Hiring for the Future, how to build a future-proof workforce

Hiring for the Future, how to build a future-proof workforce

Last month on October 10th, we organized our fourth event in Berlin dedicated to HR Professionals. We involved Eva Glanzer, VP of People at GetYourGuideMatthias Schmeißer, Cluster Lead – Talent Acquisition at Zalando, Natasha Borsos  Director of People and Talent at Clue to discuss this topic.




When companies find a working product-market fit, scaling is inevitable. For companies in this stage, developing and executing a talent acquisition strategy is an essential ingredient to future success.

Talent acquisition distinguishes itself from recruiting: it can be defined as a long-term and strategic effort to bring the brightest candidates to your company regardless of the specs involved with the open job vacancy.

Building a flexible workforce should be the top priority when sourcing new talents: candidates should not be just a good fit for current open positions but they should also be ready to undertake more responsibilities down the road, to lead teams and push the business forward. The career ladder isn’t always obvious in a fast-growing company: new departments are likely to emerge, roles are likely to evolve and new skills that were irrelevant before are likely to become strategic. Therefore company training programs and policies should be put in place to facilitate employees maturing into new roles and keep them motivated.

For these reasons, sourcing resilient people who can endure changes and evolve with the company, represents a competitive advantage for the organisation and can support its long-run success.

But how do companies spot candidates who are highly adaptable during the recruiting process?

By creating a well-thought interview process that is fundamental in capturing the best candidates: At GetYourGuide a specific set of interview questions is meant to test people for resilience: what candidates have done in the past, how they managed changes and how they responded to feedback and adapted their course of actions are all relevant topics to predict their performance in the company.

On the other hand at Clue, being the company in the startup stage and processes less structured, there isn’t a pre-defined interview process meant to test candidates for resilience. A good test factor around this is by observing candidates reaction when being forewarned that the company may not be there in 5 years and highlighting the uncertainty on how current roles may evolve.

Those candidates who are able to genuinely acknowledge and accept this are a positive predictor of possessing adaptability and flexibility!

Some degree of natural churn should also be expected since it may be the perfect timing for others to join the company and for some to leave.

For GetYourGuide and Zalando, company- culture is not only crucial but, has been intentionally influenced by the founders. When interviewing, a candidates “cultural-fit” is tested. Additionally, it is of critical importance to observe how people can communicate what they’ve accomplished in the past and the justification behind their thinking process whilst solving the problem.

But what kind of profiles companies need at the beginning?

Hiring all-rounders who can perform a multitude of different tasks/roles is effective in the short-run but, they must also be trained to be the leaders of the future. This is a dilemma every founder has come across at least once in his/her company history. Speakers agreed that there should be a healthy balance between young people who can be trained to become managers and managers themselves; it’s important to have a head of department who can support their subordinates professional growth.

On the other hand, it could be plausible that you need to hire a new employee in a company role that never existed before. When this need arises, as Natasha from Clue discussed, relying on your existing network is the way to go; even though you have never hired someone for a certain position, there may be a friend of yours that has done it before. For instance, if you need to hire a VP of Engineering, you can reach out to someone who has recruited for a similar role in your network and ask if he or she could interview for you.

Frequently companies spend a large amount of their budget to train current employees who only en dup leaving the company. How to understand the value of the resources leaving the company?

At Zalando, a feedback app has been introduced to identify low, medium and high performers. There are a handful of high-performers who are important to retain and some others who have a medium-performance and can therefore be trained in specific areas.



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