We are looking for employees who inspire us with their talent and passion – interview with Soloplan CEO Wolfgang Heidl
What are the most important characteristics an employee should have to be happy and successful in your company?
Our employees and their individual performances are the foundation of our success. That is the reason why we highly appreciate expertise and are committed to promote the skills of our staff. We are looking for employees who inspire us with their talent and passion. It is very important to us that they want to make a difference and like working in a team. At Soloplan, social skills and expertise are equally important. In practice, this means that fully qualified applicants do not have a chance if their personality does not fit in with the company culture. I always make sure that the new employee fits well into the respective team. That is why the team leader, i.e. the new employee’s future line manager, carries out a subject-specific test. To some extent, I delegate the responsibility to the respective team leaders since they are the ones who will cooperate closely with the new employee every day.
The problem of labour shortage is more pressing than ever before. What measures do you take to still find suitable employees?
I think that nowadays finding suitable employees is a big challenge for every CEO. Plenty of experience is required to see the potential in an application. Therefore, we consider an application not only for the position to which the applicant applied. We also check whether he/she would be suitable for another position. This can mean, for example, that an application for a position in software development is much more suitable for a position in project management, quality assurance or the service department. During the job interview, we give the applicant an overview of the respective fields of activity and discuss the available alternatives together with him/her.
The application has successfully passed the first phase. How exactly do you conduct job interviews at Soloplan?
We do not simply want to interview the applicant. We want to engage in a constructive dialogue that helps us to get to know each other. We always discuss the applicant’s CV first. Of course, we do our best to take the stress out of the conversation. I know that some applicants are really nervous and so I try to help them feel at ease during the interview. My recommendation: Do not rely on application guides! It is useless to rehearse answers because, for us as a company, it is the person that counts. Our aim is to find out who the applicant really is. After having discussed the CV in detail, we always assign the applicant a short subject-specific test that lasts about 15-30 minutes. After completion of the test, the team leader/s evaluate/s it together with the applicant. This gives the applicant a chance to learn more about the position and the activity and to exchange views with the Soloplan team leaders. Of course, the applicant is welcome to ask us as many questions as he/she wants. Afterwards, we usually discuss if another conversation or a one-day work trial is the next step.
Arriving late, not being prepared properly, having unclear job expectations… What would be unacceptable for you?
Incomplete documents or incorrect time information make a very bad impression on me. It is not worth embellishing a CV or references because this will most likely lead to an inconsistency that cannot be explained during the interview. Honesty and sincerity are very important to me. If someone has changed jobs frequently in the recent past and can reasonably explain why, this is not a problem for me. However, if the applicant contradicts himself/herself, this would definitely not be a good basis for a cooperation.
What else is essential to you when it comes to your employees?
During each interview, I explain to the applicant in detail what he/she can expect from the new job and what we will expect from him/her. Our new employees do not have to be excited to go to work each and every day but, in principle, they should be passionate about what they do. After all, we are looking for people that share our passion for our product. If you do not like your job, you will become unhappy and unmotivated which, in turn, will affect the entire team. Therefore, each potential new employee is given the opportunity to get to know our company in advance, i.e. during the application procedure. It is crucial to us that the applicant gets a feeling what it would be like to be part of the Soloplan team. If the applicant does not have a good feeling about it, I expect him/her to be honest about it and keep on looking for something else.
Could you give us more information on the salary at Soloplan?
The salary is tailored to the individual employee. The new employee’s qualification and experience as well as his/her level of responsibility are decisive for determining the salary. All these factors form the annual target income. When we started out over 25 years ago, the remuneration we offered was not very high. The reason for this was that we simply could not afford paying high salaries. Thanks to our continuous growth and the great success, this has of course changed.
What does the first time at Soloplan look like?
For us, it is very important to quickly integrate our new employees into the Soloplan team and to make them feel welcome right from the start. Our HR team always takes the time to prepare our new employee’s workspace carefully. This also includes a small surprise present. During the traditional introduction session, we show the new employees around the company and introduce each employee to them. In addition to the company tour, we familiarise them with all of our important regulations and procedures as well as the company structure. Furthermore, we hold a company and product presentation. A joint lunch offers the possibility to get to know each other better. Afterwards, every new employee is assigned a mentor from the respective department who will be happy to assist him/her in case of questions or problems.
How should I proceed if I wanted to join the Soloplan team?