Today, companies apply for candidates – and not the other way around. Daimler wants to continue to attract the best talents and keeps gaining ground in this race. This is not only evident in the growing number of applicants, but also in the rankings by market research institutes such as "trendence.“ But how can the positioning as a so-called "employer of choice" be accomplished? The department Global Talent Sourcing (GTS) is responsible for securing the worldwide supply of young talents at Daimler. Dr. Anna-Maria Karl, Head of GTS, provides an inside view.
Dr. Karl, could you please introduce yourself to our readers?
I studied law - in Munich, Geneva, London and Madrid. After graduating, I worked as a junior lawyer in Brussels, before getting my master's degree in international law in Ann Arbor, Michigan. I joined the Daimler legal department in 1995, first as a consultant for Western Europe and South America. Today I am responsible for securing the worldwide supply of young talents as the head of Global Talent Sourcing. This was a quite deliberate decision for me, because I have always had a passion for the curiosity about other people, languages and cultures in an international work environment. This is a common thread in my career so far and is a perfect fit for my current job.
Market research institute "trendence" recently published the "Graduates' Barometer 2018." It surveyed more than 50,000 students on the best employers in Germany. How does Daimler fare?
When it comes to the image as an employer, Daimler is clearly on an upward trend. Of all evaluated German employers, we once more register the most considerable gain in the engineering and business target groups. In both sectors, we moved up from third to second place. In the IT sector, we are currently in ninth place. We intend to become even better in this area. Of course, the environment is much broader here, because we are dealing with entirely different competitors to some extent. All in all, IT is an extremely important subject field for us, for which we want to attract increasing numbers of IT experts.
What do you do to make graduates want to join Daimler?
We are pleased that Daimler is now seen as a really cool employer. This spurs us on further – we do not want to take a breather. Today, we compete for candidates much more vigorously than before with exciting projects, internationality and modern forms of work. Our company is noticeably undergoing a transformation and we want to show that to the applicants as well. That is why our top priority is to give young talents an in-depth understanding of the Daimler world. We do this through different channels, for example Daimler Career on Facebook or Instagram. We are also active on career platforms such as Xing and LinkedIn. Our goal is to meet our target group where it is. In so doing, we focus mainly on telling stories of and with employees. For example, we publish interviews or let a colleague "take over" our channel for one to three days during what we call an "Insta Takeover." We want to show that Daimler is taking an active role in shaping the transformation. Of course, the key for doing so lies in our employees. Be it with regard to the future of mobility, a new work culture or personal growth.
And how can job applicants get to know Daimler face-to-face?
There is a wide range of options in this regard. For example, Daimler organizes specialist recruiting events or so-called "hackathons," where we use programming competitions to specifically look for IT experts. In addition, we are present at a host of career fairs worldwide and on top of that offer proprietary formats for interested students such as the "Daimler Knowledge College."
What challenges does Daimler face on the recruiting market?
Daimler offers a wealth of job and development opportunities. Our job is to present Daimler to the outside world as a diverse employer. The company comprises so many different brands and subsidiaries that it is difficult at times to clearly demonstrate this wide range of possibilities to a candidate. For many, Daimler is first of all Mercedes-Benz. Sometimes the candidates are not quite as aware that there are other brands behind it such as smart, car2go, Fuso or EvoBus.
Secondly, we notice the weighing of "corporate group vs. startup", which is a factor for many applicants. Many students today choose smaller companies, which at first glance operate faster and more flexibly than a major corporation. We say: "Why not combine both?" Daimler is currently about to undergo the biggest change in its company history. We are becoming more agile and innovative, are bringing the startup spirit into the teams, and are living flat hierarchies. At the same time, we offer exciting development possibilities, job security, and workplaces worldwide. The challenge lies in actually establishing this image on the recruitment market.
What talents is Daimler looking for?
There is no general answer to this question. The requirements of each individual position are just too different. Sometimes it's an IT solution architect, at other times a development engineer or a legal expert. In general, we are looking for genuine and creative applicants who are passionate about their ideas and want to make a difference. Talents should not be afraid of leaving behind tried and tested methods time and again in order to find innovative solutions.
And what entry paths does Daimler offer?
There are many possibilities, for example through cooperative studies, vocational training or a development program. Of course, direct entries are also possible. Totally new on the recruitment market is our "INspire – the Leaders' Lab" trainee program, for example, which we use to seek university graduates and career starters with initial practical and management experience. It has shown that we are on the right track in appealing to top talents worldwide, because the positive response even during the first recruitment phase was simply overwhelming.
In general, we are always looking for committed and talented people and offer many exciting jobs and development opportunities!