Celebrating 20 years at Swisslinx: An interview with Partner Caroline Ruedin

Posting date: 11 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.


After moving to Switzerland as a graduate in 1993, Caroline Ruedin worked for boutique recruitment consultancy Interskill. It was here she developed not only a broad set of skills that she would use throughout her career, but also gained an overarching understanding of the recruitment industry in Switzerland. Here’s her story:


Caroline Ruedin
“I started out doing the absolute basics, which gave me a great grounding in recruitment” Throughout her eight years at Interskill (now part of the Adecco Group), Caroline covered many functions in the business. She worked her way through back office, research, account management, sales management and business development roles during her time at Interskill, working with clients all over Europe and attracting international candidates to Switzerland. In those days, relocation was a much more complex process, with work permits and regulations meaning candidate acquisition was complicated. Gaining an in-depth understanding of every aspect of service delivery across candidates and clients, as well as cultural differences when doing business across France, Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy and Luxembourg, Caroline was well prepared to take on the next challenge – co-founding Swisslinx. 

“We wanted to set up a business that was profitable but also provided a top-quality service to all stakeholders”


The idea for Swisslinx was born from a desire to establish a recruitment consultancy driven by quality rather than KPIs, targets and profits, one that would focus on providing the best possible service to clients and candidates and grow organically as a result of its service excellence. This focus on service was something that was missing in the Swiss – and arguably the wider European – recruitment sector at the time. Caroline knew there was a gap in the market for the level of specialist service she and the partners wanted to provide and their shared experience in consulting and recruitment meant they had the skills and knowledge required to make it happen. 


“In the early days, our business objective was very streamlined”


The fledgling days of Swisslinx were focused entirely on IT recruitment based in Zurich, which was the biggest business area for the IT market. Focusing on the banking and financial services sector, everything was created from scratch, developing contracts, marketing materials and everything you’d expect from a start-up. With no financial backing, Swisslinx was self-funded, and it was six months before the partners took salaries or any other employees were brought on. Looking back, Caroline says this was an intense period of her life but such a successful one, followed by quick organic growth and development of the internal team. 


“Competing successfully against global brands to become preferred supplier to many organisations is one of my Swisslinx highlights”


In addition to sustained growth over 20 years, Caroline says a company highlight has been becoming preferred supplier to many leading organisations including Roche, UBS and Credit Suisse, competing successfully against large global brands to establish Swisslinx as a key market player. The addition of new service lines has also been a success story, with Swisslinx branching out into non-IT recruitment within finance and business, plus the addition of commodities and natural resources, (re)insurance and healthcare and life science desks. 


“We’ve seen so much industry change in the last 20 years”


Caroline has seen a lot within her 20 years of developing Swisslinx, from how candidates are engaged through to how new business is approached and won. What was once a fairly linear process now looks very different, with more mediums and interfaces used to do business. 


One of the biggest developments has been how candidates seek employment. The previously candidate-driven process is now one where recruiters must actively seek out candidates. This has largely been driven by the arrival of job boards, social media and professional business platforms, giving candidates access to huge numbers of jobs and employers. Market conditions have led to pressure on the recruitment process, and Caroline believes it would be much harder to enter and compete in this market now compared to 20 years ago. There is an expectation for recruitment businesses to reinvent processes and marketing strategies, with much more to consider and a much quicker pace of work than 20 years ago. Caroline points to her dynamic, energetic team as being key to helping to adapt to this change and deliver in a more transactional recruitment culture. 


“I’m so proud of our team’s professional and personal development”


Swisslinx cares about its people and nurtures an environment of trust, confidence and loyalty. Because of this, the team is cohesive and works like a family, with a low level of attrition many members of the team have worked in the company for more than 10 years. Caroline loves seeing Swisslinx team members grow and develop, as well as receiving the positive feedback from clients and candidates that this generates. Swisslinx has built a fantastic reputation and has remained completely independent, one of the few companies of its size in the market to do so.


“Our caring culture guides the way we work with candidates and clients”


The Swisslinx team is expected to treat every individual they work with with respect, care and provide the best possible service. There are high ethical standards in place, with honesty and transparency valued across the business. The training team members go through is very comprehensive, with coaching and mentoring to develop professional skills and ensure all members of staff deliver a consistently high level of service.


“We have an enormous capacity to deliver on every role given to us”


Swisslinx prides itself on its ability to deliver. Whether that’s for clients or candidates, Caroline says the team’s experience, connections and market knowledge means they can fill even the hardest briefs. One of the company’s USPs is being able to source extremely niche skills and requirements, and Caroline says she is confident they can fulfil even the trickiest requests.


“I’m looking forward to continued growth and development”


With 20 years under her belt, Caroline is looking forward to the future at Swisslinx and anticipates consistent growth in terms of both the business and the development of her team.


Read more about Swisslinx’s strong history here, or meet other members of the team.

How to be successful in the final round interview

As a candidate, the final round interview is the last opportunity to show why you’re the best person for the role. What happens in the first interview can be dramatically different from the final round, so that’s why it’s all the more important to prepare thoroughly and expect to be asked some challenging questions. Hiring managers do not often make final round interviews for candidates they’re not serious about. Therefore, when you’re invited to the final round, the hiring manager already knows that you have the skills for the job. What they’re going to be looking for is how you present yourself under pressure and whether you’re a suitable fit culturally for the organisation. Here’s a swift guide for how to give yourself the best chance of succeeding in the final round interview and securing a job offer.    Review the company and position   Once you’ve made it to the final round, you need to make sure you completely understand the position and the company. The final round may be much longer and involve more people. This means that professionals should review the job specifications again beforehand and be prepared for in-depth questions. At this stage, hiring managers want to determine fit and whether or not the candidate is a team-player. Companies will also use a final round interview to learn how you manage deadlines and juggle workloads. Hiring in a pandemic is no easy task, so companies will likely be paying extra attention to detail and focusing on the candidates who show the most potential. This means it’s important that you thoroughly research the company and come prepared with what you like about the company. Having that extra preparation will increase your chances of being offered a role.    Share your knowledge and expertise   While many final round interviews will be based on how you fit into the company or the team, hiring managers will still want to verify your technical skills and competencies. So, it’s crucial that you effectively share your knowledge and expertise during the interview, and quantify wherever possible. This means discussing your key accomplishments and how they were achieved, as well as any notable skills relevant to the role. For example, you might have excellent time management skills, so you will need to explain how these skills have helped you perform. Whether it’s through project management software or your strategic planning, you must show the unique qualities you bring to a company. Also, always show confidence and evidence of all your skills and experience.   Ask the right questions   In the early rounds of interviews, it’s important to ask thoughtful questions, but in the final stage, you’re going to need to show you’ve thought more seriously about what it would be like to work at the company. Therefore, professionals in the final round should ask questions about what the first month on the job would be like and if there will be any training, as well as what the performance expectations will be when you join. These type of questions show hiring managers that you’re already engaged and eager to be a part of the company.   Show your commitment and passion   In the final round, hiring managers will want to ensure candidates are interested in staying for a long period. Arguably one of the best ways to show you’re a committed professional is by discussing your long-term career plans, and how it’s connected to the role you're interviewing for. Hiring managers want to find candidates who have a strong work ethic and have the potential to be high performing. This means you need to demonstrate a passion for the industry and that you’re genuinely interested in this specific field. For a company, the final round interview is all about evaluating a candidate’s characteristics and attitude, so make sure you tell stories of how you solve problems and why you enjoy your work, which will no doubt help you stand out from other candidates.   Are you looking to advance your career?   At Swisslinx, we have a motivated and friendly team of recruitment consultants who are dedicated to building great relationships with clients and candidates. We specialise in recruiting for a varied range of sectors, including financial services, digital and technology, healthcare and natural resources. Our team works to the highest standards and we’re committed to delivering an exceptional recruitment service on a daily basis. If you would like more information on how we can help your career and even prepare for your next role, contact our team today.

READ MORE

In a post-pandemic world, which jobs will continue to thrive?

The impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on economies and corporations has been dramatic, to say the least. Countries around the world have been forced to grapple with enormous change and adjust to the new normal of remote working, and the increasing use of digital technology. As we move into the post-pandemic world, professionals will have to be more self-reliant and flexible – and seek out the most in-demand roles to future proof their careers. Before the outbreak, the job market was still highly competitive and ever-evolving, but with the pandemic disrupting the landscape, certain roles will grow faster than others. Therefore, it’s time to take a look at the jobs with the highest demand, to help talent leaders and candidates make better decisions post-pandemic.   Cybersecurity roles   Cybersecurity is one of the most in-demand roles in technology. Over the years, cybersecurity job postings have increased dramatically and with the pandemic forcing many companies to adopt a remote working culture, this has posed new security challenges. Research has shown that the number of cyber-attacks in Switzerland during the height of the pandemic was up three times more than normal. Since there are more people now working from home, there’s more data available in the cloud, which means many companies are more vulnerable to attacks. In early 2021, many security bodies in Switzerland were targeted by malicious email that appeared to come from trusted organisations, like the police and banks, further exemplifying that cybersecurity risks have become a huge problem. Therefore, cybersecurity experts will be hugely in-demand and these professionals can look forward to many opportunities in the field.   Data analysts and scientists    Research has shown that by 2025, 97 million new roles will emerge, most of which will be driven by automation and data. In a post-pandemic world, there’s no doubt that businesses will continue to rely on advanced technology to understand the origin of different data sets. This means that data analysts will be highly sought after over the next few years. With more people working remotely and with more technology-based roles on the horizon, the amount of data generated is only going to increase. All of this data needs to be managed and analysed to understand correlations, and to draw meaningful conclusions. Big data is everywhere now and the pandemic has accelerated this shift toward machine learning and smart communication.   Software developers   It’s no secret that Switzerland’s technology scene has become one of the most advanced in Europe, with Zurich standing up as a powerhouse for the country’s digital technology. There’s a great demand for software developers with growing numbers in Switzerland, and research has shown that there was over 155,700 registered software developers in 2019, a figure which has likely grown since. Companies will increasingly need software developers to build the digital infrastructure for their projects in the post-pandemic world. Also, artificial intelligence investment increased during the pandemic, with more companies implementing AI into their products and processes. This means that businesses will need developers with AI skills and experience. And with more people spending time online, the role of developers has become even more crucial for a wide range of businesses.   Why not contact our friendly team of recruitment specialists?   There’s a wide variety of roles set to thrive in the post-pandemic world, but what remains clear is that these jobs will be digital and technology-focused. At Swisslinx, we’re committed to keeping pace with all the changes within the digital and technology markets. Our team of recruitment specialists have years’ of experience in recruiting top candidates, and we’ve built excellent relationships as a result. Whether you’re looking to recruit or are seeking new roles in Switzerland, contact us today to speak to a member of the team. We’re always happy to help. <!--[if !supportLineBreakNewLine]--> <!--[endif]-->

READ MORE