Hamiyet Dogan, Head Divisional HR Consulting bei SIX, on the search for IT-talents

Hamiyet Dogan, Head Divisional HR Consulting bei SIX, on the search for IT-talents

As specialists are in short supply, a lot of companies are in search of well-qualified and talented IT staff. It therefore comes as no surprise that talented IT specialists are in high demand. But how can companies like SIX, competing directly with the likes of Google, encourage talented IT staff to join its ranks? Hamiyet Dogan, Head Divisional HR Consulting, explains in an interview how SIX uses special events such as the SIX Hackathon for targeted employer branding purposes.

What was the first thing that came into your mind when you heard about a SIX Hackathon?

We were really wowed by the idea! A hackathon is a tremendous opportunity for us as a Human Resources department. Not only is it good for recruitment as we need young and enthusiastic people who think out of the box, but it is also good for our employer branding: we can show people directly at the event exactly where and how much innovation is to be found at SIX. 

Do the hackers attending the event also see it as a way of embarking on a career?
I don't think that is what is uppermost on their minds, as they are there mainly to do some programming. But we want to use the opportunity to introduce them to SIX on the day. It was important for us to get to know these people, learn about how they tick and what they are interested in. However, as the event is primarily a hacking event and not a recruitment event, we are pretty much in the background. But some participants do approach us directly with the aim of actively finding out about what we can offer them.

What is the major challenge involved in recruiting people at the hackathon?
It is important to us to be physically present at the event so that we can, for example, accept people's résumés and provide them with information. But the actual recruitment takes place after the event. As a lot of participants are not even thinking about starting out on a career, it is important to stay in contact with them over the long term and to attract their attention to SIX every now and again. We have to think long term. This is the reason why we at HR have already attended the hackathon twice.

Have you been successful with your recruitment?
Yes. Last year we recruited some hackers who today work in F10, our FinTech incubator.

Are you obliged to organize events like these to attract the attention of talented IT individuals?
It doesn't have to be a hackathon, because hacking is really the focus of the event. But we certainly have to do more than we did in the past to address young, innovative people and put SIX on the radar of IT experts in Switzerland and across the globe.

What skills are particularly evident at a hackathon that lasts several days?
The main ones are whether someone has perseverance and team spirit and how the team interact with each other. This is particularly interesting as a lot of teams are made up of people from a variety of disciplines. They comprise programmers, marketing experts and/or people with a financial background. And right at the end, the team has two minutes to jointly put its idea across to the jury. That requires a lot of discipline, continued interaction with the rest of the team and a lot of empathy. We see some really skilled people at such a hackathon whom SIX need and will need even more of in the future. I could very well imagine taking part in such a hackathon myself. I obviously cannot hack, but as I said the event does call for numerous skills.

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