A cooperation between HCCM® AG and the University of Applied Sciences Nordwestschweiz, FHNW: Can Online Recruitment via social media such as LinkedIn and Xing replace the Headhunter?

With the increasing digitalization, the competition pressure on the companies grows and the gaining of specialists becomes ever more difficult. Through business networks like LinkedIn or XING, companies have the opportunity to speak directly to talents. Can social media recruiting replace the headhunter? AND: What are the channels through which candidates would be preferably addressed?

With these questions, two Bachelor students from the University of Applied Sciences Nordwestschweiz (FHNW) have been working intensively on behalf of HCCM® AG within the framework of their Bachelor thesis. The Bachelor thesis was rated “very good”.

In order to answer the questions, a market research concept with various hypotheses was prepared. On the basis of this concept, nine customers and nine candidates of HCCM® AG were interviewed, the answers summarized and analyzed.

The main conclusions from the study:

  • 55% of responding companies are using social media recruiting. Social media recruiting is mostly carried out by large companies and as an addition to the classic recruitment process.
  • It has been shown that the headhunter is much more effective than social media recruiting. Its success rate is 90 percent for the surveyed companies, while the success rate for social media recruiting lies between 10 and 30 percent.
  • Only 38% of the working population in Switzerland has a profile on a business network, such as LinkedIn or Xing (Source: Bundesamt für Statistik Q2/17; LinkedIn; Xing). This excludes over 60% of the potential for social media recruiting.
  • 50% of the surveyed companies find the cost of a headhunter adequately, because the headhunter also leads the whole recruitment process.
  • The hypothesis that the recruitment process is shortened via social media has been rejected.
  • The majority of the candidates feel the approach by a headhunter as a more serious one.
  • Social medial recruiting will gain in importance in the future. The personal effort and professionalism in social media recruiting, is still underestimated by companies. Around 65% of companies have not defined a budget for social media recruiting.
  • The headhunter is preferred for the recruitment of management positions and specialists.
  • Client companies especially appreciate the great candidate network, the high quality of the candidates and the industry experience of the headhunters.

We would like to thank the students Nico Waldmeier and Nicolas Häring for their successful work on this exciting topic and congratulate them on the very successful completion of their Bachelor studies.

We wish you an exciting reading. Below you will find the link to download the Bachelor Thesis (in German only) and a Summary.

Charles Quensel                                                           Michaela Tröndlin
General Manager                                                         Senior Consultant
European Certified Executive
Recruitment Consultant ECSSA/BDU

Bachelor Thesis_final

Summary_English