To a new job via WhatsApp

More and more companies are using WhatsApp to find employees. The aim is to reach young people in particular. But it rarely works in a fully digital way.

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A quick message via WhatsApp, uploading references - and the new job is already lined up? For most companies, this is still a dream of the future. But more and more HR departments are turning to the popular messenger in their search for employees. Including very traditional sectors.

In Germany, the Bremen-based port logistics company BLG launched an initial test phase for applications via WhatsApp in January, initially for drivers and warehouse logistics specialists. Interested parties can scan a QR code with their smartphone and are taken directly to the WhatsApp application.

After all, according to BLG Head of HR Ulrike Riedel, WhatsApp is an everyday and natural means of communication for most people. They now want to use this for job applications too.

The private rail and bus operator Transdev is also planning to launch a pilot project this month. The first step will be to target bus drivers, says a spokesperson. The travel group Tui and the parcel service Hermes are also preparing similar trials, but have not yet given any dates.

WhatsApp often the first step

After scanning the QR code, applicants will have to answer a few predefined questions and can then send the application directly to the HR department via WhatsApp, a Transdev spokesperson explains the process. "The entire application process will therefore be possible via WhatsApp."

After that, however, the process continues in a different way: the company contacts the applicant by telephone again. At BLG, it should also be possible to upload references and CVs via WhatsApp.

Applications via WhatsApp are already in use at the DHL Group, which also includes Deutsche Post - albeit only in some regions, as a spokeswoman explains. The messenger has been used since 2019, but generally only to initiate contact.

"In our experience, it is an uncomplicated way of making contact, for example to clarify questions quickly," says the spokesperson. "The inhibition threshold seems to be lower than by phone or letter, especially for younger target groups."

This has also been the experience of the personnel service provider Manpower. They have been using WhatsApp to find employees since 2015. On average, 10 to 25 percent of applications are received via WhatsApp. A spokeswoman does not see any restrictions on certain professions.

Social media increasingly important for job applications

Overall, the use of social media in the search for employees has increased rapidly in recent years. According to the latest survey by the Institute for Employment Research (IAB), 42% of all successfully filled positions in 2022 were also offered via social networks such as Facebook, WhatsApp or Xing, usually in addition to other advertising channels. Social media was even the decisive recruitment channel for one in fourteen vacancies.

In 2015, only 15 percent of jobs were advertised on social media at all. In the meantime, social networks are already the fourth most important tool for finding employees after personal contacts, internet job exchanges and the company's own homepage.

However, WhatsApp is clearly not a panacea for the labor shortage. A tradesman from Oldenburg, who was one of the pioneers of WhatsApp applications in 2018, is now disillusioned to say the least.

Initially, the company was delighted and found a new trainee after just a few months. However, the head of the company reports that on average there was hardly more than one application per year via Messenger. And all of them came to nothing after initial enquiries. "As a result, we scrapped the whole thing again." (SDA)

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