Are we aware of the importance of our Employer’s Brand?


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INN WEB Innsights Optius 1

The world of recruitment is complex. Employers look for top professionals, dedicated specialists, and responsible employees. Job seekers want an understanding boss, a stimulating work environment, and good pay. Saša Boštjančič, a woman with a wealth of experience and a knack for working with people, knows a lot about bringing together employers and job seekers. For the past 10 years, she has been putting her love of staffing into practice as the founder and director of the job search website, which was previously known as


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2020 was a special year for all of us. In addition to economy-related changes and rising unemployment, technology was another thing that had a profound effect on our life, as the better part of it moved online. Optius, however, was well prepared for this.

Well, our business has been online for 10 years, i.e. from the very beginning, so digitisation is not a new thing for us. Even before this period, we constantly strived for innovations on our job search website, looked for solutions on how offer everything in one place and attract an even larger group of users, how to be an even stronger link between job seekers and employers. In 2019, we worked with Innovatif on the rebranding of our Moja zaposlitev brand, which got a new name, visual identity and a modern website. We were ready to take on new challenges with our redesigned brand – Optius. We were the first in Slovenia to organise an online job fair in 2019, almost as if acting on a hunch of what was in store for all of us in 2020. This meant no travel costs or cost of preparing printed promotional materials for the 'exhibitors'. The online fair reduced these costs and made it possible for 'visitors' to access the fair from the comfort of their homes. This practice turned out to be the right choice during the coronavirus times, as it allowed direct contact with anyone and anywhere. In short, the purpose of the online fair was to allow us to connect more easily and quickly, without additional costs or time and, most of all, in a safe and healthy way.

We were the first in Slovenia to organise an online job fair in 2019, almost as if acting on a hunch of what was in store for all of us in 2020.

How was the first online job fair received by employers and job seekers at that time and what did they think of the new presentation method?

Before we organised the fair, we did a survey, which revealed that this was something that employers wanted. We adapted the platform for what we needed. Employers, who entrusted us with a different way of addressing job applicants, found that this was a more elegant way of socialising and making contacts for everyone. We all strive to optimise time and costs, and a virtual portal made this possible. For a final agreement between an applicant and employer, of course, a face-to-face meeting is still necessary. After all, we are social creatures, we want to meet and hang out, and I don't think this will ever change.

Everyone faces the recruitment process at least once in his/her life. When looking for a job, especially during a job interview, it is very important to get a "feel" for the other person and to shake hands. Social distancing has recently put a damper on personal contacts in the HR world. Do you think some value is lost if you can't met a person face to face, get a feel for one another?

When it comes to applying for a job and choosing suitable applicants, digitisation is present on our website. Lately, job interviews have also moved online, but I'm still an advocate for face-to-face meetings. When the epidemic is over, we'll definitely get back to traditional interviews, as one can get a lot from face-to-face contact, handshake, the way a person enters the room, when he/she arrives. Research shows that employers form a first impression when shaking hand with a job applicant and during the interview they only decide whether the applicant is interesting and suitable for the job and, of course, vice versa. Apart from this, the applicant's energy, nonverbal communication, clothing also play a role. Although job interviews are now mostly digital, I believe we'll soon get back to doing them face-to-face.

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How active are companies when it comes to building their employer brand? Do Slovenian employers feel this is something they need to do in order to attract good employees or not?

Unfortunately, many employers don't work hard enough on building their employer brand as this is low on their list of priorities. Sometimes they present themselves as great employers, but the employees' feedback is different. Things like this get out immediately. Such employers then find it difficult to get new employees, but are surprised by this. I'm now experienced enough to tell them directly what their mistakes are and that they must change the way they do things to make sure their employees can be their best ambassadors. That being said, there are lots of good employers in Slovenia. For me, a good employer is one that values its employees, pays them well enough, which means that the job is not only the employees' source of livelihood, but also a source of meaning and joy. Demographic indicators show that we are becoming an aging workforce, there are fewer and fewer young people in the labour market. These are the generations that will change jobs several times and will keep a job for as long as they still find it meaningful. Every company must make young applicants see meaning, and treat their employees as equal members through open communication and a genuine attitude.

Unfortunately, many employers don't work hard enough on building their brands as this is low on their list of priorities.

A lot of people spend most of the day at work, so it’s very important to have a job that you really love. Do you find it realistic to look for a job that you'll love doing, or are jobs an area where you strive for excellence rather than having fun?

This largely depends on each individual person and the work he or she does. Someone who has a strenuous job in manufacturing probably finds it harder to find joy in it. In some other jobs, however, you can afford the choice, you can choose an employer and a job that will make you happy and where you'll have the potential for growth. I used to have a job, for a few years, in a company where I was terribly unhappy. I hated Sunday evenings because I knew I had to go to work the next day. Now I’m extremely happy that I finally have a job that makes me happy, and I really look forward to Mondays. I think if you have the opportunity to find or create a job that makes you happy, that's the biggest thing you can achieve in your career. There's nothing worse than doing a job you hate, and thinking you've got twenty more years until retirement.

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Citylight ads touting the first online job fair in Slovenia with a clear and direct message.

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What do you think the future of recruitment will be like in view of all the changes brought about by technological advancement?

No one knows exactly which professions will be interesting in 20, 30 or 40 years, these are just predictions. Before the coronavirus crisis, there was a lot of talk about robots taking over some of our jobs. Many jobs will be modernised and digitised, robots will take over tasks that can't be done as fast or as accurately by humans, or tasks that are dangerous to people's health. But some jobs cannot be taken over by robots because we need human contact – in the fields of upbringing, education, care, face-to-face communication, all these jobs will require humans as a whole. Hand contact, a look, speech, a hug. I believe that employers will keep looking for potential employees, but they will have to work even harder to attract new ones and put more effort into being recognised as good, trustworthy employers. There's nothing better than having happy and satisfied employees, as only such employees can give added value to a company. The greatest asset of any good employer is its employees. I hope there are as many such employers as possible in the future.

How has your HR specialist experience helped you in your current role as a manager?

When I became a manager, I had to learn a lot and I'm still learning in my own company. The best teachers for me are my co-workers. However, I promised to myself I wouldn't let my employees have the kind of bad experiences I went through myself because of my bosses (I can't really call them leaders) in my past jobs. I stick to that, but of course I’m only human and I sometimes have a bad day. And when I do I apologise to my co-workers in advance. I've had my share of poor interpersonal relationships, workplace mobbing, non-transparency, disrespect, mistrust, poor pay, poor working conditions. At the time, all this seemed terrible, but today I'm grateful for such experiences as they motivated me to start my own business, i.e. the website, and create different working conditions. I’m glad I got the chance and I have a clear vision of what kind of leader I want to be.

I think if you have the opportunity to find or create a job that makes you happy, that's the biggest thing you can achieve in your career.

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