Advent Calendar Doors 4 to 6: a re-launch with hick-ups

Time for doors 4, 5 and 6 in our advent calendar. Today: Dominik from Allianz, Anna from Cern, and Gonçalo, who tells employers about a candidate’s view.

Enjoy some insightful reflection about “favorite mistakes”, and a preview at what HR experts all over the world have up their sleeves for 2016!

-Julian & the APOLLO blog team in Berlin and Stockholm

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Door 4: Dominik about a relaunch with hick-ups

Dominik Hahn AllianzWho: Dominik Hahn

Role: Responsible for Global Employer Branding & eRecruiting at Allianz

Where: Munich, Germany

Question 1: What was your favorite mistake this year? The one you learned the most from.

After we have gone live with our relaunched global career website, we thought most of the work should be done. The site is live, and it works (more or less).

Then we discovered 306 404 error pages from the old website. Due to several reasons we needed to keep the old pages for a while but we forgot to implement redirects from the old ones to the new landing pages. And creating redirects for 306 pages manually can be some kind of annoying …

Question 2: What is your one most ambitious plan for 2016?

In 2016 we will start the global and local roll-out of our new global EVP “Allianz is the home for those who dare” – you will see that on all of our channels, so stay tuned. We will also have a closer look at self-assessments for some of our core target groups such as actuaries, underwriters and IT specialists.

Get in touch with Dominik on LinkedIn.

Door 5: Anna and a super-colliding project strategy
C3 Anna Cook2

Who: Anna Cook

Role: Head of staff recruitment at CERN (the research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world)

Where: Geneva, Switzerland

Question 1: What was your favorite mistake this year? The one you learned the most from.

To undertake too many projects in parallel in one go, projects I am passionate about to improve the way we recruit at CERN, the tools we use and the communication we deliver.

I did not allow the fact that there is always plenty of work awaiting to fall upon you alongside the work you design for yourself, so the load became too hot to handle and things had to be postponed, re-prioritised and my expectations managed 🙂

What I learned? Don’t bite off more than you can chew and… things can wait….

Question 2: What is your one most ambitious plan for 2016?

We are really looking forward to many things in 2016 as a new year is always an exciting prospect. We have two major and key projects underway: the full review and benchmarking of our, with Potentialpark, as well as the final stages of our project to review and replace our Applicant Tracking System, for a top class candidate (and recruiter) experience.

Get in touch with Anna on LinkedIn.

Door 6: Candidate special – Gonçalo about what companies should do better
Gonçalo pic.jpg

Who: Gonçalo Guerreiro

Role: Blind Applying Champion 2015, intern at ABB until May 2015, and now Business Developer at

Where: Lisbon, Portugal

Question 1: From your own experience as a career-seeker: What do companies have to do to make life easier for candidates, especially younger ones?

The way recruitment works nowadays is quite shameful: We have powerful technology and companies invest millions in employer branding, but then, the entire recruitment experiences are subpar to what is possible (or should I say acceptable?).

This is my advice to companies willing to provide better recruitment experiences:

  • Simplify– No one wants to fill countless forms in websites that seem to have time traveled straight from the 90s or write huge application letters no one will read. Application platforms should reflect the rest of the web experiences nowadays and be simple and unobtrusive. At the same time, the information required should be straight-to-the-point.
  • Be transparent– Be clear about what the requirements are and what will the person be doing if joining the company. Sorry but “opportunity for career development in a challenging international environment” is possible in any company operating in the 21st century. The biggest selling point is showing that you know either why you need me or, what will I be doing after joining.
  • Be human– Companies mostly don’t reply to applications (or reply 6 months after) and when they do, feedback is almost never there. Besides the inherent arrogance, it seems that sadly every remainder of humanity is gone and people have just become numbers. Whenever you as employer decide to drop an applicant, I hope there’s a reason behind and the least you should do is to share it. Even though it’s hard to hear, we can handle rejection. What most people can’t deal with is indifference.

Bad practices, even when they become the norm, will always be bad practices. As soon as some companies transform their recruitment in a pleasant experience, every employer stuck in the past will be looked down – and this is already happening. Don’t miss the chance to improve!

Question 2: How important do you think smartphones are for finding jobs these days?

Very important, as smartphones have become the primary connected device for many people. It wouldn’t surprise me that in a couple of years any company career portal or job marketplace that doesn’t embrace mobile gets irrelevant.

Get in touch with Gonçalo on LinkedIn.

The next 3 doors: Coming up on Dec 7th…

…so if you like to hear more stories, join us here, on the APOLLO blog. Our motto is Applying Online & Loving It, and that’s why we like to share data, best practices and opinions on employer branding and the candidate experience!

Read doors 1 to 3

Read doors 7 to 9

Read doors 10 to 12

Read doors 13 to 15

Read doors 16 to 18

Read doors 19 to 21

Read doors 22 to 24

Julian Ziesing Potentialpark

About the blogger: Julian Ziesing, candidate experience believer since 2002, and Head of Business Development at global market research firm Potentialpark, Berlin.

Get in touch with Julian on LinkedIn.


7 thoughts on “Advent Calendar Doors 4 to 6: a re-launch with hick-ups

  1. Pingback: Advent Calendar: 24 excellent mistakes – 24 ambitious plans. Your holiday countdown! | Applying Online & Loving It

  2. Pingback: Advent Calendar Doors 7 to 9: applying in 90 seconds, a personalized career website and Facebook luck | Applying Online & Loving It

  3. Pingback: Advent Calendar Doors 10 to 12: the power of online, videos and communities | Applying Online & Loving It

  4. Pingback: Advent Calendar Doors 13 to 15: about courage to lead, drive change and leave at the right time | Applying Online & Loving It

  5. Pingback: Advent Calendar Doors 16 to 18: turning around a Twitter crisis | Applying Online & Loving It

  6. Pingback: Advent Calendar Doors 19 to 21: University special about what companies can do better on campus | Applying Online & Loving It

  7. Pingback: Advent Calendar Doors 22 to 24: final stops at Amsterdam, Buenos Aires and the North Pole! | Applying Online & Loving It

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