Celebrating 20 years at Swisslinx: An interview with Director Jennifer Bego

Posting date: 28 February 2020
Swisslinx is celebrating its 20th birthday this year, and to celebrate, we’re speaking to some of the people who’ve helped make Swisslinx become the business it is today.

Jennifer Bego has been with Swisslinx since 2005, when she arrived in Switzerland after spending a year in Australia. While she never anticipated such a long and successful career in recruitment, she’s loved every step of it. Here’s her story:

“At university I never really imagined a career path for myself”


Like many in this industry, Jenny didn’t grow up dreaming of becoming a Recruiter. Rather, the career is one she fell into, and she’s not looked back in 14 years. During her schooling and uni days Jenny wasn’t sure what career pathway might interest her, although she had the fundamental skills that make up a good Recruiter: communication, confidence and social intelligence. After graduating she was eager to start earning, and when searching for jobs within her skill set and qualifications she kept coming across recruitment vacancies. With no reason not to, Jenny interviewed for her first role – and the rest is history. 

“Swisslinx is family – literally”


Many people say that their work is like a family, but Jenny really means it. Her then-UK-based father was recruited by Swisslinx whilst Jenny was travelling in Australia, and after her trip ended she returned to her new home of Zurich to join them. Her father suggested she consider a role at Swisslinx, and since then the company has had a hand to play in bringing her brother, his best friend and Jenny’s school friend to Zurich. She says the ripple effect of that first call from Swisslinx to her father has been amazing, changing the course of not only her life, but those of many people she knows.

“My reasons for joining weren’t strategic – I really just liked the Partners”


When Jenny first joined Swisslinx, she had no idea she’d had such an illustrious career with the business. With little thought to her future or any strategic reason for joining a company, Jenny says she simply liked the people she met at Swisslinx and wanted to work somewhere that seemed friendly and focused. Starting out as a researcher on the finance desk, Jenny soon saw herself drawn to the speed and style of the IT side of the business, where she’s been ever since. 

“In my 15 years I’ve experienced different roles all over the business”


Jenny’s time at Swisslinx has spanned research, consultant and management roles, before she moved into her current Director position in January 2018. She says it’s important for her to remain hands-on and play an active role in managing accounts, particularly as Swisslinx retains the number one position in numerous Preferred Supplier Lists (PSL). Managing a team of Consultants, Jenny has contributed significantly to the strategy and growth of Swisslinx with the creation of new service offerings such as RPO.

“15 years in any industry brings a lot of change”


Jenny says one of the most dramatic changes she’s seen during her time at Swisslinx has been the introduction of automated and system-driven recruitment delivery models. Relationship building will always be a crucial part of recruitment, but the addition of new technologies has allowed many processes to become more efficient and effective. This has meant well-written CVs have become more important than ever in the recruitment process, as Recruiters can no longer discuss certain attributes of a candidate directly with line managers.

In addition, Jenny has seen a growth in interest for flexible talent solutions such as RPO has stemmed from an increase in scale-ups and start-ups, as well as the candidate-driven market which requires more manpower to reach the top talent. Many roles end up being filled by the passive candidate market who can only be reached by active sourcing, which is in itself a hugely time-intensive task. This is an activity that is not a part of traditional HR responsibilities and is therefore typically outsourced to active sourcing specialists, such as Swisslinx, to run in tailor-made solutions such as project or long-term based RPO. 

“The people are what I love most about Swisslinx”


Swisslinx has become a family to Jenny over the years, and she says the way employees are treated is unique. “They truly care and make you feel valued as a person” says Jenny. “The trust and freedom they provide creates a natural and deeply rooted sense of loyalty which I am sure is shared by many here.” Jenny says Olivier and Caroline extend so much trust in their team members and are flexible, understanding and supportive. 

In addition, Jenny says she’s stayed with the company due to its ethics and ways of working. Swisslinx has a strong moral compass, says Jenny, and will not “make a deal at any cost”. 

“It’s been great to see the evolution of the company and the success we’ve had over the past 15 years”


Jenny says Swisslinx has become so well regarded in its market space and its expansion into new areas is testament to its ongoing growth and success. She’s particularly proud of the success the RPO model has already had and says the level of transparency Swisslinx works with fosters a high level of trust with both clients and relationships. 

“We’re seeing demand for RPOs and dedicated talent acquisition teams, and I’m excited about what’s coming in terms of the service lines we’re growing and offering,” she says. Start-ups and scale-ups are increasingly looking to Swisslinx to help fill their talent pipelines and build a database of candidates, which Jenny is keen to see develop into the future. 

“As long as I’m working in recruitment, I’m working at Swisslinx”


Loyal to Swisslinx and excited for the future, Jenny is looking forward to helping consultants on her team develop and grow with the company – just as she has. 

Interested in learning more about what it’s like to work at Swisslinx or do business with the company? View our blog to find out more, or click here to meet other members of the team

Why recruitment can never be fully automated

Research shows that approximately 1.2 million jobs in Switzerland could be replaced by computer systems, algorithms and robots. However, the roles typically identified as being ‘at risk’ include bar staff, security guards and drivers – not recruitment professionals. On top of that, there are predictions that robotics and automation can exist alongside human professionals, enhancing their work rather than replacing them entirely.   Though AI has permeated every industry and there’s much reservation surrounding the technology, there are many benefits of automation - particularly for recruitment teams. That being said, recruitment remains a fundamentally relationship-led process that machines will never be able to replicate. Here’s why recruitment can never be fully automated and how AI can instead enable companies to redefine their talent acquisition strategies.   Benefits of new technologies While the human touch of recruitment can never be replicated, there are many ways that automation can help. One instance is AI-powered HR technology tools, which can reduce time to hire and improve the quality of hire simultaneously. AI tools and systems help recruitment professionals to sort through large volumes of applications and identify high-quality candidates – two major challenges that many consultants have faced in the wake of coronavirus. Prior to the outbreak of the virus, many companies were already using such technologies and the pandemic has triggered a widespread adoption of the technology, increasing investment in video interviewing software and virtual assistants.   In McKinsey’s The future of work: Switzerland’s digital opportunity report, results revealed that machine learning could increase the potential for automation of retail recruitment to 60% and to an even higher 66% for finance and insurance. So, how will it do this?   How automation and machine learning can help with the recruitment process People Analytics Recruitment has always been data-rich, but candidate information has traditionally been used to distinguish applicants from one another. The introduction of people analytics has enhanced this, repurposing data to predict what a successful candidate look likes. People analytics – similar to data analytics - tracks high-quality candidates and uses this information to create a personality matrix that predicts future successful hires. But while research from Deloitte found that 71% of businesses agree people analytics is high-priority, how much trust can you really place in a data algorithm?   Writing inclusive job descriptions Various AI tools can help with creating job descriptions using inclusive language such as gender-neutral keywords. As research shows that diversity drives financial progress, there’s more than one incentive for companies to strive for a diverse workforce. This application of AI technology demonstrates how automation will continue to benefit the hiring process and wider business goals by lowering the chance of using biased language.   Recruitment during Covid-19 AI-powered systems have proved their worth during the pandemic, preventing recruitment from coming to an altogether standstill and earning a permanent spot in the recruiter’s tech stack. As a result, the pandemic has accelerated the automation of recruitment, but it’s also exposed the crucial role of the recruiter.   The human element The human element of recruitment is about building relationships. Automation tools take admin tasks off the hands of the recruiter - particularly during the earlier stages of the recruitment process. Hiring teams can then reallocate this time to engage with the candidates who are further along in the process and perhaps more qualified for the role. Therefore, experienced consultants are essential when identifying high-quality candidates and during the executive search process – offering a human touch that automation cannot imitate.   Relationship-driven recruitment creates a superior candidate experience which is a crucial talent attraction strategy in a climate with a ‘war for talent’. Specialist recruiters are trusted to create, develop, enhance and maintain relevant talent pipelines so that companies have access to the best candidates from the talent pool. Whether the talent attraction goal is to ensure cultural fit, tackle D&I targets or source fresh talent from new markets, the human element remains the key piece to the puzzle.   AI and machine learning are enhancing the role of the recruiter Though 24% of Swiss employees fear that robots will replace them in their job, this view fails to consider how AI and machine learning can enhance their job role. Hiring professionals can harness technology to see better results in both their time-to-hire and in identifying high-quality candidates. Before the start of the decade, the job market had confidently established itself as candidate-driven, but now most recruiters and employers are faced with the challenge of sorting through high volumes of applications. This is where technology can help to streamline recruitment, whilst allowing consultants to focus on the core relationship-building and communication elements of the process.     Working in harmony with automation A recent report by Deloitte projected that 270,000 new jobs will be introduced in Switzerland by 2025 - the majority created by automation. The key takeaway is that AI technology doesn’t replace skilled professionals - rather, skilled hiring teams are needed to interpret the data that AI generates and add the personal touch. Though it’s still unclear to what extent recruitment will become automated, the role of the recruiter will remain an important one and will never be fully replaced by robots.   Stay ahead of the curve with Swisslinx At Swisslinx, our international team of consultants make sure to keep stay ahead of the curve, despite operating in an ever-changing recruitment landscape. Our deep understanding of our core recruitment markets and considerate approach to communication means we provide a service that is unrivalled by any technology. Contact us to find out how we can tailor our approach to suit your businesses needs.

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How do you know you’re working with the right recruitment partner?

Anyone who’s ever worked a recruitment agency will know that no two companies are the same. This is due to many factors: agency size, local and international knowledge, access to roles and candidates and use of technology are just a few. One of the biggest differentiators amongst recruitment agencies is the emphasis they place on recruitment standards. The recruitment industry is large, with relatively few bars to entry. As of 2018, there were around 800 recruitment agencies in Switzerland, employing approximately 5,000 consultants to place 340,000 temporary workers each year. It’s an important industry that makes a valuable contribution to the Swiss employment market and therefore economy, but how do candidates and clients know that the recruitment partner they choose to work with is upholding high standards and providing the best possible recruitment experience? What do high standards in recruitment look like? What makes a good recruitment experience? For a candidate, this comes down to several things, including: <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Relationship building: A good recruitment consultant will treat their candidates like professionals, not commodities. Look for a consultant who takes the time to understand your career goals, both long-term and short-term, and listens to what you’re looking for in your next role. A relationship between recruitment consultant and candidate can span years or even decades and can provide crucial guidance and support outside of simply finding new roles. <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Market insights: A recruitment professional should be interested – in the candidate’s wants and needs, in the market, and it the roles they recruit for. Look for a consultant who is passionate about what they do and the sectors they work in, as they’ll likely go the extra mile to find the right move for you. They should also understand trends and developments in the market to help guide you through the recruitment process. How do you know you’re working with the right recruitment partner? Many clients want to build-long term partnerships with recruitment agencies they trust and can rely on. So what should these clients look out for? <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Industry expertise: While generalist recruitment agencies have their place, many organisations benefit from working with an agency that has specific experience in the sectors they operate in, whether that’s financial services, healthcare or technology. Look for consultants who know their markets inside and out, can advise on current trends and know who the best candidates in your sector are. <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->An extensive talent pool: A good recruitment agency can be judged by the depth and breadth of its talent pool. They should be able to access not only active candidates readily looking for opportunities, but also those high-level passive candidates who you would not otherwise be able to engage with. A good recruitment company will have existing relationships with professionals who might just be the perfect ft for your role. <!--[if !supportLists]-->·         <!--[endif]-->Honesty and integrity: Recruitment agencies are increasingly being seen as strategic partners for organisations, rather than just supply lines. To be able to build this partnership, an agency must work with honesty and integrity, clearly communicating with both candidate and client and ensuring the recruitment experience is a positive one for all parties involved. Swisslinx is leading the way in recruitment standards At Swisslinx, we have in-depth industry experience in many sectors. Our broad candidate pool accesses local and international professionals and we organise our teams to respond quickly and accurately to client and candidate needs. In addition to these strengths, we pride ourselves on maintaining extremely high standards of service at all times. With one of the highest staff retention rates in recruitment, our consultant’ work ethic, commitment and trustworthiness has been acknowledged by many in the industry. As an example, Account Manager Tim William received the below feedback from one of Swisslinx’ newest clients:   I don't like recruiters in general, but when I do, it's definitely people like Tim. He doesn't cast his net over hundreds of candidates with the same automatically-generated content, but rather hunts for people who - in his opinion - match best with the client's brief. He's highly communicative, keeps candidates in the loop even if he doesn't have any information from the clients and even gets to know where they live and what their current situation is. This is what I call very good relationship-building. And it all sits atop other skills and experience like good client relations, good insights and tips. I can wholeheartedly recommend Tim to any experienced job-seeker that looks for that special human touch and individual approach along with the feel of uniqueness. Well done to Tim, and thanks to all our Swisslinx consultants who go above and beyond to make our clients and candidates get the best possible care every day. If you’re interested in working with us and seeing high recruitment standards in action, contact us or view our client services to find out more.  

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