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 borne 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.

Swisslinx recognised as Best Supplier for the second year in a row

We’re delighted to announce that Swisslinx were once again awarded Best Supplier 2018 for the Roche HTS MSP program. As these roles are challenging to source and most positions are distributed to more than 10 suppliers on this account, this recognition is a huge achievement for us – particularly as it was our second year in a row to win.   The award is significant as the suppliers involved all have an even playing field when sourcing for the roles, most of which require a mix of both life sciences and IT knowledge. This is a niche skillset and the talent pool tends to be limited, which means there is huge competition for every position. While the roles can be difficult to source, we gave every position utmost priority and threw ourselves into the challenge. This included incorporating previous managers’ candidate feedback into our search criteria, treating our candidates fairly and maintaining professionalism and discretion at every step. Our reputation as a reliable, top-tier consultancy means we receive high calibre referrals for candidates we can place in the future.   Winning the accolade comes at an exciting time for our consultancy and contributes to our continued success in the ever-expanding healthcare & life sciences IT market. In today’s data-centred economy, our life sciences IT team is particularly busy sourcing and attracting the best talent in the field to enable our clients to use data to save and improve lives. We’re proud of our success in the hotly contested battle and would like to congratulate our fellow suppliers on what was a successful year for the program.   About Swisslinx’s Healthcare and Life Sciences team   Our Healthcare and Life Sciences team is active with clients all over Switzerland and focuses on the Commercial and Research and Development units in addition to our IT coverage. In the last 12 months we have completed four major projects for firms relocating offices to Switzerland, from talent mapping and compensation benchmarking through to search and selection and advising on employment contracts.     Are you a candidate looking for a job in healthcare and life sciences IT or a manager looking to add talent in your team? Then please contact us to start a conversation. 

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Doing business in Zurich: Trends to watch out for

Doing business in Zurich: Trends to watch out for Since being named as the world’s most sustainable city in 2016, Zurich hasn’t rested on its laurels, continuing to flourish as a place to both live and work. The social, environmental, and economic factors that led to the award are things that the city has long been revered for, but it’s not something that’s happened by accident. With a desire to maintain its reputation as a “centre of economic life and education” (a line coined by the official tourist site myswitzerland.com), investment in Zurich’s local infrastructure continues at pace, while being conscious of its environmental impact; the city is one of the lowest generators of emissions and consumers of water in Europe. Why Zurich attracts businesses and people While it’s regularly ranked as the second-most competitive financial centre in Europe behind London, uncertainties around the future of the UK could well play into Zurich’s hands. Already home to 10 of the world’s largest financial firms, the engineering hubs of tech giants and a giant data centre industry, a local startup scene has emerged attracting talent from amongst the 60,000 students who call the city home. While some will naturally be keen to move into an established household name business when they come out of education, the chance to be a part of something new and exciting is just as attractive to the modern workforce. Zurich offers the best of both worlds. Zurich’s low rate of 3.0% unemployment is on a par with the national average, below that of Basel (3.6%) and Geneva (4.9%) and far better than the European average of 6.8%. The business setup is there to cope, no matter how many people want to call the city home! Sensible city planning Of the 425k people who currently call Zurich home, 68% of them are of working age. That’s 2% above the national average in Switzerland and 3% above European averages. Those may sound like small margins, but in a city that’s seen annual population increases of 1.8% over the past decade, it may look from the outside to be a growing city with limited space to expand. In other regions that could create some serious logistical nightmare — over-urbanisation has a habit of pushing the cost of living way up — however, Zurich isn’t just any other city. The planning department at the City of Zurich recognised this trend well before it became a problem, implementing an active policy to make better use of abandoned industrial sites to provide affordable studio spaces and rehearsal rooms. This has seen great redevelopment in Zurich-West, where the former derelict buildings are becoming lively spaces full of contemporary art. Refurbished shipping containers have become pop-up retail spaces and dingy back streets and railway arches now house some of the most desirable restaurants and cafes in the city. Providing a launchpad While Zurich is home to many large corporate financial services organisations, such as UBS, Credit Suisse, Swiss Re and Zurich Insurance, it’s increasingly becoming known for its positive startup environment. Areas like Kreis 5 provide the perfect spot for coworking, and the many meetups, tech conferences and incubator schemes have helped fuel the thriving startup scene. With the close proximity to those making financial decisions, some for these companies can be expected to break out of startup mode in the coming years. Exactly who it will be is a matter for debate, but there are some strong contenders. Of course, the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree, and within the financial sector companies such as Advanon and Wefox are attempting to challenge the traditional norms of the industry. The medical folk are arguably even more active when it comes to innovation, with Ava becoming a vital service for women across the world, and Versantis, Xeltis and Cutiss showing strength in the pharma and medical devices field. Whether it’s Selfnation in fashion, ComfyLight in home security, Nezasa in travel or Beekeeper in employee communication, every corner of the city has a potential ‘next big thing’ on its hands. For any company considering where to base their HQ, Zurich surely must close to the top of the list. Make your business move with Swisslinx As a specialist recruitment company providing talent solutions across Switzerland and internationally, we’re proud to stay ahead of the curve when it comes to technology and recruitment trends. With a Zurich base, we are active partners to new startups and larger organisations emerging in the city, and have a thriving network of skilled, vetted candidates ready to make their mark in this market. Find out more about what we offer here.

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