Exhibition politics: Have potential, will get interviewed

Finding qualified staff is an increasingly important aim of trade shows. And there is no conflict between recruitment measures at trade fairs and recruiting shows.

"Einstieg" in Karlsruhe: Personnel recruitment and the search for young talents is now a topic for all fairs. (Photo: Einstieg Karlsruhe / KMK)
"Einstieg" in Karlsruhe: Personnel recruitment and the search for young talents is now a topic for all fairs. (Photo: Einstieg Karlsruhe / KMK)

Companies are vying for new talents. “From graduates to executives,” says Klaus Dittrich. “Even at trade fairs, because this is where they can reach their target group,” reveals the head of Messe München. As an example he cites the “Student Day” during electronica, a day that is traditionally dedicated to young talents. Job days at trade fairs not only help establish contacts: “They also offer job application training and general advice,” points out Dittrich. And: “Candidates with potential can be interviewed immediately." For Messe München these measures at trade shows do not compete with recruiting fairs. “At a trade show the young talents normally already have a preference for the industry in question,” argues Klaus Dittrich. “And it has nothing of the formal and sometimes rather stiff atmosphere of a job interview.” Applicants can meet their future employers directly and get to know them in informal talks (www.messe-muenchen.de).  

Their colleagues from Frankfurt confirm that the two complement each other. “Recruiting shows rather aim to convey general knowledge about an industry and a company,” says Wolfgang Marzin. “Recruiting shows focus first and foremost on establishing employment relationships in general," explains the CEO of Messe Frankfurt. In contrast, at trade fairs the aim is to fill specific vacancies. “Interested candidates with the corresponding qualifications can apply directly," explains Marzin. Those who show initiative, already get into the selection process. The Frankfurters believes these offers at trade shows are very important . “We offered exhibitors to advertise their vacancies on the ISH job portal," reports Wolfgang Marzin. Then employers can address those who are interested in the industry right at the fair (www.messefrankfurt.com).  

For years Hannover Messe has been following its young talent initiative TectoYou: “This is intended to raise technical awareness,” says Hartwig von Saß. “For this purpose pupils aged 16 to 20 are invited to the fair,” says the spokesman of Deutsche Messe. “At this year's Hannover Messe alone there were 9,000 young people from all over Germany who came for an organised day programme.” TectoYou is now also a fixture of other events in Hannover like Ligna and CeBIT. In addition, career and recruiting marketplaces are organised there. “Even companies from other industries exhibit there,” von Saß cites the VW group as an example, which was searching for IT staff at CeBIT. Deutsche Messe also cooperates with the Federal Labour Agency, which sends candidates to the fair. After all, there are many personnel managers at the booths. “Employment contracts are signed at CeBIT,” points out Hartwig von Saß (www.messe.de).     

Hamburg Messe und Congress has similar events to offer. “At some fairs we cooperate with universities, schools, the chamber of commerce and other institutions”, says the Head of Press and Public Relations Karsten Broockmann. “In this context, we offer target measures for candidates, students and pupils.” For example, at Nortec, the manufacturing trade show in the north, there will be guided tours for pupils. This serves to familiarise young people with various jobs in manufacturing and get them interested in technical professions. Various trade shows complement this scheme. “While recruiting fairs focus solely on gaining new personnel, trade fairs offer a larger picture of an industry,” confirms Karsten Broockmann: “Trade fairs are a highly effective tool for exhibitors to find suitable applicants” (www.hamburg-messe.de).   


For Messe Stuttgart the importance of personnel marketing at trade shows is constantly rising. “This is mirrored by the events we offer,” says Corporate Press Spokesman Thomas Erken. For the Vision trade show for image processing the Stuttgarters work with wirth+partner. The Munich-based personnel consultants offer individual career advice to engineers and young scientists – and have created a Vision Job Board + Career Centre . Exhibitors can publish their vacancies online before the event and on a notice board during the show for a fee. “Surveys prove that around 90 per cent of Career Centre visitors gain information about trade show activities beforehand on the web,” points out Thomas Erken. “Hence, any reference to interesting vacancies, lectures and consulting sessions is an essential building block for success.” The Stuttgarters also see trade shows as a suitable medium for recruiting executives. After all, these experienced staff members know the trade and have a valuable network (www.messe-stuttgart.de).   

Britta Wirtz believes the trend of “nurturing young talents” and “qualified staff” has now reached all trade fairs. The Managing Director of Karlsruher Messe- und Kongressgesellschaft singles out the events "Einstieg Beruf", "Einstieg Abi" and "Bonding Messe". These events target trainees, high school graduates and students. “At trade fairs like Learntec the topic is gradually gaining momentum," adds Wirtz. There are panel discussions focusing on the importance of continued and further training. Other trade shows have special areas with job exchanges and scheduled meetings between candidates and potential employers. “In addition, we offer trainee jobs at Inventa Garden, for example” says Britta Wirtz. “There you can experience the work of a garden and landscape designer (www.kmkg.de).

Battle for talents

Werner Matthias Dornscheidt (Photo: Rene Tillmann)
Werner Matthias Dornscheidt (Photo: Rene Tillmann)

Demographic change and the resulting shortage of skilled personnel and recruitment of qualified candidates from abroad are central issues for the world of business. The “battle for talents” has already been waged for a long time – also at trade shows as a marketplace. Exhibiting companies try to make contact with potential applicants and aim to sign up candidates at an early stage. Messe Düsseldorf wants to focus on this urgent issue at its events in future, and offer exhibitors and potential applicants advice and support. “We want to integrate this issue increasingly in our trade fairs as befits its importance,” says Werner Matthias Dornscheidt, Chairman of the Board of Messe Düsseldorf. There are many different ideas and their feasibility is now being assessed in discussions with industrial associations and exhibitors. It is already clear that the plastics training initiative (“kai”) will be integrated in this year's “K” again. It was started at “K 2010” as a joint initiative with associations, organisations and teaching institutions. Under the motto “Work with plastic, work with the material of the future” the initiative wants to gain future trainees, pupils and students for the plastics industry. There are guided tours, workshops and experiments in test labs but also stage shows, panel discussions and individual consultations. “In this manner we want to show young potentials the many opportunities and good career prospects of the plastics industry,” explains Dornscheidt (www.messe-duesseldorf.de).


Author: Peter Borstel

This article was published in TFI issue 3-4/2013


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