In this Recruiter Spotlight, Owen Brown interviews Iris Förstera, Director at SwisSolution Human Capital AG, a Swiss recruitment firm specializing in Life Sciences and Healthcare.
In this video interview, Iris and Owen cover the impact of Covid-19 on her business, her views on FileFinder Executive Search Software and its support team, as well as how the recruitment industry will change post-pandemic.
Watch the video, or read the transcript below:
Hello everyone, Owen here from Ikiru People. I’m delighted to introduce Iris Förstera from SwisSolution Human Capital AG, one of our FileFinder clients. I’m going to be asking Iris a couple of questions about FileFinder of course, but also about her business and the business environment they work in. First question for you, in the in the past few months our lives have been changed by the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on businesses, including the recruitment sector. This has taken everyone by surprise. Can you please tell us how Covid-19 has impacted your business?
Well, I would say we were lucky, because we’ve been interested in future and flexible work environments for quite some time, and we’ve been working on those tools for several years now. So, we did not have a lot of struggle to adjust when lockdown came. Anyhow, we went into lockdown with a field pipeline, we are quite secure because we work in the life science sector, but just a few weeks into lockdown, we were able to observe who of our clients was actually prepared and who wasn’t, especially when processes became agonizingly slow, some of them were put on hold, but that was to be expect because we were heading into the “summer low”.
We all know the summer low, and we usually enjoy it. But this time, we had cold feet, like everyone else. Companies became more cautious with their recruitment budgets. Also, there’s a big unknown out there, still is. There might be an increasing demand on the Life Sciences sector, but first, their HR teams are all obligated to recruit their position themselves. Then they go over talent development. And usually they’re filling the gaps from their own forces, and that’s a good thing. But it will always open a new gap. And we’re certainly faced with difficulties.
Sourcing top talent is also a great challenge for us right now. It’s a tough nut to crack, to convince people to be open and willing to change from a secure work environment, to something completely new. It’s the same for me, I value security. And that’s what we all value. And that’s completely understandable. But regardless of the obstacles and difficulties, we were able to perform, we’re witnessing positive and professional recruitment. Life goes on in a virtual environment.
Absolutely. In the context of Life Sciences, what kind of services do you offer your clients?
Besides in-depth knowledge of the Life Sciences sector and a great network in the Swiss market, we offer permanent and temporary recruitment, the full package – you name it, we got it. And tailor-made services, depending on the needs of the client – just to name a few, employer branding, HR processes and strategies, interim services… We also work with professionals who are really specialized only on interim projects and assignments, and that’s when we hire them from our network.
Do you find that your clients’ needs are quite unique? There doesn’t seem to be any consistency in terms of what they want from you.
It really depends if you’re working with the big global players where you’re just a supplier, but if you work with small local businesses, they have different needs. As we are as well just a small/medium sized company, we also have different needs. And it must be in a reasonable price range.
How does FileFinder help support your interaction with your clients, developing those specific and unique solutions for your clients?
Well, I think what I love the most is the simplicity of imports via Outlook. That is such a powerful, great tool. We’ve been logging the whole communications through one click. I love it, and I can speak for the team – they all love it. It made work much, much easier. Also, sourcing, searching those clients or candidates, whatever you’re looking for, with all communications locked and safe in the database. That is what we wanted. And, we have recently switched from the desktop version to the browser version. It works differently, even though we’ve been working with FileFinder for over eight years, so we’re still getting used to it.
We pride ourselves on our live 24/5 support for clients. What has been your experience of our support team?
Well, I’ve been having a lot of experiences with different supports and first, I would like to say thank you Ikiru People, price and value must be praised. Also with you Owen, we’ve been working over eight years now and I always appreciated your friendliness and patience because I can be frustrated really easily, so it must be frustrating for the support team as well. But I cannot recall any situation where I didn’t feel welcome, and that is something important, it’s not a given. And fast support is literally fast support. I usually get my answer within a day, maybe not the solution, but the answer is there. And if I needed help immediately, I was able to reach out by phone all the time, during the 24/5 window but that’s OK, I’m ahead of you one hour, so you are always available even if it’s late, and I always get someone on the phone. And that is also not a given, that’s what I appreciate. So, thank you, Ikiru People.
Turning to the future, what’s your outlook for the recruitment industry for the next few years? How do you expect Covid-19 to impact?
There, I must get my crystal ball. It’s a funny thing, last year there was an article on LinkedIn about seven predictions on where recruiting will be in 2025. At that time, nobody knew that Covid-19 would impact us all, take over the world and our lives. I can only remember one prediction that recruiting will become even more important than it is now. Yes, of course, but it has always been important. I think we must brace ourselves. The nature of recruiting and employment will change forever. That is what I believe, and I believe that recruiters will have a serious role in the post Covid-19 world, especially for start-ups and small and medium businesses who had the greatest struggles in adjusting to all the changes we had to make, we can be a great asset for them. We can be the helping hand for adopting new technologies, such as video interviewing, training them on how to do that, or virtual onboarding, embracing flexible and remote workforces. This is where we are experienced, and I think recruiters will really bring great value to the “new world”.
Do you think that SwisSolution is ideally placed to help your clients and potential clients to adapt to these changes?
We’re working on that, that’s our focus now and we’re doing some small projects. Before the lockdown, I was assigned to find new potential clients. But during the lockdown phase, it was quite difficult to get hold of them. We have smaller projects going into this direction, a little bit farther away from only Life Sciences, because we must walk new ways. This is what Covid-19 is giving us: new opportunities. But as I said before, businesses are treading carefully. No one can say what will happen in the next couple of months. The “new normal” is a big unknown territory no one really wants to touch. We need to be flexible; we must be open to a problem-solving environment. We need to put on a can-do attitude to get through it. If you’re not willing to be flexible, then you’re just standing still. I think the times where candidates were hunting for “the job of the jobs” are over. And Covid-19 has been an eye opener for many companies, not all but many, and I think they know that they have to win over candidates and top talents if they want them to work for them.
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