The final hiring of new employees requires more than just an examination of professional competence. For the success of each team and the resulting company performance, we place a lot of value not only on a high level of technical expertise, but also on the character of the applicants fitting in with INSTART group. In an interview, Florian Grau tells us how the application process works at INSTART group and what is important in the team. Florian is Head of Recruiting at INSTART consult - the expert for Digital Shared Services at INSTART group. The INSTART group is a group of companies specializing in highly innovative technologies, which also includes e.telligent (electromobility), digitalwerk (autonomous driving), ip camp (big data) and CUBE brand communications (marketing & communications).
Hello Florian, the ability to work in a team is a classic soft skill that can be found in many job postings and applications alike. According to INSTART group’s corporate philosophy, what makes a good team?
Florian: A well-functioning team can be recognized by the fact that people look to each other and treat each other openly and with respect. In a good team, everyone wants to contribute, is committed and contributes to the common goal. You can also take the team spirit from team sports as an example: People push each other to achieve their best, then rejoice together in what they have achieved and enjoy the positive experiences together. You can only be successful if everyone pulls together and the team structure fits. We live this philosophy at INSTART group.
How can you determine who might fit into the team?
Florian: So that not only the company, but also the applicants can be sure that we are on the same wavelength, the applicants go through an application process, which I would rather describe as getting to know each other.
What does this getting to know each other look like in concrete terms?
Florian: In the recruiting department, we review the applications received and consult with the respective department of the respective company to determine whether the application is suitable or whether it might be of interest to another department. A third option is that the application is unfortunately not suitable for one of our positions. As a rule, the applicant is then contacted and, in the best case, we find a date for a video call - applicant, recruiter and department head.
How does this digital meeting work?
Florian: Basically, it's about getting to know each other and defining the expectations on the part of the company and the applicant. If both sides still find each other interesting after the conversation, the applicants should then get to know us on site - a second date, so to speak (laughs).
What happens on this second date?
Florian: Here, too, the focus is on getting to know each other - this time in an extended form. I'll use a metaphor from sports again: you can describe it as a kind of trial training. The applicants get to know their future colleagues, gain practical insights into the way they work and, of course, are also allowed to demonstrate their professional skills. This day is always very exciting for both sides, because both sides quickly realize whether they are a good match or not.
During a trial training session like this, it is possible for applicants to misrepresent themselves due to nervousness. How do you avoid this?
Florian: The right communication is crucial here. Flat hierarchies are not just a slogan at INSTART group, but we are also on a first-name basis. Being on first-name terms removes a certain barrier and does not create a distance like being on first-name terms. The goal is to make applicants feel comfortable, which is why we always try to create a relaxed atmosphere and meet applicants at eye level. A little small talk is always a good opportunity. We also ask a lot of open questions and want the applicant to start talking and tell us about themselves. We don't value rote self-marketing. It's important to us that the applicants come out of their shells, are authentic and also say the things that are crucial to them.
What do you look for in applicants?
Florian: First of all, there is of course the professional competence. The resume usually shows whether an applicant is basically suitable and whether he or she has the relevant skills. In addition, it also depends on the character, of course. Is he*she open and authentic like we are at INSTART group? Does he*she have clear ideas and know where he*she wants to go? This impression of the character is usually already apparent in the video call and is then often confirmed on the day we get to know each other.
Assuming you want to hire an applicant - how do you convince him*her to come to INSTART group?
Florian: Of course, we explain the benefits that every employee has with us. But at the same time, we don't want to dazzle people and raise false expectations, but rather present the circumstances realistically. If someone decides to join us, they should also have the plan to stay with us in the long term and achieve success together with us.
Last question: What question would you never ask an applicant?
Florian: Basically, we leave out questions that unnecessarily embarrass applicants, such as "What kind of car would you be?” Applicants don't have to be afraid that something like that will come up (laughs).