The opening of a new production plant in Germany is a challenge for any HR professional. Summed up to the difficulty of finding candidates that meet the requirements, is the low unemployment rates in the country, as well as the language barrier. Agustín Jiménez is the person in charge of the recruitment for the first opening of a plant in the country from  Auxiliar Conservera, a leader company in manufacturing metallic canning. He explains us today in our blog how the HR Department has faced this challenge.
Auxiliar Conservera is a model in the packaging sector and has production plants in Spain (Murcia, La Rioja, Sevilla) and Chile (Concepción), and they decided to open a new production line in Dortmund (Germany). Taking into account how difficult is to find these profiles in a country with such a low unemployment rate, which recruitment strategy was defined from the HR Department?

Indeed, it was a complicated market. At first glance, we thought about sending our own workers from the production plants in Spain to the new line in Germany. However, it was a risky decision to take. Due to the high knowledge that our production process needs, we spend a huge amount of money in training our employees, and we couldn’t risk that in case the adaptation to the new country was a failure. Thus, we decided to hire local candidates. We know about the complexity of the process, but the truth is that when we got our hands on it, we found out that it was even worse than imagined. Ignacio told us that, for some of the profiles, the unemployment rate in Germany was of 0.9%, and trying to locate candidates was even harder than we thought. Moreover, our initial requirements were set way too high and we had to adapt the profile.  It was tougher than we thought.

Did you start the search on your own before the outsourcing with us?

Yes, we did. Due to our HR policies and due to the complexity of our production process, we thought that we could start over with our own employees. Finally, we totally discarded that option because they wouldn’t move from Spain, adaptation is complicated and workers wouldn’t think of staying in Dortmund in the long term: their motivation was only temporary. This was the reason why we thought of combining local candidates with a temporary team from Spain, that would stay for a period of two years that would seek good practices, help with implementation, etc. In Chile, we made a mistake and we left the new employees way too soon. This meant that we had to give a major support and attention during a longer period of time, and we wanted that Germany was a success, taking care of it, because language barrier was also an important fact.

Agustín Jiménez Auxiliar Conservera

Agustín Jiménez,HR Technician from Auxiliar Conservera,at the HQ in Molina del Segura (Murcia)

Having reached this point, why did you count on binternational?

We took a look at every other option, we talked to other recruitment agencies, and we had an initial conversation with Ignacio Barriendos for about two hours, there was a good feeling and we went on with meeting him in Murcia. We didn’t make a mistake. We went down to the production plant and the recruitment team insisted in getting to know the production process during the briefing. We walked together into the project.

What have you discovered about the German labour market? What were the main difficulties to locate talent?

The truth is that there are a lot of barriers. Fortunately for us, from the HR Department we have known how to organize ourselves and thanks to the local recruiters at binternational, we have advanced in many matters quickly: from getting advice from companies that manage our payrolls up to managing Occupational Risks Prevention. Salaries were as expected, but we were lacking candidates. You have to understand that for a German individual,we are a Spanish company, and they don’t know us and the profiles we were looking for had a low unemployment rate.
Ignacio traveled directly to Dortmund to coordinate the search with the local recruiters and to meet the Auxiliar Conservera team (together with you, with Pepa Jiménez, the HR Director, as well as with the Director of the Plant) to understand perfectly all your needs. How did this help you?

As I said before, not everything is about recruitment. We reached a point where we had filled some of the positions, but dind’t have the payroll matter covered. Thanks to Ignacio’s help in the coordination with the local recruiters we found partners to solve this out. Ignacio’s help was of great value, because he speaks German pefectly and has an in-depth knowledge of the German market, and that helped us a lot.

Do you think that the time it took you would have been longer if you had to recruit everything by yourselves?

We have no doubt about it. It would have been impossible to meet the deadlines, given our current load of work.

How did you get to know binternational?

I got to know you through one of your International Recruitment Consultants who was my colleague during the HR Master I coursed, and that talked great things about binternational from the point of view of an employee, and not from a vendor. His words made an excellent impression. On the other hand, we got great references from Himoinsa, another Spanish company that have worked together with you, and that recommended you.

We have filled positions such as Quality Manager, Quality Technicians, and Electromechanicals. How was the experience of recruiting together with us in another country?

Apart from the project itself, it has been a great learning for me. The staff at binternational has guided and advised us throughout the whole project and we have felt secure. It has been a great partnership in every sense of the word, more than an outsourcing. From the very first moment we got advice, and not only when it came to recruitment.


Do you have problems to locate talent in other countries? If you need to, click here and start recruiting the candidates you need.