20. Oct, 2016

Quick summary of the HR fair in Cologne.

As expected the HR fair was a colorful happening with a broad range of topics and focus areas. Starting with employee health, training and motivation over any kind of HR services to Recruiting, Consulting and finally supporting hardware and software for HR departments. Besides listening to a lot of different presentations, I also used the opportunity to get in contact with some new headhunter companies. So in summary I had a lot of fun and learned a lot 🙂. Time well spent.

Nobody would be suprised to hear that "Digital Transformation" is a key enabler for HR departments as well. Changing the traditional and still widely paperbased hiring and recruiting process to a more year-2016-like activity was a common theme, did come up in a lot of presentations and was visible at a lot of booths.

--- Just coming back from my weekly Volleyball training. After a 14 year long break I have started playing regularly again. The beginning was really painful with muscle soreness for several days, but you and your muscles are getting used to it and the basic skills and expertise are still there anyway, like riding a bicycle. So training, training, training and focusing on your strength and overcoming the weakness. Sounds very much like my application process. You do not need it every year, but you get used to it quickly and the basic set of capabilities is always there. ---

Coming back to the HR fair. Below the key trends I have seen, definitely not a complete list, as I had only one day and could not see everything. And I was concentrated on presentations related to my garden leave situation and the topics I am currently working on and investigating. But the list is a good starting point to create awareness and to get involved early enough in the process:


  • One presentation was about bringing up NEW ideas. The majority of all people try to avoid mistakes instead of delivering new stuff. The biggest issue of new ideas is that they are NEW. There are no references and it is difficult to judge, because it is NEW. You have to accept NEW ideas, to make a change!!
  • Next is online testing and onsite tablet-based testing during the application and selection process. Running an online test before reading any CV can reduce the overall number of applicants to the right skilled people for the company. All candidates who did pass the online test and have a good CV are invited for the interview process. Before the interview the onsite tablet-based testing happens --> to check the results of the online test, to ask innovative questions, be more flexible than on paper, to make use of gamification (http://theundercoverrecruiter.com/gamification/), the test is easy to control and can be offered in different languages, and handicapped people can be treated equally. Everybody passing the onsite test gets interviewed on the same day to reduce travel effort and duration of the application process (up to 50% for the overall process).
  • Several companies did focus on students looking for their first job. 80% of the 18 - 25 year old are doing their jobsearch on the smartphone already, as they are spending up to 160 minutes per day there anyway. Mobile recruiting is relevant and as the usage of email is dramatically going down, the communication has to happen via e.g. Whatsapp and Facebook. And by using all available information and profile data of the candidates, the job has to find the candidate and not the other way round anymore.
  • Some focus was on story telling to bring ideas across and present difficult topics in an easy and understandable way. Others did concentrate on ways to improve Powerpoint presentation structure and creation with tools.
  • Digital transformation needs a new way to offer training and prepare the right content. Learning has a high value for companies and a new business model for training is required → Training 4.0
  • Finally Big Data and Robot Recruiting. At the beginning the presenter did describe the regular daily work of a recruiter in the year 2026 and what could have been automated and be driven by recruiting robots until then --> automated matching of candidate profiles to companies, personality analysis, talent search engines, improving job advertising text, speech analysis and robot interviews, using Chatbots for social media and SIRI for recruiting. After checking the general opinion in the audience and how many are looking forward to the year 2026 and how many are concerned, he came to his conclusion. All described features are already available in 2016, but they are not used by a lot of companies yet and not end to end in their whole recruiting process.

As already mentioned, the HR fair was really a great experience and I did learn a lot. What is already possible, what are the trends and where are the constraints. --> You have to accept NEW ideas, to make a change!!