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Interview with Bettina Wengenroth

Katja Mayer 05.10.2012
At the Kommunikationskongress in Berlin last week, I spoke with Bettina Wengenroth, a personnel consultant in Frankfurt/Main, who consults with companies from all over Germany for recruitment in the communications sector. She is a certified social pedagogue on topics such as expectations, burnout risk and Twitter applications.
Personalberaterin Bettina Wengenroth

You deal with a lot of Young Professionals, who are always on the lookout for new challenges and opportunities. What is your opinion about the Generation Y?

Many have a very good sense of self-confidence about themselves. This is a huge advantage in the world today.

What role does a good education and training at universities and companies play?

A good education is a necessary requirement, but not enough. Equally important are personality, extra-curricular involvement and inner conduct. For example: the willingness to ‘go the extra mile’ or the continuous endeavor of self-improvement to keep oneself up-to-date in one’s area of expertise. Does an applicant reflect the worth he or she will bring to the company? And naturally: a realistic appraisal of his or her own capabilities.

Concerning the topic of Burnout: We recently published an article about Social Media Burnout. What is your opinion and experience on this area?

I have a lot of interaction with our firm clients about this. It’s a relevant and sensitive issue. A striking point is that it impacts mostly Young Professionals, who have been working for about four years on average, rather than long-standing employees with many more years of work experience. This is an interesting phenomenon – and one not just valid for Social Media. 

Could this higher susceptibility be a result of the over-eagerness of professional newcomers?

Over-eagerness on its own is not enough. Many external factors like extreme strain, unclear expectations and targets, and insufficient feedback play an important role in causing burnout. The most important factor, however, is personal disposition. For e.g., the fear of not being able to meet expectations of others, fear of criticism, etc. An important strategy to protect oneself from a situation of burnout is to define a solid sense of identity. One must be able to distinguish between a role and a person. For example, in dealing with criticism: Accepting criticism is a part of life. Within work-life, criticism is mainly of the role one fulfills, not necessarily of the person. If one is able to make this distinction carefully and has a clear sense of self-awareness, it’s easier to deal with such situations.

Today many applicants use Facebook or Twitter as a medium to send applications or even info-graphics to companies and their HR departments. How much Social Media is involved in applications today?

Thankfully, there are none of those traditional folders sent in by post anymore. They entailed a tremendous amount of effort, not just on the part of applicants but also the HR departments. The standard instrument used today is email – with the simple reason that the attachments are easy to attach and read. In the case of applications via Social Media channels, one is forced to ask: Where’s the benefit? How will such an application be processed further within the company? Does the company even have processes in place to deal with such elaborate applications? What is the point of a highly creative application, if it just lands on a pile of applications, marked ‘not process-able’ or ‘inconvenient’ and then stays there? The goal is then defeated and all that effort was of no use at all. Each channel must be cleverly chosen, and novel doesn’t always mean best. Inform yourself beforehand if a creative application will fit the company’s culture. Make it as easy as possible for the personnel manager! All creativity must be aimed at quick and easy induction.

Ms. Wengenroth, thank you so much for the interview!