Recruiting: How we found the perfect employee.

Table of contents

The recruiting experience report by Mr. Michael Mayer, Managing Director of Mayer Ingenieure GmbH.

Mayer Ingenieure GmbH in Böblingen specializes in renovation in municipal civil engineering and road construction, i.e. it supports municipalities in the long-term safeguarding of roads, sewers and water pipes.
Managing Director Michael Mayer was kind enough to share his experience in recruiting with us.

Our company

We are an engineering office in southern Germany and specialize in civil engineering. Our customers are municipalities that have their infrastructure maintained and renovated by us. Over the past decades, we have made a name for ourselves as a reliable and innovative partner. Our company has been around since 1926; we are a third-generation family business. My brother and I took over the company from our father in 1999.

Growth and change

In recent years in particular, we have realized that it is important to pursue a course of growth in order to remain competitive and maintain margins. As a result, our company has grown from 6 to 21 employees over the last nine years.

This was not just growth, it was also a fundamental change process in our company: My brother and I used to work as engineers ourselves and managed projects ourselves. Our employees have helped and supported us. This has changed fundamentally. Today, it is our employees who manage projects. They manage the projects completely independently, they look after the customers on their own, make their own decisions – and thus support us significantly. We have shifted responsibility to our employees and thus greatly enhanced their activities.

In this way, my brother and I were able to withdraw from the operational business as far as possible. In order to continue the consistent growth of our company, we are now mainly active in the areas of acquisition, strategy, management, process optimization, as well as employee selection and training.

>>> Read here:
Why you should actively shape value management in your company

Lack of applicants

Unfortunately, good applicants are not exactly queuing up in our industry, especially not at a medium-sized company like ours. Fortunately, we are regarded as professional and reputable in our industry; we are an attractive employer. But many people simply don’t know us.

Personnel decision risk

A personnel decision is always a risk. It takes an enormous amount of resources to find an employee and make them fit for work. It’s not just the effort involved in the job search itself that costs time and money. Valuable capacities are tied up that are urgently needed elsewhere, especially in a medium-sized company like ours. This is worth it to us, because good employees are our most important asset.

As we do not have our own HR department, we managing directors take care of personnel selection ourselves. It always takes a lot of time to look through all the application documents. And even though we had carefully checked all the documents and gained a good impression at the interview, we never knew for sure whether this impression would turn out to be true. We only found this out once we had been working with the new employee for a while.

Suboptimal personnel decisions in the past

We have made the wrong decisions a few times.

What do you want to do? Then the person is there for the time being. You have spent time on familiarization. You have turned down other applicants. You realize it doesn’t work that way. One or two customers are annoyed because they realize that a less than optimal project manager is in charge of the project. The resulting errors cost money. You have spent several months of time and money on an employee that you don’t want to keep in the end.

A secure recruiting process

Based on this experience, we decided to go through a software-supported recruiting process that was new to us.

With the help of the berlin team, we have set up this process, which safeguards us when making personnel decisions. This way we can be sure that we have selected the right candidate. On top of that, we were optimally prepared for the interview with little effort. That was really impressive.

The applicants

We were looking for a site manager. We had preselected three candidates for this position. Our requirements:

The candidate should have the ability to take over and organize project management efficiently, to make decisions independently, as well as to act positively, friendly, binding and with a win-win orientation in customer contact. This is not easy to verify in the interview.

The analysis procedure

Our three pre-selected candidates received a link that led them to the so-called Developer. This is a potential analysis tool that offers a good analysis of candidates’ strengths and weaknesses.
With the support of the berlin team, we had previously clarified our job requirements. After the applicants had answered questions online, we had clear evaluation results. We not only received a profile with various graphics and a clear classification of skills, but also a list of adjectives with the characteristics of each candidate. A big bonus and a huge relief for us was the interview guide for the job interview, as we were asked questions on the points that were critical to our success. Each interview guide looked different, depending on the candidate’s strengths and areas of development. With this tool, we were optimally prepared for the job interviews.

>>> Read here: Recruiting: How we found the perfect employee.

The job interview

Before the interviews, we only needed about 30 minutes to talk through the candidates with the berlin team. After that, we knew exactly what to expect.
I was very skeptical at first and asked a lot of questions. But I am amazed and surprised at how strongly the personality profiles that the developer had drawn for us were confirmed by the interviews: the applicant that the developer had described to us as self-confident and demanding was in fact very brash. And indeed, the applicant, who was described by the developer as customer-oriented and friendly, was immediately able to establish a good rapport with us. I almost had to laugh at how much the prophecies were coming true.


Looking back, I am very happy that we now have a functioning process for our recruiting. We have gained absolute certainty for our personnel decision.
And for little money compared to the cost of a wrong decision. Really fascinating. In future, we will have all our applicants checked by the berlin team. Simply to be sure that we get the right person on board.

>>> Read more here: How to find the right recruiting tool

What is more important: experience or soft skills?

We had a long discussion in the team about which applicant we should give preference to: One of the applicants had a lot of experience, but performed slightly worse in Developer. The other applicant had excellent leadership and customer contact skills, but came straight from university. The decision was not easy. Of course, it’s good if someone has experience, because you save yourself a lot of training time. But we ultimately opted for the second applicant. Soft skills are difficult to retrain. Leadership skills, empathy, the ability to act constructively in conflicts and to create a winner-winner situation – all of this is relatively difficult to retrain. You can gain experience, you can acquire hard skills, you can learn or acquire them, someone can teach them to you. A good applicant may be able to adapt quickly. The new employee has now been with us for three months – and we haven’t regretted it for a single day!

Thanks to the berlin team. Any time again!
Susanne Grätsch and Kassandra Knebel spoke with Mr. Mayer.

Are you interested in recruiting and personnel recruitment? Please contact us.

The authors

Oliver Grätsch
Michelle 550
Michelle Templin
Christian Grätsch
Matthias Beikert
Susanne Grätsch
Monika Bt 550x550
Monika Steininger
Kai Hübner
Philipp Andresen 500x550
Philipp Andresen
Dr. Claudia Schmidt
Inga Kühn
Kassandra Knebel
Claudia Lehmann
Anna Isabell Arendt
Komplettes Team

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