Infront Sports & Media's human resources manager, Elsbeth Bruendler, explains how the leading international sports marketing group approaches the issue of enhancing its multi-national employee base.
A catch-all approach to recruitment won't work when your company is involved in diverse areas.
"As a full-service agency, Infront provides all aspects of a successful sports event - including sponsorship and media rights distribution, media production, event management, advertising and design solutions as well as on-site services such as ticketing or hospitality," Bruendler says. "We therefore recruit for a variety of specialised positions in the sports business industry, from operational jobs on-site to sales and management positions where market knowledge, experience and networks are crucial. The diversity in terms of job functions makes it essential for us to tailor recruitment accordingly - targeting key criteria on specified job platforms."
Recruiting internationally opens your company up to a world of prospective candidates, which makes it even more important to select the right one.
"Infront's success in the competitive sports marketing business stems from our experienced staff and continuity in service quality," Bruendler says. "Therefore, we look for staff keen to contribute to the Infront Group for the long term, which is reflected in an elaborate recruitment process. Following application there are several telephone interviews with HR representatives, superiors and key peers within the company. If successful, the potential candidate is then flown in for face-to-face interviews and to get a sense of the working environment. In our view, this comprehensive approach, involving not only the division heads but all internal stakeholders, ensures that the decision is balanced and that all functional and social criteria are met."
Advertising your positions is all well and good, but sometimes the best candidates can come to you.
"As one of the leading players in sports marketing, Infront is well-known in the industry. As a result, high-profile candidates also approach us proactively," Bruendler says. "Although not targeted at specific vacancies, these applications can be particularly interesting as they demonstrate an aspiration to work specifically for our company. We consider these applications if they go beyond standard phrases, are well-researched and offer a clear insight into the motivation behind the individual - providing a convincing pitch in terms of where they see their skills and experience adding the greatest value to Infront’s business."
The strength of your recruitment policy shouldn't change just because a position is temporary rather than permanent.
"Many years of running major international sports events have proved a blend of long-term experience and local knowledge makes for success," Bruendler says. "As an example, Infront's subsidiary, Host Broadcast Services (HBS), builds up a strong team in the pre-phase of each FIFA World Cup, complementing its core team with local and international staff. In its recruitment process, HBS focuses on highly motivated team players with a service-oriented attitude and works with an electronic database to handle and filter applications. The greatest challenge is to hire the right people - international or local - at the right time for the right position, and to give them the support to do their job at the best of their potential in order to deliver the highest quality host broadcast of a major sports event."
Tip 5: Don't stand still
"The success of a company lies in the people it has working for it," Bruendler says.
"The fact that staff turnover at Infront is exceptionally low compared to the industry average demonstrates that we are on the right track, not only with our recruitment process, but also with the surroundings an employee finds at Infront. This includes the ongoing development of our existing staff, providing internal and external training, a constructive and passionate working environment and a strong team spirit."
Bruendler adds: "As a globally active organisation working with colleagues and partners around the world, cultural differences and changing environments are second nature to our team members. However, for every individual, the relocation - sometimes of entire families - is a challenge in itself. An essential part of the recruitment process is therefore to prepare the individual for this change in environment and subsequent cultural impact. It is important to manage expectations and to provide new recruits with a sense of familiarity in terms of the dynamics of the team, the working culture within the company as well as the characteristics of living in the respective country. Once the international candidate has been chosen further support in the immigration and relocation process as well as flexible models, in regards to office presence, further contributes to an appealing work environment for international staff. This is best underlined by the fact that today half of the 100 people employed at the Infront headquarters come from abroad."
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