Second #HRtweetupZH @ VBZ

by Etienne Besson on 14 September 2012

in Events in Switzerland,Recruitment

Here are some of the topics discussed during the 2nd HR TweetUp Zurich (11 September 2012) at the VBZ headquarters in Zurich.

But first of all,

What is the #HRtweetupZH?

It’s an informal gathering of professionals from the People Space (aka Human Resources) who want to share ideas, information and viewpoints about online recruiting. And of course social recruiting is always a hot topic. You can join the #HRtweetupZH group on if you want to get automatic updates about upcoming events.

When I approached the headquarters of the VBZ (Zurich Public Transport) I saw the huge “When are you getting onboard” sign (German: “Wann steigen Sie bei uns ein?”) live for the first time. What I totally love is that it’s obviously targeting potential customers, but can also be used for job advertisements and employer branding.


And if you still haven’t seen the interactive VBZ job ads, go to their open positions and click on any job.

Even if you don’t understand (Swiss-)German, watch the first minute of the video to get an idea of what’s going on. Usually the line manager introduces himself, gives basic information about the job and then shows places of work and introduces future coworkers.

But now back to the topics discussed at the #HRtweetupZH:

Website Analytics And Little Black Books

We quickly agreed that JetPack for WordPress was much more convenient for tracking website visitors than a Moleskine. But we couldn’t fully agree whether the really professional thing to do was using Google Analytics or a paid service.

Klout Scores And Vanity

After everybody had agreed that Klout wasn’t important and that it was just meant to satisfy one’s vanity, we still spent quite some time discussing how much Klout was good. Some may even have discreetly checked their own score on their phones (I had lost 2 points!!!). One of us was a bit sad when we realized that he had “only” 47 instead of 74 points as he thought at first.


But we agreed that for Swiss HR Professionals a Klout score in the 40’s is actually very good.

Ignorance Of HR Professionals

Another topic was that (Corporate) HR professionals still don’t know much about the online world. Even many young people (Gen Y) don’t even have an acceptable Xing or LinkedIn profile.

Furthermore, an important number of HR pros don’t understand marketing and show no interest for the topic. This is unfortunate because recruiting and employer branding will certainly require these skills from future HR practitioners.

Online Recruiting Studies

Another hot topic was the new online recruiting survey by Eva Zils where she included for the first time data for Switzerland. We all love and respect Eva although she never misses an opportunity to remind us that Switzerland is behind in terms of social recruitment. But I think that what really bugged us is that she now has facts and figures to make it sound more credible.

So of course we all remembered that other studies came to different results and wondered if maybe the design of the study was flawed. At the same time, it’s very difficult to compare the different studies since the questions sound similar but are always different. And in the end we even wondered what studies are good for anyway 😉

But although the Swiss are a very proud people, we also try not to (always) take ourselves too seriously. So of course this was a fun topic to discuss.

Eva Zils’ study about online recruiting in Switzerland is available here in German and French.

In the meantime Jörg Buckmann published his blog post trying to defend Switzerland’s honor (in German).

Job Boards

What I really liked was also how the representatives from two job boards got along. This seems to be usual in Switzerland and when we asked them about it they seemed even a bit surprised by the question. So it seems like the #HRtweetupZH was personal, not business.

The next morning the acquisition of by Ringier and Tamedia was announced. I have no idea if some of the participants had any knowledge about this, but this confirms that the ability to keep a secret is not just a bank but rather a Swiss thing 😉

Mobile: Traffic, Design, Applications

Of course we also had to discuss mobile! Some job boards already get 10-15% traffic from mobile devices. It would be interesting to know if there are peaks at specific times of the day. Interesting examples from abroad are London: people look up jobs while commuting leading to a higher mobile traffic in the morning and early evening. Dublin on the other hand is completely different since most people go to work by car.

A quick on the spot survey showed that 75-100% of HR professionals in Switzerland think that mobile content will be viewed more and more in a browser rather than through single apps. Of course, this study may not satisfy the strictest scientific requirements 😉

Will We Ever Apply For Jobs Using Mobile Devices?

This was another hotly discussed topic. Obviously current mobile devices are not ideal for creating and optimizing cover letters. The logical thing would also be to make the mobile application process and quick and easy as possible.

The downside is the risk of getting lots of non-fitting applications. In the end we almost agreed that it shouldn’t be too easy to apply for easy-to-fill positions. Simplified and mobile application processes could however be used for very specialized positions and it could also be more of a “lets get in touch and talk” approach rather than “send us your CV, diplomas, cover letter, recent pictures and we might get back to you”.


I also mentioned the possibility of the first #TruZurich (The Recruiting Unconference Zurich) as soon as this November. Of course my Swiss colleagues recommended to postpone it to a later date 😉

But #TRU events are spontaneous and a bit crazy. So as soon as we find a venue, I’ll announce that the first #TruZurich will take place on 13 November 2012.


Although the event is called a “TweetUp” we didn’t tweet during the event. But every time somebody shared information while asking to keep it confidential, one or several participants reached for their phones mumbling something like “just a sec, I need to quickly tweet this”.

On my way home I thought that it had been like a mini Unconference. But instead of having multiple tracks with one topic each we had a single track with a (sometimes chaotic) variety of topics. The second #HRtweetupZH was definitely a very interesting evening with fantastic people.

You can join Join MeetUp group here. Don’t worry, there’s no spamming or lengthy discussions. But you will get a message when we organize a #HRtweetupZH.

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