TALK | Jürgen Schwarz, operations manager of Kissel + Wolf GmbH, about skills shortages, applicant googling and the AGG: “Many applicants break their own job market”

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Juergen Schwarz

Jürgen Schwarz is operations manager and member of the executive board of Kissel + Wolf GmbH in Wiesloch near Heidelberg. In the interview, he reports on the shortage of skilled workers in his company, interviews for testing purposes, like the wrong one eMailAddress can destroy careers - and why at Bachelor many employers do not think of an academic degree. Jürgen Schwarz is the classic example of a bad school education: After graduating from high school, he first trained as a chemist and worked in various companies, later he became industrial master of chemistry and finally technical business economist. In addition, he completed various training courses focusing on occupational safety and environmental protection and is, among other things, environmental and eco-auditor. Since 1992, he has been a lecturer for various industrial masters, business and specialist courses with various measure makers, since 1995 he sits at the Chamber of Commerce in the examination board for the industrial master of chemistry.

Here writes for you:

Simone Janson Simone JansonSimone Janson is publisher, German Top20 blogger and Consultant for HR communication.


In Germany, we are currently discussing very strongly whether we have skilled workers or not. What do you think?

We are a medium-sized chemical company with 85 employees here in Wiesloch - and can not fill all positions optimally. Above all, we are looking for chemical edges or chemical workers, as they used to be.

If you are Mr. Dr. Brenke from DIW follows, except in a few areas there is no shortage of skilled workers ...

You have to differentiate between the region and the industry. In Baden-Württemberg, for example, the metal industry is very strong, so there are also many metalworkers. For a large group in Stuttgart there are many masters and, of course, all skilled laborers on the assembly line.

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On the other hand, there are fewer chemical workers. In addition, they are often quickly promoted to team or department head, work in the administration - and are then missing in the places for which they were actually hired.

If you lack the workforce: How many young people are you currently training?

Currently no

Why do not you make more people?

We have, for example, the right to offer every trainee a job afterwards. And we can not guarantee that every year.

In addition, we can not cover every area of ​​training, which is why we can offer training only in conjunction with BASF. The effort for it is simply huge and we have to afford it beside.

Where are the prospects better - in small and medium-sized enterprises or in large groups?

This comes down to what you want: in smaller companies you are more familiar, you have to fulfill the most diverse tasks, but you also have more variety - and more career opportunities.

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On the other hand, the fluctuation is smaller in smaller companies, executives often sit in decade, in one place, which can make the ascent more difficult. And of course it is a matter of payment.

Do you pay so little?

We pay like the chemical industry, only the employees often feel that the fringe benefits and safety in large-scale operation are better. However, when the great works are closed, this sometimes proves to be a mistake.

Unfortunately, many candidates who come from a large company (eg from the metal industry) would like to be hired at the same conditions. This is often not possible, for example because we can not work with three layers. With such a thing, however, applicants are unfortunately breaking their labor market.

As the?

Well, I think of cases that have worked for a large company for years, which is now insolvent. Then a few applications are written half-heartedly, one receives unemployment allowance, and demands, with which claim and reality clearly differ.

After two years, the people are suddenly ready to compromise, but then it no longer works with the job. Since I have seen some fall dramatically on the nose. Another topic is, of course, the applications.

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Can you tell me more?

For the vocational training center Rhein-Neckar here in Wiesloch, for example, we carry out test applications for advanced training graduates who have problems with the Casting had.

The people know, of course, that it is only apparent. You apply to us as if it were regular, we lead a completely normal interview and afterwards we give the applicants a feedback.

Why are such test talks necessary at all?

Because otherwise the applicants have no idea why they are rejected again and again. No one can give them honest feedback. The General Equal Treatment Act, the desperate attempt to squeeze decency into law, is to blame.

The law forbids giving feedback to applicants?

No, but the law does not allow anyone to say why an applicant was really rejected. Many employers already have certain ideas about how they would occupy the position - for example also in the sex. Only one can not say that, otherwise you have to fear a lawsuit.

In addition, of course, we are lacking the time to deal with all new statutory regulations. In contrast to the professional staff in the group, we are doing the work right next to our employees.

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What do you experience in your test applications?

For example, applicants who are not lacking in competencies, but rather in the occurrence. Recently, for example, a graphic artist who simply lacked the feeling of which clothing was suitable for her stiffer weight.

And the paper with their work only after half an hour of conversation on demand pulled from my pocket. What a pity, because the works were great. So you have to go out right now!

Is not the clothes with such skills are not incidental

? From me, the woman could run around in the company so. Only at the job interview but a certain form must be maintained. We would have liked to hire her, but we could not offer her the full-time job.

What would be absolute no-go's for you when applying?

Well, where I in such tests always demand: Gaps in the CV. If people 10 years have done something different, then they are completely out of the job.

Misogyny would be a problem - you have to talk to the colleagues. But too delicately strung natures would be wrong with us, after all, it's an industrial company and there's a certain tone among colleagues.

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A third problem is, finally, racist utterances: If I search for a test applicant on the Internet and find appropriate, that would be a KO criterion. After all, we are an international company with a factory in the USA, for example - that would not work at all.

So you google the test applicants - what do you think?

Right, I google. After all, I want to know what this person is and whether he would fit into the company. Often I find positive things, such as voluntary commitment or long-term board work in an association, which indicate that this person can organize well and also lead a team. Many people do not actually write such a thing in their CV because they are afraid we think they have too much free time.

What scares me, however, are the eMailAddresses with which the applications arrive. And addresses like hoppelhase @ ... or darkshadow @ ... I google, of course - you don't want to know what to find there.

You should actually assume that a reasonable eMail-Address to the basics ...

Yes, you should, but in fact, in many test applications, this is the first mistake that almost immediately catches your eye. Others send their application under a completely different name than the application, because they do not have a computer. That irritates naturally.

Still others do not give eMailAddress even telephone number, although these are the standard contact details today. It is frightening how much is done wrong with such relatively simple things. There seem to be big differences between academics and non-academics.

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Speaking of academics: Do you also employ engineers, for example?

We are currently not looking for engineers. Small and medium-sized enterprises are the only ones with their new qualifications. The graduate engineer is familiar with the personal experience, often with engineers.

But the bachelor many connect with this somewhat strange TV show. There is still a lot to be done in order for this degree to be established, but understanding is not yet available in all companies.

Of course, there are also differences between SMEs and large corporations: the latter are simply better informed, also with regard to new courses of study. Moreover, there are some in the education system but some are in trouble.


The German education system still works badly: Money and origin still decide career and career opportunities.

I am deliberately saying this from my own experience as a primary school student who has a long and stony path to success. More urgently should be encouraged.

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What are your tips for applicants?

Not to be let down. Even if the start conditions were bad, you can still achieve something.

But you always have to stay on the ball. If you only do your job and do not become active, you will be on the spot.

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  1. Horst Retner

    Very nice example from the middle class, which in my opinion is far too little in the media. Because there are often also innovative ideas, you should not forget that. And in terms of personnel management, medium-sized companies often have the edge.

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  5. IntraWorlds GmbH

    Interesting Interview @SimoneJanson Is there maybe a shortage of skilled workers? An explanation:

  6. Martin Salwiczek

    Is there perhaps a shortage of skilled workers? An explanation:

  7. Simone Janson

    Is there perhaps a shortage of skilled workers? An explanation:


    "Many applicants are destroying their jobs themselves" - Interview with Jürgen Schwarz,

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