ZEW Successfully Continues Its Recruitment Process During the Pandemic

Dates and News

The labour market was particularly hard hit by the coronavirus crisis. As a result of the pandemic, there has been a shift away from existing practices and the usual processes ­– which also applies to the area of human resources management. ZEW Mannheim was able to quickly adapt to these new circumstances and successfully continue its staff planning process. Over the past months, the HR department of ZEW held a total of 77 interviews and hired 14 new employees as well as an apprentice. “While there is a great deal of uncertainty in the labour market and although we have had to find new ways to manage the application process, we were able to fill our vacancies in the research departments as planned,” says Katharina Pakebusch, head of the HR department at ZEW, summarising the situation.

As a result of the coronavirus crisis, HR management at ZEW has become much more digital, for instance by carrying out interviews via phone or video call. “We have adapted our processes to the individual circumstances and embraced more digital technologies. However, it is not possible to gain a personal impression from a virtual meeting, which is why we have adopted a hybrid application procedure,” comments HR officer Ann-Kathrin Daubner. The ZEW recruitment team is also holding face-to-face interviews with a small number of candidates and ZEW employees in accordance with safety and health requirements – a challenge in light of the international pool of applicants. Just like before the coronavirus pandemic, many of the new recruits come from other Europe or countries outside of the EU. As a result of the pandemic, the HR department at ZEW now has to respond flexibly to the entry restrictions and the current guidelines of the Robert Koch Institute, the German government’s central institution responsible for disease control and prevention. At the same time, it is crucial to provide new employees with the appropriate support. The priority of ZEW is the safety of all applicants and staff.

The coronavirus pandemic has, however, not only changed application procedures but also the induction of new employees. “We have adopted several measures to facilitate the onboarding process during the coronavirus crisis. By matching new recruits with mentors, ZEW ensures that new starters are integrated into the institute. Employees will also continue to have the opportunity to work at ZEW in compliance with hygiene measures,” says Katharina Pakebusch. All new employees have a central contact person in the respective department and at the premises of institute, who provide support in virtual department meetings, ZEW seminars and events, or at lunch at the new bistro of ZEW. Even during the coronavirus crisis, the doors of ZEW remain open.