Sylke Sergel, born 1974 in Oberhausen, studied business administration and started her career in human resources. She worked in the construction industry, among others, in the automotive sector where she was active as well as strategically in all HR departments. Since May 2016, she has been Head of Corporate Human Resources at EOS, a financial services company belonging to the Otto Group.
Mrs Sergel, please briefly describe what EOS is and as Company does.
The EOS Group is one of the leading international providers of individual financial services and is part of the Otto Group. The emphasis is on receivables management. Three core business areas are: Treuhandinkasso, Claim Purchase and Business Process Outsourcing.
With just under 8.000 employees, EOS offers its approximately 20.000m customers in over 25 countries around the world with more than 60 subsidiaries tailor-made services in the B2C and B2B range. At the same time, the combination of heart and mind always serves as a basis for our work.
You have just started a new recruiting campaign with the "Virtual Beginner" video: What does this mean, what is the duration of the campaign and what is the goal?
The Virtual Beginner Video was a first step and a first answer to the changing market conditions. We all know that as a company today, we are not necessarily spoiled for choice among top candidates, but instead have to compete for the best in the industry. And there is not enough flyer, which one distributes once in a while at fairs. Differentiation plays a crucial role in differentiation.
With the interactive format in recruitment, we are breaking new ground in times of digitization in order to attract the right talent. Above all, we want to be one: transparent and approachable. With this video we are taking a step in the right direction. It is about making you want to EOS and to give insights that applicants or prospects otherwise can not get so easily. We have not set a campaign period for us, but rather it is a starting point.
In which areas are you specifically looking for employees? And are there areas where it is particularly difficult to find suitable employees?
Like many large companies, in addition to our core business of debt collection, we primarily look for specialists in IT and analysis as well as corporate functions.
Of course, we do not only stand in the industry competition, but above all in local competition at our respective locations. Especially IT experts are currently in great demand, which of course is also challenging for us. With creative ways like the "Virtual Beginner" video we tackle this challenge.
What kind of applicants do you want to address specifically with your video? And what exactly do you want to achieve with the video?
As a company that has written digital leadership on the flags and is currently undergoing a cultural change, we are primarily looking for employees who bring a high level of self-motivation, are enthusiastic about their topics and feel like bringing things to the streets. With the video we want to show how we work together - because that interests potential new employees the most. The handling is in many ways familiar and sympathetic.
It starts with such simple things, that there is a strong networking culture and that the employees like to support each other - above all interdisciplinary and beyond the boundaries of the field. This openness is an integral part of our corporate culture. Our challenge is to transport precisely those positive facets that can be experienced within EOS to the outside world and to inspire potential employees for us. We want to achieve this with this playful insight into a possible first working day at EOS.
There are several people in your video. Do employees otherwise act as brand ambassadors for your employer brand - keyword employees as testimonials?
Definitely. For us, it's not about using Stock Photos or Models to re-create a world that the potential employee will not find at EOS. For the sake of transparency and authenticity, as in our campaign, we rely on our own employees.
For us employees are the best brand ambassadors. Who stands behind EOS, our culture and our values, can also convey this correctly. I also recommend only products that I have thoroughly tested before.
What is the time and cost of such an interactive recruiting video?
From start to launch, we needed a good 9 months. This is not without its limits, from the selection of staff and facilities to the viral strategy - definitely not an easy task. Nevertheless, we have achieved a great result with great motivation of all contributors. Much more important than the budget for us is that all employees have been so committed and were also involved in their spare time.
With the video you deliberately focus on gamification as a trend and let the applicants interactively answer questions, also to test the fit to the company. Now there are already sophisticated psychological tests, so-called self-assessments, which query exactly this. Why have you limited yourself to only three questions?
Our video is all about a first impression and an appealing candidate experience. Of course, we would have been able to build on many more questions here and "test" them in the course of the video. In the first step, however, we have limited ourselves to three, in order to give the candidate a short and crisp insight.
In addition, attention is a highly competitive asset in the web. If the user sees that the video takes 20 minutes, the bounce rates are enormous. But we have more exciting projects in the pipeline, and perhaps we will add further variants to the video or add matching tools in the future. There is no standstill at EOS.
What feedback did you receive about the video / campaign? Have you already received (increased) demand from applicants?
So far, we have received consistently positive feedback. In-house, the feedback was also very affirmative. Many employees recognize their colleagues, see that we are breaking new ground as EOS and are happy that they can experience such innovative projects.
Also externally it finds good approval. So far, almost 80% of our applicants have played through the video in advance of an interview and gave us great feedback. We've got 45.000 views on youtube without having a big media budget behind them - we're proud of that.
Could you imagine using future technologies, such as Virtual Reality, to make the first working day more attractive for applicants?
Sure, we always keep our eyes open for the latest trends and technologies. Will our next project include Virtual Reality? I do not want to reveal that yet.
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