Kienbaum Communications Award 2009: Continental Honored for Applicant Communication
Citation for "courage to be frank during an economic downturn"
A jury of five made up of industrial organizational psychologists, human resource officers, communications specialists and trainees evaluated the letters on the basis of authenticity, individuality, linguistic style and the effect on the addressee. "Authentic in content, clear and unhistrionic in its phrasing, it addresses the company's own economic situation and the specific situation of the applicant," notes Kleb, citing the reasons for the jury's decision to assign Continental the best grades overall.
"Recruiting highly talented individuals and holding on to them as well as establishing an employee brand identity are major challenges, even when the going is easy. So as to be able to communicate a plausible and authentic corporate image outwards, even in turbulent times, Continental is endeavored to meet their applicants at an individual level, even in letters of rejection," says Sehnaz Özden, head of Continental Corporate Employer Branding & Recruiting. "We are delighted that our applicant correspondence has received this recognition."
Until the auto industry entered into a state of collapse, Continental was hiring around 1,100 young professionals worldwide each year, including about 300 college and university graduates in Germany. At present the automotive supplier has sharply reduced the number of new hirings due to the difficult economic situation. In the letter of rejection, particular reference was made to the company's circumstances at the moment. "[...] In view of the general economic malaise and the resulting pressure to restructure our organization, we received many internal applications for this vacancy. Because of the special responsibility we have to our current employees, it has been decided to fill the post internally. Your application is, nonetheless, still of interest to us. At the moment we are reviewing other possibilities for employing you. [...] We would be happy if circumstances allowed us to again get talking with you at a later point in time. [...]"
Continental Reifen Deutschland GmbH
With sales exceeding €24 billion in 2008, the Continental Corporation is one of the top automotive suppliers worldwide. As a supplier of brake systems, powertrain and chassis systems and components, instrumentation, infotainment solutions, vehicle electronics, tires, and technical elastomers, the corporation contributes to enhanced driving safety and protection of the global climate. Continental is also a competent partner in networked automobile communication. The corporation currently employs approximately 133,000 at nearly 190 locations in 35 countries.