Dirk Hahn. The question will therefore be: What can I offer the employees? Because in the future, the best minds will no longer be attracted by a nice office and flexible working hours alone. Then the employer branding and the look & feel also play a decisive role. Does the website, the external appearance, still fit into this world? „These are questions that you have to ask yourself now,“ believes Dirk Hahn.
Football’s top players started looking for underage talent years ago. The Hays manager also sees a similar development coming to the corporate world. Hitherto, recruiters have only set out on the trail of talented people when they have
or have submitted a master’s thesis. In the future, people at Hays AG want to „make contact much earlier, for example at the beginning of their studies or even with high school graduates,“ says Dirk Hahn. Marketing and HR departments would of course face new challenges. For the next generation, „exciting content“ has to be created and packaged nicely.
Job advertisements that “remind you of wish lists” tend to deter aspiring talents and sought-after professionals, says Dirk Hahn. The candidates get the feeling that the company is “looking for a jack of all trades”, according to the CEO, “but this person doesn’t exist”. Many HR departments also need to learn how to react to applications. „They are often so long that the candidate says I don’t feel well looked after in this process,“ says Dirk Hahn, referring to in-house studies.
In the course of the changes that Corona has brought with it, the experienced manager at Hays AG relies on „two operating systems“, as Dirk Hahn calls it. One that keeps the classic structure with the functional areas of sales, back office or HR running. And one that supports the „innovative topics that should really change Hays“. The heart of this alternative operating system consists of interdisciplinary teams. „I want to give as much as possible to such interdisciplinary teams and as little as possible to the silos,“ says Dirk Hahn. He would rather be served an 80 percent solution that is then implemented than a 120 percent solution that only exists on paper. The manager qualifies that this process of adapting to the second operating system in his company is far from over, even after almost a year and a half.
The detailed interview and the podcast with Marco Kainhuber are available free of charge at hrm.de or at podcast.hrm.de.
You can find the detailed interview and the HRM Hacks Podcast with Dirk Hahn at: [Link to the HRM.de article]
A checklist with hacks for personnel planning and strategy implementation from the CEO perspective by Dirk Hahn can be found here:
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You can find the podcast episode at: https://www.hrm.de/podcast/24-leadership-unternehmen-agilisiert-mit-dirk-hahn/