Recruitment and selection in the automotive industry in need of a next professionalization phase

ACE Mobility commissioned a study of the recruitment and selection practices of its partner companies in late 2021/early 2022. It showed that despite the professionalization of the recruitment process at large companies and the good cooperation between recruiters and line management at small companies, there is still a lot of profit to be made in the current 'traditional' recruitment and selection process.

 A combination of the changing automotive sector and the changing profile of the young engineer and the scarcity of technical personnel on the labor market were reason enough for ACE Mobility to map the recruitment and selection practices of its partner companies.

Fontys research group Dynamic Talent Interventions

In 2021/2022, the Fontys lectorate Dynamic Talent Interventions, commissioned by ACE Mobility, conducted a study in which, on the one hand, more insight was gained into the number of vacancies for engineers in the automotive industry and, in particular, the nature of the profiles sought, and on the other hand, into how companies in the automotive industry recruit new engineers and the obstacles they encounter in doing so. Lecturer-researcher Floor van Dijk: "We started in September 2021 and completed the data collection in April 2022. We started by requesting vacancy texts. Ultimately, we analyzed the texts of 53 vacancies of partner companies of ACE Mobility. This gave us insight into the nature of the vacancies. Subsequently, we mapped out the recruitment process by means of interviews with 10 recruiters."

Research results

"The research shows that in recent years there has been great progress in the organization and professionalization of the recruitment department, especially within large organizations. The recruitment process has become enormously professionalized. This has mainly contributed to the professionalization of the recruitment process," according to Fontys lecturer Marian Thunnissen. Nevertheless, the researchers still see areas for improvement and have come up with five recommendations.

  1. Knowledge about the supply on the labor market. The organization's staffing needs are now the primary concern. Knowledge of the target group and the labor market is crucial, but insufficient. Advice: Put the intended candidate at the heart of the recruitment process.
  2. Focus on candidates with a traditional background. Many companies are looking - as shown by the vacancy texts and the interviews about the recruitment process - despite the developments in the automotive sector, for the regular automotive engineer and the candidate with exactly the right experience and expertise. Advice: Be open to others than 'the sheep with the 5 legs'.
  3. Highlight attractiveness of the organization and the position. Recruiters have insight into the unique character of the organization and what appeals to applicants, but this is hardly used and made explicit in the recruitment and selection of new employees. Advice: Put the uniqueness of the company and the position in the spotlight.
  4. Structure of the recruitment process at larger companies. In larger companies the recruitment process is fragmented, and the lack of cooperation between recruitment and the line manager can have a detrimental effect on the turnaround time and contact with the candidate. Advice: Make sure that in a fragmented process attention remains paid to lead time and treatment.
  5. Quantity over quality. Despite the expansion of the recruitment departments, it is difficult to meet the personnel demand. There are always vacancies. The high number of vacancies creates workload for recruiters, so quantity takes precedence over quality in the recruitment process. Advice: Invest in professionalization of the recruitment activities aimed at strengthening quality.

The findings have been recorded in a report and an infographic (in Dutch) for companies in the automotive industry.

What does this research mean for the partner companies of ACE Mobility?

With the results of the research, ACE Mobility will, in consultation with its partner companies, look at what help ACE can offer with their current recruitment and selection process. Saskia Lavoo of ACE Mobility: "The organization and professionalism of HR and recruitment is among other diverse things dependent on the size of a company. ACE Mobility will therefore enter into discussions with the companies individually about this."