10/02/2020 – The dos and don’ts of recruiting — auf Deutsch lesen

New challenges for HR in the textiles industry

The textiles industry needs capable staff with relevant expertise and passion. When it comes to employing them, requirements in recruitment have changed in recent years.


Companies need to invest time and effort into attracting key staff. Unfortunately, the old methods are no longer working. © nenetus/stock.adobe.com


The lack of skilled staff and the high expectations of candidates are posing several challenges for the HR departments of even the major fashion labels. Knowing the dos and don’ts of the industry can improve a company’s chances of targeting and attracting the right applicants.

The following four markers will help firms navigate their search for skilled staff whilst avoiding the most serious mistakes. And why is that so important?

Companies need to invest time and effort in finding key staff. Unfortunately, the old methods are no longer working. Gone are the days when a big name or a well-known label were enough to attract new talent. Today’s younger generations have other priorities. The Millennials, born around the turn of the millennium, are relatively new to the labour market, yet are already having quite a disruptive impact. Skilled workers expect to be able to reach their full potential and to continue growing in their role.

They are also seeking a good work-life balance. They need to be won over and wish to feel their job is meaningful. For the moment at least, they do not feel compelled to continue working for a company they do not believe in. As a result, aspects such as ethics and sustainability are playing a more important role in their choice of employer. The candidates can take their pick, they know how to negotiate and are no longer happy to accept the bare minimum. This is creating new challenges for HR.

1. Don’t: Miss the target group

Germany alone hosts more than 200 careers fairs and over 2,000 online employment websites. These figures are only expected to grow. On top of that, there are the many social media channels, the adverts in other industry-specific media as well as the career pages on company websites. Faced with so many choices and channels, it is important that companies pick the right ones. Only then can they target candidates with suitable profiles – which is a challenging task in and of itself.

Do: Get to know the target group

When it comes to choosing the right recruitment channels, it is helpful to see a job posting as more than just a role and to visualise the people behind it, e.g. designer or fashion consultant. Although the skills and qualifications required for a role are usually already defined, key factors such as the candidate’s personality and what motivates them are frequently neglected.

Especially in the fashion industry, personality, passion and a feel for trends play an enormously important role. Candidates must enjoy the brand and have the right kind of drive. If HR fails to focus on the character and preferences of potential candidates, they are likely to draw the wrong conclusions: Will a junior designer search for jobs in the local rag? Or will a salesperson with an international focus be more inclined to be on XING or LinkedIn? Questions such as these might sound banal, but they are fundamental to targeting the right candidates.

2. Don’t: Wait and see what happens

In recent years, recruitment has become more complex in nature, also in the textiles industry. This is a trend that is likely to continue. Simply churning out a job ad and waiting for the dream candidate to come along is to say the least naïve, if not downright negligent. Today’s candidates base their decisions on employer appeal. It takes more than just salary, image and benefits – the overall candidate experience has become a fundamental part of the decision-making process. Fashion labels are having to consider a whole host of different issues besides image. Whether or not they subscribe to fair production conditions can, for example, be a factor for today’s applicants. Companies who make the application process unnecessarily difficult, who fail to respond quickly or come across as aloof and unapproachable, are likewise undermining their chances of finding good staff.

Do: Think and act proactively

If companies are keen to recruit staff for the long haul, they must communicate this desire. It is helpful to make candidates feel that their potential has been recognised and is appreciated – and that they are perceived as individuals and human beings rather than just a number or cost factor. Values such as these can be communicated early on by using candidate-focused language in the job advert and by giving candidates a prompt response. Companies should not rely on a single job portal but should select several portals and channels relevant to their target group. It is also important to approach potential staff proactively, even if they are already in permanent employment. They may not be actively searching for a new opportunity but could be open to change. Companies can draw attention to their vacancies and present themselves through the prism of an employer. Even if potential candidates are not yet ready to take the leap, they may change their minds a year or so down the line and approach the company themselves.

3. Don’t: Cling to a silo mentality

Sales is sales, marketing is marketing and recruitment is recruitment – it’s no longer that easy. Recruiters who have a silo mentality and think in rigid categories, departments and roles are doing their companies no favours in the long term. In fact, such old-fashioned structures and mindsets can undermine a textile company’s ability to grow and evolve. Departments such as sales, marketing and recruitment can benefit hugely by working closely together on interdisciplinary projects and by gaining a deeper understanding of each other’s roles.

Do: Learn from each other

Recruiters are having to engage more in candidate relationship management, in the same way that sales staff are increasingly having to strike a balance between personal customer relationship care and automation – (social media) marketing has its very own experience through its focus on specific target groups and content. Where staff are actively encouraged to cooperate with other divisions, companies reap the benefits of their further development – in-house and at no extra cost. This creates centres of expertise, which are accessible to all members of staff.

4. Don’t: Carry the burden alone

It’s good to tackle challenging demands head on. However, if a company’s in-house skills and resources are insufficient to deal with a situation, then it’s time to act. Companies are not always in a position to acquire the resources they need. Where this is the case, it is not always helpful to take on a challenge alone – even with gritted teeth.

Do: Focus on core skills

Learning and development opportunities are, of course, not to be sniffed at when working on solutions in-house – however, external input can sometimes be the difference between success and failure. Experienced recruitment agencies such as TMS Trademarketing Service GmbH, based in Frankfurt, Germany, have cross-sector experience and are, therefore, well placed to develop solutions that help companies see the bigger picture.

Sirona Anhäuser und Hrvoje Klobucar, TMS Trademarketing Service GmbH