Bosch is a brand that cares about exceptional candidates. Recruiting extraordinary people to join the team often requires extraordinary actions. We are speaking with Joanna Wojdan-Liszewska, Employer Branding Expert for Bosch Polska, who, with the support of the EBI agency, used the ChallengeRocket platform for a specialized recruitment project in the SAP sector using the job offer + online SkillChallenge formula.
The Objective: showcasing the employer's brand, expanding the Talent Pool with unique people unknown before + something else that will be discussed below. Why such a formula? How did the initiative fit into the Bosch recruitment philosophy? What were the goals and what were the results achieved? Read on!
Hi Joanna. Thanks for your time. Can you tell us from the start what were the goals of the online challenge?
Hi, thanks too. There were several goals. First of all, it was the "candidate discovery" as well as recruitment that was combined with pre assessments. We decided that the SkillChallenge online challenge formula associated with job advertisements is an interesting tool to attract new candidates. Both active and passive.
And why a challenge and not just standard job advertisements?
At Bosch, we are open to a variety of innovative formats in the scope of HR activities. Not only the standard ones. Regular job advertisements are browsed by people who are currently looking for a job. There are not many such people in specialized areas. And they are usually very busy. It was very important for us to attain a wider range and a better effect. This requires a fundamentally different strategic approach to reach those so-called passive applicants who are not looking for a job. And engage them realistically in the context of our recruitment offer.
This is the domain of recruitment marketing. In the realization and implementation of such marketing activities, it is easy to fall into the trap of monotony, repetition and talking only about yourself and your brand in a way that potential candidates may perceive as boring and cliche.
So less talking about yourself and more call to action?
More interactions! In this context, we favoured the formula of the challenge, because it is interactive and assumes that not only we, as the employer's brand, show ourselves, but also potential candidates who can show themselves and their talent. We put them to the forefront.
We identify, appreciate and reward the best. And naturally, we invite them for the recruitment process. That was our assumption. It was a recipe to reach those so-called passive candidates who do not browse job boards and do not apply through them.
Was it successful?
Definitely yes. 10 people with very interesting profiles ended up included in our recruitment process.
Is 10 a lot?
In this case, absolutely yes, especially taking into account the fact that it is a difficult market and a fairly narrow specialized sector for recruitment. Each good candidate is exceptionally valuable and obtaining them can be very expensive.
Additionally, two things are worth mentioning. The first is that the people sourced for recruitment were often completely unknown to us before, despite the fact that it is a fairly narrow specialization and we are actively scanning the market. This makes it all the more valuable for us to be able to reach people who we did not previously have the outreach capabilities to cover with our independent recruitment marketing. This is first and foremost. Secondly, we were able to identify those who would normally have been omitted if the recruitment process was based solely on the CV.
Does that mean the CV document did not fully reflect the skills that were later demonstrated by the candidate in the challenge?
Exactly that. The CV did not fully reflect this the- candidate's potential. The person's history did not indicate that she could be very good in a slightly different role. The test results showed this potential and real skills. For example, a candidate working as a SAP Key User knew the system so well from the technical point of view, as well as the ABAP language, that the competence test was as good as a SAP specialists.
You mentioned that there were several goals. What were the other goals besides strictly recruiting options?
Apart from recruitment and assessment, the top 3 reasons where:
- showing our organization and employer brand,
- appreciating and rewarding outstanding SAP specialists for their talent,
- and to showcase the potential of Polish IT within this specific sector, related to SAP.
I fully understood the first two points. Can you please elaborate and unpackage on the latter?
Showing off the potential. At Bosch, through the challenge, we have once again demonstrated the quantity and quality of talent, which, in a sense, reflects the potential of the local market. We have demonstrated it objectively through the case numbers and results. For us and our global organization, it is a kind of indicator regarding the availability of specific specialists and competences on the market, which may be a premise for other activities.
Actions, such as the expansion of or opening new Bosch centers in Poland?
Exactly, Bosch in Poland is expanding its IT Competence Center. Our market of IT specialists makes Poland a very attractive location for business activities. Polish programmers and IT specialists are well educated, fluent in English and appreciated in competitions and hackathons. In addition, Bosch in Poland offers good working conditions and has the appropriate power of attraction. For us, activities such as challenges confirm our recruitment opportunities.
Additionally, Poland is a place where candidates from other countries, often from Eastern Europe, are relocating.
There are also candidates from there?
Digital immigration from Belarus is probably a separate topic. A river that we do not necessarily want to go too deep now. I will just ask if you know the main reasons for the desire to move and start working for Bosch by people from that region? Are these decisions dictated mainly by the political situation and the necessity to look for a "safe haven" outside your country, or are the career opportunities in Poland for you Bosch being the main argument?
As you say, the topic is vast and complex. There are different people's life stories and different motivations. Besides, those mentioned earlier by you are also not mutually exclusive. As an HR department, we must properly approach everyone, recognize them and show understanding.
At this point, I do not want to comment on purely political issues. What I can say for sure is that Bosch Polska offers a very attractive career path that is not available in many other regions. So responding to the original question - yes, greater career opportunities are certainly a magnet here, and at least one of the motivators for applying.
If I understand correctly, this means that what attracts candidates who do not necessarily live in Poland to apply specifically to Bosch Polska is the fact that candidats can scale up and grow in their career? Up to what level?
You can enter the senior path and you can go very high being in Poland. Our IT compaction center employs architects, tech leaders, project managers and application managers. Their responsibilities are often international. You can do serious development projects in high-performing managerial positions.
It is nice to hear that in this case we are not just a simple base for the implementation of project endings that are devised, constructed and managed elsewhere.
Definitely not. Certainly not at Bosch Polska. And this is what attracts ambitious people. Certainly, it also attracts the open work culture in the technology industry that Bosch can offer, experts with whom you can develop, evolve and offer attractive conditions. Employees also praise the work-life balance.
So Bosch gives you the full package!
This is not an official promotional slogan of our employer brand, but you can call it that :-) I think that only such a holistic approach and addressing all areas can bring long-term growth and attract the best people to Bosch.
You put it nicely. Returning then to the issue of team growth. Acquiring new people and expanding the talent pool were some of the reasons for the online SkillChallenge challenge at ChallengeRocket.com. At the same time, the challenge was also open to people who are not now looking for a new job. Why?
They are not looking now. However, it is always worth establishing a relationship and getting to know each other. In this way, if a person decides to change jobs at a later stage, our employer brand is no longer anonymous. All because of the very nice experience we gave the candidate.
In addition, there is also an element of so-called "appreciation" that is very important to me. At Bosch, we value knowledge. We value experts who have this knowledge and we value ambitious people. We wanted to engage, appreciate and reward such people, regardless of whether they intend to change their career path at this point and are considering a professional relationship with Bosch or not.
I understand. It's a nice gesture. Because usually when we hear that the management board or the HR department appreciates and rewards someone, it is more about their own employees, not people from the outside.
Achieving an expert level of knowledge of a given technology, in particular SAP, is associated with an extraordinary intellectual effort and a considerable amount of work. It is worth appreciating people who have come to cross this path. In general, even outside our own organization, because these are the people who enable business development. It may sound grandiose to someone, but it's true.
I agree. It sounds lofty and is 100% true at the same time!
By lowering this flight a bit, there were also, as I mentioned before, other more “down-to-earth” premises for this open and inclusive construction of the challenge. They were related to the desire to maximize the interest and involvement of people with a specialist background and skills in the SAP area. The aim was to extend the existing reach to a wide variety of people, including those who are not currently searching job boards and are not looking for a job.
I understand. Do you see any other advantages of this format?
The possibility of an assessment immediately at an early stage of recruitment, and sometimes even before it. Which later relieves both the HR department and the target department, which is the potential recipient of such a candidate. The result of the challenge is a certain prediction, a prognosis whether the candidate is fit and will perform well in a real project within the team. During the recruitment process training, I sometimes refer to this issue by asking what the weatherman has in common with the recruitment specialist.
Hmm, they both bring messages that can spoil the recipient's mood. Or improve it!
Haha, that probably too. But before we transfer this news, we need to evaluate the candidate - in other words, make a forecast. Predictions of whether he will be effective in a given role, satisfied with the tasks and adjusted to a given team culture.
In this sense, recruiters try to predict the future based on a fragment of the present. So do meteorologists. Meteorologists have at their disposal satellite maps, information about current temperatures and fronts. We have other tools. First of all, a conversation. Conversation is important, but it does not reflect the whole picture in itself, and in a way it favors extroverted individuals. In addition, it poses a risk of subjectivity related to the limitations of human evaluation processes and so-called unconscious cognitive biases.
Therefore, it is very reasonable to link it evaluations with computerized tests. On the ChallengeRocket platform, the computer platform itself evaluates the tests, which gives a more objective and complete picture of the candidate. On its basis, we can more consciously and with greater certainty make a decision regarding the further processing of a given person.
Are you talking about cognitive errors that, among other things, occur in the first moments of contact with a newly met person? Here, in fact, the computer algorithm is free from any mental shortcuts, simplifications and stereotypes that have been encoded in our brain by evolution, culture and our own experiences.
Yes, these errors occur at various stages of contact, also as you mention at the very beginning, when in the first few seconds, based on the general impression that the candidate made on us, we form a certain set of opinions about him that will strengthen or weaken each new piece of information that we receive. This has all been quite extensively researched in psychological cases and happens in an unconscious or not fully concious way.
Can you give me an example?
A fairly popular example is that of a good-looking, smartly dressed candidate. Our brain, even if we are aware of this mechanism, will tell us that it is a competent person. And vice versa. It's not our fault. This is the image of a competent and intelligent person formed from an early age and very deeply coded. Such a belief may be right sometimes, but not always. Therefore, as a rule, we should focus on substantive aspects so as not to hurt anyone.
There is also an opposite effect - the so-called reverse or "satanic halo" effect. Ugly shoes or shirt? This is hardly a professional. It sounds like an incredibly naive level of competency assessment, but that's how our brain works. One negative piece of information is enough for him and he adds the rest to himself on a subconscious level. A conscious and mature approach to the recruitment process weakens the operation of these mechanisms, however, it is not as objective as competency tests.
I understand and I can assure you that the AI ChallengeRocket algorithm is completely ignorant of fashion and is not able to award extra points to a candidate who has a well-ironed shirt.
In that case, you have thought it well when constructing an artificial intelligence that does not want to judge our appearance :-)
Maybe she would, but we blocked her access to the camera on the computer :-) But seriously speaking, in fact, various kinds of distortions are inevitable in human opinion and the computer does not give anyone a credit of trust in advance. The machine's algorithm is blind to non-substantive external factors and it can be said that its strength lies in this ignorance.
Yes. However, as we are focusing on the appearance itself, I would like to point out that these prejudices go beyond just a sophisticated assessment based on external attributes. This is just the tip of the iceberg. Other elements include distortions concerning, for example, people similar to us, who we assess better, or certain stereotypes and beliefs about gender and social roles.
I could talk about it for a long time, but most importantly, at Bosch, we naturally strive to objectify the evaluation processes and eliminate bias from the recruitment process as much as possible. Computer methods such as a job advertisement with an added on ChallengeRocket challenge are a very interesting step here, which gives transparency and greater objectivity.
I am pleased to hear such an assessment. So what was tested among the participants of the challenge in a potentially more objective light? What have you learned about them?
De facto the test gave us 2 categories of information. The first is a certain technical foundation. Hard skills. The challenge initially verified and preselected in this respect. I know immediately who is worth talking to and where there is a potential competency match.
But there is one more thing perhaps more significant. This challenge was a test of inspiration and engagement. People who decide to solve difficult problems in their free time are characterized by the personality traits we care about.
We especially appreciate these type of people at Bosch!
Joanna, and I really appreciate your openness to recruitment in an unconventional and more transparent way. I also appreciate and thank you for your time!
It was my pleasure, also thank you and I recommend for everyone to follow Bosch in terms of other interesting initiatives that we will certainly be preparing for you!