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How Companies Identify Talent with Cristian Grossmann & Kage Spatz

HR Strategy Series, Real Human Resources

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The current events of the pandemic have shown how important it is to cooperate and work together towards joint goals.

As a part of my HR Strategy Series, I’m talking to top experts in the field to teach prospects what hiring managers are actually looking for, while also supporting business leaders in their hiring and retention strategies. Today I had the pleasure of talking with Cristian Grossmann.

Cris is CEO and Co-Founder of Beekeeper, a secure, mobile-first operational communications platform for frontline teams. Beekeeper helps companies connect their distributed workforces to increase productivity and employee engagement. Prior to founding Beekeeper, Cris worked for Accenture on high profile international projects in the field of IT Strategy for the financial and public sectors. Cris studied Chemical Engineering and got his Ph.D. in Electrical Engineering, both at ETH Zurich. Before moving to beautiful Zurich, Cris was born and raised in an entrepreneurial Swiss-Mexican family in Mexico City.

Thank you so much for doing this with us! First, please tell us what brought you to this specific career path?

Growing up in Mexico, I attended a Swiss school. From a very young age, I developed an interest in computers and at the age of 12 I started helping out with IT jobs at my dad’s company. I even programmed a small application for the company secretary to be able to send messages to my father. That was my first ever communications tool!

From there I eventually moved to Zurich to study chemical engineering at ETH. In 2006, I began a doctorate program at ETH in electrical engineering. I always had ambitions to start my own company someday, and I was fascinated by mobile technology and how this technology could impact people’s lives for the better.

Prior to founding Beekeeper, I worked for Accenture on high profile international projects in the field of IT Strategy for the financial and public sectors. Eventually, I ended up starting a dating app for students called “BlicKlick.” Over time, people began using the app to just connect and share information. This concept eventually evolved into what is now the Beekeeper platform.

Can you share the most interesting or funny story that happened to you since you started this career and what lesson you learned from that?

Well, I still find it fascinating that we started as a dating app for students and thanks to that ended up discovering the big massive need to digitalize the frontline with the right technology. My biggest learning is that paths are not always linear, and focusing on the customer pains is always a good compass to navigate and build a business

Wonderful. Now let’s jump into the main focus of our series. Hiring can be very time consuming and difficult. Can you share 5 techniques that you use to identify the talent that would be best suited for the job you want to fill?

For us the best techniques have been:

  • Sharing the values of our company publicly and in our career website to make sure candidates know what they can expect from us and vice versa. Being open and transparent about that has helped.
  • We run internal innovation Days and hackathons, which we have also opened up and invited candidates and guests to participate to get to know each other better.
  • If we’ve already found great talent, we rely on our team to further find great people through referrals and great people they want to work with
  • In new places where we were initially unknown, we even ran billboards to attract the first set of right candidates.
  • Leveraging our networks and social media. Some of the best candidates have come to us by sharing the profiles we need on LinkedIn.

With so much noise and competition out there, what has been your top 3 ways to attract and engage the best talent in an industry when they haven’t already reached out to you?

We have various ways that we engage with Talent. (Referrals, Digital branding and self-sourcing talent).

First of all, all employees are Beekeeper ambassadors and with this, referrals are our main hiring source. Great people know great people and we trust our employees to reach out to their networks when we have new opportunities.

We also do digital branding. Presenting who we are is important to connect with Talent, and social media branding, marketing campaigns, third-party job boards, and our careers page help us share who we really are. Especially now with Covid, we feel investing in sharing who we are and how we work is essential

Lastly, our Talent Team is continuously self -sourcing via various platforms. Engaging with the right talent is important and recruitment can be time-consuming so having a recruitment team that is focused on targeted search is effective.

If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

I think it would be around peaceful conflict resolution, dialog, and understanding among each other. The current events of the pandemic have shown how important it is to cooperate and work together towards joint goals. We have also sadly seen what happens when the opposite approach is taken: dividing forces, blaming, avoiding responsibility, or thinking only for oneself.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote” and how that was relevant to you in your life?

“A ship is safe in harbor, but that’s not what ships are built for”

It reminds me of how important it is to continuously push the boundaries and get out of the comfort zone, explore new waters, and dare to go beyond what is safe. While playing it safe in the short run might feel ok, in the long run it will end up being the biggest risk.

We are very blessed to have some of the biggest names in Business, VC, Sports, and Entertainment read this column. Is there a person in the world whom you would love to have a private lunch with, and why?

Elon Musk. There are few people in the world that dare to dream so big and go beyond the safe plays. Colonizing Mars, improving transportation for humanity and the way we rely on solar energy is very impressive.

Great choice. Thank you for sharing so many fantastic insights with us!

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