PWG Main Meeting May 14 Review – by Jeannette Orsted / Lorraine Rytz

How to Work with Head-Hunter Recruiters

Niels Burkhard, Managing Partner from SAM International guided the PWG audience through the intricacies of CV writing for Swiss companies. Making for an impressive introduction, Niels gave a quick overview of the vast amount (170K worldwide, 6,800 Switzerland) of CVs accessible to SAM. 60% of candidates for international offers are found through LinkedIn, Zing and other major business online sites proficiently used in 16 countries. Top tips: headhunter agencies in Switzerland must be SECO certified for data protection; don’t just focus on the multi-nationals, 80% are smaller businesses where local language competency is important. 

Headhunting is a people-business. It is essential  for the headhunter  to match the right person with the right company. Consequently, the CV must reflect a clear picture of the personality of the person writing it. SAM’s emphasis is 70% personality and 30% experience when considering their candidates. Cultural differences have to be taken into account. For instance, it is essential to include age and gender in Switzerland to avoid misunderstandings (Dominik can be either a man or a woman!). Including a current photo of yourself will also help to highlight the ‘person’ behind the document. Top Tips: Keep it short and sweet! Make your CV accessible as well as memorable. Standard formats are much easier to read and evaluate. Focus on the new position and keep details about the past comprehensive and relevant to the position being sought.  

SAM prides itself as offering a new dimension in recruitment, “The concept behind ‘SAM Know How’ is all about uncovering the personal qualities and talents possessed by an applicant. Together with qualifications and experience, they constitute the key components of the candidate’s profile in relation to the job they will be matched up with. ” Their unique assessment tool takes into account the applicant’s combination of motivations and preferences, drawing a picture of the whole person, not just their visible CV.

The audience asked a wide variety of questions. Making it all too clear that getting into the labour market when you are an expat is not always easy. Myths were dispelled, facts were shared, and answers patiently given, but it was clear that there is no free lunch. Unfortunately.


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